Friday, July 28, 2006


People used to tell me that you should never tell your partner everything, that there is such a thing as white lies. And I used to say no my partner should be my soulmate, my other half, that if I can't tell him everything then he's not the right guy. The thing is I never had anyone that I could tell everything to. Always wondered what that would be like, to be totally open with another human being without fear of being judged or being misunderstood. It sounded really nice and comforting but too much to risk with anyone around me so I kind of procrastinated and told myself it could wait until I found The One. I figured it would be inevitable then. Couldn't imagine how you could share your life with someone and be so intimate and still keep secrets. With my future husband it would come naturally and seamlessly I said to myself. I wouldn't have to put any effort into it.

Well now I have no 'future husband'. The future is here, so to speak. He is it. And I do things without telling him. And I tell him lies. Lies by omission maybe but still lies. And what scares me is how natural and seamless and painless it was for me to do it.

Of course it was inevitable that he would catch me at some point. I suppose I should have expected that. We live together, we share too much. And he's a smart guy. I should have seen it coming.

But I didn't expect it. And I didn't expect his reaction. It's weird but he seems to blame himself for it. He keeps asking if am afraid of him and what he's done to make me feel I can't trust him enough to tell him etc....

It makes me feel guilty that he feels guilty because I lied. It was my fault. I want to say sorry and be forgiven and move on. Am not afraid of him. And it's not an issue of trusting him. It was a mixture of cowardice and laziness really. I held something back because I didn't want it to spoil a special and precious moment between us. And then I didn't want to bring it up later because I knew I'd get in trouble for not saying from the beginning. I just didn't want to deal with it. And then the longer I waited the harder it became to open the subject.

Now he keeps repeating that he loves me and that he will always try to understand etc....And I don't know what to say. That it's not that am afraid of him, that he's just a lot more fun when he's in a good mood so I try not to upset him if I don't absolutely have to?

Isn't it strange that I am the one who was caught lying but HE'S the one who is worried about losing my trust? I have to admit that I wasn't taking this very seriously to start with. It didn't seem like a very big deal. But the fact that he's so concerned about it is making me nervous. Now am wondering if this means we have an unhealthy relationship and agonizing over why I feel the need to keep things from him, if it means we're growing apart etc....

A part of me has grown very cynical and keeps telling me that I was too idealistic when I thought we could talk about everything, that I will need some privacy and so will he and there were will always be things that are better left unsaid. Marriage - even a happy, loving marriage - is not the monumental change I once thought it would be. There is no one that you can share everything with. You will always have to keep something for yourself. This part of me accepts that there might be things about him that I don't know and that despite that I can still trust him because no matter what he might be hiding I know he wouldn't betray me or stab me in the back and that's the most important thing.

So I can't find it in me to promise him that it won't happen again like he wants me to. It just doesn't seem very realistic to promise things like that anymore. But how do you say that?How do you ask someone to accept that there maybe times when you may have your reasons for not telling them the truth and yet you would not appreciate it if they didn't trust you anymore?


Saturday, July 22, 2006

The War

I never thought that anything would make me feel I want to quit blogging. But lately everytime I come to my blog, I find myself going through my blogroll, reading what other people say about Lebanon. And then I don't feel like saying anything at all.

It could be the overdose of it. I do live in the Middle East after all. And Lebanon is what everyone is talking about these days. Because it's on the news and also because everyone seems to be either Lebanese or they have family in Lebanon or they know someone who is there now. It is summertime. Who stays in the Gulf in summer?So lots of talk about who got out, who is getting out, who is in Syria stuck & can't get a reservation back, who was going to Lebanon but cancelled, who has investments in Lebanon, who was going to invest but changed their mind etc....It never ends.

There are even people who have already started talking about reconstruction, about business opportunities etc...War is and has always been a business - in addition to everything else that war is. And then of course the streets are full of big boards with images of broken bodies & destruction & calls to donate & help the victims. You see the same images in the newspapers, on TV, everywhere.

Then there is all the emotion and politics of it. The anger, the calls for revenge. The grief - for those who are touched by this in ways that I am not. Sometimes I start asking myself if anything could ever make me like that. I've never actually known those feelings, that kind of hate. I've never wanted or needed another person's death. Never. So I look at expressions of such emotions the way I look at someone who has a repulsive terminal sickness. You feel sympathy for them but at the same time you're glad it isn't you. And you're scared that you might someday catch it.

I am so sick of it. I know I have no right to say that because I am one of the lucky people on this earth who have never experienced war or hate & violence on that scale. I've always lived in peace. So who am I to say am tired of it? And if I am so awfully tired of watching from a distance how can others bear to live through it - again and again?


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday 15/7/2006 4:35pm :

On the way out of the office talking on the phone, I walked off the pavement. Literally. The pavement ended & I didn't see it. Colleagues say I floated on air. Unfortunately am not built to fly so I fell & tore a ligament in my left foot.

Saturday 15/7/2006 9:15pm :

At home. Making mango juice. When I finished peeling the mangos I tried to lick the juice & bits of fruit off the knife. I nearly sliced my tongue. It's still swollen & am still lisping. Hopefully not forever.

Sunday 16/7/2006 6:10 am :

I ran the hot water in the shower & hung my crumpled blouse behind the bathroom to iron it out a bit. It works like dry-cleaning. Then I undressed & tried to get under the shower. Under the boiling hot water. Fortunately our bathtub is too high so the hot water only caught the top of my head & one foot as I tried to climb in. My right foot this time.

So now I am walking with a crutch. My left foot internally injured. I have second degree burns on my right foot, first degree burns in my scalp & I am lisping with a tongue swollen to twice its normal size. And I still went to work today.

You should have seen the faces on the doctors & the nurses when I went back to the emergency room for the 3rd time today. My husband kept getting dirty looks. They think he's been abusing me.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

This week

So I spent most of this week in Dubai. My manager did send me for training like I was afraid he would. I knew it. He never could stand it if we look like we're not under enough pressure.

At first I didn't want to actually stay in Dubai. I thought I could drive back and forth. But my husband said no he doesn't like the idea of my driving all this distance alone late at night. So what happened was that he would drive out to see me after work. Then he would get up early in the morning & go back to work in Abu Dhabi. He did it 4 nights in a row. And I never asked him to. Every night I'd go back to my hotel room expecting he won't come tonight since he must be tired from last night but I find him there. I'm happy. It's nice that he'd drive all this distance just to spend the night with me. It's got to mean he loves me a little no?

So it winds up being the best week we ever had together. Apart from the honeymoon that is. That was in a class of its own. But this week was good. The miscarriage and the tensions over the baby issue created some barriers. This week I didn't feel them there anymore. They're gone. I hope for good. And the effect on my mood was immediate & noticeable. Am calmer and more relaxed than I've been in a while. And I haven't been blogging. I always blog less when am happy. Seriously it's strange how much easier it is to blog when you've got something to worry or rant about.

Tonight am alone though. He's out with his friends. They're playing with their motorcycles. Men are little boys when it comes to their toys no? I worry when he's out on that thing. But I haven't called him yet. I decided to stay in tonight because having been away all week I had quite a few things to do around the house. I know he deserves sometime to himself but a little voice inside my head keeps whispering is it that he's had enough of me? Because I haven't had enough of him. But so far I've ruthlessly suppressed it. Am not going to allow stupid doubts & insecurities to ruin my mood. Am even going to try to perform a miracle tonight. Am very tired since I hardly slept all week so am not going to wait up for him. Am going to sleep the minute I finish writing this. And that will be a miracle because I ALWAYS wait up for him. Of course I'll go to sleep hoping he'll wake me when he does get in but if he doesn't am not going to feel disappointed in the morning. Am quite resolved.

Nothing very blogworthy happened last week. Some stupid Behavioral Management course. Lots of reading material and as usual a test on the last day. We'll get the test results next week but I know I passed. Even though I never read a line. The questions were insultingly easy. Common-sense really. You didn't need the course to know the answers. Just an average IQ.

Oh actually something did happen. I have a Moroccan girlfriend in Dubai. I've known her a couple of years now. She's in IT too. We worked together on a project in Dubai 2 years back and I guess you could say we hit it off. I don't have many friends here from my country so I value her friendship a lot.

This week she insisted that I have to come eat at her house during my lunchbreaks while am in dubai. I'd never been to her house or met her family before - even though she'd been to my house in Abu Dhabi(before I got married) several times. When I tried to suggest we should go out for lunch instead she got all sensitive & said maybe I didn't want to visit her because her family was blue-collar & mine is white-collar. Or something like that. It made me angry that she would say that because I would never think like that. Infact when my husband - who is an unapologetic social snob sometimes - made some comment to that effect I went ballistic on him. I just don't enjoy house visits that much. I prefer to meet my friends outside - especially when am in Dubai. But because I didn't want her to think what she seemed to think I decided to make a point of going over everyday for lunch the 4 days I spent in Dubai.

The first two days were fine. On the third day I was helping her father with the dishes in the kitchen after we ate & he started telling me dirty jokes. I was shocked & revolted. You don't expect this sort of thing from your friend's parent. In our culture friends' parents are these father-figures. You address them as '3ammo' or 'uncle'. And this man goes to the mosque, is never without his prayer beads & always has Quran tapes playing in the house.

So on the fourth day I tried to get out of going over to her house again. I called her to say I had to study etc....& she said hold on my father wants to speak to you. When he came on the line, he started making references to some of the dirty jokes he told me the day before - presuambly out of earshot of the rest of his family. Then her mother came on the line & started saying how they were expecting me & they cooked special things for me & insisting that I have to come. And her sisters did the same. Her mother & her sisters were kind of sweet actually. What could I say? That I was sorry but the father was too sleazy & it made me uncomfortable?

In the end I didn't go. I don't think I'll be visiting her again. Not while she still lives at home anyday. If I tell my husband he'll insist her father behaved this way because he's uneducated & uncultured & doesn't know any better & he'll say I told you so. Which will piss me off. I know sleazeballs exist in all social and economic classes.

It was just an unpleasant thing to experience at a friend's house. I hope it won't become too much of an issue between me & her.


Sunday, July 09, 2006


I am secretive. I love having secrets. Not necessarily because am ashamed of whatever it is am hiding. No I just enjoy that I-know-something-you-don't feeling.

Always found myself sharing different parts of myself & my life with different people. It's a habit. I share part of the story with A & another part with B. Wouldn't tell either one of them the whole story. Not if I can help it anyway. Sometimes people who are close to you can read you in ways you never expected. But I wouldn't voluntarily come clean. If I have any choice I'll always keep something hidden. It doesn't have to be something very important. I just like keeping the last piece of the puzzle.

Sometimes I get uncomfortable if two of people who are close to me start getting close to each other. I don't want A to know what B knows about me & vice versa. Like now with one of my best friends dating my uncle. I've always been the one to decide what I want to tell my family about my friends & vice versa. Now I get him coming to me & saying did you really do so-and-so in the 8th grade? And I get her asking or making comments about all sorts of skeletons in the family closet that I would never have discussed with anyone outside the family - that I never wanted my friends to know about. It makes me feel too exposed to both of them.

It's sad but I find myself keeping them both at a distance now. I try not to be alone for too long with either one of them. Quality-time with either one of them is now an uncomfortable experience. Unless we're with other people or we're out doing something like ice-skating or watching a movie or whatever. But just sitting around talking to either one of them over coffee like before is no longer doable.

The real irony is that in my attempts not to find myself alone with my uncle or my friend D I started throwing my uncle & my husband together a lot. Whenever my uncle comes over I leave him with my husband & go busy myself around the house. And I drag my husband along everytime we go out. When D wants to see me I make sure the guys come along because I'm trying to avoid having a heart-to-heart with her. 'The guys' here being my uncle(her bf) & my husband. Then the World Cup came along & both my uncle & my husband are football fanatics so it made them bond even more. So now I have a new problem.

My uncle & my husband are getting too close. Wouldn't have expected that because the two of them had the mother of all personality clashes when they first met & came close to throwing punches at each other more than once. There was a time when I would have been grateful for them to just be civil to each other. But now all that is water under the bridge apparently & they're like brothers. Great. Just terrific.

At this rate I will soon have no secrets from anybody. Then I'll have to run away & join the circus.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Two Convos I Can't Believe I Had

Her: K looks so hot today.
Me : Do you mind? My husband looks hot everyday.
Her: Maybe but today he's different. I still want to have his babies.
Me : You can't. You're married. He's married. To me. Your friend. Besides he doesn't want to have babies.
Her: What?!!You mean not at all?
Me : Well not anytime soon.
Her: How old did you say he was?
Me : I didn't. He's 32.
Her: Shou(What)? He's younger than me?
Me : So?
Her: I don't like younger men.
Me : Am relieved to hear it.
Her: Damn. Now I have no one to watch.
Me : You could watch P. He's hot. And he's definitely older than you.
Her: I know but he looks - I dunno - too refined.
Me : Excuse me? You mean my husband looks like a Neanderthal?
Her: No but K has that look.
Me : What look?
Her: He looks like a guy who should have lots of women. And dozens of off-spring - not all legitimate.
Me : I think you should stop reading those historical romances. They're messing up your brain.
Her: No seriously. I think if he was an actor he could play Haroon AlRashid.
Me : Haroon AlRashid was short, half-bald, had a paunch, wore funny-looking clothes & had concubines. And he ordered political assassinations. I'm offended.
Her: Have you seen Haroon AlRashid? No one knows for sure how those people looked. I think he looked like K.
Me : Excuse me? Since when are you & my husband on nickname basis?
Her: I wouldn't call him that to his face. Besides I don't know what you're complaining about. You fantasize about my husband too.
Me : I DO NOT!!!
Her: You did. On my wedding day. Do you think I could ever forget?
Me : Oh that. I fantasized about everyone that day. I was just single & really frustrated.
Her: Maybe I'm frustrated too.
Me : You?Why are you frustrated?
Her: Well my husband is out of town. And I've got hormones.
Me (staring at her): Are you pregnant?!!!
Her: How did you know?
Me : Just remembered the last time you started talking about sex with men & lots of other women. Pregnancy seems to get you in the mood for orgies. Mabrook!

I kissed her.

Her: Tislami 7abibti(Thanks). Yeah I see sex everywhere. I imagine everyone naked. And he had to pick now to go abroad. Very insensitive.
Me : Ma3laih(It's ok). He's a man. He doesn't know any better.
Her: And I'll bet he expects me to be faithful while he's away.
Me : Ma yist7eesh.(He has no shame)
Her: Ibn 7aram.(He's a bastard)
Me : Howa illy ibn 7aram?(HE'S a bastard?)
Me : I hope he's coming back soon.

Later today - at home:

Me : Do you think you might have any illegitimate children?
Him : Afandem(Excuse me)?
Me : I was just wondering if you might have made a mistake a long time back when you were young & stupid.
Him : No.
Me : No?
Him : I might have been that young once a long time ago but I was never that stupid.
Me : Oh.
Him : You sound disappointed.
Me : Who?Me?La tab3an(Of course not).
Him : Inama inti btisa'ali leh?(But why do you ask?)
Me : Just wanted you to know that if you did have any illegitimate children that you've been wanting to adopt but haven't been saying incase I might not like it, that it's ok with me.
Him : You would raise these hypothetical illegitimate children?
Me : Yes.
Him : You'd do anything for a child wouldn't you?
Me : It's not about that.
Him : Then what is this about?
Me : Nothing. Just didn't want you to feel you have to hide this sort of thing from me.
Him : I don't feel I have to hide anything. I7na hankhaf wala eh?(Do you think I'm scared)
Me : La astagfirullah(No God forgive me for suggesting that).
Him : And you felt inspired to tell me that kida min ghair monasba(just out of the blue)?Ya3ni eh masalan illy khalaki t7issi ini mi7tag a3raf 7aga zay kida(What made you feel I need to know something like that)?
Me : I didn't say you needed to know. I said I wanted you to know.
Him : Ana mutashakir gedan.(Thank you very much.)
Me : 3afwan.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Calling II

It's 1:33AM & he's out watching the match with his friends. I barely got to see him today but in my newfound determination to give him space & stop acting like the neurotic, demanding woman am NOT I made no attempt to contact him all day. Until about 8:30pm. That's when he gets off work in the evenings. I wanted to know if he'd come home first & then go out to watch the match or if he was going to see his friends straight from work. But how to know when am resolved not to call or sms him? Wait? No that would drive me insane.

Went out for dinner with some friends. It was supposed to distract me but the thing about being married is that you can't appear in public alone without everyone who arrives asking you where he is & everyone who leaves telling you to give him their salams(greetings). It's an Arab thing. "Salmeelna 3laih". They think they're being polite when they do that. You can't really respond that thanks but well am actually trying not to think of him at the moment.

So in the end I sent him an sms. A perfectly innocent one. Nothing about missing him or being worried etc...Nothing about love or anything threatening like that. Have taken to sending him non-threatening, inconsequential messages these days. Saying things like "The sky looks purple from where am sitting. Do you think it's pollution?" or "A woman who resembles your sister is moving in next door. Do you think we should move?"

I always make sure they end with a question in the hope that he would recognize the question mark at the end as a very strong indicator that a response is required & would be greatly appreciated.

Well he didn't respond tonight. No show, no call. Not until just now that is. I just received an sms. The exact words are "Few hrs and nothing strange from you. I am getting worried. Are you alright?"

I smsed back "Sarcasm?"

And he answered "Not on your life. Missed you."

Am confused. But am not pushing my luck. Not going to send him anything. Am going to wait until he comes home. Unless HE sends something that has a question mark at the end.


Monday, July 03, 2006


To my little brother who is 20 today.

I forgot his birthday this year. He just called me & said today is my birthday am waiting for your best wishes & hung up. When I called back to ask why he hung up he said that it's his birthday & he deserves that I should call him.

He does. And more. Just for thinking of me in the middle of what sounded like the birthday bash of the year. Well not just for that. He deserves it for being a not bad little brother all year round.

And because I miss him. And because I haven't been answering his emails. It was great talking to him.

Note to self: I will keep in touch with him.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Professional Dilemma

The story has a happy ending. The project ended well. And all's well that ends well. Or is it?

Imagine you're a team-leader & while the team as a whole worked well & got the job done, two people didn't carry their own weight the way they should have. They procrastinated too much. They leant on others more than they should have. You kept having to cover for them. Say you warned them more than once & yet until the end of the project you saw no improvement.

Then the project ends well. Everyone celebrates. You include them in the letter of appreciation for the whole team & in the celebrations for the whole team.

Say then your manager asks you to do a performance-based assessment of each individual member of the team because he wants to give them a bonus by the end of the month. All bonuses in your company are calculated on the basis of performance.

What do you do? Do you say everyone was great so they'll all get the same bonus since they are after all a team? Or do you say how each person really performed knowing that the two mentioned above will probably get a smaller bonus or none at all & that they will hate you for this forever? Is that a mean thing to do to them after you told them well done along with everyone else & fed them celebratory chocolate cake? I mean they did do SOME work. They did contribute. It's just that others contributed a lot more.

Is it ethical to consider how this might later reflect on you? Given the fact that you don't work with the same team on every project & that these two might at some point in the future be assigned to someone else & then their weak performance might be noticed by others & THEN everyone will wonder why you were singing their praises?

What would you do?


Saturday, July 01, 2006

It's Over

And I survived. One of the longest presentations ever. 4 hrs with a 15 minute break in the middle. The last hour taking questions.

Was croaking at first. Seriously. That always happens to me when I first start speaking in public. My voice gives out on me. I could see people looking at each other, silently asking each other if they could hear anything. But that passed. The only thing that gets me through moments like this is experience. Remembering similar moments in the past & how I survived them helps me to suppress my fight or flight response.

Nothing went wrong during the demo. The system worked fine. The challenge was to present it properly, to explain each feature & the problem it solves, to make it all seem simple enough for all their staff to use without oversimplifying to the point that the client becomes oblivious to the amount of work that went into the system. That's something my manager often accuses me of. Making our systems sound so easy to use that the client fails to see the complexity of the logic that is used to make life so simple for the user, that the client might start to wonder why he/she is paying so much money for something that looks like it was a piece of cake & why they had to wait so long for it. So I tried to avoid the see-how-easy-this-is approach.

Anyway don't want to think about it anymore. After the visitors left, my manager called me into his office to thank me. I also got an email - all about how much he appreciates our efforts etc....And of course after that it was my turn to give the same pep talk to the rest of the team. I wanted to hug them all for coming through for me. I know the crazy hours they've all been working. Afterwards I put it in writing for them too. Tomorrow am bringing a huge home-made chocolate cake to the office.

Went out with some friends after work. But I couldn't eat anything. Was still too high on adrenalin. So I had tea & sheesha. The conversation was mostly about the World Cup. When everyone left to go back to work I felt truly lucky to be the only one who was done for the day. I hate this split shift stuff.

Was still too restless to go home so I went for a drive. Then D. called & asked where I was going next so I told her I wanted to drop by the Co-op to pick up the ingredients for the cake. She said she'll meet me there. We finished shopping & she came over with me. I made some strawberry juice. She'd already had lunch & I still couldn't face food & I had found the loveliest strawberries in the Co-op. Have got a thing about strawberries. Strawberry is even my favorite sheesha flavor.

Now am in bed with my laptop - completely worn out. Ordered Burger King. Am going to pig out on burgers & milkshake in bed. Then am going to sleep. Didn't cook dinner. And decided I'll stay up later tonight to do the cake.


75 Minutes

An hour & 15 minutes to go before my presentation. I can feel the back of my head & neck getting damp from sweat. Keep having to lift up my hair & wipe it off. I just hope the collar & back of my shirt aren't showing it.

Thing is am actually cold. Everyone is. It's always freezing in my office. Cold & sweaty. Yuck.

Whatever is wrong in the system now it's too late to fix it. When I think of all those people looking at me. Some of them have already arrived. People who come from a long distance always seem to arrive first. A couple I've known for a while - from other projects. They stopped by to say hello. One of them had his coffee with me. I kept wondering would he still be this friendly afterwards if the demo turned out to be full of run-time errors I missed & he's suing us for breach of contract?

There are literally hundreds of use cases. Have I covered all possible scenarios in the test cases? Can you ever think of all possible run-time errors? Have we done enough black-box testing? I mean we've got systems that have been running for years & new run-time errors are discovered in them after all this time. Some errors will only be found if someone uses the system in the manner that triggers them. And if the system has hundreds or thousands of 'manners of use' then that might happen after years or it might never happen. Or it might happen within the first 3 months which would be a MAJOR embarrassment for me & my organization. It might have consequences more serious than embarrassment. It's not fair really that someone whose system ran for a year before an error was discovered is considered more reliable than someone whose error was discovered after a month when it really is just luck.

Last night my dreams were full of white boxes & black boxes & bugs. Real-live crawling bugs. Not all crawling. Some of them flew. They were all over my office & my papers & my computer. They were coming out of the printers, the drawers, the filing cabinets. Even the ceiling was crawling with them. I wasn't in the office but somehow I could see them. And I was thinking I couldn't ever go back in there because they'll sting & they're all poisonous. My manager was yelling at me to clean up the office, put all the bugs back into the black & white boxes they apparently came from.

Was screaming in my sleep apparently. My husband woke me & told me but I couldn't remember screaming & I never heard myself. He held me & recited all my favorite Quranic verses & prayers. He gave me a massage. He went & got me a glass of juice. But I couldn't go back to sleep. In the end he asked me if I really felt like going back to sleep. I said no. Sleeping at times like this just means more nightmares. He said fine then we'll stay up. And we did. Until 6:30 this morning. Eating cold chicken & cheese & watching TV.