Saturday, February 28, 2009
Today we lounged around until dinner time and only left to go get Papa John's at the mall. I actually got a bunch of homework done and some papers written, but Stu and Kaden were your typical couch potatoes and proud of it! Haha.
Tonight we watched Liar Liar (one of my all-time favorite movies) and now we're just wrapping up the night so we can go to bed and start another work week.
Hopefully I'll have something cooler to say tomorrow! :)
I hope everyone is having a great weekend.
(Plowing through New Moon, btw)
Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I'm only about 5 chapters in, but here are my thoughts so far: Anything that makes the awkward, pale, uncomfortable girl in the story the heroine, is fine by those of us who were awkward in high school (which I'm pretty sure was everyone... even if you were the blonde cheerleader... which I was).
I'm already finding myself drawn to Edward and his perfection, so we will see how it goes. This story keeps making me think of my cousin Hayley though. It could be because she was one of the most obsessed with this series that I've run into, but it could also be that she is the spitting image of Bella and it is comforting to think that my pale, smart, unbalanced (hehe, you KNOW you are!) cousin will find herself an Edward (And I'm also wondering if her new-ishly dark locks are the result of this resemblance). :)
Anyway, so I am, now happily, plowing through this book... and I may just be the next bandwagoner... stay tuned! :)
So I finished it today. (Buy it here.)
(I realize I just posted earlier today that I was merely half-way through the book... it was pretty good. So I just kept reading... Kaden was very understanding. I read more than half of it out loud for his listening pleasure.)
Boy, what a book. Kate Jacobs may not be a complete literary genius, but her books are so heart-warming and comforting that they are hard to put down. This second novel was a little bit predictable in certain places (Sarah? Come on... we all saw that coming from the first mention of her in the wedding picture), but it was an absolutely joy to read. I would recommend this book with hot chocolate on a particularly rainy day to warm your soul. It is for knitters and non-knitters alike.
A perfect testament to the power of true friendship and to the camaraderie that exists in knitting circles everywhere.
U-knitted Amiras: I think for the next KAL we should knit the Georgia Afghan… the pattern is in the back of the book. (If not, I think I’ll have a go at it on my own… or at least try my hand at the Maple Apple Muffins!)
Fellow Foodies: In other news, Kate Jacob's next novel (soon to be released... pre-order it here) is entitled "Comfort Food" and sounds like it could be one for those of us who love to eat!
Maybe I should try books on tape. My Dad used to listen to them when he was in college because he had an hour and a half commute to school... a great use of time (plus he hates reading, heh). I've never actually listened to one before, but I am at a loss about what to do about my knit v. read conundrum. So I blog! Ha!
Anyway, same old same in the life of Sydney today. I sent Stuie off to work and Kaden and I read some books (he knows SO many words now!) and then colored until he got in trouble for eating crayons again. (I even bought colored pencils the other day! Silly Mommy)
Now he is napping and I am back to my reading/knitting. I am working on a "toy" of sorts (baby!) right now and the stitches are tiny so it is slow-going and slightly frustrating. Lindsay mentioned a few posts ago that when she is knitting something for someone, she thinks of them while she's knitting it and I realized I do that same thing. Like the bibs, I knew each one was for a specific friend and I thought of that friend and memories we've had together while I was knitting... sort of absentmindedly. And it really is a way to bring the cliché, "made with love" into reality since it was made with needles and yarn, sure, but also with memories and smiles and a warm-heart just because the person is who they are.
On the same note, I need to pick up some shipping envelopes to send out some of creations to their new respective owners. I have made some people some things and them sitting in my knitting box is not getting them used! :)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I wasn't in the mood for the leftovers we had, so I thought I'd make something with grits. I ended up eating this with scrambled eggs dumped on top and Kaden would NOT leave me alone when I was eating it. I gave him a bite to make him happy and then he ended up eating half of my bowl!
Yes, we might be living in the Middle East but my boy is still a good American at heart! :)
Kaden has completely gotten used to it though. This morning as Stu walked in to the living room to put his shoes on Kaden was already bidding him farewell and telling him "Lush-oo" (we don't have to ask him say "I love you" anymore... now he knows when it's appropriate to say it! hehe)
So today I finished another baby bib (two upcoming babies now = twice the knitting! haha) and now my eyes hurt from looking at it for so long. I am still the slowest knitter in the known universe, so they take me about 4-5 hours each to get done (and my girls wonder why I won't try a full-grown-human-sized sweater yet!). But I am getting more confidant with each stitch and before we know it, I am sure I will trying more complicated things. :)
Tonight Kaden and I plan to watch a movie before Daddy gets home since be brought me not one, not two, but THREE Disney movies this morning while I was cleaning the living room. I finally relented and said after nap he could watch whatever movie his little heart desires. So that's what we'll do!
I also got some school work done today during nap. Oh, Lord! I forgot to complain! :) My first test in A&P was last Thursday and It. Kicked. My. Ass...... Seriously. I was furiously using every resource I could think of to come up with the remaining 4 or so questions that I just had no idea about. (Thanks for nothing, Google!) At first I was pretty bummed about my 84 score on the test... until I checked my email this morning and saw that the professor sent out an email letting us know that the average was 62%! Holy Crapolla! I would have died if I got a 62. So now I feel SLIGHTLY better about it, and I am planning on getting perfect scores on EVERY lab and homework assignment she throws at me so I can get an A in the class (this is quickly becoming an obsession).
Lab this week: bone dissection. The poor Filipino butcher thought I was totally nuts as I explained to him in broken English that I needed a cow leg bone cut vertically open down the shaft. He raised his eyebrows at me and walked the the back to make the cut while I looked around me to see how many other people I'd humiliated myself in front of.
As far as the rest of school goes, I already finished my Art History class since it was self-paced and I got a 97% in that one (and an infinite supply of new knowledge about Rome! woot woot). And I have an A so far in Technical Communication. Though I must say, group work SUCKS. I have been the "group leader" in all but one group assignment (and we have AT LEAST one every week), not because I like leading people, but because the morons in my class have zero desire to work and I want an A. So, hopefully my soul will make it out of this class intact.
That's all the news I have.
Oh, I also discovered the wonder that is Craig's List again. This time around I was looking at what kinds of appliances were being sold in the Boise area and pretty soon I was picking out espresso machines, ellipticals, AND puppies! :) That site is the bomb.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Also, check out these freaking HUGE grapes! These are apparently from South Africa and HOLY CRAP! No more buying local teeny grapes for us!
... pretty ok actually. It was TOTALLY screwed up yesterday and I was ready for bed at 8:30 while Kaden was still chasing balls I threw for him (yes, I play fetch with my kid) at 11:00. Stu got home and Kaden stayed up long enough to get thrilled that his Daddy was home, give kisses, and go to bed. Meanwhile, I got a second (third? fourth?) wind and was ready and rearing to go at midnight. Needless to say, when Kaden got up at seven I thought I was going to die. So I laid him back down and told him it was "still night time" and he went back to sleep until 8:30. Much better. Although, for some reason I seriously suck at sleeping and it took me until eight to get back to sleep after he woke up. So I still didn't get enough sleep, but it was much better than seven!
I'm hoping he's more on the same schedule today and we can stay up late without much fighting. But it's actually pretty cool having Stu here in the morning and gone when we're all a little more relaxed. I worked out again this morning, which was great to do while Kaden is not trying to climb on the elliptical with me. By the time Stu had to leave, Kaden was ready to have some time away from us playing alone in his room, and I got to get on my school site and get some stuff done. Pretty good so far. Stu said we'll all go up on the roof tomorrow morning... which is one thing I AM looking forward to about summer coming. In spite of the suffocating heat, it DOES feel good to feel the heat seeping into your pores. Just not while you're trying to go grocery shopping or for a walk. When it's intentional, it's nice. Too bad we can't turn it on and off as we desire! :)
Anyway, so now starts day two of backwards week. I am going to go make some "dinner" for Stu to take for "lunch" tomorrow. I hope everyone else is doing well!
Oh, some news! I'm not sure if I'm allowed to tell or not, so I'll be sly, but I just found out one of my friends from Boise is pregnant again! Yay! So now, after not having ANYONE to knit baby stuff for, I now have TWO friends that are having babies! Yay! So it's definitely a trip to The Green Branch for some yarn sometime soon. Now I just have to find some simpler patterns for my painfully beginner hands! Yay for babies! AND, they're going to be due right around the same time too. God, it makes me want to come home so much more now.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
So we're going to get there on the evening of Good Friday, although I've looked into it and we won't be able to get a Papal blessing since tickets have long been gone for this year by now. I checked.
BUT, since there are hundreds of churches in the city, we might be able to get in to an Easter Sunday Mass somewhere in the city! We will have to see how it goes, as well as make sure to allow Saturday and Sunday to be relaxing days, steering clear of the touristy places (while 3 million extra people flood the city), and then sight-seeing later in the week.
After reading through the guidebook we got yesterday, I am even more excited to go now, Eastern pilgrims or not. I do wish I would have realized it earlier so we could maybe have gotten tickets to the Vatican on Easter, but this works too.
Anyway, more later. Shrek is on and my little monkey is singing his heart out. I don't want to miss it.
Kaden learning how cool it is to make Daddy a "horsey"!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Right now in this city you hear horror stories about how expat workers (mostly, think unskilled workers) haven't been paid in months, or their employers have fled the country without telling their employees, etc. But then, in a time when the whole world is dealing with an economic downturn, Emiratis are getting a free pass.
See this story for the whole article, but basically, while everyone else is getting laid off, or "downsized", Emiratis now cannot be "let go" unless they commit "exceptional misconduct". Which is huge for Emiratis as it is. People who are expats here and work in the private sector are always telling stories about the laziness of many of the Emiratis who work there. Obviously this is not all of them. One of my favorite people here is an Emirati and she is a very hard worker and has plenty of goals for her life, but far too many of them get a pass to be lazy, come in late, work minimally, etc. while many more professional and skilled people cannot get jobs.
It will be interesting to see what happens with this country in the next 10-15 years. See how it will adjust to functioning as a society instead of just growing exponentially. Methinks these types of policies are going to come back to bite them in the butt in later years.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I told Stu we should take a picture of him drinking Pepsi out of a baby bottle too. (You know what’s really sad? There was an American couple here who worked with our company that gave their 2-year-old pop on a daily basis. How sad and child abuse-y is that?)
Speaking of blatant child neglect, I watched a 20/20 documentary on the children of Appalachia last week. If you didn’t get to see it, see it. It was sad to think that while we’re sending aid to countless countries around the world, we’re letting our own people live in such dire, uneducated conditions. These kids have a dental condition known as “Mountain Dew Mouth” where they have rotten teeth because of their over consumption of Mountain Dew, which is used as a type of inexpensive anti-depressant for these people because of it higher-than-other-pop’s caffeine content. The parents give it to their toddlers and many of the kids never see a dentist or learn about proper oral hygiene. It is pathetic and so easily avoided with just a little bit of education.
Here we are worried because we know the water we drink doesn’t have fluoride in it like our tap water at home has (we drink bottled here). So we take the extra steps to brush more than once a day and floss daily. Education is everything, as always.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Stu is currently reading Three Cups of Tea, which is probably one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read. So he’s over there getting happy and feeling pretty good about life while I’m ready to slip my wrists dealing with the guilt Amir is holding in his heart in MY book. Stu actually said to me the other night while we were both reading, “Everyone should read this book.” I kind of laughed and agreed and he said, “No, seriously. Everyone should read this book.” I TOLD him it was that good, just like Marcia told ME it was that good. So, when it comes to reading about Pashtuns and the Afghani/Pakistani region, if you must make a choice, skip The Kite Runner and read Three Cups of Tea.
This is of course my opinion, and for some, the tale of a lie-ridden life filled with the cowardice and guilt of a child too young to understand the ramifications of his decisions, will be the better choice, but I think promoting literacy and banning ignorance in a decades-long war-torn region is such a better story.
Fear not, in spite of my new-found depression, I will still read the follow up… it simply can’t get any worse.
Anyway, then we went home and made a picnic dinner on the floor of the living room like we did last year (although last year Kaden could barely roll over, so he wasn’t stealing shrimp last year! Haha). I didn’t get a picture, but we had quite a spread including shrimp cocktail, Swiss and brie cheeses with crackers and sliced baguette, grapes, strawberries, Little Smokies, and some milk (no wine this year). We watched the very romantic movie Gladiator (sense the sarcasm please) and then called it a night. All in all a very good Valentine’s Day!
We also got to open boxes from Mimi and Marcia (those her's arrived after Valentine's day) and we all got new undergarments from Mimi (hehe) and Kaden got some wife beaters and big boy undies! So cool! We also got come goodies to eat and Marcia's had a bunch of cool decorations and some pink dilly boppers (or whatever they're really called) as well as a bunch of magazines and mail! We had a great time with their gifts!
Pink pancake batter!
The next morning we went grocery shopping (uneventful this time thankfully) and were back home by 9:30 (why Kaden can’t get to concept of sleeping in on the weekends is beyond me! J). Then I had my knitting group, which is where the real fun starts. First of all, Stu was sort of dawdling and saying we’d leave late and stuff, which was weird because I like to get there on time since my girls are so much fun! So we were running really late and then he said he’d walk me up there and then go shopping for me (for V-day), which is also uncharacteristic. As soon as we got up there I knew he had been a big fat fibber because the girls had put together a little birthday surprise for me! Eva crocheted me a cupcake!!! How cool is that? And I had a little cake with my name on it. They all signed a card, which was so sweet and a fabulously tangible memory I will get to keep from here. Then I got my (appropriately yarn-wrapped) gift which is called “The Knitting Answer Book”. It’s awesome. I started reading it that night and it has EVERYTHING I’d ever need to know to keep going with knitting problems. I’ve been afraid to try any more patterns since I only have access to these girls once a month at best, so I didn’t want to start anything I couldn’t handle. So this is truly a valuable resource. (Thanks girls!!!)
Also at the meeting was a reporter for a local TV station there to do a segment on the new happenin' knitters of Abu Dhabi.
It was so fun to hang out with them as it always is. Lindsay also let me borrow Knit Two (yayayayaya) and, as Hayley will be happy to hear, Twilight. So yes, after I finish Knit Two, which I started last night, I will officially be a Twilight reader, like the rest of the known universe.
Eva also taught me how to crochet (or started teaching me, we will see how many more lessons I need!) so maybe I will be involved in even more yarn than normal!
Here are some pictures of the festivities:
Hala took a picture of us before we got to the Coffee Shop. (I love how Stu and Kaden have the same unamused face, hehe)
I love these girls.
Sarah, the reporter, getting some good shots of the needles at work!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Stretching... very tired.
Sleeping at the table.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
So we’ve booked our plane tickets and hotel for our Rome trip and he has been downloading Podcasts about Rome to listen to. This has been AWESOME. He’s already called me twice today to tell me about things he’s learned and places he wants to make sure we see while we’re there. We also watched a documentary on the Catacombs the other night. We’re trying to stay focused on the R&R aspect of this trip. We haven’t been out of this country for a while (save Omani border runs) and it can get suffocating after a while (quite literally in about a month as temperatures hit the 90s/100s again).
My goal for the trip is to indulge in some good Italian wine, bread and cheese (and probably plenty of pizza and pasta), while being immersed in a language I have little experience with (which is sure to be a refreshing change from the hair-ball-in-your-throat language I am surrounded by here).
We want to remember that if we want, we can always go back to Italy another time if we miss some things the first time. With a toddler, and only having seven days, we don’t need to over-schedule sight-seeing. I absolutely cannot wait to get there (or just get OUT of here). I hope that when we come back we will be rejuvenated for at least a few months so Stu doesn’t feel quite so isolated.
For me, I’m really glad I’ve gotten used to this lifestyle. I basically only go outside twice a week and that’s on the weekends… and usually for groceries (the roof doesn’t count), and I’m finally ok with it. I’ve become a total homebody and it works for me now. I love finding and perfecting new recipes for my boys and getting my school work done in between playing with Kaden… maybe some Wii Fit and the elliptical when Kaden naps. That’s my simple life and I can do it for a long as we need to (or the US economy forces us to). I think I just had to acknowledge that we have to be here and our friends and family’s lives aren’t going to wait for us to get back. They’re going to do things without us, many of our friends we’ll lose touch with, and that has to be ok. This is what’s best for our little family now and that’s the best we can do. Anyway, report for A&P time. (I need to find out what my Dad got in this class so I can try to one-up him. Hehe. He was always the science one with his degree in Microbiology, but I’m ready to be the scholarly one of the family!)
Octuplets Lady: WTF? The first thing that needs to be said about this story is that we should NOT be even talking about it (guilty, I know). We're giving her the publicity she wants. This is child abuse. When you're living with your parents and are unemployed, having children should not be on the list of to-dos... add to that equation that you already have six kids, the last thing you need to do is purposely implant more kids into your overactive uterus. Now, from the pictures of the house they all live in, this was a CPS case just waiting to happen BEFORE the other 8 came home... what are they supposed to do? This woman is no "Jon and Kate Plus Eight". Remember the McCaughy Septuplets? Remember how many dozens of bottles and diapers they went through per DAY, let alone how much they're going to need for the month/year/whole life. It's just sad to me. This is no way to go about getting your 15 minutes of fame.
Stimulus Package: All of the economy stuff really effects me because until things improve back home, we have to stay here where we have a good job. Stu and I are trying to rebuild our credit (so we can buy a house when we get home) because, with the way FICO scores work, if you pay off all your debt, your score actually goes down... seriously. Because now that there is no revolving debt, it doesn't show we can "make payments". We've got plenty of money in savings now, but none of that matters since America is in a credit freeze and no one is lending at all. So we just have to wait for time to do its magic. And in the meantime that means my husband is (quite literally) losing his mind being stuck here.
Whatever they decide to do, I just wish they would do it already. I am not a huge believer in this whole pumping zillions of dollars into the banks and "economy" (<--- which actually means NOT YOU... it's pumping money into places that are black holes for money). I have no amazing ideas about how to turn this around, but I worry plenty as I see people I know losing their jobs and being unable to find new ones. People have to be making money to spend it. Two thirds of our economy is dependent on consumer spending. This is a problem.
Chris Brown/ Rhianna Drama: This is one of my celebrity gossip news stories that segued into a real news story. This is pretty sad. Having been faced with domestic violence first-hand, it's unfortunately to see it happen to anyone else, much less an otherwise widely successful young couple. Not that celebrities deserve more than anyone else, but when bad things happen to regular people, it is a relatively private matter. To have your dirty laundry aired on the evening news must makes a painful situation that much harder.
The First Couple: Michelle is gracing the next cover of Vogue; Obama’s speech writer is being introduced by MSN.com as “the hunky 27-year-old” who’s been linked to a Maxim model. What? Since when does the presidency coincide with celebrity gossip? I mean sure, Jesse Ventura and The Governator went into politics, but shouldn’t it stop somewhere before Commander-in-chief-of-the-known-universe? Don’t get me wrong, after Dubya, I’m all for a make-over of the perception of the Office of the President, I just didn’t think it would go to this extreme. In one of the town hall meetings Obama held in Florida, a guy actually stood up and hooted into the microphone like he was a tween girl at an 'N SYNC concert. Where is the line?
Australia Wildfires: (I probably could have included this higher on my list) How tragic has THIS story been? I read an article about a blue-eyed ten-year-old boy that a firefighter found along with his brother and mother on the side of a highway, killed from smoke inhalation. Absolutely tragic. My thoughts go out to all of the people effected by this horrible event.
Iran: Ahhhmadinejad (I LOVE saying his name!) has decided that he is apparently ready for talking now that his personally loathed Bush administration has been ousted. I’m interested to see where this is going to go. (He actually made a public statement that Bush should be “tried and punished” for his policies in the Gulf region… now that’s some resentment!) Personally, I don’t see much room for playing nice with Iran anytime soon. We’ll see how it goes.
Anyway, I think I might stop watching the News again. Sesame Street doesn’t get me all worked up. I’ll end this on a happier note… Kaden just came up to me and I said, “I love you, Monkey.” And he said, “Luss Jew” and walked off. Ohhhhh! Sweet baby!
Here are some monkey pics:
Monday, February 9, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
We had to do another border run (forgot the camera again, sorry), so on Friday morning we made our way to Oman. My friend Eva called me the night before to let me know the prices had dropped again (woot woot!) which we were happy to hear, and that the Hili crossing wasn't letting in Residents anymore. So we went to another border port we'd been told about from some of the guys Stu works with. Both crossings had indoor, air conditioned waiting rooms, which is pretty important in the summer, and even though the Omani port was a MUCH longer wait, it was indoors and nice and Kaden found his fun by climbing up and down the stairs. I think we will go through that port from now on though because the guys on the UAE side were much nicer than their Hili counterparts. Plus it is always nice to let Kaden out of the car to run around, even if it is only on stairs.
We stopped for lunch at KFC on the way home (Kaden loved his fries, wasn't too keen on popcorn chicken) and then Kaden cried most of the way home as he fought sleep. We got home around two and then took a much needed family nap! :) We woke up again at 4 (!!!) and then headed to the Lebanese Flower for dinner. It was lovely and Kaden flirted with our table neighbors, a couple ladies from Turkey. After they left, some Spanish vacationers took their spot and I eavesdropped on their conversation, trying to refresh my Spanish mind. It was a good time. Stu had some shisha and then we had a nice walk home in the unseasonably cool evening air.
Saturday was my birthday and I woke up a little after Stu got up with Kaden. I would have liked to sleep longer since how often do I not have to get up when Kaden does??? But, unfortunately I wasn't sleepy anymore, so we went to the outdoor market for our fruits and veggies for the week. As always Kaden swooned the shop keeper and got free bananas while we shopped and paid even less once again for our food.
Lulu's wasn't as uneventful as it usually is as the Philippina girl working the deli counter (same one as always) decided to skip over us to the next lady waiting (there were only two of us waiting and she knew damn well we were next). So we threw a fit as she kept trying to pass over us. Bitch. Ended up having to talk to her supervisor, who, in no uncertain terms, told us we were white and could wait until the Arab was served... (Ok, he didn't actually say that, but that was basically how it went down. I'm so tired of being a second-class citizen.) With a dampened mood we finished our shopping and I got a Starbuck's coffee since it was my birthday! Hehe. I used that excuse a lot yesterday! :)
After nap time (during which I had to work on homework... poo) we took Kaden to the park. He's getting so smart these days! He can say practically anything and he is retaining most of what I tell him things are! We stayed for a while, Kaden making little friends as always, but when we tried to leave, he THREW. A. FIT. I have never seen him get so emotional about leaving the park before. He kept saying, "More Bok" (more park) over and over. So sad!
I wiped off his tear-stained dirty park cheeks and then we headed to Cantina Laredo for my birthday dinner (because nothing says "home" like good Tex-Mex cuisine!). We got the same awesome waiter we had last time and he was wonderful again. Stu told him it was my birthday and toward the end of our meal, the sullen Mexican love-song that was playing was suddenly replaced by a blaring Birthday song over the speakers. (Oh God... Maybe it is someone else's birthday...) Of course out comes the whole crew with an Ethiopian guy leading the newly-Rasta-sounding birthday song. (It was awesome!) Kaden was terrified and put his head in his hands to sob while they sang. You know the best method to making a face redder than it already is??? Your husband saying "Your face is SO red!" over and over. Sigh. The waiter came out with three "roses" he made for me out of napkins and straws and we called it a meal. It really was a nice experience!
We ended the night with popcorn and my pick movie (Just Married), which was great. Then headed to bed.
All in all it was a great birthday for being over here with no friends or family. My wonderful husband really tried his hardest to make it a special day for me and I'd say he definitely succeeded! :)
Here are some pics from my birthday!