Our five year adventure in Doha, Qatar ended June 1, 2012, but the memories will always remain. It's back to Texas where I have decided...Qatar isn't cornering the market on "quirky", as I once believed. Thanks for opening my eyes to the world, Doha!

Monday, December 17, 2007

U.S. Christmas Tour 2007

This afternoon kicks off the Knox Christmas tour. First stop, Kuwait for a 5 hour layover. Next stop Washington, DC with an hour wait on the plane. Then on to Chicago for a 3 hour layover. Finally landing in Austin, Tx at 4:00PM on Dec 18th. Of course, this speedy itinerary depends on just how much the weather wants to cooperate. We'll spend 2 or 3 nights in Kyle (our new home outside of Austin where Kayla & Dustin live). Shea will be flying into Austin on the 20th. We'll travel on to Port Arthur to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family. We'll be there a few nights and then it will be on to Mount Pleasant, Tennesee to share Christmas with David's family. We'll be there just short of a week before making a pit stop back in Port Arthur for a day or so & then back to Kyle for a day or two which will complete the tour. I'm already exhausted. Next year, I think we'll just sit back with a glass of champagne and send up a "toast" for everyone back home. I'm just messing with y'all, I'm sure my exhaustion will be worth every bit of the time I get to spend with family and friends. Looking forward to seeing everyone. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

p.s. I have some good news or maybe bad news...just depends on how one sees it. Kristi was out walking the other night and heard a cat meowing. It was Sykes, cornered by a very territorial feline. Kristi saved her & got her home safely. As Kristi walked through the door with him, it was an odd moment of excitement and great disappointment at the same time. I'm sorry, I'm just not that p.c.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Have You Seen Sykes?

Be careful of what you wish for. Sykes, the cat, is MIA. I've made sure he stayed an indoor cat, even though I know he was meant to be in the wild. I mean, you would think this cat was a retriever the way he carries socks, dishrags, and paper towels around the house...mainly back to his living area (aka guest bathroom). Don't worry, I'll change that before you come and grace us with a visit. And don't even try to take whatever object away from him, he'll let out a growl that is well beyond his entire four months of life. Then there's the food issue. If it's available, he will eat it. I set aside some leftover chili the other night (2 tablespoons, mom, don't freak out...I know there are starving kids in China) and set it on the counter and went about my business. Later, I remembered the treat I had for him and went to retrieve it...yep, the platter was licked clean. Like I said, if it's there, he will come. I guess the food scavenging and protectiveness of his "finds" are to do with his early life on the streets of Doha, fending for himself at just a couple weeks of age. He didn't quite learn the skillful art of nice playing, either. Attack is his main mode...his favorite, the surprise attack. He actually bit my lip the other night. Didn't see it coming. Didn't see him going either. The only way he could have escaped is through our upstairs bathroom window this morning. David had opened it this morning after his shower. It's not a normal window...remember, we do live in Doha (the Land of Oz). It's a pretty high window, high enough that I can't see out. I guess you would say it drops down. I'm not sure how to describe it. Anyway, normally if Sykes would sneak out when we'd open the door, he would act all brave for a total of ten seconds and run back into the house the moment he heard a car motor or door slam. It's been several hours now and he's nowhere in sight. It's sort of one of those bitter sweet moments. We'd always wish him gone when he was bad, but then he'd be the sweetest kitten you ever knew.

Monday, December 10, 2007

You Make the Call

I take pics sometimes just to create something to blog about. When I took this picture of Kristi I just figured the words would flow, but I'm a a total loss (if you can believe that). Striking her favorite pose in front of a fleet of Pizza Hut delivery motorcycles...was she thinking about a hidden, deep desire to deliver pizza in Doha...taking her life into her own hands as she's zigzagging between the lanes of cars throwing caution to the wind? A death wish, no less in this Qatari land. Or, maybe she's practicing her role for the upcoming season of "The World's Next Supermodel"? Or better yet, maybe she's waiting on some rich Qatari man to sweep her off her feet and take her off mommy & daddy's payroll. Hmm, maybe not, I don't think she would put up with his other two wives, nor them with her for that matter. Sorry, Kristi :) We do love you! I don't know people, y'all make the call.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's been nearly a week since I've checked in with you guys. I have to dig deep into my memory bank to come up with what we've been doing. I can tell you for sure, it ain't the wash. I keep staring at the clothes through the front loading glass door and it's the same clothes that I washed a week ago Sunday. I should get with the program, but better yet...I'd rather talk to you guys. Let's see, I've learned to make Thai Pad Noodles from one of the girls in our group. Natthawan is her name. She's the funniest thing ever. I would so love to pack her in my suitcase for you all to meet. She's a hyper, tiny little Thai girl with a major Thai accent. I often have to tell her to slow down & speak English. She just goes 90 to nothing. As I said, I learned to make the noodles, but haven't put it to the test. It's so much easier to pick up the phone and have it delivered. Probably cheaper too, by the time I gather all the ingredients. I've been eating food over here that I would have never eaten at home. Natthawan made some type of bean noodles with sausage...that would be turkey sausage, which by the way I need to locate for my next gumbo. Anyway, it was the most disgusting looking dish...very sauerkraut looking. Natthawan was standing there so I had to taste it. It turns out that it was really good with a nice spicy kick. Oh, I do have a newsflash. Our sea shipment that was shipped from the USA on August 25th finally arrived at my front door yesterday, December 8th. All of our winter clothes were on that ship, and I was really afraid they weren't going to get here before we left for home. Texas, not to mention Tennessee was going to be quite chilly without them. Everything in our shipment was intact. In the way of furniture, I only had our sectional shipped. David very patiently arranged it EVERY possible way in our den, before we came up with a setting that we could live with. It was perfect in my den back home, but not so perfect here. Nonetheless, I'm so happy to curl up on my own sofa with my newspaper and cup of coffee with Fox News blaring in the background. Heaven. One last note. My brother in law, Larry (Regina's husband) is in Methodist Hospital with bacterial meningitis. He became very sick on Thanksgiving eve, but thought it was his ongoing neck problem. He's pretty much been in the hospital since then on antibiotics holding an even pattern. Not better, but not worse. If you think about it tonight while you're talking to God, mention Larry. Thanks guys, y'all are terrific.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gumbo Doha Style

Cool fronts coming through, fall is in the air....time to get the stockpot out. When Kristi came home from school today, she could smell the aroma of onions & bell peppers cooking. "What's for dinner, Mom?" I proudly stated, "gumbo". My first stab at it on this side of the world. You know, I do cheat when I make it, though. I had Kayla bring me some Tony Chachere's Roux mix when she came for Thanksgiving, but don't tell anyone. I overheard Kristi explaining on the phone to her Lebanese friend, Stephanie, what gumbo is. Of course she had never heard of it...boudin or etouffee either. Now, Stephanie grew up in Vegas, but that's as foreign to southeast Texas as Lebanon is. Kristi was rattling off the list of ingredients in gumbo . I heard her saying, "onions, green peppers, chicken, sausage"....SAUSAGE! I laughed to myself. Is she forgetting that we live in a Muslim country where pork is outlawed. No Zummo Party Time on these grocery shelves. Can you say, turkey bacon? Yep, chopped it up & tossed it in the pot, cringing all the while. Kristi was really inquisitive about when that gumbo was going to be ready. What a rude awakening. I thought Kristi was going to fall out of her chair when she saw that turkey bacon in place of her sausage, which by the way she informed me was her favorite part of gumbo. Not in this country, sister. The truth of the matter is, it wasn't half bad. I didn't get my usual, "Thanks, Mom, it was delicious" (Kristi's canned response after EVERY meal...good or bad), but maybe she was still in shock. Ellie Mae signing off.

My Sentiments, Exactly!

Good Morning Friends & Family,

I received this "youtube" production in an email from my Aunt Marge and just had to share it with you.

Peace out...Syb

**Bonus Clip...Click Here!**

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Reader Appreciation Day

It has crossed my mind a time or two wondering how you guys perceive how our lives really are over here. And, I in turn have turned that question over & over in my mind trying to put it all in perspective. The fact is, I do love it over here. While this statement is the truth, I do have to say it only holds water because I do have family and friends in the U.S. with whom I can share our experiences. If I didn't have you guys back home to spout off to, I'm not sure how I'd feel. I guess that holds true anywhere one lives, though. If you don't have anyone to share with, then in my mind, you don't really have anything at all. I guess what I'm saying is that I appreciate all of you letting me share our new lives with you. Sometimes, it's the kick in the rear (that's for JoJo, she hates the "b" word) that gets me out experiencing the lands over here. It's funny, I'll talk to people over here and they're astonished that I've only been here a few months. I can give restaurant reviews, mall tours, directions, and a little commonsense advice on the locals. I've already had a local run into me (my shopping cart, actually) with his Qatari issue Nissan pickup truck...not truly Qatari issue, it just seems that way because they all seem to drive them. He jumps out to check the damage (on his truck) and looks at me and says, "Ees gooed". I told him, "No, it's not "gooed"...you need to slow down!". The sunset pic above is from the scene of the crime. Hey, not all was lost. The pressure that you put on me to "blog" makes me do things to talk about (such as, let people run into me & my shopping cart) , which in turn creates more fun for me. Bottom line: Thanks to all that tune in. You make my day.