Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dresser drawer

Do-it-yourself projects

What do y'all think of our deck stain on this dresser? Tried to put 2 coats on and whoops that didn't work. It came out tacky, so had to wipe it off with a rag of mineral spirits. Now this is how it looks...."rustic", is how dervish labeled it I believe!

Personally I think he should go for one more attempt at a coating of the deck stain....I'd like the colour to be more pronounced, but I can accept it like it is now, too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I've been tagged!

Salihah tagged me, so here it is - The Code: State six weird things about yourself. Then tag 6 people and leave them a comment to let them know that they’ve been tagged.
1. I was a child theater star (locally), in numerous musical theater shows including playing "Annie" in the production of Annie.
2.I am not currently actually a Hijabi! Even though my pic online is of me in Niqaab! ...and even though I adore wearing hijab.
3. I am not a "rules" personality type on the Myers-Briggs spectrum (who would've guessed?).
4.My daughter attends a Christian-sponsored preschool, even though we are in fact muslims.
5.Most of my extended family thinks we are spies , because they can't figure out why anyone in their right mind (oh I guess they think we're still sane, that's good) would go live in Qatar. My husband's side thinks we're spies for the CIA; my side thinks we're spies for Al Qaeda!
So nice to be home!
6. I believe in and practice the 5 pillars of Islam.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Racism in Cincinnati

Well, we've been here now since August and my husband and I agree that this is pretty much the most racist place we've ever seen.

The racism is so obvious in people, it's sad.

A man I casually chatted with the other day while our children were playing on the same playground exhibited some prime racist statements; he was telling me about "how much better" the city of Indianapolis is for families (WTF! there's NOTHING in Indianapolis! ..Except of course, lots of WHITE people!), and about "how safe" it is there (meaning; lots of white people)and how there is so much more to do downtown Indianapolis than there is downtown Cincinnati for families (nevermind all of the great Christmas festivities on Fountain Square! They don't count because there are black people present I guess).

He then proceeded to tell me that whatever I do, not to live in the city limits of Cincinnati; that there is conflict between the police and City Council, that there aren't enough police officers to fight crime there appropriately, etc. and so forth, and that I'll definitley be better off living in a suburb or in "any town in Northern Kentucky" because each city has it's own police force, own EMT's, own fire squads, etc. (of and there are only white people!) . He also made some sort of comment about how entitled blacks think they are and that whenever "they" have a problem "they" automatically blame it on the fact they are in fact black and are being discriminated against.

I quickly got myself away from this jerk.

My husband says that the white folks at his place of employement always refer to whomever it is they are referring to not just by his or her name, but they preface their statement with "you know that black (guy/gal) named ______...." WTF? What does the somebody's skin colour or ethnic background have to do with how you identify them? Seriously, something wicked this way comes!

But it gets even more severe. There was a patient who needed to be released. She had nothing but the clothes on her back, seeing as she was admitted as an emergent case in a fire. No house keys, no car etc. Her one relative could not come to pick her up that night, but could do so the following morning. So the social worker was going to release her anyways and send her to the homeless shelter for the night! Outlandish! Luckily for the patient, another staff member intervened, pointing out the fact that this woman was not homeless, she had a home she just didn't have transportation until the morning. 100% chance if this patient had been white the social worker would NEVER have thought to send her to the homeless shelter for the night! But she was black...when probed as to why on earth this would be an appropriate decision, the social worker replied that she "does this all of the time," . Whoa!

I wasn't here for the riots 5 years ago, but apparenlty that set off a serious case of "white flight" from the city limits. Apparenlty now Cincinnati has the lowest home ownership rate of any city in the country (yikes! I hope we don't become another Flint in 10 more years!), and the crime rate per 100,000 people has consistently gone up every year since the riots. The total number of murders is also on the rise, from 40 in the year 2000 up to 79 total murders in 2005.

Luckily for us, the city has set up a lot of programs to help people become homeowners. Let's pray that this year goes well for us, becoming homeowners in the City where Pigs Fly!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Terror has no Religion

From a group of moderate Arabs apparently in Iraq. They have launched a big media campaign, with “Terror has no Religion” (in Arabic of course) as their slogan.

The red bleeding words at the end of the video say “Terror has no religion” in Arabic.

The Real Message; Islam is not the enemy! Idiodic terrorists (from any culture or creed) ARE!

Here is their mission statement;

Our Mission

Our mission is to expose the fallacy of the distorted and politicized Islamic teachings used by ungodly extremists to sanctify and justify terrorism.It has become crucial to inform the Muslim and Arab people -particularly the Iraqi people- about the deceptions terrorists employ in distorting the peaceful teachings of Islam. These terrorists, who claim to follow the Islamic Faith, are in truth only drowning in an abyss of mistaken beliefs.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Unaccompanied Minors

We’ve got to help raise up the children of America today
Because they’re sick and it’s no accident
A Corporate display

They want to make us hungry ghosts and to kill our humanity

Our children are getting “dumb and dumber”
Cheetah girls with sex on display
The stupider the easier to control don’t you see

Corporations know the smart ones
aren’t easy to control
Filll them with desire to buy and conformity their every goal

We have become a Nation of Lust
Hail to Having Need
Hungry phantoms born by the Death of humanity

So I ask you what are we teaching our children

You know they learn by what they see
They run around and imitate everything they see on TV

Insatiable ghosts that can only want more
While losing their humanity

Well Hollywood feeds us crap that’s violent and just plain evil
Like “Unaccompanied Minors” and Harry P.
Then nobody understands how Columbine could happen And they say, “How could this come to be?”

Well there’s no place left for children to just be children
In our Society
Except to become Hungry ghosts
Shadows of humanity.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Do not look at your own form, be it beautiful or ugly;
look at the true object of your love, and the goal of your search.
Do not look at your own state, which is feeble and vile;
look at the true object of your hopes and aspirations.
In whatever state you are, seek God.
Seek God as if your lips were dry and you were seeking water.
Dry lips are a sign that you will eventually reach a spring.
Dry lips are a message from the water:
'If you keep searching, you will find me.'
To seek is a blessed activity; it destroys the obstacles on the path to God.
If you seek, you will find.
-Rumi, "Mathnawi"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

11 Things We miss most about Qatar

* This list is in no particular order. 11 things came to my head, right off the bat.

1. Chai Halib -(Yellow label lipton tea made with RAINBOW milk - there's no Rainbow, or even any adequate substitute, in America!) WAAAAAH. How do immigrant Indians survive here without any Rainbow for their chai?

2. Eating at Bukhari in al Gharrafa. Man I could really use some "hummous with meat" right now!

3. Shopping in Souk Wakif.

4. Qatari Hospitality/ the whole visiting each other ritual.

5. Our Qatari and Qatari-American friends.

6. Having a maid, in particular, the actual maid we had to leave in Qatar. It was such a help even when we had a bad maid - just that extra pair of hands around the house makes things so much easier in a house where there are three kids under the age of 7; but Mariam was amazing!

7. People watching; the bizarre things we saw about people, in City Center, on the Corniche, and in other random places are unparalelled by the United States.

8. Being able to drive out into the Qatari outback. We loved to take little excursions and sight - see in the desert. It was great fun, but we especially miss finding and feeding carrots to camels!

9. Beep-beep chicken (we called it "crack chicken", because those guys reminded us of the drug dealers standing out on the street trying to lure you into their business!).

10. Going to the park (in particular, Dahl al Hammam over in al Markhiya near Landmark mall)and letting the kids play while we drink tea sitting in the grass watching them.

11. CHEAP GROCERIES! My gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd it's criminal here back in the States how much they want for even a kilo of rice! Yeeks! It's minimum of 5x more and that's at the "cheap Indian grocery". It's 10x more than it was in Qatar for a kilo of rice at mainstream grocery stores.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Hungry for something
Don’t know what it is
Something that fills me
That nourishes but still
Is comforting, familiar,
In this distant place
I yearn for soul food
To fill this space
That’s missing inside of me
A part of me hides
I don’t know how to find it
Or where it resides.
I roam in this desert
Content, but not filled,
I want total satiation
A life that’s distilled-
What is this hunger
that haunts me
And gnaws?
No satisfaction
From what crosses my jaws.
I should tell this hungry phantom
To leave me
To go
There’s no rhyme or reason
To it’s requests so low
That nothing sounds satisfying
Just a dull ache
In the pit of my stomache
That nightly awakes
Around 1 am
like an alarm clock
it comes
I get up
and search
The kitchen for some
Of whatever it is that I’m craving
But can’t articulate
So in the meantime I will ponder
And continue
to vascillate.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Turkish Delight

Alhumdulillah, we just got back from an evening of socializing at some new friends' house.

They're a Turkish family, my hubby works with the man at the hospital, so he invited us over for tea. They were lovely people, it was great to hang out with people who are, well, Turkish!

The kids played soccer in their finished basement, now that's a beautiful thing. Of all surprizes, my 4 year old daughter kicked that soccer ball to kingdom come apparently! The two 9 year old soccer aficiandos were dazed and amazed by her aggressive kicking skills.

Girls rule! Go Ellie!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Friends. I really long for company these days. When I start feeling lonely, it really hurts. I despise being lonely. I don’t really know what it will accomplish, just having another person around to talk to and hang out with, but that sounds like such comfort lately. However, I am now in America and having something as simple as a friend is almost impossible.

People here are downright crazy. Yup. Neurotic, paranoid, and reclusive. People are so antisocial! It’s always bothered me and I am now faced with it again since coming back to the states.

I myself have some of these neurotic American qualities. For instance, I absolutely cannot visit another person without it being planned. I can’t bring myself to just pop in on anyone unless I’ve been precisely invited to be there at that precise time on that precise day. Even after living within the Arabic culture for 2 years I can’t just pop in on anyone, as was commonplace there. I think a lot of potential friendships didn’t happen in Qatar because I was probably perceived as “antisocial”, oh well I just can’t do that to anyone!

So, I find myself trying to make friends – I talk to other women who happen to be my neighbors, I invite them to do things, but no friends yet. Oh and did I mention that I get discouraged easily? One or two “failures” and I lose steam and give up putting forth any effort again on anyone. I have told a couple of different women to pop in and visit with me any time – I am always around, no problem etc. – I even have given one neighbor extra vegetables on one occasion, then some extra fresh bread from a batch I baked – and she hasn’t visited me or asked me to do anything. The other neighbor I frequently see when I take my kids to my compound’s playground because she lives next to it and when her son hears my son outside, he runs out and she comes out too. We talk, it’s nice, I’d love to hang out with her more blah blah blah, I know that she like me, is also staying home and even has a toddler the same age as mine, in addition to the fact that my first grade son and her third grade son love each other.

I am just really in need of support, it’s just me and the 2 girls here all day most days except the few when my husband is off from the hospital. I have a four year old girl and an almost 2 year old toddler girl in addition to my almost 7 year old son who is in first grade.

I wonder, do other stay-home moms feel as lonely and in need of companionship as me? Or am I just psycho?

I keep trying to figure out what exacally it is that is so compelling about having someone around. I guess just someone over the age of 7 would be enlightening! Adult conversation, support, etc. just sounds so good.

I’m also thinking of joining the YMCA. They have babysitting . I can go there and work out, blow off some of this steam, get a bit of a break from the CONSTANT, NEVERENDING demands of childcare, do something healthy for my mind and body and soul. For God’s sakes I don’t even get to sleep by myself! My toddler is still nursing, bless her little heart, so I am hardly ever alone, not even for five blessed minutes in the freaking bathroom some days.

I really don’t know what these women do here for support. How do they EVER escape and have time for themselves? I have been searching high and low for a Mother’s Day Out/Parents’ Day Out, and apparently that simply doesn’t exist here! That was my lifeline in Florida. 2 hours to do whatever, 2 times a week, how glorious!

So, at this point the YMCA and maybe a MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group is where I will start. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 05, 2006 Shawwal Moon Sighting - Monday, October 23rd 2006

I am so glad that Sheikh Hamza is doing this. There is such a disparity in the mainstream leadership of the ummah (Islamic Community). Every year I was in Qatar, they claimed from S'audia that they had sighted the moon...when the next evening or 2 every time we would sight it in Qatar, at just a bare sliver. There was no way the S'audis could have sighted it when they said they had. It was clear that they were in fact not telling the truth.

Kudos to Sheikh Hamza.

It appears as though there is a new star, rising from the West, in California.


Shawwal moon sighting video with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Inside, not outside

We now live in what must be the exact opposite of Qatar; Florence, Kentucky, USA!

I have opted to "blend-in" here, ie, no outward (clothing) signs that I am muslim. Frankly, after living in the Gulf for 2 years, I have come to the conclusion that "hejab" is an inner condition of one's heart, it simply cannot and will not be created by what a person does or does not wear on her outside (ie clothing).

Contrary to what many of my muslimah sisters may be thinking, no, I am not afraid to wear hejab in America. After living in Arabia for 2 years, I am not at all afraid of what anyone thinks of me. It has made me a lot more bold and able to take a stand for myself, and for that I'm grateful for the experience.

I am not afraid of it, I don't believe in it. I have concluded that hejab is sunnah, not fardh (good/optional, not a "mandatory" tenet of our faith that is imperative to make one a faithful servant of God).

Frankly, I am really tired of my brothers and sisters in Islam. I fear that the Shaitan has overshadowed the entire ummah. Everyone is so concerned with outward behaviors, to the point now where how enforcing these nitpicky codes may effect our hearts is being totally overlooked.

For instance, a friend of mine who worked with me in Qatar, Paige El Wafi, recently converted. She was Catholic before she became muslim. She visited the mesjid recently here in Cincinnati. She made the small mistake of getting all the way up the stairwell to the women's section and to the threshold of their room's door before she remembered to take off her shoes. OF COURSE, they chided her when they saw what she had done!

Well, she was already feeling nervous and kind of ambivalent about her recent decision to convert. The way they treated her was very upsetting, and she was quite embarassed by her faux pax. She ended up feeling so bewildered that she left the mesjid right away, in tears.


This is a sin, and things like this happen constantly in the community of muslims. I am sick of this crap.

Abū Hurairah said,

An Arab of the desert stood up and began urinating in the mosque. People were about to take hold of him but the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him; said to:

"Leave him alone and throw a bucket of water over his urine,
for you have been
raised to deal with people gently and you have not been raised
to deal with them
17 (B. 4:58.)
Clearly, we can see from the Prophet Mohamed's (PBUH) perfect example that it would be a sin to chide a new convert to Islam for forgetting to take off her shoes in the stairwell of the women's section. The Prophet (pbuh) didn't chide the man for URINATING in the MESJID! He didn't SAY A WORD! Why should brothers and sisters in Islam be constantly pointing out each other's nitpicky "mistakes", when that's not the prophet's example?
Don't people have a brain anymore?
We're muslims!
We have ISLAM!
We have the QURAN!
Where is the ijtihad?
I'm done with mainstream Islam. The focus is all wrong. It's all concentrated on outward sets of behaviors, to the extreme that the inward condition of the heart is actually damaged. This community has nothing to offer to me at this point in my path, sadly.
To all of my Shia' friends out there, your community in general doesn't count in the statement I just made. Although strange at times, even with the deviations so to speak, I have observed wholeheartedly that Shia' Islam still has it's center in the right place, around the condition of the believer's heart.
I am done with the outward.
I have searched the world over for a "community" in which I will become closest to God, and I cannot find it.
My conclusion is that I must look within.
Now it's time for the real work to begin.
Basic Mevlevi zhikr, 1x daily plus the 5 times prayer.
Eyvallah, huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

At the airport

This is me and my three lieblings, along with this great guy who is a driver from Shafallah, Megdi. He seemed to feel obligated to take us to the airport, and even up until the last minute he was trying to convince me to withdraw my resignation. Sorry friend, no can do.

Saying Goodbye

It was 11pm, July 3, 2006. They saw us getting in the Shafallah van to go to the airport, and so all of the neighborhood kids from our compound came out to tell my kids goodbye. God bless!

Leaving Doha

They made it all the way across Doha with that horse, then they came to the parking garage....

OOPS! We were carrying a horse on top of our car, weren't we?

Not anymore!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Appalachian Heritage

3 summers ago I reunited with my birthparents. I found them after searching from start to finish in only three months.

I did most of the searching via the internet. Thank God, how convenient it all was. I used the adoptee’s secret weapon, the State of Ohio Birth Index. You see, every birth, even of babies that were surrendered, is registered in this index. It cost me something like $20, it came on CD-ROM. I bought every year available.

So you enter your birthdate, search the database for just your county, and pop! Up comes all of the births in that county for that date. I got more specific, and looked at the year. For my year it just so happened that there was only one birth on that day, what happened to be Thanksgiving Day; “no name baby Napier”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“No name” babies are almost always babies that were born to mothers planning to surrender the baby. It had to be me! So that’s how I discovered my birthmother’s (probable) last name.

I had certain facts, what the social worker called “non-identifying information”, such as; the ages of my birthmother and birthfather when I was born; my birthmother’s and birthfather’s hair colour, body shape, eye colour; the fact that my birthmother has a sister 2 years younger; facts about my birth, such as that I was a breech, along with certain health facts about my birthmom; and many other non-identifying details about her parents, etc.

So, I proceeded to search the birth index again only this time for a girl with last name “Napier” in Butler county Ohio who would have been 14 in the year I was born, with one sister who is two years younger.

Only one girl came up with that specification, so I wrote her and every “Napier” I could find an address for in Bulter County Ohio (I used online public domain property records to find these addresses)!

I sent a simple story, that I was searching for my birthmother, for medical reasons, and if anyone knew of a girl who had surrendered a baby in the year I was born to please help me connect. Well, about a month later SHE wrote me ! She confirmed that she was in fact my birthmother ( I sent details about my birth that only the right woman would know). She was shocked but elated to hear from me. She said it took her a month to write me because she had had to summon up the courage to tell her three daughters (yes I have three half sisters from my mom!) that when she was 14 she had had sex and gotten pregnant the first time and had had a baby and had surrendered her for adoption, and that now that baby is grown and has contacted her and that they have a long lost sister!

So, we sent each other pictures, etc. She also supplied me with my birthfather’s name! So I searched property records for everyone with his last name of Bolden, and poof! About 2 weeks after I sent my searching letter he emailed me! Apparently everyone I had sent the letters to was his family! They had no idea he had gotten a girl pregnant when he was 13! So there he was at age 42 having to tell his family about what happened (kinda bad), while also telling them what is happening now,(kinda good), getting his daughter in his life. Insane, huh?

So about a month after I found him, I traveled back to Ohio and met both of them. I met my dad first. We spent a looooong lovely summer day picnicking at Houston’s Woods State Park. I had both of my kids (only two at the time), we pitched a tent and brought food and drinks. My birthdad had a dog, and my son just ran and chased the dog all day.

It was great to just talk to him and get to know him a little. I finally know now where I get my musical talent from! My dad! Both he and his father my Grampa are folk musicians! Yay!

I also got to meet my sister (my bdad’s daughter) Brandy and her son, Davin. Finally, I see where I get my toes from! Where I get my teeth from! And we have suuuuch similar personalities, me and my dad! In many ways looking at him is like looking in the mirror. I really do look like him. Finally, to know.

I met my mom and my other sisters a few days later (separately from my dad, of course). We had a great time looking at her old photo albums, she told me lots of stories about her mom, my Grama who passed just a couple of years before, and I got to get to know my sisters a little bit.

My birthmom was definitely more freaked out than my birth dad. I could tell she was a bit apprehensive, or perhaps it was that she was simply in shock. We all were, but I wasn’t very aware of how in shock I was until months after the fact.

The really crazy thing is that my birthdad and birthmom, as well as my adopted Dad, all were born in southeastern rural Kentucky; APPALACHIA (and so does my Adopted Dad! What a trip!). So I very well may be “my own Grampa”, even more than I ever realized.
My birthdad’s Grandmother was a pure Blackfoot Indian. My adopted dad’s Grandmother was also Indian, although they aren’t sure which tribe! So all these years I’ve been saying that I am part Native, and it has actually been true, not an adopted fabrication!

It’s so great, at last, to know.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

If I Were....
If I were a month, I would be: October

If I were a day of the week, I would be: Friday night!

If I were a time of day, I would be: Early morning

If I were a sea animal, I would be: a dolphin

If I were a direction, I would be: North

If I were a sin, I would be: Gluttony

If I were a historical figure I would be: Annie Oakley

If I were a planet, I would be: Earth

If I were a liquid, I would be: Sauterne

If I were a stone, I would be: Diamond

If I were a tree, I would be: a Bodhi

If I were a bird, I would be: a Falcon

If I were a flower/plant, I would be: a rose

If I were a kind of weather, I'd be: a brisk fall evening

If I were a mythical creature, I'd be: a shapeshifter

If I were a musical instrument, I would be: a viola

If I were an animal, I would be: a wild mustang

If I were an emotion, I would be: melodramatic

If I were a vegetable, I would be: butternut squash baked in butter

If I were a sound, I would be: rain

If I were an element, I would be: Fire

If I were a song, I would be: Amazing grace

If I were a movie, I would be: Cinema Paradiso

If I were a book, I'd be: Like water for Chocolate

If I were a food, I would be: Sushi

If I were a place, I would be: Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park

If I were a taste, I would be: sweet n sour

If I were a scent, I would be: lavender

If I were a religion, I would be: universalist

If I were a word, I would be: antidisestablishmentarianism

If I were a body part, I would be: the nape of a woman's neck

If I were a facial expression, I would be: mouth open wide laughing

If I were a subject in school, I would be: literature

If I were a cartoon character, I'd be: Mulan

If I were a shape, I would be: indescribable

If I were a number, I would be: a bajillion!

If I were a piece of jewelery, I would be: a 2-carat diamond set in platinum

If I were a piece of furniture, I would be: clawfoot bathtub

If I were a car, I would be: 1960's era VW Bus
If I were an item of clothing, I'd be: Columbia Sportswear hiking pants with those cool pockets and zippers


I have officially entered the realm of Chaos.

My husband's father is apparently dying; we are in the middle of moving out of Qatar (an international move); we are scheduled to leave in a week and three days, and still haven't sold our car; my housemaid won't accept any of the (great) people we have found to sponsor her.....AGH!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

An "Open Visa" for a Housemaid in Qatar???

We're supposed to leave Qatar for good in 2 weeks, plus about 4 days. Besides packing up our stuff, we have some business to settle. Gotta sell the car, as well as figure out what to do with our housemaid. We're facing a very unpleasant dilemma.

We wanted to help her immmigrate to the States, but she was denied a visa. Apparently she doesn't meet the qualifications of "being rooted" enough in Qatar to get a visit visa, nor the criteria required to officially get an immigrant visa. She hasn't worked for us long enough (at least one year) to accompany us as our housemaid from Qatar. Bummer!

SO; we have been trying to accommodate her wishes for her next job. It's her life after all! However, it's a complicated situation… She has been saying she wants to work for Westerners like us…but only if they're muslim too. No Western Christians etc. She also says she doesn't want to work for an Arabic family, even if the madam of the house is western and the man is Arabic.

So…who exacally is left? Finding a couple like my husband and myself is like finding a needle in a haystack. We are rare birds.

NOW the big idea she is proposing is that we write her a release paper from immigration and find her someone who will sponsor her on an "open visa". She says they want HER to pay THEM QR4,000 for this "open visa".

Well, contacted my little friend whose hubby works at immigration, and turns out this "open visa" thing is illegal. Yep, apparently there are folks out there accepting bribes from "khadamas" (housemaids) and letting them work illegally out on the economy.

You can't legally be sponsored by one person as a housemaid and work for other people. These folks know it too, that's why they're asking for QR4,000 as bribes.

What troubles me is;

1. That my housemaid thinks working illegally like this is a good idea. If they'll exploit one rule, what is stopping them from exploiting her in other ways. Effectively, she has no legal rights if she working illegally. She would have no legitimate channel for recourse if she is exploited.

2. That I can't give her what she wants because it's illegal (the "open visa"). I really like this girl, my kids love her like an auntie or something, leaving her here is really going to be tough.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Main Type
Overall Self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

OK. let me say that this seems totally like me! Wow, one of the first of these tests that sounds right. -RH

Friday, June 02, 2006

Christians Cover their Hair too, mashallah

Just found great stuff regarding Christians who cover their hair and believe in modest dress. Mashallah!

I didn't realize that this movement goes beyound the Amish/Mennonite communities.

I have a lot of anxiety about returning to the States to live. Thoughts like, "what will I wear?"..."I will be singled out as a terrorist if I wear hijab.." "How will I make any friends, (especially since it looks like we're going to live in Ohio)?"... "Everyone will think I'm a FREAK!!!".

The truth is, I love wearing hijab. Now, this includes the headscarf as well as modest clothing, ie clothes that don't reveal your figure. I love wearing the arabic "jelabiyya", a non-form-fitting dress, kinda like what nuns used to wear back when they all wore habits.

Ok, so wearing a jelabiyya would be fine. Wearing "shalwar kameez", the indian national dress which is basically just a long shirt with pants, is fine. But as soon as you cover your hair everyone suddenly is terrified of you. Heck, I could be standing on the beach in a bikini, but if I am wearing a headscarf suddenly there's a problem!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

9-seater van for sale

We're selling our Hyundai H-1 9-seater van, for those of you in Doha who might be interested. Less than 30, 000 kilometers, insurance and registration paid through May 2007. Still under warranty.

The insurance appraised it worth 48,000 QR, we're asking 50,000 QR as this includes the price we just paid for the insurance and registration (which are fully transferrable). Email me for further details!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Allergic to chocolate! Meh!

Yes, we've confirmed it folks, my 17-month old baby is officially allergic to chocolate!

She gets itchy red spots on her abdomen and upper legs every time she eats chocolate, as well as when she steals a sip from my turkish coffee or "chai halib" (tea with milk).

Rats and phooey!

This means that we have to eradicate chocolate from our house, she can't see her big sis and/or bro eating it and they will be if it's here... poor baby!


...Chicken coop ("brudder house"), and Main Barn buildings

...In the "brooder house" when I was a kid, there were not any chickens, but instead about 25 cats. My Mama had planted catnip around was like the kittie crack shack!


My family's farm in Ohio is dad said he and mom planted a vegetable garden for my kids to pick when we get there in July!

This photo is of one of our old hay fields, which now is where the garden is.

The house is where my father grew up, and my Mama and Great aunt lived there still when I was growing up. A lot of wonderful memories were made here, for sure.

It's a 300 acre+ farm, with a lot of woods. It'll be so lovely to go there, after having spent the last two years in the barren desert.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Was (and still am) sick yesterday, had to go to the (government) health center to get meds as well as note from the Doc to legitimize missing work. Figured I'd go to West Bay not Madinat Khalifa, seeing as my neighbor informed me that in fact West Bay is where people living in our section of town are supposed to go to, not Madinat Khalifa.

Using the public health care system here is really the only way to go. The private clinics give the illusion of better care, and yes they do have an overall better level of service, ie Westerners feel comfortable...but if you oh say turn critical and need a rare IV antibiodic, you're up %$#@ creek without a paddle. They will still take your money and pretend to treat you, but you could end up literally dead beacuse of them! I know from first hand experience. I had MRSA infection a year and a half ago, and Doha Clinic was going to "treat me" and take my money even though they didn't have the one antibiodic in the world that could treat me proprerly! Going to Hamad hospital saved my life, for sure.

So, back to yesterday. Got there (West Bay) with wicked sore throat, chills, and slightly dizzy. Yes, I did make the mistake of not waking up the hubby, I drove myself. Well, I go to register to see the doctor. They take my health card and tell me (what I already know) that I'm not registered at this health center....then they proceed to tell me what I don't know which is that I CAN'T USE ANY OTHER HEALTH CENTER, EVER!!!!!!!!!!!! "That would be a disaster," the sister behind the counter informs me.

Well, I was so sick, and exhausted, and this frustrated me, so the tears started to roll along with the words, "Haraaam! You mean you're turning a sick person away from the Doctor? Haraam! (forbidden!)"...and I demanded to speak with the superivisor.

Well, I spoke with the supervisor, and he politely validated that this was in fact true and the way the system operates, and that Madinat Khalifa is only 5 minutes away, blah blah blah. Apparently they have no ability to create another file for me at any other health center, that's their reason for turning me away.

Man, this is like the stories I used to hear about Communist Bulgaria!

...What a shame, it's the THIRD-RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, but it doesn't function like it is.

Sometimes I tell my husband that it would have been easier to live with the headhunting cannibals in Papau New least there what you see, is what you get.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

So Third World

Well, after reading what is happening to Nzingha in Saudi, I've decided to post about my own ATM troubles here in Doha, Qatar.

Several Fridays, and Saturdays as well, I have tried to access my funds via the ATM, with no luck. I try the first ATM; ..."this ATM is temporarily out of service". I drive a couple of kilometers to the next roundabout, and find the same status of that ATM. So I think, surely the third one I try will be working, but no. Not the third one, not the fourth, nor the fifth.

I have now been driving around Doha for almost one hour, just to get money so I can buy groceries. I decide, ok, I'll try and use my debit card. Nope. Sorry madame, we can accept only cash as our computer network is down and we don't know when it will be back up and running.

I give up, and try later in the day, and sure enough the ATM's are up and running by 4pm.

I kid you not, this has happened at least 4 different times! I don't know if it's that they all run out of money, or if the computer network (which I believe is QTEL) goes down, but you would think this would be severely hurting business in the country!

I can't believe people don't rush the banks and pull all of their money out and hide it under their mattresses.

I certainly have no trust in the banking system here after all of this nonsense!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Arabic weaving, known as "Sadu".

Unbelievably, this lovely weaving is not expensive. It's traditional Gulf Bedouin style, and comes in other colour patterns. Most of them are bright like this one, although one style is primarily just black and white.

There are lots of carpet shops here in Doha, selling expensive Turkish Kilms, carpets, and other such items from the region.

I deem this sadu a bargain at only QR70.00 ($19.17)!!! I got another piece that is much larger, more suitable as a wall-hanging, and it was QR150 (unbelievable $41!!!!!). It measures 2meters x 2 meters.

Head out to Souk Wakif on the main walking street area to buy this stuff. The first three shops on the left drive a hard bargain; take whatever price they ask and half it. That should be about the correct price.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Musical Discord

Well, there's been so much drama at work lately. The Emir's wife, Sheikha Moza, visited my school 2 weeks ago, and I was the appointed tour guide of our department. It was nerve-racking, but great.

Then we had all sorts of guests touring the place last week, and we were blessed to be graced with a Music Therapist specializing in the Nordoff-Robbins method of music therapy, visit with us from the UK. She had a lot of great suggestions and we anticipate her return this fall to give us a training in a new method of assessment that will work well for early intervention, and kids with autism.

So, in the midst of all of this hulla-balloo, my co-worker who isn't a music therapist, but works as a music teacher (but doesn't have the equivalent of a Western degree in music education), started acting out. Now he has a history of acting out from the very beginning (since 2 years ago); uncooperative with me, undermining, defiant, etc and so forth. I don't know if it's that he's angry that I have seniority over him (by 4 days, c'mon!), that my salary is higher, if he has resentment because I am allowed (because I simply have more education and more specialization than him) to do therapy, or that I am a woman. He won't just be direct and say what is bothering him and be done with it. It's never a direct confrontation, but instead always this sideways dancing around everywhere but in the place that really counts.

For a while there I thought the dude was genuinely trying to be my friend. Man, what a sucker I am. Inviting me and my family out to eat with him and his family, blah blah blah. For a year and a half it's all been fine and dandy, now he's acting out again.

It's turf wars. He told me and the other music therapist to our faces that it was fine, he would rotate between rooms, then turned around the next day and told administration we were not letting him "have a classroom". Snake.

So, I wrote my paper, he wrote his, and Admin made the decisions. Decisions they should have made a long time ago; it's like the cart has to come before the horse here, never the horse first. Because there's an obvious problem, now they are telling everyone their roles. Sort of.

We (music therapists) go here here here and here, he (music teacher) goes there. Halas. No speaking to each other allowed at work.

Funny note; my music therapist colleauge tried to start doing groups with this music teacher. He brought along some xylophones. The music teacher asked him why. The therapist explained how they are adaptive instruments for special needs kids, and that it's easy to have the kids play (he demonstrated) and harmonize the songs they are already singing with the music teacher. The music teacher's reply was ...

"we won't need them then, because there is no harmony in Arabic Music...."

...reflective, huh?

6 weeks and counting...

Friday, May 12, 2006

My precious baggage!

Impending Exodus

My blog entries are going to be a lot less thought out now. I feel the need to just write, and not think so much, so here ya go.

We're beginning to undertake the enormous task of preparing to move back to the United States. Calling shipping companies, getting quotations, trying to figure out what is essential to take and what isn't.

My kids have sooooo many toys; my husband and I have sooo many books; even after the first cut we made of our books upon coming here, there are still so many of them! After paying something to the effect of $500/per cubic meter to send this stuff here, then back again, these will be some pretty daggone expensive books!

I'm thinking regarding our books, we'll narrow it down to the really rare, expensive stuff that will be a hardship to replace in the states financially; our Mohamed Assad hardback Qu'ran; our hudge collection of Ryad as Salaheen; my husband's nursing school text books; my stacks of sheet music that I have accumulated over the course of 25 years of being a musician! ...oh, and let's not forget my musical instruments themselves.....A viola, Ovation Guitar, a Remo Riq, and a Remo Djembe! ...and my husband's Bass guitar, and it's stand! It cost us over $600 just to fly via UPS the viola and the guitar from Clearwater FL to Doha (...then the guy wanted so many thousand riyals in backsheesh to get it out of customs at the Doha Airport!). These are heat-sensitive items remember, not very good candidates for surviving the cheaper, although scortching hot trans-Atlantic boat ride.

As far as the kids' toys go, we'll definitely bring home our extensive Thomas the Train Set; all of the My little Ponies and their accutrements; all of the Fullas (and shame on us, Barbies); all of our childrens' books; and any other toys that are educational and not crappos.

Crappos. I don't know how or when it happened, but somehow my kids' play room became primarily crappos! We have to wade through the junk to actually find something worth playing with. Halas, no more.

My husband and I agree that we will have to (tactfully) ditch the crappo-toys; toys that have lost the rest of their set; McDonald's crappos, Burger king crappo's, etc. Why do these toys always do just one thing? And after a couple of goes, then that one thing breaks? Then we have a stack of broken toys from the fast food chains, that my kids never play with. HOWEVER, when we approach them on discarding the broken toy, they throw fits, claim that this is their favorite toy, and scream and moan until we promise it won't go bye-bye. Ugh! That alone, besides the horribly un-nutritious food, is a great reason to never patronise fast food chains ever again!

Monday, March 20, 2006


Accoring to the Corruption Index, these are the countries that are from least-to-most corrupt;

2. New Zealand (tied with Finland!)
30.United Arab Emirates

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Breech of Trust

(my husband wrote this on his blog, but since it applies to me as well, I just copied it).

As much as we have enjoyed our stay here in Qatar, it seems that we may be leaving soon. We’ve had a dispute with our employer over electricity. When we originally contracted to come to Qatar two years ago, we were promised no electric bills (that was part of our contract). It seems that they have unilaterally decided not to pay for that anymore… which is fine, but for the fact that they are breaking their agreement with us.The amount of money isn’t huge, it’s about 1000 rials per month, but the point is that it is something that they agreed to pay for, and it amounts to a pay cut for us. If they can cavalierly ignore this part of their promise to us, then likewise they can ignore any other part of the contract.

It’s a matter of honor at this point. We won’t work for those who don’t honor the contracts that they make.

Holy Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 177:

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or west;
but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book,
and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves;
to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.”

We have tried to negotiate this, and we are willing to be flexible with it, ie accept a nominal pay raise that would approximate the electric bill, or receive some other benefit of comparable value, but to no avail. They refused and said that if we don’t like it, we can leave Qatar.Unlike most, we didn’t come here for the money, in fact we made quite a bit more money in the US than we make here, but that’s fine… we are quite satisfied with that, and agreed to it. We don’t really care much about money per se. What this issue brings up is more about trust than money. If an employee cannot trust his employer to honor his part of the contract (and vice versa), morale will suffer and trust erode.

As Muslims we expect those that we work for to be honorable, and failing that, we will find opportunities elsewhere.As with most things here, there is probably more to this story than we are aware of. The employer has passed it off as a decision from the Ministry, something that they have no control over… but the fact still remains that they are no longer paying for something that they agreed to pay for.

Qatar has a lot of potential. I think that His Highness the Amir in particular is a wonderful leader. He is probably the most enlightened head of state in the Islamic world, and they are doing a lot of things right here, which is one of the reasons that we chose to come here in the first place. Qatar is becoming one of the planet's greatest success stories, and could eventually become instrumental in helping to restore Islamic culture and civilization to its former heights. But on the other hand, if Qatar loses sight of the needs of the people who are helping to build this place, and if it loses their goodwill and confidence, the task of cultivating a prosperous, thriving, and enlightened society may well prove impossible.

In Islam we generally don’t speak of things that are negative unless the situation is quite serious. In keeping with this, I rarely mention things that may be bad or difficult. Yet this situation crosses the line, as a pledge has been broken.

While I have been a strong advocate of Qatar in the past, in light of this breech of trust, it is with deep regret that I say that I can no longer recommend Qatar as a place that ex-patriates should seek employment, or as a place to which Muslims should make hijrah.

In any case, we’re not sure what we’re going to do next, international moves take time, but expect (Rockin' Hejabi) to relocate in the coming months. We have short-listed the UAE, Kuwait and New Zealand so far!

Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Mutaffifin (Defrauding, The Cheats, Cheating) 1-12:

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.Woe to those that deal in fraud,
Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure,
But when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due.
Do they not think that they will be called to account?
On a Mighty Day,
A Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds?
Nay! Surely the record of the wicked is (preserved) in Sijjin*.
And what will explain to thee what Sijjin is?
There is) a Register (fully) inscribed.
Woe, that Day, to those that deny
Those that deny the Day of Judgment.
And none can deny it but the Transgressor beyond bounds, the Sinner!

* from the noun “sijn” meaning “prison”, the term Sijjin here refers to something lasting and inescapable.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Inside the cave

Looking up...

Cave in Dahl-al-Hamam

Dahl-al-hamam Park ("House of the Dove")

Here's the cave at Dahl-al-hamam park here in Doha. Apparently it was a tidal cave. They closed its entrance shortly after they first opened it last year, I am assuming because someone must have gotten hurt. We were very fortunate to be able to go inside and take these photos. Enjoy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I love Richard Shindell

Next Best Western

from Courier

It's the middle of the night

Near the Indiana line

I'm pulling in a Christian station

The signal's crystal clear

But I cannot really hear

What he says about the Revelation

I am wretched,

I am tired

But the preacher is on fire

And I wish I could believe

Whoever watches over all these truckers

Show a little mercy for a weary sinner

And deliver me - Lord, deliver me

Deliver me to the next best western

Did he who made the lamb

Put the tremble in the hand

That reaches out to take my quarter

I look him in the eye

But there isn't any time

Just time enough to pass the tender

The highway takes its toll

The green light flashes go

And it's welcome to Ohio


At four a.m. on 80 East

It's in the nature of the beast

To wonder if there's something missing

I am wretched, I am tired

But the preacher is on fire

And I wish I could believe

Whoever watches over all these truckers

Have a little mercy for a weary sinner

And deliver me

Lord, deliver me

Deliver me to the next Best Western.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Muslim Women's Dress Part Two - SWIMSUIT EDITION!

from Dervish on Street Prophets

Silence=You Agree???

copied from the blog Small Dead Animals

Moderate German Canadians

I've had several readers send me links to items referencing moderate Muslims. One offered that posting them would serve as response to "the defamers who vilify SDA as anti-Muslim racist".

While it's charitable to think that SDA critics might be influenced by actual SDA content, I've come to accept that when it comes to those who are motivated by hatred of all things conservative, it doesn't much matter what I write, or don't write - someone will find a way to misrepresent it.

But while I was mulling it over, I chanced upon this post at CJunk that that pretty much strips the argument bare;

“Very few people were true Nazis” he said, “but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous.During these debates, I'm often reminded
* of a chapter in James Gray's The Winter Years - a series of recollections of the depression on the Canadian prairies. Gray spent many of those years at the Winnipeg Free Press. He tells the story of Paul Ausborn;

Paul Ausborn was a man who heard voices, a sea captain who had sailed the Baltic for the Kaiser in the First World War. After the war, he sold his ship and bought an apartment block in Kiel and served the Weimar Republic in a small way by teaching navigation to German youth. It was while teaching navigation in 1926 that the voices told him that Adolf Hitler was coming to power in Germany and would lead the world to war.Ausborn sold his property and moved his family to Manitoba. However, he hadn't escaped the Nazis.

Through his old connections with the Social Democrats in exile, Ausborn obtained a large collection of pictures of the atrocites being committed by the Nazis in Germany. He rented a store on Logan Avenue to show his gallery of infamy to Winnipeg. Nazi sympathizers wrecked his exhibit. He started over and put another exhibition together. at the same time, he scoured the German-Canadian community for supporters and could find only a handful. [...] Ausborn was overwhelmed again and again by the force that the Nazis were exerting on the German population of western Canada, and by the lack of interest in his work on the part of other Canadians. He was beaten up by Bundists, and harried by city policeman who saw nothing wrong in Hitler, because the only people Hitler was bothering were Jews and Communists.
As an indication of Ausborn's physical courage, he and two young friends once invaded a huge pro-Nazi picnic and distributed 6,000 anti-Nazi pamphlets and miraculously escaped unharmed. But in his efforts to rouse the city to the menace of Naziism, he lost every battle, every skirmish even. Nazi agents, on the other hand, infiltrated the university, the schools, the churches, and every other part of the German community. Ausborn was ostracized by the other Germans, most of his family deserted him and with his money gone, he was reduced to living on relief.

One day early in 1937 he came in to see me in a state of near-collapse. He had received word of the death of an old friend at the hands of the Nazis, and announced he was going to enlist in the International Brigade and fight in Spain. At fifty he was too old to fight, so he drove an ambulance on the Madrid front that summer. He came home to Winnipeg in the fall to give the organization of another anti-Nazi front a whirl. His Spanish interlude made him complete non grata with the city police, but most of us on the Free Press had read Mein Kampf by then and were taking both Ausborn and Hitler seriously. But until the very outbreak of the war, anti-Naziism was a lost cause in Winnipeg and the boisterous rejection of appeasement by the Free Press won it few plaudits.While the "vast majority" of moderate German Canadians (my mother's family among them) were peaceful, hard working citizens who held no Nazi sympathies, and would have recoiled at the notion of gassing hundreds of thousands of children in the name of racial purity - in the end, it mattered not a whit. What mattered were the extremists bent on attaining the power to transform a perverse ideology into reality, and the weaponry to export it - and the majority who just sat back and let it all happen.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Music Therapy in Arabia

Here's a little sneak peek at our new building. I work in a school for children with special needs, and we will be moving to our new center over the course of the next month.

This is a view of one of our individual treatment rooms (complete with observation windows) for Music Therapy!

We have five music therapy individual rooms, 2 large group rooms, a custom-made ROMPA sensory room, and a music recording studio.

We also ordered a ton of fabulous instruments. However, to my knowledge they aren't all here yet, so I don't want to get too excited and brag about them until they are really here.

I will post more inshallah as we move in and things solidify.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Role of Watermelon in Deep Knowledge

Once upon a time there were three dervishes. they were called Yak, Do, and Se. They came from the North, the West, and the South, respectively. They had one thing in common: they were looking for the Deep Truth, and they sought a Way.

The first, Yak-Baba, sat down and contemplated until his head was sore. The second, Do-Agha, stood on his head until his feet ached. The third, Se-Kalandar, read books until his nose bled.
Finally they decided upon a common effort. They went into retirement and carried out their exercises in unison, hoping by that means to summon enough effort to produce the appearance of Truth, which they called Deep Truth.

For forty days and forty nights they persevered. At last in a whirl of white smoke the head of a very old man appeared, as if from the ground, in front of them. "Are you the mysterious Khidr, guide of men?" asked the first. "No, hie is the Qutub, the Pillar of the Universe," said the second. "I am convinced that this is none other than one of the Abdals, The Changed Ones," said the third.

"I am none of these," roared the apparition, "but I am that which you may think me to be. Now you all want the same thing, which you call the Deep Truth?"
"Yes, O master," they chorused.

"Have you never heard the saying that there are 'as many Ways as there are hearts of men'?" asked the head. "In any case, here are your ways:

"The First Dervish will travel through the country of Fools; the Second Dervish will have to find the Magic Mirror; the Third Dervish will have to call in the aid of the Jinn of the Whirlpool." So saying, he disappeared.

There was some discussion about this, not only because the dervishes wanted more information before setting out, but also because although they had all practiced different ways, each yet believed that there was only one way--his own, of course. Now none was certain that his own way was useful enough even though it had been partly responsible for summoning the apparition which they had just seen, and whose very name was unknown to them.

Yak-Baba left the cell first, and instead of asking everyone, as had been his custom, where a learned man might live in the neighborhood, he asked whoever he met if they knew the Country of Fools. At last, after many months, someone did know, and he set off there. As soon as he entered the country he saw a woman carrying a door on her back. "Woman," he asked, "why are you doing that?"

"Because this morning before my husband left for his work he said, 'Wife, there are valuables in the house. Let nobody pass this door." When I went out I took the door with me, so that nobody could pass it. Now please let me pass you.

Do you want me to tell you something which will make it unnecessary to carry that door about with you?" asked Dervish Yak-Baba. "Certainly not," she said. "The only thing that would help would be if you could tell me how to lighten the actual weight of the door."

"That I cannot do," said the Dervish. And so they parted.

A little way further on he met a group of people. They were cowering in terror before a large watermelon which had grown in a field. "We have never seen one of these monsters before," they told him, "and it will certainly grow even larger and will kill us all. But we are afraid to touch it."

"Would you like me to tell you something about it?" he asked them.

"Don't be a foot!" they replied. "Kill it and you will be rewarded, but we don't want to know anything about it." So the dervish took out a knife, advanced upon the melon and cut a slice, which he started to eat.

Amid terrible cries of alarm, the people gave him a handful of money. As he left, they said: "Please do not come back, Honoured Murderer of Monsters. Do not come and kill us likewise!"

Thus, gradually, he learned that in the country of the fools, in order to survive, one must be able to think and talk like a fool as well. After several years he managed to convert some fools to reason, and as a reward one day he attained Deep Knowledge. But although he became a saint in the Country of the Fools, they remembered him only as the Man who Cut Open the Green Monster and Drank its Blood. They tried to do the same, to gain Deep Knowledge--and they never gained it.

Meanwhile, Do-Agha, the Second Dervish, set off on his search for the Deep Knowledge. Instead of asking everywhere he went for the local sages or new exercises and postures, he just asked if anyone had heard of the Magic Mirror. Many misleading answers were given to him, but at last he realized where it might be. It was suspended in a well by a piece of string as fine as a hair, and it was itself only a fragment, because it was made up of the thoughts of men, and there were not enough thoughts to make a whole mirror.

When he had outwitted the demon who guarded it, Do-Agha gazed into the mirror and asked for the Deep Knowledge. Instantly it was his. He settled down and taught in happiness for many years. But because his disciples did not maintain the same degree of concentration needed to renew the mirror regularly, it vanished away. Yet to this day there are people who gaze into mirrors, thinking that this is the Magic Mirror of Do-Agha, the Dervish.

As for the Third Dervish, Se-Kalandar, he looked everywhere for the Jinn of the Whirlpool. This Jinn was known by many other names, but the Kalandar did not know this, and for years he criss-crossed the Jinn's tracks, always missing him because he was not there known as a Jinn or was perhaps not referred to as being connected with a whirlpool.

Finally, after many years, he came to a village and asked: "O people! has anyone here heard of the Jinn of the Whirlpool?"

"I have never heard of the Jinn," said someone, but this village is called the Whirlpool."

The Kalandar threw himself upon the ground and cried: "I will not leave this spot until the Jinn of the Whirlpool appears to me!"

The Jinn, was lurking near by, swirled up to him and said: "We do not like strangers near our village, dervish. So I have come to you. What is it you seek?"

"I seek Deep Knowledge, and I have been told under such-and-such circumstances that you can tell me how to find it."

"I can indeed," said the Jinn. "You have been through much. All that remains for you is to say such-and-such a phrase, sing such-and-such a song, do such-and-such an action; and avoid such-and-such another action. Then you will gain Deep Knowledge."

The Dervish thanked the Jinn and began his programme. Months passed, then years, until he was performing his devotions and exercises correctly. People came and watched him and then began to copy him, because of his zeal, and because he was known to be a devout and worthy man.

Eventually the Dervish attained Deep Knowledge; leaving behind him a devoted assembly of people who continued his ways. They never did attain to Deep Knowledge, of course, because they were beginning at the end of the Dervish's course of study.

Afterwards, whenever any of the adherents of these three dervishes meet, one says: "I have my mirror here. Gaze enough and you will eventually attain Deep Knowledge."

Another replies: "Sacrifice a melon, it will help you as it did Dervish Yak-Baba."

A third interrupts: "Nonsense! The only way is to persevere in the study and organizing of certain postures, of prayer and good works."

When they had in fact attained to Deep Knowledge, the Three Dervishes found that they were powerless to help those whom they had left behind: as when a man carried away on a running tide may see a landlubber pursued by a leopard, and be unable to go to his help.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf of the Zaytuna Institute of California was here speaking, alongside Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens in a charity event to benefit the victims of the trouble in Darfur, Sudan, as well as the Kashmir crisis and tsunami victims.

He spoke about Islamic Civilization, in particular, what can the arabic world do to become civilized (whoa, he actually said that!).

He said that first, people should take care of animals (It's a common thing here for children to torture and kill pets/animals, throw rocks at dogs, kick cats, etc). Second, obey the traffic laws. Actually care about the other drivers on the road more than yourself. Third, rid the governments of the massive corruption that exists. There is an inverse relationship between the level of corruption and a country's economic success.

He sure blew me away!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

An Islamic Argument in favor of Vegetarianism

In doing my research for this piece, I couldn't find any information about livestock-rearing practices in the Middle East. The one page I was referred to had been blocked. Hmmm.

Dervish and I have been avoiding following what our brains know about this subject for a long time (our stomaches keep getting the best of us).

Now it seems our hearts are speaking. My six-year-old son has been commenting a lot lately about how we can't kill anything and eat it anymore. He has had 2 beloved pets (our beloved cats, Azrak, then Ringtail) tragically killed in the last three months, and I think it registers to him that death is permanent and once someone or something is dead, we can't bring them back.

I am unsure about the global situation, but in the United States, livestock-rearing practices are purely evil. I am going to prove my argument that it makes absolutely no difference if the animal was killed in the halaal (Islamically-mandated/literally, "permissable") way. Even if the animals are slaughtered according to Islamic law, the meat is still unsafe.

We need to pay attention. Things like BSE/Mad Cow disease, along with God-only –knows what else, are very real threats. We must ensure that not only is our meat slaughtered in a halaal manner, but that the way the animal was fed and raised was permissable.

Is the animal “tayyib?” Is this animal that God created as a grass-eating ruminant, being fed what God created it to be eating? Human beings are messing with the food chain in bizarre and terrifying ways. Grass-eaters have become cannibalistic carnivores.

To begin, livestock is routinely fed “protein supplements,” with the idea that this will fatten them up faster before being butchered and then eaten by humans. However, these protein supplements have evil, forbidden ingredients. Euthanized pets (complete with their insecticide-laden flea collars mind you, and their bodies are full of the poison phenyl-barbitol which doesn’t change its chemical composition after being rendered into the protein supplements!), roadkill, and body parts of cows, sheep, and chickens (cannibalism) are what make up this “protein” supplement!

Animals that are supposed to be eating grass are now eating meat. Cows, chickens, sheep etc. are now carnivores, and not only carnivores but also cannibals! Baby cows are also separated early from their mothers (they aren’t finished suckling yet) and need to be bottle-fed by the farmer. The formula they are given is composed of dried cow’s blood! Cannibalism!

The Quran directly forbids us from eating the meat of carnivores, and the meat of carrion.

Carrion, blood, swine, meat in the name of anything other than God are all forbidden except out of necessity/ignorance.



Friday, January 13, 2006

What if...

My six-year-old son is overflowing with ideas and questions. He is truly amazing, and quite a challenge to parent at times. Yesterday he came up with an interesting question;

..."what if we took all of the milk from all of the cows and grocery stores etc. on the whole planet earth and dumped it into the ocean? Then wouldn't it be a sea of milk"?

Well, at first I said of course not, there's more ocean than milk, it would still be the same ocean as it is now....

But then I thought about it some more, and realized how unscientific of me, I am just assuming that.

I need read data to answer this one properly. Anybody know the estimated volume of ocean out there? And the estimated amount of cow's milk on the planet? Thanks!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Compound Criminals

2 days ago, we went out to the playground in our compound only to find that my 3 year old daughter’s brand new life sized dollie had been dismembered and buried in a sandy grave on the playground. Her clothing had been removed, her head was even chopped off, hair was pulled out, and lay strung across the playground sand.

Well, my daughter shouldn’t have taken her dollie out to the playground….but wow she really didn’t deserve this! I can understand one of the kids trying to steal her or something….but drawing and quartering her, then burying her like a corpse in the sand in a shallow grave?

Apparently a certain boy and his sister (I swear this girl exhibits many qualities of ADHD, I guess that’s another post), were seen doing the evil deed by trustworthy enough witnesses whose testimony was also corroberated by our six year old son.

So, my husband and I decided of course to tell their parents, so the kids could be disciplined. After all, this is really quite an awful transgression, right? We thought so. We were actually mortified. What kind of kids do this? It’s twisted behavior, for sure.

Well, we had a language barrier to overcome but a lot can be communicated with our broken Arabic and gestures and pointing. They got the message, but aggressively denied with much yelling and mean tones towards us that their kids could have possibly done such a thing. Then, they actually had the nerve to try and invite us into their house and sit down and drink tea and discuss this with them!

What total freaks!

So, my husband and I “battled it out” so to speak with them on their front steps. They repeatedly denied in deplorable yelling tones at us that their kids could have done this, even when we brought the boys who had witnessed the act. Then the father had the nerve to yell at this poor teenage boy that was trying to help us by translating what we were saying! It was as if the father of these ‘ebb children didn’t want to hear the truth.

Finally, I demanded an apology, which they forced the kid to mutter, which he mustered up in a very defiant tone, like he was being falsely accused or unjustafiably persecuted.

I made it clear I didn’t want those kids anywhere near my kids or my house ever again, the man yelled loudly and terribly at us some more (why is he yelling at us, his kids are the ones who were naughty!!!???), and finally, disgusted, and confused, we walked home.

Then today, I was looking out my (one-way) mirror watching my three year old daughter on our front steps, when the pack of neighborhood boys walks up, and I see the same boy involved in the dollie incident come and whack my daughter, unprompted, on her head!

Let me tell you I busted out the front door yelling “come here”, in Arabic, and the kid was bolting for home, then stopped. Then my husband came, shooting like a lightning bolt, yelling “what happened???” and I told him who did what to our daughter, that I had seen the whole thing through the oneway window.

So my husband runs and catches the kid, who tries to run away. My husband grabs him by the ear and pulls him while running all the way down the row of houses to his house, where I hear my husband getting shouted at like all kingdom come from the ‘ebb kid’s father.

Then, the pack of boys, who are still standing there in front of my house, totally shocked, yell, “Hey, maybe they are fighting!” and they all immediately book it down to the ‘ebb kid’s villa to see if there is any action.

Well, I was holding the baby, but I decided to try and run too. When I arrived my husband was already starting to walk home and the boy’s father was out in the street, once again screaming god only knows what at the teenager my husband brought to translate for him. It really looked like the man was going to hit the poor boy.

So, I approached the mother who was standing on her front step, yelling stuff 100 miles an hour at me in Arabic, which of course I had no idea what she was saying. Then her teenage daughter said “you liar”.

Well, I blew my stack. I screamed, “I am the witness! I saw ________ hit my daughter”, (hand guestures and pointing included), and the mother then proceeded to tell me again that I am a liar.

So, I was beyound pissed off. I said the gratuitous “Hessbiyallah wa amalakeel” thing, which means “God is enough for me and is an excellent refuge,” which basically means they are doing me a seriously wrong deed, and God can dole out a much better punishment for them than I or any other human ever can.

What is it with these people? Why can’t they just admit to the fault and punish the little rascal? Why can’t they make reparations? Why is saying “sorry” so impossible?

Do they want to raise their kids up to be criminals? Because that’s what these two will become if they don’t learn to behave!

Why are they denying these two could do any wrong? Why are they protecting them like this? This is such damaging behavior.

Man, even my neighbor in Florida whose boyfriend WAS A DRUG DEALER was a better parent than these people! My son had a couple of minor run-ins with hers, and every time she apologized to me, punished him in front of me, and made him make reparations.!!!!! A DRUG DEALER’S GIRLFRIEND!

The father in this scene is a PROFESSOR at the local university !!!! What does that say, man???

Any insights from y’all out in blogosphere would be most comforting, especially from my readers who are part of and understand the Arabic culture.

My husband and I feel so left hanging. There is no closure. I feel so vulnerable for my kids, knowing that these spawn-of-satan suffer absolutely no consequences when they hurt my sweet precious little darling girl; knowing that the parents of these very awful children refuse to even listen to our reports of the terrible behavior they are engaging in, let alone do anything about it.

In America, the next step would be to involve the police. The boy is aggressive, harrassive, and the boy and girl have repeatedly tresspassed and vandalized our property (this is just the beginning, there are several other stories I could tell about the girl). Would American law address the parents? Surely the law wouldn’t penalize a 7 year old and a 10 year old. I’m unsure what the law says.

But we’re not in America anymore.

What do we do, here in Qatar?

We are at a total loss.

This whole chain of events makes me want to move out of this compound. I pray that the Ministry will facilitate that for us!!!! We have disliked this villa ever since we arrived in it. It's hard enough to have used dirty furniture, a villa that we are still cleaning from the last tennants even after 2 years of being here, continual maintenance problems, a playground full of broken glass in the sand and equipment that is unsafe and broken, a clubhouse that has been looted and is now closed, a swimming pool with lights floating in it, constant vandalism and graffitti, and gross electrical problems and hazards everywhere in the compound....but this behavior of the neighbors just takes the cake!

Vandalism is common in this compound

They set fire and melted a bench on the playground.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Thoughts to ponder from Thoreau

from Walden, Chapter 2;

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential

facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to

die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so

dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to

live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to

put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into

a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to

get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or

if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in

my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty

about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded

that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."

It seems to me that the times in my life when I have really lived, and really felt connected and at peace have been the most simple; backpacking in Yellowstone National Park on my days off from working in a restaurant in the park; living in my (spartan) cabin in the Absaroka mountains of Montana(where there was no plumbing and I had to walk 100 feet to the shower/potty building); backpacking in the Blue Ridge mountains on a part of the Appalachian trail.

With much recent reflection, I am realizing that the more contrived my environment is, the more artificial and removed from nature it is, and the more unhappy and fragmented I feel.

Cement, processed/manmade foods, air conditioning and electric heat, a completely automobile-dependant commuter infrastructure (cannot get anywhere by walking), Urban Sprawl, pavement and cars and exhaust fumes, industrial air pollution, shopping malls galore, tinted glass, clothing that is totally not purposeful for using one's body in or moving freely in made out of artificial fibres which are biproducts from the petrol industry, makeup, dyed/bleached/permed hair, and everywhere you turn the message is "buy ____, buy____," or else how could you possibly be happy???! What else is there to do?

I need to sit down with Dervish and make a plan to get rurual, or at least in a more person-friendly/pedestrain-friendly environment in the near future. I can deal with living in this environment, but I can't change the fact that this is the way it is!

Definitely a harsh aspect of living here that I am really not dealing with well. Got to get out to Dahl-al-Hammam park daily and walk, at least there is green grass and vegetation!

I miss living in Clearwater and walking my son to school every morning...being able to walk to the library, to downtown and let them chase the birds while Dervish and I could sit and drink a Latte, then walk them home. I miss the Pinellas Trail. Walking with my daughter to the pier on the intercoastal waterway after we had dropped my son off at school, and just watching the men catch fish. Seeing the thunderstorms roll in from the Gulf of Mexico. I miss Crabby Bill's oysters on the half shell, and fresh boiled shrimp for $8.00/pound. Oh, I can smell the saltwater seabreeze now. Clearwater always has a seabreeze.