Posted in Family, Life

You’re such an “animal”

My sister and I have always had a weird/funny relationship. To be fair, I’m sure everyone says this about their sister and or siblings. When we were little, she used to ask me to put on a ‘funny show,’ where I’d sing, dance, make up a story and act it out, dress up strangely, etc. I’m still 90% certain that I’m going to make it in Hollywood… just waiting to be discovered 😉

What makes my sister so funny is that nobody can come up with silly games like her. She has the best insults in the world, such as: “You’re a lopsided Oreo!” and “Stop being a pig, you llama!” I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to give away her secrets 😉 One of the games she came up with when we were little was the Animal Game. Honestly, I’m still not sure if that’s the official name, but the sake of this blog, I will name it thus. The rules of the game are simple: insult each other by calling them different animals. However, if I call you a snake, you cannot then call me a python as I’ve covered snakes. Likewise, if she calls me a fish, I cannot call her a tuna.

The level of insult of each animal changes in each game. For instance, in one game, anteater can be the biggest insult, yet the biggest source of laughter in the next. There is no real consistency; you have to play according to the setting. The game ends when one of us repeats an animal and loses. Seriously, it’s the funnest game, and we’ve gone super hardcore. My sister has sat with a dictionary next to her and texted me the first 20 animals she found that began with “W.” I in turn had to text back the same number of animals plus one, but having it in text made it easier to be sure I wasn’t repeating any animal. While our verbal games can go on upwards on 5 minutes, our last texting game went on for a good hour, haha. What can I say? We’re special 🙂

So, in honor of my sister who rarely ever reads this, I give to you the best animal pictures that I was able to find in 15 minutes:)

So what obscure animals can you think of? 

Posted in Life

If I’m asleep, don’t wake me up

And it is He Who makes the night a covering for you, and the sleep (as) a repose, and makes the day (as it were) a resurrection.

-The Holy Quran, 25:47, Yusuf Ali Translation

How often do we actually think of sleep? Sure, the thought may be in our minds throughout the day (I can’t wait to get home and sleep, I’m so sleeping early today, etc), but how often do we really appreciate it?

I’ve always had trouble sleeping, whether it be falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up. At times, I don’t need an alarm clock; I can wake up on my own, unassisted, at any time I want in the morning. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ll stay awake, and it’s not something I can do over long periods of time. On the other hand, it is very difficult for me to fall asleep. My family has been blessed with the ability to fall asleep within minutes, whereas I can’t ever remember falling asleep so quickly. True, I probably wouldn’t remember anyway, but that’s besides the point 🙂

There are so many examples of writers and historic figures describing sleep and its benefits. Shakespeare included references to sleep in nearly all of his plays, as well as some of his sonnets.

O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my sense in forgetfulness?
William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I (3.1.7-16)

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep.
William Shakespeare, The Tempest (4.1.168-170)

Other quotes that I like include:

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.
Leonardo da Vinci

But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

 I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.
Benjamin Franklin

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Sleep is amazing, and it has rights over us. Honestly, there really is nothing else so refreshing in this world as a nice long nap. I think it’s time I paid my dues..  here’s hoping I’ll be able to get in those 8 hours tonight 🙂


Posted in Family, Life

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, an onion will take care of everyone else ;)

My father always tells me how an onion adds some of the most essential flavor to a dish (aside from salt, of course). He was the one who first started teaching me how to cook, and in his mind, if you didn’t use an onion, there was no point in cooking. Sure, we had onion powder in the house, but he never touched it. My mother, on the other hand, was all about getting food made as quickly as easily as possible and preferred using onion powder. Both are really good cooks, but neither of them particularly enjoy cooking unless it’s a once in a while type of thing.

Now for me, I vary. I know that onions give the best flavor, something that powder just can’t compete with, but I also know that sometimes you just don’t want your hands to smell oniony for the next few days (rinse your hands with lemon juice to get rid of the smell!). Now I’m not a fan of eating raw onions; they have to be cooked down to be used in whatever I’m making. So in reference to the title, if you do plan on indulging yourself in the deliciousness an onion can provide, don’t be shy about that mouthwash. Think of the children!

For the longest time, I used to think I was ‘Super Awesome’ because cutting up onions would rarely make me cry. My dad used to bust out my old chemistry safety goggles when cutting onions, and I would scoff at my sister and her tears as a way to avoid cooking and trying to get me to take over. But just the other day, I wore my glasses instead of my contacts, and let me tell you that my eyes were burning.  I can’t even begin to tell you the disappointment I felt at knowing my supposed superpowers were solely because of wearing contacts.

However, I began to think about it. I’ve always lamented my poor vision as a weakness and as something that will be a great detriment during the zombie apocalypse (because let’s be serious; where am I going to be able to stockpile contacts while fighting off hordes of ravenous zombies?). But now I feel that if I can withstand onions, I’ll be able to withstand anything. Bring it on, zombies!

With those pearls of wisdom, I will leave you with one of the few kosher onion jokes I could find:

One day two onions, who were best friends, were walking together down the street. They stepped off the curb and a speeding car came around the corner and ran one of them over. The uninjured onion called 911 and helped his injured friend as best he was able. The injured onion was taken to emergency at the hospital and rushed into surgery. After a long and agonizing wait, the doctor finally appeared. He told the uninjured onion, “I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is that your friend is going to pull through. The bad news is that he’s going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.”

Posted in Life

If you ever thought shoes don’t matter, just ask Dorothy and Cinderella and they’ll set you straight ;)

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world”

-Marilyn Monroe

The ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz are quite possibly the most famous shoes, ever. The entire film revolves around the ownership of the shoes (and I’ve always wondered who got to keep them when she went back to Kansas!!) and it is revealed at the end how powerful the shoes truly are (there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home). Now I don’t consider myself to be a girly girl, but even I will admit that I love me some shoes.

I don’t mean to advertise for Walmart, but it’s a funny commercial 🙂

Several of my private students are baseball players, and have a collection of shoes that they use for daily wear, practice, and games, depending on the weather. Of course, as growing teens, they’ve outgrown several pairs. During a session a few weeks ago, I was leaving the house and stumbled upon a giant pair of shoes (I think they were size 12.. this kid is only 15 and is already 6’1) and after we all laughed at my near fall, his dad showed me the enormous collection of sneakers that my student has…. just downstairs. Seriously, this boy had more sneakers than I had shoes, and when I mentioned this to his father, he laughed even harder and said that there was a problem when a man has more shoes than any woman.

Now I know that not all women are into shoes, much like all men are not averse to shoes. My father and brother each have only two or three pairs, and they are perfectly satisfied with those numbers. I don’t buy shoes that often, but I will admit to splurging on an especially nice pair around my birthday. This past year I bought myself some yellow wedges, the year before some nude platform pumps, the year before some silver strappy sandals.. all good stuff that I do wear from time to time.

While at a wedding a few weeks ago (yes, wedding season has already begun) a young lady told me that she only has regular shoes and then a silver and gold to wear to weddings, but then confessed that she had several silver and several gold to go with whatever she was wearing! I tell you, we women are amazing.

I thought about taking a picture of all of my shoes to include in this blog, but then the sheer number overwhelmed me. I would have never thought I had that many pairs, but to be fair, I am very consistent and wear my shoes for years before they wear out (you can ask my mom; I take good care of my shoes!).

In the end, the moral of the story is to take care of what you have so you don’t have to keep adding or replacing it. Oh, and that too much of a good thing is wonderful 😉

Posted in Family, Life

Language limitations

** I apologize for the false post!**

This past weekend, my family hosted 4 French women associated with the L’Arche organization, a group founded in France by Jean Vanier in 1964, and is geared towards aiding adults with learning and physical disabilities. As none of them spoke English, it was a perfect time for me and my mother to use our French. To be fair, my mother did put in our application that we could host French-speaking women, so it just so happened that all four of our guests were French.

What struck me the most was that one of the ladies is a woman with Down Syndrome. She was highly functioning, but still needed to occasional help from one of the ladies. She was happy and truly excited to be here in the US. She lamented how she was missing France’s version of Mother’s Day, and wanted to buy her tickets to a concert in America (we had to explain that concert tickets in America was a beautiful idea, but not entirely practical).

It was an amazing weekend, and I felt truly blessed to be able to be a part of such an effort. We met with the organization again on Wednesday night for an interfaith session on learning and physically handicapped people. My mother spoke on the Islamic perspective, adding a few personal touches, and we were able to meet with 3/4 of the ladies who stayed with us over the weekend. 

When I first met the group of ladies, they were all impressed with my French and couldn’t believe that I’ve never been to France. They couldn’t believe that I spoke with no accent (aside from French, of course) without having studied in France. That was a definite boost to my ego 😉 However, what really struck me was listening to the woman with Down Syndrome and marveling at her ability to speak a ‘foreign language.’ It took me a bit before I could appreciate that she wasn’t speaking a foreign language.. she was speaking her own. This woman with Down Syndrome spoke better French than me, and her language skills are probably better than mine will ever be. It was something that really made me appreciate how limited I can be by not being open to the fact that just because something is foreign for me,  it’s not for others. I had to struggle a bit to get my message across, as it’s been a while since I’ve spoken French, but I was able to convey everything I wished to say. It was funny for me to see how my mom would go from speaking French to the ladies to speaking to me in Arabic (she usually only speaks to me in English) and how I would accidentally speak to my sister in French, even though she doesn’t understand.

Seriously, the organization is a great one and they’re going to be opening their doors to a new branch in Decatur, GA on July 1st. Here is their website again, so be sure to check them out!