Wednesday, May 31, 2006

9-seater van for sale

We're selling our Hyundai H-1 9-seater van, for those of you in Doha who might be interested. Less than 30, 000 kilometers, insurance and registration paid through May 2007. Still under warranty.

The insurance appraised it worth 48,000 QR, we're asking 50,000 QR as this includes the price we just paid for the insurance and registration (which are fully transferrable). Email me for further details!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Allergic to chocolate! Meh!

Yes, we've confirmed it folks, my 17-month old baby is officially allergic to chocolate!

She gets itchy red spots on her abdomen and upper legs every time she eats chocolate, as well as when she steals a sip from my turkish coffee or "chai halib" (tea with milk).

Rats and phooey!

This means that we have to eradicate chocolate from our house, she can't see her big sis and/or bro eating it and they will be if it's here... poor baby!


...Chicken coop ("brudder house"), and Main Barn buildings

...In the "brooder house" when I was a kid, there were not any chickens, but instead about 25 cats. My Mama had planted catnip around was like the kittie crack shack!


My family's farm in Ohio is dad said he and mom planted a vegetable garden for my kids to pick when we get there in July!

This photo is of one of our old hay fields, which now is where the garden is.

The house is where my father grew up, and my Mama and Great aunt lived there still when I was growing up. A lot of wonderful memories were made here, for sure.

It's a 300 acre+ farm, with a lot of woods. It'll be so lovely to go there, after having spent the last two years in the barren desert.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Was (and still am) sick yesterday, had to go to the (government) health center to get meds as well as note from the Doc to legitimize missing work. Figured I'd go to West Bay not Madinat Khalifa, seeing as my neighbor informed me that in fact West Bay is where people living in our section of town are supposed to go to, not Madinat Khalifa.

Using the public health care system here is really the only way to go. The private clinics give the illusion of better care, and yes they do have an overall better level of service, ie Westerners feel comfortable...but if you oh say turn critical and need a rare IV antibiodic, you're up %$#@ creek without a paddle. They will still take your money and pretend to treat you, but you could end up literally dead beacuse of them! I know from first hand experience. I had MRSA infection a year and a half ago, and Doha Clinic was going to "treat me" and take my money even though they didn't have the one antibiodic in the world that could treat me proprerly! Going to Hamad hospital saved my life, for sure.

So, back to yesterday. Got there (West Bay) with wicked sore throat, chills, and slightly dizzy. Yes, I did make the mistake of not waking up the hubby, I drove myself. Well, I go to register to see the doctor. They take my health card and tell me (what I already know) that I'm not registered at this health center....then they proceed to tell me what I don't know which is that I CAN'T USE ANY OTHER HEALTH CENTER, EVER!!!!!!!!!!!! "That would be a disaster," the sister behind the counter informs me.

Well, I was so sick, and exhausted, and this frustrated me, so the tears started to roll along with the words, "Haraaam! You mean you're turning a sick person away from the Doctor? Haraam! (forbidden!)"...and I demanded to speak with the superivisor.

Well, I spoke with the supervisor, and he politely validated that this was in fact true and the way the system operates, and that Madinat Khalifa is only 5 minutes away, blah blah blah. Apparently they have no ability to create another file for me at any other health center, that's their reason for turning me away.

Man, this is like the stories I used to hear about Communist Bulgaria!

...What a shame, it's the THIRD-RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, but it doesn't function like it is.

Sometimes I tell my husband that it would have been easier to live with the headhunting cannibals in Papau New least there what you see, is what you get.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

So Third World

Well, after reading what is happening to Nzingha in Saudi, I've decided to post about my own ATM troubles here in Doha, Qatar.

Several Fridays, and Saturdays as well, I have tried to access my funds via the ATM, with no luck. I try the first ATM; ..."this ATM is temporarily out of service". I drive a couple of kilometers to the next roundabout, and find the same status of that ATM. So I think, surely the third one I try will be working, but no. Not the third one, not the fourth, nor the fifth.

I have now been driving around Doha for almost one hour, just to get money so I can buy groceries. I decide, ok, I'll try and use my debit card. Nope. Sorry madame, we can accept only cash as our computer network is down and we don't know when it will be back up and running.

I give up, and try later in the day, and sure enough the ATM's are up and running by 4pm.

I kid you not, this has happened at least 4 different times! I don't know if it's that they all run out of money, or if the computer network (which I believe is QTEL) goes down, but you would think this would be severely hurting business in the country!

I can't believe people don't rush the banks and pull all of their money out and hide it under their mattresses.

I certainly have no trust in the banking system here after all of this nonsense!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Arabic weaving, known as "Sadu".

Unbelievably, this lovely weaving is not expensive. It's traditional Gulf Bedouin style, and comes in other colour patterns. Most of them are bright like this one, although one style is primarily just black and white.

There are lots of carpet shops here in Doha, selling expensive Turkish Kilms, carpets, and other such items from the region.

I deem this sadu a bargain at only QR70.00 ($19.17)!!! I got another piece that is much larger, more suitable as a wall-hanging, and it was QR150 (unbelievable $41!!!!!). It measures 2meters x 2 meters.

Head out to Souk Wakif on the main walking street area to buy this stuff. The first three shops on the left drive a hard bargain; take whatever price they ask and half it. That should be about the correct price.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Musical Discord

Well, there's been so much drama at work lately. The Emir's wife, Sheikha Moza, visited my school 2 weeks ago, and I was the appointed tour guide of our department. It was nerve-racking, but great.

Then we had all sorts of guests touring the place last week, and we were blessed to be graced with a Music Therapist specializing in the Nordoff-Robbins method of music therapy, visit with us from the UK. She had a lot of great suggestions and we anticipate her return this fall to give us a training in a new method of assessment that will work well for early intervention, and kids with autism.

So, in the midst of all of this hulla-balloo, my co-worker who isn't a music therapist, but works as a music teacher (but doesn't have the equivalent of a Western degree in music education), started acting out. Now he has a history of acting out from the very beginning (since 2 years ago); uncooperative with me, undermining, defiant, etc and so forth. I don't know if it's that he's angry that I have seniority over him (by 4 days, c'mon!), that my salary is higher, if he has resentment because I am allowed (because I simply have more education and more specialization than him) to do therapy, or that I am a woman. He won't just be direct and say what is bothering him and be done with it. It's never a direct confrontation, but instead always this sideways dancing around everywhere but in the place that really counts.

For a while there I thought the dude was genuinely trying to be my friend. Man, what a sucker I am. Inviting me and my family out to eat with him and his family, blah blah blah. For a year and a half it's all been fine and dandy, now he's acting out again.

It's turf wars. He told me and the other music therapist to our faces that it was fine, he would rotate between rooms, then turned around the next day and told administration we were not letting him "have a classroom". Snake.

So, I wrote my paper, he wrote his, and Admin made the decisions. Decisions they should have made a long time ago; it's like the cart has to come before the horse here, never the horse first. Because there's an obvious problem, now they are telling everyone their roles. Sort of.

We (music therapists) go here here here and here, he (music teacher) goes there. Halas. No speaking to each other allowed at work.

Funny note; my music therapist colleauge tried to start doing groups with this music teacher. He brought along some xylophones. The music teacher asked him why. The therapist explained how they are adaptive instruments for special needs kids, and that it's easy to have the kids play (he demonstrated) and harmonize the songs they are already singing with the music teacher. The music teacher's reply was ...

"we won't need them then, because there is no harmony in Arabic Music...."

...reflective, huh?

6 weeks and counting...

Friday, May 12, 2006

My precious baggage!

Impending Exodus

My blog entries are going to be a lot less thought out now. I feel the need to just write, and not think so much, so here ya go.

We're beginning to undertake the enormous task of preparing to move back to the United States. Calling shipping companies, getting quotations, trying to figure out what is essential to take and what isn't.

My kids have sooooo many toys; my husband and I have sooo many books; even after the first cut we made of our books upon coming here, there are still so many of them! After paying something to the effect of $500/per cubic meter to send this stuff here, then back again, these will be some pretty daggone expensive books!

I'm thinking regarding our books, we'll narrow it down to the really rare, expensive stuff that will be a hardship to replace in the states financially; our Mohamed Assad hardback Qu'ran; our hudge collection of Ryad as Salaheen; my husband's nursing school text books; my stacks of sheet music that I have accumulated over the course of 25 years of being a musician! ...oh, and let's not forget my musical instruments themselves.....A viola, Ovation Guitar, a Remo Riq, and a Remo Djembe! ...and my husband's Bass guitar, and it's stand! It cost us over $600 just to fly via UPS the viola and the guitar from Clearwater FL to Doha (...then the guy wanted so many thousand riyals in backsheesh to get it out of customs at the Doha Airport!). These are heat-sensitive items remember, not very good candidates for surviving the cheaper, although scortching hot trans-Atlantic boat ride.

As far as the kids' toys go, we'll definitely bring home our extensive Thomas the Train Set; all of the My little Ponies and their accutrements; all of the Fullas (and shame on us, Barbies); all of our childrens' books; and any other toys that are educational and not crappos.

Crappos. I don't know how or when it happened, but somehow my kids' play room became primarily crappos! We have to wade through the junk to actually find something worth playing with. Halas, no more.

My husband and I agree that we will have to (tactfully) ditch the crappo-toys; toys that have lost the rest of their set; McDonald's crappos, Burger king crappo's, etc. Why do these toys always do just one thing? And after a couple of goes, then that one thing breaks? Then we have a stack of broken toys from the fast food chains, that my kids never play with. HOWEVER, when we approach them on discarding the broken toy, they throw fits, claim that this is their favorite toy, and scream and moan until we promise it won't go bye-bye. Ugh! That alone, besides the horribly un-nutritious food, is a great reason to never patronise fast food chains ever again!