Which Super Hero Wears What Underwear?

If you  have kids at home who love super heroes, beware. These guys are kinda weird – the super heroes, not the kids. They’re supposed to be above and beyond normal beings. Stronger, better, smarter. You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between that and moms, right? Well, the difference is they have secrets that Moms don’t. Some pretty surprising, if not a little . . . strange.

How do I know all this? It started with a very straight forward quiz that my daughter saw online, “Which Super Hero are you?” It sounded innocent enough so when she begged me to take the quiz, I thought nothing of it. A few minutes later, she was done and announced proudly which of the million unrealistic characters with impeccable hair and flawless skin she was. I was a little surprised to hear that she was akin to Batman, given that she’s a girl. But let’s not be gender-funny and stereotype our daughters into thinking they can’t be Batman if they want to. Whatever.

“Mom, why don’t you take the quiz?” she asked

“Okay. Ask me the questions” And that’s when it started to go all weird. After a few normal questions, like “Are you strong?”, “Do you like fighting?”, came this, “Do you wear thongs?”, followed by “Do you wear push up bras?”

I didn’t think this was too appropriate for kids. But that’s not the weirdest thing about this quiz. No, what’s really comical is that if you answer “Yes” to both questions, you are akin to Wonder-Woman, which is a total joke given that her costume consists of larger than life panties. And – I can’t know for sure, but these boobs don’t look real to me. Or if they are, there really is no need to push them up. Now, here’s the interesting fact: if you answer “Yes” to thong and “No” to push up bras, you end up being like Superman. Superman wears thongs. And it must be true, because it’s on a quiz on the internet.

FYI, Batman isn’t into that S&M stuff. He wears no push up bra, and no thong. Just plain ol’ whiteys. Well, now you know.

Speaking of gender stereotype, why is it that the quiz asks about push up bras and thongs, and not about whether you wear butt enhancing cuts, or package busting pouches? Oh yes, it’s a real thing. Go check out underwear for men websites if you don’t believe me .

Anyway, all this is BS, we all know super heroes aren’t real. Plus, I gotta go. Gotta spin three times in a telephone booth so I can be all dressed and dolled up for the day. And to the nasty voices who are thinking, “I know that Nadege-woman, she never looks as neat and well put as WonderWoman”, I say this: When is the last time you saw a telephone booth, huh? So cut me some slacks!

Who would have thought?



DIY Not For The Faint Of Heart

If you love DIY and are good at it, don’t read this post. I don’t want you to feel insulted. If you don’t like DIY, what are you doing reading a post with “DIY” in the title? Seriously . . .

If, like me, you love DIY and are terrible at it, I have just got the thing for you to practice your art.

Before I divulge my secret weapon, let me just set the standard on how bad one needs to be, to qualify as my target audience:

  1. If your husband has hidden the drill because your first (and last) attempt at putting curtain poles ended up in a full house renovation, due to some bits of wall missing – Man, that stuff’s not very strong, is it?
  2. Or, if the last time you power washed your deck, it had to be re-stained, and ditto for the house
  3. Or, if the shower wall that you tiled meowed, due to stupid cat being plastered in said-wall
  4. Or, if your art on the wall only looks straight when you are doing a yoga pose, upside down, after a few bottles of wine
  5. Or, if you have done all of the above,

Then, this post is for you.

Over the years, I had to give up drilling, hammering, sealing, tiling, because the cost of fixing my mistakes was just too high – pff, whatever. So my husband locked all his tools, somewhere, I don’t even know where, swallowed the key, and that’s that. All I am left with is a paint brush. I do like painting and I could still inflict a fair amount of damage by doing so, but I have no patience, so I’m unlikely to tackle a painting project. At least I was. Until . . . I discovered chalk paint!

Chalk paint is absolutely magic! It paints any surface, without the need to sand, prep, or even clean. Nothing. You just show up with your big tub of paint and Bob’s your uncle. And, as if that wasn’t good enough news, it makes hard projects super simple. Take distressing for example. Before chalk paint, you needed to paint one coat, let it dry for a million hours, paint another coat, let it dry for another million hours (have I lost you yet?), then sand the thing, making a mess in the process. When you were done, a week had gone by. That’s if you finished what you started. But with chalk paint, none of that shenanigan. You just paint one coat, and try to do a really bad job at it. Kaboom! Done! Distressed and ready to go! AND, it dries in no time. Well, at least I hope so, otherwise some books are gonna get an unwilling makeover. . .

So guess what I did last week? I bought myself a truck load of chalk paint. My husband has been telling me for years that I cannot paint our furniture because NO WAY. And also, it’s varnished so no can do. You should have seen his face when I told him I was gonna chalk-paint those wooden chests. He looked like a combination of these two emojis,





Except, worse.

I haven’t given him the best news yet. With chalk paint, you can paint anything. And I mean, anything: wood, plastic, glass, fabric. Even though it doesn’t say on the directions, I discovered that it adheres really well to stones, after I dropped a can on my patio. And it does a pretty decent job with leather as well, like my shoes can attest to. I wonder what it would look like on clothes. I suppose I could always tell you tomorrow. . .




It’s a woman thing . . .

Yesterday, I was cleaning up my closet, putting away my winter clothes, in the overly optimistic hope that temperatures are going to stay warm from now on. It would have been wise to check the weather forecast for the upcoming week before I started such a daunting task, but too late for that. Oh well, I guess I’ll just be cold for a few weeks.

Anyway, as I was emptying my drawer, I came across these . . .

WHAT THE ?@$%?








Know what they are?

No, they aren’t just tights, they are high waist tights.

Same difference, I hear you say. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Just goes to show you never wore high waist tights. High waist tights are for connoisseurs. And by that I mean, once you tried them, you know to never wear them again.

So in order to save you unnecessary torture and misery, here’s the one reason why high waist tights exist (pros), and the many reasons why they are a bad idea (cons):

PROS: completely flat stomach. Baby fat, nutella fat, any type of fat: all invisible. You know that layer of wrapping under which your rock solid abs rest? All gone. Just a super flat, sleek stomach, like you never had. But in order to achieve this, you have to put up with a few cons:
1. Blood circulation totally cut off, from waist all the way down
2. Pressure on bladder means need to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes, which is a problem because of 3.
3. Tights take 20 minutes to wiggle out of, and same amount of time to pull back up. So basically, if you wear these, you should plan to spend a big chunk of your day in the bathroom.
4. Impossible to drive. Forget it, you cannot sit in your car with high waist tights and not pee your pants.
5. Even if you didn’t mind 4, you wouldn’t be able to press the pedals, due to completely numb feet caused by absence of blood – see point 1

One more noticeable aspect of wearing these: it’s not possible to eat. The stomach cannot expand at all, as you will realize when trying to breathe too often. Not sure whether it’s a pro or con . . .



Syrian Families: When Achievements Start Rolling In

Very much the same as there are no small good deeds, every achievement deserves a platform. As we continue to support the Syrian families to the best of our abilities, we are so proud of everything they do, every stride they take, and every hurdle they climb. God knows these guys have been through much and yet, they keep surpassing themselves, ploughing through the obstacle course, knocking walls down, one by one.

With this post, I want to celebrate their victories. No matter how small some might look, they are another step toward greater things. So in no particular order, I am very happy to report that over the past few weeks:

  1. A kid was honored by the school district for his academic achievement. Which in itself is quite fantastic given that a year ago, that child didn’t know much English, but it’s also the second time this honor is granted to him.
  2. A dad passed his driver’s license with flying colors. If that feels like nothing to you, try and get yours in Arabic and let me know how that goes . . .
  3. Everybody’s English has progressed so much that we are now able to communicate basic things without any translators.
  4. Another kid is applying for college. She wants to be a doctor, no less!

As we get to communicate more now that language barriers are falling down, we hear the stories of these families in transit, for years, sometimes with no education for the children. I lie awake at night, and try to imagine what it would feel like if a rocket hit my house. How would I find the strength to keep smiling? How would I retain some sense of humor? I don’t know that I could, but these guys do.

To all of them,  you have embellished the world in so many ways. You keep touching every one of us with your grace.  You and your kids deserve to be showered with goodness.


When Chaos Runs In The Family

Know what this is?


This is a birthday card, meant for me. No, it’s not my birthday. I already have far too many of those every year. But it is my birthday card that I got for Valentines. By accident, may I add.

The story is, I was tidying up my son’s bedroom yesterday. I don’t do that too often, because the simple act of stepping in the bedroom is both heroic given the sheer number of obstacles littering the floor, and depressing, because said floor is barely visible. But occasionally, I feel brave, I feel indestructible, I feel like nothing is gonna set me back. So I go in there, with a big trash bag, and rid the drawers, book shelves, and other surfaces of their pile of junk.

As I opened one drawer, I found a sealed envelope, with my name on it. My first thought was to put it back and stop snooping in my kid’s room. what if it was a secret Valentines card he was planning on giving me later? I dismissed this idea right away, because I know my kids. The only surprise I will get from them today is the look on their face when I actually tell them that YES, Valentines IS today. So I opened the card and there it was. A birthday card, from my husband to me. Unfortunately, there is no year on it so we don’t know whether it’s from last year, two, three, or ten years ago.

There’s also no plausible explanation as to why my son would have a potentially ancient birthday card for me, written by my husband, in his drawer. All my husband could come up with was, “I must have put it in his bedroom for him to sign and then I forgot about it”

Still, that doesn’t explain why the card would have made its way in a drawer. Nobody puts stuff in drawers, except me. And I am positive I didn’t put my own birthday card in my kid’s drawer.

I guess sometimes, chaos cannot be explained by anything other than, “It’s an utter mess”


Nutella: The Cure To Everything

Warning: this post is about medical stuff and science. Although it might not be what you want to read from a blog that’s supposed to be relaxing and not headache inducing, you will learn valuable information that will change your life. So if I were you, I would put my glasses on and take notes . . .

Wouldn’t it be great if one medicine could cure most daily ailments? No need to wonder whether to consult, what to do. Just take the magic pill and all is better. Well, such thing exists, in the form of this . . .










Before you dismiss this as total nonsense, just hear me out. I did extensive research, in the form of eating a lot of the stuff myself, and have found that it is a wonderful remedy for the following:

  1. Feeling down. You know, when you want to do nothing other than lie on the sofa and feel sorry for yourself. We all agree that’s not good for you. Nutella can really help because, although you will still feel sorry for yourself, you’ll have to get off the sofa and grab a jar and a spoon. If that’s not a step in the right direction, then I don’t know what is.
  2. Feeling too skinny. Yes, that’s a problem that some people have. And it’s not nice! But thanks to Nutella, you can move on. Because there will be no such emotion if you keep your pantry well stocked.
  3. Feeling too fat. What the heck! Have another dip. What difference will a spoon of Nutella make in the big scheme of things, huh?
  4. Struggling with a diet? Don’t beat yourself up. Step 1: Eat the Nutella without the bread. Step 2: Stick with step 1 for a while, until your body gets used to it. Step 3: I wouldn’t cut on the Nutella because you might experience withdrawal syndrome. Instead, just suppress the spoon and stuff your face in the pot. Don’t feel bad, that’s why they make the maxi jars.
  5. Feeling old. YES, you think I’m crazy, but listen. If you really, really, really eat a lot of it, you will get a lot of zits that can only be mistaken for juvenile acne. Who gets juvenile acne? Teenagers? Ha! You are welcome . . .
  6. In addition to these undeniable health benefits and moral boosters, Nutella also sorts out all your cooking headaches. You can serve Nutella for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It spreads on everything, bread, crepes, fruits, even on the palm of your hand. It’s got proteins, skim milk (in case you are worried about calories), hazelnuts which are known for their many benefits, like, making Nutella taste good.

The only slight downside to Nutella is that it talks. I swear, whenever I pass my pantry, I can hear it say, “Eat me! Eat me!” Sometimes, I hear it at night as well, but I am telling you, it’s well worth getting up for.

I love you, Nutella. I love you.



Syria: Someone Extraordinary lives Near You . . .

And I am lucky that I get to meet a lot of them!

This week, I want to put the spotlight on Laila Extraordinaire! That’s not her last name, but it might as well be.

I don’t remember how Laila heard about our work with the Syrian families. I just remember her email, modestly asking what she could do to help. She came to a tutoring session to meet everybody,  and let me tell you this: inside her petite frame with a sweet voice lies a hurricane of kindness. Storm Laila had been unleashed and life was never gonna be the same for a lot of us.

Within a few days, she was tutoring a whole family, advocating for the kids in school, talking to the teachers. Thanks to her, a little girl was able to celebrate her birthday with her classmates, like all the other children. Another was able to practice and take a test. A guy needed help to start his job? No worries, Laila was there with her contacts to make that happen. Funds needed to be raised to pay for tutoring? Bam! Done!

Which makes me wonder: how many Lailas are there?

I must admit I am a little envious of her stream of positive energy. And I wish that the world had more Lailas.  All the work she does is having a major impact on the people she is supporting. And what’s more, she does all this selflessly, doesn’t expect acknowledgment, or reward, AND she always has a smile on her face. I am not even exaggerating one bit. Such person exists.  If there ever is someone who is sent by the Gods, this is as close as we are going to get.

You know the saying that goes something along the lines of, if you change the life of ten people, you can change the world. Well, Laila has revolutionized the world, over and over. And she is not done!

I could never find the right words to tell Laila how grateful I am that our path have crossed, so I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart: thank you for being you.




Set Your Priorities Right

I think I am finally working out what’s going wrong in the way I handle life. And that’s no small achievement! After so many years of being late everywhere, never having time for anything, I have narrowed down the source of all my problems: I need to set my priorities right.

I think that generally speaking, women are over-achievers. We want to be CEO of some major corporation, take pride that we are living in a show house, raise our children all by ourselves, and have neighbors dribble with envy: “how does she fit it all in? How can she have the time to play with her kids, walk the dog (oh yeah, I forgot to mention, we are also the proud owner of a great dane), and her car isn’t even dirty!”

That’s what we all want. And occasionally, we think we know someone who has that, making this unachievable goal even more convoluted. “If she can do it, why can’t I? What is so special about her that some divine intervention grants her 30 hours in a day?”

Well, I’ll tell you what it is. Nobody gets an extra few hours in the day. Moreover, people like me who loves sleeping are at a clear disadvantage, but if we set our priorities right, we can definitely do it.

So I’m going to share my method with you. Ready? This is the point where you life changes for ever . . . You are welcome . . .

First, set a list of the things that you need to achieve in a given day. In an ideal world, if you (1) get up in a good mood,  (2) have nobody to bug you, (3) are going to be successful in everything that you do, what would that list look like? I know I lost some of you at (1), but try to keep up, okay?

Next, scrap the first and last task on your list. You are bound to fail the first one given that you haven’t had any coffee yet. As for the last one, who expects you to achieve anything after such a long day?

Then break down each task into three or four steps. And scrap at least two of them.

I just saved you half a day to do whatever the heck you want.

Here is an example of how to set your priorities right . . .


Original crazy list of unachievable goals

















Crazy list broken up into more unachievable steps

















TADAAA!! Et Voila!


















When You Know Someone Just Doesn’t Care . . .

This is a true story. I like to exaggerate facts in my writing sometimes – as in always. But I wouldn’t have the creativity to invent what follows.

My son forgot his bag on a bus. So far, nothing out of the ordinary. Everyday he comes home with no coat, no computer charger, sometimes one shoe missing . So the bag had it coming for a while.

I called the bus company and asked if they had found it, and it turned out they did! Pretty easy so far: bag lost in the bus. Bag found in the bus.

All that’s left to do is get bag back in the bus for my son to pick up. Which I thought sounded like a reasonable request, given that he is on the same bus everyday, driven by the same person. He even sits at the same seat, so how hard can it be? Well, impossible, it would seem, as I experienced this surreal conversation with the bus company, after the bag had been identified,

” Could you please put the bag back in the bus for my son to pick up tomorrow?”

“Which bus does he take?”

“The one that goes to his school”

“Which bus is that?”

I wasn’t going to question why the bus company who is responsible for the routes was asking ME about bus routes. All I wanted was the bag back. So I volunteered to go and pick it up the next day.

“Okay, the lady said, it will be here for you to pick up”

When I realized that a trip to pick up the bag would cost an hour of my time, I decided I should try to get the bag to me, as opposed to me to the bag. So I called again, and got another lady, called Linda who said,

“I don’t know anything about a bag. We don’t have your bag here”

“But the lady I spoke to yesterday said she did”  What if I drove an hour for them to tell me they didn’t have the bag?

“Well, who did you speak to?” Ouch, silly me, I couldn’t remember the name.

“I don’t know, it was a lady”

“Who though?” I could feel their tone had changed form neutral to get-out-of-my-hair. But I really wanted my bag back. Now, it was a matter of principle!

“I don’t know her name. I admit it’s not helpful, but how many ladies are in your office?”

“There is only me and another lady”

“So if it wasn’t you, it must be the other one then!”

Silence on the other end of the line. So I volunteered,
“What’s her name?”


“Well, could I speak to Wanda, please?”

“She is not here today, you gotta call tomorrow”

The next morning came,
“Hi, may I speak to Wanda, please?”

And I kid you not, the lady on the phone went, “Wanda who?”

“The only Wanda. The one who is not Linda”

Silence . . .  So I went,

“Are you Wanda?”


As I felt I had the upper hand, I demanded that the bag be put on the bus. I gave the name of the town it picks up from, the name of the school. And Wanda-who-is-not-Linda asked,

“What’s the route number?”

“You mean, you don’t know? There is only one bus who does that route”

“I need the route number” So I give it to not-Linda who then went, “Are you sure?”

The morale of this story is, when you are caught giving bad attitude for no good reason, don’t give up, keep up the good work. Or maybe, “Never admit that you are wrong, that could make you right in the end” I am not sure, I’m still trying to make sense of this crazy conversation. . .



Syria: Someone extraordinary lives near you . . .

And you probably don’t even know it! Because extraordinary people, who do amazing stuff, don’t think of themselves as such. Which makes them even more extraordinary.

Meet Lori. A mom, living in the neighborhood, raising her family.

A few months ago, when we first started to help the Syrian families rebuild their lives, we tried to prioritize what needed to be done. Through the course of that process, we identified a high school senior with big dreams: become a doctor. She wants a bright future, and she deserves every single bit of it. So quite naturally, she wants to go to college.

Here’s the thing though: I have been in this country for nine years, I speak fluent English and am well surrounded by Americans who have been living here all their life, and yet, the college process is daunting to me. I can’t make sense of many things, and I’m stressing up just thinking about how I will get through this. So I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like if I didn’t master the language, didn’t know anyone who could explain it to me, and had to do it by yesterday.

Lori wasn’t going to let that young lady with a promising future fall through the crack. So she grabbed her hand, and together, they are working their way through college applications , dealing with deadlines, essays, and the myriads of other things that need taken care of.

What’s extraordinary about this situation is not just how this young girl gets a fair chance at building her life, all thanks to Lori. what is beyond extraordinary is everything else it represents: hopefully, she will go to college, be successful, marry and have children. She will teach her kids that a while back, a lady  who didn’t know her stepped into her life. Despite wars going on, despite a fear climate that taints good deeds with political colors, Lori,  from a different background, culture, religion and language gave her opportunities.

And that, people, is how you spread tolerance and compassion in a world that desperately needs more of it.  That’s what’s extraordinary about Lori.