Being Ramadan, the month of fasting, Muslims like myself get up early before dawn and have an even earlier meal. It's always hard to stomach this meal because most of the time we're half-asleep and eager to eat, pray and get back into our warm beds. Though as I've grown older, I've come to appreciate this pre-dawn tradition more, it still makes for a quick and small meal, despite the fact that this meal is to tide us over until sunset when we break our fast. Normally, I have no problem - no pangs of hunger or urges to stuff a candy bar down my throat. My routine consists of cereal and maybe a slice of toast in the morning and then dinner in the evening.

Today was different. Today was the day I decided to give myself a small treat for studying so hard, and to sympathize with myself over the fact that this is my first Ramadan away from my family so I'm alone in the mornings. This treat was pancakes.

Like I said, normally, I can barely understand what I'm putting in my mouth let alone actually make it (Mom was always great for that). But it was 4am and I had trouble sleeping and hadn't eaten much the evening before, so I thought I'd get up to make myself some pancakes, go back to sleep, and wake up for pre-dawn prayers.

It started out well, seeing as how the kitchen is still unchartered territory for me. I got out my (pre-mixed) batter, added my egg amd milk, mixed, and heated up my non-stick pan. First pankcake came out almost-perfectly round, well-cooked on both sides and just the right size. I'd say and 8/10 - a valiant effort.

Once I put the pancake into my plate I turned my attention to the still-sealed bottle of maple-syrup my mom sent up with me to Michigan. All the while the gas stove was still on (low heat) to keep the pan warm for my second pancake.

Then it happened.

The most high-pitched, shrill, wake-up-the-dead-loud, wailing from the smoke-detector by the kitchen.

I froze. Then, "OhmygodohmygodohmygodOHMYGOD!!!!"

I whipped around back to the stove, twisted the knob to turn off the heat, moved the pan off the burner and flipped on the switch for the overhead fan. It started whirring at once, but the siren kept going. I could hear it sound on the bottom floor through my intercom (I'm on the 7th floor mind you). I was sure it was going off on every floor.

I ran around frantically trying to open windows and fan the air away from the smoke detector. I opened and closed the front door a few times to get the smoke out.

"Shut up. Oh God help me - why won't it SHUT UP!?!?!". Thoughts of an angry mob storming down the hall towards me in my apartment flooded my mind. What if the super comes up here? What if someone calls the fire department?! My apartment is a mess! At the last thought I began scooping up things on the floor and throwing them into the closet.

I was so getting kicked out. I'd have to live in my car. People won't hold the elevator for me. I will get dirty looks forever when I go to get my mail. "There goes the idiot who set off the alarm at 4 IN THE MORNING" they'd say.

What would I say back? Sorry I can't use a stove? Sorry I wanted pancakes? Who the hell thought I could live on my own!?!?! What am I --

It stopped.

As quickly as it hard started the piercing sound stopped. Still clutching a spatula in my hand I stopped moving, for fear I'd set it off again. Then, I waited.

1 minute rolls by. No neighbours come to the door.

5 minutes - no phone calls.

15 minutes - no fire engine sirens, no super.

Nothing. Relief. Thank you God. I sank into a nearby chair and shut my eyes. Due to shock over the incident I had lost all remaining appetite and left the pancake and remaining batter on the kitchen counter.

Then my eyes popped open. Heyyyy...what if I was really in trouble? Would no one come? How long would I have to wait before someone bothered to check what happened to the poor girl on the 7th floor at 4am!? What kind of selfish, uncaring neighbours did I have! Was the building full of heavy sleepers? Well, next time they set off the smoke detector, I'm not doing anything until they pry me away from my apartment. Hmph.

(on a completely sidetracked note, I now understand what a couple people told me about the blog being too wide - I think it has something to do with Firefox settings because I've now started using it instead of IE, where it was always fine. I've tried messing around with the settings but got nowhere, so if anyone knows how to set up the html so you don't have to scroll to see the sidebars, please let me know? Thanks.)

Monday, September 25, 2006
The time has come to end this blog.

It's been a good almost-two-year run, and a good many posts (in my humble opinion, or as they say in Internetese -IMHO) and a wonderful group of people who've supported me from the get-go and suffered through a million theme and template changes. You've read the ramblings from my spotless mind, and for that I am eternally grateful (see how I snuck the title in there? Neat-o, huh?).

But, I've come to learn about a medical condition that I have, and I think that along with full-time law studies, I should focus on overcoming this malady.

Folks, I've been diagnosed as a gephyrophobic-anuptaphobic-atychiphobic-consecotaleophobic-decidophobic-
entomophobic. It's a serious of conditions I have been long suffering and time has come that I seek help. My symptoms have been evident for a long time:

- fear of crossing bridges (gephyrophobia)
Whether I'm walking, driving, running, or looking over one, I don't like it. Imagine me trying to drive with my eyes half shut over the bridge to and from USA and Canada...interesting times) -

- fear of staying single (anuptaphobia)
Who doesn't have this one? Married and committed folks need not answer.

- fear of failure (atychiphobia)
Seriously. What if they kick me out of law school? I'm not going home. Seriously. Can they do that? How exactly would you bribe a professor...?

- fear of chopsticks (consecotaleophobia)
They are a hazard and you know it. I believe they are actually secret mini-fighting sticks. If someone came at me, first thing I would do is to reach for a set to poke the guy in the eyes. BAM! But otherwise, by the time I'm finished trying to hold them, everyone else has finished their meal.

- fear of making decisions (decidophobia)
I can't even decide whether I should post this or no. (See Shaz!?! IT'S NOT ME, IT'S THE DISEASE!)

- fear of vegetables (lachanophobia)
Why all the colours? And crunchiness? Why is everyone forcing me to eat them - conspiracy against the carbohydrates? And why are some "fruits" posing as "vegetables" (I'm talking to you, tomatoe)

- fear of going to school (didaskaleinophobia)
See "atychiphobia".

- fear of mother-in-law (pentheraphobia)
True, I don't have one. But they never seem nice on TV (thought I'm sure yours is lovely). Have you seen "Everybody Loves Raymond"!? This one contradicts the anuptaphobia.

- fear of taking medicine (pharmacophobic)
Don't trust the drug companies. Don't trust their pills. Except that banana-milkshake tasting stuff I got when I was a kid. That was some good stuff.

- fear or abnormal dislike of politicians (politicophobia)
Hmph. They all have shifty eyes and are mean. That whole kissing babies and shaking hands with the elderly thing is a SHAM. Personal agendas get ahead of the necessity of over-promised change. Yes, yes - I know there are some good ones out there. Kudos to them. But a few good ones are not going to influence the baddies. I could go on, but I've past my three sentence limit.

- fear of insects (entomophobia)
Creepy, crawly, yucky. I never win that "don't you dare move until I run out the room and get my brother to smush you" game. They always move...I think they sense fear.

So you see, after such a bevy of ailments, I can't possibly concentrate on my well-being and this blog and a loads of school-work, can I? Oh no...can I?! Uh oh..I feel a slight spasm of ergophobia coming on...
Friday, September 22, 2006
One of the best feelings in the world is coming home after spending a long time away from it. Though most would argue over what constitutes "a long time", but in my case, one month was just that.

It was just about a month ago that I sqaushed all my worldly possessions into our mini-van and drove to Michigan to start my law school career. And though many have said that time has flown by, and it didn't even seem like a month, to me it seemed close to an eternity.

I'm guessing that this anxious excitement will wane when it comes time for my next trip (Oct 27-30, tentatively) for my family, friends and I. It's the novelty of that first trip home that gets the emotions flowing. After that, trips home become routine and nothing special.

My mom has taken to treating me like a guest during this first trip. Gone are the family room couch throws, all the beds have been made extra nice, carpets everywhere vacuumed meticulously (it's not that we're regularly dirty people, it's just that you can see the roller marks from the vacuum meaning it's just been done), special menus considered and prepared. As much as I appreciate the gestures it hurts to think that I've become a guest in my own home. So the first thing I did was to put the couch throws back, get into my pajamas, put my hair up, and space out in front of the tv. Utter bliss.

The drive here wasn't bad, surprisingly. I thought I'd get bored and sleepy and just bored. But with the right music and a loud singing voice, anyone can make time pass by quicker. Normally (and by that I mean when my dad drives) it takes us about 5+ hours to get from "my place in Michgan" (that's what I call it, instead of "home") to home. I got here in exactly 4.5 hours. I left at 9am (though the original plan had been to leave at 7am...thanks to Shazia and Iram, that plan didn't work) and rolled into my driveway at 1:30 on the dot.

I thought they'd ask me all sorts of questions at customs, but the only concern the officer had was why I didn't have a license plate on my car (I just got it last Friday, dealership didn't get the plates so I have a temporary license tape to the back window). I explained my cause and after asking where I was coming and going, he motioned for me to leave. Holding my passport, birth certificate and immigration documents from school I looked at him confused. Didn't he want to know my name? Why I was there? Question me about food, plants or animals in my car? My nationality?? Nope. "You can go" is all he said. Damn, and I had eloquent answers prepared for him. Maybe I just look really innocent? We'll see what they ask on my way back when trying to get back into the U.S. But I don't have to worry about that until Monday.

I missed home. The further I drove down Hwy 401 and the closer I got to the exit, the more jumpy I got. You'd think nothing would change in short month, but to see the construction of buildings completed, when they were only steel frames when you last left, just changes your mental layout of places you pass by daily. And I will admit, I was most excited to pass by Tim Horton's then anything else. Then came my friend's street, local mall, grocery stores, and a short while later my house. I refuse to call Michigan "home", because true to my dorkish-self, I say that if home is where your heart is, then I never left.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Google this:

What does Khadeeja mean

and check out the first how does that happen when I don't have my name anywhere on here?

And funny that it only happens when I request the meaning. Nothing else. You can't quite call it irony...serendipity? An omen...?

It's just odd...
Jon Stewart Post 9/11 Speech

This is one of the many reasons why I love this guy. If only he would run for President!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I have a tiny confession to make...

And I don't want anyone judging me for it. Or laughing. Though you will laugh. Or at least make fun. Well, knowing the people who read this, you'll do both.

I based most of my expectations of my first year of law school from Legally Blonde.

Ok, I'll wait til you digest that.


Yes, it feels good to say that out loud. Unless of course I am being made fun of.

But in honesty, I had no idea what to expect of my classes and being more nervous than any other time in my life, I turned to the only source of solace my generation knows - TV and movies. I mean if I can't get comfort from the big screen, where else? Friend and family? (Oh yeah...friends and family...should've thought of that before) But at that point the only person I knew who'd gone to an American law school was Reese Witherspoon. And so I watched the movie and was surprised to find a lot of similarities. From the subject being discussed in class (I had no idea what mens rea was when I first watched it, now I can recite about three cases on the subject) to the people and even the dreaded and much feared Socratic method (still haven't been called on in class...) they have even included some of the same books I'm using now. Obviously the real thing isn't exactly like the movie, but it was still a little comforting.

There! Are you happy? I've divulged my hidden secret to the public.

Classes are going well. The only thing is that because we get called on randomly in class, we always have to be prepared with all our readings and case briefs. Not only for that but it's easier to follow along because the prof will give no notes - it's all discussion. We were told in orientation that we don't come to lecture to learn, that's up to us to do on our own, but to discuss and affirm what we've learned. I say, "Dude! I could so totally do that all on my own back in my hood! Why am I paying all these bills for this next ish? For realz, thas whack." (I really do talk like that in my head). But it is just a completely different experience than undergrad. A lot more work - you get behind in one class, you seem to be behind in all of them. You realize this by week 2. The other thing you realize is that your brain has to somehow delete all unnecessary trivia and information to make room for the massive amounts of information you have to take in and learn for the final exam (90% of the final mark; midterm is the second year it's 100% exam...awesome...).
Sadly life is taking a turn...more like a rotation, around school. Mention the words "going out" to a law student and pale face will look up from behind a 1200 page casebook, blink twice, and try frantically look up the phrase in the legal dictionary next to him/her.
It's all about time management, they tell me. Perfect. I lack any and all knowledge and predisposition to time management. Regardless of the organizers, calendars and schedules that I fill up with things to do, I will, without a doubt, get somehow sidetracked and end up wasting hours of useful time doing something useless. I'm too stubborn to follow my own schedule. (" Dude, me follow a schedule? Like, that's totally not, like, what's gonna control me, ya know what I'm sayin'? I follow rules for no one...not even me!") Yes. I'm that stubborn.
It's a matter of getting used to, I know, everyone tells me that too. Since it's only been week 2 I can't say much more. Meeting new people is my next biggest concern, since I'm shy and don't end up meeting people easily but I've been lucky to meet the great people I have, and even a few people from the Toronto area - yay!
There's a Contracts casebook calling my name so I'm out. If anyone has any good time management or study tips let me know, please? Free legal advice! (in 3 years...!)
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I can't seem to catch a break. If it's not one thing here, then along comes another. Maybe it's all those jokes I made about the U.S. coming back to haunt me (who knew karma could cross the border?) but there seems to be a block in everything I attempt to do here.

First the whole cable/internet fiasco. And to continue with that loving trend, Comcast sent me another bill today for the service installation between Aug 28-29th...when I wasn't here. They apparently had 2 accounts under my name and billed me twice and gave me a hassle when I called in and tried to explain to the call center rep (Listen Mr. Langdon Meyer, I'll be writing a strongly worded letter to you're higher ups...though I know it will be discarded quicker than it took me to hang up on you).

Then the Social Security Number (aka, the Social Insurance Number in Canada) thing. Oye. I'm eligible to get one here in the U.S. based on my student status, and I was told, by more than one source, that they would give me the number and mail me the card later. "Awesome!" I thought, since I needed it to open a chequing account and get my car. After an hour of waiting at the SSN office (after I accidentally walked into a military base office next door...scared the bejeezes out of me to see all these uniformed officers and a bespectacled secretary glaring at me behind the high desk) they told me I'd get my number in about two weeks.

>"Weeks? But I was told I'd get it in in now" I said sputtering in my confusion.
>>"Sorry, but we don't do that. I can't see your number".
>"Oh...ok then...well, I guess...ok then".

The worst part about this deal being that my parents had come up this weekend specifically for getting the car lease dealt with. We even put a deposit down on the car. And though the people at the dealership were unexpectedly kind and extremely helpful, we didn't get any further today. The poor manager called every person he could think of at the leasing office to see if they'd be able to use my Canadian SIN or find another way to get my the car, but nope. Not his fault or the GMAC, I know there are procedures. But I wan't my car :( What car you ask? Well, it's nothing glamorous (as you'd expect my to "roll" in) but still nice, observe:

The 2007 Buick LaCrosse CX in Glacier Blue (oooohhh...aaaahhh)

Long story short, no car, no SSN, parents leaving tomorrow, no car, too much work to do.

Funny story about the car. My friends and I went down to Niagara in April for my friend's "Bachelorette's Day Out" before she got married, and I went to rent a car for the trip and ended up (after a lot of haggling) with the 2006 version of this in some other colour (girls, do you remember? Goldish brown?) and I really loved driving much that I thought about keeping it one extra day for myself. And voila, now I have it (almost...)

Alright, not so much a funny story then..a story.

People with younger siblings...please relate. Why must they take randomly use your things and either:

(a)never return the item, (b) break the item (c)break the item, neglect to tell you and never return it until you go mad tearing around the house looking for it because you now desperately need it (!!!).

Oh and did I mention that the best part of all this is that they never ask or at least inform you that they are using,borrowing, taking said item, so that you really have no idea whether you've lost your mind and have misplaced the item yourself, or that you never had it to begin with and just imagined buying it. Maybe it's a middle child thing?

Oh yes buddy, this means you. I know you occassionally stumble onto this blog to catch up on my rants, so I am publicly putting you on notice (it's what Colbert would've done). I'm not even in the same country as you and it's still happening!!!

In short, give me back my umbrella or there will be no end to the consequences you will see (I have the law to back me up now too). I distinctly remember buying you an umbrella a few months ago. I expect it's now floating around in some void along with my Adidas bag, headphones, iPod, ER Seasone 1 DVD, and God knows what else)

(P.S. Just so you know, one of the many consequences being that I will make sure to spoil the whole upcoming season of Lost for you. You know I'd do it too, even if it means ruining it for me. Don't make resort to it. It won't be pretty.)

Had to do that one. It's the only way the kids these days learn, hit 'em where it hurts most - TV. Alright. That's it for me now. For anyone looking to de-stress, I have to say blogging is definitely one way to do it. If anything it keeps you distracted from your Torts book for awhile.

P.P.S. Did I mention, no car?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Either I'm crazy, or there are a lot of noisy ducks outside my apartment. Or maybe one big loner duck. Maybe a goose? What do geese sound like? I figured they made sounds similar to ducks, maybe with more baritone. Anyone know?

Well there is a big river that runs right behind my place (don't get all excited, I don't have a lush riverside apartment, it's not a very clean river, but still can be pretty now and then) and I see a lot of lilly pads. Just no animals to be seen. Yet I hear that/those duck(s). Shouldn't they be flying South about now? The sound doesn't bother me as much as the fact that I can't see them.

Alright I'm crazy. I've gone into "The Shining" mode and whacked out like the main character Jack, snowed-in in a huge hotel with his wife and son. Until today, I was under a sort of house arrest, stuck in my apartment for 4 days with nothing to do other than watch TV, read, do my school reading assignments, set-up house, and watch old episodes of ER (I came prepared with all my DVDs from home). I don't get my car until maybe end of this week or next so I've not been able to wander far from home.

I'm still getting used to the idea of living on my own. I came from a house with 6 people down to just 1. And I gotta tell you, I'm not that amusing. I thought I could handle it, but turns out my family provided much needed distraction each and every day. And my place is big enough for one person, so I'm not claustraphobic (I could literally fit a twin/single mattress in the closets - they're huge). But when you come home and it's just you, after spending the whole day with you, you need to get away...from you...(see the crazy is starting to talk again). And nothing, other than the old TV and "homework", is there to save you from yourself.

I don't know why people are in a hurry to move out of their parent's nest. Sure there may be more freedom - you come and go as you please, but I think we put too much thought and weight into the "independence" factor. Moving out on your own will force you to be independent (no more "Mommmm, what's for dinner???") but I don't think you're a greater person for it. I made and spent my own money (I don't think I've ever spent anything of my parents after getting a job at 16...just never felt right - birthday money excluded). I have a few more responsibilities like paying a few more bills, rent, housekeeping, but nothing life-changing has happened.

Okay, so technically it hasn't even been a full week since I've been living on my own, but so far it's not anything special. I miss the hub-bub of home. Though it's funny, when I was home I remember wishing I could be on my own on a number of occassions because I never felt I was alone with so many people milling about - we're never satisfied! It's nuts!

I'll tell you what else is nuts...that damn duck down by the river...
Monday, September 04, 2006
You Are a Pundit Blogger!
Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few
I have a bit of a problem with optimism. I used to think I was very optimistic. Any time someone would ask me about that proverbial glass, I'd say it was half full, since when you have an empty glass, you fill it up - it never comes with the liquid right? Maybe I read too much into it...

But life and aging has soured me (I sound like a 40 year old). While seeing ups and downs is a part of going through each day, I find I'm more optimistic for other people and less for myself. It may just be my nature to think more for others than for myself, or it just may be that I really am not optimistic. But then, I'm not pessimistic...all the time. I'm stuck in limbo between the two and while I don't think people fall neatly into categories of one or the other, I'd like to be able to define myself: "Hi, nice to meet you. I'm an optimistic, ambitious, generous, funny (??), halal-eating, non-drinking, Muslim, anti-war, gossip-column-reading, movie-loving, Scorpio, Canadian-living-in-the-U.S., intuitive, afraid-of-all-creepy-crawlies, law student...and yourself?"

Does that sum me up? I figured that by my mid-20s I'd be out of the quarter life crisis stage and would have a somewhat defnite handle on life. I don't expect to know it all (though I act like one - ha! See? A joke! I'm funny..right?) but I still expect to have some trail to follow. Most would say law school is a well-defined path. Sure, I'm planning on finishing school (though my pessimistic side will say that either I meet with some unfortunate accident before that, or I can't take the pressure and get kicked out) but then what?

For someone who likes the element of surprise and spontaneity I seem to want too many things pre-determined. It gives me comfort to know which direction I'm headed in. Though I do believe our fate is set out for us, I kinda wish I got a little preview.

A movie trailer for my life! Now that would be interesting - all the funny bits would be played out, while hinting at many of the twists and turns. We'd be able to see the casted main characters, and catch glimpses of all the exciting scenes. We'd even get to hear those great 'only in the movies' type one-liners. Then you could decide if that's a movie, or a road, you'd go to.

(I really do like most movie trailers better than the movie...short and sweet! You can watch tons at