Monday, February 29, 2016

Sharing Three Interesting Blogs

There hasn't been much excitement in the blogosphere for a while. People get busy, move on to Facebook and forget about their blogs. I'm guilty of slowing down on the amount of posts I write too. Recently though, I've noticed an increase in the amount of posts of the 'old Libyan bloggers' and a few new blogs too. 

Two blogs written by American women married to Libyans have recently been brought to my attention: 

A Southern Mess, written by an American woman who is married to a Libyan and lived in Libya in the past. She posts about country life in Arkansas and Oklahoma and in contrast, her city life in Washington. She shares her recipes, crafts and DIY tips as well as information about life in America and being a mom to eight.

Connie's Painted Glass, showcases the beautiful art and designs of a creative American woman who lived in Libya at one time, but has since moved on. Her art is inspired by the myriad of colors and culture of her Mediterranean life. 

And on a different note:
Muaad's Blog, is the realm of geeks. Written in both English and Arabic by a Libyan graduate of Tripoli University's Computer Engineering Department, this blog focuses on evaluating different computer programs and operating systems. It's a refreshing look by someone who despite being unemployed (as most Libyan engineers seem to be at the moment) continues to keep busy, never stopping the process of discovery and learning - and he's funny too!

Have you seen any new blogs that have a Libyan twist? Share the links in a comment please!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bomb Clean-up Continues

Over the past few years I've posted about a location near my home in Libya that has been used to store munitions. They've been cleaning it up, slowly but surely! Here are some interesting pictures of the progress that's been made from November 2015 to January 2016.

In the first image, which was taken on November 1, 2015 using Google Earth's history feature, you can see an abundance of bombs being stored on the triangular-shaped site. Especially notable  you can see the unexploded ordnance lined up along the walls in the bottom left of the triangle. If you look on the streets you can see the size of the cars and compare them to size of the bombs - they were pretty big! I'm no expert, I can't tell you what they are, maybe someone who knows can leave the information in the comments. 

In the second image, taken on January 10, 2016, a little over two months later, you can see that the land has been cleared with the exception of a few scattered bombs remaining. It appears that there has been some digging on the land and you can clearly see an underground bunker in the top part of the site. I'm not sure if the munitions have been removed, or if they've been buried at the location - I hope the former! 

Here are some links to other posts I've written in the past about this munitions dump:

August 2011 - Experience During the Revolution
November 12, 2011 - Flashback - Unexploded Ordnance in Tripoli
February 24, 2012 - Making Libya a Safer Place
October 24, 2012 - More Unexploded Ordinance in Libya - Type 314
October 10, 2014 - Positive Things Do Happen in Libya

Friday, February 12, 2016

Out and About

We've had a break this week from doctor's appointments. I'm not quite sure how we managed that because it seems that every week we have a few doctors' visits for my mother. We're enjoying the break. 

The medical care system in the United States is a mess. The doctors order a million tests and not all of them are covered on my mom's insurance plan. She's being charged astronomical fees for medicine too. She spends more on her health care than she receives for Social Security so she's dipping into her savings to cover her expenses. When I wasn't here she was deliberately cutting back on her medicine to try to stretch them and make them last longer which resulted in her getting blood clots in the arteries in her legs, more surgery, more stents... like a revolving door. She needs to be on the meds to keep going. Without the medicine she risks getting blood clots or having a stroke - or worse.

Mom seriously needs hearing aids. The television is blasting all day long, we are constantly having to repeat ourselves and shout at her. Unfortunately hearing aids aren't covered under Medicare or her additional insurance and they are too costly to pay for out of pocket. So we will just have to cope. 

Today I took my mother to a story telling event at the library. She struggled to get into the library with her walker. When we got to the designated room she sat down tired and out of breath. The story teller began promptly at two o'clock. My mother looked at me and said 'I can't hear anything'. The story lasted about 45 minutes. Mom waited as patently as she could, I had to put my finger to my lips to  remind her not to hum (she likes to hum). She fidgeted a bit and I worried that she would disturb the reader and the audience, but the only person that seemed bothered was me. I guess we can take storytelling off our list of things to do. 

Recently I took my mother and my son Ibrahim to the Museum of Fine Arts, My mother had her walker and could sit and look at the artwork while Ibrahim and I explored the museum's exhibits. My mother is a retired nurses aid - for many years she worked with the elderly and Alzheimer's patients. While she was sitting she noticed an elderly gentleman who was fidgeting - he had 'that look in his eye' that my mother recognized as someone who needs to use the bathroom. Her nurses aid role kicked in and she asked the man 'Would you like to come into the ladies room with me? I can help you there.' The man looked and my mother and said rather indignantly 'I HAVE a wife you know!'. My mother told him 'Ok.' 

Later when Ibrahim and I  finished out tour of the museum we caught up with my mother. She told me about the man. I asked her if he had asked her to use the bathroom and she said 'No, I could tell he needed the bathroom - I know that look'. I started to laugh. 'My goodness Mom! The man thought you were trying to pick him up!' Then we both laughed. Imagine that!

We enjoyed our time at the museum and plan to go back again when new exhibits are put out on display.

We liked the colors on this contemporary landscape titled: Sea of Grass - Sunset by American painter Jimmy Ernst

Ibrahim behind a large glass piece by Joey Kirkpatric and Flora Mace titled: Zanfirico Apple
This gorgeous intricate tapestry caught my eye. I tried to get close up of the details but it proved too difficult as the work was hung too high. It's part of a temporary exhibit. 
Next we plan to visit the Planetarium and Observatory. They have a special show about the winter stars and constellations. Mom might not be able to hear it, but at least she will be able to see the show - and it will get her out of the house for a bit. 

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