Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fox spirit

Click on the image above to see a photo taken of some ancient Libyan rock art - and read the poem that was written by the photographer - brightasafig Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Still doing the tile thing

Still working on buying tile for the house. There are all kinds of choices - from basic and cheap to fancy and expensive.

Tiles and plumbing supplies - an entire street filled with shop after shop.

Bathtubs and sinks come in all shapes and sizes. Some shops have toilets that are fancier than my best dishes.

We're buying some tiles from this shop - they had a lovely selection and they even had toilets made in the USA! You know, the kind with a high water level in the bowl and when you flush, the water swirls around and around as it goes down.

We are still shopping for tile. Today we purchased the laundry room tile which is a very light shade of pink with white swirls. We think we have the spare room's bathroom tile chosen {kind of art deco looking} and the bathroom next to the marbowah or traditional Arabic sitting room {natural looking smooth stone in a creamy beige}.

We are saving the kitchen for last - I did see something nice while we've been looking around, but we decided that we would wait and do the kitchen all by itself so we can really focus on it.

In the mean time we will be looking for lighting fixtures and we need doors and windows made and put in - the work for that has started. This is getting exciting - it is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 27, 2005

. . .and even more tile shopping

We're still not finished picking out tile. It is frustrating to say the least.

There's a strip of shops along a main road in Suk Juma that sell nothing but tile, plumbing supplies, kitchen and bathroom fittings. This is convienient as you can park the car and walk from shop to shop, picking out and comparing.

What is inconvientient, and a huge pain in the neck (and other places) is that the shops generally don't open until about eleven o'clock in the morning. You would think that most workers, plumbers, tilefitters etc. would begin their work quite early in the day (like about 8 am), so it would make better sense if these shops opened earlier to accomodate supplying the workers. Of course the shops close up for lunch at about 2 o'clock and don't open up again until around 5:30pm. They close down for the evening not long after the sun sets.

So we are doing all our tile shopping in little jumps and starts - trying to fit it in when the shops are open and our schedules are free. Since I work in the afternoon and evenings I miss out on the evening timeslots - that leaves mornings. Mustafa is usually out overseeing the workers in the mornings. He runs home, I jump in the car, and off we go for a mad dash around the tile shops. Then it's home and an even madder dash around the house getting lunch served and myself ready for work.

My camera is back from the shop - I will drag it along next time we go tile shopping so you can get a real picture (instead of just an explaination) of what it's all about.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

More shopping for the house

Mustafa and I have been out shoppping for the house. We decided on tile for the second kitchen (still haven't chosen the main kitchens tile). I told him the same tile could also be used for the laundry room but he said he wanted something different for the laundry room.

We also found some beautiful stone tiles that could be used for the wall near the entrance. They were perfect - off white and a slightly rough surface and when you looked close you could see the imprint or fossilized leaves. When we asked the salesman it turned out he didn't have enough for what we needed! We looked in all the other shops and couldn't find anyone else that sold the same thing. What a dissapointment as it was perfect. We did find something else to use but the fossilized leaves were breathtaking - I have never seen anything quite like it.

We looked at some stone border columns that we thought about using as a border/ledge for the veranda, but I think that it will make the house look too heavy. I said some simple ironwork might look nicer. We will have to think about it and I will play a bit with photoshop and some pictures of the house to see if I can find out what might look best.

I have a wedding tonite - not sure what to wear, but since I am going with a friend I have decided that I will bring a pad of paper and a pen. The music is so loud at some of these weddings that you can not have any kind of conversation. If I'm with my kids or Libyans I don't mind, but I hate to be with a friend and not be able to chat. So I am going to be bold and bring paper and a pen!

Friday, June 24, 2005

For the love of books

Lonehighlander challenged me with a book meme. I love books. I basically lived in the library when I was growing up. My father's way of punishing me when I did something wrong was to tell me I wouldn't be allowed to read for a week (but he never had the heart to carry out the punishment!). Now that I have six kids and a busy schedule it's hard to fit reading into the schedule. I do most of my reading online. Anyway, here is my answers to the book meme challenge:

Total number of books owned: Not sure how many and even if I can even count them. Last year when I thought we must be moving soon I boxed up most of them. I don't want to take them out of the boxes until we finally do move (sometime this year I hope!).

Last book bought: a thesuarus - I know it's really boring! I bought it from the bookshop on Jamahiria Street for 8.75 dinars and I use it a lot with my students.

Last book read: The TKT course - another boring book! It was for a Cambridge teaching exam I took recently. Currently I am working on Hannibal. It's a scary one and I thought I would read it since I never saw the movie. It is taking me way too long because I have way too much to do.

Five books that mean a lot to me: Besides the Quran -

1. The Little House on the Prairie, actually not one book, but a series (by Laura Ingalls Wilder) were books that I read growing up and loved. When I read them again after becoming an adult I realised that they were pretty boring, but they were soothing (another reason I was a fan of Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood - nice, quiet, and soothing).

2. Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness and Surgery (by H. Winter Griffith) - This book has probably saved my life as I have little faith in Libyan health care, so I consider it a DIY doctor. Also it probably keeps me on the verge of becoming a hypochondriac.

3. The Herb Book (by John Lust) - For the herbalist in me (and useful when you can't find medicine in the pharmacy).

4. Clutter's Last Stand (by Don Aslett) - this book has help to control the junk situation in my house. It's a must read at least twice a year - time to drag it out again . . . sigh.

5. Various books that are just read for the fun of it. It's hard to find books in Libya and so my friends and I have a network for bringing in books to read and we trade them all back and forth. We buy books when we travel and bring them back and also sometimes friends from home will be kind enough to ship us a box of books every once in a while (Special thanks goes to Bridget who consistantly remembers us - God bless you!) There is a special rate for sending books from the USA and it's fairly cheap - Kristen - hint, hint, hint.

Tag five people: Kris, Lisa, unfettered swallow, Fatima, nzinghas

PhotoFriday - Orange

This weeks Photo Friday challenge is Orange. The earth in Libya is sandy and almost orange. Here's my husband's shib-shibs on the sand. Posted by Hello

Pet meme

I've been given a meme challenge about pets from my blogger friend anotherlisa. I have to answer these questions and then tag three other bloggers. Here's the questions:

1. What is your favorite type of animal that you have had as a pet?
2. What is the strangest/most different name one of your pets has had?
3. Describe something bizarre that one of your pets has done.
4. Have you ever eaten dog biscuits? (or other pet related products?)
5. Have you ever let your pet sleep with you?
6. Do you take your pet on vacation with you?
7. Have you held memorials for your pets?
8. Have any of your pets worn clothing?
9. Do you feed your pets before you feed yourself?
10. Does your current pet resemble you physically or temperamentally?

Here's my answers:

1. favourite type of animal as a pet: I guess it must be our siamese cat.
2. strangest pet name: yarmulke - named for a cat that was all white except for a small round black spot on his head.
3. bizarre happening - our black cat Layla will play in the water in the toilet. At first we thought it was because she might be thirsty, but no - she is playing in there - yuck! Have to remember to put down the lid.
4. eated dog bisquits?: no way!
5. The cats sleep with us all the time. I hate it when they start licking themselves in the middle of the night. I always ask Mustafa if he is alone over there on his side of the bed - hehe.
6. Pets on vacation: we have taken the cats to the farm and for rides in the car, but not on vacation.
7. No pet memorials.
8. Jenna dresses up the cats all the time.
9. We throw the cats out on the balcony at dinner time - eat first and send them the leftovers. I hate having pets begging at the table.
10. is there a resemblance? - not that I know of!

I'm tagging Kris, Lonehighlander (I will do the book thing this weekend - I promise), and red-enclave.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Muslim Cultures

I found this beautiful Muslim Cultures photoblog. The photos are beautiful and it really makes you appreciate how diverse the Muslim world really is. Click on the image and have a look for yourself! Posted by Hello

Husien our worker with Ibrahim

We have an African worker on our farm who is very friendly and a good sport. - If he can tolorate Ibrahim than that says something for him! I think he is from the Ivory Coast. Mustafa said Husien told him that he was engaged and he saved up his money to buy his fiance a mobile phone and had it sent to her - apparently she is in Mauratania. Mustafa said he even showed him her picture. He's a nice boy - and a hard worker (even though he is lovestruck!). He manages to keep everything in shape and mostly weedfree which is good because weeds are one of Mustafa's pet peeeves. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Is my daughter a peice of meat?

Well, yesterday we went off to the wedding as planned. I took my girls and we all looked very nice - all dressed in our finest. While at the wedding the brides mother came to our table and said there was a woman interested in my daughter and asked if she was available. This is the way matches are made in this part of the world. I laughed and said to tell the woman thank you, but my daughter being only on the verge of fifteen was much too young. We all had a giggle over it.

A while later the woman herself came to the table and stuck her hand out at me to shake. She was very abrupt about it all which I thought was pretty weird, but even weirder was that she completely ignorred the person sitting next to me and turned to my daughter to shake her hand. While she did this she looked my daughter up and down. It was disgusting! It was like she was checking out a peice of meat. Then she left. It was all so obvious that she was just checking out the goods. Who on earth would want to have that woman as a mother-in-law? So very low-class!

Other than that the wedding was fine. It was in a huge wedding hall that for some reason was decorated in pea-green. It had green spotlights too and did absolutely nothing to make anyones make-up look nice. Actually we all had a kind of greenish look to our complexions. These wedding halls must be designed by men who have no idea how women look in different kinds of lighting. Some of these wedding halls even have florescent lighting which make women look ghastly! I suppose if you are going out looking for a girl to marry your son off to you would have to consider the lighting. Obviously this lady though my daughter looked pretty good even though she looked a bit green!

Another wedding on Saturday - wedding season is in full swing!

Monday, June 20, 2005


There's a family wedding this week. Mustafa's cousin's daughter. It's the first grandchild in his aunts family and they are doing the three day deal. Thank God, we are having nice weather and also the Mustafa is finally getting the hang of these wedding things and doesn't insist that i spend the entire time camped out there. I only have to go at times when there is expected to be some kind of excitement.

It used to be that I had to camp out for the entire wedding. I kept trying to explain to Mustafa that nothing happens most of the time except lots of noise and gossip. Finally, after 16 years he has figured this out (thanks to whoever filled him on because he never listened to me). Yesterday we went for the sahariyah. An evening of music, singing and dancing. We left a little after midnight. Today was the lunch for family and men - ate cous-cous and then got to come home. We'll be going back tonite around 10 pm and I hope to be home by 1am. Tomorrow will be the brides party and it will be in a wedding hall.

I had a wedding last week ( a neighbour) and another on Saturday. I guess the wedding season is starting off with a bang. Unfortunately my camera is in the shop because it has dust in it, otherwise there would be some kinds of pictures add to this post.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Photo Friday - Sport

Photo Friday - Sport - This weeks image is entitled Sport. We're not a big sports loving family, which I am greatful for because there is enough with having to argue about Aljazeera on the TV all the time - I cannot imagine what life would be like if I had to deal with Aljazeera and sports too. Anyway, the kids have a ball that they kick around at the farm or out in the garden - usually they end up hitting the date palms and get punctured on the spines from the trees. Here's the kid's current ball. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ever have a hard time naming somthing? I recently was reading a blog of someone trying to find a new name for their blog - then I came acroos this interesting website while surfing English language and linguistics websites - of course by then I couldn't remember who it was that was looking for a new name. Anyway, have a look because it's interesting. Click on the image to go to the site. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Adam and Nora's exam results are in.

Adam passed!!! And from what he and his friends say, he is the top of his school. I don't know if he is pulling my leg or not. I told Mustafa to go to the school and check, but he said 'If they are saying that then it's true - end of story.' Adam hasn't been top student in quite a few years - but this is his first year in high school and a new school for him too. I hope it will be a continuing trend!

Nora failed math. She knew she was going to and has been studying while she waited for her exam results. She came straight home from checking on her results and opened her books again. Because she has been realistic about this I have told her she can take the resit exam to see if she can pass. Of course Sara had a fit because I won't let her take resit exams. She hasn't put in any effort to study since she found out she failed, so I told her the rule will stand - no resits for Sara.

I'm not sure when the second exams will be. In the mean time Nora is stuck at home with her books. And I imagine that she will use this as an excuse not to do anything at all around the house.

Other news - Mustafa found some very nice marble for the kitchen and has also found some interesting light fixtures he wants me to have a look at. I feel like we are finally getting somewhere!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Photo Friday - Nerdy

This weeks Photo Friday topic is NERDY. This is my husband's nephew - definitely a nerdy looking little kid. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I have spent hours looking at a mind-boggling assortment of tiles today. We finally picked something out for the two main bathrooms.

We found some tile we liked in an expensive shop - they had it matched with a very light coloured floor tile - I liked the tiles except for the floor tile. Six kids traipsing through the bathroom with light coloured floor tile is not my idea of a good idea. I could just imagine myself mopping the footprints up every twenty seconds. So we went to a cheaper shop and found some floor tile that would not show any dirty foot prints. We got a sample of it and took it back to the expensive shop and checked it out to see how it would look with the more expensive wall tiles. Viola! It looked wonderful - but the salesman looked rather pale. He said ' You're not going to ruin the look by using that on the floor are you?' I replied 'The bathroom would look like a pigstye if we used the floor tiles you are suggesting. Listen Mister six kids and that tile are no match.'

The set of tiles had these very nifty looking matching accent peices. Little borders and that kind of thing. When we asked for the prices it turns out that the little border bits are very pricey! The trims would cost a small fortune - but we have an idea. The tile installer says he can make anything and cut tiles to any shape we like. So we are going to make our own borders. Mix and match. It took us hours of shopping around and decision making. Tomorrow Mustafa will pick up the tiles and the tile installer will start on the bathrooms soon.

After the tile search we popped in at my mother-in-laws. The sister-in-laws were all sitting around having their daily gossip and argument. I said hello and sat down to listen - I have learned that entering into their conversations is just self inflicting punishment on myself. After awhile I got sick of their senseless babble and went to find my husband to see if we could go home. I had a head ache. It was either caused by the tile search or the sister-in-laws - I think the latter.

Back to work tomorrow! A lot was accomplished today. It was nice to have a day off work for a change.

Smells Wonderful!!

Have you got a scent that you really love? Go over and read what people like to smell and add some of your own favourites at viciousmomma .

The Cost of War in Iraq

The Cost of War in Iraq - Wow! Have a look at this site by clicking on the image above. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005


Today is a big day for Yusef. We went early this morning to the hospital. The doctor ordered a pain killing shot for Yusef and then they removed his cast and pulled out the metal rods - he had three of them that travelled up the length of his arm. It was a bit painfull and Yusef was upset. It was scary having the cast cut off and when they removed the rods there was some bleeding. But Yusef survived the ordeal. The doctor had a good look at his arm - which looked really yucky - all hairry and with all kinds of skin that hadn't sloughed off naturally. They put another cast on - this time only up to his elbo and gave him some exercises to do for the next two weeks. Then he will have that cast removed.

Yusef was kind of depressed that he had to have another cast. But he was more upset that he wouldn't be having to go to physical therapy. He had been looking forward to being the center of attention at the physical therapy center - but the doctor said it was unneccesary as he could do some exercises on his own at home. Big sigh of releif from Mustafa and me as we would have had to get him to PT had it been ordered.

I have a day off tomorrow - I'm going to spend it looking for bathroom and kitchen tile with Mustafa. This could be nice, or it could turn out to be an ordeal. And guess what? You'll be reading about it soon!

In the meantime - the cat is in heat - mewwwing, yowling and making life miserable for those that have to live with her. Poor kitty!

Friday, June 03, 2005

The workers moved a large pile of blocks and disturbed an owl's nest. They moved the chicks and tried to recreate the nest. For a while it looked as though the mother owl was going to go along with the move and take care of her chicks. But after a while she abandoned them. One by one they died until there was only one left. The worker rescued it, put it ina cage and is looking after it. I'm not sure if it will survive. Posted by Hello

Marble is appearing! The workers have begun putting marble around the window frames. I will be very happy when I see the floors covered with marble.  Posted by Hello

Ibrahim is being curious - as usual. I am always afraid that he might pick up a scorpion and play with it - just for fun. So far he hasn't done it . . . yet. Posted by Hello

We planted corn a while back. It's nice to watch it grow. Posted by Hello

We went to the farm today. The weather was weird for this time of year. Yesterday was very hot, but the weather changed today and got cool and windy. It was cloudy and looked as though it might rain. Our corn is growing! Posted by Hello

Photo Friday - Rare

PhotoFriday - Rare

This weeks challenge is 'Rare'. I took this picture near our farm of an unfinished wall and a native species of acacia. As people in Libya build walls around their land and farms they remove native plants. It used to be in Libya that you seldom saw a wall in the countrysides. People would make a small dirt hill around the border of their property and plant cactus and other thorny plants which would grow to form a natural barrier (tabia). Within these natural barriers would grow many native plants and trees. It would become an entire ecosystem where plants, insects, birds and small animals would flourish.

Nowadays these natural barriers are disapearing as people build walls. The walls came as a result of a rise in crime and people began to feel insecure. We have a wall around part of our land, but Mustafa swears that he will remove it and go back to the old way - as soon as the crime rate falls. . .
Posted by Hello

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