Friday, May 3, 2024

Five on Friday

 Some highlights from my trip to the States from February 12th thru March 12th.

1.  First stop was Brooklyn, NY where I spent a couple of days with my youngest son and even got to see some snow.  Because of the storm (that actually wasn't as bad as predicted) my flight was delayed and JetBlue changed my airport, but it all turned out fine without too much of a delay.

2.  Grateful for my friend. Angela, who is my stopover spot when I arrive to New Orleans.  She and I worked together at a law firm in downtown New Orleans in the early 90's.  I always rent a car from the airport there and then drive to Mississippi where my mom is.  After the last time I was there (2 years ago when my mom had wrist surgery) Angela had moved to California and I was so sad to know that she would no longer be in New Orleans ... but hallelujah, she moved back just one week before I arrived.  I always stay with her before and/or after a flight depending on the timing.

  3.  My mom was released from the nursing home on February 15th and my brother and I picked her up late that morning.  Her first request after 3 months of institutional food was to go out for lunch so we went to a place called Petra (owned by a Jordanian guy)  -- Middle Eastern food and Arabic music, so I felt right at home.

4.  My eldest son flew in from Denver to spend time with us.  Unfortunately the weather was very cold, windy and rainy while he was there but we still managed to get out and about.  He's not one to do much sitting, but unfortunately, because my mom is reliant on a walker and was still unsteady on her feet at that time, she wasn't able to get out much.

5.  However, she did manage to get down the stairs (and back up again) for my 58th birthday on the 26th of February -- we went out for Japanese food and then had cupcakes back at home.

Life is not measured by time. It is measured by moments.
(Armin Houman)

Happy Friday.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Back in Time

My last post (aside from yesterday's) was on September 22, 2023.  And in order to get us to today, we must go back in time.

On September 26th, we traveled to Al Quds (Jerusalem) for a family wedding and returned home on Saturday, October 1st.  Unless you've been living in a bubble or under a rock, then I am sure the date of October 7th has been seared into your subconscious.  For those who don't know or who may have forgotten, my husband is Palestinian and has many family members in Jerusalem and also in different parts of Jordan.  My focus has been on witnessing, listening and learning and, of course, being thoroughly disgusted with governments and politicians and all their lies and propaganda, along with being heartbroken at the devastation, loss and death that is happening in Gaza.  

On November 16th, my mom walked one block from her apartment to a convenience store for snacks and on the way back, she was hit by a truck, while she was in the pedestrian crossing and was using a cane for balance.  The driver said he didn't see her as he was turning.  Her left ankle was crushed and the tibia broke through the skin.  She required several surgeries and was in the hospital for 2 weeks and then in a nursing home for 2-1/2 months.  I knew that she would need me most when she was released so waited until February to travel to the States.

When I went to clean her apartment on February 14th, the day before she would be going home, I noticed the calendar on the wall was testament to the time she had been away.

On January 19, 2024 my dad died.  He had not spoken to me since 2005 so I already felt like he was gone and didn't feel a great sense of loss.  But as his daughter, and because of Louisiana law, my brother and I had to sign papers agreeing to his cremation and in dealing with that long distance, I did have a little mini breakdown.

A week later, a very good friend died.  In fact, he and his wife (and another friend) were the ones who accompanied us on our first family trip to Jerusalem in 2003.

That brings us to February, a trip to Dubai for business.  Then a month in the States to take care of my mom and see my sons.  I returned to Kuwait on March 13th which was the start of Ramadan and then the Eid holiday was in mid-April.  My focus remains on events in Palestine but I'm still walking and taking pictures; just not sharing them anywhere, so figured it was time to come back to my blog.

I'd like to say thank you to those who have checked in on me over these many months.  I appreciate it and will stop by your corner of the world very soon.

Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The First of May

 Growing up I don't think I ever really heard much about this particular day, May Day.  It has pagan origins as do many of the holidays that we observe and acknowledge.  Over the centuries, the how and why wind up being co-opted or sanitized and often we celebrate certain occasions because it's what our family or community does without really knowing the significance or history.  But, the truth is, everything has a reason for beginning and May Day has many backstories.

Beltane is the Gaelic May Day Festival that celebrates the midpoint between spring and summer (while Samhain, or Halloween, is the crossquarter between autumn and winter).  One represents rebirth, and one represents death -- which could also be thought of as light and dark, growth and rest.  The yin and yang of life.The innocence of dancing around a maypole (though that has a checkered past according to one article I read) and May Basket Day that used to be a thing in the late 1800's and early 1900's when handmade baskets of flowers or treats were hung on doors at dusk.  (Puritans discouraged the maypole dances so perhaps that's how the tradition of baskets came about.)On May 1, 1886, an uprising of workers in the United States demanded shorter work days and better working conditions.  Peaceful protests after a few days turned into the Haymarket Riots that resulted in repression across the country and the wrongful labeling of 8 men as anarchists, 7 of which were sentenced to death.  4 died by hanging, one committed suicide and 3 others were pardoned after 6 years.  Ironically, May Day was established to honor the Haymarket Martyrs by European countries with socialist or communist influences, while the United States, the very place where the protests started, decided to choose the first Monday in September as its May Day and called it Labor Day.

This May Day, we  honor the workers and are reminded that significant societal and systemic change often occurs because of unity through protests, demonstrations and strikes.

And although the distress call often used by aviators and mariners of "mayday, mayday" has nothing to do with the first day of May, I think it is very relevant in these distressing times.May we always seek to shine a light on injustice and speak truth to power.

The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.
(Albert Einstein)
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