Monday, October 31, 2005

A Libyan Halloween Monster!



According to Greek mythology, Lamia was a queen of Libya who was beloved by Zeus. When Hera, Zeus's wife, robbed her of her children from this union, Lamia killed every child she could get into her power. Stories were also told of a fiend named Lamia who, in the form of a beautiful woman, seduced young men in order to devour them and who also sucked the blood of children. Such nightmarish legends uncannily compelled poet John Keats, and many other writers before and after him, to write their own tales of Lamia, which still haunt and terrify those souls who dare read them.

Image: British Museum, London Posted by Picasa

Things that Make You Feel Good

Read through the list and then click on comments and add a few of the things that make you feel good! - Just reading this list will make you feel good!

1. Falling in love.

2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.

3. A hot shower.

4. No lines at the supermarket.

5. A special glance.

6. Getting mail from a friend.

7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.

8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio.

9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.

10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.

11. Chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla or strawberry!)

12. A bubble bath.

13. Giggling.

14. A good conversation.

15. The beach.

16. Finding a 10 dinars in your coat from last winter.

17. Laughing at yourself.

18. Phone calls that last for hours.

19. Running through sprinklers or walking in the rain.

20. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.

21. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.

22. Laughing at an inside joke.

23. Friends.

24. Accidentally overhearing someone say
something nice about you.

25. Waking up and realizing you still have
a few hours left to sleep before you have to get up.

26. Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner).

27. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.

28. Playing with a new puppy.

29. Having someone play with your hair.

30. Sweet dreams.

31. Hot chocolate.

32. Road trips.

33. Swinging on swings.

34. Making eye contact with a cute stranger.

35. Eating chocolate chip cookies.

36. Having your friends send you homemade cookies.

37. Holding hands with someone you care about.

38. Running into an old friend and realizing
that some things (good or bad) never change.

39. Watching the expression on someone's face
as they open a much desired present from you.

40. Watching the sunrise.

41. Getting out of bed every morning
and being grateful for another beautiful day.

42. Knowing that somebody misses you.

43. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.

44. Knowing you've done the right thing,
no matter what other people think.

Something I did last year. I looked at it today and it kind of represents my mood today so I decided to post it on the blog. Posted by Picasa

news of the day

I think I've finally finished with the dentist. It seemed like I lived in that chair for a while. Hopefully I won't have to go back for a long time. I really hate going to the dentist!

Ramadan is almost coming to an end. The kids only need to buy shoes for Eid. They can do that with their father. The shops are so jammed packed it is unbelievable. 'Push & Shove' is the phrase of the day. I'm counting the minutes until it is over!

On another note:

I got some really depressing news. My friend's sisters were coming to visit Libya from the US but it seems that the current political situation isn't favourable and they cannot get a visa to get into Libya. They've had to cancel their trip.

On top of that I find out that Americans can't renew their passports at the US Liaison Office here - you have to go either to Tunisia or Malta to apply and then make a second trip to pick up the passport when it is ready. This is just ridiculous as we used to be able to do that from here (even when we had to do it through the Belgian embassy). What on earth is the Liaison Office there for anyway? I hope they straighten this out soon because my passport has about 7 months before it expires. Having two trips to Tunisia might sound nice, but it adds a ton to the cost of renewing your passport, not to mention the hassles of it all.

Why does it seem like things are going backwards instead of forwards? I guess we just take each day, one at a time. But I hate living that way - I like to know what the future will hold (at least a little bit anyway).

Friday, October 28, 2005

An early Halloween


This year Halloween falls during Ramadan so my friend Margaret had an early Halloween party for the kids and ladies. It was a nice chance to get us all together. Margaret had her whole house decorated. It was really special! Thanks Margaret for a wonderful evening!

Wearing a costume was optional - Margaret was a doctor - but who is that ghost? It must be Charleen!

The kids had all kinds of things to do to keep them busy. Colouring and puzzles.

The pinata was a big hit. I think it took them over half an hour to finally break that thing.

There was a ton of candy for everyone. This is my friend Cathy with her son Amir and his bag of candy.

On the way home we got stuck in the Eid shopping traffic.

It was gridlock on Jaraba Street. It took us an hour to drive about 50 metres. At 2:00am we arrived home at last. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 27, 2005

About a week left to go

Ramadan is coming to a close. The last week always speeds by because it seems there is just so much to do before Eid. The kids are all excited to be shopping for Eid clothes. I really hate taking the girls out shopping so I asked my friend Nadia to help me out. She took the girls shopping twice and they got everything except shoes. Thanks Nadia - I could not have done it without you!

I took Ibrahim out on a special shopping expedition to buy his clothes. It was just the two of us and we had a very nice time. It was made even more pleasant by the simple fact that Ibrahim was behaving himself in public. Yeah Ibrahim! - No disasters or embarrassing situations happened in the shops - a miracle!


Mustafa dealt with Adam and Yusef's Eid shopping. I didn't have to get involved in that at all. And Mustafa picked up some things for himself too.

As for me, I'm undecided. I'm not sure if I'll buy any new clothes or not. I saw a few things I liked but then when I look in my closets I don't think they can hold anymore clothes. Being a shopaholic, I'm always buying clothes. Do I really need anymore? Mustafa said 'Go for it. Get something special.' . . . sigh . . . I'll think about it. . . maybe it will get me into the spirit of the season . . .but quite honestly I'm just waiting for it all to be over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

some thoughts . . .



Ramadan is a special month and the last ten days are very rewarding to those who prefer to spend them in the mosques praying and seaking Gods favour. I found the following hadith about how Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) spent his time in the mosque.

Narrated By Abu Sa'id al-Khudri:

The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) used to spend the middle ten days of Ramadan in retirement and devotion (i'tikaf) in the mosque. One year he had retirement and devotion in the mosque (as usual); when the twenty-first night came, and this is the night when he used to come out of his devotion in the mosque, he said: 'He who engaged himself in devotion along with me should do so during the last ten days, so seek it in the last ten days and seek it in every night with an odd number.'

Abu Sa'id said: 'Rain fell that night. The mosque that was a thatched building dripped, and my eyes saw the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) with traces of water and mud, on his forehead on the morning following the twenty-first night.

What impressed me was the humble surroundings the Prophet and believers found themselves in. Imagine a simple mosque with a thatched roof that let the rain come in and allowed even the Prophet to have traces of water and mud on him. How different to the mosques of today. They are splendid places with gilt decor, soft expensive carpets and air conditioning.



In Benashur there is a mosque that has been in the process of being built for years and years. Actually the building of this mosque has been pretty much abandoned because I haven't seen any work being done on it for at least six years. I remember this because you can see the mosque from my rooftop and when my sister was visiting me from the US she took a picture from my roof. Two years later she visited again and took another picture and low and behold we realized that nothing had changed. Now it's become something of a joke between us as every once in a while she will ask me, 'Has the mosque has been completed?' and of course I will say with a sigh, 'Nope. Still the same.' Then I proceed to tell her about all the other progressive things that have happened here in Libya. About the many new shops we have and supermarkets and five-star hotels.

I'm not sure if they will ever finish this mosque, or why they even started it in the first place. I'm sure it will be a beautiful place whenever it is finally completed. But reading the hadith above, I wonder if it is really necessary. Maybe a small, simple mosque is all that we need. - I'm sure it wouldn't take so long to be built! Posted by Picasa

Ibrahim - an update

Ibrahim has been taking his medicine for a little over a week now. There have been lots of improvements.

First of all he is still active, but not wild like before. He will listen and he will sit down when you tell him to. Mostly he isn't aggressive like he was before. No more beating up on anyone and he hasn't attacked the cats since he started taking his medicine either. He's had only one temper tantrum (when he wanted to go out shopping with his sisters and I told him he could not) and that lasted about 30 seconds so that was pretty normal I think. He is actually sitting down and finishing his homework! And I've noticed that he actually has started to go to sleep at night like a normal kid! Before he would run and run and run until he just dropped. There was no way to settle him down and get him in bed and read him a bedtime story. Now we can do that! Truly amazing!

He still gets into things but you tell him to stop and he does. Not like before, he was so distructive. I left the bottle of shampoo down in the bathroom and he didn't even touch it! And he hasn't touched fire. I feel like a miracle has happened!

Today Mustafa went to the school to see how he is doing and the teacher said she was so surprised at the change in Ibrahim. He sits in the chair like he is supposed to and he does what he is told. He isn't disrupting the class and he is actually getting things done.

To say we are thrilled is an understatement!

Ibrahim in Sabratha Posted by Picasa

How many ways can you spell a person's name? Click on the image above and have a look - quite funny! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Sormon Beach, Libya Posted by Picasa

Honesty

I can honestly say that I believe honesty is one of the most important qualities a person can have. I've always hated dishonesty.

Of course cheating is a common practice here in this part of the world. Most kids become very good at the art of cheating early on in their school years. Unfortunately they are helped along by teachers who either look the other way or even encourage it by supplying the kids with the answers. No one is even ashamed of this behaviour and I wonder why since this is a Muslim country and they are taught that it is wrong. I have never understood this. If you can't achieve something by your own hard work than I don't think it's worth very much (if anything).

I hate going to the shops and have the shopkeeper raise the price on something. Shops here are starting to put prices on their goods but it's really not the real price as you end up haggling over it in the end. But usually it's an inflated price. Sometimes I just want to go out and buy something with out arguing over the price. It would be easier and make shopping more pleasant (I still like shopping though). But somehow I feel that the elevated price is in a way dishonest.

I definitely hate for someone to tell me a lie. Now that is something I really can't stand. Even small little fibs set me off to steaming. And then there is being evasive - most people aren't very good at lying or being evasive, or maybe I'm just good at spotting them out. If I catch someone in a lie it's basically the end of them for me. Uuugh - just the thought that someone would tell me a lie makes me upset! I'm usually very direct and tell it like it is and that doesn't sit well with everyone. I suppose some people don't want to deal with the truth.

------------------------------
Vol 9, Book 88. Afflictions And The End Of The World - Honesty
Hadith 208. (Sahih Bukhari)

Narrated By Hudhaifa:


Allah's Apostle related to us, two prophetic narrations one of which I have seen fulfilled and I am waiting for the fulfillment of the other.

The Prophet told us that the virtue of HONESTY descended in the roots of men's hearts (from Allah) and then they learned it from the Qur'an and then they learned it from the Sunna (the Prophet's traditions).

The Prophet further told us how that HONESTY will be taken away: He said: "Man will go to sleep during which HONESTY will be taken away from his heart and only its trace will remain in his heart like the trace of a dark spot; then man will go to sleep, during which HONESTY will decrease further still, so that its trace will resemble the trace of blister as when an ember is dropped on one's foot which would make it swell, and one would see it swollen but there would be nothing inside. People would be carrying out their trade but hardly will there be a trustworthy person. It will be said, 'in such-and-such tribe there is an honest man,' and later it will be said about some man, 'What a wise, polite and strong man he is!' Though he will not have faith equal even to a mustard seed in his heart." No doubt, there came upon me a time when I did not mind dealing (bargaining) with anyone of you, for if he was a Muslim his Islam would compel him to pay me what is due to me, and if he was a Christian, the Muslim official would compel him to pay me what is due to me, but today I do not deal except with such-and-such person.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A visit to Sabratha


Another Friday in Ramadan - it's the 18th day of Ramadan and since it was a Friday we decided to take a drive out and visit Sabratha. The weather was hot, dusty and hazy. We haven't been to Sabratha in quite a while. One of the first things we noticed was that they have put up a fence surrounding the theatre. It ruins any pictures that anyone takes of the outside of the theatre, but I guess this must be neccessary to secure the site. There were also about 4 huge tourist busses and about 12 smaller ones in the parking lot.

We looked at the museum first. There is a better collection of artifacts in the main museum in Tripoli, but many of the mosaics have been moved to the museum to protect them.

The main hall has some huge mosaics on display.

This mosaic was absolutely stunning.

A closer shot.

There are also quite a few statues represented in the museum. These are carved from marble and are imaculate in their details. This is a close up of the details on the clothing of one of the statues.

I'm not sure who this is - maybe Zeus? Unfortunately hardly anything is labeled in the museum.

To get an idea of the massive size of these statues here is Mustafa standing next to one.

Jenna and Ibrahim played games pretending to pick this poor guy's nose.

We walked and climbed around visiting the site.

There are some areas where the mosaics are still in their original places and are protected with small wooden fences. Sabratha is right on the edge of the sea and the view is quite lovely.

While I was busy looking at the antiquities Mustafa was enjoying himself looking at the tourists - 'Hey don't forget it's Ramadan! You're supposed to be fasting!'

Last stop was the theatre.

It's really a pleasant place to sit and relax. We had a lovely day, arriving home about six o'clock. I went in the kitchen to heat up dinner and make salad and throw the pizza in the oven so we could break our fast at six thirty. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I feel as though I have been on a treadmill!

Wake up.
Get the kids off to school.
Start in on laundry and housework.
Get in the kitchen and cook, cook, cook.
Yell at the kids about doing their homework.
More cleaning.
More cooking.
Not enough sleep!

The girls have been pretty good with helping out, but I have had to push them a bit to get them away from the television.

In between all the cooking and cleaning we've been trying to get all the little things done that I won't have time for once I start back to work after Ramadan.

I've been back and forth to the dentist getting three crowns at once. I hate going to the dentist. While the dentist was filing down my teeth into little pegs getting them ready for the crowns he asks me if it hurt - I said the noise hurts! If only they could make the equipment quieter. I hate that noise. I have to go back on Saturday and because of Ramadan the appointment is at 11:30 pm. I may be spending the night at the dentist. I wonder if I should wear my pajamas.

Mustafa has been going to the doctor because he is being switched from tablets to insulin shots. This is a big step for him. One that he should have taken long ago but he had been in denial and kept thinking that having sugar levels of +300 wasn't that bad. He had all kinds of tests and they found his cholesterol level is high too, and his blood pressure is borderline high. The thing that gets to me is that he acts surprised by all this. I mean come on - his father, grandfather and sister were diabetic, hypertensive and died of heart attacks and he has another sister that is in the same boat he is. I am sick to death of nagging him. Why are men such babies when it comes to their health?

Of course we are still taking Ibrahim for various tests. We went Tuesday only to be told that the equipment needed was locked up in a cabinet and someone had taken the key home with them - Please come back tomorrow. The next day I sent Mustafa and Ibrahim by themselves as I was sure if I went the key would still not be there. But the key was available and Ibrahim got some more tests. The results showed that he is way ahead of in some areas and about a year and a half behind in other areas. (I could have told them this without any tests). Now he needs further evaluation after Ramadan to find out in just exactly which areas he needs special help in. The doctor told Mustafa what the diagnoses was but of course he told him in Arabic. Now I want to go back and hear it all in English because we can't figure out what it is that he has by translating the words. - maybe next week.

The cats have had the limelight the last few days. Siyami has been in heat - yowling, meoooowing and rolling about doing all kinds of embarrassing things. And Leila our other cat had kittens - 4 of them - two died and two survived. Now we'll see if the kids leave the two survivors alone long enough to grow up.

I'm counting the days until the end of Ramadan - about 12 left to go!

I took this quiz . . . here's what it said.

How You Life Your Life

You are honest and direct. You tell it like it is.
You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think.
You prefer a variety of friends and tend to change friends quickly.
You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.

Getting the kids away from television is very dificult, especially during Ramadan when they have all kinds of fun specials and programs on. Here's Yusef looking like a zombie.

Here's Sara with her book pretending to study - notice her eyes are not on the book but on the TV!  Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 14, 2005


Today is the second Friday of Ramadan - the eleventh day of Ramadan. We decided to take a drive and also go to our farm. The weather was dusty.

The leaves on the trees are just beginning to change colour and we saw birds migrating. Autumn is here! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ibrahim's visit to the doctor

Mustafa went to the school to check on Ibrahim's progress.

At the beginning of the year (a month ago) Mustafa had a conference with the teacher explaining that Ibrahim was going to be extremely difficult. Of course the teacher said 'I have been teaching for years and I've seen everything. Just leave your son in my capable hands and he will be just fine.' Well she is singing a different tune now - saying she has never seen the likes of Ibrahim in her entire life!

Of course I have been telling Mustafa for ages and ages to have Ibrahim evaluated by a doctor. Finally he has seen the light and we took him today. Since it's Ramadan the clinic's hours have all changed and we had to go at eight in the evening to take an appointment. The doctors started arriving at nine and slowly but surely worked through the long list of patients.

While we waited, Jenna and Ibrahim found a wheelchair and had some fun. Finally it was our turn, Ibrahim saw the doctor and had a brain scan and some other tests. He will have more tests next week, but the Doctor says Ibrahim has ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has started him on medication.

We will have to take him for furthur evaluation after he has been on the medication for a few weeks. I hope this works - for all of us! Especially since Ibrahim has discovered the wonders of playing with fire - and even lit his hair on fire the other day! It will be so nice if he could sit still - we would all be able to enjoy our lives.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Jenna's freckles


I was noticing Jenna's freckles today - soon they will fade as winter sets in. I really like freckles because I think they look cute, but most Libyans don't like freckles for some reason. Posted by Picasa

Jama Maidan Jazair - Tripoli, Libya Posted by Picasa

MeMe

1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER
Hmm ... it was in America - I was going to get out with my sister and go to the movies and my mother was going to babysit. Sara (who was about 3 at the time) wanted to go with and after we got in the car and left she ran down the street with both my mother and brother chasing her. She bit my mother's hand so hard that it started bleeding! I can't remember the name of the movie - I just remember how mad my mom was!

2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING?
I just finished a book called 'Chasing the Dime' by Michael Connelly. I haven't started anything new yet.

3. FAVORITE BOARD GAME?
Of course that would have to be the board game I created for IELTS students to help them with their speaking - and the students really like it too!

4. FAVORITE MAGAZINE?
National Geographic without a doubt - beautiful images and a wealth of information. hint, hint - Mom! send me a subscription for my birthday please! (only 10 days away)

5. FAVORITE SMELL?
Neutrogena Body Oil - yum, yum, yum

6. FAVORITE FOOD?
Chocolate . . . is that a food?

7. FAVORITE SOUND?
Rain! Rain! Rain!

8. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD?
Loneliness

9. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP?
Usually it's 'Let's see if I can get all these kids out the door with out a fight.'

10. FAVORITE FAST FOOD PLACE?
In America it's McDonalds because I like getting a 'Happy Meal'. Here in Libya we usually go the the Turkish Restaraunt in Zawiat Damani.

11. FUTURE CHILD'S NAME
Nope - not gonna happen - 6 kids are enough for me!

12. FINISH THIS STATEMENT. IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY . .
I would travel the world.

13. DO YOU DRIVE FAST?
According to my father I drove fast - I still need to get my own wheels in Libya to see if I still do. (hopefully soon)

14. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?
I sleep with Mustafa (he can be an animal sometimes) and the kids climb in bed with us - and the cats climb in too. But nothing stuffed.

15. STORMS-COOL OR SCARY?
Definitely cool! Very cool! The more lightning and thunder the better I like it.

16. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?
Chevy Chevette

17. FAVORITE DRINK?
Water, especially if it is spring water from our farm.

18. FINISH THIS STATEMENT, "IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD..."
I always find the time to do the things I want so this doesn't really apply to me.

19. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI?
Yep, but we don't get broccoli very often here in Libya

20. IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE?
I have the choice because I have Sheila (the super wonderful hair stylist that keeps all us crazy females in Tripoli looking decent) but I choose not to colour my hair - I like the colour God gave me. I do colour my lashes black and last time Sheila coloured my eyebrows (which my husband just loves and says I should always have them done).

21. NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS YOU HAVE LIVED IN
  • Calumet City, Illinois - a suburb of Chicago
  • Seminole, Florida - where my mom still lives
  • St. Petersburg, Florida - right next to Seminole
  • In Miami we lived in South Miami and Coral Gables
  • In Tripoli, Libya I have lived in Fornaj (for a year with the in-laws) and in Benashur - Soon we'll move to Ain Zarah


22. HALF EMPTY OR FULL?
full

23. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH
individual sports like skating, gymnastics and diving

24. ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS!
Very sweet!

25. MORNING PERSON, OR NIGHT OWL?
Night - I like the peace and quiet

26. OVER EASY, OR SUNNY SIDE UP?
scrambled

27. FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX?
My water bed

28. FAVORITE PIE
Apple

This challenge came from red enclave. I'm supposed to pass it on - but I'm sending it to anyone who wants to do it - go for it.

More bloggers !

Poking around today - I found Thea, a Maltese blogger who travels the world and will soon be living, working and blogging in Libya. Stop by and visit her blog: Thea keeps Painting the Planet Welcome to Libya Thea - I hope you enjoy your stay!

A new blogger is Nura - a sweet Jabali girl who lives in Geneva, Switzerland. Her blog Nura's thoughts highlight her life as she lives between two cultures. Well written and with a different perspective - go visit!

The Dreaga family has a fun blog called D-Log. It's filled with adventures of a Libyan family living in America.

And then there is Tyeness at Dunia, a blog of a Muslim Arab (Libyan to be super-specific) female -- with all the opinions that implies...

Happy blogging!

Friday, October 07, 2005


Today was the fourth day of Ramadan and it was also a Friday. We decided to take a drive and ended up in Tajoura. We had Jenna and Ibrahim along with us and they couldn't resist jumping into the sea for a dip. They didn't have any clothes with them but I said what the heck - go for it!

While the kids where swimming I took a look around the area. During the summer months local investors rent out spaces on the beach for the Libyan people's use. Unfortunately they leave behind all their garbage and turn the beach into an environmental disaster. I can not understand how Libyans can have such a poor attitude about the garbage they create. Do they think that some one will be coming around behind them to clean their mess? It's appalling!







At the entrance to the area we found this sign. It says: 'Cleanliness is part of faith' - Either they don't care about cleanliness or they think very little of their faith (or maybe both). So sad.

Here's another sign we came across:
'The organization committee of the ties of youth
The Suk Juma tie of youth resort
Greetings of love and faithfulness to the maker of the era of the masses'
- hmmm two signs with words about faith in the same area (but different kinds of faith)

When you look past the garbage the view is quite nice. Here are some fishermen.

Time to go home - We pour water over the kids to get as much of the sand and salt off and then we throw them into the back seat and head for home. Posted by Picasa

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