Friday, October 31, 2008

Nuttin' to Report

I always feel bad when I don't post anything for a few days because so many people always get on me about it! Hehe. But, truly, we're not doing a lot. Last night we watched a movie (Tears of the Sun) and ate popcorn. Rainy got back (finally!) and she came over for several hours too, but we just basically caught up and I learned a lot about Brazil!

This morning Stu woke me up to go to breakfast and we hit up Mugg and Bean. Yum. I had my "Businessman's Breakfast" as always, and as always I felt weird eating a pickle and grilled tomato with my eggs and bagel! lol (Thank you, Brits! hehe) Kaden was pretty good and then we went to Lulu's for groceries. We got a TON of produce because I am back on my healthy kick after about a month of a hiatus. Stu never cares what we eat anyway and he's so not picky, which is awesome. But it also means I could open a can of something, or spend hours in a hot kitchen and he's still say it was "good". So we might as well eat healthy!

We came home and I did some prep work with veggies I got while Stu and Kaden went down for their respective naps. They're both still sleeping while I enjoy a cup of green tea and some alone time! What a great weekend. We're talking about maybe going to the beach tomorrow to see if Kaden is ready to stop eating sand, and/or perhaps the park for a picnic. I will let you know.

Happy Halloween to everyone! We're celebrating ours by carving our pumpkin tonight and eating some of the candy Marcia and Mimi sent us! I hope everyone has a safe and happy trick-or-treating tonight!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kaden Man!

My All-American baby! Sporting his home spirit!

Boise State Boys! Showing off their hats.

Wearing big boy shoes.

He thought he was hilarious.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Perspective. Part Two.

My last post got me thinking. Do you ever feel shocked about how much your life can change in such a short period of time? I had my mp3 player on while I was writing the last post and a song came on that made me laugh because Stu and I, in our own personal way of rebellion, play dirty or foul American Rock and Rap songs in our car while we drive around here. Devious, I know. We're hardcore like that. Heh.

But it made me think how much things have changed in the past few years. I mean, let's face it, a few years ago I was the obnoxious drunk chick in the bar picking fights with boys who pushed themselves too hard on me. (Seriously. Sad. I know) And now I am playing wifey and Mommy, living my 1950s life in a "developing" Muslim country.

Couple years ago...

And now...

Who the hell came up with that expression, btw. Really most of us who are using it are using it as a synonmy to "sucky"... what exactly constitutes "developing"? That was all painfully random, but just a few things going through the old noggin.

We got Marcia and Mimi's packages! Holy crap candy! lol. I don't know how we will EVER use all the Halloween candy they sent, but thank you so much for sending some American spirit! I had a meltdown in Spinney's the other day over a pumpkin. I'll save that post for when we get it carved though. Stay tuned.

They sent fun decorations too though. So Mo sent some towels and silverware (she sent Kaden some Halloween bowls too but they cracked on the way here. :( ) Marcia sent some pumpkin and "fall" decorating streamer things, a "Mummy" outfit for Kaden, glasses with a gross green nose attached to it, and Mimi sent a TON of candy and a card that sings that Kaden won't leave alone! Haha. So we're officially feeling like we're experiencing the Halloween-ness of Halloween. And we only had to celebrate it for 4 days, while I am sure the rest of you have been bombarded with it for the past two months! See? There are some good things about living away from it all.

I still think it is just SO weird that my son looks like me AND my husband. So here are two pictures that I think are basically the same, but where he looks like Mommy and then in the second one, like Daddy!

Enjoying the singing card!


I've heard a lot of people tell me we're gaining a lot of "perspective" by being here and I can totally agree when I sit with my multi-facetted groups of people and chat. But there are some things that happen here that still blow me away.

Ok, in Boise we’ve had our share of naming contests. Like “Name the Ride” at Roaring Springs, where the winner of the name chosen could win 4 season passes to the park. Or the zoo’s “Name the Baby Penguin” contest where the winner got a family season pass. But with the world economy crumbling and everyone having to pinch extra pennies each week, there are a few news stories that could catch one by surprise.

The (as my Brit friends would say) “Wicked Youuuge” Burj Dubai has a fountain out front (or will… or something) and they created a naming contest for it… the prize being 100,000 Dirham (About 30,000 US dollars). The fabulous, larger-than-life name that took the prize???

“Dubai Fountain.”

Yes, it’s all a matter of perspective, folks!


Last night Stu came home from work craving a root beer float! So he called around to all the stores and finally found one that sold A&W root beer (Spinney's, ya'll!)! So we packed up Kaden after dinner and went to Spinney's to get root beer and their ONE choice for Vanilla ice cream. They were soooooo good! It was so nice to indulge in a "taste of home".

We also went into the Liquor store and Mimi will be pleased to hear that they do have Canadian Club! (Sorry Papa, no boxed wine! Haha, you'll have to drink real wine while you're here!) It's so weird walking into what appears to be a back door for employees only and is actually a liquor store. It was the first one I'd been in here since Stu had always gone with Josh, and it was just like back home, just poorly lit since there were no windows. We didn't get anything, but they do have a nice inventory!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

He Didn't Understand...

...why this wasn't the best method for riding his car, or why he got stuck every time.

There's a New Knitter in Town!

So it finally happened! After only three times of meeting with my knitting gals, one of them, Lulu (a South African), taught me how to knit! We started off really simple with just ten rows and she was SOOOO patient with me as I learned. Before we left the group, Charmaine (she’s the Australian) sent me off with her copy of a pattern that Hala (from Lebanon) had translated from French and they are both working on. Of course, as soon as I got home, I messed SOMETHING up (no idea what happened) and all of a sudden my yarn was inside of a few of my stitches and after combing the internet for a while I could not figure out how to fix it. So I had to unravel the whole thing and then learn how to cast on by myself since I hadn’t learned this skill yet! So I did and screwed it up two more times (more unraveling, poor yarn!) and now I have two rows on there. But I takes me SO long to do, who knows how long this project will take me! Haha.

I have such a good time with those ladies every time we get together though, so it is nice to be there for the same reason they are now! It is so refreshing getting to have coffee with women! I miss having other women around that I can relate to. Lindsay, Eva, Kundi and I make up the resident American women, though Kundi didn’t make it this time. Jenny was a Canadian that came by with yarn as she is starting her own yarn shop in Dubai. It was a really nice time and I always come away feeling so much more positive than when I went in.

Lindsay gave me a ride home after swinging by IKEA and True Value (a place Stu and I MUST head to, only to resist buying everything!). I have to say, there is nothing better than being able to have someone understand the stressors you experience daily. I am missing Rainy, who is STILL in Brazil (!!!) but Lindsay has been a nice replacement while she’s gone. I hope to get together more often with the girls as I know we can definitely all use the camaraderie (Eva??? :)).

Here I am knitting for the first time! Thanks Lulu!

Here are Eva (sitting) and Jenny looking through a book of yarn samples.

And here we're just enjoying some coffee and chatting. Lindsay, me, Lulu, and Sharon.

I mentioned how Stu taught himself to play the harmonica from YouTube videos. Now Kaden thinks this little part of one of his toys is his own harmonica and he goes around with it in his mouth while he blows into it and hums. My little musician in the making!

(*photo credit: Thank you Charmaine for the pictures of this weekend!)

Friday, October 24, 2008


So apparently my baby sister swore in with the Air Force yesterday. She has been having a hard time with college and knowing exactly what she wants to do, so I think this could be a wise move for her.

After I read an email from her about it, I first cried my eyes out, thinking about how I am still missing everything in my siblings' lives, and how she will always be ten years old to me, but then I pulled myself together and realized it really could be a good thing for her and her personality. Structure is a good thing for someone like Justine.

It is really shocking to me how fast time flies. I'm also pretty pissed that no one decided to tell the sister who is stuck in Hell! If I hadn't happened to email her yesterday I wouldn't have heard. You people need to work on your communication skillz! :)

Anyway, so congratulations to Justine for taking such a huge step. Good luck seastar!

The Next Day

Here is the following day for those who were interested: Now they are all yucky looking bruises. Poor Stuie!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Count-down Chains!

Remember back in elementary school when an exciting event was coming up? Usually my teachers would have a creative way to "count down" to that fun day, whether it was the count-down to Christmas with the same number of cotton balls on a Santa's beard as days left... tearing one off daily, or, my favorite idea, the chain! So, since I have two important dates upcoming, I made chains!

The first is a count-down to Mimi and Papa getting here... their "Zero Day" is December 15th, so that chain (the one around the window in the photos) is a daily count-down, with each chain sporing the date and how many days are left! We tear one off every night before we go to bed.

The second chain is a weekly chain, denoting the weeks we have left to be here! I have two color schemes representing the acheivement of different important dates on that chain. That one is a little more depressing though because we can only pull of one chain a week, but it is shorter!

Here are my chains!

Mimi and Papa chain

Going home chain! (Excuse the HUGE mess on the dresser... it doubles as my vanity AND bookshelf at the moment)

Green Belt

On a happier note than my last post, Stu moved up a belt in Jiu-Jitsu yesterday! He didn't think it was going to be a big deal and wasn't even sure if he was going to move up or not, so Kaden and I didn't go watch, but they lined the guys who were moving up in a gauntlet-style tunnel and they had to jog through and get whipped by each of the 18 black belts, with the belts doubled over. Stu came home with welts the size of decks of cards on his back. Here are some pictures, taken just 20 minutes or so after the lashings! Imagine what they're going to look like tonight! Poor kid. But, initiation into higher belthood aside, he was very happy to have moved up!

Look at those marks! Sheesh! They were ten times worse looking by the time we went to bed too.

Kaden enjoying Daddy's new belt!

My wonderful husband.


So I literally have nothing to post lately. Other than posting what we eat for dinner on my food blog, I don't do anything. Here is every single week day for me: I get up when Kaden starts "ma ma ma ma"-ing, get Kaden breakfast in his highchair, microwave a cup of green tea for me, check my email (which is NEVER full enough, losers!), run Kaden a bath, strip him naked after the adventure that is Cheerios is over, being careful to note where they drop in the hallway on the way to the bathroom so I can pick them up before they dry into concrete and I am forced to get a knife to de-stick them from the tile.

Kaden sings and splashes while I sit in the toilet seat cover and either read part of my book, or an article or two in a magazine I've been mercifully sent by a loving relative. We dry off (yes, "we") and get new clothes that Kaden has taken to picking out himself... yesterday was a Tye-dyed shirt from Marcia and Deven and red and grey sweat pants. Today he picked out a (long-sleeved) "Central Michigan" shirt, courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa Fox, and picked grey shorts to match. What a looker! But he gets mad and feels inferior if I tell him he can't wear the fabulous matched clothes he picks. We're not going anywhere, so I go with it.

Then we head to the living room to "build" with his blocks. I make a really creative new-age high-rise eco-friendly office building and Kaden turns into The Hundred-foot Baby Monster and demolishes my creation. Then he chooses which blocks I build with next. Eventually he wants to do it himself, so I leave him to go wash a load of dishes (The evil, sexist sand man who has kept dishwashers from being common household appliances in the UAE, be damned). When my hands are sufficiently pruney and Kaden has had enough of the blocks, I dry up and we head to his room. There we take turns reading Spanish books, playing with educational toys (seriously, heh), and singing Mosque man when he blares through the window at noon.

About this time Kaden gets grouchy and we cuddle on the couch together while he drinks some milk and when he is ready, he hands me his cup and gestures for me to pick him up to take him to bed for his nap. I now have exactly 2 hours to do anything that I need to get done without Kaden hanging from my pant legs: laundry, the rest of the dishes, prep work for dinner, vacuuming, mopping, bathroom, etc. I pick two of these every day and eventually throughout the week, they'll all get done. With Kaden in bed I hop on the elliptical while I watch The View, then stretch and do push-ups and crunches in front of the TV.

When Kaden wakes up we get some lunch (usually either leftovers from dinner the night before or a peanut butter and "Mommy jam" sandwich) and TV goes off. After lunch we sing songs and point to our body parts. Kaden is consistent with where his belly button, nose and cheeks are... eyes and forehead are a bit confusing.

Then we start dinner, Kaden's new favorite place to hang out is perched on the counter top while I move around the kitchen. He thinks it is hilarious, though he'll probably jump off the counter one of these days and I'll be a horrible mother! But he's pretty safe so far.

Daddy gets home at 4, we eat dinner and chat about our days. They're both pretty much always the same. Then Daddy wrestles with Kaden while I do the dinner dishes (never ending dishes!) and clean up the kitchen. We typically watch some TV or a movie and Stu either goes to practice or plays Wii or computer some. We get Kaden ready for bed at 8:30, read a book (more like three of them) in our big bed together while he drinks a bottle, then we send him to bed at 9. Stu and I either play Boggle or Trivial Pursuit or read before bed and then it's light-out at ten.

Sigh. I've been reading the Boise newspapers online and watching some Channel 7 and I so miss being able to go to the store (BY MYSELF!!!) to grab some chicken breasts, or just a tub of sour cream, or whatever random ingredient at the local Albertson's (Or my beloved Winco!). I want to take my son to the park without risking both our lives on the drive to get there. Mostly I want to be able to go anywhere during the day, without my husband, and feel safe, not stared at, unless it is an admiring way from a man, and feel secure and happy where I live. It seems so trivial to be able to go to the store, but it is not something I am ever going to take for granted again once we get home. Sure, I will have to get a job again when I get home, but I'm definitely going to be taking my kid to the park during the day without his dad sometimes!

It's not that Stu isn't fun either! Haha. I love that we spend so much time as a family, going to the park and shopping on the weekends and whatnot. What I don't like is that it is a necessity. I want it to be a choice. We've spent more time together in this past few months than we EVER have before.

This place has finally gotten to me. I took in the experience as it was, I learned about the culture and the people and why they think the things they do, but now I am just so over it. The things that were initially interesting have become painful oppressions. The little things like washing my clothes and having them come out looking the same as I put them in, not pilled and faded after one wash, I miss. I want to be able to go into my bathroom and take a shower without having to keep the plug in the drain over night to prevent the cockroaches from crawling from the sewer into the house. I miss a dishwasher washing my dishes. I miss a general friendliness in the people I walk by on the street or at the mall. I am so sick of inherent hate surrounding my life. My son is a happy kid, but how long will it take him to start noticing the way people here look at us because of the lightness of our skin and eyes? Until you are living among these people, you do not understand the type of hate they have. It's a hate that is from a different century, a very uncomplicated, third-world mentality and way of life. And maybe I'm just sheltered by happy Idahoans.

I posted a job description on a local classifieds page offering child care (since really, I have nothing else to do) I figure the more money we can put away every week, the faster we can leave. I advertised myself as an American childcare provider, for expatriates. I've had a few nibbles from some Europeans and whatnot. But yesterday I got a call from a Pakistani man who said he was interested in my services for his 18-month-old. We're a few hundred miles from Pakistan here... we all are more than aware of anti-American Pakistani sentiment. Sure, it can't be all of them, just like all Americans aren't Christians, but there is a calculable sum of them who'd like nothing more than to hurt Americans for the sake of us being American. So I wavered on when we could get together for an interview. Do I tell him I am uncomfortable with his coming to my building because of his Nationality? Do I go for it and let him come over, assuming he is just like Stu, a man trying to provide a better life for his family? In America, I would never, ever have questions like this. Because we take advantage of how safe and secure we are. Our cops and legal systems are respected and DO SOMETHING if, let's say, someone is kidnapped, or worse, murdered. Here, you hear about it, but you never really hear of what happens to the "bad guys". And one drive on any street will tell you how little the cops are respected.

Maybe I am just an "idiot American" and I am too untrusting... maybe leftover feelings from 9/11. But I think a bigger part of it is having come into this with an open mind and eager heart and being severely disappointed in what I saw and felt. I am so humbled now and all I want is to put in our time so we can go home. This is really not what I hoped to gain from being here, and it makes my heart heavy.

Well, I started this post with the idea that I didn't have anything to say... Heh. Apparently.

I hope everyone I know and love is doing ok in America, despite the economy and whatever other personal problems you're facing. Know that there is a world over here where life really could be worse (not for me necessarily, for the people who are struggling to get by here). We really are lucky to have been born American. Next time you DON'T kill a cockroach the size of a poodle, or next time you hit the mall and someone smiles at you, think of us! I'm going to be the obnoxious smiling weirdo when I get home! :)

Side Note: HUGE thank you to Lonny for helping me with my "Consumer Question"! :) What a great amount of information that man has. I really did get to sleep easier that night knowing I had some options. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just a Little Kaden...

Kaden decided to wear Mommy's clothes!

And yesterday after Kaden woke up from his nap, he had sleep marks and when I laughed and pointed them out to him, he got scared of them! It was so funny watching him poke his own arm and look at me near tears. Poor baby. Scary sleep marks! Haha.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Park Time!

Last night we took a picnic to the park again and had a dandy time. Stu and I brought a little ball to toss around while Kaden explored (which felt every bit as retarded as you would imagine while clad in jeans…). It was nice. There was even a part of the night when I got a “chill”! Lol. It was probably still 85 out though.

Kaden was such a good picnicker! He sat with his dinner and ate his whole meal without trying to get up and play. I was impressed.

He was so confused by the birds. He kept looking around for where the noise was coming from.

Picnic time!


Not sure why, but there were helicopters flying overhead the whole time we were there.

Happy kid, as always!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wii Did It!

It was only a matter of time before we broke down and bought a Wii and we finally did! It would have been a nice thing to have had this past summer since it was so unbearably hot, but alas, we have one for the “winter” now! In an effort to pass the time better, we figured it was a good “investment”! So here is our Wii! I am going to get a Wii Fit too so I can fix the old figure and Stu got his Madden.

Needless to say, the Wii is way more aerobic than I expected and after playing hours of tennis and bowling, I hit the elliptical for a half-hour and then was sore for the next two whole days! Makes me realize how out of shape I’ve gotten and made me more encouraged to get my butt on the elliptical more often.

Here is Kaden in his feetie pajamas! Happy clapping baby.

He also got a cool new Cars poster for his room! Here it is!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sydney's Book Recommendations

Ok, per Melissa’s request I decided to make a list of some of the good books I have read lately! (Perhaps I will do this occasionally). I've hyperlinked the books to their Amazon pages in case you're interested in picking any of them up.
I know I have talked about some of these books on here before, so excuse the repeats! :)

The Nanny Diaries. By Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. This book is for anyone who's ever been a babysitter (Liss!). If you've ever had to take care of kids that aren't yours, even just for a few hours, you can relate to this book. The end was very emotional for me. Bawled for like ten solid minutes. Good one.

Patty Jane's House of Curl. By Lorna Landvik. I am pretty sure I have mentioned this one before, but it was just a good book. Nothing real amazing or anything, but I really enjoyed it. It's short too so if you hate it, not a lot of wasted time.

I blew through Mary Higgins Clark's No Place Like Home. I am just a MHC fan no matter what. This wasn't her best book, but it was definitely better than the last few. It's kind of eerie in her way, so that's always fun.

I know I've talked about this one for sure. The Space Between Us by Thirty Umrigar. This was the one about an Indian woman (or, two families more specifically) who struggles with life... dealing with the differences in class and privilege. Very powerful book, and a great glimpse into a way of life we'll never know.

So ahead and read Dean Koontz' The Husband. It was good for what it was. I like those types of thriller/mystery style books that keep you reading till the very end and leaves you pretty satisfied. Very MHC style here.

Best of all! Last night I finished State of Fear by Michael Crichton (yeah the Jurassic Park guy). SUCH a good book and I don't know how I'd missed it for so long. I found myself questioning everything I "knew" about climate change and global warming as I read the book. It made me Google the crap out of references and scientific journals. It was the perfect book for making you interested in learning more about what you don't know. So good. Prepare for late nights though if you delve into this one.

My Hubby the Reader.

When Stu and I first met, he was not a reader. I am. This became sort of irritating for us both right off the bat when after he started staying at my place I would pull out my book at “bed time” and he was ready for lights out and sleep. It took me having to get a little night-light on my side of the bed for him to be able to get to sleep when he wanted to. I tried getting him to read with me, pushing both The DaVinci Code and General Tommy Franks’ American Soldier on him. Neither captured him. So I was dismayed and accepted the fact that my boy just didn’t like to read.

THEN he read SSN by Tom Clancy. I have never been a Clancy fan. My Mom is though and she gave Stu the book and he was hooked. We went to Borders and he picked up three or four more Clancy novels and dove right in. I realized that he didn’t have to like the books I necessarily liked and I was just thrilled he’d found his niche.

Jump to today. We have been reading in bed together for two years now and Stu has liked some books and not been thrilled with others. But we have finally found “THE” book for him. It is called Lone Survivor and it is about a group of guys in Afghanistan where there turned out to be (duh) one guy that made it out alive. He is our age obviously, and it’s a real story, so Stu has latched on like no other book he’s ever read. He watches the clock at night so he can go get in bed with this book.

I just finished (literally ten minutes ago… which is why I have the computer now and am not reading instead) Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. Holy Crap. Read it. So we both were equally engrossed in our respective books this past week or so. It has been so great to see him genuinely excited about a book since reading is as much a part of me as my right hand. I just wanted to praise Stu on his new-ish-found hobby. I think the world would be a better place if everyone would read just a little more! :)

Happy Reading!

Kaden's Humor: Part One

Kaden is constantly doing things that appear to be on purpose that just crack me up. I figure I might as well catalogue them...

I finish pulling my shirt on over my head and say to Kaden, "Ok, Mommy's all dressed now." He looks at me for a second then applauds and walks off...

2008 Presidential Campaign

(You knew this post had to be written eventually! How many are surprised it took THIS long??? :))

You would think living on the other side of the world we’d have to try pretty hard to keep up on what’s going on with the American presidential race. WRONG! This is one of the few reasons why I m not unhappy to be out of the US right now. I don’t have to be tortured with the endless political commercials that you all are surely being bombarded with. But even still, I cannot seem to get away from the coverage! Whether it is one of ten family members sending email forwards about one candidate or the other, or watching bits of Fox News or CNN with endless coverage, it just won’t go away! Even The National, Abu Dhabi’s English newspaper, has a section called “US Election Coverage”! Is no one else tired of hearing about it???

It’s not like either option is a particularly good one. Let's not fool oursleves. Neither has any relevant experience, neither have any fundamentally fabulous or innovative ideas. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. But this time around it seems that emotions are more tied into everyone’s choice in their candidate than usual. If you doubt this, tune into The View just ONE day per week and watch those old hags berate poor Elisabeth for a few minutes. Those gals have gotten so passionate and obnoxious that the viewers can’t even understand what is being said. Craziness. I saw some serious screaming on Your World with Neil Cavuto too earlier last week. What is wrong with people? Whatever happened to picking out your candidate based on their views of the things that matter most to you? I am so sick of people making it about race too. It’s either commentators turning a blind eye to race, like we can’t all see that Obama is black, or they make it this HUGE issue. Either America is ready for a black president or it’s not, but I’m sure most Americans who are against Obama are because of his views on the issues, not the color of his skin. On the flip side, people will vote for McCain for the same reasons, not because he has a hot running mate.

What should be more concerning for people is what Heraldo pointed out (no, I’m not a fan either, but I found myself watching his show anyway). He went to a concert aimed at young people to sign more people up to vote. While there he asked people some questions that, arguably, all voters should probably know. There are 50 states… you’d be blown away by how many people got this one wrong. There are 100 senators… a staggering amount guessed numbers in the low teens… what??? Aren’t most of these people fresh out of high school and therefore fresh out of American Government class??? This shouldn’t be so. Shouldn't our voters be informed??? I don’t want our next president being elected by a bunch of stoned 18-year-olds who think Sandra Day O’Conner is the next big rock band.

So basically I think we all need to educate ourselves BEFORE we hit the polls… here is a list of keys issues and where each candidate stands… I feel like I have a duty to inform, in case this is the only “political” blog you read today! :)

Abortion: McCain is pro-life and supports repealing Roe v. Wade. Obama is pro-choice and supports Roe v. Wade

Education: McCain supports school choice and vouchers. Against nationally imposed standards. “Good teachers should earn for than bad lawyers”. Obama supports charters school and private investment in schools. More teacher pay in exchange for accountability. Sex education needed to help children discuss molestation.

Energy & Oil: McCain supports a job creation program with alternate energy and nuclear power. Wants to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030. Climate change is real and must be addressed. Obama supports more Alaska oil and gas leases, plus a new gas pipeline. Supports nuclear power if it is clean and safe. Supports finding a way to sequester carbon and burn clean coal. Wants to aggressively address accelerating climate change.

Health Care: Supports making individuals responsible for choosing their own health care and a tax credit for families. No mandated universal system, no mandated insurance coverage. Obama supports guaranteed health care for anyone who needs it. “Give more help to those denied a life of dignity and respect.” Subsidies to people who cannot afford care.

Immigration: McCain- Restart comprehensive reform only after securing borders. Wants to certify border is secure, only then allow guest workers. Supports deporting 2 million illegal immigrants who committed crimes. Obama supports looking at different aspects of immigration reform. Encourage every student to learn a second language. “America has nothing to fear from today’s immigrants.” We need to recognize the humanity of immigrants.

Welfare and Poverty: McCain supports anti-poverty responsibility being shared by government and faith-based organizations. Require 40 hours of work per week for welfare recipients. Supports block grants, welfare-to-work, state control. Obama would like to cut poverty in half within 10 years with faith-based help. Wishes to eliminate extreme global poverty.

Ironically, both candidates support embryonic stem cell research and both oppose same-sex marriages.

Ok, now do your own homework, here are a few sites you can go to for more detailed positions on the issues for each of the candidates:

Monday, October 13, 2008


From the time Kaden was born, I’ve always been somewhat obsessive about his nutrition. I think this stemmed from reading so many “What to Expect…” type books while I was pregnant that stress the need for nutrition. But whatever the reason, it led to a complete nutritional overhaul for both Stu and I and from day one, for Kaden. I made his baby food, which was more out of necessity at first than nutrition. Stu and I didn’t have a lot of extra money at the time and it made sense for me to make his food than to buy the jar which were at least a dollar per jar.

Eventually this became a way for me to be sneaky and add things into his diet that he might reject otherwise. He was eating ginger root and green peppers by 8 months. Now, he’ll eat green and red peppers raw! So, now that he has moved on to feeding himself, I feel like his diet is lacking the vast array of nutrients he was getting when I made his food. Let’s face it, peanut butter and jelly doesn’t leave a lot of room for sneaky veggies in…. or does it?

Yesterday as I was going to steam some apples for him to make applesauce it occurred to me that even though he’s moved beyond the pureed food point, I can still make “jams” so to speak, so I got out the carrots and added them to the steamer. A little ginger, some olive oil, half an avocado… basically all of the “power foods” I could think of and tada! New peanut butter and jelly! So I feel better about the lack of foods he’s eating now since I can sneak!

I do think I am blessed with a good eater though. There is pretty much nothing he won’t eat. At first with new foods he may make a face, but he always ends up eating them anyway. I don’t know why he is so good at eating, but I’d like to think it was because we fed him such a variety of foods at such a young age so he expects them.

Anyway, just wanted to share my new way to fool my kid! Haha.

Dhab Downfall?

I’ve been reading the newspapers here more often in an attempt to understand as much as I can about this place I now call home and I have discovered a slightly disturbing trend and I hope others are taking note.

Dubai, with its announcement of the “third” tallest building in the world (huge surprise here), is basically the Britney Spears to Abu Dhabi’s Jamie Lynn Spears. Dubai is the big kahuna with its larger-than-life ambitions. It has the biggest, first, or best of everything there is to offer from hotels (Burj Al Arab) to water parks (Atlantis’s Aquaventure) to man-made majesties (the Jumierah Palm), while Abu Dhabi is the still well-known, but in-less-trouble, “little sister”. It makes me wonder while the UAE is grabbing headlines, how long this can continue. With all of its glory, the UAE has its ugly aspects, including rampant prostitution and pollution. The law here seems to have taken the “turned head” approach to law enforcement which has facilitated SEVERELY dangerous roads and apparent ties to the Russian mob.

Every country has its bad aspects, and within each country there are places that are better or worse than others for the reasons listed above, but since the UAE is so young and has grown so fast, with as far as I can tell, little planning, it makes me wonder how long this can continue. I guess only time will tell, but I wonder how bad the ignored things will have to get before somebody steps up and does something about them. In the meantime I guess everyone will just have to enjoy swimming with the sharks at Aquaventure, avoiding the driving it requires to get there.

Another interesting thing to note is that this country is funded with oil proceeds. I hear the price of oil is going down yet again… Sure, the UAE holds 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves… but what happens when that runs out???

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Good Times.

This weekend has been nice, but also fairly uneventful. Stu and I both don’t feel great today and this started last night. But yesterday I got to meet with the group of knitting gals again and that really was a great experience. I really like their personalities, and the creations they make are great. I think I want to try out knitting or crocheting at some point. But I got to have a coffee and then Stu and Kaden came to pick me up and we ate dinner at a FABULOUS place in the mall called Figaro’s Pizza. It was so great. The best pizza and breadsticks I’ve had in Abu Dhabi and the prices were nothing to complain about. So, if you’re looking for good pizza or other Italian food here, check out Figaro’s!

Here are some pics of the midget from this weekend!

He decided to use this toy as a seat, but kept having a hard time getting "sat" on it.

Going in for the sit...

Yay! Sitting!

While I was having coffee with the girls, Stu and Kaden made a picture for me! This is Kaden's first artwork!

Playing soccer in the hallway!

Daddy taught him how to kick the ball and now he won't stop! :)

My New Food Blog!

I have created a new blog specifically for my recipes. I got a lot of response from a few recipes I posted on this blog so I decided to start another blog where I will post only recipes and food-related stuff. I will also stop posting recipes here for those of you who could care less.

Sooooo, check out the new blog!!! And if you have any questions about a recipe, or want to request any others, feel free to leave a comment there. Thanks!

Here is the link, or you can always go to my profile page and it will be listed under "Blogs" there:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

H, H, and H

Mary-Leah (my aunt for those of you not related to me) posted a blog the other day about her family going to the Pacific Science Center (again, those who don't know nerd me, it is the COOLEST place ever!). I found a picture in my stash from the last time I was there, which was sadly when I was 18... here is the picture from then:

Mary-Leah's kids Harrison (the little boy standing in front of me), Hayley in the green shirt, and Hannah in the red shirt) Flower, one of my other cousins is in blue, and my little sister Maddison is in the striped shirt.

And Now:

Hayley is in the striped shirt, Arlie in the left-middle, Harrison, and Hannah. Look how big they are now! :) I just thought it was fun that I had this picture and how much they have changed in 5 years!

Dubai's Erectile Dysfunction

So, we've all heard about the HUGE, not even half-finished monstrosity that is the Burj Dubai. I’ve posted pics here before of it (in all of its hazy goodness) the times we’ve been to Dubai. Now, as with everything else in the UAE, it just isn’t good enough. New plans have been announced to build an even BIGGER tower, to be called the Nakheel Harbour (yeah, just an “o” is never good enough for the Brits, so spell it wrong we must) & Tower.

Here is the projection of what the current Burj Dubai will look like when completed.

Greaaaaaat. I worry that the whole city of Dubai, not being able to withstand the tremendous physical pressure such a large and obviously heavy building must bring, will detach from the UAE completely and sink into the sea. I am not sure of the physics involved, but with as much sand and concrete as they dumped into the sea to create their pretty little ecosystem-killing new land masses on which they built multi-million dollar “ocean-front” property, but I am pretty sure the Earth’s crust can only withstand so much. It makes me glad to safe over here in “shabby” “little” Abu Dhabi, where we just compete with the world by trying to build the most malls within a 5-square-mile area.

So, for your viewing pleasure, the newest potential erection in the Dube:

Nakheel Harbour & Tower

My Son the Muezzin.

Ever since we first moved here, when the Mosque muezzin (the guy who sings the call to prayer) "goes off" I have made it a joke by saying to Kaden, "Hey! It's Mosque Man!" and he would giggle and grin and that was that. Well, I have inadvertently made my son a Muslim convert.

Now, every time the Mosque sounds, Kaden stops whatever he is doing to raise his eyebrows in peaceful song. He almost knows the way it ACTUALLY GOES too. So, the real muezzin sings the Adhan (the call to prayer), which goes phonetically, like this:

Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest)
Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah (I bear witness that there is no deity except God)
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God)
Hayya alas-salah (Make haste towards prayer)
Hayya alal-falah (Make haste towards welfare)
As-salatu khayru min an-naum (Prayer is better than sleep) (<--- only in the first call of the morning.)
Allahu akbar (God is Greatest)
La ilaha illallah (There is no deity except God)

So Kaden sings, “Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh….. Aaakbah” I swear to God. I have been singing it to and with him for WAY too long apparently, because now we must drop everything and sing along. Which made me think last night what a cute little muezzin he would make… screw American Idol, the UAE should come up with a spin-off version for the Middle East called “Muezzin Idol”. The contestants must prove their worthiness by having pretty voices AND good character! I think it would be a great show!

Anyway, Kaden is a huge singing and dancing fan altogether now and his favorite music is rock, my Dad will pleased to know. He squats and stands and squats and stands to Queen like it’s nobody’s business.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paranoia, or Just Love?

So, after a fitful sleep last night, I finally gave up at 7 AM to go check on the breathing of my midget. He was feeling warm when he woke up yesterday morning and my midday he had a full-blown fever and diarrhea. I gave him Tylenol (the real, American stuff) every 4 hours as I know I’m supposed to do, but after the MMR shot, I find myself ultra-paranoid. All I could think of last night was Jenny finding Evan having a seizure in his bed. I went through plenty of horrible scenarios, trying to figure out which hospital to take Kaden to if something like that were to happen, and what they would do when I got there, since, as we all know, this place isn’t really rated for their healthcare system.

So I laid in bed and tossed and turned and probably kept Stu up. Throughout my pregnancy I was always concerned with the idea of my kid being “weird” in the sense that something would be mentally wrong with him. I remember even as an early teenager being scared of the possibility. So when Kaden was born with the right amount of fingers and toes and a perfect Apgar score, I felt relieved and blessed. But it seems that there are a never ending list of things that can still be or go wrong with my Monkey. Am I just destined to be a worry-wart for the rest of my life?

Luckily, Kaden was breathing fine all six (seriously) times I checked on him and he finally woke up after 13 ½ hours of sleep to say hello to Mimi, Marcia and Deven on webcam, still warm, but generally a happy camper. Tonight when he went to bed he was almost back to normal-Kaden-heat and was only mildly crabby. Here’s hoping tomorrow he is back to my energetic, goofy baby!

Is it normal to worry about your kids like this? What about those of you with teenagers, or, ahem, Mom, with grown-but-still-learning daughters, does it get any easier to not worry as much???

Also, thanks to Doug and Marcia for their insight and thoughts on the minds of audience members. I appreciate you very much!

(<---- Shameless plug for Jenny: Check out her newest book: Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Stu!

Yesterday was Stu's 25th Birthday! Since I don't have the means to get out of the house without him, I decided to make him a framed collage of his Jiu-Jitsu tournaments. He really seemed to like it, but I REALLY can't wait to get back to where they have WAL-MART and I can do some REAL gift shopping, lol! But I also made him dinner of artichokes, crab cakes with an avocado dip, and tortilla roll-ups. I also dressed up Sprite (since we don't drink) with strawberries which were cute and fun.

We also got a package from Stu's parents yesterday that had a brownie mix in it (and some shirts for Stu and I, thanks! :)). That became the "birthday cake" since we forgot we used the last cake mix we had on hand and I couldn't make him a cake. So we had Birthday Brownies! I feel like such a failure wife here though. I am normally the one who goes all-out for birthdays and holidays with themed decorations and appetizers, etc. Here, I can't take a cab without risking my son's life. To her credit, Sam offered to pick something up for me yesterday because she was going out, but by then I'd already figured out what i was going to do. I just can't wait to be able to drive and do things (GROCERY SHOP!!!) by myself.

Anyway, here are some pics from last night. Stu refused to let me take his picture since he came home and immediately put on a t-shirt and boxer shorts for the evening. He looked handsome though! We made the best of what we had to work with!