Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

99.7 Buck Naked and Yemeni Star

I’m back in the project room, no TV and for some reason my radio isn’t bringing in BBC so I am listening to 99.7, with which I have a love/hate relationship.

I could swear I have heard the same exact sound track a year ago. I’m pretty sure music has moved on, and occasionally I will hear something dating within the last three months, but a lot of the music seems pretty old to me.

There is one thing that really bugs me. There is a song in which there is a line that includes the words “buck naked banging on the bathroom floor.” The censors have evidently decided that “buck” is a BAD word because while you are listening to the song, what you hear is something like “there we were _______ naked banging on the bathroom floor.” When I hear it, it cracks me up, but at the same time, how annoying!

(Buck naked is another way of saying bare naked: bare-na·ked (bârnkd, -nkd)
adv. & adj. Chiefly Northern U.S. With no clothes on.

Regional Note: The chiefly Northern U.S. expression bare-naked illustrates the linguistic process of redundancy, not always acceptable in Standard English but productive in regional dialect speech. A redundant expression combines two words that mean the same thing, thereby intensifying the effect. The expression buck-naked, used chiefly in the South Atlantic and Gulf states, is not as clear as bare-naked with respect to its origin; buck is possibly an alteration of butt, “buttocks.” If so, bum-naked, heard in various parts of the country, and bare-ass(ed), attested especially in the Northeastern U.S., represent the same idea.

From The Free Dictionary)

My husband listens to 99.7 (I think it calls itself Radio Kuwait) during drive time in the morning, and said that the other day they talked with the meteorologist at the Kuwait airport, who gave the weather forecast but then went into a long thing about which stars are visible, and how back in the not-so-distant past the desert Kuwaitis would watch for this star to appear, because they knew it preceded the cooling temperatures. They called it the “Yemeni star.” I think my husband told me why, but I can’t remember.

How totally cool. You keep your ears open, and even on 99.7 you can learn something.

August 30, 2007 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Cultural, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait | 16 Comments

Invisible Moms

A friend sent this to me in an e-mail today. I know I have been invisible, and some of you may relate to it, too. It’s long, but well worth the read.

It started to happen gradually.

One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we
were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, ‘Who is
that with you, young fella?’
‘Nobody,’ he shrugged.

Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we
crossed the street I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, nobody?’

I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to
my family – like ‘Turn the TV down, please’ – and nothing would happen.
Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there
for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, ‘Would someone
turn the TV down?’ Nothing.

Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We’d been there
for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to
a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the
conversation, I whispered, ‘I’m ready to go when you are.’ He just kept
right on talking.

That’s when I started to put all the pieces together. I don’t think he can
see me. I don’t think anyone can see me.

I’m invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask
to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m
on the phone?’ Obviously not. No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or
sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no
one can see me at all.

I’m invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can
you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a
clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What
number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that
studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they
had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She’s going… she’s going… she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and
she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting
there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard
not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my
out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My
unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could
actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when
Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I
brought you this.’

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe I wasn’t exactly sure why
she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘To Charlotte , with
admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which
I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of
their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never
see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the
eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you
spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will covered by the
roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see
the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act
of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve
baked,
is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great
cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one
of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to
work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book
went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our
lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that
degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s
bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three
hours and presses all the linens for the table.’

That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him
to want to come home.

And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,
‘You’re gonna love it there.’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will
marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been
added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s
Spirit lives in you?” I Cor.3:16

August 30, 2007 Posted by | Community, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Relationships, Spiritual | 8 Comments

Heavy Body, Healthy Heart

I found this article this morning on AOL Health

I am always looking for hope. This doctor, in an article from Prevention Magazine says even heavy people can have healthy hearts by including 10 minutes of exercise into their daily routine; that the biggest danger comes from belly fat, which impedes circulation. Your weight may stay the same, but if belly fat decreases, you have gained in fitness.

In my practice, I’ve seen a number of overweight patients virtually eliminate their heart disease risk by losing just a few pounds. This is, of course, wonderful news. I believe that most of us, by employing a few simple lifestyle changes, can avoid having a heart attack, and I intend to use this space every month to help you do that. But while I delight in my patients’ successes, some of them are dissatisfied by minimal weight loss and tell me they “just want to be thin.” In reaching for that goal, they often inadvertently sabotage the newfound cardiovascular fitness that losing just a little weight can provide.

Fitter in 10 minutes
Are you surprised to learn that you can be fit and, to put it indelicately, fat? Many doctors I know are startled to hear this, too. But the latest research, out of Louisiana State University, shows that overweight women can improve their heart health by adding just 10 minutes of activity a day.

In that study, researchers asked more than 400 sedentary women with high or borderline-high blood pressure to add a short bout of moderately intense activity, such as brisk walking, to their daily routines for 6 months. Although the women as a group neither lost weight nor lowered their blood pressure, they ended up fitter, as measured by their oxygen intake, and – this is the really important part – their waistlines got smaller. That’s significant because belly, or visceral, fat is linked to insulin resistance, a contributor to heart disease. You can reach this level of fitness without losing a pound.

You can read the whole article HERE.

August 30, 2007 Posted by | Diet / Weight Loss, Family Issues, Health Issues | Leave a comment