In my relatively new stint as a blogger, I’ve heard of being tagged and I was inadvertently tagged once but ducked quickly – and luckily, avoided being found out. But when a writer-buddy, fellow corny-joke lover like Noha, daughter of one of my most favorite older people in the world (her mom), tags me, I have to stop, turn from running, stand as straight and tall as my 5’3” self can and graciously accept. So, here’s 8 random facts about meself. (And I’m tagging Asmaa (before you leave for Egypt), Hajera, Safiyyah, Lalla Mona, Proggiemuslima, Margari Aziza Hill (before you leave for Egypt – hey, is there a running theme here?), Precious Modesty, Debra from Little Imagination – that’s 8 but I also want to include Yasmine from Sweep the Sunshine). And I’m waiting for Hadeel‘s (who’s in Egypt [?])because I KNOW you’ve already been tagged, girl.

1. I like wooden spoons. Not to eat with of course but to stir, boil, saute, bang, and slide around a pan while I imagine my next creative pursuit – in short, use up til they get that nice, much-used, patina-ish look. Then I like to put them in a container and gaze at them – a bouquet of wooden spoons. Hmm, that could BE my next creative pursuit: painting a bouquet of wooden spoons – oh, I really like this tagging business.

2. No one in the world believes me as they watch me struggle for oh so long to figure out a tip or work out what 40 % off $30 is but I WAS IN GIFTED MATH IN HIGH SCHOOL. And I GOT THE HIGHEST MARK IN PHYSICS. But…yes, I did almost fail my requisite biology in first year university so I guess there’s a wheel unclogged in the science and math department up there (but if you tell me the velocity at which it fell off, I can calculate its force for you). But this year, I did try to even it all out by raising little caterpillars (one for each student) into butterflies and then releasing them to take off (at a speed of 10 km/h) into the sunshine. Biology + Physics. Now do you believe me?

3. Commonplacer’s law: even if I love a song and have heard it trillions of times, I will mix up the lyrics (and sometimes, just sometimes, sometimes a lot of the times, the tune). And just as every action has an opposite reaction, God gave me 2 children who can correct me every single time with the exact itty bitty vowel, verses, tune and inflection in place. Why, oh why must I be corrected while in the shower?

And just so you know, I come from a family of talented singers on my dad’s side and just this past summer when I visited her, my cousin in the Middle East told me an ancient truth – EVERY single one of my dad’s siblings has one child who is a musical prodigy; she wanted to know which of my dad’s children had this title. I told her as my siblings never dabbled in music, it could be yours truly – I used to know how to play the piano, I was chosen to play violin in a trio at an important children’s music festival (and faked the whole thing out of stage fright) and then I sang for her. She, a very beautiful person with an astonishingly beautiful voice, decided ancient truths may not always hold water. Maybe I just need voice coaching, right?

4. If I don’t catch the crossing guard’s eye to wave at her on my way to school every day, I am squashed inside. I am not a creature of habit – yes, I fit the mold of artsy, spontaneous, whimsical-let’s-stop-class-and-go-outside-to-draw-a-real-tree, but ever since I started discussing Maoon (small daily kind deeds) with my kids (and which prompted my son to spent half his day holding doors for people – he’s decided he wants to enter heaven on at least that good, small consistent deed), I NEED to wave and smile at the crossing guard to start my maoon tally up right. Just this week to boost my maoon sense, one of my grade 2’s came in beaming on seeing me and said the nicest thing on a day I was squashed inside and had other terrible things on my mind like report cards, tracking-student-growth-forms, reading assessment logs and other such dreadful things which keeps one away from living (and blogging): “Ms. K, you’re always smiling no matter what!” My dear girl, you just got an A+.

5. Just to let you know: that child will not be getting an A+ just because she said such a sweet thing. That’s another random fact about myself. I like to make sure everything’s clear as clear nail-polish. So once in a while, I’ll do a check in to see if you got what I was saying or not and if I offended you in any way. It can sometimes be annoying. But, I do have a friend who came into Islam because of this. She said she had never met anyone who called her after to make sure she was hip with our conversation so she was like, hey, let me hang around with her crowd more. And she did. Do you dig me? Or should I call you up to make sure?

6. I like ironing. Now. Ever since I discovered the secret to good ironing was using a faint misty spray while you pass the iron gently over your child’s school uniform every single morning five days a week for ten months of the year. It actually starts my day nicely. Oh. Oh. I am turning into a creature of habit.

7. I am ALWAYS game to take part in a good practical joke. A-L-W-A-Y-S. That comes from my dad’s side as well – every single one of them is a practical joker. That said, I cannot fake a good laugh for a million dollars. And while I can smile “no matter what”, only a few people in this world really make me laugh. My sister chiefly. My brothers – one who is a lawyer/comedian-at-home (who just came back from Egypt [? ?]) and the other who is a computer programmer/comedian-at-home – come close on occasion. Ok, and the brother-in-law. So if you’ve heard me really laugh (and you’ll know when it’s a fake one), then you are in a select circle – made up of mostly of my family. Hmmmm…perhaps I need to get out more.

8. I like to collect interpretations of hijab from my students. Every morning I have at least 3 drawings thrust at me. And I ooh and aah and secretly put aside the hijabi ones. Lately, I’ve been getting worried because I’ve been presented with some curious pictures showing me in hijab and a hula skirt and bikini top on a beach or as a mermaid lounging on a rock with a bright pink scarf on. Have I been letting my sense of modest dressing go or is the summer heat getting to these kids? But really, they are all quite heart-warming. Still, my all time favorite is the one I received from a special-needs student, John, in a grade 1 class when I first started teaching. I have it somewhere – it’s just one long hijab with arms sticking out and a circle for a face with two huge eyes and a long smile. Whenever I come across it, I remember his huge smile and tenderness. I love it.