Counting Sheep (Or Poker Playing Sheep)

It’s 1am and I’m sitting here in bed staring at an intensely bright screen, listening to my husband sleep (and yes, it’s not a quiet sleep) and trying to will myself to get some rest before I’m rudely awakened by Jo, the cereal monster at six.

I’m too wired, I don’t know why. Or wait, I do know why; today is the first day of my ADHD medication, the city is flooding and every half hour they evacuate a new neighbourhood. All minor things really, but I guess they are contributing factors to me setting up a poker table for the sheep in my head.

Oh well, maybe I should join them. Looks like they won’t be going back to jumping fences anytime soon.

Time to Plan a Trip

It’s 9:30pm and thankfully both kids are in bed. Or are they?

Stomp, stomp, stomp… I can hear Adam’s feet pounding down the stairs.

“Mommy, I can’t sleep”.

I sigh and get comfortable for our daily fight about bedtime.

“Go, lie down in your bed and try again.”

“But I have something to tell you. It’s important”

Again, same old ground “You can tell me tomorrow.”

“But I’ll forget!” If the pitch of his whine is any indication, this is a life and death matter. But since this is an extremely recurring matter I now know that a comet is not falling from the sky and charting a course straight to his bed.

“Okay Adam, what is it?”

“We need to go to Mexico.”

Mexico?! Coming from a kid who thought he could catch a plane to Egypt to say hi to his cousin and we could pick him up in two hours before his bedtime. Really?

“How did you learn about Mexico, Adam?”

“From my friend, Layla in class. She didn’t come to school all of last week because she went to Cancun with her parents.” Cancun, wow, this guy’s geography is really good for a first grader. “And you know, she even went to Disneyland. You never took us to Disneyland. I want to go there.”

Oh the joy of peer pressure at such a young age. “You know Adam, maybe one day we will all go to Disneyland together.”

“When? Next week?”

“No sweetie. When Jo turns three. In about a year.”

“A year!!” The ‘Whine’ is picking up pitch “But that’s too far away!”

I’ve had enough. I’m giving up my Bones episode for this. Definitely, not.

“That’s it Adam, go to sleep. Now! We’ll talk in the morning.”

Fifteen minutes of sulking, moaning and stomping later I finally get my peace, quiet and dead bodies.

The next morning, a still sulky Adam comes down looks at me and mutters,

“I’m still sad. I miss all my friends and family in Cairo. And you don’t want to take me to Mexico or Disneyland or anywhere!” accompanied by the strategic tear.

It’s going to be a long day…

Luigi’s Fresh Start

Luigi looked up at the fluffy cotton clouds and the powder blue sky. “Is this all there is to life?” A despodancy was filling him, maybe helped on by the sound of a bubbly Princess Peach and Mario, who he had rescued, again. He could hear their voices coming closer, Peach with her annyoingly sweet sugary attitude and her  charactersitically appreciative and ledwdly suggestive flirtations and Mario with the heavily accented Italian slurs..

He looked up at the sky one last time and jumped down off the tree-high mushroom he was standing on. As they came closer he wiped off the distaste and pasted on a fake smile.

“Hey Luigi, my man” boomed Mario twitching his mustache “How ya doing? Me and Peachy here, well, we’re gonna go grab a few beers before I go help her with her plumbing. Wanna join? For the beer of course.” Mario laughed and his big beer belly rolled with each snort and snorkel.

Luigi cringed as Mario gave him a suggestive wink. He didn’t know which was more repulsive; Mario’s idea of fun, which involved getting shit-faced drunk, or what he and Peach would be doing back home. Which was as close to plumbing as stomping kompaa’s was.

“Uh, no thanks” he hurriedly back-tracked “I have a number of things to get done.” And then he practically ran in the other direction before Mario could suggest anything more disgusting.

“Hey Luigi!” It was too late. Luigi slowed down and turned to look at Mario just as he and Peach were getting on the back of Yoshi.

“Can you finish all those actual plumbing jobs for us? That’s great. You’re awesome, man.” And off they went.

That was it. Anger was rushing like a hurricane through Luigi. He was sick and tired of all of this. Helping rescue Peach every week, single-handedly handling their plumbing business, running errands for Mario and what for? Nothing! No acknowledgement, no rewards, no fancy castle on a hill. While Mario had all the glory and the fun. Well, that’s it! He was done playing second fiddle.

He knew a deserted, forgotten pipe on the outskirts of the Mushroom Kingdom that flushed him straight out of this world. He had never told anyone about it because that was the responsible, brotherly thing to do. But now he was going to use this pipe to transport himself to somewhere, far, far away from here. Somewhere where there was no Mario, Peach, Bowser or anyone else who he would play have to answer to. Somewhere we he could start over and be the one and only hero. A place that would sing his praises and construct statues of him. Creatures that would appreciate his intelligence, jumping skills. muscular body and thick must ache.

Luigi was decided. He hurried excitedly to the pipe, wondering why he had never taken this chance at a new beginning before. Practically skipping, he reached a rusty, leaning pipe hidden behind acres of thorny bush and started hacking his way through, oblivious to the scratches and cuts on his arms.

He could almost smell the freedom, the success as he climbed to the top of the pipe, grinning from ear to ear. Standing on top, he took a deep breath, crouched down and got sucked through the vortex.

This was his time. He was on his way to greatness. The whooshing and spinning stopped. He had arrived. What was this new world like? Endless beaches and azure oceans? Forests of lush berries? Or unimaginable wonders? He opened his eyes to the colour metal. Gadgets, steel and a dreary towering structure and realised he was probably in a transport vehicle of some sort. Not only that, someone else was with him, slowly circling the perimeter. He looked at the huge, muscularly built man in combat greens, space helmet and a large, futuristic looking machine gun and slowly swallowed.

Right above his head he could see a small plaque with the words ‘Forward Unto Dawn’. Luigi looked over at the solider/space man and tentatively smiled as he tried to quell the rising fear and bile and came to the conclusion that new beginnings were over-rated.

Written in response to Writing Challenge: Starting Over

Making a new start is never as simple as it seems on paper. It’s easy to talk about losing a few pounds or giving up the job you hate to weave animal-shaped baskets on a tropical island, but less so to make it happen, and keep at it.

In this week’s writing challenge, we’re asking you to write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over.

Portfolios & Skinny Cows Go Hand in Hand

This weekend was just plain crazy! On top of all the errands I had to run, I also needed to finalise my letter of intent and portfolio for the grad school application deadline which is tomorrow.

Now I knew that I was going to be really crammed for time with two kids, a house to run and a portfolio to do. So I sent a scanned copy of my printed portfolio to a friend in Egypt and asked if he could do me a huge favour and make a new Photoshop one for me. My friend said yes, I was indebted one huge favour, but I could rest easier knowing that it was going to be done by someone else and I could focus on writing a killer ‘Letter of intent’. Then Friday afternoon I got my portfolio back and I cringed with horror. I could tell that my friend had put in a lot of effort to help me out, and I was appreciative, but I was also devastated. It was so not me. And now I had only two days to start from scratch and put together a hastily constructed portfolio.

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My friend’s well meaning design

Thankfully with some help from my awesome husband I was able to finish it at 1am last night and get it uploaded on the admissions site. It meant a sleepless and stress-racking weekend. But at least I was done. And the effects of that weekend have finally caught up with me today; I’m moping around the house trying to get anything done but failing miserably. I could barely get myself to write this blog. I have chicken thawing in the sink taunting me, my house is upside down due to the post weekend antics of two boys (Monday is my house cleaning day) and I’m eating like a pig.

Portfolio - first page copy

Right now I’m contemplating pulling out my Skinny Cow ice cream from the fridge and plonking down in front of the TV with Jo and an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and I realised what exactly I was signing up for. One weekend of stress-filled deadlines and I’m already acting cuckoo. How in the hell am I going to survive two years of grad school – that is if I get accepted of course.

Oh well – what’s done is done – now where is my Skinny Cow ice-cream?

Holy Absence, Batman!

Inside the bathroom door at the Science Centre

Inside the bathroom door at the Science Centre

I’ve been absent for the past couple of weeks for the Christmas break. It was my decision (my husband forced me to) to spend some uninterrupted time with my family (his words not mine) and enjoy the moment.

But now that the moment has passed, I am so thankful that my winter break is over and Adam went off to school today. Although we went to Vancouver for a week in the middle, time off spent at home stuck with two rowdy boys is no vacation for me. So, my break starts now; I’ve shipped one kid off to school and one husband off to work and if I could just find something for the other kid, I’d be in heaven. Even though I have a house that resembles a pig-sty to clean and a ton of errands and tasks on my to-do list, I’m still so glad to be back.

Today I opened the blogger-sphere to find a mountain of reading from my favourite bloggers to catch up on and many stories to tell. I have so much to say that I actually don’t know where to start and will probably just end this post right here and now and start fresh tomorrow morning.

I will, at least, start leaving you with random pictures from my Vancouver trip.

And before I forget and say it any later than it already is;

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Award Season

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I’ve been nominated for several blog awards over the past couple of weeks and it’s so exciting. And since I’m practically sickness free (only the sniffles) it’s time to make good on my promise. But, and there is the but, I’ve been putting off the acceptance part because of the nominations. remember the Daily Prompt that said if you could only read or write a blog which would you do? Will I would totally write and not miss reading. Writing is my escape, my one link to sanity. So sorry, I will not give that up.

Let me tell you a little secret which I’m extremely shameful of ; I don’t read other blogs that much. Which means I don’t have a lot of people to nominate. Not a lot of people (I know) that are pulled me in. And defiantely not a lot of people below 200 followers. If you’re reading this and thinking; ‘She’s a mean bitch’, then I would understand and totally forgive it.

So, back to the awards. I’ve been nominated by Cupcake in Cairo and Cranky Giraffe for The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and The Liebster Blog Award respectively. And since like I said, I don’t know that many effing people I’m gonna combine the two awards in one post. Plus they’ve made my job so so much harder. Mainly because they were top of my list for the awards. So go on, check them out.

So I’ll start with Cupcake in Cairo and The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award by thanking her so much that she thought of me, and by telling her that I miss her cupcakes and cakes. Or mainly I just miss all of her.

 

Second, here are the award rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award to up to 10 nominees.
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

 

7 things about myself:

1. I don’t like heights. It’s not a phobia and it’s not a fear. Heights just make me uncomfortable. And I’ve been bungee jumping regardless.

2. I grew up hating cooking and baking, but ironically I’m pretty good at both (if I do say so myself). I still think cooking is a waste of time though.

3. I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon growing up until my parents sat me down when I was 16 and gave me a long talking to about how I would end up spending my whole life studying. And I hate studying!

4. Always thought I’d not get married, have no kids and would spend my life dedicated to work and travel. There’s life for you.

5. I love, love donuts! Krispy Kreme is like dying and going to heaven. Tim comes a close second.

6. I give off the first impression that I’m arrogant and stuck-up but that’s because I have zero-social skills and am extremely awkward around people I don’t know.

7. I’m not much of a people person. Yet ironically my house and life was always full of family and friends. I was known as the hostess of the group, the one who brought people together.

 

Next onto Cranky Giraffe  and The Liebster Blog Award.

First off, I have to say CG has been one of my favourite bloggers when I first started re-blogging around two months ago. She’s funny and articulate. And more importantly I felt a connection happen between who people who have never met but can somehow understand each other (hope she feels the same, otherwise this will be Awkward).

 

Award rules:

1.Pingback to the person who nominated you.

2. Answer their questions.

3. Make up new questions.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

 

Answer the questions:

I’m doing that in this post because this one is way toooo long.

 

Make up questions:

1. How would you want as your best friend most: Barrack Obama, Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber or Steve Jobs (RIP)?

2. What is your favourite movie? And not the one you tell everyone, but the cheesy, embarrassing, which-everyone-hates-but-I secretly-love  movie?

3. If you could switch lives with someone who would it be? And why?

4. What cartoon character do you relate to most?

5. How do you imagine yourself dying?

6. What is the most mortifying, embarrassing moment of your life?

7. Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Avengers?

8. Chocolate, lasagne or sweet’n’sour chicken?

9. What was the happiest moment of your life?

10. Facebook, love or hate? And twitter?

11. If you found a genie in a bottle, what would your three wishes be? (And no peace on Earth please).

 

Here are my nominations. I don’t think most of them are under 200, they are definitely not 10 or 20, but who cares, they inspire me.

Nominations:

5 Kids With Disabilities

Rarasaur

Jill Ann Schmehl

Bug Bytes

Jessie Homemaker

Cupcake In Cairo (For the Liebster Award)

I’ll Be Back…..

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No more Mr. Slow Laptop

I’m sitting here with a pile of used tissues and a cup of cold coffee writing my first post after a 10 day absence. And while my used tissues mountain gets bigger and my coffee gets colder, my tired, overworked ill brain can’t put together more than two coherent thoughts. At least it’s quiet, because thankfully Jo decided to give me a reprieve from the whining and cranky mood I’ve been subjected to since 5:30am by going to sleep.

So what’s new with me?


– I’m still sick. Yesterday I went to a walk-in clinic for the second time in two weeks to find out why I have had a fever for 15 days. I had to go to a clinic because my search for a family doctor is just getting nowhere. So after two hours of waiting for my turn, I walk into the room and the nurse checks my temperature and finds it to be 37.1, she then looks at me as if to say ‘Are you crazy. you’re fine’ and I had to explain for the hundredth that my basel body temperature is 36.2.
20121203-103419.jpgSo anything over 36.5 is a fever for me. The nurse looked at me, said ‘All right’ which translates to ‘Still crazy.’ and went to get the doctor. Long story short I’m now back on antibiotics again just in case my pneumonia is cropping up again.


– So being sick and copped up all week kind of made me go crazy on the shopping front. But the good news is I now have a new Kitchen Aid mixer, a Crock Pot, three pairs of jeans and a new laptop (the laptop was a gift – so that makes it a little better). In my defense I need new pants because I dropped two sizes and none of my old pants fit. So unless I want to make an interesting scene where my oversized jeans drop to the floor in the middle of the mall, I had to buy new pants.

– I got nominated for ‘The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!’ by Cupcake in Cairo and I have to answer the questions and pass on the nominations. And because I’ve been comatose for awhile I will have to take a little time to go through my favorite blogs and pass on the nominations. So that post gets bumped to tomorrow.
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– It’s sunny outside!! After 5 days of darkness and clouds and two days of constant snow, boy am I so glad to see the sun. Which is a big stretch for me because the past 20 years I’ve been cursing the sun and wishing for more cloudy days.


– I’m now reading the ‘Blind Assassin’ by Margaret Atwood for a book club I joined recently, and it so boring I think I’m gonna die. I know she’s Canadian and all, but still, can the book move any more slower. Anyway I need to finish this book by December 7 which, at the rate, I’m going is gonna happen when pigs fly.

20121203-103440.jpgA lot of other things happened to me the past weekend, even though it was pretty boring and I stayed at home but to avoid this becoming an even longer post I should stop here.

So without further ado (wait I need to blow my nose) I say goodbye. And mainly because Jo woke up and he’s screaming blood murder over the monitor at me.

Weekend In Pictures

I had a relatively quiet weekend. Other then being sad over the train accident in Egypt and being pissed off at inconsiderate and rude people, it was an enjoyable family-bonding weekend.

Me and my husband take turns sleeping in on the weekend. So Satruday was my day to get some zzzzzzs. Woke up at 9am to this scenario:

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Push harder

Apparently my 6 year old has decided to abuse the free labor of his 15 month old brother.

I had a healthy breakfast of Indian Figs.

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Yes it’s an IKEA knife. I love that store, always have. Even if I had never worked there I would have still loved it.

If you don’t know this fruit I suggest you go out right now and buy some. While they don’t look that appealing, they taste like heaven; not overly sweet with interesting textures. They are one of my favorite fruits, along with pomegranate and guava. I used to buy them off street carts in Egypt during the hot steamy months of July and August. And eating these symbolizes the long lazy months of summer, the salty breezes and pure white beached filled weekends by the Mediterranean in the North Coast. Be careful when cutting them though, they have some nasty splinters embedded in their skin. Says the lady who had to pull them out of her fingers one too many times.

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We then got dressed and went to our local Registry where I sat for, and passed, the written driver’s exam. I now have to wait 3 weeks for my Egyptian license to be approved and I can sit for the practical exam. Which I’m pretty sure I’ll fail at least twice. To further understand why I am positive I will fail, even though I’ve been driving for 12 years, look up Egyptian drivers and traffic. Well, at least I have my learners permit which I can use once we get our car. We finalized the paperwork of said car on Saturday. We’re currently looking at the Nissan Rogue (anyone out there would like to tell us what it’s like?) and keep your fingers crossed, but we may have a car by next week. That means no more walking around with 10kilos of groceries in -15 degree weather.

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My driver’s license (yay)! And the car we’re thinking of buying

Then it was off to Boston Pizza for dinner (more of that here). And our weekly grocery shopping whereupon we froze while we puffed and huffed to carry our food home. See above paragraph.

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Give me a smile…..

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Adam multitasking; drinking and coloring at the same time.       

Sunday, we took a walk around the neighborhood where Adam got to ride his bike and Jo took a nap.

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We’re tapering off from two naps to one with Jo and he’s giving me pure and utter hell about it. There are days where he will sit in his bed for hours but stubbornly refuse to sleep. And Sunday was one of them. So going for a walk was the only way we could guarantee he would sleep.

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You can’t make me sleep.

We ended up walking quiet a bit and decided to stop by the nearby shopping center for a cup of coffee. I went to Second Cup because it was closer than Starbucks and remembered how much I love Second Cup. Other than the fact it’s Canadian, which in itself makes it awesome, they have great coffee. Plus they are so much more cozier. Check out their Christmas display. I love it.

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And look at those the Britto mugs. So pretty!

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Anyway I had a caramel cappuccino. Which was really good and pretty useful for the walk home in long sleeved T-shirt and -2 weather. Unfortunately, by the time we got home it was iced cappuccino.

But memo to self; I need to go to Starbucks less and start going to Second Cup more.

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My (hot) caramel cappuccino

All in all it was a great weekend. Productive, fun and relaxing. Just my kind of day (days?). Makes me all set for the beginning of the week. So crazy week, here I come!

 

 

It’s The Dark You’re Hating

I see you looking at me, worried, tense. I know you look at me and see night. You see an unfathomable canyon with no end in site. But deep down below a garden grows; pure lush greenery and majestic mountains. A deep blue ocean that has weathered the fiercest of storms. Yet it struggles to push through the dark that you hate, and on the twilight dreamf-lled days I know it can.

You think I’ve been dead for such a long time. At least inside where it counts. And if I let this darkness sink me, then death would be the least of my concerns. But someday the right breeze will come along and carry the blanket of darkness away and maybe you’ll face your hate and climb down the canyon to where I will be waiting, hoping you’ll see me for who I am and not what I can’t be.

Yes I know I missed this Daily Prompt. But I love it so much that I’m gonna do it anyway. Besides who sets the rules here? Me of course!

Anyway, I always felt that there is a soundtrack playing the background to my life. With appropriate music playing at the right times; heavy metal when I’m angry, swelling instrumentals in touching moments and a funky rock beat for the uplifting moments. And that is mainly why I write about so many song lyrics. A well-written song has the power to move me like nothing else can. They are like poetry to music.

If I had to choose one song to say who I am I would definately go for ‘Unwell’ by Matchbox 20, especially the chorus, which goes something like this:

But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be

And ‘Unwell’ is me to the T. But since I already talked about this song here. I’m gonna go for my second favorite song; ‘Not What You See’ by Savatage. Does saying I like Savatage give away the fact that I was a total 90s girl? Well, who cares, after all you’re only as young as you feel or some other crap.

In case you are not aware of the lyrics, I’ve included my favorite passage from it:

Can you live your life in a day
Putting every moment in play
Never hear a word that they say
As you watch the wheels go around
Tell me if you win would it show
In a thousand years who would know
As a million lives come and go
On this same piece of ground
I’ve been waiting
I don’t understand what you want me to be
It’s the dark you’re hating
It’s not who I am
But I know that it’s all that you see

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Further proof that I’m just a little (or a lot) crazy