Happy New Year!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Tarek "started" it about two weeks ago with a post titled "Gorgeous by the Media" - in which he offers his opinions on the beauty of Halle Berry and Beyoncé. The post made some references to alleged racism by society and the media.
Intrigued by the post, I wrote a couple of comments. It wasn't long before a reader known as Amre commented on my site as well as on Tarek's. Amre suggested that those of Arab heritage needed to look at how they perpetuate racism before hurling allegations at others.
Tarek just wrote a follow-up post, Black and White. In it, he summarized the issues at hand. But it was how he began his post that was the most compelling:
Are we racists!? Do you really think, we, Arabs, are racists!
I will say that I have observed that some Arabs - and I emphasize the word "some" - can be condescending to people of other cultures. Often, it's subtle rather than overt.
When it comes to who is prettier,
I find it interesting that Tarek couldn't just write a post about which celebrity is prettier. He had to bring the issue of race into it. Then Amre posted his own comment on my site. For me, here is the most interesting part:
One more thing in case you are african american. I have to tell you that the ancient Egyptians were not black people. They were just like the contemporary ones of an arab or middle eastern material.
Let me get this right. We all are descendants from Adam and Eve, but people of color can't claim ancient Egyptians as part of their heritage?? The sad thing is that Amre obviously doesn't see the truckload of biases this comment carries.
Are Arabs racists? The question remains open for discussion. Kudos to Tarek for having the courage to put the issue out there.
Tags: arabs, egyptians, egypt, racism, culture, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
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Thursday, December 28, 2006
I love this quote by E. B. White:
You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.
tags: quotes, life, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Are computers masculine or feminine?
A French teacher was explaining to her class that in French, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. For example, house is feminine (la maison); pencil is masculine (le crayon).
A student asked, "What gender is computer?"
Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups - male and female - and asked them to decide for themselves whether the word computer should be a masculine or feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for the recommendations.
The men's group decided that computer should definitely be of the feminine gender (la computer), because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic.
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for immediate later retrieval.
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (le computer), because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on.
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves.
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time, they ARE the problem.
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
The women won.Source: TruthBook.com
tags: humor, computers, women, men, relationships, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Sunday, December 24, 2006
unto us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
May the Light of the world shine in our hearts
this season and always.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Long ago and far away, a blogging friend tagged me. I'm tasked with listing 15 of my favorite things. Here goes:
2. Staying up on current events
3. Learning new things
4. Being near water and/or fish
5. Reading mysteries/psychological thrillers
7. Listening to music
8. Hugging my brother (he hates it!)
9. Watching 'Star Trek' and 'Law and Order'
10. Buying lipstick
11. Watching any movies featuring Robert De Niro or Al Pacino
12. Engaging intriguing people in conversation
13. Nibbling on dark chocolate
14. Hanging out with my father's or children's generation
15. Playing on the floor with toddlers
Tags: musings, the journey to naomi
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I probably should have posted this message at least three weeks ago. I have not abandoned my blog. I've just had a lot of "stuff" going on.
I am at no loss of topics to write about. But because I felt as if I were painted into a corner, I was working overtime to maintain my focus and my cool. There are enough people ranting in the blogosphere. You don't need to hear me, too! Taking my own advice about pity parties was in order, I think. :-)
The "smoke" is clearing. I still have my challenges, but I'm coping better. What has kept me going is the treasure of friendship I experience here. Here's hoping all is well in your world.
Tags: musings, the journey to naomi
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Exploring the final frontier
I'm a huge Star Trek fan. I never tire of watching reruns of the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I absolutely loved Deep Space 9, but it appears that I'm going to have to buy the DVDs if I want to watch those episodes because I can't DS9 on TV.
It's funny that I would grow to be a "trekkie". My first exposure to the original series was in college. My roommate lived for Star Trek! That's all she ever watched on TV, and it was my TV! She bought the log books so that she could memorize the dialogue. So it was not unusual for my friend to mouth the words as we watched an episode. My friend drove me nuts with this, but I put up with it because she was my friend. After college, she convinced her new husband to honeymoon at a Star Trek convention, and he didn't even watch the series! I hated Star Trek - probably because I was saturated with it when I lived with my roommate.
Years after college, I started watching reruns of The Next Generation (TNG). I took to the series immediately. I fell in love with Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). He appealed to my intellect. He was cultured. And, darn, was he sexy! I never felt that way about Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner, star of the original series), but I was crazy about Mr. Spock, the Vulcan. On TNG I also had a thing for a certain Klingon, Lieutenant Worf. My friends teased me because I had a "thing" for two characters that 1) weren't considered to be conventionally attractive, and 2) didn't display much warmth. We won't explore the psychological implications of my crushes!
My fascination with space and science fiction goes back to my years as a young girl, when I read voraciously about planets and drew pictures of planets and radar systems - at least the way they appeared in my imagination. I think space has always been my escape from the real world. It still is to this day.
When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine came on the scene, I was instantly hooked. It was gritty. It had lots of odd-looking characters, many of whom were social outcasts. The Ferengis, for instance, would do virtually anything for money. But there was something about the most ambitious and annoying Ferengi, Quark, that made him redeemable. As for Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks), he was definitely a babe! Like Jean-Luc, he was smart and skilled in diplomacy.
My college roommate thinks it's hilarious that I'm a trekkie now. My children used to watch the shows with me when they were small. But one day I guess I took my love for aliens too far.
I went to the neighborhood video store and rented five tapes. I came back home to the kids, who excitedly looked through the videos to see what they wanted to watch first. All five videos were Star Trek tapes.
"That's all you got??" they moaned. I gave the kids a sheepish grin.
They mumbled, then went out to play. I put my feet up and quietly escaped for a few hours to the "final frontier."
tags: star trek, trekkie, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I may get in trouble for writing this post, but sometimes I have to get away from women. Let me explain.
Right now we still don't have our own home yet. So my daughter continues to live with friends. The woman with whom she lives has two daughters. She is also the guardian for four foster daughters. The husband is the only male in the house, unless you count the little toddlers his wife keeps in her home daycare.
My daughter and I are grateful for friends who would allow her to stay there. They treat her as if she's part of the family. But sometimes my daughter gets frustrated - like now. With so many females in the house, she has plenty of people getting into her "business" and making comments about virtually everything she says and does. I've witnessed it, so I know.
I visit my daughter and grandson as often as I can. I am fortunate because I am treated as "family," too. While I love our extended family dearly, sometimes I have to leave because there simply is too much "estrogen" in that house for me. Too much attitude!! My daughter finally told me yesterday that sometimes it gets to be too much for her.
My daughter, the youngest of three children, almost has been raised as an only child because there is a big difference in ages between my sons and her. Even after the baby was born, it was just the three of us - my daughter, the baby and me. (My oldest son is dead, and my other son lives in his own apartment.) So imagine the adjustment my daughter has had to make living in a house where, if you count the daycare kids, there may be 10 or more people in the house at the same time.
My daughter's comments about her frustration didn't come as a surprise to me. I have suggested two things to her:
1. To go into another room and shut the door when she feels she needs some time alone
2. To call me if I'm not working so that I can pick her up and get her out of the house
I am also going to talk to the mom in the house about being understanding if my daughter seeks some time alone. The mom says she considers my daughter to be one of hers. Sometimes I think she takes it a little too far, though, even though I know she means well. That's the challenge of living in someone else's house. That's why should everyone should have his/her own home.
It's my responsibility to provide housing for my daughter and grandson, and I take that seriously. In order to make it possible for us to get a new home, I am job-searching again. I have a job I like, but the pay is very low. No one gets rich working in public education, especially the position I have. I really don't like the job-hopping, and I hate to leave a job where I feel I have a "calling," but I have to take care of family.
I am proud of my daughter. Her grades are wonderful, and she's a fabulous mom. She's been very strong despite a very turbulent year.
Back to the topic: "Too much estrogen?"
I love my women friends, but sometimes I honestly can't deal with a lot of women at once. My daughter is like me in that regard. Both of us grew up as the only girl in a family that is overwhelmingly male. So we both have always had lots of male friends, and we get along well with males. I don't remember either of us ever complaining about being around too many guys.
One of the biggest challenges I ever had was working a job where 95% of the employees were female. They were, for the most part, wonderful women, but I never adjusted to the "attitude" and catty remarks heard throughout the office on any given day.
Do my daughter and I prefer "testosterone" over "estrogen"? I'd like to think we have a great appreciation for sisterhood - that I simply need to get us a permanent home. What do YOU think?
tags: women, culture, life, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
It finally happened. Someone hired me full-time! I begin work at a high school on Wednesday. My official title is parent educator. However, my job will entail much more than working with parents and teachers. I think the principal of the school already wants me to work closely with him on various projects.
I have gone through some crazy stuff between the time I interviewed for the job and the time I was hired. I'm not complaining, though. Still, I have enough employment-related stories to fill a book! Perhaps I'll share my latest "adventures" in a future post.
I haven't given up my job at the casino yet. My bosses at the casino are trying to keep me, too, to work evenings and weekends. It's nice to be wanted.
So, my friends, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I've had a whirlwind of activity. For everyone who has hung with me - and you know who you are - thanks so much. You have shown me the treasure of friendship.
tags: life, work, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Monday, September 25, 2006
It happened several years ago, but sometimes it seems as if it were yesterday. It was the night a stranger broke into my home, stabbed me multiple times and left me for dead. My son, a little boy at the time, witnessed the entire thing. He was in the room when it happened. I was nine months pregnant.
The stranger had tried unsuccessfully to rape me. He didn't attack me right away. I spoke with him for 20 minutes, trying to talk him out of what he had planned to do.
The young man broke in through the kitchen door. When the noise woke me out of my sleep, I got up to see what was happening. It didn't dawn on me to be afraid.
The young stranger told me that he had been sent to kill me. I kept him in the kitchen - out of my son's view - because he tried to rape me.
I think the stranger was afraid. That's why he allowed me to talk to him for 20 minutes. I don't think he was prepared to face me because I was supposed to be asleep. Also, I was calm and gave no appearance of being afraid. As I talked with him, I took careful note of his appearance and prayed to God.
After 20 minutes, the young man lost his patience. He shoved me into the room where my son was, then knocked me to the floor. Then he started stabbing me in the top of my head. By the time it was all over, I had 17 stab wounds in my head, face, neck, arms and hands.
The stranger did not physically harm my son, who had the presence of mind to remain still until he was sure the stranger was gone. Then my little boy ran to the phone to call police.
I lost consciousness for a short time. I woke up just in time to hear parmedics say, "Oh, my God, she's pregnant!"
I was rushed to the closest hospital, where I was stabilized. Then I was transferred to the hospital where my doctor was on staff.
Because I was pregnant, I was hooked up to machines. Some monitored me, others monitored the baby. The doctors said that if I weren't pregnant, they would have operated on me immediately because a stab wound in my neck disturbed them. The doctors decided to wait 24 hours to see if the wound would get better. It did.
Seven days later, I gave birth to a large, healthy baby - my daughter.
There was a lot of activity for the next several days. A police investigation was underway. Since I was working as a journalist at the time, I became headline news. The news wires even picked up the story.
Five days later, police officers told me that they had arrested two people. One was the young man whom I had identified in a photo. The second was my daughter's father. Police say it was a murder-for-hire scheme.
tags: abuse, domestic violence, relationships, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Thursday, September 14, 2006
From time to time in recent months, I've been thinking about men and romance. I haven't dated in years. Perhaps I've been thinking about men more often because I wish I had someone who would "take care" of me. I've been wishing for that since I was a little girl, but I've become quite adept at taking care of myself.
I love men. Really. And I have lots of male friends in my life. In fact, for as long as I can remember, my male friends outnumbered my female friends.
So what's going on with me? I finally have to admit that I'm protecting my heart. I made some really bad choices in men when I was younger. I respect my former husband, and we remain good friends. However, my ex was not husband material.
My last romance was a long-distance relationship. It ended in January of 1999. The man was someone who had been my friend since I was 14. I was quite happy with the relationship. But the guy got it into his head that I needed someone closer to home. He made the decision to sever our relationship without consulting with me. I was furious.
I've been asked out by men over the years, but I've never gone. Up to now, I haven't felt ready to let a man into my life.
There has been one man who, under different circumstances, could be my soulmate. But he's married with kids, and I don't mess with married men.
Even though I've been single longer than I've been married, I apparently have that "married" look. In fact, a man told me that once. Ever since then, I've been thinking that I really need a makeover!
Some women are really into the physical attributes of men. Generally speaking, I could care less what a man looks like. My celebrity "crushes" include Hugh Jackman, Hugh Laurie, Tommy Lee Jones, Yaphet Kotto, Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Jimmy Smits, Richard Gere and Sidney Poitier. At the top tier, however, are Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Clint Eastwood.
The only men who attract me are the ones who engage my mind and exude confidence. I think smart, confident men are sexy.
Will I date and/or marry again? It's possible, if it's the right man. But first I have to get over the fear. Next...I have close friends who insist on screening the next potential "love of my life."
My male friends tell me that they feel sorry for my next husband. I haven't had sex in years. My friends say I'll kill my new husband on our wedding night!
tags: men, Love, relationships, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I think I'm going to do a better job of posting regularly. I just finished three weeks of house sitting for a friend. It included taking care of her cats and her garden. I am not a gardener.
The casino is keeping me busy. My body is getting better adjusted to the long hours on my feet.
More later. Until then, best wishes to everyone.
tags: personal, the journey to naomi
Friday, September 01, 2006
I just ran across a sumptuous love poem that I think you'll enjoy. I just melted when I read this. And it even comes with a beautiful photograph.
Check out Mona Lisa Overdrive on Lovers Anonymous.
tags: love, lovers, relationships, love poems, poems, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
In many ways, children are much more genuine and articulate than adults when it comes to talking about love. We grownups can lose our spontaneity and freshness when this topic comes up.
A group of four- to eight-year-olds were asked the following question: "What does love mean?" Their answers might surprise you.
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca - age 8
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4
"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6
"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy, and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7
"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together, and you talk more. My mommy and daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"
Emily - age 8
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka - age 6
tags: love, friendship, children, inspiration,naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Sunday, August 27, 2006
The Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis was born at Assisi in 1182. After a care free youth, he turned his back on inherited wealth and committed himself to God. Like many early saints, he lived a very simple life of poverty, and in so doing, gained a reputation of being the friend of animals. He established the rule of St Francis, which exists today as the Order of St. Francis, or the Franciscans. He died in 1226, aged 44.
St. Francis' prayer is a bold one, asking for strength to give of ourselves to meet the needs of others. He recognizes that it "is in giving that we receive," that as we give of ourselves, we receive the peace and blessing of God.
Think about the situations that you are involved in that require peace, consolation, hope, light and joy. Then, if you're bold enough, pray the prayer!
Source: The Prayer Guide
tags: inspiration, st. francis, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Friday, July 07, 2006
In search of a rewarding career
Today I had a job interview. The position I applied for isn't full-time. However, it is in promotions, something I think I'd enjoy. I'd get to work with people in a fast-paced environment. If hired, I'd be on call. But it's a job, and I have to start somewhere.
My interview was at a casino. I live in a major city, but this was the first time I had ever set foot into a casino. Once inside, I gazed in amazement at the flashing lights and the crowds, but only for a few moments. I stayed focused and headed for human resources.
Once there, I completed the second half of an online application. (I completed the first part of the application, my work and education profile, at home.) In the HR office, I answered about 25 questions designed to determine if I have good customer service skills.
I train others in customer service, so I think I did all right on the questionnaire. But I admit to lying on one question. The question: Has anyone ever told you that you talked too much? I answered NO. :-)
Later, I participated in a group interview with others.
I learned a lot today. When people are gambling away their fortunes in a casino, it's important to have employees who smile all the time, treat guests like they're VIPs, and maintain a high-energy environment. Projecting fun is first and foremost in every casino.
Once our minds are ‘tattooed’ with negative thinking,
our chances for long-term success diminish.
- John C. Maxwell
My life has been quite eventful this past year. Two days after being appointed to a leadership team to plan a $2 million fund-raising campaign, I lost my job. A few days later, I found out my teenage daughter was pregnant. I never saw it coming. I lost my home. Things went down from there.
You can always count on family
Over the months, I endured family insults that I was a bad mother. Relatives not only slung mud at my daughter, they slung mud at me. That, in and of itself, was hurtful. The fact that I was unemployed and struggling to keep everything together made life even more challenging. I had moments of total exhaustion - physically and mentally.
Nevertheless, I never gave up. I made sure my daughter got good medical treatment. She stayed in school and continued to excel. We had some very hard times, but we met the challenge head on.
I lost my home shortly after the baby was born. But nothing could take away my joy at the birth of my grandson, who is a gorgeous and happy baby. He looks like his mom and has her charm. Like his mom, he lights up a room with his presence. I am so proud of the kids.
The good news is . . .
My daughter is back in school. Her grades are wonderful. She’s in honors classes in the fall. She has her whole life ahead of her. I want her to remain focused on her goals. Everyone makes mistakes. The mark of maturity is when you can rise above them and keep going.
Our little family is still moving from place to place because I’m still looking for a full-time job. We’ve gotten very little help from family. But that was no surprise. Our faith keeps us going. We also get support from a small cadre of wonderful friends. Never underestimate the power of God and the kindness of people - some of whom you’ve never met.
My daughter and I will be successful because we refuse to drown in negative thinking. Sure, we get discouraged at times. But we refuse to be destroyed.
The great thing about life is that with each day, you get the opportunity to begin again.
tags: life, work, friends, perseverance, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I’m a writer whose world revolves around her work and children. My personality is complex, according to those close to me. I’d like to think I’m perceptive. Others may argue convincingly that I’m from another planet!
I possess two distinct personalities. One side of me wears my heart on my sleeves. The other side, which I try to keep hidden, may chew you up and spit you out, if provoked.
In the end, I’m just a little girl wishing that someone would protect her. However, I learned when I was small that it’s up to me to believe in myself.
Journey to Naomi
(c) 2006 Naomi Freeman
All rights reserved.
tags: life, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi
You have just entered the world of Naomi. Welcome! Hopefully, you will enjoy this space.
I'm a chick who said she'd never write a journal to rant and rave. I didn't think journaling was my style. Wrong! After blogging for a year in some other spaces, where my writing is purely professional, I found that I did need to pen some personal thoughts.
I'm not sure where I'm headed, but I do know that I'm off on a new adventure. Come with me and enjoy the ride.
tags: greeting, naomi-usa, the journey to naomi