Sunday, April 29, 2007

Springin' Into Spring!

Last week, Moody lost 3 teeth one-a-day in a row. Sweet caring Shamsa made the trip all 3 nights leaving behind her fairy dust. The first tooth Moody lost that week was his fourth. We did the gift, the fairy dust, note and everything as usual. The second day, he lost another one, and our thought was: What have we gotten ourselves into! So we told him that Shamsa brings gifts for the first four teeth only. After that, she only brings a silver dollar and a note for every tooth. It is a lot of work to make Shamsa come, especially if we are not prepared. A last-minute trip to the store, wrapping the gift, writing the note, setting them up with the fairy dust in his room. And of course, we have to wait till Moody falls asleep, which he does not do easily when waiting for Shamsa. Every time Shamsa visits, he wakes us up around 2 or 3am to tell us what she got him! That time, he told me the next day that the wrapping paper looks familiar. I didn't comment, so he added, "I have seen it in the storage area. You think Shamsa stole it from there?"

Last week was also picture day at Straub Dance Center. ALicja dressed Tala, made her makeup and hair. I missed being there. Soccer and T-Ball are in full swing. T-Ball is nice, but it means dirt and dirt and dirt riding back home with us. The kids are just fascinated by the dirt and you find them perched on the ground playing with it, or throwing it up in the air to fall on their heads. All that while the coach is talking to the team and coaching them! I was watching Tala playing with the dirt during practice; she then took her baseball hat off, filled it with dirt, and before I could yell out to her, she put it back on her head!

We've been having terrific weather on the weekends, rainy during the week. It works perfectly fine for us. We worked on the yard last weekend. Cleaned it up, spread the mulch, mowed the grass, etc. The yard looks nice now, and the flower beds clean. Of course, it is not spring without rabbits eating my plants and flowers as they sprout off the ground. I used to whoosh them away, but I came to terms with them. The plants eventually outgrow the rabbits, so I let nature take its course.

Work is evolving so smoothly. I have been placed in direct contact with the industrial world for the first time in my life. I'm learning quite a big deal, especially that last week was the suppliers visits to our offices, which involved presentation of their companies, products and history. I now know a lot about forgings, gearboxes, couplings, gas generators, compressors, air filters... A totally new world to me coming from a culture that imports and consumes out of boxes with no second thought to how things came to be. Additionally, I'm taking the Lean Enterprise class and it includes visits to plants and value stream mapping. On Friday, we went to Kaiser Aluminum, and I saw LIQUID metal being poured and casted into humongous rods, then pressed and extruded into billets of hexagonal shape that is later forged into different pieces for use in the automobile industry... and the little buttons on your jeans' pockets. A whole new world!

A new planet! And what do they call it? Gliese 581c! Couldn't they be a bit more romantic. It is in constellation Libra, circulating a red dwarf. Its surface temperature of 32 to 104°F makes it Earth-like and potentially habitable. Very exciting news! A break from the sad news coming from all corners of Earth. The bad news about this planet is that it takes 20 years to travel to it IF we travel at the speed of light. Imagine the possibilities!

It's a beautiful day outside... I'm outta here to enjoy it!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Rahaf!

Rahaf (left) and Ru'a. Cairo, Egypt, 2007

Rahaf Kambaraki, my niece, Noha's daughter. Born in Benghazi, April 20, 1997. She is 10 today. Yoohoo! She is celebrating her birthday with chickenpox! Hope you get better soon sweetie!

Happy Birthday!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Seasonal Confusion!

It's that time of the year. One day it's 80°F(27°C) and sunny, the next it's below 30°F (-1°C) and snowing. The last 2 weekends, we had wonderful weather. We went to the park, on bike rides, and got to clean the front yard. It all ended this Wednesday when it went back to freezing. It's been snowing since then; not much, but disappointing and annoying enough! We need to clean the back yard, spread the mulch, mow the lawn. But that ain't going to happen in this weather! Last week after class, I was walking out with a friend. As soon as we exited the building, we were greeted with the smell of freshly-spread mulch. Simultaneously, my friend said "phewee!" And I said, "aaaah!" She couldn't understand why I like such a smell, I told her it's the association of the smell with spring. I don't think she got it still :)

Soccer season started few weeks back. But because of the weather, Moody had 2 practices only, and Tala none. Moody's practice always fell on muddy or chilly days. Tala's sessions were cancelled for the bad weather. The kids are in Spring break this week and would resume school on Monday. They have been having a blast with Alicja; rain, snow, or shine, they're doing something fun.

Moody is reading chapter books! On Tuesdays, he brings from school two books in a Ziploc bag. They call it Bag-a-Book. Children would read the books at home with the help of their parents and then rate the books in the sheet provided, take them back to school the next Tuesday, and read them to the teacher. Usually, Moody reads the books to us with no help. Few weeks ago, the teacher took Moody to the second-grade class so he would pick books from that level. Way to go Moody!

We have been doing so well with the change in our schedule since I started work. It's been smooth. I'm still at the discovery stage at work, from both ends. I like it very much though, and I'm excited to go to work every morning. The only thing that I still have to get used to is the drive. I drive 102 miles (163 km) a day on Mon., Wed., Thur., and some Fridays from home, to work, to school, to home; and 66 miles (106 km) a day on the rest of the week. It's a bit tiring still, but I'm enjoying my time alone. The drive from home to work is on a semi-country road, driving by fields and farms and treed areas. The signs of Spring are evident in the change of colors and landscape as trees and flowers are blooming, and empty fields are starting to fill.

Moody had been wanting to go to Meet the Robinsons and I promised him that for the weekend. Yesterday, Alicjia called me at work and said Moody was begging to go to the movie. Since they both had been really good with her, I told her to take them and visit Mr. Bunny if he's still there and take some pictures. The movie was 3-D. They had a blast--followed by ice cream and a visit to the Easter Bunny! Today, Good Friday, is a holiday at work, but I had a guest-speaker class in the morning. I came home around noon. The kids were happy to see me, though Tala had a mixed reaction to the change in routine. I kept asking them what they wanted to do and suggested many places we could go to and things we can do, but they wanted to stay home and watch a movie. I was all for that myself! We cuddled up on the sofa, and watched Finding Nemo. I had a good nap watching the movie :)

Weather permitting, we will go to the Egg Hunt at Highbanks Park tomorrow morning. I doubt it though; It's snowing heavily now, big nice flakes! I could do some shopping instead, and we could finish our search for a grill.