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Mona Russell

Mona Russell is an associate professor of history at East Carolina University. Her specialty is 19th and 20th century Egypt, with a focus on women and gender. She has published widely in this area, including articles, encyclopedia entries, a translation, and two books, including her book Creating the New Egyptian Woman: Consumerism, Gender, and National Identity, 1863-1922 (Palgrave, 2004).

Ten Things I Can’t Do Without

  1. My cat Sasha. I just adopted her at beginning of September 2020, and she has become my beacon of emotional support. When I hear her purr, I can feel my blood pressure dropping no matter what craziness is happening around me.
  2. Eyeliner. My eyes look really dull without it. I love Egyptian kohl, but I have been using an Indian version lately.
  3. Coffee with cream. Every morning I must have coffee—I even drank small amounts of coffee when I was pregnant; I could not give it up (less than half a cup)—and, yes, my children turned out normal. I can drink it hot, cold, lukewarm—just got to have it.
  4. Exercise. I can change up what I do, but I have to do it at least four or five times a week. What kind of exercise? Walk fast on an incline, walk outside, water aerobics, low-impact aerobics, weight training, hitting heavy bag, the list goes on.
  5. Stretching. No this is not the same thing as exercise—in fact for too many years I did a lot of exercise without stretching, and my body regretted it.
  6. Tomatoes. I love tomatoes in all kinds of things, not limited to but including tomato sandwiches, pasta, pizza, and salad. (Note when I say tomato I mean a real one that tastes like a tomato, not something that may look like one purchased in a grocery store. I would rather have expensive imported canned tomatoes than inferior, non-vine-ripened “fresh” tomatoes.)
  7. Intellectual Stimulation—something to feed my mind—whether it is my work, a good book, a lecture, all of the above.
  8. My family: I feel kind of bad that they are down here at number 8, and Sasha is at 1, but Sasha needs me more.  My daughters Hailey and Jasmine mean the world to me, and I couldn’t live without them. We have gotten a lot closer as they have gotten older. They are now 22 and 23. I cherish my husband, Pete. My mother is my wise council on just about everything. She has seen it all in her lifetime.
  9. Friends. I have a small select group of friends that I have had since childhood, and they mean the world to me.
  10. Sunscreen/moisturizer—I suppose if I had to pick one it would be Oil of Olay (or a generic equivalent) that has the sunscreen in it, but I really prefer a heavier sunscreen on my body—but if I can only have one, then I will go with the Oil of Olay.