Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cast Away (spoiler everyone) & Stuff

Last night, while waiting to go to dinner w/ some friends, I caught ... for like the 20th time - no joke - the movie Cast Away. I absolutely love this movie. I could prob watch it another 20 and not get bored. There are just some movies like that... there are others that I feel this way about, but this is one of the biggest ones for me.

I think one thing that gets me every time in this movie is the scene right before the plane is about to crash into the water, and his character is standing in the plane, holding on to those straps.... and it's at that moment that he sees the Pacific coming right at him and boom... they've crashed. Then you see him underwater w/ the life boat and it gets snagged going up, then breaks and he breaks the surface only to be heading towards one of the plane's engines - which is on fire. For anyone that's afraid of flying - like myself - this all is pretty terrifying. Every time I see it, I clinch my fists and wait for the impact. Always thinking about what I'd do if in that situation... last night was no exception.

Tom Hanks is sooo great in this movie. I love everything about it. I especially like when he starts finding all the Fed Ex packages, he opens them and starts using the various presents/gifts and such to help him on the island. One thing that makes me grimace is when he's trying to make fire and breaks that stick on his hand.... uuuhhhh! The pain of it! Then he picks up the soccer ball and throws it... causing a blood stain on the ball. This is when we are introduced to Wilson. I love Wilson. I cried when Wilson got lost at sea... seeing Tom Hank's character there on his raft, crying out his soul for all the years he's been lost on that island and now... to lose Wilson... it broke my heart. It breaks it every time I see it and last night it did the same. Again, I started crying. I weeped w/ him... I mourned Wilson. I can hear him saying, "I'm sorry Wilson"... while he cries and cries. It was so sad.

I loved how he talked to Wilson... the relationship he built with the ball and how it helped his character to survive all those years. What a great story... I think it would greatly help one's mental state to have such a inanimate object to talk to... one would need that to survive... I know I would. I have a little Wilson sitting on my desk here at work. My younger Sis, Jahooni, gave it to me before I moved to Bahrain. You can put in on the top of a pencil if you wan't, but I leave it sitting next to my monitor. I love that little ball. It looks just like Wilson from the movie. I adore it. Not a lot of ppl know Wilson... more should.

I also love the scene when Tom Hank's character makes fire. When he's dancing around and singing "Light My Fire" and burns his hand and is happy about it. It's really great.... shows just how much we take for granted in life... or at least for me it does.

I struggle along w/ his character in this movie... I applaud him, I encourage him, I stand by him. I cry for him when he gets saved, goes back and the love of his life is married with a baby girl. She looked for him ... knew he wasn't dead, but was encouraged to move on... so she did. And it breaks her heart to see him again... to lose him all over again....

I also loved the scene when he's on the raft and has given up on life... and the whale, who has been swimming along w/ him for prob some hundred odd miles, possibly, wakes him up by blowing water on him... so that he can awaken to see that a ship is passing. What a great moment. Even when he's on the raft and is out in the dead of night in the middle of the ocean somewhere and the whale surfaces and comes up beside him to get a look and his character just stares at the whale... what a profound moment.

aaahhhhh.... this is one of my all time favorite movies. I really enjoy everything that Tom Hanks does. I've loved him since he was on Bosom Buddies... which was a TV sitcom he did years ago. He and his friend dressed up like women so that they could get cheap rent in an apt. bldg. that was leased to women only. It was cute and funny..... I also loved him in Big - another movie that I enjoy... altho I don't watch it often. I also really enjoy when he's paired w/ Meg Ryan... one of my all time favorite actresses.

If you've never taken the time to watch Cast Away... I highly recommend it.

It's Wednesday... which is my Friday, so tomorrow starts the weekend. We were supposed to have our dryer installed but the plumber has cancelled on us yet again. I'm bummed. I was really looking forward to doing some laundry - I have TONS to do - and drying some clothes. I love the smell of clothes from the dryer... after having been tossed around w/ Snuggle! I don't know when we're going to find a plumber that can hook this baby up... I'm more than ready.

We don't have a lot planned this weekend. Ali Al Saeed is coming to the studio this afternoon and tomorrow to start recording his book of short stories, called Moments. I think this will be a week long process if not longer. I can't wait to hear it. Ali is a great writer and I've read his book, QuixotiQ - which was a really great ride (I highly recommend it) - and I've read several of his short stories, which I also loved, so... I'm sure Moments will be great. I can't wait. Then, on July 1st, the book launch for Models of Success is happening and my hubby's music will be played for the launch.

Oh yeah, for those of you who don't really know my husband or about him, he's a musician/composer/producer in his off time - after working hours. He'd love to do it full-time and, hopefully, one day, he'll be able to do just that. But, if you're interested in hearing some of his music, go to Alfanan's Radio and you can hear some of it there. He's also at garageband for any of you who might be interested. And... I'll do a plug for myself here... I sing on the song Far Away, which you'll find there... in case you wanna get a taste of the beautiful music we make together! ;)

anyway... have a great weekend everybody....

Peace Out!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

29 Things About Me

Olivia, over at Olivia's London Dispatches, had a cool entry in her blog (she has a great blog, btw) where she listed 29 things about herself, and since I loved it... I thought it would be fun to do the same about myself. And since I'm bored at work ... actually I have nothing to do, so why not waste some time. ;)

Was thinking about things last night and wondering what I'd list, so here goes my try at it. Things are in no particular order... I'm just gonna put them down as they come to mind.... and I'll probably think of tons more stuff that I like better after posting this... but... here it goes.

1. When I was little, prob 7 or 8 or something, I used to believe my barbie dolls came to life at night after I went to sleep. I'd put them in their barbie corvette and sit it in a particular spot in my room then in the morning when I got up, I'd check everything to see if it had moved and, more often than not, I believed they had. I told no one.

2. I hate to touch raw meat. I can't tear it apart and I hate to stick my hand into meat - like turkeys - to clean the insides - refuse to do it. It really grosses me out, plus I'm really weird about germs.

3. I hate killing anything. I feel sorry for ants whenever I've sprayed them w/ Raid - so I usually don't (even tho they're really bad here) - and, usually, if I use it, I'll step on them to put 'em out of their misery. My husband laughs at me... but I hate seeing them squirm around on the floor after spraying the Raid.

4. I used to imitate Mae West when I was little. My SIL, Ruthie, would tape me on the recorder... I wish I had those tapes.

5. I wanted to be a movie star when I was a young girl. I'd watch all the 1930's, 40's and 50's movies and musicals, and would hope for the day that I'd be able to sing like them. That day never came :(

6. I was in love with Elvis Presley. I cried, mourned and locked myself in my room for days after he died. I remember my brother telling me that he was a drug addict and died of a drug overdose and I got so angry w/ him. I refused to talk to my brother for weeks after that. I couldn't believe he'd say such a thing... and, come to find out, it was the truth! I still love Elvis. We went to his house when we were in Memphis several years back. Me and the hubby wrote on the wall... I'll never forget it. I have a huge poster of him but I think I'll have to sneak to put it up... and lots of magnets on the fridge. Man, was he handsome of what!! Ok, in his younger days...

7. I collect magnets and have one from every place me and hubby have been. Every time I look at them on the fridge, it brings up great memories. I'd have to say the one from Vegas is my favorite... it's a martini glass w/ three cards in it... very cute and different.

8. I'm pretty shy and it's gotten worse since living in Bahrain. When I'm w/ large groups of ppl that I don't know, I don't talk usually, unless I have to. If I only know a few ppl and am in a large group or at a party, I tend to stay around and talk only to the ppl that I know. Sometimes the shyness is pretty intense and I refuse to go to events or out to strange or new places... but I'm working on it.

9. When I was in kindergarten or first grade, my babysitter pretty much kidnapped me. She had seen an ad we placed about our missing cat - actually brought the cat to us - and then my mother hired her to babysit for me during the week. One day she took me out of school and took me home w/ her. She didn't tell my mother, had lied about where she lived, and it took several days for my mother to find me. She was a weird woman. I don't remember a lot about it other than sitting on these steps at her house and laying on the bed, watching TV... and she had some man who visited her quite often. I can see flashes in my head but I don't remember a lot of the specifics. After the police got involved, they found out where she was living, which was about 3 blocks from our house. When the police went to her house - w/ my mother - the lady swore she didn't have me. Not sure if they got a search warrant or what, but they were finally able to get me. I remember that night... it was dark outside and I can remember running to my mother.

10. I hate going to the movies. I'd much rather rent it on DVD and watch it at home. I didn't used to be like this but over the years, it's gotten a lot worse. I get bored and prefer to be able to stop the movie if I don't like it or get up and do something else if I so choose.

11. I love the pump hand soap from Bath & Body Works. They have a new foaming kind that is just splendid. My younger sis gave me some for Christmas and I love them. I love all of their products... too bad there isn't one here!

12. I love to cook and try new recipes. I tried making some Indian dishes a while back and I must say, they were really quite good. I also love to make sweets/deserts. I especially love cup cakes! altho they're really easy... ok ok, I love deserts! :)

hmmm.... I'm having a hard time now... (Olivia, this is hard!)

13. I love cheese and would love to go to France for the cheese. Well, not only that, but... you know what I mean. I can make meals out of cheese and crackers w/ fruit and wine. ummmmm... so so good. gosh, that sounds good right about now! ;)

14. I'm not crazy about Arabic food, but I do love hummus, foul, falafel, grape leaves, baba ghanooj (eggplant dip), labna, biryani w/ chicken... and I LOVE certain Egyptian foods like kishk, um ali (yummmm), and I love the way Egyptians make breakfast and all the different things they serve. It's soooo good. You can get some of the best bread there w/ all different kinds of cheese (see.... I love cheese!).

15. I really miss the U.S. on days and wish we lived there, but I love my husband more and am willing to live here for him. Altho, one day, I hope we'll move back. But living is a whole lot easier to do in this part of the world... believe it or not... well, at least in regards to some things it is.

16. I'm scared of scary/horror movies. I refuse to watch anything that has to do w/ the devil... just don't like it. Sometimes after watching something scary, I can't go to the bathroom or any place in the house by myself if it's dark! My husband LOVES scary movies and insists on watching them.... and then loves to scare me! He's a brat. But hey, I guess this is my payback for scaring little kids. I'd dress up like monsters on Halloween and scare the life out of them... gosh... I really loved doing that. This is obviously my pay back!

17. I've dissected all sorts of animals, including piglets and even owl throw-up - which was actually pretty cool. When I was in high school, the class got mad at the teacher and we all took pieces of our piglets that we had been dissecting for weeks and put it up in the a/c vents.... I wonder what that smelled like after months of sitting there?! It was at the end of school, so I'm sure the janitor is the one that found it.

18. I'd love to work with animals - it's a dream job of mine. I'm talking about big cats (like tigers, cheetahs, lions and such), and training dolphins would be the best job I could imagine having. And wolves... I'd love to work with wolves. Working at a zoo would be a great job.... I'd start from the bottom up, shoveling poo... I'd get my whole body dirty if it meant that I could eventually move into a position such as that. Or... have a huge animal farm... that would be very cool.

19. I love watching the Amazing Race. It would be so great to be able to have an adventure like that... I think it's a great way to tackle so many fears that we deal w/ daily.

20. I hate germs and have a fear of things spoiling. I'm sorta a clean freak because of it. I insist on anybody who touches raw meat to wash their hands immediately if they're in the kitchen w/ me and I don't like to leave anything sitting out... ppl leave things sitting out here, especially meat. I don't. I think it's sooo easy to get sick from something like that.

21. I bite or pick at the skin around my nails. It's a nervous habit that I've broken a few times but I still keep coming back to it. I have a few smooth stones that I carry to keep myself from doing it, but sometimes I don't think about getting them out.

22. I love to draw w/ charcoal but I don't do it as often as I'd like. I also love to paint but I get aggravated w/ myself because I go thru stages of liking what I'm painting and then not liking it or I become somewhat of a perfectionist w/ it, so it tends to take me a long time to finish something once I've started. Wasn't like this when I was younger, but the older I get, the worse it becomes.

23. I love yoga. Used to practice all the time but haven't in months. It really relaxes me and gives me a lot of eternal peace.

24. I like going to the gym but can't find one that I like here. I'll have to admit that most of the girls that I meet at the gym here, I don't like. So, it's easier for me to walk on the treadmill at home. I like going to the gym tho cuz of the free weights... maybe once summer is finished, some of those girls won't frequent the place as much or... I'll buy some free weights for home. That's an idea!

25. I love to burn candles in the house. I have all kinds and will burn them in all the rooms. I only like the kind that are highly scented... to me, there's nothing better than walking thru the house and smelling all of these fresh, sweet scents. It brings such a calmness over me.

26. I love mexican food. Mainly tex-mex and one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas is Chuy's. There's also a place in Deep Ellum that has the best mexican/latino food... and the best margaritas... oh I miss Dallas! And then there's a really good place over off of the M streets... can't remember the name of that street... gosh, how quickly one forgets.

27. I love to be pampered and love massages, facials especially, foot massages and morrocan baths! Never had a morrocan bath until I came here... they're great! This weather dries out my skin a lot so they are really good at taking the layers of dry skin off. If you haven't had one, do indulge! I will say tho, the more expensive places do the best ones. I've tried these small little shops and they aren't good.

28. I've traveled to some great places including Jamaica, Hawaii, Barbados, Mexico, and London, several states in the U.S. including Florida, George, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, Arizona, Arkansas, but would love to see tons of others.

29. I want to see Paris, Germany, Italy, Greece, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Russia and Australia... to name a few. I'd also love to go on safari in Africa... that would be great. I've talked to a few ppl who've done this and they say it's the most amazing thing they've ever done... I want to do this bad.

ok... this is it. took me a while but it was fun. i'll prob think of tons of other things later and wish i had put one thing rather than something else... but oh well.

Would you allow it??

This morn. on the way to work, me and the hubby were talking about the differences between girls and guys traveling by themselves or, actually, with another friend. Which is safer and would we allow such from our own daughter or son.

First, let me give you a little background. My boss' daughter and a friend of hers - they're both in their early 20s - will be traveling/backpacking through Greece in July - next month. Just the two of them.

So, this morn. I was thinking about it and asked my husband if he'd allow our daughter, when and if we have one, to travel/backpack w/ a girlfriend through Greece or Europe. He immediately said no. Then I asked him if it was a boy would he allow it. He laughed a little and said yes. This is when I took the offensive and said it wasn't fair because boys can get into even more trouble than girls. Which is true, I think, w/ some guys.

He then started explaining how dangerous it is for girls to travel and that boys are probably less likely to be hassled or pick-pocketed or even worse - raped. I agreed. And then he reminded me of that girl, Natalee Holloway (an American), who went to Aruba w/ her graduating class and came up missing. They have yet to find her. She apparently met some guys there and left w/ them late one night after partying at a club and that's the last anyone saw of her.

Her mother has been to Aruba many times, the case is still being investigated (and this happened over a year ago), no one has been charged - altho they have suspects - but the thing is, they can't find the body. They have video footage of her talking to a few guys, but no one can give any details. One of the guys is the son of a diplomat and they highly suspected him in the beginning - not sure if they still do, but he swears he had nothing to do w/ it. He said, as well as a few of his friends, that they all went to the beach and she insisted that they leave her there. A few other guys stated that they took her back to her hotel and dropped her off, but there's no evidence supporting this.

Did she get swallowed into the sex trade? Which from various news programs I've watched, this is something that happens more than ppl would like to think or was she murdered?! They've had psyhics on the case and, if I'm not mistaken, they have said they believe she's dead.... I think.

Anyway, I found that - even though I didn't want to in the beginning - that I agreed w/ my husband. I think that I would feel better if a daughter were traveling w/ several girls, instead of just one, but even then I think I'd still worry a lot and probably not allow it. I hate to say that because you wan't to show your child love and trust, but how far does that go? In the States, you're pretty much an adult by the age of 18... you can vote and make your own decisions, move out on your own, join the military, start working, go off to college, and so on. In this part of the world, it's different - for girls especially.

I graduated when I was 17 yrs old. I got my own apt., started working full-time at what used to be Republic Bank and started going to college. I didn't have a car and took the bus everywhere. I had a little efficiency apt., I put in a security alarm on the windows cuz I lived on the first floor, and even got myself a gun - if you can believe it. It was a small gun but when I think back on it, I can't believe I had it. I used to have nightmares about using that gun, but I never had to - thank God. All I knew is that I didn't want to live w/ my older brother - he was a nightmare - so living by myself was the best thing for me. Here, in this part of the world, you don't find girls out on their own.... it's just not done.

In the past, I would have probably been all up in arms against my husband and argued about why he wouldn't allow such an adventure for a daugther, but now.... I see his point. I'm sorta surprised that my boss is allowing this BUT the more I think about it, there's also something else that sticks out in my mind that many may disagree with and that is ..... I think Arab girls can travel more easily through Europe than others. For one, many are fluent in a variety of languages which makes traveling easier and two, these girls tend to be of a different caliber and it shows... or maybe I'm just an outsider looking in and I see things differently.... but this is the way it seems to me in a lot of cases. Now, I'm not talking about all Arab girls - because not all are like this - but a large majority are. They seem to have a thickness of skin that many Western girls don't have, and they're raised differently and have different values... and that makes a world of difference when traveling or even being out on your own. They're not out there meeting up w/ all the single guys, partying til the wee hours of the morning and drinking or drugging like many in other parts of the world.

I don't know... I go back and forth with this... and wonder how I'd be if it happened to me. I know that I didn't have the chance to travel through Europe in my 20's but I always wanted to. I know I wouldn't have been stupid or careless if I had, but would that matter? A girl that I used to work with backpacked through Europe w/ her boyfriend and they didn't have any trouble. They stayed at hostels and loved every minute of it. I've traveled w/ girlfriends and have never had a problem, but it was always several girls, not just one. Nowadays, I think it's more dangerous... for some.

Monday, June 26, 2006

No Ted Koppel :(

Well, we found out yesterday that Ted Koppel's schedule changed and he wouldn't be coming. I was so excited w/ the thought of meeting him and feel somewhat bummed about it, but, hopefully, if the need arises in the furture, they'll again decide on the studio and we'll have the great pleasure of meeting him. I did find out from his editor that it had nothing to do w/ our studio... just a schedule change... which was really good to hear.

I was really sorta shocked that they had chosen our studio, but very thrilled. We have the set-up but since we're smaller, it was a complete surprise.

Maybe this is the first of what's to come....

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ted Koppel - Coming to our studio!!!!

This morning I found out that Ted Koppel, a huge American journalist and former anchorman for ABC's Nightline will be coming to our studio tomorrow evening to record for a public radio station in the United States. He was with ABC for 42 years and stepped down from his position with Nightline in November 2005. Following Nightline, Mr. Koppel has taken on a number of roles which span various formats of news media.

He has recently been courted by Al Jazeera to work for their 24-hour English language service that they plan to launch this year.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled beyond belief. I can hardly believe it. I'm sick... want to throw up! ;) First, I really love journalism and this guy is great! I can't wait to meet him, and I'm so excited that our studio - and my husband - will be doing the recording for the story that he's doing on Bahrain.... makes me really wonder what the story will be about. We have no information on that at this time....

This is sooooo exciting!!!!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

This is Henry

I introduce to you, Henry, our Indian Rose-ringed Parakeet. He's one of our sweet birds. He's the biggest of our parakeets. We got Henry about a year 1/2 ago. I've posted in the past about Henry and his partner, Fonda, whom we lost about 3 mths ago. Henry had a tough time after first losing Fonda, but I'm happy to say that he seems to be getting along quite well now.

He's taken up to mimicing the other three birds and has gotten so good at it that I can no longer tell if he's talking or if it's Stedman, one of our other males. Henry does all of the same calls and even adds on his own little endings and extras. Before, when his partner, Fonda, was still with us, he hardly talked at all. He'd scream a lot when he wanted out of his cage, but he'd never talk. Now, he says all kinds of things, including "hey Oprah", "hello", "pretty bird", and he mumbles a lot which, to me, sounds like he's trying to mimic what I've said.... which is adorable to listen to. It's soooo sweet and cute. You wouldn't imagine... unless, you've had birds and they've done the same. He makes me laugh and really has a way of pulling on my heart strings. I love 'em so much.

He loves green chilis, cherries, apples, bread, and these little dried things that come in the food that we get... they have all of these seeds inside. He takes them as quick as he can from me and will eat every last piece of it. He also loves pumpkin seeds and peanuts. He also loves dried red peppers... he'll crack them open to expose the seeds inside and then ever so gently will take out the seeds w/ his tongue and break them apart inside of his beak. I love to watch him eat. He takes food from my fingers and has never tried to bite me. He never ceases to take food from me but if he's not interested, he'll let whatever it is immediately fall to the ground. He's picky that way.

He loves showers which I give to him courtesy of a water spritzer/old glass cleaner bottle. He'll open his wings when I'm showering him and turn around so that I can get his back feathers. I talk to him softly as I do it... he seems to love it. I tell him how sweet he is all the time... I think it helps to calm him and make 'em happy. He is sweet though.... I'd love to give him sugars... but he'd never allow it! ;)

After Fonda got out and never came back, I didn't think Henry would make it alone. He screamed for days on end and seemed very depressed. But after a few weeks of individual attention, he came out of his shell. He talks so much now that I can hardly believe it. I talk to him a lot and introduce new words to him and new whistles - he's picked up most of the whistles. The words... well, we're still working on words and prob always will. He's very stubborn and only says what he wants. Sometimes, he'll surprise me and say something that I've said out of the blue and that's when I realize that he does listen... more than I thought.

He's still very shy and won't allow me to pick him up, altho I'd love to. He has the softest feathers that I've ever felt. He also has the sweetest eyes and looks right at me when I call to him. He'll whistle and look at me to see if I'm watching him... it's so cute. I put a mirror in his cage after we lost Fonda and he started talking to it and sleeping by it... now... he's just tearing up the wood around the mirror, but that's ok because I know he's better. We'd still love to get him a mate but, as of yet, we haven't found one. We told the guy that brought him to us about Fonda and he said he'd look for another but there's been no luck so far.

We cleaned his cage today and he was soooo good. He was a little nervous but he didn't fly out or act crazy like we thought he might. He came out, finally, after we were finished and sat on top of his cage for a bit... and then when it was time to take him back, he went back in w/out a problem. I was so happy and really felt like he is at ease and at home now. At least that's what I hope.... I'm just really glad that he feels better now.

I still think about Fonda... his mate. I wonder about her... wonder if she's ok. Hope that she is. She was such a shy bird. I also get mad when I think about it because the housemaid is the one that came and got us to tell us that she was gone. Now, I wonder if she had something to do w/ it. After seeing how much she lied... and since the FIRST words out of her mouth that morning were "mu ana" (not me), I wonder. She liked to do things to the birds. They were all terrified of her, but she'd pretend and tell me how much they loved her, and how much Henry talked to her, but I found it interesting how he wasn't comfortable around her when I was in the room w/ her. One of our other birds tried to attack her any time she'd get close to their cage. When we left for vacation, we put a camera in the room to watch her w/ the birds, and she knew it. We know because she told the guy who was watching our house and wanted to know if we had cameras set up everywhere or if they were on the computers... I knew she was a lot smarter than ppl thought!

I just hope that Fonda is living a happy life.... free from the cage that bound her.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ladies' handbag stollen

Read today in the GDN that a teacher's purse/hand bag was taken from her in the parking lot of the Al Jazeera grocery store!! In broad daylight. I believe it happened around 1:59 p.m. I can't get over it. I go to this grocery store all the time. Her boyfriend was also w/ her and it didn't stop the guys.

There were three or four guys in the car. They drove by her real slow and grabbed it off of her person. She said she thought that the purse had gotten caught onto their miror but then realized they were taking it. She fell to the ground and now has cuts and bruises on her legs and such.

What gets me is that Al Jazeera told her that they have three security guards patrolling the area. I go there all the time and I've NEVER seen security guards there. Never. I'd bet when I go today that I'll see some in the parking lot... I betcha anything. And... like my husband says, that'll prob last for a few wks and then you won't see anyone around.

I guess this is one reason why I'm big on wearing long strappy shoulder purses that I can put over my head that cross my body. No one can steal your purse then. This is something you do when living in a big city..... there are thieves everywhere. Someone would have to knock me down and personally take it off of me if they were gonna steal it. The thing w/ most of the fashionable purses/bags as of late is that they barely hang on your shoulder. So many times when I'm out, if I'm carrying a bag like that, I'm always having to put the purse back up on my shoulder because it's always falling off.

Whenever I go there from now on, I'll make sure to wear one of the purses that go over my body. I'm almost starting to believe it's a good idea to take these purses everywhere. Nowadays, even here, you can't be sure that something isn't going to happen. Sad... isn't it?

I think these guys are starting to get very brave. Here they do this in the middle of the day. Sadly though, neither the girl or her boyfriend can remember what the car looked like and they didn't get the registration number. This is the bad thing about something scary like this happening... it's hard to think and be clear headed, and before you know it, the assailants are gone.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Homeless Man

Lastnight, as my husband and I drove to dinner, we pulled up to the light across the street from DHL and I could hardly believe what I saw in front of me.... sitting there on the step right in front of their building ... was a homeless man w/ what looked to be all of his belongings. We sat at the red light for a few minutes, so I had the chance to watch him. He was rocking back and forth a little and was obviously talking to himself. At one point, it even seemed like he was laughing with himself. I wish I had had a camera so that everyone could see the sadness of the situation. He was probably 70 or so years old... maybe older. His hair was completely white and his face looked old. Living on the streets can age you fast... and if you're a drinker, well, alcohol really ages you... I didn't see any bottles around him - he just looked old and homeless.

He had everything there... his clothes, his prayer mat, blankets beneath him.... everything. It's the first time I've seen a homeless man here in Bahrain. I've seen beggers... I see them daily, matter of fact, and I've seen people who live in these wood shacks - we have a family that live probably 6 blocks from us in what used to be called the shanty town, but all of them moved except for this one family - BUT I've never seen anyone sleeping out on the street.

It's a sad day for Bahrain... maybe I'm out of the loop... maybe it's in other areas and I've never seen it... I don't know, but this was a first for me. I saw an Arabic soap opera two ramadhan's ago that took place in Bahrain. There were three homeless guys in this soap living in one of these shacks, they were beggers, alcoholics and drugs addicts, but I figured it was only on TV. This is probably happening a lot more than I realize... this homeless situation.... is it?

As I watched him, I turned to my husband and the first question out of both of our mouth's was.... "where is his family?" I then wondered if he was mentally ill or maybe a drunk. I then found myself asking all types of questions.... Why isn't there a homeless shelter in Bahrain? Do they have places where ppl like this can go? Is there a food pantry? What about soup kitchens that feed the poor w/ leftover food from these hotels and such? Are there volunteers to help? Why hasn't a mosque reached out to help this man? Does he have any friends? Does anybody care? Is anybody out there?????

As we passed DHL, I kept thinking about him... wondering about him. I'd see people walking on the street, not far from where he was, and I wondered if anyone had reached out to him. Did anybody notice that this man was homeless? How could someone not notice this man?

Or was everyone like us? Did they see him, pass him by and go on w/ their lives and the daily grind of living?

Coming from the United States and having lived in Dallas, Texas, for many years, I saw a lot of homeless ppl. I worked in downtown Dallas for years.... and there are a LOT of homeless people there. Some are very scary... some walk up and down the street having full blown conversations w/ themselves, arguments even.... it's a really sad sight. I did a lot of volunteering in Dallas, worked in soup kitchens, delivered food and clothing on holidays thru my church... and there were a lot of small groups of people who would take the homeless food and drinks during the summer months and deliver blankets and clothing in the winter.

Some of these homeless don't want help - they refuse to go to shelters - is this the way this homeless man was that we saw last night? I found myself wondering that... wondering about his family... if they had tried to help him but he refused the help. Had he been in a mental hospital? Had his money run out? But... money isn't a factor for Bahrainis when it comes to health care in this country - right?? It is in the States... if you don't have insurance, you might as well forget it or when the money runs out - from the insurance company - you might as well bargain for sleeping on the streets. A lot of the homeless in the States are ppl that have been let out of mental hospitals.

It all makes me so sad. I can remember working in the soup kitchens in Dallas. You would not believe the numbers of people that came through to get warm food. I remember working on a Thanksgiving... it breaks my heart to think about it. There were so many children.... so many. And the food wasn't that great. So many items were stale and we'd heat it up to make it edible.... but these ppl never complained... they smiled and said thank you. It really makes you think twice about your life and what you have compared to others. When we'd deliver food and clothing on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'd sit in my car and cry.... I so often felt guilty for having things when there were so many who had nothing.

It bothers me to see these people. It bothers me to see beggers. Even last night, we were over by the Batelco bldg. in Manama, and there was this guy begging whom I've seen many times. He seems mentally challenged... but I'm not sure. We gave him money... I usually do. So many ppl tell me not to do it, but it's really hard for me not to give. There are a few that I refuse to give money to... that could be out working... but then there are some that need the help - or at least they look as if they do - maybe I'm being fooled. There's one guy that sits in front of Nasser Pharmacy and he begs every day. He's an older man... and I saw him wearing cufflinks the other day! I could hardly believe it. I don't give money to him, but he always asks for it. He sits on a cardboard box and holds out his hand when you walk past him. He probably can't find a job and is too old to be hired (or he would be in the States), but I don't feel good about giving this guy money, especially now after seeing his cufflinks. There's a man that stands outside of AlJazeera supermarket that begs for money. He's a mentally challenged man. We give him money every time we see him. He's always very gracious. He can barely talk, but he always says thank you. There's another guy we see quite often... not for sure of his exact location... (since I'm still not good w/ street names), but he looks like a drug addict. He never wears any underwear under his thobe... he makes all these hand gestures to motorists... and seems high all the time... we don't give him money. Somebody needs to put him in a drug rehab facility - but would it work?!!

I think it's a good idea to get together to form organizations to help the needy in this country. I know there are places that you can donate clothing and food - to various mosques - but what about the homeless? Opening up a place that would be similar to the Salvation Army would be a good idea. Opening up homeless shelters would be good... even organizing and setting up a soup kitchen. I know a lot of people help the poor during Ramadhan and Eid... but what about during these other months? If so many ppl can pull together to boycott Batelco... isn't it worth as much to pull together to help people like this?

Just an idea.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Miss Patty Petunia

Greg asked me thru a comment on my previous post about our animals, so I thought it would be fun to introduce one or two of them each week for any and all of you who might find it interesting, and for those of you who love animals, like myself.

Tonight's picture is of Petunia. I sometimes call her Patty Petunia. We were given Petunia, her sister and brother last April. A guy that works w/ my husband found them at the corniche after their mother had been hit by a car, brought them to work and my husband offered to adopt them, after I begged, of course! ;) Thankfully he loves cats too.... cuz if not, I think it would be difficult to explain to family, friends and such about our animals. She, her sister and brother were prob six wks old when we got them. They all had eye infections and were sick. We nursed them back to health and they're all very healthy now. We have baby pics of them someplace... I wish I had some to post right now. I love kittens, actually all little baby animals, and these sweet things were no exception.

Oh yeah, we have nine cats and four birds. We shipped six cats here from the States three years ago. My beloved, sweet angel, Chloe, died last July - she was one I brought from the States. We have adopted four since then, including Petunia, her sister and brother.

Petunia's a really sweet little girl. She's black with yellow eyes. No one knows that we have a black cat. If my in-laws found out, they wouldn't be happy, especially my MIL. She believes that black cats are jins and do evil things. I don't believe this and have posted about this before..... I find it best to tell people if they're interested and, if not, then to leave well enough alone. I love black cats and find them to be so sweet natured. Petunia is very sweet but more high strung than other black cats I've been around, but usually I've seen the personalities of boys. I think girl cats, in general, are more temperamental and high strung than boys.... boy cats are more laid back and usually aren't as moody. And ppl say that cats aren't like ppl! hehehe I think cats are very smart... even tho many may disagree w/ me. We have a couple that aren't real bright, but most of them are quite intelligent.

Petunia's very talkative, loves to whine, and her most favorite thing is haleeb (milk), or I call it haleebies for her. I know they say not to give cats milk because after a certain age their bodies can't digest it and it'll cause diarrhea, but she loves it so much that I just can't deny her. And... from what I can tell, it doesn't cause her any probs. In the mornings, she loves to drink my leftover milk from my cereal. She'll wait patiently until I'm finished, sometimes being so anxious that she'll prop herself up to look in the bowl... I guess to ensure that I haven't finished everything. She also loves soft food. I usually give the kitties a treat in the afternoons after we come home from work. She prefers a bowl all of her own and sometimes refuses to eat unless I give her one... and I usually pamper her and give in to her wants and needs! When she was a baby kitten, she wouldn't eat, so I would give her morsels of food, one piece at a time, so that she'd eat... this is prob where her stubbornness comes from. I still sometimes do this and she loves it.

Most of our cats take treats from my fingers and prefer that I drop one at a time into their mouths... but her brother, Wilson, forcibly takes them from my fingers... preferring to snatch them from me before any of the others can get to them. He's a brat.

Petunia is quite fit, which is prob from all the exercise she gets during the day. She, her sister and brother chase each other around the house.... running at top speed usually. She loves to go downstairs and cry deeply at the bottom of the stairs until you call to her. She gets this after Aimee, one of our older cats. She doesn't like to be held and will cry like you're killing her until you put her down. She loves to be rubbed but only when she wants it. She loves to be licked and cleaned by Aimee... I'm assuming that she thinks Aimee is her mother. If I'm rubbing her and Aimee walks in the room, she'll leave me to go to her in an instant. Aimee loves to lick her... sometimes even biting her to make her stay still. It's the cutest thing to watch. They all lay together and sleep together, and snuggle in the winter. Petunia will get under the covers and sleep in the winter but hardly ever does it during the summer months.

She loves to go outside and eat the grass, but since it's summer I haven't been letting them out. The fleas are really bad here and they wind up getting fleas, then they chew/eat the fleas and get worms, and since there aren't any really good vets here except for one that charges three times the usual amount, I prefer to keep them indoors. Plus, I always go out w/ them while they're out and since it's so hot, it's easier to wait until the cooler months and then take them out into the yard. Petunia also loves to watch birds.... I think she'd love to catch one and torture it to death.... but I don't allow it. yeah.. I know, I'm a poor sport, but I'm not into that sort of thing. The hubby has laughed and said we should buy them a mouse... yeah, right. Like I want to clean up rat gutts after they eat and then throw up a mouse.... sorry you guys, but that's what happens. And if you think furr balls are bad... you should clean up that mess!! So.. I ignore him when he talks of this... ok, he's kidding, but still! He has no idea.... I've had to clean this mess before and it's not fun, plus... I'm not one for torturing little sweet animals... including mice, and that's what the cats would do. They'd torture it until it died... or maybe they'd eat it before it was dead... not sure. Haven't seen it in a LONG time.. thank goodness.

Anyway... this is Patty Petunia. oh yeah... I forgot.. she loves to run down the stairs and make little sounds on each step... like she's talking and, w/ each cry, you'd think the wind had been knocked out of her. It's the cutest thing! She's the cutest thing! I just love her so much. And here ppl think that black cats and dogs are bad, evil and have jins (gennies) inside of them! I've also been told by several ppl that black cats have killed ppl.... or the jins.... this reminds me of the old wives tale about cats stealing your breath. Wasn't there some horror movie about that? Creep Show or something... where a cat got in the cradle of a child/infant and actually started taking the child's breath while the child slept?! You just have to laugh or sigh very deeply.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

tearing her hair out!

when i was a young girl, prob in the 7th or 8th grade, me and one of my cousins would get into hair pulling fights. it wasn't fun but it got out a lot of aggression. i usually won and she'd cry, and i feel bad for it now, and did then too. but it was always out of anger and usually because she was mean and would say hurtful things.... so i always thought she deserved it! ;)


day before yesterday, i think i could have done the same (w/out feeling an ounce of sympathy) to the housemaid. i wanted to hurt her .... make her feel pain. because after everything, she sat there expressionless, motionless and didn't shed one tear. matter of fact, when she boarded the bus to go to the airport, we heard that she complained the entire way that we hadn't given her a salary for a year, which is a total lie. but, she lived for lying.

i surprised myself really..... i've never experienced such anger and complete, full blown rage. all this time, i felt like i was going crazy, but knew she was behind it. i'd say things but there was no proof. i don't think anyone truly believed me for the longest time. there were times when i doubted myself... i thought i was imagining things. i will admit, that's an awful feeling.

she was manipulative and evil. pure evil. she tried to present herself as such a sweet little thing, and you know, she was good at it. when she first came to our house, i adored her. she was so sweet and busted her butt even when it wasn't necessary. i wanted to show her a better life... i even started trying to teach her English. we took her places, out to eat, swimming, gave her a TV, cable, DVD player (yeah it was old but it worked)... all the works. i was told to make her sleep on the floor outside... which is something i would NEVER do. i always treated her like a person, like a human. i abhor abuse... but... i can now understand how someone could go to that extreme. i hate to say it, but i can undersand. maybe later, when i'm past this experience and over the pain of it... i will prob not understand it... but right at this moment, i can understand it. but, in saying this and before i get ppl saying crazy things to me... i do not recommend it nor do i think that what is happening in this country and elsewhere is a good thing. i personally feel that these ppl/housemaids/help should leave this country and not be involved in ppl's lives or be allowed to work here... but that's just me.

this girl, the housemaid, wore a hijab and covered herself from head to toe. she prayed 5 times a day... to someone/something... but it wasn't for goodness.

i blame myself a lot for the things that happened. i keep going thru the couldhave, shouldhave's. yeah, i know, she's out of our house, and i'm really happy about that. the weight has been lifted, the animals are even relaxed (they were scared of her) and the house just seems more calm. even still... the memories remain, and i was told that it could take a good couple of weeks or more to not feel so helpless and depressed about it. i talked to that lady that Strav (comment from my earlier post) recommended to me... she's a kind woman. she told me that we're not alone. this happens a lot. the indonesian housemaids are really bad, especially when it comes to lying and doing bad things. and... they do DO black magic. wonder why it is that you hear this but when it comes to this stuff taking place, ppl want to ignore it and pretend it isn't happening. i didn't even believe in this stuff. i had soooo many ppl around me telling me that she was prob doing black magic... and when i actually started believing it and seeing things, no one wanted to do anything about it!

i told the housemaid what i thought of her after it all happened. i screamed and yelled at her... i got in her face, pointed my finger a breath away from her... all the while, she looked off. at one point, she said "sorry", but i told her that sorry doesn't cut it. i wanted to take and shake the life from her... i did (meaning i wanted to but i didnt). and i'm not sorry for it. i didn't touch her though, except when she was upstairs and wouldn't leave her room.

it first started when she wanted to lock her door and i told her she couldn't. she had just gotten buzzed by the other housemaid to come downstairs to go to Ramas. she kept stalling for time, pacing in her room. i knew something was up. i stood there and wouldn't leave. she then went into the bathroom and started brushing her teeth. after she finished, she came from the bathroom carrying two big garbage bags. she said it was trash. i told her that she couldn't take them. when i saw these bags, all i could think was, "what's inside those bags?!" when i told her that she couldn't take them, she insisted. i told her again, "NO"... she still tried to bring them towards me. this is when i went to her and said "NO!, you are not taking them out of this room". at this point, she yelled, "OKAY". but she wouldn't move. she then bent down and rummaged thru the one bag and pulled out a letter for the post. she then walked around like in a daze and then said she needed to get her mobile. i'm like... "what mobile, you don't have a mobile" she told me it was her friends. i'm like, "oh no, you aren't taking any mobile" (she had stolen the battery from mine months ago.... that's all i could think about.)

she stood there and wouldn't move. i told her to go and she wouldn't move. i grabbed her arm and forced her from the room. i took her down the stairs and out of the house. after locking the doors, i went upstairs and proceeded to go thru the bags of "trash" and the rest of everything in that room.

i have never been so shocked. i found the battery to my mobile! i knew she had it... even when she said she didn't. i found so many things..... things that were missing, things i had thrown away (she took from the trash), underwear, my clothes, hair things, make up, plastic from the kitchen, towels, hand towels, dish clothes, good pens, jewelry, film... all sorts of things. i had never gone into her room searching for anything. i respected her privacy and tried to treat her like an equal and as a member of our house.

i will NEVER do this again. i do not and will not ever trust these ppl. the last girl we had stole from me. a gold ring my FIL had given to me. she denied it. we got rid of her. this time... it was all under my nose but i didn't see it. she was smart.... i was naive.

but never again.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

she's outta here!

our little housemaid will be getting her walking papers tomorrow afternoon. i am overjoyed - i see light at the end of the tunnel! i want her out of our lives because the last year 1/2 has been an emotional rollercoaster thru the brinks of hell w/ this lil angel in our house. i'm sick of the mental choas.

a lot of ppl have not understood and questioned why she is still here - why we didn't get rid of her months ago (which should have happened)... but i'm here to tell ya... convincing my FIL of this has not been the easiest thing to do. matter of fact, he's still not convinced, but the hubby didn't give in to his dad's questions of "why" that was asked many times over today.

we have complained about her many times - told all the stories of the strange "goings-on", and i even heard a gasp escape my MIL's lips, but nothing was done. when it came time to proceed w/ getting rid of her... it wasn't spoken of - so we dropped it more often than not - it was just easier that way.

but..... i waited and hoped... hoped that it would change - it didn't. for months now, i've been finding myself going thru this emotional tug of war, going back and forth in these moments of unnatural **clarity** - feeling sorry for her and wanting to keep her and then something would happen and i'd find myself fearing her. fear is such an unhealthy emotion - and it's especially worse when you feel tied to it.

this girl likes to play big time mind games and for a while i thought i was being paranoid about it all but not so. i know i wasn't, my husband knows i wasn't. we've decided that it's for the best that she's leaving our house.

it all culminated last week after purchasing this cabinet for our bedroom. there's a drawer in the top where i've been putting all of our medicine, knick knacks, various magazine articles that i want to keep and such. i organized this little top drawer. i lined up all the medicine, put my papers in a nice stack, put my gum over on top of my papers, etc., etc. all was good or so i thought.

i came home one day last week from work, opened up that drawer and everything inside of it was completely messed up. some of the medicine boxes were open, it looked as tho my papers had been gone through... it was very weird. and.. this plastic container i have in the bedroom, that i brought down from storage, had been opened. i closed it the last time i used it. i asked my husband and he hadn't touched it. who had opened it? is there a ghost in our house?

ok, no big deal you say... but i'll tell ya this. i don't like someone going thru things that they don't need to be going thru. i don't have anything in there that's worth anything, and that's not the point, but i don't like to imagine her in here snooping thru our things! she's the housemaid, but there are limits.

i put everything back in place the next day before work and off we go.

when we get home that afternoon, i go straight up to the bedroom and head straight for the drawer. it is completely in shambles once again. this time, i told my husband. i told him exactly what had happened the day before and how i had straightened it. we decide to test her to see if it happens again. this time we take a picture of the way i arrange it. we get home the next day, and it's all messed up again but we say nothing. you may ask why we don't confront her... well, my dears, it does no good whatsoever. she will deny, deny, deny.

the next day we lock the door. the day after, we leave it unlocked, organize the drawer, come home.... it isn't touched. it's exactly the way i left it. she didn't move a thing. and she hasn't since then.

these little games happen every day. if i don't say anything to my husband, they continue and switch around, she says bizarre things to me - says things in English but says she can't speak English, so much. if i mention anything to my husband and complain about it.... the VERY NEXT DAY... it is as if there was never a problem. everything is back in working order, if there was a problem, it's fixed..... except when she breaks my things or tears my clothes.

funny how it's only my stuff that keeps getting trashed... and it's all blamed on our cats - except for the clothes... i've gotten to the point that i don't cherish anything.

this madness and much much more has been filling our lives for prob a year now. i am so so glad that she is bye bye tomorrow. we will insist that she packs her bags out in the open... many of my things have been *lost*... i'm sure i won't see them, but we won't give her a chance for anything. our door will be locked tomorrow before heading to work because i'm pretty sure she knows or will know by tomorrow because the housemaids at my MILs house prob heard tonight... so there's a very good chance that she'll be told while we're at work tomorrow.

i'm really hoping that this weight will be lifted from me ... i know it'll give us a lot more freedom - and, truthfully, i hate having someone in our house. i did all the cleaning before and i can do it again. i never wanted a housemaid anyhow... but there are those who don't take "no" for an answer.

we have taken back control and it feels GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD !!!!

i feel like locking her out of every room but it's not possible. we came home from work today and the office door was closed and jewel's, our cat, was inside. the housemaid was cleaning that room this morning, so she closed the cat in there for the day. hubby also found petunia, our black cat, locked in HIS STUDIO!!!! the cats don't go in the studio. i'm sure this was done in an attempt to have things broken... not sure, but nothing was disturbed. like i said, the cats don't break everything. anyway... we didn't mention it to her. we spoke it and talked about it... so she prob knows. yes... i said it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Grand Canyon

My niece, Annie Mae (whom I just reacquainted myself w/ after about 15 years), was talking on her blog about some of her favorite places in the U.S. It got me to thinking and I'd have to say that my favorite place, thus far, would be the Grand Canyon.

I was living in Texas when I went there. Me and seven other women (only one of which I knew personally) drove there - a 20 something hr. drive - and then hiked down the Canyon, spent two nights at Canyon Ranch (down at the bottom), and then hiked back out. It is something I'll never forget.

The drive there was crazy. It was in February and many of the roads to Arizona were icy. I'm not a big fan of driving over ice, but we made it. I listened to books on tape most of the trip, so the drive wasn't too bad. We pulled into the tourist site/facilities at the southern post in the early morning - I think it was around 5:30 or something. Our group leader's sister worked at the Grand Canyon and would be our guide down the paths to the ranch below and then back up in two days time.

After stretching and getting all of our gear together and into her sister's tiny little trailer, we all went over to the stables to see the mules, to take a tour of the facilities, drink coffee, and then we met all the guys who worked there and led the tours. I loved the mules. They are such gentle, beautiful giants. (For all of you that don't know, you get a mule from mating a horse and a donkey.) I don't think I'd ever ride one down the Canyon, like many ppl do, but... I enjoyed being around them.

After about 30 to 45 mins., we all went back to her trailer and got ready for the journey/hike of our lives. We all carried backpacks loaded down w/ clothes, water bottles, food, and first aid equipment. One thing about the backpacks... you dont' want 'em too heavy because you're gonna be carrying these babies for a LONG time. We all got walking cains, which seemed a little unnecessary in the beginning, but actually turned out to be an aid in helping to keep your balance and to take pressure off of certain legs, if you needed it. My cain became my best friend on the hike...

As we started out that morning, I remember ice and snow being on the path - especially at the top - and it was really cold (as you get into the Canyon, the temp rises and at the bottom it's about 20 or so degrees hotter than at the top). The ice terrified me. I'm afraid of heights and since we had a little narrow path in which to walk and a drop off that could kill you if you fell, you didn't want to venture to close to the edge of the path. This caused a fear inside of me that was overwhelming. Since I couldn't turn around and go back, I had no other choice but to start heading down the path w/ everyone else. I was bound and determined to overcome my fear - for fear and unhappiness had led me to this place - the Grand Canyon. I knew this was going to be a difficult journey.

There were switchbacks at the top of the Canyon - meaning that the path was shaped in a constant "z" pattern down to the first resting spot. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. Pictures don't do it justice - I will say that. To get a true sense of what it's like... you have to hike it. It's so green and lush. Little brooks and streams are everywhere. There are also old rock formations w/ American Indian carvings w/ pictures that were drawn hundreds of years ago. It's amazing.

I guess about after an hour 1/2 or so of walking downhill, my right knee started hurting. I injured it years ago in a car accident and it still gives me fits sometimes... so walking downhill didn't help. This is where my best friend, the cain, came to my aid as well as my little knee brace... but after about 3 or 4 hrs. of hiking downhill, really, nothing helps.

The hike down to the Canyon Ranch took 5 1/2 hrs. We stopped about 4 times to rest and to eat our nuts, fruit and such. By the third stop, my legs were soooo tired. We'd sit down and, honestly, there were times that I didn't think I could stand back up. At some point, during our hike, my legs started shaking so bad that I didn't think I could do it. There were all of these railroad ties along the path... it was hell to lift my legs over these things. I wasn't out of shape, but I wasn't in the best of shape either... my inner struggle became immense.

I was struggling w/in myself (this is the reason I went)... my spirit was weak. I knew that I had to do this for me. I had to do it. I had to prove to myself that I could. So, I kept walking... and cussing under my breath. Our leader's sister kept us informed about this and that, and gave us little inspirational speeches every now and then. She'd also tell us how far we were from the ranch. This was always my favorite news... I was exhausted and my only thoughts were about getting there, eating and going to bed.

We were getting close. Everybody was dog tired. After we walked over the huge bridge, deep inside the Canyon, we were prob 30 mins. from the ranch. I'll tell ya... at certain times while heading down, a few girls and guys would pass us - walking really fast. They were all employees of the ranch. On their days off, they'd have to hike out of the Canyon and then hike back in when it was time to go back to work. I'll admit, there were a few times that I felt like tripping these ppl. Really, I wanted to drain their life blood and take all of their energy.... funny what a lil 'ole hike will do to a person! But anyway.....

So... we made it. The little ranch had about 10 cabins, some were bigger than others. We got a cabin that had about 5 or so bunkbeds in it. We didn't have a bathroom but there was one about 50 paces from us. We all chose a bunkbed... I got a bottom bunk, thank goodness - I didn't want to think about climbing up to the top bunk! The only restaurant at the ranch was about to serve dinner, so we headed about 7 paces from our cabin to the "mess hall". I'll never forget.. there were about 3 or 4 cement steps that you had to climb to go inside... and I could hardly lift my legs to walk up these steps in order to go inside the restaurant. It was pathetic. We ate... and then it was time for bed - at least for me.

The next day a few of the girls went on some addt'l hikes. I stayed around the cabin w/ some of the other girls, sat outside, took pictures, wrote out some postcards and called my family. Later that day we had lunch and decided to walk down to a few small streams down the way. We saw some deer that were so camouflaged you could hardly see them, we stopped off at the mule stables, got pictures... and laughed and talked a lot. It was nice. After dinner, we all sat outside on the picnic tables and told ghost stories and such. The stars in the sky were amazing! There were thousands of them. I've never seen anything like it before or since. It was so beautiful. I wish I could see that every night. I felt so small in a world so large. There were also these little bats flying around in front of our cabin. You could only see them - because it was pitch black outside - when they flew thru the light emitted from a few lamps set up in the courtyard. I had never seen bats before... they were so little.

The next morning we got up at 4 a.m. to start our journey/hike out of the canyon. I was dreading it. It would be uphill most of the way... so I knew it would be a killer. For about an hour or so, we walked thru some of the most beautiful terrain/wilderness. We also passed the Colorado River, which flows thru the Canyon. A lot of ppl ride the rapids thru the Canyon - I'd love to do that one day. One of the girls in our group had a problem w/ her hiking boots. She had blisters all over her feet and couldn't walk. She wound up switching out her boots w/ someone else, which really didn't help her..... and a few times during our hike, I didn't think she'd make it. You can call for a helicopter to come and get you but it costs $1,000 to lift you out. You can't get a mule.... they just won't do it. It's up to you and your inner strength to get out of the Canyon. She was heavy and it affected her. She kept saying she wasn't going to make it. I walked back w/ her for a while, but when you're in a situation like this, you don't talk. You just keep pressing along.

You have to be out of there by sunset. I didn't think we were gonna make it, but we did. Right before sunset, matter of fact. On the hike out, there were many times when I felt like I was trapped in a hell hole and wouldn't be able to get out. There were times when I hated it and cursed it over and over, especially when we got to the switchbacks close to the top. This is when I had to dig really deep inside myself... I had to talk myself thru it. They were tough... it caused extreme pain in your leg muscles... it was really a full body exhaustion.

I did a lot of thinking while we were down there... and especially on the hike out. It took everything I had to hike out that day - I pulled from deep within myself to get the energy, the strength, to do it. It took us 9 hours to reach the top. It was the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life, but also the most rewarding. I haven't felt accomplishment like that since. It's an amazing feeling when you reach the top. I cried... and couldn't stop.
I sat there waiting for the rest of our group... many had made it before me. After the girl w/ the boot problem reached the top, we slowly headed over to the souvenir shop and then to dinner. I was so emotional and the slightest thing would cause me to cry. I felt more exhausted than I've ever felt, but I was also really happy. Some girls sat down, took off their boots and rested and a few of us went inside one of the stores. I wanted a t-shirt and found one that explained my condition/my exhaustion to a "T"! As I was checking out, the girl behind the counter asked me if I had just gotten out and I laughed and said it was a hell hole. She laughed. I laughed and then cried. :)
We had dinner that evening and then got on the road heading back to Dallas. I would love to visit the Canyon again.. and yes, hike it again. I've told my husband about it many times... and my sister and anyone who will listen. It was an amazing journey of the spirit, the mind and the soul. I highly recommend it... but, if you go, be prepared. Because it is tough.. and it will test you.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Favorite Music Videos

I was thinking the other day about some of my fav all time music videos.

One that immediately popped into mind is that video from Chris Isaak for Wicked Game. Oh my... I loved and still love that video. I don't think I'll ever get tired of that song. I can't remember the model's name that he shot the video with... but boy, they looked good together. I especially loved the mascara all smeared under her eyes... she looked so messed up and so gorgeous. Made me want to be on some deserted island, in a white dress, frolicking in the water while my lover sung his heart out to me! And you know... I used to watch that show that he was in, I think it was the Chris Isaak Show... years ago. Really never understood the point of it, but I watched it.

Prob my second all time fav video would be Madonna's Respect Yourself. I loved everything about that song, and the video made it all the better, I thought. I loved her *take charge* attitude, the way she dressed in the video, her hair - gawd, this is when I went and cut my hair off all short - I loved it. It gave me such a feeling of freedom. And her skin... there's one shot of her caressing her back w/ her hands... and all you see is her bare back, her hands/arms and that fabulous curly blonde hair. I think that made a mark on sun worshippers everywhere.... but whose to say.

Isn't it amazing the power that W O R D S have?!!

One of my other fav videos is Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. What a thrill for the eyes - it was a unique approach w/ the video game feel... and, I think, this is one of the first songs/videos they did after Kiedis got off drugs in 2000. I love the lyrics of the song.

Another fav was George Michael's I Want Your Sex video. Me and my younger sister were so in love w/ him - we found out later he was gay. :( When he came to Dallas, we went w/ some of our friends, my lil sis included, and stood in line, outside, from like 3:30 a.m. until around 11 a.m. to get tickets. There were so many scalpers there - we wound up getting lousy seats... but the concert was fabulous! There was one song, Careless Whisper, where he came to the edge of the stage, sat down and asked everyone to be quiet. Now... this concert was at the HUGE football stadium in Dallas - can't remember the name to save my life (crap, hate it when that happens!) but anyway... there were sooo many freakin ppl there - and this guy, w/ his amazing voice, was able to shut the audience down by asking, and he sung this song, w/ only an acoustic guitar, and it was beautiful! It still gives me tingles! ;) Anyway, the video for I Want Your Sex was great. I loved the cowboy boots, him playing that guitar, his outfit - those jeans, his hair, ohhhh... that unshaven look... well... I loved it. I still get a groove on when I hear it ;) Even w/ all of this said, George Michael goes much deeper than these few songs. He's an amazing singer w/ a fabulous voice....

I also really liked Billy Jean by Michael Jackson - yeah, I know, I know. I used to be a huge fan of his. I grew up listening to him w/ the Jackson 5. That video was pretty good when you think about it. It was the first time, for many, to really see what he was all about. His moves, the shoes, the socks, standing on his toes.... all of it. But, I can't say that I listen or watch his stuff any more. I read that he's thinking of adopting an Asian baby - I think Chinese or Japanese... interesting.

I love music... there are soooo many songs and videos that have made an impression on me. I hate to close this post w/ Michael Jackson, but as I sit here, my mind is drawing a complete blank! I'm sure after I post this blog, I'll think of so many others... but, for right now, this is enough!

Have a fabulous day! :)

Friday, June 02, 2006


What is it about bragging that truly gets on my nerves? I wasn't raised to brag... matter of fact, it was always considered very rude to brag about the cost of items or to brag about what you had/have - because there's always the less fortunate, and, truly, it's just impolite. I don't even like to talk about money, how much I make, or what things cost - even tho I'm questioned like crazy from various ppl on these topics.

I know some ppl here that live on bragging. Don't get me wrong, I know lots of 'em in the States as well, but it seems to have taken on a whole new meaning while living in the Gulf.

This past week I was privy to a conversation and involved, later, w/ someone that could not stop bragging about their diamonds... how much they cost, what they bought, who they gave them to, how many they kept, and an up-close and personal view of the damn things. Now..... I'm not stupid... I do think diamonds are brilliantly gorgeous and so dang purty... but, they are not the end all of all end alls!

Sometimes I find it deliciously entertaining to see someone w/ such transparent class sit and give such details about their finances.... And this is NOT the first time for this person to brag... I hear it weekly, sometimes daily. Seems as though the more I listen, the more I watch, the more braggers I see!! Protect your children, they are everywhere! ;)

But gosh darn it... who am I kidding... I find that, w/ each and every person, I get more and more worked up - like a salivating cat - to hear all the juicy details.... to be shown each item.... wanting more and more info to add to my list of ppl that never cease to amaze me....


Those who lie - to your face - about what they're spending and on what. This, my dear ones, is a never-ending story.

These are the ones that love to brag about what they paid on sunglasses, purses, clothes and even shoes but it's all a lie - a big fat juicy lie. They'll pretend that these items were the most expensive and even tell you so - right to your face - but can't anyone see that they're lying? Do these ppl honestly think that everyone is stupid? Ok.. there are those out there who can't tell their ass from a whole in the ground (sorry to be crass)... but the truth bites the big one, doesn't it?!

Is it just me or are there others out there who can tell when sunglasses are fake? What about purses? I'm not saying not to buy these puppies... but just don't lie about the authenticity... don't sit and try to tell me that you have a real Gucci or Coach bag or Louis Vuitton, when it's an obvious fake! Sometimes I feel like grabbing the bag, pointing out the obvious and saying, "see this shit, this is WHY your bag isn't real!" But I don't... I contain myself.

And let's not forget about the sunglasses.... you look at these things and immediately it's rather obvious. When the designer's name is misspelled or part of the emblem is not there, I think that should be the clue. I know a certain somebody who loves to show me their latest Chanel sunglasses.... bragging incessantly about the cost, and as soon as I pick 'em up, it feels as if the *arms* are about to fall off because they're soooo loose, and then the C is half gone or wasn't printed properly on the glasses.... all the while they can't shut their trap about how they have the same pair in three other colors and how expensive they are and for me to try them on ... "go ahead, try them on" (does the madness EVER freakin end??!!!). hmmmm... I wonder if they go around telling everyone the same story and the lies?

What also wears me out are the cheap/knock off perfumes that are so popular around here. I know ppl who love this stuff and swear by it. It gives me a headache as soon as I put it on... and it always, to me, smells like crap after about three minutes. I've tried a couple... thinking I could prove myself wrong, but every single time, it's the same. The fragrance doesn't last and I get a headache within a few secs of spraying that delicious aroma anywhere near me. But there's always some sap that takes a bath in it and if you get anywhere near them, the scent permeates your nostrils w/ a stinging fury and a vomiting rush!

Ok... ok, I can't stop here. What about the cheap watches? These things you can get anywhere and they last for like.... a DAY! Maybe two days, max... but ppl still buy them. And this one certain someone loves to brag about these lil jewels as well... going on about the cost but when you have a lookies... the designer name is misspelled.

It amazed me, when I first moved here, all the knock-offs that ppl buy in this country. I know a few that didn't realize there was a difference or that the purses they were buying were fake (or so they said). I have a question tho - have they ever wondered how they're getting an $800+ purse for BD30.000, ok BD35.000? Have they ever questioned how they're getting a pair of sunglasses that would cost in excess of BD300 for BD3? Wondering minds want to know! I know I do.

I can remember going to Marshalls and Ross and getting panty hose that were highly discounted (remember panty hose??)... it was always because they were not made correctly (imperfect)... sometimes the mistake was so slight that you could hardly tell, but a few times, I'd get a pair where one leg would be longer than the other or tighter than the other and I'd could hardly get them on.... thank gaaawwwd I don't have to wear panty hose any more! :) But you know... I never pretended or lied about the hose. I was one who always wanted to spill the secrets - give up where I found such an amazing deal on the best hose... even tho a loss of blood circulation had turned my right foot blue! ;) I'd still tell ya where I got 'em!

Why does so much have to revolve around money?