Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tala's Soccer & Tea Party Surprise

Summer is around the corner and a lot of activities are winding down, as new ones are set to begin. This is the last week of classes for all four of us, believe it or not! Yesterday was Tala's soccer final, and she got her medal and (gigantic, Tim Horton) water bottle (more like a barrel). It was fun, we took some pics and had icecream afterward.

Lefty takes the field!

Today was Tala's Tea Party at school, so I stayed home in the AM and went there with Moody. She was thrilled to see us! We, the parents, joined their circle time, sitting behind them as their teacher read them stories and played some act-along music. They had a blast, then some nice snacks and juice. The surprise was a little artwork from Tala to Mom and Dad, a combined Mother's-Day-Father's-Day gift. Here they are below, and make sure to read the little interview below each one! I loughed so hard at mine!

Tala expresses Love in some sort of Tifinagh script!

Coffee and Ba-Zing! Tala sure knows her Dad, lol lol lol
(Good guess by the teacher for Bazeen!)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Singin' in the Rain... In Fort Wayne

Today, I started my assignment at GE. Not much to say about it yet, but so far so good. I'll be flying to Louisville, KY, next week for meetings with the CEO and CIO. All the interns will be there, forty two of us representing twenty one universities. Oh, my assignment leader is a guy called Hanu!

The drive to Fort Wayne took me less than three hours; it was nice and relaxing; farms, cows, lots of cows, and Amish warning signs! Ft. Wayne is shabby and has this old industrial aura to it. Brick square buildings with cobblestone roads. It seems like I have traveled back in time. The GE offices are on top of their manufacturing facility, and the shortest way to get to the offices is to walk through the factory.
That's Eli in the picture in GE's Ecomagination commercial Singin' in the Rain. It's my favorite, of course. Really, imagination at work! Click here to watch the video.

I miss the kids and Sol... did my share of weeping when I arrived at the empty apartment yesterday. The kids didn't care much that I was leaving; they probably think it's like my other "leavings." It will sink in eventually. Sol thinks it's the price for teaching them to be independent and have no preference to one parent, kind of go with the flow and whoever is watching them.

Friday, is Moody's graduation party... From preschool! I'll miss it. It's his birthday too, yeppie! I'm driving back on Friday, after work, and we're having the party on Saturday. I'm also taking my finals on Saturday morning and I better get some studies done!

Miss you, guys! xox

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Recital 2006

Before the Friday Show
Last weekend was recitals for the kids, the result of months of preparation. Both had performances on Friday, hip-hop for Moody and something called creative movement for Tala. On Saturday Tala had another show. They did a terrific job, and it was a very nice experience for them and us!

The school is called Generations, and it is a non-profit started by two sisters who teach there, along with a daughter of one and a whole lot of other volunteers. It is in an old building in uptown Westerville, and whenever I go there, the place is like a beehive with kids running around peacefully to/from classes, and parents steering them through. Over time you get to know the kids' faces, some of the names, siblings and parents. But you don't really see them doing their drills, except on the designated Parent Observation day.

Orderly bees on the bleachers! All smiles before the show

Likes the flowers, but still pouting
Ahmed had been in a recital last year, but this was Tala's debut. The show was held at a nearby highschool theater, and Friday evening was standing room only! We had to sit all the way in the back, which meant the kids wouldn't be able to see us. Moody was just fine, and he actually did his finest performance, waving his arm in the air, sliding on his knees and all. But little Tala came out on stage, starting out OK, then she started looking for us in the audience. By the end she just froze in place, looking out with a major pout! I had been telling Hana about my stage fright experience in 5th grade, the only time I ever took part in a stage performance like that, unless you count lecturing and such! I was the youngest in the dance group, and I had the spotlight in one part, which I always did fine except when I had those preshow jitters. I ended up OK, after encouragement from teachers, but it sure helped me a heck of a lot to see my father and my brother in the audience. Poor Tala was really stressed on Friday night. She came back out onstage for the finale. But after the show, we went to get the kids from the gym, and Tala just unloaded! She cried hard for a while, just releasing the stress, then she was able to relax and enjoy her cute flowers.

Getting ready for Round 2

On Saturday, we knew to get there early and grab the best seats in the house: center front row. Moody was sitting with us, and as it happened, also next to one of his dancemates, Alex. This was Moody's first experience watching the performance by kids he knew in the trenches. He'd seen the rehearsal and that helped him a lot with concentration in his number, but watching the recital really made the whole idea sink in even more for him. This time, Tala came out and she greeted us right away with her beaming smile. She was much more relaxed, did a charming number with her group, and was throwing kisses by the end!

Before this experience, there was soccer, ice skating, swimming, etc., but somehow the performance arts are so different. I don't know what it is, maybe the lights, the special clothes, makeup, crowd, or maybe it is all of those things. There were skinny kids, chubby kids, tall, short, white, black, kids with round heads, square heads, glasses, just all sorts of kids... It all hit me in the middle of the first show that they all had one thing in common: Just working their little big hearts out, and I told Hana that the whole thing was all about doing their best. It really works, and it is such an impressive sight to see, especially when you know how hard they trained. The amount of self discipline is just amazing, even among the three-year olds! Of course, there were lots of moments when they just kinda forgot what was going on and the'd just chat on stage, etc. lol lol But as soon as someone backstage gets their attention, theyd go back to performing-- with a passion! I can't wait to get the video of the shows, so I can watch them all over again. It's tough to resist the human spirit at its purest.

My fifth-grade show was in 1969, in celebration of Libyan Unification Day (April 1964?) when the Federation of three Libyan provinces evolved peacefully into the Kingdom. We used to practice after school in the unfinished theater of the Secondary (high) school behind my elementary/middle school. That year, 1969, was the last time that Unification Day was celebrated. In the summer break that followed, I learned a new word: revolution! That year was the year the music died for Libya. By the time I got to high school, the theater in which we had practiced was being used by gangs to sell moonshine! I wish all kids in the world get the opportunity and encouragement to do their best, even if it happens once a year, or even once in a lifetime. And thanks to all who helped me; in particular, I remember Kamal Buhidma, who was just a highschool student and a boyscout at the time, and our dance instructor. Thanks also to Mr. Ibrahim Majdoub, the music teacher at Zawiet ad-Dahmani school, when the music was still alive there...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shamsa, One More Time!

Moody lost his second tooth on Monday, May 15. That's exactly three weeks since the first tooth. Shamsa came that night, left him the globe he asked for, and lots and lots of fairy dust all over the house. And upon Moody's request, she also stopped by Tala's room and left her a pretty hair pin. Moody is sure that when Tala's toothfairy comes, she'll pay him a visit too.

Moody's phrase of the day is "The proclamation constipation!" And according to him, this is how you make macaroona, "First, you put the oil, then the onions, then the meat, and wait."

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Computerworks!

Got this from a colleague at work. It's interesting, captivating irony... like a digital rendition of an analog computer.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gore on SNL, it could have been!

While at the computer lab--bored out of my mind, waiting for the data mining project files to download and unzip--I received an email from Dale with a link to Gore's feature on SNL.

Of course, it's good and worth watching... You gotta love the US! Their politicians are not only funny but they strive to entertain their people, and it works! lol

But, that's not the reason I'm posting this. Last Saturday, Sol and I went to the Shadow Box, a SNL-like experience, so they claim! ha! What a waste of time it was... and a headache medicine afterwards. Now, I feel even worse for having wasted Saturday night there instead on watching SNL. Click on the image and enjoy!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Very Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day in the US. Happy day, Mothers! Moody and Tala made me a gift each, at school. Tala was so exited about it and kept telling me "I painted your flowerpot red!" days before the pot made it home. Moody is watching his gift and "can't wait to see the flower bloom!" Me too!

Flying Kites
Sol treated me to his famous egg and harisa sandwich for lunch. Later, we all went to the mall to pick me a gift. I picked the "large size" wallet that I desperately needed as evidenced by my current over-bulged one. The kids and Sol picked me a keychain. While at the store, Moody said to Sol, "Let's look for something nice for Mom; she likes nice things." We stopped by the Discovery store to change the butterfly kite which didn't fly well at all--bad design. There, Moody picked a motorcycle with a remote and said it was what he wanted from the toothfairy for the coming visit. We stopped at the newly-opened Disney store, and there Moody said he wanted a snow globe instead from the toothfairy. He'll eventually make up his mind.

We're having such a busy time, with so many things to do, and so many things coming our way. Last Sunday, I published the results of the 2006 Tibra Awards; Monday, I received the Operations and Logistics Faculty Scholarship Award from Fisher. A very pleasant coincidence! To top it off, the same week, I received an offer from GE to join their Information Management Leadership Program. It is out of town! I will be gone for twelve weeks, but will drive back every weekend. Hopefully it will be four-hour driving at the most depending on where my placement will be. It'll be rough on everyone, but how could we turn it down--GE is as good as it gets!

Dress Rehearsal
Last week, or was it the one before, was dress rehearsal at generations. This Friday is the recital... We're all excited and looking forward to it.

Shamsa is on her way again... Moody has another loose tooth and one growing out behind it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Moody's first tooth

    O'Sun O'little Sun
    O'Little Eye of the Bride
    I Give You the Tooth of a Donkey
    And You Give Me the Tooth of a Gazelle

We are way behind on updating the blog. A lot has been happening, but no time to write it all. Two WEEKS ago, Moody's first tooth fell out, and that was a biiiig experience for him. Of course he'd been waiting and excited about the whole thing. That morning, his tooth was too loose and he was bothered by it. I tried jiggling it a little but maybe just helped along... It just fell out a little later while he was going about his normal morning things, you know, standing on his head on the sofa or something similar. He just brought it to Hana, I believe.

We sang the Libyan tooth song/poem, with the lyrics translated above. I still vaguely remember when I first learned to face the sun and say those words very precisely, in Arabic of course, then throw the fallen tooth into the sun. So, Moody and I sat facing east and he repeated after me

يا شمس يا شموسة
يا عوينة العروسة
نعطيك سن حمار
وتعطيني سن غزال

Why the donkey and why the gazelle, I haven't a clue! We didn't throw away the fallen tooth, well, because of the whole toothfairy thing! So I kinda had to improvise, but it goes both ways, as you'll see.

We had read a book about losing teeth, supposedly written by the bald short guy on Seinfeld, for his son. The book is called, "Daddy, are you the toothfairy?" So it deals with both sides of the fantacy, which is good. Hana got Moody a little tooth-shaped, glow-in-the-dark box for his tooth. [You gotta love America!] Moody called it a dog bone! lol lol lol He put his fallen tooth inside it and put it on his window sill, that night, so She can see it. We wrapped a gift he'd asked for and sprinkled glitter around his room, including the window sill, did the silver dollar, the note, the whole nine and a half yards! Next morning, Moody was in heaven! He really appreciated the whole deal, and he wouldn't let anyone clean the fairy dust that day!

Moody's toothfairy is named Shamsa. She told him that she took his tooth to the Sun, to help keep it glowing. As I said, improvising works both ways!

A lot has been happening, and I guess a lot more is on the horizon. But since we're talking about the sun and son... One funny thing happened on tooth weekend when Ahmed decided I was 'uspended, just like that, from playing racquetball on sundays with my colleague Yunzhi. Moody and I always spend saturdays together, "pallzie walzie day," taking him to his ice skating class, soccer, swimming, etc. He said he'd call Yunzhi and tell him to find another partner for sundays. He added, "You're supposed to spend sunday with your son... that's why they call it sonday, get it?" lol lol lol I wanted so much to say to him that on some certain level he was right! In particular, given Sunday's importance as a day of worship for Christians, one might even say it is a day for them to devote to the Son. It is a little early, but I can't wait to discuss things with Moody on all levels!