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Stuck in the mud

I forgot to write about an incident that happened on March 4, 2011. Well, maybe it isn’t so much that I forgot. It was slightly embarrassing and hard to convey without photographic proof, so I let it slip out of my mind for a while.

At 10:00 am I left my house to go to my grandfather’s funeral in Atlanta, Georgia. My flight was at noon and my friend had offered to let me park at her hotel near the airport and catch the free shuttle.

Instead of exiting at Mannheim road, I nearly missed the exit and quickly pulled over to the area that is designated “Mud Trap” on the map below, thinking I could just cut across that little triangle of dirt and continue on my merry way.

Unfortunately, days of rain had created a mud pit that immediately sunk my car 4 inches deep. I tried using pieces of cardboard under the wheels, used a snow shovel, turned my wheel in every direction…nothing worked. I called AAA for roadside assistance…30 minute wait, minimum. I was getting worried that I was going to miss my flight.

After a while, a gentleman stopped to assist. He was wearing a very nice suit. He told me to turn the wheel a certain way and hit the gas…and promptly splattered him with goopy, side-of-the-road mud. I apologized profusely. of course. Finally a couple of taxi drivers stopped, and the three guys pushed my car onto drier land.

All I had to offer as thanks was some banana bread. The gentlemen refused my offer. One of the rough looking taxi drivers said with his thick Chicago accent:  “Honey, I’m on Jenny Craig!”

I zoomed to my friend’s hotel and told the story to the employees while I waited for the shuttle, covered up to my knees in mud and with mud all over my hands. I made it through airport security (they were baffled at my appearance) and had to wash my boots off in the bathroom by my gate. I made my flight (just barely).

The inside and outside of my car were mud-infused, and I had to get my car detailed twice before all of the mud was removed from the seats. I am still trying to get my boots clean. I truly wish I had photos, but all I could think was that I could not miss my flight.

Next installment: the flight home.

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memory boxes: 3

Georgia in the springtime
Magnolia trees
Bell the hound dog
Southern charm and art galleries
Tennis and the swimming pool

Bell was a bad-tempered dog.  I mean, we grew up together, in some ways, so she wasn’t too mean to me, or maybe she sensed that in my innocence, I would pamper her.  She always ran ahead when Granddaddy took us for walks, and would loops back around, nearly knocking me over and scaring me half to death in the dark woods.

My southern accent disappeared, but it struggles to come out from hiding when I am with these relatives.  Natives of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, half of the family still has the Southern roots strongly grounded in the soil…atheistic roots, for the most part, which made things interesting at times.

Granddaddy and Grandmommy met in art school after World War II, and they made a living on their art throughout their lives.  Granddaddy did illustrations and portraits, Grandmommy painted landscapes.  Our home is filled with their paintings and drawings.

The creek and trees behind their house used to be a dark, cool place full of mystery, but housing developers turned that magical place into a sad stand of pine trees as I grew older.  We caught crawfish and threw them back, and I will never forget my awe at a tire wrapped around a big old tree.

Everything in their house has been in the same place for the last 40 years.  I can still remember where the phone books are, the cereal, the board games, and the cookie drawer.  The furniture is in mostly the same configuration in their ranch home on the top of the hill.

We would play with the neighbor’s kids, and in the summers go to the neighborhood pool, where Grandmommy swam and Granddaddy played tennis.  They did this into their 80s.  They had their 50th Anniversary in the clubhouse there.

Dinner table discussions could almost be guaranteed to turn into a minor debate or intellectual discussion of some kind.  I mostly learned to hold my own, but have never gotten over my dislike of contention, and so did not enjoy them as much as others may have.

I can’t draw.  A cousin recently told me, “This monkey does NOT look like a monkey.”  Hey, best I could do, kid.  I didn’t inherit the ability to capture life on canvas.  My uncle taught me to whistle through my teeth and quack like a duck…thanks for passing on those skills, they’ve been quite handy.

Great-uncle and great-aunt had a wonderful house near a swamp, with a small barn and horses.  Great-aunt would let us ride the horses around the field, and I always felt so loved in their home.  When they passed away, I mourned them in quiet silence.

Grandmommy painted in the basement, and sometimes I would sneak down the long stairs to sneak looks at unfinished paintings, the bright oil paints smeared on painting boards and brushes, and the pile of animal skulls in the corner that my uncle collected in college.

We always came into the house through the kitchen door.  The front door hadn’t been used in so long that there were giant cobwebs around it.  Everything was always casual…I don’t remember any sort of formality in all the years we visited.

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Random pieces of life in Haifa: #3

1.  I am eating a sandwich with an olive oil-based mayonnaise.  It tastes exactly the same as “regular” mayonnaise, except it has less fat and is slightly less thick.  Lovely.

2.  We watched a blue jellyfish float by at the beach on Friday.  This also means that going in the water is a risky endeavor.  I felt rather brave. 

3.  Everything here is a constant hello and goodbye.  Pilgrims, family visitors, and staff.  It makes my head spin sometimes.

 4.  We are going to see Harry Potter tonight.  By “we” I mean a group of 25 people or so.  This has become the “thing to do”.  One of the guys always organizes an expedition…and I do mean expedition.  We have instructions, synchronized times to meet at locations, ticket-buying, job titles, hiking through snow and over mountains, sacrificing members of the group to wolves howling outside the cave where we huddle for shelter…

So far we have seen Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Die Hard, and Transformers.  Other movies I’ve seen in the theatre have been Fantastic Four and Ocean’s 13.   Sometimes it feels like I haven’t left the USA at all.

 5.  It is official: I have begun spelling in the British style (the BWC uses British spelling for the most part).  I knew it would happen eventually, but now I do it in MSN conversations.  I’ve also begun developing a bit of the “BWC accent” (which is basically a generic mixture taken from dozens of languages).  I am amused: this is the 4th accent I will have acquired in my lifetime.

6.  Summer slows down my pace of reading, mostly because I do not want to be indoors when it is so wonderfully warm outside.  (Yes, I AM enjoying the heat.  I know I am crazy.)  I finally finished all of the Jane Austen books, as well as a few fantasy novels, and am working on a few books simultaneously.

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7 Random Facts about Me

Mojan tagged me, and while I usually don’t do memes on my blog, I thought it would be nice to give some of you a little glimpse of some of my quirks.

1.  One of my biggest pet peeves is the confusion between “they’re” and “their”, “you’re” and “your”, etc. 

2.  I have had three different accents in my life: Persian, Southern United States, and generic Midwestern/Chicago (current).  I also start talking like people around me if they have a different accent.  Can’t help it.

3.  I really don’t mind getting up in front of a group of people to speak, but I like to be somewhat prepared.

4.  One of the joints on my right ring finger is bigger than the one on my left, simply from basketball injuries.   I am left handed…sometimes I missed when trying to get the ball.

5.  If people are fighting, my first instinct is to jump between them and break up the fight.  However, I also realize that my diminutive size prevents me from being very effective.

6.  Animals I like a lot: snails, toads, snakes, lizards, rodents, dogs, and sometimes rabbits.

7.  I have awful handwriting.  Really, it is just horrible.  I have tried for a long time to improve it to no avail.

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Lost Cassete tapes

Yesterday
I heard the voice of myself
at age 4
I spoke with a Persian inflection
as I said prayers into the microphone
age 5
I read from a children’s book
not recognizing myself as I realized
the strength of my southern accent
(South Carolina public schools)
But when I spoke to my parents
I had no accent at all.

“Maman joon, Baba joon, Allah’u’abha.
This is Sholeh, and I am going to say
some prayers for you.”
The messages that we sent my grandparents
17 years ago
brought tears to my eyes,
the slight lisp of my 4 year old sister
as she said her ABCs
and talked about riding the elephant at the circus
and sang prayers and children’s songs.
“Maman joon, Baba joon, can you come visit us?
We will play with you, and we miss you.”

I heard the patient voice of my mother
“Ahfarin, Sholeh joon.” (Good job, Sholeh dear)
As my 3 year old self
pointed out objects: duck! moo! ob!

Why do we forget the things
that should never be left behind?
I cried today…
I wish I could go back sometimes
to that innocent child of my past
to let her know that I love her.

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Hellooooo?

I wonder where my friends are. I wonder why people read, but don’t leave a comment saying hi.

I know you’re out there, blog-lurkers. Silent readers who visit the page and whisk themselves away before writing me a little message.

I have become sad.

[Read all of the above with an English accent. I am, however, quite serious about comments. At least just this once, say hi. Or leave a joke, or a funny combination of words. Please? At least for the little smily face woman below.]

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Current awesome band: Royksopp. My sister gave me their cd, and I’ve had it on repeat while typing my papers. Also, King of Woolworths is rather fun, trippy musical entertainment. Another sisterly gift that has saved me from insanity.

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