Archives for posts with tag: fun

Today in Afghan living, I’m going to tell you about this wonderful dish called:


10 Pairs of socks – any color.  White and blacks together are just fine in fact
10 Pairs of underwear
5 – 6 (maybe even 7) pots of water
1 cup of clothing detergent
1 plastic bag

1.) Bring 2 pots of water to a rapid boil.
2.) Pour detergent into big plastic container like a washed out garbage can or other tub.
3.) Pour boiling water over detergent.
4.) Fill tub with with socks and underwear.
5.) Stir with long plastic spoon.  Do not be alarmed if the water turns gray or black.  You will not be able to see anything in the water because it is so dirty. This is normal.  Remember, you live around a lot of dust.
6.) Transfer wet clothes to plastic bag.  Do this the best way you see fit.
7.) Pour nasty water down toilet.  Refill bucket with 2 more pots of water.  It shouldn’t be boiling, perhaps warm enough for you to put your hands in.
8.) Dump clothes into water.  Pretend like you are on a river with rocks and get to scrubbin’.
9.) Water will still be gray.  This is okay.  Ever heard of rinse n repeat?  Well this is where they got it from.
10.) Keep repeating until water is clearish.  Your clothes will not ever be undingy.  That’s okay.  They smell clean, and have essentially been boiled.
11.) Squeeze them ad dry as you can.  This all depends on how tired you are.
12.)Do you have a bukhari?  Great!  Wipe it down (so as not to re-dust everything) and fry your clothes on the open grate.  This will allow you to have clean socks and panties in the morning.
12.) Revel in the fact that your room now smells like fresh laundry detergent.
13.) Go to bed.  You deserve it.

Now that I’ve mastered the art of cooking, let’s move on to other topics in tasty delights?

They asked MOI of all people to be on the Afghan version of Iron Chef called: 59 Minutes.  It airs on Ariana.  I dare somebody to find the footage.  Do you think we’ll be able to find it on YouTube?  I pray YES.  I judged the cooking stylistics of these two women who thought they “put their foot in it.”   I can’t share the results because I’m legally bound (and I just KNOW how much you’re all out there clamoring to tell the world), but I did get my grub on.  I did my best impersonation of the gluttons Alton Brown questions on Iron Chef America.  And tried to be as giggly as the girls who get dubbed on Iron Chef Japan (yeah right, not really).  It was loads of fun.  Definitely a story I will be re-telling and re-telling.  I just hafta wait till it airs before I can say too much.



Written by Niki


….and the story continues.  (I almost missed the van this morning, so you know that means I forgot my camera cord for a second day in a row.   Hopefully my words make up for it a teeny tiny bit…)

So, I’m riding from the airport into Kabul’s busy, frenetic, streets.  I have that BLUR feeling again, so I’ll just transcribe my very first thoughts.

  • DUST! LA’s smog is bad, but this right here is…. Eye & lung burning DUST.  Dust.  dust.  dust….. floating every. where.
  • They’ve got Mexico beat by a longshot on the harrowing driving style. To my Mexican friends:  …. read my typing A. LONG. SHOT.    Cars and dust and cars and dust.
  • Men, men, men, is that a woman?  no MEN, men men.  Oh there are some women!  wow!  men, men men.
  • Oh, okay – I guess in order to cross the street you just pray up to Allah and make a go for it.

Pull up to the house.  DOGS!  We’ve got guard dogs.  Only, they’ve got to be taught that I live here too now.  …. I have a fear of dogs so, they put them away and save that lesson for now.

I enter the house.  And while on paper it sounded like the United Colors of Beneton would be living there – I quickly learn that I was pretty much the only one who didn’t speak German.  Meaning, everyone else in the house was German, Swiss, Austrian or from some other country where it is customary to know German.   Even the Austrailian man seems to be in on the whole German thing.  Whelp, add THAT to the list of things to learn while here.  This is REALLY going to be interesting.
Everyone was super sweet and excited to meet me.   I got a quick tour of the house and her many many quirks.  **ahem** and then it was dinner time.  YES!

So the rule of the guesthouse is: everybody takes a turn cooking one night of the week.  Rumor has it that there are some good cooks and some pretty bad ones in the group…. I wonder which side things they’ll find mine.

Anyways, tonight’s especially special because we’ve got one housemate and another friend of the house leaving leaving Kabul the next day.  Everyone’s merry – someone makes cupcakes, it seems like a party is about to start.  I should mention that the friend of the house is an American dude from the midwest.  Totally the type my friends in LA swoon over.  He digs up old land mines and swears it’s no more unsafe than working in your average American factory.  Hmmm.  Okay, well since I won’t be doing that job anytime soon, I believe him.  It looks like he’s the guest of honor at a couple of spots around town, and we’re all invited to join.

If I were in a John Hughes movie – this would be the moment I turn and do an about face to camera.  See, at this point, I’ve been traveling for somewhere in the 40 hour range with little to no sleep.  Not to mention carting all those fantabulous bags around.   But, the Niki in me can’t watch everybody else making merry and then sit alone in a new house.  Not. gonna.  happen.   I hop in the shower.**  Throw on whatever the first thing my hands touch, and am out the door into a cab with these people.  Yes, that’s right into a cab at night in Kabul, Afghanistan.  I will say that there were more men than women, and many members of the group have lived here over 2 years.  So…. I went for it.

I somehow got up some sort of miracle energy and had a really great time.

There was something absolutely surreal about the last place we went to.  We were in some place that was basically European.  There was an odd mix of individuals I won’t even attempt to try and explain.   Folks in “uniform,”  (for what country, I don’t know because I’m 75% sure they weren’t American)  people I’d assume were reporters,  other forms of war profiteers, a dabbling of locals in the know…. Very, very interesting.

Here’s what I noticed.  And this was just my first dog tired night in town – so I may recant this observation.  But.  I noticed that there is some sort of odd tension between the humanitarian/NGO community and the “profiteer” community.  Yes, there were a good number of Americans.  However, folks didn’t organize by country like that.  It was more:  Are you here to help or profit?  Very interesting indeed.

At some point I realize I can’t take another step.  I must get sleep. Finally.  It was about that time for everyone it seemed.  We hopped in a cab, and in moments we were back at the house.

I did not wake up again until 3p the next day.  Boy did that feel good.

I spent the day chit chatting with a reporter staying in our guesthouse from Nepal. I think we watched movies the rest of the day/night.  It was the perfect way to wind down and kind of gear up for all that was to come the next day.

I was really really sore from the infamous bags I am now swearing never to bring anywhere else ever again.**

** Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Quirks of the house.  Well, it’s like camping in here.  You’ve got to go on the roof and plug in the water pump to get pressure enough to take a shower.  You’ve got to fill the gas furnaces with fuel so they’ll work, but they run out usually 2/3 of the way through the night.  As much as I’m still cursing those bags, and the Germans laugh at me about them, I will say this:  I am so so so very thankful for the things I brought.  Especially, the super thick Thai blanket that makes me forget that its freezing in my room.   I think I’d carry alla that all over again to know I had a warm bed.  Not to mention, the water HEAT has now been out for two days.  And while we can take warm showers in the office, the truth is even washing your hands in freezing water and taking sponge baths leave you cold cold cold in the end.  So, I’m lying in this blanket right now elated at that choice.  Yay me.

Since this trip is about learning, here’s my status so far:
Learning German – they teach me in the car.  But it’s only a word or phrase at time.  I think I’ll have to push them to teach me another way.  They’re going to get tired of me – and one girl even asked why I cared to learn.  Hey, if I’m gonna be surrounded by a bunch of folks who know things I don’t – I’d be a fool not to at least TRY to learn from them.
Learning Skateboarding – take THAT naysayers… I can go straight and kick, push at least twice in ONE LESSON!  Imma get it, just you see.  After six months of training with the real deal dudes, I can’t wait to see how much I learn.
Learning Dari – The kids I think are eager to teach me…. but, they speak English more than the Germans.  So, I don’t know if any real Dari will be passed along.  We’ll see what I get in the end.
Learning Afghanistan – well – I HAVE been asking the people I can what their impressions of the US & the war are.  I think many, many people would be shocked at the answers I get.  Wow.  I don’t feel right posting that here in my blog.  I think in a way, I’ll save that for the personal conversations I have with friends who know me.  This is probably a wise decision.

I’m tired now, and will have to continue tomorrow.  But let’s say, yes, there is lots and lots of learning happening here.  I love that!

PS:  its 4:45a.. ADAN (azan) time!  I’ve heard plenty of adans being called in my day.  The Afghan version isn’t quite as pretty as the ones I’ve heard.  Maybe it’s the echoing across the mountainside?  I also can’t make out the Arabic like I can in others I’ve heard.  This just sounds like moaning.  Oh well.

We went on an unannounced hiatus for a while – but then, something amazing happened and we felt the need to share it all with our faithful readers.

Here are the basic details….

Yes, fantastic it shall be.

1 – The GingerFly* is about to embark on an epic journey.  We’re headed off to Kabul, Afghanistan to help an amazing organization.  We’ve been cautioned against giving too much description – but let’s just say that it fantasically combines so many of the things we love.

2 – This space is where we’ll document all of it as best we can.

3 – We hope you enjoy this new chapter of The GingerFly…No matter what, we guarantee there will be lots to share!

Do you know where to find Kabul on the map?

Here’s the thing – I get that our country is engaged in a war there.  And yes, we’re nervous.  But – it should be said that we’ve got an odd sense of peace about the whole thing.  The plan is to love, learn, teach, laugh, listen, play, pray, and eat…. in no particular order.

*(well, half of us)**


**You do realize there’s only two of us… so this time, it’s just Niki.  YIKES!


Choose a night. Invite your girlfriends over. Grab some popcorn, ice-cream and other yummy goodies. A settle in for a night of laughter, tears and girlfriend-hood as you watch these movies, which at their cores, are about relationships between friends, sisters, mothers, etc.

BEACHES (1988)

No matter how many time I watch this classic friendship movie, I always find myself crying through Bette Midler singing “The Glory of Love.” Definitely a bonding movie with the women that closest and dearest to you.


CLUELESS (1995) Yes, this more of a coming-of-age film as Cher discovers that she has more depth to her than even she gave herself credit for. Bur she did it with the help of her two bestest friends Dionne and Tai.FUN CLIP: GOLDEN GIRLS RENDITION OF CLUELESS



 There are so many things to love about this movie (watching the young, fabulous Christian Bale is number one), but the depiction of the relationship among the women is lovely to watch. My favorite quote:

 Younger Amy March: Do you love Laurie more than you love me?
Jo: Don’t be silly! I could never love anyone more than I love my sisters.

Now, that’s what I’m talking about. 


Okay, so maybe this is the best example of female friendships. But it is funny and it shows you what not to do to your best friends. In the end, I like to think that each character learned a valuable lesson about friendship, so this movie totally counts.

 Let us all work together to create a better “Girl World.”


Yes, I know. Another tearjerker. But the movie is so satisfying to watch that the tears. No matter that I’ve seen it hundreds of times, I will sit down and watch it whenever I stumble across it on television.


What top 5 picks would you watch with friends? Tell us in the comments.


  • A League of Their Own (1992)
  • Boys on the Side (1995)
  • Brokedown Palace (1999)
  • Circle of Friends (1994)
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)
  • First Wives Club (1996)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
  • Friends and Money (2006)
  • Girl, Interrupted (1999)
  • How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
  • Joy Luck Club (1993)
  • Mona Lisa’s Smile (2003)
  • Mystic Pizza (1988)
  • Now and Then (1995)
  • Practical Magic (1998)
  • Romy and Michele’s High School Movie (1995)
  • Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)
  • Set it Off (1996)
  • Sex and the City (2008)
  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
  • The Bangor Sisters (2002)
  • The Craft (1996)
  • The First Wives Club (1996)
  • The Women (2008)              
  • Thelma and Louise (1991)
  • Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Did I forget a movie that you know/love that is centered around or explores female friendships in depth? Tell us in the comments.


 Chick Flicks  Collection of essays criticizing and praising the so-called genre. From Not Coming to a Theater Near You. (check link)


Some TV Shows Centered Around Female Relationships:

  • Any Day Now
  • Designing Women
  • Facts of Life
  • Faith and Hope
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Girlfriends
  • Golden Girls
  • Living Single
  • Sex in the City
  • Sisters
  • The Game

 I can’t think of any more. Can you?


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Written by Niki


Ah! The things I could do….

…if only I had enough time. – anyone can animate

For those of you who do not sit in front of their televisions all day (Ahem, nope not me!), here is a commercial that makes me smile everytime I see it. Too bad the outfits aren’t my cup of tea (They kinda make eyes hurt).   But this illustrates the power of infectious advertising – the commercial almost makes me want to go out and buy that awful penguin sweater for my 5-year-old. Almost.

But it does make me want to dance around the apartment with my kids.