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Monday, December 19, 2011

10 things I love about Ryan

1.  When I'm already snuggled in bed but my feet are cold because I forgot to put on socks, he'll get out of bed himself, go get me socks and even put them on for me.  It's delicious to have someone put socks on for you.  Never tried it?  Do so immediately!

2.  He's super silly.  But it's like a secret that not many people know because he's normally so serious.  It makes me feel special that he shares that side of himself with me.

3.  He was brave and accepted the challenge of moving to Egypt with me even though he didn't have a job or any idea what he was going to do when he got here.

4.  When I'm watching a show that he "doesn't like" ie, Big Brother, Glee, True Blood; he watches out of the corner of his eye and then makes me stop the show to ask questions.  Not because he likes it, but because if it's going to be on he might as well understand the plot.  :)

5.  He doesn't care about money and material things aren't important to him.

6.  Every night before he goes to sleep he talks to the dog, telling her how pretty she is and how much he loves her.

7.  He surprises me sometimes by just coming over to give me a kiss or blow a raspberry on my belly.

8.  When I'm not feeling well he takes care of me.  I mean really takes care of me, not just asking if I need anything, but brings me water and medicine and puts me to bed.  I feel safe when I'm with him.

9.  He does the dishes when I cook!

10.  He cares.  About me, the world, everything.

I am truly blessed to have such a man in my life.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Things we overlook

I'm sitting on my couch on a Friday afternoon (that's the start of the weekend here in Egypt). My computer is propped in front of me on the coffee table reminding me that I should be working on the new chapter I started writing this week. But for some reason I've been on an old movie kick lately, so instead I'm watching Mary poppins and drinking the most amazing hot chocolate with mint! The Christmas tree we bought this week is decorated and twinkling merrily in the corner. Cleo is asleep on the couch next to me snoring away happily. I'm still in my bathrobe and pretty much everything about my situation is comfortable and familiar.

Then the call to prayer starts. And since it is friday that means we get to hear the disco extended version on the loudspeaker. They do the entire service blaring around the city and really it probably wouldn't stick out so much if the guy didn't sound so angry! Part of it is the Arabic language, and another part is the passion of the Muslim religion, and I'm sure there are another 27 parts in there that I will never begin to understand coming from a different culture. And that's perfectly ok with me. What I find hilarious though is that I have moments like this all the time where if something strange like a publicly blasted religious service, or a man driving a donkey cart down the highway didn't happen I would forget that I'm living in a foreign country!

It was the same thing when I lived in Colorado, sometimes I would look up and think wow, where did those big ass mountains come from?

Guess were pretty good at living in our little bubbles and overlooking things.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If Cleo could blog...

Ok so these humans I live with are complete wankers sometimes.  Did you know that every single day they close doors in my face and then run away for the entire day leaving me by myself?!  And it's a horrible existence I mean all I have is like 16 toys to play with and a big bowl of water and fresh air and sunlight coming through the window.  But I have things to do, a dog's daily schedule is very demanding...


As I was saying (yawn).... Let me tell you how the day really starts.  I wake up at the respectable hour of 5am because I'm 5 months old and I have to Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and Eaaaat and run around outside right now!  And for some reason these people don't like it when I pee on the floor (I get smacked or yelled at and someone always says Cleoooooooooo Nooooo!)  I don't know what that sound means but I think it's this alarm that humans have that goes off when there's pee or poop on the floor.  So naturally I start trying to get these lazy humans out of that nest they built in the sky.  I used to sleep up there with them but they didn't like it when I would crawl onto their faces in the middle of the night so I decided it's easier to just sleep on the floor.  They really don't like to leave the nest though, I can jump up on the side and scratch their arms and legs and faces but all they do is roll over where I can't reach them anymore!  Just wait suckers, soon I'll be big enough to climb up there and sit on your faces all on my own.  Mwahahahahah!

Finally one of them gets up after I've done the whole scratching, then lay down, scratching, then lay down thing for about 45 min.  Then zooooooooom I race downstairs and run to the door, then zooooooooooooom race to the kitchen.  Those lazy humans take so long to lumber down the stairs I can do this about 6 times before they finally open the door and then I get to Peeeeeeee!  Then they feed me!  Then I go outside again!  Then we go upstairs and whichever human took me out collapses back on the bed   So I run around the room and eat my chewie, then my puppy, then my reindeer, then the tennis ball, then I get a drink of water.  Just as I settle down to take my morning nap those wanker humans turn on the lights and start getting dressed.  Clothes are baaaad. Clothes mean I'm going to be left behind.  I put on my biggest pouting face and try to look as cute as possible so that maybe they'll change their minds and stay with me.  They laugh at me and pet me and speak a lot of that weird human language to me, but then they close the door and I'm alone!  I bark and bark and no one hears me and my life is so sad and miserable and I will never be happy again...

Bird! A bird just flew by the window, I wonder if a bird would be my friend and play with me and we could run around and then it could pick me up and we could fly around the sky!


Then they come home and zooooooooooooooom I race to the door and they let me out and I pee and then I eat and then we go for a long walk and they take me to the park and throw the ball and I get to run and chase flowers and jump at the little kids who come over to see me. And sometimes a big mean cat comes and hisses at me and I run away.  Then we go home and I go upstairs to the laundry room and spend the rest of the night bringing them socks and underwear, which they always take away even though I went to all that work to find new toys!

Then we go to sleep and do the whole thing over again..... 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

iPhone = Unexpected videos

I've only had my iPhone for a few weeks now but one thing I've noticed is that I'm taking a lot more video than I used to.  Mainly because it's so easy to do and they come out in such good quality.  So here's a little compilation of some of the unexpected videos that have been taken with my iPhone.  And yes please feel free to judge the singing.  :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Living or writing?

You know a great writer once said "If you're living you're not writing and if you're writing you're not living".  I think I scoffed when I first heard that but now I'm thinking that it's probably true.  Ever since I started seriously writing last January I've found that I'm in either one of those two states of being.  I'm not sure why it's true, maybe because writing makes you live in your head while imagining things that don't exist.  Maybe it's some fault on my part to not be able to multitask well.  Whichever it is I'm trying to keep a better balance this year than I did in the last.

On January 3rd 2011 (yes I remember the date!) I woke up in my cousin's apartment in Paris from a dream that was so vivid and detailed that I immediately woke Ryan up and started telling him about the story I needed to write.  I had seen the main plot in my dream and a few scenes, so it felt like I was describing a movie as I told him about what would happen.

We were going to Versailles that day and from my cousin's apartment it was about an hour train ride.  I spent that hour talking and talking and asking questions and Ryan was a wonderful sounding board.  He made some suggestions and was just as excited as I was, telling me to write it all down at the first opportunity.

So we went to Versailles, which was amazing.  I bought a little notebook at the gift shop and we camped out in a restaurant in the village for the next 2 hours while I drank chocolat chaud and wrote down all the ideas that were filling my head by the second.  By the time we left that evening, my hand was cramping, my head was still spinning with ideas, but I felt like I'd captured the main idea of what this story was all about.

The next few months through revolution in Egypt, evacuation to the states, and a hectic spring schedule at work, I wrote.  It felt like the story was pressing against the sides of my head at times, so excited to get out.  I was desperately afraid of losing even one morsel of the plot, forgetting a quote or a character.  I was a bit possessed by it.  As soon as I got home in the afternoon I cloistered myself in our bedroom and I wrote until bedtime.  On Sat mornings I would get up at 7am and write all day, taking breaks for meals and sometimes even to pay a bit of attention to my husband.  Ryan was wonderfully patient with me through those six months when I spent the majority of my time telling him to leave me alone so I could concentrate.  I am truly blessed to have found a man that understands me so well!

Probably the biggest blessing though, was finding my writing partner Renee.  I really don't think my novel would have gotten past the first 30 pages if it wasn't for her.  Her initial excitement and encouragement were what kept me writing until I got to the point where I thought it was good too.  Even though she was busy with her own writing projects she read and reread hundreds of pages and kept me moving ahead.  If this book ever gets published she's definitely getting a long thank you in the the Acknowledgments.

So now my book is "done".  Ha ha, it feels funny to say that since I've now spent about the same amount of time editing is as I did in writing the first draft.  I've written a book.  I actually accomplished a goal I've wanted ever since I was a little girl.  And I think it's getting really good.  I'm excited to start the next one once I've got this one a bit more polished.   I cut scenes that I loved, reordered chapters and changed the beginning so many times I can't even remember how it used to start.  And I'm pretty proud of myself because it's gotten easier to spend more time "living" while I've done it all.  Maybe you can edit and live at the same time, even if writing and living are difficult.  :)  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A young romance

Cleo has a boyfriend.  His name is Freddie and his entire body is about the size of her head.  Their romance started a few weeks ago when Ryan and I went to Istanbul.  Our friend Mary had just gotten a pug puppy and was kind enough to take on babysitting our girl while bringing a new dog into her home.  We were all a little scared as the two dogs were introduced because Cleo is so big and Freddie is so small.  Would he be scared of her?  Would she gobble him up in one bite?  To our intense delight their first encounter involved a lot of tail wagging and Freddie licking Cleo on the nose.  Their first kiss... sigh.

It's been a few weeks now and their relationship has progressed, as all relationships do.  They've had 3 dates since and their excitement to see each other is very obvious.  They play and wrestle and bite each other like crazy as all puppies would do.  But because Cleo is so much bigger it is very comical to watch.  They both feel like they're the same size, little puppies playing around.  But she's a giant compared to him so we have to watch how they play so no one accidentally gets hurt.

Just to warn everyone watching, these are puppy bites, no one is getting hurt!  And don't let Freddie's small size fool you, he is wicked and goes after her too.

I about a year we're thinking we'll buy Freddie a step stool and let them take their relationship to the next level so we can have some Puggolden puppies!  :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cooking in Cairo

I knew I liked to cook before we moved to Cairo.  Growing up I would watch my mother and grandmother make meals and desserts effortlessly.  My mother's greatest gift with cooking is her ability to make a wonderful meal out of anything.  She's the creative chef.  My grandmother has magic fingers, anything she touches tastes good.  She's an especially good baker.  So I guess it's not that big of a surprise that after watching these two amazing women for so many years I developed a big butt and a love of cooking.

Fast forward 20 some odd years and now I'm living in Cairo (a city that is sometimes hard to find things in, especially when you don't speak Arabic)  with a husband who is a picky eater.  Oddly enough I would say that my love for cooking has grown!  I like to try out new recipes and when we find something we like it becomes a classic that is requested over and over.  There are stumbling blocks along the way just like anything else in life.  An oven that I didn't think worked, but really it was because I was dumb and wasn't using the right dial.  Learning to cook and bake with a gas stove, which takes some adjustment coming from electric.  Converting temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius.  Discovering halfway through a recipe that I don't have the bowl, pan, kitchen tool, ingredient etc that I thought I had and now cannot make the recipe without!  It's all a part of the process and now that we're into our 2nd year in Cairo, my inventory of kitchen tools is much better and I pretty much know where to find the things I need.  It's still a pain in the butt though, because I have to go to one place for good chicken, another for produce, yet another for nice cheeses and the list goes on and on.

 Oh how I miss you Publix!  How I miss the days of making one shopping list and being able to go to 1 store to find everything on that list.  I also miss knowing where to find things.  If I was looking for something in the states, I probably knew where I could find it on my own, but if I didn't it was easy to just ask in the store.  Here in Cairo, not so much.  And to be fair that's my own fault, my Arabic is pathetic and pretty useless past opening pleasantries.  The other day I was looking for basil and didn't know how to say it in Arabic.  So I asked the man who was bagging my produce if he had any basil.  Well actually that's what I was thinking, but the conversation went more like this:

Me:  Basil??
Him:  fhadhfioheahfihdofhajsdfiohadsiovjnaiojeivoahi??? With eyebrows raised and hands in the air.
Me:  Baaaaaasil?
Him:  fasjfklamwdkofjioashdigfojasdofjiodasjfiojdasiofj.  Points to an eggplant.
Me:  Laat (means no), Basiiiiiiil? I point to the leafy section of the plants hoping to at least get us focused on the right group of plants.
Him: Aiwa (Means yes) Hands me a head of lettuce.
Me  Laat, I point to the herbs
Him: Grabs each bunch of herbs one by by and holds them out for me to smell.
Me:  Smell, Laat, Smell, Laat, Smell, Laat  (Wish I could tell him that I don't remember what basil smells like)
So needless to say I went home without basil that night, but such is life.  I have now learned that basil is "rehan" in Arabic, so next time I'll be prepared!

Here are some of my favorite recipes that I've found recently.  I really recommend them all and I have a few pointers to offer to all my other chef friends!  I've found just about all of them on  It's a great site that has a nice variety of recipes.  Bon Appetit!

Pancakes recipe- Very easy to follow, I know "souring" the milk with vinegar sounds weird but they're amazing.  I would recommend you keep the finished batter in the fridge for at least 5 min and then don't stir it  before you cook!  These were so good I made them 2 days in a row and doubled the batch the 2nd day.

Sexy Chili Lime Chicken (Ryan's name for it)- This recipe calls for a lot of spices, and seems a little complicated at first but it's really not that hard to make and the flavor is amazing, go carefully with the paprika if you're not into spicy!  You can use lemons if you don't have lime, and make extra broth, you will want it to pour over the chicken.  I make this with rice and steamed broccoli.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Istanbul is one of those places that I had vaguely heard about throughout my life.  I'm pretty sure I read a few books where historians were digging through catacombs in the Hagia Sofia for something.  But it wasn't really a place that was on my "list" until I moved to Egypt and started talking to some of the people that have been there.  *That's one of the other perks to living in a foreign country with other teachers that are so focused on travel, you learn about many new places to visit!

Our five days in Istanbul were lovely.  I think that's the best way to describe them because there was an overall feeling of peace and beauty to the entire trip.  I'm not sure if it can all be attributed to the city itself, a generous portion of the good vibes needs to be dealt to the wonderful fall weather and the company.  We started out as 4, me, Ryan, Bill and Matt.  Then Maria jumped onboard and on the way to Istanbul we ran into Tessa at the airport headed to the same destination.  The funny thing about our groupings was that they were constantly changing.  We'd be in a palace and one group would move faster than the other and suddenly there were 2 separate groups.  With no cell phones and no pending schedules, we floated around each other in ever changing orbits without worry or care.  It was really kind of nice.

We arrived in Istanbul, bought our Turkish visas in the airport (much prettier than Egypt's) and were picked up by a driver to be taken to our hotel.  The drive into the city immediately told me that Istanbul was cleaner, greener and more modern than Cairo.  It was like a breath of cool fresh air to move from our streets to theirs.  It's really quite funny how you can get so caught up in your day to day life that you don't realize how much you need to get away until you do.  There was a lot of sighing in that van as we drove into the city and left our real lives behind for a bit.  Our hotel was AMAZING!  Right on the hippodrome, across from the Blue Mosque and basically in the heart of the city.  It was really easy to walk everywhere, which was a definite perk.  We checked in, dropped off our bags and hit the streets again, immediately losing Bill and Maria who ventured off at a gallop.  So Matt, Ryan and I were left on our own.  We wandered around for about an hour, basically taking in the ambiance.  The air was cool and crisp, with the smell of fire, roasted corn and fall.  We saw a lot of things that first day, the Blue Mosque, Obelisk, Hagia Sofia, but didn't go into any because the times were off, or prayer was just starting.  We did manage to make it to the Basilica Cistern before it closed and it was one of those things that completely surprised me!  I was walking down the stairs with a mental image already in place of what we were about to see.  Then when my eyes adjusted to the darkness I was blown away.  It was spectral, grand and so much bigger than I had imagined. Easily one of the coolest parts of the city and I'm glad we didn't miss it.  Our walking took us to the Grand Bazaar so we went in and explored the labyrinth.  After the Khan in Egypt and the Old City in Jerusalem, I feel like I've seen a bazaar or two.  The only thing that really stuck out in my mind was how clean and orderly this one was compared to others I've been to.  A very kind man selling scarfs helped us find our bearings and even gave us a map.  I bought a beautiful scarf made of linen and silk, but that was all we purchased in the Bazaar.  As we walked back to the main part of the city we stopped at a shop that had beautiful lamps in the window. We had been seeing them everywhere in the city, glass globes covered in mosaics, hanging in spirals from the ceiling.  The shop owner made us apple tea that was too hot to drink, so we clutched our glass cups trying not to singe our fingers as we looked at the beautiful globes.  In the end the tea cooled and was very good, much like apple cider, and we bought a hanging lamp in shades of blue and white starbursts, one for my bedside table and some gifts for Misha and Gabby who were back in Cairo watching our dog.  

The evening ended in a quest for pudding, because we had seen a sign for a "Pudding Shop" earlier and were dying to check it out.  Unfortunately it was a ruse and was simply a restaurant that had a few types of pudding on the menu.  Luckily we stuck to our original plan and found an amazing dessert shop a few doors down that we visited just about every night we were there because they had wonderful pudding.  And I'm sorry to do this to you grandma, but their rice pudding was the best I've ever tasted!  To their credit the owner explained that it's so good because they use rich buffalo milk to make it, but man was it good!  We were like beggar orphans going back every evening to see if they had anymore.

The rest of the week was much of the same, we would get up in the morning to have breakfast on the terrace of our hotel, where morning sunshine streamed over the domes of the Blue mosque and reflected off the Maramar Sea.  We explored Topkapi palace, The Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, The Hagia Sofia (which sadly had most of it's mosaics removed due to damage from condensation), Went on a bus tour of the city, and took a boat along the Bosphorous.  We rode the train, walked our feet off, ate roasted corn, popcorn, turkish delight and drank fresh squeezed pomegranate juice.  And every evening we headed back to the shop with the pudding!  Sadly the last few nights we were there they were all out.  Some nights we went to bed early, completely exhausted.  Others we stayed up late playing spades with Matt and Tessa or just talking about the day.  It was relaxing and fun.

I really enjoyed Istanbul.  Would I go back?  Probably not, mainly because we saw just about everything there was to see in the 5 days we were there.  But I like Turkey and would very much like to return to the country to see what the other regions are like, especially Cappadocia.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Goof Ball

Yes, this is another post about the dog.  Come on, she's so cute!  She goes by many names, Cleo, Cletus, Pretty Girl, Doofus, Goof ball etc.  Here's why...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile and our house

I've wanted a dog pretty much from the moment I was born.  My mother may disagree with the exact date, but I'm sure that my infant dreams included puppy paws.  Since moving to Egypt it's been hard for me to accept the fact that my dreams of life with a dog would have to go on hold until we moved back to the states.  But then a couple of things changed.  First of all, we started to realize that we're probably going to be in Egypt for longer than we originally thought.  And second we developed some really close relationships with Egyptian friends who live locally.  It suddenly occurred to me this summer that I can continue living here feeling like my life is on hold because I can't have the things I need to make my life feel complete.  Or, I can live my life no matter where I am and work through the complications.

So we got a puppy.

Her name is Cleo and we are a bit infatuated with her.  I've always wanted a big dog, and though a golden retriever wasn't my dream dog, it made a lot more sense to start with something smaller than a great dane.  She is tawny, mellow and full of personality.  When we first got her one of her wierdest obsessions was wedging herself into the cushions of the couch or sleeping with her head propped up.

She's also much more baby than dog sometimes since she loves to be held in your arms and falls asleep on her back with her paws up in the air.

We've gotten a real kick out of teaching her tricks and moving her closer to being house trained.  She's a very smart and good natured dog so it's been more fun than work.  So far she's learned to sit, stay, come and fetch.  And probably our favorite of her personality quirks is that she's extremely quiet.  It took her 5 weeks to bark for the first time and now she only does it when she needs something.  I'm so much happier in Cairo now that I have more of a home and a feeling of family.  Cleo has added such a richness and layer of playfulness to our days.

I was looking through photos and videos we've taken of her since she joined the family in August and it amazes me how much she's grown.  She's only 3 1/2 months old and being away from her for a weekend felt like she had changed tremendously.  I can only imagine how this compares to parenthood, but it feels like we're getting some good practice!

Cleo at 3 1/2 months- Tonight
Cleo at 45 days old

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can I just say.... Wow!

So the bus pulled into Dahab, this remote and tired looking town at about 12:45 am on Friday morning.  There wasn't much to see because it was dark and there wasn't any activity on the street, especially compared to Sharm El Sheikh where we had made our last pit stop an hour before.  But it didn't really matter because all I cared about was doing a face plant into a pillow and letting my legs stretch out after 9 hours at a 90 degree angle.  When the alarm went off 5 hours later it was met with a very audible groan and I'm pretty sure one of us let the F-bomb drop.

But then once we were standing at the water's edge with salty spray jumping towards the sky and a cool breeze perking our faces things started to get better.  We met up with our instructor Rashad, who goes by Shouda (not sure if that's how you would spell it, I'm just going phonetically) and we jumped right into business.

It was very similar to the prep and discussions we'd had poolside a week before, only now we were loading gear into crates and having our briefing meeting in a bedoin style restaurant with pillows on
the ground.  The water was cool, but refreshing and after a 200 meter swim to prove we could stay afloat on our own without a swimsuit it was time to gear up.  Considering I'd only done this a few times before it felt like a habit already and we even learned a new catch phrase to help us remember all the steps in our buddy check.  Instead of "Begin With Review And Friend", Micheal suggested the new and improved "Bruce Willis Ruins All Films".  It is so much easier to remember!

The next few hours were spent in the water repeating skills we'd already done in the pool, only now everything was salty and there were some interesting things to see at the bottom, like other divers, rocks and a few fish darting around us as we knelt in the sand.  I was definitely enjoying myself more than I had in the pool, but still didn't feel like I was actually a scuba diver yet.  Then we went for our first open water fun dive and Can I just say... Wow!

I finally understood why people do this activity.  It's amazing!  The colors and movement of the fish and coral are breathtaking.  And once you hit your groove with buoyancy it turns into a  leisurely trek above the reef, long sweeping scissor kicks and hands clasped gently around your waist as you cruise through a part of the world that many people never get to see.  I saw clown fish, lion fish, porcupine fish, and probably a hundred other varieties that I'll never learn the names of.  There were huge clusters of coral is every color imaginable, with fish nibbling and skipping in and out of every crevice.    When we explored the Canyon there was a drop off point that made me feel like I was in "Finding Nemo" just staring in awe at the deep blue expanse of water that extended over the ridge.  It seemed limitless and was one of those stomach dropping reminders of just how vast and incomprehensible the ocean really is.  Probably the most beautiful sight was a curtain of bubbles rising from the edge of the drop off like hundreds of silvery strings of pearls making their way to the surface.  Some were from divers breathing below, but most were coming from the reef itself.   When we swam through them it was deliciously ticklish .  And at one point a fish with hot pink and lime stripes swam right in front of my mask scaring the hell out of me and also making me shriek in excitement like a little kid.  When we surfaced and pulled the regulators out of our mouths we were smiling and both nodded and said "Yeah we're gonna need to do more of this."

It was so worth it.  The training is hard at times, my body is sore in places I didn't know could get sore, and it makes you face fears you might not have even known you had, but it feels like such an accomplishment to be able to say I am a certified open water diver.  We're already stoked to go back and explore more of the diving that's available in Dahab and to possibly get our advanced diver certification later this year so we can dive even deeper.  So my weekend ends on an exhausted but happy note and I have one more thing I can cross off the bucket list.  :)

More pics to come!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scuba Diving

Today Ryan and I are leaving Cairo on an 8 hour bus ride to head to Dahab where we will spend the weekend finishing our scuba diving certification. I'm trying to be positive and look forward to the experience, but I hate long bus rides and I'm mildy concerned about the fact that I might die this weekend, so it's been a bit hard to get excited. Maybe if I focus on the good things I can switch my mindset.

1. We're going to be certified in scuba which will let us explore all the amazing diving opportunities in Egypt

2. It's supposed to be beautiful and relaxing in Dahab, a place we haven't explored yet.

3. We're getting out of Cairo for the weekend, which is always refreshing.

I think that's pretty much it, I was starting to think about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I have packed for the bus ride so I guess the positives are pretty much at an end.

On an interesting note, this will be the first time we've left our new puppy Cleo. I know it's cliche and people with actual children will probably be mocking me for this, but I'm sad to be leaving my baby. She's only 3 1/2 months old and we really love her. At night we snuggle on the bed and she worms her way into our arms so that she's in the middle of the sandwich.

I know, it's disgustingly cute.

In my next post I'll add some new pictures of our trip to Dahab and the cute puppy!