Cookin’ & Scramblin’

2014-12-19_17-26-46_396 Since Dad fell Thanksgiving morn, life has been more race and juggle–with three different hospitals and encore stay at the rehab facility– instead of lithe and symphonic. The words don’t flow, although thoughts cascade from my mind and dissipate through the ether. Surely, there is a correlation between being outdoors reveling in nature and the fluidity of creating prose, but I’m blocked and choked inside by deadlines, dinner times, Dad’s physical therapy, and bed alarm chimes.

Yet, my favorite way to start the day is to have a cup of Turkish coffee in my pajamas while looking out my living room window in a quiet house. There I assemble my thoughts, check the weather, email, calendar, and task list from my phone. Then it’s time to dress, prepare breakfast for my clan, and start the day’s calculated plan.

Like a swarm of bees, the priorities shift within a menu of options…

  • Preparing to substitute for an English teacher who starts maternity leave in January, and I will get to teach Gatsby!
  • Working on a short-term accreditation project for a school in GA
  • Participating on two planning committees for Education Forums with a presentation in January
  • Completing design of a new iteration of a non-profit website with a Halal directory and discussion threads; plus the usual social media work I do for them
  • Posting and monitoring social media for a local college
  • Researching and writing another 1500 word magazine article
  • Promoting Zilzar should be a great platform to facilitate Halal trade globally
  • And several people have requested me to do presentations on entrepreneurial topics

Somehow a sense of balance is achieved by occasional relief activities like adding a few pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, catching a brief recovery nap, reading a magazine during a haircut, and taking time for a few YouTube clips.

It may seem a bit crazy, but I love the autonomy and variety in my life. Caring for people dear to me brings the best fulfillment. Here’s hoping 2015 provides the chance to keep what I like, learn and earn more, and keep health, happiness, and my loved ones on a solid track of success.

Space, Time, and Zilzar

Orion_Belt thumb

Pause at the vastness of space, and ponder our place in the universe. We all have a role to play, though we may seem insignificant compared to the magnitude of Creation.

The film, Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey, is a must-see because it allowed me to ponder Creation and the Creator. The movie will find favor from physicists, mathematicians, and astronomers because it validates these sciences relative to the impending threats to our collective existence.

The story takes place a bit into the future when fertile America has become a dust bowl and startlingly suffers from volatile weather all over our fragile planet. It presents deception perpetrated by governments and the fabrication of events to maintain social order.

The film has a poignant scene whereby a school teacher contends that federally sanctioned history books inform that the Apollo missions were all a hoax designed to bankrupt the Soviet Union into spending on space research; yet, she is unaware that NASA really does exist on a covert basis under an alias so as not to upset people who struggle to find food and staple crops not yet extinct.

It would be pivotal if this movie sparks more students to study physics, math, and computer science, as well as agriculture, botany, and environmental studies because the scenario graphically revealed in this film could be a catalyst to a generation of scientists motivated and inspired like we were in the 1960s.

There are also concepts of time relative in distance and the transcendence of love. As the protagonist, played by McConaughey, leaves his family for outer space, the phenomena of time travel and parallelism are well rendered. The story had deeper significance for me too because as he understands the gravity (pun) of his decision, I am also considering a potential solo travel to a school principalship in Malaysia for at least two years. The thoughts of separation from my family arose as I watched the film. We are awaiting bureaucratic progress (an oxymoron) before finalizing the decision to purchase tickets to explore the prospects firsthand, and there are many factors to weigh.

The school is striving to open for the January term, but that adds more conflict to my decision since I am slated to present on the topic of teacher and principal evaluations at the West Coast ISNA Education Forum in that month, and I am serving on another forum planning team for their spring conference.

Adding to the time/distance hyper awareness are the facts that my spouse has been in Jordan and the West Bank for three weeks (+8 hours), I tackled an extensive editing job for Thomson Reuters’ Dubai office (+9 hours), a friend in the UK (+7 hours) has been giving me counsel about Malaysia (+14 hours), and members of my education forums are in California (-2 hours); so that, combined with my kids’ late night schedules, has me mentally flexing a lot. It makes for a cerebral time warp, and I feel compelled to get up and work after 4 hours of sleep. I do force myself to stay under the covers though, even if I’d spent the past hour sending messages from bed on my smartphone.

The saying, “Like ships that pass in the night,” comes to mind as my husband will land just 45 minutes after my son and I fly to New Jersey for the American Muslim Consumer Conference where I will once again be the emcee. It is an event that I am greatly looking forward to because the folks there are dynamic, and they are doing great things for the world via commerce.

Also relating to commerce are two more things, DHL and Zilzar. DHL Express hosted a luncheon meeting this past week and featured a speaker who stated that 87 percent of global commerce and 90 percent of consumers are outside the U.S. He essentially made the point to the representatives of companies in the audience that they had better be doing business outside the U.S. With significant numbers of people unemployed or underemployed, and many of my generation considered obsolete and out of touch with the global economy, this brings me to appreciate Zilzar.

Zilzar could be the next eBay or Alibaba, in that it levels the playing field to benefit small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) through an online platform intended to facilitate trade, communication, and provide access to an evolving global community who do not really perceive national borderlines. This is my world!

Subscribers can register with no charge and are welcome to just read content, access and participate in the information exchange, or they can have free virtual storefronts to do business with the world. MasterCard has signed on to securely handle transactions.

This portal recently launched on October 29, so don’t be put off by some sparsity. Get in on the ground floor. Leaders will be more visible on this site compared to eBay or Amazon where it is hard to get noticed and where sellers are paying increasingly higher fees for listing and transactions. I am going to be promoting Zilzar over the next year because I believe in it, but I would encourage everyone to sign on for at least an account to see where this company goes. The world is not flat and potential is enormous!

You can get a better sense of it from this YouTube video