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I wrote about our trip to Pompeii in The National the other day. Wandering those ancient sites makes a gal wonder about what will be left behind when our civilization disappears–and I have to say, the answers that come to mind aren’t exactly awe-inspiring.  Click here for the piece … and here is some visual accompaniment. (Because really, what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t bore people you can’t see with your family travel photos?)

IMG_6833the entrance to Pompeii

IMG_6807mosaic floor from the public baths in Herculaneum


fresco and mosaic on the interior wall of a building in Herculaneum

IMG_0921pillars in the marketplace, Pompeii

IMG_6835plaster cast of a body found in Pompeii

IMG_0900the site of Herculaneum with the current town of Erculano behind it, and behind that, The Volcano

Continue Reading · on October 28, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Kids, The National, Travel

in which there is a vague lesson in genetics

Last week, as I was sitting next to Caleb while he did his homework, we had a conversation.

Caleb:  Mommy, did you used to be smart?

Me, deciding now is not the time for a lesson about past and present tenses: Uh…well, you know, I like to think that I’m still smart.

Caleb: No, I mean, Daddy was even smart way back in high school. Were you?

Me, deciding now is not the time to talk about my rocky adolescence and general sense of disaffection from academic institutions:  Yep. Pretty much always been smart. How do you think you and your brother got to be smart yourselves?

Caleb: So I’m smart from both of you?

Me, wishing I’d paid attention during genetics lessons, deciding now is not the time to tell Caleb that “smart” and “paying attention” don’t always go together: Yep. Both of us.

Caleb, suddenly fearful: Does that mean I have to be a professor too?

Me, deciding that now is not the time to tell him that “smart” and “professor” don’t always go together: Nope. You can be whatever you want.

Caleb, relieved: Because I think I want to be a spy. Or a CIA agent. But maybe an author, too.


One out of three ain’t bad, I guess. The genetic apple maybe hasn’t fallen so far from the genetic tree.


Somehow, despite my apparent lack of intelligence, I am now writing regularly for The National, Abu Dhabi’s English-language paper.  Last week I wrote about world’s only truly universal language. It’s not chocolate and it’s not love.  It’s..Ikean-ease.   And the column before that was about an astonishing innovation coming soon to Abu Dhabi: street addresses.  It’s true. I live in a city where mail doesn’t get delivered to houses; only to post boxes or offices. It’s a little odd, and was annoying when we first moved here but now I feel sort of nostalgic about the vague chaos.






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Continue Reading · on October 16, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, expat, family, Kids, Parenting, The National

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