Thursday, September 27, 2007

The 101 Foods I've Missed (Slight Exaggeration, Admittedly)

Since we've been in the US, HelperBean has teased me that every food is one that "is one of my very favorites in the whole world and I've missed it desperately." Well, you know it isn't that far from the truth. So, to make those of you who AREN'T here jealous... Here goes my list.
  1. Broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken (YumYum! Got that one already)
  2. Red Baron's Four Cheese pizza (Check, and a new favorite of JujuBean)
  3. Arby's Jamocha Shake (Ahhhhh! Check!)
  4. Beef and Broccoli at my favorite Chinese restaurant in AL (sorry Abu Khalil, but there's simply no comparison (just finished dinner there and have enough for a second meal as well!))
  5. DintyMoore Beef Stew (Check! Check!)
  6. Outback Steak (not yet, but I'm hoping this week)
  7. Jason's Deli's Beefeater sandwich (not yet, but hopefully sometime)
  8. Chicken Quesadillas (Homemade the way my Mexican suitemate taught me, bought the ingredients, but haven't had the chance yet)
  9. Plain old PB & J made on super-yummy white bread (new favorite of JuniorBean except I now buy the whole grain white bread, what an invention)
  10. Wendy's Chili (not yet, but it's on my list)
  11. Chocolate icecream (plain old Breyer's Chocolate)

Well, that's the ones I can think of right now. I'll probably come up with more soon. Hope that got your taste buds singing...

Happy Vicarious Dining!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Memories of Childhood

Nothing quite brings memories of childhood to me like songs. Not, mind you, children's songs, but the songs that we sang at camp. Visiting with MimiBean usually means that some of the old songs will come up. Today the TwinBeans were playing piano with MimiBean when she started to play one of my favorite hymns of all time. Mind you, it was never actually sung in my church. But, we did sing it during our outdoor services at summer camp. I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved summer camp. At any rate, I found the second verse of the song particularly moving today and thought I'd share it. It's from a hymn called Follow the Gleam, written by Helen Hill Miller. The song is a charge to Christians to seek the Holy Grail (which to me is about seeking the best in man and a closer relationship with God).

Verse 2

And we who would serve the King,

And loyally Him obey,

In the consecrate silence know

That the challenge still holds today,

Follow, follow, follow the gleam

Standards of worth o’er all the earth;

Follow, follow, follow the gleam

Of the Light that shall bring the dawn.

The beauty of the tune and the memories it conjures up of summer sun and bubbling streams. They just warm my heart and bring a smile to my face.

Happy Singing!

The Hard Lessons of Discipline, Harder for Us Than Them :(

Today Helper Bean, the three beans, and I went clothes shopping. Now, I think they wanted to go because they've never actually gotten to choose their own clothes before. But, then, that's both a plus and a minus. Since I've chosen the things for them, they could get away with not really wearing things they didn't like. But today, I didn't choose for them, so they WILL be wearing these clothes. During the course of our shopping, we stopped at Gymboree. If you aren't familiar they have cute, if overpriced, children's clothing. I only shop their clearance racks, of course. While I was looking at the various clearance spots, JuniorBean picked up a pair of red shoes with little white hearts on them. The only way they could have screamed "I'm for a girl" more is if they were pink and sparkly (he liked those too, but for some reason these were his favorite). He carried them around and around the store. Of course, I was absolutely not going to buy this pair of shoes. So, when time to go came, he had an all out tantrum. Now, handling melt-downs in public is especially difficult. But, with JuniorBean, I give him a lap time out (I hold him still in my lap, which is torture for him, I assure you). However, in addition to a time-out, JuniorBean gave up the special treat I had told them about. If they behaved well, we were going to buy a special small toy each. So, JuniorBean had to forego the toy while watching the girlbeans pick out fun new things. And, of course, my heart was so sad for him. I find myself thinking, it's almost harder on us than on them... After all, they forget it almost instantly while we remember it long after.

Happy shopping!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What Does Vacation Mean, Exactly? No vacations for parents or entrepreneurs...

So, here we are in the US, having a lovely time. But I'm rather thinking about what a vacation is exactly. I remember vacations when I was single and child-free. In a rather hazy and distant way, I recall days of sleeping in, wandering the mall, reading novel after novel, that sort of thing. Nowadays, vacation seems to mean I've changed location.

The kids ensure there's no sleeping in (they've been up at 5 every morning). And, work has very successfully followed me here. So far since I've been here, I've sent marketed a new course, completed a first draft of a significant proposal, etc. And, El 3atal seems to be calling me every few hours (we've talked to him twice today) to discuss what we want to do on two additional proposal we're putting together. Oh, and we had an agreement fall through that was supposed to take our minds off of worrying about a course we're giving soon. So, now I get to worry about that again :). And, so, life as an entrepreneur means that everything seems to go on the same way in the US as it was in Jordan, only the kids think I should be playing with them because we're "on vacation."

Now, don't take this to mean that I particularly mind... While I very much enjoy playing with the kids, I can't take much more than about 20 minute increments of it. So, I play for a few minutes, then work, color for a few minutes, then work, play Barbies for a few minutes, you begin to see the pattern. Happily, since we've been here, both MimiBean and KhaloBean have been taking alot of the load off. They're new and exciting like and unexpected toy, so the Beans are thrilled to spend time with them. And, they're willing to go play outside and have fun, which MommaBean struggles to find the energy for. So, all in all, it's been very nice so far. Unfortunately tonight I'm facing sorting through our mail, which has been accumulating for the last 6 months. MimiBean kindly provided me with one of the Fall leaves- heavy duty- holds all of Manhattan trash bags. So, you can imagine her expectations. So, I'll leave you now to go and sort and toss and sort and toss (you see the emerging pattern here too don't you?).

Happy vacation holding patterns!

Friday, September 21, 2007

On Why RJ Should be Ashamed, Royal Treatment indeed! Miscellaneous stories from the Bena's journey to the US.

So, the beans, Helper Bean and I took the plunge and made the 13 hour Amman to Chicago flight the other day. I was positively surprised that the children did well and negatively NOT surprised that RJ was awful. I actually thought it might be a good sign that when we got to the airport and approached the women's room, the sign said OMEN. I convinced myself this would be a GOOD omen. Alas, it IS RJ after all... We got to the airport a bit early (as always) and wandered about, had a drink at Starbucks, then went to the gate. The bathroom outside the gate area was being cleaned, so we waited for the one inside. Unfortunately, it had only one stall and no toilet paper or paper towels... Good thing we saved those Starbucks napkins. It finally got close to boarding time, enter Story #1...

Story #1: As we were waiting, and everyone was gathering getting ready for the boarding process to begin, a man and his wife and some other lady and their 3 kids came pushing his way through (stroller and all) to the front. Although I had missed the royal stamp on his forehead, he MUST have been related to His Majesty. Although, it must be a distant relationship since, 1) he lacks the class that the royal family typically shows and 2) he was sitting coach. But, given his attitude and how much more important he is than the rest of us, what else could it be? He MUST be royalty. He got into a bit of an argument with the flight attendants as he was trying to board in the beginning, but was sitting too far forward on the plane (one row only, but still...). Finally, he bullied them into letting him on the plane. I am very sorry to report that we have ample cause to know how the rest of his flight went. He was (predictably) in the row in front of us.

During the entire flight, he complained about everything (the seats, the food, the temperature, etc.). My favorite, though, was when the flight attendant offered him a drink. She apparently misheard him (he requested 7-Up apparently). She had the nerve, the sheer gall, to give him Diet 7-Up. When she handed him the can, he asked "Is this diet?" Yes. "I don't drink diet. I didn't ask for diet. Why would you give me diet?" She apologized and started to get him a regular 7-Up, but he couldn't let it go. He got louder and louder and louder. He was shouting at and berating her. I couldn't believe all of this because she couldn't hear over his loud kids and the hum of the plane. But, it does serve to illustrate the sort of fellow we're talking about. At the end of the flight, the attendant was passing out comment cards. He said out loud, "Comments? Comment cards." The man said "Yes, never fly RJ again." I wanted to pipe in and say, yes please, never let HIM fly RJ again...

Story #2: We finally arrived in Chicago (I don't like Chicago much anyway) and cleared customs and immigration with no issues. I asked one of the RJ fellows where to go to process our hotel vouchers and he indicated it would be outside and to the right. Once we cleared, we went outside and I didn't see an RJ counter. I saw United, American, etc., but no RJ. So, I went over to the exit and hanging half in and half out asked the security guy. He was useless and ignorant, but trying to be helpful. He told me it was "down there" and pointed. So, I left the secured area and went where he indicated. I stopped again when it was clear that I wasn't getting anywhere and the girl at the information desk said, Oh no, it's inside. Great. So, I went back to the security desk to speak with the guard who wouldn't let me back in. I wanted to scream at him, but it's your FAULT you idiot. My only recourse was to go up to the RJ counter, where they sent one of the boys down to escort me back in.

We got to the transit counter and two very nice ladies were working. I waited patiently (well as patiently as I could) with Junior Bean needing to go pee, as they processed vouchers for other passengers. During this time, I heard that the hotel they were sending people to was the Motel 6. What!?! The Motel 6? You MUST be kidding. I would expect at least a Hampton Inn or a Fairfield Inn from the likes of discount carriers like Jet Blue. I certainly expected better from RJ (I assure you my ticket wasn't a discounted price at all). Okay, so we took the taxi to the Motel 6 (there were a BUNCH of folks just like us) because although I perhaps could have argued the issue, I decided that with 3 small kids it wasn't worth it. (I hear El 3atal was cursing up a storm when he talked to Teta and Jiddo Bean about the fact that we were staying at such an awful place). I hoped that perhaps Teta and Jiddo would in fact pick us up and take us somewhere better, but they got lost on the way and I finally gave up. But, the crowning beauty came when we reached the Motel and found that they weren't honoring the RJ vouchers. It seems, get this now, RJ WASN'T PAYING THEIR BILL!!! Okay, now RJ, you should be terribly embarrassed. Really, now. So, I walked in as they were calling the folks at the airport. She explained to me that they wouldn't take a credit card over the phone, so we needed to pay and be reimbursed. How ridiculous is this? Like I trust you to reimburse me when you aren't even paying primary vendors. Please. So, I'm pissed and annoyed, but again I have 3 exhausted kids and just have to make do. We get a really awful room and try to sleep. Oh, and I assure you there is no food close enough to take the kids...

We get up in the morning very early (the kids were up at 3:15, but we waited until 5 to get dressed) and went over to the airport. At least there is safe food and an awesome play area for kids. I felt SO comforted when the front desk attendant refused to let us in. She realized it was me with a bunch of kids and took pity on us letting us wait for the cab inside with another couple of ladies from our Amman flight. She commented she doesn't unlock the doors before six because she's likely to get murdered. Boy am I glad I stayed there! So, we took the cab to the airport and had a nice breakfast (yes, I'll be sending a invoice to RJ for the full $30 of food) and a nice flight on down to MimiBean's house. But, I am still amazed at the incompetence of Royal Jordanian.

Here's my bottom line, they're the only ones who offer a direct flight, so I MAY fly them again. But, after this experience, it's far less likely. By the next time we'll be flying, the beans should be old enough that I'd be willing to change plans in Europe somewhere. So, unless RJ exceeds themselves in their apologies and making it right, I doubt we'll be flying them again... I hated them the first time and they haven't improved on continued exposure. But, this, this is reaching all new lows. A Motel 6 indeed! Really, RJ, you should be ASHAMED of yourselves! And, Your Highness, with all due respect, you should strip them of the right to use Royal or Jordan in their name. It gives all of us a bad name if people think that's what they should expect of Jordan and its royal family.

Story #3: A final note about the humor in flying on a flight full of Jordanians... When we landed in Chicago, the pilot had to stop and wait a moment for another plane to pass, everyone on the plane hopped up and started moving toward the front. Okay, we were 6 MILES from the terminal and still moving. So they stopped the plane and waited for everyone to sit back down before they would go any further. That's what I think of when I think of flying with Jordanians... Everyone rushing the flight attendants in the mistaken belief that they'll get anywhere faster. (Side note, we had some friends fly in to Amman and asked if there were lots of Jordanians on the plane (they came in on Lufthansa). She said, I'm not sure. Simple, I said, did they all hop up the very instant that the wheels touched the ground. Apparently not, so I safely assured her that there was no one on the plane who is actually from Jordan :). Teehee.)

Happy Flying Anyone But not-Royal, certainly not-Jordanian!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Warning, mirror required!

Came across this in the paper yesterday. Of, course saying something sad about the way my mind works, it took a few minutes to realize the type was backwards. Or, I guess maybe they only want people who are smart enough to read it in the mirror (or with my special gift of reading upside down, backwards, and any which way...).
I was actually rather stumped by the backwards message "Accredited by 91.000 students." Accreditation is appropriate for the educational environment, but not done by students. Thanks to, accredited is "officially recognized as meeting the essential requirements, as of academic excellence: accredited schools." Now I guess these 91.000 (is that like 91 with no fils or should that be a comma?) students COULD be official, but somehow I doubt it. Accrediting bodies are typically associations of some sort that review curricula, teaching staff, etc., and officially recognize the school. It got me so befuddled that I almost missed the backwards type print :). Hope you enjoy.
Happy mirror images!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Advertising oddities, take two

Well, the well-known fruit has been one-upped. Now, FastLink is changing its name (shout out to Moey, thanks for the heads-up on this one). And, their marketing campaign started out even worse (IMHO) than orange. They took their new logo (with no explanation) and posted part of it. Not even so that the new name was readable. maybe it was intended to be like the new Arab Bank campagn that started with the empty circle and the ma9kom. (I didn't like that one either). But, at least orange was all readable, if confusing. However, in the benefit of being second to try this, HelperBean said to me, Ma'am is this Zain thing FastLink? The good side to waiting, I suppose.

Happy Procrastination!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Okay, SOME guys here really are pigs!

So, this morning shortly after I arrived at the office, the phone rang. I answered the phone, "Good Morning, Company X."

The gentleman on the phone said "Who is this?"
I replied, "This is company X, may I help you."
"Where is your office?"
"We're near the first circle, how may I help you?"
"I'm with the Arabic Bank."
"The Arab Bank? Okay, How may I help you?"
"My name is Ala."
"Hello Ala. How may I help you?"
"You have a nice voice. Are you the Secretary?"
"An engineer?"
"No. How may I help you?"
"I don't need help, I just want to talk to you, you have a nice sounding voice."

CLICK. (That's me hanging up with rather more force than necessary.)

Now, I ask you, what man honestly thinks that a woman wants to be harassed at her place of business. This is a waste of my time. As if I would respond positively to a pig like that. The only reason I stayed on the phone with him as long as I did is that it IS a place of business. Really, guys. I assure you, there's not one of us ladies that wants you to call and annoy us at work. Save it for your wife. And, if you don't have one, find one and leave the rest of us alone, because (and I say this for all of the bloggers I've met so far) we're not interested!

(Large aside here... Please don't take this to be a generalization of all Arab men. Not only am I married to one, but on the whole the ones I've met since being in Jordan are nice and generally respectful. This message is directed only at the pigs who think this behavior is acceptable.)

Happy CLICK!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I've heard of Puppy Love, but Potato Love?

I was shopping at the grocery store when I came across this gem of an item.

That's right, for the same price as a wimpy regular potato, you can find yourself the proud owner of a love potato. Note the two in the center that are shaped like hearts. Sadly, it is WAY too long until valentine's day. Imagine the fortune to be made if the grower could do that on command in February!

Happy Love Spuds!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fun with Classified Ads: Refuting the claim of excellent English in Jordan :)

I have been most amused with the classified ads in English in the newspapers since my very first trip to Jordan. On that trip, I spied an ad for a "reputed oil company" in Dubai. Apparently, the person who penned the ad is unaware of the difference between reputed and reputable. Reputed means "estimation in the view of others" or "to consider or believe". In the US, this means that the most frequent use of the word reputed is with the word mobster. So, Reputed mobster, Johnny Grotto, head of the XYZ crime family. Newspapers use this because stating that he is a mobster without adequate proof could lead to charges on slander, libel, or defamation of character. So, for this reputed oil company, we don't know what they do, but some people say they are an oil company. I suspect (given that they were trying to attract talent) that they really meant that the have a good reputation (reputable). Well, last week, I came across several more ads that tickled my funny bone. I hope you will enjoy them as well.

P.S. Okay, now, for those who aren't aware, P.S. means post script. It was used to add in something to a handwritten letter that you had forgotten. In the time before computers, you wouldn't want to write the whole letter again because you forgot to say something before you signed it. So, you add in a P.S. to add the information. Clearly, this use of PS is inappropriate. Not only is this not something that was forgotten unless the author called the newspaper back after placing the initial ad, but it's not even travelling by post!

This one is for an international school teaching the British National Curriculum, I almost didn't read this ad through to the end since it sounds like they should know their English, right?


That's right, ladies and gents. They aren't actually interested in references, only referees. Apparently, you were such a bad employee in previous position that people had to serve as referees for you. And they want to speak to them! Teehee.

This one is the least clear (sorry for the picture quality) and the easiest mistake to make, I have to admit. The company is, apparently seeking "A Highly Qualified" Sales Representatives and technical machines operators.

Apparently the day they covered agreement of plurals the author of this ad was absent...

And, finally, my favorite (although it is hard to pick a favorite with such winning entries...), dum, dum, dummmmmmmm...

Apparently, the person who penned this ad missed many things in English class. To begin with, they seem quite confused about the fact that Accountant is the person not the subject or department name. Perhaps, though, they mean they want someone who majored in another person? I guess it could be. But, my favorite is that immediately under Very good English language (skills, presumably?), they require ASAP course. Is this a new subject? I may be behind the times, but I'm unfamiliar with ASAP course.

Okay, in all seriousness having poked fun at the English skills of these people, they are much better than my Arabic skills. And, on the whole, people in Jordan do have excellent skills in English. I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed finding these ads.

Happy advertising!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A sad post thinking about Americans who just don't get it...

I've been thinking about this post for a bit. But, Dave (an American in Jordan) brought it to mind now when I have a few minutes to actually spend substantive time on a post (kids at school, grocery shopping done and such). I've been a bit saddened lately by visible reminders of the arrogance of Americans. It seems like we often act like children and then get mad when we're treated like them...

Recently a group of teachers came to Jordan on a study visit to understand the history and present of our fine, fine nation. I met one of these ladies (again through Dave's blog) and had the opportunity to bring her to Teta Bean's for lunch and take her to the Children's Museum. She was mortified by the behavior of some of the girls in their group. Apparently they had initiated a contest to see how many Jordanian males they could "get busy with". Sickening, truly. Then, they had the gall to sit around restaurants tallying them up very loudly. Wow, could you make it worse. Now, Arab men already make certain very wrong assumptions about American women. (Yes, in case you are unaware we do NOT all sleep with any man we can find, we are NOT all "loose," and what you see in movies is NOT true). These ladies certainly aren't making it easier on those of us who live here, now are they? Fortunately, as El 3atal is from here and most of the people I meet are friends of his or his family, I suffer MUCH less from this than others choosing to make a home in Jordan. So, for the most part, I shake my head and am sad about their behavior. And then, I see the actions of a friend of mine who is here studying and she just SO doesn't get it...

So, I met this friend last summer. She's a nice American in her early 40s. During the course of the summer, she met a fellow and decided she wanted to "date" him. Now, by date, I actually mean date. She was not interested in conjugal relations. She was interested in going to restaurants and having someone nice of the male persuasion to dine with. She is also not looking to get married. So, she went out with this fellow and he turned into something of a nut job. He started sending her bizarre text messages and stopped by her apartment uninvited trying to pressure her into sleeping with him. I had hoped that she would have learned something from this unfortunate situation, but perhaps not. Later in the year, she began to date another fellow whom she met through his family. I suspect she thought that would be better. However, he also seemed to have expectations that were not appropriate in her mind. This soured not only her relationship with him, but also with his family. Now, fast forward to this year. Having learned from her prior experiences, she met another young man. She went a little bit more formal and went through his family to get agreement that they could begin seeing each other. They then started going out to dinners and such. Apparently, he borrowed money form her and other sundry issues arose. She decided that he was just using her.

When she first mentioned that she was dating him, I attempted to gently couch some advice. I tried to explain to her that dating, like it's done in America with two people going out together, isn't done here if they are of the opposite sex. I explained that typically group dating is done until a couple decides that they are ready to declare their intentions. She protested quite vocally that she isn't Jordanian and she's too old for such silliness. In her mind, she's beyond the time in her life where she would go out in groups. She's not looking to get married and she should be able to do exactly what she would back home. I tried to explain that I understand her point of view, but if she wants to date like that, she'll need to find a foreigner to date. but, she was convinced that since she went through the family (never mind what expectations that was building), it would be fine.

So, how arrogant are we Americans? We expect that when people come to our country they should put off their home customs that don't mesh with our society. Part of us resents that they may wear unusual clothing or religious headgear. We want them to become American. No more of this crazy arranged marriage stuff. They should rid themselves of this "backward" thinking. In short, when in Rome, they should do as the Romans do. And yet, when we come to their country, we should be able to just keep on being American. We should continue to live by our standards ignoring the culture. Sadly, I do think that is the belief of most Americans. And it does make me sad...

I won't claim to agree with the way things are done here. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that men and women can't be friends. I also think that it makes it harder for couples when they marry since they have such a limited understanding of what makes the other tick. But, having said that, who cares what I think? And, in reality, I can't blame a fish for thinking the whole world is wet, now can I? When he's pulled out of the water into the air, I would expect he would be a bit confused about why he couldn't breathe. While I think that men here need a fairly strong lesson in treating those from foreign lands the way they would treat their sisters or cousins (with respect and dignity), I also can't blame them when they receive the wrong message from a woman who intentionally strays outside the cultural norms. I think sensitivity is need by all.

However, the saddest thing about this friend is that I'm a little hesitant to further our friendship. While we have many things in common, in the end, I live here. I'm not here studying or doing a short term program. And, after all, they say birds of a feather flock together and I'm most certainly not that type of bird. So, I suspect that our friendship will stay fairly superficial for her time here as I am not willing to take on a reputation in the gossip mill that is Amman... And maybe we ought to offer cultural training to all American women who plan to visit or live in Jordan. A little sensitivity to others' cultural norms would help every American, at home and abroad.

Happy cultural sensitivity!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Seeing, but not understanding

A new DVD store has opened near our office. Unfortunately, I missed an exceptional photo op when they had their "Comming Soon" sign out, teehee. But, El 3atal and I were talking about it and I mentioned that we should check out what Pause has to offer. El 3atal said, don't you mean Pause II? Teehee. So, here I was explaining that that wasn't a II, that was the Pause button picture like on a VCR or DVD player... :). He was skeptical, but when he saw it again, he realized that I was absolutely 100% right (like usual). So, welcome to Pause (or II Pause if you prefer).

Happy misreading!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Which is better, transporting the livestock in the trunk or the back seat?

This is just the challenge facing someone on the way to work today. On a small crowded street with no actual room to maneuver around other cars, I was held up by a couple of men making changes in their livestock transport methods. But, perhaps I'm not being specific enough. I was stopped, waiting and watching two guys remove one (of two) sheep from the trunk of their very small car and move it into the back seat! Admittedly, it sounds odd, it was in actual fact rather surreal. And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street! Seriously, the funny thing is that I finally got around them and went on my way. I parked and was walking beside the street when I started to hear "maaaaaah!" I realized that it was the very same car. Apparently the sheep left behind in the trunk was jealous. And, I ask you, how was I to answer when ButterBean saw the sheep and asked what they were doing? It forced a discussion earlier than I would have preferred about people eating meat... Ah well, at least it gave me moment's confusion (is that REALLY a sheep) and a moment's laugh (Maaaah indeed!).

Happy livestock transportation!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Extra Blush? It Must Be A Terribly Shy Pillow

So, El 3atal and I went pillow shopping the other day as our pillows have given up the ghost. Alright, now I'll be honest, I never liked our old pillows anyway. But, regardless they had ceased to fulfill the general specifications of a pillow (you know, if you folded them in half, they wouldn't spring back, they'd just lie there folded in half forever). So, we went seeking new ones. I hate to admit that I have no idea whatsoever where to buy things here. I've had some conversations lately with some ladies about child safety products. When we first moved here we wanted to buy electrical outlet covers so the beans couldn't stick their hands, tongues, or other objects into the outlets. Well, every baby or children's store we asked at acted like we were nuts. Now that the beans are rather beyond the age where they do this, it turns out that you would purchase this product at a HARDWARE store. Well, of course... Baby products at the hardware store. Where else?

So, in seeking a pillow we ventured to a store that I reviewed poorly upon its opening and have very little nice to say about now (Carrefour). We go there when we need something that approaches a Wal-Mart because they do seem to have a lot under one roof (poorly laid out and frustrating to deal with but...). We did find acceptable pillows, but I noted that they were very shy pillows. As you'll notice, they're Extra Blush. Teehee.

Yeah, yeah, I know they meant plush, but still. Extra Blush and Bouncy. Sounds kind of like something you'd hear about a girl in house of ill repute. Ah, well. P/B continues to be a problem.

Happy embarrassment!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Citrus fruits are taking over the world?

So, I'm beginning to wonder if we have missed something. In our new business, El 3atal and I completely overlooked the entire citrus family of names. I wouldn't even have considered them, but the rebranding of the Jordan Telecom Group's companies to Orange makes me wonder if we should have named our new company Grapefruit, you know to be ahead of the trend. So, as you can guess, I'm going to talk about this new name and look... Orange. Alright, I have to say it out loud, I think it's stupid. Of course, I do have reasons, so let me share them.
  1. Orange has NO brand recognition in town. Now, for launching a new brand, that's fine, but taking a well established set of brands with meaningful names and moving them to unknown meaningless names makes no sense to me. You've lost all of the corporate name recognition you had. Admittedly, with a monopoly in one area and a near monopoly in a second, name recognition isn't that important, which brings me to the second point...
  2. They're wasting buckets of money trying to introduce the new brand. They've got ads in the newspapers, magazines, on buses, on billboards, everywhere. They developed a very appealing, terribly cute little character to represent the brand. I like it, it's approachable, but...
  3. It's impossible to tell from the name and the ads what in the world this company does. They paired their cute little Orange guy (who isn't necessarily orange) with, well, nothing. There's no explanation of who Orange is, what it replaces, what they do. None. It's just cute little people saying hello to the market. So, hello, but why do I care? As an illustration of this, Helper Bean and I were coming back from the grocery store this week when she said to me, "Madame, I have a question for you. What is Orange?" Talk about a rebranding gone awry. She has been seeing the signs, billboards, ads, and has NO IDEA what Orange is. What a waste of money.
  4. It's a color (or a fruit). In the entire rainbow of colors, I have to admit orange is my least favorite, but I wouldn't be a fan of naming the company after Pink or Green either. And, when you make T-shirts, if they're orange, everyone will look bad in them (I mean have YOU ever seen anyone look good dressed in orange?). The cars zipping about town look silly with a square orange block on them. And, oranges are round, so what gives?

I guess, the bottom line is, I'm wondering what the consultant who dreamed this up was thinking. I'll take a stab at it: it's simple, everyone can spell it, everyone's heard of orange (maybe I have a future in advertising). I have to say, I think those are pretty lame reasons. And, one more word about their advertising campaign. The new billboard that is on the 5th circle (or is it the 6th) covering the road signs, what was the municipality thinking?!

All in all, I'm neither convinced that any amount of marketing will make people stop calling Jordan Telecom Jordan Telecom nor that the choice of Orange was inspired by anything more than the desire for the money that comes to all of the vendors when such a change is made.

Happy grapefruit!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

That's what I get for saying I felt left out :)...

1. What is your middle name? Elizabeth
2. What color pants are you wearing? Blue (Jeans)
3. What are you listening to now? The sweet sounds of a fan blowing cool breezes
4. What was the last thing you had to drink? Water
5. Do wish on stars? Not really, but I do enjoy them
6. If you were a crayon what color would you be? Pink
7. How is the weather today? Hot, hot, hot
8. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Colleague from a non-profit association
9. Do you like the person that sent this to you? Too, too much! And her whole Konouz family...
10. Favorite drink? Sweet Tea
11. Favorite sport? Chasing after the beans
12. Hair Color? Average American (blond)
13. Siblings? One brother
14. Favorite month? July
15. Favorite Food? Steak
16. What was the last movie you saw in theaters? I can't even remember that far back (must have been 2+ years)
17. Favorite day of the year? Christmas Day
18. What do you do to vent anger? Hit the offending item (if inanimate) or blow steam, out of my ears :)
19. What was your favorite toy as a child? A stuffed turtle my Mom made for me
20. Summer or winter? Summer, hot hot, hot!
21. Hugs or kisses? Sweet little beans kisses, wet and gooey
22. Car or motorcycle? Minivan!
23. Chocolate or vanilla? chocolate
24. Do you want your friends to do this survey(tag)? Ya3ani
25. Who is most likely to do this survey(tag)? Women more than men!
26. Who is least likely to respond? Non-procrastinators
27. When was the last time you cried? Oooh, I cry at the drop of a hat, stupid mommy hormones. I think it was when a friend was telling me about her MIL's decision (after saying she didn't want her grandchild to learn her language since it's dying out) to make special books and tapes so that he could be exposed.
28. What is under your bed? Absolutely nothing.
29. Who is the friend that you have had the longest? Emanuela, she's been my best friend since high school.
30. What did you do last night? Hung out with El 3atal watching TV.
31. What are you afraid of? Roaches.
32. Plain, buttered, or salted popcorn? Movie theatre popcorn so thick with butter that there's almost no popcorn left.
33. Favorite car? Mercedes ML 320
34. Favorite Flower? Red roses.
35. How many keys on your key ring? Four
36. How many years at your job? 4 months (since we opened the company)
37. What did you do on your last birthday? Worked, then went out to dinner at my favorite steak place
38. How many states have you lived in? 5 states (and Jordan)
39. Did you have fun doing this? Yes!
40. Who are you going to send this to? Hmmm, El 3atal, Roba, anyone else who'd like to do it...

Tag, I'm it! Kinz tagged me with " My favorite aromatic delights". I think it specified five. So, here goes...

  1. Tomatoes freshly sliced grown in the rich Alabama soil (preferably Chilton County, am I picky or what?)
  2. Chocolate cake baking in the oven, almost ready... you know the kind that makes your mouth water
  3. Honeysuckle growing on the vine, this one brings back memories of long summer twilights chasing fireflies
  4. Clean fresh air smelled just after being cooped up in an un-air conditioned government office?
  5. The beans fresh from their bath, I have to go with Kinz on this one. The smell of Johnson's Baby Shampoo on my little beans is like ambrosia for my nose. (Oh, and I'm smelling this one right now).

Enjoyed that one, hope you did too. Still thinking about who I can tag, more on that later...

Happy Sniffing!