Hot as hell today here in New Joisey, with temperatures expected to approach 100. This is the part of summer I like least.
I've been waiting for a kidney stone to pass the last few days. (I'm sure you're glad I've shared that with you.)
I get kidney stones fairly frequently. They're a symptom of my parathyroid cancer. Usually, they're nothing more than a minor annoyance, although this one is a little larger than usual and has excelled at making its presence felt night and day. If it's true that this, too, shall pass (and it is), I'm eagerly awaiting it.
Much more significantly, a friend of mine from the karate dojo, a native of Lebanon, went back to his country for a three-week holiday. He left last Tuesday and was probably somewhere over the Atlantic when the shit hit the fan in the south of the country as Israel began its retaliatory strikes against Hezbollah strongholds. Among the targets was the airport in Beirut.
We're all hoping his plane was diverted elsewhere, and that he's on his way back to the States.
Before he left last week, he tantalized us with descriptions of Lebanon's beautiful beaches and compared the summertime water temperature to that of a Jacuzzi, even at night.
He was so looking forward to spending the next few weeks on the beach with his fiancee, whom he left behind in Lebanon when he came here to work.
His family still lives in Lebanon -- in Beirut, if memory serves. I'm sure he's agonizing at this very moment over how to ensure their safety in the face of this madness. I'm sure that if he was given the opportunity to fly back to the U.S., he turned it down until his family's safety is secured.
Up until now, the situation in the Middle East has been rather abstract for me. I had no ties to the region. I didn't know anyone living there, nor anyone in the U.S. military who is serving there.
A friend's vacation plans changed that in an instant.
And hopefully, this, too, shall pass.