Monday, April 27, 2009

Heartmelting ensues...

One of the perks of having a blog is that I have a forum for going on an on about the most adorable kids in the world (another perk is that since it's my blog, I can be completely biased and call them the most adorable kids in the world with no regard for the complete subjectivity of this statement.) I speak, of course, about my little angels and angels.
The latest heartmelting story comes from Little Angel #4 (if I'm going chronologically - really Little Boy Angel #2 since I call the girls Little Angela's), and in honour of their pending arrival from Dubai, I share this "aaawwww" moment. I apologize to Dubai-sis in advance for inaccuracies in this story. I got it 2nd or 3rd hand from our parents:
Dubai-sis was showing the kids some family pics on the computer, and Little Angel, who's just barely turned 2, and can be sort of understood, tells her, "I miss grandpa. I want to give him a kiss". Dubai-sis says to go ahead and blow grandpa a kiss and Little Angel does.
Next picture, same comment. "I miss uncle X. I want to give him a kiss". And Dubai-sis obliges of course. This goes on for a few more pics before Little Angel looks up at his mom and says something she can't quite make out. She assumes he's just saying he wants to give another kiss and says okay. Suddenly Little Angel is trying to climb up onto the table and the computer feet first. She asks him what he's doing, and Little Angel's response is, "I'm going in."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh, to be this smug

For my fellow Canadian readers, check out this 22 minutes spoof of our-almost-definitely-next-prime-minister.
For the rest, you may have heard of Michael Ignatieff. An academic, he lived in the U.S. forever and then swooped back into his home country (that would be Canada) when the possibility of becoming the leader of a major party (that would be the Liberals) became available a couple of years ago. Sadly for Iggy, a different professor - the hapless but sincere Stephane Dion - surprised everyone by winning that Liberal leadership race. Then, happily for Iggy, Dion essentially promoted a policy that would tax carbon emissions in the following elections, and despite Canadian citizens' posturing that they wanted to pay attention to the environment, they certainly didn't want to do it at the expense of money, so the Liberals crashed and burned. End result, Iggy was handed the Liberal leadership on a silver platter following the election. Now, with the governing Conservative party waning in popularity, it's only a matter of time before Iggy brings down parliament and starts the next election cycle, which he will almost definitely win (whew! and you Americans thought your system was frustrating and demotivating).
My brother-in-law, K, showed us this hilarious Ignatieff impersonation from This Hour Has 22 Minutes (basically the closest thing Canada has to the Daily Show). It's frighteningly spot on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

M and I watched An Inconvenient Truth last weekend. Wow. Depressing. Important. Scary. Effective.
In honour of Earth Day, I suggest everyone watches it. And then act on that fear. We had already switched most of our light bulbs to the EFC bulbs, but now we're going to switch the rest. And buy green cleaning products. and wash with cold water. and install low-flow aerators on our faucets. We have no car and we bike/walk a lot, so we feel okay on the transportation front.
I encourage everyone to ask themselves what they can do.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Open

Remember this? It's finally open. Day 1 today. and they have TV's. Showing hockey. Heaven.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Zen and the Art of Sitting Still

Okay, so the truth is that this post has nothing to do with Zen, but I can't think of a sentence that includes "the art of" and not start it with "Zen". It's the tail end of flu season here in the wonderful Ontario/Quebec region of Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal. I include all three areas because M and I were in TO for a fabulous long weekend last week hanging out with my awesomely extended family, but towards the end of the weekend, I caught some sort of lovely bug. At first, I couldn't figure out what I had, but as Sunday rolled into Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday), I felt like I was running the slightest fever, followed by general icky-ness, sore-throatedness, congestion, headaches, you name it.
Everything was unpleasant enough to make me a general grouch, but not enough to keep me at home sick. By Thursday afternoon, I thought I was back on the upswing, and had high hopes for a long bike ride in Montreal on Friday after work. Not so: Friday, I crashed and burned. My body had had enough. Sleep! it screamed at me. Sit still. and so I did, for basically the whole day. and then M came home from work and made me a cup of peppermint tea and we watched a movie and then I slept more.
I got up this morning at 10 a.m. feeling like a new person. Energy? For reals? and I was so pleased with it. So pleased I felt I needed to load the dishwasher, and pull out the dustbuster, and gather a few other things that were here and there and needed doing. And then M asked me, ever so thoughtfully to please.just.sit.still.
Hmmmm, good point. The man is on to something. See, I'm obsessed with multi-tasking. I can't just ever be watching the hockey game or writing a blog post. I do both at the same time (like, right now... the Habs are down 2-0. Not pleased. Trying to stay on topic). I can't cook one meal at a time. I usually put 3 things on the stove together, or I cook while I'm on the phone. Read and/or write and/or eat on the commuter bus. Same for the OC transpo bus when I'm in Ottawa. Even at work, I rarely have one window open at a time. I like to switch between 3 or 4 tasks so I don't get bored. I find I get more done this way, except....
Except when I'm sick. Then I'm supposed to sit still. Right? Right. It actually took about 3 hours yesterday to settle back down and get into bed. I kept not being able to stay still long enough to go to sleep, even though my body was exhausted and my eyes were drooping. And today, the second the energy was back, it was like I couldn't possibly read a book or watch something.
Productivity is good, but I think I need to settle down and read my body's signals. Relax. I sat still to write this post for the last 30 minutes, so there's improvement there, right?
Oh, and the score is still 2-0.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Anywhere but here

I've cited good articles in MacLean's magazine before, and this one is my latest favourite. Paul Wells talks about Stephen Harper's latest penchant for getting the heck out of Canada to avoid those pesky reporters that, you know, cover his government and report back on it. They even ask him questions - gasp!
A couple of months ago, my father-in-law sent us all a link to an interview Harper had done on MSNBC about the Canadian economy. I watched, expecting not much of anything. What I saw really surprised me: here was my prime minister speaking to a tv audience and answering questions as though those watching at home were intelligent adults. Not what he does when he's in Canada, eh? Have you ever noticed that Harper talks to us, his electorate, as though we're two year-olds on the verge of a tantrum and he's the kind, calming father? Looks straight into the camera, offers that fake smile meant to reassure and goes back through a few, repeatable selling points about whatever his latest five-point plan is regardless of the question? Asking about the environment or unemployment? No problem, we've got an answer for you! and that's why our plan to lower the gst will make everything better and the sky will be filled with rainbows and the clouds will rain cupcakes on the streets of Toronto. It's like we're in permanent election mode (and to be fair, with a minority government, we are. But still, I will get more out of your answers if you actually answer the question!)
What started of as pleasant surprise actually turned into frustration. So it's not that he thinks the entire world is composed of idiots, I thought, just us. But seriously, no one under 18 is allowed a vote in this country the last time I checked. I wish he'd remember that the next time he tries to woo us with 5 word phrases on perma-repeat.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Family Evolution

When I was a child, my family in Canada consisted of my parents and sisters; the closest relatives we had were an uncle in the U.S. that we saw on occasion and his family. We took trips to Egypt to visit extended family every few years, but in reality we made family in Ottawa to compensate. I think back over my childhood - all the way up to university - and lose count of the "aunts" who became my aunts, the girls my age who acted as substitute cousins. These were the people we spent our special occasions with: the people we saw during Eid and Ramadan and grew up around. In some ways, they were more than family, because we had chosen each other; in other ways, they would never really be family, and we each had our distinct, nuclear units because at the end of the day, we only had a certain common history, and no common blood.
I remember my excitement when my mother's youngest brother moved to Ottawa, how absolutely thrilled I was that I could start a story with "my uncle" at school, and really, truly mean "my uncle" and not a friend of the family. I remember how thrilled I was when my baby cousin was born and I had an actual cousin to play with and coo at within driving distance. In some bizarre way, the presence of relatives in the city validated Ottawa as my home. I had family here, close by.
Over the years, it became normal. My Canadian family grew as more cousins and second cousins made the move. Eid became a celebration at our house where, instead of my parents trying to find a way to surround us with company, we tried to figure out how to seat everyone around the table. My parents' house became the "family house", the house where everyone came together for events and holidays, the equivalent of my grandparents' house with the massive veranda in Alexandria. When my sisters got married, the family grew again in the form of brothers and their families. Until that point, my only experience with brothers was through my male cousins, who played rough with us and pushed us in sports and up trees on our visits to Egypt. Two cousins in particular served as my older brothers, teasing and joking with us through out the years. As they got older, they would come to North America to work in the summers, and then stop by Ottawa to visit for a couple of weeks before they returned for the fall semester.
Eventually, the older one moved to Ottawa; two months ago, the younger one moved to Toronto. Last night, he and his family came to visit at my in-laws' place, where we're visiting in TO for the long weekend. There was something remarkably unremarkable about looking around the living room, seeing M and his family and my "original older brother" and his family there all in one place, a new family extension forming. 
When I was little, I could count on one hand my extended family in north america. At one point, I couldn't even do that. I now need both hands and feet to do it, and I love it.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


The habs need one point between tonight and Saturday. They're leading by 1 goal with 20 minutes left. I'm glued to the radio and Mike Boone's hilarious blog.
If they win, or tie in regulation, tonight, they're into the playoffs and we avoid this.
If they lose, it goes down to Saturday night and Noha is nervous all weekend. My little sis, who lives down the street and just as close to the Bell Centre as I do, wants them NOT to make the play-offs so that we don't have to deal with bad traffic into the spring. I am die hard; I will bear the traffic for my beloved team. I will bear any annoyances of downtown life, including honking horns and too much noise at 2 a.m. post game... In fact, if it's because of a win, I will not only bear it, I will revel in it.
Go Habs Go!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Heheh... the world of the nanoblog

I couldn't resist. I had to post this. Too funny:

Friday, April 03, 2009

Eat Green, Be Green

Everyone knows I like me some meat, but I also think that there is something to be said for our meat consumption in North America, and the effects it has on our health and our environment. I found this article on the topic absolutely fascinating.
My bottom line after reading something like this? Everything in moderation. Factory farming is nasty, not to mention cruel, and the ugly truth is that, without it, we would never be able to consume as much meat as we do today. To my mind, the way nature intended it, meat is meant to be eaten, but not with the frequency we eat it.
Do I have the self control to cut it down to the levels I think are ideal? Probably not, but I think the article points out that even small changes could make a big difference.
Good night. I'm off to eat my lentil soup.