Monday, March 21, 2016

Laundry Machines, Oman, and Me: I guess one of us is cursed or got the evil eye

I am hand-washing again. My laundry machine broke, again. I don't know what it is about Oman, but it seems I need a new laundry machine every other year. It seems especially like, when I'm about to get a new baby (where spit up means more clothes-changes than ever) my laundry machines decide to die. I don't know... in Canada, I never heard of a washing machine that didn't last at least 6 years. Every one I ever had was 10 years old and still going...

I am thinking of buying an old fashioned washboard off of e-bay, seriously. Does anybody else have this problem or is it just me?

And if you don't, what brand and model of washing machine do you have? Where'd you buy it?

Because I don't know if it is the water, or like, I don't know,  the home appliance industry in Oman is like Oman's auto industry, where fake parts are the norm, but laundry washing machines just do not last for me....

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Soulmates, polygamy, the concept of heaven, and me

On, soul mates, polygamy, the concept of heaven, and me:

People say you cannot believe in soul-mates if you practice polygamy. That Islam either has or has not the concept of soul-mates, depending on the ideological interpretation of whether or whether not, polygamy is allowed or good in this day and age. I disagree I suppose, sitting on the fence between both arguments and seeing both sides, and knowing both to contain the truth of human experience and female capability.

I do believe Allah created soul-mates. Coincidentally, that is the reason I believe in polygamy as well, or remarriage in the very least;).
That said, this post is a more personal one. It probably isn’t universal. Islam is. My personal abilities, thoughts, condition, experiences, are not. I wasn’t born a Muslim, but Islam seems like something I came back to, rather than, something new I went for. To explain…
I have written before about my Islamic beliefs and personal practical experience of accepting and practicing polygamy in my life, as a convert to Islam, from a Western, non-polygamous background. There I have said everything of use to say on the situation.
…But speaking to another sister when she asked me if polygamy was right for her, I found myself expressing my romantic past, something I tend not to speak about. Maybe because there is some hole inside my heart, where a part of my soul once was, and now, is absent, I don’t know. It is place a I walk around most days, but sometimes fall into at night, or at the trigger of some memory.  I do it less than I used to, surely, and I have found peace and happiness now and love even, the true kind.

But loss is something you never un-lose.  The memory of a person is in the places they have been, the words they have said, the thoughts they expressed, the imprint they left on you, visually, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. It is even in the places that person never went, in the things they never touched, and everything they missed, with you. Maybe the loss of a dearly loved person is even more in those things.
I don’t like to talk about those things. Number one, I love my current husband, and he loves me, and I don’t know his beliefs if they are like mine, for his experience in life is not as mine has been. Arabs are also jealous idiots. No offence.;). I picture him questioning himself, being insecure, over something that never was, something that Allah writ out of the pages for me already.
One cannot un-write what is written on the landscape of one’s soul, no more than they have the power to write whatever they wish there as well. However, everyone has a chapter in their life they don’t often read out loud.
Also, I don’t like to cry in front of people. I still cry like an idiot if I think too long about what is gone. It was too much of who I am, to not feel it acutely. People who haven’t gone through it, shouldn’t try to comfort, or relate or be kind. That just makes it worse. Words of wisdom without experience are hollow to the human heart, even if they are true.

Away from such under qualified philosophizing, as I told this sister who asked about polygamy in her life, if I had a soul-mate, he was a boy I knew since I was a child. He understood me.

Understanding, that’s what a soul-mate is. Loving, can be found and expressed in other ways than perfect understanding, but understanding another human being almost completely is quite rare.
We always said we’d marry each other. Or not marry…And just be together. Marriage didn’t seem important because our lives and dreams and plans were already so entwined that legal marriage or religious was a superficial statement. Our lives were together. I had no concept of anything that could ever change that but death or dying really, and even after that, it didn’t seem like what existed between this boy and I (me from age 3 until 14---him 7-21) would ever lessen or diminish.
Of course, finding your soul-mate when you’re 3 is much too easy. Life can’t let people be that happy. People are tested. Our strength, our bravery. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is go on when half of you and everything you are and planned to be is just… gone.

When I was fifteen, that boy (a young man) drowned, along with one of my best guy friend’s (whose girlfriend committed suicide shortly thereafter by drowning herself). I remember that day. I was playing volleyball in sports class. My friend LA still remembers, half the class still jokes about me being “a witch” after-the-fact because I fell to the floor with chest pain and felt like I was dying, and something was wrong, but had no idea what. It was raining so hard outside, the wind was positively evil, and that’s why we were inside, in the gym. We didn’t find out until that evening, that two of ours had drowned. Somehow I’d known before. I felt it, like, well, like some mothers know their child is dead without being told.
I knew he was dead, and I was alone.

My friend’s body washed up a few days later. I went to comfort his mother. The body of the boy I loved, was never found. Since he was older than me, I never planned to tell my family how deep my feelings were, until I was like eighteen at least. We’d planned that would be a good time to tell my Dad and actually be more than silly kids. So only really LA, M, and C knew the depth of my loss. They didn’t understand it but at least they knew. The only other person I could have perhaps related to, she killed herself, which I thought about I suppose, but that just seemed cowardly.

I never planned to love again. I dedicated myself to helping others, being independent, having adventures, things I know that if he were alive, he’d be proud of me for.
When I became a Muslim I did decide, why not get married again? He would want for me to be happy, to love, to live.
We were kind of more Pagan than Christian. We didn’t believe in the idea of a heaven where you only get one husband or one wife and if you found the right person you should live a lonely or hard life just to wait up for them.
I married again, someone so opposite from the boy I always thought I’d marry/be with. He was Muslim of course, and believed in having only one wife. I kind of found myself not believing this. It was like, why shouldn’t we share what happiness, what earthly comfort we had in our lives, with another person who wasn’t so fortunate? In his country, especially (Saudi Arabia) there are a lot of women constrained by culture and society so that they’ll never have financial independence or ease, or emotional support, and physical comfort. I thought it was selfish of him, to not understand that, to not feel that, this emptiness, this longing in other people, and want to help with it when he could.
LA can say this is because he wasn’t my soul-mate, and I felt guilty for not loving with 100% of my heart///if she’s right I’ll ask God/Allah one day inshaAllah. I don’t know.
I suppose I couldn’t see that emptiness in other women when my heart was so full. Maybe men are the same? When our stomachs are always full, we are not nearly so generous as those who have felt hunger of the body. Hunger of the soul, is kin to that.
At the same time, while I do believe in soul-mates, I don’t believe God/Allah is so cruel as to give us only one, and take them away, even for a test of our courage and faith.
This is my personal belief: The soul is but a half that can be shattered into pieces. When it is the whole half it seeks its corresponding mate. But shattered, it finds itself mirrored in more than one place, and while none of which is perfect in every way, once the soul is shattered, in this life one can find happiness, peace, security, and love, in finding the pieces of others that are the biggest fit to our own jagged edges.
My husband now, actually reminds me in lots of ways of the boy who I thought would be the only other person in my life. The way he sings to me, picks me flowers randomly, listens, and encourages my talents, even his eyes. The way he cares for other people, does things without thinking, is genuinely brave… I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose him too one day, but that’s what will happen one day. Life is not a permanent state. Knowing that, makes my love a little bit stronger, stretches it to a wider form, than it was when my heart was unbroken, and totally full.

It also makes me notice the absences in other women’s lives. I feel their needs more keenly than the memory of my own you could say.
I sometimes feel women (and men) who do not wish to accept polygamy are selfish, or at least, that they are somewhat accepting of Islam, but not willing to go the extra mile and be happy with everything in it as a faith and that annoys me as an idealist, however, I wouldn’t really wish my understanding upon anyone else.

The saying goes, it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. Is my current husband my soul-mate? No, but he is a great love nonetheless, and I wouldn’t wish a single soul-mate on anyone. Even if you get to live out all your days, and live to be one-hundred together, the pain is still there. One of you will lose one another first most likely, for all are alone in the grave. More years would make the loss greater, not diminish it.
If in heaven you get only one love, well heaven will have some miserable people who didn’t have any true loves. For some people will remarry again, out of need, emotional, financial, security, or other. Or the alternative is people can live miserable lives waiting to be reunited, which I suppose seems noble, but in the end to me, seems impossibly weak and stupid. It takes more strength to smile again, to love again, to move again.

If in heaven you get more than one love, things will be very awkward and confusing;). Or otherwise, heaven is like the Islamic heaven, where relationships have transcended their earthly requirements.

Same, if you only get one life, well, life is very unfair. That would make most of it pointless to me personally.
If you are pagan, as I once was;) and you believe in rebirth or becoming energy or something transcendent, well there’s too much waiting in that….and bad timing for me personally;).

I could also look at it as a very brutal kind of Muslim. The boy I loved was Pagan. So was I at the time. If he had lived, would I ever have had the strength to be a Muslim to full extent of my ideals of what a Muslim should be? Maybe God/Allah was only being kind to me, and made the decision for me, since my strength is limited. Maybe losing him was a mercy, since the loss was from the sea, not from me, ripping us apart?
Human understanding, empathy, and love are complicated. Human souls even more so. I can’t pretend to have answered any of the questions I have asked and surmised answer to. Why is loss such an acute pain? Where does the soul go? What happens during heartbreak and loss of a soul-mate to our own soul?
All I can say is, my eyes are opened to other people now. Women and men were not created to suffer loss without balm, no Creator is that cruel, and Allah were such a being, I’d sooner see hell than such a being;). I have an idiot’s ideals, and maybe I’d beg for a different end as soon as it were my own, but I’d seek it over and over again, if it were given to me as a chance to change the way my days were written. Regardless of being right or wrong, my personal stance towards soul mates, polygamy, the concept of heaven, and me is this:
I am not so unique that my quest cannot end in the same place as another woman’s. My heart is open, my soul knows no human component can ever match it half for half for all the days of my life on this earth, and that we were created to seek understanding, to understand and love others, and want for them what we want for ourselves, and stand in awe of what cannot be understood completely. Living and loving are not states of being that remain unchanged. Souls can be broken, and stretched, and mended, and maybe, even grown, I don’t know.
I can’t say I’ve reached that place, where I’ve grown;)….but I’d like to one day. Until then, seeing beyond my heart’s own rough edges is enough.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

THE HOUSE: I bought a couch because it rained, and as it was raining cats and dogs, we got some kittens

During this last rainstorm I was trapped an extra long time in Pan Emirates furniture, as there happened to be a wadi flowing outside my front door (my street became a river), and no I am not talking about my Al Dhakliyia/Interior region existence, I am talking about my Muscat one.
I live in Al Hail, just before Athaiba. The rain was torrential, the wind was harsh, a couple of palm tree heads snapped off and they popped just before us, blocking the road.  The sheet metal rooftops (often just secured with cinder blocks) of workers' temporary housing were flying dangerously, and I felt awfully bad for them as I saw them {Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis} chasing clothes and shampoo bottles, as their toothpaste was carried away by the river that was rising.

After having frantically helped our workers carry stuff (building materials that could be damaged by water) {and trust me, it is an odd sight to them, to see a woman carrying stone pillars and windows up stairs during a lightening storm} we tried to drive home. But, due to fallen palm trees on one side, and water too high on the other, we ended up seeking shelter in Pan Emirates furniture, and apparently more than one homestead of workers (and a pregnant orange cat about to give birth) sought shelter in our nearly-finished construction-site of a twin villa project shortly after we left. The rains eventually ceded away, and the storm left behind it, two kittens, and a couch.

My husband knows to beware leaving me alone too long in a homes goods store, even Ramez. I will inevitably come away with something, like a set of glasses, or baskets, or some teaspoons. Furniture stores, when my bank account allows, are actually the most dangerous. I have already bought a bunch of stuff from Pan Emirates:
...(2) of these mirrors,
...this coffee table (plus two end tables I haven't unpacked yet---as my kids are already enjoying messing the coffee table up enough),
...this electric fireplace/heater (you do need a suitable watt. plug or you will burn your house down btw) {nice on cold wet windy days---if your power doesn't go out}... some seagrass woven baskets...
...picture frames...
...and a console table. So when I bought the couch, I was one of those annoying customers who took like, the console table, put it behind the couch, changed the pillows (the couch was too green for the paint I am going to use---but changing some cushions balances it all out), and put flowers into a vase etc.... But the guys and girls who work there know me, so they were all good with my mess (and consequently we sold some very green velvet sofas that night to people beyond me). Pretty much now I have purchased everything but armchairs, lamps, and twin console tables, for the living room in villa number two, and since tiling is almost done in villa #1 soon we'll get to do a custom sofa and some rock wall art for the TV wall in that villa. Exciting, since the villas have very different styles, one a much more modern neutral French-American palette, and the other, European (but not Kuwaiti soap opera European inshaAllah;) ). And villa #3 is Arabic in style, however the owner likes Kuwaiti soap operas lol, so I am stuck with Egyptian gold furniture in the bedroom at least. Still, the men's majlis does excite me, and the facade on that. Good news is all windows held up through the rain with no water leakage. Here's how I see villa #2's living room:
And villa #2's kitchen should be installed this week upcoming (miskeen villa #1 has a tile shortage so gotta work on that this week):
And just before the rains, I was debating between these two home center lighting options for villa #2's master bedroom:
 The first option is perfectly suited to the white and gold bedroom suite, and it is super feminine. It is also double the price of the second option, which I have decided to go with, even though it is a little bit more masculine than the room allows. Thus I will do a more masculine stripe wallpaper, instead of a pattern we were thinking before, and a brass bar-and rod simple curtain treatment on the drapes, instead of a criss-crossed-with-sheers-and valance number we already got a quote on (sorry curtain guy!!!!---I know you hate me). So it'll be a little like all this mumbo jumbo below:
Villa #1 is supposed to be a neutral modern French, but the furniture the owner bought is very American, so we'll see what can be done with fabrics and finishings for that. So beyond, everything is a few days late from the rain but the front facade is coming along nicely, although the stone guys were making some pretty dumb mistakes but they're all fixed now alhamdulilah!!! As soon as the front steps and wall is built, we'll start planting for landscaping... It is supposed to all look something like this thus far (owners keep changing their minds on colours and materials):
Oh, and yeah, of course you want to see the kittens;) :

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Using Moroccan Tea Glasses and Cups in Your Decor---for other than tea and shelf beautification

I love Moroccan tea glasses. I can never have too many. I recently found a huge selection at the new Yas Hypermarket, in Al Khoud I think? To justify purchasing more than I already have, of course, I would have to find reasons to use them for things other than tea, for which, my current supply of gorgeous glassware, is more than sufficient. So to what purpose, can Moroccan tea glasses, be put?

#1: Candleholders. By far the most popular.
 #2, and close variant of #1 purpose, for Candle making....
...Why? Their lovely colours and intricate detailing leave them en par with any other candle holder you could come up with.
#3. To hold other foodstuffs, beyond, tea and drinks... ever pretty. Sorbets, parfaits... even boring old yogurt....and you've got instant yum.
#4. As Vases for Flowers.
#5 Bathroom organization.
 #5 Makeup and Vanity organization.
#6 to hold teaspoons (I use the larger silver cups for utensil organization)
#7 to hold paintbrushes and pencils
And lastly, apparently the #8 most popular use is for feathers... what'd'ya'know.