Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Too tired to post!

Want to post about hurricane... Energy fading... But, we are organizing a fundraiser here in Laramie. Also still trying to move some behinds about starting a hsing group... Too much happening right now... So tired...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Get a grip man!!!

OK, so this article in the NYT has me wondering about men these days. Are we that out of touch with our bodies that we don’t realize how babies make it into this world? Sorry to the guys who are suffering from this, but I just can’t believe we have come to this in our society.

It mind of makes me think about the whole breastfeeding and sexuality thing… It is a failure to understand that a woman’s body can nurture and love something other than her man…And a failure of men to accept that their partner’s body may have some purpose other than their sexual gratification. Sorry guys, I just have no sympathy for this one. But then again I have no sympathy on women who can’t get over the idea that a baby at the breast is not somehow sick and sexual (unless they are abuse survivors or something).

Of course I think there is another side to this. We don’t generally see natural birth. We see managed hospital birth. Many men who are with their wives at natural births (esp. home birth) report seeing their wife as “strong” and being downright in awe of their ability to bring a new life into the world. And women are often grateful for their husband’s support and encouragement. Thus making birth a bonding experience for the couple and leading them to trust in each other’s strength and love.

So here are a few “gems” from the article if you don’t have time to read it all.

They seem to have trouble seeing them as sexual beings after seeing them make babies…
Well, maybe they missed that part of sexuality… Yeah, it’s about reproduction on some level.

In the age of the "new man," very little consideration is given to the potentially negative side effects of togetherness in the delivery room.
What about the possible negative effects of abandoning your wife in labor in a day and age where you may be her only support?

The trouble is that the moment turns out to be both intensely beautiful and potentially traumatic.
Oh, get a grip!!!

Women may want to consider the risks as they invite their partners to watch them bring new life into the world. For some of the passion that binds them together may leave their lives at the very same time.
And for some that may be the most profound experience in their lives as a couple!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Meme from Umm Zaid

Seems we made this a meme… And Umm Zaid tagged me, so here goes!!!


1) Do you think your blogging friends have an accurate image of you? How well do you think you know them?
I would say people who read my blog on a regular basis have a pretty accurate image of me, since I talk about my life and how things relate to my life… But, I can’t say for sure.
I don’t assume I know anyone well until I meet them in person or know them via personal conversations for quite some time. So, I guess the answer is I don’t know many other bloggers well.

2) Is there a certain 'type' of blog that you usually read? Do you mostly read blogs of people similar to you or different from you?
No, no type. I read whatever catches my interest. Most of the blogs I read are written by Muslims; mostly converts now that I think about it.

3) If there was a blog convention and you had the opportunity to meet everyone in blog-land in real life would you go?
Oh, I would so be there;) But I would be hoping for some children’s activities because I bring them everywhere!LOL

4) If you went and you were seated at a table for four, which other bloggers would you want at your table?
OK, well that is hard… I would love to get some really conservative news type blogger (does Rush have a blog?) at the same table with Dictator Princess, Leila M. and Umm Zaid… Hey, they wouldn’t have to serve a main course, we could have him for dinner!LOL We’ll teach him a thing or two about uneducated, oppressed Muslim women!LOL

5) Do you share your blog with significant others, family and friends in your real life or is it your little secret?

Half and half. I don’t really talk about it with my husband, so it is kinda secret… But he is a smart guy, so I know he knows that I probably have a blog. But since he never goes online except to e-mail people from work I think he just doesn’t really care to investigate further;) As for other people… My brother is a fellow internet addict, so he knows I blog but nothing specific like the address or anything. And a few people I know ITRW have the address, but I don’t know if they are regular readers.

Hmmm, so I tag Safiyyah, Umm Ibrahim, and Sobia.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tune in, Drop out

Soooo, after feeling all at sea yesterday about what my life would be like dealing with the school system and all the lovely things sending our DD to school would entail DH and I came to a compromise.

I will start a homeschooling co-op here in our own (with the help of a local mom who has been hsing for a long time). Once said group is in place I will pull her from school. Needless to say I am a little anxious to get the group going so I can pull her from school. Kinda funny since tomorrow is her first day and I am already looking into pulling her. I would never start her but DH is insisting.

So, if you have any experience with HSing co-ops... Let me know. I could really use the help.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I like to be in America…

Remember the song in West Side Story where the men were singing how much they liked America, and the women had just as many reasons to hate it to sing back? Yeah, my life is kinda like that right now

I HATE it here in Wyoming… Truthfully I would rather just pack it up and move to Egypt. You see what the US is, Wyoming is; only more pronounced. We are still a cowboy state in so many ways. No regulations, no desire to be progressive and basically everyone just does as they please. Which works fine when you are in the majority. It becomes oppressive when you are in the minority though.

I never really felt like people want us here. We just don’t melt enough for Wyoming pot. You see, I just refuse to accept the culture and blend with the natives. And I never will. I can’t stay true to myself and do so.

So this leads me to a question that has plagued me since I converted. We (Americans) say we are accepting and we are an immigrant nation after all… But are we really? I would say no. I would say that America has developed its’ own expectation for conformity. So we are “free” to follow the American way, but not free to follow our own beliefs without criticism from the masses. Ironically, the self-proclaimed leaders of the free world are incredibly restricted in their behavior and beliefs.

So, I am ready to trade the illusion of freedom for a place where at least the majority includes people like me. I really don’t know that it is a solution, but at least I wouldn’t feel that daily life is an uphill battle. But my husband insists that I should just endure and stay here to make money. Yeah, “I like to be in America!”

I wish the average American could see the country for what it is. I am stared down daily by women who obviously think I am a totally oppressed freak, bombarded with images of holidays I don’t celebrate, surrounded by a culture whose beliefs are almost polar opposite of my own… And to be honest I don’t mind it. What I do mind is that I feel these things are being forced on me. That I am somehow un-American because I don’t sit out on my patio in my tank top drinking Coors Light while grillin’ up some ribs. And I don’t put up a big Christmas tree in my living room every year and cover my roof with lights.

What’s a girl to do? Well, I think with my daughter heading to school this year at my DH’s insistence I am going to be thinking about that question a lot more in the near future. I went and talked to her teacher today and would you believe me if I told you they spent an entire month doing different Christmas activities? That the name of the unit they do is called Hat’s Off to Christmas? See what I mean about oppressive to minorities? I can’t really pull my kids out for an entire month. Of course the good part about this is that my DH is getting serious about home schooling as a real option even though public school is available to us now. Insha’Allah, he will see that what I said about keeping her home is better in the end for her education and her identity as a Muslim. Insha’Allah,

Friday, August 19, 2005

I scare the delivery guy...

So I ordered food from a new place in town today (quite good too) and my order was late. Then it was really late. Then it was so late that my kids were having the hunger meltdown that I was trying to avoid by ordering said food. So I called the place and they had forgotten my order. The gentleman on the phone asked if I still wanted it and apologized and assured me it would be here quickly. So I said, no biggie (I understand that small stores get crazy some days) and no need to apologize, I still want my order.

Cut to 20 minutes later. A young man, (about my height but half my size) comes in wearing a pro-Israel shirt and a VERY shocked face. "Are you the person who ordered from Fat Burrito?", he asked with his hand still on the door looking a little skittish. "Sure! Thanks for coming so quickly!" Now the shock is melting, but I think he was still a little confused by the whole situation... I got a discount that I returned as a tip, and the poor guy left looking a little befuddled.

I'm sure he was thinking to himself here I am wearing this shirt, and that lady in the veil is gonna refuse the order or something. No way, I am totally fine with opinions everyone has one. Wear it on your shirt if you like. No hard feelings. But you see I don't really look very liberal or understanding, do I?

What's the moral of the story UmmLayla? You may be asking.

Stereotypes are bad, and they contribute to a lot of unwanted behavior. So, I promise not to judge you for your pro-Israel, Jesus Saves, or Blessed Be shirt... And you don't assume anything about my hijab. Sssallright? Sssallright.

And a sidebar... Who else (other than Muslim women) is out there wearing their beliefs and facing this on a daily basis????? We don't even need t-shirts!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Seriously, advice?

I have hesitated to talk about this, but it has gone on for long enough that it can no longer be ignored. I have been depressed now for about 4 years… And what started as malaise has turned into a full-blown depression. I have tried to talk to my husband about it, but he is looking for “legitimate” reasons for me to be depressed and since there are none in his mind his conclusion is that I am just spoiled and therefore will never be happy with what I have. He sites my former fianc├ęs and their finances as the reason for this (they were extremely wealthy). I site no friends and his tendency to be harsh and hard to talk to. Whatever I think of the situation it leaves me with no one to talk to about it.

So, at the risk of sounding totally desperate and pitiful… I am wondering if there is anyone out there who has been through this. Maybe a sister who has been through it might have some advice on what they have done.

Truthfully, I have considered many things… Medication, therapy, moving, divorce, I am really at my wits end. I just want to feel like the cinderblock that has been sitting on my chest (especially in the last year) can be lifted at some point. I have so many things to do as a mom, a student, a wife and a business owner… I can’t do it feeling like this. The house is a mess, I fight with my husband, and I never seem to have time to study Islam… I just don’t know what to do anymore.

So, I know pitiful. But I am hoping someone will have some sage advice on this one.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Felted Bag;)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
So, on the lighter side... Here's a picture of a knitting project I just finished; a felted bag. This is the first thing I have felted and I think it is really fun, I love the texture. Thinking of a felted hat for my daughter next....

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bleeding heart me...

I have been trying to have a deep thoughts kind of post recently… And I have yet to come up with one. There are a few things on my mind right now, mainly because they are in the political sphere lately. Gaza going back to the Palestinians, increasing governmental involvement in private lives here in the US, and my fear that Roe v Wade will be overturned before Bush’s term is up.

The one I have the most thoughts on is Roe v Wade being overturned. My thoughts on the Gaza thing are basically, “Alhamdulilah” and “It’s about time.”… And the increasing governmental snooping into our private lives… Well, yeah. Dead horse, I would just be beating it.

My feelings about Roe v Wade are pretty strong. The more I fell it coming, the stronger they get. Which is weird because I can’t imagine a scenario where I would have an abortion. I’m sure the stem cell stuff is fueling that a little, but basically I have the same stance I have had since reading in college what life was like for women before abortion was legal. I think that abortion is a medical procedure and anything regulating it should be done by doctors for medical reasons. I think the right to have an abortion is fundamental. Now let me qualify that by saying that I mean abortion in the first trimester… I don’t want to muddy the water with partial birth abortion and such.

Women died trying to get abortions before they were legal. Now, I know people are dying in the “war” on drugs everyday, and you could get all, “Well, UmmLayla maybe we should prevent those deaths by legalizing drugs!” No, I don’t think the arguments are even close to the same (and I am for legalizing marijuana, and not just for “medical use” either). And furthermore abortion is a very personal issue; no one gets involved except the woman. On the other hand if you legalize drugs or prostitution people will be affected because they will be partaking of these things. I don’t think there was ever a woman who had an abortion simply because she could.

I know, I know, “But UmmLayla, the baby is involved!” Now here is where I just hope I am not going to get any hate from Muslims. Folks, in our religion the baby isn’t a baby until somewhere around 40 days. So, religiously I think we are able to say that early abortion isn’t ending anyone’s life. And, I think that it would be safe to say that if you could justify it to yourself and your God… Well, the decision is yours.

I don’t think such a decision has anything to do with government. And, if you were to outlaw abortion I think it would be a clear violation of the separation of church and state. I really don’t see why government is getting into these things anyway. If our government is so pro-life what’s up with the death penalty and invading Iraq?

Now, I have no problem with people wanting to educate women about the choice they are making (as long as you spare me the “sanctity of life” junk because it doesn’t apply in all belief systems). I hope everyone who has an abortion should know there are other options… But, if you are going so far as to force those options on people… That is when I get mad. Really mad.

I just don’t want to see us go back to the days of hangers and back alleys. And I want the government to quit using what I feel is largely Christian (no offense to anyone) logic to make policy. Separation of church and state… That means no matter how many people are claiming the faith our President professes he can’t make policy based on that. And this one is clearly in that category in my mind. So, unless the constitution is somehow ratified to declare Christianity the official religion of the US, let’s keep it at home kids. At least for now I think I am more comfortable in a place where there are choices and freedoms… And of course no book burning… But that’s another post entirely.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Enlighten me

Can someone help me with blogger? I am having a problem where every link I put when I just write in the normal html in the post gets http://ummlayla.blogspot.com/ added before it. What's up with that?

Off the grid

Ever since watching 30 days episode about living off the grid at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage I have renewed my obsession with sustainable living. Now, since DH does not share this interest he is a hard sell. You see he doesn’t want to do anything that might detract from the resale value of any home we might build. Just like he doesn’t want to convert a diesel car to run on vegetable oil because it would “ruin it”. I look at living off the grid as walking the walk and really doing something about the enviornment. This is what happens when a hippie marrys a capatalist. Dharma and Greg it is not.

So I find myself wondering how you could find a middle ground between the two extremes. Can one spouse fulfill her dreams of living off the grid without asking the other to really sacrifice too much? And I am pretty lazy some days. I really think I would have to have his help with things. The truth is no one can do the whole sustainable living thing without the other people who will be living with them helping. So, by default I can assume that I am asking DH to be involved and do some work.

Is anyone doing this right now? I mean to any degree. I am still looking into it… My biggest focus being solar power and sustenance farming.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sometimes people just make you smile:)

Today I was in a little uniform hell all day long; lugging boxes down from the attic, hanging go backs, re-ordering things that have gotten messed up... You get the picture.

And in the last part of the afternoon a mom came in looking for a sling for a baby she was about to adopt. So, I showed her the slings and we got to talking... And who knows what made me say it but before I could stop myself I heard the words "adoptive breastfeeding" coming from my mouth.

Come to find out this mom had gone to the local nurse-midwife/lactation consultant to ask about it and was given no help what-so-ever... So, my social blunder turned out to be a good thing because I gave her some information and an SNS.

People like that make me smile. Not only do they want to ad to their family in a way I think is really admirable, but they are striving to do their best at it. They sincerely want to give the adopted baby the advantages in life they gave their bio-babies. So, I just wanted to give a shout out to the adoptive moms and dads out there doing their very best. Masha'Allah. I really respect it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Underneath the jilbab....

So, I was just thinking the other day how now that I am Muslim, there are things I will never do in public... I think about it sometimes, how these things would change me, how I am different because of Islam. And it seems that I have simply traded one brand of visibility and controversial behavior for another.

So, before I was a crunchy gal... Now I am a crunchy gal in a jilbab. I still have my tie-died peace sign shirts, my Hathor the cow goddess MOO! shirt, my pro-choice shirts... I still wear two braids like Heidi or something... Everything you might expect from a new age hippie. I even still like to wear bibs, peasant blouses and Indian skirts. Just now you will never see them. The one thing you will not miss is my Birks. Yeah, I wear them with socks... I wear them unless my feet get frozen stiff then I trade them for Uggs.

Why is this significant? Most people would never think I have these thoughts. Most people see me and they automatically assume I am a conservative straight laced person... Because of how I dress. So have I given up making some sort of statement by wearing hijab? Maybe I have. But, I am still controversial, just in a different way now.

Also, I was much more outspoken before I became Muslim... I was much more likely to get in your face about something. Now, no way. I think if I wasn't Muslim, trying my best to have good adhab... I would be nursing in a baby-doll t-shirt yanked up over one breast, wearing my pregnant belly out there in the air, and generally being more up front about my feelings. Don't get me wrong; I have been known to tell moms things like "Just don't show up for the induction!". And, I have told a doc or two my personal thoughts on parenting with no deletions or softened truths. I have also been really outspoken about the benefits of natural birth and BFing, but would I be even more so if it weren’t for Islam?

I think the answer is yes, I would be. And maybe here in this culture people would listen to me more if I weren't a veiled woman. But, now I see my calling as different. I see myself as a person out there and in the ummah to share my strong feelings with other Muslim women. I don't think my voice is stifled, just re-directed. And, maybe in the end that is a great thing. Now I can tell people about how women in Islam aren't oppressed at all. I can show people that Muslim mothers are sensitive to the needs of their children. People can see through me Islam as a living breathing mother, and maybe relate more to the deen through me than through a text book. And maybe the general population wouldn't listen to a person wo was too "out there" anyway.

So here I am, still getting the stares I have always gotten. Just now for different reasons. Better reasons.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Keep me in your dua;)

I am starting an internal cleanse tomorrow AM. It is an herbal one. I know I need it, but last time I tried one I ended up stopping after vomiting blacks specks of an unknown substance (which I know were not from the veggies and brown rice I was eating or the herbs I was taking). I am hoping for an easier experience this time around... We will see.

My thyroid has been so out of whack these days...I certainly don't want to keep changing thyroid meds and testing and all that. I know part of it is an iodine deficiency, but I have been eating iodine rich things to no avail. And of course there are the migraines... So I am thinking that the reason all the vitamins and herbs I am trying are not working well is limited absorption due to an intestine full of garbage. I will let everyone know how things go with it.