Friend or foe?

Ever wondered what a ‘bete-noire’ is? Let me enlighten you if you haven’t. It is a person or thing that one particularly dislikes or dreads. It is another word for enemy, who is, of course, someone who hates, attacks or harms another. An adversary, something that threatens someone or something. Literally, it means ‘black beast’.

Fuzzy, our pet, who for the last seven years has mostly just slept, keeps us as his slaves and wants for absolutely nothing (apart from the occasional bits of raw chicken as I cook and a slice of watermelon or two, or so I naively suppose)

But is the most wonderful thing about being Fuzzy ‘really’ that it seems you’re The Only One? If you have never seen another cat ever since you were separated from your sibling when you were a wee kitten (unless you count the weirdo in the mirror who got startled every time he saw you) do you recognize the yowling beyond your existence as the sound of others like you? And what is that potent aroma wafting towards you from  the balcony and courtyard doors? Smells like cat-pee but not your own…

Fuzzy lost no opportunity making sure that if what he suspected was true, there should be no doubt in anyone or anything as to exactly WHO was Master of this Domain.

Every morning to our dismay, we began to find puddles near every entry or exit point in our house. We dealt with it by putting our daily newspaper to good use. Yes, he had been neutered…or at least the vet did the best he could (since Fuzzy is monorchid)

One of Fuzzy’s favourite hangout spots is also one of mine, the breezy top step of the stairs that lead down to our courtyard. A swing door separates the stairs from the rest of the house, so in the evenings when someone opens that door, Fuzzy steps out for some fresh air. He prowls around downstairs, sniffing pots, inspecting different areas, marking his presence discreetly. Guilty as we feel keeping a living thing in such seclusion, the least we could do is allow him this little bit of freedom to experience the outdoors. This little freedom expanded to such an extent that we even let him spend the night outside since he loved it so much. It’s not like he would ever be able to scale the boundary walls and actually go out to explore the Outside World. He’s just not built that way. He’s the kind of cat that ponders and dilly-dallies before jumping on or off chairs and coffee tables.

Many years thus passed and a routine established itself. Fuzzy snored under my bed in the morning and all afternoon, emerging in the late afternoon, stretching out his back legs, yawning humungously. He’ll sit outside my bedroom door, disoriented and a tad cross-eyed. Then he’ll wander over to the netted balcony door, tucking his legs comfortably under him and sit there basking in the last golden rays of the sun, ears twitching now and then at sounds of passing cars, human voices and chirping birds, eyes half-closed.

Soon,  he will unfurl and walk lazily but purposefully over to his water bowl, positioning his body around it, enveloping the bowl in an embrace. He loves his water bowl.

No one could ever describe Fuzzy as a fierce cat. He is the very essence of docility, unless he’s in a playful mood. His mouth is so small that he can’t manage food that is larger than the tip of your finger. He will patiently chase a piece of kibble that drops from the bowl to the floor until he can latch on enough to be able to chew. He’s not the kind of enthusiastic cat who’ll run to his food bowl when he hears the rattle of kibbles. If he wants food, he’ll go sit by his bowl and wait with equanimity. But if he wants water, he’ll come into my room and get my attention by meowing softly till I get up. Then he’ll lead me to his water bowl , trotting ahead and looking back again and again to make sure I’m following. Sometimes he’ll swat at my ankles with his paw to hurry me along.

The only time he’ll betray any excitement is if he hears the rattle of ice cubes. An ice cube in his water bowl is like Eid for him. He’ll hover over it like he does on hot days in front of an open fridge. Such sweet small happinesses. And then of course, there is the anticipation of being allowed to go down to the courtyard.

We realized why Fuzzy had been acting extra territorial and so very eager to dash out of the house when we found him sitting on the stairs one day with a cat sitting across from him. They were staring at each other emitting low guttural sounds, not fighting but just facing each other. We shooed the other cat away and it ambled off lithely, scaling the wall and disappearing while Fuzzy looked on, unable to fathom how.

Another time we heard some fierce howling only to find Fuzzy having a face-off with the same trespassing cat, but this time, heartened by my presence perhaps, he began to chase the other cat round and round the stairs until the cat managed to jump onto the trellis from the balcony, scale the wall and get away, Fuzzy breathing in huffy bursts,  fuming with prickly antagonism. This was the first time I had ever seen Fuzzy so intensely worked up.

Late one evening a few months ago, we returned after several hours spent away from home, me worrying about Fuzzy being alone and hungry. As we climbed the unlit staircase, my worry turned into a strange sense of foreboding when I noticed clumps strewn about the landing halfway up…I was almost afraid to inspect closely, but then I discerned something dark smeared on the floor and my fears turned to panic as I turned to Huz to ask if Fuzzy was inside or out. Huz fumbled with the keys (why does it seem to take forever when you’re panicking?) we all ran in and called for Fuzzy but he was nowhere to be seen. We usually find him waiting for us by the door alerted by the sound of the keys turning in the lock. Heart hammering, I stood in the balcony and called his name…it is usual for him to come dashing up like lightning. After a few seconds I saw some movement and Fuzzy came out slowly from under the stairs and started climbing with some effort. Turning on the lights, I realized the dark blobs on the stairs were bunches of Fuzzy’s hair and the smear was blood.

Horrified and shaking, and too scared to touch him in case he was badly hurt, I let Fuzzy walk into the house unaided, limping visibly and looking rather subdued. I stroked his head and checked him tentatively for wounds, but couldn’t see anything through all his fur. Huz joked that the blood might belong to the other cat and the thought made me feel a little better, but I was sad for Fuzzy and outraged at the other cat for violating Fuzzy’s territory and consistently looking for a chance to attack him. I took Fuzzy to the vet next day and was told he had a sprained shoulder which was causing him to limp, but there were no wounds anywhere. I looked at Fuzzy with a degree of skepticism. How could a spoilt, evolutionarily challenged semi-Persian defend itself against a ruthless street cat and draw blood?

Nevertheless, Fuzzy had to be protected from the wily building cat and stay withiin the house at all times from now on. As a result, he became ever more vigilant at the balcony doors. The anticipation of more confrontations was palpable…Fuzzy was alert and tense on the lookout for further trespassing, eagerly waiting for the building cat to show up and he wasn’t disappointed. The other cat kept coming back and there were further face-offs through the netting (which occur with regularity around the same time every day.) I’ll be sitting in another room and I will hear Fuzzy yowling angrily or I’ll hear the door rattle loudly and I know he has flung himself at the door with force.

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I don’t know how he gets his paws so muddy but there are fresh paw prints on the balcony walls and the floor every day. I began to regard the building cat as a friendly foe since he added so much spice to Fuzzy’s life and suggested leaving a bowl of food for him in the balcony, which Huz and Amu vehemently vetoed. But I had cause to rethink my soft spot for him as a worthy adversary.

I was sitting at my kitchen table one night when I heard rummaging sounds. Fuzzy followed me as I went to turn on the overhead balcony light and open the door. On the landing were two cats this time, apparently the black and white building cat had brought along a ginger friend and they were going through our recycling heap like vandals. Ginger saw me and ran off but Black&white stayed and stared back as he squatted on a brown paper bag and proceeded to pee on it. My jaw dropped at his insolent audacity but I couldn’t help laughing a little too.

Didn’t laugh too much when a few days later he left a little pile of poop on a cushion on the bench as a little gift for us. Or this morning when Huz went to fetch the newspaper from under our front door only to find that not only did it have a yellow patch of pee on it but had been torn up as well.

Seems we have a bete-noire on our hands indeed, albeit with a touch of blanc.

 

 

 

20 years ago, to the month.

Speaking of serendipity…..

A couple of months ago, the chowkidar of our building rang the bell to inform us worriedly that we should take a look into our servant quarters to see if everything was okay. We’d been using the space to store our extra stuff downstairs, and he thought there was a strong possibility of some kittens or mice having died in there.

Huz immediately went to check. Everything appeared to be fine, albeit very dusty and cobwebby, thankfully nothing had crawled in and died, so the building jamadaar was paid something extra to clean up and dust everything and Huz was instructed to instruct the jamadaar to carry up some cartons that had been languishing forever.

The cartons are full of old letters, files, memorabilia and stuff I’ve kept for years because I don’t have the heart to throw anything away. The files contain almost every drawing Amu ever made since she was very little. There are reams of notebooks scribbled with Huz’s prolific poetry from way back when he dreamt of being a poet. There are letters in there written to me by friends when I was away in college, or by Huz before we got married.

Treasure, basically.

A couple of weeks ago, while Amu was taking a break from studying hard for her exams, we were sitting by the window and talking about boys. Something reminded me of my younger school-going self, and I recalled an ‘autograph’ book I had kept from my last week of A level days….

Amu goes to the same school where I did my A’s, so she can relate to some of my memories from there, though admittedly, my memories of KGS aren’t quite as happy as hers.

I didn’t have a very good time there. I felt mostly lonely and depressed because I had a hard time fitting into ‘groups’. A few of my closest friends from my old school adjusted to the new environment way better than I did, and happily went about making new friends and finding their niche. I felt a bit abandoned, and completely lost….I struggled with my studies feeling rather friendless for at least a year. My self esteem was at an all-time low because I thought I must be very uncool…..It was 1992 then.

It is 2012 now, exactly 20 years since those miserable days. It is pure coincidence that I chose this time of all times to share with Amu a particular autograph written for me by a boy who was actually a year senior to me. I remember he had written something almost as a confession of a crush he might have had….I remember how my stomach had kind of plummeted when I read what he had written.

So I went over to fish out the old autograph book from the dusty old carton.

As Amu and I sat by the window and flipped through the pages of that book, reading the things people had written for me, I felt surprised all over again.

It seemed as if people had liked me….

Mysteriously, the particular autograph I wanted to show Amu wasn’t there. It seemed as if it had been removed….making me wonder if it had ever existed…? I knew it had, because I vaguely remember what had been written. I could even almost see it in my mind’s eye. Where on earth did it go..?

Moving on, here are a few samples of some of the thoughts penned by people about me. Don’t judge. Please?

someone i reconnected with after 18 years…
page two of her text! 😀
umm….I have no clue what Hammad’s talking about….:P
another of the very few I got back in touch with 🙂
Sohail even left a phone number!
🙂
this has got to be my favourite 🙂
no, i guess i didn’t fit into the nerd category either
Babar was speechless I suppose…
seems Ayesha had a peeve 😛

Looking back at these autographs made me think about the strange dichotomy between the pathetic image I had of myself during those two years as an unsought-after, unpopular, freakish girl (that nobody wanted to invite at parties…then I remembered….I was never allowed to go to any by my strict mother) and what people may perhaps actually have perceived me as.

Amu laughed her head off at some of the autographs, as did I, and we had a rollicking time. Then she looked  speculative, and remarked….’I wish  I knew this 19 year old you.’

———————————————————-

p.s. Here’s what the school yearbook said about me……(I still wonder who wrote this)

Munira joined KGS in 1990 and quickly became known for her cheerful nature. A lively and talkative person, Munira got along well with everyone. She was recognized for her immense artistic talent and worked for the art section of the Pulse. A free spirit, Munira was always willing to plunge into funfilled adventure. She is planning to continue her studies at either NCA or the Indus Valley school of art.

that’s me…standing third from left 🙂

It doesn’t seem like I was such a loser after all.

They mean well, but….

I have a couple of cousins who have taken it upon themselves to enlighten me by sending text messages every day. The phone beeps in the morning on my bedside table, and before I even check I just know who it’ll be from and what it’ll be about. Most jokes they send these days revolve around the President, trying to inject some humor into the hopelessness of our predicament (frankly I cannot find anything laughable in Z jokes…they all make me cry) others are about the uselessness of the Power Supply Company. And even those now grate on my nerves. It is all black, black humor to me. Here’s an example:

Proverbs for the future and their meanings: (‘light’ = electricity)

  • light is back = to express great joy
  • today the light won’t go = to lie
  • when will the light come back? = to wait for something improbable
  • don’t you have any light in your house? = to commiserate
  • we have light here = to brag
  • has the light not gone today? = to be extremely puzzled
  • inshaAllah now the light will come back = to be very hopeful

I admit, this is funnier in Urdu.

Then there are the Wisdoms. I’m always afraid to open a message that looks like it might be a Wisdom. But if I don’t open it, the annoying little envelope icon won’t go away from the top of my cell phone, and it will drive me nuts. I have to open the message just so it will go away, and once it’s there, my OCD will prevent me from deleting it without reading it first.

So, Wisdoms. They usually remind me of all the things I don’t do, and all the ways I don’t behave, and all the things I shouldn’t say and all the things I shouldn’t do. They drive me nuts. And they do so because they inevitably make me think about things I regret, things I have almost succeeded in burying deep within the dark recesses of my tortured soul.

I really don’t want to go there again, I swear.

The Wisdoms that get my goat the most are the ones that remind us how short life is and that we’re all going to die one day so we should be ever-oh-so-good. Nobody knows about my Death Phase, do they. They don’t know how I used to bolt out of bed at night struck with terror at the idea of being dead and lying in a grave, six feet under the ground. But I’m over it now and I’m in denial  I’ve accepted it. Let’s get on with life please!

Here’s an example of a cheery early morning message by my well-meaning kinsfolk:

  • ‘Man does not go to Hell because he Sins. He goes to Hell if he is Complacent about his Sins and if he does not Repent. Good Morning!!’

Signed, Cousin X.

And how’s this to set you in a good mood:

  • ‘If you are on the Straight and Narrow and do not encounter Difficulties, then sit down and think for a while. Think about what you might be doing wrong, because the Straight and Narrow is littered with Great Difficulties.’ Have a Lovely Day!’

Signed, Cousin Y.

Or how about the gross ones:

  • ‘New addition to Newton’s Laws of Motion: loose motion can never be done in slow motion.’

Well, thanks A LOT, cousin o’ mine, for that awesome visual. It just made my day. Really, thank you.

To be fair though, I admit some Wisdoms do give me pause before my eyeballs automatically roll upwards and around. Got this one today:

  • ‘The day your friends stop bringing their problems to you….is the day when you have lost command over their hearts.’

Hmm.

I wonder why so many of my friends don’t talk to me anymore…..

Balancing act

With Huz back in Tanzania for a week, it’s just Amu  and me and Fuzzy in the bubble, with Zahooran making an appearance early in the morning to clean up the mess we make on a daily basis. Things get a little lawless around here without Huz. Without him we degenerate into serial felons. We play computer games like fiends (current obsession being Angry Birds…..what fun!), we watch multiple episodes of  ‘The Vampire Diaries’ on dvd till the wee hours and we sleep at 4 am.

We eat only Soupy Maggi Noodles (mast masala if you please) for dinner, pizza and a heap of fries doused in chaat masala, ketchup and lemon and garlic mayo for lunch, and pancakes for breakfast. It is telling that I have described our meals in reverse order.

Yup, the bubble is a very unhealthy place to be in these days.

In the middle of all this decadence, I’ve been busily subscribing to some interesting blogs, which means I get a flurry of emails every day. Which makes me realise everybody updates their blog way more regularly than I do. Which makes me feel very uneasy and prone to panic attacks, with a pretty constant naggy feeling of not doing what I SHOULD be doing.

Funny thing about blogging is, everything I do becomes bloggable, so while I’m going about doing things my mind is thinking about how I could craft something fun and witty out of the most mind-numbingly mundane activities. Like doing the laundry or watering the plants, or even brushing Fuzzy and getting the firmly knotted tangles out of his voluminous fur. I flip on my laptop and open up all my various tabs, forgetting what a dangerous move that is. I am immediately distracted by new mails, new tweets, new notifications on facebook and fresh comments on the dashboard. Any hopes of writing anything, fly right out the window without me even realising it until an hour (or two) later, when I have read everything, replied to everyone, pored over all updates and watched a few videos.

In fact, sometimes I read some really amazing posts on other people’s blogs and they say what I want to say so much better, my motivation fizzles out like carbonation from an opened can of half-drunk soda in the fridge. (There’s no point holding on to that unused soda by the way, I might as well pour it down the drain immediately.)

Yesterday, a thought struck me anew and I thought I should articulate it somehow, and to this end, I have consciously closed all the other tabs on my browser, a great way of staying focused.

I find that I hang out with Amu a lot more when Huz is away. And as a consequence I end up bonding with her better, which makes me wonder why we don’t spend as much time together when Huz is around….

For one, Amu moves into my room at night…it’s as if she doesn’t want me to feel alone. Though, being an only kid, she’s the one who sleeps alone in her own room every night, even though she gets creeped out by rattly doors and strange sounds that have a rational explanation but which escape you when you’re disoriented in the no-man’s land between wakefulness and deep slumber.

We talk and we giggle and she goads and cajoles me into taking her wherever she whimsically decides to go…..and I pull myself out of my summer torpor, grumbling and complaining, but in the end we end up having a lot of fun.  She’s into photography in a big way, but too timorous at this point to do anything more than point and shoot from the car window as we drive around our part of the city…..she has a great eye and it always surprises me to see what she considers interesting enough to capture. And she composes her frames well!

I really appreciate her personality, I find. She knows what she wants and what she likes, and I have an inkling she feels comfortable enough to share ‘some’ of her secret thoughts with me…. sometimes. I know she scribbles in a diary (which she keeps rather temptingly on her shelf….and no, I haven’t read it, though I’m DYING to, but I understand it would be a violation of her privacy…dammit)

She surprises me with her maturity sometimes. She makes all these conscious decisions without anyone having to really tell her, least of all myself. The other day she decided she wants me to fill her wardrobe with a bunch of shalwar/kameezes. The need to dress conservatively sprang into action of its own accord, because SHE judged it wise to do so, living in the kind of world we do, where men cannot seem to control their eyes and everything female must be stared at and stared at, until a child who finds herself suddenly ‘grown up’ is bewildered into being self-conscious ALL the time.

It’s 5:30, and the sun is streaming in through the window, which would not have been very pleasant  an hour ago when there was a power cut, but right now we have electricity and so we have air-conditioning, which is really awesome very nice. I’m trying to dash off a post for today before I get cracking on the pile of cloth I need to stitch into fetching outfits for Amu and I. In the meantime, she is trying out the blouses we bought yesterday and figuring out ways to wear them ‘decently’ with jeans. She says the boys in her gang have a way of making fun of all the girls. She just told me they call her Mike Tyson and snigger while asking if she just got back from the gym. She is wondering aloud why they do this, looking endearingly uncertain. I tell her it’s probably cos she’s so sporty and has such awesome incredible shoulders.

I shooed her off to watch some tv while I finish off this post, as she was being rather kitten-like and distracting, curled up next to me on the bed, texting one friend or other and asking questions or making random observations about me, or making fun of my incorrect use of the language that kids speak in these days. Despite all my inadequacies, I still feel like an older sister rather than a mom to her, and I let her insult me good-naturedly, because that’s how sisters are.

that's Amu reflected in the hand-painted mirror 🙂 and my hair's messy because of the fan 😛

I’m glad I can still pull out the mom card when needed though, because that’s how our relationship swings. When she listens to me thoughtfully and nods her acquiescence after a ‘lecture’, I know she needs that firm bit of guidance that only a parent can give, and I’m thinking, the teens aren’t as bad as they’re cranked up to be.

*throws salt over shoulder*

The ‘Yes! I like this!’ blog award goes to….

I’m tickled pink, not to mention terribly flattered and honoured to have received this today:

Yippee!! Thank you once again Alan (aka Single Malt Monkey) for deeming me a deserving recipient 🙂

The rules of this particular award were as follows:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 deserving blog buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

Okay, so the first one is taken care of. Now to share seven random facts about myself…*cough* This won’t be easy, but…..here goes….
1. When I was in my teens, I was struck by a strange feeling of regret as I contemplated the notion that I’ll never get to meet all the gazillions of people co-habiting planet Earth with me. It actually made my heart sink.
2. These days I’m seriously thinking about trying out each and every recipe from my new Potato  Cookbook that I bought for a bargain price of Rs 250 from a second-hand bookshop. (it’s in great shape too!) We’re talking 240 recipes, my friend. Have already made three things from it, a) spanish tortilla; b) hash browns; c) potato and mixed vegetable salad with lemon mayonnaise. They all turned out great, though I varied some of the ingredients according to availability..
3. I love that my ability and penchant for writing led me to blogging, an avenue for sharing my thoughts, rants and experiences with so many people OTHER than my immediate circle of acquaintance. I have a greater sense of community here than in my real life…
4. I think my personality encourages people to confide in me. Sometimes a tad more than they should…
5. Animals are my favourite people. Especially kittens and puppies.
6. If there is something I wish for more than anything, it is to live in a world where there is no need to have a system of beliefs…
7. I am more comfortable in the virtual world than the real world.
Phew. I think my random facts aren’t as random as I’d like them to be.
Moving on!
Goody, here comes the fun part.This is where I pass the award along to 15 deserving blog buddies. Admittedly, some of them can’t be considered ‘buddies’, so let’s just say they’re bloggers whose blogs I have subscribed to thus far in my blogging career, and/or whose sites I find myself drawn to perusing. Some of them I love because they’re just a pleasure to read. Others are great because I learn something from them…still others inject some humour into my day or provide beautiful images that inspire me to pick up my camera as well. Whatever the case, these are my besties, so by all means give them a look-see…
1. Single Malt Monkey, I mention him first as it is because of him I’m passing on the award 🙂 SMM is a multi-talented person, currently dabbling in painting, but who loves poetry and literature, photography, and believe it or not, actually makes guitars. Needless to say, he’s big on music too AND…he’s been FP’ed a few times.
2. H is for Happiness. I am so glad Harsha stumbled across my blog, and that I was led to hers as a consequence. H, as I call her, lives in Goa and has the dubious distinction of being my blogger soul sister. She loves to re-read her favourite books, plays cricket with her gorgeous son Ishaan, and laments the fact that Goa is such a darned tourist attraction! She is an amazing photographer, and loves Nature with a passion.
3. Gathering-just-a-bit-o moss is where my infinitely better half attempts not to make too little or too much sense. I have the right to reserve judgment on whether he makes ANY sense at all, nevertheless (and I’m not biased when I say) the guy is an incredibly kooky poet, loves to mock things in a seemingly intellectually subversive way (esp Sufism) and believes in keeping things short and sweet. ‘Nuff said.
4. Free Range , is Susan Orlean’s blog at The New Yorker where she muses about encounters in places with people and things. Including chickens. She’s a professional of course, and needs no publicity by me of all people, but I love her blog and want to share her with all of you.
5. Hortophile-My new garden blogs about…you guessed it…her garden. It is truly an awesome one. The woman has a seriously green thumb and believes in environmental responsibility…..and common sense. Not only do I learn a lot, I feel good just looking at her pictures and reading about the things she does. Very inspiring indeed.
6. Indigo Violet’s Blog is where you’ll find my ADHD friend Aarti. Found her through Harsha’s blog and really enjoy her rambling style, not to mention her psychological insights, her love for her multitudinous pets, and yes, her kooky sense of humour , conveyed amply by her choice of images. To know more about her, read her ‘About Indigo’…..the girl has joie de vivre!
7. The class factotum speaks, and this too as mostly staccato conversations with her husband. In her own words, she is ‘a gold digging, bon bon eating, soap opera watching housewife who lives off her wonderful used husband: Serious Honey, aka The Engineer.’
8. Open Lotus Garden wonders how much positive impact a single garden can make. A very inspiring and encouraging blog, not to mention wonderfully uplifting.
9.Not So Spanish is one of the most consistently cute blogs I have come across on WordPress. Rea writes about being a Canadian mom in Spain, her two kids and her husband and the funny things she sees around her adopted country. Amazingly dry sense of humour and wit. Love it!
10. Kristen Lamb’s Blog once again, needs no publicity, but if you’re a blogger/writer/social media fan, you seriously need to check out her blog. Great style, great advice, highly useful.
(holy crap! 5 more to go!)
11. Emjayandthem’s Blog. Ok, MJ is relatively new on my blogroll but I love her already. She is responsible for introducing me to the best pancake recipe EVER, but not only that, she missed Diana at the royal wedding as much as I did. I think I found her through Single Malt Monkey’s blog. Don’t you just love serendipity?
12. Mehreen Kasana. How could I forget her? She’s the funniest writer/doodler in the Pakistani blogosphere! The girl is rather famous already and needs no publicity, nevertheless, she  must be introduced to the uninitiated. She doesn’t post very often, but I make it a point to check what she’s been up to every once in a while.
13. Kala Kawa In his own words, he’s no expert. He just watches, reports…and bashes. Very good basher too! And a prominent member of the Pakistani twitterati. Very entertaining indeed.
14. The Karachi Walla will tell you anything you want to know and anywhere you want to go in The City by the Sea. Found him by chance while searching for pictures on the web, wondered who he was, and recently learned the world is a very small place indeed……I think he definitely deserves some publicity 🙂
15. Xeemarmar…..one of those blogs I just HAVE to visit, since it is co-written by two very lively and intelligent ladies from my hometown/community 🙂 The name is derived from Zimmarmar, a mountain in Yemen, a place held dear by both the writers for similar reasons….
Congratulations to all of you who won!! I shall now proceed to let you all know how amazingly lucky you are and bring your attention to this post unless you’re one of those intelligent few who had the good sense to subscribe to my blog.
Writing this has been such fun. It made me think about why I appreciate all of you as much as I do, and left me with a warm glowy feeling inside. I’m sure y’all feel the radiations….don’tcha? Don’tcha??
 Wokay then, time to publish this.