Monday, December 31, 2007

Dissertation Karma

Hi folks,

You may know that Scully is in the PhD program. She's wrapping up her coursework and will be starting on her dissertation in the fall. This means we are participating in all kinds of surveys in the hopes of generating some dissertation-research karma. And I'm also passing this along.

Below is a survey for Asian/Asian-American/Pacific Islander women about sexuality. (Did you know that Saudis "count" as Asian? We do! Even though using this label is a bit of a flashpoint in Arab communities because it effectively splits us into Asian or African--as opposed to the millions of other splits, right? For the purposes of this survey though, i didn't sweat it. :) Hat tip to La Chola for the survey. So if you identify as API and if you identify as a woman, consider taking the survey. It only took me 5 minutes and you'll help a sister out!


Greetings friends and colleagues,
This e-mail contains a description of a study that I am conducting through the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. With the description is a link to the survey itself. Please forward this email widely and pass the information on to anyone who might be interested in participating. Thank you so much for your help, it is truly appreciated!
Maria Luisa V. Tungol, MPH Candidate 2008Behavioral Sciences and Health EducationRollins School of Public Health, Emory UniversityAtlanta, Georgia

Link to survey:

What is this study about?
This study involves Asian American and Pacific Islander women and their experiences with their sexuality and being Asian American and/or Pacific Islander. It will take 15-20 minutes to answer questions about your thoughts and feelings surrounding your ethnic experience and sexuality. We are looking for Asian American, South Asian American, and Pacific Islander women who are 18 years of age or older. Participants must currently live in the United States. The completely anonymous survey is to be completed entirely online, so it can be done anywhere and at any time you are able and feel most comfortable.

Interested in participating?
If you are interested in participating in the study, please click on the link below to proceed. Participation is completely voluntary and you may withdraw at any time, though the more completely and honestly your responses, the more helpful your information will be to our study. Again, the survey is completely anonymous.
Also, if you know other people who might be interested in participating in this study, please forward this email and survey to them. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Maria-Luisa Tungol at

Again, to participate, please click the link below:
Thank you so much for your interest, time, and support!

Maria Luisa V. Tungol, MPH Candidate 2008Behavioral Sciences and Health EducationRollins School of Public Health, Emory UniversityAtlanta, Georgia

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Well I guess we just can't have anything nice

This was a constant refrain from my mother when she would take a leap of faith, purchase something nice and then watch it be quickly destroyed by her offspring.

My parents bought a new kitchen table & chairs (upholstered kitchen chairs--another leap of faith on my mother's part) and on the very day they were delivered my brother and i were playing. we were cutting dinosaurs out of paper and talking about how when we grow up we'll open our own business selling the pictures he draws and the poems i write. So we were playing on the new kitchen chairs and thought they were just the right height for us as we were cutting out these dinosaurs. . .with an exacto knife.

Yes, on the day the new chairs were delivered we split one of them straight down the middle with an exacto knife. . . unintentionally.

In truth, we were shocked that the chair was split open. It hadn't even occurred to us.

"Well I guess we just can't have anything nice." My mother tucked her steaming rage into that one tightly packed sentence.

It is the sentence I said to Scully this morning as I climbed back in to bed at 6 am. A police officer had been banging on our door and woke us up. I answered the door and he informed me that my car had been broken in to and asked if I would come see what was missing. Sigh. I want a garage.

Our cars (almost all the cars in the complex) were broken in to two years ago as well. They were grabbing change and taking trinkets and moving trash from one car to another. They broke the window in Scully's truck to get inside where they found $2 in loose change to swipe. The lesson I learned is to not leave anything in my car and to leave it unlocked.

"Well, thanks for making it easy for us!" Say the assholes this morning as they rummage through my car and from all appearances only my unlocked car. They left the glove box open, a copy of my much labored-over grant documents strewn about and swiped the loose change.

Someone apparently needed that $2 more than i do. i get that. i just hate the feeling that someone has been through my stuff. and i really hate the feeling that i guess i just can't have anything nice.


I know we have all already agreed that google sucks balls and that all the cool kids have left blogger for wordpress and that a friend even offered to host me so i, too, could leave blogger and that despite it all i have decided to stay. with that preamble, i have a complaint.

Blogger has stopped emailing me when a comment is left on my blog. I have reset my comment notification and still nothing. When i leave a comment on my own blog, i get a notification. otherwise, zip.

Additionally, someone has been leaving comments about 50 paragraphs long about wwii conspiracy theories randomly on different posts. WTF?

In an effort to be a responsible blog/er, I am bowing down to comment moderation in the hopes they will actually send me an email to notify me and so i can screen out the wwii fetishists.

Please consider this an apology as i feel like its a bit obnoxious.

Just hang in there with me, eh?


Queer fruit for a fruit queer

Everyone should hop over to Sarcastic Mom and thank Lotus for dropping me a very sweet email with a link to this site. Then raise your fist in the air and shout "SUBVERT THE DOMINANT PARADIGM! FOR FRUIT!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

30 lbs later

In an entirely separate vein from my last post, I did have an amazingly successful visit at the fertility clinic. They have moved to a different building (different city, actually) but there was still plenty of nostalgia.

The rundown:

  • I am 30 lbs heavier now than I was last time. This is not great and it would be super for me to drop some weight. This is not news to me. They're not requiring me to lose the weight before trying, they just think it would be a good idea to lose some weight. This is not news to me.

  • They are going to let me start back at the same level of fertility meds that were successful in conceiving Khubz. (YEA!!!!!!!!) They are already calling the prescriptions in and we should have a box of crazy-woman-juice delivered to our house in the next week.

  • I missed my period in December (thanks a lot, Christmas cookies) but they're not too worried about it.

  • I got a prescription for metformin (i lost 10 pounds the last time i started on metformin) which is an insulin-regulating med. Some women with pcos get pregnant just from using metformin. Not me. But i think it helped.

This is all extraordinarily good news, also unexpected. I was thrilled and shocked that it wasn't a fight to get me back on the Bravelle. I can't believe we might start trying as soon as February!

Many thanks to folks for the encouragement, fertility boosting tips and There are so many things that are different this round, some things that are still there but altered and then some things that haven't changed a bit.

Totally different: The stakes. The very question before us. What happens next does not determine whether Scully and I will become mothers, whether we will get to parent.

There but altered: The process. We still won't have much control over what happens (all likely to still be crazymaking) but we have so much more information than we ever did before.

Not a bit different: Their sensitivity. I met with a very nice nurse who started right after I got pregnant. Her name is Judy. She was great. Taking my vitals she said, "Oh I love your necklace. Do you go to a lot of renaissance festivals?" "Um, yeah, sometimes. But this is actually a lesbian-feminist symbol." "Oh really? Well you learn something new everyday. And that's just great, honey" all said in a sweet southern drawl while patting my shoulder "we love lesbian feminists around here so you just go and wear your necklace!" This was a pretty good (if funny) sign and she seemed very nice and with that accent she had me at "My name is Judy. Please get on the scale." But then I ran in to lots of folk who had been there when I was last there and I showed everyone the picture of Khubz. They oohed and ahhed as they should over my truly spectacular girlchild. And then Judy says, "well you have just got to bring her during one of your appointments so i can pinch those cheeks myself!" Nice sentiment. Meant to be welcoming. At the same time I wanted to say : Don't you know that you have a roomful of often traumatized women?? And while not everyone sitting in that room is on the verge of emotional crisis but at any given time there's a good percentage who are! And it doesn't make anyone feel hopeful to see someone with a babychild while you're sitting in the waiting room praying and begging your follicles to ripen. And it's really not hopeful after you've had a sonogram and now know that your follicles are not responding to treatment but you have to go sit in the waiting room before talking to the doctor because they need the exam room for someone else--it's really not helpful or hopeful then. So with all that in mind, I thanked Judy for complimenting my beautiful child and agreed that her cheeks are luscious. I think they need more information about trauma. I'm just not the one to give it to them.

Totally different: I know I'm not the one to give them that information. I know what supports I need in order to get what I want from the clinic even though they don't have all the knowledge I would like them to have.

There but altered: I got there at 2:30. My appointment was at 3 pm. The nurse saw me at 4:15. I waited some more. The doctor saw me at 4:45. What was altered? I spent the time looking at a picture of my daughter.

Not a bit different: I spent the entire drive from the clinic on the phone with Scully, my mom (my awesome mom who says kick-ass things like, "will they let scully be the one to inseminate you again?" I completely LOVE her!) and my sisters.

Totally different: I don't have to do a lot of the preliminary tests like the HSG test (if I'd had a c-section they would need to do it again) or take an HIV test or have Scully drive in for an HIV test. And we don't have go get "approved for parenthood" by that great big FUCK of a psychologist who makes a living gatekeeping for the patriarchy. (they had a stack of her business cards and I almost wrote on them, "you don't have to give this asshole your money! just tell her to fuck off!!" but I decided I needed to be a more compliant patient than that)

There but altered: I'm not writing crazy tomes of emails about this process. Now I've got a blog. :)

Not a bit different: I obsessively share details most friends would like to be shielded from. Look forward to blog posts like, "yes, in fact. gooey is an apt descriptor" or "so that's what Kirsten meant by egg-white consistency!"

My first "Fuck You"

Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated.

This isn't going to be a post with fawning over Benazir as the representation of all hope for pakistan. I know I don't understand enough about pakistani politics to even understand where the problems with her governance began or ended. But I remember when she came to power while we were in arabia. I remember being so proud of her and feeling like her presence proved something about us. And I even remember being surprised that I felt an "us" because I knew that as a Saudi I was not encouraged to feel commonality with Pakistanis (other than being Muslim.) I almost think that was the first time I felt a distinctly non-western womanhood rather than being saudi or even arab. Pakistan has a woman prime minister. Why hasn't the u.s. had a woman president?? I remember feeling proud about that question.

I'm not eleven anymore. Grownup life is complicated. Benazir was not the savior of Pakistan. But I still feel really sad about her death. She represented many different things to many different people. I felt inspired by her and also thankful, like she was my first "fuck you" to all the people who never talk about non-western women or certainly Pakistani women unless they're talking about a sexual assault case that reaffirms how fucking superior they are (see mainstream feminist blogs everywhere.)


Check out some good links via Problem Chylde

Monday, December 24, 2007

A quickie update

The girlchild is sick.

She has some sort of sore throat/persistent cough/mucus overdrive and has been put on an antibiotic because her ears are threatening to join the revolt. She is asleep. Scully and I took shifts last night, sleeping in the recliner so she could be semi-upright in our arms. It seemed to help.

Other than that things have been going great here in Texas.

Scully's sister, nephew & father have all arrived safely in Mexico (hamdillah.) I'm adding that whole story to my "must blog" list.

Tita (grandma), Scully, Khubz and I all went to the massive three-floor used bookstore. "Remember our goals" Scully reminded me as we all piled out of the car. "No debt but mortgage debt, right?" (This requires us to have lentils at least one night a week as there is $20,000 in student loan debt between us.)

Someone has put bumpersticker over the parking sign where we have parked. "LESS IS MORE." it pleads.

What did I put in our basket? Two books--both board books for Khubz. Scully did good as well and for the first time in our lives we left that bookstore having spent less than $40.oo. Kick ass.

Alas, I don't have a lot of words in my head right now. here are some reminders of stories to get to:
Explorations in Classism
More ttc nostalgia
American Family Values & Immigration Policy

Friday, December 21, 2007

How did you. . . ?

In Iowa a couple weekends ago. I'm riding to Target with a sister and her daughters. Her 7 year old, Dax, has some questions for me.
"Where's Khubz, anyway?"

"She's with her mama. They wanted to stay at home and play together."

"Why didn't Aunt Scully get a baby?"

"She did, Dax. Khubz is both of our baby"--- I am cut off, and quickly.

"I know that, Aunt FFemme." She is rolling her eyes at me, both literally and with her tone. "I mean, why didn't she get a baby in her body?" Duh.

"Oh. Well, some women want to be mommies but don't want to have a baby in their body. Other women want to be mommies and they do want to have a baby inside of them. Then there are other women who don't want to be mommies at all. When you become an adult woman, you'll get to decide what you want to do with your body." Good answer, right? But of course, we know it's more complicated than that. There are women who want to be mommies but can't or want to carry children but can't or want to be daddies but are told they can't be that either. And what if she doesn't grow up to be a woman at all what if this whole conversation was actually with my nephew Dax but I didn't know it yet? And what if my nephew Dax grows up to be a lovely man and then decides he wants to be a mom? No more time to expound on the multitude of gender/family options. Here comes another question.

"But how did you get the man-stuff in you?"

I grimace. Eckhh. Man-stuff. Just what I have spent my adult life trying to avoid. "Well. . ." I hesitate.

"You mean the sperm? How did she get the sperm in her? A doctor helped her." Says my sister who is in that moment helping me.

"Yeah. The sperm." Dax clarifies. "Where did it come from?"

Okay, sperm. There's irony there, too. (Purchasing at exorbitant prices something for which there is no scarcity. Really. And never will be.) But it's certainly better than "man-stuff."

"Well, there are very generous people in the world who know that some families can't have children without help. And they are very kind and they give parts of their bodies so those families can have children. And we will always be very grateful that people like that exist and were so generous."

Off the mark again, Aunt FFemme. "Where did the doctor get it?" Dax is now speaking to me in simple sentences.

"A laboratory." Her mom rescues me again. "The doctor gets it from special laboratories."

"Oh." Her satisfaction is so fleeting. Immediately she moves on to the next question. "But how did they get it in you?"

"Yeah, how did they get it in you?" My sister asks. "A syringe?"

A syringe? Are you fucking kidding me? "No, no. It was a tube--" cut off again

"Oh, a tube." Says my sister

"A tube?" Dax echoes.

"Like a giant straw." My sister suggests.

"NOT like a straw." I insist. Eckhh! "A tube. They just put the sperm in one end and Aunt Scully shot it inside me and then the sperm and the egg joined and then Khubz started growing inside me."

"ohh. . ." but still not satisfied. "Can I get a Bratz doll for christmas?"

"No." her mother replied.

All was right in the world.

The Kelly story

Thanks for the many fertile thoughts/blessings coming my way.

We are heading to texas in the morning and I've promised to catch up on some stories before gallivanting off to the land of meat eaters and mega churches (okay, scully, so it is also the land of mesquite trees and tamales, so there.)

Kelly goes furniture shopping, takes a bath & does some laundry.

Kelly has five kids and a dog. Not just a dog but a lab. And not just five kids but five kids under the age of 9. And not just under the age of 9 but an 8 year old, a 6 year old, a 3 year old and 1 1/2 year old twins.

She's my sister (Kelly). That's a whole other complicated story, but just, for now, accept it. Kelly recently moved her five kids and her dog into a new house. Her husband is great and I love him except when he's acting like a schmuck (like during this move) but I don't have permission to tell that story.

So 2 days after moving her five kids and her dog and her husband into their new house they decide to go get beds for the twins. Previously, the kids all slept with kelly. They wanted to change that pattern and thought moving into the new house would be a good time to make the change. So, the last few nights Kelly has been sleeping on the floor in the twins' room with the twins and her 3 year old. On the floor. Um, yeah, let's go get beds.

And how do they shop for furniture? Okay, kids, everyone pile into the van! (This is how my parents used to go furniture shopping with the 5 of us. I still think they took us all along just to leverage some sympathy for a better deal on a recliner.) They all go furniture shopping. They drive across the city where they live and it takes an hour to get anywhere so it's already been an hour before they get there and then. . . the van breaks down. Her husband manages to get to a parts store where he's sure he can fix it. Eventually with borrowed tools because they'd taken the tools out of the van for the move, he gets it fixed. They're up against an icestorm now, though, the kids are done being patient and they decide to just head home. Enough shit for one day. Then they hit traffic going home and just 15 minutes away from home. . .fzzzzzz. . . .the van breaks down again. He gets it to another parts store where he assures Kelly he can fix it in half the time if only she'll take all 5 kids out of the van. So she does. She takes five kids including a 3 year old and two 1 1/2 year olds into a auto parts store where they can touch nothing, everything is either poisonous or a choking hazard or, in fact, a poisonous choking hazard. She does this. Let me say that again. She does this. He gets the van fixed. They load everyone up all over again and the van limps home. It has been four hours since they left and they have accomplished nothing. I could been in iowa by now, Kelly tells me over the phone.

Instead she is in her new house with her new whirlpool tub which all of the kids are dying to try. The icestorm moves in, the whole house is still in boxes so sure! Let the kids frolic in the whirlpool tub. And they do. And there is much rejoicing.

Finally the kids are all asleep and it is Mommy's turn in the whirlpool tub. And the water is hot and the jets are running and there really is much rejoicing.


A washcloth gets sucked in to the whirlpool intake.
It is broken.
They just moved in and now the whirlpool tub is broken.
And mommy broke it.


But she is unstoppable, my sister kelly. She finishes her bath and gets up to go unpack some more boxes. Before doing that she needs to start some laundry which means tracking down the laundry detergent. Bargain shoppers that they are (they are also a one-income family) they have the mammoth 5-billion-loads-of-laundry-in-one-bucket-of-soap container from the giant discount store. And it's laundry liquid so it weighs 5 billion pounds as well.

But Kelly really is built for birthing and hauling and accomplishing tasks and getting things done and always, always for perseverance. I know that entire description is actually just the trap of womanhood glued neatly together with the flypaper of motherhood. Just work with me.

She gets everything to the washing machine and she's hooked it up--correctly, thank you--and pours the detergent in.

What the fu--???


It was motor oil! Her husband had used an old detergent container when he changed the car oil. And in her exhausted, near comatose state, she has just poured motor oil into her brand new washing machine. It was time for bed. Way, way past time for bed. Lucky for her, the floor of the twins' room was looking very comfortable.

Unreal. I don't know how you keep breathing, I say to her. I don't know why you keep breathing, says another sister. Kelly laughs, secure in the knowledge that if it were any of us-sisters, we'd just never make it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

drawing down the moon

Watching the moon
above me

waiting for blood
below me

will my body
again master
the secret of
a blood orange?

not just blood

but seeds



i have an appointment at the fertility clinic for a consultation. we are getting ready to go again, inshallah. if anyone has a menstruation calendar widget send it my way, won't you?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Meanwhile in Kansas

I am back at home and what do I find waiting for me?

My baby girl has grown into a muppet.

Sure, the coat's a bit big on her. But don't the mittens make it look like she's one of those muppets performing puppets?

If you're looking for a more scenic view of the beautiful icestorm we had recently, hop on over to start here at Sabine's Thoughts. Her daughter Amanda took these photos and they're stunning.

As for Scully & Khubz, they had a great weekend. It made my weekend even better and I actually had a surprisingly low-stress, quite-like-it-was-long-ago sisterfest of a weekend. I came home to a totally clean house, however, which means that rather than blogging I should be doing the laundry. So no stories for now but here is another pic I've been meaning to post.

For Dia De Guadalupe we put Khubz in her Mexican finest. Nice, huh?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

blogging from iowa

I'm here in iowa without the girlchild.

Everything's okay. Scully wasn't about to let me abscond with the child during her first truly free weekend after finals. Kansas just got a foot of snow. At last report they were having a ball. (as in snowball)

This is just a quick hello and to remind me what's on my list to blog about.
Lots of other people's stories to tell like

  1. kelly buys a new house
  2. kelly goes furniture shopping
  3. and kelly does a load of laundry

She didn't ask me to tell any of these stories. But they're so f'n good that I can't pass it up. More later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dia De Guadalupe

Happy Dia De Guadalupe!

Whether you get down with a traditional Guadalupe

or a more modern manifestation

Or if, in fact, you rest easy with her in roses

We should all take a minute to thank this Goddess of the Americas.
She brought roses in winter
She preserved the Goddess in the face of a colonizing religion
She has brought me, personally, indescribable gifts. For that I thank her.

In other news, I have some others to thank as well.

With many thanks for the "gentle encouragement" from AMack, CutiePants and Rivolta, I should apologize for my inexplicable hiatus. Things are bonkers at work right now and frankly, things are so enjoyable at home that I don't want to retreat into the basement to blog. At the same time there's quite a bit going on in the world and in my world. Most of the time I have either an excited sense of "Oh, I am SO blogging this!" or a heavy sense of "Goddamnit, I'm going to have to blog this, aren't I??"

So I have a list of things spinning in my head but I'm not being particularly witty because I don't have much time right now. Let me quote a dear friend and superior blogger: "It's just that sometimes, I find myself giving in to the dominant linguistic and cultural paradigm, because I just don't have the creative power necessary to generate my own description of events without falling back on cliches." So rather than following her lead of being ridiculously intellectually lazy
I'll pacify everyone with a quick Khubz story. I'll get to the political ranting & ravings of Islam and violence against women, of receiving federally funded technical assistance about my lack of parenting skills, of the pure and utter freedom we have all felt since Scully finished her last final. . . But until I garner the creative power necessary just settle in with this: Khubz has learned to count to three.

Khubz divides the world into three categories.

1. That which is of the mommies. This includes the mommies themselves and anything they keep on or near their person. Cell phones, their hair, any food they might be eating. Anything which falls into this category is of goodness and should be shared one and all.

2. That which is of nonono. This includes a wide range of things, many of which dangle invitingly on a tree newly erected in the living room. Tinsle, electrical outlets, remote controls--you get the idea. Anything which falls into this category should be secretly coveted until the moment is right.

3. That which is of bananas. This really just includes bananas but all of bananas: The banana itself, the banana peel, the mere suggestion that there might be more bananas. Anything which falls into this category must be devoured immediately and stuffed into one's mouth while demanding more.

I can't wait to see what happens when she learns to count to 10. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Getting worse

And somehow, things got worse just by posting their stupid rating.

cash advance


I get an "F" for Accessibility

I suck!

Sorry. I'll try to do better. . .

cash advance

A Post for the Posterior's Posterity

This is less a blog post and more a plea. Please post a comment encouraging Scully to make the only decent choice. Ask her to just let me take the damn picture.

Scully, it seems, is a bit shy. I should say first that it is her birthday--happy birthday, habibeti! And secondly, for anyone who worries about me on such occasions--i did remember & greet & treat her properly.
But so she's doing this whole "shy" thing. Now if you know Scully then you know that she is not shy. We can't run to the grocery store without me feeling like a politician's wife. We have to say hi to everyone and if we don't know them that's even more reason to strike up a conversation. She's like my dad that way. That's fine. It's just not who I am.
Back to her newfound shyness. So "you're not shy! why are you pretending?!" I ask her, exasperated. "What is you're deal with this oh, i'm too shy bit?!"
"You want to put a picture of my ass on the internet!" she responds.
"I wouldn't show your face" I reassure her, not so successfully.
"My ASS. You want to put up a picture of my ASS."
"That's stretching it a bit, yeah? Really, I just want to put up a picture of your bruise."
"The bruise that extends all over my entire left butt cheek. That counts as my ASS. No. No. Fruitfemme? NO."
(And before anyone goes & gets any ideas. I said I had a fruit fetish. Nothing else. okay? So put those nasty ideas away. I mean, come on. I don't even like my fruit bruised.)
Poor woman. She won't let me put up a picture of the bruise but it's bad. It is easily as big as my entire hand, fingers spread out. It is black with purple streaks. What happened?


She fell down the entire length of the stairs. Hamdillah, Khubz was not with her. Hamdillah, she is alright and the only injury she sustained was a fairly massive bruise to her left butt cheek. And since she's going to be okay, and since we'll eventually repair the railling, and since we have already swept up the broken screws and chunks of drywall. . . don't we need a picture to remember the whole story best?!

Please, talk some sense into her. I can't.

p.s. Where was Khubz during this dramatic incident?

Reading my newly borrowed copy of Foreskin's Lament. Nice. Nice.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

How good is it to be home?

This good.

See that apple?

See that stem

snug & solid

surrounded by

that apple?

All as it should be.