Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Update... I feel better

Sorry to have been Debbie Downer in my last post. All's good Alhamdulillah. Sometimes you just need to do a little venting...

One of These Days

Do you ever have one of these days? You know, the ones wear it's impossible to get out of bed, and even when you do, you're still asleep for the next 3 hours? The ones where everything you normally do so easily at work becomes inexplicably hard, and you suddenly have two new deadlines and you can't remember how you usually get stuff done?
I had one of those today, on the heels of a sick day yesterday, on the heels of a weekend the two days before, and so I felt like I really and truly had forgotten how to do everything I think I'm normally quite capable of.
Also, Hadeel is killing her blog, and for me, this is truly devastating information. After I finish writing this, I have to pop over there and check if my last comment maybe, just maybe, inspired her to keep it alive...
Sigh, deep breath. Tomorrow's a new day...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Don't Cry for me, Argentina

Interesting. A few weeks ago I saw a headline in the paper calling Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner "Argentina's Hillary". Now she's up and beat Hillary at her own game before Hillary has a chance. No strong opinions here, just sharing an fyi...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My nightmare job

I spent 2 hours going from one Staples Business Depot to another (3 in total, across the city) in search of a purchase I had to make today. I've concluded that one job I can likely never do is work at Staples on a weekend. These poor people were BUSY, soooooooooo BUSY, that despite the fact that
a) their inventory didn't match their stock,
b) they put the wrong thing on hold for me at a store and I didn't find this out until driving 25 minutes to pick it up, and then
c) kept the new kid in training on hold on the phone for 20 minutes when he tried to call a third store to check if they had my item

I managed not to lose my cool with any of them. It wasn't even a conscious thing this time to stay nice. It was more out of just feeling awful for them, just thinking that, when this is done, I get to go home and they have to stay and help the perpetual line up of 35 people, all trying to return something without a receipt and asking complicated questions until closing time. Customer Service is a talent. Smiling at people who are treating you rudely, and feel they have a right to it, is a talent. I salute the staff at Staples, but I don't think I'll be going there on a Saturday again any time soon.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I had a meeting in the building two blocks from my building this morning at work. It was starting to "warm up" so I wore only my sweater over my button up and my trusty Habs scarf around my neck, opting to leave my jacket at the office. On the way I saw several ppl moving supplies off trucks and into some office buildings in SHORTS and T-SHIRTS!!! It was 3 Celsius outside. no warmer. Maybe they thought by dressing down, they would encourage summer to come back??
I don't know, all I know for sure is that just looking at them gave me a cold.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Are we good?

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry for the last week plus of neglect. I know I got your hopes up with constant writing and then kinda just left you hanging with no explanation. I know your number of hits have suffered as a result and there was little you could do without my getting back to it. I guess the following is a series of excuses for my erratic writing behaviour.

  • Wedding planning: A couple of months ago, M and I sat down and came up with everything we needed to do, and then saw that we had "so much time" left to do it all and Ramadan was coming up, and in general things were just busy on other fronts so… we let it slide a little. And rightfully so. But now, the wedding is not getting any farther away and the stuff still needs to get done. It's fun, but very very time consuming (and I like to think we're keeping it pretty low-key and I'm not being an insane Bride-zilla, but it's just something that takes A LOT of time)

  • I can't wear my hijab because WHAT?: So, lucky for me, I'm a federal government and not a provincial government employee. The Quebec provincial government is considering passing a law to disallow "ostentatious religious symbols" a la France, in public life. So my fellow hijabi's would be told to take off their hijabs or not come to work. Same with Orthodox Jews who cover their heads. Same with Sikhs. Same with Christians wearing crosses. Oh wait, what's that you say? Christians with crosses are welcome to keep wearing them? Well, then, I guess this isn't about keeping society secular after-all… Needless to say, I've very very concerned, upset, hurt about this whole debacle. I'm not sure what's so threatening to Quebec society about little old me in a headscarf, (or any other piece of clothing for that matter) or how it would interfere with my ability to do my job as a public servant, teacher, etc… And whatever happened to a woman's right to choose what she wore? Why doesn't forcing me to take off my hijab equate to oppression the same way forcing someone to wear one would? ... So, I've been trying to let as many ppl know to write their MPP's about it if they live in Quebec, and just generally to spread the word and stay on top of the issue.

  • Hockey: Ramadan is over, and the hockey season is young, and for a Habs fan like me who's been starving for good old Canadiens' hockey since that dreaded game last April (which they lost, resulting in their missing the play-offs), the time is NOW to catch up on what Les Boys are up to. So far so good. We have a young team (note the use of "we". I often talk as though I, not Guy Carbonneau, am the coach of the team) and we're still making lots of mistakes, but our young guys are a year more experienced, our overall level of effort is much more consistent than last year, and our newbies (rookies and free agents) are turning out to be an overall improvement over the bunch that left at the end of last year. Overall, I like the class of 2007-2008, though I wish Carbo would stop giving Kostopoulous so much ice time.

  • Rain, Baaaaaaah!: Yes, I know this is a lousy excuse, but I'm anti-rain, and when it rains I lose all creative/expressive abilities… and we've been getting a lot of rain lately, so…
I hope these excuses are enough for you to sort of forgive me. I don't really promise I'll be writing all the time any time soon again. And I'm sorry if I mislead you with my little spurt of posting pre-Eid, but time is just gonna continue to be tight for a while… Are we good?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Be happy (but don't mind if noone notices) & Little Mosque

I love reading these funny little articles about the human brain and how it acts in certain social situations. Came across this one today, and apparently, the brain often ignores, or reacts much more slowly to smiles than it does to frowns, or even neutral expressions... Don't let that stop you from smiling though! Remember: Your smile in the face of your brother/sister is charity :D

Totally unrelated, but I'm loathe to post two threads in the same day, Little Mosque on the Prairie is winning a humanitarian award for addressing conflicts in a creative way and encouraging harmony. Way to go, my fellow Canadians and Muslims! That's how it's done!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Here's a funny little anecdote about my Eid prayer yesterday morning: As we walked into the already full Civic Centre hall for the prayer yesterday, I was holding the hand of my little angela as I like to call my niece. However, as she was having a hard time carrying her new doll (a gift from Grandma!) and negotiating her way through the crowd, she had handed me the doll while we were a few steps outside the hall. The result was that everyone who saw me at "adult height" level and couldn't see my little angela saw full-grown Noha walking in, all dressed up for Eid prayer, hugging a little doll. I got several looks, and several comments. Explanations were required. Hopefully, all is now cleared up ;)

But seriously, there's nothing more wonderful than the excitement of a little child to make Eid a really special occasion. My niece thought Eid was a person, and - not yet understanding the abstract concept of an event "coming" - she kept waiting for him to show up at the front door. By the end of yesterday though, I think she'd figured out that Eid is gathering of many people (all of whom lean down and look at her, give her hugs and kisses, and then turn to her mother and exclaim how she's grown!), the eating of chocolate and other tasty treats, the opening of presents, and just generally the having of fun.
I had a really great time, and have come down with a vicious cold to prove it (hey, you can't gather more than 5 thousand people in a place for a party in Ottawa in mid-October for 7-plus hours and expect to get away without catching something!)
I also had my first non-home-made Spelt chocolate cake (purchased by the wonderful M) from "The Wild Oat" on Bank and Fourth Avenue. If you're wheat-allergic, or celiac (they do egg-free, sugar-free and dairy-free stuff too), go! You'll find a lot of yummy stuff. My taste buds have been very happy since I discovered this store a few months ago. (I promise I don't work at the Wild Oat, and they're not paying me for this endorsement.)

Tomorrow, it's back to work, and back to 8 a.m. - as opposed to 5 a.m. - coffee. But even though I'm having coffee at a normal hour again, I hope that I can carry some of the Ramadan momentum into my regular routine. Like being more patient, more considerate, all that good stuff I don't always think about enough. My mom always says Ramadan's like a spiritual gas station, and you've got to fill up.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Worst Confession Ever

There's a McDonald's across the street from Work, and on my way home today, I had the HUGEST craving. Thankfully, it's the last day of Ramadan, and so the craving could not be acted on. See why fasting is good for you?

p.s. Happy Eid to all!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Warning as we start this post: schmoopiness ensues in the following lines, and if you're a reader who can't handle sop and a bit of cheese (what are you doing on this blog exactly?? I've always been sentimental) then I would recommend proceeding - or not - with caution.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving (for you Americans, Canada's Thanksgiving is the first weekend in October, not in November), here's a random list in no particular order of importance of things for which I am thankful:
  • A long weekend. Being able to get up late and wander down to see my beautiful mother reading Quran in the black chair at the far end of the family room; having snippets of the random conversation we've become so good at - pieces of meaning distributed and distilled between laughter and anecdotes, interspersed with inside jokes, dotted with queries of concern (Me: how's your back today? Any better? Her: Have you slept enough? Eaten enough?)
  • Walks with my sister. Both the power-walks of the someone-else-is-watching-the-little-angels variety, and the slow motion walks where my nephew is strapped into the stroller, eyes roving, the sky visible through his plastic sunroof, and my niece is ambling - dawdling really - beside us, so slow we stop walking and start strolling, walks where my back is perpetually bent at an odd angle so she can grasp three of my fingers in her tiny hand; that hand, held fast against mine, letting go to run ahead and discover, hold gravel, hold dirt, hold wild flowers and grass, small enough that the world spills through the cracks between her fingers, off her palm. On those walks, the contents of her hand are her world, and she is my world.
  • The joy of opening my inbox to find a message from M in a secret language, decoding only in my head and inventing new terminology, a secret etymology no language professor will ever teach, no scholar will ever translate.
  • Riding in the car with my father, an easy silence around the grip of the steering wheel, in his furrowed brow as he directs us home or away, here or there, a stop at Timmy's in the back of his mind and always at the next exit. He is our Captain because of the way we fall asleep and the car keeps moving, the way we wake back up and have our best conversations in that car and our best silences and still the car keeps moving, the way he pushes us, gently, to do, to act, to push the world a little bit forward ourselves in the same smooth way he pushes the car with all its passengers to our next destination. My father is not the passenger not because he cannot let others lead, but because he understands the burdens - as opposed to the privileges - of leadership.
  • Reading the story of Prophet Yusuf in the Quran, and feeling that lump in my throat at the end when he embodies forgiveness, when he succeeds, when he sees love in his brothers and they feel it for him and imagining having all that to hold over someone and wondering if I would ever be able to forgive. and hoping I would. and praying I would.
  • The thought of a poem, or a line of a poem, or a line of beautiful wording, unprompted, popping into my head and staying there long enough that I am able to write it down, that I have not lost it.
  • All the cleverness, all the emotion, all the "aha!"-ness of a good book on a long afternoon in a coffee shop with comfortable chairs. Reading with a sense of both urgency and lightness. Having all afternoon.
  • Grace. Not my own, because I do not yet think I have it, but finding it in others at unexpected moments, and being inspired by it.

Friday, October 05, 2007


It is the simplest thing that reels you in and ties you up, the first in a series of actions that paralyzes beyond stillness, that drives you to pause and once paused makes you frenetic with the impossibility of the motion you have lost. The impossibility of once-there now-gone in half an instant of not-understanding, of every reference-point burning into non-existence until behind your eyes the after-glow of your vision is fading and the reflection is a reflection of an imagination and reality is not your eyes open or your eyes closed, is not your hands grasping or your hands lying still by your sides, is not your mouth moving, making words you do not understand, or your mouth silent, afraid of the words because you understand them, but reality is that plane on the other side of a dimension you can’t touch can’t taste can’t smell can’t hear can’t see – out of range.

A moment is a fluid, watery piece of thought you pretend you can parse through, the second ticking to the time of the minute to the time of the hour to the digitization of a heartbeat, but why then is this moment so much more than the one before it? Why is this the moment that stretches into a second dimension, then a third, growing first into a line and then a wall to separate BEFORE and AFTER, to separate THEN and NOW, to separate WAS and IS.
And that point, when a point, was still erasable, now irascible, no longer removable with the edge of a pencil and a few soft strokes, with the breeze from an open window, no longer removable even with every tool of demolition we rush to employ, first with the hammer, then the bull-dozer, then the wrecking ball; a wall of impossible strength, permanent, opaque.