Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Grandbabies

 Haroun ( 3 1/2 years old) and Yousef(13months) with Tony Soprano . The new Mafia , lol .
 Yousef ( 13months ) not too sure about all this Eid stuff , with  Moe .
 Gail ( 2 1/2 years old) with her long curly hair and twinkling eyes .
Super girl herself ... Sophia at age 2 years ( almost) old this past Halloween.

Thanksgiving Can Can

Thanksgiving Can Can (animated) - Care2 eCards, Free Online Animated Greeting Cards

Wishing everyone a good Thanksgiving on Thursday . Hope you can spend it with family and friends .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sorry, No Martha Stewart Thanksgiving !

Dear Family & Friends,

I know how eager you must have been to accept our family's invitation to Thanksgiving dinner when you found out that the famous Martha Stewart would be joining us.  However, due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts beyond her control, Ms. Stewart finds that she is unable to grace our table this year.  With that in mind, there will be a few minor changes regarding the meal and decor, as outlined below.  Please be aware of them, and adjust your appetite and dress appropriately.

Thank you

1) Our driveway will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries.  After several trial runs and two visits from the West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Wheaton, Geneva, and St Charles Fire Departments, it was decided that, no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

2) Once inside, please note that the front entryway will not be gaily decorated with swags of Indian corn and fall foliage.  Instead, we included our son’s 3 black Labrador Retrievers in decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the back yard. The mud was their idea.

3) The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets.  If possible, we will use dishes that match (somewhat) and everyone will get a fork.  Since this is Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the usual paper Sponge Bob dinner plates, the leftover Halloween napkins, and our plastic cup collection from McDonald's, KFC, and Subway.

4) Our centerpiece will not be a tower of fresh fruit and flowers.  Instead we will be proudly displaying a hedgehog-like decoration, hand-crafted from the finest construction paper and pine cones.  The 9-year old artist assures me it is a turkey, albeit one without wings, legs, or a beak.

5) We will be dining somewhat later than planned.  However, our grandchildren will entertain you while you wait.  I'm sure yhey will be happy to share every choice comment their grandmother made regarding Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, stuffing choices, the turkey hotline, and, especially, their grandfather.  Please remember that most of these comments were made at 7:00AM upon discovering that said grandfather had only remembered to pull the turkey from the freezer at 6:00 AM, and that the thing was still hard enough to cut diamonds.

6) As an accompaniment to our grandson’s recital of these events, I will play a recording of Native American tribal drumming.  Curiously, the tribal drumming sounds a great deal like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, but that only enhances the holiday appropriateness.  If our grandson should mention that we don't own a recording of Native American tribal drumming, ignore him.
He’s  only nine; what does he know?

7) A dainty silver bell will not be rung to announce the start of our feast.  We have chosen to keep our traditional method of assembling when the smoke alarm goes off.

8) There will be no formal seating arrangement.  When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like.  In the spirit of harmony, we will ask that all diners under the age of 10 sit at a separate table… in a separate room… next door.  And I would like to take this opportunity to remind our younger diners that "passing the rolls" is neither a football play nor an excuse to bean your uncle (or each other) in the head with bread.
9) The turkey will not be carved at the table.  I know you have seen the Norman Rockwell image of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers.  Such a scene may actually occur somewhere in America, but it won't be happening at our dinner table.
For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in the kitchen in a private ceremony.  I stress "private", meaning DO NOT, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me.  Do not send small, unsuspecting children or older, helpful relatives into the kitchen to check on my progress.  I have a very large, very sharp knife.  The turkey is unarmed and most likely already in a submissive state.  It stands to reason that I will eventually win the battle.  When I do, we will eat.

10)    For the duration of the meal, we will refer to the gravy by its lesser-known name of "Kraft Cheese Sauce".  If a young diner questions you regarding the origins or makeup of the "Kraft Cheese Sauce", smile kindly and say that you know the answer, but it's a secret that can't be revealed to them until they are 18.

11)    Instead of offering a choice among 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, baked to the usual perfection by my culinary-inclined son, garnished with whipped cream and possible dog tongue marks. Similar pumpkin pie prepared by equally-gifted COSTCO bakers may be offered without the aforementioned traces of canine infringement.  You still have a choice: take it or leave it.   

That concludes our list of alterations.  Again, I apologize that Martha will not be joining us this year.  Come to think of it, she probably won't come next year, either.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Eid Mubrak !

Wishing all a blessed Eid.May Allah accept your sacrifice and prayers.

Mohamed and On The Edge

Eid Poem

Eid From A Libyan Point Of View

The Men Say :

I bought the sheep .
I killed the sheep .
I ate the sheep .

The Women Say :

I prepared the sheep .
I cooked the sheep .
I ate the sheep .

The Children Say :

I ate the sheep !!!
I ate the sheep !!!!
I ate the sheep !!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thank You !

I wish to thanks to Khadijateri for all her help in acquiring medicine for Mohamed when it seemed like a expensively daunting and impossible task . For her tireless efforts on Moe's behalf . 

Also a special thanks to the teams of Libyan doctors she consulted. A particular thanks to Rhonda Ahmed for the call beyond duty in making sure we received the medicines. Thank you all for you help and thoughtful kindness .

Eid Al Adha And The Hajj

It's that time of the year again . The time for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca by those lucky few Muslims that are chosen through their country's lottery to make the Hajj . Each country has a certain limit of people in which they are allowed to send to Saudia Arabia to make the Hajj .There are millions that want to make their obligatory pilgrimage ,if they are physically capable, or are lucky enough to be able to afford it  .But not all are chosen .Some wait years for this opportunity , saving and planning for the time when they will be chosen.

During the Hajj, the Eid Al Adha is celebrated . That is the day that Muslims believe that Abraham , or Ibrahim as the Muslims call him, was asked to sacrifice his son to to show his obedience to Allah's (God) command . Instead , Allah gave Ibrahim a ram to sacrifice in the place of his son once Allah saw his willingness to submit to His Will .Most Muslims will sacrifice a animal on the day of  Eid Al Adha if they are able, to commemorate this act of  Ibrahim's submission to Allah's Will .Usually it will be a sheep.

Here in Libya it can become quit costly , with the average sheep costing anywhere from 350 Libyan Dinars up to 600 .Imagine this .... some families have , oh ,let's say as many as 8 sons . The sons are all married , which means they have to sacrifice a sheep for their individual family .So , that will be 8 sheep .Then the parents need a sheep for themselves as well . Now we have 9 sheep being slaughtered .Of course while all this killing is happening , people work up an appetite , so they might have a special sheep just to Bar BBQ and eat  while they butcher the 1st 9 sheep .So , they now have 10 sheep to kill , but wait , hold on , if they eat one as they butcher and chop up the other 9 to make various other dishes like stuffed stomach , or  intestines (that would be your basic sausage) , or other tasty tid bits that are cooked in their own juices until they fall to pieces and are eaten with fresh hot french bread, or made into other mouth watering dishes , what will there be left to give in charity ? Ok , we need one one sheep for that purpose, also to make into dried sheep jerky .That makes a total of 11 sheep. Add that all up and you see how expensive it can become.

You might think that is a bit excessive, a waste , but not really . The skins will be dried and scraped , made into throw rugs or used to make pillows . The heads will be chard and scraped of all hair so that they may be cooked in a typical Libyan sauce as a delicacy .The lower legs will make fantastic meaty bones for a scrumptious dish of home made beans . Anything that remains will probably be made into dried sheep jerky . That is used as a bacon substitute or in another special Libyan dish that only taste good if it is made with this "gahdeed" .A large portion of the sheep is to be given to those in need as a charity.

After reading all this , you can imagine what happens typically on the 1st day of the Eid ( it is a 3 day affair).... a whole lot of work ! Chopping , slicing , dicing , washing , scrubbing, cutting ,the cleaning of this and that ,and last but not least, THE COOKING !!!!! By the end of the day , after all the work is finished , the food eaten , dishes washed , and the meat stored away , baths taken , clean clothes replacing bloody ones, everyone collapses from sheer exhaustion !

The next 2 days , everyone visits each other to brag on all the work they did the day before.How exhausted they are.They can hardly move because all their muscles are sore from all that work .They feast some more as they go from house to house, on sweets which are made days before ( or as in my case ... bought) , drinking tiny dimi tasse cups of Arabic coffee or hyper sweet tea that is so strong it is guaranteed to grow hair on your chest .Many times you will be served a soft drink along with chocolates 1st , before the coffee or tea . A good time is had by all .This is what will happen on Tuesday , Wednesday , and Thursday of this week here in Libya . Other country's have different customs , but the sacrifice is a mandatory thing , if at all possible .

I used to HATE this Eid . I would dread it's coming like the bubonic plague ! The men and the children would be jumping up and down for joy at the prospect of all these delicacies to come , but not me .I KNEW WHO HAD TO DO ALL THAT COOKING ......... ME ! Then when my daughters grew older , they were "blessed" to help me , along with all my sister in laws and their daughters .Now our family's are all grown , married with children of their own , scattered to the 4 winds around the world making their own traditions .

These last several years we have spent the day with our son and his family .It is nice to be the mother in law .I get to play with the babies ,piddle around LOOKING BUSY, while really doing nothing much .Life is good .I am looking forward to the Eid this year .I will cook several dishes ahead of time to take with us to my daughter in law so she doesn't have to spend the entire day in the kitchen .It's a day for all to enjoy , not just the men and children .

Somewhere in the middle of all this mania over food , we have to stop and remember the WHY of this holiday. To give thanks to God for blessing us with such bounty , for the fellowship of family, and to remember we are here on earth to serve God .

Painting " Funny Fun Family Sheep" by Diane Whitehead

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who Is The Smartest ???

People that stay up all night and sleep all day ( like Me) are called night owls .For years I have had to listen to people telling me how I waste away the day by sleeping . How I should sleep at night ... blah , blah , blah .But I am just not hard wired for daytime activities .I am a night owl. I found this new study that suggest that other night owls like myself as actually SMARTER than the previously thought daytime people . I feel I have been vindicated for all those YEARS of harassment by all those day timers !Read the below article for more information .

Night owls vs. morning people: Who's smarter?

New York – Recent evidence shows that people who thrive at night have higher IQs. Early risers beg to differ
Are you the type who stays up late to finish your work, or do you get up early to make a fresh start on the day? If it's the former, you may be pleased to learn new research has found that those with higher IQs tend to be nocturnal night-owls. But if it's the latter, you might have good reason to distrust the claim. Here's an instant guide:
Is there solid science behind this finding?
Sleep researchers tend to divide people into two groups, explains zoologist Robert Alison in the Winnipeg Free Press, based on whether they exhibit "morningness" or "eveningness." A recent study claims that eveningness is an evolutionary advancement that marks out "more intelligent individuals," while "those with lower IQs tend to restrict their activities primarily to daytime."
How can that be?Researchers from the London School of Economics say that human beings used to all be day-oriented, and that eveningness is an "evolutionarily novel preference" made by people with "a higher level of cognitive complexity." Basically, smart people evolve to stay up later.
I want to get more intelligent. Can I just start staying up late?It isn't that simple. Several studies have shown that your sleep preferences are at least 50 percent genetic, and that your chronotype — that is, the time of day you are at your physical and mental peak — changes with your age. Generally speaking, "eveningness" peaks in the late teens and early 20s.
Are there any downsides to "eveningness"?Night owls tend to be less reliable, more emotionally unstable, and more likely to have problems with addictions and eating disorders, according to a 2008 study by psychologist Marina Giamnietro. They are also more likely to drink alcohol and smoke, says Dutch psychiatrist Walter van den Broek at his Dr. Shock blog. Another study found that undergrad "evening types" had lower GPAs than those who awake early in the morning.
Is there any advantage to being a morning person?
Early risers tend to be more conscientious, persistent, and apt to cooperate, says van den Broek, a self-described morning person. They also "cope better with academic requirements and receive better grades." And when you think about it, adds Ace Burpee in the Winnipeg Free Press, "there are no sayings about late birds getting some sort of way better tasting worm." 
Which am I?
If you're unsure, this test will tell you where you fit on the morningness-eveningness spectrum.
Sources: Winnipeg Free Press (2), Disinformation, Dr. Shock, ScienceDaily
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One Stormy Night

A storm blow in tonight . Our first real storm of the season . Thunder shook the Condo , while lighting illuminated our way to the windows to watch the show as the gales blew sporadically by our balcony .I loved it all . It made me think of an album Mohamed and I had when we first married by the Mystic Mood Orchestra, named " One Stormy Night"
 I think you will like this .

Friday, November 5, 2010

Money Tree

I am looking for a cutting from a money tree to grow out on our balcony . Does anyone have one that I can get a cutting from ? Please notify me here in the comments section if you have one , or know of anyone else that might  own one .I have heard it said that money will grow on trees . I am willing to give it a go if I can get a cutting .

Painting by : Anthony Fernando , " The Money Tree"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mental Health Day For Me

It seems like Autumn is here at last , or at least trying to stay .One day cool and lovely , then next warm and dusty . The norm for here this time of year . Halloween came and went . Of course this is not a holiday here in Libya . But it is a special day for me , as it was my son Haroun's birthday . He died of AIDS 6 years ago . It is a bitter sweet time for me , as I love Halloween . It is all tangled up with memories of our children when they were young , Haroun's birthday, and all the fun that Halloween brings with it in the US .

Moe is progressing . It is an up and down thing for him .The new meds are helping him ,but he still has some very serious issues that will have to addressed when we see the cardiologist on the 7th .The doctor told us he can't have any stress ( I AM SO SURE THAT'S GONNA HAPPEN !!!!) , no exercise ( he has diabeties and needs to exercise , OMG !) , no stairs ( we live on the 4th floor) ,rest ( HAHAHAHHA!!) ,and move to a ground level deweling .No problem !But other than that .... all is good !

I am reserving today as a mental health day for me and will have a one day mental break down , lol .So , if you don't hear from me soon , you will know I have extended the break down .Take care and keep on keeping on !

Painting by Tilly Strauss :" Divorce Document #2"

Marrakesh Jam Secession

Here is another Led Zeppelin song from the MTV Unplugged concert series .Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are singing with Moroccan musicians and singers in Marrakesh , while each group are singing  in their own language and their own lyrics . Love this one . It is a real musical jam session .