Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:49 AM
I love you.
I cleaned my ears out today and nastiness came forth. Though I love to have clean inner ear canals it means that my ears have water in them the rest of the day. This was not a good idea with my already congested head. It means I hear every swallow AND every sniffle and especially every snort. It is amazing.
And I thought you’d want to know.
Love you sweetie!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I woke up this morning at 4:30. When I was expecting Khubz I used to wake up every morning about 3 am. Sometimes I could get back to sleep, sometimes I couldn't. This morning I decided to give up trying and go downstairs.
The air is chilly. Scully was sleeping in her flannel pants. It is baking weather.
So I whip up some banana wheat germ muffins. A pan of regular muffins and a pan of mini-muffins. Mini muffins went in first. Use of applied physics would have spared me what followed. Burned muffins. Burned, burned, burned.
Goodbye lovely scent of baking banana bread. Hello stench of burned wheat germ. Hello crusted, burned out mini muffin pan that now has to soak and will require a delicate recovery period. Hello wasted morning. I should have just showered and gone downstairs to blog.
Mini muffins, of course, take less time to bake than regular muffins. This has something to do with surface area perhaps? Big sigh. On to the regular muffins. Which also burn. Not as badly--just enough that I shaved off the bottoms and will serve them with a side of sheepish apologies (but serve them anyway.)
As for the mini muffins? I scooped up what could be salvaged and served Khubz a bowl of "muffin guts." Why grimace? She ate them.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Gender: It is what you make it!
A little mix & match
Mama's tennis shoe
How exactly do you put this thing on?
Beloved friends bring beloved
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Remembering Edward Said Five Years On
By Stephen Lendman
22 September, 2008
Born in West Jerusalem in 1935. Exiled in December 1947. Said was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 1991, a malignant cancer of the bone marrow and blood. At 6:45AM on September 25, 2003, he succumbed (at age 67) after a painful courageous 12 year struggle. Tributes followed and resumed a year later. In a testimony to his teacher, Professor Moustafa Bayoumi called him "indefatigable, incorruptible, a humanist and devastatingly charming....leav(ing behind) legions of followers and fans in every corner of the world. I am lost without him....I miss him so."
Chomsky called his death an "incalculable loss." A year later, Ilan Pappe said "his absence seems to me still incomprehensible. What would have happened if we still had Edward with us in this last year....another terrible (one) for the values (he) represented and causes he defended." Tariq Ali referred to his "indomitable spirit as a fighter, his will to live, (my) long-standing friend and comrade," and described his ordeal:
"Over the last eleven years one had become so used to his illness - the regular hospital stays, the willingness to undergo trials with the latest drugs, the refusal to accept defeat - that (we thought) him indestructible." Leukemia kills, and in response to Ali's questions, his doctor said there was "no medical explanation for (his) survival." No doubt Dr. Kanti Rai made a difference. Said spoke of him reverentially - of his "redoubtable medical expertise and remarkable humanity" that kept him going during his darkest times, and there were many. He later described months in and out of the hospital, "painful treatments, blood transfusions, endless tests, hours and hours of unproductive time spent staring at the ceiling, draining fatigue and infection, inability to do normal work, and thinking, thinking, thinking."
Yet, as Ali recounted, in the end the "monster (overpowered him), devouring his insides (but when) the cursed cancer finally took him the shock was intense." Palestinians had lost their "most articulate (and powerful) voice....(he's) irreplaceable."
Veteran Palestinian-American journalist Ramzy Baroud agrees. He called 2003 a bad time for Palestinians to lose one their iconic best and described him like many others: He "stood for everything that is virtuous. His moral stance was even more powerful than (his) essays, books and music (as critic, scholar and consummate artist)....He was an extraordinary intellectual, thoughtful....inimitable" and never silent or compromising in his beliefs or virtue. No "wonder he....was adored by (his) people (and) detested by the" forces he opposed.
Phyllis Bennis called him "one of the great internationalist intellectuals of our time....a hero of the Palestinian people (and) the global peace and justice movement as well....(my) great mentor, a challenging collaborator, a remarkable friend....his passion, vision, wit (and fury against injustice) will be terribly missed."
Daniel Barenboim called him a "fighter and a compassionate defender. A man of logic and passion. An artist and a critic....a visionary (who) fought for Palestinian rights while understanding Jewish suffering." In 1999, they jointly founded the West-East Divan - an orchestra for young Arabs and Jews who collaboratively "understood that before Beethoven we all stand as equals....Palestinians have lost a formidable defender, the Israelis a no less formidable adversary, and I a soulmate."
Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia where Said taught for nearly 40 years as a Professor of English and Comparative Literature. He called him "a man of vast erudition and learning, of extraordinary versatility and remarkable (interdisciplinary) expertise." We've lost "one of the most profound, original and influential thinkers of the past half-century (and) a fearless independent voice speaking truth to the entrenched powers that dominate the Middle East ."
On September 30, 2003, Columbia University paid tribute as well. It mourned the passing of its "beloved and esteemed university professor." Called him one of the world's most influential scholars, and said "the world has lost a brilliant and beautiful mind, a big heart, and a courageous fighter."
When he learned of his illness and its seriousness, Said decided to write (from memory) a biographical account of his childhood, upbringing and early years in Palestine , Lebanon and Egypt . Titled "Out of Place, A Memoir," he called it "a record of an essentially lost or forgotten world....a subjective account of (his life) in the Arab world" of his birth and formative years. Then in America where he attended boarding school, Princeton for his bachelor's and master's degrees, and Harvard for his doctorate.
He began "Out of Place" in 1994 while recovering from three early rounds of chemotherapy and continued to completion with the help and "unstinting kindness and patience" of the "superb nurses" who spent months caring for him as well as his family and friends whose support helped him finish.
He recounted a young man's coming of age. Of coming to terms with being displaced. An American. A Christian. A Palestinian. An outsider, and ultimately the genesis of an intellectual giant. An uncompromising opponent of imperialism and oppression, and an advocate for his peoples' struggle for justice and self-determination. No one made the case more powerfully or with greater clarity than he did - in his books, articles, opinion pieces, and wherever he spoke around the world. He made hundreds of appearances and became a target of pro-Israeli extremists. They threatened him and his family. Once burned his Columbia University office, but never silenced him or ever could. Nor did the FBI in spite of over 30 years of surveillance the way it monitors all prominent outspoken activists and intellectuals and many of lesser stature.
Said's great writings include Orientalism (1978) in which he explained a pattern of western misinterpretation of the East, particularly the Middle East . In Culture and Imperialism (1993), he broadened Orientalism's core argument to show the complex relationships between East and West. Colonizers and the colonized, "the familiar ( Europe , West, us) and the strange (the Orient, East, them)."
His writings showed the breath of his scholarship, interests and activism - on comparative literature, literary criticism, culture, music and his many works on Israeli-Palestinian history and conflict - combining scholarship, passion and advocacy for his people in contrast to the West's one-sided view of Arabs and Islam. He championed equity and justice. Denounced imperialism, and believed Israel has a right to exist but not exclusively for Jews at the expense of indigenous Palestinians.
The 1967 war and illegal occupation changed everything for him. It radicalized him. Set the course of his intellectual career and activism, and made him the Palestinians' leading spokesperson for the next 37 years until his death. He advocated a one-state solution and wrote in 1999: "The beginning is to develop something entirely missing from both Israeli and Palestinian realities today: the idea and practice of citizenship, not of ethnic or racial community, as the main vehicle of coexistence."
In a lengthy January 1999 New York Times op-ed he elaborated: "Palestinian self-determination in a separate state is unworkable (after years earlier believing otherwise). The question (now isn't separation) but to see whether it is possible for (Jews and Palestinians) to live together (in the same land) as fairly and peacefully as possible. What exists now is a disheartening...bloody impasse. There is no way for Israel to get rid of Palestinians or for Palestinians to wish Israelis away....I see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, sharing it in a truly democratic way, with equal rights for each citizen."
This diminishes life and aspirations for neither side. It affirms self-determination for them both together in the same land where they once lived peacefully. But it doesn't mean "special status for one people at the expense of the other." For millennia, Palestine was the homeland for many peoples, predating the Ottomans and Romans. It's "multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious." There's no "historical justification for homogeneity" or for "notions of national or ethnic and religious purity....The alternatives (today) are unpleasantly simple: either the war continues (with its unacceptable costs)" or an equitable way out is found, obstacles notwithstanding.
Oslo wasn't the answer, and Said denounced it in its run-up and weeks later in a London Review of Books piece titled "The Morning After." In stinging language, he referred to "the fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony, the degrading spectacle of Yasser Arafat thanking everyone for the suspension of most of his people's rights, and the fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton's performance, like a 20th century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through rituals of reconciliation and obeisance (and) the truly astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation."
For him, Oslo was plainly and simply "an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles," and worst of all is that a better deal could have been had without so many "unilateral concessions to Israel ." The same goes for the 1978 Camp David Accords and every "peace" negotiation to the present except the "permanent status" 2000 Camp David "generous" and "unprecedented" offer that Arafat turned down and was unfairly pilloried for spurning peace for conflict.
Said was on top of everything to the end as reflected in "The Last Interview" - a documentary film less than a year before his death. After a decade of illness, he agreed to a final film interview at a time he was drained, weakened and dying, yet found it "very difficult to turn (himself) off." It was a casual conversation between himself and journalist Charles Glass reflecting on his childhood, upbringing, writing, scholarship, involvement with Yasser Arafat, and strong opinions and activism on Palestinian issues.
It was in all his writings and outspokenness - so powerful, passionate, virtuous and a testimony to his uncompromising principles. He described "Sharonian evil." His blind destructiveness. His terrorism in ordering the massacring of children, then congratulating one pilot for his great success. The patently dishonest media. Its one-sided support for Israel . Its suppressing other views. Its turning a blind eye to the grossest crimes against humanity, day after day after day. Of relegating public discourse to repetitive official propaganda. Of subverting truth in support of power and privilege.
Of turning Palestine into an isolated prison. Suffocating an entire people of their existence. Of impoverishing, starving and slaughtering them. Of attacking defenseless civilians with tanks and F-16s. Of blaming victims for their own terror. Of creating a vast wasteland of destruction and human misery. Of sanctioning torture and targeted assassinations as official policy. Of committing every imaginable human indignity and degradation against people whose only crime is their faith, ethnicity, and presence. Whose only defense is their will and redoubtable spirit. Of enlisting world support for the most unspeakable, unrelenting campaign of terror and genocide.
Of pursuing an endless "cycle of violence" and consigning Palestinians to a "slow death" in defense of imperial interests and the national security state. Of pursuing peace as a scheme for "pacification." Of placing the onus for it "squarely on Palestinian shoulders." Of "putting an end to the (Palestinian) problem." Of placing huge demands on Palestinians and making no concessions in return. Of calling resistance "terrorism" while ignoring oppressive occupation as the fundamental problem. Of seeing Palestinians endure and survive in spite of every imaginable assault, affront and indignity. Of piling on even more and seeing an even greater will to survive and prevail.
Said was passionate on all this and more. He was uncompromisingly anti-war and denounced America 's "war on terror." The country "hijacked by a small cabal of individuals....unelected and unresponsive to public pressure." The Democrats supporting them "in a gutless display of false patriotism." The entire power structure characterizing Muslims as enemies. Passing repressive laws. Creating the obscenity of Guantanamo and other prisons like it.
Their self-righteous sophistry of so-called "just wars" and evil of Islam. The near omnipotence of the Zionist Lobby, Christian fascists, and military-industrial complex. Their hostility to Arabs and claim to be "on the side of the angels." Their inexorable pursuit of war and power. The media in lockstep supporting "hypocritical lies" masquerading as "absolute truth." The silencing of dissent. Of mocking and betraying democracy. Of making a total sham of decency, humanity and justice. Of letting a few extremists create their own "fantasy world" to run the country for their own corrupted self-interest.
Said said it all, and ended one opinion piece as follows: "Jonathan Swift, thou shouldst be living at this hour." But even he might have blanched in disbelief considering the current state and potential horror of its consequences. Said understood. He's sorely missed when we need him most.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
Against my will I have a crush on Adam Davidson. I appreciate his plain spoken way & all the folks at Planet Money but I simply don't get it. I cannot wrap my head around this financial crisis. And I've tried. Do you get it? I try to sample broadly but I justjustjust don't get it!
How the hell much is 700 Billion Dollars anyway???
Really, if you have some guidance or insight (that does NOT include loosening restrictions on mark-to-market accounting) please send it my way. These good people have been trying but I just still don't get it!
Beat the Press
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Well you know that she is two now. Two. As in two years old.
Monday, September 22, 2008
My favorite quote off a cover of an indigo girls album
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This is where I will stand in a circle with a group of women and yell "No."
Come on, folks, funny take back the night humor is hard to come by and that line is funny.
p.s. if you *did* think that was funny then I should say h/t to my dearest SJP-friend.
The bean is now the size of a mango.
Hopping up and down, up and down.
This morning we were rolling around* and Scully felt the bean KICK.
"Wow! Feels like a flicker in your belly!"
Flicker? Try WALLOP!
*late edit: rolling around as in sleeping in too late and still refusing to get out of bed. Rolling around includes having a toddler cover you in puppies, blankets and kisses. Nothing other than that so get your mind out of the gutter.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Okay, it is Sept. 11th which has lots & lots of painful reverberations, so many people lost their lives on this day and still are losing their lives from the bullshit war that continues, previously well-integrated arabs and naive muslims everywhere looked around and said "wow. . . you really hate us. . . "
i can't talk articulately about any of that so instead let me speak on a completely trivial & unrelated note:
Good news: The plumber that is here to fix our leaky toilet is nice, not creepy, respectful & explains things and has not made me feel afraid to be alone in the house with him.
The bad news: "Well. . . I think I've found another plumbing problem for you. . ."
Really? Because I thought the upstairs toilet leaking through my dining room ceiling sort of met my quota for plumbing problems. Apparently not. (sigh)
Good thing this doesn't really matter. Good thing we have an emergency fund for just such emergencies. Good thing we have really excellent friends like "Rainbow" who (when she thought she'd be coming for a fabulous Ramadhan spread) was greeted by a stressed out ff, a screaming Khubz, no dinner and a tirade about not being able to get behind the toilet because the bean wouldn't get out of the way to let me reach back there. (Honesty asterisk: I am a big girl but the just-me-bigness is at least flexible and I can smoosh my belly out of the way when necessary. The bean is not so accommodating.)
Whew. In truth this is not so bad. Could be much worse. And leaky toilets, plumbing problems. . . Well. It happens.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Have you read this?
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
We had a very good staff meeting today that included an exercise where we developed a continuum. . . "least harmful to women" to "most harmful to women." Our facilitator asked us about a specific action (like getting a woman drunk to "loosen her up") and we had to discuss where to put it on the spectrum.
- Referring to your partner as "my bitch"
- Reading maxim magazine
- Telling blond jokes
So it all really leaves me with this sense that I am tangled up on that continuum in some problematic ways. I'm not convinced, actually, that Maxim is much different than other media I take in. I like to think I have an "informed lens" for how I view media from the Democratic National Convention to fruit compote recipes (or "porn" as some call it) but, truthfully everyone thinks they can see the spin. They just don't feel themselves spinning, right?
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
By the way, that "hold it together, man!" was said in my best Captain Kirk immitation. I realize this morning that you can't actually *hear* the tone so I thought I'd reassure that all is okay & that last bit was actually meant to be *funny.*
How to quell anxiety at this late hour?
I have already gone to the grocery store to get supplies for the influx of the tribe this weekend. Accomplishing that task only makes me keenly aware of how much else is on my to-do list. None of this is the root of my anxiety, in truth. But this is not the time, nor the place.
I am just going to go upstairs, put on an episode of Foyle's War and cut out "Dig, Ivan, Dig!" pictures until I am overcome by sleep.
(deep breath) Sphere of influence. . . Sphere of control. . . Sphere of influence. . .
Hold it together, man!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
First off, apologies to Mrs. Macbeth (as my dad always called her) for taking liberties with the title of the post.
It is too late in the evening to be feeling this anxious or I'll never get to sleep. Khubz went to sleep promptly at 7:30. Scully followed her at 8:30 (she's not feeling well.)
(at least it's not poop--yet!)
Wouldn't you want to smell those clean hands?
A year ago this was Khubz & her comrade, MajPaj
They would never put up with that now.
Instead, they are out to investigate the world on their own (well, together, really.)
And one more piece of randomness. Have you seen the two ponies?
All grown up.
She's turning two on Monday. My girlchild will be two years old. Scully and I will celebrate our second anniversary of becoming Mommies. I know I should be over the weepiness and the "she changed everything in my life" and the stunned sanctity of it all by now. I'm not. There are certainly plenty of glad-she-goes-to-daycare moments or "go! go see mama!" moments or "Ouch! Stop pinching me! That hurts Mommy! Khubz! Ya Khubz! We do NOT pinch Mommy! Mommy is a real person with feelings and it hurts when you pinch!" moments. Sure. But this moment, right now, is not one of those moments.
It is instead one of these moments:
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I often catch myself doing things that I never did pre-Khubz. Duh. But I keep doing them even when I am at work or otherwise away from the girlchild. Do you do this? These mommy-specific habits are not that strange when done for and with a child. Away from the child they seem strange or odd or just weird.
Driving: Any bump or curve or dip in the road is now highlighted by "Wooowwww!" or "Hold on!" or "Wahooo!" Passing trucks on the highway are punctuated with "Camiooooon! Vrooom!" My carpool buddy has a limited tolerance for this. She has let me know.
Handwashing: Khubz enjoys washing her hands but she's not necessarily thorough when she does it. We've tried to reinforce the hygenic aspect over the recreational aspect by scrubbing with soap, washing it off and then smelling our freshly washed hands. Five minutes ago I walked out of the bathroom, held my hands up to my nose and let out a "clean!" This happened at work. Sans Khubz. Yeah.
Communication: Inevitably in conversation, adults will use certain words that Khubz happens to use. Think about it. "No." "Now." "Eat." "Bird." And I have developed a nervous tick with certain words. I must repeat them with a Khubz-like tone. If the adult I'm talking to does not know I have a child and clearly does not care, I catch myself silently mouthing the words with Khubz's voice ringing in my head. "birrdd." I try to mouth discreetly (not very successfully.) This is super-not impressive at staff meeting. Luckily, Khubz has not learned the term "battering" yet because this would be a tricky one to sneak past in a lyric, toddler-y tone.
There's other stuff but I'm still being held hostage by a fracking grant report--so back to that.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Ramadhan is all about wanting & waiting, holding out with a community until the moment you all take a bite. It is a slow down in the year because time always moves slower when you're waiting for the sun to go down. And it is also the excitement of seeing people, people you always want to see but don't get a chance to, at the most delicious and anticipated time each day.
The preparations are elaborate because if you can't eat, you at least want to be planning food, washing fruit, slicing cheese, watching bread rise in the bowl. All these preparations promise that the sun will go down. When it does you can slice up the fig, give one half to your lover or sister or friend and collectively enjoy the most perfect satisfaction of breaking your fast.