Saturday, February 28, 2009

No Offense... Captain Chesley Sullenberger. He IS to be awed and admired for his incredible piloting skills...

Tonight, at our house, a couple of pilots were hanging out. One of them had just returned from the States and had come over because he had brought a couple of bottles of Aleve back for us [thank you, Dan!]. Dan is telling us that he bought a big bottle of something-or-other at Duty Free on his way home even though he knew he was only going to be at that particular stop for two nights, but instead of buying the fifth he bought the big bottle - what is it, a gallon? DH says to him, in the conversation, "You didn't have a "Sully Special?" Dan says, "No. Just the JD. What is a 'Sully Special'?" DH says, "Two shots of Grey Goose and a splash of water." Everyone cracked up.

That is pilot humor. And, probably if I hadn't been married to a pilot for as many years as I have, it would have gone "Whoosh." Right over my head. It is funny. Two shots of Grey Goose and a splash of water. Don't make me explain it.

Quiet Weekend

Pretty dull, here. I like it that way. Dull is what you want it to be. We had a beautiful day outside yesterday. Sun was shining. Birds were singing. It was 80 degrees in the sun with no wind. The Boy laid in the sun and I sat out with him. We have freed him of his hood. He is happy. Today we are going to take him for his first walk since the day before he had his surgery. DH asked if we should go yesterday and I would have like to have done so, but there were just too many children outside playing. Children frighten The Boy. [Heck, many of the children here frighten me!] They make The Baby nervous as well.

All of the two-legged kids go back to school today after having had a week off. Finally. With all that there is to do on this compound it, apparently, isn't enough. We have parks, pools, a BMX and roller-blade "rink" with all those "half-pipe" thingys and other apparatus geared to doing great bodily harm if you are not experienced, there is a bowling alley, a movie theater [one of the ONLY ones in The Sandbox which is for the compound residents only], a library [please don't go there - many of you have no clue how one is supposed to behave inside such a facility], soccer fields - dozens of them, a recreation building that has pool tables and ping pong tables and such, a horse farm, the beach [you need to ride the bus to get to the beach] and wide-open outdoor areas for you to go and hang out and enjoy. Why, with all of those choices, did you have to hang out in front of our house all week?!? So that The Kids could bark at you, that's why. Glad school is back in session.

We have another month of generally perfect outside weather. Once April rolls around people begin hanging out inside - too hot. Not for me, but for many. For me, it is time to get back to "work." No more inside projects. Heavy-duty reading time, outside, either next to or in the pool. [Will Rev have the pool ready for the beginning of tanning season? He better! He better be here today. It is the 28th. DH told him the pool had to be done by the end of the month. DH is off today so Rev can be guaranteed a phone call from him. If I call him - and I won't - I'm done trying to deal with Rev - all I would get from him would be a "yeah, yeah, yeah." Rev doesn't talk to DH like that.]

I actually need to be out there working on trying to get some color even though it isn't tanning season quite yet. I am going to go to Singapore next month for two weeks to visit friends who live there. Weather there is warm and humid, year-round. If I am going to be outside in light-weight spring dresses, and shorts or capri's, I need to have some color. Getting back to working six days a week will be a good thing. You won't hear me complaining about how hot it is here, ever, and the weather we have for eight or nine months of the year is definitely one of the things I will miss when we finally leave. I like the heat and I want it to be hot and sunny every day!

Hate to bore y'all with dull. Sometimes that is what life here is like. I did take a small group of pictures the other day downtown that are as exciting as the cheese bread pictures - but NOT nearly as appetizing. Since I am going to have to go back downtown to get some groceries at some point this week, I think I want to take some more. The few that I have are good, but not enough to convey the "real" picture. And, surely, by tomorrow the newspapers will be reporting on the "local" happenings so I'll have that, too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Most successful outing downtown today at breakfast time! Cheese bread!!! Delicious. Just. Delicious.

I got a car and driver, first thing, and said, "this is where I want to go - but first to Farm Five in Doha to get cheese bread." When we arrived there was quite a little stack of bread ready and waiting and only a few men milling about either as customers or conversing. [By the time we were ready to leave there was quite a little line forming. We got there before the rush.] I asked if it would be alright if I took some pictures and the three men [there is a fourth that works out back that I had never seen until today] were all most pleasant, accommodating and willing to let me snap away. Even allowed me to move in behind their counter to get a better photo of the inside of the oven. How sweet is that!

Mr. Customer Relations on the left, Mr. Bread Baking Oven Expert in the center, and the man who controls the magically tasty ingredients - Mr. Baker, on the right. Thank you Gentlemen, for allowing me to take photographs.

So it was a score. Sco
re for the pictures so that I can share them with y'all. And a score for me, because I got cheese bread. [Trust me on this one - I am getting the better deal, here...] In return for me taking pictures all that was requested was that I please e-mail the photos to one of them. I am happy to oblige. The photos were e-mailed to the gentleman who requested them before I started this post. I will also be making color copies and delivering them in the next week or so - at the earliest possible opportunity I have to get downtown to indulge in more cheese bread. [Saturday!] The bread, alone, can't possibly be that fattening. But, if you could see the amount of cheese that goes into one of the "loaves" then it would be pretty easy to figure out how it is that I've managed to put thirty pounds onto my frame that I did NOT have when we arrived years ago.

Cheese bread is not the only option. There is bread with za'atar and plain bread and they have a sauce the will serve with the bread if you ask for it. I have had the za'atar bread. Yes. It is tasty. Much, much less caloric and much, much less fattening. Thanks, anyway, if I'm going to go there, I'm having the cheese bread. Eat it while it is hot! [If you have the man slice it and bag it for you, to carry home, I guarantee you that you will NOT be able to resist the aroma that fills your vehicle, and you'll start by just pulling off a little bite, and then another, and then a couple of more, and which point you may as well just eat the whole quarter-piece. As filling as it is, it is also very, very easy to eat a second quarter-piece. I know I said yesterday that one piece could feed a family of four. I lied. It will only feed a family of two. The cheese bread goes great with orange juice!]

The oven where the baking yumminess takes place. [Top photo - oven opened; bottom photo - oven closed.]

See that little hunk of dough back there on the counter? It is FILLED with cheese. Just filled with it. And, it's mine.

The baker preparing my order of bread. Cheese for me, please. And, my driver would like a piece of za'atar bread.

The bread on what looks like a nylon foam-covered cushion, about to be tossed into the oven.

In the oven. Look closely at the opening. You can see a loaf of bread - stuck to the wall of the oven - baking. There were probably four or five pieces in the oven when I took this picture - I'm glad that at least one of them can be seen - my photography skills do not do this process any justice. Click the photo to enlarge it. You can just barely see another loaf baking directly underneath...

Bread's done!

This bakery is located in Doha, in the Farm Five shopping center. Enter as though you were going to Farm Five - but don't park in the front - continue through the parking lot like you were going to go around back - past Starbucks - keep going, around the corner. There is what looks like a little "strip mall" area of shops - with plenty of parking. There is a barber shop there, and a cleaners, a couple of other shops and "the cheese bread shop." The bakery is two stores down to the left of the barber shop if you were facing that direction. You'll see it. There will be men waiting in line for their daily bread fix... And one blonde-haired, crazy American woman with her camera!


PCRC. Four in the "speeding" vehicle were killed, the driver of the truck that the car rammed into has been critically injured. Finally. An admission that SPEED is a factor. Perhaps authorities will begin to notice that all the education in the world is not going to be preventative. Someone needs to act. And that act means giving the Traffic Police the tools and permission to do their jobs. I believe they would do a fine job if they had the opportunity to do so. After all, isn't it just human nature to want to succeed at whatever it is you do? Whether that be in personal relationships, or school, or employment? So far, that remains to be seen because they do not have the tools and they have to be worried about repercussions. Let them do what they need to do - even if it is only on a trial basis - and see if, statistically, the number of motor vehicle accidents decreases.

As soon as I finish typing the above, I go to the Saudi Gazette to see what is happening, here, today, and there is this: "30,000 traffic violations were found by authorities within a short span of two days... The violations were found after authorities installed radars and surveillance cameras on highways as part of [the] traffic department's fight against increasing traffic accidents." About time. Now, let's see some real action! Fines. Driver's licenses confiscated. Cars impounded. You'll see a dramatic decrease in accidents when punishments are doled out.

Oh my. Just a little "TMI." A marriage has been annulled due to the husband's impotency. Nope. No picture of the husband; no names of either party mentioned. Come on, now! Does this really qualify as news?

If anyone knows about the marathon taking place in Riyadh today, can you let me know if it was "open" for everyone, men AND women, or JUST men??? How does that work? What is the running attire? No, doubt, if women are included they must be fully-covered.

A daughter-in-law has pardoned the man who killed her father - who, I think, if I can get the "family tree" down, is also her uncle AND father-in-law. Perhaps someone who has a little genealogy experience can correct me, if I am wrong.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So Much for Cheese Bread and Other Plans

Rev can go ahead and call and force me to sit around all day today if he wants to. I was planning on going downtown - I really need to go to the airlines to see how I use my trillion miles to get a ticket for an upcoming excursion. And, of course, since I was going to be there, I wanted to go get cheese bread [any excuse to get a piece of that incredibly yummy cheese bread will do!] and I was going to take the camera to get pictures of the process, which I cannot adequately describe. What was I thinking? I knew DH had to go to work at four o'clock this morning. His wallet has money in it. Mine? Not much. I have 18 riyals - all of $4.82 [which would buy six pieces of cheese bread - that is a LOT of cheese bread - one piece can feed a family of four!]. DH also has the money card in his wallet. Never occurred to me to get either cash or the ATM card from him last night, and he snuck out of here so quietly this morning I never heard him. It costs SR43 for a round-trip in a car downtown with one hour of waiting time. That would be all that I need - to go to Qatar to see about a ticket on miles - and to go to the kiosk that sells cheese bread. I'm going to wait another half hour - until it is a more reasonable time to call a friend - and see if she's got some cash I can use for my morning outing. If she doesn't? Well then, I'm just going to be SOL...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Please. Allow Me To Rant. Some More.

May as well do what you're good at. It has occurred to me that I would have a whole lot more time in my day - everyday - if I wasn't surrounded by idiocy. Is it their fault, or is it mine? Good, good question. Their fault for not understanding me, or mine for talking too fast and expecting that I am being understood?

For the last couple of weeks - as long as The Boy has been in a heavy-duty "cast" type of bandage that has required that I cover it with a plastic bag before I take him outside to do business, I have told Appuk [the gardener], "Do not wash the sidewalk and patio. It must be dry." [Actually this has been an ongoing issue - for far, far longer than just The Boy being bandaged up, because Appuk wants to hose the patio down and the salt water is killing the outdoor furniture. DO NOT hose it down. Sweep it. Yes. It is more work for him - but too bad - that is what I am paying him to do, work!] " Yes, Madam. Verree dirt-ee." I don't care, Appuk, do NOT get it wet. " Yes, Madam. I will clean." No. No. No. No. No! There is a language barrier between us, Appuk, but when I turn the hose off and say NO, I figure that you have got to be semi-understanding what it is I am trying to tell you. [I think these guys understand me better than they let on.]

So, Sunday morning, I get home from the v
et's office with The Boy and don't 'cha know - the sidewalk is wet. What the heck is wrong with you Appuk? Do I need to beat you with the hose? [And, this, is exactly how abuse of domestic help starts. I am getting it. I haven't done it, but I am beginning to understand why it is such a problem.] Appuk tells me he watered the flowers. "Must give water to flower, Madam." Yes. I understand that. But that does not require watering the sidewalk. DO NOT get the sidewalk wet again. DO NOT hose the patio down. DO NOT get my patio furniture, or The Boy's chaise wet. DO YOU UNDERSTAND. "Yes, Madam. I will clean it." UUGGHHH! Stop. Do not. Leave. Now. See you tomorrow. Best you leave right this minute before something happens that both of us are going to regret. You won't have a job and I won't have a gardener.

Beyond the fact that The Boy has had this bandaging on that we were given very clear instructions to not allow it to get wet, the pool tile is done... What does one have to do with the other? There are seven and a half boxes of tile left over. Rev way overestimated what was going to be required. He has promised to return the unused tiles so that we can get our money back. The tiles were neatly stacked on the sidewalk that Appuk watered. Now, Rev, or one of his workers is going to come in here, grab a box of those tiles and it is going to go smashing onto the sidewalk because the cardboard that the tiles are boxed in got wet, and we are not going to be able to get our money back for a pile of smashed and broken tile. Appuk was clueless when I tried to point this out to him. Looked right at me with such an empty "look" that I'm quite positive that "no one is home" inside. Heck. The lights aren't even on. Who am I kidding? If he didn't do as good of job as he does with the yard and flowers...

The pool. The guys came on Friday to finish the
pool work. Well, mostly. The tile was actually all up on Monday of last week, but it had to "set" and "dry" before it could be grouted. Three of them came, first thing in the morning and got to work. That was the easy part, I guess, because they were done in about five hours. Have to admit, I am quite impressed with one of the guys that Rev sent to do this work. He was just so neat about everything, and cleaned up his mess, and didn't leave his lunch trash. [Yeah. The same guy that I yelled at for putting smoother than glass tiles down on the perilously dangerous steps.] So it was him - don't know his name, and our regular pool guy, and another man I don't think I've ever seen before. They worked hard. Got the job done. Cleaned up and then sat. Waiting. Waiting for Rev to come and pick them up. They sat for a good hour - if not longer - before finally one of them asked me to please call a cab for them. You poor guys. Not enough that you are here working on what is supposed to be your ONE day a week off - Friday - but now, Rev isn't around [wouldn't answer either of his cell phones] to come and pick you up. Exactly, how, Rev, did you think these guys were going to get home? That I was going to pile them in our truck and take them to Khobar, myself? Since I'm not allowed to drive outside our compound walls, that isn't likely... And, you know damn well DH golfs on Friday and that he is not available to take them to Khobar, either. How thoughtful, kind and considerate of you, Rev. Leave 'em all stranded here. I happily called a cab for them - and was about to pay for it, too, and then came to my senses. It isn't because I wanted for the three poor [in a literal sense] workers to have to pay for it - but I think it is Rev's responsibility and if I would have paid for it then Rev would be able to absolve himself. So I didn't.

Anyway... Rev was here a couple of days ago to inspect
the work. Must have been Saturday morning. He doesn't have a key to the gate so he calls me when he wants to be let in. Never any warning - I can be in the middle of something, doesn't matter what - and he calls and says, "I am here, Madam. You will need to open the gate." If it was just once in a while I wouldn't mind. It is often. Too often. And that he doesn't give me any warning just pisses me off. The man has already surpassed his quota of "patience" with me. So, I quickly make myself presentable [involved getting out of my p.j.'s] and go open the gate. "Yes, Madam. We bring the light tomorrow." "What time tomorrow, Rev?" "Yeah, yeah, yeah." Whoa! He didn't. But he did. I lost it. "Rev, do NOT, under any circumstance say 'yeah, yeah, yeah' to me ever again. Do you understand? Yeah, yeah, yeah is not an answer - you say that to everything I ask you or tell you and you think that you can play like you don't understand what I am saying when you know exactly what I am saying and it is your way of not having to answer a question. "What time will you be here tomorrow?" "In the morning." "What time in the morning?" "I will call you." "No, Rev. I want to know what time you are going to be here. I have things to do and I have no intention of sitting around waiting for you to call when you say you are going to call and then you don't call. What time?" "Around nine o'clock, Madam." "Fine."

We did have things to do. We waited until nine-thirty. Rev didn't call. I know. Shocking. DH and I left. We went downtown. Needed to go to the gas store [LP gas for the grill], and to the glasses store to drop his sunglasses of
f to be repaired. We've been going to the same place for glasses for a while, now. Couple of years. There is a really, really upscale looking store next to the glasses store that has lovely window displays of clothing for men and women. I decided to wander in. Can't believe I've not been in there before. Pricey. Very pricey. But nice. Big, airy shop, two stories - elegant marble stairs going up - with antique chairs and chaises and big mirrors [for what? there are no dressing rooms!]. Mr. Manager, who was Saudi, had an attitude about him - snooty. I said good morning, and he turned his nose up and didn't even bother acknowledging me. Although, in all likelihood probably it had to do with my attire and demeanor, in that I am sure at the moment I did not look like the sort of woman who would wear such high-end fashion couture when I walked in [and if he guessed that - he would be correct - I don't wear that kind of thing]. No make up, hair - not done - sunglasses holding it in place like a headband [had them on top of my head], abeya that looks as though it has never seen a lint brush [it hasn't] or a washer [never!], old white sneakers on. Do I blame him? No. But, then if that is the way he is going to judge me on the basis that I am not all coifed and dressed to the nines, why would I want to shop there? I looked through some of the ladies things - a shop that actually had some "normal" clothing - although it was also full of the foo-foo stuff with glittery adornment and lace and ruffles and things that I wouldn't be caught dead in. SR500 for a pair of brown capri's - sale price - is way, way, way more than I am willing to pay, though.

I went upstairs to see what they had for men. Jackpot! A store that carries XLT!!! The first one I've come
across the entire time we've lived here. DH had no idea that we'd end up buying him a car-length black leather coat yesterday morning when we went off to do errands. Very, very nice. It was 50% off - but the man working [Lebanese or Egyptian, maybe?] said, "Speeshell prize to you. The first time I ever geeve theese discounts. Seeksdee-fife bacent discounts." We, apparently, are very, very fortunate customers. I'm pretty sure he has never given a "seeksdee-fife bacent discounts" to anyone else. [Sarcasm, off.] We didn't have enough cash and I didn't have my credit card - so we'll pick it up later this week when we go back downtown to get DH's glasses at the repair shop next door. It is the kind of shop where there is a tea/coffee boy who comes up to you with a silver tray to offer you a beverage. You are expected to have one or the other, you are expected to stay, to chat, and to shop. When DH went to take his denim jacket off to try the leather coat on, I went to grab his coat, and out of nowhere the tea/coffee boy [man, really, probably 30 years old] was there with a wooden hanger. We were the ONLY customers in the shop for the entire time we were there - a good thirty minutes. As we left the snooty Saudi that snubbed me when I first went in tripped over himself and raced us to the door to open it for us. "Have a pleasant day." Yeah. I'd think his opinion of me might just have changed a little bit. Seeing as how we just bought one of his [ridiculously over-priced] leather jackets - but at least we got a "speeshell prize" and a "seeksdee-fife bacent discounts." For the very first time, ever, I can report a positive shopping experience. The first! Yes. I will go back to that shop for DH.

Then we continued. We had to go get those
Cuban's that DH so likes, that I couldn't get for him for his birthday last week because I couldn't find them. The "other" grocery store just happens to be next to the awesome bread place. [Pictures are very necessary.] The outdoor kiosk that has the brick oven and makes the MOST delicious bread you have either ever smelled or tasted in your entire life. Is it clean and sanitary? Are you kidding? The place has never seen a can of Lysol for as long as it has been standing. Or a pail of hot sudsy water and a sponge, either. Are the men that work there dressed in white uniforms? Yes. But those uniforms have long been tan they are so stained. I am just hopeful that the temperature of the oven kills everything - it must - it is not the first time I've eaten the cheese bread from there, and I have yet to get sick. I am actually a bit surprised that I even ventured to try it one day - usually I avoid such not-necessarily-sterile atmospheres like the plague. I am incredibly fussy about "germs" and the like - you will never catch me without a package of anti-bacterial wipes and I wash my hands a gazillion times a day... Oh my gosh. It is soooo good! The smell alone will drive you crazy. You salivate at the mere aroma. Yum yum yum!

Anyway, we finally get home and of course DH can't be happy with just cheese bread for breakfast lunch. Nope. He needs - wants
- some sort of meat, and eggs. He wants roast beef hash. Fine. I'll make him roast beef hash and eggs to go with his cheese bread. We have only two cans of roast beef hash left - we had to ship it over - a case of it - from the States. It will be another six months before we're in the States again to get another case [we'll get two!] of roast beef hash. I open the can and put it in a frying pan. It is cooking on the stove. Inam is here cleaning. At the very minute I put the roast beef hash on the stove, Inam decides it is time to sweep the kitchen floor. No! How many times must I tell you that if there is food in the kitchen you cannot sweep? For the very same reason that I don't feed The Kids or put their water bowls down if Inam is sweeping - I just don't want dust and the Kids' hair flying up in the food thankyouverymuch. Inam and I have gone over this and over this and over this. The same thing - at least weekly. If there is food out - if I am cooking - you CANNOT sweep! "Yes, Madam. I will sweep." NOOOOO! When I am done you can sweep, but not until then. Inam makes a gesture with his hand as if to say, "but the pile I have already started collecting with the broom" and I grab the broom out of his hand and put it in the closet. Surely he does this on purpose. It happens far too frequently for it to be a mere coincidence. The man has always been slow - a box of rocks has more common sense. Appuk, is his uncle - not his father - but that old saying, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is most applicable.

Inam is always underfoot. DH accuses him of following him around. If DH is sitting on the couch reading the paper, that is the exact moment that the leather needs to be cleaned; if DH is in the study at the computer, then that is when Inam chooses to fetch the vacuum and run it around him. It is probably Inam's way of getting back at us for paying him to clean up after us. There are dozens of tasks to be done in the house - and only when they can be done to most inconvenience us are when Inam chooses which task to tackle or accomplish next. I will say this, though, he does an excellent job cleaning the bathrooms and the floors. Why we have to have the exact same discussions - well mostly it is me that "discusses," and Inam "listens" [but not very well!] - on such a regular basis bewilders me. If I didn't let you sweep when I was cooking last Thursday - what makes you think that it is okay to sweep while I am cooking today?!? When you get here in the morning - and no one is in the kitchen at seven o'clock - don't you think that that would be the most opportune time to sweep the floor? Never mind.

I started this post the d
ay before yesterday - Sunday - it is Tuesday - it is almost one o'clock. Has Rev called? Has he brought the light? Has he picked up the tile? Of course not. DH has the day off and is playing golf. He can call Rev when he gets home and find out when the new light is going to be installed in the pool. Supposedly we were going to be able to start filling the pool on Thursday of this week. But, the grout is going to have to dry around the light, which has yet to be delivered or intalled... The pool, sitting empty, is a death trap. As concerned as I am about one of The Kid's falling into the pool when there is water in it - I am more concerned about one of them falling while it is empty. Since The Boy has to be on a leash - until the toe is completely healed - he cannot be running on the patio tile and scraping it - and opening it up - I can control just how close to the edge he can get. The Baby on the other hand... I want the pool finished. It has been two months. DH told Rev that the pool had to be completed by the end of this month - Rev still has four more days... I've got things to do tomorrow and DH has to work. Because I've got plans, and DH won't be home, tomorrow is going to be the day that Rev will decide he needs to come to install the light and pick up the tile, and he'll call and then not show up. After all, why should tomorrow be any different?

This picture does not do the stair tile justice. You cannot tell how smooth and shiny and slippery it is. DH says that now that it is grouted, that is going to make a world of difference and keep me from slipping. Don't think so. Will look for those "bathtub safety strips" tomorrow.

Our pool is at least twenty years old - perhaps older - and installed
when there was no such thing as a "building code." From the patio to the first step it is 22 - almost 23 - inches down - just less than a two foot step.

From the first step to the second is just over 16 inches.

It is more than two feet from the second step to the bottom of the pool. Quite a drop.

It would appear as though the pool was designed and then constructed and "whoops" maybe some steps should be put in - certainly an after thought and that is being generous. Not much thought put into having steps at all.

The Boy

Photos with The Hood On - Not Pictures of Happiness

The foot, his right front paw, where he had a toe removed was finally freed of all bandaging yesterday. It looks good. [I did not take any pictures at the vet's office during bandage changings so you cannot possibly imagine how red, raw and sore it looked...] Poor Little Guy HAS to wear the hood for another week or ten days. All he wants to do is lick. And even when he is right next to me - if the hood is off - th
at tongue is out and on the paw. My "NO licking" admonishments, and hand-clapping [to get his attention] are absolutely no deterrent whatsoever.

Best thing though? All of the tests came back yesterday, too. NEGATIVE!!! Happy, happy, happy. [Need to keep an eye on The Boy and limit his exposure to the sun. The lesions are worrisome to the vet, and he is concerned about skin cancer. No problem. I'll put sunblock on The Boy - 45 SPF - when he is outside basking in the rays with me. The Boy so enjoys "working on his tan," and I am not going to take that pleasure away from him.]

The Boy - Working on His Tan


This is going up first. I'm not even sure I should be blogging on it. Quite frankly, I am surprised it was published in the paper. There, surely, is more to this than has been published, and I will admit to not having read any of the "15 recently published reports from international organizations, all on Saudi women." If I knew what international organizations wrote the reports, perhaps I could find them to read and could then formulate some educated commentary, but since that teeny tiny tidbit of information is missing, I can't. The gist of it, though, is that apparently these reports are "making demands that conflict with Islamic laws and [are] attempting to impose foreign ways on the rest of the world." If anyone knows what reports - 15 recently published ones - are being referred to, please enlighten me. Supposedly the reports are "calling for freedom of sexual relations as a woman's basic right, and the use of the word 'gender' as a substitution for the term 'sex,' nullifying the concept of male and female." Sounds like something that could only come from some hard-core group with firmly established roots in San Francisco, because "They make demands for the recognition of homosexual relationships of all types..." Of course, there is much more to it than that, whoever published the reports wants "a limitation on the number of children and the rejection of child-marriage" along with an "end [to] the social dependence of women and girls and the guardianship of fathers and the custodianship of men over women." Imagine that! Naturally, any comparison of treating women the way women are treated in the wicked West is going to be shunned. "...the greatest danger in these demands is that they try to make people follow the thinking of extremist Western feminist movements..." Hard to imagine since we see so little evidence of NOW or any of the "extremist Western feminist movements" giving even a mere iota of concern as to how women in other parts of the world are being treated in any main stream media report.

The verdict given in the first Internet crime brought to court in the Kingdom is being upheld. And, of course, it involves blackmail and photos. Guys, guys, guys... If you are not getting the message by now then you deserve the punishment. Lashes, jail time and a fine.

Tires. Only good tires can prevent PCRC. Motorists are being urged to ensure safety of their tires. Yep. That is going to make all the difference in the world when it comes to preventing PCRC. "An increasing number of car crashes in the Kingdom in the past 10 years have been caused by tire blowouts." No mention of the fact that the number of cars has increased dramatically in the last ten years. No mention of that fact that so many drivers [like, the majority of them!] are not willing to follow the most basic road rules and no mention of the fact that Traffic Police are not allowed to do their jobs. "Poor quality tires, especially used ones, can be a real threat to lives as they are the cause of a huge number of accidents." Blame it all on bad tires.

This is not the first time babies have been held as collateral in a hospital until the bill can be paid. You and the wife go to the hospital to have a baby - you have no money - the baby [or in this case, babies] are born and you cannot take them until the bill is paid. Move to California. You can have eight babies at once and Medicaid will pick up the tab.

An article on blood money, is here. Eighteen paragraphs. The most telling is the final one: "In the case of a death in a traffic accident, the amount is SR100,000 for a Muslim man and SR50,000 for a Muslim woman." Wonder if this was included in any of the studies on Saudi women and "equal rights?"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Go Ahead, Do It Again, Tonight

I double dare ya! No. I triple dare you!!! I didn't tell DH what happened last night when he finally got home just after one o'clock - I was just too tired - and even though The Kids had no problem fully waking up to greet him, I was almost asleep and pretty much out of it when I heard him come in. So it had to wait until this morning. DH has today off. We were having coffee together in the living room this morning when I told him, "The Kids and I had a pretty exciting night last night? Did you happen to notice you had a half dozen calls from me on your phone when you landed?" He said he didn't even bother turning his phone on when they landed - who was he going to call and he never expected that I'd be up so late and calling him. After telling him about the "thrill" the tits caused, he said, "I hope they try it again, tonight." Oh, I do, too! DH is a pretty big guy [6'4", 230 pounds] - and he is in pretty good athletic shape. I can see a couple pre-teen boys pissing in their pants - or worse - if they try knocking on our bedroom window at eleven o'clock at night if DH is home. Somehow I don't think it will be "whooping it up" noises they'll be making, either. Whimpering and crying doesn't usually sound like that, does it? Go ahead you little tits. I octuple dare you!

Luv This Man!

I didn't throw him enough support during his 2008 run [but then, he didn't stand a chance - too bad, really].

Tell it Mr. Keyes!

Saw it at Nice Deb, first.

hcc looking to buy 1.2 million dollar house

Uppity Woman has a post about the hcc. She's looking to buy a four bedroom, two and a half bath house with a pool, for $1,200,000. Isn't that just grand. She is being rewarded - and handsomely - for bringing FOURTEEN children into the world. None of which, by the way, has a father. Nice.

Uppity Woman says, "Has the American taxpayer (and especially the California taxpayer!) had it yet? Be sure to let your "leaders" know exactly how far they can rape your wallets for people like this woman. She continues to collect $3k monthly in public funds to help perpetuate her neurosis and her delusions of grandeur. In the meantime, 8 exploited kids' lives are at stake here." Well said, Uppity Woman, but I disagree. FOURTEEN exploited kids' lives are at stake. Not just the new babies...

You are going to move FOURTEEN kids into a four-bedroom house? That would be fifteen, including the hcc [and seventeen if her parents are moving in with them]. At a minimum, that is 3.75 persons to a bedroom [excluding the grandparents]. Oh, and that pool? The other six kids that hcc has - how old are they? Two of them have some sort of disability - are their motor skills effected? Can ANY of them swim? Perhaps she is looking to thin her herd. I can think of no better way to do so than a pool. Survival of the fittest. If they can swim, they survive. If they can't, they don't. Brain cells? hcc was too busy getting her nails done, her lips bo-toxed, and boobs enhanced - she couldn't be bothered to waste money buying brain cells.

The world has not heard the end of the hcc's story. But I think her little plan to get rich and exploit her status as a mother of multiples [you know, like Jon and Kate] is beginning to back-fire on her. Health and human services is going to be very busy with this brood. Heh. Job security.

Rough Night, Last Night

[Mom - Don't read this. One swear word and calling boys not very nice names.]

Those little twerps were at it again. I do the "bedtime" routine - it is almost 10:30 - I had just gotten done posting, here - I took The Kids out one last time, brushed my teeth, washed my face, grabbed my bottle of water, double-checked that the doors are all locked and the outside light is on [DH had to work late]... Put The Boy's hood on him, tucked him into his half-crate in the bedroom [his choice - he could sleep on the bed if he wants to], got my p.j.'s on, crawled into bed and turned the tv on. Nothing good on, but I just wanted to fall asleep, so it doesn't matter what I watch. Just so happened it was Miami Ink.

I can hear - with the windows shut - the sounds of boisterous young males outside. Their school mid-terms are out [for the locals, that is] and they have a week off. We've had lots and lots and lots of boys out and about all night. It just so happens we live on a main street - which was a big mistake on my part. Not because of the traffic noises, but because of the boys. Lots and lots and lots of them. Girls? Rarely. [They must not be allowed to go out after dark - but the boys are allowed to be out and about at all hours with no supervision. Just the way it is.]

All of the sudden, The Baby, who is on the bed with me - laying with her head on the pillow on Daddy's side of the bed [she has to move to the foot of the bed when he comes to bed, but when she has the opportunity, she is right there at the top of the bed, with her head on the pillows like that it the way it is supposed to be] - goes into full alert mode and starts growling. The very, very menacing "there is trouble" growl. I think things are fine - yes, I heard the boys outside, and yes, I know, that they are very, very dangerous and nothing but trouble but they are just being little tits and there is nothing that can be done about them. Relax Baby Girl. Relax. WHAT THE?!?! Someone is knocking on our bedroom window!!! You little shits!!!

Three knocks on the window. The Kids go ballistic. The Baby is barking her little head off, growling and practically crawling on top of her Brother to get to the windows. The Boy is trying to get his wits about him as he struggles out of his half-crate with his hood on and with The Baby on top of him. He is barking too. AND THEY KNOCK AGAIN - and then the sound of laughter and "whooping it up" as they tear off. I am ready to do great bodily harm to them, but can't get my shoes and bathrobe on fast enough to get outside. [I'm not going to open the blinds and look out because I'm not properly attired.] As I head for the front door I've got the phone in my hand and I am calling Security. I am on the phone reporting the tits - and outside - it is almost eleven o'clock - and telling Security what has just happened - and that now the perpetrators are long gone. "How many Madam?" "At least two." "Where are they Madam?" "I have no idea. They are gone." I go back inside to wait for Security. [What would I have done if I would have actually caught the boys? Hard to say. But I doubt it would be pretty. When your adrenaline is rushing like that you don't have time to be afraid or cautious. You just act. I picture myself grabbing both of them - I could clearly hear two distince voices, but cannot say with any certainty if there were only two boys or if there were more - by their scruffy little necks and slamming their heads together. Again, and again, and again. A headache would be the least of their worries.]

Our Security here, which I have blogged about in the past, does a pretty good job. I have no complaints about our Security force. They do what they can - but their hands are tied and they can't do all that they could do because too many people with kids tits on the compound have positions that far surpass the positions our Security men have as far as the corporate ladder goes. Mr. Security comes - they are here within only minutes - and I open the door for him. "Yes, Madam, where are the boys?" Good question. If I could have gotten to them in time, they'd be laying on my front stoop bloodied and hog-tied, but since I had to "get dressed" to get outside I have no idea where they've gone [oh, I have my suspicions - same tits we've had problems with since we moved into this house - three houses down - but they could run down the alley to get into their back yard in a matter of seconds].

I tell Mr. Security what has happened - that at least two little twerps [I'm pretty sure I used "twerps"] were KNOCKING on OUR BEDROOM WINDOWS and what are so many kids doing out and about so late at night, anyway?!? Mr. Security shrugs his shoulders and says, "It is the responsibility of the parents and we cannot do anything about them." He agrees with me. No reason - on a weeknight - just because the kids are out of school for the week - that little hellions should be out running around. Everyone else has to get up and go to work in the morning - I have to be at the vet at 7. And, now, I am WIDE awake. Mr. Security says that he is going to walk around the area to see if he can find them, and if he does, he will report them to their parents. Good call. Report them to parents who don't have a clue where their kids are anyway, and don't care. It is all they can do. [Do me a favor, bring those kids to me before you report them to their parents. Let me provide the discipline their parents refuse to... Never mind.]

Mr. Security Contol calls me a few minutes later to advise me that Mr. Security was unable to find the boys tits, but says that they will keep a watch out for them. Okay. Good. Thanks. In the meantime, I want to go to bed - and of course - can't, The Kids are on full security watch/alert mode and now barking and growling at the smallest noise - and DH isn't home and isn't going to be home for another couple of hours. I call his cell phone repeatedly - and get the recording [it's in Arabic] which means his phone is switched off - because he is in a plane flying back from Jeddah. Great. I'm never going to be able to wake up in time for The Boy's appointment at the vet.

Somehow, though, I managed to calm The Kids down, and get my heart-rate back to normal. I crawl back in bed - and keep looking at the clock. Midnight. 12:20. 12:41. Just as I was about to finally - finally - doze off - The Kids, who are also finally calm, go nuts again. I hear the door open. DH is home. It is just after one o'clock. But at least we are all safe, now, and DH can deal with any further tit incidents.

I did wake up at 6 this morning - today is going to be a "nap" day, I can just tell... Five hours of sleep. And The Boy and I went to the vet. His bandage has been removed. The foot, with its missing toe, looks good. Time for it to get some air and breathe. The Boy must wear his hood for another week or so, though. "No licking!" We were leaving the vet's office, and don't 'cha know, The Boy was already busy licking his foot in the back of the truck. Fortunately, it is only a six or eight block car-ride and I was able to get his hood on him as soon as we got into the house, to prevent him from licking. Sorry, Little Guy. The vet said you have to wear it for another week or so.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's My Blog and I Can Rant if I Want To

The song, "It's my party and I can cry if I want to," is going to play like an endless loop through my head for the rest of the day now. But this is a different rant. [The words of the song need to be changed in this instance. "It's my party and I can be late if I want to." I'm late to this party. Bloggers and everyone else all over have been covering the topic... I wasn't going to, but Dear Son brought up an interesting question...]

Warning: If you are going to be offended discussing "race," you should probably go somewhere else.

DS calls me every Saturday morning. He works in the restaurant / bar industry and does not get out of work until after midnight on Friday [way early Saturday morning, actually] - and he calls me when he gets home from work. So it is 9:30 or 10 in the morning here, when he calls. We had a most interesting conversation this morning. He is finally figuring out that he really was born and bred a card-carrying member of the GOP versus a water-carrying member for hopechange. He did not vote for hopechange - thank goodness - or we would have to write DS out of our Will. We have already taken out a niece and two nephews. They are not going to need anything from us; hopechange will take care of them.

Our "political" discussion was centered around Eric Holder's speech - which, like I said, has made its way around the interwebs and has been discussed and dissected. Eric Holder says that we are a "nation of cowards." Mr. Holder needs to speak for himself and not the rest of us, but that is beside the point. DS asked me what I thought about what he had said. And I told him, that although I disagree with Holder it has more to do with general principles, and that the man needs to audition for a local community theather getting ready to perform The Wizard of Oz, because the man clearly needs to be skipping down a yellow-brick-road looking for a brain! The only issue I have ever had with "race" is when I said "you people" to a group of women discussing braids and was immediately sent to "sensitivity training." [Pluheeze!] What did I know? I'm just a "typical white person."

DS said they were talking about it at work - and he works with the gamut of ethnicities. Profoundly, one of the black men he works with [we'll call him John] said to a bunch of young men [various "colors"] standing around, "What y'all* don't realize is that your great-great great-great-grandparents were sold into slavery by a black man, not a white man, and that there were white slaves, too." DS continued to relay the conversation that took place at the restaurant. I don't care to rehash the whole thing, but apparently a few zingers were thrown out. [*Y'all is a Southern thing. I use it!]

Here is what the gist of it came down to: Why do so many black people [African American, whatever the proper name is these days] treat their own so badly? Specifically in the restaurant business. Even the black servers do not want to wait on tables of black people. John himself said so. Why? They don't tip. Which isn't to say that none of them do, but DS, who has been in the restaurant business for a good many years started relaying some stories to me of how at one eatery the servers had worked out a system to make sure they got their tips - because otherwise for a table of four black people, eating full meals, they were only going to make a couple of bucks as opposed to another table of white people who would eat basically the same meal and leave their 15 or 20 percent. "Why do you think that is, Mom?"

Off the cuff, I said to DS something to the effect that
it is just so much more convenient for white people to be blamed for every single wrong doing, now, even though the resentment is from something in the past that he and I had absolutely nothing to do with than to take responsibility for their own actions. And that John was right - with regard to the political aspect of all of this. It isn't white people that have the problem with race. One race seems to have a whole lot more advantages in many respects - and it isn't white. Advantages: affirmative action, rated differently for tests, more welfare, etc., etc., etc.

Since I worked in the restaurant business, for the most part only during my formative teenage years, at a Friendly's in Concord, New Hampshire, I have not had the opportunity to witness for myself whether certain people tip or not. But in our discussion, DS said, "You should blog on it, Mom, and see what other people have to say." Anyone? Just so that no one gets left out... DS also said that Northerner's tip more than Southerner's, and Eurpoeans tip - but leave the bare minimum. Oh, and smoker's are the best tippers. Apparently most server's in restaurants WANT the smoking sections because they know they can make the most money there.

The Boy

Is recovering nicely. We went to the vet Thursday morning and he got all of his stitches removed. The foot is still bandaged - we go again, one more time, to get it changed. Hopefully the bandage can come off completely within the next week or so. The Boy will be thrilled about that. The Boy will be even more thrilled to quit having to wear the hood. If he could be trusted NOT to lick and "chew," he wouldn't have to wear it. He cannot be trusted. If I leave him alone for just the shortest time - I turn around and that tongue is out, or he is trying to chew the top of the bandage to get it off. Funny how he does both so quietly - because he knows. Oh, he knows. The Boy hasn't been on a walk since the day before his surgery. Poor little guy. I still have to cover his foot with a plastic bag to take him out to do business - and put his leash on him - which excites him because he thinks "We're going somewhere!!!" and we only walk around the back yard. The vet said he expects the biopsy results this week. I'm anxious about that. But not particularly in a "good" way. The only thing I want to hear is "negative." Then I can quit worrying.


There is bad and evil around the world - it is not limited to any one Country. Which is not, of course, to say that there is not more bad and evil in some countries as opposed to others. Two traffic police officers were executed yesterday for raping an expatriate woman after they stopped the man - her uncle - who was driving their car late at night. They beat him up and then locked him in their car while they raped the woman. What is most horrendous about this is that the very men who are charged with enforcing safety violated the trust their fellow-countrymen granted them with, AND used their positions in such a vicious and despicable manner. Yeah. The sea is full of bad scum fish but at least two have been removed from the water at this point. I happened to read the Arab News article on this first, but the Saudi Gazette's article articulates exactly what I was trying to convey, almost to a "T." [What does that even mean?] This makes seven and eight, or eight and nine so far this year.

If you send a "vulgar and threatening" SMS message to someone and that someone takes you to court, you could be jailed and be lashed. "Cyber-bullying." Can we get someone to do something about all the junk-SMS messages that get sent to our phones? They're worse than spam on e-mail.

Blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda. More talk about "strict enforcement of traffic law urged" to eliminate PCRC. Won't happen. That authorities - the ones in positions much farther up the proverbial food chain than the Traffic Police - are aware that major problems on the roads exist, is a good thing. But until the Traffic Police are actually given the tools to do their jobs and the go ahead to issue tickets and fines with no "wasta" impediment, absolutely nothing is going to change and PCRC will continue unabated. The very last paragraph of the article is most telling of exactly that, "...traffic and security officers found guilty of issuing tickets to motorists on false charges would face tough punishment and [be] made to pay the fines they wrongly imposed." What traffic or security officer is going to even bother? Their hands have been tied. "You" say they are to do their jobs, and then "you" tell them that they can't. Is it any wonder this is called a "LFZ?" I think not.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Appliances and Ruined Dinner

Got a phone call a week ago from "Customer Care" [maintenance center] and the young woman said, "Hello. We need to give you new appliances. What time to arrange for delivery and installation will be the best?" What appliances are you delivering, and why? I didn't ask for new appliances. My stove is almost brand-new, as is my cook-top, and we've only had the refrigerator for a couple of years. "Yes, Madam. You will get new appliances." Okay. Whatever. Bring me a new dishwasher - the one we are using is only twenty years old. And if you want to bring me a bigger refrigerator, that's fine, but I don't need a new stove. "Yes, Madam. All new appliances. We are scheduling for Thursday at 2:30 in the afternoon." Sure. Thanks.

I wouldn't have even remembered it until DH said, "Aren't they coming to bring new appliances today? What time?" Oh, yeah! Forg
ot all about it. The delivery truck was right on time and so I locked The Kids up in the bedroom and opened the side gate so they could unload a new dishwasher and refrigerator. Stop. Right. There. I don't want that refrigerator. It is smaller than the one I have now. If anything I need a larger one - but I certainly do NOT want a smaller one. "Yes, Madam. You must have this refrigerator." No. I must not. A couple of telephone calls back and forth with someone's supervisor and I was able to arrange for one of the larger models to be installed. "Are you family housing or bachelor housing?" We're family housing. That is what is used to determine who gets the large versus small refrigerator.

So, I've now got a new dishw
asher - much, much quieter than the old one that was here - and it has a delay on it - I can set it to run overnight. I like that feature, but other than that a dishwasher is just a dishwasher. This one does take longer to run, though. And one other cool little feature it has is a "wine-glass" rack. [Not that we need that, here, because there are no fermented-grape-drink beverages allowed in this country. Wink. Wink.]

The new refrigerator certainly isn't as nice looking as the old one - the old one matched our refrigerator - same brand, same style - but it is bigger.

[The new refrigerator - left side of photo]

I don't really care one way or another - as far as the "look" goes. This isn't our house. I can get more water bottles in it and soda cans and that is all that matters. It is louder, though. That I don't like. I refused the new stove. [Do the records NOT show that we have a double wall-oven and a counter cook-top? Apparently not.]

So after the guys installed the new dishwasher and refrigerator I was contemplating the same thing I contemplate every day about five o'clock and that is "What am I going to make for dinner?" I wanted something different. I've never made "clam sauce," but found this recipe for Linguini with White Clam Sauce. I ruined it. The recipe calls for ONE ingredient which I do not have. Whitewine. [Of course, right now we don't have any redwine, either, but that is because there was no grape juice for four months, here. Don't ask.] In the comments on the recipe page I saw this, "I used apple juice for the whitewine." Hey - we've got apple juice - I can do that!" Did I try a little on the side first? Heck no. Poured the apple juice into the sauce and ruined the whole mixture. All I could taste was the apple juice - I used a tablespoon - maybe two. Awful! Added more garlic to cover up the taste. More pepper. Then parmesan cheese. Lots of parmesan cheese. Then added bacon bits, too. Still tasted like apple juice. Dayum! The recipe would have been great if I wouldn't have added the apple juice, so I will make it again. But even before I added the apple juice and was "taste testing" the sauce, I could tell it needed something. It needs whitewine is what it needs. And, no, dinner wasn't nearly as awful as the WORST dinner ever, but then nothing could ever be that awful and I am really going to have to out-do myself to top that one!

I Divorce Thee, I Divorce Thee,

I divorce thee. Something like that. All a man has to do is say it three times. Maybe not even three times. And you can be divorced. Or he can SMS [text-message], or send an e-mail. A man must merely say it with intent and it is done. The wife? Not so much. I don't really know what exacting specifications are required for a divorce to become final in this part of the world. [But for that I read about in the local press.]

The divorce rate is growing here in The Sandbox. Not nearly as high as the rate of divorces which take place in the States West, though. So says this article. [The "West" is the cause of all things bad. Always.]

Hard to know what to believe as far as how many divorces in this part of the world that happen. According to this, there were 115,549 marriages last year and 24,428 divorces - just a little over 21%. What is the divorce rate in the States? Anyone know?

The reasons for divorce, here? According to "him," they are: Family interference, wife unable or unwilling to take up her share of the responsibilities, wife's employment, wife not staying at home, constant criticism by wife, and wife's stubbornness. According to "her," thy are: physical or mental abuse, another woman - a second wife - an affair - or the maid, husband's weak religious beliefs and practices, husband not taking up financial and family obligations, the influence of satellite channels - internet chatting - p0rn0graphy, and husband stingy and gold-digging.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Yeah, I know I said I wasn't going to bother with blackmailer's any more. This one has to be noted, though. A 19-year-old Saudi youth has been sentenced to five years in prison and 500 lashes. Eee-gad! All because he threatened to publish photos of a girl is she didn't go out with him. The girl's brother filed a complaint against him. [This just screams "SET UP!"] The court "also ordered the young man to return all of the girl's photos and that if any of her pictures were to appear after that a more severe punishment would be handed out." What? Life in prison? Is he going to be beheaded? "The harsh sentence was aimed at deterring others from blackmailing young girls, especially since the prevalence of such crimes has increased of late." Guys - if you are not getting the message and taking this is a warning then you deserve whatever you get.

Do not eat during Ramadan! Or at the very least do not get caught eating during Ramadan. The penalty is 50 lashes.

A man borrowed 50,000 riyals [$13,404.82] and used his daughter as collateral. You just can't make this kind of stuff up. The 20-year-old daughter has learned that she is now the fourth wife of a man 30 years her senior because her father couldn't be bothered to repay a loan. Unbelievable.

Not quite sure what a "pater" is, but a "pupil's pater" is paying a teacher 10,000 riyals for punching him in the face over the son's failing grade - which turned out to be a clerical error.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ranting and Raving

I can if I want to because this IS my blog. And it isn't all bad.

Out and about today... Just the errands thing. The ones I am allowed to do on my own without requiring a driver and a black bag. All of the errands were well within walking distance - and I do occasionally walk to the library and back, but not today. I drove. Should have walked, but since I needed to go pick up DH's uniforms at the cleaners and go to the store for red peppers and onions and milk and orange juice and a couple other things which I didn't get because I forgot my list and I'm getting old so I forget things if I do not have my list. Damit! Light bulbs were on the list - but nooo - couldn't possibly have remembered those...

In the past couple of years there has been pretty much a complete staff turnover at the library... Asians - Filipinos, primarily, used to be in charge of most of the day-to-day functions such as checking in / out library books and other materials, restocking the shelves, making sure you didn't have outstanding fines, all those kinds of jobs. Nothing supervisory or managerial, mind you. Just the other stuff. Then, a couple of years ago that changed and those positions were given to locals. The cleaning and other such functions are the only positions that are available for anyone but locals to fill. The young girls that worked the counter when the change took place were very nice - all young, sweet. Genuinely interested in assisting patrons and doing so in such a way that you know that they were either pleased to be there or perhaps just happy to have any job and be out of their houses. Who knows. There are a couple of men that work there - at the counter now. For the most part they are just as friendly or as pleasant as the young women were. I still see a couple of the young women, but they have obviously been promoted to other positions - one of them works at the reference desk, now.

So, today, I've got four books that I am returning and they are all three days late - so I know I am going to owe 12 riyals [$3.21]. I walk in and go to the counter to get the books checked in and pay the fine. One young man is working. I've not seen him before - he must be new. [Oh, and by the way - someone needs to offer you some advice as to a dress code. Those Western clothes you were wearing were barely borderline acceptable for ANY place of employment!] He is busy checking out a young man with CD's or DVD's. I don't mind that someone is new and that they have a learning curve at the beginning where they have to figure out what it is they are actually supposed to be doing and how to best accomplish those tasks. So, he was slow [understatement]. No biggie. I've got all afternoon - not in a big race to be home in twenty minutes or something. He's doing his job - helping another library customer and I'm waiting.

As the young local man in the most obnoxious Western attire you have ever seen is dealing with the young male who is getting either music or movies - I wasn't paying attention - a family came out of the children's section. A father, a woman [mother? probably] dressed in the requisite head-to-toe black, two young little girls - I'd guess the younger one was probably three or four and the older one was between six and eight; the family had their maid in tow, as well. The woman stood with her back to everyone - facing a wall - clutching her Chanel bag and very quietly talking on her mobile. [No one goes anywhere, here, without their mobiles. Ever!] She was talking so quietly it was almost a whisper - she could barely be heard - in fact, if she wouldn't have turned around and faced her family a couple of times so that I could see that she had her mobile clutched to the side of her black-clad head, I probably would never have known she was even talking on the phone. It was the maid that caught my attention. I refuse to believe that she did not have a black and blue eye - only it wasn't really black and blue - just very, very red and puffy all over - her eye only half-opened. If it wasn't for the redness and puffiness, I'd figure she just had a lazy eye or something [there's a medical term for this, but I don't know what it is] - like Michelle Obama has, and Paris Hilton.

Young local man in tacky loud Western attire continues to check out young local man's CD's or DVD's - he had quite a little stack - and they all have to be opened and checked [and apparently rechecked and rechecked - you know, to make sure that whatever is in the case is actually what is supposed to be in the case]. I am standing there - I was second in line until the family of four + maid got to the counter. Out of nowhere comes a local teenage girl and she slammed her one book on the counter and shoved it at the lone worker - like he is supposed to stop what he is doing and immediately check her book out. What the?!? She is standing right next to me. She says something in Arabic and the worker nods. She pushes the book - practically in the worker's lap - and I said, "Excuse me. He is busy helping him and we are next in line," making the appropriate hand gestures to the young local man with the discs and the family and me." Oh my gosh. If looks could kill - I wouldn't have to wait to slip and fall and crack my head open on the new pool tile steps! I'd be dead, now! [Yes, the teenage girl was dressed in black; her hair was covered but not her face.] The man with the family nodded at me - as if to say, "thanks." Hey, someone has to do it.

What was almost as abhorrent as the young local teenage girl's attitude was her repugnant aroma. Psst. The bottle says a quick spray - not a bath in the stuff! Sweet and repugnant. Can those two words be used together? I have no idea what perfume she was wearing. I won't have to worry about finding out the name - I will never forget the smell. I can still taste it as I sit here at my computer a couple of hours later typing. She managed to permeate every last fiber of both my smell and taste sensations. I probably smell like she did. So does everyone else - the family of four + maid, the library worker and the guy who checked out all of those CD/DVD's. So aroma gal isn't happy with me, and Mr. New at the Job Worker doesn't have a clue what he is doing. He finally - finally - called someone to come help him. Only that someone couldn't open up the other computer to help the rest of us because Mr. New at the Job Worker had managed to get his computer hung up and couldn't get the little library check slips [that say when the book is due - no more cards - little receipts, now] printed.

Family of four + maid were fine for three, four, five minutes... Now three or four year old little girl is starting to use the counter's edge to lift herself up on and swing back and forth - I don't know that I can adequately describe this movement. But it involved two little hands on the top of the counter's edge, then she would propel herself up and swing sideways. Wherein she would repeat those movements. Dad, and woman-in-black-with-Chanel bag-on phone say nothing to her. So what that she is kicking the counter and behaving like a baby monkey outside in the wild. Six or eight year old sister decides, "Oh that looks like fun" and throws her picture books to the ground and starts doing the same thing. Maid immediately springs into action and grabs the books. [See? They brought her for a reason.] Father says nothing. This is acceptable behavior in the library. [It is?]
Woman-in-black-with-Chanel bag is still talking on her phone. Very, very important call. Teenager wearing a gallon of perfume has to jump back out of the way so that she doesn't get kicked. My "services" are needed again...

Supervisor helping Mr. New at The Job Worker has now gone to the second computer so that he can check out family of four + maid. I look at the maid - she is looking at me. I smile at her. I hope that she has seen more than one friendly person today - and that I am not the only smile she's come across. I give the two little girls who are both misbehaving, unruly little brats "the look" [one of disgust] and I make sure that Dad and
woman-in-black-with-Chanel bag-on phone both see me giving their misbehaving, unruly little brats "the look." Hey. If you're not going to discipline your children, by all means, I'm happy to do it for you. The smallest one moves over behind her father for protection. The six or eight year old doesn't get it. I have to give her another "look" and do that "hmmph" thing under my breath. She sticks her finger in her mouth and then looks at the maid as if the maid is going to be able to protect her. I again give the maid a big smile. The maid looks terrified. Father grabs the girls' books and family of four + maid are leaving. Maid has grabbed a hand of each of the two little girls. Mom can't be bothered - she is still clutching her Chanel bag and yakking on her mobile - hands are full. She exits first - then Dad - then the maid with the two little girls. The maid once again turns around - I smile again - she smiles back. I know she understood what the "look" was all about, as well as the "hmmph." It was as if her smile was to say, "You don't know how lucky you are. You only have to deal with this for ten minutes - I deal with this all the time."

Miss Teenage Aroma Winner of 2009 has gone to the experienced man's computer to get her single book checked out. We are only separated by a short distance - six feet, perhaps - maybe seven. The smell of her perfume though has traveled the distance and encompasses all of us. It is like some sort of invisible shield and I only WISH I could smell something else. Mr. New at the Job Worker is finally done with his problem checking out the CD/DVD's and now has to check my four overdue books back in. I tell him my books are overdue and I have to pay the fine. He asks for my card - I give it to him - he opens the first book. "Okay," he says. "No. They are ALL overdue." Clearly, I had said, "they are all overdue," and not "it is overdue." Dumbass. You need to check all four of them back in - not just one. Why?!? Why didn't I hustle over to Mr. Experience's computer [because I didn't want to be kicked by child swinging from the counter, is why]. "Oh." He checks all four in. "Okay," he says. "I need to pay my fine." "Oh." I wish I was kidding about this. I am not. "Four riyals." "No. They are three days overdue, it is 12 riyals." "Oh." He has to get Mr. Experience to come and help him. Mr. Experience says, "12 riyals." See? What'd I tell you? Perhaps if you'd have paid just a little bit more attention in math class than to what thugs in the hood in Chicago are wearing these days you'd be able to figure out that four books, overdue for three days, at one riyal per book, per day, equals 12. I pay my 12 riyals. I wait for him to log the money in. And then I ask, "Is my record clear?" I direct my attention to Mr. Experience who looks at Mr. New at the Job Worker's computer and tells me that yes, I am all clear. Thank you. That only took about twenty minutes - well, not really, but it seemed like it took much longer than it actually did. Good thing I wasn't in a big hurry!

I wander off to see what else I want to check out. The library leans to the left [fairness doctrine? Not here!] - but I can usually find something worthwhile to read. Usually? Always. I head back to one of the sections I frequently haunt. Young Miss Used to Be Front Desk Now Reference is trying to help another woman find a book in the approximate same section that I am in. Miss Used to be Front Desk Now Reference is very nice. Pleasant. Always smiles. Perfect white teeth. Very soft-spoken with fairly good English skills. I'm glancing through my section looking to see if there is something I need to read and come across some fiction book [I read almost no fiction - ever]. I'm pulling out books and giving them the once over - do I want it? Nah. How about that one... I step backward and accidentally bump into the woman that Miss Used to be Front Desk Now Reference is helping. I immediately apologize - I really didn't realize they had gotten quite so close - and as I have already clearly interrupted them to apologize to the woman I bumped, I said, "Probably you are not looking for this - but it is not where it needs to be" and I handed it over to the employee. Miss Used to be Front Desk Now Reference smiled and said, "Do you want a job here?" [Yeah. I don't think so but thank you for asking. She was kidding.] We all just kind of smiled in that awkward way you do when you've bumped into someone from behind and I moved away, off to another section.

I now had to face the front desk check out section, again, after already having spent part of the afternoon there. Phew. I'm the only one. Mr. New at the Job Worker is, again, the only one working. Great. This will probably take about ten minutes. I handed my library card over and Mr. New at the Job Worker was somehow able to actually get my books "scanned" in and get my little tickets printed and put into the back pocket where the library cards used to go [they have substituted those little flat paper drink cups for due-date-card holders, in many books, here], and then he runs them against the electronic thing that decodes them so I don't beep when I go out the door [must have been a lot of theft at some point in time for our little library to have to install all of this electronic equipment - you can hide almost anything under a black bag!]. I have my four books. Off I go.

I head to my car. Mr. Security - who is almost always there at the gate [you are supposed to show your identification card before entering the library grounds], steps out of his booth and he says, "You must smile. I like your smile." Funny, I thought I was smiling. Guess not. Well, I was earlier, before I went into the library and had to wait for twenty minutes to check my overdue books in while Mr. New at the Job Worker screwed everything up for a young man trying to borrow CD/DVD's, before my smell and taste sensations were accosted assaulted by
Miss Teenage Aroma [AND Attitude] Winner of 2009, and before I had my patience stripped by family of four + maid who had no idea how to control their two misbehaving, unruly little brats. So, I flashed him a big smile and told him that I hoped he had a good weekend and I trotted off to my truck. [I've said this before - we have a Tahoe. I call it a truck.]

As I opened the back door of the truck to put my books in, it occurred to me that I pretty much parked in, and was surrounded by trash. I had a great parking space at the first spot of one of the lots, directly next to a trash can - with a lid. [They have lids because the fly problem is so bad. Remember? We have "poison boxes" just for flies.] Oh my gosh. That is just gross. Someone had stuck a huge wad of gum on top of the trash can - it was oozing liquid - it was light pink and had light pink clear liquid surrounding it in a slimy mess. You asshole. Couldn't be bothered to open the lid and put your gum in it - had to just stick it on top. What kind of person does that? Nasty. [What does it say about me that I went back to take a picture of the trash can with the gum on top of it? Wish it was a better picture - but you get the point.] Oh, and lazy, to boot. Lots and lots and lots of lazy here. I don't care who I offend with that statement. I know who you are and you know who you are. Do you really think that one of the gazillion little guys who have come here to this Country to work want to clean up your slimy wad of gum? The workers are not prepared to do so with plastic gloves. Those should be handed out every morning to every worker, but they aren't. You disgusting little tit twit. Then I see how much trash is really there - near and around the trash can - where I've parked. The CAN IS RIGHT THERE and yet no one can be bothered to open it to dispose of their candy bar wrappers, or can pull-tabs, or their gum. My goodness - there is a chicken bone there too! What the?!? Never mind.

I get in the truck and head to my next stop. [Had I of walked to the library - I'd have missed all of this... Next time I will walk.] I go to the post office. The mother-load of mail is in our box. We have FIVE things! We never get mail. We have three birthday cards for DH [birthday was yesterday], we have a notice from the Vet's Office that they are raising prices [still less expensive here than in the States - no problem for us, as far as I'm concerned - I am thankful we have a veterinarian ], and I have a thank you note from someone I have never met in person but sent a baby present to - someone I have gotten to know from a conservative book forum I am a part of. That person has sent me a card thanking me for the gift and they have sent me a photo of the new baby - which the gift was for - a pink onesie with camels on it. Don't 'cha know, that thank you card has already been opened for me. Someone in the mail / customs department automatically figured that if I am receiving a photo then it is probably x-rated or something. It is a baby's picture. Bet YOU were disappointed, weren't you!?! You know it isn't a big deal, really. I don't care that you read my mail and looked at the photograph that someone else sent me. Heck, I'd have opened it for you if you would have asked. But nooo... Our mail gets opened and "censored." Did you - whoever you are in the Powers That Be office - really think I'd be stupid enough to have someone send me an x-rated photograph?!?! [I can find them on-line if I want to - and I don't - and we have more p0rn0graphy channels here on television - for free - than I have ever in my life seen.] It is a bit frustrating though. Feeling like you can be violated like this. Someone else opening your mail for you. Whatever. I've got my mail. Off I go...

To the cleaners. I like going to the cleaners. It isn't the high-light of my day or anything, but the little [imported] guys that work there know me, know my ID number, know my phone number, know my DH's "Department Number." All of that. "Hal-low, Madam. How are you today." "I'm fine, thank you. How are you. How is your wife?" "It is good to see you Madam. Have a nice weekend." "You to. Thank you. See you on Saturday." Small talk. The weather - stuff like that. I never have to have my dry cleaning slip - it's home on the kitchen counter with my list, I just sign [DH's uniforms are cleaned for free - well, not free - the company pays for it] for the cleaning and then I head off to the next errand.

I go to the commissary. Yes, I did do most of my grocery shopping at Tamimi yesterday, but I needed some produce - red peppers and onions - and light bulbs [which I didn't get] and three or four other things - but since I didn't have my list... I ended up getting more than I originally went for - and that's fine. You can never have too much Diet 7-Up, right? There are a couple of guys who have "cart duty." They grab your cart - wheel it to your car and unload your groceries - then they return the cart [or "trolley" as they are called, here] to its proper parking space. At this point, I've gotten so that I just hand my keys to one of them while I am still paying for my groceries and they take off with my cart - unload my groceries into the truck - and hand my keys over to me when I catch up to them. It is this kind of thing that I am going to miss when we finally return to the States. In all the years I shopped at Kroger I never got to know any of the workers well enough to just hand my keys over to someone and I don't recall anyone unloading my groceries from the cart to my car, either.

I'm done with my errands. Headed home. As I am driving back down the street - there is a car parked right in the middle - just like the Kia mini-van from the other day - blocking the road. What is with people that they just feel that they can block traffic any time they want?!! This kind of thing infuriates me. Unless you've got a handicapped sticker on your license plate and you are unloading someone out of your car that needs a wheelchair GET OUT OF THE WAY! Was the car blocking the road unloading passengers? No. Just sitting there - obviously waiting for someone - but HE [yes it was a man] couldn't be bothered to find a place to park - nope. Had to stop and sit right there in the middle of the road. So what that I couldn't get by him. Not his problem. Jerk. I waited for all of about a half a second - probably longer - and laid on the horn. GET OUT OF THE WAY! He got the message and slowly - like snail's pace slow - started to drive off - obviously still waiting. Honestly, how long did HE think I was going to sit there and wait for him - and yes - if there wasn't traffic coming the other way I could have passed him. That's not the point, though. YOU do not have the right to park in the middle of the road and wait for someone. I don't know who you are waiting for but I'd be willing to be that he/she could use the walk. Find a parking space. Courtesy, people. The world DOES NOT revolve around you. Yeah, I know. You think it does. It. Does. Not!

Okay. I'm done.
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