Archive for August, 2009

Birthday adventures abroad

August 27, 2009

Loved the cruise.  Lots to do, lots to see, lots to eat (oy).   Not much sleep – parents and teenagers work on totally different clocks, and there’s something about this mothering thing that doesn’t let me sleep while the kidlets are out partying with kids they just met.  All part of the fun.  *sigh*

Had a birthday cocktail in the main lounge during the evening show.  They put sparklers in the lemon slice.  Very nice.

birthday cocktail

We were very impressed with Alanya.  New, clean, friendly people, beautiful – a marina and beaches that are out of this world.  We took a half-day tour that even the kids thought was interesting.

We went for lunch at a place called DimÇayi – alongside a river.  A long row of restaurants – not by the river, but on the river.  The tables were traditionally Turkish, very low, surrounded by cushions to sit on.  And each table was on a floating raft, tied to a narrow dock from the shore.  The waiters navigated the walkways through the rafts.  In between restaurants there were bridges, fountains in the river, water slides for the kids, crafts for sale.  Quite an experience! 



DimÇayi table

Spent the evening at the huge Bazaar (open market).  Streets and streets of goods and shopkeepers to bargain with.  Didn’t find any yarn, unfortunately, but I did find lovely tea – bought samples of about 20 teas.  Crowded pubs, including one place where the entire staff was dancing on the bar to entertain the customers.  They tried to get some of the customers to join in – I gladly would have, but I don’t think that would bring them any business!  (And my daughter would never have spoken to me again…)

  Dancing on the bar

Everyone was tired around midnight, so instead of walking back, we snagged a horse-drawn buggy / taxi and rode in open-air style back to the ship.  Other tourists were snapping our pictures like crazy – the girls were half delighted / half mortified.  Pictures of us will be in photo albums around the world!


Had breakfast the next day at a lovely café.  It wasn’t crowded, maybe it was too early – things fill up like crazy in the evenings.  All of the bars and pubs around were closed.  Suddenly I noticed a bar next to the café with a huge rainbow flag!  I ran over to take a look, while the café proprietor proudly told me this was a Gay Bar.  Dagnabbit, why didn’t we find it while it was open?!   Wait.  A gay bar? In Turkey???  Really ??????

Alanya bar

We sailed home tired but happy.  Coming home party started at midnight and went on through the night.  E. and I left the girls dancing with the other teens and strolled the decks for a while before settling back in the cabin. 

And the toe?  First morning out I tried to do my exercise walk around the deck.  Damn toe was swollen, red and painful for the rest of the day.  Couldn’t dance either.  Had to sit out the salsa lesson.  Spent lots of time with my foot up, knitting in the sea air.  Which, when one thinks of it,  is an absolutely lovely way to spend the time.

Hindered and hobbled by a hurting hallux

August 19, 2009

I think I may have broken my toe.  The big one.  I tripped over something, and the toe got caught, and I honestly don’t know if it broke.  I only know the pain was excrutiating.  It still hurts a week and a half later.   I thought about having it checked, but I remembered my mother breaking her toe, not once but three times (the same toe), and the doctors didn’t do anything about it except tell her to rest it. 

It doesn’t ache all the time.  Only some of the time.  But if it gets bumped or pushed, yegads.  I’ve been wearing sandals that don’t put pressure on it.  But today I wore different sandals, and now the toe is sore again. 

A bit belatedly I googled broken toes.  Among other things, I learned that the latin name for the big toe is hallux.  I like that, it’s a cross between hallow and horcrux…and if anyone can find a smidgen of significance in that, more power to ’em.  And I found instructional videos on how to tell if your toe is broken.  Comparing toes visually is no good, all my toes are permanently smooshed up anyway from years in pointe shoes.  I tried the wiggle test almost immediately, but I don’t remember if I heard a click or not.    Some of the other ways to check do apply, some don’t.  Let’s hear it for confusion. 

But it seems I was mistaken, and even negligent, to ignore the situation, since there are indeed treatments for broken toes, depending on the injury, and neglecting the toe could cause more damage.   Of course, different medical websites have conflicting advice regarding treatments, some describing “the proper” treatment while others saying said treatment could be harmful.  We can’t expect experts to agree on anything, now, can we? 

Can’t do a thing about it at the moment, as we’re off on a cruise in some 40 hours from now and I have much too much to do.   I’ll simply see how things go, and if the naughty hallux continues to plague me, it will be properly examined when we get back.  A fine Scarlett O’Hara solution, well done.

Slaughter of the Innocent

August 17, 2009

It’s been two weeks.  It has taken this long for me to be able to put feelings into words.  Haven’t been able to blog, to tweet, I’ve posted very little in my regular forums.

Two weeks since a man wearing a mask entered the basement of the Tel Aviv center for the GLBT community, where there was a youth support group / social gathering in progress…and opened fire.  A counselor and a 16-yr-old girl were killed.  15 more wounded,  4 seriously.  Average age of the wounded: 16-17.  The killer has not been caught.

This was in a building that isn’t advertised, no signs pointing the way, the guy had to have known exactly where he was going. It’s been a GLBT community center for decades. This was a place that was supposed to be safe.

This is the first time our daughter has faced the fact that there is danger other than the common dangers we all face every day.  That there is a specific danger that could target her own family and safety.  I so wish she didn’t have to learn this.

The support group hit was there for youth to deal with their own identities, share and grow, and partly to learn how to come out.  Most of them were not yet out to their families.

Coming out.  Never easy.  Everything changes in some way.  And it’s scary.  For most minority groups, your family is your support base, where you can share a common experience, stand together against the world, if necessary….  Not so for LGBT kids, where your family is often the first place to condemn you and the last place you can get support.   In coming out you risk losing your basic support, your home.  Not in all cases, of course.  But sometimes you don’t know until you risk it.  My coming out wasn’t so bad, compared to most.  Although my mom’s reaction was “You stay in the closet, or you get out.”  Two weeks later I was living 400 miles away.  Still, she didn’t break off the connection.  (She chose to ignore “it”, actually.)   Even our own darling daughter, who grew up calmly explaining to nursery school teachers, et al, why she needed to make two separate Mother’s Day presents, etc. – even she was hesitant when she asked me if we would be upset if she found out she was bi.  (Aside – the answer was no, but truthfully, I think she’s straight but curious – also natural and ok.)

So naturally one of my first reactions when hearing the reports after the shooting about the terrified kids at the hospital who didn’t want their parents notified was concern – what a hell of a way to come out to your family.  And soon after came the news that one set of parents, upon learning where their teenager was shot, refused to visit him in the hospital.  And when he was released they wouldn’t allow him to come home.  So he is recuperating in a foster home, and counselors are trying to work with his family.  My heart breaks when I think of him.

The funerals.  I cried when Nir was laid to rest and his family proudly placed a rainbow flag on his grave.  I cried more for Liz.  Her family’s statement, in which they felt it necessary to emphasize not once, not twice, but three times in a brief paragraph, that she was not “like that”, that she was there in that place by accident, that her sexual preference was “normal” – was like another bullet.  My daughter was confused by it, we talked about why the family was reacting like that.  In her concern to be fair, she said, well, sometimes kids are scared to go someplace by themselves, they need a friend for support, even though the friend may not belong.  I pointed out that the kids there knew her, and so did some of the other counselors.  I asked her if she believed that Liz was there by accident.  She thought about it very seriously, then looked me in the eye and said “no”.

So I guess the only other thing I have to say is to Liz’s parents.  I know they’ll never see it, and I wouldn’t want to intrude on their terrible grief now anyway.  But I need to say it.

Liz’s parents.  You have lost a daughter to terror.  It’s a horrible thing to have to deal with.  The world will never be the same place it was.  You will never be the same people you were.  But you will go on.  Sometimes you won’t know how, and sometimes you won’t even know why.  Know that my condolences are deeply heartfelt.  I’m a mother too.  But I need to make one request.  Talk to the other kids in the center who knew Liz, talk to the counselors.   Before you jump to judge, before you claim to know everything about who your girl was, make the effort to find out what was in her mind and heart that perhaps she hadn’t yet shared with you.  Please give her that respect.  In your shock and grief, don’t further wound the community that she was either a part of or at the very least cared about.  Your beautiful, loving daughter was slain by a hatred called homophobia.  Please.  Please.  Please. Don’t show her memory the same hatred that killed her.