Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A New School Year Begins!

The boys started a new school year last week at TAISM (The American International School of Muscat). We are now proud parents of a third grader and a kindergartener!  Unlike last year when pre-K was a little scary and the first day was filled with tears, the first day of kindergarten was all smiles - what a relief!

My handsome guys outside the front door of school on the first day!
Pick-up after the first day  - we did it!
These kindergarten friends are sporting "I survived the first day of kindergarten" ribbons

Celebrating with best friend Lenny

Ice cream is the only proper way to celebrate the first day of school!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Eastern Arabia

This past weekend we took a trip to the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula.  Our aim was to witness one or more female green sea turtles come ashore and lay her eggs on a stretch of protected shoreline.  The area we visited is a turtle nesting site for over 20,000 female turtles who come each year to lay their eggs.  They lay their eggs only at night when there are no predators and they patrol the shoreline during the day.  Our journey was well rewarded.  We were led by a gov’t sanctioned guide to the site at about 10pm and saw over a dozen giant, 150-pound turtles come ashore and lay their eggs.  We were told to keep completely silent and the only light that was used was a red one held by the guide to help us walk around the pits and holes the turtles dig to lay their eggs.  Regular flashlights and camera flashes disturb the sensitive turtles.  It was an incredible observation of  an intimate act of nature that we will never forget.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures, so we have no photos of the turtles.  But, we have lots to show of the surrounding area and the place we stayed.   

We stayed in semi-permanent tents a short distance to the nature reserve.

Atop a hill.  Nesting grounds and shoreline in the distance.

Contemplating the expanse.

It was quite windy on the mountain top and he is holding his hands out for balance.

Nearby fishing and shipbuilding town.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 4th in Dubai

This past weekend was July 4th.  We took advantage of the three-day weekend and drove 5 hours along the coastal plain of Oman and across the desert dunes of neighboring U.A.E. to the metropolis of Dubai.  The draw was three days at Atlantis, a sprawling resort sitting on a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree that juts out into the Arabian Gulf.  We swam in the attached water park with its many towering water slides, wave pool, and river rapids.  We also visited the aquarium, filled with sharks, rays and thousands of other fish.  A highlight was going to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building.  A one-minute elevator ride (also world's fastest elevator) took us to the 124th-floor observation deck.  We had sweeping views of Dubai, albeit a bit hazy from the heat, humidity, and dust in the air.    

Front of Atlantis Hotel from our room.

Gazing at colorful fish.

Rays swimming over our shoulders.

Atlantis Hotel.

View from the Burj Khalifa.

One of the fronds of the palm-shaped man-made island. Water park in distance.

Dubai in the background.

Morning walk on the hotel grounds.

Dubai in background.  Burj Khalifa (not shown) is twice as tall as the tallest building shown here.

Neptune's chair.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

And Now We Are Five

My baby is now five. We celebrated this milestone with school friends, neighbors, a bouncy water slide and of course a massive cake.  And Mom remembered the beautiful spring day in Washington five years ago when after A LOT of hard work in the hospital, our beautiful baby arrived.  We love you!

Ernie and Bert Cake - yum!

Down the waterslide!

Two days old and home from the hospital

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yo Yo Ma Rocks!

Yo Yo Ma, the most accomplished cellist in the world, and the Silk Road Ensemble came to the Royal Opera House last week, and really blew us away.  Yo Yo Ma is so awesome -  not just his artistry as a musician, but wow, he has serious vision about what music can and should accomplish to make the world a better place.  I had the chance to meet him at a reception and he was so enthusiastic and friendly, and is a huge promoter of musical education as a way to bridge cultures.  He and the ensemble members played with the local youth orchestra and they all played on stage together as a final encore of the evenings performance.  The Silk Road ensemble features musicians and their traditional instruments from Spain to Japan and everything in between.  It was an amazing night, and lucky Eddy got an autograph, that was written with care as encouragement for his continued violin studies!  Indeed we are inspired!  Thank you Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Marines!

The Marine Corps celebrated its 238th birthday on November 10, and we celebrated in style yesterday at the annual "Birthday Ball."  The evening began with a solemn and moving presentation of the history of the Marine Corps and remembrance of Marines past and present.  All those Marines and other service members attending the ball were recognized with loud applause, as were their spouses, who we know also serve at their side.  Then came the cake cutting ceremony, where the huge birthday cake was wheeled in and  cut with a sword (!).  After the ceremony we enjoyed a fabulous meal, which I soon felt in my fitted party dress :)  and it was on to the dance floor until past midnight (unheard of!).  This morning I was thinking that maybe jumping in high heels ("Jump Around!") was not such a great idea.  In any case, we were honored and happy to attend the birthday bash!

Ready to celebrate with our friends

Presenting the colors

The Ambassador presides over the presentation of the colors

Here comes the giant red birthday cake...

Party time!

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Veteran's Day

I love this holiday, as sorrowful as it is, because it asks each of us to remember those who fought and died, or suffered wounds, both the physical and emotional, in service to their country.  Being from an immigrant family that fled Europe during World War II, my parents made sure I understood what that entailed.  But that war that happened before I was born was history for me.  Veteran's Day has become much different and more personal since I lost one of my dear friends and college mates, Major David G. Taylor Jr., who was killed fighting in Iraq in October 2006. I miss him terribly still, and his wife Michelle and son Jake are always in my thoughts and prayers.  David's funeral occurred close to Veteran's Day, and all of us who attended received the traditional red poppy to wear, and the famous poem, "In Flanders Fields" was read at the service.   I never knew exactly where the poppy tradition came from until then.  The poem is beautiful, but tough if you have raw grief, or even grief that is still right there seven years later.  But I still like to read it as a tribute to my friend and all those I did not know.   Here it is for you, a Veteran's Day gift, with a short explanation on the history of the poem.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.