Sunday, April 20, 2008

Palm Sunday in Chicago and Atlanta

I spoke with my father today just after mass at the Arabic church. On the Orthodox calendar, today was Palm Sunday. I could hear the happiness in my father's voice, it was clear he had been enjoying the day.

He spoke about the beautiful weather in Chicago, and how nice the service had been. Little girls wore their pretty Easter dresses and carried flowers. Palm leaves are carried by parishioners in a procession around the church's yard, symbolizing Jesus' entry into Jerusalem the week before he was executed and rose from the dead.

My father makes crosses out of the palm leaves that are always in heavy demand by fellow church-goers. It made me wish I was there to help twist them into shape quickly. It makes me long for my family, for Chicago. For a church that I haven't been to in over a decade but can remember its smell of frankincense, the taste of pita bread at communion, and can easily hum the Easter songs sung in Aramaic. I'm grateful to go home next week.

In the meantime, I spend my Palm Sunday at my home in Atlanta by going to one of my very favorite places, the Forest Park Farmer's Market. There I spend just $5 and acquire no less than 10 tomatoes, 6 cucumbers, 5 lemons, 2 yellow bell peppers, and 6 bananas. I head over to take a walk through the plant and flower section.

I wander in zigzags enjoying the afternoon breeze and blue sky, touching petals, tasting herbs, smelling blossoms. I look up and find myself surrounded by baby palm trees. The air is smells green. I buy a beautiful bougainvillea to hang on my doorstep. I listen to Celluloid Heroes on repeat on the drive home. Everybody's a dreamer, everybody's a star.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Private Dancer Singers

I thought I might need to lighten things up around here and finding some old videos on my hard drive gave me some perfect material.

In December 2006 I took a month-long sabbatical from my work and spent it living, crafting and loving my family in Chicago. At the end, I had to drive back to Atlanta but wound up being sicky the day I was leaving. So my wonderful sister Reem and her BFF Sarah offered to drive me back to Atlanta from Chicago.

It should be known that Reem and Sarah are known for their musical endeavours. The early days included them making their own videos - lip synced and choreographed of course - to the Spice Girls' classic, Wannabe. They pulled it together a bit more later on with their band The Cover Girls, playing songs like the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK and the Misfits' Skulls, as arranged for piano and cello that is. But the pièce de résistance was their senior recital when they performed on piano and cello Guns N' Roses' November Rain and we all held up lighters and got a little weepy. If you want to laugh really hard, go read about Reem's recent experience with a GN'R cover band.

I laid in the backseat for hours, drinking tea and whimpering for 736 miles while being chauffeured by two of the loveliest, most hilarious, best friends that exist. It was the best home-going ever.

Some funny things happened while crossing the Tennessee border. Here is video documentation of one of them:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Cultural Antipathy Toward Women" - the Death Penalty and Child Rape

WomensENews has a great article today about yesterday’s US Supreme Court Argument on the death penalty and child rape. This story goes more in detail than others I’ve read about on the “cultural antipathy toward women” and how once children grow up into women, we no longer are concerned about sexual violence.

I was also very pleasantly surprised to see that a friend-of-the-court brief was filed by several survivor –led organizations, including the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

Their brief discusses how executing child rapists will not only exacerbate the problem of underreporting of child sexual assault, but would also further traumatize the child by the protracted proceedings and ultimately stunt the healing process.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tomatoes, Cheese, Love from Afar

I'm sitting on my bed eating breakfast, thinking of my favorite friend. I'm working at home because I have a lot of writing to do and have a hard time focusing at my office.

But the important part is that I'm eating a mix of feta cheese, tomatoes, olive oil, and mint that he makes for me for breakfast. One of the many delicious wonderful magical things he has brought into my life. I scoop the mixture up with fresh-baked wheat pita bread that he brought me the other day from the Arabic bakery in the suburbs.

And when I think of him, my darling friend, going through a very real personal hell right now, my heart swells and my eyes start flowing and I try to send love far far east to the home in which he just landed and is likely arriving and being greeted by his loved ones, minus one very important loved one.

And I want to do something to help to make it better to take the pain away but there are no more plush toys or shampoo or strollers left to buy, no hands or shoulders to squeeze, no bodies to spoon into.

You are far away surrounded by loved ones who can do these things for you now and you will return that love.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Live from the road during a perfect moment

Even though you may not be able to see it, right now this rainbow is rising over I-75 South and I type this from the passenger seat of my best sisterfriend's car and Zooey Deschanel is crooning You Really Got a Hold on Me. Less than an hour ago, another wonderful sisterfriend brought me beautiful tulips including a lovely purple one.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Edible Time

I just recently made my first clock. It's a sea monster that eats time and was made for my friend Sandy for her birthday. Its mixed media (clearly including an embellished rubber turtle)on wood with clock findings. It makes me want to make all sorts of clocks and/or sea monster based junk. I'm also just glad that Sandy's sense of humor is one that appreciates this ridiculous little thing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

In bed with the rats

I had a set of awful dreams last night - the kind where you wake up, tell yourself it isn't real, then fall back asleep and dream the whole same damn thing all over again.

My dream was that I was in this courtyard and I was trying to get to a legislator's house. I don't know who the legislator is but there is a sense of urgency that if I don't get there something terrible will happen.

In the dream I'm wearing my super cute vintage green heels and I have to hop around all these dark spots on the path. As I move forward, I start to think that the spots are blood. Ick. As I get closer I realize that what I am seeing are the decapitated (for lack of better words) tails of rats. Vomit.

I am literally playing hopscotch trying to avoid the rat pieces that are multiplying by the moment, trying to keep my lunch down. Finally I reach a house that would otherwise be beautiful if it wasn't covered in dead rat mass. There was a veranda framed by wisteria- but hell, even the beauty and fragrance of wisteria can't cover up this mess.

When I walk inside the house, I feel a formidable sense of dread. There is nowhere to sit down or move to- as now I can see where the rat bodies previously attached to the tails have accumulated.

I am scared, nervous, apprehensive. I'm about to meet someone who is bad enough that they would actually live in this hellhole.

Around the corner of the room peeks Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson. That's when I wake up in terror, drenched.

Is this the byproduct of three months living day in and out in the Georgia General Assembly? Or is it because prior to my sleep I had a wonderful dinner with my sister nonprofit lobbyist friends who have been fighting this battle with all their hearts for so long yet still having to deal daily with the white male power structure that to this day decides what happens?

Or maybe its just because of this brilliant Creative Loafing Cover for the Wonderful Annual Golden Sleaze Awards:

The New Resident of the Krog Street Tunnel

I love taking pictures out the window of my car. Yes, while driving (sorry, Mom!). I love when I'm able to get a solid shot even while the car is moving, and it often not until hours later till I'm able to look and see if I got anything good. This hobby flourishes in Atlanta where we are lucky to have some of the most amazing street artists I've ever seen.

Here is a shot taken tonight out the passenger window in the dark that came out really well featuring a brand new mural on the DeKalb Avenue side of the Krog Street Tunnel.

I don't know whose idea it was to put Bob up, but I can't think of a better addition to the many wonderful pieces in the Krog Tunnel.

And on the topic of Bob Marley, check out Andisheh Nouraee's column about Zimbabwe. He mentions in it that Zimbabwe inaugurated its nationhood with a Bob Marley concert. If you've never seen this footage, its worth a watch.

As always, Bob sang of difficult truths, foreshadowing:

So soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionaries
And I don’t want my people to be tricked by mercenaries.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reem and Emil

My favorites in the world, in Madison for a 29th Birthday.