Friday, November 13, 2015

I am still Muslim!

My heart is broken.  A whole city under attack.  What is going on?  Not to mention that I'm affected by this through reading the links on Facebook.  I have not turned on my tele.  If I did, it would be far worse.  Then I read the comments.  Some horrific comments about Muslims and Islam.  Of course, there are those who defend the religion and try to give perspective.  My favorite is the one that we are accusing people without knowing who is behind these attacks.  Oh dear God!  Stop!  Please.  So many people died.  Can we slow down and stop these accusations and focus on what's important?
I should not make light of this situation but I have to be honest.  At the back of my mind, I can see the news 3 days from today.  I see a young caucasian being arrested.  "Mentally ill individual blamed for the attack on Paris" will be the headlines and then I'm not sure how the media will take it.  Flip side.  Do we really need to know what the flip side is?  Some mentally ill idiot who has a Muslim name and/or mentions the words Jihad or Islam and we all know how that story will go.  We have lived through our 9/11.  You haven't truly lived through 9/11 unless you've been affected by it, as an innocent Muslim; as majority of Muslims have been.  I cringe to think this is Paris' 9/11, but the result will be the same.
Memory flash back.  2001.  I wear a head scarf and pray in the resident's room.  One of the resident's silently watch.  A faculty member walks in as I finish prayer.  "Here you are praying and over there your people are destroying our country"  This when the wounds of 9/11 were very open and sore, in all of us.  My wounds were only torn apart more and salted because the perpetrators of such insults never considered I had wounds.  They never considered that it was an attack on humanity and that my religion does NOT stand for that kind of insanity.
I see a post about bomb blasting in Lebanon or Syria yesterday and many were killed.  The post talked about our "first world" concerns with bombings.  I guess, if 1000 people died elsewhere, but 200 died in Paris, what's worse?
Then there's the article I read or saw about empathy and how we can empathize with 1 or 2 people dying, if we put a name and a face to it.  The moment we say a million people died, our empathy is not as much.  It's an occurrence.
I don't know every nook and cranny of my religion, but I know one thing.  I know my religion, the religion of Islam absolutely CONDEMNS this and all acts of terrorism.  No ifs ands or buts.  That's a period.
This is not a time for hate.  This is not a time for finger pointing.  Actually it never was the time for such judgements.  I was going to write this article yesterday.  How ironic that I didn't and Paris happened today?  I was going to write about the climate of hate on Facebook.  There are some posts that are very anti-Islam.  Then there are posts by Muslims in defense that are anti-Jew and back and forth.  I think it's time to step up to the plate and recognize if you are part of the haters or the hated.  If you are a hater, then it's time to stop.  It's time to stop using your confirmation biases and posting against any group or religion.  If you are a hated, it's time to stop retaliating by hating someone else for something else.
Our world whether we like it or not is transient.  At the end of the day, we all go 6 feet under, unless we are cremated.  We are all humans.  We have one planet.  Can we not take care of our planet and each other?  Why must we continue to destroy and hate because someone else is doing it?  I challenge you all to stand up for respect and understanding of all religions and human beings.  Walk a mile in their shoe.  Let's not let these acts of terrorism poison our minds with distrust and vengeance.
Tonight, I'm praying.  I'm praying for everyone in Paris and all the families and friends of those affected around the world.  I'm praying for the protection of our world and the protection of all human beings.  I pray for community and thoughtful leadership.  I pray because I believe in a higher power and I believe we are insignificant dots on the landscape of time and space.  I pray we all can be better people and more accepting of each other.  And I just pray...

Please join me in prayer for all our humanity.  Please join me in love.

Best wishes always,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

More HMS Victory modeling

I know I haven't posted about my model for a while.  It's been a work in progress.  If you look at the picture below, you'll see all the paint; yellow and black on the outside.  You can see the little wire stairs on the side, also painted in black.  Painting is not the big deal.  Do you see the threads sticking out outside the ship?  If you can't, look inside.  Those were little loops I had to make, and it was a royal pain, let me tell you.  This step was holding me back for the longest time.  When I first did a few, I had them backwards, so I had to re-do them.  Arghh!  It's not easy.  Sometimes the knots would go through the hole and I had to redo it.  It was just a mess.  Solution?  I finally got a glue gun and made the knots bigger and it was very time consuming to get all those loops on the ship.  

Loops done!  Time to put the two parts together and I finally took the leap of faith.  As you'll see, the 2 sides have been glued and are clamped together quite nicely.  The clamping part and all was easy.  Looks like it took 6 clamps.  It's the fear and excitement that I was taking a step forward that made this journey a tad nerve-wrecking.
Here's to the start.  A new direction to the same journey.

This picture on the left, is the second step after gluing the 2 main pieces together.  This forms the cross bracing for the decks that will go over it.  I painted it white as per the directions, but in retrospect, it was a waste of time and paint to do that.  No one is going to be able to see these braces when the ship is all complete.  Why the instructions had me do that?  It's a mystery to me.  Or you can blame it on the French! I don't mean the language, I mean the people.  Their ways are just their ways.  Most certainly doesn't make sense to me

Here's the first deck that was glued on.  It looks simple but I will be repeating myself quite a bit.  It's not simple.  The process has not been intuitive.  The deck had to be bend and pushed to make it settle in place.

Remember the loops and knots I spoke about earlier.  Yeah!  Putting this deck in place meant having to be careful to not displace those loops.  I think I displaced a few and had to re-do them.

On a side note, being a dentist, you would think a 1mm loop should not be a bit deal for me.  I was trained to eye 0.3 mm chamfer margins on a tooth, but this is not about eyeing it.  It's about physically working with it.  Holding it and tweaking it and to be blunt, doing dentistry is easy.  This part is more painstaking.

And here I am painting the bottom of my ship.  Bronze!  How did I pick the colors?  I followed directions!  I know.  Boring!  I do believe the color works though.  If not, I would have changed it.  I don't have all the recent pictures in this blog.  My ship has progressed since I uploaded these pictures, but in my next post about this model, you'll see how I used my judgement on painting!

Look at the pictures on the top and bottom.  You can see the cannons sticking out of the cannon ports.  Do you remember the blog from a few months ago about making cannons?  Well, I finally put them to good use!  I think it looks gorgeous.  So happy about it!

This last picture above is my favorite for this blog post.  Just more complete and shows the most growth.  I promise I have more pictures.  It just takes a while.  It's on my iPhone and I have to send it to my blogger app and then it takes a while to upload.  I prefer to edit on the Macbook itself, so the process takes a while and meanwhile, the ship grows!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I love flowers.  In trying my hand at gardening, I've come to the conclusion that no matter how much I love flowers, the deer love them more.  Of course, the good news is that the deer are moody.  There are times they eat my chrysanthemums and sometimes they don't, but this is about the Iris.

This beautiful blue flower is a spring flower.  I used to not know my flowers (I still don't completely), but I was introduced to the Iris when a friend of mine bought me a bunch  and told me that she loved this flower.  She was right.  It was beautiful and I loved the flower so much, I decided to plant them.  That's when I realized that not all Irises were all blue/violet.  Some of them have combination white and blue petals with a beautiful vein striping on them.  The petals are just gorgeous on these flowers.  The flaminco dress was probably designed from this petal;  flow and frill.

As you'll notice it is the fall season currently and I'm talking about an Iris; a spring flower.  Well, a lonely Iris showed up to brighten my life a little over a week ago.  It's funny.  I've been running around these past few months and one thing after another has been going wrong - mostly in my office but it's been a constant battle and a constant stress that I bring home.  For a moment, I thought I was cursed.  Honestly, I did.  It's a very scary thought.  I thought that perhaps God was not happy with me.  Another scary thought!  While I entertained such thoughts, my friends tried to explain to me that it wasn't true and then I would tell them of something new that had gone bad that day.  This went on and on.

Last week, as I was driving away, I noticed one lonely Iris bloom in my front yard;  the only flower there as the deer had eaten all my mums.  I can't recall where I was driving to because my mind has been in a haze for the past few cursed months but I looked at the flower and said, "Hmm.  It's a spring flower.  I didn't know Irises bloomed in the fall!" and drove off.

This continued to happen and about the 3rd day, I realized I hadn't had the time to even go out and appreciate the flower.  I made a mental note that I needed to do that when I got home.  Well, 2 more days passed and the flower was slowly getting old.  I remember telling my husband about it.  How life had just passed me by that I didn't even have the time to walk outside my front door to look at a flower.

The next day, my husband and I walked out the front door to address some issue we had with the home (painting, cleaning) and I talked about cleaning out the weeds at some point.  My husband stopped me and said, "Look at your Iris! You keep mentioning that you haven't had the time to even appreciate this flower and now you are out here.  Get a good look."  I looked at this flower, all beautiful still, holding on to its last moments of grace.  It had been waiting for me every day for several days.  Everyday, it was holding the message.  "You life is not cursed and I'm proof of it".  I was just too busy to even go out and get it.  Finally, I was able to appreciate the last bits of the weak crinkled petals, wet in the rain and too weak to hold on.  The color of its youth had faded, but it was still beautiful.

I have several Irises planted in my front yard.  None of them bloomed this fall.  Just this one flower.  The one flower that would defy exception to come into my life to tell me that there's still beauty in this world and that I need to stop and take a look.

Best always,