It is the eve of Election Day 2016. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will battle it out at the polls tomorrow, and, like much of the world, I am flabbergasted: How did we get to this point?? I want to remember how many of us felt during this season 8 years ago, as we waited to see if we were successful in electing Barack Obama as President of the United States, and even 6 years ago, as we evaluated Obama halfway into his first term as President. I don’t foresee I’ll feel any of the same unbridled excitement tomorrow — just relief or horror, depending on the results. But I want to share the post below, long-buried in my Drafts folder, so that we could remember what hope & happiness felt like.
As Jane Eyre says, Reader, I married him. Or should I say, I married them? After all, we are three — I, my husband, and our daughter, little Lemon. There is much to write about our marriage, our new home, the life we are settling into together. I will get to all that in due time — after all, even my husband sends me textmessages pleading, “Update your blog!!!!!!” (with multiple exclamation points, no less, the blasphemer).
It’s July now; there are flowers everywhere, and the sun is bright and warm when I go for hikes on the trails outside my front door. Finally, I think — finally, this condo has become home; finally, I am able to walk the hills overlooking the water here without missing the apartment and water-views and marina I left behind in the weeks before the wedding in late January. I haven’t gone far — 25 miles is nothing, distance-wise. But as I wrote three years ago:
The East Bay is not the South Bay is not the North Bay is not the Peninsula is not the City. One can drive for an hour over half a dozen different interstates and highways and still be in the San Francisco Bay Area — and yet not feel at home in one part even while another part is familiar and comforting.
Regardless of its myriad geographies and communities, California as a whole is my favorite, though, and I am lucky to live here, and to not be asked to give this up.
It was a prescient statement, although I didn’t realize it then. When I met my now-husband a year after that post, I was relieved that we both agreed my California would be home. After I moved this past January from the apartment I had shared for almost 1.5 years with my best friend/cousin, Somayya, the only things I regretted were the fact that I was leaving that beautiful place behind, and also that — except for hundreds of photographs on my harddrive — I had neglected to properly document, in writing, my life during the time I lived there. So, this is an attempt to remedy that, and to explain why I found myself in tears during the most inexplicable moments in the weeks leading up to the wedding.
The tears — oh, those were interesting, especially from a woman who hates crying, particularly in front of other people. But there were tears at the post office, in the shower, while packing and loading and moving endless boxes, in my car while driving, and in between phone calls to various wedding vendors. Even as I excitedly looked forward to my wedding, and to the next chapter of this beautiful love story I had helped create and cultivate, I couldn’t help but mourn the apartment I was leaving behind. It took me weeks to understand that it was okay to mourn, and perfectly allowed. This was, after all, just the latest in a series of homes I have loved and left behind, only to eventually, blessedly, find yet another place to love. If I still falter when asked, “Where are you from?”, it’s because I now need both hands to count all the places my hearts expands to hold.
I am falling in love with where I live now (that is a story for another post), but there are things I will always miss about the 1.5 years in the last apartment, starting with the stunning sunset from our balcony, five floors up:
Sorry for the radio silence at this end, buddy boys. The Grand Move of 2009 occurred last month, and the familia and I are still settling in – not to mention still busy clearing remnants of the last decade out of Casa420. Who knew that, once we relaxed our nomadic tendencies and allowed ourselves to become too complacent in one place, we’d manage to stockpile so much STUFF while we were at it?
My internetS at the new house is still on crack, so things are a little slow at this end, I know, I know. Stories and photos coming soon. Meanwhile, the above photo is from a few weeks ago. D came to visit the new house, and then we spent the afternoon in a neighboring city, catching up over applepie & vanillabean icecream (me) and salad (D), ducking in and out of the charming (read: expensive) little downtown boutiques, strolling through the farmers’ market and finding ourselves at the waterfront.
This, by the way, is still something I marvel at every day – that the North Bay Area is all about water, and that we, the landlocked agricultural Pukhtoons, have somehow ended up in a city where we spend our days gushing over the views of the bridge and the bay and the feel of the cool breeze that floats in over the water.
During the course of our aimless wanderings, D, ever the resourceful penny-pincher, talked me out of buying a(n amazingly rockstarish) $70 skirt by taking me to the candy shop instead. And I – well, I was so blinded by the colors and all the sugar at my disposal, that I completely forget to protest.
And you. Your turn now. What have you been doing?
Some friends and I are going to be in Santa Cruz this Sunday, hanging out in the sunshine (and there damn well had better be sunshine, or I shall be pissed). I sent out a reminder email a few days ago with the following Highly Important Questions:
WHAT CAN YOU BRING TO EAT?!
K has already promised to bring me homemade boulani, which makes me giddy like you wouldn’t believe.
A couple of years ago, I wrote:
Thatâ€™s it. When spring is here for sure and the weather stays consistently warm, Iâ€™m heading down to Santa Cruz for some sunshine and sand.
It’s that time of the year again, and I know I must have been in Santa Cruz a couple of times since then, but I can’t recall – which is as good enough a reason as any to go back to play on the beach. And I just bought two new memory cards this evening (that brings the grand total to six now, I believe, which seems kinda ridiculous), which means I shall spend the next few days taking photos again, too. It’s been a while. (Note: It’s never a good idea to go to any electronics store the day after you’ve been paid. Flush with money, it’s so hard to resist the lure of those sleek and gorgeous dSLRs, and their solid weight in your small hands. Maybe if you stop spending all your money on boulani and gelato, you, too, could be the proud rockstar owner of a fancy-schmancy digicam. Something to think about.)
What are the rest of you rockstars doing this weekend?
The original caption on this photograph, when it was posted to flickr over 2.5 years ago, in August 2006:
This photo (and the previous one I posted from the same day) makes me so happy.
1. whined all morning about how hungry I was
2. asked my "fake internet friend" in Toronto about Bob Marley recommendations for Hashim
3. decided my TO friend was awesome because he never fails to pass along advice and recommendations (and so good-naturedly, too: "Anything for a Pathan girl from the West Coast I’ve never met" â€“ who wouldn’t want to be friends with this kid?)
4. whined to my TO friend about how hungry I was, which resulted in him sending me Zabihah.com links for Silicon Valley and suggestions like, "Cheese pizza? Grilled cheese sandwich? [*looking at the Zabihah.com link*] You could go to Red Kwali, that new Malaysian/Thai place that opened up."
5. went to lunch, chauffeured by my buddy, Z, in his spiffy brand-new car with the new-car smell
6. sat around and ate lunch and talked about our lives and watched the co-workers make chai and refused all offers of chai (Z: "You could just smell mine") and pretended to get back to work, and agreed when Z said, "I wish I could just do this for the rest of my life."
7. got off work at 3.30pm! and drove all the way home with the sunroof open, because it was such a beautiful day
8. stopped by the bank, and laughed when the teller asked me, "Do you know Asad? He has the same last name as you do, and he comes in here all the time." [Clearly, she doesn’t understand what a common last name I have.]
"No, but I wish I had enough money, that I could afford to come in here all the time!"
9. had two women curiously ask me, during two separate occasions, how I tie my headwrap, and I had to explain and gesture with one hand because (both times) the other hand was full.
10. stopped by the 7-Eleven I used to frequent as a child (for cherry slurpees) and as a college student (for energy drinks and Pringles, right before hitting the road to commute to suckool), because I wanted to see if â€“ miracle of miracles â€“ they had blue raspberry slurpees in stock. But they didn’t, damn it! How difficult could it BE?! Freakin’ hell.
It’s okay, though. Right now, I’m heading out for a dinner with a friend, and an open-mic poetry session in Oakland.
Also, did I mention this photo makes me happy?
Hi, is this thing still on?
I know. It’s been a long while.
Owl has tried shaming me with harassment tactics, and H (“Yasmin Without an E”) has probably resignedly reverted to reading about immunoglobulins, and Bajiâ€™s still holding out hope, and Hashim has given up altogether.
I like when I beat Hashim in things, so I’d say this is as good a time as any to make a grand return.
Not to mention the fact that M wrote on my facebook wall a few weeks ago,
“My son, Ilyas, would like me to convey this message to you:
Update the weblog, or the highfives will stop. I kid not.”
Now that is the sort of threat that makes me quake in my stabbingdagger-pointed shoes. I hope you all are taking notes and picking up lessons from M here. No more highfives from adorablicious toddlers?! That would be just blasphemy.
Hashim accused me a few weeks ago of being “clearly in blog violation.” This, coming from the dude who professes to neither understand nor read weblogs. This is why it’s even more mind-boggling that he apparently subscribes to the RSS feed for my tumblr, mistook it for my real-deal weblog, and observed a while back,
“It looks like all you are doing is copy/pasting stuff from others. You do realize if that’s what I wanted to view, I’d RSS their sites instead. I think you are failing to understand how this is supposed to work.”
Point duly noted. I’m trying to relearn “how this is supposed to work.” Shall we try again?
Here are some updates from my end:
There are tangerine peels in my jacket pocket, and half-a-dozen tangerines piled on a corner of my desk. This is because I’m coming down with a cold, and need all the Vitamin C I can get. Standing on the train platform this morning, I soaked up the (unexpected) sunshine, and munched on tangerines from my backyard, in the hope that they’d bring back my usual 8-year-old boy with a stuffy nose voice (as opposed to the 13-year-old boy undergoing puberty who swallowed gravel voice I currently possess).
I’ve also just finished eating a red velvet cupcake with cream-cheese frosting and I do believe it was amazing.
I’m almost done reading Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith. He’s a rockstar, and he gives smashing highfives, and he writes beautifully – whether in his book, or his essays on activism, cooperation, and pluralism over at the WashingtonPost. (He’s also an extremely articulate speaker.) A couple of weeks ago, I was amused one morning to find that while I was immersed in Reza Aslan’s No god but God, the woman sitting next to me on the train was reading Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
I turned 28 on March 1st, and I still feel like I’m really just 8 years old. It being a Sunday, I celebrated at home with my family and a dozen or so of my closest friends. After an entire year away, the Lovely L Lady was back in town for the week, which offered up just the perfect excuse to gather together the All-Star Crackstar Squad and celebrate with our full entourage. Two items of note on the menu deserve a super-special shout-out: We had 1. CHAPLI KABOB! and 2. CUPCAKES! In fact, the following conversation with the parents ensued when I’d returned from grocery-shopping the evening before:
Ummy: Cake mix? You’re going to make your own cake for your birthday?
Yasmine: No, actually, I’m going to make cupcakes.
Ummy: You don’t want to just buy a cake?
Daddy-o: Cupcakes? Cupcakes are for CHILDREN.
My cousins made me a colorful rockstar guitar for my birthday, out of cardstock and construction paper and GLITTER and ribbons and photographs. Did I mention lots of glitter? It’s AMAA-ZING, and makes me laugh so much.
I work in Berkeley now, and take BART (the train) to and from work everyday. Those of you who know me as the self-professed Commuter Child Extraordinaire will understand why my (still new-seeming) train commute makes me so gleeful. I don’t have to waste time in traffic! I read books again! (See above.) Life is so much less draining this way. And the office is right downtown, a mere block away from Gelateria Naia, which means I could run down the street and grab gelato every single freakin’ day, if I felt so compelled. (I do not feel compelled to do so every single day, for the record, but it’s nice to have that option.)
And my colleagues call me “Rockstar” every day. This is even better than nice.
I’m sure there must be other things I could continue rambling on about, but I can’t think of them at the moment. As Hanife commented so well recently, “The whole world has changed since you last wrote hereâ€¦” It has, hasn’t it? I have lots to say about the world, too, but I’ll get to that later.
Meanwhile, let’s hear from you, Rockstars Who are Reading This. Any news, dramas, plans, updates you want to let me in on? How are you, and how goes the life, and what are you up to these days?
I am humbled in this city
There seems to be an endless sea of people like us
Wakeful dreamers, I pass them on the sunlit streets
In our rooms filled with laughter
We make hope from every small disaster
-Painting by Chagall (The Weepies)
Conversations from the past week:
H: my English has emproved.
Yasmine: ’emproved,’ huh?
H: as i spell ‘improve’ wrong.
they’re saying that eating too fast can give you diabetes
Yasmine: gross! people take the fun out of EVERYTHING
Z: i KNOW
as my uncle used to say, TO HELL WITH THE SCIENTISTS
J: so how are you otherwise
Yasmine: doing well! just stressed out these days, working on job applications
i love job apps!
especially not doing them!
that is my fav part of it
i wish i could NOT do them, and still have a job and salary!
money doesn’t buy happiness, i know, but it sure does help
J: but if you shop at the dollar store, you can get a better deal on cookies at least.
that is the secret to true happiness
Yasmine: J, that’s GENIUS
H (again): eat eat!
eat mushrooms like me
you’ll grow taller like Mario
DAMMIT, VIDEO GAMES LIE TO US
Yasmine: Gossip Girl is drahhaaaaamaaa!
and i think this is only the second time i’m watching it
first time was at your place
N: ya it is SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!
Yasmine: i want to STAB that Chuck boy
he keeps trying to do his smoldering model gaze or whatever
okay, never mind – maybeee he’s going to become a good person after all!
N: noooooo i LOVE Chuck!!!
i find him so hot and badass
i thought he’s supposed to be the bad guy in this show!
N: ya he is, i guess i love bad guys!
Re. the Dostana soundtrack –
A: this one is a “pump it up in the car” song!
Yasmine: oh, those are the BEST songs
music should be listened to loudly
“this should be played on high volume, preferably, in a residential area”
H (and yet again): omg, you and i should be one person
we would be soo rocking
Yasmine: is the world ready for THIS?!
i do not think so
H: oh yes!
we would be the most awesomeness
that awesome could ever have
Yasmine: dude, speaking of amazing, wasn’t my cartwheeling wideo AMA-ZING?!
that was BEYOND AMAZING
your butt must have had some padding
Yasmine: hahaha my butt TOTALLY has lotsa padding, unfortunately!
Bean: it’s so cold and gloomy in SC today
its 68 degreees!
it’s 67 degrees here, too, and so gray and gloomy looking!
god, we are SO spoiled!
Bean: 66 now
In other news, today (because it’s so gray and gloomy), I wore the new boots I bought last week for $20. Knee-length black boots with enough straps and buckles to give ’em a rockstar look. The problem was, it took me an extra few minutes to properly put them on today, confused as I was as to which boot belonged on my right foot and which on my left. (“Does the zipper go on the inside? Or the outside? Inside, I think.”) Clearly, it is sad that I’m 27 years old and spend most of my days feeling like I’m seven.
I realized the other day that I hadn’t talked to my buddy S in months – so many months that the last conversation I clearly remembered was back in January. Worse, he had left me a voicemail a couple of weeks ago, wishing me Eid mubarak, and I had never gotten around to returning his call. So, while aimlessly wandering around in downtown the other day, I settled myself on an empty bench, dug my phone out of my bag, and called S.
The details of the conversation aren’t that important; needless to say, I can always depend on S to deliver a good kick in the ass just when I need it. When I whined about how I “need to focus, and I just don’t seem to have any incentive to get my ass in gear and be productive,” I could almost see S rolling his eyes at the other end of the line.
“You need incentive?” he scoffed. “Why don’t you check your bank account. That should be all the incentive you need.”
“I know.” I started laughing. “You’re right. Thank you.”
The conversation continued, meandering through various topics – work and mutual friends and life updates and dramas and finances and family and academics. At one point, I went off on a bit of a rant about something, and S said forcefully, “See. You haven’t changed at all.”
“I haven’t changed? Is that a good thing?”
“Yes. You get it.”
Later, still smiling to myself about the conversation, I looked up the old post I had written about S. It made me even more grateful to have a friend like him – and his bluntness and sarcasm and generosity and text-messaged reminders about the moon – in my life. I think it deserves a re-read, so check it out:
This was originally posted to flickr, but, again, really belongs here, because Blogistan is where it started. Also, I need to stop blogging on flickr. It’s getting ridiculous.
2Scoops is one of my favorite crackstars in the entire world – and was, in fact, the one to initially come up with the ‘All-Star Crackstar Squad’ moniker for me and my rockstar entourage. [The story of his nickname, by the way, has been documented by Baji on flickr, here, in her inimitable story-telling way.]
I bought this card YEARS ago, soon after 2Scoops guest-posted an audioblog on Chai’s veblog. I wish I had saved that mp3 file, because it was brilliant. Years later, all I remember now is kung-fu references, and 2Scoops’ throwdown to his ‘ARCH-NEMESIS CHAI.’
Anyway, I came across the card years ago, laughed, bought it…and then never sent it to 2Scoops, because he’s slightly topsecret about sharing his birthday date. But I think it’s August. We haven’t played our usual phonetag/5minutevoicemails drama for a while, so I missed the crackhead and decided it was about time he finally got his card.
I didn’t get around to sending it out in August after all (surprise!), so mid-September had to do. And he got it!
Upon finding out that 2Scoops’ birthday was actually more along the lines of late September (saved! whew!), I posted the following:
[Preferable topics of rambling conversation include but are not limited to: Ice cream, shawarmas, swing-jump championships, the making-up-of words, Calvin&Hobbes, avocados vs. cucumbers, extolling the virtues of San Diego, explaining the concept of "quaint" in British accents in Berkeley bookstores (while getting yelled at by the saleswoman for videotaping the scene), apple pie a la mode, and the usage of "duu-huuu-huuude!" in any and all contexts.]
At the grocery store the other day (never a smart errand to run while fasting), I came across these cartons of strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and they made me laugh and think of 2Scoops. In college, I used to call him from campus and leave excited, 5-minute-long voicemails about the fact that, "They have strawberry cheesecake ice cream today – a whole cup for a dollar – and it’s AWESOME!" Last night, I had dreyer’s Apple Pie ice cream (yes! there is indeed such a flavor!), and it was just as SPECTACULARICIOUS as I had remembered.
Recently, I was cleaning out my room and came across a post-it, on which I had scribbled the following:
-electric-blue parka/snowboarding jacket
-strawberry cheesecake ice cream
-gyro: ‘geero’? ‘jyro’?
I don’t remember quite what this was about, but I guess I’d been taking notes while listening to 2Scoops’ rambling voicemail. This must have been around the time when I was going to Ottawa last December, and I’d asked him how (HOW!) the heck a guy from San Diego managed to survive DC winters. The convoluted explanation of an ‘electric-blue parka’ that zipped all the way up to his chin was part of his hilarious answer.
Happy birthday, Baji! (the belated, flickr edition), originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.
This was originally posted to flickr, but truly belongs here. Although Baji and I have both been hanging out a lot more on flickr these days, Blogistan is where it all started, after all.
September 25, 2008
My wrinkly pirate t-shirt and I would like to shout, ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY!’ to our MOST FAVORITE (robot monkey pirate and) BAJI IN THE WORLD. (with caps-lock and multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!)
Thank you, BajiBaj, for taking care of my friends, for busting out with inside jokes and witty repartee and banter at a moment’s notice, for making me mix CDs, for holding sunshine playlists in stock for me and gifting me NINETY Wilco songs, for chauffeuring my sorry ass around DC, even when I spent too long chitchatting with S at Mama Ayesha’s, the Lebanese restaurant, and you had to sleepily text-message me to sweetly ask if I would be done soon so you could pick me up before you went to bed. Also, for introducing me to the concept of both dagger chappals and cannoli – although I’ve yet to have any cannoli, besides in gelato form – and for never tiring of ice cream- and gelato-related conversations. And for so good-naturedly (and hilariously) sharing your rockstar family with us.
There are so many things I love about you. May this year bring you all that is good and beautiful and blessed, inshaAllah, and may you have bajillions of even more rocking rockstar years to come!
Smashing HIGHFIVE and squeezy, bone-crushing hugs!
The t-shirt is from the pirate store in San Francisco, at 826 Valencia.
I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to blog – or, at least, how to write in general. This is a sad state of affairs. And if that’s not bad enough, Adnan has gone and deleted all RSS feeds from his GoogleReader.
“But how you vill follow veblogs now?!” I exclaimed [mentally, it came out in a Desi accent]. “Back to the pre-googlereader days of opening a page and hoping the blogger has updated?”
“You guys rarely update anyway!” came the rejoinder. Can’t argue with that one. Besides, maybe Adnan’s right in attempting to simplify his blog-reading habits through un-following feeds. After all, I just spent an entire afternoon+evening whittling down my GoogleReader unread-posts count from 1,000+ to 689. Also, I’ve just realized I subscribe to 263 feeds. This is slightly ridiculous. Just slightly.
Anyway, in lieu of a real post, I present to you my latest “fake update” (highfive to Ayan!), a recently rediscovered .txt file on my harddrive. I’m not sure anymore what the context was behind half of these, but it’s all bullet points (from the last few months) that were meant to be GMail or facebook status messages, I think, and were used as such in many cases.
Lists and bullet points! We haven’t done those in a while.
“The precise location of my camera is undetermined.” – original z-lo flava
ich bin zurueck
“Art always tastes better when it’s brought to you live!” – Pacific Art Collective
“And what is there to life besides highfives and kickass gelato?” – Z (again)
“Just gotta stab your way to success.” – Anjum
I am out of chapstick, and have now resorted to applying lipgloss as part of my bedtime ritual. As Somayya would say, “Dubyoo tee EFF!”
“Are you updating your address book? You are more of a (a) nerd and (b) uncle than I am.” – Z
Goroo ba means Daika jay ga/”We will see”
Holy hell, there are eyelash enhancement techniques now! Whaaaat?!
“Hijabis should come with an instruction manual or something.” – A in Toronto
We must let go of the life we have planned,
so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
– Joseph Campbell
“Nobody stabs my bus!” – Enchanted
“Apply the quadratic equation to your life.” – Conversation with the halaqafools
Favorite words today:
It’s settled. I need to have CUPCAKES at my wedding.
Duaiyaan ne thyaareh shuruuh ho gaey
“I don’t know what ‘melodramatic’ means… but you’ll be removed.” – Enchanted, again
My eating habits are best described as,
I lowve Juno, because she’s OBSESSED with blue slurpees. Why did you all fail to tell me that THIS was the one reason why I should watch the filum?!
“Have your stabbing pen ready. You’re gonna hide it in the headwrap, right?” – Z
I am not aloof. I am aloo, without an F. [Epiphany resulting from a conversation with a smart friend, who came up with that statement. Aloo=potatoes, the single food item, in any form, with which I am highly obsessed.]
“It would be lovely if what we loved to do also made enough money for us.
It would be lovelier if we knew what we loved to do.” – N bhaiyya
Somayya: “Yazzo, you get addicted to things too easily. I don’t think you should ever try drugs.”
“What about crack?”
“You won’t really get addicted to crack. Now, HEROIN, on the other hand…!”
“Super salad?” [This will never get old.]
“I love when you stay people need to be stabbed. I can just hear you saying, ‘I will cut youuuuu.’ ” – Dina
I keep dreaming I’m taking photos.
“Yes, I think I read that on wikipedia once.”
“You go, cracker! The daily waffles make it work.” – A, trying to wheedle me into being productive.
I wear glasses. My eyes are great.
Dishoom! Ka-pow! Zabardast!
Who the hell pays $4 for a salad with no tomatoes? – @ Library cafe
Holy hell, who pays over $7 for a salad!? – @ Hipster cafe
Shit, I just did. And it’s a Mediterranean one with tomatoes and avocado and capers and olives and pepperoncini and artichoke and cucumbers. And it comes with bread and butter.
In love with crinkly-eyed smiles. Bas.