The kids are back to school. Just yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I get so tired of summer. It is awful. It is long. It is unscheduled. It is expensive. Technically, I guess school is more expensive, but whatever. I’ll live the in world I want.
One of my assistants is cutting her hours. I feel like this. #nothappy #ineedyouatalltimes
I did a load of laundry every day this week and it was awesome. I may have found the newest temporary solution to my laundry woes.
I also made my kids do dinner one night and my husband do dinner another night. Color me responsible for only 5 dinners a week.
I went golfing today and am “not afraid of hitting the ground.” This is a nice way of saying that I golf like Happy Gilmore.
In other words, I need some practice.
Pax out, party people. Have a happy Saturday and join Kelly for more better QTs.
So, let’s see….we had just survived a wild ride to the Dead Sea and we were headed to the Baptism site of Jesus.
The Jordan River was so wide at one time, that it met this natural spring. However, now there is about 80 yards between the spring and the river. This is known to be the place where Jesus was baptized due to tradition. It was revered as a holy site from early on and there are the ruins of three churches at the spring dating back to sometime in the 400s. This is also the area from which Elijah was taken in his firey chariot.
We really enjoyed seeing an icon of Mary of Egypt, a saint from the 300s who, like so many of the dessert fathers and mothers, fled to beyond the Jordan for solitude and spiritual growth after her conversion. Her story can be found here.
After you leave the spring, you wind down a path to a Greek Orthodox church just before reaching the Jordan River. The church is dedicated to the Forerunner and it is incredibly gorgeous. My five-year-old was giving me kind of a hard time that day, so I didn’t get great pictures. You’ll just have to take my word for it or google it yourself.
Once down at the Jordan, you get to see the contrast between the Israel and Jordan sides. We felt that Jordan was really very dirty, while Israel tended to be cleaner and a little more modern. The river itself was just a bit of a creek, but we’re used to that since we are from New Mexico. The “mighty Rio Grande” is just a mere slip of a waterway. The Jordan River was similar – small and very muddy.
After another quick peek into the church and poking around in the gift shop, we were back on the road. This time, we were headed to Petra.
Our drive took us right down the coast of the Dead Sea where the Jordan Valley was green on one side and arid on the other.
Then we began our ascent up the Moab Mountain range, which offered us some breath-taking views. Since mountain people like us gotta climb, we had to pull over to run up and down rocks and pose for silly pictures.
As we reached the top of the mountain range, we began to notice the most interesting thing about the trees.
We think we get pretty bad wind in New Mexico. But the wind on the Moab Mountains must be FIERCE.
We were all hungry, so we stopped in Al Shabaq to go adventuring. We had delicious falafel and shwarma. Our daughter was a celebrity…again…with the shop owners asking to pose with her in pictures. We finally made it to Petra after dark and went straight to bed so that we could rise early to beat the crowds. Our efforts were well-rewarded as you shall see in a later post, which at my posting rate, should happen sometime in October. Haha.
And I’m back. This is part four of my documentation of my family’s trip to the Middle East. Check out parts one, two, three, and five. We were just saying goodbye to Dubai and heading off to Jordan.
We loaded into a couple of taxis and headed off to catch a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi courtesy of our airline. We had to check into our flight at the bus terminal. There we were told that my dad couldn’t check in because his ticket was under my last name and not his. Um. Sure enough, through reasons I’ll never completely understand, his last name was not correct. The lady reassured me that it would all be fine, “Madame,” we would be able to fix it in Abu Dhabi.
We loaded onto busses and my daughter was super pleased to find that the busses were equipped with seat belts.
When we got to Abu Dhabi, my dad and I headed to the airline’s headquarter office. There we were reassured that it would be no problem, “Madame,” we should simply head downstairs where someone would change the name for a small fee. Great! At the downstairs office, we were confronted with a young person who continually reassured me that there was no problem, “Madame,” but who never seemed to be actually accomplishing anything. Time ticked by and by and by and by. After several consultations, he looked up and told me that he had successfully canceled the ticket but that he would not be able to put my dad on the flight because the flight was booked.
I went completely ape took this news calmly and stressed the importance of not leaving my dad in a different country. In the meantime, I began getting frantic texts from my sister and husband that our plane was boarding. I’d still not gone through security. After being told that they were very sorry, “Madame,” but that there was nothing they could do and that they might be able to get my dad to Jordan in a few days, I jumped up on the counter and slammed my hands down on the desk while shrieking that they would be getting my dad to Jordan today or else gently explained that a few days was not going to do it. They looked at each other and then figured out a way to get my dad to Jordan. He did, however, have to stay for 9 hours in Abu Dhabi until the late flight. I tore through the airport, like the crazy person they all thought I was, and jumped on the plane at the very last minute.
When we landed in Jordan, we picked up the rental van that I had intended for my dad to drive. I was still pretty upset about my dad. The rental guys told us that the van was manual. I knew I didn’t want to drive and my husband stepped right up to the plate. I vaguely wondered when the last time he drove standard was, but brushed it aside. My sister, who’d been living in the Middle East for about a year and driving standard the whole time, offered to drive. But my husband was super excited about driving.
We loaded into the car and my husband pulled out of the space…and hit another car. Then he stalled out on the speed bump. Then he ground the gears when shifting. He took a 180 degree turn at high speed with squealing wheels and the swerving and my screaming. It was incredibly scary. After an hour and a half of the most terrifying ride of my life, we arrived at our resort where everyone fled in different directions to decompress. Fortunately for us, the resort was at the Dead Sea and it was incredible.
Cascading pools all the way down to the Dead Sea beach, 410m below sea level
410m below sea level
What a view!
Mr. Toad and the kids cooled their heels by the pools while I added my dad as another authorized driver and arranged a private car to bring him to the resort in the middle of the night. We weren’t about to risk another ride with Mr. Toad.
Mr. Toad with the Dead Sea in the background
Hippy splashes in the relative safety of the deep end
Floating was fun
We really did have a wonderful time at the Dead Sea. It was an incredibly nice resort. March seems to have been the off season, so there were hardly any people there. My dad was delivered safely to us in the middle of the night and we spent the next morning lounging around the pools and enjoying the Dead Sea.
Dad floating in very deep water
He didn’t walk on water, but he did sit.
Pretty sister with the Scholar in the background
Go Pro for the win
I mean, really, what a view!
Dead Sea beach
We had originally planned to head to Petra that morning, but we changed our plans and booked a hotel in Petra for that night. This allowed us to hang out at the Dead Sea and then hit up the Baptism Site of Jesus before heading south. It was a good plan as you can see from our happy faces.
“We will miss you, Dead Sea, but Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan is calling!”
Stretch. Yawn. Jog in place. I’m getting back into swing of this blog. Before I QT you, I do want to mention that I have five parts documenting our trip to the Middle East posted here, here, here, here, and here. I’m hoping to post about the Dead Sea and Baptism Site of Jesus this week. We’ll see.
This week was the annual conference for my specialty area and I got the bright idea to present at the conference so I could go for free. This also means that I got bonus CEU hours for “prep time.” I always feel like such a temples-less-sunglass-wearing boss when I get stuff for free.
There are a bunch of vendors that come to the conference and give away More. Free. Stuff. I shamelessly take their bags and load up on free crap to bring home to my kids who also love free stuff. And this year the theme is “Renaissance Faire” so the free stuff includes swords and dragons. Direct quote, “Mom, you did so good this year!”
Because my kids are weird, they also look forward to the yearly tape measure and pedometer. I didn’t get home until after 9pm last night and they went nuts running around the house to see who could accumulate the most steps. They stopped only to measure themselves. Oh, kids, just wait until I bring home sticky notes today.
My presentation went pretty well. I made a Prezi. I was writing a rental contract for a college kid the other day who made merciless fun of me for using Prezi. Since I’d been feeling pretty boss about my Prezi up to that moment, the ensuing shame of realizing that I was just Gramppa Simpson hit me hard.
I decided I didn’t care and presented my Prezi anyway and everyone loved it. Take that, jobless college kid. My Prezi WAS awesome and here’s a screen shot to prove it. You travel through the dark forest avoiding scary places in the law. I even included punny slide titles such as “Howell do you do it?” (Howell being the name of a case.) Admit that you are super jealous of how cool I am.
School’s out for summer! Yippee!!!!!
Today is another conference day. I have company coming into town this weekend. There’s a rugby tournament for the boys on Saturday. I’m cantoring on Saturday night. And I have to prepare for trial on Monday. It’ll be fun. Party on, celebratory people
We said goodbye to Bahrain and got on a short flight to Abu Dhabi.
There we bought duty-free booze and thought about waiting for a bus transfer to Dubai. Instead, we decided to hire a driver to take us, sparing us a two-hour wait in the airport. The driver brought us to our rented apartment. (To promote maximum tourist spending, Dubai has a rule that there can be no more than two people in a hotel room no matter the age. So, we used AirBNB to rent an apartment for the weekend.)
We were on the 70th floor in a building near the marina. The view was incredible!
Burj Al Arab off in the distance
Super tall residential buildings
Man-made “Palm” island
We were actually in the second tallest residential building in the world. The swimming pool is on the 5th floor. We were there over the weekend, which is actually Thursday-Saturday here. We heard all the action Friday night and it was amazing that club music could be that loud this high up.
On Saturday, the kids and men went to the aquarium for a ray-feeding experience. They had a ton of fun. Us girls went to a spa where we got a two hour massage. It was The. Best. The. End. Zzzzzzzz.
That night we went to the Dubai Mall where the kids bought their own Lego people.
We also saw the amazing sights and sounds of Dubai at night.
Light up buildings
The Burj Kalifa light show
Water front outside the mall
Jimmy Choos! In! Real! Life!
Such mall, so shopping
Statute of traditional dress outside the mall
On Sunday we went to the beach and I took zero pictures and my husband lost all of the ones on his phone. We also went to mass where it was standing room only…outside the church.
It was very humbling to see what people go through to attend mass.
That evening the boys all went to the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa while us girls stayed home to pack and get some sleep before our early morning departure to Jordan.
After a good night’s rest in our super sweet apartment, it was off to the airport for drama and a trip to the Holy Land.
So, yeah, I still haven’t finished posting about our trip. What happened is, we started traveling fast and internet coverage was spotty. From Dubai, we headed to Jordan for a night at the Dead Sea, then down the King’s Highway for a night at Petra, then back up to Amman and into Israel for Holy Week in Jerusalem and back into Jordan for a night in Madaba before heading back to the states for a night in New York…phew. It was a whirlwind. We got back from New York around midnight and I headed to work later that morning and it hasn’t slowed down since. All of that to say, I will post about our trip, but a 7QT is in order to get me back to the blog since I’ve been gone for Two. Months. (How does that even happen?)
School’s (almost) out for summer! – My, oh my. I cannot wait to see the back of this school year. I blogged earlier about how we’ve been half homeschooling. The kids will go to a full-time school in August. While I am a bit trepidatious about the change, I am looking forward to it. The headmaster of their current school just announced that he’s not coming back in August and I just can’t imagine the place without him, so I feel better about the decision.
I teach my first professional continuing education seminar – Honestly, I signed up for this as a marketing tool and to get free admission to a yearly conference that focuses on professional development in my field. However, as the deadline for submitting my materials approached and I actually sat down to plan out the seminar, I realized how much fun it will be to teach something again. I spent years as a teacher before I went back to school to become an attorney and I never thought I’d miss it. Granted, this is teaching adults and not children.
Walking pneumonia and the boogie-woogie blues – My eldest came down with a case of atypical pneumonia…while my husband was on a business trip. Thank God we have our lovely nanny! My husband usually takes sick kid duty because his job is a bit more flexible than mine and, wow, did I miss him.
Game of Thrones – I binged on this while up listening to a crackly-lunged, coughing sickie. (He was sleeping, but I couldn’t rest easy with all his worrisome noise.) I have not read the books, but the story is really intriguing. Unfortunately the sexual content is over the top. Why do they do that? It’s such lazy writing because it aims to hook you through titillation instead of a good yarn. At any rate, it’s too much. I can’t. I hope the books don’t have that content because I’m going to try that next, but not before…
Audio Books – I buy an Audible book a month. I just finished part one of Edward Lacey’s Great Tales of English History and it was fantastic. I love English history. These books are short vignettes of various lesser-known stories from English history in a “Rest of the Story” format. I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to finish the other audio book I have right now so that I can get volume two.
StitchFix – I am anxiously awaiting my first arrival. Both of my sisters were here last week and wearing outfits they got from StitchFix. They looked sleek and polished next to my 10yo jeans that I’d rolled up in lieu of actually shopping for shorts. It was time. If I like the selections they send, I’ll link to it in a later post.
The Bishop is coming! – We have a packed weekend. Our Bishop, who just retired, is coming to our parish to ordain a new deacon. He is also baptizing the 12th baby of our largest parish family and presiding over a hierarchical divine liturgy for Pentecost. Oh, and it’s the last All Souls Saturday for the year. This means that there will be choir duties on Saturday morning, Saturday evening for Vespers and Divine Liturgy, and Sunday morning, otherwise known as 8+ hours at church this weekend. And, one of the men in our parish is having a graduation party on Saturday in celebration of his completion of nursing school. And, I’m supposed to be planning a party for my brother, who, while he is eschewing the actual graduation ceremony, has finished his Bachelor’s. We’re so proud of him and he needs a send-off before he and his wife head off to another state for him to begin law school. Busy times. I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll get to those vacation posts soon…
I’m on a roll…third QTs in as many weeks. Join Kelly for more.
1. We traveled and traveled and we got to Bahrain. We were so happy to see my sister. We always miss her. Bahrain turns out to be full of people doing people-y things…just like all the other people doing their thing all over the planet.
2. We saw some really cool things here including an old “fort” that is actually built on a “tell” that houses layers of civilization dating back to 2000B.C.
Panoramic view of one side of the fort. This was built in 1500ish.
The dig in the tell. This has been under excavation since 1954
More of the dig.
3. The architecture in Bahrain is really incredible. We saw all kinds of cool buildings, but what struck me was the continuity to centuries past.
Arches in the 1500s fort.
Dome (one of many) in the 1500 fort.
Modern mosque in Manama
Modern buildings in Manama
4. We have had a ton of fun riding around on the canals in the neighbor’s kayaks and my sister’s paddle board. We may or may not have turned every single outing into a game of bumper boats. Here I am about to be t-boned.5. We also visited the Grand Mosque and had a most interesting time. The tour guide was passionate about sharing his faith and I learned a lot.
6. We visited what turned out to be a camel dairy. Over 500 camels are kept for the King’s personal use and he uses them to produce camel milk for the royal family.
7. We are off to Dubai in few hours so I should get a move on. The adventures will continue with additional photo dumps. Hi, Mom!