Recipe for a long marriage

Attended the recording of ‘Live Kelly’ show today at the studio in Lincoln Avenue, Broadway early in the morning.  During the show, an elderly couple told Kelly that they are celebrating their 50th anniversary today.  When Kelly asked them what their secret was to a long marriage, the wife answered, “We never go to bed mad, and he hasn’t slept for 3 months.”  The audience laughed.

Hearing that answer (the first part) reminded me of a friend who told me almost the same thing.  Her own parents have been together, (not married because her father has a wife and he doesn’t want to divorce his first wife as it was an arranged marriage by his parents and he did not want to dishonor them.  Furthermore, they are Catholics.  The wife knew of her husband’s mistress and she accepted it although their sons couldn’t) for 33 years.  She told me that their secret was never to go to bed with an unfinished argument.  They always settle their arguments or disagreements within a few hours, make up, make peace and everything goes on as normal.  They could be shouting at each other or even threatening each other with knives, but it never gets out of hand, and they always make up before they go to sleep.

I believe there is a lot of truth with this recipe to a happy, long-lasting marriage.  Go to bed with no grudges or unfinished business.  Settle the arguments and sleep happily.  No heart ache, no tears on the pillow.  Wake up to a refreshing new day.

Me……Yes, I use this recipe too…….

{By the way….the guest of honor was Morgan Freeman………one of my favorite actors……my best friend in Egypt was dying of envy and almost wanted to end of friendship…..LOL….}




A journey…..

Was browsing through my photos when I found these.  Just to share…..

On 23rd September 2016 ………the beginning of our journey…….up we went greeting the early morning sun…….


…….accompanying our kids……from the Land of the Pharaohs to the Big Apple…..on their quest for knowledge, for a degree, for that scroll of paper.  May their dreams come true…….and may they succeed in their quest.

A few hours later……still on our journey……somewhere in the Mediterranean area…….gorgeous sea, ravishing land…….stunning aerial view…….


And watching this video, satisfies my quest to see the beauteousness of our earth, seen from the top……..





When I started teaching in the school in Egypt, I had a kind of culture shock.  The staff room is one big room with individual desks for each teacher.  There are about 30 of us in that room – all females.  The male teachers are housed in another room upstairs.  Whenever I get back to the staff room, I would often see big groups of teachers just sitting around and chatting.  It was always an impromptu gathering.  Somebody would bring her chair to a colleague and another would follow and another.  This big group will chat and talk about anything and everything under the sun – about the students, their classes, their family, about the country, about other countries, about religion, about cooking, parenting, about politics etc etc etc.  But it wasn’t a serious kind of talk. It was always filled with laughter and giggles.  Jokes and funny stories are abound.  There’s hardly any silence in the room.  My first impression of Egyptian women are that they are a joyful lot, cheerful and witty.  They look as if they do not have any problems at all, whether personal or work problems.   Well, there are no males to eavesdrop right, so they practically/literally let their hair down.

However, after a few years being in this staff room, I realize that my first impression of most of the teachers is wrong.  The teachers’ facade of problem-less people collapsed when I got to know them personally one by one.  Problems related to divorce, abuse, medical, family, spouse, children, and all kinds of tribulations surface one by one.  I started asking myself – why the facade?  It was not difficult for me to find the answer.

These teachers put up a facade not to cheat or mislead other people but rather to put their problems in perspective to their much bigger job – that is to educate children. They put up a smile in front of children although in actual fact, they are suffering from problems just like anybody else.  They talk with each other and chat and laugh to forget about their miseries and problems, even for just a short while so that their laughter can rejuvenate their tired souls and their exhausted brains from worrying and thinking about their problems.  We know how laughter can really stimulate certain hormones in the brain that relaxes the body and rejuvenates the brain, making it better alert and better able to find solutions to their problems or able to see their problems in different light and different perspective.

Indeed, this is a very good strategy – be a clown to make others happy and put aside your own problems.  Or be the candle to give light to others while you get burnt along the way.  This is the pure, genuine sacrifice.

big earred clown by johnny_automaticFacade

Quest (Weekly Photo Challenge)

Our quest is at the end of the bridge.  The road and the target is very clear.  But the bridge is long and narrow, flanked by treacherous water abundant with predators and forces of nature – the wind, the rain, the storm, the lightning.  But as long there is a barrier on both sides of the bridge, success in reaching our destination and target is imminent.  For each one of us, the task is to keep those barriers strong, steady and remain standing, for our long ride towards peace.



Unfinished business



This is really a cute statue that I caught on camera from somebody’s garden.  Looking at the picture makes me conjure up a conversation.  Something about the state of human behavior and the kind of office politics happening in the working world nowadays.

“Come on have a seat both of you.  We surely have some unfinished business to discuss, haven’t we?”  said the frog in the middle.

“Let’s see – were you the one who said that I’m an overconfident, haughty and over-zealous person who’s trying to curry favor with the Assistant Director?”  continued the frog, directing his question to the frog on the right.

“And you….” turning his head to the frog on the left.  “Did you just comment to other staff that I’m overdressed?  Really?  You really think I’m overdressed?  But, what’s wrong if I am overdressed?  Did I hurt anybody with my overdressing?  Do you think my overdressing will overshadow your performance in this office?  Come on.  That’s ridiculous.”

“Well – I just want to say one thing to you guys.  Now pretend the water in this plate is a mirror.  Look at yourself in the water in this plate! Go on!  Take a look.  What do you see?  Do you see a peeeeerrrrrfect frog?  Do you?”

Turning to the other guy and passing the plate of water to him, the middle frog said,”What about you?  Look at yourself in the water.  Are you perfect?…..”

I assume your silence means ‘No, I’m not perfect’.  So, next time, look at yourself in the mirror first before commenting on other people.  You are not perfect.  I am not perfect. We have a job.  We either help each other or we don’t.  But we shouldn’t destroy other people.  So stop gossiping and backbiting other people. It is soooooo uncool.”

“I wish we could settle all our ‘unfinished business this way.”


Dilemmatic Dilemma

Most people think that a dilemma is a situation which involves a usually undesirable or unpleasant choice.  For example in the memoir by Richard Wright ‘The Rights to the Streets of Memphis’, Wright has to make a choice of either to go inside the house and get beaten by his mother (for running away from the bullies instead of confronting them) or face the bullies in the streets (and get beaten by them).  Now, both choices are equally bad – either way, Wright will surely get beaten.

However, contrary to people’s belief, a dilemma is not restricted to bad alternatives.  A dilemma can also include 2 very enticing choices and one does not know which one to choose as both are equally good.  For example, to me, a dilemma can also be having to choose between buying:

thissnickers3 or              img_7063.

Now take note – both are awesome alternatives.  But it is still considered a dilemma because I have to make a difficult choice.  (I can’t have both you see…..).

After deliberating and contemplating in front of the freezer in the store, I finally decided on the latter (as I’ve eaten the former one before) and my oh my, it was definitely one of the best choicest I have ever made.

What is distressing or tormenting about a dilemma is having to make a choice one does not want to make.  The key word or phrase in the definition of dilemma is ‘making a difficult choice’.  Making difficult choice does not always mean choosing ‘the lesser of 2 evils’.  Get it?

Now, let me enjoy my birthday cake ice cream.  Yummmmm!!!!


P/S:  I’m not a vocabulary specialist but at times, it’s good to debunk misconceptions with regards to the original meanings of words.

This ice-cream is perfect for those who love cakes and ice-creams.  I’m not really a fan of cakes but this ice-cream definitely brings a rapturous delight to me.  This is solely my opinion so try at your own risk….:)


Don’t pretend

My best friend and I often talk and lament over the fact that there are, among our friends, those who like to pretend that they care and love others, while in actual fact, they don’t.  I do not understand such behavior.  Why put up a double face?  Why talk and gossip so badly about another person but when they are in front of each other, they pretend that there are so much love and affection in them about the other.

“If they can do to other people, they can do to us too. I wonder what they say about us in front of others.” My best friend used to whine.  I would just respond to her that we can’t do anything much about this kind of people who like to backbite.  If they want to lead a pretentious way of life, that’s their choice.  If they want to wag their tongues around, it’s their business and it will only lead to their own downfall.  It reveals more about their own personality and character than the person they talk about.

I wonder why people make their lives difficult by thinking about other people.  Why can’t people be satisfied with what they have and not feel jealous of others?  Why can’t people not make premature judgement about others before knowing the full situation?  Why can’t we just have good thoughts about others?  We may never know the real story or situation unless we confront the respective person.  Telling tales behind others or making speculations or accusations without any basis is already very wrong.  But to pretend to love and care about another person is the ultimate deception.

It is kind of sad to live with this kind of people.  When we try to stop them from continuing to talk about the other, they will again pretend and say that they actually want to help the other party.  They are concerned about her.  Really?  This reminds me of a political cartoon that I discussed with my Grade 8 students last year.



Be a generous teacher

Before a teacher expects her students to be generous, she/he has to model to her students how to be generous first.  One thing we tend to forget is that the meaning of generous is not restricted to money or other valuable things.  It covers a much bigger definition and scope than that.  And as teachers, we need to teach our students the universal meaning of generous.  [Generous also means showing kindness and concern for others].

Nowadays we see that there are many filthy rich people who are very generous with their money and they become philanthropic and people admire them for their humanitarian aid etc.  However, when it comes to behavior, they don’t show generosity at all.  They insult and degrade other people, hurling accusations and abuses.  And then they get their own supporters to praise them sky high with compliments that are not true or half-true.  These people do not know the true meaning of generosity or they only embrace one part of the meaning generosity and put behind their back the other half.  That’s kind of pathetic.

Anyway, enough said about other people.  I just want to touch on generosity with respect to teachers.  Here are my two-cents worth to all teachers:

Be generous with money:  Tell students that you want to donate to a certain cause.  Then encourage students to share and donate their own money, even if it is a dime or a quarter.  A dime from one child makes $3.00 from a class of 30.  With $3.00 you can buy a bottle of milk and a packet of cookies or a piece of burger from a local food truck – enough to sustain a homeless person for one or half a day .  (Of course, we have to be very tactical with this.  Some parents do not like their children to donate, for fear that their own child will not have enough to eat.  So, teachers should be mindful of this).  Show how to be generous with money and students will emulate from your exemplary behavior.  Another way of being generous with money is to buy small gifts for students.  I personally spend a lot on gifts for my students, as a way of encouragement to them.  Not only for the lower grades, but also for the high graders.  They just love gifts.  It’s an attestation of your appreciation to them for their hard work or their good behavior. I think all of us like gifts too, once a while.

Be generous with materials:  When giving out materials – colored papers, pencils, stickers, ribbons, beads etc – be generous.  Give more than what the students require to do their project, especially with lower grades.  These are young people.  They tend to make mistakes and cut wrongly or color wrongly.  So always prepare extra.  Do not reprimand them if they made mistakes or ask for more materials from you.  I learnt this lesson the hard way.  I used to bring the exact amount of materials for each group or for each student.  The lesson always ended up with me being very upset when students spoiled their materials and asked me for a replacement which I didn’t have.  I reprimanded them and they had to either make do with the spoiled material or not doing their project totally, which resulted in a zero grade.  That frustrated parents who either complained or asked me to give their child another chance.

When students see that you share more than what you have, they will follow your behavior and will share with their friends their own materials.  My Grade 8 class last year was one of the best.  During one of the projects, I announced to the students that I will give extra credits to the group that shares their things with another group.  That started it.  Everybody wanted to share.  From that time onwards, whenever we have project work, students would always bring extra stuffs and they share and offer their materials with anybody who doesn’t have.  It was so wonderful.  Everybody was happy and the products of the projects are awesome as you can see from my projects page.  So, being generous pays a lot.

Be generous with compliments and praises:  A teacher has to be generous with their praises, not only to lower grade students but also to upper grades.  I used to praise my students with just ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent job’.  I noticed it didn’t really make much difference with the students.  When I attended another colleague’s class, I noticed that she loaded the students with lots of praises.  For example, ‘Good job Sally.  I like the colorful tail of this bird’ or ‘That’s an excellent question Ismail.  I never thought of it that way.’  Such praises really made the pupils beam with pride and satisfaction.  It made me feel good even though it wasn’t meant for me.  So I started following that strategy.  And true enough, it really motivates the students and enhances the positive climate in the class.  Everybody tries hard to answer any question or offer suggestions and opinions.

Be generous with kindness and concern:  I have a colleague who is very, very strict and fierce.  She often punishes her students by taking away their break even for a small mistake like not doing one question out of 5 questions.  For me, that’s cruel.  Firstly, as much as teachers need a break, students need a break too.  Secondly, she should look at the other way round – that the students had done 4 questions out of 5.  That’s actually very good.

If teachers show that they are kind, students will ultimately know that their teachers care about them.  This value will be manifested in the students over time.  If they keep on seeing retaliation from teachers by way of punishment (you didn’t bring your homework – I will give you detention, you didn’t read your story – no break today, you talked too much in class – I’ll give you an ‘F’), this kind of behavior will stick with the students over time too.  Please don’t get me wrong.  Of course there is a limit.  Just strike a balance.

With all these being said, being generous will NEVER lower your value as a teacher, mother, principal or as a person.  In fact, it increases your self-worth as you will gain respect from other people.  Do remember that we teachers are not just teaching our students to be architects or engineers or doctors.  We are teaching them to be architects, engineers, doctors, lawyers with high value and morale.  Being generous will make a lot of difference in their upbringing.

So be generous teachers.


Jumping Jack Flash

I’m not sure if anybody remembers this movie of the above title which came out in 1986.  It starred Whoopi Goldberg and Jonathan Pryce.  Really loved that movie.  It was a funny yet an exciting spy movie.

Image result for jumpin jack flash movie

Here’s the synopsis for those who have not heard of this movie:

Terry Doolittle (Whoopi Goldberg) works with computers in a bank office. She routinely talks with others via her computer, but one day she connects with a mysterious user by the name of Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Jonathan Pryce). It takes her a while to decode his message, but Terry figures out that Jack is a British secret agent trapped behind enemy lines. Terry agrees to help him, but her activities attract the attention of the KGB, who want to know Jack’s real identity — and will kill to get it.

Educational value/Moral Lesson:

Discrimination:  Terri does not quite fit with the bank’s corporate image, despite being a good employee and well-liked by her co-workers. She is often chastised by her no-nonsense boss James Page (Peter Michael Goetz)

Stereotyping: Terry arrives at the restaurant where she and Jack had planned to have dinner together, but she becomes despondent when Jack never shows up. As the restaurant is closing, Peter arrives and tells Terry that Jack isn’t coming because of another engagement. Terry is crushed, but Peter comforts her, saying how much Jack wanted to see her.  (Terry thought that Jack did not want to meet her because she is African American and he, a white Brit.

Be a Good Samaritan:  When you know that someone is in trouble, help as best as you could, even though that person is not of the same race, same citizenship, same religion or same gender as you.  Humanity is not determined by these qualities.  (Of course, one must also weigh the risks and dangers before indulging in such acts – always call the authorities or the experts rather than doing it yourself)