Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Earth Hour: March 28, 2009

Ok I need to just get on my soap box here and express some opinions here.

Earth Hour is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. If you don't know yet what earth hour is let me fill you in. It is one hour where most of the world (individuals, cities and companies) agrees to turn off their lights and all their appliances and to live in the dark. No TV, no computers, just dark. Imagining the entire world pulling together for this one hour, to do something in unity for selfless reasons is beautiful. What the Earth Hour organization has been able to accomplish as far as world unity in just a few short years shows just how important and necessary their cause is.


Pic from here

I was on AOL News searching through the pictures of before buildings lit up in all their glory and after with all the buildings all black and dark. This is the quandary that came to my mind as I was going through these pictures: Why do we accept the buildings turning off their lights for one hour once a year? I suppose this is the ultimate point to earth hour, getting us thinking and realizing that there are so many things we waste energy on that we don't need.

Why do the buildings need all these lights? What's the purpose? If we really are on the brink (or in the middle) of global warming then why don't all those businesses and buildings with their big shinny purple, red, green and whatever color lights turn them off? Do we need them? No. Do they add value? No. What's the point? Aesthetics and that, given the current environmental and economic climate we live in, is just not a good enough reason anymore. Imagine the reduction in energy that we as a world would consume if we turned off all the lights lighting up the outside of the buildings which are just not necessary. I'm not talking about homes here (although that definitely needs to be done as well) but buildings and stadiums and other things that aren't even used, let alone need to be lit up, at night. If there's an event by all means light it up but turn them off again when the building is vacant.

My theory is (I didn't make this one up) waste not want not. We are wasting precious resources. If we want the world as we know it to continue in the same fashion we expect then we need to start owning the parts we play in this and that goes for the companies too.

Portland Oregon (my much loved home town) is looking in to their light pollution already and they are looking at not only the benifits that turning off some of their lights would have on their budget but also the benefits it would have in decreasing their carbon footprint. Portland and the Pacific North West are pioneers in their willingness to make environmental changes in their cities and in trying to set an example to other cities on what is possible. Growing up there we were taught about the environment and our (human) impact on it at a very early age. Recycling was not something to think about but just something that was done. Conservation was an everyday topic and if we ever wanted to be reminded of just what could be lost if we didn't keep our environmental selves in check, then all we had to do was drive into the mountains and we could find clear cut forests.

So here's my thought; how about we don't wait for next March to turn off our lights. We could become more environmentally aware today and we can share this awareness with our companies. We can show them how small choices that they make can have a large impact. We can convince them not to keep the lights on unnecessarily or to offer discounts to those employees who choose a more environmental car than an SUV. Encourage people to recycle paper, print front to back and to car pool. I see this happening in the world but it takes individuals to make these changes begin. We can use Earth Hour as the example. If they can get 1 billion people in two short years to turn off their lights then imagine what you can do when you talk to your company about conserving energy.

Ok I'm stepping off my soap box now. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Coldplay at Emirates Palace

That's right! I went to see Coldplay last night. OMGsh it was so much fun. Seriously. I had a blast.

It was raining when we got to the concert at Emirates palace in Abu Dhabi. That's right people I went to two concerts two nights in a row at the same venue.

So after we got to the concert we headed over to the Silent Disco. Ok I had never been to a silent disco before and I will admit that I was a bit sceptical going into it but it was actually a lot of fun.

At first it looks weird cause to a passer by there is a DJ at a stand obviously lost in to the music he's spinning and a bunch of people dancing to the same beat laughing and having a great time except there's no music! None! All that anyone can hear is the squeak of shoes from the dancers and people ordering beverages as well as the occasional overly loud person trying to communicate over the non-existent sound.

But head up to the entrance and you are handed headphones the same headphones everyone else is wearing. Put them on and you are apart of the party. You hear what everyone else is hearing. Dancing to the music the DJ is playing. It's a fantastic idea and quite the experience.


After enjoying the silent disco for a while we headed over to the concert so that we wouldn't miss the beginning. Coldplay was fabulous and they got to play a couple songs before the rain really started to pour


Obviously the rain had no effect on the crowd. There were so many people! I would say definitely more than 15000 people showed up


Coldplay them selves were so great about keeping the crowd in a great mood even though it was pouring. In fact I think the rain just added to the fun and the lightening seemed to know exactly which moments to light up the sky.


Like this moment.


Overall I was really impressed with Coldplay. They were fantastic live. Also what really impressed me was that in honor of last night, which was earth hour, they preformed the concert (no not in the dark) with nearly a 0 (that's zero people) carbon foot print. This is amazing for any concert let along a concert in a country that has one of the highest carbon footprints per capita in the world. They set a great example for the world.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Andrea Bocelli in Abu Dhabi

Oh yeah! Andrea Bocelli paid us a visit last night at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. I must say this man's voice is AMAZING. Seriously amazing. I have been to a lot of concerts and heard a lot of artists live and I must say Andrea Bocelli's voice is flawless.
Photo from here
I was really looking forward to this concert. I first heard Andrea Bocelli for the first time about 10 years ago when I was in Las Vegas Navada. I was standing outside the new Bellagio. They have this amazing man made lake out front that has water cannons that do a show matching to music and when I walked past it was to one of Andrea's songs. You could hear his voice up and down the entire strip and ever since then I have been quite fond of his singing.

So I was very excited to have the opportunity to hear him live and in person. I tell you he did not let me down and the guests he brought along with him were just as impressive. It really made me thank my lucky starts that I took that class on operas in college cause I was able to recognize most of the songs he sang last night. La Traviata, Carmen, La Bohem... they were all represented and more.

This is the stage with the ginormous Emirates Palace in the background


And here's the nearly 10,000 people that came to watch Andrea Bocelli sing.


I must say that I did feel a little underdressed. I wore my usual outdoor concert attire... Jeans, black boots and a nice but warm top (and my Phiaro!!! woot woot!). Some others were wearing gowns like they were going to a proper opera. Fair enough that these were proper opera singers but the concert was outside in the sand and it was cold, windy and just plain stormy. No ball gown for me.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Red Bull Air Race 2009


Red Bull Air Race is heading to Abu Dhabi once again. The World Championship is kicking off in Abu Dhabi as it does every year and then will head on to San Diego California!

This is so exciting! It will be the third time I head out to watch the race and I tell you it gets better and better every year. The planes do amazing tricks, there's usually a helicopter which flies upside down (AMAZING) and some great entertainment to kick off the show. I like to head out with some friends, kick back, relax and enjoy the race.





So if you want to be a part of the fun there's a few things you should know:
When: April 17th, Qualifying day. April 18th, Race Day
Where: Abu Dhabi Corniche
How much: It's free! That's the best part. Just show up and enjoy the show.
Who: Check out the race details here
Bonus: If you want endless Red Bull, something to eat and a place to sit then buy tickets from Time Out Abu Dhabi to one of the VIP lounges for some extra comfort

Hope to see you there!


Photos from here & here

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MIA

Sorry to have been so quiet this week. I was busy. Really really busy. Really it's me not you. I was working late.

We had team meetings at the office and it was great but exhausting. It was fabulous to be able to put faces with all the people I talk to all the time and we got to do some training that will be really helpful. Overall I had a great time and we accomplished a lot but I wish I had more to tell you than "I've been working" but honestly that's all I have done. I didn't get home before 9:30 once this week! So because my days this week consisted of work, PowerPoint and coffee let me show you something more interesting

This is a day in the life of Princess. And boy is it a full day.

Right after breakfast Princess got started with the most pressing matter of the day because she's not one to procrastinate. The first thing she did was try to get that unruly plastic bag under control. Now this bag has had it coming. Its attitude is atrocious and the audacity it had to just lay around floor was unbleavable. Well Princess has made it top priority to show this bag just who the boss is in these here parts


She spared this bag nothing.


Then it was on to the next offender. The laptop bag. Oh this one has had it coming for a long time now. It's a multiple offender.


After all that reprimand it was time for a little R&R at one of her favorite spots.


When the nap ended Princess went to make sure everything outside looked ship shape.


Then it was on to fixing the curtains. They just don't hang right according to her.


Finally after an exhausting day It was time for another nap until dinner time.


You know capturing her day makes me appreciate the Princess' of the world who go out there every day and fight the plastic bags, laser dots, tissues and other menaces of the world. Lets take a moment and think about what that world would be like, t.p., baggies and red dots running amok. That my friends is an ugly world.

Thank you Princess and all of those who fight the same fight.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

FLS: Starting over

I re-cast on my February Lady Sweater and I have been knitting away. This is where I am at so far.

I am actually pretty proud of my self here because I was really worried that if I frogged the project that I would never start it again. I would just hide the yarn in the bottom of my yarn drawer where it would forever taunting me as the failure project that never was. And we're not talking some complicated double knit, fair isle, steak project (gives me cold sweats just thinking about it), no we're talking about a project that has been made over 4800 times and those are just the ones on ravelry!

When I was learning to drive on a manual shift (my dad insisted, saying I would be grateful for it and really he turned out to be right I'm so happy I can drive a manual and I actually prefer them) and I was having problems figuring it out and getting frustrated, I would just looked around the roads and figured if ALL of them can figure out how to drive and if ALL of them can pass their drivers license test so then I knew I could do it too (of course that was in Oregon out here I'm not sure half the people on the roads actually know how to drive but that's another story).

So now with the FLS I'm using the same technique. If 4800 people can make beautiful, well fitting sweaters well then SO CAN I and I will. Oh you don't know how stubborn I can be (well mom you probably do). I will make this sweater and it will fit me and I will wear it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Book Fair!

Last night my husband surprised me and took me out for a special dinner Dubai. He took me to a restaurant I have never been to in a hotel I have never been to.

He took me to Ruth's Chris Steak House at The Monarch Hotel in Dubai. I had seen this restaurant in Portland but I had never been before. I must say OMG it was AMAZING.... Let me tell you they had the best ranch dressing that I have had since I have moved out here. You might not be impressed by that but being the ranch dressing lover that I am this is HUGE. The steak was amazing too... oh and the garlic mashed potatoes. Yum. It was fabulous but definitely an only-for-special-(very very special)-occasions place cause it is no cheap place. But over all the waiters were beyond fantastic, the food was fabulous and the atmosphere was cozy but sophisticated. I loved it.

Then today we went the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair at ADNEC (the exhibition center). It was great fun and the same as last year.... lots and lots of books written in arabic. I don't really mind this cause it's just a great way to get out and see what's going on around town. Also I'll never turn down being in a room with that many books in it even if they are in a language I can't understand yet. Look at how crowded it was.


Here is one of the many authors that came to the exhibition giving an interview.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok this pic is just for fun.... It's quite blurry so let me tell you what the sign says;
It says "Pheladelfia General Contracting" I didn't want to jump to any conclusions about bad spelling I asked my husband "what does Pheladelfia mean in arabic?" his reaction was a weird look and an enlightening "uh nothing"

Hmmm I thought to my self.... I wonder what the story is behind that one.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Amazing show by the BaaStuds

This is truly an amazing feat by a team called the BaaaStuds in Wales UK.



All I can say is Mishmaule (unbelievable)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Twittering or is it Tweeting, perhaps Chirping?

You may have noticed that I have a new, whatchyamicallit, Gadget in the right hand tool bar...

Yup, that's right! I joined Twitter! Naturally immediately after joining Twitter I went and added my tweets (twitterings?) to the left so that you can see what my tweets are all about!

I wasn't sure what to think at first cause there are just so many new sites out there for this kinda stuff... I had joined Plurk and really found that it wasn't interesting enough to keep me checking in all the time. Plus you have to earn points and stuff. This made me feel like a failure of a plurker because I had negative points and no friends.

But twittering is fun! You can go and follow other people's tweets and send your own tweets out into the world. I just wish we had the mobile (cell phone) tweeting feature out here cause that would be SO MUCH FUN! Plus President Obama tweets! So naturally I'm following.

Any other new tweeters out there?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Frogged: FLS

sigh

what's wrong with this picture?

I know it looks like a beautiful February Lady Sweater (FLS) to you. And it would be perfect if I were making it for someone about 6 inches smaller than me (in width not height). But I'm not I'm making it for me.

It became quite clear yesterday at my knitting group that it just wasn't going to fit. Even if I blocked it, it still wasn't going to fit. sighAnd I was so close to being done! I mean, look at that lace!


I couldn't even frog it until tonight because I had to the let idea sink in. All that knitting just gone. Now this is my FLS.

I really could have finished knitting it and given it to someone smaller (much much smaller) than my self and under normal circumstances I would have. But this is my special sweater with my special Twisted BMFA yarn. I love this yarn and I love this color so I decided I WILL knit this sweater and I will knit it in a size I can wear.

So lets talk about the project that DIDN'T go completely wrong.

It my Noro Striped Scarf with Rowan Tapestry! I love this scarf. It's just the right width (a little more narrow than the original Noro I made) and I love the rainbow colors.


Look at the pretty colors

I love this scarf.

Ok now to go re-cast on for my FLS

Friday, March 13, 2009

Urban Ride - Snow in Dubai!

What do you expect to find in Dubai when you are walking along the waterfront or cornice?

Do you expect to see snow? Lots and lots of snow?

Or maybe even see enough snow that guys are snowboarding?


That's right! That's what I did today. Well I didn't do the snowboarding (not a sport I enjoy to participate in. It hurts) but I watched!

Red Bull had the Urban Ride challenge in which snowboarding talents could compete for a prize but (get this) snowboarding down a staircase, in the middle of the day, in Dubai!


It was an incredible set up by Red Bull. I was impressed with the way they were able to transform a staircase into a snow ramp with jumps and slides for the avid boarders. They transported over two (2!) tons of snow to fill up the stairs and build the slope


Here's a picture of my favorite truck. I can give you all the specs if you are really interested which I'm sure you aren't so I'll spare you. But it's a serious Dodge Ram and I love how the DJ for the event is set up in the bed of the truck!


Well this pic is just in for good measure. The locals in their Lamborghini checking out the event. They were smoking too. Seriously am I the only one who thinks it's practically criminal to smoke in a car like that?

I suppose when I can afford a car like that then I can make the rules.

Anyways hope you all enjoyed your Friday! Tomorrow is knitting group woot woot! And I'm also planning on giving you a knitting update cause I'm way overdue!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Comb-over? Seriously?

Ok I'm trying to figure out how and why the comb-over became the latest fashion statement. If you don't believe me then just watch MTV and you will see it EVERYWHERE! I am so not over exaggerating.

Seriously. Look:
This is MetroStation BTW
The guy in red is one small step away from the Donald Trump of Comb-overs.


In fact I wonder how the fashion even got to this point. Was it gradual or was it more like one day they are all hanging out and guy in red pants comes walking (actually I picture it as more of a swagger) in with his new style and was all "Dudes what do you think of my new style?"
I imagine that this friend's jaws dropped and they were trying to thing of a nice way to say "Uh you look like a Donald"
But before they can answer red-pants-guy is all smug like and says"I paid like $800 for it and the stylist said this is what everyone is doing in europe!" (they so aren't dong this in europe)
Then his friends were like "Wow! That's like the coolest thing ever!" and went to go get their own $800 comb-overs....

Why don't these guys save the comb-over for when they are trying to convince them selves they aren't loosing their hair? I mean personally I don't think there is ever an occasion where a guy looks better with their hair combed from the back right corner of their head to the front left. But that's just me and apparently it's actually very cool to do, even when you aren't experiencing a hair loss problem.

I'm just sayin

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pearls & Caviar Restaurant & Lounge

So ever since my computer died, and I had to have the Apple Dr. resuscitate it, I can't seem to get the Bluetooth to work. I like to take pics on my Palm and then Bluetooth them to my computer. This was always easier that trying to remember my camera every where I went not to mention keeping the battery charged. But now this doesn't work. I was going to do a new restaurant review with fabulous pics of the venue but alas after hours or trying to get my Palm and Apple to sync it's just not going to happen.

So here is a restaurant review sans pictures... just pretend I didn't add the pics so that the mystery would be overwhelming and you would just have to go to this fabulous place to see it with your own eyes.

I have decided I am not good about writing reviews about places I don't like. There are definitely places in that category *cough* Bricco in Khalidiya Mall *cough*. I just don't like wasting my time with them. My reviews are more to share the little gems I find while out n about. I want everyone to enjoy them as much as I did... So here is another gem or rather pearl

Pearls & Caviar Restaurant and Lounge is a another great find for those of you who want to enjoy a nice drink, some great food and a fabulous atmosphere.

Pearls & Caviar sits at the end of Shangri La Hotel in Abu Dhabi. In fact it's so far on the edge of the hotel that they drive you out to the restaurant from the main lobby in a cart! I love it! When you enter you can either go into the restaurant down stairs where there is a dramatic and romantic atmosphere of black, chrome and crystals everywhere.

If you arrive on a Friday and want something a little more relaxing that I suggest you head up stairs to the lounge that sits outside on the roof.

The bar is in the middle of the roof with the seating all the way around it. There are canvas sheets that shade the area from the sun during the day and add some coziness in the evening. The seating is huge white couches that beg you to lounge on to them and get comfortable. Order your drink, snuggle up with you favorite person and watch the sun set. There's a nice selection of chill house music coming from the DJ that sets a great mood leaving you to feel comfortable to get up and dance or stay relaxed on the oversized couches.

The food is a simple beach menu but perfect for the setting. Fish n Chips. Nachos or Chicken Fingers sounds simple but are mastered by the chef. And the fries... Oh the fries! They are perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned.

As the sky darkens the lounge lights with hidden lights in the floors, under the tables, and behind the couches leaving you with the soft light feel of the sunset. But make sure to bring your sweater as it can get quite chilly as the sun goes down.

Overall I completely enjoyed Pearls & Caviar and would recommend this place to anyone looking for a nice night out, especially if they have guests they want to impress....

If I can get my hands on some pictures I'll be sure to post them for you until then go check it out!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A brush with wilderness

Princess is usually an indoor kitty but I decided to let her explore outside. I wanted her to embrace her inner wild kitty cat er lion. I opened the window and let her go out on to the window cill. Our windows are protected with a mesh so really she couldn't actually jump off the cill but still she was outside exposed the wild wilderness of my backyard.

I decided to document Princess' exploration

This is Princess taking in all the new smells of outside. She even kept a close eye on those pesky birds making sure they didn't get too close.


After watching the bugs and birds for a while she decided we were safe from invasion and let her self bask in the sun.


Coming out of the window cill it was clear just how exhausting watching birds and sleeping was for Princess as she couldn't even make it to the floor before she fell asleep again.


This 20 minute endeavor was good for Princess though. It has brought a new awareness to her eyes, a new understanding of the world.

Princess has seen things now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No I'm not pregnant. I'm just sick.

I'm sick today. I was sick yesterday too. I didn't go to work yesterday because I could hardly get out of bed. Today I tried my luck feeling a little better and went to work where I quickly learned that that was a bad idea because I wasn't better enough. But when I went to work today I was bombarded with THE question. Yup as soon as people found out I wasn't feeling well they was say "Are you pregnant?" With a big smile on their face like they just figured out THE secret I have been keeping from everyone.

Better yet they think their suggesting it might be the key word that will make all your symptoms make sense and right in front of their very eyes you will realize... "Oh goodness I am with child" (I say this in my head with a southern accent because that seems more appropriate for the scene they are playing out in their heads) while clutching your stomach and tears start to develop in the corner of your eye. This moment, they believe, you will share with them, the lady at reception whose name you can't remember, or the assistant that you always go to for a little help... perhaps your boss or the guy who brings you the coffee

Apparently married women don't get sick. Marriage gives them some natural resistance to catching the flu, a common cold or any other ailment that you can think of. Nope, if you are married and you get "sick" well then you are really pregnant and just not telling people.

Being married, especially newly, gives everyone license to ask if you are pregnant. If you gain weight, get a cold, look a little pale, or seem tired than you are probably pregnant and people will ask you to confirm this.

Of course then people also need to ask you sporadically from time to time if you are pregnant as well. The fun (sarcastically speaking) part is that they might very well pat your tummy at the same time they ask you. When I look at them incredulously and say "UH. NO!" They reply with some reason about how it's ok to ask cause that what people do here.

Where I come from people would never ask such a thing. Perhaps when you are 8 and half months pregnant and about to pop but other than that there is a clear line (I feel) where people out side of close family would never try to guess when you are pregnant or ask about your baby making plans.

Here it's "do you want babies? When? How many? well you should do it soon because you'll love it!"
Yeah ok thanks. I'll get right on that oh by the way will YOU be helping out with all the bills?

Anyhow I'll get over this stomach bug I have and people will start to realize that indeed I was telling the truth... But they can always hope for the next time! Maybe just to make it fun I'll tell them I don't feel good for about 4 months. HA!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sleepy. So Sleepy

I'm so tired. Really I am. I couldn't sleep last night. After pondering the reason for my lack of sleep all day (hey give me a break it takes longer to process things when you are running on low) I realized that there are multiple factors here.

1. stress - stress makes sleeping difficult for me. I end up staying up late replaying every possible scenario in whatever I'm stressed about. I think about what might happen, what should happen, what will probably happen and how things would be different if only.

2. worry - late at night I start to worry. I worry about anything and everything. I worry about something I said to someone 4 years ago or I worry for the kids I don't even have yet. You name it and late at night, while I'm alone in my head, I'll probably worry about it.

3. pressure - the pressure I put on my self to fall asleep or else I won't get enough sleep oddly has an adverse effect and keeps me awake. In fact this problem has lead to a new rule at night for me: after I go to bed I am no longer allowed to check the clock to see how long I have been laying awake as I have learned that checking the clock causes #3 which in turn results in #1 and then I begin to worry (#2) about 1 & 3. Oh it's a cycle.

4. Twilight - this could very well be a cause of my inability to sleep. At least lately. These books are just so dang hard to put down and I end up reading 100 pages when I only meant to finish the chapter I was on. Plus the reason I love to read right before bed is that it puts me to sleep but these Twilight books just wake me all up and suck me in to them. It's like watching the 90210 The New Class (i admit to nothing) You know you are probably too old but the drama of it all just sucks you in and you HAVE to watch (er oops i meant read) more because you NEED to know what happens to everyone. I have been trying to share this obsession i mean good book series with my friends so that I don't feel alone in my addiction. But if they ask I did it so that they could enjoy a great book. My plan worked of course all you have to do is check out Sydney's blog to see how easily the obsession spreads.

So if you are looking for a good book and don't have problems with sleeping like I do, then I say check out the books. Join the obsession. You know you're curious.