Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things I Have Become Aware Of

I have hidden my head in the sand long enough .I have refused to believe that certain things exist here in Libya because I just didn't want to admit it was so . My children and my friends have all said for sometime that these conditions exist but I blindly refused to say it's true . I give up ! It's true , all of it sad to say .

What am I talking about ? Well, prejudices towards women like me and my children .It breaks my heart to know that this really is a emotion here and it is alive and well .I am hated because I am from another country ,a different culture , have hair and eyes that are of a different color from the norm here in Libya .

I may look different . I might speak broken Arabic , but I have lived more than half my life here.I am married to a Libyan , born and raised Libyan children here . I have buried a son here .I have cried here, laughed here, and prayed here . I became a Muslim here .I respect myself and others around me . I obey the laws .And for all that I and my children are looked down upon . This is true for many of the other foreigner women married to Libyans also . I know it has nothing to do with whether or not I wear a Hijab or not also . It is just because I am different . Different is not accepted .

Sad to say this prejudice has reared it's ugly head toward my children off and on . They are as Libyan as the next Libyan. Luckily they are also as American as anyone in America . They have the best of both worlds ; culture ,heritage ,languages, families , and a choice of two countries .They love their two countries and are proud to have such a rich inheritance .

The other thing I have " discovered " since moving back here in 1990 is the abundance of Black Magic that is practiced here .I never even thought about such a thing when we lived here in the 1970's , or heard of it either . Now days even sane people are talking about Black Magic or the Evil Eye . Of course it is flatly denied that this practice even exists here but it is rampant as unbelievable as that may seem in 2008 .

I am constantly being warned to beware of the Evil Eye. I always tell the person warning me OK but really .... come on , I mean it is 2008 right ? But they are very serious. I just continue to remind them that to practice Black Magic is against the religion . That's when I am deluged with all sorts of stories about this one and that one that had a spell cast upon them and the horrible consequences that befell them for not taking precautions against it .

I know it is 2008 because my calendar tells me so. I am not truly convinced it isn't the Dark Ages sometimes since these things are still happening . Maybe I will wake up and find it is all a dream ? What are the odds of that happening ?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Game

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

What's Going On

All sorts of things are going on this month that's worth mentioning . One was the first ever United Nations Hand Washing Day . That was Oct. 15 , 08 . They say that washing your hands is actually more effective than taking vitamin C to ward off the common cold . Imagine that , just by washing your hands . It was predicted that more than 120 million children in 70 countries across five continents participated in this new hygiene campaign sponsored by the UN this year to help combat disease . You think that washing your hands is a basic thing , right ? But just think ... if you don't have access to water or can't afford to the luxury of buying soap then how can you wash your hands ? That's what being poor in a third world country is like for many .

I have asked the neighborhood children if they had any discussions about washing their hands in school and they all looked at me like I was crazy . So , I am assuming this wasn't a teaching opportunity here in Libya .

The Pink Ribbon Day is Oct.27,08 . This day brings Breast Cancer awareness to everyones attention hopefully . The whole month of October is Breast
Cancer Month . Great strides have been made in the detection and treatment of this deadly disease that not only strikes women , but men as well . I am sure you have heard it said that it is easily treated if it is caught in time, in most cases . A simple breast exam can be done in the privacy of your own home or if a more detailed exam is needed , a mammography is readily available in most hospitals or wellness clinics . Once again this isn't true here in Libya . I am sure some of the larger hospitals have mammography available if the doctor asks for it , but not at the local clinic level , sad to say . Also sad to say , I haven't met any breast cancer survivors here in Libya either , or heard of any .

October 16 was World Food Day . This was another UN sponsored event world wide to bring hunger into awareness . The 17th of October was End Poverty Day . October is also Dyslexia Awareness month . Dyslexia is one of many learning disorders that can be helped sometimes . October is host to the following celebrations as well ...... the 7th was " My Lucky Day " , on the 10th it was "Tuxedo Day" , wow , we really missed out on that one . I think Libyans celebrate October 23 , "Drive Fast Day " ,and October 25, " Don't Follow Any Rule Day " all the time ! There was even a " Someone Is Waiting For You Day ' on the 5 th . That happens a lot here too . So maybe October is Libya's month?
My personal favorite one was on the 3rd ..." Wear Clothes Today Day" LOL !

I have been busy these last few weeks . We have had a whole slew of weddings . I went to a wedding the other night where one of the guest was so bored that she spent the entire time on her cell phone texting a friend . I wonder why she even bothered to come if her companions were so uninteresting . But maybe it was because as usual the music was so loud you couldn't carry on a conversation with the person seated next to you . I did hear some music I never heard before though so that was good . Another wedding I am going to this week will be serving over 1000 men for lunch one day this week .I wonder how many women will be going to the wedding night celebration? Maybe I better go early so I can find a good seat in front of the air conditioner and away from the speakers , lol ! The mother of the groom is a foreigner like me.She has family flying in from as far away as Sydney , Australia to be at the wedding .

Moe and I went to the new mall yesterday . While we were there we had lunch from one of many little restaurants available . You have seating in a main commons area for all the
restaurants situated near the children's play arena . It was noisy of course but surprisingly the kids were mostly well behaved and pretty well mannered too . That was so nice to see !

As Moe and I ate we noticed something you don't see very often here in Libya . The women were walking around with smiles on the lips and happy faces . Normally a woman will not show too much emotion in public here , like smiling , since it might be misconstrued as flirting by some males . That in turn leads to unwelcome advances or gossip . So , women just don't walk around smiling here too often . It was so wonderful to see those smiles along with the laughter . I miss seeing happy people . The best part was the men were happy too. They were not busy trying to see who was looking at their women the whole time . They were relaxed too . It was such a normal scene that I completely forgot where I was until we walked outside the mall .

Irritable Male Syndrome

After centuries of women being the brunt of jokes about being grouchy , we have some revenge on our male counter parts .... The Irritable Male Syndrome . Oh yes , it could and HAS happened finally . Some one has acknowledged it exists . It is no longer a figment of wives , girlfriends , and females in general imaginations .

This video shows book author Jed Diamond discussing the signs and different types of IMS to be on the look out for from men, with CBS Early Shows hostess Julie Chan . This is a funny look at something that happens to men all over the world . Watch this video and you will be sure to see a man you recognize ! LOL !

Watch CBS Videos Online

Friday, October 17, 2008

Polls , Reality Checks , Burn Out

I stayed up until 3 A.M. Tripoli time last night or early this morning depending on how you look at it , to watch the last presidential debate in real time. It was what I had been waiting for ... actual answers to questions , the issues discussed , where the candidates stood on them , and the separation of fact from fiction .CBS's Morey Shaffer did a great job as moderator keeping the debate mostly in line and on schedule . The latest poll from today seems to suggest that Obama is a head to date . The Electoral College has Obama up by 109 electoral votes over McCain so far with 94 States still up for grabs . Having said all this .... I am having presidential debate burn out . How about you ? That sounds so unpatriotic . Only 19 more days until the American people elect a new president .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nothing To Talk About

Can you believe it ? I have nothing to talk about . So I thought about posting some pictures for you to look at while I think of something to say . Have a great day !

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Was Tagged

Amreekia min Bab Al Sharayah has tagged me from her blog . She asks me a very loaded question that I guess most of us has asked ourselves at some place in time ; " Is there anything in your life you would like to do over if you had the chance ? " She wants details too ! OH MY !!! This is something that requires a lot of thought .

The easy answer would be the standard one ... No Way , but I think that would be hypocritical to say that , don't you ? To be honest , I am sure most people at one point in their lives have said , at least just to themselves ," If I could do this all over I would " . You know you have .

But can I pin it down to just a simple answer ? Hum ... not too sure . I am a Virgo and , we LOVE DETAILS !!! LOL ! So , yes , there are a few things I would change if I could .

I like perfection . I realize it is a impossibility in real life to achieve . While on the other hand I am basically a lazy person , which makes this trait frustrating all on it's own to live with sometimes . So , I guess I would like to be more pro active in my own life and not an observer as such .

I would have been a better mother to my children and less a parent . There is a difference you know . Parenting is a discipline and mothering is nurturing . I would have been more consistent . A " Leave It To Beaver " sorta mom , or a " Soccer MOM ", as Sarah Palin describes in her speeches . My children met people of all walks of life so that they would be tolerant of " Differences " , accepting of "Others" . I think I would have added along with the culture they were exposed to , more academics . I was blind sided by that one , not stressing studies more , or rather insisting on academic excellence . Yep , I would definitely have demanded better grades in school from them "If" I had it to do all over again .

I would have placed them under a Bell Jar forever to protect them from all the horrors the world would later hurl at them when they became older . I would have kissed every single boo boo and every single ow wee and kissed each and every tear away from those tender checks . I would have said "I love you" until they screamed for me to stop .

That's what I would do over if I could . I just have to hope and pray that one day they will come to realize that I did the best I could at the time, with all the love a mother can hold in her heart , to make them into the wonderful individuals they are today .

If I have tagged you , please answer my question on your blog as a post . Title it .. " I was Tagged " duh ! Then for chuckles and grins tag five or more other people !
So ......... Tag , you it !

Rosebud ....... Please tell us how you feel about being married and waiting for your first baby to be born . Details please , lol .

Serena........ Please describe to us how you paint with words ,a picture so clearly .

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

Caught In The Middle ........ Please share with us the thing you love most about living here . The Libyan thing that gives you greatest pleasure .

a-akak ....... What makes you laugh until tears roll down your face ?

Khalid Jorni ......... If you fell in love with a foreign woman , would you marry her anyway ?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Purple , The New Red

Mens fashions have come a long way over the past forty years . In the years before the wild hippies 60's came along the average man wore a white shirt , long black necktie , and a black suit . The swinging 60's changed all that and along with it , the necktie .

I have noticed a new trend recently of men all over the TV airwaves wearing purple neckties . Straight men , normal men , business men , men in politics everywhere are wearing the Purple ! It's the new Red . I saw Alistair Darling , the Chancellor of England wearing a purple tie just the other day while addressing Parliament on the banking crisis . Why even ole George W. was wearing one recently and he is a good ole boy from way back when !

Red was THE POWER COLOR since the 1980's in neckties . In fact I
think it was a unwritten LAW in Washington that you HAD to wear a red necktie if you wanted to be noticed , lol ! But lately I am seeing more and more serious men wearing purple ties with lavender ( another unheard of color for a man just a few years ago ) shirts , or pink shirts even . I am all for this revolution ! So far I have only seen one man who should never wear purple ,lol , but other than him , the rest of the male population looks fantastic in this new red ! As a matter of fact , Neiman Marcus is saying that the NEW LOOK is "the gray suit , you can give it a pop with a shot of purple or lavender. The power look is a gray suit worn with a white shirt and a purple tie , all in slimmer cuts ."

I am sure you are asking yourself by now why all this fascination with the Purple , right ? Well , just think a little about the history of the color purple . In the ancient world only royalty or the very , very rich could afford to wear purple . It came fro
m a tiny snails mucus secretion that was found ONLY in Tyre, Lebanon .

Then there was a whole taboo of ordinary people wearing purple . During the Roman times only the Senators or Caesar were allowed to wear it .Centuries later only women wore purple . And that started a different sort of segregation for the Color Purple . I heard not too long ago that right after the Gold Rush of 1849 in San Francisco there was such a shortage among the population of women that there arose a organization know as the Lavender
Cowboys( a walking tour called "Cruising the Castro," which is led by a woman named Trevor. Trevor explains that prior to 1849, San Francisco was a small backwater town. But when they struck gold, 40,000 people, from all over the country, flooded the city. Trevor adds, "When you take into account that most of those 40,000 were 18 to 25-year-old men, well, need I say more?" According to Trevor there was even a group of gold miners that openly referred to themselves as "The Lavender Cowboys."). They silently help built the city up into the greatest city west of the Mississippi until the Great Quake of 1906 destroyed it .They were a underground movement that wouldn't find it's equal until more recent modern times .

But all this aside .. I just like all the different shades and hues of purple . And I find it fascinating that men are into the color now too . Think of all the nice foods that come in purple . All the music groups with the color purple in their names . What about that song by Prince .. Purple Rain ? And now in the US election they are saying that there aren't just Red states ( that means states that favor the Republican party in this election ) or Blue states ( that's the Democratic states ) , no .. now there are even Purple states . They are the states previously in favor of the Republican party ( red) but now are leaning toward the Democratic party (blue) or in other words... Purple . Now that's interesting don't you think when purple stands for royalty or prehappes Presidential ?

Here is food for thought .... Purple being such a amazing color , representing honor , royalty , rarity , and uniqueness , I wonder why there hasn't ever been a nation with their flag colored Purple ?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Presidential Quiz & The Debates

After watching the second of the debates between Obama and McCain the other night I thought you might want to take a crack at learning who you agree with most .. so far . This is a quiz provided by ABC News network on line . I think you will be surprised by who you pick . It isn't long , is easy to do and totally private .

Just for chuckles and grins ... check out this article from the Yahoo news room on how the Electoral College stacks up its votes pre debate on Tuesday Oct. 7 , 2008 . Feeling a little blue ? Now look at the same Electoral College map after the debate . Thanks once again to the folks at Real Clear Politics for the latest poll after the debate on how McCain and Obama stand ... so far .

I don't know about you but I was disappointed that even in the Town Hall Meeting atmosphere of concise questions asked by the audience and viewers , the two presidential candidates still skirted the issues by vague answers . I was expecting , for some wild reason , that they would take this vital opportunity to let the voters hear what their policies and ideas are in more of a concert answer . I grew frustrated with the bickering and wanted to just shout at them to shut up a minute and answer the questions they had been asked . They were worse than small children arguing over who is right and who is wrong ! I half way expected to hear one or the other start to yell " I'm telling !" I am hoping next weeks debate isn't more of the same . I think the American people and the world is really invested in this election and it's out come. They have the right to the straight facts from these two men, not this election rhetoric we have been hearing so far .

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Brave New World

I recently read this article reporting Libya's new adventures into the wonderful world of consumerism . I read the story on Inquirer. Net . I will print it below so you can read for yourself what it says . It is pretty accurate and brings up several points a couple of you commented on in my previous post.

Libyans savor joys of consumerism

Agence France-Presse

Posted date: October 04, 2008

TRIPOLI -- Libyans are shaking off decades of deprivation resulting from an iron-fisted socialist rule, international isolation and sanctions to savor the joys of their new market economy.

Gone are the days of having to queue outside gloomy state shops to buy subsidized consumer goods in Libya, which is an OPEC member and Africa's number two oil producer with reserves estimated to total 42 billion barrels.

Thanks to high oil prices, a promise by flamboyant leader Moammar Gadhafi to give the people a share of the country's multi-billion oil revenues and the government's economic reforms drive, Libyans have embraced consumerism.

Designer boutiques dot the posh Gargaresh avenue of the capital Tripoli, where Libyans can shop for the latest fashions as well as stop in a US-style fast-food eatery for a late-night slice of pizza.

Amid traffic jams, young Libyan men slip behind the wheel of their four-wheel drive cars or sporty BMW models and cruise the streets until the early hours, music blasting from their car stereos.

"We have suffered enough, especially during the (UN-imposed) embargo," from 1992 until 2003, said Ahmad, a 35-year-old banker, who declined to give his surname.

"It is time we catch up on those lost years."

Private investors have tapped into the mood of the country of nearly six million inhabitants -- which imports 90 percent of its consumer goods -- by transforming a dismal state-run market into Tripoli's first superstore.

The four-story modern temple of consumerism opened in September drawing a flow of eager customers who pushed and shoved their way into the mega store.

"Finally we can shop like everyone else," said a 40-year-old woman.

The investors, including a charity run by Gadhafi's daughter Aisha, poured seven million dollars into the project.

The scheme reflects a decision by the government to shake off Libya's staunch socialist economy and embrace reforms and globalization since mending its ties with the West.

The turning point came when Gadhafi publicly abandoned the quest for weapons of mass destruction at the end of 2003.

Libya has since 2000 been working to dismantle the central economy adopted in the 1970s and replace it with a market economy, by encouraging privatization to create more jobs and phase out subsidies burdening the economy.

At the same time the government has hiked the salaries of civil servants by 50 percent to bolster purchasing power.

Three years ago credit cards appeared in Libya and banks are offering easy credit terms with preferential rates to private investors.

The result has been a surge in restaurants, shops and apartments.

And on the streets of Tripoli even the omnipresent portraits of Gadhafi have given way to placards advertising a variety of goods and projects.

During a ceremony to mark the 39th anniversary of his overthrow of the Western-backed monarchy in early September, Gadhafi pledged anew a plan to hand out to the people 37 billion dollars of non-essential government spending.

"Libyans should all be ready to receive a share of the oil revenues starting from the beginning of next year," Gadhafi said, after promising to scrap most government ministries and hand their budgets directly to the people.

But this over-injection of cash and an increase in demand have sent food prices sky-rocketing.

Inflation rose from 1.4 percent in 2006 to reach 6.2 percent in 2007 while it hit a record of nearly 12 percent for the first seven month of 2008, according to the central bank.

Many families are trailing behind, despite state assistance to the poor.

"Life is becoming more and more expensive and families are more demanding," said Mohammed, who drives a cab at night and teaches English by day to help make ends meet.

"You have to work hard in order to earn a good living and satisfy everyone," he said.

This father of three complained that Libya was heading from "stifling socialism to wild capitalism."

"Libyans are begging on the streets," he said. "This never existed before."

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

What's Your Fantasy?

What is your very own fantasy ? I don't mean THAT kind of fantasy , but what you dream about doing or living if there wasn't any obstacles in the way such as lack of money or time . Would it be travel ? Maybe you would be some one famous ? Or what about rich ? Would you be a saint ? Prehappes you would be a famous inventor that invented something to help mankind ? How would you live ? Where ? Would you be a duck ? I have know a couple of people that wanted at one time or another to be a duck , so don't laugh !

I used to dream that Moe and I would live in Venice in a restored palace along the Grand Canal . We would go to the opera , the art gallerias , the theater , stroll along the Piazza San Marco pretending to be tourist feeding the pigeons . We would dine al fresco when it was warm enough , eating fantastically prepared gastronomical delights that Venice is famous for under the open sky . There would always be music in the background like a Hollywood movie sound track somehow , lol . We would of course go to the Venice Film Festival and see all the movies stars there for awards . 090.Venice,carnival,venice,carnival,Italy. I would wear those dresses that you used to see the actresses of old movies wear , with my hair ALWAYS perfectly styled ! When winter comes we would definitely go to the Carnival in handmade costumes that would look like something from a European court of the 1700's wearing masks that would take your breath away from the shear beauty of them . Hey , it's my fantasy ! What is yours ?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Eid News

Today is the last day of the Eid . It has been a very nice Eid . Our daughters in America called us twice each . Our son , his wife and his son came and spent the first day with us . We had several family members stop by as well that day . What's nice about the Eid for us , is that we never know who will come by for a visit . One year it might be this person and the next year they may not come but some one else will . Always interesting to see who drops in to say hello !

In the middle of of the night of the first day I woke up with a migraine and stomach ache more or less wishing I was dead . I couldn't sleep from the pain and had no one to drive me to the hospital . I tried this and I tried that but nothing seemed to help make things better . I think I might have taken every drug known to man at one point just trying to stay alive.I haven't been sick like that in several years .

Luckily Moe was going to spend the second day with his sisters . I spent that day in bed trying to recover from the night before . Still not feeling well I took knock out drugs hoping to sleep whatever it was I had off . I faintly remember hearing the door a couple of times but couldn't move to answer it .I woke up around six in the evening feeling like I might live ... maybe .

I was sitting down trying to watch TV when I heard a knock on the door . It was a good friend of the family come to say Mabruk for the Eid . While he was here a niece drop by as well . It was her first Ramadan and Eid here in Libya , since she recently moved here from England with her family .I had to laugh at her as I told her she should go visit one of the older uncles who was quite ill . She looked at me and said this Eid business is so complicated ! In England we just have to visit his mom and then my mom . That's it , where as here it is all these uncles , aunts , cousins and friends of the family . No wonder they have to have three whole days to do this ! LOL !

Today I woke up feeling like I would survive whatever this is I have , but it is still pretty iffy even at this point .You know I am ill when I don't want to eat ! I have containers of sweets and a fridge full of soft drinks . I am thinking of giving it all to the neighborhood kids . Moe and I don't need all that junk .

What was so cool , well from my point of view , is that it rained here for several hours the night before the first day . I mean it rained . It was so great to see that rain tumbling down .Then afterwards the temperature drop several degrees and things were nice most of that day . It was a lovely unexpected surprise and a wonderful gift . So that's how our Eid was spent .

I had hoped to go visit some of my friends I didn't get to see during Ramadan these last few days of Eid but haven't been well enough to do so . This is a long week end so maybe by tomorrow I will be well enough to go out before everyone gets back into their pre- Ramadan schedules again .

I think one reason people love Ramadan so much here in Libya is that we live at a even slower pace than during normal times .Yes , there is the pressure on women here to be gourmets chefs along with all the other things we have on our plates daily , but there is also the family closeness that comes with Ramadan and especially the Eid that we don't have in our everyday lives . It is hard on the men as well during Ramadan , no cigarette's or coffee . But that is all off set by the family times spent together . People make time for friends and family during Ramadan , where as they let the pace of life
over take them in non Ramadan or Eid times . I think there in lies the happiness factor of Ramadan and the Eid .

I really hope all of you had a lovely Eid this year .Take care , The Edge