Thursday, August 29, 2013

I May Have to Leave Here

No, not the state....this website. Apparently, Blogger has decided to go through every single image that I have posted on my Squarer Pegs, Rounder Holes blog site and DELETE THEM. Apparently, I am infringing on MY OWN COPYRIGHTS as about 90% of the photos they removed I took with my own camera and uploaded.

I'm not pleased and await a reply from their helpdesk.....but I probably won't hear from them. REST assured, if I decide to leave this site I will post the new one here. I may  have slowed down a bit in my blogging as it has been overtaken by events I like to call LIFE, but I have not stopped writing.

Friday, August 2, 2013

What a SLUG!

*photo courtesy of

This is me as it relates to my keeping up with my blog since I've been back in the U.S.  And I don't mean to be all "Oh, I'm so, so terribly busy with all my busyness and stuff," as though other SAHM's aren't just as busy or possibly busier than I am.  I'm not that self-absorbed.

But honestly, this has been the roughest adjustment period after a move....EVER. Randa is still not out of her mandatory "we moved again"depression and it's been 2 months. 

Remember the expression, "It's Africa hot?" Well, damn if Texas isn't Africa-hotter. I haven't the energy to get out of bed in the morning...which, less face it, is forced energy anyway having 5 teenagers all at the same time.  But good grief, you can just feel your sweat glands breathing heavily and telling your brain in the morning, "Aw, come on! We're exhausted already! Leave us be."

We're also fasting from dawn until sunset for the month of Ramadan right now. Yes, it is earlier than last year.  It's actually about 10 days earlier EVERY year as the Islamic calendar (Hijri calendar) is lunar-based as opposed to the Gregorian calendar (you know, the "regular one.") And while not eating really isn't that big a deal for us, and after the first day or two, neither is the getting started without that morning caffeine boost.  But going without water until 8:30 at night in 104 degree F heat is definitely a challenge. And it really does take a lot out of you.  So there's that....

AND trying to figure out how to enroll kids into what schools and with no documentation because the Egyptian Ministry of Education refused to release their transcripts to me because I'm not their father has been frustrating to say the least.  I may actually have this figured out now that I've made 9,006 telephone calls, sent 439 emails, and put 417 additional miles on my husband's Honda driving around scouting out schools in our area that aren't classified as "bad."

I am excited about our new house and would really like to get started fixing things that need fixing and gardening and decorating and putting a big chunk of those awesome "For the Home" and "DIY projects" items that I've squirreled away on Pinterest to good use.  But's Africa Hotter and who in the hell has the time? Once these kids get back in school (God willing, I'm able to enroll them,) I'm going to do at least one hour of gardening per day, one Pinterest project per week, and one chapter per day on my novel that is currently collecting dust in the back burners of this laptop. 

Rest assured. You, my whopping 3 fans, have not been forgotten.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vocabulary Lessons and Lack of Self-Control

In preparation for "back-to-school," I took the three boys to our family practitioner for full physical exams. We made it as far as the vital signs room before the giggling began.

Nurse:  Any surgeries?

     Me:  Testicular varicosele removed earlier this year.

Nurse:  Varico-who?

    Me:  Varicosele. V-a-r-i-c-o-s-e-l-e.

Nurse:  And that's like a varicose vein?

     Me:  Yes, in the testicle.

**Begin giggling behind me that builds to hog snorting and then blatant guffawing.**

To her credit, the nurse was Mexican-American with a very heavy accent and most of the practice services the Hispanic community here, so most of the time she speaks in Spanish.  But she seemed embarrassed enough and rushed through the rest of the height, weight, blood pressure and temperature readings to hurry the out-of-control pubescent lunatics into the exam room and out of her hair.

They were all just fine. The end.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lumpy Brownish Milk Ain't Half-Bad in Coffee

Shuffling into the kitchen at 6:30 in the morning, I tend to do things in a rather rote way:  Grab coffee mug, pour coffee (that is ONLY made because I set it up to go off by itself the night before...GOD bless the inventor of THAT TRULY MOST AWESOME INVENTION EVER!) and then grab the gallon of milk out of the fridge and pour it into the mug, then drink delicious, caffeinated goodness that is my ante meridiem nectar.

Yesterday, I noted to myself that this jug is already at the halfway point and that maybe I need to pick up another gallon before the end of my day. And as I thought this, I began pour the milk into my coffee and it fell into my mug like white stew. "What, WHA????"

me:  "Oh, crap!"

Ismail:  "What?"

me:  "I can't believe this! I just bought this milk yesterday and now I have to return it to the grocery store because it's bad."

Ismail:  "It's not bad."

me:  "Son, it's pouring out in chunks . My coffee looks like it has quark floating in it. OH, THE HUMANITY!"

Ismail (audibly annoyed - remember I hadn't had coffee yet and could barely see past the mug) : "MOMMY! The milk is NOT bad."


Ismail:  "Because Randa squeezed an entire bottle of chocolate syrup into it and then  poked marshmallows through the opening and shook it up."

me:  "Cool. Rocky Road coffee."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just A Question

Is there something genetically linked in male  DNA that rears its head in puberty that causes boys to drip water all over the bathroom with no ability to dry it up?

Does someone pull them aside in middle school and whisper to them, "While you will still use every clean towel in the closet after your shower and leave them wadded up throughout the house, from now on you will also be required to step onto the bare floor NEXT to the bathmat and  shake violently like a wet dog to ensure that there is more water on the walls, floor, mirror, counter, and ceiling than ever hit the bath tub during your 98 minute shower while the rest of the family was  hopping outside the door in dire need of a  pee."

Thankfully I noticed it BEFORE I slipped and broke my neck. That is all.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

And Now What You've All Been Waiting For.....

I know I promised full disclosure as to the details of our trip from Egypt to the U.S.   And yeah, it's been three weeks since we got back so I can't blame jet-lag any longer.  The truth is, nothing really happened.  I know, right?  Who the hell's life am I living and when will the chaos begin again?!

Okay, so back in late April or early May, I contacted my travel agent and tried to book us on Lufthansa to Dallas because there would only be one layover and the Germans are usually extremely efficient and keep to schedules. Also, because I avoid New York like the friggin' plague because I think it's stupid that all international flights are IN to JFK and then we have to claim all our luggage and go through customs and all that noise just to find a cab (yeah, right!) who can haul all five of us and our 10 suitcases 5 carry-on bags and whatever crap we purchased at Duty-Free all the way over to LaGuardia in Queens and then have to check in again and wait for a flight (that isn't free, by the way) to Dallas. NO THANKS. It's hard enough to travel with kids internationally. I don't want to have to do the whole intracontinental thing, too.

So my travel agent told me that she could book me on Lufthansa for 30, 800 EGP but that Emirates Air had a better price. So I rolled my eyes and asked how many layovers that one had. She said just one but it's in
Dubai. I asked what the price was and she said, "20,000 EGP."

Say WHAT?! "What's the catch?" I asked.

"Well, the transit is in Dubai. So you would have to fly 5 hours from Cairo to Dubai and then you have a 3 hour layover and fly directly from Dubai to DFW. The flight time would be 15 hours from Dubai instead of only 9 hours from Frankfurt to Dallas."

"Girl, we've GOT time. It's money that we seem to always be short on.  Book the Emirates flight."

So that is how we got to fly over Iraq and Russia and the North Pole and Canada and Minneapolis and all the way over Oklahoma and land in Dallas. Yeah, really. I've flown over the North Pole.

I have flown my entire life....and NO, I'm not embellishing.  My dad was military and we traveled back and forth from Europe my entire life. I flew a lot in the US to visit family and then started traveling overseas for my job. I am just as comfortable in the air as I am on a road trip. Maybe more so. I've never endorsed an
airline before.  But I will right now.


From the time that we checked in at the desk in Cairo, we were whisked away on a bus by ourselves just as soon as I notified the attendant that we had a special needs child and explained that Autism can sometimes cause my daughter to become overwhelmed and freak out a little but that I can get her to calm down again provided the flight attendants do not try to restrain her. (That happened on the Lufthansa flight last time we traveled to the US and I was nearly at the point of knocking out the woman who was attempting to force Randa into her seat while yelling in her face to keep  calm.) They boarded us in the back of the plane at the same time the first and business class passengers were boarding int he front.

This is a great spot as far as I'm concerned. We're close to the back where the drink carts are stored. We're close to the restrooms. AND most importantly, we're located close to the jet engines where argumentative teenagers and their noise gets drowned out. YES.  The flight attendants were SO very nice to us.  Honestly, they were nice to everyone.

When we arrived in Dubai, the kids were a little hungry and Mohamed had asked me to buy cigarettes at the duty-free store. So, we bought the cigarettes and then wandered to a food court and I decided that it was just too damn expensive. But I did buy them each a coke and got myself a Snapple and we wandered back over to our gate and sat and snarfed down all the cookies and chips and snacks that their uncles had purchased for their backpacks before we left Egypt.

We still had another hour before we were supposed to leave which meant another half hour before boarding started and Randa started to have a meltdown. She was bored and tired and hadn't had her internet fix in more than a day. A gate attendant called Ismail over and asked if we would be able to control her on the flight and Ismail said yes and tried to explain what autism is to him. Finally, he decided that the guy was kind of a rock and called me over to explain. I could barely understand his broken English so I spoke to him in Arabic and explained that my daughter is just extremely tired and bored and that once we were on the plane I could settle her down.  He recognized my dialect as Egyptian. Turns out, HE was Egyptian.

So, what does one Egyptian do for another Egyptian? They "hook a sister up"and he called some Scottish dude who was in charge of security and told him to board us early. He didn't want to but the Egyptian dude told him, "Special needs child" and the Scottish dude asked me what was up and I explained that Randa is Autistic and gets overwhelmed when she is overstimulated and can freak out a bit. He said, "My niece is autistic. I know how that goes."

The Scottish dude said, "Follow me." So we did. And he introduced us to Faris who was the head porter on our flight. Faris introduced us to Mario aka Mex (which apparently was short for Mexican) and they shook hands with Randa and were very polite and asked if she would like anything.

Randa said, "Chocolate." And then she laughed. So they laughed.

Damn if they didn't bring her a mini-Toblerone and a Mars bar just for her from first class. And they sent a color book and a fake Etch-A-Sketch thing. She was just stoked that they had Toy Story 3 on the in-flight movie and they're all high-tech so you can even rewind over and over again like she enjoys doing on the touch screen that was on the back of the head rest in front of her seat.

The only "incident"so to speak, was about 9 hours into the flight when Randa started shouting, "Butt hurts! Back hurts! Go faster. FLY FASTER!" The whole time she was pretending to row (yeah like in a boat) as if air- rowing was going to get us there quicker. They were handing out drinks at the time and the flight attendant sort of giggled but then told Randa, "I will tell the pilot to fly faster, dear."

Once we were over Oklahoma, we hit every air pocket that we DIDN'T hit flying all over the rest of the globe. All I could think of was TORNADOES. But thankfully, we weren't in any tornadoes. But the air pockets DEFINITELY did a number on my stomach, as well as Randa's. Because then she decided that she didn't want him to fly faster any more. And she started to stomp on her imaginary air brakes and shouted, "Slow down. Fly slower." This of course, delighted the two men sitting on the other side of her and they tried to hide their amusement but failed miserably.

Good thing she doesn't give a shit what other people think.

Anyway, a few hours later we landed and even though it took us about 2 hours to get through immigration and customs, we did it fairly quickly and uneventfully. It was awesome. Boring and uneventful almost NEVER happens to us. So this was amazing to me and my family.

I cannot emphasize enough how awesome Emirates Air was on both legs of the trip and at all three airports and if you ever have a need to fly anywhere in the world that they service, TAKE THEM. It is an awesome experience. was amazing to see my husband, my son, my mom and my sisters and their kids waiting for us at the  airport. These are my favorite people in the world. (My brother, too, of course but he had to work that day and he lives in Austin.) And here's a photo of Randa hugging her grandmother at the airport upon our arrival while her father looks on:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Conversations with My Kids.....Or ABOUT My Kids...With My Sister's Kids

My sister, MJ, has 2 kids who are loud and hilarious and smart and gorgeous. They, too, inherited the smart ass gene that my kids inherited. We traded kids the other day while my brother was in town. Molly had gotten wrapped up in a game on the laptop and MJ and Lloyd (my brother) volunteered to pick up some stuff at the supermarket for me. My two youngest decided that it was "their turn" to go with whomever was leaving the house.

Molly could not have been more disinterested in going with her mom. She continued playing her game. I tidied up the kitchen and hung some laundry and was about to start making dinner when my husband called and asked me to come pick him up from work.

So I got dressed and started looking for the two older boys to tell them that they'd be in charge of keeping an eye on their young cousin. Hamo was praying. I couldn't find Ismail anywhere. I checked each room, closet, back and front yards. NOTHING. Randa was asleep in her room. I was worried that Molly would realize she was sitting in the den by herself and get scared without her mom or me or her uncle or any of her older cousins around. So I asked her where Ismail was.

   "He went out the back gate."

"I just checked the backyard and I didn't see him. The back gate was locked."

    "I don't know. I saw him go out the back gate."

I went back to the front yard and yelled out his name. Cue crickets. I returned to the den as I plopped onto the couch to get my socks on.

"Molly, I cannot seem to find Ismail anywhere and I HAVE to go pick up your Uncle Mohamed from work. Poor man is probably hungry after working all day."


"I am going to kill Ismail. I looked everywhere and can't find him."

     "You're going to kill him?"

"That's right. In fact, I may kick him until he's dead. What do you think about THAT?"

    (*sigh*)  "Aunt Nik, that kind of gore and violence is completely inappropriate for someone my age. I mean, I'm not even a decade yet."

(forcing the dead pan/parent face) "Did anyone ask you to watch? But you've got a point. That would be pretty violent. Maybe I could just smother him with a pillow when he gets home."

     "It wouldn't be as hard to clean up afterward."

Apparently, I am NOT the only one in the family raising a bunch of smart alecs.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

T Minus 2 Days and Counting...

So, it's 8:30 in the morning here in Alexandria, Egypt (we're at my brother-in-law's house) and I'm up alone drinking coffee since 7 and wondering "What in the hell is it with getting older that you start waking up earlier and earlier and going to sleep earlier and earlier?" And all of a sudden it hit me:  Preparation for early-bird dinner specials for seniors in Boca Raton when we are in our 60's and 70's.

Who knew?

Okay, I'm out of my apartment in the beach community of Hanovil, El-Agamy, Egypt. The kids, 10 suitcases, 5 carry on bags and 2 loads of dirty laundry arrived at my in-law's house yesterday around noon. Good thing we're only staying for 3 days, huh? (What's that expression?  House guests and fish...? Yeah, that.)

I am realizing daily how extremely blessed I have been. I have made so many wonderful friends over the years here. Experiences, knowledge, friendships, love and laughter that I never would have encountered had it not been for that decision 12 years ago to just quit my job and move to Egypt and be a SAHM. I guess, if I look back further, it was 18 years and 7 months ago...when I married the love of my life:  Mohamed. I became part of his family here (and of course, he mine in the U.S.) and the laughter and love and  tears and joy and pain and fun that we have experienced together, on both sides of the globe, are things that neither of us would trade for the world.

One of my friends commented on Facebook how leaving Egypt would be so bittersweet for me.  She was right. I've become "bint al-balad" ("daughter of the country" = an Egyptian woman) and now I have two homes. I am going to miss this place and it's sights and sounds (really, LOUD sounds....this is by far the LOUDEST country in the entire Middle East) and well, SOME of the smells. hahahhahahah.

Sights:  Buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles, tuk-tuks, donkey-driven carts and Vespa's carrying families of 5, date-palm trees, the colorful fruit and vegetable markets, people praying together in the streets, the generosity and hospitality of people helping others, no matter what.

Sounds:  The azan (call to prayer), the street vendors yelling out what they're selling from their rolling push carts in the street, bird-chirping doorbells, bus drivers yelling out the name of their destination while trying to collect enough passengers to fill the vehicle before departure "Mahata, Mahata, Mahata!" (station, station, station!,) and the cow bell ringing that announces the foul mudammas (fava beans) vendor at  night during Ramadan (and I mistook him for the ice cream man my first year here.)

Smells:  Mangoes, tomatoes, felafel cooking, string pastry made in front of your eyes, the cotton candy vendor who made his cotton candy in a rented store under our apartment, and the sea breeze coming in off of the Mediterranean, the bread from the bread factory next door to our house and the pastry shop we used to walk past on our way home from the bus stop (mostly because it reminds me of my days in Greece with Mohamed when we we were first engaged - he's a pastry chef.)

All these things I'll miss. But I'm ready. I'm ready to move forward and experience all the wonderful things that Texas will have to offer us. And maybe it doesn't sound as exciting as "Egypt," but you know what? It will be. Because I will be with my entire family and that will make it HOME.

Now I'm off to finish my last few errands in Egypt. We leave the day after tomorrow, insha Allah (God willing.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

6 Days and a Wake Up

Things are rolling along. Managed to sell off the last of the big ticket items and people are coming by and picking up their the oddest of hours. BUT....who cares? As long as I have money in hand and they take the stuff with them when they go.

My glasses broke in half (at the bridge of the nose) yesterday and it's hard to deal with life peering through Scotch tape and bent frames. I got an exam last night and ordered my new glasses. Only 24 hours more of headaches and then I'll be fashionably...dorky...again. Okay, so they're not the awesome frames I wanted but I had an 12 yr old and 13 yr old with me who were more interested in trying glasses on themselves than to help me find a pair that doesn't make me look like I'm a new recruit on her first day at boot camp when issued a set of BCG's. (That's Birth Control Goggles, for you civilian folk.)

I've got most of my to-do list, to-done. Just a few more items to tick off before we leave this apartment and spend our last 3 days in Egypt with my husband's brother and family. I'm so excited. A friend mentioned that this would be a bittersweet move, and truthfully it is. On the other hand, I'm READY for a new chapter and this is the right move for us. If it weren't, then things wouldn't be just falling into place the way they are. (Thanks, God.)

Our internet service should be disconnected any second now so I will have to post once we arrive in the US and I come out of the jet-lag coma. Thanks for following our story. I should have mega-stories about the travels. ;)

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I was having coffee this morning and checking the notifications on my Facebook, when I noticed a status update from a girlfriend who is also moving to Texas soon. She posted that she has only 11 days and a wake-up before she hits the road.  At first I thought, "How exciting for them! They're about to start the next chapter of their lives in a week and a half and we're not too far behind."

Then all of a sudden, about the time that first caffeine boost kicks in, I realized that her timetable is only 4 days ahead of mine.  HOLY ANXIETY ATTACKS, BATMAN! I couldn't think. I got that "someone-just-hit-me-in-the-stomach-with-a-metropolitan-yellow-pages" feeling and my breathing got quick and shallow and my palms got clammy. My chest tightened and I ran to the bathroom.

I have so much to do. My two youngest start final exams this Saturday and Sunday and won't complete them until next Thursday.  I have 2 suitcases and a ton of shopping to do. I still have paintings on the wall and books on the shelves to go through. I have a master bedroom set, a queen-sized mattress, a set of bunk beds, and a wardrobe to sell and 15 days ain't a lot of time to get rid of big-ticket items. I have to meet the landlord next Friday to get back my deposit and I have to have the gas and light bills paid up before then. Still need to cancel the phone and internet service and arrange for the people who bought all of the furniture and appliances to pick up their crap before the 28th of the month. THEN I get to move all these (still not packed up) suitcases and kids over to my brother-in-law's house where we can get on their nerves for a final 3 days before riding down to the airport in Cairo to start our trip home.

Crap. I need to confirm the ride to the airport one final time, too.  I'll get right on that after I dig out my English to Arabic dictionary and find out how to say Xanax in Arabic.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Regarding the Whole Cleveland/Castro Tragedy

Is it just me or should this not be looked at as more than just kidnapping and rape?

This dude kept these women tied up and chained in his house against their will and raped them repeatedly over the course of 10 years.  That sounds like sex-slavery to me.

And regardless of what TYPE of slaver it is....Slavery, in the United States, is against the 13th Amendment and has been since 1865. Oh, yeah. True story.

Sooooooooooo, how does one go about  prosecuting for the practice of slavery?  Or is it because it's violating the 13th Amendment, does it have to be handled in civil courts?  I'm no lawyer, obviously. But it
does make me wonder if there will be federal charges brought against this guy or will they only leave it up
to the state of Ohio to prosecute him on kidnapping, rape, and possibly murder charges?  (It was pointed
out to me by a friend in Ohio that one of the young women was pregnant and due to the rape, the fetus
died. According to Ohio state laws, this is considered murder.)

Thoughts anyone?  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Guess What I Got For Mother's Day

razor photo: Razor razor.jpg

NO! I didn't get a razor as a Mother's Day gift.

I did, however, manage to get a shower in semi-hot water with enough time to actually mow BOTH of my legs. HOW did I do this, you may inquire?  It was simple.

I showered before all four of the kids got up. I made sure that the 2 younger ones, who were up before I was had used the toilet before I went in. THEN I made a mad dash for the bathroom and locked the door.

I also made it perfectly clear that I would NOT answer questions through the door about why so-and-so got to play outside before studying yesterday or about where such-and-such is located.

It was pure tepid heaven.

Of course, I had to retire this razor since it had been about 8 or 9 months since I'd shaved.  Oh, well. Also, I no longer have flies trailing me because I washed my hair AND conditioned it. It's going to be a good day.

Happy (U.S. and Australia) Mother's Day to all the Moms, Stepmoms, Grandmoms, Aunts, others who provide for kids.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Parental Win #987

*All names of the innocent ridiculed in this blog post have been left up to your imagination so as not to humiliate anyone by my exploiting their situations for my comedic pleasure.*

Child walks up next to me about an hour ago and grabs his t-shirt and pulls away from his belly and let's go and then all of a sudden begins to cry.

I look over and find he's lifted his t-shirt up exposing a skinny red welt on his belly. I ask, "What happened?"
And he points down to a skinny piece of elastic hanging out of the waistband of his training pants. He had apparently inadvertently grabbed the elastic while pulling his shirt and it snapped back into his skin when he let it go.


"You always laugh when I get hurt!"

"That's not true! I only laugh when you get hurt doing something very weird."

MOTY 2013.....not a snowball's chance in Hell.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

28 Days and a Wake Up!


Most of you who didn't grow up in a military background probably don't understand that. So, I'll explain.
We are 29 days away from leaving Egypt. I've got all our appliances and furniture sold and I'm in the middle of packing up the stuff we're taking with us and getting rid of the stuff we're not. Plus screaming "QUIT FIGHTING!" and "GO STUDY YOUR HISTORY!" and "DON'T FART ON YOUR BROTHER'S HEAD!" or whatever usual shout-out I have to yell regularly to keep this house a home.

So this is why I've been so lax in my writing lately. I've just been too busy. (Between all of that stuff and keeping up with my Criminal Case game on Facebook, you understand.) But really mostly the busy stuff.

I'm hoping to make the time to do a brief photo-mentary and upload that before we leave, so that I can share the beauty of Egypt as we know it.  Not the touristy crap that everyone sees...but the day to day people stuff and how we live. It's a lot earthier and real.

Anyway, I guess this isn't really as much a post as it is an apology for not being more prolific in my writing. But I will post a few more times before we leave here and hopefully once I get into my rhythm after we get back to the People's Republic of Texas, I'll get all regular on here again.

In the mean time, thanks for reading my stuff.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Conversations with My Kids - Study!

"Mom! I want a turn on the computer."

     "You had a turn. Leave me alone."

"I want another turn."

     "Uhm, did that whole 'You're grounded from your second turn' thing slip your mind?"

"But I'm BORED!"

     "Do I LOOK like Julie from the Love Boat?"

"What's a love boat?"

     "Never mind."

"But I'm still BORED!"

     "You're still grounded from your second turn today. Go study."

"I don't want to study. Today is Friday. I don't study on Friday."
     "You don't really study any other day of the week either."

"Mommy!!!!! Come on. I want my turn back. I don't have anything else to do."

     "Read a book. Draw some pictures. Watch TV. Go to sleep."

"Boring, boring, boring. I'm going to get a job at the cyber cafe."

     "No, you're not."

"Why not?"

     "It smells like smoke in there because the owner is always smoking and won't even turn on the fan."

"So what? If I work there it will be on Friday and Saturday when I don't have school and I will work when he is upstairs eating dinner."

     "I'm considering banning you from going there again. Besides, you can't get a job a month before final
exams and we're moving next month. You need to focus on your studies."

"But I can't work in the States unless I'm 16 and that's another 4 years away! That's a third of my LIFE!"

     "See? You totally own fractions! Go work on geometry."

"You NEVER let me do anything fun."


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Countdown Begins

We did it. We finally bought a house. My husband went to closing last week and he and the oldest son have moved in. YES! I finally feel like we're making progress. And while he's busy setting things up there, I'm busy taking things apart here. I've finally got my list of household goods, furniture and appliances made with prices so that I can hock all our crap and get the hell out of dodge just as soon as the kids complete their final exams at the end of next month. Am I excited??


And while I'm still spinning my wheels in some aspects of this move, I'm actually moving forward in others. Like I've already got a customer to buy my washing machine and refrigerator, my desk and shoe cabinet, and yes, even THIS very computer I'm using to type up this blog post. Randa's been running around the house putting "SOLD" stickers (made out of white electrical tape and a ballpoint pen) all over our stuff. She can't wait to get out of here and see her best friend in the world (her big brother) whom she hasn't seen in six months.

And I'm super anxious to get started with the next chapter of our lives in Texas; to be near MY parents and siblings for a while. But I can't help feeling this giant hole ripping in my heart when I look at the waves of the Mediterranean rolling into the fishing boats of Al-Maks while we drive past on the city bus, or when I see the   date palm trees blowing in the breeze and hear the fakahany (fruit-man) yelling out, "Oranges, apples, cantaloupe!" as he pushes his heavy wooden cart through the streets.

Egypt has been good to us over the last 12 years. We have enjoyed the safety of our neighborhoods, where our kids could  play soccer in the streets and run to the store five or six blocks away to buy a specific type of candy that they wanted or rent bicycles by the hour. We have fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy, bread and meats
within a block from our home. We  pick which chickens we want for dinner, and they are slaughtered and cleaned for us while we wait. Living on the coast, we pick out our fresh fish while they are still flipping around in the water-filled bins in the market. Our kids wear plastic flip-flops (known as shib-shib) all summer long because it's too hot to wear sneakers.

Soon we will be buying our foods in supermarkets and wearing shoes and driving everywhere instead of walking or catching the bus. We'll  be living the suburban dream on a much tighter budget. I'll be able to buy ketchup and mayonnaise instead of having to make it at home because it's cheaper. I'll be happy that we are together as a family; that we are near my parents; that if we want to go away for the weekend and have a full tank of gas that we can just jump in the car and go for 2 hours in any direction and stay with any one of my amazing cousins, aunts, or uncles....and without having to watch the news or call around to find out if there are any political demonstrations scheduled first.

I will miss Egypt terribly. I will miss my friends and my family here. I will miss the natural beauty here and the light-hearted and generous people that I now consider to be my own.

But I'm ready for Texas again...Yee-ha, y'all. Here I come.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Me:  Son, you keep teasing your sister and one of these days she's going to tag you right in the eye.

     He:  Pffft! I don't think so. She knows better.

Me:  Mm-hmmmmm. Keep it up. I'm telling you, she's going to pop you one and make you cry.

     He:  Yeah, right. 

**********Several weeks later, during a power outage when nerves were high after sitting in
the dark for well over an hour*************

He:  Shut up, Randa!

     She:  Ismail, stop it. Don't say 'shut up.'

He:  You're not the boss of me. I said, 'Shut up,' so 'SHUT UP!'

     She:  Ismail! Stop yelling!

He:  Yeah, heifer! SHUT UP!

     She: No, Ismail! SHUT UP.


Me:  Aiman, give me the flash light! Son, what happened?

     He:   She  punched me in the eye! I'm going to kill her!

Me:  Let me look at it. Hmmmm. Remember a few weeks ago when I told you to let her be or she'd pop you?
    He:  Yeah?

Me:  Well, consider that eye dotted! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Mothers Day

It's Mothers Day here in the Middle East. And my kids were asking to borrow money from me all week so that they could get me gifts. Instead, I told them that all I wanted was a clean house - not by my hand - and no fighting. This was said while I clutched my purse to my chest with both hands in a G.I. Joe Kung Fu death grip.

I woke up to find Ismail scrubbing the stove top (a job I abhor) and all the dishes washed. I took Samiya to school and delivered a couple of gifts to Aiman's teachers and walked home. When I walked in the door, Ismail had swept the living room, foyer, halls; cleaned the boys' bedroom; scrubbed the stove, counters, and kitchen floor and was in the middle of scrubbing the bathroom. I cried tears of joy.

One of my kids listened to me. This is a sort of new thing now that they're teenagers.

I got started making a giant salad and pie crusts for the spinach leek quiche that I had a hankering for. Then I watched a little television and had a cup of cinnamon coffee before dashing off to pick up Samiya from school. We got home and she went off to change clothes and study for a test she had tonight with her tutor and I listened while Ismail attempted to guilt Aiman into cleaning out the girls' bedroom. It took about three hours, but he finally did it.

We had dinner together and then Ismail, perhaps more exhausted from convincing his brother to help out than cleaning, climbed into my bed and went to sleep. Needless to say, Ismail is now my favorite child. I made sure to tell him that.

And now as I'm typing this....I'm once again out of the running for MOTY award. Aiman's best friend came over to collect his homework for the past week as he was out of town for a funeral.....and I forgot they were in the living room studying and I farted. LOUDLY.

I'm not overly concerned about it though. As my sister once pointed out, "If you don't embarrass them at least once a week, then you're neglecting your duties as parent of a teenager."

Happy Mothers Day.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

my brain won't shut off

running out of hours in the day

     running in circles and getting nowhere and nothing accomplished

what else is new?

      it just seems to be that time is flying by but dragging so slowly at once

shall i rush things or shall i take my time?

     time? who has that?

a year since i've seen him and it seems like it will be a year more

     but in reality it will only be a few months

can i do this again? can i accomplish it all and on an even more limited budget?

     maybe, but it's going to hurt a bit


DAMN! all night thinking with no sleep and still haven't solved my world's problems.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Want to Buy a...

Random conversations between me and my kids regarding high-ticket items they want to  purchase:

Aiman: Mom, I think I want to buy a volcano.

     Me: Save your money.


Aiman: Mom, I love monster trucks. I think I want one when I learn to drive.

     Me: Save your money.


Samiya: Those boots are the coolest. I really need those.

     Me: Save your money.


Ismail: I can't decide whether I want to buy a low-rider or a  pick up truck...but I think I'm leaning toward the low-rider.

     Me: Save your money.

Anyone detecting a pattern here?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Is That Like a 'Contact High?'

With two teenage boys in the apartment at the same time, our home is experiencing hormonal overload. Damn that pituitary gland! There are fights and arguments and threats and yelling and shoving and pushing and throwing stuff and swearing and more. I am quite sick of the fact that we don't have a backyard to throw them into with boxing gloves until they either are too exhausted to argue or one has been determined the head rooster of this here hen-house and they'll just shut up and leave the rest of us be. But that's just not going to happen for several more months. In the interim, I will continue dodging the flying shoes and insults and practice meditating while saying my mantra repeatedly: "BOARDING SCHOOLS ARE AWESOME. BOARDING SCHOOLS ARE AWESOME." Also, I'll have to see about a "preferred customer discount" at the salon where I get my face threaded. Thanks to all the flying hormones, I've developed a "contact mustache."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Man, It's Been a While

I wish that I could say that due to my usual productive busyness that I have neglected to keep up with my blog. If I did say that, I could be struck by lightening for telling lies and it would probably ruin the apartment and it's a rental and I wouldn't get my security deposit back when we finally move from here. So lying is sort of inconvenient.

Anywho, I finally noticed "Holy Crap! I haven't written anything since mid-February and it's nearing mid-March. How the hell did that  happen?" So I then I thought.....WRITE.

But write what?

Maybe I should bore you to death like I am now.....Nah. I'll just tell you the truth.

I turned into a slug. I have been staying up late watching television. Not really awesome television, either. Nope. Two nights ago, I stayed up and watched "Logan's Run" and it was lame. But I watched it. And then overslept and Aiman missed school in the morning. And all last week, I stayed up to watch two back-to-back episodes of Cougar Town. Really?! COUGAR TOWN????? And each time I watched it, I'd oversleep and he would be late for school or miss it entirely. (But it's a really funny show and I don't own a
DVR!!!) Oh, man. I'm pathetic.

I did NOT stay up and watch TV last night. But Randa came in my room and turned the fan on high and the window was open and I couldn't get out of bed this morning because I had a stiff back. So it wasn't my fault.
But the long and the short of it is this:  I haven't been overly busy with anything new or exciting or literary at all. I've only been busy playing catch up doing all the stuff I would ordinarily be doing in the morning if I wasn't such a sitcom addicted loser. I've enrolled in a 12-step program and I'll start tomorrow.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You Think Junk Yards Are Cool, But I'M Embarrassing?

Mornings are tough some days at our house.  They are much tougher when I do stupid things like stay up all night long watching old movies that I really liked back in the 80's and 90's. (Why DO they put all the good stuff on after my bedtime?) So last night I stayed awake watching re-broadcasts of a Turkish soap opera and an Egyptian soap opera that I had missed earlier in the evening. Then one of my favorite movies came on (Something to Talk About with Julia Roberts, Robert Duvall, Dennis Quaid and Kyra Sedgewick) and I watched it from beginning to end.

So chances are I'm not going to get the required rest when the movie ends at 5:30 a.m. and my alarm is set for 5:50 a.m. to get the boy to school on time. I just pulled a blanket over me and took a power nap on the couch. We actually got him to school on time. And I bought potatoes and got home by 7:15. Woohoo. Yay, me. I celebrated in the form of a nap until 10:30.

My daughter goes to school from 12:30 until 4:30 p.m. So we arrive half an hour late to pick up her brother and she's about forty-five minutes early for her classes. Whatever. Beats making 6 trips up and back each day, doesn't it? So she turned the television on while I was getting dressed and slugging coffee and some movie I've never seen before was on. Samiya called me out to the living room.

"Mom, what is that place they're climbing the fence to get into?"

     "That's a junk yard, Honey."

"Wow. That is so cool. It's really clean for a garbage dump."

     "Child, it's not a garbage dump. It's a junk yard. It's where they tow wrecked and broken down cars."

"They're very organized.  Are all of them like that?"

      "Like what?"

"Like stacked in that whole OCD way?"

     "Some of them are just haphazardly tossed about but the best ones are organized.  I never took you to a
junk yard when we lived in the states?"

"How would I know?  We left when I was two."

     "Oh, yeah."

"So why would you go to a junk yard?"

     "Well, you know when stuff breaks on your car or you get in a  wreck or you just need a really expensive part, instead of going to pay for a new one at a  parts store  you can call around to the junk yards near you and ask if they have the alternator or engine or door or fender or bumper to the same kind of car that you have and how much it is. And chances are you'll  end up paying a good deal less."

"Oh. That is just the coolest thing I've ever seen."

     "Your granddad and Uncle Tracy would be so proud to see those Southern roots exposed.  I like junk yards because they're sort of the silver lining of a totaled car."

"What do you mean?"

     "Well, once a car is wrecked so badly that the owner can't drive it anymore, it's towed off to the junk yard and the owner gets a new one after his insurance pays out, etc. But junk yards are sort of like a recycling center for vehicles and they help cut down on costs for people who need to repair their cars and it's a lucrative business for those who own the lot. I've always appreciated a good junk yard. It's nice to see another girl who does, as well."

"Mom, can we go now? I'm going to be late for school and I'm kind of over this whole emotional tie you seem to have with a dump for broken cars. I really only brought it up because I liked how they stacked them up. You're so embarrassing!"


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Consideration of Others IS Consideration of Self

RESPECT - an act of giving particular attention: Consideration

Respect is a vital ingredient to any relationship. It is needed for a healthy relationship with self, partner, parent, spouse, child, neighbor, competitor, stranger, boss, employee and even enemy. (Yes. There are enemies who hate one another but still respect one another.)

I have encountered more disrespect in the past twenty hours than I think I am able to handle. I've had a lit cigarette flicked at me while the cigarette-flicker looked right at me, been lied to by a woman who "desperately needed to buy this stuff" so she could get back to her baby that she had locked in the house by himself....only to find that 2 boxes of green tea, some toy soldiers and a  punch balloon were her emergency AND she had her 4 yr old boy in tow (I told her, "May God forgive you for lying to get ahead in life and setting a bad example for your son) and then when I went to buy a new coffee mug at a different store, the two employees there were more interested in  playing Romeo to teenage girl Juliets that they volleyed back and forth as to who was going to help me and neither did. I complained LOUDLY to the owner and reminded him that if it weren't for the customers that his employees refused to help they wouldn't be needed to work there and that I would never shop there again.

My son "borrowed" my mp3  player without permission and took it into the bathroom to listen to it while he did his business...only somehow my mp3 player fell into his "business" before he flushed and now it and more than 140 songs I'd purchased are covered in poo and the circuits inside are fried because he "rinsed it off."

I've been called upon to lift furniture and clean up a nasty dirty apartment by a woman who claims that she is my friend without warning and treated with disdain when I apologized and stated that I was not at home but in fact visiting a friend on the other side of town. I suppose she expected us to get up from the dinner table and run to her aid even though her own sisters, brother, mother and children refused to help her and she didn't say a word to them.

People! Respect is key. The base of my marriage is respect. The reason that my husband and I have been happily married for 18+ years is because we respect each other and TREAT each other with respect. We do not call names in arguments and have never raised a hand one to another. EVER. My friends can attest to the fact that I treat them with respect 100% and that even if we are arguing, I respect secrets told to me and still don't repeat them, even if the friendship ends. If I am wrong, I respect myself and friends enough to ADMIT IT and apologize.

Today, I feel that respect is something that I give to everyone right out of the gate and that I get very little to none in return. I am not a happy camper and due to the disrespect of my wishes and property by my son, I can't even plug in my headphones and sing away my blues. Instead I'm hoping to "blog it out." *sigh*

Go out of your way to treat others with respect today (and everyday.) It is a reflection of the respect you have for yourself as well as for others who share your planet.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Apples and Their Distance From Trees

"I want my turn on the computer! I want my turn on the computer!"

     "What? Are you 6? Obviously I'M taking a turn on the computer. Just wait."

"I can't wait. It's my turn. It's my turn. Come on! It's my day off!!!!"

     "So when exactly is MY day off? Hmmmm?"

"You have 5 days off a week while we're all at school."

     "You seriously think that?"

"Well, yeah. You get to use the computer all day, every day while we're at school."

     "Who the hell do you think takes you there, takes you home, buys the food, cooks the food, cleans the house, etc?"

"Well, you do. But come on, Mom. It's my weekend. Now let me have my turn before one of the boys steals it from me."

     "I swore I'd never wish this on you like my mother wished it on me. But:  I HOPE YOU HAVE FIVE KIDS JUST LIKE YOU!"

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Twelve Years Ago Today

It was snowing and we slipped out of the house at around 6 in the morning and got in the van and drove to Silver Spring, Maryland.....and managed to STILL hit traffic on our way making us late for my 7 o'clock appointment. It didn't matter. And then they got me ready and wheeled me into the operating room. My husband dressed in scrubs came in with me and held my hand and talked me through my claustrophobic attack because the oxygen mask was too big and seemed to cover the bottom part of my eyes. And then I felt this intense yank at my abdomen and I let out a big yell that sounded like, "AHHHHHHHHH!" And my doctor freaked because she thought that my anesthesia was not strong enough in the epidural and I assured her that I was not feeling pain but relief. That kid had been crushing my diaphragm for nearly 3 months and I could at last breathe freely. She looked at the baby in her hands and agreed, "Oh, yes. He's a big one."

He weighed in at 10 pounds 5 ounces and he was beautiful. Aiman Gabreel. My baby boy. And today he is 12 years old and handsome as ever, funny like there is no tomorrow and sassy. But you know, smart ass is a genetic trait in my family. We embrace our crazy proudly.

I love you, Aiman!
Happy birthday.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm Number Two! I'm Number Two!

While stroking myself (my ego! Get your mind out of the gutter!) today, I was reviewing my blog stats and found that MY blog is the number two to pop up on Google when you search on the following string:

          "stress induced gas"

This will not come as a surprise to my siblings, parents, husband or children. (Probably, it won't surprise my neighbor as my computer is situated next to the paper-thin front door of our apartment where I tend to be late at night when the world is quieter and the day's dose of teenage angst tends to fly out of me at a rather loud and, dare I say, noxious way.

But still...."Yay. I'm famous!" (sort of.)

And again, Becca, thank you for sticking that phrase into my head back when I was having my heart work ups last year. I was convinced that I was having angina attacks. You opined it was gas. You won. (My neighbor lost.) 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Differences in Parenting Kids Under 10 and Teenagers (aka MOTY 2013 Nomination Application)

Chat conversation between me and my sister last night:

Me:  Hey.  Howzit going? It's not even 10 pm and I'm ready to hit the sack.

     Sister:  I'm whipped, too and it isn't even 2pm.  How does that happen? ahahahahaha

Me:  I am fantasizing about empty nest syndrome.

     Sister:  You'd miss them like crazy.

Me:  Randa is tattling on the two youngest who are fighting in the girls' room. Is it wrong that I am totally able to tune out body slams?

     Sister:  Don't ask me. I can tune out damn near anything.

Me:  I just heard Samiya tell Aiman to get the eff off her stomach. *facepalm*

     Sister:  God help me when I have teens.

Me:  They've been at it for 20 minutes now. I'm at that "I just don't care anymore since they don't listen anyway" point.

     Sister:  Have you considered chores?  Maybe that cool "get along" t-shirt like they did the piece on in the HuffPo?

Me:  That would be like a cage match the likes of WWE "Hell in a Cell."  I'm beginning to understand why Mom let you and Lloyd kick the dog snot out of each other in the back seat on that road trip to Mobile when Dad stopped to buy gas and she was fed up with trying to keep the peace after 14 hours in the car.

     Sister:  I tend to separate the combatants when it gets physical. I find with mine when I separate them and don't let them interact, they immediately start finding ways to band together and gang up on me.  Sucks for me, but then they are getting along. Then again, they're 9 and 7 and have their own rooms so it's easy to separate them.

Me:  Not enough space here for that.

     Sister:  Bummer.

Me:  And only 10 more days for mid-term break to be over and I can send them back to school.

******Break in conversation for me to yell and scream and play referee**************************

Me:  I've lost my frickin' mind.

     Sister:  Huh?

Me:  THIS just transpired-  Sam:  He hit me and bruised me! Aiman: She called me a jerk! Sam: I'm going to KILL you! Me: You have FIVE minutes. No weapons. Close the damn door so I don't have to hear it and no one is allowed to cry, tattle or complain when I call time. GO!

     Sister: Are you serious?

Me:  Our mom was truly an inspiration to mothers of teens everywhere.

     Sister: Sounds like they need an outing....or an early bedtime. Hahahaha! And how do you do this without drinking?!  Wine is the best parenting tool I have.

Me:  Well, their 5 minutes are up and Sam has a black eye and her brother has a palm print across his face but I won't let them talk about it at all to me and they aren't allowed to fist-fight again for another 6 months. Ismail is in bed giggling his butt off. Time for me to go and DREAM about wine.

     Sister:  YIKES! Dream away.

Me:  Maybe I'll dream about Xanax cupcakes. G'night.

Not a Real Post.....Just Thinking Out Loud

Well, I don't have any idea what we're going to have for dinner today but I have been instructed that coleslaw is definitely going to be a side dish since my son  bought a small cabbage and sent it home to me today. *sigh*

So I'm guessing that 'fend for yourselves' day has been pushed back on my calendar. I don't mind cooking. In fact, I downright enjoy it most days. The trouble is with that dreaded question each morning, "WHAT am I going to make today?" If I ask my husband, the answer is always the same, "Anything." And I always complain, "But we had 'anything' yesterday. Can't you just TELL me what you want to eat????" Nope. Never can.

If I ask the kids it's usually something elaborate and time-consuming that I just don't have the energy to make (stuffed cabbage leaves...Pffffft! Uh, NO) or they'll ask for the exact same thing they had the day before....usually involving a lot of  pasta which leaves me sluggish and ready for a good night's sleep around 5:30pm.

So I am usually left to peruse the Pinterest boards (yay!) and drool over all the delicious looking meals on there that call for ingredients I don't have or cannot acquire here in Egypt (boo!) and then I look at the clock and realize "Damn! That 5  hours sure went by fast.....looks like salad, cheese and felafel sandwiches again."
But today we're going to have coleslaw...because Ismail decided. And because I actually have mayonnaise in the house today.  (I'd make my own but have no eggs.)  I'd leave that as the sole item on the menu but it's such a tiny head of cabbage that I'd be forced to send one of the kids down to the felafel stand again.

I'm grateful that we are a big time vegetable eating family. I don't have the usual problems getting veggies into my kids as a lot of mothers do. (Randa being the exception.) I think we have a kilo of green beans in the fridge so we'll have to clean those and make them next to the coleslaw. But I am pretty sure we'll have to have something in the form of meat next to that. They won't buy into an entirely vegetarian meal today. (We had vegetarian  pizza yesterday.)

Okay. THIS is by far THE most boring  post ever. I've nothing left to say so I'll end it here and perhaps post something REAL a bit later as the creativity bug bites.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mid-terms, Classics, and Falling Concrete

Where do I begin?

I have been intermittent at best with posting since the new year began.  I've been incredibly busy.  My two youngest are in the middle of mid-year exams at school and it's been a nightmare for me running one up in the morning to school and hanging out for an hour and a half for him to get out and then running him home, grabbing the girl and running her up to the same school (it's a junior high for girls in the afternoons and an elementary for both sexes in the mornings.) At any rate, our house is a half hour walk from the school and who the hell wants to walk all the way home and have to turn around and walk all the way back just a few minutes later.

So, yeah, waiting really blows. It's exhausting. Probably more exhausting than housecleaning, rug-scrubbing, or jogging (HA! Like I even remember how to do that thanks to the embarrassment that is post-pregnancies incontinence.) I'm making the best of it by sitting in the outdoor cafe catching up on my reading though. I'm nearly done with Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.  I started reading it a couple of chapters before bed last week and in the last two days I've devoured more than twenty chapters waiting for the kids. I truly love to read the classics.

So, we had a pretty freaky scary incident today. About ten minutes after Samiya and I had passed by the front of our building and come inside, we heard a thunderous boom and I asked, "What the hell was that?"
We heard people on the street making a commotion and ran out to the balcony where we saw that the
vertical wall that edges the roof of our building had crashed down to the street below where we had just been and where our doorman's granddaughters and our neighbor's daughter had been playing. It came fairly close and the neighbor's daughter, age 8, came tearing into the doorman's apartment with her hair covered in dust.  The doorman's sons raced upstairs to the fourth floor to warn the man in that apartment to stay off of his balconies as the  wall hit his balcony ledge on its way down and may have weakened the cement. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The doorman sent his sons back up to the roof with sledgehammers to knock the rest of the damaged wall down before it fell on its own while the youngest of them stayed downstairs to prevent cars and foot traffic from entering our street.

We only have a few more days of exams left and then Thursday night, God willing, we will attend an engagement party for my husband's niece. Maybe I'll remember to buy batteries for my camera and I can post some photos.  More when I can stop to catch my breath.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 Days of WET

It's been raining for 10 days straight, with scattered spots of damp and overcast.  My daughter is a lot like her father, in that she tends to get the winter blues.  Lately, she has been asking me, "Where's the sun?  It's gotta be somewhere!"  My  "takes-2-days-to-dry-on-the-clothesline" laundry and I have been asking the same question.

I love the rain.  I just REALLY hate laundry.

And feeling like I have no energy.  I have been sleeping like nobody's business lately...not at night.  All day.  I'll go to bed around midnight and lie there trying to solve the world's problems for hours and then finally drift off around two.  And not wake up until my bladder is going to explode and I keep dreaming about all things pee, or around 1 pm.  This leads to feeling like a ginormous loser.

I have always been a relatively early riser.  I like to get my house in order in the mornings before doing the usual trips to the market, slaving over the hot stove and piles of dishes that meals produce and then the copious amounts of homework assistance that the evenings regularly require.  Well, if I'm not getting up until 1 in the afternoon, I'm losing about five hours of daylight that have left my house in a shambles.  My bar has been lowered to the  degree that I feel like I deserve a Medal of Valor just for getting the kids fed and remembering to change their sheets once every two weeks.  Yeah, don't judge me.

Anyway, my cousin reminded me that our grandmother had hypothyroidism, as does she and another cousin.  We all live around the sea (I on the Med and they on the Gulf Coast) and I added 2 and 2 and got 4.  So I went to the doctor.  He seemed unimpressed because he couldn't feel my thyroid protruding.  (Well, why would he?  It, too, is properly insulated under all this excess fat along with my hot, muscular body.)  But because I am concerned about it he went ahead and ordered the blood work to rule it out.  I'll be doing that blood work next week sometime (for a whole other set of anxiety-attack-causing reasons.)

In the mean time, I'm working on calming myself down before bed by cutting back on "screen time."  I do not catch up on Facebook or Pinterest or other computer related tasks.  I also do not watch television before bed.   I've been taking an herbal capsule for anxiety and insomnia before bed (but it smells funny.)  I try to read.  I just completed A Tale of Two Cities   by Charles Dickens.  (Now on my top ten favorites EVER in the Great Literature category.)  Of course, now I need to make a trip back to the open-air used book market because the only book left in the house that I have not read is my copy of Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri and it's just ridiculously stupid.  I know, I know. "But it's a classic!"  I'm sure that his poetry was genius back in his day but to me it's just sacrilegious and well, "fire-and-brimstone-y" and I have trouble with it.  Not because it's "too deep" for me.  It's just SO FAR from where I am religiously (and I do mean that in the "steps backwards" way) that I don't care if I ever read it.

So, where does that leave me today?  I am currently out of the running for MOTY award for 2013 and only ten days into the new year because I'm sleeping my mornings away, not cleaning my house, barely feeding my kids or helping them with homework, wet from all the rain and a book snob who looks down upon great Italian poets like Dante.  I'm okay with that.  Who knows?  Maybe if I am proven right that this weight gain and dry skin and brittle hair and fatigue are all due to hypothyroid, then I can respectfully rub my doctor's nose in it, get my prescriptions and get my life back on track and be RE-nominated for the MOTY Award and come out on top finally.  We'll see.