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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

G-20

Many of you have been in touch to express your concern and ask how my G-20 weekend was.  Thank you for your love and prayers.  I am safe and so thankful for all the safe spaces I have in my life.  There were moments this weekend that were filled with fear, hurt, heartache, confusion and frustration.  But this space of mine is not the place for that and so instead, I will share with you (drum roll please)...

G20: Twenty things I was grateful for this weekend.

1. Makeda.  I had a spa date with this amazing woman on Saturday.  I've known her since I was in Grade One and have only come to truly value and love her place in my life this past year.  She inspires me with every interaction we have.

2. Massages.  So thankful for the most healing and rejuvenating massage at the Elmwood Spa.

3. Face masks.  Makeda indulged me and did a face mask with me in the middle of the spa. 

4. Whirlpool and steam room girl talk.  Good for the heart, soul AND skin.

5. Water.  It's healing powers are such a blessing.

6. Red delicious apples.  The spa had plenty of these and after a steam, it was one of the best treats EVER.  Have had 4 more since then and am looking at...another...one...right - crunch chew chew.
7. Chipotle.  Had their chicken burrito.  'Nuff said.

8. Childhood friends.  While eating a burrito with one childhood friend (see number 1) we ran into Roheena, another childhood friend who used to lived halfway between Makeda's home and mine when we were small 'uns.

9. Cellphones.  In a matter of minutes, in moments of panic, I was able to call my Mom and BBM with Sheba and Aleem to get an idea of what was going on around me as well as some reassurance and love. 
 via

10.  Shortest "refugee" status ever. - For 6 hours, it wasn't safe outside and I couldn't make it home  I'm so thankful that it didn't last any longer than that for me.

11. Shafik.  For giving us displaced people a place to stay along with great hugs.

12. Nancy. For also sharing her home along with her history with both me whom she had met once and Makeda who she was meeting for the first time.

13. Alfie. For his unconditional, furry, dog love.  I'm not a dog person but this beauty is too cute. 

14. Throw pillows.  Throughout the evening in our safe haven we all had an extra dimension of support. I had one under my head while lying down.  Another under my elbow while lounging on the couch.  And another under my feet while they rested.  Need to get me some more of these.
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15. Gravy.  We all needed comfort food.  I went all out and got gravy too.  It was worth it. 

16. Cab drivers. Finally got a cab home and thankfully had a kind driver who told me about growing up in Ethiopia.  He was so kind and patient as we figured out how to get me back home.  It made me so thankful to be born and to live where I live, in spite of the mayhem this weekend.

17. Y&R. Yes it's true Victor Newman kept me company with his bad ass Brazilian Royal Flush and helped me to unwind. 

18. World Cup.  Coming home to an event that is so globally unifying put the day into perspective for me.

19. My bed. Having a clean, safe, comfortable place to sleep every night is a blessing.
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20. My faith.  I believe that all people are essentially good. What I saw this weekend could cause one to waver on that but I refuse and that gives me hope.

Wishing you moments of gratitude too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Embrace the unexpected!

INCOMING
Every piece of mail this week was unexpected and sent with love.  
This is no coincidence!

Claire - A beautiful collage and note from Claire!  Her handwriting is very close to Minaz's which threw me off at first. So happy to have gotten this piece of friendship from Claire.

Kahzmir - A postcard from Kahzmir (suspiciously written in his Mama's handwriting.)


Jenni - The sweet and lovely Jenni surprised me with this book.  She registered the book on Bookcrossing.  I am so excited to read it and release it to someone else.  I loved Walls' book The Glass Castle and am looking forward to getting lost in this one.


Tez - My Tez sent me this lovely card on a day when my heart really needed it.  Suzie called me that same day just to say hello.  Those were not coincidences.  Thank you life!  I love Tez's sketch and the quote on this envie.  I was looking at it for so long that I forgot to open the envelope.  Thank goodness I did and found this great card inside.  Tez sent this "Made in Canada" card all the way from New Zealand.

Mae - A few weeks ago, I won this print from a giveaway on Kind Over Matter.  I totally forgot all about it and then it arrived!  I was so happy to unwrap it.  I plan to hang this on the back of my front door so I can see it every time I leave home.  Please check out Mae Chevrette Art.

Tillie's Mom - I learned where Tillie gets her kindness from. She asked her readers to send her mama a birthday card.  So I did.  Her mama sent me a pounamu thank you card!  So unexpected and sweet!

Aneez - A Buddha postcard  that Aneez made from various photographs.  This was accompanied by two dresses from Primark.  Thanks bha!

Vicky - The generous Vicky whom I've mentioned before sent me one more envelope to adopt.  I saw this one on her blog.  As an addict of all things potato, I naturally wanted it but...she had already given it away.  She found the same ad in a magazine, remembered I liked it and then cut and glued together another one and sent it to me!  (Hopefully I won't resort to eating pencils.)  Her dream is to have her envelopes travel the world so please visit her site and adopt some for yourself.

OUTGOING 
Bianca - Sending one of Vicky's envelopes across the world to Australia to play mail tag with Bianca!

Rehaana and Haseena - Angry Little Girl postcards for my nieces in London.

Sara - Candyland themed Swap package for Sara for the swap-bot My FAVOURITE Candy swap.  For all the swap-botters out there check out the The Number 100 swap...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Top 5 Thursday - Welcome to the Attitude for Gratitude Edition

This post was originally written on June 2, 2010. It's my first foray into guest blogging and is up today at The Perfect Compilation Tape.  You can read it here or there. Whatever you decide, you should definitely think about following Meghan's blog. So here we go:
_______________________________________________
Hi Everyone! My name is Faiza and I blog over at It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day.

So here's the story of Meghan and I. We met as swap partners during a Stationery Swap hosted by Megan at Time After Tea. I've been a fan of Meghan since putting together this package for her. And I confirmed my lifetime fan club membership status when she sent me this amazing package.

It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day is my latest attempt at a gratitude journal. I share and reflect on the people, places and things that bring joy, laughter, love, light, happiness and inspiration to my life. My blog is named after my second favorite song Lovely Day by Bill Withers. I can't help but grin ear-to-ear and sing along every time I hear this song. In the spirit of gratitude, let me say that I am so thankful to our Meghan for allowing me to be a guest blogger while she gallivants (quite deservedly) across Europe.

So it's Thursday today at The Perfect Compilation Tape. Without further adieu, here is my attempt at a Top 5 Thursday list. Welcome to the Attitude for Gratitude Edition.

It's so easy for us to complain and grumble, to get down and grumpy. It's human nature and therefore completely natural but gratitude, well that takes practice. It takes attitude. I'm challenging all of you to join me in creating a Top 5 List of things you are grateful for over the next few days. Blog about it and link back here so we can share our gratitude with each other. I promise you that practicing gratitude will make you laugh more, love harder, smile taller and look up (you'll see what I mean...)

Here's a quick gratitude list of mine from the past 24 hours.


5. My local library. I recently placed a bunch of movies on hold at my local library branch. I received an email notification that some items were now available for pick up. The timing couldn't be more perfect as it's raining today. Now, I didn't expect to be picking up ALL of this when I went to the library.

4. Art! It's amazing how much more you experience if you make a small effort to just look UP every now and again. This is especially true when you are walking the same routes day in and day out. My local library branch also happens to be at Toronto's City Hall. I was walking through City Hall to get back to work, a route I take at least once a week, and I looked up. I saw a flash of colour one storey above me just outside the Mayor's Office. I ascended the spiral staircase and inhaled a rainbow of colour and thanks when I saw this:

Ancestral Figure with Spirit Helpers by Norval Norrisseau

3. Top 40 Countdowns combined with road trips - I'm a city dweller. I use public transport or my feet to get around. I rented a car today (will tell you why at #2.) I had a 90 minute drive from Toronto to Cambridge, the perfect amount of time to indulge in some Top 40 radio. This isn't something I get much of on a regular basis. I am proud to say in that short amount of time, 180 minutes round trip, I am now well versed in what the hits are this week. Yes, I was embarrassed when I was able to sing along to Usher's OMG and caught myself singing out loud, "honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow, honey got some boobies like wow, oh wow." And might I suggest that one doesn't listen to The Script's Breakeven while driving. That song can break even the most solid heart. That song should really come with a warning! I do love the radio.

via www.free-clipart-pictures.net

2. Giving back. I took the day off work today and volunteered to do some training with the Cambridge and North Dumfries Association for Volunteer Administrators (CNDAVA). I was so honoured to be asked to share what I knew about some web based tools that I use. I was even more excited to meet new people and do what I could to help. It was a great afternoon! I was a little overwhelmed when I was presented with a gift at the end of the session.

A gorgeous handcrafted clay pot and rosewood spoon from Hilborn Pottery.

1. Maji! My Maji is my grandma, my Dad's mom. She'll be 89 years young in September. English is not her first language so when we talk I am not always sure I'm getting it all and I'm not always sure she's getting what I am saying either. She lives with my folks in Toronto and is visiting our family in Alberta for about a month. Before she left, she insisted that she buy me something from her travels. I couldn't think of anything I wanted but she kept insisting. She started getting agitated so I wrote down my address and told her to send me a postcard. She's not coming home for a few more weeks and I gave her a call today to say hello. As soon as she heard my voice, she said in her broken English, "Faiza! You call because you not yet receive my postcard. I no send it yet. I will! I not disappoint you. I not!" Thank you Maji! Oh how I laughed, from deep down in my belly!

Practicing gratitude is great for the heart, the waistline and the soul. Wanna practice gratitude with me? Blog about gratitude and then post your blog link here. I'd love to hear what you are thankful for today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Do you Dewey? 1978!


I was perusing CDs at my local library branch (shout out to City Hall!) when I came across a bunch of Billboard Top Hits CDs from various years and decided to reserve the one from 1978, the year I was born.  I wanted to hear what my parents and brothers were hearing when I was born and I also wanted to see how many of the songs I recognized.

Two months later, the CD arrived and I've been listening to it on repeat.  The track listing on the front is not the order in which the songs are played.  Here's what I've been hearing along with what I've been thinking:

We Are the Champions - Queen
Who doesn't feel like a superhero when they hear this song?  And how fitting that it was a hit the year I was born?  My name means victorious!   Second only to Michael Jackson, I wish I could have seen Freddie Mercury live.  The man made unitards and track pants paired with denim shirts look soooooo cool!

Hot Child in the City - Nick Gilder
This is one of those songs that is perfect for a roadtrip on a sticky hot summer's day with the windows rolled down and a open road full of mirages ahead of you.

It's a Heartache - Bonnie Tyler
Tyler's voice sounds heartbroken.  She interprets the lyrics beautifully but this song was kinda lost on me in terms of the hit factor.

Take a Chance on Me - Abba
Sorry Abba.  Every song of yours now conjures of images of the Meryl for me.

Baby Come Back - Player
Anyone seen my Swiffer?

Reminiscing - Little River Band
I.Love.This.Song! (Especially the lyrics!)  Would love to hear someone like Jamie Cullum cover it.  (He can basically do no wrong as a performer and vocalist in my world.)  Does anyone know if this song has been covered?  I am asking you Aussies especially, since this band is one of your exports...

Lay Down Sally - Eric Clapton
An easy, breezy, catchy tune.  Another one that I'd put in the "roadtrip" category.  Country music fans would probably like this track.

If I Can't Have You - Yvonne Ellman
I remember this song from Saturday Night Fever and am glad the Bee Gees didn't sing it in the movie.  I know they recorded it later but I just can't believe three grown men (who are brothers) singing such a devastating song in harmony.  Love Adam Lambert's contemporary cover from American Idol.  The chorus is quite different but it works.

Kiss You All Over - Exile
The bassy, raspy voice of Jimmy Stokley got my attention at first but as soon guitarist JP Pennington tags in and starts singing his bit, I start to feel a little creeped out.  And the chorus of soprano-like voices at some points is not sexy at all.  Great lyrics, great melody, poor execution in my opinion - but then again it was a hit back in 1978!

I Go Crazy - Paul Davis
Another disco break up song.  I love break up songs and even listen to them when I work out.  They pump me up for some strange reason.  But in the style of disco they just don't cut it.  I found an amazing Rn'B cover by Will Downing.  He's got that smooth, sultry, rich voice very reminiscent of Luther Vandross.) 

Wikipedia does a cool overview of years in music.  I googled "1978 in music" and also found out:
- The Blue Brothers made their debut on Saturday Night Live
- YMCA, I'm Every Woman and Wonderful Tonight were among some of the other hits of that year.

The CD insert also mentions that:
- VCRs were changing the market in 1978!  Does anyone still have one?  I do!
- The first test tube baby was born.
- The Yankees beat the Red Sox to get to a World Series final and trounce the Dodgers.  (Grrrrrrrr!)
- Top movies that year were Grease and Superman.

So what was going on the year you were born?


P.S. Have my first guest blogging gig on Thursday...stay tuned!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

This is the first year in my most blessed life that the three most important men to me are on different continents on Father's Day.
  • My Dad is here with me and my Mom.  (He's obviously the wisest of the trio no?)
  • Karim, my oldest brother, is in Africa for 7 weeks with my sister-in-law Minaz and their son, my adorable nephew Kahzmir.  (Happy 10th anniversary plus two days to you both!)
  • Aneez, daddy-to-be and and my sister-in-law Vanessa are in England. 

SIGH.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who brings her readers together with weekly missions of kindness and love, asked us all to submit pictures of the dads in our life for a F.I.L.M. (Father I Love Much) she was creating...

Happy Father's Day Dad, Karim and father-to-be Aneez - by the way I got you in the movie!  LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

Each week, Lauren at the little things we do plays Fill in the Blank Friday.  I enjoy reading her questions and answers each week but have never played.  Last week, she invited her readers to submit questions and so I gave it a shot.  This week my questions were picked!  My questions are all about school...since it's almost out for summer!

So I guess I'm gonna play!  Wanna play along with me? Feel free to fill in your own blanks on your blog and then link up on Lauren's blog.
1. The best thing about being in school was/is playing euchre for hours in my high school cafeteria.  Jeff Chan, whose birthday is a day after mine, who I've know since grade one was the best euchre partner ever.

2. The worst thing about being in school was/is high school math class.  I.just.couldn't.get.it.  Sometimes I have nightmares where large math text books are scary characters chasing me up and down the stairs of my high school auditorium.  I wake up in a cold sweat.  It's quite disturbing.

3. My favorite subject in school was/is History.  My high school had the BEST history department.  Mr. Scott was hilarious, Mr. Hendricks was passionate, Ms. Pellow taught me to think outside of my city, country and continent and Ms. Friedlander taught us to be comfortable in our skin with our own histories.

4. One subject I wish I could have mastered...please refer to question 2. 

5. I could never get tired of studying music, especially since it mostly meant rehearsing choir music over and over and over again.  Even though I was always late for choir, I loved being part of a team, using my body to make art and learning new music every year.

6. The most memorable teacher I had was Kathy Fraser (now Mrs. Fraser Collins).  She was my choir teacher in junior high and high school and she was a gift.  She got a group of youngsters together, formed a choir, taught us songs and choreography and had us audition for the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat choir.  The result?  A first job for most of us that summer singing alongside Donny Osmond as part of the Children's Choir.  I have a huge respect for anyone who chooses to be a teacher.  You are worth so much and are so important.  High fives!

7. If I could choose between going to school for the rest of my life or working for the rest of my life, I'd choose work every time. I love helping people.  I love making a difference.  I love the work that I do and the stories I hear everyday.  It's a different type of school...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A collage in June...

Something quick and easy that I learned from Tez and Sheba...
- Type in your answer to each question below.
- Choose a picture from the first page.
- Use this website to make your collage.
- Save the image for use in this note.
- Tag the people whose collages you want to see.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favourite food?
3. What is the name of your hometown?
4. What is your favourite colour?
5. What is your favourite movie?
6. What is your favourite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?

8. What is your favourite dessert?

9. What word describes you?

10. How do you feel right now?

11. What do you love most in the world?

12. What do you want to do with your life? (or be when you grow up)?

Here's my collage...
Now lemme see yours.  Link it below. (Tez and Sheba, I already linked yours...)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Seahorses are fun!

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere
without moving anything but your heart.  ~Phyllis Theroux


INCOMING:
My latest mooches through BookMooch.
Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank
Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, Vincent Lam
She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders, Jennifer Finney Boylan

Sock Swap
From Amy for the Swap-bot Cute and Funky Swap.  I love Little Miss Giggles!

Bianca
A terrific letter and handmade envelope from Bianca as well as an invitation to play Mail Tag.  Bianca is quite talented at packing as much fun into one flat envelope as possible.  Look at what she was able to send in this single envelope...Thanks for the goodies!

Aneez and Vanessa
The back of this postcard says, "I know you don't want a house full of giraffe stuff so I thought I'd send a postcard of a guy with a round nose wearing big glasses and sporting a neatly kept 'stache!"

Vicky
I adopted some envelopes from Hong Kong.  Vicky makes these handmade beauties so that they can travel the world.  I love the stamps of the endangered Black-Faced Spoonbill and the well loved Red-Whiskered Bulbul.  You can adopt your own envies from Vicky right here.

OUTGOING:
Zoe
A letter to my Western Canadian pen pal using the last envelope I got from Felicity.


Marianne
Taking another stab at freehand drawing.  A seahorse for my favourite Texan Marianne.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Freehand

Here's a quick peek at the recent mail.  I challenged myself to try some freehand drawing on some of my outgoing envelopes.  It was fun and I think I'll try some more of it!

INCOMING - Zoe
Yay!  My first letter from Zoe since her move to Lethbridge.  I've already read it three times and can't wait to make some time to sit down and write back to her.  I love the quote on the stationery she used "If you sit down here, you will listen to the sweet music.  And it must be a very gentle tone..."  I wondered what the context of this was but then I decided I like it just the way it is.  Zoe also sent a great magnet to "clutter up your fridge" and some laser stickers!
 

INCOMING - Rehaana and Haseena
My two beautiful nieces, daughters of my cousin Shelina, are having a blast living in London, England together for the summer.  What a way for two sisters to spend time together!  They are creating memories for a lifetime and even spent some time in Brighton.  I sent them some postcards to light a snail mail fire under them and they sent me one of my own back!  I loved getting this in the mail and hearing about their adventures around the UK.  This is one of my favorite quotes ever...

INCOMING - Marianne
Marianne spent a whirlwind weekend in Chicago and she found time to send me a postcard.  Am feeling super special right about now!  You can read about her trip here.

OUTGOING - Tillie
Tillie hosted The Simply Delightful Swap and I wanted to say thanks.  It was a great experience for me.  The seasons are opposite in New Zealand so I thought I would draw her a spring landscape. 

I sent her some goodies.  One of my favorite books, The Little Prince and a bookmark to go with it as well as a googly ball. When you throw the ball, it weaves side to side and back and all over.  So fun! I also sent my last deck of Akoha cards, some drop cards and a cute change purse.  Thank you Tillie!

OUTGOING - Tillie's Momma 
Tillie recently blogged that it was her Momma's birthday.  She invited us to send her a birthday card, so I did!  Happy Birthday Tillie's Momma!

OUTGOING - Farah
The beautiful Farah's favorite animal is a peacock. After the giraffe, I love the peacock best.  We are blog template twins and so I've nicknamed this sweet girl TT. I drew a peacock for her and I don't think it's too bad.  Will definitely be practicing it and adding colour next.  Hi Farah! 

OUTGOING - Passion
Passion hosted a New Friend swap and lucky me got her as my partner.   She told me that she liked space.  I interpreted that to mean outer space... hence the love fest between the alien and astronaut on the envelope.  I love the flag that the astronaut is carrying.  Below the envelope is a peek into her swap package.  She loves notebooks, stickers, space, cinnamon, green apples, peaches, pens and dreaming...

Off to write replies now...

Monday, June 7, 2010

To Swiffer or not to Swiffer?

My friend John sent me a message yesterday morning, "You gonna take your broom to the Dome?" 
I replied, "Do you think my Swiffer would have the same effect?" 

Contrary to what you may think, we were not engaged in a discussion about our respective domestic habits.  The Yankees were in town for a three game series and the Jays had won the first two games.  He knew I had tickets to the third game and we were referring to our hopes for the Jays to SWEEP the series.

I didn't take my pastel green Swiffer with me.  The Jays lost and we didn't get the sweep.  My cousin Alida says I can blame the loss on her.  She feels she might have been bad luck.  I wonder if this is part of her alleged middle child syndrome.  She's a middle child as is my brother Aneez.  They say this syndrome exists.  I say their kind is going extinct and it certainly wasn't her fault that the bullpen let Brandon Morrow down and contributed to our losing the game.  Here's a quick look at the game in pics...

Alida is working in Kabul, Afghanistan at the moment.  She's home for a quick holiday. We both had a moment of awe as we headed towards our seats.  Here she is taking a picture, trying to capture that feeling of emerging over the field.

The best usher in the Dome, Maureen Findlay Konnyu.  She's so cool that she even has her own Facebook fan page!   She has a bit of a crush on my brother Aneez, she told us so herself! 


The Unfortunate Photo of the Day goes to Nick Swisher.  Apparently he was suffering from severe allergies and red eyes the day this photo was taken.

Look who it is?  Rick the Drummer comes in from outside the Dome to hype up the crowd.  Torontonians will know Rick as the drummer who plays outside the stadium at EVERY game.  Love brought him to Toronto and he's been at the Dome for every game since it opened up in 1989.  Not only does he have an awesome smile and great energy, he's also a music teacher at a local school.  I heart teachers.  I was so happy to see him on the Jumbotron!  Yay Rick!

One of my favorite parts of the game is the 7th Inning Stretch and the Take Me Out to the Ball Game sing-a-long. 

Me and my cousin Alida.  The last game we went to together was at the old Yankee stadium in New York.  We won that game, so I know she's nothing close to bad luck.
GO JAYS GO!