Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shaping up

I am on this fitness kick lately. Have been trying to go to the gym regularly and not eat junk food. I have lost a lot of weight and now fit back into some of my tinier clothes (yay). I don't want to be skeletal, but my frame is not build to carry any kind of extra weight well. I don't have voluptuous hips and breasts. I look and feel better when I am toned and athletic looking.

Anyway, in celebration of my progress, I went out and bought some new exercise clothes. I need new shoes desperately because I noticed the front of my trainers are starting to split - and since they're about 4 years old, I figured it was about time for a change.

I decided to try the new Reebok "toning" shoes. I don't know if they really work or it is just one big fat gimmick, but they were very comfortable; so I figure, either way, it's all good - if they do help tone my glutes then great, otherwise I just have new and very comfortable pair of shoes.

One thing however that never ceases to amaze me is the absolute lack of awareness of sales staff regarding customer service. The salesman actually brought me dirty sock to wear to try the shoes on with - it had brown smudges on it! Seriously? Why he thought that would be acceptable is beyond me, and are they too cheap to send the socks for washing?

I also bought some self help books. I realize that I have many character flaws, and I would like to try to work on them so that I can lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Random Ramblings

Well, another Ramadan has almost finished. It turns out that I have the entire week off next week, which means that - with the weekends - I have nine days to myself - no kids. I actually temporarily considered going to the US for the week to see the kids for the week, until I saw the price. 16,000 dirhams .... (more than $4,000) for an economy ticket. Then I thought, why not visit my good friend in Turkey? But that ticket cost around 6,000 dirhams - which is more than I usually pay to go to the US. Clearly the airlines are exploiting the Eid holiday and making a killing. So all travel plans have been scrapped and I am stuck here - alone - for 9 days. I miss my kids so much.Publish Post

I checked out the Marina Mall the other day - for the first time - and I visited the Calvin Klein underwear shop. A few years back, I had bought a couple Calvin Klein bras. and they had fit me better than any bra. Anyway, to make a long story short, after this visit, I am convinced that just like clothing sizes (anyone else noticed how a size two or four has grown over the years?) bra sizes have also gone through a change. Now there is no way in hell I am actually a D (0r even close to that) but I actually had to buy a 34D bra. I had a similar experience at La Senza, but I just thought it was their sizing, since I had no earlier point of reference to compare to. But I know for a fact that at Calvin Klein - when I was nursing my youngest son - I wore a C cup (8 years ago), and I can assure you that my breasts have NOT grown since then - if anything they have deflated. So are clothing manufacturers trying to mess with our minds and make us think we are thinner than we are with bigger breasts than we actually have? I wouldn't put it past them. The fashion/beauty industry is all one big mind f**k if you ask me - trying to manipulate us and distort our vision of reality.

Well, that's enough random rambling for now, the sun is down and it's time to eat... yay!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Taxi Thieves

Just want to give a big fat shout out to all the inconsiderate taxi thieves I have encountered in the past few days.

First of all there was Mr. "all dressed up in a nice suit" - sir, even though you may dress like a gentleman - your behavior says otherwise.

Then there was a chubby heavily made up lady - She was perhaps my favorite... she didn't want to stand in the sun so she retreated back from the road side to cower in the shade of building where she could not see taxis approaching nor could they see her, when she saw me hailing a taxi, she quickly dashed out to the road in front of me and grabbed it... nice eh?

Lady with Umbrella - another sun-shy maiden - came to the taxi stand after I did and then planted herself squarely in front of me with her big fat umbrella so I couldn't see anything. Whenever I tried to reposition myself she moved and blocked me.

Here's the real clincher - I am the one who needed the most sun protection yet I stood out in the sun the longest thanks to these gems of humanity. Not only am I light-skinned, but I have photo-sensitivity - and am not supposed to go in the sun. After my little ordeal my skin rash was starting.

So people, next time you steal a taxi, or push in front of someone in a line, don't think that what you're doing is no big deal. You never know how your actions might impact another person's life.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

So lonely

Well I have been in Abu Dhabi now for exactly one month (on Wednesday it will be). The kids left more than two weeks ago to go to the US with my mom, because I haven't yet found a place to live, and I can't rightly keep two little boys holed up in a hotel room all day.

My mom tells me they spent the past weekend down at the beach there. My siblings, their spouses and my cousin all rented a big beach house and took their kids down there, and my kids joined. My (paternal) grandparents used to own a house at the same beach when I was little, and visiting it was part of the normal summer routine. This - along with visiting my maternal grandparents at their place on the Chesapeake Bay, and driving out to Wisconsin to visit my great grandparents' farm -was a very important part of my childhood and I am happy they got the chance to experience it too. This was their first visit to the Atlantic Ocean. The sea is very different there, and the waves much more dangerous than they are here or along the Indian Ocean coastline of East Africa - the only beaches they have ever seen until now.

I wonder how they enjoyed the boardwalk - the endless stalls selling waffle cones, greasy pizza, salt water taffy, ice cream, t-shirts, and the games and rides. I wish I could have been there with them.

I am glad they are having this interaction with extended family, but I miss them so much it hurts. It's so lonely without them - especially here since this is a new place and I don't really know much of anyone.

This past weekend I stayed in my room almost the entire time - I did go to the gym twice, but aside from that, my fun weekend activities included organizing my closet and going shopping for sanitary napkins and hangers.

The only good thing about this weekend was that someone from work took me out to dinner. But I wasn't sure why. It was a guy. I don't know if he was just being nice or it was supposed to be date. For some reason, I assumed it was a just being nice kind of thing but then when I told a friend she said she thinks it was a kind of date and that confused me and of course and made me feel more shy than I would have otherwise.

Plus he asked me to go, he picked the place, and I didn't know if I should pay too or not. I didn't want to offend (since he offered) but then I thought maybe I should - I felt kind of awkward at bill-paying time. Not sure how that is supposed to work. I know with my friends how it works, I know how it worked with my husband when I dated him, but I don't know about this person. He's Australian. I don't know how things work in Australia.

Anyway it was nice whatever it was. He is a nice person, interesting to talk to and for a while at least, it took my mind off my kids and my depression regarding not being able to find a nice place to stay.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Am I wrong for hating my husband sometimes?

I just spoke to my ex-husband - actually, he's really my husband since he can't be bothered to divorce me, and the courts here clearly don't give a shit about me and my kids, so the divorce case I filed has been languishing there for the past three years...

Anyway, I have been calling him fairly regularly for the past six months - ever since it looked likely that I would get this new job here in Abu Dhabi. I needed him to cooperate with regard to some documentation for the kids. It was really quite simple: I asked for a letter stating that he has no objection me sponsoring them and for him to send our marriage certificate for attestation.

Apparently, even the smallest of requests is too much for him to do for me - for his sons! He still hasn't done the letter. Now, for those of you who don't live here, or don't know, everyone living in the UAE should have a Residence Visa. Without a proper visa, you can't work, rent a house, open a bank account, etc. For kids it means you can't enroll in school.

When Mr. Dead Beat left us almost 6 years ago, he had just renewed the kids' residence visas - so they were OK for another three years. But once their visas ran out, they couldn't go back to school. That's why I moved to the North from Dubai, because the company that hired me claimed they were going to help me sort all that out. Of course they did not - they did jack shit - all they did, in fact, was to introduce me to an Indian lawyer who can't even practice in the local court and who introduced me to an Egyptian, who took me an Arab lawyer friend of his. The Indian was the front man for a while, and then he just kind of disappeared. My case went nowhere. No one ever bothered to contact me with updates. When I call them, they avoid my calls - usually - or lie to me and tell me that next week they will talk to the judge and it will finish... and then the day they specify comes and goes and no one contacts me...

Anyway, the kids have been home-schooled for three years as a result of this. I couldn't really afford to send them to the only decent school there anyway... since their father also sends NO money for the kids (he doesn't even spend the money it takes to call them). But now, my new company will give me money for school fees IF I can sponsor them and get them enrolled.

So anyway, I called him again to nag him once again, and I got a bit upset this time. First of all, for no reason out of the blue he asked me if I had started drinking now. I never did drink and don't drink now. At this point I might have become just a tad bit snippy and said "No, sorry to disappoint you - I know you like women who drink."

To which he replied, "who says what I like?"

To which I said "I know your girlfriend is a heavy drinker".

And then he asked who told me, and I said "who HASN'T mentioned her heavy drinking when she comes up in conversation?"

Apparently that upset him, after all I guess I am supposed to respect his heavy drinking, virtuous "Muslim" girlfriend who slept with my husband so she is also the mother of his illegitimate daughter. Something tells me alcohol was involved in the conception of that child, but that's a whole different story (sort of).

Anyway, I also went on and told him "you haven't don't anything for your sons in years, and I know they don't matter to you as much as your daughter, but can you please make them a priority for once - just long enough to get this letter done, signed, notarized, attested and sent off?

He got mad and hung up on me.

Am I wrong?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Things you learn from Facebook

I know people have varying views of Facebook. Some of my friends are proud to say they have never opened an account, others seem to be online all the time. For me, as an American expatriate living very far from my family, I found it a useful way to keep generally caught up on everyone back home - my mom and all her sisters have Facebook accounts, as do all of my six siblings - though I think my youngest sister created my middle brother's account so she could use it to send herself gifts for "Roller Coaster Kingdom" and "Cafe World". All of my dad's sibling have accounts as well, as do almost all of my cousins and some of my first cousin's once removed, my neices, my mom's cousins and other second and third cousins, my step-grandmother, my best friend since the 3rd grade, and my ex-husband and his family and friends (more on that later). Aside from them, many close family friends - mostly from church, my much loved grade school teacher's five kids, and other people I went to grade school with - and have fond memories of - are on there.

Finding old high school classmates was a mixed bag of emotions. Most of us are naturally curious about people from our pasts - what do they look like now, what have they accomplished, what do their offspring look like.

I have to admit I didn't really miss anyone from highschool aside from my best friend, but I knew her since grade school anyway, so she didn't count as one of them. But I was curious to know how the so-called "prettiest girl" looks now, and if the twin of the 'cutest' boy actually gay like I suspected (surely he should be out of the closet by now).

I am ashamed to admit that I was pleased - smugly and shallowly pleased to discover that I have aged far better than every other girl (or I guess we should call ourselves women now as we all have or will cross(ed) 40 this year - I still have a couple months to go) in my class. Almost all of them are overweight or wrinkled or grey or all three by now. I don't yet suffer from any of these problems. I know it is mean and God's probably going to teach me a lesson now and have me wake up tomorrow morning with a full head of white hair and an extra 50 pounds of lard on my ass, but I am just being honest and I think there are many of us who have been pleased to find on facebook that the girl who tormented us back in school days, called you ugly and laughed at your clothes - is now 100 lbs overweight and can only fit into oversized t-shirts and stretchy pants. I am not immune to such emotions, and you have to understand - I was decidedly uncool and often made fun of or just plain ignored by the "cool boys and girls". Smart (math nerd), shy and too poor to be nicely dressed, I was what most would call a "geek".

All that being said, I don't really hold that much of a grudge, and am willing to give most people another chance to change my opinion of them. So moving past appearances, I tried to find out more about these people - whom I saw every day for five years, sat side by side in class and yet never knew - and I discovered some of the other girls felt as out of place and lost as I did back then, that the two of my classmates I thought were gay are now"out of the closet" - one even posted a video of himself dancing in a gay pride parade in a satyr costume - which I am sure is a big shock for most of my former classmates who all came from conservative Christian families. A few are atheists now, or disillusioned agnostics, but on the other end of the spectrum, two are preachers, and one is a missionary in Japan. More than a few are teachers. Most are parents.

There is also a broadway producer amongst their ranks. Another one - the only boy who ever showed any interest in me - committed suicide a few years back after his wife screwed him over in a custody battle. Yet another's wife just died from cancer - as did one of the set of girl twins in my class. Both of the girls who got pregnant in our last year are still married to the boys who impregnated them- and quite happily it would seem. Most of the rest are happily married as well - only a few are divorced or never married, and almost all of them as it turns out -even the so called 'bad apples', bullies and mean kids in the class - are very respectable and nice people. Which just goes to show that while time may take away our looks and health it often gives us something much more valuable in return.