Monday, February 27, 2006

"The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood" - Buddha

Tee left this comment on my previous post: "All the little things we do that affect others can be so debilitating. On the other hand - the little things we do can positively affect people's lives forever as well. Who knows if the smile you gave that stranger at Wal-Mart was the one nice gesture they received on the day they had nearly decided to commit suicide? You never know"

I thought of her comment today as Kashif and I confirmed our tickets to Rio! Amiji please don't frown as you read these words. I love you. Really. But 9 weeks trudging to class four hours a day or... Rio in the midst of the Atlantic rainforest sitting sea side pondering deep thoughts? Did I mention the mangoes? Well, the lady who booked our tickets was so nice. We had a great conversation (I'll forgive her for the scary Rio stories) and I hung up from talking to a complete stranger with a smile on my face. This postcard is from postsecret and I felt so eloquently pointed out that indeed it's true. Your smile, your kind gesture could indeed have effects you'll never realize but never the less powerful.

But what of the words spoken by those we trust in to use their weapon carefully. A friend once eloquently explained his difficulty getting close to others "when I decide to trust someone, to open up to someone, it's me putting my heart in my hands, cradling it carefully and placing it on the floor beside them. They can turn and step upon it, they can pick it up and cradle it. It's frightening to be this vulnerable" My heart has been crushed as many times as it's been cradled by another. Just as random people can hurt, those you know more can wound you more. Sometimes we hold on to such people because of blood, old times sake, but whatever the reason, if a person hurts more than they help. It's time to let it go.

And those we love, and love us in return, we must hold tight to us. For some reason it's the ones we love the most we treat the most unjustly. Somehow we persist in the belief that there will be a tomorrow to apologize or to give the hug. My mother told me that last night, her cousin in Pakistan passed away in her sleep. A healthy woman of middle age went to bed and never woke up. Ahmed an MC at my friend's wedding passed away two weeks ago in his early thirties and yesterday my dear friend's aunt finally lost the battle to liver cancer.... How many people didn't say sorry before the Tsunami, Katrina, the Earthquake took away the opportunity forever. How many people are living with regret for not having loved them while they were here. When it comes down to it, you can not say with certainty that tomorrow will be what you think. It's not worth it to hang up the phone in anger, to roll your eyes and walk away from the ones you love the most. Life is much too short. A few years ago a quote from the Autograph Man by Zadie Smith stopped me in my tracks. A man who no longer fought with his wife said "He had been surprised to discover that when you subtract the rows, what you are left with is love, a huge amount of it, leaking out of you." If you're honest with yourself you know what you're probably arguing over is not worth it, in the end you will reconcile, embrace the love and release the hate towards the ones you love the most because in the end love is all there really ever was. I think I finally understand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The chickens- they died**

This Teflon thing. I *just* bought two beautiful pots coated in the stuff. I heard about the Teflon warnings, posted about it before actually. But the ever consistent ostrich that I am, I told myself it couldn't be that bad. But then my mother stopped using them. Ordinarily, Ami ji scoffs at such news. "Ehvay pay marray nay" (they just say it). But she switched. Then I heard from a reliable source at the CDC that a study found chickens hanging out near people cooking on Teflon pans, died from exposure. No they weren't cooked in the pans. Just hanging out near the pans. Why? I don't know. That is beside the point. Chickens died people. Meet Aisha the ostrich who has had her head yanked cruelly by the tips of her cute feathers out of the sand and made to face the horror... the horror. What do I do with the Teflon pans? Do I donate them? "So I found out these pans cause cancer and thought I'd give them to those who can't afford anything else" But they're lovely. They cost good money. Throwing them in the trash just feels.. wrong? I'm so conflicted. Any advice? Maybe attach a sticky note with warning?

Diet Coke. At a restaurant? "can I have a diet coke" Between classes? "think I'll go grab a diet coke" before a sunday movie "can you grab the diet coke from the fridge?" *sigh* Yep the stuff they put in Diet coke and many other artificially sweetened drinks cause cancer. My two most favorite things in the world cause cancer. I love Diet Coke. Love it. Love it more than regular coke. It's a part of my life but it too causes cancer. Reliable sources confirmed it. Reliable sources spoil all the fun. This actually really bugs me. It's something I drink on a daily basis. What do I drink now? Water? Which brings me to my next point..

Bottled water is a sham. My old roomate's dad worked for the state in water regulation and told us a little secret many years ago that bottled water is not necessesarily cleaner than tap water. I never bothered with the bottled water thing. But then I read a Civil Action this past winter and basically the book is about a lawyer suing companies who knowingly polluted wells in a small Mass. town causing high rates of cancer in children. True story. So then I thought DARN, gotta drink bottled water. But new studies confirm what I knew many years ago. It's not as regulated and not that much better. I know some people drink bottled water exclusively.. I was planning to start, at least one news isn't so sad for me.

**Edited to add: Aforementioned reliable source read this post and called me to correct the study information. The chickens were mentioned as an example but it was birds of all types dying near the Teflon, not just the chickens. Thank you reliable source. And btw- takes everything in me to say "reliable source" as opposed to "a little bird told me" I have an awful sense of humor. *sigh**

On a serious note, I know people struggling with cancer. Bless them for their bravery and the bravery of their family members. Please take my gripes with a grain of salt. They are in jest. The pain of cancer, obviously far worse than scrubbing with SOS pads and drinking tap water. I hope that's obvious, but incase it wasn't, wanted to spell it out.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Meeting Madiha

Friday I met a former student. It's strange how a few months can change perceptions so much. I stopped by the stores near their home that I went to dozens of times before when I taught there... I saw the homeless man who fixed my tires and slept in the car wash, the old Somali lady buying tens upon tens of lotto tickets, in her niqab, desperately filling out the cards hoping tonight would be the night...The Publix employee who told me to have a nice day and when he smiled, not a tooth to speak of, the kids braiding hairs on their porch steps blasting music from their car... This was once normal. Now it felt strange. I was an outsider looking into what was once understood.

There are some students who remain a part of you. Madiha was such a child. Afghani refugees, her and her brother came to the US last year speaking not a word of English but excited and motivated to learn. I remember when she finally learned the alphabet "Baji if you keep teaching me like this and I keep learning like this... I'll be a doctor in no time!" I knew that Madiha would probably get up to speed, she was younger and had some prior schooling but her older brother worried me. He grew up wandering the bazaars of Islamabad selling chai. Without any background and so close to middle school how could he learn what he'd missed the past six years?

I never met two children with so much wisdom and self respect. "We're fine, our house is big. we have a stove and bathroom." I remember because of a glitch in paperwork the school was not giving her lunch. One day she noticed that though I paid the cashier... I never took any food. I will never forget how her face reddened with shame when she realized I was buying her lunch. In tears, she refused to eat insisting she wasn't very hungry. I could only make her eat on one condition, once she became a doctor she would give me checkups on the house.

This past Friday after six months, I saw them again. Though they weren't expecting me their house was immaculate. Nine people in one small apartment and not a stray shoe or toy to be seen. Before I could even take off my shoes one of the sisters about my age rushed to prepare tea while the other arranged snacks despite my protests to the contrary. I showed them a game I brought explaining that it was probably a bit advanced but in time they would read it better. Imagine my shock when Muhammad... with barely a year of schooling under his belt read the back of the box "How many states can you find? With this game learn the capitals, landmarks, and fun trivia of all fifty states. Play now" This boy a former tea vendor with no schooling who did not know the letters a from d just 9 months earlier... Eagerly showed me his report card and read me excerpts from his favorite story explaining why the potato famine intrigued him so much..

He told me his family wanted him to work when he turned 16 but he would only work once he graduated from college. Turning to me he explained "I'm going to be an engineer but I need to get scholarships so I have to do really good in school. Then I'll make enough to support my family, I heard engineers can make up to 1,000 a month" His eyes widened in sheer disbelief when I told he may make three or four times that.

Selfishness takes many forms. In their success I find joy. In giving, I gain.I walked away on a sheer high. A mixture of pure happiness that they were succeeding, relief that it wasn't too late, and hope that their future could be what they dreamed. They are brave heroes, embodying the American dream that anything is possible if you work like hell to get it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cute Aisha Hippo

Weather affects mood. It is decidedly so. Today was the sort of day that you go to check the mail, and find yourself minutes later standing in the driveway in your PJ's with your eyes closed feeling the warmth of the sun, the slow cooling breeze feeling... ultimate peace. It's the type of weather that makes you smile all day. Think deep thoughts. And think well of everyone. I heard that Southern California is like that very single day. Would I apepreciate it less if it was like this every day? I wondered this when I went to California and felt my heart wanting to leap out of my chest as I saw the mountains, the valleys, the ocean... if I lived here.. would it just wash over me, unfazed? Oh and maybe because of the fact that I'm finally sort of figuring out which direction I want to head in my life is also making me quite pleased :). I will share this in a later post..

So since I have a smile on my face, thought it only fair to share. My counter tells me what searches people use to get here. Some are funny. Some peculiar. Maybe they're only amusing to me? Do you notice the odd animal theme? In anycase, enjoy :)

Aisha the Giraffe- Uh..
Aisha Monkey- HEY!
Silly Monkey Aisha- *sniff*
Odd Monkey Aisha- *okay...*
Cute Aisha Hippo
Dead Aisha- I get this A LOT. That's just creepy!
Does Kashif love Aisha- Yes.
Is Kashif cheating on me with Aisha
I love Kashif- Watch it sistah
Kahlula Recipe- probably from this. Sorry. Desi for nap, not drink.
Mitch Hedberg quotes-he's indeed funny, here's a more useful link
Santa Fe Cheesecake Recipe<- If you find it please share..
Mean bosses wear prada<- this searcher made me feel so much less alone.

PS: Someone asked me why the random roses. Firstly, they're pretty! Second, they're from our California trip.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

“Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties” - Jules Renard

Valentines day. I looked at it with suspicious disdain growing up. What is it but a loud reminder to a pink confetti soundtrack that you are a) alone b) with someone too daft to get good dinner reservations three months in advance? Surely the latter has ended many a romance in full bloom. Call me the Scrooge of Valentines Day but why show my love on one particular day of the year more than any other? But then again, why not? A nice steak at Morton's followed by the best chocolate cake in the world in Kashif's company is welcome any day of the week, any day of the year.

Please forgive the cheese with a side order of cheese, but many years ago I read this poem by Khalil Gibran... utterly befuddled. I now understand the wisdom of his words and share with you my favorite poem on the ever exhausted subject of love.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Top Ten Peeves- in no particular order

Got this idea from Mommyblogr! It's all in good fun, come, let us commiserate together :)

1. Slurpers. Be it tea. coffee. or cereal. It's my nails across the chalkboard. I remember in a very Seinfeld-esque moment wondering if my husband would slurp his cereal. In horror I could picture as I sat across him during breakfast day after day as he slurped his breakfast for eternity. Luckily, Kashif doesnt really eat breakfast, unless its tea in a foam cup to go and luckily he is not a tea slurper. Seeing as we drink tea quite regularly, this indeed would have posed a problem. Never-the-less this slurping sitation seriously impedes in my coffee shop studying or doodling as many of you out there are indeed slurpers!

2. Swervers. You know who I'm talking about. People driving 80 miles an hour on the highway. on their cell phones. Giggling and laughing.. and swerving into other lanes without checking. This happens to me at LEAST three times a week. Me thinks I should purchase the Mission Impossible soundtrack for the driving drama. Is this kind of driving an thing? a cell phone thing? .

3. Bathroom talkers. I speak of those on their cell phone while using public restrooms. Loudly. Firstly, the lack of privacy in public bathrooms is awkward anyways why complicate it with loud discussions of how your boyfriend lost his job while in the stall? I know we lead busy lives but surely you can find some time to talk on the phone outside of your public bathroom moments? Sanitary? Gack!

4. Public Confiders. The student who raises their hand and proceeds to tell us their entire personal life story including their time in drug rehab and their mom's pill addiction while we sit quietly blushing for you. Oh and people on cell phones while you're waiting for class to begin, like Anisa said.. and they are talking loudly about the check that bounced or the divorce attorney's opinion on the custody hearing while everyone sits there... horrified. *I'm noticing a cell phone theme here*

5. Loud Typers. Goodness sakes. Are you trying to beat the thing into submission? Seriously. The worst part is when the teacher is on a tangent sharing how her dog had puppies and you're clicking away loudly, totally outing yourself as surfing or chatting online.

6. Baby Trumpers: You know what I'm talking about. They ask, "so how are you, been busy?" and before you can say "Well.." they interrupt with a gleeful "Wait till you have kids! You don't know tired yet. I know tired. You do not." 40 plus hours a week teaching, 4 night classes, weekends cramming. Whoops. How dare I say I'm tired? C'mon! People sans kids can get tired too. Really!

7. Random Messengers: I put my msn messenger screen name on the side bar thinking I'll get in touch with friends I dont talk to enough, and maybe getting to chat with some of you cool folks in blogosphere, so have talked to a few of y'all and its jolly good fun. It is not you whom I speak of... It's the people who add me without a prior shout out, and then proceed to IM me... AND refusing to tell me who they are. C'mon think about it? Is that cool? It's happening to such a degree now that each time I log into msn I have five new "additions" of people who refuse to name themselves .... me thinks the screen name shall go. * Edited to add: I'm not talking about anyone who added me generally.. just a specific group who barrage me with messages but when I ask who it is, refuse to say*

8. Black and Whiters: Life is shades of gray. There are two sides to almost every story. Inevitably those of the black/white mentality are rather adamant on their view and not quite tolerant of the different persepectives. Infact, they can be quite mean. In the words of the famous bumper sticker: Mean People Suck.

9. LIB who fancy themselves SIB. Not only is it wrong- it's truly shameful really. Remember SIB is not where you came from.. it's who you are. *solemn nod* (Asim and Kashif this one was for you! :)) ... sorry that one probably made no sense to anyone.

10. Jonesters, Hoity Toities, Fakers: Jonesters: Materialistic people who think there's something seriously wrong if youre not. Fakers: nothing about them is real so they presume likewise of you. These are the ones you think you can depend on because they fake so well.. but when it comes down to it.. they are the last ones who will show up. Hoity Toities a befuddling combination of both. In the words of a friend of mine who sums up encounters with such people succintly: Boo!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Random tidbits... bits and bobs

Summer Plans. Thank you all sooo much for your advice regarding what to do this summer. Though the plan isn't set in stone yet... I've narrowed it down.. If I do a summer abroad it will be in *drum roll*: Brazil! It wasn't easy to decide but once you guys helped me see the pros and cons I started weighing how important certain things were for me... such as non stop flight to Rio compared to Austria which would be Atlanta => Texas => New York => Paris => Vienna => hop on train to => Linz. not to mention flights are booked to capacity for Austria but Kashif can easily visit me in Brazil... plus the program in health and enivironmental law is more up my alley, and the professor is nice...and my heart draws me to Brazil. As I said before, ocean + Aisha = very happy Aisha. If I think with my heart, Rio is hard to resist. Though I've picked the city I'm still not sure if i'm going. It depends on if I can get a good employment opportunity that won't allow a split summer.. then the good employment supercedes... even if it means nine weeks of summer classes trudging to school as opposed to four weeks studying by the ocean. :(

I read this about blogging. The writer said when writing, think about your audience but write for yourself. If I think about it... really think about it.. it's intimidating... the type of stuff writer's blocks are made of. How would I define what I write? Should I be able to define it? Do you come to read about something in particular? Should I pick a genre? Am I overthinking? *sigh* head hurts now.

And... since the post forewarned of random bits and bobs.. here's a video sent via my equally random brother (he's not in the video.. quite unsure where he found it) Warning: It's funny. You will laugh. at it. And maybe if you're not desi it's just creepy odd.... Maybe I laughed because it reminded me of Michigan State's MSA skits.. or maybe the hour is late... But.. you've been forewarned!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A conversation I will never have...

Every day when I put my books in my locker, my lunch in the fridge and sit on the couch to review for class I see you and him. Last year I thought you were a student. But you never have a bookbag. or books. I see him in class, but not you. No, you always sit in the same chair glowing on his arrival and wilting at his departure. Once I studied in the lounge for four hours, the entire time you sat by yourself, hunched over, looking down, flipping a magazine or playing with your cell phone. Four hours! Is this a probation requirement? Are you unable to find work? Does he force you to come? Or are you jealous and keeping watch? Is it wrong for me to feel sorry for you? Afterall, what's wrong for me may be right for you. Don't you have the right to keep him company between classes and read US Weekly? But I can't help but think of what some would give to have the choices you are choosing not to take. Then again- I don't know you. Perhaps you're an artist waiting for inspiration or a writer seeking a muse. But its over a year now, day after day.... though I am a random soul in the masses, and though my eye may have accidentally caught yours only once I wish I could ask you, Why do you stay in prison when the door is wide open?

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Quartet Meme

I was going to post about the captain leaving his sinking ship in Egypt. (Which Emory wrote about quite well) And the intensifying Muslim reaction to the Danish cartoons but.. I decided on a fun post. After all, Baji tagged me. When your baji tells you to do something, you must comply! [p.s.: Ali/Aamir: elmo balloon? still up. The digital is dead or I'd upload it for your viewing pleasure] [p.s.s: To those who've heard the familiar lament, I am finally nose-ring-less. Nail clippers were involved. I miss it. ]

Four Jobs I’ve Had in My Life... so many to choose from!
1. The Gap. I was 16. And spent every last cent on Gap apparel.
2. Teacher. of which I wrote about here. here. here. and here.
3. Freelancer for the Orlando Sentinel
4. Borders sales clerk.

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over, and Have
1. Sound of Music. on a cold winter night. curled up in a blanket. with tea.
2. Pyasa. the older i get the more its truth is realized in my life.
3. Office Space. anytime. anywhere.
4. Any Meg Ryan romantic comedy.

Four Places I Have Lived
1. Florida
2. Michigan
3. Maryland
4. Georgia

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch
1. King of Queens
2. Felicity Reruns
3. Curb Your Enthusiasm
4. Desperate Housewives

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation
1. Turkey
2. Puerto Rico
3. Paris, France
4. Vancouver, Ca.

Four Books I Love
1. The Quran
2. The Alchemist- by Paul Coelho
3. Veronika decides to die- by Paul Coelho
4. Most anything by Nick Hornsby because he's funny

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Blog line up
2. course websites
3. Yahoo news
4. my e-mail

Four Favorite Foods
1. Anything chocolate based
2. Chanai
3. Good ole fashioned burgers
4. Santa Fe Salad (from Cheesecake factory)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
1. anything near an ocean
2. be it California
3. or Puerto Rico
4. or Florida

Four People Whom I Tag Next
1. I know so many people have already been tagged
2. Mommyblogr, Tee, Huda, Jane, Mia, Shabs, Mezba, Anisa. Ali Sohni TDH have you done it?
3. If not
4. Tag! you're it! :) <--words as a child I never got to say.... I never was able to successfully tag anyone. *sigh* another story for another day I suppose :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

About the Danish situation....

I usually try to think of both points of view so when I first heard of the story of the Danish paper publishing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad I wondered if they just didnt realize how offensive this is. Jesus is depicted on broadway and ridiculed on shows such as Family Guy in ways that considering he's MY beloved Prophet as well makes me cringe in discomfort.... (Which by the way why aren't Muslims worldwide in outrage when depictions of Jesus are shown in most insulting ways? He is a Prophet too?) So initially I thought perhaps the cartoons were similar depictions and an honest mistake they didn't realize the enormity of.

Then I saw the pictures. If they weren't trying to antagonize Muslims then I dont know what their aim was. With the exception of one, there was no political message. It felt like a seemingly straight laced bully who knew they could antagonize the Muslims knowing their reactions would only come around to hurt them since the world already sees them as barbaric. The malice bothers me more than the actual depiction and I see the cartoon for what it is. bait. They knew what would happen and wanted it. Muslims have such a lowly status in most of the world that their reaction would just be seen with raised eyebrows and "look at those crazy Muslims" backed up with a healthy discussion of "Freedom of Speech"

But.. Muslims shouldn't be so quick to take the bait. We need to respond civilized (such as BBCD, and Mezba discussing on a website), writing letters, boycotting, peacefully protesting. We should not give them media clips of the crazy Muslims running through the streets amock. But I know I can't realize the extent of desperation of the impoverished Danish Muslims with little opportunity for upward mobility for whom this action is the straw that breaks the camel's back. The frustration is complex but at the same time I cringe seeing them dance the dance the Danes want. The flag burning, rioting, just gives the media more clips of the barbaric Muslims without a look at the real pain they feel. Can you imagine debate over whether its okay or not to put insulting racist images against Jews, or Black people? Infact in much of Europe there are anti-semitism laws. Why is the focus on who we demean and not what we say to people that is demeaning?

When I heard about Qurans defecated upon in Guantanemo Bay it made my stomach hurt but then I took a step back and thought. This is God we're talking about. He's bigger than all the games we play. He's bigger than the people doing this. One day we will answer for all of our deeds and we will be asked by Him. A Muslim should not desecrate a Bible nor a Christian a Quran. Isn't respect and tolerance and PEACE something that all religions teach at their very core? Whatever faith you practice surely looking at what is going on in our world today with people of all faiths in arms over their religion. You have to wonder what does God think of it? Does He approve of people murdering, raping, pillaging in His name? Rationalizing their atrocities on His behalf? Whatever faith you are, whatever God is to you personally, surely He does not approve of ANY of this. And though we must take steps in this life to change what is happening in this life we also need to remind ourselves of a basic belief that on the day of Judgement we will answer. He is the best Judge. We need to rememeber that as we keep perspective.

"I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way And there was nothin' anyone could do or say Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school. I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem And there'll be no barricades then There'll be no wire or walls And we can wash all this blood from our hands And all this hatred from our souls And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem..." - Steve Earle

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Say it aint so!

Researchers have raised the danger alert of my beloved Teflon non stick pans from "possible carcinogen" to "likely". I dont know how many of you cook but pans other than non stick? They stick! When they were at "possible" I shrugged it off... but now *sigh* Guess I better break out the SOS pads and get ready for hour long scrubbing sessions.

And Bush tells us we're addicted to oil. Dear President Bush quite respectfully I did try public transportation. I faithfully left two hours before each class and parked my car and took Ms. Marta all the way to the city. Sure I had to switch twice and wait thirty minutes for each train to show up but I did it... but you know what? The city's roads could have been designed just as well by a six year old, and that goes for public transportant too. After a few months of waking up two hours earlier and coming home two hours later... I honored surah asr and decided that my time was a wee bit precious and yes I resumed my addiction for oil. I just couldn't resist. It felt too good. Perhaps I need oil addicted anonymous? Instead of scolding us for oil addiction, how about a scolding to the oil companies raking in record high profits because of their money addiction?

While a postal employee... went postal. I went to the post office today to pick up some two cent stamps and mail off my query letters and I couldn't help but look closer at the employees. I mean "going postal" comes from somewhere right? What is it? Why are you so unhappy? My cashier seemed sweet and content with his job. Even told me to have a great day with a smile like he meant it?

But to end on a good note, a group of Japanese men upset at the rising divorce rates in the nation have developed "The Doting Husbands Association. The group urges men to improve the marital mood through five "golden rules" including going home early, calling wives by their given name (instead of just saying you) and looking them in the eyes when talking. How sweet. Wives looking for a good Valentines Gift? Perhaps a years membership? ;-)