Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Have you every had one of those weeks where life kicks your ass?

I'm having one of those months.

I got an email from my brother the other day telling me it was time to update my blog - that it had been almost 3 weeks since my last post. I thought "he's crazy! No way has it been that long!". But he's not crazy. Well, he is. But not about this.

This month I finished my work at Blaine's school. Ramadan ended and the girl I was subbing for was able to return to working full-time. At the end of Ramadan, we celebrated the Eid al-Fitr holiday by loading up the kids and heading up to Abu Dhabi to visit our friends Scott and Heidi and to join in the birthday celebration for their son, Nicholas (who happens to be one of Blaine's best friends in the whole wide world! Just ask him, he will tell you so). We also got to snuggle on their little dude, Andrew.

After returning from Abu Dhabi, we got to tour a Navy ship here in Muscat Port. Blaine loved that. We thought he would be totally awed by the helicopters on the deck, the big guns, the landing crafts inside the ship. And he was. But the part he liked most? The water fountains. I swear, this kid stopped at every single water fountain on the ship to take a drink. Who knew water fountains were so fascinating.

After the ship tour, we had one more day off to just rest and relax before school and work started up again. And it started for all of us. During the time I was working at the school, I also applied and interviewed for another job (not at the school - elsewhere, but I don't want to say where). Well, I got the job, so the day after the holiday was over, I started my new job. I've been working almost a week now, and even though this job is part-time 20 hours a week, it's killing me. In a good way. David is gone again for work, so it's helping keep me busy. Very busy. Between single-parenting, working and being a room mother for my son's kindy class, I drop into bed exhausted every day.

In other words, updates may be sporadic at best. I hope to have some pics up of our trip to Abu Dhabi and our ship tour in the next few days, but I'm not promising anything.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The waiting is the hardest part

I know I've discussed this before, but living in Muscat is fairly easy - it's a modern city with malls, huge grocery stores, warehouse stores, fast food franchises and, of course, Starbucks. (We all know of my obsession with Mocha Frappachinos). But there are a lot of little differences that catch you unaware.

Much like how the "family" bathroom at the mall is not really for families if they include males over the age of 5, you have to learn to navigate around the differences. A few examples:

At KFC, it pays to read the menu. It will save you time when you are ordering and you ask for mashed potatoes and gravy and are met with a blank stare. KFC in Muscat doesn't make mashed potatoes.

Speaking of food, you can't order a cheese pizza here. If you want a cheese pizza, you have to ask for a margarita pizza. And I'm not talking about ordering at a ritzy Italian place, this is true even if you are at Pizza Hut or Papa John's.

At bookstores, pay attention to price tags. A paperback book can cost you around 12 bucks.

If you like pork (and I don't, so I fit in well here) be prepared to pay dearly for it. There is only one store that I know of that has a "pork room". I went in it the other day just to check it out. A pack of bacon in the US costs around 4 bucks. Here it will set you back about 15.

And we all know about the happy meal toys.

But the difference that I most often forget about and get awkwardly reminded of are the waiting rooms. There are women's waiting areas and men's waiting areas. I always forget to look for the signs. So does David. He ended up sitting in the women's waiting area at the DMV until someone pointed out that he was on the wrong side. I had a dilemma when I took Blaine to the hospital last week. Do I sit in the women's area or is Blaine not allowed there? But I can't sit in the men's area because I'm not allowed. I was stumped. I didn't want to offend anyone so I ended up letting Blaine sit in the men's area and I just stood against the wall that separated the two areas. I wish they had a family waiting area. But then again, who knows if men would really be allowed in there.

Ooh, I am editing this because I just remembered one more subtle difference. You can't get a hamburger here. Cheesburger, yes. Beefburger, certainly. But not a hamburger. Even though most hambugers have no ham, I guess it's just easier to rename them then to try to explain it over and over again.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Changes afoot!

Well, you may notice some pictures missing on my blog. The reason for this is Flickr. Not that it's Flickr's fault. Let me explain.

Flickr has been having problems recently with photo misappropriation. Some people have had their photos lifted and used in bogus ads. Some people have noticed the fake ORKUT accounts being set up using other people's pictures (OPP?).

I didn't have these problems (that I know of) but I did have an odd person want to make me a contact on Flickr. I don't feel like getting into details, and I'm not trying to be mysterious, but when I checked out the person's profile, I decided it was time to make all my photos private. Friends and family can view them if they are invited. So, if you are a friend or family member, shoot me an email at augieandrenegade(at)yahoo(dot)com. I will send you an invite. If you aren't a freak.

In the meantime, there are holes on my blog where pictures used to be and I will slowly (re: maybe today, maybe never) go back through and re-add them manually from my personal files.

Sorry for the hoop jumping.