Saturday, August 25, 2007

Be careful at the beach

Last week when I went snorkeling I noticed a few orange jellyfish. They are interesting to watch but they can sting so you have to be careful not to get too close. The tentacles are long and hard to see so you really have to keep a safe distance. For some reason along the coasts of Libya the jellyfish population explodes in mid to late August every year.

Today the kids got up early and went to the beach with their father. While swimming they all managed to get stung. They had fun regardless of their encounters.

So what do you do if you happen to get stung?

  • rinse the area with sea water. Do not scrub or wash with fresh water which will aggravate the stinging cells. Do not pour sun lotion or spirit-based liquid on the area.
  • deactivate remaining cells with a vinegar rinse. If no vinegar is available use urine! Really! Preferably male urine as it's considered to be more sterile.
  • lift off any remaining tentacles with a stick or something similar.
  • if cells still linger, dust with flour and carefully scrape off with a blunt knife.
  • after all tentacle sections have gone, pain can be treated with a cold pack and/or a local anesthetic such as a sunburn lotion or insect bite treatment that lists '...ocaine' as an ingredient.
  • if there is continued swelling, or itchiness, apply a light steroid cream e.g. Hydrocortisone eczema cream.
  • if muscle spasms persist see a doctor.

Friday, August 24, 2007

He's back!

Hubby's come home from a business trip to Tunisia. He called home a few days after he'd been gone and I answered the phone.

Hubby: How are are things going?

Me: Ahh... fine. Ummm... when are you coming back? I need to know to make sure I have enough time to change all the locks.

Hubby: No need. I've thrown the keys into the sea somewhere near Kilibia.

Me: Fantastic! I won't have to bother myself then. Here... talk to your kids (I hand over the phone) .

This morning we all decided to sleep in late. I was awoken by the doorbell. It was hubby of course - I think he must have taken my threat to change the locks seriously because he never bothered to get out his keys.

We had a great time while he was gone. There was peace, but no quiet (there is never quiet in a house with six kids). We ate take out and never had to worry about eating at specified times. There was no Aljazeera and no bearded men screaming on the television while he was gone either. It was bliss!... sigh... Now he's back. Aljazeera is blasting away.

He did bring me back a present though. You'll never guess what it is! He bought me a bazeen stick! Isn't that just the most thoughtful thing? I can use it for cooking or .... I can beat him with it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I beg of you!

Last night I took some of the kids with me to the supermarket. I needed to bring the kids with because I planned on buying a lot and I wanted them to help me get all the groceries into the car. Of course taking the them meant having to buy all kinds of things that I think are unnecessary but they think are essential. So the cart was getting stuffed with Nutella and other things I normally pass by.

We made it to the cash register and I gave some money to the girls and told them 'As soon as you put your bags in the car go to the bakery and get some bread.' So off they ran on ahead with their lighter bags while Yusef and I struggled with the heavier ones.

As soon as I walked out the door I was approached by a beggar girl. She appeared to be in her late teens, stunk to high heaven, and started in by telling me she was a 'bint al blad min Miserata.' She was lying of course, she was Egyptian. I was trying my best to ignore her which was very difficult as she was only about two inches away from me. I was laden down with bags and having to watch my purse, watch, etc while listening to her go on and on about needing nine dinars for Asthma medicine for her brother.

Yusef was struggling with his bags as well and was unable to assist me other than to tell the girl to get lost. We got nearer the car and I adjusted myself to hit the alarm button on my key chain so the kids could start loading the car. At that same moment the beggar girl moved in closer, meaning she was physically touching me. I lost my balance, slipped on the pavement and fell.... Boom!... Pain searing up my leg, I felt muscles tear. Luckily I managed to keep hold of my purse (most likely to the disappointment of the girl). 'Ya sattar!' I cried out, 'Get away from me!'

By this time Nora and Sara had put their bags in the car and had left to go to the bakery, all without noticing my predicament. Yusef at this point, was loading up the car and arranging bags in the trunk. I somehow managed to get up, with the beggar girl still insisting that I give her nine dinars for asthma medicine. If my hands had been free I'd have slapped the @%&* out of her!

I got to the car and Yusef told me to get in while he arranged the bags. I sat down behind the steering wheel, wondering how much damage had occurred to my leg. The passenger door opened and I looked up thinking it was Yusef - but it wasn't. It was the *%#@*&% beggar girl. 'Get out of my car!' I shouted. 'Yusef, get her out of here before I kill her!'

Yusef managed to get her to leave and at that same moment Nora and Sara came back, empty handed of course... no bread at the bakery...sigh..

I didn't get a chance to look at my leg until we got home. My ankle was already pretty swollen and there was a bruise near my knee. I elevated it while the kids got us something to eat. This morning it hurts worse, both ankle and knee.

Ramadan will see an increase in beggars in Libya. I never give to beggars in the street. There are enough people who I know personally that are truly needy. The depressing thing is that beggars usually stick to the same area, so most likely I will have to deal with this aggressive girl whenever I go to this particular shop. I happen to like this shop but in the future I will probably think twice before stopping there.

A friend of mine suggested giving the beggars Santa costumes to wear and a bell to ring like beggars do in the US during Christmas, anyone feeling particularly benevolent will just throw some money into a bucket at Santa's feet... sigh... Santa somehow doesn't look right for Ramadan. My leg hurts... and this is the second post I've made this week that has censored swear words in it... sigh...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Therapy in progress

In my last post I mentioned looking forward to rain. Well, it rained! Only for about three minutes and not very hard - but it was definitely raining. This is pretty common around the end of August and September. It isn't the refreshing rain that I am hoping for though but it does settle the dust a bit. Mostly is just raises the level of humidity.

And there are rumours that LTT's service will improve soon. Maybe even cutting in half the start up and monthly fees. You'll still get only 5 gigas for the month though... we'll see if rumour becomes truth.... I did notice they are playing around with their website.

Interesting things happen sometimes when you wish for things!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Good Therapy

Ten things I'm looking forward to

1. Winter - this goes along with number 2 & 3
2. Cooler weather - I'm tired of the hum of the ac and feeling like I live in a vaccume
3. Rain - it's been ages since we saw that here
4. The kids going back to school.. when that will happen is anyone's guess
5. LTT's service getting better... maybe this should be nearer the top of the list!
6. My children getting past their teen years... uugh teenagers!
7. Seeing my family in the US someday.. yes really!
8. Getting all the Ramadan and Eid shopping out of the way
9. My next hair appointment... nothing wrong with pampering oneself
10. Springtime and wildflowers... the best season in Libya

You might have noticed that I didn't put Ramadan on the list. That's because I believe Ramadan in Libya is the most awful month in the calendar. In America I looked forward to Ramadan and wished it lasted forever - here it is miserable. People becoming gluttons by stuffing themselves, behaving like raving lunatics and the shopping nightmare one hundred times worse than any last minute x-mas shopping that I ever witnessed in the US... I try to get it all done early and hibernate for the duration of the month. Maybe I should have put on the list that I am waiting for the end of the month of Ramadan.

Another thing not on the list is looking forward to the house being finished. I've given up all hope of seeing that in my lifetime. I am so disgusted with my husband for piddling around and wasting time that I'm not interested in ever living with him there at all even if he does finish it. For God's sake he's spent over five years on this @#!&%#@ project of his...! I don't even like going to see 'the progress' anymore because I end up just wanting to yell and scream at him like some kind of raving maniac. And when anyone asks me how the house is going these days I give them an evil look that makes them back off and apologize for asking.

Thanks for letting me get that all out. And thanks SJ - it was good therapy!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fun at the beach

The plan was to go to the beach early in the morning. The plan was that the kids would do all their chores in order to be able to go with. Morning came and there were still unfinished chores so the kids stayed home! It was just a morning for my friend Tara and me.

We headed east of Tripoli, along the coast - far past the crowds and traffic.

We found a small sandy cove with hardly anyone in sight.

The sea bed was sandy but along the edges of the cliff it was full of seaweed, schools of fish and even a few interesting orange coloured jellyfish too. I wish I had a waterproof camera!

After a while we were tired so we got in the car and drove home. It was a nice peaceful morning.

At home the kids were angry because they didn't get to go...... Too bad! Maybe next time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I've started getting ready

I did some shopping today for the upcoming month of Ramadan.
  • Soup bowls,
  • the biggest steamer I could find that would fit on the stove,
  • kitchen towels,
  • a serving pitcher for olive oil that has the measurements on it's side (not sure why I need this because I rarely measure anything - just go by eye),
  • assorted cool looking gadgets (that I will probably just throw in the drawer),
  • an apron,
  • two huge serving bowls,
  • and some other small things.
I still haven't found drinking glasses that I like. We go through so many of them every year that I think we have had every style that's being sold in the shops. I want something different (and less prone to breakage). Maybe I should just go all the way out and stock up on paper plates and plastic cups! It would definitely make washing up so much easier.

Next week is food - cases of tomato paste, milk, bags of rice, and other essentials. The prices are all going up and the shops will get jam packed with people. So the sooner I get it behind me the better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

what's coming up?

I've been thinking about Ramadan which is right around the corner. It's the time I have a break from work. Well, work at school - Of course I will be doing plenty of work at home, mainly in the kitchen.

I need to start getting things ready - the annual shopping spree to replace dishes and other items needed to prepare or consume the food that will be coming out of my kitchen. Also, I'll need to stock up on some of the basics so I won't have to be running out to look for them all the time. I asked hubby if he wanted to accompany me on a shopping trip and he wasn't interested. I will check to see if my mother-in-law wants to go. She had a great time last year.

One thing that I decided to do this Ramadan, aside from all the cooking and spiritual things, is to do things that I like to do. I'm going to make time for my hobbies and interests... things I don't seem to have much time for lately and I'm missing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Night time!

There is something for us to do! We're going up on the roof tonight. And we're dragging an assortment of things up there with us; cushions, some pillows, a woven straw mat, tea and some snacks... oh, and most important, we're taking the telescope up there.

Why? Because tonight and tomorrow are the best nights to watch the Perseid meteor shower. August is the best month for spotting shooting stars in the northern hemisphere and conditions are ideal this year because the Perseid meteor shower peaks on the new-moon night of Sunday–Monday, August 12 th and 13th. More info here.

We don't really need the telescope - but you never know what interesting things we might find to look at with it..... most probably the neighbours.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Feeling better!

I've been feeling rather down the last few weeks. Kids at home for the summer 24/7, the oppressive heat, and also the upsetting news that a very close friend was ill, have all left me feeling very blue.

Yesterday I received a special gift from Mrs. Behi. A small blue book with a very sad looking dog on it's cover, the title of the book is written in Farsi. She opened the book for me and showed me that it was a picture book written in English on one side of the bottom of the pages with the translation in Farsi on the other side. Each page has delightful black and white photographs of animals and the words written are inspirational messages that are sometimes funny and cute, especially when you see how they go along with the animal pictures on each page. The name of the book in English is 'The Blue Day Book: a lesson in cheering yourself up' by Bradley Trevor Grieve. It's been translated into many languages.

This one is the English version

The book was perfect for me! How did Mrs. Behi know that I needed this book at this very point in my life? Ahhh... she is soooo intuitive!

When I sit down and think about everything that is happening in my life I realize that I have so much to be happy for and many blessings to count. One of the blessings is Mrs. Behi!

Thanks and God bless you!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Running usual

I ran all over this morning doing odd bits of errands that needed to get done. One of them was stopping to price car stereos to replace my stolen one. In the end I found a place near my house that was reasonable. I had a chat with the shopkeeper and it turned out that he knew people I knew and so it was arranged - I'd bring my car back at four o'clock so the radio could be installed.

After that was a stop at the butcher shop to buy ground beef to make hamburgers for lunch and a stop at the green grocers to get potatoes for french fries. Hamburger buns were next... three different bakeries and no luck. I ended up getting regular rolls instead. I got home and went straight to work in the kitchen... The hamburgers were fantastic! I decided to save some of the ground beef for making taco salad tomorrow... yummy.

At four Yusef, Jenna and I took the car to get the radio put in. Jenna and I went window shopping while Yusef hung out to watch the guys installing the radio. After the car was ready we had to get gas... all the gas stations had huge lines... sigh

In the evening it was back out for another bread run. We had to go to FIVE (!) different bakeries before we found bread and the bread we finally ended up with wasn't particularly great. A stop at the supermarket and then home again.

I feel like I have been running all day. And I haven't had a break from the kids in ages, and ages. They go everywhere with me. I get in the car and some of them hop in to accompany me. I go to work and usually drag along a few there too because they are taking courses at the school I work at. My kids are getting on my last nerve. I need a break from them. I need one bad!

There's a rumour going around that the next school year will not begin until AFTER Ramadan... Has anyone heard this too? Is it true??

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bored with the beach?

Just when you thought going to the beach was starting to get boring something interesting happens!

Libya holds more than 99 per cent of the Mediterranean breeding population of the Lesser Crested Tern, one of the Mediterranean’s rarest seabirds. Soon an international team of scientists will be studying the birds. Maltese experts will be passing on their skills to Libyan scientists by working with them to count and ring the tern population. The last surveys took place in the 1930's. More here.

Now you've got something new to do at the beach. Bird watching or ornithologist spotting!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It all makes perfect sense

All the demolition going on these days and being reported on various Libyan blogs make me wonder if I should do a 'Where is this?' challenge that focuses on 'What was this?' instead! The knocking down and destruction is really putting lots of people on edge. People wonder if their home or workplace will be in the path. And the rumble and bumble of trucks and equipment makes everyone nervous too.

Personally I'm all for improvements but it seems that the tendency is to just knock everything down and clear everything away and then just leave vacant areas full of swirling dust. Some examples are the huge paths of houses they cleared away in strips to put in new roads or widen existing ones. They did this about three years ago in some areas and then what happened? Nothing! It's been like an abandoned project. And there are all kinds of things that get started and never finished such as the Unfinished Mosque in Benashur and the Train Tracks To Nowhere out in Ain Zarah.

But maybe this is why they are clearing things away:

The Libyan government is going to spend $136 million Euros on anti tank missiles. Oh I get it now! The cleared away areas can be used as shooting ranges for practice!... it all makes perfect sense now.

I wonder why they don't see it necessary to spend that money on schools, or hospitals?... sigh..

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