Sunday, August 31, 2008

A special month

Ramadan has arrived in Libya. I'll be spending more time with family and friends and definitely more time in the kitchen.

Ramadan is a time when I usually sit down and take a look at my life, reflect on my acheivements, decide to make changes - and most of all to count the many blessings God has bestowed upon me. It's always a comfort to see how many there are too! :)

Warm wishes for all in this very special month and always.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Water is Life

How much water does the average Libyan use on a daily basis? Did you know that Americans use between 100 and 175 gallons per person every day, while the average British citizen uses just 35.6 gallons? Compare that to the average for unindustrialized countries which is only 2.6 gallons a day.

I'm always amazed by the amount of water wasted by the majority of Libyans. Especially since they live in a country that has a serious water situation. I watch my neighbours sloshing bucket upon bucket of water to clean their balconies on a daily basis. If you look at the balconies of many homes you can see water damage caused by the amount of water that's used! Same for washing the floors and carpets. It seems the more water they use the better they feel. Is this really necessary?



We have water now, thanks to the Great Man-Made River project. But it's not expected to last forever... and then what? I remember my life here in the 90s. The water would turn on in the late afternoon and trickle out of the tap for about 45 minutes. Then there would be the mad dash when I would fill every bucket and container in my house with water before the water stopped for the day. And that water wasn't fit to drink - it was brackish and salty. We could only use it for cleaning and flushing the toilets. I quickly learned that it would take 5 litres of water to give a baby a bath and 10 litres for an adult. We saved the dirty bath water to use for flushing the toilet. Have you ever washed your hair with salt water? Everyday was a bad hair day! Washing the dishes was a project all by itself. I don't want those days to return to Libya.... No, not ever!

But this isn't an issue for just Libya. It's a global problem. Blue Planet Run has a FREE BOOK you can download as well as interesting articles and videos related to the water crisis that our planet is facing. Take some time to have a look and find out more.

And the next time you turn on the tap... take a moment to think. Water is Life!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

It rained!

We had rain today.
It rained for about five minutes.
Just long enough to churn up the sewer system.
Now all of Tripoli smells like sewer gas.


How nice.....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Shopped & Relaxed

I've spent the weekend relaxing and getting things ready for Ramadan. Part of this meant I did some shopping and the other part meant that I ordered my kids around trying to get the house organized.

The shopping part was the pleasant part. I got a new blender and a microwave oven. Also some stuff for the kitchen; plastic containers and soup spoons. I have plenty of everything for the kitchen already. I also picked up some curtains for my bedroom and a small furniture dealie with three drawers in it that fits nicely under my desk. I didn't need those but I wanted them and cash was in my pocket so I got them.

I decided that for the groceries I'm not going to go shopping for anything special. There's a shop around the corner that always has just about everything I need. I can't understand why Libyans go berserk at the grocery store right before Ramadan starts. You would think that all the food was going to disappear or something.

I have a busy week ahead of me. I enjoyed my relaxing weekend... now I'm ready for the week to begin.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Update on the sad story

I got home from work last night after nearly dying from the smell of dead hamster in the car. I parked in the driveway and left the windows partly rolled down so that the car could breathe. When I got inside the house the kids were watching TV. I put my bags down and made an announcement:

'I will give ten dinars to whoever can find the dead hamster in my car and remove it.'


The lure of cold hard cash got my kids moving! Jenna put together every extension cord in the house so she could rig up some kind of lighting system (it was about ten o'clock at night) and went downstairs to track down the dead rodent.

When she got downstairs she found that every cat in the neighbourhood was inside my car. They'd climbed in through the partially opened windows, pulled in by the smell of tasty dead rodent. After chasing them all away she set to work giving the car a meticulous search. After a while she narrowed it down to one area near the passenger door. Sniffing her way to ten dinars (the poor thing was gagging) she located the source of the smell. The hamster had managed to get into the mechanism for the seatbelt. This required tools and some muscle power too, so she called in Nora to assist her.

After a while they got the seat belt taken apart and the hamster out. Nora carried it upstairs in a plastic bag. She was sobbing away when she walked through the door carrying the bag.

'Why are you bringing it inside the house?' I wanted to know. 'I'm going to give it a proper burial tomorrow.' was her reply. 'WHAT! YOU GET THAT THING OUT OF THIS HOUSE THIS INSTANT! THROW IT IN THE GARBAGE OUTSIDE!' I shouted. Nora was horrified. She wanted to know what kind of a person I was that I would throw a dead hamster in the trash as though it were garbage. After arguing with me a while Yusef finally took it away from her and went outside with it and Nora went to her room to cry some more.

Nora was crying but Jenna was jumping up and down with happiness. 'I want my ten dinars!' she demanded. 'And since Nora helped she should get ten dinars too!' I got my purse out and handed over twenty dinars, quite willingly I might add.

It's amazing how cash motivates kids. It's no wonder I'm not penniless. Tomorrow I will have to 'motivate' Yusef into giving my car a complete cleaning inside and out.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My car stinks!

There is definitely a dead hamster in my car! The kids have searched and searched but haven't been able to find it. They think it is somewhere inside the body of the car.

The smell is awful. I have to drive round with all the windows open and the air conditioner on. I'm spraying air freshener to no avail....

I had been planning on going for a drive in the country this weekend... sigh... I hate my life....


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Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to my usual adventures

I'm feeling much better. Back to work as usual.

My sister-in-law's mother died, so I rearranged my schedule for a day to attend the funeral. My sister-in-law's mom had been sick for a long time; diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, asthma and Alzheimer's disease. On top of that she'd had a stroke. It was sad but a blessing. I will have to do the usual popping in to the funeral at nights after work.

One day, as I was leaving the funeral, I got into my car and after putting my foot on the break pedal I realized that I had stepped into what I thought was chewing gum. My foot was glued fast to the pedal. With some effort I was able to get my foot pulled back - but it had those long stretchy strands still connecting me to the pedal and each time I pushed on the break my foot would be stuck fast again. I was trapped in traffic but as soon as I was able, I pulled the car over to try to remove the gum and discovered that instead of being chewing gum it was this sticky kind of sap that's used as incense. uugh... what a mess! I had to laugh though... there was nothing else left to do, was there?

My adventures with the car weren't finished. Later that day I picked up Nora from her friend's house. She climbed into the car carrying a paper sack. The sack was moving and scratching sounds were emanating from within. Nora's friend's hamster had reproduced and she had given Nora two of the offspring to replace the one that our cat had eaten.

'Nora! Why on earth did you put two hamsters in a paper bag?' I asked her. 'They'll be fine mom. We'll be home in just a few minutes' was Nora's reply. Two seconds later the hamsters had escaped the paper bag and were running around loose in my car. Nora managed to catch one of them but the other was hiding. All the while I was trying to drive through heavy traffic.

When we got home the kids tore apart the car looking for the poor creature. They never found it, but they could hear it. They decided to leave various vegetable treats scattered about the car so it would have something to eat until we could find it. That was over 24 hours ago.

I went to work today and was expecting to come out after work and open the super heated car to the smell of roast hamster but the car only smelled of rotting vegetable snacks..... sigh.... I hope the poor thing has escaped.... sigh...


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Still out... but getting there

I've been resting at home for the last few days. I'm on the mend. My eye is only halfway closed now, or halfway opened if I decide I'm feeling pessimistic at the moment.

My soccer mom car is feeling bad too. One of the parts on it broke and hubby spent one day looking for a replacement part. Since he couldn't find the part he spent all of yesterday trying to rig one up using various things that we had around the house and trying out different types of glue. It was a good thing that I was in bed and knocked out most of the time (supplemental medicine for that - hehehe). Had I been up and about I would have most likely been at war with him...lolol... Today he has admitted defeat and sent the car to the garage. Thank God!

Hopefully the car and me will be back to normal for tomorrow. It's going to be a busy week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I feel like crap

I've got a stye in my eye that's the size of Texas! I went to the pharmacy and got antibiotics, eye drops and eye ointment... of course I consulted the Internet to see what I should do first. The idea of consulting an undertrained, underpaid 'qualified' Libyan doctor gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I'm going to stay hidden away until I look and feel better. As it is now, I look like a bad halloween mask... totally frightening!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A quiet visit

I didn't have to work this morning but I got up at the usual time anyway. The house was peaceful and quiet and I was able to get some simple household tasks accomplished without anyone getting in the way. I got Ibrahim up and ready for school and after dropping him off I drove to my mother-in-law's house to pay her a visit.

She was preparing her breakfast when I arrived. We sat in her kitchen and chatted until it was time for her to go to the mosque for her studies. I dropped her off and then went off to do some errands before picking Ibrahim up at school.

I should visit my mother-in-law in the morning more often. It is seldom that we have time to talk without a roomful of others. It was a pleasant morning.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

half naked - half baked

Nora's been off to the 'Female Only Beach' in Tajoura with her friends. She has discovered that wearing a bikini increases the skin available to burn. LOLOL....

No pictures for this one.... hehehe


Faster than a speeding bullet....


It's the middle of the week... Wow! Already!

Time's flying... but the question is this:

Am I having fun?






Saturday, August 09, 2008

Weekend... did a bunch of stuff

I had a nice weekend. Yesterday morning I did some lesson planning. In the afternoon I took a long drive with Jenna, Sara and a friend visiting Libya. We drove out to the mountains and had a relaxing afternoon. We started to head back home as the sun was setting and it was a spectacular sight. I didn't take any pictures... a sunset like that can never be duplicated by any means. It was amazing.

This morning was spent looking at appliance shops. I finally replaced the washing machine with a nice big 15 kilo top loading model. Mustafa went and picked it up this evening. It was a group effort but we got it up the stairs and set up. Since then we've been washing everything in the house! We looked at stoves and refrigerators too this morning to get some ideas for the house. The weather this morning was scorching hot. The kind of heat that sucks the life right out of you. We all took naps after lunch. More lesson planning and preparation this evening.

I didn't get out shopping with my mother-in-law. I never had time to go over to her house to ask her. I will have to see about that this week.

Back to work tomorrow. It was a nice, productive weekend.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Yep, that's him alright!

I found this video when I was surfing about today. This is sooooo my husband! This is the reason that the building of our house will never finish. Hubby cannot understand why all the Egyptian workers keep quitting. I showed him this video and when it got to the part with the chef taping the paper sack closed he said:

'He really should have stapled that shut.'

video

God alone knows how I have managed to stay sane being married to this man for a quarter of a century. It's a good thing I have a sense of humor.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Special wishes


It's my baby sister's birthday today!


I wish you all the best, today and always.

Happy Birthday Kristen! I Love You!



Sunday, August 03, 2008

Almost time for the annual Pre-Ramadan shopping trip

Ramadan is only weeks away. It seems like it only finished. This is the time of year that everyone stocks up on all things related to eating and cooking. I looked at a few things over the weekend, but I'm waiting until I take my mother-in-law out for our annual trip to get our kitchens geared up for the big month of fasting and cooking. I hope she wants to go next Saturday because that will fit in better with my schedule. I'll have to see what she's up to and sort it out.

The key to a successful shopping event will be planning it without any of my sister-in-laws finding out! Stay tuned.... I will keep you posted.


Friday, August 01, 2008

The weekend begins

I've had a busy week and now it's time for the weekend! Yeah!

I woke up early to a peaceful and quiet house because everyone was still sleeping. I stayed in bed a while enjoying the quiet but decided to get up and have some coffee. In the kitchen the jar of coffee had only a few grains left sticking to the glass. Why do people put empty containers back in the cabinets and not in the garbage? Sigh...

Determined to have my cup of coffee I decided I would go to the supermarket to get some. I looked out the kitchen window, down into the driveway below, to see how many cars were parked behind mine. There were two... sigh.. This meant I would have to wake up two different people to move their cars before I could get my car out (one of the head aches of living in an apartment in Tripoli). This would cause a commotion and wake up the entire building and I would have to hear complaints for days to come.

Moving on to Plan B, I decided I would walk to the shop. After all, it was only just around the corner. So, into the bedroom, get dressed, find my keys, stuff some money into my pocket and get out the door. It was eight o'clock in the morning and the street was empty. The only noise was the singing of birds and the hum of air conditioners. I got to the corner and looked down the road toward the supermarket.... CLOSED.

'OK... I need some exercise anyway' I thought to myself while I proceeded on to the direction of the next nearest supermarket.... that of course was CLOSED too. As was the next one, and the next one, and the one after that.

By then I was getting hot and sticky. The bakery was a few blocks away and I knew there was a tiny shop just past it. I'd look there and get some freshly baked bread too. The shop and bakery were open (of course they were - they're being run by Egyptians). I bought coffee, orange juice and piping hot bread along with a tray of pastries stuffed with spinach and cheese. It was going to be a breakfast feast!

When I got home and opened the door, the house was silent. I went into the kitchen, set the bread and pastries on the table and started the kettle for the coffee. It was time to rouse my sleeping family and have a nice Friday morning breakfast together. But when I looked in the bedrooms I found no one there... the beds were all empty. I was all alone in the house.

They'd all gotten up while I was out looking for coffee and gone to the beach... sigh...

This meant there were more pastries for me!! :)

HELLO WEEKEND!



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