Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pictures from Casablanca, Morocco

I really don't have much to say and haven't for a while. Do you ever get that way? So, instead of boring you with blabber about nothing, I'm going to post pictures instead. The following pictures are from my husband's trip back in November to where he grew up in Casablanca, Morocco. You can click on each individual picture to see a close-up if you would like.

The following picture is of my husband (on the left) and the principal of the fine art school he attended. He met him at his house and they had a mint tea together (Morocco is famous for their hot mint tea. It is very much a part of their culture.) Mint tea tastes very good and reminds me of melted mint bubblegum.

The principal put the cowboy hat on my husband as a joke since he now lives in America.

The following picture was taken in one of the gardens of the fine art school my husband attended:

The following is a picture of downtown Casablanca:

The following is a picture taken of a synagogue in downtown Casablanca:

The rest of the pictures are taken at the Hassan II Mosque.

Taken from Wikipedia: "It is the second largest mosque in the world. It stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers. A further 80,000 can be accommodated in the mosque's courtyard. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 metres (689 ft).

Built on reclaimed land, almost half of the surface of the mosque lies over the Atlantic water. This was inspired by the verse of the Qur'an that states "the throne of God was built on the water". Part of the floor of this facility is glass so worshipers can kneel directly over the sea; above, spotlights shine at night from the top of the minaret toward Mecca.

These features were specifically requested by King Hassan II, who declared, "I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God's sky and ocean."

It also includes a number of modern touches: it was built to withstand earthquakes and has a heated floor, electric doors, and a sliding roof (my husband told me that the sliding roof is automated and takes five minutes to open the entire roof...imagine how big the roof must be).

The mosque displays strong Moorish influence and the architecture of the building is similar to that of the Alhambra and the Mezquita in Spain. This and the old Tin Mal Mosque are the only mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Non-Muslims may view the interior on hour-long guided tours that depart several times daily.

Six thousand traditional Moroccan artisans worked for five years to turn these raw materials into abundant and incredibly beautiful mosaics, stone and marble floors and columns, sculpted plaster moldings, and carved and painted wood ceilings."

The following is a picture of the minaret:

Are these big doors or what?

That's my husband standing there!

Now let's go inside:

The following picture is taken of a hand-carved wood ceiling with 24 karat gold painted onto it in various places:

I love this chandelier:

And this one:

This is my favorite one:

And this is a beauty as well:

I can't wait to visit Morocco and take pictures myself to post on this blog!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Seven Random Things

I was tagged with the following meme called "Seven Random Things".

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Working as a software configuration manager and going through a divorce with my daughter's father.

2. What are five things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order).

Actually nothing is on my to-do list right now because it's 11:20pm and I'm dead tired. I will post my to-do list for tomorrow:

  • Go to work.
  • Clean the house after work.
  • Wash clothes.
  • Make dessert for a friend who is eating dinner with us Saturday. This particular dessert I always make the night before because it tastes better the next day.
  • Call my Mom to tell her the movie times. She wants us to watch a movie together Saturday afternoon.
3. Snacks I enjoy:
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Yogurt
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
4. Things I would do if I was a billionaire:
  • Send my husband to the Orsoni School of Byzantine Mosaic in Venice, Italy to attend a mosaic workshop he has been dying to go to. (I hear about this EVERY DAY of my life.)
  • Put money away for my daughter so that she can live her life without worrying about money.
  • Quit my job and volunteer at the hospital on Mondays, the children's hospital on Tuesdays, the zoo on Wednesdays, and the animal shelter on Thursdays. Friday will be my day off.
  • Give money to all of my family members and friends so that they can pay off their bills and mortgages.
  • Take a trip around the world.
  • Build a house on the beach in Morocco.
  • Live six months in the States and six months in other countries (while in the States I will do volunteer work as previously mentioned. I'm sure I would find other places to volunteer in other countries).
  • Take a trip on the Orient Express (I have wanted to do that since I was a child).
  • Visit Linda in Australia and take her out for a coffee.
  • Get a trainer and work out. Also attend yoga classes.
  • Hire a cleaning service for the house.
  • Hire a landscaping service for the yard.
  • Buy a boat and jet around the lake.
  • Pay off all of my bills and mortgage and get a financial investor to make a plan to invest/save the rest of the money.
Wow...that is a lot...but then again it is a billion dollars. There is so much more that I would do but don't have all night.

5. Three of my bad habits:

It used to be smoking, but I quit a year ago (I still crave them like mad, though!).
  • Not having enough discipline and getting to bed way too late.
  • Wanting everything to be in its place and clean where I live (I am fine if others aren't this way where they live and don't mind at all) to the point that I get upset with my husband and daughter for not cleaning after themselves or organizing things (I can be way too anal about this which isn't good for anyone living with me).
  • Driving too fast.
6. Five places I have lived:
  • Scotland
  • England
  • Various places in the US
  • In a house
  • In an apartment
7. Five jobs I have had:
  • US Navy
  • Bartender at a pub in England
  • First job was at 15 in a daycare. I had a very sweet class of five-year olds.
  • Software development job
  • Cleaner at a hospital in England
Anyone wanting to do the same meme let me know that you did so that I can visit and learn more about you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I can't believe that my 15 year old daughter made that much money in five hours. If she was also paid the base pay of $8.00 an hour, she would have made $96.17!!

Based on this past week, she has the opportunity to make over $600 a month! Talk about buying a nice car one day! I think I need to get a second job there working on the weekends. I told her this and she said, "No Mom...you'll make more tips than me and I want to make the most tips."

I'm still thinking about it...

UPDATE: She found out tonight that the owner of the restaurant is coming back from vacation next week. Come to find out, she won't make the $8.00 an hour until he sees how she works and he makes them decision to hire her. She is highly nervous about this because they said she won't know when he will show up. Frankly I am shocked because I thought she got the job. Once again, we shall see.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Just picked up my daughter. She was wearing the kimono-type shirt that they wear at the restaurant with an apron which means that she got the job! She made it through training! Not only that, they let her keep her tips tonight. She made a whopping $29.18 and she is SO proud. My husband had the idea of framing her first dollar bill made at her first job and I'm going to get a frame this weekend so that she can hang it in her room.

She is absolutely beautiful in the kimono-type shirt. I will take a picture of her in it soon and post it.

They want her to come back this Thursday. She will only make tips then. Afterwards, she will work every Tuesday and Thursday and starting next Tuesday she'll be making her hourly wage of $8.00 an hour plus tips. She figured out tonight that if she was paid her hourly wage with the tips, she would have made $69.18 just today. Not bad for a 15 year old!

I told her that she can spend the money that she made tonight however she wants but that next time she is going to keep a percentage for savings. At first she really didn't like the idea of me deciding what percentage of money she should save because she said, "Momma, does this mean that even though I have a job and am working HARD and am making MY OWN money that YOU will tell me how I can spend it?" I looked at her at her with a smile and said, "I realize that you don't like this and I understand why you wouldn't. I have been planning for years that when you got your first job that I would take you to the bank to open your own checking and savings account so that you can start learning how to spend your money responsibly. It's easy to just blow it and in the end you'll kick yourself. Not only that, but I want you to save certain percentages for certain things and this will even help you with math and percentages. You'll learn how to balance your checkbook and basically be taught how to manage your money. A lot of people, including me, was never taught this and when they became adults they really messed up their finances. I don't want that for you. If you mess up your finances when you are an adult, it won't be because you didn't know any better."

She smiled while agreeing and then asked that we start saving a percentage of her money next week and let her keep the tip money she makes Thursday night. I said it was OK to do that and she'll start saving next week. I asked her what she was going to do with the tip money she'll make this week and she said that she really couldn't decide if she wanted to save it for her car or spend it. She's been wanting "Guitar Hero 3" and I reminded her of it and said that she could save the money to buy that for herself since it retails here at around $97.00. Guess what she said?

She actually said...and I cannot believe this...

"No, Mom, I'm going to wait to get it for my birthday or Christmas. I don't want to spend my money for that." I said, "Oh, but you want to spend mine!" to which she replied with no words but a smile.

First Job Jitters

Tonight is my daughter's last night training at the restaurant. She did really well this past Sunday night and had a lot more confidence about it all. Prior to going Sunday she said that she didn't want to go and was very nervous about getting people's orders and serving food for the first time. She was so scared that she would make a mistake. She started at 5:00pm and from 5:00pm to 7:30pm I received text messages that went back and forth like this (and there are typos because it was text messages):

Daughter: Mom im so scared!
Me: Don't be scared...You can do this! I believe in you and you need to believe in you too. I am so proud of you for doing this my dear.
Me: I also meant to tell you that the manager noticed you looked very tired last time and that is why she said to go home. That is not a good thing.
Me: Even if you feel tired, don't act like you are or say you are because you need to prove to them that you can do this. I love you and you don't need to reply.

A little bit later:

Daughter: There r other waitresses here and now i feel like im going 2 do something embarassing...well of course i was tired! It was my 1st day.
Daughter: I want 2 go home.

Me: Honey, don't worry about the other waitresses. They had to learn as well once and they understand. You need to try and stick this out. You'll be proud of yourself.
Daughter: But mom their chinese they r familiar w/ the food so its easy 4 them!
Me: Honey...seriously, you can do this. Don't get in trouble texting...just learn now. You will feel better afterwards. Decide that you can do this and don't let anything stop you.

I didn't receive anymore text messages that night. When she had a small break around 8:30pm, she did call and said that she had her own table and had served five couples. You could tell that her self-confidence was much better and she was having fun. When she got home that night she said it was nerve-wracking because she was so scared about making a mistake, but that she was able to get through it and it wasn't that bad. She wasn't as tired either.

Tonight she has her own tables the entire night. In fact, she won't have just one table to take care of, but FIVE. I cannot imagine how this night will be. Talk about throwing someone in the fire! This is only her third night of training. If she makes it through tonight, the manager will talk with the owner and we'll find out if they want to hire her. It's sad because she won't make any tips tonight. In fact, she hasn't made anything at all so far. She doesn't get paid during training. The other waitresses get her tips. She said that her eyes just get big because people have given some big tips (it's a pricey restaurant) and the other waitresses pocketed them. Oh well, we all have to start somewhere.

I really hope that she makes it through tonight and gets the job. It will really build her self-confidence. I'm worried that her self-confidence will go way down if they tell her that they don't want to hire her.

This will be quite interesting. I wonder what the text messages will be tonight. THAT IS if she even has the time to send one.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Gorgeous Girly

This picture was taken last week right before the interview for her first job.

This picture was taken right afterwards.

I love this girly so much. She is my heart. I feel so blessed that she is my daughter. She makes me laugh...she makes me cry...she makes me feel things I've never felt before. She helped me to grow up when she was born and she helped shape the person I am today.

Thank you my daughter.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Two New Jobs

I cannot believe that I have a daughter who started a job tonight. This is the first job she has ever had and I just can't believe it. She has been wanting a job since she was 13 years old. She has an allowance, but has always wanted "her own" money I think and so since she was 13 when we are out she has asked store owners, managers, workers, restaurant staff, even people in the drive-through window at McDonalds what age you had to be to work there. Answers always range from 15 to 18. The place she would LOVE to work is Hollisters. Hollisters is the store in the mall she loves to visit to get clothes. She always goes straight for the clearance rack praying that something good will be there. You have to be 18 to work at Hollisters. She is 15 years old.

Last week I visited a Chinese restaurant that is about one minute from my house. It is a very nice, upscale restaurant (no buffets) where the food is great (a bit pricey), the restaurant is beautiful and clean and the wait staff wears beautiful kimono-looking shirts. They had a sign on the door stating that they were hiring. I thought of my daughter. I asked the lady who is always at the front what age you need to be to work there. The lady in the front is someone I talk with quite a bit and we e-mail each other. We would go out to coffee together, but she works seven days a week and never has time, which is one reason why they are looking for help. She said she would find out after talking with the owner. She e-mailed me the next day saying that my daughter could work there and that she has the job and needs to start work this Thursday. I was shocked.

I called the lady at the front and told her it is awesome that my daughter could work there because the restaurant is so close to the house and I would feel safe that she is there because of the lady in the front. I did ask her if she could please interview my daughter because I wanted her to feel that she earned it herself and that Momma didn't just get her a job. I also wanted her to know what it was like to go through the interview process to get the full job experience. My friend said yes and I took her the other day to the interview.

Prior to the interview my daughter asked me to give her a mock interview in order to prepare. We did that several times and talked about some of the answers that she gave in order to improve her interviewing skills. The day of the interview as we were driving to the restaurant, she asked me to interview her again. This time she couldn't answer any of the questions I asked because she was so nervous and said that she couldn't think, which gave her more anxiety. We parked and I looked at her and said, "You can do this. Don't worry that you can't think right now. I'm sure that when you walk inside and they ask you a question that you will not have any problems at all."

She hated getting out of the car. I reassured her and she walked inside by herself. I sat there for 30 minutes. Then, all of a sudden, she walked outside with a huge grin on her face and a menu in her hand mouthing, "I GOT THE JOB!".

She raced to the car and said that she starts this Thursday and we needed to buy her black pants, black skid-free shoes and black socks. While shopping I told her that I would buy her first set of work clothes, but that she would need to buy future work clothes for herself with the money that she earned. She agreed.

I started my first job at 15 years of age and made a whopping $3.25 an hour. That was 21 years ago. Two Christmases ago I took a part-time job at Bath and Body Works to make some extra bucks during the Christmas season and also use the money I earned along with the employee discount I received to buy Christmas presents. I made $7.50 an hour.

Guess what my daughter is making?

She is 15 years old. This is her FIRST JOB. She will be making $8.00 an hour PLUS TIPS!!

I was floored to say the least.

I am now thinking about getting a part-time job there myself for the weekends to make some extra money. I told people at work and they are wanting to get a part-time job there as well.

Phenomenal money. I don't know what she will do with it all. Just think about it...if she works two days a week (ten hours a week total), she will make $320 a month just on her hourly wage. Who knows what she will make in tips! It is an upscale restaurant and she has the potential to make very good tips there.

She already said that she is going to save her money for a car. Her father said a long time ago that he will match her dollar for dollar on any money she saves that she earned. I told her to call her father and tell him to start saving his money now since she has a job. He laughed and said, "She'll never bloody save her money! No danger there!" (he's English, hence the "bloody"). Oh well...I think he best save. I don't think he realizes how much money she'll be making.

I picked her up tonight and she was exhausted. She got in the car and leaned on the door looking like she wanted to pass out. She said, "Momma, I'm soooooo tired! My feet hurt and I just want to go to bed!". I told her, "You don't have to do this, you know. You have the rest of your life to work. Just enjoy your teenage years. Are you sure you want to do this?" She looked me right in the eyes and said, "I need to do this. It will be good for me and help me get ready for when I'm an adult".

I'm so proud of her.

She found out tonight that this is a trial period. The first three days are for training and she doesn't get paid. If after the three days she shows that she gets it and is ready, they will hire her and start paying her along with tips. She asked that if she gets hired after training that she would like for us to be her first customer. I said that I would love to.

The rule is that her grades cannot be compromised while working. She will have to quit if they go down. I really hope that she can do this for herself. It will really build some maturity and also self-esteem.

On another note, I also started something new. I wouldn't call it a part-time job. I don't really know what to call it. It's just a fun way to make a little money. It only cost $10 to get into it and I love makeup, lotions, body and beauty stuff anyway.

I am now the little old Avon lady. Talk about getting old...sheesh!

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