Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve in Ain Zarah - Tripoli, Libya Posted by Hello

Don't do this to a cat. . .

The other day I went to the pharmacy because it was the only thing open in my neighbourhood due to the motamaraat. I was bored. I bought some hand cream and on the counter they had chewing gum and muscle rub on display so I bought some of those too.

Today Sara was all excited about the muscle rub. She was having a nice time sniffing it and she kept asking me a million questions about it.

'Where is this made?'
'What is in this stuff?'
'Why is the bottle so small?'
'How much did you pay for it?'

She was being rather annoying and after a while I just ignorred her. A while later the kids said there was something wrong with the cat. It was drooling and of course trying to hide behind my computer. I yelled at the kids to grab the cat - the last thing I need is a sick cat throwing up behind my computer.

They caught the cat and we were trying to figure out what was wrong. Yusef said it smelled like medicine and I got all in a panic thinking the cat had got out and ate poison somewhere.

Yusef said 'Hey mom, it smells like muscle rub!'

Wouldn't you know it? Sara had put muscle rub all over the poor animals nose. It's the kind of stuff that has capsicum (otherwise known as red pepper) in it. We cleaned up the cat, but it is still not very happy. I hope it feels better tomorrow.

Poor kitty!

Monday, December 20, 2004


Today I recieved a message from work saying that we would be having the week off. We'd go back to work on Saturday! It's because they are having the annual (or is it bi-annual or maybe tri-annual) meetings called Motamaraat. Kind of a town hall kind of thing that everyone is supposed to attend. Everything closes down except for essential services like medical care.

So now that I have a few days off and I am going to do my best to enjoy them. I did notice that the house gets quieter when I open the TV for the kids (I have it locked with a password). Now they are sitting in front of it like zombies.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ibrahim's winking! - the scruffy little boy was playing at the farm last week. He's had a haircut since then and now looks much better. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Our new cat is in heat for the first time. The kids got up in the morning and were all worried about her. They thought she was sick or something and they begged me to take her to the vet. I told them she wasn't sick - she just wanted a boyfriend. Actually the kids were pretty happy with that explaination.

In the afternoon I went off to work. I guess while I was gone the kids spent most of the time observing the poor cat and discussing what to do. In the end, they decided to find her a boyfriend. Off my kids went, running all over the neighborhood, chasing all the tom cats. God only knows what the neighbors thought. They didn't succeed in catching one.

I got home from work in the evening and had to go out again with Mustafa and Nora to see if we could find Nora a winter coat. While we were gone the kids went out again to hunt down a tom cat and see if they could catch one. - By this time it was about 9:30 at night.

We got home and walked in the door. The kids were all excited. They had foud a boyfriend for their cat! The poor tom cat was terrified! Ibrahim was chasing it all over the house. Of course it decided to try to hide behind my computer.

AAAAAHHH! Get that thing out of here!

Ibrahim caught it, grabbed it by the scruff of its neck - it was snarling. We opened the door and threw it out!

The cat is still in heat and now I'm sure the neighbors think we are really crazy. (But they pretty much knew that already anyway).

We'll have to get the cat spayed before the kids give the neighborhood a repeat performance.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

You Know You've Lived in the Arab World Too Long When...

You're not surprised to see a goat in the passenger seat

You think the uncut version of "Little House on the Prairie" is provocative

You expect the confirmation on your airline ticket to read "insha'allah"

You don't expect to eat dinner before 10:30 p.m.

You need a sweater when it's 80 degrees outside

Your idea of housework is leaving a list for the maid

You believe that speed limits are only advisory

You have no problem with tractors driving 40kph on the highway

You think all cops drive Audis and Mercedes Benz'

You know whether or not you are within missile range of Iraq

You get excited and spread the news when "Oreo" cookies show up at the grocerystore

You fully expect to go to jail when a local national hits the back of your carat a stop sign

You know which end of a shawarma to unwrap first

You think that the further you inch into the middle of an intersection, thefaster the light will turn green

You consider it normal for the same section of the road to be dug up three timesby contractors in the space of a few weeks

You understand that the true definition of a nanosecond is the time interval between the light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn

You think that all gas stations are made of marble

You can receive every TV station crystal clear except the local one

You get used to using the cold water tap to get hot water during the summer

You make left turns from the far right lane without a second thought

You expect gold for every birthday

You think Pepsi begins with a "B"

You think that a box of kleenex belongs on every dinner table

You think water only comes in bottles

You understand that when someone says "Bukra (tomorrow), Insha'Allah" to you itreally means "Sometime during this calendar year"...if you're lucky!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

One week done - nine to go....

Well, I finished a week of the ten-week course. My schedule got messed up, but I expected it would. But never mind. I'll set aside the money I get for working those ten extra days as mad money and buy myself something fun.

- Gotta console myself somehow, don't I?

Locusts in Tajoura!

Recently parts of the Mededteranian have been overcome by locusts. The following is an eyewitness account of the swarms in Tajoura, Libya:

Dateline : Condo On The Med. ,

You are not going to believe this ! The locust came back yesterday and they swarmed overhead from 2:30 p.m. until dark at 6:00 p.m. It was so weird ! We had thought they were all gone the other day but all of the sudden they came flying back over our area surprising us all . It was just a few ……….. thousand , then it was a millions , and finally it was billions flying so closely packed that it was like a fog at some point .They flew in from the east , then they turned around and flew back over us going to the east again . The people around us started fires and the smoke scared them . You could see them heading in one direction and then take a sharp turn to avoid the smoke . A plane flew over and they freaked , scattering to the 4 winds ! They descended to the ground , some of them , to land in the field behind our apartments to chop the tender green shoots of grass that have shot up after the last rain we had , only to left off in a dusty beige cloud because a car drove by the field . The noise frightened them away . They were flying so low at one point , that they were bunching off the top of our apartment building .People were below , walking around like nothing going on , as the locust were mostly high up in the air ! It was so strange to see this going on outside my very own window . Surrealistic , if you could just imagine it ! The oddest thing was , when grasshoppers/ locust swarm like this they are called gagraious locust , and gagarious means to talk ; but when we braved opening the window , all you heard was the silence . There wasn’t any noise at all , none . Smoke from fires set all over the surrounding countryside drifted lazily across the Mediterranean Sea that the locust tried to avoid being pushed out over because the temperatures were cooler than the land temperatures . Sunset the temperature dropped over the land as well and the locust disappeared . We assumed that they would be around again at day break , but they had just disappeared ! Magic !Pouf ! Gone , I hope for good . I don’t know what the damage to the country side is as the very strangest thing about this whole thing is , no one wants to talk about them now that they are gone . Maybe they think it will ginks them ?Odder yet , there were no little bodies littering the ground today either !Not one single one .

This is all the news in English from your intrepid reporter , from:

The Condo On The Med , ; this is Sydney Hamed signing off for now!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

An engagement party!

My sister in law has been very nice to me for the last few weeks. I was very suspicious as she is usually such a *itch.

Well, today I found out why. It seems that her son has found himself a girlfriend and they will have the biyan (engagement) on Thursday. She came to invite me along. I guess it would look funny if all the women in the family go except for me. I'm not sure if I'll be going though. Mustafa hates this particular sister - and her son is a creep. But most of all it will be dead boring. I hate these kinds of events.

Here's a thought: I could go and bring Ibrahim along to spice things up!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

My husband is getting awfully famous - click on the image to see what he's beenup to. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


God has been looking out for me - I got the schedule of my dreams at work. Now i hope and pray nothing gets messed up.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

At last!

The phone has been on half service for the past two days (recieving calls only). Mustafa went this morning to pay the bill and they told him there were no cashiers to take our money. Very weird - as usual. But they were nice enough to turn the phone back on, but we had to promise to come back tomorrow to pay the cashier. - so the phone is back on. I wonder if they will ever get the phone system /billing figured out here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my friends and family,
I wish you a peaceful and safe holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Happy Birthday Jenna! My daughter Jenna turned eight today!  Posted by Hello

An Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB) is a type of headwear that can shield your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers. AFDBs are inexpensive (even free if you don't mind scrounging for thrown-out aluminium foil) and can be constructed by anyone with at least the dexterity of a chimp (maybe bonobo). This cheap and unobtrusive form of mind control protection offers real security to the masses. Not only do they protect against incoming signals, but they also block most forms of brain scanning and mind reading, keeping the secrets in your head truly secret. AFDBs are safe and operate automatically. All you do is make it and wear it and you're good to go! Plus, AFDBs are stylish and comfortable.

What are you waiting for? Make one today! Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 20, 2004

We did it!

Yesterday I told the kids that as soon as we finished lunch we were going to take ALL the winter clothes out of the storage and go through them - decide what was garbage, what was hand-me-downs and what was wearable. So while I washed up the dishes the kids were busy dragging out all the clothes and piling them in the living room. Then we spent the entire afternoon sorting them all out in different piles.

Mustafa complained about the growing garbage pile. He kept saying things like 'I think this one is still usable.' 'That one's a classic.' 'I'm sure this one could be fixed if we take it to the tailor.' 'I think if we keep this one it will come back in style again.' - but most of all he kept saying - 'I spent a fortune on these clothes and none of you appreciate it!' - Finally, God blessed us with his mercy - Mustafa decided to go out and leave us be.

The kids got bored after a while and I had threaten them with bodily harm if they didn't help me finish off the job. But we got the job done and we won't have to do it again until it's time to take out the summer clothes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Posted by Hello

Some of the kids on the second day of Eid. Posted by Hello

We've had a fire!

Ibrahim lit his hair on fire yesterday!

He found a lighter an was playing with it. He turned the flame all the way up as far as it would go and caught his hair on fire. He didn't injure himself, thank God, but he looks a bit funny now and it smelled awful! I can not for the life of me find a single place to hide the lighter. He finds it everytime.

His school is on holiday until next Saturday - I can't wait until he starts back again.


A horrible sandstorm began on the evening of the first day of Eid. It went on for about 24 hours. Blowing not only sand, but plastic bags, paper and garbage everywhere. The winds were strong enough to knock over small trees.

It meant that we spent a day cooped up with a bunch of wild children since they couldn't go outside to play. Of course the kids were supplied with all their exciting toys they got for Eid to keep them busy. Most of these toys were of the noisy variety. Not to forget the balloons and pellet guns.
Boy was it a loooooong day!

It started to rain the evening of the second day of Eid. This settled the sand. The third day of Eid I stayed home and tried my best to clean house.

Dust, dust, dust, and more dust.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Go Gorilla Go!

A small Arkansas Wild Animal Park acquired a very rare species of gorilla. Within a few weeks, the gorilla, who was a female became very difficult to handle. Upon examination, the park veterinarian determined the problem. The gorilla was in season. To make matters worse, there was no male gorilla available.

Reflecting on their problem, the park administrator thought of Ted Standen, a redneck part-time worker, who was responsible for cleaning the animal's cages.

Ted, like most rednecks, had little sense, but possessed ample ability to satisfy a female of any species. The administrator thought they might have a solution. Ted was approached with a proposition. Would he be willing to mate with the gorilla for $500.00?

Ted showed some interest, but said he would have to think the matter over carefully. The following day, Ted announced that he would accept their offer, but only under the following four conditions.

1. "First,", Ted said, "I don't want to have to kiss her on the lips." The park administrator quickly agreed to this condition.

2. "Second", Ted said, "you must never tell anyone about this" The park administrator again readily agreed to this condition.

3. "Third," Ted said, "I want all the offspring to be raised Southern Baptist." Once again the administrator agreed.

4. And last of all Ted stated "You've got to give me another week to come up with the $500.00."

Eid Mubarak!

Yes, that's right! another Ramadan has passed and now it's Eid. - elhamdulillah!

Last night was the big rush to get the very last of the Eid shopping done. I took Nora and Jenna out shopping - boy was that a headache! Nora said yuck! about everything in every shop. In the last shop I told her we were going home and she was not going to get anything. Then she said we should go to every shop all over again. Phew. . . finally she was able to make up her mind. She does this every year! I think she just wants to see everything in every shop first - then decide. This way she won't have bought something and then found something she liked better in another shop. Drives me crazy!

We stopped in one shop and I bought socks for Sara - as we were leaving ther shop Nora said well I need some stockings too. I wanted to slap her! I told her I already paid the man and we were leaving - why she couldn't say she wanted stockings earlier, I will never know - but she does this about most everything. I HATE shopping with Nora. Sara is great - goes right in, knows what she wants, and buys it - no fuss, no bother.

Jenna was just along for the fun. She complained about the smell. Since she is only a little bit of a thing she gets smooshed in the crowd and her face is about level with peoples behinds. She says the suqs smell like farts - and I suppose they do if thats where your face is!

Well today is Eid and I am sitting at home because Mustafa could not be patient enough. He wants to be out the door and off to his family. He was down stairs sitting in the car - revving the engine. I was upstairs getting all these kids dressed - the house straightened and locked up. By the time I got out he had driven off. Jenna and I came back upstairs - unlocked the house and we will wait for him to come back. I will NOT be rushed! There is no reason we have to get to his mother the first every year. We are only sitting there ALL DAY LLLLLLOOOOONNNNGGGG anyway.

Well - HAPPY EID! Everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Nearly over

Ramadan is nearly over and I still have shopping to finish. I hate the thought of the shops and having to drag the kids around trying to find them something suitable to wear. They all need shoes - so we'll all pile into the car and see if I can get six kids shoes all in one go.

I'll be happy when it's all over. . . very happy!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A baby girl! My nieghbors daughter had a baby girl. They still are thinking about what to name her - maybe Azdam. Posted by Hello


The fasting person has two moments of joy: one when he breaks his fast and one when he meets his Lord and rejoices over his fasting. (Muslim)

In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through those who fast will enter, and no one will enter it except them; when they have entered it will be locked, and no-one else will enter through it. (al-Bukhaari).

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Adam's X-rays - Yikes! He has extra teeth! Posted by Hello

Adam's X-rays - here's his head - empty, just as I suspected! Posted by Hello

Another day is done

Yesterday I broke a tooth. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later - I was hoping later. But there are other more pressing things to do before I get myself to the dentist to get it fixed. And, since my tooth is not hurting (unless I eat something cold) I will put off doing it for a bit.
We took Adam to see the orthodontist last night for a consultation. 10 dinars to look at his mouth and say go have x-rays taken. needed 2 x-rays at a different clinic - 25 dinars each (so far 60 dinars now spent on this kids mouth) Tonite we will take the x-rays back to the first dentist and he will evaluate them - he says he'll do this for a 30 dinar fee - so thats nearly 100 dinars for Adams mouth. Mustafa griped and complained about it all. I told Mustafa to stop griping - it will be alot more than 100 dinars by the time he is through with straightening out his number one boy's teeth. Poor Mustafa . . . what he really hates is the idea that he will be dragging Adam back and forth to the orthodontist for what will seem like forever. He really hates having to take anyone anywhere. (alot of these problems would be solved if he gets me my own wheels).

IN the mean time, last night we planned to look at 2 womans dress-shops downtown. I want to see if I can find some blouses. But it started pouring down rain so we went home.

Of course, while we were out Ibrahim was busy doing 'his thing'. He turned the water on in the bathroom and flooded the entry room sitting area. Carpet - furniture, the whole shabang! This morning I got up to try to continue to straighten up the mess and Ibrahim decided to complete the deal by running out of the kitchen with his cup of yogurt and tripping and spilling it on my newly covered chair. Thank God I made the cover so it could be taken off and cleaned. It is now in the washing machine - we will see what it looks like after it comes out and dries.

Haven't even thought about what to cook today. . .

Monday, November 01, 2004

Qul sana wa'taibun! Posted by Hello

Eid Shopping

I got some of the Eid shopping done. Yusef still needs a long sleeved shirt. Sara needs a pair of shoes (she wants pink loafers!). Jenna needs stockings and shoes. Adam, Nora and Ibrahim have not even begun yet.

Actually I think the only bad thing is the crowds. Clothes are plentiful here this year. All colors, styles and sizes. Elhamdulillah! The good (?) old days when there was nothing in the few shops are over, and I hope they never return.

There are tons of beggars out there. I can't imagine where they all come from. They seem to pop out left and right during Ramadan. A little Egyptian girl came up to us with her hand out. Mustafa asked her how old she was and she said she was seven. I think she was more like a malnourished 12-year-old. It's very sad. At the same time most of these beggars look healthy enough to do an honest days work - but since they can make more money begging they don't even bother looking for a job. Now that is more than sad!

Hair in your food!

What do you do when you find a hair in your food?

Did you Know . . .

In many processed breads and baked goods is an ingredient called L-cystine and it is used as a dough conditioner. L-cystine is derived from human hair. There are companies in India and China that actually specialize in selling human hair for the manufacture of L-cystine.

You may be a cannibal and not even know it! You'd better read the packaging of your food very carefully.

The Ballot(S)!

Mustafa went to the post office today to pick up the mail. I couldn't believe my eyes! He brought home another OFFICIAL ABSENTEE BALLOT.

Does this mean I'm entitled to TWO VOTES? What does this say for Florida?

It doesn't really matter anyway, because I've decided to sit this one out. I mean really! Who is there to vote for anyway? Bush - absolutely not! Kerry - another no way!The rest of the candidates are just a vote for Bush. So what is the point?

Aaaaaagggghhhh! Democracy!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Here's the fabric Yusef picked out for the chair. It matches wonderfully. Yusef is so good at picking out nice things. Thanks Yusef! Posted by Hello

Ants! We found these ants carrying a dead mantis straight up the wall. It was so amazing! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


We've reached the halfway mark. Two more weeks of Ramadan. We are all sick of soup and Mustafa said not ot make it again. - God must have answered my prayers!

I hate Libyan soup - and I especially hate 30 days of it. So not having to make it or eat it will be pure pleasure! I got to where I hated even the smell of it.

We still have bought nothing for the kids to wear for Eid. Mustafa hates buying Eid clothes. I will see if i can get them done in three days time. Take two kids out every day - or maybe three at a time. The sooner we get the shopping done the better. We bought new cabinets right before Ramadan for the kids rooms. So they have plenty of space to put anything new.

Maybe I will find something nice for myself. A skirt and blouse or something -But what I would really like is a new computer chair - this one hurts my butt when I sit too long in it. Or maybe I should stop sitting so long in it . . .

I still haven't voted . . . sigh . . . can't make up my mind . . .

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Isn't she cute as a button!

Isn't she cute as a button! A friend of mine sent this to me a while back. It's a picture of a relative of her husbands from Gharian. Gharian is a town in the Jabel Nafusa Mountains about an hour and a half drive from Tripoli. A long time ago Libyan girls were tattooed - now it is very rare to see a girl or young woman with a tatoo - only the old ladies. But I think this woman is so sweet - she has lovely sparkly eyes - Masha'allah! Posted by Hello

I'm getting into it!

Ramadan is well underway and I'm getting into it - finally - it took me a while to get over the coffee cravings. I had a few days of nasty headaches and a foggy feeling happeneing all the time. Must have been withdrawal.

Now that the middle of the month is almost here I will have to get into the swing of things and start looking for Eid clothes for all 6 of my kids. Now that is a painful experience! Crowded shops and having to take the kids out in a public place. Well - while I'm out there I DO notice that there are all kinds of misbehaved little brats - not just mine! But Ibrahim is absolutely the worst - can't get him to listen or settle down - and he's like a 'bull in a china shop'. I'm sure he will manage to break something. . . . say a few prayers that I make it through the Eid shopping.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Indian Summer - inspired by the weather these days. Posted by Hello

Autumn! Posted by Hello

Still undecided

I'm still undecided about this whole election thing . . . There's all kinds of things to vote for too. Even got a candidate for Sheriff with a first name of Bubba . . how redneck can you get?

Otherwise, Ramadan is just moving along. One week is over! Today we are eating yesterdays soup and I sent Mustafa out to get some bourik and pizzas from the bakery. I am sick to death of all the cooking so I am having a break today. . . three weeks to go. I hope that we go to the farm tomorrow afternoon. I need a good walk and some fresh air. It will mean that I have to get dinner started early so we can go out in the afternoon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A quote from the Quran

"If God helps you, none can overcome you. If He forsakes you, then who else is there other than Him who can help you? Therefore, in God let the believers put their trust."

The Holy Quran, 3:160 Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 17, 2004

the ballot

I've got my Official Absentee Ballot . . . but I am still holding out in voting. I keep hoping something will happen that will make me want to vote for Kerry . . . I know that the vote will probably be rigged and Bush will get it anyway . . . but hope is still there that he won't win the election.

hmm . . . should I give the vote to Nader ? . . . sigh . . . I'm so undecided . . . if I don't make up my mind soon it will be too late to vote.

I'm moving right along

I'm moving right along here. . . I make it just fine through the day, cleaning, all the cooking and organizing everything. Then after we eat dinner it gets to me. I feel so tired I just go straight to bed and stay there for at least an hour - tonite I crawled out of bed at 11pm.

This afternoon, Yusef and I went shopping and bought fabric to make a slip cover for the chair in the entry. I let Yusef pick out the fabric. We got home and I cut it out and then I sent the kids to borrow Hamida's sewing machine. Ibrahim was thrilled with the sewing machine! He kept trying to get under the table and push on the foot pedal. Finally I threw him out of the house and told him to play outside. While I was busy with the chair, Nora and Sara were busy in the kitchen making pizza and setting the table. I got the chair covered just as Magrib prayer was being called and Mustafa was walking in the door. Yusef did an excelent job at choosing the fabric - it matches the sofa perfectly!

I'm pleased with the way the day turned out!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I'm Cooking!

A HUGE pot of soup . . . 5 large pizzas . . . 1 very big potato tagine . . .
rice pilaf . . . garlic bread . . . salad . . . custard for desert . . .
plus Mustafa has brought home juice, and zalabaia (this gooey sweet they eat
in Libya during Ramadan) . . .and of course we'll have dates and milk.

I am pooped!

Best Wishes for a very happy Ramadan! I've updated my page about Ramadan in Libya. Click on the picture to have a look. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Am I ready?

Ramadan is going to begin either tomorrow or Friday. . . Am I ready?

Well . . .

I went out and bought new soup bowls . . .
I have the major housecleaning caught up . . .
I got Mustafa to have both of the stoves and ovens repaired and in proper working order . . .
I downloaded a whole buch of nasheed to listen to while I am slaving away in the kitchen . . .
I guess I am ready.

One thing I didn't do this year was to start cutting back on my coffee intake . . .
I will be one crabby lady for the first few days . . .

Saturday, October 09, 2004

In a two year-olds hands.... these are weapons of mass destruction. Oh my God! That means weapons of mass destruction are everywhere! Posted by Hello

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