Please see the tabs above for my Link List and My Journal of the months that the internet was turned off during the February 17th Revolution.

Monday, September 26, 2016

One step at a time

Sometimes it seems that things never change in Libya, or maybe there will be some progress and then something happens and all the progress is wasted. Personally, I've noticed that the best policy in Libya seems to be small, carefully places steps that move forward a bit at a time. The result will be a big difference in the end. For the past few years one organization has been doing just that.

Libyan Women Economic Empowerment has been sponsored since 2013 by MEDA, the Mennonite Economic Development Associates, an NGO based in Canada and the USA. They've been working with Libyan women who are either already established entrepreneurs or those who would like to set up their own businesses. By offering various workshops, support and networking opportunities to Libyan women they are making a big impact, not just on the women who are involved, but on the community as a whole. 

Last Saturday I attended their award ceremony in Tripoli. Substantial grants and awards were given to a variety of Libyan businesswomen from throughout Libya and from various sectors. I was so proud to see the enthusiasm that these ladies have for their work and for their support of each other. With one carefully placed step at a time, they are making a real difference in the lives of so many.

If you would like to get involved or learn more about LWEE, you can find their Facebook page here: facebook.com/medalibya.ly




Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Dozen Years of Blogging

Today marks my blog's 12th anniversary. So much has happened over the years. I'm happy that I recorded it all in one place. I've learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I've had almost half a million visitors. Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. 


Blogging is a journey.... an awesome journey!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Eid Greetings

To all my family and friends who celebrate, I wish you a safe and peaceful Eid al-Adha. 

Allāhu akbar, Allāhu akbar     الله أكبر الله أكبر     God is greatest, God is greatest,
lā ilāha illā-Allāh                      لا إله إلا الله          There is no god but God
Wallāhu akbar, Allāhu akbar  والله أكبر الله أكبر     God is greatest, God is greatest
walillāhi l-ḥamd                          ولله الحمد           and to God goes all praise.





More information about this Islamic holiday 
can be found here: Eid al-Adha


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

To Domain or Not to Domain

About 15 years ago I had a website. I was teaching myself webdesign, graphic design and coding. The website was mostly about Libya. At the time the Internet was fairly new in Libya, there wasn't much information on the Internet about Libya so I decided since I was learning how to create websites I would have a theme, and that would be Libya. It worked out well for me because I learned not only design and coding, I also learned a lot about Libya. I had a great time. I met lots of interesting people in the process too.  

Having your own domain cost money. I think at the time I paid about 100 dinars a year, which isn't that much, but along came blogging and that was free. I decided to give up the domain and switch to blogging. At that time we had started building our own house, Libya was rapidly changing, opening up to the world. I wanted to use the blog to keep my family and friends 'back home' up to date about what I was doing and it was easier with a blog. So I closed the website and let the domain sit unused.

When I didn't renew it some one in Germany quickly bought it and then tried to sell it back to me - for a ridiculous price! I wasn't interested. Later I found that a Korean massage therapy site had taken over my domain. Thankfully, none of the images they put on there were naughty - kind of thereputic stuff. Recently, they let the domain go and it was up for grabs again. 

Today I noticed an article on the Internet about the Beta version of Google Domains. I had a look and saw that I could easily, and cheaply, buy my domain back again - so I did! I've set it up so khadijateri.com forwards here, to my blog. 

Maybe in the future I will do something with it again. I'll have to brush up on coding - it's been a long time!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunset - a Daily Dose of God's Majesty

We've been having very hot weather, in the 90s, which is pretty typical for this time of year. It starts to cool off in the evening so we often go to the beach to watch the sunset. Sometimes the kids go swimming, sometimes just a walk to look for seashells and treasures. 

My mother enjoys going to the beach, but it's hard for her to get there in a wheelchair or with a walker. The wheels don't push through the sand easily. I've been scouting out places where we can go that are easily accessible. The other day we found a place that we hadn't been to yet. It was a little more crowded than we like, but we settled in to watch the sun set and watch the people too. The kids headed straight for the water to have a swim. I sat down in the sand next to my mother to keep her company. 


There were lots of families with small children and next to each family were kids playing in the sand and building sand castles.

My mother and I watched the families interacting with each other. All of a sudden my mother asked "Why are we at a baptism? Who is getting baptized?" I looked at her and asked why she thought that. "Well, there are so many people and people are going out into the water" she replied. I reminded her that we were at the beach and people often swim at the beach. Usually we go to places that aren't so crowded, maybe all the people confused her. Then she asked "Where are your brother and sister?" I quietly reminded her that  my brother had died 7 years ago. She sighed and acknowledged "Oh, yes, you are right"  Mom's been having memory lapses more and more these days and she's often confused about events. 

At first it looked as if we would just have an ordinary sunset.....


.... but then some clouds started forming in the distance.... we could see that it was raining far off on the horizon and the sky began to take on a golden hue that just seemed to magnify the blueness of the sky above the clouds. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stood to watch the majesty of God's work.  



A man carrying a case walked up along the shore and stopped in front of us. He set the case down in the sand at his feet, opened it and removed a trumpet. Just as the sun began to  dip below the horizon he began to play Taps. 

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

 All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.


Fading light, dims the sight,

 And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

 From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.


Thanks and praise, for our days,

 'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;

 As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,

 Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds

 Always true to the promise that they made.


While the light fades from sight,

 And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

 To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.
https://soundcloud.com/tfockler/taps-us-military


The man finished playing and everyone burst into applause. Then the people started to disperse, families gathered up their belongings and children. We continued to sit and watch the last of the sun.


When almost everyone had left the sky became even more beautiful. We watched a while longer and then it was time for us to go home.  


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mini Vacay

About 55 years ago, before my parents got married, my father visited Florida and bought some land. The plan was that once he was married he would move his family to Florida and build a house there one day. 

Time passed, there was marriage and then one child, two, three, four and finally five. My father's work brought him to Florida from time to time. He decided to look into relocating his business. He looked in the vicinity of the land that he had bought, but found it wasn't suitable. The area wasn't built up enough. In the end, my parents found a house in the Tampa Bay area. They decided to keep the land as an investment, possibly to sell in the future. 

From time to time my parents were contacted about the land to say that the city and county were making improvements; streets were paved, sewers, telephone and cable lines installed. My parents paid yearly taxes while they continued to hold on to the land as an investment. A few times they drove out to have a look and indeed found the city was improving, but it wasn't growing very much. They decided to continue to hold on to the land.

This summer my mother and I discussed visiting the land. Actually, it isn't very far away, about an hour and forty-five minutes, but that's quite a journey for my mother, especially to go there and back on the same day. I suggested we go for a few days and turn it into a mini vacation.

Packing up the car required a long list of 'to dos' and 'don't forgets' - there was medicine, a wheelchair, a walker, an oxygen concentrator, a nebulizer, a supply of portable oxygen tanks, and so on. We enjoyed the ride and settled into the hotel when we arrived, sorted out ourselves and had a short rest. Then we headed out to have a look at the land. 

Port Charlotte is a small city that is well planned with a shopping mall, most of the major fastfood chains and restaurants can be found there and schools have good ratings. It was named to Forbes' list of "25 Best Places to Retire in 2015", listed among the ten best places in the United States to retire for the year 2012 by U.S. News & World Report, and was ranked at #1 in CNNMoney.com's 2009 list of 25 Best Places to Retire. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Charlotte,_Florida) 

What was most noticeable to us was that the place looked like it was built and ready for a big housing boom, but the boom never seemed to happen. There are signs everywhere: Land for Sale, 12 Acres for Sale, Lots for Sale... even signs that said 620+ Acres for Sale. The roads are all paved, phone lines strung, sewage systems in place.... and cheap land everywhere! 

Everything is in place, plotted out and ready, eternally waiting for the big housing boom.
The neighbourhood where my mother's land is located is mostly lot after empty lot, but there are some houses scattered around, mostly on plots of land along the rivers and waterways. A lot of houses had For Sale signs on them. A quick online search led me to a 9 bedroom, 9 bathroom house on my mother's street that is listed as being valued at about 3 million dollars, but sold recently for a mere $80,000. We wondered who built the house, and why? 
Mom posing in front of her land.
We got out of the car and walked around, snapped a few pictures, sighed a few sighs.... The land isn't worth that much. Actually, the land value hasn't increased much since my father purchased it about 55 years ago. My parents probably paid more in taxes on it over the years than it is worth. We headed back to the hotel and the kids had a swim. Later we went out for dinner and then watched TV. 

Mom catching her breath. 
My mother's health issues require that she is on oxygen most of the time. Her oxygen concentrator makes a continuous 'whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh' sound when it is turned on. That combined with the television that my mother insists should be on all night long made me worry that someone would complain, but thankfully no one did. In the morning my mother asked if it was alright to go to the restaurant to eat breakfast in her pajamas. I said "No! You need to get dressed!" Mom is not really a morning person, but we had planned to spend the day at the Myakka River State Park so I had to get everyone up and moving and pack up the car for the day out.

The ride to the park was beautiful. Along the way were small farms, cattle ranches and an abundance of 'Land for Sale' signs. We had a lovely day at the park. The weather was perfect and there were plenty of things to do that were accessible to my mother. Part of the time she rested in the car. 

The views of the river were stunning. Alligators popped up for a breath of air from time to time, but quickly sank below the water's surface.

There is a suspension bridge up in the tree canopy that stretches out between two observation towers. 

A walkway leading out into the water. 
Plenty of alligators hanging out along the shady banks. 
Saw Palmetto
We enjoyed the park, the scenery, the small visitors center and museum, hiking around and the boat ride. After a very pleasant day we headed back to the hotel. The kids went for a swim to cool off before dinner.


The next morning I woke up to find my mother missing. She wasn't in the room. I quickly got dressed and went out to find her. Where was she? She was in the dining room of course, happily eating her breakfast - in her pajamas!

After breakfast we packed up the car and headed for home. No decisions were made about my mother's land, but we had had a lovely mini vacation.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Feeling stressed!


They say that if Plan A doesn't work go on to Plan B.... there's an entire alphabet to try. This doesn't always work when it involves anything to do with Libya! I'm feeling rather frustrated about things today. Maybe it's time to stop trying to plan things my own way and relax and let God deal with it. I am totally stressed out and that's not helping. Go with the flow.... go with the flow... go with God's plan....


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Updating and Reorganizing

I've finally taken the time to sort out all the links that were on my sidebar and put them on their own separate page which you can find on the tabs at the top of my blog (Link List). It took me a while to sort it all out - I had to check each of the links individually. So many of the blogs had been removed and the links didn't work anymore. I found myself stopping to read new posts. Some of the blogs haven't been updated in quite some time. I guess we can blame Facebook for that.

I think I've put together a pretty good list. I'll keep adding to it as I go. Let me know in the comments what you think, or if you know of any links I might have missed. 

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Eid wishes

Best wishes for a safe and peaceful Eid El Fitr to all who celebrate. 

Eid Mubarak!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Patience

I went to the mobile phone company to sort out some issues I was having with my phone service. There was only one attendant in the shop and a line was forming. There was one person in front of me who was being helped, a middle aged woman in a short, tight fitting dress - she was taking a lot of time making decisions.  While we were waiting,  a man walked in, actually he limped in. He appeared to have a disability of some kind and he was possibly a bit inebriated too. He looked a bit rough with the weather-worn skin and hands of a fisherman. He was dressed in shorts and a half unbuttoned khaki-colored cotton shirt. He greeted everyone and then proceeded to tell a joke:

"What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back?" he said looking at the woman in front of me. She stood for a moment thinking and then replied "I really don't know". He smiled and said "A stick!" We all laughed and the shop keeper continued to help the customer. He glanced up at me and said "I'll be right with you."

I waited patiently, looking at the products on display. The man who told the joke groaned and held his side, he was in obvious pain. He grimaced, then turned and limped out of the shop. The shop keeper looked up, noting that the man had left. I could tell he was getting a bit impatient with the woman who couldn't make up her mind, but he stoically answered her questions and offered some suggestions. Finally, she was finished and it was my turn. 

The shop keeper apologized for taking so long and then looked up at me and greeted me in Arabic "Assalamualaikum." I answered him likewise in Arabic "Walaikumasalam," and then proceeded in English to tell him about the problem I was having with the phone service. It turned out to be something he hadn't faced before and he needed to make a call to find some answers. The shop's door opened and in limped the man who had been in before. "Do you just need to pay for service?" the shop keeper asked him. "Yes," he said. The shop keeper looked at me and asked "Is is all right if I help him first? It will only take a moment." Of course I agreed. Others in line behind me were not so thrilled, but the man was obviously in severe pain and it was better to help him first. The man grimaced and held his side and then proceeded to tell us another joke:


"What do you call a cow with no legs?" he asked. We all looked at one another, no one had the answer. "Ground beef! A cow with no legs is called ground beef!" he exclaimed. We all laughed and the man reached his hand out to take his change from the shop keeper. While doing so the contents of his wallet; cards and bits of paper, fell out and scattered on the floor. He was not in any condition to bend over to pick them up. The customers behind me sighed loudly. The shop keeper calmly reached down to retrieve the papers and cards. "I'm so sorry," the man apologized, "I'm not well." and then trying to make light of the situation he jokingly said "I have a few broken ribs. I guess I chose the wrong ex-girl friend." He chuckled as he collected his belongings, then thanked the shop keeper and left.

My problem was quickly sorted out and the shopkeeper said in Arabic "Shokran," and "Wasalamualaikum." I said goodbye (in Arabic) and left. I have no idea where the shopkeeper was from, but it was pleasant to share a polite, and patient, exchange. I'm not sure others would have been so patient.



Glossary:
Assalamualaikum: Peace be upon you. - a formal greeting
Walaikumasalam: Upon you be peace.  - a formal reply 
Shokran: Thank you

Monday, June 20, 2016

Half of Ramadan & a Link

We've reached the halfway mark in Ramadan. I've noticed a few things about this stage of fasting, namely that you are in the fasting groove and it feels like you can accomplish anything. Also the appetite has decreased - finishing a bowl of soup becomes a challenge.

It's been a few years since I spent Ramadan away from a Muslim country. People are eating and drinking everywhere I go. The supermarket is filled with all kinds of delicious things. Food is everywhere, but I don't feel very hungry or thirsty. Three weeks ago I couldn't go anywhere without my water bottle in the Florida heat, but now I can go the entire day without a sip of water and not feel that I am missing out which is quite amazing because I usually drink water throughout the day. Subhan'allah.... Physically I feel better. A lot better! 

On a less positive note: Ramadan in Libya this year has not been very pleasant. The power cuts continue. People are not able to withdraw money from the banks which means they cannot buy the food and supplies needed to feed their families. There are reports of lines at gas stations. The water supply has been cut to the capitol and other parts of the country. Fighting continues, kidnapping continues, shortages of medicine and medical supplies continues....  People are protesting but nothing is changing.   

I hope and pray that the remaining half of Ramadan continues to be easy for me, but also that there are improvements for those suffering in Libya. 

Sharing a link: I came across a blog written by an Italian, Arnaldo Guidatti, who has been living in Libya for 17 years and blogging for two. He has an interesting perspective about life and current events in Libya. I will add his blog, Europe & Libya to the links on my sidebar when I get a chance to sort them all out as many of the blogs that were listed are now gone and the list needs updating. He's written a post about this year's Ramadan in Libya: RAMADAN IN LIBIA in collaborazione con un Musulmano  the post is in both Italian and English. 



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Short Trip in Ramadan

I was fortunate enough to be able to take a quick (very quick!) business trip during the first few days of Ramadan. Travelers are exempt from fasting and are expected to make up the days they miss, but I decided to fast anyway. I would be too busy during the day to bother with eating and the hotels I was going to be staying in had excellent restaurants. 

I did have a dilemma though - who would take care of my mother while I was away? I managed to arrange for a dear friend to take my mother to a doctor's appointment and she also took her out for lunch and dinner one evening. Ibrahim was finished with school, so he was home with his grandmother. My oldest son was there for her when he wasn't at work. It worked out for the few days I was away. 

Another problem was a tropical storm that was brewing out in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to turn into a hurricane! Before I left I stocked up on hurricane supplies; bottled water and food, and I made sure there was cooking gas and flashlights. 

Off I went. The first day of Ramadan found me flying above the beautiful Caribbean Sea. What a lovely sight to behold!


I arrived in Martinique in the late afternoon. The sky was overcast as they too were being affected by the tropical storm. I found out later on that a "yellow" tropical storm warning had been issued which indicates potentially dangerous weather. I asked the person who told me this what was next and they said "orange which means things are worse than yellow and you better be really careful, followed by red which means you better not even think about going outside"

I went for a walk around. The blue and white of the pool in stark contrast with the clouds and storm in the distance makes for an interesting photo.

Martinique is a mountainous volcano island. The earth is black and the tropical green rain forests reach down to the beaches.  There are butterflies and hummingbirds everywhere and you can hear parrots squawking high up in the trees. 



video


In the Caribbean the sun sets early, at about 6:30pm. I walked to a nearby shopping centre and super market. Martinique is an overseas region of France so the supermarket was fully stocked with French products - and Tunisian dates! I picked up a few things to break my fast with and snack on during the night.  


The sun set quickly. This was the view from my room.


I broke fast and then went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. In what seemed like minutes the sky was pitch black. The restaurant didn't open until 7 o'clock. I got there a little early and found one of the waitresses using a broom to push away frogs that had found their way into the open dining area. The air was full of the sound of the croaking of frogs. 


The next day I took a short afternoon flight to the island of Guadeloupe, which is another island in France's overseas territories. I arrived at my hotel very near Maghreb (sunset) and within minutes of my arrival it was time to find my way to the hotel's restaurant for what was to be my breakfast. 


This restaurant was also open to the sea and served a huge buffet filled with Caribbean cuisine. Many Creole specialties and a strong French influence - I wanted to taste everything but there was only so much I could eat. Everything tasted delicious.  I will definitely try my hand at a few Guadeloupean recipes this Ramadan.


Guadeloupe, like Martinique was full of tropical birds and the night was full of the croaking of frogs which you can hear in the video I made while eating my fast breaking meal. 

video

This was an amazing way to spend the first few days of Ramadan. I arrived home to find that in the end the storm never developed into a hurricane, and the area where my mother lives just had a lot of rain and some flooding, but my mother's house was not affected. I hope one day I get the chance to return to Martinique and Guadeloupe. My visit was way too short. 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Ramadan Wishes


Wishing all who celebrate a peaceful and blessed Ramadan. 
May Allah accept your fasts and reward you in this life and in the hereafter. 


Friday, May 27, 2016

Keep blogging Libyans!

I want to share the link to a small article put out yesterday on the BBC website titled 'The Libyans Blogging for Change' which includes a short video featuring two Libyans; Haider Dawi, 27 year old co-founder of H2O and Khadija Al-Ramali who is co-founder of Project Silphium.

Links here:
Blogging in Libya has become increasingly dangerous in the past few years. Many bloggers have been picked up, tortured and even killed. A lot of Libyan bloggers have stopped blogging or are only posting infrequently. It's encouraging to see a resurgence of blogging, even on such a small scale. 

Keep blogging Libyans! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Watching the sunset

Lately we've been spending the evenings watching the sunset. The weather has been hot here in Florida, but beautiful in the evenings.  Getting out for some fresh air has been good for us. Soon it will be Ramadan and we'll be rushing to break our fast at that time of day. 

Here are some pictures I took. Enjoy!

The birds are soaring with a kite in Redington Shores.

Ibrahim bathed in the golden glow.... Redington Shores.

This bird seems to think it has a reserved seat. .... at Jungle Prada.

The air felt a smooth as the water looks.... at Jungle Prada

A man enjoying a rest.... at Jungle Prada

Night fall at Jungle Prada
The best thing about sunset is that it's free and you can enjoy the sunset just about every day. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Butterflies

Whenever I have a free Saturday morning I head out the door early and check out the thrift shops in my area. Sometimes I come home with some good bargains and other times I come home empty handed, but I always meet interesting people along the way. I enjoy the adventure whether I buy anything or not. 

I headed out this morning with plans to visit three spots. The first place was a pretty large and well organized shop that was spread out between four buildings; furniture, clothes and accessories, household goods and the last building contained religious merchandise and gifts (this shop was sponsored by a neighborhood church). You took whatever you wanted to buy to the furniture section and paid for it there. I managed to find some good bargains there - a laptop table/desk that I thought my mother would find useful for ten dollars, some office supplies and some kitchenware. 

There were two women minding the check out. You could tell they were enjoying their morning as they were busily chatting and joking with each other and the customers. One of the women noticed that I was wearing a brooch in the shape of a butterfly and she exclaimed 'Oh! How pretty! Your butterfly pin is so pretty!' she turned to the other woman and said 'Look! Look at her pin. It's a butterfly!' Then she turned back to me and said 'I make butterflies and give them to everyone I meet' as she pointed to a row of crocheted butterflies laying on the table in  front of her. 'I'm going to give you a butterfly. Please take one! Take whichever one you would like!' 

I leaned over to have a closer look. The butterflies were made in a simple design with a chained string hanging from the bottom so that they could be used as a bookmark. There were red, green, pink and purple to choose from. I took a purple one.  I smiled at her and said. 'God bless you! This is so kind and thoughtful of you.'  She smiled back at me. The woman looked to be in her late seventies, she had white and grey hair and was carefully dressed.  You could tell by looking at her finely lined face that she was a kind lady who had led a happy life. 

'Who taught you how to crochet?' I asked. 'My mother did. When I was a little girl she gave me a hook and some string and taught me how to chain. I chained and chained and chained! I couldn't stop! My mother sent me off to school and I crocheted even while I was studying. I've been chaining ever since.' I smiled and told her how lucky she was to have such good memories of her mother and how wonderful it was that she used what she had learned to give people pleasure. The woman reached into a bag that was next to the table and said 'I want to give you something else.' She held a framed crocheted butterfly. I was so surprised. 'Oh... that's beautiful... it's too much for you to give me. There is so much work in this' She extended her hand and placed it in my hands. 'Yes. Please, please take it. I want you to have it.' she insisted. I looked at her, still surprised by her gift. I reached up and pointed to my brooch 'Would you like my pin?' I asked. 'Oh no! It's much too dear!' she exclaimed. I took it off and handed to to her. 'Please, take the pin. Now, look how nice. We've traded butterflies today.' We smiled at each other. 'God bless you ma'am. Have a lovely day. Have a happy Mother's Day tomorrow!' 

I brought the framed butterfly home and hung it on the wall in my bedroom. I have no idea if I will  meet the woman from the thrift shop ever again. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Blessed with perfect weather

We've had beautiful weather the past week. Soon it will be summer and life in Florida will be the roar of air conditioners and miserably high humidity. For now we are enjoying the weather while we can. It's such a blessing to be living 5 minutes away from the beach. I love to relax and watch the waves rolling in toward the beach as the sun slowly sinks on the horizon.




Yes, truly a blessing. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Road trip

This week I went on a quick business trip to Miami. I lived there for six years in the 1980s, but now many places are totally unrecognizable. It's a fascinating city that needs a lot more than a day to take it all in, but unfortunately I didn't have time - maybe next time. 

Florida International University 
I hadn't had a Fuddrucker's hamburger in nearly 30 years. They are still the best burgers ever!
 I rented a car for the trip - a brand new Kia Soul which was actually really fun to drive. The weather was perfect on the day I returned home. I stopped along the way in the middle of the Everglades - grasses and swamp for further than the eye can see.



The sky was so blue against the green of the grass. There was lots of wildlife, but strangely I didn't come across any snakes or alligators. 


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