Today I looked around my living room and felt so happy and proud and in love with the space. It turned out better than I’d imagined because in my imagination, I could see how it would look (rather dimly though as my imaginings are never very vivid) but I couldn’t feel it. I didn’t know that when it was done, it would feel fresh and warm, inviting and energetic. That I would feel vibrant and happy and energetic just being in it. That it would feel like home.

I’m a youngest child, so I’m not used to having my own things. And, having moved a LOT in my life, I’ve gotten used to not making my spaces home. I live, but don’t dwell. (Or dwell, but don’t live?)

Anyway, I moved into my husband’s house, which he’d lived in about 7 years already and which had been decorated mostly by his mother. The place did not feel like home to me and I was determined, until very recently, that we would move to a new place and make it ours together.

And then, early one February morning, our water heater broke and flooded our downstairs.

Oh, it wasn’t much as flooding goes–hardly half an inch. But if you’ve ever dealt with half an inch of water in your home, you know that’s all it takes.

And so for the last four months (!), we’ve been transitioning space. We got a new hardwood floor (goodbye, real, beautiful. Hello, affordable engineered!), new baseboards, crown moulding, paint, and all new decor. This weekend, we even bought some new furniture.

One day, I may show all the work of the past four months. For today, I’ll just show you the before and after photos. Pardon the quality. They’re just from my phone.

BEFORE (/during)

Amazing what a difference paint makes.

It wasn’t until my husband mentioned bringing the furniture back in that I remembered we had furniture to bring back in! I would have been with just these (bright, warm, inviting, lovely) walls.


One day, when we upgrade our internet, I’ll optimize this post with better-edited photos.

For now, I’m just going to sit here and delight in this amazing room we put together and think about how nice it is to be home.


Go Get A Watch, Man

A few weeks back, my early-adopter husband ordered us each an Apple watch. He was in Las Vegas at the time, and stayed up until 2 AM Texas time to place the order. But, such was the demand for these awesome devices that his was sold out. (Pause: can you believe that? They were in the SAME ORDER.) So, mine was delivered April 24th.

The Hus got a text that morning that it would be delivered before 3 PM.

At 12:20 PM I checked the mailbox. Empty.

At 12:30 PM, I left for my 2-week trip to AZ/DC.

At 1:00 PM, the watch was delivered. To the guys installing our hardwood floor.

And at 5:00 PM Arizona time, I FaceTimed my husband.

Facetiming with my Apple Watch :(

The thing is, he doesn’t even like blue!



It’s Arabic Wednesday!

Except it’s Tuesday, and this should have been up last week.
Whatever. The point is: once a week, I’ll be posting in Arabic. It’s okay if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. The other point is: consistency.

For everyone who can’t read along, here are some pretty pictures from the week:

اكتب باللغة العربية اليوم

Zombie Hunting Permit sticker

فلا اكتب كثير

النقطة هي الممارسة

Funny lost cat poster

و بعد اكثر من ٨ شهور اعتقد ان هذا كفاية
Keep Calm and Call Batman Which wich sandwich bag


All your dreams will come true. Trust me.

I bought a used car in September. I’ve parked it under a tree everyday for the last 3 months and it showed. Bird poop and caked dirt, and leaves in every little crevice.
So last month, I decided to wash my car. I asked the guy who sold it to me and he said, oh sure. There’s a little place around the corner. You can do it for like 20 bucks. 
How long does it take?
Oh like an hour, maybe two. 
Two hours! Twenty bucks??
Look, I get that that’s like a good deal here or whatever, but it’s crazy. In Dubai, I used to get my car washed while I shopped for groceries. Park my car, tell one of the washers 30 minutes, pay him 5 bucks and by the time I returned, he’d be drying my tires. I know! Why aren’t these guys in Houston?? (Teenagers! I have a business venture for you. It’s genius.) So of course I let another rainy dirty bird-droppy month and a half go by, and I probably would have let another had I not happened to mention my filthy disgusting car to a friend, and how I couldn’t possibly afford twenty bucks AND two hours.
Just use one of the quarter washes. 
Yeah, it’s like right down the street and it’ll be like 5 bucks.
5 bucks! And no waiting??And three months later, my car is washed. I did it myself. I paid with a credit card.
I even wore my red heels.

As I was hanging up the vacuum hose, one of the attendants said to me, Remember, this is going to be the best year ever.
The best year ever? I repeated.
All your dreams will come true. Trust me. 

Well, I never got that in Dubai.

Here’s to you, 2014! Don’t be the best year ever–I don’t want to peak at 26–but do be the best yet, and remember that my dreams include car washers at HEB.

Happy New Year!



On second thought, some pretty stellar advice.

Today at a store, the man behind the counter asked how I was doing. Good, I said. You?
Today’s my anniversary. How could it not be good?
Congratulations! How many years?
Wow. So, any advice?
He paused. Shrugged. Then said, I just got lucky. We got four daughters and we’re all like this (he gestured to show they’re a very close family).
I thought it was pretty much the worst non-advice, but then he followed it up with: I just pay attention to them. My wife’s been my best friend for 35 years, and my daughters all love close and I give my time and attention to them. I think the best thing you can do for people is pay attention. 

Me too.

A bed. A place to sleep that is not the floor. Home.

When I left my former life, I only took what could fit in a few suitcases. I lived in furnished apartments for 8 months, and then moved to a bare apartment with hardwood floors in Houston. I didn’t have a mattress and why didn’t I buy an air mattress? Because it like seemed expensive and hard and really, the floor was at least as comfortable as the mattress I slept on in Cairo for four months. Why spend the money? I’d rather wait until I could afford a real mattress.

So, since early September when I moved in, I’ve been sleeping on a folded up comforter. I came home tonight to my neighbor saying, I got a package for you (he collects them so they don’t get stolen from my doorstep. I don’t even ask him to, bless him.). And he pulled out a giant box and I said, That’s a really big box for something I never ordered.
That’s because I didn’t.

Mail order bed :)
That’s an air mattress, by the way.

Thank you, James! 
Goodbye, hardwood floor! My back and I will not miss you.


Empathy through Literature: #1 The Thirteenth Tale

“When I came to myself Dr. Clifton was there. He put an arm around me. “I know,” he said. “I know.”

He didn’t know, of course, Not really. And yet that was what he said, and I was soothed to hear it. For I knew what he meant. We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all. “I know,” he said, because he was human, and therefore, in a way, he did.”

-Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale


Wisdom I’ve gained since turning 26:

1. If you must wax (and you must wax): Hard wax.
2. If you must buy dresses (and you must buy many): eShakti.com–custom sizing.
3. If you find yourself home alone one night with only Netflix to keep you company, do not watch X-Files.
So unwise.

Win win.

Laser Razors with complementary calculator
Laser brand razors! Now with calculator!

The Middle East loves packaging.

Like when you go to the grocery store in America, the goal is to get as many goods into one bag as possible without ripping the bag or crushing the bread. Here, the philosophy is to use as many bags as possible so the items never come in contact with one another.

Today I bought two bottles of water, a little container of juice, a can of soda, and a bag of jellybeans (it’s been a stressful week). He pulled out a bag and started putting the water in, first one bottle and then the other, and I said, You can put everything in the same bag.
Meaning, of course, for him to put everything in the same bag.
He smiled at me and said, I know. Then pulled out a smaller bag, which he then filled with my junk food. When he was done, he handed me only one bag.
See? His smile said. Everything in the same bag.

Right. I said, and smiled.

Everything in the same bag, and we used two.

10 days to America.

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”

― Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

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