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!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

We're Back!

We're back and on the prowl. A few of us pink villa gals got together for lunch today at LeNotre to celebrate our return to Doha. We had a three hour lunch and there was not one moment of silence observed. Good thing there was no political discussion on the agenda or we would still be there. Needless to say, Bonnie Rait doesn't need to give us anything to talk about. We had so much fun that we decided to see what we can do to work around Ramadan, which officially kicks off tomorrow morning at sun up. I've been elected to call every major hotel in Doha to see who's going to be open for lunch during this thirty day fasting season (sunup to sundown). Kim with her cheerleader enthusiasm decided that when we meet again that we vote on a name of our little group. Hmmm....how 'bout the "hungry heifers", being we're all from Texas and we do tend to be hungry. Karen, on the other hand, gave us a homework assignment and asked that we bring our ideas to the table about what we'll miss about Doha when we leave. I'm thinking she's going to pirate our thoughts for one of her upcoming blogs. I guess we'll let her, since she will be heading back to the land of the free come the first of October. Let me get on with my homework, so that we can get on with our eating!

Note to all of our Doha lady friends out there: All are welcome. Spontaneity is the name of the game. No special invitation needed!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav, Hanna...Who's Next?

Florida might be spared of Gustav, but I'm afraid Hanna is on the way, as well. It also looks like there's lots of activity churning out in the warm open waters. All I've got to say about all this is that I'm so happy to no longer be a homeowner on the great coast of Southeast Texas. I can sit here in never never land and breathe a sigh of relief. I do, however, have to worry that Mom and Dad get evacuated if and when the need arises. Well honestly, I don't have to worry, I do have a multitude of brothers and a sister still in the area. I still lend my moral support, though, even if it's in spirit only. As for Gustav, he doesn't look like he's gonna slow down. So batten down the hatches Aunt Marge and get the "h" out of Dodge (aka Cameron, La).

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Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain Palin Ticket?

What a strategic move on John McCain's part. He's balancing out this historic presidential election. We will either have our first black president or our first woman vice president. He's really stepping outside the box with his selection of Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska. It's not official yet, but looks inevitable.

Update: 8:43 am...hold the press...McCain's pick is becoming more mysterious. The pundits are not so sure about Palin now. We'll let the drama play out.

9:36 am .......IT'S OFFICIAL.....

Forgive me. I just love all this political hoopla!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Get Ready, Karen!

It's Thursday morning and I think my jet lag is subsiding. I'm not really sure if I had any jet lag to begin with. It was more like an excuse to be lazy, like I like to be. Somewhere along my trip home, I missed a day. I leave on a Monday and the next thing I know it's Wednesday. This time zone thing with an added twenty hours of traveling confuses me so. The trip was great, though. I had a window seat and no one sitting next to me. It doesn't get any better than that. My only bad experience was not being able to get my peanut butter through airport security. I begged, but she took it and tossed it anyway. Oh, the little things that can bring tears to my eyes. I pulled myself up by the seat of my pants and like a big girl, I got over it. So, anyway, here I sit in Doha just in time for Ramadan. Remember...thirty days of no restaurants or malls being open during daylight hours? And trust me, when sundown hits you don't want to be caught on any Doha streets when the Muslims are high tailing it to wherever they're going to "break their fast". Think about it...they're tired and hungry from staying up all night and eating so that they're prepared for their fast the following day. It's a vicious cycle. By the end of Ramadan, it's a frenzy out there as all those nights are paying a toll on their fasting, sleepless bodies. If you recall, my soon to be out of here friend, Karen, said that when I get back to Doha to be ready to hit the ground running. Well, I'm here and I'm afraid there won't be anywhere to run since her last days here fall in Ramadan. Trust me, we'll give it hell trying, so Karen....Get Ready!!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Adios, Amigos!

Good Morning! I'm taking care of all my last minute duties, before I board my flight for Doha. I set my alarm this morning, so I wouldn't be rushed and could enjoy my laptop, Fox News, and coffee. I do have priorities, you know. It's a shame that I haven't gotten up early since I've been here. because there was really nice sun rising outside my window. Oh well, maybe I'll catch it this winter. Somehow I doubt that though. Today is the girls' first day at SEU. They are starting off with Calculus II at 8:00 a.m. this morning...yes, both in the same class and yes, they must be crazy. Calc II at 8:00 a.m.?? What a wake up call. Kayla needs it for her major in Math and Kristi, well, she's taking it "just in case" she might need it. More power to her. Dustin is sleeping away upstairs for his last sleep in, as Texas State starts tomorrow. He opted for a more realistic 9:30am start time. He's a senior now (collective sigh of relief) and we are crossing our fingers for a May graduation. I'll let y'all be now. I need to see if I can cram this summer and then some back into the two suit cases I came with. Oh, and be sure and watch the Democratic Convention for me and let me know if I miss any fireworks! Reporting from Kyle for one last time....Syb

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Roll With Me, Girls!

Contrasting pictures of two girls being born from the exact same parents. So related, but yet so far apart... one playing the game (good job, Kayla!) and one bucking the system (is that Kristi?!). All I wanted to do was capture the college moving process for posterity. They've been like this since birth, so I've had to learn to roll with it. If "rolling" was an Olympic event, I'd definitely take the Gold. Nevertheless, diversity is what makes the world go round. We're winding down on getting the girls all tucked away in their perspective dorm rooms... Kayla, in her private hideaway that the university provides for Resident Assistants, and Kristi in her cheerleader included semi-private room. Of course, we've made the obligatory Target runs for bedding, curtains, rugs, bins, toiletries and everything one might remotely need for the coming year. Both of the girls were able to move in early (a perk of being a Resident Assistant's sister), so we were able to beat the mad rush that move in day brings. Remember, University of Texas (population 50,000 plus) moves in this weekend, as well. Ready or not, school starts for the girls on Monday, the 25th at St. Edward's and for Dustin, the following day at Texas State. That's right, three kids in college, hence the driving force behind our Qatar Adventures. We can't afford to come home!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wanted: Good Home for Bad Cat

I'm sorry it's come down to this. David is reporting from Doha that Sykes might not be an appropriate house cat. After breaking my "unbirthday present", a vase, another vase, chewing the corner off Kayla's Qatar photo album, chewing up my flowers, tearing my paper umbrella from Bangkok, eating my food before I get a chance, climbing the curtains, stealing and hiding my makeup brushes, and in general demolishing everything in his path, it has been decided maybe he wasn't cut out to be a house cat. Sykes has appropriately lived up to his name. Little did we know that we were cursing him when we named him that. Our only options are to toss him out back in the heat and listen to him howl to be let in or to let another free spirited family take him on. Any and all takers are welcome. His good qualities are that he will come sit in your lap and nap, he will join you at the dinner table (he knows that ONLY front paws are allowed), he fetches, and he occasionally will open the door for you. Well, his days of opening the door are actually over, but it was quite amusing while it lasted. I think what has really pushed the envelope on this issue is that our cat Saudi in Kyle is the most well behaved cat ever. No jumping on the counter tops, no unwarranted attacks or attacks of any nature, no stealing of your food...just a purely lazy cat that will take any abuse you can dish. Saudi, I think I'll keep you. Sykes, I'm not so sure.

Kristi spending quality time antagonizing Saudi. Please note, even though all claws are intact, and her growling is evident, no one is harmed in the making of this video.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Farm Education

I received this from my cousin Peggy and it brought back a great memory of when we lived in Mobile, Alabama. Jo Jo and Granddaddy hosted the kids nearly every summer at their Mount Pleasant, Tennessee home. After Kristi being there particularly long one summer, she came home with what is known to many of you as TMI (Too Much Information). I would say she was about four years old at the time and telling me one of her farm stories as she sat at the bar eating her breakfast. I quote: "Mom, you know, sometimes the cows put their front legs up on the other cows shoulders. That's what you call a free ride. Yep, that's what Granddaddy told me". She didn't skip a beat, kept eating her cereal and never even looked up.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Count Down

I'm spending my last few days in Kyle for my final hurrah, before heading back to Doha. The count down has me at one week to lift off. When I decided to come home for two months this summer, I was worried that being home for so long would create a certain comfort zone here that would make me not want to go back. I'm happy to say that I've had a wonderful time being home visiting with family and friends, but I'm also happy to know that I will be ready to return to my "other home" when the moment arrives. Kayla and Dustin will be all settled back into their college routines while Kristi begins adjusting to hers. They will be busy with their own lives while I get back to mine. And, they will know that I'm only a hop, skip, and a jump away (by airplane standards, anyway). I, myself am a bit anxious to pick up where I left off, but there will be a bit of a change. Rumor has it that one of my dear Doha friends is leaving me. I haven't heard it from her yet to confirm, so she will remain nameless for now. I will miss her and it saddens me that we didn't have more time together. Nonetheless, I wish her the best and know that we will remain friends across the oceans. Meanwhile, David is patiently waiting for my arrival. I'm sure eating takeout is getting old by now...eating it alone, that is. You didn't think that I meant that he was anxiously waiting for my cooking, did you? Get real. Nothing in that department has changed. Eat out/take out queen is alive and well. Keep those menus out, dear!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

As Good As New

I brought a beautiful stained glass piece with me to Kyle from our home in Port Neches in hopes that I could find somewhere to use it. I realized that I had the perfect place for it as I was excitedly unpacking it. All that was needed was a quick measurement to make sure it would fit. As I was pulling the styrofoam out of the custom fit box, the glass slid out, bounced to the floor and broke. Boy, was I sick. Dustin wasn't. He never liked the piece. He informed me that he always felt like "gargoyles" were looking back at him. Kayla's take on it was a little different. She saw little men with handlebar mustaches staring back at her. Anyway, David went ahead and measured the glass and the intended space and found that it would accommodate the piece just fine. He put the hardware in the space for me in hopes that I would be able to find someone to repair the glass. I found a stained glass shop in Wimberley that specializes in custom items. The gentleman was happy to inform me that he could fix my glass even though it would take a few weeks. He was happier to inform me that he had a floor lamp that had the same pattern. I smiled as I thought of Kayla and Dustin and nixed that idea right away. I picked up my nearly good as new stained glass yesterday and Dustin obligingly climbed the ladder to put it in its new home. As the saying goes, "All is well that ends well".

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Did We "Cross" the Line?

I just got back from visiting Regina and Larry at their dream home in Onalaska, Tx. They've spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears building this retirement home that is situated on a cozy little cove on Lake Livingston. With all the windows on the back side of the home, you can't escape the tranquility that the cove has to offer. I guess that's why there wasn't ONE picture hanging on the walls, not a nail hole anywhere. Regina's been too busy soaking up all the atmosphere. Well, actually she informed me last summer that she wasn't hanging anything until I got there to help her. Obviously, she meant it. It's nearly a year later and I've finally been able to do so. The only problem was that she didn't have anything to hang. If I have to go into one more Hobby Lobby, Kirkland's, or Kohl's any time in the near future, just shoot me. I think we hit every one of them from Beaumont to Lufkin. I won't even mention the numerous Home Depots and Lowes that we visited to look at rugs. We purchased a number of items and did our darnedest to position everything in their proper places. We truly toiled over every decision before we would drive that nail into it's permanent position. Once we got rolling, it got a lot easier. With all the crosses we hung, I think Larry's afraid that he's going to have to install a holy water font at the front door. I've left her with a few areas that need a little attention, but she has informed me that she will wait for my return, whenever that should be. Did I mention that she takes after my mom and can't make a decision to save her life? I guess that's ok as it makes me feel blessed and honored that she had faith in me to be up to the job. I look forward to round two on my next USA tour.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008


Not much time to talk...I'm grabbing some free Internet time while Kristi eats her McAllister's sandwich. We're back in Groves visiting Mom & Dad for a quick last visit before I wrap up my USA tour. I had a great lunch today with my GREAT friends from Jan Girouard & Associates. We ate at Sugas, a jazzy downtown Beaumont restaurant. The food was wonderful, the road down memory lane was even better. We discussed current events, old events and even future events. By the way, congrats on that soon to be grandson, Jan! Don't forget to send me pics. Gotta get. Talk to you soon. Ok, I'm back. So my free Internet didn't last long enough to post, so we moseyed on over to Starbucks. You should feel privileged to be reading a $10 blog. That's just for the Internet. I won't even mention the cost of the coffees.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Look Before You Leap

A funny thing happened on the way to the farm, I mean salon, this morning. I sort of backed over Kristi's car. Now, not totally over it....just somewhat over it. It's been my biggest fear for a long time and I finally met it head on, not exactly how I wanted to. After me looking at Kayla with eyes as big as saucers, I quickly put the car in park and got out to assess the damage. There was a huge stripe of red paint across my back fender that I hurriedly toweled off, but I was really more worried about Kristi's car at the moment. I don't know where she gets it, but she's so anal about it, geez. I was relieved that it looked to be fairly minor. I wasn't even going to tell her about it, but I knew if I didn't, "Motor Mouth" (aka Kayla) would. So I sat Kristi down and went into this huge diatribe about how material things are so overrated and that the important things in life are the things that we can't wrap our hands around. And then, I went on to say, "You know, Kristi, you really shouldn't park your car at the very end of the driveway". Now, it was her turn for her eyes to become as big as saucers. In the end, we all had a good laugh about the whole situation. Well, all but David, anyway. But as he always does, he'll get over it.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our American Soldier

The moment we have been waiting for in the Knox household, Shea has received his unit assignment. As things stand at this very second in time (remember, we are dealing with the Army, anything is possible) he will not be sent to Iraq, not even to Afghanistan. It looks like West Africa will be where he spends his overseas stint. If I understand correctly, there is a group from his unit going in October, but there is not enough preparation time for him to join that group. Darn! The next deployment from his unit will not be until April which will be replacing the current group leaving in October. It seems that he will be working an Embassy job in a suit and tie. Now, please keep in mind this could all change tomorrow and he could be picking cotton in the backfields of Louisiana (if that's what the Army wishes). Part of him wanted to do his duty and report to a combat zone, but the other part is glad that he will get to utilize the French that he has learned. Yes, French is one of the predominant languages in Africa. No, they're not all speaking Swahili over there. I bet I learn a lot about Africa in these next few months...probably more than I want to know. Anywho, that's the latest Knox Army news. Over and out.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Where the Green Grass Grows

While Southeast Texas is preparing for Edouard, I'm working on getting my grass growing. Edouard might be the best thing for it, as it looks like it might just pass on through the Austin area after it finishes with the coast. Rain keeps eluding us and we would welcome the much needed moisture. I've been rebelling against the city and watering nearly everyday in spite of the water ban. As you look at the pics, you might be saying to yourself a Jed Clampett, "Pitiful, just pitiful". I don't know why that popped into my mind, forgive me. Anyway, the sparse green is so much better than the solid brown that welcomed us a little over a month ago. The fact that it needed mowing was quite an event around here. Apparently, before we got here it hadn't been mowed in ages. Not that the kids were lazy, there just wasn't any grass to mow. On second thought, maybe they were to lazy to put the sprinkler out on our two designated water days. But now I'm assured that they understand the concept of water making the grass grow. Just three more weeks to see how green I can get it. The challenge is on.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's the House with the Pink? Door???

Ok, so I don't have swingin' doors, a jukebox, or a bar stool, and it sure as heck ain't smoke filled, but I do have a newly painted front door. After five coats of paint and spending more time than it took to paint two bathrooms, I finally finished. It probably could use a couple of more coats, but it ain't gonna happen. The guy that sold me the paint told me it was $35 a gallon because it didn't need a primer. I think I'll buy a primer next time and get the cheaper paint. Anyway, it's all good now. It's brightened up the front a lot and best of all I did it all by myself. Nothing like patting myself on the back :)

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Friday, August 1, 2008

A Little Bathroom Humor

Remember the bathroom that I mentioned painting? Well, what I didn't tell you is that it belongs to Nick, the college roommate that has moved out for the summer. Kristi was visiting her friends back in Port Neches and I decided to do one of those "While You Were Out" episodes. She was bringing a couple of friends back with her to Kyle, so I thought it would be a nice surprise. The walls were a bland off white, the shower curtain was clear, and there was absolutely no color at all in typical boy style. So, I had a little fun. The rumor is that Nick is moving back in soon...do you think he'll understand?

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