Tuesday, September 25, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: We Are Hungry

So some kids from a high school in Kansas are less than impressed with the new school lunches the government has introduced. The new regulations limit the intake to just 750-850 calories on the tray. (650 calories for elementary, 700 for middle-schoolers, 850 for high-schoolers) Assuming they eat everything on their plate. Also, they aren't allowed to refuse or substitute foods. As always, there is no right or wrong answer. I think that this issue, like many others, is having a 'one size fits all' solution applied when that clearly is not the case.

Instance #1:  For some children, this is their only meal of the day. True, it should be healthy, but what if they don't eat everything? And now the calories are being restricted? Hmmm.

Instance #2: We need healthy lunches for the children that come from homes where their choices are Twinkies or KFC for dinner. Setting a good example for them, etc.

Instance #3: Three words: High School Athletes
School lunch calorie limits

Instance #4: You're not happy with it, so you bring a lunch from home!

I think that, maybe, this is ONE solution to the school lunch conundrum. I don't think that this is the ONLY solution to school lunches. This problem, like most, needs solutions. See what I did there? I pluralized.

Oh and by the way, these kids rock. Truth be told, I wouldn't eat a mass produced hummus and black bean salad either. Mass production 'healthy food' = bland as cardboard crap.

p.s. i also have a strong desire to watch 'Friday Night Lights' tonight.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Saturday morning

The kids are on a song kick. Eliza is getting ready for Young Women's camp (yes, we are having camp in October) and got a Camp manual. She has been sucking up every bit of information inside that book. I thought about reminding her that camp will happen every year until she graduates. But hey, why quash the enthusiasm? She was poring over the camp songs section and asking about unfamiliar ones, trying to figure out the melody. When she got to "White Coral Bells", I couldn't believe that I hadn't introduced her to that song! So I sang it with her and then we split into a round. Then the other musketeers wanted to join in. I was quite impressed with their ability to pick it up and keep singing in a round! Please forgive my tinny part, someone had to hold the camera AND sing with Jacqui. She could keep up, as long as she had a partner. Same with Grant.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cue the choir

It's a well known "Part of Being Overseas" fact that you are never done dealing with plugs and voltage issues. So you get some transformers from the Embassy, and pony up for some of your own. And you may even get some 220V appliances.

Another well known fact is our love/(mostly) hate relationship with the good ol' Drexel Heritage. That curio cabinet with the built in lighting, conjuring visions of properly displaying your precious breakables? Yeah, it's a 110V plug.

Don't even get me started on the whole lighting issues. There is never enough light; whether it's in that weird, how-do-they-expect-me-to-use-this closet or under the cabinets in the kitchen.

Cue the choir. *ahhhh*

I found an amazing DIY tutorial and the simplest, why-didn't-I-think-of-that lighting solution. They made a corded lamp cordless using LED ribbon lighting and a 9V battery! It makes me mad when I think of all the floor lamps I left in storage or dumped when I got frustrated with plugging them into a transformer.

But it gets better.

On the Amazon product page for the reel of lighting, there are pictures of people using this for under cabinet lighting!! Definitely squeal-worthy! The pictures have notes and everything! (ok, time to tone down the exclamation points) The ribbon base has adhesive on it and the end goes right onto a battery (9 or 12V) so you really can plug and play. I'm still investigating the details of this project, but it looks pretty straightforward and dummy-proof. I'm ordering this ribbon lighting and putting it under my cabinets. I think I'll also put it in my cabinets, and in my closet, and in the entryway . . . oh, you're still reading. Quit reading and go get some ribbon lighting! I'll show y'all the results; whether they be good or disastrous.

5 Meter Reel Warm White 3100K Flexible LED Ribbon 300 LEDs 16ft 2026ww-31k
Not my kitchen, just the amazon example

YouTube Tuesday: It's like that

I feel like I'm talking to myself. But that's okay, it's nothing new. I found this gem via a friend of mine. I've been know to post "out of the ordinary" before and this fits right in.  Like a Russian West Side Story; I find it strangely . . strange. I wish I could hear the music that they are dancing to.

But inserting different music over the original is nothing new. See below. 'Party Rock Anthem' set to the Star Wars cantina music.

Oh, and you're welcome.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hitting Home

I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't comment or elaborate on my feelings of the past two days. It all began when I checked the news Tuesday evening and saw this article heading, "Protesters climb U.S. Embassy walls in Cairo" 

I shared it on Facebook with the caption, "*sigh* Seriously, dudes?" and went to bed shaking my head over those events and reflecting on past ones. By bedtime, I knew that a similar incident was unfolding in Libya.

In the morning, I got the kids off to school and then sat down to check the news. Events had escalated further in Libya and they knew of one State Department officer that was dead. 

Oh crap. 

I went about my morning with this at the back of my mind as I puttered about doing this or that, not really accomplishing a whole lot. Go change laundry, check news, open drapes in the downstairs, check news. By lunchtime, it was confirmed that the Ambassador was one of the dead; the State Department officer death toll at four.

I sat down and felt dumbfounded. Predictably, I went to Facebook. (if you can't tell already, I go to Facebook a lot. sometimes it's my only tie to adult interaction) I felt like I should say something, but what? This is what I said,

"I've been muddling over exactly what to say, words escape me right now . . . "too close to home" is so double entendre . . Prayers for the families and for us in this part of the world."

Profound, huh? I usually write something way too long, archive it in my writing file so I can go to it later as a writing prompt and post the boiled down meaning. 

I watched as my feed filled up with other people sharing similarly heartfelt updates. A picture of a black mourning ribbon and State Department seal began popping up and people started sharing it or changing it to their profile pic.

I went to bed again. Had it been just 24 hours? I woke up, got the kids off to school and checked in. I saw blog post memorials written by other FS (foreign service) bloggers that had had the privilege of knowing and working with Ambassador Chris Stevens. I found a Facebook page that had just been created called, "The Sorry Project"; a project showing that the majority of the Libyan people oppose the crimes and violent actions committed against the US embassy. There are over 25 pictures of people holding signs that say, "We are sorry" and "Sorry people of America" etc. at peaceful, memorial rallies being held across Libya. Here is a whole gallery on Imgur of more people.

This picture brought on the tears. 

That's basically what I tell my children.

"I didn't want to assign a nationality to who these particular terrorists were. We have lived in the Middle East for most of my children's cognitive memory. They see Arabs differently than most people do. And that is one thing that makes me so grateful for the oppotunity we've been afforded in living overseas." 
                          ~ Me on 9/11/09 (Go here --> "In Remembrance" for the full story)

I feel fragmented in thought. With a sinking feeling in my stomach that I've felt before, I want it to go away. I want to try and forget what has happened, but I don't. These events are still unfolding and have affected embassies throughout the region. And to make matters even worse, most people don't care.

What can I do? I can dash about the house, wringing my hands, making sure the passports & other documents are in my "Go Bag", living from one ten minute segment to the next. 

Or, I do what I usually do in these situations and just try to have a normal day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A better outlet

So I bought a pressure washer at Geant last week. I needed a pressure washer. I have bikes that need to be blasted, dirt caked on anything that stays outside longer than a week and it sure would make my back porch a breeze to clean. 

I open up the box and put it together. (I even referenced the instruction book) Easy enough. It needs to be plugged in. There is an outlet in my carport.

It looks like this.                                                                                     The plug looks like this.

Yes, all outlets here in Bahrain are the British three pronged kind. All appliances, lamps, blenders, etc. are round and two pronged. But we have plug adapters for that. No worries. I reclaim a plug adapter from the blender and stick it outside. It's not working. Ah, it is one of those 'not-quite-uniform-yet-appears-to-be-normal' outlets. Using the carport plug is a no-go. So I go hunt down an extension cord, reclaim the super long one from the T.V. area and plug everything in.

You know what, I'm going to save you the time & effort of slogging through my sorrows. I spent the next 45 minutes wrestling with the non-uniform hoses and trying to avoid drenching the electrical pressure washer with water. Point is, I get it working.

I go to my backyard to hunt down a spigot. There isn't one. No biggie, I'll snake this insanely long hose from the front of my house, through the kitchen, dining room and living room to the back porch. 

Then I haul the pressure washer to the back porch, rig the whole plug-in setup and go to the carport to turn on the water. I get to the back porch, turn on the switch and  . . . *crickets* nothing. I go back to the spigot and find that the hose has blown off.

Ok, I'll keep the hose on real low and tear through the house like a tornado, flip the switch and HOORAY! We have pressure washing! For about 15 seconds. Then every orifice that has water pumping through it decides to spray water, too. After all, the nozzle can't have all the fun. I turn off the washer, then turn it back on again. Nothing. I do the whole 'run through the house dance' and begin washing again. 15 seconds of amazing power washing and then water everywhere.

It is 108F/42C, humidity is at 45%, and I am wet with water and sweat. I give up. I'm done. The porch is just going to have to stay dirty. And I'm returning that fracking pressure washer. I need to go create something other than a mess.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: The One with the great Video

If you're coming here for the latest and greatest discoveries from YouTube, you're in the wrong place. I post what I find and what I like; it will probably not be the most current. The idea for YouTube Tuesday came after an evening of getting together with some friends and it evolved into a video share-fest. "You've got to see this! It's the best!" "No, this one is my favorite!" and so on and so forth. I figured, why wait until those times to share my favorites videos, the ones I turn to when I need a few minutes of happiness. 

I love 'The Office'. It was made for my generation. My brother-in-law said this, after everyone was bringing us up to speed on the latest movies and T.V. shows, "Don't you just love it when you're the target audience?" It's true. There will be a reason why I'm uninterested in any shows when I'm old and grey; now is not that time.


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