Monday, October 31, 2011

Let's start cooking...

I like to cook.... well, not really. I love to bake, but more than that, I LOVE having friends that cook.  It was a regular thing to have people over for dinner, both casual - hey, I made extras, want to stop in - and planned.  Since moving to the UAE, I have not had anyone over for dinner, and truth be told, I haven't really cooked all that much. My car pool pal and I noted that we really didn't have a lot of the basics that we always had in our kitchens - you know, sugar, flour, spices, etc.  So, this past weekend, I purchased my first UAE crockpot (hello, stews, chilis, and slow-cooked meals) and spices to begin really cooking. Now, if only I could somehow transport either of my NH transplanted Ericas to the UAE, life would be golden.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Running for the border and paying to go to work...

Last weekend, we completed a border run. We parked our car, walked into Oman, attempted to do the enter-exit procedure (enter Oman & leave) and were told after flipping through our passports, we needed to go back to the UAE to get our exit stamps.  This wouldn't be a big deal at home, but with 7 children under the age of 9, in the heat, through the desert, and after passing a big, dead scorpion, it was a bit much.  So we trooped back across the border, paid our exit fees, and then repeated our journey to Oman (this time in the car - apparently we could have driven before but that pesky language/communication barrier), paid our fees, and drove back so that Belle and Rob would have the essential entry stamp on their pink paper to allow them to complete their residency process.

We've also been spending a lot of time with our Abu Dhabi family, Corey & Mallory.  Corey is apparently the "Rain Man" of cribbage, and has been patiently teaching us the game. There are no cribbage boards over here, so Corey made one out of a piece of junk wood and another one out of a box.  They do the job, and I'm finally understanding the terminology of "skunk", "double", "runs", and "nobs".  Corey is a great cook, so we've been enjoying both the company and the meals.  Mallory has been an excellent resource for school lessons and I love that she is so sassy, sarcastic and fun. She is never afraid to laugh at herself, or at others, but it makes me feel at home - plus they are from the western region of Massachusetts which means they understand the whole rural New England thing.  Belle loves going over there to play with their two kittens, Alpha & Omega. They've had them since they were three weeks old and are finally old enough to get their first shots.  They are incredibly playful. 

My school is doing a carnival day on the 27th, and teachers have to pay to attend work that day.  It is not an optional work day, so if I want to get paid for the day, I need to help pay for the festival.  Weird.

And finally, I wanted to know who the big acts were going to be for the Yasalam Festival (part of the Formula One Grand Prix race events), so I entered my email and ended up winning free tickets to Britney Spears.  Mallory & I can not wait to go (for some reason, Rob didn't want to join me, LOL). 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For the love of libraries

I've loved books since second grade, when Ms. Wilkinson helped me figure out how to put all the letters and words together to form meaning; since then, I've been a voracious reader.  So being surrounded by books has always made me happy. In my elementary years, I didn't spend a lot of time in libraries because my foster home was filled with books, and we had a bookstore (that my foster parents owned) right next door.

In 7th grade, that changed and I discovered the magic of libraries.  In movies and tv shows, libraries were shown as quiet, sterile environments with stern librarians anxious to hush you for the slightest sound.  If the Lisbon Public Library's librarian had been like that, I would have never spent so much time there. Selena was so full of life and sound, that being afraid to make a noise was an absolutely foreign concept.  Pat, although older and more sedate, also radiated this same energy and joy. Is it any wonder that I sought out this library all the time, first as a frequent borrower, and then as a volunteer?

At my last teaching job, before the big move, I was blessed with perhaps the best librarian I've yet met. My friend Donna, like the librarians that proceeded her, enriched my life by being not only a literary partner, but a mentor, sounding board, and often, my voice of reason.  This week, I've realized how much of a gaping hole is present because of her absence and the presence of a good library.

My new school's librarian is new to the field, and very sweet. But she is not fluent in my language and our library is currently not as rich as it needs to be in English books.  It is the first time in my life that I do not feel drawn to a library, and its faithful guardian.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A poem by Belle for Posh

A star that shines truly bright.
You'll find her in the stars.
That star is the brightest star.
She'll be brighter than the sun.
Everyone will wonder what is that?
I'll's beautiful Posh.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Big girl bedtime

Since Belle was born, reading at bedtime has been a family ritual.  While many things have changed, including who is doing the reading, I'm happy to report that this has remained the same.

Thank you to all my former WHS colleagues who generously gave our family our first Kindle.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Career Day

Well, we just said goodbye to Rich until sometime this winter.  It was a whirlwind visit this time around, and poor Rob spent the first day of his visit in the hospital with what we think was a case of food poisoning.  He was poked, prodded, tested, and medicated, and thankfully, insured.   We both are feeling much better about the quality of medical care after this visit to the Urgent Care Clinic. 

Today he felt recovered enough to take Belle and her two car pool buddies on an independent field trip to Dubai.  They had received free children's tickets to the Dolphinarium (turns out they were VIP tickets). So off they went on what Rob is referring to as a career exploration day, since the girls have decided to become dolphin trainers.