Welcome. :)

Welcome to my blog. Here I share my successes and failures along my journey to becoming an anthropologist. My most prominent interest anthropologically are the new approaches to handing food security/healthy eating in the US, particularly in urban "food deserts". I enjoy the Anthropology of Tourism as well; combining food and tourism has scholarly promise. My other interests which have converted into anthropological hobbies of sorts include converts to Islam, diaspora of Muslims, and MENA in general. I also have some interest in historical archaeology.

I welcome comments, discussion and even respectful debating. I will however keep discussions to a respectable level. I reserve the right to ban anyone from this forum.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My faith

Alot of people ask me about my faith-or lack thereof. Basically, because I am a future anthroplogist, they assume that I am an atheist. I am no such thing.
I grew up a Catholic and questioned my faith from the time I was 16. I "became" a lutheran (thats blasphemous I guess...). That said, I felt more at home with Catholicism but in my heart, but I knew certain things could not logically be (wine and bread "turning into" body and blood of Jesus). I thought that would be cannabalistic. The first time I really felt 100% at home with religion was when I decided not to have a religion. I have lived in the Middle East and have been to Pakistan (quite conservative!) and more Muslim countries so my knowledge of Islam is fair, in my own opinion. I love Islam, I love the people (have a serious close connection to Pakistani's in particular) but I do not wish to "make the leap".
I am a big believer in the monotheistic God concept but do not find Judaism or Christianity to be my calling. I have a Christian husband who loves everyone and is not too conservative but really has a strong faith. I would not be sure how he would respond to me announcing I am Muslim (if I do).

Maybe my thoughts and feelings are just my way of finding a connection to the region of the world I am facinated with from an anthropological perspective....

veteran bloggers-need assistance

Ladies, I have no idea how to *really * personalize a blog. I am wondering how to add music, how to add my personal touch. I wanted to do this before the spring semester. I will be grateful for some help!

The Dude and the snake poop

My hubby (aka "The Dude") and I have 2 snakes. I love our snakes and take really good care of them including letting him (younger one is too small) for out time. Well, that was a mistake for us. We smelled something as we were watching a movie. I said "Dude, don't you smell that?? Archie did a dump". He said, "Uhh...yeah...gross". he had to deal with it. Household chores are all him including snake maintainence. :O The Dude cleaned it up and found Archie and put him up for the night.

On other notes, my sister has a dog named Rudy who bit her daughter. Her hubby asked if I want him. I only like dogs if they are not in my house. lol So...The Dude and I said no. :)


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

20,000 dialogues

I was just pecking away online, (something I can get lost doing when I am not in school!) when I came across this neat website http://www.dialoguesforpeace.org/aboutus.aspx about starting dialogues for peace between all faiths with the specific purpose of increasing knowledge about Islam/Muslims, etc. I think it is a brilliant idea! Check out the site. My idea is to bring this to UCF. One of my professors in the spring is Turkish so I am assuming he will like to help me organize this. Anyhow, check out the site and start your own dialogue for peace.

Other notes....I have two fun reads going now and of course they are Muslim world releated. One is even an ethnography of British muslim converts.

British Muslim Converts: Choosing Alternative Lives (Kate Zebiri)

Here is one you ladies may enjoy (albeit hard to find in the KSA?):
In the Land of Invisible Women: A female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Dr. Qanta A Ahmed
That last one revolves around a Muslim/British-Pakistani women who accepts a post abroad and she shares her experiences. Its a hefty book too! About 500 pages.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season
Eid Mubarak
Merry Christmas
Happy Hannakah

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grades are out!

My school posted my grades yesterday! Although it is not too much of a suprise, I am happy it is now official! I earned all A's this semester. I have a UCF GPA of 4.0. :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hodge Podge

Semester is all done, alhamdullilah! :) I know 2 out of 4 of my grades officially. I have 2 professors dragging their feet! I am pretty sure of A's in everything. I did earn a 94% in Human Species and a 97% in Sex, Gender and Culture! Cool beans! SOOO thrilled. I am sure of an A in my Peoples of the World and pretty sure in Cultural Anthropology (exam grades average 94%).

I have a neat schedule for the fall but am considering changing it so I can put behind me a class I am dreading.

Here is the current schedule:
Islam and its Empires (T/Th in the morning)
The Modern Middle East (T/Th early afternoon)
Magic, Ritual and Belief (online)
Nutritional Anthropology (Wend pm does not effect my ability to work)

I HAVE TO carve out time to be able to work during the week. thats just the way it is and thus, I cannot drop the online class for Human Origins (the class I am dreading) because then, I will be at school 5 (gasp!) days a week. As much as I LOVE school, this chica has to work (unfortunately).

If I drop the two classes in my minor, I will take M, W, and F classes and be able to work T/Th. Not good. I need to work more than 3 days a week (at least have the option). Sea World is my other job where I will only get 1 day iin the spring!

I think I know that I will end up keeping the schedule I have. I am betting on acing the next semester too so I hope for a high achievement scholarship for the fall (allow me to work less and go to school 5 days a week).


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Update on my progress in school

Hello everyone!

School is going very well. I am pretty much *finished* with this semester. I am avoiding an extra point paper just because I am, like I said *finished* (tired). I will do it however. I need about 5 points to ensure my 'A' status in Human Species. I will do a 2 page paper on one of my favority primates: the Siamang. They make some of the most beautiful sounds in the animal kingdom. Follow this site and click on 'play audio'.


I added my progess list to the left of the blog. I will update it as the semesters turn over. Once I am out of class (in December). I need to find a way to redo this blog. I want it to look much different than it does. I am just not one of those people who has the gift....


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Calling all Arab food chefs!

Can I please have a fabulous recipe for stuffed grape leaves and hummus. I am pretty much aware of the general ingredients but want an expert to help me out...

Thanks ladies ahead of time.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Iggy time!

My little man.....

I wonder who thought this was a good thing to do with iguanas.

I am finally free......

•Happy to finally be free of the nicotine poison!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Random thoughts of the day

*How in God's name can someone even THINK the GWB (George W Bush) way was the better way?

*I hope Omama doesn't fuck this up. The world is watching.

*Why is Obama supporting Isreal? Doesn't he know how painful the Palestinians have had it? Why can't we be neutral like Canada?

*Sea World blows. I hate it there.

*I am happy I met some awesome people from Jordan today at Sea World. Maybe they will put in a good comment for me. I doubt it.

*I miss my sister in Chicago

* I want to go to Harvard University for grad school.

*I want to take Arabic but I am scared. lol

Thats all for today.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Honor killings

I just read an article for my college class regarding honor killings in the Middle East. I have been aware of these for quite some time. I am familiar with how prevalent they are in Jordan and Pakistan (S. Asia) but how prevalent are they in the Gulf states? I hope someone call help me on this. Here is the exact posting I did for class. It is not supposed to be this long but....I could not help my wicked self. :) Is this an Islamically accepted practice?

It should come as no surprise that I chose article 28, ‘Arab Honor’s Price, A Woman’s Blood’ to comment on for this assignment. I have known about this issue for many years and I continue to be disgusted by actions men take upon women who make personal choices about their body. That said I know there are many cases where women do not make those choices and are made for them through rape. The article itself was written from a male point of view, which is quite different than many articles or writings on this topic that I have encountered. Many write about the facts of a specific honor killing case that happened. Obviously, we rarely hear from the women themselves unless they survive and make it to a free country to tell their story. Regardless, the article was well written and gave me some more insight into the Eastern male mind with regards to this practice.

From the start of taking introductory classes in anthropology, we, as anthropology majors are taught about ethnocentricism and for good reason. To be an anthropologist, it is imperative that we suspend as much judgment about other culture’s practices lest we could have skewed research. However, I will take exception to issues regarding human rights. Does that make me a poor candidate for a future as an anthropologist? I hope not.

Dr. Joseph Martos, a retired professor of Philosophy and Theology (who happens to be my uncle) wrote a discourse titled, ‘May God Bless America: George W. Bush and Biblical Morality’. In this book, among other things clearly distinguishes civil rights from human rights. Many lay people use these terms interchangeably and then meanings are not clear. According to Dr. Martos, “Civil rights are those rights that citizens have, and they are granted by law.”(2004:135) A good example would be The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s; African-Americans fighting for their civil rights to be treated as equal citizens. In contrast, “human rights, unlike civil rights, are those rights that all human beings have, and they are given (as the Declaration of Independence says) by God. Such rights are unalienable, that is, they cannot be taken away, although they can be violated.” (2004:135) He continues to explain in detail what human rights are. One of those examples is the right to life. (2004:135)

Countries within the Muslim world (Middle East and South Asia) do not give their citizens many civil rights and they continually violate human rights. Although I love the Muslim people and am fascinated by the region, I am also saddened by the justifications men give to violate the rights of their citizens, in particular women. In my view, just like Iraq may not understand or accept the concept of a Democracy because they are a tribal culture, they are very slow (if at all) with regards to letting go of the “tribal mindset” and continue to not reassess old customs that violate human rights by questioning their validity. How we, in the West help those who are suffering is a question that has yet to be answered.

The West hears about the negatives of the Muslim world on a daily basis so it is of no surprise to me that they would have the idea that all families commit such acts like honor killings. However, I read a wonderful book titled ’Standing Alone in Mecca’, by Asra Q. Nomani. Briefly, the book is about a Muslim woman of Indian descent who grew up in the USA and, as a writer for the Washington Post, had to travel to the Muslim region for stories. She had an affair with a Pakistani man and a child became of that union. She discussed the issue with the late Daniel Pearl and his wife while she struggled to make a decision (the man left after hearing about the pregnancy). She called the USA to tell her parents. With 10,000 miles separating them, she felt safe. Her parents, an educated pair, welcomed her back home with open arms. She is raising her son as a single mother, almost unheard of in the Muslim world. She then took her son to Mecca in KSA for Hajj. While it is difficult to compare her parents (educated and exposed to the West) with those in illiterate villages, educated Muslims in England and other Western countries report the “disappearance” of women from the Muslim population.

To close, I will mention that in my own view, this is not a case of educated vs. uneducated. It is much more complex than that. I would love to possibly study this further as my career develops.

References Cited:

Martos, Joseph J. 2004 May God Bless America: George W. Bush and Biblical Morality Tucson: Fenestra Books

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Victory speech


I am so PROUD of my countrymen/women!!!!

Those of you who voted for Mr. Obama, hats off to you!!! Now, I do not have to move to Canada!! :O LOL I am so happy! Obama has passion. he is young, energetic and really, really smart!

Now the real work begins for you Mr. President...the world is watching...


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Husbands are wonderful...sigh....

At least mine is. He has his ways but mostly, he is a doll. He is thoughtful. Case in point: he almost always does the dishes and if I cannot do the cooking, he will do his best there as well. He is thoughtful in ways that make me tear up like suprising me with having the laundry done and the living room cleaned.
My honey is patient as well. One of his best qualities btw. In addition, he will befriend anyone no matter what "class" they are...meaning he does not think he is better than anyone.

School is not hard just overwhelming with the volume of work. Still making 'A''s.

I know I am not posting meaningful items. I want to but my time is sooooo limited. I think I will have to soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

focusing on a specific topic

I have not posted in a while and of course it is due to my busy schedule with the combination of work and school. I find school fun but sometimes I am stressed only due to the amount of reading that needs to happen by a deadline. Other than that, things are easy. I am getting straights 'A's' which is cool. I was watching a show called 'Good Eats' last night and most people know what that show is. I like his way of combining food science with fun but sometimes he adds a different element. Last night, it was on pancakes and a Food Anthropologist was on the show talking about American Indian's and their way of making corn cakes on hot rocks. I thought that it was a very cool segment!!!

That said, I now have another direction I may go into but still stick with Middle Eastern Studies. I may want to diversify to Food Anthro. I used to be in food science so this is a natural progession. There is a school in Indiana that focuses on Food Anthropology. I have so many decisions I need to make. I am hopefully going to take Nutritional Anthropology next semester to see how I like it. I am also taking 2-3 classes in my minor.


Friday, October 10, 2008


I was at my lousy job yesterday and was able to meet a nice couple. The husband had a Harvard University shirt on. I asked if he is a professor. He confirmed it. Seemed very down to earth. He told me if I can get in, there is money at that school to be had in terms of paying my way through. Its 35,000 roughly for the first year of grad school. Ouch. Add that to living in the Boston area and one is in for a shock. Not really. I am from Chitown. :)

I think I need "I can get into Harvard" confidence. I did poorly in college back in the day but I have improved greatly mainly due to my age/maturity and also my deep desire to do well. I have a nagging voice in my head that I am not Harvard material. The other voice tells the first one to quiet down.......

Other choices include University of Arizona, UCLA, University of Michigan (if I get moving on my Arabic...).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Book sale

For all those who know me, know I love books. So much that I will use my last dollar on a book. Today, my DH (dear husband) and I went to a Friends of the Library Book Sale. They were my friend today! :) I did not find too many novels but found an awesome dictionary, a writers guide, some cookbooks and books for the kids (my nephew and my brand new niece). My husband found some sci-fi. Not my cup-o-tea! :) I found a book called The Cultural Literacy Guide (or something like that). I didn't buy it though. Good thing we managed a run to the car after the sale. There was a art festival (where we bought nothing!) next door. We hung out, and I made myself sick on funnel cake. Goodness, I ate almost the whole thing. Do NOT send me nutritional info on that. I am not interested. :) It's a tradition after the book sale.

School is going well. I am still an 'A' student. I still have one class I am not liking but that is par for the course at some point in school.......

I wikll write some more posts that have some depth to them. I am really busy these days (like the rest of the world huh??).
peace out, anthrogeek10

Friday, October 3, 2008

I need a housecleaner

I really do. Donations are accepted. I try and close my eyes and tune out things when I am home. This sucks.


I am so irritated. I know I shouldn't be though. My husband is a wonderful, loving man. No doubt. Problem now is that Sea World, where he works (I do too) cut his hours to 3 days. Umm...thats not good. He needs a JOB that pays a living wage. Since he is off for 4 days out of the week, I was hoping he would take the initiative to clean the place. Umm..no. Guess not. I ask him to do dishes and what not and he DOES do them. His standards are not up to mine. Most of the women know what I mean. A friend of mine gave me the number of a housecleaner. I am tempted to use her. I go to school and take 4 classes and work more now that we need the money. next week is full time school and full time work fun. I canceled a sub job today due to the fact that I have homework due by the end of the day. Plus, I need to buy a printer at Office Max. I need one.

My apartment, on another note is driving me batty. They have major plumbing ussues regularly and shut our water off regularly. If not all the water, then just the hot water. They leave notices when it suits them. I don't get these notices on our door. Its rediculous. I complained but he was condescending to me and I told him so!! Big ass. I almost want to move but electric is included in our rent. Florida=hot=air=high electic bills. We also have snakes. The iguana is not with me now due to our small place but one day......

Off to do an assignment. I am taking The Human Species and they are discussing mammalian traits....all things I know already, which is a change!

peace out...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Started once again!!

I have started once again blogging. I have jettisoned all my old ones and will use this one as a way to vent, talk about my college career. Speaking of careers, can college be a career? :) Not very lucrative I know. Actually a few of my goals are to buy a home somewhere UNincorporated AND is zoned for a reptile sanctuary. Yup folks. I love them all with scales.

There have been some women who have inspired this blog renaissance. of mine. They are all bloggers.


and last but not least....


Alright, those are my only 5 regular blogs I read. I am sure there are more than that with value.

About school...I graduated from http://www.valencia.edu/ with my A.A this past year. I am now at http://www.ucf.edu/। I like it and I don't. My focus is culture with a minor in MidEast Studies. I am not keen on one of my classes. His classes are umm....non inspiring. I love my other classes however. Taking People's of the World, Cultural Anthropology, Sex, Gender and Culture and The Human Species. I was signed up for Islamic Thought and Culture but dropped it. The Professor said he was from heaven. That is true but seriously, I had no time for it. Parking is a BEAR at my school so a 1:30 pm class is just not going to happen unless I get down there by 7:00 am. lol

Well, that's all for now folks. I am back to the study grindstone. I may complain about my apartment complex tomorrow. lol I have current issues!!

Peace out...