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Thursday, January 28, 2010

January's Last Snow

Actually, I'm waiting for 2010's last snow.
It wasn't a bad day--relatively speaking.
I realized, I have a lot more to thank for than I remember. Thank you so much Cynthia, Emily for being next to me in a moment of weakness and helping me stay sane. And to Elyse for always appearing when I need a hand the most.
I love all my Sunny Mommies!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Waking up in Puerto Rico

As you know Mr. Ozturk and I had our 5 year anniversary this month. On January 8th, we come back from our dinner at Turkish Grill and while dressing Li'l Miss for bed, he shares this piece of news. "I've been looking at Puerto Rico vacations, what do you think?"

Me: "Uh huh, do you want to take her to bed or should I?"

I literally ignored the revelation for a few hours until he asked me again. I didn't take him seriously until he finally brought home the itenerary for the trip a week later. "Huh. We're going for four day vacation off main land America. Neat!"
We landed in PR Friday afternoon, and mostly spent the day driving around looking for restaurants and supermarkets for Li'l Miss's essentials. It all seemed like a Miami dream (of which I see plenty) until the next morning when I ceremonously pulled back the curtains and walked onto the balcony.

Our room with a view

We spent three heavenly days driving through spectacular mountain valleys, swimming in the resort pools and discovering beaches, each one better than the next.

Driving through the clouds on PR-18 returning from Fajardo

Li'l Miss and Mr. O relaxing in the hot tub

Playa Santa en Guánica, PR

Loquillo Beach east of San Juan

I'd say the only thing that was sorely missed on the Island of Puerto Rico was a good local breakfast. This is a meat-eater's paradise...even breakfast consists of meat meat and more meat. No bread, bagels or muffins here! Even the Dunkin Donuts that we finally discovered in Fajardo didn't carry bagels....what horror!

Another unforgettable moment was watching the guide swim in the bioluminiscent bay near Paraguera's village. The trip to the bay itself was spectacular: The local club scene, the bazar that looked like a gypsies have taken over ancient ruins, the boat ride during which we kept joking that we're going to get our organ's stolen and sold. I got to splash my hands into a bucket of the bay water and watch little sparkle's shoot out of my skin. T

There is a reason some things are impossible to catch on camera: You have to see it for yourself!

Other uncapturable moments:

*Waiter's chasing the blackbirds that kept flying into the open dining area in Hilton hunting for crumbs.

*How while driving, you can cruise into a rain cloud that's pouring buckets and back out into the shining sun within seconds.

*When after years of disliking spanish music, you have only spanish radio for three days. One of those days you hear a song that makes you pause and think "Oh MY GOD! I have to find the name of this song!" while goosebumps are rising on your skin.

*When even the Li'l Miss is so happy with the warm weather, beaches and water that she frequently grabs the face of whoever happens to be holding her, and land a big loud Mmmmmm PPCHUA! without any previous begging or groveling requesting from the parents.

Leaving Puerto Rico was sad and became even more so when my brother-in-law reported on the phone "It's very nice weather here this weekend actually, we hit like...30 degrees!" While I was shiedling my eyes from the 85 degree sun. I didn't know whether I wanted to laugh or cry.

All I can say is, Puerto Rico, me gustas mucho!

Oprah, now that you're not doing anything...

...would you mind holding my coat for me?

My pretty sister

Isn't she beautiful? Even when acting out a tea advertisements.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Somebody needs a hair cut...bad!

I'm not saying this isn't a good look for my Monster, but meeh, I'd rather see her sweet face. My NYC moms and Sunnymoms, any suggestions? And how about what style should I have it cut, should I ask her to peruse some style magazines or is it too early to think about curlers in her hair?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This is how we do it, Baby!

During our Sunday morning breakfast while eating and talking, I started to randomly arrange the olive pits, thinking I'd surprise Mr. Ozturk with a little message. Halfway through however, he caught the drift without my saying anything, and began helping me in writing this little message of love.
He's such a flirt!

Friday, January 8, 2010

To our young family


Six years ago, when I walked into the Baruch College Tech lab and was interrupted by a random stranger with a "Selam," I had no idea I had just sent blessings back to the man who'd be with me forever. If I had, I may have started stalking him from day 1 hehe. But I was not the stalker in this funny relationship.

For weeks I tried to avoid the place because after the first few glances, the stares were starting to get creepy. Yes Harun, I called you creepy!

Eventually though, because of a few mutual friends we had the opportunity to spend more than a few seconds together and Harun snuck his way into my small and by small I mean tiny, group of friends.

It was after getting married however, that I started realizing the amazing support and stability that had just walked into my life. We are both continuing to grow and learn through trial and error. We have many more things to discover and we have yet to decide what our family stand point will be on several issues. It's the journey that counts, isn't it? And my dear love, I am enjoying every mile of it.
We had dinner here tonight:

Photo credit:

Here's to our beautiful five years and to many more years till we meet again in Heaven insha Allah.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Basket case Pasta!

Oops, did I just call it basket-case? Oh you bet I did! I received the recipe and pictures for this ahem, masterpiece in my email this morning. I've been trying to conjure up the life of the woman who made this. There are several possibilities:
a. She's single and a culinary chef;
b. If she has kids, she also has nannies to look after them while she spends an hour wrapping macaroni strings aroung the bowl, one at a time;
c. Her kids are older and in college;
d. Her kids thought she was crazy, have left her alone with 560 lbs of pasta!
Yeah, since none of the above apply to me, I figured it wouldn't be a waste to just ignore the recipe and move on.
Sorry Cemile. Although, you are most welcome to bring me a piece if you ever make this....And my consolations in advance if you have to leave your job to dedicate time to make it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010



I went digging through my jewellery box today looking for broken earings and beads from long ago I could use

to make new hijab pins. I found the above bracelet. At first I admit, I kinda looked at it wondering if it's a piece of the original bracelet, it looked so tiny and fragil. Both the clasp pieces were intact so I tried it on. It fit! Looking at it chiming on my wrist, I finally remembered where it was from.

It's from either 2001 or '02. I tagged along my brother's friend and their team of Pearl Continent of Lahore's PR, Accountants and General Managers, and went for a day trip to Murree in Northern Pakistan. We left early in the morning and after hours of chatting and introductions, I already felt like I was among old friends. They were all much older than me and were teasing me like they would a child. I was used to the teasing and chiding being the youngest in my family as well and played along.

In Murree we went shopping, sight seeing, eating the crappy fried food from the side streets and were totally happy. We threw snow balls at each other and sat on the meagre accumulated snow to take pictures really close up, so it looked like we were surrounded by mounds and mound of snow. Some of us had never seen snow before that day.

On Mall Road, there was plenty of shopping to be done, and I really liked this bracelet that another girl from our group was going to buy. I asked her if it was ok with her that I bought the same thing. I figured, it's not like we're going to be in each other's company all the time, it should be ok if we both wore the same thing. I bought the bracelet while she was still looking through other things and walked out. Later, I saw the same girl walking miserably around behind us. I asked someone what was going on and found out that she was upset that I bought the bracelet. I specifically remembered there being like 5 more of the same bracelet. I almost began to feel sorry that I'd bought it, but quickly pushed the thought out: I was in the company of adults, I told myself. If they want to act like teenagers, let them. It's there loss.

I've often applied the same logic to many different incidents and am realizing now, that buying that bracelet and holding on to it may have been the beginning of a new me. It was around the same year that I stopped stooping to other people's standards just to be accepted, bending over backwards to show that I belonged even when I really knew I didn't. Those were the times I began to stand up for myself.

Although I may have forgotten why year after year, move after move, I've somehow held on to this tiny little keepsake. I'm thinking maybe it's fate keeping it in my hands even though I seem to lose anything under 3lbs in weight almost magically.

So Fate, thank you for the reminder. And hello, Bracelet!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A dinner worth talking about


Let's start the year right, ok? How about inviting a dear family of five for dinner? Seven people plus lots of food equals, a great day to be home =)

On the menu was my version of Ezo Gelin soup, Rachel Ray's Beef Stroganoff, Binnur's Stuffed Chicken breasts, Kisir, my lovely turkish winter salad and Sekerpare (that could have used a lot less Semolina, THANKS Binnur!)

At the end of the early dinner/late lunch, we all headed to Brooklyn Heights so I could show the kids one of the neighborhoods shown most frequently in Bollywood movies filmed in NYC. The weather was bone chilling, so to speak, but we all braved the odds and took in the scenes from the Brooklyn Promenade.

We meant to go scarf shopping in Atlantic Avenue, but the weather and my uncle intervened and we had to postpone the spree. Farhat Baji, we're not done yet. One of these I'm going to whisk you away and share my favorite scarf stores with you.

P.S. I love your expression in this pic! Priceless =)

New Year morning


Oh did you wonder what happened to me? I've been surfing template websites and wondering if it's time to switch things around here a bit. I'm also working on writing and acquiring articles for the new blog and that leaves slightly less time than I used to have for this one.

Catching Monster in all her mischief is an ongoing project however, and that is why this photo blog will never truly be abandoned.

As per one of my resolutions, I've started to pray more regularly. That has resulting in Monster wanting to join me in my efforts and as soon as I pick out a scarf and a ja-e namaaz, she runs to get her own mini ja-e namaaz and a random scarf whatever happens to be laying around (which in my home, amounts to at least 3-4 laying around randomly).

She even attempted to drape it around her head today, so I decided to give her a hand. Of course, this isn't the first time I've dressed her up as a Muslima Baby.

Tee hee! =)