Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Canada (act 3) :: At the sprinkler park

My sister's new place in Canadian suburbia-- was ( and I'm assuming still is) walking distance to a super-cool sprinkler park. We were there almost every day. Getting wet, blowing dandelion wishes and swinging away...


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Canada II :: At the farm

So instead of nonstop ramblings about three weeks spent in Canada, I thought to spare myself and you guys-- I'll let the photos do the talking for me, with a few comments here and there... The photos are broken down into themes that I'll be sharing with you every once and a while.

Towards the end of our visit, we found this cute little farm in the middle of down town Toronto in a lovely little neighborhood ( that we were on the verge of relocating our entire family to) called " Cabbage town"... It gained it's interesting name 'cause you probably guessed it. Yes it was settled by the Irish.
It was the custom for Families to have their vegetable gardens in their back yards and their flower gardens in the front. In the great depression though, the Irish replaced their flower gardens with cabbages. Hence the cool name. (Who wouldn't want to live in a place called cabbage town?)

*The last Photo: we found ourselves in a swampy area, I was taking a photo of the swamp and saw this neat little turtle, so I magnified as much as the Camera would allow me to without distorting the whole ordeal.


Monday, September 28, 2009

C'mon Fall

Do you smell it? ...maybe you still don't smell it-- the leaves are falling, but they haven't accumulated enough to rot, and give you that fall-y musty smell. But you see it- don't you... creeping up on us. The days shriveling and the nights stretching. The trees changing-- giving us a final spectacle of color before they shed their leaves and stand shamelessly naked. Flashing their dark trunks and branches against their pale background.

I have to say Fall is definitely my favorite season. I like to call it the Hijab (headscarf) friendly season. Not too cold for over-bundling; yet cool enough to actually enjoy covering one's self.

I don't know which part of the globe you're at right now. I don't know if fall has caught up on you or is still being shy and playing hard to get. No worries-- every thing has it's weak spot. And fall's weak spot is, time... Just give it time. Even if its a mild fall at your end, you can still rejoice it's arrival. Because this means that it will no longer be hot and sticky-- It means you get to stay in a little bit longer. Eat hot meals and re-connect with loved ones.

If you happen to experience a full parade of seasons like at our end. Then you'll be familiar with some of the activities and spectacles we're having right now.

Today, our family celebrated the arrival of the season without even knowing-- my subconscious mind decided and I followed-- I realized by the end of the day, that today has been the perfect autumn day for me and the girls ( I'm assuming) so far. I've been meaning to do something special for the Autumnal Equinox (Which was 6 days ago in-case you're wondering.) but first: found out too late when it was, and second: was still in the Eid celebration zone.

Today though, the temperature was hovering around sixty, and the sun was hiding behind some promising clouds that never fulfilled their promise. The wind on the other hand fulfilled what the clouds failed to achieve, it swooshed and howled and made the trees dance and swirl.

We too danced and swirled at the end of the day on some Lisa Hanningan tunes. We made sure to wear our swirly skirts( over our pj's) and ran off all that sugar from the pumpkin pie that we had for dinner ( didn't I tell you we celebrated here!) The house boomed with laughter and the scent of the spicy air flirted with our noses, swirling around us as we swirled around our kitchen island.

We celebrated-- a day spent outdoors, collecting red maple leaves-- completed art projects and hung them in-front of our windows for display. We baked in the morning,

baked in the afternoon and did some more before evening set in.

Hope this season finds you well, wherever you are:)


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Photo of the day:: Old timey

We were invited yesterday, to our Bosnian friends Aqiqa party ( an Islamic traditional party, for a new born, where the parents pick a healthy animal and slaughter, and cook it, and share it with friends, family and the needy) in a beautiful laid back Chicago suburb called Gray's lake. The trip was about an hour drive from our place-- totally worth it.

The beautiful house where the party took place at, is anchored on a slight hill right by the lake. Overlooking a small slanted downhill yard, equipped with nice wooden swings, ladders and a giant, but thankfully screened trampoline ( you don't want to jump right into that muddy lake).

The whole ambiance felt like a scene from a forgotten Era. Complete with old eastern European( I'm assuming) table linens. And french country style furniture and wall hangings.

All three generations share this lovely place, which is something not very common in this day and age.

We all had a fantastic time, even though I pushed myself a little too hard and now my nose needs rubber plugs to stop the drainage! ( If you didn't decipher that, I was trying to say I have a cold and my nose is runny beyond comprehension)

We also came out with a new food experience::

It is official now-- my hubby's new favorite food comes from the Bosnian kitchen. So if you happen to be a Bosnian or know of nice Bosnian cook books, please direct me there.

My favorite conversation of the day was::

Bosnian hostess: "So which one is your husband, again?"

Me: " The only white Guy out there"

Bosnian hostess: " Oh, the one that keeps on saying how much he loves Bosnian food!"

Me: " Smiling"

Hope you're enjoying your weekend, and finding some good food ( hopefully Bosnian) and good company, a long your way.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Canada :: Part uno!

Here's the Canada post that my brain has been avoiding...

A note about Canada::

Well, don't let anyone fool you into thinking that Canada is just like America-- it's not... they might have similar landscapes, the same language ( if you're in the English speaking side) and are on the same continent. But let's just clear this once and for all. Canada and America are two different countries, with different cultures, norms, people and all that follows in how these things work.
( you guys are probably all thinking, well duh! of course! Yes. I know, the above paragraph was more or less for me. Unless you happen to think like me. Then, it's for you too!)

Canada was tough!
I have never been that exhausted in my entire life...

I was dropped off with my two, under three years old daughters- by a very patient husband, who spent almost the entire month of Ramadan away from his family. I went more or less for moral support for my very pregnant sister, who was in the middle of moving her pregnant self along with her 9 year old daughter, from one country to the next, followed by moving from neighborhood to the next. Setting up a life from scratch. From buying furniture and setting up a phone account, to finding doctors and enrolling her nine year old in a new school... etc. Her husband was not able to be with her all this time ( for very good reasons may I add-- just trust me.) He came after the birth of his son. God is the best of planners.

A note about me::

I am not one of those amazing people that can do it all. You know raise a family, excel in a career and help the needy and so on and so forth. I am frankly amazed at women who can just manage their kids and a six o'clock dinner by the table every night. (Forget a clean house.) A full round of applause to you.

Truth be told-- I am a very lazy person. Hmmn, let me rephrase that: I am as lazy as the circumstances will allow me to be.
( No mother on this planet has the luxury of being lazy. Even if she tries) for instance it's not likely for me to go out of my way to help someone, unless forced to. It's sad but true. So know that in-any-case in-which I state or mention a little story about me helping someone-- It's merely because, I had no other option. I am fortunate enough to have God throw people along my way that need some sort of help. Because God knows that other wise-- I stand no chance.

So this Ramadan was spent in servitude.Well, sorta!- as much as I would like to have you all believe....Umm no. I was merely there for moral support. 'cause truth be told, if anything-- I probably slowed her down, more than she needed. With no license to help drive her to places, and two babies under three to care for--I was pretty much useless. Yet still I would like to believe that my presence was needed. Because seriously, just caring for the girls on a 3 hour a night sleep, for over three weeks ( insert two visits to the ER. And one night in the birthing branch of the hospital. plus another night before that in anticipation.)Well- I would totally freak. And thankfully my sister is sweet enough to tell me what I needed to hear.

If you're still waiting for the birth story, you might want to check on me later...

Canada, apparently is complicated.

So you know what comes next?

... peace.

** A note about the photos::
That forte was one of the projects I had the girls do. The cardboard later served as our dinner table. Since we were furniture-less for a big chunk of the time we spent there.

All the photos come from my phone hence the poor quality-- I somehow mis-located the "real" camera that has all the Canada photos.

The faceless photo- is staying on this site for exactly two days. I am still not that comfortable with even a faceless photo. This is my way of reassuring all my faithful readers who don't know the "real" me-- that yes. It's true- I exist in the real world too ( sorta!). A big holler at ya!
And just in-case you're wondering... Yes Mei is wearing a mermaid costume ( unfortunately not made by me.)

** Edit: The photo is gone...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

odds and ends

I am posting just to break the silence. I've been trying to blog for the past couple of days and... nothing. Even though I have all these stories to tell you, my computer is finally up and running, and I've been insomniac for two nights in a row. Yet still- I sit in front of the screen and stare and stare.

So just to break the "bad mojo"- I decided to post something. I still can't bring myself to write about something worth the while-- like my sister's lovely birth story, her sweet new baby ( whom I cut the cord for by-the-way!!). I am sharing some odds and ends, and maybe I'll feel it again. Who knows...

Stuff to watch or avoid watching (your call)::

So "Glee" is supposedly really big now... really? I mean, I've been trying to give it a chance, but seriously who watches this show? or why? I guess if you're into "MAMA MIA" then it should work out for you. I gave it a couple of chances 'cause one of my all time favorite bloggers loves it. But I guess this one is a miss for me.

And since we're talking TV: I just finished watching the pilot for "Modern family" and I laughed out loud in several scenes. I really liked it. I guess the documentary/ interview format got popular since the office. So it has that.

Here's something for you to spare 45 minutes and watch-- a little political for this space. But her majesty Queen Rania really struck not-one-but-several-chords in her recent Yale speech. Do check it out!

FYI: we don't have a TV, so Hulu, Netflix, and Youtube are currently our little vents or fix. Whatever you wish to call it.

Here's a little
alarming something for all us mommies. Especially with flu season arriving and all. ( thank you D for sharing the link.) Do check your medicine cabinet. ( the article does state not to be alarmed by the way... Just better safe than sorry I suppose)

So not to leave you with the freaky above link here's a little something in the spirit of Eid...
This is what the Muslims in Egypt chant while walking to the Mosque for Eid prayer-- Imagine thousands chanting this melodic prayer at the same breath. Breath-taking.

Here's it's performed by a famous Nubian Egyptian singer:

A belated happy Eid to all you who celebrate it.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Photo of the day::

I'm home again! and since it's two AM right now, and I just put our youngest member of the family to sleep. I am sharing a photo of the day--more about everything later.

Remember the Toronto massive twister storm?I guess the saying is true. We were soothed by the biggest rainbow arch I have ever seen right after the storm's rage settled-- It spread from the water horizon to, as far as your eyes could take you. This time I remembered to take a picture with my phone. The quality is not great, but really- nothing could have captured the magic of the moment. This is merely to give you a glimpse of the beauty.

In Islam, God has ninety nine names. They're split into two categories-- Asmaa al jalal ( names of power) and asmaa al jamal ( names of beauty). That day I probably experienced at least a dozen- yet two names struck me most-- Al Qaweyy ( The all powerful)-- Al Jameel ( the all beautiful).


O if you enlarge the photo you'll notice some spots from the window. We had a lot of little people to take care of... cleanliness was definitely not a priority (Ahem.)