Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Sigma-Digital Generation!

On Monday, Moody gave me the weather report for the three days. The report he gave, based on My Google, was "Sunny partly cloudy today; cloudy tomorrow; and rain on Wednesday." He was upset on Tue. because it was not cloudy, but sunny. He protested, "Why did they change the weather. They shouldn't change it after they tell us what it will be. That's not fair!" At 6:30 am today, while I was still in bed dreading getting up with the headache, I heard him telling Tala, "Let's go check the weather on My Google." I think we have to password-protect the computers in the house. It's scary what he might come across. It's amazing how much this generation knows. Moody doesn't even use the computer or surf the Internet unless we're checking a site together, getting some information for him, or shopping online together. Believe it or not, we still don't have a video game in the house! He's been talking about it lately, especially after he discovered that Ennis has PSP; he wants Xbox 360. We told him he can get a dog at age 10 and Xbox at age 12, or vice versa. Guess what, he picked the Xbox at age 10, and dog at age 12. I don't think so! I will delay getting a video game in the house as long as possible; books are better; board games are better!

The other day, I was studying for Six Sigma on, Moody peered over my shoulder and said, "Six Sigma?! It's Sigma Six, Mom, not Six Sigma!" So I found that there's a cartoon show called G.I. Joe Sigma 6. I was searching Google for that, and Moody said, "Just go to G.I. Joe dot com. It's easier!" Talk about getting kids in sync with their parents lingo and world! I guess it's the Six Sigma/Sigma Six generation!

I have not really gotten over the flu of weeks ago. I've had severe one-side headache for the last three days. Of course, I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor soon, damn the doctors! I knew I needed antibiotics, but she wouldn't prescribe them without seeing me, and she can't see me soon! This morning, the headache was severe, so I drove to the nearest urgent care. The doctor was nice, and very interested in Libya and what he read about it recently in some travel magazine. Veered off... So, I have acute sinus infection and got out with my antibiotics and decongestant/headache prescriptions. Finally, I'm almost pain free now after taking the medication!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Take

Thanksgiving was special in a special way for me. While the turkey was roasting in the oven, I dialed home in Libya. I had a very sweet chat with Amoola, then Ayman, followed by Mama. The call ended leaving a warm nice feeling of peace, love, and sharing of the occasion. Once I hung up, I was pinged on messenger. It was Ennis and Juju. Another sweet chat filled with laughter, warmth, peace and sharing of the occasion!

I'm thankful for having Suliman! Yes, he's my husband, and yes, he's supposed to be there for me in thick and thin. But what I put him through, or what the circumstances of my life put him through, is a lot for any human to handle. What we went through this summer, the combination of me being away for the internship then the Lebanon ordeal, was a test that would either make us or break us. I had many fears back then that it would break us. Suliman stuck through it all--all the way! A wonderful man; a wonderful husband--one of a kind! Yes, you bet, I'm lucky! We both are!

I am thankful for wonderful Moody and Tala, the very caring, very sweet, ever entertaining, never boring, little angel-devils, apples of my eyes. I'm thankful that they now wash up by themselves, they clean up their place settings when done eating, they make their own peanut butter sandwiches, they pick up the mess they make even if after they tire me asking them to do so.

I'm thankful for connecting the broken links in my life, for building bridges, for picking up again with Ennis and Juju, for the many amends with the many dear ones that took place over the summer.

The weather has been incredible and that contributed to the good times that were had during the Holiday. To top it all off, I have received word yesterday from a company I interviewed with that an offer is coming my way. I have been interviewing a lot lately, but that was the one single company that I wanted to get an offer from. I was so glad to hear that, though I was told the offer details are still in the works. I'm thankful that I don't have to deal with the anticipation anymore!

I'm thankful that 2006 is almost over, and a new year is coming our way with new beginnings--I hope!
I hope!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Follow Up

Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be a good one this year--very good one. It is a nice American tradition, although I now know that saying that much might rub some people the wrong way. I recently read and discussed Halloween with one Libyan blogger who was "nauseated" by discovering that some Libyans celebrate Halloween. It is a "pagan event," according to him, and as disgusting as a "Japanese with blond hair." How's that for telling your bigotry like it is? I believe he was referring to people like us and our friend Soad who had posted about Halloween and the Libyan tradition of scary storytelling. She recalled some interesting characters like Ms. al-Fattasha (The Searcher) and--now my favorite--Mr. Karkar Mesarinah (Dragger of His Entrails), and I sent her a note of appreciation with some more information, which you can read on Soad's Enchanted Sereeb blog.

It's strange that anyone would reject a tradition like Thanksgiving on "moral" grounds. Blogger Khadija Teri is an American living in Libya for the past 17 years--did you get that, American, OK? She was told by someone who called her "sister," OK?, that her celebration of Thanksgiving was a form of imitating the unbelievers, entirely forbidden for her as a Muslim now. Aayew-Keh! I gave my two cents on that one, too, and it actually took me back to my very first Thanksgiving--ahem--29 years ago. I had been in the US only six or seven months, and I was the guest of the Rietz family who had kindly offered to host university students for the occasion. After recalling the nice experience on Khadija's blog, I dug up an old picture that Mrs. Rietz had sent me afterward. Take a look and have a laugh--quietly, please.



Just a day's worth of difference! In case you're having trouble... I'm the one with the olive-tree thing on his head, not to mention the cobweb on the jaw and the hang-glider collar. Guys left-to-right: Bill, Gary, Mike, and Suliman. Girls: Gail and Connie (Mike's friend, I believe.) A nice memory.

Our guest, Taher,
is new in Columbus

We eat like this everyday!

I think this year's dinner was probably the best we've ever had. Hanu made everything at a good pace (two days). I helped on the sidelines, but Hanu really deserves the thanks for an excellent meal. You see that salad in the foreground, with the dried apple chips? I visited that three times! Actually, I think I tripled on everything lol lol. Taher had a nice time, too. Hanu actually helped him locate some relatives in Ohio, using Google! He only knew that they lived in a place on Interstate-80, and their names of course. He dropped off his number online and probably heard from them by now.

I'm thankful for the women in my life...

and this satisfaction-silenced critic!

We listened to music by Youssou N'Dour, who gives a whole "nother" flavor to the Mawwal (improv.) in his Egypt album. I usually can't understand a word he says, but I love the music. It is influenced by all sorts of factors, from local Senegalese, to Sufi and even Cuban influences! We saw him live last time he came to town, at the OSU campus actually. He was great, the crowd sucked! Here is a little bit of a track that fit the occasion.

We also listened to a favorite CD by VOX, which is a European group that produced this album called From Spain to Spain, featuring various pieces of Andalusi Sufi-style poetry by Muslims and Jews (not so odd then) as well as some Christian music. The group has a Lebanese female singer, Fadia el-Hage, who sounds a lot like the legendary Fairuz and probably comes from the same lineage of Lebanese Church music. It's interesting that the first Christian churches to play music were in Lebanon, way back, and of course they were met with pioneer's resistance. Here is a sample from the VOX album...

The weather was excellent: sunny, no wind and high temperatures near 70 degrees! (about 20 °C). We took walks on Friday and Saturday.


Moody had lost his glasses last week and insisted that it happened in the van. I finally found them by taking out his seat and shaking the hell out of it! Sure enough, the seat had swallowed the glasses--known to happen. There he is with newfound glasses, checking the trail map and reading away. He is doing very well with his reading at school and everywhere. He surprises us all the time now. Today, he gave Hana a weather report for the next three days. When she asked him how he knew, he said he'd gone to the office computer and "clicked on MyGoogle and read the weather." lol lol We walked the outer trail, which means I dragged the wagon for about 4 mi (6 km). No deer this time, but we saw a sleepy owl that was awakened too early I think. This park has a lot of deer, maybe too many, but we see them more often at twilight (am and pm) and sometimes in large groups.

The sledding hill awaits the snow
the sledding

After all the rolling, Ahmed's glasses
were lost and found again

Yeah, thanks to my unaided eagle eyes, we finally found those glasses! Why, it was like looking for... brownish-wire-rimmed glasses in the drying grass, that's all! I tell you, Hanu, nothing's wrong with my eyes, only my arms are getting too short. And never mind my olive tree, it barely qualifies as ground cover now! lol lol lol.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

This isn't just a turkey,
As anyone can see.
I made it with my hand,
Which is part of me.

It comes with lots of love
Especially to you.
I hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Dregias Thanksgiving menu:
  • Turkey
  • Peach and mango chutney
  • Gravy
  • Rice with almonds, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Candied yams
  • Green beans casserole
  • Pecan chocolate tart
  • Pumpkin pie (Sol and I don't like it, but Moody insists "with whipped cream!" I doubt that he will eat it.)
Guest: Taher

Wednesday, November 22 updates

Pomegranate, yams, and the indian
corn that Moody got from field trip

Moody, Tala and I don't have school today. It's a looong Thanksgiving holiday that extends till Sunday--5 Days! I went grocery shopping with Moody and Tala. They were very very good; I was amazed. I haven't been grocery shopping with them for quite a while--I haven't been grocery shopping for a while, a year maybe? I'm sure Sol remembers exactly!

I got us some pomegranate. It fits so well with the menu, and with orange blossom water and some sugar--hm hmm, heavenly! I also got the "7bash" for salad: apple chips, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola cheese, walnuts (to be candied), and poppyseed dressing, and yes, mixed greens labeled "No Spinach Sans Epinard!"

The store was crowded, but it was a happy, good-spirited crowd. I love the holidays. You can't help but be happy and cheerful too, it's contagious. There was a sign on one of the dairy fridges saying "Sorry, we're out of whipping cream!" Darn it! I should always buy it in advance. I remember I always have a hard time finding it the day before Thanksgiving. I had to make another stop for that and was successful.

All the time in the store Moody kept asking, "Did you get all the ingredients for the pumpkin pie?" And he would ask for everything I throw in the cart, "Is this for the pumpkin pie?" Well, the pumpkin pie is in the oven. It's my first. The smell is nice, and it's not overflowing yet--so far so good! I better get started on the pecan tart, then the chutney.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


A thrilling and beautiful game!

The Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines!

Next, it's Glendale, Arizona for the National Championship game. The second time in four years!


Friday, November 17, 2006

Game of the Century!

We Don't Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan
O, we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
The whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan
We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, we're from Ohio
We're from Ohio...O-H
We're from Ohio...I-O
O, we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
The whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan
We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, we're from Ohio

This is one of the songs that exemplifies the rivalry between the Ohio State University and Michigan University, as well as, the rivalry between Ohio and Michigan. The rivalry between OSU and Michigan can be traced back to a feud between their respective states which began in 1835. The state of Ohio and the Michigan Territory fought a bloodless conflict with one another in a border dispute known as the Toledo War. Some have proposed that the college football rivalry is a modern manifestation of this historical tension.

Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is the intense rivalry between the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University football teams. Michigan and OSU ranked first in an ESPN poll conducted in 2000 of the greatest North American sports rivalries. Since 1918, the game has alternated location between Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has been played in Ohio Stadium since 1922 and Michigan Stadium since 1927. Since each school routinely ranks among the strongest in the country, the game often has implications upon the Big Ten Conference titles, Rose Bowl, and the National Championship.

It is no small wonder why We Don't Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan came about. Though a very popular song, especially when Ohio State plays Michigan annually in the Big Game, We Don't Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan's date of arrangement was written in this timeframe. The song appeared in the Broadway show "The Male Animal" (1940), and the subsequent movie in 1942, as We Don't Give a Darn for the Whole State of Michigan. James Thurber, an alumnus of The Ohio State University, and a famous writer and cartoonist, contributed his expertise to the production of the Broadway show. It is unknown if this song was written for the play or was already in use beforehand.

Even though Ohio State University is not mentioned in the productions, it is quite obvious that Thurber's Buckeye roots were showing. There is a reference to Hennicks, a former drug store and soda fountain that existed well into the 1950s on High Street; the main commercial center on the eastern boundary of The Ohio State University campus. The characters, in the productions, tune to frequency 1210 AM to listen to the game; 1230 is an AM frequency that is assigned to Columbus, Ohio.

[Sources: Michigan-Ohio State Rivalry, Wikepedia;
Songs of The Ohio State University]

Postscipt: Legendary Shadows

The champions of the OSU-Michigan saga are the legendary headcoaches Woody Hayes (OSU) and Bo Schembechler (UM). Interestingly, both OSU and Ohio in general can claim Bo as one of their own. He was born in Ohio, and while a student at Miami University (of Ohio), Bo actually played for Woody, then became his assistant coach at OSU, before moving on and coaching "that school up north" for a couple decades.

Woody is an American cultural icon, despite having left the game on a sad note, where he let his bad temper be his final memory. Woody gave a face to American hardass. He is still remembered for a lot of good, not least of which, the wisdom recorded in his sayings. One of my favorites is, "You can never give back, but you can always give forward."

Sadly, yesterday, on the eve of what could be the greatest episode, Bo Schembechler died at the age of 77. They're planning a moment of silence in his honor at today's game. I hope the game will live up to expectations and thus be the fitting tribute to Bo, that nothing else could be. I hope our boys show that we do give a damn for Bo! --S.D.

Go Bucks!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

System Dynamics in Action

I came across the Cog, a Honda Accord commercial, while studying the system dynamics part of Six Sigma class. System Dynamics is the study of the behavior of complex systems - seeking to understand the web of relationships between activities and to identify the linkage between cause and effect--from

The Cog is a terrific example of cause and effect. The ad was created in 2003, and reportedly, took 606 takes to make right.


Monday, November 13, 2006

My Tibra Pitch

You're reading this blog because you are a friend or, at least, because you care. If you're neither, then you shouldn't be reading and should stop here.

Since you made it to here, then my friend, make me happy. Help the "jewel in the rough", Tibra, as the Cultural Connect described it. Read the 2007 Tibra Awards announcement and take the extra step: Do something!

Money is always useful and is the easiest way to help. It's very simple: Write a check and mail it to Tibra Foundation, PO Box 2344, Westerville, OH 43086; or simpler yet, donate online; it's tried, safe and secure!

Q: Do you know an outstanding girl who is a high-school senior and deserves the scholarship and recognition?

Yes: Nominate her. Self nominations are accepted too. Do the same if you know someone in Libya in first year of college. If this is too much for you to do, then just send me her name and how to contact her.
No: Ask around!

Q: Could you volunteer as a judge or know one who should?

Yes: Shoot me an email at
No: Ask around!

Q: Can you translate documents from English to Arabic, or vice versa, or know one who can?

Yes: Shoot me an email at
No: Ask around!

Q: Do you have another skill or talent that could benefit Tibra?

Yes: Shoot me an email at
No: Ask around!

C'mon, make me happy... Show you care!

Go Tibra!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Halloween was here!

I have been sick for two weeks now! The flu. Luckily, I'm the only one who got it in the family. We were late with the flu shot this year, I haven't taken mine yet, I need to recover first. The cough is killing me... Ugh!

Beggars night was on Tuesday, October 31, in our neighborhood. I decided not to go to class that night since I was so sick and needed to rest. I was dragged out of the house at 6:30 when Sol didn't show up and I couldn't keep up with Moody and Tala's nagging on my head. They were not going to let me rest anyway, so I thought taking them out will get them out of my hair... So we went trick-or-treating. The day was soggy and wet--just awful. Got drier at night, but was still awful!

We met Brandon, Kayleigh, her friend, and their mom, Astrid. That brought me some relief and company to ease my miserable mood and feeling sorry for myself. Before we met them, Moody had been whining continuously that he wanted to find Brandon since he wasn't there when we stopped by their house. When we left our street and turned into another, Moody kept whining, "Brandon never comes here. He told me he never comes to this street for trick-or-treating." I was telling him that we would head back home if he didn't stop and just tried to enjoy himself when Brandon appeared. I needed to get even with Moody and make him take back his words about Brandon never coming to this street, but I let it go to deal with when I'm up to it.

Oh, the candy! Disgusting, ugly, yummy candy! Candy, candy, and more candy. I hate it and dread Halloween for that. I end up eating a lot of it, the chocolate, don't like other candy. We still have tons of it, no chocolate though, it was gone in no time! Oh, the guilt!

I'm still sick. I finished 2 bottles of NyQuil Cold, 1 bottle of NyQuil Cough, 2 bags of cough drops, one bottle of Robitussin cough suppressant and expectorant and into my second. I think it's week six of the Quarter now, and there's no slowing down. I want to be done, not with just the Quarter, but with school.

Happy thought: I'm graduating in August. Yeppy! Another happy thought: Nick et al are coming in December!