The Welcome Mat – Please Remove Your Shoes Here

A Bit About Myself:

I am self-proclaimed conservatively eclectic.   A true “jack of all trades, master of none.”  In some arenas I’m quite obsessive.  In others I’m a “let the wind blow” type of guy.  For example, it took me a day and a half just to choose the right back ground color for this blog, and that is after tirelessly (and obsessively) choosing the header pic and theme.  7 or 8 pics,3 themes and at least 15 shades of olive-green later, here I am.  On the other hand…I haven’t picked up my living room since last weekend and to be completely honest only did it at half-strength then.  I won’t talk about the kitchen.

The eclectic and relaxed half of this equation isn’t always in a negative light.  It’s what allows me to write poetry, make music (more in the past), paint (definitely in the present and a reason for the messy living room), take photos, learn languages, throw an American football decently and kick a real football only upon necessity, but it can happen. (Sorry America for the “real” part. Please don’t let that reflect on your opinion of me at the borders.)  I can adequately play ping-pong, make a perfect water drop sound with just the flick of my cheek, expertly match colors (says me), and write a blog post with lots of little clever things in parentheses.

And of course the conservative detail freak has its advantages as well.  It’s what allows me to apply high amounts of discipline once I finally get started on something, take interest in learning and applying good moral behaviour even at the smallest of details (I haven’t perfected the applying part by the way…no high ground here),  make something that I am completely pleased with, and perform a job, task or service that others are happy with. It’s also what allows me to spell check after every set of parentheses (sumtimez). It’s a good thing….usually.

I used to be a barber before becoming an English teacher (currently in Istanbul).  My shop was and still is (it’s just not mine any more) smack in the middle of downtown Seattle, Washington in the Pioneer Square district.  If any of you have ever had the pleasure of being a tourist in Seattle and visited Pioneer square then you know that mixed in with the old pioneer port city charm are…a whole lot of homeless folks.  The majority of them use copious amounts of drugs go figure.  Seattle is the birth place of the term “skid row” for that matter. (That’s for another blog.)  I love them I really do…the homeless that is.  There are some real stars mixed in that black night.  One of them told me something that stuck with me for over 15 years now.  He told me that since I’m a Pisces, that the fish are swimming in two different directions.  Meaning that I have a constant push and pull going on inside me which, at least in my opinion, explains being conservatively eclectic.  As a Muslim I don’t believe in zodiacs being maps and the guides for our lives and actions, but there is something about people’s personalities and the time of year they were born.  I don’t try to understand it and I don’t really want to understand it but that day, the two fish metaphor helped explain a whole lot why I can’t choose a shade of a color to save my life unless it’s “perfect” and why, also for the life of me, I can’t seem to wash the dishes every night.

A Bit About This Blog and Site:

So why have I chose to delve so deep into this above nonsense instead of where I’m from and what’s my favorite color? (That too would be a blog on its own as previously mentioned.)  Because inshAllah, in God’s will, it will help you understand this blog better.  My ideas come from all over the place (if you haven’t already noticed) and I feel that the title “Figs and Olives” describes this well.  This also happens to be one of my favorite chapters of the Quran.  And although there isn’t a direct link between the Quranic meaning and the reason for this blog, I am in an obscure way describing my love for all things different ranging from well…figs to olives, as well as a profound love for Islam.  I love being a Muslim and everything that Islam has brought forward in my consciousness.  I also love being part of a diverse, plural, world family.  My art, writing, poetry, etc. is expressive of exactly that and is pulled from the deep diversity I’ve experienced through travel and studies.  It doesn’t always make sense to anyone but myself and I used to get quite upset when people wouldn’t “get it” (a true artist).  But I’ve learned that I do want people to “get it,” at least to some degree and that there can be a balance of the swimming fish if you will.  So this site is here to express myself to you, show you my art and hopefully give you something interesting to read.

And with that ladies and gentlemen, I give you…figs and olives.  Affyet olsun (Turkish for enjoy your meal.  Actually, properly translated as “may it bring you health”…a better sentiment than the English version)

(The running blog can be found on the “my mind and what’s on it” page or  here

To see some of my art click here)

Yours truly. Seattle, Wa. The birthplace of deliciousness in a biodegradable cup

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13 responses

  1. I look forward to reading more. I love the inspiration behind your blog name. You must tell us at some point how did a Muslim barber from seattle arrive in Istanbul. I love a good barber shop and I’ve found that since having a son they are priceless and not easily found.

  2. Masha’Allah- I had no idea of your talent… a humble soul indeed. I am especially fond of the Gracious Greens. Let me know when you’re in town and we can go for Vivace. As salaamu Alaykum.

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