Friday, March 31, 2006

Libyan bloggers

I've come across a few more Libyan bloggers and Libyan related blogs:

and last, but not least ~~ Tripoli Ghibli

I've put them on my sidebar for future reference.

What next in Libya?

Now that the eclipse is over and done with what's the next big event in Libya? The Tripoli International Fair of course! It begins on April 2nd and continues on through until the 12th.

The fair has been an annual event for years. During the years of sanctions when Libya was cut off from the world the Fair was pretty dull. But now that Libya is opened up to the world there will be all kinds of interesting international exhibts and things happening. Luna Angel (image above) is a reggae artist from Oakland, California that will be performing at the fair - you can hear some of her music on her website if you click on the image above. Of course there will be plenty of traditional Libyan musicians at the fair too.

According to the Tripoli International Fair's website there will be 30 countries represented as well as over 2000 companies and organizations - an international, industrial, agricultural and commercial event.

Something to do in April! - I should start charging a fee for promotional services - lolPosted by Picasa

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The 'other side' of the eclipse

NASA's Earth Observatory has a report and some interesting pictures of the eclipse over Libya as seen from outer space. The moon's shadow can be seen covering most of the country. Click on the image above to visit the website. They also have high resolution images that you can download. Thanks NASA! Posted by Picasa

ABC's of life - a meme

Accent ~ American - slightly midwest/slightly southern

Booze of choice ~ nope

Chore I hate ~ more than one but I think laundry is the worst

Dog or Cat ~ there have always been pets in my life but I prefer cats

Essential Electronics ~ computer, camera, microwave oven

Favorite perfume/cologne ~ always seems to change depending on my mood - these days it's either Givenchy's Very Irrisistable or Lancome's Miracle

Gold or Silver ~ either, depends on my mood

Hometown ~ Born in Illinois near Chicago, but then moved to Seminole, Florida at age 12

Insomnia ~ sometimes, but usually I'm so tired by the end of the day I fall into a coma quite quickly

Job Title ~ superwoman

Kids ~ three boys - 7,11,16; three girls - 9,13,15

Living Arrangment ~ family of eight in a sardine-can-sized apartment - hoping to move to someplace bigger if hubby will only just hurry things up a bit . . . sigh . .

Most Admired Trait ~ honesty - can't stand someone who lies

Number of Sexual Partners ~ lol

Overnight Hospital Stays ~ 8

Phobia ~ climbing on ladders

Quote ~ 'Elhamdulillah!"

Religion ~ Islam

Siblings ~ one older sister, two younger sisters and a brother

Time I wake up ~ 7:00 am but later on Fridays

Unusual talent/skill ~ lol

Vegetable I refuse to eat ~ I like most vegetables but I hate the canned stuff

Worst Habit ~ impatience

X-rays ~ can't remember - maybe 4 or 5

Yummy foods I make ~ chocolate cake, fudge

Zodiac sign ~ Libra - Chinese ~ Year of the Rabbit

If you read this all the way to the end - then consider yourself tagged!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We've seen the eclipse!

We've seen the eclipse! This is Nora wearing her protective glasses. She made me play with the picture so no one would recognise her.

We went up on the roof and the only other people we saw out were some foreigners on the roof of a nearby embassy. After a while a neighbour man came out on his balcony with only a towel wrapped around his waist - nothing else! The girls and I started giggling and I told them 'Watch that balcony! If he comes out again I'll take his picture.' He didn't come back out.

After a while we went inside so we could see on TV the live report of the total eclipse in the desert. It was awsome! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Countdown to the eclipse

Tomorrow is the day of the eclipse. We'll only see a partial eclipse in Tripoli, we had thought about going to the area where you can witness a total eclipse but:

#1 - the kids are in the middle of exams

#2 - it's a long drive out there

#3 - if we went we would have to leave someone home with the kids who are in the middle of exams and no one wants to stay with my kids and honestly, I don't blame them - I don't like staying with them either most of the time.

#4 - there is the whole idea of camping out in a tent - I like the comforts of my own bed and I like plenty of running water. I also know from past experience that there are not very many public bathrooms in Libya and not very many bushes to hide behind in the dessert either. My white butt would be visible for miles.

I know, I know - it's a lot of excuses to miss a maybe once in a lifetime happening. But I'll live!

The kids have the day off from school. Now, in my opinion the schools should be open and teachers should be taking full advantage of the event. You know, like, in science class they could really do something memorable and exciting. Writing class could be spent writing about the experience - and so on . But no, not here - any excuse for a day off. The teachers don't even really understand the phenomenom. Sara came home and told me her teacher said the special glasses made for viewing the eclipse where only useful for 4 minutes and then they would be ineffective and you would go blind. Now where on earth did she get that information?

A few years back there was a meteor shower and the schools closed because the teachers were sure that you could be killed by falling stars! Uuuugh! I had the kids up on the roof before dawn watching the event and it was a wonderful and beautiful experience. We even managed to convince the neighbour to come out and have a look after she watched us from her window and saw we were actually safe and not being killed by falling stars.

Ahhh! Only in Libya. I let you know what happens tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2006


A small hillbilly house with lots of satelites . . . vs . . .

Big Libyan houses with lots of satelite dishes . . . hehehehe Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

more of my boring life . . .

I used to have a wonderful cleaning woman that helped me out around the house. Fatima came two or three times a week and worked up a storm. Unfortunately, she found a full time job and left. I thought it would be a snap to relace her. After trying out others I found that there was no one like Fatima and I finally gave up the search. It was easier just to clean my own house than to constantly have to stand over someone else. I've got a million things to do in my life, I don't think it should be necessary to have to explain how to sweep a floor (I had to do that with one woman every time she came!) - I guess that if these ladies had some smarts they would be doing something besides cleaning people's houses . . sigh . . .

A friend of mine hired a new cleaning woman and said she was pretty good and said she would see if she had any free days. So I informed the kids that a cleaning woman was going to be coming and they better get in their rooms and clean them before she gets here. They looked at me like I was crazy! I told them 'Do you think the lady is going to pick up all the junk you have laying on the floor in your rooms? She has to be able to move around in the room to clean it.' - you can't even see the carpet in the girls bedroom! 'Get busy! Now!' I said and pushed them in the direction of their rooms (while waving the magic stick).

So the kids got busy and as usual, all the clothes that were on the floor ended up in the laundry hamper. Eight loads of laundry! My ears are ringing from the sound of the washing machine an I still haven't gotten to the bottom of the pile!

The kid's rooms look nice now - waiting for the lady to come . . . I hope she gets here sometime this week or we will have to start all over again. . . sigh . . .

Friday, March 24, 2006

A spirit in my bedroom

Last night hubby went off with his friends to a zarda and came home very late smelling of macaroni umbakbaka. I know that many women complain when their husbands go off to zardas, but Mustafa rarely takes part in this form of entertainment and I am extremely happy when he does. It gives me a nice evening to myself for a change. The only drawback is that I have to stay up making sure he gets back. It was late when he got in and I fell into a deep sleep, oblivious to anything.

Around five in the morning Mustafa was awakened by some movement or noise in our bedroom. You know how that is - you're asleep and then get woken up but your not sure if you are really awake or not. He opened his eyes and in the darkness he was sure he was seeing a giant standing by the bed. Squinting his eyes, trying to see. Was he dreaming? Was it a vision? A jinn? -Aoodoobillah! The tallest thing in our house is Adam but this apparition was taller than that!

Poor Mustafa was in that realm between being asleep and being awake. He kept opening and closing his eyes. Finally he called out 'Aoodoobillah!' and it woke me up. I said 'What? What? What's the matter?' That's when Mustafa realized what the 'spirit' in our room was. It was Sara!

We had bought a box of corn flakes that day and I had put it in the top shelf of our closet to protect it. It's not that corn flakes are so expensive or precious, the problem is that the kids are pigs and won't leave the box alone until it's all gone. Sara had waited up all night until she thought we were asleep and snuck into the room with a chair. She was in the dark standing on a chair, searching for the box of corn flakes in the closet because she wanted the biggest bowl all to herself!

Mustafa was so pissed off that he jumped out of bed, turned on the light, got the box of corn flakes and gave it to her. He told her to make sure she finished it all. Off went the light, he climbed back in bed and I could hear him muttering 'I hope she chokes on it.'

I drifted back to sleep. In the morning it all felt like a very weird dream. So now you know the story of the spirit in my bedroom.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mother's day - Children's day

This week has two holidays in it that are celebrated in Libya. Mother's day and children's day. Today was children's day and the kids were all excited about going to school. They get dressed up and spend the day running around the school, singing, dancing, eating and also the students are given toys.

Mother's day in my house was pretty boring. I visited my mother-in-law and brought her a gift, but otherwise it was pretty quiet.

If you click on the image above you will find a letter that was written by a Libyan woman about her son who is imprisoned in Guantanamo. The mother who yearns for her son (written by Omar's mother). Posted by Picasa


So many people want to visit Libya and the major hurdle that they face is obtaining a visa. Today I was poking around the net and reading the news and found an interesting article about a group that is planning a mission of peace and plans to stop in Libya. Their main concern is whether they will get a visa or not. One of the problems they have is that two of the group's members hold Isreali passports and two are American.

" On Tuesday, Fogiel and Galit Oren will attempt to cross the border into Libya 200 kilometers west of here, thus becoming the first people ever allowed into the Arab country on Israeli passports.

They are traveling as part of the Breaking the Ice mission, which has brought together 10 participants from around the globe on a mission of peace, a journey that has taken them through Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Egypt.

The group of two Israelis, a Palestinian, an Iranian, an Iraqi, an Afghani, two Americans, a Ukrainian, and a Tibetan is crossing the Sahara Desert together to send a message of peace and coexistence. The final goal is Tripoli where they hope to plant an olive tree which they have brought with them, perhaps with Libyan ruler Muamar Gadaffi. "
These days it seems that the only Americans that can get a visa into Libya are the ones working for oil companies, and even then I think they are given a hard time. Applications from American tourists are being rejected and even the cruise ships that moor themselves in Libya's harbours for the day to let the passengers spend a day sightseeing are told that Americans must remain on board the ship. And from what I understand, no visas are being given to Americans who want to come to see the solar eclipse that will be occuring here soon.

Tourism and peace missions aside, these restrictions cause others to suffer. For years we endured sanctions in Libya and with the easing and removal of sanctions the American woman who are married to Libyans have hoped to see an improvement. Here we are, so far from our families (many living here for over 20 years!) and our parents and siblings are not able to get a visa to come here. Before it was the American government who would not allow it, but now it is the Libyan government.

We raise our children here, our children graduate from schools and universities here, our children marry and have children of their own here. All of life's milestones without our American families being able to come and share in them.

I hope there is improvement soon. . . .sigh . . .politics . . . . sigh . . .

Friday, March 17, 2006

Are the kids studying for their exams?

There's no TV, no CDs, no games, no radio - but my house is none the less very noisy. It's exam time and the kids are busy doing their best to avoid studying. It is amazing how many diversions they can create for themselves.

At one point this afternoon they decided to play chinese jumprope in the living room. You remember chinese jumprope, don't you? It's the game they play with two kids standing apart holding elastic with their legs while the third kid jumps over the elastic. Of course the one doing the jumping was my daughter who is nearly 16 years old! Apparently she thinks the jumping motion might jiggle and stimulate the part of her brain that will have all the right answers for the exams.

The boys have been running back and forth around the apartment, totally ignoring all my requests that they settle down and open their books. My poor sister-in-law downstairs must think there is a herd of buffalo living above her head.

Don't even think about the kitchen. All this 'studying' makes the kids hungry. They've been doing non-stop snacking all day.

Sigh . . . I passed up a nice afternoon at the farm to supervise the exam preparation process. It's time I started to make a bit of noise myself and have some exercise. I think I need to get 'the stick' out and use it.

I think I'll take some vitamins first. . . God help me!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

another week nearly over

This week has just flown by. I can't believe that it's already Thursday. Where has the time gone? I think that if there were 48 hours in a day it would still not be enough to accomplish all the tasks that are sitting there waiting for me. In the end I manage to get things done, just takes lots of juggling, shifting and delegating.

The kids have exams next week. If you've read my blog you'll know that I hate exam week. Getting the kids to sit down to study is miserable. I think I get more stressed out and worried about the whole process than they do. I'm completely removing the reciever for the satelite and locking it up. Same goes for the CD player, the power cord for the kid's computer and the playstation. Uuuugghhh! I feel like such a meanie! Still they will manage to find things to do that will waste their time.

Ibrahim had a school field trip yesterday. He was so excited about it and came back exhausted, but with pink cheeks and so happy. He really likes his new school. I see a big improvement in his behaviour and his attitude. He still hates sitting down to work on his homework, but I think that's because he sees his siblings having the same attitude (except for Jenna who loves to study!). I have to settle him down in the evenings and get him to write, but he's doing it and he's proud of himself when he finishes. A big change from before, when he couldn't even sit still for more than half a minute.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Work is progressing on the house. The tiles are finished in the kitchen and now we need to get the cabinets and countertops designed, made and installed.

Another view of the kitchen with Jenna and Ibrahim. One part of the kitchen will be a work area with the sink below the window. Typical Libyan kitchens have the sink facing the wall - I really hate that. Who wants to look at the wall while they are washing the dishes? The other part of the kitchen will have a seating area.

The verandahs will have this green tile. I have been living for so many years in an apartment upstairs without bars on the windows - living with bars is going to take a while to get used to. You can see the shadow from the bars in this picture.

Aside from the kitchen and the rooms outside the house, the rest of the house will have marble floors. They're almost finished putting in those.

The kids bathroom. Next we'll be working on the plasterwork. Libyan houses have plaster decorative mouldings around the edges of the ceilings. It's called 'jibis'. I'm a jibis minimallist - I hate the stuff, but hubby thinks jibis is just great. I see big fights and arguments in the very near future!

This is Yusef taking his dogs for a walk on the road behind our house. Everything's nice and green. Yusef plans on having about twenty dogs when we move out to the house. I'm not so sure about that! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 11, 2006

nothing too exciting . . just everyday life

The weather has been wonderful. This afternoon I walked up to the shops with Jenna and we had a nice time looking around at all the shops. Jenna bought a pair of bright orange sneakers. Somehow, I think bright orange sneakers are ugly, but she is happy with them and they are her feet after all, so I let her get them.

I walk fast and Jenna was doing her best to keep up with me. Finally she asked 'Mom, when you walk this fast does it hurt your sides?' I told her 'No. Are your sides hurting?' She said yes and I decided it was time to slow down.

I'll have to walk for exercise by myself. Everyone that goes out for a walk with me complains. Google Earth has a nifty tool that will measure out the distances for you. I have walks mapped out for 1km, 2-1/2km, 5km and 6km. I decide how far I feel like walking and head out the door. We're still working on the papers for my car - I think they will be ready tomorrow. I wonder how much walking I will manage in the future.

Computer woes for me again. I installed a program that made a mess of things and then had all kinds of trouble trying to straighten it all out. I had some stuff that I hadn't backed up and I didn't want to lose it so I called my friend/student Hiba to see if she could help me out. We tried to hook up the hard disk to my old computer but it was too big for the motherboard. In the end she took my computer home with her to see what she could do. Happy news! Hiba says she managed to straighten it out and I will have my computer back tomorrow morning. THANKS HIBA! I LOVE YOU!!!!

Mustafa told me that he thinks my computer is my second husband (the one I love the most). Hmmmm . . . lately with the way he's been behaving that just might be true!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My life and some new blogs

I've had a few busy days.

On Sunday I gave a presentation at the ELTEX conference an Education Exhibition and English Language Conference with my colleague Alea. We did a presentation about how we got our students to improve their writing and reading skills by posting them on a blog we created for our school. We were supposed to go on stage at 8:30pm but one of the speakers had to cancel and so we took his timeslot at 5. Actually it was better, we got it over with sooner and could then enjoy the other speakers and the exhibition.

We first had to explain what a blog was since blogs and blogging are a new idea in Libya. I got some good feedback from many of the people there and the director of a school in Benghazi is going to create a blog for his school and then we'll link our to school blogs together and try to get the students to do something together. I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

Yesterday afternoon was spent at the conference and today was spent at home. Mustafa has been pouting and complaining that he's been neglected. Ugggh! I've made tons of sacrifices in my life for that man, you would think he would be nice, shut up and eat tuna sandwiches once in a while and let me do something for myself for a change. My God - there is only one English language conference a year in this country. . . It will take him about a week to get it out of his system. In the meantime I will do my best to tolorate him. I really think he's my oldest child and not my husband sometimes. . . sigh . . .

Two new blogs to mention today. Rambling a new Libyan? blogger who I guess is from Tripoli and Big Damn Heroes an expat living in Libya. Warm welcome to you both. I'll put their links on my sidebar for easy reference.

Monday, March 06, 2006

More on the sandstorm

Remember that sand storm we had recently? I'm still trying to clean up the dust in my house. I wipe up the dust and it seems like in only a few minutes it looks as if I've never dusted. NASA's Earth Observatory has some really interesting pictures and commentary about the storm. Click on the image above to have a look. It's really quite fascinating! Posted by Picasa

Something old, something new . . .

There's a huge crater that was recently discovered in the Sahara Desert on the border between Egypt and Libya. Click on the image of Gogle Earth Blog above to see more. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 03, 2006

PhotoFriday - Feminine

Photofriday - Feminine
I've been out window shopping - one of my favourite hobbies! One thing that I've noticed lately is mannequins that have their heads removed. I thought it might be an Islamic thing since Muslims are not supposed to make graven images. But nowadays I've been seeing blindfolded mannequins. Is this supposed to make them look kind of kinky? hmmm . . . . Frederick's of Tripoli . . . hehehehe . . . Maybe it's a new kind of khimar (face veil) for the modern and trendy set . . . Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I've got wheels! Yes, finally after living here for 17 years (and having a Libyan driver's licence for all that time) I finally have a car. Well, nearly - we're still working on getting the papers and insurance etc. for it. But hubby assures me that it will be mine.

It has a temporary licence plate on it and we drove it out to the farm and washed off the sand from the resent sandstorm. It isn't brand new, but nearly - and it has snow tires on it because it came from Canada. We have to change those as we've obviously got no snow here.

I will be happy when I can finally take off and drive it where I please. Of course my wandering spirit is one of the reasons why I haven't been allowed to have a car at my disposal all these years in the first place. Hubby knows only too well that if I get the urge I will just jump in the car and take off. For example: If the thought occurs to me that I need some new couscous dishes I'll think nothing of heading for Gharian to get a bargain. Why not? It's only a drive to the mountains after all and that's where they make the dishes, isn't it?

Hubby is all worried that I won't be able to handle driving in Libya . . . . but I've got plans . . . Posted by Picasa

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