Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Making Some Needed Changes

Sorry I hadn't written in a while. It seems that the weather was taking a toil on me and my marriage. I had been struggling with some issues that needed resolving when I came back from Libya and they finally came to a head last week.
In general, the man I married is a good and wonderful man. Even with his loner attitude he was better than many men of middle east faith than I had ever known. But, he married a woman from another culture and he knew that even if I tried I will never be like the women of his country. After my return and the hassles I had with his family I was determined that even though things were not the best the first time that I was willing to move back to his country to provide our children with the best life we can give them.
I came back angry with him. I tried to express how I felt only to be told he didn't want to hear about it. I began planning a new house design and when we should plan on returning to his homeland only to be met with indifference with him and total refusal by my children. The constant snowfall here didn't help either. Now I see how some people can go stir crazy very easily in such situations. We are now on our sixth straight week of snowfall with very little reprieve from the cold. This week we get hit from the north and south and are again looking at not one but two possible days of moderate snowfall. Today we have 18 degrees and tomorrow a high of 7!
Anyways back to my most pressing issue. For years my husband has been gradually removing us from society. We do not visit anyone, nor do they visit, a friend who is one of my dearests is my only outlet to the world beyond my house. My car has yet to be repaired and he seemed to not care that it needed to be. So I began to play the "arab wife" card on my husband in an attempt to get him to straighten up. I refused to do anything that a normal woman of the ME would never do. Like unplug a kitchen sink or fix something that had broken. Sorry to offend any sister out there but I have seen how you live and I cannot do it. Not here. In the ME you have people who visit, family who can be called upon and your life may be bland but it can be tolerated. Here if you are secluded from people spending your day with cleaning a house that never seems to stay that way or is so clean that you dust daily just to have something to do, is dangerous to my health. I have friends who live like that and they are miserable. But they remain the quiet and obedient loving arab wife. But remember he didn't marry an arab wife.
So in a final desperate attempt I left my home and went to a friends home for the weekend. The following Monday I called him and told him I wanted a seperation. He was devastated and begged to talk it out. I finally agreed and we spent many hours going over what I felt was wrong with our life. What had happened to the man I had married and the goals we had set in our long talks in the mosque some 20 years ago. Like never teaching our kids his native tongue how just that may have made our trip that much more tolerable alone. How he had begun to work so much that we never saw him and if we did it was to say goodnight. As he said I hit him with a ton of bricks and even though we just scratched the surface he realized that so much had gone wrong in our life that if we didn't act now all the money in the world would not save the most important thing we had....our family.
I agreed to give our marriage another try and to work at undoing all the things that have led us to where we are. This week we are checking into Karate classes for the kids as they had done it when they were smaller and it was a girl friendly activity that everyone could feel good about. Aieysha wanted to try out for girls wrestling but the issue of how to keep from losing her hijab came up and she finally agreed to try Karate with the rest of the kids. Tomorrow we have a private lesson to see where the kids could be placed and Dad amazingly is going with us! Its his day off and he told me he was going with us. Boy I sure hope this lasts.
I looked at our life and saw how my children have no connection to our community even though it is huge. They never pray unless he is in a nasty mood and orders the kids to pray thus causing resentment with them. It to them was why do we pray yet when a holiday is here we do nothing but sit at home? I told him again that it was his duty as the oldest son to be caring for his parents in their elderly years and how can we not take care of them, and when we are old expect our sons to do the same when he has ignored them and their daily lives for so long. I told him that he was needed to talk to his sons about growing up and someday looking for wives. Did he want his sons to marry christian women? How about his daughters when we have no contact with the community how are they to find good husbands? He didn't want them spending their days with kids from school but he never made it possible for them to spend time with others of our faith. We were failing as parents and I could no longer do it alone.
Finally, I told him returning to his homeland may not be perfect but at the end of the day when no one else cares your family is all you have. We were alone here as he had alienated me from my two daughters and my remaining family aside from a brother was not worth our efforts. So to take the kids and be near his family was the only logical path to take. I know it would not be easy starting over but what we had to lose was far greater.
Some may say I am crazy for even trying. Stay here in the states where I have a greater say over our lives as some people feel that I would loose that in a ME country. But as I look to the TV and the papers I see how more and more we are viewed as a threat to the US and how this plays on the minds of me and my family. I have lately seen families who have been here for years suddenly be torn apart by new immigration laws and sudden interest in people who were no threat before removed at the whim of local government. My husband is not a citizen so he is just as vulnerable as they are. If diplomacy with Libya were to suddenly change how will people here be affected by those changes? So as the hairs on my neck are rising I am planning for possible changes. The internet is full of people with radical ideas on how to deal with "Muslims". Look to the senator Barak Obama who is running now for president. He was a muslim as a child but his mother raised him later as another faith. Senator Hillary Clinton took a cheap shot and brought up the "muslim" card in recent debates. How bad would the US be if a former muslim was president? By the way he is also black. Most people feel the US is in need of change and a woman or a black person is high on the list as possible changes. Since Oprah Winfrey will not run and solve the problem with one shot we may see many attempts made to devalue the abilities of Obama. Are americans so afraid of us? I spend alot of time on the myspace religion forum and it seems that people fear that we will one day take over the US and establish a Sharia law here. That would be nice but with all our secular fighting even if we did get a muslim to run for office we would back bite him till he was no better a choice than any other.
But back to my family. I am still sitting at home but the idea of Karate class is at least a start. I need something to do. He offered to let me go back to school but I don't know what to study. Real Estate is slow so that is not a good option at the time. The house needs many repairs that he just began to fail to give me the money to fix and now we need hundreds to fix the house. The market is slow and without the repairs we would not get a good price. If we wanted to leave the house for the chance that we would return then we need to make that plan too.
For the first time in many years we sat on the same couch and sat with a few of the kids and watched a TV program together. It was nice to sit and laugh together. This is how it is supposed to be. Quality family time is so important and since Aieysha was born he had forgotten that. He had stopped spending time with us and in the end he almost lost me and the kids. I'm willing to give it another try. In Islam you just don't divorce rashly but he has been given a severe warning. I didn't have the luxury of my brother or family stepping in to help me or to give me a place to go but he knows that I can make it without him. I know I have some things to work on myself I know I am far from perfect to but I am willing to do that for my family. Regardless of what we decide to do it will be a joint decision and we will begin to do it now, not next week but today. We lost to many days already. And just as the spring always comes, things will hopefully get better and our relationship will bloom again. With Valentines Day a few weeks away a few fresh flowers would not hurt either. But he knows I prefer to plant a bush rather than have a bunch of cut flowers that last a few days and with all the snow I guess I could be happy with some seed packages that we can plant in the yard.
Finally you may wonder why I discuss this here? Well as you can tell by most of my blog I am pretty straight forward. I try to show it like it is. We all write about how we wish it was. I know many good friends who are sitting in my same seat but their circumstances keep them where they are just as mine kept me where I was for so long. I know they will do what they feel best. Maybe they will tell their husband about what I wrote and he may think twice. And if you are a man you will look to what I wrote and hope that none of what I said rings true in your own life.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Drinking Ice Water can cause Death? Mythbuster Idea!

Here's the answer to a funny problem I had to deal with while I was in Libya. I don't know how many days I had a family member throw a fit over me and my kids drinking water that was ice cold or had ice in it. I was told it could kill you and my logical brain said "I have never heard such a big bunch of baloney". Once I came back to the US I decided to talk to some people about the possibility of that actually occurring and in what circumstance could it actually happen. I remember even reading it in the Tripoli Post a article written by an Imam saying that it could cause instant death and people should refrain from it. I thought oh my even the Imams are crazy!
I posted the question to WebMD and here is what they said and some other information I read the same day may pose some greater health risks than drinking ice cold water.
WebMD said that unless the person was in a state of hypothermia (low body temperature) or severe dehydration they saw no reason that drinking cold water could harm a person. One interesting subject I did find was drinking too much distilled water was now found to be hazardous to your health! Seems as the all important mineral sodium is removed from the water and drinking large amounts can cause the brain to swell. This was found in athletes who drank bottled water in excess of actual water loss after exercise. It thinned the blood and caused the brain to swell. The study went on to say that drinking safe water full of the natural minerals was better and actually connected to longevity! Our bodies need many of the minerals that bottled water removes. As long as it is free of bacterias that can cause illness we are better off drinking our tap water. Here is one site for more info on this subject
I have searched the internet looking for articles relating to death by drinking cold water and yet to see any. If anyone has a link I would love to run it by these medical professionals. Seeing as most people of Middle Eastern countries are buried quite rapidly an autopsy is not likely to have been done and had the person just happened to be drinking cold water when it happened I can see how the link could be associated with the water. But I fear that it is not likely the culprit of someones demise. Finally as one doctor said, "You don't see too many resturaunts wheeling out dead bodies from drinking the cold water they were served". Myth busted. So to my fellow friends drink and enjoy!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Spreading Good Works

How often around the holidays do we see charities asking for donations. Most of us are hammered with requests and many are wary about the companies that ask for donations. I have a good friend on the MySpace Religion Forum that is in need of help. Donations are welcome but there are other ways you can help her organization. Call a friend or write a note maybe you know someone who knows someone and that can go a long way to helping her.
Her organization matches children living in Argentina with deformaties such as clef palate to get needed surgeries to save their lives. These children are the most neediest as if they did not receive this surgery they will die.... Plain and simple.
She has been able to network and get doctors and nurses and people of all medical professions to donate time and services to her organization. This year a building has been donated that can become the first Operating Theater for these children allowing them to get services that they may otherwise not get. Before they had to rely on local hospitals to provide surgery rooms and with the new building if it is made ready would free up additional funds that could serve even more kids.
Don't have money now, most of us are getting by but as she says we surely have more than some of these kids do. How can you help? Visit her site and see if you can help in any way. Least of all make a link to her site. Spread the word. Someone reading your blog could know someone who knows someone, get it!
Spread a Good Work will you. Thanks I hope everyone does that visits my page.

Here is the link to her site: