Aug 31, 2010

Racism rears it's ugly head

I have lived a blissfully wonderful life here in know, having been born and raised here (and my parents, and their parents and their get the picture) -- so growing up white in a white society wasn't that big of a deal for me...then I went all Muslim and ruined the whole thing.

Some of the reactions that I get are fairly typical such as this:

The loud talker -- this person wants to communicate with me but thinks either a) I can't speak English and speaking loudly will make me understand better or b) my scarf is made of sound proofing materials thus making my hearing ability severely reduced.  So, the result is this, "HELLO THERE!  CAN I HELP YOU?"

The Charades talker -- this person also thinks that I can't speak English and thus uses varying forms of body language to help me decipher what it is they're saying.  The result is this, "Hello there (waves).  Can I (points at self) help you (points at me)."

Then there is the polar opposite -- the people who are fluent in Arabic who speak to me in Arabic and then are upset with me as to why I can't respond.  It usually goes like this, "Ahlo sahlan..  Keif halik?  Min ein enti? Meen aalick?  Leish ma tahki mai?  Leish ma fahemtic al-Arabie?? don't speak Arabic?  Why?  Why are you covered then??"

All of these people mean well, and I never really have a problem with them.  I'll politely explain that I can indeed hear them, or that I do understand English, or that I'm a convert to Islam...and it all goes over pretty well.  In the 12 years that I have been Muslim, I have never had to experience Racism....until a few days ago.

My daughter hurt her arm and so I was sent to the lab to get X-rays for her.  I walk into the relatively empty office and hand over the forms and such...I had my tiny terror, Adam, with me...he's wanting to open doors, and do things that every 2 year old wants to prevent this, I grab a mask that the clinic has out for patients who may be ill -- I thought let the 2 year old pretend he's a doctor or Iron Man or something.  My goal was to prevent him from causing any major disruptions.

So, as I grab the mask for him and start showing it to him, this lady walks out...and as she passes me she says "Muslims are SO rude."

I was in shock for a moment...and replayed the event in my head -- did I bump into her? no.  Did I get in her way as she tried to leave?  No.  Did my kid do something to her?  No.  So I simply looked up and said "Excuse me?  What did I do that was rude?"  Her daughter looked back, but the mother kept walking...I turned to the secretary and asked her if she'd seen something that I missed.  She just replied with "That woman was a b*tch from the moment she walked in today."

Not an excuse.  It's is NOT an excuse to throw racist comments around -- go ahead and talk to me and call me whatever you want, but NOT IN FRONT OF MY KIDS!!!  How lovely that she not only demeaned me in front of 2 of my children, but was so freely willing to do so in front of her own.

My experience with Racism is hardly something worth mentioning -- it's so minor compared to what others have experienced - but I now understand how those who are victims of racism feel....and it's not cool.  A small part of me wants that woman to be a follower of my blog.  Maybe she was having a bad day, maybe she was just extra grumpy and had trouble controlling her tongue (God knows, that's happened to me before) -- but I want her to realize that her hatred spewing was wrong...I'd have been more than willing to have a conversation with her.  I have met more than my share of rude people who happened to be Muslim, but I could say the same thing about Christians, too -- with her being a prime example -- does it mean I call down all the followers of Christianity?  No -- that would be absurd, idiotic and racist...wouldn't it?

Aug 30, 2010

Video Surprise

So, a while ago I did a vlog about why I chose Islam as my faith -- I'd had many of my old high school pals asking me, and a couple of my followers too, so, I thought I'd do a little video. (don't worry, I'll put it in this post!)

So a few days after putting it up, my daughter came up to me and said "Mom, have you ever adopted a baby?" -- and I knew that she'd watched this.  It's not all that big of a deal -- except -- I hadn't yet told my kids about the baby that I'd given up for adoption.  It's not as if it were a secret or anything, it's just -- I wanted to wait until they were old enough to really "get" know?  I had this irrational fear that they'd be like "what if mom gives us away too?"

Turns out that this fear was totally unfounded...they are ecstatic that they have a sister out there -- they want to see her, see pictures, write letters -- which is all cool with the parents who adopted her (and cool with me too)...

Aug 29, 2010

ugh....and ew!

So, last night I was invited out to our family's house for iftar.  "What's iftar?" - you ask?  Well -- in Ramadan, the month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, iftar is the meal that you eat that breaks your fast.  In general, Muslims invite friends and family over a LOT during Ramadan, as we are all fasting, it seems to make these gatherings so much more meaningful.  Can't really explain it more than that...

Anyhow -- so all day long I'd had a headache.  I'd put it off to what I call a "fasting headache" -- our days right now are just shy of 17 hours, it's a long time to go without food or water, and since I'm not a person who likes to drink water to begin with, I can get these headaches (which are usually a sign of dehydration).  I digress...We all hop into the car and head on our way over there...and I start feeling really nauseous...but put that off to carsickness.  I stopped in the grocery store to pick up a cake to bring with us, got back in the car and was doing that perpetual swallow thing that you do when you feel like you're about to bring up your lunch.

We arrive, and I get into the house and think "oh my god -- I'm not going to make it."  It was filled with the smells of cooking and I'm sure to everyone else that was there it was fantastic, but for me...I"m sure I was green.  Time to eat and I sit at the table. I break my fast with the traditional dates and water - and it's all I can do not to run out of the room.  I think, you just need something more substantial in your stomach...and took a couple bites of my salad and a mouthful of rice.  I knew that I was not going to make I excused myself and went out the front door -- hoping that the cool air would help me.

It didn't.

I went back in, and everyone's eating cake and happy and I just want to curl up into a ball and cry.  I make my goodbyes, wrangle up my children and leave my husband to his own devices to get a ride home (it wasn't that bad, his brother dropped him off) -- I left maybe 5 minutes after supper was finished, felt horrible (both physically and guest-wise -- how does one eat and dash like that??)  -- Anyhow -- get home, JUST in time to empty my stomach....and for the whopping 3 bites of food that I had, there was a LOT that was coming up.  Then, like the great mom that I am, I curled up on the couch with a blanket while my kids watched TV.  I awoke to hubby knocking at the door (I'd taken his house key when I left) and my children surrounding me -- each one of them curled up in a blanket and sleeping around me.

How am I feeling today??  Not sure minute just fine, the next minute my stomach is flipping and flopping....I hope that the scenario doesn't repeat itself again tonight -- I'm invited out to dinner again!

Aug 27, 2010

What was I thinking?

This seems to be a common topic in my life lately -- what the hell were you thinking, Hethr?  I do something, with a great end result in mind, without thinking of the process...a critical part to anything!

For example, after a summer that could hardly be called a summer, we finally had some nice warm days...these days happened to coincide with the numerous apples falling from my trees -- so I gather them all up, peel and chop them, and decide to make something with them...I choose an apple coffee cake.  That's right.  On a day when the temperature outside reaches 30*C (that's 86*F) I decide to turn on my oven.  Yup, thought that through really well.

Another example would be the spontaneous cleaning moment I had.  I wake up at 530 in the morning, and look at my blinds in my kitchen...they're pretty nasty -- all that humidity in the kitchen settles on the blinds, the dust and such from open windows settles on the humidity and voila -- you have a grime-o-matic right there in your own kitchen.  So -- I brilliantly decide (at now 6 in the morning) that these things need to be cleaned....NOW.  I climb up onto my counter to take them down...fill up my bathtub with some Mr.Clean and hot water and stick my blinds in there -- only to realize that I have really big windows because only about 1/4 of the blinds were actually immersed in the water.  But -- did that stop me??  Hell to the No!  I went scrubbie-crazy and cleaned those buggers well....only to realize that I had to then turn them over and do the same thing to the other side.  By the way -- did you know that cleaning blinds and flipping them around in the bathroom and scrubbing away at 630 in the morning isn't exactly quiet and will likely wake the rest of the family???  Who knew??

So, I get the grit and grime off of them...climb back onto my counter to put them back up, drop them, pick them up again, get them stuck on the tap of the kitchen sink, knock the ends into the cupboards and finally snap it into place -- then I realize that they're all crazy like, with one strip randomly stuck to the I have to go through each stinking piece of metal and separate them one by one.  It was at this point that I decided that hiring a housekeeper to come in and do this kind of crap 2 or 3 times a year will be well worth it.

Aug 25, 2010

Product Review - Costume SuperCenter

*please note -  all future product reviews will be "teased" here with the main posting on my Review Blog (this post will be moved there after 3 days)

So, at the beginning of August, I was contacted by Costume SuperCenter to see if I'd like to review one of their products in exchange for a "fair and honest review" ← my kinda deal, as I would hate to lie to you all!  So, I said yes, to read my review of this product, please click here.

Life with toddlers

So, my own toddler is exactly 5 months older than my chosen child (daycare boy) here.  They are both in the "what/why" stage.  Yay me.

This is a small example of how my day goes:

Wake up, shower, get dressed.
Enjoy the calm before the storm.

Adam (my toddler) wakes up and usually says:
"What doin' mommy?"
"What this?"
"What [daycare children's name] doin?"
"What that?"
Daycare toddler arrives and usually says:
"where doody (blankie)?"
"what this?"
"Where Iman/Isaac/Adam?"
"What eatin'"
"what doin'"

Repeat the above questions incessantly until nap time.  Enter relative silence for 2 hours.  They wake and repeat the above questions for another 3 hours, interspersed with fights over toys or space on my lap.

Repeat daily.

Aug 23, 2010

When am I going to learn?

When will I learn that going near chat rooms, posts, status updates or any other sort of thing where I have the chance to voice my (often loud) opinion while I'm PMSing is WRONG?!

Today's first idiotic comment was after some woman posted a thing on Facebook -- some app that opposes the Mosque that they're planning to build at ground zero.  I'm neither for nor against this Mosque.  The one thing that I am "for" is respect.  So this app just screamed of tackiness to me.  It was a picture of a waving American flag with the comment "talk about a slap in the face of those who died there...find somewhere else to build it."  My blood boils at crap like this.  I get it -- I get the hurt and the pain and the horror of that day, I really do.  I thought however, that people understood that it was NOT Islam that did this.  My response was one word. "Classy"

It caused an uproar.

Then, on my new favourite online shop (which isn't yet online, but let's not go there -- poor woman's had issues) -- some crazy was posting and reposting and reposting....and yes...posting again about a political issue (I'm not going there, because it's not the issue that bugs me, it's the flippen spam-like posting).  So I told her -- "this is bordering on spam"

Yeah...that didn't go over well either.

So - mental note to self -- when you are bitchy and have things to say -- say them HERE on your own blog.

That is all.

Aug 20, 2010

We're Blog Hopping!!

What is a blog hop?

A blog hop is a linky list that is SHARED ON MULTIPLE BLOGS.
When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the
exact same list appears on each blog.

Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list.
The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides.

Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog
to blog seeing the same list of links to follow: BLOG HOP!

Faith and scarves and courage, oh my!

I've had a problem for the last few years, something that I've been too ashamed to admit to, but was probably pretty obvious to everyone around me.  I've been embarrassed about my faith.  I certainly had no doubts about my religion, but I've been worried that people would think I was one of "them" -- you know, those evil, plotting terrorists.  So what did I do....I cowered in the corner like a frightened little kitten.

I kept my faith out of my home daycare for fear of offending parents, and the result was keeping my faith from my children.

I kept my faith out of my non-Muslim family's home, for fear of offending them, and the result was keeping my faith from me.

Well -- one more thing to be thankful for that God-Awful book that we read -- I got myself a back bone.

I emailed my daycare parents and asked them if they'd be okay with their kids doing some "Ramadan" type of crafts (coloring pages, lanterns, etc).  Their response was "Absolutely." -- why was I afraid?  In fact, one mother (and a great friend) said "Why are you even asking me this??"  Have I mentioned that I love you, Chantilly??

So - I'm now not afraid to tell the children that I'm fasting, or why, or that I may be hungry/grumpy/tired (or all three), and they understand more than just "Hethr's not eating lunch today" -- really...what kind of example did that send?

I know that the psycho, pathetic jerks who do horrible things under the guise of my religion are fools.  I will not allow them to be the spokespersons of my faith!  Look out world, I have the courage and the power to set an example of what a true Muslim is!

Then...yesterday I saw this video that my fellow blogger Old Muslim Woman posted:

I think that it's really sad that in this day and age, we cannot accept something that is different.  Why are we so scared a head scarf?  What's the deal with that?  I agree with the woman -- "Don't put me in the back."  It's as if Disney is okay with you being an open Muslim, but not where people might see.

The comments though are what is really disturbing.  What's wrong with it, I need to ask?  People claim "it's part of the costume for her to not wear it." -- I have seen many, many, MANY costumes/uniforms that have been accommodated to be "religion friendly" (think the Sikh Mounties, or Jewish men wearing the little cap thing..yarmaka I think...or the Jehovah Witness teen on my street who wears a full length skirt instead of a knee length to her all-girls school)  -- now - not saying that the costume itself has to change, but simply wearing a hijab that co-ordinates is enough.

What do you all think?

Aug 19, 2010

Dear Body

Though I would like to thank you for the wonderful years of service you have provided me thus far, it is at this time that I feel that it is necessary to file a formal complaint.  You see, there are a number of issues and breakdowns that have been occurring over the last few months, and I feel that you are not holding up to your end of the bargain (which, I thought was to carry me through my life and do as I wished).

The first failure I have been dealing with for quite a few years now.  Namely, bladder control, or to be more precise, the lack thereof.  Ever since you helped me to carry my children to term, I have been unable to do the following things without a little leakage:  Cough, run, jump, skip, or drink too much tea at night.

The second failure is my eyes.  I know i haven't taken you to an eye doctor for more than a year, but that's no excuse to make my eye sight fail like a straw house in a tornado.  I've needed glasses for some time, but we both know the pain that they I tried to be nice to you by only wearing them when we really needed them, like reading or driving.  And how do you repay this kindness?  By making everything blurry!

The gray hair and wrinkles I can accept, but can you do anything about the wiry grays that are so unruly?  What about these freakishly long eyebrow hairs that seem to sprout overnight?  Do you think that those could stop any time soon?  And the wrinkles -- please!  Would you mind easing me into these things?  Yesterday, I looked in the mirror and saw a smooth, young face, today there's lines and wrinkles all over!  What gives?

I'm happy to work with you on many issues.   For example,  I'll trade you bladder control for periods, or sleepless nights for hot flashes.  Do we have any wiggle room here?


Aug 16, 2010

messing with the man

Is it evil that I like to tease my husband?  I sure hope not, because I do it all the time.  Not a mean, potentially abusive type of teasing, but a light-hearted joke here, or a silly comment there.  It's all in the name of fun.

So, the latest thing in the teasing rampage has been toothbrushes -- he bought this mega pack of toothbrushes at had 5 brushes -- 2 blue ones, and the rest were multi-coloured (kinda girly, pastel colours).  He chooses a green one and sticks it in the shower...I asked him for one while i was in the shower (Yes, I brush my teeth in the shower, get over it!) -- and he passes me purple.  I don't like purple.  BLUE is my colour of choice.  But --'s a toothbrush.

After a few days, I said to him, "Hey babe...which color is my toothbrush again?  I can never remember..." and just leave it at that. 

If he was a cartoon, he would have done one of those Bugs Bunny "doing" thing where his ears perk up and vibrate for a second...he slowly says, "Purple."  I shrug and go on with my day. The seed is now planted.

Later that night, I noticed he put another new toothbrush at the sink -- I grabbed my chance -- the one at the sink is also green -- I chose a blue one. (this will all make sense in a few seconds!)

That next morning, I ask again -- "Hey -- which toothbrush at the sink is mine?  I have the girly color, right?" -- he, knowing something is up, just shakes his head.

But -- VICTORY -- that night, as I watched him going to go brush his teeth -- he hesitated over which toothbrush to it the blue?  The green?  Do I dare risk getting hethr toothbrush germs in my mouth?

It took him probably 20 seconds to try to remember which was his brush.

And I just giggle.

Aug 15, 2010

sleeping arrangements

So, the last few nights (more like the last few weeks) Adam has been toddling to my bed in the middle of the night.  He taps my arm while he sucks his thumb and looks all angelic.  I lay there and think I can get up out of bed and take him back to his bed x500 or, I can let him come into bed with us.  It's usually the second option that wins.

There's a problem with this option.  I get about 3 inches of sleeping space.  Hubby takes his side of the bed, Adam takes up 90% of my side, and I"m left sleeping on the edge (you know, that really hard outer seam).  It's unpleasant to say the least.  I'm a big fan of the co-sleeping/family bed -- whatever you want to call it.  It was absolutely FABULOUS while I was breastfeeding.  But I'm not anymore.  When you google "co sleeping" you get these beautiful pictures of parents peacefully sleeping with their babies.

It's so untrue.

The fact is, if a toddler climbs into your bed, you are faced with elbows in your back, knees in your unmentionables, and flying fists.  No wonder kids need to take naps, how can you get any rest while you flail about like a ninja all night long?

Last night, I'd had enough -- but felt bad because poor Adam was up with nightmares or teething pain or something.  All I know is that he was crying to the point that he got those cry-hiccup things.  Poor kid.  He finally fell asleep and I thought, "let him sleep!!"

Then, I soon had a knee in my back,  and fingers up my nose and morning breath smell blowing in my face.  So...I grabbed my pillow and went to sleep in HIS bed.

Why, dear readers, haven't I thought of this before?  Not only did I get a wonderful (remaining) night's sleep, but I didn't have to listen to hubby snore, or wake up when when turns over or fight over the bed sheet (I like it on, he doesn't -- it's an unending battle!).

I think that they had it right, back in the times of those 50s TV shows...separate beds means that I will wake up happy, refreshed, and actually feel like being a productive wife instead of a snarly freak.

I'm off to search for twin beds for me and my!  (just joking....sorta)

Aug 13, 2010

Festivus Friday

I need to start off by saying that I'm feeling kind of guilty making a Festivus Friday complaint post in Ramadan...kinda like doing one on Christmas Day or something -- some little bit of it seems wrong....


Thought that this was fitting for a Ramadan Festivus post!
I'm overtired, very hungry and PMSing (or PMT for my British friends).

So, Festivus Friday evolved from that Festivus Episode that was on Seinfeld.  It's an Airing of Grievances -- and it helps me to get rid of them more often than once a year.  I know that the whole Festivus thing is just a comedy skit, but it's a great excuse to get the things off of my chest that are bugging me.

Here goes:
  • To the guys who are here building my deck.  It is NOT my duty to supply you with food/water.  Because I brought out water bottles to you and let you snag some apples from my trees - does not mean that I'll be doing it for the rest of the build.  You have a JOB -- bring your own lunch!
  • To my wonderful children.  If you don't stop whining and bickering over those stupid Nintendo DSi games, I will give them away.  Happily.
  • To my lovely daycare boy - I love you.  I hate whining.  Please stop whining.
  • To my husband.  I love you.  I hate ironing. Stop buying clothes that I have to press.
  • To the idiot who created battery operated toys thereby sapping children of imagination and causing millions of parents to want to scream.  I HATE YOU.
  • To my neighbour across the street.  I'm very glad that you have the self-esteem to wear a thong bikini.  You shouldn't.

That is all.

Aug 12, 2010

Late Night Comedy

So, I've stated before that my husband doesn't like it when I post about him.  Therefore, this post is about someone who got up in the middle of the night talking gibberish.

It started with (what I can only assume, that is) him being woken up by a couple of teens who were running down the street at 2 in the morning.  He gets up, looks out the window and says, "they're whacking the green tuck!"

I groggily reply, "????what????"

Him: "I said they're whacking the truck...I mean jacking...I need to check the deck" (fyi, we're having a new deck built in the back yard)

I think whatever rocks your boat hun, I have beauty sleep to get to.

Then, I hear him do that sleepy shuffle-walk through the house.  He disarms our alarm system and goes to inspect the deck...just in case those teen thugs (who were simply running down the street) had taken any of the deck building supplies.

Next, he shuffles to the bathroom, and I assume it's over.


He goes back to the bedroom window (which looks out onto the front yard) and says "Poor truck.  Stupid kids."

Me thinking: what the hell...would you go to sleep so that I can, too??

He then goes to look out the front door...finally arms the alarm and comes back to bed.

But, here's the best part --- he remembers NONE of this!  NONE!! sweet it would be to live in his world....

Oh...and there's not a thing wrong with the truck.  Those kids were simply running down the street...

Aug 10, 2010

The Faith Club -- last chapters & FInal Thoughts

Finally -- finally done.  I literally have nothing to say about the last two chapters.  One talks about faltering faith -- but I think that they need to remember that because you are faithful does not always mean you are full of faith. It ebbs and flows.

Did I like this book?  No.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes...if you have nothing else in the world to read.  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  All of the cereal boxes are in the recycle and the nail polish instructions are blurred??  Okay, then pick it up.

Am I thankful that I read this book?  Surprisingly, yes.  I was at a bit of a crisis in my faith when i started this...not really where I wanted to be.  I was worried that it may bring me further down...however my anger with nearly every word that Ranya printed helped to bring out what I really believed and has given me strength.  For that, I am extremely thankful.

All in all -- it's a crap shot.  Some good bits, yes, but most was pointless.  I think that this could have been very much condensed....VERY much.

They started out looking to make a book for children about interfaith, which they never did.  I, however, have one.  I recommend it highly.  It makes me cry every time - and it was worth every penny.  It is a true interfaith book, talking about all sorts of faiths, all sorts of people and everyone getting along.  It's written by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and I was a little worried that it would be too Christian (for lack of a better word) for my kids, but it's great.  Great, Great, Great.

The Faith Club, Chapters 16 & 17

They finally (after what, 3 years?) are comfortable enough to deal with their communities.  I don't get this whole fear of "I have friends who are not like me" thing.  Whatever.

Ranya, as usual, ticks me off.  It starts when she says "Muslims are still required to recite Quranic verses in Arabic." (pg 249) Uh...Wrong.  In this same paragraph though, she talks about Imams who would rather teach "rote recitation over open discussion".  I agree -- and I really think that the discussion OUGHT to be discussed.  Merely memorizing it makes you no more faithful than say...holding it while you give birth or carrying it around in your purse.  Just saying.

Then...she goes on to talk about a teacher who told the children in her daughter's class that she "covered her hair so that she would not be attractive to men other than her husband." (page 250)  Ranya gets upset about this because...well, I don't want to delve into Ranya's whacked out mind.  The woman who is constantly terrified of being judged has no problems dishing out her own judgment, "Had this teacher represented her choice as just one of many options for Muslim women, or was she claiming it as the only true Muslim choice?" (page 250)--- hmmm...I read over that line that the teacher said 100 times and I still don't see her saying that she wears it because she's Muslim.  Nope.  Don't see it at all. 

Did you know, dear readers, that there is a whole new trend of Non-Muslim women who choose to wear a hijab?  Google it... you'll see.  Anyhow -- It makes me wonder what Ranya would think of me.  When children ask me about my hijab (they inevitably do) I always tell them that I wear it because I think it makes God happy.  Simple enough explanation for me.

On page 252, Suzanne's priest and Ranya are talking about the lack of acceptance by certain people.  He shares his personal experience with her and Suzanne says "...he only shared this order to assure Ranya that every religion has its doctrinaires who pass judgment on the worthiness of the rest of us to participate in the community.  Those judgments, however, shouldn't drive us away." I could not agree more.

Onto Chapter 17, and not surprisingly, more whining from Ranya.  *le sigh*  At one point she is at a meeting for the moms of her daughter's schoolmates and she says, "I wondered, should i affirm my identity and not worry about stereotypes, proclaiming a pride and security in my heritage?  Could I hand over the reins?  I decided I could?"  (page 262-263) Well, thank GOD for that!  It's about time.  I have learned somethings as I've gotten...ahem..older...most importantly is this.  If I go out into the world and look for something, I'm likely to find it.  I can choose to go out and look for ugliness and negativity -- and the world will give it to me.  Or...I can go out and look for beauty, love and acceptance...and I will find it.  Make a choice, and live it.

Another thing that she says that I agree with (yes, I can actually agree with some of the things she says!):
There are Muslim voices protesting the violence committed in the name of Islam.  The problem is that these voices aren't as sensational and therefore are deemed not as newsworthy as the violent stories out there. page 264

The scales tip once again for me though -- when Ranya decides that sticking a Quran in her daughter's backpack is a way to deal with bullying at school (page 269).  Seriously? the kid's gonna walk around with a Holy Book in her bag and suddenly have the strength to stand up to this kid?  How about teaching her to have a backbone??  Maybe Ranya could learn to grow one too.  Sheesh!

The Faith Club, Chapters 14 & 15

I'm finished this book, but out of respect for the followers who are reading along and may have more comments than me, I'm going to just do two chapters at a time for the next couple posts here.

Chapter 14 - by now, their sappy little stories annoy me.  I hate them.  I literally have NO comments written into the book on anything until Ranya chimes in about stuff...however, some thoughts.  The Day of Atonement is an interesting thought -- to reflect on those who have passed is always a good idea (as much as I hate history) - we learn from those who have gone before us.  I found it interesting to read about, but nothing tugged at me.

And then -- Ranya's section comes along.  She talks about this man who was "...happy to be with such a moderate Muslim..."  Then she says something that I hate to admit that I agree with:
...I felt that this complement may have revealed more about [his] underlying prejudice and assumptions than about my genuine assets.  It unwittingly betrayed his perception o f me as a unique or rare Muslim specimen.  As a Muslim, I was an exception to the religious norm. (page 237)
Once again, i feel as if the only time one hears about Islam is through terrible events.  Why aren't there stories about the charity that we do?  Why aren't there stories about the Red Crescent Society?  What about the millions of people who are Muslims who don't commit acts of terror?  Why does the world only seem to want to focus on the minority fools who do violence and terror and claim to be Muslims?

Then he starts getting into the political talk...and once again, Ranya gets sick.  It seems to me that every time Ranya is faced with something that she doesn't want to deal with, she's suddenly sick.  A head cold, the flu, a migraine....once again, "suck it up, buttercup."

Then, her friend that she's chatting with says "Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim" page (237)
Ouch.  That's harsh.  It may seem true -- and actually according to the news, it would be.  In other countries (or more precisely, if the person in question is NOT a Muslim) they are called guerillas, radicals, extremists, freedom fighters, rebels, revolutionaries....these are all terrorists, too...but it's not newsworthy to call a dude who's waving a gun around like a fool (who happens to be a Muslim) a rebel.  Nope...Terrorist it is.

Okay - onto chapter 15.  In this chapter, they are talking about the Holidays.  Suzanne talks about sending holiday cards and being worried about how her cards will be received by people who aren't of the Christian faith.  She says, "I resented being forced to compromise my tradition for their benefit."  (page 245)  One question - why would you compromise?  I used to.  I used to be afraid of what my dayhome parents would think if I put up Ramadan decorations or didn't send Christmas presents home with their kids.  Not any more.  My traditions do NOT include Christmas or Santa, or anything else.  Why should I compromise?  Why should anyone?  I happily accept cards and gifts from others on their special days, and I plan on giving them out to others (for the first time) this year.  Why do we need to be ashamed of our faiths?  Why can't we all knowledge and accept each other for who we are?

Aug 8, 2010

Ramadan Dinner Recipes

Hey guys -- this is a little post for my Muslim fiends who are doing their first, or their 15th Ramadan this year!  It's not a great list of recipes, but it's a basic starter -- they are all tried and tested in our home...  I hope you enjoy!

Oh, and I should say that these are certainly NOT limited to only my Muslim friends!  Non-Muslims can enjoy this as much as anyone else!!

Aug 6, 2010

Vacation -- day ...uh...whatever, I'm on vacation!

So, it all started off all fun and exciting.  We woke up early and planned on spending the day out at Fort Edmonton, which is just an area in the city that's been trapped in a time warp -- different eras of my fine city.  They have pony rides, an old time carnival and all sorts of other thins.  BUT...(there's always a but, isn't there?) -- hubby got called into work (yes, on his vacation) for a meeting with the big wigs and was gone "for an hour or so" (read, 3 hours) -- by the time he came back, there was no point in we changed plans and went to this funky place called Jurassic Forest.

First of all, it's outside of Edmonton...we used GPS to find it -- but the GPS was wrong.  What should have taken us maybe 20 minutes to find took us nearly 1 1/2 hours.  (if hubby had listened to me, it would have taken us 25 minutes, but nooooo....)  Anyhow we eventually found it - and it is absolutely amazing.

It's 100% outdoors.  There is this fabulous pathway all through the forest that can easily accommodate strollers, wheel chairs or walkers (and we saw all three on our trip).  Along the path way there are little sign posts, much like in a museum talking about each dinosaur, but there are also ones that talk about the local flora/fauna and information on animals (like bees, squirrels, birds, etc) as well as on forest life (decomposition and so forth) -- not only is it very interesting to read all of these things, it's very neat to see them right there in the park.  The pathway is set up so that it's not disturbing the forest, it's a kind of "floating" pathway and it allows the plants and animals to grow/move all around it.

As if the signs and stuff weren't enough -- they have these guides who are walking randomly along the paths.  I think that they ensure that you don't go out into the forest, but they are also major sources of information - "did you know that this dinosaur is actually the earliest mammal on record?  It still laid eggs, but it's skeletal composition resembles mammals more than reptiles"  or  "When we studied this dinosaur's intestinal tract, we actually discovered that it ate only (insert type of plant) while we thought that it ate (insert name of different plant)."  They were really cool.  I was expecting these people to not know much about dinosaurs -- but they are actual paleontologists who are here...very cool!

Finally, these dinosaurs move people.  They blink, their eyes roll in their sockets, they lay eggs, their tails swing, they scream and's astounding!!

They also have a concession stand (that I didn't bother looking at), a picnic area (nicely shaded among the trees) a park for the children to play in (that's still not quite set up yet, but none the less, is very cool) and little areas all along the walking path to sit and take a little break.  They have a north and south loop right now (takes about 1.5 hours to walk them both) and they are apparently planning on adding a third loop as well.  There are spaces where you can tell there will be new dinos added and quite a few (as of yet) empty signposts -- but all in all, this place was very cool!  I will definitely be going again, and think that I will be making more than a few field trips with the dayhome kids out there, too!  If you're in my area, check it out!

Aug 5, 2010

Some Random Thoughts

I don't really have anything that I could turn into an honest-to-God post, so be satisfied with this:
  • I am a horrible mom - yesterday I thought that my toddler ate breakfast with hubby while I showered, he thought he ate with me.  We didn't realize that he didn't have breakfast until he had an all out, screaming, flopping on the floor tantrum in the middle of Children's Place.  Poor kid!
  • Ikea rocks.  Yes, I love this store.  Plus, kids meals for $1.99 -- Adam ate every bit, and some of our food too! (Yes...guilty/horrible mom moment)
  • Outlet shopping -- it's the only way to go.  I bought about $1000 worth of clothes for about $300 -- sure, my kids will be wearing last season's clothing -- but if they don't like it they can start buying their own!
  • That whole McDonald's rant post is still ticking people off.  For the record - I have NO issue with McDonald's, I have an issue with daycare providers taking their charges to McDonald's.  Get over it people!  It's not a "slap to American culture".  America does NOT equal McDonald's!!  In fact, when I think of America this is what I picture in my mind:  Waving flags, Bruce Springsteen (♪♫I the USA ♫♪), the statue of Liberty, the white house....nope ...not McDicks.  Sorry peeps.
  • Having a house that's not filled with white walls is so...appealing.  I love colour (yes, I spell like a Canadian, get over it).  I love that I have the same furniture in the same house and yet feel like I'm in an entirely different space!
  • Vacation - time always goes too quickly for me.  Why doesn't the same thing happen when I'm working? seems that that's all that I can think of right now -- I'm off to check out a dinosaur park...will post later.

Aug 2, 2010

Vacation Day 2

Good God -- who knew that painting the house would turn into a blog post.

Let's start with the mundane.  My house is very "white"  -- it was built in 1972, and I was convinced that it hadn't been painted since then.  I was proven wrong however, when trying to remove old nails (that, yes, I re-used to hang my pictures when I moved in 5 years ago) that were painted over.  The house -- every inch of it, was painted in an eggshell white.

In a desperate attempt for colour, I painted my kids rooms about 3 years ago.  I must have been in some sort of pregnancy hormone induced act of lunacy - because for some reason I chose to paint all their walls yellow which in my mind was a butter yellow, but in reality was more of a sunshine yellow.  Then, I proceeded to paint the trim in the boys room bright blue and in my daughter's room bright pink.  It looked like an Easter egg threw up all over.  It was horrible (but the kids loved it)

So this time around, I brought my husband along with me to "tone down" and colour highs I may be on (no pregnancy this time!!). I chose a colour called "chocolate fudge" for the main living area, and am going two toned for the kids (Iman has chosen a mauve-ish colour and her accent wall is going to be a deep purple.  This will go "great" with her lime green sheets that she also picked out last week)  *le sigh*.  The boys -- I'm going light blue and a deep ocean blue accent.

Oh...the boys -- that includes the toddler terror...who, while I was busy carefully edging around the ceiling (and hubby was carting in groceries) was in his room drumming on the paint can. You see -- Isaac was really worried that I'd "lose" his paint, so he had to have it sitting there on his bookshelf.  Well -- as toddler terrors go -- Adam is drumming away and I tell him to stop it (cause it was really annoying)  the next thing I know he comes walking out of the room with one blue foot and says "Messy".

I'm sure you can imagine the words that went through my mind.  They are not fit for the blogosphere!

That's right, folks, tiny terror managed to knock the can off of the book shelf (it's only a 2 shelfer), which resulted in the lid popping off and 4 gallons of paint spilled all over the floor!

What's a person to do??  Hubby whisks the child away and to the bathroom to wash off - then goes at the foot prints down the hallway.  I am sitting on the floor of the boy's room madly scooping up paint (with my hands!!) and dumping it back into the can.  I got about 3 gallons back in.
How can you get mad at this face??

Then, I get hubby to bring up the steam cleaner -- only to realize that the last person who borrowed it BROKE IT and didn't even tell me (thanks a lot chicky -- another reason that I'm happy that I've carved you out of my life!).  The thing would suck up water/spills but I couldn't get the water & cleaning solution to come out.  So -- There I am with a sucking only steam cleaner in one hand, and bucket after bucket of water to throw onto the carpet with the other.

It took me an hour and a half to get the paint out.  And I didn't even get it hour and a half!!

Good thing that Adam's cute -- other wise something terrible could have happened!!

Aug 1, 2010

Vacation Day 1

So, the first day of our "staycation" was going to the Heritage Festival here in Edmonton.  Apparently, this event has been going on for 35 years...We first went two years ago, and it is the most amazing thing that you will ever see.

There are pavilions all over the place that represent 85 different cultures.  You get a chance to see their clothing, buy some goods, and of course, taste their foods.  I didn't have my camera with me, so my pictures are grabbed from the Internet (I couldn't see copyright ownership, but if you own one and wish for me to acknowledge your work, PLEASE let me know!!)  The pictures are not necessarily relative to what I'm talking about -- they're just gorgeous!

I believe this was a child representing Kenya
So, the first place that we went was to the Fiji Site.  They have this amazing curry that's unlike anything that I've ever had.  We chose a Goat curry that came with Roti (a flat bread that could be described as nan, but doesn't do it justice, it's so delicious!).  They also had this punch...a mix of mango, watermelon and orange juice.  Fantastic!

I also stopped at the Canadian Pavilion (just it's second year there!) and got myself a poutine. Many of you lovely readers will not know what a Poutine is -- so I'll explain it (and it sounds gross, but it is oh-so-tasty!) A Poutine is a plate of french fries topped with cheese curds and slathered in gravy. mouth is watering again at the thought of it.  New York Fries (the restaurant) makes a pretty good one...but I'm not sure if their poutine is specific to Canadian Franchises or not....

Dancers from Nepal
We also stopped at the Caribbean Site.  My husband and kids had this fabulous curried chicken and another kind of chicken (that I really like) called Jerk Chicken.  I myself got a Jamaican Beef Patty -- oh so spicy and delicious, hot and spicy and packed in a thin yellow (spicy) pastry!  Mmmm!! (oh, how I'd love to go to Jamaica one day!)

By then, the kids were "full" so we had to stop for Elephant Ears.  Now...who knew that so many different countries make elephant ears!  It seemed to be mainly European countries (Croatia, Hungary, Romania) -- they all have different names for them, but Elephant Ears is what I'd call them.  If you don't know what an Elephant Ear is -- it's basically a huge flat doughnut that's sprinkled with Icing Sugar.  My husband, being both diplomatic and suffering from an insane sweet tooth bought one from EACH pavilion to see if they all tasted the same...

We stopped at the Indonesian site -- they have this fabulous drink called "Bali Delight", it's basically just shredded cantaloupe or honeydew with ice -- but it's so, so, so delicious and refreshing.  Mmmm!  My husband and brother in law (I think that i forgot to mention that he was tagging along) got this Chicken Satay thing -- grilled chicken with peanut sauce and coconut rice.  I could barely eat any more, I was so full!

Dragon Dancers, these guys are amazing!
But, being full doesn't stop anyone at the Heritage Festival!  We stopped at the Guatemalan site and got this thing called a Loco Mango -- they have a whole, fresh mango that's peeled and almost petaled somehow...then they roll it in lime juice and some spices -- it was fantastic!  I also had to stop at the Ecuador Pavilion for a "Platano Conjelado" (frozen banana dipped in chocolate) - while hubby and his crazy sweet tooth went to the French Pavilion and had a Chocolate Crepe.

But -- the Heritage is not just about food -- we got to see these Japanese drummers (which for some reason, make me cry with the raw beauty of their drumming), we got to see the Chinese Dragon Dancers, there were women from Malay doing some sort of traditional dance (all knee bending and hand movements -- very beautiful).  The Aboriginal Pavilion always has amazing dancers (and again, makes me cry with the beauty).  The Afrika OYI (I don't know what that means, but it's in their title) they had a DJ and drummer there, and you couldn't help but groove as you walked by their tents, Turkey had belly dancers, Poland, Greece, Israel, Nepal, Lao, Arab...they all had some sort of demonstration/dancing going on.

All in all, I have to say that if you come down to Edmonton at the end of July or beginning of August -- (you MUST come to see the Heritage Festival.  It's only 3 days long, but it's so worth every minute that you spend there (free to get in too -- you only pay for tickets...$1 each!!)

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