What Really Happened?

Like everyone else and their brother I heard about the ruling in the Suzan Tamim murder trial last Thursday.  Personally I am confused.  I am not happy about it, not because I am a ST supporter or the other way around.  I just don’t understand why someone with money, power and connections would stoop that low.  Did he really want her dead?  Is he the devil like some people in the media would like us to believe?  Is this all just some sort of incredible Hollywood production orchestrated for our viewing and for teaching someone else a lesson?  It just smells wrong.  Like a huge conspiracy theory, and with the ban on publication and without knowing the whole story we will never really know the truth.

There are three things that are bothering me about this case.  The first being why and how could such a man resort to murder.  The second thing is how people can easily condemn anyone without searching for the truth.  Finally, is our judicial system fair for everyone?  All these ideas are not just related to the case itself but to basic human nature and specifically an Egyptian culture which is changing and evolving perhaps not to a better but a stronger creature.  “The marriage between money and power” like the media likes to call it is the reason behind all of the corruption in Egypt.  I have to disagree.  There have been many powerful and rich men and women in history but not all of them were corrupt.  Not all kings were unjust and not all rulers were dictators.  Corruption can not breed and grow unless everyone turns a blind eye.

What makes me wonder the most is why would someone like HTM would commit such a crime and why someone like Mamdouh El Sokkary who was an officer who had sworn to protect the people resort to murder, that is, if they really did it.  Did they believe they were immune to justice or did they think they would never get caught.  Did they think that they were above everyone else?  If they didn’t do it, then who did and why?  If he did do it, why did he really want her dead?

Second, everyone decided right away that he was either 100% guilty or 100% innocent depending on their ideologies and political leanings in life.  How can anyone make such a decision without seeing and hearing all of the evidence.  Just because someone is rich or powerful does not mean they are also evil.  On the other hand just because they don’t look like a criminal does not make them innocent.

Finally, what has happened to the judicial system in Egypt.  Suddenly it is condemning powerful people?  I don’t think powerful people should be above the law, I just find it fishy that some people can get away with murder and others can not.  It also makes me wonder if there is some sort of unfair play behind the curtains or under the table.  Mamdouh Ismail for example was completely declared innocent of the death of over a thousand people, no fine, no jail time, no nothing.  I just hope that this ruling is fair and just and not just some sort of payback for something we do not know or understand.

What happens now is the question?  Will they really be executed?  Will we learn that there are always consequences to our actions?   Will the law be applied to everyone?  So many questions and no answers.

On a very different note, I saw a police car today while I was driving and I realized that I can’t remember what Egyptian police cars look like, I could only recall what “ElBox” looks like.  Does anyone have the same feeling?

Friday’s Five: A Legacy of Women

This is a very personal post.  I have chosen to talk about the most amazing women that I have come to learn from and love very much in my family.  The women in my family from both my maternal and paternal side are exceptional.  They are strong in spirit and are a treasure trove of wisdom.  A single post can not begin to explain how much I value these women.

  1. My great grandmother [maternal]:  This is the only woman on this list that I have never met.  She died before my parents even got married but from the stories I’ve heard she was an exceptional lady.  She was well read and very intellectual.  Until the day she died, she would read books and magazines so that she could stay up to date.  When one of her sons wanted to become a pilot against his father’s wishes she financed his education from her own inheritance.  Her most famous quote as always quoted by my mother is “Mafish fa2r, fi 2elet ra2y” which in English is best translated as “There is no poverty only lack of opinion or thought”.
  2. My own grandmother [maternal]:  She is also a very intellectual woman who loves staying up to date.  She once called me to ask what facebook was all about and wanted to see it after reading about the April 6th strikes.  She asks all of us what we do exactly at our jobs and is very interested in what each one of us is doing in our lives.  She is one of the best people to go to for advice because she is level headed and can keep a secret.  She is trustworthy and honest every time.  She had her own atelier and designed fashion when she was younger and then moved on to helping my grandfather run his farm after she closed her shop and then eventually ran her own landscaping and nursery business when she was past her sixties.  She has to take care of my grandfather who is very sick while she herself is in her seventies and has already changed a hip.  Artificial hip or not she is still the family dynamo and never complains or grumbles.  She is an inspiration to all of us.
  3. My mother’s uncle’s wife number 1:  Another exceptional lady who until this day will gift every new born baby in the family with 2 hand crocheted jackets and a pair of booties.  Let me tell you that these jackets are so cool that I have been begging for one my size for years and I think the best thing I was looking forward for while I was pregnant was these jackets.  She is not in the best of health but she still goes to the club to walk and until she was in her sixties she would go to her aerobics class.
  4. My mother’s uncle’s wife number 2: A different uncle that is, just so that you don’t think one uncle had two wives.  This woman has a very interesting saying about women and work.  She says that every  woman has to work or have a job, be that a job outside the home or one inside.  The woman who works at home, need always have her hands busy.  She had a tough and bumpy life and is also old but definitely very young in spirit.  She will entertain you with inspirational stories, recipes and marital advice that is priceless.  She never complains even though she has been crippled by old age but she always smiles, laughs and never complains.  She has managed to raise not one but three very successful and amazing daughters who are a source of pride to her and everyone who knows them.
  5. My grandmother [paternal side]:  This woman buried her husband and two sons yet was never bitter or hysterical.  She died shortly after my father died and I personally think it was his death who broke her heart, he was her youngest and the one closest to her heart.  I was named after the Jasmine tree they had in the garden and my father would pick flowers for her.  My father’s family is not a family of many words or open emotions yet they are all kind, generous and very giving people.  Just looking at how she raised them you would have to think she was a great woman.  She too was a very sick woman but would always joke and laugh with us because that is just how she rolled.  She would give us money and tell us to go treat ourselves for no reason and would love to ask about school and stuff.  She never ever said a mean word about anyone all of her life and always prayed that she would need no one not even her children, not because she didn’t think they would be there but because she did not want to be a burden and her favorite prayer to all of us was “Rabena ye7abeb feeko 5al2o” which translates to “May Allah make his creatures love you”.  She would say that every time she saw us, because she knew the value of love, she did not pray that we became rich or powerful, but loved.

Friday is the day of fives but I am sure that this legacy lives on in the later generation of my mother too.  My own mother is my role model and probably my hero.  She has done everything in her life to make me and my sister happy and successful.  She has been there for us every step of the way and she still is.  My aunt does the same for her sons and she has raised two lovely, amazing, successful and very interesting boys.  My generation too I hope will inherit this legacy of amazing women.  I see my cousins too are following in those footsteps as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and women.  My sister is amazing too.

I am proud of all of them, not because they are my own flesh and blood, but because they are a true source of pride.  Nothing beats the ability to look at them and watch them glow and grow everyday, getting past every obstacle and emerging stronger and more successful than the one before.

Breaking the Piggy Bank

Image by the_amanda

Image by the_amanda

My mother says I am a piggy bank, “7assala”.  She doesn’t mean that I am cheap but that I am an information piggy bank.  The accusations comes from the fact that I will read all of these very useful educational books and not use most of the information in them.

I digress, I usually use the information to help others and use the tips that are directly useful for me.  I do enjoy reading most books for the fun of it.  I read self-help books as if they were newspapers or magazines and read encyclopedias and dictionaries just fo the joy of learning new things or words regardless of its practicality.  Is that weird?  I personally don’t think so.  Taking into consideration that I am not a TV person so I used to have so much more time on my hands.  My mother shouldn’t complain she is the one who instilled the love of reading in us, my sister is an avid reader too, she just enjoys different genres than I do.  I am curious so it goes without saying that I end up looking for all kinds of weird information.

I am the kind of person who can quote caloric content of most food because I usually read the nutrition labels, I know how to work the DVD player because I read the manual and I fact check every email I get or send because I am boring like that.

“Knowledge comes
by
eyes always
open and working
hands; and
there is no
knowledge that is not
power.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Without going into alot of background information, my mom commented on my last post that she thinks I have finally broken the piggy bank.  Maybe she’s right and maybe not.  I like to think that every piece of new information you come across will come handy in the future.  Yes even though that with the internet today, you can search for anything, anywhere, anytime from wherever you are, it is always usually much easier if you actually know what you are looking for.

Another example is cooking shows, I have a mini addiction to watching cooking shows.  I find them fascinating yet I hardly ever feel inspired enough to make whatever they are making on the spot.  But I learn so much, I learn what tastes nice with what, how to make your presentation of the food awesome and what different ideas.  It comes in handy when I am cooking, I hardly make a recipe exactly as I should, with the exception of baking because I’ve learned the hard way that the exact measurements usually have better results, but I do use what I learn.

My parenting style too has benifitted from all the information.  I listened to every mom that “gave me advice” wether I asked for it or not, read every article I could and joined the interesting parenting communities and forums.  I learned that I can disagree with some, agree with some and come up with my own mish mash of a style.  It is not the perfect style, but it fits me because it is evolving and it is what I can do.  I tried the “cry it out method” for sleep training but failed miserably then after some reading and searching decided that I was more of “sleep association trainer”.

Even my marriage benefits from all of the information, not just the relationship between my husband, but what I can offer as a wife.  I understand what he does for a living and find it interesting.  I try to read up on what he does.  I can help look for information for him and be useful in different ways.

The more you learn, the less naive you become and the less vulnerable you are to life’s tricks.  You don’t believe rumors so easily and you look for the truth in every thing that comes along.  You learn to analyze and weight things until you can feel comfortable with what you have learned.  Overall, I believe that formal education is very important, yet very lacking in our country because instead of teaching children and young people how to learn they want them to memorize information.  Each one of us will walk a very different path in life, the enlightened will know how to use the tools they have acquired through  their education to make that path easier, to make a u-turn when they need to and to generally be happier, more accomplished and satisfied in their lives.

My belief is that the more you know, the more ammunition you have for life and it all depends on how you use it.  Maybe my mother is right and that I have broken my knowledge piggy bank and am applying more of it in life these days, but I think I have always been using the stuff, it’s just really starting to pay off now.

Interesting reading: Five Powerful Reasons to Take Action Today

Question of the Day:  What have you learned in the past, that didn’t make sense then but is very useful today?

The Magic Eight

Image by Mark E Dyer

Image by Mark E Dyer

Gjoe tagged me for the Eights meme so here are my eights.

A few interesting tidbits about eight:

  • Eight (; accounting ; pinyin ) is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture because it sounds like the word “prosper” or “wealth” (發(T) 发(S); Pinyin: ). China took advantage of this by beginning the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm (local time) on August 8, 2008.
  • Eight ( hachi, ya?) is also considered a lucky number in Japanese culture, but the reason is different from that in Chinese culture. Eight gives an idea of growing prosperous, because the letter (八) broadens gradually.
  • The Japanese thought eight ( ya?) as a holy number in the ancient times. The reason is less well understood, but it is thought that it is related to the fact they used eight to express large numbers vaguely such as manyfold (やえはたえ Yae Hatae?) (literally, eightfold and twentyfold), many clouds (やくも Yakumo?) (literally, eight clouds), millions and millions of Gods (やおよろずのかみ Yaoyorozu no Kami?) (literally, eight millions of Gods), etc. It is also guessed that the ancient Japanese gave importance to pairs, so some researchers guess twice as four ( yo?), which is also guessed to be a holy number in those times because it indicates the world (north, south, east, and west) might be considered a very holy number.
  • In numerology, 8 is the number of building, and in some theories, also the number of destruction.

8 Things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Next trip to Alexandria
  2. Lulu learning to walk, talk and then going off to school
  3. Ice skating
  4. A good cappuccino
  5. The perfect pedicure
  6. A massage
  7. Thursday
  8. A wedding

8 Things I did yesterday:

  1. Went shopping
  2. Made potato salad
  3. Called my mother
  4. Decided not to do the laundry
  5. Did the dishes
  6. Fixed someone’s computer problem
  7. Fell in love with a book
  8. Watched Robots

8 Things I Wish I could do

  1. Learn how to cartoon
  2. Bungee jump
  3. Drive a race car
  4. Make latte art
  5. Somersaults, splits and cartwheels
  6. See the Northern Lights
  7. Open a community center
  8. Glass blowing

8 Shows I Watch:

  1. Gossip Girl
  2. Ugly Betty
  3. The Mentalist
  4. TED ( it is a show to me)
  5. Little Mosque on the Prairie
  6. Family Guy
  7. The Simpsons
  8. A bunch of random cooking shows

8 Things I Love:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Coffee
  4. The beach
  5. Handbags and shoes
  6. Books
  7. Unexpected good news
  8. Kindness

Tagging 8 Bloggers:

  1. Lujee
  2. Karmi
  3. Asoom
  4. Brownie
  5. ze2red
  6. Farah
  7. dr-invisible
  8. Shimaa Gamal

I am tagging a bunch of you who have been here before and left comments and I am a nosy nosy nosy person and would love to nosy into your lives. :-)

Earliness

Start early
and
begin raising
the bar throughout
the day.
Bruce Jenner
My husband isn’t really good at waking up early.  He owns a gazillion alarm clocks and it took me a while to convince him that we only need one alarm clock and that I’ll wake him up.  It’s an exhausting task, but it is so much better than waking up to a hundred different alarms.  Recently though because of extra work load he’s been getting up an hour earlier than usual to get to work early (I am still doing the waking up).   A couple of days ago he mentioned that he thinks that being “early” is better. Not only because there is less traffic and he gets to work early but he’s more productive.  He went on to explain that he has formulated a new theory that being “early” to most things in life is better, like doing post graduate studies, getting married, having kids or whatever it is you want to do in life.

My mother for instance is an early bird, she likes to wake up early, go to bed early and generally be early to most things in life.  It works for her.  I loved waking up at down, crawling into her bed and drinking coffee with her while talking about everything and nothing in life.  Those early hours were our bonding time.
Some people are late bloomers in general. They don’t shine in life until they are older. They are plain Janes in school and probably through university then suddenly their star rises. I tend to wonder is this something in their genetic makeup or is it just that they become motivated and find their passions in life?
I tend to agree and disagree as usual.  I like to go early to movies so I don’t get stuck with crappy seats, but I hate going to Egyptian weddings early.  In general I like being on time.  As for having kids, yes I think the younger you are as a woman you are physically better equipped to handle pregnancy, child birth and caring for the monkeys.  On the other hand, if you are a little older you also tend to be wiser and maybe better mentally and intellectually to raise the monkeys.  I keep trying to decide which is better, but I keep coming up with pros and cons that tend to balance each other out.

Are you an early bird or a late bloomer? Do you think it’s genetic? What’s your take on it?

Baby Observations

My daughter and I enjoyed a lovely day out today and I learned some interesting things.

  1. She tortured a 3 year old girl by calling her “baby” the little girl kept telling her “I am not a baby you are a baby” only to find my little one year old insisting on calling her “baby”.  They did this several times until the little girl decided that Lulu just couldn’t get it.
  2. She loves shopping trips, anything that glitters and shines and mirrors.
  3. She loves fountains.  They amaze her and I encourage her by dangling her hands and feet in the water.
  4. She loves Red Kidney beans but they cause really smelly diapers.
  5. She thinks sneezing is funny.  Actually she thinks sneezing is hilarious!
  6. She has color preferences.
  7. She loves fries and orange juice.
  8. She won’t sit on the potty but she proudly informs us of “Poop”.
  9. She loves waving to random people.
  10. She thinks hairbrushes, toothbrushes and shoes are edible.
  11. When she’s in a good mood, I am in a good mood.  When she’s cranky, she makes me very very cranky.

Friday’s Five: Things I Learned From My Husband

Last week when I posted about the five things I learned from my sister I decided to share what I learned from my husband this week. He’s one cool dude when he wants to be, but these days he’s over stretched at work. Anyways, here are the five things I’ve learned from him in the past years.

Planning

He is a professional planner, he does it for a living so let me say that when this guy plans something he is good at it.  He is very detail oriented and takes almost everything into account.  He comes home with detailed excel sheets for monthly, yearly and 10 year budgets for our family.

Take your time

This drives me crazy sometimes but I have to say that it is also a great thing.  He takes his time doing the things he enjoys.  Try it sometime, take a shower but instead of running in and out in under 10 minutes (I can take a shower, wash my hair and condition it in under 7 minutes) enjoy it, take all the time you need, all the time you want and really experience it to the fullest.

Surprise

Every once in a while he’ll do something completely out of character.  He’ll buy me flowers or something that I mentioned that I wanted.  I am touched, surprised and very happy every time.

Sharing and generosity

He will divide a chocolate bar in two always giving me the bigger half.  He always makes sure I have more than enough of whatever I need and he always does it selflessly.  If there’s only enough coffee for one of us, he’ll skip his morning coffee so that I can have mine.

Ambition

He has ambition, drive and big dreams.  I have always been ambitious but next to his, my ambitions are teeny tiny.

To be very honest there is one thing that I’ve learned but not directly from him.  It is patience and understanding because in a marriage, two very different people suddenly find themselves together building a life.  You need patience and understanding to be able to face life as a team together.  But then I guess, we’ve both learned this one together.

Changes

After some thinking I have decided to switch to a full feed instead of a partial feed. I’ve also done a site mini redesign so please come and take a look and let me know what you think of it.

I Commit to My Goals

Inspired by Gjoez’s iDecide post and comments on decisions and commitments I would like to invite you all to commit to your goals. I believe that support groups can help tremendously in keeping your promise to yourself. I have a couple of personal goals and decisions I would like to achieve. Would you like to join in?
I haven’t yet decided on a format or how to do it, but let’s go with the flow and see how things turn out.

Who has a goal? Who needs support?

Blocking Bad Memories

“Yesterday is
but
today’s memory,
and tomorrow is
today’s dream.”
Kahlil Gibran
A couple of days ago, I asked my friends what they would like to invent and lots of people said they would like a bad memory eraser.  I was surprised that so many people would want that.  I find that blocking bad memories is a skill that you can learn.  Apparently scientists have also found a drug that can be used to do just that.  Of course, drugs like that could be very helpful for people who have had traumatic experiences and suffer from post traumatic stress, but what about the rest of us who just have bad or embarrassing memories that bother us.

I have a way with them.

Seriously, I do.

I am going to tell you.

It’s easy, I just forget.

Actually it’s not that easy.  I sat down trying to think why I can forget about the things that bother me and dissected how I do it.

Don’t label it a bad memory in the first place

I’ve always been generally clumsy.  I trip and I fall, one Thursday I walked through the club gates looking cute and all then I tripped and fell on my butt in the busiest spot in front of everyone.  They laughed, they had to, it was hilarious.  I felt my face go red and was going to cry then I realized it must have looked hilarious and laughed too.  What could have been an embarrassing moment is now a funny one in my head.  Whenever you catch a bad memory forming, laugh about it, find something funny or nice about it and store it under “crazy” or “funny” in your head.

Tape over it

Basically I replace the memories with something else.  In other words, I dissasociate it with one event and associate it with something better.  Imagine your brain like a video recording device (yes a VCR not a DVD recording device),  when you have a bad moment just remember a positive moment and keep remembering it as vividly as possible.  Talk about it, imagine it, daydream about it, tell everyone about it until it has replaced the bad one.

Make it about something else

Remember that day your car broke down, your cat died and your house was eaten by a huge fire because your neighbors threw a lit cigarette butt into your balcony?  Do something fun or happy, go get a pedicure at a great place so you can call it “the day I had my awesome pedicure” instead of “the day my life fell apart”.  It really is just that simple.  This is similar to taping over a bad memory but is done immediately after something bad happens before it actually becomes a bad memory.

Train yourself to be an optimist

Some people are just natural optimists, they can see the good side of everything that happens no matter how ugly it is.  If you consciously make the decision to do that all the time you can have happier memories instead of bad ones.  It’s all about deciding to think happy thoughts.