Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Are kosher pickles really Kosher? and why?

Originally uploaded by wayfarer.

I've always wondered why some pickles say kosher on them but it never really inspired me to look into it - it just remained a musing. Well DH bought pickles the last time and stood in the pickle aisle a while (hey that rhymed) and wondered the same thing and had a hard time picking out pickles. So if you are in a pickle (te he he) about pickles being Kosher, here's your answer - they are

Here is the explanation.

Long long book post

Sister Scorpion recently listed the number of books she has read from various compilations of top books. I decided to take it a step further and comment on some of the ones i have read. I didn't do them all because that would be way too long. But on some i put where or when i read it for amusement. It's funny how the circumstances of reading a book become part of the book. In a way i think my whole life could be categorized by books. Like i know what books i read at important times of my life...and i'm always reading at least one book so every title here conjurs memories. Here goes:

Time Magazine’s List : 18 read. Some notables...

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger - This book took me a long time to "get" - I read it three times at three different ages until i finally got it. The last time being in one sitting (and two cups of coffee). My friends were waiting for me to go out to a jazz club but i wouldn't go until i finished it. I finished it at 8pm (started around 1 pm), went to the jazz club, and then to work at 11pm (worked the graveyard shift my first year in college). It became my favorite book for years.

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess - This book is just horrific but a pageturner. You are disgusted but can't help reading on. I hated it but couldn't turn away. Kind of like the way i was with Lolita. I read this because another graveyarder told me it was excellent. What a punk.

Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather - This is a great book and from a great author. I love her writing and it definately left an impression. Whenever i see turquoise jewelry i think of this book.

The Moviegoer, Walker Percy - I read this because i was told it was such a "classic" existential novel - hated it because it had no plot in my opinion but maybe that's existentialism and i just don't get it. I read this to and from my commute from my 9 to 5'er.

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf - I love anything Virginia Woolf because she broke the norm for women and after reading "A Room of One's Own" i went through the best writing spurt of my life. I have also read her diaries. I went through a writing, french beret wearing, coffee house writing stage when i wouldn't date anyone and was determined to be a writer and that's when i read Woolf (and Sylvia Plath too). Then i got my first rejection slip. Boo hoo.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac - I love Kerouac for the same reason i love San Francisco. He's alive and you can feel his energy. I love that. I didn't like the ending but i loved the during and also seeking out the places he wrote about in Denver when i lived there.

The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski - An excellent excellent read. This is what i'm talking about when i talk about the negative side of the human condition. This book is the ultimate. But Oprah never picks books like this.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson - I can't believe this book is on the list!!!! I LOVE this book. It's the only sci-fi book i've read all the way through. It's awesome! Perhaps because it's about computers instead of robots. Dunno. But this book absolutely rocks. When i was a film student, i dreamed of optioning this book and turning it into a movie. Read this if you haven't!

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway - I started listening to this book on tape last week. But i couldn't get into it and began reading "A Moveable Feast" by Hemingway instead which I am absolutely loving! A Moveable Feast should definately be on one of these lists!

White Noise, Don DeLillo - Another excellent book! I love the unexpected. When you learn that the main character teaches Hitler studies at a college, you know you are in for a good read.

I’m in line at the library for Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston - I've heard a lot about this book and again it's on the "to read list"

Most Challenged: 13 read. Most of these i can't see why are banned. I couldn’t believe Where’s Waldo was on there! And Outsiders too… Funny this is a challenged book when it was required reading for me twice, once in junior high and once in high school. A note on the Toni Morrison book. I didn’t like The Bluest Eye at all and have never read a Toni Morrison novel since. I don't like most Oprah choices anyhow. The books are often good but they also all focus on the negativity of life and i think the authors from days of yore did a much better job at that. The classics beat out Toni Morrison anytime. I must be the only woman who doesn't care for her but i just don't.

NYT: I haven't read any but have four on my "to read list": Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, Please Don't Come Back from the Moon by Dean Bakopoulos, and a Tender Bar: A Memoir. By J. R. Moehringer (I was supposed to review this book but it was due too close to my delivery date so i didn't).

BBC: 15 read.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Who didn't want a Mr. Darcy of their own??? I've read this so many times and have the BBC miniseries of it and you better believe i'll be seeing the new movie too. I love Jane Austen in general. The embedded symbology is crafty.

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens - I've read every Dicken's book, probably because i took a class called "Dickens" :-) I took the class because i wanted to read Dickens but couldn't seem to do it on my own so figured i'd force myself to do it. Glad i did!

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott - I LOVE this book. What girl didn't fantasize about being like and identifying with Jo. The writer in me back then loved the character then as much as i do now. When the manuscript was destroyed - oh my oh my...that hurt! This was the first book i ever owned.

A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving - Irving is an interesting writer and i love his cerebralness. It's very masculine writing and that's why i like reading him. I just like seeing the way he thinks. I remember reading Irving's A Widow for One Year while backbacking through Europe.

The Stand, Stephen King - I hate Stephen King but a friend insisted i would change my opinion if i read The Stand. It's too bulky for me. He's just too wordy and annoying for my taste. Give me some flavor and take away the fluff. I admit his stories are interesting and unique. But for that genre i'd rather go with Harlan Ellison or someone a bit less wordy. His words are just superfulous instead of needed.

Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding - I loved this book. I didn't like the second one so much but the first had me cracking up. I read this at work during lulls at work...which is why 1,000 or so of us got laid off - not because we were reading, but because no one was investing... I did read a lot of books in that period.

The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy - Roy is a very talented writer. This is a nice slow read. Sort of like reading a long poem. You will write passages down for further ponderance.

Random House: 21 read

A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce - I read this while riding the trains in England so that's what i think of when i see or hear about this book.

THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James - This is by far the hardest book i have ever read. It's just hard to read and it's dense. Henry James write this orally. He recited as someone else wrote so the only real way to read it is to read it outloud. Makes for a tough read though. But you are pretty proud of yourself when you do get through it.

SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser - An excellent book! I still think of Sister Carrie every now and then. Especially when i'm in Chicago. I'm that way with Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle" when i'm in Detroit.

THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett - I never would have read this book on my own but had to for a film class and found it quite good for what it is. I just don't care much for pulp or hard boiled fiction.

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones - I read this book in the 10th grade to my teachers dismay. It was an independent reading class where basically you read for an hour. Lame public high school doo doo. I had all the requirements done in the first month so took on this 1,155 page bad boy. That exceeded the pages required for the whole class. I loved it. I felt "older" for reading it which is why my teacher didn't want me to. I'm glad i did though.

THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton - I love love love this book. Again, i hate the ending but i love it. She wrote this book 100 times over by hand. That's some feat! And the result? Not one flaw. Not a single one. These types of writers are to me real writers and exactly the reason i don't like Stephen King, etc.

Misc. I can't believe Salmon Rushdie's Satanic Verses is on so many lists. I've never read it but heard lots about it. I may have to trudge through it. I also can’t believe Walker Percy’s Moviegoer was on two lists either. Boring snoring.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Time to get down to business...

So, I feel Little Dude (that's what i somehow nicknamed my son...poor thing) and I seem to have a good schedule going (except for the days where he won't let me put him down and it seems like sunup to sundown is a big blur) and I feel it's time to get to work. I've got the old standby's...the writing jobs i was doing i'm going to begin doing again. But now it's time to accomplish a lifetime goal - write a book and get that book published.

So...i need some help since i've got a serious case of Mommy Brain. Give me a plot. What would you like to read? I would like it to be fiction but halal or at least not full of haram.


This is the first year i've invited people over for Thanksgiving and cooked all the food from top to bottom. Usually it's been just roommates and I or a group thing or just me and a cornish hen. But i must say, what was i thinking? I had a good time and the food turned out pretty good for running between the kitchen and a bouncy seat or swing to get it all done. And it was great having everyone over but man o man, life is different with kids. It used to be easy to throw a dinner thing but now it's like running a marathon - it takes stamina! We did enjoy having everyone over for dinner and finally got to break in our dining room and new dining room table. And as always, it's great to have friends around for the holidays.

The things i was thankful for this year:

1. Friends and family
2. My wonderful husband (turkey day was a couple days after our one year anniversary)
3. My wonderful son.
4. Allah
5. Being guided to Islam
6. Coffee
7. Epidurals
8. Bouncy Seats/Swings
9. Our first house
10. Good health.
11. Internet (how did mothers do it before the internet????)
12. Fleece
13. So much more...and not all in that order

Well that's better...

When i first did the test i got "Klan White" (eek!) so i typed in the same answer and got this...

You are

Monday, November 21, 2005

Step on a crack...

break your mothers back? My back and tailbone have been hurting me ever since my son was born. I went to the doctor finally since i realize it's just not going away like i thought it would. I did have a pretty rough labor so i thought it was just part of that but no.... my tailbone is broken. Ouch! And it's not going to be healed for about 4-6 months. Yikes. And the little guy isn't getting any lighter. He started off a little over 9 pounds and is now 14 and a half pounds. Big boy mashallah but dang, my back is killing me!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

For the birds!

Originally uploaded by wayfarer.

The other day I woke up, felt cold, so opened the curtains in the dining room to let in the sun and I totally freaked out. This is what i saw! It totally freaked me out. It's a bad picture because it's through the window and screen...i didn't want to scare him off. It's a big huge owl! I posted the picture to show the size. I've never seen an owl before.

The blue heron is back too. He lives here in the fall and winter and leaves late winter. It's beautiful to watch him flying low over the lake now that the leaves are falling and we can see it. Just a beautiful bird. This is what one looks like in case you don't know. And this is what they look like flying. There's all kinds of birds hanging out in our backyard now and around the lake. Fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nothing better....

Is there anything better than your child waking up from a little nap and giving you a big smile? The feeling that gives me makes all the tired nights, housework that isn't getting done, the missed meals and overall exhaustion just go away. The beaming smile i get from my little guy for no reason at all just lights up my day and my life. There just isn't anything better than love in the eyes of a child and a smile to reassure you that they do indeed love you.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Halaal markets

Since moving here halaal markets have been one of my biggest complaints. In Denver we had a great market. The crazy thing was there was only one but it was excellent while there are around 20 or so here and they all suck..well one is decent but still not as good as the one in Denver. You can't trust these guys for a second and they seem to think white skin = stupidity. And that men buying meat also = stupidity because they have tried passing off lamb as goat for pasanday, when i ask for extra lean ground beef, they give me ground beef with chunks of cartilege and fat etc.

I quit getting halaal ground beef because they wouldn't give me good meat and i started going to the kosher grocer who gave me great meat but then i found out how pro Israel they were and decided i didn't want to support that so i tried every halaal market here to see if i could find some decent meat somewhere. Then my inlaws came and my mil made sure we got good stuff. She's good at this and not intimidated by any of those guys. I noticed what she does. She walks in the store with an air about here and treats the guys like they are beneath her. It works. That is my new thing. I am not nice to these guys anymore. I don't know why i ever was. I guess that's just who i am but i realize i can't be that way any more. And being nice doesn't get you nice cuts of meat. It's like the French. They can sense your fear or intimidation. You cannot outwardly be nice to them and you can't be rude. It's an in between thing. You just gotta be cool and get what you deserve.

Things were good when the inlaws were here but then it turned back. Well i went to the same store by our house this weekend and they reverted to their old ways. And the sucker (me) trusted them to give me good meat and was too busy to check (had baby with us and in a rush to get home to get to Zack and Ambrine's great Eid dinner party - thanks guys). I got home, pulled the meat out to put it away and saw the big clumps of cartilage and fat. Dang it! I got so MAD. I told DH "Take me back now. I'm about to kick some Pakistani butt!" All the halaal markets are ran by Pakistani's here (and i think one of the problems). Anyway, i actually went and returned the meat. I can't believe i had to do this but i was fed up and the last time i used the fatty cartilege ground beef it about made me sick with the chewy clumps in it.

He didn't give me much of a fight unfortunately because i had had enough and was ready to fight him. From now on, I'm going in there and going to have attitude and no meat they hand me is ever going to be good enough. I will always send them back to the back to get me a better cut, etc. I really do miss the market in Denver though where everything was cut in front of you and you could pick the piece you want since it was right there. Here, most is cut in a back room. The one that is done in front of you is far from home. Another weird thing is the Indian store two seconds from my house is great to me. The only thing is they don't have beef. That guy is the best. He's not cheap like the others either. Whenever i get green chili's i get a handful which ends up not weighing anything so he just gives them to me where others would often charge a quarter or whatever. I don't care about the money but i think it's cool he does it. I only wish he sold beef because i'm tired of fighting these other guys and feel frustrated shopping. You'd think that these butchers would be more Islamic in behavior. I get better service from Jews and Hindu's and they treat me better than my "brothers" in Islam. Sad. I do realize someone has to get the bad meat so as not to waste but it doesn't need to always be me. Sometimes i wish i could just go to the regular grocery store, pick out my own meat, and be done with it. But no, i gotta go ready to fight. Well i'm ready dang it!

Friday, November 11, 2005

some great links!

This one is very peaceful with beautiful thoughts and scenery: Interview with God and this one has very cool sidewalk chalk art (Thanks Elena for the link). And this next one is absolutely positively one of the funniest links i've gotten in a long time: Rice and Curry Girl


Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I finally got my computer back. The hard drive was bad. Bummer thing is i lost a lot of pictures and files and stuff. BUT after whining about that for a while i got over it after smart husband brought to my attention that the moments weren't lost and it just gives us an excuse to go to those places again and take more. People have lost a lot lately - earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Many lost all of their belongings and thousands lost their lives and here i am whining about some files and photos. Puts things into perspective eh?

Anyhow, i have been reloading programs and trying to find some of my favorites again since i lost all those too. That really sucks cause i had so much information saved in my favorite links. I'm having a hard time finding everything i use and need. But's not such a big deal.

I don't know how it's happening but i read so much now. I've always read a lot but it's even more since having the baby and i just don't understand how that is possible. Since he was born i've read: Palace Walk (very good Muslim fiction)...i'm reading the second book of the series now, Story of Zahra (didn't like it at all), Bookseller of Kabul (loved it, loathed the family portrayed in it) and some others.

Been trying to do some research online for adopting children from Pakistan. I thought it would be a good thing to do but have found out that they have closed off adoption outside of Pakistan because they are worried the kids are going to get sold off to the slave market. How sad. We were seriously considering adopting a child or two from there because of the earthquakes. It's sad that there are so many bad people out there that the good people who want to do something good can't. And even sadder that these kids will stay in orphanages. I really wanted to do this.

Hmmm...what else is new? I guess that's it for now. I'm sooooo happy to have my computer back.