Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snapping out of it: Gratitude

In my life lately, alhamdulillah, a lot has straightened out. I can't front: I was one day from being homeless at one point in October of this year. I had looked into hotels. It was a fearful and stressful episode I hope never to have to relive. 

During that time I kinda regressed on a project I began earlier in 2012, the Complaint Free World project. You can see it at . 

But anyway, the intensity of facing not having a home, combined with some resentment I felt toward family members.who I felt could have helped and didn't... lately I'm feeling the bitterness and alternatig lethargy of the complaints in my mind start to build up. Leaving.the sace of completely never complaining had me feeling unmotiva ited, bored, and blah .

Cue my mother's voice in my head: "Snap out of it, honey! Get with the program." Even disembodied and.powered by my imagination, my mama is right on this one. I need to pull out of this funk.

Faiza Dean over at notes in one of the articles selected for their best of 2012 list that one of the biggest mistakes: unproductive Muslims make is ingratitude to God (swt). She continues to suggest that the reader write down five things for which they are grateful... and that's nothing new; I distinctly recall Nicole of the old Dictator Princess blog, having a regular 'Thanks, God' post. My turn!

I am grateful for: 

1)Ice. I spilled boiling water from a teacup over my hand a couple days ago. The pain was stunning, to the point where I just stood for a couple seconds with my eyes closed against it. Then I yanked open my freezer with one hand while the scalded one was under the cold tap. My hand did its best to blister, the skin is now blackened and starchy crackling. It didn't blister and didn't hurt too badly because I had ice. I still have the use and function because of a plastic baggie with salt water.and that blessed ice. I refilled it all night long. Thanks, God.

2) Hair.
My hair now passes my waist. I would like to complain about it. Instead, I will share that I love the swish of the ends around my waist, love that I can nearly seat myself on it. I literally dreamed of having long thick hair when I was a little girl. I'm living that dream, all natural. Alhamdulillah.

3) Friends
Keeping the ties that bind is hard for me. And I have friends anyway. Bless them. :-)

4)Babies everywhere!
I get to see newborn babies! Daily! 

5) Freedom
I have the liberty to choose and the power to execute my choices in every single thing I do. Everything. And not only is that freedom protected, but I live in a country and region where that is *recognized*. I choose to call that a blessing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

So 2012 ends...back where I began

Whatcha think?

It's been a year of enormous changes. I've missed blogging tremendously.  Especially as I navigated the end of grad school, taking on a job that was a dead-end, though I didn't know it at the time, taking another job that could lead to midwifery (inshaAllah), and handling my emotions and desire for love and romance through it all.

On the way several of my good friends had babies- two had babies in the same week at the same hospital!  And one very special couple allowed me the pleasure of being present at the birth of their son, may he be blessed and a blessing to them.

It's been a glorious year.

Right now, I'm sleeping on a pallet on the floor of a room I rent from a nice Muslim couple. I'm not homeless, just broke.
A lot of people are wondering about that; but what they don't know, what I didn't know, was  that a master's degree, in the nursing field, doesn't mean automatic salary increase. One has to have experience.
I don't have experience, and believe it or not, most places won't hire a new graduate who doesn't have experience.

"So, how are you 'sposed to get experience if no one will hire you?" said my bestie Amouna in an echo of, oh, everyone I know,

"That's exactly MY question," I answered.

Still, I'm making enough so that if I hold off on getting a car, or if I find a part-time position somewhere, I can make ends meet. What I really don't want to do is lower the $950 (!) monthly payments on the loans that got me through the master's degree (which in turn did not get me the experience to have the salary to pay the loans).  Because 10 years is quite enough to be paying loans. If I lower the payments per the (really nifty, don't get me wrong, can I say a hallelujah for Obama and co. getting the loan companies to lighten up on my generation?) graduated repayment plan the government loan places have set up, I'll be paying it for 25 years. No, thank you. I can hardly believe I'll see 40 years before these loans are finished.

Riba'a is a bitch, y'all.

So, consider me back for the short term. I'm back to where I started- fresh out of school, living in conditions that are alternately dubious and wonderful, isolated from my old friends, and just needing someplace to talk. I'm hoping you'll listen. I'm hoping you haven't all gone away. I missed you!


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Blogging about a camera

assalamu alaikum, So you may have notice that the photo above has been there for, oh, 5 years or so. I've changed a bit during that time. The photo itself was taken by one of my students when I took them to Capitol Hill as a reward for passing English Accent Reduction class. I didn't even take it. I currently don't own a camera. But! I can change that! One of the blogs I"ve been following for years, Yvonne at Joyunexpected, is hosting a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. And the camera she's presenting, a Canon PowerShot ELPH 300HS, is pretty sweet. Just let me win that gift card! You know I'd put that toward a camera. So, do check out the links above, enter yourself... you never know. I'm beyond stressed right now over school, but for legal(!) reasons, it will wait until after semester grades are in the bag. Make dua'a please. Talk to you all soon! ~twenny

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Too done. Through. Fed up.

assalamu alaikum I need your dua'a. I'm not doing so well in school. By which I mean that I'm failing. Graduate school is a different beast than undergrad; but for me the problem is truly my frustration with the graduate work. If I were working on a second bachelor's degree, I'd only have one more class after this semester. Because no one has switched from master's to bachelor's at this point, the school of nur.sing I'm in is unlikely to allow me to do it, according to an administrator. But because of the way nur.sing works, and a big part of my frustration is, when I graduate whether with a master's degree, a bachelor's degree, or an associate's degree, I start off making the same salary in most places. One exception is the federal government including the military. That's a tough place for me to work. The other thing is that I feel duped, because I still have to go to school for another two years in order to become a midwife. At least the goal is very very clear in my mind. I WANT TO BE A MIDWIFE. THAT IS THE POINT OF SCHOOL. Another part of my problem is that I'm isolated within the program, and am not getting the help or support I need no matter how much I ask for it. I ask for study groups, and people flake out or decline. And one thing about my alma mater was that I rolled in a crew that was DEEP. There was always someone at the library, no matter the hour, to sit at a table with. We didn't have to talk, but my thing is that I need people WITH me. The people in this program are so darned CLOSED and I feel isolated. I'm very unhappy about this. I'm done. ~twenny

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


assalamu alaikum, MashaAllah, I'm happy to see you, too! It's been a while, hasn't it? Today in class we're talking about the CN*L role. CNL means Clin!cal Nur$e Le@der; the program for which I'm studying grants a Master of Science in Nursing degree at the end (please, Lord!), but we also have the option which is pretty strongly pushed to go for the CNL certification. I was thinking this morning that I really (really) regret not blogging though the beginning of my nursing school career. This is why. I'd love to be able to look back and see how my thinking has changed. I decided ultimately not to blog, though; partly because I didnt have time, and partly because I didn't want this to become a recording of teh negatives I'm feeling. I really need to be able to look back and remember my 'alhamdulillah' moments. Next entry: CNM? CNL? MSN? OMG! GMOOH!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thirty from TwennySicks

assalamu alaikum,

As I write this, I'm still 26.

Six and twenty years have passed in my life. And I'm still hoping for thirty.

Thirty, Mama said, is when "I was seriously grown.".
At thirty, according to some voices in Islam, youth has officially passed.

I don't know that maturity has necesarily skipped me, but I do know that I'm not done growing. And there are some years and times I want to call back and savor. Especially twenty four and twenty five. Lawd, 25 was hard from the beginning to the end, quite literally. Almost everyone forgot my 25th birthday; I worked all day and my boss got lost bringing me home in the DC heat. And then I went home and cried because no one loved me. And on my 26th birthday, I was at my grandmother's house... because she wasn't there. She was to be buried the next day.

*sigh*. SubHanAllah. Maybe by 30 I'll have finished sorting out the complex grief-guilt-relief mishmash I feel when I think about the mother of my mother.

Now I feel narcissistic.

That's not what I mean, though. I mean to be forward-thinking. Goal-oriented, even. And somewhere in me is still a little girl who dreams. At twenty-six.

I'm dreaming of a thirty-year old. Woman-me. Secure- more secure than today. Submitting, more than today. Loving- deeply. I dream of a tomorrow (or a not-quite-four-years) better than now. Nowhere near old. But certainly no child. Not even wanting to be, anymore.

Maybe I'll be mama? Wife? Proprietor? Prosperous? A singer. A nurse. A midwife. Professor, crafter. Rich and thin. Rich and fat. Certainly sexy, certainly all covered up.

Maybe I'll not have a dime to my name. Maybe I won't be writing here anymore. Maybe I'll have tasted the true bitterness of the tests we all face. Maybe I'll have become a bleak person. I don't know.

How wondrous and golden is the day I have yet to behold. It amazes me how delicious is something I have yet to taste!

One thing. If (and it won't happen) y'all catch me bemoaning the arrival of my third decade, whop me. Hard! AlHamdulIllah, what if I don't make it? Imette didn't make it. Gabriel didn't make it. Merlin didn't make it. Joy didn't make it. Not to thirty. How many deaths will I see before this day arrives? I am thankful and greatful for every beat of my heart, every action I can make, every wonder and even the atrocities I can see. Who knows? One day this post could be a missive from the grave.

All praise to ALlah for being able to speak, to even hint at His glory. Life is something I will never regret.

Even as I'm reaching for thirty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And A blessed Eid alAdha to you

assalamu alaikum,

So, the day is nearly done. Eid Mubarak! This Eid was much, much happier than the last. Partly because I opened my mouth to May and asked her to call me. "Why?", she asked.

So then I told her about the Eids that I spent crying because I felt lonely and out of touch.

Y'all, I dunno- I feel like people my age don't do a good job of keeping in touch or something. That's a side note. And a stinky thought. *sigh*.

Today was good. We had breakfast together and played word games. We went to the prayer just in time to squeeze in the back. I wore the new grey abaya that I bought at ISNA, plus a LIME GREEN HIJAB. It was that loud. :D

I needed some cheer in my life! Though the day began mildly, it was colder when I left the house than when I woke, and by the time I got back to my car after the prayers, it started to rain. It rained cats, dogs, and flying pigs, y'all. All summer people prayed for rain, and now we've got it.

I miss writing here. I miss being able to talk to myself or to my 'community'. I miss the feeling of sisterhood and brotherhood that was much more present when IzzyMo and UmZayd's blogs were active, when I didn't have so much going on and didn't have a facebook account.

What do I need to talk to myself about?

The Guy.

Job/work needs and prospects

The Year of M.ore work that I'm doing/ not doing

Family schtuff

Old and new friends.

I mean, what DO people blog about?

As I recall, when I first first first started blogging at Sherry's behest, one of my many itentions was to keep a record of what happened. So much is going on.

I took the day off class, though, and so duty to myself calls. I really don't want to have my butt cemented to a chair tomorrow. I guess it'll have to wait. Again.

But Eid Sa'eed! Mine was. Alhamdulillah.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


assalamu alaikum,

fun gregorian date, today.

So I've been seeing people flashing purple on facecrack and tw.itter to protest the suicides due to bullying of gay teenagers. There have been meetings, support groups on campus for graduate students to talk about homophobia.

t'tell the truth, I'm sure of what I think. What I'm not sure of is where I can say that, except here.

First off, hate has no place in my heart. Where I find it, I do my best to work on it and pull it out. And as with most negativity, if I'm pointing one finger at someone else, I've got 3 coming right back at me.

I think that bullying is wrong, no matter who or where it's done. And I think Noah's Dad has a lot of good ideas on how to face both bullies and victims, by the way.

Gay marriage, 'don't ask, don't tell', and suicides by various kids because they're gay bring homosexuality to mind a lot.

Honestly? I don't think homosexuality should be a topic. So if homosexuality is a reason we're letting kids be bullied, keeping people from setting up house legally with whomever they please, and keeping people who want to serve out of our armed forces, that reason is invalid. Sexuality of any type is healthily only one of many important facets of identity and life.

That's NOT the same thing as saying that I think it's right. Is it right for two men to be spouses? Nope. Should they be able to do so if they want? YES. That's their free choice to do so. I don't think it's prudent. I don't think it falls under the rules and religion I follow with my life. But you know what? I don't think it's right that men and women live together without being married, either; we don't stop them with a law or anything else. People should be able to make and follow through with their own choices. I'm even more hands-off when it comes to sexuality; the parties involved aren't affecting bringing anyone into the act but themselves; they're adults and agreeing and consenting; what they do is NONE of my BUSINESS. And you could probably substitute a lot of concepts with sexuality there.

I think that homosexuality in itself is NOT a reason to withdraw or refuse to love or talk to or treat or work with or smile at or be polite to or live around any person. We used to say it so simply when I was a kid: 'Don't hate the player, hate the game.' So many of us forget that. We are called to love for each other what we love for ourselves; and if they don't love these things for themselves... what? lakum deenukum wa liya deen! To you be your Path, to me mine.

And no use asking if, on their part, gay people will stand up for polygyny or the rights of Muslims to have prayer time at work or to cover properly. No use, because it isn't about reciprocity; it's about being able to inspect and respect myself and what's around me, and still sleep at night.

So no, I didn't wear or show purple today; and yes, it's because I live this out day after day.


Today was the televised debate for my congressional district. Let's just say I want the incumbent to stay in. Last election he beat a congressman who I'd loathed for every one of the 14 years he represented Conservopolis. The old guy wants back in. We're in a conservative area, and he's conservative, so he might actually win (retch). If I were being true to my inclinations I'd go and give the new guy a hand; but 18 credits demand all of my time. Yeah.

And now.
Can I just say I HATE the new Law and Order?! I never watch TV, and now I know why! Did they just put the most unoriginal hater story on the new LA show this week? Why did they just get a child to get in a fictional court and say that she had to obey a man? And have her lie for him? And say that as a conservative muslim she had to obey a man she wasn't even married to?!

I will never watch that show again. I'm so tired of people trying to put an image on my deen that doesn't belong. Really.

Please say a prayer for me; tomorrow is the second of two serious tests in two days, and we have two half-hour presentations next week. And I need to resolve a tax situation with Conservopolis AGAIN (apparently it didn't reach the records the first time). Just... patience. I need some renewed supplies of patience and perseverance. InshaAllah I'll get back to the tests and presentations later.


Sunday, October 17, 2010


assalamu alaikum

So what's new?

I had my first clinicals as a nursing student this week. That was interesting. I think the viewpoint of a nurse is very different from an EMT; EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians, those people who come with the ambulance) are a more quickly judging, not nearly as long-term, and more health maintenance and less life-saving. It's funny that I got so much out of my EMT courses; even now I still hear the voice of my teacher, Nurse Wanda, and the stuff I learned is instinctive though I didn't practice much.

I'm treading lightly so far on blogging the nurse thing; part of it is that I don't want to break any laws, and part is that I'm still getting sorted out in my head what I want to say. I do want to blog about it though, because I need to be able to look back on this. Kinda like portareeco.

So, right now the hardest things for me are Nursing Theory (which is so many words without clarity of ideas), and Nursing Research (wherein we learned first about qualitative research, which on the face is some nutty schtuff, lemme tell you). As a matter of fact, I'm off to go study them now.

I think the problem with Theory is that not only is it a bunch of new ideas, but I don't have a paradigm to fit them into right now. That, and the reading is insane.
Mind you, I'm a really good reader, always have been; but the readings for this class always seem to want to be impressive, and use 15 3-syllable words where they can explain the same thing in 5. And, the professor for the class annoys me because she doesn't give straight explanations for the concepts, so that now, at midterm, I feel frustrated and lost. I'm still doing the work for the class, but my feeling is totally making me lose any emotional (and thus motivational) investment in doing well. C=RN, yo.

Research at least is easier to understand; but I have the same issues with the readings. Because I'm a visual-spatial thinker the readings are frustrating to me; I'll read entire pages and not be able to put a single visualization or understanding to anything discussed. It makes me unpleasant to be around at times, I'm sure, because I want to whine.

Oh, do I want to whine.

On other fronts, nothing new with the man... and I refuse to think about it until there is, how'bout that? Really, theory and research and pathophysiology are enough to keep stuck in the back of my head.


There's more to say, but I don't feel the time to say it; it's interesting the pressure I feel to be studying right now. So here I go. Ttys.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Got it started

assalamu alaikum,

I'm so antsy, because I did it; I got the ball rolling with this guy.

I don't even want to give him a blog name, yet. It might be one of those things that fades away until even if I gave him a pseudonym, I wouldn't remember his real name.

It's the possibilities that are making me antsy and itchy and wiggly. What if he says yes? (?!?!!)

So let me backtrack a sec... since my last post, I've had this in the back of my mind; I just didn't have a lot of time to focus on it. Between the mentoring group, plus my time-and-a-half studies, I had like five assignments, a test, and a research critique due last week. As it was, I didn't do as well as I wanted on the test (a B, but I want an A. Yes, I'm one of those people).
But this weekend, Br. Leader and May had a gathering at their house. And at first I asked Leader, okay, so if we don't date... how Do I get to know this man, to see if this is right?

I appreciated the answer, which was... just have people around. The big issues with dating in Islam are that the important questions aren't fully addressed before marriage, and/or the couple being alone together (since, if a man and a woman are alone together, shaitan is the third)- that includes phone calls and internet contact. So he basically said, like go to a restaurant and sit at a table, but have another couple (or parents, depending on how strict the family is) at a different table. I kinda grinned when he said something to the effect that no man is going to try something if her dad is sitting at the next table; totally true! Or, he said, if two people were sitting in his dining room, and others were in another room; since the floor plan is pretty open (no real doors), and people can come and peek in at all times, that's acceptable.

So it really is like courting, back in the day. I like that. I never was a dating person, even back before Islam in high school.

But then he asked, "Anybody I know?" and y'all, I'm so glad I'm a chocolate person because I know I must've blushed like bright red. So I said yes; and he offered to have a gathering at his house, to prevent awkwardness.

I spend so much time protecting myself against blows I think are coming and too often have come. The experience last weekend really got me to the point where I finally started to bring my barriers down. I can't tell you how big that is. I want to be the person who avoids that awkward situation without dreading it or acting to avoid it instead of acting to get what I want... in this. Most times I don't give a rip what anyone thinks.

And May commented on just that. The mentoring group we're all a part of is going to be doing year-long training. "You'll have enough on your plate without that big white elephant in the room." Ain't that the truth.

Leader said something else about how this guy might be ok with marrying older in general, but really might want to marry someone his age or younger. I agreed; and what ran through my head was something similar, but along racial lines. Just last week I had a friend email me some man's profile. When I asked her why she didn't want to keep him for herself, she said, "He's African-American." SO what? I wondered. Turns out she wants a desi guy- she's desi herself. I wonder if this guy is like that. I doubt it; but what do I know?

So, since I finally let someone know who can get the ball rolling, I do feel better about it. Still giddy, still looking forward to seeing him, but better. I'm getting to like this anticipation of GOOD things.

Make dua'a for me, please!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wait. You're HOW old?

assalamu alaikum

I'm totally paying for the hijinks of my youth.

This weekend we went to a MORE Life weekend. Long story short, there was a man there I totally vibed with. He's from the Conservopolis community, and I've known him for a while but not had the chance to hang with him until now.

Well. I think he's just awesome. Judging from our conversations over the weekend (travel plus convention) he's digging me.

We had this conversation the other night that has me stuck though:

Me: Yeah, so Monday it's back to ExtraCatholic U for class.
Him: Oh, what, so University of Conservopolis isn't good enough for you?
Me: Eh, well, my moms has worked at Ex for a while; I thought she should at least have one kid graduate from there.
Him: Yeah, it's smart to take advantage of tuition remission.
Me: Or, it would be, but I'm too old. You have to be under 26.
Him: *doubletake* wait... you're over 26?
Me:... definitely over 26.
Me: How old did you think I was,[name]?
Him: Well, you hang with my cousin Mari, I was thinking you're like 22, 23 tops like she is.
Me: *laughing* Yeah, I keep slipping and thinking Mari is my age, but no. I'm 23 in my heart, though!
Him: *laughing* Well, I'm 20 in my heart and my body!

*conversation continues to other things*

And I am sooo stuck. Dag. A 10 year difference?! For real? I mean, if I were 40 (ya Allah, please forbid!) it wouldn't be as big a deal.
In his defence, had he not SAID he was that young, I never would've known. Honestly. JW acts five years younger than this guy, and he acts, well, grown. If asked I'd've said he was 25 at the youngest; he's still working toward his BA, otherwise I don't know if I'd've thought him even that young.

I like him a lot.

So the other thing is, now what? Besides my usual moping about. I'm just not going to do that. If I were the dating kind I'd ask him out. Yes, even now I know how young he is. In fact, I feel like I need to spend some time to figure out if his maturity is my crazy perception or if he's just unusually old in his manner.

Since I don't date... now what?


twennytwo (who is darn near thurdy)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Stuck in the middle with you

assalamu alaikum,

I'm stuck.

I've always known, even before my parents wished me to, that I don't have to do anything I don't want to do.

The problem comes when there is something I DO want to do, that perhaps I shouldn't. Even if the harm will come only to me. Like, traveling (hello, I'm an adult!) on my own. And I want to. And I know it'll be okay. But it might not be. Ah, the vagaries of adulthood.

InshaAllah I'm headed to Chicago for the Independence Day holiday. I have not eaten anything with added sugar in it since June 13th. I'll have to tell you all about that later; suffice it to say now that on the 4th I'll be celebrating with some sugar! (The rule is: no added sugar unless it's a holiday or the 13th of July.)

Hope you're all doing really well.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

hijabi meets a girl wearing tzit tzit and other mysteries

assalamu alaikum

Life continues to be surprising. I'm glad I'm still around.

Today I was in one of my favorite restaurants, one where the people at the service counter do not look twice, but instead love to tease me

"que tipo de frijoles quiere?"
"negros... pero, son habichuelas!"
"quien te dijo? Son frijoles, claro..."

about beans in Spanish.
So anyway, today I stand for several minutes next to a rather overweight person in a baseball cap. Wearing tzit-tzit. And so naturally I thought it was a guy until


started talking with a friend about how she was saving to fly to her best friend's wedding in CA this October.

And I just had to ask. I've had enough people ask about my hijab to have a crazy religion question card in my wallet, thanks.

So I did:
"Excuse me... can I ask you a silly question?"
"... Yeah, sure."
"Are those... tzit-tzis you're wearing?"
"Yes, they are!"
"But.. I mean, I've never seen a girl wearing them!"
"I know."
"I just... wow, that's awesome, I don't even know where to start."
"It's pretty cool that you know what they are. I mean, are you Jewish?"
"Nope, I'm Muslim."
"You don't even find many Jews who know what they are."
"I just don't know even where to start! How did you come to wear them?"

And she proceeds to explain that they're a mitzvah that she's always been tied to; and that no, she doesn't attend a Conservative temple; she's Reform.
MashaAllah. In spite of the differences, what I felt was the connection: another woman willingly reaching to take charge of her own spirit and how she shows it.


I'm still excited to be in nursing school; but the last two courses required before I can enter will be trying to kill. me. I KNEW I'd decided never to work and go to school full time again for a reason! Although technically I'm not in school full time (only 8 credits, which means 2 classes and 2 labs, so I'm lucky enough to have Fridays after work free), it FEELS that way. Yesterday afternoon I fell asleep after Asr prayer in the middle of a friend's carpeted floor. I slept for 3 hours right there, past Maghrib. She returned to find me still in the floor. I remarked that I couldn't imagine why I was so tired, and she said, "I know why! You're working and going to school full time, dummy!"

Wait, that makes you tired?!

hee hee.


We are officially counting the days until the end of the school year. I know I will miss my students- but we have to finish the year, first. I want to teach Calligraphy and Islamic history in the language arts and Social studies classes, fun stuff that will hold their attention and get me through.

OH SHOOT. I forgot my grades were due today. Oh well, they'll wait until tomorrow.

Ideas welcome.


Lastly, the marriage search is still on, albeit in low-key format. I'm still stewing at Sh. Yaser Birjas and the Practimate team; as far as I'm concerned, they owe me $400. Ask me if you want to know more about that.

SafiyaOutlines has a new post up about Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men; I'm sure she'd appreciate your comments. All 2 of you who still hold out for my blog posts. Bless you both.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Marching on

assalamu alaikum,


I got into nursing school!


Yes, that's a bigole grin on my face. So much has been going on that the actual acceptnce was a relief. I'll be doing my master's in nursing at the local Catholic university.

I have wanted this for SO long. It's truly terrifying to be without income (except loans) for 2 years. Y'all know me; I never have just one job.

Still, I promised myself I'd never work and do school again. Right now I'm focusing on scholarships and grants. If I have to take loans, then... Allah knows best. I've busted my backside to get my loans as low as they are now. I suppose I need to take Spring Break and find a summer tutoring position. Or something. If I could clean my credit card completely by the end of the summer I'd feel a lot better. I already have some babysitting/tutoring lined up; it's going to be a full summer! Ramadhan- and the start of school- will feel like a relief.

I turned in my letter of resignation last week; it followed some drama. As one of the other staff members told me, "Girl, you have impeccable timing." I haven't been writing about it, but I put up with a lot of shtuff off of the administrators- either bad management and manners, or complete lack of leadership which is worse in one or two ways- and I did it with the view of school firmly in front of me. The principal took it into his head to yell at me in front of people a few times, and made his apologies as quiet as a mouse. I think for me that's what made my application seriously. I made istikhara on it. I'm not saying it's okay for me to be wrong, and I certainly accept a reprimand when it's due. What's not okay is you losing your professionalism or behaving as if you own me. Which this school certainly does not- they're losing another teacher this year to a $10K raise in salary, in a nicer climate. I'm very happy for everyone who has what they want.

Speaking of which, BAM just had the 'inlaws' walima. I'm really excited for him; can't wait to meet his wife. I wondered, when the healthcare bill passed, if it would have affected whether or not they married; but the fact is, I saw it in his eyes when he talked about his now-wife. He's crazy 'bout that girl. So it's good they're together, for whatever reason.

Which leads me to April being a very busy month, in part because we're going to a matrimonial session in DC. Imam Magid is running it; and a group of us are 'tripping it. That's the third weekend in April; this weekend I'm headed to see my great-grandmother with my sister. That won't be as fun a trip as I'd hoped; we'll be cooking for my grandfather and great-grandmother and making sure they're comfortable... G'mama is nearly 100 years old. Even two or three days with her are precious.
Then, the next week is the Conservopolis version of the Amazing Race. This year we want to win it!
And then the last weekend... well, the last weekend is the weekend before May, when the kids will have Field Day, the last Field Trip, and the annual school fund raiser. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

The hardest part for me- beyond cleaning out that classroom- will be the 4th quarter push. I need to take Spring Break and rest, so I can push through it. The last quarter of the year has always been about yearning for Summer for me, and my birthday, and just generally not wanting to teach. After the 1st week of May it's really over. I'm planning on teaching calligraphy- a few of my kids have terrible handwriting, but most of them are artistic and will enjoy that as much as I do- and doing a lot of reading discussion. They've got to study grammar, too. It's hard to fight my own attitude and realize that this one year is all I've had with them. Just like my years with my kids in PR, and VA. I know I will be asked about what I taught, and what they learned. I can only make dua'a that it's enough.

*sigh* I'm ti-yeerd. iA I'll get back to y'all later...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


assalamu alaikum,

So, without giving away too many details (even though I suspect a great many people who know me in real life read this blog without telling me so...), we went on a field trip to Disney this long weekend.

It was great! The trip began cold and wet- I mean, walking around in 50 degree downpours, cold and wet. But that first day was decent. Or, it would've been, if Delta hadn't lost my bags. At least I didn't have to make up a song ala 'United Breaks Guitars'. But when I got the bag back, it was missing some things.


We visited 3 parks: Animal Kingdom (created since I'd last been to the parks... whoo boy, that was 13 years ago!), Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom.
It was interesting to see how many Muslims were at the park (answer: not many). I got so excited and would go, 'Muslim sighting!' every time I saw a group with women in hijab. That was fun, the kids got into that too.
And things were pretty crowded even though it was chilly and, well, February. I figured that the Southern Hemisphere folk were out in force; I heard a lot of Portuguese and Spanish going on around me. That was fun, too.

I miss Florida, miss puerto Rico, love those tropical, moist, warm climates. If 50 degrees is cold, I'll take it! Palm trees and sunshine make me happy. This trip was rejuvenating.

One of the kids gave me a heart attack, though, and it really took the enjoyment out of one of the days. She just walked off without saying where she was going to anyone in the group.

Worst 10 minutes of my life, to date. Indirectly I think I have Imette to thank for that. I now absolutely know what could happen when one person is off by themselves, confidently exploring in a public place. I guess I'm still processing her death, 3 years later.

But anyway.

Point for me is that I need to revisit the parks when I can go and shop and sightsee and ride things as an adult, without having to chaperone the young ones. This trip was all about them; I was so happy to see them enjoying themselves. They got to do their thing (and did it well, I might add), shop, ride (really tame and lame) rollercoasters and see attractions.

May was the point person for this trip. I'm really actively trying to learn more from and about May. She's really an amazing person. My upbringing taught me adult-centrism; it was harsh and showed me exactly how to behave around authority, even though it kept me safe. May's kids are sometimes disobedient, but they are loving and she really does focus on them. It's an interesting way to be, and I feel I need a lot more tenderness to go with my obedience.

So yeah, Disney. It was fun.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't listen, plus, filling the bucket

assalamu alaikum,

I understand why people don't listen to music, I really do.

I don't want to get into it though. Just sayin' that Chrisette Michelle (perfectly okay lyrics... well. Um.) got me understanding that a bit better. A sound I grew up on, with the synthesized soul. Had my life not gone differently it's how I'd be singing.

I'm doing a 'Filling the Bucket' List. Someone over on FB gave me the idea. What do I want to do before I turn 30?

What would you recommend I do before I turned thurdy? That didn't require a whole lot of specific cooperation from others. (Therefore, marriage and kids and their ilk are out. Keep up the adiyat.)

BAM got married today... and NYC supposedly saw a historic snowstorm. I hereby dedicate all my replays of 'If I Have My Way' to Steven and Megan. I won't make further remark after I say, CONGRATULATIONS!


Sunday, February 07, 2010

When it isn't for you, and when it isn't for you: Building a bridge

assalamu alaikum,

So, my Brother from Another Mother (BAM) is getting married. He clearly is happy about it but also would be just as happy not to get married.

To be writing this mere months after our conversations online and here in person on marriage is... wow. Life: The Great Unexpected Adventure.

I, well, I acted all girly (sue me, it's not my norm) and squeed and such.

Now, let me tell you a secret: way back when adiyat were needed, I said several prayers for BAM. One was for him to find a job. Two was for him to find a job that had all he needed. Three was for him to find a way to keep his love in his life despite the ticking of biological clocks in folk's ears. We had a very deep conversation, and paramount (or at least, very clear to me) were the facts that 1) he loves her to the point of vulnerablility 2) he don't want no kids not no way not no how 3) the intersection of the two might be the point of breakup for them.

So I am happy that they are getting married. Even if it is for the reasons they are getting married. Go read him yourself to find out details.

I'm still praying for him, is all. For them, now. YAY, love! However you come to it and decide it's worth sticking with.

Another of my longtime friends, Bella, not too long ago had her first son. As I consider myself another honorary 'Titi' to this kid since I remember the night of his parents' first date and REALLY liking his dad (as I recall, Bella is one of those I told 'you're going to marry him' years ago), of course I'm over the moon and thrilled for them. MashaAllah.

I've already remarked countless times that finding my husband and settling down to raise a whole bunch of kids is one of my biggest desires/dreams/wishes/things-I-want-but-can't-make-happen-alone. This year, though, call it 2010 or 1431, the only resolution I made was to let that go. I've been so stressed out by and about the great search that when I really had to focus on other things, and let it go, it felt good for the first time. It was okay.

Just okay. But I can live with that. I'm learning to do that.

I took the GRE's the other day and got a 1310, and it was a weight off of my shoulders and another step toward getting out of my less than financially rewarding job and on with a different dream, that of being a nurse-midwife (don't look now, you'll turn around and i'll be a nurse-anesthetist!). It's something I've wanted for a while.

Managing the application while dealing with my job has been tricky though. They pulled out their 'are you working for us next year' form earlier than ever. My first year, as I recall, I had to return that form in March. They sent it in January this time. I just went ahead and marked it yes and returned it.
My understanding is that I might not have my job regardless, but it's good to hedge my bets. Or something. My immediate boss is pretty intimidating, as was noted by my sixth graders the other day in class.
(That was actually HILARIOUS. "Miss Two, do you think Mrs. V is scary?" Me: Oh my goodness, child. What kind of question is that?... Him: "Do you think she's scary, though?" Me, fronting like a mamma-jamma: No, I think she's pretty responsible, she holds you accountable, but I don't think she's scary. Kids: "We do!" Himself: "I think she's really scary. When she looks at you like that. She's mean." ... ol' girl has some work to do on her public persona as a vice-principal when the brashest kids around call her not just mean, which is part of the job, but scary...heh. I should've said yes. But they're also blabbermouths.)

I think, though, that I haven't completed the application because I'm terrified of the what-ifs. What if Allah in his wisdom has decided this thing, that I've finally decided to go for, isn't for me?

And, what to do with a "career" when I decide that it's not for me? What do I do with my dream of companionship when, 10 years later, I realize it's not for me?

I've been dreaming about D and crew (Flint, Day, and Simona especially) lately, to the point that I picked up the phone and called. DC just got slammed by (yet another!) snowmaggeddon, about 20 inches this time. It might've' been the snow. I think it's something else, though. I've known D for 10 years; it took me quite a while to realize the strength of those feelings, and a little while longer to firmly tell myself that I wouldn't let them get out of hand.

I've known Flint for just as long D, though we're not nearly as close. And I had that same feeling when I saw Day; that they would be getting married. I 'called it' if you will. Their wedding's coming up, too. That makes me happy. The prospect of D getting married to Simona makes me happy as well... with a considerable mixture of other more sullen emotions that I don't really care to examine too deeply or publicly.

(I can hear D yelling at me now. "Who said anything about me getting married?" Buddy, if you don't accept by now that I can call them...) I did beg off when D asked me if I sensed the 'you're getting married' aura about Simona in part because I KNOW my radar is off when it comes to D. Let those chips fall where they may, I don't want anything to do with it.

Those feelings are what bother me now, really. I'm actually (really and truly ) okay with laying off the Great Search for this year, since I devoted all of 2009 to it, and it made me weary. I see myself distancing myself from my friends and it hurts. I get quiet so I won't have to think so hard about what I let come out of my mouth. So I can hear what they're saying and be about them for a while.

I don't like feeling jealous of my friends' good times, though; detest feeling that the way I'm thinking about it now makes it about me. I want to get to the place where it's all about happy. I've lost my way about that. I don't know how to recover it. I mean, normally the way to get over jealousy is to wish the person well and then go get your own whatever-it-is-that-finds-the-lost-remote happy.

I'm also scared: fearful of losing my grip on aqidah and haqq in my search for something that might never come my way. Scared I won't get in to school. Scared school won't help me go where I want to go. Scared to invite people over to see my house and the chaos that is my life. And bitter: bitter that I can't just use my own willpower to make what I want happen. Bitter that people I love don't realize how very, very blessed they are. And I don't know where to start to fix it.

Blogging is cheap therapy, if somewhat ineffective.

I'm still feeling my way around things like this, between the confident, responsible young girl I was and the reticent, emotional, disorganized adult. Something happened there after high school. I hope it'll be untangled by the time I'm old and realize it really didn't matter in the first place.

Still reaching for the One.


Friday, January 01, 2010

That's why

assalamu Alaikum,

(My friend Isa sent me a card! I was so happy to hear from her mashaAllah. That sparked this conversation. Just a reminder... everyone has someone who loves them.)

Sister: Aww! Your friends love you!

Me: I dunno why. I can remember some times when I acted very unloveable.

Sister: But you're so endearing when you do it!

InshaAllah blessings of self-awareness and love in 2010.


Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last I've heard from it...

assalamu alaikum,

Alhamdulillah. InshaAllah in about 2 hours, I'll be able to say I made it safely to 1431 AND 2010.

WOW. 2010. No more zero in front of that last number. The people who were born in 1990 are about to be 20 years old! I REMEMBER 1990! How'd that happen?

Seriously? 2009 has not been my best year. Every day that I"m breathing is a good day, alhamdulillah, and another chance. But still, 2009 has stood nearly since the beginning as a year I could not wait to forget.

Positives: I ran a half marathon this year! I moved from pre-k to middle school at my job! ... yeah.

The last year I had that was that bad was 2006 (I know, pessimistic, aren't I?). And you know what? 2007 rocked. Even though it was the year I lost my grandmother, I got so many things I prayed for. It was a bittersweet and memorable year.

So, on to the next! Here we go! Seentcha, 2009! Welcome 2010!

May Allah swt bring blessings, health, happiness, guidance, and PEACE to you, dear reader, and those you love, this year and always.


Sunday, November 29, 2009


assalamu alaikum,

Eid Sa'eed! Eid Mubarak!

To tell the truth, I didn't do much for Eid. The holiday isn't as fascinating and fun for me this year; probably because I don't have the little kids to pull me into the enthusiasm. I wasn't at home either; my parents left for the weekend, so I came to my sister's house.

Last night I fell asleep on her couch; we'd had visitors earlier so I was wearing my hijab and had a big chador nearby, which I pulled over myself sometime in the night. The temperature on that floor of the house dropped to 65 degrees. (The thermostat was set higher, but that floor never reaches that temperature close to the ground, where I fell asleep.)
So when I awoke, I was cold, cranky, and stiff. My knees screamed in pain when I stretched them out. My feet and toes were icy. I was mad for a good minute.

Then I thought about that.

Y'all, I cannot imagine being homeless at this time of year. If it was 65 where I was sleeping, it was 30 degrees outside. Ya Rahman.

My sister and I just had a conversation about it. She said, "well, they have newspapers. They find a way to get through."

Seriously? SERIOUSLY!? Newspapers? At below freezing? How do you sleep? How do you keep up the will to live?

I don't remember there being many homeless in Puerto Rico, in part because of the nice climate. It can feel chilly at night because the temp drops 10-25 degrees from the daytime highs (so from a high of 90, if it got down to 72 you felt it), but I know there were people who slept on the beach, or on the streets. But for the most part, I never saw people without homes. They always had family, or friends, or just a nice person with a place to sleep. I'm sure the homeless problem exists there as any other place in the world; it wasn't as visible and is never as acute. There, the problem would be obtaining food, but not exposure.

There isn't the same kind of backup here, where people need it. It makes me wonder what is there. And I'd better be careful, because that's the first step to action.

Heh. And another conversation we had made me think about the difference between the concept of home and family as we get older.

Y'all know I spent some time in Puerto Rico right after I graduated college, and it changed my life. I want to get my nursing degree in part so I can go back to the island and know that I'll get a job- the VA always needs nurses, and that's a FEDERAL bureau that won't go broke- and live there. Yes, in Puerto Rico. (Don't get me started on the husband options there. That isn't a part of my plan. Allah is the point for that particular project.)

Lo these many years later, I still have friends from the islands calling me; their families ask about me. And this points to a major difference in families between there and here. Mainly, that as in most parts of the world, in Puerto Rico multigenerational families are a matter of course. I mean, I did have single friends who had their own rooms or apartments, but they were a rarity, and most of them lived in the same city or region as their parents, grandparents, etc.

I remember during Hurricane Jeanne going to Humacao with my then-roomate to visit her mom and grandmother; it was beautiful, wild country, and the whole family gathered to eat from the grill, since the electricity and gas were off. Beautiful.
So I knew when I came back that I definitely like that idea of multigenerational life, and that I don't mind living that way. Add to that, that I found that Islam supports parents and family life, and I could see myself eventually living that way forever.

My parents and sibs don't agree.

My sister made the remark during conversation that, "Our father exists so that we will leave the house. I cannot live in the same house as he does!" And that's true; I remember her saying when she bought her house that she could not live with our father. And then she said that the reason I could was probably because we don't talk much. And that's true as well. If I don't have something to say, then I... don't have anything to say, beyond courtesy. So yes, I guess that works. On the other hand, I know that my parents would prefer me to live on my own (but aren't going to pay for me to do so, which is why I live at home just now).

And I don't want to live on my own ever again. Been there, done that, hated the goody bag. Don't want to live with strangers, either. And I'm lucky in that I don't have to; my parents tolerate my living with them. Sometimes there's not much between toleration and enjoyment, and sometimes there's a gulf of understanding between the two.

I've had men who were wife-searching ask me, 'Would you mind if we lived with my parents? Or if my parents lived with us?' and the whole question blew my mind, because the LAST thing my parents would ever WANT to do is to live with my household, or one of my siblings'. This is clear in my mind. And I welcome the idea that they would do so. The difference in our attitudes is one I accept, but it makes me sad.

What do you think?