Monday, May 28, 2007

A Very Good Day and Further Evidence of God's Mercy

So, today was a MUCH better day than yesterday. All the headache and heartache were worthwhile. In his infinite wisdom (which was, no doubt, spurred by the foreknowledge of me on a 15 hour flight with three small kids and how ugly that could get), God melted the hearts of the fine, wonderful, fabulous people at the American Embassy (how quickly we change our tune) and granted us the visa. So, I'm not going to be stuck struggling with all of the beans at once. I will actually have the joy of it not being just me. I can't even tell you how much better that makes me feel. So, today I'm counting my blessings.

1. VISA!
2. Beautiful sun
3. Light breezes
4. Birds singing
5. Nice and helpful people
6. God's mercy
7. Forgiveness (espcially for being whiny and complainy yesterday).

I hope each of you gets a nice surprise this week as well.

Happy Blessings!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Frustration Overload: Between the Jordanian Government and the American Government I'm about to GO POSTAL!

So, I could not be less impressed with BOTH the Jordanian government and the American embassy in Amman. The saga we have gone through trying to apply for a visa for our household helper to come to the US has been absolutely ridiculous. Today, I found out that the situation is even more dire and sadly I expect to lose the $100 I paid for the application. So, here I am to vent...

A MONTH AND A HALF ago, we started trying to renew our helper's Iqama and work permit. The work permit took two days, literally. The remainder of the process, which in the past has taken 4 or so days, is STILL not done. I honestly can't believe it. Now, I know the government is inefficient. I've spent more than a day trying to get a family book updated so that we can get a passport updated so that we can... But give me a break. This has gotten to the point of being ludicrous. They added steps into the process (some fingerprinting at the courthouse step) and didn't bother telling anyone. So, after waiting and waiting and waiting, we find that El 3atal has to take her down for fingerprints. They use the thousand year old technology of using a stamp pad with black ink and don't even have any running water or tissue for her to clean her hands afterwards. And now, we're in a no-win situation. I fear that without her work permit and Iqama the US government won't give her a Visa. And yet, I can't get her work permit and Iqama because the Jordanian government is so slow. Now, mind you, I'm sympathetic to the need to give 6000 guys jobs completing these, but let's get real. I honestly could not care less what you do in the background. Have 60 people copying the same paper 40 times and sending it 80 different places. I don't care. But finish issuing it to me on the same %$#! day. A month and a half goes beyond the realm of understandable, beyond even the realm of believable. And, if I weren't facing $100 of lost money, this blog post would be more in the spirit of how silly is this. As it is, if she is denied, I'll be sending an invoice for $100 along with the receipt for her Iqama. Let the government pay for it since their rampant, chronic inefficiencies are causing my problem. Oh, and boy am I glad we get to have this experience...

And, while I'm talking about the annoyances of this process (and to be equally fair to the idiocies of BOTH sides of the equation), let me say a word about the embassy. In order to apply for the visa, you have to pay a fee at the Cairo Amman Bank (why there, heaven only knows). So, the day before his trip, El 3atal and I go to the bank to pay. It is, at this point after searching for 10-15 minutes in the evil, evil Sweifieh, 3:oopm. Apparently the US embassy, in its infinite wisdom, has a 2:30pm cut off. Why? Who knows. The guy at the bank has no idea. Oh, and never you fear, the embassy doesn't tell you that on their website. And, they don't answer their phone. And their recording still says the wrong hours. So, all around it is no less frustrating than Jordan's governmental process are. All in all, this is a very, very, very, very frustrating process. And, if I weren't such a peace loving, sweet Mom, I really might go postal... Nah, just annoyed that's all.

Happy venting!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Our Queen in the news in a surprising way

So, I would have missed this if not for my own over 35 status (and the resulting curiosity). Queen Rania has made it to number 5 on the sexiest woman over 35 list out this week from MSN Lifestyle:Men. Now, on a list that includes Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, and Elle McPherson, that's no small feat. The list is unabashedly biased towards women with a brain and those who are "doing something." So, it's no surprise to me that Queen Rania appears here. Not only is she stunning to behold, but her list of works speaks for itself. Congratulations Queen Rania!

Happy 35 and over!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Libbys Ass juice? Now THIS I've got to see...

I see many amusing things everyday. Some, like this, I suspect are caused by people creating signage when they don't really understand English. Logic says, if I'm abbreviating Assorted that I can abbreviate it Ass, right? Oh, but maybe, given the other meaning for this word, I should avoid that and use the abbreviation that they use in the US (Asst). Word to the wise in Jordanian shops, have someone read it first. If they run for their mobile phone camera (like I did), you may want to rethink the sign.

Happy Juices? :)

So much for Available in US only...

So, back to the conversation about Pringles minis and my amusement at their wasting advertising dollars on the New Pringle's Mini's (Available in the US only), as shown in the photo below...

Well, I was at the store perhaps the day after I posted and what do you think I saw? Yep, you got it. Pringle's minis. I attempted to get a shot, but it turned out poorly, so I let the conversation be overtaken by other things. But, today, I'm back to it for the simple reason that I bought some so that I could snap a picture... (oh and I like Pringle's so why not?)

And, I must admit that somehow I thought that they meant the packaging was mini (maybe little tiny canisters), but they didn't. I even snapped a shot of the chip itself because it was just so darn cute...

As you'll see, I placed a large-sized paper clip for size reference. These things are truly tiny. And, unlike many of the minis (like Snickers), this one tastes just like the original. So, I thought I'd share with you all how correct Qwaider was in his comment on my first post. Go Q!

Happy Mini!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Our Local Mosque Supply Store?

We were driving through the balad, when I noticed the store across the street was selling something very unusual - tops for Mosques. Is it possible? I can't imagine that these guys get that much business, but then again maybe I'm wrong.

Happy Requsitioning!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Creative Spelling Causes Reflections on Childhood

One of Amman's lesser known tourist attractions lies right on Rainbow Street. I have a friend whose office is in the building across the street and he says he sees 1-2 people taking pictures of Capricio every week. That's right salon as tourist spot. And, clearly, it's the creative spelling that brings out the cameras. I have to say that this spelling error is one of my favorites in town. Let me tell you why...
My brother is dyslexic. For those of you who may not be familiar, dyslexia is a disorder that affects the way your brain receives images. It is not, as some people believe, a vision issue. It is also not a stupidity issue. Dyslexics are actually typically quite intelligent, but their brain tricks them when processing letters and numbers. So, they can't always distinguish between b,d,p,and q. Their brain receives these images all the same way. So, dad becomes bab. Fine if you mean door in Arabic, but dad may not be so happy with it :). As a result of this disorder, dyslexics typically have significant challenges with spelling. Beauty, was in fact the hardest word for him.
He always remembered that it had extra letter you didn't pronounce, he just wasn't 100% clear on which letters they were :). The only consistent thing about his spelling of beauty is that it wouldn't be consistent. It might be bueaty or it might be beiauty or it could be buety. Really, it could have been anything. However, it was nice that you could usually tell what he was trying to say. So, anyway, I enjoyed this particularly for the memories it brings back of my fine, handsome brother. I hope you enjoyed it as well.
Happy butiey!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Signage misstep... Whoever told him to use white was wrong

So, El 3atal and I came upon this sign for a barber shop and I couldn't help but say, whoever told this guy to use white should be shot. As you see, the shop apparently belongs to Nadem, when it ought to belong to Nadeem :). It made me laugh to see that this poor guy must have gotten the sign up and then went, aww man! How many times have I been so excited to do something and then realize that perhaps - just perhaps - I didn't think it all the way through? I hope you enjoy the sign as much as I did. And apologies to Nadem.
Happy signage!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

On the Occasion of Mother's Day, my beliefs as a mom

In looking at Jordan Blogs, I came across the JoLadies post about Mother's Day. For those who aren't aware, the US celebrates Mother's Day today. In fact, Thursday, I spent the evening making calls to florists in the US having flowers delivered to MimiBean and TetaBean to show our love. The video on the JoLadies blog inspired me to write about my beliefs about Motherhood. to see the video, click the link here ->

My beliefs as a Mother:
  1. Mothers are moved to tears often and easily because becoming a Mother brings all of your love very close to the surface.
  2. There is no better medicine for any ailment than the hug and kiss of a child.
  3. Children are a blessing to all of us, both our own and those not ours - all are our children, all are our blessing.
  4. Mother's have the hardest, yet most rewarding job in the world. There's nothing I would trade for it.
  5. A Mother's love can't be boxed up, bounded, or controlled - it simply is.
  6. Mothers work best with the support of awesome fathers.
  7. Peace on earth is only possible when Mothers are in charge, Mother's weep not only at the loss of our children, but at the loss of anyone's child.
  8. It is only through my love as a Mother that I can truly understand God's love.

Any other Moms care to join in? Kinzi, Salaam, Oula, JoLadies one and all? What are your beliefs as a mother?

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What, pray tell, is a scre vale?

Well, I just had to get a picture of this one... and express the hope that if there ever is a fire, the Arabic makes more sense than the English! This is from a government office and I enjoyed it greatly. In case of a fire, I'll spend lots of time looking for the scre vale (screw valve) I presume and then spend some more time figure out what anti clockwise rotations (perhaps the British way of saying counter clockwise?). By the time I get the directions sorted out, I'll be burnt to a crisp, I'm afraid. Once more allow me to say, bad spellers of the world UNTIE!
Happy firefighting!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Golden Skies? An unusual weather phenomenon

Okay, for those of you from Amman or who have lived here for some time, I'm sure this isn't as odd as it is for me. We've had a couple of sandstorms since I've been here, but nothing like the one yesterday. It started out as a normal, if overcast, day. Then, I noticed it had brightened somehow, but not from the sun. I looked out the window and it was much like this picture outside. We had run about closing the windows because the volume of sand blowing inside was untenable.
We stayed in all day anyway, but it certainly would have ruined any plans to go had we had any... I used to live in Birmingham, AL. For those who don't know (I suspect that's most of you), Birmingham used to be the home of steel and coal production in the South (it was proud to be known as the Pittsburgh of the South). One legacy of this is that the pollution in the air gives lovely sunsets. Another legacy is that on certain stormy nights, the skies turn blood red. One night, I woke up for no particular reason and looked out of the window. The wind was blowing something fierce and the skies were as red as I've ever seen. Talk about odd. But, all in all, I enjoy the variety of both golden skies and red skies. I hope you do as well.
Happy skies!

Lady Driver? And That's a GOOD Thing???

Again, taken some weeks ago El 3atal and I saw this and I grabbed a shot. This person is trying to sell their car and actually listed the fact that a woman drove it as a good thing. Now, in the US, it would be (see previous post about the study indicating American women have fewer accidents and are less likely to be seriously injured...). But, in Jordan, the people I see doing terribly foolish and dangerous things seem to be women. It usually appears to be the result of lack of attention rather than lack of skill, but maybe they go hand in hand. At any rate, I wanted to share this one with all of you.

Happy lady driving!

MommaBean's back (I hope) with startling pictures

So, after a nearly month-long hiatus in which I've been very busy starting a new business, I'm back. While I haven't been actively posting, I have been collecting posts. El 3atal jokingly asked me why I was taking pictures when I never post anymore. So, pffflllttttt, Sayyed El 3atal (that's a virtual raspberry for those of you who don't know). I have some startling pictures to share with you all. Now, they aren't surprising because of their content, but rather their location. While making a customer call some weeks ago, El 3atal and I came upon green fields. Really, like blowing in the breeze green fields. I couldn't help but take a picture of these meadows that seem more suited to sunny sub-tropical lands than to semi-arid Jordan. So, here are some shots.

As you see, just past the trees you can see the lovely grass waving in the gentle spring wind.

Tell me that isn't unexpected in the middle of the high desert... And people picnic on the side of airport road instead of heading out to the middle of the meadows.

Happy picnics!