Thursday, October 29, 2009

Public Service Announcement

If your counter top looks like this:

It means the international flu pandemic has visited your house.

If your kitchen counter also looks like this:

It means you have awesome neighbors who have made their version
of comfort and 'get well' food for you.

And if you sent a cute little pirate
(who has a very strong immune system!)
to school today looking like this:

It means you have a happy heart. I love that kid!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

The real problem with trashy cats is that survival of the fittest is the rule of the cement jungle. Truly only the meanest, nastiest, biggest, and fittest survive. Evidently our local trashy cats are not quite up to that caliber.

Last night one died in front of our house.

Sure enough, Hitler’s second kitten (and who was the only remaining of four) was rummaging in the dumpster, when a car drove by and spooked it. Evidently Hitler had not practiced car evasion enough with the inexperienced kitten, and he jumped right into the path of an oncoming 86 Mercedes. I did see a slight drift of the steering wheel towards the feline.

The Mercedes won.

Seems I’m not the only one with a dislike and somewhat sadistic lean towards these satanic beings.

There were reports by the neighborhood boys of an eyeball rolling in the street, as well as several other gory details. The boys gathered around and ceremoniously gave it a respectful burial by throwing it into the dumpster via its tail. Hitler wandered around as if nothing happened. No grieving, no remorse, and the pride stayed clear of the dumpster.

I hate cats.

Hitler and his spouse (thus far unnamed) are now kitten-less. No doubt there’ll be some late nights and another litter of trashy cats to deal with soon. If survival of the fittest is in play here, it seems that Hitler might have to pick a different mother for his offspring. Their first litter didn’t have the right stuff evidently.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Comes In...

We live by a very large port. One of the biggest that supplies the surrounding region.

We live by a very large highway. One of the best that goes north through the country and reaches other countries in the surrounding region.

I see a lot of strange things go by my house.

One day an entire airplane went by on flat bed semi trucks.

First, the nose.

Then some wings.

Oh look! A fuselage!

Wow! A big engine.

Another one.

And...the tail.

Yesterday, on our way home from the beach (on the highway that passes behind our house), we passed 26 flat bed semis each full of military artillery trailers and fuel tanks.

Should I be worried?

This weekend, we had to drive by the port because we heard a ship full of 10,000 Australian goats had arrived.

That was the most goats I had ever seen in one place.

Sorry I didn't take pictures. I might get shot at if I did. Some days I'm willing to risk my life for a photo opt, some days, not so much.

The port is not the only thing that entertains us though!

Last week, my hubby and I enjoyed a fabulous night out on the town. We had dinner out on the deck at the yacht club which is right at the marina.

We only had to kick one trashy cat away from our feet when our dinner came out.

There was a HUGE yacht parked in the gulf. We had heard rumors it belonged to Bill Gates.

We were enjoying our dinner when off on the horizon we saw a 'smaller' boat coming from the HUGE yacht. Mind you, this 'smaller' boat was still bigger than any of the large yachts parked in the marina. The 'smaller' boat pulled into the marina with it's nicely dressed four member crew and dropped off a man, woman, and teen aged girl. Of course everyone in the restaurant was trying to look without really looking. The ladies at the table next to us, just got up and left their food to 'take a walk' down by the 'smaller' boat. (I made sure trashy cats didn't eat their abandoned meal before they returned. I'm just that kind of person.)

I made my hubby ask the waiter if he knew who these people were. The waiter reported to us that the boat did indeed belong to Bill Gates, but Bill Gates' business partner Paul Allen and his family were using it. They were all staying in one of the big hotels in town.

Well, the next logical step for me was to text message my friend whose husband is the general manager of THAT hotel. Surely, she would give me the low down.

Confirmed: Paul Allen was in town on one of his HUGE yachts - he owns them, not Bill Gates. He and his family were staying at the King's palace here in town. Only his 30 member boat crew were staying at the hotel.

The Octopus:

The Tatoosh:

Keep buying Microsoft products.

They are spending their money least I stay entertained!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yesterday, I wanted a bunch of Apricots...

so I could throw them.

Let me explain.

I went to the grocery store to 'grab a few things.' I could do a post a day about grocery store stories. But, I don't, because they would all be heavily focused on complaining, and that is not what this blog is for. This blog is about seeing the humor in the situations I encounter everyday and therefore enjoying the differences. I currently see no humor in anything to do with my stinky, dirty, unorganized, low stocked grocery store. (that was not a string of complaints, by the way, just a few facts).

I was particularly surprised about the nice selection of fruits and veggies that day. I even found sweet potatoes! I was actually a little happy at the grocery store. A feeling I am not really familiar with.

I even got a chuckle at the guy in front of me at the veggie check out (you have to have your veggies weighed in the dept before you go to the check out) because he had just come from the check out where his apples were priced at 40 dinar (about $60!) Poor guy!

After loading up my cart, I get in line and all my items get scanned and bagged. I hand over my credit card and she swipes it. She waits, she waits, she waits, and reports that the card won't go through. She tries the credit card machine at the register next to her. She waits, she waits, she waits, the line grows and grows, she waits, and reports the credit card won't go through. I tell her I don't have enough cash with me. (I am an American, for Petes sake. I don't carry cash with me. I use my credit card because then I get miles and can therefore visit my homeland for free! Good deal!)

So, I take my full grocery cart up to the managers desk, tell him what is going on and ask him to run my credit card again. He does and waits and waits and waits. No go. The machine reports an error with the phone line.

I tell him I have to leave my groceries, run home, get cash and come back to pay. He keeps my cart for me. I run home, grab cash, and run back. When I arrive, the receipt that tells how much I have to pay has been lost. So, they send me back to the line, take all my items out of the bag, re-scan everything...and low and behold...the total is different than before. So, they scan everything again...and another total comes up. Some quick math is done and a 2 dinar item is scanned again to get the total from before, before. I pay my cold hard cash and come home. AGAIN.

Later that day when I was on Facebook, I found this posted by a few friends:

Okay, I get the message. This guy knows how to enjoy his apricots today.

I will too. And my sweet potatoes too!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another 'P' Problem...

As quickly as I wrote the last post, another funny 'p' problem came our way.

My sis-in-law and I found 27 Dresses airing on MBC Persia. MBC is a big free-to-air satellite broadcaster. There's MBC Sport, MBC Action, MBC 2, MBC 3, MBC 4 and the list goes on. When American shows or movies are showing, there is usually some censorship. Definitely the love scenes, some language...basically they turn R movies into about PG and a 1/2. I have noticed that the Persian (Farsi subtitles - spoken in Iran) station is even more censored than our regular Arabic MBC stations.

Back to 27 Dresses. All the cute kissing scenes were cut out, the Arabic MBC usually leaves them in. Then there was a conversation between the two main characters. She was yelling at him about using their relationship to 'pitch' a story for the newspaper. Well, 'pitch' was censored out. At first, I was totally confused. They weren't kissing, they weren't even talking about kissing. Then it occurred to me...take out the 'p' and put in a 'b' and it becomes a word many would think worthy of censorship.

Not only do they have a hard time saying that letter, they must have a hard enough time distinguishing the sound and would rather err on the side of safety. MBC Persia is relatively new to the MBC empire. They must not want to run the risk of further upsetting the Iranian Ayatollahs. With the current nuke issues, that might just push things over the edge.

And a final confession.

This dress:
I wore it to my Junior prom.

I didn't have the gloves...

but I did match dye the shoes.

I truly am ashamed.


I am teaching an English class at a great community center in town.

It has been fun (in an unhealthy kind of way) to be the one that knows all the answers as opposed to when I am speaking in Arabic and sound like a total doof.

There are some very common mistakes that Arabs learning English make. (Likewise, there are very common mistakes that English speakers make while learning Arabic.) One of the big areas of trouble for Arabs is the letters that the English language has that the Arabic language does not.

Case in point. A conversation I overheard while shopping at the grocery store:

Grocery Shelf Stocker #1: Can you give me the number for that item?

Grocery Shelf Stocker #2: It is BT 8546

Grocery Shelf Stocker #1: What is it?

Grocery Shelf Stocker #2: BT 8546

Grocery Shelf Stocker #1: Is that 'B' as in Baby or 'B' as in Bebsi.

Problem: There is no 'P' in the Arabic alphabet, so things like Pepsi turn into Bebsi.

Another example:

Yesterday I was in the car with my fabulous sister-in-law. Her husband surprised us all by sending her to visit us for her birthday! He scored a lot of points for that one...but what is he going to do next year? We were on our way to aerobics. My neighbor was with us. She has also been learning English and I was so proud of her for trying out her new English skills.

Neighbor to sis: Are you heavy on your visit?

Me: Is she heavy? What are you trying to ask?

Neighbor: Is she heavy here?

Me: [in Arabic] You are asking her if she is fat?

Neighbor: [Gasp!] No HAVVY!

Me: Oh! Happy!

Problem: That darn P again.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trashy Cats Birthday

There was such an overwhelmingly positive response to my first series, Apricot Lady has invited me back to continue the cat saga. I think I have accidentally served to stimulate a global anti-cat movement. If you want your voice heard, leave comments!

Last week, we celebrated our son’s birthday. We had a smashing good party complete with pizza, cake and little boy games involving matchbox cars. After we had said goodbye to all the guests, we returned to the back patio to begin cleanup, only to discover the local pride beat us to the punch. They were engorging themselves on cake bits and pizza crusts, and we had to fight our way in with brooms and dustpans to clean up the mess.

After all was tidied up, the boy did his nightly duty of taking the trash to the dumpster. The bag was unusually full given the activities of the evening, and as he heaved the bag into the rolling cess collector, it broke, and half of the contents dumped in the street.
Meanwhile, I was in the underground garage, and heard yelling as the boy came running down the ramp ‘Dad come help! I spilled the trash, and there’s cats everywhere!’ The poor boy had run for his life as the cats swarmed on the new found find released from its enclosure.

When I arrived there Hitler, mom and baby (along with some other cats I haven’t seen lately) were fighting over chocolate and pepperoni. There was a real turf war going on, and we were right in the thick of it. (incidentally Hitler used to have 2 kids, one of the kittens passed away… tragic slip and fall off a high wall, which necessitated a tasteful, respectful burial in a plastic bag in that exact dumpster).

Now, most locals would just leave the trash in the street, in fact most people don’t even walk it down to the dumpster. But, we, being model citizens, and wanting to set a good example, of course had to clean up our mess.

I did my best growl and kicked a few cats out of the way, due justice from an angry father for scaring his son, and we commenced cleanup with rocks at the ready in one hand to throw at any advancers, and pizza boxes as dust pan/shovels in the other.

We concluded and the cats rushed back to finish the cleanup, and some hopped into the dumpster to dig for treasure. As we returned to the safety of our home, I couldn’t help but think the jungle in Africa might be a safer place for my children to grow up.

I'll leave you with this...