Followers

7:25 AM

Congratulations to my son!

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |



Congratulations to my son!
He conquered a feat,
He just turned one!

Onward and upward he strived,
Pushing his limits,
With just a few dives.

A mischievous air,
A cheeky grin,
Replace his innocent stare.

Once said gurgles and coos,
To his first word, 'Allah',
And a game of peek-a-boo.

July 31, 2007 was just a day anew,
July 31, 2008 too, but for us,
A day graced by the presence of you.

Congratulations to my son!
He conquered a feat,
He just turned one!
______________________________
I prefer congratualtions to happy birthday :)
Brandy A. Chase, July 31, 2008

4:20 AM

Let the Rain Fall Down...

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

As I have no way to access news besides net and I'm not dumb enough to turn on my PC in a rain shower I have no idea why it rained.

BUT THERE WAS RAIN TODAY!

Everyday is the same pattern as the rest with little differences but when it rains in the Middle East (and other hot countries) people take notice and the whole day changes.


I was sitting with my husband when he went out for something quick so I peeked outside the door while herding the kids back so I could close the door and I saw an orangy-dusty sky.

"Oh, is it gonna rain today?" I ask him when he comes in, feeling stupid because this is July, it hardly ever rains in July.

"Naw," replied Hubby, "It's a sandstorm starting." He shrugs and sits down and we keep eating. I drop a few pieces of mac and cheese onto baby's feeding chair for him to grab and thoughtfully add,

"That's funny that the sky looks the same as sandstorms for rain." And no sooner was the word rain out of my mouth then fat smacks hit our roof in quick succession. I stared unbelievably at my ceiling as my husband looked utterly confused at the sound.

"RRRRRAAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! " I cry with such glee you would have thought i was a 7 year old promised to use his new yellow umbrella and puddle jumping boots. I rush to the other room to look out the window and the world had turned 7 shades darker. I grinned hearing the fat drops continue. I cheered exciting my daughter. "It's raining! It's raining! Let's see it!!!" I open the door cautiously as i wasn't wearing hijab. No neighbors peeking their heads out. I see dry sandals in front of our doorstep and look about confused until i see the neighboring door soaked and their sandals wet. The rain is coming in from the East, very odd, normally it comes north or west and soaks my door. By then the family has caught my rain fever. They jump up and I rush to grab my son so he can experience the rare phenomenon. I demand hubby take him into the rain to get wet (baby loves water) while i grab the camera. I also put my prayer hijab on. Then i rush outside to film my son and everyone laughing about the rain. It wasn't much just a general rainfall. It started slacking off for a bit and i was like ok it's gone so we started to troop back in. Hubby had to get ready for work because his co-worker showed up just then to take him to work. I waited a bit longer in the rain until suddenly these really fat drop hit us, i didn't mind them because it made my baby laugh. But the odd thing was they were COLD where the previous rain had been lukewarm. I was just pondering the change of raindrop temp when hubby dashes outside to get in the car, he's shoving his shoes on and recommends we head back inside. I dilly dally saying I was on my way and start ordering my daughter in when i hear the sleet begin of freezing cold rain and still I'm like it's ok for baby to experience this once. Daughter has manages to kick off one sandal and Hubby has gotten in the car and I turn to wave bye when suddenly
I SEE a wall of rain swoop past the garden and the car hubby just got in and the palm trees are swaying dangerously to one side. I'm protected by the corridor wall but the giant metal gates that have been stuck in the open position start rattling and swaying in the wind as if they were made out of straw. Daughter has managed her second sandal by then and I shove her into the house shouting, "Oh my God, It's a hurricane!" The wind is kicking muddy sand everywhere so I plop baby down on the floor (and he cries at the abandonment) and turn to close the door. Just then I see the sandals starting to fly around and think 'I must save them". I fetch a plastic bag and order my kids back from the door and brave the elements. I'm shoving sandal after sandal into the bag trying to keep my prayer hijab from flying off when a loud crash sounds to my right. I jump startled since i had been focusing on the ground. My neighbor's shoe cabinet had been tossed across the small hallway to my wall. My eyes widened shocked and the gates swung madly so I grabbed my shoe bag and tossed it in the house and sigh with relief as I close the door firmly grimacing at the mud blown in. I rub my eyes achingly since grit had hit them. I peal off my soaked hijab and lay it to dry on my ironing board but I hear a flapping sound. I rush to the computer/play room to see the thin board covering the hole where you can install an AC flapping (since hubby hadn't gotten around to sealing it closed yet...) and letting mud and rain come pouring in directly onto my computer. I quickly grab a plastic sheet used for ramadan floor meals and wrap it around the monitor but already a few inches of water is on the floor. I snap off the outlet's power (a good thing they do in this country have on/off switches for each socket) and grab floor towels to soak the water before it can run off into any wires. I drape more floor rags over the main computer itself and the outlet. Satisfied I turn back to my astonished kids who are just staring at the flapping board. I'm enjoying the breeze blowing in that is cool and refreshing. Then about five minutes later it died down and stopped completely. My husband calls me right then and says he's having a hurricane force go past his workshop. On the way to work two trees fell down into the road, scary stuff. And later that night he told me the water container (the size of a spa jacuzzi) on the roof that was empty cause a lot of damage to the area as it was flung about in the winds.

I was pondering where did this sudden rain come from? Was there a freak hurricane off of Oman that rode a skip and a jump to AL-Ain? Did Dubai and Abu-Dhabi get this action? Habayeb let me know k. Or was this a result of man-made weather? I didn't believe it either when i first heard of it but apparently if you have the money and equipment you can try to produce rain. You need certain chemicals and an airplane that can fly really high. They release the chemicals into a cloud i believe then it causes these freak storms. A man who works under my husband who's been here in AL-AIn for over 12 years says if they put too much of the chemicals it makes the storms too fierce and people have died. I was just shocked and incredulous. I'm a desert girl and I have never heard of man-made weather.... we just waited for the monsoon seasons in Tucson, AZ, USA. So maybe this was part of the gov. plans to welcome in the holiday tomorrow for the Prophet Muhammad's accession to the Heavens. No matter how it came it was a relief. Energizing, awe-inspiring, forces of nature. Masha'Allah. I gave my daughter a lesson about, Allah is the one who Created the rains, thunder, lightening, winds and we have to say alhamdulliah that we are safe and that baba is safe at work too.

"Alhamdulliah, baba is safe." she smiled.

Alhamulillah indeed that our mini-hurricane didn't last long. But it was spectacular.

_____________________________________________


UPDATE: I found this finally on Gulf News about the rain...


"Heavy rain and thunderstorms hit Al Ain and its surrounding areas yesterday afternoon.
The rain was accompanied by strong winds that first kicked up sand and later blew away satellite dish antennae. Numerous trees, road signs and signs were broken.
The rain started at 4.45pm and lasted until 5.10pm in the downtown area. Rainwater also accumulated on different roads, forcing drivers to take extra care.
It was a welcome respite for residents who have been suffering from a heatwave which has hit the region for the past several weeks.
A meteorologist said the dust storm was caused by atmospheric low pressure that is currently moving over Oman and Saudi Arabia and also extending to the UAE.
He said Al Ain had earlier been recorded as the hottest city in the country, followed by Liwa where the maximum temperature was recorded as 47C (the ground level temperature was 50).
Meanwhile people in Ras Al Khaimah braved temperatures of 46C.
Over the last few days, the mercury has shot up and broken Al Ain's top temperature record. The temperature went up to 48C (ground level 52C) recently."


Ahh good so it wasn't false rain alhamdulliah ;) By the way before it began to rain my thermometor in the room with no AC (that half-boarded up AC hole from the above account remeber) said 100 degrees F and i was like Ugh it's 100 in this room!?!?! And me and the kids are in it everyday.... alhamdulliah at least the bedroom has an ac and we have fans in the house. some people don't even have one ac.. poor them :( .


Onto face the humidity in Dubai and Sharja tomorrow. Sorry Hab it was short notice and I couldn't contact you. :(

9:39 AM

Raped Everyday for a Year

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Whole Story: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/07/22/sarajevo.rape/index.html

Excerpt:
"Then they started torturing me. I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I was totally naked and covered in blood, and my sister-in-law was also naked and covered in blood. ... I knew I had been raped, and my sister-in-law, too." In a corner, she saw her mother-in-law, holding her children and crying.
"That same day we were locked in our house. That was the worst, the worst period of my whole life. That's when it started.
"Every day we were raped. Not only in the house -- they would also take us to the front line for the soldiers to torture us. Then again in the house, in front of the children," Jasmina said through a translator, remembering the 10 other women who were brutalized with her.
"I was in such a bad condition that sometimes I couldn't even recognize my own children. Even though I was in a very bad physical condition they had no mercy at all. They raped me every day. They took me to the soldiers and back to that house.
"The only conversation we had was when I was begging them to kill me. That's when they laughed. Their response was 'we don't need you dead.' "
Once at the front line, there were female soldiers who tortured her with a bottle and then slashed at her throat and wrist when it broke. Then the troops cut one of her breasts with a bayonet, said Jasmina, now looking older than her 35 years.
"It lasted for a year. Every day. ... Not all the women survived."

Such horrid crimes were happening across the world towards our sister Muslims and even to non-Muslims things like this happen of course. At the end of the article it said they lack funding to help women like her...what the heck LACK FUNDING to help war victims?!?!?! The things that happened to these Muslims were just as bad as what happened to the Jews in the Holocaust yet the world helped the Jews financially (even gave them a whole "state") yet no one can give this poor woman and her family who were all brutalised even their own house to live in without fear of loosing it? Instead of spending millions of dirhams and dollars on decor of palaces someone could instead help the poor people who have suffered untold atrocities all over the world.


Another thing this story brings to my mind is the taking of slaves during the Muslim Wars. I accept the rulings of Allah and his Messenger (SAW) about the right to take war prisoners.
I've just always wondered about those women who were taken and they were married and had small children (and children period) and suddenly were forced separation from them and had to let their captors have sex with them. I'm sure not all were willing- i.e. rape. How could a Muslim (who really acted like a true believer) stomach the mental torture of a woman forced from her husband and children? I'd really like someone knowledgeable to explain to me how this worked back then. Sometimes I've heard Muslim men laughing that if the Muslim nations declared Jihad on USA then the men would take Pamela Anderson, Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta-Jones, etc.. all the beautiful Hollywood stars... as sex prisoners. I protested their joking saying but these women are married and have kids, a few just shrugged and said "That is Halal for taking enemy women as slaves and using them for sex." I thought there must be more to it then that Islamically for there to be real Justice. I couldn't argue with them further because of my lack of knowledge. Sadly. So what is the deal with sex slaves? What is the real Islamic judgement about taking enemy women captives who are married and have children (and those that are single and young too)? Did any of the men long ago treat a woman taken like this poor woman was treated? Everyday forced rape.

12:50 AM

Bad Timing....

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |


for my 101 post it's a let down sorry friends and devoted readers...

i'm just letting you know i remain out of action for this week until things get back to normal in my life. My in-laws laeft last week. My hubby accidently downloaded pc virus when he thought it was a anti-virus program...evil genious hackers.... at the same time the pc power supply melted from heat and dust so it died a painful death. While he tries to upload the new programs and everything going from windows 2000 (relic thing i tell you), and sort things out he brought me his work laptop to work on my landscape designs ONLY.. and check my e-mail now and then.... but no blogging for now. and i had soo many ideas and thoughts to share with you all for the next 100 ;) but they'll have to wait....what very bad timing...yet Allah's will.

i miss you all.

really.

i do.

7:38 PM

100th Post Poem

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |



100th Post
Some come thoughtfully
Some come with tears
Some come with pain
Some come with laughter
Some come slowly
Some come fast
But they've all come from my heart
My Posts.


3:33 AM

Stuff the Food with Food

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

It amazed me when I came to Lebanon all the fresh foods they cook with. No boxes and very few jars (mostly homeade jarred food). They would take a fresh food and stuff it with another fresh food everyday! Many times a day. Very important foods to learn how to make are following:

1.Kousa Meshi (Stuffed Zucchini)

2.Warna 'A'nab (Rolled -and stuffed- Grape Leaves)

3.Kibbe (Meat stuffed into a burghol-cracked wheat- shell)

1. Kousa Meshi is relatively simple. Take some seasonings or cut up parsley or coriander and mix it with some rice and half cooked ground beef. Mix them together and put aside. Then take a good kilo or so depending on family size, of Zucchinis and wash them well on the outside and scrap off any bad looking parts. Cut the tops off and if the bottom is yucky trim it slightly. Then with a specail scraper or a knife remove the inner flesh (doesn't that sound horror film-ish) and put aside [some throw it but I used it to make my kids a snack]. Then once they've all been prepared leaving a hollow shell stuff in the meat/rice mixture half way using your pinky finger to compact it slightly. Only fill it half way because as the rice expands durring cooking it will burst if full. once they are all finished you can cook them in a typical white or red sauce (I prefer white ;) ) Boiling them until rice is cooked and they are tender.

2. Warna 'A'nab: Collect beautiful symmetrical grape leaves from random trees along the road (my in-laws way of getting them) or buy a pack from the market. Trust me when my mother in law and grandmother in law are in the car on the way to the mountains in Lebanon and you hear a loud exclamation of "Yiiii!!!! Masha'Allah!!!" You know you better stop the car and find a plastic bag to stuff leaves in. Very Amusing for me... their exclamations and my father in law's LOOK as he pulls over just as he got ahead in traffic. So after you get them take them home and wash them in some water while you prepare again a mixture of half cooked ground beef or lamb, rice uncooked, and spices or coriander/parsley, and a few tiny diced tomatoes if you want. Take the pile of leaves on a tray with the bowl of mix and a spoon to get comfortable. Place the leaf vein side up and in the exact middle right above where the stem should be (having been removed) place a small spoonful of rice meat mixture. Carefully fold in the bottom two sides of the leaf over the edges of the mix then hold them firmly down as you tightly roll the rest of the leaf up into a tiny cigarette shape. It takes practice but since you have a few dozen to do, you HAVE the practice in front of you. Continue rolling and rolling and rolling.... put more rice on bigger leaves and less rice on smaller leaves. Stack them pyramid style to ensure they dont unroll. Tie around 8 to 10 of them together with a piece of string and put them in a red sauce (with plenty of oil and water). Continue typing and adding the bundles until the large pot is filled or your tray is empty. Cook until tender then eat! Serving them in their bundles is best unless you don't have much to go around then serve them carefully on a plate unbundling them and restack them pyramid style for best effects.

3. Kibbe. I know the basics but not exactly how to make the mixtures if someone knows a better recipie tell me. Make a meat mixture full of onions and seasonings and cooked meat and make a cracked wheat mixture (not sure how). Take a spoonful of cracked wheat (burghol) in the palm of your slightly wetted hand (have a smal bowl of water standing next to you to re-moisten your hand as you work so it doesn't stick to your palm) and roll it into an oblong ball. Stick your pinky or the tip of your index finger into the top of the ball and press gently around until you have an EVENLY formed hollow shell The bottom should be slightly thicker then the sides of the shell. It should look bowl shaped. Stick a tiny spoonful of cooked meat mixture inside and carefully roll and press the ball closed at the top making it form a pointed end and do the same for the bottom end until it looks literally like an American football (not soccer ball) then put it on a tray to make the next and the next. When they are all finished you fry them in oil or bake them turning half way until they are all around browish golden. Serve them with a white sauce for best results :D


And enough now for the food posts hehehe. I keep making myself hungry...

2:26 AM

Hummos...hold the olive oil Please!

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |


Hummos bedun Zayt Zaytoon min fadlik!

Also at the same restraunt as the Lebne my roomate ordered Hummos. I had never ever tasted anything like it before. But I absolutly love it! Made with either canned chickpeas or with fresh ground or partially ground it is delicious. I can make it at home anytime too when I'm in need of a quick side plate. Just pop open the can dump out add a bit of water, fresh lemon juice, two cloves freshly smashed garlic with salt, tahini (seasame seed paste), and mix it up. Then arange it on a shallow bowl in a circle maybe make a beautiful shape inside the blowl for the olive oil to glide over elegantly. At the edges add a dash of cumin and paprika, and top it with one or three olives (sunnah is odd numbers).

Though in my case HOLD THE OLIVE OIL PLEASE!!!!!!!

It makes me absolutly sick to my stomche about an hour after I eat it. Maybe it is growing up without it. I'm not sure the cause or the cure. My Husband COULD literally drink it from the bottle though. He douses everything with it. "Get me salt, oh and the oil..." Anytime we want to eat lebne or hummos with his family I have to quickly scoop some into a special bowl for me before they slather on the oil. It took my mother in law a few months to get used to the fact I can eat nothing oily even if it is OLIVE oil. Now she knows and has my special plate already seperated for me, bless her. Though the older women don't just use it for eating. They rub it into their skin for aiding health of ANY ailment. I understand there must be some good in it or they wouldn't do it but I draw the line of massaging myself with it (or my kids because who has to clean up their oily bodies? me...). Rubbing? Nope. Eating? Nope.

UNTIL reccently.....

Maybe I AM becoming Arab..... I was at Pizza Hut a few months back and had this special sauce they had with this tasty little squares of bread. The menu said the sauce was made with olive oil, butter, rosemary, minced onions, and thyme (zayt zaytoon, zibd, rosemary, basal isgar, wa zatar) so I tried it and masha'Allah I cannot get enough of this sauce. I ate it all and then took extra home with me. When it was gone i craved more and had to make it myself. I chopped the onions as small as i could and took two spoons of butter and heated them both in the frying pan. When the onions were turning pinkish I added two spoons olive oil, two spoons thyme, and one spoon rosemary. Let it cook for another few minutes until the best delicious fragrance emerges and the onions look right (redish on the edges) then add it to ANY DISH! Works wonders with potatoes and chicken, not to mention just by itself with bread....

Me eating olive oil.... go figure..... and it didn't make me sick at all.

9:59 PM

Lay on the Lebne...

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |


I used to go to the neighborhood middle eastern market and restaurant next door to the tempe Masjid. The first time I went with my roomate and she ordered some Lebne. What is Lebne I asked. "Its made from yougurt, like a mix between sour cream, cream chesse, and thick yougurt, don't worry you'll love it." So I waited for my first taste of arabic food.

It arrived promptly in a brown bowl. It was creamy and white and a river of olive oil ran in a circle in the middle. A smattering of cumin and paprika also decorated the sides and an olive stuck up in the middle. I claimed the olive and bit into it happily. I'm an avid olive fan....until just then when I almost broke my tooth. Not only was the olive oily (yuk) but there was a seed inside. My roomate laughed at my expression. "What is wrong with these poeple can't they buy them without the seeds!" I exclaimed. Then getting over my olive shock I dipped a piece of pita bread into the lebne and tried it. Ahhhhh! Now there was something to fall in love with.... so creamy and just indescribably delicious. I would have licked the bowl clean if I hadn't been surounded by people.
Lebne is the one Arab food I can and will eat all day and not be sick of it EVER!

9:44 PM

Foul is for Fools....

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |


I'm not a bean fan. Only beans I like are mexican beans and the beans that come with that little piece of pork in it. Naturally I no longer eat the second type. My roomate pre-maturely jinxed me from eating the arabic foul. She told me a million times how much she hated making and serving this to her ex and his family.

"It smells like dog food and tastes like it too, it's only fit for dogs too....my husband used to gobble it up like a dog, which is why he is a dog."

Sooo THAT kind of put me off from it. When I got to Lebanon and was experiencing the beauty of Arab foods it was this one I was the most curious about. Does it really smell and taste like dog food? I was served it and it looked good with oil and cumin on top. I took a hesitant bite with a number of faces staring avidly waiting for my reaction. As the spoon entered my mouth the heavy smell of

DOG FOOD

entered my nose and I tried to suppress it...maybe it tastes better? So I let it enter and chewed it up and it tasted a little better but still had that after taste of

Dog Food......

I wrinkled my nose and the family threw each other knowing looks and whisked it to their side of the table. I was grateful. I know it can be delicious but no thank you when it comes to favabeans/foul.


[thank you Mrs. S for this idea, and thus I'm not full of Arab Blood ;) ]


How many opportunities pass us every day to better ourselves in some way? To better not only ourselves but others near and far from us. Allah has sent us time after time opportunities and we've spurned them or tried our utmost to attain them. Only Allah knows what each of these opportunities will bring to our life. For example, some may get a raise and some may get fired. Both very good opportunities to change one's life.
I've had some interesting opportunities in UAE to learn what could come of the future. Not all have panned out but it still taught me alot about life. My husband has been offered interviews for fabulous jobs that would change our whole life and how we live it but they didn't work out. I was trying to open that craft store called "Dare Your Creativity!" but til now haven't gotten a sponsor for it. People have suggested I go to design college for interior designing. I'm just not at that stage right now for college. Oh yes I do believe it's good to be educated. Don't get me wrong about that. I just said I PERSONALLY wasn't good at school work but I love learning and love "education". ANd if the time comes for me to go back to school it will be something i do with all my heart but again I don't see it RIGHT now in my future. Allahu Alim.
Yesterday night my husband got my blood rushing madly and passionately though my veins. Now, now don't be naughty.....nothing like THAT. Apparently he spoke with a man who is using the company my husband works for to install thing in his house. He was asking him about what he will do later with the garden when the house is complete and the man said he was definitly going to have a magnificent garden put in. My husband naturally asked who will the designer be. The man frowned and said he didn't want a professional designer, HE WANTS AN ARTIST! He asked my husband if he knew any artists and my husband replied, "OF COURSE, MY WIFE!"
AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! What a man! (excuse my girly screams of joy) So when he called me up telling me about this golden opportunity to design this man's garden I was thrilled. Thats a challenge! Then I was stunned. I know alot of about designing, art, and gardens but am i good enough that he would consider choosing MY design?
Just a few hours ago we went to the site where they are building his villa (mansion) and I sketched out the plans of the house and grounds. I checked out each view from the window and tried to imagine what exactly the occupant wanted to see both from a man and woman's perspective. I checked out his taste in decor thus far to get a feel of his style. Which is extremely symmetrical, classical, and eclectic. What a project. Next step will be going to a large local plant nursery to check out what local plants they have here to decorate with. Then a meeting with the man to finalize in my mind his tastes and wants. Then to the drawing board. I'm glad I kept the 3D landscaping program my Daddy got me as a teen. Its going to come in very handy right now. Sweet hubby just installed it to the PC. Hubby also said if this man picks my design then he'll tell his friend and so on and I'll get lots of work (that i can do at home). I'm thinking so far if I get this opportunity and he accepts and then I get another chance and excel again then I'll think about going to some kind of design landscaping/gardening college or online courses. I already used to watch waaaay too much BBC gardening/designing and HGTV fix it yourself and designing and gardening etc... erm that was before I banned TV..... hmmmm.
The point is Allah has given me an oppourtunity to do something and learn something and I'm not going to waste it for sure. If Allah Wills for me to succeed at this then I will be grateful and if not I will still be happy I had the chance to do something new. Life is always an adventure and every opportunity is the chance to start one.

7:03 PM

As if I give a FIG....

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |


Ah if dates weren't difficult enough to first try figs were even harder for me. The outsides looked liek someone's face after being pummled the insides looked like a swarm of bug eggs and worms. After 3 years in Lebanon of constantly and vehminantly refusing to eat them much to my Father-in-law's unhappiness, his sister my Aunt in law forced me to try one. She just kept pushing me and making that face that means she's not going to stop telling me to taste it until I'm stuffing 10 in my mouth. So I tasted it and WOW was it delicious. I immediatly bought two packs for Ramadan and tried to eat them quickly but soon they went bad. The dried ones are great too but here in UAE I haven't found a favorite brand. And I certainly havent seen them fresh, maybe in the souks...I'll have to search more. I really reccomend to try them even though tey look gross. :D
Ah and my FIL is now very happy to buy them for me and gives me a look saying, if you had listened to me in the first place you could have had them three years earlier.
I'm so stubborn....

4:56 AM

Dates...

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

no not the realtionship kind......

The edible kind. You know, the ones off the tree....

I never knew something so delicious existed growing up.

When I was a kid I read a book called Amelia Bedelia where she does things literally and in one book she was told to make a date cake and dumped into the batter cut up number dates from a calendar instead of the fruit date. I thought "what is a date?"

Later after saying Shahada I was at the masjid with my friend L., also a convert, and we were sitting in the imam's office chatting with him (he was an easy going guy). SUddenly he pulls out a clear plastic tin filled with something that looked disgustingly like cockroach bodies stuffed in neat lines.

"Go ahead, take one." He offers. L declines smiling. I look openly repulsed at him and the offerings. He lifted one brown slick shelled body from it's mates and with relish bit into it. I gaged.

"What is that?" I wrinkled my nose looking worriedly at him like he was going to have what he just ate coming to life under his skin and crawling around THE MUMMY(the movie) style. He laughed, LAUGHED!, at my face.

"They are fruits, called dates." He explained. I looked over at L skeptically.

"L, have you eaten them before?" I asked.

"Sure!" she replied. Not one for lots of words, was she.

"What do they taste like?" I prodded.

"Dried fruit." She offered. Come to think of it me and L never had any really LOOONG conversations...

"Is it tasty? Does it taste like bugs? It looks like a cockroach to me." I asked them. The Imam laughed again and proded the tin to me. I picked it up warily and read the top. Made in California. Ah good so this wasn't some "arab thingy" that is unregulated by the FDA. This inspired more faith in me about the food. (Prejudiced I was eh?) I looked closely at the so called date (aka dead roach with no head). It didn't seem to spout room for legs. I could see the tip of a seed sticking out and thought could that perhaps be the spinal cord?

"Are you going to eat it?" Imam asked leaning back in his chair amused at the american chica's new experience.

"L, if you eat one I will." I compromised. (aka CHICKEN!) She shrugged and took one and ate it while I watched again for gagging or movement under the skin. She seemed safe and just sat there after her mouth had emptied. I hesitantly picked up the cool slippery sticky piece of fruit. I eyed them again to make sure they weren't playing some trick on me to get me to eat a roach. At their benign expressions I took a small bit from the top. 'Sweet sticky sugar rush!', my tongue told my brain. I took another more happy bite. DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ate it happily and took three more to munch then gave the Imam back the tin. He laughed again watching me chow down on what formerly looked to be unedible.

I never had them again in USA. When I got to Lebanon and was offered them again I was surprised to find them hard and chewey. Hubby explained to me different kinds and over the next five years I tried all different kinds. Being someone who LOVES sugary foods this was nutricious and delicious in one. Everyone quoted hadiths to me about dates and their actaul content on food facts was amazing. So healthy and filling. I was in love.

UNTIL

one day after having eaten 40 in a row while writing 20 pages in a row while preg with my daughter I bit into number 41 vowing this would be the last one for now (just like i had been vowing from number 15) and I ruminated about whether my heroine should first catch on fire and then jump ablaze or have the hero rush in and catch on fire and they jump together....both ablaze?...hmm interesting possiblilities when it comes to fire scenes...When all of a sudden I felt something crunchy in my mouth and I rolled it around on my tongue and then horrified spat it out on a tissue and saw some weird black dots that were round and clusted together and the half bit ones showed they were eggs of some sort...bug eggs obviously. I gagged and threw down my pen and rushed (awkwardly being pregnant) to the bathroom to rince my mouth. I wiped my lips with a towel to dry them and caught my wrinkled nose expression in the mirror and told myself, "GROSS!" I went back to my bed scattered with written pages and date seeds and a half filled box of now questionable dates lying innocently. I frowned meanly at them then with a swoop picked them up and stuffed them in the back of the fridge. When Hubby got home I questioned him about the disgusting date. "Yeah, that happens sometimes." He replied casually. "But Muhammad (saw) said we should just eat and not look saying Bismillah."
From then on I couldn't help but to check each one warily and gingerly. Gone was my habit of blindly eating them. I now when offered didn't take 7 but 1. I was sad because they were still tastly but the effort of opening eachone wasn't worth it for me anymore.
When we arrived in UAE I saw some differnt kinds of dates at stores but avoided them too. At a few special dinners I went to I was surprised when the Emeratian Lady brought around a basket of chocolates of different coatings....mmmmm chocolate.... I took a few for me and my daughter and gave her the first. She bit into it happily then--
SPAT IT OUT! What? "Yucky!" she exclaimed. I looked at it closely to see that it was a date covered in chocolate I bit into mine and saw it was the same. It was a very strange combination of sweet creamy chocolate and super sweet sticky date. But they seemed clean inside so I happily ate all of hers.
After this I thought maybe they have different cleaner dates here in UAE so I went looking at the store and saw a plain non-glaringly advertised box of dates. I opened the lid to look inside and saw plump juicy dates and they looked all clean so I bought them. After going through each one in the medium box and finding them all perfetly clean and delicious this is the brand I stick to from now on. I can eat them blindly and give them to my daughter without the hassle of checking. I've been eating them now for over a year and have never found one that looked or tasted questionable. The Producer and Exporter is: Kimia Dates Co. from IRAN. website http://www.kimiadates.com/ I haven't been to the site but i will after I post this. They cost only 7 dirhams for 750g. Pretty good.
I've lost a lot of weight eating just these dates all day instead of giving into cravings of chocolates because they give you a sharper sugar rush while still being healthy and fill you up at the same time.

Moral of this story: Though dates may look like roaches really they are sweet and delicious and you get over the roach comparisson fairly quickly. I highly reccommend them.
[thanks to the commenters of Marahm's roach post for the idea of this]
*update: I went to the site and there is nothing there. on the bo they call it e-mail so apperently someone is very mixed up in their english language and put a website instead of an e-mail address. Ah well at least they make great dates.*

4:53 AM

NEW PICTURE

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |



Ohh I love this picture. I wanted something symbolizing my name so I did some random googling on the content of my blogging name and came up with a few pictures that I combined using PAINT and voila an awesome and interesting new pic was born ;)


Hope you like it.

10:55 AM

La Cocaracha - Sarsoor - The Cockroach

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

http://marahm.wordpress.com/2008/06/29/do-you-want-to-hear-a-cockroach-story/#comment-478 Marahm wrote a funny and interesting post about cockroaches. I had to add my few bits to that...

I saw a few in the mountain house but we weren't there for long and they sprayed and re-sprayed many times before I was ever there to keep them at bay. When I got to my new house in Dekwaine, Lebanon Oh boy when I saw that first roach I screamed so loud! My husband came running sure I had cut off my thumb with a knife or something.
"What's happened!" He asked out of breath
"There! Just went under the fridge! A Huge Roach!" I shuddered delicatly.
He moved the fridge back at my insistance and saw a medium/small roach crawling happily. He picked up his shoe and smashed it's life out. "That wasn't big, you'll see, they get much bigger. And don't scream like that you gave me a heart attack."
There were few cockroaches in this hosue an I got the knack of hitting them squeemishly with a shoe. Then we moved to Naime, Lebanon. It was an older house with lots of cracks and holes here and there along the walls. We were going to have the hosue fumigated before we moved in (with my 6 month old daughter at the time) but we were in a rush and forgot. Later we paid the price for it. In the kitchen cockroaches began emerging one by one and I freaked out because they were big suckers. Sometimes a shoe wouldn't even drop them. I kept three bottles of spray ready at all times. But the stuff smelled disgusting and sure it was harmful because it said right on the label that i's harmfull to be inhaled. So I'd keep my daughter back and spray away and let it vent but still you just walk in the kitchen and could smell the spray still. And it only minimised them not erradicated them. I was disgusted beyond words. In USA my grandfather had his house sprayed every 2 months and I though why would he be spraying so much we've never had roaches now I bless g-pa for doing this.
When I packed up everything I very carefully check it for roaches before putting it in my boxes. When I unpacked everything in UAE I found the kitchen's table cloth (not used for eating table but liek as a counter) and smelled something funny and then sniffed the table cloth again and was disgusted to find it smelled liek the roach spray. Even though i had washed it before we left. I showed my husband and he grimaced and ordered it thrown. I agreed. As soon as I saw the first roach in UAE I ordere fumigation of the house but my husband asked around and said this gel from Germany was the best in the market (though it costs a bit mroe than spray) but it's safer especially since i was pregnant and had a 2 yr old in the hosue. SO we layed that gel down all over the hosue (got 2 tubes) and it worked got rid of ants and roaches. And the kids stayed away from it.
Now I'm in my new house in UAE and have a whole new bug issue Ants and TERMITES....ewww they are building a big long path right up the side of my wall. I vacuum the path regulary but they just come back and build it faster. ICK anyone know what will get rid of them? They also rotted out my dooorframe and my daughter accidently kicked it one hecktic night and termites came pouring out UGH.
I have a respect and great fear of ants though so any ants in my house are considered fair game to be killed. Outside if i see them struggling with food I'll scoop them and their food up on a stick and help them faster to their homes just to be nice but inside my houe it's Ground Zero battle field. If you have more than 2 legs in this hosue you will be squashed. (Except Julie our hamster)
I don't like any creature that Allah created to suffer in it's death so I try to give them a swift death that they aren't tortured in for too long. Menaing one quick strike of my shoe. If they squirm around in throws of pain I feel sick to my stomach and repededly smash them until they stop wiggling. Then make du'a to Allah that the bugs will stay out of my hosue or if they comein let them die quickly without wiggling.
Ohhh man talk about hard exoskelaton.....wasps are so hard to kill. Not only are they fast and furious but they are HARD. I had a problem for like a month of them flying in through an unsealed window (yes I told hubby to seal it a million times but he didn't it is still open) and flying around the house ugh. I'd have to lock up the kids in a safe room and put on a prayer hijab (to help protect from being stung) then go after it. At first I tried with a pillow to take it out since I could throw a pillow harder and it was guaranttedd to hit it flying round. But once down it flew back up really fast so you'dhave to have a shoe on hand to kill it once the pillow knocked it into confusion. Man many a thrilling night (sickening more like it) were spent chasing wasps down in my house. I just say wasp to my daughter and she'd run for cover in the bathroom and lock the door. I don't know why they stopped coming in though. Maybe because the sunflowers that were attracting them have died out now. I hope so anyways.

Yes there are bugs a plenty to battle in the Middle East (and other countries too but I've seen more here then I ever saw in USA)

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