Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cat and the Measles

Hubby is not very demanding. Music-wise that is. He loves a certain genre, the same he used to enjoy when he was younger, which is fine because, thank God, his younger years were not rocking to the sound of Britney Spears or Justin Bieber. (I pray he goes extinct by the time Mia turns into some crazed groupie because I do not think I could cope with Bieber Fever in my house).

Back to hubby. His favorite musicians of all times are Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens and Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler did perform in Dubai back in March 2005 but hubby could not make it then despite all his drive and eagerness to demand "his MTV". 

However (with a capital H), when came the time for Eric Clapton to visit the Emirates in February 2011, he vowed he would not miss his absolute rock god, no matter what. And indeed, despite our tiny 75-days old bundle of joy at home, we drove to Abu Dhabi and attended the concert. 

Eric Clapton at Yas Arena, Abu Dhabi on February 11, 2011
Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

Of course, hubby would have had to get a girlfriend for the evening had my brother not been able to baby-sit because I was not (hormonally nor emotionally) about to abandon my angel with a stranger under any circumstance. Hubby was lucky I trust my brother completely. But completely does not mean blindly, and I had my mom on video Skype supervising the whole thing all the way from Lebanon! And me texting on Whatsapp every 15 minutes! Fun, I know.

A few weeks ago, I made an interesting discovery on Facebook: an event created by Beiteddine Festival to announce that Cat Stevens was scheduled to perform in Beirut on February 18. Naturally, being a loving wife and all, I immediately forwarded the details to hubby who took five seconds to ask me to book tickets! So I called Virgin Megastore and inquired about the whole thing:
Me: Hello, I would like to know when Cat Stevens' tickets will be on sale please. 
VG: Who? 
Me: Cat Stevens. You know, Umm, Yusuf Islam? 
Me: You advertised his upcoming concert on Facebook. It will take place at Biel on February 18. 
VG: I have no tickets for this date yet. 
VG is "Virgin Guy", and I swear I am not referring to or passing judgement on his sexual life.

VG was probably too young to have heard of hubby's very own Bieber Fever. 

It took a few weeks before there was any news about the tickets and even for the concert to be advertised on the radio. But we finally managed to book online and hubby was all set to come for a 24-hour visit to Lebanon. That was the belated Valentine's I had mentioned in my previous post.

But of course, nothing would be worthwhile if there were not some obstacles on the way. After all, good things should not come easy, right?

And indeed, a few hours before we were set to go, Mia came down with a mild fever. Nothing dramatic, but still it was enough for me to change my mind. So hubby played the "don't do this to me" and "you're not going to send me to concert alone, are you?" cards and insisted it would be OK and my parents could give us a call in case of emergency. After all, Mia has been struggling with fever every couple of weeks or so, and we are now experts on how to deal with this drama.

I agreed but on the condition we would call a taxi because it would take ages to reach the venue, find a place to park and then maybe even longer to be able to get our car out of the parking in case of emergency.

So I called my favorite Beirut cab company, ALLÔ CITY:
Me: Hello I need a cab for 8pm please. 
Operator: Are you going to Cat Stevens' concert? 
Me: What? How did you know? 
Operator: How could you? I am stuck at work and you're going to Cat Stevens' concert?! 
Me: Umm... I am so sorry? I feel your pain?... 
Operator: That's OK, you enjoy yourself.  
Me: Thank you! What's the charge please? 
(My parents' house is in Hamra street, which is about 10 minutes away from the concert venue) 
Operator: 70,000 Lebanese Pounds (a little less than 50 US Dollars) 
Me and Operator in unison: That's about the same price as the concert tickets! 
Operator: I'm kidding, it'll be 9,000 LP (approximately 6 US Dollars)   

I love how the cab company's night shift operator knows Cat Stevens and the customer service guy at Virgin Ticketing has never heard of the man! :)

And off we went to Biel. The cab was a life savior because there was so much traffic at the entrance, we would have missed the beginning of the concert had we not ditched the car and continued on foot. We were not surprised to see people walking in to their seats in the middle of the first song. It was so crowded on the parking lot, this was bound to happen.

Cat Stevens at Biel, Beirut Lebanon on February 18, 2012
Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid 
Cat Stevens at Biel, Beirut Lebanon on February 18, 2012
Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

OK, I know, none of the photos in this post are worth sharing, but that is the best I could do with my phone. It is a Smart Phone, yes, but it is not *that* smart.

So I will make it up to you for sticking with me thus far (and ignoring the crappy visuals) and also because I am indeed super nice.

Here, allow me to share with you the last minutes of the concert:

On our way back from the concert, hubby told me: "that's it, Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens, I can die tomorrow"... Umm, on behalf of Mia, Number 2 and myself, thank you hubby?

Of course he was only joking so I did not help in rushing his death "tomorrow" as per his clearly stated wishes.

Warning: The following contains detailed Mommy Rantings. 
You have been warned.

As for Mia, my parents managed her fever quite easily but by the time we were home it was already close to 39°C. We did not sleep one bit that night. Mia woke up several times, in pain and in tears.

The next morning hubby had to fly back to Dubai. All the while Mia was getting worse. The doctors told us not to bring her to the ER because they could not do anything more than what we were already doing at home. That afternoon, Mia's temperature reached 40.3°C and would not go below 40°C no matter what medication we gave her or how many ice-cold towels we forcibly placed on her shaky naked body. It was pure and simple torture for her, and for us.

And to add insult to injury, we noticed a mild rash on her neck which seemed to itch a little so we immediately checked her belly and back and inspected every bit of her body looking for other traces but found nothing. So we concluded it was probably a reaction to the very high fever.

The next day, her temperature finally dropped a few points and we were back to 39-39.5°C.

It was only until yesterday that we got the relief of reading that 38.5°C on the thermometer screen.

Today her temperature went back to normal, thank God. But the rash that seemed to be confined to her neck throughout the four days of fever spread dramatically on her back and behind her ears during the night. There does not seem to be one bit of spotless skin left in those areas!

So we immediately checked her belly and there it was: the dreaded rash, much milder than on her back but still, clearly there. Her face was spared with only a few red spots on her cheeks, next to her ears and on her nose mostly.

Obviously, Mia's fever was caused by a case of baby measles which seems to have been softened (somehow) by her vaccine.

And so now the waiting begins. Mia cannot sleep at night and during the day she is so cranky and clingy. We can only be patient as I cannot even imagine how horrible this itchiness must feel, especially to a tiny baby who does not know how to reach the areas that hurt and how to scratch them or how to tell us where it itches so we could help ease her discomfort a little.

Mamma Mia

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

So Valentine's Day's around the corner

There's no missing it, it's everywhere on the net. Promos, competitions, features, and more and more of Cyber-Cupid love all around.

So Mia's Crew's joining the fun, in our very own way of course. 

Happy Lovey from Mia's Crew

Hubby and I, we don't really do the whole Valentining thing. I think I remember only two occasions when we played love-birds. 

If I am not mistaken, it was our very first Valentine's and hubby came home with roses, balloons and a cake for me, as well as another cake for my mom's birthday which is on February 15. Total sweetness. My mom still has that teddy bear balloon saved at home (so weird how that balloon is still intact, only God Knows what's in it, but I seriously doubt it's air).

The second time was in 2009, and I don't know why but hubby decided to go for the whole shebang and made reservations to spend the weekend at a resort in Fujairah. It was really fun and with all his traveling, we really needed and enjoyed the time together... And the food. Especially the chocolate and strawberry fountain! ;)

I do remember also having dinners out from time to time but nothing very special. Like I said, we don't do the whole Valentining thing. 

But I should probably mention February 2010 because it was ridiculously funny. My cousin was getting engaged on that same day in Zahle, which meant we got all dressed up with full hair and make-up. Well I did, hubby preferred a more natural look. And we were back in Beirut in the evening with nothing to do. So we thought, since I already had my false eye-lashes on, why not go out? Of course, hubby wasn't about to stay in his suit and neither was I! So we changed into our most comfy outfits and walked in Hamra street looking for a restaurant that didn't require prior booking. We ended up at... Crepaway! Ok, if you don't know Crepaway, allow me to just list a couple of its "main competitors" identified on Wikipedia: TGI Fridays, Burger King and McDonalds. I disagree with the last two, but yes, TGI Fridays is the same kind of joint. Not your most romantic place. Not the most "grown-up" for such an evening either. And indeed we were surrounded by highly excited, blushing and giggling teenagers who couldn't be prouder to be out on that special night. Needless to say, my hair, full-make-up and false lashes made some heads turn! Especially when they looked a little lower and realized what I was wearing. And just to give you an idea of how Valentiny we are, the street vendor who sells roses every day in Hamra and who probably waits for this one evening to make the highest sales got all excited when he saw my polished face and impeccable hair. No doubt, he thought finally a couple of grown-up, well-off folks who will buy not one, not two but a dozen roses from me. Well, never fall for appearances! Hubby dismissed him with a laugh, and something along the lines of "we're married, I'm done impressing her" and I agreed with a smiley mouth full of burger. 

Crepaway's placemat

This year, it'll be even trickier since hubby won't be in town at the time. We'll probably make it up when he visits next. 

In any case, we're never really excited about the day since it comes after a series of celebrations, and by February 14, we're already fed up with balloons, gifts and cake. Oops, my bad. Not cake. We are never, ever tired of cake. 

So basically, we start with Mia's birthday on November 29, my brother's birthday on December 20, followed closely by Jesus' birthday on December 24, my parents' anniversary on December 25, then New Year's, my birthday 23 days later and hubby's on January 28. And we're not done yet. Then there's my dad's birthday on February 7 (yes in two days, I know) and my mom's on February 15. So Valentine's kind of gets blurred somewhere in between. 

Teeny note: I love December to February. There's always cake in the fridge!

Well, if you'll be spending Valentine's with your kids too this year, how about some crafts and yummies that everyone could enjoy playing with, making and I promise no baking?

Like I said before, the net is buzzing with all sorts of seasony ideas and here's two I think would be lovely: 

Get messy with some safe and easy Play Dough recipe by Great Moms
  • 2 cups of baking soda 
  • 1 1/2 cup of water 
  • 1 cup of corn starch 
  • Optional food coloring

And for your sweet tooth, how about a bunch of Dipped and Decorated Pretzels courtesy of 5 Minutes for Mom?
  • Assortment of pretzels
  • Microwave candy melts
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Candy sprinkles 

  • Step 1: Gather your favorite pretzel snacks. The large pretzel rods and twists work well for this sweet project but you can definitely dip the small sticks and twists too for a mini treat. 

  • Step 2: Candy melts are a great product for a non-chocolate flavor and come ready in fun holiday colors like red, white and pink. When melting the candy, use a microwave-safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening to about a cup of candy melts. Microwave the melts in 30 second intervals, stirring each time in between until the melts are smooth and creamy. 

  • Step 3: Place a large sheet of wax paper over a hard surface. Dip and cover each pretzel covering about a third of the surface. Tap the pretzel on the side of the bowl to remove excess candy. If your bowl is too small, use a spoon to pour the candy melts over the pretzels (necessary for the rods). 

  • Step 4: Place the dipped pretzels on a sheet of wax paper and decorate with your favorite candy sprinkles. 

  • Step 5: Let the dipped pretzels harden for about an hour. You can also place them in the fridge for a quick chill. 

  • Step 6: Wrap your treats with candy wrappers which you can find at your local craft store. 

Click on Source for complete illustrated recipe

Now I'm usually more of a chocolate gal but these looked too adorable to skip. In any case, chocolovers can always swing by the Holidays recipes and try some of those chocolate-dipped strawberries I love so much.

And of course, don't forget to give away lots and lots of hugs and kisses! After all, the Day of Love wouldn't mean a thing without some warm, cozy and free-of-charge oversized displays of affection ;)

You can start now! Since I've just discovered that today is International Kissing Day. Yes! Apparently it's been trending on Twitter all day and I had no idea until now! So I figured, this is perfect for this post, right? Right. I wonder how we managed to survive all these years Twitterless!

Snapshot of my Twitter "Today is International Kissing Day" page

kisses to all, then!

Mamma Mia

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