Sunday, October 22, 2006

Food! Glorious Food!


How do you like your eggs?
Me: poached until they're solid and on toast with cripsy hash browns
My Boy: fried egg sandwhich with cheese
My Girl: scrambled with shreded cheese

How do you take your coffee/tea?
Me: the free cappaccino drink mix my neighbors gives me or tea with milk, sugar and cardamon My Boy: flavored coffee drink with milk
My Girl: tea with milk and honey, if I would even drink it

Favorite breakfast foods?
Me: Foul medamnes with lots of cumin seeds and a ton of olive oil and crusty pita with some spicy Egyptian cheese and olives on the side
My Boy: Omlette with...I can't say ham...I don't want to say it...oh, just put with spicey potatoes on the side
My Girl: Eggs with spinach, cheese and onions with pita toast

Coke or Pepsi?
Me: Neither--I don't like caffeinated drinks. They really hurt my stomach
My Boy: Cherry Vanilla Coke (I could never drink it plain)
My Girl: Hate it

You're feeling lazy. What do you make?
Me: Grape nuts and vanilla yoghurt with lots of junk on top, like raisins, craisins, soynuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
My Boy: Sugary cereal with toast peanut butter, cream cheese or Nutella (depending on mood) My Girl: Toast with cream cheese

What kind of pizza do you order?
Me: if halal pepperoni is possible, I'm happy! Add spinach, onions, olives, artichokes, green peppers...pretty much all the veggies you can throw on!
My Boy: meat combo with mushrooms and spinach
My Girl: personal deep dish with extra cheese and black olives

You feel like cooking. What do you make?
Me: Chili fries!
My Boy: Pita with pizza sauce, and mozzarella in the toaster oven
My Girl: Tortilla with cheddar cheese in the microwave

Do any foods bring back bad memories?
Me: Green Bean casserole reminds me of my ultra-controlling ex-mother-in-law and all those family dinners she lorded over
My Boy: Over spiced Texas Toast and throwing up in the bathtub
My Girl: Chili with uncooked potatoes

Do any foods remind you of someone?
Me: Lasagne reminds me of my mom
My Boy: My mom's homemade Mexican-American food, but especially the tortilla chips she cuts up and fries up
My Girl: Eggplant Parmasian reminds me of my loving mom

Is there a food you refuse to eat?
Me: Organ meats
My Boy: Freaky ethnic foods made out of unknown animal parts
My Girl: Any animal fat

What was your favorite food as a child?
Me: Lefse with brown sugar
My Boy: Cheesburger (from sit-down restaurants; not fast food junk)
My Girl: Spinach souffle

Is there a food you loved as a child but now hate?
Me: Hamburger Helper
My Boy: Coleslaw
My Girl: mint leaves

Favorite fruit and vegetable?
Me: Spinach & Apples
My Boy: Potato & Strawberry
My Girl: Spinach & Pear

Favorite junk food?
Me: Popcorn
My Boy: Kettle-cooked potato chips
My Girl: Nacho chips with melted cheese and sour cream

Favorite between meal snack?
Me: sunflower seeds
My Boy: chips and salsa
My Girl: crackers

Do you have any weird food habits?
Me: unnatural ethnic combos, like fried rice with feta
My Boy: all food needs salt or pepper
My Girl: dipping fries into drinks

You're on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?
Me: apples
My Boy: salad with croutons and dressing...more add-ons than vegetables
My Girl: on BRAT diet--toast

You're off your diet. Now what would you like?
Me: garlic bread with a pizza (why choose one?)
My Boy: Red meat
My Girl: CHEESE!

How spicy do you order Indian/Thai?
Me: MediumMy Boy: Mild...but I dig the curry
My Girl: Not spicy

Can I get you a drink?
Me: Rootbeer with milk
My Boy: Whatever is on the adult's menu that's not alcoholic
My Girl: Cranapple, please

Red wine or white?
Me: That was long ago and far away
My Boy: Honestly, I haven't tasted either, so I don't know yet
My Girl: Never!

Favorite Dessert?
Me: Raspberry cheesecake with shortbread crust
My Boy: Ice cream sundae, any pie or cheesecake
My Girl: Banana chocolate popscicles

The perfect nightcap?
Me: None...I'll only have to get up in the night
My Boy: I really like something hot, but I don't drink it actually.
My Girl: Water

Sunday, October 15, 2006

D is for...


D is for...du'a It's pronounced like in the songs: doowah! doowah! It's the Islamic prayer which is closest to the Christian way of praying. Anytime. Any place --except for bathroom. Any way you are --do not have to perform wudu first. Say or think anything--in the language you know best. This can be pre-programmed with words someone else has thought appropriate, but it doesn't have to be. Another name for du'a is supplication.

D is for...dwaah It's pronounced dow-wah. And remember in Arabic, there are no accented syllables; both get equal measure. This is showing Islam to others. This happens in America every time a Muslimah in hejab walks out of her house. This is one of the biggest reasons to wear hejab in America, as you show Islam has a face; your face represents Islam.


Yesterday, I went to a rummage sale at a church. It was nearly void of buyers on a cold day. I walked in with my kids, then turned back. I was trying to put the baby in his sling and I needed to rest my foot on something. No sooner had I placed him in the sling, then a very nervous woman working the sale hurried from her duties to see what I was doing. Would she have done that with a woman who was dressed just like her? I don't think so.
I was watched closely. If I dropped an item accidentally, it had only a second on the floor before a church lady yelled out, "YOU DROPPED SOMETHING!" That kind of attention on your life is something else that happens every time a Muslimah in hejab walks out of her house.

While I was rummaging through a box of discarded Happy Meal toys, I found an odd plastic card. At first, I thought it was a pretend credit card for playing store. Then, I realized it was a Target giftcard. I called the number on the back and discovered that it had a $9.38 remaining credit. Briefly, I thought about what I could buy with that money. I only had managed to pry $2.00 out of my husband and was using the dimes and nickels from my bag of change (the quarters had been used up buying the training bra for my girl and I had not yet resorted to pennies).

But, what could I do really? If I tried to buy it for the 25 cents, when they didn't know what it was, it would be like stealing. If you steal anything, then it loses the enjoyment. For instance, if you grab a bunch of cashew nuts out of the bulk bin while grocery shopping, those will give you pleasure for a second and then burn inside while you try to digest.So, when it came time to check out I told them of my find and handed over the card with the $9.38. They were a bit surprised. There was one elderly lady who thanked me verbally, and when my total was added up, she is the one who gave me a good deal. That was a reward, wasn't it? But the real reward is that I did dwaah yesterday with church ladies. A bridge of understanding was built. And as my baby's eyes were complimented and his good temperment commented upon, I could say, "Well, all the thanks goes to God." And the church ladies could chime in, "Yes. Yes. Yes." We could all remember that it's the One God.

Perhaps, even, the next time a person in their midst makes a disparaging comment about, "Those Muslims," one of those church ladies might even feel like standing up for another believer.

D is for...dryer repairman He came yesterday. When he left he was $119 richer. I always arrange for these workers to come when I have my son here, since my son is old enough to be my maharam now. Even so, I'm not comfortable with a man in my house. I'm not actually suppose to be. When I signed over the check to his company, he took a look at my name and started to repeat it and then ask me about it."It's Arabic. I'm not Arabic, but my husband is. When we got married, I changed it. You don't have to change to an Arabic name when you become Muslim, but I wanted to."
Why had I said so much? Am I more comfortable with dwaah?

He stood up and said, "Muslim, huh? I was in a shoe store once and there was a man who walked in with two women. One had her head covered and one had her whole face covered."

I listened and nodded my head just wondering where this was going."So, I was curious and I asked him why one has just her head, and the other has her whole face except for her eyes. He told me, 'It's their choice.' And he asked me if I'd like to read more, so he went out to his car and got a copy of the Quran for me. I took it home and read some of it. The beginning part is all about believers and non-believers and I can understand why some radical thought that they could be the judge of who is and isn't a believer."

"We know who the real Judge is, don't we?" I asked and then continued, "You know, that first part is all about the time of Moses. He was going up the mountain and told the people, 'You be good while I'm gone,' but they just couldn't keep from worshipping idols while he was away."

"The way Muslims teach their kids the Quran is reading the short chapters first. So, do you still have that copy of the book?" I asked

"Yes, I do," he seemed reflective.

"Then I'd recommend going back and reading some of those really short chapters. Some of them are only three lines long. They talk about doing the work of the Lord, giving the burdens of your heart to God, and how after a hard time God gives you an easy time." I was paraphrasing #94 Al-Insirah, but I didn't trouble him with direct quotes and numbers. You don't when you are making dwaah.

You also don't say 'Allah' too much. Say 'God' because that is the name they are more comfortable with.And I did invite him to read more Quran. I pushed. Not a lot. Not enough to drive him away. Just enough to have him feel invited.

"Right now Muslims are in the time of Ramadan, when we read more Quran. So, if you sit down and read some tonight, you'll be doing the same thing as one billion people on the earth," I stated with friendliness.

"Ya, whoever wrote that book didn't write it for terrrorists," he tried to bridge the gap.

"Well, and Muslims don't think that a person wrote it. They think that it is the actual word of God sent down to a man who couldn't read or write, but who could speak them aloud for others to copy."

"And I don't think it's right for Christians to say that if you don't believe Jesus Christ is your savior you're going to Hell," he said as he was almost to the door.

"In Islam, they don't believe that any person on the earth knows what's going to happen on the Day of Judgement except God. And that Jesus was a great man who spoke of peace and brotherly love as a prophet. We really respect him; we just don't think he's son of God."

At the door, he said that if I had any trouble with the new heater coils in the dryer just to let him know. And he left. I don't know if he read that Quran again. I do believe that he thought about doing it, even briefly, but it crossed his mind.


D is for ...divorce. D-I-V-O-R-C-E as the song said. My husband met with his lawyer yesterday. I haven't yet sent my visitation ideas. I wanted to let them sit. My dad heard them over the phone and complimented me on my lack of vengefulness. I am not vengeful over this. I want my son to see his father every day if possible.The divorce papers will be ready and sent to my lawyer on the 30th of this month. My husband requested that it be after Ramadan (per my request) and after Eid (per his request). I'm not sure when it is that I am considered Islamically divorced from my husband. Do I have to see them? What if it is only my representative who sees them? Getting an answer from the sheik during Ramadan is tough. He defers all matter until "Baad Ramadan," after Ramadan.

I lay in bed last night with my cell phone in my hand. The light of the calendar display shining in the night. I clicked through the days and the months. My husband wants to go to Egypt as a man free to remarry in January. If the papers get filed in the court in early November, this would give him enough time for everything to be completed.

I'd say, 'inshahallah,' but I don't feel like it. I do begrudge this happening.

At the same time, I am proving my strength and my commitment to myself, my children and my family. I am not freaking out and throwing pots and pans as this happens.

I'm still having 'Fun Food Friday,' since my older kids requested one day a week of American food. I am low on supplies as I'm low on money, so I made one batch of mac n'cheese with tuna and the other with a cut-up hot dog. Then, I piled a party tray with toppings: ketchup and mustard packets, chopped chives from the garden, toasted bread crumbs, the last dregs from a bag of cheese crackers, cooked peas and also cooked broccoli, and parmesan cheese and red pepper packets. It was fun. It really was.

I said to them, "If we had all the food we wanted, I never would have thought to do this, so Alhumdulillah for no having everything we want."

We then watched a great movie from Iran, "Children of Heaven," which is bascially about the same thing, except using shoes as the metaphor.

So, the divorce. It continues. I continue. Love, laughter and happiness continue. Why not? We're in the last ten days of Ramadan. More power to you if you remember this and strive for this. Rise above your circumstances.

D is for dependency As I've said, though I haven't experienced being dependent on drugs or alcohol, I appreciate books for those wishing to be free from thinking that limited way, i.e, that something in this world is better than God. Nothing is better than God.

So, I'm going to end this posting with a dyn-0-mite excerpt from The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie.

"We can trust that all we need on this journey shall come to us. We will not get all we need for the entire journey today. We shall receive today's supplies today, and tomorrow's supplies tomorrow. We were never intended to carry supplies for the entire journey. The burden would be too heavy, and the way was intended to be light."