Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

PF Chang in SanDestin: A Much Needed Stop

After you’ve been married so many years, your mate knows exactly what buttons to push, and not just in bad ways.


“Hey! Look at the time! It looks like we’ll be near PF Changs for lunch!” said AdventureMan, pretending to be excited. Chinese food is comfort food to me, and he likes it OK, but he is relatively – relative to me – indifferent. And while PF Changs is pretty good, it is also good relative, relative to Pensacola, Navarre, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, Panama City – pretty good. It is a chain, and it is not San Francisco, or Seattle, or other cities where good Chinese food is sought after and valued.


So he feigns excitement, knowing I will happily eat at PF Changs, because relatively speaking, I am yearning for some good Chinese food.


We get there just as the Thanksgiving lunch crowd is beginning to head into the restaurants to take a break from shopping. We are happy; we can see many empty tables still. There are times this restaurant has been so packed that we have chosen to go elsewhere.


“It will be about ten to fifteen minutes before I can get you to a table,” the hostess says, bustling by and barely giving us a glance.


Oh oh. I can see AdventureMan’s testosterone level rising. But he has learned a lot in his years, so he tackles the problem nicely: “But I can see empty tables,” he says, and gestures to the large assortment of empty tables.

She seems annoyed to be interrupted in whatever her busy-ness was, and annoyed at being questioned.

“I have the tables,” she said shortly, “but I’ve had to call in extra staff to wait on them. They should start arriving shortly.”



The wait is actually short, and that welcome was the worst part of our meal, and not even that was so bad. Actually, AdventureMan and her had a nice chat while I wandered off to find the ladies room. When I came back, he had been seated, and we quickly ordered a big pot of tea and lunch. It arrived quickly, was hot and beautifully presented, and was delicious, seasoned by our hunger.

Our server was attentive and efficient without being intrusive. He made excellent suggestions and made sure our orders were customized – AdventureMan wanted his extra spicy, and he got lots of fabulous peppers. AdventureMan had Kung Pao Scallops and I had Spicy Chicken. We both had the Hot and Sour Soup, which we thought was pretty good.

I think his was better . . .


I am thankful for a lunch at PF Changs AND I am yearning for Seattle, and the countless places to get authentic and tasty Chinese food.

November 30, 2013 Posted by | Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pet Peeves, Restaurant, Road Trips, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

Qatar Fields Huge New Traffic Force

This is from, reprinted from Gulf News. I think I is a very cool website, and I am thankful they continue to send me updates:  🙂


A BIG Wooo HOOOOO on Qatar for training and implementing a PROFESSIONAL traffic force. Woooo HOOOOO! I can only hope the laws they will enforce include children in the back seats in car seats and seat belts for every passenger. I pray that part of the training included instructions that traffic rules are to be applied equally and fairly against all nationalities, including citizens.


A new highway patrol police force that will augment the efforts of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in improving road safety will start work in 2014, it was announced at the graduation of the first batch of the force.

Consisting of 50 officers and cadets, the graduation ceremony of the first batch was held at the headquarters of the Traffic Department. The training programme was implemented by the Northwestern University, Chicago.

The team has received specialised training in enforcing traffic laws and booking common violations like tailgating, use of mobile phones, exceeding speed limits and not wearing seat belts.

The officers also acquired advanced skills in investigation of accidents, modern methods to interrogate drivers, preservation of evidence and making specialised reports on accidents.

According to Traffic Department officials, the new force will use both radar and lidar, a device used to monitor speed using laser.

The officers were also trained on skills needed to manually control traffic flow and its mechanisms in addition to the use of tools and methods for data collection.

The initiative was organised in collaboration between the Ministry of Interior and RasGas in the context of the priority given by the MoI and the National Committee for Traffic Safety (NCTS) to ensure responsible and safe driving.

The graduation ceremony was attended by Traffic Department director Brig Mohamed Saad al-Kharji, NCTS secretary Brig Mohamed Abdullah al-Maliki, traffic safety adviser at MoI Ademola Ilori and Brett Doherty, safety, health, environment & quality chief officer, RasGas.

Speaking on the occasion, al-Kharji said that the new force would support the MoI’s efforts in road safety.

“The new force will monitor and enforce road safety measures on highways. It includes monitoring speed limit, keeping space between vehicles and handling accidents and emergency situations.”

He added that the trainees got theoretical and practical lessons on controlling traffic movement on highways, safe parking and stopping of vehicles on highways as well as training on dealing with the public.

Speaking on the sidelines, al-Kharji said that there was a plan to equip traffic police vehicles with speed radars so they could catch violators while on the move.

He thanked RasGas for its collaboration with the MoI in this initiative and said the move would play a proactive role in reducing traffic accidents.

Al-Maliki said that the initiative came as part of NCTS and thanked RasGas and Northwestern University for their support for the initiative.

He awarded trainees with certificates and exchanged mementos with RasGas and Northwestern University. Gifts and appreciation certificates were awarded for lecturers and translators.

Others present on the occasion were RasGas public affairs manager Abdulla Hashim, Security & Emergency services manager Faisal al-Hajiri, road safety adviser John Cling, safety systems head Jive Price, road safety training head at Northwestern University, Antony Patila.


November 30, 2013 Posted by | ExPat Life, Law and Order, Qatar, Road Trips, Safety | , , , | Leave a comment

“Ho Ho Ho” AdventureMan

We were leaving a restaurant and AdventureMan started laughing. “You’ve got to see this!” he said, and when I did, I just walked on and left him laughing, but when I got to the car, I had second thoughts, and said “I need to go back and take a picture,” and I was laughing, too.

AdventureMan, get your mind out of the gutter.

He thinks this is hilarious.


“That reindeer is having a very merry Christmas!” chortles AdventureMan.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Advent, Arts & Handicrafts, Gardens, Humor, Mating Behavior | Leave a comment

Pentatonix A Capella: Little Drummer Boy

Wow. Just Wow.

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Christmas, Music | 2 Comments

Breakfast at CJ’s in Pensacola

We love the early service at our church; it is quiet, it is contemplative and focused. It is also the Episcopal service “lite;” with little music we are in and out in an hour. We occasionally go to the commissary after church, and one morning, on our way there, AdventureMan said “how about THERE for breakfast?” and swerved into the parking lot.

The sign in front says ‘BEIGNETS.’

CJ’s, at the corner of Garden and Pace, is not undiscovered. We have never walked right in and been seated, there is always a wait, but as early as we go, the wait is not too long. There are seats at the bar almost always, but we prefer to wait for a table. Service is excellent; I don’t know how they serve so many customers so quickly and accurately, but everyone leaves happy.

My photos are not representative of the breakfasts most people were eating because AdventureMan and I try not to pig out. We got the smallest breakfasts. Most people had platters laden with eggs and ham and sausages; this is a breakfast feast.

The beignets come in 1, 3 or 5. I am not supposed to eat beignets, so I only ordered one. 🙂


You can shake some of that sugar off. It’s powdered sugar, so there aren’t so many calories. And I shared half of it with AdventureMan. Oh man, these are beignets! These are like light fluffy yeast doughnuts, so light. . . so delicious. They could become a very bad habit if I don’t exert extreme self discipline.

Here is my breakfast, which is the two egg breakfast:


and here is AdventureMan’s omelette breakfast:


I know. It’s a lot of food. You should see the other platters, LOL!

CJ’s is a great value for the money. Delicious local foods at reasonable prices.

CJ’S Kitchen & Grille
2100 W Garden St, Pensacola, FL ‎
(850) 435-9543 ‎

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Pensacola, Restaurant | | 4 Comments

Seen in Pensacola

The truck in front of me (on Davis in Pensacola) looked like a working truck, but it was this sign that caught my eye.



November 27, 2013 Posted by | Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Pensacola | 6 Comments

Where is West Ankole, Uganda?

Today the church prays for the diocese of West Ankole, Uganda


Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 8.05.36 AM

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Faith, Geography / Maps | , | Leave a comment

The Lord Gives Sleep to his Beloved

Every time I read this Psalm, from today’s Lectionary readings, I see something new. Today it gives me much to ponder in the midst of chaotic Thanksgiving preparations:

Psalm 127

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.*
3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Faith, Generational, Health Issues, Lectionary Readings, Living Conditions, Marriage, Parenting, Thanksgiving, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

A First For AdventureMan

You may think this is ‘just’ a beautiful pecan pie, but it is better than that. This is AdventureMan’s very first pie, ever. He debated even making it for the Great Gathering, because there are so many truly gifted cooks in the family, but in the end, being the courageous soul he is, he tackled it. It looks exactly like the photo of the pie in Southern Living magazine which inspired his effort. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful pecan pie. 🙂 Bravo! Bravo, AdventureMan!




November 26, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Character, Cultural, Food, Thanksgiving | 4 Comments

Clean House = Better Physical and Mental Health

Time for some pre-Christmas cleaning 🙂  This from AOL/Huffpost:


A clean house isn’t just “nice to have,” it’s actually a necessity for good mental and physical health. According to a study published in Time, the Indiana University department of Physical Activity, led by associate professor Nicole Keith, discovered a correlation between clean houses and healthy people.

Researchers tracked the physical health of 998 African Americans between the ages of 49 and 65 — a demographic with a high-risk for heart disease – by comparing their levels of physical activity with the cleanliness of their homes. Those people with the cleanest homes were also the healthiest and most active, according to the study results. In fact, the findings also suggested that encouraging people to maintain their home’s cleanliness may be even more important to their overall health than the walkability of the neighborhood they live in.

“At the end of the day, the interior condition of their house seemed to be the only thing affecting their physical activity,” said Keith. “It was not at all what we expected.”

It’s clear by Keith’s statement that their discovery surprised even the researchers, but are these findings really so shocking? Florence Nightingale, a pioneer of modern nursing, famously quoted, “The connection between health and the dwelling of the population is one of the most important that exists.”

Even the Environmental Protection Agency admits that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the outdoors. If the average person spends up to 90 percent of their time indoors, we are breathing in dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold, bug skeletons, and toxins from such innocuous sources as conventional cleaning products and even chemicals emitted from our own clothing and bedding. These toxins manifest themselves as symptoms most people attribute to allergies such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and wheezing, but which should actually be blamed on an unclean house.

And the germy culprits aren’t always where you think they are. Elizabeth Scott, PhD, co-director of the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston, found staphylococcus bacteria, a common cause of serious skin infections, in 26 percent of the tubs she tested, compared with just 6 percent of garbage cans.

Yes, these statistics provide scientific proof that the mental and health benefits of a clean environment are very real; but, we also look to the renewed energy and happiness our clients describe to us after one of our visits. When we hear our clients use words such as “therapeutic,” “relaxing,” and “motivating” to describe their newly cleaned homes and offices we are reminded that a clean home is truly the embodiment of the science and soul holistic cleaning philosophy we maintain at GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning.

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Family Issues, Health Issues, Hygiene, Living Conditions | 1 Comment