Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Pancake Haus in Edmonds

In my little home town, Edmonds, north of Seattle, there is a place you wouldn’t look at twice, but if you want to eat there on a Sunday morning, be prepared to stand in line. The Pancake Haus is no well kept secret among long-time Edmonds residents, and especially on Sunday morning, when the entire community shows up, drifting into the restaurant in bunches, as the different church services finish. If you want a booth just for two, you may not have to wait as long as those waiting for a table for eight (families love to come here) or twelve or more (church groups).

When I lived here, I think I tried almost every single thing on the menu, even the oatmeal, but not biscuits and gravy. One time AdventureMan ordered biscuits and gravy and it cured me of ever wanting to try them. In my mind it looks like dough and glue, but everyone insists it tastes great. I’ll take their word for it.

So when Mom looks outside and groans at all the rain coming down and says “Want to go to the Pancake Haus?” I knew the right answer was yes. I don’t think it’s her favorite place, but she knows it is one of mine. We were lucky, we got out during a lull in the rain, and there was a tiny booth for two people waiting for us.

The Pancake Haus is not fast food. It is slow food, and it doesn’t matter because all your friends are there and you need to say hello and you have time, while the rain comes down, just to sip a little coffee (ummm, no, everyone just drinks coffee in this place, maybe a little sugar and cream, or maybe some sweetener, but none of the la-di-da Starbucks drinks). The owners know just about everybody, and have half their family, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews – all working the tables, even cooking to make sure the food gets to you in a reasonable time.

Mom was debating . . . potato pancakes? pecan pancakes? I suggested maybe the Iowa corncakes, but she said no . . . maybe blueberry pancakes? They have all the regular suspects here, eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, etc. but they have some really amazing pancakes.

I know what I want – I want a half order of the Raspberry Roll-ups. That makes up her mind for her, she orders the Swedish Pancakes with lingonberry sauce.

Aha! This time I remembered!

Swedish pancakes with lingonberry sauce:


Raspberry Roll-ups:


Here’s a tip – when you order the roll-ups, order the whipped cream on the side. Otherwise it will be ON the pancakes, and you will end up eating it all. No! No! You really don’t want to do that, this is REAL whipped cream, delicious, totally fat whipped cream. Honest, a little dab’ll do ya.

Even a half order was a lot of pancake and we had to roll ourselves out of the Pancake Haus. Next door is a family-owned grocery store (Yes! they still exist!) and I ran in and got a few supplies, even though we weren’t hungry, we knew the pancakes would wear off and we didn’t want to have to go out in the rain again.

With all this rain, it is a good day to practice-pack, see if I am going to be able to get everything in my suitcases (nope) and to pack a box to send ahead to Doha.

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Community, Cooking, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Seattle | 11 Comments

Sudan Journalist Escapes Flogging, Chooses Jail

This spunky journalist has chosen to go to jail in the Sudan instead of paying the fine. Her lawyer is aghast, but Lubna Hussein says it will give her material to do a series on Sudanese jails, LOL! The judge had the option of sentencing her to flogging, but, wisely, abstained. You can read the entire story on AOL News

This is a follow up to an earlier story Whip Me if you Dare

Journalist Escapes Flogging in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan (Sept. 7) – A Sudanese judge convicted a woman journalist on Monday for violating the public indecency law by wearing trousers outdoors and fined her $200, but did not impose a feared flogging penalty.

Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by the public order police in Khartoum. Ten of the women were fined and flogged two days later. But Hussein and two others decided to go to trial.

The female journalist on trial in Sudan for wearing trousers in public was convicted Monday for violating the country’s indecency law. A judge ruled that Lubna Hussein, seen above outside the courthouse after the verdict in Khartoum, will not be flogged, but must pay a $200 fine. The case has made headlines around the world.

“I will not pay a penny,” she told the Associated Press while still in court custody, wearing the same trousers that had sparked her arrest.

Hussein said Friday she would rather go to jail than pay any fine, out of protest of the nation’s strict laws on women’s dress.

“I won’t pay, as a matter of principle,” she said. “I would spend a month in jail. It is a chance to explore the conditions in jail.”

The case has made headlines in Sudan and around the world and Hussein used it to rally world opinion against the country’s morality laws based on a strict interpretation of Islam.

Galal al-Sayed, Hussein’s lawyer, said he advised her to pay the fine before appealing the decision. She refused, he said, “She insisted.”

The lawyer said the judge ignored his request to present defense witnesses.
“The ruling is incorrect,” he said, adding that the prosecution witnesses gave contradictory statements.

Al-Sayed said the judge had the option of choosing flogging, but apparently opted for fine to avoid international criticism. “There is a general sentiment in the world that flogging is humiliating.”

Ahead of the trial, police rounded up dozens of female demonstrators, many of them wearing trousers, outside the courtroom.

The London-based Amnesty International on Friday called on the Sudanese government to withdraw the charges against Hussein and repeal the law which justifies “abhorrent” penalties.

Human rights and political groups in Sudan say the law is in violation of the 2005 constitution drafted after a peace deal ended two decades of war between the predominantly Muslim north and the Christian and animist south Sudan.

The Amnesty statement said Sudan had been urged to amend the law which permits flogging, on the grounds that it is state-sanctioned torture, after eight women were flogged in public in 2003 with plastic and metal whips leaving permanent scars on the women. The women had been picnicking with male friends.

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Character, Crime, Cultural, Interconnected, Law and Order, Living Conditions, News, Sudan, Women's Issues | 5 Comments

Myths about Contraception

Sometimes news articles are unintentionally humorous. I couldn’t help it – this statement:

Dr Annie Evans, Women’s Health Specialist at the Bristol Sexual Health Centre, said: “It is not surprising, given that Britain continues to have the highest unintended pregnancy rate in Europe.”

had me totally giggling. If you thought chicken skin would prevent contraception, you might have an unintended pregnancy, too! Hilarious. I thought as time passed, people would know more and more about these things. How can so many people NOT know?

Contraception myths ‘widespread’

By Sudeep Chand
Health reporter, BBC News

A UK survey has revealed that myths about contraception may be widespread.

One in five women said they had heard of kitchen items, including bread, cling film and even chicken skin, being used as alternative barrier methods.

Others had heard food items such as kebabs, Coca-cola or crisps could be used as oral contraceptives.

The survey questioned 1,000 women aged 18 to 50 and was carried out by market research company Opinion Health, sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma.

Contraceptive myths have been around for thousands of years.
Ancient methods have varied from crocodile dung and honey before sex, to sea sponges and beeswax after.

Perhaps the most intoxicating was alcohol made from stewed beaver’s testicles.
However, it seems that a variety of unsafe and unproven methods might still exist in modern Britain.

Dr Annie Evans, Women’s Health Specialist at the Bristol Sexual Health Centre, said: “It is not surprising, given that Britain continues to have the highest unintended pregnancy rate in Europe.”

Other myths surround the use of oral contraceptive pills. One in 10 of the women questioned believed that it always takes a number of years to regain fertility after discontinuation of the pill. Others believed that the pill could protect them against HIV.

Professor Steve Field, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, commented: “This is alarming but not surprising.

“I’ve had complications with patients over the years that have concerned me.
“The more we can put appropriate information to the public about the availability of different methods of contraception, about their advantages and disadvantages, the better.

“It is important that access to advice is made as easily as possible for all ages.”

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Health Issues, Humor, Mating Behavior, News, NonFiction, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 5 Comments

Can You Help Animal Friends Kuwait?

Dear Friends of the Animals,

It is that time again, we are preparing 8 dogs to go to the US in the middle of September for their much deserved chance at a loving home. We are proud to report that in the month of June, we sent 21 dogs to their freedom. Without our transport program, we would not be able to help as many dogs as we do and our shelter would be crammed with adoptable dogs with less of a chance at adoption. For all of you that ask us for help, remember that the space made at the shelter to help you happens because of our transport program. It costs us 150KD per dog to send so we need your help. If you can sponsor one or more dogs to go to the US you will be saving not just that life but many more. Take the initiative and make a huge difference in the lives of many dogs.

You can either transfer the money directly into our bank account, drop it off at my house or we would be happy to come to you to collect your generous donation. Contact us if you can help!!

Ayeshah Al-Humaidhi
Animal Friends League of Kuwait
P.O. Box 26112
13122 – Safat
+965-6657-3430 (Kuwait)
+965-2244-3859 (Fax)

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Charity, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Fund Raising, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Travel | 2 Comments

Cougar Closes Seattle Public Park

I love it – and I think a lot of local people do – that it is still possible for a wild cougar to find his way into our big city park. I love it that our city officials close the park to the public so as not to tempt any problems, and I love it that they were able to catch him and release him.

He was healthy and well fed. Sadly, a lot of roaming housecats had disappeared in the area . . .

(Keep your kitties safe inside!)

Elusive cougar captured in Magnolia’s Discovery Park; already released into the wild
A cougar that has been prowling Discovery Park in Magnolia for about a week was captured early this morning after being tracked and tranquilized by wildlife officers.

By Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter

A cougar that has been prowling Discovery Park in Magnolia for about a week was released into the wild after being tracked, tranquilized and captured by wildlife officers this morning.

The 2 ½ to 3 year old male, reported to be in “great physical condition,” was spotted by a park employee between 9 and 10 p.m., according to Capt. Bill Hebner of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Wildlife officers responded to the park and tracked the cougar through the 534-acre preserve until about 1:30 a.m. today when the cat was immobilized with a tranquilizer and placed in a trap.

An ear tag and a radio collar were attached in preparation for the cougar’s release, officials said.

Wildlife officials took the cat to Snohomish County late this morning and successfully released it back to the wild.

“It’s a great candidate for relocation,” said Hebner.

“By all reports, it’s not aggressive, hasn’t been seen stalking people or capturing pets and has maintained its natural respect for the wild,” he said.

The GPS collar on the cougar will automatically send updates on its location twice a day, he said.

Discovery Park was opened at 11 a.m. this morning, according to Seattle Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Dewey Potter.

The park was closed on Sept. 3 after some Magnolia residents and someone living near the Woodland Park Zoo reported seeing the cougar in the past week or so.

Magnolia resident Thomas Olson was driving home last weekend near 34th Avenue West when he saw a cougar run into the road about 50 yards ahead of his vehicle, heading toward Discovery Park.

“I said, that’s incredible, so I drove into the park and there it was again,” he said.

Resident Lori Jacobs was driving home on West Bertona Street, between 35th and 36th avenues West, about 12:30 on Sept. 1 when she turned into the alley behind her house and saw a “huge cougar” walking toward her. Worried about her cat, that was outside, she gunned her engine, turned her lights on bright and chased the cougar down the alley.

The cat stopped, turned and looked at her. She rolled down her window and yelled at it. It flicked its tail and sauntered out of sight.

On Wednesday, a man at the park told authorities he saw a cougar in the parade field of the old military installation in the park at dusk.

A 110-pound, 2-year-old cougar was captured in Discovery Park in 1981. It was tranquilized and taken to a game farm in Tacoma. It was later released outside Enumclaw.

Some officials said they believe the cat arrived in the park by following the rail lines south, a route bears have been known to use to get to the park. Others speculated it had been transported to the park.

According to the state wildlife department, cougars are the largest members of the cat family in North America. The state cougar population for the year 2008 was estimated to be 2000 to 2,500 animals.

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Community, Events, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Seattle | 2 Comments