Sunday, March 30, 2014

More from the Dubai Light Festival

Here are a few more images from the Dubai Light Festival last week.  

We had a good rain the day before I went out.  While the desert can be dusty, we seem to have the clearest puddles.  Although they would be a nuisance, I wish they would stay around a little longer than one day.

Dubai Festival of Lights

Dubai Festival of Lights

Palace Hotel, Dubai Festival of Lights

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Dubai Festival of Lights

Dubai Festival of Lights

Dubai Festival of Lights
Today concludes the Dubai Festival of Lights.  Downtown Dubai, which is pretty well lit already, had an exhibit of various light installations for nine days.

If you missed it, and you are not going to the World Cup Tomorrow, or the Cavalia show, or Lord of the Dance, or one of the many other activities crammed into the good weather months here, you can enjoy Earth Hour festivities in the same area tomorrow evening at 8:30pm.

Dubai Festival of Lights

Monday, March 24, 2014

Children… We just might be the problem

A few weeks ago I went to a learning day in the park with my son's school.  All parents were invited and encouraged to participate - we would be leading the activities, not the teachers.

It is tricky to entertain children that are not yours and keep them engaged in an activity - especially since none of us are teachers.  The kids rotated through five stations.  Most involved a book and some activity related to the story.

The group I was in required us to read a book followed by an art activity of coloring leaf impressions onto a paper.  None of the parents in my group wanted lead it, so I went first as the first group of kids were approaching quickly.  We read the book, went on our leaf hunt, then I walked them through the activity.

After seeing I survived the first round, the other parents became more interested. I was happy to hand over the teaching duties and watch the learning in action.  I already have immense respect for teachers, but after that day even more so.

I realized that as parents, we are not always easy for our kids, and probably not for the teachers either. Without even realizing it, with the best intentions, we send our kids mixed messages and we probably confuse them.

One parent really enjoyed the art piece of it, so wanted to lead that part.  She enjoyed it so much, she told all the children, "Look, mine is much better than yours".

Some children did not immediately figure out the correct amount of pressure needed for the activity and tore their paper.  Another parent with the best intentions was very direct with those children in her explanation of how to do it "correctly".

When my son came through our station, one parent who had no idea that he was my son, very loudly pointed out "Wow, his is so much better than everyone else's!" in front of the whole class!

Horrified, I wonder what faux pas I was guilty of in my attempt to be engaged in my child's education.

Lessons learned: Teaching for non-teachers is intimidating.

Sometimes, as parents we probably need to be more teacher-like and let our children find their own way.  Through this I saw that many of us are very quick to tell a child what is "right or wrong" rather than let them do the learning and find their own way when appropriate.  Sharing our opinions in our non-creative, black and white worlds may send the wrong message sometimes… or maybe not. Maybe the children didn't even notice and I am a parent that walks on egg shells.

Now, on to the concerned parent whose child's drawing proclaimed she wants to marry my son…..

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lucy and Tom Cruise

A Sunbird in it's nest in Dubai
What do Lucy and Tom Cruise have in common?

They both survived the most epic sand storm ever in Dubai - only Lucy's was the real deal.  Tom's was cinema production.  He did his own stunt on the Burj Khalifa, so I guess we can forgive the fake sandstorm.

I have enjoyed having Lucy around, and she is now used to me.  She flies up across the table and checks me out as I work outside.  She is always cautious but I feel privileged that she goes on about her business as I am in close proximity tending to mine.  I like to think she appreciates that I open the door to greet her in the morning.  Or I could just be crazy bird lady.

I am pretty sure I saw Lucy settle in her nest and lay eggs last week.  I am only guessing this because I question a bird that sits in the nest and breathes deeply with its mouth open.  She doesn't strike me as a bird that snores.

We had a very strong storm in Dubai last week that included intense rain that even resulted in hail in some areas.  After a few windy days, the grande finale blew through before it could start, but it left an impression.  So much that I received an email from my father tonight informing me that some friends were inquiring about Lucy and wondering if she survived the storm.

I was going to hold off on Lucy posts until we had babies, but since there is global concern for her welfare, I am happy to report that Lucy is alive and well.  Hopefully if she has eggs they are not scrambled, but she is fine and the nest is in tact.

Her nest was swinging like an amusement park ride all weekend, but it held on.  I only lost all my little pomegranate buds from the tree.

If you want to see the local video that was taken of the storm, you can click here to watch it.  It is pretty impressive.  If you look carefully, you may see Tom Cruise trying to out run it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Just Dad

A sunbird nest in Dubai

Since I discovered Lucy and her nest, she has been working on it diligently every day.  From sunrise to sunset she comes and goes in search of small pieces of branches, leaves and twigs.   For the last several days she has been filling the nest with feathers.

She has a mate.  He is a shiny purple and black.  His song is much louder than hers, but he doesn't stay long.  He seems to pop in and out.  He checks in on things, then leaves quickly.  I thought Lucy was quick, but he is faster.  I was lucky to get this picture of him last weekend before he sped off.  

I wanted to name him Ricardo - for obvious reasons - but my son says he doesn't have a name.  He is "Just Dad".  So Dad it is until further notice.

A male sunbird in Dubai