I Have Returned

Well, after a grueling 12.5 hour flight from Amman to New York, we have returned from our Northern African/Middle Eastern adventure. The trip was unlike anything I have ever experienced.

And I plan on telling you all about it and posting a few pictures once I recover from my illness. Yes, to cap off the most amazing traveling experience, I contracted some kind of flu bug on the journey home (just for the record, our 12.5 hour flight was chock full of grubby little wailing urchins who were probably the cause of my current state of yuckiness), and am barely functioning at the moment.

Other than that, all is well. More to come...


Safeguard the Helpless

Last night, I came home from work and just wanted to chill out on my new couch (well, new-to-me couch – got it off of craigslist last weekend) and let some cinematic magic entertain me for 90 or so minutes. I found a movie called Kingdom of Heaven starring the ridiculously handsome Orlando Bloom, and that right there was good enough for me. It also had the gorgeous Eva Green in it for Daniel’s viewing pleasure. Fair’s fair!

Orlando Bloom plays the “perfect knight” in this film set in Jerusalem during the Crusades. His oath, as passed down to him from his father (Liam Neeson), went like this:

“Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.”

Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.

Throughout the story, Bloom’s knight refused to sacrifice the helpless individual for the perceived “greater good”. In the film, the helpless were those who were sick, those who were poor, those not born into a privileged life; the peasants, the slaves, the diseased, of any or no religious faith. He protected them at great cost to himself simply because he could and because it was the right thing to do.

If that kind of integrity ever existed apart from fiction, it has long since drifted into extinction.

Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.

In our country we do not follow this kind of oath. If you are helpless, you are merely weak and it is your own fault and you should work harder. If you are helpless, that is your problem and no one else’s. If you are sick, if you are poor, if you were born into hardship, or have fallen on hard times, you are on your own. No one will safeguard you, and should you rely on people doing no wrong, you are a great fool and deserve what you get.

It astounds me that people in this country are rallying around the evil (truly evil…read this if you are undecided) insurance companies because they do not want to safeguard the helpless of this country. If you are sick or diseased, and cannot afford medical care and your insurance company denies critical care (as they do over and over) by finding some obscure legal loophole, you have no recourse. If you need to go to the emergency room because you are not able to afford insurance, they will not deny you emergency care, but they will send you a hefty bill that you cannot afford to pay.

I don’t understand why the conservative assholes of this country are so hateful, so greedy, and so utterly unmoved by the helpless. I don’t understand how we can allow the insurance companies to continue to dictate our health and destroy our lives based on their profit margins. I don’t understand this stubborn resentment towards providing adequate healthcare for every person in this country. Maybe I’m missing something, but I really don’t understand the violent venom spewed forth by the right-wing about how our freedoms are being compromised. Where the hell were they when our freedoms really were being compromised and we really were being lied to by our Commander in Chief?!

Do no wrong? Bah! People like that are seemingly incapable of doing what’s right. They are motivated by ego and power and money. And that is all. They exert control through fear and lies and hate. And that is sad.

The Kingdom of Heaven, while not an extraordinarily brilliant film, illustrated those two sides of right and wrong so clearly. And as today, back then it was also the religious fanatics who chose the side of wrong and unleashed the most harm upon the helpless to satisfy their own selfish desires.


Where Can I Pick Up A Routine?

When someone says, “I’m stuck in a rut”, usually they want to get un-stuck. It means they’re bored or complacent or unsatisfied and feel the need to change things up a bit. A rut is not typically a desirable place to be.

I, however, am looking for a rut. Er. That didn’t sound right. What I mean is, I have been craving routine. It’s not that my life is complete chaos, it’s just felt rather higgledy piggledy for a while and I’m tired of it. There was the buying of the house and the renovating of the house and the moving into the house and the marriage and the continued renovating and the trip to Erie and the never-ending renovating. In two weeks we are going to Egypt and Jordan. And still renovating.

Does it sound like I’m complaining? I’m not. At least, I don’t think I am. I wanted and willingly chose to do all of those things and I am super jazzed about our upcoming travels, but I am also looking forward to having no major plans on the horizon, no upheavals in the near future.

Is a little smooth sailing too much to ask for? Maybe. Maybe there will always be something creating waves. But can I just have baby waves for a little while, pleeeease? Perhaps there are some who thrive on stress and drama, feeding off the chaos, and to those people I say, “good for you, now go away.”

Maybe it’s my age or where I am in my life that has me wanting a more simplified existence. A peaceful routine where I can clear my head for a minute, take a deep breath, and look around me. It feels like so much happened in such a short time that I need to stand still so that my head stops spinning.

My need could be genetic. My mother requires routine as well, and I am becoming increasingly aware of how similar I am to her the older I get. I’ve heard before that we all become our mothers. This could be truer than I thought.

So while I am beyond excited to be visiting the Cradle of Civilization in a couple of weeks, I am also beyond ready to stumble into a rut once we return. I’ll let you know how that goes.


The Opposite of News

You may have noticed my lack of blogging. Or you may actually have a life and haven’t noticed at all. In that case, good for you! I haven’t been much in the mood to blog lately. Just sorta been settling into life again after what seems like a long period of disruption (house, wedding, vacation…). Work is mercifully un- hectic at the moment and I am welcoming the downshift with open arms.

The house is still unfinished – and may always be “unfinished” in my mind because that’s just the kind of obsessive freak I am – but it’s getting there slowly. We are having carpet installers come to our house Saturday to measure for carpeting for our master bedroom. Getting carpeting up there and being able to actually USE that space will go a long way in moving our efforts along towards an organized living space. Right now, so many things are not in their place because we’re still sleeping/living in the guest bedroom, and so the guest bed is in the office, and that means we still have tons of boxes of books everywhere because there’s no room to set up the bookshelves. And we are sorta using our master bathroom, but it’s kind of inconvenient since our master bedroom is inhabitable, and so we’re also using the other bathroom. It’s not horrible, it just all seems slightly discombobulated…and I prefer combobulated (is that a word?)

In other non-exciting news, I went to the doctor yesterday for the first time in like 6 years. That’s right. I have not been to see a physician for any reason in over 6 years. No, not even for my girlie annual exam. I know, shame on me for being so irresponsible. But before you judge, just know that I really dislike going to the doctor. No. Really. Serious anxiety weeks before the appointment. Anything medically related makes me physically weak to the point of cold sweats, shaking and eventually passing out. I’m a HUGE pussy when it comes to medical treatment! But I finally broke down, scheduled an appointment with a doctor for a general exam plus my “annual” exam (or “sporadic” exam in my case).

The doctor was lovely. She’s about my mom’s age, chubby, twinkly eyes, very friendly with a laid-back “it’ll all work out” attitude. This is exactly the kind of doctor I require because I get so stressed out. She did not berate me for not having seen a doctor in over 6 years. She did not chastise me about my weight. She said I had enviable low blood pressure. She did not put reproduction pressure on me. Our budding relationship was going great, we were getting along and even enjoying each other’s company, until she said, “Now I’m going to send you over to the Lab to get a blood sample.” That’s when our amiable relationship came screeching to a halt.

I think she was taken aback by the look of bloodless horror mixed with lines of sheer terror on my face. She responded to my reaction with concerned patience, carefully explaining why they needed to jab a needle in my arm and suck blood out of my veins (okay, simply typing that made me light-headed). She led me, like a stunned trauma victim, to the Lab where she told the technician I would need to lie down to have blood taken. There were three techs and they were so nice all fluttering around me, getting me cold cloths to press to my neck and temples, putting the fan on me, talking to me in low gentle voices to keep me conscious. It was terribly embarrassing. But they were very understanding and very sweet to me. And I survived.

So that’s that.

In two weeks, Daniel and I are taking off for our honeymoon in Egypt and Jordan. Exciting! And in the meantime, we will continue to work on the house which will include painting and carpeting…and perhaps a new flat television to replace our ancient television with the annoying lines at the top of the screen. We will do our jobs, and cook dinner, and go for walks, and play with the cats and generally bask in the comfort of routine until we jet off for Amman on the 19th.

Have a fun Labor Day Weekend!