Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Coming Up: 12:34:56 7/8/9

From Anu Garg at A-Word-A-Day:

with Anu Garg

I’ve been alerted to an event that will take place later this week, something that happens once and only once over the course of history. Shortly after noon on July 8, comes the moment that can be called 12:34:56 7/8/9. To mark this momentous event, this week we’ll feature words that have three consecutive letters in order, something that doesn’t happen very often either (there are hundreds of everyday words, but we are talking here about unusual and interesting words).

It’s not exactly true that this sequence of time/date happens only once. If you follow the day/month/year convention, you can observe the same sequence next month, on August 7. And even though it appears to be a rare occurrence, such interesting patterns aren’t that unusual. Consider these from the past:
01:23:45 6/7/89
12:34.56 7/8/90
01:02:03 04/05/06
In a couple of years we’ll have 11:11:11 11/11/11. What other unusual patterns can you think of that are in the near future?

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 8 Comments


The living room is now an island of sanity, but the women’s majlis has descended into semi-insanity until I get the book cases there together.

The kitchen remains an island of sanity, as does the guest bedroom.

The master bedroom has some insane corners.

The office and the quilt room are the big challenge.

One little Pigeon has flown, but . . . he doesn’t seem to be able to get back to the ledge. He is hiding behind a large flower pot on my porch. Theother one shows signs of being interested, but hasn’t taken the leap. I wish the little one on the ground would fly – until he does, he is just . . . cat food!

And in case any of you are really reading this far – I’m going to become a grandmother! WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Doha, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Moving, News | 11 Comments

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I don’t know why I didn’t read this book sooner! First, I saw people like me reading it in airports, and it certainly has a memorable title. The people reading looked totally engrossed. I’m not one to strike up conversations in airports, but on occasion, when I see people reading a book I don’t know about and it is the size of the books that book groups usually read, I will ask, and write it down, and bother the person no further.


I had ordered it on when my son’s wife’s father’s wife (and you thought Gulf relationships were complicated!) mentioned to me in an e-mail that she was reading it and that she could barely tear herself away. She and I often pass really good books and/or recommendations back and forth, so that bumped it up a few notches in priority. When it got here, I had just finished Rutherfurd’s London (oops, I thought I had reviewed it, and I haven’t, so I will,) and I thought it was a southern book, like The Ya-Ya Sisterhood or Sweet Potato Queens, no, you are right, I hadn’t read anything about it, just trusted from all the people I saw reading it that it was good, but because of the name, I thought it would be light.


It isn’t depressingly heavy, like The Little Prisoner was heavy, and it had some totally wonderful laugh-out-loud moments, but the subject matter was the German occupation of the island of Guernsey, in the English Channel, and an author in search of a book topic in post-war London, and a little girl born outside of marriage and cared for by a village of caring people. It is spiced up by a dashing romance, and the process of relationship building that happens in the novel, unlikely relationships, aren’t those the very best kind for spice? 😉

The entire story is told in letters. The primary voice, that of Juliet, a thirty-something author, ties all the letters together, but not all letters are to her or from her. It is a great technique for allowing many different voices and many different perspectives. From the first page, you are captivated. Right now, Guernsey is more real to me than the boxes I need to unpack, and there is a part of me that yearns to flee to Guernsey and find a house near a cliff where I can watch the sun set in the west and the clouds turn colors . . .

Here is one sample of the kind of letters you will find when you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Don’t wait! This is an unforgettable book!

1st May 1946

Dear Mark,

I didn’t refuse, you know. I said I wanted to think about it. You were so busy ranting about Sidney and Guernsey that perhaps you didn’t notice – I only said I wanted time. I’ve known you two months. It’s not long enough for me to be certain that we should spend the rest of our lives together, even if you are. I once made a terrible mistake and almost married a man I hardly knew (perhaps you read about it in the papers) – and at least in that case, the war was an extenuating circumstance. I won’t be such a fool again.

Think of it: I’ve never seen you home – I don’t even know where it is, really. New York, but which street? What does it look like? What color are your walls? Your sofa? Do you arrange books alphabetically? (I hope not.) Are your drawers tidy or messy? Do you ever hum, and if so, what? Do you prefer cats or dogs? Or fish? What on earth do you eat for breakfast – or do you have a cook?

You see? I don’t know you well enough to marry you.

I have one other piece of news that may interest you: Sidney is not your rival. I am not now nor have I ever been in love with Sidney, nor he with me. Nor will I ever marry him. Is that decisive enough for you?

Are you absolutely certain you wouldn’t rather be married to someone more tractable than I?


Written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, the book will challenge your ideas, will inform you of an obscure episode in World War II, will make your heart sorrow at the inhumanity of which we human beings are capable towards one another, and make your heart sing at the goodness in the human soul. That’s pretty amazing for one book.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Books, Community, Cultural, France, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Germany, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Mating Behavior, Social Issues | , | 2 Comments