Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fenda Benda

I had a little fender-bender this weekend. It was about time - I hadn't had one in a while. An Indian dude driving one of those micro-vans got confused at the Passport Round-about. It coulda been my fault; it coulda been his fault. Hard to say. I came around the outside lane towards Bidaa Round about and he was in the right lane at about 20 MPH. I assumed from his position that he was also making the turn, but he decided to continue straight, hit my car; and instead of hitting the brakes, hit the gas; hit a curb, then a pile of bricks, flipped on the side of the van, and back up again. The van is pretty much totalled. He told the officer that after he hit my car, he lost both his brakes and his steering. Mmmmmm... highly unlikely. Anyhow, I don't really care; it doesn't matter whose fault it is in Kuwait; get the accident report and move on. Nobody was hurt (word to The Big Man).

The Kuwaiti police were reeeeeeally polite and spoke English very well (I didn't catch their names - one was a Kandari). Way to go, gentlemen. The emergency line was very professional and the woman who answered the phone followed up to make sure that the police arrived and that I was ok. Wow. Things are a-changin.

There is room for improvement at the police stations, however. When is Kuwait going to change to a computer system? I have good friends who are investigators and it is really difficult for them to write out all the cases in long-hand. They are not allowed to use their own computers - everything has to be done by hand. It just seems so antiquated. How do they archive all of that? It must be terribly time-consuming. It all goes into ledgers and hard copy files. The police stations could use some maintenance also. It must be a hard work environment.

The investigator I spoke to said that there are a LOT of accidents on the round-abouts. I don't get this. Why did they do major major road construction in Kuwait and leave the round-abouts in the plan? Horrible engineering!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Da Balm!

I don't usually go to ministries in Kuwait unless I really really really really HAVE to.

I've had an on-going lip balm dilema. Yes kids, lip balm as in Chapstick type stuff. Ya see, the company I work for sponsors golf tournaments and the like [(where people's lips can be damaged by the sun). Lip balm is also good for kissing the many many many asses that you have to, in order to get things done. I was looking for a give-away that would be something different from the norm (pens, key rings - snoooooooore).] I thought it would be perfect for our convention in Miami (and it turned out to be because some of the other booths were giving it away also).

My personal favorite give away, however, were the chocolate cigars. For two reasons.... anyhooo....

The company I ordered da balm from in Kuwait was LATE and they didn't arrive until the day before I was leaving. So, I shipped them quick to Miami. They arrived at the shipping company's holding too late for the convention, so I told the shipping company to send them back to Kuwait.

Back in Kuwait: Get a call from the shipping company. We owe them 1000 KD for customs. Uh nooooo - I aint gonna pay it. Their fault, their problem. The next problem I face is that they want a letter from the Ministry of Health stating that I can "import" (RE-import!!) the lipbalm. Aaaah, but I have wastah at that ministry. Cool.

So, armed with a letter from my Wastahman, I go to the involved department for the approval (where, by the way, everyone is drinking Abraaj water. Statement from the manufacturer? Dunno.). Dude not there. They send me to a woman who can help in his absence. Damn - not a woman. Men are so much easier to deal with at ministries! RRRRR. Ok, so I go to Ms. Thang. I knock, she answers, I enter. SOOOO much fake Chanel that I don't think she could have stood up (had she wanted to); however, she was eating something that appeared to be a rather large cream puff (didn't bother to put it down), and didn't stand regardless.

I axe Ms. Thang if she speaks English (in Arabic).
She indignantly responded, "Of cooooooorse I do!"
Yeh! Ok, so I know where it is going. I have Wastah Letter in hand. I explain my situation while she takes mental notes about my outfit while scowling at me behind flaming red lipstick. I hand her a sample lip balm. She rubs it on her wrist, smells it. Blurts out,
"How many?"
I said, '2,500'.
Ms. Thang, "No! Too many."
Whaaaaaaat? What does she mean "too many?"

Ok, so show her the letter from Wastah Man and she says,
"Do you want my advice?"
(This is going nowhere and she's a biotch): 'No. I don't. May I have my papers?'
"This is my advice.... you go back to this person and"
'Habibti, thank you, but I don't want your advice. May I have my papers? It's reeeeeeeeeeally no problem.' (Big f-u grin.)
She goes to hand me back the sample. I said, "Thanks, but I don't want it."
and she thought I meant that it was a gift, "Oh, thank you!"
(I didn't want it back because she had rubbed it on her food-dirty, fakeass Chanel-encased wrist. Ew. How hygenic is THAT, Ms. Ministry of Health employee?)

This lip balm is pissin me off.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Help Find Spike!

Expat woman makes finding her lost pet in Kuwait a personal crusade

Former resident of Kuwait returns repeatedly to find her missing dog, lost somewhere in the desert

Kuwait May 25, 2010 -- Former teacher and resident of Kuwait, Maria Koutentaki Hawari, moved to Lebanon last year and was forced to leave her pet behind until she could make arrangements to reunite him with her family. While in the care of friends, the dog went missing in the Kabd area in December of 2009.

“My children are devastated. Spike was more of a family member than just a pet. I won’t stop looking until I have found him.” This is Mrs. Hawari’s third trip back to Kuwait since December. Now a housewife, her money is running low, but not her determination. She vows to return and continue the search until he is found. “It was 47c in the desert yesterday. How can he survive?”

On her trips to Kuwait, Mrs. Hawari posts fliers and posters in English and Arabic offering a reward for Spike’s safe return. The notices have been posted throughout Kabd; and at animal hospitals and shelters around Kuwait. Announcements have been posted on blogs and Facebook. Mrs. Hawari, her children, friends and volunteers have spent days combing the alleyways and desert areas of Kabd, shouting Spike’s name and talking to farm owners. The dog may no longer be in the Kabd area, however.

Mrs. Hawari has received many leads, yet nothing has materialized, “There are a lot of look-alikes and possible sightings.” Spike is a mixed-breed; part Shepard, part desert dog, part nurturing teddy bear. He has a single white whisker on his black snout, is mostly beige colored, and has a long, fluffy tail. The dog is also micro-chipped for identification (number 414098100001177). He responds to the name “Spike”. A KD 200 reward is being offered for his safe return; no questions will be asked.


Maria Koutentaki Hawari
Phone: (961)
70894973 (Lebanon – send SMS)

E-mail: or

Facebook: Helpfind Spike

Monday, May 24, 2010

Possible Blackberry BBM (SMS) Ban?

The Arab Times reported this morning that the Ministry of (mis)Communications may ban BBM messages. I mention the Arab Times because I also heard it on Radio Kuwait (Linda blah blah blah); the AT stated that it was because people may use BlackBerry Messaging (BBM) to "call for strikes." (Granted, that is probably the Arab Times' hypothesis/metaphor, but ok, I can work with that.)

Organized strikes are illegal in Kuwait. Ergo the use of water guns (ergo need for a country the size of New Jersey to actually purchase water gun trucks).

"Call for Strikes" - as in Bangladeshi workers? Unpaid street sweepers or janitors? Seriously? Do they buy and use BlackBerries when dude makes 40 dinars a month? The service is around 20 KD a month. Perhaps the Chief of Strike Organizing carries one and then communicates it verbally amongst the crowd?
There are other reasons why they would want to ban BBMs and perhapsee one is freedom of speech. You can't censor or monitor BBM chat - it's encrypted. Good on ya, BlackBerry people. You can also buy software for any cell phone for encryption (do a Google search for "cell phone encryption"), but how many people are going to do that? As it stands, it is easy for almost anyone (with a desire and another form of software) to listen into your voice comms calls and messages. Fascinating, eh?

I own a BlackBerry. Its in my closet. I hate it. No biggie for me, but what about all those 10 year old rich kids who can't live without their Crackberry (and all the potentially striking workers)?

Why not put more time and energy into other more serious matters - like the reasons why people might strike to begin with?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Market Focus Group - The Meat Company Kuwait

The Meat Company (restaurant) rocks. I wrote a review on it for Bazaar Magazine (God bless you for assigning it to me, Ahmed!) a few months ago. (If you want a copy, let me know and I'll send it to you.) I had been planning to go there anyways because of DESMOND. I stalk Desmond (he knows it). He's my favorite Customer Service guy anywhere. I would buy anything from him; don't care what it is. I would buy a space heater from him in August in Kuwait. Yes, I would. This time, it just so happens that he's peddling my favorite thing: food (and excellent food at that).

I have been back to The Meat Co. for dinner about 5 times now and I'm into trying new things. My favorite is their fish and chips (I know - who woulda thought - in a steak house!), but I also love their petite fillets and OMG I tried the wagyu skewer last night and thought I had had a petite mort right there!

I have Slaps converted. She really wasn't thrilled by the idea of going to yet another restaurant in a mall - and a pricey one at that, but I won her over. The Meat Company is different - great service, great food, great atmosphere.

So, when my buddy, Ahmed (another one!), the manager, called me and invited me and a friend to dinner to meet their marketing manager, how could I refuse? I called Slaps and it was on.

Let me just say, I love marketing focus groups and surveys. I think they are the best way to assess quality assurance and get the most honest, frank opinions. I think it is very progressive of a restaurant to invite people to attend a focus group in the restaurant while they are eating.
Excellent use of data gathering and outstanding concept by management.

Sidebar: You also have to be relatively confident that you will hear some good things. In a lot of places in Kuwait, a market focus group would be lost on the organization because, "You suck." would be the common response. (That is 'merican, BTW, for "you are doing very very poorly.") It requires a base to improve on; and starting at zero doesn't really count.

The last market focus group I attended was several years ago - on french fries. I was all happy, thinking that I would get to sit down and eat fries and evaluate them (and get paid for it). Cool. So, I skipped lunch that day and went to the group hungry after work. There were no fries. There were no snacks. There wasn't even coffee. Dayam. I spent the 25KD I had just made at the restaurant next door on dinner.

At the Meat Co., we ate a lot of food while we answered questions. I would have gladly participated in a focus group about the restaurant, but I wasn't asked/notified that I was attending a focus group. Ahmed Dude said, "Come and meet the marketing manager, and bring a friend." Yeah, ok, so Slaps and I were bamboozled. Was Ahmed told not to tell us we were to participate in a focus group so that we wouldn't have prepared answers? I don't know. Thank God, Slapperella is a good friend (and/or that she was in a good mood) and didn't mind (although there was occasional eye-rolling), but suppose I had invited someone who didn't necessarily want to take part in a focus group - just wanted to have a relaxing meal as we had planned? (What woulda happened if I invited some guy I just met? It could happen. That would have been weird, right?)

I also probably wouldn't have chosen to sit next to smokers during a meal, either. "I'm seating you next to (Desert Girl) - she smokes too." No, you misunderstand, I'm smokin' (as in "hot"), but I actually have asthma and don't like to be around smoke. (I only sit in the smoking section if there are cute guys and then I hope that the ROI is high and bring my inhaler.) We didn't get to choose who was at our table (in the focus group).

It turned out that the people we sat at the table with were all very nice. I liked the Americans a lot. Good people with interesting perspectives/thoughts that I will probably (I hope) keep in touch with. If there had been anyone at the table who was truly obnoxious, I would have walked.

The good thing was that they held the focus group at a table in the middle of the restaurant (to obtain our feedback about the environment). The bad thing was that they held the focus group at a table in the middle of the restaurant: I couldn't hear well; the music was loud. I have a problem hearing when there is background noise and I have discovered that I sometimes can't hear people with particular vocal tone ranges (like my sister who gets totally frustrated at me. "Whaaaat?! I can't HEAR you! Why are you mumbling?). We were also seated at a large table at the Meat Co. and Marketing Girl sat at one end rather than in the middle.

Incase you are wondering about the types of questions we were asked, some samples were:
  • Do you feel that the Meat Co. is innovative and trendy?
  • How do you think we can improve?
  • Why do you come here?
  • What makes us different than just the ordinary?
  • How can we improve our menu? (I loved the Lebanese lady with the gorgeous blonde hair who responded, "Put George Clooney on the cover - with ME.")
The marketing rep didn't hand out her business card. I'm a marketing person. I bring my business cards on trips to the bathroom - you never know who, where, when you are going to meet someone who you can make a connection with and you'd better be prepared. Did she not hand hers out on purpose; and what would that purpose be? Did she not want to hear from us in the future? Did she not want to hear any other ways in which they could improve? Even if she didn't - she could have responded that way when/if approached with it.

She also didn't provide anyone with a feedback form: Evaluate the evaluator. Never miss an opportunity to improve your process while you are improving your process. For example, I would have liked to note ways she could have improved on her connections with the group like perhaps not stopping people from speaking while she was taking notes (write and use a recorder at the same time, but never interrupt the flow). Or by interjecting more humor to make connections with participants. Granted, she is probably sent around to X number of restaurants and conducts X numbers of focus groups, but still.

We were all business people seated at the table. Any of us could have gladly afforded the meal we had last night or any other. I didn't like feeling like I was forced to answer questions for our food - which was kinda/sorta the way I felt. Perhaps it would have been different if I knew what I was agreeing to before I arrived there.

Luckily for all involved, I was on my best behavior. I was extremely tempted to start messin' with Marketing Girl, but I'm getting soft and I kind of felt bad for her. I think Slaps could see it coming, though, and was waiting for it. You know - along the lines of: What do I like best about the restaurant? 'Nothing turns me on more than a really big piece of meat.' or maybe 'African tube steak is always innovative and trendy.' or 'Those little sausages really dont' do it for me....' (shall I continue? tee hee.)

Anyways, overall it was an interesting if not weird evening and I love the Meat Co. I'm glad they thought of me to attend and I am always grateful for a good meal. The one I had was fabulous from appetizers to full desert sample tray. Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More, more, more

I was listening to the radio this morning (which I rarely do because they annoy me on FM 99.7 in the morning), and TI's "Live Your Life" was on. It's kind of a jumbled combination of phrases linked together, but I caught one phrase which could be used often to characterise people I come into contact with:

"Unhappy with the riches 'cause you're piss poor morally."

Bada BING. Clarity.

However much these people get in life, no matter how expensive or what designer/brand/model: It will never be enough without a solid moral foundation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Shut-In Goes Out: Part Deux ou nos

My life is fasssssssssssssscinating. Yup. It is.

I someone who I hadn't seen in decades for a late lunch on the onset of the weekend. I was looking forward to it...... I wasn't so happy when he asked me if I had ever "done it" with another woman. Let me axe you this: Where the F in Miss Manners is the section for asking if your dinner partner is a lesbian over a meal? "The small fork to your left on the outside is for salad and then you turn to the guest seated to your right and ask if they are a lesbian." It was asked in such a way that I was purty sure the next thing out was going to be, "Can I watch?" Ew. I don't get some people's fascination with all that.


I'm guessing that he considers himself very witty for picking up chicks while seated with me (as in OVER my body), within earshot of the entire restaurant. Of course you do, honey. Its tres tres witty. I mean, we haven't spoken in (did I mention?) two decades so why should he need to talk to me? Why waste the wit on ... me... when it is so obvious that the YOUNG woman (with an age difference TWO decades) seated on the opposite side of me is far more interesting. No no, don't bother... I'm just a steaming pile of dog poo... don't worry about me.... I can SMS friends and maybe play a game ap on my phone while you two get along smashingly. Faaaabulous. "(Desert Girl), I should take you with me all the time to pick up chicks! This is great! I would never do this alone." Yeah sure. Let's DO that! And while we're at it, let me stick this fork in my eye...

On the drive home, down the Gulf Road, I smiled at a lot of men just to make sure that I can still attract men. I can and did. Ego boost complete.

That was how the weekend began and ended with good parts in-between.

Friday I went to the Retired Generals Breakfast Club. It was a weekend for catching up with people I hadn't seen in a while. I hadn't seen this retired brigadeer in 12 years, and he invited me to go to see him and friends at their Friday morning gathering place. NICE guys, NICE conversation, just nice all around. That was way more my speed. They all had interesting things to say; and equally listened with interest to what I had to say. They were also flirty and I got good vibes.

Then, I went shopping with Slapperella. WTF am I going to do while she is off globe-trotting and I'm here without her? Usually when my female friends go away is the time that I get bored and DANgerous.

I had a military-type meeting in the evening and saw some people I hadn't seen in a while. All very civilized.

Okay, so I need to now discuss yet another wierd conversation I had.... I went to a birthday party a few months ago. My friend introduced me to her friend (I'll call him Finance Dude or FD) who seemed rather cold and distant most of the night. I didn't think he liked me, but as it turned out, he was one of those boyz on the playground who punches girls in the arm when he has any kind of attraction. ("I like you, but I don't want anybody to know.") So, he asks my friend if he can call me (nice touch). I say ok. He calls. I am too busy with my fasssssssscinating lifestyle to pay much attention to him. We eventually (this weekend) have a real chat. "And now... for an offer you can't refuse!" Suuuure.

Dude never asks if I have a boyfriend, if I'm seeing anyone, and/or if I might be interested in him. He launches into a 1-sided conversation about how HE is ready for a relationship, and how HE is a very romantic person (lots of his friends aren't and don't know how to communicate with their women and apparently don't know about scented candles) and how HE would never allow a woman to pay for anything.... (Wait! I'm falling in love... NOT). Me me me me me me. He says that we aren't getting any younger (speak for yourself, dude, I regress every day) and should get right to the point. "Lets have a relationship and travel together and spend time together..." Dude! Slow down! So I ask him his marital status because our mutual friend seems to believe he's divorced. "I'm separated." (I LOVE it when they say this!) 'Really? Where does she live?' "On the first floor. I live downstairs." 'Really? Where are the bedrooms located?' "On the first floor." 'Really? So where is your bedroom?' "On the first floor. The kids don't know. We're not telling them until they get older." So, if you have such great communications skills, what happened between you and your wife?

Puhleeze, do not attempt to bullshet a bullshetter. zzzzzzzzzzzz yawn.

"Oh, and another thing: I can't take you out in public because people might see us together and ask questions." My God, this offer sounds SO GOOD that how can I possibly resit? What a DEAL! Dude, please! You're 45 years old. Grow some balls, get a divorce or make things work, and move on. What I want to know is this - do you have ANYTHING to offer me that would interest me or that I can't already get for myself? (My eyes are rolling back in my head just thinking about it.) Go find yourself a 20-year-old who will be in awe of your '09 Yukon and your financial ability to take Jazeera to Sharm el Sheikh. Je ne giveaphuck pas.

I would so rather be alone with my dog in my PJs watching Girls Night In on OSN and eating ice cream. Guys are just going to have to do waaaaaaaaaaaay better than that.

Blocking - Kuwaiti Style

"Her" made a remark on my previous post, adding that she has been "bumped" while shopping. I would like to elaborate on this maneuver to follow. I'm not going to even get into people snatching things from your hands while shopping, or sales in Kuwait (which terrify me). Kids, today's subject is blocking.

"Blocking" in American football refers to, "Obstructing another player's path with his(her) body." If you don't know anything about American football, sometimes on TV or in the movies they show burly, large men heaving themselves at machines, grunting or shouting loudly, and trying to push the blocking dummies/sleds forward. This is an exercise for what it is like on the playing field; object - to move your opponent out of the way.

In Kuwait, "ladies" (loose reference to the phrase) (and never men) often use the double-team approach and block the way so that you can't get around them.

T H E Y D O N ' T M O V E.

These are the same "demure" women carrying $2000 bags and wearing stilletto heels by Chanel to tour the mall. Their drivers wait patiently for them outside and carry their bags. (They later go somewhere together for mini mini mini treats of some kind and skim lattes).

The blank stares, the continual forward movement into personal space, the inability to defer from course can be perceived as an act of aggression... leading to a reaction....

One instinctual reaction might perhaps be: "Girlfriend, git out tha phu-ckin way 'fore I knock yo ass DOWN!"

Frustration and indignance: WHY do such women believe that they are entitled? WHY do they believe that the rest of the world will bend for THEM? WHY do they want the mountain to move for them?

Et moi... aint gonna happen. It is my physical game of chicken. I maneuver to an extent - and expect the same of the other player. If she is unwilling to maneuver around me (as I am to her), then she gets blocked.

My friend works at a university in Kuwait. She has noted the same thing, time and time again. She is in a position to be respected as a professor, and as an elder member of society. However, they expect her to move to accommodate their approach; and not the other way around.

Both of us have taken the same method of blocking: hunker down with your shoulders slightly bent forward, tighten your muscles, and push through.

The reaction: "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!" (This technique is always followed by a squeal from the opponent, as they didn't see it coming.) Oh, the shock, the babbling that ensues. I don't even look back. Sometimes I throw out an over-the-top sweet, "Asfaaaa, habibti." ("I'm sorry, honey." Kind of like a Texan saying, "Bless your heart!") but not often.

Blocking. Bada BING.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Shut-in Goes Out

I really have nothing in particular to write about, but I'm in the mood, so I will.

I went out to dinner last night with my ambassador friend and his friend - very nice journalist guy who knows a lot about a lot. I adore people who pick restaurants close to my house. I am hating traffic lately (among other crowd-related issues).

As usual, when we sat down, we tried to find a table that wasn't right next to anyone else, so we could talk. As usual, a table full of women plops down at the table so close that if I sneezed, it would have been all over them. Why IS that? Why is it that you could be sitting at the ONLY table in the restaurant in Kuwait and a party comes in (usually women) and is so close that you might as well frickin invite them to join you for dinner? (Sometimes, I get up and move to the other side of the restaurant. HATE IT.) That's the way I felt last night. These chubba wubbas were totally into our entire conversation and stared so bad that I stared back and made funny faces. It is just me that notices and is bothered by this kind of behavior? Drives me frickin crazy; so much so that I don't even want to leave home most of the time. So RUDE. Several of the Fatty Spice Girls held a conversation - right next to us - about us. WTF? Can't a foreigner just have a meal? Back tha f OFF! I coulda lowered myself to saying to my friends (again, within a distance so close that if I whispered it, all of them could have heard it), "She's so fat that her husband just has to slap her ass and ride the waves in... " yet I have so much more class than that.

I noticed that biotches were paying with a coupon; Their big night out. No men except for children [either they were a table full of divorcees (which would be my hypothesis; that means educated guess) or the menfolk ran away for the night.]

Anyhoo... back to my story... it was very nice to see my friend again. He's such a sweetheart and always takes the time to introduce me to new and interesting people.

I also saw a sheikha at the valet that I recognized but can't remember her name. She has such a warm, sincere smile that I felt good about humanity again for a moment. Why can't more people be like that - smile!

Ok, it might be one thing for members of the opposite sex to smile at each other, but why the hey can't women here just smile at each other? Why if you smile at someone, she gives you a dirty look? Which, just makes me smile even more making me appear INsane (it is only if I run after them flapping my arms that it gets really scary - not that I would do that because I'm too frickin classy). Weird smiling is enough. Girls, how many of you out there smile at other women? Maybe you admire what she's wearing or how she looks or she just looks friendly. Its a smile. I do it all the time. It's no big deal. Why can't people just be nice and polite? Do they all assume that everybody is a lesbian or something? I don't get it. All females can't be lesbians and ok, even if a lesbian smiled at me - so what? It's still just a smile.

Speaking of smiling, I was on my way to the IVH with Desert Dawg one day last week and there was a guy in a Pajero who turned all the way around in his seat to smile at me. It was contageous. We both started laughing. He didn't want anything - he took his turn and drove off. He just had the biggest, brightest smile I have seen in a long time. (And then he threw me to the ground and ravished me. -- Naw, just kidding. It was totally sweet and innocent.)

I hope I hope I hope that this weekend I am going to catch up with more old (as in "known them a long time") friends that I haven't seen in years. I have a feeling that if I do meet up with this particular crowd, its gonna get giggly. I haven't seen them since Kalamazoo in the late 80's.... What happened in Kalamazoo, STAYED in Kalamazoo....

One of the guys and I hit it off immediately back then. I walked in the room and it was as if I had known him my whole life. He knew I understood a little Arabic and from then on, he wouldn't speak English to me. I spoke to him on the phone again the other day (we hadn't spoken since then) and he still throws out the Arabic phrases, only now - I understand all the references and can shoot back. Damn, I missed you, boy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Old and new friends and Facebook and stuff

I have been finding old friends on Facebook lately and it is so cool. My sister deleted her Facebook account because she wanted to leave the past in the past; didn't want people she used to know to find her and get into her world now. She felt like people were going to stalk her. I'm just the opposite. Perhaps it is because I am nosey and I want to find out how people's lives have turned out, or maybe I am just so needy that I want to maintain lifelong bonds with people.

Dunno, but I'm glad there is Facebook. My life is pretty much an open book; no skeletons (that I won't blatantly discuss with anyone) and nothing to hide (except for that part around my middle which wasn't there when I was 17).

I have met up with several people I knew way-back-when. I saw one guy for the first time since I was 16. I met him at the door and he said, "You got fat." (I'm bitchy:) 'You got BALD.' I mean - what gets into people?

I knew a girl in DC when we were both 16. We were neighbors. Her father was a diplomat and found out that I was taking her to see her boyfriend (ironically - studying in the same city and also from Kuwait). He took me aside and said, "I don't want you to be my daughter's friend anymore. You American girls are different from our Kuwaiti girls and I don't want your ways to influence my daughter." (Implying that we are tramps. As if.) So, I let her decide the fate of our friendship, and never heard from her again... until one day at a party at someone's chalet; a bunch of gehab walked in and there she was. Glad she hadn't influenced ME. Turned out that she was a bi-sexual prostitute and hadn't been on speaking terms with dear old dad in years. Fasssscinating.

Ok, so some people you are just not happy to see again... and there are others who you can't believe so much time has passed and where have they been...

Like my crazy friend who I haven't seen in 20 years (except for on TV). I saw him on friend of a friend's page on Facebook. When I met him, we acted like we had known each other our whole lives. It's like I just spoke to him the other day and a few decades have gone by. He's still crazy and funny and interesting.

I found an old x-boyfriend on Facebook. Why is it that when some men age, they don't cut their eyebrows? Dude! He's still fine, though. Wonder if he's still married... hmmmm.

And what is the deal with people who you have arguments with and they de-friend you on Facebook? The Man does it to me often. It is more of a pain the butt for him because he can't see what I'm doing anymore. Bunny de-friended me the day after we argued. Que cera.

One of my dearest friends was always a great support to me in Washington. He knew everybody (still does). He was doing his PhD then and we lost touch. Years passed. I came to Kuwait. I was talking to someone from Abu Dhabi who was here visiting and he passed the phone to his uncle who used to be a student in DC. Turned out I knew the uncle, but even more ironically, he mentioned that my dear friend was now an ambassador to Kuwait and had been here for several years. I immediately called him and we re-connected.

Life is full of little ironies like that. Every day is a surprise.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Doing Better

Lilli was released from the hospital yesterday. She ate a little boiled chicken and she's feeling a lot perkier.

The Man took me down to get her. He has been really wonderful and supportive - holding my hand and bringing me flowers during this week which has been real Hell for me. She seemed a lot happier to see him than she was me. I guess I deserve the punishment of taking her there and allowing them to keep her in a cage. A CAGE! ("Where is my white wool blanket? Where are my toys? Where the hell is the flat screen? Why aren't you making me dinner? PICK ME UP!!!")

I am REALLY impressed at the care she got at IVH. First of all, if you don't know it, the IVH employs all Italian vets. They are all friends; they are all sensitive and caring people. Dr. Stephania, Dr. Angelo, and Dr. Carlo took care of Lilli. She received (literally) round-the-clock attention. Dr. Stephania said, "We were happy to have her as a guest. She was very well mannered." She even hugged me when I left. Very very kind people and they put up with my constant phone calls.

I know that some of you out there have never had a pet, so you are thinking, "Yo, DG, WTF?" but until you do have a pet - you just can't know. Lilli isn't a dog, she is my world here. She's been with me for the past 11 years, through some really rough times and a whole lot of bullshyt. When people walked out on me or were cruel, she came and put her head on my chest or even touched her little paw to my face. Through sick and sin - through men and jobs and good times and bad times.

She stayed at IVH for 3 days and I thought I would end up having to pay the equivalent of a car payment for her treatment, but it was actually very reasonable. Thanks, IVH. Words are not enough.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Desert Dawg is Hospitalized

Danger is imminent when Desert Dawg turns her nose up at a Polo peppermint candy. It is her favorite treat in the whole world (besides steamed crabs - go figure).

She hadn't eaten for 3 days; although she seemed alert and perky. Other times, though, she would be very lethargic and sleep a lot. So, back to IVH yesterday where they began a regiment of barium dye and x-rays to determine where the blockage is.

Her first x-rays on Thursday revealed that she didn't have any gas in her stomach, so the blockage wasn't severe, however, her intestines were full. She wasn't dehydrated, so they let me take her home. She still wasn't eating and nothing was coming out the other end. It is pretty pathetic when your world revolves around wishing your dog would poo; I resorted to begging her. Nada.
IVH started her on a drip to give her nutrition. She lost half a kilo in 2 days. For a dog that weighs 5.5 kilos normally, that's a big deal.

I feel so helpless. I guess people without pets don't get it. My dog is the only family I have had here for 11 years. She's been with me through sick and sin. People can't know me without knowing Lilli. She's such a big part of my world.

I'll know more today. It is just a waiting game to see what's going to happen next. Worst possible scenario is that she'll have to have an operation to remove whatever is in there. At 11 years old, operating isn't a great idea.
What kind of a crappy mother's day is this? I am a mother only to a furry, 4-legged daughter and she's in the hospital. This sucks.
Afternoon update:
I talked to Dr. Angelo at IVH. He said that the barium moved through her ok. Now the problem is trying to determine why she isn't eating and why she is vomiting. Next comes blood work.
Maybe she ate something bad. Dunno.
I'm not a crybaby, but Gdamn, am I a crybaby today.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My baby is sick

Desert Dawg (real name Lilli Putian) is sick. I don't know how I could ever be a mother because this schidt is killing me. I can't stop worrying about her. I took her to the vet, Dr. Juanita, at Dolhama last night and they gave her a few injections - told me to come back if the vomiting didn't stop and she didn't eat. It hasn't and she hasn't.

She's an old bitch - 11 years old now (12 in October). That's 77 in human years. So, it takes her longer to recover from stuff. She gets sick like this once or twice a year - usually from eating something bad or from eating a different kind of food. She is also allergy-prone and every time I take her to the IVH to be groomed, we end up back at Dolhama for injections for skin rash of some kind.

So tonight, it is back to the vet. I'm hoping that my vet friend from IVH can stop by my place to look at her.

I bought Lilli a Snuggy for Dogs in pink. She's wearing it now so she stays warm in the AC.