Please see the tabs above for my Link List and My Journal of the months that the internet was turned off during the February 17th Revolution.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Feeling stressed!

They say that if Plan A doesn't work go on to Plan B.... there's an entire alphabet to try. This doesn't always work when it involves anything to do with Libya! I'm feeling rather frustrated about things today. Maybe it's time to stop trying to plan things my own way and relax and let God deal with it. I am totally stressed out and that's not helping. Go with the flow.... go with the flow... go with God's plan....

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Updating and Reorganizing

I've finally taken the time to sort out all the links that were on my sidebar and put them on their own separate page which you can find on the tabs at the top of my blog (Link List). It took me a while to sort it all out - I had to check each of the links individually. So many of the blogs had been removed and the links didn't work anymore. I found myself stopping to read new posts. Some of the blogs haven't been updated in quite some time. I guess we can blame Facebook for that.

I think I've put together a pretty good list. I'll keep adding to it as I go. Let me know in the comments what you think, or if you know of any links I might have missed. 

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Eid wishes

Best wishes for a safe and peaceful Eid El Fitr to all who celebrate. 

Eid Mubarak!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


I went to the mobile phone company to sort out some issues I was having with my phone service. There was only one attendant in the shop and a line was forming. There was one person in front of me who was being helped, a middle aged woman in a short, tight fitting dress - she was taking a lot of time making decisions.  While we were waiting,  a man walked in, actually he limped in. He appeared to have a disability of some kind and he was possibly a bit inebriated too. He looked a bit rough with the weather-worn skin and hands of a fisherman. He was dressed in shorts and a half unbuttoned khaki-colored cotton shirt. He greeted everyone and then proceeded to tell a joke:

"What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back?" he said looking at the woman in front of me. She stood for a moment thinking and then replied "I really don't know". He smiled and said "A stick!" We all laughed and the shop keeper continued to help the customer. He glanced up at me and said "I'll be right with you."

I waited patiently, looking at the products on display. The man who told the joke groaned and held his side, he was in obvious pain. He grimaced, then turned and limped out of the shop. The shop keeper looked up, noting that the man had left. I could tell he was getting a bit impatient with the woman who couldn't make up her mind, but he stoically answered her questions and offered some suggestions. Finally, she was finished and it was my turn. 

The shop keeper apologized for taking so long and then looked up at me and greeted me in Arabic "Assalamualaikum." I answered him likewise in Arabic "Walaikumasalam," and then proceeded in English to tell him about the problem I was having with the phone service. It turned out to be something he hadn't faced before and he needed to make a call to find some answers. The shop's door opened and in limped the man who had been in before. "Do you just need to pay for service?" the shop keeper asked him. "Yes," he said. The shop keeper looked at me and asked "Is is all right if I help him first? It will only take a moment." Of course I agreed. Others in line behind me were not so thrilled, but the man was obviously in severe pain and it was better to help him first. The man grimaced and held his side and then proceeded to tell us another joke:

"What do you call a cow with no legs?" he asked. We all looked at one another, no one had the answer. "Ground beef! A cow with no legs is called ground beef!" he exclaimed. We all laughed and the man reached his hand out to take his change from the shop keeper. While doing so the contents of his wallet; cards and bits of paper, fell out and scattered on the floor. He was not in any condition to bend over to pick them up. The customers behind me sighed loudly. The shop keeper calmly reached down to retrieve the papers and cards. "I'm so sorry," the man apologized, "I'm not well." and then trying to make light of the situation he jokingly said "I have a few broken ribs. I guess I chose the wrong ex-girl friend." He chuckled as he collected his belongings, then thanked the shop keeper and left.

My problem was quickly sorted out and the shopkeeper said in Arabic "Shokran," and "Wasalamualaikum." I said goodbye (in Arabic) and left. I have no idea where the shopkeeper was from, but it was pleasant to share a polite, and patient, exchange. I'm not sure others would have been so patient.

Assalamualaikum: Peace be upon you. - a formal greeting
Walaikumasalam: Upon you be peace.  - a formal reply 
Shokran: Thank you

Monday, June 20, 2016

Half of Ramadan & a Link

We've reached the halfway mark in Ramadan. I've noticed a few things about this stage of fasting, namely that you are in the fasting groove and it feels like you can accomplish anything. Also the appetite has decreased - finishing a bowl of soup becomes a challenge.

It's been a few years since I spent Ramadan away from a Muslim country. People are eating and drinking everywhere I go. The supermarket is filled with all kinds of delicious things. Food is everywhere, but I don't feel very hungry or thirsty. Three weeks ago I couldn't go anywhere without my water bottle in the Florida heat, but now I can go the entire day without a sip of water and not feel that I am missing out which is quite amazing because I usually drink water throughout the day. Subhan'allah.... Physically I feel better. A lot better! 

On a less positive note: Ramadan in Libya this year has not been very pleasant. The power cuts continue. People are not able to withdraw money from the banks which means they cannot buy the food and supplies needed to feed their families. There are reports of lines at gas stations. The water supply has been cut to the capitol and other parts of the country. Fighting continues, kidnapping continues, shortages of medicine and medical supplies continues....  People are protesting but nothing is changing.   

I hope and pray that the remaining half of Ramadan continues to be easy for me, but also that there are improvements for those suffering in Libya. 

Sharing a link: I came across a blog written by an Italian, Arnaldo Guidatti, who has been living in Libya for 17 years and blogging for two. He has an interesting perspective about life and current events in Libya. I will add his blog, Europe & Libya to the links on my sidebar when I get a chance to sort them all out as many of the blogs that were listed are now gone and the list needs updating. He's written a post about this year's Ramadan in Libya: RAMADAN IN LIBIA in collaborazione con un Musulmano  the post is in both Italian and English. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Short Trip in Ramadan

I was fortunate enough to be able to take a quick (very quick!) business trip during the first few days of Ramadan. Travelers are exempt from fasting and are expected to make up the days they miss, but I decided to fast anyway. I would be too busy during the day to bother with eating and the hotels I was going to be staying in had excellent restaurants. 

I did have a dilemma though - who would take care of my mother while I was away? I managed to arrange for a dear friend to take my mother to a doctor's appointment and she also took her out for lunch and dinner one evening. Ibrahim was finished with school, so he was home with his grandmother. My oldest son was there for her when he wasn't at work. It worked out for the few days I was away. 

Another problem was a tropical storm that was brewing out in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to turn into a hurricane! Before I left I stocked up on hurricane supplies; bottled water and food, and I made sure there was cooking gas and flashlights. 

Off I went. The first day of Ramadan found me flying above the beautiful Caribbean Sea. What a lovely sight to behold!

I arrived in Martinique in the late afternoon. The sky was overcast as they too were being affected by the tropical storm. I found out later on that a "yellow" tropical storm warning had been issued which indicates potentially dangerous weather. I asked the person who told me this what was next and they said "orange which means things are worse than yellow and you better be really careful, followed by red which means you better not even think about going outside"

I went for a walk around. The blue and white of the pool in stark contrast with the clouds and storm in the distance makes for an interesting photo.

Martinique is a mountainous volcano island. The earth is black and the tropical green rain forests reach down to the beaches.  There are butterflies and hummingbirds everywhere and you can hear parrots squawking high up in the trees. 


In the Caribbean the sun sets early, at about 6:30pm. I walked to a nearby shopping centre and super market. Martinique is an overseas region of France so the supermarket was fully stocked with French products - and Tunisian dates! I picked up a few things to break my fast with and snack on during the night.  

The sun set quickly. This was the view from my room.

I broke fast and then went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. In what seemed like minutes the sky was pitch black. The restaurant didn't open until 7 o'clock. I got there a little early and found one of the waitresses using a broom to push away frogs that had found their way into the open dining area. The air was full of the sound of the croaking of frogs. 

The next day I took a short afternoon flight to the island of Guadeloupe, which is another island in France's overseas territories. I arrived at my hotel very near Maghreb (sunset) and within minutes of my arrival it was time to find my way to the hotel's restaurant for what was to be my breakfast. 

This restaurant was also open to the sea and served a huge buffet filled with Caribbean cuisine. Many Creole specialties and a strong French influence - I wanted to taste everything but there was only so much I could eat. Everything tasted delicious.  I will definitely try my hand at a few Guadeloupean recipes this Ramadan.

Guadeloupe, like Martinique was full of tropical birds and the night was full of the croaking of frogs which you can hear in the video I made while eating my fast breaking meal. 


This was an amazing way to spend the first few days of Ramadan. I arrived home to find that in the end the storm never developed into a hurricane, and the area where my mother lives just had a lot of rain and some flooding, but my mother's house was not affected. I hope one day I get the chance to return to Martinique and Guadeloupe. My visit was way too short. 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Ramadan Wishes

Wishing all who celebrate a peaceful and blessed Ramadan. 
May Allah accept your fasts and reward you in this life and in the hereafter. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Keep blogging Libyans!

I want to share the link to a small article put out yesterday on the BBC website titled 'The Libyans Blogging for Change' which includes a short video featuring two Libyans; Haider Dawi, 27 year old co-founder of H2O and Khadija Al-Ramali who is co-founder of Project Silphium.

Links here:
Blogging in Libya has become increasingly dangerous in the past few years. Many bloggers have been picked up, tortured and even killed. A lot of Libyan bloggers have stopped blogging or are only posting infrequently. It's encouraging to see a resurgence of blogging, even on such a small scale. 

Keep blogging Libyans! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Watching the sunset

Lately we've been spending the evenings watching the sunset. The weather has been hot here in Florida, but beautiful in the evenings.  Getting out for some fresh air has been good for us. Soon it will be Ramadan and we'll be rushing to break our fast at that time of day. 

Here are some pictures I took. Enjoy!

The birds are soaring with a kite in Redington Shores.

Ibrahim bathed in the golden glow.... Redington Shores.

This bird seems to think it has a reserved seat. .... at Jungle Prada.

The air felt a smooth as the water looks.... at Jungle Prada

A man enjoying a rest.... at Jungle Prada

Night fall at Jungle Prada
The best thing about sunset is that it's free and you can enjoy the sunset just about every day. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016


Whenever I have a free Saturday morning I head out the door early and check out the thrift shops in my area. Sometimes I come home with some good bargains and other times I come home empty handed, but I always meet interesting people along the way. I enjoy the adventure whether I buy anything or not. 

I headed out this morning with plans to visit three spots. The first place was a pretty large and well organized shop that was spread out between four buildings; furniture, clothes and accessories, household goods and the last building contained religious merchandise and gifts (this shop was sponsored by a neighborhood church). You took whatever you wanted to buy to the furniture section and paid for it there. I managed to find some good bargains there - a laptop table/desk that I thought my mother would find useful for ten dollars, some office supplies and some kitchenware. 

There were two women minding the check out. You could tell they were enjoying their morning as they were busily chatting and joking with each other and the customers. One of the women noticed that I was wearing a brooch in the shape of a butterfly and she exclaimed 'Oh! How pretty! Your butterfly pin is so pretty!' she turned to the other woman and said 'Look! Look at her pin. It's a butterfly!' Then she turned back to me and said 'I make butterflies and give them to everyone I meet' as she pointed to a row of crocheted butterflies laying on the table in  front of her. 'I'm going to give you a butterfly. Please take one! Take whichever one you would like!' 

I leaned over to have a closer look. The butterflies were made in a simple design with a chained string hanging from the bottom so that they could be used as a bookmark. There were red, green, pink and purple to choose from. I took a purple one.  I smiled at her and said. 'God bless you! This is so kind and thoughtful of you.'  She smiled back at me. The woman looked to be in her late seventies, she had white and grey hair and was carefully dressed.  You could tell by looking at her finely lined face that she was a kind lady who had led a happy life. 

'Who taught you how to crochet?' I asked. 'My mother did. When I was a little girl she gave me a hook and some string and taught me how to chain. I chained and chained and chained! I couldn't stop! My mother sent me off to school and I crocheted even while I was studying. I've been chaining ever since.' I smiled and told her how lucky she was to have such good memories of her mother and how wonderful it was that she used what she had learned to give people pleasure. The woman reached into a bag that was next to the table and said 'I want to give you something else.' She held a framed crocheted butterfly. I was so surprised. 'Oh... that's beautiful... it's too much for you to give me. There is so much work in this' She extended her hand and placed it in my hands. 'Yes. Please, please take it. I want you to have it.' she insisted. I looked at her, still surprised by her gift. I reached up and pointed to my brooch 'Would you like my pin?' I asked. 'Oh no! It's much too dear!' she exclaimed. I took it off and handed to to her. 'Please, take the pin. Now, look how nice. We've traded butterflies today.' We smiled at each other. 'God bless you ma'am. Have a lovely day. Have a happy Mother's Day tomorrow!' 

I brought the framed butterfly home and hung it on the wall in my bedroom. I have no idea if I will  meet the woman from the thrift shop ever again. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Blessed with perfect weather

We've had beautiful weather the past week. Soon it will be summer and life in Florida will be the roar of air conditioners and miserably high humidity. For now we are enjoying the weather while we can. It's such a blessing to be living 5 minutes away from the beach. I love to relax and watch the waves rolling in toward the beach as the sun slowly sinks on the horizon.

Yes, truly a blessing. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Road trip

This week I went on a quick business trip to Miami. I lived there for six years in the 1980s, but now many places are totally unrecognizable. It's a fascinating city that needs a lot more than a day to take it all in, but unfortunately I didn't have time - maybe next time. 

Florida International University 
I hadn't had a Fuddrucker's hamburger in nearly 30 years. They are still the best burgers ever!
 I rented a car for the trip - a brand new Kia Soul which was actually really fun to drive. The weather was perfect on the day I returned home. I stopped along the way in the middle of the Everglades - grasses and swamp for further than the eye can see.

The sky was so blue against the green of the grass. There was lots of wildlife, but strangely I didn't come across any snakes or alligators. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016


The fields surrounding my house in Libya are filled with wildflowers at this time of year.  Here in Florida if you let your lawn go crazy you'll get fined so we make do with cut flowers from the supermarket.  I do love tulips though!
Happy Easter to all of my readers who celebrate.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Free Spring Break Entertainment

It's Spring! Last week we were having summer-like weather, but the past two days it has gotten cool again. We're all in various stages of a cold so the house sounds like an infirmary with everyone coughing, sneezing and blowing our noses. Why does this always seem to happen when the weather is changeable? 

Ibrahim is on spring break, but we haven't made any plans to do anything other than hang out at home. My mother has a home health care nurse and a physical therapist coming in a few times a week. She's stable at the moment and we are trying to keep her that way as well as build up her strength. She keeps asking Ibrahim why he isn't at school, and we remind her that it's spring break - only to have her ask again a little while later. Ibrahim is getting tired of answering, but I keep reminding him to be patient with his grandmother. 

We've been enjoying watching birds in the neighbourhood. Some White Ibis showed up one day, foraging on the front lawn and around the mailbox. Our backyard friends include a pair of Northern Cardinals, some Blue Jays and some Mourning Doves, and squirrels, of course. Maybe we'll head for the park tomorrow to see what other kinds of wildlife we can find. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Sharing Three Interesting Blogs

There hasn't been much excitement in the blogosphere for a while. People get busy, move on to Facebook and forget about their blogs. I'm guilty of slowing down on the amount of posts I write too. Recently though, I've noticed an increase in the amount of posts of the 'old Libyan bloggers' and a few new blogs too. 

Two blogs written by American women married to Libyans have recently been brought to my attention: 

A Southern Mess, written by an American woman who is married to a Libyan and lived in Libya in the past. She posts about country life in Arkansas and Oklahoma and in contrast, her city life in Washington. She shares her recipes, crafts and DIY tips as well as information about life in America and being a mom to eight.

Connie's Painted Glass, showcases the beautiful art and designs of a creative American woman who lived in Libya at one time, but has since moved on. Her art is inspired by the myriad of colors and culture of her Mediterranean life. 

And on a different note:
Muaad's Blog, is the realm of geeks. Written in both English and Arabic by a Libyan graduate of Tripoli University's Computer Engineering Department, this blog focuses on evaluating different computer programs and operating systems. It's a refreshing look by someone who despite being unemployed (as most Libyan engineers seem to be at the moment) continues to keep busy, never stopping the process of discovery and learning - and he's funny too!

Have you seen any new blogs that have a Libyan twist? Share the links in a comment please!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bomb Clean-up Continues

Over the past few years I've posted about a location near my home in Libya that has been used to store munitions. They've been cleaning it up, slowly but surely! Here are some interesting pictures of the progress that's been made from November 2015 to January 2016.

In the first image, which was taken on November 1, 2015 using Google Earth's history feature, you can see an abundance of bombs being stored on the triangular-shaped site. Especially notable  you can see the unexploded ordnance lined up along the walls in the bottom left of the triangle. If you look on the streets you can see the size of the cars and compare them to size of the bombs - they were pretty big! I'm no expert, I can't tell you what they are, maybe someone who knows can leave the information in the comments. 

In the second image, taken on January 10, 2016, a little over two months later, you can see that the land has been cleared with the exception of a few scattered bombs remaining. It appears that there has been some digging on the land and you can clearly see an underground bunker in the top part of the site. I'm not sure if the munitions have been removed, or if they've been buried at the location - I hope the former! 

Here are some links to other posts I've written in the past about this munitions dump:

August 2011 - Experience During the Revolution
November 12, 2011 - Flashback - Unexploded Ordnance in Tripoli
February 24, 2012 - Making Libya a Safer Place
October 24, 2012 - More Unexploded Ordinance in Libya - Type 314
October 10, 2014 - Positive Things Do Happen in Libya

Friday, February 12, 2016

Out and About

We've had a break this week from doctor's appointments. I'm not quite sure how we managed that because it seems that every week we have a few doctors' visits for my mother. We're enjoying the break. 

The medical care system in the United States is a mess. The doctors order a million tests and not all of them are covered on my mom's insurance plan. She's being charged astronomical fees for medicine too. She spends more on her health care than she receives for Social Security so she's dipping into her savings to cover her expenses. When I wasn't here she was deliberately cutting back on her medicine to try to stretch them and make them last longer which resulted in her getting blood clots in the arteries in her legs, more surgery, more stents... like a revolving door. She needs to be on the meds to keep going. Without the medicine she risks getting blood clots or having a stroke - or worse.

Mom seriously needs hearing aids. The television is blasting all day long, we are constantly having to repeat ourselves and shout at her. Unfortunately hearing aids aren't covered under Medicare or her additional insurance and they are too costly to pay for out of pocket. So we will just have to cope. 

Today I took my mother to a story telling event at the library. She struggled to get into the library with her walker. When we got to the designated room she sat down tired and out of breath. The story teller began promptly at two o'clock. My mother looked at me and said 'I can't hear anything'. The story lasted about 45 minutes. Mom waited as patently as she could, I had to put my finger to my lips to  remind her not to hum (she likes to hum). She fidgeted a bit and I worried that she would disturb the reader and the audience, but the only person that seemed bothered was me. I guess we can take storytelling off our list of things to do. 

Recently I took my mother and my son Ibrahim to the Museum of Fine Arts, My mother had her walker and could sit and look at the artwork while Ibrahim and I explored the museum's exhibits. My mother is a retired nurses aid - for many years she worked with the elderly and Alzheimer's patients. While she was sitting she noticed an elderly gentleman who was fidgeting - he had 'that look in his eye' that my mother recognized as someone who needs to use the bathroom. Her nurses aid role kicked in and she asked the man 'Would you like to come into the ladies room with me? I can help you there.' The man looked and my mother and said rather indignantly 'I HAVE a wife you know!'. My mother told him 'Ok.' 

Later when Ibrahim and I  finished out tour of the museum we caught up with my mother. She told me about the man. I asked her if he had asked her to use the bathroom and she said 'No, I could tell he needed the bathroom - I know that look'. I started to laugh. 'My goodness Mom! The man thought you were trying to pick him up!' Then we both laughed. Imagine that!

We enjoyed our time at the museum and plan to go back again when new exhibits are put out on display.

We liked the colors on this contemporary landscape titled: Sea of Grass - Sunset by American painter Jimmy Ernst

Ibrahim behind a large glass piece by Joey Kirkpatric and Flora Mace titled: Zanfirico Apple
This gorgeous intricate tapestry caught my eye. I tried to get close up of the details but it proved too difficult as the work was hung too high. It's part of a temporary exhibit. 
Next we plan to visit the Planetarium and Observatory. They have a special show about the winter stars and constellations. Mom might not be able to hear it, but at least she will be able to see the show - and it will get her out of the house for a bit. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

A moment to remember, a moment of forgetfulness

Last night the wind picked up and storms moved into our area. An hour's south of us there were tornadoes, but our area was spared. I looked into the newspaper to see when low tide was for the beach nearest us. A walk on the beach and some beach-combing would be a good way to spend time with my son Ibrahim.

 The winds swept the beach clean and the surf was rough. The air was cold but exhilarating. 

We had the windswept beach mostly to ourselves.
Ibrahim chasing sea birds.
We found some treasures, shells, limpets and a bit of driftwood.
It continued to be cold and windy all day but by evening the wind had died down. My mom needed some things from the pharmacy so I told her I would take her to get her out of the house for a while. I asked her to get ready and went to get ready myself . When I came downstairs I found my mother wandering around. "Darn it! I can't find my socks! Where are my socks!" she exclaimed. "Have you tried looking on your feet, Mom?" I asked. They were there, of course. We laughed and finished getting ready to go.

Lots of memories to remember.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year!

Another year has passed. I'm still in Florida with my mother, but my husband sent me this beautiful picture of the sunset in Ainzara taken on the first day of 2016.

Ainzara, Tripoli, Libya ~ January 1st, 2016
I hope and pray that Libya will find peace this year and move forward to a brighter future.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wrapping up the year...

It's been a slow year on my blog, but here's the roundup for 2015:

January  - was the Thumps Up(sp) Award for 2015 and the wrap up of 2014

February - The kids had a school holiday, power cuts, gasoline shortages and flour was also short. The good news was that Tripoli remained quiet and the rains brought the beginning of spring wildflowers.

March - I spent time in the garden and time reading. I wrote a review of a book about an American family that lived in Libya during the 1950s, setting up what was to become Tripoli University's Agriculture Department. I also reviewed the weblog of a Libyan poetess. 

I skipped over April and posted in May - The kids were getting ready for final exams and I promised an update of our adventures.

In June  I posted a panoramic photo of a peaceful looking Tripoli. On my site stats I can see that lots of people have clicked on the photo to have a better look.

July - Ramadan ended and I tried to predict what the murky future would be.

Just one post in August  that was a reminder to put things in perspective. 

In September  I headed out of Libya, time to visit my family back home in Florida.

In October  I settled into the peace of my mom's back yard, and life without the stresses of daily life in Libya. 

November found me sorting out paperwork, getting a driver's licence and decided what to do about my kids, school and other commitments. 

Now it is December. Another year is almost over. I watch the news about Libya from this side of the world. There's been the signing of a unity agreement which many people think might lead to a third government. The price of food and other goods is continuing to rise in Libya where people are still suffering from power cuts  as well as shortages of medicines and other essentials of daily life. Fighting continues in some parts of the country and the threat of ISIS doesn't seem to be going away either. We all hope and pray that Libya finds peace. Meanwhile, I'm still here in Florida for the time being taking care of my aging mother, watching the news from afar.  

Best wishes for a peaceful 2016! 

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