Monday, June 30, 2008

Your Corny Joke Installment

Shout out to my dear father for this hilarity:
Did you hear the one about the Energizer Bunny getting arrested? He was up on Battery Charges.

Why July First is so Important

The other reason, because the first reason is that it's Canada's birthday, of course:
NHL Free Agency begins July 1st. Everyone knows its the most interesting time in hockey after the playoffs. Bob Gainey has some interesting things brewing. Will he be able to sign the always-hated-but-boy-would-he-look-good-in-one-of-our-jerseys-Maple-Leafs-Captain Mats Sundin?
Will he go after Marian Hossa if he can't?
Will he let Streit walk?
Will he manage to sign AK 46 (as we Habistanis fondly refer to Andrei Kostitsyn)?

The insanity begins tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I feel for these people

Think back to the last time you went to vote. For me, it was in the Catholic school's gym a few blocks from my parents' house in Ottawa. It was for the last Ontario government election. It was quiet; we walked the few blocks to the building and in talking about completely different and possibly random things, with very few worries about the actual election; we went in; we showed our id; we voted; we left.
How do you think the people of Zimbabwe will remember their last vote? Being forced to the polls to select the only name on the ballot of a crazy man who's gone around threatening and killing anyone who tries to claim back their dignity and the dignity of his country from his power-crazed hands. It may not be an official civil war yet, but that's likely where it's going.
We are so, so, so lucky in this country. But this shouldn't be considered lucky. This should be considered a basic right.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ode to CBC

I wanted to share my specific CBC favourites since I'm always going on and on about them on here. So maybe some of you would like to check them out. It's just an effort to spread the joy:

1- GO - this is the Saturday morning radio show run by Brent Bambry about, well, about whatever they decide to talk about. They're funny and unassuming, and it's more talk and less news and usually has a live audience. They're on hiatus for the summer, but I'm pretty sure you can listen to old shows at their website.
2- DNTO - More radio. Stands for Definitely Not the Opera, and the host is Sook-Yin Lee and the show's slogan is: "We put the U into Pop Culture - both of them - because there are two u's". Usually follows a theme for the entire episode and explores it from different angles. Some of this year's themes of the top of my head: Meat, water, camping, outsourcing... Really just a lot of fun.
3 - Q - Radio again: hosted by Jian Ghomeshi on weekday afternoons and evenings. An intelligent look at arts and entertainment. Apparently, these guys also have a youtube channel, which I have yet to check out...
4- Everything on Looking for critical, entertaining movie and book reviews, or just an arts section that actually talks more about arts and less about celebrities that are famous for being famous. Look no further. Also, they usually approach this from a Canadian angle, which works just fine for me.
5- the CBC sports page: I was able to watch my Canadiens in the play-offs online. 'Nuff said.

Is this an omen?

So last Friday, I had a little accident on my bike which resulted in me landing on my face and elbow in the middle of the street right before the light turned green for the oncoming traffic. It sounds soooooooooooo much worse than it actually was when I re-read that sentence, because of course the cars waited until I could get myself up and out of their way, and I wasn't bleeding except for a small scratch on my elbow, and my face, surprisingly, did not swell up to the size of a balloon. In fact, other than some general soreness, the only serious result was that my ear was killing me, (which turned out to be because my jaw was thrown out of its spot - not to worry, my chiropractor fixed that a few days later).
I took a few minutes to get un-disoriented (I'm getting kicked out of any writers club that might ever accept me for that word) and then I got back on the bike and went about my several errands, and then went to a soccer game that night with M (Canada beat St. Vincent and Grenadines 4-1 --Yay!) M and I went biking again the next day.
I told my colleagues the story on Tuesday, and they almost all pointed out the same thing: First, my bike is stolen on only its second day in Montreal. Then, I have a little accident on my new bike the very next week... Should I maybe NOT be riding a bike?
But I've decided to keep biking. Accidents happen to everyone, and apparently bikes getting stolen in Montreal also happen to everyone, and the bottom line is, I really like biking. If I can do it instead of taking the bus for some of my shorter trips, why not?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Beautiful People, Shallow People

Yes, we have come to this... A site called is opening in Canada. Beautiful People is different from other dating sites because, well, it only lets beautiful people in. The goal is to ween out the "uglies", see? Before anyone can register, they send a picture and are judged by the existing members, who decide if they're goodlooking enough to get it... This is where Karma kicks in, see? Because if you find your significant other on this site, well, you're finding someone as shallow as you for signing up, and you can make each other unhappy for as long as you both shall live. Heaven forbid anyone end up getting a pimple and falling out of love...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cocoa > Carob

A word of advice for those who have heard that carob powder is a good cocoa replacement: maybe in small quantities, but if you're really truly a chocolate lover like me, it just isn't gonna cut it. I used carob powder to make brownies yesterday (I had some from when I first found out about my allergies and found out it was a good chocolate replacement, possibly healthier, and I had gone on an "all alternatives" buying craze) and while I know have a brownie-like cake thingy that tastes kinda fruity, I do not have brownies... Next grocery run, cocoa is being bought...
Thought you'd wanna know.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quietly Dumping Garbage in our Lakes (or "Save the Fishies")

I found this frightening. I found it even more frightening that it was happening so quietly. This should be a huge deal...
Please don't let the Conservative party run the country for too much longer, or stuff like this will become common place...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Officially Ridiculous

Have you heard about the 12 year old girl in Gatineau who took her father to court for grounding her? This child's parents are divorced, and when her dad decided she couldn't go a field trip as punishment for bad behaviour, she went back to stay with her mom, but also took him to court. More ridiculous than this is that the judge ruled against him. Please please do not let this set a precedent for kids being able to take their parents to court. This is a matter of discipline, and whether you agree or not with the dad's disciplinary measures, it's not something that needs, or should have, the interference of courts. I wish the judge had just I'm not an expert in legalese by any means, but I seem to remember hearing that there are so many things that don't make it to court for ages because the system is backed up like crazy. The last thing we need is this kind of thing slowing stuff down even more...
I posted this about the law a few weeks ago. Please, let's not make a complete mockery of the beautiful system we have in this country to hold people to account.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hijabi Swimwear Hullabaloo

First, to set the tone, I wear something that looks like this when I go swimming:

I bought it from a swimsuit store. You can buy it online. You can buy it around the world. It's made from the same material as any other swimsuits. My sister has one just like it, but don't worry, they're different colours and different patterns. We're not trying to look like twins.
So, today we went for a swim in our condo's pool. It was pretty quiet and uneventful, until 3 minutes before we were planning on leaving anyway, a custodian approached us and told us we weren't allowed to swim here anymore.
Excuse me? Sorry? What's that? I pay condo fees like anyone else. I hurt no one by wearing my fabulous hijabi swimsuit.
The bottom line is that apparently, someone complained about our attire and she came to tell us we had to go. Sorry but no... We stayed, we discussed, we explained, we had her call a member of the condo board, and before it was time to go, we were told we could swim in our hijabi swimsuits without any problem (which we already knew, but now they knew too).
So, the sweetness of victory, or the bitterness of feeling the sting of ignorance? Well, a bit of both... I have to admit that it hurts when I find someone out there is still determined to limit my abilities to enjoy my basic rights just because I'm a Muslim woman who chooses to demonstrate my faith. Live and let live. We're in a pluralistic society, which means we all have the right to go on and act on our beliefs, so long as they don't hurt other members of that society. Hopefully, everyone comes to that conclusion soon.

Useful Information (or "Not to be an alarmist, but...")

I heard about this website on CBC Radio called "", which is run by an environmental defence group. From it, I found some great links for information. Check out the following if you're concerned about different products you use and are looking for alternatives with less chemicals and toxins.
I don't think we read labels very much anymore. I think we've just gotten used to assuming if it's on the shelves, it's okay for us, but that's unfortunately not true. I've tried following those emails in the past that say "avoid products with ingredients xyz in it" but the names are so confusing and the products so many that it's easy to get confused.
That's what makes this site so helpful. You can actually search for the specific skin care, health care, and beauty products that you use and get their ratings for toxins that they have, instead of looking for complicated sounding ingredients.
The other helpful site is this one, which shows you a list of less toxic products to use in your home by category (cleaners, dishwashing, etc).
Happy reading!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Spoke too Soon - Part II

Lesson of the weekend: don't let the bad guys spoil your fun.
M and I went down to a bike shop this afternoon, and I now have a great new ride, used, so hopefully not as tempting, a better lock, and a more cautious outlook on where and how to lock it up.
We went out to the Old Port and the Lachine Canal and rode around a whole lot, and I am now slightly stiff, but very very happy.
Happy Sunday all...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

Well, I suppose at least now I can call myself a true Montrealer. Within three hours of writing my bike post this morning, I walked out of the last store on my errand run and found myself bike-less.
That's right Ladies and Gents. My bike was stolen. Apparently, this is extremely common, and one can't expect to have a bike in Montreal without it being stolen every so often. And before you ask, I did have it locked, but I suppose in hindsight, it wasn't tight enough. Not to worry though, I plan on getting another one soon, although I think I'll buy a used one, so that it's not so appealing to a thief.

High Rise Fire Alarm

We live a LONG way up from the ground, like WAY WAY up, and last summer, before I moved here, I made M promise that any time the fire alarm went off, he'd take those stairs down and not just ignore it. Even if it was 3 a.m. Even if it was 30 below outside.
Well, it was 25 above this morning, and it was 8 a.m., but it was Saturday morning when the alarm went off and after going down the many floors, eyes still half closed in the stairwell, and waiting downstairs for 20 minutes for a fire truck to show up and say all was clear, I cannot get any more sleep. I've essentially given up on more sleep this morning.
We have a gorgeous view of downtown Montreal from our living room window, but these are the true perks of living in a high rise.

Let the Biking Begin

On the third try, my bike has now arrived from Ottawa in my parent's van (the first two tries were mine...) and I couldn't be happier about it. Last night after work, I biked down to the grocery store for some salad and ice cream. Today, I'm still debating whether to take the bike or bus to the store to pick some stuff up. The advantage of not having a car is that you're forced to find another mode of transportation. If you have one, it's always more convenient to take it. Well, I don't have one and I'm very happy about it. The summer is the perfect time to use that bike, and I'm hoping my enthusiasm doesn't wear off too quickly.
Hold me to it. Check back in a few weeks from now and ask me if I'm still using that bike...

This is Old but HILARIOUS

Does anyone remember a couple of years ago when Stephen Colbert spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner?
This is the greatest video! You've probably already seen it, but it's worth watching again.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Egypt Air Brings People Together

We were at the P.E. Trudeau airport last night waiting for my aunt to arrive on Egypt Air's first summer flight, and wouldn't you know it, so was half the population of Montreal! In the hour we stood at the arrivals section, my sister was approached by 3 different people she knew who were waiting for relatives, and in a bizarre domino-effect, a couple of those people were approached by other people they knew. It was like a fabulous meet-and-greet and the airport. Everyone kept commenting on how the last time they'd run into each other was also when picking people up the summer before. It speaks to the beauty of this country, that so many of come from so many other places, and that then our families, who come here to visit us, can find out just how great this place is.
So far, my aunt is impressed.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Are You an Aquavore? (Or "I'm all talk")

I got this in my work newsletter today. It's a water-use calculator that helps you figure out how many litres you use a day on average. I filled out the questionnaire to find my numbers and it's embarrassing how much I use... Changes must be made. Low-flow taps must be sought out. Dishes and glasses that don't need to fill the dishwasher must be rinsed quickly and set aside, taps must be turned off while toothbrushing, and shower times must be limited...
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has a hadeeth (saying) that says to conserve water, even if you're doing your wudu (ablution) in a river. Conservation is important, and that's not just a theory.
Check it out yourself. There's nothing like finding out how much water you waste to shake you into action.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What Will Don Cherry Say Now?

Now that the Detroit Redwings have won the Stanley Cup with Nicklas Lidstrom, a European captain, Don Cherry has lost his favourite, and hopefully last, ridiculous justification for racism. Cherry will have you think only North Americans know how to play play-off hockey. Europeans are soft, wimpy, lack "heart". North Americans, specifically his "good Canadian boys", have all of that in spades.
Listen to Cherry long enough and he'd have you believing that every NHLer born on this side of the pond has played entire seasons on two broken legs and block shots with their face every game. He'd have you believe that there's no such thing as a tough European player, that Danny Markov and Darius Kasparaitis don't actually exist. Most importantly, he'd have you believe that unless you fight regularly, you don't care, and you can't win.
This year's Conn Smythe trophy winner, Henrik Zetterberg, is Swedish. So much for one of Don Cherry's favourite racist insults - "Chicken Swede". The Red Wings not only have a European captain, but have 13 European players on their roster, many of them key. As Cherry himself often says, you can't win the Stanley cup without "Heart". Someone should let Cherry know that "heart" has nothing to do with genes.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Happy Birthday to Her

I've always known that my mother is a very special woman, but in the last few years, watching some of my sisters become mothers themselves, and all that that entails, I have come to a much better understanding of what it takes to be a good mother.
Mothers feed and change and hug and teach and comfort and protect their children. Mothers wake up a million times a night when the baby won't sleep, or the toddler's sick, or the pre-schooler's wet his bed, or the kindergartner's afraid to go to school, or the kiddo's worried about a test, or the teenager's gotten into a fight with her best friend, or the grown child is calling from far away and just needs to talk. Mothers take care of everyone else before they even dare to think about themselves. Mothers have an endless tap of love that just keeps gushing out the life that everyone else drinks from. Mothers are beautiful, fierce creatures. My mother is my hero.
Have a perfect day Mama.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Once it's gone, is it gone forever?

All my life, I've had very strong vocal chords. I would get a cold, get a flu, whatever, and even with a sore or scratchy throat, I would still have a very strong voice (which, if you know me, you know I've always put to good use by talking!) Until the ripe old age of 23, I never lost my voice. And then came my trip to Egypt for my baby sister's wedding. and sleeping with the AC cranked WAY up in the hotel the night before in a room I was sharing with my cousin and her adorable 4 year old. I woke up in the morning with the equivalent of a mid-February head and chest cold in late June. By the next morning, I had officially lost my voice from talking over the music / singing along with the music at the wedding the night before. And when it was gone, it was gone!
For close to three weeks, I coughed and hacked, and could barely whisper. When my voice came back, it came back in some other form, and for a while, I sounded like a stuffy old man and worried I would never hear myself as I sounded again.
Well, my voice came back at long last, but I think I can safely say that it never came back as strong and stubborn as it used to be. Oh, don't get me wrong: when things are good, I still sound like the "old me". But the difference is that now, I'm much more prone to losing my voice, and by much more prone, I mean that before, it happened "never" and now it's come very close to happening twice.
Last July, before M and I's Katb Kitab, I was on the verge of losing it, and this week, in recovering from that nasty Seattle cold that came back with M from the conference last Thursday, I've been hacking and coughing ALL the time. This despite the fact that I'm otherwise significantly improved, and that I drink ginger tea like it's water, and consume honey like it's air...
One of my best friends, Katherine, loses her voice all the time when she gets a cold, and I remember always finding it funny. Well, Katherine, I ain't laughing anymore. I believe you now, and I know what you mean.
Pass the ginger tea!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

How Barack beat Hillary

If, like me, you've been following the Democratic race in the US, but not closely enough to understand every last detail, this is a great article that helps analyze how Barack got to where he is right now, essentially the Democratic nominee, while Hillary went from the assumed winner to second place. Enjoy.

Hijab Potluck Day

Everyone should do this, (well, ladies, anyway. I don't know many guys who trade clothing) and not just with hijabs, but with whatever you have in your closet that you haven't worn in a year, or bought once and just never actually got around to wearing... Dig it out, pack it up, make a nice treat of any sort and cart it, along with your no-longer-used clothing to a friend's house - and TRADE!
This is exactly what we did today with a group of sisters I just met in Montreal and it was a total blast. It truly is amazing how one person's trash is another's treasure, and how things go in and out of style, and suit one person, and then then next, and so on.

Anywhere and Everywhere

Saw this vid on Saj's blog and the ending brought tears to my eyes. Quite beautiful: