Saturday, October 30, 2004

We (finally) watched Super Size Me this weekend. It was mostly what I expected. Yet, even though I expected every grease smeared bit of McDonalds analysis, I still enjoyed all my groans and grimaces at how disgusting it all was. I was surprised at how naive the doctors were about the effects of the McDonalds diet on the body. Even with a common sense approximation of the nutritional value of McDonalds' food, I would have thought that doctors would know that it would do serious harm to a person's body. The nutritionist's numbers sounded about right - double the calories with only about 1/3 of the vitamins and minerals. All of the good stuff that you're supposed to eat just aren't there: no fruit, no veggies.

Temptation. I mean, I'm not really one to speak. A cookie jar in my proximity is in peril of gradual consumption. McDonalds gives you what you want, when you want it, without having to pay much for it. It not much different from smoking or drinking. Some people can resist, some people indulge prudently and others go way overboard to the detriment of their health.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Report card grades had to be entered by Wednesday (our Friday.) The school has bought into a database package to manage all the school goings on - attendance, counseling, illness and grades. Previously, we all entered out grades by hand into a notebook which was transcribed into the computer by one of the secretaries.

I read in a Douglas Coupland book that for the first 30 years that computers were used in the workplace, productivity declined -some confusion over how to use them, some data loss with a game or two of solitaire thrown in. I understood how computers add to the workload, but 30 years seemed like a long time to get used to them. After entering my grades yesterday, it makes more sense to me. The school has duplicated the paper process on the computer and now it takes about three times as long to enter grades. Plus, they've just invested who knows how much in the software and we'll use it forever.

Last night we had our last salsa class with Yann. He was the teacher for the rueda. He was a great teacher. He made the classes a lot of fun.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Tonight we went on our first hospital tour. We took a look at the Mowasat Hospital, where our doctor said she likes to work and the closest hospital to our home. The hospital sent us home with a little price list of the various possibilities: from standard room and delivery up to Royal suite and C-section. The delivery room looked a little more informal than I had expected (from my experience, based mostly on TV viewing and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life). I definitely didn't see the machine that goes "bing". We also looked at the standard rooms and the junior suites. Standard rooms are basic private rooms with phone, tv and bathroom. Junior suites have a little sitting areas and fridge and sink. We didn't check out the VIP and Royal suites. We'll have to talk to our insurer and find out what they will pay for.

There are a couple more hospitals that we are going to check out. One near the school and one closer to downtown. We'll keep you updated.

We came out of the hospital to find a shiny new Rolls Royce looking for a parking spot. It was enormous. Very tall, and boxy. Like a Hummer sedan. It actually made the Caprice look like sporty.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Ok. I started Ramadan with great intentions to get some work done on the website, but it really hasn't turned out. Even though we spend less time teaching, it feels like I'm even busier than usual. Karla is still feeling sick. I convinced her to stay home one day this week to rest. She is starting to feel better. We skipped dance last night and will stay home this weekend to get caught up on some work.

Last night I found myself in a place that I would not have predicted. It was Friday night and I was at home, eating pizza with alcohol free beer, and reading about the procedures involved in delivery. Last night we worked on a birth plan together. Well, we started. By the time we were halfway through the labour and delivery chapter, we had six pages of notes: a list of questions to ask and decisions to be made about the delivery - from location, to medical decisions to how mother and baby will be taken care of at the hospital after the delivery. The book (What to Expect When You're Expecting) describes the current philosophies about what doctors and hospitals do, as well as what they used to do. We'll see how the Kuwaiti hospitals measure up.

This week I noticed that Pepsi giving away one iPod every hour from now until Christmas. The trick was that every hour they started fresh - they got rid of all the old entries and started over. I was interested for a while - you could get free entries online. At first you had to fill in a short survey, but by the end, the survey had gotten longer and harder to find. And now, the site reports that they have given away all the free entries they are going to. From now on you need a entry number from a Pepsi product sold in Canada. So I guess I am cut off. I thought I might have a better than average chance, since when I was at school is when everyone was sleeping in Canada. I could enter all of the draws with fewer entries.

Our Egypt trip plan was more or less finalized this week. The travel agent that I had been emailing got it all set up. He's meeting us at the airport when we arrive and taking us to the train station where we will go on the fancy overnight sleeper train down to Aswan. We will go on a tour to Abu Simbel, a pair of temples that had been in the side of a mountain until the Egyptians decided to dam the Nile. The whole temple was cut out and moved to higher ground where it currently resides. That night we will return to Aswan to spend the next three days on a sight seeing cruise up to Luxor. After a day to rest in Luxor, we will get back on the train to Cairo, where we will have two days to visit the Pyramids, Old Cairo and the fabulous Egyptian museum before returning to Kuwait. There will be no Christmas vacation for us Just a few shopping trips to get the nursery stocked up for the baby's arrival.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I just did a little web page maintenance. I moved some of the main page into the archive section. I thought that it might be getting a little slow to load for some of you since there are so many more pictures this year. It's probably actually not that much faster since I didn't really take any of the pictures off the site. I will have to take some of the pictures off the page - or at least change them to links (like the animations) so that they don't automatically load with the page.

I was also looking at the site statistics. Geocities is nice enough to keep track of how many people visit and even when they do. By far the heaviest months for visit - with 2-3 times as many hits were last year after the Cambodian and Omani travelogues (even though Oman was just photos - I never found time to write the description of what we did).

Ramadan should give me a few minutes every morning to get things organized a little better.

Sorry it's a day late. Karla's feeling under the weather with a cold, so photo taking was delayed. Ramadan officially began today. Karla napped and corrected. I watched Kill Bill, one of the films left us by a teacher last year. It was awful. Tomorrow school starts two hours late - which is good for sick mamas. Karla has a light load tomorrow (I have already been encouraging her to stay home and get well), so she says she will go in tomorrow. Hopefully, she'll take the day off on Sunday if she isn't feeling better. Anyway, I should be getting to bed soon too. And here's the photo.

Big mama #5

Last weekend we tried to watch Super Size Me, which (I thought) I had been clever enough to download from the internet and copy onto a DVD. I mostly worked. The audio track was flawless; however the video track ran at double speed. I tried to watch it, but it was too hard. You had to pay attention to the audio and at the same time remember what was happening on the screen (because the audio would be coming in a while) AND remember the scenes that you had seen a few minutes ago that corresponded with the commentary that was currently playing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Not much has been happening here the past two weeks. We've been making plans to go to Egypt at the end of Ramadan (which begins tomorrow). Tutoring is going well. We both started clubs at school. Karla is running the photography club and I am risking disaster with a tie-dye club. So far they are both going great. I've even got a couple boys doing tie-dye. Except Karla's field trip bus was late both to take them out and bring them back. When we get home, it's a long day, which makes going to salsa class hard. There's not time for a nap in between school and dance like there was before clubs. Since there are no clubs during Ramadan, we'll be able to dance a little more.

Our dance groups is a very international collection of people. We still haven't figured out where everyone is and how they got to be taking salsa in Kuwait. There are a few Kuwaitis, a guy from Equador who works in the oil industry, a Lebanese mother and daughter (the daughter made the mother to come lessons, but she really enjoys it now), an Egyptian woman, our teacher Yann is Algerian-Guadaloupe, and a new Austrian woman showed up last night who spoke English, French, an Arabic (and, I assume, German too).
I'm still waiting for Karla to get up this morning to take this week's photo, but here are a couple things I have been meaning to post.

First, here's the ultrasound of the baby. It's the computer generated 3D picture, not the ordinary kind. It's a little less like looking for animals in the clouds. In both pictures little Prudence is demonstrating prenatal flexibility, with her face resting against her shins. Just above the arm you can see the umbilical cord (which the doctor promised us was not wrapped around the neck, but in a perfectly normal position). Sorry it took so long to post, I hadn't set up the scanner yet.

October ultrasound

The second is just a bit of a laugh. It's a box of cleaner that the maids at the school use to keep it clean. I always wondered what the smell was... (the directions on the side panel are especially peculiar)

What's that smell? It's Barf!

What helpful directions!

She's Pregnant!

Class was interupted by an eruption of students' laughter. "She's pregnant," several voices called out. The story was explained to Karla as one particular student turned bright red. The student, noticing Karla's increase in size, commented to the people around him, "The teacher is getting fat." He had no idea that she was pregnant.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Living in an Aquarium

It's hot and now it's gotten humid. Kuwaiti weather is more awful than ever. We wake up to all the windows completely covered with condensation. Stepping outside is to have all your clothes stick to you. You don't sweat so much as the humidity condneses on you. When we are driving in the car with the AC on, the windows fog up from the outside.

Lianne, Kalra's sister, was looking for a web solution so she could keep everyone updated without sending group emails, so I suggested a weblog to her. Then I decided to try it myself.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Blog Experiment

In less than ten minutes I was about to set up this baby and make this little post. The hardest part was picking a name that nobody else had used.

So far, it's very easy!