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Expat wanderer

For Our Convenience

For our convenience, KLM has introduced a new ‘simplified’ baggage policy:

Joining their Flying Blue Elite program is free. It only makes sense, join up and get that extra bag at no charge, at least not in the Europe / Middle East countries.

As little respect as I have for KLM customer service – most of their people manning the transit desks in Amsterdam specialize in saying ‘no’ with a sneer – they are EXCELLENT for traveling with pets. If you are traveling business class or if you have a gold card that gets you into the lounges, you can shower between flights and have a decent cup of coffee. It’s worth the trouble to get the card.

April 5, 2010 Posted by | KLM, Middle East, Random Musings, Travel | 2 Comments

Car Seat Base

My new little Sand colored Rav4 is a workhorse! I lug groceries, furniture, boxes, bedding plants and soil, huge pots, and even bookcases, with just a flip of a lever, the middle seats fold down and I have a long flat bed to carry longer items.

The accessory I like the best doesn’t come with the Rav4. I had to buy it separately. It is a Chicco car seat base, so that I can load and lock my little grandson in my car when we need to pick him up or take him somewhere. :-) We had our first trial run taking him to lunch at the Jordan Valley Restaurant in downtown Pensacola, where they had decent baba ghannoush and hummus, bland olives, and felafel – but it isn’t the Beirut. :-(

There are camels on the wall. There are some fabulous cushions. They have some gyros platters and I had a chicken shish taouk . . . it isn’t the Gulf, or – it isn’t the Arabian Gulf – but I am thankful there is one place in town that has felafel and tabbouli. ;-)

The good news is, baby Q slept the whole time. :-)

April 5, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Experiment, Family Issues, Florida, Food, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Middle East, Pensacola | 6 Comments

Easter Dinner

I can’t remember when I was last in the United States for Easter, but it was probably back when our son married . . . I remember a church service held at the hotel where we were staying, just down below our room, and I remember Easter Brunch, but barely – the wedding had been held the day before, and everything is a little blurry in my memory, it all happened so fast!

So this year was a lot of fun. We had a small family dinner, with all the traditional foods.

My son’s wife loves sweet potatoes; these are baked in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a topping of pineapple:

We all love a green salad with roasted walnuts:

Cole slaw, oil, vinegar, poppy seed, no mayonnaise:

Yummy green beans (my favorite):

And after dinner, we had the traditional clogged sink, and spent hours running to the only store open (Easter Sunday in the South, remember?), first for plungers, then later for a plumber’s snake. We tried Liquid Plumber – nothing worked. So I am waiting this morning for the plumber to come and do his magic so our water will run out of the sink again. :-(

If you think you hate cole slaw because of all that mayonnaise, try this dressing – we love it!

Poppy Seed Cole Slaw

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
1 Tablespoon poppy seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion juice

Bring all to a boil. Cool before using. Enough for one medium large head of cabbage, shredded thinly.

April 5, 2010 Posted by | Cooking, Cultural, Customer Service, Easter, Family Issues, Florida, Food, Humor, Living Conditions, Moving, Technical Issue, Tools | 7 Comments

Watching Paint Dry

‘Watching Paint Dry’ is synonymous with BORING, but watching paint dry is exactly what I am doing. Yes. Seriously.

Many moves ago, I was about to paint a room a color I loved when a thought struck me – maybe I ought to preview the paint, paint a small area and see how it looked when it dried. Thank God I followed that tiny nagging thought. Bought the smallest amount I could, which I believe was a gallon, painted a small portion of the wall – and was horrified to see what I had thought would be a subtle color turn a very purple kind of pink.

Now, paint manufacturers have done a very smart thing – they have small, one pint containers that can be made up in any color. Paint changes with the light; I’m trying to find a warm neutral to cover the too-brown caramel, so I had several made up, and I’ve daubed the walls in different places, different lights. I want to see how they look when the paint dries.

The two larger ones are the two that I liked the best, but I want to keep watching, see what grows on me. The first one on the left, Early Sunset, is the one I thought would be my favorite, but it went totally neutral, blah, on the wall. There was one paint I liked, but I hated the name, Muffin Mix. The two front runners are Lilting Laughter and Abalone Pink.

Family Room (three different walls)

Living Room (living room is too dark!)

Dining Room is even darker:

What is interesting to me is how different the same background color looks in every photo – you wouldn’t even think it is the same paint if you didn’t know. That’s why I test. I want to see how it changes in different light.

I’m going to do some under-daubing in dusty rose and terra-cotta, then sponge over the daubs with the lighter neutral, hoping to get a Mediterranean / Tuscan kind of effect. The house is ‘blonde’ brick with white columns, so a Mediterranean (or Arabian Gulf) villa look would work for us, and help us adjust to our new location.

April 5, 2010 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Experiment, Living Conditions, Moving, Renovations, Technical Issue, Values, Work Related Issues | 8 Comments

   

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