Sunday, 27 May 2012

Haboob season full-blast

Last night was our fourth haboob in four days. If you have been reading this blog, but still don't know what a haboob is, you need to turn to the Ultimate Source of All Knowledge and find it out for yourself. (Seriously, why did they name it "wiki"? It should have been usak...)

Haboobs are not really liked around here. To begin with, they are dusty. This is probably understating the obvious and by now some here will claim that I should have been born  British. The dust they carry is very fine and gets in through all the possible cracks. Their rapid penetration and coating of all available surfaces is greatly aided by gale-force winds that sound downright ghastly when blowing through air-coolers and air-conditioners.

So, you wake up in the morning and you can see your footprints on the floor. Then someone spills a glass of water and now you are dealing with mud all over the house. Everything you touch is covered in dust, even if you clearly remember having handled it the day before. The yard is an entangled mess of thick sand, fallen leaves and garbage blown in from the street. Everytime someone goes out, they bring some of this back in. It is not pretty. Not to mention that you get this constant sand taste in your mouth, even when you are not eating.

But despite it all, I enjoy it. First of all, because we have windows that actually close. Believe it or not, this is a rare feat here in Sudan. We do get the dust in, but it is localised to a few specific spots, such as the front door. And then obviously we get the dust that lingers in the air and that no one can avoid. But other than that, the effects of a proper haboob are not that visible in here.

Secondly, haboobs provide an interesting change of weather pattern. When you get 360 days of sunshine per year, with temperatures only varying by 25 degrees between the hottest and the coldest days, you do get bored out of your wits. At least I do. So haboobs cater to the same kind of fascination as a hail or thunderstorm back home, something uncontrollable and different.

Driving through a haboob is a bit like going through a very thick snowstorm or a fog accompanied by blowing winds. It is great fun, as long as you manage to keep safe. Also, haboobs make the temperatures drop, a little bit dampening the summer heat.

Four haboobs in four days. I feel for all those poor souls who spent these four days looking for a shelter from the winds and dust and then cleaning up the mess, only to get their efforts blown away by the next batch of sandy gales. I know that for 99% of people haboobs are a calamity. But there is still something in them that lifts up my spirits.

Monday, 21 May 2012


I am not what you'd call a "morning person". My hubs either, but he gives it  a better shot than me.

So, we have this task division thing for the morning when the kids must get ready, eat breakfast and head off to school by 7.15am. He does the breakfasting. He prepares bowls of cereal or toasts or eggs or I don't know what, since I am rarely present for this part of the proceedings.

As for me, I feel my way into the kitchen and prepare lunch boxes. They are usually lacking a bit of creativity, but it is wholesome and healthy food, so I reckon that it's not such a big deal to have cream cheese sandwiches three days in a row. Right?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Habits and character

Tyron Edwards said "Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny."

To be honest, I had absolutely no clue who Tyron Edwards was until the Ultimate Source of All Knowledge (aka wikipedia) informed me that he was an American theologian from the 19th century who became famous(???) for compiling the "A Dictionary of Thoughts".

Now that we got this out of the way, let's get back to our subject here: the importance of habits. Now I am not a routine person. I mean, not naturally. Some BO (born organised) people just seem to get on with  life's intricacies seamlessly and without effort. Their house is clean, their mental to-do list completely ticked off every night (because obviously they don't *need* one on paper), their smart phone does not ring every five minutes to remind them of something and despite achieving more in 30 minutes than the rest of us would in two weeks, they are always impeccably turned out.

As mentioned, that ain't me, folks. I am more on the SHE (side-tracked home executive) side of life. I need checklists and things to tick and reminders and timers. I need to force myself to focus on one thing instead of multitasking 24/7. But I am trying. The Flylady was a great find a few years back and her ideas really help to keep things running. Cozi organises our family calendar, shopping list and meal plans and graciously makes them available on all our mobile devices. TripIt runs my travel schedule, keeps my booking references and reminds me of check-in times.

All this conscious effort seems to have paid off, as "very organised" (sic) was mentioned as one of my strengths in my last performance appraisal. Yip, that's me.

And now for the latest find: the Habitualist. (No relationship to The Mentalist, which is a TV show from what I hear.) Anyways, this new website lets you track the actions that will build your habits. You can decide at what frequency you want to do what and then track if you actually managed to get around to doing it.

You are probably wondering why the heck this is relevant here. Well, kind blog-reading masses, if it wasn't for the Habitualist, I would not be writing today. But you see, a few days ago I entered the habit of "blog every 2-4 days" and today it started flashing in red. So I just *had* to get it done. Therefore my character is in construction and soon you will see regular blog posts from me.

Quod erat demonstrandum.