Shoe Shopping as Therapy

What IS it about shopping for shoes (online or otherwise) that is SO therapeutic? After a particularly challenging week, all I have the energy for tonight has been surfing the web, looking at fabulous, pointy, round-toe, shiny, non-shiny, yummy, shoes.

Thank you, Internet, for allowing me to put these little delights in my online  shopping bag with reckless abandon, only to cheat you moments later by casually closing my browser window as if nothing had ever happened between us! You are truly my no-strings-attached shoe addiction buddy.

Check it out (No I’m not getting paid for any of this, *SIGH*) :) Also, you may notice the styles are kind of on the conservative work-attire style side. That’s what my constraints are right now, but still! Joy! And heels! I kind of retired from heels for a while but now I’m back (kind of – I still wear flip flops to and from and inside the car. Thank you for that, San Diego. You taught me the joy of toe freedom).

Exhibit A: (But I want them in just the plain gray) 

And check this beauty. Her coloring is so fantastical: Jessica Bennett Norah pump.

And finally: J Renee Catrice pump

 Aaaah. I feel better already.

Oops! Just clicked the little X on the right-hand corner of that browser window that said “Nordstrom” and “Shopping bag” at the top.

Time for bed.

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Dinner Party Roundup

So, we ended up having a handful of some of my favorite people attending the virtual dinner party! Thanks to all of you, the food was DELICIOUS :)

– Naelya brought some AMAZING sushi and hareeseh (which is a FABULOUS semolina cake that Naelya’s mom make REALLY well) for dessert (I laughed so hard when you told me your mom said she’d make hareeseh. Thank you for that!)

– Eid brought his sinus infection, some hummus topped with pine nuts, and shawerma chicken! Mmmmmmmmm! It was great. Hope you’re feeling better Eid, and I hope the mint tea helped warm you up a bit!

– I made herb-crusted salmon with lemon pine-nut couscous

– Dima brought the argeeleh/sheesha

AND,

– The Fabulous Kim brought the drinks!!! :D

Also, Shereen, Angela, Swapna, Abeer, and Dalia were all there too!

Oh I can’t tell you the laughs I got out of this. Thank you all for indulging my temporary insanity.

And now I shall go see if the little one has awakened from his ear-infection induced coma. Wish us luck and more sleep tonight!

Virtual Dinner Party!

Ok, I know part of the jittery chipper happy excitement I feel about this idea MUST have to do with: a) It’s Friday, and b) I had a triple-shot coffee drink this a.m, and c) I’m hungry

I posted a facebook update today to friends and family all over the world saying “Let’s have a virtual dinner party! I’ll cook!” The responses made me think of something else – I doubt I’ll get much response (since it’s obviously driven by partial insanity as explained in bullet points a, b, and c above), but!

Anyone reading this is invited to the virtual dinner party tonight! Let’s all get together, even if it’s in our thoughts, and have a blast!

If you plan on coming, leave a comment saying what you’re contributing, and I’ll compile the list together at the end of the day and make a post with some pictures that we can feast our eyes on, if nothing else!

hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahAhAHAHAhaahahHAHA

(Delirious crazy-woman laughter).

And now, I will get back to this project update at hand, and let you all get creative! (you know you want to!)

Halloween Season…

has arrived at our house! And.. we have a costume all ready.

We agreed it would be a good idea to try it out and make sure it fit well. I think it definitely works. Don’t you??

This year's Halloween costume

My superhero

If you know anything about this boy, you know that this costume is a HUGE achievement. Typically, he is an unwavering Spiderman die-hard. Is this a sign?! That we may be starting to accept VARIETY?!?! Oh the possibilities!

Yes, this year we are Ironman.

Bring it on, Halloween. We are TOTALLY ready for you.

Making it Work

I spent most of my morning at work today picking up the shattered pieces of my heart and trying to put them together again with coffee, the eternal glue to my soul. The reason for my sad (mixed in with a bit of furious) state of being was that I had been forced to leave my beautiful baby boy, the one with the huge brown eyes and soft, curly hair, crying in the arms of his daddy at 6:49 a.m so that I could make an early-morning meeting. Which ended up being canceled. I was furious, sad, and groggy.

It’s a moment I cherish yet dread at the same time. Those delicate, early-morning minutes before I leave home to start a full 10  – 11 hour day at work before I can see my family once more. Those minutes hold the promise and curse of a certain small, warm, 3.5 year-old body stumbling out of bed, clutching his stuffed Puppy and Dolphin. He looks up at me with his warm eyes that could melt a glacier, and they are filled with anticipation, uninhibited love, and need. The need for his mommy to embrace him, hold him close, and be completely present. This is distinctly different from the frazzled, out-of-time, need-to-get-out-the-door-right-now mother I feel I am during those moments.

I can usually manage to get out the door while everyone is still asleep, avoiding the pain of feeling as though I’ve left him with an unfulfilled need, longing after me as I shut the door behind me. On days when I’m running a little late, however, or on days when he awakens earlier than usual, I am torn between wanting to be there for him but also knowing that, at this job, it matters what time I walk through the door. Any time I can spare an extra 15 or 20 minutes  in the morning, I try to give him as much of me as I possibly can, hoping against hope that it will partially make up for the next 11 or so hours until I can see him again.

I KNOW I have made a conscious decision to be a working mother. I KNOW that it is a choice, and that I need to own up to it, and in the words of Tim Gunn “Make it work!”. But would that really  be his advice to me? Wouldn’t he say that I should trust my gut, and be true to who I am? Is this really who I am?

I know mothers do this all the time. I know (hope) my son is and will be stronger and more resilient because of it. I know I am/will be too. I just wish it didn’t have to hurt so bad.

Lazy Susan

That must be my favorite name for an inanimate object in the world right now.

“Lazy Susan”.

Here’s mine, just recently purchased, being utilized on my countertop. (Reason being, the people who built this place thought cabinet space meant room for two plates and a spoon.)

My Lazy Susan

Countertop accessibility

I love her. She’s so round and quick to turn around, with a mere flick of a wrist.

You are sassy, little miss Susan!

Welcome, Sassy Susan, to your new home where you will help make things so much more accessible!

I spent most of my day scrubbing, cleaning, and then, my absolute favorite: ORGANIZING! YIPPEEEE!

Today, I decided it was finally time. Time to pamper myself by putting things in sleek-looking containers, storage units, and boxes. The organization frenzy started in our 3.5 year-old’s closet, winding its way around to the bathroom, living room, and ending with a flourish in the kitchen. My pantry is no longer a bio hazard area.

Allow me to share a (badly lit) glimpse into the inside of my fridge, which also received a portion of the organization wizardry.

It might not look pretty to you, but believe you me, compared to the bachelor pad it was looking like before, it can now be likened to a Martha Stewart organization masterpiece.

Organized Chaos

Ok I take back the reference to Martha Stewart. No offense, Martha. Can I still read your magazine? And idolize your perfect fitted sheet folding skills? (Seriously, WHY is that so hard for me? They always come out with uneven bulges here and there, no matter how hard I try to emulate your process! You are truly a sheet-folding goddess).

Ok, the real reason I posted that picture is that our fridge will never look like this again.  *sigh*

And now, good night. I’m tired after all that organizing.

(And just in case you didn’t hear me the first time…..YIPPEEEE!)

Ode to the Bungalow

Dear Charming Bungalow,

I want to love you, unconditionally and with fierce abandon. Really, I do.

But…

You have no closet space. And your plumbing is.. well, suspect.

Your hardwood floors are divine, your granite countertops, scrumptious.

But, alas, it was not meant to be.

I know someday, you will find someone.

Someone who will fall in love with your cramped spaces, high-end fixtures, and hardwood floors (**drool**).

You will have little Bungalow babies, and live happily ever after. (At least until they gut you.)

For now, I will resign myself, to more conservative spaces, with higher ceilings, and enough square footage to allow me to escape the testosterone that surrounds me.

In the words of Tina Turner, “What’s love, got to do, got to do with it?”

Fare thee well, darling bungalow. Fare thee well.

Seasons of Change

It’s still hot out here in Salt Lake City, at a time when fall temperatures would usually have kicked in already (at least that’s what they tell me).

Still, in the early, darkness-cloaked, deliciously solitary hours of the morning, I can feel it coming. There’s a nip in the air now; one that causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand at attention. There is a world of potential in those moments, and if you listen carefully, you can hear your own heart beat along to the rhythm of that potential. You are part of that potential, and there is so much you can do and be on this day.

I’ve been reminded of this recently, reminded of my own potential and my own ability to change the course of my life by harnessing the power of positive thought.

I have a renewed wish to spread this message around, as it had previously been my modus operandi. We all have times in our lives that we’re not so proud of, times when we are blinded or overwhelmed by the challenges that face us, times when we forget who we really are and try desperately to just make it from one day to the next. (Note: Do NOT underestimate the power and ability of sleep deprivation in sending you down a crazy spiral of slowly and painfully LOSING YOUR MIND.)

Once we pick ourselves up off the floor, however, those times should be reflected upon as a time of learning, and we should recognize that we have become stronger, more resilient people as a result.

A part of spreading the message of positivity and potential, for me, has been teaching yoga. I had the gift and blessing of having a number of people be willing to allow me to guide them through a weekly practice for a number of months between 2009 – April of this year. It was humbling and amazing, and I will never forget the sense of service and the collective energy of that room.

Then, a few months ago, our family moved to Salt Lake City. With new surroundings, new schedules, and new commitments, it’s been a challenge figuring out how to go back to teaching. But I’m ready now. I know that it helps me more than it helps the people who join me in my classes, by giving me a sense of contribution, of connectivity to others, of providing (hopefully) at least one person with something to reflect on and/or simply enjoy.

So, wish me luck in my journey as I brush the dust off my practice, regain my voice, and find some new victims friends to share yoga with.

Preschooler Car Talk – 9/14/2010

“Mama! Today we learn about crops.”

Looking in rearview mirror, brow furrowed, POSITIVE that I had heard him wrong, “Huh? Crocs?!?!”

“NO! Croooooops!”
“Oh! Crops!” Eyebrows raised, thinking he must’ve heard the word and have NO idea what it means.

“Well, then, who picks the crops from the field?” (Hah! Take that, Mr. Think-You’re-So-Smart! I threw in an extra word, too!)

“Pffffffffft.” Impatiently, and MUCH too prematurely for his age, blowing air out of his mouth and rolling his eyes.

“Mama! Crops, FARMER! You know???”

“Um. Ooookaaay.”

Silence.

“Mama?” Calmer now, after having contemplated the reasons for his mama’s sorry state of ignorance.

“Yes?”

“You go’ed to school today?”

*sigh* He’s already worried about what to fill in for ‘Mother’s Highest Level of Education’

September

“Oh! That’s an interesting name! Where’s it from?”

I used to hestitate. I used to pause, evaluating the tolerance level of my audience before proceeding to what would inevitably in some way or other define the future interactions and relationship between myself and the curious inquirer.

I don’t hesitate anymore. I don’t stop, don’t wait, don’t evaluate. I don’t draw out my response by initially answering “It’s Arabic!”, and waiting to see if the person standing in front of me will push further, asking for more detail, asking the real question they’re trying to get at, which is “But where are YOU from?”

“I’m Palestinian”, I say, looking them straight in the eye, watching first for the flicker of recognition, then for the fizzle of expectation and hope as the imagination that lives behind their eyes quickly kills off or severely maims images of a could-have-been friendship. Because now it’s just all too complicated. Now it’s about more than just the two of us.

“Oh!” Eyes diverted, brain cranking out different excuses for why the conversation should end now, or how to make a clean transition into something completely unrelated.

I can guarantee that in many cases, if not most, people who get that answer were either not expecting it or not prepared for it. Standard answers for this question range from “The Middle East” to “Jordan”, “Egypt”, “Lebanon”, and the occasional “Los Angeles”.
After spending the better part of my life dancing around the answer, I now feel entitled to say it like it is. I deserve to be able to lay claim to that part of my identity without shame, without hesitancy, and without apprehension.

Being Palestinian is a part of who I am, (as are being Jordanian, American, female, crazy, a mother, crazy, etc.) and although it does not define me, it is the answer to the question of where the color of my hair and skin, and the shape of my eyes and nose come from. It explains my affinity for dark bitter coffee and the smell/taste of freshly baked pita bread, as well as why I rip my bread up into little pieces and dip it into my food. It explains why I’ve lived in so many different parts of the world, attended 11 schools (before college), and am constantly looking for a place to call home.

To be fair, not everyone who asks is taken aback/turned off by my answer. Some people, you can genuinely tell, just don’t care. Or, alternately, they do care, but not in the wondering how many of my brothers and/or cousins are responsible for global Islamist terrorism kind of way.

Yeah, that again.
It’s September, and although I’m not a lingerer, this year I’ve found myself going back in time. Perhaps it is the melange of Quran-burning, Islamic-center building, Middle East “Peace Process” news and debate, all falling on the memory of the day we all got a taste of what humans are capable of in the name of religion.

It saddens me to see people refer to America as having made progress by reassuring us that Muslims will not be “rounded up and placed in Concentration camps” (see Fellow Americans’ Suspicions frustrate US Muslims). The mere fact that this image is one that can still come to mind is disturbing; it’s like telling someone not to think of a Pink Elephant. Trust me, everyone who has read the equivalent of that quote (and I’ve seen variations of it a number of times over the past 9 years) has at one point or another imagined Muslims being rounded up and put in a concentration camp. (You guys are thinking of pink elephants too. RIGHT?!)

I truly hope this country can move forward and move beyond lumping people under one umbrella cause, religion, ethnicity, or color, thereby assigning them the same characteristics, tendencies, and deciding who they are without learning more about them as individuals. I truly do.

However. I am cautious around the hope that people can fundamentally change, and that we can get beyond our differences. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve lived through numerous failed regurgitations of the Middle East Peace Process, where the same exact people keep saying the same exact things with the same exact result. Perhaps it was having to personally experience (with my family, my husband’s family even more dramatically, as well as scores of others) separation as we pursue the long and sometimes arduous trail of citizenship. That sacred gift of insurance, that promise of a safe haven that would ensure our rights to life, shelter, and human dignity.

Still, I know hope and faith in humanity deserve a chance. If not for my own lifetime, then for my son’s. And although I will tell him the truth, when the time comes, of the current state of humanity, I will do my best to cultivate tolerance, and instill a sense of hope in him.

All the while being his Palestinian, Jordanian, American, yoga-loving, running at the crack of dawn, semi-vegitarian, crazy mom.

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