Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Ten Years?

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I know this is a commonly asked question, and the answer is usually spontaneous, living in a suburban house with two kids.. becoming a successful doctor or engineer.. having achieved my dreams (whatever those dreams are).
I was asked this question a while ago, and my answer was that I see myself living a content (I won't say happy.. but content) life with two maybe three kids, a busy mom, homeschooling her kids (of course) baking, cooking, washing, taking the kids to the park, crying every now and then because life seemed more promising before marriage, enjoying outings with the whole family.. arguing a lot with my mother-in law, and so on...
Well.. I thought about it afterwards, and I asked myself this question again, and my answer was, I don't know...
I honestly don't! If I were asked this very same question ten years ago, I would have never, in my wildest dreams, imagined myself where I am right now.
Ten years ago, I was living in my hometown, Toronto, and suddenly, I find myself living in a country I wouldn't have even thought of visiting!
When my grandmother married my grandfather years ago in Damascus, Syria, she never imagined herself living somewhere she never knew existed on the map!
Strange, yet simple things might happen to us, and they change the course of our lives.
In my case, it was an accident. In other cases it could be something as simple as a business deal, a phone call, a signed piece of paper, or even a feeling.
Where do I see myself in ten years? I do not have an answer to that question, my life has been so unpredictable so far.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wonders of Nature

Day fifteen... dated Nov/28/09

No amount of words could explain the feeling of witnessing an extraordinary sunset. Watching the sun as it peacefully sets into the horizon. Or looking up at the sky on a warm summer's night, and watch as the stars flicker and twinkle, dancing around the glowing moon.
I'm grateful for being able to see such wonders. I'm grateful for my sight.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It is Time to WAKE UP!

I wasn't really surprised when I came upon this youtube video the other day, because I already know that music, especially rock 'n' roll and pop are not merely entertainment, they are more than just that.
This video reveals a secret satanic message hidden in Led Zeppelin's song "Stairway to Heaven". If you play the song backwards, you can clearly hear that message.

Here are the original lyrics:

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean
For the May queen

Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There's still time to change
The road you're on

Sounds fine, right? (although if you analyze the lyrics and read deep into them, you will find that these lyrics have other subliminal message)
Now listen to these same lyrics played backwards...

If you don't believe this, download any audio editing software, play the song backwards and listen for yourself.

These messages are not only found in this particular song, but MANY other pop and rock songs. Not necessarily satanic messages, and you might not understand the significance of these messages, but your subconscious mind sure does!!!

To further understand how secret messages are embedded into songs we listen to everyday, and how these messages control our minds, I suggest you watch the documentary "The Workings of Evil" on youtube.
This documentary analyzes the song "Umbrella" by Rhianna.
While the creator of this documentary is speaking from a secular point to view, we can easily view it from an Islamic point of view, and it will make much more sense.
I wouldn't watch this at night if I were you, especially alone, in the dark, when everyone has gone to sleep.. wooOOoooo ooo *clears throat* sorry... (lol)

Haven't you ever wondered why songs make you feel things? Depression, sadness.. unexplained anger.. rage.. sometimes excitement.. other times loneliness? Well, now you know why! It's not just the hidden messages, its they way the song is being sung. The musical instruments used in the song, and the mood the song puts you in, all those factors are being used to control your mind without you knowing, and you are gladly taking part in this dirty conspiracy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Photography... Oh Beautiful Photography!

Day fourteen... dated Nov/24/09

I became interested in photography last year. Since then, I began feeling more connected with the world around me, especially nature. Photography made me appreciate small things, and explore new places. It opened my eyes, and made me alert. It made colors more vivid, and the light more radiant!
I'm grateful for photography, for making my life more interesting!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

10 Things I Like About Photography

1- It makes you see the world from different angles
2- Gives you more reasons to go sight seeing
3- You appreciate simple, beautiful things with photography
4- Makes you look sophisticated and intelligent while you snap away with your camera :)
5- Makes you appreciate the works of other photographers, and not just stare at their photos
6- Its a hobby that can bring you money!
7- You're out of ideas and you can't find a suitable gift to give? Print one of your photos, frame it, and viola! You've got the prefect present!
8- With photography, the possibilities are endless!
9- When you take a really good photo, you feel that you have achieved something of great importance! Even if all you do with the photo is share it online, or use it as your desktop wallpaper
10- You can see magical things through the camera lens! Things you can't see with your bare eyes!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Writing a Story

So I had this idea the other day. Why is it that when writers write stories about animals, it has to be comedy? I thought of writing a story of a pampered cat that has been abandoned. It is not comedy, it's tragic.
I tried putting myself in that cat's place, and write about her feelings, her fears, and her struggle to survive in a harsh environment, completely new to her, the streets.

It always makes me angry that most people take animals' suffering sarcastically (especially here in Egypt)! Caring for animals does not mean that I should not care for less fortunate people, and that their suffering should not be my concern!! Both deserve my charity! I'm obliged to help both.

So I've created a new blog, will be posting the story there in chapters inshallah.
Any comments and criticism are welcome!

Good night.. sleep tight.. don't let the bed bugs bite!!!!

Day thirteen... dated Nov/25/09

The sun sets into the horizon, a blanket of dark velvet blue covers the sky and the world falls asleep. I'm grateful for the peace and and quietness of the night. Everyone slips into their cozy beds, cuddle with their loved ones, and fall into a deep healing sleep. I do believe that a good night's sleep is a great blessing!! For there are those who have been deprived of that blessing.
(I'm obviously still sleepy, since I had to wake up really early this morning...)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

... a long day

Day twelve... dated Nov/24/09

I was going to write about my childhood, and how grateful I am for growing up uncorrupted by TV and the stress of schools, but for some odd reason, this photo makes me feel really sleepy!
Its almost midnight here in Cairo, and I've been up since 5 am, and I haven't had the chance to "sit" down through out the entire day! My back is aching, my feet are sore, and I am GRATEFUL this long hectic day is finally over! I'm also grateful for having a fluffy pillow, a warm duvet, and a cozy bed, which I'm going to dive into and fall asleep... Good night everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Apple a Day...

Day eleven.. dated Nov/23/09

Its strange how we appreciate health only when we lose it. Sickness makes us realize how vulnerable our bodies are, and how important health is. Today I'm grateful for being healthy, despite the fact that everything around us is unhealthy and unhygienic in this polluted and disease infested world.
The amount of chemicals in our foods and the harmful substitutes are mind-boggling!
Its a miracle that we are still healthy and living a natural life. But then again, not everyone is as healthy as they should be. That's why I'm most grateful for being healthy today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sweet Home

Day ten.. dated Nov/22/09

I'm grateful for feeling safe in this world, knowing I have a family to stand by me if I ever needed. I'm grateful for not having to fend for myself in this big bad world, because I'm already protected. Wherever I go, and whatever happens to me, I know there is always a "home" I can come back to, and seek refugee. A faithful, protective family, truly is, the most beautiful blessing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Time Capsule..?

I found an old black suitcase that was stored on top of my wardrobe the other day. Its been there for ages. Inside I found really interesting things, I knew I had them, but I forgot all about them. Some of the things belonged to me... and other things.
I found a box full of seashells. I've had them for years! I remember when I was collecting them. I spent the whole day on the beach looking for shells. They were really tiny! Really colorful and all shapes and sizes.

I also found an old pair for glasses, they were my late grandmother's

Make-up that belonged to my other grandmother. They are probably more than 25 years old!

A few necklaces (also my grandmother's) maybe 30-something years old.

And... an episode guide for Star Trek's "The Next Generation's" first two episodes! Its a tiny little booklet, it's so cute! I have no idea how it got there!!


Day nine.. dated Nov/21/09

True friends are rare to find. Like rare precious gems, hidden among dull stones.
They fill your world with rich, vibrant colors. They help you develop and expand your horizons with their experiences, and make your life exciting!
I'm grateful for true friends!! They are one of God's most precious gifts!
Unique-Muslimah, one of those rare, precious gifts, I'm grateful for your friendship :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

... so wonderfuly beautiful!

Day eight.. dated Nov/20/09

I'm grateful for all the beauty that is surrounding us. The blue skies, the warm sunshine, the lovely fragrant flowers, and all the splendors of nature all around us. I am also grateful that I am able to appreciate them and not just pass by them, like they are nothing more than an object... out there. To enjoy the beauty everywhere, even in the smallest things, and thank God for making plant earth, home, so wonderfully beautiful.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Door Over My Head

Day seven.. dated Nov/19/09

I remember a story I heard once, but I can't seem to recall where I heard it.

A very poor single mother lived with her only son in a tin hut. The roof of this hut was made of palm tree leaves.
In the winter season, when heavy rains fell on the village, the mother would remove the door of the hut, and use it as a shelter from the rain.
One winter evening, while the rain was pouring on the little tin hut, and while the mother held her little son in her arms hiding underneath their door that was shielding the cold harsh rain, the son whispered to his mother, "Mother, we should be very grateful that we have that door to sit under and hide from the rain, imagine those poor people out there with no door to protect them!"
I am grateful that I have more than just a door to hide under, more than just a door to live under.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Thought After Midnight

It's 1am now. Everyone has gone to sleep, and I'm wide awake.
As a result of reading the book 'Chocolat' I started craving chocolate, and went straight down to the kitchen and fixed myself a warm cup of rich hot chocolate.
The house was so still, not a single sound was heard. Even the cats have gone to sleep. I found myself shivering. Not because its freezing, and my warmest PJ's are not warm enough, but at the thought of being alone. Alone in a huge, dark house. I remembered the dream I had last night. A loved one died, and I was weeping. Someone told me that if you get to a certain level of despair, you will be able to talk to the deceased, and see them. I was still weeping. I saw the faint figure of my loved one, gliding down the stairs, wearing a green robe. It felt strange, to be able to see and communicate, yet not be able to touch. I woke up and found tears on my cheeks, and my pillow wet. I have never lost a person who was that close to me before, I don't know how it will feel like in real life. Because now I know how it feels like in dreams, and in dreams I can still talk to them and see them, even if they were ghosts. I can't say that I hope not to lose someone, because eventually I will, and it scares the hell out of me. I will feel alone. I will feel that life has lost its meaning, if only for a while, until that person becomes a memory, and a few photographs.... and I don't want them to be pushed aside in my dusty book of memories, and remembered occasionally, and pushed back again to rot in the dusty book till eternity.... I really don't want it to be like that.

Have a Lovely Evening!

Day six..

Watching the sun slowly dive into the soft fluffy pink clouds, as she blows her kisses of golden rays, wishing the world a good peaceful night, is what I am grateful for today.
The greatest blessings in life are those that are free of charge, and often those that we think are insignificant, or unworthy of gratitude. But in fact, those small but great blessings, are what makes life worth living.

The Key to My Heart...

I forgot post last night's entry... so here it is :)

Day five.. dated Nov/17/09

Being grateful is, in itself a blessing. So today I am grateful for being grateful. Gratitude is more than just a word, its the key to happiness in life. People work hard trying to achieve the ultimate goal, which is happiness. But what they have failed to realize, is that happiness is merely a tool to achieve bigger goals in this life, and the next. They have looked everywhere for happiness, but the only place they forgot to look in, was their own hearts.
Being grateful for what you have, feeling content and satisfied, is the definition of happiness.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Thankful!

Day four... dated Nov/16/09

It's flu season!! And yes.. I'm sick. (don't worry.. its not swine flu!!).
So, I cheated!! I wasn't able to take any photos today, since I was smothered with pillows, underneath warm blankets. So I started digging up old photos, and found this one.

Looking at some photos of African children suffering from starvation, made me realize what an amazing blessing food is! Having fruits and vegetables in your fridge, bread in your cupboard, and water flowing from your tap! I'm sure most of us have, at one time in our lives, imagined having a very unfortunate accident happen to us, like the loss of a loved one, or a very dangerous illness, but never, being starved to death.
Let every bite of food we take, be a chance to thank God for his never ending blessings, and to wake us up to the fact that all this... could one day cease to exist.

[40/52] Babyface the Romantic

Babyface has been with us for over three months. He and Lula are best buddies now! More than best buddies, the cutest couple ever!!! I was really worried when I first adopted Babyface, they were always fighting, growling, and hissing at each other, but now they're in love!
His personality is a lot different then hers. He's romantic (yes! romantic!), very sensitive, kind and caring. He enjoys walking in the garden, smelling flowers and chasing butterflies. She is the trouble maker! Always jumping on the kitchen counters and breaking things, biting and scratching (playfully of course). But somehow they've managed to love each other, and I'm really thankful for that, she was really lonely before he came!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Things We Take for Granted...

Day three... dated Nov/15/09

Peace is one of God's most greatest blessings. Today I felt really grateful for living in a country that enjoys peace and stability, and not having to fear for my life, and the lives of my loved ones every single day, in a country shattered by war.
To wake up to the sound of chirping birds, and not the sound of warplanes piercing through the morning skies, is something we take for granted. Something as simple as lounging in your backyard, with a good book, and a sweet cool breeze blowing on your face, feeling safe and content, is truly, a great blessing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Beauty Lies Within

I started this "30 Days of Gratitude project" a month ago. I posted the first entry, have no idea why, but I forgot to post the rest of the entries (yea, forgot.. )
I started this project on flickr (a photo sharing website). It's a photography project, for those of you who don't know.

So.. I'll be posting an entry every day for the next 29 days. You can skip all that and visit my flickr page, and view the whole 30 entries :)

Here we go!

Day two... dated Nov/14/09

My friends and family members always encourage me by telling me "how wonderfully talented I am". Especially my lovely grandmother. Those simple little compliments, which I knew were straight from the heart, made me want to improve my skills to be able to deserve their praise, which sometimes I felt I did not deserve.

Having someone constantly telling you how wonderful and how brilliant you are, even if you weren't exactly that, makes you believe in yourself, and if you believe in yourself, you could do wonders!
I am grateful that God blessed me with a supporting family, whose sincere words and honest compliments made me truly believe in myself.

This photo is dedicated to the sweetest, most kind heated grandmother.
And to my mother, thank you for believing in me!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Look!

For those of you who don't know me, I LOVE change! I just can't stick with one thing/look forever. I get bored easily, and routine depresses me. So... I made a few changes to the layout. Actually, a whole lot of changes! Hope you like my "new look" :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

The King and the Water of Madness

"A powerful wizard, who wanted to destroy an entire kingdom, placed a magic potion in the well from which all the inhabitants drank. Whoever drank that water would go mad.

The following morning, the whole population drank from the well, and they all went mad. Apart from the king and his family, who had a well set aside for them alone, and which the magician had not managed to poison.
The king was worried and tried to control the population by issuing a series of edicts governing security and public health. The police men and the inspectors, however, had also drunk from the poisoned water and they thought the king's decisions were absurd and resolved to take no notice of them.

When the inhabitants of the kingdom heard of these decrees, they became convinced that the king had gone mad and was now giving nonsensical orders. They marched on to the castle and called for his abdication.

In despair, the king prepared to step down from the throne, but the queen stopped him, saying:
'Let us go and drink from the communal well. then, we will be the same as them."
And that was what they did: the king and the queen drank from the water of madness and immediately began talking nonsense.

Their subjects repented at once; now that the kind was displaying such wisdom, why not allow him to continue ruling the country?
The country continued to live in peace, although the inhabitants behaved very differently from those of its neighbors. And the king was able to govern until the end of his days."

Do I have to drink from the water of madness to be accepted into society?! To be like everyone else?
I refuse, and I shall be looked at as a madwoman till the end of my days...

[39/52] Reflections

[39/52] Reflections
Originally uploaded by Midnight.Silver
Nothing interesting is happening around here. Everything is so still and life seems as quiet as undisturbed waters of a small lake on a late summer's afternoon. The only things moving are the clouds, the sun, the moon, and occasionally, the sheer curtain, gently swaying as the wind blows through the window. Phases like these pass through our lives, even if they only last for a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, but they give us space, and time to reflect on important matters in our lives.

[38/52] A Room with a View

This shot was taken at Azhar Park. It is such a lovely place, full of wonderful things to photograph. I had a great time with a friend of mine last Saturday. We had lunch there, and took lots of photos! Its lovely to go out with a fellow photographer, it makes shooting photos even more fun!

This is a late entry, I've been really busy theses days (I know.. I always say that!).
Besides, the 30 days of gratitude project is getting really hard and challenging.

[37/52] Pretty in Pink

It has been really challenging this week, to shoot a photo everyday for my "30 Days of Gratitude" project. But I've managed!
This project is really helping me to improve my photography skills, and it also helped remove this writer's block that I've been suffering from. And I'm grateful for that :)

My dear friend got me this lovely perfume as an early Eid (muslim holiday) present.
THANK YOU!! It really means a lot to receive a lovely present from a dear friend, because you know it came from the heart ♥

Saturday, November 14, 2009

[36/52] Sweet November

Autumn is the best time in Egypt, I call it "the Egyptian spring", as spring here is not at all pleasant. With dust storms and strong, yellowish winds, it is not at all the "typical" sweet, refreshing spring.
Everything is lovely in the autumn. The skies are crystal clear, silky blue, the clouds fluffy, the sunshine sweet and warm, and the breeze cool with refreshing scents. Spending time outdoors, reading a book, or playing with your pet, or simply relaxing with your family, is really pleasant and therapeutic, and makes one appreciate all the splendors God has created for us to enjoy, and thank him for it by being modest and preforming our duties with the most cheerful manner. This might sound a bit like preaching, but it is exactly how I'm feeling these days :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude: 1/30 Butterfly Fly Away...

I've been inspired by a friend to start a project called "30 days of gratitude".
It is basically, taking a photo each day for a month, and list one thing you are grateful for.
Since the internet was disconnected during the first week of November, I wasn't able to start in the beginning of the month. But it won't make a big difference, would it?

Today, I am grateful for being a free person. For being able to think with a clear mind and being able to see, not just look. I am grateful for not being controlled by the media and hypnotized by music, mind-controlling song lyrics and subliminal messages in commercials, movies and even children's cartoons.
To have a vision is something rare these days. It amazes me how the general public allow certain groups of people to take over our lives. To dictate what we should and should not do. What we should wear, how we should think, what actions we should take, and present us with disposable, ready-made personalities and characteristics. Use them, achieve their goals, dispose of them, and present us with brand new glittery ones. "Change", they call it.
Lies are becoming the new facts, and facts are being ridiculed. Simply because they sound absurd, simply "they" said so.
Talking about this subject is never ending, and probably some of you might disagree and find the whole idea preposterous.
But I am grateful.. grateful for not being a part of this evil cycle, and not being enslaved to "their" freedom. Freedom is not just having the right to chose something over the other, blue over green, or pink over red. Its having the right to KNOW what blue is, and what red is.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

[35/52] When the Creative Bug Bites

I have been disconnected from the internet (again) for almost 9 days. There was a technical problem with the phone line, therefore no internet. I don't want to start venting, because even now after the line had been fixed, I'm still frustrated at the whole who-cares- about-customer-service attitude which I've been treated with. And the fact that I've been calling the phone company non-stop throughout the whole nine days, and getting the same annoying answers over and over. "Thank you for calling customer service, we have received your complaints, your phone line will be fixed within 24 hours. Thank you for calling! Thank you!!"
STOP thanking me and go do your job!!
Lack of customer service is a big disadvantage one faces while living in a third world country, and it saddens me to say that.
I'm going to skip all that and talk about the lovely time I had disconnected from the entire world.

I managed to finish the novel I was reading, which seemed impossible to finish. The characters were very cheerful!!! Despite being poor and their life full of tragic events, one after another. I found that to be very annoying. Yet it was amusing.
And... I made a scrapbook. Its still under construction though. The book is finished. It took quite some time to glue the ribbons on and make it look as girly as possible (sorry, but girly things are still my weakness!) now I have all those blank pages to fill with sweet memories, stickers, more ribbons and anything that could be glued to a page!

Its nice to be back after the agonizingly long week and two days without a connection.
This, of course, is last weeks entry :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

[34/52] Through the Pages of History

I went to visit the Library of Archives the other day. As part of a research I was doing, I needed to find an article about the subject I was researching on, which dated back to the year 1939. I was advised by friends to visit this place (I didn't know they had a Library for Archives here in Cairo!) and I was pretty impressed!
Everything was so organized. I was surprised though, that you were allowed to browse through the original copies. The paper is yellow with age, and very fragile and delicate. I was fascinated with the idea that I'm touching a piece of paper that someone back in the year 1939 also touched. Although its not a big deal, 1939 is only 60 years ago, not even a century.
But still, reading all those headlines, the photographs, the classified ads, it was fascinating! There was an ad for a young nurse who spoke fluent French, English and German, seeking employment. Another ad for a governess seeking employment. I couldn't help but wonder what happened to those two. Are they still alive? Maybe they are more than 80 years old now, living in a retirement home.

I was taking photos when one of the guards came and asked me not to photograph, apparently it wasn't allowed. I was lucky to have taken a few photos before he came!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Moment in the Life of a Poet

On a blank sheet of paper
I try to scribble a few words
My pen pauses instantly
My eyes quickly scroll down the page
I find myself ripping that paper apart
Jumbling it spontaneously
And adding it to a collection of similar pages
Scattered randomly beneath my chair

I take another sip of tea
It’s now cold as ice

Where are my words?
They’re imprisoned by darkness
In deep dungeons in the back of my head

The bottle of ink stands before me
Daring me to free them
Daring me to be heroic

I grab another sheet of paper
I reach for my pen
And accidentally hit the ink bottle
It spills
A big blue shiny puddle
Now occupies the blank sheet

My words are liberated!
I can see them swimming joyfully
Splashing and swirling in the puddle
I smile
My words are now free…

-Mariam A.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

[33/52] Goodbye Summer.. you won't be missed...

Its official, Summer in Egypt is over, and I'm so glad it is! I usually mark the end of Summer when my bare feet start freezing at night! To say the truth, I don't really like Summer at all. Especially in Egypt. Its hot, sticky, humid, and HOT! Enjoying outdoor activities is out of the question, and people would rather stay confined to their homes, and enjoy the blessings of air conditioners.
(I'm still talking about Egyptian Summer)
If, however, you were forced to leave your house for emergencies, like running out of icecream or soda, you are most likely to experience the most unpleasant activity of your adult life.
The air you breath is suffocating and lacking oxygen (if that's scientifically possible). And If you were lucky enough to have a car (with an AC) usually the AC won't be strong enough to cool your car down, especially if you had leather seats, unless you were a millionaire and your car is a Maybach. What makes it even more unpleasant are the people who are always frustrated (because of the heat of course), and they tend to release all their frustration on you. A simple thing as accidentally stepping on someone's shoes, or bumping into them could end up in the emergency room, or someone getting arrested.
Those are a few examples of what could happen to ruin your day had you ventured to leave your house, and make you wish you never had.
So, for many, many other reasons, Summer is far from being my favorite season. Even in Canada I prefer Autumn and Winter to Summer. And since I've been home-schooled my entire life, I never considered Summer to be the season of holiday and relaxation, and was able to judge the other seasons fairly.

There are, however, a few things I like about Summer... and most of those few things can only be found in Canada :(

[32/52] .. How I've been feeling lately

I've been feeling a little blue lately, and not at all in the mood for taking any photos. Besides, my camera is not working properly, the photos are turning out really shaky and blurred. This is a photo I took a while ago.
Other than that, there's nothing significant worth mentioning...
Have a lovely weekend y'all!! (weekends in Egypt start on Friday)
Oh, and yea that's last week's entry :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

[31/50] Portal Through Time

Went to Azhar Park yesterday. It's in old Cairo, near Saladin Citadel . I live on the opposite side of old Cairo, its a new city, and I don't get to see those beautiful old buildings that often. Its amazing to be walking among that many remarkable sights of an old civilization. It makes you feel like you're walking inside a history book!!

Its really fascinating when you think of it that way!! I tried imagining those Arabian knights on their black stallions, walking up to the gates of the citadel, and all the events that took place on these very grounds!!
I tried to imagine the place even before the citadel was built, and watch in quick motion as the builders pile brick over brick, then the place is finished and people start storming in. Then wars happen, huge armies, horses and catapults shooting flaming balls of fire.Then peace. Then watched as the four seasons pass by (still in quick motion :p) A hundred years pass.. two hundred. Three hundred, new houses being built. Five hundred, nine hundred. The place starts to decay. Ugly new buildings start growing up from the ground. Bridges being built. Bridges opened. Cars and trucks pass by. The ugly building collapse, new ugly buildings start to rise up again. And then Alien invaders, and flying saucers start shooting that red light and destroying all of humanity!!

This shot was taken at the park. It over looks all of old Cairo. As though it's a magical garden of a palace, with a portal through time, to the future...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

[30/52] Cuppycakes!

[30/52] Cuppycakes!
Originally uploaded by Midnight.Silver
I'm really in the baking mood these days! I made those yesterday. They were not that hard to make, but they take a LOT of time. Grating carrots, lemon zest and orange peel.. it takes FOREVER! But they were worth it!
Have nothing more to say.. have a lovely weekend you guys!!!

[29/52] Let Them Eat Cookies!

My sister and I baked those cute little flower cookies yesterday. They turned out really good!! The whole family really enjoyed them. They are more than easy to make. The batter didn't take more than 10 minutes to prepare. We used a little machine made specially for shaping cookies. It could be found at any store selling kitchen stuff.

Here is the recipe!!

1 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cup softened butter
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg yoke
1 egg
3 tsp vanilla
A pinch of salt

Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with an egg beater. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg and the egg yoke with a fork, and add vanilla. Pour the eggs and vanilla to the butter.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl, and add them to the batter. Mix them well with your hands (this part is a bit messy! and I'm telling you, its hard to get butter off your hands!!)
Now you have the cookie dough. Place it in a an air tight container, and refrigerate for about half and hour, and voilà!!! You've got the perfect cookie dough ready for shaping :)
Usually some people spread apricot jam on one cookie and place another cookie on top, making it like a sandwich :) or chocolate coating. Some people also add colorful sugar sprinkles or confetti. We were too lazy to do that!!

They are called petit four cookies, they're kind of french :) but in most arab countries, it's a traditional Eid desert!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

[28/52] كل عام وأنتم بألف خير!!

It was Eid yesterday (muslim holiday)!! Eid marks the end of Ramadan. We usually start the day by going to the mosque for Eid prayer. The prayer was lovely this year! It was held in the mosque's park, so it was outdoors. My shoes got soaked though!! It was really early in the morning (6:00 am) and the grass was still wet. There were lovely little girls giving away candies and balloons. They were such cute little things! You could feel happiness in the air!
Well, in the afternoon we had BBQ for lunch and spent the whole day outdoors. I wish I had taken photos of the food!! It was delicious! But my hands were all greasy, and I was busy.. well, eating!! The cats had a blast too!! BBQed chicken!! Yumm!
Hope you had a fabulously fun Eid and weekend!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

[27/52] Pink Always Makes Me Smile :)

I've been very busy these days, I totally forgot about last weeks entry!! Nothing really special about the photo, just another flower in my garden. I'm really running out of things to photograph. Or my camera is getting old and not fit enough to try new things! Today might be the last day of Ramadan, depending on the moon sighting. The month passed by like a breeze! May God accept all of your deeds and prayers, and may he shower you with his blessings!! A big thank you to all of my lovely contacts! Your comments and encouraging words always made my heart smile :-)
Have a lovely weekend everyone!!!

[26/52] Hallucination

I have a really bad cold, high fever and sore throat. I spent the whole day yesterday on the couch in the living room, half asleep, half awake. It was a really terrible feeling. The room was too hot, yet the air condition was running on full blast. I felt my body was very light, light as a feather. Yet it was really hard for me to move even my fingers. I was hearing the sounds of people talking in the room, but I didn't really understand what they were saying. The voice of the news anchor on TV sounded like sweet music. Light rays were shining on the used Kleenex tissue paper surrounding me, they seemed so beautiful, like blooming white carnations. I was hallucinating.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

[25/52] Lula: "Don't you understand the whole concept of the afternoon snooze?? And what part of 'leave me alone' don't you get?"

Its been a week now since Baby Face joined the family. He and Lula are getting along well, not cuddling together yet, but they're getting along. Baby Face is really playful, and LOVES to cuddle. She is more of a quite kitty. She loves to play, but in her own weird way. But ever since he came and she's been acting like a grown up. She thinks she is the intelligent one, he really annoys her sometimes! He's a purring machine, and he has such a strange way of meowing, and he meows a lot! And for some reason she finds that really annoying.
But eventually I think she will love him, he is really lovable, and he is trying to gain her love. He comes to her and licks her ears, and tries talking to her with a soft purring sound. Her heart will soften sooner or later :)

[23/52] .."I've been thrown in the streets, tortured, hit by cars and almost starved to death, will you take me home and give me the love and care I deserve?"

Last Tuesday I went to visit a cat shelter here in Cairo looking for a companion for my cat Lula. There are about four or five shelters in Cairo, and I heard that recently one of them got shut down. (I don't understand how a cat shelter can get shut down, but never the less). The shelter I went to visit is run by a very kind lady and has over 200 cats. She also rescues dogs, and foxes. At first I didn't understand why foxes needed to be rescued, but then the lady explained to me that foxes are being hunted down by fur traders.
The shelter, called "Touch of Life" is in fact the lady's house. Its a three story building, and has about seven rooms. When I first entered, it seemed like a totally different planet in there! There were dozens and dozens of cats everywhere!! For me it was like a child in a candy store! The cats are free to roam the house as they like, they're not locked up in cages. Its like a big HUGE cat family. It was really heart breaking for me to hear the stories of the rescued cats, some have been in really horrible situations.
When I asked the lady how she receives donations, I was really surprised to hear that she doesn't! The whole place is funded by her monthly income!! I felt like it was my obligation to let people know about the shelter and help her raise funds, So if anyone here in Cairo is interested in helping, let me know!!

This is Snoopy, a very kind and loving male cat. He was also rescued from the streets of Cairo. He is a Mau mix breed. Mostly known as Tabby, or Baladi in Egyptian.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

[21/52] Every Single Blade of Grass...

Ever wondered how it would be like to live in a different universe? I always do.
I know I'm not young enough to have an imaginary world of my own, but then again, each and every one of us has a child spirit living inside of him. Whether we choose to nurture this child or suffocate it depends on our ability to see the world through different dimensions. Something as simple as a scent or a sound could trigger memories of things that haven't existed yet, or things you wish existed. Imagination inspires, its the spark that makes our lives so interesting and so different from one another.
Close your eyes and let your imagination lead you to places you never.... ( I'll let you finish the sentence..)

[20/52] I've Been Tagged!

I’ve been tagged by Umm Travis!

To do the Honest Scrap tag… Here’s the deal. Tell your readers 10 things about you that they may or may not know, but are true. Tag ten people and be sure to let them know they’ve been tagged (a quick message will do). Don’t forget to link back to the person who tagged you.

1. I’m a Muslim Canadian girl, of Syrian, Egyptian, Arab, Turkish, Bedouin and Chechnyan origins :)
2. I once had over 36 cats living in my backyard.
3. I was 7 years of age when I wrote and published my first poem.
4. I learned to read and write all by my own.
5. I’m a very emotional person, I still cry when I watch Disney’s movie “Dumbo”
6. I feel that I don’t belong in this world; I’m just a stranger, a passerby.
7. I wish I had been born in a different time.
8. I wish I had my grandmother’s kindness and forgiveness.
9. I believe that life is just the first phase of existence.
10. I really enjoy walking alone…

I'm supposed to tag bloggers, but since I only know two bloggers, and one of them is the one who tagged me, I thought I'd tag some of my flickr friends :)

White Sands, Turquoise Waters and Sunburns

Originally uploaded by Midnight.Silver
It was a lovely day yesterday. We were invited to our cousins’ chalet in Sahel Shamaly for a day. It’s a three hour drive from Cairo. The beach there is beautiful, white sands, turquoise waters, and a burning sun!!! I totally forgot to bring sunscreen, and I got a really bad sunburn!
I took a couple of shots, but it was too bright, I couldn’t see clearly enough to take more, and I realized I’m really bad at landscape photography!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

10 Things I Like About Homeschooling

I’m a homeschooler. Never been to any educational institution so far. The closest thing I’ve been to a school was last year, when I worked as a kindergarten teacher for a few months (didn’t like it, so I quit). I’m supposed to have finished my education and graduated from university by now. But I’m not in a hurry!
Homeschooling had its ups and downs. But from my experience, I think the advantages are more.
So here are the 10 things I like (or liked) about homeschooling :)

1- Not having to study physics and social studies!!
2- Not having my brain stuffed with information I’ll eventually forget
3- Watching other students agonize over exams, while I’m just chillin’!
4- Going to amusement parks on Mondays, and not having to stand for hours waiting for a ride :D
5- Making spontaneous trips in the middle of the week
6- Being creative and unique
7- Not having to suffer peer pressure or become a victim of bullying
8- Having an independent opinion and not being a slave to what’s “in”
9- Having enough time to discover my talents
10- Having a chance to develop my personality without any pressures

Would love to hear your opinion :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

[18/52] Sushi, anyone?

The internet got cut off again, but only for a day. This time the modem broke. We got a new one, and the problem got fixed.
So anyway, we made sushi rolls yesterday!! I haven’t had sushi since I came to Egypt, so yea it was GOOD!! We got seaweed, fish eggs, crab sticks, smoked salmon, wasabi, avocado, cucumber and sushi rice. Making sushi rolls was a piece of cake really, not as hard as it looks. Well, my younger brother made them, I just sat there and watched, and occasionally ‘tried’ some of the ingredients to see if they taste good :p
But eventually I was asked to leave the kitchen, since I was distracting them and being useless (and I thought I was finally a grown up!! lol)
They turned out great! Had to drink a ton of water afterwards! But it was worth it :)


Originally uploaded by Midnight.Silver
I’ve been experimenting a lot with feathers and water drops those last two days. Its really exciting when you try something new and the results turn out better than you expected.
Taking macro shots like this with my point and shoot camera isn’t that easy. After shooting about one hundred shots, you choose only one or two! But I guess that proves that you don’t necessarily have to own a DSLR to shoot a good macro shot (although it makes a huge difference :D )

[16/52] @#$%*!

[16/52] @#$%*!
Originally uploaded by Midnight.Silver
Its been five days! I think its official… I’m losing my mind!! Last Monday, the electrician was here fixing some problem with the telephone line. He obviously isn’t qualified enough, and so.. he ruined it instead of fixing it! This resulted in disconnecting the internet. Ok, so how hard could it be to get the line fixed and connected again? Well… apparently, it takes more than you would expect!
The first day was fine. But it felt like there was something missing, like my life was on stand-by. I could deal with a few hours without a connection, right?
The electrician came by on the second day to try and fix the line again.
“The problem could be from the telephone company itself, so try calling them; maybe they could send someone over by tomorrow ma’am”. He doesn’t get it, does he!!!!??? I CAN’T wait till tomorrow!!
Well, tomorrow came; the telephone company called, and informed me that the problem could be from the cable connecting the lines together. And that this was the electrician’s job to fix. I just did not understand a word of what they said, but I was starting to get seriously impatient! One more day passed, and another.. and nothing was fixed. Today I called the electrician, “I’m sorry ma’am I don’t work on weekends”. WHAT??!! And what does he expect me to do? Wait till the week end is over?? (weekends start on Fridays in Egypt) Ok now I’m really frustrated!!! You know that feeling? When you just want to crush anything? Or slam that hairbrush in your hand on the mirror and demolish it??!! AAGGHH!!! That’s exactly what I want to do just now!!! The sound of glass braking would be such a relief! But it also could be a pain in the neck, since I’ll be the one cleaning the mess afterwards!
Hopefully the line would get fixed this Saturday, for the sake of that poor mirror :D

[15/52] You're my honey bunch sugar plum pumpie umpy umpkin... you're my sweetie pie!

This is my second attempt at making cupcakes.. and I think I’m pretty satisfied with the results! Last time was a total catastrophe! It was my first time to bake cupcakes, the cakes themselves turned out all right. But the buttercream was a disaster. I was supposed to add a few drops of food coloring to make it pink, well I added the few drops, and it was still white. So I just poured in some more food coloring, and still.. white! It was really stupid of me.. I should have looked at the bottle first. It was strawberry essence! And it tasted like cough syrup! It said ‘Strawberry Red’ on the bottle, and I thought that was the shade of red. I ended up throwing all the buttercream, and we ate the cupcakes without any frosting.
This time I made cream cheese frosting, and it was really good!
I know it’s not really fancy compared to all of those beautiful cupcakes out there, but I’m still learning :)
Dig in!!

[14/52] Camouflage!

[14/52] Camouflage!
Originally uploaded by Midnight.Silver
Most of my family members have cat allergies (including me!!), therefore some of the rooms in this house are forbidden for Lula to enter. But its known to the world that cats are one of the most manipulative creatures. This sneaky little kitty always finds a way to do what she wants. Once she is inside the room, she hides until I’m out of sight, then jumps on the bed and starts to cuddle on my favorite pillow; I just can’t find it in my heart to disturb her little snooze and wake her up. She always gets away with it!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

..In her dreams she is a princess...

I’ve always envied kittens and babies. They live in a world filled with love. Their little minds know nothing beside pleasant things. But sometimes, you watch them sleeping, and wonder, what could they possibly be dreaming of? What do kittens see in their dreams? Do they have nightmares? You see their heart beating fast, and their ears twitching, and you wonder, is it the boggy monster chasing them again? Or are they having a pleasant dream? Probably eating some yummy sardines, or chasing butterflies in the backyard?

Miss Perfection

Miss Perfection
Originally uploaded by Midnight.Silver
Everything is perfect in Miss Perfection’s prefect little world. She is flawless. She has the most perfect little face, perfect hair, and a perfect smile.
Everyone envied Miss Perfection and her perfect life

She lives in a perfect house, in a perfect little village. She has perfect friends, and a perfect little cat. She loves to spend afternoons in her perfect garden. She loves to bake perfect little cakes, and host perfect tea parties for her perfect friends.

But no matter how perfectly perfect Miss Perfection’s perfect life seems, underneath her smile is nothing but hollow darkness, and perfect emptiness.
Cold nothingness lies beyond the borders of her perfect little village.
She is but an image, a few words, a victim of imagination. Her soul is trapped beneath her wax skin for eternity. She can never be free.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hi My Name is Mariam and I'm An Addict

For me, a meal without Coke is incomplete. A habit I’ve been trying to lose for more than a few years. I remember when we were little, this sweet poison never entered our refrigerator, it was only ‘diet’ Coke for the older folks. But with time, and as we grew up, we started questioning those rules, as it was not ‘fair’ for ‘them’ to drink coke, while it was forbidden for us! Our older cousins were the first to break those rules, and once they are broken… they’re broken!
The problem with us (and by us I mean mankind) is that we know all the harms we are doing to our bodies and our health, but as long as its something that won’t effect our health IMMEDIATELY , we see it as an insignificant thing.
Besides the fact that Coke causes bone fracture, and that it contains high amounts of sugar and other freaky things, the concept of drinking any cold liquid with a meal is totally wrong.
I read somewhere that drinking cold water after (or with) a hot meal can cause discomfort in the stomach and sometimes food poisoning! (yea food poisoning!)
It happened once to my grandmother, she ate something with melted cheese, and drank a lot of cold soft drinks after the meal. They had to hospitalize her!
What happens is, the cold liquid will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed, and slow down the digestion process, causing discomfort.

Well, after having said all that, are we willing to finally give up on that habit??
Yeah… maybe some day :-)