Friday, April 28, 2006

A peaceful Friday

We had a nice peaceful day. It began with Mustafa out in our garden trimming the trees. The neighbour behind me has a huge overgrown and sickly apricot tree that touches my clothesline and he trimmed that back - the neighbour wasn't very pleased about it, but since it's hanging into our garden she could do nothing about it. I wish they would get rid of the tree - the fruit is useless and the tree puts out this awful sap that sticks and stains anything that it touches. It only seems to offer shade which is why they refuse to remove it.

Mustafa trimmed the tree (above) in the front of our house that I grew from a seed from the tree in my mother's garden back in Florida.

In the afternoon we went to the farm. It's nice now that we have two cars and I am driving. Mustafa left in the truck and I took my time getting ready and followed later in my car.

My house these days is full of roses from our farm - above is a weird varigated rose - I think it's ugly! No need to cut it and bring it home.

Almonds coming soon :)

Pomegranite blossom and buds.

Jenna and I cut wild grasses to use in dried flower arrangements.


We picked white mulberries - they were so sweet.

We spent time watching the bees pollinating the cactus growing alongside the road.

And we watched the spiders in the webs that filled the spaces between the cacti.

The neighbours field always has vegetables of one kind or another growing in it.

These are Yusef's dogs. They were happy to see Yusef, he played with them all afternoon.

We've got some onions planted near the well. I always like the way the flowers look - you would never believe that onions would have such an interesting looking flower.

It was a nice restful day - I hope your day was nice too! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tripoli Castle - Assarai Al Hamara

I had an invitation to the International Women's Group - Libyan Day which was held today at the Tripoli Castle. I brought along my camera and took some pictures. It was late in the day and the weather was cloudy, cold and very windy. I'm going to try to see if I can visit the castle again sometime in the future but in the morning when the lighting is nice. Part of the castle is used as a museum, but the section that the event was held at is usually closed to the public, so I was quite pleased to be allowed to visit. You can click on the pictures to see the original size. Posted by Picasa

Part of the castle has been restored but much work is needed to be done.

The gardens are really special.

Each courtyard had a different style of fountain in the middle.

Part of this area has been restored.

A doorway.

Archways and balconies.


A road in the castle.

A view of a courtyard.

Along the edge.

Looking down into a courtyard.

A door.

Along the roadway on the top front edge of the castle.

Another fountain. It's amazing to see these huge trees inside the castle courtyards.

A carved motif with words of welcome.

A cannonball, they have them all over the place!

All kinds of doors that made you want to just keep exploring. Unfortunately most of the doors were closed. Hopefully one day I will get another chance to see inside the castle. It was a wonderful opportunity today.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I have made a decision...

Every time I ask the kids to do anything it's always a big fight. No one ever seems to listen to me and I get all upset, stressed out and excited.

The thing that really pisses me off is when I ask them to do something and their father happens to be around.

Me: Will you fold the clothes and put them away?

The kids look straight at their father to see if he is going to back up my order. Usually he isn't paying any attention what so ever because his eyes are glued to Aljazeera (but recently he's taken up watching that God awful Dr. Phil too). No response from dad means the kids can completely ignore me.

Obviously they think I have no authority in the house. So since this is the case I have decided to let them have their way and I informed Mustafa that he was now 'THE AUTHOURITY' in the house. I said, 'Honey, you are now holding the reigns. I will no longer ask any of the kids to do anything. It's not my job anymore.'

Now I feel much better. I can live a stress-free life!

Live and learn

No one's heard from me in a while and it's not because I have been too busy with work. . . it's the internet . . . the dreaded LTT again.

After my big headache of getting adsl hooked up (click here for that story) it seems I am back to more headaches.

The service is 50 dinars a month and you have to pay for it by purchasing a card from one of the many representive's shops around town and recharge your account by phone. Now do you think that they sell cards for 50 dinars? No of course not because that would make sense, woudn't it! The cards are 30 or 100 dinars in the shops around me. So I thought I was being smart by buying a 100 dinar card and have uninterupted service for two months.

What was I thinking??

After the first month was finished I tried to open the internet connection and got this:

What?!? I kept trying, thinking there was something wrong. Finally, I decided to call the phone number that you call to recharge your account, it said I had a balance of zero dinar, zero dirham! What! There's another 50 dinars on there! When I press number 4 for more information it tells me the monthly quota is finished but my account will be reactived April 22nd which is the next day. You get to download 5 gigabytes and I know I didn't get anywhere near that amount because I checked it a day before the month was going to be up and it said I had almost 3 gb left. OK, I will be patient, not that patience is one of the charecteristics of my personality, but simply because I have no choice.

The next day I try to connect and it's the same thing even though the recording says I will have internet on the 22nd - I still have no internet, it's the 22nd and their offices are closed so I will have to wait until they open and feel like answering the phones to take my complaint and try to get my service started up again.

I finally get through to someone from LTT on the phone. The service representative says the people that handle adsl won't be in until tomorrow. I go through my whole story with him anyway and he checks my account and it says zero. 'Why did you use a 100 dinar card?' he asks. I say, 'Because there isn't a 50 dinar card.' 'Oh, well we're going to come out with 50 dinar cards soon.' was his response. 'Does that mean my 50 dinars is unrecoverable? I've thrown 50 dinars in the garbage?' I ask. 'Oh I'm sure it can be straightened out, maybe tomorrow or some time this week.' he says, but his voice doesn't sound very confident, 'and besides,' he adds, 'the service is supposed to be getting cheaper soon.' - I told him 'I don't care if it's getting cheaper soon, your service stinks and no one has a choice do they?'

The poor guy doesn't know what to say to that. Being American I have not inherited the Libyan trait of 'balah waasa' and just sitting back and accepting things. I have little patience and the American habit of speaking my mind.

Later in the day as I'm out and about I pop into one of the LTT representatives that sell the cards to see what they have to say. He was quite amused by my story and we opened my account on the website to see it. Low and behold it said my account was zero and that not only had I used up 5 gigabytes it had somehow gone over that by 250 megabytes! Quite amazing really since less then 48 hours ago it said I had nearly 3 gb left! I've been robbed of 50 dinars! The guy asked me if I printed it out and of course I hadn't so there was no proof to my story.

His advice to me for the future was to buy two-30 dinar cards each month and NEVER let them have more then 10 dinars as they will 'eat it' and you can do nothing about it. Also he said print out the page with my account every few days so I have a record. Then if there is a question I can show them the print out. Also never add to your account before it expires. Let the expiration date pass and then add to your account as they will 'eat' your balance that way too.

And who do I complain to??? The customer service at that company stinks but as far as I know they are the only company that offers adsl so you are stuck with them. Why does no one seem to be bothered by this but me?? I need a vacation . . . . . uuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhh!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A morning out

I spent an extremely nice morning today at the Javanese Festival Show.

It was an OEA Tripoli club event sponsored by the Indonesian embassy.

The main feature of the event was a reinactment of a Javanese wedding ceremony.

The costumes were splendid! This is the bride's elaborate hairstyle with golden hair peices and a hairnet woven from jasmine.

Music was played on traditional instruments made from bamboo. The sound created was really amazing. I've never heard anything quite like it before. Posted by Picasa

These were wooden xylophones accompanied by an Indonesian singer. Indonesian children also danced and sang.

Intricate designs were woven on gifts that were presented to the bride and groom's family.

Bananas and coconut were also part of the symbolic gifts that were presented.

Everything was decorated with traditional Javanese and Indonesian designs. Of course there was lots of food too. Fantastic! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Being mentally ill in Libya must be pure hell.

Why is it such a big taboo to be treated for mental illness in Libya? I find it so strange that people here are left to sit and suffer because their families think that admitting to mental illness and seeking help is just unacceptable. There are also those who will put off mental illness as being possessed by jinn and evil spirits and they will run back and forth to various 'sheikhs' to have the spirits removed by exorcism.

In America you often see homeless people who obviously suffer from mental illness. Here you sometimes see mentally ill in the streets but I don't think they are homeless, just being let out to roam free by families who have either given up or are in a stage of denial. Of course this is being made worse by the numerous heroin addicts that hang around all over town. I've got scores of them lurking about right on my street - buying themselves a fix from the local drug dealers and then waiting around until they can either buy another fix or find a friend willing to share. It's not only sad, but scary too. Young men with wasted lives; lack of any treatment programs complicates their problems.

Mental illness knows no gender. Females are affected as well, but their families deal with them differently. Usually they are kept at home, hidden from view. Sometimes you hear of girls committing suicide, usually hanging themselves. Occasionally if they aren't severely ill they are let out to mix and blend with society in the hopes that the interaction with 'normal people' will cure them.

I have a student in one of my classes who fits this category. She is like an empty shell, sitting in my classroom in a catatonic state. In the beginning I tried to include her in the discussions and activities, but it was hopeless. She quietly takes up space and we all basically just ignore her now. In the beginning I felt guilty doing this; teachers always want to do the best for all their students. But this girl doesn't need a teacher . . . she needs something I can never give her.

Yesterday her mother appeared at my door. She was a beautiful woman who was well dressed, looked in her mid 40's, seemed intelligent and was clearly fairly wealthy. She asked me how her daughter was doing and I told her I didn't think she was going to gain anything from the course. I asked her what the problem was. The girl's mother said that her daughter was always 'the top' in all her classes at school but in her final year at university she got a poor mark in one of her classes and she became 'sick'. She managed to finish university and now they were hoping that if she took this course it would help her to overcome her problems. I asked if she was under any kind of treatment and was told no. 'Please keep her in the class and try to motivate her in some way.' was the mother's plea. I told the woman she was just wasting her money but she was adamant that it would be good for her daughter. I said, 'Sigh . . . Ok, as long as she isn't disruptive.'

My life has many roles... mother, wife, teacher, blogger, secretary, and apparently I'm a social worker too.

Monday, April 17, 2006

How weird am I?

I think that everyone who decides to come to live in Libya is weird. Some of us weirder than others, but believe me no one that comes here is normal. So I took this test to see how far from 'normal' I am. Hmmmm... it says I'm 60% weird... I guess that's not too bad. Actually I think it's more like 80 to 85 percent weird but I'm not going to argue.

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!
How Weird Are You? - Go ahead! Take the test and see how weird you are and then post your results in the comments or on your blog..... go ahead... what have you got to loose????
[I found it over on Carol's blog... thanks Carol for linking to me ;) ]

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A picture from the fair. I thought the girls look so cute standing next to the manequin. Posted by Picasa

weekend, music and a new week begins

I had a nice weekend - worked on all kinds of my projects, catching up with things and 'organizing' and finishing off some stuff that I've had on hold. The pile is getting smaller (for the moment).

I visited my mother-in-law yesterday evening. We were having a nice quiet chat by ourselves until my sister-in-law came out of her room and turned the TV on. There was some stupid Arabic music program on. Like a talk show only with the host singing and guests who are 'singers' and with the audience full of really stupid looking Arab females who are singing along, dressed to show off as much cleavage as possible - most wearing coloured contact lenses and bleached blond hair. uuuugh! I hate those shows - so totally stupid.

My sister-in-law is one of these that are religious when the mood strikes her types. One minute she's spouting off about how music is haram, blah, blah, blah. The next minute she's watching music vidoes, singing and dancing. She does this just to be irritating. And this occasion was just that. She intentionally intruded on my mother-in-law and I, turned on the TV and started singing.

My mother-in-law and I decided to just ignor her and continue our conversation, but she just turned up the volume on the TV. After a while I asked her 'Can you turn the channel please?' She said 'Well, I was trying to liven up the mood. The two of you were looking so sullen.' I replied 'We were having a serious discussion. It's not always necessary to be laughing and joking.' After a while she got up and left, of course leaving the TV blasting too. My mother-in-law pulled the plug and we had peace again.

Another week awaits me.

This morning I got up and decided to take the cover off the chair in the entry and wash it. This means that for sure there will be visitors today. Happens everytime - take off the furniture covers to wash them and visitors will arrive.

I've discovered Pandora - a nice way to listen to music on the net. There's even a way to add favourites to your blog so I added it to my sidebar. Check out Pandora - I really like it!

Speaking of music . . . did anyone attend the Lionel Ritchie concert?

Friday, April 14, 2006


I'm the kind of person who likes things to go according to some kind of plan. Organization is the key to my daily life. Unfortunately I am living in a place where there are no definite schedules and no one seems to be at all bothered by this (except me). It doesn't make things much better to be married to someone who doesn't seem to care about being organized either.

This is our usual Thursday evening conversation:

Me: What's the bernamij (program) for tomorrow?

Him: I don't know.

Me: sigh . . . Well I'd like to know.

Him: Why?

Me: sigh . . . Like what should we have for lunch? Are we going anywhere?

Him: What difference does it make?

Me: sigh . . . Lots of difference. Like, should I plan to cook lunch at home or are we going somewhere? Do I set the alarm clock so we can get six children organized and in the car so we can get out the door in the morning, or do we wake up when ever we feel like it? etc, etc, etc.

Him: No response, just a glazed look in his eyes while he stares at Aljazeera.

I've got a list a mile long about reasons that we need some kind of bernamij to organize the household that I live in. I hate things to be unorganized.

This morning we all woke up when we felt like it. We all ate whatever we wanted for breakfast because I am on strike. I've decided since no one wants to be organized than I won't waste my time trying.

Him: Aren't we going to have something for breakfast?

Me: We have no bernamij.

Him: We could have lunch at the farm.

Me: We have no bernamij and besides I don't like cooking over a fire in the farm. Too much stooping, I end up with a backache and the food ends up tasting like crap.

Some of the kids want to go to the farm, some don't. I get dressed and he complains about what I'm wearing.

Him: You can't wear that to work at the farm.

Me: I don't have a bernamij to work at the farm - I was thinking I would just watch you work so I can wear what I want.

Him: Well I was thinking you would help me.

Me: Sorry, there's no bernamij for that.

I changed my clothes back into something for the house.

Him: Why did you change?

Me: I'm not going to the farm. I'm staying home, you go and have a nice time. And please leave the car keys in case I happen to have a bernamij.

Him: Hmmmph!

Into the kitchen he goes and gets the fixins for cooking macaroni umbakbaka at the farm. As he's leaving he says 'Don't cook lunch - we'll be home for dinner.'

Now I have the day to myself! This is not a bad bernamij at all!

I found an interesting view of the recent solar eclipse. A video that focuses on the people experiencing the eclipse. Click on the image above to watch the video.  Posted by Picasa

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