Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hey, Bedouin!

May you have all your heart's desires! One of them is the gift I'm still trying to locate... Bear with me as it could be quite some time before I can find it! In the meantime, here's a picture of a daylily called Bedouin Bride... May we see you a bride soon.

Happy birthday, my friend!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Know Thy World!

An article titled Americans, Know Thy World on Blogcritics Magazine provides a size comparison for countries of the world to cities and states in the US. I am frequently asked how large Libya is. Now, I know it is one-sixth larger than Alaska. This map, which shows Alaska's real relative size, gives a very clear idea of Libya's relative size to the US.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Schools still closed! OSU too! The snow storm is continuing on!

Moody and Tala were so disappointed that school is cancelled. They both have Valentine's Day parties planned in their class. They were hugging and kissing me and Sol in the morning all loving and wishing us a "Happy Valentine's Day!" I told them not to get upset, we will have our own party. Moody said, "We will even make our own decorations." Immediately, they got out their crafts kit and started cutting out hearts, decorating them, and hanging them around the house.

Hoping you're having a lovely Valentine's Day and surrounded by loving angels like we are!


Here is Heba!

Heba Swisey, Sol's sweet niece! She surprised me today with her blog. I was planning on introducing her later this week, but she beat me with her blog! I'm so happy she did.

She is an artist too--a very talented one!

Below is Heba's painting of her late aunt Rabeia Dregia, Sol's little sister. Rabeia was born in March, 1963 and died in December, 1984 of complications after a fire accident she was in. This is the only picture I have seen of Rabeia. Sol's mom talked about her a lot when she visited us in 2000, all the time with tears rolling down her eyes. It is very sad, but c'est la vie. People come and go, but their loving memories forever stay. Thank you Heba for sharing this painting. It is very special!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Introducing Aiman

Aiman Abdul Naser Swisey. He's Sol's nephew, of his sister Amna. Aiman turned 12 last November. Recently, I have been communicating with his sister, Heba, via email and Yahoo! messenger. I didn't have any contact with them before, not even by phone since they didn't have one. And the only time I met them was at our wedding in Djerba, 1998. Aiman is a very special boy, it was obvious then when he was only 4. Sol has a special place in his heart for Amna and her kids, especially Aiman and Heba.

Heba told me about Aiman's talent and how good he is with his hands and digital art. This post is to showcase some of his work. Sol has never seen these images before--I hope you are pleasnently and proudly surprised!

This is my favorite. I laughed so much when I saw it. Heba told that they found him laughing so hard when he was drawing it.

Aiman is a fan of Abdelhalim Hafed. Remember him? Very interesting!

Aiman takes his playdough wherever he goes. He was visiting the Aviation Exhibition last December, in Tripoli, when he made this Spiderman and placed it on the airplane miniature.

And of course, Superheroes!


Oh, The Snow!

It's been snowing since last night and predicted to continue through tomorrow. I love it! It is not as cold as last week. I might go out with the kids later to spend some energy playing with the snow. Schools are closed again after opening just for Friday and Monday. I like it when the kids stay home for the first day or two, but after that, we run out of entertainment options and start getting on each other's nerves. Especially when it's too cold to go anywhere.

This morning we to get Sol's car from the clinic's parking lot. He left it there when he and the kids picked me up after the endoscopy yesterday since I was sedated and couldn't drive. The endoscopy went fine with good results. It was a relief. I was worried especially not knowing what caused the trouble I had 4 years ago that led to ileostomy. The roads were terrible with a possible speed of 35 miles an hour, even on the highway. But the drive was nice with the snow falling and everything white. I love winter!

I forgot to mention that the pipes are unclogged! I heard a gurgling sound yesterday so I ran up the stairs to the bathroom, and YES, the tub was draining. And no leakage of water any where!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Anoos!

My big boy, Ennis. Born in Beirut, Lebanon. He is 12 today, and Moody is so envious!

Ennis is all geared up in the picture for the harsh winter of Baalbeck. I sent him and Juju a package that had the stuff to keep them warm, plus many other surprises. They received it a couple of days ago. They were so excited and pleasantly surprised.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I'm Happy! I'm Excited!

We have found a nanny--a global nanny! She's originally from Poland, has been here in the US for a long time, just came back from a two-year stay in China accompanying her husband in his assignment. The couple remind us of our friends Magda and Tawfik--maybe that's why we like her. She has a son who goes to Carnegie Mellon, and a daughter married and lives in the UK. The best part is that I found from her reference that she had a dog that she used to bring to their house when caring for their children. I asked the nanny if she still has the dog, and she said she does and asked if it would be OK to bring him to play with the kids. Of course! It will be like having a pet without the mess of having a pet. A pet made in heaven! BTW, this image is of Hilary Duff (Disney's Lizzie McGuire) and her dog. Coincidentally, her first performance was in the Nutcracker with our own The Columbus Ballet Met. The nanny looks a lot like the image, but older.

It's final: I'm starting my job on March 5. The nanny will start on February 26 so she gets acquainted with us and everything else while I'm still here. I told Tala the other day, "Tala, Mommy got a job!" She replied "I want a peach now." Then I told Moody the same. He asked, "What's the name of the company?" When I said Rolls-Royce, he commented, "It doesn't sound interesting." When I told Sol later that "We're going out for dinner. We're celebrating!" He said, "How many celebrations will we have?" But still, I was excited, remained excited, and still am, and I love them three indifferent bozos... lol

I went shopping today for clothes to wear to work. Not because I needed clothes for work, but because I'm two sizes bigger than I was few months ago and nothing I have fits me, except for a couple of jeans! I also got two booster seats for the kids. It was a pain moving car seats from my car to the nanny's on a daily basis when Barbi was here. Sol just took off to get the kit for the front door. The lock got broken a month ago or so and it can't be opened from outside the house. The only way to access the house is by using the garage-door opener. Sol was reluctant to go buy it complaining that he's not going to change it in this cold. I told him that he doesn't need to do it today, but it will still be cold when he does.

In July, 2003, I had an abdominal surgery where part of my intestines was taken out for being partially obstructed and having an abnormally thick wall with no apparent medical explanation. That was done after months of almost daily visits to the emergency room; multiple stays at the hospital; and many endoscopies, CT scans and every other test available. I've been having some minor GI issues for some time that didn't resolve with medications. So the doctor decided to go for the tests. I had an abdominal CT scan on Thursday where I had to drink loads of that contrast nasty stuff. I have an endoscopy on Monday and would be drinking other stuff tomorrow and eating nothing for the whole day till the test. I have a class on Monday and I'm not sure if I'd be able to make it. I secured myself a ride back home if Sol drives me to class since I won't be able to drive myself. Despite all that, I'm still happy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hail, Hail Shosho!

Sweet Shosho is a blogger! She is my niece and she's 15.

Hello, princess of Libyan bloggers!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Whatever Happened to Global Warming!

How could it be? The plumber just left declaring that the pipes that drain the bathtub are frozen! Water from the sink in the kids' bathroom backs up to the bathtub. That started about 2 days ago. The plunger didn't work, and chemical products didn't work either. We suspected the ice but had our doubts. All we can do now is keep filling up the bathtub with hot water, open a hole in the wall behind the drains and expose them to some space heater or blow drier. Oh, how fun!

That brings to mind the recent news that Exxon is offering scientists $10,000 to refute the recent UN study that blames humans for the global warming. I'd say they have a pretty good chance with our pipes iced up! To be fair to Exxon, it's not them offering the reward; it's their think tank group, The American Enterprise Institute. $10,000! How nice of them. Exxon has reaped $371 billion in revenues in 2006--that's more than $1 billion a day. Aren't they generous? And why are they offering the reward? Of course, to ease the minds and consciences of us humans, to free us from the guilt that we "might" be the cause of global warming.


The Blessings... uh... Nots of Literacy!

This is Moody's first note from us. Sol left it last night on Moody's place mat with a banana. Sure enough he read it this morning and did what the note said! What a blessing--more ways to communicate. However, literacy for kids comes with dangers as well! Moody now reads everything. We really have to watch it! Yesterday, he was looking over my shoulder while I was reading my emails, and read the whole email message out loud. This morning he asked me "Are you looking for a nanny?" He got that from reading the text in Google search bar that I had typed last night, "nannies columbus ohio."

Here's an example of how dangerous literacy could be and what kids can do with it! They have more power... to express themselves! Moody made this sign to post on his room door. Moody's current project is writing and drawing comics. He plans to do many and many pages and then sell them at school. Good thinking, I'd say. Bring on the money!

Yesterday, I was offered to start my new job at Rolls-Royce between now and March 1st, instead of waiting till after graduation. The offer is even better than the initial one. It is a pain to have to make the decision. Do I start now? It will be even harder and more hellish for the family to start a new job while going to school! What to do with Moody and Tala? The school/daycare that we found appropriate for their before-and-after-school care doesn't provide transportation to and from Whittier, nor does the school district. So, the search is on for a nanny? Got one?

It's a butt-freezing day again with a temperature of -6°F (-21°C) and no schools for the second day. I had class last evening that ended at 8PM. I had to run to the parking lot because breathing that cold air was very painful. When I got home, 3 of my fingers were numb and very white, although I had the heater and my thermal gloves on in the car all through the 20-minute ride. Oh, that brings me to the polar animals concern. Moody has been learning that polar animals are in danger because of the human-inflicted global warming and hunting them for their skin, fur, etc. He strongly advises that "Santa should give those naughty humans coal in their stockings!" He will be a polar-animals protector when he grows up and shoot those naughty humans. Hmmm, global warming?


Monday, February 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Moony!

My brother, Ayman. Born in Benghazi, Libya, 33 years ago!

Happy Birthday!


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Goats Girras and Geezers-- Tales From The Deep Freeze

Where the hell is global warming when you need it? December was nice, we admit, but Mr. February here is getting even with us quite oppressively. Here's today's numbers:

High/Low Temperature: 9/0 F (-13/-18 C).

Current Temp: 3 F ( -16 C).

Windchill: -12 F (-25 C).

How does it feel? Well, I'll get to that quickly enough. The heat in my office was off when I first got here. Wonderful, I thought. Maybe somebody guessed everyone would be home on this Superbowl Sunday and decided--what the hell--let's turn it off. The good news is, my colleague who specializes in bugging the HVAC people was here this morning. And sure enough, the heat is on now!

About how cold it feels, I just remembered some sayings from various sources. First, let me warn you that this is an adult-content post.
Let's start with the American sayings:
- The first saying is a funny one, and it's not at all what it sounds like. I first heard about it when I lived in Pittsburgh, after watching a weather forecast of a sevrely cold night. The weather guy did his bit and added, "You better take in that brass monkey!" I was intrigued by that. I wondered if people in western PA used brass monkeys as a lawn decoration or some such thing. Later, a friend of mine told me it was all a reference to a saying for describing a really cold night: "...cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey." There is actually a lot of stories about the origin of this saying. The one I like most relates to my profession. Supposedly, in some old war, cannon balls used to be stacked on a brass plate called a "monkey." When the temperature dropped low enough overnight, the brass would undergo a transformation of its atomic structure that changes its volume suddenly (expands or contracts), causing the cannon balls to be displaced and fall off. The following morning, soldiers tending to the cannons would see the fallen balls and might note, "It was cold enough to freeze the balls off the brass monkey."

- "It feels colder than a witch's tit." This one I have no experience with, lol lol, but I can imagine...

Now a Libyan thermo-anatomical: "It's colder than a fisherman's butt." Self explanatory.

The windy cold spell in Libya is called a "Girra." I imagine it's because people say "Girrrrrrrrrr" with a fluttering lower jaw. Sort of like "Brrrr!" There is a nasty Girra that comes at the end of January, early February. It is called Girret al-'Anz (Goat Girra), in reference to the astrological goat (capricorn), I believe. There's another Girra that comes later in the year, late April or early May, called Girret le-Hsoom, which as the old saying goes, marks the start of swim season. Most Libyans don't hit the beaches in spring, even though the climate can be warm enough. But, "Ila fatit girret lehsoom, agla3 jerdek ou 3oom!"

My mom used to recite a little poetic ditty about Girret el-Anz. I can't remember all of it, but it goes something like this:

إتجي في آخر أي النار
Itji fi aakhir Ayennar

(She comes at the end of January)

ؤتسلّف من خوها فورار نهار
Ou tissellif min khouha Forar nahar
(And she borrows a day from her brother February)

ؤتحلف ما نمشي نين نحط قريني على الدوار
Ou tihlif ma nimshi nain inhutt grainy 3ala al-douar
(She swears not to leave until she puts her little horn around the orbit)

ونشخخ العجوز على النار
Winshakhkhikh el-3ajouz 3ala annar
(And make the old woman piss on the fire!)

And finally, an entry from Lebanon:

قاللو لشباط آذار
Allu la Shbat Azar
(March told February)

شباط يا ابن عمي
Ya Shbat ya ibn 3ammi
(O'February, my cousin)

إتلاتتين منك وأربعتين مني
Thalathetain minnek ou arba3tain minni
(two threes from you and two fours from me)

بنخلي طيز العجوز تغني
Benkhalli Teez el-3ajouz itghanni
(We'd make the old woman's butt sing)

بنوقدها دولابها (مغزلها) ب
Benwa'dha dulabha
(We'd make her burn her spindle)
[to get some heat.]

ونشخخها ورا باب دارها
Winshakh-khikha wara bab darha
(And we'd make her piss behind her room door)
[Can't even make it to the bathroom.]

Poor old woman! lol lol lol.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, Rosa!

My sister, Fairouz. Born in Tripoli, Libya, 43 years ago!

Happy Birthday!