Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sitting is prohibited?

So we were at an area mall the other day. El 3atal was in the Nokia store checking out their wares. The beans and I were tired (and bored), so we sat down to wait. Just a few minutes into our wait, a young mall with a mall security t-shirt came and told us that it was memnuah (forbidden) . I have to admit given how tired I was that I wasn't particularly nice when I asked him then where are the benches. You see, we were sitting in a very large open lobby. And there were no benches, chairs, or seats of any kind. The oh-so-helpful (yes this is sarcasm) young man indicated that they were upstairs. This is the kind of stuff that encourages customers to go elsewhere. You have no seating and then actually tell people they can't sit on the floor? After all, not only is the customer not right, they're not really that important, right?

Happy sitting!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Evolution of Little People

Okay, so it seems that many of today's parents don't realize how significant the evolution of Fisher Price's Little People has been. As a result, I decided to post about this. I was at the kids' nursery and saw some Little People a-la my childhood and decided to share. So, got out my trusty camera and here they are. Who doesn't remember these little guys? And the black and white dog with the pointy ears? And the barn that moos when you open the door? Okay, so there's the blast from the past. For those non-parents out there, you may be wondering about the evolution part of the equation. Well, as all parents know, Little people mate at night and double or even treble in number. So, I grabbed a few of my thousands and grabbed a shot of a boy and girl (like the above) to show the Little People of the now generation.
Nowadays the Little People have personalities (developed through movies) and names (this is Eddie and Maggie, by the way). They've come a long way, clearly, but is it progress?
Happy Little People!

Friday, February 23, 2007

JordanBlogs is anti-free speech? C'mon... let's be serious now.

Okay, so like Kinzi I tend to have an issues-free blog. But, today I can't maintain that. Once in awhile something breaks through my usual preoccupation with all things driving and children related and I have to post about it. So, today I wanted to think out loud a bit about free speech. Now, as most of you are aware, I come from what we like to consider the home of free speech (not that it is, mind you, just that we like to THINK it is). So, I hope I know a tiny bit about this topic. In fact, I planned to blog on this from a different angle and one day likely will.

But, today I want to spend a few minutes on the recent situation with JordanBlogs. Reading my cyber-friend Bakkouz's awesome blog a week or so ago, I discovered that there has been some controversy regarding some blogs that JordanBlogs chose to remove from the blogrolls. Many of the commenters were posting about how it was anti-free speech. Puleeeease. (Okay sarcasm over for the moment, I had to get that out). But, maybe it was, let's see. What is free speech, after all? It's the ability to say whatever you'd like, right? Indeed. So, does this mean that JordanBlogs, by removing blogs from the blogroll, has the power to silence these voices? As far as I know, Abu Shreek is still blogging right along. I don't think that the removal from JordanBlogs has negatively impacted his ability to speak. But am I wrong here? Does JordanBlogs really have that kind of power over his life? I think not.

So, let's go a little deeper, who owns JordanBlogs? Is it mine because they chose to include me in the blogrolls? Absolutely not. My honest perception is that if I were passionate about making JordanBlogs mine, I would be a member of the advisory team. Or I would have provide support (financial, temporal, etc.) to Khaled when he was setting it up. The reality is that I was just thankful that someone decided to keep up the banner of Jordan Planet during its hiatus. But, I wasn't willing to own it. So, that means I don't have the right to make decisions on its behalf. But, the team that stepped forward does. I may not agree with their decisions, but I do need to respect them. If I'm that passionate about this, I should join up or shut up. But, let me tell you how I really feel :).

If JordanBlogs decided that MommaBean no longer represented a voice that they wanted on their blogroll, it wouldn't stop me from blogging (I was, after all, blogging before I became a member of JP). It would just mean that my lazy friends (who are just like me by the way) would need to bookmark my blog. Oh horrors! Honestly, I have all of my favorite blogs bookmarked. The ones that I visit occasionally I get from the blogroll, but the ones I visit daily, I have bookmarked. So, let's be clear JordanBlogs isn't impacting anyone's free speech. They haven't outed anyone or sent the Mukhabarat over to pick them up. All they've done is administered their small piece of cyberspace in the way they see fit. All of the affected bloggers still have access to other outlets to be aggregated. Even I know that and I'm not all that savvy nor all that into the scene. So, let's call this what it is, it's not free speech infringement, it's blogroll selection. If, one day, I no longer meet the criteria, banish me from the blogrolls. I won't be angry, disrespectful, or hateful. But, I do encourage JordanBlogs to decide what is okay and what is not, so that bloggers who are honestly worried about whether they are able to be aggregated know where the line is.

I seriously hope that Khaled and the team don't decide to give up JordanBlogs as a result of the mud-slinging going on. And I encourage each of you who care at all about JB remaining on-line to say thank you, something most of us have been quite remiss about. Thanks Khaled, thanks advisory team, I truly appreciate your passion and interest. You do the hard job so the rest of us can just sit here and complain...

Happy speaking!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, To: Me, Love: Me?

Apparently retailers finally figured out that they were missing a large share of the potential Valentine's market. Anyone who has spent even one Valentine's Day without a significant other knows the expectations and disappointments inherent in the holiday for singles. Retailers in the US are beginning to market Valentine's gifts intended to be given to yourself. Here's the article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17129918/. From a retailer's perspective this makes perfect sense, why leave out such a large market segment? From the single's perspective, I can also understand the allure. Regardless of who gives you the Valentine, make the day something special. Give a gift to yourself this Valentine's Day.

Happy V-Day!

First Blooms of Spring?

Coming home yesterday, I noticed the most lovely purple blooms in our rosemary bushes and had to grab a picture. Now, it may simply be wishful thinking. While ButterBean is hoping for enough snow to build a snowman, I'm hoping for enough heat to swim... Just different perspectives. It doesn't help me with my longing for spring that we keep getting one really mild spring-like day out of every 7 or so. But then, the cold comes back and with the swing in weather comes a headache and sratchy throat. At least I know what to expect ;). I will simply take the blooms as a sign that spring is just around the corner and keep my hopes high.
Happy blooming (or blooming happy, you choose)!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stinky Babies?

Let me start by saying that, outside of diaper change time, I have never personally seen a stinky baby. In fact, babies are most often associated with sweet smells and wonderful feelings. As a result, when I saw this in the store, I was a bit puzzled.

But, let's say for a minute that you have a chronically stinky baby that needs cologne... is lemon scent going to improve the situation? When I think fresh lemon scent, I think Pine-Sol, not babies. Stretching, I might come up with lemonade, but never would I think of a baby-fresh lemon scent. So, color me confused... as often. I'm going to guess that the 25% off stickers mean that others agree with me on this.
Happy Freshening!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How Wrong Is This? Just give up that diet already!

Now, I have a great deal of fun trying to guess where I will find things stocked on store shelves here. I mean, who would expect to find Picante sauce shelved directly in the middle of the spaghetti sauce? Or the macaroni and cheese mixed in with the plain pasta? But the shelving anachronism I found the other day was the most bizarre and unfortunate I've seen yet. I'm dropping in a picture.

That's right, to find America's #1 Diet Bar, the SlimFast bar, you have to go to the candy aisle. Talk about self-defeating product placement. Keep your diet up by wandering our candy aisle. Tease yourself with things you can't have. Come see the wonder of someone trying to lose weight. All of these are potential statements being made by the store. None of them is what I would hope for if I were a SlimFast purchaser...
Happy Dieting!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Self-sufficient or 3ayb?

So, while I was doing my shopping just the other day, I decided to grab my groceries and haul them up the stairs myself because a) I didn't have any change for a tip and haram the poor fellow who would help me and b) I hate driving around to pick my groceries up. As I was grabbing all my groceries, a woman and her friend were having the bag boys load their car and I heard them talking about me. Now, my Arabic is limited, but of course I can understand tone. The tone of this conversation was distinctly condescending and dismissive. One of the bag boys said something to the woman. She responded in her tone, Khalas, hiyyi Americaniyyi. I suspect the comment was about the fact that I wasn't letting this guy help and was doing it myself. I was rather tempted to say something to her. She was, after all, rude enough to talk about me with me RIGHT THERE. But then, I think it would have been rude of me to so highlight her rudeness. Perhaps I should ask Anne Landers about that one... But it did get me thinking today. Was the issue that I was carrying my own groceries? Am I supposed to act like a wilting flower who is totally dependent on a big strong man to help me? What really is the bottom line deal? Culturally, what did I do that would occasion such rudeness? A big part of me wonders if this woman was threatened by Arab males seeing a woman who doesn't just sit around and wait on them to take the lead. Or maybe it is just because I'm American and, therefore, no common courtesy is due me. It highlights an Arab tendency that I've noticed. I'm polite and very welcoming to people I know and their friends, but as rude as I want to be to everyone else. The problem with that is, when you meet them again with someone you know, they will remember. A little courtesy goes a long way. So, to that very rude woman I say, Ana Americaniyyi and I'm proud to be so. As a result, I won't be rude back, I'll just smile and tell all of my friends how rude you are. And if you are telling all of your friends about your experience, maybe you'll run into someone who heard the other side of the story... That'll make my point most effectively.

Happy gossiping!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Talent, Trifles, and Tolerance

So, Kinzi beat me to the punch on this (not surprising given how late I got up and moving today after last night's entertainment). But, she didn't have pictures :) (as blurry as these may be, my camera-phone is failing me :(. So, I'm here with a picture of the masterpieces to make everyone who didn't come jealous (sorry Moey). But on to the topics I really wanted to talk about...


Okay, you can barely see the amazing duck that Khalidah produced. It's lifelike, has the right colors in the right places, and really shows great artistic talent. In fact, all of Khalidah's offerings were wonderful. Also, you may see the lovely butterfly (stop that Oula, it IS lovely) that Oula made. She also had several lovely offerings, as well as bringing the most lovely little one to the party. It was so fun having a baby around. Rebecca and I had very few decorated cookies left over on account of eating them all as soon as we finished the decoration process (sometimes evern before finishing). However, the true 3D works of art were clearly from Zeid.
The event was intended to be a Mommy and Daughter cookie baking/decorating experience. However, all of the kids that came got lost in the toy wonderland before they made it into the room with cookies. With all of the castles and houses, barbies, and Doctor sets, we saw little of the Jordan Bloglets. In fact, Salam's lovely kids and Little Kinz were the only ones who actually did any decorating. And that was toward the end of the party. My kids were more interested in eating than decorating (as expected).
Living in a society that is primarily Muslim is such a wonderful lesson for the Beans about diversity and tolerance. And, Dima (Rain Drop) helped me demonstrate that clearly to JujuBean. She was playing the game with her where you ask where's my (insert body part). When she got to ears (she wears the hijab), JujuBean couldn't see them. Then she asked what color is my hair. JujuBean said "You don't have any hair." We were unable to convince JujuBean that there was hair under the scarf. Finally Dima let JujuBean peek-a-boo with her hair, which impressed JujuBean to no end. This is the sort of lesson that we just wouldn't be able to teach her in the US, and I'm feeling blessed by it today.
All in all, we had a lovely time. I wasn't nearly as prepared as I wanted to be (usually I host a party with more attention and thought to my guests and the food comes out MUCH sooner). But, next time, I'll have it together...
Happy Baking!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Begging the Wrong Way

I had meant to post about this some time ago and forgot until this morning. One day a few weeks ago as I was getting the kids out of the car after school, a woman came up to me begging for money. She started with the selling-greens-approach. They weren't a type of greens with which I am familiar so I told her no. Then she started asking for money (I'm pretty sure since it was rambling, mumbling Arabic and my Arabic isn't THAT good yet). I told her (in English) that I didn't have any money. She persisted (which I assure you unnerved the kids as they were just waking up from their car naps), but finally gave up when we started into the house. As I walked around to the front door, I realized that I had actually just watched her get out of a taxi as we pulled up. I remember because of the bag she was carrying and the way she was struggling to pull it out of the cab. I have to admit that, at that point, I was very pleased I didn't have any cash. I mean, really, taking a taxi to beg? I think you'd get more sympathy if you weren't blowing the money on cab rides!

While I'm on the topic of begging, I saw an article recently about cyber-begging. That's right, people who set up web sites asking you to help them out of their financial jams. All of the sites mentioned seemed to be for irresponsible people who spent a fortune on designer shoes and clothes and then wanted people to pay it off for them. What ever happened to self-responsibility, not to mention dignity? If that were me, I hope my Mom would read me the riot act and get some sense into my head. Ah the lengths people will go to in order to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. Thank goodness they're still a minority.

Happy begging!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

And speaking of chicken...

Okay, yesterday's post got me thinking about another chicken preparation technique with which I am unfamiliar. In Jordan, they not only restore chicken, but they also broast it. What is this mythical broasting? If I'm eating broasted chicken, what should I expect? Is it half broiled and half roasted? Help! I've had offers of folks to bring broasted chicken when they visit and I always turn it down because I just don't know what broasting is. Anyone got some knowledge for me here?

Happy bok-bok!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A post that's been months in the making

Okay, so one of the first times we drove down Gardens Street after moving to Jordan, I saw this restaurant. At the time, I didn't have my camera phone, so I wasn't able to get a picture. The place took on nearly mythical status because I couldn't find it again to take a picture. Then a couple of weeks ago, I was searching for computer paper and found the place. Unfortunately, it was rainy and El 3atal wasn't driving, so I resolved to go back and get the picture. Finally, today we did! So, I challenge all of you who help me see the error of my ways. First, how would one "restore fish and chicken"? I mean, with wood it usually involves stripping, sanding, staining, and varnishing. Is there a kitchen equivalent of which I am unaware? Also, do they REALLY mean wood pile? I've seen fancy places in the US cook fish or chicken on a wood block to soak in the flavor. But, somehow the visual that comes to mind with this wood pile is the fires I used to lay when I was a kid - jumbled bunches of sticks and twigs. I fail to see how you could restore chicken on such a pile... Talk about restoration hardware! I thought you would enjoy this as much as I did.
Happy restoration!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mommy, Mommy, It's a King!

Today we were walking with the Beans when we came upon a huge picture of King Abdullah. JuniorBean pulled my hand and said, Mommy, Mommy... it's a king! I was actually quite impressed because most of the kings that appear in books have big crowns and velvet capes. I guess it talks about how regal the monarch is. So, King Abdullah (since I'm sure he reads my blog, no delusions of grandeur here), nice choice of the white military uniform with the beautiful gold braiding. My almost 3 year old saw your picture and immediately identified you as a king. Of course I corrected him to help him understand it's not just A king, but rather THE king. I don't think that message quite got through, though. At any rate, from the mouths of babes...

Happy royalty spotting!