In dirt scuffed shoes


DSC_0020I walk the road of no regrets
Dirt scuffed shoes and poplar leaves

Fallen heroes grieve for me
Womankind stacked at my feet

Her voice calls out in unison
I sing in tandem heart bereaved

The chime says no regrets for me
A wasted form of liberty

Push publish

After four proofs and a final one yesterday, I think I am ready! I asked Foof if I should hit publish and she said YES. I had a couple of minor details that needed fixing and have now hit Publish once again!! I will let you know when it’s official.

I am sorry that I am not been visiting much this week, but I am babysitting and not able to comment much!

Healing gift


Idaho 2011

Two equal sides were measured up and daily bouts of guilt, anger and shame all boiled down to sorrow. A march down the hill and up again was meant for exercise but became a ritual to quell frustration that built up after days of denial and appeasement. I told myself it was better this way and was not a reflection of the person that I was or had been in the past and after all, I had been the one who left, not him. I purchased creams to prevent the signs of aging, went on diets and did internet searches to help in coping with this new life style that had been thrust upon me. A time period of relative acceptance was always followed by a barrage of confusion and dismay, a battle with the reality that now it was not only another woman 18 years his junior but an infant as well.

For years he handed out the rules that kept our life in an orderly but chaotic realm; the couch could not touch the wall, a small pot was not to be placed on a large burner and two identical containers of ketchup, mustard or anything else were not to be opened at the same time. There were exceptions and alterations to a long list and keeping up with sometimes hourly changes, became unnerving. But now this was my home and I decided what rules would be relevant if he was to insist on entering our lives. I made an orderly mental account; he would stay in the room downstairs, no contact with his new family while staying in my home and no purchasing gifts for them.

Vacations to China and trips with the sheik to other Middle Eastern locations meant I was alone with my 9 children in Riyadh, no contact or inquiries about our well-being were ever made. On visits to Syria his mother questioned him, insisting that he pick up the phone and check on his family but he would not be moved and the same answer was always given, Um Osama ( Lynn) is fine and there is no need.  Upon his return the same bag was positioned by the front door containing his pressed and folded clothing and a sack of dirty laundry. On occasion his family insisted on sending little presents as reminders of their affection and the bond we had created while spending time in Damascus. He reluctantly handed out baby dolls, purses and jewelry making sure that no one thought they were from him. Now he would be visiting our home in Idaho and so it seemed only right that he would not call her, purchase frivolous gifts or even think of her and so my rules went into effect.

I wrapped the warmer complete with a scent that seemed just right and tucked it into his suitcase one last time. It had become a game of sorts that brought happiness, joy and resolution on one day and on the next an unrelenting feeling of sickness. I reminded myself that she had probably been tricked and must have been told we were divorced. The baby book had been more difficult and hours were spent positioning it just right and then removing it. One day it was a lovely token and a badge that showed I was indeed a forgiving person who was unaltered by these struggles and the next it was a tormenting reminder of the invisible person I had become. Pink ruffled onesies and tiny socks, dresses and headbands were taken in and out and finally folded one last time. I had contemplated throwing them out or giving them away and then just as easily they were dear to me and held a meaning much greater than I knew. The baby book, warmer and clothing finally found their place in his luggage and would provide a tiny modicum of healing.


Above the Palouse

Next month it will be 9 years since we made the trip back to my hometown and eventually decided to stay. To be honest, two of my children told me they would not return to Saudi if I chose to, and they knew there was no way I would leave them here alone. Once again they turned out to be my heroes and helped me to be strong.

We were, and still are a unit, a family but also a tightly knit group that formed a bond through fear, isolation and of course love.  My kids never told on one another, everyone knew that could be a scary prospect. They stood up for me and every member of our family. We put whatever limited resources available to us in for the better good of the group. We stood together as one working to make it through each obstacle.

After a few months of being stalked, harassed and threatened, he made a visit to our little town and then returned to Saudi. He announced his marriage to a second wife and soon there would a new baby. During this time I tried to divorce but efforts were futile. He offered to buy a home, the first stable place for my kids in years and so I agreed.


I am grateful for this home but it also comes with a price, being linked to him. The view from my deck is shown in all of the photos above. One day my daughter told me “It is like God put our name on this house and handed it to us”

Thank you for your love and support!


Full circle



I pulled up ragged black pants and entered the hallway looking for any signs of movement. The children had gone to play and laughter could be heard from the downstairs window. I peeked outside and saw the girls pushing Heme on a large blue bike, back and forth around the tiny housing area. A simple road looped from the parking lot around the tiny compound, passing by the pool and villa. Dishes were still stacked in the sink and bits of egg shell lay strewn on the counter. I dipped a sponge in soapy water and wiped the counters then moved onto sweeping and clearing the table. Sun peeked through the shades that he had purchased from the as is section. They were plain, neat and sterile, the perfect mirror of our existence. Several pictures had been placed on the wall before a return to the old rules and still stood as a testament of hope for the future.  It had been over a decade since we arrived to Riyadh and it seemed as if things had come full circle.

His refusal to pay rent in the previous living space was met with water and phone services being shut off and eventually eviction. He would not accept substandard living and until management agreed to renovate our unit, rent would be withheld. After our trip to drop the boys at University we shifted our residence for the sixth time and arrived once again to an empty home.  Boxes lined the walls and jet leg kept us on a schedule of night time wakefulness. Pad sitting for the floor had been purchased and enabled us to sleep with partial comfort. This villa was equipped with AC,  refrigerator and stove. Although little had changed there had been small improvements from our dismal beginnings and every little bit did count.

I hurried my pace and washed dishes clanking and rinsing, knowing that he would soon emerge to chat and inspect. This was his third time being unemployed and would last a full 12 months just as the other two times had. He walked through the hall and into the living room where a couch, love seat and dining room table had been positioned. Every few days he made his way to a large store and looked through remnants of broken or discontinued items. A rickety clanking from the communal shopping cart could be heard as he carted a table, chairs and couch, making several trips back and forth to the car. We stood in the bare room helping him piece together whatever he had procured all the while relieved to have another addition to this stark environment.

I was happy to have the boys away from life in Riyadh but missed their presence and the shift from a family of 11 to one of 9 had proved difficult. They were my two best friends and confidantes but I could not longer stand to have them stifled, living in a place where they were not welcome, foreigners in every way. I was reminded daily of my betrayal and my utter lack of respect when I insisted on sending his boys away to the United States. His words could be heard each time any problem cropped up, inquiring if I was happy that I had thrown his boys away into the garbage.