Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Christmas Fun!

I know it is early and Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet (or Halloween, but it is irrelevant), but I want to get this out there early so that people have a chance to participate if they wish.  Since Ben and I are unable to be with family and friends this holiday season, we would like to extend the invitation to have a little fun.

Have you ever heard of Elf on the Shelf?  Well this year we would like you to join us in a bit of fun and competition!  Here is what you do:

Step 1:  Purchase an Elf on the Shelf or some kind of elf that you can use.

Step 2:  Take a picture with you and your elf.  If you are doing this with someone, i.e. significant other, friend, imaginary friend, etc., please have all of you in the picture.

Step 3:  Take at least one picture of your elf in a silly, cute, crazy or whatever pose.

Step 4:  Send the picture of you and your elf and the picture(s) of your elf to me and I will post them on the blog!  Ben and I will select a winner and there will be some form of prize.  The prize has yet to be determined, but it will be something fun from Dubai so it is worth it to participate!

You may think this is silly and you are right! So be a good sport and participate!!  If you are interested, either message me on Facebook or shoot me an email!  I have passed this idea onto other expats in Dubai and they are going to do the same thing with their family and friends.  Since we cannot all be together we thought it would be something fun to unite us all. 

A bit confused?  See the below pictures of Elf on the Shelf ideas:






















This is a chance to be creative!  Please, please, please join in the fun!  The more the merrier!

 

Life As Of Now

There has not been a whole lot to report that has happened in our lives.  The few things that have happened are that Ben has started one of his masters courses which will last until Saturday.  It consumes much of his time.  He leaves for work at 6:45 a.m., goes to class after work and returns home around 8:45 p.m.  It is exhausting for him and it doesn't help that he has developed a bit of a "man cold".  If you do not know, a "man cold"is a cold that a man is miserable with and a woman would be just fine.  :)  We are women - hear us roar! 

I have had a bit of luck and potentially have been offered a job.  I say potentially because they are hesitant to hire me, I think, because this job is not "in my field".  I would be working as an assistant librarian/resource manager at Ben's school.  The pay would be horrible, but I'd have the same hours as Ben, maybe the same breaks (tbd), health insurance (tbd) and my residency visa.   I plan to return to school and become a teacher so this experience will also add to my resume.  After discussion with Ben, we decided it would be smart to take the job.  It is better than no money coming in and it will occupy my day.  While I love spending the whole day watching Grey's Anatomy (my life currently. . . not kidding), I would prefer something a bit more productive and that would allow me to feel as though I am contributing something.  Also, I doubt that any law firm would wish to hire me since we will be returning to the States in July.  There is a lot of time and work that goes into training someone in a law firm and I would feel guilty lying about how long we were staying to obtain a job because I know the stress of having turn over in a law firm.  It sucks.  So, as long as they will have me, I will accept the job at Ben's school and hopefully can negotiate a bit more pay. 

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Ben and I have made the decision to return to the States at the end of this school year!  We have put much thought into this and we think it is what is best for us.  We have not decided where we will be for sure, but are aiming for the Midwest.  We want to be close to family and friends and have all four seasons.  Keep your ears open for any music instructor positions that might become available!  Ben is looking for elementary!!  Same for any paralegal/legal assistant jobs!  Although I thought I disliked it at the time, I wouldn't mind being in another firm that does family law.  I really am not picky though.  We are excited about our decision, but we will miss the friends we have made here.  Life would be so much easier if everyone could just move where we do.  :)

My Loves

This is what I live with & I love it!


video
 

Beach + Date = bliss!

This past weekend Ben and I had the pleasure of going to the beach with good friends.  We arrived around 1 p.m. with games and sunscreen.  Ben stayed on shore, but the rest of us (Naomi, Casey and David) ventured into the water and enjoyed the relief from the hot sun.  The water is still quite warm here, but is cooler than the heat of sitting on the beach.  Casey made his way back to shore and played mini bags with Ben, a gift from Ben's parents for Christmas last year. 

Casey & Ben playing mini bags.
 After enjoying the beach for a couple of hours, we made the decision to return home for some R&R.  Ben read as I watched Grey's Anatomy (my shameful new addiction. . . ) and crocheted.  At 7:30 p.m. we made our way to the Marriot in The Greens for supper at Cucina.  I had been craving fish and this place had the most fun way to fulfill that craving!  Our waiter escorted Ben and me to the front of the restaurant where they had fresh fish, lobster and prawns on display.  We were to select what we wanted, as much as we wanted, and they would weigh it, cook it and serve us.  Ben and I chose prawns and hammour.  For sauce Ben chose garlic butter goodness and I went with creamy herb.  For our sides Ben had new potatoes and I had steamed veggies.  The food was awesome, the chef was awesome and our waiter was awesome!  Ben and I both enjoyed a glass of wine with our supper, he drank red and I had chardonay, and indulged in creme brulee for dessert. 

Seafood!
Creme Brulee w/fresh strawberries



















It is days like these that I feel incredibly lucky to live where I do now.  Ben and I will both leave with some pretty amazing memories of this place!

Banana/Brownie Wonderfulness

It is no secret that I love to bake.  That being said, I finally found the perfect banana bread recipe I must share and a quick and easy brownie that actually tastes good instead of tasting like chalk.  See the following:

Banana Bread:

You need:

4 large over ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 C melted butter
3/4 C sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C flour

To do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix bananas and butter in large bowl.  Mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla.  Sprinkle mixture with baking soda and mix in.  Add flour last.  Mix.  Pour mixture into buttered pan.  Bake for 50 mins - 1 hour.

*  I did not have a loaf pan so used our smallest casserole dish and I think that was part of the deliciousness.  It was more of a bar than a loaf of bread.  I also added almost a full bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Amazing.

Yummmmm!

Mug Brownies:

You need:

4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa powder
2 T vegetable oil
2 T water
dash salt

To do:

Mix all ingredients in a microwavable mug.  Microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on your microwave, and devour!

* Seriously delicious!  The ingredients as shown are good for sharing.  If you cut it in half it is perfect for one.  I like to add milk to mine.  Ben eats it plain and enjoys it.  These are dangerous - once you realize how tasty they are and how easy they are to make you're screwed. . .  You're welcome! :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oman Border Run

Last night I went for a border run to get a new stamp in my passport so that I'm legally here in Dubai.  I went with a company that takes its passengers in a van to the Oman/Dubai border where you simply cross, then cross back.  The drive to Oman is about an hour and a half.  This is normally not a big deal for me, but for some reason I get motion sickness like crazy here.  Armed with my Sea Bands, no pun intended, I felt semi-at ease.  That is until this chick decided it would be a good idea to eat her donkey smelling burrito in the van with recycled air.... Seriously? 

The trip went well with zero problems.  It was a bit unnerving to have armed men hardcore staring us down at the passport check points.  I'm hoping I have my residency visa prior to my 30 day mark so that I don't have to go visit them again.  Don't worry - we were safe. 

The people that I traveled with were all very nice.  There were two other Americans and three Brits.  While I enjoyed chatting with everyone, I was disappointed that their conversations centered around drinking.  The only thing they seemed to want to talk about was how they were "so smashed" and it takes X amount of drinks for them to get drunk, and they did this stupid thing and on and on and on.... Can we please have an intelligent conversation?  O yes, we can!  About Kim Kardashion.  Sigh...

After our return to Dubai, Ben picked me up and we made it home around 12:30 a.m.  Both of us had to get up early this morning to go into school and neither of us were pleased with how fast the morning came.  I had an interview with the principal and vice principal at Ben's school for a potential resource manager/assistant librarian position.  Basically I will be organizing a lot of crap if I get the job which I am more than ok with.  Fingers crossed that I am offered the job and that the money is decent. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Grover Killing Sock

There are some things that I do not want to forget about Grover.  His silly playfulness is one of those things.  In the video he is "killing" my sock.  I only get him to do it a couple of times, but he was really giving Ben and me some good laughs!  He rather enjoys killing my socks.  He loves Ben's socks, too, but he just carries those around the apartment.  Because of this, Ben's dirty work socks can be found in random places.  He's such a weird, sweet little boy!


video
 

We Come in Peace!

One of the storefront displays in Mall of the Emirates! (See movie Mars Attacks if you don't get my excitement.)
 

Random

There are a few things on my mind that really aren't worthy of their very own post, so this might be a bit random.

  • The buses and metros here have a women and children only section.  I love this.  It generally tends to smell better and you don't have weird men staring at you.  Because they do stare at you.  Also, if you're not sitting or standing next to some one's grody armpit on the metro, it smells like my eighth grade home ec room - the kitchen side.  That's a weird connection I made yesterday.
  • It is often times annoying to take Grover on walks.  Not because of anything he does, but because of the reaction he gets from everyone.  I understand that Muslims believe dogs are dirty and should not be touched, but he's on a leash!  I'm not going to let him come close to you - so there is no need to freak out, scream, run away, or whatever.  You'd think I was walking Hannibal Lecter on a leash.....seriously.
  • I interviewed at a recruitment agency on Sunday and they had a paralegal and legal secretary position they were going to send my CV in for.  We'll see if I hear back about that job opportunity.  The lack of U.A.E. experience puts me at a disadvantage.  I DO have an interview at Ben's school for a resource manager/assistant librarian thing.  Not really sure what it includes, but I was told there would be lots of organizing!  I love to organize things!
  • School is stressful for Ben right now and he has a masters class coming up.  I am trying to be as helpful as I can by keeping the house clean and having meals cooked so he can relax when he gets home.  He's been putting in 10-12 hour days regularly.  Luckily, he has a five day break coming up at the end of October.  We were thinking about doing a mini-trip, but as of now that isn't exactly in the cards for us.  There are many things we have yet to do in Dubai, so we can take advantage of the opportunity and do things here for cheaper than traveling.
  • The green skittles here aren't lime - they are green apple.  They are disgusting.
  • When talking to Shane about the many different cultures present in Dubai, I mentioned the Indians.  He cleverly made the joke, "So, are they from India or are they the native people of the land?" I thought it was hilarious!  
  • To fill a bit of my time during the day, I have gotten back into crocheting.  I made a hot drink cozy (below) and am currently working on a shawl which may turn into a blanket thing for Grover.  Every time I set it down he lays on it.  Cute little turd. 
Going Green!

The end.