Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Law of the Harvest

A small group was huddled, talking about volunteer work, and how people are afraid to commit, when the duties are actually very light, and easily accomplished, then we drifted into giving generously . . .

“It’s called The Law of the Harvest” one of my favorite women popped in as I was trying to explain that when you give, open-handedly, give with your heart, it all comes back to you multiplied.

We all turned to her. “Remember the seeds? You sow the seeds and then it is multiplied?”

Of course! It’s so simple! Why didn’t I think of that?

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Character, Charity, Civility, Community, ExPat Life, Leadership, Relationships, Spiritual | 11 Comments

US Housing Market Takes Another Hit in December

US home sales see steep drop in December
From BBC News

Sales of previously-owned US homes fell 16.7% in December, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has said.

Sales had risen from September to November as first-time buyers took advantage of tax credits.

The decline in December was expected as buyers rushed to complete deals before the original 30 November deadline.

The first-time buyer tax credit has since been extended until 30 April, and the NAR said there was likely to be another surge in sales in the spring.

December sales fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million from 6.54 million in November, but are 15% higher than the level seen in December 2008.

The average sale price of a previously-owned home was $178,300 (£110,200) in December, up 1.5% on a year ago.

Total sales in 2009 were almost 5% higher than in 2008 – the first annual gain since 2005.

“It’s significant that home sales remain above year-ago levels, but the market is going through a period of swings driven by the tax credit,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said.

“By early summer the overall market should benefit from more balanced inventory, and sales are on track to rise again in 2010.

“However, the job market remains a concern and could dampen the housing recovery – job creation is key to a continued recovery in the second half of the year.”

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Family Issues, Financial Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions | Leave a comment

Ruby Necklace

One year, AdventureMan bought me a ruby necklace. Yeh, it sounds glamorous, but it wasn’t one of those sparkly ruby necklaces you wear to the ball, it was a rough cut ruby necklace, the kind I like. I was thrilled when I found it in the tip of my Christmas stocking.

I put it on to wear to dinner that night, and as soon as I put it on, my neck started burning, and AdventureMan said “Your skin is all red!” I wore it anyway; I really loved the necklace.

The rash took about a week to fully go away. I figured they must have used some compound to polish it that I was allergic to. I didn’t wear it for a year, and then got around to washing it. And washing it. Nine times, I washed it:

The rubies in these necklaces are not the high quality kind, just rubies, rough cut. I guess they must have thought I wouldn’t like it unless it were really bright ruby red . . . it took nine washes before it stopped bleeding red. I am hoping it was the dye I was allergic to – I’m still afraid to put the necklace on, afraid I will get big red welts again.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Christmas, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Experiment, Kuwait, Living Conditions | 2 Comments

Gulf Women Twice as Likely as Men to Die of Heart Attack

Women face greater risk of heart attack deaths: study
You can read this entire article in today’s Gulf Times by clicking on this blue type

Women throughout the Gulf are almost twice as likely to die in hospital after a heart attack, as male patients, a new regional study published by the American Journal of Cardiology has revealed.

The research involved looking at the death rate of 8,166 males and females hospitalised in 2009 for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) – which includes heart attack and unstable angina.

It was found that female patients who suffered ACS were 1.75 times more likely to die while in hospital than males with the same condition.

Delayed diagnosis of ACS in women, and failure to prescribe the correct cardiovascular medications, and not carrying out the necessary interventions after the event, were behind the increase in the death rate.

The research project was called the Gulf Registry for Acute Coronary Events (Gulf RACE) and the study was titled Comparison of Men and Women with Acute Coronary Syndrome in Six Middle Eastern Countries, 2009.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Middle East, Social Issues, Statistics, Women's Issues | 3 Comments

Handbook for 2010

Thank you, Dear Friend, who sent this to me this morning 🙂


1. Drink plenty of water.
2.. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants….
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12 Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake..
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32.. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. God heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up..
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, be thankful for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy..

Last but not the least:
40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about, I just did..

January 24, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Beauty, Books, Character, Community, Exercise, Friends & Friendship, Health Issues | 4 Comments

New Darwin Awards

From today’s e-mail:

WOW…More chlorine needed in the gene pool!

The Darwins are out!!!!

Yes, it’s that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honouring the least evolved among us.

Here is the glorious winner:

1. When his 38 calibre revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And now, the honourable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.

3. A man who shovelled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer… $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly.. He decided that he’d just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti , Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast… The man, frustrated, walked away.

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for.. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Humor | 3 Comments

Grace Gets an Upgrade

I have the most wonderful housekeeper who helps me out a couple days a week, and other occasions. She is a woman I greatly admire; she works hard to provide education for her children, and she is also a strong voice in her community, giving sound advice to younger women and organizing people for positive change.

Today I asked her if she had taken the bag I had made for her when she went home for a recent visit.

Here eyes gleamed.

‘Oh YES!’ she said, her smile so large it was like the sun rising over the Gulf. ‘It was the only thing I carried! And on my way home, I was waiting for my plane and the desk attendant approached me and asked where I was going. I said ‘Abu Dhabi and Doha’ and he asked if I minded if they upgraded me to Business Class’

We both danced for joy. Manila to Abu Dhabi in business class. Wooooo HOOOO! That’s a LONG flight.

‘Did you sleep?’ I asked.

‘At first, no, because I didn’t know how to operate the seats.’ she responded.

‘And then?’ I prompted

‘I figured it out,’ she grinned.

She thinks it was the bag I made for her. I think God just knew Grace needed a little grace. 🙂

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Character, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Relationships, Travel, Work Related Issues | 3 Comments

Amazon Kindle Global Wireless – Wooo HOOOO

My book friends have all been wishing for a global wireless Kindle – and here it is!

From Amazon, and yes, I own stock in Amazon, but not so much as to make me a rich woman. 🙂 What I wonder . . . is how this will work in the Gulf countries, where books are heavily censored? Will people have free access to any book they choose (gasp!) with a Kindle?

(Update: Here’s the answer – ‘global’ does not mean everywhere. Saudi Arabia is covered, but Kuwait and Qatar are not!)

Say Hello to Kindle DX with Global Wireless
Beautiful Large Display: 9.7″ diagonal e-ink screen reads like real paper; boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and sharp images

Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

Books In Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle DX; no monthly fees, no annual contracts, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Global Coverage: Enjoy 3G wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries. See details. Check wireless coverage map.

Carry Your Library: Holds up to 3,500 books, periodicals, and documents

Longer Battery Life: Now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of 4 days

Built-In PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go

Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages

Read-to-Me: With the text-to-speech feature, Kindle DX can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book’s rights holder made the feature unavailable

Free Book Samples: Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy

Large Selection: Over 400,000 books, including 101 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs. For non-U.S. customers, content availability and pricing will vary. Check your country.

Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise. When traveling abroad, you can download books wirelessly from the Kindle Store or your Archived Items. U.S. customers will be charged a fee of $1.99 for international downloads.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Books, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Marketing, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Shopping | 11 Comments

Doha 2003 – Doha Now

When we came here in 2003, I was still shooting film. I did a Doha skyline, in 2003 from what we still call the Bandar spit – where the dhows are harbored, and there used to be restaurants remotely shaped like boats and a wide terrace where you could sit out (when it isn’t too hot) and eat, or have coffee and dessert, with the vast Doha skyline to gaze upon.

Then, one day, the restaurants were gone!

You can still go out on the spit and take photos of the Doha skyline.

I cobbled together a bunch of photos to show the entire Doha skyline in 2003:

This is what the Ritz Carlton looked like in 2003:

Doha Skyline from the Ritz Carlton in 2003:

The Pearl and Doha skyline in 2003:

Same Pearl 2009:

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Photos, Qatar | 3 Comments

Trade Expo and AdventureMan

“Hey! I’m coming home early and I’m taking you to the TradeExpo!” AdventureMan told me with excitement in his voice. He doesn’t often like going places at night after a long day at work, but to him, this sounded like fun.

Jockying for a parking place was not so much fun. We’ve been here long enough, though, when AdventureMan spied a free sidewalk space, up we went, perfect parking spot, right under a streetlight. Short walk to the Expo.

I watched his face as we walked around, changing from excitement to confusion. “Where are all the booths with little flags?” he asked, “and all the booths with home cooked foods from other countries?”

LLLOOOLLL; he thought this was the DIPLOMATIC Bazaar!

Some years they do the diplomatic bazaar and some years they don’t; depends on if the diplomatic wives have the time and energy to get it all organized and bring in all kinds of specialties not normally seen here.

This was a trade expo. There was a lot of underwear, and children’s clothes, not the expensive kind, this was the utilitarian kind, and not-very-nice furniture, and overly ornate but not nice bric-a-brac. Really bad perfumes and some really awful, cheap make-up. The whole thing was over-hyped and low quality, schlocky, and we didn’t spend a dirham. The only food was Costa Coffee!

So not every Doha adventure is such a fun one, but better to try than to miss something wonderful.

One visitor to the Trade Fair actually took some really good photos and posted them on They are very nice photos, and when I saw them I thought “this makes the trade fair look a lot better than I remember it!”

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cross Cultural, Doha, Events, ExPat Life, Experiment, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Marketing, Shopping | Leave a comment