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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

It's that time of year again. One year closes as a new one opens. Today is the last day of 2011 and I want to share with you a slide show I made two weeks ago and highlight/tell the story of some of the pictures on the slideshow.

February is the most notable month for me because the Packers won the Super Bowl! Christa and Joe came to my Packers party where a lot of people canceled last minute. Joe cheered for the Steelers (since his beloved Jets didn't make it), Christa was neutral and I obviously cheered for the Packers. I am going to give you a blurb about the experience from my essay (in my book) titled "Cut the Pink Crap: I want the Authentic":

"2011. The Packers made the Super Bowl granted they were playing against my third team—the Steelers. My #1 team playing my #3 team, lots of fun there. Naturally, I cheered for my Packers. What was the best way to show my Packers love and pride? Throw a Packers Party! And I went all out and thank goodness for Wegmans; they had Packers cupcakes and plenty for my four guests to have three cupcakes each! And the cupcakes had keepsake Packers helmet toppers, perfect for scrapbooking! As well as the balloon that I bought from Acme!
Yes, sounding like a typical female, I’m getting ready for a Super Bowl party. However, unlike the typical female, I will watch the game and enjoy it. That’s how my Packers party went—Christa, her fiancé, Joe, nan and I sat and watched the Packers beat the Steelers. Joe routed for the Steelers, Christa was indifferent, nan and I were for the Packers. Mimi, my gray ragdoll cat, was even watching the game, which led me to the conclusion she also loves football. It was a nice party with Packers trivia before the game and during commercials, which Christa stated that when she and Joe went to see a Jets game, they still played commercials and had war heroes, soldiers and other remarkable fans come out on the field. I found that to be really cool..."

In March Jim died. I was in pain for a long time about that (still am). Yet, despite the intense pain, I went to New York City for my first time. I went with my Arabic class to see an Islamic Science display in Queens. We just made a day of the city. It was a brisk day, but I was so excited: IT IS MY FIRST TIME IN FREAKIN' NEW YORK CITY AND I COULD FINALLY MEET MY BRO! ran through my mind (I'm an only child, but I consider friends to be family). First we drove into Queens and spent about two hours in the museum and sadly by the time we left Queens, Ahmed was just getting up. :( We went to this Arabic restaurant (I think it was called Bizzas) that was okay. Then we split up; I went with Liz and her sister and we just walked around uptown NYC. We went to this cupcake place that was to die for. In June, I went to NYC again, this time in Time Square. I went with my parents. We went to Madame Tusaud's wax museum and that was so cool. I took a picture with Lady Gaga, Fidel Castro, the Osbournes and some of the Saudi Arabian princes. Mom, dad and I then went to the Carnegy Deli; it was good, but it was expensive and it was like an assembly line of getting people in and out. We also sat with strange people (I thought it was cool, mom and dad not so much). I wouldn't recommend.

This year has been the year of travel for me with two jaunts into Philadelphia: once in May and once in July with Christine for my 22nd birthday. I also got pierced the two times I was there at Infinite: I totally recommend! In May I had my tragus pierced and in July I had my industrial done.

However, the most noteworthy travel is my trip to Green Bay, WI. This was my first trip alone at a distance of 900 miles away from home. It was the best time of my life! Last night I saw the hotel where I stayed at (I "like" them on Facebook) advertising free shots at Big D's at midnight. It brought back the best memories of sitting at Big D's ordering mystery shots for $2.50 and they were always green. I was dubbed Miss Pennsylvania because the bartender was taken aback a bit to see someone from Pennsylvania here (most were shocked that a huge Packers fan from the Philadelphia area traveled all that way to see a game... yep, #1 fan right here). I was called that every time I entered the bar. :) Spending whole days at Lambeau was also awesome. It's just the feeling you really can't express, but it makes your whole body feel all tingly and can bring you to tears of joy. It was so cool to finally be walking the grounds of the legendary players; I call it my shrine. Of course, game time and the Packers won! That would be the start to their 19 game winning streak too! :) Green Bay wasn't all about football for me (though 80% of it was): I went to Heritage Hill State Park and it was cool learning about Green Bay history and the Moravians that founded it. The guide and I had a talk; a town two hours away from me was founded by Moravians and we had  a discussion about that. After that I went to the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and it was so beautiful. I can't wait to go back in 2012 (I'm saving now... putting $150 aside each month to go)!

In September I started taking organ lessons. :) In October my parents became members of Longwood Gardens, which made me so happy. Oh, and Halloween snow! About three inches fell, but that crippled us since we weren't prepared for it. It was a kick to see snow littered everywhere when Marsha and I did the fun run. I was Clay Matthews for Halloween, so I reenacted the snow bowl. :) It was fun.

They were the most notable moments in 2011. Of course a lot of things did happen and you can read here if interested. I hope you enjoyed my highlights and I hope you have a great New Years' Eve! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End tea

Where is the peaceful place
that can always put a smile on faces?
The Lincoln Room in West Chester--
that's where a love will fester
with herbal and regular teas
and sandwiches at minimal fees.
But the most priceless thing of all,
is laughter and memories standing tall.
So, come to this place
that paints a smile on your face.

Today mom, dad, Aunt Peg, Maddie and I went to the Lincoln Room for a pre-New Years Eve tea to celebrate the end of 2011. It really was a nice two hours out -- we all did a lot of talking and laughing and it was just nice. :) The tea was a nice way to get ready to celebrate the year that seemed to get good starting in August. Tomorrow night Zach and I are going to the bar near my house for kareoke and to hear the DJ. So, this tea was the calm to my New Years Eve celebration. :)

I also bought a bear today and as Jen said to me and she summed it up perfectly: "you have added a lot of our bears to your collection." Yes, yes I have. I love the Bearington Bear collection bears and this is one of the few places that sell them and the one they pick out, well, they speak to me. Meet Hattie and her dear friend Hootie:

I made a 2011 in Review video two weeks ago, I will post tomorrow. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Welcome to Green Bay (looking for title)

As you have probably heard, I am finally getting around to making my scrapbook for my Green Bay trip. I want to include a poem, so I wrote one summing up my trip. Please let me know what you think, thanks.

The clouds ascend above Lambeau,
welcome to Green Bay!
Home of the infamous Packers;
my one and only-- enough delay!

Welcome to Green Bay,
sun sparkles off Lambeau's
red, white hot bricks--
I'm here in person,  so close

the sparkles off of Lambeau
fill my eyes with tears--
a win against the Cardinals
with pride and love that spears.

My eyes are filled with tears
as Lake Michigan glistens
and ducks and geese eat from hand,
to the owls and inhabitants I listen.

Away from the glistening Lake Michigan,
in Curly's Pub, shots of victory taken
and pride that a dream has come true;
drink Jager slowly-- you're mistaken!

The clouds descend over Lambeau,
Goodbye Green Bay--
home of precious memories,
2012 don't you dare delay!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Here comes the tears again...

Reading this makes me so angry

I am just still so hurt by everything. I know it would sound heartless of me to say, but I really wish they would seek the death penalty. It's awful because I have a mental illness and am all for championing rights, but for him I just can't. He took away three nice people and right now it's just unforgivable to me. I can't even put words fully to this anger I have. :\

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dreams Deferred?

I'm so tired of hearing my dreams are stupid, especially moving to GB, WI. I know it's going to be hard, but journeys are never easy. All I know is I want to get out of here and away from the stupid Eagles fans that have issues because I like the Packers.

They tell me
I can't:
publish books.
They tell me
I'm unrealistic:
Wisconsin's too far,
you can't drive a car--
Milwaukee has the jobs;
in unemployment you will bob.
You can't write worth a damn,
instead just go into the sun to tan--
work harder; you must tend
the customers, crops and trends;
money is key,
not poetry you see.
Published you;ll never be;
get that notebook off your knee!
Yet, I believe:
you can call the shots.
Wisconsin's not too far,
I'll eventually drive a car--
Green Bay has good jobs;
everyone once takes a bob
in unemployment- a right of passage
for 20 somethings and our quarter life visage.
I can write worth a damn
and the only thing I'll tan
is the leather of this book!
If I can hook
the right publishing man,
success will flow outta my hands--
don't look at me like that;
I'm aware of obstacles and flats
along this path
but doing this math,
I can achieve gold,
though I will fare turbulence,
doubts, words, joblessness;
but who said this would be easy?
I am well aware and
yes I can, yes I can
accomplish my dreams.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Packers 14-1

The bears still suck
pulses through my iPod--
it might be Christmas;
the bears still suck
toward Packers gold--
go on, kick the bears' asses
tonight, Christmas night at 8!

The Packers game against their rivals, the Bears, was a good game last night and the outcome was awesome-- a great end and gift amongst all my other gifts. Thanks my Packers for the very merry Packers Christmas! I also had five shots and two jagerbombs to celebrate TDs and their victory. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Or as I call it, MERRY PACKERS CHRISTMAS, since I received two jerseys, a Packers cup and the game against Da Bears tonight. I was listening to this Johnny Mathis song yesterday:

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 
Ev'rywhere you go; 
Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again 
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow. 
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 
Toys in ev'ry store 
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be 
On your own front door. 

A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots 
Is the wish of Barney and Ben; 
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk 
Is the hope of Janice and Jen; 
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again. 
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 
Ev'rywhere you go; 
There's a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well, 
The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow. 
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas; 
Soon the bells will start, 
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing 
Right within your heart.

And I was thinking of changing some of the lyrics (not all because that would be copyright infringement and a few lyrics are funny, etc).

It's beginning to look like a Packers Christmas 
In every living room you go; 
Take a look, the cheeseheads being worn 
With painted faces aglow. 
It's beginning to look like a Packers Christmas 
Jerseys in ev'ry box 
But the prettiest sight to see is the Rodgers jersey 
On your body next to your socks.

Well, I think it's funny or could be. :p

Last night, Christmas Eve was fun. :) My cousin wore my Cheesehead  because he thinks they look cool. My aunt, like I mentioned above, gave me a Packers cup and really cute cat slippers. Aunt Kathy gave me a dress purse. :) Then my other cousins played my guitar. Fun times, fun times. Here is the album to the pictures from last night and this morning. I will post some of the pictures from this morning on here:

I also was given a new camera! On my way to professional photography! I can go into that business and scrapbooking as well as writing! :)

More later. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feast of Seven Fishes: Baccala

Every Christmas Eve, nan makes baccala, which is apart of the Feast of Seven Fishes tradition (we don't do the six other fish) that is common to Italian heritage. Nan told me her recipe for the breaded cod is this:

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. yeast

I'd say a cup of water. Soak the cod that has been soaking in water for three days (it can be very salty and hence you will need to soak in water days prior to cooking) into the batter above. Then place in hot oil in a pot. Fry until golden brown.

I found this recipe online (it sounds similar to how nan makes it):

  • 4 pounds dried salt cod, cut into 3-inch pieces, soaked
  • 8 to 10 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup fine quality olive oil
  • 1 bunch celery, trimmed, well washed, and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Gaeta olives, pitted
  • 4 (28-ounce) cans hand crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes, with juice
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • Salt, to taste


Soak the cod in cold water to cover in a cool spot or refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days, changing the water frequently. After 24 hours, break off a tiny piece of fish and taste for saltiness. If fish is still quite salty, continue soaking until water is very clear and fish is almost sweet in taste.
Place potatoes in cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost cooked through. Drain.
Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed casserole over medium heat. Add the celery and saute for about 5 minutes, then add the onion and saute until vegetables begin to get soft. Add the olives and saute for an additional minute. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in broth and return to simmer.
Stir in the potatoes and the soaked baccala and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the baccala flakes when poked with a fork.
Taste and, if necessary, add salt. Serve hot.
Note: Often, salt cod dishes will require no additional salt. Therefore, always taste before adding any seasoning.

Copyright 2007 Food Network

For those that are visual, I took pictures of nan making the baccala.

Christmas poem I

I'm not sure about this poem, but it captures my sentiment of the season.

Put away the trimming,
tinsels and papers and money;
gather by the tree grinning--
a beautiful evergreen,
lighted with love and hope--
put away the gifts that are seen,
the ribbons and bows.
Pick up the gifts not shown,
the ones that are carefully sewn:
love for your family and friends,
forgiveness toward your enemies,
to the customers and others you tend;
service and goodwill can go far--
for this is the true meaning
of Christmas and Jesus's star,
present at his birth near and far.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Beat Poem?

I just wrote this piece, it's more free verse of something I've been thinking about. What do you think? Do you think it could be a beat poem? What should I call it?

The ghosts and shadows
no longer dance and spook
the spot where you left--
abruptly left, the fixtures
gone, gone, gone!
The only sign of life,
gone! gone! gone!
Your bong, your hookah,
left in darkness of shadows--
I knew you would never
hurt your nieces, their giggles,
accusations of me, your girlfriend,
or your supposed, taking you away--
their grabbing my hand;
dragging me out back--
all left suspended, gone:
the white S.U.V.-- gone.
Four years I walk alone;
the empty house, for sale sign
over and over and over again
left for abandoned, my joy,
I walk alone, hoping, praying,
hoping you'd come back.
You were such a bad boy,
but could always make me feel good;
cooking for you,
you'd compliment,
saying I saved your grade.
I return to the path--
two years forgotten;
what do I see?
Life? Life! Life!
But, it's not you,
the house is still empty
of you and your family--
the windows yellow again,
life awakens the house
and full of children
like your nieces,
but non-accusing and giggle-free.
I walk, shoes pounding
against gray concrete--
you're not coming back,
four years, always hopeful.
You have found your niche
in Chicago or the Mid West.
For me:
I found it in the shadows.

Season's Greetings!

Dear readers,

I'd like to wish you warm thoughts for a happy holiday and best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.


Check out my photo album:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Starbucks: A Childhood Memory

It's such a slow day at work today. I worked on a childhood memory piece and I'd like to share.

“How may I help you?” A feminine voice asks me. They are late opening up; fifteen minutes I wait in line and I am hoping, praying my boss doesn’t say anything. “Yes,” I respond, “I’d like a tall, regular coffee. It’s been a while since I had that. It brings back good memories.” “Oh?”

Saturday. I always looked forward to Saturdays. For a seven year old, one would assume a seven year old looked forward to Saturday morning cartoons. Not me, though. An exchange student, Daniel, who had been living with Nan from 1991-1995, moved to New York and would come to visit us for the weekends. I’d spend Friday-Saturday nights with nan. Saturday morning was Daniel and my weekly ritual of going to Starbuck’s then Suzy Jo’s Donuts. Daniel would drive nan’s blue Buick Somerset and we would cruise through King of Prussia and Bridgeport just chatting and laughing. I would be in awe when he would tell me about New York, well, I’d be in awe for the parts I could understand and relate to. He always patiently listened to my trials and tribulations and fun and good times in elementary school. I loved that bonding moment.

We would drive into Bridgeport first, although that was further from us, since the donuts we always ordered were never hot. On our way back to nan’s house in King of Prussia, we would stop off at Starbuck’s and we would both order the “not very big” (as in my seven year old lingo, but now I know better today that the “not very big” cup is a tall) coffee (and none of the very fancy coffee, I’m not sure if they were made back then). I remember both places were relatively empty at the time; we would go early in the morning-nine o’clock—when the world was still asleep except for Daniel and me.

Our adventure would always end back at nan’s house, sitting at the kitchen table across from one another with nan sitting next to me, drinking my heavily creamed Starbuck’s coffee while munching on a donut. Of course, I can’t forget the after coffee mints that Daniel always lovingly gave me! They were just as strong as the coffee, but I always loved how it made my breath smell after the coffee lovingly warmed my body and the donut lovingly filled my stomach.

“Thank you and have a nice day,” the barista says as she hands me my tall coffee. Before I go back to work, I look for those after coffee mints that shaped my childhood, but alas, they are not at this Starbuck’s! I head back to the office with my “not so big”—tall coffee in hand to get me through the eight hour work day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grades ^_^

My grades are in:

A in Arabic
A in Animal Ethics
B in Childrens Lit
B in English theory

My GPA: 3.170

Monday, December 19, 2011


“well we took a lost but we are strong and we are still the best go pack go!!!!!!!”

I like that sentiment and I also like this sentiment said by Spongebob, “it’s not about winning, it’s about fun.”

I am still a little sad about my Packers loss and I guess I have always been a sore loser (and me without much sleep…bad match), but we are the only team in the division that has 13 wins and 1 loss. It doesn’t really matter really, we’re in the playoffs and that’s where it matters most (and believe me, I wanna see the Pack make the Super Bowl again! So next Summer when I go back to Green Bay, I can see 2012 champs). I shouldn’t forget about Spongebob’s sentiment, football is entertainment for me—the antics of the Packers and the Packers in general make me smile and brighten my day—I shouldn’t forget that. I would like to say the Packers (along with medications, but mostly Packers) have saved my life and has helped put some joy back in it. Sundays are my Packers holy day, it’s a day I can relax and have fun watching a team. That’s why I love my Packers. Still, I am superstitious and will be getting decked out on Christmas accordingly. Even on Christmas Eve, I will wear the Packers tee I made myself with a skirt. No, ifs, ands or buts… let mom complain, I’m doing it because as that shirt says, “WIN, LOSE, OR TIE—CHEESEHEAD ‘TIL I DIE!”

Last night I was looking for jobs in Wisconsin; I’m starting my search now despite having two more years to go before I can move. I found something on HubPages, which can be used anywhere. It’s pretty much a self-business. I am still so new to this, but I am going to market my books and scrapbooks via HubPages and teach people how to write and scrapbook. Today’s going to be poetry writing. I am still trying to think of what I can say besides: In honor of my brand new book, Adventures Through the Strawberry Patch, I am going to give you directions and samples of poetry. Of course, a good poem is subjective, but I am giving you ideas to start a poem!

Maybe I will write and turn it into a YouTube video. I’ll inform the readers that I am going to start them out easy, with a sing-songy poem:

I am going to forewarn you dear readers. I’m going to start you out with the most basic form of a poem: the a/b/c/d rhythm or as I like to call it a child’s sing-song poem. Each day I will get a bit more advanced, but this is a good starting point.

It doesn’t matter how many lines there are, but the rhyme scheme is most important. You can slant rhyme (e.g. I am the best/I expect no less), but don’t true to force rhymes because it’ll make you look silly and could really annoy the reader or make him or her not understand (e.g. I want this poem to rhyme/as I love to eat green limes)… it’s rare, but I have seen it happen. The following examples would be in the a/b rhyme pattern; the letters don’t really have a meaning, it’s just place holders for what the rhythm will be. Let me show you an example.

The sun rises in front of me,
pinks and yellows are all I can see,
It’ll be hours before the sun shines;
I am alone in my thoughts with lines
Of poetry and words running,
Racing through my head, stunning
Those who disbelieve and shout,
In the early hours of dawn, no longer pouting,
I put the pen to paper, drawing lines,
It’ll be hours before the sun shines;
The sun rises in front of me,
Now orange in the mix, all I can see.

Look for more tips and lessons tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be taking it up a notch with this type of rhyme: sonnets.

My HubPage

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Poor Packers (no longer undefeated)

My poor Packers lost today. :( But, they're the long time undefeated champs and they're the highest for total wins. Regardless, as my shirt says: win, lose or tie; Packers fan 'til I die. A my one former classmate said, "it doesn't matter how they do in the regular season, but in the playoffs to get them to the Super Bowl." This is true and they're in the playoffs. They secured all that. I am a bayliever! :)

I am also a superstitious bayliever. I had to take off my green toe nail polish (had it on since September, which was in replacement to my other paint I had on for my trip) and I didn't wear my Packers gear on Friday. I'm repainting my nails green and yellow, and I will be wearing my Packers gear on Friday, Christmas Eve (don't care if mom says anything about the attire for the party) and Christmas when my Packers play the Bears. GO PACK GO!

Win, lose, or tie-- Packers fan til I die! Proud Rodgersist!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Old School Rocks the Ribby/ Old School الصخور Ribby

 Since I am on break for a month, each Saturday I'm going to try to post about my day in Arabic to keep up with it. So, here it is. :)

شربت ابتسامة الأسنان الأسود. وكان التعبير على وجهه إدي تقدر بثمن عندما كان يشرب فيه. هناك دائما شيء أحب عن رؤية المدرسة
القديمة. كان لدينا حفلة عيد الميلاد هزاز. كان الكثير من المرح، وكان لي ليلة عظيمة.

A rock-n-roll Christmas! Good times, good times! Although their official Christmas party is next week, since I can't go this was my official Old School Christmas party. :) AND I tried my first Black Tooth Grin last night! And never again. It was strong, but I did toast to Dimebag when Eddie was singing, "Let's make a toast to those among us" (from "Nothin' But a Good Time") and then I imbibed it myself when the other members drank their shots and beer. Eddie had a bit of my drink in one of the sets after that. The expression on Eddie's face was classic and  priceless when he drank it. There is always something I love about seeing Old School.  Someone even brought his parrot! It was a great night!

Lincoln Room... 3 years later

Susan, the other waitress and I were talking yesterday after coming in for tea to celebrate the completion of the semester (and Arabic final). In April it will be three years since I first started going there and becoming a frequent patron of this wonderful place. Every morning the 92 bus passes by and one day I said to this kindly lady (she still rides the bus as well), "Have you ever been to the Lincoln Room? We pass it every morning and it looks interesting." "No, I haven't. But, it's a tea room." I knew I had to check it out. So, I made the reservations and the rest was history. :) Over the years Susan and the Lincoln Room women have been nothing but nice and have made three new wonderful friends. :)

The Gift Exchange

I was going to post yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to yesterday since I went to see Old School last night (pictures later). Marsha and I exchanged gifts yesterday and we had such a great time. I will be reopening the gifts on Christmas, so you won't know what it is until Christmas. I won't know fully until Christmas either -- I started the tradition this year of not opening gifts until Christmas. However, she did give me a beautiful poem that she wrote and I will share it with you (hope you don't mind Marsha):


We talk on the way home
about our lives,
our futures,
teachers and family.
We get together,
to have fun,
to create memories
and to learn from each other.
We e-mail,
and hang out
at school or at home.
And we always meet
on the 92.

The poem really touched me. We met on the bus and our friendship blossomed from there. I gave her this poem (and I submitted it to the school publication):

Thank You For Being a Friend
image To the gardens of life we tend,
Through wind, rain, sun and snow,
I’d like to let you know—
Thank you for being a friend.

image Over the trials and tribulations of years,
Hugs, laughter and gratitude we send,
Thank you for being a friend
For offering comfort and wiping tears

Thank you for being a friend—
For sending those occasional fears
Without the ribbing and sneers,
Replacing them with comfort you send.

For your friendship can’t be replaced,
For everything we have shared,
Nothing can break or tare,
C:\Users\75JC671566\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\B91QWXTD\MC900280399[1].wmf

C:\Users\75JC671566\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\B91QWXTD\MC900280399[1].wmf image The friendship we have laced.

Here are the pictures: