Sunday, July 30, 2006

Welcome back to Doha! Coming back here to a compound without facilities has meant returning to our club: The Four Seasons Doha. What an experience, walking into the club after three months and being greeted enthusiastically... "Welcome back, Mrs. Klingbeil!" I change my clothes and start using the elliptical machine in the gym, only to be approached moments later by an attendant..."Cold towel, Miss Jennifer?" (the cold towel is lemon scented, of course). The soap in the showers is L'Occitane's lemon verbena. And I won't even get started on the facilities. The multiple outdoor pools are COOLED as to be refreshing in the 100+ degree heat. Whoa.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

If at first you don't succeed, try try again...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

For those of you who have been wondering why there aren't any photos from Germany posted to the blog, I tell ya I HAVE TRIED! Numerous times! I have tried on three separate days and on two separate computers. I have tried adding them to the Germany posting. I have tried putting them in a new post. NO DICE! I have no idea what is going on.
But there are photos, and I wish I could share them.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Greetings from Do-hot! Yes, my friends, we are back in Qatar, where the current temperature (according to is 37 degrees Celsius...with a "feels like 52 degrees Celsius" in smaller print. For you Fahrenheit folks, that's HOT. That's 99 degrees, feels like 125. Ouch. Even stepping out of the airport last night at 11pm was an experience. Have you ever been in a sauna? I used to think I knew about outdoor saunas after having lived in the South, but I tell ya, New Orleans and Mississippi are not like this. How bizarre to walk out into thick hot air at 11pm! But enough about that. That will just be a fact of life here until we leave, and that's that! At least we have air conditioning (praise the Lord!!!!).

We arrived last night without incident after spending five nights in Germany visiting Markus's mother and sister. Ellie finally got to meet her Oma and Tante Ulla! Hooray! Much of the days were lost to jet lag (from which Jennifer and Ellie are still suffering), but it was wonderful to see them and we had a very nice visit, despite the fact that it was also record heat in Germany (35.6 degrees...preparing us for our return?). One big advantage over Germany that we have here in Doha is AIR CONDITIONING (praise ye who invented that lovely contraption)! Europe doesn't traditionally have the kind of heat they are experiencing now, so very few places (or homes) have A/C. That made some logistics of our visit (and sleeping at night) a bit challenging. We wanted to get out and about more, but the heat posed a few restrictions we hadn't anticipated.
The first day was our best, with a visit to a 11th century monastery and its surrounding gardens and lake. The gardens were very impressive...hundreds of varieties of plants, beautifully cultivated and also available in a public greenhouse for purchase. However, my favorite part was the traditional kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) on the terrace of the restaurant. Keep your German efficiency, forget BMWs...the best German invention I know is kaffee und kuchen. Any excuse to eat yummy cake on a daily basis sounds good to me! (and again somehow Jennifer's blogging devolves into drooling over food...)
Later in the week, Ulla came with us on a visit to Bonn's German History Museum (fairly interesting and well laid-out, but I HIGHLY recommend you be fluent in German if you want to grasp more than a fraction of it). We dined one night in a fun, Gaudi-inspired restaurant high in the vineyards near Ahrweiler. The vineyards there are all on the steep hillsides lining the Rhein valley, so it was a beautiful view and particularly nice given that I've been at sea-level or below for quite a while now. All in all, it was one of the nicest visits I've experienced there, despite the temperature. Those were the first real days of downtime we've had as a family in ages, and I really enjoyed them. Thank you, Rita and Ulla, for making everything so easy and relaxing for us!

Now it's time to get going again. I think the blogging-devolving-into-foodie-drooling means it must be lunchtime.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Will wonders never cease?
The contractor met with us this morning!
Our last day in Ocean Springs.
After weeks of trying to track him down.
And voila...there he was, with an estimate and a start date in two weeks' time!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It's got to be some sort of twisted tribute to how much STUFF my Dad had that the estate sales man was at the house all day yesterday until midnight, and one can hardly see the dent he made in clearing it out. He had been there before to make a size and time estimate. He's a licensed and bonded professional with years of experience in estate sales, so I thought he would know what he's doing...but I'm amazed he showed up yesterday with only his son and his daughter-in-law thinking they'd be done in one day. Are you KIDDING ME?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Well, folks, we're back! Markus, Ellie and I flew to New Orleans last night (after significant delays...thank you, United!), and then we just pressed on to Ocean Springs. Today, the estate sales man is supposed to come (keep your fingers crossed!) and we will attempt once more to process Dad's taxes. After that remains the meeting with our ever-elusive contractor. We'll keep you posted on how it all goes!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Just a brief update before I dash off to bed.
Thursday was a very hard day, but Arlington provided a beautiful ceremony. I can't imagine going through such a ceremony as a spouse. As a child, it was hard enough. The service was very patriotic and incredibly moving. The 21 gun salute. Taps. The respect and dignity. Beautiful.

Friday, we tried to recoup a bit. We went to visit Great Grandpa Joe and then took a walk around Burke Lake. At dinnertime, Ellie tried some corn on the cob...yummy summer treat!

Friday night sent us back to the emergency room at 2am because Ellie woke up screaming and rubbing her ear vigorously...only to have her finally pass some very stubborn gas upon arrival. Sigh. At least we learned her ears are getting better.

Today, we managed to have a wonderful day! Markus, Ellie and I took the opportunity of some unseasonably gorgeous weather to go to Mount Vernon for playtime. We strolled the grounds and visited the cows. Ellie, of course, had to sample the grass, as well as various pebbles in the gardens.

Later, we met the Mimi in Old Town Alexandria for dinner and walkies. Such amazing weather! Clear skies, warm but not hot...are we really supposed to go back to Doha?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sorry to have been so out of touch, but we are on vacation! At least, theoretically. Ellie and I arrived in Northern Virginia last Wednesday afternoon. We've been visiting with the Mimi and having a grand ol' time...during the day. Ellie has almost completely abandoned all attempts to nap or sleep at night. This has led to a great deal of exhaustion on everyone's part and thus no time or energy for blogging.

Our wonderful friend Lee came for a visit this weekend, and we were so happy to see her! We went shopping and talking and eating and generally had a delightful, girly visit! She and Ellie met and fed some Canadian geese at Burke Lake (see photo op). Thank you for coming to see us, Lee!

On top of the lack of sleep, we could tell by Sunday that Miss Ellie wasn't quite herself. Then, the tell-tale ear rubbing started again in earnest. A Sunday afternoon trip to the emergency room confirmed that her ear infection was back with a vengeance in both ears AND she has a minor throat infection too. FUN! Back on antibiotics and baby Tylenol. Sigh. She's happy again, though, so we will take it!

Yesterday was the most wonderful day! PAPA ARRIVED! After weeks apart, our little family is reunited! Markus arrived without any troubles yesterday evening. Jennifer couldn't be happier, and Ellie is certainly thrilled...and distrustful of him going out of sight for long. She wants him to hold her all the time and she's been showing off all of her new skills. Today at the National Air and Space Museum, she showed him how fun it was to help her push the stroller in circles around and around and around and around... So happy!

Tonight, we are off to meet a dear friend, Meghan, for dinner. Hooray!

Tomorrow is Dad's inurnment at Arlington. We are expecting to see lots of family at the service, which will be very special. Dad's service will include full military honors, and we are sure it will be a very beautiful ceremony.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Had to share this find, because it is PURE JOY!!