Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

When is Ramadan 2015?

Ramadan in 2015 will start on Thursday, the 18th of June and will continue for 30 days until Friday, the 17th of July.

Note that in the Muslim calander, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Wednesday, the 17th of June.

Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.

The dates provided here are based on the dates adopted by the Fiqh Council of North America for the celebration of Ramadan. Note that these dates are based on astronomical calculations to affirm each date, and not on the actual sighting of the moon with the naked eyes. This approach is accepted by many, but is still being hotly debated.

Info from When Is

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Quality of Life Issues, Ramadan, Travel | 1 Comment

ISIS Seizes One Third of Palmyra

This is dire news for anyone who loves history, historical and archeological sites. Ancient Tadmor/Palmyra is a great draw for tourists in a poor region of Syria. It’s destruction will be tragic.

From BBC News

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Islamic State fighters have seized the northern part of the ancient World Heritage-listed city of Palmyra in Syria, a monitoring group has said.
Militants seized part of the town of Tadmur located on a strategic east-west route next to Palmyra on Saturday but had been pushed back from the ruins.

Palmyra contains the ruins of one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world, according to UNESCO.

It is feared IS fighters may now damage or destroy the site.

Syria’s antiquities chief said the insurgents would destroy the ancient ruins if they took control.

The group has demolished similar antiquities in Iraq, seeing them as symbols of idolatry.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said a third of Palmyra had been taken.

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Quality of Life Issues | , , , , | 1 Comment

This is my 5,000th Post

I didn’t even know I was getting this close; it crept up on me as I wrote about the long trip we took through the American Southwest. It’s almost nine years of blogging.

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May 19, 2015 Posted by | Blogging | 3 Comments

Tiepolo Sky

Just back from a quick trip to Seattle for a wedding, driving home. and there is the most beautiful sky!

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A long time ago, working on my undergraduate degrees, I took a minor in Art History, and spent happy hours at the Seattle Art Museum on projects for my classes. Up on the ceiling of one of the rooms (this is in the old Seattle Arts Museum up on Volunteer Hill) there was this wonderful Tiepolo ceiling, with clouds and blue sky and . . . God? I can’t remember anything but the sky part, and tonight’s sky in Pensacola reminded me of that ceiling.

May 19, 2015 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Education, Pensacola, Sunsets | Leave a comment

“Oh! I Like His Face!”

It’s taken us a long time to get over the loss of our sweet Qatari Cat, sweet Pete. He was so special to us. For one thing, he was pretty. For another, he had some very winning ways. So many reasons to love that sweet cat and to regret his loss.

On our trip, we agreed that we are still not over Pete, and at the same time, it is time to bring another cat into our lives.

I had one in mind.

I have a friend. She has a ministry; she rescues abandoned animals, particularly cats. She tends to their wounds, she has them neutered, she gets them shots. She gives them boundless love, and teaches them to love and trust again.

She had put a photo of a cat on FaceBook. It was before our trip, and I couldn’t see adopting a cat and then putting him into a cat hotel, so I didn’t do anything. But my friend called while I was traveling, and I asked her during our conversation if that orange cat had found a home, and she said no.

So when we got back, we unpacked, we did laundry, we started to get back to our normal lives.

And we adopted Zakat.

Our friend brought him over. He was small, he was scrawny, he had a clipped ear, which I learned means he’s been taken from the streets and neutered, and . . . he had a huge circular scar around his face. He loved my friend, but AdventureMan and I totally freaked him out, and he ran into the cat room and hid (we have a lot of great hiding places.)

A couple days later, our grandson was staying overnight, with his Explorer’s tool (it has a flashlight, compass, magnifying glass, mirror, thermometer and whistle) and asked if he could see the cat. He’s a good boy, and he has three cats at home, so we took him to Zakat’s cupboard, and opened. Zakat didn’t run, and our grandson shone his flashlight and exclaimed softly in delight “Oh, I like his face! He has a sweet face!”

He didn’t even see the scars. All he could see was the sweetness of this cat. And I thought what a blessing grandchildren are, to help us see with the eyes of Jesus, to see sweetness where other see only scars.

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Zakat has now discovered he is safe with us, and follows us around like a little shadow. He loves to sit in AdventureMan’s office with him, he loves to curl up with me while I am reading. He is fresh, and funny, and a sweet hearted little cat.

Zakat means tithe or alms in Arabic, but the truth is, we just love the double entendre, and love saying “Where’s Zakat?” We must be five years old, it takes so little to make us laugh.

May 7, 2015 Posted by | Biography, Charity, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Home Improvements, Interconnected, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships, Zakat | 10 Comments

Welcome to Pensacola

We make a quick stop at the Pensacola Welcome Center on our way back into town, deciding to stop for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants just off 9 Mile Road, the Gulf Seafood Platter Restaurant.

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The Blues are practicing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and with the recent low humidity and blue skies and little puffy white clouds, Pensacola is a wonderful place to be.

May 7, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Pensacola, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | Leave a comment

The MidPoint Cafe on Route 66

It’s one of those long lonely Texas roads, one with few stops along the way and it is time to eat. It is also Easter, and who knows what will be open and if there is any room at the inn, so to speak.

I spot a large CAFE sign near a gas station in an otherwise unpromising tiny strip of town. It is surrounded by cars, so we exit and head over to where the signs are.

Great choice.

There was a large chain-foods-with-greasy-selections at one of the gas stations, but the cafe was one of those home-cookin’ kinds of places, and full of tables of folk just out of church and looking to have an Easter meal out.

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The Mid Point Cafe is exactly halfway from the beginning of Route 66 to its end.

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After two large groups (the Baptists and the Methodists, I think) departed, the owner, Dennis Purschwitz, had some time to talk with us. He had recently bought the MidPoint, talked officials into helping update the MidPoint signs, got all kinds of people to donate labor and supplies to make an interest point happen.

And he wasn’t even from around there. Now, he has retired (mostly) from engineering and is living his dream, running the MidPoint Cafe. He brought life back to a town with no dining out places, and gave people a place to gather. He is busy helping a community remain viable.

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The food was excellent; the home made pies even better. A couple were already sold out, so AdventureMan reserved a piece of Coconut Creme before we even ordered lunch. This was one of those great stops that happen on a road trip; we didn’t know it was there and now, we are so glad it is.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Character, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Eating Out, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | 1 Comment

Santa Fe Hotel and Hacienda, Santa Fe

Twice in one trip I was able to totally WOW AdventureMan with a hotel. Seeing his face as we drove into the Santa Fe Hotel and Hacienda made my heart dance. Seeing his face as we checked in, surrounded by the smells of a wood-burning fireplace and the sounds of a solitary Indian flute playing and works of art everywhere put me over the top.

There are a lot of nice hotels in the arts-friendly city of Santa Fe. It was hard narrowing it down, but this hotel is majority owned and operated by Native Americans, and filled with Native American art, and I liked the looks of the rooms I could see online.

Just driving in to Santa Fe is a thrill. We love the desert-friendly adobe, we love walking friendly towns. We take one look at Santa Fe and we know this will be number one in the places to which we want to return, maybe with family and grandkids. This place is purely awesome.

Of course, it is Spring, and still chilly in Santa Fe. The big heat is coming :-)

This is the exterior of the Santa Fe/Hacienda Hotel:

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Sculpture at entry:

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This is one of the landings where they serve coffee in the morning:

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Another landing, each different, each beautifully done:

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We spent the afternoon at the pool; we had it all to ourselves. It was pristinely clean. We also soaked in the hot tub in the glorious sun, but the breeze was cool so we were thankful for the nice bathrobes:

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Sculpture by the pool:

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The dining room at the Hotel Santa Fe’s Amayo restaurant. This was one of the best meals of our trip:

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You can reserve the outdoor teepee for an evening of dining out Native American style:

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AdventureMan loved his dinner, duck breast:
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And anytime they serve grilled salmon on garlic spinach, I am delighted:

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In the breakfast room the next morning, they had impressive buttery croissants as well as the normal choices:

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Lots of seating areas; the lounge is also used for presentations on local history and culture for guests:

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You get to Santa Fe, you park. You leave your car in the hotel and the Purple Bus takes you on a loop where you can get off anywhere you want, and it will come back and pick you up when you call:

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We can’t wait to get back to Santa Fe.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Hotels, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Trinidad, On the Way to Santa Fe

Leaving Denver, and Little Diamond, we have another gorgeous day:

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After a couple hours driving, we needed gas and we needed lunch, and Trinidad is the only likely city showing on our map. Anything will do. We decide to give Trinidad a try.

As it turns out, Trinidad is a WOW, an unexpected surprise, full of beautiful architecture and dwellings.
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We find a sign for a restaurant we might like to try, only to discover it is closed.
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Next door to it, however, is a deli/restaurant, Nono and Nana’s, which is delightful:

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We have a wonderful pasta meal and are on our way to Santa Fe, but Trinidad is now on our list to come back and explore more fully.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Eating Out, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Exciting Drive to Denver

I thought this drive would be routine, and I felt really stupid when I discovered it would not be. How could I have failed to notice there were mountains between Glenwood Springs, CO, and Denver?

It was a glorious day leaving Glenwood Springs, and I assumed a very easy drive.

I didn’t expect snow, snowy roads and 19 degree temperatures. Remember, I’ve been living in Florida. It’s Spring! We’ve had little but sunshine every day of our trip, with the one exceptional day between San Antonio and El Paso.

It just kept getting colder and colder. The trucks are all bunched up in the slowest lane, as we drive on slick roads with lots of warning signs. We don’t have chains. We don’t even have snow tires, although before leaving AdventureMan actually checked with our dealership and was told our tires would be adequate for all but a raging snowstorm. We felt a little tense.

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Lots of great spring skiing:

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This was a constant annoyance. In Germany, there was a law that you had to sweep the snow off your car, so as you were driving it would not fly off and hit the driver behind you. We assumed this was probably true in the USA, too, but we must have assumed wrongly. We were assailed by flying snow frequently.

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Here is the payoff. Denver is beautiful, and no snow is flying. We get to meet these wonderful babies, Little Diamond’s twins, born around a year ago today. They are sweet, playful babies, full of laughs. Of course we brought presents, and one of the happiest moments of all is when they discovered how much fun tissue paper is – how it makes a wonderful noise when you shake it! We all shook tissue paper and laughed that it’s always the wrapping and the boxes that is the biggest hit with babies :-)

Little Diamond has become a wonderful adult, with a life full of babies and students and the wackiness of the unexpected every day with both. It is a great joy to see all our young in the next generation are loving and kind parents, compassionate to their children, and succeeding in their daily lives. Thanks be to God.

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May 3, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Living Conditions, Parenting, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

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