Sunday, September 30, 2007

Here Kitty, Kitty

You are a South African bush pilot working for Blue Sky Aviation. You fly in some critical medical supplies, enjoy a quick lunch at the hospital.

It's a stifling 100 degrees in the shade and you're eager to get back up to the cool, high blue yonder.

On the way back to your plane, you discover that the only bit of shade within 1 mile has become very popular.

You start calculating the distance to the plane door and wonder . .."Do I feel lucky today?"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Theme In the Air

There seems to be a theme in the air that keeps crossing not only my path but the paths of others, which seems to be significant. Recently one of our brethren bloggers, Akak, posted a post on September 9, 2007, with the subject line “How long left do we have?” It was a very thought provoking subject, and one that was so poignant in its message.

Last Sunday, September 23, 2007, Amira and I went to Mindy’s house to visit with her and Vicky as they were preparing for their cake decorating class the next day. I was telling Mindy and Vicky about a conversation I had earlier in the day with someone and the word “believe” was part of the subject matter…….Mindy stood up and said, “ok, I’m flippin’ out a little bit here”. We asked “why?” She said, "well yesterday I was cleaning out this cabinet area and I came across something that I just felt so moved to give you today." She said, "I actually had two--one for myself and one I wanted to give to you." She got up and went to retrieve whatever this was she wanted to give me. When she returned she handed me this envelope and inside the envelope was a card entitled “Believe”, which is now posted on the sidebar of my blog.

Is it by chance or by pure desire on our part to want something so badly that we can just make it all up and read into things as we want them to be? Or is it just possible that messages are being delivered to us everyday with a soul purpose of waking us up, reviving us, comforting us, or motivating us? I prefer to believe the latter. I prefer to believe that Allah is always trying to reach out to us--yet we as the free-willed human doesn't always recognize or even ignores such contacts.

I’ve also heard somewhere that messages that are delivered in 3’s are sure signs that they are meant for us to receive. Weird? Strange? Possible? Maybe.

Last night Amira and I were watching Dancing with the Stars and they had a musical guest that has been one of my all time favorites since I was a little girl and she was debuting one of her newest hits on her soon to be released new album, Backwoods Barbie (don’t you just love the title?—Of course, it probably goes without saying that I would…lol) Anyway, I was half listening as Amira and I were playing at the time, but there was certain words in the song that just leaped into my ears that caused me to listen. I went online this morning and found the words to this song and have posted it below.

Better Get to Livin’
By Dolly Parton

You better get to livin', givin'
Don't forget to throw in a little forgivin'
And lovin' on the way
You better get to knowin', showin'
A little bit more concerned about where you're goin'
Just a word unto the wise
You better get to livin'

A girlfriend came to my house
Started cryin' on my shoulder Sunday evening
She was spinnin' such a sad tale
I could not believe the yarn that she was weavin'
So negative the words she had to say
I said if I had a violin I'd play

I said you'd better get to livin', givin'
Be willing and forgivin'
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin'

Your life's a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I'm no guru, but I'll tell you
This I know is true

You better get to livin', givin'
A little more thought about bein'
A little more willin' to make a better way
Don't sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that everyday
Then you'll get to livin'

The day we're born we start to die
Don't waste one minute of this life
Get to livin'
Share your dreams and share your laughter
Make some points for the great hereafter

Better start carin'
Better start sharin'
Better start tryin'
Better start smiling
And you better get to livin'

Monday, September 24, 2007

Latest Read

Well finally I finished Lipstick Jihad. That book took me forever. It would grab me and pull me in and then begin to bore me with political stuff so I'd put it down, but there was always something pulling me back in to continue reading until it was finished. I think over all it was a great book.

I'm now reading Dreams of Trespass - Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi. It's a tale of a young girls childhood behind the iron gates of a domestic harem. This gentle memoir captures the hierarchy and decorum of growing up behind the door of a harem, which, as the author explains, is not necessarily a collection of wives, but rather a house in which all the women of a family are secluded. The work is also an engrossing portrait of Fez in the 1940s. Mernissi brings to vivid and often hilarious detail the exploits of the various women in the house: her mother, fighting against the veil, her grandmother, clinging to tradition, and especially a divorced aunt, who teaches her much about rebellion.

It is easy to read as well as interesting exploring the historical past.

Fatima Mernissi is a sociologist at University Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco. She is the author of Islam and Deomcracy, the Veil and the Male Elite, and Beyond the Veil, among other books.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Greetings and Salutations

Salam Everyone,

It’s become apparent we have been essentially carbon-copied by an entity that certainly lacks social skills, moralistic respect for humans, and a lack of educated knowledge.

Personally I neither take heed to their words based on the above assumption of this entity nor do I feel justification in responding to such preposterous filth----for then it would be an acknowledgement of their words meaning anything which they do not.

May we continue to gather in the loving respectful fashion that we do as well as hold true to ourselves and our beliefs with humble dignity. The words that were shared have absolutely no meaning unless we give them meaning, and considering the above described characterized entity why would we even grant their existence?

So anyway, Amira has picture day on Monday so will be excited to share those when they are available.

Also, her dance school will be performing the Nutcracker and her class will be the candy canes in the production. I can hardly wait to see that.

Other than that not much else is new, as we are slowly preparing (somewhat begrudgingly on my part) for the fall to come. UGH! I LOVE summer! We had our first rain last week and I nearly fell into a coma with sadness….LOL, but just as quickly as the rain came and went the sun re-appeared. Whew!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Do you think you could?

This past weekend we celebrated my sister-in-law Claudia’s birthday. My brother prepared a great meal for us and we enjoyed the evening visiting. During this visit I learned something new about my sister-in-law. Just over 15 years ago she and my brother met and fell in love while each on vacation in Mexico. Eventually they agreed to get married and for Claudia to move to the U.S. Mind you she had little knowledge or understanding of the English language and no immediate family that would be living nearby her.

It was three days before she and my brother’s wedding when she decided she just couldn’t go through with moving to the U.S. She knew she loved my brother with all her heart, but apparently the three days prior to their wedding it all of a sudden became a reality to her that she’d be leaving her family, her culture, and her country. She immediately panicked upon this epiphany and wanted to go home. She and my father had made an instant connection when they first met and had become close over a short period of time. Having no immediate family members here as they hadn’t arrived yet for the wedding, she went to the only other person she trusted for wisdom and that was my father. Apparently she broke down in front of my dad and tried to explain in her best broken English that she couldn’t go forward with this marriage and didn’t know what to do. My father who used his best Spanish as well as English tried to comfort Claudia and acknowledged that what she was feeling was very real and natural. He thought it would be helpful to her if she contacted her mother and discussed this issue. She agreed and called her parents. Her father, who she was very close and attached too answered, and she told her father she couldn’t go forward and wanted to come home. He told her "no, you’ve made the decision to get married and move so now you have to stick with it". She could not believe her father told her no. Unbeknownst to Claudia, after her father told her no he handed her mother the phone and went in the other room and cried for nearly a day and a half. He admitted to Claudia’s mom that was the hardest thing he had to do was tell his daughter no. Of course, Claudia didn’t know any of this until much later.

In the end she and my brother married and are still married to this day. Claudia was diagnosed a few years or so after their marriage with bi-polar disorder and has been on medication ever since. I have to wonder if she had this condition prior and it was just discovered later. I have to wonder if one has anything to do with the other. I have to wonder if it was just a coincidence.

Hearing this story for the first time over the weekend it caused me to sit and reflect on a number of things. Of course, it’s no surprise the love, adoration and respect I have for my sister-in-law, and knowing that I wondered if I could make the same decision she made 15 years ago, and honestly I don’t know if I could. Moreover, I wonder how many other people out there are like Claudia and would be willing or have taken the risk to make such a leap of faith. How many would be willing to leave their family, their culture, and their country for the sake of love? How many people would make this decision within 8 months of meeting one another, with only a couple of face-to-face meetings---all other communications were through transcribed letters and/or translated phone conversations?

I would be curious to know your thoughts. I would also be interested in knowing if you’d make such a decision and/or if you have already made such a decision and how you came to that decision. If you haven’t but know someone that has, please be so kind and share. Lastly, please share the outcome of such a decision.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How do you quiet the mind?

I think one of the things about being a woman than can be frustrating at best is the inability to not complicate, not over analyze, or to just plain stop thinking for a brief period of time.
Perhaps that’s not a fair assessment. Perhaps that’s far too general of a statement. Moreover, perhaps it’s too stereotypical. Please, I ask for your forgiveness in advance if my pondering thoughts cause offense; it’s not my intention.

Of course the beauty of having girlfriends is being able to talk something to death; to analyze it to the tenth degree; and even relate or reflect back to the one having the "issue" with consoling words of wisdom, hugs, shared tears or alliances to seek and destroy depending on the topic. But is that enough? Is it enough to calm our inner nerves? Is it enough to assist us with letting things go? Is it enough to quiet our minds long enough for us to wait poised for Allah to reveal his plan or wisdom to us?

Truly, from past experiences I’ve learned that if I wait poised in calm silence the answers come quickly and clearly; however, knowing this doesn’t seem to make the current quandary any easier. Honstly I've used this method countless times through devout prayer, faithfulness and a willingness to wait patiently, which has ALWAYS worked, but for some reason I cannot settle my mind enough to just wait. I remind myself of the story about a hunter that hunts monkeys, and how he successfully captures them. They take a coconut, place a hole in it, and then place something inside the coconut for the monkey to grab. Of course, if you slip your hand in and out without grasping the object you’ll be fine, but as soon as you grasp the object inside the coconut you can no longer remove your hand from it. And because the monkey is so intend on retrieving the object that is inside the coconut they fail to hear, sense or see the hunter until it is too late----they are captured. The story is a great reminder not to be so focused on something that you fail to hear, see, sense things around you, which could be the very message Allah is trying to deliver, but for some reason this task is very difficult for me at times.

See what I mean? Blah, blah, blah, blah =)

So, tell me, how do you quiet your mind long enough to receive information? Moreover, if you care to share your success story/stories related to this issue I’d be honored to read them.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weighing in

How to correctly weigh yourself....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Inspirational Ponderings

What is belief?
A flight into the realm of fullness.
What is disbelief?
A plunge into the abysmal abyss
Of useless nothingness.
God will be ready to convince you
Only when your own belief in Him
Is strong
And not when you are plying
Your life-boat
Between trust and mistrust.
God has not forgotten
To give us peace.
He is just waiting for us
To ask for it.
Poor is he
Who does not have peace.
Poorer is he
Who does not need peace.
Poorest is he
Who does not want to hear
People talking about peace.
Power is the most difficult thing
To work with.
Peace is the easiest thing
To work with
And also the most rewarding.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Banned after one showing

Someone sent this to me today and I thought it was so fitting as well as a wonderful reminder. I'm always so amazed at the things that are banned, overlooked or eliminated from the media. How the priorities that are determined by the people in power are more self-serving rather than beneficial for the general masses. More importantly how the people in power so strategically manipulate their priorities and agendas in such a way that unfortunately so many buy into or accept them as the way it's suppose to be.

As beloved humans I believe have an obligation to one help, love and respect one another, and to be the best we can be in honoring and serving Allah.
Sorry for the small print in pictures - I couldn't figure out how to upload the PowerPoint Presentation format that was received in my email into my blog.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Return from the OC

RAMADAN KAREM! May you all have a blessed and wonderful Ramadan.

Well my girlfriends and I made it back from the OC, of which we had an absolute fabulous time.
Our flight was only about an hour and 15 minutes, which eliminated any time zone changes, any jetlag, or excuses to not have immediate fun.

We barely had to wait before our hotel shuttle appeared to transport us to our hotel for an early check-in. Literally, I think the hotel was 2 exits down from the freeway, which was right out the back door of the airport. We could have probably walked, but why bother when we had a shuttle ready and willing to transport us to our destination.

We checked in, ran to the room, unloaded our luggage and rushed back outside to go to something, anything. Up until this point everything was exactly as it was expected to be and then the moment came when we went to guest services to inquire about the transportation services to either Fashion Island or Balboa Island. According to our research they offered complimentary transportation service between these locations going to and from the hotel; however, we were ever so politely told they no longer offered this service on the weekends. This left us with catching a taxi, which was no big deal until our fare was $25 for less than a 7-mile trip. We decided then and there we would probably need to take out a loan for cab fare in order to make it through the weekend. =)
Our first stop was to Balboa Island where we meandered through the streets with all the cute little boutiques, restaurants and very expensive real estate (Small homes ranging anywhere from 5 to 10 million dollars). Balboa is also famous for their Balboa bars, which unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture of it, but I did get a picture of the stand where you can buy it….LOL

We took a small ferry over to the other side of the island, which gave us our "boat ride". Once we arrived at the other side of the island we walked through the "Fun Zone" filled with a carousel ride, game room, boutiques and of course more food. We made our way to the pier on the ocean and sat on a beach for about 45 minutes or so just enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean. Making our way back to the "Fun Zone" Mindy decided she wanted to get a henna tattoo, so we found a little shop that was able to henna her quickly.

A friend of mine that lives in the area was gracious enough to pick us up and show us around for the remainder of the day. He returned us to our hotel so we could freshen up to go out to dinner. He took us to a Brazilian BBQ buffet, which really turned out to be an endless serving of meat. They had this system with this little tool at the end of your table. When you were ready for the meat you stood this tool up with the green colored end facing upward, and then a waiter could come with every type of meat you can imagine. We ate at least 5 or 6 different types of beef, along with chicken, lamb, quail, and alligator. By time we finished and waddled out to the car, we all fell into the car moaning. (I felt like a Cheetah who had just finished off an Antelope for dinner.) We then zoomed off to go get hot tea with mint and smoke shesha but on the way my friend decided we needed something sweet to eat, so we whipped into a Middle-Eastern bakery that served both Middle-Eastern delights as well as European tasties. Oh my goodness – I don’t think the three of us ever moaned as much as we did this night – those desserts were FABULOUS. PH, I’m so sorry I never think to take pictures of food….maybe because I’m too busy devouring them. ;-)


After dessert we once again waddled out to the car, fell in moaning, and began our drive to the next destination. At once point Vicky asked if we should check the air pressure in the tires after all the meat and desserts we had consumed. We all laughed and just made one wise crack after another. We made it to a wonderful outdoor shesha place and drank hot tea with mint and smoked shesha. It was so relaxing and fun. More laughter, good conversation, and moments of feeling like real dizzy blonde as smoking will sometimes do that.

After food, dessert and smoking my friend decided to show us the most spectacular view of California in his opinion. We ended up driving to Laguna Beach and standing on the edge of a cliff over looking the ocean. The ocean was in front of us and the city lights behinds us---truly this was an incredible view. I can only imagine what it would look like in the daytime. He then drove us to the top of this mountain over looking the city of Laguna and the view of the ocean, what an awesome view from the mountaintop.

The next day we woke up, watched a little TV while we got ready to head out for another day of fun. We grabbed a cab and headed to South Coast Mall where we had lunch at the Rainforest Café. After lunch we grabbed another cab. This particular cab was operated by Andy the Cab Man who turned out to be the best fun. He had a DVD player in his cab as well as a karokee player, which unfortunately wasn’t working at the time, but nonetheless we had fun watching the video and laughing with Andy. He delivered us to Gaylee’s Day Spa for our scheduled massage appointment. WOW! What can one say about a massage besides "MMMMMMMMM"? That was the most incredible 80 minutes of my life. We each walked out of our rooms looking like limp noodles---so relaxed. Vicky then called our friend, Andy the Cab Man, to come pick us up and return us to our hotel. Upon his return he informed us that the karokee wasn’t working, but his DVD player was working, so we asked him to play Arabic music for us which he did and we watched belly dancing. Vicky, myself and Andy the Cab Man were dancing in the cab while poor Miss Mindy was just trying to enjoy the peace and relaxation from her recent massage.

My friend who had invited to take us to the Arab American festival was not able to take us because his uncle had just had a stroke the night before and was still in the hospital, so he had to understandably take care of his family obligations.

Upon arriving at the hotel we ran down to the pool and decided to put our feet in the hot tub. Oh my gosh, more moaning. The water just felt sooooooooooooooooooooooo good. We hung out there for a good couple of hours and met some nice people. We met Hector who is a U.S. Marshall as well as a reserve with the Air Force. Believe it or not we were starting to get hungry, which we never thought we’d eat again from the night before of all that meat, but we were, so Hector suggested we all go out for Mexican food. We were reluctant at first because of imaging the cab fare but to our good fortune Hector had transportation, so off we went for dinner. After dinner we went back to the hotel, put on our swimsuits, and went to the Jacuzzi. We also swam in the heated pool. However, at 11 p.m. some guy in a suit came along and announced we had to get out because it was now after hours for using the pool. Of course we were sad and disappointed because we were being quiet and saw no reason for us to be kicked out, but regardless we were.

The next morning we woke up, slowly got ready and packed our bags knowing we were going to get on a plane soon to return home. My friend called and offered to pick us up and take us to lunch and the airport, which we all thought was very thoughtful considering it was a Monday and Monday's are generally known for being the busiest day of the business week. He picked us up at 11:30 and took us to a wonderful Persian buffet that was unbelievably delicious. Eventually we made it to the airport where we said our good-byes and hoped on our plane back to home. Around 7:30 p.m. Monday night it finally hit me that I was tired. LOL

Even though it’s so hard to return from vacation and get back into the normal routine of life, I was delighted to come home merely to see Amira, alhamdullilah.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

OC Bound

As the days of summer start to wind down, we wonder where in the world the time went. Although, Amira and I have had such a fun-filled summer with so many wonderful events and memories all we can say is, "alhamdullilah".

To finish off the summer of 2007 Mindy, Vicky and I are heading to the OC (Orange County, California) this weekend. We are so excited about our trip we can hardly stand it. Our plans are to do anything, everything or nothing depending on how we feel.

One of Mindy’s desires is to lounge poolside at our hotel and snap her fingers for the Cabana boy to bring her refreshments. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the wonderful life of being a leisurely princess, don’t you think? I say, "snap away girlfriend"!

One of Vicky’s desires is to stalk Clay from the MTV reality TV show Newport Harbor. She thinks he’s so adorably cute. Although Ms. Vicky celebrated her birthday in April and is clearly not in the same age bracket as Clay, she still feels justified in her stalking of him because he’s considered of legal age (18). I say, "you go girl"!

Me? I desire to have a massage. All three of us actually thought the massage would be good, so we are scheduled for Sunday late afternoon for a spa treatment. I can already feel my muscles relaxing at the thought. =)

We also agree we’d like to take a boat ride on the ocean and since we will be staying in the Newport Beach area there will be plenty of boat excursions to choose from. So hopefully we’ll have time to maybe squeeze it in on Sunday before the spa treatment. ;-)

We have also been invited by a friend of mine to attend the annual Arab American Festival in Garden Grove, California, which I’ve always wanted to attend, so was delighted when I learned it was taking place while we were there. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, what more could anyone want but great Arabic food, music, entertainment and shisha?

As long as we each return feeling relaxed, refreshed, possibly exhausted as well as filled with laughter and great memories, then we can consider this a successful venture, inshallah.

I know the three of us will be a breath of fresh air to the OC community because we are the real deal---100% authentic. There is nothing plastic, fake, or superficial about us, so know we will definitely stick out amongst the land of plastic. Hopefully our good nature and our authenticity will rub off and start a trend. LOL

Look out OC, here we come!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

Wow! What a whirlwind of a weekend Amira and I had, alhamdullilah. It started Saturday morning with 5 hours of dance practice, as we only had Saturday and Sunday left to practice before the big show on Monday. After class on Saturday we ran errands and finally ate dinner late that evening and tried to unwind from the full day's schedule because we had another full day ahead on Sunday.

Sunday morning we were back up and racing to get ready for dress rehearsal and practice at Fatima's studio. We managed to get through practice and dress rehearsal within 3 hours time. We immediately rushed home, jumped in the shower, then got ready to race to Mindy's birthday party at the tearoom. There were 8 of us that attended the tea/luncheon, and we had a fantastic time. It was so fun playing with all the hats, scarves, jewelry, etc. They served such heavenly foods, with the most incredible tea selection you could imagine as well as a fantastic dessert. We all agreed it was a great time and we’d have to do it again soon.

Our elegant tea setting table with Barney sprawled at the head of the table.

Glimpse of the Vanity Closet

Even Barney enjoyed dress up.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm - delicious!

Amira stayed overnight at Grandma and Grandpa's Sunday night as they were bringing her to the State Fair by noon on Monday. I had to get there before then and didn't want to subject Amira to the madness of all the performers running around crazy like chickens with their heads cut off.

I arrived at the fair at 10:45 a.m. and we were all dressed and accounted for 15 minutes before show time which was perfect to just relax and be silly with one another---more like nervous stage fright really. At 1:00 p.m. the show started and by 2:00 p.m. it was complete. I remember thinking as we were performing "this sure is going fast".....probably because of the long practice hours we had put in for preparing for this event. For the last 6 to 8 weeks we've been practicing on average 15 hours a week, and when all was said and done it was over in an hour, which almost seemed a little anti-climatic, but regardless we had fun.

After the show we decide to walk around the fair and see the animals and ride a train----Amira's request. It was a great day - and a fun way to spend a Monday rather than a typical Moan-day. =)

Amira on a pony ride
Amira looking thrilled. =) Later she told me how fun it was to ride the pony.
A Clydesdale horse
Grandma and Amira in the petty zoo.
A cute little Bambi deer.
Grandma and Amira petty a donkey.
Grandma, Amira and Charming Child looking into a pen of baby piggies.
A baby Joey (kankaroo)
Amira and Charming Child washing their hands after the petty zoo.
A topiary tractor. It appeared to be a tractor frame they grew grass around.
A topiary truck. I believe it was an actually truck frame they grew grass and flowers over.
A baby cow that was 5 days old.
Baby goats
Baby pigs. The one is a sleepy, hungry buggar. Everytime he'd fall asleep he'd loose his grip on momma pig then reach up and grab it again and fall fast asleep. Poor momma pig.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Mindy

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My grandmother use to tell us, “if you can count 5 dear friends that you can entrust your life with, then you are truly blessed”. I've never forgotten these wise words because truly they are true when it comes to my friend Mindy. We've been friends since 2000 and it was an immediate connection of kindred spirits. We've laughed together, cried together, teased one another and supported one another ever since. Truly my life has been forever changed and blessed because of her friendship.

Today and everyday Mindy, I ask God to please continue to bless and guide you all your days.

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To My Best Friend, Mindy

When I think of all the times we've shared
from the silly to the sad
You've been the greatest friend to me
through good times and through bad.
We love to get silly from time to time,
that's what friends are supposed to do
But when times get rough
there is never a doubt that I can count on you.
We have the kind of friendship
that endures til the very end
Because I can't imagine my life without you.
Thank you for being my best and forever friend.
I love you!

Saturday, September 1, 2007


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Ahhhhhhhh the beautiful splendor of weekend mornings never seize to amaze me. There’s something extraordinary about the early hours of the weekend mornings with the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the cooing of the doves outside my back door that just brings an unmistakable since of peacefulness. The feel of the new day’s morning air and the calmness of it all that just makes me so thankful, alhamdullilah.

I invite you to join me in cup of coffee/tea/or beverage of your choice and celebrate the simplicity and serenity of the weekend mornings, inshallah.

Have a great weekend.