Thursday, May 24, 2007

N es por Nadar

to propel oneself through water by moving the arms and legs or (in fish) the tail and fins.

(or by slowly, steadily pressing on the gas pedal while throwing your considerable weight from side to side in your chair to influence the angle of the car)

This is a picture of the actual flood we drove through. I can only thank the goddess that my travel companion was so calm, that Scully was my own personal fear/panic/tornado hotline, and that my body inspired my car to hold on to the earth, enough to keep the car from being swept away in the rush of water!

Apologies to the woman on the right for the unflattering picture but it an excellent demonstration of what kind of water we're talking about. (Just in case anyone were to accuse me of employing hyperbole.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Even the word is sexy.


It begins with a the coy sounds of deliciousness mmmmmmm

And ends with letters that work quickly together, letters of action.

Try it again.


This is definitely a fruit that you peel. Then you drag the underside of that peel across your lower teeth to make sure you don't miss any of the sweet fruit. And yes, your hands will be sticky. But it is a fruit of reciprocity. If you peel away all of it's skin you may as well bare some of your own. Any proper mango will let juice irreverently. making a mess. making a fuss. making you notice. All so sweetly.
This is why homos are called fruits, you know.

ll es por llenar de júbilo

Okay, Okay, I am obsessed. Particularly, I am obsessed with blogging about food or other people's food experiments. Cheap non-poisoned (aka organic) food. Vegan food you can eat on the run in fun cut-out shapes that appeal to 4 year olds. Food available in the midst of wwii in England to sustain the writer (in the midst of first trimester hunger) and her family. I am obsessed.

Eating Organic on a foodstamp budget

The Vegan Lunchbox

Late Night Writing: Food As A Munition Of War

It is exhilarating.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

L otra vez

es por la luna, nuestra madre.
The moon absolutely comes in high on my gratitude list. If anthropomorphism is attributing human qualities to animals, what is it when we attribute lunar qualities to humans?
  • I love looking at the oceans and the craters on the moon's surface. And I imagine that my pockmarked ovaries with their clusters of cysts and scars look as beautiful as that. I imagine that I am as natural as she is

  • I love that she looks as though she changes shape and size. In truth she is as she always is and it is my perspective that changes. I imagine that I am always as I am and perspective changes but I simply am.

  • She is the epitome of deep connection. Of movement yet closeness. I hope I am the same.

There are things about Khubz's birth I never want to forget.

  • I labored for 52 hours before she was born. Much of this was through an NNEDV meeting in KC. The real gift was that my sister was there with the iowa contingent. Walking in the room at 8:30 that morning I scanned the room for K but I didn't see her. I was saying hello to someone from Missouri when I felt someone tap my shoulder. I turned around into her arms and as she hugged me she kept repeating, "you're crazy. you're so crazy" We were effectively just as close to my town, hospital, partner and doctor as we would be if I had gone in to the office (a 30 minute commute anyway.) We got through the end of the day with me pretending to pay attention to the meeting. I was scratching down times on my pad of paper as I felt contractions with no pattern emerging.

  • One coworker let me know that I was periodically wincing.

  • Another coworker slipped me a note suggesting I run out to the bathroom to stimulate my nipples and masturbate

  • K said I was rocking back and forth in my chair and so she assumed everyone could tell I was having contractions. That or I was so disturbed by the meeting that I was self-soothing.

  • I knew immediately that I would be taking my sister with me when I left. I did. Hamdillah.

  • I called Scully from the road (once we found the interstate amidst all the vanishing on-ramps in downtown kc) Meet me at the hospital. After getting off the phone with her smiled imagining her reaction on the other end.

  • The hospital told us to go home and labor some more. Scully, K and I interpreted that as, "go to Mass street and get some yummy Arabic food. That'll convince that bebe to come out into the world!" And we did. Yummy.

  • My mom and my dad were on their way down from iowa. Let me say that again. My mom and my dad were on their way down. hamdillah, again.

  • The nightgown we brought to the hospital was the most hideous manifestation of polyester and itchy starchy lace and it was not something i would ever wear. Why? Why??? Deeper in labor I would scratch my fingernails down my neck and across my chest trying to claw the nightgown off of me.

  • I remember being on my knees in the bed at the hospital and hanging my arms around Scully's shoulders as I moaned. I moaned.

there's so much more.

i should make a separate post. Stay tuned.

Please, please watch this

I'm sorry. I normally hate this stuff. But this cracked me up!
Special thanks go to "And I wasted all that birth control"

Monday, May 21, 2007

L es por Leche

Scully got the girl to sleep on a bottle of formula last night. Khubz has been taking well to it and doesn't even seem to notice that she's no longer getting breastmilk or half 'n half. She's really enjoying putting the girl to sleep and the girl goes down in the crib so much better. This is really good news for all of us.

My thoughts turn to weaning as we piled through boxes of clothes that Khubz has grown out of. What to save for the next one? And I've caught myself saying several times, "I can't wait to get pregnant again." Odds of having another girl are quite, quite low (although my Mom reminds me that I have exactly the same odds as I did the first time, I have less chance of having another girl.) So actually we are looking again at 29% girl/71% boy (as if those are really the only two choices.)

(Small tangent) On that note: Gender and mothering is tricky, tricky stuff. For example:

My Uncle died. My best friend's uncle died the week before. They were both young. My uncle in his early 60s, her uncle was 54. And I thought, how old will Khubz be when I'm 54? She'll be 25. 25. She may not have even had a baby at 25 and every part of me wants to be with her when she's laboring.

This is a thought that makes me want to take better care of myself physically, to move more and eat more thoughtfully. I pause to consider what I would need to change, really change and then I see the underside of my future imaginings. Maybe Khubz won't want to be a mother. Maybe she'll want to be a mother but not birth a child. Maybe she'll make different decisions than I have made. Maybe she will be a different kind of woman than I am. Maybe she will be a different kind of person. What if Khubz wanted to father a child? What then?Maybe that is who my child is. Maybe I don't yet know who my child is or will be.

Back to la leche: So why keep pumping if Khubz is doing fine on formula? It all comes back to daycare. I'm fine with Scully feeding her formula but at daycare I want still want Khubz to feel like she's close and with us. So we're going to continue with milk/formula combo at daycare but the pressure is off, off, off and it feels great.


  • The girl crawled, and really crawled, starting on Thursday (5/17) Now she's doing it like a pro. It used to be if you walked past her without picking her up, she would cry. Now she will crawl after you (while she cries)
  • Pears get added to Khubz's top 10 list. She loves them! Keep the gourmet meals coming, Uncle Saleem!
  • There's going to be a hearing at the next city commission meeting tomorrow on creating a domestic partner registry for the city. They previously put off a vote because they had burning questions like "would the city be liable if someone defrauded an insurance company when they were not in fact domestic partners?" or "would the city be violating the statewide bigotry of the man/woman marriage act by creating any kind of recognition for queers and others through this registry?" All of those questions (and more) have been answered with a "no, dumbass." Scully suggested we go to this and bring the child. I heartily agree. Yea local political action!

In other news

Check this out:

There is no indigenous "K" en Espanol

Monday, May 14, 2007


Now, nobody go getting uptight. "Jesus" is a very acceptable word to demonstrate the letter "J" It can be said in multiple contexts, not just J*!, but also like, "Thank You J*!" or "Be With Me J*! I'll let the reader choose the inflection.

Our trip to Providence. J*!

So there are multiple people to whom I owe my life:

  • My coworkers/travel companions--aka Khubz's playmates & my guardians (Thanks for taking care of the girl and also for taking care of me)
  • Two Shews, Our personal baby gear & flying advice shop (The carseat was perfect. So much better than lugging the carseat + base. As for the stroller. . . more on that later
  • My sister, K, who took a personal crisis call in the midst of a larger family-wide crisis
  • My sister, Chiquita, who (though she needs to update her blog) also took a personal crisis call in the midst of that same family-wide crisis
  • My sister, SaBdM, ever ready with her working credit card number and flower-ordering husband
  • Sommosa (also needing to update her blog) who called and let me rehearse, ahem, excuse me, relay the whole terrible tale
  • And, last but not least, Scully. (the votes have been counted--you can relax tinkerbell) My daring partner in this parenting and life adventure who, amazingly, still trusts me to be alone with our daughter.

If that doesn't scare you off then read on, gentle reader, read on

Khubz did great, so great, so great, on the plane. She slept through most of staff meeting on Tuesday morning. Slept in the car to the airport. Slept in the stroller at the airport. This was all before the first dose of benadryl.

The KC airport was uneventful. I nearly crapped my pants when the TSA security guy grinned at me and waved at Khubz. "Um, did you really look at my ID? Did you see my last name? You're smiling at us?" Our first plane boarding was unorganized but ultimately fine (with the help of benadryl) In the Detroit airport she got a little more benadryl. All clear to Providence.

Checking in to the hotel I start to pull out my purse. Unhappily I realize I've become that woman that must dump everything, everything out of a massive diaper bag to find what I'm looking for. It's been a long day. I have a half sedated baby, a milk stain from where I leaked out on the plane and I'm pulling out diapers, a baby sling, toys, a onsie, everything really. No purse. Let's say that again. We have arrived in Providence. I have my infant daughter and no purse. NO PURSE.

No ID. No credit cards. No phone with everybody's number in it. No ID. No ID.

I'm on the east coast with my infant daughter, $80 in cash (stashed in my suitcase) and no ID with a Saudi name. I am freaking out. My coworkers get me checked in, loan me a cell phone and call the Providence airport to go search the bathroom where I stopped and last saw my purse. I have images of some random person listening to my ipod (named Zora, which I never should have bought in the first place but LOVE) spending my $100 in cash, charging to my credit cards and making calls on MY cell phone while handling MY daughter's birth certificate and throwing away MY keys. Disaster!

Scully is calming and wonderful. "It's not like you lost the baby!" It was a loving and wonderful response but anytime you're reassuring someone by saying, "at least you didn't lose your baby" you're setting the bar kind of low. Okay, okay, okay. I'm just going to go up to my room, feed Khubz and try to calm down. That was the plan. In practice, I decided since I was alone in my room with my baby it was okay to openly sob. And I mean SOB! On the phone with Scully I am gasping for breath between wrenching tears and anxious cries. "You have GOT to calm down! FRUITFEMME! Calm DOWN! Where's Khubz?" "She's fine" SOB, SOB "She's on the bed" SOB SOB. "What am I going to DO?" SOB SOB


"Oh my GOD!!"

"What's wrong?! What happened?!" Khubz begins wailing and screaming

"Um, nothing! She's fine! I gotta go!!"

"Fruitfemme, what happened?! Did she fall off the bed?!"

"No. She, um, she fell backwards!!" In fact, my infant daughter has for the first time rolled off a bed. The bed she chose for her first adventure was one of those hotel beds that, by regulation, are at least 3 feet high off the ground. And she was mad. Gravity had never done wrong by her like that. And she wanted to know how I could allow such a thing. She was hollering. Screaming like I wished I could have screamed when I realized I had lost my purse.

Mother is a verb, remember. And sometimes the accompanying adverb is "badly."

The girl has been betrayed but was otherwise fine. I didn't have the guts to call Scully back and confess the truth. Apparently she was on the phone with her sister saying, "I don't know! I don't know what to do! They were both crying!" Horrible. Next call? Um, no one. I don't know anyone's number. Then I remember K & J's home number. Talk with her for a little while. Get Joe's number. Retell the whole horrible tale.

Then, in the midst of the darkness i saw a soft small light. Call the cab company. Know the cab number? No, but the driver was a grandma with a granddaughter a little older than Khubz, she get's off at one in the morning. . .

They got it.

They've got it!

Unbelievable relief. Unbelievable relief.

Thank you J*! (and isis, and gaia and others. I just couldn't find any graphics for the goddess is my homegirl)

The most wonderful cab driver in the world.

That kind of start to the trip made the actual meeting seem wonderfully uneventful. It was a great meeting, though. One of the best I've ever been to in terms of speakers, relevance and material.

Khubz did great with her N/Annie. They took tons of walks, got in & out of a very cold pool, played in the grass by the capitol, ate peaches, took some good naps, did not roll off the bed and sang endless rounds of itsy bitsy spider. Good, good times. She was completely tuckered out in the evenings when I got her and slept hard.

Providence was beautiful. There's a lot more to say about the actual trip but I've got to get on with the travels story because there's more.

The trip home:

Khubz and I were traveling home on our own. I roped a good woman from the same meeting on the same plane into being our travel companion and she was marvelous! Really, really saved us.
Because. . .

We had some problems at the Providence airport. Got the bags checked. Khubz was in the carseat in the stroller and didn't like being strapped down. She also saw some white, starched shirt business men (the men were white--not the shirts, though, they probably were as well) talking on their cell phones and decided to test her lung capacity. We snake our way through the security line. We send all our earthly belongings through the x-ray machine, the carseat and the stroller. The stroller.
It comes out the other side and the TSA staff asks me to step to one side and not touch anything. Uh. . .Okay. What's wrong exactly?
Supposedly the stroller is coming back dirty. It is testing positive for:

  • Methamphetamines?
  • Narcotics?
  • Possible smuggling of undocumented migrants?
  • Items looted from a museum?

No. . . We're Arabs! Explosives.

They say the stroller is testing positive for explosives.

Great. We're all suspect at this point, including my baby.
They pulled everything out of my diaper bag (which had been packed with the expectation that at any time a catastrophe could leave us stranded in the Detroit airport for 3 days), swabbing down the carseat, swabbing down the stroller, patting me down and wanting to pat down my baby. Luckily, my travel companion said she would hold Khubz because anything I was touching they'd have to pat down and it is not okay for them to pat down my baby.

45 minutes later they let us through, explosive stroller and all. One screaming baby and one pissed off mommy.

This post is unbearably long at this point so I'll conclude as I started.

J* or thank you J* as you prefer.

We made it back home and were greeted by Mama at the gate. Thank J*.

Then at 8 pm we got in the car and headed up to iowa. (that'll have to wait for a different post)

Monday, May 7, 2007


having no boundaries or limits in size, extent, time or space.

very great; vast.

Uncle Bill died this morning. He was wonderful and I wince at my own use of the past tense. He had a huge presence, warm and kind. He makes me love this picture even more.

thank you to Samm & Jason who took this picture on their honeymoon.

in love & celebration.

Just as I should remember Uncle Bill.

(in truth, he would hate anything so sentimental and would likely prefer to be eulogized with a picture of an oil rig in some oklahoma red dirt. sorry, uncle bill. it's my blog.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

H (pronounced ah'che) es por hipérbole

Hyperbole is a figure of speech which is an exaggeration. Persons often use expressions such as "I nearly died laughing," "I was hopping mad," and "I would sit on johnny depp's lap"

Such statements are not literally true (after all, I haven't been invited onto his lap), but people make them to sound impressive or to emphasize something, such as a feeling, effort, or reaction.

Hyperboles are common in everyday language, in poetry and in this blog.

Fear not, dear friends, my jaw was not actually realigned. Several people contacted me with this concern. It highlights a real failure of blogging, actually, because in person I think most people can suss out my exaggerations from fantastical-but-true elements I use in storytelling. (ha,ha,ha) In truth, I love the fact that it's difficult to separate it all out. I think this is my gift. (Unfortunately, in trying to type 'gift' i wrote out 'fig' multiple times. i take this as evidence that my gift is fruity, indeed.)

It is an opportunity to have all kinds of great fun in pondering the following questions:

  • Did you really have your jaw realigned?
  • Are you really worried Khubz isn't your child simply because she didn't initially like mangoes and still doesn't like icecream or limericks?
  • Did you really look like a guinea pig tunneling through a paper towel roll when you got in your swimsuit?

Um. . .right. Gross exaggerations. Right.

In other news, my daring partner in motherhood & life needs a codename. She's been known throughout the posts as powerpuff girl, the chicana, la doctora, camelita. . . She needs some sort of permanent identity. Though she is my partner, this is clearly my blog and therefore I'm drawing on a list of side-kicks we've all come to know and love. Please vote for your favorite!

S Gets A New Codename!
Chewy--not as in "nickname for Jesus" but Chewbaka. He growls but always get the ship running again
Watson--Detail oriented, achieved states of advanced degrees, seems tidy
Hermione--not that she has bad hair more that she's comfy in academia and rolls her eyes a lot
Tinkerbell--No resemblance, makes the nickname all the more funny
Arthur--"I...can... taste...your...back" is almost like "I...can...smell... your...feet"
Scully--sexy, smart, enjoys her security clearance, questions skeptically all my conspiracy theories
Lt. Commander Uhura--effortlessly sexy while breaking through race and gender boundaries free polls

Don't disappoint me now: Vote! You can vote daily & I'm sure you check the blog daily anyway, right? (you know who i'm talking to)

BADD continued

So this failure of imagination makes me think less about what "is" or "is not" a definable disability and think more about normalizing individual needs that we each have. This is not to join the club or get away from my institutionalized privilege (of course I still need to be accountable for that)

There are lots of us that need bigger bathroom stalls
There are lots of us that need a variety of seats for back problems, breastfeeding or because our left butt cheek hurts from the latest shot of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin to force your ovary to release an egg.

There are lots of us that need to eat or not eat particular foods, listen better at meetings where we can doodle or crochet, can't stand for long periods of time, need the captioning turned on while watching House (which really needs to get over the "bitterness over crippled leg=asshole"equation they use), can't come to work on certain days because of something that happened 2 decades before. . . .

It's not possible to us/them disability. If you're honest, it's not possible.
It is necessary to us/them ableism or disablism in terms of who has work to do.

Some of us have a lot more access to systems, jobs, institutions, health care. . .
It is necessary to identify your sphere of influence (your institutional power) and use it to create social change.

I'm off to go change the girl's diaper
And then change something else in the world. . .

Check out some of the other posts.

Blog Against Disablism

A Failure of Imagination

So much of ableism/disablism seems to come down to a failure of imagination. I can't imagine being deaf. I can't imagine being a blind parent. I can't imagine dating/desiring/fucking a woman with cerebral palsy.

And it's not just that people cannot imagine something they have not lived. It is that someone cannot imagine a life that the dominant culture denies. Even when our own lives are evidence to the contrary.

There's lots to say. . .
The girl just woke up & is crying. . .
That is my greatest political calling so social change via blog will have to continue later.