Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nine Lives

Jade got Maddy on her 9th birthday. It was inevitable she would get an animal of some sort because it's all she ever asks for. And since we live in Morocco which has an enormous stray cat population in seemed the logical choice. So we took Jade to SPANA (the Moroccan SPCA) and let her pick out a kitty of her very own.

When we got to the shelter a man escorted us past the donkey also available for adoption, past the handful of dogs to the enormous fenced in cat area. There must have been 50 or more. Maddy was right in front laying next to the chain link fence and when Jade stuck her fingers in to pet her fur she happily accepted the affection. The choice was easy. Maddy had made it. So we took her home and Jade became a kitty mom.

Never was there a better pair. Jade brushed, washed, fed, cleaned poop, freshened Maddy's water every day with no reminders. Maddy slept on Jade's bed, waited for her patiently and hoped that Jade would sneak her some drops of milk from her morning cereal. We got her dewormed, got her shots and when she was old enough we took her to get fixed and get a chip implanted that we would need to bring her back to to Colorado when we come home.

There are stray cats everywhere there is food in Morocco. But Maddy was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to dig through the garbage. She's an indoor cat. Of course she wasn't content with that. From one of her favorite sunny spots next to the window she could see the strays pass through our yard. The strays were equally as envious and would sit outside the window looking in. Cats are curious right? So from time to time, when the door was unguarded from a child to-ing or fro-ing, Maddy would escape into the big wide outside world of our yard. And it was in our yard where she was attacked by a tomcat on two different occasions. She was severely battered by her aggressor and developed a massive infection that required major surgery.

She'd been healthy for a long time now. So it was a shock when earlier this week Maddy's breathing became labored and she was bloated. So we took her to the vet who told us her condition was dire. She did some blood work and many of her organs were failing and she needed insulin shots. It also confirmed she had Cat Scratch Fever that she must have gotten from the frequent stray cats the last time she got out.

This morning we awoke to find that Maddy had passed away in the night. She was a sweet survivor, we just didn't realize she was on her 9th life already. It was simply too short. Even though we only got a year with our Mads, we'll love her forever.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Lady is a Tramp

Last week Craig went out of the country on business. During that time I was a very busy lady. Staying up until all hours of the night. Driving all around town with strange guys and girls in my car. I went to the hanut (a Moroccan convenience store, although it's neither convenient, nor store-ish) in shorts so I could score. Then I got these bruises on my knees...

Ok, I stayed up til all hours of the night writing. The girls and guys? My kids playmates I carted to and fro for play dates. And I went to the fruit stand to score a watermelon. I was in shorts (which women don't wear here) because I was on my way to my friends house to work out and her house is conveniently located by the fruit stands. Then at the workout I did girl push ups on a marble floor in shorts. Thus, two bruised knees.

On Sunday we said goodbye to our friends who are moving from Rabat to the states. They also have 4 kids and went on our camel trek through the Sahara Desert with us. I can't tell you how much we'll miss them. But, even though we're all sad, our kids were still contradictorily excited. Why would they be excited that their friends are leaving? Because they were selling their trampoline. And guess who bought it? Yup. Us.

Our kids miss our yard in Colorado. Our house backs up to a hill of open space full of wild life. Some a little too wild for me. Like rattle snakes and mountain lions, but it comes with the territory. Literally. The kids loved to explore the hill side, collect rocks, climb trees, go down our zip line all while avoiding getting devoured by predators. They had the ultimate freedom there. The freedom to roam. Unfortunately, at 16 they'll probably experience the next to ultimate freedom the freedom of the road. I can't tell you how I'm dreading that one. Only 3 and a half more years. Gulp.

The thing that we don't have in Colorado? A flat spot big enough for a trampoline. And even if we did, my husband, who is Pediatrician, has always been anti-trampoline because of the amount of injuries they cause per year. Apparently, mountain lions, rattle snakes, tree climbing and zip lining aren't statistically as dangerous. Living in Morocco you will do things that you just won't do in the states. You just will. So, we now have a trampoline. It's been passed down from family to family because you can't buy a trampoline on the econonmy here. So some one shipped it from the states a good long time ago. So it's not one of those new fangled ones with the covered springs and the net enclosure that makes it appear as if your child is safer. NO. This is the 1970s kinda trampoline o' danger that I have always wanted and never had. Until now. Yeeeeeeesssssss!

And the kids think I got it for them...

Let me just say, we would much rather have our friends not move than have their trampoline if I haven't said that already. The weird thing about June here in the Embassy circle in Morocco is, if you're not moving to the states or some other far off land, you are vacationing to the states or some far off land. So there is a mass exodus of Americans from Morocco. This accounts for the summer departure of Sara, my workout queen, Chris my yoga guy and coincidentally belly dance will also go on hiatus soon before Ramadan starts. So what's a girl to do?

Jump! Might as well, jump! (Just don't pee yourself.)

At least my kids still think I got the tramp for them. I'm going to get a leg up workin' on my fitness and I shouldn't have bruises on my knees anymore. Now if I could only get those darn kids off the thing. Maybe I'll bribe them with candy.

And this my friends is why the lady is a tramp.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Hairy Situation

I loathe my hair. And to hear other women talk about their hair, it sounds like I'm not the only one. The hair I dream about is thick, straight, dark Demi Moore hair. I'm sure it wouldn't look good on me anyway. Which of course is why my dream hair also includes having Demi Moore's face and of course her body too. But I have my thin, curly, I don't even know how to describe the washed out red color that I did on it right out of the box. The time has come for that semi-annual event, the hair cut.

This is my third hair cut in Morocco, which marks our time in Morocco fairly accurately, almost a year and a half now. I'm going on my third stylist here. All women know that finding the right stylist is exactly like dating. Adnane was my first. He has excellent skills, but he was a condescending jerk. There will be no second date. Jerry was my second. He's comfortable. You know, the nice guy that you only want to be friends with. He has since moved to the Philippines.

My new guy? His name is Christian and I met him once only briefly. Notice a pattern here? They're all men. I mean what are the odds right? So this must be more than coincidence. I googled the percentage of male hairstylist in Morocco versus the US in search of the answer. But I couldn't find any statistics on it. Really, this is killing me! I'm totally fascinated that in a Muslim country where women's hair is this sexy shrouded mystery kept from every man except her husband, that there would be so many male stylists. Or maybe that's exactly the reason...

So today my girls and I are gettin' our hair did. This is our before picture. Clearly, we need help. And clearly it's more help than any one stylist and/or therapist can provide.

The salon is French. Christian is French. I'm a little French on my mom's side, but who the crap am I kidding? I don't know French. Christian speaks a little English, just enough to get the basics across but skip the small talk. And although I think Christian is super nice and all I am el crappo at small talk, especially on a first date. I mean cut. So I'm totally ok with this. The less I talk the less chance that I will say something completely and utterly stupid.

He washes, clips and dries the girls hair. He's patient and kind.I don't need to talk to him to know I like him. I really like him. The clippings of the girls blond tendrils lay scattered on the floor. My girls have their own love/hate relationship with their hair. They both have beautiful hair that is long and free just the way they like it. But, their straight, silky, exotic flaxen hair also gets them so much unwanted attention here. Strangers pat them on the head and kiss them. And they hate the kissing. I can't blame them.

When the girls hair is done the manicurist asks if they would like their nails painted. Of course they would. I don't know if you've heard, but their mother sucks at nail doing of any kind. While the girls are getting their nails professionally bedazzled, I get take the chair. I'm reminded why I only do this twice as year. It's painful to be sitting facing yourself in the huge salon mirror with the most hideous salon lighting. And why do salons always have awful lighting that makes you look like a cadaver anyway?

I'd like to tell Christian to just make it look great in a ponytail cause that's all I'm ever gonna do with it. But, I'm always curious to see what a trained professional wants to do with it. Cause seriously, I've had this hair for 41 years and I have yet to come up a really great hair idea that would actually work with my hair type and my long face yet. Layers. Apparently the answer is layers. As long as I can pull it back in a ponytail do whatever you want. I would totally go on a second date cut with him. I don't know if he's into me or just enduring me though. I'm pretty sure I'm not his type. After all he's a hair stylist and I have the worst hair known to man. Unless he's one of those guys that really likes a challenge.

I'm done. Holy crap, my hair looks amazing. But here comes the part I hate. The uncomfortable doing quick math in my head to arrive at the perfect tip to reflect my hair satisfaction. Did I do that right? Was that enough? God I hope he liked me. What if I call him you know for my next haircut in like 6 months and he doesn't remember me? Oh, he's not going to remember me, just like he didn't remember meeting me briefly at the restaurant. I guess it wasn't meant to be. I'll find a new guy. He'll like a challenge and I'll let him get to first base the first time. You know first base? Fondling my thin straggly hair. He interupts my insecure obsessive thoughts when he kisses me. A slow french kiss. First the left cheek, then the right. Oh he does love a challenge. And he likes me. He really likes me! Ok, I'm definitely gonna call him. In 6 months or so...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Double Digits

Today is Jade's 10th birthday. Last month she celebrated with her best friend here in Morocco before she moved back to the states just this past weekend. But now it's her actual day and we're going to celebrate as a family. Except her dad is away working in Cameroon. Not to worry, we've made a birthday photo diary to capture the day.

09:00 We went to pick up our mail at the Peace Corps and Jade had birthday packages. YOU HAVE MAIL!

09:30 We went to the grocery store to shop for last minute things like birthday candles.

10:30 The girls came with me to belly dance class. They played dress up with the skirts and veils in my dance bag.

1:00 After we ate lunch we opened a super awesome package jammed with cereal, treats, mac and cheese and other assorted goodies from our friend (and 1st grade teacher to 3 of my kids) Deb. We love her! Thank you!!!

1:30 We drive to Megamall to go ice skating. So yes, we have a mall (although the name Mega is misleading) and yes, there is at least one ice skating rink in Morocco.

1:31 I realize Ember has never ice skated before.

1:32 I remember Ember's super power is determination and she'll be fine.

1:33 Um, maybe I should have made everyone wear pants.

3:30 We got home and made cupcakes with butter cream frosting.

5:45 Jade cooked up her favorite pasta grandma sent from America. The kids have become very patriotic this past year, especially to Auntie Annie. You know, pasta maker and wife of Uncle Sam.

6:15 We finished dinner and each of the 5 of us decorated 2 cupcakes to make duh dah duh, a cupcake cake with 10 candles for Jade to blow out. See I've got some math skills.

6:30 Jade crawls through the spanking machine. This is our family tradition. Come on, every family's got something weird. And yes, the kids make us go through it on our birthdays too.

6:45 Jade opened her gifts.

7:15 Jade made tickets for everyone to watch the birthday movie she chose.

9:00 Goodnight. Tomorrow the adventures of Jade, the 10 year old begin...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things Aren't What They Appear

Every culture has them. Weird paradoxical societal things that just don't make sense. The thing is, the closer you are to them, the harder they are to see. But when you're a foreigner in a foreign land? Well, it makes them really easy to spot. So while I know America has a million and one of it's own, today I'm running down the short list of Moroccanisms.


The concept is universal. When you're driving green means go and red means stop. Everywhere except for Morocco where you can drive any way you want. Stop signs are optional. And the green arrow on the traffic light? Do NOT assume that oncoming has a red light. Because that is dangerously incorrect. Oncoming traffic also has a green light to go. So really any traffic light of any color or stop sign means make no assumptions and proceed with caution. In fact you might want to rethink driving altogether. Are you sure you actually need to drive to get where you're going? You might want to change your plans and just stay in. It's just safer.


The garbage truck comes every night in our neighborhood. And by night I mean very early morning around 2am. Yes, we have garbage service everyday. How environmentally conscious and efficient is that? The thing is, while I'm putting my garbage can out to be picked up, making sure not to put it out too early because that would be unsightly, garbage lines the streets. And I don't mean in garbage cans. I have seen grown men walk down the street and simply drop wrappers and other garbage on the sidewalk. So while I'm pondering why I never see anyone else's garbage can it's because no one actually needs a can to collect it here. That's right, every day is garbage day in Morocco!


Morocco has a lot of small farms that supply a lot of the produce in the country. This is how America used to be before huge farm conglomerates. Pure, natural, wholesome and organic right? Not quite. While Morocco uses less pesticides than the states, the pesticides they use are more dangerous. Where do you think that those pesticides that get banned in the states go? Yup, they get sold to other countries with less stringent pesticide standards. And there is no governing board here to certify that any produce is in fact organic. For more info on Morocco and pesticides click here.


Modest dress is part of the Muslim culture here. So what does one do when they want to swim at the beach? About half the women at the beach go in the water with their head scarves and djellabas on. Yup, just like they're going to the store or anywhere else. The other half? They wear bathing suits just like in the states. In a country that likes to cover up you think that they would sell conservative bathing suits. Nope. No, they don't have thongs and there is no topless or nude sunbathing here. But what they don't have? It's that extra lining in a woman's swim suit in the chest and crotch areas like American women's suits have. The purpose of this lining is of course is to prevent protruding nipple-age and insuring a little mystery in your choice of nether region grooming shall we say. So going to the beach here involves showing nothing or unintentionally showing everything.


Moroccan men are very affectionate. They are very affectionate with each other. In public. But not in a gay way, because that my friends is illegal here. No, this is the bromance variety affection. In theory, this is a beautiful concept of men celebrating their platonic love for each other by displaying their feelings for each other publicly. You can see evidence of Moroccan man love any day of the week here by simply walking down any given street here. But when you've grown up in a culture where only couples hold hands, embrace, rub the backs of their partners neck and snuggle on the back of a moped together, it's just extremely bizarre to witness a non-couple doing it. What's even more weird is that I can count on one hand how many times I've seen a Moroccan man giving a woman pda in public. Seriously, how weird is that?

Oh my god, is George Michael waving at me from the back of a public bus? No, that would be a Moroccan guy flipping me off. I'm pretty sure that Morocco would not let George Michael on a public bus here after that public restroom incident a while back. Unless he just wanted to snuggle of course...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Life's a Beach

We went to have a good time. Of course, I had to convince Sky he actually wanted to go to the beach. Or just was going to the beach whether he wanted to or not. I mean it's the beach for gods sake! Who doesn’t want to go to the beach? The one we're going to is going to be too crowded he said. I couldn't think of anything else to do and I had already packed the lunch and the plan was set in motion. So we're going, like it or not.

I asked the kids to pack the boogie boards, umbrella and the bag with the towels and blanket that were on the kitchen counter. Again and again. Then, Sky complained he didn’t want ‘that’ kind of sandwich, the kind I made. This is after he silently watched me make it and pack it. I wanted to whack him with the horrible, disgusting sandwich, but it just wouldn’t hurt enough and it wouldn’t get us any closer to the beach. I checked to see that each child was wearing a bathing suit, a much more tedious process than I will detail here. We’re almost ready to head out the door when the phone rings. It was Craig calling from Cameron, so I had to take it. We talked for about 5 minutes while the kids loaded the car. Then we all piled in for the 30 minute drive to our favorite beach.

When we get on the coastal road, the traffic is heavier than usual. This is a bad sign, it’s going to be packed. The Moroccans are cramming in their last beach outings before Ramadan starts. Sky was right. They'll be in the water boogie boarding anyway so it won't be a big deal to anyone but me who’ll be sitting on the shore. We pull in and unload the car. I'm acting all glass half full so I don’t throw the drink or just the glass at someone right now.

I’m making everyone carry their own boogie board. I’m so mean. Then parcel out the umbrella, cooler, a couple of wet suits and a chair. They’re sure this is child slave labor. We haul our beach necessities across the busy road through the alley that smells like concentrated cat piss until we get to the congested beach, which still smells like cat piss strewn with rusty cans and garbage. I busy myself organizing and setting everything up when Sky asks where the beach blanket is. “I don’t know, where IS it? I only reminded you to pack it a mere 5 times!” The bag that the blanket was in was also the bag that contained the towels.

After I got off the phone, I forgot to check that everything got done. I don't know if I'm more pissed at myself, him or that everywhere in Morocco smells like cat piss. I’m definitely not pissed at me because I’m way too busy pitying myself. It’s his fault and the fault of all the one-eyed, three legged feral cats who probably drink puddles of piss in the alleyways and then piss out super concentrated piss. All I know is, I’m not driving 30 minutes home to go get anything.

Ok, I can solve this. We'll simply go to one of the handful of beach stands and buy towels. I leave the boys to hold down the fort and take the girls with me to walk down the beach and get some. We had to park way down the road, so we have to backtrack a long way to civilization and the vendors. It’s still early and most of the stands still aren't open. The two that are don’t have any towels for sale. Not even one. I'm starting to feel panicky that I left the boys on the crowded beach in Morocco and I don’t know how to say “towel” or “someone stole my boys and sold them to a leather tannery in Fez and I’m afraid I’ll never see them again and if I do they’ll permanently smell like wet leather”, in either French or Arabic. Really? Why didn't I pack the French phrase book to go to the beach? What WAS I thinking?

The girls and I make it back to our umbrella and the boys are waiting for us. Thank god. But the kids are asking to go home. Oh hell no. We’re staying. I don’t care how much it sucks, I didn’t come all this way for nothing. “I packed lunch, so we’re eating it here.” Everyone races to dig through the cooler to get their sandwiches. The worst sandwiches that have ever been packed for the worst day at the beach ever and they choke them down. Then they see the donut guy. Yes, every beach has a donut guy, a guy with a thermos of instant coffee and a guy with a camel for rides up and down the beach.
For more on that you can read my post Coffee Donuts and Camels .

I will do about anything to make this work at this point, so since they at their sandwiches I totally give into to buying them the donuts they’re all begging for. Although here in Morocco they’re called beignets, which is just French for greasy sugar sprinkled fried dough with a hole in it. Turns out eating a donut is only a good thigh killer, not a good time filler.

Ember started digging a hole. This is promising, cause we’re working minute by minute at this point.

Then they spot the toy vendor walking the beach selling balls made in China. Which leads my kids to ask why everything comes from China. Then one of them insists Canada is also in the top 3 exporters of products. “Oh Canada? I don’t think so. I think you've mistaken Canada for Korea or something.” (I googled when we got home. Surprisingly, Canada is actually number 9 in Worldwide Exports while South Korea is number 6, which makes me right, sort of.) Anyway, the whole line of questioning on world trade did get me to buy a ball that looks like a watermelon that was probably made by a kid in China and was sold by a Moroccan kid with beignet sugar all over his face. At least I think that’s what that was.

I finally sit down in the chair we schlepped here to relax, but after only 5 minutes of a whirlwind game of dodge-a-toxic-Chinese-melon, the kids were done. Unequivocally done. Then they all announced that they voted and it was unanimous, they were ready to go home. Nothing in our house is ever unanimous. And no one has ever used “unanimous” in a sentence before. They know exactly how to manipulate me while improving their SAT verbal scores at the same time. Our day at the beach lasted an hour. The car trip there and backs takes just as long. All that work only killed 2 hours of our long summer day. The remainder of it will be spent cleaning out the copious amounts of sand out of our nooks and crannies. Life is definitely not a beach, unless unfortunately, it is!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

Celebrating holidays takes extra planning in Morocco. It just does. I thought I had it down. I started to think about Father's Day a couple of months in advance. What will I get Craig? How will I get it here? Will it come in time? I worried so much about getting just the right something that I didn't plan the day. I just figured that would be the easy part. It's that can't see the forest or the trees thing. Or the forest for the trees. Or the leaves on the trees in the forest. You know what I mean...

I wanted to get something really great for Craig. Some token of his amazing dad-ness. But as I've mentioned before, shopping here is really uninspiring. Especially for dads. Unless the man in your life really loves olives, which Craig doesn't. Really. I've got nothing here. And after contemplating what to get him and consulting one of Craig's brothers, I decide on ordering an ipod and a speaker. Totally lame I know. But I go ahead and order it anyway. Then right after I do I remember that the last time I ordered electronics from here, delivery was rejected by the Embassy mail system. Crap. I feared the same thing would happen this time. We'll just wait and see. Our mail gets delivered to Craig's office. I never told him I was expecting a package and not to open anything. So in early May when a box appears he opens it and and calls me perplexed. So I do the only thing a person equally surpirsed about the appearance of the box would say. Surprise! Happy Father's Day!

So late this week I start to think about what we'll do on Father's Day. I know what he'd like to do. Go to the beach and surf. Except that we have the most crazy jam packed weekend of goodbyes. Sky and Jade's best friends here in Morocco are moving back to the states and we have an assortment of other events on top of that. Then I realize that trip to Cameron that Craig's going on that seemed so far away months ago isn't so far away anymore. It's this Saturday night, the night before Father's Day. Crap. I didn't even covertly organize the kids to make a card for him in the chaos. Super crap. I know. I'll get up before Craig and make his favorite breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. That didn't happen either. Crapity Crap. I suck!

So I acknowledge my suckitude and ask if he'd like me to make him those pancakes that I was going to make BEFORE he got up on this Father's Day Eve. Much to my surprise, he doesn't want his favorite chocolate chip pancakes. He wants my tomato and goat cheese omelet. Whhhhhhhaaaaaattttt? Is this the man I married who wouldn't eat a tomato for his life? So many things have changed in the 19 years we've been married. First of all, we have 4 kids. Second of all we're old. Third my husband eats tomatoes! Who is this man?

I don't have any bacon but I have oranges to make some fresh orange juice to accompany the eggcellent breakfast. Luckily, I do make an awesome omelet. Unfortunately it's not awesome enough to make up for the Father's Day disasters. This day doesn't convey how great a father Craig is. He's the more patient one of us. He's the one who can make the kids better when they're sick. He's the playful one. He's the grounded one. He's the smart one. He's the wise one. He is the logical one and the one that can do math. Thank god. And I've got a confession, he's the one I'd like to be more like.

Other things I don't have:
Baseball skills.
The imagination to see the beautiful, shinny 1962 airstream of my dreams in that rusty rundown trailer.
The fortitude to stick with a project, especially if it involves math.
The creativity to build a stage in the living room when my crazy ass wife thinks this is a great idea. And the fortitude to find, purchase and transport two skee ball machines because the crazy ass wife also came up with that one.
The ability to stitch up the gash my own leg and then allow the kids to play doctor and stitch it up without anesthetic. Did I mention he let our kids take a needle to his leg???
The patience to come home to crazy ass wife and crazy ass kids after having patience with patients all day.
The thoughtfulness and diligence and work it took to search for a couple of years to find me my dream car, a 1969 orange Karmann Ghia to surprise me with on my 40th birthday.

Since we can't reach you by phone in Cameron today to say Happy Father's Day I hope you can check your e-mail and see this post. I'm sorry for the lame ass day and the crazy ass wife that you have. I truly don't deserve you. We love you!

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sherry's Cherries

We headed east for a few days of mountain air with one of our favorite families, the Greens. In winter it snows in Ifrane and you can sled or ski it's hills. In summer you can frollick in it's cold mountain streams. But what you really go to Ifrane for is it's European feel and it's clean streets. Cars stop for pedestrians here. You could almost forget you're still in Africa except that everyone still stares at your obvious foreigness and buying anything will still require you to bargain for it. Luckily we didn't come to shop.

We came to hike.

And to check out the really, really old cedar trees.

Feed the really, really hungry monkeys. (Some of which weren't even ours...)

We started a war by sea. (Ok, it was more like a battle by lake...)

We cooled off in mountain streams.

Now you know there must be more to the story right? Of course there is.

There's a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) named Sherry in a town called Immouzer Marmoucha which is just a two hour drive from Ifrane, but a world apart.

We've made the drive in our two minivan minicaravan and are now standing on the main street of town. It's market day, so it's bustling because everyone is out and about. Sherry will meet us here. But how will we find each other? Well, it's amazingly easy to spot 4 extremely glowingly white adults when they have 7 extremely glowingly white children in tow, speaking English and looking completely lost. She couldn't NOT find us. Sherry brings along Ben, another PCV who lives just outside of town. She's excited to have visitors and she takes us to the souk to get some locally grown cherries.

And this is what it's like to walk through the souk. Lucky for you, on video no one pushes you, glares at you and your barely covered flip flopped foot doesn't step in sheep shit. I have captured the clean, sanitized and not-anything-like-the-true-Moroccan souk (because that WOULD be scratch, sniff and bump), souk walk via my discreet undercover cam.

We walk to the outskirts of town and hike down to a beautiful waterfall while snacking on Sherry's cherries.

Then it's time for lunch. We could have anything we want. You know goat kebabs or this local bean soup served with an egg on top. Or chicken. I would have gone goat myself. On second thought I'm glad I didn't. (You'll see.) We decided on chicken and headed to the local place Sherry knows.

They clear out the back just for us. Ben orders food for the table. One does not order individual portions. No, this is a family style place. So you share the chicken. And there are no plates or utensils. River watches as the server (although I think the term food slinger is more appropriate here) drops the bread on the floor, picks it up and throws it back in the serving basket co-mingled with all the other fresh bread. I didn't know that an 11 year old boy would be grossed out by that. I mean I'm thinking of all the other things that don't seem to gross him out. This is when he decides not to eat.

I thought lunch was fun myself. And we're getting an appreciation of what it's like to be a PCV while simultaneously boosting our immune systems. All of us except for River. He'll probably be the first one to get sick. And he was. (Although that was unrelated incident of car sickness that occurred in our friends car. Thank god. I mean thank god they're still our friends...)

On the way out we were happy we decided not to eat the goat. It looked like it had been hangin' out there for awhile.

We went back to see Sherry's house. And by this time we all needed to pee. I don't know if you all know what a squat potty is. It's a hole in the floor that you need to squat over and get yer bizness in. Sherry's squat potty is also her shower. Is that multitasking or what? Why oh why did I not take a picture of it? Oh right, because I was thinking what a poor footwear choice flip flops is when you're standing on a leaky squat potty trying not to piss yourself. I'll get it next time. You know when we stay the night and I remember to wear proper footwear.

Who says life isn't a bowl of cherries? Not Sherry. She's freakin' awesome!

This is list of just a few of the reasons why my kids have chosen not to join the Peace Corps when they grow up:

No macaroni and cheese.
No wii.
No tv.
No air conditioning/heat.
Eating food that has fallen on the floor with your hands.
Peeing on yourself.
The goat.
Not getting paid for any of this...

Thursday, June 9, 2011


This is my kids last full day of school. The surprising thing is, I have nothing at the school to attend today. I've had something for at least one of my kids (usually two or more kids on the same day actually) for the last week at least. Not only that, I don't have any plans today. None. This never happens. And now I have one last day of complete and total solitude before my kids start their summer break.

How can I possibly make the most of my relaxing day of solitude? I mean I'm gonna have the four kids 24/7 all summer. So this needs to be good. What can I do here home alone that I can't do with them here?

Damn, I've got chores to do. Let me just put on some music. Right! One last day to listen to whatever I want. Songs the kids don't like, songs with crazy mummbly bemusings and YES ones with swear words. Bonus! Oh, and just a few months ago I figured out the absolute most fun way to get your chores done....

YES, I do know I'm a horrible singer.

I had so much fun skating around that I lost track of time. Now I'm headed out the door to belly dance class late. Then I get in the car and have like zilch-o gas. So I have to stop at the gas station on the way. Morocco only has full service gas stations. It's totally weird. At least I get my windshield cleaned for free. And by free I mean for a 10 dirham tip for the gas attendant which was nothing after the 500 dirham (somewhere over $50, depending on the exact exchange rates on any given day) I spent that only filled HALF of my tank.

So I'm driving to class when I remember my friend Bobbie and the driving cam she rigged with tape to her dash to capture the crazy Moroccan driving before she moves back to the states. I, of course, have no tape in my car. So here, let me hold the camera in place with one hand while I drive through the streets of Rabat. Maybe not such a great idea.

Again, I'm not a professional singer. Can you believe it?

But I made it! And got to class just in time. Cause you know I got that primo spot that the parking guy saved for me. He's my second favorite parking guy. Barack is my first. I can't video anything in belly dancing class. It's a very social taboo to tape anyone without permission here and especially not belly dancing. But after class I buy a cd from my teacher with some of the songs we have learned on it. Learned is not the right term. It's belly dance via paint by numbers. She stands in front of class and explains everything in French and Arabic and I try to "mimic" whatever she does, even though I have no idea what she's doing.

On the way home I stop by the bakery and pick up my favorite salmon sandwich. And I download, write and make travel plans during my working lunch.

Then I have an idea. I have the cd, lets see if I can remember how to do any of the songs I've "learned" in class without watching my instructor. Ok, I think that one of the basic beginner dances is one I can remember....

And obviously not. That was way more belly flop than belly dancing. And this is why I'm not a dancer. Ok, this is merely reason #32 why I am not a dancer (and that list goes to #100).

Determined to make the most of my solitude I should probably do something relaxing. That and I'm downloading these 3 videos which is gonna take until the kids' summer break is over. So I have some time to go check out the garden.

The tomatoes are almost ready.

And then I sit down and try to read and relax. But I can't....

Because I'm thinking about what I'm gonna make for dinner. Whatever it is, the kids are totally gonna complain about it. And what's worse than hearing your kids complain about a dinner they don't like? I'll tell you. Taking them shopping for the ingredients for a dinner that they don't like. So I run to the store so I can pull together dinner, by myself, because I CAN!

When I get back from the store it's almost time. They'll be home in less than half an hour. I need to finish editing this post and download the videos, which aren't done yet. This is not gonna happen before they get home. I go out to finish the wash and the outdoor cat came in and the indoor cat went out. AND, I haven't harbored a whole summer's worth of solitude yet! Crap! I need to hurry and enjoy this peace and quiet right now. Namaste.

Goodbye solitude. Hello summer chaos.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...