Friday, September 28, 2007

Power Outages; Salma is Better; Ramadan Half Over; Microwave is Dead

We've had two long power outages this week, for several hours each time. These usually occur in the late afternoon or at night. Whenever this happens we get out our candles and light them, wind up our lanterns and flashlights, and settle down for an evening of quiet reading. We have a pair of very nice crank-powered lanterns. 100 turns of the handle gives more than an hour of light.

If I want to work I get out my large UPS device, basically a super-duper battery back up unit that can power my computer for up to eight hours on battery power alone.

I don't mind any of this. I'm kind of glad that Salma gets to grow up in a place where the power goes out. I remember this happening during my childhood in Libya and other places; it's kind of exciting for a child, like camping in your own home. Now, as an adult, it remind me how thin our veneer of modernity really is: take away the power, and we're back to doing things much as they were done by our ancestors.

Today when the power went out I went to the Centro Commercial and bought several more votive candles with stickers of San Jose (the saint, not the city) on them. That's the only kind of votive they sell - I just peel off the stickers. By the time I got home, the power was back.


Salma was sick for almost a month, vomiting at night, eating very little, crying a lot, and carrying a fever. We took her to the doctor, had a stool sample tested, and just worried a lot. We thought it might be a virus, or a food allergy. Well, it turned out to be her teeth. She had four molars coming in all at once. Apparently this can cause all the symptoms mentioned, and of course the pain would be bad as well. Poor baby.

The teeth have now come in and she's back to normal - Alhamdulillah, thank God. Playing, laughing, shrieking at cats, dogs, balloons and piƱatas, eating, and sleeping well.

We just received a gift for her from our friends Jen, Brian and Greta - thank you, guys! It's a wooden, articulated crocodile on wheels with a string attached. See the photo to the left (click on it for a larger version). The crocodile undulates and clacks loudly when Salma pulls it. Salma loves it and likes to hold her Mama's hand and walk while pulling the crocodile with her other hand.


Ramadan is about half over. I do miss being around other Muslims during Ramadan. I go to Panama or Penonome for Friday prayer, but that's about it. The rest of the time I pray at home, break fast by myself, listen to Qur'an on my iPod... still, Ramadan is a special time.

I find myself eating less and less. My appetite is simply drying up. I break my fast with a date and a sandwich, maybe a banana, and then I'm full. I mean really, I feel stuffed, and cannot eat anymore for several hours. I don't even feel the desire to eat. It makes me realize that outside of Ramadan I eat so much more than my body really needs - it boggles my mind.


Our microwave just quit for good. Enter the time and press start and it will count down the time ok, but no microwaves. Not even an itty bitty wave. I'll have to go to Panama and buy a new one next week, but I've been to Panama and Penonome three times in the last week and for now I need a break from driving. We'll just have to get by with an oven and a toaster, like cavemen!

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