Monday, December 20, 2010

Things I need to work on


As usual I’m not happy with the way I’m living my life right now. I’m permanently tired because I’m not getting enough sleep - for the past three days I’ve had about 3-4 hours of sleep a night. And I’m not even taking long siestas or anything to compensate for it, so that’s one hell of a sleep deficit I’m building.

Here's a list of the things that I really need to work on:

1. Getting to bed early. I can’t function during the day properly and I ain’t doing what I’m supposed to be doing until the last minute before bed. Feeling permanently tired is so old already.

2. Get my exercise in earlier. It has to be done. And no cheating. These days I’ve been working out in the wee hours - around 12 or even 1 in the morning. See, I said I need to get to bed earlier.

3. Write more. Throughout the day and not just 20 minutes before bed so that I can tick the ruddy habitforge update.

4. Quit playing Mahjong Titans. I’m wasting HOURS everyday on this s**t. Seriously, I spent over 10 hours on it last week. (As per my Rescue Time weekly summary - boy did I not like this week's report. Rescue Time, by the way, is an online time tracking program that logs how long you spend on every program that you use, whilst running in the background. It's actually pretty nifty.)

5. Preparing lessons properly and ahead of time. Also, I need to be stricter about logging hours and pay. I’m not feeling the whole teaching thing right now. A large part of my problem is that I teach several one-to-ones, but I prefer teaching groups (more varied interactions and it’s sooooooooo much easier), so I’m not very enthusiastic. This means that I leave my lesson planning until the last minute the night before. It would be so much better if I just did it ahead of time and had one less thing to stress over.

6. Work on my review of 2010. This year was basically an unmitigated disaster in terms of my New Year’s Resolutions and goals, for various reasons. I know that if I don’t want to repeat this next year then I’m going to have to really take a long hard look at what went wrong this year. I also want to do some of the various end-of-year reviews that are out there.

7. Pick goals for next year. I think this one’s fairly obvious.

It’s not much, but it does require willpower, which I’m kinda low on these days.

Anything you need to work on? Or is everyone just gonna wait until the New Year?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I am a warrior.

I recently discovered habitforge, a site that allows you to list habits you want to form and then sends you an email every day to check up on you. But the best bit? You have to do the activity every day for 21 days straight. If you skip one day, you have to start again from zero. It’s very effective. I'm currently working on two habits: working out for 50 minutes and writing every day.

So far it’s been 5 days since I started and I can say, hand-on-heart, that the previous two days especially, I would not have worked out if it were not for the threat of starting all over again. And you know what? It feels great! Every workout I finish I feel so proud of myself - this is a HUGE accomplishment for me. Consistency isn’t my forte, or so I keep telling myself, but I’m really beginning to think that’s a load of BS. I can do anything consistently, provided I have the right motivation, it’s something I truly believe in and it’s something that I really want to do, and not just something that I think I should be doing.

With regards to my workouts, I’m generally doing whatever workout I feel like doing and/or is convenient. Yesterday, that was yoga. I didn’t follow any set workout plan or DVD or anything, I just did a few rounds of sun salutation to warm up and then did whatever poses I felt like doing, for however long I felt like doing them for. The one pose I kept going back to and staying in the longest was this warrior pose (though perhaps not quite as deep as the picture in the link!). I am a warrior. ;)

After my little yoga sesh, I read through some blogs in my reader, and I came across this post from The Simple Dollar. In it, the author (Trent) shares that his wife writes a very simple daily journal: every day she notes down what the best moment of her day was. It seems so simple, yet so darn useful! I really think that if I were to note down the best moment of my day everyday I’d start to see what I really love to do.

So, what was my best moment of yesterday? When I realised I had about 10minutes left of my workout, I spent the rest of that 10 minutes smiling my way through the poses. I was happy with myself, and I felt strong, successful, centred and in control of my life.

What was the best moment of your day?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fasting in Islam

I've mentioned a few times on my blog about fasting, usually with regards to Ramadan. After Melanie's comment, I thought I could elaborate a little bit more about fasting in Islam. Because I don't want to complicate things, I've decided to use Rudyard Kipling's poem 'I Keep Six Honest Serving Men' as a guide to explaining the most important things.

Rudyard Kipling wrote:
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

So first up: What is fasting in Islam? Basically it's going without food or drink from dawn to dusk. It also involves staying away from all vices (sex, smoking, etc) during those hours, as well as working harder to please God through every act of worship from kindness to prayer.

Next: Why do Muslims fast? For much the same reason that Jews fast Yom Kippur and some of the reasons that Christians fast - to attain piety through humility, and develop a closer relationship with God. You can't show off when you're fasting, because only God knows if you're not cheating.

Thirdly: When do Muslims fast? It's just Ramadan, right? Wrong! Although Ramadan is the one time when Muslims HAVE to fast, it's not the only time that we are encouraged to do so. The other important religious fasts include six days in the month following Ramadan, the first 10 days of the last month in the Islamic calendar (which is the month in which the Hajj pilgrimage takes place) especially the 9th Day (the Day of Arafat) and other days, too.

Also, there are times when fasting is forbidden in Islam, most notably the two Eid celebrations.

Then there's How Muslims fast. Other than the fact that everyone doesn't eat, drink or have sex between sun-up and sun-down, there are no specific rituals involved. This has led to great cultural diversity across Muslim lands, which sparks a lot of curiousity and comparing of notes. All good fun. A lot of people get up early before dawn to have a breakfast, that can consist of anything from cereal to a full, several course dinner. (I’m not kidding, I’ve personally witnessed people eat 3+ courses for breakfast in Ramadan).

And then there is breaking the fast. The Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) said that God says that the two happiest times in a Muslim's life are when they break their fast and when they meet their Lord. This is so true. The pure bliss when breaking your fast is unparalleled. But what to break the fast with? Traditionally, it's dates, but it can be anything, from water, milk, soup, dinner, an entree, anything at all. This is then followed by a dinner, called Iftar.

Next up: Where do Muslims fast? Everywhere ... unless they are travelling. If you're on a journey or are away from home for a few days you don't have to fast, as the toll of travel can make you weaker.

Last, but not least: Who has to fast? Everybody at, or over, the age of puberty, male and female, who will not harm their health by doing so. So kids and anyone with a medical reason not to fast, as well as pregnant/breastfeeding women who fear for their and/or their child's wellbeing are exempt. Also, women on their period don't fast.

Now that I’m done with that, I’ll address one of the biggest misconceptions regarding Ramadan: that fasting for a whole month will make you lose weight. It doesn’t. Trust me on this. My mum once fasted Ramadan before she became a Muslim with the hope of losing weight and she lost nothing. Why? Well, because you can still eating anything you like in the evening. And worse yet, a lot of people put on weight in Ramadan because they think that having eaten nothing all day they can eat whatever they want, and however much of it, they like. Sadly, that’s not true.

And it’s quite common for non-Muslims to try it out, for various reasons. I know one person who did it just to see if they could, and another who lived in an area with a large Muslim community and wanted to join in. Also, there are lots of opportunities for people to meet up for an evening meal.

A member of a fire department participates in an Iftar.source


For some truly amazing photos of Muslims during Ramadan/Eid from around the world, check out the Boston Globe's Ramadan 2010 photo gallery.

Friday, November 5, 2010

La Vida Loca


When I posted over a week ago I honestly thought that the crazy of my life was over. I was very wrong. Since that last post I sat The Last Ever Exam of my life (hopefully). My parents left for a trip to Makkah for Hajj (pilgramage), leaving me in charge at home for a full month. I've started teaching English classes again. And the cherry on the cake is that I've only just discovered that the final deadline for my thesis proposal is the 15th of November.

All this has got me wondering if my life is ever gonna be anything less than crazy. Maybe it's just life in general. Maybe it's my procrastination that's resulted in me having to do a ton of stuff last minute (especially with regards to my thesis proposal). Maybe I'm trying to do too much...

Whatever the reason, I can't see it changing any time soon. I'm gonna have to get on with it all. And learn to make time for the things that I love to do, like blogging, exercising, reading, watching TV, etc. Knowing my abilities regarding self-discipline and putting things off, I won't be holding my breathe for any serious breakthrough any time soon.

Does your life get this crazy? And if it does, how often does it get crazy? Cause it feels like my life has been crazy for waaaaaaaaaaayy too long now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Return from AWOL land


This post has been a long time in the writing. I've been meaning to write it, and thereby get back into blogging again, for about a month now, but I just kept putting it off.

Why did I stop blogging in the first place? Simple: life got too much. Or rather uni did and I decided to just quit as many things as possible in my life, culminating in my skipping the last 3 weeks of uni (they STILL didn't kick me out, though) and not doing much instead. I spent the summer teaching English and swimming at some of the local beaches. Pretty nice, all round.

Then Ramadan hit. I always enjoy Ramadan - always. Except this year. This year was tough. I wasn't in the right frame of mind when it started, I didn't ever really get into the right frame of mind and I don't feel like I actually made the most of it. In Islam we believe that fasting Ramadan correctly and performing extra prayers will atone for all past sins. So at the end you (hopefully) get to start again with a fresh slate. While I believe/know that God's mercy is infinite, I really feel like I blew it this year.

After Ramadan I had to go back to uni, and that has been more of the same old stress, culminating yesterday in total depression. It was so bad that I decided to cancel the day and just veg out in front of the TV and/or sleep.

Today, I'm back. :D I've been reading blogs for about a month now, (although, I haven't been commenting) and trying to find my groove. Part of the reason that I haven't blogged in so long is that I basically felt that I sucked at this. Then today I decided just to look up my blog (to see if I could remember the address, *blush*) and reading through a few posts, I really didn't think they were all that bad... so here I am. Ready to keep my arse in gear and write blogposts on a highly irregular, erratic basis.

I'm back.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Complaining


I was told by a friend – a good friend – a few months ago that I like to complain. She was actually talking about her daughter, who she told me was fine because she was complaining, and when she complained it meant she was happy, like me. I was like: WHAT?! I’m not like that!!! And she told me that I was – that when I was happy I liked to complain. I was flabbergasted, to say the least. And she was completely wrong, of course. I mean, who likes to complain when they’re happy? Surely happiness is not having anything to complain about and therefore not complaining, right?

But then I started to think about what she said, and the more I thought, the more I started to realise that she has a point. (That’s one of the reasons I like this friend so much. She comes at me with a totally different perspective that knocks my socks off, but really gets me thinking.) I do like to complain. But for it to be true that I complain when I’m happy, then the inverse (that I don’t complain when I’m not happy) must also be true. Which, I’ve realised, it is.

Let me give you an example: when I was in my last year at university as an undergrad, happily studying my course, I complained incessantly about my lecturers/tutors, modules, timetable, research papers, exams, extra reading, essays, admin, transport and plenty more to anyone who would listen. However, at the beginning of ’09 when I was engaged and knew it wasn’t a good idea and therefore totally stressed out, I didn’t complain. Seriously, over a period of 3 months, I only made about 3 or 4 comments to my mum, a couple of conversations with my 2 best friends and that’s it. It wasn’t until I’d made up my mind that I was going to end it, and was feeling happy about it, that I started to complain to everyone else, too.

So, I don’t complain when I’m unhappy, but I do when I’m happy. That’s twisted. Really, it’s just wrong. It makes me a miserable cow. Not good. Not what I want to be.

Worst of all, I’m quite a cheerful person, really. No, honestly, I am – I’m a perpetual optimist, always looking on the bright side. But what if, upon meeting me, people hear me complaining and think I’m a miserable cow?

(Note: there is a distinction between complaining and whining: I do not whine. I cannot stand whingers/whiners. I just complain. I’m still working on the defining the difference between whining and complaining, though.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Am Happy


Except when I think about university.

I took all of last week off for no reason other than that I couldn’t be bothered to go. I’m seriously considering quitting my Masters. It’s depressing me: I hate the subject (it’s not what I thought I’d be studying), I don’t really want it for any future jobs (I don’t want to go into academia, which is all my subject’s really fit for), I cannot be bothered writing a 150-200 page thesis on something I’m not interested in (which seems to be what I’ll have to do), I hate attending (don’t like the modules, the lecturers, or anything), and basically it just feels like a monumental waste of time. So I should quit. But this is probably a one-off chance - I don’t think that this is the kind of thing that I’ll have the opportunity, time or will to do ever again. Especially if I quit now.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Go shopping, of course. For chick flicks, specifically. How does this help? Simple: shopping is relaxing, chick flicks always make me feel good - thereby prolonging the feel-good factor from the shopping – and a relaxed me is a lot more positive than normal and better at finding solutions.

My shopping trip culminated in my deciding to do the following:

1) Email some lecturers at other universities regarding my situation and try to get some advice. There’s no point asking my lecturers, obviously, because they all think that they’re wonderful. I will also seek out and ask lecturers at my university who aren’t teaching me.

2) Get back into teaching English again – I stopped in May for various reasons, but I should definitely pick it back up again now. If I do quit my Masters course I need to have something that’ll get me out of the house regularly, and it’ll probably be teaching. Not to mention it’s my only source of steady income at the moment, which is a pretty big incentive in and of itself.

3) I did a freelance translation job last week and earned a considerable amount in a very short time, which reminded me of why I liked translating. Of course, that was after I remembered how much I hated deadlines. But, let’s face it; every single job has deadlines in some form or another, so I’m ok with it. Now I need to put together a portfolio and get more clients.

4) Now that I finally have my own laptop, it’s high time I took on some work online. The mere thought scares the living daylights out of me (I’m terrified of screwing up) but I know that I need to just do it, and then I’ll be like ‘oh, that wasn’t so bad!’

This week, I’m going to start on steps 1 and 2, which will probably take me at least two weeks, and then I hope to take on the rest when I know how that all goes.

At least my university timetable has been adjusted so I only have one and a half days of attendance, instead of my previous 2 and a half, so that’s something.

(Random side-note: I googled the words 'depressed student college girl', whilst trying to find a picture for this post, and a picture of Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen came up as one of the suggestions. Google's weird.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Guess What


I have finally got a new laptop. My last laptop went kaput back in January, and it’s only taken me five full months to get a new one. It’s a refurbished Advent, which basically means that it has everything that I want, for a reduced price, because it’s second-hand, even though it looks and feels brand new (seriously, it’s brand spanking new).

I knew that I was supposed to be getting it soon (my parents were issued orders to buy and bring me one) but I didn’t really want to write about it until it was here, under my fingers, because whenever I write about anything that may/should happen soon it inevitably doesn’t. Like the treadmill I was hoping to get back in February. Anyways, it doesn’t matter, the fact is my laptop is here now and I’m a supremely happy bunny.

I’m currently trying to copy files from both my mum and dad’s laptops as well as my old one, and to free up some space on my USB stick. Not happiness –inducing work, but I’ll be happy when it’s done. I can’t wait to be able to use my laptop without having to figure out where half my stuff is!

Last word: I love my laptop.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Five

I haven't been able to think of anything to blog about recently, mainly because I haven't felt like blogging or doing anything that might count as constructive. Except make huge lemon meringue pies, but even that could be considered destructive in terms of my overall diet and health. :D But I got this idea from Amber who's doing the same thing today.

ONE:

Before my mum went away she cooked some meals and put them in the freezer for the days when I'll be at uni. I skipped uni several days this week, but have been using them anyway, which means that I've only cooked one meal from scratch this week. That's how lazy I've been.

TWO:

I am now, for the first time in my life, addicted to reality TV, specifically Discovery's T&L (TLC in the US) channel. I'm glued to Cake Boss, Say Yes to the Dress, What Not to Wear, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant (now that's what I call an Oh-My-God show) and even Miami Ink. What's wrong with me??? It actually feels like my brain is frying. I've gotta stop this.

THREE:

I have still yet to get back to an exercise routine. It's May already. Heck, it's the end of May - next week is the first week of June. My aim is to work out today.

FOUR:

University is officially depressing me. For some reason that is completely beyond my comprehension, we don't finish this summer until mid JULY. Then we get a two month summer holiday, followed by another month of uni before we do our 2nd Semester exams. Shoot me please.

On the plus side, I have perfected the art of skipping lectures: out of the three lectures I missed this week, two were cancelled at the last minute. :D

FIVE:

Yesterday I finally caught up with my Google Reader. It took me around three hours, but I really felt that I didn't have an excuse to click the 'mark all as read' button when I've done nothing all week. I'm actually really proud of myself for catching up.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Holding Down the Fort


My parents have gone away for 2 weeks today, leaving me holding down the fort at home taking care of my 4 younger siblings, the youngest of whom is still in primary school. As a result, I've cancelled all my teaching lessons and have given myself a carte blanche to miss as many days at uni as I choose need. It's all good.

Life's been really crazy for too long now - it feels like I'm running on a little hamster wheel - and I need to take a break and get back to what I want to do, what I love, what makes me feel healthy and happy. This complete break from my routine is perfect. I have to cook, bake, clean house, do laundry, go food shopping, etc, etc, for 5 people and I LOVE doing it all. (I think it's the novelty of it, though. I'm not sure I'd like it so much if I had to do it all the time...) Being a student, most of the results of my work take a while to come through. It's satisfying when I make a meal to see the meal that I've made, and it's even better when I get compliments for it. The fact that it's gone in 10minutes flat, is a little disappointing, but hey - I can't have it all, can I?

So over the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping to post a few recipes (if I make anything interesting), maybe blog what I eat for a day (I've always wanted to try that), but above all, blog more regularly!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness


I'm trying to maintain my postivity after a long and exhausting day, so I thought that it'd be a good idea to go over some random acts of kindness that I have been luckily enough to receive over the past few days:

- A guy from one of my classes came up to me and thanked me for questioning our lecturer about the correction of our exams. He said that he totally agreed with me, but felt a bit shy about calling out the lecturer in class. (When it comes down to exam marks, I'm never shy. The particular lesson he was referring to was the first - and so far, only - class in that subject in which I have actively participated.)

- One of my classmates offered to help me with my presentation, giving me lots of advice to make it less boring and quicker. Bless her, she even offered to help me with a bit of last-minute research.

- I had to get some paperwork today and the two men in two different bureaus were just so nice! They were pleasant, chatty, helpful and efficient. It just made the whole process pain-free.

All these little things really cheered me up and left me walking away with a smile on my face. We all need these little things every now and then.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

On and Off the Band-Wagon

*Plop*

I think that was the sound of me falling off the band-wagon. It couldn't have been a much louder noise, because I've only just figured it out and it happened a while ago. Unfortunately, it's spreading. I've stopped exercising entirely (every week I say 'next week'), I've started watching way too much TV (every day I say 'just this show'), I've stopped going to bed/getting up early (everyday I say 'tomorrow') and I've basically stopped blogging, just when I'd gotten into a nice little routine with it all.

So, this week is going to be 'one day at a time' week. I'm gonna try to do my best and tackle the major areas I've been slacking, one day at a time.

And I'm starting off with this blog post about nothing. I could whine about how I'm still 2lbs over the weight I should be. I could complain about uni - honestly, in complaining terms, university is the gift that just keeps giving! I could complain about all the paperwork I have to run after this week. But I won't. I was thinking yesterday that I haven't been focusing enough on my accomplishments this year, which is leaving me feeling dejected and completely devoid of motivation. So, my top accomplishments so far (in no order):

- I've taught two students to a Beginner's level in English.
- I've taught a six year old basic English (alphabet, colours, numbers, phrases and nouns).
- I've saved up and researched for my Driving License so that I can get it later this year.
- I managed to pass my first term at university as a post-grad.
- I gave my first ever 1.5hour presentation at university, and while it was boring as hell, it went well. I didn't stammer or stutter and I was able to speak loud enough for the class to hear me. That it was boring was the least of my problems - I DID IT!!

Considering that I've done all this in a mere 4 month period, I'm extremly pleased with my progress. Moreover, these are not accomplishments that I've acheived in a day - they've taken hard work over a period of weeks, if not months, to achieve. So obviously a little every day has been working for me. :D

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Proof of Life

I'm still alive, despite the fact that I've been completely absent online for a good week now. I haven't really done anything interesting or been any busier than usual, but I was feeling rather overwhelmed with a lot of 'need to do asap' surprise things. I have some paperwork that suddenly jumped out at me and needs to get done post haste. Unfortunately, it'll take me at least one day to do it, but most likely at least two and I don't have two whole days to waste running around after paperwork.

Then, I was told that I'd have to start a presentation on Wednesday concerning a really long book that I've only had a couple of weeks to read. (It's basically an economic and philosophical argument for a political phenomena, so it's not even interesting. Oh, and it's also kinda out of date.) In addition to this I really have to come up with a topic for my thesis, and get myself a thesis advisor. Eek.

Oh yeah, and my parents are going away shortly and I'll be left babysitting for a couple of weeks, which also involves cooking, etc. Plus there was a bunch of compulsory social engagements due up. (Don't ask.)

Oh, and I nearly got killed/seriously injured by a very heavy falling metal window guard thing. Thank God I was 30 seconds late!

Net result? I got really stressed out by life in general and just gave up on the internet, friends, exercise (although I have cut back on eating and am on the losing path again) and everything else that wasn't imminently involved with my survival. My motto this week has been a Dori-quote from Finding Nemo:


It worked and somehow I got through the week (it helped that my presentation has been delayed another week - phew!), which I am truly grateful for. Now I just need to be strong and get through this week and my presentation on Wednesday, and then it's downhill from there!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bullets.

I can't seem to pull together a post on one topic, so I'm doing bullets instead.

- Why oh why is it so hard to work out how much tax-free electrial goods are in Heathrow airport? I'm not going, but my parents will be going through it soon and I want to give them a shopping list. And if they're gonna be passing through the tax-free part of the airport, then I'd like them to buy it as cheap as possible. But then maybe I should just get it off ebay...

- I taught three English lessons today, which is unusual, but my lecture this morning was cancelled, so I took over one of my mum's lessons. I must say, it's nice to see my students making progress.

- I just typed the above a minute ago, before I accidentally hit something and lost it. The strange thing is that the first bullet didn't disappear. Weird.

- I'm going shopping tomorrow - YAY!! Don't know what I'm looking for, but I'm going shopping.

- I watched the Twilight Eclipse trailer yesterday and I really liked it. Believe it or not, I was debating whether or not I was going to watch it. Now I know that I definitely will. The only thing I don't like is Bryce Dallas Howard. She just looks so wrong, they really shouldn't have switched out Rachelle LeFevre. Here it is, just in case you haven't already seen it/want to re-watch it.



- Speaking of films, I can't wait to see the new Robert Pattinson film Remember Me. A friend told me the story line and it sounds great. Sad, but great. Furthermore, she said that he actually acts in this one, and does so really well (and she's not an RPattz fan, so I trust her). I don't think that looking washed-out and sombre in Twilight truly counts as acting. Just my opinion. Anyways, here's the trailer for Remember Me:



What's your take on RPattz's acting skills? Is there anything you're looking forward to over the next few days?

Monday, April 26, 2010

When In Doubt, Quote.


I have nothing worth saying today, nor have I had anything for the past few days, hence the reason I haven't posted for near enough a week. It's not because life has come to a standstill - because, let's face it, it never does that - but rather, because I have nothing to share. So, instead I'm just sharing other people's words, people who had some real wisdom to share.

"No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one" - Elbert Hubbard. Amen.

"Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn -- my God, do you learn." C.S. Lewis

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson (Who I keep confusing with Robert Frost, for some reason. I don't understand why - they lived at different times and they have very different names. I guess it's because I know they're both poets and I love their poetry, despite having read very little of it.)

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill

I don't know if it's the fact that I was born and raised in the UK, or just my personality, but I love Winston Churchill quotes. I always find them amusing, quirky and soooo true!

"You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her." - Winston Churchill

"Only the stupid need organization, the genius controls the chaos!" - Albert Einstein. This is quite possibly my favourite quote of all time. I'm thinking of making it my motto.

And my hands-down favourite poem of all time:

Leisure
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
- W.H. Davies

What are your favourite quotes/poems?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday Reminder


Wednesdays are my early morning days, as it's the only day of the week that I have to leave home at 7.15am (ish). (The rest of the days I get to leave home at 8.30ish.) It's not that big a deal though, because I only have one lecture and it's finished by 10.30am, so I'm home for dinner (I prefer to eat my main meal as early as possible). This tends to mean that I'm often extremely tempted to go shopping on my way home.

For some reason, Wednesdays are also my 'Ooooh! That's cute' days. You know, the days when you see loads of stuff and think 'Oooh! That's sooo cute! It'd look great with *insert any wardrobe/household item*'. I notice what other people are wearing, I see all the lovely clothes through shop doors and the shoes in the window displays... and I want it all!

As I finish early, it's very tempting to go shopping on the way home. However, this adoration of stuff is remarkably short-lived. In fact, I'm usually over all the cute stuff by the time I get to uni. Why? Because it's the only morning I hit the rush hour traffic and take forever to get to uni. Once, I was so late I actually missed my lecture. The only lecture I have to attend. I was so annoyed.

Anyway, back to topic. Being stuck in traffic on a bus that takes the busiest route, is a great incentive to save money to pay for my driving lessons, and therefore not shop. It's also a weekly reminder that keeps me on goal. Net result? I've now got enough money to pay for all the lessons. (I wanted to have all the money together before I start, just in case I somehow lose my income - I like to cover all bases.) I'm so proud of myself.

But now I seriously need to go on a shopping trip. I've only bought ONE pair of shoes this year and 11 DVDs. That's it. I need retail therapy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I watch The Biggest Loser. Sometimes.

Source


I really like watching The Biggest Loser. I mean, I wouldn't add it to the schedule of TV programmes I watch, but when I catch it, I'm happy. In all honesty, I think it's because the size of the contestants scares the living daylights out of me. I'm terrified of getting that big. I know people who are obese and it's so not a walk in the park. They have issues with mobility, with seating (which is just plain embarrasing) and eventually with health. What's worse is that it's really difficult for them to lose the weight because there's so much of it.

I think the reason that it scares me so much is because an obese family friend once turned around to me when I was eating a huge plate of curry and said: 'I used to eat like that', meaning that now that she's older she can't eat such large portions. It freaked me out, because I started to think if she used to eat that much - i.e. doesn't anymore - and is that big, what the hell is going to happen to me? That's when I got into healthy living.

It's also why I watch The Biggest Loser: seeing people that heavily overweight struggling so much to get healthy makes me want to work even harder to not get there, to not become them. It makes me start eating more fruit and veg, cut back on portion sizes and make exercise a priority.

And funnily enough it's almost always on when I'm having my dinner. :D

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Time-Out

This week I took a time-out from ... well, everything really. I went to uni, but skipped my most depressing lecture, didn't exercise once and spent most of my time vegetating on the couch watching TV, drinking tea and eating. Basically, I took this past week to recharge my batteries and, thank God, it worked because I'm raring to go now as a result.

That and the fact that today is weigh-in day and I discovered that I've gained FOUR WHOLE POUNDS in just one week! And it's not even girly-time yet. *wail*

Mind you, I did have pasta twice this week. And a pizza. And a couple of croissants. Yeah, ok, so I know why I've put on the weight and yes, I know it's not really a big deal - I mean 4 pounds? People on The Biggest Loser lose 100s! So I know it's not that bad, it's just that this is the first time since last September that I've actually gained and it has basically scared the crap out of me.

But it's ok, because I have now recharged my batteries and, although I'm not entirely sure I've got my mojo back, I do feel able to take on my life again. I can do this. My only hurdle now is sorting out my sleeping pattern because doing nothing and eating loads totally wrecks my sleeping habits. As do mosquitos. *grrr*

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Path of Least Resistance.

For a while now - I don't know how long, but it's definitely over a month and a half - I've been stretching myself a little too thinly. Too much planning, trying to do too much, trying to do the absolute best, etc, etc, etc. Net result? I've run myself into the ground. Ok, so not quite into the ground, but I've definitely run myself down and I'm suffering as a result.

So, what to do? I've decided to take the path of least resistance. If there's a quick/easy route out of something, then I'm taking it. If I can get out of something I don't particularly like, then I'm gone. This week I'm taking it easy, because I need to get back to being 100%, but then after that it'll be a whole bunch easier. I hope.

Why the path of least resistance? Because sometimes water, electricity and volcanoes have the right idea: just take the easiest route to your destination. Ok, so pretty much all routes are easy for a volcano, but whatever. For me, the path of least resistance started yesterday when I changed one of my paper titles. Coincidently, it now just happens to have the exact same title as a paper I wrote last year. Don't you just love it when coincidences like that happen? ;) (FYI: I will be editing it - it's going to be an exercise in discovering the true extent of my perfectionism.)

Do you ever feel like following the path of least resistance? Does it work out for you (please say it does)? Are there some areas of your life in which you're more inclined to follow the path of least resistance?

Friday, April 9, 2010

What a week.

It's been one long, hard, horrible week. For too long now, I've felt that my life is overscheduled, and this week was burn-out week. Here's a run through:

- Monday:
Actually, this wasn't so bad, it just wasn't any good either. I didn't get much done and, well, it was just so meh.

- Tuesday:
This was so bad that I decided to cancel it. Seriously. I got home at about 5pm, had dinner, removed my nail polish and went to bed as there was no point in even considering continuing with this day. By rights, I should never have gotten out of bed. Want to know how bad this day was? Let me count the ways:

1) Up late. Ok, my fault, but it's not a good start.

2) Crazy lady attack. A lady in my neighbourhood called me (not by name she used mademoiselle) and I, innocently thinking she wanted directions or something, went up to her. She then, very loudly, accosted me for cussing the neighbourhood (not likely, seeing as I live in it). I realised she was a slice short of a sandwich, so I walked away to the bus stop. She followed me, shouting insults the whole way. Apparantly people who wear black (boy did I wish I'd stuck with plan A and worn green) are filthy sluts, bitches, whores, and a litany of other things and this woman was on a mission to out us all. In front of people in my neighbourhood who all know me. Yay. Admittedly, everyone else knew/recognised that she wasn't all there and they were nice to me, but still, it was kinda shocking.

3) I finally get to uni and my first lecturere doesn't show up, so I've got to hang around from 10.30am until 1pm for my next lecture.

4) I discover that for this semester my timetable is the same (which is good) and so too are my lecturers (which is not good). I do not like my lecturers because they are, for the most part, wasting my time.

5) My 1pm lecturer showed up and spent the entire 2 hour lecture talking about nothing. And I mean nothing. He didn't even have our program for the subject, so he couldn't teach us anything. But he didn't let us go home either. Instead, he gave us all headaches.
After that I just gave up.

- Wednesday:
Early start, trouble with transport, too many lessons to teach, a lecturer dictated the title of a research paper to me (and it's soooo boring).

- Thursday:
Ok, actually I enjoyed yesterday (a lesson with a 6 year old, which was great fun, and an afternoon at a friend's meeting a newborn), but I really just wanted a day away from scheduledness.

Today, however has been a blessing. I got up late, hung around the house in track bottoms and a sweatshirt, watched loads of tv, ate, and did nothing more strenuous than the washing up, making my bed and bringing in some washing from the line. I feel like I've recharged my batteries somewhat. Now I really need to sort out this coming week. I'm not looking forward to it, and in all honesty, I'm not loving my life at the moment.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Quarterlife Crisis

image found here

I'm a big believer in labelling things. Putting a label on something makes me feel that there's something that I can do about it, that I can take care of it. It makes me feel in charge. And obviously I'm not talking about people here, cause that would be stupid (and prejudiced). It's like when I was diagnosed with PCOS: just knowing what was wrong with me made me feel better, that I could conquer it. (Soulcysters is a great support group, by the way.)

So, after doing a fair amount of harrumphing over my complete lack of direction in life, I have reached the conclusion that I am suffering from a Quarterlife Crisis. Of the extensive list on wikipedia, I've decided that I have the following:

- realizing that the pursuits of one's peers are useless
- insecurity regarding the fact that my actions are meaningless
- insecurity regarding present accomplishments
- re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships
- lack of friendships or romantic relationships (heck yeah!)
- disappointment with one's job
- nostalgia for my high school life, specifically my first year.
- tendency to hold stronger opinions (I've always had this, but, hey, if I can blame it on a quarterlife crisis then great!)
- boredom with social interactions
- loss of closeness to high school and college friends
- financially-rooted stress
- a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than me
- frustration with social skills.

Now that I've finally stuck a label on the way that I'm feeling/where I am in life, I can start trying to fix it. This is the bit I love the most: the reading around bit. Then I'll actually have to do something about it, I guess...

Anyone else feel the same way? Anyone??

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Some People I Knew ...

I was feeling completely uninspired to write anything today, but it's on my to-do list and I need to get into the habit of posting regularly, so here I am. In my search for inspiration I trawled through a bunch of old photos with messages from icanread for inspiration (I like to keep the ones that I find thought-provoking/interesting/true/funny for just such occasions as today) and found this:

image from this tumblog

It got me thinking of all the friends I've had that I'm no longer in touch with. People who were and still are very dear to me, but aren't in my life anymore.

First off, there's my best friend from pre-school. We went on to the same infants school after that and remained friends, but then I changed schools and that was that. I saw her about 10 years ago in my old neighbourhood, but she didn't see me. I remember playing in pre-school together on the plastic slide and having biscuits and juice in break time.

Then there are my two childhood best friends, two girls (unrelated) that I used to see really often. I lost touch when one of them moved away and the other's dad remarried (I don't know why that was, but hey..). A few years later I got in touch with both. One's parents had split and the other had gotten married. The first girl was dealing with a truckload of crap in her life at the time and we lost touch again pretty soon. I often think about her. The other girl got miffed when I didn't phone her back one week (ok, I know I said I would, but I'm terrible with the phone - everyone who knows me knows that, and I did phone eventually). She stopped talking to me as a result, and after my apologies were sadly unaccepted, I decided to let it be.

Then there's my aunty Aisha (who's not really my aunty, but always was an aunty to me) who passed away last month. She was the first person I knew who had a computer at home - back in the day when Windows 95 was the bees knees and paint rocked. But best of all, she had a swivel chair. Oh the hours I spent swiveling on that chair!

It's funny, of all the friends I've had that are no longer a part of my life, these four are the most significant. They are the ones that I often think of and wonder if they're ok now. I hope they're happy wherever they are.

What friends have you lost touch with? And what do you do when you're looking for writing inspiration?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Busy Lizzy

image found here - aren't these gorgeous? I love the colours!

No, this is not about flowers, although buzzy lizzys are amongst my favourite. They take me back to being a little girl and going shopping for seeds with my mum in early spring sunshine.

This post is about how busy my next few days are gonna be. :(

Today I was out touring the old part of Algiers, the Casbah, which was great fun - thoroughly fascinating (I'll be a-blogging about that soon, I just need to go through my photos first).

Tomorrow I will be going to a family friend's house for the afternoon and evening, which I'm not looking forward to, but feel that I have to go. I'll enjoy it when it's over.

Saturday I have an English lesson in the morning (which is nothing new - I have that student every morning) followed by an afternoon of socialising with a bunch of expats. With cream cakes and loadsa tea. Yeah, I'm looking forward to Saturday. :D

Sunday I'm back at uni. Bleugh. This means that I've got to clean house (my intended spring clean this holiday didn't happen), start my next research paper and prepare to present it as well as start thinking about my thesis. Eek! The mere thought of all that makes me just want to crawl into bed and pull the duvet over my head.

On the bright side though, I'm hoping to start my driving lessons soon - yay!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Other People Rant

Sorry, but this is a rant.

Why do people have so much difficulty not understanding that I do, in fact, have a life? You know, one that doesn't involve waiting around all day for them to grace me with their presence. Or hours of boredom only relieved by their phone calls. Seriously, I have a life! EERRRGH!

A friend who lives a way away called me to arrange a meet up. Great! Only she's just got in town and is going away again in 2 days. And I'm supposed to shift my schedule around to suit her spontaneity? I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong, I like spontaneity, but sometimes you have to plan fun things out, too. You can't always just roll out of bed and decide what to do. You especially can't do that if you have scheduled lessons to teach and a short 2 week holiday filled with places to go/see.

I just find it so insulting when people phone up thinking I've got nothing better to do. That I'm just waiting around for them to drop by when it suits them. And, to make matters worse, I hate that I come across as the ultimate b*tch for turning them down. Which I do, obviously, because I HAVE OTHER ENGAGEMENTS!!

*Deep Breath*

Ok, I feel better now. I enjoyed that rant.

Anyone else have the same problem? Or maybe something to rant about? Please, feel free to share.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trapsing around Roman Ruins (Long Post)

Being in Africa, Algeria's history goes back a long way. In the southern regions there are caves with drawings by early men, in the Northern regions there are the much more recent Roman ruins, throughout the country you can see architecture from the Ottomon era and from the French occupation. All in all, there's quite a bit to see, and because we're having a 'staycation' - we're not going away anywhere this spring break - my family and I decided to pay the Roman ruins in the nearby province of Tipaza a long over due visit.

It was a beautiful day, with some lovely views on the way down:


The ruins are of a city from the late 2nd Century-early 3rd Century, and it was amazing to be able to walk in the footsteps of people who lived there nearly 2000 years. You can climb up the steps of the temple, walk through the doorway of the ampitheater and stand in their rooms. It was incredible.

We saw the ampitheater:


A couple of temples:



Some houses:


With this amazing tile detail on the floor of one of the rooms of a ruin:


There was also a fortress:


And a theatre:


By this stage we were all totally cream crackered (cockney slang for knackered), so we headed off for ice-cream and then home. Everyone had a lie-in the next day. ;)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Film Review: Julie & Julia + Blogging

Ok, so last night I watched Julie & Julia. I've been wanting to watch it for a while because it stars Meryl Streep (gotta love Meryl), it's about a blogger and everyone keeps going on about how great it is. So, I finally sat down to watch it last night with my little sister. In all honesty, I didn't really enjoy it. I mean, I did. But I didn't. Overall, it was just kinda meh.

First up, the positives: Meryl Streep's performance was amazing, of course, and Amy Adams looked suitably knackered throughout the film, which was appropriate, considering that her character (Julie Powell) works a job and cooks for hours by night. Also, the portrayal of a blogger was really good - it's like so much that I've come across on my reader. lol. I liked the fact that things went wrong for Julie - not because I'm mean, but because it's realistic. Things don't always work out great.

(For anyone who's interested, Julie Powell still blogs here.)

What I really didn't like? Let me count the ways:

1) There's no real story. It's just one woman blogging about cooking and another woman first learning to cook then trying to get her book published. That's it. Whoopee. Nothing else happens. I mean, I know it's a drama and all, but something has to happen. There has to be a reason for the story. But there isn't.

2) Too much making out. I mean, really?!?! It didn't add to the film. At. All. It wasn't demonstrative of the two married couples' relationships, and it honestly just felt like a filler, just something interesting to put on the screen during a talk-over.

3) It made me feel like a crap blogger. It also brought up that whole, should-I-have-a-central-theme thing again. Although this initially bugged me and got me down, it really prompted me to start thinking about my little bloggy, which lately I've been feeling needs a total re-vamp. So, I guess this aspect of the film really turned out to be a good thing. It made me think about how I want to change my blog around, and what I want to focus on, if I want to focus on anything.

Therefore, over the next week (I hope it won't be longer) I'll be changing this blog around - just messing with the design, fonts, colours, etc, as well as deleting some of the rubbish I once wrote a while ago. I might also pick a central theme, because I think I'm having a growing epiphany on that subject.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scientific weight loss videos

I recently came across this really interesting, scientific approach to what does and doesn't work with weightloss. As someone who leans towards the nerdy side of life, I like to know not only what works, but also how it works and how they know it works.

This is a 10 minute clip of a programme, which is continued in about 6 other clips on youtube. You can watch the rest if you want to from there on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break, I love thee.

Last week was a bit of a nightmare. It was the last week of term, which means that I had a load of exams, plus a research paper due. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to give up exercise, sleep and sanity. It also meant that I wound up clicking the 'mark all as read' button in my Reader a bit too often. Oh dear.

The exams seemed to go ok and I don't get the results until early April anyway, so I'm not going to stress out over them. What's done is done. All my revision was last minute, but it wasn't anything too difficult and I understood the lectures in situ, so I'm sure I did the best I could have done - even if I'd been revising for weeks.

As for the paper, I finally finished it at 3am the night before it was due in. I know, I know, that's really last minute, but part of my problem is that I'm a bit obsessive and perfectionistic. This means that it's almost never going to be good enough. I finish it, I'm happy with it and then I think of something else I could add, delete or tweak. Grrr!

Anyways, I finished the paper, dragged my backside out of bed a mere 3 hours after climbing in, and revised for my last exam on the bus in to uni. When I went to hand in the paper, I was informed by my lecturer that the deadline has been moved to after the holidays. Lovely. Pity he couldn't have told us before the exams.

I'm glad, though, that it means that I don't have to be working on my paper over the holidays. Now I just have to resist the urge to change it. :D

So, what do I have planned for this Spring Break? Well, this first week I intend to catch up on all my major chores and then next week: RELAXATION. I can't wait!

Do you ever get really perfectionistic with tasks, so that they just drag on? How do you deal with it, if you do? And, on a nicer note, what are you looking forward to in the next week or next few weeks?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Arranged vs. Non-Arranged Marriage


I love this picture, I think it's so cute! Image found here.


I've mentioned before that I've decided to go for the arranged marriage route. (Sorry, but I can't be bothered to find where to link to it! I'm aiming to tidy up my blog over Spring Break next week, anyways.) I find it hard to explain why sometimes, as it is such a complicated decision that depends on a lot of different factors, especially when you come from/live in the West.

I came across this article recently, in which Sheena Iyengar, a Sikh-American, mentions the whole non-arranged vs. arranged marriage thing. Here's an excerpt of her interview, which was actually about choice, by the way, not marriage:


One significant cultural difference, with regard to choice, is the way people find their spouses. You looked at non-arranged and arranged marriages in the book, and came away surprisingly positive about the latter.

The model is so different that it makes it very tough to compare them. The arranged marriage will lead in theory to less quarrels because you know, for example, what religion you’re going raise your child in. In the case of a love marriage, love is supposed to conquer all, but what do you do when you have different opinions about how to feed your child or save money? What we can learn from the arranged marriage is the importance and value of compatibility. I think what the love marriage can teach is the importance of shared understanding.


I really like her perspective about what we can learn from both models of marriage.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Big Loss

On Wednesday, at 4:30am local time, my aunty Aisha passed away. Although not my biological aunt, she was very much an aunty to me growing up. I went to see her family and got there after the funeral - in Islam people are buried very quickly. The reason for this is that we believe that the dead start to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the after-life before Judgement day when they are buried, so we want to hasten them to that restful peace.

I didn't realise that losing aunty Aisha would hit me the way it has. I think part of it is that I've never really lost anyone before that I was really close to or was such a big part of my life as a child. Because my extended family were so far away when I was growing up (Ireland and Algeria), my true aunties and uncles were my parents' friends. Aunty Aisha was a huge part of that. I used to go stay over with her and she'd come over and stay with us, and for a good couple of years or so we all used to meet up every single weekend. She really was an aunty to me.

Another thing that makes it so hard is that I keep think about the last time I got to see her on the Friday before she died. Thank God, we both got a chance to say our goodbyes, and the last things she ever said to me were: To not forget her, to tell her son about her, that she was glad to have got to see me grow up and to make the most of my life.

Just thinking about that makes me cry.

The feeling of loss really took me by surprise. Although I've only seen her a handful of times over the last 9 years, I always knew that she was there. And the fact that she isn't anymore is just so hard. Her smile, her voice, her look when people said things that were a bit silly (really, it'd crack anyone up!), her outlook on life, her cheerfulness. It's all gone.

I'm pretty sure that soon enough, the hurting will stop, and I'll be able to just remember all the good times.

But one thing I know for sure: I will never forget her, I will tell her son about all my memories of her and I will make the most of the rest of my life, God willing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ten on Tuesday




1. Of your current hobbies, which would you choose to spend more time, money, and effort on? Why?

This is tough. I'm gonna go with blogging, because I'm really beginning to enjoy it and I'm starting to realise just how much is out there that you can do. I think it's a really fascinating world, that links into so much else: photography, web design, programming, networking, writing (duh!), etc, etc. I'm actually hoping to block out some time in my upcoming Spring Break to redo my blog.

2. List the two other hobbies/habitual activies (not chores) besides the one listed above that you regularly do now and didn’t choose in question one.

Exercising.
Reading.

3. Why are you spending time on the above two hobbies/habitual activies at all if you really wanted to spend your time on the first one you chose? …or to put it another way, what are these two hobbies/habitual activities fullfilling that the first one doesn’t if you don’t want to put all your effort into the first hobby?

Exercise: I need to do for my health and, I'm realising, my sanity. It also helps inspire posts - you wouldn't believe how many posts I write in my head during a workout!
Reading: This is absolute relaxation time for me. It requires no effort and I can go have an adventure anywhere in the world whilst snuggling comfortably on the sofa.

4. Ready John 3:16 in the bible… In what way does this passage affect you? What are your feelings towards these words, positively or negatively?

Ok, I had to google that verse. No offense to Christians, but this verse is why I'm not Christian. I don't believe that God had a son - I believe Jesus was a prophet of God. Furthermore, I believe that whoever believes in God, and worships Him alone in this life will have go to Paradise.

5. M&M’s: nuts, no nuts, or peanut butter?

I don't really like any of these. I'm just not a nut person. And I don't really like the no nuts M&M's either. :(

6. Putting away the feeling of pride being a bad thing; what secretly/openly are you proud about yourself?

I don't believe that pride is a bad thing - there are some things in life that we should all be proud of: our identities, our strengths, our talents, our accomplishments. That doesn't mean lauding it over everyone else, but to acknowledge it to ourselves and truly enjoy it.
Now to the question :D, I'm proud that I'm fluent in two languages with a working grasp of a third. I'm also hugely grateful for it, as most of the work didn't come from me, but my parents.

7. Given one room in the house to do with what you want, not changing the actual size of the room and with all the money you would need, what would you do, and be specific? (this can range from bouncy floor,walls & ceilings; to hard wood floor with wood paneling and purple ceiling with a chair; to nothing)

My bedroom. I'd get new furniture, get my posters framed and hung on the wall, paint the walls a denimy shade of blue, get me a treadmill and a set of those oriental screens. I'd like to divide my room up into separate areas, but give it an overall feel of uncluttered relaxation. Which it really isn't right now.

8. What’s the next movie you’re going to see? Not what you’d LIKE to GO see, but the next movie you realistically are going to watch.

Umm, The Two Towers - I'm currently re-watching my Lord of the Rings DVDs. As for the next movie that I've never seen before? I truly don't know. It could be anything at this stage.

9. Use the keyboard only and make your best smiley/funny/cool face –> like this! 8^)

:D Lame, I know, but I like that one!

10. What makes you cry? What makes you pray? What makes you laugh?

Cry: PMS, death, films (movies), onions and crying men. That last one is my kryptonite. They don't even have to be crying, in fact, if I see a guy with tears in his eyes that's even worse. I will be blubbering wreck. And I don't even need to know why he's crying!
Pray: Religion, feeling lost, stress, feeling cornered in life, trying to improve myself, worry.
Laugh: RomComs, my friends on Facebook, good chick lit, my little brothers and sister, the rest of my family too, people.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bullets

I'm not in a writing mood, or even an editing mood to post a draft, so instead I'm just gonna do some bullets on random things that have been in my life/head recently:

- Bitchiness:
I hate it when people are bitchy. I hate it even more when they try to bring me in on their bitchiness. I mean, I can be bitchy, but I like to think it's not in an immature oh-my-God-she-said-something-mean-about-me-and-I-feel-sensitive-so-now-I'm-not-gonna-be-friends-with-her-and-I'm-not-gonna-be-friends-with-anyone-who's-friends-with-her way. Seriously, this has happened to me in the past week and all those involved were grown women. It's ridiculous. What's worse is the amount of behind-everyone's-backs whispering and tale-telling and whatnot. It's just plain sad and sick and infuriating when I get dragged in. It's so childish.

- Internet Connection:
Or rather, the lack thereof. It comes, it goes, I waste time. You see how that's frustrating? Anyways, it's here now. For now.

- Jinxs / evil eyes:
You know, this could probably be a post all by itself, but I can't be bothered doing the necessary research. In short, the evil eye is the belief that people's envy can affect things in your life. A jinx is pretty similar. And of course, you can give yourself both. Why is this a problem? It's a problem because I keep doing it to myself (unless one of my readers is...?). Everytime I write something on here that's good - like starting to exercise again, or buying a treadmill, or whatever, something goes wrong. This week my schedule has gone out the window, taking with it my exercise routine. Factor in a lot of cream cakes and we, my friends, are in serious trouble with the scales. And my treadmill is currently on hold.

- Routine:
My routine has gone clear out the window. Some weeks I totally nail it: up early, exercise done, work started / left home early, etc and plenty gets done. Not this week. And I have exams next week and a paper due. So naturally, I'm on here blogging.

- Masters:
I've been having serious doubts as to whether this is what I want to do. I'm not sure research is my thing. The only reason I haven't quit is because a) I don't want to be a quitter and b) I know that I pipped a lot of people to get a place in my course, and I owe it to them to not quit. I think that I'm gonna have to write up a list of reasons as to why I want to be in my masters course, why I want to succeed at this thing. An idea for another post.

- 2012:
I watched this film the other day and would just like to say that it totally sucked. Really, I thought this was a terrible film. I don't mind the whole end-of-the-world genre (I loved Independence Day!), but I found this film predictable, unbelievable and actually kinda sad. You can guess who'll die and who'll live within the first half an hour, and the dialogue is just meh. The only redeeming factor was John Cusack's acting - I do think he's good - and the cute Russian pilot eye-candy (played by this guy). However, I don't really think that either justifies watching the entire film.

- Nail Varnish:
I'll admit, I always underestimate the power of coloured nails. So much so, in fact, that I haven't bothered to wear nail varnish for over a year. At least. Last week, I decided to break this habit and just paint my nails. And how feminine and rocking did I feel afterwards? Yeah, I gotta do this more often. But not in bed - I spilt a bit of varnish on my bedspread and it really doesn't look that good. Any ideas as to how to get nail varnish out of duvet covers? Anyone?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Introvert / Extrovert Epiphany


image found here.


All week I've been mulling over my loner tendencies. I like my own space, my own time, and I can't be around people all the time. That said, I have no problem talking to people, making friends with people, being the centre of attention (must admit: I totally kinda love that one!), etc, etc, etc. In short, I appear, to all intents and purposes, to be a people person. But I'm really not. I can go weeks without seeing/phoning/chatting to people, and I'm not exaggerating - I have actually gone weeks without social interaction. It's fine by me. What's more, I hate it when I have to interact with people for extended periods of time, or worse: for undefined periods of time. I need my own little bubble of space and time to just be.

Basically, I'm not shy or reserved (if you ever met me in person, you'd know just how true this is) and I do enjoy being with people to a degree, but there's one very big but: I need recovery time from being with people.

Today I read something that suddenly makes sense out of all of this for me. It was this post on Ben's blog (Ben, by the way, is a hysterically funny guy).
What he wrote was:

"... an introvert is someone who loses energy to social interactions unlike extroverts who gain energy from them."

Cha-Ching! Perfect sense. It's an epiphany! I'm an introvert because I lose energy from my social interactions, even though I'm kind of a people person in the sense that I interact with ease.

Well, with ease when I'm not offending/bugging anyone.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Love/Hate

This idea was totally stolen from Nora today. I was going to do the Ten on Tuesday post yesterday, but my internet cut out before I managed to even finish reading the posts in my Google Reader. We've been having issues with our connection recently. :(

Love: the fact that it's going to be Spring Break (yeah, that's capitalised now - according to me) in two weeks time.
Hate: I have a research paper due in before then that I haven't finished yet, and at least 4, maybe 5 exams too. Yikes!

Love: It's warm outside, so I only have to wear a light jacket.
Hate: It's really windy, but I can't wear a coat to stop me from blowing away! We live near the sea - seriously, the wind is an issue.

Love: It's spring, so I'm coming out of hibernation. Seriously, I don't do winter. I don't like to go out much, or see people, or even phone them. Basically, all I want to do is stay in bed. All. Winter. Long.
Hate: Now I have even less time to myself, cause I'll be making up for lost time.

Love: My students are starting to make real progress and I'm unbelievably proud of them.
Hate: I have to start preparing lessons that really target their weak points to ensure that they're 100% ready to move on to the next level. That involves a lot more research, imagination, creativity, time and energy. I don't really have much of any of that right now.

Love: I'm close to being able to start driving lessons. FINALLY!
Hate: I'll actually have to learn to drive. It'll be something else to stress over.

Love: I think I might be getting a treadmill sometime soon.
Hate: That it's not certain. Otherwise, I'm thrilled!!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lost and Found

I've decided to summarise February like the 'Lost and Found' section of a newspaper. One of those ideas that comes to me on bus journeys...



image found on google images



LOST: MOJO
Sorely missed life tool, needed for accomplishing tasks and improving general feeling of well-being. Last seen around the beginning of January. If found, please return.

Ok, I just looked up 'mojo' on wiktionary and apparantly it means either 'a magic charm or spell, supernatural power or luck, personal magnetism/charm, sex appeal/sex drive or illegal drugs'. None of that's how I meant it. What I mean is my groove, my rhythm, my motivation, my routine, my interest, etc.

FOUND: EX-FIANCE
Reconciliation and second-chance seeking fiance, with a caring personality recently contacted my father. Needs culturally compatible girl with similar communication style for wedded bliss. Will offer money to anyone who will take him off my hands.

LOST: DVDS
An entire stack of DVDs, last seen (for sure) the summer before last. Titles include: Pirates of the Carribean (all three films, although, finder may keep third film due to crappiness), Brother Bear, Night at the Musuem I and Kindom of Heaven. Other titles may also be at large.
Although unnecessary to quality of life, the loss is infuriating, especially as house has been torn apart and vital work hours lost, in attempting recovery.

FOUND: MONEY
Gleefully discovered a not-insignificant sum in post office account. Wisely and most maturely, not withdrawing it until final sum for driving lessons,etc is obtained.
Will not be returning any of it.

FOUND: MITTEN PATTERN
After extensive online searching, google's first link provided the perfect, easy-peasy, two-needle knitting pattern for a pair of adult mittens. Knitting has commenced and finder is most grateful for discovery.
Will post pic when project upon completion.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What's your color?

Lisa mentioned earlier this week that she took this test that tells you what your colour is and how that translates to your personality. My result was as follows:



Nothing can stand between you and your demand for a calm environment. To be free of conflict and disagreement is the only way to live. In fact, it’s this philosophy that probably allows you to be comfortable in conditions that would normally bother others. Your ability to focus is undisputed, and while you enjoy attention, you still have problems understanding how to handle it. No other color out lives by the golden rule as much as you do.

All I can say is: WOW! This is amazingly accurate. 'Nothing can stand between you and your demand for a calm environment' is 100% accurate. That is me. Wow.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Venting

What do you do when you feel frustrated / increasingly angry because of someone or something? When something truly starts to drive you insane and you can feel the anger coursing through your blood, what do you do? How do you handle that positively?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have anger management problems or anything. I am largely my own mistress in that sense, but I’m just wondering how people deal with these feelings. I usually feel like I want to hit, throw or smash something – most especially the thing that’s annoying me in the first place. I don’t do any of that, I hasten to add. Well, not in an uncontrolled, all-out rage kind of way. I will occasionally whack a remote control or a mouse or whatever when it won’t work, but I rarely throw things and I never smash them. I know it’ll only make things worse, if only in terms of having to clean up afterwards.

What brings this up, you may ask. Well, yesterday I was in the shower and I got really annoyed and frustrated (by the dodgy plumbing, if you must know) and I basically whacked the tiled wall near one of the shower pipes to vent a bit. Shortly thereafter, I realised that I must have hurt my finger on a pipe. I couldn’t figure out how though, I mean, it’s a pipe; it’s a smooth cylinder! Anyways, turns out, there was a thingumy bob for attaching the pipe to the wall and that’s what I hurt my finger on. Then I was rather peeved that I’d lost my temper only to hurt myself. Yay for me.

I spent the rest of my (long, calming) shower thinking about venting anger and frustration and a recent conversation I had with a friend who said that she throws things when she gets angry or frustrated. She will literally throw the first thing that comes to hand: a pot of bean soup, a plug-in modem, mugs of tea or coffee, books, etc, etc. Once she took out all her plates, picked up a rolling pin and stood over the bin, breaking each plate into it until there were no more left. She said it felt wonderful and completely de-stressed her. And then, of course, she had to go buy new plates.

I however, would never, ever do that. It takes me forever to replace / fix the things that break of their own accord, never mind something I broke on purpose. Also, if it breaks, it would only make me feel worse, like I’m out of control and I’m a bad person. So instead, I’ll punch a pillow, whack an unlikely-to-break inanimate object, bitch, whine and complain ad nauseaum. If I can’t do this then I take deep breaths, try to focus on the positive of whatever’s annoyed me and try to get away as soon as possible.

What do you do?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Mint Choc Chip. Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm.

2. What is your earliest memory?
My earliest memory is when I was 2 and a half. My parents took me to London Zoo for Eid and I remember getting a camel ride with some random boy because I was too small to go on it myself and I was really annoyed about it. I also remember the lions and the giraffes. When I saw giraffes again years later as an eleven year old, I was so surprised that they were so short.

3. What is your earliest memory of a dessert?
Knickerbokerglories. There was a stint when I was little where my parents and me used to go to Pizza Hut every week and when I finished my dinner I'd get a knickerbockerglory. It's a humongous (I was little - everything was humongous) glass of layerd ice cream with sauces, fruit, cream, nuts and I can't even remember what else. I just remember the fact that I couldn't always finish it.

4. Do you have any recurring dreams?
Generally, no. But if something's on my mind, then it may pop up in my dreams in different forms several nights in a row, or until it's resolved. The past two nights my dreams have involved porridge oats in some form or other. My 3kg box has bugs in them, and I can't get oats here for some reason, so I want to de-bug the box. But I don't know how.

5. Have you ever dreamed about dessert?
Yeah... I just can't remember any examples. But I've definitely dreamed about dessert.

6. What is one thing (aside from a cell phone or computer) that you cannot go the entire day without?
Pen and paper. Tea. TV. Money. I honestly don't know. I can go the entire day without everything except my phone. Otherwise, it depends on whatever my latest obsession is.

7. What is one dessert you could go your entire life without ever having again?
Tiramisu - I hate coffee.

8. If you could go on vacation tomorrow, where would you go? (Assume someone else is footing the bill, but within reason…so “the moon” won’t work)
World tour - is that within reason? Just to Tanzania, Dubai, Milan, Rome, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, Rio de Janiro and Saudi. If that's not within reason, then just let me go back to London for a shopping trip. Fully funded shopping trip.

9. If you could have any dessert tomorrow, what would you have (assume someone else is buying it for you. Within reason though, no “gold sprinkled ice cream cones.”)
Either a knickerbokerglory or lemon meringue pie or apple crumble with custard.

10. What was your first impression of your significant other? If you’re single, what was your first impression of your best friend?
We were 8 years old. I loved her - she was warm, didn't talk and she let me gab on and on and on. She kept going into her mum every now and then. I later found out it was to complain because she didn't like me. :D

11. What is your first impression of dessert pizza? (Personally, I think it’s weird. I love dessert but I don’t want any on my pizza.)
Yuck. And I don't actually understand why there were 11 questions this time and not just 10...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Done

I'm not really in the mood for blogging today, nor have I been for the past ... however long it's been since my last post. BUT I'm being self-disciplined (hurrah) and doing it anyway. I think, however, that I'm gonna have to start preparing some random blogposts on various topics so that I can post them when I don't feel like writing. I'm gonna have to work to slack off. There's something wrong there. Isn't slacking supposed to involve no work? Hmmmm....

Anyways, I've been meaning to make a confession on here for a while, but I didn't want to say anything until after I got my backside in gear and sorted myself out. It's taken me all of January and February to get my backside in gear, but I am glad to announce that I finally have. So, my confession:

I have only exercised 3 times since the beginning of the year.

So much for getting healthier and forming good habits and all that blah blah that I thought I'd done at the end of the last year.

BUT I have started again. I've exercised 3 times this week so far (starting on Saturday) and I'm fitting it in early in the morning. And boy do I ache! But I am so proud of myself for finally just sucking it up and getting on with it. I intend to write a post some time soon - maybe this week? - about how Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred has kinda ruined me, but I can't be bothered to turn this post into anything remotely informative or expressive of my opinions. I just wanted to congratulate myself for getting back to working out and cross of 'post to blog' from my to-do list. :D

Hope everyone has a great week!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What's in a weeked?

When I lived in the UK, the weekend was Saturday and Sunday - like everywhere else in the Western world, and much of the non-Western world, too. Then I moved here and the weekend was on Thursday and Friday, like the rest of the Islamic world.

Then countries across the Islamic world realised that this meant that they had 4 days of no-trading with most of the rest of the world and that wasn't good for their economies. So several countries changed the weekend to Friday and Saturday. You can't get Muslims to work on a Friday, because
a) Friday is supposed to be a weekly religious holiday, and
b)Friday prayer is slap bang in the middle of the day (around 1pm ish) and lasts about an hour. Add in lunch and you've lost the entire afternoon. And whether people actually attend the prayer or not is utterly irrelevant - they'll just take the time off anyway. Saturdays most world banks are closed and there's no business anyway so it's kind of a no-brainer.

Last August, Algeria joined the list of Muslim countries that changed their weekend. I'm not gonna lie: it was really weird at first, and I'm still not sure what days the Post Office is open now. ;)

Anyways, all this means that my week is from Sunday-Thursday and my weekend is Friday and Saturday. Except that it isn't. Thanks to my light schedule at uni (it's all research based, so we need more time off to do the research. Apparantly) I have Thursday-Satuday off. Yup, I have a 3-day weekend. And believe you me, I appreciate it, I make the most of it and I am HUGELY grateful for it. :D

Which means that I was actually off for my birthday on Thursday. But I didn't celebrate. Because I don't actually celebrate birthdays. The reason for this is religious: as a Muslim, I don't believe that celebrating birthdays is a part of my religion. That said, I know plenty of Muslims who do celebrate birthdays, and that's their opinion/choice/way/whatever-the-appropriate-word-is. Each to their own.

This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate everyone's wishing me a great day - I do. I lived in the UK for forever, so I know that this is something that's a normal part of Western culture and I understand the kindness and warm-heartedness behind the sentiments. And whether I celebrate it or not, it's still a milestone in the year.

The weekend difference also means that I was at uni for Valentine's Day. And guess what? I don't, and therefore didn't, celebrate that either. :)

So now you know that I'm not simply avoiding writing about what I did for my bday or Vday, but I honestly don't have anything to write about!