April 23, 2010

What are you afraid of?

Although I try not to give my fears a front seat when it comes to living my life, I'm afraid of lots of things: I'm afraid for my kids. I'm afraid of cancer. I'm afraid of flying. I'm afraid of spiders. I'm afraid of car accidents. I'm afraid of what we're doing to the environment. I'm afraid of collapsing financial systems. I'm afraid my money will vanish mysteriously or be stolen. I'm afraid I'll someone will hide drugs in my luggage and I'll live out my life in a 3rd world prison. I'm afraid of wrinkles. I'm afraid of depending on other people. I'm afraid of losing my passport. I'm afraid I'll be the first person to get AIDS from a mosquito. I'm afraid of running out of coffee. I'm afraid of scary movies. I'm afraid of legal documents.

So, the usual things.

Just for the record, I'm NOT afraid of snakes, rodents, cockroaches, crazy deadlines, math, bitchy women, people who yell, being laughed at or standing up in front of hundreds of people. And I can drive a stick shift.

Ralf isn't afraid of too many things. Why should he be? He has a strong physical presence, a military haircut, loads of boyish charm and no shortage of self-confidence. He's also a rescue diver, which means he doesn't require immediate access to oxygen to survive under water and won't freak out if he temporarily doesn't have any. Plus he thinks people are basically good - even when they prove otherwise he assumes they're stupid rather than evil and would definitely do the right thing if they weren't handicapped by their inferior brains. Basically, even if Scheisse happens, he's not expecting the world to throw him any curve balls he can't handle.

It must be nice to live in his world.

There is one thing he does fear, however, one thing that causes him to pale and break out in a nervous sweat:

Legal documents that need to be countersigned by me.

Yup. I can't blame him, really. It can get pretty darn scary when I need to sign something.

What are you afraid of?

April 22, 2010

Kids Be Gone

As a grad student, Apple helped me generate countless spell-checked research papers. Years later they're still there for me, helping me be a better mom.

Thanks to iPhone, parents can now legally - secretly - torture their teens with an application that emits ultrasonic noise only they can hear.

It's called 'Kids Be Gone,' aka 'Mother's Little Helper.' I've also heard it referred to as 'Vex a Teen.'

(Tempting, I know, but please be careful not to use around small children.)

April 16, 2010

Bedouins, Camels and Viagra

As some of you know, Ralf and I just got back from a week in Egypt, specifically in Sharm el Sheikh, which is a small beach community near the Sinai national park that is inhabited largely by Bedouins.

Sadly, no one got my 'Bedouin Breakfast' pun about our hotel. I tell you, my wit feels wasted sometimes.

Our favorite pasttime during the week was to sit in what we referred to as the 'Hooka Shack', a quiet beachfront shisha bar where you can sip Bedouin tea (black tea with lots of sugar in a little pot) and smoke an enormous water bong while reading and watching the waves.

We also went diving, although I had to give it up after the first day due to ear problems. It's sad, really. I am a Padi certified advanced diver. I have done night dives, retrieval dives, navigation dives, wreck dives, shore dives, boat dives and deep dives. I can take all my gear off (mask, oxygen, the works) 20 meters under water, swim away from it, swim back and put it all back on without panicking (much) and dying a horrible oxygen deprived death.

I don't enjoy doing these things, you understand, but I can.

Nonetheless I have an ongoing battle with my ears and usually have to stop diving and go to the doctor before the end of each vacation. You may be wondering how I got certified in the first place, to which I can only respond, 'Sheer bloodymindedness.'

Still, I didn't mind skipping it this time. What with one thing and another, I was happy not to dress up in a rubber suit and lug around a heavy oxygen tank. I carefully divided my vacation time between lounging about, snorkling, sipping tea, staring at the horizon, reading and visiting my friend Barbara, who is lucky enough to call the desert her home.

And now two tableaus from our vacation involving Bedouins, camels and Viagra - I know you're gonna jump right to the Viagra one:

Tableau 1: The Father In Law
One of the dive instructors was a friendly Bedouin fellow named Nur, who's married to the boss's daughter. After Ralf's first dive on the second day (I was on the boat but not diving) Nur got a radio call from Umbi, the boss and his FIL, to bring our boat out to Umbi's yacht during the lunch break. Apparently, Umbi had dropped something in the water and wanted Nur to dive for it. Nur rolled his eyes and muttered, 'It's probably a coffee spoon,' then slouched off to get suited up again. When we reached the yacht, Umbi waved at us good-naturedly and Ralf asked him if he always makes his poor SIL do extra work for him. Umbi grinned and answered, 'Nur was supposed to pay me 5 camels for my daughter and I haven't seen a single camel yet. He owes me!'

Tableau 2: The Viagra
After I visited the doctor and was told I would be fine in a week but would have to take a break from diving, we stopped by the pharmacy to get some medicine to speed up the re-absorbtion of the blood that had pooled behind my traumatized eardrums. Uh... TMI? Anyway, we got the medicine (everything for about $2, it's SOOO cheap!) and the pharmacist looked at me, looked at Ralf, grinned suggestively and handed him a free packet of Viagra. Ralf, not to be outdone, grinned back even more suggestively and returned the packet. I didn't quite catch what the pharmacist said as we left but it sounded a bit like, 'Strong man!'

Pictures here and here.

April 15, 2010

April 14, 2010

Amazing Pictures

Does this count? I think it's pretty amazing that I'm making it public.

More (less) amazing pictures to follow soon...

April 5, 2010

Walk like an....

I'm going on vacation for a week so don't be alarmed if I'm MIA.

Guess where I'm going... A hint: It's not a Bangles concert.

April 3, 2010

Confucious say... (can't take credit for this one)

Confucius say,

"If you are in a book store and cannot find

the book for which you search, you are obviously in the....

April 1, 2010

Who wants to look like Barbie?

Despite my efforts to minimize my daughters' exposure to the Barbie brand, we inherited a Barbie Farietopia movie: The Magic of the Rainbow.

What can I say, it was GREAT! I was totally sucked in. So, against my better judgement I went ahead and ordered the other movies in the series.

K: Why didn't you want to order them?

Me: Well, darling, some people think Barbie dolls make little girls think they need to look like Barbie. And I want you to know you're beautiful the way you are.

K (frowning at me like I just said something crazy): Who wants to look like Barbie?? She's not even real!

Well, what do you know? A new generation of smarter women.

Me: And you know you're beautiful just like you are, right?

K (shrugging): Yes.

Me: And you know it doesn't matter, it's what's inside that counts, right?

K (complacently): Uh huh. But I'm beautiful, too.

I am such an amazing mother.
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