Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I will not live an unlived life

One of my dearest friends, G., sent me this poem nearly a year ago. With my father back on the other side of the country, I am returning to my own devices reflecting about why I do what I do and the solitude that seems to always follow me on my journey. This poem says it so well.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

-Dawna Markova

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Flying off

Dad's leaving tomorrow :( I have to get up at some insane hour to take him to the airport. It was nice spending time with him. I am going to miss him reminding me to do the obvious. "Put on your turn signal," is the reminder that is fresh in my mind right now. My response is usually the same regardless of my age, "Daaad."

This is a photograph I took of a nearby lake. We went to see if there were any eagles but I think they have flown off and left the area in search of salmon. It's a little late in the season from what I hear. Hopefully the cold will fly off soon as well.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Puzzle

I have an incredible father. I thought that it would be fun to do something at home in the nest during his visit as the weather can be unpredictable. I have been thinking about doing a puzzle for nearly a year now and he has been nice enough to humor me.
I picked a puzzle of an old 17th century map. The box actually contains two 500 piece puzzles, one of the Americas and one of Europe, Africa, Asia and Antartica. I thought that this would be one that my father would enjoy and quite frankly didn't listen hard enough to figure out if this was actually the case.
I had no idea how difficult a 500 piece puzzle could be. Last night we started it with A. and managed to do the outer pieces. I learned a great about myself and my father that night. I tend to sort out the puzzle pieces into categories: all pieces with red together, all pieces with orange and black lines in another pile, and pieces with writing also need to be seperated. Then I started sorting them out by subcatgories as I realized that there were different types of writing. I even started putting the categories and subcategories into ziploc bags that I had saved from my trip to Lebanon. This made me laugh because I had so many ziploc bags on my trip that I ended up not even remembering what I had wanted to put in them. As my mind struggled to find order in the chaos of puzzle pieces and ziploc bags, I started getting anxious. My father did not seem to see the categories that I had devised and was trying to work on the puzzle in what I considered a haphazard manner. How were we ever going to solve the puzzle this way!
Working on the puzzle, I not only realized that I tend to to break problems down into managable pieces but also that I have a very particular way of breaking problems down that not everyone understands at first glance. I also noticed that my father started by looking at the map, whereas I would look at the individual shapes and colors of the pieces as I worked. My father was the wide angle and I was the telephoto lens. I also came to realize that while I was very much focused on solving the puzzle, my father was going with the flow. He was more concerned with spending time with his daughter than finding that one piece that fit in this rather complicated puzzle.
We are no where near being done, and may not be by the time he leaves. If we ever finish it, it will look something like the map above. No matter what, we are enjoying ourselves and my father is learning about the fine art of categories while I am trying desperately to mellow out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

From point zero to dream catchers

Some of you may have noticed that I have been in a mood. The bleak usually sunless cold has been getting to me. I look back at the photos I have been taking and I see the color schemes as bland. I yearn for bright vibrant colors and light. I love light. I am not afraid of it, I cherish it. The more it illuminates the better. I even considered going to a tanning salon, that's how bad it got. I am a natural chick. I towel dry my hair and don't shave my legs. Why would I be considering a tanning salon? That's desperation for you.

I am feeling a bit better tonight for various reasons. For one, I tend to take action when I hit point zero. In addition, my dearest papa is visiting me this weekend. He will "cheer me up" he says :) Thirdly, we have an incredible group that we are privileged to share time with this week at work. Native women and one man. Today, we invited a colleague of ours to drive across a few mountains to create dream catchers with us. We spent all day making them with mellow tunes playing in the background. Time was slower as it always seems to be for me when I am on the reservation. My hyper anxious anglo spirit is forced to slow down and listen.

It took me all day to slow down. I hope that I will be more in tune tomorrow. Making dream catchers today helped. Mine is still unfinished. I need to add feathers- my goals and dreams. I will work on this tonight.
I am so grateful for today. It made me get off my adminstrative and statistical throne and become someone who listens and challenges herself at every moment again. This is where I am the most inspired. Plus, it helped that my hands were busy. I have endorphins in my hands by the way.
A special thank you to bluegrrrl and carol gee. You respond and support me when I need it most. The blogopshere has been a wonderful addition to my solitary yet committed and focused life.
Complete solitude. That was an extra challenge that I faced this weekend. My somewhat removed yet loved and much effort at trying to understand partner decided to start dating someone else. I cannot commit to remaining in my current stopping place was the deciding factor.
It's time for my feathers, what I yearn for in my life, what I hope to give...
I have the best intentions to take another photo of the finished product. Until then, Buenas Noches, Bonne Nuit, Massah Alkhayr...
Que suenes con los angeles,
Margarita, Marguerite, Margaret

Monday, February 19, 2007

Point Zero

We do not arrive willy-nilly at point zero. We arrive there a choice at a time, a degree at a time, as we make little or less than we should of a growing discomfort. We get along without what we love the way camels get along without water-not forever, but for a very long time.

And then, one day, we are thirsty and what we crave is water, real water, a pure infusion of something that matches what our body and soul are authentically craving.

-Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

what has impacted you?

i've been asked to write a piece about lebanon for my local peace and justice group's newsletter and for the peace train. The problem is that i can't seem to write anything that says what i want to say in part because i do not know what i want to say. plus, i'm drained by everything right now. i'm afraid to check the news for fear that i am going to hear of more people killed. i can't close myself up when i hear of violence. it is so wrong to me that i want to do everything in my power to stop it and other times i just want to cry. i cried as i watched pan's labyrinth today. it is just so sad. very violent. very realistic in this sense. this is what we humans do. if you have any words of wisdom for me as i try to write, please feel free to share them. what have you remembered about my writings on lebanon? what has impacted you?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

the sun came out for a few hours today...

and then it went away.


I usually have crushes on people who represent parts of myself that I would like to develop.
In no particular order, my crushes have included:
an intellectual
a nerdy someone with hair covering their eyes
a peace activist
a computer geek
a mixed media painter
a writer
a photographer
a human rights worker
a parent
a thespian
a science major
a buddhist
a potter
a book lover
a wanderer
a simple liver
an environmentalist
a free spirit
and a community organizer.

A Sunday Scribbling....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

3 dead, 23 wounded in two bus explosions in Ain Alaq near Bekfaya in the Metn, the mountains where I grew up.

One side blames Syria, the other the Israelis. Does it really matter?
What matters is that these were ordinary people going to work, trying to continue living while politicians squabble.

An editorial in The Daily Star was the source of the most intelligent commentary:

Given the utter lack of respect that the high and mighty of both the government and the opposition have shown for the general public by failing to reach a compromise, it was perfectly predictable that eventually, someone would carry out a craven atrocity against the innocent and the humble. The next stage that so many Lebanese fear, though, is entirely avoidable: We do not have to see tit-for-tat massacres that spiral into civil war if the political class realizes at last that its pride is not justified, that its status is not earned, and that its priorities are indefensible.

The supposed day of love is fast approaching and my heart goes out to the ordinary people of Lebanon and to the ordinary people all over the world who suffer the consequences of their political leaders' pride and self-interest.

Happy Valentine's Day

Monday, February 12, 2007

Juana Molina's Son

The new CD I ordered came in the mail today. Juana Molina's Son. I'm liking her. It was an order based solely on a good review in Yes! magazine. I was in need of some new sounds in my life, so why not? I haven't sat down with the lyrics yet but initial impressions are that her sounds are cacophonous and soothing at the same time. Perfect, evening by candle light inspirational blogging, creating, writing music.

I liked her description of her music:

When she talks about her songs she compares them to “the randomness of sounds in nature. Each bird has a particular singing; nevertheless this singing is always different.” The verses, “are alike, but never the same, other times I choose to sing over a repetitive melody, What changes here and moves randomly is, for example, a keyboard. It is like overlapping two different loops, with no synchronicity at all. One very rhythmic and the other one more loose. When you play both at the same time, the loose loop will provoke a changing harmony, because their beats will never be in the same place.”

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Operation Infiltration by Mahmoud Darwish

I am reading a collection of essays, stories, poems, and visual images about the war this past summer in Lebanon. The title is Lebanon, Lebanon by Saqui Books.

One group of essays and poems in the collection is about another war that was happening at the same time only a few miles away. In fact, this war has been going on for a long time and is still going on today. It is a war that is largely forgotten and gets very slanted media coverage in the United States when it does.

Mahmoud Darwish is an amazing Palestinian poet. His words are so powerful. I found a great many of his writings included in Lebanon, Lebanon and in the winter 2007 edition of the Poets Against War newsletter. I copied and pasted one that I thought readers could relate to in terms of so many wars, Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur,...

Please do not forget those affected by war.


Today, the twenty sixth of July, twenty one murdered/martyred in Gaza, among them two newborns, were able to bypass the military checkpoints and the barbed wires . . . and they snuck into the news hour. They did not make a comment, because pain fell from them before they could reach the word. And they did not state their names that are so poor and ordinary. And they did not raise their arms in victory sign to the camera, since the camera was crammed with more thrilling images. War is excitement, a series where the new episode obliterates the previous one, a massacre copying another. And when death becomes daily it becomes ordinary and the murdered become numbers, and death routine, the temperature not higher than thirty degrees Celsius. Routine causes boredom. And boredom distances the viewer from the screen, and prohibits the correspondent from doing his work. And when the viewers become fewer, the commercials dry up and the image industry goes bust. Not to mention the sites in Gaza have become familiar, their connotation weakened: a leaden sky over narrow alleys in camps that don't overlook the sea. No hill there, no natural scenes to please the viewer. Everything is ordinary. Murder is ordinary and the funeral is ordinary and the streets are ashen. But what is extraordinary today: twenty one murdered/martyred were able to courageously infiltrate, without the help of informants, the evening news.

Friday, February 09, 2007


I remember bicycling alongside of him through Audubon Park enveloped by oak trees, Spanish moss, and thick humidity. We had just finished a delicious meal at his parents’ house; his mom was a wonderful cook. As our wheels whirred along, he asked me what I thought of his mom’s food.

“It was yummy,” I said.

I cannot remember exactly what he said next. All that I can remember is being criticized for using such a puerile word. His father was a Ph.D. and he would be one also a few more years in the future. Such a simplistic word, “yummy,” wasn’t my vocabulary more intelligent than that?

I felt a heavy feeling in my chest. Perhaps I was, stupid.

Sixteen years later, I still use the word, “yummy;” and every time I do, I think of that day in the park. I love saying the word, enunciating the “mm” and drawing out the “eee.” I say it loudly and exuberantly no matter the situation- a management meeting, an interview, a dinner with strangers or with friends. The kids of course love it and everyone else puts up with it. It is part of being quirky me.

We judge people by the language they use, we make assumptions.




It has become a form of rebellion for me. I am saying, I could use another word, pick something out of the GRE vocabulary list, but I will not simply because.

For more scribblings on "yummy" click here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

No to Civil War in Lebanon!

Seeing this photo made me so happy. My friend from Kafa that I wrote about in a previous blog told me that women's groups were going to meet near the Beirut National Museum and say:
No to a civil war!
Yes to Peace!
Over 300 women participated this past Monday.
Other banners read:
Enough confessional incitement, no to civil war.
More than 100,000 killed, more than 100,000 handicapped, more than 17,000 people missing is the price of the past civil war.
The organizers issued a statement calling on political parties "to stop the sectarian campaigns and mutual accusations."
"We refuse internal fighting as a means to achieve political goals, and call on all political leaders to return to dialogue in order to reach a national, non-confessional solution" to Lebanon's political crisis, they said.
The location where the women met is symbolic. The Beirut National Museum was one of the crossing points on the "Green Line" that divided the city during the first civil war. Kafa's offices are pretty close by and when I visited them in early January I remember being so happy that I was actually driving near the museum, a place that I was never able to go to as a child.
How horrible it would be if the country becomes so divided that violence once again ensues. Isn't the past recent enough to stop people from self-destruction once again?
Those that will actually be doing the fighting and the dying will not be the ones gaining from the war. As always, it will be a few politicians and business entities who will benefit. Most people whether they are Christian, Sunni, Shiite are nothing more than pawns. Can't people see this?
I feel the slightest bit connected to Lebanon right now, as I knew that this protest was going to happen. If I could have, I would have been there.
I am sending as much postive energy as I have right now out into the world, to women who are standing up to the violence that surrounds them. I am with you.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Disappearing ripples

Like a finger taken out of water, there are ripples for a few seconds and then the memory that the finger was once there disappears. This is how I feel right now. Every day, every post, Lebanon becomes more distant and with it my friends, the bright light, the food, the many languages spoken all at once. Pretty soon newcomers to my blog will never know that I was there, that it shaped me, that I consider it my second home, perhaps even my first.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Inspiration of the day

Besides the most amazing teenagers that I work with, my second source of inspiration for today is Lingual Tremors. What is it with this gal? Today she photographed her shower curtain of text and definitions- ah, the woman with a book on every spare surface held her breathe for a moment, she was so moved. I love words. Even showering with them sounds fun, partially because my interior dialogue never shuts off and so yes, I shower with words on a daily basis. Click here to see lingual's fun curtain of text.

Wandering around the net the other day, I discovered crafty chica's love song pillows.
While I cannot imagine a love song on a pillow (I no longer dream of a prince charming; I am content with my dear K. who is always there for me no matter what), I can imagine my favorite quotes and poems encima, on, sur, aala, the pillows I cozy up with when I read, sleep, and write. Hmmm, I could even play with language and script- the comp litter/semipolyglot also ceramic and metals major is surfacing right now :)

I just wish I could play with more fonts on this blog. The limitations of blogger are surfacing...

While I was at it I figured I'd introduce readers to two additional networld inspirations.

Annabel Daou has already been the subject of a Margaret's Wanderings.

And Laure, dear Laure, whom I didn't have a chance to meet when I was in Lebanon, but that I will meet one day....

Isn't it amazing how far a photograph of a shower curtain can take you?
Now I have to do a little writing so that my kids can continue to learn to change the world. What a great goal.
Good night
Maa salama
Que suenes con los angeles
Bonne nuit
Sbah ul kheir

Sunday, February 04, 2007


i hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, and water them with your blood and tears and laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I've had it with being depressed. No, I haven't made it known perhaps; but I have been since I returned from my trip. It's hard not to be this time of year. It is so grey outside. Even when I go out and take photos, the moments I capture are grey.

I found the above quote at jen lemen's.

I am going to push myself to live again. To write, to go to yoga, to go snow shoeing, whatever I feel like doing whatever it takes. I will also probably visit creative blogs more often and hopefully spend less time depressing myself over the state of the world. Not that I could keep myself too far away from politics, but I need to let what nourishes me into my interior space more often than it does.

I also am going to create a mondo beyondo list.

This is the list of things that are outrageous, wild, and may not even happen for 5 or 10 years from now. This is the list of things that are SO JUICY and unlikely to happen that you are afraid to even write them down. This might be the most important list of all!
{This is where the trip to Tibet goes, the gallery show for your paintings, meeting your favorite movie star, owning a home in Switzerland, or whatever makes you grin and feel jazzy just thinking about} If this list isn't really fun to make, you're not using your imagination. Think big! This is your mondo beyondo.

This is from superhero journal. Check her blog out for more on mondo beyondos.

And so it is time for my own mondo beyondo list.

I want to:

* Travel. See the world, the whole world including Africa, Palestine, Thailand, Vietnam, India, New Zealand, Hawaii, Argentina among other countries and parts of the world...
* Be fluent, really fluent, in Spanish, French, and Arabic.
* Write and find a way to create the elusive "finished product" that we westerners base our accomplishments upon.
* Go snowshoeing in the winter and kayaking and hiking in the spring and summer.
* Incorporate yoga into my daily life. None of this 3 months on and 6 months off behavior.
* Be a group animator for adults and teens in theatre and the creative arts in a way that assists and animates people to make a postive difference in their personal lives and way beyond.
* Get Maya to stop always whining for food.
* Be much more adept at using my camera including manual settings.
* Live and travel in more countries and if I live in the States, to live on the Western side of the Cascades.
* See war become history.
* See everyone having their basic needs met.

This is my list. I encourage you to write yours. You can write it in the comment section or somewhere else if you want. And as superhero explains, don't fret over whether your dreams are attainable or not. Just write them down. Push yourself to verbalize the dreams that lie buried deep down in your heart.

Postscript: I am already working on making my dreams come true! I just signed up to go to this year's Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed conference in Minneapolis this May. I even signed up for a 3-day workshop with Augusto Boal, the creator of Theatre of the Oppressed. I am proud of myself for making plans and keeping my creative juices flowing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Goodbyes: A "Sunday Scribbling"

I am not very good at goodbyes. In fact, I avoid them. This doesn’t mean that I make my exit at midnight when people are fast asleep, even though I have done this. Typically, my goodbyes are most identifiable by the fact that they are non-goodbyes.

Giving non-goodbyes is not the same as never having to make an exit. I am a wanderer. I have definitely exited. What I basically try to do is keep relationships going. Try that is. Even with the people that I am not super close to, there is usually the option of getting on my e-mail list. You usually know where you stand with me. If we never quite clicked and were friends only because you were friends with my friend, then I will hear how you are from this friend if at all. But, if I have put you in the genuine friend category, I will do my best to keep in touch.

I have lots of people that I try to keep in touch with. These are people that I think are special and have impacted my life in some way. Usually, these people will at the very least receive e-mails until the lack of response sends me the message that the desire to keep the relationship is not reciprocal.

Some friends drop off the Margaret radar for awhile but eventually get back in touch. These friends, and I am thinking of my dear friend B. in particular at this moment, go through periods where they need their space. I try to give it to them even if I wish I could be talking to them on a regular basis. Hell, if a friend spent a week in the Superdome after Katrina don’t you think you’d cut this friend some slack?

I have another friend, M., who I have lost touch with for over two years now. I changed phone numbers; she moved into her own house, I hope. She, her husband, and her oldest daughter are undocumented. They are not always easy to locate. But I know me and the way I move through this world. I reconnect with people. One of these days, I will make it back down to the South Texas Valley and I will find her. We will hug and cry, I will see how her daughters are doing and pretty soon I will feel as if I had never left.

The longest non-goodbye I have ever experienced was 26 years long. This was with Mansour, my dearest and closest childhood friend. As some of you know, I reconnected with him and met his family a little less than two months ago when I finally was able to go back to the land where I grew up, Lebanon.

The second longest was 25 years long. My reconnection with Pascale was pure chance, but I did reconnect and it will not take me 25 years to see her again. This is where the goodbyes become tricky with me and the boundary between goodbyes and non-goodbyes truly blurs. I left saying, “I will see you this summer.” I will do my best to stick to this. Of course, if war once again breaks out in Lebanon (heaven forbid) I will not be able to stick to this intention.

This is how goodbyes are for me, usually, and is why I consider them non-goodbyes. While saying goodbye, I spend most of my time trying to figure out and even plan when I am going to see the person again. Most of the time. I remember one goodbye where I knew the person wouldn’t keep in touch with me, but I went through the motions and even made attempts after my departure. It was she who did not keep the relationship going.

And so, this goodbye is not really a goodbye.

Inspired by Sunday Scribblings.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Torturing my cat?

Do you ever feel like you are torturing your cat?

I do when she wants more food than the vet recommends for her. She howls as if she is starving. Some compassionate parent I am.