Have You Checked the Children?

We can find the cause of American extremism only if we realize the calls for it are coming from inside the house.

A Little Help, Here, Please

It’s Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., a holiday begun to commemorate those who died while serving in the armed forces. It now involves military tributes, graveside services...and barbecues. Summer has begun! Memorial Day weekend is when swimming pools open, summer programs begin, the school year ends, and the upper crust don their summer whites. On every Memorial … Continue reading A Little Help, Here, Please

The Faith and The Hope

This is my favorite keepsake from Saudi Arabia. Okay, I'm pretty pumped with this, too: The gift that keeps on giving. But the necklace is still number one. To my eye, Arabic is an exquisite written language, and it's been used decoratively for centuries. When I told the jeweler what I wanted, he suggested a … Continue reading The Faith and The Hope

Dear Saudi Arabia, Please Help Me Understand

Why won't you let any refugees in? Please, help me. I want to understand. I want to think better of you than what I see. I sit in front of the television, crying. "This is Europe's defining moment," I hear a television announcer say. I shake my head. "Why?" I say. "Why is it just … Continue reading Dear Saudi Arabia, Please Help Me Understand

Me, a Joke, and the Secret Police

Theory: A sense of humor is to every human quality as salt is to every food. It doesn't take much, but the lack of it will pretty much kill whatever you're serving. Love? Good, but when it's dead serious it'll suffocate a person. Dignity? Admirable, but without a sense of humor you're just stiff and … Continue reading Me, a Joke, and the Secret Police

Where Dude Meets Dude

I love intersections, when things coming from different directions cross each other, and the interesting things that happen to both of them when they meet each other. You know, like those couples where you can't figure out why they're together and you spend a lot of time wondering what their first date was like, or … Continue reading Where Dude Meets Dude

To Grandmother’s House We Go: Touring a Traditional Arabian Village

My new favorite painting: I did it myself. Well, if you want to get technical, I took the picture myself: Then ran it through the Waterlogue app. So with a liberal definition of the word "paint," you could say I painted it myself. I didn't get to the place where I took the picture by … Continue reading To Grandmother’s House We Go: Touring a Traditional Arabian Village

Letter from Inside Saudi Arabia: Why I Live Here

I've been away for the last couple of months, helping my daughter in the U.S. welcome a new baby.I know, right? Pretty cute. Or at least the adults all think so. But Weird Overseas Granny moved in two days after Weird Small Baby moved in, and two days after that, Big Brother did this with … Continue reading Letter from Inside Saudi Arabia: Why I Live Here

Saudi News Notes: Normal and True

Merry Christmas, y'all. I took the holiday off. And I meant to still be taking it. But then the news got the better of me, and I found myself at the mercy of a flowchart. Because, you see, this article appeared in today's edition of the Saudi Gazette: AND IT GETS BETTER. There is no … Continue reading Saudi News Notes: Normal and True

Inside Out and Backwards

To understate the obvious (double whammy!) Arab and Western cultures have some...difficulties understanding each other. But don't worry--I can totally fix this. Yes, it's true that I'm completely untrained in anthropology or sociology, and have done zero structured research. Minor details. The important thing is that I'm fairly well acquainted with Hollywood and Riyadh, two cities of about … Continue reading Inside Out and Backwards