Sunday, October 21, 2018

Nearly a year has gone by

It's been almost a year since my mother passed away (Oct 24th). A lot has happened this year - most of it was stressful. There have been so many details to take care of and my mother's estate is still being sorted out. 

My mother had been secretive about what her assets were and she wasn't very organized either. My sister and I had to dig through tons of papers trying to find out exactly what was there. After we would think he had found it all something else would pop up. Recently, nearly a year after my mother's death, a check came in the mail from a stock we had never found any documentation for at all... so back to trying to figure that out. 

My mom's house was also a big issue. According to the will it was to be shared by my sisters and myself. It was decided that we'd sell it. We had an appraisal done, but the amount given was ridiculously over the market value. I knew that we would never get the amount quoted because the house needed so many repairs. The house is over 40 years old and had almost no updating done. When I suggested to my sisters that the amount quoted was inflated they scoffed and said that we'd get that and maybe more. I'd been watching the market in the area for quite some time and knew that they were dreaming. 

Adding to the task of deciding how to go about selling the house was the fact that my son wanted to buy it, but one of my sisters also was interested. We needed to come up with a fair price for the house. My son's interest was sentimental while my sister's interest was to flip the house and make a profit.

After some discussion it was decided that my sister would supply the names of two realtors and my son would get two more so that we could get an idea about the houses' value. This sounds easy and straightforward, but it required having to make the arrangements to be at the house when the realtors could come - that sounds simple, but I was living in the house with two of my children. Having strangers walking though every room of your house makes you feel vulnerable and your privacy is invaded. I found it extremely stressful.

It was suggested that the buyer should have the house inspected so my son decided to take the recommendations from one of the realtors my sister provided. This way she couldn't complain that my son was being unfair. On one day, I had two realtors in looking at the house at the same time a team of five house inspectors were poking through every nook and cranny and a termite inspector came too. Phew! What a day! 

The inspectors found some issues with a part of the roof and the downstairs plumbing. There are issues with a lot of things in the house, but those two made the difference on how the house would have to be sold. Unless we repaired the roof and the plumbing the house would have to be a cash sale. My sisters and I weren't interested in putting any money into the house. 

The sister that was interested in buying didn't have enough cash. My son had cash and made an offer that my sisters hemmed and hawed over. It was decided that we'd have more realtors and property investors look at the house and see what they would offer. Back to me having a parade of strangers waltzing through. I tried to google names to get an idea of just who I was letting come in. One name came up with a guy with a rap sheet of a variety of crimes a mile long - if the person who came was the same person in the mugshot I was going to say (through the window) that the house was not available. It turned out to be a different guy. After I showed him the house I mentioned that he should start building a better online profile -  I explained what I had found when I googled his name. He said he had never thought about it before and would definitely get right on it!

After what seemed like an endless parade of people in to look at the property, my son's offer was the one we  settled on. He took a big gulp and sunk his life's savings into the purchase. I'm really proud of him. He has a lot of work to do to update the house and he's planning to do one room at a time. Meanwhile I'm here doing what I can to help out while I decide what's next. 

I had moved downstairs to my mother's room after she died. I didn't want to stay in my mom's room, but her dog wanted to be in that room and the poor thing was having serious issues with anxiety. He was gnawing at his leg and side until he had open wounds. Moving downstairs helped him - we were all mourning in our own ways. I left the room as it was, but finally decided it was time to move out my mom's furniture and get something more up to date. A little at I time, over a few months, I added more of 'me' in the room. I hung some pictures on the walls and changed the desk, got rid of mom's old TV. The last thing I did was to take down mom's old window blinds and put up some curtains, then I sat on the edge of the bed and had a good cry.  

It's been a hard year for me. There are still things to settle with my mother's estate and the mourning process continues. I'm dealing with things one step at a time. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The Plight of Libyan Medical Care in 2018

In the past I had my own scary Libyan hospital story, but things are getting worse as each day passes. This was reported on Twitter recently. A night at a hospital in Sebha Medical Center:

No one deserves this... no one...  Thank you @imanlibya for posting this very revealing tweet thread.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Step Forward in Libya

I have always been a firm believer that the way forward for Libya is to include more females in government, business and leadership roles. One organization that has helped Libyan women to attain economic empowerment is MEDA LIBYA which began in Libya in 2013. Over the past five years they have continued their efforts to train and support Libyan women throughout the country. Their efforts help not only women, but the community and country as a whole. 

Congratulations to the girls and women who participated in this year's Step Forward competition. You are all winners in my eyes!

Previously I posted about MEDA here: One Step at a Time

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Libyan Antiquities: Silently Watching for Over a Millennium

photo taken at Leptis Magna, Libya

Silently watching over Libya since the 2nd century AD ....
It's face is battered, but it's eyes are hopeful. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

No Peace for Libya?

In my last post, Peace in Libya? Reconciliation? I had added a padlet and asked readers to contribute their thoughts and ideas of how Libyans could reach reconciliation. Very few people added anything which leads me to believe that Libyans really aren't interested in achieving any kind of peaceful agreement with one another. That's depressing.

This week Tripoli is finding itself back to booming and banging as various militias (and whoever) fight to achieve power. No end is in sight  as they don't seem interested in peace. Is there any hope?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Peace in Libya? Reconciliation?

Libya has been in a continual state of unrest for over 7 years. How can Libyans find peace? How can Libya move forward? What are some ways that Libyans can reconcile with one another?

I've been playing around with different online ideas for my students and came across Padlet, which is a kind of online idea board that people can work on together to collaborate ideas and information. Collaborators do not have to register to read or add to a page. I decided to see if Padlet would work as a forum for people to post their thoughts and ideas about the current situation in Libya. There is a lot of discussion about Libya on Facebook and Twitter, but I wanted to see if I could get as many ideas all in one place - and with Padlet's platform the posts would be anonymous. Even the creator of the Padlet page cannot see the identity of the people who post. I thought this was important because it's not about whose idea it is, but about the idea itself. 

Padlet is easy to use. If you want to contribute you just click on the (+) in the lower right corner, double click anywhere on the page, or drag and drop to the page. If you click on the three dots  in the corner of a post ... you'll find a menu that lets you post in a variety of ways: by comment, uploading files, adding links, searching Google, taking or adding photos, videos, voice recording, drawing, adding a map or linking to other Padlets.

 Thoughts and ideas can be linked together with a line and arrow connecting the posts. 

Padlets can be shared and embedded in blog posts and websites (like below). You can contribute to the discussion below, or go to the link directly: 

How can Libyans reach reconciliation?
Read what others have posted. Post your own thoughts and ideas. 
Remember to be constructive and respectful.

Made with Padlet

Sunday, July 01, 2018

I Can't Stop Blogging

(C) Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano @ langwitches

I've had this blog for almost 14 years. The past few years, posts have been sporadic, but I still manage to post from time to time. As of today there have been 646,178 page views. I've noticed that I seem to have about 4,500 visitors to my blog on an average month. If I post something controversial or intriguing the numbers will shoot up. The most read post is A Very Important Guest Post, closely followed by a post I wrote in 2008 titled Old Wive's Tales.  

The popularity of blogging seems to have dropped as people find themselves absorbed by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but from time to time there is a resurgence. I'm always so pleased when I find new blogs by Libyans. Last week I had an email from a young Libyan girl named Mariya who wrote to say she was 12 years old and was starting her own website. She also said that she was the daughter of one of my students. When her father read her website he suggested that she read my blog. She wrote to tell me that she found my blog inspiring and that by reading it she had learned a lot of new vocabulary. She asked me if I could give her some tips she could use to help attract readers to her site. 

To be honest, I was really thrilled to receive an email from her, and I was especially happy to know she was the daughter of one of my former students. It's kind of nice to know that my teaching lives on in the next generation. I emailed her back and gave her some tips. Then I decided to post the tips here on my blog. Here is the advice I gave her:
  • Don't write posts that are too long - people like to read something that won't take much time. 
  • Post often. It will keep people coming back for more. (I need to heed my own advice!)
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Add pictures to create interest.
  • Encourage comments... ask your readers a question or what their opinion is (but don't expect them to have the same opinion that you have)
  • Share your links on social media - create a Facebook page or a Twitter account for your blog
  • Link to other things in your blog, but make sure the settings opens the link in a new tab so your page wont close.
  • Have a guest post something on your blog (my most popular post is a guest post)
  • Write about things that interest you and share your link with people who share the same interests
  • Blogger has a feature that allows you to look at your site statistics. You can also add other stat counters. I like
  • Check to make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. 
  • Use to help you find just the right word.

Have you found any Libyan blogs or Libyan related blogs that aren't on my Link List? Let me know in the comments.