Showing posts from September, 2008

Day One

We woke up this morning to the sound of pouring rain. Since I love rain I saw this as a good sign. Of course the sound of rain in the morning makes you want to crawl deeper under the blanket and stay there but this wasn't possible today - day one of Eid begins!

Hubby and number two son, Yusef, went off to the mosque wearing raincoats over their traditional Libyan clothes and the girls and I stayed home to get the rest of us dressed and straighten up the house. After the 'boys' came back from the mosque I took the annual Eid Day photo, this year minus number one son Adam who is in the US. Then off we went to my in-laws for the day.
The day was long, as I predicted it would be. But I was prepared with an assortment of things to do and games to keep the kids occupied. Fortunately the rain stopped and the small kids were able to go outside to play. All in all it was a peaceful day. 
Eid Mubarak to all who celebrate!

Happy Eid!



The last of my Eid shopping was done today. I went out especially to buy a gift for my mother-in-law. I never know what to get her for an Eid gift. She really has everything and doesn't ask for much. After much contemplation I ended up getting her a bottle of perfume and a pair of earrings. I made sure the earrings where a style that only azoozas (old ladies) would want to wear so that my sister-in-laws wouldn't borrow them and conveniently forget to bring them back (that's happened in the past... sigh...).
I'm glad to be finished with the shopping I can relax and enjoy the rest of Ramadan. The past few days I've been visiting friends and relatives - without dragging any of my kids along. Nice!

Counting down

The countdown to the end of Ramadan has started. Now is the time I start getting ready for Eid and the two days I'll spend at the in-laws. It's a combination of getting myself psyched up emotionally to handle it and also to find some way to occupy my time for two very, very, very long and boring days.
I've been saving up National Geographic magazines to read. And I have movies on my iPod and some books. This will keep my brain from going numb - my ass will be numb no matter what. My sister-in-laws sit around all the time, doing nothing but gossiping. How do they sit around all day, every day? Their bottoms must be paralized.. I know their brains are. .. sigh...
The third day of Eid I am taking off with the kids and doing something, I'm not sure what yet but it will be anything but sitting around. 

Autumn... looks like rain!

It's officially autumn now, the days are growing shorter, and the migratory birds are flying overhead. Watermelons are mostly gone from the markets, replaced with fresh dates and pomegranates. 

The weather has been cooling off a bit. It's still hot in the late morning and afternoon. We're still using the air conditioners but it's just not as hot. We've had occasional sprinkles of rain the past week or so  - not a heavy downpour, just enough to add to the humdity and make the car look filthy and need to be washed. As soon as you wash the car it sprinkles again.
My weather widget says rain. I hope it will pour down with accompanying thunder and lightning (but I doubt it). 

All Ramadan my desktop has had various sunset themes... I think after Ramadan I will change to a rain theme.. I really miss the rain.

Still Shopping

Push.... and shove....
Ripped off.... Rude shoppers.... Screaming kids... Sore feet... Empty wallets.... My kids are satisfied.... I am FINISHED! ! ! 

Posted from moBlog – mobile blogging tool for Windows Mobile

My growing family

We've been adding to our collection of pets this month. 
First were two tortoises - a gift from one of Yusef's friends. I like tortoises but they're a bit boring. We're keeping them on the balcony in an enclosure in the corner. 
Then came a cat. This was from a friend who is leaving Libya and was unable to take the cat along with them. It's a typical Libyan male cat with a mostly white coat, a striped tail and a spot on it's back, ears and face. He's playful and has had no trouble at all in adjusting to our rather noisy and crowded flat. The fact that we have a hamster, a canary and two parakeets as well as a female cat are all just pleasant bonuses for him! So he's happy here. The bonus for us is that he's quite happy to go outside instead of using a litter box. 
Yusef loves dogs. When he's on the internet he's usually looking at sites about dogs. We've got dogs at the farm and I think once we move out there Yusef's dream is to have 16…

I'll keep blogging

My blog anniversary is this week, September 24th. It's hard to believe that I started this blog four years ago in 2004. The weird thing is that's nothing has really changed since then - I'm still waiting for the house to be finished and complaining about my husband and kids. lolol...  

Alajnabia , an American blogger in Palestine,  posted to say she's been thinking about me and many of the other bloggers of the blogs that she reads. I certainly think and worry about her too over there in Palestine. My life is safe in Libya - and boring in comparison. 
I hate it when I get hooked on a blog and then suddenly the posts stop. A lot of Libyan bloggers who had been actively posting have stopped. Some of them still comment from time to time so I know they are still around, others seemed to have disapeared completely.
Khalid Jorni  had decided to quit but has returned. Lonehighlander posts sporadically and Safia who has come and gone and come back and is gone once again. Lebeeyah

Shopping for Ibrahim, at the supermarket and a meltdown

I took Ibrahim out shopping for his clothes today. He behaved himself pretty much the whole time. There were a few occasions when he had to be threatened but we got the job done. He has everything he needs.
After shopping for clothes we had to get vegetables from the greengrocer's and some things from the supermarket. I ended up having to go to two different greengrocer's and two different supermarkets to get everything I needed which was an extra hassle that I really didn't need. The weather was hot, humid and dusty and I was feeling pretty worn out by then. 
At one shop there was a particulary nasty boy who was giving the Egyptian shopkeeper a hard time. He was throwing things on the floor, making rude remarks and then after he'd bought some eggs he intentionally walked out of the store and broke half of them and then came back in and demanded that they be exchanged... which the shopkeeper did (to my surprise). Then the boy walked out and repeated the scenario with the…

Yusef shops

Yusef needs something to wear for the Eid and some things for school so I took him shopping today. Actually I was the driver - I got to sit in the car while he went in to see if there was anything he wanted. I understand that when you're a teenager shopping with your mom is totally un-cool, so  I'm happy to sit in the car and be surprised by what he comes out with. 
Hubby, on the other hand, is totally offended by not being included in the buying process. The last thing a teenaged boy needs is to be shopping with his anal retentive father who also happens to be stuck in the eighties. He can't understand why Yusef doesn't want to buy knit shirts that have a little alligator emblem on the chest. For God's sake the boy doesn't want to look middle aged, does he? How hard is that for his father to understand? sigh...
Yusef got some really cool looking clothes! And some ass-kicking boots too!  

Doing nothing

The ONLY thing I did today was cook, and that was something minimal - soup, marinading and throwing chicken in the oven and making pasta salad. I'm taking a break from everything and just resting. 
Tomorrow I'm going to start slowly sorting through the growing piles of books and papers that are stacked on, under and next to my desk. There is also a pile of books next to my bed and in the corner of my bedroom. The girls have been complaining that my stuff is starting to take over. 
I'll get to it tomorrow... or maybe I will just do nothing again tomorrow. It was kind of nice today... for a change.


The other day I was talking with a friend who has taken up knitting. She's on a mission to make some special things for her kids and grandchildren. Being left-handed I was never very good at knitting. I kept getting the wool all twisted around the needles in the wrong way. I was always much better at crocheting but gave that up when I started to have kids. There were simply too many little hands grabbing at everything while I worked.

While surfing the net today I came across an idea for a knitting project for my friend. As usually happens one click leads to another, and yet another and I found myself on an interesting blog of an avowed artist or artists of knit graffiti, OutdoorKnit. I'd never thought about such a thing before but I like the whimsy of it all. Now this is surely graffiti I would like to come across. From the looks of the tags they are in New Zealand so I doubt I will find any knit graffiti here.

It kind of reminds me of Monkeyshines in a way. But that's somet…

UNO ! ! !

Last night I got together with some students, friends and some of my kids for a chat and some games of UNO. I think by the end of the night we'd played seven games. It was fun to get together and have a laugh. The place we met at had free wifi so I chatted with my mother at the same time and sent her pictures too.

Can you see my cards?

Poor Jenna! Draw 4!

Jenna has a sneaky look on her face... me thinks she's gonna try to cheat!

Tarek is taking this game very seriously!

We all had a good time. Maybe we will do it again before Ramadan is over.

Are you boycotting TV in Ramadan?

There are mixed feelings about the amount of TV watched  and the type of programming available in Muslim countries during Ramadan. There's even a 'No More TV in Ramadan' campaign. And a lot written here.
I rarely ever watch TV. I don't like TV. I prefer to look at the news I am interested in on the internet and watch any relevant videos. I don't have time for television series or other programming. If I find a film I'm interested in I buy the DVD or download it and then put it on my iPod so I can watch it as I find time. But I do appreciate Ramadan TV programs because they keep my family busy (and quiet) after futoor and I can either take a nap or get some reading done at that time.
What are your thoughts about TV in Ramadan? 

Getting through... half way over

Jenna and I spent almost the entire afternoon out hunting for a school uniform for her. We looked and looked. There are about four or five different styles to choose from... all of them ugly, with poor quality material and sewing. It was depressing. We came home with nothing.

We did notice that the Eid shoppers are starting to come out. Mostly women with their kids and their henpecked husbands... I always feel so sorry for those poor guys. They always look like they hate their lives. They stand there with inconsolable looks on their faces while their wives give them orders... lol... 
With all the funerals we've had in our family recently, Eid for us won't be very festive.  When Libyans have a death in their family the next Eid is spent sitting around crying. Eid will be like a funeral all over again. So we're not bothering with much in the way of new clothes this year. 
Ramadan is the season for beggars and pickpockets. Unfortunately, I seem to be a magnet for both. The other…

Computer wars

My husband has decided, for some reason unbeknownst to me, to try to attempt to become computer literate. Basically what this means is that he has taken over my computer and is attempting to totally screw it all up... I can see a reinstall of the operating system in the near future.. or possibly a format. He clicks on anything and everything.... sigh.. He's become a malware downloading maven!
The most annoying thing is that he has discovered YouTube. He spends hours happily watching reruns of long forgotten crap from Aljazeera and totally inane things such as live traffic reports from the city we lived in twenty years ago. When I caught him doing that I nearly exploded! WTF!!! 
He has used up all the internet time and I am now paying LTT ten dinars for just 500mb which lasts him less than a day.  I've got another five days before it's time to renew the internet so I'm looking at about 60 more dinars of hubby watching pointlesss videos. .... ummm.. I don't think so. 

Ramadan in Libya

My website has been down for quite some time because it needs some serious updating. I've had a few requests for the information from my page about Ramadan in Libya. So I've decided to post it here on my blog. Eventually I will get to work on updating my site... I'm just too busy these days.

What is Ramadan?

On approximately August 31st, 2008, Muslims around the world will begin the month-long fast of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. (Note: Because the beginning of Islamic lunar months depends on the actual sighting of the new moon, the start and end dates for Ramadan may vary.)

The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God's commandments. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the "five pillars" of I…

Soup in a bag

Ibrahim has fasted a few days this Ramadan. He did this out of his own free will and never once complained of feeling hungry or thirsty. I'm really proud of him. I've decided that if he wants to fast it's up to him, I'm not going to ask him to try. He's got to do it by himself. He's only nine so it's not a requirement, but it is nice that he's decided to try on his own.

Fasting normally causes people to feel a bit subdued and quiet. No so in the case of Ibrahim. He's been up to his usual tricks and the only time he ever sits still is when he's allowed to use the computer. Ibrahim is crazy about the internet. He looks up games on Google and plays for hours. I installed Zacbrowser on the computer to try to keep him in a safe zone. In the beginning he loved it and it kept him occupied, but soon he played all the games it had to offer and he became bored and started searching on his own.

I don't think it's a good thing to have kids sitting for…

An important visitor

Condoleesa Rice was here last Friday. The Leader invited her to a Ramadan 'breakfast'. He also gave her an oud as a present. I thought this was kind of funny. 'Oud' has a double meaning in Libya... the word can also mean 'stick'.

Maybe he was meaning it as some kind of joke... like giving her the stick... lololol

Have you ever eaten....

I saw this food meme over at Pseudotherapy and thought it would a be a good one to do since it's Ramadan and people are discovering their obsessions with all things edible.

First the rules:

• Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
• Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
• Strike through any items that you would never consider eating.
• Italicize anything you’ve never heard of.
• Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

I decided not to strike through anything. As soon as I say I will never eat something I will get it put in front of me for sure!

Here goes:
Venison - see Roadkill below (#75)
Nettle teaHuevos rancheros - Miami
Steak tartare - ewe.. you could get parasites from eating raw meat.CrocodileBlack puddingCheese fondue - this was actually fun (and I was about eight years old)CarpBorschtBaba ghanoush - they serve this at Libyan weddings sometimes. I could live without it. Calamari - in my book this is just squid with…

On with life

It's hard to believe that a week of Ramadan has passed already. I've been running non-stop. It seems the days are too short and the night is endless.

Aside from the cooking and cleaning and other things I have to do, I've been going to the funeral. The crying is over and the laughing, smiling, party atmosphere has begun.... sigh... I find it so disgusting. Why do women have to pack up their bags and spend the night at funerals when they only live minutes away? What important thing is going to happen in the middle of the night that they have to be there for? It's just turned into one big slumber party.

I never sleep at funerals. As a matter of fact I never sleep away from home unless I'm travelling or sick in hospital. I think it's more than enough to arrive at a funeral at a certain time and leave at a suitable hour as well.

I went to the funeral last night and decided that I'm done with this one... Nope, no way, na uh, I'm not going back. I've niether…

And yet again...

There's been a succession of funerals in my life the past few months. It started with the aunt who died as a result of severe burns. Then it was my sister-in-law's mother who had been ill for a long time. About two weeks ago my husband's cousin's daughter passed away. She was about 13 years old and hadn't been suffering any illness, I've been told, but died of heart failure. It was really sad because it was such a shock and she was so young. An act of God.

Back 'home' in America my mother's best friend passed away. She'd been battling cancer for quite a long time. I did my best to 'be there' for my mom via the internet. ... sigh...

Yesterday, after we broke our fast and the dishes had been washed and everyone was settling into their evening routine of either watching Libyan television programs or in my case taking a nap, the phone rang. It was more sad news about yet another death in the family. This time my husband's uncle who had di…

Ten Dinars

Hubby came home today and told me that they will be issuing 50 dinar banknotes soon, maybe this week. I can't understand why they didn't do that a long time ago. Whenever you have to buy something that requires a large sum of cash you have to carry around big stacks of money to do it. Also the fact that credit card use in this country is virtually unknown carrying around piles of cash is quite common. Having 50 dinar notes would take up less space.

Another thing I can't understand is why people here hate using coins. When they raise the prices on goods in the shops they usually add a quarter of a dinar because that is the smallest banknote used here. When I first came to Libya, in 1989, using coins was common. It certainly would be better if they went back to using them again and then only raising the prices a few cents at a time instead of in big chunks.

For example, last Ramadan I paid 1.75 for gouda cheese that cost me 2.75 today. And pasta that was .75 a year ago is now …

Old stuff

Something I did way back when... 2003...


I'm getting adjusted to Ramadan. My cravings for coffee are abating somewhat. I also managed to get a halfway decent night's sleep last night. That made a huge improvement!

We had a long weekend and a short week. Tomorrow is the last day of the week and it's back to weekend again. So far I have nothing planned other than cooking and making it through the day.

School has been postponed for the kids until after Ramadan and Eid. The kids need new school uniforms, shoes and school bags. I haven't seen much on display in the shops yet. Why does it seem they always wait until the last possible minute to put the things on display? I guess that's what I'll do this weekend... scout out school stuff.


Hmm... someone's not on the list... for a change. lol

I'd kill for coffee...

Two days of Ramadan have past. I've survived without coffee during the day so far and not killed anyone. I feel groggy during the day; a listless feeling like I'm in a fog. I just want to sleep, and I try to stay away from family members to avoid inflicting myself on them - I am a considerate person after all. After dinner (breakfast) I have a cup of coffee and then I start to feel normal again.

For the past two days I've only been out for short trips during the day to the vegetable market. I get what I need and come straight home. I've had a few days off work. Tomorrow I will go back to work in the morning. I hope by then the coffee cravings will have abated some.