We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

And we’re off

The boys and I are leaving on Wednesday to go back to Cairo. (We’ve had a schedule change.) I’m dreading the plane ride, and the heat, but I am eager to get back to our regular routine, in our new apartment.

It’s been a rough summer for Giggle especially; he has regressed to some behaviors we saw in the first few months post-adoption but otherwise not since. Both boys have been great on our vacations around Egypt, and Giggle is usually fun and easy when running errands around Cairo.

But of course this trip to the US has been much longer and more disruptive and has not included spending every day jumping into a swimming pool, which is pretty much what all of our Egypt vacations have included and what the boys do most warm days in Cairo.

The boys are also much easier to manage when they are not together. Their synergy is powerful, which is probably good for their brother bonding, but can make a trip to Target absolutely exhausting.

Giggle is a very sensitive and very intense kid, which means he’ll make a super artist or political campaigner or something someday… but for now can be very challenging. (I won’t elaborate.)

Bug has grown a bit more defiant this summer, and I hope that settles out once we settle down.

I’m also concerned about Puppy Four. He came home from the kennel on Sunday, but Mr. Four emailed me that the pup has been having seizures, so they were going to the vet. This coincided with our scheduled apartment move, so I suspect Mr. Four is pretty overwhelmed right now. (I’ll probably get an update on the vet visit tomorrow morning and will update the blog if I have the time.)

We leave for the airport in about twelve hours as I write this. My current regrets: I should have drank more micro brews. And eaten more Mexican food. And packed more of my favorite cereal. And anticipated some of the difficulties we’d have with the kids.

I’m not quite ready to leave, but I guess I’m ready to be home.


29 July 2008 Posted by | bug, giggle, holidays, our life in egypt | Comments Off on And we’re off

My new swimsuit

I’m officially old and dowdy. I mean, I was before, but today I have my new skirted navy blue Lands End swimsuit. What could be dowdier than that? And I actually kinda like it (well, the part where it covers my upper thighs, that I like).

I’ve been feeling like a real blah suburban mom this summer. I don’t feel that way so much in Cairo — probably because I’m around other moms or older ladies most of the time — but being in the US, especially with my fit, outdoorsy friends and/or my single, fit friends, has me missing my formerly (more) fit self. I think I used to be more stylish too, at least in an outdoorsy way (this would be back when I worked at an outdoor recreation company, so no shocker there).

I’ll probably feel better about my suit when I get back to the land of American women in skirted suits, in Cairo. And when I have less free time.

29 July 2008 Posted by | our life in egypt, shopping | Comments Off on My new swimsuit

The joys of visiting grandmother

My mom recently told me that when I was a little girl and staying with my grandparents, I’d always tell my grandmother I wanted to change into my nightgown sometime in the early afternoon. Finally, she and my mom figured out it was because I wanted to put my dirty clothes down the laundry chute.

You see, my grandmother’s house had a laundry chute that went from the second floor to the basement, where a laundry basket awaited. There was even a door in the wall in the kitchen, on the main floor, for kitchen towels, I suppose. I loved that chute.

Today, my mom’s house is what used to be my grandmother’s. And my kids adore the laundry chute as much as I did.

Earlier today, Bug insisted his shirt was dirty at about 2pm (it had a stain, but nothing we couldn’t deal with until bedtime). In about two seconds, he was naked and his clothes were pummeling down the chute. It was only a stern warning that kept my clean clothes from following.

Now the boys are running and biking, mostly naked, through the hose, in the rain. Ah, summer.

28 July 2008 Posted by | bug, family, fun, giggle, holidays | 6 Comments

Travels abroad at home… and some news from Egypt

We’ve left the mountains, after lots of river trips and woods exploration and visits from family. It was really hectic but somehow also relaxing, sorta.

Now Mr. Four is back in Cairo. His first day back to work was today, Sunday (remember the work week there is Sunday to Thursday). He was working on only a few hours of sleep, unfortunately.

Our new apartment isn’t quite ready, so he’s staying in our old place with lots of boxes. Our new place should be ready later this week, which means he and our housekeeper should have it pretty close to unpacked by the time the boys and I arrive (and I’m sure I won’t like where they put everything, but, really, I’m so spoiled I’m not going to complain).

The boys and I are now at my mom’s place in the northeast. The weather is lovely: sunny, warm, and nothing close to hot. She has a small but lovely yard with plenty of grass for baseball games and a driveway big enough for the boys to race their tricycle (Bug’s, left over from last summer when we moved to Egypt but didn’t want to pack it) and scooter (for Giggle’s use, a vintage metal safety-nightmare of a toy).

We’re also visiting with our old pup, Ms. Muddy Paws, one of the two surviving animals of what, 13 months ago, was a pack of three dogs and two cats. I still think of her as my dog.

There’s lots to do around town, so we’ll be busy. Tomorrow, the excellent local public library. Later in the week, a children’s farm and museum (that’s two places).

And guess what else? My mom has wireless! And I have the laptop! (Which means Mr. Four won’t be online much for the next few weeks.)

I’m too beat from our travels today to blog extensively tonight (though I will report that the flights went mostly okay, and way better than our flights from Egypt, perhaps because we were in the air a total of about three hours; the new Leapster also helped), but I’ll be online more often, at least for this next week.

In another week I go to Seattle! Giggle is already pretty upset about this notion of me leaving, but he seemed to cool off about the issue as we settled in to my mom’s place. It’s very comfortable here.

I have found it interesting that my mother, in my childhood the enemy of marshmallow fluff and Fruit Loops, which we only had when my mom was out of town, happily bought my kids cookies, sugary popsicles, and jello. Though I guess that’s what happens when a mom becomes a grandmother.

On another note, I wanted to share a recent news story about harassment in Egypt, which reported the following:

Almost half of Egyptian women are sexually harassed on a daily basis with more than half of Egyptian men admitting lewd behaviour, the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights said on Thursday.

The group polled 2,020 people — including men and foreign women — in Cairo, and the centre’s director, Nihad Abul Qomsan, said that the figures showed harassment was on the rise.

Of those surveyed, 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women said they had been harassed at some point, while 46 percent of Egyptian women and 52 percent of foreign women said they were harassed daily.

I certainly don’t experience harassment daily, at least not that I recognize, and I suspect my ipod headphones and sunglasses cut me off from the world enough to help, but harassment is a real problem in Egypt, and I’m glad to see some statistics showing just how pervasive it is.

27 July 2008 Posted by | bug, family, fun, giggle, holidays, in the news, nanny, pets | Comments Off on Travels abroad at home… and some news from Egypt

A postcard from Puppy Four

I emailed the kennel in Cairo to find out how Puppy Four is doing. They sent me a postcard! It features a beach scene with an inset of Puppy Four, seemingly about to snooze on a grassy lawn.

At first, though, I thought they sent me the wrong photo. “That’s not Puppy Four!” I insisted to myself. And then I realized he’s become Gigantor Puppy since I last saw him a few weeks ago.

The boys loved the postcard. Here’s the photo part, just for you:

15 July 2008 Posted by | holidays, pets | 1 Comment

Watery adventures

We are still here in the mountains, having a great time. I am not keeping with with anything online. We still don’t have an internet connection at our house. Right now I’m sitting outside the (closed) public library, using their wireless internet. Again.

Mr. Four is back at the house, and he’s probably tapping his foot waiting for me to get back since he’s stuck at the house without the car.

My mom was here last week, and we had a great time exploring some rivers and creeks. She left yesterday morning, and some of Mr. Four’s family arrived last night. Mr. Four’s brother is also an outdoorsy guy, so he brought a couple of canoes.

Mr. Four and I took the boys on their first (very mild) whitewater adventure last week: a canoe trip down a beautiful Class I-II river. They loved it until it rained. Then Bug freaked because he thought it would thunder and he’s scared of thunder. Giggle was fine until the rain turned chilly. We took off the river a little early, though Mr. Four and I were pretty much in hysterics at the absurdity of it all. “It’s not funny!” Giggle kept insisting.

We had even more fun yesterday when we went tubing on a creek in a national park near our house. Giggle had his own tube, tethered to Mr. Four’s, and Bug sat on my lap in our own big tube. I used my whitewater skills, honed from years of Class III, to get us unstuck from various rocks. The boys loved it. Bug narrated the whole trip–“Here come the waves!”–and Giggle proclaimed at the end of each run, “That was awesome!”

Mr. Four and I both agreed. It was about as much fun as I’ve ever had.

I have some work stuff to do over the next week, to get ready for some conference presentations, but I know Mr. Four, his family, and the boys will have a great time checking out more of the local waterways.

On another note: the boys just got their Christmas and birthday money from their grandfather, and we are thinking about buying them each a Leapster, especially for the flight home. Any suggestions, recommendations, etc. are welcome. Thanks!

13 July 2008 Posted by | bug, family, fun, giggle, holidays | 2 Comments

Still here

We are in the mountains, without internet access except at the local public library. So while I have oodles to share about our exciting summer adventures, I do not have the appropriate technology to share them.

Soon, I hope!

10 July 2008 Posted by | holidays | 1 Comment

In the mountains

And in the middle of the woods. It’s super relaxing. We got in last night, and Mr. Four and the boys already went for a long woodsy walk. We’ve checked out a lot of bugs. We’ve chalked the driveway and painted there as well (Bug has been asking to paint for a week). And we’ve had a regular visitor: our neighbors’ dog, who still misses the dogs we had when we lived here years ago.

I also went for a long walk up a big hill this morning, much to my heart’s content (it needs the exercise) and my legs’ horror (they apparently think they do not).

We don’t have internet access at our house, so I’m at the local public library, on their free wireless. Hurray for public libraries! But what I don’t have right now is much time, as Mr. Four is waiting outside. He was going to bring the boys to the playground in town, but they feel asleep in the car. So this is just a quick entry to say we’re here and all is well.

Tomorrow we’ll celebrate the 4th of July and I think this weekend we’ll go to a festival at the grounds of a nearby Native American tribe. Fun fun. Happy 4th!

3 July 2008 Posted by | holidays | 2 Comments

Adventures in shopping

Folks, I found a suit(ish outfit). My wonderful sister also sent me a few jackets and a pair of pants. All fit, and one combo in particular looks good and should work really well for my fall meeting in London.

But, let me share the story of my shopping trip. Last week, before Mr. Four arrived, I didn’t try to do any major shopping for me because my boys just wouldn’t have it. Which I understand. Though I will note they were perfectly happy to shop for themselves. Ahem.

Anyway, on Saturday, with Mr. Four at home to watch our little angels, I dashed off to the mall in the next town over. It’s a huge place, but I was focused: I wanted a suit. Almost first stop: Ann Taylor, which seemed pricey a few years ago when I first went suit shopping, but, with a great summer sale and 50% off many suit pieces, it was a great choice. I found one super jacket and one fantastic pair of pants. But of course they didn’t match each other, and I couldn’t find anything great that matched either one.

So, I went for a coordinating, rather than a matching, suit: a short-sleeved big-buttoned grey-black patterned jacket with a scoop neck (anyone who is seeing suit fashion in the US this summer would undoubtedly recognize this style) and basic fitted black suit pants. The saleswomen at Ann Taylor were at pains to tell me that I could always find a black jacket in the same materials as the pants, as they stock that suiting material year-round.

All was good, except that since Ann Taylor was my first stop, I put the clothes on hold and proceeded to try on just about every other suit in the entire mall. I was surprised to find that J. Crew suits, maybe because they were summer weight, unlined material, felt like much poorer quality. And so did everything else. (And when did this become a shopping blog? Hmm.)

My last stop, before paying for my suit at Ann Taylor, was the Gap, where I quickly found a cute pair of capris, a good-fitting pair of jeans, and a nice top.

So, the moral of my shopping day was this: go to Ann Taylor and the Gap and skip everything else.

I’ve also perhaps solved my shoe dilemma. With some help from some friends, I found online a cute pair of Mary Jane-style heels that are reputed to be as comfy as heels can be. I ordered them (on sale!) and will try on the entire outfit when they arrive. I am prepared to be dazzled! Okay, not really, but I am cautiously optimistic.

I’ve also fully updated other (ahem) undergarment essentials and bought a few nice tops. And almost all with the boys in tow. It’s good we’re heading to the mountains soon because I should probably take a break from my crazy week of shopping.

1 July 2008 Posted by | shopping | Comments Off on Adventures in shopping