Friday, February 27, 2009

Ace Is The Place

Moe and I did the monthly shopping yesterday and it nearly broke our bank , let me tell you ! I couldn't BELIEVE how much food items have gone up ! A small jar of coffee that used to be 3.50 is now 6 dinars and the large would be 10 , when it was only 7 something last month . It had to be a little jar since there weren't any large jars of either of these brands to be found ,Nescafe or Maxwell House brands in the several souks we went to . This is Libya . Hello , we drink capacious amounts of coffee here , and now you can't find larger jars of the stuff ? What next?

I did find several treasures though , like black eyed peas . I love them , being from Texas . We consider it bad luck not to eat them on New Years day . Well , we are having them at long last tonight and I hope it isn't too late for the good luck part , lol ! I also found Worcestershire sauce ..... Wooopppppeeeeee !!!!!!!! I bought 4 bottles , just in case it goes missing again . You should have seen the look on the check out girl when she saw all those bottles , lol !

Now I am hoping some enterprising person will bring in Secret deodorant one of these days too . Maybe some one that lived in the south of America and that understands the importance of those weird southern foods stuffs will import grits too . I love grits with my eggs in the mornings . Right now I have to substitute them with cous cous , but it just isn't the same at all . Grits are made from corn , hominy to be exact , where cous cous is a wheat product . But they look alike , lol .I am trying to trick my mind here into thinking it's grits I'm eating .

I got avocados too and will make a batch of chili with guacamole to go with it one night for dinner . I love to layer the chili in a bowel with a salad on the bottom , then crushed up corn chips like Doritos on top of the salad , then a ton of cheese on top of that , THEN the piping hot chili , with more cheese on top of that and for chuckles and grins , the
guacamole salad on the side with a dap of yogort on top of it .You think you died and went to heaven when you eat that meal . And talk about stuffed ? Honey that's all she wrote , when you eat that meal !

This is making me hungry , all this talk of food . I guess I need to get up from this computer and go start dinner . We are having cous cous with veggies tonight . I think I will make it hot with green peppers so we will have an excuse to eat ice cream , lol !

Oh , before I forget what I had orginally intended to write about , I better mention that I saw in the news that ACE HARDWARE stores in America are opening 6 stores here in Libya over the next ten years . This is a really big deal as far as I am concerned . How nice it will be to be able to go buy just a washer for the faucet instead if having to buy the whole thing just because it leaks ? Or maybe a hammer that the head doesn't go flying off the 1st time you use it ? Maybe even a proper shovel that has balance ? OMG !!! I hope they open one soon !

Field of Dreams: Water

Field of Dreams: Water

You have to read this if you live here in Libya ! It makes sense as to the rise of cancers here in Libya .

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Zukara And The Bride

This a Libyan band that plays for special occasions .It is called a Zukara . They play and sing songs . There are drums and bagpipes that are played while the musicians either twirl around and / or dance as they play . They played for us for AT least 30 minutes while we looked on clapping and cheering them for even more ! It was a real privilege to see them as normally they don't enter a building where the women are , electing to play for them from outside , as the women listen from indoors . Also , they will charge BY THE SONG ,which price is expensive , therefore they don't normally play too many songs .This day we heard song after song . As they played , different women from the group I was with , would tuck money into their hats or belts , sometimes even throwing money literally at their feet . They LOVED that , lol ! You can get a feel of the motion of their music by the movement in the pictures .

This Libyan girl is dressed as a bride in Libyan national dress . She is the sister of Howida , our hostess for the Yefern trip . See how lovely she is ? Mashallah !!!
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You can see where Yefren , spelled Yafran on the map above , is located .

This was the view from the hotel balcony of the hills that descend down to the Jirfarah Plain below from the mountains where we were in Yefern . It took us 3 hours by bus to go through the mountains to Yefern , but only 15 minutes to descend through this mountain pass to the plains below .
The below is the entrance to the synagogue , which was built in a cave . Many people used to live in caves hollowed out from the mountain sides for protection from the weather and also for security reasons . In the picture below this one , you can still see Hebrew carved into the rock wall .

Last Wednesday I was invited by my friend Charleen to go as her guest with her international Ladies group called the OEA ( this is the original name for Tripoli ) Club to Yefern, which is in the Nafusa mountain range about 3 hours south/south west of Tripoli . We were the guest of Ms. Howida , who's mother's family is from Yefern . Howida had invited us all to have lunch in the hotel ( see the picture from the brochure above ) there in Yefern ,which by the way is run by a woman !

She also invited us to go see her ancestral home which is next to a cave dwelling. Many mountain people used to live in caves long ago. The house still belongs to her family . We saw an old olive oil press too . We were taken to see one of the oldest surviving synagogues in Libya named Hawarien . It is 2200 years old and was a place of pilgrimage back in it's hey days before Islam was present in North Africa .

Yefern is mainly populated by Berbers, as are most of the mountain towns here in Libya. They have their own culture and language separate from the Libyan national Arabic language and Arab culture . Usually in the homes Berber is spoken , while in public Arabic is spoken is used as the official language .

We had a truly wonderful time there in Yefern . The people welcomed us with open arms . The hotel we went to for lunch was very nice . It had fantastic Libyan national dishes for us to eat such as cous cous with mutton that was so tender it fell off the bone . After our feast a Libyan band called a Zukara came in to entertain us ( see the previous post " Zukara ) . They played and danced for us for about 30 or more minutes . A unheard of treat! Our hostesses sister dressed up as a Libyan bride in traditional dress . She was so pretty ! The hotel staff was helpful and polite . The hotel itself was so clean ! They were so warm and friendly to all of us making this a day to remember .

Sadly we ran out of time before we had to head home . We didn't get to see the Roman tower ( see picture above) or any of the 3 original villages of Yefren that were built on the mountain side . We did get to see them from the bus window on our way down the mountain side through the pass . I want to say here that we had a great bus driver ! He was really good and I would feel safe with him driving me anywhere !

Once we had reached the floor of the plains below , we stopped so many of the women could look and shop for many hand made pottery items that the mountains are famous for here in Libya . I received as presents from Charleen a lovely coffee mug that will always bring happy memories to me as I drink from it . I love that the roses have dew drops on them and the rich colors . My other friend that went with us bought me 4 small bowels in colors that remind me of the sea . Their pictures are at the top of the page .Wish you could have been with us , because you would have loved the trip too !

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Something For Everyone

Hey ! I just stumbled across this " Entertainment Weekly " article that list all sorts of web sights from movies ,to how to DYI , TV party sights , to karaoke , where the origin of a word came from , to a sight with the history of banned music in the US . On and on the list goes . Something for everyone . Check it out !


I forgot to say in that last post , that the Ground Hog was correct in say when he saw his shadow on Feb. 2 , 2009 that we will have 6 more weeks of winter . Winter blew into Tripoli last Sunday and has been here every since . Some showers and lots of cold weather . Very nice but not enough rain yet . There aren't many flowers this year like last year in the country side . The farmers are already plowing the land under instead of waiting because of the flowers , like they did last year . Sad to still be seeing a brown landscape instead of a green flowery one .

Hello !

I'm BACK !!!! I was off line so long due in part to LTT internet company here in Libya . SIGHING GOING ON HERE ! First it was money they were wanting , again , with the money ! Then it was the delay of the internet being reconnected , that 2 to 3 day delay we sometime experience with LTT service . Then after waiting THAT time period out ... I still couldn't sign in ! Oh NO ! Oh Yes ! So , I called the service people , and that was a ordeal all in it's self , let me tell you . I gave up on that and called my server instead and they were very prompt in their service .

BUT here too, I ran into a problem. Language , to be specific , English. I was being told my user name and password was invalid ,urgh !!!!! I called them and spoke to a very nice man and he told me he would reset my user name and password for me . Just SPELL out to him my user name and the password . Ok .Easy , correct ? NOOOOO !First there was the letter " E" . He thought i was saying the letter "A" instead of the "E" . That took a few minutes to get across to him . I guess it is my strong southern accent , lol ! Then I it was the letter "B" , sigh ! OMG ! "B" as in BOY , not "V" ! No , "B" ! NOT "P" ! Yes "B". What ? No , no not "P" ! I start to mutter under my breath , which really didn't help matters any , lol . Then eventually he got the "B" . Yeah ! We moved on to "S" .I won't go into too much on that letter, but in the end I told him it sounded like SH_T ! Then he got it !

That was Thursday . He told me to wait for 5 minutes and it would work . Ah , sweet little promises ! I ran and fixed a HOT cup of coffee to drink while I wrote . I got the chair all ready .Hooked up all the wires . Punched all the buttons . Sat in eager anticipation . Tick tock went the clock .TIME ! I logged in and ... It didn't work !!!!! Same old message , your user name and or password is invalid ! I saw RED !

By this time it was too late to do anything but wait for the week end to pass . I would go down there in person on Sunday .So , imagine my surprise when just for chuckles and grins , I signed in BEFORE I went to the office this morning and found YOU , my friends ,just waiting for me to come on line .

Oh Happy Days are here again ! I was going through withdraw this past week . Moe commented last night that I looked so sad with out the computer to use , lol .It is amazing how much I depend on the computer for so much of my information and to stay in touch with family and friends .I feel so much better now .Thank you Dear Internet people !

I have had adventures while I was on a vacation and will write all about that soon . There will be a few pictures too .Anticipation ......

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Wishes

A very happy Valentines to all of you !
May love find you and keep you close to that special person always!
Love , OTE

Moe's 60th

That sweet young thing was Mohamed when he was only just 22 years old . We had been married 8 months when this was taken . He turned 60 yesterday and I can't believe how the years have flown by .

I fixed his favorite meal of ristha umbubbakah with gahdeed . This is a pasta dish made with home made noodles cooked with various different veggies added to the sauce .The meat is dried lambs meat, very similar to jerky , that has been salted as it dried . The man is crazy about the stuff ! I also made him a spinach , mushroom,shrimp salad with Cesar salad dressing to go on top. As odd as this may sound , he is wild about jello too . So instead of a cake I made him a strawberry jello layered with fresh strawberry's and
fresh whipped cream . He was a happy camper !

To make his day complete , our daughters in the States called to wish him happy birthday . He even talked to the babies , lol ! I loved to see the smile on his face when he talked to them , knowing how much that meant to him .Better than anything he could have received as a present.Except maybe that big red bow I had to give him later , lol !

Later as we sat and talked about birthdays past , he asked me could I believe he was 60 now ? I had to say it was pretty hard to believe . I still sit and wonder how did all those years fly by so quickly .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2009 Grammy's

Jamie Fox and Smokey Robins
Stevie Wonder and the Jonas Brothers

Justin Timberlake and the Rev. Al Green

MIA in labor
Kid Rock
Jennifer Hudson
Robert Plant and Alison Kruass

We watched the Grammy's the other night , or rather that parts that MBC 4 deemed suitable for the Middle Eastern audiences to see . I ,being a die hard rock fan didn't get to see enough of rock and roll , since the pop , R&B , and the Rap singers and groups got most of the play time for our audience viewing here , BUT ... the improvisation by the GREAT REV. AL GREEN , and Justin Timberlake in a fantastic duet in the place of Rhianna and her boy friend Chris Brown , who were a no show due to criminal charges being brought against Brown , brought the house down . Our house that is , we were up dancing and singing along with Al and Justin .

I thought I had died and gone to heaven when Robert Plant , who just keeps o
n reinventing his self , along with his new singing partner , blue grass singer Alison Kruass ,sang a song from their new album " Raising Sands " , backed up by their producer T Bone Perkins on guitar , was something quite magical to hear . Plant is like a fine wine that only improves with age .

Kid Rock and Sugarland were eye opening. Their talent shown like bright stars among all the other stars that night on stage . Stars such a Paul McCartney and Jennifer Hudson who sang a song for her mother , brother, and young nephew that were brutally murdered this past fall .Radiohead singing "15 Steps" just WOW'd me into next week ! The Jonas Brothers singing with Stevie Wonder was a blending of the old with the new that made you sit up and pay attention !

Smoky Robinson and the last surviving member of the 4 Tops , along with Jamie Fox and Ne Yo sang a mix of the 4 Tops hits . It was a smorgasbord board of talent and showmanship . Down to singer MIA going on stage to sing with other Rappers and R&B stars, while in labor . There's no business like show business eh ? Below are a few video's of different preformers that were featured at the 51st Grammy's .

Robert Plant and Alison Kruass singing : "Gone , Gone , Gone and Done Moved On "

This heart rendering version of "STAY" by Sugarland will have you crying in 20 seconds or less . What a voice she has !

Radiohead singing "15 Steps" !

Last , but not least with a 10 minute video of " Love and Happiness " , the Reverand Al Green !

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jokes Of The Day

1. How do you catch a unique rabbit ?
Unique up on it !!!! LOL !

2. How do you catch a tame rabbit ?

Tame way .Duh !

3. How do crazy people go through the forest ?
They take the psycho path .

4.How do you get Holy Water ?

You boil the Hell out of it !

5. What do fish say when they hit a concert wall ?

6.What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long ?
Polaroid's !

7. What do you cal a boomerang that doesn't work ?
You're gonna love this one ......... A Stick !

8. What do you call cheese that isn't yours ?
Nacho cheese ! HAHAHAHHAHA !!!

9. What do you cal Santa's helpers ?
Subordinate Clauses !

10. What do you call 4 bullfighters in quicksand ?
Quattro sinko !!!

11.What do you get from a pampered cow ?
Spoiled milk ! Ok , so maybe this one wasn't all that funny !

12. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire ?
Frostbite !

13. What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches ?
A nervous wreck !!!! Oh , I love that one !!!

14. What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup ?
Anyone can roast beef . I don't get it , do you ?

15. Where do you find a dog with no legs ?
Right where you left him !

16. Why do gorillas have big nostrils ?
Duh , because they have BIG fingers !
17. Why don't blind people like to sky dive ?
Because it scares their dogs !

18. What kind of coffee did they serve on the Titanic ?
Sanka !

19. Why did the Pilgrims pants always fall down ?

Because they wore their belt buckle on their hats !

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Has Anyone Seen the Money ?

Is there any one else out there TIRED of hearing about the ' financial crisis" or the " economic crisis " , i.e. anything other than what it is , a global depression ? I mean the money is gone , right ? But did any one of you actually SEE that money Before it disappeared ? You know , like hold it in your hot sweaty hand ?

I know I sure didn't get to see it ,or hold it in my hand , nor did I put any of it in our bank account . I definitely didn't get to go shopping until I dropped either, with any of it . More is the pity .

So, what happened to it ? Where was it for real before it disappeared ? Evidently NOT in the BANKS , according to them . I think the real question should be who knows the answer to this question . That person knows where it was , where it went , and where it is now .

Ok , it disappeared , but it didn't like vaporize into thin air , so where did it go ? MAYBE .... it never really existed at all but "THEY" made it all up . Yeah , like a conspiracy theory .HUM , what do you think ?

You know I love Obama but PLULEESSSS ... why has he appointed a man that can't seem to figure out how to pay his own taxes, the new Secretary of Treasury ? Timothy F. Geithner is also the ex- president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York . He failed to pay $34,000 in his own personal income taxes in the past .Is this the man we want or need to tell us how to pay our taxes .Maybe he knows or has seen the money ??? He did work at the Federal Reserve Bank , right ?

So ,while we are discussing conspiracy theory's here , do you think there is really some one out there ?????

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The kids in the neighborhood have been on winter break from school this past week or two . They have been playing that age old wonderful game,marbles . I remember spending hours playing with my friends . We usually started to play when the weather warmed up in spring .I guess the weather we have had this past week has been rather spring like.It's no wonder that they are taking advantage of the good weather to play . The ground is nice and dry .

I went down to my car the other day and found around oh , I guess almost 20 boys from ages of 7 to 13 playing marbles in groups of 3's or 4's , with several boys kicking a soccer/ football around the different groups , all the while getting yelled at for getting in the way of their marbles games . It was very tense and serious let me tell you . I barely got a hello Haga from them , lol !

This morning I could hear the 4 little boys down stairs arguing over who had won the game from my kitchen window. I looked outside to see what was going on since it sounded so serious .It looked like the littlest one was the loser . He wasn't too thrilled with the verdict either . He lost his whole bag of marbles tearfully and not with out a fight . LOL!

I guess that ground hog was wrong yesterday . It sure looks like winter is on her way out and spring might be early this year , but who knows what Mother Nature has in mind for us here in Tripoli, huh ?

Oh, by the way , the picture is by the American artist Norman Rockwell , entitled "Champion" . He became famous for his pictures that showed everyday activities.

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Monday, February 2, 2009


This is a picture of my son Haroun before he became very ill . It was taken on the day I had registered with the Islamic society as a Muslim. Even though I had converted 10 years before , I had never gotten around to registering . That was a very happy day for our entire family . Haroun was so thrilled .That was 7 years ago .He died 2 years later .

This was , I think , the only time I have worn the Hajab , or the scarf .I had to wear one to the Islamic society place . It felt odd to wear the Hajab , as if I was a impostor or something . At the same time , as strange as this will sound , it felt Holy ? I have a personal aversion to wearing the head scarf and all the other paraphernalia that Muslim women are supposed to wear . So , I felt like a hypocrite too that day . I know , a total contradiction huh ?

The picture above Haroun drew years before he became ill as a present to me . I loved it because it was a abstract and so expressed his talent as a artist .Years later on after he became addicted to heroin , he told me that this was the way he felt when he was on heroin, like a monster . We have this picture in our living room as a reminder of him .

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Remembering To Breath

There have been times in my life when I have literally forgotten to breath .I remember the 1st time it happened . I was 15 and the boy I had loved since I was 4 years old told me he was marring a girl exactly 5 years older than me to the day . I can remember my heart stopped beating and I couldn't catch my breath for a minute . He broke my heart.

Then it happened again when the doctor told my sisters and I that our mother had colon cancer and would not live more than a year or two . My knees wanted to buckle and my breath caught in my throat .She died just three short months later .

The day we got the lab reports back telling us our youngest son had HIV/AIDS my head started to buzz and all I could think was no , it wasn't true . I had prayed so hard to Allah to make it not true . It couldn't be . There had to be some mistake in the lab work, but it was true .

When he died and they came to tell me, I was calm , but latter after all business of the funeral was over , I would remember he was dead at odd moments . It would catch me off guard . I would stop breathing . The ache in my heart was so strong , it squashed all breath out of my lungs . I had to keep reminding myself to breath off and on . I would have spells where I was hit by the freight train of loss .The disbelief that my son was gone forever was almost more than I could bare .

I learned to get through these losses by taking one breath at a time . One minute , then two , pretty soon I was breathing whole blocks of time without reminding myself to keep inhaling and exhaling air . Amazing how resilient the spirit is when faced with the end of the world .

So , if this ever happens to you , just try to remember one breath at a time is all it takes to carry on with the business of life . One breath , then two , then three and soon it just happens on its own . Even if you wished it wouldn't .