Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm rather backlogged on posts.  This should have gone out several weeks ago.  Around these parts, the festival of the annunciation is celebrated by many of the various Christian sects in Lebanon. Since this is an event of cultural and religious significance, we decided this would be a good opportunity to take the kids to see the different kinds of observances.  Of course, we did this after the actual services, because we didn't want a 'let's go see the Christians in their natural habitat' 'day at the religious zoo' kind of thing.

Our first stop was a lovely Capuchin church near the Beirut central district.  They have a beautiful angelic mosaic above the altar of a very classically designed basilica style building.  As with many buildings in this zone, the effects of time, civil war, and rebuilding can be seen in the structure.  I really enjoy the richness of message that can come with these buildings.

Next, we stopped by the cathedral of St. George (Orthodox).  This building is really lovely inside, with all the iconography one would expect.  I think it makes a good counterpoint to the decorative style of a Capuchin building to see the gilded wall of icons and the use of fresco.

I didn't feel comfortable taking interior shots in that context, so I will cross-post someone else's picture so you can see the inside.

Next, we went to visit the St. George Cathedral (Maronite), but we were unfortunately too late.  This is one of my favorite cathedrals in Beirut, and a lovely example of byzantine-style mosaic. Here is an external picture showing the Maronite Cathedral, another older church, and the new mosque (Al Amin) all preceded by a portion of the old Roman city.  Beirut is just awesome like that.

While we were too late to go in, here is a picture my wife took at a concert there.

Next, we went on to the al-Amin mosque, but I'm going to stop here as this post is getting a bit too long.  It was a great trip, and an excellent opportunity to appreciate the religious diversity and richness of history that Beirut offers.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Healthcare Strategy

Yes, I have been remiss in my posting, but I wish to convince you  I have a good reason (which I really don't). About a week and a half ago, I started with some congestion and went downhill from there.  On Saturday morning I had a fever and pretty was pretty well leveled.  I was out for the count for the next 36 hours and count eat at all.  My fever reduced on Monday morning, so I figured I would go in to work. 

Since we have a company doctor/health center I made and appointment.  Now, I must say, one observation I have had on Middle-Eastern health care is that there tends to be more of an interventionist approach.  Broadly speaking, they tend to go heavy on the meds.  She sent me home directly, with orders to stay home tomorrow too (apparently my fever was higher than I felt like it was).  Behold my meds:

I don't think I've ever been presented with this much medication in my life.  Perhaps this is a sign of getting old...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In which I almost burn the house down

This weekend, I made what was very nearly a costly mistake. Dandellion asked me to boil some eggs for her to paint, which seemed like a good idea. I put about a dozen eggs in to boil. Unfortunately, they were still on the stove when we decided to leave for a family errand. We came back home about two hours later to find the house full of smoke. Fortunately, I had left a few windows open, so the smoke had been escaping, otherwise, I shudder to think what it would have been like. All the water had boiled off, and the eggs had exploded all over the kitchen.

I think we are quite lucky that it didn’t start a fire. As it stands, the damage is quite minimal. The cleanup efforts have taken quite a while, but bleach and effort are getting things back to a normal look and smell.