Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Today’s Bizarre E-mail

No. No. No. No. I am NOT interested!

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April 18, 2011 Posted by | Humor, Kuwait | 2 Comments

The Royal Wedding

Where do you find these things??? I laughed myself silly! Thanks you, Hayfa!

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Events, Humor | Leave a comment

Why I Love My Daughter-in-Law

“Can I come by?” she asked on a Saturday morning. “I have something for you.”

“Now? Sure! I’ve been working outside and I’m just cleaning up a little in the kitchen. It’s a great time.”

Moments later she was there, empty-handed. We hugged, but she laughed when she saw my puzzled face and said “it’s outside by your back gate.”

We walked back together, and there it was, just what I wanted:

She bought me a compost-maker!

I’ve got diamonds. I’ve got pearls. I’ve got everything I need to decorate myself and my house, too much even. But what I don’t have – or I didn’t until now – was a compost maker. This girl knows how to thrill my heart.

We spent a few minutes reading the instructions and putting it together. Wooo HOOOOO!

Don’t you hate to waste? I’ve been throwing out carrot peelings, and onion skins, and salad mix that’s gone a little gooey in my refrigerator, my coffee grounds, my newspapers – they are all fodder for making good compost, and good compost is desperately needed when your yard is greatly sand. Wooo HOOOO! Now, I can make my own compost!

I totally love it.

I decided to cut back this year, not to try to grow so many tomatoes and so many peppers. I don’t know what happened, but I had ordered some seeds, and I couldn’t let them go to waste, and I bought a couple tomatoes that are supposed to do well in this area, and we still have many nights with temperatures lower than 70 degrees (F) so I can still hope to have good tomatoes before the great heat sets in for the summer. Some people tell me that if I can keep the tomatoes going through the summer, just green, not setting tomatoes, some of them will start setting tomatoes again once the weather starts cooling once again. I also learned that the time to start your seedlings in Florida is like January or February, to get good tomato crops before the heat starts, so I got started about a month too late. On the other hand, they are doing great. We shall see.

This is what ‘cutting back’ looks like:

I found the Black Krims at the 14th Annual Emerald Coast Garden Show at the PSC Campus in MIlton last weekend. Mr. B’s Tomatoes was right where I bought them last year, and it was my first stop. I also bought one he said would also produce well for me, called Tommy Toe. It’s a weird name. Tomato people often give their tomatoes weird names.

My roses are growing like crazy, unfortunately, a week before Easter. I wonder if I will have any left to give to the church for the Easter services?

I planted tulips and Iris in the fall; the tulips are coming up but I have yet to see a real tulip bloom. The irises look good – I am thinking they may do well here, and that is a really good thing because I love iris. (I pulled the weed)

Three of my tomato plants have tomatoes on them!

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Environment, Exercise, ExPat Life, Experiment, Florida, Gardens, Home Improvements, Living Conditions, Pensacola | 4 Comments

Happy Five Year Anniversary

“How did he sound?” AdventureMan asked about our son.

I smiled.

“Actually, he sounded fine. He sounded like there is nothing in the world he wants to do more than to stay home with his sick baby.”

Everything was planned. Our son and his wife were on their way out to a special dinner, to celebrate five years of successful marriage. We were signed on to babysit, something we do with gladness. We knew how the evening would go. We arrive, HappyBaby runs shrieking with joy to AdventureMan, running right around me if I get in the way. I fix dinner, feed the HappyBaby, AdventureMan takes him down to play, then bathtime, then bed.

Not this time.

Our son called us about an hour before we were scheduled to arrive.

‘It’s all off” he said. “HappyBaby is sick, fever, lethargic. We’re just going to stay home. You can come by if you just want to hang out.”

“Oh! I’m so sorry!” I said, a little in shock. HappyBaby has been having a long spell of wellness. “I’m making spaghetti for us and HappyBaby,” I replied, “but there’s a lot. Can I bring dinner?”

He said yes. We made a salad, AdventureMan found a really good bottle of wine, we headed down. AdventureMan held HappyBaby – not so happy, very tired and a little fussy – while we dished up; I finished and held him so AdventureMan could eat. HappyBaby was fine with coming to me, his arms went around me, his little head went down on my shoulder, and it was like when he was little little, except he is so big now that I can’t sit down, or I can’t easily get up again. He’s a big boy now.

I always joke that I am the grandmother who can bore her grandson to sleep. We stood outside for a while, watching the cars go by, watching the sun set over the Bayou, and when the cool breeze started blowing I took him inside. He was so sleepy, he didn’t complain. We rocked, and I put him down in his crib, fast asleep.

It wasn’t the evening we expected. It was, for us, even better, having a relaxed time with our son and his wife, getting to put HappyBaby to sleep once again. It turned out to be a very sweet evening.

We’ve signed up to do the babysitting again when HappyBaby is well and our son and his wife can go out for that dinner. Five years of marriage is worth celebrating. We are so proud of them and the way they handle life, it’s joys and disappointments, struggles, challenges and triumphs. They are a good team, and we celebrate that they found one another and work so well together.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Events, Family Issues, Marriage, Pensacola, Relationships | 2 Comments

Summer Road Trip Tips

As road trippers, this article caught my attention. It’s all good advice. I particularly like the last one; recently a friend told us he didn’t know about the toll to get to Destin, and we looked at him in utter astonishment – a toll? Then it dawned on us, he always uses his GPS, which took him over the Garcon Point Bridge – always an expensive option. GPS, even smart phones, won’t show you all the possibilities unless you ask. Check your route with Google Maps or Map Quest before you go, look for local attractions, scenic roads, things that will appeal to you. The Mammoth Museum in Rapid City, SD totally made our day on our most recent long road trip.

20 tips for surviving a summer road trip, courtesy of touring musicians
by Elizabeth Seward
from AOL News/Gadling

Road trips are made for summer. Summer is made for road trips. I’m a musician with several tours under my belt so, yeah, you guessed it, I love road trips and summer. But braving the heat while living in an automobile isn’t very cool if you aren’t prepared. Before you pack your vehicle so tight you can’t open the backseat doors without spilling pillows and sun block all over the scorching rest stop parking lot, make sure you have your summer road trip bases covered.

Summer’s biggest pitfalls aren’t mysterious. Mostly there’s the heat and the sun, which can be two separate problems to combat. Precisely how to conquer the road while dodging the wrath of summer is a practice best perfected by experience, so here are some tips birthed from experience, not in any intentional order.

1. Plan your route wisely.
Where you’re going matters. As you might suspect, planning a summer road trip that will take you through the South is dangerous territory. With that said, I’ve done it, plenty of people have, but be mindful of the regional summer climate when planning your summer trip. Give yourself more time for rest than you think you need. The heat has a way of corroding away a traveler’s soul. If you think you can manage full-day drives during the summer, that’s fine, but make sure your schedule is flexible.

2. Prepare your vehicle.
It’s absolutely essential that you make sure your vehicle is adequately prepared for a summer road trip before embarking on one. If your air conditioner is broken, get it fixed. If the car’s interior material is the kind that easily gets sticky and hot, bring thin sheets to cover the seats with. And oh yeah, those windshield sun blockers? Definitely a bright idea. Aol Autos has a good round-up detailing how to prepare your car for a summer road trip here.

3. Pack the right stuff.
What you pack will prove to be important during a summer road trip. During any road trip, no matter the season, what you bring along with you more or less accounts for your home for the trip. When road tripping, your vehicle is your home. Remember that. Aside from the regular to-bring items (first aid kit, anyone?) a few essentials to remember when packing for a summer trip are:

Sun block
Sun hat
Bug repellent
A cooler
Swim suit
Beach Towel
Sun glasses
Light clothing
Aloe
Water bottle
Umbrella

But the real question to ask yourself is: what helps you feel comfortable in the summer? If having an on-the-go folding beach chair around has been handy for you in the past, go ahead and slide it into your trunk if there’s space.

Dean Herrera, guitarist for metal band, The Human Abstract, is especially behind including a swim suit on the pack list.

“Always have some swim suit ready to go. You never know when you might drive by an unexpected river or lake that would be perfect for a quick dip”, said Herrera when I asked him for his own summer road trip tips.

4. Avoid afternoon driving.
Tolerating the heat, especially in the South, can be a challenge. Avoid driving in the height of the afternoon if you have a chance. People siesta for a reason in warm places! You should take this tip via tradition to heart. Drive at night, dawn, or dusk for the most pleasant temperature and traffic-free experience. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you’ll probably save a little on gas money while you’re at it (it takes less gas to cool your car when the outside temperature drops).

5. Stay clean.
It’s easy to become a stinky sweaty mess when traveling during the summer. Deodorant is important, but it won’t ward off all of the nasty scents of summer road tripping. I used to always have my shampoo, conditioner, and a jug of water around so I could quickly wash my hair in a parking lot if necessary. But public showers do exist.

“Truck stop showers are typically very clean”, says Anthony Shustak. “Don’t be afraid to use them if you need… just be sure you’ve got some sandals”. Anthony Shustak is a touring veteran who has traveled with acts like Meg and Dia and LIGHTS as an engineer, tour manager, and general-good-guy-to-have-around.

6. Protect your engine.
“If your van or car is on its way to overheating and you don’t want to or can’t, stop, blast the heater and open the windows. It helps keep your engine slightly cooler”, says Herrera who, at this point, has probably circled around the United States in a van enough times to equally circle to world a few times.

7. Stay rested.
“Sleep!”, says Shustak. “Coffee only does so much. So, before you get to the point on that 14 hour drive when you’re on your fourth cup of coffee in six hours and your arms are shaking, pull the car over and take a nap! Even if it’s just half an hour”.

8. Tune in and tune out.
Shustak has some advice on which electronics matter. “Have a fully stocked mp3 player, a camera at the ready, and turn your phone off for a day or two–or at least limit yourself to one or two “message checks” per day. Your e-mails will miraculously still be there when you wake up the next day”, he suggests.

9. Embrace the road less taken.
“Make sure to go off the beaten path”, advises Shustak. “Don’t be scared of the locals. Ask questions… especially when it comes to finding out the best places to eat.

10. Get some alone time.
You’re much more likely to want to strangle your travel companion, be it your spouse, colleague, or Craigslist rideshare partner, while crammed up together in a hot car for hours upon hours each day. Make sure to take breaks from your road buddy as frequently as possible, even if just for 15 minutes.

11. Know your territory.
And know what comes with that territory. Read up and know the dangers of the area at hand. If the bear population is high, for instance, be sure to be mindful of where you place your food and trash while parked.

12. Stay hydrated.
Keep yourself hydrated with cold beverages while driving. Think about it this way: every cool drink you down is another step up and toward a cooler temperature–particularly important if your car has an irreparable broken air conditioner (which is incredibly inconvenient if you live in Austin, FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE).

13. Use an umbrella.
Protect yourself from the sun’s rays, especially mid-day. If you hate lathering on sun block and don’t see the point in covering your body with it when you’ll be in the car most of the day, just use your umbrella when you stop for a walk to stretch your legs. It’s much easier than worrying about the lotion.

14. Pack light.
Shustak’s packing tip is all about how much you pack.

“Mainly, for me, it comes down to packing lightly and efficiently. If you are on a trip longer than a month in duration, pack for 10-14 days and use your opportunities to do laundry during any downtime”, says Shustak, who undoubtedly knows the value of staying with a washer/dryer-owning friend on the road.

15. Eat healthy.
An easy way to make sure you feel like crap while traveling is to eat crap. I realize old habits die hard, but some fresh fruits and vegetables just might be your answer to staying happy and healthy on the road.

16. Entertain yourself.
Cruising across states is fun and the landscape views are great. But you’ll eventually get sick of looking out of the window and when you do, you’ll need a way to entertain yourself. Be sure there’s no shortage on entertainment options. Books, notebooks, sketchbooks, jewelry-making supplies, knitting tools, dvds for your computer, video games, iPod and headphones… you know what you like, so pack accordingly.

17. Bring camping supplies.
Sometimes you need to stop in towns where you don’t have any friends you can stay with and your money needs to go toward gas, not hotels. It’s no big deal, just camp! If you can squeeze at least a tent and a sleeping bag in your vehicle, do it. Having the ability to sleep comfortably anywhere when you need to stop will enhance your overall road trip experience this summer.

18. Have your contacts saved.
Phones get stolen, broken, and lost. Make sure you have a list of your contacts, especially your emergency contacts, saved elsewhere. I suggest online, on your computer, and in a notebook.

19. Keep someone in the loop.
I was a little annoyed summer of 2007 when the folks who care about me back home called Wyoming hospitals to see if I’d been in an accident after not hearing from me for days. Truth be told, I was just camping in Yellowstone without phone reception and I should have kept someone in the loop. But at least these folks, my parents, were in the loop enough to know which area of the country I was in. Make sure you’re keeping someone you trust up to date on where you are and where you plan on going.

20. Bring an actual atlas.
“Have an up-to-date road atlas”, says Shustak. “Surprise, surprise… the GPS and/or Google Maps are not always accurate”.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Road Trips, Travel | 3 Comments

Ewww. Just Ewwww.

This one just creeps me out, and it didn’t even end up in the spam file. Ewww. Just Ewwwww.

Hello dear friend.
Glad that I’m just browsing now in the Internet and found your profile here on (intlxpatr.wordpress.com) i was much feelings over it, I’m miss vera khalifa by name, please i will like us to hold a good relationship with a real love, I’m happy to look at your profile today, you sound so gentle to me that was the reason why i fall very much interested in you, for more introduction also i will sent my pictures to you so we can know more about each other, i will be happy to see your email, your love vera

I was much feelings, too, Vera, and not good. Sorry.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Just Bad English, Language, Scams | 2 Comments

Disable Your GPS Settings for Camera on Your Smart Phone

Thanks to my very savvy Kuwait friend for forwarding this timely reminder to be careful about what you post. What stalkers can learn from a photo on a social-networking site is frightening.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Communication, Community, Crime, Privacy, Technical Issue | Leave a comment

More News From Better Books and Cafe in Kuwait

I wish Better Books and Cafe had been in Kuwait while I was there. And are people having luck with Magic Jack in Kuwait? We had one, and it stopped working. We thought it had been blocked or something.


Better Books and Cafe (Kuwait’s only used bookstore and cafe) has several announcements and a new contest for you.

Better Books and Cafe is on FACEBOOK

‘Magic Jacks’ are for sale – they facilitate inexpensive telephone calls between Kuwait and the USA and Canada

A database of our Classics, Cliffs Notes, Autobiographies and Fiction books is now available. Customers can now browse our database and reserve books via email. Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning authors have been highlighted. Better Books has many more books than are not on the database yet. More will be added every month. Prices of books with multiple entries may differ as per publication;

A new toilet has been constructed just upstairs for Better Books – no m

Better Books and Cafe (Kuwait’s only used bookstore and cafe) has several announcements and a new contest for you.

Better Books and Cafe is on FACEBOOK – click here to ‘Like’ us;
‘Magic Jacks’ are for sale – they facilitate inexpensive telephone calls between Kuwait and the USA and Canada
A database of our Classics, Cliffs Notes, Autobiographies and Fiction books is now available (see attached, press ctrl+F if you’re looking for a particular book or author). Customers can now browse our database and reserve books via email. Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning authors have been highlighted. Better Books has many more books than are not on the database yet. More will be added every month. Prices of books with multiple entries may differ as per publication;

A new toilet has been constructed just upstairs for Better Books – no more walking past the mechanic two buildings over.

The store has two additional bookcases, an extra beanbag chair and one more plush carpet.

Most genres are now segregated and labeled making books easier to find – we even have a separate shelf for books made into movies!

Upcoming Events at Better Books and Cafe:
Art of Living will start a course 24-28 April. Contact us for more information;

Due to the success of the Nithyananda Yoga Center courses held this month, there will be yoga twice a week and a 3 day ‘silence meditation’ course at their premises. Contact 25635450, 99838117 or 99315825 for more information

A second Gavel Club has been formed so your teenager is welcome to attend a Gavel Club meeting every Friday night free of charge. A nominal charge is requested if/when they join. Gavel Clubs are Toastmasters-sponsored groups for teenagers and allow active members who put in effort to gain confidence and expertise in the art of public speaking and develop their leadership skills. For more information, call/email Anil Lobo 99283020 / anilrlobo@yahoo.com. or Xavier Muthu 9985 0173Xavier.Muthu@trade.gov

Expat Mums is a new online community called recently set up for expatriate mothers of all nationalities here in Kuwait. They have regular events such as playgroups, stroller walks, mums’ lunches/dinners/coffees, and soon to be Story Times and Music Times at Better Books Bookstore. There are also specific sections for Classifieds & Reviews of local businesses in our secure online website. The group is open to all regardless of faith/origin/belief. To join this community, please visit http://www.expatmumskwi.com

And lastly “MOVIE NIGHTS” will return to Better Books and Cafe in May. Please vote for the movie you would like to see:
May 14 6-8pm Georgia O’Keeffe or Blood Wedding
May 21 6-8 pm Himalaya or Pope Joan
May 28 6-8 pm The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) or Frankenstein (1994)

BETTER BOOKS AND CAFE CONTEST
Match the correct novel to its first line to win a PRIZE.

1. _____ If I am out of my mind, it’s all right with me, thought Moses Herzog.
2. _____ It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
3. _____ 124 was spiteful.
4. _____ It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
5. _____ Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
6. _____ Call me Ishmael.
7. _____ It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
8. _____ In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

A. Beloved
B. The Great Gatsby
C. 1984
D. Moby-Dick
E. One Hundred Years of Solitude
F. Herzog
G. The Bell Jar
H. Pride and Prejudice

Prizes must be collected at Better Books before 16 May 2011.
All mentioned books are available at Better Books – reserve them today.
Feel free to forward this email to your friends.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Books, Communication, Kuwait | 5 Comments

Two Saints of the Church

Here is the prayer given for today in the Lectionary:

PRAYER (traditional language)
Loving God, we offer thanks for the ministries of Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany, bishops of thy Church who, though limited by segregation, served faithfully to thy honor and glory. Assist us, we pray, to break through the limitations of our own time, that we may minister in obedience to Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

BISHOPS, 1928, 1957

Delany, Henry Beard [Feb. 5, 1858-April 14, 1928] was the second African American bishop in the Episcopal Church, being elected Suffragan Bishop of North Carolina in 1918. He is probably better known as the father of Sadie and Bessy Delany, authors of the popular book, Having Our Say, which chronicled their lives.

Edward Thomas Demby [Feb. 13, 1869-Oct. 14, 1957] was the first African American bishop in the Episcopal Church. He served his first parish in Mason, Tenn. He became “Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work in Arkansas and the Province of the Southwest” in 1918. His career has been covered in a book, Black Bishop.

As we begin to transition from the Lenten season to the great feast of Easter, my heart takes hope from the courage of those who stood in the face of prejudice and exclusion, and focused on doing their jobs and doing them with grace. I think of how hate blinds us. I think of how Catholics and Protestants slaughtered one another, how Mormons were driven West, how Sunnis and Shiites are clashing in Iraq, how Christians and Moslems are battling to the death, and when I am near to losing hope, I try to focus on how earlier conflicts have almost totally disappeared. We are all believers. We believe in the one true God. We squabble like children over his inheritance.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues, Spiritual, Values | Leave a comment

Chew Your Juice

“But we only drink REAL orange juice!” I protested to my friend. “We only buy orange juice squeezed from real oranges, not juice drink, or orange juice from concentrate!”

“Have you read the sugar content on the lable?” she asked quietly.

I grabbed the carton and started reading. Oh. Holy cow. 22 grams of sugar in one serving.

“There is nothing wrong with juice,” my friend added, “but chew your juice.”

” ? ? ? ”

“Eat whole fruit. That way you get all the good stuff, the skin, the vitamins and the fiber as well as the juice. Better for you.”

Sigh. Another habit to break and replace with a newer, better, healthier habit. No more juice.

Hmmm. Now I wonder about my hot-weather addiction, McDonald’s wild berry smoothies. I don’t think I want to know how many grams of sugar per serving . . . .

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Food, Health Issues | 1 Comment