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!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Still Hangin'

Time to report in, but there's not much to report. Just hanging out, and enjoying every minute of it. Our visit with Shea was short, but the other kids and I loved having him around a for a few days if for nothing else, just to argue the point. He's as argumentative as always, and puts me to shame if you can believe that. Our scrabble games were quite entertaining. His philosophy is if you can't define the word, you can' t play it. Our answer to that was, "get over it". I was all prepared to fix Shea some home cooked meals (I was!), but he declared that he was looking forward to eating out every night. I'm not so sure what that says about his opinion of my cooking. Maybe that's why most of you know that "denial" is my middle name. We hit a couple of Mexican restaurants and a hometown diner that sported a "we support our troops" sign. He left this afternoon and headed to Houston where he'll spend a couple of nights before heading back to Fort Bragg. If you haven't noticed, Fort Bragg has been making a lot of news these last few days. A male soldier in language training where Shea is, was arrested for the widely publicized murder of a female soldier also stationed at Fort Bragg. Shea didn't know the guy, but knew that there was a "person of interest" in the language training program while he was going through it. Apparently he's no longer a person of interest. He's been arrested and is looking at life without parole or death. (Click here for more on the story.) It's a crazy world out there. I hope my little corner of the world stays as peaceful as it's been. Painting bathrooms is about as wild as I've gotten. I'm also trying to revive the dead grass that the kids' neglect has created. I'm rebelling against our designated Sunday and Thursdays watering days in Kyle and throwing in a few extras of my own. It's amazing what a little h20 will do for it. It's growing in a bit, but still has a long way to go. It's been almost like Doha around here. No rain in sight. Oh, and I have no idea what the pose the boys are striking represents, but I know it's something. They sure went out of their way to prepare for the photo, which leads me to great suspicion. I'll leave that one for y'all to figure out. Tootles.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Hellos and Goodbyes

Lots of hellos and goodbyes going on around here these days. Shea showed up in Kyle last night just long enough to shower and head to Austin with Dustin for some 6th Street entertainment. I'm not so sure that it was so lucrative for Dustin. He made it home without his cell phone and now is disconnected from the world. He's pretty sure the cab driver is enjoying his phone at his expense. Regina and Kevin left this afternoon after a whirlwind visit this weekend. Regina hung out with me while Kevin visited friends in the San Marcos area. He's heading back to New York, while Regina's heading back to Onalaska. Kristi's at the airport now dropping off Kat for her flight back to Canada. They had a good visit including a trip back to Kristi's stomping grounds in Port Neches. We really enjoyed showing off our southern culture. Kristi introduced her to boudin balls, Texas barbecue and enchiladas. Of course, Kristi's now planning a Canadian tour next summer with Kat. She has enough travel plans to keep her busy for a few years to come. Gotta get..."Garcia's" Mexican food in Buda is calling out for us. Adios!

Regina...my "older" sister
Kevin.....Regina's son
Kat.........Kristi's Canadian friend
Shea.......Our Soldier
Dustin....Our phoneless son

Kristi......No introduction needed

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Extreme Makeovers

NOTE: This is a far stretch for what I would consider blogworthy. I wrote this to appease those that are really hard up for excitement in their lives. And if that is your case, bless your pea pickin' heart!

After dropping David at the airport last week, I could not wait to get back to Kyle to attack Kristi's room. Kristi has always had the luxury of having a huge bedroom. I don't how she's managed it, but her rooms thus far had been oversized to say the least. This one, however, is a bit more like the story of the little old lady who lived in a shoe. You know me, if it's a competition I'm there to compete. By the time David called me from D.C. that night, I had the furniture completely rearranged. Let me tell you, that was no small feat. Had David been here, it wouldn't have happened. He would have told me to forget it. Kristi's bed is set up on a base that's really meant to be put together and left there, but I had to move it. It just took up too much room where it was put together. I had to take her queen sized mattress off the bed to lighten it and lie flat on my back on the floor and push the bed inch by inch across the room with my legs. I had to start off with my head against the wall and my feet against the base of her bed. In time I was stretched out with my hands on the wall while pushing. If the room would have been any bigger, I couldn't have done it. I had to have the wall to push off of to get any leverage. Oh, if only you could have been a fly on the wall for that sight. Needless to say, my thighs got a good work out and I definitely felt it the next day. Next a hammer and a box of nails and I'm in business. I figured I'd hang everything possible, since it took up less storage room that way. I did save two walls in anticipation of her Doha shipment that has yet to arrive. I have no idea where all that stuff will go. I'm envisioning Goodwill, but I doubt Kristi is having that same vision. Anyway, I unpacked what I could and got it down to a big basket of things for Kristi to pilfer through and decide what stays and what goes. Those who know Kristi know that most everything will stay. Now, Kayla's room was a different story. It was just totally messy and actually had too much room. I moved in some extra furniture pieces that we had stored in our unused living room to fill in some spaces. I hung a few more things on the wall and now it's much warmer and cozier. Both of the girls were really surprised and truly appreciative of their makeovers. Now, we'll see if it will last. Any bets on that?....I didn't think so!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Remember The Alamo?

Kristi and her friend of many years, Emily, have come to Kyle for a visit. They drove in yesterday from Groves to meet Kristi's Doha graduation partner Kat at the Austin airport. Kat flew in from her home country of Canada to visit the great state of Texas and Kristi for the week. We decided a drive to San Antonio today for an Alamo tour and a scenic stroll along the Riverwalk with a little Texas barbecue from County Line on the side would be good place to start Kat's Texas visit. First stop was The Alamo for a refresher course on Davy Crockett and friends. The weather was as warm as the welcoming Texas hospitality that we received, but actually quite pleasant with a low humidity. We moseyed on over to the Riverwalk, which we hadn't been to in years, but it was as beautiful as I had remembered it. I was having flashbacks of when we took Shea and Dustin at the ages of two and three. We were riding one of the river boats and Dustin was resounding a nice Texas drawl, "Howwwdy" to everyone we passed. Kat never mentioned any drawl that she was hearing, but she certainly noticed the "y'all". She always made fun of Kristi in Doha for using that southern term, but was even more amazed when she heard everyone here using it. We'll have that little Canadian mastering the use of y'all before she leaves the South, eh? Having three young females with me, we couldn't pass up the allure of River Center Mall and had to stop in for a little shopping. I'm so happy to have "rediscovered" San Antonio, being that it's less than an hour from our home in Kyle. From now on we won't forget to Remember the Alamo!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The "Peek"

I failed to mention in my previous post that I had a wonderful lunch with all my working buddies from JGA (Jan Girouard & Associates) while visiting the Beaumont area. Jan kindly informed me that my blogs were MUCH better when I was reporting from Doha. Sorry, Jan, I'll work on that! She has a point. It was quite difficult to put thoughts together in an amusing fashion while in Tennessee with fifteen other guests in the house. It was even harder, if you get my drift, when I had no internet while visiting Mom in Groves. That being said, I'll share what I would normally call an "only in Doha" sighting, but I can't because it happened in Wimberley while David and I were eating in a local diner there. We were finishing up on our breakfast special when David's face broke out in a most unusual look and he says to me, "You are not going to believe what I just saw". Well, apparently one of the local yokel's had just paid her bill at the counter and decided she needed to part with the egg she had on her face. She proceeded to lift her blouse to her mouth to wipe it, exposing EVERYTHING between her neck and her belly button. We decided she must have been a direct descendant of Woodstock since there was no support system happening underneath her shirt. It couldn't have been a pretty sight. She wasn't exactly what one would call a "hottie". Now, I'll have to add "only in Wimberley" to my repertoire. Oh, I forgot the best part. As we were laughing, the gentleman at the next table leaned over to say something. I was waiting for him to say, "can you believe that?", but he only said..."hmm, you must be new customers". I'm not so sure David wants to go back for another peep show. He told me he was truly "incensed". I didn't know what he was talking about and then he reminded me of the old Ray Stevens song. If you didn't have the volume up play it again by clicking on the arrow and enjoy a blast from the past!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

What's Going on in My World

I think the last time I talked to you, David and I had were back from Tennessee with a stopover in Kyle before heading to Onalaska and Groves. Our "almost" week in Kyle was wonderful. It felt like being on vacation, since we had only spent three or four nights in the house, since we bought it last August. And if you remember, the few days we were here were spent unpacking boxes stacked to the ceiling in nearly every room. This time it was much more enjoyable sipping coffee on the porch, taking country drives, and doing what we do best, "nothing". When we got our fill of that we headed over to Onalaska, where Regina and Larry have built a beautiful home on a cove off Lake Livingston. The scenery gave a new meaning to the previous mentioned "sipping coffee on the porch". Of course, Regina gave me a guided tour around the neighborhood in their golf cart. I see a future for her in Beverly Hills giving tours pointing out the movie stars' homes. She knew who lived in all the houses, how much they cost, how often they visited, and what they did for a living. It gave new meaning to the term neighborhood watch. We enjoyed our quick visit and were back on the road to Groves to visit mom and dad and the rest of the clan. We found everyone well in our not long enough visit, but time was closing in on us. We needed to get back to Kyle as David was heading out soon. "Soon" came this afternoon as I dropped him at the Austin airport at 2:00pm. He called when he reached D.C. and has already left for his straight flight to Doha from there. So, here I am holding the fort down while Dustin and Kristi are visiting in Groves and Kayla is playing her student orientation leader role at St. Edwards until tomorrow evening. Signing off...Alone in Kyle :(

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bad Day Continues :(

A little follow up on our bad day yesterday. Well, it wasn't over after the tap water soaked computer fiasco. I got soaked a few more times myself while trying to get dinner going. I can't explain the gadget on the water faucet....you'd just have to see it. Anyway, David finally removed it for me before I drowned. We're not to the bad, yet. Hang in there. I don't think I've mentioned to y'all that Kayla's boyfriend, Ryan, is a vegetarian. Collective sigh. I'm in the camp with Ted Nugent, as I've heard him say, "You kill it, I'll grill it". Well, it just so happened that the menu for the night was King Ranch Chicken. I gave into all the belly achin' I've been dishing Kayla (& Ryan) about him being a vegetarian and made him his own bowl of just "King Ranch". Kayla was quite proud of my concession and wanted to document the moment by snapping pics of me and Ryan. As we sit down to eat, Dustin asks, "Mom, don't you use cream of chicken soup in this?". "Well, as a matter of fact Dustin, I do...problema? As he just stared back of me, it hit me. CHICKEN! Ryan was most gracious and said no problem. Half way through his personal casserole, we released him of his obligation and told him not to worry about finishing it. I'm sorry to say that the report we got a little later in the evening was that Ryan was not faring so well and by the way, he was no longer in possession of the King Ranch. I promise I wasn't pulling a Dixie Chick* trick on you, Ryan. I'll do better next time!

*Against my better judgment, I caved into the Dixie Chick tune "Goodbye Earl" for the occasion. They have not been allowed in our household since the "incident"!

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Are Q's Overrated?

David and I drove out to Wimberley this morning. It's a quaint little town with an old town square with lots of little shops. A nice country drive for two breakfast specials and a walk around town. On our way home, I heard this song on the radio and told myself to put in my memory bank for future blog possibilities. Well, as they say, there's no time like the present. It all started when David was working on the hot water heater. He asked me to turn the kitchen water on and being the obedient wife that I am, I complied. I was tending to other things and returned to the kitchen and couldn't figure out where all the splashing water was coming from on the kitchen table. I immediately looked up at the ceiling because it was pouring outside....yes, it rains in Texas, too :) !! No ceiling leak, what the heck? I turned and saw water spraying EVERYWHERE from the kitchen faucet. David's and Kayla's computers were sitting open on the bar as usual and getting saturated. I couldn't help but laugh, and of course my husband is losing his sense of humor didn't find it one bit humorous. He towel dries his computer and asks where the vacuum cleaner is. Hmm...ok, maybe it could have been a good idea before his "Q" was sucked off the keyboard. So now we're digging through all of Saudi's cat hair that I vacuumed up last week to find the missing link. David couldn't find it. Time to put a woman on the job. Crisis averted until next time. Signing out from beautiful Kyle, Texas....Syb

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

No Place Like Home

Here we sit in Kyle for a few days trying to figure out our priorities. Fix the lawn mower, the doorbell, mop the floor, unpack the few remaining boxes, hydro blast my tea pitcher, torch Kayla's bedroom or just sit back and sip on our coffee....where to begin. So much to do, so little time before we head to my neck of the woods in Groves, Texas. I'm sure Mom & Dad (well Dad, anyway) are impatiently waiting for our arrival. Dustin picked us up on our arrival in Austin sporting his new haircut. You must admit, he was getting a bit shaggy, which is exactly what I've been calling him. Remember Shaggy from Scooby-Doo? On our way from the airport we dropped him at his friend Peter's (aka frat house) where Shea and his army buddies had just arrived from a quick eighteen hour drive from Fort Bragg for the weekend. We then met Kayla and Ryan for a bite at Cracker Barrel....aaaah, country cooking at its best. A stop at H.E.B. for groceries on our way to the ranch and we were in business. I woke to my alarm, (David's brewing coffee) and started the day off wondering where to start. David put the ding, but not the dong back in the door bell. Hey, it's not perfect but it gets your attention. We reloaded the hummingbird feeder for our local friends and took our morning coffee outside to the porch to watch them feed. Shea and his army friends, Hong and Schroeder, arrived early in the afternoon for a quick visit before they head back to Fort Bragg tonight. A little father and daughter "wii" and we're off to a good start of our Texas stay. Tennessee was wonderful, but we had to leave before the four pounds I gained turned into ten. There truly is no place like home.

The pink flowers behind the nasty pitcher were given to Kayla by Ryan to represent their four month anniversary....awww.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

I Hear Rain Drops!

It really does exist...rain. I heard thunder and then saw falling rain today. It was very nice and peaceful and lasted a total of five minutes. No doubt, though, I'm sure there is much more to come in my next seven to eight weeks here in the states. David better absorb what he can in the next two weeks, because our rain season in Doha doesn't hit for another six months (if it hits at all). It's quietening down in the Tennessee Knox household. The visitors are dropping like flies. We saw Shea off at the airport on Sunday night and then the rest of my crew flew out on Wednesday. David's niece, Diana left with her husband, twin daughters and wild four year old, Corinne yesterday morning. His sister, Sherry and her daughter in law and grandchildren will be leaving this afternoon. That leaves just me and David until tomorrow afternoon when we fly out. We spent a lot of time sitting outside in the wonderful weather. The temps have been hovering in the mid eighties with a nice breeze and low humidity. It doesn't get much better than that. The rest of the time was spent inside stuffing our faces and playing cards. I'm a little bit reluctant to see mom, because the first thing she said to me at Christmas was, "Syb, how much weight have you gained?". Geez, thanks, mom. I was so good preparing before I left Doha, but since I've arrived in Mount Pleasant, it's nonstop homemade ice cream, blackberry cobbler, cookies and every possible calorie ridden item available. We did go canoeing one day, which is the only exercise I've gotten since arrival other than scooping out the frozen ice cream. And now we're off to La Fuentes Mexican Restaurant to celebrate America's independence. Can't think of a better way to do it. Adios!

Pictured with Shea...Great Niece Morgan (Diana's)
Mixing the batter..... Great Niece Corinne (Diana's)
Right.....Great Niece Sophia

Great Nieces Sophia and Myah (Bobby's)

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Better Late than Never?

As I write this, I know I'm in deep doo doo. I've been missing in action now for several days and haven't made one phone call. Sorry, Mom. We arrived in Austin on Thursday to blue skies with beautiful puffy white clouds that I didn't realize how much I missed. Dustin met us at the airport with the first stop being at Luviano's in Kyle for real Mexican food. Later in the evening David and I joined Kayla and Kristi for dinner at St. Edward's and our first acquaintance with Ryan (Kayla's beau). He made a great first impression, and David and I decided we really liked him. But Ryan, we reserve the right to keep our eye on you, just to keep you on your toes! Only the best for daddy's little girl. We crashed by 8:00pm that night with the sun still high in the sky. In Doha the sun usually sets by 6:30pm. Early Friday morning, David and I were sitting at IHOP ordering up our breakfast with the much anticipated bacon on the side. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up the house we have yet to live in ( aka college central) in Kyle. It's amazing what a vacuum cleaner can do if you plug it in and turn it on. A broom is a pretty nifty invention, as well. Not near enough time for cleaning as we were off to St Ed's to meet the girls for the closing ceremony of Kristi's orientation. Kayla's boss had arranged for a St Ed's van to take the five of us to the airport for our flight to Nashville. Now, aren't we special? Little did the three siblings traveling with us know of the surprise that we had arranged to meet at the airport. We arrived at our gate and the girls hurried off to baggage claim. Wow, the plan was working without any effort from our part. David and Dustin waited while I used the ladies' room, then David decided to use the facilities when I came out. Dustin was patiently waiting and I told him to go on ahead to help the girls retrieve the luggage. He looked at me in exasperation and asked, "Is Dad taking a pooh?!" I told him that I thought maybe his stomach was a little upset and that we'd be down as soon as we could. I called David after Dustin headed downstairs and told him that the coast was clear. The self induced stomach problem was our excuse to hang around while we waited for Shea to arrive from Fort Bragg via Raleigh Durham airport. In the meantime, Kayla kept calling for updates on Dad's "condition". Apparently it was the talk of the town downstairs between her, Granddaddy (our Mount Pleasant connection), Dustin, and Kristi. They were all discussing David's ailment and what the possible causes could have been. Shea finally arrived and we headed down to the baggage area with our mystery guest. Long story short, it was a lot of fun and a big surprise for everyone. We only had him for the weekend, but a little time together was better than nothing. Saturday was our Annual Tennessee Fourth of July picnic held on June 28th. I realized this year that we are becoming the older generation as there were kids everywhere that belong to what used to be "the kids" at the picnic. Talk about a reality check. The weather cooperated and we ate like there was no tomorrow. Speaking of eating, I think I hear the dinner bell. Check y'all later!

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