Saturday, August 25, 2007

What's One Of The Most Unusual Thing You Ever Saw

I recently read Mr. Leon Hale's blog . He is a newspaper features columnist for The Houston Chronicle . He said that one of his readers had asked him what was the most unusual thing that he has ever seen . He said it was one time when he and his partner were hiking through the English countryside. They came across an English couple making love on top of a levee in a heavily wooded area . The couple saw them and didn't stop . He said he and his partner just went around them as if they were not there. The surprise to Mr. Hale was that this was in England , and not France . He felt that if this had happened in France it would have been business as usual .The fact that this had happened in England he felt was uncharateristic behavior for the " stiff upper lip Englishman " . So , that was his story of one of the most unusual things he ever saw .

I want to tag you and ask the same question . What was one if the most unusual thing you have ever seen , so far ? For me it was possibly the sight of small ships being built in the semi desert outside of Tripoli where there wasn't any water to be found for kilometers . Normally a ship yard is adjacent to water ,or at least close enough to launch the boat / ship . Ok , now it is your turn . Try not to make it too racy, I don't want anyone to have a heart attack !

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hot As Hell

I took Moe to the gym today. When I stepped out of the building I was slapped in the face by a blast of air that was straight out of Hell . I am talking hot . That was at 9:30 a.m. and as the day got longer , it got hotter .
The yahoo weather said it was up to 108 F , with hot winds blowing out of the Sahara at 10 miles an hour , which to my reckoning , that would make it seem as if it was well over 110 F , AT LEAST . More of the same for tomorrow it said . Oh no ! Just imagine those guys that work in the dessert ! Poor Kamal . I bet he has turned into a crispy critter by now ! It was so hot that no sweat would form on the body . It would evaporated before it could cool off the body .
I had to drive to the side of town where it is all open . The winds had kicked up enough dust to do any dust devil proud . At one point I thought I had slipped off the face of the known world , the sand was so thick I couldn't hardly see to drive . The a.c. was going at it hammer and tongs , trying to cool the car , but it was totally useless ! When I got back to the sea , the air was so hot it was causing the sea to throw off steam ,which in turn was making clouds . Sorta cool , if it hadn't been so hot to enjoy ! Thought I would treat myself to a ice cream cone , but wouldn't you know it ? Everyone else on this side of town had the same idea , no ice cream ! Can't wait until Friday when it is supposed to be a normal 100 F again . Stay cool .

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Got Gas ?

Got Gas ? I am talking about the propane bottled cooking gas we use in Libya . There is never enough of the stuff especially right before a big holiday like Ramadan . It is always a difficult task to find gas . It is sold mainly at petrol stations , but you can also find it being sold in little out of the way cubby hole garages that only the locals of the area know about . I don't know how that works but have a feeling that this isn't exactly legal .

It always happens to me that I run out of gas when I am all alone , in the middle of cooking a all important meal . There never is anyone around to run the empty to the gas station to get a new full one . And the tanks are heavy even when they are empty let alone when they are full . Way too heavy for me to carry . Of course the logical thing would be to have a back up tank but Moe doesn't feel this is a necessity of life . Many men will simply roll these tanks along the ground instead of picking them up . I have been waiting in line for gas and seen this done many times . I cringe as they roll the gas tanks by kicking them along the cement bumping over pebbles and rocks waiting for the big boom but somehow it never has happened … yet .

This is the easy part in getting the gas , the real job is finding a tank that doesn't have a leak somewhere , either at the stem or the valve . Some of them are easy to spot because they are so beat up and u-g-l-y no one but it's mother would want it , lol ! Others are real sneaky , you won't discover a leak , even with brand new tanks this has happened to me, until way after you get them home and hooked up . Only when you walk into a kitchen that has filled up with gas do you know you have a problem Houston ! Another big problem with these beat up , bent out of shape tanks is that the top metal that surrounds the stem is always damaged in someway so the cap that fits down onto the stem can't be fitted . How aggravating is that ? Let me tell you how aggravating it is …..enough for it to be cause for a divorce !

Some one please tell me why the company continues to return those leaking tanks back into circulation over and over again when even a idiot can tell they are leaking! Imagine this happening during Ramadan when you are fasting , craving a cup of java , or in the case of men, a cigarette . The crowds go wild when a truck rolls into a gas station with a full load of tanks . They are crazy normally but during Ramadan , well it's not a pretty picture . And all this to get home with your prize in hand , only to find the thing leaks and you have to return it ? Ouch !

This crowd hysteria happens with other things as well during Ramadan . Like bread , no Libyan I know can go with out bread . I think Libyans could actually live on bread alone . Meat is not a problem except when you have to fight the crowds just to get close enough to even have the butcher in eye sight . And the veggies ? Or what about the almost holy date ? I think I read somewhere that there are 21 different types of dates . Most Libyans break their fast with a date, or two , or three , or more , lol . We always have at least three types and if left up to Moe we would just have dates to eat for the breakfast at sunset . SO, imagine the uproar at the date stands ! I know that Ramadan is very near because I saw my first date stand yesterday . On your mark , get set , GO !

Friday, August 17, 2007

All Most That Time Of Year Again

Well , it is getting close to that time of year again , I am talking about the Muslim month of Ramadan . It is less than one month away now . It is a lunar month in the Islamic calendar . There are either 29 days or 30 days in this month depending on the moon . During this month Muslims the world over fast , abstain from eating , drinking , profanity , bad thoughts , sex ,possibly other things I have forgotten, and bad deeds a little before sunrise until sunset . The purpose of the fast is to cleans and purify the soul , mind, and body of all toxic build up that is acquired during the year . Muslims are commanded to contemplate Allah / God , to read His Word that was given to mankind through the prophet Mohamed , and to fast during this time.

It is a holy time obviously , but also a wonderful family time . Many family's come to gather for Ramadan more than they do during the year . They share their meals at sunset . These meals maybe more of a feast than a normal meal . All kinds of delicacies are prepared that you won't find all year around .They visit one another . They laugh . They pray . They enjoy each other's company . It's sorta like a combined Thanksgiving , Christmas ( minus the presents , lol ), and Easter all rolled into one month .

It is also the time of year that all merchants here in Libya wait for with baited breath. All the food stuffs get more expensive during Ramadan , sad to say . So the best thing is to try to do as much pre-shopping to stock up on the basics as much possible . Then after the first two weeks are spent in visiting family and friends , the remaining two weeks are spent in the frenzied hustle and bustle of trying to find and purchase that prefect outfit for the 3 day celebration at the end of Ramadan called the Eid .

The Eid is another thing all of it's self . You wake up early , prepare breakfast , which seems weird and sinful all at the same time after fasting for a month .Then many go to their local mosque to pray . That is followed by everyone visiting each other . This goes on for three days here in Libya . The purpose of these visits are several fold . One, you can make peace with someone that you may have had problems with in the past year . Two , you get to show off your new clothes , not really but let's be honest here , that is a main goal for many , as shallow as that may seem . Three , you get in touch with many people you don't see the rest of the year , to wish them a Happy New Year ( although it isn't really New Years ) and rekindle old ties .

Many will tell you that Ramadan is a feeling , but when pressed to describe what kind of a feeling, it proves so elusive an emotion , that they just can't put it to words . It has a holy feeling to it . It evokes happiness because the families draw closer . The food is a special gift from the women of the families cooked with love , served with devotion to those closest to our hearts. Fellowship is mixed in there somewhere too . All these things make Ramadan a special time of year for many . Something that is done with a glade heart . Here is wishing you a very Happy Ramadan in the coming month .

Wednesday, August 15, 2007



I heard something today that struck a cord .It went sorta like this ," Hope is the absence of a plan " .In other words , if you only hope something will /or not happen that is really because you haven't a plan to carry out your wishes , desires ,or whatever. Is this true ?

We are taught to always have a Plan B . And what is Hope but not another word for Plan B ? And a Plan B is only a disguise for Faith .Someone has always told me all my life to have Faith , that the outcome will be good if only I have enough Faith in God / Allah / Jehovah , take your pick , because it doesn't matter it's all the same Entity . Haven't we all heard that saying "Faith moves mountains "? What does that mean exactly ?

So , what happens when Plan B / Faith fails us ? People go several ways in that case . They might have a increase in Faith / Plan B when things go south . Many declare they never really believed, to begin with, in Hope, that word again . They don't want to look foolish for having Faith when things don't turn out as Plan B'd .Sometimes people just continue to have Hope anyway . In Blind Faith .

There are all kinds of quotes on Hope from Emily Dickens to Anderson Copper the news reporter .Whether or not you have Faith / Hope / Plan B you must admit that the ultimate mystery is the ability to trust so blindly that your trust will not be betrayed . How far will you trust your Fate to such a iffy thing that you are unable to see , touch, hold in the palm of your hand ? That is the definition of Hope .

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Fantastic Day

This morning was a wonderful time spent with one of Tripoli's icons of beauty , the incomparable Sheila . She has a way about her , our Sheila does , that makes you feel completely pampered when you leave her magical hands . She does things to you that you aren't fully aware of while in her presence .

It isn't just all about getting your hair or whatever done , either . When she gave me my pedicure this morning she messaged my legs .Afterwards they were all tingly , the blood flowing , the aches and pains that have been plaguing me all gone . She listens to all the things that no one else would give you two minutes of their time . She calls you honey , my sweaty , and is so empathetic when you tell her your problems .You couldn't pay anyone else outside of a therapist to listen to them . All the while she is giving you the very best of whatever service you went to her for .

After Sheila's I went in search of a internet card . I found a place that sells them and promptly bought two just so I can reach out and touch you . LOL ! The girl in the store looked at me like I had sprouted two horns when I told her I wanted two . I guess it must seem a extravagance to her ? It isn't to me since they are not always easy to find when you need them the most .

Then I went in search of lunch . That is another of the benefits of going to Sheila's , I don't have to prepare lunch for Moe . I try to go to Sheila's on one Moe's days for the gym . He enjoys going to a sidewalk café for lunch now and then after his work outs . He chats with whoever shows up that day and they catch up on all the latest news .
I have been hungry for one of those burgers that taste a lot like a American burger that you can find here . So , off I went to the burger joint . They have those extra crispy cholesterol laden French Fries that are so yummy . They even have real mustard . Ah , what a lovely treat after days of totally healthy food and good living !!!
Sometimes I get so tired of being good . I have noticed that it takes up a lot of my time and effort , trying to keep my halo on straight ! A day spent in almost total indulgence has gotta be sinful . What a day , I look fantastic , feel smashing , and had a gastronomical feast . Can things get any better than this ?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Improvements

About two years ago I started to drive again after an absence of not driving for fifteen years .I had driven all the time when we lived in the States . It was nothing to get the kids in the car and go for a three hour ride . That was a lot of fun . I never thought the day would come when I would actually HATE to drive , but I do now .Since I now drive here in Libya it has become a much dreaded task sad to say .The JOY is all gone . Now it is something that needs to be done only if necessary .Driving in the past was a effortless thing that brought freedom and happiness . Now it is the exact opposite .
Driving in the States ,compared to driving here, is like comparing riding a bike with training wheels to NASR Car racing .There in the States if you follow the rules then generally speaking things will go ok since the majority of the other drivers are all on the same page as you .Not so here in Libya. What is that saying from the movie called The Fight Club? The first rule of Fight Club is , there is NO Rule ! Then the second rule of Fight Club is , there is No Rule . Well , that goes with out saying here , too ! It is every driver for them selves and God help you if you don't have "you know what's of steel" ! Crash up derby has nothing over the average Libyan driver !
And now to mix it up some , they have started the long over due process of repaving roads , patching pot holes , and making completely new roads where none existed before .So you could conceivably be minding your own business driving along a well traveled road that you know , and find that half way down the road , preferably where there is no where to back up , turn around , and with out warning ,that the road is ... take your pick :
a. torn up and impassable
b. non existent any longer
c. closed off
d. ends into a deep crevasse that drops , oh anywhere , say fifty meters
f. all the above
If you should survive all that just to go get a loaf of bread , then you can count yourself lucky . Just imagine what awaits the unknowing driver unfamiliar with the local roads when out for that leisurely drive . What an oxymoron that sentence is !
But on the plus side of things , if you manage to survive all these things , and if they ever finish the roads , a very big IF , then it will pretty nice .They are also trying hard to clean the city of Tripoli and surrounding towns up. I am seeing dumpsters scattered all over now . A few on the beaches even . We even have some street signs here and there .More of an effort is being made to plant grass , flowers , and trees along the roads . So nice to see green things growing .These are all cosmetic true but that is a step in the right direction .
I am still keeping my fingers crossed that one day soon if a person becomes ill on a Friday needing medical attention at a government hospital , they will actually SEE a doctor AND be treated all on the same day ! There are free neighborhood clinics everywhere here but nothing in them . No equipment , no medicines , and a shortage of help even though 1 in 2 University graduates are doctors .Be nice if at least one of the two CT-scans in the public hospitals worked all the time , 24/7 , in stead of whenever ! Be nice if the hospitals were clean , sterilized all the time . I have noticed a larger effort in this area here lately . Be nice if there was a trauma hospital that was easily assessable to all in an emergency.There may be one already but I haven't heard about it so it must not be doing any good .
As long as I am making a wish list I'd like to see improvement :
in the public schools
in drug treatment centers
cancer which is very common here
diabetes and heart treatment
much needed improvement in the ARTS
more readily available public housing
youth programs
practical job training
and the list is never ending I guess .So long have things been neglected that we are having to play a quick game of catch up . Well ,for now I guess we will have to be content with the roads .

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


This is soooo funny , it's scary ! A Friend sent this to me in a e-mail today . Thought I'd let you have a peek of me . LOL !

THIS IS HAPPENING RIGHT HERE IN OUR OWN COUNTRY! We Must Stop This Immediately! Have you noticed that stairs are getting steeper. Groceries are heavier. And, everything is farther away. Yesterday I walked to the corner and I was dumbfounded to discover how long our street had become! And, you know, people are less considerate now, especially the young ones. They speak in whispers all the time! If you ask them to speak up they just keep repeating themselves, endlessly mouthing the same silent message until they're red in the face! What do they think I am, a lip reader? I also think they are much younger than I was at the same age. On the other hand, people my own age are so much older than I am. I ran into an old friend the other day and she has aged so much that she didn't even recognize me. I got to thinking about the poor dear while I was combing my hair this morning, and in doing so, I glanced at my own refection.........well, REALLY NOW- even mirrors are not made the way they used to be! Another thing, everyone drives so fast these days! You're risking life and limb if you happen to pull onto the freeway in front of them. All I can say is, their brakes must wear out awfully fast, the way I see them screech and swerve in my rear view mirror. Clothing manufacturers are less civilized these days. Why else would they suddenly start labeling a size 10 or 12 dress as 18 or 20? Do they think no one notices? The people who make bathroom scales are pulling the same prank. Do they think I actually "believe" the number I see on that dial? HA! I would never let myself weigh that much! Just who do these people think they're fooling? I'd like to call up someone in authority to report what's going on -- but the telephone company is in on the conspiracy too: they've printed the phone books in such small type that no one could ever find a number in there! All I can do is pass along this warning: WE ARE UNDER ATTACK! Unless something drastic happens, pretty soon everyone will have to suffer these awful indignities. PS: I am sending this to you in a larger font size , because something has happened to my computer's fonts - they are smaller than they once were !

So , there it is , me in large print !