Saturday, November 28, 2009


Guess what FORTUNE magazine had to say about my new home:

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is the richest city in the world. The emirate's 420,000 citizens, who sit on one-tenth of the planet's oil and have almost $1 trillion invested abroad, are worth about $17 million apiece.

I know kids are priceless, but it's a little funny to think that each day at work am responsible for teaching and helping and loving $850 million USD.

I've linked up to the archives in case you'd like to read more of the article.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I'm off to Azerbaijan for a few days. I'm going to be travelating with these 2 gals. Be back soon!

P.S. Sorry I'm so delinquent when it comes to blogging. I'm really good at starting blog posts, but not so good at finishing them and getting them online. I will work on that . . .

P.P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!! I'm so thankful I was able to talk to my family today. Love you! xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Heart the Desert

This is me.
This is me in the desert.
This is me in the desert feeling quite content.

The best part is that I get to go back tomorrow. This time, it's for a proper camping trip. Yippee!!

Happy weekend!

P.S. More to come about the last desert trip. I'm going to post about the upcoming one as well. Eventually . . . ;-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Discovering Tampico

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this beverage of florescent loveliness on aisle 24 in the CarreFour. TAMPICO! WOOHOO!!

Before you put me in the category of die-hard Tampico fan, I need to tell you the important reasons why I am actually not qualified to be excited about Tampico:

1. I have never purchased it.
2. I have only sampled it once or twice.

3. When I did sample it, it was because I didn't have any other options.
4. It tastes kind of gross.

However, it's still quite significant to my life. What the sugary juice lacks in taste, it completely makes up for in meaning.

Tampico = Paul Faraca.

Paul, a good friend and former {kinda} housemate from the Elephant, always had a supply of this drink on hand. To him, a trip to Haggen would not be complete without buying a little Tampico. If there was ever a community meal or birthday celebration or picnic in the park, you could count on Paul to bring Tampico. I would not have been the least bit surprised if Paul and his gorgeously dear wife, Kellie, had drank to years of unlimited happiness and bliss from champagne flutes filled with Tampico at their wedding. (Just for the record, they didn't.) After their honeymoon, on my first visit to their new home, what did the couple offer me to drink? None other than the Tampico.

So, Paul, I would like to dedicate this little discovery to you and Kell. It was fun to stand in the aisle and think of the many good times we've all been able to share. Cheers to the Tampico that was nearly always present; a witness to it all. I miss you two!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

'It's Still Summer Here' Salad

As I browse the web, I keep seeing posts of delicious looking fall foods. Comforting soups and stews, roasted vegetables, and sweet treats of apple and pumpkin must be appealing on those cold, blustery nights or on bright, crisp mornings. Here are some of my favorites:

3-P Soup (Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, and Peanut) by 3191 (Love the color and I think it would taste like the African Peanut Soup from the delectable Colophon Cafe.)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by Almota Roses (I'm always in a snacking mood.)
Swedish Cinnamon Roles by Peonies & Polaroids (Both beautiful and delicious. Wow.)
Applesauce by PillieBee (Even though this is from last year, it still counts!)
Apple Pie by Almota Roses (I may be a little biased when it comes to this blog.)

Yes, the calendar says it's November. Yes, the temperatures have dropped a little bit. Yes, the sun is coming up later and setting sooner. But does that make it fall? No siree! Not in my book! For all intents and purposes, it's still summer over here.

So, while you dear folks in Washington come in from the cold, gather together around full tables, and enjoy warm, home-cooked meals, I am still sitting down to simple summer fare. This recipe, which I have personalized just a tiny bit, is referred to as the 'It's Still Summer Here' Salad. All credit must go to the original creator: The Barefoot Contessa. She originally named it "Avocado Salad." These two details should be all you need to know that this recipe is a winner. (Fact: You can't go wrong with Ina. Opinion: Anything with avocados is going to be tasty.) I hope you enjoy!

It's Still Summer Salad

Mix in this order:

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow pepper, seeded and ½-inch diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup small-diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
½ teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (2 limes)
¼ cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and ½-inch diced

Note: I do realize that by posting this recipe at the onset of North American winter dramatically reduces the chances of anyone actually making it. However, it really is pretty terrific. I'd say it's even good enough to go through the hassle of storing the recipe in a safe place for the next 7 months just so you can make it next summer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Country Bumpkin

My former principal liked to tease me about being from Colfax. Having grown up in the DC area, he thought my upbringing was, for lack of a better word, amusing. Whenever I did anything that could even be faintly traced back to my Eastern Washington roots, he'd have to comment. His usual quip was, "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl."

Despite acting annoyed and displeased, I kind of became the resident country bumpkin. In this new setting, however, I doubt anyone would peg me as a hick. Here, I lock my doors. I've been stuck in an hour long traffic jam. I take taxis and worry less about hitting deer and more about being hit. (I've been on the sidewalk right outside my house and have watched 2 accidents happen in front of my eyes. Yikes!) Instead of shopping at Excel or the Grange, I shop at the mall. When I want to go out to eat, I have more options than just Eddy's or Sol Vallarta. As was customary, I stopped, smiled, and made small talk with each person I passed on the main street in Colfax. In Abu Dhabi, it's practically the opposite: DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. If I don't say so myself, I'm doing a decent job of blending into this urban scene. I think I could probably pass for a city slicker any day. Well, almost any day.

A few weeks ago, for example, I happened to be walking to the grocery from Jill's hotel when I spotted one little unpopulated patch of land. It wasn't really much of a 'wide open space' -- just the quiet, palm lined median of 7th street -- but that's all it took. Boom. Off went the shoes. Off went the socks. Out came the bare feet. Then, those bare feet kind of started jumping and running and shamelessly liking the grass below them. Never mind that I was in a public place. Never mind that people were staring and horns were honking. Never mind that if I'd been seen by the wrong people, I might have been instantly ostracized from 80% of the Western expat social circles in this shiny and synthetic city. In that moment, I didn't really care. It was a warm day, the sun was shining, the grass was green, and in my imagination, I was back in Eastern Washington enjoying a nearly perfect slice of Colfaxian summer. Mmmm.

I must confess that sometimes, this debonair, faux-dhabian persona is too hard for me to maintain. And do I really want to do so? Honestly?

I should probably give Mr. H a little more credit. He might have actually known what he was talking about . . .