Silence is not always golden

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Dear Readers,
I marvel at some people’s ability to ignore and outright suppress global issues such as violence, rape, abuse or bullying. The average citizen would not stand up for a victim, would not defend an elderly person and would think twice before running after a thief. You might exclaim that this is not the case, but I beg to differ. Why else would we call a person a “hero” when he pulls a child out of a burning house or simply helps a blind person cross the road. Isn’t this something we would all have done? No, it isn’t. It takes character, courage and a massive desire to carry out acts of kindness. Your average bloke wouldn’t even let a car switch lanes in front of him.
 I know a woman who would stand up to injustice any time of the day, she would voice her opinions and do her utmost to aid a person in need. She has recently sent Y Magazine an article in regards to an issue she felt very strongly about- the abuse of those who cannot stand up for themselves. Children in school buses were throwing stones at a helpless pedestrian, who has no way to voice her complaints and would not get any attention from the authorities. These “passengers” have already caught the attention of publications such as The Week, Muscat Daily and Observer newspaper due to their unsafe behavior in the school buses. However abusing pedestrians with stones- takes this issue to a whole different level. You can read Cynthia’s full story and rants here on page 6. Thanks to Y Magazine and Paul for giving this matter the attention it deserves! We could do with more of such stories!

Putting together a petition for more hours in the day

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Lately I have been struggling with achieving…anything. I feel pressed for time, all the time. Work has piled up, it got more demanding, challenging but rewarding in the long run. The Eid holidays brought with themselves the beginning of ‘high season ‘at work which in turn means new mountains to climb and less time to climb them. Without nagging or whaling it is hard to explain what I am going through at the moment. I am not one to complain usually, but now I can honestly say that I am down in the dumps. The simple task of working 9 or 10 hour shifts, managing to cook a decent meal at home, keep the house looking like a home, cramming in gym routines and making enough time to see The Family and keeping up with Project 365 and the blog- is damn near impossible these days. Did you notice the absence of any social events on my ‘to do’ list? I did too. Coffee with My Cynthia is a luxury these days, not a casual friendly get together. As a result of my selfless dedication to everyone and everything that needs my attention these days, I have managed to exhaust myself and get THE FLUE that has taken over the entire office, hence for the past two days I have established solid base on the sofa from 7 pm to dozing off time, whilst the husband eats take-away and courts to my whiny flue-inspired needs. I am a horrible sick person, I am worse than a teething 6 months old. I need constant attention, snacks and for all the remote controls in the house to be within arm’s reach of me. My nurse  husband is getting quite fed up with me, hence I may soon be left to my own vices, sniffing through my misery and making my own damn hot tea. My stuffy nose and scratchy throat drive me up the wall and the drowsiness and constant need to sleepsleepsleep is a virtue I find most upsetting when I have dinner to cook, a blog post to write and a closet to rearrange. Don’t get me wrong, I still go to work and have even driven myself to mom’s house and the pharmacy once…but I think I am pushing my luck. I have so many ideas and tasks at hand, and so little time to implement these to life that I am seriously considering cloning, or at least giving up sleep for a few days. While I am at it, I may as well download a few ‘project 365’ pictures for you to enjoy. Footnote here: this project commenced on the 20th of May and I have since take a picture a day to document my life for an entire year. Today I am on day 130 (yes I have thought about giving up the project about 89 times already)…

Day 62. Me myself and I

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Ross: What was Monica’s nickname when she was a field-hockey goalie?
Joey: Big fat goalie!
Ross: Correct. Rachel claims this is her favorite movie.
Chandler: Dangerous Liaisons.
Ross: Correct. Her actual favorite movie is?
Joey: Weekend at Bernie’s.
Ross: Correct. In what part of her body did Monica get a pencil stuck at age 14?
Chandler: Oh! (Whispers an answer in Ross’s ear.)
Ross: Ew! No! Her ear!
Remember this episode of Friends? It’s hilarious. The reason I am forcing all of you into a deep nostalgia over the series, is because picture of the day is- Me. See below.
Now, I could never write a blog post about myself. I wouldn’t know what to say (or how to say it). I’ve been putting off this blog post for 3 days because I realized that describing me- would be pretty damn hard. I would not be honest, to put it frankly. This is where best friends and old Facebook notes come in handy. Have you ever been tagged in a silly game that made you write 25 random facts about yourself? Well I have. These are the answers from about a year ago and a half ago (laugh all you want):
Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose up to 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s probably because I want to know more about you.
1) For a long time i hoped someone would finally tag me, and i would get to write 25 random things about myself 🙂
2) I recently found out that I spend four years of my life studying a subject i have absolutely no interest in-Marketing! Talk about wasting your time 🙂
3) I have a phenomenal fear of dead things birds/cats/dogs/people. I freak out, panic, freeze in shock… I couldn’t even deal with a pet bird when it died, I got Cynthia to bury it appropriately (throw it in the garbage) when it died.
4) I was a huge Winnie the Pooh fan at age 11. Clock, pillow, poster, book, pen, and calendar- i had everything!
5) I know the characteristics of every zodiac sign by heart. Comes in handy when meeting new people.
6) My mother is a physics teacher; needless to say I did not get any of her genes!
7) I am extremely technologically challenged, the most I can do is change the batteries in the remote.
8) I once fearlessly dissected a hamster, poked his insides and enjoyed it! (All this in biology class, don’t worry)
9) I cannot do mathematics. I got really bad grades in school, and my mom spend a good amount of time listening to Ms.Rosemarry complain about me! The same went on in uni, and I am still not trusted with finding out 20% from $10,000 at work!
10) I spend more than I earn.
11) I insist on watching a scary movie, then hide behind the couch all night, while others enjoy the thrill!
12) I wore braces and glasses when I was 12! It was ridiculous, but then my teeth got straight, I got laser surgery, and I am finally pretty now!
13) I always eat something sour followed by something sweet, and vise versa! I like a balanced diet 🙂
14) I read every Harry Potter book, about thrice 🙂
15)..and I am a huge fan of Ice age and Nemo. I know all the quotes and use them daily 🙂
16) Amongst the things I would never try are skydiving, diving, rollercoaster rides and bungee jumping.
17) WE still didn’t go on a honeymoon 🙂
18) I’ve got friends in almost every country of the world! That is the advantage of going to an international school 🙂
19) I learned French for 6 years and i still cannot say “I need directions”
20) I am secretly a hippy, I like recycling, reusing, saving the nature and etc. (Shame on you BP!)
21) I am not addicted to coffee, cigarettes, shopping or any other destructives pleasures of life
22) I worked as Merchandiser in Mango (the shop) and spend most of my salary on Mango clothes! No fair!
23)I have relatives in 8 different countries : Uzbekistan, Russia, Syria, Dubai, Malaysia, France, Canada, and Oman
24) I am an awesome cook 🙂 It actually relaxes me when I am tired, now you all know why Alex married me 🙂
25) I have recently become the godmother of an adorable little boy!
P.S – some of the answers above don’t apply anymore, the other 98% still do.
However Cynthia also put in her 2c in order to help with this post about me. Because who knows me better than Cynthia? We must have been sisters in a past life or something, seeing her feels like coming home. If we were sisters, or even twins, she was most definitely the evil one, because this is what she reveled about me:
Cynthia’s revelations about Olga K:
1. Had every hair color in the book (including orange and peachy blonde)
2. Can eat pizza for breakfast any day
3. Is good at drawing
4. Knows French (I would not trust this one, see 19 above)
5. Used to get drunk off one beer (shame to all Russians)
6. Forgets to feed birds (PETA no worries, she doesn’t keep birds anymore) – see 3 above
7. Can burn off her lip by eating salt and vinegar chips nonstop in large quantities
8. Cannot stick to a detox diet for longer than a few hours
9. Considers salad a meal (wtf?)
10. Has friends all over the worlds and is in touch with them all- which proves she is a good friend
11. Once attempted to make a giant chocolate chip cookie. Note the “attempted part”. She didn’t realize it cannot be eaten as a whole
12. Doesn’t remember making that cookie because she has memory issues
13. Has a system for packing the groceries. God forbid anyone messes with that system
14. Claims she is a cat person, in reality she likes all pets
15. Talks in cartoon quotes. All.the.time “They do this every year!!!”
Now all my cards are out on the table.
If you never visit this blog AGAIN after reading this, I will understand…

Day 58/Days like these I want to be a vegetarian…

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Camel Burger at the Oman Diving Center.

Four years down the line and I am no longer surprised at the measures that my husband will go to try new things and spice up his nutritional intake. Hence, if there is a “camel burger” on the menu, he will order it immediately while I gag nearby. I will sit there with my club sandwich while he munches through his “delicacy” frequently blurting out random camel facts to annoy me. For example did you know that “The hump in particular is considered a delicacy and eaten on special occasions, including religious festivals.”?

I am a perfectly rational consumer; I always opt for the Caesar Salad, the sushi or the pizza. Alex on the other hand has eaten dog meat (Korean cuisine influences in Tashkent), dog soup, shark meat, horse meat, barbequed liver and other very questionable dishes. Every time he sees a turtle he asks me if I am willing to learn to make turtle soup. And I am not.

Growing up in Uzbekistan, one would it find it the social norm to have a plate full of salami, smoked turkey and horse tongue. Yes, Tongue. Put that on top of a piece of freshly baked bread, sprinkle some salt and you’ve got yourself an awesome afternoon snack. If you don’t throw up that is. Another frequent ingredient in Uzbek cuisine is the “fat from the ass of the sheep”, pardon my language here. When we first moved to Muscat, and were desperately nostalgic about the food back home, Alex set out to make Uzbek barbeque. In his quest for the right beef/lamp/charcoal/spices he realized the key ingredient is missing- fat! I lack terminology here, but there are fat-rump sheep that store a lot of delicious fat in the behinds. Because of the poor knowledge of cooking jargon and the limited knowledge of the English language from the side of supermarket employees- we approached the butchers’ asking for “the fat from the ass of the sheep”. The expressions on their faces were almost as priceless as actually finding what we needed!

In Oman, and I believe this is a Lebanese trend, minced meat is eaten raw. Combined with spices, salt and sandwiched into pita bread, it actually takes alright and does not have any of that “uncooked” meat smell. It took me over 5 years to gather up the courage to try this dish. I have since been very loyal to “cooked” minced meat, like in spaghetti bolognaise for example.

These extremes do gross me out and I wanted to convert to vegetarianism on several occasions and give up meat and chicken all together (not the seafood- I am concerned- not crazy!), but have always failed because I would still cook for him. What kind of a vegetarian would I be if I still stood there savoring the smell of a nice juicy steak that I am cooking for Alex. Not a very dedicated one, that’s for sure. It is a life style that is very hard to pull off alone. Back in school I and Cynthia saw an advertisement that melted our hearts and converted us for a full day to salad and rice:

Unfortunately nuggets just tasted too damn good. We have not looked back since.

Day 53. My inspirations

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I am very lucky to work in an architecturally brilliant property. Although I spend 95% of my time behind the desk at my computer, the moment I step out to the grounds of the hotel the magnificence of it hits me like a blast of cool air. And I am inspired. The contemporary contours, the rich fabrics, the sparkling chandeliers all buzz through my veins like a much needed dose of Redbull. I am a junkie for all things beautiful. To some extent, I am also easily distracted and terribly forgetful. There, now all my cards are right out there on the table- please feel free to use them against me. The good news is that with the help of vitamins, modern gadgets and a few god-sent people in my life I am successfully combating these waves of “I am sure I am not easily distra…oh look a Bunny!!!”. There are also days when my brain would be perfectly content with achieving one (!!!) critical task and after it will happily hibernate for the next 24 hours. I have managed to keep these personality disorders well away from my work-Olga-persona, because work-Olga and casual-Olga are the very different people. Sometimes I think I am overwhelmed, and that’s when I start feeling sorry for myself and….hibernate. These moods are deadly-especially with project 365 running non-stop. I cannot afford to slack off; I can’t allow myself to procrastinate. Over the years of this patterned and predictable behavior I have learned to effectively recharge my batteries, so below are just a few of the things that inspire me to get off my butt and do what it is that I have set out to accomplish:

When I cannot achieve anything at home I go to this helpful website:

When I need to write a blog post because I have been slacking-off this amazing, inspirational, full-of-great-ideas blog Want What You Have:
To be inspired to pick up my camera and carry on with Project-365 I visit Kara:
When I need guidance, spiritual healing or an ice cream companion this woman helps me:
To heal bad-spelling days and blonde moments:
To put into words the rage, attitude and sarcasm bubbling under my skin I go HERE:
To cool down and distress after a particularly challenging day at work:
After being surrounded by difficult, screaming kids that make me doubt the essence of motherhood this loving mother/family puts things in perspective:
When the challenges of womanhood overwhelm me, this legendary woman inspires me:

When I  get wrapped up in being a grown up and forget what “fun” is all about:

The End. Inspired Yet?

Day 51. Warning… This is a girly post. Recommended for those Testosterone-free only.

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“I like my money right where I can see it… hanging in my closet.” Or strategically placed on my shoe rack…
Women and their shoes have enjoyed a tangled relationship too intimate to be understood by the common folk. A poll of 1,057 women by the Consumer Reports National Research Center for shopping magazine found U.S. women on average own 19 pairs of shoes although they only wear four pairs regularly while 15 percent have over 30 pairs. I don’t know how other nations would measure up, but I ultimately blame consumerism and the sharks of marketing and advertising for this boom. On the other hand, the shoe you spend 10 hours of your day in, needs to be comfortable, fashionable and perfectly matched. Bless Sex and The City for showing us all that is it indeed ok to give into the shopaholic cravings. We (us shoe addicts) own work shoes, casual shoes, weekend shoes…or we wonder in other direction shameless feeding our addiction to black-high-heeled peep-toes (yes I am talking about you, Cynthia).

Ideally the modern woman needs to own the following 10 pairs of shoes (I hear my husband gasp here…):

1. The shoes to go with a little black dress. A low-heeled, comfortable black pump is essential to every woman’s shoe collection for all those times when a strappy sandal or overly-glamorous shoe is inappropriate or too dressy, like an early dinner; an impromptu business meeting; or even a funeral. (!!!)

2. The “New Black” – Neutral Pumps. Even with as versatile as black pumps are, they simply will not go with everything. Add a neutral colored (not white) pump to your collection, and you’ll have the “basic pump” category of women’s shoes covered.

3. A Semi-Casual Flat (as essential as hand wipes and lip-gloss) You’ll want a shoe that can look cute with jeans, but not so casual that you couldn’t wear nicer slacks with it too.

4. A Black High Heeled shoe: (for a cocktail reception or a less formal get-together) Nothing too strappy, nothing too trendy — remember these are the basics — but a black, dressy high heel is definitely an essential.

5. The glitzy-shiny-wow-factor-shoe (for your friend’s wedding reception): There are some special occasion outfits that won’t work well with black shoes. For those, try a metallic killer evening shoe…even if rhinestones are out of your comfort zone.

6. The Everyday Shoe (for when you realize you are out of milk…) Only you can be the judge of what will work best as your “every day” shoe, but whether it’s a sneaker, a loafer or a flip-flop; comfort, fit and style should be key in choosing the right shoes for your everyday wear.

7. The Sneaker. Because some Sketchers are too darn cute not to own.

8. Heeled Booties. You are time and imagination deprived, but it is critical to make an impression? Nothing can dress up a casual outfit and make you feel better about yourself, like adding a bit of height. It doesn’t matter how high or low the heel is, it’s just about getting out of flats for a bit.

9. Knee High Boots. No introduction or explanation needed.

10. Warm/cuddly/fuzzy- the home slippers. Everyone ones these, they are the perfect protection between your recently showered foot and that cold marble floor.
So come out of the closet…How many of these do you have?

The perfect pair of shoes can change your live…just ask Cinderella.

Day 41. The Pizza overdose

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This is the official evidence of my FAILED Detox plan. I blame the world cup.It cannot be watched without pizza and beer. Ever. To be fair, I only watched this one game this year…and I am almost certain that I can tell you who was playing…except I cant, coz I don’t remember. I am such a girl when it comes to football. I like the idea, but to actually sit and watch it? I dragged Cynthia to watch it though, I assured her it would be fun. I didn’t lie- the evening was a lot of fun… but the football…I am sitting here and trying very hard to remember who played. All that’s coming up is Martini, no, Tequila, yes there was Tequilla…and beer, there was a beer or four. Score? 1 Long Island to none. Cynthia spilled it on the floor. Too bad the 15 seconds rule did not apply.

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