Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kefir and kombucha

DH has called my remedies "voodoo" ever since we were married 8 years ago. The only thing that has changed is that he now ASKS for my "voodoo" rather than running from it. I have become interested lately in probiotics... And the result is that I am, insha'Allah, going to start growing my own kefir and kombucha cultures. Basically, they both result in a drink. Kefir is like yogurt (a drinkable consistency) and Kombucha yields a tea which is pretty similar to apple cider. Why???

Drinking "living" drinks has different health benefits depending on the drink you are talking about. Kefir helps balance yeast and grow a healthy environment on your insides for optimal absorption of nutrients and general digestive health. This one is pretty straight forward and like a good yogurt regimen pretty widely accepted as fact. Kombucha tea falls further into the "voodoo" category, but basically the kombucha culture digests the sugar and tea into a slightly vinegary drink with several detoxifying ingredients and some helpful vitamins and enzymes.

I was given a kombucha culture by a friend in college and remember that it did make a pretty drinkable tea that I tryed. Of course I was young and in good health anyway, so I gave up after some time since I really thought I didn't see a drastic improvement in my overall health. Now, with all these things DH is on for his condition... Detoxing seems like a good thing. His liver has already started to show some stress on the blood tests, so I remembered kombucha.

If anyone has thoughts on the whole thing, let me know. I am new to growing kefir, so I might be crying for advice... But I have purchased it from the store in the past and yikes!!! I paid a bundle for the three week course I did to kick a case of thrush I had when the baby was about 2 months old. But, it did work. I even applied it topically for the first week. And I rubbed acidophiles on the baby's tongue every time she nursed (since I was afraid to give her the kefir since it was cows milk). And it worked wonders. I also lost my tummy pillow that I always seem to have. Of course the tummy crept back later!LOL

Ummmm, OK I'm rambling now. Kefir good. Kombucha, hopefully good. Making them at home, good. Amywhoo, back to my whole wheat bread (which hopefully hasn't over-risen).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yellow polka dot Burqini?

So, DH and I have been contemplating meeting at the local rec center every morning and taking the kids swimming. This leads to my usual question of, "Is it worth it to try to find a modest swimsuit or will DH tease me until I run and hide in the locker room?" Ha Ha.

I think I have settled on making one, but we will have to see how expensive it is to buy that many yards of swimsuit fabric!LOL So, has anyone out there bothered to try these "modest" swimsuits? What do you think of them? I'm thinking no matter how much they suck I am dying to get into the water with the rest of the family!!!!

Of course in looking for images and ideas I came across all sorts of craziness... And if one such crazy person should happen to stumble across my blog. No, these suits are not oppressive. The fact is once you wear hijab and are committed to it you feel naked without it. I know, I know... "How's that?" you ask. Well, everyone has their own standard of modesty. I personally think that most women work hard to overcome the natural feelings of shyness to go out wearing a bikini... I know I did. So if you see a woman in a "modest" swimsuit, please just smile and say, "To each her own." Look, as long as you don't force me to wear your suit... I won't force you to wear mine, deal?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Egyptian Husbands

I have had so many people find me by searching for something to do with marrying an Egyptian... So, I thought I would humor these searchers with my take on being married to an Egyptian. Not to be mistaken for my earlier post on You know your husband is Egyptian when...

Basically, I think Egyptians make a good match for American women. Assuming that they are from a city... Because I could see where there might be more friction/cultural mis-understandings if a big city American married a village Egyptian. Overall, as long as you both give each other some time to understand the differences... Insha'Allah, you will be fine.

The things that might come up... Keep in mind that I am generalising here... But after a decade of Egyptians I have noticed some trends.

I have seen standards of modesty as a problem in some marriages. It seems to me that Egyptians (no matter what religion) are very modest people. So they really don't want to see their wife in a mini-skirt and a tube top walking out the door... EVER. I never had this issue personally, because I wear hijab, but DH has seen it happen with his friends.

Family, and visiting family... Egyptians are loyal to their families no matter what. I have seen Egyptian couples separate over one insulting the other's mother, sister, brother, whatever. This fierce loyalty is all good if your spouses family is normal, but can be a real hassle if they are not. Personally, this comes up for me all the time. I can have a lengthy conversation with my DH and feel he sees that his sister can be awful and downright destructive only to have him go visit her the next day. Alhamdulilah, I am over it because at least he lets me say how I feel and doesn't expect me to visit. But I have seen this be a source of tension in marriages where the husband not only visits the crazy relative but insists that his wife does too.

Disciplining children. DH jokes that some people in Egypt beat their children for breakfast. I think that may be going a little far.... But I do think the manor of discipline is different between Americans and Egyptians. Americans talk to their children and try to shame them out of bad behavior. Many Egyptians skip the shame in favor of a smack on the hand. This can be hard because consistency is so important with children. So, rather than a disciplinary tug of war, I think couples should have a policy for their home. And it should be specific.

What constitutes a meal. I have heard American wives bemoan the amount of food they have to serve in order for their husband to call it a meal countless times. It seems that Egyptians just have bigger meals, so don't be shocked when you serve what you think is a meal and your spouse asks "Where's the rest?"

He might think that you are Superwoman. It seems that men from all over the world have the impression that American woman can do everything and work tirelessly. Ummm, no we can't.

I'm sure I could go on with the trivial things, but those are the major ones that I can think of. Now for the great things about being married to an Egyptian.

They LOVE their families. Yes, along with the bad parts there are good parts to the loyalty to family. Your DH will put your children first and will love them fiercely.

They have kind hearts. Most Egyptians are kind, generous, and welcoming. You will never feel uncomfortable in your spouses friends homes. And, I think it rubs off. You will find that he brings out the sweetness in you too.

They will never be too busy to sit and have a cup of tea and some sweets with you... Providing that you bring the tea and the sweets;)

Hmmmm, I hope that I haven't offended. As I said, these are my observations. I would urge caution to anyone marrying someone from a different culture as I have mentioned in previous posts... But I think that Egyptians are a good match for us American girls most of the time;)

Magnoona has left the building...

Soooooo, if you have been paying attention you know my SIL (the one here in the states, I have two) drives me to the brink. She has been visiting us for the past two weeks, and basically just annoying me as much as humanly possible. For the finale today, for the first time in my 32 years, I yelled straight at a person other than my DH or my poor mom (whom I yelled at a lot when I was a teenager). Yes, it was my SIL.

Now, I have maintained my control with her so many times. I have kept my cool with a woman I swear would make Gandhi renounce his pledge of non-violence... But today I laid into her, and of course she yelled right back and the whole thing was rather unbelievable really. DH just woke up to go to work and he told me, "Please tell me that this evening didn't really happen."

Basically it went like this. I tell DH that even our neighbor whom my SIL saw only briefly during her visit (she was sleeping on the couch 99% of the time) mentioned to me how sad my SIL seemed and how hard her life was with her disability and thier mom dying. DH then tells SIL, see even our neighbor knows your sad story and proceeds with his usual advice about don't go around making sure everyone knows you are miserable and they should feel bad for you. Now see this is where the sequence of events should stop for a normal person... But you are not talking about a normal person you see, so then... SIL concludes that our neighbor must know from a mutual friend about her sad life and her tragic situation (which is just crazy because if you sit with my SIL for five minutes she will tell you about her sad life, you don't need secondary sources) and gets really angry that this mutual friend who knows the details of her situation only for the purpose of setting up a fund for her (some sister set up a trust fund for my SIL because of her "tragic" situation) and how dare she gossip to anyone about it (that's my SIL's job of course). But, she doesn't stop there, noooooo. My SIL then proceeds to go over to our neighbor's house at 10pm and confront them to find out what they know and who they know it from. YA RUB!!!!!!

So, I am sitting there, watching from my window knowing I can't do anything to stop this psyco, and she is about to cause a big problem. I am imagining that this poor woman is going to be berated by her husband about this since I know they are not the type to gossip and are very private people... And the wife really said NOTHING. What she said to me was very general, you would say the same thing if you sat with my SIL for five minutes. And my SIL is going to them accusing them and their friend of gossiping about her. I was ready to pack my bags and move. I was sooooo embarrassed. Then she brought the husband to our house only to continue the fight with my DH in front of him. So, the polite husband left and soon as he could and went back home. So now, my SIL and my DH are screaming at each other. Soon, she is telling me look what you started. I went crazy.

I started by telling her that she couldn't even see the point of DH talking to her. "He was telling you that you can't go around telling everyone your problems so you fix that by going and telling our neighbors your problems and dragging them into the fight with your brother?" From there, it just kept escalating. She is accusing DH of just being dragged into my evil plots against her... I'm telling her she is crazy and doesn't have the social skills God gave an avocado... DH is telling her his whole life with her is like this... She's saying she just wanted to clear her name and we are the crazy ones... And so on. So, as I am answering a phone call from the neighbor (who were masha'Allah very nice about the whole thing) saying she never heard anything from their mutual friend and let's just forget all this ever happened, my SIL just leaves. I am hoping she is going home. But no. She went back over to our neighbors to say one more thing. I was livid. DH just told me "Ma'laysh, just go have some chai because you can't stop her."

Now, I have to say I'm not sorry I yelled at her... Although I do know that it doesn't make her see what she did. I feel better. And, Alhamdulilah DH had my back... Which is a nice feeling. I guess the really crazy thing is that she has no idea what she did. UGH. I told my DH that if his other sister comes to the states (which we have been planning for this summer) I can't have both of my SIL's here. If we want the whole family to be together it has to be somewhere where my crazy SIL can only embarrass the s&*% out of me in front of total strangers. Just what I needed after feeling drained from chasing all the kids (she brought her daughter which DH and I must watch and include in everything but never discipline) and dealing with her demands for the past two weeks so she can sleep on my couch all day. Sheesh. Well, good riddance to bad rubbish as they say. Now I just hope I can get the courage to go BBQ with the neighbors tomorrow as planned. I'm just praying that my SIL didn't cause them a big fight.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sugar coated Islam

I have been noticing a new movement in Islam... For lack of a better word, I will call it sugar coated Islam. It seems like people are just pushing the idea and not the substance of Islam. I see it in my own born and raised Muslim SIL. It's this wierd idea that you can just "Do your best" (which is usualy pretty far from actual Islam) and everything is fine.

I know everything STARTS with La illah... But you should build on that, not have it as your only goal. And this attitude has been leading to some things that I just can't stomach. Maybe I'm a hard-nosed person... But there are things that even if I do them, I am under no illusions that I am right. What I am seeing more and more from people is a lack of understanding that they are bending the rules. Quite the contrary, they think they are good "modern" Muslims. You know, considering how different things are now, and how hard it is to be a muslim in today's world (rolling my eyes).

Now from my perspective, there is no such thing as a "modern" muslim. We should be striving for the same things that the people around the Prophet were striving for, and in the same ways. The trappings of our life may be different, but the substance should be the same. I accept that we will have a hard time reaching the levels that people around the Prophet reached (they had a stellar example after all) but I don't think that means we should stop fighting for it.

So before you tell yourself the fairy story that "we live in different times" followed by "so it's ok to pray late, to read less Quran, to let our children stray further and further from the deen... (fill in the blank here)". I want you to think about what happens when you set the bar that low. You won't jump higher one day... You will just keep lowering the bar.

Let me tell you a little story with my kiddos that was making me think about the expectations I have for them. This week my 7yo got a new bike. It was her reward for learning to ride a two-wheeler. Now, I never asked 5yo and 4yo to try to ride without training wheels, because I assumed that if my DD didn't ride untill she was 7yo they wouldn't either. But, DH and I decided to go against our assumptions and when the boys asked to have thier training wheels off we responded by taking them off and assuring them they could ride without them if they just kept trying. And you know what? I chased my daughter for months trying to get her to ride, sadly proclaiming it "hard" and it took her months to learn it. My sons went off with a smile and a you can do it... Only to have them return hours later RIDING A TWO WHEELER!

So, this weekend when I get out the salat programs and try to have DD learn fatiha and everything she needs to know to pray, I will raise the bar and include my sons. You never know, maybe they will all learn together.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NOT an all inclusive resort....

OK, so I know that I shouldn't talk but I am going NUTS here. My SIL came for an unexpected visit (which is enough if you have four kids in 800 square feet) and brought all her problems and demands with her.

Last night she woke my DH after we had been asleep for only an hour screaming hysterically (not a good thing to do with a person who has an overworked heart and problems sleeping)... Why? She was cold and didn't want to get into her chair and go like 2 feet to get a blanket. The night before she called for me at 3:30am after a whole day of chasing kids and doing all the set up and break down for a day camping by the lake to get her tums. I was peeved and I stomped downstairs thinking, you had better be dying!!! She said sorry, and I felt bad that I was mad and at least was happy that she knew it was an annoying thing to do. But noooo, she had to continue "I tried to call you on your cell phone, but it was down here." Sorry for yelling, not for waking me at 3:30am. Now, this is funny because she is just like that. She sits on the couch demanding things all day, or sleeps. THIS IS NOT A RESORT!!!! I am not a place for her to crash and be serviced. She must be doing these things for herself at home because she lives alone.

Can I just say that this is not the time for this? We have so many things going on with the businesses and our lives. I am ready to have a throw down with the guy I am renting my store from. The permits for our property are taking an eternity. Our tax guy is sooooo behind I am going to have to go to a new accountant soon.... And so on. I need a break, and am in no position to give one to someone else right now. Sheesh.

OK, rant over.... Now I'm going to try to post some pictures of DD2 eating the cake we got her for her first birthday yesterday... Incidentally, she liked the bath she got after the cake more than the cake itself!LOL