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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Those Little Moments .... That Mean So Much.

So I was bringing my daughter up to bed tonight.  And speaking to her only in French.   She understands so well now.

I asked her if she would be speaking to her Pepere in French when she sees him at Christmas (2011).  And she answered "Je ne sais pas" ("I don't know"), "but I will try".  "And Maman?  Do you think we could bring home those Barbies he has just for me?"

And I had no clue what she was talking about and said so.  So she said "You know Maman, those dollies that he bought and put on the fridge for me, with the clothes and everything.  We could take them off the fridge and bring them home."

OK.  So my daughter is 5.  She last saw her grandfather when she was 4 ... in July 2010.  About 9 months ago.  But she remembers these dollies that he has on his fridge for her.  He actually put them up there in October 2009.  He left them there, and when we came back in '10 he said he'd left them there just for her.  Incredible the things that mean something to a child.  I was amazed that she still remembered this today.  I had completely forgotten.  I told her maybe we should leave the Barbie dollies on the fridge so he could remember her when he saw them.

She answered "He doesn't need them.  I will draw him a picture of me and him, and he can remember me that way.  And it's not from the store.  It's right from me.  And he also has me in his heart.  He doesn't really need anything on his fridge."

She really is his descendant.  She got all the best of her Pepere.  And it is so obvious on days like today.  I remember visiting him when she was about 2.  And she put her little fingers all over his living room windows.  And I apologized profusely and said I would wipe the smudges up once she was in bed.  And he looked at me and said "Why would you erase them?  They're memories.  I'm so lucky.  I'll get to look at them and see her every single day." 

It was one of those moments.  That just meant so much.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sand Man

Who wants to put their hand in the sand ... what grains of truth might you find?

OK, so tonight is a rant.  It's all about what I hate about living in a sandpit. For those of you who haven't experience it, this may be purely ramble; to those of you who've been or are here .... you may get exactly where I'm coming from.

#1  The SAND.  It's everywhere.  Not only on the ground (where you'd expect it), but in your eyes, your nose, your hair.  It's on your shoes, your clothes, your car, your furniture.  It's in your house, your office, your gym.  It gets into every nook and cranny.  You open the window for a bit of fresh air, and a gust of wind carries a gazillion dust particles into your home, creating havoc with your sinuses, your lungs, your eyes.  Your eyes ...... my eyes used to be my best feature ... now they sting - constantly.  They burn and they itch and they sting; I am tormented.  I squint, I glint, I rub them til they ache.  The sand blasts you raw.  This is not the sand of a crystal white beach ... this is the sand that carries bacteria into our homes and infests our water and clogs electrical equipment and water drains.  It is the sand that colors everything BEIGE.

#2  The BEIGE.  The beige coats everything.  Even houses once painted pink.  It is everywhere you look; from the desert floor to the desert sky.  It is every house, every car, every thing.  It is me ... I walk around with beige hair, feeling quite beige.  It makes me FADE.

#3  The FADE.  Everything fades here.  Clothes, curtains, furniture, car upholstery.  Our hair fades from constant exposure to the sun.  Our spirit fades from the constant exposure to a cash & ego flow that extinguishes any desire for or aspiration to freedom of speech, free will, or creativity.  Anything that shone becomes LACKLUSTER.

#4  The LACKLUSTER of it all.   I have seen chandeliers that outweigh some small jet craft.  I've seen private yachts that rival cruise ships.  I've seen homes filled with waterfalls, gardens and spas.  I've seen women of 60 looking like they just stepped out of their 30's.  I've seen countless Ferrarris and Bentleys, and BWS and Jags.  And I've grown immune.  Everything is common.  How sad....

Friday, April 22, 2011


Running has been a constant since getting my life sorted out somewhere around 33 yrs of age.  Whenever I hear the Sopranos theme song ("Got myself together, got myself a gun") I think "Got my life together, went out for a run"
So what's it really all about?  People often ask me how I stay motivated.  I don't really know.  It may be a safe spot to hide my addictive personality!  I guess I just look at what's in it for me. 
When I first started, it was a way to clear my mind. 
Headed for separation/divorce, it gave me a chance to pound frustrations out on the pavement through the soles of my shoes. 
Once separated, it gave me a sense of belonging to something, of being committed.  It helped pass the evenings, gave me something to look forward to every day.  It helped me stay away from bitter thoughts, booze, fleeting relationships, unhealthy habits, and endless ruminating.
It helped ease me from workaholism; got me away from the computer.  It gave my life balance.  It lowered my blood pressure (low to start with).  It kept me healthy.  It gave my legs a better shape.  It was time just for me.
It kept me company when my soldier was far away.  It kept me sane when I thought I might go mad.
It was an opportunity to communicate with my daughter long before she was born and for years after.  How many runs did she go on with me when she was still in my belly?  How many runs did she enjoy in the jogger stroller?  First, she would face me, sometimes sleeping, sometimes smiling, sometimes just watching.  Then she turned to face the world.  How it opened up to her!
Then, when she got too big, it was back to running alone.  Sometimes at 3:30 in the morning, sometimes at 6:00 in the evening.  In the early morning, I can hear the chanting from the mosques; see the early risers off to pray ... I often think of that time as my own prayer time, celebrating my health, thinking about my family, my life. 
These days, I don't get up that early.  Exhaustion has set in; our lives really are too busy.  Mostly I only get out to run on the weekends.  This morning, I ran 1 km outside, then 4 on the treadmill.  I don't much like the treadmill, but the desert heat is really tough, so the treadmill has to do.  I will get back to running early mornings, but for a little bit I need to slow down.  That's ok.  I've run 7 days a week, I've run 1 day a week.  But for the last 8 years, I've always run.
No matter where, no matter how often, I've remained committed.  At home, on vacation, it's such a big part of my life.  I'm not very fast, and I'm not that strong, but I'm faithful, committed, and enthusiastic.  No matter how hard it is to get out, I always feel better once I have.  I've run in the rain, in the snow, in the sand; I've run morning, I've run night.  I've run inside, I've run outside; I've even run on the water (on a cruise ship!).  I've run in Canada, in Qatar, in Dubai, in Venice, in Thailand, in the Swis Alps, in the Maldives.  It's always good.
I don't know that it's motivation.  I'm pretty sure it's passion.  I would be devastated if I could not run.  It wouldn't ruin my life, it wouldn't take away my will to live, but it would leave an awful scar.  It's not a commitment, it's just a part of my life.  It's exercise, but it's way more than that.  It's nourishment for my mind, my soul, my body.  Some days it does take motivation, but I wouldn't be motivated if I weren't passionate!
So I run ...

Round 2

So this is my second attempt at blogging.  Brought about by my discovery this morning that my "spaces" blog had been deleted on March 16, 2011, courtesy of the Windows Live team.  Years of memories and hours of writing vanished in an instant.  Sad, but that's life.  No broken limbs, no shattered hearts, no lives lost.  Just a little piece of recorded history gone down the fiber optic tubes. 

A lesson to me to not take anything for granted.  What is here today may well be gone tomorrow.  In fairness, I hadn't checked my blog in about 5 months.  Life was simply too busy, I got carried away with other things, and when I wanted to get it back, it was gone.  Lesson learned.  On to Round 2.

I've been thinking about getting back into blogging for the last week or so.  It's been nagging at me, always at the back of my mind.  So this morning, I decided to just sit down and do it.  Why this desire to record my thoughts and experiences?  I guess part of it is my dream to one day be an accomplished writer but wanting to do it piecemeal, wherever and whenever I find the time.  Part of it is a need to stay in touch with friends and family without having to re-write my daily experiences in a series of repetitive e-mails.  Part of it is disenchantment with Facebook and the fact that I don't see it much as a communication tool these days; it's become more of a voyeuristic channel into the mundane.  I don't really want to know if someone's flatulence today was caused by the overspiced chili they had last night while downing tequila shots at a popular Mexican hotspot.  I don't mind being one of many copied on the same message, but I am selfish enough to want that message to be original, not a copy/paste inspirational quote of the day.  And I always felt like a bit of an exhibitionist on FB.  So how is it different if I'm writing here?  Well, I figure if people check in on my blog, they are interested in staying in touch with me.  On FB, I am a status or an album.  Here, I think I'll be me.

So I'm sitting here typing and wondering if I really have that much to say?  What do I want to write about?  My travels, my boring days at work, my frustration with a culture that I have struggled to come to grips with for the last five years, my family, my fears, my joys, my dreams?  I guess I just have to get my thoughts in order.  Does anyone really care what I have to say?  Does it really matter?  I guess we'll see.