Monday, July 16, 2018

Before we die, we think of our children.

At least that’s what Matt Damon’s character in Interstellar says.
I always had mixed feelings about Interstellar. On the one hand it has that clean crisp quality that Christopher Nolan movies have, which I love. Supposedly some of the science in it was accurate or evidence-based. Until the whole “tesseract” part that is. But I recently read an analysis/interpretation of the tesseract and ending that resonated more with me— that made more sense for a Christopher Nolan movie-i.e. Matthew McConaughy’s character doesn’t actually survive. Ha ha was that a spoiler. Love how articles warn very clearly nowadays “Spoiler!!”
I always found that odd. Why would knowing the ending spoil everything? Maybe I’m blessed with short term memory. I can read spoilers upon spoilers and when I watch the movie for the first time I still shit my pants at the plot twist as if I never knew.

But back to thinking of our children when we are dying.

After my dad died, my baby sister Tasnim (who is no longer a baby) once set an alarm on my Google account for my dad’s birthday. However, she set it in the wrong month. Instead of 16th June, she set it for 16th July. So every year on 16th July, for the past 10 years I would get really annoyed come 16th July.

Last night we got home from dinner at Queensbay and suddenly Omar says I like this house.
I asked him if he meant the apartment. He said yea.
I said yea we should be thankful for having it, and our health and our things.
Then he said yea, And our toys. And our parents.
I said Actually I don’t have my parents anymore, just my mom. I don’t have my dad anymore.

This seems to surprise him. Why don’t you have your dad?
He died.
Who’s your dad?
He’s your Grandpa. But not Atok. Another Grandpa. Do you want to see his picture?

I pull out old photos of me and Ayoh in Rome.
Is that him? That man with you.
Yup that’s my dad. Doesn’t he look nice?

(Omar doesn’t answer)
Where is he now?
He died.
What happened to him?
He was sick.
How was he sick?
Well, his heart stopped suddenly.
Can I meet him?
I hope so, maybe some day.

And on cue the alarm for Dad’s birthday rings.

Happy fake birthday Dad.
Dunno if you actually  thought of us before you left but we think of you.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Running thoughts

Don't get me wrong, I love my boys. Even though they drive me up the wall.
(I wish I was a better more patient lovely fairy-of-a-mom like Anne of Green Gables, but I'm not. Sometimes I am downright mean like Ms Trunchbull. But I love them even when I am having the meanest of streaks. I tell them afterwards after I have calmed down, usually before we fall asleep. I think my get-out-of-jail card is running out though, but that's another story.)

Lately I have been thinking, Gosh, I wish I had a daughter.

It is probably my own damn fault. I never wished for a daughter. I always thought boys were more fun. I associated girls with flowers and tears and mind games. I forget I was never much of a girl like that--though of course I was always the Pink Ranger. Maybe I didn't like myself as much back then, so I subconsciously didn't want a weird sad girl like me. Ikram also wanted boys.

I remember the first piece of clothing I ever bought for Omar, even before I knew he was a boy (but I knew), I got him a super blue Winnie the Pooh onesie. I told Eloa that boys can wear it and girls can wear it, but truth be told I only saw a boy wearing it. I thought boys clothes were the best.

When I found out Omar was a boy, I was smug. Of course he was.

Actually let us backtrack. In my daytime dreams, I would imagine having four kids. Two boys, flanking two identical twin girls. I had chosen their names. Omar and Hamzah for the boys. Ilham and Ehsan for the girls (because even as girls they had to have boyish names. geez)

But after two kids, I am ready to call it a day. Not at all made like iron ladies of yesteryear, this is all I can handle in my foreseaable reproductive future.

And as I was running this morning, it hit me, Gosh, I wish I had a daughter.

I wish I wished for a daughter a bit harder. Someone I could dress in clothes prettier than mine, someone whose hair I could braid. Someone who would look up to me as their hero (boys belong to their dads, always). Someone I can pass on my "woman wisdom" to.

But it is an empty wish because a) I feel like I'm done b) Matiin's mom once told me very spookily "You will have boys" and c) A Grab driver told me "Don't have a third, it will be a boy".

I know I could probably adopt at some point, but it's not quite the same. Only because, there's nothing quite like the feeling that you've been gifted with a little person. That it is beyond your ability to choose who they are, what they look like, and yet when you meet them, they're better than anyone you could have conjured in your wildest dreams, and you fall desperately in love.

I hated pregnancy, but I loved having a baby in my arms at the end.
But I've had that adventure (twice!) and I think I'm good.

So to the daughter I do not have, I wish I had you.

I think you would have been frenzies of fun, insurmountably insightful--a kickass female of the highest quality. I wistfully think of our Book Xcess raiding and sushi-karaoke sessions when the boys go do their boring boy things.

I wonder sometimes if the first one I lost was you. But it is nonsense to think that way. Everything happens for a reason.

But hey, maybe the boys will give me a granddaughter. Here's wishing!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I don't want to call this a eulogy.

Some of you may know that my love-hate relationship with tuberculosis began less than 10 years ago, on a fateful day when I tagged along my advisor Kawsar Talaat to a talk about latent TB by Joanne Flynn, and met Arthur Dannenberg Jr.

I wrote about it rather romantically here: "The Professor".

I was thinking about him a lot last week, thanks to certain events that unfolded.

This morning I received the following email from the alumni office:

Dear Alumni, I am writing with the sad news that Arthur M. Dannenberg Jr., MD, PhD, passed away after a long illness. He was 94. As many of you know, Art was a longtime faculty member, having joined Hopkins in 1964, and a renowned researcher into the pathogenesis of pulmonary tuberculosis. Art’s research explored cellular pathways to preventing and treating tuberculosis, and he was passionate about finding new vaccines against the disease. He was affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Vaccine Initiative as well as the Johns Hopkins Center for Tuberculosis Research, which established a student achievement award in his honor. His work made a lasting contribution to our understanding of a disease that still, despite significant progress in saving lives through diagnosis and treatment, remains one of the top 10 leading causes of death worldwide.A graduate of Swarthmore College, Art obtained his medical degree from Harvard in 1947. He continued his studies at the University of Pennsylvania where, in 1952, he received a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in experimental pathology.
The School recruited Art to Johns Hopkins in 1964 as an associate professor of radiological health sciences, based on his promising work to develop biochemical, immunological and pathological approaches to studying cellular response to injury, using radiation injury as a model. In 1973, he received joint appointments in the departments of Epidemiology and in Environmental Health Sciences (now the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering). His lab was dedicated to using the rabbit model of tuberculosis to study the pathogenesis and immunology of the disease, as well as genetic factors and vaccine effectiveness. More than 20 postdoctoral fellows, many from Japan, trained in the Dannenberg Laboratory. In 1976, he received a joint appointment at the School and in Medicine’s Pathology Department. Prior to joining Hopkins, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry at the University of Utah School of Medicine and was an assistant professor, from 1956 to 1964, at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. Art authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers and was a member of the Delta Omega Public Health Honorary Society, Alpha Chapter, and the Society for Leukocyte Biology where, in 1984, he was awarded an Honorary Life Membership. His 450-page book, Pathogenesis of Human Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Insights from the Rabbit Model, was published in 2006 by the American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington, D.C. A devoted teacher and mentor, Art continued to teach after he had “semi-retired” and his lab closed, including the courses “Principles of Bacterial Infections in the Department of Medical Microbiology” and “Tissue Injury, Inflammation and Repair” in what was then known as the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Art was predeceased by his wife, Aileen H. Dannenberg. He is survived by his son, Andrew L. Dannenberg, and daughters, Arlene Dannenberg Bowes and Audrey Ann Dannenberg. All of us who worked with Art over the years were impressed by his tireless pursuit and devotion to unraveling the mysteries of one of the most important infections plaguing humans throughout history – tuberculosis. We will sorely miss his enthusiasm and devotion to medical research and to educating the next generation of scientists. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his colleagues, students and family.

When I met Art, he was already 86. I remember being so enamoured by this scientist of days past, who was fighting hard to not just remain present, but to thrive.

It is so easy to just let go and one would not be expecting anything out of someone who had already spent more than half a decade of their life devoted to understanding one of the most formidable of human pathogens. But Art had a mission and masyaAllah he had the will and energy.

When we talk about love, we talk about our hearts fluttering, or our hearts deflating. He certainly had that kind of love too, I'm sure-- a wife, and kids, family. But his love for science, for tuberculosis, was visceral. It was a thing of magic for me. Unwavering, determined.

I remember he was telling me about his paper on liquefaction (of TB granulomas), how much resistance he received. He tried for years, and even by then he was all but retired. But he broke into a smile and said,  "But it has a happy ending! The paper was finally accepted, and now liquefaction is pretty much well accepted."

Rereading our email correspondence, I remember now he was kind but he was also tough. I do not think age mellowed him, but it did become him. Here are some of my favorite emails to/from him:

Dear Dr Dannenberg,
We spoke after the seminar on latent tuberculosis by Joanne Flynn, and you kindly explained to me the difference between tuberculin and PPDT. You also gave some literature on tuberculosis which I read over the past two days. My interest in this subject is definitely piqued, and I'd like to know if the Welch Library has a copy of your book "Pathogenesis of Human Pulmonary Tuberculosis Insights from the Rabbit Model". I checked on the library website but it doesn't seem to have the information stored in the electronic catalog. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your explanations on the pathogenesis, and I've learned quite a bit on tuberculosis over two days! On the side, I loved that you included anecdotes of your history with Max Lurie and your own tuberculosis stories. I hope to learn more. 
Most importantly, you've convinced me that if someone's not doing those studies on liquefaction and prevention of liquefaction, then it should be done. 
(You might also be happy to know that I was not late for class that Thursday.)
Kye (rhymes with Bye)

Dear Kye:
Thanks for your enthusiastic e-mail.
Welch Library always had a copy of my book.  Also, there is one in the MMI library and, I think, in the Epidemiology Dept. library, as I gave them one.  Our EHS Dept. has a copy, and the Pathology library across the street has a copy.  Also, there are about 5 copies in the offices of members of the TB Center in Cancer Research Bldg II.  If you have trouble checking out a copy, let me know, and I’ll lend you one of my own copies.
Glad you were not late for class.
Best  wishes,
Art Dannenberg

Dear Art,
I am very interested in this project. It's a new topic to me, so I'm trying to read up more about it and 'caseinate' the philosophy in my head. I'm still in my first year of Master's in International Health and I'm due to graduate May 2011, after which I hope to start my PhD in MMI or any other institution that I can get admission to study this.
I'm very pleased with your offer to be my co-advisor. I hope it still stands next year. 
I hope to talk to you again soon, and that you and your family are well in this 'snowmageddon'.

Dear Kye;
I finally got one car usable and free of snow.  I shoveled it out in 30 to 60 minute sessions over three days.
You might want to talk with Ying Zhang of MMI about the liquefaction-cavity project.  He’s a full professor here and one of the finest scientists I know.  I’d love to work with him if he would be your main adviser in MMI.
Best wishes,
ART (Dannenberg)

Dear Art,
That's quite amazing, you must be in fantastic shape. I tried my first hand at shoveling last night for 20 minutes and I could feel my back breaking with each shovel... although it seems the snow today will make all shoveling efforts back to square one.
I will follow your advice and talk to Prof Zhang soon. I will inform you of any updates regarding that.

Dear Kye:
I am honored that you told me about your wedding and sent pictures of it to me.  Both weddings seemed like magnificent affairs.  
You must have a wonderful family.  
If you are not too busy, e-mail me about the groom.  Is he in the medical field?  Did you know him for a long time?  Did you families know each other beforehand?
I hope you have as many happy years together as my wife and I have.  We are now married 62 years.
Fond regards to both of you,
Art (Dannenberg)

Art, you will be missed. May Allah rest your soul, and give you peace. May your wonderful work outlive us all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Day in the life of

Flexible-Hours Working Mother

6:15am: wake up and realize kids are still sleeping. Score! quietly get up to pump some milk for hamzah in the dark and hope no one wakes up yet.
6:30am: tiptoe into bathroom to take shower and brush teeth.
6:40am: pray subuh and pack the kids bags for tadika and nursery. boil water, start making scrambled eggs and put away dry dishes. make hot coffee.
7:00am: Hamzah is awake, give him a bath. 
7:10am: Omar wakes up. Get him to the table to have breakfast then continue putting clothes on Hamzah. 
7:15am: Check on Omar eating and while trying to get Hamzah to play on his own. 
7:35am: Try to get last spoons into Omar and negotiate him finishing a glass of water/milk/whatever. 
7:40am: Give Omar a bath and negotiate him putting school uniform on.
7:50am: Reheat coffee and finish.
7:55am: Get dressed and use bathroom if necessary, get kids and their bags to be out the door.
8:05am:After trekking down two elevators and walking across carpark and putting both kids in their carseats, drive out to work.
8:15am: Find parking, walk down to Hadanah (nursery), nurse Hamzah and get him settled while making sure Omar doesnt run away or bug any baby.
8:25am:Walk Omar to Tadika, take him to potty, negotiate him drinking some water, say goodbye.
8:35am:Back in the car otw to office/breakfast at canteen.
9:10am: Back to office and tinker on computer (emails, grant, manuscript), chase paperwork/ lab orders, phone calls, meeting, marking etc
12:00pm: Drive to Tadika, cuddle Omar take him to potty, give him water.
12:10pm: Walk to Hadanah, nurse Hamzah.
12:20pm: Drive Omar back to apartment, feed him lunch and leave him with his uncle.
1.00pm: tapau lunch or meet friend for lunch
1.40pm: Back in room to do one or some of activities above and pray zohor.
4.40pm: Drive to Hadanah to pick up Hamzah. Nurse him.
4.50pm: Drive home, park, cross carpark, up elevators.
5:00pm: check on Omar if hes eaten or had a drink or potties. pump Hamzah some milk for tomorrow. pray and relax with kiddies.
5:30pm: Get dinner started while kids either play on their own or cry wanting to be picked up.
6:20pm: Start feeding Omar and Hamzah and self dinner in turns until one or both finish food or cry until I cant take it anymore.
6:50pm:Bathe both kids in turns or simultaneously.
6:55pm: Clothe a protesting Hamzah who hates putting on a diaper or shirt, dash to sink to wash hands of drapolene while hoping he doesnt roll of bed.
7:00pm: Plop Hamzah on the floor, get Omar out of bathtub, dry him and clothe him.
7:30pm: Omar starts pooping. Nurse Hamzah to sleep. Pray Maghrib.
7.50pm: Wash Omar and change diaper.
7.55pm: Read Omar a few bedtime books.
8.15pm: Omar dozes off. Go clear dishes, wash breastmilk pumps and bottles, maybe make coffee and work on computer.
9.30pm: Hamzah wakes up crying, Nurse him back to sleep.
9.40pm: Back at computer.
10.30pm: Get bags ready for tomorrow. Pray isya. 
10.40pm: play on phone until doze off.
11.00pm: Hamzah wakes up crying, nurse him to sleep.
11.30pm: Omar wakes up crying, dodoi him to sleep. Doze off.
1.00am: Hamzah wakes up crying, nurse him to sleep. Doze off.
3.00am: Hamzah wakes up crying, nurse him to sleep. Doze off.
5.30am: same as above. Doze off.

and hey its another day again!

(FYI, this is a relatively good day.)

Sunday, September 18, 2016


So it has been about a year since I was last in Melbourne. When I moved out of my apartment, I did not even take a single picture, too busy with arranging my shipment of boxes, filled with stuff I accumulated in 3 years + and making sure I get my bond back. I did not really feel all that sad even, but I always had delayed response. Anyway, a year later and suddenly I am feeling nostalgic for the Melburnian life. In some larger way, I am feeling nostalgic for the "carefree" days of PhD, where all I had to worry about was running my experiments and getting enough data to write about. Also missing the relaxed atmosphere and generally professional yet laidback, open and ego-restrained people at the Burnet. 
But specifically I miss:
1. Aldi. I dont know if its because I have low-class tastebuds or something, but all the Aldi-brand products trumps the higher end stuff they touted at Coles and Woolies.
2. Urban parks. Really miss having green areas with playground for the kids every few blocks.
3. Trams. Haha never thought I would. But theres something about seeing tram tracks on the road that reminds me of capillary networks. The veins of the city and all that.
4. Dukes/Journeyman. So far nothing has trumped the poached eggs and beetroot cured trout on kale and quinoa salad, or the decaf flat white at 
5. A bright blue-skied breezy cool day.
6. Morning runs on High St.
7. Fresh sashimi from Tsukiji.
8. The occasional trip to the CBD/Queen Vic Market. Something uplifting about all that hustle and bustle.
9. Having Omar in various cute warm things.
10. Sidewalks and being able to comfortably stroll from point A to point B without breaking a sweat.

Yea, I miss Melbourne.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

teething days

no im not referring to that phase in a baby's life where their hands and fingers are constantly stuck in their mouths, drool dripping over everything nearby... but it is similarly awkward and a bit painful occasionally.
i am referring to my new life in a working environment with kpis to meet and the niggling feeling that i am not as good as everyone else, when i thought/dreamed/hoped i might be better.
i suppose teething phases in babies eventually end with the rupturing of teeth, but when am i supposed to know ive teethed on?

sigh. i would be much more depressed about this, i think, if i didnt have little baby and toddler hugs to distract me from gnawing and twisting knots in my stomach. so alhamdulillah for that.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


i go through phases of consciousness, a cycle of living in blissful ignorance and then a sudden paralysing realization--that i am not immortal.

a friend's fiancee was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, given weeks to months to live. we ask "did he seem ill?" no he did not. how did he find out? sudden headaches and a fainting spell. 
just a month ago, in his mind, he had a whole life to look forward to with my friend. now, the life will need to try and be lived within whatever time he has left. they are getting married in a few days. my heart breaks for my friend, but i am amazed at her courage, loyalty and love and pray that their marriage will last for eternity and hereafter. i suppose there is something to be said for muslim vows, where the bond does not part upon death.
my grandmother has had another series of strokes. each time she does, her memory suffers and her cognitive abilities. she is surrounded by devoted children, but she asks for her mother. nearing 100 years old, her peers have mostly long gone. she has raised 11 children, buried her husband, son (my dad) and two son in laws. when i look at her recent pictures i am shaken by how old she looks. she has always been "old" to me, but only recently did she ever look so terrified and lost. and i grasp just real old age is. and it will come to us all. if we are even lucky enough to survive that long. i feel guilty that i have not gone to see her recently. but i also realize i will just be another face she knows she doesnt recognize.

half an hour later: I receive news that my friend's fiancee has passed away. al fatihah.

so I will sit here and watch my kids sleep and think about that for a while.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

better with practice?

15th Feb 
10:00pm: Mild "fake" contractions began.

16th Feb 
1:00am: Woke up realizing the fake contractions were still happening and becoming more regular. Began timing on contraction app.
2:00am: Contractions timed at 5 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute long, for an hour. It's go time!
But is it? Self doubt seeped in, it's 10 days before the due date, what if this is a false alarm and I get sent home?
2:01am: Screw it, Azzahrah is 5 minutes away. Woke up Ikram who just went to bed after a Fargo marathon. He asked if it can wait until morning. Indignance seeps in. Heck no it can't wait until morning.
2:30am: At Azzahrah, the sleepy nurse looked at me like I am probably going to be sent back home. Hooked me up on the contraction machine and left.
2:45am: Machine confirmed I was having contractions, but only up to 35%. Nice midwife came in and checked me down there. 2cm dilated, cervix thin. Validation? Maybe. She called the doctor and then told us to check in. 
3:00am: Told that they will come back to check me after Subuh. Ikram looked like he was going to sleep standing up so we shared the bed. While he snored, I did breathing exercises to deal with the contractions. 
4:30am: Definitely real contraction. Had to fight the urge to kick sleeping Ikram.
6:30am: Nice midwife said I was 5-6cm dilated. Wheeled to labor room. Validation! But I couldn't care less because I was in paaaaaiiiin. 
6:35am: Nice midwife was replaced by evil old fat midwife who began to take every chance to poke and prod into my body with her chubby hand-- even when I was having brain exploding back breaking level contractions. (No I did not kick her in the face because unlike her, I am a human being.)
7:45am: Desire to take a big dump and to kick evil midwife in the face reached the pinnacle. Luckily the doctor and a million nurses came into the labor room and did a million useless things while I did all the work.
8:05am: Second or third push later, baby came out in a whoosh. I guess my fake contractions weren't fake after all. Welcome to the world darling Hamzah Arif!

All in all second time around seems eerily like the first time around, except it happened in a different hospital. Undoubtedly the first time was a much better experience, in no small way because I had the best midwife (Ms Reza). Never found out what evil midwife's name was, but she was definitely a reason I probably won't be going back to Azzahrah (or ever getting pregnant again). The hospital and doctors were good, room decent, nurses sweet and efficient, price reasonable. But seriously, terrible labor experience. Absolutely terrible. I can't remember if I cried giving birth to Omar, but I was quietly sobbing in between contractions in the labor room with Hamzah. Best part? After I was wheeled back to the room (first we were in a shared room while waiting for the single room to be free), I heard her talking to another lady in labor just behind the curtain and she was yapping about how labor is SUPPOSED to be painful or else its not labor, and don't cry bla bla bla. Seriously, if I didn't just go through labor and birthing, I would have reached across the curtain and smacked her face. Perempuan kurang ajar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

getting annoyed with people

 so i was skimming through FB via my usual proxy account and read a couple of posts from people I dont know that pissed me off. One person equated paying parents to take care of ones spawn as haram (apparently it is akin to making them orang gaji according this person), and a few people were weighing in on women posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding their infant.
My opinions on a lot of things are usually simple and guided by weighing cost vs benefit-- so usually I try not to have too many strong opinions. On the opinions that getting grandparents to take care of grandkids as haram, I want to laugh, scoff and yell at the same time. The things people make issues out of! I myself have relied on the kindness and generosity and HELP of my mother when taking care of my son alone in a foreign country seemed like an impossible task. Because my mother had her own bills to pay and dependents, and because she took unpaid leave, we tried our best to compensate monetarily. It was a temporary arrangement but one that contributed heavily towards me successfully getting my PhD. I am sure my mother too remembers her own time as a young parent, relying on the kindness of her mother in helping out with raising us. And I hope one day to be in the position where I can help my own children with their children if they ever need it. Ever heard of the saying it takes a village to raise a child? If not that, it certainly takes a family. (in fact the Prophet SAW was raised by his grandfather and uncle. of course he was orphaned but its the principle) Different people have different circumstances so keep your misguided opinions to
yourselves. If there were circumstances where the grown children were simply taking advantage of their aging parents, then that is their family's conflict and certainly Allah will judge them in kind.Now for breastfeeding selfies. Seriously have people seen the sort of selfies people take nowadays? some are just short of vulgar. Yang tu tak bising pulak. If a mom wants to post selfies of herself breastfeeding because she is the types who post selfies, thats her prerogative. Most breastfeeding techniques I know involve the nipple being in the childs mouth instead of being exposed (as some non breastfeeding selfies may be). Would it be as bad if she posted a selfie of her bottlefeeding her child? Such selfies are not for me personally, but I dont get what the fuss is about. The fact that people are making so much fuss about it just convinces me that society in general still cant accept the idea of women breastfeeding. It is still seen as something that should be done behind closed doors. As a former breastfeeding mom, and insyaallah soon to be one again-- trust me nothing makes me happier than to have the privacy to feed my child when he wants it without the prying or judgmental eyes of certain members of the public. Usually these members never have to experience 9months of pregnancy, 24hours of labor, then 6 months of breastfeeding every 2-3hrs with little rest in between, not to mention the stress and responsibility of being the sole nutritional provider of a very fragile precious human. These members never have to know the amount of energy and effort and thickness of skin that women and mothers need to have to deal with their bullcrap opinions. But I dont always have that leisure. And I know some people think breastfeeding should be done in the toilet if there isnt a parents room available--I have done that but out of courtesy to these less mature members of society, not because I believe my sons meals should be taken in a place where everyone else defecates and urinates. So give me a break when I quiet down my child out of consideration for YOU, even if it means you now publicly know the dirty secret that I am in fact A COW. 
**insert angry scream**
Seriously people, lets channel our energies into opinions that really matter, with tangible cost and second and third party harm--like when trusted leaders are squandering the country's wealth, or rape and child abuse still are rampant because the laws neither sufficiently protect the victim nor punish the offender. Wallahualam. 

Friday, January 01, 2016

is it really another new year

i must be getting older. 

my hips are wider, im due to have child(ren), i nag my son, i think about cost of living (and living well) and rising prices, gravity is my enemy, and i really cant be bothered to "usher in the new year". 

that said, im grateful to be where i am now with its ups and downs. i look forward to the things that may come in 2016 and hope i can rise to meet the challenges that face me. 

for example:
challenge #1 avoid throwing out my 8-month pregnant back trying to lift my son onto the toilet bowl every half an hour to an hour in this wonderful time called "potty training"

challenge #2 have another baby and take care of that one while also taking care of aforementioned (hopefully potty trained by then) son.

challenge #3 do my new job well while also raising aforementioned children  (who hopefully have the best possible arrangement for daycare by then)

challenge #4 keep my apartment within reasonable human standards while addressing challenges 1,2 and 3

challenge #5 keep my sanity and my ever long distance marriage somewhat intact while addressing the first four challenges. 

ey if malaysia boleh, i boleh okay.