As promised in my last post, I did have car trouble. It could have been so much worse. Elliot was driving, and Donn was standing on the sidewalk and happened to notice that one of the tires was about to blow. There was a huge gap in the rubber, through which a metal sort of mesh could be seen. This wasn’t good. We’d all just been visiting an Iraqi family, and had stopped at Fred Meyer’s to pick up a few items since we had friends coming for home-made pizza. Luckily Donn noticed it–you know I wouldn’t have.

We called our guests and told them we’d be late. Then we embarked on an exciting time of buying a jack and one of those funky four-part wrenches (lug? possibly), returning the jack because it was too big, buying a new jack, discovering the spare was shredded, basically, putting the old scary tire back on, and returning the second jack because it didn’t work on my car. I called Les Schwab (are they universal or just in OR?) and they stayed open a few extra minutes till we got there, and then even longer to get us two new tires.

We ate at 9 p.m. Par for the course round here.

And then of course the clutch started to go out. Which is why you shouldn’t let your teen learn to drive in your 25-year-old car, I guess.

***

This all happened last week, but who has time to update the blog? My own computer is still out of commission, although Donn continues to feel confident that he can fix it. We’ll see. In the meantime I am doing a poor job of modeling selflessness for my children, and instead pulling rank whenever I want to check my mail. Yes, we’re back to sharing a laptop between the 4 of us, although at least they don’t have homework these days.

This week was Mona’s baby shower, for her adorable little newborn. The concept of a baby shower was new to her and to the other Iraqis. Mona asked me about 5 months ago what a baby shower was, and then announced, “Ok. I will have one.” She intended to throw the party herself. No, no, I’ll do it, I told her.

There was another mix-up. Maude thought it was at her house. This cracked me up. In May, Maude’s daughter turned 5. The child loves icing, so I decided to have a small party (mostly the girls from 2 families) at my house. I made heart-shaped sugar cookies and several bowls of pastel-coloured icings (pink, purple, turquoise) and put out tons of sprinkles. I’d asked Mona to bring Maude and her daughter to my house, along with her twin daughters.

I explained this all to Maude over the phone, and thought we were clear. But some things got crossed. She thought I had planned a party for her daughter at HER house, and invited some friends. She was cool with this. She made briyani. When they finally all showed up at my place, she brought me a large platter of it. This made me happy. She makes the best briyani. I put it in the fridge and we all decorated cookies. I meant to blog this and post pictures at the time. Consider it done! (The pics are on my old computer…)

Obviously, she thought I was up to my old tricks. Invite a lot of people to her house and make her do all the work! But she figured it out pretty quickly, and showed up with a present for Mona instead of the platters of food I was half-expecting.Truly this crossing cultures thing is not for the faint of heart.

The shower was a success. A friend of mine (an American) hosted it and made cupcakes and pink-frosted flower-shaped shortbread cookies and lots of coffee, most of which I managed to down because my need was the greatest. There was other food–bruschetta (possibly; what does this word mean to you? It was some sort of tomato thingy and you ate it on bread and it was delish), humous plate with real cornichons, etc. Compared to an Arab gathering, there was basically nothing to eat, but we managed to hold body and soul together for a few hours.

I’d had a hectic morning, sleeping in because we were at the airport till 1 the night before and I didn’t go to bed till 2 and then I couldn’t sleep, because I’d foolishly had two shots of espresso at midnight. (Oh but it was worth it. There’s a Jim & Patty’s Coffee People at the airport. Did you know? Their coffee is sooooo good, and it’s years since I’d had it.) Then we had to pick my car up from the mechanic, but thanks to construction that took an extra hour. I still had some shopping to do. Long story short–I was nearly on time, my car full of Iraqi women bearing gifts, but I’d had neither breakfast or lunch and only one small cup of coffee. So I ate a lot of shower food, drank a lot of coffee, and was delightful all evening with my nearest and dearest. Or something like that.

And in other exciting news, Elliot sort of won a scholarship! I have so many thoughts about scholarships and colleges and things that I will have to write a different post, but he only sort of won because the scholarship, it turns out, is only for certain specific schools, none of which he was interested in. Still. Encouraging!

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