Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Thursdays: My Day to Figure Things Out

“What will you be doing today?” asks AdventureMan as he heads out the door to the Extension Office gardens to work, helping get everything ready for the Great Spring Sale coming up the first weekend in May.

“Not much!” I grin in return.

I have always loved Thursdays, even when I was young. Thursday was always the day before Friday, a day to anticipate without feeling rushed. I am a planner. Planning takes time. You can’t plan well when you are rushed, you need quiet, uninterrupted TIME. (Have you noticed how precious time is, and we spend it like nothing?)

This week was a normal week – full. Monday we kept the grandkids because their school was closed;

 

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Tuesday I volunteer, Wednesday I have a bible study . . . Fridays I have water aerobics and a trip to the commissary or whatever I need to do to prepare for the weekend, which tomorrow means commissary because we have guests again on Sunday. Dinners require planning, more so now that I don’t have people who help me get it all on the table, off the table, coffee and dessert served, leftovers into the refrigerator and dishes into the dishwasher or washed up. It used to be so easy. (sigh)

But today is my day. I can catch up, I can upload those photos, I can print them off for my upcoming visit to see my Mom for Mother’s Day, I can plan the menu for Sunday, check the pantry and freezer to see what I will need to pick up. I can catalog some photos, I can finish quilting one of the charity quilts. Today is sheer luxury, time!

 

I can even catch up with the blog a little :-)

 

April 24, 2014 Posted by | Aging, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Pensacola | Leave a comment

Where is the Diocese of Cashel and Ossary, Ireland?

Today the church prays for the Diocese of Cashel and Ossory. Fascinating history these Irish people have, full of waves of immigrations and invaders and territorial squabbles.  Here’s what Wikipedia had to say:

 

When the Church in England broke communion with the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England was established by the state as the established church. Later, by decree of the Irish Parliament, a similar new body became the State Church in the Kingdom of Ireland. It assumed possession of most Church property (and so retained a great repository of religious architecture and other items, though some were later destroyed). The substantial majority of the population remained faithful to the Latin Rite of Roman Catholicism, despite the political and economic advantages of membership in the state church. They were obliged to find alternative premises and to conduct their services in secret. The English-speaking minority mostly adhered to the Church of Ireland or to Presbyterianism. In 1833, the two provinces of Dublin and Cashel were merged. Over the centuries, numerous dioceses were merged, in view of declining membership. The same is true for this diocese where it can be seen that each of the entities listed in the title would have been a diocese in its own right. It is for this reason that the united diocese has six cathedrals.
And the highlighted green is the diocese of Cashel and Ossary:

 

 

C_of_I_Diocese_of_Cashel_&_OssoryWhen we visited Cashel, it was because of the legend of Saint Patrick, and it was one of the most beautiful and memorable places we have ever visited, lots of places to walk and see. Here’s more from Wikipedia:

 

According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit, a mountain 20 miles (30 km) north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock’s landing in Cashel.[1] Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.

The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to theNorman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster,Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architectureto be found anywhere in Europe.[2] Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries

 

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April 24, 2014 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Ireland, Road Trips | Leave a comment

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT????? WeatherUnderground Goes Whacko

It was NOT 123°F in Pensacola today. It might have gone over 80°F. Weird. Whacko.

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April 22, 2014 Posted by | Pensacola, Weather | Leave a comment

First Woman in Boston Marathon 1967

I saw this amazing photo on AOL news today; it shows a Boston Marathon official in 1967 trying to pull the lone woman runner, Katherine Switzer, out of the race, trying to pull her numbers off her as she ran. He’s yelling “Get the hell out of MY race!”

Fortunately, one of her fellow runners was a football player who blocked the official and pushed him away. At this point, in 1967, the Boston Marathon was still all-male. She finished the race, the first woman to do so, ever.

1967. That’s only 46 years ago. Women didn’t do marathons in the Olympics, either. We take so much for granted now, and we’ve only so recently made the gains.

 

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April 21, 2014 Posted by | Women's Issues | , | 12 Comments

Third Notice?

This one looks pretty real. Only the return e-mail address looks fishy:

 

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April 21, 2014 Posted by | Crime, Lies, Scams | 2 Comments

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah

americanah

 

“Ouch! Ouch, Chimanda! Stop!”

(Oh wait.)

Don’t stop.

 

It’s me who can’t stop. I read everything Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes. I only started reading her by accident, when I was facilitating the Kuwait Book Club I never intended to belong to, and found myself reading so many books by authors I had never heard of. We were reading Half Of a Yellow Sun  and all of a sudden, I WAS Nigerian. She can do that. She uses the senses, she uses the thoughts in our head. We are really not so alien, us and the Nigerians I start to think. I have Nigerian friends, from the church. We all get along. We have a good time together.

“Not so fast!” Chimamanda tells me in Americanah, her newest book, which I put off buying until I could find it in paperback. “You are very different! You think differently! And growing up in a country where there are black and white, race becomes an issue that it is not when you are black, and everyone is black, and you are growing up in Nigeria.”

Hmmm. OK. That makes sense. I mean, I thought I was Nigerian because in Half of a Yellow Sun, I was Igbo, living in an academic community in Nigeria, and hmmmm. You’re right, Chimamanda, there were no white people around. Just us Nigerians.

Chimamanda, with her sharp, all-seeing eyes, her sharp ears and her sharp tongue make me cringe as she comes to the USA and comes up against assumptions many have about Africa. Do you even know where, exactly, Nigeria is? Do you know where Ghana is? Most Americans can find Egypt on a map of Africa, and MAYBE South Africa, but the rest is  . . . mostly guesswork. Because we send clothing and food aid to African countries, we have the idea that all Africans are poor, but that is not so, and is insulting to the middle-class and upper class Africans who travel elsewhere for leisure – and education.

I don’t know how much of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book is autobiographical and how much is fiction. I know that her observations are acute, she nails expat friendships, she spotlights our blind spots and hypocricies, and she holds you in her grip because she is no less harsh with herself – if, indeed, her Ifemelu, the main character in Americanah, is reflecting Chimamanda’s own experience. The experiences, coming here, the overwhelming differences in manners and customs, even volume of voice and width of hand expression, are so immediate, so compelling, so well described that they have to have been experiences she herself had, and had the eyes to see. She must have taken notes, because she totally nails the expat experience.

Book ads and book reviews focus on Americanah as a book about being black in America, and it truly is that – as seen from the eyes of a non-American black, as she often reminds us.

She is hard on herself, returning to Nigeria, and quick to note that much of the change is in herself and her changed perspective. While I love the romantic storyline, I was disappointed by the fantasy ending, given how self-disciplined Adichie is at keeping it real in every other facet of the novel. On the other hand, I am still trying to think of an ending that would work for me, and I can’t. While her ending wraps it all up neatly, it’s the one part of the book where her sharpness dulls.

One of the things I liked best about the book was going behind the scenes, being Nigerian, going to school, having coffee, working, going to parties with other Nigerians, chatting with my girlfriends. We’ve done things with nationals of different countries before, but you know as soon as you walk in that your presence changes things. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie takes me with her and no one knows I am there, observing, learning, figuring out how things are done when it’s “just us” Nigerians.

Here’s why I am a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addict. She keeps it real. She has eyes that see, and ears that hear, and a gift for capturing what she sees and hears and a gift for writing it down. She has insight, into herself, into others, into character and motivations. She is sophisticated and unpretentious, she admires and she mocks, but when she mocks, it is as likely to be self-mockery as mockery of another person, class, ethnicity or nation. Reading Adichie, I understand our similarities – and our differences. I believe she would be a prickly friend to have, but I would chose her as a friend.

Awards

● Winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
● One of The New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year
● Winner of the The Chicago Tribune 2013 Heartland Prize for Fiction
● An NPR “Great Reads” Book, a Washington Post Notable Book, a Seattle
Times Best Book, an Entertainment Weekly Top Fiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Book, and a Goodreads Best of the Year pick.

 

 

April 17, 2014 Posted by | Books, Cross Cultural, Africa, Kuwait, Women's Issues, ExPat Life, Social Issues, Fiction, Political Issues, Customer Service, Living Conditions, Community, Cultural, Character, Beauty, Interconnected, Civility, Nigeria | , , | 4 Comments

No Expectation of Privacy as Qatar Installs Closed Circuit TV EVERYWHERE

This kind of gives me the shivers. I guess it is supposed to make everyone safer, but it feels so intrusive. It may be a generational thing; my understanding is that people today have lower expectations of privacy . . . I wonder how their upkeep will be; sand and humidity being hard on security cameras, not to mention deliberate interference with their use?

Qatar steps up enforcement of CCTV surveillance law

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CCTV

With reporting from Ankita Menon

Qatar’s Ministry of Interior is apparently stepping up enforcement of a law that requires businesses around the country to install closed-circuit camera surveillance on their premises.

Law No. 9 of 2011 mandates that surveillance cameras be installed in residential compounds, hospitals, malls, banks, hotels, warehouses and other locations, and is enforced by the MOI’s Security Systems Department (SSD).

The SSD was not immediately available for comment, but Qatar Tribune reports that the MOI has recently made the widespread installation of these cameras a priority.

Speaking to Doha News, a staffer at Lulu Hypermarket on D-Ring said that the store was previously told to install CCTV in its parking lot, but has now been asked to increase the number of cameras to cover the entire parking area.

Meanwhile, an employee at Lulu Gharafa said they are still in the process of installing some 300 ministry-approved cameras, following an instruction from last year. When asked why the extra surveillance was needed, he said it could help aid police investigations into incidents such as thefts from vehicles.

Additionally, the Peninsula reports the owner of a jewelry shop in the Gold Souq as saying:

“This year when I went for company registration renewal was asked of CCTV cameras are installed. Also inspectors are supposed to come to our shops and inspect if the surveillance cameras are functioning properly.

There are only very few places from which we should buy the CCTV cameras, they are very expensive and it cost me more than QR60,000 to purchase and fix the surveillance system,” he added.

However, City Center mall’s director told Doha News that though the SSD consistently comes to inspect the surveillance system, there have been no new requests for additional cameras in the past few months.

Requirements

A law governing the use of CCTV surveillance was passed in 2011. According to the legislation:

  • Businesses must have a control room and operate surveillance 24/7;
  • Recordings must be kept for 120 days, and cannot be altered before being handed over to competent government departments upon request;
  • Recording is prohibited in bedrooms, patient rooms, toilets and changing rooms for women; and
  • Those who violate the law could face up to three years in jail and fines of QR50,000, as well as the suspension or cancellation of their business license.

Last year, the law was brought back into the spotlight when the Supreme Council of Health reminded healthcare facilities to comply with the legislation and install cameras within three months, or face the loss of their business licenses.

 

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Law and Order, Privacy, Qatar, Transparency, Travel | 2 Comments

“Ambulances Chase Him”

Most local made ads are purely awful, or, at best, amusing because they are so awful – one time. Painful after that. This ad cracks me up every time. Imagine, a personal injury lawyer who has a sense of humor about himself:

 

April 14, 2014 Posted by | Marketing | , , | 2 Comments

Alzheimers and Cancer: Does One Decrease the Liklihood of the Other?

A study published today on AOL Health News has an intriguing find – that there is a negative correlation between Alzheimers and cancers. You can read the entire study by clicking on the type above. Below is a quote from the study:Ei

Benito-Leon said that scientists need to better understand the link between Alzheimer’s disease, which causes abnormal cell death, and cancer, which causes abnormal cell growth.”

It refers also to a study published last year on

Skin Cancer May Be Linked to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk, Study Says

A new study finds a link between non-melanoma skin cancer and a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

From an earlier study on AOL EveryDay Health:

WEDNESDAY, May 15, 2013 — A new study found an association between a history of non-melanoma skin cancer and a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The observational study, published in the journal Neurology, analyzed a cohort of 1,102 participants of the Einstein Aging Study at Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Institute of Aging in the Bronx, N.Y.

The researchers report that study participants with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer were close to 80 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than people who did not have skin cancer.Among the 141 participants who had non-melanoma skin cancer, only two developed Alzheimer’s disease. But the researchers say they’re still unsure why this link may exist.

“Our goal is really to identify risk factors and genetic factors for Alzheimer’s,” said Richard Lipton, MD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, and lead author of the study. “One explanation is that there is a biological link, and another explanation is there’s a link between risk factors. Really what we need to do is sort out the reasons for these associations.”

Researchers followed participants for an average of 3.7 years. The average age of study participants was 79. At the start of the study, none of the subjects were reported to have dementia, though 109 people had a history of skin cancer. During the study, 32 additional people developed skin cancer, while 126 of the subjects developed dementia. Out of the subjects with dementia, 100 of them had Alzheimer’s-related dementia.

“In neurodegenerative disease, specific cell populations have a tendency to die,” said Dr. Lipton. “In cancer, cells tend to divide out of control. Good health requires a balance between cell death and cell division. Skin cancer may reflect a predisposition to cell division, which protects against Alzheimer’s disease.”

But Lipton also said that subjects in the study with a history of skin cancer may also have lived a more active life, engaging in outdoor activities such as running, playing tennis, or swimming. “We know that physical activity and cognitive activity can prevent against Alzheimer’s,” he said. Therefore, more physical activity would also likely mean more time spent under the sun and in the great outdoors.

Some experts, such as Ahmedin Jemal, PhD, vice president of Surveillance & Health Research at the American Cancer Society, speculates that these findings simply reflect how healthy lifestyle choices can reduce Alzheimer’s risk. “Those people who develop skin cancer are more likely to be physically active and if those people are physically active, they are more likely to eat healthy food, such as fruit and vegetables,” he said.

Dr. Jemal also said there’s research suggesting that high levels of vitamin D can also protect a person from developing Alzheimer’s disease. “For our body to synthesis vitamin D we need sunlight,” he said. One study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggests that high levels of vitamin D may jump-start certain genes in the immune system that are able to help dissolve amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques are found to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

But Lipton recognizes there are limits to his study. While the researchers did adjust their findings for age, gender, education, and race, they did not base any analysis on diet or vitamin D levels. He added that his team is seeking funding to analyze blood samples of study participants, which may be able to detect certain nutrition-based biomarkers, which may help to better understand the study findings.

Heather Snyder, PhD, director medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association finds the study’s findings compelling, but she’s also skeptical, since the number of skin cancer incidences in the study pool is relatively small. However, she said the study points to the value of further research.

“[The study] really underscores the need to understand the biology of these disease mechanisms,” said Dr. Snyder. “If we highlight what mechanisms might be connected in disease processes, if we can understand these disease processes, then we can develop therapies.”

 

April 13, 2014 Posted by | Aging, Experiment, Health Issues, Statistics, Survival | , , | Leave a comment

Pantone Fall Fashion Colors 2014

Not too early to start shopping for back-to-school, LOL!

 

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April 12, 2014 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, color, Shopping | , | Leave a comment

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