Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Giving Water



Asalamu Alaykom,




During the hottest week yet this summer, we had an errand to run.  As a family, we went down our street with the aim to catch an air-conditioned taxi.  My husband and son, being males, focused on the goal ahead.  I, being female, noticed the little boy too short to turn on a faucet.  The water tap, supplied by the mosque, was meant as a form of charity.  They hadn't figured on this small guy being all alone and thirsty.

Despite the fact that I got in trouble the last time I tried to help a boy in my neighborhood, I stopped walking.  I asked my husband to help the boy.  Ahmed went over and filled the cup---probably a germy cup since it's used by ever passerby---and gave it to the boy.  The boy drank without thanking anyone because that's what kids do.

I thanked my husband as he returned to me and we continued on our walk.

"Mom," my own boy began, "how did you even notice him?"

"Didn't you see him?" I asked.

"No, I can't pay attention to everything!"

I thought and then replied, "I can't either, but I do notice the needy.  If I can help, then I do."

Over Ramadan, I found so much solace in helping the mama cat and her kitten.  To give them water and watch them drink has felt so good.  I'm sharing the video at the top of this post because an eco-friendly man found a way to record just who it was drinking out of the pail of water he had been leaving.

Mashahallah.

Later, on the day we were running an errand, I saw that, across the street, the cart with the Eid hats and noisemakers.  It was still being pushed with hopes that someone...anyone...would buy.  I marveled at that and even turned my head to watch him as he went away.  Then, I saw his feet without shoes.  His feet were on city street's burning pavement and he kept walking along without any protection.

I stopped and asked my husband if we could help him.

"You're too soft, Mom," my son complained.

"Mashahallah," my husband corrected, "Your mom is so sweet."

However, he wouldn't join with me in finding a way to get the man shoes.  The man stayed on my mind the rest of the day, the week, and into today.  We had the money; we just didn't have the time.  Astragferallah.

If I see him again...

and then I wonder why I'm the only one who sees him.  Doesn't anyone else see those in need?

If you see him...

or anyone else whom you can safely help today, then please do.

A FEW DAYS LATER

My rescue mission expanded from the animal kingdom to the plant kingdom when I saw a plant in need of help.

Seeing living organisms in need of help isn't hard in Egypt because there is SO MUCH need.  Maybe there is in other places in the world----I certainly saw a lot in the U.S.  Because I'm still a foreigner in Egypt (and always will be), I perhaps see the need that others don't.

It wasn't hard to see this particular plant as it was stationed right outside my window.  It used to be that we had an openness outside our salon window, but building higher and higher became a necessity all over our neighborhood (and all over Egypt).  As the family with the three grown sons increased their levels, our view decreased.  We ended up looking directly at their balcony...and the plant.

The youngest son is still unmarried, so he  hasn't moved in even though three plants are stationed on his balcony railing.  Two of the plants seem to weather the desert conditions pretty well.  Their leaves stay standing at attention.  Then, there is the other plant.  I think it's jasmine.  It wilts.  Not right away!  It tries to be like its buddies and take the heat like a cactus, but it can't.  When it wilted, I felt badly for it.

Could I knock on the door and tell the men's mother about it?

Not really (unless I wanted to be labeled The American Weirdo).

Could I talk to the wife of one of the brothers?  She lived one floor down and sometimes I would see her hanging out the wash.

She doesn't know me and might not understand me in our first meeting if I'm talking about a plant.

Couldn't I just disregard it?

I tried.

I failed.

I couldn't stop thinking that there was this precious little life that had brought me joy in this area where any form of gardening cheers me up.  I couldn't let it die!  I therefore did what any half-crazed American does:   I got my gun!



It's a water gun; a big Super Soaker from the States.  It's not the exact one in the photo, but pretty much like it.  We actually carried it back to Egypt with us when El Kid put up a fuss saying that he couldn't live without it.

It was fajr when I went into his room.  He was sleeping.  I stole borrowed his Super Soaker and filled it with water.  It has a pumping action that you have to repeat in order to build up the pressure.  I started it up and it WAS LOUD.  I could have truly woken up everyone---including my husband who had gone back to bed.  I knew that if I woke him up I would NOT be able to water the plant.

I primed the mechanism only a couple more times and then stuck it out the window.  That must have been a strange sight!  I wonder if anyone saw me in my prayer clothes with an atomic space-age weapon.  I pulled the gun back in when I realized that worshipers were leaving the mosque from fajr prayer.  It probably would be a bad deed to super soak faithful believers.

I waited.  I scanned the street.  No one was there and I didn't hear anyone coming.

I stuck the gun out of the window again and squeezed the trigger.  The water shot from our window to the neighbor's balcony.  It worked!  Now, I had to aim it better to get it into the flower pot.  Some of the dirt splashed out and hit the wall behind.  Oops!  I didn't mean to dirty their home.

I stopped and wondered if I should continue.  Could I get in trouble even if I was doing my best?  Ah, that's the story of my life, isn't it?  I decided that a living thing trumped outweighed a cement wall.  I shot again with better aim and no more splashes.  I gave some water to the other plants as well.  Didn't want them getting jealous.

I stood back and looked.  I don't know what I thought I would see.  It wasn't snapping back into shape like a slinky.  It was still wilted and I wondered if I had been too late.  Nothing left for me to do but go back to bed.

When the sun was up, I got up a second time.  My husband was already awake.  I went into the salon to see him and then I headed to the window.  I couldn't tell him.  I could only look secretly.  There it was:  the balcony with three plants and every one of them looked beautiful.

It had worked!  I had saved a plant.  Alhumdulillah.

Later that week, the neighbor man came to check on his future home and watered his plants.  After that, he forgot again and I shot again.  That time was funny because El Kid was sure that I was going to shoot the noisy children in the street.  Hmm...

I eventually told my husband.  He laughed.  He knows me well enough to know that he can't really stop me if I'm on a righteous kick.

For me, when I look out the window and see the healthy plant I feel a tenderness towards this fragile world.  It needs us to care.  I'm glad I cared---not just about the plant, but about everyone and everything that has mattered to me.  I hope I have done more good than bad in my life.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Eid 2017


Eid Saeed,




There wasn't much of a schedule any more.  Didn't have to rise early and eat suhour!  Freedom.

Woke at 4:00 instead of 2:20.  Prayed...by myself.  No one else was awake.  It felt lonely for sure.  Both of the guys were still asleep.

I woke Ahmed up at 4:30.  I had already looked out the window and seen all the new clothes worn by the young boys and girls ready to show them off at Eid prayers.  Ahmed always goes for prayers on the grassy...sometimes muddy...meridian strip in front of the mosque.  Usually, in the mornings during the year, we see rats running around in this area, or maybe old men or little boys peeing in the bushes.  It is NOT where I like to pray.  Maybe bringing a prayer rug makes it better, as Ahmed did, but I stopped going after the first year.

Instead, I listened to some nasheeds from Maher Zain and Dawud W. Ali and organized those computer files.  I couldn't do much else on the computer since I'd used up my limit (with help from El Kid taking half a giga without asking).

When my hub came back, we ate some Eid cookies from his sister's family and drank coffee.  It's weird to re-start our normal lives again.  It feels odd, like we're doing something wrong.  Ahmed went back to bed.  He was as tired as I'd been the day before.

I would try to make some peach waffles, but they turned out to be more like peach wobbles.  I didn't have a waffle recipe in my book, couldn't look it up online, and so made a facsimile of them from a pancake recipe.  Didn't work.  

El-Kid and I ate them while watching the Bollywood epic Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (known as DDLJ).




I used to own a copy of it and know it by heart.  I got rid of the movie when I thought I needed to get rid of everything that was not Islamic in origin.  DDLJ is a fabulous Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol epic.  Sigh.  How wonderful to be able to watch that.  The subtitles are always in Arabic here, but I knew the story (and it isn't a hard one to figure out).  El Kid needed a little plot input and it was fun to share one of my favorite movies with him.

DHUR

When Ahmed woke up, he got a peach pancake with honey as I'd given up on the waffles...or wobbles.  It still didn't turn out!  Whatever.  He still ate it as he watched the news from Egypt.  Thankfully, it was all about peaceful celebrations, alhumdulillah.  It was fun to see Alexandria and places we knew and would soon see again, inshahallah.

 ASR

The time was speeding through the day.  We didn't have to plan the menu so carefully.  We didn't have to do anything so carefully!  We were carefree, alhumdulillah.

The crazy thing is that Ahmed was thinking to fast again the next day.  No one is allowed to fast the first day of Shawwal, the month after Ramadan.  Remember:  Ramadan is the name for a month in the Hijri or Islamic calendar. It's always misunderstood as the name of a holiday and it's NOT a holi-day or even a holy day; it's a holy month.  Fasting a day in the holy month of Ramadan is the same as fasting ten (for a total of three hundred days).  A year has 365 days, so to get a full year's coverage, fasting six more days in Shawwal is a good idea as each is worth ten.  Only the most observant go for it.  I wasn't planing on it---not yet anyway.

I talked to El Kid about his choices after Ramadan.  He doesn't want to fast additional days at all and it would be unusual if he did.  Additional fasting is optional, not mandatory.  What is mandatory throughout the year is doing his five prayers.  I want him to keep his five prayers now.  He's almost twelve now and it's time.  Yes, he's done so much better than his friends, but we can't live our lives based on being better than our friends; we have to be better today than we ourselves were the day before.

I made a deal with my son.  He did not have to fast additional days UNLESS he does not pray his five prayers each day this month.  If he does not do five prayers, then he fasts.  He needs motivation.  It's hard to be a mom and know how much to push your child and when.  Inshahallah, this is the right thing to do and that it will be an effective transition from boyhood.

Everything started to go badly at this point in our day, or at least in my day.

"Happily ever after" hardly ever happens.

I had watched my Indian movie and now my hub had control of the remote.  He watched an Egyptian movie.  My hub is fond of telling me that old Egyptian movies are so much better than anything currently on the screen. Well, the plot of this "comedy" was how the men were all cheaters behind the backs of their wives.  They were in bed, drinking, dancing, and WHAT THE HELL?  The worst part is that I couldn't really complain because each one of those elements had been in my movie (all be it in a different, more palatable form).

I fell asleep as I often do when I hate a movie (the movie Brazil comes to mind).  When I woke up, it was with a sudden start because my husband had gotten up and made some canned fish into mush in a bowl.  He was now mad as he thumped his dinner down on the table.  He wanted to eat when he wanted to eat and it was NOW!

The time was 5:00 PM and I was surprised that dinner time was happening without me knowing about it.  I looked at the food and couldn't eat it the way it was.  Instead, I went out to the kitchen and boiled some potatoes while I cut tomatoes and onions.  My one-month stay in Spain at sixteen had taught me how to make a delicious fish salad.  I was only missing some olives.

By the time I was done cooking, my husband was done eating.  My son and I sat at the table alone, said our blessing alone, and ate alone.  It was sad.  I was so sad.  It was a definite end to togetherness, routine, and Ramadan.

As if that wasn't enough, when magrib happened, my husband went to the prayer rug alone and prayed alone while I quietly cried.  He turned the TV on to the last episode of Ramez, but I couldn't watch.  I made my wudu and prayed with El-Kid in another room away from my husband.

I'm not sure what exactly snapped in our family that night, but it hurt like hell.  It reminded me of my son's father back in 2006 when I had seen so much good in him during Ramadan only to have him race to the divorce lawyer right after Eid.  Telling that to my son was a mistake.  My boy had stuck by me to cheer me up, and now I had brought him down.

Bad mom.

I had to stop this spiraling down before I crashed----not just myself, but my son.  It was not OK to let anyone else dictate my mood or my mind.  Yes, this had happened before, so I didn't need to freak out.  It did make me wonder what this meant for our family, our relationship, and our future AND THEN I had to STOP.  It was one day---not even one day!  It was one evening.  One evening does not forecast a future.

What to do?

I read Quran. I really did.  Ramadan was done.  My quest to read as much of Quran as possible was over, yet I needed Quran.  I read Surah Hud in the dark on my tablet.  I got really quiet and really alone.  I got centered.

After that, I could spend time with El-Kid without ruining his night.  I could see my husband without crying.  I re-entered my life with some acknowledgement of how tricky the transition is from Ramadan to real life.

The next two days of Eid went better.  We regrouped, ate together, went out together, and prayed together.  On the third day, we went out, bought clothes, ordered pizza, and watched the third mummy movie.

I haven't forgotten how bad that moment on the first day was, but I have forgiven.  None of us stay mindful 24/7 of those we love.  We screw it up.  All of us screw it up.

Being so very alone in the world---without friends or family nearby---means that I have to deal with my issues on my own without them and without their input.  It's a blessing and a curse.  Everything is like that.  Somehow, we have to exist in the middle.

Ramadan places us in the middle.  Eid shakes us a bit to see how much we'll stay centered.  Will we continue to pray?  How much of dunya did we miss?  Is Quran going to remain an active part of our lives, or will it become a dusty decoration?  Who or what will we worship alongside Allah?  Astragferallah for all our missteps in Eid as we try to navigate back into daily life.  

May Allah accept our prayers and fasting.

May Allah forgive us our mistakes during the month.

May all of our bad habits stay broken.

May we live to see another Ramadan.







Ramadan Day 29 2017



Ramadan Kareem,





This post is coming to you late, thanks to running out of internet.  I did, however, write it off line on the twenty-nineth day of Ramadan in hopes of posting it eventually.  Eventually is now.

SUHOUR

2:30

Crackers with cream cheese and peace slices.  It's funny how pared down the suhour meals became.

Would this be the last suhour?

We thought it might be, but we'd have no way of knowing until night.  It is one of the stranger parts of Islam for any Westerner used to calendars and planners.  Yes, something MIGHT be happening tomorrow that will alter the next day completely.  Wait until the moon is sighted before knowing your fate.

It's seems slightly annoying on one hand, but on the other, it's glorious.  It's wonderful to admit that you have no control over tomorrow and that you simply have to relax and let it happen.  Anticipation is something we don't enjoy enough in this fast-paced world.  The last day of Eid...or maybe the penultimate day of Eid...gives us that feeling of the awesome unknown.


FAJR

3:09

Prayed together as we have every day.  Normally, during the rest of the year, even though my husband and I always pray fajr, my son, at age eleven, doesn't.  To be together every day like this has been very unifying.

I have to think back to the times at the beginnings of my time in Islam when I didn't pray fajr.  Astragferallah.  I knew it was a duty and I really struggled with it.  The first hurdle to making it happen is the intention and alhumdulillah our family's intention is to do our five prayers on time.

El Kid is new to doing all the five prayers.  I've told him to focus on doing all five from now on---no matter what.  That is how I handled it for myself.  Do the prayers.  Do them all five at the end of the day before bed if you have to, but DO THEM.  Spreading them out, obviously, is easier.  Waking up past fajr?  Still pray two rakhas before starting anything else in your day.  Start structuring life around prayers with them as the focus and everything else falls into place subhanallah.

 After praying fajr, we went back to bed.

I awoke to the doorbell.  This can mean either one of two things:  either someone is at the door at an ungodly hour, or the electricity has gone off and come back on.  It was the latter.  Both require me to jump out of bed (for some reason, men never hear the doorbell or crying babies when they're sleeping).  I have to unplug the refrigerator and make sure nothing is being charged---otherwise, we could lose that electrical item.

Up I went to unplug the fridge and was surprised to see that the plug was out already.  I guess I had been wrong about men---or at least this particular man.  Survival isn't dependent on me this time around.  I went back to bed with the ceiling fan keeping us cool.  Thank God for electricity!

Off the electricity went again and off the fan went.

Sigh.

Time to get up.  The off/on kept continuing.  It felt like the power outages had been holding back all month, but finally they had to be true to their nature.  It's summer, people are using their air conditioners (not us) and their fans (us), staying up late with their lights, TVs and computers on (guilty).

Every time the power went back on, I had to rush around and get done what I wanted.  Our apartment's water pump shuts off with every power cut, so that means NO WATER.   I washed the dishes quickly, hand washed my grimy school bag and lunch bag, and I boiled some drinking water.

Swear to God, water is where it's at!  That's why I always keep six liters of boiled drinking water at all times, as well as six liters stored in the kitchen for washing up, and two large pails of water in the bathroom.  It might sound crazy, but during extreme times, we've nearly used it all up.  Water is a blessing.  It's good to make du'as for the 2.4 billion of our brothers and sisters in the world lack clean water and sanitation. 

I had the goal of cleaning up my stupid school mess before my husband woke up.  I have NO IDEA how he can put up with me making our entry area into a dumping ground at the end of every school year.  He does.  He has patience with me about this.  For weeks, he had let the books, papers, posters, and costumes sit in wait.  There was more mess than usual this time because I wasn't just ending the year, I was ending FIVE YEARS.  On the twenty-nineth of Ramadan, I threw away so much that I should have discarded long ago.  I then dusted and swept.  It looked so much better.

Ramadan is a time of bettering---not just ourselves, but our homes.  I don't think I could have let go of so much except at Ramadan.  That break from dunya makes me get distance from worldly possessions and see them for what they really are:  entrapments.  They weigh us down and drown us.  I thought of allllllllllllllll the times I've spent managing my stuff---sorting, storing, piling up, re-stacking, on and on.  That was a lot of time I could have spent with my son; time that I'll never get back again.  I made things more important than people.

I've been stupidly hoarding AGAIN, even though I tried to convince myself that I wasn't.  Teaching allows us to feed this propensity for gathering and storing.  We fool ourselves that it's all good and useful stuff and we fill up cabinets and drawers until there's no space left inside, so we let it sit in a pile somewhere else.  It's dumb.  It isn't just teachers either, it's the scholars with their books, the crafters with their supplies, the wannabe chefs with their gadgets.  It's all of us to some degree.  I'm owning up to it openly because I see it at systemic in modern life.

DHUR

11:57

The electricity was on!  Having gotten the center of my home clean, I could then get my self cleaned up and pray.  I felt like I had sloughed off my former workplace and it felt good.

My husband woke up and was pleased to see the hard work I'd done.  I got a "good job" comment and then it was now my time to lay down.

ASR

3:33

I woke up for asr, but I was still tired from the morning's work.  For most of Ramadan, I'd been careful not to get too tired out, but with the feeling that this was the last day, I had pushed myself to do more.  After praying, I lay down again to read more Quran.

QURAN

I finished Surah 10 Yunus.  Alhumdulillah.  If that's that's all I read in Ramadan, then that's all I read.  It's more than I usually read during the year, and even more than I usually read in Ramadan.  Inshahallah, I will read the rest of the Quran this way (even the thirteen surahs on mp3 that I don't have) before next Ramadan.  It would be great if I could do it before the end of the summer.

I slept.  I hadn't meant to sleep.  When I awoke, I was shocked to learn that it was after 6:00 PM.  How did that happen?!  I must have been very tired.  We aren't machines and fasting is so taxing on our systems.  It isn't supposed to leave us feeling so strong the entire month; we are supposed to feel a bit broken down.

It's a reminder of our time on earth.  We start off life with more energy than we have when we leave.  If we think our life is hard now, then imagine how it's going to be at the end.  We need to get done what we can while we can.

MAGRIB

6:59

The prayer came so quickly and it felt like such a relief since we were all thinking that it was the last day of fasting.  We wouldn't know for sure until later when the scholars would either confirm or deny.

IFTAR

We had three koftas left over from last night.  I've finally convinced my hub not to eat up all the meat in one night:  save a little for the next night.  It makes a good difference on both days!  He had cooked up some pasta, made a salad, and even fried up the frozen mozzarella sticks I'd bought.  God bless him!  We drank mango Tango (my quirky name for it) and it was beautifully chilled.  Nothing tastes better than a cold drink after fasting.  Subhanallah, we drink every day during the year without much thanks to Allah, but Ramadan MAKES us realize to be truly grateful.

When it was announced that Eid was the next day, we sang our songs of happiness in a mash up of mostly in tune harmonies.  We joked and played some music (a little too loudly in a bit of a payback to a very loud household and neighborhood).  Ahmed didn't have to pray taraweah any more.  He was able to stay and watch whether or not the celebrities would fall off the Lebanese cliff (they never did).

ISHA

8:33

We could go to bed without feeling that our lives would go back to being difficult the next day.  We could finally relax.











Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day 28 Ramadan 2017



Ramadan Kareem,




This picture illustrates how I felt when I woke up.  I woke in the worst way around 2:00.  My downstairs neighbors, my husband's brother and his wife, were yelling about something and their smallest child was screaming.  I woke in a kind of alarmed state.  I got out of bed to see my husband in the salon and he wasn't there.  I rang his mobile scared of where he was and what had happened to him.

Because it's Ramadan, and everyone's schedule is OFF---like it flew off the merry-go-round and landed on the ground bruised and bewildered---my husband was just hanging out with his buddy down the street.  If I had looked out the window, I would have seen him.  However, I didn't see him and I felt awful that he wasn't home.

When he did get home, I wasn't happy.  It's hard to start the fast while still having a bad disconnection to people around you.

SUHOUR

2:30

He wanted an omelette for suhour.  I was still in a grumpy mood.  Let's just say, it wasn't the nicest omelette I've ever made for him.

For El Kid and myself, I made toasted aish baladi with domty cheese and cucumber slices.  This was followed by the remnants of the cake topped with yogurt and peach slices.  It was A LOT of food, but I had been feeling low on energy and thought food could cure this.  SPOILER:  It didn't.  I was tired all day.

FAJR

3:08

We had to pray fast or we were going to lose El Kid to sleep.  He went back to bed A.S.A.P.  I stayed up long enough to check around the 'net for life outside of this house.  I haven't been out since Tuesday.

I didn't sleep that well.  Eating and drinking a lot means...well, you know.  There were some trips to the bathroom that interrupted what could have been good sleep.  My plan had backfired---like literally.

Eventually, I had to be up and busy with my day.  I had an improvement idea on those plastic file cases that were always falling apart.  I punched holes and put in brass brands.  It's such a geeky teacher project, but it made me happy.

I then chose the picture books to take up north this August.  I can't take them all!  I tucked in many of my favorites.  Here are a few I had to bring:

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Madeline
Little Bear
A House for Hermit Crab
Flap Your Wings
Jessie Bear
Corduroy
The Big Orange Splot
Farmer Duck
Where the Wild Things Are

I filled up four files with books and then placed the files on the shelves.  It's time to plan and prepare, but not yet time to go.
 
In the meantime, I have other things to do, like two loads of wash.

While I was doing all this, my husband was reading Quran in the big, comfy chair.  I heard him say, "Sadaqa Allahu Adeem" and looked up.  He was smiling.

"Did you finish Quran?"

"Alhumdulillah."

I always like this moment.  I like that we share it in a way.  He is the man committing his life to following his faith.  Yes, he is the same man who didn't realize how scared I'd be at 2:00 AM.  That's part of who he is.  He's imperfect!  Whenever I become a perfect person, I'll leave him.  Until then, it's the two of us together.

DHUR

11:57

My husband left for Friday prayer at the mosque.  El Kid stayed home.  Nobody even asked him if he wanted to go; we knew he didn't.  The two of us stayed home together and prayed here.

When my husband came home, he was very tired and laid down.  I promised to wake him up so that he could cook dinner later.

ASR

3:32

After praying asr, it was time to clean up my mess in the salon.  This room is where I work, where we watch TV, read Quran, AND eat.  It's beyond multi-purpose.  There's no room for all that activity and my mess.  I put it away before waking Ahmed up.

Once he was up, I laid down.  I don't like to nap together during Ramadan.  Even good people can be tempted to make mistakes in the month.  It always feels better to avoid togetheness during the fast.

QURAN

I hadn't read Quran yet because my whole Quran routine had been disrupted by the surahs not being loaded to my tablet.  I didn't really want to read the surahs while listening to mp3s.  I wanted the full experience.  I decided to skip Surahs 8 and 9 and go on  to 10.  I will inshahahallah experience these surahs with the reciter the next time there is wi-fi.  I can't handle everything while I'm fasting.

It was then time to get up and call my mom.  She had picked up the photos from the pharmacy and I wanted to hear what she thought.

She was happy to see the latest pictures of El Kid, "He looks as handsome as hell!"

"MOM!" I admonished with a laugh.  She truly had surprised me with that really American idiom.  I don't say it any more, but I'm sure I did once.  It is so strange, isn't it?  "We say, 'mashahallah'."

She's been good about learning a little Arabic.  She greeted my husband with, "Asalamu Alaykom" when I put him on the phone.  She told him to give me a little kiss.  Ha!  I told her that he'd have to wait until after we broke the fast.

We then talked what was going on in America.  You can't do that with everyone, but usually my mom and I agree on matters.  We talked over the case of Philando Castile.  I have seen every piece of evidence made public and my mom is always surprised that I have the same access (she isn't computer saavy and hasn't figured out the magic of the internet).

Then, she said something stupid.  "Of course a lot of attacks have been made in the name of Allah."

I wasn't very patient with the way our conversation just turned, and answered back, "Are you seeing all the attacks from white extremists?  That's what's really in the news."

My phone minutes went and those 16 minutes were all I got.  I had to ask...beg...my husband for one more card.  I couldn't leave my mom like that.  I called her back and we eased away from her perceptions into a goodbye.  What's weird is that if my mom---with fifteen years of having a daughter practicing Islam, and a Muslim grandson---can jump from police killing black Americans during traffic stops to Muslim attacks, then that's messed up.  God bless her for trying to get news from the mainstream media in the U.S.  It's just painful to watch.

MAGRIB

6:59

My hub was still dishing up food when the call to prayer came.  I tried to feed him a date, but he wasn't having it.  We prayed together.

IFTAR

We ate the kofta and rice, salad, and some frozen cheese sambusas I'd bought last week.  Everyone dove into the sambusas.  Their cheese leaked out something terrible; very unlike the ones I'd made before, but the cheese had a better flavor and consistency.  I wish I could duplicate that cheese mix!

ISHA

8:32

I fell asleep on the couch.  I was so tired.  My son was livid.  He was so mad at me for falling asleep.  He was even mad that I wasn't snoring!  He said that it made it hard for him to know whether or not I was alive.

This was another hard way to wake up.

I was tired and groggy and getting yelled at my an eleven-year-old.  I cried.  I was just worn out from not feeling well all day and then having this Twilight Zone episode take place in my living room.

I tried to explain that feeling so tired like I did was like him sneezing.  No one could stop him from sneezing; he just had to do it.  I had been working all day and feeling ill.  He'd been playing all day.  Difference!  I wanted him to grow some compassion, but he wasn't having it.

I got up and left and did some tasks.  Then, I prayed.  By the time I was done with the prayer, my husband was home.  My son doesn't try out so much tough guy talk when my husband (and the ship-ship) is around.

I brought out the Eid cookies and the grapes.  El Kid did his prayer and then told me that he'd asked Allah to forgive him.  I told him that he might want to tell me he was sorry too.  We played the game Battleship and had a good time.  He won.

We all won because we all did what could to get through another day fasting in Ramadan.
















Friday, June 23, 2017

Day 27 Ramadan



Ramadan Kareem,



SUHOUR

2:40

pineapple yogurt smoothie
tamaya with salad inside aish baladi, pita

FAJR

3:08

Prayed and I went to bed as soon as possible.
I'm really tired these last days.

QURAN

Alhumdulillah, I finished Surah 7 Al A'raf.
I wanted to move on to Surah 8 Al Anfal, but the mp3 was not downloaded on my tablet.
I no longer have wi-fi this month, so downloading through the app wouldn't work.
I tried downloading the surah off www.islamfactory.com
Although it worked, it didn't work with the app.
This is a bit upsetting since I had a goal to listen/read each surah.
Plan B is that I'll listen to the mp3 I have on my computer and read on the tablet.

El Kid and I had a talk about his inability to read Quran on his own this Ramadan.
"I'm talking to you as a young man, not as a child," I started.
He heard me and he obeyed (might've had something to do with a me threatening to take his phone).
He had the freedom to pick any surah and picked Nuh/Noah (pbuh).
It's only 28 verses.
Yet, he did what I asked, so even though my eyebrows raised, his duty was fulfilled.

"It wasn't that bad," he critiqued.
"It's the Quran," I reminded him.
"Ya, for the Quran, it was a good story," he went on.
I decided not to push it too much and offered, "Maybe you'll want to read more."

My husband is almost done reading through the entire Quran.
Good for him.
Really.
He upsets me, but he often makes me proud of who I have as a husband.
Mashahallah.


DHUR

11:57

We offered some water for the mama cat and baby.
We're seeing them everyday and they are like pets, except they have their independence.
They're like independent contractor pets.

I spent some time writing to friends and reconnecting.
One woman and I haven't spoken since the second year I was in Egypt.
We had a falling out over a misunderstanding.
When I wrote to her, it was to make amends and get free from bad feelings.
She responded kindly and warmly.
Alhumdulillah.
It makes a difference; it really does.

ASR

3:32

After waking from a nap, I called my mom.
It's a day early, but I wanted her to pick up photos that I sent through www.walgreens.com
This is THE easiest way to get photos to my computer-wary elderly parent.
She was so upbeat and positive.
She had no idea that I was still fasting for Ramadan.
It's funny how out of touch my family is with my life.
I'll call her again tomorrow to see how she liked the pics.

I spent more time sorting through papers.
It's going to be a daily effort this summer to whittle down my hoarding.

MAGRIB

6:59

I was more prepared tonight than last and was ready for the prayer.
My hub says the prayer so quickly that I get a bit dizzy.
The video below will show what I feel like with all that up, down, up, down.




IFTAR

My very tired husband made chicken, rice, and molokhia.

After watching Ramez, my hub and El Kid played Uno.  
I was busy trying to figure out the Quran Reading app.

ISHA

8:33

We had the final three individual servings of the pineapple and cream cake.
My husband liked it better the second day.
There probably couldn't have been a third.

After my hub prayed, he went out to buy fruit and vegetables.
God bless.
He came back with grapes and peaches.
Alhumdullillah.
I'm not sure what all he got for veggies, but they are green!

El Kid and I got to sleep relatively early at 11:00.
We're all tired.
Seriously, living like this is tiring.
Alhumdulillah, it's only one month and not our whole lives.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Day 26 Ramadan 2017



Ramadan Kareem,




This was a less eventful day, which is is good because June 21 was the LONGEST DAY of the year, or Summer Solstice.  Alhumdulillah

Just in case you've been feeling like the fasting day is long for you, check out these times:

Winnipeg, Canada           fajr          3:25          magrib          9:41 pm          isha            11:36

Glasgow, Scotland           fajr          2:36          magrib          10:07 pm        isha            11:56

Oslo, Norway                   fajr         2:21          magrib          10:44 pm        isha            12:12


SUHOUR

2:40

I made an omelette and split in between three different sandwiches all with domty cheese and tomato.  El Kid and I opted for a brown baguette, but my Egyptian hub can't be separated from his aish baladi.  I also had my favorite barley cracker and some foul medamnes (it must have been a long enough time without it).  We finished with some apricot yogurt.

For those who say that children should not fast, I gotta say that my kid eats BETTER during Ramadan.  He doesn't get junk food or fast food.  He works hard at drinking enough water and eating enough fruits and vegetables.  Go bother some mother who lets her kid eat crap all day and talk to her about nutrition.  Sorry, but I'm a little feisty on this issue.

FAJR

3:08

We prayed and afterwards I stayed up to address some issues with my daughter in the U.S.

There are two schools of thought on resolving issues during Ramadan.  Should you or shouldn't you?  Honestly, I think it's better to come to terms with the truth and speak it during this holy month.  Shaytan is not whispering to you.  If you have to mend and make amends, do it.  If someone comes to you with their sadness or resentfulness, be grateful that it's coming to light and don't push it aside.

Our emails to each other were needed and I feel better about how we left it.  Alhumdulillah.  I went back to bed at 6:00

QURAN

I made it through Surah 6 Al An-am and half way through Surah 7 Al Araf.  Alhumdulillah.  It is not the best I ever could have done it this year, but it is a new way to do and it's taken some getting used to.

Using technology in our faith doesn't always feel good because it's getting away from tradition (and tradition equals "the right way").  However, the Quran tells us to do things differently than our ancestors.  Do things the way that bring us closer to God.

I have gotten a fuller understanding of Quran by listening to it while seeing both the transliteration and the translation.  Alhumdulillah.  Whatever I don't finish during Ramadan, inshahallah I'll finish before next Ramadan.

El Kid and I got into a big, heated discussion (must have been the day for my kids to rebel) about Quran.  This was supposed to be his year for reading Quran on his own, and he hasn't.  He's sat next to me for short periods of time and shared in what I was doing, but he hasn't done a thing on his own.
We discussed his opinion that he already has read Quran with me; he knows it, versus me who feels it's constantly changing.

"How can the Quran change?  I don't believe it!"

I tried to think of an analogy.

"You know when you see a movie when you're little and then you see it later?  It changes.  Like, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a story about a car when you're little, and then later you see it as a story about a family."

"What?" he scoffed dismissively.  "It's always a story about a car!"

"OK, maybe that's not a good example."

I tried to get him to read one surah tomorrow, like Surah Yusuf (AS).  That surah is so different because it really is one easy-to-follow story from beginning to end.  He could read that.

No.  He doesn't want to.

He could read the last section with all the short surahs.

No.  He doesn't want to.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do.  He needs a balance in his Ramadan.  It can't be so much lazing 'round the house and not enough being active.  Yes, he's fasting, but it's not enough.  Ramadan isn't only about fasting and prayers.  It's got to be about the Quran as well.  Without the Quran, there would be no Ramadan.

He might be missing his phone tomorrow.

We'll see.

DHUR

11:56

After I prayed, I got into the kitchen and made a dessert I'd seen on Tasty.  Al the ingredients cost a small fortune, so I was determined not to mess it up.  This is how it looked on line:


One of the problems in making it is that I couldn't find kiwis.  I used pineapple instead.  One of the ideas I read about the cake suggested pineapple and some coconut.  Sounded good!

Another idea I had was to use medium-sized bowls to make the cake into single-serving sizes.  This meant that no matter when each one of us would eat the dessert, we would all get a lovely dome.

It wasn't as much work as you'd think.  Here's the recipe translated from the Japanese site.

Tasty Kiwi Cake

18 cm diameter bowl

Materials:

Castella a popular Japanese sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. Now a specialty of Nagasaki, the cake was brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. The name is derived from Portuguese Pão deCastela, meaning "bread from Castile".

1 bottle Fresh cream 300ml
2 tablespoons sugar
Greek yogurt 150 g
Kiwi (slice) 2 pieces
Golden kiwi (slice) 2 pieces
Pineapple (square cut) 80 g
Orange (cut corner) 1 piece

How to make

1. Cut the cake to 5 mm width.
2. Make a cream. Add sugar in fresh cream and stand for 7 minutes with hand mixer, add yogurt and mix.
3. Place a lap in the bowl and line up the kiwi. Put the cream on top, gently stretch it and paste it so that the face of the cake follows.
4. Pour cream and put orange and pineapple. Place the cake and overlay the cream.
5. Repeat (4) once again, cool with a lap and refrigerate in a refrigerator for 3 hours.
6.If you cut it to the size of your choice, complete it!


After conquering the cake, I started in on the salad.    Dear God, I fight for our rights to vegetables and fruit.  They are so plentiful, yet they are not a big thought in Ahmed's head.  I pushed like crazy for getting a salad and he complained about

how hot it was to go out
how tired he was to buy anything
how we already had enough food
how we ate veggies...um...not too long ago

and I stood my ground and in the end got my way.

Cue the Beastie Boys track
YOU GOTTA FIGHT 
FOR YOUR RIGHT
TO PARTY VEGGIES


The salad actually gave me more troubles than the cake due to the peppers.  I have REALLY sensitive skin.  While cutting them, I felt my face having a kind of paralysis---weird.  Thankfully, that went away.  Then, after I'd washed my hands really well, I touched my face and felt burning, so I washed them again.  I really should have looked this issue up because I would have found  a few remedies.

Because I hadn't gotten enough sleep, I had to lay down around 3:00.  I read some Quran.

ASR

3:32

I woke up around 5:00, read some more Quran and got up to pray asr.

I kept trying to clean out too many papers from school.  It's a long process of sorting and discarding.  One of the verses in Quran today talked about not hoarding.  I'm on the verge of being a hoarder.  My husband has been kind about it, but enough is enough.  We are drowning in papers and books.

With me starting a new job inshahallah, I can let go of years of accumulation.  I won't be teaching high school.  I won't be teaching that book series.  I won't be returning to teach that curriculum.  Away it goes.  Sure, there's some sadness, but I weigh the stacks in my arms before they go into the garbage sack.  It's heavy and it's been weighing me down.  Ramadan is the perfect time to eliminate that which no longer serves us.

MAGRIB

6:59

I was so busy in the kitchen after we broke the fast that I almost didn't make it the short distance to the salon to pray with the guys.  My husband ZOOMS into prayer after the azan whether I am there or not.  He has never done the prayer without me this Ramadan, but it's a strong possibility if I miss a beat getting out there.

IFTAR

We had the meat and potatoes leftovers (El Kid and I were uber American and added ketchup from our new Heinz Superman pouch).



Ahmed had made orzo from the leftover soup.  We were heavy on the starch. However...

We also ate SALAD!  The funny thing is that out of all of us, Ahmed ate the MOST!  LOL!


ISHA

8:32

It was time to flip the cake and see how ours turned out.






I was happy with the result!  The taste was good---sweet, but not overly.  A lot of balance between the textures.  Even though the pineapple was canned, it sure tasted fresh and healthy after a day of fasting.

LAYLA TUL QADR

Each odd numbered night in the last ten days of Ramadan might be THE powerful night when the Quran was first shown to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  For me, I've always felt that the 27th is more special than the others. I've just felt this.  I might not do special prayers on the other odd nights, but I do on the 27th.

I prayed for goodness---not just for me, but for those in my immediate family and for those who are in my sphere.  I prayed for those whom I've never met, but who are suffering.  I prayed for the world to be a better place.  I prayed for Jannah to be my ultimate home.

















Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 25 Ramadan 2017



Ramadan Kareem,



What do you see?  Allah is everywhere, but sometimes we humans need reminders.


SUHOUR

2:30

No lie.  I was scared about getting the right things today.  We had an appointment at the U.S. Embassy to get my passport renewed.  Yesterday, we had made the intention to go as soon as possible, and when I had checked available appointments, there was ONE and it was for Tuesday---TODAY!  

Going to Cairo can be crazy tiring, but add fasting to the mix and it can be deadly.  What to eat?

I made a apricot-mango yogurt smoothie and ate those yummy barley crackers with cream cheese.  Today, I upped the ante and added a tomato and cucumber sliced and placed on top.  Both those veggies help hydrate and tomato has an extra bonus---sun protection!

FAJR

3:08

We prayed and then both the guys went back to bed while I stayed up.  The mornings in Egypt are so quiet so very quiet; they are magical.

There I was, typing away, when I felt like I was being watched.  I was!


I turned my head and saw out the window that the neighbor's goat was staring at me.  I cracked up.  Seriously, that's a funny moment.  He's a really social goat, apparently...might have a bit of a cold because he sneezed a few times.  I felt the need to say, "Bless you."  We'd developed a kind of friendship.

It must have been "Talk to the Animals" day at our house since as soon as I'd taken this picture, the mama cat and the kitten came by.  I brought another plastic yogurt container filled with water and both lapped up the life sustainer.  They seemed unsatisfied; Mama cat was meowing still.  I brought them a small pad of Kiri cream cheese.  They ate and enjoyed.  I know it's stupid to feed street cats expensive food because they can eat garbage, but it was this really wonderful moment to feed the hungry (even if they were only cats).

The kitten kept thinking of coming inside our open apartment door only to spring away.  After I went away from the door to get some cereal, I came back to only see the mama.  Where was the kitten?  I started to look around our house.  Probably not a good idea to leave the door unguarded.  Eventually, the kitten bounded back up the stairs and I breathed a sigh of relief.  That would have been a tough one to explain to my husband!  

When I gave the cereal to them, mama cat misinterpreted my movement and lashed out at me.  I've been scratched by a cat before, but these claws were like razors!  She couldn't have meant it as a fight, but rather as a warning.  I only bled a little as the song "Cat Scratch Fever" started playing in my mind.  I washed my hand, put on some Neosporin antibiodic, and made a mental note to keep my distance at all times.  

The scratch was worth it for being able to share this really sweet scene of relaxed, satisfied mama and playful baby.  



  

I went back to bed at 5:00 and woke up at 7:30.  We had to leave in an hour.  It all went well getting ready because we had planned and ironed outfits the night before.  I had packed my purse AND unpacked any needless stuff.

QURAN

I'm still in Surah 6 and I really wanted to bring the tablet to read while waiting, but that was pointless because there are no electronics allowed at the embassy.  Instead, I brought along a little pocket book of the 99 Names of Allah.

99 NAMES

This year, although I haven't been as good with plowing through the The Holy Quran, I have spent time memorizing the 99 Names.  Now, when I'm going through the ayahs, or verses, I can see the Names of Allah stand out and acknowledge them more.  They have become more meaningful with each one I have committed to memory; placed in my heart.

I have been playing the 99 Names matching game and I wish I could recommend it, but it seems to be gone from the Google Play.  It is a memory game that matches the name with the meaning.  That could be easy enough to create in Powerpoint or in real life.

The other way I've been memorizing is by watching my screensaver of the names which I made from the photos here.   I downloaded each and loaded them into the Microsoft wallpaper tool.  Each one is unique and beautiful.  May Allah reward the maker of these images.






8;30

We left El Kid at home and headed to Cairo.  One of the nice parts of fasting is being able to say, "I'm fasting, so I don't want to ____________" and the other person kind of respects your limitations.  No, I did not want to take a bus downtown.  I wanted to get there quickly and without any hassle.  My hub and I agreed on a taxi and immediately one appeared.  Subhanallah, our trip to the embassy was made so incredibly easy time and again.  

10:00

The embassy itself is never really a joy.  First of all, the other embassies are prettier; the American Embassy in Cairo is not just ugly---it's ooogly.  Then, there's the issue of how much fear there seems to be in the initial screening room.  Yes, it was a mistake that I brought ear buds.

DON'T BRING ANY WIRES 
TO THE EMBASSY

I thought I had read and followed all the information, but I guess not.  They didn't exactly place that info like I just did.  MAKE IT STAND OUT so we notice it.  Place an intersesting gif with the info amid the wordy words.  It's like America hates all the people who come to the embassy and makes the process as difficult as possible so no one wants to come back.

My hub had to leave with the earbuds, run across the street and leave them with someone.  I thought he told me there were in a safe, but it turns out that he meant they were safe.  "Safe" to my husband is a pencil case in the hands of some dude.  LOL!  We have different expectations.

We entered into the actual embassy and took our seat among anyone who wasn't American.  Where were all the Americans?  I counted three besides me.  Everyone else was REALLY Egyptian (and thinking that the States, where a young Egyptian-American was just killed) was a better place.

Ahmed helped me study the 99 Names.  I really didn't know how to say them all.  It was a good time, honestly.  I don't like waiting, so I always find something else to dow while I'm waiting (thanks to Mr. Rogers).  

When it was our turn about an hour later, I found out that I should have read one more line better on the internet site.

BRING ONE PHOTOCOPY 
OF YOUR PASSPORT

Because I didn't bring it, Ahmed had to run across the street one more time to get a copy.  I'm glad I brought him along.  He got a little mad at my inability, but seriously that website is too complicated.

Once we paid the thousands of pounds and handed over the copy, we could leave.  We could go aross the street and pick up my earbuds from the pencil case.  

On the way home, we were waiting on the corniche taking photos when Ahmed thought we could take a walk.  I started with him until I realized taht he wanted to walk allllllllllll the way to the Ramses Hilton where there is a bus station.  That was too far!  He hadn't asked me and when I figured it out, I told him, "No, please!"  Again, because I was fasting, he acquiesced to my wishes.

Subhanallah, a bus came right away and we got on.  It was painless.  We had to change to a different bus at Giza Square, but that took us all the way to our street.  Easy peasy!

We bought potatoes from UmAhmed on the way to our home.  We made it inside, saw El Kid was fine, and we prayed.  We were back home after getting a major task ticked off our "To Do List".  

We took a nap before asr.

ASR

3:32

We woke and prayed around 4:30.  Naps are so disorientating.  I wake up in Ramadan never sure if it's morning or night.  

Ahmed cooked dinner while I loaded all the photos I'd taken on our trip.  There are just snapshots from the bus.  Snapping pics keeps me happy.  None were masterpieces, but I was happy to see all of them and remember the day.

MAGRIB

6:59

The time snuck up on me!  All of a sudden it was time to break the fast.  Alhumdulillah.  We ate our dates, drank our water, and prayed.

IFTAR

Dinner was beef, rice and potatoes.  Notice any vegetables?  NO!  Of course you don't because my husband doesn't feel they are necessary.  I had some leftover soup with zuchhini and carrots, so I ate that up instead of potatoes.

ISHA

8:32

Time for some konafa and relaxation.  Soon enough it will be time for bed.

11:00

EXCEPT the kids were so loud in the street that I had to look.  There was a group standing around something.  A firecracker?  They do like to light those off---especially on the manhole cover.  Nope, even though they lit something, nothing popped.  It's a 

FIRE!

Yes, a group of small children (no more than eight years old) was spraying saving lotion and lighting it on fire.  Where were the adults?  There was one adult.  He scooped up the fire into his hands and played along with the kids.  Little kids were ecstatic as you know three and four year olds can get.  They started spraying it onto the neighbor's house and, when that was lit, the flames shot up almost reaching the many lines of Ramadan decorations.  

That's when I put on my prayer outfit and went downstairs to tell the moms and dads from this that their kids were in danger.  Maybe they could stop what was going on.  My husband wasn't back form the mosque or else I would have had him handle it. 

When I explained the situation, no one was alarmed.  It was so chill.  The fire setting stopped, but I'm not sure for what reason.  

The kids were still playing in the street the rest of the night unsupervised.

We went to bed.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 24 Ramadan 2017



Ramadan Kareem,


This is a mama and baby who needed water on this 40 degree day.  I've been putting out water and wondering if any cat actually was drinking from my offering.  Subhanallah, we give and it might not seem like anyone or anything cares, but they do!  When I think back on the times I would check the water level to see if any was gone, it was negligible because a tiny kitten tongue was lapping it up.  Mashahallah!  Such a cute scene.  

I showed the picture to my husband just now and he said, "Maybe that gets you to Jennah."  He was thinking of this hadith, a saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah had once forgiven a prostitute. She passed by a dog panting near a well. Seeing that thirst had nearly killed him, she took off her shoe, tied it to her scarf, and drew up some water. Allah forgave her for that.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3143, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2245

Mashahallah.  How merciful is that of the woman who everyone else thought was worthless and good for only one thing.  Allah knew her true nature better than she knew it herself.  She was rewarded by The Most Merciful on a day when she probably didn't even realize that her simple kindness was observed.  Subhanallah. 

This lovely moment of mama kitty and baby kitten didn't happen until later.  The day started MUCH earlier and didn't start so lovely.

SUHOUR

2:00

I woke up with a headache which is one of those horrible aliments you really can't shake during a fast.  I took some medicine and drank a coffee to shake it.

My efforts were made harder by the bombastic noise of our rollicking neighbors, a.k.a. Ahmed's family.  The family house has had its lovely moments over the seven and a half years we've lived here, however, none of those moments were at 2:00 in the morning.

We actually had the doorbell rung and I refused to answer.  I flat out refused to deal with my sister-in-law's child needing to rely a message as I was drinking my coffee.  Don't come a knockin' if this house is sleepin'.  That's seriously one of the worst parts of being that close to family; they are too close to see there's a BOUNDARY.

Since I didn't feel well, I didn't chow down on foul.  I ate two large barley crackers with baraka, black nigella seed, covered with cream cheese.  When I was pregnant with my oldest child, eating cream cheese on Wasa rye crackers was the only thing I could stomach.  This has stayed as a comfort combo some 23 years later.

I also cut up an apple, over plain yogurt and added a crunched up granola bar.

FAJR

3:07

Thanks to the coffee, I stayed up after fajr.  I got a ton done that needed to be addressed.  Our "To Do" list for summer has kicked off!  The downside is that I didn't get to back to sleep until 9:00


DUHR

11:58

I woke up about an hour after the azan sounded since I surely didn't hear it at all.  It was time to wash, dress, slap on some make-up, pray and leave for our first errand:  getting a new passport photo.  El Kid was going to stay home.

We don't own a car, which I'm actually pretty happy about.  It does mean that a simple trip takes three buses to make the round trip.  The buses have natural air conditioning thanks to leaving the side door slid back; it doesn't help much when sitting four to a seat stuck in traffic.  I always spend the first minutes making dhikr, remembering Allah on my fingers.  This doesn't mean that Allah will therefore protect me from an accident; it means that I am accepting of what Allah has in store for me.

Sitting home, is really so much safer than going out.  That's true anywhere, but it is especially true in Egypt.  So many weird things can happen.

At the photo shop, I had to wait to get my photo taken, which I had figured on, so I brought my tablet.  For the first time EVER, I turned on the Quran Reading app outside of the home.  I listened with headphones of course.  It was good that there was something meaningful to do, but I do feel that I was easily distracted---not ADHD level, but Short-Attention-Span-Theatre time.  I'm glad I tried it, but I don't think I'll be trying it again.  I'm a people watcher and that runs counter to studying Quran in public.

When we left, we did a little shopping at a Carrefour across the street  Just when we got to the checkout, the hubster thought to pick up some meat waaaaaaaaaay back on the other side of the store.  I had a place in line, so I stood there and let people coming up behind me to pass.  They thought I was being really nice!  It felt nice to be nice.  You don't get that moment staying at home.

I wasn't that nice when I talked twice to the workers to put away raw meat that was sitting at the check-out in the unwanted pile.  Seriously?  Do I have to be THE ONE to tell SUPERMARKET WORKERS to place raw meat back in the cooler?!  I'm not a good bystander.  I simply can't hold my tongue when I feel something wrong is going down that has an easy fix.  A lady behind me said I was right---I let her pass.  That's the deal, by the way, I say what other people think.

We started home on a bus.  I saw a sight out the open doorway that spooked me.  It was a very real reminder of what can happen to ANYONE when he or she is fasting.  There, on the pavement, was a prone body, legs propped up, and a crowd trying to splash water on his unmoving face.  Wallahi, I prayed that man was all right.  It was only a split second that I saw him---like that moment you're switching channels and see an upsetting image.  I prayed that he recovered from passing out and that he made it home safely again.  Ya Rab!

Fasting is no joke.  It can be extremely dangerous----especially in these hot summer months.

We jumped into the next bus and then sat.  I sat in this hot microbus, what they call a VW camper van, crammed in by our groceries, my husband and two other guys.  The air wasn't moving.  I started rummaging through my purse for something to fan my face.  I was not able to take a deep breath.  I thought again of the man sprawled on the sidewalk and warned my husband that I wasn't feeling well.  Alhumdullillah as soon as I spoke, the bus started moving.

The driver was mad---not at me, of course.  He was made that another driver had jumped the line in picking up passengers at the corner.  When that bus was neck-and-neck with him going down the street, he started chiding him.  It was not really the safest thing to do.  If you want to feel the safest, you do NOT go to Egypt.  Down the street we went:  a full bus load of people and a mad driver debating road rules and regulations out the window.  

BAM!  

CRASH!

AAAAAAAH!

That last noise was me screaming and grabbing for Ahmed.  Apparently, the conversation had distracted the bus driver (go figure) and he had drifted the side of the micro-bus into a parked truck.  The crash was the truck's mirror breaking off and thankfully landing on the ground and not in some passenger's eyes.

It's a good thing we were all fasting.  Only one older man shouted at him, and YOU KNOW that would have been different any other month of the year. 

"You are carrying PEOPLE not CHICKENS!"  was his memorable quote.

We got off at the next stop and we were oh-so happy to be going home.

ASR

3:31

When we came home, the mama cat must have heard us because down the steps she came with her baby.  El Kid came to the door to see. That is when I ran some water into the plastic container and then took the picture of the baby kitty drinking. 

Before we could pray, we had to put groceries away.  I was SO HOT.  I was scary hot.  I couldn't drink.  I made some apricot juice from the concentrate I'd bought (which is the way to do it, I've decided).  As I stood there, alone in the kitchen, I thought of how that big pitcher of cold water in my hand would feel cooling me down later.  LATER!  Not now!  I put it in the fridge.

After praying, I took off the hijab, and put my feet into a small laundry washbowl with the frozen icy blocks.  I turned on the fan and just enjoyed!

It was soon time for me to cook some pasta and vegetable soup.  my hub would then take over doing the chicken pane. I gave him the water bowl while I went out into the kitchen.  Sure enough, he tipped the bowl over and made a mess.  DUDE!  The good thing is that he didn't freak out.  Thank you, fasting!

MAGRIB

6:58

The food was dished up and then we prayed.  It runs so smoothly now.  It's kind of shame to bring it to the end---we were just getting the hang of it! 

IFTAR

Everything I mentioned was appreciated.  Yes, the hub-o-rama liked what I cooked.  MIRACLE!

There have bee a few miracles today.  Alhumudlillah for the ones I know about, and the ones I don't know.