Saturday, February 20, 2010

My New 101 in 1001 List

(I just updated this post I wrote in April of 2009 and realized, after nearly a year, that I had never published it!!! Yikes - bad blogger!!)

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Well, having completed about half of my previous list, I was very motivated to make a new list and try to accomplish much more of it. I've been working on it sporadically for the last month or so and finally finished it this morning.

I'm setting my start date as tomorrow, which gives me a target date of January 5, 2012. The thing I like about having 1001 days to complete the list is that it gives you approximately 2 3/4 years, so if it's something seasonal, you have more than one shot to do it. I'm going to be putting a countdown clock on my sidebar to keep me motivated.

And now, without further ado, The List:

1. Read through the Bible start to finish
2. Memorize Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians
3. Watch sunrise on the corniche
4. Do Advent wreath and readings
5. Sabbath dinners
6. Go a week without saying something negative about anyone
7. Begin praying with Ibrahim
8. Pray for Ibrahim daily
9. Read & complete all Fascinating Woman assignments
10. Do character study with Emily
11. Teach Emily to cook 14 meals well
12. Paint first floor rooms
13. Do the Grand Plan
14. Save QR 5000 for an emergency plan
15. Pay off debt
16. Learn Arabic through Rosetta Stone
17. Read a six classic books each year
18. Visit Doha’s other museums
19. Learn to bake homemade bread
20. Make porch more welcoming
21. Get my BMI down to at least 24.9
22. Eliminate soda
23. Stop eating at night
24. Take vitamins and calcium daily
25. Floss daily for a month
26. Go to bed by 10:30 on most nights
27. Get a complete physical (with bloodwork) and mammogram
28. Take better care of my skin
29. 45 minutes of cardio, 4x a week
30. See an endocrinologist
31. Christmas letter (via email)
32. Take the family to visit a historical site
33. Take the kids to the Dead Sea
34. Do a 24 hour fast once a month
35. Get braces
36. Stop interrupting people
37. Visit Biosphere 2
38. Figure out how to play Settlers of Cataan
39. Attend symphony
40. Go dune bashing
41. Visit the Inland Sea
42. Plant flowers in flower bed
43. Try to learn some type of needlework
44. Start keeping track of my grocery budget
45. Refine menu plan to work with new schedule
46. Host a Christmas cookie swap
47. Identify 25 things I like about myself
48. Go to Doha Open tennis tournament
49. Have a date with Hubby at least once a month
50. Join a book club
51. Set up laundry room as a storage room for household backups
52. Get grill propane tank replaced and refitted
53. Volunteer at QAWS (animal rescue shelter here in Doha)
54. Start carrying a makeup bag with me for mid-day touch ups
55. Go to the Doha Debates
56. Go to the theater
57. Get the kids to an orthodontist
58. Decorate seasonally
59. Fight the frump
60. Use body lotion every day for a month
61. Entertain other couples once a quarter
62. Spend time at the gym’s sauna and steamroom
63. Go to the movies at Royal Plaza
64. No tv for one month at least once a year
65. No tv for a whole day at least once a week
66. Get a new cleaning plan in place
67. Follow said cleaning plan for 30 days straight
68. Walk the entire corniche
69. Read Blue Like Jazz
70. Re-read Hinds Feet on High Places
71. Go through The Power of a Praying Wife
72. Learn to “sprout”
73. Clean out email folders
74. Learn how to do blog design myself
75. Create a list of 52 “life skill” to teach to the kids and teach them
76. Finish touring Islamic Art Museum
77. Convince Hubby to install Wi-fi here at home
78. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping
79. Phase paper towels and napkins out of the home
80. Check for new podcasts once a week
81. Get a clothes dryer
82. Get a free-standing basketball hoop
83. Finish Christmas shopping at least two weeks early
84. Do a monthly family fun night
85. Make a birthday calendar of friends and family
86. Learn to make homemade pies, including the crust
87. Do the 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge twice
88. Leave 101 comments on others’ blogs
89. Learn to make egg rolls
90. Make homemade jam
91. Buy extra shelving units
92. Organize this list
93. Find a doctor I like
94. Complete the Love Dare
95. Try an ethnic cuisine I’ve never tried before
96. Give up something sacrificially for Lent
97. Find 6 recipes from restaurants I like and try them
98. Thoroughly understand how to get all over town
99. Try to find L from high school and apologize
100. Get new curtains for living room and family room
101. Make a new 101 list when this one is completed
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things that Strike Me as Odd

So enough seriousness in my life already.  Between my bout of homesickness and this horrible cough/sore throat I've come down with, I'm ready for something a bit more lighthearted.  So today I'm just going to point out a few things that I still find strange about living overseas.  

1) First Floors - In the US, the first floor is actually the first floor.  But in most other places, it's called the ground floor and the first floor is what we would call the second floor.  I don't get it.  I mean, it IS the first floor, why not just call it that?  You don't call the first car you ever owned your "starter" car and then the next car is actually the first car.  But that's how it is.  So you always have to be careful to think who you are talking to - North American or elsewise - when you are giving directions as it can be confusing.

2) Military Time - Apparently much of the world, not just people dressed in camouflage, uses military time.  TV shows are advertised as being at 20:00 hours, not 8 pm.  Store hours are also posted this way.  I'm just now getting to the point where I don't have to count to figure it out!

3) Light Switches - A couple of things about light switches strike me as odd.  First, in the US up is On and down is Off.  It's the other way around overseas.  But the thing that really makes me wonder is that bathroom light switches are located outside of the bathroom.  I can only image how that can make for an easy torture tool for kids who want to annoy their sibling.  

4) Electrical Outlets - In the US it's so easy.  You buy something, take it home and plug it in.  Not so easy here.  Things come in different styles - either two-prong or three-prong.  But you can be certain that whatever you buy, your home will probably have the opposite system, necessitating a myriad of different style converters.  But you should still expect popping and sparks when you plug or unplug things.  

5) Toilets - No flush handles.  Just little buttons on top of most toilet tanks.  It doesn't change life in anyway, but it's just a little reminder that you are in a different place.

6) Apparently there's a different expectation of comfort here - Sorry, I couldn't think of a shorter title.  But it seems that people are not so much into comfy here.  Couches, chairs and beds are all firm.  Really firm.  Really, really firm.  Am I communicating that well.  You might as well sit on a concrete slab.  I'm SOOO glad that we brought our own furniture over with us!

That's all the useless information I can come up with at the moment.  I'm so very happy to have provided you with a few minutes of wasted time.  :)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Friendship of a Woman

Yesterday was a bad day.

I suddenly was overcome with a horrible bout of homesickness and spent much of the evening and night crying my eyes out.  

Things here are okay, but just okay, you know?  We are all settled and such, but I don't feel like I've really developed any deep friendships. I've got lots of acquaintances and casual friends, but I haven't found that one woman whom I just click with and call to chat and laugh and hang out with.  It's been two years and I miss that.  

I miss laughing with someone until your sides hurt and crying with them until you can't cry anymore.  I miss girls' nights out and I miss just picking up the phone even though you have nothing to say.  I miss having a girlfriend to go walking with, even though the focus is less on exercise and more on catching up.  I having friends pop in, even when the house is messy.  I miss our small group of couples, sharing joys and heartaches.

I know that God is always with me.  That really does bring me through some bad times.  But there is just something special about the friendships of women.  

We are planning on being here for a little over 3 years more.  I've just got to pray that God brings that one person along for me.  
Sunday, February 14, 2010

Emily Growing Up

So yesterday the kids and I joined some friends on a little desert adventure. We went to see some rock outcropping that were rather neatly shaped and to see Film City, a place where movies have been shot, although no one could actually name one.

Hmmm.

Anyways, we were out there in the middle of Nowhere-ville and Emily asked if she could try driving. We had stopped for lunch along the shore (don't forget Qatar is just one big, I mean tiny peninsula), so I handed her the keys and let her practice going about 1000 yards up and down the shore. She did so well that I decided to let her try her hand at actual driving when we left. Here's how it went:



video



No, seriously, she actually did do pretty well. I just put that there to totally freak out my mom.

Don't forget that Emily isn't even 15 yet. Legal age for driving in Qatar? 18. But, my friends, this is a land of scofflaws and rebels! If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!!


Now before I get scolded by anyone, there was nothing around for miles and miles to hit (as you can see in the video), she barely got about 30 miles per hour and I got permission from all other drivers in the caravan and the father of Emily's friend even let her ride with us while Emily was driving. Until SHE got the bug and called her dad and asked if she could drive their car!!!

So we mark another milestone, albeit illegally. LOL!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Stuff of Which Life is Made

Ok, due to an overwhelmingly guilt-inducing email from my sister, I have been dragged back to the blog.  It's not that I don't love blogging and appreciate all of you who, for whatever reason, choose to follow and keep up with my life.  It's just that it has become a blur lately centering on work, homework help, cooking and cleaning.  Not exactly the stuff that makes for thrilling reading, but, I suppose, the stuff of which life is made up of.  So here's an update on our life for the last month and a half.  (Yikes, it sounds awful when I say that!)

The coolest thing right now is that I'm working through The Love Dare book with a group of friends.  We are on Day 4 today and I think we are all being challenged and stretched already. The great thing about doing this with a group is that we are all picking up on different things and encouraging each other.  This is a group of women whom I have been friends with for 14 years+, started from a chat room for women with kids about the same age.  We live all over the place (well, okay, I get credit for being the most far-flung - the rest are in the States) and have all different backgrounds, but are bonded together after years of commiserating about infancy, the terrible twos, childhood and now teenage angst.  We are all in different places in our marriages, but have found that most of us have our ups and downs.  Marriage is hard at times.  Doing The Love Dare is a way for us all to learn to put the value we place on our marriage before our emotions, which can be very fickle.  

Daniel had an amazing trip to Oman.  5 days without Mom.  I think it was much harder on me than on him. (Although, privately, I will admit the quiet was a little nice.) Rock climbing, mountain biking, snorkeling, and more were all on the agenda.  Next year, in 8th grade, he'll be heading a little farther away probably to either Malaysia or Sri Lanka.  That will really freak me out.

I'm getting braces.  Braces.  At 41.  Unbelievable.  But due to my overwhelming vanity, I'm only doing the top teeth right now because the orthodontist says they can be done by summer, so they'll be off for my trip home.  And because my kids and I are all doing them, he's giving me the clear ones for no extra charge.  Words cannot begin to express how excited I am about this.  I mean, really.  Wouldn't you be excited?  Not.

Grocery shopping has been pretty good lately.  At least I've been able to find most of the things on my lists.  This week's big find?  Instant chocolate pudding which I have NEVER seen here.  I stocked up so I can make Hubby's favorite desserts - Oreo pie.

Hubby and I are locked in a battle to the death over whether or not to hire someone to help us clean house once a week.  To my way of thinking, it would cost us about $35 dollars a week for 5 hours of help and since I'm working full-time I think it's a justifiable expense.  He feels it's not necessary if we all pitch in and work a little harder.  But truthfully I don't want to work harder.  I'm tired when I get home and by the time I do dinner and help with homework and pick up, I'd be happy to let someone handle the general cleaning - dusting, bathrooms, mopping, etc.  I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Summer vacation is just 124 days away.  Not that I'm counting or anything.

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