Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Men’s Evolutionary Role

I love BBC Health News and find the most amazing stories there, things I don’t see anywhere else. Today’s has to do with women living longer, and studies on aging.

Women, not men, ensure the success of future generations, work suggests.
Grans surviving beyond the menopause appeared to increase the likelihood that their own children went on to have children, a Sheffield team found.

Yet grandfathers had very little influence on their offspring’s reproductive success, Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports.

But experts were quick to stress that both grandparents play a vital role in families and society.

The Sheffield University authors reason that women thrive following the menopause from caring for their own children and grandchildren.

In their study, grandmothers gained two extra grandchildren for every 10 years they survived beyond the menopause.

This link was not found with aged granddads, however.

Instead, the scientists say the “evolutionary” argument for a man’s survival to a ripe old age is to continue to churn out sperm and procreate.

You can read more about the study, conducted in Finland, HERE.

July 31, 2007 Posted by | Family Issues, Generational, Health Issues, Mating Behavior, Uncategorized, Women's Issues | 3 Comments

Long Sleeves in Seattle

The weather is back to Seattle’s normal for late July – early August – absolutely gorgeous. At sundown, we watch the light shift over the mountains and the sound, watch the cruise ships coming and going, watch the clouds change colors until they go that bright smokey fushia just before all color disappears. The sky does not actually become dark until after nine at night.

And it can be chilly! My first day here, I got to wear a little long sleeved hoodie I haven’t worn since February! It was overcast and rainy, and there was an occasional chill wind blowing . . . brrrr! I love it! Even though it can be cold, it isn’t really cold, just a tiny bit cold, just enough to make you move a little faster and get the blood going, and you will be warm enough. I love it.

The weather is shifting, and should be like spring in Kuwait – in the high 70’s, low 80’s Fahrenheit.

My Mom is looking great. We did a little shopping, had a great lunch . . . it has been a hard year for her, with my father’s death, and she is still recovering. Today she will have her hair trimmed up; she knows her birthday is coming and that will mean PHOTOS. My entire family is as camera-happy as I am, and an event like a birthday means a minimum five cameras. I am amazed at how good she looks!


July 31, 2007 Posted by | ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Seattle, Weather | 7 Comments

Five Mountains

Every now and then flying into Seattle you can see a whole line of mountains, from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Hood, the remains of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and sometimes, way off in the distance, Mt. Shasta.

I think you can see three easily in this photo; Mt. Rainier in the center, one to the left and one to the right.


East of the mountains, it is totally clear. West of the mountains, there is cloud cover:


My car is waiting, my bags are off the plane first – is my travel karma back? I don’t dare count on it, but I’m thankful for all travel mercies.

July 31, 2007 Posted by | ExPat Life, Geography / Maps, Lumix, Photos, Travel, Weather | 8 Comments

Cannabis WORSE than Tobacco

From BBC Health News:

Cannabis harm worse than tobacco

The impact of cannabis is worsened by how joints are smoked.

A single cannabis joint could damage the lungs as much as smoking up to five tobacco cigarettes one after another, scientists in New Zealand have said.
The research, published in the journal Thorax, found cannabis damaged the large airways in the lungs causing symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

And don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t addictive as well as damaging to your health.

July 31, 2007 Posted by | Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Experiment, Family Issues, Generational, Health Issues | 10 Comments

Burke and Tin Roof Blowdown

“So what are you reading?”

Sparkle’s question didn’t surprise me. It’s one of the things we share, a love of reading, anything really but especially mystery books.

“I just started James Lee Burke’s new book, The Tin Roof Blowdown,” I responded.

Her eyes brightened and she threw back her head and laughed! “I knew it! I saw he had a new book out and I hoped you had already bought it!”

What she’s not saying is “bought it, read it and will pass it along to me!”

It’s what we do. I am in the middle of a series she recommended and loaned to my son, he is 3/4 way through (the Hyperion series) and has passed along the first two volumes to me, which, when finished, I will return to my sis.

James Lee Burke’s newest book, The Tin Roof Blowdown, is Burke at his best. His last book ended with the ominous storm rolling in that has changed the face of New Orleans and this book starts with Hurricane Katrina. The stories are heartbreaking, and all the more so because they are true. New Orleans is one of the most corrupt cities in the United States, about one third of the police force LEFT the city they were hired to protect in the evacuation, and the poorest of the poor were left behind, to suffer, to struggle to live, or to die. Many did all three.

Detective Dave Robicheaux is called into the “Big Sleazy” with the rest of the New Iberia police force to help with rescue operations, and to try to bring some order into the chaos. He gets involved with a missing priest, two looters being shot, a robbery that includes cocaine, counterfeit cash and blood diamonds, and the usual cast of psycopaths and organized crime goombahs.

The book builds inexorably to a nail-biting climax.

This author can WRITE. He is head and shoulders above the average churn-em-out detective writer. Here is one of his less poetic, but more insightful entries:

” . . . the honest to God truth is that law enforcement is not even law “enforcement.” We deal with problems after the fact. We catch criminals by chance and accident, either during the commission of the crimes or through snitches. Because of forensic and evidentiary problems, most of the crimes recidivists commit are not even prosecutable. Most inmates currently in the slams spend lifetimes figuring out ways to come to the attention of the system. Ultimately, jail is the only place they feel safe from their own failures.

Unfortunately, the last people on our minds are the victims of crime. They become an addendum to both the investigation and the prosecution of the case, adverbs instead of nouns. Ask rape victims, or people who have been beaten with gun butts or metal pipes or tied to chairs and tortured how they felt toward the system after they learned that their assailants were released on bond without the victims being notified.

I don’t believe in capital punishment, but I don’t argue with the prosecutors who support it. The mouths of the people they represent are stopped with dust. What kind of advocate would not try to give them voice?


July 30, 2007 Posted by | Books, Crime, Detective/Mystery, Family Issues, Fiction, Poetry/Literature, Relationships, Weather | 5 Comments

BBQ in Memphis


I love the Memphis airport. We sometimes arrive from Kuwait via Amsterdam at o-dark-thirty and the BBQ places are already open. Even if we are running for our next flight, there is usually one on the way where we can buy a quick BBQ sandwich to eat on the plane.

The Memphis airport is sometimes a scramble, our flight out leaving from the farthest gate from our flight in; we always get enough exercise to work off that sandwich in a heartbeat. And, for some reason, we often get upgrades out of Memphis, upgrades we haven’t even asked for. The flights are overbooked, and they just bump us up. No wonder I love Memphis! They treat us like old friends!

I just had to share the photo above with you – it’s taken at 7:30 in the morning, they already have customers lined up for BBQ and there are guys in the bar drinking beer. Memphis.

July 30, 2007 Posted by | Cold Drinks, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Humor, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Travel | 1 Comment

Cactus Flower in Pensacola

The Cactus Flower in Pensacola is usually the first place we go when we get to Pensacola. They have some of the best Mexican food you can find, freshly prepared, and you better get there early or you’ll have to wait a while for a table – the secret is out!

Located in a small strip mall undergoing some serious renovation, the Cactus Flower serves lunch and dinner. You’ll see all your friends there – we can’t go there without running into someone we know.

This is the chicken quesadilla. It is more than one person can eat! We took the rest home for another meal.

This is the three taco dinner; you can choose chicken, beef or pulled pork, or any combination of the above. It comes with a choice of beans (these are the smashed beans) and rice, too. Usually, I order this a la carte, because I can eat the three tacos, but not all the beans and rice, too, and I hate to waste.

This is the tostada dinner, which also comes with beans and rice. Delicious!

As for gaining weight, so far so good. Haven’t done a scale check, but the clothes still seem to fit and the waists aren’t too tight, so I guess I am keeping it off by lugging my baggage here and there, and keeping moving.

July 30, 2007 Posted by | Diet / Weight Loss, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Florida, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Travel | 4 Comments

Pensacola Treehouse

The tree house is an old American tradition, but most treehouses are fairly primitive things, more like a raft high in the tree branches with sticks nailed into the tree to climb up. Few have walls, if it has walls, Daddy probably helped. But look at this house, and it’s magnificent tree house! I think it must have been built by a builder! And I wonder if it has air conditioning?


July 29, 2007 Posted by | Building, Family Issues, Florida, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos | 7 Comments

McGuire’s for Steak

“I just have a yearning for a steak,” I said to my son’s wife, as we sat in the kitchen chatting and thinking about what to do for dinner. “I know you want to go for a run tonight, but maybe tomorrow night.”

Here is what I have loved about staying with them. Five minutes later she came back to me and said she had talked with her husband and they thought going out for steak tonight would be a very GOOD idea, and they could run tomorrow night.

And the best steaks, they both recommended, were at McGuire’s.

When we got there, the huge parking lot was already full. The street parking all around McGuire’s was full. We dropped off my son and his wife and I went to park in one of the few places they have heard cars are never towed from: Sammy’s Club for Gentlemen. It was still early, and we didn’t get towed.


Because it was their weekly fun-run night, we had to wait for a table. As we waited, runners finishing the run were running past us. Run six runs and you are eligible for the McGuire’s coveted green fun run shirt, with a shamrock on it. Woo hoooooo! I have heard there is a Hash House Harrier group in Kuwait that does something similar, but they change locations every run, whereas the McGuire sponsored runs all end up at – Maguire’s! They have free eats for the runners, who have to rehydrate in the McGuire’s bar.

There is another tradition at McGuires; customer write their name in felt pen on a dollar bill and staple it to the ceiling. The bar has an estimated $500,000 in dollar bills stapled to it’s ceilings, walls, pass throughs, etc. It is an amazing sight.


The steaks were magnificent. I had the peppercorn steak, and it was so big I took half of it home for the next day. It came with sides – your choice – garlic mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, asparagas (my choice) and several others. The steaks were perfect, and the entire meal was worth every penny. They also have a good variety of seafood selections, and Irish selections, and a great selection of beer and wines.

July 29, 2007 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, Health Issues, Ireland, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Social Issues | 11 Comments

Pensacola Houses

I know you all liked the Kuwaiti mansions I showed being built in the Hilton Hotel area. So for you, I will also turn the tables and show you some houses in Pensacola. There are some real beauties!

I love the stained glass window at the top of this house:

I liked this house’s green seclusion, and near-the-water location:

I have more, but I need to upload them. . .

July 29, 2007 Posted by | Building, Cross Cultural, Florida, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos | 3 Comments