Saturday, June 28, 2008

Required reading for wanna-be's like me

The Yacoubian Building by: Alaa Al Aswany

I am deep into this book (which I have been hoping they would translate after I read about it when they were making the movie in Egypt) and I stumbled onto it in Target the other day. It is WONDERFUL. I am enjoying the modern history mixed in with culture and a cast of characters that manages to embody the idiosyncrasies of Egypt herself. DH has decided that after reading this I am TRUELY ready to get my Egyptian citizenship!LOL

So here is your homework... Go read it!!! Say you need diapers, or milk, or some other urgent thing and run out and get it. Then brew a pot of black tea with a sprig of mint and find a comfortable chair to sit and read in. Really, it's that good. And maybe I'll be giving a pop quiz... I was schooled as a literature teacher after all.

****WARNING**** This book does have sexual content, but you should read it anyway... 'Cause like it's necessary sexual content.

Friday, June 27, 2008

This is not my beautiful life...

You know the song Once in a Lifetime by The Talking Heads? I have always loved that song... And right now I feel I am living it. I feel as if I am driving through someone elses life or something. I don't know what it is... Maybe I was too into the book I just read, The Time Traveler's Wife, or something. Have you ever had that feeling?

I am longing for a house, a "normal" life... And I can't imagine that this mess of obligations and businesses all crammed into this little apartment is ACTUALLY my life. I always thought I would have a 9-5 type husband with a job and a tidy little benefits package. I also always thought I would have a house and spend my time shuttling the kids to and from violin lessons and soccer practice... Maybe have friends over for dinner on Saturday nights... And a family vacation once a year to someplace warm...

I am numb from all the things that are my daily life. I have so many dramas that they don't even seem like dramas at all anymore. DH asks me "What will move you?" when something goes on and I just sit back... Well, very little these days because if I went into panic mode over every little thing I would be in an in-patient treatment facility. But living like this is getting to me. Yesterday DH was watching a TLC show about a family with 8 kids (John and Kate Plus 8) and he remarked how nice the house was even though they had 8 kids, and how he wished he had a house like that. I laid into him. "Yea, well they have a garage and a basement... They have probably over 4000 sq feet and they can keep the kids stuff out of the main areas!!!" I yelled with as much venom as I could muster. And you know what? I was really mad about it. I got to thinking how silly our situation is, and how we are waiting for this daycare and wasting our money on all these businesses and I was really ready to explode. I laid in bed all day... And I can't really afford to do that. The nice thing was DH had the kids clean and when I finally got up to cook dinner the house was better than I had left it in the AM...

I don't know how to get myself back into the shoes of this person whose life I am living... I feel like I am watching things happen and I have no control. I'm just a gerbil on a wheel, running and running but getting nowhere. **big sigh** Am I weird or have any of you ever felt this way?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Can I rant about food for a minute???

I have some complaints about food, and since DH and I are both consummate foodies... Food is a big thing here in our house. Please stay with me and try to muddle through the sarcasm... I'm laying in on thicker than my bechamel...

1)Halal butchers (or halal haramies in most cases): Why is it that "halal" (which is incorrect for so many reasons really, it's more of a brand name... I would say zabiha, but I digress) butchers have the tendency to cut corners and price gouge? And why don't they have standards? Case in point... DH just bought about 20lbs of ground meat, 1/2 lamb and 1/2 beef. And the butcher put it all in bags labeled ground beef with no indicator to tell you which was which. So, now here I am defrosting bags praying that I guessed right. Of course lamb and beef taste totally different so I have ended up screwing up dishes because the lamb is too strong in them. Walahi, the guy at the supermarket has pity on me and my 4 kids and tries to help out by cutting things special for me and suggesting meat that will be good for what I am cooking... Why doesn't the brother???

2)Spoiled family members: I'm not going to name names here (but I think a D and an H are involved) but my culinary generosity has landed me in a situation where naming your own alternative dinner five minutes before we eat is the norm. This is a PAIN in my rear. What it does is throw me into a last minute panic and scramble even if I have planned and prepared ahead of time. Not nice. Ditto to special request for things you want 10 minutes from now and I don't have the ingredients for.

3)Wheat in everything: I know wheat is cheap, but I have an allergy to gluten which cuts it out of my diet... And I know it's a binder and all that... But does EVERYTHING processed have to have it? And do all cereals have to have malt (which also has gluten)? Alternatives people, PUHLEEESE!!!

4)Expensive, underripe, homogeneous produce: Does it occur to the marketing people here in the US that apples, oranges, pears and bananas are not the only fruit in the world? What about the concept that produce is seasonal... It's a big word I know, but it means that different fruit grows at different times of the year. Your produce section should probably reflect that.

5)Labeling and marketing should be separate issues: Although SOME people might be inclined to think that the word "natural" on a label actually means something... I am not. And although I do have my days where I feel only a rung above drooling imbecile even I know that you don't add hormones and antibiotics to chicken post-mortem!!!! So will you stop using things like "natural" on things like canned fruit, which was ALWAYS "natural"? And will you stop labeling meat with "no added hormones or antibiotics" and then having that fine print saying "the USDA prohibits the addition of hormones or antibiotics to all meat and poultry products" like I won't notice?

SIGH.... Just my two piasters as usual;)

Friday, June 06, 2008

I've been away too long!!!

Well, I have so many posts in my head that I want to write and very little time to write them! With DH back and the kids out of school things have fallen back into the familiar rhythm of days full with little chores and errands. The baby turned two on the 4th, I made her a kitty cake (pictured above) and her favorite dinner, spaghetti with meatballs.

Also, we are trying to get things caught up since DH's absence... Mainly this means collecting money and paying bills. Also, there is other stuff with his work and so on. Mostly, we are getting ready to move again (seems to happen often for us) to a little 3 bedroom with an unfinished basement. The goo thing is the kids will have separate rooms and we will have a laundry area in the basement, insha'Allah. I will also have a dishwasher again, yea!!!

Anyway, I just wanted to give you all an update. Insha'Allah more substantive posts are in the works;)