Sunday, January 8, 2012

Snippets From an Ordinary Day

We had a great Sunday morning with my brother, sister-in-law-to-be, niece, and nephew today, finishing the last of Christmas present opening, playing a lot of Mario on the DSs (how does one make that plural?), eating pancakes, and watching Up.  These two cuddly and fast-growing kids are absolutely wonderful - I truly adore them.  And the things they say!  "Mommy, I need to take a break from the DS because my thumb is turning into an arrow."  "Mimi, I can only hug you on this side because you broke your knee."  So excited to spend more time with them this summer!

After an afternoon of watching football and getting annoyed with Snapfish, I headed to the grocery store to get the fixings for lasagna.  As I got to the bottom of our hill and passed the small village general store, I noticed that there were no cars there.  Just a horse.  Sans rider, tied up to the porch railing.  Yes, I live in a town where riders abound and we keep the old road signs from the days of horse transportation - "walk your horses or pay two dollars fine" and similar.  As my friend's fiancé marveled this week, it's a place where few front doors or cars are locked, and it's not unusual to keep one's keys in the car ignition in the driveway. 

I didn't have to wait long for the next interesting anecdote - a psychic hotline on the radio was trying a new marketing strategy and extolling the virtues of their hiring process.  Apparently, only 2% of psychics who apply make the cut and are subjected to rigorous screenings such as applications, interviews, and sample readings.  Oy.

I adore going to the grocery store here.  I walk up and down every aisle and marvel and gawk.  True, the stores in KSA are pretty well stocked.  Amazingly well, it must be said.  But, they still don't quite compare to the depth and breadth of weird and wonderful products, novelties, and cooking solutions that abound in the American supermarket. 

I realized making lasagna in the U.S. is somewhat simpler than in Saudi.  First of all, it doesn't take me weeks to find ricotta cheese.  There, I can occasionally order it from the commissary, but it's always frozen.  Fresh ricotta is found once in a blue moon, sadly.  I have colleagues who have their loved ones bring coolers full of it when they fly in from the States.  The other novelty was being able to fill the pasta pot with tap water.  In Saudi I fill it from the water cooler.  This is probably slightly overkill, since the tap water there falls victim mostly to rusty (and who knows what else) pipes and doesn't carry amoebic dysentery or other nasty pests, but I still err on the side of caution.  And filling a stock pot from a water cooler is not easy.  Nor is it quick.  A mere inconvenience, of course, but something to notice when you don't have to do it. 

The lasagna turned out great, the football was exciting, and now the house is quiet, and it's time for bed.  Or mouse hunting.  There's a particularly brave one haunting the pantry tonight, but s/he doesn't want to appear on camera.  Yet. 

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