Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A song for him.......

By: Ringo Starr

Ev'ry time I see your face,
It reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all I got is a photograph
And I realize you're not coming back anymore.

I thought I'd make it the day you went away,
But I can't make it
Till you come home again to stay.

I can't get used to living here,
While my heart is broke, my tears I cried for you.
I want you here to have and hold,
As the years go by and we grow old and grey.

Now you're expecting me to live without you,
But that's not something that I'm looking forward to.

I can't get used to living here,
While my heart is broke, my tears I cried for you.
I want you here to have and hold,
As the years go by and we grow old and grey.

Ev'ry time I see your face,
It reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all I got is a photograph
And I realize you're not coming back anymore.

The end.

Note: I will be out of town from Thursday till Sunday evening. Hopefully next week there will be some happy posts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Theme Song

This song kind of explains why I handle things the way I do. every now and then I do have a pity party, no one else show's up for those parties though, wonder why ? But I do think this song kinda tells the story about how I was raised and a few things I have gone through. You don't give up no matter how hard the ground hit's ya. You get up and keep going. You don't let failures and lifes disappointments keep you down. You get and keep going. And the thing my Daddy used to always tell me......Cowgirls Don't Cry.

Cowgirls Don't Cry

Her daddy gave her, her first pony
Then taught her to ride
She climbed high in that saddle
Fell I don't know how many times
Taught her a lesson that she learned
Maybe a little too well

Cowgirls don't cry
Ride, baby, ride
Lessons in life are going to show you in time
Soon enough your gonna know why
It's gonna hurt every now and then
If you fall get back on again
Cowgirls don't cry

She grew up
She got married
Never was quite right
She wanted a house, a home and babies
He started coming home late at night
She didn't let him see it break her heart
She didn't let him see her fall apart

'cause Cowgirls don't cry
Ride, baby, ride
Lessons in life are goinna' show you in time
Soon enough your gonna know why
It's gonna hurt every now and then
If you fall get back on again
Cowgirls don't cry

Phone rang early one morning
Her momma's voice, she'd been crying
Said it's your daddy, you need to come home
This is it, I think he's dying
She laid the phone down by his head
The last words that he said

Cowgirl don't cry
Ride, baby, ride
Lessons in life show us all in time
Too soon God lets you know why
If you fall get right back on
Good Lord calls everybody home
Cowgirl don't cry

Song By : Brooks & Dunn
Album : Cowboy Town

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where is my father ?

From what I gather, my father was the first in his family to marry “outside” the family and even to this day it’s not acceptable. Our first phone call, a family member wound up reducing me to racking sobs and honestly I didn’t even want to pursue it any farther. It was that heart wrenching. I was accused of everything under the sun but the bottom line were two things. 1) I wanted the Kuwaiti citizenship and 2) I wanted money. Neither of which were true. You know here in the US if someone has been lost, so to speak, because of divorce, adoption, etc, when they are found most are welcomed with open arms which is exactly how I thought I would be received. WOW…that wasn’t the case. Some of my father’s family are here in the US and have lives here and are very successful. These were the first ones we located. All we had to go on was the name that my father signed at the end of the letter along with his picture. I can’t tell you how many times we faxed those pictures and letter. Again, I was accused of making it up, having someone write the letter for me, etc.

Finally, after months and months of questions and accusations (on their part) and begging (on my part) an uncle of my fathers, who is elderly, called me and said that he knew I had existed for years. I told him I was coming to Kuwait and that I would like to meet with him. He agreed. When I met him it was very emotional and even on the phone he had cried. He wept openly when we met in person. On our first visit, he was the only one that we met. On the second visit more uncles and male cousins come to meet us. Some were very accepting some were not. ALL of them are very , very strict ! It wasn’t until our third trip to Kuwait that I was actually taken to anyone’s home. At first it was like the women resented me being there. Most of them still act this way although some have come around and there are a couple of younger female cousins that have been very polite, but still very guarded. The wife of my father still refuses to meet me and so do her children (who are grown). Part of this I do understand, kind of. Maybe someone can enlighten me on some of this. The elderly uncle has always been kind and loving towards me and several of the male cousins have “come around” and I am allowed in their homes, but again, the women are so guarded and treat me like I have the plague. From our first trip to Kuwait, out of respect for my family I have always dressed as they ask. Abaya, hijab and depending on where we are, niqab too.

As for my father, I have been told he was taken as a POW or killed when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Everyone swears that they have not heard from him since he disappeared. One of the not so accepting uncles called me when the US went into Iraq and waged the first “Shock and Awe”. He said, “Amirah, the blood of your father is now on your hands, because where your father was being held was blown to pieces by your country”. I immediately called the elderly uncle and he said that that fact had not been proven. The elderly uncle, said that my father had looked and looked for me, including making several trips back to the US. He was finally able to locate my biological mother. She died in 1984 somewhere in Oregon. I never met her nor any of her family.

So who do I believe ? What do I believe? Is there more to these stories than being told to me?

While “S” and I were married he had to go home to ********* for a visit and he made a stop in Kuwait. We had been told (not by my family members) that there was a list of POW’s. So when “S” went there he obtained a copy of that list. There was no one from my fathers family, nor his name on that list. So I still honestly don’t know what happened to my father.

Over the last 11 years I have learned a lot about Arab culture which has helped me to understand a little more as to why I am treated like this, but it still hurts very deeply. I mean, these people have the same blood flowing through their veins as I do !!

One of my family members (in Kuwait) found my “blog”. That’s why I went back and removed all names, places and took my picture off my profile. I had embarrassed them. It was a lot easier when “S” and I were married (before he got kidnapped by his family….yep, another long story) but the first time I went back to Kuwait after “S” was kidnapped they brought (at different times) a couple of male family members that they wanted me to choose between so I could become engaged. When I declined, I really become the black sheep of the family. It doesn’t make sense to me though. How can you not be “good” enough or Arab enough to be accepted into the family , but yet some want to marry me off to a family member ?? I don’t understand. The elderly uncle continues to love me and treat me with the utmost respect and kindness even though I declined to marry the men they brought to me.

My family and friends here (the American side) don’t understand how I could possibly love a country and it’s people that for the most part, deny me. They don’t understand how I can “defend” my Arab family and their actions when the same blood runs through my veins that runs through theirs. They don’t understand how I can love a culture that can justify walking into your home and taking away your husband (more about that story on another post) because your not from their “tribe”, you have been divorced and you have children from a previous marriage. If I don’t completely understand it how can I possibly expect them to? I don’t.

So how do I deal with all of this? There are times that I don’t cope with it very well. There are times I cry myself to sleep and even I find myself asking “why” sometimes. I have learned what true “unconditional” love is. I have learned that it’s possible to love something and someone even though there are things you don’t like about it. It’s called “acceptance”.

What do I do when at times the pain becomes almost unbearable? I saddle my horse and ride………………………..

~ Amirah ~

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My "Kuwaiti" Heritage

So many people have asked me about my Arab heritage that I decided to post “my story” here in my blog.

I was born and raised here in the United States. My mother was American and married to my father who was Kuwaiti. Towards the end of my mother's pregnancy my father’s mother become very ill in Kuwait. He returned back to Kuwait. For whatever reason my mother decided that he was not going to return to the states. At the time she worked for an older couple who were unable to have children of their own. Knowing this she approached them about adopting her unborn child (me) and they quickly agreed. The adoption (however illegal) was put in motion. When I was two days old my adopted parents took possession of me. Soon after my birth my biological mother left **** and moved to another state. When I was less than a month old my father returned to the United States from Kuwait. He went to where she had been employed and questioned my adopted parents about his wife and child (me). They emphatically denied having any knowledge of their whereabouts. He returned many times begging them for any information they might have about us and was repeatedly told they knew nothing. The last time he come to ask them about us my mother had me in her office. My father seen me and ask her point blank if that were his child. He was told absolutely not. (This part was relayed to me by my Aunt who was in the office at the time) My adopted parents become so scared that my father would somehow find out the truth that they decided to move from ***** back to their home state where most of their family was. My Aunt and Uncle (who had been in the office the day my father had ask if I were his child) stayed behind to take care of the selling of my parents business before joining them. Before my Aunt and Uncle left, my father returned one last time but of course he was lied to again. He gave them an envelope and ask them if they ever saw me to please give it to me. ( I would know nothing of this envelope until almost 30 years later)

My adopted parents were wonderful people even though they had told lies. People who are desperate will do and say things that under normal circumstance they would not. This was their case. I had a wonderful childhood. I was raised very strict, my adopted father was a Southern Baptist minister. I was brought up on a large ranch with all that implies. The community I grew up in was VERY backwards and uneducated. I was told at a very young age that I had been adopted and at that time I could have cared less. I was loved more than imaginable, well cared for and absolutely lacked for nothing. Being the only child I was spoiled rotten.

When I was 16 a young man with whom I had grown up with but was several years older than I was, from a very well known family in our community ask for my hands in marriage. (Yes, believe it or not this was a common practice in some parts of the US) Having been raised the way I had been and with the mentality that this was what young ladies were suppose to do, I agreed. A little over a year later my son was born and then two daughters followed. Since my husbands family was quite wealthy I was afforded private teachers and was able to finish my education and even go onto college. As the saying goes, “crap happens” and after 7 years of marriage we divorced. I was in my first year of Law School and somehow even though I was now a single mother with three small children I was able to finish Law School and pass my bar’s. Life was good. I had a successful law practice and I was able to purchase a large ranch of my own and began raising registered Quarter Horses. (From my earliest recollections we owned horses and even after I married, my husband and I rodeo’ed as much as possible and my children grew up on the backs of horses, so they have always been my passion)

In 1995 I met an incredible Arab man from one of the Gulf Coast Countries and we married. I have to say that my family was in total shock, well most of them anyway. Keep in mind the community I come from and their mentality. However they soon learned that he truly loved me as well as my children and prejudices were put aside. I wish I could say the same for his family but that was NOT the case. That’s “another story” though. My husband, “S”, knew I had been adopted and he was the one who actually got my curiosity peaked about my “real” parents. When the subject was brought up in front of my adopted mother I could see the pain in her eyes and since I had lost my father some years back and being her only child I did not want her to feel as though she was loosing me too so “S” and I decided to try other ways of locating my biological parents. Because of the nature of my adoption (illegal) we ran into dead ends everywhere we turned. Well, almost. One day while I was in my office my Aunt called me and ask to speak to “S” and I. My Aunt and I had always been very, very close and she had grown to love “S” very much. After work “S” and I drove to her home. I honestly thought she was going to make known to me what she wanted me to have after she had passed but that was not the case. Nothing or no one could have prepared me for what I was about to learn. She told us that she had something very important to give to me but she made “S” and I promise we would not say anything to my Mom until after she (my Aunt) had passed. (My Aunt had been diagnosed with cancer and told she would not live long) Not having any idea what she was about to give me, we agreed. She handed me a worn and faded envelope that had never been opened. On the outside of the envelope a word was written in Arabic. “S” took the envelope from me and began to translate for me and my aunt. The word on the outside spelled “Amirah”. Inside the envelope was the letter (written in Arabic) from my real father along with his picture and a picture of him and my real mother together. My Aunt had kept it for me all these years. I can’t begin to tell you the emotions that I felt and I can’t tell you all the letter said because I wouldn’t be able to finish this post for the tears.

The letter held almost every answer I had ever had and in the end it led us to find my real father's family. A new chapter in my life was about to begin !!

**Since this post is long enough already, I will post about the first time I spoke to my father's family next week sometime. ** Thank you for taking the time to read this. ~ Amirah ~

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Camping on horseback.......

DISCLAIMER: I am unable to make short posts or to make a story short. Sack lunches, bowls of popcorn and drinks are encouraged and probably a necessity for making it through one of my posts.

Ok with that said........

Since some people have never been camping or have camped in totally different environments, I thought I would share what it's like to camp in the mountains on horseback. Roughing it is an understatement. Everything you need has to be able to fit into saddle bags. Saddle bags are bags (usually made of leather) that attach to the back of your saddle and fit across the horses rear end. A lot of horses do not like having something "flop" around on their butt the first time, so a "rodeo" can erupt. That's another story. In the saddle bags you put your clothing, toiletries, etc. (Ziplock bags are great for keeping your things dry for when you cross creeks and then they double as pillows when blown up) Anyhoo.... on top of the saddle bags is your bedroll. Basically it's a sleeping bag rolled up very tightly. We have a lot of bears and cougars in the mountains so attached to my saddle (and my son's) are gun scabbards that carry our rifles. (Annie Oakley aint got crap on me) On your saddlehorn you hang a canteen of water and lasso (rope).

When my kids go with me I always take two pack horses, which are horses that carry your drinking water, pot's and pan's, hay and grain for the horses and our food as well. The saddle bags have to have even weight distribution or the horses walk lop sided and I have seen them actually fall. All food items need to be in cans (tinned) or dehydrated, refrigeration is not an option. We only carry enough fresh water to make it from one camp to another. The rest of the time all water is drank from streams which is where you bathe as well.(This gives a whole new meaning to the term "cold shower" LOL) This time of year water is plentifull because the streams and creeks are up and running. If you have never had a cool drink of water from a spring, can't imagine how sweet and pure it is.

Ok, so now we are packed and ready to ride. My son, ****-age 24, took his GPS with us this time which was pretty cool because he could tell us how far we had rode and how fast (or slow) we were traveling. The first creek crossing was quite a challenge because we literally had to swim the horses across. It was that deep. (Thank God for ziplock bags) The first day we rode 26 miles, about half of that was uphill then we found a great camping spot for the night. First thing is to unsaddle the horses and water them, then the pack horses. I use a "picket line" which is basically a rope ran between two tree's in which the horses are tied to this rope so they can move around but can't escape. (Well there was this one time.....ok, that's another story too) anyhoo...after the horses are unpacked, we gather firewood and start a fire in a fire ring made from large rocks. I am a coffee addict so before I do anything else I start a pot of coffee. We were camped next to a fresh spring so here's how ya do coffee in the woods. Take tin coffee pot, dip into creek till almost full of water, throw in a handfull of coffee a pinch of salt (takes the bitter taste out), put lid on, place on fire and boil. After it boils for a lil while you dip another cup full of water out of the spring, remove lid from coffee pot and slowly pour the cold water around the inside edge of the pot. This makes all the coffee grounds settle to the bottom and TAH DAH no coffee filter is needed. This is actually an "ole cowboy" trick. By the way, nothing smells as good as coffee on an open fire. (IMHO).

I'm not much of a "tent" person, so rarely do I pack one, instead we tie a tarp between tree's to make a cover to put our bedroll's under. Just a way to keep the evening and morning dew off of ya. My son and I usually don't sleep under it because we both enjoy looking up at the stars. Meals are very simple, usually biscuits baked in the dutch oven or fried cornbread with some type of cured meat and if you wanna get fancy, some beans. (My son who thinks he's the great white hunter and fisherman has left me and his sisters eating jerky and dried fruit for several days when he "barely missed" his target. So we don't rely on his meal provisions anymore). After supper we take the foods packs and hang them from a rope that we throw over a high limb a good distance from camp in case some hungry, enquiring minded bears or cougars come by (learned this the hard way too.....yep...that's another story). Then we gather more firewood and stoke it up (this is a deterent for keeping critters at bay). The saddles are placed around the fire to be used as a type of recliner, more coffee is made of course and it's time to relax and reflect. That day our entertainment was my youngest daughter, ***** age-21. At the first creek crossing she failed to keep her horses head up and the horse got dizzy and lost her balance. My daughter and her horse both started floating down stream. My son was able to throw his rope (he's a very accomplished roper) and luckily it grabbed ahold of her saddle horn and he was able to tow them both up out of the creek and up on the bank. So needless to say that night was spent teasing her unmercifully. Finally it's time to retire to our bedrolls. After some giggling and the "Walton family good night's, - Goodnight Mary Ellen, Goodnight John Boy, sleep comes quickly with the soft nickering of the horses, the sounds of the animals scurrying through the woods, coyotes howling off in the distance, the soft glow of the campfire....and what the HELL is crawling under my bedroll????????? I'm just to damn tired to care...zzzzZZZzzzZZZ.

Sometime during the night I awaken to the "smells" and sounds of something tearing open packages !! I slowly roll over and look across the fire to see an ENTIRE family of "SKUNKS" happily eating bags of cookies and cakes that my oldest daughter, ***** age-22, had failed to hang up in the tree with the other food !! All I could do was lay there and hold my breath and pray that one of the kids didn't make any quick movements or noises in their sleep and scare the lil buggers !! That would NOT have made for "another" story.

Sheeesh, this post has turned into a least a chapter anyway. I'll save the rest of the trip for another post :)