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?


Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

on the road...

I want you to picture a highway. Now give that highway three lanes, only the disconnected lines on the highway are not identical in size. One is wider than a car, the second is barely fitting the size of one car and the third, well there's no way you can fit any car in.

This highway you just pictured with me is in Cairo/Egypt. One of the many highways that are getting a lot of traffic, since Egyptians starting fleeting the city and settling at the burbs.

Now I want you to envision yourself stuck in a small room filled with a hundred people squeezing side to side and in constant movement, say for a couple of hours. Suddenly a wall falls down, and there's a massive space in front of you and everyone else. What would you (and everyone else) do in such a situation?

Yup, run like mad whilst trying to dodge all the other runners. Trying to capture a breath of fresh air, wailing your limbs everywhere,  unrestricted movement...FREEDOM AT LAST.

And this is exactly how Egyptians drive on highways. In this same exact manner I just described for you.

Now here's a little near death experience, I had oh about three times so far::

(FYI: on Egyptian highways, most cars go about 100 or 120 km/hr. Fast)

I have my two babes strapped in their car seats in the back seat. A teenager whose probably just escaped the congestion of the city streets and just made it on the highway is zooming ahead of cars right and left. I see him approaching, he takes a maneuver that allows him to be right next to my car. And then he does the exact thing I predicted he would do. He moves the front of his car in the tiny space between my car and the car in front of mine. There is no way his whole car would fit in this little room. He's accelerating his speed... he knows.

I start reciting the shehada (the testimony of believing in one God and his final prophet Mohammad, usually what Muslims say before their death) take a glance at the speeding car right behind me in my mirror, then hit the hazards and my breaks at the same time.

and wait to hear a massive crash from behind...


I glance at my mirror, look at the driver behind me in the eye, wave and honk a thank you. He honks back.

Carry on...