Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Things I love

assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

Who can't take time to think about just five things they love? Well, I got the flu, so now I really WANT to. Priorities...! So, in no order at all...

1. Sunshine.

This year I feel as if I'm almost caught up on my sunshine quota. Just sitting in sunlight makes me happy, and I have always been so. These days the light right after Asr time (late afternoon) flows through the old leaky picture windows and creates this warm happy glaze and I'm happy to sit, chin on knees, atop the down staircase for an hour and let it soothe and revive me. (Vitamin D, ya know.) Even the worst of days can contain a little sun!

2. Good Advice.

I love living near my family again for this. And studying personal finance has really given me mental peace, pieces of which were certainly missing last year. But good things tie together. My women's halaqa leader's full of awesome advice, and I've felt better since starting to follow it. I've been creating my own lunches in the school kitchen (since, why not?), and I'm more tickled by my idea of using cheap baby spinach in my sandwiches instead of lettuce, and using instant coffee to make 'iced coffee' at work, than a slew of other things. My mother's advice on letting the kids' grades fall where they may was also excellent. Also? I take that finance course with like 6 couples, one of whom is a cop, who told me to just pay the ticket (and avoid the court fees). Good solid advice just rocks.

3. Handiwork.

Until recently, my bed was covered by an old quilt my great-grandmother made. This year I've noticed that as a school team, we tend to connect best over things we produce. I wore a certain green skirt to school and was talking about sewing with other teachers all day- we're going to have another sewing party! The engagement of another teacher here meant bringing desserts for her celebration, and the discussion of buy vs bake and how to make filled the halls with good cheer. Even the male gym teacher made homestyle chutney to go inside an Eid exchange gift bag. We lose a lot of the human touch of craft and care in these professional and service jobs, but for me, crafts and hand work will always be a touchstone.

4. Prepping the night before

Ah, this is not a lifehack. No, no it's not. It's one of the keys to my happiness. I didn't realize until I started doing it again that being ready for the next day before bed is just awesome. It's not just 'ooh, I'm ready, I get 5 more minutes in bed'- though that's plenty nice!- but that I spend 10 minutes ironing and talking to my father. Or cooking and laughing with my mother. I'm not worried about breakfast because it's all ready to go. My picture-day outfit really does look okay. It takes a million sad or stressed moments out of my day, being ready at night. Plus I'm a night owl. Things don't get started for me until sunset. Planning and doing things in the night is another way for me to feel like I'm living my life in the when that I prefer.

5. Henna

I still recall (and have a photo of it!) getting henna for the first time as a new Muslim. I love everything about it: the mixing and sifting and making just the right formula, the flexibility in use from head to toe, how the designs and use are so traditional and even a sunnah. But also that to beautify with henna takes patience and time, even as you can share it with so many. My secret is that I love that henna is a way for me to take Brown back, a beautiful, varied, and natural color that is so often ignored or treated as a non-color. (Don't believe me? What does 'colored' eyes mean to you?) So each time I mix henna personally I make it my mission to get that deep dark near ebony color and spicy, light aroma, like tea, that keep the henna subtly on the wearer's mind.

What 5 things do you love?
UmmLayth tagged me, and I took my sweet time about it, but this was a fun moment in my morning. I tag: Koonj baji, Umm Ibrahim, Yangd, Jo, Nzingha, LuckyFatima, and anyone else who wants it. Not sure if anyone will do it but it was fun doing it, so enjoy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halal, Organic, Pasture-fed TURKEY for Eid

Assalamu Alaikum,

Long time no see, I know. Believe it or not, I posted several times in September... and took them down. Who needs to show their not-so-hot side all the time? I do it enough here.

I did want to pass on a link, in time for the Eid holidays: Halal Zabiha Organic Turkey.

I know I've got plenty of friends who only eat zabiha, or are trying to increase their animal-friendly eating; this combines both. I happen to know the family that runs Green Zabiha, so I know they're trustworthy. And, well, since I actually can spend the cash (not cheap but in line with what zabiha meat is out here in the Midwest), I want to give my whole family an Eid gift of wholesome food. They're not Muslim but they can still benefit.

Is anyone else geeked out and excited over the fact that Eid falls near Thanksgiving this year? Dude! I'm so happy to have a day off with my mother and sister again. It'll be a while before the day falls concurrently with a gregorian holiday again.

I'll be back. Got a post brewing on marriage advice, oh boy, just what we all want to hear.


So yeah, get over to Green Zabiha if you want that turkey.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Assalamu Alaikum

It's hard to imagine having a non-disastrous but still hellish day that'd be tougher than today.

Eid Mubarak, btw.

I did it to myself, though.

Today was the day that caused me to look at all my failures and just...


Not even face them. More like look at them, examine the tiny crazes and flaws of the useless facades I use in my life, and then see the giant gaps where I'm failing miserably anyway.

I'm not even crying.

I just read the email of a beloved friend who had a mastectomy. She sent the email more than 10 days ago. I felt terrible on so many levels reading that email. That was the end of a day in which I misplaced my gradebook (midterms due at midnight tonight), ate dinner seated directly across from members of the Catty Crew who cause me to have to make some serious dhikr by being in the same room (dealing with MY issues of jealousy and anger, not their insularity or cattiness, mind you) took a group of middle school boys on a field trip in the middle of some rowdy, boisterous schools, and got pulled over on the way back from said field trip for a bogus reason- and got ticketed. With 3 of my students in my car. That was after I arrived to work late. On field trip day.

So. I'm laying this one at the feet of my Lord. Because otherwise I call do-overs. On, like, this month. Seriously.