Monday, December 7, 2009

the 10lb life changer

I'm guessing on the weight since it's been a few weeks since the last weigh in, but here she is!

Ramona Sabine Wray Dworkin was born on Ocotber 25th at 9:25pm. It was quite an ordeal, which I won't go into here (visit the baby blog for that saga) but I'll just say that it was 2 days of waiting, contracting, and screaming for drugs. Here are some "Egyptian" details from the experience...
*Ira had to go to the hospital and reserve a room the day before (I was induced)
*we stayed in a suite where they brought a fruit bowl each day
*nurses that don't speak English
*baby girls get their ears pierced at birth, therefore everyone thought she was a boy (and still do)
*you have to pay for all the services up front
I'm sure there are other things that I'm either forgetting or blocking out, but those are some highlights. It was really fine all around. She's perfect and lovely and we are loving every minute of parenthood.
That being said, please forgive my long absence from the blogs and thank you (most of you) for not harassing me too much about it. I am back! I can't promise regular postings, but when I get a moment where there's a nap that I'm not participating in, I'll be posting. Although, as promised when I found out I was pregnant, all baby blabber will be reserved for the other blog. Also, I'm planning on posting crafting, knitting, and sewing on that blog. So if that's your thing, check it out.
We leave in 2 weeks for our trip home for the holidays, can't wait!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jenna and the Giant Peach

Ok, I know this is a lame blog post, and I've been a slacker AGAIN. But Ira brought home the biggest peach I've ever seen and I had to share! This also leads me to talk about how OBESESSED I am with the juicer and the blender/food processor we bought a couple weeks ago. I am pulverizing anything I can these days. Here are some of the fun things I've been making; smoothies made from everything from Mango to Peach to Guava, Homemade salsa, pear ginger juice, orange juice, plum apple juice, pommegrante/apple/pear juice...but I would say the crowning glory would have to be the watermelon mint granita we had with dinner the other night. Just watermelon, mint, and ice, yum!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our week in Paris

Ira and I spent a week in Paris en route back to Cairo. Although we had both been there before, I thought we managed to find a balance and do lots of things we hadn't done before...
DISCLAIMER: My French spelling sucks and I am too lazy to look it up or ask my fluent husband. We landed early in the morning on monday and made our way to the hotel by bus. We stayed at the Edouard IV in Montparnasse. We couldn't check in right away, so we had a little bite to eat at one of the cafes next door. After getting up to our room (small but very clean) I needed a shower and a nap. Ira pretended that he didn't need a nap, but cut to 4 hours later when we were both waking up from some much needed rest. After that, we went to the Pompidu Center. I had never been there before, it was great. And the view was not to be believed. After that we had a lovely little dinner right across the street from the museum. We then made our way to another little spot for some dessert.
The next day we went to the Musee D'Orsay, one of my favorite places on earth. I love the old converted train station, it's just a magnificent space. We then walked to the St. Germain area for a late lunch. We took the metro back to the hotel because my pregnant feet couldn't take any more walking at that point. We stopped at the cafe for some ice cream for me and a beer for Ira. We had an early night, I'm pretty sure the pregnant mama was asleep by 9pm.
Wednesday we went to one of my OTHER favorite places on earth, the Rodin Museum and gardens. I had special memories of this spot when I was there with my Aunt Barb several years ago. We got there too late to go in the museum but had a wonderful couple of hours in the rain exploring the gardens and dreaming on the benches. Ira and I were lucky enough to go inside and it was just as spectacular as I imagined it would be all those years ago. I think I took more pictures in there than any other place we visited. It was a bright and sunny day this time, I can't decide if maybe I liked it more in the rain...I didn't want to leave, but eventually my hunger won out and we had a fabulous lunch, probably my favorite of the trip. I ate a huge cheese plate that I'm still thinking about weeks later. After lunch we walked down the street to the Quai Branley Museum. It was a very interesting space. It had a lot of great pieces of African art and Ira wanted to go there to see a Tarzan exhibit. He was less than thrilled with it, but we were glad we went anyway. Next, we were off to the Eifel Tower. We had intended to go up but the lines were so long! So we settled for admiring it from below and taking pictures. It was kind of funny, most days we ate lunch so late that we didn't even need dinner. But I always needed dessert!
For our last full day we went to the Musee Dans La Rue, a modern gallery space. Ira was way into the graffiti exhibit they had. It was very...thorough. Let's just say that I spent a good part of 3 or 4 hours sitting on a bench while my darling husband soaked it all in. : ) Don't get me wrong, it was a great exhibit, I just got the general idea and then I was ready to move on. But Ira loved it and I'm glad we went. Next, more cheese for mama! I made my way through another massive cheese plate (with some help from Ira) I spotted a pastry shop right next to the cafe so of course we had to stop in. We left with 3 kinds; apple, apricot, and peach. We walked along the Seine and looked at all the strange and interesting things the booksellers were shilling. We stopped in a little shop where I wanted to buy everything : ) It was lovely making our way past all the bridges. Where were we heading?? The ferris wheel!! I know it's cheesy and the French hate it, but we were so excited to go up in that thing. Ira was filming a movie for the baby. We got in and then once we got up towards the top we both started freaking out a little bit. I'm pretty sure at one point I looked over and Ira had his eyes closed, haha. It was so high! And you're in this rinky dink little thing that doesn't really have sides to it or anything. But we survived. And I ate apple pastry while looking down on the Louvre and the Eifel Tower, it doesn't get much better than that. After we safely disembarked the big scary ferris wheel, we got some churros. I know. We are ugly Americans. But they smelled sooooo good! And I'm pregnant so I get an ugly American free pass. After gorging ourselves on fried dough, we sat on chairs in the jardin tulleries and looked up into the trees, one of my favorite things to do. We walked towards the L'Arc du Triomph. We got someone to take our picture but you can't really make it out in the back round very well. Anyway, it was a perfect last evening in Paris. The next morning we had one last lovely breakfast (I am still wishing for the fresh squeezed orange juice, and the grapefruit for that matter) and then it was off to the airport. We can't wait to go back someday with the baby!
The slide show is coming, as usual be patient.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm back, baby!

Hi everyone! How are you? I know, I know, I have been a baaaaad blogger. But here's the thing. I figure that you all knew I was having a wonderful time at home in the States and I didn't feel the need to tell you about all the ice cream and sushi I was eating. I had a fabulous summer. Spent lots of time with family and friends and saw 8 movies! I just can't get enough of the coke slushies.
So, back in Cairo. It's really hot. I've been staying in because after two long flights and a week in Paris walking everywhere, I was very swollen in my ankles, feet and hands. I decided I needed a couple days to shrink back to normal and hydrate. Not to mention, scrub the flat. The dust and sand infiltrated while we were gone. I'm trying to attack it slowly but surely. So now I'm just waiting for all of our friends to get back. We are really the only ones who are back. Unless people have kids (they started school this week) it's really best to stay away from the heat as long as possible. But since I'm going to have this baby in 8 weeks (!), I needed to get back earlier than we would have liked. I did have lunch with Gordana and Veli yesterday, and then baby sat Veli, which involved watching Mary Poppins and eating organic lollipops I brought back for the boys!
Alright, that's all for now. Look forward to more regular updates, at least until Baby Dworkin shows up!

*first picture is the "Bickhart Beach Babes" girls weekend for my grandmother's 80th birthday
*second picture is of my baby shower thrown by my best friends
*third picture is of my brother Connor and me on the haunted mansion ride in Rehoboth Beach.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

week one

I've been home a little over a week and apart from missing Ira all the way in the Congo, it's gone by really fast. The flights were hard and it took my pregnant body almost a week to recover. I had swelling in my legs and feet, some sort of weird pain in my knee that didn't go away for a few days, and a twinge in my hip that I'm still dealing with. I have to say thank you to the Air France guy who let me have my own row on the way from Paris to Dulles, even though the rest of the plane was packed. I can't imagine what kind of shape I would be in if I wouldn't have been able to put my feet up for 8 hours. But I arrived in one piece, stayed at Kelly and Andy's the first night, went to breakfast with Kelly and Laurie the next morning (Lox, bagel, and cream cheese!) then Kelly drove me halfway and we met my dad in Maryland. The rest of the week was filled with dinners and lunches catching up with friends and relatives. Then, this past weekend, I went to Rehoboth Beach with my mom, grandmother, Aunt Nancy, and cousins Elizabeth and Sarah to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday. It was 3 days of shopping, eating, beaching (when the weather would cooperate), and lots and lots of giggling. I don't miss Egypt yet, other than Amanda and all my friends. Maybe in a few more weeks...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bye-ro Cairo

Yeah, I''m weird and bye-ro isn't a word but it rhymes so I'm going with it. This is the last post from Cairo for at least a couple of months. I will still post from the States, for there will be lots going on and fun pictures for you to look at I'm sure! So let's see...
Suitcases? Barely started packing.
Flat? A mess.
Gifts? Not done getting them yet.
Why am I blogging instead of doing these things? Good question.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eggs? No, figs!

Today we had a good bye lunch with the Westmorelands. Gordana and the boys are off to Serbia and various other parts of Europe and Mark will be joining them as well as doing some research in Lebanon. After lunch we walking and I spotted some cherries at one of the fruit stands! Yay! So I bought a half kilo, although I have a feeling they'll be gone by the end of the day. I was really looking for figs because Amanda and Pete had told me they bought some and the word is they are in season now. Plus, I had an idea to make fig bars for the airplane. I asked if they had them and he said "how many?" I asked if I could see them and he proceeds to walk me 3 doors down to a little grocery store. There, the shop keeper pulled out some eggs. "Eggs?" he asked. "No, fiiiiiiiiiiigs" I replied. It was all very funny. Or at least Ira thought so. In the end they didn't have any, but the other fruit stand (my favorite one) had both green and black figs. The man there proceeded to break one of each in half and hand them to Ira and me to try. They were both amazing but I thought the black ones would be better for cooking. So we got a kilo for about $3. I don't even want to think about how much they would be in the States! I had to resist buying tons of other fruit that looked delicious; mangoes, melons, peaches...we're leaving in a few days and although I could probably eat it all, I wouldn't want any to go to waste. There are some figs on the stove right now cooking down to be made into bars. If they are any good, I'll post my recipe!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Swine Flu

Oh yes, just what I wanted to hear 5 days before leaving. The Swine Flu is here and it has hit close to home (sort of). 2 AUC students who arrived from America last week have it, and it's suspected that at least one other student has it as well. The good news is, Amanda has the week off so I'll get to see a lot of her before I leave (and spend extra time at the pool, which my ever swelling feet can use). The bad news is that Ira isn't allowed on campus which means some unresolved insurance issues before we leave as well as inconveniences like not being able to print things, go to the bank, and get my brother an AUC t-shirt : ) Oh well...I'm happy that Ira and I will get to spend extra time together since we won't see each other for a month after Saturday :( But that means that I am less motivated than I already am to start packing and organizing the flat! I shouldn't be complaining when the poor AUC kids are quarantined in their dorm! I just hope it was an isolated incident and everyone is ok...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So, having 2 blogs is not usually an issue but today I accidentally posted something on the baby blog that I meant to post on this one. So if you don't mind, you can go over to that one and see some pictures of the Maadi House I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused your fingers, extra clicking is SO annoying!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just plain crazy

Alright, so my everyday blogging idea has not worked out so well. I admit. Things are getting ready to burst around here. I can feel the tension and energy from everyone around me. We're all ready to leave. But with that comes the work of leaving. It's not just packing a suitcase and saying "have a good summer". We have to make sure the apartment is sealed up, cover furniture and electronics to protect it from the dust, suspend or cancel things like internet service, I think we probably have to pay the doorman for the summer, I still have gifts to buy for some friends and family, Ira is still finishing up things on campus, I'm still teaching yoga, oh and we have a house guest (a lovely house guest but still a house guest) until Monday. Ira and I have some fantasy that we're going to have some semblance of alone time before we depart. Since he's going to do research in Congo for a month, I'm not going to see him for the first month that I'm in the States. And then there are the things that I'm trying to plan from here for when I will be in the States. We normally make a trip up to New York to visit friends, but it doesn't look like we'll have time for that this time around so I'm trying to coordinate some meet ups in Philly (a much shorter train ride for me). But it seems so funny to me to send an email asking someone if they are free on July 31st! But this is my life, everything needs to be planned that far in advance or someone will get left out and I'll be sad. And then as I mentioned in another posts, there are the impromptu parties and get-togethers that will go on here until every last one of us is on our way somewhere. Not that I'm complaining about that part, or any of it really. It's just a lot. So forgive me, loyal bloggers. I'll try to be better...

Monday, May 25, 2009


We were told when we moved here that the corn wasn't good. It didn't really matter since we could never find any anyway. Until now. I saw some in the market about a week ago and it looked really good. I couldn't resist. So I bought some, brought it home, and cooked it. I was awesome! Just as good as any of the corn I eat at home during peak season. Although it's better on the grill at my mom's house...but I digress. So I went back to the market and there wasn't any corn! I was bummed. But then. A few days later. There was more. So I bought it again and made a big meal for Ira and me. You would think that would be enough. But I went back again. This time with the intention of freezing it, which is my new plan for preserving all the yummy fruits and veggies here. So I brought it home, boiled it and it took all my will power not to eat it before I cut it off the cob and put it in the freezer! Last night I went to the market because I knew that corn was waiting in the freezer (so much for saving it!) and I knew I could make corn chowder with a few more ingredients. But who wants to eat corn chowder when it's 100 degrees?? And then, I saw it. More corn! Hmm...I could save the corn in the freezer and buy some fresh corn and make something ELSE! So that's what I did. And here is the fruit of my obsession...

Summer Orzo Salad

You could really use any combination of veggies in this and I've made a similar Greek version. This is what looked good and fresh yesterday...

1 box Orzo, boiled and drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped (although I prefer a few small pickling cucumbers)
1 cup sliced olives
2 ears of corn, boiled, sliced off the cob
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. olive oil

Prepare the orzo and set aside. Toss together the veggies with the orzo, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature (if you can wait that long), or refrigerate overnight for a cold salad.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ana and Peter

I was telling my bf Lauren the other day (on g-chat, our main form of communication) that this is a weird life. I mean, life is weird in general but this life that Ira and I are leading is particularly weird. Not because we live here but the way that we live here. Hmm...I'm not explaining myself well...probably because I'm trying to explain several things at once. And because it's 4am and I can't sleep. Anyway, let me try again. So the first thing that is strange about the way we live our lives is that we're always saying good bye to someone. Now up until tonight that meant "See you in 4 months!" If we were in the States. Or "See you in 2 months!" if we were in Egypt. I knew the good byes we said tonight would be different, and I've known since August that they were coming, but it didn't make it any easier.
Peter was the wise cracking European guy at orientation. He actually missed the first morning of orientation because, well, no one told him about it. He always had a funny remark or random question for the presenters, and kept all of our spirits up when we didn't think we could take one more presentation about health insurance or why we couldn't get mail here. And then there was Ana. Before we even moved here, Ira sent me some info on her. While he was in Miami he followed one of her pieces she wrote for the Miami Herald. She also wrote this and this and this. Anyway, she was here in Egypt as a Fullbright in the Journalism Department. I just adored her right away. She was so fun and laid back and easy to get along with. She had been all over the world and lived abroad many times, but she just seemed so down to earth. She and Peter were the romance of our "Freshman Class", as I like to call this year's newcomers. An unlikely couple (or so we thought at first) but they truly complimented each other and now it's hard to remember a time when they weren't together. Ana took my yoga classes and she was a great student, although I could never get her to try a headstand, grrr...They were always a lot of fun on our ill fated AUC trips and we still laugh about the long bus rides, day long dusty tours, bad hotels, and the "death marches" (as Ana called them) with no food. So I knew they were leaving at the "end of the year" but I guess it still hasn't hit me that that's what this is. We all knew that Peter, not being the biggest fan of Egypt, would be out on the first plane after his last class. But I was hoping that Ana would stick around a little longer. And she was planning to. Until a pot hole had better plans and caused her to break her foot last week. She couldn't get around by herself and had to make the decision to leave early. There was a little party at Peter's last weekend. But I knew that tonight would be the real good bye. "The Fuuls" were playing at the Maadi House and Ana and Peter were going to stop by before the car came to take them to the airport. It was just sad. And it's made me realize that sooner or later I'm going to have to say good bye to ALL the friends that I've made here. Whether they're leaving, or we're leaving, it's going to happen eventually. I guess you could make some sort of philosophical argument that we have to say good bye to everyone in our lives, but save it! It just makes it all feel temporary to me. So the best I can do is stay in the moment and enjoy the life that we have chosen and love the friends that we have made.
Good luck in Amsterdam, Ana and Peter! We'll miss you...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Goodbye Guruji

Today the beloved Sri K. Pattabhi Jois passed away. "Guruji" as he was called by his students, was 94 years old. In his long, amazing, productive life he taught the Ashtanga series to millions, either himself or through the teachers he blessed. Although I had always dreamed of going to India, and still do, I never made it there to study with him. However, I have been blessed to study with a very select few that he did bless and I always felt I was in a direct line to his wisdom and light. He was, for lack of a better word, the "founder" of Ashtanga yoga. Before I came to Egypt, one of my teachers, Christine Hoar said "you'll teach yoga when you get there". And knowing that Guruji had told her the same thing, that she should teach, made me feel I was in good company. And so I do teach the series to anyone who wants to learn, to anyone who wants to follow the path that he has so carefully and specifically laid out for us. Although his presence will be missed all over the world, he has truly left a legacy greater than any one person could dream to create.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

my least favorite number...

100. That would be how hot it is today. We've been getting little tastes of this weather for a week or so, but I think it means business now. It was this hot yesterday, and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop. And being pregnant does not make it any easier. I have to walk a little slower these days and I'm used to rushing as fast as I can into the AC. I was at the pool yesterday with Amanda and it was all we could do to sit there for more than 15 minutes without having to get in the water (which was like a bath) So, as if there was any doubt, if there isn't AC or a body of non-Nile water around, you won't find me! Ugh. 27 days...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Barefoot and Pregnant

That's me! Still cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Today it was lentil soup and then later peach cobbler for dessert. I had intended to make some tomato sauce as well but some knitting got in the way of that...I will post the recipes soon, since they're all in my head (and truth be told, different each time) I want to make sure you get the best version. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A lovely evening

We spent our first anniversary making homemade pizzas on Egyptian flat bread. The fresh basil was the best part! After dinner we watched the wedding video and I got very teary, especially watching my friends and family. Oh, and this is the book that Ira gave to me, can't wait to dive in!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Today is a big day times three. First of all, it’s my mom’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old she is for fear of being disowned, but she’s old enough to have a 31 year old daughter and a second grandchild on the way, yet I am always met with disbelief that she’s old enough to be either. She teaches pilates and “Body Flow” (cross between pilates, tai chi, and yoga) and has private clients as well. She is fun, energetic, and always up for a party or a night on the town. When I was living in the states we would talk 5 times a day, usually the conversations would start with “You know that guy who’s on that show you like? Who is he married to again?” And somehow I know the “guy” and the “show” that she’s talking about. Now that we can’t have those conversations much anymore, they have turned into marathon Skype sessions. She has been so helpful and comforting during this pregnancy, especially in the beginning when I was worried about everything. I know she’ll do something fun and fabulous for her birthday. Have a great one, mom. Love you!

And then mom gets a double whammy (which she hates) because it's also Mother's Day. I guess she likes to have the two spread out to enjoy both. Anyway, this year I was at a loss for what to do about gifts. Not what to get, she's pretty easy in that department, but how to get it to her. You can't send packages from Egypt (or get them). So my first idea was to send something from Greece, I thought that would be fun. But then I had an even better, and more economicial, idea. While Laurie was here back in March we did a lot of shopping. So on our outings I kept my eye out for a birthday present and a mother's day present that she could take back with her, hand off to my dad, and then my dad could get it to my mom. Whew! And he did! Thanks Dad (and Laurie!) Since she already sent me an email thanking me for the gifts, I can tell you what I got her. For Mother's Day, I found this really cool candle holder, it's a brushed silver and looks like a bowl and there are tiny holes punched in it the whole way around. When lit, it has an amazing effect. And then for her birthday, I found a beautiful scarf that I know she loves, and a gold cuff bracelet that looks very "Egyptian". She seems to like everything and I can't wait to Skype later today and see them modeled! So there are many other women in my life that deserve honoring on this day. My sweet friend Kelly, because this is her first Mother's Day. My Aunt Barb, because she's always been like a 2nd mom to me. And Harriet, my mother in law, for being a great mother and raising my favorite guy. Which brings me to the third special thing about this day...

One year ago today I married the man of my dreams. We had the most perfect, simple, handmade wedding overlooking the river and mountains. My friend Heather and I spent months making tablecloths, blankets for the kids at the wedding to sit in the grass, handmade invitations, not to mention scouring craft stores and anywhere else we could think of to find fun unique touches to make this the best day of our lives. And it was. We had friends and loved ones come from 17 different states (and Japan!) we wrote the whole ceremony ourselves. We obtained a self uniting license, which meant we could have anyone marry us. So we decided to have Ira's sister Jodi, and my brother Connor (who was 13 at the time and did an AWESOME job) We had friends and family read parts of the ceremony and participate as much as possible. The food was awesome, catered from different places, including a Moroccan restaurant that we love. And there were cupcakes of course! We danced to "Knocks Me Off My Feet" by Stevie Wonder. My "best women" gave incredible speeches. Because the park would only let us stay until 8:00, and we knew we had to keep the party going, we moved on to our suite at the Hilton and danced, drank, and some even played cards, until the wee hours. So that was the wedding, but how is the marriage?? haha Even better. This has been a whirlwind year for both of us, but through the moving, the travel, the adjustments, there has been love, and happiness, and light, always. I love you Ira, and next year at this time we'll be celebrating with the new love of our lives. I can't wait.

Here are some pictures from our magical day. 1) The ceremony 2) singing to each other during our first dance 3) breaking it down! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More food...

In addition to making that salad yesterday, I had an urge to make something banana as well. It was actually less of an "urge" and more of a need to get rid of the rotting bananas on the counter! There is a, ahem, banana overbuying problem in this house. Someone gets excited when they go to the fruit stand and the guy cuts them off the stem for him. Anyway, I guess if it results in banana muffins it's not all bad...
I adapted this recipe from Martha, but I put marscapone in it which I think is super fun. I almost put some peaches in them, but that would have meant I wouldn't have been be able to eat the peaches all by themselves and that was not an option.

Makes 12 Muffins or 36 Minimuffins

  • 4 (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) ripe bananas, plus 1 for garnish (more if making mini muffins)
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup marscapone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan, regular or mini, with paper liners.
  2. Peel four bananas, and place them in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until mashed, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar, oil, and egg; beat until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat until combined.
  3. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Slice remaining banana into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; place a slice on each muffin. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes for regular muffins and 20 for mini, rotating pan halfway through. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store, covered, at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Summer Salad

It's been a while since I've posted a recipe and if you people want these posts to be about anything other than my lack of sleep (although it went better last night!) you are probably going to see more of these in the next month...
So those of you who have eaten with me in restaurants know that if there is a beet salad on the menu, I am there. In fact, if there's a choice, I would rather eat a beet salad and some yummy dessert than an entree. Anyway, I love beets. I know a lot of people hate beets. But I think that most of those judgments are made on pickled beets. I love those too, don't get me wrong! But they do have a strong taste and beets when they're naked and very mild and even sweet. I took a beet salad to a New Year's party this year and I had 3 beet converts! So if it's been a while since you've had beets, try them again, I bet you'll love them.

Beet and Orange Salad with Mint and Goat Cheese
2 small oranges, cut into one inch segments
3 medium cooked beets, diced
1/2 cup goat cheese (or half a "log"), crumbled. You could probably substitute feta as well.
2 tbs. chopped fresh mint
sea salt to taste

Cut the oranges and place them in a bowl. Chop the mint and toss with the oranges. Dice the beets and toss with oranges and mint. Crumble the goat cheese and lightly toss. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
*if you are preparing this salad ahead of time, but it's going to be couple of hours before you serve it, or if you are traveling with it, you may want to wait to assemble it until just before serving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Still no sleep...

So this is a picture of my eye. My eye after a night sleep that went like this; going to "bed" at 11:00...gettitng up at 12:00...trying to go back to sleep at 3:00...getting up at 4:00...going back to bed at 4:45...falling asleep sometime after 5:00 (no thanks to an extra long call to prayer "remix" of some kind)...waking up at 8:00, hungry...back to bed at 9:00...back up at 11:00. That was my last 12 hours! And of course the day that I'm wiped out and grumpy the sky actually doesn't look like the apocalypse. It was bluer and less smoggy early this morning but it still looks nice. Oh well, maybe if I feel a little better after some lunch I'll head out...
p.s. for those of you that read Ira's blog, that's the lamp in the backround that he talks about in todays' post! I didn't even do that on purpose!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A new day

First of all, you may have noticed that I went back to my old layout for the blog. I know it's not as pretty but I felt like the other one was kind of...distracting. I plan on adding photos more frequently (more on that in a minute) and I don't want the bright colors and design to take away from that.
So I'm still not going outside. Now it's less about the allergies and more about the sandstorms! Today is the 3rd day. You know when you heat up the oven and then open it to put something in? That's what I feels like when you walk outside. You open the door and it's like opening the door to an oven. And then once you're outside, even if the wind isn't blowing there is a fine silt in the air. At night, you can see it in the beams of the headlights of cars. It gets in your teeth, your eyes, your hair. It's gross. So since I'm not teaching today I'm going to stay in and hope it's better tomorrow. No one seems to know how long this will last. We were warned about this, but we were told that it would happen in late winter or early spring. Oh well.
My latest obsession has been the blog When I was doing my baby registry I found a book about having a creative family and it looked so great. Then Heather told me that the author had a blog, that she got started doing a blog and then wrote the book. So I checked it out, and a week later I am now reading all the archived blogs from as far back as 2005! So in addition to inspiring me to make baby clothes, and learn more about Waldorf education, she has made me want to be a better blogger. This woman has 4 kids and she manages to blog pretty much daily AND post lots of great pictures. So since it's only been May for a few days, I'm going to try and post everyday or at least every other day for the rest of the month. We'll see how it works out!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Great ? Outdoors

I am sad to say that outdoors is not my favorite place to be right now. I have been plagued with nasty headaches that I assume are pregnancy related, but are exacerbated by Spring (and the usual dust and pollution) in Cairo. As simple walk to the yoga studio or the market can make the entire right side of my skull tender to the touch. It's so unfortunate because the weather and the trees and flowers are truly lovely right now. I was especially excited to see the Indian Jasmine blooming on the median at the end of the street. I want to be out in the sun before it becomes brutally hot and I won't want to leave the AC!
In other news, Spring has given us some great fruit. I am gorging myself on peaches, and 2 different kinds of melon. They are very small and I assume they are cantelope and honeydew, based on the color. But they are much sweeter than the melon I've had in the states. There is also a curious little fruit called loquat that we actually had for the first time in Greece and now we are getting them here as well. The are small, orange, oval shaped fruits with a thick skin. The taste can be slightly acidic, but when they are truly ripe they are very sweet. It reminds me of a cross between a kiwi and an apple, maybe with a little starfruit thrown in...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

Well, here's the lowdown. Greece was spectacular. I didn't want to come back at all. It was relaxing and perfect and we had the best time. We've been back a week and I still have a half unpacked suitcase in the hall. My allergies have been awful since we've been back and I can't wait to go to the doctor tomorrow and find what I can take while I'm pregnant. It's miserable.
So things are back to normal...for now. I think this is the calm before the storm. We're back in our routines for now but all of that is going to change soon. We have visitors coming in a couple of weeks, and they will be in Egypt for 3 weeks. They'll be traveling all over the country but this will be there home base. The semester will be over in a month, that means all of the normal end of semester things, but it also means that there are people who are leaving Cairo because they are only here for a year. And then there are people who are coming back next year, who we aren't going to see for 2 months, maybe more in some cases. So, I feel there are going to be a lot of parties, dinners, coffees, and "one last" this or that. And then of course there will be all the last minute preparations for leaving the flat for 2 months. Don't get me wrong, the countdown will begin soon and I can't wait to get home, but there are still things to take care of here. It's amazing that we've only been here a few short months, in the grand scheme of things, and I've already grown so attached so many people here. I am really going to miss them and it's going to be strange to be away for so long. But this is the life!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

a much needed break

Tonight we leave for a 10 day trip to Greece. It couldn't come at a better time as I am starting to get a little crabby with Cairo. You know when you spend too much time with a friend in close quarters that you normally like but after a while you start to think about ways you could murder them so they would shut up? That may be a bit extreme and, truth be told, I've never wanted to do that to any of my friends, but you can understand the sentiment. I'm tired of the noise; the cars, the yelling, the constant construction, the dogs, even the sweet birds are getting to me. Now there are a few explanations for this. First, I always get more antsy after I buy my ticket home. The same thing happened before Christmas. And yes, I have bought my ticket home and I'll be arriving on June 14th for those who don't already know. It's almost like as soon as I know the exact date, I think of everything else in terms of that. If we're planning something in May I'll think, "that's one month before I leave" it makes time kind of drag. The other big excuse that I'm becoming VERY fond of is, I'm pregnant. This is the ultimate Get Out Of Jail Free card although I think this time it is legit. My patience has officially bottomed out. I am tired of being tolerant of every little odd thing that goes on here. I know that's not very open and understanding of me but I'm trying to be honest and I think that's one of the things this baby is doing for me is making my ability to bullshit almost non-existent. I also think that you can just get sick of looking at the same stuff all the time. It happens to everyone. It could be your dream city, there are things that are going to start to wear you down after a while. So here's the plan, 2 days in Athens, and then 7 days in Hydra which is one of the Saronic Islands that has NO MOTORIZED TRANSPORT! That's right, no noise or pollution or honking! By the way, I've been counting and I've heard 23 honks just since I started this post. Hang on, make that 27. 32. Ok, I'll stop now. Anyway, we are very excited to eat some good food, breathe some fresh air and read books instead of computer screens. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with a fantastic slide show and many wonderful stories. Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Orthodox Easter, and there's an Egyptian holiday next monday that translates to "smell the spring" day. So happy Smell the Spring Day, too!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The First Visitor

Well, being a tour guide sure is exhausting! My first visitor just left yesterday. Laurie is one of my oldest friends and her trip was kind of last minute which made it fun. I've known for about a month that she was coming. She arrived last monday late at night. We spent the week, shopping, eating, pyramiding, felluca riding, antiquities exploring, mummy gazing, traffic dodging, Opera and Ballet watching, sunbathing (intentional and unintentional), birthday bashing, knitting, lounging, and movie making. I'm sure I'm forgetting things but you check out her blog, maybe she'll fill in the gaps...
In other news Ira has been away all week in Germany giving a paper at a conference. He gets home tonight and I'm very excited to see him. We leave for Greece next week!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Indiana Jones and Lost

We went on an AUC trip to some archeological sites on Saturday. They were pretty great, the best part was one of the statues was on Lost this week!! I had heard that this season was going to have lots of Ancient Egypt references, but this is great! Also we heard a story about a man named Horace in ancient Egypt. If you don't watch Lost, sorry, but if you do how cool is that?! AND remember Hurley was doing a watercolor of the Sphinx and the pyramids last week?? I've got all the ins and outs! Oh, and the place where we were was the place where Indiana Jones discovered the Lost Ark in the movie. Not as exciting to me, sorry. Enjoy the slideshow! It's probably best viewed at a larger size, there are lots of great details that are missed in the small version.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I did it

I have established the dreaded Mommy Blog. For my fun single friends who think I have gone over the deep end, DON'T JUST STAND THERE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, COME HELP ME! And for the parents and future grandparents, I know this is the stuff that you guys live for. Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Drama, Drama, Drama

It's been quite a scene around here the past couple of days. WARNING: This is a "Dear Egypt, I may love you but I don't have to like you right now" kind of entry. So if you're already down on Egypt, or you would rather think of me over here dancing around the pyramids all day, this might not be the entry for you. However, if you are interested in "The way things really are" come on down!
I know that America is not perfect. There are dozens, probably hundreds of things I dislike about America. But when things happen here in Egypt that are out of my control and seem to be highly unnecessary, my first instinct is to say "This would never happen in America" and most of the time, I'm right. Sorry Ira, but you know it's true! For example, last weekend our neighbors Villy and Baher were getting married. Our other neighbors Yasir and Sufia wisely booked an AUC van for the four of us and two additional couples, all AUC faculty. The van was supposed to pick us up at 1:30. Sufia had sent several emails confirming the time. All was in order. So last Friday we met Yasir and Sufia upstairs at their flat. Sufia called to make sure the van was coming on time. The woman in charge, said yes, the van will be there at 3:30. Um, no. Since the wedding started at 2:30 that was not going to be OK. So we called the driver (who sounded like he just woke up) and he said he would come in 20 minutes. 20 minutes, no driver. At this point the BRIDE is calling asking where we are. This calling the driver and having him say he'll be there in 20 minutes went on and on until we gave up, went downstairs and got a black and white cab (they can be very run down and unreliable, not something you want to ride in for 40 minutes in wedding clothes) We arrived at the wedding almost a hour late. It was very disappointing and we were embarrassed and felt terrible. Yasir sent the person in charge of transportation at AUC a scathing but awesome email where he insisted that they email the bride and groom and apologize. I've yet to hear if he's received a reply. So could this happen in the states? Of course. However, the U.S. has become such a quality control machine that if something like this happened, there would have been not only consequences for the person who screwed up, but there would have been some ass kissing for the people who didn't receive the service they had reserved and for which they were willing to pay good money. That's all I'm saying. Which brings me to my next story...
I woke up Wednesday with morning sickness so bad I couldn't get out of bed. I stayed in bed most of the day and Ira was so sweet bringing me food or whatever I needed. Around 11am I noticed a funny smell coming from the stairwell. It smelled like glue or varnish. It was starting to take over the whole flat. We put something under the front door and opened all the windows. I stayed in the bedroom because I was afraid to breathe the fumes, especially being pregnant. It was like this all day and didn't go away until overnight at some point. Ira went down to talk to our sweet, well-meaning (but not always the best at understanding us) doorman. He assured Ira that the workers were done and would not be back tomorrow. This is the same guy who, when Ira told him it was my birthday, spread a rumor through the whole building that I was pregnant. Sigh, anyway, I didn't sleep at all that night (not because of the fumes for some other dumb, unidentified reason) I woke up Thursday morning feeling sick again and I had to teach. After feeling like I was going to barf on them I eventually had to stop giving adjustments and sit on my mat drinking ginger tea and cuing the class from there. I got home and I was so excited to just relax and take a nap. And then, I smelled it. Again. Only this time it took minutes for it to spread back the hallway. Once again, I holed up in the bedroom and put a towel under the door to keep the nastiness from coming in. I tried to take a nap but about an hour after I laid down, I woke up to the smell. I knew I had to do something. I tried to go out to the living room to call Ira. I opened the door to the bedroom, took about 2 steps and then felt so lightheaded that I had to go back in the room and shut the door. Luckily, I had my computer in there. I started messaging Amanda and she called Ira for me. He called the Housing Office (AKA a joke, keep reading) Then she told me that I had to get out and that she would call Gordana to see if I could go over there. So I had to get dressed, and then I got a hand towel to cover my mouth and ran down the stairs. I went over to their place and we hung out for a little while with the boys, took them to Tae Kwon Do, etc. Ira called a little before 5:00 and said they were finishing soon and they have been instructed to open all the doors and put fans out to ventilate. Around 6:30 Gordana suggested we go over to the flat and see if it was still bad and if it was I could get my stuff to stay over. So, we could smell it before we even got in the building. Nothing was open and there were no fans. It was so bad in the stairwell again, then it was better in the apartment but you could still smell it. I was like "Oh it's not that bad, I'm just going to stay". Gordana was like "um, no". She's very sweet and polite but she totally put her foot down and brought up the point that just because I couldn't smell it as much didn't mean that it wasn't still toxic and in the air supply in the flat. Point well taken. So, I packed a bag and went back to her place and Ira and I stayed there last night. He left early this morning to see if it was OK over here, and then gave me the go ahead to come back. What a freaking nightmare. I felt like I was evacuated! And once again, what was the consequence? No one is going to get in trouble and no one is going to apologize to the pregnant woman and her husband who were forced to leave their home. Could this happen in the states? Of course. But typically if there are going to be toxic fumes/paint, etc. the landlord will at least send a letter letting you know that the work is going to take place. I get this "oh well" vibe from people here. Like this is the price I'm paying for living here. Chaos and inefficiency. And danger, quite frankly. Well, it makes me really mad. And unless these offices and or people in "charge" want to see the wrath of an angry pregnant woman, they better clean up their act and get it together.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Here I am!

Yes, yes, I know. Almost a month, I know. Well, I'm back and with a darn good explanation of why I've been a blog slacker. There has been something else VERY important taking up my brain space (Among other things) Something teeny tiny and enormous at the same time. Something that is making me sleepy, hungry, grumpy, queasy, panicked, happy, scared, delighted, and a little...chubby. Ok, if you haven't figured it out by now you either need a good nights sleep or an anvil to drop on your head Bugs Bunny style. I'M PREGNANT! About 8 weeks. I've been pretty preoccupied and to be honest writing about anything else would have made me feel like a faker. This is the most important thing to happen, probably since we've moved here and I couldn't very well act like nothing was going on. I'm just not built that way. Yes, I feel ok. Like I said tired and queasy from time to time but I know a lot of women have it way worse than I do so I don't feel right about complaining, not yet anyway. We went to the doctor this week for a 2nd ultrasound (first one showed the sac but no baby) this one was far more exciting! We saw the baby (Ira already says it looks like him) and we saw the heartbeat. Just a little teeny flashlight but it was still pretty awesome. I know inquiring minds want to know things so here it goes
I am due Ocotber 13th, my birthday
I'm not showing yet, but my pants don't fit
Yes, I will be having the baby in Egypt
Yes, they have real doctors and hospitals here
Yes, I will still be coming home this summer (beginning of June through the beginning of August)
Those are all the pressing things I can think of right now. If there are other questions I will do my best to answer. As I've said before, this WILL NOT become a baby blog, however, I will be writing from time to time about the pregnancy here in Egypt because I know it is a different experience and I want everyone to know that I am safe and well looked after (especially by Ira) My doctor's name is Mai Hobrok. She is Egyptian and very proper. I like her a lot and she seems to be pretty attached to us already.
In other friend Laurie is coming! In three weeks! She'll be here for a week at the end of March and I can't wait. We have lots of great things planned...stay tuned.
We're still planning the Greece trip. The plane tickets are purchased but we've hit a little snag with the apartment rental. The trip is scheduled for the 10th-20th of April.
We had dinner at the Dean's house on thursday night and went to our first Egyptian wedding yesterday. Although, we were told repeatedly by other (Egyptian) guests that it wasn't a "real" Egyptian wedding. I guess because it was during the day and it was (what I would consider) and nice sort of American wedding. It was lovely no matter what you called it!
Ira went on a palace tour downtown, I had to skip it because I made the mistake of taking my prenatal vitamin right before we had to go and I got sick. Ira said it was nice, I'm sure he'll blog about it eventually...Not much planned for this week, just teaching which is going well. My Sunday/Tuesday class is getting very big. It's a lot of fun. Well, I hope this super long update makes everyone happy for a little while. I'll do my best to be more consistent. Have a good week!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Back in the Saddle

We went to our first party since we've been back and now it really feels like we're back. It made me realize how the people we've chosen (and who have chosen us!) to surround oursleves with are pretty damn awesome. It was a lot of fun to catch up and find out what everyone did over break. After Mark and Gordana's, Amy, Jaimee, Amanda, Ira, and I made our way to the Maadi House for a little dance party...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Road 9

Road 9 is a street in Maadi that is as close to downtown as you can get out here in "the burbs" (I am laughing as I type that, I know there are people here who think that Maadi is the burbs but it's just not I'm sorry) It's a couple of miles from here, usually ok to walk there but if you make purchases it's a little too far to lug everything and it's only a 5 pound cab ride back. Anyway, I met Gordana there this morning. She and Mark are having a party tomorrow and she needed a few things. I haven't spent nearly enough time on Road 9 so I was happy to join her. We started out kind of wandering. I got another headband, I've been wearing my other two out as you may have noticed in all the pictures from the last 5 months! Especially Turkey, you can tell I just got them before we left and still had a crush on them. I found some hooks for the bathroom, a great find and something we've needed for a while. And a muffin pan. We took a break for a little lunch at Cilantro. I had a blue cheese, walnut, and cucumber sanwich on brown bread and a lime soda. Then we chatted over lattes for a while. The produce stand was super awesome, cherry tomatoes, concord grapes, red lettuce, bibb lettuce, and the sweetest fresh mint all for about 4 dollars. But the best find was the glasses. Ira found these great handblown glasses for like a dollar each while he was still here and I was in the states. They are this great colbalt blue color. So, cut to us being back for a week and we're down 2 glasses. Apparently the "dishwasher" didn't realize how "fragile" they are. Ahem. I set out to replace them. I asked him where the shop was and he said that "I wouldn't be able to find it unless I was looking for it" Wrong! While it did take us a few times up and down the street but we found it! I found 2 to replace them, they are a lighter blue but I love them. Another great day in Maadi!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Baby Rocco

Here is a picture of my new nephew, Rocco Valentino Wray. He was born on January 28th at 5:50 pm weighing 7lbs. 5oz. and measuring 21 inches long. Welcome to the family!

Oh Happy Day!

What a lovely morning! I have figured out the secret (after 6 months) to having a happy errand running experience in Maadi. The early bird gets the worm, and the nice weather! I left the house at 8 am, I normally wait until 10 to go anywhere since most things don't even open before then. But today I was craving an apple donut from Fino (the bakery) and I wanted to eat it for breakfast. So, I headed out with my Ipod playing Tristan Prettyman, it's warm enough that I was just wearing a hoodie and a light scarf. The weather right now feels a bit like April at home. Once I arrived at Fino and ordered my donut, I couldn't resist the mincemeat pastries. I forgot about them while we were gone and man they looked good! I couldn't decide between the oatmeal and the whole wheat bread so I got both. Eh, they're small loaves and one doesn't usually last more than a day in this house anyway. From there, I walked a few more blocks to Seoudi to pick up a few groceries. I had a good feeling before I even got in the door. There were moutians of produce outside waiting to be stocked. I navigated my way around the oranges, herbs, and leeks and found a cart. As I approached the produce section I saw a man stocking crates of strawberries, there must have been a dozen or so. I took a big package right from his hand and made my way through the store. I grabbed some ginger and by the time I got to the vegetables (only a few steps) I realized there was no one in the store! Well, a few people but not the usual insane mobs that I have to deal with in there. Typically, I can't even walk in that store let alone push the cart through! And then I noticed something even more glorious, Seoudi was completely stocked! The yogurt! The juice! Everything that I normally have to dig through to find the brands and flavors that we like were in neat rows. Neat rows! It was like, dare I say, an American grocery store! That's when I vowed to make my Seoudi trips at 8 am from now on!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

It just dawned on me while I was lying in bed this morning that today is Groundhog Day! I just associate this day with cold and ice, but here it is 8am and it's already 60 degrees. Weird. So, to all of my Pennsylvania people who are tuned in to Punxatawney Phil, I hope that spring is close and you soon see daffodils. And watch the movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell! I'm downloading it as I type...along with all the Oscar movies, but I'll save that for the next post.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How I spent my winter vacation

Long plane ride. Got caught in the rain in NYC with 3 suitcases, no umbrella, no coat, and no clue what I was doing. 3 hour train ride in wet clothes. Dad, Lauren, and Heather at the train station. Pep Grill is closed, what?! Pizza at Heather's. Stayed at Dad's. Great sleep. Breakfast with Heather and Lauren. Starbucks. Yarn Garden with Heather. Knit Ira's holiday gifts so he'd be warm. Manicure and Pedicure to get the Cairo off my feet. Connor's new school. Dinner with Kate. Pep with Kate, Heather, and Walter. Heather and the Mad Elf AKA the one night stand that went horribly wrong : ). Shopped. Met Jack. Fell in love with Jack. Missed Ira. LuLu Mae. Starbucks. Had a blast with Kelly and Laurie in D.C. Drove in the snow. And drove. And drove. Drove 3,000 miles in 6 weeks. Happy to be back to yoga class. Ira came back, finally. Heather's it'snotapartyit'sjustdinner. Traditional giving of the gifts at Bangkok Wok with Lauren. Annual Christmas Eve lunch with Kelly at Confit. Gingerbread house with Connor and Ira. CHRISTMAS! Paul's breakfast. Aunt Barb's brunch. Nap. Uncle Dan's. Charades. D.C. for the Nutcracker, yay Laurie. Philly. "Hairspray". Eagles start winning because we're in the country. Facial. Made great food with my new Organic cookbook. Took the food to Ralph and Brandi's New Year's Eve party. Got two people to like beets who said they hated beets. Champagne of beers not so festive the next day. Saurkraut and mashed potatoes at mom's. Football. Brooklyn. Cara and Qui Que's. That freaking turtle. Happy Birthday Ira. Pillow for breakfast. Coffee with Chris. Ira's grandma passed away. Milk (Hello Oscar!!). Taco Crawl for Ira's birthday. Sushi and movie with Liz. Natalie. Philly. Funeral. Shiva. Jodi, Geoff, and Stuart. "Uncle WhyWah and Aunt Jenna". Golden Globes with Heather. Starbucks. Vermont. Inn at Baldwin Creek. Fireplaces. Breakfast. Cream of Garlic soup. Heaven. Yoga. More Shopping. Middlebury. Yoga. Christine. Yoga. Sore. Sore. Sore. Claw foot bathtub. Lavender bath syrup. powder blue down comforter. "Happy Go Lucky". -18. Snow. Drove. Threw frozen wine out the window. Missed Ira. What? We're leaving in a week? How did THAT happen? Slept in 7 different beds in six weeks. KOP Doylestown with Kate and Heather. Still more shopping. Domani Star. Missed Ira. Broad Street Market/Cornerstone with Kate. Sushi, movies, shopping, drinks, Obama concert with Laurie. Busboys and Poets. INAUGURATION!!! frozen feet. Ate a hot dog. Ira came back, finally. One last bash with the crew, one last Mad Elf. Macaroni and Cheese with Connor. Cried on the way home. Breakfast with dad and Heather. Cried a little on the train. I hate my luggage. I actually slept for more than 5 minutes on the plane. Happy to be staying in one place for a little while.