Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Read at your own risk :: Annoyed beyond recognition!

As I stepped out of my dentist's office heading for the elevator, I heard some whispering--"non of your business" I told myself, even though I felt the people behind me whisper about me. "It's all in your paranoid head"I tried to reassure myself...

I pressed the elevator button and waited. When the elevator arrived, I stepped inside and waited for the couple behind me to step in so I can hit the 'G' button. A big boned man in a Yamaka was almost one foot in, when suddenly his whole body jerked backwards--his female partner(who also wore a head scarf like me, only she wrapped it in the traditional Orthodox Jewish fashion) aggressively pulled his shoulders towards her:"Let's just take the next elevator."
 I rolled my eyes at her as the elevator door slid shut.

Really? I mean (for the sake of the argument) If anyone she should be scared, it should have been me (even though I have ridden public transportation and elevators many a times with orthodox Jews. No problem!) I mean,  I was all by myself, and she had her (husband or brother or cousin, who knows?) with her, and he WAS big boned.

Not scared, oh you hate Muslims and can't stand the sight of them, or sharing a tiny little space like an elevator with them. Can we be at least a little more subtle? Eg: Oh, look at my absent minded self, I forgot my phone at the doctors office. (believable and thoughtful)

One of the many things I enjoy about this country (and I've just mentioned it in an earlier post this week) is: diversity and freedom of expression. So you can wear  your religious attire and I can wear mine--It's true that we are after all human and come with our baggage, but can we leave this baggage for a mere two minutes behind us until the elevator reaches the ground floor, and try to be courteous to one another in a civilized manner... Please?

This little gesture made me feel at first like I'm a terrorist. Second, like a piece of trash. Then finally after I reasoned with myself a little, I felt superior (which is still not a very good feeling, I became judgmental, self deprecating and finally conceited. so pretty much horrible in  every possible way) Cheers for bringing my lower self on the surface. So glad I know better to generalize. hmph!

Can I attempt to lighten the mood a little, or have I irreversibly darkened it?
 Garden table::our very late CSA pickup, we have peas people (amongst other things) but peas!

Ah, I already feel better!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ten things that I am loving and grateful for right now!

Why hello,
 1. Seventy degree weather today, sunny, breezy, and just wonderful. Alhamdulilah!

 2. Big, fluttery, flirty butterflies. Mei was particularly impressed, Grabby also lived up to her blog name "buffly" she said as she pointed and tried to grab the delicate thing.
3. Letting go. (more about this one later)

4. Awesome friends who pay attention to detail. I received this by mail today. Thank you (you know who you are, I love you, even when you don't buy me cool gifts... imagine that!)

5. My Polaroid camera and the existence of such a concept as ebay, so when they stop producing film for awesome vintage cameras like this, you go to ebay and bid your way out. (seriously overpriced, but still)
6. Our house. the best house I've lived at so far.

7. Our vita mix and green smoothies. Mei (it's still too cold for Grabby's taste) eats raw kale hidden in fruit as ice cream these days. Awesome mashaAllah.

8. Did I mention this book? I did, well I love it even more in person. It has the coolest ideas.

9. New hats that fit "someone" perfectly. What, you don't get it. That's fine, someone else gets it.

10. New adventures that can be mind boggling at times, but ecstatic overall.

What are you loving? feel free to play along.


Monday, June 28, 2010


I figured I am taking my sweet time finishing those projects I was telling you about, so why not take a peak at one of them.

 Art place mat inspired by this book, only I decided to quilt it for more body. I have never quilted before and I am yet to tackle that whole binding ordeal, but until then, lets take a look, shall we?

I just taped fabric on the table, gave Mei some fabric colors and left her inner artist shine. She came up with this awesome Monsters spectacle. We both colored-in her scary and friendly monsters. (there's a whole story behind each and every one btw, with a character build up and who is worth fighting and who is worth befriending and protecting from "the bad guys". I love her!)

Now we wait until mama figures out some binding tricks. I have faith, also this.


Btw: notice my slick move of hiding Mei's real name. Slick!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

down memory lane :: the magic palace

It was dark, the roads muddy, and I was struggling in my step as my sandals got stuck in the mud. I yanked them, one came off. "EWWWWWWW" I screamed. My uncle grabbed my sandal and carried me the rest of the way, as we approached the one dim light bulb hanging by the mud-built wall, I saw black large bugs flying into the bulb. "EWWWWWW" I screamed again. "What are these?" I started to cry. "blind flying beetles" My uncle replied casually. "No worries, they're more afraid of you, than you are of them". "EWWWWWWW, I want to go back home, I don't want to stay in this disgusting mud built house, and scary, creepy farm" I continued to cry. "Ah, not too soon, if you leave now, you'll miss seeing the magic palace" My uncle reasoned with (five year old me).

My eyes widened, and my cries stopped. "What magic castle?" I inquired.

You'll see, I'll take you to see it first thing in the morning.

But why can't we go there now, why do we have to spend the night in this disgusting mud-built-house with flying blind beetles. Why not go see it now.

It only appears in the morning, that's why it's magic, you see.

So I waited.

My sleep was interrupted once by a casual snake that slithered in our bedroom. My uncle's wife beat it with her wooden slippers once on the head, and we all went back to sleep.

5:30 am:

"Wake up" a voice whispered. "it is time"

I rubbed my eyes open, held my uncle's hands and walked outside the mud-house... and walked, and walked some more. There were no more flying beetles when we came out. The skies were purple, changing gradually to lighter purple, pink, orange pink, and then... it happened.

"Look, here it comes, it will appear any second now, pay attention" propped my uncle

The sun came out at first shyly, but then it gained confidence and sprung it's golden rays all over my uncles thirty fedans of lush orange, mango, and tangerine fields. I could have sworn I saw a Palace appear amidst all the trees and then POOF... it was gone.

"Do you still want to go home now?"



* My Uncle studied agricultural engineering in his youth, and acquired thirty fedans of desert land somewhere between the Cairo and Alexandria desert. He spent his youth taming the land, until it became a green oasis in the middle of the desert. We used to visit every summer, and ride his two donkeys (Samy and Samya). My cousins-- his two sons loved the land just as much, but they didn't care much for inheriting their father's job. The land is now sold, my uncle is happily retired. If farming is tough in America, multiply that by a thousand and you can get a slight idea about how rough it is to farm in no rain land. We've been doing it for thousands of years though. God bless the Nile river, our pulsing vein of life.


Friday, June 25, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Link loving

Today: sheets upon sheets of rain, and tornado watch. Insane!
 I am secretly (alright, not so secretly) admitting that I loved it.

Here's some link love, for I have nothing more to add:

Love this print.

I want this book... and this one.

Awesome and beyond!

 We watched this today at the theater (Mei loved it). I am waiting for this one to come out.

Awwwwwww! (excuse me as I collect my molten-self from the floor.)

Cheesy songs from my I.G.C.S.E and freshman years in college (I still love them). I am currently in a rut. Any audio suggestions would be much appreciated.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wisdom of the day::

 Remember our week long rain? We tried every trick in the book for those indoor days.. you know painting, dancing, reading, baking. It was a rough week non-the-less.
 we were baba-less, we visited the doctor twice, and finally one lightning storm too many-- the power went out.
 But you know what? On went the rain gear, and BAM slammed the door behind us. We were out of here. Rain = puddles...I forgot!!!
Wisdom of the day:
When all else fails... Jump in puddles.


Streets 2010

Chicago peeps, where you there?

Streets artists make it on the CNN belief blog. You guys, I was peace signing at the very last row with the girls:)

He was my favorite.

Alpha Yaya Diallo and Sabri Brothers were Mei's favorites (OK, mine too), she danced with a hippie for a good half an hour, twirling, jumping, swaying and all. I used to think that Mei couldn't dance... She can dance alright-- like a white girl that she is. SubhanAllah!

Here's my perspective y'all *wink*(mind you, I was lugging two little ones all by myself. I was rushed):

  Graffiti artists taking it on the walls

they were even better live.

Bouncy castles, Carousel, Ferris wheel.

Happy summer everyone, for it is official now!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ten things I love about America-- revisited:

1. Libraries (oh how I love thee)

2. Sidewalks-- always a plus. And traffic rules

3. Root beer floats, rhubarb, farmers markets, and CSA's. Yum!

4. Summer festivals, blankets on grass, and lightning bugs.

5. Camping, hiking, nature. Maps and signs for all three.

6. Whole foods, npr, netflix, hulu, and the postal system.

7. Diversity.

8. My in-laws! A big holler at you guys (all {meaning ALL, yes including spouses and cousins and brothers...etc} of you. I love you guys)

9. Thrift shops, garage sales, urban outfitters.

10. The art institute of Chicago.


oh I forgot to mention a very important one...11. freedom of speech.

Friday, June 18, 2010


 It rained today, it might hail tonight... but lets just watch this:


{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunshine and Mulberry puree'

Yesterday, the clouds darkened, and the heavens came down with a vengeance... Three hours of hard, heavy, unforgiving rain, and then... it continued to rain...
 Mei took this photo using my camera (this is slightly above her eye level btw. she had to extend her arms and raise it slightly over her head to get this shot) as we waited for those three hard hours in the doctors office "it's too loud mama, are the windows going to break?"

Even I was slightly suspicious.

We went home with an alien (to me) device (nebulizer) to release my youngest girl's tight chest and breathing. I guess she too was responding to all those dark days. The doctor told us he's suspecting asthma. I pray not, (and I ask of you to please join my prayers.) She's fine now by the way, no worries.
 Today, the sun came out as promised by the weather man, and everything was bright again.
We spent the day outside in the park and ended it by "eating out".  Actually we ended it by quickly picking up our CSA box (yay for CSA season! I'll share the loot later) and then we headed home-- where I cleaned two different rugs from puke (Grabby is so far not agreeing with the steroid prescription medicine. I don't blame her, ukh) meanwhile Mei was bathing her sister with the potty bowl... nice! (I was alternating between, clean, check, spill, check, fill, check, and repeat. Somehow I missed!)


 We have a mulberry tree growing right above our parking spot. (I am thinking of using the berries for something and I am still at loss...suggestions? p..p..please?)
 Anyhoo, the tree is dumping buckets (well maybe not buckets, but enough to make a sane woman mad) berries all over the roof of the car, the windshield and the wiper. Did I mention that it's been raining mad over here (did I?). Well every time I try to use the wipers, I get a respectable amount of mulberry-juice-puree' over the windshield. Not cool... and... and... to top it off, birds and bees are especially fond of those green berries, so right now there's a nice mixture of mulberry puree' and bird poop. (Not to mention the promise of getting stung.) over my windshield where I do most of the spotting of other cars so I don't "accidentally" crash into them. Are you listening?anybody?
Here's one more Photo:


Monday, June 14, 2010

Bench Monday and the great escape

Right now I am in the middle of my great escape... I am upstairs and the girls are downstairs with their father, whom I have told to finish dinner while handling the girls. why? well, let's just say that it's one of those days. I found myself screaming at Mei for the littlest thing, so I decided it's best if mama is away for an hour.
And this is my way of release I suppose. typing to a blank screen, knowing very well, that I might get several phone calls asking for my well being. Rest assured everyone, I am well.. and being...

We have a promise from the weather guy on the radio that the sun will arrive this Wednesday, we're waiting. I am from Africa (even though most Egyptians seem to miss this little piece of information when identifying themselves, nevertheless) I strive on sunshine. So I await...

The idea of taking solace in a pint of chocolate ice cream did cross my mind, but "we" just finished the last two slices of chocolate cream pie, and I had that hearty pot roast dinner I just blogged about last night. It was everything one needs to beat three consecutive dreary days, with a forecast of two more. ukh! (and I have decided that this will be my new dish for dinner parties--abandoning my famous roasted chicken repertoire).
And yellow flowers help.

I should go save my husband.

Tomorrow will be better inshaAllah.


Guess what, the sun just peeked out from behind the clouds:)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's 12:05am and I can't think of a good title for this post, this will do for now...

Blogger is getting all fancy, so I am getting fancy too... fancy this new template? no? no worries, we'll be playing for a while until I settle into a "new home"-- feedback is appreciated.

On the counter:
There's an admirably sized chuck roast, thawing... waiting for it's marinade. I consulted with a couple of my favorite foodie peeps (Mr. Bittman, and the late yet still fabulous *Laurie Colwin) and they both assured me that for a dinner party, chuck roast is a pretty good idea... for winter, but no one will know. It's been raining cats and dogs and this counts in my dictionary as a reason for such a hearty meal. Let's all hope the temperatures don't go back to soaring tomorrow (I forgot to mention, the dinner party is tomorrow night.)

In the refrigerator:
chocolate cream pie, made by the happy bakers at whole foods. I am currently very proud of my will power for waiting 3 whole long hours and I am currently waiting some more--until Fantastic Mr. Husband, finishes whatever it is he's doing, so we can sit like two civilized (not so sure when I see that pie if I'll follow through) people to eat our dessert... hmph and hmph!

In the WIP (work in progress, if you're not familiar with the abv. *wink*) basket:
Three whole things that I am currently in the middle of finishing. The sewing machine hummed briefly today. Progress.
(photos when everything is done and ready for a flash light)

I got a kick from Glee's take on loser.

 Zara was my favorite store as a teenager. We now finally have a branch about 10 minutes from where I live. Danger-roo! Even though Mei is now rocking awesome florescent-colored-leggings (not pictured) and new shimmery kicks! 

I LOVED this article about the ever controversial niqab (face veil). I teared at the end:(

This Bench Monday is so cute. Did you know that Mei calls all Benches Bench Monday now. As in "mommy look at the Bench Monday" (pointing at a bench)... what have I done? *whacking own head.

Isn't this so neat?

I want this and this. Because books like these make me think I am a better parent.

Guys, Taking it to the streets count down. If you're in Chicago or greater Chicago make sure to come (June 19th). seriously dude!

that's it have a good one.


* about Laurie Colwin. I mentioned before how her two cook books are amongst my most prized possessions (for real!) I was gifted these two books when I was F.O.B or more accurately F.O.P
While reading her short back cover bio, I somehow skipped the part where it mentioned that she had passed sometime in the late 1980's. After making her pseudo poached eggs with veggies (I'm pretty sure she didn't name her dish that, but if you have the book you'll know why I call it that) I was so happy with her that I decided to read her short bio again... what she's dead? oh no, but  I wanted to be her friend, and invite her over for chuck roast or something. How can she be dead? but she's still making jokes about having her friend drip cream from his luggage all the way from London to America because she loves English cream so much. I was going to gift her real fresh Egyptian cream from a water buffalo and then we were going to be best friends, because she'll recognize the superiority Water Buffalo cream over regular cow cream.

But you see, this is what I love about books. I get to travel through time, and have telepathic powers... I get to go to Saudi Arabia in the twenties and live as a nomad through Mohammad Asad's words. And then consult Laurie Colwin on how to cook a chuck roast for a dinner party, and get a whole lot of humor and stories as a bonus.
Laurie, I'll see you tomorrow night for dinner, and maybe next time I'm in Egypt we can celebrate with a dollop of water-buffalo-fresh-cream on Egyptian feteer meshaltet

** I was working on this post all day, so the roast is fully thawed and waiting in the refrigerator, and the pie... oh the pie was great. (It was almost gifted to our next door neighbors, after reading gelatin in the ingredients. Thank goodness for stubborn me-- I called whole foods and they assured me that it was fish gelatin. Phew!)

this should be a post on it's own.

Peace again:)

Friday, June 11, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010



trying to end a phone conversation.

small talk with the cashier, when my response entails something like this "oh yea, absolutely," (at this point the cashier turns her head to talk to another customer) and then I go "right, proceed to door whilst talking to yourself"

joking with a parent at the library about using my headscarf as a hands free set. (in case you can't envision this, I sandwich my calculator sized Iphone between my right cheek and my snugly-fitted-headscarf)
Here's the conversation:
Parent: Oh, that's so neat how you do this thing with your scarf and the phone.
Me joking: Yes, this is the sole reason of why I wear this weird thing on my head.
Then Parent starts looking uncomfortable and alternates between frowning and smiling. *note to self: don't joke about your headscarf to non Muslims, they get uncomfortable... sorry!

conversing in a foreign language with someone you know quite well doesn't speak 'said' language.(it happens when I don't get enough sleep for several nights in a row) Reaction: blank stare on that same person's face, followed by the realization of what just took place. right.


Watermelon with feta cheese for dinner
(both the feta and the melons should be cubed so you can alternate between forking them, but really, who has the time?)
 I love those running juices down her arm. ACK!

(Grabby ended up with a purple belly and face. It was in the high eighties today, Grabby was running around in a diaper most of today. Lucky girl!)


Monday, June 7, 2010