I was laughing as I heard AdventureMan talking with his Saudi friend, making a time when they could get together. I knew he had called about tonight.
“Did you tell him we were going dancing?” I laughed as I asked him.
“Uhhh . . . no,” he said.
This is new to us. We are taking dancing lessons, ballroom dancing, at the YMCA. We both had those lessons you take in eighth grade, but we’ve forgotten most of what we learned. I don’t care about going dancing, or fancy dresses, or competitions. I don’t even watch dance stuff on TV; I just don’t care that much. These classes are something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and it really takes us out of our comfort zones.
We really are having fun. The first lesson – not so much. It is hard work! It doesn’t come naturally, it comes with PRACTICE! Lots of PRACTICE! It’s like fencing lessons, or horseback riding, or karate, or gymnastics – After a while, your body knows what to do, but at the beginning, it can be a little excruciating. As for AdventureMan and I, we mess up a lot, but we laugh a lot too. We are getting better, but best of all we are having a lot of fun. These kinds of things rewire your brains; it may not be easy, but it is good for us.
And I am still laughing, thinking of AdventureMan not telling his friend that he was going dancing with his wife, LOL!
I listen to National Public Radio in my car and in my project room. I finally figured out how to stream WUWF, my local station. Until today, unless I wanted to use my wind-up radio, I had to stream KUOW in Seattle, or NPR which I like because it has so much BBC.
I am really delighted to figure out how to stream WUWF, because it has a lot of local news and events I might miss streaming one of the other stations, and I also like hearing who the sponsors are, so I can tell them how much I enjoy National Public Radio.
So today I am listening to Talk of the Nations, a segment on Pakistani-Americans, and this particularly articulate young lawyer mentions ‘the Minority Prayer.
Do you know what that is? I didn’t. But I laughed when he explained it, because we have prayed it so often living overseas . . .
He was talking about when attending a Muslim-American Lawyers National meeting, and how the buzz spread that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, and how they all sent up a quick minority prayer – “Please, Lord, don’t let it be Pakistan where he was found” – and of course, it was Pakistan. He was very wry, and I enjoyed listening to what he had to say. At the same time, I was grinning. I cannot count the number of times we have heard rumors – in Germany, in Kuwait, in Qatar, in Tunisia, in Jordan – and prayed . . . “Please Lord, don’t let it be the USA who did this . . . ”
It’s very much an expat’s prayer.
I don’t often have bad dreams, and this one was a doozy. I was in my house – or office – and it was a large, clear white space. I noticed a lot of fine black dust in places on the white carpet, like toner from copy machines, and then it gathered and swirled, but sometimes it was white. Then I saw a man – or something with a skull – sitting on a white slab couch like my Mom used to have in turquoise back a long time ago.
I kept looking – sort of like a cat does when he sees something he is not sure of, looking for motion or some sign of threat, very alert. When the skull creature started to move, I started to yell.
It’s hard to yell when you are scared, but I kept at it. “Help!” It sounded weak and tentative. “HELP!” “HELP!”
AdventureMan was there to help, calling my name, asking if I was OK. “I thought it was the Qatteri Cat,” he told me, “It sounded kind of strangled and yowly.”
I just laughed. I felt good. The skull man didn’t get me, AdventureMan was right here, my trusted knight, and I had broken through my fear – or the sleep barrier – and yelled really loud. I don’t know why, but it made me feel powerful and like I had survived something and that made me feel good.
(It could also be related to the series I am reading, on which the current HBO series Game of Thrones is based, and maybe it disturbs me on some deep level.)
There is this thing on FaceBook where for Mother’s Day you put a photo of your own mother as your profile photo. I don’t do a lot on FaceBook, but I did this one, and I thought I would share an early photo of my mother with you:
I just love that mischievous little smile that says “Don’t you want to come play with me?”
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
I get the feeling he doesn’t really read my blog . . .
I am Johnson Koroma, from the Ivory Coast (D.R.C) in Africa. I am the first son and the eldest child of my late father, Late Capt. Suleiman Koroma.
My late father was killed by the rebels in my country as he died in the hospital, two days after he was shot on his chest.
I am in Jakarta-Indonesia now; I was smuggled in here with the help of the United Nations (U.N.).
The U.N assisted me to convey my inherited fund($15,500,000.00) to Jakarta-Indonesia, as I told them that, the fund was supposed to be delivered to my late father foreign partner here in Jakarta-Indonesia according to my late father’s instruction before he died.
I did this arrangement, as my late father told me before he died in my country Ivory Coast; to make sure I convey this fund to his foreign partner here in Jakarta-Indonesia for investment purposes since there is instability of power in Africa.
But on my arriving here in Jakarta-Indonesia, I could not find my late father foreign partner as I was told he died in a bomb blast that occurred in J.W Marot hotel here in Jakarta-Indonesia two year ago.
In this regards, I seek your urgent assistance, for you to come down here in Jakarta-Indonesia, so that I will introduce you to the U.N as my late father’s foreign partner for them to release my fund to you. This is because, the U.N said they will not release my fund to me, until they see my late father foreign partner as I told them earlier, as the said fund is too big for only me to handle as the U.N. officials said, since I am just 24 years of age.
Note: You are not expected to make any upfront payment before you make this claim, all you are required to do is just to come down here in Jakarta-Indonesia, and I introduce you to the U.N as my late father’s foreign partner, who will make the claim of my inherited fund and invest it into any lucrative investment according to your directives… Also, 15% of this total sum shall be giving to you for your kind assistant.
The U.N will deduct 10% of the total sum, for their service charges etc after they hand over my inherited fund to you, hence you will not be expected to make any payment for this claim.
Thanks and remain blessed, as I await your urgent response and arrival schedule here in Jakarta-Indonesia.
When he ‘retired,’ AdventureMan chose Thursdays as his day to cook. It’s worked out well. Recently, he has perfected Naan, baked on our grill. We’ve had it several times – it just tastes so good, fresh off the grill, and he bastes it with either olive oil and garlic, or olive oil and sesame seeds. Oh, yummmmmm.
“I’m feeling stressed,” he admitted yesterday morning. “It’s my day to cook and I don’t have any ideas.”
“It’s also Cinco de Mayo,” I said, and that was all I had to say, he was off and running.
All I can say is BRAVO. BRAVO, AdventureMan, Cinco de Mayo was a taste treat. They were fabulous.
He found his recipe on AllRecipes.com, and made it pretty much just as they said to make it, serving it with a small bowl of home-made pico de gallo and a small bowl of sour cream. Oh YUMMMM. This is the recipe he used:
Pico de Gallo Chicken Quesadillas
By: Tony Cortez
2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup sour cream, for topping
In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Set aside. (This is the pico de gallo)
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken and saute until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the hot skillet and saute the sliced onion and green pepper until tender. Stir in the minced garlic and saute until the aroma is strong. Mix in half of the pico de gallo and chicken breast meat. Set aside; keep warm.
In a heavy skillet, heat one flour tortilla. Spread 1/4 cup shredded cheese on the tortilla and top with 1/2 the chicken mixture. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup cheese over the chicken and top with another tortilla. When bottom tortilla is lightly brown and cheese has started to melt, flip quesadilla and cook on the opposite side. Remove quesadilla from skillet and cut into quarters.
Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve quesadillas with sour cream and remaining pico de gallo.
I’ve never seen him so happy as he has been the last couple months.
I trust that it all happened exactly as it should. Don’t we all believe God is in control?
Friends and family are asking me why I have been silent about the raid, capture and execution of Osama Bin Laden.
9/11 and the celebrations televised around the world were equally horrifying to me. Pointless killing. Pointless celebration.
We don’t celebrate the deaths, not even of those who have caused us harm. It’s not who we are, and it only invites retribution, and keeps the pointless violence, the pointless arguments going.
Jesus told us that it is easy to pray for our friends and family, but that we are to pray for our enemies as well. It’s really really hard. And it is one of the few gates that will open the door to true change, which has to come from the heart.
There is no guarantee that an operation will succeed, no matter how talented, trained and intelligent the operators are. Well done, Navy SEALS. Well done, those who gathered the information, who confirmed the information, and who chose to execute surgically, rather than a bomb which would kill without positive identification. Well done, gathering all the computers and flash drives, hopefully full of information which will give insight into future plans which can be thwarted.
Osama’s death doesn’t bring back the thousands killed in the 9/11 attacks. It does send a message that attackers will be hounded until they pay for their actions. That’s not a pass for dancing; it’s a grim tally in the world of hard-ball politics.
We’ve talked about stopping by the Crab Trap forever – but usually, we are on our way home from Joe Patti’s with fresh fish, shrimp, oysters, etc and can’t stop.
So we made a plan. And we finally got there. We were extra hungry, so we got there early, but not TOO early. Although it was not even 11:30, many of the outside tables were already taken. They have a great view, and a great outdoor eating area to capture the view:
AdventureMan won the first round with his fresh Apalachicola oysters. He ordered a half dozen, and 7 arrived, fresh and sweet:
My crab cake had a fabulous sauce, but the crab cake itself was only ho-hum. On the other hand, I am very hard on crab cakes, I like them to be mostly crab, and TASTY crab, not tasteless crab, and horrors, not crab with a K, that fake stuff that is really some anonymous fish with crab flavoring, oh no, oh no!
We were both underwhelmed with our main courses. AdventureMan ordered the Mate’s Plate, grilled shrimp, oysters and fish. When it arrived, we looked at it in dismay – it looked like something you pull out of the freezer and microwave:
My St. Joe’s Seafood Salad sounded really good, with fresh shrimp, scallops, crab and oysters on top, and it looked really good, but only the shrimp had any taste. The fried oysters were tasteless, as was the crab. Even the tomatoes had little taste. Their bacon vinaigrette was just OK.
I sneaked this photo of a neighbor’s Jambalaya – that Jambalaya looked REALLY good, and came with two sides. The people having Jambalaya were really chowing down – and looking like they were having a good time. If we ever go back, we know what we will try:
The place was packed. We may have just chosen the wrong things on the menu. I have to guess that most of the people were there for the outside dining and the view. It looks like they also have live music some evenings.
Kuwait City, Kuwait
May 2, 2011
To: All American Wardens
From: Consular Section
Subject: Warden Notice 2011 – 10
Please circulate the following message without additions or omissions
immediately to all American citizens within your area of responsibility.
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad
to the enhanced potential for anti-American violence following recent
counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan. Given the uncertainty and volatility of
the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause
anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their
homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations. U.S.
citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of
their surroundings at all times. This Travel Alert expires August 1, 2011.
U.S. Embassy operations in affected areas will continue to the extent possible
under the constraints of any evolving security situation. U.S. government
facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities
may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their
security posture. In those instances, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will make
every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens
abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest
U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Media coverage of local events may cause family and friends to become concerned
for their loved ones traveling and residing abroad. We urge U.S. citizens to
keep in regular contact with family and friends. U.S. citizens living or
traveling abroad are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart
Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), to receive the latest travel updates and
information and to obtain updated information on travel and security issues.
U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the appropriate
U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the
U.S. Embassy or Consulate to
contact them in case of emergency.
Travel information is also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. Up-to-date
information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free
in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and
Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,”
please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website at http://www.travel.state.gov.
For further information on specific countries, U.S. citizens should consult the
Country Specific Information pages, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings at
http://www.travel.state.gov as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and
the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ page on Facebook as well.
This message may be accessed on the Embassy website, http://kuwait.usembassy.gov
American citizens in Kuwait who would like to receive future Warden Messages
from the Embassy directly by e-mail may sign up for this service by sending an
e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
American citizens resident and visiting in Kuwait who are not registered with
the Embassy, or whose registration information has changed, are urged to
register as soon as possible. They may now do so on-line at the Department of
State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp
Please note that the Consular Section is closed for American and most local
holidays. The current holiday schedule for year 2011 will be posted on