Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Germy Mistakes I Never Thought Of . . .

This caught my attention on AOL Health News this morning. Ewwwww!

5 Germy Mistakes You’re Making Everyday

By Glamour Jan 11th 2011 2:45PM

You wash your hands frequently, do your best to avoid coughing strangers, and generally consider yourself to be a germ-avoiding pro. Still you may be surprised at five little things you’re doing that may be leaving you susceptible to harmful bacteria and viruses.

1. Fruit peels: You buy lots of fruit to eat — bonus points! But, when it comes to fruit you peel (think: bananas, oranges), do you ever wash them first? If you grab that banana, peel it, then handle the fruit as you eat it, you’re potentially putting harmful bacteria right in your mouth. Think of all the people who handled that banana: the banana farmer in another part of the world, the guy at the grocery store who stocked the bunch, 19 customers who picked over it to get to the greener bunch they wanted, the checker at the market, the bagger — and then you!

2. The handles/railings in your house: Did your roommate have a cold this week? Sure, you kept your distance and washed your hands frequently, but did you think to wipe down the stair rails and doorknobs? Using a little hot soapy water or a light bleach solution (like Clorox Anywhere Spray) on frequently touched surfaces can keep you extra protected.

3. Your shoes: Do you keep your shoes on in your house? Yes, this is a controversial issue — those who like to keep their shoes on, thankyouverymuch, may take offense to rhetoric about removing shoes at the door. But, there has been a mounting amount of research in the past years indicating that what we track in on the bottom of our souls could be making us sick — from chemicals lingering on sidewalks and roads to the microbes you picked up in the public restroom. In fact, some health experts consider taking shoes off in your home as a way that anyone can improve their health. Even the super-doc Dr. Mehmet Oz suggested this year that it was on his top-5 list of things he’d recommend people do. So take those shoes off, darlings!

4. Touching your face: We all do it — a scratch here, a nose rub there. But every time we’re touching our face (especially our nose, mouth and eyes), we’re giving germs a free ride into our bods. Even if you can be a teensy bit more aware of when you touch your face throughout the day, you can reduce your germ exposure. No, don’t be compulsive about it, but if you avoid rubbing your eyes now and then, you’re doing your body a good service.

5. The water glass in the bathroom: When’s the last time you sent it for a run in the dishwasher? How about now? Frequently used items like glasses — especially when shared or left out on a countertop where droplets can accumulate from various sources — can be a breeding ground for germs. Wash those glasses frequently, and don’t share them!

January 14, 2011 Posted by | Health Issues, Hygiene | 6 Comments

Cockroaches VS Drug-Resistant Bacteria

You have to know, I truly hate cockroaches. They give me the creeps. When I see one – and cockroaches are a part of life in Florida, even with a pest service – my knees feel weak, and I feel shaky, but I have to force myself to stomp on them and flush them away. Now, AOL News tells us cockroaches can help us fight serious infections, including the one I hate the most, MRSA. You can read the entire article by clicking on the blue type above.

(Sept. 7) — Cockroaches, the creepy critters reviled for invading kitchens the country over, might be modern medicine’s best option for fending off dangerous, drug-resistant bacterial infections.

British researchers at the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science are behind the discovery, which entails harnessing molecules from the tissues of cockroaches and locusts to combat bacteria like E. coli and MRSA (drug-resistant staph infections).

Chemicals found in the brain and central nervous tissues of cockroaches are able to kill 90 percent of dangerous bacteria in lab-based tests.

The potent chemicals, found in the brain and central nervous tissues of the critters, are able to kill 90 percent of E. coli and MRSA in lab-based tests.

“Superbugs … have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases,” Dr. Naveed Khan, who supervised the work of lead researcher Simon Lee, said in a press release. “Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel anti-microbials to confront this menace.”

In a twist that’s an ironic upside to our own revulsion for roaches, it’s their “unsanitary and unhygienic environments,” Lee speculated, that spurred the critters to develop toxins against the bacteria.

You can read the rest of the original news article by clicking here.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | Florida, Health Issues, Hygiene, Living Conditions, News | Leave a comment

AdventureMan’s Bathroom

“Hey Dad, what happened, you draw the short straw?” our son asked AdventureMan when he saw the bathroom in the Pensacola house.

We really love having our own bathrooms. They may be small, but we don’t have to bump one another out of the way, we don’t have to try to groom while someone is showering and steaming, and while I can have the A/C blasting, AdventureMan can have the vents totally closed. It works for us.

But his bathroom had swinging doors, saloon style. And an old toilet that didn’t always flush completely. And an old bathtub with old tiles.

While he was away, we did a new bath – new walk-in shower with a rainfall showerhead, new toilet, and best of all, a pocketing door. He is going to be SO surprised. 🙂

It has been so hard keeping this secret. I can hardly wait to see his face.

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Family Issues, Home Improvements, Hygiene, Living Conditions, Renovations | 8 Comments

BBC and the Oil Spill and Ethiopian Elections

You would think that living here on the Gulf Coast within miles of the huge oil spill spewing out to putrefy the beautiful, sparkling gulf waters, that we would have the best, most comprehensive coverage of the local news.

Not so.

“I love BBC!” I called out from my studio to AdventureMan, in his study next door. “Who else is covering the Ethiopian elections in such detail? And they have the best coverage of the oil spill!”

Here is the latest; and excerpt from the Huffington Post:

BARATARIA BAY, La. (AP) — As officials approached to survey the damage the Gulf oil spill caused in coastal marshes, some brown pelicans couldn’t fly away Sunday. All they could do was hobble.

Several pelicans were coated in oil on Barataria Bay off Louisiana, their usually brown and white feathers now jet black. Pelican eggs were glazed with rust-colored gunk, and new hatchlings and nests were also coated with crude.

It is unclear if the area can even be cleaned, or if the birds can be saved. It is also unknown how much of the Gulf Coast will end up looking the same way because of a well that has spewed untold millions of gallons of oil since an offshore rig exploded more than a month ago.

“As we talk, a total of more than 65 miles of our shoreline now has been oiled,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who announced new efforts to keep the spill from spreading.

A mile-long tube operating for about a week has siphoned off more than half a million gallons in the past week, but it began sucking up oil at a slower rate over the weekend. Even at its best the effort did not capture all the oil leaking, and the next attempt to stanch the flow won’t be put into action until at least Tuesday. . . .

In Barataria Bay, orange oil had made its way a good 6 inches onto the shore, coating grasses and the nests of brown pelicans in mangrove trees. Just six months ago, the birds had been removed from the federal endangered species list.

The pelicans struggled to clean the crude from their bodies, splashing in the water and preening themselves. One stood at the edge of the island with its wings lifted slightly, its head drooping — so encrusted in oil it couldn’t fly.

Wildlife officials tried to rescue oil-soaked pelicans Sunday, but they suspended their efforts after spooking the birds. They weren’t sure whether they would try again. U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Stacy Shelton said it is sometimes better to leave the animals alone than to disturb their colony.

Pelicans are especially vulnerable to oil. Not only could they eat tainted fish and feed it to their young, but they could die of hypothermia or drowning if they’re soaked in oil.

Globs of oil have soaked through containment booms set up in the area. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said BP needed to send more booms. He said it would be up to federal wildlife authorities to decide whether to try to clean the oil that has already washed ashore.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Beauty, Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Environment, ExPat Life, Florida, Health Issues, Hygiene, Living Conditions | 2 Comments

My Newest Friends

Welcome! Welcome!

We ordered the washer and dryer almost a month ago, but because of a huge energy star promotion, there was a backlog, and it took forever to get them.

In the meantime, our household goods from storage – 12 years of storage – arrived, and almost everything we are keeping needs to be cleaned.

We had two old featherbeds from the former East Germany that had a little mildew on them. I almost threw them away, but I thought since I am going to throw them away, I might as well see if they could be saved. I put them in (one at a time; they are each too big to be put in together) on a cycle called “sanitize” and then dried them on high and . . . they came out perfect! Wooo HOOOO!

As you can see, even though I have done many loads, I still have a ways to go:

No, not the brass pot; it is not going in the washer. It needs to have a handle put back on, so it is waiting there with other low-priority projects for me to get around to it. 🙂 Isn’t this a great laundry room?

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Building, Cultural, ExPat Life, Florida, Humor, Hygiene, Living Conditions | 5 Comments

Precautions during Oil Spill Hazards

Thanks, EnviroGirl, for the update. 🙂


TALLAHASSEE – The State Emergency Response Team, in support of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as the lead response agency for the state of Florida, is actively monitoring the Deepwater Horizon response.

The following is a summary of state and BP response actions to date, as well as tips for residents and visitors to take precautions both pre and post-landfall.

Landfall Predictions:
Deepwater Horizon continues to discharge an estimated 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day.
BP has completed construction of a dome, expected to be in place as early as next weekend, which will be used in an attempt to contain the oil discharge. BP has also begun drilling a relief well to eliminate the discharge.
Currently, there are no impacts to the state projected in the next 72 hours; however, Florida continues to make preparations to safeguard the state’s shoreline.
The state of Florida reminds its residents and visitors that the state’s coastline has not been impacted at this time and remains open for public enjoyment.

State Actions:
Governor Charlie Crist confirmed that Florida will receive a $25-million block grant from BP for initial state and local preparation and response costs.

In the last 24 hours, the State Emergency Response Team sent several team members to Mobile to assist with Deepwater Horizon preparation and response.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a Level 2 or Partial activation.
On April 30, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency (Emergency Order 10-99) for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf Counties.

On May 3, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist extended a state of emergency declaration (Emergency Order 10-100) for the coastal counties of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Congressman Allen Boyd, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink were briefed at the Emergency Operations Center on the state’s Deepwater Horizon response efforts on Monday, May 3.

DEP has conducted water and sediment sampling to use as a baseline for ongoing monitoring.

DEP is continuously monitoring air quality data. The public can view this data at or

DEP, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), county governments, water management districts and several federal agencies continue to conduct pre-impact assessments, including sampling of water, fish, shellfish and habitats along the Florida coastline and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Statewide monitoring is ongoing in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Panhandle-specific data is expected to be completed early this week.

Emergency Support Function 15, Volunteers and Donations, successfully spearheaded pre-impact beach cleanups over the weekend of May 1-2. More than 1,200 volunteers participated in cleanups in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Wakulla counties to minimize the effect of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Volunteer Florida offers guidance for conducting safe pre-impact beach cleanups at

Florida residents are encouraged not to sign any documents provided to them in return for money from BP or anyone else until they know the extent of their loss, which may be significantly higher than the money being paid. These may be fraudulent or premature.

The Attorney General’s fraud hotline is open to receive any reports of fraud or price gouging. The hotline is 1-866-966-7226.

Boom Placement:
There is approximately 91,300 feet of boom placed along Florida’s panhandle in the Pensacola region.
An additional 35,000 feet is expected to be placed today.

Currently 50,700 feet of boom is staged in Pensacola. An additional 17,000 feet is staged at Panama City and 45,000 feet of boom is on order.

The Panama City staging area will be fully operational on Wednesday, May 5.

Placement of boom will be based on tides and where the oil is threatening and according to the Coast Guard Sector Mobile Area Contingency Plan. To view the plan visit Plan, visit

The booming strategy focuses on identified environmentally sensitive areas.

Estuaries and inlets are at the top of the list, not the beach areas.

This is to protect sensitive habitat that support wildlife and fish.

If the oil washes on the beach, the sand can be cleaned.

Note that booms are not a failsafe solution.

They can become ineffective in high seas, strong winds, or currents over one knot.

Florida’s counties are working through the State Emergency Operations Center. Each county provides input, but the operational decisions are made through the Unified Command. The State Emergency Response Team is working with the counties, BP as well as the federal agencies to maximize protection and minimize impacts.

Health Effects:
At this time, there are no indications of any health risks to Floridians due to the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Department of Health (DOH) and DEP are closely monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida’s beaches and will notice an advisory if conditions become unsafe.

Consider the following tips for avoiding negative health impacts from an oiled shoreline:
Avoid entering areas where oil can be seen or smelled.

Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil-contaminated water and sediments.

Do not swim or ski in areas affected by the oil spill, and if traveling through the area by boat, take precautions when hoisting the boat anchor. If oil makes contact with skin, wash it off with soap and water.
Do not fish in oil spill-affected waters.

Do not harvest or eat dead fish, fish with oily residue or fish that have a petroleum odor.

Avoid boating through oil slicks or sheens.

Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the area.

Prevent pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.

Impacts to Florida’s coastline could include tarballs – fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency. Tarballs feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces. Impacts could also come in the form of an oil sheen or tar mat – a sheet of oil that is thicker than a sheen. Should individuals observe tarballs or other evidence of oil on Florida’s coastline, they should leave the area and report the incident to (866) 448-5816.

Those near Florida’s Gulf Coast may detect an odor because of the oil spill. Some people are more sensitive to these odors and may experience nasal irritation and feelings of nausea. In combination with seasonal allergies, such as sensitivity to pollen or pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, some people may experience more severe symptoms.

Individuals experiencing symptoms that are aggravated by the odors from the oil spill should consider:
Staying indoors, in air conditioning, and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity.

If symptoms do not improve, contact a primary care physician or other health care provider for medical advice.

Individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness should contact their health care provider if feeling symptomatic.

Fisheries & Seafood:
On May 3, 2010 NOAA restricted fishing for a minimum of ten days in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay. Details can be found here:
Fishermen who wish to contact BP about a claim should call (800) 440-0858.
There are no seafood alerts at this time.

FWC is working with DEP, county governments, water management districts and several federal agencies including NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct pre-impact wildlife assessments.

These assessments include samples of water, sediments, fish, shellfish and habitats along the Florida coastline and into the Gulf of Mexico. Assessments are needed to provide baseline information prior to the anticipated impact.

Examples of the assessments include the following:
FWC and the University of South Florida College of Marine Science are designing a multi-day scientific research study to obtain information on fisheries resources and plankton in the Gulf of Mexico near the Florida Panhandle.

Aerial surveys also are planned to identify locations of marine mammals.

Groups are marking the location of bird and sea turtle nesting sites along the beach. Nests are marked to help prioritize response with real-time information.

FWC urges citizens to report oiled wildlife to the Joint Information Center by calling 1-866-557-1401.
For the safety of the public as well as the safety of animals, rescues should be conducted by trained responders. Untrained rescuers may cause more harm than good.

Currently there are no Florida State Park or beach closures. For more information about Florida State Parks, visit:

Volunteer Opportunities:
The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is encouraging Floridians and visitors to watch for oiled wildlife, vegetation, and beaches by becoming a Coast Watch volunteer.
The “Coast Watchers” will assist BP, the state of Florida and partnering organizations in identifying beaches that need attention.

Coast Watchers will work within the coastal communities where they live or visit and commit to do the following:
Report injured or oiled animals to the Wildlife Distress Hotline: 1-866-557-1401.
Report oiled shoreline to: 1-866-448-5816.
Report a change in Air Quality to:
For information on scheduled beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities, visit
BP has established a volunteer program and set up a toll-free number for those interested in volunteering. When calling, interested parties should communicate what activities they are volunteering and locations in which they are available to work. In addition, potential volunteers may call this line to learn about the training that is required to work in oil spill clean-up operations. For information on assisting with the response efforts, please contact BP’s community information line at (866) 448-5816.

Learn More:
Today, DEP launched a Twitter account, @FLDEPalert, dedicated to providing updates on Florida’s response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Visit
On May 3, the Florida Emergency Information Line was activated in response to deepwater horizon incident. The hotline, which provides Floridians information regarding the Deepwater Horizon Response, will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until further notice. The number for residents to call is: (800) 342-3557.
For more information DEP established an email sign-up for information alerts on its website as well as a resources page containing fact sheets and tips pertaining to health, safety, wildlife, and pre and post-landfall preparations. To view tips and sign up for email updates, visit
The following is a link to the State Emergency Response Team Situation Report for Tuesday, May 4, 2010:
Joint Information Center Public Information Resources and Hotlines:
Environment/community hotline: to report oil on the beach or shoreline or other environment or community impacts and access the Rapid Response Team – (866) 448-5816.
Wildlife: to report and access care for impacted, i.e., oiled, wildlife (866) 557-1401.
Volunteers: to request volunteer information (866) 448-5816.
Services – to register as consultant, contractor, vendor, or submit information on alternative response technology, services, products or suggestions (281) 366-5511.
Vessels of Opportunity – to report and register boats available to assist with response (281) 366-5511.
Claims – All claims regardless of amount should be routed through the Claims line for assignment of Claim Number. Claims will be tracked so status can be provided. (800) 440-0858.
Facebook: Deepwater Horizon Response.
Joint Information Center website:

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Environment, Florida, Health Issues, Hygiene, Living Conditions | 7 Comments

Which Restaurant??? Which Hotel???

From Gulf Times

Restaurant at five-star hotel ordered to close

Municipal authorities have ordered the closure of a restaurant in a prominent five-star hotel in Doha for non-compliance of regulations, says a report published in a local daily.

The hotel authorities have been charged on the count of not obtaining health clearance certificate for the staff employed in the restaurant. A charge-sheet was framed by the prosecution after a full investigation and the matter has been referred to a court of law.

“It is the result of the periodic random inspection carried out by the authorities on all the eateries,” says the report.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Doha, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Hygiene, Living Conditions, Qatar | Leave a comment

Doha: 10 “eateries” closed for Health Violations

This is from today’s Peninsula. Don’t you wish they would publish the names of the eateries? As a person who frequents ‘eateries’, as a person the health inspectors are protecting, I would very much like to know names of violaters. I would also like to see the standards by which they are judged, and the scores of ALL the restaurants/eateries they examine. In many countries, that is considered in the public interest.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know whose score was so low that they barely passed??

Eateries shut for violating health rules
Web posted at: 2/20/2010 5:46:46
DOHA: At least 10 eateries across the city were closed down temporarily by Doha Municipality last month as punishment for violating health and safety rules.

Civic inspectors conducted routine checks on more than 2,800 eateries, among them restaurants, cafes and juice stalls in the city last month, to check their compliance with health and safety guidelines.

As many as 160 violations of various types were detected and 10 eateries found to be involved in serious violations, were ordered to be closed down.

Municipal inspectors discovered large foodstuff stocks with retail outlets that had outlived their expiry dates. Some 343 types of food items which were found to be unfit for consumption were recovered and destroyed.

They included more than 2,800 boxes of fresh eggs. Each box contains 30 eggs, so the stale eggs that were seized from various outlets and destroyed by the civic body totaled 84,000.

At least 53 samples of food items that were suspected to be unfit for consumption were taken by the municipal inspectors and sent over to the laboratory to run quality tests. It was found that six of them were unfit for consumption and did not meet Qatari standards and specifications.

The public cleaning department of Doha Municipality, on the other hand, referred 115 violations to law-enforcement agencies for action while issued 100 warnings to violators last month.

Some 423 entities found to be violating public cleaning regulations were fined on the spot.

As for beauty salons, raids were conducted last month on 63 of them and 21 violations were detected. At least five of them with serious violations were referred to the police for legal action.

The municipality also acted on a number of public complaints regarding stale foodstuff on sale, public hygiene and building permits, among other things, and referred several violators for action.

Some of these complaints had appeared in newspapers while others the municipality received telephonically, while still others in writing.

February 20, 2010 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Eating Out, Health Issues, Hygiene, Interconnected, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Qatar, Random Musings, Statistics, Technical Issue | 5 Comments

Bu Yousef’s Haiti Challenge

My Kuwait blogging friend, Bu Yousef, is about to send a donation to the World Food Program designated to help Haiti. He has set a challenge to all bloggers and blog readers. Please, go comment on his post. For every unique comment he gets on his post (one per person), his donation will go up $1 from a minimum $50 to a maximum of $200. It’s up to us.

I would love for BuYousef to hit his maximum. I would love for him to be so overwhelmed, that he ups his maximum to $250. 😉

Please go say good morning/good evening to BuYousef, and do it NOW! Thank you!

Bu Yousef, AdventureMan and I will match your donation. 🙂

January 21, 2010 Posted by | Blogging, Charity, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Health Issues, Hygiene, Interconnected, Kuwait | | 13 Comments

Losing Fat Easy and Painless – Too Good to be True?

In an article in today’s Peninsula I learned that I can go in for six treatments, just lie there, no sweat, no starvation diets, and fat can be . . . melted (?) by laser and then massaged away, drained away by my lymphatic system.

It sounds wonderful! No sedation, no risk of infection, no long term ill effects like stomach stapling or banding. The fat just goes away! My dream come true!

I am such a cynic. There is a part of me that just can’t believe it could be that easy. What do you think?

Al Emadi Hospital unveils new technology for fat reduction
Web posted at: 1/6/2010 1:43:36
DOHA: Al Emadi Hospital has launched fat reduction services by “Zerona”, the latest device to break down body fats, becoming the first medical facility in Qatar to have the new technology. The technology saves patient a great deal of time and works without any side effects eliminating Cellulite and fat from the skin, embroidering and strengthening the figure without any surgical interference.

“The significant role of the device has been scientifically proven success in detecting fat under the skin and fragmenting its sizes into liquid body fats which can be disposed of. The machine uses cold laser technology to break down the fat cells under the skin in several stages. The results do not appear until after six sessions – around two weeks,” said Dr Mohammed Al Emadi, Director, Al Emadi Hospital.

The body fat broken using cold laser can be disposed through the lymphatic vessels with an added help of several massage sessions.

“It can help to get rid of fats in areas which do not respond to exercise and diet. The device works on the upper and lower limbs, breast and abdomen, neck, back and hips. It helps to dispose of cellulite that leads to distortions in the skin, and helps remove the fat masses in the abdomen and buttocks where a difference can be seen in the outer thigh or waist after the completion of the required sessions,” said Dr Kamal Hussein Saleh, a consultant in medical and plastic surgery and replacements and laser treatments.

A clear change in all clothing measurements has been noted after the sessions, according to Dr Saleh. The fact that it does not cause sudden changes in weight is an added advantage of the device compared with other of laser devices. The device is easy to use and can be used at any time, with no sedation or surgical interference.

Since it is a cold laser, it does not generate any heat or redness on the skin and is makes it possible for the patient to continue normal work after the session. Since the device does not touch with the skin, it is superior to regular lasers which may lead to the transmission of some skin diseases. It does not cause emission of fumes or gases, as it is the case of laser hair removal.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Beauty, Diet / Weight Loss, Doha, ExPat Life, Experiment, Health Issues, Hygiene | 5 Comments