Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stolen Sheep

Ahh, yes. There IS a joke in here, somehow! Feeling sorry for the poor sheep... And, as per the norm, when the nationality of the culpert[s] goes unmentioned you can bet your last halala that it was a Saudi!

Blame game. So typical. Take no responsibility whatsoever for your actions. Blame someone else. A man - a Saudi, no doubt, since his nationality is not identified - cons a woman into being seduced. For Eight Years! Or three. And it is the man's fault. The woman claims, "she fell into the man's trap and did not have her full presence of mind." He was, supposedly, blackmailing her and using "some sort of magic." Sure. Of course he was. The money quote, "Sometimes, he would say that he would make me go bald if I refused to have sex with him." Oh. My. Gosh! Make you go bald?!? Phleeze. Calling B.S. on the story. There are just too many discrepancies. Lady, you had an affair. You got caught. Now, you are now just trying to cover your black bag covered butt. Since the man has been punished doesn't the woman deserve equal punishment? Yes. She does.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

They just can't be "normal."

It is a mentality that muslims have. Although, in my humble opinion, it is more like an inherrent defect - one that is innately inbred [with all that cousin marrying cousin shite going on in their culture why the heck could / should / would we expect anything less?!!]. Oh, yeah, sure. Someone go ahead and accuse me of lumping all muslims together and not giving the good muslims a pat on the back. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that not all muslims are terrorists and that argument just doesn't fly with me [lest we forget that almost all terrorists are muslims!]. They can't even be "normal" at Disney World and have to act like the barbaric scourge they really are. Eliminate muslims along with anything and everything islam and the United States of America would be a much stronger, safer, kinder and better place.

Blogging help...

Can someone share with me the code to put something "below the fold?"

Is this something "Blogger" can even do?

Any assistance will be much appreciated.


Baby Coen. Absolutely LOVING having BC spend time with me. It is simply amazing how much he looks like DS when he was a baby... DIL has gone back to work, part-time, and BC comes and spends Thursday night and Saturday night with his Bebe and Bumpa. I can just hold him for hours. Even when he is sleeping. Cannot get enough of him. Love Him To Death! Pictures soon.

Still getting the house set up and unpacked. Not everything made it. Big surprise. However, in all that did make it only one item was broken and that can be fixed - the glass to the frame of my camel tapestry that we got in Sharm el Sheikh. That the shelves to my buffet didn't make it is kind of a problem. The buffet is pretty much useless without them. All of my china sits on the dining room table at this point, until the shelves can be replaced [new ones made - I'll never be able to replace the shelves!].

As far as the house... It will suffice for a year. It is only a rental. Designed by a man. So much useless space - no woman would ever design something like this. I can only reach to the second shelf in all of my kitchen cupboards. The third and top shelves? Even DH at 6'4" can barely reach to third shelf. Looks like the stool will become a permanent fixture in our kitchen. The loft? It is huge and has no purpose, really. Supposedly this was the model home for this development some years ago. A professional decorator came in and did the colors and the draperies. Someone got ripped off. Fugly as sin. [Pictures of the house to come, later.] Wallpaper in the kitchen behind both the sink and cook top. Who puts wallpaper in a kitchen?!? It cannot be wiped clean. There are no back-splashes. In ten months or so, when we figure out what we are doing and where we are going - toward the end of our lease - I can look for a house that is much more suitable.

We miss Sterling very, very much. Saffrynn has always been a Mommy's girl and clingy. She is really, really clingy now. Oh, and she is also a FABULOUS little Mommy's helper when BC is here. If BC is napping and so much as moves an arm, Saffy is right there next to me to tell me that the Baby is stirring. Honestly, I had no idea she was going to take to BC like she has - I was expecting quite the opposite.

Do I miss the Sandbox? He11 NO! I have had the opportunity to read Arab News in the last couple of days, now that we finally have our computer set up - and internet - kind of. [A long story, but Comporium - the phone/cable/internet company - is still waiting for a letter from the management company of the house so that they can install outlets. Right now, we have cables running through and around the house that DH has jury rigged to allow us to at least get on the computer downstairs. More on the management company, later, too. Stay far, far away from TR Lawing if you are planning to rent in the Charlotte / Rock Hill / Tega Cay areas of N.C. and S.C. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more unprofessional group that manages rental homes.]

Back to the Sandbox. Did anyone catch that Saudi women have launched a campaign for women only hospitals? Ridiculous. The insanity there just does not stop. Of course, if the men would just stop being such - oh, I dunno - perverts? - then there would be no need for the segregation of men and women to the degree that there is, now. Speaking of the men... There are some 900 children in Egypt who are fatherless because Saudi men go there to phukk and then refuse to take responsibilty for their actions. Shocker! Hard to even fathom any sympathy for the fact that some 500,000 Saudis are unemployed. Saudis don't work. Well, okay, a few do, but the majority? Ummph umm. Work is beneath them. I have said in the past that if all the expatriate workers left the Sandbox then it would come to a dead halt and they'd be back to living in tents and driving camels.

Yeah. It is totally totally wrong of me to do a post on the beauty of BC and then include insanity from the Sandbox. But, I want to get back to blogging... May as well just right jump in!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The movers left yesterday after spending two days at our new home. Things are in complete and total chaos. We have internet at our community clubhouse, but will not have internet or cable until later this week. Looking forward to blogging again, soon! As well looking forward to keeping up with all of the blogs I used to read.

Funny that Saffrynn will be the biggest dog in our new community. That will be odd for a while, I think, after spending seven and a half years with Sterling who has always been the biggest dog on the block... More about that to come. [Suffice it to say, for the time being, that we are in an "older" neighborhood.]

I will be babysitting for Coen today for the first time. You cannot imagine how excited I am about that!!!

Saturday, October 02, 2010


...is gone. He left us last night. His back legs gave out and he could no longer get up. I knew it was time. Our lives will be so different without Sterling. He has crossed the bridge and gone on to meet friends he never knew. You were a fabulous companion Sterling. You made it through the entire seven years we spent in the Sandbox and you will never know how much I needed you then and you were there for me. You will be missed in so many ways, but so many great memories of you will live on with us forever! Rest in peace Big Boy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two weeks...

We are moving to our own house! Our "stuff" finally arrived from Saudi and the movers will be delivering it to our new address very soon. I'll have MY computer back. I can blog regularly, again. The Kids will be with us and constantly under foot like they are supposed to be. We are incredibly thankful that Sterling is doing as well as he is! I suspect we do not have much longer... The really good thing is that I will be twenty minutes away from my new grandson!!!

If anyone is still reading my blog, I need some advice. What kind of washer and dryer do I buy? I really had my mind set on Maytag. Why? Because my Maytag washer and dryer lasted so long and gave us almost no trouble but for the dryer breaking - once! Maytag is not really Maytag any more. It was bought by Whirlpool three years ago. So much for getting Maytag appliances. The salesmen at HHGregg and Sears are trying to sell me Sanyo or LG. Does anyone have a recommendation one way or another?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Remembrance of This Day

What happened on September 11, 2001, still makes me reel. And we are allowing muslims to take over OUR country, why?

Oh, sure, that lame argument "not all muslims are terrorists" will be tossed around today like it has been for the last nine years, but I, for one, am not buying into it. It is creeping into American culture like a plague and the majority of Americans are to nambsy-pansy to do a dayum thing about it. "It," being islam and the take over of what is truly the finest country in the whole wide world, MUST BE STOPPED. If "it" isn't? Lord Help Us All.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It is official.

Baby Coen was born last night at 11:12P. He weighs 6 pounds and 5 ounces and is 19 inches long.

Excited? Barely covers the emotion. Thrilled beyond belief!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Say, what?!? Is this what "we" want?


Americans better wake the heck up - and pdq! Coming to a city near you...

Most certainly to the Ground Zero mosque. Fausta's blog has the details. Can't link...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And... Life goes on.

Slowly. Almost three full months in the States, now. Status? Pretty much the same as it has been since I got here, but for of course, Sterling. The job DH got that was going to move us to the Northeast? Turns out the guy who interviewed him in NC didn't have the authority to offer DH the job. So, no job. Not that that is a bad thing. I was absolutely dreading the thought of moving to New York. Now a moot issue. Stilettos in China? That could possibly be next. Here is how I am approaching that: After seven years in The Sandbox anything else is going to be a cake walk! We will know if we are moving to China shortly. Do I have any readers from China? Bejing... Any American readers? Can anyone offer any insight to living in China? I have been to Singapore, but not China. Nervous about the dog situation there. Something like a 45 day quarantine? Miss Pretty a/k/a Saffrynn is NOT going to like that.

Sterling is doing alright. Getting around very, very well. The surgery was two months ago and for a week afterward he improved dramatically and then had a bit of a set back. Our vet - who is absolutely fabulous - put us back on track, though, with narcotics. He was fast to determine that Sterling was still in pain, even though the vets at N.C. State assured us that Sterling was not. I have mixed feelings about N.C. State Vetrinary Teaching Hospital. So, after a few extra weeks of heavy duty drugs Sterling was pretty much back to his old self. That is a very very good thing. We know we do not have a lot longer with our Boy. We will just continue to enjoy every minute of every day with him and make sure that he is not suffering at all.

As for blogging and following blogs? I get to do very little. My choices are to use the laptop - which isn't a viable choice - or to use the computer at the home we are currently staying at. Suffice it to say that I just am out of the blogging loop for the time being. I follow very few and visit only a small handful of the blogs I used to follow every single day. And watching Fox News? Well that doesn't happen as much right now, either. Doesn't necessarily change my previous opinions on anything. I still think that Americans are being far too PC and it is NOT going to help us in any way, shape or form. Muslims still want us all dead or want us to conform. It is NOT a two way street with that sect and it NEVER EVER will be. Wake up Americans! Allowing a mosque near the WTC is the WRONG thing to do. Tell those cameljockeygoatphuckkers that they can build another mosque when we can build a Synagogue in The Sandbox. Not gonna happen. Why the heck are we bowing down to them? Oh. Wait. That's right. Who can forget the jeja bowing down to the king? How come so few of us see and understand what is happening, here?!?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Sterling Update

Sterling's surgery took place on June 7th. We brought Sterling home on Friday, June 11th. He did pretty good the first week he was home, and then kind of took a turn backward. On Wednesday of last week we headed to Dr. Metz's office so that Sterling could be "hydrated." And, of course to get a prescription for more pain medication. Fentanyl patches. Sterling gets a new 100 mg. patch every three days. Poor little guy has lost weight - he quit eating - and at this point refuses to eat anything but chicken and rice. Whatever I can get him to eat is what I will feed him. We probably do not have much more time with Sterling. My heart hurts about this.

In the meantime, life in the States has been going along... We bought a vehicle. A 2007 Jeep Commander. Oh my gosh. It sure isn't a Tahoe! DH says the Jeep is our "temporary" vehicle. Umm hmm. If five or six years is temporary. For a "temporary" vehicle he is making it pretty permanent. Yesterday he attached a tow bar [?] to it so that he can pull his boat. Hopefully, the Jeep will be DH's "temporary" vehicle. I'll be looking at BMW's...

Looks like DH has a job. That is a good thing. Waiting on the final "yes," from the HR department, but the Chief Pilot says that the job is DH's. So as soon as the final "yes" comes, we will head to the northeast to find a place to live. The northeast. Where it is cold and where it snows. I'll narrow it down when we have the final "yes." From The Sandbox where it is 120 degrees for nine months of the year to the northeast where it is cold and it snows for nine months of the year. No. Suffice it to say that I am not particularly thrilled with this development, but you have to go where the jobs are, so it really is not even a choice.

And, speaking of The Sandbox... One of the things I do NOT miss at all is the call to prayer being loud-speakered FIVE times a day. Yeah. I know the jugearedjackass thinks it is one of the most beautiful sounds, but let me tell you it is not. I was sitting outside the other day with Sterling and listening to the sounds of the woods. That is a beautiful sound. The call to prayer is nothing more than an intrusion. A loud, obnoxious intrusion. If I never hear it again, it will be to soon.

What are the Saudi's up to? The usual insanity. If a woman breast-feeds a man then they become related and they can interact without fear of being arrested by the religious police. Huh?!? Did anyone catch the recent article, which I think I saw at Weasel Zipper's place, about how a dozen people who were in "mixed" company were partying and got caught by the "religious" police? All of them were immediately thrown in jail, but for one young woman who was a minor - she was ten* - who was given 80 lashes. You cannot tell me with a straight face that lashing people is what a civilized country does for punishment. Sure, they lash people in Singapore, too. But not nearly to the degree that people get lashed in Saudi Arabia. Oh, and what else? They beheaded two people and nailed the headless body of one of those to a cross. Civilized? No. Not at all. Am I going to miss Saudi Arabia? NEVER!

*She was not really ten. But it isn't a secret that ten-year-old girls are most definitely old enough to be wives in Saudi Arabia. A lot of pedophiles there. Oh, sure. Like in the States, right? Only in Saudi, sexual assault on little girls [and boys, too] is legal.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank You. Everyone!

The friendship, the support. Everything. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The Boy, Sterling, is my Baby. Yes. I have my hands full right now. No. I've not responded to individual comments like I have in the past. Honestly, if DH wasn't with Sterling right now, I wouldn't even be on the computer.

There is more to come with Stilettos in the States, at some point. Oh, Hell Yes, there is. I promise. You have no idea how good it is going to feel to know that I no longer have to bite my tongue and say what is allowed to be said. I can say what truly goes on there on that side of the world. I can tell you all this much, though. I was there for seven years. I blogged for four [five?] or more of those years. Did I ever one single time say that I liked it there? No. [Find me ONE place in my archives where I have EVER said I liked Saudi Arabia. You can't find ONE single time and you WON'T.] I did not like it there. I tolerated it there. You will never ever in a gazillion years hear me say that I liked living in Saudi Arabia. As a matter of fact, I just barely tolerated it. Nothing good to say about Saudi Arabia right now. Not a single teeny tiny positive little thing. Well, okay. I take that back. Manohmanohman do I miss my house "assistant," or in Saudi-speak, my Houseboy. The new houseboy's name? It is me. And my name is Beth, not Sabra. I choose Sabra when I started this blog for my name then and there. For more reasons that had to do with my DH's job than for my keeping who I was secret. Although, in all honesty, believe me, that, too, was a concern. You do what you have to do when you live in a third world assbackward country. My name is Beth.

For the time being, however, there are only two priorities I have everyday. The biggest, most important being Sterling. Right behind him, though, Saffrynn. These days have not been our easiest. I suspect they are not going to get any easier with Sterling and osteosarcoma.

Cancer. Why isn't there a cure yet? Or, even a preventative shot like for the flu? Yeah. In our dreams. Right? They can't "plug the hole" for the oil spill [Heh! on the jugearedjackass's watch, no less - imagine if it was Bush!], how could I expect a cure for cancer?

In the meantime, before Stilettos in the States comes alive with the real author, "Beth!," [if you continue to call me Sabra, I will understand and will in no way be offended - I promise] please contine to be as patient with me as you have so marvelously done so far as you have sat out our move from The Sandbox to the States and now with what is one of the very all time lowest points in my life our lives - the osteosacroma with The Boy. Sterling. Right now? It is not about me. In my world? It is all about Sterling. And, Saffrynn, too... Stilettos in the States will happen. And if you think for one skinny second I will hold back about my life in Saudi Arabia, you are sorely mistaken. Not a chance.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sterling is Home!

Brought The Boy home yesterday, late afternoon. He was happy, happy, happy to see us and we were happy, happy, happy to see him. Saffrynn was happy, happy, happy to see her Big Brother. No - not happy. Estatic!

Geez. What a nasty gash our poor little guy has on him right now though. It is a "Y" shaped incision with no less than 150 staples. Big and gnarly. There is quite a bit of after care. Fine by me. Massaging his left leg every couple of hours for ten minutes or so to alliviate the swelling is not a problem. Hot, dry compresses every hour or so to the wound to alliviate the swelling is not a problem either. The team of vets at N.C. State Vet School assure us that we have removed the pain. No, we have not "cured" the cancer, but with the tumor removed the pain is gone. It will be early next week when we have all of the pathology back.

Have to say that Sterling is doing okay on three legs. Tripod. DH called him Tripod. No, Sterling is not running and jumping on the bed yet with three legs but that will come in short order. [We need to keep him from jumping on the bed for at least three weeks, so until then the boxes remain on the bed at all times unless we are actually in the bed. Boxes on the bed were the deterrent before we had the surgery done and something told me not to put them out in recycling quite yet.]

We will be going next week, back to N.C. State Vet School to talk to the oncologist and the surgeon, again. Not quite sure how we will proceed. Not saying we won't do chemotherapy, but not convinced we will go that route quite yet, either.

The good thing: Sterling is home!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sterling AND Stuff

Sterling could be coming home as early as tomorrow! Yay!!! But more likely he will be released on Friday morning. TJ, the 4-year vet student says that Sterling is healing and progressing nicely. He is up and walking already on three legs. TJ assures me they are keeping my Boy pain-free and as comfortable as possible. TJ told me last night to expect a very large incision. Okay. Thanks, TJ, so that I can be prepared.

Man oh man oh man. This week has been just awful. Awful!

The dear friends we are staying with are not home right now. Their eldest daughter passed away on Monday in New York. Again with the sledge hammer to the gut. For us. And even worse for dear friends. May you rest in peace beautiful Anita... 41 years old. Much, much, much too young. Sadly Anita leaves behind her husband of 20-something years and five sons, along with her two sisters and their families and of course her parents - our dear friends.

The good news, finally, though, is that the two e-boxes we packed that have clothes and other relatively necessary items - the Kids tables, etc. - will be here tomorrow afternoon. We were told the e-boxes would reach the States in 7 to 10 days. Ha. Just like many of the things we were told by Aramco, prior to our leaving Saudi, 7 to 10 days is a big fat lie. The e-boxes left Saudi on May 12th and today is what - June 9th? At least be honest and tell us it is going to be almost a month. I would have packed differently. I might have even fed-exed some of our stuff to us. No matter. Tomorrow is okay. At least I don't have to keep wearing the same pair of shorts over and over and over, now. Oh, and I can put on a different pair of shoes, too!

If Sterling comes home tomorrow, also? Well, then life is getting better and I won't even bother dwelling on all of the bad that has happened this week. Yeah, well, okay. Maybe there is still a bit of "dwelling" that might need to be done...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Sterling had his surgery yesterday. The right front leg was amputated. We cannot see him until late today or tomorrow. He is in ICU, heavily medicated. It is unlikely that we will do further treatment. I spoke to Mike Metz last night, our vet, who referred us to N.C. State. Mike is also a friend. Yes, certainly chemotherapy and radiation are options to consider but not necessarily the route we will go with Sterling. Sterling is not a young Great Dane. Mike is not telling us to NOT go further but he is also not encouraging it. I understood exactly what he was telling me. I do not want Sterling to suffer at all and I do not want him to be in any pain.

We have removed the source of his pain by having his leg amputated. We know that the cancer is aggressive and that it will, in the short term, kill Sterling. Not that we will let it get that far. We will know. I will know. Sterling will NOT suffer. I will in no way allow that to happen. Our plan will be to keep Sterling happy and comfortable. He will be able to go for walks again and he will be able to play tug. Sterling will also be able to jump up on the bed again and he will be able to get on and off the couch. If you do not already know this about Great Danes, they are truly "couch potatoes." They like walks but laying on the bed or couch is good, too better.

Sterling's little sister, The Baby, paced and worried with me yesterday. Awww. Isn't that sweet?! What a good little girl she is. Saffrynn. The Baby's name is Saffrynn. Saffy senses my anxiety, no doubt. And, let me tell you that yesterday there was a lot of anxiety.

The surgeon that removed Sterling's leg will check in with us twice a day. He will call us each morning to let us know how Sterling is doing and again in the late afternoon or early evening. As of late yesterday - early yesterday evening - all was well with Sterling and he was coming out of his fog from the surgery but still being sedated with heavy duty pain medication. The leg has been sent to pathology and we will know more in a day or so. I think I know all I need to know, though, at this point. And all I need to know is that Sterling is okay.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Stilettos in the States will have to wait...

Bigger things happening. Not good things. Bigger things.

The Boy. Osteosarcoma. Bam! Got hit in the gut with a sledge hammer this week on that one. Took my breath away.

Our trip from Saudi to North Carolina was a very long one. We left from Bahrain and flew to Amsterdam. I was told when I made the arrangements that both The Boy and The Baby would be let out of their crates at the "Doggy Hotel" to relieve themselves and to stretch. That did not happen. Apparently the layover has to be more than four hours in order for that to happen. We only had a three and a half hour layover. So, neither The Boy or The Baby got let out to do business or get a little stretching in before our flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

In Detroit, I was allowed to take them out of their crates and take them outside to do business. It was in Detroit where I saw that The Boy's metal water dish was smack dab in the middle of his crate with the prong ends up. Poor guy - laid on that for some twenty hours? [Why he didn't push it out of the way is beyond me.] As I took The Boy out of his crate he was limping on his right front leg, badly. Actually he wasn't limping on his leg - he wasn't using his right front leg at all. Whoa! What happened there?!? He was fine when we left Bahrain.

I took him to the vet, here, as soon as I could get him in and we had x-rays taken and got some medication - pain meds, arthritis medication - for him and we were told to follow up in two weeks and we were told that if it was arthritis then we would see a noticable improvement. The Boy did NOT improve. He got worse. I didn't wait the full two weeks to follow up. We went to the vet last Friday - a week ago, yesterday. Dr. Metz - our vet here - the vet we had for many years prior to moving to Saudi Arabia - said that he believed that there was something much worse going on than arthritis and he referred us to the N.C. State Vet School. We went this week for our appointment with the neurological specialist.

BAM! Osteosarcoma. Bone cancer. A very painful and aggressive cancer. We were told that we have six to eight weeks with The Boy. Sterling. The Boy's name is Sterling. I have not published the names of my four-legged Kids on my blog before for safety reasons. I did not want someone in The Sandbox calling Sterling by name. More a trust issue than a safety issue, I guess - or both. I had my reasons. Sterling. Poor little guy. Sterling is in pain. Was in pain. We are managing the pain with a Fentanyl patch and with Tramadol and Rimadyl.

There are options. Choices. None of them are particularly good. Because Sterling is in so much pain the plan, as of right now, is to amputate his entire right front leg. The tumor is in his shoulder. That will not, of course, stop the cancer from speading and growing. If we remove his leg we will be able to let Sterling be relatively pain-free - again, with pain management medication - probably for three to four months. That is the likely scenario for Sterling's time with us. Radiation and chemotherapy? Another option. One that we are not going to choose. At most it would buy us another ten or twelve months. Tops. It is far too much to put a dog in his senior years through. We went that route with our Rottweiler, Sergeant, many years ago, when he was diagnosed with triple cell carcinoma. Did we do it for Sergeant or did we do it for us? Either way it was stressful for him. It was painful. I will not do that to Sterling, too.

Surely there is a reader out there who has been through much the same that we are going through right now. Any recommendations? Thoughts? I have done some research and am changing his diet to a high-protein low carbohydrate food. The recommendation of the neurologist was "puppy chow." Does Sterling like it? Heck no. I'll be doing more research on high protein diets for dogs and will figure out what is going to be best for Sterling.

Sick. I am sick to my stomach. I am sad. Sterling is my baby! The Boy. I am absolutely heart-broken that the poor guy has to go through what he is going through. I would happily trade places with him. DH and I sat and talked last night and we are wondering if we are doing the right thing. Amputating his leg. Once again, we wonder whether we are doing this for Sterling or whether we are doing this for us.

Posting will be light. Maybe even non-existent for a while.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Paperwork, SEX and WINE

DH has asked me to refrain from saying some of the things I really, really want to say until some retirement paperwork is complete and the money has been safely deposited... No sense risking that, so for the duration - until everything is complete - mum is the word.

Except... I have got to say that Miss Michigan muslim wining the Miss USA pagent irks the heck out of me. Of course, now that we all know such a pious muslim woman is also a pole dancing queen... [I'm on a computer that isn't letting me do cut and pasting - for whatever reason - so I can't get the link to work - but it's all over the interwebs - just google it.] Oh, sure. Someone try to tell me that everyone sins and that everyone makes mistakes. Not everyone is quite as hypocritical as one particular religion cult, though. [Don't even bother commenting and trying to tell me that I am being prejudiced or judgmental. This is MY blog. I am home now. I can say whatever I want and if you don't like what you're reading, then go somewhere else.] Miss Oklahoma didn't win because of her answer about Arizona. We all know that. It is "Carrie Prejean II." Miss Oklahoma is a stunning beauty! Much, much prettier than Miss muslim whose win was bought and paid for by her relatives. All part of a terrorist network, by the way. Debbie Schlussel has the whole scoop. [Can't link...] The win was also political correctness gone mad. It will be interesting to see what all comes out of that and to see if she gets stripped of the crown she is not deserving of. Oh. And, it will be interesting to see if a fatwa gets put on her head. I mean, after all, what self-respecting muslim woman would parade herself in front of the entire world in a bikini! Pfft. [I didn't watch the pagent. I did see, somewhere, that Miss muslim stumbled after her win. Regret missing that - but since she didn't actually fall... I bet along with being a pole dancing queen she is also a heavy drinker. Ut-oh. She better watch out. She'll be giving muslim women all over the world a bad name.]

Have set up a new blog site. As soon as I get the kinks worked out I'll link it and then everyone can visit me at my new "home."

Truly I appreciate all of the well wishes and the HUGE welcome back to the States. I think I'm finally on the right time zone, now, and that life is getting back to normal. As normal as it can be when you don't have a home and don't know where you're going to live, next, and don't have jobs, or a vehicle [yet], and all that kind of daily life details. Wine. Wine helps a lot. Sterling. Alexander Valley. Louis.M.Martini. It is all good! I no long have to refer to it as grape juice. I can call it wine. And, as Linda said in a comment, I can actually spell SEX and do not have to type "xes" ever again. Not that I have anything to say about SEX right now, but to know that I am not being censored and that I won't be blocked from my own blog by typing "WINE" or "SEX" sure feels nice...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We Made It!

We are home!!! The United States of America! We made it. My gosh, what a long, long trip it was. Thirty-one hours? Longer? We left Saudi at 7:30P on Monday night. We arrived at the home we will be staying at until we find a home last night at 8P - or 3A Saudi time - Tuesday.

The Kids did just fine considering the ordeal. This has all happened so fast and the last couple of weeks with packing, inventory and movers - then the trip - which, by the way I did by myself - DH will be home in a few days - he had to finish some paperwork - it has all just been one big whirlwind. Some of it has not quite "sunk in." I am exhausted, both physically and mentally. The next couple of days are going to be "down time" for me. I need it. Down time and wine. Lots of wine!

This blog will switch over to Stilettos in the States. Expect that soon. Oh, don't think for a skinny minute I don't have some things to say about my life for the past seven years... I do. Some of it may not be all good, either. I bit my tongue while I lived there. I don't have to bite my tongue and keep quiet about what life was REALLY like in Saudi Arabia ever again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


THAT is an UNDERSTATEMENT! You cannot possibly imagine all that has to be done in order to leave The Sandbox. It is more difficult to get out than it is to get in, and getting in wasn't all that easy, either. Posting here will not resume until I am back in the States. Shortly.

To everyone that has visited and wished me well... Thank you ALL so much!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh My Gosh. Big Crimp in Plans. BIG! Updated.

KLM has will NOT fly The Boy home. They will take The Baby, but not The Boy. I am working on it right now. This will change absolutely everything. I am in a panic!

Update: Crisis is no longer a crisis. Panic is no longer a panic. You cannot imagine, though, the PANIC that set in for a few minutes...

KLM said they couldn't fly The Boy due to the "embargo." The "embargo" doesn't start until May 15th and my return ticket is for June 7th. Ahh, The Kids are not returning with me. I am returning alone. So, clearly a misunderstanding, there. KLM also thought they were flying The Baby in the Business Class cabin, with me [which, in The Baby's mind, no doubt, is where she, too, ought to be]. I made it clear when I got the ticket that I have a STANDARD Poodle, not a "little" Poodle. The person that did my ticket must have misunderstood because he had The Poodle flying under the seat in front of me. Works for me! Can I get the seat next to me for The Boy, please?

There is going to be a little stress, here. Gee. 'Ya think? Getting The Kids out and home safely will be my number one priority, though, and whatever else happens, happens. No sense in stressing over things I have no control over. Quite frankly, if NONE of our personal effects make it to the States and The Kids DO make it to the States? I can live with that. I really can. I can buy a new couch, or replace shoes. The Kids CANNOT be replaced and The Kids are really a very big part of what has kept me sane on this side of the world.

I will contact Delta / KLM again tomorrow to confirm that The Kids WILL be going home on the same flight that I go home on.


There is probably a lot to blog about. Like this "child" bride who was ten when her father sold her to an 80-year-old pedophile and who was divorced six months after she was married but apparently didn't know it until now - ten years later.

And like this, how there are 275,000 injuries, the result of accidents on the road each year due to reckless driving and speeding. What will be done about it? A nationwide campaign to "raise public awareness of the need to abide by traffic and road safety regulations." Nothing. PCRC. Is that such a bad thing?

I just have way too much to do to blog. And, quite honestly, I just don't have it in me right now to do it justice. Blogging will be light, perhaps even non-existent, until I have it together here. I'm not quite done with this blog. There are still some things I want to say. Check back in two weeks...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stilettos in the States...

Stilettos in the Sand will soon be Stilettos in the States. It is all over. Done. My sentence, here, is up. I have served my time. Almost a full seven years. I know many others have done it for much longer. I cannot. The Kids and I get on a plane in two weeks and we are headed home!

No more limbo. Everything is now resolved.

Errands to do

DH and I have errands to do this morning. Really only one of us needs to do them. That would be me, but since I cannot get in the truck and drive myself... DH will have to take me.

One of the errands is something that could be done over the phone. I tried, yesterday, and was completely unsuccessful. Why? Because a certain office, here, which has a half dozen employees, has only ONE employee doing all the work. How do I know this? It is an office I've been to several times. I've have seen how it functions up close and personal. I was on the phone with the lone worker yesterday and listened to him juggle multi-task as he answered other "in person" inquiries as well as answering several phones. The man promised me a call back. I never got it. I am not blaming him, though. I understand that he was incredibly busy. Today I will go to that office in person. We are leaving here in forty-five minutes. I want to be the first one there when the office opens.

Then we will race home so that I can take The Boy to the vet. He got a cut IN HIS EYE while I was gone. I'm blaming his Little Sister for it. DH took him to the vet, originally, and I'll take him for the follow-up appointment. The cut still is not healed.

There are a half dozen other things that I have to do today. None of them are going to be fun. And all of them are going to be mostly frustrating. Such is life, here in The Sandbox.

The "limbo" situation? STILL NOT RESOLVED! Getting much, much closer though. Stay tuned for some interesting news...

Monday, April 19, 2010


His name will be Coen Robert. He is due to arrive on or about September 10th. Now, if you'll excuse me, there is MUCH shopping to be attended to. Oh My Gosh. Is this going to be FUN, or what!?! Oh, yeah, it is.

Situation: Limbo. Still not resolved.

I cannot really discuss the situation, known as "Limbo," happening with us here in The Sandbox. I just am not at liberty, yet, to do so. Suffice it to say that it is not anything bad. It could actually be a good thing. The not knowing is the hardest part, though, and I don't know whether to get started on a major project and then find out that all of my effort will be for nothing, or if I should just forget about it, for the time being, altogether. The decision does not rest in my hands. I know what I would do. It is a decision that DH has to make. He makes the big decisions and I make the small ones. He takes care of everything financial, etc., and I decide what color towels to buy for the bathrooms. It is a system that has served us well for many years - we've been married for 18 years - and have been together for 20! Yes. Today was supposed to be the day of reckoning. But as is typical with the way many things go here such is not the case and today is not the day. Oh well. You know what? There is a plan for all of us. Whatever it is, that plan has already been decided. [We just don't know what the decision is one way or another.] And, it is out of our hands... Such is life.

I anticipate a phone call in just a few short hours about another "reckoning" that is supposed to happen today. DS and Baby-Mama find out if there is going to be a Kaylee or a Coen in our lives at 9:30 this morning their time - let's see, it is going on 3:15P, here, so that's 5:15A in North Carolina! Cannot wait. Absolutely, positively cannot wait to find out if I will have a Granddaughter or a Grandson. I am just thrilled to be having a Grandbaby so I do not care if it is a little Girl or a little Boy.

There is an post on the web that I found about women driving. It needs a thorough dissection. I'll plan on doing it for tomorrow. Today it would just require too much time and attention.

Time to dissect "Bachelors are time bombs,"
today, though. It is always the single man to blame for every single societal woe, isn't it? [/Snark.] Apparently it is quite bothersome to have "singles," or bachelors residing in "family neighborhoods." Well of course it is! One of those single men might have a pair of binoculars that can see through cement walls. Or something. The article says, "For many families, bachelor men living in their areas are simply time bombs waiting to go kaboom. These families allege such men are social, environmental, moral and security threats." Okay social, moral and security threats, maybe, if push came to shove, but environmental threats? How?!! They don't take their trash out regularly? They have too much trash in the form of bottles or cans?

Who knew there was a "municipality law" that dictates that "singles are required to live in building on main streets and away from residential neighborhoods." Not that that should come as a surprise to anyone, but I, for one, honestly did not know that there was a law that said where "singles are required to live." Hmmph. Learn something new everyday. Of course, it really is not the fault of the bachelors who end up in certain residential neighborhoods because "many real estate offices are cheating the system by renting out residential units to bachelors in the middle of neighborhoods." No. You don't say... Find that hard to believe. Like it is only in The Sandbox where money talks. Chicago slums and Tony Rezko - the jugearedjackass's pal - ring a bell, anyone?

Of course, in Chicago there probably are not three types of bachelors [or three or four or five types of marriage for that matter - I digress]. Chicago would have just two types. Bachelor men who have no familial responsibilies whatsoever and baby-daddy bachelor men who have no familial responsibilities whatsoever. The three types of bachelors in The Sandbox? "The first are professionals who work in high paid jobs as doctors and engineers. They rarely pose problems and have a clean reputation. This group is disciplined, and prefers living in family buildings to avoid living among singles." But, but, but... Isn't there a law against this? "The second group consists of singles in middle-income jobs. These type of people usually live in old apartment buildings, which are generally tatty and lack security." Ahh. So it is the middle-income bachelors who live in all of those buildings. [Personal responsibility insofar as the apartment owner to keep the building in good repair and from becoming "generally tatty" does not enter into the equation, I guess.] The third, and final group of bachelors "is the undesired group of singles in low-paid jobs. Most of these people are expatriates and live in crowded apartments, which are filthy and lack basic services. These types of workers generally tend to share their accommodation with other single men." Gee. Anyone care to guess why? Because they are paid such ridiculously LOW WAGES they cannot afford to live any other way. But, according to the article, we are lead to believe it is all the worker's / bachelor's faults that they are forced to live this way. I cannot believe that I am even reading the article as it is written. I am appalled at the lack of compasion and understanding from the author [who shall remain anonymous - if his - her? - name is published on the article I can't find it - and it is no wonder why, after reading...].

Abdullah Al-Hussein, whoever he is, says that "bachelor men bring trouble." Well of course they do, right?! Mr. Al-Hussein must never have been a bachelor. Did he go straight from Umm Abdullah's house [his mother] to being married and living in family housing? Must be he did. He goes on, "Singles do not care about the environment and cleaning their homes. They always create noise, especially when there is a football match. They are filthy most of the time and bring along parking problems, rats and all types of insects." Whoa! You hear that all you filthy dirty varmin infested bug ridden bachelors? That is all you are. Not my words. Mr. Al-Hussein's. A final family man, Ahmad Al-Jabri, who along with Mr. Al-Hussein was never a bachelor agrees and says, "Some real estate offices do not care about regulations when it comes to renting housing units to singles. They only care about money and rent apartments to singles when they're not supposed to. I wish the government would establish neighborhoods for singles and bring this problem to a close." Oh my gosh. If that wouldn't be the answer to MOST of the problems on this side of the world, then I don't know what would be.

Bachelors. All three types. They are just waiting to explode, here.
Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. Nah. This is a LFZ. Contemplating just a second or two longer, it is believable. And that is just the way it is on this side of the world.

Not really "funny" funny.

Have to share something with you. Has almost nothing but everything to do with this cookbook "faux pas" that calls for "freshly ground black people," which is OF COURSE a typo and is supposed to say, "freshly ground black pepper." Duh!

The other night while I was at Qatar Airways office in the Bahrain International Airport office groaning about getting reimbursed for a taxi cab because Qatar didn't put MY luggage on the plane with me, the ONE man who was even willing to be helpful, Khalid, said to me, "Did you speak with a white man downstairs [in baggage services] earlier?" I said, "No. I spoke to an Arab man downstairs ten minutes ago when I was there..." Khalid says to me, in all seriousness, "How do I say this?" Communication between us is starting to be an issue. Me because I speak English and Khalid because he is trying so hard to speak English [and he did very well, by the way!]. So, Khalid, again, says, "Was he a white man?" And I honestly responded, "No. He wasn't." Khalid, not to miss a beat says, "I am a white man. Was he the same color I am?"

Don't I feel confused!?! Ahh, Khalid. Pssst. Let me fill you in on a teeny tiny little secret. "I am white. This is what a white person looks like." At the same time I am saying that, I am pulling up the sleeves of my shirt to show him my "white" skin. Khalid responded, "Ahh, yes, Madam. Here, we are white." "Umm, no, Khalid. You are brown. Perhaps dark tan. But you are not white." I had to reply. "I spoke to Ahmed. He is an Arab man. He was not white." Ahh. Now we're on the same track, though. Arabs consider themselves to be white? Who knew?! [If you are an Arab living in the United States, how did you fill out the census question for your nationality? White? Seriously?!!]

Why do I think it is funny that a recipe calls for salt and fresh ground black pepper people? Oh, I dunno no. It really isn't "funny" funny, but come on. I, mean, after all, not only am I not going to find that particular ingredient here in The Sandbox, but where the hell am I going to find prosciutto?

Yeah. 'Ya have to admit. It is a little funny at someone else's expense. Hey, if you can't laugh at a typo that is CLEARLY a mistake... I mean, come on. It was, after all, a mistake made in Australia, not South Africa!

Never mind. I am jet lagged. I am in limbo. I can think something that isn't really funny is funny if I want to.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random stuff. Here, and elsewhere.

Still overwhelmed. Also in limbo. Cannot say anything more about my "limbo" until it isn't "limbo" anymore. Rest assured, though, that if the "limbo" goes one way, I'll have a bucket-load to say about the situation. If it goes the other way, I will have to "bite my tongue." Tomorrow will probably be the tipping point.

A man jumped from a 10th story window. He is dead. The irony of the story will be lost to most. Calling B.S. on it. There is a more to this story than what is being reported. [Oh my. What a surprise!] Come on. A man could not defend himself against a 45-year-old woman who just happened to be in a hotel room with a meat cleaver? Sure. Okay. According to the short report, "Eyewitnesses testified that he had been at the bottom of the building when the Egyptian woman appeared on the balcony screaming that there was a thief in her apartment, at which point the Saudi national went yp to her flat to save her. Once he was in, however, the woman locked the door behind him and took out a large knife and demanded money." Something is very wrong with that portion of the story which completely contradicts that Egyptian press report which claims "that the Saudi had been engaged in 'immoral activities' at the time." Umm hmmm. There you go. That report is just a little more than slightly believable, if you ask me. Oh, and as to the irony aspect? How many "maids" have jumped from several stories high escaping something sinister, here? Search my archives. The answer to that question is a lot!

And, speaking of a lot. A lot of PCRC, here. "A total of 50 people died, 385 injured and 4,596 accidents took place because of the heavy rains that lashed the Kingdom over the past four days..." Not a chance of anyone taking any personal responsibility, is there? Nope. Not a chance. "Abiding by traffic instructions and the directives of traffic policement limits the number of traffic accidents and guarantees public safety," says Gen. Sulaiman Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ajlan, Director of the Traffic General Administration. Gee. 'Ya think? "He added that there were thousands of traffic violations over the past four days." What he didn't add was what the consequences of those violations would be. Oh, that's right. There aren't any consequences. Never mind.

Oh. And speaking of "something's wrong with this story," how about this one? Let's see an "expatriate" man has been arrested for raping an eight-year-old girl. An expatriate of unidentified nationality. [Anyone care to guess?] The man is a 48-year-old driver who has "been accused of xes abuse three times." Huh?!! Three times!?! Why the heck is the man even out on the streets? Shouldn't he be in jail? How many "expatriate" men in The Sandbox get the opportunity to get off Scott-free after being accused of some sort of xesual abuse THREE times?!! Hmmph. "The man's arrest also led to several other victims coming forward and the discovery of a stash of dirty pictures and movies at his home." For right now the man is in police custody while investigations continue. In the meantime, "The General Prosecution and Investigation Board is currently investigating the charges against the man which includes xesually-abusing minors, taking photographs of young girls and xesually-harassing them." Interesting, isn't it, that when the man was arreted he "admitted to engaging in xesual intercours with the eight-year-old girl" yet an investigation continues? Why? Who is this man and who is he related to, or who does he know?

A kind of sort of feel good story, here. About a dog. A soldier's dog. If you do not get choked up reading about Tank then you have ice water running through your veins. Posted "just because."

It is a small study involving only 13,000 women. Who knew?! "Blondes have last laught with more money." A University of Queensland "study found that not only did blonde women earn an average seven per cent more than their brunette and red-headed sisters, they married men who earnt six percent more too." It is good to be blonde. Saw it first at [where else!] blonde sagacity.

Have not listened to Rush one time since I've been home back. See? I really am in a funk of some sort. Of course, all listening to Rush is going to do is make my blood boil. Not because of Rush, of course, but because of the jugearedjackass. Is that man imbecile a complete and total embarassment to the United States of America, or what!!

Inom is still not back from his vacation. He left at the end of January. His brother is here, though, and today, for the first time since I returned he will come and help me. Thank goodness. I thought for sure I was going to have to push the vacuum around, myself. Maybe even wash my own kitchen floor. Called Hadar last night and he is coming in fifteen minutes. Phew! Crisis averted.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Freak Weather

Blame it on global warming or some such crap. Really it has been bizarre, though. The storms we've been having. Thunder, lightening and heavy rain! Weird. Certainly not what we are used to, that is for sure. And the rain, although quite necessary, makes the patio and the patio furniture a muddy mess. Are they still seeding the clouds here? Or something? It rained for three nights in a row. Always at night... Isn't that a little odd? I don't think it rained again last night, but I could be wrong. Haven't looked outside to see if the patio is a mess. [Nope. I just checked. It didn't rain last night.] Yep. It rained last night. DH was up before I was and he cleaned the patio and patio furniture before I even had my first cup of coffee. [Still jet lagged. Yeah. That's my excuse. And, I'm sticking to it.]

The lightening killed one young man and put another in the hospital. In fairness to Mother Nature the weather isn't so much to blame as much as stupidity. The rain is being blamed for all sorts of injuries and even some PCRC, too. Personal responsibility? Not so much.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


It is all catching up with me. The jet lag. The pain in the butt getting the luggage saga. Just taking a shower in salt water. Again. Yuck. You cannot possibly imagine the effect of the water unless you've experienced it... And, the possibility that there may be a big change in store for me. Nope. I did not see "that" coming. Ought to be interesting. Understatement, there. Today I just feel mightily overwhelmed and want to sit on the couch and knit instead of trying to think straight and be productive. [Knitting is productive!] Blogging? Eh. Not on my list of priorities today. Might not even be on the list tomorrow. We'll see. I had such good intentions for a few posts about "stuff" I've missed that happened here in The Sandbox while I was in the States. Newsy things. And, I really wanted to complain - yet again - about the lack of selection for food at The Commissary. What happened? Why isn't there any meat?!! That's alright. We can just eat bacon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Exercise in Futility

What a nightmare. Losing your luggage. I think I have a right to be furious about it. Although I am much less aggravated about the whole situation than I was yesterday, that's for sure. And, my luggage did make it home safe and sound with everything intact. It's a miracle. Wearing my lucky socks was a very good thing. Yes. I have lucky socks. Doesn't everyone? It is quite likely I could have gotten a whole lot more done yesterday, including that mountain of laundry, if I could have found just ONE person to help me at Qatar Airways with the list of numbers that I accumulated between yesterday morning and yesterday afternoon. Honestly, if it wasn't for the service that I've received in the past with the exception of that one instance where Farrah was in charge of my side of the cabin, I'd be saying "That's it. All done flying Qatar."

Actually I don't know why I'm even bothering to be surprised. It is typical for this side of the world. No one wants to be responsible for anything and no one has the foresight to go over and above and actually try to think outside of the box. You think that government workers are bad in the States? Ha! They have nothing on the Middle East!! You have no idea what ineptness is until...

It is not worth going through one by one each of the telephone calls I made yesterday - which actually started the night before when I arrived home sans luggage and called my travel agent in the States and said, "You need to help me find my luggage. Two huge blue bags, with Priority tags on them [business class luggage is supposed to be handled with priority - it is one of the reasons you pay twice or thrice the amount of an economy class ticket!] were left at JFK in New York and no one seems to want to tell me why. Qatar, being a Middle Eastern company, automatically wants to blame the "other" airlines who checked my bags when I originated my trip in RDU. No. Not acceptable. When I checked in at Qatar in New York, they asked for my baggage claim numbers, which I dutifully gave them, which they dutifully [or not, obviously] entered into the system. That is what those bar codes are for, though, so that airlines can match up what bags are supposed to be on board matching them with each passenger. No matter. It was nothing short of impossible trying to explain that that is what happened and that is how it happened and that it is Qatar's fault, not American Airlines.

Dozens of phone calls yesterday all to numbers that either had a mere voice at the end coming out of a brainless, empty talking head, or worse, phone numbers that went unanswered or went to voice mail boxes. Unbelievable. And each number that I called that had a brainless, empty talking head answer at the other end said, "Yes, Madam. Call this number." No. I already called that number. I've been calling it for two hours and no one answers. "Oh, yes, Madam. Call this number." I have to say that I got more assistance from the man in Baggage Services at Bahrain International Airport than I got from anyone else. Thank you, Ahmed. It was yesterday afternoon when I called Ahmed for the umpteenth time and he said, "Yes, Madam. I received a message that your bags will be on tonight's plane if there is room." What? If there is room? Throw a half dozen other bags off that plane and get my bags on there! The ones that were supposed to be on the plane I was on from two nights ago!!

DH had to work this morning at 0-dark-thirty. Early. Very, very early. He wouldn't have gotten but a couple of hours sleep if he would have taken me to Bahrain last night to collect my luggage - and it was a trip that had to be made without actually being able to confirm one way or another that my luggage was going to be there. No problem. I'll get a cab and go over. I mean, it's not like I can get in my truck and drive myself there since women do not drive in The Sandbox [they will never be able to drive - it is a control issue and men here, apparently, cannot bear the thought of losing that control]. So, I left Saudi last night in a cab to Bahrain at 8:30. Off to the airport. Not knowing that my luggage would be there, or not, but wearing my purple socks with the lime green frogs on them. My lucky socks. My driver spoke very little English. I used the "new" company that is here as the "old" company had no car available. You have to give these men a great deal of credit to come here from whatever third world country they are from and learn to drive in the worst driving conditions anywhere on earth! For the most part all of them do an excellent job. I have no complaints in that regard. I tried to ask the driver if he had been to Bahrain earlier and what the bridge traffic was like. He did not understand me and said, "Bridge busy on Wednesday night and Thursday night." But, of course. Wednesday night is the equivalent of Friday night in the States. Thursday is the same as Saturday night. The bridge was busy. What are all of the cars with Saudi license plates, filled with young Saudi men, doing going over to Bahrain on a Tuesday night? Oh, sure. They are going grocery shopping or to the mall. Wink wink.

It is a constant source of both amusement and aggravation that it is ALWAYS the Saudi side of customs that is backed up. We sat at the bridge for a good half hour or forty-five minutes last night just waiting to get through the Saudi side of Customs into Bahrain. Was it backed up in Bahrain? The same number of cars passed through the Saudi side to the Bahrain side. No. It was NOT backed up on the Bahrain side. Just the Saudi side. Always the Saudi side both directions - going and coming back. Why is that? I have a partial answer to that question. The Saudi workers are all too dayum busy playing with their mobiles - talking and texting - and those mobiles take priority over the job they are supposed to be doing - you know, the job they are being paid to do. You take those mobile phones away from the workers and see how efficient they become! I realize that there isn't a chance of that happening, but that is part of the reason / problem. Again that is just part of the reason / problem. Another part is that women - covered head-to-toe in their black bags - do not want to show their passports to the customs agents at the booths, so they get out of their vehicles to go into Female Inspection while their male drivers - husbands or fathers - wait for them. Another part is that the males in the vehicles do not think they should have to wait in line to pass through the booths so they jump out of their cars and race up to the booth windows on foot to cut in front of those of us still waiting in line to get our passports stamped. The men working at the booths allow this to take place so there is no preventing it or stopping it. They could simply just say, "Get back in your car and wait," but that does not and will not happen. It makes no sense because your car is still in the line - you just don't have to wait as long when your car actually pulls up to the booth and you can race through. I just don't get it. Likely, I never will, either.

Got to the airport in Bahrain just as the plane arrived. Timing. Perfect. Bags were just starting to be unloaded. Ten bags were unloaded and then I saw one of mine. Goody! See? Wearing lucky socks does help! A couple of minutes later my second bag came through. I should be all relieved and happy. I have my stuff. Maybe. Who knows what got removed from my bags in New York? Yes. Of course I have locks on the suitcases, but that only prevents honest people from stealing stuff out of my bags. TSA has removed more than just a few items from our bags in the past. Has to be TSA workers because they are the only ones with the special key that opens TSA approved locks, right? Honest TSA workers? Oh, sure. There are some. But they are government employees, and being a government employee means you are allowed to steal from anyone you want. After all, you're stealing money from taxpayers just by virtue of being employed by the government who has far too many employees already but again, being a government employee also means that being efficient and actually working is out of the question. I digress.

There are my bags. I should be all happy, happy, happy. And I am happy. But not happy, happy, happy. I am unhappy about the frustration and time and effort expended to get bags that never should have been left off of the plane in the first place, and I want an explanation as to why they were NOT put on the plane. I can handle someone saying, "It was our mistake and we are sorry." But as of right now, that has not happened. Oh, and I need to be reimbursed the $125.00 I spent last night taking a cab to and from Bahrain. Don't think I didn't get that in motion last night while I was at the airport. After I collected my bags I went straight to the Qatar office with my receipt for the taxi - including a generous tip - and said, "I need to be reimbursed for this." Khalid at the Qatar office in the airport last night was more helpful than all of the men and women I spoke with yesterday, combined. Except of course for Ahmed who works at Baggage Services. Khalid had me fill out the paperwork and provide my ticket information, copy of my passport and the receipt so that I can be reimbursed for the extra expense and told me that I could not make a claim for any missing items unless the bags were inspected there, at the airport. Fine, then. Get me a porter and we'll go get the bags out of the trunk and we'll inspect them right here, on the floor of your office. And that is exactly what we did.

It was a cursory inspection, there in his office on the floor, but it would appear, so far, that everything made it. Treats and new toys for The Kids! [Always a first priority. They actually know at this point that there are treats and toys in the bags and The Baby helps me unpack with her little nose in my bag as if to say, "Is this mine? How about this?"] I could feel the cold packs without actually taking them out of my bag. They were still cool to the touch. Of course, when I originally put the cold packs in my bags they were three frozen solid blocks. Twenty pounds of bacon and Canadian bacon and sausage. Can you even imagine how rank the bags would have become if they weren't sent over to me as quickly as they were? A new special egg poacher [I have never made a poached egg in my entire life!] for DH so that I can make him Eggs Benedict [I'm giving it a try for the first time when he gets home from work in an hour]. A dozen packages of Knorr Hollandaise sauce. And a dozen packages of English muffins. Oh, sure. Most people probably pack their clothes in their suitcases. Me? No. Other stuff. All the stuff I can't get here. Guess that isn't a hundred percent true. The dozen or so new bras I bought in the States to wear after having had my surgery done were in my suitcases, too. I cannot wear my old ones because they all have underwire in them and underwire is not allowed for at least six months. But, then, I'll never need underwire again which is the reason for getting the lift and "pluff" in the first place! I've been wearing the same sports bra since I left the States on Sunday afternoon... Knew that I was going to need that extra support for such a long trip home, and I did, but that was all I had with me - just the one I had on. Today I have a new, clean lavendar bra on [in honor of wearing my lucky socks last night!]. Okay, okay. Too much information. Way too much information. Other stuff in the bags? Books. Never ever leave the States without buying books. Vanilla. Two huge bottles of it - real vanilla [the kind that actually has alcohol in it instead of the fake stuff that we can get here].

Anyway, after a couple of hours at the airport going between Baggage Services, Customs and the Qatar office my non-English speaking driver and I were on our way home. Still have to go through Saudi Customs though and admittedly I was just a bit nervous with twenty pounds of pork and real Vanilla in my bags. After having the car so thoroughly searched the night before I could only imagine what they were going to do with my suitcases. In some ways, I have to be thankful that Customs - on the Saudi side - was as backed up as it was. They were asking all of the men in their vehicles to get out of their cars and were again doing thorough searches - even the dogs were out - literally - the dogs that are sniffing for contraband - the kind that is pharmacutical or the kind that goes boomboom - no clue. We pull into our spot and Mr. Custom's guy has the driver open the trunk - then he looks in the back seat where I am sitting - and he nods his head - he stamps the driver's "paper," and lets us leave. Yes! See? Once again, it pays to wear your lucky socks!! Did not even have me open a single bag. But then, I do not believe I am very mennacing looking, either. White, blonde American woman. Middle-aged, at that.

So now, all that remains to happen is for me to be reimbursed by Qatar for the cost of taking a taxi cab to and from Bahrain and for them to apologize. It would be nice if they would add - oh, I don't know - a gazillion miles to my account, too. Not holding my breath for that. In the meantime, I'll get back to that mountain of laundry and finish unpacking. There is a great deal more I could add to the frustration that I have to deal with in my day-to-day life - we had gardening and irrigation show up to fix the faucet in the back yard for the thirtieth time - it still isn't fixed and someone else is coming to attempt to fix it at 12:30 today. And, then there is Appuk, the gardener, who, although he does a good job is getting on my last nerve for a variety of reasons. It is just the way it goes. My world... Maybe more on all of that, tomorrow.

Oh, and that special egg poacher I got? It doesn't have a single instruction on it how to actually cook the eggs! What is that all about?! Am I the ONLY one that doesn't have a clue how to make a poached egg? The cooker was made in China. It just figures. Think I'll go practice with it and try to figure out what I'm doing.
Yeah. Wish me some luck on that one... But, I do have my luggage, now. And I made it across the border through Customs without having bacon and other products taken away from me. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SOS Different Day

Like I expected anything to change? No. I guess I didn't. Another maid is dead. How many have to die? Never mind. Rhetorical question, really. Maids are a dime a dozen - whoever sponsored her will just import another one from some third world country. Interesting, though, isn't it, how many maids die fleeing their sponsors? Why on earth would a maid want to do that!

Something's going on, or something happened while I was gone. Last night coming from Bahrain to Saudi the Customs inspection was backed up [shocker!]. Saudi officials were checking everything and everyone. It is the first time I've experienced having them open the spare tire well in the trunk of my cab. Not that I had to worry about them inspecting my luggage since it never got on the plane with me in New York. [Business Class ticket on Qatar! $3,500.00 for a ticket and this is what happens. Yes. I am pissed. Beyond pissed. I am furious. My luggage NEVER even got on the plane? Wonder how many items will mysteriously go missing since it sat in JFK Airport all night/day. And, I wonder how Qatar is going to rectify this situation for me.] So, Customs officials thoroughly checked the cab I was in, including the side panels of the car. What, exactly, are they looking for? Do they think I am stupid? Blonde, yes. But not stupid. There is not a chance I would risk smuggling booze in, or any other contraband for that matter. I can only imagine that that is what they were looking for since they did such a thorough search. I mean, come on, it isn't like I'm going to try to smuggle a firearm in or something like that. I wouldn't even know where to get one on this side of the world. Whatever. But clearly someone has been caught bringing something in or they wouldn't be searching like they are searching.

Let's just call a spade a spade, shall we? Misyar marriage is nothing other than legalized prostitution. Social necessity? No. I don't think so. Pluheeze. Because there are so many spinsters? Gimme a break. How many spinsters can there possibly be when every man is entitled to four wives?

Yep. Same old same old same old. You'd think I would have a better attitude after just spending almost a month in the States getting it adjusted. I don't. Have to say that I was very, very, very happy to see my Kids and DH, though. And to sleep in my own bed again. Will be busy today doing laundy and cleaning up around here. DH did one load of darks while I was gone and there is a mountain of laundry to be done. I do mean a mountain! Off I go to get started on that. Pain in the butt is what it is because I have to fill the washer by hand with a big pitcher. 18 pitchers, per load. Twice. So it is really 36 pitchers, per load. First to wash, then to rinse. Just one of those little things that I didn't miss at all while I was home because I didn't have to worry about the salt water destroying my clothes. Here in The Sandbox we have salt water. There is one tap in the kitchen that has what is called "sweet" water [desalinated] and it is what we use for drinking water and it is the same tap that goes into the dishwasher, supposedly, so we have dishes that aren't washed in undrinkable water which is a good thing. It is also the same tap that I have to use to wash my hair and to brush my teeth. Just another one of those things that I didn't even think about once while I was gone and just another one of those little annoyances which are a part of my daily life here. Ahh. Welcome home!

I'm Home. More later.

Depending on whether or not Qatar finds my luggage... Not a "happy camper" right now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Champps. Last lunch out. Don't even bother ordering the Reuben sandwich.

One of my favorite lunch spots when we go to Triangle Town Center or Streets of Southpoint mall is Champps. I order the same thing. Always. Have to tell you, though, that two - not so great - experiences at Champps [the one in Raleigh, not the one in Durham] has left a bad taste in my mouth. Yesterday we went to Triangle Town Center. We. Me, my Mom and a friend of my Mom's, Daisy. It is the last lunch I will eat out while I am here. I leave for the Sandbox in a few short hours and will not be home again until fall when Baby is born.

How it is that Mom's friend, Daisy, accompanies us is that my Mom - bless her heart - does a good deal of transporting many of her elderly neighbors back and forth to doctor's visits and grocery stores and other miscellaneous errand running. She is such a dear sweet woman, my Mother! There are a couple of neighbors that do not drive and Mom does what she can [over and above, if you ask me, but it is none of my business] to make their lives easier. If there are taxi cabs near where Mom lives, and there probably are, I've not seen them. Forget the fact that even if there were taxi cabs that it would cost some of these elderly neighbors on fixed incomes an arm and a leg to take a cab back and forth to doctor's offices and do errand running. The neighbors are blessed with the presence of such a wonderful woman, my Mom, who generously does this for them.

Before getting to lunch yesterday, let me back up a bit...

Last August when we were home we - me, Mom and Daisy - went to the Raleigh Champps for lunch after Mom took Daisy to a doctor appointment. Doctor's office first, then lunch, then some shopping... What a lovely girls' day out, right? Daisy does not get out much. She is an elderly woman whose husband died a year after Dad. [It is three years today, that my Dad passed away.] I do believe Daisy was quite sheltered when she was married - it is pretty obvious that she didn't get out much. That is a whole other story, though. Going out to lunch at a sit down restaurant instead of a drive-thru or a buffet was going to be a special treat for Daisy. We walked into Champps and Daisy was in awe. "Oh, this is so nice." That was before she even looked at the menu.

Daisy is a smoker. I was a smoker. We sat in the bar area, which, until January 1st of this year when a blanket no smoking in North Carolina anywhere policy went into effect, is where smokers were allowed to smoke. The three of us gals, out for a nice lunch before an afternoon of shopping. Why Champps? I like the food. I knew I could have a cigarette and a drink there - and I knew I'd be ordering a frozen Mudslide to be served with my meatless Patty Melt. While I am in the States, I don't go anywhere for lunch where I cannot order a drink. I can drink all the Diet Coke and water that I want when I'm home in the Sandbox.

We sit down. Daisy is looking at the menu. She doesn't have a clue what she should order. I know what I want and Mom knows what she wants. We order. I order a meatless patty melt [which is basically a grilled cheese sandwich with onions on dark Russian rye bread]. Mom orders a Reuben. Daisy decides she will have what Mom is having and she orders a Reuben. Service is fine. No complaints at all about the service. Mom orders her usual - hot tea. I order a vodka and club soda with no fruit - and ask for the frozen Mudslide WITH my sandwich. Daisy ordered coffee. Champps is a sports bar and here are two women ordering a cup of tea and a cup of coffee. No matter. They are prepared. Again, no problem with the service. It is when the food is served that the problem starts.

A patty melt without the meat. What was served to me was two lukewarm pieces of dark Russian rye bread with a slice of unmelted American cheese and a slice of unmelted Swiss cheese and some raw onion. What?!! Is that how you would serve a patty melt with the meat? I don't think so. The server - who also happened to be the bartender that day - comes to check our table. I have to send my sandwich back. I want a GRILLED CHEESE with sauteed onions - just like a patty melt - but with no burger. I have no idea why someone in the kitchen thought a cold cheese sandwich with raw versus sauteed onions was going to be acceptable. No problem though, I'll get a new sandwich - or at least a sandwich that is prepared like I anticipated it would be.

Mere seconds later, Mom opens her sandwich - the Reuben - and says, "They forgot the Thousand Island dressing and this is cold." She is right. The Swiss cheese on her sandwich isn't melted, the sauerkraut is cold, the meat is cold.
I tell her I'll send it back. Mom does not like that kind of "fuss," she wants to eat it anyway. Daisy looks at her sandwich and says, "Yeah, me too." Nope. Not going to happen. I'm not going to let Mom and Daisy eat cold sandwiches that are only partially prepared - when you forget a MAIN ingredient, the Thousand Island dressing, the sandwich is only partially prepared. I call the server back over and explain the problem about the Reuben sandwiches. They are sent back to the kitchen to be redone. In the meantime, my sandwich is done and served to me. Now, I have to either eat in front of my Mom and Daisy or I have to wait for their food to be redone and served and let my sandwich go cold. No biggie. Mom and Daisy both say, "Go ahead. You eat that while it is still hot." A couple of minutes later Mom and Daisy get their plates.

It was just after that that the manager comes over to us to find out what the problems have been with our food. He is very nice and I politely explain what has gone wrong with everything we have ordered. I offer to go to the kitchen to show the cook how a Reuben is made. The manager kindly announces that lunch is on him. He takes our food items off of our bill. That is NOT what we asked for. After all, everything was taken care of even though it all had to be sent back. Daisy is still ooohing and awwing over the restaurant and says, "I'm going to have my daughter bring me here for my birthday dinner." The manager only hears part of her statement and believes we are there for her birthday and moments after our plates from our lunch have been cleared away there is this big huge strawberry shortcake kind of dessert served with ice cream and a candle and three spoons. Dessert is "on the house." How nice! Cannot complain about how we were all treated and how our situation was resolved with cold food being served. You know, had the restaurant been busy, I might have understood. But it was just after "lunch rush hour" and the restaurant was not busy. Cold food? Unacceptable.

So, yesterday. Again, the three of us - me, Mom and Daisy - went to Champps for lunch after one of Daisy's doctor appointments. We order almost the identical order we placed in August of last year. I order a vodka and club soda to start, with my frozen Mudslide to be served with my sandwich. Mom orders tea and Daisy orders coffee. A minute later our server, Nikki, comes back and says, I am sorry but we do not have any tea bags. No biggie. Mom carries her own tea bags in her purse for just such emergencies. Now Mom only needs some boiling water. Daisy who is fussy needs more cream for her coffee. I'm guessing at that point Nikki is thinking, "Why did this table of three women have to be my table?" Mom has to send her tea water back to be microwaved so it is hot - tepid is not the right temperature for tea. Daisy gets her additional cream... I'm already feeling sorry that Nikki has our table, and mention it to Mom under my breath [Nikki doesn't know that I make sure to treat servers well at the end of any meal].

My sandwich comes. It is perfect. Grilled cheese with sauteed onions on dark Russian rye bread. Mom's sandwich comes. It is cold. Cold sauerkraut. Cold meat. Barely even grilled - the bread - unmelted cheese. Ditto for Daisy. I tell Mom to send her sandwich back. She, being the one to not fuss, said, "No. I'll just eat it." Daisy does fuss. She sent hers back. Nikki apologizes profusely. It is not her fault. It is the fault of the staff in the kitchen. Who comes to the table only seconds after we sent Daisy's sandwich back and complained that Mom's was cold? The manager. Same manager from last year. I relay the sandwich dilemma to him and explain how a Reuben is supposed to be prepared. I tell him that I come to Champps once or twice a year and how last year we had the very same problem. He remembers us! John, his name is, said, "I remember you. You sat over there [and he points to the direction where we had, in fact, sat during our prior visit]. It was less than a year ago you were here." He is correct. It has been eight months. Great memory!

John apologizes for the sandwiches which were improperly prepared and offers to redo them or to let Mom and Daisy order something else. Daisy is fine with hers being microwaved so it is hot. Mom says, "No. It will be okay. I've already started eating it." Fine, Mom. Eat that cold Ruben sandwich. It is no big deal, really. I explain to John that with two visits in a row where the same problem was experienced that we might think twice before returning to Champps next time we go to Triangle Town Center [which won't be until this fall]. John is understanding and says, "You will not be charged for those sandwiches." I hope he does not think this is some ploy we use to get free food. Like I said, my sandwich was prepared perfectly and served on grilled bread with melted cheese and sauteed onions. I have no complaints. The Rubens are, obviously, the problem. Seconds from finishing our sandwiches, Nikki comes back to our table and says, "We have a new dessert. An apple caramel tart which we would like to give you, on the house." Neither Mom nor I are interested in dessert, and certainly we are not looking for "on the house." Daisy? She says, "That sounds really good. I'll have it." Amazingly enough, she ate the whole thing! It was huge.

We pay our checks. My bill is $27.00 for my sandwich, two vodkas and one Mudslide. I leave a 40% tip. Mom's check is $5.00. She leaves an equal amount for the tip. Daisy's bill is $7.00 and she leaves a 40% tip. Our server, Nikki, who probably figured when she started having issues - our issues - at our table that she was only going to end up with a bare minimum for her part in getting us our lunch, I hope, was pleasantly surprised. Again, it isn't about the money. Nor was it about the service. Service at Champps has never been an issue. It is about the sandwiches. You have a Reuben on the menu, it says it comes with Thousand Island dressing and it gets omitted? Wrong. You say it is a traditional Reuben on dark Russian rye bread but no where does it say it is served cold! And, by the way, a traditional Reuben is supposed to be a hot sandwich.

My complaint is not with Champps in general. Very good service. Excellent managerial assistance when something is not right. My complaint is that Champps does not know how to make a Reuben sandwich so either take it off the menu or have your cooks actually learn how to make one. Until they can do so, I would suggest ordering something else. Someone please tell me that we are NOT the only ones to have this happen with Reuben sandwiches at Champps...

The last lunch out before I get on a plane and fly home. Oh, and by the way, thanks alot you phukktard from Qatar who thought his diplomatic status allowed him to smoke on an airplane and then joke about trying to light his shoes on fire. It won't be long until we are all strip searched and NOT allowed to have any luggage at all. Interesting that one particular group has decided to make an already awful situation - getting on an airplane - all but intolerable. Is that group being held responsible? Of course not. Typical, though. Just typical.

See everyone in a day or so where I will be back to blogging from the sunny, warm Sandbox!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Almost Up...

Yet again, my time at home has flown by. It always does. I see the doctor one more time this week, then I get on a plane and head back to the Sandbox. I'm ready, though. I miss my DH and my Kids. I've shopped and stimulated the economy in N.C. I have enjoyed all the things I can't have... Bailey's in my morning coffee. Bloody Mary's in the afternoon with cottage cheese and Pringles. A bottle of Sterling Cabernet every night. Ham for dinner. King crab legs. Scallops. BLT's. Yum! In less than a week I'll be home and will not be able to have any of those things until we return in the summer. I will, of course, come back for the birth of Caylee [Cohen?] [the names keep changing]. Not a chance I will miss that. There is a possibility that I will find out the sex of Baby this week. Then I can really do some stimulating of the economy!

Back to regular blogging soon. Sigh. Heavy sigh... Not about the blogging, but about leaving...

Monday, March 29, 2010

He screws up everything!

Plans to go to Charlotte this week to see my DS. And, to meet for the first time his current girlfriend [wife-to-be] and mother of my first Grandchild! Guess who is going to be in Charlotte that day? Yep. The jugearedjackass. He's going to talk about jobs. Can't he do that from the Oval Office? Nope. Instead he is going to make traffic miserable and screw up everything for me on Thursday. Every single day when I don't think I can possibly muster up any more hatred he makes it possible!!!
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