Sunday, August 31, 2008

Where is Ramadan?


I left the house tonight.

I had tried to pray asr. Mr. Boo used to pray beside me, but now he walks off in search of the person not praying (my mother). She had her bedroom door shut and when he knocked she didn't want him to come in. As I prayed, I heard their conversation back and forth and tried to drown them out with the words of submission.

After the prayer, I knew I just wanted to get out. I went ahead with the pre-arranged plans to get dinner where AbuBoo is working on the weekends. I had told him to get rid of his girlfriends before I showed up; it is where he met the "other woman".

We left and Mr. Boo was so happy to go see his daddy. I said something about his dad as we went driving. Mr. Boo corrected me, "He's not dad; he's daddy."

I drove in the direction without remembering exactly where the restaurant was located. I had never really placed where it was. I tried to call him again.

No answer. I kept driving.

Realized I was clueless. Called again. No answer.

Finally, I had to try again. Where was he? When he answered, he told me that he'd been on line with, "the kids," which means his first/current wife. He got busy with her and forgot that he'd promised to give me directions.

I got the info I needed and let him go, so he could finish up and meet us there. I had to drive past lots of reminders of who I've been and who I've been with. Really, in many ways, I hate being here.

Pulling into my parking space, I felt like I was going to have a nice break. That's what I wanted. I wanted a safe place to have a Saturday night. I didn't want to stay home BUT I didn't want to go just anywhere. Plus, I don't really have endless money to throw towards having fun. This was going to be a free meal.

Was that him? AbuBoo walked from his vehicle across the street to where we were. Mr. Boo was asleep---completely out. AbuBoo was on the phone. He couldn't even greet me since he was on the phone with her.

How much of my interactions with him have actually been with him AND his phone?

He acted like I could wait for him as he talked.

No.

I couldn't. Screw that. I've waited when I had to wait. I don't have to wait beside him any more as he rudely ignores us. I walked off and gestured that he should just stay there. He did. He stayed and talked. After I drove across town, he kept talking to the woman across the world.

Once he was done, I told him that I really wasn't going to stay. He did his Arab tricks to get me to stay. Yes, there are some ways of trying to tame a woman that Arab men know and they usually work. I did sit for a moment but his controlling charm wasn't working on me tonight.

I had to ask him about the restaurant across the street. "Was that...?"

"Yes."

See, we've been married. So, I didn't have to finish my sentence as he read my mind. Yes, that was the revamped diner where we'd go after every pregancy appointment. We'd go see how big and healthy our unborn child was and then we'd go to the diner and eat this wonderfully delicious food. It had been a happy time filled with hope.

Now, I was across the street from it. Sitting in the sleazy place he works now. Knowing that he cheated on his first/current wife with one of the customers. What a change. The baby is now three years old. The marriage is done. The time is over.

I got up to leave, and he grabbed my wrist. Before tonight, he has not touched me in anyway since the divorce. I wasn't going to make a scene, but I wasn't going to stay. I left and he followed me.

He nicely berated me as I unlocked the car door. What was I thinking? Was I thinking I was some kind of wife for him still? What would I do when she came over in two years?

Whatever. Two years is so far from now and so far from reality. I drove off.

I passed more places that hurt to remember. I cried with the Quran tape playing. I imagined as I drove that the words of the Quran were what I was driving on; not the road. This is why I don't do drugs. I trip out enough as it is.

Really, I thought of how easy it would be to just be in Egypt. Spend all my money and leave with one-way tickets for me and Mr. Boo. Actually enjoy Ramadan there. Go through my iddah and then figure out life.

Mr. Boo stayed asleep through it all.

I arrived home...well, to mom's home...and she and I talked. We had a good talk. She knows that I am at low tide. I don't have a lot to go on. She can't agree with any foolish plan for Egypt. She knows that my money will remain more or less intact if I stay here. She wants me to stay here. She might goof up with me and Mr. Boo, but she wants the best for us.

I guess I'm here for Ramadan. I know that sounds stupid because OF COURSE I'm here. I even bought food for suhour and for breaking the fast. However, I just hadn't accepted it until tonight.

Like how I hadn't accepted how bad it is for me to count on anything from AbuBoo.

Or how I hadn't accepted how hard this time has been on me.

My Ramadan is what I want to run to. I do. I want to leave a lot of these problems and immerse myself in the comfort of Allah. But where is Ramadan?

Internal.

Don't believe that it resides with a certain loved one, or a beloved place. Don't buy into the cheapness of the external. It won't be as fun, or as busy if you close down from the sounds and sights around you. It will however, be what you need---and what I need. Inshahallah.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bitter. Sweet.


The best times in life really are in the middle between being bitter and being sweet.

It's the moment you love, but you know you won't be able to hold on to.

It's seeing both sides of life and accepting that it could go either way. When it is sweet, but you keep in mind the bitter, you can appreciate the deliciousness more.

Today, I can see everything clearer.

You know the old song,


"I can see clearly now the rain is gone.

There are no obstacles in my way.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.

It's going to be a bright,bright bright sun shinny day."


The sun is shining today. However, I can't really say that the sun is what has changed my sight.

It's the fact that my mind is at rest on my decision not to go to Saudi.

Two days ago, the sheik told me that if you over-think, your brain loses all the energy you could use on the project. Choosing and then following your choice is better than indecision. I did make my choice to stay put. I am happy with that.

I found yesterday that I enjoyed my son more. I forgave my mother easier. I accepted AbuBoo better.

We went to the playground together yesterday: me, Mr. Boo and his father. The little one needed that. The big one needed it too I suppose, but he's not really my concern. They played together and loved together.

Me? I got to step aside and take my call from the new dude on his way out of work and to the airport. We got to joke about how a dinosaur hit my head (that was one heavy toy) and how he thought they were extinct. I will miss joking with him over the next days. We've laughed a lot and those laughs came at a time when I really needed them.

I took lots of pictures of my son and his father yesterday. I hadn't been able to look through the lens for weeks now. I hadn't taken pictures of them. I couldn't. Yesterday, I could.

I could also nicely demand some child support. He said he didn't have any money. He reasoned that, since I was staying at my mom's I didn't really need any. I tried again. I told him that only he knew how much he could spare. Allah knew too. He wanted me to say the amount I needed---like we were bargaining over a car sale. I wasn't going to play that. In the end, he brought over a hundred in cash. I took it, but told him that I was giving it to my mother.

When I handed the bills to her, I told her that this was from AbuBoo to help pay for all her expenses for keeping us with her. She then gave him a big hug with lots of thanks.

That was hard for me.

There was the man who didn't want to give any money, who hadn't thought of my mother paying more for all her bills. There was my mother, who has threatened to kick us out. There they were sharing a kind moment while I watched. It was bitter. For me, I really had to know the truth with Allah and swallow hard.

Life. If you are living it, it hurts a bit.

Today, I heard word from Saudi. The Head Teacher, who had tried to marry me, was letting me know that he respected my decision, as I had to do what was best for my son and me. He was kind. I was kind in return. We never discussed more than that. We said goodbye. Alhumdulillah. I feel relief from that messy situation. It was never going to feel clean with him, or with Saudi. It was too complicated in every way.

I read something today in my book of affirmations. We often think of doing good as taking these huge leaps of heroism. Really, though, life is about making the right steps. Sometimes, we are so overpowered by the thought of getting somewhere with one big jump. The fear of that jump stops us from moving one inch. If we really stopped our grandiosity, we could see how getting to our desired destination could happen easier with just one foot in front of the other.

Now, I can see the way to walk. Before, I couldn't figure out how to make the jump. I can however, see clearly the path today. It's between bitter and sweet and it's best taken in manageable moments day-by-day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

NOT Going to Saudi


I have felt like a storm has been brewing for weeks. Really. You know all my troubles. I thought going to Saudi could be the answer to escaping them. I pinned my hopes on going. I tried to fix my mind on packing up my belongings and getting ready to veil my eyes.



Subhanallah! I can't do it! Or rather, I could do it IF I was another person. I have to admit who I am.

The kids were over here on Monday. I had no car. So how to get them the haircuts they needed so badly? We walked. We walked 2.3 miles. They got picked up by their dad at the salon. I walked back the same route. That means I walked 4.6 miles. I love to walk. I love this weather we've been having. I love my jeans. I love my face feeling the breeze and being able to take breath in freely.

I'm a very free person.


Where is my freedom in Saudi?

My mom kept telling me that I might end up in jail there--no joke! She knows that I don't deal well with arbitrary rules. See, I'm all for the laws of Allah. I love those. I obey those. However, I don't like a bunch of men condemning me (as you can tell from this blog's comments section) and a group of women shaming me. I can't hang with that. Saudi has a whole lot of rules that are from people---not from Allah.
I didn't do this for my newest dude. He didn't ask me to stay. He wanted what's best for me. He leaves for Saudi later today. Can you believe the irony?

I'm not doing this for AbuBoo. He actually wanted me to go; begged me to reconsider. Whatever. He might feel Saudi would be a great experience, but that's from a MAN'S point of view.

Being a woman in Saudi is far different than being a man. When I listened to the head teacher's spiel about living in Saudi.---YA! Sign me up! Because his experience sounded great! But listening to women friends talk lately is just disheartening.
Would I travel to Saudi? Of course. Inshahallah, I'll still make umrah and Hajj some day. BUT, I would NOT travel as a single woman. I am just laying myself wide open to disrespect and ridicule, to loneliness, sexual advances, and dangerous situations.

Though I didn't want to focus on it too much, this has already happened with the head teacher making advances towards me. That's awkward! He is my only Western contact there and he really broke some boundaries with all his text messages of interest. When we did finally talk about his intentions, he got mad at me for stating what I did. He called me, "controlling and demanding," and stopped all talk of marriage...only to start it up again later by saying he missed talking to me.

The whole thing sounded so lonely. I've heard through another blogger how hard it is as a single woman living in the Arab world. Now, she loves it and doesn't want to come back BUT it is hard on her too. It's difficult, she says, to really make friendships with women who stay home for husband and the kids. I can see that.

There were to be two other female teachers coming from the States with me. One decided not to come. The other can't until January at the earliest. How lonely for me! And how demanding on me too!
I already got work from the school sent to me through emails. The head of the school didn't tell me it was time-sensitive. Five days later, he was chastising me. Mind you, he sent it on last Friday, which one of the busiest days of my life. I really don't like poor communication and being blamed for someone else's lack of details. He said the teachers over there could not teach the children without me sending those worksheets. What? Huh? 'Scuse me?

Would I really want this man being in charge of my right? I would not ever want to sign a power of attorney over to my employer EVER. That was a real breaking point with me. Once I have given over my rights, I could be demanded anything with no legal recourse for two years.
Two years. Two years is a long time. It's Mr. Boo from age three to age five. For my older kids it's from ages 14 to 16 for my son and ages 11 to 13 for my daughter. Subhanallah! He learns to drive! She becomes a young woman! TOTALLY without me.

For my little guy, not only would he be without his brother and sister, he would be without a father figure. When my newest dude was here, he said about my son, "He needs to grow up between two people."
I agree. He needs some good man to role model being a dad. Maybe that can't be his own dad. Allahu alim. But he needs somebody! In Saudi, there would be nobody. Not really.

I didn't want to marry in Saudi. I didn't. I do, however, like to go out in public with a man; whether it's AbuBoo or a potential husband. I do like to be open to the possibility of meeting and marrying. There is no chance for that in Saudi---not from my point of view. I would be fine with that for months until...I don't know what BUT there would be a point when I would be fed up with no men in my life.
The storm happened tonight. As it raged outside with thunder and lightning and pouring rain, I sent my email to Saudi. I'm not coming. After praying istakkarah, consulting friends, family and the sheik, I can't go with a happy heart. I don't know where I go or what I do next. I only know that it isn't to Saudi under these conditions.


May Allah be pleased with my decision.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Times of Hardship


Listen to Surah Yassine in times of hardship:




Read the translation here:



For Him is this only that whenever He intends any thing, then He says to it, 'Be' and it becomes at once.


Therefore, Sanctified is He in Who is the control of every thing, and towards Him, you will be returned.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Splitting Hairs




I grew my locks for him
He locked his locks for me
Today I cut my hair
which no one else can see.

Each cut hurt my head like
a pull at memory
the strands of years fell down
no more misogyny.

My curls you once caressed
as you held on too tight
are now swept up; thrown out
and, "less is more," is right.

When it came time to leave,
I covered with modesty
My gift to a new man
is exclusivity.

You know me from my past
But I'm not yours today
Sadly, we are divorced
Our ties are cut away.

In blessed Ramadan--
a new time; a new me.
I have to get prepared
for who I want to be.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Randomly Me


Whats your name spelt backwards?
Arsoy

What did you do last night?
That would be Saturday night. I sat on the computer trying not to think of my newest man flying away from me for three hours. Then, I talked with him once he reached his home again.

The last thing you downloaded onto your computer?
Photos of a cute haircut for my girl.

Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery?
Not knowingly.

Last time you swam in a pool?
June. It was awesome. I was wearing my new Nike Clearance Store ensemble of pants and long top. Didn't totally work, but at least I tried to keep covered. Dang thing clung too much.

What are you wearing?
Long-sleeved mocha brown ribbed v-neck T-shirt with moss green cargo capris.

How many cars have you owned?
EVER? The red Chevy, the green Oldsmobile, the tan Buick, the black Volvo and lastly the teal Corolla in Florida. That makes five. I actually don't own a car right now.

Type of music you dislike most?
Angst-ridden rant rock.

Are you registered to vote?
Yes. And may the best Barak win.

Do you have cable?
Nope.

What kind of computer do you use?
Toshiba laptop.

Ever made a prank phone call?
As a kid, ya.

You like anyone right now?
I like many, many people. Do you mean of the opposite sex? I try to keep that to only one at a time.

Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
Sky diving.

Furthest place you ever traveled?
Egypt.

What's your favorite comic strip?
Close to Home.

Do you know all the words to the national anthem?
Yes, and I love to sing it because this country started on wonderful principles.

Shower, morning or night?
Morning. In Florida, both.

Best movie you've seen in the past month?
Waking Ned Devine. I know...I keep talking about it, but I've seen it three times this summer.

Favorite pizza toppings?
Turkey pepperoni, spinach, alfredo sauce, black olives

Chips or popcorn?
POPCORN! But it's made me all gurgly tonight. Drinking baking soda water to combat the effects.

What cell phone provider do you have?
T-Mobile

Have you ever smoked peanut shells?
Why? Huh? What?

Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?
No.

Orange Juice or apple?
Apple

Who were the last people you sat at lunch with?
The funked out theatre kids--oh, wait! For some reason I thought of who I sat with in H.S. That's actually a more interesting question. Oh, ya, it's always Mr. Boo and me for lunch.

Favorite chocolate bar?
Hershey's Dark Chocolate OR Three Musketeers with Mint

Who is your longest friend and how long?
mi amiga-- since 1985. That's 23 years!!!

Last time you ate a homegrown tomato?
Last week. It wasn't grown at OUR home, but somebody grew it!

Have you ever won a trophy?
Yes, for speech competitions and for Best in Drama in middle school.

Favorite arcade game?
I love pinball. Paperboy is the video game I played in the actual arcade. Legend of Zelda is what I played at home.

Ever ordered from an infomercial?
Never.

Sprite or 7-UP?
Sprite

Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school/work?
Uniform for eigth grade in the Virgin Islands of hideous bright yellow top (looked great on all the brown skin and horrible on me) with box-pleated navy blue skirt (looked garagantuan).
McDonald's afterschool job in H.S.

Wore the KKK uniform in a college production of "The Foreigner". That was a trip to look in the mirror and see myself as something so abhorrent. Just last year, I traveled to the Carolinas and saw a real KKK uniform in a museum. Chilling.

Last thing you bought at Walgreens?
Creme Excellence hair dye by Loreal! I'm really loving this, Gang.

Ever thrown up in public?
When I was pregnant for the first time with my big guy, I went out to eat at a buffet, and then to an opening night show. I threw it all up (but not out), while still in the theatre, then ran out to find the trash can before I spewed. Really, really gross. Do NOT overeat while pregnant. Do NOT wear heavy sweaters while pregnant. And for sure, don't do them both together.

Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love?
TRUE LOVE, BABY! YA!

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Definately.

SPONGEBOB OR JIMMY NEUTRON?
Mr. Boo votes for Spongebob

Did you have long hair as a young kid?
Yes.

What message is on your voicemail machine?
I don't have a home phone.

Where would you like to go right now?
To the side of my loving husband...if I had one.

Whats the name of your pet?
Mr. Boo

What kind of back pack do you have, and what's in it?
I have a black travel bag, which I used for my Egypt trip. It's part diaper bag, part purse.

What do you think about most?
I think about what I should do for my life; what's the best way to be me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sharing a Day


His foot was huring so we sat down. I hadn't told him that going to The Fair was an Olympic event. I am such a walker. To be spending a day with a person who doesn't like to walk (can't walk) is a hardship.

He really didn't complain.

I didn't either.

He didn't like going on rides. NO rides. Not even Ye Ol' Mill. I tried to persuade him but he wouldn't budge. He has his own mind, but makes me laugh about as he resists.

He paid for Mr. Boo to go on a ride.

In fact, he paid for the whole day at The Fair.

He didn't want to eat Cheese on a Stick. This is pure culinary lunacy, in my opinion but I know he has his reasons for avoiding. So, he buys one for Mr. Boo. Later, Mr. Boo shares the last bites.

Just like Dude shared his roasted corn and fries and broiled steak sandwich.

We made it over to the Leinekugel Stage for Micheal Johnson, who was singing a funny song when we walked in. Later, he sang a duet; a love song. Wish I could figure out what song it was. It was beautiful.

The sunshine was bright but easy on the eyes. The breeze was blowing as we sat there on the bench. Mr. Boo was hugging us and loving a moment of being part of a circle.

Later, we found ourselves sitting alone in the backyard. We said our goodbyes there. He left me today. He leaves the U.S. for umrah on Thursday. For two weeks, he'll be dropping off his baggage in Saudi. When he comes back, he'll be able to see better if he can not only love me and Mr. Boo, but if he can accept the responsibility of becoming a family.
I, in turn, will be open to Allah's plan.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Not Sureal SO-REAL!


Let me tell you about Friday. Talk about big days!

It actually all started on Thursday. There was all that confusion about the job possibility.

Will they?

Won't they?

I got NO CALL the whole dangity doodle day (oh, and I don't swear on my blog, but I do sometimes wish that I did). What the heckaballoo (that would be another good time to swear)were they thinking?! This is so freakin' disrepectful of an organization which is trying to teach our youth in the ummah responsibility and respectfulness. Get real! I'm ashamed of how I was mistreated. I, for sure, deserved a call to say, "Thank you for making yourself available. Let's talk about what you could do for us." No call.

My friend heard this from me and called the principal back. She then learned I was being considered BUT I was the second choice. Who was the first? A man. Another man.

"Why a man for fifth?" I asked, as men aren't usually placed in lower grades.

"Men don't get pregnant and men don't have child care needs," was her sassy reply.

Ya, so no call EVER and no job from them.

I woke Friday wondering if I might EVEN get a you-were-not-chosen call but nothing.

So, I moved on to the next big thing which was going to The Fair! This was the much debated birthday outing for my little/big girl. Much simpler when you aren't feeling weak and low-energy, but HEY! Suck it up for the team. We had a great time.

There was a wierd moment...because I apparently need a lot of those in my life. I had already spent time with my girl and we had done our switch-off at the juggling show. I was now with my big guy (my 14-year-old), and was returning him to his dad and sister. This was at the DNR building and she wanted to do an activity, so they were going to hang around. I decided to wait for her and her friend to finish before saying goodbye. That meant hanging around my older son and his father.

My little son, Mr. Boo, just stared at the big hairy man with the hat. S-T-A-R-E-D! Wouldn't say much. The kids' dad just stared back, but with a kind of bemused smirk; he just wouldn't break the ice.

Then Mr. Boo pipes up, "Let me tell you a mommy joke. Knock-Knock!"

The kids' dad plays along, "Who's there?"

"Mom"

"Mom who?"

"MOMMY!"

It was again: SUREAL to see the man from my first marriage, whom I left back in 2000, doing a knock-knock joke with the son from my second marriage

My second marriage began with meeting my Mr. Boo's father and when was that? Yes! On the same date as my daughter's birthday. Yesterday marked seven years SUBHANALLAH since the day we met. You know what? I forgot to wish him, "Happy Anniversary." Why? Because I had someone else on my mind.

See, no time to stay in that surreal moment, because I was headed for another. Yes! Off to the airport I went to pick up my suitor.

You know? I've just figured something out. I keep looking at that word "sureal" and realizing I don't mean that. I mean SO-REAL. Ya, that's it.

This is the first time a man has ever flown out to see me. Sure, I have had airline tickets paid for for ME to fly out---twice. And both times, I regretted my willingness to be on their turf. This time, I really didn't want to fly to him. I considered it, but I declined. He accepted. He arrived last night.

Mom said I looked nice, by the way, which is a lot kinder than the other comments she has been making.

The funny thing is that I wasn't going to color my hair. Oh, I needed it! My roots showing and I had a bad color match to begin with. Then, I was at The Fair and popped into the Loreal station. That was cool! I got a free consult with a stylish for which product was right for me. I got the advice (Creme Excellence to cover grays, ya all) and my c$2.00 off coupon.

Oh, and thanks to my big guy for putting up with mom. LOL! I tell him that, since we don't live together, I have to cram in all the embarrassing times in while I'm with him.

So, coming back from The Fair I'm beat but I think about that coupon and ask mom to stop at Walgreen's. She declines. I ask if she can watch a sleeping Mr. Boo while I run out to buy the hair dye, she declines. Eventually, she says that she'll go begrudgingly.

This is a lead up, people, so stay with me.

I go home TIRED and in need of Gatorade. I wash and iron AND then I decide I really will dye my hair. Every man who has talked marriage with me has asked to see me without hejab. This man will not be any different.

Originally, I had thought that I should keep my nasty gray roots on my head--to show him my "truth". But, then I thought of how low my confidence gets when I have gray; which reminds me of my age. This man is ...wait for it....I can almost say it.....younger than.....me---NOT by much...two and a half years ---but I've NEVER gone for younger my whole life so that was on my mind.

So, with about ZERO energy I dyed my hair. It took some effort but it looks really good.

And....punch line coming....he never asked to see my hair. LOL!

It's like when you clean the guest bathroom and no one has to pee. You almost want to give them more to drink so they have to go in and admire how clean your grout is.

He wouldn't look at me that much. Nope! Didn't try to shake my hand. Didn't ask for any kiss.

Oh, wait...I take that back. He asked Mr. Boo for a kiss.

In fact, he charmed me the most by how he treated me young lad (got to read that last part with an Irish accent; just watched Waking Ned Devine again).

We went out to eat at our local Arab buffet. I sat there and watched this man lovingly crumble the fish flakes over my sons rice. This man fed my boy like a father; like a good man who loves deeply and shows his caring through actions.

And he asked me what else I'd like from the buffet. I did that stupid, "Oh, I don't know if I should eat any more," comment which I really regretted once he'd left the table. I turned around and watched him for a moment. I thought about calling him over and asking him to get some more of what I liked. I decided against it. He came back to the table with a plate of lovely food--of all the food I had commented glowingly about--and set it down

in front of me.

He set it down in front of me silently; without any big talk, and then walked back to get his own food. Mashahallah! That was goooooood. Good one! Men, take note! That was a goooood one.

He never tried a thing with me the whole night. Mashahallah. He spent hundreds of dollars on this trip and never wanted my physical affection in return. Or...if he wanted it, he didn't act on that. I didn't either.

Both of us would like JUST ONE relationship in our lives to be halal and good for NOT JUST NOW but for years to come.

This is why, "YES," I would consider marriage. Yes, I would. Not with every man under the sun. I would consider it for a man who is worth my consideration.

Why speed things up? Why not just take a break and chill? He leaves for umrah at the end of the month, inshahallah. We both wanted a meeting beforehand to crystalize in both our minds who we are, so we can better contemplate a possible future.

OK, Kids, that's my SO-REAL Friday. Now, don't get all preachy on me, because I'm in a good place. Alhumdulillah, it's all good.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Khula

NOTE: Since posting this I have seen the sheik about my situation. While everything I post here is informational, truly every person's situation is unique. For me, I needed to explain to him more information about the three situation than I have explained on the blog.

In the end, he told me that it is unclear to do anything other than the three months iddah. To be very clear, he recommends three months, even after a third divorce.

While I thought that I got a khula, the sheik says that it was not because, in the end, the man did divorce me. No one in authority forced him to accept a divorce.

I guess, what I want any reader to understand from these notes is this: do your internet research, but don't stop there. Go see a sheik and be completely in the clear, especially if you are possibly involve others in wrong.

I did get a second opinion---I wasn't, "sheik shopping," but I ended up getting more thoughts on the matter. Though he would rather meet with both parties to decide the matter more thoroughly, the sheik did offer up some thoughts. This is what was said:

"You have been given khula. Three schools of thought say that you must wait three months now but Hanbali school of thought says that you wait only one month. I advise you to wait for a period of time before any remarriage so that there will be success to it. Perhaps your emotional state may not be in the right frame of mind to have a long lasting relationship and to be the best wife you can be. Every marriage has residual emotional feelings"

I am searching tonight.

This link had answers to some pretty interesting questions from Muslim Women's Network of Carmichael, California.

This link talks about marriage and talaq.

This link deals with khula, the woman's asking for divorce. It's interesting that we always hear of the Muslimah at the time of Mohammed (pbuh) who had to give her garden back. It is pointed out that is a dowry must be offered to be given back BUT the man does not have to take it back. Out of kindness, a man can gift the dowry as he lets his woman go.

Here's another link about khula. Ya, I'm searching about it tonight.

www.sunnipath.com is a great sight. Why didn't I add it before? Got to add that on the side too.

As always, I love www.islamonline.net . If you click here you'll read what their site says about khula.

When the two parties agree for khulu, a woman is not in need of Iddah, but she is in need of one menstruation before she gets married to another man.

I think I did get a khula. Yes, I did. I asked for a divorce from Mr. Florida. I had good reason to ask. That means that this start of my menses ends my iddah. If I wanted to, I could get married again.

Hmmm....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trying to Stop the Tide



I didn't want to sleep because I didn't want to wake up to today.

It was not some fatalistic, injurious death wish.

It was just that I know I'll have to ride a big tidal wave that has been rolling in for some time now.
Right now, my friend is talking to the principal, inshahallah. You remember my friend who got the job at the school, but didn't really want to be there? I love, love, love this sister. She is an awesome friend. I don't agree with accepting a job you hate and anticipate you'll leave before you even started. HOWEVER, I prayed to God not to have anger towards her. I wanted to continue loving her "as is".
It worked!
Because I never blew up at her; never told her off or showed jealousy, I was the first person she called yesterday when she was offered a different job elsewhere. She wanted to take the job, but knew that she should line up her replacement first. That's where I come in. I would be her replacement---if I wanted to be.
What did I want?
What would I want for my life?
I felt that I belonged in Saudi, but that was before. This might seem like a small point, but learning about the covering on the eyes disturbed me. I talked with more of my women friends about their thoughts for me and Saudi.
An Arab friend said that she would not travel there as a married woman with a husband beside her. Why? Too tough on women. She is very gutsy and outgoing and strong and she knows that I am much the same, but I she would not go.
Her friend in Saudi now can't leave the house without wearing three layers to avoid being thought of as a whore; abaya, hejab and niqab are not enough. Sad! And hot! And limiting--not just for me but for a little boy who has to go out and run around.
Talked with AbuBoo who told me that he'd been in that area of Saudi and he didn't have a problem.
I was like, "Dude! You're a man! Of course you didn't have these problems!"
I just don't feel the same as I once did about going to Saudi.
That statement sums up my feelings for AbuBoo as well: I just don't feel the same as I once did.
I wrote that a door slammed shut between us some days ago. It did. I no longer can trust him to help co-parent our son. I am the only one raising him, truly. I don't even receive child support.
HOWEVER, I do think that he could have supervised time with our son and that could be beneficial to Mr. Boo inshahallah. Mr. Boo knows who his daddy is. Lately, the little guy has been spending part of everyday looking at his baby album and seeing the truth of how his life started. The truth is that he has a mommy and a daddy.
I wrote that my older children's father has been near impossible. Normally, I take my daughter to The State Fair for her birthday and have every year since she was four. That's seven years ago. It's a tradition. He decided that he was going to take her this year and he wasn't allowing me an easy way to her on the day. She was so sad about his dictatorial way. It was hurting me.
HOWEVER, she and I worked out a plan and presented it to him: he comes to The Fair with both kids, I meet up with them inside the gates, I take my girlie, he takes my big dude, and after a couple of hours we meet back together and switch again. That way we all spend time together at The Fair (without actually being together).
As for living with mom, it won't work long-term.
HOWEVER, Mr. Boo adores her and keeping them close to one another is a big consideration.
This is my mind today.
Do I change my mind? Sure, I do. I make decisions based on the information I have at the time. When that information changes, or become clear, then I have to submit to what makes more sense.
If there was a job at the school...well, life could fall into place here.
Inshahallah.
That big wave of change? It's coming today and it's up to me whether I get drowned under the weight of it, or whether I ride it like the surfergirl I want to be.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wake Up!


Usually, I keep my bathroom habits to myself. I'm not one to loudly announce if I "have to go".

Here's the thing: I have very little else on my mind right now.

I know there's a lot else I'd like to say, but my mind can't think as clearly because ...

Well, I haven't left my room since I entered at 9:30 PM. It's almost 7:00 AM now.

Why don't I leave?

Because my mother needs her rest. She was blessed/cursed with these eagle ears and when I open my door I wake her up, unfortunately---very unfortunately for me especially.

So, you might ask: Hey, you! Yosra! I thought you were the one who posted about praying fajr! If you haven't left your room, then you haven't made wudu and you haven't prayed.

Wrong! I spoke with my friendly consultant who advised me to keep water in the room. So, there I was at 5:40 AM dipping my hands into a glass of water and making wudu on my mattress.

Funny, eh?

Allah knows the lengths I'm going to in order to love both Him and her.

She actually complained yesterday that because I woke her up and caused her to miss sleep that she could, "end up getting a stroke or a heart attack."

Remember, all I did yesterday was leave my room, use the toilet (without flushing, per her instructions), and wash up in the sink. No loud nose blowing! I didn't even utter my prayer louder than a whisper. I was quiiiiiiet.

Still, she woke up.

Alhumdulillah, I haven't heard her stir. That's good for her. It means that she is getting her rest.

As for me? I'll tell you this: as soon as I hear a flush, I am out of here!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Up Before Dawn


Reading Quran right after fajr starts my day off well. Some people might feel that they don't have time.

Really? I mean, how much iddle chatter did you partake in yesterday? How many minutes infront of the TV or computer? See? Don't give me that! You have enough time, for real. It's not like I read the WHOLE Quran. Even if I read only one blessed line, that is still more than I had before cracking open my book.

We make our lives what we want.

What do you want your life to be?

Start your day off well to make the foundation of your days and your life be with Allah.

Veiled Eyes


Oh my.

I am getting DAILY phone calls from Saudi now.

Yes, this is REAL.

Did you know that in Spanish "Real" means "Royal"?

Not sure how that info helps this moment, other than it turns it all into something fit for a queen.

Can I keep remembering that I'll be in the land of the Prophet Mohammed pbuh?

'Cause I knew I had to wear an all black abaya and cover my face in public.

I knew that.

BUT I FLIPPIN' DIDN'T KNOW THAT I HAD TO WEAR A MESH VEIL OVER MY EYES!!!

OH MY GOD!

Once again, boys and girls (are there any males reading this? I never imagine them sticking around...kind of like my love life):

I am in the most conservative religion...

going to the most conservative country...

and within that country, going to the most conservative district.

Wow.

My mom said, "Covering your eyes is so extreme."

And it is and I KNOW THAT but I say, "Yes, but so is walking around with boobs hanging out. Islam is all about being moderate. I don't agree with either way of dressing but I'm willing to try on the Saudi dress for the time I'm there."

I said that.

I hope I mean that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eddie Vedder Rise



Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning back holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
And suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole

You Must Weed Your Mind



~Astrid Alauda


There are too many weeds.

I love metaphors, as they help me reach to depths which I can't grasp literally.

For this idea of weeding my mind, I think to my times pulling dandelions. First of all, many of us tend to think that it isn't really that bad to have a few dandelions. However, you have to remember how they spread. Their roots cut off the water supply to the thirsty grass. You must pull them. They are not benign.
Often, to pull them seems like an endless endeavor. Some of the dandelions you yank retain the remnants of roots and grow back. A yard in Minnesota is never really free of them (unless you shoot your grass full of chemicals which kills more than the weeds). Why try?

Eventually, if you never attempted to keep your yard dandelion-free, you'd see nothing but a sea of yellow. It really could happen.

The thing is, that I really am not in a very strong place to do all of this weeding now. It's a process. I believe it will take all of Ramadan at least to get the biggest, baddest dandelions pulled. They might even resurface later.

BUT the good news, fellow visitors to this garden, is that I shall not let the garden go to ruin.

Grover and Madeline Kahn

I actually am the love child of Grover and Madeline Kahn.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sesame Street Teaches Gambling


While watching Sesame Street this morning, I was surprised to see The Count hold a lottery. Yes, gambling has come to preschoolers. Early indoctrination to the idea that this addictive habit is harmless is not OK with me.
I wrote to my local PBS station and told them that I was dissapointed in this way to introduce numbers while introducing an unnecessary evil.
I tried to contact The Children's Television Workshop, but their link for email isnt' working.
Dear ones in the ummah, could you please consider taking five minutes to write to your own locall pbs station? Tell them in a succinct way with immense politeness that you don't appreciate The Count calling off lottery numbers for young viewers.
Let me know if you did this.
And HEY! Send this on to your family and friends if you feel like I do that PBS needs to can this segment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

God Wants Me in Saudi


All the doors are shutting here.

One...

by...

one...

The job at my old school? My friend got a job there; I didn't. Funny thing is that she doesn't want to be there. She wants a public school job.

I emailed the principal and asked if there were any positions still open. He called back to tell me that nothing had come available since I interviewed on Thursday. My friend got the job Monday.
SLAM! That door is shut.

My mom? While she and I patched things up enough for me to live here for now, I am not welcome to stay here for very long.

SLAM!

My kids? Their dad has been flipping out on me since the day I was to arrive. He is sending me emails like:

I doubt you have any concept on how damaging your presence here is on the kids. I doubt you have the ability to deal with me. I doubt you can put your kids needs in front of your own. I doubt you can accept that since you have abandoned them time and again - they have moved on without you.

That's only a portion. It goes on and on in shaming anger.

I love my older children, and we've had great times since I've been back. However, I don't wish to be in this kind of seige. Their dad is at war with me and those kids are the battleground. I can't and won't fight.

SLAM!

And now? The final door is really Mr. Boo's father. It isn't that I wanted to reconcile with him (despite what he told his lover). It's that I wanted to give us a chance to raise a child together. We get along. We already were raising my older kids together before Mr. Boo was born. I just wanted him to be present in our child's life. The way to do that would be to stay BUT --

No way can I stick around here and have his crazy old lovers calling up late at night to tell me stories of my life with him. It's degrading, embarrassing, and simply beneath me.

I am done feeling that my son needs this man as a routine presence in his life.

SLAM!

All the doors are shut.

The image I have had today is not of The Almighty denying us entry, but of helping us focus down the hallway to the exit.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Walking in the Rain


As I ran out of the house this morning, I thought of this song. I only remembered this part:


When you're walking in the rain and the snow,

and there's nowhere to go,

and you feel as though a part of you is dying...

On my walk, I found a little crab apple. I picked it up and continued; carrying it a mile from its original home. It didn't have a say. As I walked, I rolled it around and around in my hand. The next time I looked at it, the dingy skin had become shiny vermilion.

I next marveled at how all the flower petals let water drops rest upon them. I saw the roses. Two white roses had crept inbetween the stones in the wall. They weren't supposed to be there. They were supposed to grow up on top, not poke out through the side of their contain. They grew, however, whether or not someone had a different plan for them. I touched the flower and two petals fell off.


As I was looking at the petals, I realized that I had a tiny stow-away. A little worm "duda" was attached to me, like I was his whole world. I didn't brush him off haphazardly. I carried him aloft on the back of my hand--right between my index finger and my middle finger. I knew I had a sudden responsibility for this life. I moved him where I thought best. He didn't know anything about my reasoning. It was so much playing God; I had to admit.

God is moving us to places we never dreamt and making our lives go through huge transformations. Why? It's for a reason. Really, it is. As long as we cling to God, we will be carried to that new place and land on our feet just fine.

For the worm, I chose a neighbor's cabbage leaf.

For me? I don't know what God has planned for me.

Don't Like You More Than I Like Me


No.

You haven't been with me for 40 years.

You don't really care about me and my life the way I care.

SO!

It isn't that I "can't take criticism". It's that I don't want to! Who does? NOBODY!

I'm not saying you have to love everything I do, but frankly my dear...

ya.

Exactly.

I'm catching heat for being real while others on the blog world simply don't write what's real.

See?

I get it.

I've always gotten it.


Always been honest.

You can't handle it.

It's not me--it's you!

You can't take honesty.

I'll pull this plug if this blog is a drag-- and right now...

Right now, you are a bunch of humorless nags.

I'll stick with my fun fantasy of John, Cat, and/or Akshay
and think about leaving the rest of you behind.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Third and Final Divorce

I begged and pleaded.
For our marriage to work?
NAW!
That was all the other times.


This time I just wanted to admit the truth: we really haven't been married as husband and wife since February. I've been living on my own, in my own place; unsupported. NOW? I am not even in the same state.


He wanted another day to think about it, but I wanted to say that we've been neither here nor there for months. Time to stop being in limbo; especially now that we are no longer able to see each other and get tempted. We needed to stop.

I'll have a month and a half of iddah to complete and then I'll be free again.

To marry again?

DUH!


You all think I'm a nun?

Look, I will marry again, inshahallah. I just don't know when and with whom.


But I know what I want him to look like:











or maybe:



or possibly:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Finding My Direction




Asalamu Alaykom,






I might not be going to Saudi.

Today, I applied for my old job in town. I felt I had to. I'm not really good at waiting and it's actually been all of May, June, and July that I've waited for my visa. I don't fully trust the process. They screwed up and I am left waiting at my mom's without a job. Ramadan is coming and I don't want to be here.

My mom doesn't want me here either. When I told her that I wanted to apply for the job here, she said that I'd be better off moving out as soon as possible.

When I got all dressed up for the interview, I asked her if she liked my new lipstick (it's really neutral). Her answer?

"You're just like the little girl I babysit; always has to be the center of attention."

When I came back into the room (trying not to be hurt), I asked her if she understood that I had a job interview.

"Am I supposed to be nicer to you?" she shot back.

Sigh...

ya....

well...

umm...

it sucks.

Before this latest bad moment, I had been thinking how I could stay here and pay rent and help her out; like Islam teaches us to do for our aging parents. But, Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) didn't have my mom to deal with. He didn't have his mom having a glass of wine after work. He didn't have his mom complaining about watching her own grandson, while she goes out to watch other people's children. She isn't Muslim. I can't judge her for this. I'm just saying that, as a revert, the idea of "Paradise is at the feet of your mother," is hard for me to put into practice.

What made me apply for a job in town?

I needed some truth.

Truth is where it’s at.

Truth is with Allah.

Yesterday I felt that confusion set in.

The night before, I had been told AGAIN how much I was loved and cherished. I was told from Florida, by a man who can’t live with me or support me. This scrambles up a girl’s brain like eggs on a sizzling fry pan.

Then yesterday afternoon, I had another phone call from Egypt telling me how much I was loved by my former in-laws. They wanted to trash talk Mr. Boo’s dad. This is the same man who housed them for four months and tried his best to please them. Now, I am the first to say that my former husband isn’t perfect, but I really can’t enjoy a weekly mud slinging at his expense.

And then there’s NO phone call from Saudi. There’s no nothin’ from Saudi (ya, I know I should be writing proper English grammar, but it’s for dramatic effect). If I actually have a job, then how come I’m still waiting for a visa for three months PAST when they said it would come? I heard the explanation, but it’s lame-o.

So, I got out of the house. I sat in the backyard in a foul mood while watching Mr. Boo run around the trees. Then he grabbed the hose and sprayed me until I was soaking wet. It was one of the last clean outfits I’ve got after a week of being here (and not doing wash).

After I changed, we headed out on a walk.

I was mad.

Mad that this stupid area of town doesn’t have sidewalks.

Mad that the woman who was my friend here was no longer talking to me (thanks) now that I’m actually in town.

Mad that my mom was annoyed with me.

Mad that I’ve had to give up so much.

I took a long walk to find some truths. I walked past all the places I've been in my former life: playgrounds, schools, stores, friend's homes, restaurants...


"I'm going to rise up and find my direction magnetically".

So, I just headed where it made sense to go. I found myself walking to the nearby campus. It was once a very special place to me. I knew that I was succeeding each day when I made my way to the bus stop, after working all morning at a dry cleaner’s. I was not feeling like such a success yesterday, but there I was. I kept putting one step in front of another and just let my core guide me.

I ended up at a Middle-Eastern restaurant for some falafel. I first ate falafel in college at a makeshift Jewish restaurant. I loved it. Still love it.

I walked in and the cook greeted me with, “Asalamu Alaykom.”

Sometimes, to be honest, I just go to Muslim-run business or areas to be greeted with the peace of Allah.

In Islam, we are mandated to greet each other in peace, to bless each other when we sneeze, and to pray for each other when we die.

“One falafel, please.” I ordered politely.

“You mean one sandwich?” the Middle-eastern man tried to figure it out.

“No, I mean just one piece.” I said sheepishly and then headed over for some drink. Ahhh….Key Lime! I love that flavor! I sipped it while I waited. When he brought my food, he saw my two bills and some change on the counter.

“Just a $1.25 for the pop. The falafel is for free; for a taste.” And there sat two golden globes of greasy goodness. For free! My favorite price! I ate one and saved one for Mr. Boo once he woke up in his stroller. I gave a dollar tip and the man and I smiled at each other.

Life really can be easy and good.

OK.

So, here’s what I figured out:

I've been too busy getting my ego stroked by Mr. Florida. It’s unhealthy. I am back in almost exactly the same stupid place I was over a year ago. Yes, yes, yes, we love each other and we are hot for each other YET we can’t co-exist together so that is NOT a marriage. I told him that we are not really married and he’s thinking over ending it.

The relatives in Egypt are playing me. They are not who they say they are.  I can’t trust them like I wish. I will NOT be going to see them.

I don’t really have a job in Saudi. I mean---there is a job….and I’ve been given a contract BUT it’s not in my hand. As long as I don’t have a visa, I’m out of the picture. Ramadan is starting so soon and I don’t want to be in confusion then. I really want reality with a real job and REAL money.

I've got to stay in reality with what is actually in my hand.

I wish it was more falafel.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Abu & Um


Sitting on the stoop outside,
waiting for you to stop speaking,
inside on your cell phone.


When you sit you are silent;
silent air, but not dead. We
sit in sunlight with flowers.


For a time there is kindness;
a sweet kind of forgiveness
between mother and father.


Then your words slice like a knife,
"If you'd been more open in
mind,"--unkind and incorrect.


My correction of facts. Then
your needing to right wrongs
done long ago. Our fights fought out.


On the steps, in the sunlight,
in the moment of today.
Too much to say; stop. Khalas.


We were crossing each other
like an ex; not a mother
or dad. We forgot--we had.


We don't have love together
but together we have our
love; our one, beloved son.


And when you left, I said, "Good
bye," to my boy's Abu. And
you wished the best for his Um.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Praying, Playing, and Crying


Just about ready to pray.

I've got internet.

I've got dishpan hands.

I've got Mr. Boo in the living room with his father.
I cried today right before my older kids left with their dad. We had had a great visit. My son (my super huge son) was trying to get a picture of me on his cell phone. He was doing the Austin Powers photographer instructions and it did make me smile and laugh and then cry. Sadness just came over me.

My big son sat on one arm of the deck chair and my daughter on the other and Mr. Boo came up and said, "It will be alright, Mommy."

Mr. Boo's father was there, sitting on the patio with us, and watched the whole thing.

It's hitting me today. The enormity. The aloneness. The melancholy.

My things are arriving in boxes everyday; these huge cardboard cubes which testify of where I have been.

I was in Florida.

I was.

I was married.

I was.

I believed that I would be married forever to that man.

I did.

That's why I sent everything down to him.

And now it's all coming back...or at least a lot of it is. Somethings you can't keep.

It's that hope; that trust in the future that I am having a tough time with today. Trust in the future is really trust in God. I need to find that within me. I have it still, but it's injured.

Truly, it's tough for me to understand how I can have men absolutely love me and love my children and yet I don't have a husband. I don't have a family. I don't have a home.

Subhanallah!

I'm in a home now, even if it's not my home. I'm in the kitchen typing this as I hear my little son and his father playing in the other room.

Praying is all done in the livingroom.

I can't pray with the man who brought me to Islam. I can't even take off my hejab with him. Can't be alone in the same part of the house as him. If I was very strict, I wouldn't be in the house alone at all with him.

Mr. Boo refused with screaming, kicking, and crying to pray with his father.

Mr. Boo used to ask to pray with his Baba. He used to get the prayer mat and say, "Come on, Baba! Let's pray!"

I'll pray alone in my room and inshahallah get focused again.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On the Streets of St. Paul

This would be entirely romantic, if I was sitting at this table with a man, but instead I'm sitting here with a computer. It's dark. It's lamplit. I'm alone with my computer. Strange, but then life is strange.

I still don't have internet at mom's. T-Mobile has a deal for $20 a month but I can't get the right cable yet. Inshahallah, I will tomorrow.

Pick up the older kids tomorrow. Their dad finally allowed me to have them overnight at my mom's. That should be good for just chillaxing.

Their dad has yelled and sworn at me three times and now seems to have it out of his system. Really...the man has a heart condition and he goes ballistic with anger. I kept my calm even with his tirades. I simply can't get too much into his upset.

Talked with Mr. Boo's dad--is that a good name for him? He is encouraging me to stay strong.

I do feel weak tonight.

I talked with Mr. Boo's Baba, i.e., Mr. Florida, today. He has been mailing my boxes that I left for him. $150. Can you stand it? Man! I will really hate my stuff by the end of this! God bless him for mailing my stuff.

He isn't all bad. He isn't really bad at all. He just is who he is. I asked him how he felt.

"I tried the hardest I could. I gave 110%," was his answer.

"Maybe you should have tried easier," was my reply back.

It doesn't seem like there's much hope for us.

Mr. Boo went to a bida/bday party today. We had our fun.

Look, life is good. It is. Alhumdulillah.