Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

2013 has been an interesting year for me.  I don't know what it was about this year, but I lost a lot of friends.  I also gained new ones and re-discovered a few old ones.

I lost several friends to illness; like my dear friend, Jaime, who passed away of liver problems.  She went to the US with her family from Vietnam in 1975 as a baby.  She was one of my crazy friends; most of her friends were Vietnamese gangsters and that made for some "interesting" situations.  I felt (feel) guilty because I didn't call her and hadn't seen her in many years.

Other friends, like The Romanian, I lost to "friendship complications" (and I'll leave it at that).  She was a long-term BFF  of 16 years, so it was very traumatic for me.

Then, there was the love loss of Mr. Clean/Dirty.  I had a really hard time recovering from him and I've had to stop waiting for the apology that will never come.  (He's told his family how bad he feels, but he's never said it to me directly.)

Business was a mixed batch this year too.  Although we won a little business, we lost a lot.  I felt a lot of responsibility towards quite a few of our employees on a contract we had held for many years. I obsessed over minute details of the re-bid proposal, which we were destined to lose to a cheaper bidder.  When we did and people lost their jobs, it hit me hard and I don't think I realized how much stress I'd been under until I got here to the States and took several steps back.  People have been gracious and kind about it even through their hardships, "Don't worry.  Everything is in God's hands..."  I tried my best, honestly.

On the positive side, I have learned who true friends are who were in the background for years and I never worked on being closer with.  Now that I have, I regret not knowing sooner how fiercely loyal they are and how they were there all the time for me.  All I had to do was to reach out - and there they were.

I've gained a family this year.  While things didn't work out with Clean, I gained his family.  I'm considered one of them and his dad has taken me under his wing.  He is my surrogate dad and I'm so happy about it that it is difficult to describe in words.  They've become a support system that I didn't know how badly I was missing.

I've also gained a new family member, Mike.  Mike is a German Shepard puppy that one of my friends bought to breed.  Dude was keeping 1-month-old Mike in a cage, outside, with no blanket or warmth when I volunteered to take him home and train him.  That was over a month ago.  Mikey has settled in permanent now.  Desert Dawg isn't too happy with him, but it might do her good to have a little competition in the house as she has been getting cranky and mean lately.  Several of my friends have remarked that Mike may have come along at the right time since DD is now pushing her 17th year and may not have longer to go.  I don't want to think about that.  I've always wanted a German Shepard and I was planning to get one when the time was right.  This little guy just kind of fell into my lap.  He's smart and he'll make a great companion in my old age.

I would like to say thank you to all you readers (there are like 2 now!) who have taken the time to write nice things to me this past year.  Little kindnesses go a long way and you may not know the value of a few small words, but they have meant a tremendous amount to me.  I do not take the kindness of strangers lightly; you never know when God is sending you angels - which is exactly how I feel about all of you.  Kind words are invaluable and there is real power in gratitude, so thank you all so much for your continued virtual friendships; sometimes throughout the years.

And on that note:  If there is anything I can do to help you (or information I can provide that might help you here on the blog) for 2014, please let me know.  I will do my best to try to assist.

May you all have a happy, healthy, prosperous, and love-filled 2014.  God bless you all and keep you safe.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Almost Cwimmas

I'm in Virginia with the fam.  There is still snow on the ground from last week, but today they said it will get up to 60 degrees, so that will all go.  It is so nice to be here, but of course I miss all my peeps in Kuwait.  Everything is all Christmassy and pretty here.  Mashallah, I'm happy.

I'll write more later when I'm not cutting into my shopping time.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Happy Birthday, Reyadh-O

I would like to say a special  happy birthday to my friend, Reyadh, at Al Boom Dive Center.

I've known Reyadh since I was 18 years old when he was just starting his career as a diver.  That was a while ago... (I am not going to date either one of us by revealing HOW long ago, but it has been a  little while).

We've been through a lot of ups and downs and we are still life-long friends.  He taught me much of what I know about Kuwait through kindness and generosity; as did his family.  I sincerely regret never having had the opportunity to meet his mother in person (God rest her soul), but she is someone who has made an impact on my life and I think of her whenever I drive by Daiya.  She was a kind woman who welcomed me into their family.

I am still friends with some of Reyadh and my mutual friends.  I still see them as young 20-somethings as students; hanging out in clubs, driving cool cars, being cool in general.  I was one of the gang.  I cooked for them, helped them with stupid things like problems with neighbors or bank accounts, and invited them to meet my family (hopefully extending a little American hospitality).

I was driving down the Gulf Road, many years later, when a ranking officer in a fire truck leaned out the window and say, "(Desert Girl)!  Is that YOU?"  I see him in the newspapers sometimes these days.  The hair is a little different, but they are just older cool guys now.

Reyadh was dear to my family.   They all expected him to be part of us forever, but we took different paths in life.  I am thankful that he is so happy and he has so many wonderful blessings in his life (hey - including a friend like ME!)  He has (Mashallah) 7 children and a job that he loves working on the sea.  He's extremely popular in diving circles and (again Mashallah) has many friends throughout the world now.

So to you, Schmed:  I will always remember you as that cool 24-year old guy with the sports car and the awesome group of friends.  The apartment in Rockville and Saleh's house guest who broke the toilet trying to squat on it Arabic-style.  Traveling to see Sami and Talal in LA.  Taking the boat to that little island in Hawaii.  Bob's Big Boy.   Daytona beach.  Hanging with my dad in Baltimore.  Fetah's major crush on my sister.   My mom's fierce loyalty to you.  Defending you when your downstairs neighbor said, "You Arabs are cooking in your living room."  You defending me from the Monster.  Salah cooking mowish and Shannon hating it. ... and many more years of endearing memories that I owe to you.

Happy birthday, dear friend. I hope to be wishing you the same well into our '90's!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


Is it in Kuwait?  Is it?  Is it?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Animal Care: WATER!!!

So this weekend, I was at my camp.  We have a friend who just added a tent (our camp has now become an expansive "compound" with more friends adding more tents all over the place.  More on that later).  Anyhoo, new dude brought 2 dogs with him:  His prized English bulldog and a French bulldog (I could tell causa their accents and one wore a beret).  The English bulldog got to sleep in his tent. I don't know why he didn't let the French bulldog sleep inside too (maybe because he was trying to hump the little guy all night, doggy style; come to think of it, also known as "French-style" so either way, it makes sense.).  Anyways, Dewy (French dog), was tied outside to one of the tent stakes.  Well, it gets hot in the morning and Dewy was out there with his little pug face in a hot pant with NO WATER.

Ok people, but to me (and I'm sure others) -- this is just animal abuse.  You do not leave an animal (ANY animal) in your care without water.  You wouldn't do it to your kids (well shet - maybe a lot of people over here might...).  Anyways, Dewy was so hot that he was trying to dig up the tent stake so he could set himself free.  I got him some water and moved him into the shade.  [I also replaced the chain/wire that was around his neck with a proper collar and leash (I keep them in my car just in case I have to rescue some critter.)]

Then, prized English bulldog came out when the owner woke up. Dude tied him up and again - NO WATER.  WTF. Pugs and bulldogs are NOT good breeds for Kuwait anyways:  It is too hot here and they have breathing problems to begin with because of their short snouts. (United Airlines even refuses to fly them during hotter seasons of the year because of the risk.)  Without water, they can die very quickly.

One time, I was at the Friday Market (I believe it was around 1998 - the last time, I vowed, ever to go there again).  There were a bunch of dogs in small cages, panting heavily and looking near-death.  I asked seller dudes where the water was.  They pointed to empty plastic water bottles littering the ground.  Uh... noooo.... unacceptable.  I went and bought a plastic container, filled it with water, and brought it over to the dogs.  Phucking ridiculous.

When I was 10, my evil step-father came to pull me out of school because I had forgotten to give my dog water that morning.  He totally humiliated me in front of the whole class.  I never did it again.  Maybe what these people need is a good, healthy dose of humiliation.

Always, always, always have fresh water available for your pets and livestock.  It is just common sense.  How would you feel?

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Kuwait bride jumps from moving car after divorce threat

Seriously, is the dog worth it???
 (No insult intended towards dogs.)

Divorce rates in Kuwait have reached alarming levels
By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Published: 13:04 November 27, 2013

Manama: The spectre of divorce has led a two-week bride in Kuwait to throw herself out of a moving car. The newlyweds were out on a drive alongside the esplanade in the capital Kuwait City when they had an argument.

When the husband threatened to divorce his wife, she opened the door of the moving car and threw herself out, local daily Al Rai reported on Wednesday. Fortunately, she was not hurt and was able to run away from the vehicle, leaving the husband perplexed. Unable to follow her, he headed to the police station in the posh area of Salmiya (Really??  Has the author ever been to Salmiya??) and informed the officers about the incident.

Contacted by the police, the wife said that she could not control herself when he raised the possibility of divorce and that she threw herself out of the car as she panicked.

She added that she deeply loved him and that she could not bear the thought of being without him. Comments on the daily’s site expressed mainly dismay over the events.

 “Today’s young people have become totally irresponsible,” a user writing under the moniker “Patriot” posted. “In the past, couples spent up to 30 years together without either spouse uttering the divorce word. Now, two weeks into their marriage, the man mentions divorce and the woman throws herself out of a moving car.”

Another user said that “marriage is not a game to be taken lightly” and “people should truly appreciate its significance.”

Divorce figures in Kuwait have reached alarming levels despite state efforts to curb the phenomenon by promoting awareness campaigns and introducing pre-wedding counselling sessions to guide and advise future couples.

Official statistics indicate that the highest divorce figures were among couples who held intermediate school certificates, followed by couples with high school diplomas.

Couples with university qualifications had the lowest rate of divorce in the country.

--- End ----

The Desert Girl School of Pre-Marriage Counseling

Rule #1:   Bitch please, put a lot of money in the termination of marriage clause.  Low mahar/high out-clause.  "Don't get mad, get everything."  Make sure you write enough in there, so you can take yourself to a nice spa somewhere - maybe even buy a home in a vacation spot.   Write in that if he wants to divorce you, you want jewelry and maybe a sports car (wouldn't THAT be a thang:  He wants to divorce you, but has to buy you a 5K rock and a hot car first!)  Write in all the things that make YOU happy, girlfriend!  Maybe a little some-in, some-in for your moms too.   Then, once you're married, if he ever says the D word -  remind him of this:  "Yala, divorce me and pay up or shut up!"

Throw yourself from a moving car?  Why????