Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Today's serving of the 20/20 Project is going to be just a mish-mash of different things I want to talk about because that's what you get to do when you have your own show.

You want chicken fingers? Ok. We have a cold shrimp salad with boiled egg.

I'm going to type whatever strikes my fancy today.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Zoo Day

No really, it was Family Day at the Zoo today, an annual event put on by Building Blocks to bring any and all Muslims in the community together for food, fun, and just a little bit of depression brought on by viewing a sparse offering of sluggish animals in a pretty tight space for a "suggested donation" of $2 for adults. Basically the zoo is free. And if you're feeling bad for the critters, they have kept the original tiny cages on display where the animals used to be housed, so you can put that little thought away right now! A big plus is that it's just about a mile or two from my place.

More important than the zoo is the wonder of seeing hundreds of hijabs floating over the vast fields of perfect green grass made even more punchy by about two weeks straight of rain. Thankfully the clouds parted early this morning and it was PICTURESQUE to say the least. 80 degrees pretty much all day and not a drop of rain. Alhamdulillah!

This was the first photo uploaded to the BB facebook page today.
You can guess what the guys were thinking about and it wasn't hot dogs!

More fun in the sun on a bun coming up!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Too late? Too little??

Whatever. I am not the power-yoga core-building fat-burning machine "As Seen on TV".

I am also not the dedicated scholar with my nose in two books at all times while listening to a lecture and translating an article from Arabic to English (God help us if anyone ever asks me to do that).

I'm normal and flawed and have countracted Vertigo. I just think it sounds cool to say it that way, don't get all correct-y with me because I am aware that dizziness isn't contagious.

Anyway I am slow to post and when I do it can be a downer to read to the bottom and find out I didn't say anything at all.

Today I am determined to say at least one thing, regardless of the fact that I am using my phone to Swype this and my middle finger is getting numb. I don't know, it's the easiest one for me to use!!!

Anywhoodles, I did go to a youth lecture last night with a friend and her boys and we met up with another lady we hang out with a lot. The lecture will be a weekly talk on manners from an Islamic perspective. They are using a book with 100 ahadith on manners. I didn't catch the compiler/publisher but I am sure someone reading this can help us out.

The talk was good and the brother speaking did a good job keeping the kids in line. He talked about how in order to grow up strong and deal with real life after you leave your mom and dad you need to discipline yourself. Sit respectfully in class, even if it hurts a bit. Show attentiveness to the one speaking. And above all, show the utmost respect to the Creator of the heavens and the earth by worshipping Him alone. Tawhid, the oneness of Allah, is the first thing we need to instill in ourselves and our kids. It's part of good manners!

I took this very much to heart. We fall all over ourselves to talk to a celebrity (traditional or the new kind, the celebrity sheikh) or even our favorite researcher/executive/CEO of [insert company/industry]. But do we humble ourselves in prayer to Allah? Do we even acknowledge He is watching when we go to do a sin? Do we take partners with Him by asking the dead to help us (rampant overseas) or by revering another human being along with him?

Far above these acts is Allah. He doesn't need our worship. We do. He gave us faith as a gift and the least we can do is appreciate it. Alhamdulillah.

No pictures today. No silly quips. Just a reminder for those who reflect.

Oh, and may Allah bring refuge to the people being murdered in their homes by the Syrian government, led by a man so cowardly in the Face of Allah that he claims he isn't killing these kids in Houla and elsewhere. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raj'oon. To Allah we belong and to Allah we return. If you don't know about this crisis please look it up. It's one of the few things that everyone is in agreement upon right now, despite party lines. That the bloodshed must stop. 15 months is 15 too many.

Personal plea: Please don't see "The Dictator" and support the parody of what's actually happening right now at the hands of a true dictatorship. How can people laugh at such atrocities?

May Allah make me among those who speak out for justice and humanity.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Loose noodles.

I'm having some sort of inner-ear problems. Usually this would be followed up with a joke about how dumb I am or another brain-related jab at myself, but this thing's the real deal. My good friend had similar issues a while back and is a pro in this arena because her ears have always been stupid jerks that make her sick.

Basically for the last two weeks since my sinus cold (infection?) I have been ultra-dizzy, mainly in the evening. It gets worse around 5:00 p.m. Maybe it's because of a long day at work looking at the computer or as my gal pal says, because I'm moving my head around all day and the infectious fluids are sloshing about, but in any case it's hard to do anything. I can't walk, turn my head, or pick things up without getting all "rollercoaster-y". This pretty much rules out any form of exercise.

No thanks.

This is really bumming me out because I feel so off-the-wagon since getting sick and I want to return to my routine.

However, I am not interested in feeling like I need to vomit just to burn 45 calories in 20 minutes. I ain't no idjit as my dad would say. Instead I will work extra-long on my Quran memorization tonight since that has been falling off as well. I will review Surah al-Maun and work on the new one, which I have to look up here because I can't even remember which one it is!

Health Tip of the Day: Ambitions are one thing, but limitations are always there. Push your limits until you reach the point where you are pretty sure that the activity will make you spinny or otherwise worse off than you are now. Go at it again later with more vigor when you are able!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Breaking News

Can someone tell my blog readers I don't feel good tonight so I won't be posting?


Forgetful Jones.

I totally and completely forgot to post anything yesterday. I also forgot to do anything. I remembered at about 1:00 a.m. but it was too late to turn back time. I'm not sure how this all happened but I don't really like it—I hope it isn't a sign of things to come. I will definitely make a concerted effort to prevent consistent forgetfulness insha Allah (Allah willing).

But as they say in the meetings "today's another day" or "you live to die another day" or "live and let go" or something like that. I don't know, I never went to one.

This guy got way too many chances though. But that's like, my opinion, man. 

At least I didn't forget to brush my teeth or something. That's just grody.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Someone's got a case of the Mondays.

And by Mondays, I mean the most awesome day ever. Maybe not quite, but it was pretty good.

First I dropped off my car, Ruby Sue, at the dealership to say goodbye. We had 36 months of ups and downs together but it was time to part. Especially since I only had about 800 miles left on my lease allowance and those guys are NOT MESSING AROUND when you go over.

Ruby, I want to say thank you for the good times we had. You saved the whole office that one December when we drove like banshees through a blizzard, careening past stuck tow trucks; swerving madly around people trying to walk in the street (and not get run over by me); and speeding by bewildered rear-wheel-drive-vehicle owners who were left standing on the exit ramp wondering where they ever went wrong. Here's a hint: You bought a minivan that used to be a taxi. 

It's sad to say goodbye but things weren't always perfect and at some point, you have to admit that your value isn't going up. I wish you better days as a graduation gift for a B+ Concordia student.

You had me really worried when this happened last spring but we got through it together.

And another touching love story begins...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Topping it all off.

This blog cannot convey what I went through at class today. I talk about the transformative nature of each AlMaghrib class but this one was truly gut-wrenching, uplifting, terror-inducing, and redeeming all at the same time. Part of me wants to apologize to non-Muslim readers that today's post won't really have anything for you, and part of me wants to gather all of you in a room for a week to tell you what I have learned and explain this beautiful religion. Religion in the Western context isn't even a good word to use here—it's sullied by all kinds of disgusting acts from people of all faiths (including Islam).

Islam is a way of life. We say/hear that a lot but it is an important distinction. It answers the question I get from people when they ask "Do you really have to do that?" or "Why do/don't Muslims do this/that?" If people don't learn how to apply Islam to their way of life they won't know what to do or why they are doing it, much less be able to explain it to others. Which is why I insist on seeking as much knowledge as possible.

Please enjoy my two favorite photos of the week, celebrating normal Muslims making Islam normal:

I'm totally getting a bike. A cruiser like this one would be perfect.
His entire prayer took less time than the introduction of one speaker (There's a video on YouTube).

It gets a little more serious soon.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Humility via humidity.

I think our AlMaghrib instructor brought Louisiana with him this weekend. This is the only explanation for it being so hot and humid in our classroom today. I mean I know it can be hard to leave your home but we are not ready for this yet in Minnesota! My glasses were fogging up. If it wasn't homesickness, maybe he asked them to crank up the heat so his points about how you have to go through some work to seek knowledge would hit home with us a little bit more. That's fine, but he shouldn't have been surprised when we all started falling asleep in our chairs.

Stay hydrated, Barack!

The class turned out to be totally worth staying awake for.


Here are some of the tweets I knew would come in overnight (see last post). This class is going to be so good! If there's no one quoted, ot was the instructor, Omar Suleiman who said it last night:

"The good deeds of the normal people are the bad deeds of the righteous people."

"Instead of suppressing our desires, we have to conform them to the Sunnah (example of the Prophet, salli Allahu alahi wa sallam)."

"Sins need to be burnt through the pains of the Dunya (this life) or through the fire of the Hereafter."

"How could you enslave a man that's already free?" -Umar bin Khattab" (this is in the UN Charter!)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "Shaytan would rather get you with innovation, instead of sin." Because with innovation, you will never repent since you think you're doing good. WHOA!!!

"Believe it or not, Fitnah is a gift from Allah (swt)."

Wise words!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm still alive.

I know, I have been remiss. I knew this would happen at some point but it's a little too soon for my liking. Also I apologize that this post is picture- and humor-less.

This head cold has been kicking my butt all week, but the old me (well the new me from last month) would have found a way to exercise anyway. I didn't!

Don't worry though, I am not finished with this project. I just need to figure this out. I'm still dizzy from the sinus stuff, liquids are draining from my nose when I bow in prayer (dang you neti pot!), and I have a full-weekend class with AlMaghrib, which started tonight and is awesome so far. I cried twice which is rare, even for Free Friday.

What I will do for you dear reader is find good tweets from my classmates and paste them here with some of my notes. I can't commit to much more than that at this point.

Since I left my notebook in the car and everyone who would tweet about class is probably still getting home, praying ishaa, and eating dinner after class, I will wait until morning when there will be tweets galore. Here's a great GEM (Genuinely Enlightening Moment) for now to get you through the night:

"Your nafs (soul) is like a strong horse. The goal is not to kill it, but to tame it." -Hasan Al-Basri

This class, on tazkiya (purification) is all about using practical strategies to come closer to Allah in worship and daily life. May Allah purify our hearts and bring us closer to His mercy.

If I don't get a chance to walk over lunch tomorrow, I will make time after class. Insha Allah (God willing).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I've had a monster cold/flu/sinus infection or something for the past two days. My skin has gone from "dang, she's WHITE" to "Oh dear, someone call a doctor. Her freckles are gone!"

Needless to say I am not exercising. Unless you count the shuffling between my bed and the couch. I left work early yesterday and took today off completely. My head feels like I got nostalgic for being four and stuffed an entire box of raisins up my nose and now they are living in my forehead.

I don't know what they're doing up there, but it's pretty funky.

I also haven't done much in the way of Islamic studies. I know I should, but I just have zero energy. I am still making all of my prayers including fajr at 5:00 a.m. so at least I can say that, alhamdulillah.

Until I'm better, please enjoy one of my favorite strips from Calvin and Hobbes. I basically had every book of these and read them about a million times. It was kind of a problem that I loved:

As Calvin would say: More updates as events warrant!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life is Grand.

The honeymoon isn't over. I'm still jumping with joy for my new place, new neighborhood, and new outlook on life. Today the lilacs are positively bursting with that beautiful "Oh yeah, school is coming to an end" scent that everyone in my neck of the woods knows from age 6 and up.

Take THAT, winter!

I'll come back to Earth soon, but just let me have my moment in the sun, k?

Saturday perfection.

It sounds crazy to say I had the best Saturday in a long time, especially since I worked today. But it really was great. First I was surprised by a volunteer and good friend who came unannounced to the office. She sealed 200 catalog envelopes while I worked on a report and we chatted. We ate strawberries together and I didn't have to seal envelopes—WINNING! After a few more hours of working in a quiet office while the boss is out of town I was freed at 4:00 p.m. into a glorious 74-degree afternoon of cloudless sunshine.

Savor it, people—I am not this chipper often.
But isn't this beautiful? I'm on a muted aqua and red kick, if you didn't notice.

The day got better as it went along.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I hear you.

I've had a shaky relationship with one of my co-workers since I started in my job about two years ago which seems to stem mostly from misunderstandings and vast personality differences. It doesn't help that this person has somewhat limited English skills and a very limited caché of American idioms which I use like Tammy Faye Bakker used mascara. These realities, coupled with my complete lack of tact and decorum, not to mention my low tolerance for sensitive people and situations make for some pretty rough staff meetings.

I don't even have a DVD logo to watch or anyone at work that would get this joke.

Don't worry, things are looking up.


Last night's post was pretty awesome. At least for the probably two people in a far Eastern time zones who read it before I accidentally deleted it on my phone's mobile app. Since I don't believe in trying to recreate humor from memory (and trust me, I know what words I wrote here, I just don't think they're funny the second time around) you'll just have to take my word for it. I will reveal that my exercise was Nerf sword street fighting with kids after dark. I'll at least post the super-radical pic here so you can have some SNES memories.

White people and their girlfriends love a good street fight.

Oh, and some of the great Street Fighter avatars in all their low-resolution glory:

In the Islam section, we profiled a great warrior, Mus'ab Ibn Umair (may Allah be pleased with him). He was a diplomat first and would always reason his way out of a fight if needed, but went down with both "guns" blazing in the battle of 'Uhud. He refused to drop either the banner of Islam or his weapon and he didn't stop until both hands were chopped off. That's one bad brother! 

I can't promise that tonight's post will be anything like the One That Got Away, but alas, life is fleeting—get over it!

Until later ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring renewal.

It's a glorious May here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and the last couple of weeks of rain have jump-started the lawns and trees into hyper-green mode, making for verdant and refreshing scenery all over the Twin Cities. This has also been a season for the new-and-improved in my life. I just moved to a fantastic new place with a boss view and all the amenities a blue-collar girl from Southern Minnesota could want. I'm planning to change my name ASAP to follow the commandment in Islam to keep one's father's name regardless of marriage or divorce. Although I will be going back to my old name it will be "new to me" again, like when you find a beautiful treasure you forgot you even had in the upstairs closet of your parents' house after your mom threatened to finally throw out all that garbage that's been taking up space in her house for the last 14 years since you moved out. I'm also due to get a new car. My lease is up soon and I'll be selecting a new object of abuse that I can drive too fast around curves, fill with all my junk for different activities and events, and cover with a fine layer of french fry salt during my many on-the-run meals.

It's fun getting new stuff.

Now if only I could get a new brain that would work like mine did when I was 22, we'd be in business.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I know I get silly on this blog more often than not, and I do think that having a sense of humor makes the day go by faster. But every once in a while it's good to be somewhat introspective and take stock of what we have going for us. That's why I've been trying lately to show more gratitude to you for reading, my family for supporting me, and above all, Allah for everything.

I lasted about two minutes before posting something weird.

More humility on deck ...

Family Ties

As I move through life and people come in and out of my life, I start to realize the importance of the consistent bonds with family. They aren't always easy to maintain and distance or disagreements can stretch and strain them, but for the most part, they don't break. I have a few really good friends I can count on when I am in need, and I am so thankful for that. But I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have my family behind me through thick and thin. Before this gets to sappy, let's have a funny throwback pic from one of the greatest shows ever on television:

I'm totally Jennifer. Mandi's Mallory.
I guess that makes Bobbie Alex P. Keaton. Now it's funny. 

All jokes and ridiculous wall decorations aside, this is dedicated to the ones I love.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chugging along.

I had to work real hard today to force myself out of bed, into the kitchen to cook, and off to Arabic class, etc. Some days I wonder what it would be like to trade places one day with one of those flaky people who blow off their responsibilities (real, imagined, or self-imposed) on a regular basis. I don't mean the woman who calls in sick twice a year to watch daytime TV in her slippers. I mean like a 19-year-old college drop-out with serious delusions in the "what's important" department. I may have been one of these people for about a month or two in the late '90s but I don't remember much about that. All I know is I kinda want it back, just for a bit.

When's the last time I just watched planes??

But then again I don't. Because I wouldn't have this blog and that would be NO FUN.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Sorry, this is not a good way to start out a post. But I am BEAT. I was falling asleep folding laundry with a friend tonight while she was uncharacteristically awake and chipper at 11 p.m. despite having a boatload of kids and some medical issues. I guess we switched places. I haven't been sleeping well for like, ever, so that's part of it.

Hit the snooze, mom!

The rest of today's post will be short and hopefully complete before I nod off.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy home.

It's true that I am being a little annoying about my new place. I mean, it's pretty rad and so far the pros far outweigh the cons. I will likely be over the honeymoon stage soon, but until then, bear with me or avoid this blog like you would that annoying friend who has fallen in love and won't stop talking about it. Nerm, I don't mean you. I'm real happy for you.

Their love is fake. Unlike my feelings for the washer and dryer in my apartment.

More of the blushing bride coming right up.

Thirsty Thursday.

You wouldn't know it from how the day turned out all warm and sunny, but there was a crazy torrential downpour this morning that started the minute I walked out my door and stopped the minute I walked into the office. I'm not making that up. I almost took a photo from my balcony of the big, heavy, smoke-colored cloud pressing down on the historic buildings across the street, but I was late for work so I decided to get into my car before the rain came. I didn't. I don't know about where you live, but in Minnesota there are two kinds of drivers when it rains/snows/sleets: The nervous lady going 32 mph on the freeway in the right lane; and the Class-A Jerk in the red Audi flying by everyone and crossing lanes like he's playing air hockey. I think I am the only person who doesn't fall into one of these categories but I could be wrong. Maybe the others drive at different times.

Coulda used one of these on Lexington Avenue today.

Don't worry, Ruby Sue didn't get stuck or anything, but it was touch-and-go there for a while.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Half & Half

No, we're not talking about the main ingredient in the evil-barista-invented "brevé" which has about three days' worth of your recommended fat built-in. We're talking about my lame-o efforts today. But we will get to that. First I wanted to say thanks for reading my blog. You don't have to, yet here you are. It really means a lot. I am doing this first for Allah, but you are a big part of my motivation to keep going and to post every single day, even if I only kinda sorta do the 20 minutes thing.


I don't get why she took the free hug from Darth. I think the clone is just dreamy. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Life goes on.

Today I went back to work after my two whole days off for the move. It was a bit like I had been away longer (and I'm sure my neglected fish would agree). There were two new staff members having their first day at the office, and one of them, a woman about my age, sits with me instead of the guy who was in our space before. All of his stuff was in a box in the conference room. I guess everyone has to move at some point! The new girl is especially great so far. We're very alike on many levels—we both love office supplies, an organized environment (preferably equipped with Macs), and dark chocolate. I found out she's a personal trainer so while there's no way we could be compared on that front, maybe she could give me some pointers for the exercise portion of this project. Also she makes the third full-time woman in the office so the girls are totally dominating. Look out!

I get to be Lily Tomlin.

Turn the page to see if I poisoned anyone today.