A Puzzling Ring

Day 14

Last night we were in a jewelry store looking for a wedding band for my husband who keeps inadvertently throwing his away. It has become too big for him and since it’s the weight of a behemoth, he keeps shaking it into the trash can.

While we were finding a nice tungsten band for him, my eye caught sight of the puzzle rings. “Oh,” I said, “That reminds of of when I was a kid. I had one with 12 wire-thin bands. I loved that thing, and it was easy to figure out.”

I began trying them on, and then he weighed the one I liked to see how much the silver would cost. He gave us a two-for-one offer, and I bought a new ring. That is really unlike me. Maybe it’s because during the pandemic I stopped wearing earrings, so I needed a little bling.

My picture, so I would remember how to put it together later. Little did I know!

It was wired together with a fine wire, twisted on the outside. It would would have been worse than having a cat claw on my palm if I left it there. The shopkeeper kept trying to sand it down and make it smoother for me so I could keep it on. It just got more deadly. I thought it was a senseless suggestion to leave the wire on there. “It’s a puzzle ring! I want to see it in pieces.” Finally, after lots of convincing he helped me get the wire unfastened and removed. Now I had a puzzle in my hand. The shopkeeper was appalled. Of course, I had no idea how to put it back together, so on the way home I alternately tried to solve the puzzle while walking or wore one of the bands on my finger, while the others danced along with my arm swings.

When I got home, I realized this was beyond my memory and expertise. I had a vague recollection of me and 12-band puzzle being easy and making sense, whereas my cousin’s ring with fewer bands did not. I began watching videos and slowly step-by-step I got all the way to Step 2 before bed.

Today I woke up and went back to solving it, first thing. Even though I only had one hour before I had to be somewhere, I knew I wouldn’t rest until I got it. I made it to Step 3, but something was always wrong. So I didn’t quite get that third band down properly, but I realized I was on the way, I just knew it! I watched more videos. Pause. Work. Start video. Pause. Twist and turn. Start over because I lost Step 1 and Step 2. Watch the video again. Realize that on the video, the wide angle band goes first and on top, but consider that with my ring it is the opposite–the sharper angle goes first. Try. Fail. Switch back to the way the video told me because what do I know, anyway.

Then we had to drive to the U.S. Embassy to have our signatures notarized. I showed my husband proudly on the way down the elevator! Look Step 3, solid!

I was driving, so I had to wait. We got there early so I worked another 30 minutes because–God forbid that we would get to go inside the Embassy before our appointment. We had to stay in the car and wait. No luck with the ring in that 30 minutes, though.

I came home and said, “OK, this is it. I am getting to Step 4 now! I will get this done today, or I will still be sitting here when Jesus returns.” All other work, messages, and plans went on hold, and fortunately I forgot my phone in the car, so that couldn’t be a distraction.

Yes, ten minutes later I did it.

Success! And when did my hands turn into my mother’s?

The God Who Hears and Sees Me

Day 13

Yesterday a friend and I had the privilege of meeting a young woman, who with her three roommates had a house fire a few days ago. Fortunately it was in the afternoon when the air conditioner started the fire. Many neighbors were able to see the smoke and warn everyone to get out. She had been asleep in one of the rooms on the ground floor.

She shared the details with us–about the children let down from second story windows and the many neighbors who were there to catch them. That all the children and adults got out without injury or smoke inhalation. She was so thankful that God had given her another life to live. The idea that God allows bad things to happen to us to make us stronger came up. They asked me what I thought about that.

I was happy to speak. All I could do was tell a story, though.

Hagar was a slave who was given to her old master as a second wife in order to have a baby, so her old mistress, who appeared to be barren, could have children. When she became pregnant her mistress started abusing her and made life unbearable enough that Hagar ran away into the wilderness.

Pretty bleak story of misery and loss for this young woman.

Enter God. God found her, called her by name, and asked where she had been and where she was going. The Lord told her the baby she was carrying was a son, and she would name him Ishmael, which means God hears, for the Lord had heard her misery.

She was told to go back to her mistress, and knowing she was heard and seen by God, she did it. She gave the Lord who spoke to her a name: “You-are-the-God-who-sees-me” she called God because she had seen the one who sees her.

I then explained what I believe. The world is broken, but God hears and sees and redeems us out of the brokenness.

Pain and misery are hard to make sense of, but Hagar’s story gives me hope.


Mi Primer Publicación Español

Day 12

Me on my own:
Yo hablo inglés solamente. Porque quiero aprender español. Con Duolingo yo aprendo mucho cosas interesante. Yo escribo esta post con no ayuda.

I went to Google Translate to see how I did…
Solo hablo ingles. Pero quiero aprender español. Con Duolingo, aprendo muchas cosas interesantes. Escribo esta publicación sin ayuda.

What I intended to say

I speak only English, but I want to learn Spanish. With Duolingo, I am learning many interesting things. I wrote this post without help.

OK, I don’t speak Spanish. The last time I studied in school was in Grade 9 in a Spanish 2 class. Now, I’m doing one or two lessons a day in Duolingo, sometimes more.

I am on a 43-day streak! Woohoo! (Mr. Wilkinson is at 800+ days in a row!) But as you can see above, I forget a lot of things that I’m learning. For instance, I said “mucho cosas interesante” instead of muchas cosas interesantes, which sounds much more beautiful when said correctly.

Here are a few more things I can say since I’ve recently passed Checkpoint 1 on Duolingo:

Yo tengo dos hermanos y cuatro hermanas.

Yo tengo dos hijas y uno esposo.

Este vestido azul es muy bonito.

Yo quiero hablar español.

Back to Blended Learning

Day 11

Oh, my what a day! I’m involved in projects in three different departments these days, so believe it or not, I go to all three department meetings on Thursday. Between those meetings and editing the video for our online church service I was hopping.

While I was delivering the video to the church office, I saw two posts that our local news site had posted on Instagram.

First, that the mosques are opening. This is huge! Some services of prayer have been closed for over a year now!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Gulf Daily News (@gdnonline)

Next I saw that restaurants are reopening for indoor dining.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Gulf Daily News (@gdnonline)

Now, we have been a bit closed for sometime and it seemed likely it would continue, since the cases have been on the rise since December. In February we averaged the highest number of cases all year and February was also the deadliest month we’ve seen in Bahrain.

This chart shows good news. The cases are going down for the past week, but they are still higher than most of the year. Is that all it took to open everything?

Maybe vaccinations have influenced the openings, as well. We’re doing great, but I don’t think they call that herd immunity yet.

Then at 5:00 p.m. we received an email from school saying that blended learning will begin again on Sunday.

OK. I didn’t see that coming!

A Trip to the Supermarket in Photos

Day 9

A busy day lends itself to a slice of life photo essay of our walk to the grocery store.

People feed the birds with leftover bread and rice.
Outdoor shisha café
I love that I can buy produce without a lot of prepackaged waste.
About that social distancing…
Plexiglass and masks
My husband and this fellow always talk
Fish market
Where even the cats are welcome
Central Café for an evening snack
He’s been making chat here for 22 years. This is called dahi sev puri.
My husband carried the groceries home.
And I carried the dahi sev puri and ate most of it, as well.
My husband got to finish the last bits.
Until tomorrow!

Am I Getting Old?

Day 8

Oh, my goodness! I’m 0-2! This is my second loss to the tile floor this week. I don’t remember the last time there was broken glass in my house, but this week two slices of my life have included red liquid and broken glass! (First post here)

This morning I woke up and had an idea to enjoy a pedicure. I got my Epsom salts and hot water ready in the plastic wash tub. I brought along an emery board, nail polish and clippers. Oh, well, I thought, since I don’t have nail polish remover I no doubt can scrap off the old stuff because it’s got to be from last summer, or I’ll just go over it with a fresh coat.

I sat down at the tub. The water was still a little too hot, so I was tiptoeing in. It didn’t take long for my feet to get accustomed to the temperature, so I settled in and began to enjoy the soak. I reached for my tea latte, which my husband had brought me to enjoy while I pampered myself.

However, there was a different plan for my morning. When I reached for my tea, my elbow swept the fingernail polish off the table and onto the tile floor.

I didn’t know where to start, so I took a picture!

This was the first time in my life that I broke a bottle of fingernail polish. And, oh, yes, I remembered I didn’t have nail polish remover, so after I sent a text to my neighbor to see if she had some, I tried to mop up the globs with tissues.

This is looking grisly.

I also poured and scrubbed with a half bottle of White Spirit, which may be a British kind of turpentine.  You needed a lot of elbow grease with that stuff and it mostly wasn’t coming off.

One of my first thoughts was of Maureen, who had a couple of posts this week, where she toyed with the idea of getting old because of a couple of things that happened to her. (Here and here) My follow up thought: “Am I getting old?” Or is it this tile floor that seems to have been hiding for eight years, and now is opening up a can of whoop-ass!

My neighbor responded to my earlier text and the nail polish remover definitely did its magic. I cleaned up the spill and got ready with a few minutes to spare before my first class at 7:45.

Chopped Salad

Day 7
I neglected to take a photo of the ingredients this morning, but here is an old one showing some of the herbs we have available. (27 cents a bunch)

My word for 2021 is gratitude. This year I’m practicing! I’m on the lookout for things to be grateful for, especially those things that I will miss when I move back to the U.S. Today it is the salads I make.

Soak, wash, drain, chop, chop, dice, grate, grate, squeeze out extra water. Add each ingredient to my largest bowl. Slip my hands into the bowl and gently toss to mix together.

Cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, a slew of greens–this time, mint leaves, arugula, parsley, cilantro, and  purslane. My goal is always to have at least ten different items in the mix.

Then I put it in a plastic tub with an airtight lid, add several layers of paper toweling on top of the salad, turn the tub upside-down and store it in the refrigerator. If I change the papers and keep the salad as dry as possible, it will last for a week of salads for our family of two.

I will never think of a salad as lettuce and tomatoes again. Now salad is this colorful conglomeration with so many delicious flavors and delightful textures.


Nighttime Thoughts

Day 6

On Friday, Terje wrote about her dream of puffins and a conversation she had with her brain during the night. She wrote about it here on “Midnight Slice.” Terje had been inspired by Erika Victor and her post “In the Middle of the Night.”

Also on Friday, Kim Johnson wrote about her dream where she adopted a lioness. It includes an It’s a Small World-type ride. Read about it here at “Save the Lions!

Since I read these three nighttime slices yesterday, I find myself again inspired by this community for my next post today. I guess I was inspired for my sleep, as well, because I had one of those nights, a three-pee night as Erika called it.

Then at 4:37 a.m. I was lying awake already when the Fajar call to prayer began, which is shorter than the afternoon prayer calls, which I captured a portion of today around noon.

I usually sleep through it, since my Christian prayer life is much less devout than my Muslim brothers’ and sisters’.

A few minutes later I heard part 2 of the morning call from one of the mosques–perhaps it’s a repeat of something like “hurry to the prayer” or “prayer is better than sleep.” Maybe a sleepyhead, thrown in too (but I doubt that last one). I’m not sure because, of course, it is all in Arabic.

Anyway, if I’m awake with the call to prayer, there is about a 50/50 chance I’ll go back to sleep. Today my lists won the day, and I started the day early.

I keep a pad of paper and a pencil on my nightstand. After the call to prayer and the fact that I had been lying awake quite a while, I wrote a few more things on the second page of my pad of paper. It’s dark as mud in my room because we have black poster board in the windows, so I have to remember where on the paper I’ve written throughout the night. Sometimes folds in the paper help me with placement.

When I started writing “important” things like iron and clean, I tried to have a conversation with my brain, like Terje did yesterday.

Me: OK, time for sleeping another hour or two.

Brain: You should write “Clean the refrigerator.”

Me: Are you kidding? If I don’t do that job for the rest of my life, all will be well. Let me go to sleep.

Brain: OK. Here is one for your list. You need to change your blog settings so Glenda doesn’t have to stay in moderation jail every day.

Me: Yes, I know. OK. I will write that one.

Brain: But maybe you will need to try another theme.

Me: Now, go back to sleep. It’s Saturday. The first thing on my calendar is 11:00 a.m.

Brain: But what about that student who has missed two sociology classes? You need to email him right?

Me: Yes, I was supposed to do that.

Brain: Ah, Keith’s alarm is going off. It’s almost 5:30, go ahead and get up now.

Me: OK, already!

Part 2 of my nighttime list making