Monday, November 30, 2009

Althalam kan fi koll makan, laken hua gal...

Last night Flaco went to bed in his regular way - Matthew played the guitar and sang for him (a lot of Pedro the Lion lately if you're curious), prayed with him, and then tucked him in. Actually not in that order at all, but that's all right. As usual, Flaco dismissed Matthew eventually, told him it was okay for him to go downstairs, and so he did. Settled in for the end of GI Joe with Roger. About ten minutes later we heard weeping and gnashing of teeth. I went upstairs to see what was the matter, and there was my boy in his Superman pajamas, tears flooding his eyes. I held him for a bit and asked if he wanted to pray again. He did. He knew just who he wanted to pray for, so we prayed and prayed. (He has a way of always knowing who is on my heart. I don't know how. I talk in whispers at night to Matthew, and yet he knows, he always knows.) He asked me to tell him a story, so I whispered to him the story of creation (as translated for me by my friend Najla.) "Estas hablando en arabe, mamita?" he asked. "Si, mijo" I said. "Hmm. Shukran, mamita. Shukran!*"
Then he joined in, whispering in the night "In the beginning, the world was empty, there was nothing but darkness everywhere. But God said 'let there be light,' and there was..." And I stayed and stayed and thanked God for my little son's half hour of insomnia, for the chance to be still and quiet, for the chance to take care of my son, for the chance to bow before my God, for the chance to remember again, again, his power over the dark.
*Shukran is thank you in Arabic! He knows three of the sentences of the creation story in Arabic too, which is pretty sweet. More than pretty sweet. Sweet as overly-honeyed headache-inducing baklava, if you ask me. He can also ask "Hey, would anyone like some coffee?" in a Jersey accent. In English. Not a Jersey accent in Arabic, although who knows? Maybe someday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change, He faithful will remain

Monday, November 16, 2009

Schwarzenegger Sends Special Envoy to the Dairyland

The state of California recently found it fitting to send two of its finest to Wisconsin on a peace-keeping mission in light of their incessant "California cows are happier" campaign. Pictured is junior delegate A. Dickson, using his intellectual prowess to awe a local resident, L. Goodman. After building a "dropping bomb simulator," Dickson went on to make a bottle of lime cinnamon rootbeer. Goodman was overheard saying "Alex is so[ooooo] cool." Senior delegate J. Dickson was spotted talking and laughing with several area locals, who later reported that the cold war shows early signs of thawing.
Despite their achievements, Gov. Schwarzenegger ultimately pronounced their mission a failure, given that A. Dickson now wants to move to Wisconsin to raise cattle.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

But does he know what line Bill Clinton is famous for? (No no no.)

I was driving past the park today and spotted two porta-potties lying on their sides at the edge of a hill. I saw these and of course thought of Cornerstone '96, the hottest, grimiest week of my life, which culminated in hundreds of strangers having a huge mud fight and eventually sliding down a mud-soaked hill on the ripped-off door of a Johnny-On-The-Spot (which, thank goodness, seemed as gross to me at the time as it does now.) I love how memories that you didn't know were memories flare up unexpectedly. Which brings me, of course, to my Flaco. He is significantly more like an elephant than a goldfish. We drove to Menards the other day, and as we waited in the car for Matt to come out, he said "There is a giant black cat inside mamita!" (which he had seen about two months ago - an inflatable Halloween decoration.) I said "Do you know what color its eyes were?" (Just to see, just to see.) And he tells me "They're purple!" Which they are. Were. And the fact that he remembers things now makes taking him places and doing things with him even more wonderful. He remembers seeing a baby pig at George McFall's house back in June; he remembers riding an elephant with Abu in July. He remembers seeing his Uncle Brian at Christmas last year (when he was only 14 months old!) And of course he remembers more than that, but these are some of the ones he's been talking about lately. He even has some memories absolutely unaccounted for -- he saw a man at the shop the other day with white hair and puffy bags under his eyes, and he looks at him and says "Mamita, look, it's Clinton!" This Flaco this Flaco -- I'm so glad he's mine.

Monday, November 02, 2009

In celebration of tiny Fy!

The first year we celebrated Fyo's birthday (a few days after we got him), we dressed up in costumes and watched a werewolf movie. The next year, we held him a party in Waukesha, attended by his four grandparents, which made a grand total of seven people in costumes. (Fyo was dressed as Doctor Octopus!) In Appleton, he dressed as a pilot (goggles and a scarf) and threw a marvelous party - Lucas was only a few weeks old! I'm so glad Fyo hosted the party himself instead of asking me to do it. Whew. Last year, he and Flaco dressed as space men and went trick-or-treating together. Which brings us to the present -- Fyo, Lucas, and Loli all dressed as tigers (poor Fyo did not have a very good costume, comparatively) and got candy and then we went to my parents' house and had a birthday feast! Barbecued pork! Mashed potatoes! Sicilian vegetables! Pumpkin pie with cream! Fyo says that he plans to be a pharaoh next year, and that Lucas and Loli have already agreed to be his mummies. So here is your invitation a year early -- would you like to attend his birthday dinner?