Friday, April 28, 2006

Project Spectrum

Ok, I'm in the thinking/planning stages of turning an orange block into a 12" mini wall hanging but I may not finish by the end of the month so instead here is a picture of an orange from my neighbor's yard. This and one other tree peek up over the wall the seperates the two yards so I get to look at them all the time while I'm hanging laundry. I took the pic a couple of days too late since the flowers were much more abundant two days before, but I think it still looks pretty.
The roses were a "reward" for being company last week. We visited one of Mohsen's friends and he had over two dozen profusely blooming roses bushes lined up in two rows off his porch. When Mohsen complimented him on them, he promptly got out his pruning shears and a bunch for us. From top to bottom they are deep red, redish orange and a deep pink. He also had white ones but most of those blooms were past their prime, as well as some little light peachy pink climbing roses.

Now to answer so of the asked questions:
Jeanne-I became a Muslim when I was around 21 so I didn't have a set cultural dress style to follow. In the US, I pretty much wear what I do around the house if there are men here, i.e. jeans, t-shirt, scarf and a big, loose button-down shirt with the bottom few buttons fastened. If I'm going to the masjid/mosque, I'll either wear a monto or my regular outside clothes. It just depends on the occasion.

The kids only have one cousin to play with who will turn 2 this week. She's Mohsen's youngest sister's daughter.) She's very shy and quiet but my kids are doing their best to break her out of her shell and she now loves the attention she gets from them. Mohsen's two older sisters are not married, so no kids there and his younger brother has just this week gotten engaged so we'll have to wait a bit for cousins from them. ;)

Patty- Girls have to start covering when they reach puberty or around 9 years old. I've seen some people put scarves on babies as well but it's not very common. Most boys and all girls wear school uniforms depending on the school they attend. For all of the girls, the uniform is some style of pants, monto and scarf regardless of age although in the younger grades the girls don't have to keep the scarves on all of the time. It's basically just to get them accustomed to wearing them, similarly to what you said about the Amish covering the baby girls' heads.

It really is truly amazing how many similarities there are. Thanks to the internet, I've also found other groups of Christian women who cover and know from a friend that the Russian orthodox Christians cover as well.

Don't worry about the questions you ask, this is how we learn about each other. If there's ever a question that I might not feel comfortable answering on the blog, I'll either email you the answer or accidently, on purpose, forget to answer it. ;P But I doubt that that will happen. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Patty asked a few questions about how I dress and, since I've heard these questions before off-line, I thought I'd answer them in a new post in case anyone else is curious. And, Patty,
I don't think you're a bit nosy. I think it helps us all if we learn more about each other and their lives.

What I wear outside-jeans, overalls or cotton pants, t-shirt, knee-hi stockings, scarf, monto-this is the long, loose coat. My montos are anywhere from mid-calf to ankle length, however, the style among teens right now is mid-thigh to just above the knee and much more form-fitting.

What I wear inside-At home with just us I'm almost always in loose cotton pants, sometimes overalls or jeans, and a t-shirt with barefeet. If males other than my dh or father in law are present then I add a scarf, long, loose men's shirt and socks or knee-hi's.

Now is this hot? Patty, as you said, you get used to it. Also, I grew up in the south and baked on the beach each summer. I'm probably no hotter covered up than I was exposed because let's face it when it's 90+ degrees outside everyone's hot. :) Plus I have the added benefit of automatic sunscreen so no more sunburns except maybe on my cheeks and hands and I can slide my scarf forward a bit to shade my eyes if I forget my sunglasses. I try not to forget them too often since the sun is stronger here and I have very light eyes so it's very uncomfortable to go without shades. Montos and scarves also come in different weights of fabric for the different seasons. My sils often wear very light weight sleeveless tops underneath during the summer. Since having babies and when I'm pregnant my tolerance for heat goes way down. I'm usually the first to turn on the ac and I went the whole winter here without a coat only wishing I had worn it one time. I guess it helps that I spent two winters in Indiana and the last few winters in Virginia were nearly arctic, especially since I was often out at night because of college classes. There were plenty of days/nights with negative windchills, snow and ice so I know not to complain when the temps aren't even near freezing. :)

Ok, I hope that answers the questions. If anyone has any other questions, feel free to ask. I never mind answering.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Picnic-Iran style

On the 13th day of the New Year, Iranians head out to their favorite nature spots to have a picnic. In our case, we went to the orchard of my sil's in-laws. The funny thing about orchards here, in part because of urban sprawl, is that the orchards are often located side by side with houses, shops or resturants. And, because all property with any kind of yard is walled and almost all houses have some kind of trees growing inside the walled yard, it is difficult to tell from the outside which property is an orchard and which is someone's house.

Anyway, back to the picnic. As you can probably tell from the pics, an Iranian picnic is basically just a regular meal eaten al fresco. This includes rice, stew and tea as well as real plates, glasses and silverware. Paper or plastic dishes or utensils are a no-no. Here we had three kinds of rice, boiled chicken and a simple summer salad made on the spot. It's not unusual to see people bring along the equivalent of a camp stove to keep the food and tea hot.
I'm the one in the blue scarf down at the end between Mustafa and Reza. We had our own more American-style picnic fare of kebab (spiced hamburger) sandwiches, juice and cookies. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weird me

Hey, I got tagged by Jeanne for a meme about 6 weird things about me. I do, in fact, consider myself a bit odd so I guess this is perfect for my first meme. :)

1. I love making chocolate chip cookies, but would much rather eat the dough raw than the baked cookies. And I love brownies both raw and cooked, but only if they're fudgy.

2. I have been pregnant with or breastfeeding a baby for all but 7 months of the last 8 1/2 years, but who's counting?

3. I love being surrounded by books. I keep lists everywhere of books that I've read about that sound interesting and that I might someday like to try. I read an account of one pioneering couple that sold their furniture when they moved out west but shipped over 1000 books to their new home. I can so relate. Besides the books and a few magazines that made their way into our luggage, 6 boxes of books were shipped (still waiting on 3 of them) and I want more. (I've got a 3 page wish list at Amazon!) I would have to live to be at least 100 to get all of the books I want to read read and all of the quilts I want to do done.

4. I'm a vivid dreamer and pretty good at lucid dreams. In case you don't know what lucid dreams are, they are the kind where you know you're dreaming and can control the events in your dreams. Many of my dreams are of either the fantasy/sci fi variety or action/adventure where I get to beat up really big guys. It's quite fun!

5. I tend to have a running dialogue in my head where I'm thinking about what I'd like to write or what I'd REALLY like to tell some people but I rarely ever do either. I'd love to write stories but never manage to get much done on paper.

6. I'm a very physical mom. In other words, I am a human jungle gym. ;) I toss my kids over my shoulder like their superman, help them do all kinds of flips and swing them around upside down, at least until they get to tall or too heavy. (I have big kids.) I remember my dad doing similar stuff with us when we were kids, so I guess I'm just carrying on the legacy. And in case anyone is wondering, from about 9 or 10 months on, kids LOVE hanging upside down and swinging.

Now, I'm supposed to tag 6 more people but I don't know how many of those that read my blog have blogs of their own, so I'll tag Patty, Tonya and Sandy and whoever else what's to join in and has their own blog, feel free to join in the fun. Just leave me a comment so I can go peek at your meme's.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Patty posted about how important having girlfriends is to women. She suggested that the internet has provided a way for women to make similar connections that they would make off-line. I think this is especially true of blogs. We take about our days or what we're working on or wish we had time to do. We also share our special moments. Before we moved, at least once a week, two of my girlfriends and one's children got together for playtime for the kids and talk time for us. We could spend hours just sitting around chatting while the kids all had their fun. I may not remember the topics of most of the conversations we had during the last 3 years but I'll never forget the feeling of connection I have with Monica and Asma. (And my kids will likely never forget their friendships with Ali, Maryam and Zahra.)

Since moving, I haven't found anyone to fill in the space that leaving my friends has made but being able to read about other women's lives through their blogs has given me a feeling of connection all it's own. We all come from different backgrounds and live in different places but we still have so much in common.

So, greetings to all of my friends in cyberspace and know that, although, I don't always have time to comment, I try to find time to read about how you all are doing everyday.

Oh, and Patty, thank you for all of the beautiful pictures you share with us each day and the gift of your wisdom and insight that you so generously express through your blogs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Paint splatter?

In honor of Project Spectrum, here are some of the yellow pansies in my yard. They're so cute. The look like someone accidently dripped purple paint on their petals.  Posted by Picasa

Fabric from Dubai

Here are the pics of the fabric I gotten in Dubai. Sorry it's taken awile to get them up. Since we got back we've hosted lunch once, been lunch guests twice, had a birthday party and greeted my brother-in-law at the airport late one night when he came home for a visit. The Moda I mentioned before is the red one on the far right. I also found quite a few marbles which I wish I had gotten more of, especially the cream and purple ones at the bottom. The print under the monsters is of trains in similar colors which I plan to use on Reza's birthday quilt. Alas, I haven't even finished cutting out the fabrics for his quilt much less finish sewing the blocks. He's the only one to not at least have a finished top as a first birthday present. It's a good thing he's still little and doesn't know the difference. ;)
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Monday, April 17, 2006

Tea and cake

Patty had asked how tea is served here as well as what type of sweets are served. Usually when company comes, it is expected that tea, sweets and fruit will be served. Fruit, which is offered first, can either be already placed on small plates with knives on small tables next to seats or offered to each guest from a bowl after plates and knives have been distributed. The typical fruits are apples, oranges, tangerines, bananas and/or small cucumbers as well as other seasonal fruits such as apricots or plums. The tea is just a basic black tea (I'm not a tea drinker so I'm not really familiar with the different kinds.) served in small cups or glasses and always with sugar cubes. Often, a sugar cube is held between the teeth while the tea is sipped. The order of offering tea is also important. You start with the oldest male guest then the oldest female guest and work your way around the room from there. This is followed closely by fresh plates and some type of sweets. The picture is of rice flour cookies with a jelly-like candy flavored with saffron called kolucheh maskati. These are a company tea-time staple which are available from pretty much every bakery. Occasionally, muffins or small slices of sponge cake layered with whipped cream will be offered instead. During our Eid company hosting, I had baked banana muffins as well as brownies.

On a seperate but somewhat related note, Reza celebrated this 1st birthday on the 14th. We ended up having about 20 people here including us and various relatives of Mohsen's. I made three single layer 9" cakes. Carrot and chocolate from scratch and a lemon cake from a mix that I wanted to try. When all was said and done we only had 2 pieces of carrot and half a piece of chocolate left. Reza thoroughly enjoyed his carrot and lemon cupcakes. And as with any Iranian gathering, tea and fruit were also served.

The birthday boy. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dubai mall

Here are some pocs from on of the malls in Dubai taken by a family friend. It has 7 sections, each decorated to reflect a country along the Silk Road. Even the bathrooms match the decor of each country.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Here is the fabulous Dubai airport Terminal 1. What we got in Terminal 2 was the ugly, poor, unloved step-sister. ;P
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dubai Pt.1

Well, we finally made it to Dubai and back. :) 4 1/2 days of shopping fun (or at least as much fun as one can have with 4 children and hubby in tow.) I did pretty well getting things both wanted and needed. I found GREAT prices on fabric. Instead the expected of just over $2/yd, I bought most of my fabric for $1.38/yd. Woohoo! I even got a very nice Moda fabric for $2.18/yd! The best prices and selection were of course at the first fabric store we stopped in and because Mohsen kept reminding me that we had at least 3 more stores to go and I should try and get everything at one shop, I ended up not buying as much as I had planned. If you're ever in Dubai and looking for quilting fabric, go to Najran's first and then Tahir's (right next door) on Al Satwa Rd. They didn't bargin but at those prices, who needs to bargin. ;) I'm downloading Picasa right now so I hope to have lots of pics up soon. I didn't have nearly as much luck with kids clothes but did manage to get shoes for all of them for just under $25.

Getting there and getting back were absolutely crazy. As usual, we ran late getting to the airport only to find out that there was no flight at the time listed on our tickets. After much inquiry, we found out there has never been a flight for our airline at that time....until the following day when they would be starting a flight at that time. (All thanks to an older travel agent {and owner of the agency} that didn't know what he was doing appearantly.)Grrr! However, the airline reps recognized us from our last attempt, took pity on us since we had four kids in tow and wanted to make a good impression on the American (me) so they put us on standby for the next flight which left 2 hours later. They even kept a whole row free for us while they were checking in the other passengers. We had a late flight back (10 p.m.) and knew the kids would be a challenge at that time since bedtime is usually 8:30-9 but we figured what could we do. We also had to go to the airport at 7 because that was the only time the hotel's shuttle would take us and we decided it would be too much of a pain to get our big bags into a taxi. Since we were going SOOO early, we figured we could get some dinner at the airport since we had heard good things about Dubai's airport. Unfortunately, all of the good stuff is in Terminal 1, we were in Terminal 2 where they seem to really not like the passengers. The only things there besides some smoky seating, were a small snack bar and a small duty free shop, which left us without many dinner options and once you go through passport control, you're stuck until your flight leaves. To make matters worse, our flight ended up getting delayed for a total of 3 1/2 hours. We didn't make it home until 5 a.m. with 4 VERY cranky kids, especially Zahra. Not that I can blame them. We're finally just about recovered 3 days later but we let Safiya stay home again. It's not like she's missing that much in kindergarten. ;)

Oh, yeah. I was also greeted with a (unwelcome) rearranged courtyard thanks to my sister-in-law. It seems she just can't resist moving things around while we're on vacations. This is the second time she's done this. The first time was my kitchen and we were only gone for less than 2 days! Boy, was I annoyed! Fortunately, Mohsen returned things back to their normal state before I went back outside again. After I expressed my irritation, of course. I hate to see what she rearranges if we go on another trip. I guess that's one of the downfalls of living close to family or at least close to Mohsen's older sister.

Well, that's it for now. I'll answer Patty's questions about serving tea and include some Iranian style picnic pictures in the next few posts.