Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Signs Seen in Panama City, Florida

(This was a license plate)

November 25, 2012 Posted by | Thanksgiving, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Over the River and Through the Woods – Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re getting close to Thanksgiving, and this morning I was looking up the lyrics to Over the River And Through the Woods. As it turns out, the lyrics are from a poem that is not exactly like what we used to sing. Here is what we used to sing:

Over the river, and through the woods,
To Grandmother’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.

It’s a great song for a two and a half year old. He loves singing!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is what the original looked like:

The original piece had six verses:
Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood—
and straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood—
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for everyone.”
Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

The following verses appear in a “long version”:
Over the river, and through the wood,
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark, and children hark,
as we go jingling by.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ding!”,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
Over the river, and through the wood,
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow
Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snow-ball
and stay as long as we can.
Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells.
He shakes his paw, with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.
(From Wikipedia)

November 20, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Music, Thanksgiving | 4 Comments

T Mobile Flash Home for the Holidays

Thank you, Hayfa, this is glorious!


Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the hardest times of the year for American expats to be away from home and family – so we gather together, create our overseas family, and celebrate. Some of our very best celebrations have been overseas, pot-lucking with friends from many nations.

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Christmas, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Music, Thanksgiving | 1 Comment

. . . Hurray for the Pumpkin Pie . . .

“You’ve worked HARD!” our water aerobics instructor told us. “You get a free pass tomorrow; you can eat anything!”

I wish she hadn’t said that. We did work hard, but it wasn’t just one day of feasting, it was pretty much four days, and we enjoyed ourselves too much. No matter how hard we had worked Wednesday morning, it wasn’t enough to cover four days.

Arriving at Papa’s and Grammy’s we were welcomed with a bubbling gumbo, a combined effort of Papa and Grammy; Grammy did all the shopping and chopping, and PaPa worked the roux, which is the butter and flour combination that makes that smoky flavored base for the gumbo. They had just finished cleaning and deveining about 40 pounds of shrimp for Thanksgiving, and threw a few in the gumbo. Oh YUM. The next morning was full of preparations, and then, mid-morning, the feasting began, with all the guys shucking oysters and eating boiled shrimp. As you drive up, you can smell smoke from an outdoor fire, and chairs and tables are out everywhere, but the shucking goes on down near the creek:

The house is beautiful, spacious and welcoming for so many people. The happy baby, who is now a happy toddler, was in heaven – he was surrounded by boy toys – tractors and golf carts and a Model A and all sorts of age appropriate toys, as well as cousins, aunts, uncles and a lot of hilarious rough housing. Why is it kids just love the terror of being turned upside-down?

For me, this was the best Thanksgiving with the family; finally I am beginning to figure out who is who from year to year. I still have to ask questions, but they seem more comfortable with me, and I had some really good conversations, sort of beyond the polite-passing-the-time conversations. I’m not that great in big crowds, but now I am beginning to have some good one-on-ones, and for me, that’s a great Thanksgiving.

And on, man, the food. Tables and tables of food. I don’t know how they do it, but I saw the list of cakes, and there must have been twenty cakes on THE LIST. They each have responsibilities, and somehow, it all works.

Three turkeys, all carved, and so much dressing (which I grew up calling stuffing, it all depends on where you grew up):

That green container is AdventureMan’s first foray into cranberry chutney. This one was a little tart, but tasty. As are darling daughter in law so diplomatically put it, “I would probably like it more if my taste buds were accustomed to having cranberries without sugar.”

About half of the sides were sweet potato casseroles; you can’t believe how good these are. This year this front dish was one of the favorites, squash cassarole:

This photo doesn’t begin to do justice to the desserts – holy smokes:

So the biggest brother blessed the food and we ate around one, then we visited for a few hours, people going back and grazing a little. Then the next generation cleaned everything up and got all the food packaged up and put away. About an hour later, that broccoli salad started calling me, and I went out to try a little more and discovered it was all put away, but a partner in crime knew where it was, and we pulled it out and had some, which started a whole landslide of second-platers, just when everything had been all put away, LLOOLLL!

It was a great day, a day full of thanks for all the things in life that really matter.

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Diet / Weight Loss, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Friends & Friendship, Thanksgiving | 5 Comments


We are back in Pensacola tonight, after three wonderful days of Thanksgiving. It’s a little backwards, but I’m going to post tonight’s sunset, taken as we came back into town, and then I’ll share a little about our holiday in future posts:

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Pensacola, Sunsets, Thanksgiving | 3 Comments

Over the River and Through the Woods

. . . . to the co-grandparents house we go!

This is preparation week, and we are scurrying to get things together for Thanksgiving with the large family group. When we were first invited, one of the aunts told us “You’re not invited, you’re family! You’re expected!” It made us feel so welcome, and the gathering is so much fun we look forward to our time together.

Mom’s Cranberry Salad
Christmas Punch, Rum and Rumless

The world’s cutest grandbaby will be there; we are all having so much fun with him as he is in the steep learning curve phase, and pops out with language which astonishes us daily. While bathing him the other night, I was explaining about washing with soap and he said “I know.” I almost dropped the soap! He adores his BaBa, and whenever he sees me, he gets a big grin – and looks for BaBa to be behind me. LOL!

He loves going to his other PaPa’s house; he has a TRACTOR! And a Boat! The happy baby loves trains and motorcycles and buses; he loves anything that GOES.

We have so much for which we are thankful. God has blessed us mightily with family, and with friends, and with a wide and spacious place in which to live our lives. He has surrounded us with his grace, and we feel blessed, so blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2011 Posted by | Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Thanksgiving, Values | 2 Comments

Travel Mercies

Before I left, my bible study group promised to pray for me, for safe travel, and for travel mercies.

What are travel mercies? Travel mercies are blessings you don’t even know you need, small interventions that make a big difference. So many times on this trip to Kuwait, I smiled, thinking “I know my friends are praying for me,” I could feel the travel mercies.

The trip down to the Mubarakiyya for dinner – a serious travel mercy. It wasn’t a life or death thing, and I didn’t even dare to bring it up, AdventureMan was so busy. And yet, we got there, we had a wonderful dinner with friends, we got to see the lights of the Seif Palace. Oh Wow, and thank you, Lord, for these blessings, these unexpected mercies.

Our trip home was flawless. Flights on time, and although we were on a flight I don’t usually like, it was fine. Sometimes on this late-night flight you’ll get a blow-hard or two, guys that want to drink and share all their insights and knowledge in a loud voice, long into the flight, when everyone else wants to sleep. Not this time. :-) This flight was quiet, even the babies were quiet. Everyone slept. And slept. And slept. Perfect travel mercy.

Schlepping through immigration and customs was about as painless as it can be, given that it is a pain-in-the-neck. More travel mercies, the kind you can fail to even notice – unless these little things go wrong, so terribly wrong.

“Welcome home,” our immigrations guy said cheerfully. We grinned. It is good to be back.

We got into Pensacola with enough time to run out to We Tuck ‘Em Inn to pick up the Qatteri Cat, who let us know how annoyed he was to be left behind. We knew – from experience – that dealing with his annoyance was waaaaayyyy better than dealing with a traumatized cat at the end of those brutal flights. He is in great condition, maybe a little bored, but happy, and his fur is clean. Mercy. Merci.

Home again, home again. Our son and his wife had left AdventureMan’s car at the airport for us, and had left a delicious chile, vegetables and dip, and apples in our refrigerator for us, such a loving welcome home. We were able to drop by and hug the Happy Baby before he shut down for the night. All is well. Infinite mercies.

By the Grace of God, and in his mercy. I thank God for my believer-sisters, whatever their faiths, that keep me wealthy in travel mercies.

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Qatteri Cat, Relationships, Spiritual, Thanksgiving, Travel | 3 Comments

All American Diner in Panama City Beach

Leaving Panama Beach, it was a very different day from the hot, sultry Thanksgiving. It dawned clear – and COLD. I braved the beach to show you – not a soul. The breeze is cold and chilling.

Looking North:

Looking South:

Sunset Inn from the beach:

Leaving town, we wanted to try something new, so we stopped at the All American Diner. It is a hoot! They have a nice breakfast bar, and a menu too. The food isn’t memorable, but the atmosphere is 50′s, and a lot of fun:

While we see more people shopping this year, we saw fewer people at the beach. Everyone is saying that they hope the economy improves quickly – they don’t know how much longer they can hold on . . .

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Thanksgiving, Travel, Weather, Work Related Issues | 2 Comments

Shooting the Grands

One of the family traditions at this large family reunion is taking photographs, different family groupings, and . . . all the kids. This was totally hilarious. This was chaos with some really fun props. The older kids tried to cooperate. The younger kids . . . LLLOOOLLL.

November 29, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, Family Issues, Photos, Thanksgiving | 2 Comments

Ahhhhh . . . Sunsets at Panama City Beach

Living in Kuwait, getting up in the morning was easy, a gorgeous sunrise over the Gulf every morning. I miss those sunrises . . .

But from time to time, I get the sunset, and oh, I do love sunsets, too! Thanksgiving at Panama City Beach, every sunset a different sunset, even every ten minutes a different sunset:

And the next night is a totally different sunset:

November 29, 2010 Posted by | Beauty, ExPat Life, Florida, Living Conditions, Sunsets, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment


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