Monday, December 27, 2010


We are enjoying some major quality time with family. This blog will resume it's regular streaming next Monday God willing. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas for those of you who celebrate it!

Later gators ;)


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happiness is...

 An "Allah" pruned tree, photo doesn't show much, but here it is, also the turban wearing guy is cool

I need to sleep. It's far too late for me to be near anything omitting light. You see, I am supposed to wake up in less than seven hours. But I've been sitting here staring at my blog page, wanting to blog about anything. Why? Vanity, boredom, a fake sense of importance. But mainly because both my babes are asleep and it's the golden chance to be creative. And since I wasted precious crafting hours on watching a far too gory (yet good none-the-less) movie, now it's too late to collect my energy to do anything but sleep... or blog.

Let's start by mentioning how I am finally feeling happy. I mean not trying to be positive and finding beauty in things so I can feel better 'Happy'. But effortlessly 'Happy'.

Am I not making sense to you?

Okay, lets try again, today I had to drive to one of Cairo's notoriously crowded streets, I got honked at, yelled at, and probably insulted several times (I had my widows up, and my blissful music on as always) and yet I caught myself smiling. Really, the cars next to mine must have thought I was high or crazy or something, because we were jammed in an endless sea of motionless metal for a good two hours. And I, dear and patient readers was smiling... no, not just smiling I was thanking God. Did I mention that I got lost about three times. I did!

Grabby slept through the first traffic jam, and I listened to endless stories from Mei about 'Mei-land' and how to get there, the appropriate clothing, and what kind of pets they like in Mei-land. And did you know that in Mei-land the sidewalks are made of ice-cream, the houses from Juice! how so?  "Oh mommy, you just freeze it and then you can make the juice stand like walls"
Also there are no mommies and daddies in Mei-land, everyone is a kid there, so don't worry if you find yourself shrinking in Mei-land. It's normal.

On the way back Mei slept, and I had the pleasure of playing I SPY (a game usually played by her elder sister) with the lovely Grabby:

I shpy wit my wittle eye, a buiwdin (building)

Let me guess, is it a Building?

You dot (got) it! now you torn mommy!

We continued the day by stopping at the playground aka the nady (sports club) and then called it a day.

Tomorrow, the place gets cleaned, and Mei (please pray she likes her class) goes to an Arabic class catered to non-Arab speaking kids learning the correct pronunciation through an old method (it's called al qaeda al nooraniyah or the light rule).

 Also I got myself a job... well sorta (more about that later)


Friday, December 17, 2010

Egypt Checklist :: Salahul Din's Citadel

  Fridays and Saturdays are the official weekend in Muslim land, so naturally it is also the official day for family trips around the city. Today was Salahul din's Citadel day. It was a gorgeous day-- warm, sunny, and (as the case for friday mornings) traffic-free.

(The Citadel is now home to a lot more small nick-nack shops and what have you, so both my girls got something new for their costume trunk today. And must say Mei attracted quite the audience with her new head gear!)

Mei was especially excited to visit the Castle that we've been talking about for so long. She was curious if Salah ul Din has a princess to share his Castle with or not, and got disappointed to learn that he has parted his Castle along with this earth.

They were preparing for a wedding party when we arrived (this is new. I've never heard of renting an area in the Citadel for parties!) and there were flower arrangements, and crystal shingles everywhere.

As we were leaving, someone was bringing in caged pigeons for the party, so they could be set free sometime along the festivities. I am quite sure it's an old wedding tradition for this part of the world-- for I have seen it done in black and white Egyptian movies. They also fire rifles, but I am not sure if they're adopting this tradition to tonight's wedding celebration. At any rate there's no way of finding out, unfortunately we can't crash a wedding with wee ones attached to our sides *wink*

I did forget my big Camera, but the Hipsta App on my phone, never fails me. Also you really can't go wrong with scenes like the ones in a city as old as Cairo *smile*

Have a fantabulous weekend!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My first bathroom cleaning experience...

...was at the age of 26. I was a newly wed, and disclosed to my patient husband that I had never cooked a meal or cleaned a bathroom, or any room for that matter. He taught me how to do the later-- like here's a trick, he taught me: When sweeping a room, always, ALWAYS sweep towards the exist of the room, so you don't find yourself stuck in a corner with a broom in hand and a small hill of dust. you know.

So I left my ever so patient husband in Cairo/Egypt (we spent the first two years of our marriage in Cairo/Egypt) and embarked on a week long spiritual retreat of sorts. I was staying at my teacher's (at the time) place. He lived in a two story house, with a big yard and a pool. And other than taking classes from sun-up till sun-down and gathering at night time for religious chants (dhikr), we also had to do khidma (service). There were thirty girls/students at the retreat, and a schedule was hung with who would be doing what chore/day.

I must've gasped so loud when I saw my name on that sheet under bathroom cleaning, that the girls looked at me in surprise.

What's the problem?

Oh, nothing, It's just that I've NEVER cleaned a bathroom in my life. Bathroom cleaning scares me!

Who cleans the bathroom at your place then?

Oh, the cleaning lady of course! (I was spoiled)

Don't worry, there's always a first for everything, it's not as bad as you think.

So dear and lovely readers when that dreadful day (in my head at the time) came, I was almost in tears. The sisters gave me a bucket, a brush, a squeegee, rubber gloves, some cleaning products and I was left to do my thing.

My memory of what I've done in there that day, is not pretty!

It took me 2 whole hours (I must've missed several classes that day) and when I finally emerged I received a big cheer and enthusiastic clapping from a small audience.

I have since moved on to clean bathrooms in different rented places in two different states in America, and, and I have recently taught my older sister how to clean her bathroom in Canada. (impressive, no?)

I currently do not clean bathrooms, the cleaning lady does that for me, but I would take bathroom cleaning in America anytime any day. I once made the mistake (when I lived in America and was sick of cleaning bathrooms) of posting something on facebook along the lines of: "I think every upper class Egyptian girl (or boy) should clean a bathroom at least once in her life" I received a lot of comments on this post. The most one that I remember now as I am back in Egypt was "why would you say that? Egyptian's have it rough too!"

I take it baaaack!


In case you wanted to know my strategy of cleaning our teacher's bathroom that day, I just poured bucket upon bucket of water. The bathroom must've  been a mess, and I am quite sure someone went in there after me and re-did the whole thing. They were such nice girls!

Another thing I feel the urge to mention is: Any religious reference of how I choose to practice my religion is NOT for discussion on this space. It's personal, and was mentioned for the sake of the story. If you wish to comment on the story you are more than welcome to do so. Otherwise, let's play nice shall we?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

A reminder

We are the second day into a dust storm... Our Apartment is currently our refuge, thank God for our new windows, they work, they really and truly work, and if you are one of the residents of Cairo/Egypt and do not yet own those expensive shields against Egyptian weather, then by all means do yourself a favor and buy them or save for they are more handy than a car (how's that for a run on a sentence?). You can simply shut yourself from the dust, the (Currently) howling street dogs and much much more.


Winter is finally upon us, the woolens are out, THEY ARE FINALLY OUT! sorry was I yelling?
We have one oil heater, and since our building is built with concrete, with no isolation what-so-ever, which is the case for all Buildings in Egypt-- it gets chilly. So the one heater that we own got moved into the girls bedroom. I want to start and assure everyone before continuing the story (especially family) that the girls are fine, but unfortunately the connecting plug was faulty. So when (thank goodness for husbands who check frequently on little sleeping ones) husband went in to check, the room was full of fumes. The wire had started to melt and... well we moved both girls into our bedroom, opened the girls windows and the living room window to air the fumes. It is currently very dusty and chilly in our apartment, but I take dust and chill anytime any day over toxic fumes. May God protect us all.
Two words, and this is for everyone with a similar situation (meaning keeping heaters or other electrical appliances in little ones, or anyone's room really) CIRCUIT BREAKER. We are a little out of practice, we owned safe heaters in America, but I am not sure if they sell them here. I am only sharing this story, because with God's grace nothing bad happened tonight. But, and I am still collecting myself from the whole ordeal here. Please be wiser than us tonight. Safe heaters or circuit breakers and check (more than once if you can) on your little ones.

Alhamdulilah (all praise and thanks to God)

Stay safe.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

new things::

dust proof and (relatively ) sound proof windows. The rooms are all blue and the rest are all mustard yellow. A bold move, we know!

Literally a truck load full of wooden blocks. Everyone has been enjoying these, oh so much!

New homemade play-dough, recipe from this book, but you can make it from here.

And this friends is a WIP: Mei's superhero outfit for her coming birthday as requested. I simply up-cycled an old black t-shirt of mine-- shrunk it in this fashion and am waiting to add the applique' on. The mask will be starched to hold it's shape and I'll add an elastic to keep it in place. I am considering making her a cape, even though this would go against the idea behind The Icrendibles Costumes.We'll see how I do time-wise.

Happy Season Everyone!


Friday, December 3, 2010


Oh Friday, I am so glad you're a couple of hours from being done. What happened today? Not a day I want to remember. I took down last night's post because I felt like a liar. It did not work at all today. Baba got sick, Mei is coming down with something and avidly refused to go to her class (I tried to have her go before she started looking tired). Grabby was crying from the break of dawn, wait did I say the break of dawn? no, I meant to say from the wee hours of early morning. It was rough. But I am so glad it's over. I am also embarrassed about how I handled today.

Tomorrow is a new day, so lets try again, shall we?

 I did watch Scott Pilgrim Versus The world for the second time though, and boy do I love that movie. I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it yet, and especially if you're having one of those days.

Current motto: why leave home?

Current mood: Meh!

Highlights of today: finished doing the dishes in seven hours. actual labor time: one whole hour.

Right now: there are still more dishes in the sink waiting to get washed. (they can wait till tomorrow)

Lessons learned: Next place we move into, make sure to have a dishwasher.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Right Now!

We finally made it back on Egyptian soil, and we are currently enjoying our new dust proof windows. (photos later) which means, back to slow connection. Oh well.
The top part of our fancy hotel

The Yas Hotel of Abu Dhabi, designed to have a hovering construction over it representing the Arabian veil, the hotel's two connected buildings looked more like a building from a Sci Fi novel with a futuristic and an Arabian feel. A true marvel of a design. the photos don't show anything, you need to go there yourself!
We had a fantastic time with family, Mei bonded with her cousins, and all of us enjoyed daily visits to an across the street beach, along with a one night stay at a fancy hotel courtesy of my ever so gracious twin sister. Mei now expects to go to a hotel whenever she wants to. She also asks why the hotel's bathroom has a gliding glass door to the bedroom.

"Because it's fancy," I reply.

"Mommy, I like fancy, lets go to hotels all the time."

"But of course!"

Cool Hotel Art::

::Weaved Basket bowing people (They're about twice as big as me)

 Quilted Beehive, three dimensional, wall and pillar, textile art

(mobile captures. again apologies on the photos) 

We also found Rhubarb. Off season, pretty tired, thousands of miles away from home rhubarb. Do you think this stopped me? We made rhubarb crumble... twice! And with enough sugar, butter, whipped cream and ice cream, we had a taste of spring. It was a treat in every way possible. And I did not feel guilty. Nope, not one bit.

(Unfortunately, it's rare to find local veggies in the U.A.E, they can't grow much there, but they do import anything and everything-- not the tastiest produce, but then again you can find rhubarb in late November)

Happy first day of the week everyone (or second, depending on which part of the globe you're at)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In the news::

We are still visiting family abroad, and apparently it is the right time to be away.
It's quite sad really. My heart goes out to the protester's family, and to all the people who got injured.

I really hope the authorities don't fuel an already existing tension and let them build their house of worship, for goodness sake!

(a favorite newly built church in one of Egypt's new suburbs)

::Also in the news. What's up Kuwait? Boy am I glad I don't live there right now. Egypt it is.

That's it, I usually avoid the news, and avoid discussing serious topics (Especially politics) on this space, but today, it had to come out.

It is indeed a mad world my friends.

Here's my mad news for today, we are not having a thanksgiving dinner this year. But, but we are wishing everyone a very fulfilling/happy/delicious thanksgiving dinner and all the jazz that goes around it.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Today is not a Tuesday

 I have a series called Tuesday tunes. It is indeed not a Tuesday, but I am bringing you a tune nonetheless.

Not just a tune. It is a sad love story, told through a simple yet soothing riff, by vocals emerging from a pleasant half forgotten dream. Lingering.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eid'ul Adha 2010

Buttermilk pancakes and since we are currently visiting family abroad, we did find halal bacon. Bizarre, yet a treat nonetheless. 

Traditions are very important especially since the appearance of shorter people amongst us (I do believe). So here is this Eid's celebration so far (Eid'ul adha is three days in all countries and four in Egypt, why? because we love celebrations) ::

 ::Mei's Eid outfit (she refused to have her picture taken, respect)

::Grabby's Eid outfit

 :: first day beach visit

:: today's beach visit.

Oh one more thing::

Eid Mubarak Y'All!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Four moon years

My first born greeted the world on the day of Arafa. Yesterday was her four moon year birthday. We were supposed to bake a moon cake in celebration... we didn't. She still got a special visit to the beach. I think this counts as a celebration in my book. Oh end of our old house street beach, how we miss thee *sigh*

Eid Mubarak Everyone!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Mei is currently obsessed with Hayao Miyazaki's latest movie Ponyo. The story is about a fish who falls in love with a boy and turns into a human, something like the little mermaid only a lot weirder. At some point in the movie the boy finds a little goldfish (Ponyo) and sticks her in a green bucket and then spends the next 15 minutes of the movie carrying Ponyo in his green bucket.

Mei is fascinated with the notion of carrying a fish around in a bucket, so she naturally reenacts this whole scene, only she sticks one of my currently-repossessed-childhood-creepy-plastic-dolls in this green see-through plastic bottle. To make matters worse, she completely undresses the doll "mommy, fishes don't wear clothes!"
So for the past two weeks or so, I've been running into this little scene in random parts of our apartment. Almost every single time, my heart almost stops and I gasp, Ponyo!

My husband said it looks like one of those apparatuses with deformed dead fetuses found in olden time circuses. I can't remember what he called it. but it has a name.

So while we're at it, here are a couple more creepy scenes from my archives, 'cause really, why the heck not?


Monday, November 8, 2010

American staple food

 When I first moved to America,  a dear aunt introduced me to weird American food. This dear aunt eats gluten-free food (Which at the time I thought had something to do with *gelatin)

Yeah, I don't eat gluten too. I replied enthusiastically, It's unlawful for us to eat it.


Yes. I confirmed.

Then how come you're devouring this papa john's sandwich with gluten all smeared on it.

Wait, what's gluten again? right!

For the record. I absolutely LOVE gluten, and I am sooooo grateful, that I am completely tolerant.

Anyhoo, this (very very) dear aunt (we miss you so very much) introduced me to rice cakes, which i absolutely love, and and most importantly apple sauce. It is a fun experience to try new foods, especially if it doesn't contain slimy substances or weird looking things. Apple sauce and rice cakes can not possibly intimidate anyone.

So during my five years in the U.S two of our staple foods were (again thank you) rice cakes and apple sauce. And during those five years, I never attempted to make them from scratch. Well to be fair, I am assuming the first one is tough to make, but the second one... well, I am ashamed that I have never tried  to make it until we landed on Egypt's sacred soil.

You see, apparently Egyptians are in love with glucose. Everything contains glucose in the ingredients. Sometimes mixed with high fructose corn syrup and sometimes on it's own. I am not a fan of either.

So I read, oh about five apple sauce recipe's, tweaked and trimmed and came out with what we now call, our apple sauce recipe... well, I call it that. Anyway, I think it's wonderful.

So if you find yourself with too many apples than to know what to do with, or happen upon a high fructose corn syrup, or glucose infested sauce. Do give this little number a try. You might send me a thank you email later.

FYI: this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. 

Our Apple Sauce Recipe (makes one big jar)::

4 apples (I like gala, or fuji) peeled, cored and chopped

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a sauce pan, combine the ingredients. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

Cool, then mash, then spoon in a clean jar. Refrigerate.

Happy apple sauce making!


* gelatin is usually made from pig fat in America, which is religiously unlawful for Muslims to consume. So if you live in America or Egypt (or any part of the world, and happen to also be a Muslim) and buy imported food. Check the ingredients, Yes marshmallows contain Gelatin. You have been warned.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

waiting for the cold

Today I am missing living in a four season zone. Even though, the cool breeze has finally made it's way through this part of the globe. No sweaters, or scarves yet, but hey, we'll take it.

I actually miss the cold, if this is at all possible. When we first moved to Chicago/IL several years back, I remember asking a family member who did his school years there, what he missed the most about Chicago. He said the cold. At the time it didn't register. How can someone in his right mind (no offense!) miss the cold. And Chicago cold is like no other cold my friends. Yet here I am craving it. The grass is always greener, no? (Also it's always a plus to see men in fur coats-- an exclusive Chicago fashion statement)

So, we are still here, still in t-shirt land (and sometimes for the little ones only underwear land) and we wait... wait for that cool night breeze that sets in. And hope for some yellow leaves, some trickles of rain, or for any sign really.

Meanwhile we do this::

which results in this::

 (Mei working on perfecting the burnt cookie effect)

And this::

Which results in this::

And we also throw in some silliness::

 (After reading a book about a three eyed boy, she transformed into the three eyed monster)

 (Reading like her old man. yes her old man also reads upside down! they are both very skilled)

 (Reading for her dolly)

(Counting the beads)

What's happening with you this season?