Thursday, October 28, 2010


This fall is finding me, as usual, quite ready to nest, totally inspired to cook bake, and really appreciating the weather. Last year I didn't appreciate the beautiful sunny Moroccan fall we have here. I thought it an unsettling dis rupture in what fall means to me. This year, I feel a little more secure about fall in general, the existence of, the continuation of, the fall baking fruits and pumpkin that show up regardless of the absence of crisp autumn days. This is my fall.

I read my thankful post from a couple of months ago and I truly remember feeling that thankful and that happy. I fell from that. And I hit the ground hard. I went from, "oh my god I am happier than I have ever been, I am so worried about it leaving me" to "I am more miserable than I have ever been and I don't even know where to start digging to get out". But you know what, during my miserable time, I never questioned it. I never worried about it leaving me or when I was going to get happy again because the miserable stuff is what I am used to. It felt normal. I just functioned. I am still trying to get back up from that fall. I am trying hard to be positive. I am afraid that fall is to blame for my positivity and I am afraid it will leave me again.

A month ago I added my mother as a contact for a new skype account that I use sometimes during the day. She and my grandmother got on and I showed off my work outfit and we gossiped and talked and I told them stories about the kids and they complained about Shaka and we laughed and were so happy to be able to see each other and share info. After we hung up my grandmother went into the kitchen to make herself lunch and she fell down. She went to the hospital and has basically been in and out of the hospital since then. She was diagnosed with  rapidly transforming into leukemia MDS a week ago. The whole world has fallen down for my mother and all of the rest of the people that love my grandmother.

The day that I called my mom and she told me that my grandmother had fallen down, I was calling to actually tell her that my daughter had fallen down. A month ago today Sophia fell down between Youssef's legs as she was practising standing and hit her head directly on the hard cement floor we have. Youssef said that when he picked her up to comfort her, her body was trembling. She is fine now, the bruise just cleared up a week ago.

Once many years ago, I was rollerblading outside of my new apartment by piedmont park. Shaka was really young then and still quite rambunctious. I used to take her rollerblading with me because that was the only way I could get her the exercise she needed at that time. We would go zooming up and down really steep hills on pavement. I wore pads for my knees but no helmet. One day shaka stopped or jumped or something and I went hurling into the ground scraping and bloodying my palms. Shaka came to me to lick my wounds and make sure I was okay from the fall. I was so angry that I actually bit her when she got close enough. I have never forgiven myself for this.  I hurt her because I was hurt and I was angry that she had caused the hurt. My mother and my grandmother moved into an assisted living home this week and I have no idea where my Shaka landed. After over 13 years of loving and caring for her, she is no longer with me. My heart falls right down into my belly every time I think about this, which is often. I just received an email titled 'shaka's relocation to Casablanca' and my heart jumped instead of falling. The email was a response to a quote request from an international pet relocator. they said 5000 dollars.

Less than a year ago, I rushed my baby, blue and listless, to an emergency room here in Casablanca. I had given her CPR and eventually just started begging her not to leave me in the moments before someone finally arrived to take us to the hospital. When we got there the doctors grabbed her from us and rushed her into the NICU and stayed in there for half an hour trying to stabilize her breathing. After that, the head doctor charged into the room where Youssef, his sister and I were standing and yelled at them in Arabic that the child was in the process of dying when we brought her in. Youssef would not tell me what the doctor said but his sister translated it for me into french. She said "en train de mourir". My legs collapsed beneath me and I fell down onto the examination table I had been leaning on.

My mother and I went for breakfast the morning of my pa's funeral. We were self healing by allowing ourselves the small luxury of bagel and lox at the Buckhead Bread Company. When we noticed we were pushing it on time, we rushed back to my Nana's home to get dressed and head to the funeral parlor. I got out of the car first and rushed inside as my mother grabbed her stuff. I heard her screaming my name seconds later and rushed out to the carport to find blood squirting from what looked like her eye. She had fallen on the way inside and cut open the thin film of skin right above the eye. We missed the funeral, but we still laugh about the experience. She greeted people at Nana's that night dressed and made-up impeccably with a huge bandage over her eye. When she came out of the extra bedroom after having spent hours in the emergency room and the crying over missing the funeral, I was stunned at her beauty and grace. I communicated this to her and she whispered to me, like she was telling me a secret and she meant it, "I function pretty damn well under the worst of conditions". I have never forgotten this and I try to embody it when things get tough.

I am wearing brown leather boots today, they keep falling down from my knees to around my ankles. I am trying not to be too bothered by that.

Sometimes things start with a fall, sometimes things end with a fall. Sometimes we just randomly fall and sometimes the thud of our bodies hitting the earth are heard and felt oceans apart from one another. Some falls we never forget and some falls we will never remember.

Monday, October 25, 2010

70 people and a Moroccan tent

Sophia and Mae turned one!!!!!! WE MADE IT!!!! So what did we do to celebrate? We threw a party, this can only be described in pictures.

The proud parents (more on the jacket later)

The tent

The cupcakes - you wouldn't believe how hard these were to find here

The above referenced 70 people - woah

The castle cake

The mayhem - we sang Happy Birthday in three different languages, as is the custom here, I love it. (doesn't it look like Youssef is grabbing that kid's nose?)

The proof in the pudding, or in this case the cupcake.

How did you celebrate your kid(s) first year birthday? My parents dropped me off at my Aunt Sherry's house and went to disney world with out me. When I was psychoing out planning this shin-dig my mother actually said to me, "I feel like I didn't really know that the first birthday was like a big deal until I had grandchildren". No further comments on that.

So the jacket...I lusted after that thing for like four months, I waited as the store closed for a summer vacation, re-opened and dsicounted the hell out of it. It is a silk beaded, pale yellow, butterfly jacket and I love it. I had envisioned wearing exactly what I did to their birthday party when I first laid eyes on that thing. Well guess what happened? MAE! (click on the photos to get the full scope of this incident)

Now there is the money shot! Welcome to parenthood.
- If I look like I have surrendered here it is because that is the second time she grabbed me/it. The photographer(thanks Stacy) was kind enough to take that picture as I was reacting to the first chocolate cupcake handprint!

Pathetic pathetic pathetic

I am changing this! I am recommiting to this; I am blogging again! There is so much brilliance in my life to share with the world and I really think this is the best way to continue to do so. So there.

For some updates:
We have moved to the country (will be eating lots of peaches)
have garden, will chronicle growth here
have a kids room to design will chronicle progress here
have an amazing kitchen will chronicle food that comes out of it here
Sophia and Mae turned one!!!! (and into to total brats!) will chornicle them here
have free roaming cows and geese right outside my door, will chronicle them here too
miss my family and community in the US desperatley, will chronicle that here
trying to navigate my way as a young thrity somethinger through marriage and twins and work and living in Africa, will chronicle that here

So what is that picture? That is the view from my rooftop terrace to the ocean. This is where I plan on spending a lot of time as soon as winter is finished. Will chronicle here.