A Recurring Theme

Rumi sums it up best:

“The way the ripe must feel the raw can’t tell,

my speech must be concise, and so farewell!”

The Masnavi Book 1, translated by Jawid Mojaddedi


Our Ramadan Treat

This year for Ramadan we decided to treat ourselves with….a subscription to HBO. Some people go for all night prayers (tarawih), while we watch episodes of “Veep”.

“I have set my qiblah straight in the way of the crooked-hatted!” -Amir Khusraw



Our Mother’s Day Tradition

Elementary school teachers are extremely efficient about getting their students to make Mother’s Day presents for mom. After those formative years, the Mother’s Day present stream runs pretty dry, unless your child happens to get art class as an elective spring quarter.

For the past three Mother’s Days, my children wish me a Happy Mother’s Day followed by glances down at the floor, awkward shuffling of feet, and a mumbled, “I didn’t get you anything.”

“That’s no problem, sweetie. You can clean the garage for me!”

Any other time of year, cleaning the garage would be met with massive teenage-groaned resistance and copious excuses. This is probably why the garage is so dusty, cobwebby and cluttered by May. But the power of Mother’s Day gift shaming pulls them in the garage. The cement floors are swept and MOPPED, spider mansions are dismantled, old frisbees are pitched into the trash and outgrown bicycles are set on the curb with a ‘Free’ sign.

The result- a beautiful garage to last me through the year.

Starting Conversations

My daughter’s Spanish class was talking about immigration. The teacher asked the class how many people were born outside the USA. One child raised his hand. Then the teacher asked the students to raise their hand if one or both of their parents were born outside the USA. Out of a class of 23 students, 16 raised their hands.

Their parents had been born in Lithuania, Serbia, Croatia, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan, India, China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Mexico.

Keep in mind, this is an American public school.

Mother Courage

Many thanks to Julie Ganey, Dorothy Milne, Mary Bowers, Sandra McCollum and Cyn Vargas for their help with this story. Also, big thanks to the 2nd Story staff who helped me tell my story at the Teal Room in Pub 626 this past weekend. Our theme was “Mother Courage: tales of taking a stand.”

I am hoping to publish a longer version of my story somewhere “real” i.e. not just this blog that no one reads (and yes, I have the statistics to prove that. Ok, most of this is my fault. I haven’t been posting regularly.). Anyhow, if no one will take my story, then I’ll publish it here.


Spouse Prospectus

Dearest Child,

Choosing the right partner or spouse is one of the most challenging decisions you will face in life. To make it a bit easier for you, we have decided to provide you with some guidance.

First of all, choose someone who belongs to an enemy clan. You might be surprised at this advice but it is grounded in solid science. By choosing a partner from a family that we consider to be our sworn enemies, there is very little chance that any of your ancestors will have consorted with this person’s ancestors. Hence, your offspring will benefit from maximal genetic diversity.

In terms of her physical appearance, we suggest that she should

A) look like a winged messenger of the heavens,

B) appear like the sun who kills the envious moon and

C) have eyes like the stars in the heavens.

We recommend that you create a Venn diagram of potential partners who belong to A, B) and C). There will be very few who represent an intersection of all three so this will really help you narrow down your choices.

However, genetic lineage and physical appearance are not as important as her character and behavior. We believe that it would be ideal if your partner were somebody who loved you so much that she would undertake extraordinary efforts in order to secure a happy life for you. For example, she would be willing imbibe potions that would induce a comatose state and feign death, just to escape peer pressures in order to be with you. A true sign of her love would be that she would undergo this risky procedure without any clear backup plan, merely banking on the ability of a clergyman to verbally convey a message to you without considering the need for a second route of communication in matters of life and death.

But perhaps the most important proof that you have found the right mate is that you will be so madly in love with her that you would liberate yourself from the chains of reason and science. Upon hearing that she might have passed away in her youth, your love for her and grief over her purported demise would cloud your judgment so severely that you would commit suicide without checking her pulse or respiration or demanding an autopsy to understand the cause of her premature death.

We hope that this advice will provide you with the happiness you deserve.

Abu and Amma