Sunday, January 15, 2017

DAILY DIARY: what I've been up to, and Muscat Festival 2017

The truth about what I've been up to?

Honestly? Not much. Work, kids...I have a new laundry machine so I've been doing laundry.

I love laundry machines. Seriously. They are awesome. Carrefour delivery... not so much.

I also made this goal to get stronger. Not to exercise or lose weight or anything lame women like to say like that, but to be stronger, to gain muscle and cardio endurance, and maybe some flexibility and skill. You won't see me taking on extreme endurance events like Spartan, like Heather over at her blog;). But, like, I've started with push ups and sit ups and crunches, and using weights and just holding out my arms...

...Because generally, if you are a Muslim woman living in the GCC? You get weak, like seriously, atrociously weak here. Like if you try to carry stuff, people try to help you with it. And doing physical labour, like cutting the grass, digging a hole, building a wall, painting a wall... well, even that isn't normal to do and it can be hard to find a way to do it in a way it's "accepted".

I wanted to do jui-jitsu or mixed martial arts lessons here (I'm not a very motivated gym person), but there is no women-only stuff going on. It's hard for me to learn just watching too, and unless it is an emerg. sit. I just can't justify wrestling in close quarters with a dude. My husband could do the lessons for me and try to teach me, but are they gonna teach him according to my weight class and body type? No. So for now... nothing on that.

-But...bought some wrist wraps just in case.

But...I bought them in pink so for sure everyone will know that I have no idea what I am doing.
And I bought my first pair of runners since like, 2003. I know hiking boots, but like, runners? I just chose the ones that said they were for running in the end. I dunno.

I decided to try dune surfing. Went to the Barka junction lights and took the left to the road to wadi Abyad (lots of construction, results in a detour that is beyond long) to get to the Suwadi Al Batha' dunes.

So. Dune surfing/sand sledding?:

Didn't work, at least not using cardboard surf boards, and plastic tea trays, it didn't. These get bogged down and hardly move unless you flip them...

...And then sand tastes like, well, sand. [https://www.google.com/maps/@23.5314971,57.6459673,17z]

My Omani husband didn't think it would work. I insisted it would. He thought the attempt to make it work was hilarious though, and worth it in the end. I think there must be a way to do it, but yeah, things that would work on snow? Soooooo don't work on sand.
Oh, and it was like "date night".

 Which is like, super important when you are in poly marriage. You are like, yes, it is finally my days on a weekend. Think of it, as only having a weekend once or twice a month.

Of course, husband was all nervously guessing what the perfect kids-free date would be. In the end I was like, "Can we just go  and see the new Star Wars movie?"
And he was like, sure.

...Even though he doesn't like Star Wars really.

So, saw Rogue One at City Center, Seeb.

I liked it. Less "little kids" Star Wars. Although some flaws I saw (dude who spent his entire life fighting the Empire to the point of extremism just lies down to die?!!!) and that hug on the beach....Like, Rebel first date idea?: Let's sit down on the beach, hug, and watch the planet explode around you? ...I don't know.
But otherwise, I loved it. Now, no one can ever call the Death Star architect an idiot, ever again.

Quotes.

Obviously Chirrut, Temple Priest: "I am one with the Force, and the Force is one with me" because it is repeated, alot. But me, personally, liked when the he tells Rebel Captain Cassian not all prisons are the same and that Cassian takes his with him wherever he goes...as Cassian is trying to escape from their prison cell.

Bodhi Rook, defecting Imperial Pilot (Arab actor, Arab accent, not playing a terrorist but a hero, a hero the story couldn't take place without)---About to leave on a last-chance suicide mission to save the Rebellion, the Alliance asks for the call sign of the ship that he's in the process of stealing: "This is Rogue One." [In future Star Wars movies you'll notice Luke Skywalker is 'Rogue Leader' and there's a Rogue 2 but that out of respect for this dude, no one ever uses the Rogue One call sign again.]

Cassian Andor, Spy/Alliance Intelligence Officer: "Rebellions are built on hope." "We don't all have the luxury of deciding when and where we care about something." And of course, Jyn to Cassian: J "Are you with me?" C "All the way." ...And Cassian basically telling Jyn the rebellion is her home. Plus battle advice: "Make ten men feel like a hundred."

Sassy reprogrammed Imperial robot K2: When Cassian lets Jyn keep the blaster she stole; "Would you like to know the probability of her using it against you? It's very high." When Jynn shoots at a random Imperial droid "Did you know that wasn't me?" because she didn't care less at the time. Again, to Jyn, when K2 rescues her: "I'll be there for you. Captain said I had to." When asked why he didn't stay on the ship by Cassian, says "That was an awful lot of explosions for two people blending in" and "I was bored." To Cassian and Jyn: "Your arguments are vague and unconvincing." When told [the Rogue One crew] that they could all die in the vacuum of space, he pipes up "Not me. I can survive in space." When their cover is blown: "I'm taking these prisoners...To imprison them...in prison." 

Jyn Erso, normal person caught up in the struggle against the Empire. In reply yo Mon Mothma, who is listing her faults and why Jyn a terrible person for the mission: "This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel."  When pointing out that she shouldn't like the sight of Imperial flags flying everywhere, Jyn initially says "it isn't a problem if you don't look up" which I totally felt. Finally, indicating that she has come into the role circumstance and those around her want her to play; "We'll take the next chance, and the next, until we win, or the chances are spent."

And of course the bad guy, Darth Vader: "Careful not to choke on your aspirations." As he chokes the dude.


So, after that, I was like, can you teach me to shoot? [to my husband, not Darth Vader].

...Because Star Wars movies always make me feel like I should be a tougher chic than I am right.

My husband is a pretty good teacher for things that require movement, and he's a decent shot. So he says yes. He usually takes second or first in marksmanship contests, depending on the gun type and the other competitors. I always grumble, I'd place well in swords....

I'm the girl that would-be-kidnappers, rapists, creeps, think makes an easy target, and since I insist on keeping my independence (to me this means going places by myself) my Omani husband has been after me to keep a gun with me anyways. Even just in the house, because, you know, I'm not a lucky person. I'm a rather lucky unlucky person, like bad stuff happens to me, but I get through it. I'm a fighter, but in the totally wrong body. I'm stuck in the please-kidnap-or-molest-me body because creeps are always cowards 99.9% of the time.

...But I hesitated for a couple of reasons. One of them being...

...I've always believed I was a lousy shot. This may come from my inability to make out the pellet or bullet holes in targets. And my general knife-throwing capabilities, which are utter crap. I have no wish to give anyone a weapon to use against me beyond their probably-more-than-mine body mass and muscle.

But with shooting?

Apparently I am so close to the mark I always assumed that wasn't me. Or I use something with a shoddy site, and then I aim terrible. I need a decent site to aim.

So my husband made targets that blow to pieces when you hit them and we discovered I can do this pretty repetitively without any misses quite easily, which makes me feel pretty good about myself.

Like, I am actually a pretty decent shot. That makes a girl feel good about herself more than a bouquet of roses or diamond bracelet ever could, I assure you.

It was like, the perfect date. Shooting lessons. A little knife throwing practice, and Star Wars. LOL.

Which made me think of, I think it was Other Oman? complaining about an Omani guy's idea of date being shooting at Mountain Dew cans, and I'm like... that'd so work for me;XD.

Husband's idea for date night number 2 was to go to Muscat Festival, so we drove to Al Amirat...

....Which would have been totally cool...

But....Muscat Festival starts on the 19th of this month;p so yeah.

In the end we had schwarma and falafel, and sat in the dirt of a wadi bed, and talked about going to Muscat Festival when it actually opens...so stay tuned for that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sad about the death of Princess Leia: Omani husband asks if I want to go to the azza

My little sister is supposed to be the nerd/geek girl. She writes fan fiction, uses anime character art as her profile pic on stuff, does cos play, thinks very pale white tall thin guys with odd messy black hair who are good with knives and swords are attractive, all that. When I say I like Star Wars her friends look at me like:
...I was the girl who could follow her along to Comic-Con in my normal clothes, and people expected me to, I guess, be 'Penny' from the "Big Bang Theory" show etc, but when it comes down to it, I'm the bigger 'geek' or 'nerd' I guess because when I heard Carrie Fisher died, the actress who played Princess Leia in "Star Wars" I felt really sad. [Not to mention that I did win the Star Wars trivia contest at every one of these weird events I have ever been to.]

Pathetic?

Yes, I know, it's like, being your mother, when Diana died, and being all "I'll hate Charles and Camilla forever"-about-it-ridiculous. My Omani husband snidely said "do you want to go to the azza?"
Azza, btw, is an Omani funeral, which I generally avoid going to, because I hate them.

A person has to be someone I admire (or someone my husband would cry over) for me to attend.

I prefer to pray for the dead in private, or grieve alone.
But, like, Princess Leia is my favourite royal of all time.

...And Carrie Fisher was a really darling personality.

Why does this matter to a Muslim girl? Because I am a girl.

Who is your favourite Disney Princess? 

(Little Western girls get asked this a lot so as a girl you think about it. Like, which one of them is most like you, or who would you like to be like.) ....My little daughter likes Elsa. Mheh.

Well, people would be like "You're so Belle, because you love to read." I'd be like, she's okay I guess, but Pocahontas was a real person (wouldn't want to wind up like she did though---knew this because I liked to read). Mulan was the best, but let's face it, I'd make a crap Mulan.

But there were two 'Princesses' in fiction I really loved. One was Eowyn, from Lord of the Rings. And again, like Mulan, and again, like Arya Stark (I read Game of Thrones before it was tv or famous), I'd probably never be able to live up to these brave strong girls. Physical presence mostly to win the day? Not me.

As already mentioned, people expect me to be Belle or Cinderella, or 'Penny' or something.
The second fictional 'Princess' that I loved?: Princess Leia.

Let me tell you why she was the best.
She was small, feminine, dressed feminine even, but even that, she was still strong. She could shoot, and she could use words, and resist torture, and believe, and hope, and not give up. It was okay that she needed to be rescued sometimes, because she didn't wind up there needing help by being pathetic. She could have taken an easier path, but gave it up to fight for the right thing.
She could also rock a crap-load of braids.
And rolled her eyes. A lot.

Some girls be like, "I'm like Cinderella because my hair is blonde." I'm like, yeah, I roll my eyes.

...She made people want to be better themselves. And all that, and she could still cut a guy who thinks he's all that to the quick. And she was so compassionate, which I'd love to be myself.

Like, I don't know, her adoptive parents just died, her entire planet was blown up, and she's like, comforting some kid whose sad about the death of some guy whose real name he didn't even know the day before.
She didn't give up. And when in command, was always the last to leave the deck.
Disney officially bought out the Star Wars franchise so Princess Leia is my favourite Disney Princess, now.
And Carrie Fisher was an incredibly intelligent woman who totally knew what kind of person she was portraying and what that 'Princess' meant to other women. Like, if you watch the 'Star Wars New Hope' film, in the award scene at the end you'll notice that Chewbacca didn't get a medal? At the MTV awards she gave Chewbacca the medal with the theme song playing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUXIz8C3028

 She was also, apparently, ridiculously funny.

And understands what sexism and modesty in clothes actually means. For Muslim women, being told what to wear by Western culture, and Arab/Desi cultures? This understanding is important. When asked about the horrible slave-girl costume?
 Carrie Fisher's reply:


And being criticized for no longer keeping the Princess Leia slave-girl costume physique? Fisher is quoted:
 And:
She also rather famously spoke out about being bipolar. Having close family with severe bipolar disorder, I can relate to her quotes: "Some women play hard to get, I play hard to understand" and "I told my doctor I felt normal on acid and was a light bulb in a world of moths." Since she was a mother who took the meds so she could be a mother to her kids, I admire her for that. A lot.

So yeah.
If she did have an azza, I'd think about going.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

How to get an Islamic Divorce if the Muslim Guys in your Country Won't Give you your Rights

Now this has not been my experience, it has been for a couple of my friends, because my ex husband and I parted rather amicably. In Islamic law, apparently a man amicably divorcing a woman is easier. A woman going to the Islamic authority is way harder.

In Canada, all of my Sunni girlfriends going to petition for divorce, were turned down by many many authorities. ...Even if their husbands were despicable losers, and they had definite grounds to divorce theirs a**es. Like, a guy is emotionally abusive to her, or physically abusive, or he married another wife but supported them unequally financially (like, left one to live off the charity of others in a war zone etc.).

So, after trying in Canada, what does she do? She comes to Oman, that's what she does.

She goes to the local court, which in Muscat was the Al khoud or Seeb one I think. Having an Omani translator helps those who cannot speak Arabic and don't know where to go.

If her husband is not Omani and she's not Omani, well then, the Islamic courts here treat her pretty fair under Islamic law. They ask her to state what grounds she is suing for divorce (like, "my husband is an alcoholic man-whore" or something). Then, they send her (usually Khaleeji) husband a summons to defend his case). If he doesn't show, they grant her the divorce. If he does show, he has to prove her wrong. Which in, any of the cases that I have seen, he couldn't.


...The process was faster for the girls who didn't want money from the loser, even if he still owed them their maher/dowry or something.

For custody of children, the courts did find the mother to be the more responsible parent, for the man was either abusive, or financially negligent, or a bad practicing muslim etc. Have no idea how custody would go however, for a woman suing for divorce on only "I'm not happy with him and can never be so" grounds, however. The father might get the kids then.

Thought that might be useful to some Muslim girls.

How expatriate Canadians living in Islamic Countries, wanting to divorce a non-Canadian or expatriate Canadian spouse, can get a civil divorce without residing in Canada

Expatriate Canadians living in countries where Islamic marriages are recognized but civil ones are not, attempting to get a civil divorce back in Canada when your civil spouse is a non-Canadian and neither of you are able to live in any given province of Canada for the time required to file for a civil law divorce---there is hope. Divorce by-lawyer is possible in these exact circumstances (even though every legal expert I knew was confused over it) about the same way same-sex couples are allowed to divorce without residing in province. Weird right? But I am okay with it, because now I am free!

I highly suggest this woman, Bea, (and she is my ex husband's lawyer!) [ copy link: http://www.cookroberts.bc.ca/our-lawyers/beatrice-c-mccutcheon/ ]. Very professional, follows up, and can advise your lawyer on the process if you married in any other province of Canada besides British Columbia. It cost around 2,500 dollars I think, with affidavits and all. I had to get my marriage certificate and the divorce papers notarized by the Canadian consulate and each document was 10 rials each. Note, this process takes time because they send everything to Riyadh first in Muscat, so unless you are in KSA, takes a couple months.

I am no longer the woman "with two husbands!", Alhamdulilah for that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

EYE-CANDY: Strange Names, Omani Names

Some Saudi girls I know once insisted I was wrong. I could not possibly be pronouncing it right. No one would name their child "strange".

But in Oman they do. Gharib for boys. Ghariba for men.

Why?

In Islam it says that true Islam will be reduced to something so rare it will seem strange. So it says also, "Give good tidings to the strangers (strange ones)."

Thus, that's why in Oman you will meet people named "Strange".

Friday, December 9, 2016

THE HOUSE: DIY around the house for December in Oman

Now this weekend I had some goals.

1.) Do work for work...And I tried, really I did. Maybe tonight, at midnight. Pull an all-nighter? It could happen. Maybe.

2.) Then, the goal was to hand-wash all the bed linens and blankets and towels. Exhausting, annoying work.

I will do so, after I finish this post, I swear. InshaAllah.

3.) DIY projects. I could paint. I mean, artistically paint. I finished one out of the three canvases I am currently working on in terms of hangable art. That requires more concentration than being home alone with kids allows however. Hence, I need nap-time projects.

I could finish painting roses on the girls' used bedroom set, as started but stopped and seen below lol:
Or I could get the materials I need to complete our downstair's powder room at least. My inspiration is Mark D. Sikes' iconic console table.  As my powder room sink is blue and white porcelain, I think I can do something similar.
Mark. D. Sikes' iconic console table
This means getting the right background paint, a large interior paint brush, and priming canvas panels with gesso and then the perfect shade of de Gourney green-blue, then, when I have time, handpainting chinoisserie trees and flowers on them. Then, get them framed, and the bathroom tile drilled, and hanging them, to hide the shotty workmanship of our contractor on the powder room tile work. 
It also means sourcing a DIY piece of small wooden furniture to paint black, and then "Japan" with gold and enamel. I already have a lot of seagrass and palm frond baskets. I just need some coral and white crystal objects, a vase with palm fronds, and voila! It will be a super chic and very useful powder room. Right now it is... depressing:
I could also drive out to the garden center. Our front gates desperately needs me to make a wire frame (spray-paint black) so I can train bougainvillea and jasmine to grow in an arch above it. My son loves playing in the yard this time of year.
However, I am contemplating paint our steel front door. I hate things that look... cheap. I love cheap things, don't get me wrong but I totally believe in faking it until making it...by making it, and I've done this almost all my life;).

I love glossy black. I will eventually replace with a wood door when I have money to spare, if ever, and then we'll do shutters too, in Paris blue or tropical turquoise or something with the front door painted to match, but until then, should I do a glossy black on the steel door?
 Also, I love wreaths on doors anytime of the year. I know how to make dried magnolia ones, but in Oman, I don't have magnolia really. So I am wondering if I can spray-paint dried mango leaves and do the same? It is worth a try.