Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My First Purchase for Baby Bowlin

I have been trying to think of a good “first” gift for the new member of our family (arriving in late January) and today I think I found it.

Cutie the Camel

Brittany sent me pictures of the room décor and I think little Cutie will fit right in.

This is fun!

Brittany and I will need to do some serious shopping when I am in Florida in October.


Cheers, Brenda

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Baby Looks Like Randy

Had a great email early this morning.  Brittany had another sonagram and Baby Bowlin is doing great.  The pictures are so cute.

Baby Bowlin looks just like his daddy, Randy.  Don't you think?

I am going to start a "Delivery Date" contest.  Want to participate? (or have a better idea?)

Winner has bragging rights for guessing the "D Day" (delivery day).  Cost is $5 for each date you enter and we are sending all the entry fees to the Baby Bowlin fund in care of Brittany in Sebastian.

Official rules (Brenda's rules) are that your day is not secured until the bet is received by the Bowlin family. Only one bet per day and all bets are final.....LOL

However multiple bets for more than one day are allowed at $5 each day.

This was taken on the day Brittany was born.
The proud daddy, Doug and Brittany just minutes after her arrival.
Let me know if you want to join in the competition.  Should be fun..... of course Brittany was 2 weeks late when she was born so I am betting on February 3.

I really want the little guy to be on time so I can spend more time with him (I will be in Florida until Febrary 25) but my gut says he will be having so much fun beating up on his mommy he won't be in a big hurry to come out into the cold world. Hope I am wrong!

When we get closer to "D Day" I will start giving out information to keep all the contestants informed.
Brittany with Grandpa Don and Grandma Tudy in Newton, Kansas
Actual due date is January 20.  Grandpa Don has already taken January 12 as the day he is betting on.  That is his birthday!  That would be a hoot.

Let me know your dates!

Cheers, Brenda

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Met the American Ambassador

Ambassador Krajeski was very welcoming.
The American Ambassador to Bahrain is Thomas C. Krajeski and I was honored to meet him Monday morning at the American Women’s Association’s (AWA) general meeting.  This meeting celebrated the 40th anniversary of the AWA in Bahrain and it was quite an affair.

Previous to arriving in Bahrain, I had two friends tell me that I definitely needed to join the AWA and participate in their activities.  They were so right! 

The AWA in Bahrain has been a social and charitable group since 1974.  There are currently over 230 members from all nationalities. For expat women moving to Bahrain, this group is a great way to meet other expats and learn more about the Island. 

They have groups for just about every interest, they take tours all over the island and even plan trips for expat women to other countries.  They also have a band of volunteers who coordinate charitable contributions to more than 30 nonprofit organizations in Bahrain every year.

Whether you have an interest is food, art, books, culture or service, you will find a group in AWA for you. The only problem is choosing the ones where you want to participate.

Both the American Ambassador, Thomas C. Krajeski and his wife attended this special meeting.  Ambassador Krajeski spoke to the group about the value of community service and his history of service. AWA is definitely a great organization that gives much to the Bahrain community.

Ambassador Krajeski told the AWA group he recently attended the change of command for two branches of the US Military in Bahrain.  He spoke of the contributions these young men and women give in service to their country.  He was extremely candid and told the group that he refused to serve in Vietnam when he was younger however was proud of his service in the US Foreign Service which began in 1979.

I really enjoyed hearing about his history and achievements.  After the meeting we did meet one on one and I warned him I would be blogging about him.

I went to this AWA meeting with another expat wife of a Jacob’s employee, Diana Wilson. As it turns out, Ambassador Krajeski was Ambassador to the Republic Yemen not long after she designed the American Ambassador’s residence in Yemen.  It is truly a small world.  They had a great conversation about that coincidence.  He told Diana he wanted to be a landscape architect when he young.

Diana with Ambassador Krajeski and Ambassador Demirer
Also attending the AWA meeting was Ambassador Hatun Demirer, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey.  This wonderful woman was fascinating.  When she was only 12, she received a scholarship from an organization in Turkey like the AWA in Bahrain.  The scholarship enabled her to go on to complete her degree in college and led her on the path she took for her career. 

Ambassador Demirer shared her touching story and how much a scholarship changed her life.
Ambassador Demirer spoke very passionately about her belief that women can shape the world if they are given the opportunity and education.

One of the points that Ambassador Demirer stressed was that women wear many hats and that makes them unique.  I have often said that very same thing. Moms must multitask every day.

Ambassador Demirer went on to say that in order for women to obtain equal positions in the world they need access to education. 

Something that is extremely apparent in the Middle East is that women here are fighting for equality.  They do not have the same freedoms that we have in the United States.  I think US women are very privileged and they don’t really know it.  In fact, Americans in general are very privileged.  The rest of the world has not even come close to having equality for women in the same range as we have in the US.

Education is powerful and we should all support helping women become more educated in all countries. We live in a global community and what effects one country will have impact on other countries.

One surprise highlight of the morning was a visitor to the group that I was not expecting. Photographer Andrew Weaver was at the meeting to present a copy of his new book to the group.  Andrew has published 2 stunning books of photographs of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

One of the very first things I purchased after arriving in Bahrain was his book Between To Seas.  It is breathtakingly beautiful pictures of Bahrain and proudly sits on my livingroom coffee table.  The second book, Above Two Seas was just released.  I was very excited to meet Andrew and tell him how much I admire his work.  He told me he is getting ready to release another book of sunset photographs.  He offered to include one of mine if I had a wonderful sunset shot in Bahrain.  Unfortunately I have not seen a good sunset yet.  I can not wait to see his sunset book as I am sure his photos will be amazing.  I suggested he do a book on sunrises in Bahrain. I have several great sunrise shots.  :-)

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to vist with Andrew Weaver
It was a very enjoyable morning.  It was great to be around other American women and to meet these two very outstanding people that are serving their countries in the Kingdom of Bahrain.  And, to meet Andrew was a fantastic surprise. Gee whiz – and I was there!


Sunrises can be beautiful as well. A good one starts the day off telling you life is good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Never Ending Thrills in Bahrain

Over the dessert, the sun was setting and it was beautiful.  But, that was not the thrill for the night. . .

Excitement was in the air.  The sense of competition hung heavy over the crowd. Oh, What FUN!!  Last night we experienced the Bahrain International Circuit Motorway in a way I would never have imagined.

16 members of the Jacobs Zate team became RACE CAR DRIVERS for the night! 

This was not just any race; it was on a race on the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) premier tracks.

The BIC’s annual Grand Prix is renowned as one of the most friendly, atmospheric and exciting events of the Formula One racing season.

On April 4, 2004, Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari was first to the chequered flag to win the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first FIA Formula One World Championship event held in the Middle East.

Formula One Track
Very unique atmosphere.
Overhead view.
The BIC’s success has brought other international race series flooding into Bahrain: international Formula 3, GP2, GP2 Asia, the FIA GT Championship, the BMW World Final, the V8 Supercars Australia have all raced at BIC, and in 2012, the FIA World Endurance Championship was added to the calendar.

VIVA Karting Track, BIC’s all-new state-of-the-art karting facility built to standards of the Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK), helps unearth young local talent; and its on-site technicians provide vital racing expertise.

This premier Karting Track is where our competition was held last night.

In typical Jacob’s fashion the evening started with an in-depth safety briefing and everyone suited up in safety coveralls.  Helmets were secured and a 10-minute “seating” race began. 

Doug zipping up for safety.
Helmets at ready for the racers.
One member of the team (not to be mentioned by name) spent the previous weekend testing the course. I am sure that gave him a significant advantage, but it was all for fun, right? 

These competition infused men were all out to win. They owned the course. They wanted victory!

Getting all the gear in place.
The team is ready.
Getting into the cars.

It was an excitement filled evening at the races in the middle of the dessert.

Here's a video of the first turn during the first race.

This video shows a spin out close to the end of the second race. The race may be contested because of this encounter . . . 

Winners of race ONE.
Winners of race TWO - the BIG RACE. 

After the victor was crowned, some of us retired to our flat for beer and Papa John’s pizza. 

..Ah, a taste of home!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pollice Blockade

A couple of days ago, at 6AM when Doug and I came out of the Ritz Health Club after our workout there were police cars blocking the roads leading up to our flat.

On one street there were tanks as well as police officers.

Helicopter over the skyline of Manama.
I was curious and maybe a bit alarmed.  However, there were no helicopters overhead.  I have been told that when there is trouble, there will be helicopters.

After the short 3-minute walk home, I immediately grabbed my phone and went to take a picture.  As I was leaving the flat, Doug yelled after me, "Remember, you are in a foreign country. Don't make anyone mad."

I thought about that all the way down to the parking lot to take my picture.  Would they be upset I was shooting a picture of a police car with it's lights flashing?  I hoped not because I wanted a picture.  I felt like a reporter for CNN in a foreign country shooting to send footage back to the States... LOL

I took the shot, no one paid any attention to me and I safely returned to our flat to cook breakfast.

Gate to the Ritz with a military vehicle and flashing blue lights.
Later on in the day I read in the Bahrain newspaper that a group of Saudi high level dignitaries would be meeting that day with the HRH the King of Bahrain.  Apparently they spent the night at the Ritz.  It is definitely one of the best hotels in the country.  A friend (her husband works with Doug) told me she saw a long convoy of big black cars with a military escort arrive the night before.

So I don't have any problems to report, only big wigs arriving to do business in Bahrain.  Drats.

Cheers, Brenda