Saturday, June 27, 2009

I remember a time...

I remember when I was allowed to stay up late to watch the Motown 25th anniversary on television. Michael Jackson took to the stage performing what my brother and I subsequently tried to master later that evening (and for many months on) in the kitchen, on the patio, in the living room - the moonwalk.

I remember being glued to MTV to see the premier of the Thriller video. I maintained interest throughout the entire video/mini movie drama despite it being almost 14 minutes long, which was about 8 minutes beyond my normal quotient for attention span at that age.

I remember being mildly impressed (too cool at the time to be fully impressed, of course) of my little brother's ability to perfectly replicate MJ's famous moves from the Billy Jean and Beat It videos, in his red MJ jacket and diamond glove. (He'd kill me if he knew I was putting this up on the blog; fortunately I'm pretty sure none of his friends read this.)

I remember when MJ & Lionel Richie teamed up to do Man In the Mirror and how it was the first time in my youth that I really noticed a musician using his celebrity to garner attention for philanthropy and how it was hard to overlook that underneath the red leather, white glove and surgical attempts to be physically perfect, there was an endearing person.

I remember going to my first big stadium concert to see Michael Jackson on his Pepsi Tour in 1988. I wore a striped denim dress and carried my mint green Esprit bag. I remember because this was a big day.

I remember watching the Smooth Criminal video for the first time and still, if I catch it on the TV I will undeniably stop whatever I'm doing to watch it.

I remember not the moment, but a time, when the largeness of Michael Jackson began to swallow him whole. When, in my opinion, all perspective was lost within his world and things started crumble around him as a result of bad decisions, poor health, and bad people. I do remember when Martin Bashir interviewed him for the "Living with Michael Jackson" documentary and being disgusted with the extent to which he went to manipulate, distort and clearly profit from the climate of the time, which was to tear Micheal Jackson to shreds. I remember feeling sorry for MJ; upset at all those who victimized him and upset for those he victimized.

I have never understood obsessions with celebrities. I couldn't even bring myself to go to the NBC studios for any of the celebrity morning shows the entire time I lived in NYC, and it was on my back step. But I do get pop culture. And more to the point of this entry, I get how pop culture, religion, family, friends, social circles and schools create the fabric that is our childhood. Easily I could have breezed past the passing of MJ - and I almost did. The truth is, I think I will always remember the moment I learned he died and that tells me there is significance to me. Those evenings dancing in the living room, trying to moonwalk and flick the leg a-la-Billy Jean or pass the coins a-la-Beat It...those are really fun childhood memories. And often I think about what memories Isabelle will grow up with that remain alive with her through the years. For me, Michael Jackson's music was a real part of the pop culture that shaped my childhood and I'm grateful it.

Who we are dancing to this week: Michael Jackson, Thriller -
"P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)"

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day on the beach

Happy Father's Day! We celebrated Richard's first dad's day relaxing on the beach. He was able to come home a bit early from work and when he got here, he arrived to a scavenger hunt that lead him through the kitchen, up to the bedroom, back down to the garden & eventually to the beach where Isabelle and I were waiting for him with watermelon & sandwiches.

{Out and about}

Nowadays, anytime you go to take her picture she "smiles" for you (above), but still we get the sweet smile occasionally... this :)

Swimming at the lovely indoor pool at the Ritz because it was quite windy this day (which, in Doha means a sandstorm!)

Helping daddy with his work

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Out and about in Doha

We have been enjoying being home and settled, hanging out at the pool, getting more comfortable driving to all corners of the city, meeting with friends for dinner, and making plans for the summer. We have more fun times ahead...Isabelle's birthday next month, then daddy's birthday, possible visits from family, going to the states for a few weeks...exciting! Stay tuned.

{We love weekends at the pool}

{Little Miss Big Girl walking through Villagio Mall}
She loves the independence of walking, so we brought her favorite lion push cart so she could stroll alongside us while running errands this weekend. I don't know who had more fun - Isabelle or all of the people who couldn't help but stop to watch her and smile

{Milk and food and food and milk}

If there is a buckle, she's on it. She loves trying to snap close the buckle of her high chair, car seat, bugaboo...

{It's all fun and games, until toys are taken away}
Isabelle: "I can't wait until I get my hands on those pool toys! The flinging and banging that can be had - oh yeah!"

"Come on dad, speed it up will you?"

"Oh no she di'nt!"

"That's okay, my spirit can't be squelched when I'm at the pool"

"Watch out boys, here I come"

Little boy Amier:"Hey hot stuff, I'm a 14 months old. What are your digits?"
Isabelle: "10. 10 months. You're too old for me."

{Out and about}
"Mama, why is it that all of the nursery rhymes you sing to me end in the Jeopardy theme tune when you don't know how it finishes?"

Isabelle accessorized for the day out on the town

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Driving in Doha

It really wasn't so long ago that my mornings involved running down West 9th Street with washed -and dried- hair, in peep-toe stilettos, hailing down a cab with one hand, handbag du jour thrown over my shoulder & west village 'Ciao For Now' ice coffee in the other hand.

Now my mornings look more like this:

One big, beautiful, squirmy baby in one arm, one big diaper bag that has loose receipts, cash, and rusk wrappers trying to escape the scary interior of their home in the other, two bottles of water (one in a sippy cup form, used more for flinging water throughout the car instead of drinking), and a couple of old CDs from before the days of extensive iTune use (think: Counting Crows "August and Everything After," Sarah McLaughlin, Will Smith) - all unloading into our new, used Honda MRV.

And you know what? I love it. For the past week, I have been a legit driver in Doha (car registration - check, insurance - check, driver's license - check, swift knowledge of how to navigate Doha roundabouts with a Qatari in a Porsche cutting me off from the left and a worker from the construction sites in a 1980 Nissan truck cutting me off from the right - check)! As such, we've said good-bye to our sweet driver, Bashel, who couldn't read maps to save his life and had zero sense of direction, but was trusty and reliable and a nice guy.

It's only been a week but I'm amazed at how fast life in the car comes back to you, despite hailing cabs in New York City for almost the past decade. Isabelle's been great in the back by herself. Though we have ventured into new territory for us...the monotone perma-whine she does occasionally when she's tired & fed up and there's no way I can do anything about it from the front seat. And then of course the out of schedule napping that happens in cars, which always leaves me wondering "do I keep driving?" or "do I wake her knowing there's no way now that she'll go down for a 'real' nap?" or "if only I could throw a magic invisi-sheild around the car to keep her safe so I could run into the market for two minutes without waking her," or "do I just stand at the door of the car taking pictures of her perfectness?"

Who we're dancing to this week: Khaled, Aicha
Funny thing about this song, is that although Khaled is a really famous Arabian singer better known here in the Middle East than back home, I first heard this song out at a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn years ago and loved it. How do I remember such randomness you ask? Well, in this case, I remember my friend asking what the name of the song was and the bartender saying "Aicha" pronounced like "Iesha" in my favorite 7th grade dance song by the best kid group ever to hit R&B, ABC...Another Bad Creation. Thus, it had a permanent place in my brain, and now my heart.

We're also listening to Khaled's other song, Didi, quite a lot. Ironically, I think it was released around the same time ABC released their Iesha. Didi carries a high quotient of sticking in your brain so be warned, but we're digging it.

The other Iesha...