Friday, October 31, 2008

Have teapot... will travel!

Life has been pretty dull for me since my friend Tara left Libya. I've mostly been throwing myself into my work and been busy getting kids into school. Everyone keeps asking me 'What's Tara been up to?' - well, she's been up to a lot!

She's moved back to the US and bought a house so she can be near her parents. And she's had to re-do her surgery to repair her Achilles tendon - so that's kept her mostly immobile. During all this she's enrolled in Arabic classes at the University of New Mexico - taking two levels at one time. Phew! That's hard! - and I'm so proud of her!

Recently, her professor mentioned that there was a Libyan student enrolled at the university and Tara jumped at the chance to meet him. They worked out a deal that he would help her with her Arabic and she would help him prepare to take the TOEFL and GRE. 

Yesterday we chatted and Mohamed (the lone Libyan at UNM) says that he was so happy to meet Tara and that she 'smelled like Libya'. The two of them drink green tea while they study. This is nice news!

Hehehe.... Libyans cannot go anywhere without their teapots!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reaching Tall

Yusef is six feet tall! We measured him today... he made it to six feet! He's fourteen so he's still got some more growing to do. Adam stopped letting me measure his height when he reached 6 foot 2 so I don't know how tall he is now.... maybe my sister can take a peek at his drivers licence...???

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It's my sister Holly's birthday today! Happy Birthday Holly!

This is an old picture I had in my album of me and Holly. She was about two here (she's the dark one). We were on this covered pedal cart that we had. We used to play on that thing for hours and hours. Two kids could fit on the seat. It was great fun! In this picture she looks like she's pissed off because I'm not pedalling and the cart has come to a standstill. 

Happy Birthday Holly! I hope your day is a special one!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The search begins...

I sat down this evening and looked at my calendar. It's time to go out to the Great Pumpkin Patch and bring home that one special pumpkin. 

If only it were so easy.... The choice in Libya is pretty limited. It's hard to find one that's orange on the outside....  sigh... but I will try my best.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Warning - this post contains bad language

People keep asking me how the house we are building is coming along. Well, for quite some time nothing has been done. I had been so excited about the house... planning and designing to my heart's content. 

When we had the doors made and installed I was thrilled. Not only were they well made, they were beautiful too. We had two different types of marble put around the entrance door - I was soooo happy with the way it turned out.

Libyan houses are surrounded by high walls, and there are always nice decorative gates facing the street. I spent hours researching and designing the gates. Actually I'm not thrilled with the idea of gates - I'm from a totally different culture - in America very few houses are surrounded by walls and have gates. But I went to work and after what seemed like forever Hubby and I drew out the plans for something we both liked. Off he went to have them  made and installed.

I didn't think he would screw it up.... but he did.... what was I thinking? What was he thinking? 

After the gates were installed I drove out to the house to have a look. .... and nearly had a heart attack. What happened to the gate I so lovingly designed? I found something HIDEOUS instead:

This is AWFUL!  I got on the phone immediately and started SCREAMING very, very, very LOUDLY 'What the F**K happened to the gate I planned?!?'. Hubby said the guy at the iron monger's said that this what was the latest style. 'WHAT????? I DON"T GIVE A F**K ABOUT WHAT SOME IDIOT THINKS IS STYLE! The guy most likely can't even spell his F***ing name - why would you listen to what he says and take his F***ing advice without consulting me?' I demanded to know.

This telephone exchange happened before I walked through the gate and found this:

The stupid fool has ruined my beautiful door by installing a matching HIDEOUS gate over the top of it! More screaming from me and lots of swearing - I think I used every bad word I know in every language I could think of. 

This is a close up of the detail work:

I'm furious - I've been furious for months now. I have spent years living in a too small apartment and all I wanted was to live in a place that I could feel proud and happy with... not a place I think is HIDEOUS. I think what pisses me off the most is that I wasn't consulted. The house has come to a standstill. I'm not living there until he gets rid of the medieval prison gates. 

Do you think I have a right to be angry? 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Running on the old treadmill

I've been too busy to post anything lately. 

The kids are still getting their schedules sorted out. We arranged for a bus to come pick up Ibrahim - this morning at ten minutes past six he arrived. Apparently Ibrahim is the first passenger he has to pick up and will be the last to be dropped off on the way home. That's ridiculous! The poor boy doesn't have to be at school until eight thirty. I sent hubby downstairs to tell the bus driver to leave. I'm not waking up at 5 am just to get him ready for school. His father will have to figure out some other solution. The thought of Ibrahim spending about four hours a day in a bus is just wrong (with most likely a maniac for a bus driver). 

Jenna's school has completed their renovations and she's moved back to the morning schedule. Now the only one going to school in the afternoon is Yusef. I'm not sure how much longer it will be before his school's renovations are finished. I will be happy when we are all back on a morning schedule again.

As for me - I've got my friend's daughter's wedding tonight. This means that I will get to see all the friends and people that I don't get a chance to see very often because we are all too busy to get together - We'll all be at the wedding. The downside of all of this is that we'll get to see each other and that will be about all - the music will most likely be way too loud to have a conversation. So I'll see everyone but not know what everyone's news is. uuughh... It has been way too long since we've all gotten together. Time to start thinking about arranging a good old-fashioned get together - something that hasn't been done in ages. 
Thanks to everyone that's emailed me and sent me birthday e-cards and wishes. No cake for me - the candles would cause a fire hazard. I officially feel old. Yesterday three different students told me I was like a mom to them... ugghhh. Well, I guess I should be happy - so far no one's said I'm like their grandmother. 

I'm going to invest in some wrinkle cream....  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mirror, mirror on the wall....

Shrek, Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt were all having lunch together.

Shrek said, 'I have always thought that I'm the strongest man in the world, but how can I be sure?'

Angelina Jolie agreed. 'I'm told I'm the most gorgeous of them all, but sometimes I wonder.'

Brad Pitt said, 'I'm pretty sure I'm the sexiest man alive but I've never had it confirmed.'

They all decided that the best way to find out if their beliefs were true was to ask the famed talking 'mirror, mirror on the wall' to confirm for them whether Shrek was the strongest, Angelina Jolie was the most gorgeous, and Brad Pitt was the sexiest.

They agreed to meet again the next day for lunch to discuss their findings.

The next day Shrek walked up with a smile. 'Well, it's true. The mirror told me that I am indeed the strongest man in the world.'

Brad Pitt perked up and said: 'And I know for sure that I'm the sexiest man alive.'

But Angelina Jolie lifted her sad, gorgeous face and said...

'Who the hell is KhadijaTeri?"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I was tagged...

On the Edge is busy tagging people and I was one of the people that she chose. She has a whole list of different topics for the people she chose and this is what she tagged me with:

"Tell us about the roses you've stopped to smell recently in your busy life that you normally wouldn't."

I think she's worried that I'm too busy working hard these days and not taking time for leisurely pursuits. In a way she is right. I have been working hard lately - but I enjoy it.

Actually I often 'smell the roses' while I'm at work. I go outside on my coffee break and stand under a fig tree in the garden and take a deep breath. I love the musky odor that fig trees have. Even when fig trees don't have any fruit on them, the wood of the tree smells wonderful (at least it does to me). While I'm breathing in the tree's perfume I look up into it and watch the birds that sit in it's branches. Wasps often flit about, buzzing from leaf to leaf looking for a flower. They must be lured in by the scent too. There is usually a cat prowling nearby, hoping for a handout from someone that's on their break - a scrap from a tuna sandwich perhaps. 

In no time at all my coffee break is over and I return to work refreshed. 

(I'm not tagging anyone... it's enough that you've had to read my gibberish.... lolol...)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Planning for the future

  • Traffic was just awful today.
  • My normal commute takes ten minutes.
  • Today it was an hour and twenty!  
  • At some intersections there were traffic cops that were supposedly directing traffic... 
  • Mostly they were just messing things up. 
  • And complicating everything! 
  • I could have walked home faster. 
  • It was extremely frustrating.
  • It's time to add more podcasts to my iPod.
  • .....Just in case I'm stuck in traffic again.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A name at last!

Our new cat has settled right into our family life. The day it's old owners came to drop it off they were in a hurry and had a taxi waiting so basically they said a quick hello and handed the cat over in the doorway and were off before we could find out what they had named it. The kids discussed the idea of naming it various things but in the end decided to wait until a suitable name came up as often happens with pets.

The previous owners were in transit to another country so it was a while before I finally got a message from them:

My son was especially happy to hear that his ' baby' is doing so well. I knew he would fit right in as we cared for him very well and loved him and your kids took to him right away! Did you give him a new name?

I never told you what we named him... he was first called 'Bushy' because as a very young kitten he used to scare easily and would bush up his tail when afraid or alarmed , but he used to do it all the time... even when we fed him or anything stimulated him! So '' Bushy'' then I decided to give him an Arabic name so I called him ' Mustafa'' ... later on a friend told me that it was not good to call a cat Mustafa but I really like the name and its meaning so I stuck with it.

All the best to you ...

That's hilarious! Now I know why every time I call out hubby's name 'Mustafa' the cat comes running (and looks confused). When I told the kids what the cat was named they all laughed hysterically. I've been calling out 'Mustafa! Mustafa!' every once in a while just to get on hubby's and the cat's nerves. lolol...

At night I sleep with two Mustafas. Usually one snores while the other purrs... but sometimes they both purr.. 

First week survival plan: shopping therapy

We've survived the first week back to school and work. Things are sorting themselves out slowly but surely. 

Nora starts classes at uni on Sunday after much ado about registering and all the runaround she was put through to get it all done. She went off as a freshman with high expectations of university life and reality has hit her in the face. 'Al-Nasr campus is disgusting!' she reports. She's still moaning about getting a car.

Sara was finally allowed to enrol in high school. She's the proud owner of a dreadful looking, green army uniform now. I never understood why they make high school kids wear army uniforms - looks so military to me. But then being from America I was never made to wear a uniform ever (except for girl scouts). 

Yusef's school is still being renovated so his school is having classes in the afternoons at a different school. It's within walking distance and he's happy.

Jenna's school is using a different school while they renovate but hopefully in about two weeks they will move back. In the meantime she's going in the afternoon to a school that's too far to walk to so she's being driven back and forth. Hopefully when the school moves back to their normal location the transition will go smoothly. 

Ibrahim is settling into his new school. He likes his teachers and classmates. We'll see how it goes. The school is a bit far and out of everyone's way so we are deciding about what to do about transport.

I'm leaving all the transporting of kids to school and arranging bus services up to hubby. Let him deal with the headache.

I'm back to work after my break. The first week was tiring, but that was mostly because of the stresses of getting my kids sorted out. I've been celebrating surviving the first week by doing some shopping - shopping therapy is always a good thing. I got a really nice black leather bag, two pairs of shoes and ordered new glasses. The bag and shoes are really nice but they were kind of expensive - meaning: they are leather, not plastic and will last a while (I hate cheap shops that sell crappy shoes and bags that smell like vinyl and glue). So despite the cost they are worth it.

Since I really don't have much time to do a whole lot of shopping I've been 'micro-shopping'. This means while I'm out driving in the car and I happen to come across a parking spot available in front of a boutique, I pull in, run into the shop and do a quick look around and buy something. I'm not sure that this is a very good idea though. I've already got four pairs of glasses and didn't really need another pair, and I have plenty of shoes and bags. But shopping certainly feels good.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

And they're off!....

We all got up this morning, still uncertain as to whether the kids had school or not. Jenna and Yusef were within walking distance so they went to the schools themselves to see what the program was. Sara and Ibrahim were taken around to the schools by their father as I was off to work in the morning too. Nora had to go to uni but she was getting a ride there with a friend and only needed a ride home. 

When I got home from work there were some books piled on the table in the entry so I knew that something had been accomplished. The kids were all grumpy because they hadn't had enough sleep the night before and had to face 'the run around' at school. Here's what I've managed to piece together:
  • Yusef's school is under renovation so he is being moved to a different school and will be on an afternoon schedule until further notice. Thankfully it is within walking distance. He has some books but not all of them.
  • Jenna has a different schedule as well. Also walking distance. She still needs some of the books.
  • Ibrahim is going to be enrolled in a different school - this is his father's idea. This week he's having placement tests. He will need to be driven or have a bus arranged once they've decided what to do with him.
  • Sara went to the high school where Nora had been a student and was told to come back on Thursday - they would decide if they would enroll her or not. Remember, she had to do re-sit exams so the schools will be a bit reluctant to accept her. Her father suggested putting her in a private high school for her first year and then transferring her later. They will make the rounds of different high schools to see what is available. Sigh... who knows what will happen.
  • Nora went to uni and was told to come back on Thursday. She is demanding that we buy her a car!
We're all exhausted. It's been a very long day!

Friday, October 03, 2008

When is school supposed to start?

School should have begun at the beginning of September but it was delayed because of Ramadan - God forbid Libyans use their brains in Ramadan.. sigh... I have been eagerly looking forward to October 5th - the day school would start and the ridiculously long summer holiday would be over. It is so hard to believe that Libyan kids have been on summer holidays since May. 

But rumours abound that the start of school will be delayed for another two or three weeks due to the fact that many schools are being renovated. Haven't they had all summer to do that? Are the rumours true?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Day Two

OK... so I've made it through day two. It was noisy... very noisy. This is not even half of the kids that were there. And there were lots of screaming babies too... and adults of course. Some idiot bought balloons and pellet guns for the kids. Oh, yeah, and there were some noisy plastic guns and more guns that had laser lights.. I think I am nearly blind in one eye now.

Tomorrow is day three of Eid ... hmmm.... sigh..... 

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