Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Boy in the Etihad Inflight Magazine

My son, Andrew, was recently interviewed about his experience playing for the Emirates American Football League. Here's a link to the story on the EAFL's site, http://www.eafl.ae/news . Just scroll down till you see the story with my lucky #7 in the gold and black.

The league is currently registering players for anyone interested in playing America's version of football. The youth league is for players 9-17, and the men's league is for players 18+. You can check out the EAFL on Facebook or on their website.

We of course, are looking forward to watching Andrew take his talent to a higher level this year. Yes, that means there will be more proud mom posts to come this season. Sorry guys, I can't help myself.

To everyone that has asked about coming to games to watch the Wildcats in action, I will be sure to post their schedule as soon as it becomes available.

Now, if we can just introduce the UAE to tailgating.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Versace Chuckle

We were in The Mall of the Emirates in Dubai last night when we stumbled across this gem in the Versace window. According to my hubby, the shirt says "I'm stylish, but I like to hunt".

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Baby Mangos!

Last summer when I got back from the US, our Emirati friend/neighbor/landord gave us a mango tree as a gift. It has more than doubled in size over the past year, and today I got a pleasant surprise. It seems our little tree is now full of lots of little baby mangos like this one.

How cool is it to have your own home grown mangos? I see lots and lots of mango sorbet in my future.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who Wants a Lamborghini?


I heard this story on the radio this morning, and knew I had to share it. It seems somebody has abandoned a Lamborghini in the emirate of Sharjah, or maybe they just forgot where they parked it. I don't know that you could really miss a purple Lambo though. Here's the story: Lamborghini ‘abandoned’ in Sharjah street | GulfNews.com

I should mention when looking for the story online to share, I actually found another one about an abandoned Lamborghini at the Dubai airport last year. It sat for over 20 months before they auctioned it off. If you've ever parked at the Dubai airport, you know that the parking fees probably totaled more than the car.....Just kidding, but it was probably close.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Think I'll Pass on This One

Placenta soap?
Ok, not trying to be crude or offensive here. Just trying to point out how some companies and their choice of product names would not go over very well in America. I have other examples, but they may be deemed offensive although I don't believe that was the intention when they were named.

For the record, this soap contains PLANT placenta. Still, I don't think there are any marketing gurus in the states that would slap a name like this on soap and expect it to sell. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ramadan Dieting

Ramadan treats from my friend "H".

Well friends, we are a few days into the Holy month of Ramadan here in Abu Dhabi. No I'm not Muslim, so you're probably wondering why that means anything at all to a non Muslim. Wellllllll, Ramadan in a Muslim country means you have to follow some rules regarding eating or drinking in the view of others prior to sundown or you can get into trouble. These aren't the only rules, just the hardest ones to follow when it's 120 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

My husband and I have decided to use Ramadan as our chance to drop a few pounds we gained eating our way through France last month. I'll share with you more on the Paris trip later, but when you see the pictures you will understand why you can't say no to French cuisine, especially the desserts. Anyways, since most of the restaurants are closed here during the day, and the few that are open and hidden from view of those fasting are completely packed with Westerners, we've decided to skip lunch and only have a light snack here at the house.

I should mention that one of the cool things about Ramadan is that the government mandates that the work day for people in the private sector be reduced by 2 hours each day during Ramadan for both Muslims and non Muslims. Some companies have even more reduced hours, as is the case with my husband's company. They are working a 9am-2pm schedule during the month of Ramadan.

Since he's getting in so early, our dinners are earlier than normal making it easy to skip or only snack at lunch. It seemed like the perfect plan to lose a little weight, but I didn't factor in the generosity of my Muslim friend and neighbor, "H", who has started sending over Ramadan goodies.

You see during Ramadan it is the custom for Muslims to share with their friends, family, and strangers. Well, my dear friend H knows I love chocolate. She always makes sure she has some chocolate goody when whenever we have tea together. Today, she sent over what I can only define as "Chocolate Death Cake" and dates fresh off the tree in her garden to share her holiday with me.

If we keep getting delicious treats like this during the next month, I'm thinking our little weight loss plan is going out the window.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Birthday and My Bucket List

Me at my most favorite place in the world.

I've been so busy lately with things around here, plus a quick trip to the US (fill you in later) that I haven't even mentioned that I checked the number one item off my bucket list for my birthday. No, I'm not dying, or at least I don't think I am. I'm just a firm believer in dreaming and realizing those dreams when possible.

First, confession time again...... I'm a Francophile. I love any and everything relating to France. I credit this to being reminded by my grandmother constantly as a child that I'm part French. Grandma's surname was Jaques, originally Jacques, but shortened  and pronounced  Jakes after the family came to America.

J'aime toutes les choses françaises.

That little spark from Grandma inspired me to take French as soon as I was able to in 8th grade and I continued till I graduated. I actually even began teaching French to 3rd graders at a local elementary school for one class period during my senior year of high school. Then there was French Club Treasurer, French Honor Society, and of course your's truly received the French Club Scholarship (paid for books).

Anyways, it was during all of these years of French classes that I was introduced to impressionist art and my all time favorite artist, Claude Monet. I absolutely adore Monet and his works, from his early years to his later years when he started losing his sight. My husband jokes and says our house is like a mini Monet gallery, because it's filled with his prints. I can spot one of his pieces from a mile away, even if it's one I haven't seen before. I even taught the kids from a young age to recognize his work, and they are quick to proudly point them out to me if they ever see one.

Claude Monet the "Father of Impressionism"

Which brings me to my bucket list. I have dreamed of visiting Monet's garden and waterlily filled pond that is showcased in several of his paintings for years now. Thus putting it at the very tip top of my bucket list. Yes, I know it's not exactly climbing Everest like others may have as their number one, and it is a bit foofoo but it's MY list. I can be foofoo if I want to.

Monet's home at Giverny

So, the hubby and I hopped a plane to the City of Lights for a few days for my birthday. That's right, birthday number 38 was spent in Paris! And la pièce de résistance of the trip was a train ride to the little town of Giverny where I got to step inside a Monet painting. At least, that's what it felt like to me. It was some amazing surreal moments for me, as we walked the grounds of Monet's home touring his famous garden and pond. For me it was all so familiar, despite never being there before. At different angles you could capture several of his many paintings, but in real life not on canvas.

Les Nymphéas (The Water Lilies)

One little spot of Monet's massive garden

Not wanting to spoil my moment taking pictures, I commissioned my husband to be trip photographer. Besides, he's the artist in our family, I'm just an admirer. While he went around snapping pictures that resembled the numerous Monet paintings I've subjected him to over the years, I was able to just sit on the many benches around the grounds and just take in all the beauty. I could have sat there forever. I was actually shocked at how many tourist just shuffle through the place without ever really stopping to take in its amazing beauty. Monet was just as much a talented gardener as he was a painter, but just like his painting style his garden did not conform to the norm either. It has been described as a mix of both French (formal) and English (natural) styles. Whatever label you put on it, it's pure genius. Monet himself called his garden his "greatest masterpiece".

Sadly, I couldn't stay in Giverny forever, but I did buy up a good portion of the gift shop to take with me or at least it seemed that way. I bought so much I was invited behind the counter to inspect all of my items. The hubby just stood back and shook his head and laughed at me. Poor guy knew there was no telling me "no" at the "Monet Store". Lucky for him we don't live in France, at least we don't live there yet.

I'm already planning how we can live on the outskirts of Paris one day.....one more item for the bucket list.

Me behind the counter at the gift shop. No, I wasn't joking.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fiery Skies over Abu Dhabi

Sun setting behind the Central Market Towers.

The view from our balcony tonight.

*Photo props go out to my husband for these shots.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My MVP...Showing the UAE how Americans play football!

Our running back and MVP.

For as long as I can remember, my husband has been tossing footballs at our son.  Yes, "tossing" not kicking, I'm talking AMERICAN football, not soccer. When my son and daughter were just wee tots they would set up football "games" in the hallway with their rooms on either end of the hallway as the "end zones".

As soon as he was old enough to play we registered my son to play in a community football league in our hometown of Chesapeake. He was 6, and he had played with his dad out in the yard so much that he seemed to know what he was doing from day one.

Fast forward nine years, and he had made it to his high school's varsity team. It was a moment we had all waited years for, a chance to watch him play under the Friday night lights..........And then we moved to Abu Dhabi.

As many positive things I saw for our family with this move, one of the biggest downsides was that we would be taking my son, Andrew, away from a sport he loved at a time he had waited so long for and worked so hard to get to.

Fortunately for us, Andrew is a talented athlete and he was able to channel his talent into other sports after we moved here including soccer and rugby. He's even been able to do some coaching and refereeing which he would not have had time for in the states.

Last summer my child saw an ad for the newly forming Emirates American Football League, and to say he was excited would be an understatement. We got him signed up, and last October he became an Abu Dhabi Wildcat, playing for their senior team.

I'm not sure who has enjoyed this season more, me or my son. I have always loved watching him play, and I'm his biggest and loudest fan. He gave us a lot to cheer about, scoring multiple touchdowns throughout the season that lasted into the spring.

In March his team won the first ever Desert Bowl for bragging rights as "national champions". Then earlier this month he and several other players in the league were recognized for their talents and effort displayed during the league's inaugural season.

Now, I get my proud mom moment. My running back brought home the following much deserved awards: Team Leadership Award, Team MVP, and last but not least, the League Offensive MVP. Yes, I was beaming from ear to ear, but honestly the awards were just the icing on the cake. Seeing Andrew pick up where he had left off when we pulled him away from football in the states was priceless.

Congratulations, Andrew! I'm so incredibly proud of you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Parking Just for Me!

Not really sure what made these spots so special, other than they may have been a slight bit wider than the rest of the super tight spaces in this particular garage.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Catch Up Time

It's been a while since I've posted anything, but that isn't due to a lack of things to talk about. I've just been extremely busy lately. So here's a quick run down of the last few months.

December - Christmas vacation was spent this year in Italy and Switzerland with a one day detour into France on Christmas day. We managed to continue our tradition of getting some snowboarding in over the holiday as well.
Me to the right, Matterhorn to the left.

My husband made a trip to the US right before our trip, so he was able to bring back lots of new gear and goodies, including a new snowboard for my daughter. She wasted no time breaking it in as we did some boarding near the Matterhorn.

My little boarder girl and her new Burton.

January - I lost another dear family member in January. My beautiful and fun loving Aunt Gloria was diagnosed with cancer last fall about the same time as my Grandfather. She was only 56 and the life of any party.

My Aunt Gloria with my cousins Mason and Christopher.

Our family has been hit hard over the past 6 months, and mere words can't express how much I hate cancer. It is an ugly and vicious disease, and it's more than just a scary word when it affects your loved ones. Still as horrible as it may be, I know my dear aunt beat it the day she passed on to Heaven.

  January also brought smiles when we added 2 more members to our family. For months, I had been scouring sites for local pet rescue groups here looking for a playmate for Shadow our 6 year old black lab. Well, I found a sweet female lab that desperately needed love after being seriously neglected. When we showed up to meet her, there was also a cute little female black lab/weimaraner puppy that also needed a home.
Raven and Stormy, our new babies.

My husband and I sat at this lady's house for over an hour playing with and holding both of these sweet girls trying to figure out which one we should adopt. They were both so lovable and they both needed a home where they could get lots of attention. For me taking both of them seemed like the obvious answer, but I never imagined I would get my husband to agree. Well, it seems he's a big softy when he wants to be. He couldn't leave one of them behind either.

So now we have Raven and Stormy. That brings the pet total in our house to a whopping 4, with 3 dogs and 1 cat. Shadow loves his new friends, and the cat.....well she hasn't killed them yet.

February was filled with lots of love here in the Dhabi, as I affectionately call it. My dear husband once again managed to top my Valentines Day gift for him. I was so sure I had him this year too, because I got the gun loving love of my life a membership at the Officers Club shooting range here.

Oh but no, he blew my gift away with a Valentine's Day that seemed to never end. I woke up to this on my bedroom wall:

My reply was, "This girl has loved that boy for over 22 years, and will love him long past the time we are old and  grey."

Then there was dinner on the beach at Emirates Palace.

Dinner with a view.

I thought we were headed home from dinner when he took a detour to Shangri-la, and surprised me with a large balcony suite with views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the beach.

 He also had purple roses waiting for me in the suite. It's a tradition that I get some type of purple roses every year for Valentine's day. I've received them as paintings, glass sculptures, earrings, paper, and the list goes on and on for the past 18 years. Every now and then, he just gives me the real flowers, but they are usually in a unique setting. Well, he didn't disappoint this year.

Purple roses, my fav, and a remarkable view.

The next day, when I thought a private breakfast on the balcony was the end to our little Valentine's love fest, he gave me yet another gift. It seems he's heard me whine and moan about my back one too many times. He booked us for a 2 1/2 hour package at the Chi Spa at Shangri-la complete with a chocolate wrap treatment. Man, I love this guy!

March brought some exciting American football. Yes, that's right AMERICAN football.  My son has been playing with the Abu Dhabi Wildcats senior football team that is part of the newly formed Emirates American Football League since last October. In March, they became the league champions winning the first ever Desert Bowl.

Number 7 in gold is my favorite player.

It was so great to be able to watch my boy doing what he loves most again. I'm already looking forward to next season.

Well that is it folks, lots going on here in Abu Dhabi.