Today the high temperature in Pensacola, FL was 87°F. It was a record high temperature for this date, March 2. The temperature yesterday was also a record high, 82°F.
It is also raining. So it is hot, and it is humid. And it is only the beginning of March. At the beginning of February, I celebrated. We didn’t have to use the heat or the air conditioning for the entire month, and our electric bill was a mere $100. You need lights. You need to use the oven now and then, and the washer and dryer, computers and TV’s. If you could see our other electric bills (the heat and air run on electricity) you would know why I celebrate $100. for January.
Earlier this week, it was in the 60°’s (F) in the mornings, and I weeded! It was foggy and cloudy, and it felt a whole lot like Seattle, where the temperatures are around 40 something this week. Give me cold any day. You can always put on more clothes when it gets cold, but when it is hot and humid, even with the AC, it is still hot and humid.
It is still raining, and humid. There is a tornado watch on until midnight. I was near a tornado once, living further south in Florida, and the sky turned green and it sounded like the biggest loudest freight train in the world, and it didn’t even hit in my neighborhood. You could hear it anyway. It is a terrifying sound.
Our pomegranate tree is leafing out, our blueberries have blossoms and it really is time for a spring clean up, if only we can have a few more cool days in March before the serious heat sets in.
Over Thai food, I confessed my guilty secret – I can’t help it, I watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the Real Housewives of New York. I expected a horrified response from my sweet smart niece, Professor Little Diamond, but she just laughed.
“Oh we all watch them,” she reassured me, “It’s like watching a train wreck, you are appalled, but you can’t look away.”
What makes me really, really nervous about these ‘real’ housewives is that I think that the Bravo station is carried in Qatar and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. While the more educated have travelled, and know that these ‘real’ housewives are not the norm, there may be many who think that this is the life of the American female.
I remember when I shocked my Qatari friends as I told them I was going home to take care of my Dad while my Mom had a knee replacement and spent a few weeks in rehab. They didn’t know we take care of our parents; they thought we just put them in grim warehouse like nursing homes. How did they know? From television, of course.
So you can understand I have a major concern that these women are representing us normal people in the homes of our friends in the Middle East. These women spend a lot of money on scanty clothing, these women have people who come in and do their make-up before a dinner party, these people have nannies taking care of their children (many of whom are really bratty) and they all seem to be designing handbags or creating make-up lines or (oh-no!) cutting records to try to get a singing career started.
Ask yourself this – who do you know in your own circles who would agree to have camera crews follow them around in their lives, filming their most intimate conversations? Who do you know in your circle who creates drama and conflict? Who do you know who needs the affirmation of an audience to believe her life is worth living? Who in your circle is addicted to plastic surgery or throws charity events to get attention? Those are the women they are filming.
You never see these women go to church. You rarely see them cooking up a normal dinner for their family. You don’t see any of them heading off to an 8 – 5 job. You don’t see them doing all the normal things we normal American housewives do (a lot like our sisters do in every country of the world) like laundry, running the kids to school, doctors appointments, soccer matches, paying the bills, scrubbing the floor, making appointments at the veterinarian, getting the car serviced, buying groceries, going to PTA, or doing their volunteer work. You don’t see them running over to their children’s house to babysit, or going to their exercise classes.
But then again, if they were doing all these things that us REAL housewives do, who would watch, LLLLOOOOOLLLLLLL! I understand there may be some sister Real wives series coming up from foreign countries. It will be interesting to see how their lives look.
I’m making a short trip, and as a mildly obsessive-compulsive person, I make and double check my reservations.
How can it be that a car rental that is around $25/day for five days can come out to MORE THAN DOUBLE what you could estimate the total cost would be?
Last time, I learned that if I rented the car for a week, and turned it in early, I still got a way better break on price.
I might have to try that this time. Taxes and ‘fees’. Tourist fees. Tire recovery fees. (They are always so surprised I read the rental agreements, LOL) Environmental fees. Fees for picking the car up at the airport. Oh, AAARRGH.
Ever since I read the New Yorker article on The Olive Oil Scandle I have been goosey about olive oils, reading the labels. My friends (Palestinian) tell me I should always buy Palestinian olive oil, and from the oils they have shared with me, holy smokes! I think they are right.
Try finding Palestinian olive oil in Pensacola. Honestly, sometimes I am afraid they are going to arrest me in the stores as I stand for a half hour, turning all the bottles and trying to read the labels, some of which are in very very tiny print. One thing the Gulf States (Arabian Gulf, my friends) have going for them is some excellent labeling on the foods they import.
When I came across this label, I could hardly believe it. I am sure they probably don’t like me photographing in the stores, but as long as no one says anything to me, I do it. Often I am saying something nice, anyway.
Horrors! What a mess! Every bottle could be different, it’s like cat food and dog food, it’s what the oil bottler could find that was the cheapest at the moment, and maybe it is from Spain, or maybe from Tunisia or who knows where? I will NEVER buy an oil that looks like that!
Meanwhile, the search for Palestinian olive oil goes on . . .
It was like the ninth circle in Hell. We had been told this was the best clinic in town, so when we thought the Qatteri Cat was having a problem, we made an appointment, and braved the Doha drive-time traffic to get there, only to discover that there were like 25 people milling around the waiting room, most holding animals loose in their arms, and a feeling of desperation in the air.
The customer service was shocking. I watched one man, big guy, football-player type, sway and his knees nearly buckle as the curt woman behind the desk said in her loud voice “Oh! Your cat didn’t make it! Your’s was the little grey cat, right?” He was devastated. I was horrified that the news could be delivered so callously, and so loudly.
Many of the people without appointments had kittens bought at the Souq al Waqif. You know I love the Souk al Waqif, but if you buy an animal there, you are buying an animal who already has strikes against it, and people who breed them just for sale, with no regard for ethical treatment of another living creature. You are buying trouble, and big veterinarian bills. It’s gotten so bad for me, I can’t even walk through the bird/animal area anymore. I can’t bear to see the way the animals are treated.
We got to see the vet over an hour later. He was nice, very professional, very knowledgeable, and I cannot imagine what it is like having to run a veterinary service under these hellish conditions.
One of his handlers walked in, looked at me coldly and said “Is this your cat?” I said yes, and she continued on “this is the worst cat I have ever handled. He is EVIL! He is VICIOUS! He is the cat from hell. Is he like this at home?”
Imagine saying something like that to a customer!
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The Qatteri Cat had a rough beginning in life. I met his first owners, and the women in the family didn’t like him. When he came to live with us, he loved – and trusted – AdventureMan from the beginning, but it took me a long while to win his trust. He was skinny and always watching my feet and hands; he would flinch if I moved too quickly. He had been mistreated.
He has bitten me twice, in his seven years living with us, both times when other cats were around and he was scared. When he is scared, or when he is in pain, all his natural instincts kick in. I give him a short time-out in a confined environment (the bathroom!), and everything is fine. He’s a cat. No, he is not vicious at home. He is a SWEET cat!
He has never misbehaved at a vet clinic, never. At the clinic in Kuwait, he couldn’t wait to get out of the cage; the female Italian vet told him what a handsome big boy he was and he was putty in her hands. I have to admit it, I felt a twinge of jealousy. He had eyes only for her!
The Qattari Cat is a cat who wants to co-operate. It doesn’t matter how good the vet is, if the staff is unprofessional, discourteous to the point of rudeness, and ignorant about handling animals, we won’t go back. We won’t risk him being handled cruelly. I cannot imagine why they keep this woman on their staff.
But I couldn’t resist taking a flash photo of QC to illustrate this post, with demonic, gleaming eyes, LLOOOLLLL!
Court asks motorcycle rider to pay blood money
Web posted at: 12/19/2009 2:30:29
Source ::: THE PENINSULA
DOHA: A young man who rode a motorcycle and killed a pedestrian in a bizarre crash has been asked by the court to pay QR200,000 as blood money to the family of the deceased.
The court fined the convict QR10,000 for violating traffic law. But how the man was caught by the law-enforcement agencies is quite interesting.
It so happened that the Police Patrol saw two men riding motorbikes with tremendous speed. They gave the duo a chase but in vain. They vanished in think air. But soon the police was informed that a pedestrian was hit by a speeding motorbike.
When a police party reached the spot of the crash it saw a motorbike lying near the body of the victim.
The cops were quick to realize that this was one of the two motorbikes they had given a chase sometime ago.
With help from its registration plate they zeroed in on the culprit and referred the matter to the court after investigation.
The defense lawyer argued in the court that the crash occurred because they motorbike was chased by the cops. The court, however, did not buy the argument and convicted the man.
QR 200,000 sounds like a fortune, but it is $55,000 for taking a man’s life. For a young man who was running from the cops and then tries to claim their chasing him as a defense! This case sounds like a perfect opportunity to give a community service penalty in addition to the blood money; expose this young man to the consequences of motorcycle accidents, and accident victims, allow him to see with his own eyes, and serve, the victims. It could change his life, and change his callous attitude.
You could think of it as an adventure, as adventure can cause the same heart-slamming rush of adrenalin. Little Diamond and I were late to the fabric souks area, looking for a match to some pants she has loved and needs copied, as they have irrevocably split in a critical area. We circled the Souk al Diraa multiple times, hoping a spot would open up, one of a couple hundred cars circling, hoping for a spot.
Sharp-eyed Little Diamond spotted a sign for public parking. I’ve never noticed it before – it led us to a building in front of which I often park, it is now totally empty of stores. There is a sign as you enter the parking, which is all above ground, that “only Ministry personnel” can park on the first level.
We had started up the winding ramp when after two curves, we were in total dark. I have my sunglasses on, and I am desperately trying to get them off, but even when I get them off, I can’t see, we are in total darkness on an upward twisting ramp and all I can think of is what if someone is coming up in a hurry behind me and hits me???
“The light! Turn on the car lights” shouts Little Diamond, who is allowed to shout at me when she gives me good ideas. Oh yeh! Car lights . . . since I have never driven this car at night, I don’t exactly know where they are, but I make a guess and thanks be to God, the lights come on and we crawl up two more levels until we begin to see some light appear.
We check out every level – every level is full. On level three, we finally find a spot, and hurry down the filthy stairs to check out fabrics so we can get back to the tailor before he closes. As the tailor had said – we cannot find the exact fabric, but we find a fabric which is about a 90% match and that will have to be good enough.
As we head back to parking lot – the surrounding sidewalk is crumbling and one entry is chained off – we find the elevators to take us up. “Not working!” says a man standing nearby, so we head for the nearest stairwell, and almost gag on the way up. I think people maybe sleep in there at night – there are some terrible sights and smells.
There are footprints, even high on the walls:
As we exit the stairwell on our floor, we are met with the sight of a totally burned out car:
Fortunately, on the drive out, there is no area where the lights are burned out, and we drive comfortably the four levels down to the exit.
I normally get the these souks before nine in the morning and I can always find a parking spot, do my shopping and be out in a couple hours, max. I will NEVER, NEVER again, park in this parking lot. I would forego a visit to the souks rather than park in this parking lot again. It is a danger to your health!
Good morning, Kuwait, or is it afternoon? I know most of you are sleeping in a little, after the exhausting celebrations of National Day and Liberation Day.
I stayed home!
Last year, it wasn’t the foam, although I hate the foam. For me, it is parents who allow their children to hang outside the car.
You know me. You read me every day. I’m not an angry person, but seeing parents with children on their laps, children in the front seat and most of all – children hanging out of windows, or with their heads / bodies out of skyroofs – it makes me see red. I want to get out of my car and scold people. It makes me SO angry that people would endanger their children.
There must be a safer way to express all the celebratory exuberance.
It is mostly cloudy outside.