Sunday, January 31, 2010


Now that we're back in the USA, I've decided to move my

So, please check out Squarer Pegs, Rounder Holes at

Be sure and become a "cult follower".....You know, once
I get all set up and everything.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We're Moving...Blog and All

We've sold our apartment...finally. Not the price we'd anticpated...but the
important thing is that it's sold and our family will soon be reunited, God willing.
I've immensely enjoyed this outlet to my frustrations, joys and "situational
comedy that is my life." It's far from over, of course. But due to all the stress
of showing buyers my place, forcing kids to study at squirt-gunpoint, renewing
passports that expired TWO FREAKIN' YEARS AGO, and all the other
fun that an expatriate can have, I'm not writing here so much anymore. Also
due to the opening of a  portal to the dark side of Yahoo!, I opted to open a
Gmail account and I'm having some problems logging in here as much. (Mainly
due to my inability to remember all 674 passwords to accounts all over the
internets...I digress.)

So, God willing,  أنشاء الله to those who read Arabic, we'll be starting over in the
USofA next month some time. I don't know how long it will take before I have
internet service there, but I'll have a new and improved blog site to go along
with my new and improved address and new and improved outlook on life....
you know, since I'll have access to my spouse again. So stay tuned and I'll post
a new URL as soon as I get one. And do check back in...I'm 100% certain that
we should have all kinds of new funnies. How could we not? I'm going to be
travelling from Egypt to Texas by myself with 5 kids, 12 suitcases, 6 carryons
and a partridge in a pear tree. But one question from customs at any stop along
the way, and that partridge'll be stuffed with pears and handed over to the agent
as a culinary bribe!

Speaking of culinary bribes: I FINALLY convinced Randa that we should leave
"Randa's house" and move to Texas. I had to tell her that I'd take her to McDonalds.
See? Bribery DOES work.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mothers and Daughters

Today has been a truly mixed bag of emotions for me. I woke up
this morning and started to knock on the door to my mom's room
to remind her to take her thyroid medicine. Then I got this over-
whelming feeling of sadness as I realized she's gone. She left last
night around 10:30pm and cried that she was leaving us behind.
I'd threatened the kids not to cry in front of her so it wouldn't be
so hard on her. Apparently, it didn't make a difference. My neigh-
bor, who drove her to the airport in Cairo 3.5 hours away, said
she cried the whole way. Poor thing.
Now, don't get me wrong. My kids were totally affected by her
leaving. I just made them wait to get back in the house to cry. And
cry they did. Especially Ismail. He and my mom argued most of the
month she was here. He was sassy and bossy and rude...typical
tween behavior. But it was his usual false bravado that tends to
find it's way into him as he tries various "personality outfits." He
cried his eyes out for more than an hour and eventually fell asleep
in her bed.
I'm so happy that she came to visit us. We had a wonderful visit.
And I think I love my mom even more than I ever did before...even
though I didn't know I could love her more!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Did Not Marry a Man...I Married a Pack-Rat!

 GOT THERE! Or at least that's what my neighbors were thinking as my poor
eight-year-old, Aiman, was lugging the three giant black plastic bags down to
the dumpster in two separate trips. MOST of the trash was courtesy of cleaning
out my husband's closet. And NO, I did NOT throw out the polyester leisure
suits awaiting their return to the (ahem!) fashion (yeah, I can't even say it without
laughing either) rotation. I did get rid of the sweatsuit with all those little fuzz
balls built up on it and the white oil-based paint on the leg of the pants. And I'm
sure some homeless guy will enjoy the acrylic sweater in camouflage colors with
the buck and deer embroidered on the front. However, none of those items, or
even the navy blue velour polo style long sleeved  shirt he's had for the last
ELEVEN YEARS made their way to the trash.
   Nope. It was mostly paper trash. Receipts from the electric, water, gas, and
telephone company spanning the last 6 years or so and including accounts from
three different addresses, every bank statement from two different CLOSED
bank accounts, and every bank statement from a third closed account that we
requested to go paperless at least 4 years ago had the first trash bag overflowing.
Then there were the old worn-out passport covers, 5000 saved drawings from
the children, every love note I ever wrote him (Awwwwwwww...) and a giant
broken Batman and Robin alarm clock that nearly gave me a concussion when
the glass face fell out of it onto my head when I pulled it out of the top of the
closet. Oh and guess where I found the VCR that was broken during a fight
over which video we were going to watch next...TWO YEARS AGO! That's
correct. In my husband's closet.
     Now there are a few good things about his ability to "save stuff." I found
the warranties and owner's manuals for every single appliance that I'm trying
to hock right now. My husband is a tidy man....errrr...neat freak.......can anyone
say OCD? He does not like clutter. Which leaves me to wonder why on Earth
he chose to marry me, because...uh...Martha Stewart, I ain't. He has been known
to collect up all the mail and bills from the kitchen counter and shove it into a
plastic shopping bag which was then stuffed into a tiny cupboard above the
fridge that I never use because I'm only 5'3" and can't reach it. Ordinarily, I
don't mind when someone tries to declutter my life. However, I'm fairly organized
for a disorganized person. I know that I have that whole "out of sight, out of mind"
mentality. So I tend to put unpaid bills on the counter to remind me to pay them.
When Mr. "Don't Clutter My Life" collects them up and hides them in a cupboard
so that he doesn't have to see any messy countertops, I show my blond roots
when I am completely clueless as to why we are sitting in the dark over a 3-day
holiday weekend barbecuing everything from meats to cheerios because the
electric stove is not usable due to my inability to remember to pay the bill simply
because I didn't see a piece of paper on the formica! I digress.
    So the closet is no devoid of all photos of people we both truly hate, checks
that we'll never use, broken shoelaces, plastic bags from various duty-free shops
around the world and the empty box and owner's manuals that go to the Motorola
mobile phone stolen over a year ago, AND both the 110v home charger and charger
that plugs into your cigarette lighter in your car for an Ericsson mobile phone 
that we sold 5 years ago. There was a cigarette lighter/ashtray combo thing
purchased as a gift for someone in the States only he forgot to take it with him last
time he went. I could go on, but I'm actually embarrassed. So suffice is to say, I
at last found wood that turned out to be the bottom of the shelf I'd not seen since
the day we put that bad boy together seven years ago. WOW. One really can
accumulate quite a bit of crap in eight years time. But when you're married to a
pack rat, all bets are off. (Hint: wait until your pack rat is out of town like I did.
It makes the separation anxiety over getting rid of stuff sooo much easier to deal
with...especially if they've saved so much crap they don't remember owning it in
the first place!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today I'm 29 Years Old....for the 12th Time

That's right! It's my birfday today. Though it started off on the wrong foot
with me having to go personally ruin the career of a teacher who hit my son
in school yesterday, it was all up after that. My mom flew in from the U.S.
to spend a month with me and the kids. And my sister-in-law bought me
cake and visited for a few hours and my other sister-in-law actually put on
her "human suit" and came down and visited, too. And my children all painted
beautiful pictures for me. And my husband called and sang to me. AND my
sister, mom, and husband got me a new laptop for my birthday. But the
best gift of all was my new bra.

Yes, that would be odd in comparison to a laptop. BUT having lived
in Northern Africa for the last 8 years, I've been reduced to buying these
Chinese torture devices in order to hold up "the twins." I was so excited to
have an actual new Playtex bra with no ragged strands of elastic hanging out
of the side panels that I put it on immediately after I got out of bed: BEFORE
COFFEE! My mother thought it strange that I was so excited about a very
functional (while still pretty) piece of underwear. I was never so unaware of
my breasts....this is a new feeling after breast-feeding 5 kids. I am constantly
aware of my boobs anymore. I have to throw them over my shoulders in
order to keep from crushing them against the sink while washing dishes. The
bras here really do little more than add a layer of fabric between your skin
and your blouse. The elastic is absolutely useless. In fact, one would have
more support were she to just tuck them into her pants along with the blouse.
So naturally, when I got this new brasierre with REAL elastic in it and REAL
support (YES...lifting and separating) and returning "my girls" to their original
homes after such a long visit at my waistline, I was on cloud nine. Let's face it.
When you nurse kids non-stop for a total of 7 years, your once perky bosoms
are going tend to resemble two tube socks full of wet sand and there is little
you can do about it...non-surgically, anyway.

But now with my awesome battle bra and a quick touch up on my dye job, I
could probably pass for 29 for real. OH what a wonderful birthday. Props to
Playtex for bringing affordable "front end hydraulics" to the masses!

Friday, October 23, 2009

I've Become a Stepford Mom

So we've been sick now for nearly two weeks. I even went so far as to take
all SIXof us in for exams at the same time last Saturday. Cost me 100 LE
just for the exams and another 125 LE for all the meds afterward. And of
course, when it comes to MY prescription, it's for (drumroll please?) an
antidepressant medication. I've managed being a mother for 14+ years and
never had to take more than my daily handful of acetaminophen due to the
noise levels. But apparently this really wicked case of "prickly heat" I've had
for nearly 3 months is ACTUALLY a stress-induced case of hives. And if
I'd not been depressed before he wrote my prescription, I totally am now.
And yes, while it's always up to me whether or not I actually fill a prescription,
the pokey, itchy, red and disgusting bumps all over my chest, neck, shoulders,
and left cheek won the argument with the obstinate part of my brain that wants
me to be SuperMutha and do this whole teenage thing sans drugs. And I filled
that bad boy!

I've been on them now for 6 days. And ya know what? Not that much has
changed. Am I any less stressed? No. Am I still having fantasies of duct-taping
my kids to the ceiling, cleaning up the entire house and then enjoying the quiet,
clean, argument-free fruits of my labor while they watch from above for a whole
24 hours??? You betcha. The only difference is I'm enjoying the fantasies more
and sleeping at night...and the red bumps are starting to fade. Oh, and I just don't
give a hoot anymore if the boys pummel the crap out of one another. I've gone back
to the old, "Boys! If you don't stop hitting and start using your words, REAL words,
to solve your problems, you're going to lose your computer priveleges!" It's not really
working any more than it ever did in the past but ya know what? I'm not stressed or
depressed over it anymore. How cool is that? I'm not crying on the floor in the fetal
position wailing about what a failure I am as a mother. It's actually quite liberating, this
whole chemical dependency thing. I think I'll buy a petticoat and a beehive wig. I may
as well look the part, right?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Writer's Block...Is That Like Creative Constipation?

Usually, I'm inspired on an almost daily basis to write either here or on my novel. Finding time to actually sit down and put word to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is another issue entirely. But every few days I do make the time and have a plethora of ideas from which to pull one and expound on it.

Then there is this week which has lasted all month. The administrator's at my children's school are apparently all smoking crack. They've altered the schedule no fewer than 5 times and they've only been in school for 9 days. NOW they are discussing disbanding the everyday schedule and having them go every other day, with side discussions of closing the school entirely come November. All of this from fear of the Avian and Swine Flus. There is word that 2 different girls (one in middle school and one in college) have died in the last week due to one of the two strains of influenza. And people are scared. And they keep reacting. And changing my kids' school schedules. And jacking up my current mental state by adding fuel to my insomnia fire. I'm not a pleasant person when I don't sleep. But that's okay. Being unpleasant also gives me plenty of creative outlet due to my cynical personality and sarcastic wit. But when the usual (lack of)
sleep schedule alters from 6 hours of interrupted REM to 4 hours of interrupted REM, my creativity starts to clog. Well, as it relates to my writing anyway. I still have creative ways of stacking dishes (where they are haphazardly placed with no thought to size or weight and sometimes fall and break) and fixing a cracked window pane. Normal Me would have removed it and had a replacement cut to the size of the window frame and installed. New and Exhausted Me took a hammer to that bad boy and knocked it out of its frame, swept up the shards of glass and warned the kids not to walk barefoot for a few days before passing out on the couch for a nap.
So I can't decide what to write about and I KNOW I've had at least 6 really great topics pop into my head. And the creative part of my brain has bound up like a septagenarian whose forgotten where she put the Metamucil. It's sad really.
Instead of sharing my really impressive outlook on the world, I'm writing about regularity meds and my inability to write. Perhaps I'll try the insomnia meds instead and tomorrow the blockage may loosen up.