Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Burqa Rage"

Michael Gerson has an opinion piece in today's Washington Post about the controversy swirling in Europe over the banning of head coverings.  I've never lived or worked in Afghanistan but know many women who have -- and they pretty universally see it as a symbol of oppression and subservience.

Is the burqa really a reasonable expression of religious freedom, particularly when it serves to subjugate women?

I'd love to hear from some of my friends who live in Europe and can shed further light on this.  As well as those who can fill me in on the benefits of the burqa.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amman Fashion

I went to the souk on my last day in Amman, not so much to buy anything but to wonder past its limitless items -- shoes, socks, gold chains and rings, dresses, blankets, dried spices and herbs, plastic tubs.  And some interesting women's fashions.  I find places like Jordan a bit confusing.  

It's not all one way or the other -- extremely conservative or extremely liberal, which would make the study of women's choices and decisions about covering their heads and/or faces so much easier.

Some of these ladies, particularly in the drab, featureless "coats," looked particularly stoic.  I wonder if they felt what many women in Amman felt, who were at home and not out amongst the souk where I walked in my western dress.

As for me, I was mostly interested in those gowns with lots of jangling coins and bright colors.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If not Amman, then Bangkok

I almost didn't come to Amman. I was almost in Bangkok.
Well, it would never have happened given the violent events there these last few weeks.  A colleague and his wife came from the traumatized city; evacuated from their home in the "red zone" a few days before he left.  He's not sure what awaits him when he gets back.
These photos were taken just steps from his apartment before government forces moved in.
A much different city awaits him upon his return; and any of us going back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 2, Amman

My colleague, Steve, went out today to do what I love to do -- visit a local village, eat a homecooked meal and interact with the "real" people. Unfortunately, I was stuck in a hotel conference room.

He is filming a short video about a community water project in Jordan.  Jordan has severe water constraints -- it is the 4th dryest country in the world.  What does that mean? Rivers are drying up.  Crops are dying.  People don't have drinking water.  Many have traditionally felt that it was in "Allah's hands."

But one project funded by USAID is allowing commuities to make their own decisions about rain collection points -- to feed livestock, to provide fresh drinking water and to water crops.

Last night, we sat with 2 Jordanians who work on the project -- it was inspiring.  This is exactly the type of project we should be investing in as tax payers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wanderlusting in Jordan

Jordan snuck up on me on the calendar.  And then I was off.  On the plane...over to London...a nice stop at Terminal 1...and then on another plane to Amman which would leave me in a sleep-induced haze as I arrived to the throngs of European tourists and WANA conference attendees. 

But there awaits the beautiful city of Amman. Its white washed facades. Its dry heat.  Its desert feel.  Its warm people and wonderful food.

My time here is short.  My free time even shorter. How will I fill it in between training at this conference?

Perhaps looking for more of this simple beauty.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

To all my fellow mothers out there far and wide.  Young and old.  About-to-be and about-to-be empty nesters.  To my sisters  and sisters-in-law. To my best friends.  To my mother.  To Grandma Henny.  To those who are in my heart forever, Ruth June. 

You inspire, nurture, cajole, direct, soothe, mentor, tutor, hug, soothe, heal and motivate.

You are simply wonderful.  Happy Mother's Day! 

And, of course, to my little ones.  Thank you for giving me the chance to celebrate today!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

1930s beach house...renovation

I am so excited. We are finally going to do a bit of renovation on our beach house kitchen.  The house was built in the late 1930s and has a beach house, vintage feel to it -- with lots of bright colors thrown into the mix. 

I've been surfing the web for some design ideas -- open shelving, a pass thru to the dining room and definitely some new retro appliances. Here are a few of my ideas. Send me more if you come across anything.

(P.S. One of these is from Fire Island!)