Jillian R.
While throwing out some old stuff, I found a page in my notebook from when we were living in Oman. Let me share the contents with you all.

Jillian's Notebook (undated; March-Aug 2011): 
Why Jester is the BEST little boy in the World

1. Hides chewies under the bed and couch for "later use".

2. Not supposed to go into the bathroom so he threw his ball/toy in there so that he'd HAVE to go after it - can't help it if his bally rolled in there, can he? He made sure that I watched him go fetch it the first couple of times. The third time his bally "accidentally" rolled into the bathroom he didn't come out. I went to check and found him going through the garbage.
(He doesn't get to do this anymore because we always keep our bathroom door closed here)

3. Sits and wags tail when other people are around to show what a good boy he is.

4. Learns commands in one lesson - 10 mins.

5. Stops us from getting dressed by tugging on our pant-legs and sleeves so that we couldn't leave him at home alone.
(I miss having my clothes tugged on. He has Ginger now so he doesn't really mind us leaving the house)

6. Pulls us by our fingers onto the bed so that he can snuggle with us.
(This too has stopped since Ginger joined the family)

(He had to wear a cone for a couple of days after getting neutered. We had to dodge gravel and rocks which he scooped and hurled at us)

7. Throws toys in the air and plays catch by himself. 
(New favorite game; keeping ALL the toys away from Ginger, piles them around himself)

(Loves Ginger very much though, and would protect her with his life)

8. Crawls under mine and Eric's work desk (at home) to keep us company while we work.
(Jester has mellowed out a lot, now he just naps on the bed while we're working on the computer)

9. Jumps on the bed and stares at us with cute-puppy-eyes before we leave the house - maybe we would decide to stay.
(He still does this now. Leaving the house while 2 pairs of the saddest eyes staring at you is very, very difficult to do)

Sometimes I think he tries to kill himself:-

10. He jumps in the air and tries to strangle himself on Eric's belt every time Eric tries to put it on. Maybe this is related to No.5. Don't know.

11. We have to leash him to a door when we have Muslim friends over. He would get upset and lay down as far as the leash would let him all the while choking himself.
(This was before we got a kennel)

12. Managed to open the bedroom window at one time and tried to jump out from our second floor apartment because no one was paying attention to him.

Okay, so maybe he wasn't the "best" little doggie. If anything these were downright bad dog behavior. Jester was merely an 8-month-old puppy when we adopted him. Six weeks of obedience classes and three weeks of "summer camp"* later, he's grown into such a mature, obedient dog that sometimes when he comes and snuggles with me on the bed, I get all teary-eyed because well, there's really nothing like loving a pet. Period.

That said, go ahead, go to a shelter, go to a rescue group; adopt your new best friend today. No words can describe what dogs can do for your soul.

*summer camp: Jester was kenneled at Canadian Jebel K-9 Dog Training & Services (Muscat, Oman) while we visited New York last year. We chose a kenneling program that includes daily basic training (and lots of walks!). It costs a bit of course, but nothing is ever too much for our best friends. They did an EXCELLENT job with him.

Jillian R.
We moved to Oman in Feb/March 2011 and subsequently, well, here in Abu Dhabi last fall. Living in the Middle East is not an easy feat which one can just adapt to - like moving to Korea for example. While there were surprises here and there due to the differences in culture and mindset, we didn't really have to change how we act or dress, to name a few. Well, we didn't have to change anything except our diets really - which I didn't mind at all. Again, living in the Middle East; it's literally a whole new world.

Here are a few things that I'll probably never get used to.

1. Getting pecks on the lips/cheek before parting ways with my husband; while this is a very, very common thing among couples, you don't see it often, or at all here. Say you're at the supermarket and your husband wants to wander off into the car accessories section while you just wanted to get on with grocery shopping. You bid each other farewell and tell your husband not to spend unnecessarily (knowing that he will anyway). This is when you may want to hug your husband and/or kiss each other on the cheek. We don't do that here. Sometimes Eric kisses me goodbye anyway (on the cheek/forehead!) and I quickly scan the area nervously to check if anyone was watching or was getting offended. Yes, people get offended easily.

 No kissing in public!

2. Having to go to different supermarkets to complete your shopping list. You cannot get pork products or anything that contains pork traces at most supermarkets here. While I don't usually cook pork anyway I would still like the option of being able to get it easily. I remember the first few times I went shopping with Eric in Korea while we were still dating and I was still living in Malaysia. I saw him grab several bottles of sweetened condensed milk from the shelf and I asked why. He said "because I may never see it again". I laughed at him. It was until I moved there myself that I found out just how true it was; hence we adopted a general rule while shopping; if you see something you like/want, grab at least 2-3, you'll probably never see it again. That general rule also applies here.

I grab lots of "Bounty" brand paper towels every time I see them, plus, only Lulu's have them. Thank you Lulu's! 

3. Fridays and Saturdays are weekends. This one really isn't that hard to deal with. Except it takes away the joy of Fridays. Fridays were once magical. You have extra energy on Friday evenings. You feel a bounce in your walk to the car, all that's gone. Now, Thursday is the new Friday. I don't know why there are so many T.G.I. Fridays here. It obviously defeats the purpose. Sunday is the start of the work week. I always, ALWAYS mistake it for Monday and call it that until I confuse everyone. I find it very difficult to say "--a Sunday-Thursday work week". Who says that?!

4. It's a land of construction workers. Like my last entry suggests. They like to stare. I bet they stare at anyone who does not look like them. It's very uncomfortable, mainly because they stare without any trace of expression.

5. Not knowing a good hair salon. I haven't had a hair cut in a year or so. There are many beauty "saloons" around Abu Dhabi. Most of the "saloons" are either the Indian barber kind (which are for men only) or fancier ones which are for women only. The women-only salons are usually completely covered from the outside, obviously to maintain the privacy of women who are in their without their head scarves, etc. While I completely understand and respect this, it makes it hard for me to decide which one I should go to. I've always needed to look inside a salon and see if the lighting was okay, what kind of chairs/equipment they use, etc. Obviously, I don't feel comfortable going to a "saloon", peek in and leave if it wasn't up to my standards. That said, I've decided to only get a hair cut once a year when we visit New York or when I make a trip home to Penang.

Until then, I'll just grow out my hair like Rapunzel.
Jillian R.
I know I rant quite a bit about the construction workers around our building (or anywhere really, around this part of the world), like in one of my last entries, and they (the construction workers) are often the source of my violent screaming fits on the streets.

So being from certain parts of the world, I understand the fact that they are perhaps not raised around domesticated dogs and/or if they encounter a dog, the dog is about to eat them. I can't say I blame the dogs, seeing how they are treated. The workers (and sometimes local teenagers/kids) would stare at our dogs with creepy, unblinking eyes (which I think is because the are dead inside - due to their harsh working conditions). Some would whistle under their breaths so that we can't hear them but the dogs would and the whistling creeps Jester out and he starts barking. Ginger would sort of shuffle away nervously. Anyway, besides staring and whistling, often they would call out to the dog by making kissy sounds and snapping their fingers - and if we make ANY movement towards them with the dogs they panic and run away.

Yeah. Like I said, they grew up around dogs who were out to eat them.

Now, look at these pictures;

These were taken one fine afternoon when we took the dogs out to a friend's place with a yard to run around. The doggies were loaded in the back, but as we were setting up the GPS navigator, the dogs started barking and growling.

 ("La-la-la, I wasn't looking....mmm, mmm" thinks the guy in gray. The one in the striped shirt is pretending to look at our back tire. C'mon, REALLY?)

 (One guy tried to cover his face with his hands but wasn't doing a very good job)

I turned around and sure enough, we had attracted quite a spectacle. These workers were gathered around our car like they were watching a snake dance, only this was MORE interesting! THERE WERE DOGS IN THE CAR!! What?! How?! While some merely stared soullessly, their friends were pointing and making faces at the dogs. 

It didn't help that Eric did not find the location immediately and as he was jabbing around the navigator screen going "Where is it?!!", I rolled down my window and yelled at them to go away. The barking and growling was getting very loud and it certainly was not good for my bad ear. Yes, I have a bad ear that throbs inside when I hear loud noises and I had just had a CT scan two days ago; not too anxious about the results.

Anyway, the more I yell, the more fun and exciting for them it became and MORE of them started gathering around our car. So I whipped out my camera and started snapping pictures

And so, they finally dispersed. The show was over. Awww.

Thank you for reading. More next time.

Grumpy Lady Who Yells at Workers
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