Friday, July 29, 2005

In the heat of the night . . .

The weather the last few days has been horrible - really horrible. I don't ever remember it being so humid in all my years here. The air conditioner has hardly any effect - the house feels hot no matter what you do.

Just as luck would have it I had to go to a wedding for my neighbor. Most people nowadays have weddings in rented wedding halls. Most wedding halls are large, spacious and comfortable. But there are many women who will not attend a wedding that is held in a wedding hall - actually I don't think it is the women but their husbands who won't permit it. In the past there weren't very many wedding halls available and if someone wanted to rent a place they usually rented a hall in a hotel - they were often mixed parties with men able to come in and see what they women were up to. This is why many women weren't allowed to go - they would be seen by the men folk. This is pretty silly nowadays as many of the ladies are in there secretly taking pictures with their cell phones.

The wedding I went to yesterday was in a tent in front of the house. It was air conditioned by about five huge air conditioners. Unfortunately the weather was so hot, humid and it was so crowded that the air conditioners had no effect at all. Most of the ladies had fans and were fanning themselves. In the beginning of the party they all had their mirrors out every few minutes trying to keep themselves looking beautiful, but in the end most just gave up and opened their handbags, took out hair elastics and clips and pulled their hair up as best they could.

At one point I poured myself a glass of cold water and spilled it into the front of my blouse - actually I did this about three times. It didn't matter since my clothes were soaking wet anyway. When they started to bring out the dinner they came out with cans of soda and I held the cold can against my face and neck to try to cool off. No one had any appetite for the dinner. I waited until after everyone had been served and made a quick exit.

I felt miserable - but I looked at the poor bride and felt so sorry for her. If I felt awful I could only image what she must have felt like all dressed up in a nylon wedding gown.

I spent a sleepless night as I ended up with a splitting headache. I am doing my best to recover. Sunday I have another party to go to - and guess what? It's going to be held in a tent!

Monday, July 25, 2005

humidity initiates insanity

It's been a busy few days and I am exhausted!

Last Thursday I had to work and as son as I got home the girls and I did a presto-chango and put on party clothes and went off to a birthday party. It was nice, but the music was loud (as usual) They had a very nice belly dancer hired to dance for the party. I actually like when they have that as it gets everybody moving and interested in the music.

Friday we collapsed. The weather was too hot to go out and do anything and we were too tired to do anything anyway.

Saturday we took Ibrahim to see a speech therapist. It was on the other side of town. The evaluation took a while as the therapist wanted Ibrahim to feel comfortable and not shy so he could really get an idea of the problems he was having. This man is very devoted to his work and had a school with approximately 70 students. Unfortunately the building he was renting from wanted their building back so he is currently without a location for his school. Just when you find someone that you think will be able to help us sort out Ibrahim's speech it turns out there is an obstical thrown in the path. The man hopes to find a suitable location to reopen his school by September - he will contact us when and if it happens. In the mean time he gave us some tips and pointers on how to begin working with Ibrahim ourselves. And he says that Ibrahims problem isn't a complex one and should be able to correct it without too much difficulty.

Sunday - back to work for me! Straight home from work and into the shower - another presto-chango into the party clothes and off to another party. This one is for my sister in law who gave birth to a baby girl. The weather was awful - very high humidity. My head was spinning to the point that I felt I might faint. I got home - back into the shower and then collapsed in bed.

My schedule is totally booked this week. If it wheren't for the weather it wouldn't be so bad, but this weather makes me feel awful. I'm drinking so much water that I feel like a walking water balloon. Everything feels soggy, even with the air conditioning going full blast. And the constant woooo wooooo wooooo noise that the air conditioner makes drives me mad. I feel like I live in the middle of a vaccume.

I will survive, won't I? (that's a tag question)

Friday, July 22, 2005


I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorant.

I got some non-native speakers of English to try this to see if they had problems reading it - no problems at all - that's amazing!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Gnomes and fairies

Summer is a time when Libya turns brown. Spring is probably the best season here because the air seems fresh and wildflowers bloom. It's the greenest season. But then there is summer. The air becomes dusty and the wildflowers dry up and become brown. There are many species of thistles and other thorny plants. The one in the picture above is my favourite. The flower is the size of an orange and the thorns are long and sharp. The petals are a very light pink. Most people pull them up and get rid of them, but I've been letting them stay and now they have multiplied and become a rather dense low growing thicket. They are full of bees and beetles and small field mice . . . and hopefully gnomes and fairies too.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ibrahim can hear . . .

We took Ibrahim to a hearing specialist that comes once a month or so from Tunisia with his equpment for testing people here. Ibrahim was tested and is fine. Now we have top take him to the speach therapist as the specialist said it was just a speach thing. One more thing to check on our long list of things to do. . .

Today we went out looking at lighting - hard to decide what to buy - I just want to be sure it's easy to keep clean.

Sara and I had an afternoon out on Saturday - we both had our hair cut and I had my lashes tinted again - that lash thing is becoming an addiction - so nice not to have to wear mascara. On the way home we went window shopping and I ended up buying a nice watch - cost me 150 dinars but when I did a search on the internet for the same watch I found that if I bought it outside Libya it would have cost me twice the price. So I feel like I had a big bargain - that made me happy. I've got my eye on a Rado that's for 750 dinars . . . I'll have to see how much that would cost me from outside. They sell cheaper here because they dont have the big import charges on many goods here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

PhotoFriday - Silky

Yusef needed a haircut but was reluctant to have it done. He kept putting it off until his father got fed up with him and took matters into his own hands. The result was a shaved head.

In Libya it is pretty common for boys to have their heads shaved during the summer vacation. The weather is hot and it keeps them cooler. It's called the 'Garhah' cut - named after a large smooth squash called garrah. Soon all the neighborhood boys will be sporting this popular summertime bald look!

Yusef was pissed off about his new 'do' and wouldn't let me take his picture so I had to wait until he fell asleep. He looks funny with his face sunburned from a day at the beach and a very white, smooth head. But I like it! When you touch his scalp it's smooth as silk!

Music fills my ears

This is a fantastic music blog I found. Lots of interesting music and news about music too. CLICK on the image to see for yourself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A trying day . . .

I have had a trying day today. I woke up early for an appointment with the dentist. I had to get everyone up and going before leaving. When I got to the dentist he said I needed two crowns and referred me someplace else to get them done. Mustafa dropped me off at his mothers while he did some things at the building site.

I had a nice visit with my mother in law. She asked me if I would please take Zakia off her hands for a while - she said she needed a break. Zakia is my 'old maid' sister in law. She can be a royal pain in the neck. I tolerate her in small doses. She drives everyone crazy with her antics. Once in a while I give my mother in law a break and have Zakia stay with us. But this time I told my mother in law that I was in no mood to deal with her, maybe another time. The poor old woman looked desperate, but really, I don't feel like babysitting a 45 year old unmarried, uneducated virgin. I have enough on my plate already.

We sent Ibrahim off to summer school. The school where he had been going to kindergarten at is having a summer program. I get rid of him for three hours a day!! Yeah!!! He came home all excited and happy. He's already memorized all the names of the kids that are attending the program. Ibrahim is really a strange boy. He will drive the teachers there crazy!

I don't know what will happen when he starts school in September. He doesn’t sit still for more than few seconds and he is always up to some kind of trouble. He did make some progress by finally learning how to ride a bicycle. Every time we would buy him a bike he was never interested in riding it - only taking it apart. And he liked to turn the bike upside down and spin the pedals and watch he wheels go round and round - he could do this for hours. It was maddening! Finally this year he decided to get on and ride. It had training wheels on it but he got out the wrench from the toolbox and removed them. I was sure he would just continue to disassemble the bike as usual, but no, this time he got on and rode with two wheels like he'd been doing it all his life.

Ibrahim will continually surprise me. Most people think he's retarded or autistic or something because he's such an odd boy, but sometimes I wonder if he might be a genius. He does things none of my other kids ever thought of doing. There's a fine line between genius and retarded. I'm just happy that I have him - even though he drives me to the brink of madness sometimes.

Mustafa is going to have Ibrahim’s hearing tested sometime soon because I have always thought he might have some kind of hearing problems - he was a late talker and he has some speak impairment. My brother and sister had to go to speech therapy when they were little; maybe it's just a hereditary thing. Anyway we found a speech therapist - a rare find here in Libya and he recommended having Ibrahim’s hearing checked before he evaluates his speech. One more thing to add to Mustafa's very long list of things to do!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

An official reception

Tomorrow is an official reception in honor of American Independence Day (4th of July) sponsored by the US Liaison office here in Libya (still don't have an embassy).

As usual they are a mess - they could not figure out how to deliver the invitations. The card says an RSVP is required but the invitations were delivered past the RSVP by date. Curiously, printed in one corner of the invitation it says 'Valid for invitee, plus one guest' and ' Non transferable without prior approval' Makes it look like some kind of store coupon.

The American ladies here thought that when the US came and took over from the Belgians (who had been handling US interests here) that some kind of miracle would happen and they would all of a sudden become organized. Well, surprise, surprise! It didn't happen - they are just a bunch of fools (or maybe we were for thinking they would be perfectly organized). They can't even get the 4th of July right - the reception being 6 days past the official holiday for some reason.

Anyway, I will attend the event and see what happens. Usually what happens at these kind of events is a free for all at the drinks bar with expats trying their best to put down as much liquor in the two hours allotted for the event. At the same time they are all standing around trying to look like dignified snobs. Maybe they should have 'Good for one drink per every 15 minutes' stamped on the invitation along with the other silly statements.

It should be amusing at the very least. Happy 4th of July - 6 days late! (their idea, not mine).

Photo Friday - Candid

The opposite of a black eye is a colored eye?

The perfect missed photo op

An amusing thing happened while we were out looking at tile and bathroom shops. There was a midget looking at bathtubs. He was telling the shop owner that he wanted a small tub, that the ones on display were too big. I wish I had my camera with me. The guy was leaning over - peering into these big bathtubs. It was so cute.

We are still doing the tile thing. I am getting sick of it. Most of the shops have tons of tile on display, and we look, argue about the tile and look some more. Finally we make a decision, only to find that the tile isn't available. I told Mustafa from now on when we walk into a shop we should bluntly ask, 'Exactly which tile do you really have? - we don't want to waste our time or yours.'

In the mean time Mustafa is dealing with the tile fitters who have this idea that they are artistes. If you don't stand on top of them they proceed on their own to make a creative mess. Mustafa arrived the other day to find the guy had made a kind of zig-zag pattern on the wall behind the bathtub. He got upset when Mustafa told him it had to be removed. I went yesterday and had a look - it was ugly! What was this guy thinking? Not only was it ugly, but it will take time to remove it and the tiles will end up being thrown out. More than a meter of tile (at 20 dinars a meter plus the workers fee, it adds up) Poor Mustafa is babysitting the tile fitters.

I will be happy when all this is over with - soon I will be moaning about windows, doors and painting. Oh progress!!

Mustafa called to say there is a play at a theatre this evening. He says it's a comedy and he offered to take the kids - all of them except Ibrahim. I get to spend the evening with Ibrahim. Yesterday he asked if we could go for a walk, so he will get his wish. I plan to walk his little legs off him, then get him home, give him a bath and throw him into bed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tile woes

Mustafa and the tile-fitters have had some kind of disagreement. They have left and Mustafa is hiring another team. Part of the problem is that these guys work 2, 3 or more jobs at once. They go to each site in turn. So it's work a day for us and 2 days someplace else. Mustafa gets so angry. But the workers do this because they don't want to work one job at a time and then have to possibly wait between jobs - so this way they are always working (doing more than one at a time).

Mustafa in the meantime is very difficult to work for. He is extremely picky - a perfectionist. And he has trouble being diplomatic about things when they are not going the way he likes them. That means he yells a lot and insults the workers. I am always after him to stop doing that. But he says that it makes him so angry when the workers do stupid things and end up wasting not only time, but money as well. Each mistake costs more repairing the damage (like removing tiles and sometimes plumbing or even walls that were not put in correctly in the first place. Someone has to stand over the workers all day long, pointing out their errors. Mustafa has been gone all day - we'll see what the story is when he finally gets home.

The weather is humid and hot - and I feel like I am coming down with a cold or something. Most likely caused by going in and out of air conditioning. Looking on the bright side - tomorrow is the last day of the week. I hope to enjoy a restful weekend, catching up on some housework and relaxing. That is - if the kids will let me . . .

Monday, July 04, 2005


Another Libyan Blog! - Tareq who hails from Libya but is currently in Phoenix, Arizona has just entered the world of blogging. Click on the picture above to go over and have a look at his blog. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Non-stop noise

I have listened to non-stop noise all day today.

  • Nora in the kitchen listening to a CD of something that sounds techno.
  • Sara in the living room with the TV blasting cartoons.
  • The playstation in the boy's room with that God awful vrooom, vroooom, vroooom of Driver.
  • In the middle of all this is the doorbell ringing
  • the phone ringing and the kids arguing.
  • I'll go to work today and have noise there too.

I have very low tolerance for noise these days. It gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. How do you avoid noise when you have six kids, two cats, and what seems like a zillion parakeets? Not to mention the fact that the nephew from downstairs seems to live with us too?

Of course we are now on the summer schedule - no school for the kids and hot weather. People in Libya stay up very late in the summer. When the kids were smaller I would try to keep them on a schedule were they had to be in bed early, but now that they are mostly teenagers it doesn't seem to work. And also everything in Libya starts late. People arrive for weddings and other parties after 10pm and time stretches until the early hours of the morning.

I need a vacation - away from the kids, noise and nonsense of daily life. . . . That's hardly likely to happen . . . In the meantime, I will do my best and try to find a pair of earplugs that block out most of the noise.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Some progress is being made.

Tiles are going up! This is the kids bathroom.

The kids bathroom again - still in progress.

The master bath has teal tiles - they have begun putting the darker tiles - lighter ones will go on the top. Mustafa hates the color but it will esentially be my bathroom so I had the deciding vote. I like greens and blues, especially teal because it's mixture of both.

The second kitchen has yellow tile. The tiles inthe bathrooms will go all the way to the ceiling, but the second kitchen and laundry room will only go up to about seven feet. The top part of the walls and the ceiling will be painted white.

These are tiles waiting to be put up. They have to be soaked in water for some reason before they are installed. I'm not sure why. But there is a big metal barrel with water and it's filled to the top with tiles. Posted by Picasa

More work has been going on in other areas of the house besides tile.
  • Top left: the iron work was installed in the area next to the main entry.
  • Top right: the columns were installed at the entrance to the kids part of the house.
  • Bottom left: the water tower has been plastered and is now full of water.
  • Bottom right: another view of the entry room. Posted by Picasa


The marble for the foors is beginning to arrive - we have about three more truck loads yet to be delivered. Mustafa says they will start laying the floors when all the tile arrives. Posted by Picasa

An afternoon at the farm

The weather was hot yesterday, but we decided to pick my mother in law up and take her to the farm in the afternoon. The weather was much better out in the countryside. We have corn ready to eat too!

Mustafa picked the last few stragglers from the carrot crop he had put in. I'm not sure what we will do with the carrots though because being so late they taste a bit bitter. Posted by Picasa

Ibrahim had fun as usual - he's such a scruffy looking little boy!

My mother in law took a wheel barrow and filled it with firewood so we could grill the corn.

I shucked the corn. - My God - I haven't typed or written the word shucked in my entire life! Shucked, shucked, shucked, shucked - I think I 've got it out of my system now.

The sun set as we grilled the corn. As it got dark we started to clear everything up and pack up the car. We stuffed ourselves with corn. And there was still plenty left to eat - and lots of corn still in the field too. Posted by Picasa

Photo Friday - used

Photo Friday - used Posted by Picasa

This weeks challenge was 'used', and this is Yusef's used cast. He has now cast-free! He was so fed up with wearing it that he pulled out the cotton inside wrapping, bit by bit, and then slid his arm right out. I think he did this mostly because he hated the saw they used to remove the previous cast.

His arm was shriveled and hairy with all this gross looking dead skin pealing off it. After a few days his arm started to regain the muscle tone and loose the shriveled look - he can't slide the cast back on anymore. He got a suntan on his arm while he was out riding his new bike. But he still has a very hairy arm. The kids are calling him Werewolf now instead of Yusef!

Does anyone want a used cast? Yusef has washed it with laundry detergent and shampoo, so it now doesn't smell bad anymore. No one has the heart to throw out Yusef's souvineer.

p.s. Special thanks goes to Dr. Magdi and the staff at Khadara Hospital - Tripoli, Libya. You all did a wonderful job taking care of Yusef!!!!

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