Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I know you can make password protected posts darnit, but how the heck do I do it????



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

OMG! Its Wednesday!

I totally forgot. Random Wednesday guys!

* About four years ago I used to always shop for organic, especially when I was eating mainly raw fruits and veggies and lost around 70 lbs. Maybe because back then I was a carefree college student with expendable cash and few bills that I never really realized how $&@ing expensive organic produce is. Or maybe four years ago organic was not the trend that it appears to be now so then they were thankful for shoppers and now they're just bleeding us for all we're worth.

Fact of the matter is I don't get paid enough to buy organic.

Which really sucks because non-organic produce tastes like plastic and deeply diminishes my enjoyment in eating it. This is up there on my top ten list of things that suck.

* Today I had to go get a mugheadshot to attach to my resume. I'm planning on applying for some positions in Egypt, inshAllah, and apparently you must have a picture of yourself on your CV. Imagine if you had to do that here:

"Wowza is that guy FUGLY! He's definately not getting the job."

Really though, why? How based on looks can a country be? And as ethnocentric as this is going to sound: I'm thanking my lucky stars that I'm light-skinned, blue-eyed, and American because it will help me get a job.

I feel like I'm moving to live in the US pre-civil rights.

PS is anyone here good with photoshop? One of my eyes came out all squinty in the picture and the ghetto place I went to take it didn't even have a digital camera. Even in EGYPT they could show me what it looked like before they printed it out, but not this place. Oy.

* I love going to Barnes and Noble and curling up on the comfy chairs and reading. Its in my top five list of favorite things to do, especially when it involves drinking a latte at the same time. I went to a local B&N and got a Starbuck's, but at this location they had actually had the baristas invent their own latte flavors and name them. In honor of one of my favorite movies "Robin Hood Men in Tights" I ordered it's namesake, which also happened to have my fave flavor of hazlenut. It was a good time had. And considering it was just a bit after I signed up for the gym it was my last sin before sainthood. I'll probably go tomorrow and read some more since this is my week off.

* I'm going to have to start taking the bus to this new position next week because parking in downtown Minneapolis can cost as much as a one room apartment. I'm not really looking forward to it, but there's a park and ride from the mall next to my gym. There's a reason for every rhyme. Oh and I long ago decided rush hour traffic is bad for my health and that I really don't share well with others. Its my road people, so get out of my way.

Its better for everyone if I take the bus.

* When I was in Mexico all the venders kept giving me super good deals on stuff because I spoke Spanish. You know, the raza discount. If only I could speak Arabic and get the same thing in Egypt. *sigh*

* I actually can't think of that many random things today on such short notice. I know I have more. They maybe possibly be added on Thursday.

I'm sleepy right now.

After eating my entire Easter basket in 2.3 days...

I decided enough was enough and I joined the gym. My back was aching, I was feeling completely rundown, and I was depressed at the vaguely blob-like shape I was taking on. I'm a woman not an amoeba, thanks.

Oh and the "you having baby?" question I got while in Mexico last week really lit a fire under my rotund tuckus.

I went yesterday and checked out the women only Lifetime in Rosedale, expecting the price to be somewhere near atrocious but in fact found that it is only around $50 a month. Considering cholesterol and blood pressure meds would cost me a lot more than that in the future I decided it was a good investment. Plus I just really like working out, despite what my weight is trying to tell you.

I also love Lifetime Fitness, I blogged about my love of their cleanliness but I just cannot explain how much better it is for my psyche to workout with them. I've gone to Bally's, I've gone to 24hr Fitness, and I've checked out Gold's gym, but the energy, lighting, and disgusting locker-rooms always chased me away. But Lifetime, oh Lifetime, not only do they supply you with towels (which all the other places do not and please I don't want to schlep my towel around with me) but their locker-rooms are huge, cozy, and stocked with little things like lotion, soap (sage rosemary thankyouverymuch), and hairspray. The showers are such a luxury that I remember going to workout at the Lifetime before just because their showers were so much nicer than my one at home. I'm not even kidding.

And before I get too loquacious on their ammenities (awesome machines people) the best part of it was how many MUSLIMAHS I saw there. I mean, sure its a matter of logic- this is probably the only women only gym here in the TC not counting Curves- but I was SO excited to see them. When I went in the afternoon to check it out I counted a least four muslimahs working out. These chicks were hardcore working out in a woman's gym IN HIJAB (wha?) which I deem unnecessary, but hey, to each her own. And then when I went back in the evening I saw five MORE. These girls did like me and removed the headgear in the locker room, but I was so excited. I chatted a bit with a Palestinian girl who came in about the same time as me while we were working out. She had a bit of a chuckle while I had a heart attack on the elipses machine (why is that thing so thorough?) and it felt so good to have the camraderie. When I went before I was on my own, did my thing, and went home without talking to anyone. And yeah, I don't really plan on having any heart to hearts while walking the treadmill (besides the fact that I have a hard time talking between huffs and puffs) but its nice to smile at someone and have them smile back.

It was awesome. Alhumdulillah.

And sure, I feel like a walking muscle cramp today, but I feel SO GOOD. I'm so happy to be excersizing again.

Oh, and girls. I'm not tracking my weightloss in actual pounds. Before I went last night I had my mom measure my "womanly curves" and I will go by inches lost. Because really I don't care if I'm 250 lbs if I can fit into a size 6. Know what I mean?

I'm looking forward to feeling healthy again, inshAllah.

Now I'm off to the co-op. Healthy eating here I come.

Oh! They gave me an AWESOME Lifetime fitness water bottle too, for free. Its way cool. What, me? A sucker for free stuff? Nawww...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bunny who?

Well its time again for an awkward holiday dinner with my Christian family. Today is Easter and is, for me, one of my least favorite holidays. Even when I was still Christian I disliked Easter and I don't know why. While I feel fine sharing a big family dinner on holidays like Thanksgiving, which is a completely secular holiday, and Christmas, which is a slightly less secular holiday, when it comes to Easter I have very little desire to even attend a family showdown chowdown.

But I did because I love my family and love spending time with them.

This morning my mom, who loves making Easter baskets and laments my Islam most on the loss of making them for her future grandchildren, had one waiting for me. Oh well, chocolate is chocolate, especially when it is Lindt chocolate, so I quickly got over it and we headed over to my grandparent's house. My mom insisted on listening to her Christian muzak station on the way over "since it is Easter Sunday" so I popped in my earphones and rocked some vintage Sherine on my ipod to drown out the inanity.

One thing that saves my sanity, and that of everyone else in the family, is that I can take off my hijab once I get inside the house. So we arrived and I shucked it off quickly and had a fairly good time and lots of good food until my aunt had those last ten glasses of wine that put her over.

I love my family, I love my aunt- who incidentally is the one who refuses to be seen with me in public with my hijab- but she drinks... a lot. Her and my uncle both will routinely kill 5 or 6 or maybe 10 full bottles of wine between the two of them at family dinners. And I know at home most evenings my aunt will finish at least one bottle herself or two if it was a bad day. Usually she's a friendly drunk who tells everyone she loves them. The first time she saw me in hijab was at a wedding she got soased at and told me that she'd love me anyways no matter what. Sober, her tune changed quickly.

But I digress. Today once she crossed her limit she began to needle me in the socially inept way drunks have. She completely missed the dirty looks all the clear-thinking people in my family shot her, or the awkward silences that descended when she said something particularly insensitive. She decided it was really humorous to tell me that when my marriage dissolved there would be plenty of good Catholic boys waiting for me.

Rip on my Islam if you want, but don't ever talk smack about my marriage.

I ignored her as much as I could, but her volume control mechanism had disappeared five glasses of wine ago and when I ignored her she just talked louder. She had dropped that oh so funny "find yourself a good Catholic" line three or four times when everyone else was teasing my mom about having a date tonight, but I ignored or parried each one of them until she finally cornered me and I glibly replied that I was already happily married (alhumdulillah.) To which she then baldly said yelled, "Well when that one ends like I know it will, there will still be some good Catholic boys waiting for you, or even some Lutheran; I could deal with a Lutheran. But not a Baptist, it would take me awhile to be ok with a Baptist."

Awkward family silence.

Drunken giggle from my aunt.

And then my grandmother turned the conversation to politics, which we all know is such a safer topic of discussion.

It was time to leave so my mom could make it on time for her date (tee hee) and I put my hijab back on and edged towards the doorway hoping to escape a confrontation with my already belligerant auntie. No luck. She caught sight of me and bellowed, "Oh my Gawd Molly, will you please just get over it already?!?"

When I walked over to give my grandmother a kiss she smiled at me and said, "you do look cute in it."

And then they both stalkedwalked me over to the door talking about my (inshAllah) upcoming move to Egypt. Both my grandma and aunt are convinced I will lose all human rights in an Arab country and will become a slave chained to the oven and popping out Arab babies. My aunt defends her position, "I've read those Khalali books!" And by Khalali she means Khaled Husseini which must mean she knows everything about Islam, Muslims, and Arabs.... right? Besides being just one more example of Islam-as-culture not Islam-as-religion, both books take place in Afghanistan not Egypt.


It was a tough day.

But I have a bunny-shaped chocolate to comfort me.

Oh and just to get completely off-subject for a second: how disturbing is it to eat cross-shaped chocolates? Seriously? Eat them?

I just couldn't see any Muslims chowing down on a gourmet Quran-shaped chocolate bar.

But thats just me.

I hate Easter.

Friday, March 14, 2008


From Al-Abasseya Weekly:

Wife Murders Husband for Injudicious Use of “Ya’ani Eh?”

Late Tuesday night Umm Tamer had finally had enough and during the a’asha meal hit Abu Tamer on the head with a pot containing macaroni we beshamel, the heaviest casserole known to man. Witnesses (Tamer) say that while dishing out the entree Umm Tamer had been complaining that Abu Tamer was spending too much time in the streets with his friends and not bringing enough of his salary home. When Abu Tamer replied, “ya’ani eh?” Umm Tamer lost control and hit him with the hotdish. During the grand jury inquisition the judge was swayed by her testimony that Abu Tamer always asked “ya’ani eh” whenever he wanted to dodge the issue in their arguments and she was unable to stand it any longer. She was cleared of all charges on the ruling that injudicious use of “ya’ani eh” contributed to a momentary psychotic break and as such Umm Tamer could not be held responsible for her actions. In the press conference when Umm Tamer was asked if she felt any remorse over the death of Abu Tamer she replied, “Ya’ani eh..?”

*"ya'ani" means something along the lines of "what" or "I mean"- "ya'ani eh?" can be translated as "what do you mean?"

**I wrote this, as far as I know it never really happened.

Ya no...

Sometimes I find myself filled with an unerring sense of ennui and trepidation, a depression that has no face nor source nor logic to it and is, as such, a more fearful enemy. When I probe these feelings for the center I find nothing but fear, and maybe it is this fear that gives birth to my unease and my unease that in turn gives birth to my depression. It is fleeting and yet devastating. Momentary as the cloud of locusts that descends and departs again within a day but leaves the earth behind it scarred and barren, it comes and goes within hours or at most days. In the more recent months I find that these episodes come on the heels of problems of money. Is it money then that is the root of my unhappiness?

This one is born of anger as well, and a sense of hopelessness. Those “friends” or “family” I would have counted on in years gone by abandoned me in the days of their ease and now, when confronted with the face of poverty, return to me with hands out and fake smiles.

“Why haven’t you called us all this time? You forgot us. Nos has olvidado, no nos quieres ya.”

When it is them instead who forgot me, left me behind, and deleted my calls.

Sí, los he olvidado, y con razón. Yes, I have forgotten you, and when I send you this check I will forget you again. When you didn’t need me you never called, and now that you do I find your number three or four or five times in my phone per day; do not placate me with words of tenderness. Hijada querida, nuestra adoptive, la tremenda Molly… ya no soy.

I peel off bits of my skin, shedding like a snake, becoming someone else, someone whole and yet broken, someone different in spite of the memories that surround me like mosquitoes on a summer’s eve. I am not you any longer, I am not me, or her, or them. I speak many languages and find no home for any of them.

I speak English but I am not American. I wear hijab and pray towards Mecca but I am not Egyptian like my husband nor do I speak Arabic. I speak Spanish but carry no blood or reason or remnant in my life that explains why.

My identity shifts like an ocean’s tide.

But beneath I am me despite having no mould within which to fit myself in comfort. Instead I forge my way through this world with nothing but my heart and my God Who knows who I am and what I am and from where I come and to where I will return.

I have no frame of reference but my own.

I fit myself to no one but who I choose to be.

Ya no soy su hijada.

Hoy no soy quien fui ayer ni quien seré mañana.

Ayer, ahora, mañana y siempre, me nazco cada día en forma nueva.

I am who I am, I will be who I will be, and I will walk the paths that God places before me. But today I find myself empty but for what others wish for me to be.

And tomorrow I will have forgotten this fleeting moment of unsettled ennui.

But today, I am not what you would want me to be.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Riding ze microbusses

Amnesiac just posted a blog in which she described a ride in a microbus.

As well as being an absolutely hilarious read it is the closest example I have found written down of what it is like to ride in one:

. . .we rejoined a motorway which cuts its way through the moon-like topography of the Beni Suef desert and raced along to a stirring soundtrack of Sha3by and chillout music recorded off Nogoum FM. The driver was as usual a 22 year-old who looked like he had just imbibed Colombia’s entire annual Cocaine production and who drove accordingly. We came so close to the bumper of vehicles that I could probably have counted the driver’s nasal hair in his rear view mirror if it wasn’t for the sudden velocity with which our microbus driver veered out from behind the car in front and overtook it.

I am not of a nervous disposition when it comes to driving at breakneck speed with boy racers but did experience a slight heart flutter when the microbus threatened to veer off the road at 100 km an hour when the driver fumbled with the cassette player, or when he spurned the steering wheel and expressed his disgust at something by clapping his hands together for what seemed like 89 hours.

Check out her blog, she works as a journalist in Cairo and talks about some of the more serious political rumblings of today's Egypt.

Los Ocampo!

Los Ocampo has pozole de pollo!!!!


Its my new favorite place.

Also my bosses suck, so I can't be typing away as much as before. I'll catch up with comments tonight.

I hate this job, thank God tomorrow is my last day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I think we should do Random Wednesdays

I am thinking that every wednesday should be random Wednesday. You know its the worst day of the week, so why not ramble about completely inane and useless things?

It sounds good to me.

* I was reading the bbc this morning and ran across this "Newsworthy story". Big American newstories involve polititians and prostitutes but apparently in Briton talking on your mobile phone while driving is worthy enough for some front page action.

I'm not saying we should downplay the small things, but really? Talking on your mobile phone? And what really had me was the fact that someone got worked up enough over it to whip out their mobile phone to take a picture.

..and then send it into the police.

..and then it gets put on the front page of bbc international.

Personally, I just don't get it- I stick my phone into my hijab and keep going. Instant handsfree.

(pic to be inserted here)

* One day, after a particularly hilarious but odd conversation with my husband, I realized that we're a lot like 'I Love Lucy'.

Except the part of Ricky is played by a handsome Egyptian. Otherwise all else is the same: I'm nutty and annoying and red-headed.

* Speaking of nutty: I don't know if its just me but 99% of the converted muslimahs I've met have been a bit on the quirky side. Like myself. And when I say quirky I mean really cool laid back chicks with great senses of humor and an understanding and appreciation of the odder parts of society.

I mean, I've met stick in the mud muslimahs who act holier than thou and 'haraam' the most harmless things. (I don't like them very much.)

But most of us are a little bit off, in a good way.

* I got asked if it was a 'chador' that I was wearing by a patient this morning. And then I spent a good five engrossed minutes in explaining the intricacies of muslimah outerwear. I told the patient to come by after his appointment and I'd quiz him on vocabulary.

* Organic Muslimah had a post about whether to support a Muslim business that allows their patrons to bring their own alcoholic beverages but does not actually serve/sell it.

Just to one-up that I guess, I walked into the Muslim-owned corner store by my house and was confronted by a glass case filled with one-hitters and bongs.

At the look I gave the brother working behind the counter he burst into laughter and said, "I know sister, I know, I had a deep discussion with the owners about it and once these are gone, khalas no more."

One down, alcohol and pork still to go.

But it sure is nice to be greeted with a Salaam everytime I go in to buy milk.

* I'm planning on moving to Egypt for a little while inshAllah this summer, however the situation with food prices is making both my husband and I sweat. InshAllah everything will work out, but why do economics have to suck worldwide? I mean, not that we're dealing with anything too detrimental to daily life right now in the US, but it seems like everywhere is feeling a crunch.

* Sometimes the cutest old people come into the clinic and they are just joys to chat with. I had one adorable woman from Austria tell me that I reminded her of her sister who was a nun back home in the Old Country (comparison to a nun number 1,243). She went on to say, "The mother superior asked me to join them as well, but you know, I just couldn't handle that headscarf business."

The celebacy would have done it in for me.

* And last but not least I recommend that everyone should check out Artemesia Rants' blog. Her writing style is amazing and her topics are hard-hitting and thought provoking. Check her out, she's a must-read.

Alright, now I want to call on any readers who have random tidbits they'd like to sound off on. Use my comments and make my day!

And let me know what you think about Random Wednesdays.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seeking Ibrahim's (pbuh) Father

I met my dad this weekend. He's alive alhumdulillah and apparently in good health and still working. Last week after work I went to his apartment with Mariah, who kept me company, and managed to slip in through the locked door by ambushing someone who lived there. Thankfully Minnesota is still a friendly place where neighbors let strangers into locked buildings.

Err... good or not I'll let you be the judge, but it got me in.

I went down to his apartment and knocked on the door for a good five minutes but got no answer. The last I had heard was that he was working the early morning shift and would have been home by that time so I freaked out just a little.

In desperation I slid a note under the door asking him to call me and hoped like heck he'd notice it. He did and he called me the next day from work.

He has no phone because he's broke. Why he's broke while still working and not paying bills I have no idea. If he's using, I have no idea.

But we made a date to have lunch on Saturday and then he said he would come with me to a cookware demonstration so I could win the "free" vacation they promised me if I showed up with a guest. They were some nice pots, but I was there for the "free" vacation.

We went to Quang's Deli on Eat Street in Minneapolis and partook of their wonderful pho tai. (Make it a point to stop there if you're ever in the Twin Cities.) And then on to the cooking/trying to sell us stuff we don't need demonstration and then I dropped him off home again.

And, like a dad should, he also put oil in my car and fixed my burned out tail light.

It was about as normal of an afternoon as anyone could get with their parent. He talked about work, the guy at work who annoys him to no end, and his female co-worker whom he's madly in love with (for the past two years every single time I've seen him he's talked about her.) I told him about my plans and talked about my husband, and also got in some of my own work frustrations. It was a good afternoon and I'm glad he's alright, but there's this wall in my mind between him and I. I want to reach out more, but I've forgotten how.

Why do I still try? What is it that keeps me thinking about my father? Why don't I- can't I- just let it go?

Its because everytime I think of giving up I remember that he is my father. And I remember that for the sake of Allah we must respect and care for our parents (they are on our head as my husband so arably puts it.) And then I remember the prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), peace and blessing upon him, and his father and the trials he went through in his relationship with him.

Taken from Forever Muslim:

Narrated Abu Harairah: The prophet Mohammed Swas said, “On the day of Resurrection prophet Ibrahim Sw will meet his father Azar, (the idol worshipper). Azar’s face will be dark and covered with dust. The prophet Ibrahim Sw will ask him: “Didn’t I tell you not to disobey me?" His father will reply: "Today I will not disobey you." Prophet Ibrahim Sw will say to Allah swt: "O Lord! You promised me not to disgrace me on the Day of Resurrection; and what will be more disgraceful to me than cursing and dishonouring my father?"

Those of you who know this hadeeth know that I have cut half of it off, be sure that I am not forgetting it but I will finish it after I make my point. Abraham loved his father, an idolator and sculptor of idols, enough to stand before Allah (swt) and plead on his behalf despite all the things his father had done and said to him.

The history:

Taken from here.

All was finished between Abraham and his people [after he tried to tell them about Allah] and the struggle began; the most amazed and furious was his father (or his uncle who had raised him), for as it is well known he not only worshipped idols but sculpted and sold them as well. Abraham felt that it was his duty as a good son to advise his father against this evil so that he could be saved from Allah's punishment.

From the Quran:

He (the father) said: "Do you reject my gods, O Abraham? If you stop not this, I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely before I punish you." Abraham said: "Peace be on you! I will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily! He is unto me, Ever Most Gracious. And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah." (Ch 19:43-48)

When Abraham (pbuh) brought the Truth of Allah to his father Azar (or uncle- the man who raised him) he instead threatened to stone and kill Abraham for his belief and for rejecting what he had taught him.

The parallels in this story to mine and many other converts' stories are astounding. Consider that Azar was a sculptor of idols as well as idolator, should he have begun to follow the Word of Allah he would have lost his very livelihood as well as rejected the beliefs of his fathers.

How many still continue to follow Christianity or Judaism or any other religions only because that is what their parents taught them? How many Muslims follow bid'ah because that is what their parents taught them? And how many have heard people say, "Sure Islam makes sense, but I can't work in banking/liquor stores/tobacco/etc if I convert"?

But I digress from how this applies to me. Abraham (pbuh) risked physical violence because he felt it was his duty as a son to save his father from the hellfires, and even in the final days he will stand before Allah and plead for his soul. Threats of murder will not have deterred him from his duties as a son.

And while Abraham's (pbuh) intercession will not save his father, who stayed an idolator until his death, he will still try.

So what can I truly say deterred me from caring for my father? When I stand before Allah and am accounted for how I treated my parents, can I make the excuse that he's hurt me in the past? That he let me down? That he robbed me of my childhood?

Who am I? I am no one. And my parents are on my head from now and for the future if not to lead them to Islam, then at least to care for them in their old age.

And there is a wall in my heart I'm not sure how to take down, but brick by brick I need to make my way through it.


I just don't know how.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A poem is never finished, only abandoned. ~Paul Valéry

I am never satisfied with my writings, I go over them a million times and revise them a million and one only to end dissatisfied and hopeless.

And then I abandon them to whatever criticism I may receive, throwing them into the trash in my mind with helplessness.

Why am I never satisified?

Friday, March 7, 2008

I guess I'll just stop eating.

So I've mentioned before that eating seems to be getting in the way of my weight loss.

My cousin, and lifelong best friend, is getting married this summer. Actually both my cousins, sisters, are having a double wedding together on their parents' wedding anniversary which also happens to be their grandparents' wedding anniversary as well. If their kids get married on the same day in the future it will be four generations with the same anniversary. A pretty cool tradition, I say.

Anyways, last night the brides, bridesmaids, and the mother of the brides got together to look for dresses at David's Bridal.

It was painful. I mean, I love getting new clothes, especially pretty dresses, but trying stuff on is demoralizing.

And I realize, now, that a true diet is in order. I had been eating more sensibly, trying to stay away from fast food- which really isn't my favorite anyways- and half-heartedly counting calories. But, well, yeah.

There seems to be an issue with eating food, it gets in the way of losing weight. I also want to go to the gym, however doing that is tricky with hijab. I don't want to work out with it on, but my only choice would be Curves. Which its not a bad gym I guess, I just would like all the bells and whistles too you know: a sauna and hot tub, a pool to swim laps in, and I'd rather not work out in a cramped closet.

I used to work out at Lifetime, before I was Muslim, and I loved it. I loved working out and I enjoyed the time I spent there. The lockers were well-lit, clean, and big, all of the machines were new and shiny and worked well, and the entire place didn't reek of BO because they have a good air exchange system.

Is that too much to ask of a gym?

Maybe I should work out in hijab just for the luxury of having those things.

I don't know.

But I want to work out, I want to lose weight, I want to feel better about myself and how I look in absolutely God-awful fru-fru dresses.

But first, I need to learn how to survive by not eating. Because apparently thinking about food causes me to gain weight.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies

Everyone around me is pregnant or with newborns.

I'm not even exaggerating.

I'm going AZ (inshallah) in two weeks and three of the five of us are pregnant.

I am not one of the three, by the way. In case you were wondering.

I just found out yesterday that my friend had her baby on leap day. MashAllah. I know five more muslimahs from my masjid who are in the family way and going to pop pretty soon inshAllah.

My bestest friend Muslimah Lotus has a bun in her oven too, mashAllah.

Shushu who got married a month after me is also awaiting the stork.

As well as about 5 women who work here in the clinic, and one doctor who is out today giving birth.

I'm not sure, but whatever water they drank from did not fill my cup. (Mariah: high five- no babies!!)

During lunch the topic of the day in the break room was labor and epidurals. Old moms were telling new moms what to expect and exchanging horror labor stories.

And me, well, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies.

Is it just me or is EVERYONE pregnant?

My husband as a baby, mashAllah, as I threatened him promised.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Necessary Beat Downs

If this is how life is in Egypt, I'm going to lose my mind.

I am trying to somehow give my FIL the power of attorney for me in Egypt to set things up legally before I get there. My husband tells me I need to go to the Egyptian Embassy to get it done.

Hm, closest Embassy is in Chicago... right around the corner right? I've never been to Chicago in my life, let alone to drop everything for a "day trip". Its like 400 miles away. Not close at all.

So he tells me to call the embassy to see if there's something I could do from where I am.

Alright. I look up the number and on my break go out and try to call. Except here's the thing: the number listed for Chicago goes unanswered and has NO VOICEMAIL OR ANSWERING SERVICE. There's nothing on the line to even let you know the number is for the Chicago Egyptian Embassy.

Those of you who are from Egypt or have spent a significant amount of time in Egypt are nodding your heads at this point. Typical for anything vaguely Egyptian.

So I get the numbers for the big head honcho Embassy in Washington DC figuring that it has to be impossible to not reach someone in the MAIN headquarters.

And I do. The receptionist (of the year I'm sure) parrots me the same number that went unanswered.

No, theres no one answering. And no voicemail (seriously what kind of !&*%ing embassy doesn't have a voicemail?). No, really, I'm certain no one is answering.

She transfers me to the "commercial consulate" and I get a voicemail (!!) but I call her back because I want a real live person to talk to.

Oh the injustice of my request.

When I called the direct line she reluctantly gave me I actually get a real person (finally) who answers with an oh-so-professional "alloo?"

Uh, I'm sorry, is this an Embassy?


Oh, ok here's what I need...

Well, did you call the Chicago Embassy?

..... Yes. No one answered.

(Really, I promise no one answered.)

I explain to her what I need.

She tells me that I need to call the Chicago Embassy.

..... Seriously. No one answered.

She huffs and puffs and then finally consents and lists all the things I need to do to give my FIL the power of attorney for me. Apparently I need to jump through fifteen fire-rimmed hoops, on one foot or it doesn't count, on the first day of the new moon, spin around and touch my nose, and then send "them" (actual word she said) a $25 money order.

I'm sorry, I need to send them a $25 money order? And secondly who is "them"?

I am informed curtly that: Yes I did need to send "them" a $25 money order, and I need to call the Chicago Embassy. Click.

She hung up on me.

...hung up.

I will beat you down nasty Egyptian Embassy lady, and then I will mess you up again.

And when I got back to the desk, ruffled feathers and all, M looked on the website and tells me that the Chicago Embassy is only open Mon-Fri 9am to 1pm.

WTF!?! How on earth do they manage to work Egyptian hours in America?!?!

..... I'm done.

If this is how life is in Egypt, I'm letting my husband do EVERYTHING.

But I will beat that embassy lady down myself.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The art of women...

I watched The Other Boleyn Girl with my mom tonight and in one scene the mother of Anne says to her "you must learn how to control men by letting them think that they are the ones in control, that is the art of women."

I leaned to my mom and said, "Thats how the Arab women do it."

Among the couple in front of us, the woman turns to look at the man who bursts into laughter, nodding a bit sheepishly.

And a woman behind us comments rather loudly, "Well things don't change much, do they?"

No, things don't change much at all.

I do want to make one comment about the injustices of life: the king sleeps with whatever woman he fancies and no one says anything; the queen is accused of sleeping with another man and she's executed.

Just saying...

At least in Islam they both get stoned.


I called my father's cell phone and its "temporarily out of service."

Take of that what you will, I suppose.

...and the guilt sets in.