Thursday, August 31, 2006

chastity is for lovers

at least that's what the bumper sticker on this pickup truck claims... and i tend to agree. that's actually our topic for bible study this fall. sorry, no boys allowed.

i'll probably say more on the subject at phos in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

my new baby

it's been about two weeks, but i didn't post the news because i was waiting on a pic to show you the latest object of my affection. meet lucinda. (that would be the guitar... the guy hiding behind the guitar would be adam... you can't hide from the blog, dude.)

i shopped for a guitar earlier this summer, but nothing clicked. after returning from karachi, the need for my own instrument grew ever pressing. i was a woman on a mission. mike came along for moral support, which i really needed. we walked in and spotted a few options, though i was too intimidated to play while some old guy rocked out on slide guitar close by. i was off to a rough start. then a sales clerk walked up and offered to play for me so i could listen for the tone i was looking for. i explained that i wanted a small body guitar, but not so small that it sounded brassy. he was very helpful and found several that i was okay with. then, he handed me lucinda. she was beautiful. she fit in my arms perfectly. her deep tone went straight to my heart. reluctantly, i looked at the price. totally in my range... on the lower end of my range, even. that's when i took a closer look and found she looked pretty worn on the back and neck. just love marks. nothing that would jeopardize the musicality of the instrument. i asked the handy sales clerk if he could throw in a case? yes. strap? yes. chord? yes. picks? yes. can i choose my own color of picks? yes. can mike have one too? yes. can i have a moment alone? okay. we called erin and brian for back-up, who checked online to confirm this was indeed a good deal. fully confident, i handed the sales clerk my card and brought lucinda home. no buyer's remorse. just true love. one step closer to being on stage... kidding. or not.

Monday, August 28, 2006

sticky stealth

i left my camera at home, so you'll have to wait for weekend pics and updates. but i'm sitting at work and just watched this huge cicada get caught in a spider web. it's amazing how something 5 times the size of a spider can get stuck in something thinner than hair. ooh ooh! the spider just tried to jump onto the bug! it's like discovery channel live.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

slings are cool

erin took this pic for me today. it's like glamor shots for the wounded.

cheerleading & churches

first off, i hope you can appreciate the time it will take me to write this post considering i only have the use of one hand. last night the cupcakes played their final (losing) game of the season against a very legit opponent. after the game i was walking home with a fellow team member (who actually broke up with me recently, and i only mention that to give you a sense of how awkward the situation really was) and we stopped to look at a church that's for sale. no, that's not random... there are good reasons for buying churches. for instance, to start one. anyway, we could only see through the basement windows into the kitchen and i wanted to know what the sanctuary looked like. having been a cheerleader for all of one year in high school (go cats!) i got the bright idea to lift said friend as if doing a stunt. (i did not at this point tell him that this particular stunt usually uses 3 people... details.) he wasn't really committed to it and kept falling back from laughter. so we switched positions and he tried to lift me. i actually did get to the window ledge before crashing down onto a stump with my forearm. oops. ow. OW. shoot. we went home, put it on ice, and decided some x-rays might be necessary. my roommate's beau who breaks stuff all the time seemed to think this would be a fun adventure for me and my friend, at which point i reminded him of the aforementioned break up and that spending time together wasn't such a walk in the park at this point. so my friend, who was legitimately caring and concerned, took me to the dr. lots of quality time. and i don't want you to think i was miserable. this is someone i've been friends with for years, and i was scared and thus glad to have him there. but still. he also hurt me. the x-rays showed no breaks, and my very goofy dr (i had to look down to keep from laughing at him) tells me i'm just extremely "contused and abbrased." who talks like that? i'm just supposed to rest it and ice it the next few days, and i have a nifty sling. i have been writing for 45 minutes now. ridiculous. but the lady that x-rayed me said she had never heard such a story, so i thought i should share it with you too.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

in training, ha!

so i've joined's team for race for the cure. if you're not familiar with chicksspeak, you should definitely check it out. my bold roomie christina founded this amazing website for college women and i'm super proud of her. and chicksspeak has started a team for race for the cure in baltimore, which will be held october 21. it's a 5k event. nothing major, right? right. unless your personal trainer has sworn you off running after asking, "do you want to have any cartilage at age 40?" um, yes. so no running... but this is for a good cause! an exception must be made. of course, i can't expect to be able to run a 5k right off the bat... so i decided to run 2 miles today and give it a shot. not bad. the view was definitely worth it. running along the harbor at 6:30am when no one else is out but other (far superior) runners is like a little slice of heaven to start your day. the nasty harbor water looks so pretty at sunrise. anyway, i made it. i survived. though i really wish they had water stops. being thirsty while standing next to a large body of water is not easy. i think i'll only risk my poor little knees once a week till the race. that should be sufficient. if you want to support me and make a donation, click on the post title and it *should* take you to my site. muchas gracias.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

fotdl iv

first one to die loses part iv

i have some pretty creative friends, but this is ridiculous. the only man brave enough to make it to farhan's wedding, joost, is featured in this clip as "the don." note that this is part iv, so yes, there is much more "fotdl" footage to be had at if you're hungry for more. and how could you not be? it's taking the uk by storm... gripping. truly.


eric's blog on this is far superior. click the 3 dots above for a more comprehensive recap.

yeah cupcakes

the magnolia cupcakes were a force to be reckoned with last night. we weren't sure what to expect at the beach volleyball play-offs after a season of ups and downs. i'm not sure the organizers had a clue what they were doing either. we played like crap our first game against a team we already had some history with (ie: full contact volleyball). but the cupcakes rallied to dominate the next 3 teams, putting us in the finals for next week. eric gets the mvp award. we celebrated like any magnolia cupcake would, with a trip to mcdonalds.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

me next

the valima was held the night after the shaadi. traditionally, this is an islamic ceremony celebrating the consummation of the marriage. these days nobody actually verifies anything of the sort, but the party goes on. afterward, farhan's uncle arranged for a boat ride, which i thought was quite romantic. just look at these two! farhan's parents can arrange a marriage for me any day...

the big day

even though farhan and roohi were married and could actually look each other in the eye and talk face to face, their actual wedding, or shaadi, was two days later. i missed this too as my inexplicable karachi illness caused me to pass out and fun things like that. staying home was not so bad, as helena too was ill and together we were tasked with preparing the wedding room... or as we called it, the love nest. farhan's sister gave us a bag of rose petals and instructed us on how to sprinkle the petals all around the wedding bed. i kid you not! we did our job well. it wouldn't surprise me if i was asked back to karachi to prepare other wedding rooms in the near future... (ehem, urooj...)

Monday, August 14, 2006

back to pakistan

after farhan's nika ceremony, joost, helena, zoe and i escaped town and drove about an hour southwest (i think) to the shore. we spent some time in a fishing community with men working on beautiful boats. we even stayed for tea, which was delicious. this was probably one of the least touristy places near karachi one could find (not that there are lots of western tourists anyway) and i was loving it.

some of the men and women use henna in their hair to give it a red color. in this case, the fisherman was likely trying to emulate one of the prophets. at least that's my guess. some men wear beards to be like certain prophets as well. if you're following a prophet closely, you apparently follow his grooming habits as well.

unfortunately, this was the day i started getting pretty ill. i don't know if it was the heat or the food or what... but i completely lost my appetite and ate nothing but tea and crackers for the next two days. sadly, i missed two of farhan and roohi's ceremonies because of it. here is a pic of roohi at the mehendi (henna) party. talk about glowing! wish i had been there. instead i was at (farhan's) home writing letters and listing to podcasts.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

birthday break

i've been mia for a week, but for good reason. lau's birthday season is in full force. this calls for a break from the karachi chronicles, which will recommence shortly.

the birthday shenanigans began friday night with a federal hill style block party. tons of peeps joined in to celebrate 4 birthdays, an engagement, a housewarming... lots of reasons to party it up. i only got to see about 1/4 of the people there, so i'm sorry if you attended and i missed you. here's a pic of me, tim and carolyn. note: i chopped my hair off.

the fun continued saturday with a retreat at northbay (on maryland/delaware border) complete with my first ropes course experience. even though i'm scared of heights, i totally got a kick out of playing in the trees way up off the ground. i did get some major rope burn that looks absolutely disgusting on the back of my leg, but i think i fared pretty well otherwise. i will say my arms felt like jello the following day. i wonder what happens when you fall...

sunday i went to lex for some emergency tlc (family is goooood) and some much needed time spent reading and napping in the hammock on dad's porch. it rained monday and tuesday mornings. hammock + rain + book + mountains = heaven on earth. monday i was thrilled to spend some time with college mentor laura and college pastor bill. monday night my favorite prof eduardo and his lovely family joined us for birthday dinner. my bro pierce also dropped in after learning i had snuck into town. pictured is eduardo's daughter eliana getting kisses from our puppy anna belle.

tuesday i made the trek back to b'more feeling a bit more like myself, though a year older of course. farhan and roohi are back stateside, so they took me to dinner... followed by yummy homemade birthday cake at brian and erin's place. i know everyone thinks they have good friends, but mine are really the best.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

farhan seals the deal

farhan's nika was on a hot monday morning at this lovely mosque not too far from his house. the nika ceremony is when the bride and groom sign the marriage contract. farhan went into the mosque a single man, and walked out a married man.

the women and men are separated in the mosque. we all gathered in one room with roohi, who seemed pretty calm about the whole thing. she's super cool. the ceremony began and her dad and an attorney and a religious leader walked in and read the marriage contract to roohi, which she agreed to. the men walked out, went to farhan and said a bunch of things in arabic that i couldn't understand, and then farhan too agreed to the contract. presto-change-oh... the two are married! farhan was then brought into the room with all the women where he sat next to roohi and the two of them had to do a number of things. in this picture they're both covered and then they look into a mirror to see each others reflection. this is supposed to be the first way they see one another, but of course that wasn't really the case. anyway, it was a nice touch. what people couldn't see was that the newly weds were actually playing footsie in the mosque... ah! like i said, roohi is super cool.

so while all of this is very exciting, i was having a little pity party for myself. i typically cry at weddings, and this was no different. but this time my tears were in part because it became very real to me that i was going to have to share farhan with someone else! i mean, i'm a sharing person... and technically i've been sharing farhan all along. but he's like my brother. and you know how that familial bond is a little different. plus, this was the onset of my paki illness, though i didn't realize it at the time. so yeah. while i'm smiling in this pic, there was a lot of pouting going on too. i'm just being honest. the bonus, of course, is that i get to chill with roohi now too... which makes it all worthwhile. not that this is about me...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

sunday market

it was tough to get out of the house and do any shopping since farhan's family was clearly preoccupied with all the planning that goes along with two weddings. fortunately some family friends offered to take us around. i think farhan's family was a little nervous because the city had shut down the previous day from riots and fires following the death and funeral of the shia priest that was bombed days before (a pizza hut and a petrol station were both burned down near some of the events we were attending), but joost, zoe and i felt plenty safe with our trusty driver asef (not to be confused with arzoo's husband asef).

first we went to the sunday market near the arabian sea. before we could even stop the car children swarmed around begging to carry our things for us. one urdu phrase i used a lot was "nahiin chehia" for "i don't want..." (i'm sure i spelled that wrong). the market was open air, but with fabric tarps tied together for shade. i did more people watching than anything, though i did manage to haggle with some men over a few items. buying food from steet vendors is always a no-no, but the roasted corn seemed safe enough. corn kernels were mixed with coarse sand which sped up the cooking i think. the sand was then sifted out and the corn was seasoned and hot and yummy. great afternoon treat.

after leaving the market, our driver overheard zoe, joost and i plotting on ways to escape the house to see more of the city. eager to please his foreign patrons, asef turned to ask if we had a camera handy. we asked where he was taking us, but he just put a finger to his lips indicating our destination was a secret. after an always adventurous ride (the traffic in karachi is worse than south america and (according to joost) africa), asef parked the car outside a mosque and signaled for us to follow. as we walked to the entrance we saw the mosque was actually much larger than it appeared from the road. we took off our shoes and entered karachi's largest mosque, the white-marbled masjid-e-tooba. its single dome is simple, elegant, and supposedly the largest of its kind in the world. asef turned to us and asked, "you happy?" yes. very happy indeed.