Monday, September 25, 2006

Ramadan Kareem

Fasting is so much easier this year because am not a chain smoker anymore. I had the caffeine withdrawal symptoms the first couple of days but they faded. I just make sure I have a cup of coffee for my suhoor and am fine.

In the past few years I would find it so difficult to be productive on Ramadan mornings. Now I see that most of that was actually nicotine withdrawal. I haven't stopped smoking completely. I had a couple of cigarettes after iftar on the first day. And I do smoke sheesha occasionally. But I am no longer a nicotine addict. I no longer need it everyday. I no longer need it, period. I might still have one because I want to - not because I have to. Which is cool.

At work, we will be having the annual Iftar banquet on Wednesday. A big event that. And an interesting one because most of the people I work with are not Muslim. The event is a PR thing and is mostly for the benefit of the clients. And they're usually great Iftars too. Really nice food. Quran before. Prayer after etc....You'd never believe it isn't organized by Muslims. It's kind of sweet actually how much effort they put into it. I really appreciate it.

Ramadan Kareem everyone!


Friday, September 08, 2006

Writing Overdose

So a PR officer is hired to work on one of our projects. The idea was that none of us technical people had time to sit around and design and write brochures, leaflets, press releases, interviews and deal with the media etc... The client is a government organization, the project is a bit high-profile with lots of local politics involved so we made sure our contract specified that the client would provide us with a PR person to handle that side of things.

The PR officer joins us for 2 months - the duration of his contract. We feed him the technical info and assume that he's doing his job. At least I did. Although to be honest I never checked. I never even bothered to read the few newspaper clippings he did hand me. Then his contract expires and he leaves. Yesteday in the weekly progress meeting with the client, two things hit me. First, said PR officer was supposed to prepare no less than 16 press releases - in Arabic and English - of which the client has only seen 4 in print so far. They were scheduled to be released at certain milestones in the development of the project. The next one is due next week so all of a sudden I'm asked when they can have the press releases he was supposed to have left behind so that they can turn them over to their own PR dept for follow-up.

I never even knew the guy was supposed to write a fixed number of press releases - an entire media campaign really. Because I never bothered to look at his job description or his tasks. But of course I couldn't say that. What kind of team-leader would say that?I apologized for not having the press releases with me at the present time and promised to send them over when I get back to my office.

Of course I went back to the office and checked his files. Nothing. I called him. He said that he prepared the first 4 and then since the rest were dated to be released after his contract had expired he just didn't do them. He said he didn't understand that they were supposed to be written in advance. Of course I told him my opinion of that and of him but the fact remained that his contract had expired and based on my word, my management signed the piece of paper that said his job was done.It's ultimately my fault that he took the client's money and spent two months essentially doing nothing because I didn't supervise him. And I had no power to force him to do anymore work.

So I got stuck having to write the stupid press releases. And to translate them into Arabic. And then hand them in as someone else's work. If I said anything to my manager I would have made myself look incompetent. And he would not have let this sort of thing pass easily. And if anyone at the client's side had sensed anything it would have made my organization look bad and then my manager would have hanged, drawn and quartered me.

I know I always dreamed about getting more into the business/managerial side of IT. And I know how hard I worked to get there. But now I'm here sometimes I feel maybe I bit off more than I can chew. Back in the days when I was a developer I had no idea how huge and complex our projects really were, how much detail was involved, how much you had to remember etc...There's so much coordination involved. And the slightest lapse can have serious consequences for you and your team and your organization no matter how strong you might be technically.

I missed my blog last week but I was so overdosed on writing that I really could not face typing a single syllable more.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I woke up alone in bed. Surprising that. He usually sleeps in much later than me on Fridays. I roll over, burying my face in his pillow. It smells of his aftershave and shampoo. Very nice. And it's a little damp - probably because he slept on it with his hair wet.

Eventually my eyes fall on his baby pic on my bedside table. His mother gave me this pic the first time I met her - before we were married. And I mislaid it and forgot all about it until the day after I miscarried. Suddenly I wanted it really badly. I was looking for it everywhere and I fell into hysterics because I couldn't find it. He was trying to calm me down, saying if I wanted it so much he'll get his parents to email it. When I got it I put it in the frame on top of our wedding pic and it's been on my bedside table ever since. I have a feeling he always thought that was a bit weird but he never commented on it. My husband really will do anything to avoid getting into conversations about things he doesn't wish to discuss.

No prizes for guessing what it makes me think of. Today I find myself thinking maybe that's not healthy - having it in my face all the time I mean. So I reach for the frame and I put the wedding picture back on top. It makes me feel a bit sad. Am wondering if today would be a good day to have That Talk. It's hard to decide. If I open the subject and it doesn't go well it might ruin our weekend. But then when is a good time? On weekdays he's too tired and stressed out to handle difficult conversations he says. So if not the weekend then when?

Besides why should it ruin our weekend?Most couples would enjoy talking about their future children. On that thought I fall asleep again.

Next time I surface feeling rested and fresh. A good night's sleep for a change. I get up, have my shower and then go into the kitchen to make my coffee. No sugar. And no sign of him. Curiouser and curiouser.

I make myself a cup of black coffee no sugar. Then I call him. It rings twice. I hear his key in the door so I hang up. He'd obviously been out shopping for groceries. I remember that I had left the shopping list taped to the fridge door. I meant it for myself actually - to remind me of what we've run out of.

I help him carry the bags in and put everything away. Then I start to cook. I like to have fun with breakfast on Fridays. Trying out new recipes and new accessories for the table etc....I get to cook at my leisure and not at the end of a long working day. When I'm done I call downstairs for his newspapers. Me I've never been much of a newspaper reader. I follow the news on the internet, or on the radio when I'm driving to work. But he likes to read them over breakfast. And he'll pass me the good bits to read so now I'm keeping up with most of the local papers - Arabic and English.

The newspapers arrive and I call out that breakfast is ready. He doesn't show up so I go looking for him. He's in the study watching some medical DVD. I point out that it's his day off. He starts going on about how awesome whatever it was he was watching that I'm averting my face from is. My husband just cannot understand that not everyone can get as excited as him about surgeons in blood-soaked gloves playing with people's facial bones.

I tell him the food is getting cold. He switches off the computer, walks up and gives me a kiss. He asks if I'm on the menu. I say that for him, I am always on the menu but he has to eat my food first. That's not usually a problem. Mashallah he has a healthy appetite and will eat satisfyingly large quantities of whatever you cook - no matter what time of day it is. It makes him a pleasure to cook for.

I wait until we're done with breakfast and the newspapers. Then I figure it's as good a time as any. At that point my hands are getting cold and sweaty as I try to think of a good opening. I can't believe how nervous I am!

Me : 7abibi?

He looks at me. And for a second I'm just staring at him.

Him: Fi 7aga?(Something wrong?)

I take a deep breath.

Me : I've been wondering if maybe you have something against fatherhood.
Him: Ya3ni eh?(What do you mean?)
Me : Ya3ni I'm interested in your feelings on the subject.
Him: We had this discussion before. Many times. I told you that when we move away from here if you want to start a family it's ok with me.
Me : Yes you keep saying that. If I want. Don't you want?
Him: In the future, yes I do.


Me : How many?
Him : What?
Me : How many kids would you like to have?
Him : Oh. One I guess. Maybe 2.
Me : And if I want more?
Him : Leh inshallah?Howa ana kol ma abosilik hatgeebili 3ayel?(Why?Are you going to get pregnant everytime I look at you?)

Sarcasm. Not a good sign.

Me : So 2 is your limit.
Him : Inti 3ayza kam(How many do you want?)?A dozen?
Me : No. I just want one.
Him : Tayeb btisa'ali leh?(So why are you asking?)
Me : I'm asking questions to keep you talking.
Him : Ishmi3na ya3ni?(Why?)
Me : Because this is important to me and you're my husband and I like to talk to you about things that are important to me.
Him : Ok so talk to me. I'm listening.
Me : Don't you have anything to say to me?
Him : 7adritik inti illy bit2ooli inik mi7taga titkalimi.Wana ba2oolik ana ta7t amrik. Itfadali. Ana sam3ik.

"7adritik" and "ta7t amrik" in the same sentence. Not a good sign AT ALL. Formality is what he does when he's pissed at me. But I didn't let him intimidate me this time. He said I should talk so I did. It's hard to talk about your personal feelings to someone who isn't showing a lot of sympathy or understanding. But I kept talking -not looking at him.

Eventually he thawed out a bit. And I got a few bits of useful information out of him - although it was like pulling teeth.I learnt that he feels he already has to share me with my job and that if I have a family too then the honeymoon will really be over and I will have no time for our relationship, that I will turn into a 'typical Arab woman' and our marriage will turn into a 'typical Arab marriage' - both of which I gather he does not consider good things. And I learnt that he thinks I'm so obssessive about this baby thing it's not healthy and that if I'm this obssessive now I'll be even more obssessive when the baby does arrive.

Me : And you're not used to me obssessing about anything other than you right?

That made him smile. At last.

Him: Yeah I guess you could put it that way.
Me : Would it help if I promise to obssess about you always?
Him: Always?
Me : I will absolutely stalk you. You shall have no rest.
Him: La mish awi kida.
Me : Seriously I think you should trust me more.
Him: What does trust have to do with it?
Me : Well what you're saying is that you don't think I can handle being a good wife and a good mother. That's a remarkable lack of faith in my abilities. Don't you realize you married Superwoman?
Him(smiling): Superwoman mara wa7da? I do have faith in you. I'm just glad I don't have to put my faith to the test so soon after our marriage. That's the problem, isn't it? I mean we both accept that we have to wait. But I'm enjoying the wait, the time I have with you and you're not.
Me : If I didn't enjoy my time with you and if I didn't love you, I wouldn't want to have your children so much.
Him: I don't know. I'd really like to think that.

How can he doubt me?How CAN he?I AM Superwoman. I'll SHOW him!


More or Less

1) If other women noticeably admire his body it makes me feel 10 ft tall. I'll be thinking yes isn't he something and he's with me. If other men noticeably admire my body, it makes him feel that he is 'beyit2artas' and he will make me cover it. So does it mean I love him more or he loves me more?

2) My dreams are full of little boys who look like him. Don't know what makes me so sure my children will all be boys and that they will look exactly like him and not me and not anyone else. I just know it. He says he likes having me all to himself and is happy to enjoy me a little longer before he has to share me with our children. Again which one loves the other more?Me because I want to have his baby?Or him because he says he's happy just having me?

Today we got into a debate about which one of us loves the other more - each one of us essentially saying if you loved me as much as I love you you'd see things my way etc....

Result? Pretty inconclusive I think.