Sunday, October 22, 2006

Eid, the Dregia Way!

On Friday, Moody and Jake finally had the sleepover they've been arranging for a year! They were in preschool together two years ago, and then Jake moved on to kindergarten while Moody stayed in preschool for another year. Despite that, they kept in touch and the friendship continued to prosper. Being in the same school helped. Every time they meet, Moody would inform us later that the sleepover date is set, etc., etc. Turned out, Jake would do the same to his Mom. Well, it finally happened this Friday. Brandon, our neighbor and Moody's classmate, joined them on Friday but didn't sleep over.

On Saturday, we went to Boo at the Zoo. It was a gorgeous day, in all ways! The weather, the mood, everything. We had a terrific time. The kids zonked out on the way back from the zoo; they were so exhausted! A nice Eid-preview outing.

Tomorrow is Eid! We put the sign up. I'm glad I had the Eid shopping all done along with the school shopping back in August. I'm a good planner! All we need now is Moody's haircut. We're ending Ramadan with a bazeen ختامه مسك... آآآ بازين! Though it's Eid, tomorrow is business as usual. Kids will be in school, I have a meeting at 4:30 in Campus and then a class at 8 pm. So, I guess no real celebration yet but plenty to come. We'll plan a movie and Eid gifts spree next weekend.

Happy Eid!
Happy Eid!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Look out, Harry!

This image is an example of an approximate "invisibility cloak" that was developed at Tokyo University a few years ago. There has been another recent development on this front, albeit in the microwave not the visible part of the spectrum.

My friend Tawfik forwarded the news item below to me so I can tell Moody that science is catching up with Mr. Potter. The only problem is, the cloak itself is still visible! Maybe there is a self-reference paradox in that... Nah, I'm just lying! lol

16:17 19 October 2006 news service
Justin Mullins

An invisibility cloak that works in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum has been unveiled by researchers in the US. The device is the first practical version of a theoretical set-up first suggested in a paper published earlier in 2006.

The cloak works by steering microwave light around an object, making it appear to an observer as if it were not there at all. Materials that bend light in this way do not exist naturally, so have to be engineered with the necessary optical properties.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cited for Bumper Sticker

What the hell! was my reaction when I heard it on Wednesday on News & Notes, Roundtable.

Denise Grier got a $100 ticket for the Bushit bumper sticker on her car. A Georgia law prohibits profane stickers on vehicles. The citation was thrown out by the judge since that specific law was ruled unconstitutional in 1990. Now Denise is suing for violation of her rights to free speech, and the bumper sticker remains on her car. Way to go Denise; I'm tired of all the Bushit too!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Interesting Moments

Living with a six-year-old certainly has its moments, lots of them! Sometimes I think we should just hang an audio recorder on Moody's neck all day. The other day, he asked me out of the blue, "Dad: are there any blonds who speak Arabic?" Yes, I said... and wanted to add, there are all kinds of idiots who speak Arabic. lol lol lol He is curious, unabashed in his expression, and he has a certain degree of intellectual independence, a kind of stubbornness, if you wish, but it's one that seeks and demands intelligibility not just hard headedness. Maybe I'm just "kvelling," but I thought of logging some of his interesting moments.

To Nick-nick-bobick

Canada Goose, Maryland, Jan. 27
Originally uploaded by ozoni11.
I found a great capture of a Canada goose for this story, taken by Michael Oberman, who has a fantastic photo collection. It don't get better than that! But, the reality is, Canada geese are sort of like "born" queens: They look great in pictures but you wouldn't wanna live with one! [I got that born queen line from the guy who says, "Bee as in Balestine." lol lol] These birds are all over this part of North America, I mean all over! They love water and open grass fields for food and nesting, which means every park in this area is taken over by these things. What's the problem, you ask? A healthy adult goose produces up to four pounds of shit every day, that's the problem! You can't run on the grass or even walk on some sidewalks without being on the lookout. I never had to adjust to this problem at a young age, not that we had open grass fields and abundant water everywhere lol lol... Well, I guess we had donkey shit when I was young in Misrata, we called it Jalla. But nothing of this magnitude. These geese fly so high that they get sucked up by jet engines, causing some crashes. I heard that engine manufacturers test them by tossing frozen chicken at them to simulate an encounter. They probably couldn't just round up some geese from the park and use them, frozen or whatever, because they're protected wildlife. Poor chicken! We need to start the Tastes Like Goose movement. Actually, the other day we noticed that the authorities seem to be trying out a "humane" solution. They brought in some black swans which scare the you know what out of the geese. The swans don't have any beards or anything, but the whole affair seems like a program of fowl terrorism. Who knows, it might work.

After a few years of "Oh, what a cute goosey loosey...," Moody started to wonder,"Why is there so much poop in the park?" Well, it's those Canada geese, I tell him. To him, Canada means the place where Nick lives, our friends terrific son. So, Moody's solution to the goosepoop problem is to chase them all over the park yelling,"Go back to Canada, you pooping goose! Go poop on Nick's roof!" Tala of course echoing every word! lol lol, sorry Nick! Today, Hanu was also thinking about the goose issue, and she did search on "Canada goose poop" then walked away from the computer. Moody walked by the Google search page, took a look and said, "Don't use the computer, it has the word poop all over."

Deep Thoughts

Hana already told you about most of these, but I wanted to say more about Moody and Luke's deep discussions on the way home from the bus stop. Those are great examples of his "particular stubbornness." Here is one that I heard about from the nanny:

L: "God made us and the trees."

A: "No, my mom and dad made me." "Where is God?"

L: "You can't see him."

A, borrowing from Nietzsche: "God is dead."

His latest, "How can you name him if you can't see him" proves he's definitely an experimentalist!

Deep Space

Tonight at dinner, he was in his space mood again...

A: "By the way, do you know why they call Mars the red planet?"

Why, I said.

A: "Because of Martian blood all over it."

Then he added, to my great pleasure, "I'm going to be the first one to set foot on Mars." And, borrowing from Armstrong this time, "I will say, it's a great step for Moody and everyone else." lol lol lol

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Moody's Art

Going back to priorities, it was set to be the blog for today.

This post is to document one of the many aspects of Moody's talent.

We've been using a reward system with Moody and Tala for a long time. Problem is, we have to be continuously innovative and creative to keep it up. With time, they eventually lose interest and don't care about the prizes anymore. Last week, we asked them to each list the things they want for rewards. We suggested that they draw them, so they'd get more involved. Below is Moody's drawing. Click on the picture to read the explanation for each symbol in flickr.

This one below is how you should write alligator when you run out of space. The letters should flow counterclockwise.

Unfoldings and Wrapping-Ups

Barbi decided to leave us this week. So here's another mess that we need to deal with. There are many advantages to having a nanny. But, with a nanny, you are under her mercy, her mood, her immaturity, her uncertainty, and you are directly affected by the happenings in her life, day in and day out. So here again, we're drifting. Putting the kids in a day care is our last resort and I wouldn't do it unless I absolutely have to. Simply put, day cares are children warehouses.

On the bright side of things, Barbi's leaving forced me to spend more time with Moody and Tala. Time I wouldn't spend with them if she were here, because of other pressing matters I need to tend to. I'm enjoying this time and so are they.

Moody is doing great at school and he loves it. He's been staying at the Sun every day, except last Thursday where he moved to Cloud. He told me that he was at the Cloud when I picked him up from school that day. Later he said he was afraid of telling me because he thought I would be angry. I explained that it does not make me happy that he moved to Cloud, but it makes me happy that he's honest with me.

Yesterday was the last day of ice skating for the season. Tala is finally moving around on the ice all by herself. She's staying in Stinger I next session, and Moody is moving up to Basic II and excited about it. Later, the three of us took a long walk in the neighborhood trail. Tala took her babies in their stroller, and she and Moody took turns pushing the stroller. On the way back, we met Max and Hailey, the new kids two houses down from ours. The kids were all happy to find playmates to play with in the courtyard.

Yesterday was also the last day of T-Ball. It's the first time I go to a game; I've only been to some of the practices. I was amazed at how much the kids--all the team--picked up on things and how well they did. Never have thought they'd come this far the way the practice sessions were going. They got the trophies and all. The trophy is a wooden baseball bat. Hmm, is that the best trophy they could get, I wondered so did many parents when the kids started swinging them in all directions. Next season, Moody is going to Coach-Pitch and Tala is staying in T-Ball.

It's Eid soon, and I'm in no mood for that, just like I'm in mood for Ramadan still. Moody's take on Ramadan is "It's not fair to fast. You shouldn't fast. You would starve." His take on god is a bit more serious though. He's been at it for some time now repeating same questions and stating same facts. Yesterday, he went at it again saying, "How do you know god if you can't see him? Why did people name him god?" It all started last year when he and Luke would debate about the existence of god on the bus from school and on the way from the bus stop to our home. An entertaining, insightful debate. I'll leave that for another time.

Revisiting Lebanon Trip

Prioritizing is my theme lately. What am I prioritizing, I don't know. And I'm not really prioritizing per se, rather letting things slip and picking up others. I'm in the autopilot mode since I came back from Lebanon; actually, since before I left to Lebanon. No emotions, or rather, there are emotions and many feelings, but I'm not in sync with them. Blocking them? Most likely. I have not shed a tear or thought about things since I got back to the US... Oh, there's so much to cry about--so much! But, here comes prioritizing it seems, and crying is not productive, hence not a priority.

Ennis and Juju could become US citizens very soon. The applications I submitted have been approved. It took less then six weeks for the approval to come--I'm impressed. Now, their father has to agree and get them to the US embassy to take immigrant visas. Once they set foot in the US, they immediately become US citizens.

Ennis and Juju, Moody and Tala. They belong to two completely different worlds. They have different norms, standards, and values. The gap is so wide and deep that I wonder if it could ever lessen or their worlds come closer. I pretty much doubt it. Ennis and Juju are everything I ever wished my kids not to be. Juju is a 70-year-old woman in the body of a 10-year-old girl. Ennis, well, he's constantly in fights and he once pulled a knife on another kid. As if it's not bad enough they are victims of a divorce, they are also victims of the environment surrounding them and those caring for them. Victims of a mentality that wants to make up for the loss of a mother and to display to the observants that they are not missing much. Consequentially, there's abundance of spoiling, corruption, materialism, and lack of discipline. Why am I not crying?

Having said that, is it contradictory to say I'm not judging my kids or blaming them for the way they are? I know those are the facts and not acknowledging them or being cognizant of them does not serve any purpose. The purpose, I think, is to find and make peace with those facts.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Drifting with the Flow

It's been a while!

Recent lack of postings on this blog cannot be attributed to lack of events. It's been pouring events like "cats and dogs." The same way it's been pouring rain. It hasn't been a good Fall weather--too bad! Our favorite season is almost gone, and we didn't get to enjoy it.

We're kind of just going with the drift. I don't have the energy nor the time to even think of where things are going. It's good enough to make it through the day, go to bed, and get up to start another day. The uncertainties--I hate them!

Magda visited 2 weeks ago. Too bad I was stuck in school for three days and didn't get to spend much time with her. Moody and Tala were excited to see her. "She's like a fairy godmother," said Tala.

If you're concerned with the low real estate prices, go get a St. Joseph statue and bury it upside down. He's hot these days, St. Joseph! I heard it in the news today that doing so will improve the real estate market for sellers, not that I care right now. Poor St. Joseph!

A happy 77th birthday to Dad.