Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

A Snowflake Might Fall in Pensacola! (0)(0)

I can’t help it, it’s just funny to me. There is a chance it might snow in Pensacola. A very cold front MIGHT come south of I-10 and blast Pensacola for two days.

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Our son texted us that our grandchildrens’ school has issued a closure for tomorrow and Wednesday, could we help. I said sure. Then he texted that he and his wife are also off. Woooo HOOOOO! It’s kind of like a hurricane warning, none of this may really even happen.

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Florida, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Weather | | Leave a comment

Where is Amichi, Nigeria?

Today the church prays for the diocese of Amichi, in Nigeria:

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And we raise our prayers with many for our friend in Texas, hospitalized with a severe bacterial infection.

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Africa, ExPat Life, Faith, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Lectionary Readings | Leave a comment

Humbling Intlxpatr Statistics

I have a lot of followers. Many of them “like” my articles. Some write me in the background, asking how they can achieve blogging success.

I answer them truthfully. Since I left Kuwait, blogging hasn’t been so much fun and it’s harder for me to find interesting things to blog about, other than the news, and the kinds of odds and ends that catch my eye. At my peak, I had between 1500 – 1800 viewers every day, and once, over 10,000 in one day.

But blog entries attain a life of their own. In all humility, I will tell you that the entries I just wrote because it was mildly interesting to me seem to be those that live on and on. It’s not the impassioned plea for parents to put every child in a car seat, or at least put the children in the back seat, it’s not the photos of Mubarakiyya or the changing Doha skyline . . . it’s the trivia that keeps the readers coming back, LOL.

Here is the list of favorites just since the start of January:

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And here are the all time favorites, from the beginning of the blog:

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Humbling, isn’t it?

So my words – maybe not wisdom, but my experience – to those who aspire to statistics if not longevity – is to please yourself. Blog because you have something you want to say. Blog persistently, even if you don’t particularly have something to say; something trivial that interests you may interest others. Every now and then AdventureMan will hoot with laughter; he will Google something and one of my entries will end up being in the first three or four references. It’s not that I’m good, it’s that I published, even on something obscure, like the African tribe, the Lemba, who claim to have the Ark of the Covenant.

There are times I don’t feel like blogging; we all have those feelings at some time. It’s your blog. You can blog or not as you please. If you don’t feel like blogging today, you might have some inspiration tomorrow.

For me, this all started as I read some letters I had written from Tunisia, with episodes and events I no longer even remember. They came back to me in such vividness as I read that I wanted to find a way to write a little about my daily life in a way that down the road I could look back and wonder at how so many interesting things had happened that I had forgotten. Sadly . . . it’s already happening, there are stories from Kuwait and Qatar that I’ve already forgotten, but that they are written here.

Blogging is selfish. You do it because you can and because it fills a need. You can dance as hard as you want, and if you dance for your own joy, you will be happy, but if you are dancing for the attention of others, you will be disappointed. If there are readers now and then who enjoy your writing and come along for the ride, all that is good, but . . . most of them just want to know the benefits of drinking green tea 😉

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Blogging, Civility, Communication, Community, ExPat Life, Statistics | Leave a comment

From Yen to Compulsion

If you were to overhear conversations between AdventureMan and I, you would think we are whacko. It’s a funny thing about love; sometimes odd ducks can find one another and live happily ever after, or at least, have some really good times.

The other day we were on our way to lunch, and had no great preferences for going anywhere. We made a decision (and now I can’t even remember what it was, it was such a negligible decision) and AdventureMan said he kind of wanted to eat this, and I said his want was greater than my yen . . . . and off we went.

All the way to the restaurant, we were inserting words on a spectrum and debating now and then on their proper placement on the continuum. Like is a “yen” milder than a “want?” On the far end, does “obsession” precede “compulsion?” Is a compulsion truly related to a want at all, or does being driven to something take out the want-factor altogether? Yes, like I said, we are totally whacko, and thanks be to God, often whacko in the same direction, or we would drive one another totally crazy.

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(No. This is not us. This is just a photo I found online)

Here is our “want” line, from “yen” which we consider a very mild want, to compulsion, which drives out all other wants. We have probably left out some words you can think of, if you are a person who is still reading this far, please feel free to suggest amendments, or specific additions to make the line more flowing. You must defend your suggestion rigorously 🙂

yen – hankering -like – want – desire – crave – obsessing for – compulsion for

January 26, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Communication, Language, Marriage, Random Musings, Relationships, Words | Leave a comment

WoooHOOOO, a Fortune Via Diplomatic Courier!


mail02@mail.org

This is to notify you that your funds has been programmed for immediate release into your bank account but we can not transfer this funds direct to your account because we are having problem with the International Monetary Fund, so our method of payment is via diplomatic courier service.

So Contact your diplomat Raymond Kalli at Indianapolis international airport Indiana Usa at (kalliraymond31@gmail.com) or call him at 7652839904 now with your Full names,home Address,Phone Number also the name of the closet airport near to you via his email for more details.

CONGRATULATIONS.
SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI
EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA.

Next step – he will need my bank account numbers to transfer the funds?

January 26, 2014 Posted by | Scams | | 2 Comments

Driving While Incapacitated

Today we had one of those adrenalin experiences I haven’t had since leaving Kuwait. As we turned left onto a major thoroughfare, we were almost side-swiped on the left by a car turning left and driving the wrong way down the lane into which we were turning.

Fortunately, AdventureMan saw him in plenty of time, and made room. So we were behind this guy. Normally we just assume people are inattentive, or arrogant. For us, it’s not that important; just let ’em go their way.

Today, our eyes were as wide as saucers. This same driver kept driving over into the left hand lane. At first, I thought he was going to turn, but he made no turn. AdventureMan honked, to alert him to the fact that he was in the lane where cars were coming his way, headed right into him, we thought maybe he was texting.

Then he shifted all the way over headed into the parking lane, then wove back into the oncoming traffic. Fortunately, all the traffic – and this driver – were all going relatively slowly and the oncoming traffic pulled over. Everyone could see something was not normal.

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AdventureMan spotted a police car, just behind us, and pulled over so that the police car would be directly behind this driver. The police car put on the flashers and this driver was oblivious, just continued weaving from the oncoming traffic to the parking lane, until after a very long 30 – 45 seconds, the siren sounded. It was as if the driver woke up – and maybe he did. He pulled over.

AdventureMan and I had one of those conversations where we look for the right word. This driver was more than impaired. Truly, this driver was totally incapacitated in some way. Maybe he had just come from the hospital where he had been up for several nights with his terminally ill wife, in which case he was driving-while-sleep-deprived, a condition that happens more than you would like to think. Maybe he had the flu, and his medication had knocked him for a loop? Maybe he was falling down drunk? Maybe he was on some kind of drug? Maybe he was just driving-while-oblivious, texting?

We will never know. A couple hours later, we passed along the same stretch of road and watched a tow truck haul the car away as the police watched. We hope that whoever the driver was has been hospitalized, or taken somewhere he cannot harm himself. We are also very thankful that we were behind this driver, not in front of him or coming from the other direction. It was one of life’s little adventures.

January 25, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Crime, Cultural, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Safety | Leave a comment

Stock Market Dive and Psalm 30

Yesterday the American stock market dropped 318 points and it’s like all those chickens running around saying “the sky is falling! the sky is falling!” AdventureMan checked our holdings and said we had lost a significant amount. Oh well. It’s all paper gains and paper losses until you have to sell – or, LOL, until you have to pay taxes.

(Why is it the market never drops significantly just before the end of the year, at which point taxes are calculated???)

So this morning’s Lectionary readings make me smile. Life is transitory, wins and losses are ephemeral. We keep our eyes on the Lord, and give him thanks.

Psalm 30

A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.*

4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment;
his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
‘I shall never be moved.’
7 By your favour, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O Lord, I cried,
and to the Lord I made supplication:
9 ‘What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!’

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul* may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.

January 25, 2014 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Lectionary Readings | Leave a comment

Chilly Pensacola Sunrise

Today is the annual homeless services day, and homeless count day when hundreds of Pensacolians leave their beds at o-dark-thirty to serve our brothers and sisters who don’t have beds to sleep in, don’t have a roof over their head, don’t always have something to eat.

The homeless love Pensacola because it in so temperate, but even the temperate climate of Pensacola can be occasionally brutal, as it is right now. The Waterfront Mission has said it will take in anyone who comes, to shelter them from the harsh mid-freezing temperatures.

It’s not like Pensacola loves the homeless. The city has passed ordinances preventing them from begging, and from soliciting at the traffic stops. On the other hand, it’s not like they are going away, so charitable organizations in Pensacola do their best to care for the homeless population, providing cold weather shelter, meals, toiletries, places to collect mail and to bathe. There is a free health clinic. There is occasional dental screening. There are veteran services, who try to house and take care of our walking wounded. There is even a service for the pets of the homeless, in case of hurricane or similar emergency.These things make me very proud of Pensacola.

This morning dawned very cold:

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AdventureMan crawled out of bed into the cold and chill, donned several layers of clothing and headed out to help with the count, and with serving around 500 people a hot meal. He does it because he loves doing it and I smile thinking how “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.”

January 23, 2014 Posted by | Charity, Civility, Community, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Pensacola, Social Issues, sunrise series, Weather | , | 2 Comments

Vincent of Saragossa, by the Grace of God, Invincible

Not to make light of the suffering of the Saints, but while other kids grew up on tales of the bogeyman, the man with a hook on his hand, babayaga, etc., the kids at my bus-stop told stories of the saint and their tortures. There is enough in all these stories to thoroughly terrify the heart of a young child. Today the church remembers Vincent of Sargossa (Zaragosa) who survived and prevailed some of the very worst treatement available in those times, by the Grace of God.

The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Vincent, Deacon of Saragossa, and Martyr, 304.

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Vincent was a deacon in an early Christian church in Saragossa, Spain. He was a trusted friend and assistant of the bishop, Valerius. He was a very effective leader and therefore a prize catch for the Spanish governor, Dacian, who was implementing the Emperor Diocletian’s policy of persecution. Dacian’s agents used every means known to them to brainwash Vincent, since, if he gave up Christianity, it would surely result in the defection of others.

Vincent was submitted to intensive argumentation, interrupted by excruciating tortures. He was beaten, chained, stretched on the rack, cooked on a gridiron, and the floor of his bare cell was covered with broken glass on which he had to walk and recline. Vincent did not renounce Christ or acknowledge the Roman deities.

Finally the exhausted and mutilated saint was released, perhaps as an example to other Christians of what they might have to suffer. He died shortly after his release. But his steadfastness, far from discouraging other Christians, strengthened them in their determination to remain faithful to the Lord.

Even as your holy Deacon and Martyr Vincent triumphed over suffering and despised death: Grant that we may endure hardness and wax valiant in the fight. Amen.

Almighty God, your deacon Vincent, upheld by you, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Faith, Geography / Maps, Lectionary Readings | , | Leave a comment

Secret Addiction: Alaska The Last Frontier

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Every Sunday and Monday I get a bunch of hits on an entry I did back in August about where the Kilcher family “really” lives. The Kilcher family is featured on a Discovery Channel show called Alaska The Last Frontier. It was a joke because I had no idea where they lived; we just wanted to explore the roads around Homer and that was a house I saw – and there were a lot of really nice homes in Homer, homes that looked like they had a lot of self-sustaining features – barns, corrals, heavy farm machinery, solar panels, chicken coops, etc.

As it turns out, by accident, we were pretty close when I took that photo. When you look on Google maps, you will see, off East End Road, a road called Kilcher road. Makes sense to me that would be where at least some of the Kilcher clan live.

Do you watch Alaska The Last Frontier? It is a reality show, and kind of hokey. Like I grew up in Alaska, I’ve been in Homer, it’s not like they are Little Town on the Prairie. They are just miles away from a wonderful grocery and department store, hardware stores, some very nice restaurants, sweet summer market – they have doctors and veterinarians, they are not out in the wilderness where their only access is the weekly bush pilot – if he can get in through the wildly blowing snow-storm, if you catch my drift.

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And yet . . . Sunday evening comes around and I have to get my fix. I am addicted. Yes, they are hokey, but I guess it is a kind of quixotic hokeyness I like. They hunt, and they eat the meat they hunt. I grew up that way, and what I just hate are hunters who hunt because they think it makes them big men, especially if they hunt farmed animals. The Kilchers shoot animals they can eat. They even eat bear, which, if you’ve ever eaten bear (shudder) takes a lot of something – red wine, spices, barbecue sauce – to cover up that gamey taste.

They hunt to fill the freezers to have meat through the winter, but they also build things, and have all kinds of guy-toys – bulldozers, cranes, snowmobiles, tractors, ATV’s. They build bridges, a huge garage – you know, manly Alaska sorts of things 🙂

The women garden, keep cattle, milk cows, knit, raise chickens for eggs, do a lot of the fishing – I admire that. I think it is a good thing to stay close to the earth, even having to figure out how to get water from the spring into your cabin (pretty nice cabin, spectacular view.)

They camera work and editing are amazing. Mostly they edit out the most modern conveniences – we can tell they are ‘on the grid’, i.e. they have electricity, because the lighting is electric, but they pretty much crop out any appliances, and any other nearby homes, the Homer spit – LOL – the Homer Spit is about the most prominent natural feature in Kachemak Bay, and you never even see it on Alaska The Last Frontier.

So it’s a little deceptive. I can live with that. I admire the Kilcher family for their commitment to doing their best to be self-sustaining, good neighbors, while bowing to the inevitable convenience of buying Levis and flannel shirts at the Safeway down the road. No, they don’t show us those things; it probably wouldn’t have so many followers if they did. It’s still a lot of fun following the series, and I am guessing – hoping – that the season finale will feature a new birth, and a new member of the Kilcher family.

I have one suspicion, based on having lived in Alaska for many years when I was a kid. Alaskans love Hawaii. Every year, the Discovery Channel films the Kilchers from spring thaw to hard freeze of winter . . . I am betting your find the Kilcher family on the beaches in Hawaii during at least a part of those long hard winters 😉

January 21, 2014 Posted by | Alaska, Blogging, Building, Community, Cultural, Entertainment, Environment, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Values | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments