Thursday, December 31, 2009

A nice surprise for the last day of 2009

When we moved to the new house we brought along our cat Layla. She wasted no time getting to know the neighbours and soon enough she was waddling about the house with a belly-full. I think the object of her desires was the orange tom cat that can usually be found slinking about among the cacti bordering the neighbouring farm. 


When Layla had her first set of kittens she had a bit of trouble and my daughter Nora had to help her deliver them. Ever since then when it's her time, Layla heads straight to Nora and has her kittens in her bed. This morning Nora woke up to a bed full of kittens, well, three actually. They are all healthy and beautiful and mommy cat is doing fine. Expect pictures soon! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Did you feel it?

This morning there was an earthquake off the coast of Libya near the city of Misurata. You can find the technical info about it here: Earthquake Misurata

As far as I know no one was hurt and there have been no damages. In May of 2008 I wrote about an earthquake near Al-Marj and also gave a little bit of history of quakes in Libya, some of them taking thousands of lives.

Something really weird happened though. On the day of the earthquake in May of 2008 I visited a friend in an office near the Corinthia. I don't visit her very often, maybe a couple of times a year. Well guess what? I visited her today at the same office. Isn't that strange? Or maybe not... two minds meet and earthshaking stuff starts to happen. . . :)


Monday, December 28, 2009

Adding up

It's nearly the last day of the year. I've been counting my blessings. I wont bore you with the details but there are lots of blessings to count up. And I've been thinking about New Year's resolutions. I thought about making a long list of resolutions so that I could at least manage to accomplish a few. But really it ought to be just one or two.

I'm still thinking about mine.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Year's Posts - 2009 Roundup

I'm wrapping up the year again. I'm happy to see the end of 2009. It was a difficult year for me in more ways than one. Anyway here is the roundup of events I've blogged about in 2009:


The beginning of the year starts off with a trip to Leptis Magna with family and friends. The rest of the month finds me sick with some kind of virus.


The kids have their school holidays and we take a trip to the countryside. I visit sick in-laws and question the use of pain relieving drugs in Libya.


The month begins with a trip to Ben Walid. Later in the month my favourite aunt passes away and I help to prepare her for her final journey which looking back had a profound effect on my life.


Some progress is made on our house, my water bed springs a leak and I learn how to sleep on a regular mattress. I drive and listen to audio books; multitasking at it's best!


My only brother passes away unexpectedly and Ibrahim and I make the trip home to Florida to be with my family. It's a very sad month for me.


I return to Libya and suffer a bit of culture shock. Lots of progress on the new house as the kitchen cabinets are installed.


We begin the hunt for furniture for the new house. Summer's oppressive heat slows down progress and causes lots of frustration.


A toothache means agony and trips to the dentist. The holy month of Ramadan begins and we move house. More furniture shopping and my PC bites the dust.


The end of Ramadan and Eid keep everyone busy. School clothes and Eid clothes are added to the list of things to shop for. I return to my role as Taxi Mom as we continue to adjust to life on the farm.


I write about the custom of removing your shoes at the door and about the changes going on in Tripoli. We get the first rains of the season.


A guest post from Look Out Libya starts off the month. The flu strikes... is it the dreaded Swine Flu? Sickness and recovery for me. Eid Adha seems a blur as I cough my way through the holiday.


I recover from the flu. The girls and I get haircuts. I report on an earthquake off the coast of Misurata at the end of the month. We eat anniversary cake and hubby and I reminisce about 27 years of marriage. I mostly relax and enjoy life while I contemplate the good and bad of 2009 and make plans for a busy 2010.



Future flowers and one from now... and the dog.

My flowers in progress.


My helper, Cisco... with sand on his nose.


One of the cacti in the garden bloomed for the first time.




Friday, December 25, 2009

A warm Christmas

The weather the past few weeks has been really weird; sandstorms, then cold and a bit rainy and now hot. It feels strange to be the end of December with such hot weather. Today's temperature was close to 90F. I'm writing this post on my front porch, wearing short sleeves and drinking iced tea! At the same time I'm getting emails from friends in other parts of the world who are snowed in.

I took advantage of the weather by going out at dawn for a walk with hubby. We watched the sun come up and at about 7:30 a humongous flock of starlings appeared over head. Starlings arrive in Libya this time of year and eat the olives that are just now ripening. Hubby says they are considered as pests but I think they are amazing. They spun about over head with their wings making a whooshing noise and then landed in our back field. A minute or so later they rose back into the air and flew above us in a swarm for about a minute before descending on the farm behind ours. I commented to hubby that that the sight of the birds so close was the best Christmas gift. Unfortunately I'd left my camera in the house, but you can see what they look like here: Starlings

The rest of the morning was spent planting flower seeds in seedling bags. Sara helped me out. Our dog, Cisco, wanted to help too. He kept sticking his nose in everything and while I was sitting on the ground filling bags with soil he kept insisting to try and sit in my lap - he's much too big to be doing that but he still has the idea that he's a puppy. We ran out of bags. Tomorrow I'll have to go out and get more to finish off the rest of the seeds. With luck I'll have lots and lots of pretty flowers soon.

By afternoon it was hot enough to turn on the air conditioning, but we decided just to stick it out and leave the windows open. It was a peaceful day. Who would have thought we'd have such warm weather on Christmas day.

Hope you had the best Christmas!

Holiday Greetings


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Wishing a very
Merry Christmas
to my family and friends.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

That's a lot of psychos!

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately. Not any book or any thing in particular, just reading. I've been using Google Fast Flip , the Times Skimmer and Wordds and reading whatever headlines seem to jump out at me. I like these three websites because the articles are all current and up to date. When I find something that really strikes me as interesting I look up more information about the subject using Wikipedia.

Today something led me to look up psychopathy. I never really truly understood the subject before reading what Wikipedia had to say. I found out some amazing facts:

  • One, psychopaths are predators who use charm, manipulation, sex and violence to control others and satisfy their needs.
  • Two, they lack the ability to show empathy and they have no conscience - no guilt and no remorse!
  • Three, forget about a cure because there are no medications or effective treatment for psychopaths. Even talk therapy is useless because they will just learn to be more manipulative.
  • Four, this is the scariest fact of all..... they estimate that one percent of the general population are psychopaths! If my math is correct, that means that there are about 60,000.... gulp.... psychopaths in Libya! (and a whole lot more in other parts of the world) That is really amazing!
I wonder how many of them have posted comments on my blog????

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fun and games are over

Ibrahim's mo-hawk has been cut off. He had fun for a day and now his hair looks normal again. The strangest thing happened though. When we pulled into the driveway and got out of the car the dogs went wild, barking and growling.... they didn't recognize him! It took a few minutes to settle them down. Thank God they didn't bite anyone.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fun & Games

Ibrahim with his mo-hawk, acting silly. For a while he had fake piercings but they came out for some reason when the kids decided he had to have his picture taken. Oh... and he had a black collar with spikes in it too.


Is this Sara?......

Fun and games are over! There is school to look forward to in the morning!

Bad weather but good company!

The weather started out in the morning dusty and windy and just got worse as the day went along. I went out to do some shopping and came home and found Ibrahim had his hair cut.... well part of his hair. Yusef decided to give him a mo-hawk! I'll get a picture of Ibrahim and post it later.

The plans for the afternoon were to have Luna come over with her mom to have a walk around the farm and to get Luna's mom to give me some ideas of what to do with the garden. With the weather so awful we spent only a few minutes outside. We hurried inside and gave up on our plans for a walk. But we had a lovely time anyway, visiting and eating chicken salad sandwiches.

Hopefully the weather will clear... we're going to be buried under a dune soon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Shopping, relaxing, a movie and cheese sandwiches

I had a nice peaceful Friday. Hubby's been off on a business trip so we didn't have to eat bazeen today. We had packet soup with some extra vegetables and noodles thrown in instead. No one complained... we were all happy.

In the afternoon I dropped Jenna off at her friend's house and then Ibrahim and I went shopping. We headed straight for the toy store of course. We bought one big huge bag, and two smaller bags, of toy soldiers and army stuff . For 20 dinars we're gonna have one heck of a war! Don't walk barefoot in my house... you will definitely step on something. There are toy soldiers and matchbox cars scattered everywhere.

We also stopped at the DVD shop and picked up some new movies to watch. When I got home I turned on the computer and started Mary and Max. It's hilarious... for some reason I think I know all of the characters. They resemble certain people in my life! LOLOL!


While online I got an email from my sister with a picture of my poor nephew being traumatized by Santa. This is one thing good about living in Libya... none of my kids have had to go through this ritual. I hope my sister will be able to forgive herself one day.... sigh..


Also while the movie was playing I was simultaneously chatting with Tara who was in New Mexico craving Libyan soup. Off she went to the Istanbul Market to get some lamb. She sent me a picture from her phone. Get the cheapest cut... it's soup!

Tara's choices at the Istanbul Market in Albuquerque
Wow! Meat that hasn't been attacked with a hatchet! Properly cut lamb! I thought that the butchers in Ainzara were really awful - now I know they are for sure....hehehe.. Tara went home and got the soup started and then started downloading Mary and Max so she could watch it too.

Dinner in my house tonight is sandwiches. When we were out I bought all kinds of things to make sandwiches. I stocked up on lots of cheese. While I was putting it all in my basket I saw a guy steal a whole ball of Edam cheese. He opened his coat and put it in an inside pocket. He looked like a normal middle-aged Libyan guy. I just smiled at him. Usually I see people shoplifting chocolates and expensive cookies. Cheese is good food. I bet his kids and his wife are eating cheese tonight and are happy. God forgive him.



OK... back to my movie.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A long day from start to finish

It was a big day yesterday. When I sit back and look at all that happened it seems like a dream. Run, run run from the first thing in the morning until the night.

First on the schedule was to take the girls to have their day with Sheila. Three girls having 'me time'. Nora and Sara went first. They always want a haircut but at the same time they don't want it to look like it's been cut. They want their hair to be as long as possible. So after a trim and shape and some texturizing and they now look fabulous!

Then it was Jenna's turn. She had this style in mind that was like Halle Berry in Catwoman... but Sheila took one look at the pictures and said it just wasn't gonna happen. Jenna has three times as much hair as Halle Berry. But no worries... she would give her something similar, but better.

This is the before picture.


This is how much hair came off Jenna's head!


And this is after... Jenna looking very pleased with the outcome!

She says I have to pay her 10 dinars for every picture of her on my blog!

We had a great morning and then it was time to head for home. I threw together lunch and then headed out the door for an afternoon with OTE. We had plans to spend the afternoon and part of the evening shopping.

Can you guess where we went? It didn't involve clothes, or shoes or accessories. Fine jewelry was not on our list, nor was cosmetics. What on earth could two mature ladies find to keep them shopping all afternoon?

Well if you guessed DIY you are almost there.... OTE and I spent the afternoon at the new Ace Hardware store in Beviuw. It was wonderful! We went from aisle to aisle looking at all the things that have been unavailable in Libya for the last twenty or so years. They have all kinds of stuff in there! Murphy's Oil Soap, closet organizers, Ball canning jars, cast-iron pans, patio furniture, real toilet paper from America, the list goes on and on. I have to go back to get a leaf blower for my garden... they have three to choose from!

Next door is a new supermarket that was well stocked and clean... no more going through the traffic and fighting for a parking space... Mahari, I'm sorry... but you are out of my life now. I've found Usrah.

OTE and I had a great time. I'm glad we went together because the experience just wouldn't have been the same with anyone else. I think the shop clerks had just as much fun watching us enjoy the store.

After dropping OTE off at her house I headed to my in-law's. My mother-in-law is heading for Tunis today for medical treatment and I wanted to wish her a safe trip. The doctors here said she needs a bypass and so now it's off to Tunis for another opinion and treatment. I wish I could go with her but the kids have school and I have work... sigh. So I'll just have to pray from here that all goes well for her.

A new week... lots to do.... always busy, busy, busy (the way I like it).

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tasteful home decor... or maybe not

We are back to looking for furniture again after having taken a break for a while. A lot of the shops still have the same merchandise that they had a few months ago. We get in the car and go from shop to shop hoping to find the perfect dining room table (that seats eight). No luck so far.

The marbowa (men's sitting room) needs to have custom made furniture. It's the room with traditional Libyan decor... so we need to pick out some gaudy upholstery so that the Libyan visitors will feel comfortable. Something that borders on seizure level. I draw the line at covering everything with clear plastic... why do they do that?.... ewe...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Anniversary Cake

The kids were so excited about the cake. First because it was white - like a wedding cake, and second because there were fresh strawberries on the top. The inside was chocolate, caramel, cream and nuts. It was sinfully delicious!

Hubby and I cut the cake together... of course we had a small argument about just how it should be cut first... lolol!

A good time was had by all!


Monday, December 07, 2009

December 7th... a day in history

This day is not only famous for the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it's also my 27th wedding anniversary today. Yep... 27 years! It comes to nearly 10,000 days. Imagine someone putting up with me for that long... hehe... Imagine me putting up with my husband for all that time...

Wow.... 27 years.... sigh....

Happy Anniversary Habibi!


I hope he doesn't forget...

I reminded him about a thousand times.

Maybe he'll bring me a present...

he better not have forgotten....

sigh...

I love you honey!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Eye Candy!

I noticed that National Geographic's Photo of the Day was a stunning shot of a Tuareg in Libya taken by Bobby Model. It's also featured in a National Geographic book Visions of Paradise.



My mother sent me a link to a photo journalism site of Chris Peterson, a photographer and the editor of Glacier Park Magazine. He spent 100 days in Glacier National Park, Montana USA taking photos and publishing one for each day. They're all beautiful and the stories behind each picture are so interesting.


I love photography and I enjoy taking pictures, but I am definitely a novice. I've always wanted to do something like a 100 days of Libya or even just Tripoli (as I'm unlikely to be travelling all over the country). I'm not sure my pictures would be any good, but I bet I'd improve! Something to think about doing for 2010.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Feeling sooooo much better now!

I've got a lingering cough but otherwise I am fine. Actually I'm really fine because I have been to Sheila and she has worked her magic. I'm sportin' a new hairstyle! Wooo Wooo! When I came home Nora said it was too bad I didn't get before and after pictures.

The girls will be having their day with Sheila on the 12th. Now the search is on for a picture of a hairstyle for Jenna. She has been talking about getting something like what Halle Berry had when she was Catwoman. If she does that I will have to start calling her Ratwoman, or Ratgirl because she was born in the year of the Rat, the month of the Rat and the hour of the Rat... Jenna is a triple rat. Hehehe... Ratty hair for a Ratty girl!

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