Friday, October 28, 2005

benDIta sea la HIJA de la PUra MAdre...

peace, yall

1)BENDITA SEA LA PURA MADRE DE LA PERSONA QUE ESTABA TRABAJANDO EN EL DEPARTAMENTO DE EDUCACION HOY. Eso porque no voy a maldecir a nadie durante el mes sagrado de Ramadan. SOLAMENTE por eso.

2) Es oficial. El departamento de educacion de puerto rico (sin letras mayusculas porque no los merece) es una gran porqueria. Punto. No sirve pa na'. Ni para limpiarme el posterior y de ninguna manera para emplear maestros ni para EDUCAR a los ciudadanos de la isla encantada. Yo decidi HUIR de la isla por no soportar la ineficaz de esa benDIta organizacion y lo tengo verificado desde ahora mismo que era una decision sumamente bendecida e inspirada por la mano de Dios, glorificada sea su nombre.

3) Siempre hay una cosa buena de cada situacion mala. En este caso es que me dio una buena oportunidad para ejercitar mi vocabulario y todas las palabras alternas para las que preferiria usar en la situacion en que me encuentro. Gloria a Dios.

Nada, ya termine. Cuidense.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Meme #3

peace, y'all

Yup. Saw it, had to do it. This is from Khadija Teri's blog, thanks! :)


March of the Penguins- saw it with my youngest cousin. LOVED it.

Two: "Sarah's Long Walk" by Stephen Kendrick with MY FRIEND Paul Kendrick (his son) and "Rosie Dunne" by Cecelia Ahern.

Hmm. Y'all know I can't just choose one. Scrabble or Sorry are def faves. Spades is the fave card game.


Have to agree on National Geographic. Wish it wadn't so expensive.

Stila's Jade Flower perfume. MMMMMMMM!!!

Fresh Cherries.

Any instrumentals...oh, shoot, music period. (think Cassandra Wilson's Waters of March)

Frustration without an outlet.

Now? Gotta eat gotta eat gotta get up and eat.
Normally? Gotta washup. gottagetup to washup. Okay.
I have to chivvy myself out of bed, it's ridiculous.

Wendy's normally. J Street (GWU) if I'm flush.

Zeinab or Zakariah and Leontyne/Leontine. Yes, lots of thought in this.

I'd cut a CD and travel.

Yes, when I have access to a car.

Nope. Slept with 'Clowny' the clown until I was 'bout 7.

Cooool... "shh, listen to God speaking"... with the lights off. Wonderful.

N/A. I used to say my first car would be a jaguar and you know what? That's still a possibility since I have yet to have a car. It could happen.

Jamba Juice with blueberries and strawberries and peach juice and yogurt. Talkin' bout GOOD!!!

And virgin pina coladas ALWAYS hit the spot.

See more of my family.

Of course. Mine, yours, and anyone else's I can reach.

I'd do just the tips in random bright blue and hot red shades. Mmm.


Cincinnati, OH
Tuskegee, AL,
Salamanca, SPAIN,
Washington, DC,
Alexandria, VA,
Santurce, PR,
Guayama, PR,
San Juan, PR,
Sta. Rita, PR.

Dag, I moved around more in PR than in the rest of my life combined. Jeesh.

Um. Empty?

B-ball, baseball, track, and the olympics (esp. regattas!)

She's a dedicated mama!

Night - I'm always more productive at the evening side of the day.

Over real gent'like.

a sunny beach.

Potato! My mama's version. I don't even like granny's too much anymore, ain't that something?

Planes. or reallly fast cars.

Take it if you want it!


Get Real. And how to do so. (rant ahead!)

peace, y'all

Okay, so, I've been doing some reading and I've been doing some thinking (ohhh no- a thinking Black woman! Danger, danger!) and I've decided that I don't like a certain situation I'm facing.

I feel conflicted between my faith and my reality, and that is not good, since I am a person who MUST live my faith AS a great part of my reality.
I feel like the debate must go on and the questions must be asked (sheepish grin at Umm Zaid) in order for me to get answers and feel out my path.

Islam, as most of us know, has a concept called hijab. I'm not referring to the dressing modestly part of hijab, but the acting modestly part. (I won't get all technical here in part because I can't; I haven't memorized all of the sirat (surah, pl?) and hadeeth that explain this concept.) The important and relevant part here is contact between the sexes (as well as nonbelievers vs believers but that's another blog entry entirely and I'm not going there just now). Specifically, that a woman should be modest and communicate with non-mahrams and non-related men on a modest, non worldly basis; or, importantly, 'for the sake of God /Islam (depending on which source you're using)'. This, as I understand it, is better for all involved. It promotes a realistic mindset and living out your spirituality in your actions- not just for lustful reasons, etc. In other words, it keeps you and everyone else "real" about your motives and expectations when interacting with people of the opposite sex.

This also (back to my 2005 USA reality here) precludes one-on-one dating, and, really, any exploration of sexuality in a relationship context (meaning, outside of academic and religious context) that isn't a person seeing what goes on between familial and societal role models. This isn't your do-it-yourself sexuality or interactions or marriages here. Since I live in the USA as a single female convert, I have to be able to get around in this world within this society. That's reality. With me so far?

I truly believe in the modesty and God-focusedness (yes I made that up) of hijab. I dress modestly because I see a reason for it and I believe in it. I have and still sometimes do feel like it is a sacrifice, but one that gives me real satisfaction. Sacrifice is not only part of life but, really, what we should relish (not in a suicidal way! I am not Asima Blomaselfup here, people. Please don't take this to an extreme.) because it does, again, keep you 'real' in your motivations and actions. They are gut checks, and really, who wants to live a life superficially? That's a waste. Anyway.

My problem is not common amongst my friends in reality, and so I'm turning to my peeps inside the computer for some insight. Its this: in the reality that is Mainstream Metropolis, USA where I live, there are very few opportunities to suss out good, stable, reliable, non-repressed men without dating. And I'm saying 'very few' to be charitable and open, here.

Dating one-on-one, as I've noted, leaves openings for lustful intentions that may happen outside of that God-focusedness, or can fail because young Muslims feel as if they're doing something incorrect (and they would be correct...). You can find someone by interacting in a group, but you have to find that group. And since I've left college and that nice MSA atmosphere, where there are plenty of group and community-oriented activities, I've hit this wall when it comes to meeting potential. I don't have the family circles and connections that most young Muslims who don't date rely on and have used to good result. God (swt) "heps them who heps themselves" in my G'mama's words. I'd like to meet someone believing as I am, and it's problematic. I don't feel comfortable going to the masjid by myself (although I return to the MSA one instead) since I am a single convert (read: No Mahram, No Family cooperation, No Pattern or Role Models from a similar background or an understanding viewpoint to give a clue). The sisters I do meet are not really about helping me, which I can understand since they've got their families to think about. They've got their own lives. How do I involve myself in this kind of community? How does anyone know I'm ready to be looked at if I'm not in a place where I can be?

Yes, I know I'm supposed to have a wali. Here's a thought: any wali I have will not be a mahram. This would involve knowing someone well enough that I could trust them in helping me initiate and negotiate a REALLY important part of my life. This would also involve meeting someone who is Muslim and knows both the ways of Islam and the ways of Muslims but can understand, again, my reality. I ain't in the Khaleej, yo. Yeah. How many people do I know like that? I could think about an imam. But this involves again going to a masjid or otherwise getting in contact with one.

Shoot, let's talk about that one for a second. Where is the DAWA, people? How is it that I can call four different masajid and only get a courteous, respectful-if-apologetic response at ONE? (Incidentally, supposed to be the nicest and biggest masjid in the area, therefore almost inaccessible by public transportation.) It's RAMADHAN! Nevermind finding my man, let's talk about spiritual isolation. I have yet to go to tarawih prayers that weren't at GWU. That. Is. A. Shame. It's also a sign of the issue I'm talking about.

And I'm afraid that men I do find when-not if, y'all should know me better by now-I get through all of that, who have lived within a "hijab-enforced" and (please God) God-focused society or family or community will have serious issues with their sexuality, or worse, with mine. This is a sticking point with me. People, sex is important! I think because Muslims don't talk about sex in public sometimes we forget to talk about it in private, and that... should be a crime. In any type of situation where anything is placed under pressure/wraps it has to either have a way to let off steam or explode. In perverted or inexpressive ways. In Islam, marriage is the only and very simplistic answer to that issue. Unfortunately, a person with my reality has very little chance of getting to marriage...without dating. And here's the kicker, I really believe in marriage. I don't believe in hasty marriage, or marriage where you don't really know a person first, where things jump out from behind masks when the rings are exchanged. In short, the kind of marriage I believe in, is the kind that is traditionally preceded and begun with dating.

Understand my dilemma now? I'm a little too real for my own good.

I'm coming to face this because it's Ramadan, but also because I'm doing a lot of introspection about relationships in general and Nishat in particular.
I thought when I 'met' him that I was on the up and up, but really, what we are doing is long-distance dating without having met face to face. I need to meet him, to have seen him. My reality is just not going to stand up for me marrying someone I've seen a handful of times, and as a matter of fact, Islam doesn't do that either. I get to choose. I have to choose. (Thanks to Amina F. who told me the story about Salma, her father, and her suitor.) I guess I'm questioning whether the path we've taken is healthy or even viable, because it is really a one-on-one thing. I don't want exclusivity yet. I think I have to have a selection in order to have one person stand out and be sure of what I like and want/can live with for the next sixty or so years Insha'Allah. And I want the man who's interested in me to have the same conclusion. If I were OF this world as I am IN it, the response to this would be to date. I think if I did not believe in what I've learned and been taught 'bout Islam, I would date, quite chastely but definitely one-on-one. Not for marriage partners but just to meet people and see what's out there, what I like, how I am with men who aren't family, etc.

Now. What is the Muslim solution to the converts' need for dating? The need for that interaction and decision-making? To be adopted by Muslim friends? To just throw yourself into masjid activities and hope for the best? My friends, muslim and not, inside the computer, I'm asking y'all for your opinions, surah, hadeeth, and reality solutions to the problem. Let's get real, cuz that's how we have to live.


I Forgive

peace y'all.

Reyna Larios, I forgive you.
I have hated you. For that I ask your forgiveness.

It has taken me too long to understand that my part in the incidents that happened back then is simply to forgive. Not to understand. Not to be vengeful or selfish. But to open my heart and let the mean and hurt feelings go. And live on. Life is too short for me to carry hate for you around. Especially not for you.

I fully and unconditionally forgive you. In peace.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thanks Sherry

Your Blog Should Be Red

Your blog is full of intensity and passion.
You are very opinionated - and people love or hate you for it.
You have the potential to be both a famous and infamous blogger.

I figured it would come out like this, even though tis wrong, all wrong.


Monday, October 17, 2005


peace, y'all

Yeah, so Umm Zaid got me thinking as usual, with one lil word this time... "howzit"

... and after some thought my answer is 'sucky'.

I'm persevering. Through the various challenges- some I've described, most I have not.

Know what? I've figured out that part of the whole 'I want to be (not get, mind you, be) married now' issue for me derives from the fact that I feel slightly illegitimate as an unmarried woman convert to Islam. Especially during the Ramadans that have passed after I left undergrad.

I think that's prolly because I see (unconsciously, really) that marriage, in Islam, helps bolster the family and community ties; if you aren't married and your family isn't Muslim and ain't supportin' that, the door to praying in unison is more closed than open as a woman. Celebrating iftar by yourself is the norm. Add to that a lack of transportation so as to GET to where everyone else is, and it's no wonder I feel the way I do.

But as I said, I'm persevering, even though I know that my spiritual development isn't progressing the way I'd like or the way it should. I can't take Qur'anic arabic classes. But I'm reading the Qur'an at home in my room. I feel uncomfortable praying in front of my family. But I make sure that by the end of the daily fast I've performed all the prayers but Isha. I don't have the audiolectures and music (Our World, anyone?) that I would like to play during Ramadan. But I'm avoiding 'worldly' music for Ramadhan (this is a HUGE sacrifice for me).
So I'm goin.

I just wish I had a way to share Iftars with more people. I'm working on it.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Ramadan Challenge: Family

peace, y'all

Thanks to everyone who has seen what I've been going through and has been making duas for me with due diligence accordingly. I needed (and still need) them! The entire past WEEK has been a Ramadan challenge, one called FAMILY.

AlHamdulIllah, my mommy is fine. Turns out they didn't perform the surgery because they couldn't- she was in way too fragile a state to be going through surgery. While that is scary in and of itself, it had the silver lining that Mama was able to push back surgery possibly until December, Lord willing, so that my sibs and I can make it home and prepare the house and care for her while she's recovering. Insha'Allah.

A talk with my mother and some reading I've done in the interim have helped me as I come to terms with everything my aunt had to say the other day. I'm still not done and I don't think everything she said was true. My conclusions are that:

1) I can only be myself, no matter what ANYONE thinks about it- good, bad, or ugly. This might cause me anguish, and I can change anything about myself that I decide I don't like, but I cannot me all things (or even many things) for all people.

2) My aunt and my father and many others in my family are about assistance the way I am about information and personal plans: don't volunteer it unless asked. So they're blowing up at me for not giving them information so they can help me, and I'm furious at them for not helping me to understand what information to give them. Subhanallah. Now that I'm beginning to understand what the biggest issue is (I'm being good and not saying 'their' issue since it's mine too), I'm starting to try to find ways around this.

3) I have to watch myself after intensely emotional interactions with my family or with very very close friends. I tend to get VERY depressed after them and have dark dark thoughts. Not good. Because of the way I feel things I kinda isolate myself, which doesn't help any. Hmm.

Right now I'm just glad that the heat of the moment is over.

I'm off to try to find a masjid for iftar tonight. Do you all realize I haven't been to a jumah prayer or prayed in unison at all during Ramadan? This is because of my personal situation- the busses don't run after dark, and it is a little dangerous to walk home inthe dark here. So if you or someone you know lives in/near Fairfax County/ Hybla Valley and can help me out on this even once, holla back... jazakhAllah khair.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

So, why I'm upset. See previous post first.

peace, y'all.

Ok, I've had a moment to cool down. And to talk to Nishat, which helps. He was making cracks about coming down here to see me and sleeping in a dumpster. Like Demogenes. Made me laugh. So now I feel better.

I was/am (I'm still in-between just now) upset because I'm seeing a pattern here, and I don't like it, and at the same time I'm feeling attacked, as has happened before, and I don't like it. I'm thrown into conflict b/c it's hard enough as is to deal with feeling the way I do. As my mother has told me, I can say anything - the issue is how I say it. And I'd love so dearly sometimes to tell my entire family to go *bump* themselves, but have yet to find the way to say so. And even writing that last sentence has me saying 'astaghfirullah' under my breath.

(I love my family. I just want them to chill sometimes. We're all very intense people, you know? Everyone wants to know who is doing what how, and I'm gen'rally not that forthcoming in person. )

Sistahgurl got issues. Yes. I know I do.

I think what set me off was my aunt. I'm not all that upset over what's going on with my mother, because I know she'll be okay; she's getting medical care. They know what's wrong with her and how to fix it.

I'm really pizz-ed because of the whole information chain in my family. It has me 'by the roof', as said in portareecan. I mean, it's as if I'm supposed to think it's lovely that my own mother is in the hospital, but she and my father have told their parents but not their kids. And then I'm supposed to think it's wonderful that I'm supposed to keep that particular piece of important information to myself without thinking about it. When, in fact, during my life no one has EVER kept anything about ME to themselves. This is what's driving me nuts: either you have confidences, or you don't. Either you tell people things or you don't. If this is a family issue, and you're upset with me because you want me to communicate more fully with my family, then DON'T turn around and get pissed because I COMMUNICATED something important WITHIN THE FAMILY.

That's all I'm saying. It seems a bit hypocritical to me. But I shouldn't come outta my face and call anyone that. Especially as dependent as I am.

That's something else that is bothering me. I'm not independent. I don't truly want to be, but this whole 'act like an adult' business is a fine line to walk. I'm sick of crying every time I have a serious talk with anyone, but especially my family.

My time is low so I'm gonna post this and then come back.



peace, y'all.

a hug and a welcome to my sister, Toto. I've invited her to my blog for the first time. All I ask is that you keep me anonymous.

Yeah, so I'm upset. Really upset.

Between yesterday and today, this is what went down:

1)Nishat called, and we talked. About a coupla things. Most important to this blog entry is that we talked about when we're gonna see each other. This made me happy, but it also made me seriously think about the fact that it probably won't happen soon.

2) Right (I do mean right) after I got off the phone with Nishat, my aunt came downstairs. She asked me if I had spoken with my father. I told her I had not. (That is not unusual.) She proceeded to let me know that my mother was in the hospital, and that she would probably have a surgical procedure done on Monday. In there somewhere she told me that she had heard this from my grandmother, and she asked me to hold back on letting my sister know.

3) I finished a letter I was in the process of writing to Nishat, and then texted my sister. She had no idea what was going on, but incidentally, she knew more about my mother's medical condition than I did (I'm the oldest). She just didn't know how serious it all was. So. She proceeded to call our father on 3-way. We left a message asking him to call us.

4) After trying to chill out I went to bed really really late (this all happened after midnight, as far as I could tell), and thus did not get up for suhoor, even though Nishat did call me as I asked. I was just exhausted.

5)I woke up really late, and called my sister first thing. She said that my mother had called her, and that Mama said she wasn't going to have the procedure done until December. That makes me happy b/c at least it's not such that she had to have it immediately. On the other hand, Mama does want her back in December. So then I called my mother, and since they were discharging her, rang off. Haven't heard from her since. Still haven't heard anything from my father.

6) Went upstairs to find some clothing my aunt's housekeeper left there, and proceeded to have an hour-long convo with her. She was upset that I had told my sister what was going on, in that she feels that I betrayed her confidence (that I did expect) but also with 'the way I've been acting', specifically that I'm not telling her my plans for a job, that I'm not letting her know about my islamic practices, that I'm not talking to her about how I'm going to kick in to the household (we've actually already had that convo; she's upset b/c she approached me about it and not the other way round), that essentially I'm not acting very adult. This is where I feel I have to explain much of what I've been doing for the PAST SIX YEARS and begin to cry (see the meme below).

7) I washed my face in cold water, finished getting dressed and left the house. In the middle of me walking out, Nishat called. I told him I was upset, but had to reassure him that it wasn't about him; then, because I was in the basement of the house, asked him to call me back in 5 minutes, since I can't call him. That was 'bout 20 mins ago. I'm writing this from the library.

Yeah, so I'm upset.

More in a minute.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Today's Ramadan Challenge: Water

peace, y'all

Yeeeeaaah. So tis raining cats, dogs, cows, and elephants outside (;o) at Nishat), and so I'm stuck inside.
Plus I'm thuuuursteeee. Yahoo. So, the way I look at things, every day is a different challenge, during Ramadan. Yes, we all abstain from food and other sensual fun during the day, but each day is a little bit different in the challenge. Yesterday, my challenge was prayer. I never did go to Juma'ah, because I haven't found a masjid/a way to get to a masjid that satisfies. So finally I just asked that God accept my prayers at home and help me through the FRUSTRATION. That last I know He's still working with me.

Yeah, so anyway, today's test is water. I normally drink like 2 liters of water throughout the day. I'm one of those chicks you always see with a big Evian bottle, little knowing that I've refilled that sucker like 10 times. I feel like the albatross man. (Bonus if you get that reference without looking it up.)

I started this blog with the intention of meme'ing the Original Seven Things, so here goes:

Seven things I plan to do before I die (insha'Allah-Hajj is already a given):
1. Pay off debts and pay Cash the rest of my life
2. Have a happy marriage
3. Get under 200 lbs / stop feeling like a "big girl"
4. Learn French, Arabic, Yoruba, Dutch
5. Deliver babies in my clinic
6. Grow my own food
7. Become a publicly elected official

Seven things I can do:
1. Communicate in writing or in a speech
2. Procrastinate
3. Embroider, Crochet, Quilt, and Sew
4. Make my sibs smile even when they're feeling bad
5. Sing
6. Swim
7. Teach/tutor

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Communicate my strong feelings without crying
2. Drive in a city (on the highway I'm fine)
3. Live without family contact
4. Forget and forgive myself times where I 'messed' up
5. Keep any room neat and organized for more than 24 hrs
6. Watch suspenseful/violent movies w/out peeking through my hands
7. Wear white gold / fake jewelry

Seven things I say most often:
1. Good! Excellent!
2. Ay, por Cara'!
3. What?!
4. Thank you, ma'am/ sir.
5. Bootyscratchers!
6. "Like none other"
7. Insha'Allah...

Seven things I never thought I would do, but did:
1. Live with my Aunt C.
2. Lose touch with my highschool peoples
3. Get my flippin' drivers license
4. Get a 2.3 gpa / Get a 3.7 gpa
5. Become an NCAA Athlete
6. Attempt something with all my heart and fail
7. really angry over something stupid

Seven cities I've seen (I'm including towns):
1. Salamanca, Spain
2. Atlanta, GA
3. Opelika, AL
4. New Orleans, LA
5. Coqui, PR
6. Chicago, IL
7. Washington, DC

Enjoy... I'm not gonna pass it on.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Seven (More) Things

peace y'all,

Yeah so I got another meme tag from UmmZaid and I am most happy to oblige (rolled up sleeves and rubbing hands together).

7 people I admire (okay, and I mean besides the most obvious since we should all admire the Prophet Muhammad salalahi alahi wa salaam, his family, and all of the Sahaba and the rest of the prophets...)

1. My Mother and great-grandmother (G'Mama)
2. My sister ("Sussuur")and my aunts (especially the ones born behind my mother and father respectively- and let me add the rest of my family elders here to save room).
3. Professor Richard Skolnik. This man has had an incredible, serving life, masha'Allah.
4. Steven F., Phil R., Ben L., Chanel H.,Molly H. They'll all be internationally known, just watch.
5. Amina F, Nesra, Mahwish, and all the other sisters who love the deen and just glow with it. You can see their faith by their actions. Their love is an example to me.
6. Good public school teachers. The ones who put up with BS for the sake of knowledge and the children they teach to love learning. Especially Black teachers who stay with our people.
7. The incredible women of Sigma Lambda Upsilon. I don't want to join any other org.

7 things I plan to do within the next year (inshaAllah)
1. Start grad school at Columbia (and complete all the attendant paperwork, including scholarship applications *groan*)
2. Find a full time job
3. Attend Halaqas at a great masjid on the regular.
4. Crochet at least 2 sweaters to give away as gifts
5. Get a passport and a continental US drivers license.
6. Take an algebra class.
7. Spend some real time with N.

7 books I love (besides the Qur?an)
1. Let the Circle Be Unbroken (and the rest of the Logan Family series) by Mildred D. Taylor
2. Spin a Soft Black Song by Nikki Giovanni. I love all of her work, but this was my first, a gift from Mama when I was 4.
3. Eleven Blue Men by Berton Roueche. Public Health and why I Care 'Bout It.
4. Plaited Glory by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner. How I overthrew the tyranny that is a relaxer.
5. Thinking Out Loud and just about all other prose by Anna Quindlen.
6. El Sueno de America (linked in English but best in Spanish) and everything else by Esmeralda Santiago
7. I'm a Fantasy freak, so I'll just list authors: Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings, LM Montgomery, Terry Goodkind...

7 movies I have to own
1. Roots. and Queen.
2. Sixth Sense just appeals to my sense of the spooooky.
3. Flight of the Navigator. Child of the 80's syndrome strikes.
4. School Daze and Malcom X, Spike Lee classics.
5. The entire Back to the Future Collection, though I like 1 and 3 best.
6. Crash and Traffic. Together two movies that really impacted me.
7. Like UmmZaid, I'm having issues with a number seven due to the fact that I pretty much have all the DVD's I was dying for (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Carmen Jones, Crouching Tiger, Color Purple, Shrek, Nemo, the LOTR trilogy, etc). When I was in PR I bought them for off the Blockbuster cheapie racks, or if I wanted it it was cheap b/c who watches American (English) movies in portareeco? Also, I've got a wierd taste in movies due to the fact that I didn't watch many of them until I was grown. While I'm frantically catching up in the movie dept., I don't like to buy dvd's when I haven't seen the movie...

7 places I want to visit (besides Hajj and Medina, and not including anywhere I've been)
1. Brazil. Starting in Sao Paolo and working from there.
2. "Arabia", as Abeer calls it- this is bka Palestine/ Jordan/ The Emirates/ Maghrib/ Egypt... yeah, dem places. One fell swoop.
3. London.
4. Cuba. I long to see it for my own eyes.
5. The entire US Pacific coast. Esp. Washington State in the summer and fall.
6. Nigeria.
7. any island with crystal clear, quiet, undisturbed waters where I can go snorkeling, diving, and maybe even find a pearl.

7 places I?ve already been
1. Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico, and La Parguera (bioluminescent bay), Puerto Rico. I don't recommend everyone go there cuz that would spoil it. Beautiful, alhamdulIllah.
2. The Shenandoah and Smoky Mountains. Gooooorgeous. Would love to spend more clear summer nights there stargazing.
3. Salamanca, Spain
4. Disney World /Caribbean cruise.
5. The SouthEast. KY,TN,LA,GA,AL,WV,VA,SC,NC,FL... I think I've only been THROUGH Mississippi, but the rest I got.
6. Toronto, Canada.
7. Washington, DC.

7 websites I love ( I tend to lose websites.)
1. Idealist
2. WashingtonDC dot Craigslist dot Com
3. Da Momma- warning: I've laughed so hard on this I couldn't speak...
4. Sherry, who got me into this blogging mess in the first place
5. Gooooooogle!
6. SLU is still an ambition
7. As a group: the blogs on the side of my blog! UmmZaid, TRK, AngryBB, and Waiter, and Leila are faves... and let me admit right now that I don't update it properly or nearly as much as I could, but if I visited you more than 3 times, you are a fave, too.

All Seven and I'll watch them blog... your turn!:

1. Sherry- do it this time
2. Sister Scorpion, if you ever see this
3. Nene
4. David bka the Bus Stop Cutie allll the way down in PR
5. Umm Mahtab- welcome to my world!
6. Nishat
7. You, oh anonymous reader.... come and tell me you did it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

From the Shore

From the Shore, Umm Mahtab's blog, has a good list of goals up for the month. Thank you, if you happen to see this!

Anyhow... goals for me

1) Learn more duas. I'm actually TIRED of just doing the same two over and over. SO I have an entire month to get some down, from transliterate paper if not from a real live actual human being. which brings me to...

2) Go to the masjid (a masjid) at least 10 times within the month. This is because I want the baraka of praying in unison... but also because it's just plain uplifting. Masha'Allah.

3) Find a way to dress more islamically for the winter. I have few clothes here, and I feel like I have to sneak on my hijab because of the way my aunt looks at me when I wear it. I gotta go find my courage, I musta left it on PR. Gotta get a coat, and maybe even abaya.

4)Write letters to friends- at least 2 a day during the month. I'm in a position where I already know I won't be able to give gifts during the month or at Eid (and y'all thought y'all knew 'bout broke), so I want to just give old-fashioned communication. I need to hand-write letters. In this day and age, they are a way to show you care.

5) Get clear on status with Nishat. Self-explanatory. If marriage is half the deen, what better time to get serious about it than Ramadan?

6) Have an organized living space. I find myself avoiding prayers in my room cuz it's crowded. Insha'Allah I'll take a bunch of lunchtimes and just get it done.

7) WALK on the weekends instead of sleeping between Dhuhr and Asr. My health is too important, but more, I could spend that time constructively with my cousins.

INSHA'ALLAH all of this I'll get done.


Ramadan Mubarak! Shana Tova!


YAAAYYYY Ramadan is here! and a blessed year to my Jewish amigos. It's funny- I knew about Rosh Hashanah (I know I ain't spell that right) from toddler-hood since Steven is Jewish, but learned about Ramadan mad late in life. Ironies, Ironies.

May all your fasts be easy and accepted. May God grace you with his love and blessings and grant you peace.

I've got about an hour left here. I was planning to go to ICNA, but guess what- it ain't open. I stopped there on the (near interminable) journey home from work, and the center, while clearly in use, wasn't occupied at the time. It was just about time for Asr, and I didn't see any cars out front, no sisters or brothers getting ready for prayer. So I'm kinda disappointed- you know it would've been sooo nice to have a masjid riiight there in walk-able distance during Ramadan. Still, insha'Allah I'll find a great place to celebrate not only the month but the rest of the year.

Work is going well- I like the students. We'll see how it goes.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Stages meme

KhadijaTeri has this meme up. Even though she don't even know me, Ima act like she was gonna tag me cuz I like memes. Ok? Ok.

Yesterday- I chilled all morning, washed some clothes, sent out resumes. Talked to Nishat at night while cooking food (mashed potatoes and salmon). Was having a lazy stage.
Oh, and got shocked into doing a budget since money gon' be tight 'round here this winter.

1 year ago- at this stage in my life I was a despairing teacher in San Juan. Ramadan was almost here and I didn't have enough money to pay my rent. Or various other bills including my credit card and phone. I was working 40 hour plus weeks. I spent a lot of time in Borders in Plaza Las Americas. Tropical Storm Jeanne had already passed through on her way to loop-de-looping before hitting southern Florida.

5 years ago- lesseee... 5 years ago right now... I was a sophomore in college. Had just come off of my best GPA ever, and thought I was about to pledge a certain sorority. I was a member of several student groups, including GWU MSA. I was living in Madison and not fighting with my roomates. And working at Starbucks on the side. My hair was short and curly and bright yellow like the leaves. Life was bliss.

10 years ago- I was going through a major upheaval- leaving all my friends of many years to transfer from the IB/Bilingual high school to the kick-arse college prep public high school I graduated from. I didn't want to do it, but at the same time the school was full of drugs, thugs, and pregnant girls, and I was terrified. So my (sainted) mother pulled some strings and got me into Walnut late in the year, for which I will always love her.

5 snacks I enjoy: 1) sweet apple slices with peanut butter. 2) pb&j on potato bread- mmmmm carbs! 3) popcorn- plain w/salt, or w/ a lot of butter. 4)non-red kosher/halal jello with whipped cream on top. Oh yeah. 5) any kind of cookes, but I grew up with oreos and chips ahoys and home-baked goodies. Yahhh.
Bonus: these are if I don't have fresh apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, grapes, or bananas available, I love sweet fruit out of the hand.

5 songs I know all the words to Out of the many: 1) Lift Every Voice and Sing (bka the Black National Anthem) 2) The Puerto Rican National Anthem ("laaaa tierra de boriiinken, dond'he nacido yo..." 3) Every single song off of 'Songs in the Key of Life' by Stevie Wonder 4)Mi Tierra by Gloria Estefan 5) "Song for You" by Earth, Wind, and Fire

5 things I would do with $100 million: after I tithe my 2.5 percent, save 10 percent, and spread 3 percent through my family: 1) Pay for my grad school at Columbia and pay all the debt from undergrad 2) buy a house SMACK in the middle of DC and set up a trust so I wouldn't ever worry about losing it 3)Pay off my parents' home 4) Set up a scholarship for muslima converts in undergrad 5) Bide my time, then run for US president AND WIN

5 places I would run away to: 1) Puerto Rico 2) Tuskegee 3) Spain/Andorra 4) Brazil 5) Any other peaceful, international-style place near water.

5 things I would never wear:
1) Midriff top 2) a crucifix (never did never will) 3)too tight pants/skirt 4)relaxed hair 5)fake jewelry (allergic)

5 favorite TV shows: 1)CSI- the original 2) ER 3) Saturday Night Live 4) Anything Discovery Channel 5) by now I'm reading a book.

5 biggest joys: 1) Feeling really 'connected' and blessed in prayer (or anytime) 2) Any and every time my family unites 3) Winning the co-presidency Sr. year 4)Skinny dipping on Culebra under the moon 5) singing whole heartedly

5 favorite toys: um. Now? 1) books. Books. books. 2) my crochet hooks and a wide assortment of yarn 3) my watercolor kit, crayons, and coloring book... can't think of any more.

5 People to take this challenge: Nishat, Aleksa, Sherry, TRK The Rabbi's Kid, and UmmZaid.


peace, y'all

Umm Zaid is already worked up about masajid over on her page, so Ima let y'all go read what she said first.

Then say, ditto.

As for me... well, I'm happy Ramadan is coming, masha'Allah. I'm happy I'm starting work tomorrow.

I'm not happy that I haven't been to the masjid close to here yet. I'm running out of time.

One of the reasons I haven't been is because I called and have received absolutely no response from anyone there- and this is the ICNA center, so I'm wondering why someone hasn't replied to a newbie calling to see about a new 'home' masjid the week before Ramadan. It takes two seconds to call someone and be like, "Slaam'Laikum, sis M_____, this is the masjid at ICNA returning your call, we will have tarawih prayers on _____ days from Ao'clock to O'dark thirty insha'Allah. We hope to meet you and your family then, insha'Allah. Slaam'Laikm".

Did y'all hear that? I just wrote a basic script for masajid offices to follow should they not know what to say.

One of the other reasons I'm a bit anxious and haven't just walked up in the piece and introduced myself or fallen into prostration is... I'm scared.

I'm scared that I'll find another masjid like the one UmmZaid has amply disgraced in her post today. The women are shunted off to one side. Everything is done in Arabic with no attempt at English translation or explanation. The prayer room is completely separate from the Imam and dirty. I'm scared because although:
1)I AM muhejabah and an American-raised convert and
2)I'm conservative socially (NOT politically- or at least, conservative for an american woman of my time),

I am not one known for keeping my mouth shut under such conditions. To the contrary. I'm the one who will organize the entire place until the situation is 'fixed' and/or I feel welcome. Not exactly the best personality to have when you're coming into a new place and don't want to make waves.

And, while I don't object to women having walled-off, impenetrable spaces, I grew up in a church. With a raised pulpit, and all the families sat together (though my father was never there, but I digress). So I want to SEE and HEAR the person giving the talk. Anyone who has studied communication knows that a great deal of understanding can be had from observing body language alone. I don't want that walled-off musallah for women to be my only option.
Another remnant of my churchgoing upbringing is that ideally, I would go to the masjid every single week, at least twice a week if possible. (For those curious, yes, I can actually go every single week. Get out my biz, you don't need to know why.) Frequency and classes are the things that most increase my learning. Until now, I've had to struggle for every bit of learning on my deen because I've felt little sense of community, and I've felt forced to go it alone. I dont' have a husband and in-laws to help me out. (Though from what I've heard in various venues they might hurt more than help. I digress again.) That's why this whole idea of a 'home' masjid. I want to feel as welcome and at home in my place of worship as in my own home. More, if possible. And I've seen so many places where that just wasn't the case that I'm wary of putting myself out there again. Y'know?

Anyways. I never can let my nafs get the best of me, so tomorrow after work (alHamduliLLAH I CAN SAY THAT) Ima bebop myself right on over to ICNA and see what's the dealie. I'll let you know what happens.

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone, may the Lord accept all of your fasts.

to be continued....


Saturday, October 01, 2005

To Balance Bitter, Sweet

peace, y'all

I was really feeling bitter, confused, and sad not even an hour ago.

Then, I read a response to an email I sent to portareeco.

Turns out, my dear friends Isa and Pedro are expecting a baby! Not only that, but other friends, Angela and Daniel, are very close to the arrival of a healthy girl, insha'Allah.

I was at both of the weddings and am sooooo HAPPY For them. I couldn't be happier if I were the one with such good news. Masha'Allah!

I'm also praying for Pedro's sister, Jamie. She's been in the hospital for a week. They just removed her from ICU. Jamie is a dedicated biology and agric/veterinary student. She was attacked by one of the animals at the UPR farm. She is one of the sweetest people I know, dedicated and direct. God send her a speedy and complete recovery from heaven, amin.

Funny how I was feeling all sorry for myself, and now I feel great, masha'Allah. I guess I was sent the sweet at the height of the bitterness.