Welcome Fellow Campaigners!!

I'm participating in the Platform Building Campaign. If you're a fellow campaigner stopping by, make sure to leave me a comment if you follow me so that I can find you. Sometimes there's not a link in your profile on the GFC so I don't have a way to figure out where you came from. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and to reading your posts!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z (abardast)

Zabardast means excellent/awesome/amazing in Urdu

The last post!Whew! I made it!

I can't believe this month has ended. It seems only yesterday I was admitting to my addictions and today I am writing about the zabardast time I had. I would like to thank Arlee, Alex, and all of the other hosts for making this such an amazing event. I met so many wonderful people and it really was so much more than I ever thought it would be. I know I have learned so much during these few short weeks. I have gained focus and direction for my blog and am looking forward to implementing those new-found insights in my future posts. While this has been a blast, I am exhausted. Now it's time to hit the hay and get some Z-z-z-z's.

Friday, April 29, 2011

e (X) hale & Y (awn)

Hello. My name is Dafeenah and I am a cheater. It's so good to finally get that off my chest. I was so proud of myself for actually posting on time throughout the entire month. Even if it meant having to schedule some posts, still I got them in all on time until yesterday. My MIL and SIL went out of town 3 days ago (4 actually by the time you all read this) and so I have been doing all of their work plus mine. Which leaves me zero hours in the day for blogging especially with electric issues. This would be the part where I eXhale and take a breather for a few minutes just in case it's not obvious.

I admire the women here. I couldn't do what they do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and having to do everyone's work for the last few days have left me eXhausted. Although my hubby did buy bread last night so I wouldn't have to make it for dinner which is a huge help. Making bread is one of the things I despise and having to do it 3 times a day makes me slightly homicidal. Although he did laugh at me last night when my BIL came and asked me to cook something special and eXtra just for him for dinner instead of what I was cooking for Shahjee and me. I pretended not to understand and went on my merry way. I may or may not pretend to understand on occasions where they ask/tell me to do something I am not particularly interested in doing. Don't judge me. You know you would do it too. So anyways, my 5 mins breather is over so I have to go. I realize the last few days have been less than inspirational and I am hoping once things settle down here that I will be able to return to my normal blog self. If you need me, I'm the one yawning and leaning on the wall over by the kitchen. *waves*  

Here's a lil something to quench your thirst and entertain you while you wait There's nothing like a good ole Mountain Dew:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W (ish upon a star)

Twinkle twinkle broken star 
How I wish to be where you are
Up beyond the tortured night
Forgotten and lost
Beneath your beauty shining bright
I beg of you deny me not
And grant this wish I wish tonight
Take me up to where you are
And change me into
A beautiful bright shining star

When I was little, my favorite thing to do was to sit outside at night and stare up at the sky. I would lie on the grass, alone with the night, the stars, and the sky. It was the only time I ever felt "real". Even though no one was around I felt visible. Whenever my heart is troubled or I just need a moment of peace to ease my worried mind, then I still go and sit under the night sky and stare at the stars. It has always been my one true friend. The one and only thing I could count on. The one constant in my ever changing world, and no matter how much my life was being turned upside down, whenever I would look up at the night sky for a moment, I had peace.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V (iew through a child's eyes)

This is my third week participating in the Indie Ink Writing Challenges. There are some amazingly talented writers there. This week I received my challenge from Andrea. My challenge was "you're 12 and got the task at school to write about your family". I challenged Leah and you'll be able to read her reply at her blog here.Your feedback is always welcomed.

Growing up living in my grandparents house, we didn't have much. There was no indoor plumbing. Instead you just picked an unused spot out back in the weeds. If you had to go at night, there was an old tin can at the end of the front porch. It was too dangerous at night to use the weeds. A snake might crawl up your pant’s legs and try to take a bite outta ya. At least that is what Pa use to say.

 I wasn’t allowed to use the weeds at night.

Our water came from a well at the side of the house. In the winter it would have to be heated on the stove. Then Ma would quickly fill the bathroom sink so I could take a bath.

It was fun when Ma helped me wash my hair.

We didn’t have a normal washing machine. Instead we had one of those old timey ringer washing machines. My arm got caught in that thing more times than I can remember trying to get the sheets through the ringer. We also didn’t have a dryer so clothes had to be hung out on the line.

 Sheets take a long time to dry in the winter.

You also had to be careful where you walked. Some of the floor boards weren’t too sturdy and you could fall through. Like the time my uncle forgot and stepped on the wrong one and fell through the attic. I never laughed so hard in all of my life. Me standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at his legs dangling through the ceiling. Him yelling at me to get Pa. Me doubled over, tears streaming down my red face, trying my best to suck air back into my lungs. I thought I was gonna suffocate right there.  Finally, air seeping into my lungs just as Pa came to see what all the ruckus was about.

Times were tough. Dinner sometimes was just cornbread and buttermilk. I liked those nights the best. Filling my glass up with ice cold buttermilk. Then crumbling the freshly baked cornbread into it. After each spoonful, taking a bite out of a crisp green onion that I had just picked from the garden. Much better than the nights when we had poan bread and salmon patties.

I didn’t like poan bread. I tolerated the salmon patties.

Saturdays were the best. Pa and I would go to visit Pa’s sister, Aunt Giddie. Her house smelt like dog piss, but she made the best turnip greens and macaroni salad I had ever eaten in my whole life. As soon as she would hear our car pull in the driveway, she would start fixing my plate. By the time I walked in the door, she would be saying, “There’s a plate on the table fer yee. Help yurself. The rest is on the stove”.

 Aunt Giddie didn’t get any visitors except on Saturdays when Pa and I went there. I didn’t really like Aunt Giddie, but if I went there, then she would always let me take an extra piece of chocolate pie home with me for later. Along with a big bowl of macaroni salad.

 I loved macaroni salad.

Some people called us poor. Others called us “white trash”. I didn’t mind because on Sundays I got to go exploring in the woods or fishing with Ma, and when we would get back, there was Aunt Giddie’s extra piece of chocolate pie waiting on me, and sometimes Ma would even make her homemade banana pudding.

Homemade banana pudding is my favorite. It's the only dish Ma knew how to make.

Monday, April 25, 2011

U (nhappy)

I am not quite sure what U word I would have posted about, but considering I have been unable to work for the last 10 hrs unhappy seems to be the appropriate choice. Well, the family friendly choice at least. We're going into the summer season here. June, July, and August are the 3 hottest months of the year. Temperatures range between 50- 60 degrees Celsius (122-140 F  for those in the US) and that's without humidity. At the moment though temperatures are only in the 40's (100-110 F) so it's not so bad yet. You might be thinking that I am unhappy because it's hot, well no not really. Yes it's hot but summer means more loadshedding. 

Don't know what loadshedding is? Then thank your lucky stars. I had never heard of it either until I came here so it is probably one of the hardest things for me to adjust to. Loadshedding according to the dictionary is an intentionally engineered electrical black out. Basically, it means scheduled power outages during specific times of the day. In the summer months, when demand for electricity is at its peak, then the electric is off more than it is on. 

Last summer in some places the electric was off by as much as 18-20 hrs a day. Not in our area thankfully. For us it is off about 12 hrs a day currently. One hour off and then one hour on, but today it was off for 10 hrs straight which makes me unable to work which makes me unhappy. So sorry for my crappy mood, now I am off to catch up on my work. I normally take about 30 mins before I start to get around to everyone but couldn't today so hopefully tomorrow I will be back on schedule.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

T (ranslation)

 In my profession, I wear many hats. Some out of necessity and others voluntarily. The majority of my daily work consists of reading books that have been translated into English by others. The main things I edit are grammar and spelling mistakes, but more importantly, word choice. Choosing the wrong word can alter the entire meaning of the sentence and can therefore make the entire translation incorrect. 

I thought my job would be helpful to me in my writing, but I have noticed it is more of a hindrance than it is helpful. I may spend hours agonizing over which word to choose. Which word will make the hair on my reader's neck stand up and which word will cause their eyes to become wet when they hear about the death of their favorite character? 

Word choice is extremely important in writing, but I think I tend to over-think  it. Instead of allowing the words to flow freely, I try to push and pull them in the direction I want them to go.

What about you? How do you know which word is just "perfect" or which word is just "so-so"?  


Friday, April 22, 2011

S (tylin' A-Z)

Someone thinks I am stylish! Mercy, you may know her from Mercy's World, but what you might not know is that she has a secret identity called Rogue who writes by night and is a slammin' cook by day. Well Mercy a.k.a. Rogue gave me this lil lovely right here. 

Hee hee! I have been called many things in my life, but "stylish" was not one of them. Thank you so much, Mercy err, Rogue whichever you are for making me feel like one of the cool kids. The rules are written on her blog and being the awesome blogger she is, she followed them, but rules and I don't get along so well so here is my version of the rules.

First I will tell you about some awesome blogs to visit because visiting new blogs is always awesome:

  1. Beverly @ Writing in Flow   (an amazing writer who gives great tips and suggestions)
  2. Chris  @    Chris Phillips       (an extremely funny guy, if you want a laugh then visit Chris)
  3. Pencilgirl @ Conquering the World (found her recently through the A-Z challenge, another amazing writer)
  4. AbsolutelyPrimed @ Overdeveloped Under Exposed (you never know what you will find at her blog, from "musings with murderers" to strange fetishes she covers all the bases and makes you laugh through the whole freaky ride)
  5. Aimee @ Pleasantly Demented (another amazingly talented writer who can cuss you out but make you think it's a compliment)
  6. Haven @ Beyond the Borderline Personality (she shares her journey with living with BPD; she has great info for anyone who either has a PD or knows someone who does)
  7. Sapphire Dragonflies @ Sapphire Dragonflies (another amazing writer, she keeps it real and that is what I love the most about her)

Now for the second part of the rules I am suppose to tell you 7 things, but I found this neat meme over at Mean Girl Garage. So I thought I would do it instead because well I wanna.

A. Age: 30s
B. Bed size: No bed
C. Chore you dislike: Ones that I have to do
D. Dogs: are smelly
E. Essential start to your day: Washing my face and checking my email
F. Favorite color: blue.
G. Gold or silver: Silver.
H. Height: 5’3. yes I'm short but I can still ride the big girl rides so HA!
I. Instruments you play(ED): Does moonshine jug count as an instrument?
J. Job title: Queen of the Universe
K. Kids: 2 one of each
L. Live: Depends on what time of day it is
M. Mom’s name: Mum out loud (bitch in my head)
N. Nicknames: Bitch seems to be the most popular not sure why
O. Overnight hospital stays: neither of us has the time for me to list all of these
P. Pet peeves: Stupidity.
Q. Quote from a movie: “You met me at a very strange time in my life" - Fight Club
R. Righty or Lefty: Righty tighty
S. Siblings: Nope. why mess with perfection
T. Time you wake up: an hour or two after I fall asleep
U. Underwear: Nope. too restricting
V. Vegetables you don’t like: Ones I have to eat
W. What makes you run late: You obviously don't know me. I do not run late. Late is not an option.
X. X-rays you’ve had:I have broken almost every bone in my body at one time or another so pretty much All.
Y. Yummy food you make: All my food is yummy I don't make non yummy food
Z. Zoo Animal Favorites: Black panthers

So there you have it! Me and my stylish self are going now. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R (oller coaster)

I love roller coasters. The faster, the higher, the more dangerous they are, the more I love them. I am certain Freud would have a field day with that because "roller coaster" is the perfect example of my life. It takes twists and turns when I least expect it. I never know when the drop is coming, but I know it's there and at some point will eventually  happen. No matter how much I prepare myself when it does come I scream the whole way down, but it doesn't stop me from getting right back in line the minute the ride is over just so I can do it all over again. At least the second time around I will be a little bit more prepared for when the bottom drops out from under me. It might still be scary, but I know that eventually it will be over and I will make it through.

When I was 14, I got stuck upside down on a roller coaster. It took them 20 mins to get the ride going again so that we could get off. I was devastated because it was the first night of the local fair.  The fair was the highlight of our small town existence and to not be able to ride the roller coaster every night for an entire week was beyond bearable. The next night when we returned to the fair and I saw the roller coaster up and running I was ecstatically happy. My friends thought I was insane and refused to ride it with me. I didn't care. I rode it every night. It was an amazing feeling of freedom. I felt like I was flying. I loved every minute of it. There is nothing like the thrill of riding a rickety ole town fair roller coaster.

the world's fastest roller coaster: Formula Rossa

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q (awwali) & Q (asida)

If this is your first time going across the pond, then you can read the trip guidelines here. If you don't want to take the trip then you can have some biscuits and wait in the Q with the Sabzi Wala. 

Because of the A-Z Challenge I hadn't really done an "official" Across the Pond post although a few of my posts could qualify as such. I thought with Q I would take you across the pond and introduce you to a type of  popular mainstream/traditional music. I had never heard of "qawwalis" before I came overseas. They are very popular amongst the locals here. Wherever there is a celebration, there will be qawwalis regardless if it's a wedding, a religious holiday, birth of a child, buying a new home, etc. Whatever the occasion, qawwalis will be the music of choice. One thing I found interesting while looking up facts about qawwalis to share with you is that most sites translate the word "qawwali" as "Islamic song".  In Islam, all forms of singing and music even if it is about the religion or religious personalities are forbidden and against the teachings of the religion. Therefore, there can be no such thing as an "Islamic" song which is interesting because the majority of qawwalis are about Islam and/or Islamic personalities. 

Qawwali refers to a type of "devotional music". It is popular throughout Southeast Asia particularly in Pakistan. Its origins date back more than 700 years and can be traced back to Persia (today's Iran and Afghanistan). For the most part qawwalis are written in Urdu and Punjabi although there are some that are in Persian and Siraiki. The sounds of the regional and more traditional qawwalis vary greatly from the more mainstream ones as in the second video I have listed above.

Qawwalis were made popular due to the work of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (first video). Most qawwalis are between 15-30 mins long. However Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan does have two qawwalis which are over 60 mins long each. The longest commercially released qawwali was just slightly over 115 mins long (Hashr Ke Roz Yeh Poochhunga by Aziz Mian Qawwal). Traditional qawwalis are usually accompanied by the tabla, dholak, and clapping. In more mainstream modern qawwalis, these instruments are used as well as harmoniums, sarangis, and rababs. Even the audience is considered as a participant in the "singing" of the qawwali.




When a "qawwali" is recited without music/instruments and/or singing, it is known as a Qasiday. Qasidas are allowed according to the teachings of Islam. There is no real translation for the word qasida, or qawwali for that matter. Since qawwalis are forbidden according to Islam, many substitute qasidas in the place of qawwalis in their celebrations. Punjabi qasida groups consist of 3-5 recitors. One being the "lead" and the others being the "bazoo" (arms) or back up to the main/lead recitor. As with qawwalis, the audience is encouraged to paticipate in the qasida.

While only some qawwalis are about religion/religious personalities, it can only be considered a qasida if it is about a religious personality in Islam particularly the Prophet (saw) and His Progeny (asws). Qawwalis are only for joyous celebrations. Qasidas are recited in both times of joy and extreme grief and sorrow such as the qasida below which is about the slaughtering of the Grandson (asws) of the Prophet (saw).

I hope you enjoyed today's trip and will join me again whenever I take you for a walk "Across the Pond". 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This is for the weekly Indie Ink writing challenge. This week I was challenged by an extremely talented writer alyssa at alyssagoesbang. I have to admit I cheated just a teensy bit on this challenge. The challenge was to look to my LEFT and write about the first blue thing I saw, but to my left is a wall that is painted completely WHITE with nothing blue on it whatsoever. So I looked to my RIGHT and saw well something blue. I am not telling what because I don't want to spoil the surprise. The story below is fiction but it is based on a real event. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. These are their stories.  Oh and I challenged Andrea. You'll be able to read her reply there." 

PS I am trying to use dialogue which I am pretty weak at using so any tips, feedback, suggestions are most welcomed. 

Psht! Psshht! Psshht!

"Where did he go? Do you see him?" I asked Shane, who by now is doubled over laughing so hard tears are streaming down his face.

"He ran in the other room", he manages to blurt out in between fits of laughter.

"I cannot believe he did this again. I swear he does it just to piss me off. He knows he isn't allowed in there so why does he keep doing it?"

I put the can down and begin picking up the panties that Uncle Fez had scattered about the room. "Stupid idiot", I mutter as I pick up the last of them and put them back in the drawer. "I swear if he does this again, I am going to do more than get the can after him."

"Awww, Nina. Don't be so hard on him.  It's not a big deal,".

"Not a big deal?! I'd like to see how you would react if it were your underwear he kept trying on instead of mine."

"You're just jealous that he looks better in them than you do".

"Oh really! Well for your information, that pair he had on just now? I just bought those today and was planning on surprising you later. Guess which one of you WON'T be getting in my panties today?" 

Just as I turn to walk out of the room, Uncle Fez runs passed me, headed straight for my panties drawer. 

I grab the can off the dresser.Psht! Psht!  Terrified, Uncle Fez runs between Shane and me, and disappears into the guest room down the hall.

"He did it again, and right in front of me this time!" I scream at Shane, "Will you do something? Please? He's more afraid of you than he is me. Besides, aren't you a little jealous he gets in my panties more than you do?"

"Ok! Ok! Give me the can. I will go see if I can get him to give them back.".

"Thank you."  

 As Shane takes the can out of my hand, I kiss him lightly on the cheek. "My hero," I say in my most southern accent. He rolls his eyes and then starts to laugh again."I never in my whole life saw a cat so afraid of a can of air freshener before," he says as he walks down the hall towards the guest room where the extremely naughty  Uncle Fez is hiding and  protectively guarding the latest addition to his prized Victoria's Secret panty collection . 

Please visit indie author Lizzy Ford's site. She has just released her April free ebook novel, The Warlord's Secret. 

Synopsis of “The Warlord’s Secret:”
Rissa, the tormented Warlord of Tiyan, struggles to protect her people and Tiyan’s magical springs against enemies led by the King of Landis and traitors within her own walls.  She must also protect the secret of Tiyan’s magic and the source her ultimate doom: read more..

Monday, April 18, 2011

O (ctopussy)

First to announce the winners of the giveaway. Since 5 is my favorite number, I decided to choose 5 winners.  I used Random.org to choose random numbers and then opened my followers list counted down til I found that number and Surprise! You're the winner! So in no particular order

Ratz at         What Can I Say
Michelle at    Everyday is a Discovery
Karen at       Following the Whispers
Joyce at        Catch My Words
Jill at             Wicked Wicker


Now for my O word. Octopussy. My favorite Bond was Pierce Brosnan although Sean Connery's accent is by far my favorite, and like the saying goes, behind every good man is an even better woman, James Bond was no exception. The Bond girls had both brains and beauty. If it had not been for the Bond girls, then 007 would have been 00dead on many occasions. My question however is; where are all of the Bond girls for today's youth? 

To be a role model today, it seems all you need to do is first have a sex tape and then you're guaranteed "stardom, role model" status. It makes me very sad that girls are looking up to people like Paris Hilton, Snookie, and anyone with the last name of Kardashian. 

Where have all of the Bond Girls, Charlie's Angels, and Wonder Women gone? They didn't disappear so why are they being ignored? One of my all time favorite musicians/singers is Pink. She sings about real things that young girls/women today are facing so why is it the only time I see her in the papers is when she is being called "ugly" for wearing a flowery dress? 

Her songs, like Conversations with my 13 year old self, F'ckin' Pefect, and Raise Your Glass,  carry a powerful message that girls today need to hear. Why is it she isn't given the same level of coverage as Britney Spears? Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, and Gwen Stefano are three more amazing role models who young girls could look up to. They aren't without their faults and their lives aren't perfect, but that is what makes them good role models in my opinion at least. They have made mistakes, but they have at least earned their fame. They worked hard for it. They used their intelligence and the fact they are hot is just a bonus.

On the surface, women have come so far, but in reality we haven't gone very far at all. There really isn't anyone to blame except ourselves. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N (iche)

This is probably the word I have heard  the most since I began blogging and the one piece of advice I have been given repeatedly by other bloggers. They all agree to be successful in the blogsphere, a blogger needs to do two things; find their niche and be true to yourself. 

So for the last couple months I have been trying to follow their advice which is what led me to the A-Z challenge. I thought it would help me narrow down what it is I want my blog to be.

I very obviously am not a mommyblogger so that one is a definite no.

I don't have a finished novel (or even one in the process ) and don't really consider myself a "writer" but I love to write. So while that niche is more my size it still isn't the exact fit.

Then yesterday Kim left a comment on my blog. She writes over at The Child. She is an amazingly talented writer. She writes about the raw truth of the world in such vivid detail, and that is why I love reading her blog. But yesterday, she left a comment on my post that said,

"I'm so grateful you are sharing the important stuff. I'm tired of going to people's blogs and reading about nothing."

And from that one comment I think I finally know what my niche is and I have a clearer idea of what direction I want my blog to go in. I have survived through such events in my life that even I have a hard time believing they are real. They seem more like events you would see in a movie or read in a book. I think it is important to share those with people. Not only will it benefit others who are in similar situations, but it can help those around them spot the warning signs and know how to help, but at the same time I don't want to be just an advocacy blog . I want to incorporate that alongside my writing. I don't plan on making any real changes until after the A-Z challenge, but I definitely plan to sit down and really think about what it is I want for my blog and come up with a plan of action. 

I think by being more open about my past that it would allow me to grow more as a writer. Now I write very vaguely because I don't want to "scare" anyone, but people need to be scared. It is reality and ignoring it won't make it go away. 

This makes me even more super excited about blogging. While I love Seinfield, I hate writing fluff. If I just kept writing fluff, then I know eventually I would quit blogging altogether. It feels nice to have maybe finally found my place in the blogsphere. I will of course have to spruce it up a bit before I invite you guys over.Woo-hoo! I found my niche and no one was injured in the process. At least not yet anyways.


I would also like to share with you all another blogger that I found through She Writes. She blogs at AlwaysMomof4. In 2008 her 19 year old son was killed in an auto accident and the other day she posted a link on the She Writes forum to a blog post of hers regarding her feelings about what would have been his upcoming college graduation next month. She is planning on tying a purple ribbon around a tree in her front yard to commemorate the event and was asking others to do the same. I told her I didn't have a tree, but I did have a blog and asked if it would be ok to tie my ribbon on my blog. She agreed so I designed this button and will have it displayed in my sidebar for the next month in order to honor her son, Jordan's, memory. If you would like to join the commemoration, then please grab the button in my sidebar and add it to your blog. To find out more about Jordan and the circumstances of his life and tragic death, please visit AlwaysMomof4's blog

In Memory of Jordan Moore-Fields 1989-2008 a life of consequence

Friday, April 15, 2011

M (emory)

I would just like to say thank you for all of the encouragement and support I received regarding yesterday's post. I was very nervous about writing it, but am glad I did. I wasn't really sure what to write about today. Yesterday took such an emotional toll on me that my brain is sort of feeling a bit fried at the moment. It was a big thing for you to digest as well. Having news like that dropped on you is quite shocking and hard to digest, even when it's about a total stranger. I spend most of my time trying not to remember but thanks to all of you  the memories are no longer as heavy. So thank you for helping me to carry them  and for making my load a little lighter. I would like to give a special thanks to a few in particular who contacted me via email and shared their stories. For once I have no words, so instead I shall leave you with your memories as I sift through mine. Andrew Lloyd Webber said it much better than I ever could. A new day has definitely begun.

See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . .

Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every streetlamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the streetlamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is

A new day has begun


Thursday, April 14, 2011

L (ab-o-) L (ahjah)

No, it is not a the latest latte from Starbucks. Although it does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? I'll have a grande lab-o-lahjah with whip cream on top please. Where was I now? Oh right, lab-o-lahjah. It means "style of speaking, tone" in Urdu. From the various writings I have done for workshops, challenges, and posts here, I have noticed that my lab-o-lahjah is sometimes not clear to my reader. I often want my audience to see the story from a certain point of view or only know certain things. Sometimes because it is controversial and I just don't want to get into it. Other times because it is just too painful to put into words, but a part of me needs to share it so I share what little I can and hope that you all will be patient until I am able to share the rest. 

The other day I signed up for the Indie Ink weekly writing challenge. This week was my first time participating and I was very nervous. There are some amazingly talented writers over there and I am hoping some of their awesomeness rubs off on me. For my submission, I wrote about a very painful moment in my life and while everyone understood and felt the pain of that moment. No one was able to understand why the pain existed. So I thought I would share the reason for that pain and maybe it would give my readers a bit of insight into why my lab-o-lahjah is the way it is. I apologize in advance because this post will be extremely Lengthy, but this is L so I guess that is ok.

I have mentioned before that I have bipolar. It is not something I talk about a lot but occasionally I do speak about it. I first heard the word in 2003. However, I had originally been diagnosed as "manic depressive" when  I was 13. Although, nowadays they use the term "bipolar" as a way of removing some of the stigma associated with manic depression. By the time 2003 rolled around, I was in my mid-20's, a single mother of two, and caring for an ill grandmother. My (now ex) husband and I weren't divorced yet, but he had been in and out of mine and my children's lives from the time of their birth in 1995 and 1996 until then. Then in 2003 my grandmother passed away and I took it very hard. I had a nervous breakdown towards the end of the year and really should have been hospitalized, but I somehow talked my way out of it and into outpatient therapy instead. This was a very bad idea. I was in the beginning stages of a manic episode which slowly grew over time. 

I moved to another state far away from my home, friends, and family. I worked two jobs and did the best I could, but I was stressed and in a very bad state of mind. For almost a year I somehow managed to hold myself together. Then in late 2004, early 2005, I began to lose my grip. 

I started having delusions. Visual and auditory hallucinations. I started being unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and was starting to be unable to care properly for my children. I was yelling at them constantly. Yelling is too polite a word. I assaulted them with words. They walked on egg shells trying to not upset me. They were good kids to begin with. Amazingly intelligent, polite, and not the typical selfish bratty kids that I have had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting. We didn't have much. No TV. We slept on the floor. No movies or new toys except on birthdays. Their one and only real treat was on Mondays, my off day. I would take them to McDonald's for a McFlurry. It wasn't much but they always looked forward to Mondays. 

Then in April of 2005, I didn't pick them up from school. I simply "forgot". How do you forget? Well I don't know, but I did. When I showed up two hours late, they were sitting terrified and worried in the principal's office, and I gave some lame excuse about being ill and taking meds that made me sleep so I hadn't heard the alarm. The principal knew I worked third shift and slept during the day while the kids were at school and because they were good kids and had the appearance of being well taken care of, she didn't report me to CPS (child protective services). Which was standard procedure btw. Instead she gave a single mother who worked two jobs a second chance. Which I blew 12 days later when I repeated the incident. Again I made feeble excuses and she made it very clear there would be no third chance. Next time she would call CPS.

With the threat of my children being put into foster care sitting over my head and the ever increasing delusions and hallucinations I was experiencing, I phoned their father and told him that I was bringing them to him the following day. That he would have to take them for a little while because he was their father and it was just as much his responsibility as mine to care for them. Up until that point, I had never really forced him to take care of his responsibilities. He paid child support when and if he pleased. In the amount he felt he could "afford" regardless if it was actually enough to meet their needs, but that is another post altogether. 

He reluctantly agreed and I drove the 22 hrs back to my homestate where he still lived and in the motel parking lot. I said good bye.  A part of me knew it was going to be the last time I ever saw them. I don't know why I felt that, but I did. That was 2005. Since then I have spoken to them briefly a handful of times, but that is about it. After I dropped them off, I lost my hold on reality and fell off the map for quite a long time. Once I started to make my way back, I realized what exactly I had lost and fell off again. I have fought long and hard to regain my hold back on reality. It is a struggle that I face everyday. I live with the fact that most likely I will never see my children again. I miss them deeply. 

I don't regret sending them to live with their father. I was and am in no shape to truly care for them properly and as they deserve. Whatever wrong he did to me, he has at least given them the home that I couldn't, and that makes up for anything he has ever done against me. I do however love them and miss them very much, and I don't know if I will ever see them again. The only way I am not consumed by the pain that lives in the pit of my stomach is by writing. 

I write my pain away. Writing has become my means of survival. This is why my lab-o-lahjah is often consumed with pain and why sometimes I am unable to make the picture clear.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K (ara updated)

It's funny how a small circle of metal can cause so much trouble, but it can. I have worn karas for more than ten years.  When I lived in USA, I only wore one or two. Having lived abroad for close to seven years now, I have acquired quite a few more. Once they are put on, there is no taking them off. Well, the wrist ones are relatively easy to take off, but not the ankle ones. They do not come off, at least not without tremendous effort, several people, and a vicegrip.

I often forget how "different" it is to those living outside of here. However, I was very quickly reminded of this on my last visit to the US and was given the Very Very Important Person treatment at the airport when I was attempting to return back overseas.

 no that is not my arm

I get they are just doing their job and I get the reasons why they have to, but still it is difficult being treated as an outsider in the country I was born in. My favorite moment though is the look of shock and confusion on the officers faces as I hand them my passport and the blue cover instantly says I am "American" and a quick look inside tells them it is by "birth" and not naturalization which only adds even more to their confusion.The chun chun sound they make as they hit against each other when I walk also tends to make people nervous. The scarf doesn't help to lessen their anxiety either, but even with all of these "inconveniences" I wouldn't remove a single one.

Karas come in various shapes and sizes. Some are small and intricate with various writings and designs on them while others are large and heavy, plain and simple with no designs at all. They are worn for religious and/or cultural reasons. Some wear them purely for religious purposes as a symbol of the shackles worn by the family of the Prophet (saw), men, women, and children, who were shackled and chained. Then forced to march from the desert plains of Karbala, Iraq to the court of an evil tyrant in Damascus, Syria. An event that occurred over 1400 years ago, but is still fresh in the minds of those who believe; the same as if it occurred yesterday.

Others wear them simply because their mothers tell them to wear one so they do out of cultural/traditional obligation. Nowadays amongst the younger generation, it is also seen as a "fashion statement" or "cool" to wear them. The karas carry a different meaning and purpose to each person who wears them.  No two people wear them for the same reason. While on the surface it may appear as if they do, the truth of why they wear them lies in their heart and is something they do not share with others. It is a closely guarded secret between them and those they wear the karas for.

edited to add a bit more info as per suggestion by the Writing Goddess.

Some other random awesomeness that I am just tacking onto the bottom of this post:

I so totally almost forgot. I was given another award. I so have to get a speech all prepared instead of just wingin' it, but since I tend to procrastinate be spontaneous I most likely will continue to wing it. I was awarded the Versatile Blogger award for the second time this week. This time it was from Stacey from Nailpolish. You must check her blog out btw. Super fabulous. Now for the icky part of the awards.

The rules,uck.

  • Thank the person who gave it to you. 
This I can do. THANK YOU!!! Now you all go visit her and say hi!

  • Tell 7 facts about yourself
Well I already told you seven facts so I am just gonna post the link to those facts. Don't act surprised. You all should know by now I very rarely follow rules. 

  • Pass it onto 15 other bloggers
I didn't do so well with this one the first time and I am pretty certain this time won't be different. So instead I will just tell you about some new blogs I found during the A-Z challenge and you can go visit them instead. Just cuz it's more fun that way. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J (udaaee)

Judaaee means "separation" in Urdu

Because I am a sadist and love to torture myself, I thought it would be cool to play on the big slide and joined the Indie Ink writing challenge. This is my first time participating and I am both nervous and excited. My challenge came from Jason Hughes which was
The minute you knew you had failed at something you wanted to succeed so badly at...

As soon as the door closed, I collapsed into a sobbing heap on the floor. Somehow I  managed to contain the primal scream I felt rising inside of me. Tears fell down my cheeks as I looked around the empty room. Moments before it had been filled with laughter, but now the silence was so heavy I could barely draw air into my lungs. 

This must be what it feels like to be shot, I remember thinking as a slow warmth began to spread across the dull ache that had settled into my chest.  The entire drive down I kept pretending as if this moment wouldn't come, but it came anyways. I crawled across the floor to the bed. Climbing up onto it, I pulled the crumpled bedspread around my body. I breathed deeply. I could still smell them. 

"Ten little monkeys jumpin' on the bed. One fell off and bumped his head. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, "No more monkeys jumpin' on the bed". 

I would have normally yelled at them for jumping on the bed, but not that day. I just wanted to remember them laughing. I wanted to burn their smiles into my memory, but now they were gone. 

The first time I looked into those big brown eyes, I swore to protect them forever, but I couldn't. I had tried so hard, but no matter how hard I tried it just wasn't good enough. As the realization swept through me that I would never see them again, the primal scream I had been holding inside ripped itself from my grasp and forced its way into existence.

I had failed. They had trusted me to protect them. To love them, and I failed. Exhaustion finally consumed me and  I fell into a troubled sleep. I dreamt of swings and merry-go-rounds. Images and sounds that haunt me to this very day.  I had sworn I would never be like her. That I would never hurt them the way she hurt me, but in the end I was just like her. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree". She failed, and so had I.

I apologize for being MIA the last few days, life and all that goes along with it. I am sure you all understand how that goes. To update on the car, we got it back except now as soon as you put it into gear it dies. So back to the shop it went. At the last count, the total was up to 2000 rupees ($24). I realize that doesn't sound like much, but when you consider ShahJee's monthly salary is only 5000 rupees ($60), then it is quite a big chunk of our monthly budget. Fingers crossed, they figure out what is wrong with it before we have to sell a lung to get it fixed. Joking! We wouldn't sell a lung. A kidney maybe, but not a lung!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I (roquoian)


I am fascinated by languages. I often feel disappointed with my native English language. It lacks the passion and the depth that is found in many other languages. The first language I ever fell in love with was Iroquoian. It is a Native American language and is spoken by the Cherokee. The first time I heard it I was 10 years old. I was instantly hypnotized by the rhythmic beat of the drums and the Hay-ya-ya-hay-ya that came from the warriors who danced around the fire.

There are 85 characters in written Cherokee syllabary. It was invented by Sequoyah (a.k.a. George Gist). Some modern words that have been added to the Cherokee dictionary are "ditiyohihi" or he who argues repeatedly and with a purpose (a.k.a. attorney) and  "didaniyisgi" or the final catcher (a.k.a. policeman)

In 2003, the Cherokee language became a part of modern pop culture when Apple added the font "Plantagenet Cherokee to its Mac operating systems. Today it is used by more than 300 million iPhone and iPad users around the globe.

In 1992, the film "The Last of the Mohiccans" featured the band Clannad singing the movie's theme song "I Will Find You" which contains both Cherokee and Mohican.Whenever I hear this song, I close my eyes and imagine myself as a medicine woman or shaman. I can feel my soul soaring with  the eagle and can hear its call piercing through the night's sky as it circles above my body. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H (ome)

Every child deserves to grow up in a home. Not a house, but a home. Not a building with four walls and a roof, but a place where they are protected and loved. I grew up in a house with four walls and a roof. It kept out the wetness of the rain and the chill of the winter, but it also kept in the pain of physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse. It hid the bruises from the world and contained within its walls the hell that I faced each and every day. Many people knew what was hidden behind those walls, but I grew up in an era where "you didn't get involved in other people's business" and "what goes on behind closed doors, stays behind closed doors". 

I had no where to turn to. No one to ask for help. Silence was engraved upon my soul. That silence almost took my life. More than once. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. By breaking my silence, I hope that more children will grow up in a home instead of a house. I hope to give another little girl the chance to thrive and truly live. A chance I wasn't given. 

Even though my voice was silent, I was telling others through my actions. It is important to listen to what the actions of an abused child is saying because more often than not a child of abuse doesn't tell they are being abused by their words. They tell it through their actions. We are all in this together. It takes a village to give a child a home. So please if you suspect a child is being abused or that there is just something not right, then please give that child a voice. Every child deserves a knight in shining armor.Every child deserves a home.

Below are some links if you would like to know more about preventing or recognizing the signs of child abuse:

Friday, April 8, 2011

G (r-r-reat)

I was in the kitchen cleaning up when ShahJee came home last night. I knew something was seriously wrong the minute I heard the put-put-SNAP of metal as he turned the engine off. I don't know much about cars other than I like mine shiny, black, and fast. Not necessarily in that order. I asked him what was wrong, but the grunt I received in reply told me that whatever it was, it was not good. Great! just freakin' great exactly what we didn't need at this moment. ( I may or may not have said "great" but since this blog is family friendly let's all pretend that I was suddenly possessed by Tony the Tiger)

ShahJee spent most of last night trying to figure out which auto repair shop was the closest and cheapest. I am so glad that at least I have him to deal with these issues now. When I lived in Bahrain, it was a nightmare trying to get my car serviced. 

When I bought my car, I knew exactly what I wanted, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Evo for short. That wasn't what I bought because I could not afford the monthly payment, let alone insurance, repairs etc. So I got the Mitsubishi Lancer instead. It had a spoiler, was shiny, and went fast. I didn't complain. Until the scheduled service maintenance came due. 

I went to the mechanic the dealership told me about. He wanted to charge me 32 dinars ($85 ) and said it would take 3 days. I could not be without my car for 3 days so I left. Later that day I told a friend of mine about it. He laughed and said, "Give me your keys." An hour later he came back, the service fully completed and it only cost 5 dinars ($14 ). Figures. 

ShahJee took the car in this morning. The guy said it was possibly the "tyrod". Not exactly sure if that is the correct translation or not, but based upon ShahJee's description that is what it sounds like it might be. So I guess we'll just wait and see what happens and how much it costs.

When it rains, it pours, but at least now I have an umbrella.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F (lag)

On our roof, sits an alam (flag). Every night I climb the stairs to the rooftop. I stand there watching it, blowing in the wind. I think of what  it symbolizes and how it means different things to different people. 

To the beggar, it is a symbol that our house is one they will not leave empty handed from. It is a guarantee of food, water, clothing, and shelter in a city where very few doors open to the cries of a hungry child.

To the sick, it is the source of all cures. The place to come when all hope has been lost and the medicines of man have done all that they can.

To friends, it is a sign of unity. A common belief shared amongst millions. An unspoken understanding of brotherhood in a hostile land.

To enemies, it is a reminder their oppression will not be tolerated and that there are people who are willing to sacrifice their lives along with everything they have to stand up and fight against tyranny and evil.

To me, it is a place of rejuvenation. It is where I go when I feel lost and uncertain. When I don't know what direction to go or which road to take. As I stand there and watch it waving in the breeze, I feel a warmth spread through me. Its touch is familiar and comforting. I close my eyes and allow myself to become lost within its depths. When I finally open my eyes, I  still don't know which road to take, but I at least know that no matter which one I chose I will not be alone.

Labbaik ya Ghazi Alamdar (asws)!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E (ntourage)

My Very First Guest Blogger!!
When I first started blogging, mostly all I found was mommyblogs and giveaway blogs. Now there is nothing wrong with those blogs, but I just didn't fit into that "category". After some searching I came across the Blog Entourage. Christina was an amazing help to me. She answered all my newbie blogger questions and she helps new blogs to "see and be seen". During this challenge I have come across a lot of blogs that either don't have many followers or are new or both so I thought I would ask Christina to write up a guest post for me today to share with you all. She has been an amazing help to me and I am certain she will be to you to. Please welcome Christina from the Blog Entourage!!!

I'm so excited to be guest blogging for Dafeenah today! She wanted me to share with you how you can get the best out of The Blog Entourage. 

Your first stop should be to add your blog to my permanent directory. Find your blog category in the tabs under the header & use the linky tool.

The second best thing you can do is promote your posts for free on Facebook. Click here to share your posts on the wall.

I have three linky lists going on-The Crazed Fan Weekend Blog Hop every Saturday & Sunday and the Meals on Monday recipe linky every week. Email me if you'd like to be a featured host of either.  And until April 24th, I'm hosting an Easter Inspirations Blog Hop, for Easter recipes, crafts, decor, etc.  Click here for the Easter hop.

I welcome guest bloggers on just about any subject. Email me at christina.anne.lucas@gmail.com.

I showcase a different blog every week on Feature Friday.  Click here for the submission form.

 Now, if you are only blogging for fun, you can ignore the rest of the post. Don't let your blog become work, and just have fun with it. But if you are trying to blog for profit or to promote yourself as a writer, cook, business owner, etc., here are my TOP FIVE BLOGGING TIPS:

1. Be yourself. If you try to blog to please people, your readers will see through it and you won't have any fun; everyone loses. Also, the web has given people a personal connection to their entertainment. So put yourself out there! You readers deserve a face to go with your ranting, raving and blogging. I posted this silly pic of myself on The Blog Entourage Facebook page a few weeks ago.

2. Follow whoever the hell you wanna follow! I like blog hops, obviously, but let me clear this up once and for all, the only time it's okay to leave a "follow me back" comment is if you're in a "Follow Me, I'll Follow You Back" group or thread. If you follow blogs you genuinely like, you're more likely to visit those blogs and leave sincere comments, which is the best way to get a follow back. Twenty loyal followers are much more effective than 200 followers who really don't care about your blog.
3. Don't come on too strong. Okay, sometimes I should take my own advice. Believe it or not, people aren't hanging on the edge of their seats, dying for your latest blog post. Even one post a day can be a bit excessive at times. Take a day off! (Unless you're doing the A-Z challenge!) You don't want people to see you in their inbox or google reader or Facebook stream and think, "Oh, it's her again."
4. Don't be too perfect. I mean, obviously if you're dropping the F-bomb and using the C-word instead of hoo-hoo, it's your responsibility to put an 18 & Up Warning on your blog. Yes, good grammar is always appreciated, just don't try to sound too professional. It's not the Wall Street Jourmal. The charm of blogs is that you can express yourself and let your personality shine through. No matter what you blog about, you should go ahead and fly your freak flag. Make us smile. Make us laugh!

5. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Enough said.

Thanks, Dafeenah, for inviting me to your blog for the day! Everyone, please stop by The Blog Entourage and take advantage of all of the resources. Click here to join the Entourage.


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