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Entries in family (23)

Monday
Jan092012

Lyrical Life: Happy Birthday to Me

I know I just did one of these on Friday, but, hey it's my birthday!

Your gift can be to indulge me in another Lyrical Life post.

Oh, really, darlings?! You shouldn't have.

I don't feel much older than last year.

Youth means different things to people. It may be a matter of convenience that I've redefined my own idea of "youth" as I've aged, but the word means something different to me now that I'm older.

It means being open to ideas and to holding on to your hope.  It's retaining a little bit of idealism despite having seen some jacked up stuff go down in this thing we call life. It's also holding on to happiness, passion, and laughter.

It's that place where fear still lives, but it's in the trunk of the car pressed underneath a 50 pack of diapers and pillow pets.  Young is that feeling you get as you sit with your best friend on the hood of your car at a rest stop somewhere on the way from Memphis to New Orleans, eating Doritos, drinking a Diet Coke and making jokes about potentially being the inspiration for Mississippi Burning II.

It's about being unafraid to... well, to just be you no matter what.

We all start off that way: being okay with being us and not knowing how to be any different. Getting "old" takes that away from us.

In this sense, we don't have to get old.  We can stay young forever.

For my birthday, as a gift from you, I would like you to be able to draw upon on the love and beauty in your surroundings and find the energy you need to fight the idea that you should be something other than what you are.




Do you think if I squeeze her hard enough, she'll just STAY this age?

Too tough to take photos with mom. It's a phase. Right?

Tariq and Nuha catching snowflakes in Niagra Falls (Canada). He's totally going to kill me for posting this. It was nice knowing you.




Fear not when, fear not why,
Fear not much while we're alive,
Life is for living, not living uptight,
See ya somewhere up in the sky,
Fear not die, I’ll be alive for a million years, bye bye,
So not for legends, I’m forever young
My name shall survive
Through the darkest blocks, over kitchen stoves
...
With a little ambition just what we can become here,
And as the father passed his story down to his son's ears,
Younger kid, younger every year, yeah
So if you love me baby this is how you let me know.
Don’t ever let me go, that's how you let me know, baby


(Forever young, I want to be forever young, do you really want to live forever, forever)

-- "Young Forever," Jay Z featuring Mr. Hudson
Sunday
Dec112011

Dark at Five

Mud Island, Memphis. From the roof.

I will not write a post about how I can't think of anything to write.

I will not write a post about how I can't think of anything to write.

I will not write a post about how I can't think of anything to write.

Too late.

Maybe you know what it feels like to create, too.  To offer up.  To show. To produce.  To teach.

Sometimes, you get busy thinking that you're making stuff (writing) that you forget to look around and check to make sure that you're actually making stuff (writing) and when you do, you're all, "HOLY... what the... I must've taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque (I'm not writing and I miss Looney Toons) ."

You have money in your pocket, but no words on your paper.

And then you get more confused because you look at people who are chasing their dreams down with such intensity that they seem dispassionate to every other thing and you think... what?

Is that how you get what you really want?

Just tune everything else... every one else out?

I don't want that, but I have something I want to achieve and it's kind of big.  It's not like a little thing.  I mean, not that anyone's thing that they want to achieve is little.  But mine is especially not little.

Everyone you love deserves to feel like they're a priority. Sometimes like they're the priority. You can tell when they don't feel like they're a priority, too, can't you?  Because they pretend to cry because they can't eat lollipops for breakfast or because they climb a makeshift ladder of pilows and footstools and start throwing brown rice all over the floor or because they make a snide comment that they insist has nothing to do with this issue, but you're just sure it does.

That's when I feel I have to pick between them and the thing, but I don't want to pick. But I feel like I have to because last year I promised myself I'd write 4000 words a week, and I'm only writing about 450.

Is this the place that you see in movies and hear about when you're a teenager?

The place where you decide?  Where you either become Jimi Hendrix or a middle school music teacher?  Which is a TOTALLY GREAT JOB because even though he died a legend, Jimi Hendrix did, in fact, choke on his own puke which is just, let's face it, highly undesirable.

And this kind of underlines my point.  You have to choke on your own vomit to be great?  Who writes these rules?  I have issues with these rules.  They are stupid rules.  Plus they are gross.

Truth is, I don't "sort of" do anything, and I feel very out of my element in this deciding place.  I feel like I'm "sort of" here and "sort of" there. I "sort of" have things to write, but the real thing is... is "sort of"even worth a big ball of tears, brown rice crunching under your feet for weeks and an argument you just don't feel like having one more time?

I don't know if it's worth it or not, but I don't know how to stop wanting to write and I don't know how to stop feeling frustrated when I don't but I hate the sound of (expensive) brown basmati rice crunching under my feet.


It's so crap, as the British say, that I have to "sort of" do anything.

But that's "the job," right?

Right?

So. Yeah. Dreams.  Pursuit. Stuff.  Money.  Family. People.

I don't know.

Also.

It gets dark here at like 5p.m.

I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous.
Thursday
Sep082011

Home Sweet High Rise

We're here.

I'm going to do a run-down in the form of a bullet post because, hi, I just moved away from my home state that I lived in my entire life and I do not need the pressure of writing a whole post, so why don't you back off already...

Um.  So, that was me talking to myself.  Okay... bullets...

  • Road trip. We split the drive to Memphis up over two days this past weekend.  It would've been 13 hours straight, but someone in this family hates road trips.  That someone is also the only other licensed driver in the family.

  • Tariq drove. The entire time.  I suggested this was because he's a control freak.  He explained that it was because he wanted me to relax and didn't want me to stress about having to drive, too.  He apparently does not have any problem with making me feel like the biggest jerk on the planet for saying that other thing.

  • We stopped in Atlanta. Where some of THE coolest and most awesome people I know live.  I'm a huge jerk.  Again.  In my defense, we got in at 8p.m. and left at 11a.m.

  • The kids were terrific. Seriously.


moving to memphis "My kids at hour seven of their second day of traveling."

  • Weather.  Checking the weather before you leave is a good idea and something I will remember to do before the next road trip we take.  We drove through a tropical storm for about a third of our trip.  Good thing we're Floridians and we eat tropical storms for breakfast.

  • Alabama, I love you, but your road signs are bipolar. One minute I'm horrified by the sign that is proclaiming homosexuality to be a sin, another moment I'm equally horrified by the sign that's boasting that their strippers were featured on "Jerry Springer," and I just shook my head at the one with an older black lady, a young white woman and an older white man proclaiming that they were Republicans.  These signs were all within ten minutes of each other.  I guess the section of Alabama we drove through is fine with straight Republican strippers of various races and ages.  Everyone else?  Move it along.

  • We finally got to our place on Monday evening.  It.is.AWESOME!!!  Let me put it this way, we have a concierge. I totally belong in a building like this.  It's like my mother ship, really.





"This is my hood, yo."

  • Oh, and there's a law school around the corner, too.





"Calm down, Dad. This is not going to happen."

  • I kinda love it here already. It's only been two days, but I think downtown living suits me.  Every day is an adventure.  In fact, yesterday, Tariq drove to Arkansas just to get to the nearest Wal Mart. He returned from this trip every bit as horrified as you're imagining.  It seems that while he was in the electronics section, someone asked a salesperson what a "ringtone" was and how they could get one.





arkansas bridge memphis "The bridge to Wal Mart. In Arkansas. As seen from our building's roof."




  • And, finally, I AM COMPLETELY UNPACKED. Yes.  In one day.  All my stuff.  Out of sixty (big) boxes.  I didn't realize this was a big deal until Britt told me she was impressed, like, four hundred times.


That's all I have for now.

Photos taken with my SONY DSLR-A230. Cough::SEE, Britt?::cough.

Wednesday
Aug312011

Eid-ul-Fitr 2011! Or is It? Yes, it Is. Or it Was.

Eid Mubarak from your friendly Internet neighborhood Muslims.

Just look at those smiles.

Is it me, or are those smiles saying, "HEY, WE LOVE AMERICA, NOW LET US GO THROUGH SECURITY IN FIFTEEN MINUTES OR LESS!"

So, yesterday was Eid-ul-Fitr, unanimously agreed amongst Muslims as the biggest day of the year.  The significance of the day is simply the end of Ramadan, the month in which we fast for various reasons.

Eid-ul-Fitr basically means "Festival of the Fast."  It falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month after Ramadan, both of which are months in the Islamic lunar calendar.  Like Eid ul Adha, Eid actually begins after sunset because it depends on the moon.

More on that in a minute.

We celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr by doing the things most other religious communities do when they have a holiday... eat food, visit family, eat more food, visit more family... and give gifts.

(WHO GOT A DSLR THIS YEAR?!)

(THIS GAL RIIIGHT HERE.)

(Best.husband.ever.)

Anyway.  Back to multicultural education.

The funny thing about Eid-ul-Fitr is that it's always kind of a guessing game.  See, the end of the lunar month for Muslims depends on the sighting of a new moon.

And this is where it gets confusing.

What, in 2011, constitutes a "moon sighting"?

Furthermore, with the advent of connectivity all over the world, do you celebrate when the moon is sighted in your country, in Mecca (the spiritual epicenter of Islam), or anywhere on Earth?

And, wow, if we end up populating Mars, what would Muslims who live THERE do ...

Some Islamic scholars, particularly those in Saudi Arabia, insist that the sighting must be an actual sighting with the naked eye while others are okay with using a telescope.  Either way, a person has to actually see the new moon for it to be Eid.

Others, specifically associations in North America, have postulated that since a new moon can be scientifically calculated, we can determine the occurrence of Eid-ul-Fitr through that.

And then in South Asia, they generally celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr a day later than whenever Saudi does because... honestly, I don't know why.

Something about geographic location and the sighting being off due to that.  Or just being ornery.  And also because desis are always late to everything.  I made that last part up, but it's highly logical if you think about it.

And THEN there are people all over the world that don't care whether they see the moon in their country or not, only if people in Saudi Arabia were able to see the moon and they celebrate when Saudis celebrate.

The point being that not every Muslim in the world celebrates Eid-ul-Fitr on the same day and that the reasons for that are different.

That's because we are a diverse community.  With different opinions.

Who knew?  Apparently, less people than I wish.

I only tell you all this to illustrate one point.

You know how people think "we" are trying to take over in some secret Muslim ninja plot to institute Sharia Law in the United States?

People, we can't even seem to figure out how to celebrate Eid, a holiday that has been around since the inception of our religion, on the same day as each other.

I don't think you have anything to worry about, Ms. Coulter.

***


I bet you want to know when I celebrated Eid.

Of course you do.

I, personally, don't think there's anything wrong with the scientific calculation.

However.

I happen to be part of a local community that follows when Eid occurs in Saudi Arabia.  So we celebrate, as a family, when they celebrate in Saudi.

So, anyway, Tuesday was Eid-ul-Fitr.

For me.

In India and Pakistan, it's today.

I think.

Anyway.

Eid Mubarak!

(Belated for North America & the Middle East).
Monday
Aug292011

Go Play. Away From Me.  Please.


I was a "latch key" kid.


Do people even use that term anymore?

Back then, there was a lot of discussion about kids coming home to empty houses and having to fend for themselves while horribly selfish, career driven mothers were off making money.

There was even a club for us at school.

They taught us the highly useful things in this club: don’t open the door for strangers, don’t tell people on the phone that you’re by yourself, don’t use the stove to make yourself something to eat, and, good God, you poor, miserable children, look how you brave you’re being by making peace with the fact that your mother is not at home like she’s supposed to be.

We did learn a few things on our own.  For example, this situation unequivocally taught me that wrapping a barbeque sauce laden hot dog in aluminum foil and sticking it the microwave in order to emulate a barbeque flavor is an extremely ill conceived plan.

Our system at home was unique.  Mom’s office was right next door to the house... she would walk over at random times to make sure we were okay or not blowing up the house with radioactive aluminum hot dog bombs.  We were instructed to call if we needed anything.

But, mostly? We were on our own.  Two kids, making their way through the hours of 3pm and 6pm with the world at our feet and all the television we wanted.  I learned a lot about the value of diversity and cultural negotiations between American rural values and the opulent wealth driven mores of Beverly Hills from Jed, Ellie May and their concrete swimming hole.

(That sounded obscene, didn't it?  Unplanned.  But too good to edit.)

I’m not sure if  being a latch key kid played into my decision to be the kind of mom who is always going to be home with her kids.  When I became a mother, something just made me decide that my kids were not going to learn about aluminum in the microwave on their own.

It sounds good on paper.  Be home when the kids are home... be there for them when they need you.  Be there for them... every... second... of... every... day.

But.

Kids need space, man.

This clicked for me the other day when, after we’d had a snack together, played on the computer together, watched TV together, did an art project together and, then, went on a bike ride together, both of my kids said something to the effect of, “What are WE going to do now...”

WE.

Not “I”.

WE.

Everything has become “we.”

“Go play on your own for a while,” I said trying to sound NOT irate.

“No.  That’s boring....” my daughter said.

"NOOO... DATS BO-WING," my son echoed.

Huh.  Imagine.  Being bored.  With YOURSELF.

Being extremely interesting myself, I have a hard time understanding this at all.

If my children were a food, I would eat them every day, three times a day, snack on them in between meals, nibble on them right before bed, and then keep them in the nightstand in case I woke up hungry.

I want to be here for them, and I crave their attention when I don't have it.

This isn’t about me, though, it really is about them.

Because you know what?

They really do need to figure out that sometimes the best company you can keep?

Is yourself.

***


Did you know that it's Ramadan?  Did you know I explained stuff about Ramadan in one of the episodes of the podcast that I host with my token Jewish friend Mike?  Go here to listen, it's like getting a degree in religious studies in thirty five minutes or less.

Credits may or may not transfer to actual universities.  You get what you pay for, people.




Photo Credit