Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Important Beach Safety Video

A while back, at the beginning of summer I posted about the dangers of rip tides and about the fact that many people lose their lives in Libya, not only because they are not proficient swimmers, but also because they don't know how to save themselves from these dangerous tidal currents.

My post sparked a heated debate in the comment section! Anyway, despite the angry comments by many people, I am pleased to say that some good has come from the discussion and post. Today I checked my email and found this comment:

Dear Khadija,
although we had a disagreement on the way you dealt with the issue of safe swimming in libya, your post has inspired me to make this educational video, with my wife, to help our fellow Libyans avoid rip currents and how to escape them.
so thank you very much for pointing out this problem and hope that you direct your readers to the video at:

best wishes

Musa Ali

I am so pleased that my post inspired someone to make such a wonderful effort at getting this safety message across. Thank you and God Bless You!


PLEASE watch the video and SEND the link to EVERYONE you know!

PLEASE NOTE: When the video is embedded into my blog, for some reason the annotations don't show up correctly - to see the full version you have to go directly to YouTube.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Non-stop week

I'm having a very busy week, but I have scheduled in some 'ME' time for Saturday. Gonna get my hair cut and do fun girlie things! ... ahhhh...


Friday, July 25, 2008

Rubble Trouble

I went out for a drive with the girls today. We had a look at some of the demolition that is going on around town. Most places are unrecognizable! My poor car is looking pretty bad these days. It's all on account of the potholes and rubble that you have to drive around, over and through all the time in Tripoli. It takes forever to get anywhere because of detours and bad roads. I am getting fed up. This is supposed to last for years. I would feel better if I saw some building going on... but it's only demolition.

We've been thinking about trading in my car for something else... but what? We talked about a Hyundai Santa Fe... but Nora calls those 'Sunta Feeeee' (smells bad).... hmm do I want to drive around in an SUV that people are calling 'Sunta Feeeee'?

I used to laugh at those idiots that drive around Tripoli in Hummers... maybe they will have the last laugh... Maybe I need a tank!

Stirring things up!

I thought I'd start my weekend off to a bright start. When hubby woke up this morning I didn't say my usual 'Good morning', I said this instead:

'Globalization is ruining the world!'

Sometimes I just have to wind the poor guy up! Hehehe.. He is on a rant now... thank God for iPods with earbuds... lololol

Monday, July 21, 2008




Hubby now has a full-time job working on Nora's papers for university & Sara's papers for high school.

Ibrahim's New Interests

Ibrahim has become interested in two things lately... bats and boats.

He's taken an interest in bats because he's been watching them in the evenings at the farm. At dusk they come out and swoop and flitter about eating insects. There are also fruit bats that feast on the fruit in the trees. They seem to be especially fond of figs because we often find half eaten figs on the trees.

We've been looking up bats on the internet to see what they look like up close and to learn about their habits. There are all kinds of bats in the world! And there's a new Batman movie out too. I'll have to see if it's available at the CD shop so we can watch it.

Everyday we drive past a sporting goods shop that has these huge inflated rubber dinghies stacked up against the outside wall. Ibrahim's fascinated with the display and is insisting that we buy him one.

Actually, in the past year I've been thinking about buying a boat - not a dinghy... a REAL boat. They make wooden crafts here in Libya that are turned into fishing/diving boats (and illegal migrant transport...sigh). The idea of spending weekends out on the water along the coast is tempting. Maybe Ibrahim's recent interest in the topic will push me into finally going along with the plan. ... Ibrahim just might be taking after his American grandfather! Boating may be in his future. That would have made my father very, very, very happy!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Memories, long term and short

It's funny how sometimes when you think about something that happened in your distant past it doesn't seem so distant. It feels like it's just the other day. Take this picture for instance:
I remember that day like it was yesterday! I was in kindergarten and it was photo day at school. My very first photoday! It was so exciting. All the kids in my class marched single file, down the corridor to a classroom that was set up as a studio for the day.

In American schools when I was growing up there was a picture day every year; a photographer came and took all the kid's photos, one after the next. After what seemed like ages the photos came back and were handed out to each student by their teacher. They were always in a big envelope and had what seemed like hundreds of pictures inside of different sizes, but most of them wallet-sized, and all of the same pose. There really weren't hundreds of pictures... it just seemed that way. It's strange how you remember things.

Looking at this picture the first thing I notice is the dress. To this day I can feel the stiff, smooth cotton. I wonder why my mother picked out this dress because the colour doesn't suit me at all. I was usually dressed in softer shades of pastel blues or pinks. This dress was different; brown and white with a red bow on the white collar. It was long-sleeved but very short in length as was the style in the late sixties. I'm fairly certain I had on patent leather shoes because my mother always bought shiny patent shoes for me to wear.

I had tried cutting my own hair, the chopped bit is quite obvious. Why do all kids have to try cutting their hair at least once during their childhood? And I remember the hair clip that was in my hair. It had a brown grosgrain ribbon bow on it that never stayed in my hair for more than a few seconds. In fact, I remember the teacher and photographer trying to sort my hair out before my picture was taken that day. I distinctly remember that they used the same comb for all the children and I wasn't thrilled with the idea that they would use it on my hair but I didn't protest because I was afraid making an issue out of it would embarrass someone - like accusing them of being unhygienic or something. They combed my hair and put in the hair clip and I tried to push my hair behind my ears. Twice they tried to get me to stop pushing my hair back but I did my best to defeat their efforts.

There was a small, backless metal stool to sit on. 'Sit forward.' the photographer said. I sat too far forward and the teacher came and tried to help the photographer position me just right. 'Look here!' said the photographer. I didn't really know where to look. She wasn't pointing at anything! 'No. No. Here! Look here!' she said again. I'd moved out of position; the poor woman was losing patience with me. 'Lean forward... No. Not like that!' She moved towards me to set me straight and as soon as she stepped back I leaned too far forward again. She finally gave up and took the picture. I was relieved that it was over and hopped off the stool to join my classmates waiting in the corridor outside the classroom that was being used as a photography studio for the day.

Isn't it odd how you remember things from long ago so clearly, while this morning was ages and ages ago?

Friday, July 18, 2008

A song

This is a nice song by Sheryl Crow - Who'd have thought she'd have a song in English and Arabic?: Peace be upon us

Walking down the street of
dreams, eating from the fruits of life
Tripping now on the smallest things
Trying to reach the light,
trying to reach the light
Pick the key up off the floor,
put the key into the lock
Turn the lock, open up the door
Look at all you've got, look at all you've got
All the sinners are saints, all
you creatures of faith
Don't need to be afraid
If you know what I mean let me hear you say

Peace be upon us, peace be upon us
Be upon us all
Peace be upon us, peace be upon us
Be upon us all Yeah

The world will turn even when we're gone
The earth will host many souls to come
Who will write the history?
Tales of wise men, villains, and innocent ones
All you shepherds and sheep, when
you wake from your sleep
It will be a new day
If you know what I mean let me hear you say

Peace be upon us, peace be upon us
Be upon us all
Peace be upon us, peace be upon us
Be upon us all Yeah

Peace be upon us, peace be upon us
Be upon us all
Peace be upon us, peace be upon us
Be upon us all Yeah

A lazy summer day

Summer fruits... melon and hindi, also know as prickly pear or barbary figs are sold along side the roads and in vegetable markets in Libya at this time of year. Watermelons, grapes and fresh figs are available too. I think fruit is the ONLY reason I tolerate summer at all here. This picture is from my kitchen - Yes... go ahead and laugh! There is a doily in the picture! lololol.. uuugh... Libyans and their doilies! hahaha! God forbid you don't have a doily!

I survived the niece's wedding last night. It was boring and uneventful (thank God!). I think we are pretty much over weddings in the family until after Ramadan. I have gotten sick to death of weddings. I told that to hubby this morning and he admitted he felt the same way (for once we agree on something!).

Today I've been just hanging about being lazy. I keep going back to bed, laying around drifting off to sleep. The air conditioner is humming in the background and I can hear the sounds of the playstation coming from the boy's room. I had thought of going for a drive today, but I really don't have the energy. I think I'll go take another nap...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mandeesh Khlooooog

We have a family wedding this week. It's going to be a quiet one (no music, no nothing) because of the recent funeral. It's my sister-in-law's daughter that is getting married. They live in the flat below ours. The ladies keep sending their kids upstairs to my house to play (so they can get some peace and quiet).

Keeping the house clean and in some kind of order has now become priority. Nora has been patrolling the area and making sure everyone picks up their belongings and puts them away. Last night she picked up her cousin's scarf that was on the table to hang it on the hook next to the door. Underneath the scarf was a stash of goodies that the cousin had helped herself to from Nora's cabinet. Nora didn't say anything - she just picked them up and put them away. sigh...

The weather is hot and humid and I'm in no mood for anyone's crap. Just pray I don't slap anyone upside the head this week... sigh...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Cousins

The cousins came to play with Jenna today;
silly girl games, laughter and fun.

Happiness shines from deep within.

Bright and warm as the sun.

Monday, July 14, 2008


The heat's oppressive these days. Before I left for work yesterday afternoon the temperature was 48 degrees Celsius. Everyone seemed to be dragging themselves around with dull looking expressions painted on their faces (me included).

At night it cools off only slightly. Last night I came home from work and headed straight for the shower. I washed off the days heat and put on a cool loose fitting house dress. My daughter Jenna was in a terrible mood, shouting at everyone and throwing stuff around in the girls' room. I had no energy to do anything about Jenna's tantrum. I just ignored her and let her get it out. After all, we all feel that way sometimes, don't we?

Finally I just went to bed. The kids followed me into the bedroom and stood next to my bed complaining about everything and nothing. I put the pillow over my head. After a while they realized that I wasn't going to do anything to sort out their problems and they left me alone. I drifted off to sleep into a sea of weird and disconnected dreams.

I hate summer in Libya.

Friday, July 11, 2008

All things come to an end

I got up this morning and went in the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. While the water was heating I decided to start up the washing machine... multi-tasking.. get the laundry done during breakfast. I turned the knob and ................ nothing...

The washing machine has finally died..... looks like I get to go shopping for appliances!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Getting settled in

Tara's getting settled in on the island. She's added some more furniture and I went over for a visit. We had a guest drop in... some guy from the Netherlands.



There's a female Muslim superhero! Sooraya Qadir, code name: Dust, is possibly the first practicing Muslimah in the Marvel Comics Universe and also a rare find to see a Muslim having a positive roll in the superhero world.

This is what Wiki has to say about her:

Dust is an adolescent Sunni Muslim girl who possesses the mutant power to turn herself into a sand-like substance. Born in Afghanistan, Sooraya is kidnapped by a slave-trading ring after she is separated from her mother. While one of her slavers tries to remove her niqāb, she instinctively lashes out with her powers and flays them all alive with her dust form before passing out. She is subsequently discovered and rescued by Wolverine and Fantomex. Wolverine takes her to the X-Corps base in India. Sooraya hides herself from the X-Men stationed there by turning into sand and spreading herself around the complex. Phoenix senses Sooraya’s presence and telepathically convinces her to reveal herself to everyone present. Sooraya reforms and announces her presence by speaking a single word: Turaab (Arabic for dust).

Although I wouln't go to the extreme of wearing niqab, the full face cover that many Muslim women are choosing to wear these days, I do wear a scarf and dress modestly. It doesn't stop me from living my life and doing the things I want to do. It's a common idea of most people to think that just because a woman is wearing hijab she is somehow weak, uneducated and powerless. It's clothing! Fabric! People need to get beyond the garb and look at the person beneath.

It's nice to see that the world is finally beginning to accept women who choose to wear hijab.

TURAAB! Muslim women have arrived!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A new beginning

The end of my adventures with Tara in Libya is nearing. Soon she will be moving away from Libya and on to the next post. It's really sad to see her leave because we've had so much fun together. But though our real life adventures will only happen if we manage to see one another on a holiday, or perhaps if her husband finds himself working in Libya again, we will still manage to have fun... in the virtual world, of course.

A virtual me... having a look at Tara's new place

Tara has created her new home on Lively. It's an island with a palm tree in the middle and it's furnished about the same as the house she had here; two chairs and a bed. There's also a sign that says 'Keep Out!' so she can pretend to be unsociable.

Isn't the internet an amazing place?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Let's get aggressive, shall we?

This is what happens when teachers just can't get along with people .... get out the good old red pen and let the brawl begin!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We bagged a bag

The weather was hot and sticky today. I got up this morning while everyone was still asleep and the house was quiet. First I sat down and drank a huge mug of coffee. Then I got busy and did some work. One by one my family woke up and the house got too noisy to work so I stopped.

In the late morning Tara called and said she wanted to go shopping. 'Where to?' I asked. 'Rasheed Street.' was her reply. I didn't want to go there. 'What do you need to buy?' I asked her. She then proceeded to reel off a long list. One of the things she needed was a pet carrier so that she could travel with her cat. We decided to look in the pet shops that are on my side of town and also have lunch. Jenna came along too (so she could whine and complain and pester me).

We looked in the first pet shop and found a few carriers. They were plastic of various sizes. I suggested we look at the other petshop so that we could get an idea of what was around. 'We could always make one too if we wanted.' I said. Tara just stopped and looked at me in horror. 'A home made pet carrier! What are you thinking?'

We looked in another pet shop... it was awful... the shop smelled and the animals all looked ill. They didnt have any carriers.

We continued on our way about town. We looked at make-up, we looked at shoes and finally we got to one shop that had bags. The ones in the window were FABULOUS! It was a REAL bag shop! .... and it was CLOSED!

We looked through the glass at the bags on display... I think you could hear our hearts pounding out a beat that one only hears when they find treasure. And then I saw it..... the PET CARRIER OF ALL PET CARRIERS!

'Tara look! That's it! That's the bag! That's it!' I shouted gleefully. Yes, of course everyone was looking at us as though we were crazy... but we didn't care.

The shop was closed. No one nearby knew when the shopkeeper would return. For a while we hung around the shop door. Then we decided to look around at some shops nearby, trying to kill time until the shopkeeper came back. After about half an hour we tried the shop door again but it was still closed.

We were determined to get that bag. We got back in the car and drove off to go shopping elsewhere. Our hearts weren't in shopping anymore. All we could think about was THE PET CARRIER. After suffering through another hour of aimless shopping we headed back to our target.

The shop was still closed! This was almost unbearable! Jenna went to another shop and asked about the shopkeeper. She found him! He came and opened up the door. By this time Tara and I were panting with excitement. We got it! We got it!

When I got home I looked up the bag on the net... isn't it just perfect? THE PET CARRIER

Networking... must we be sociable?

I keep getting invitations from people in my contacts to join various social networking sites. Must we be so sociable? Does anyone really care what I am doing this very moment of my life? Does joining one, or many, or all of these sites enrich our lives to the extent that it's worth spending time updating them all the time?

I've been holding off on joining these. Am I antisocial? No, I'm not. Unfortunately, because these sites are so easy to enroll in there comes the possibility that your identity can be stolen. Anyone can enroll using your name and in seconds impersonate you. They are then free to publish all kinds of unsavoury and possibly embarrasing things.

Am I being paranoid? Maybe... but googling one's name is a common practice nowadays. It's also becoming a standard procedure that many companies use during their hiring process. One way to protect yourself from identity theft on the internet is to register for various sites. You don't have to use them, just secure your name.

Bugroff! - the antisocial networking site.... lolol

Friday, July 04, 2008

one sorry wedding

There were about five weddings planned for this month, but with the recent funeral things have had to be rearranged. The uncle said 'Go ahead as planned' and the uncle's daughters said 'What! Was my mother a cat? How can you think of having a wedding?!?'.

So things have been rearranged, plans cancelled and dates changed. My sister-in-law's son had no choice but to go on with his wedding but out of respect they are keeping it very quiet and low profile.

I usually find weddings depressing but this is just downright pitiful... sigh... What a way to start a new stage in someone's life...

Posted from moBlog – mobile blogging tool for Windows Mobile

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Ibrahim keeps his toys in huge plastic laundry baskets that are filled to the brim and overflowing. He drags them out and dumps the toys out in a pile on the floor and has a great time playing with them.

Now that it's summer the neighbour kids are coming over to play too... and walking off with the toys one by one. The toy baskets are less full then they were before. I'm going to have to put my foot down and either refuse the neighbour kids entry - or search them before they leave the house.

When I was growing up I would have never thought to steal my friends' toys, and they would never have stolen mine either. But over the last twenty years in Libya toy theft has been a constant problem. I have even gone to neighbours and relatives houses to ask for the toys to be returned and been refused by the parents!... It's not only me that has had this problem - ALL of my friends report the same thing too. Sigh.... weird Libyan customs... grab it all and help your self! Now I just send the kids to 'steal' back our toys!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I've got a tattoo

We finished painting the boys room but we're still putting it back together again. We still have to hang the curtains. While sorting through junk we came across a packet of Native American Indian symbol temporary tattoos that Adam brought home from America two years ago as a souvenir. I think he probably got them in Seattle.

I looked through them and found one that looked like a woman holding her arms up, fingers outspread, hair flying wild and a big circle in the middle of her face. Does the circle depict a wide-open, screaming mouth? My God! It looks a lot like me when I'm shouting at the kids!

The packet had other symbols too. Mostly animals and geometric shapes and one was a character that was playing some kind of flute. But I liked the crazy woman symbol. I don't know what it really represents though. Has anyone got any idea? Or perhaps their own theory?

Don't worry - it will wear off in a few days or I can remove it... it's temporary! But I am growing rather fond of it.


I saw this:

and wondered... Isn't this like blackmail?
If they're going to do this can they force them to sponsor something a little more useful?..... sigh...

More Words

I'm still playing with words. This is a Wordle made from words from hubby's favourite site, Aljazero. I was just checking to see if wordle worked with Arabic. It does - but only with two fonts.

There is something I like about seeing words all in a jumble. I took the words from each unit of my FCE students' book and made word pictures out of them, printed them out and hung them up where the students can see them while they are waiting for their class to begin. I'm really pushing them to boost up their vocabulary (and improve their spelling hopefully). Maybe homework can be having them make their own Wordle with the words they like.

Actually, I like the pictures so much that I'm going to print some out to hang in the new house in the office... if the new house ever gets finished, that is.... sigh..

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