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Ouchies.

24 May

Have been doing ab work for three consecutive days not out of vanity, but sheer need as new job and academia in general have induced distressing pain in shoulders.

I went for a mile and 1/2 walk the morning of our first day of Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah, and came across a lone hubcap outside the steel warehouse down the street from us. It was in perfect mint condition and was just laying against the fence, begging me to pick it up. The inside label indicated it was 15″, the same measurements of my car tires. I brought it home, stuck it in the inside wheel well (is that the right term?) and that baby snapped right into place. My mom struck at it with a mallet for good measure.

Now I only have one bare tire left…where will I find the next hubcap, I wonder?

Life Updates.

19 May
  • Still vegan, alhamdulillah. Still feeling like a million meat-and-dairy-free bucks.
  • Started classes. History of American Journalism and Mass Communication Law. Next semester will be Mass Media. A little thrill goes through me every time I sit down in class. I think I’ve finally found where I need to be.
  • Started captioning work. I started captioning a morning class this past Monday with one of the experienced captionists, and it’s been a trial by fire. No amount of training could prepare me for the real thing. I’m stumbling over keyboard shortcuts in the software, but I’m getting better each day. We take turns trading off every 15 minutes captioning in class, and alternate days to pick up equipment and format the transcript for the student we are captioning for.
  • Reading, reading, reading. I’ve been leaving the house extra early just to curl up with my textbooks in the bookstore at school. I have to read two chapters a day for my classes, so it’s been an intense beginning to summer…but that is how I roll.
  • Can’t wait for Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah this weekend! Insha Allah the class will be beneficial. And all kinds of awesome.

Done Gone Vegan

13 May

The Sister recently started this health kick of going vegan and working out all the time…kinda what I should be doing, hehe. I’ve decided to go vegan with her, and it has been the best decision I have made in recent time, hands down.

Things I have noticed:

  • no crazy food cravings
  • skin is all cleared up, alhamdulillah (watch me bust out with a zit right now, lol)
  • weight loss
  • more energy
  • sleep better (that could also be due to the fact that I’m only drinking green tea now)

The change has been tremendous. I started in fits and starts, beginning with reading the first 80 or so pages of “Going Vegan for Dummies” at Barnes & Noble. Then I stood in line at the Starbucks that is Siamese-twin attached to every B&N to get a cup of water. I gazed down the display of confectionary treats, all of which have milk in them. Can’t eat that, I thought, with a somewhat superior air.

Going vegan is interesting in that I can’t just give in under family pressure to eat a bit of nihari–oh, just one piece of chicken–because I’ve made a lifestyle choice. I’m not saying I’m making it haraam for me, but it’s just such a relief to have control of what I put into my body and realize that all that meat and dairy was slowing my body down. Even though it wasn’t much at one time, it was the regular consumption. My body feels lighter, more able to process what food I put into it, which has been mainly lentils, vegetables, roti, nuts and fruit. In desi culture only poor people “can’t afford” to eat meat, yet they are the healthiest.

I went to Sam’s Club the other day because my mom wanted me to order a pizza. When I asked the woman behind the counter to only put cheese on half, she looked at me like I was crazy, but dutifully wrote down the order. I asked if there was a discount for only using half the usual amount of cheese.

“Nope, sorry,” she said, making the effort to be apologetic, even though she still thought I was crazy.

How Do I Stay Motivated?

9 Jan

I wanted to share a few techniques I use to stay motivated to work out:

  • Know that no matter what you do, no matter how much you ate last night…putting one foot in front of the other is better than nothing at all.
  • There’s never time. For anything. Everyone is tired, everyone is stressed. Making excuses will not get you fit. Just put your shoes on and get out the door. Once you hit the pavement, track, or treadmill, all those excuses will fade away insha Allah.
  • Read articles and statistics on the obesity epidemic. And then get out the door as fast as you can.
  • Being fit is Sunnah! Read the narration of Um Mu’bad on the physical characteristics of our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, recorded by At-Tabarani: “I saw a very handsome, very good looking man, and his face was glowing and a good proportion. He didn’t have any defects of the stomach
  • Read the hadith! “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’I, Ibn Majah – Hadith sahih
  • “The best generation is my generation, followed by the one after them then the one after them. Then will come a people who bear witness but are not asked to bear witness, who swear oaths but do not fulfill them and fatness will appear among them.” Bukhari and Muslim
  • Sit down and make a list. Don’t say, “I want.” Write, “I am.”I am fit and have the energy to wake up in the morning to worship God.” “I am fit and I’m a good role model for my kids.” “I am fit and I expect the same from my future spouse/current spouse.” “I am fit and I can wear whatever I want.” “I am fit and I look forward to walking into the fitting room.”
  • Wear nice clothes when you workout. You don’t need to look like a scrub. It helps to have your workout clothes laid out the day or night before so it eliminates the excuse of not having anything to wear to workout in.
  • Keep your workout clothes and shoes in your car.
  • Wear outfits that can double as work or schoolwear. After work, switch out your shoes or shirt/hijab and you’re good to go, instead of having to change into an entirely different outfit. Just make sure you workout AFTER, not before!
  • No matter how your day is going, when you workout, you can feel proud of one good thing you did that day! And nothing can take that away.

-RM

One More Day of Freedom

9 Jan

I have one more day of freedom remaining before school begins. Al-Maghrib exam tomorrow!

Today I worked out for an hour and some change. I walked/ran 30 minutes around the indoor track, and then did another 30 minutes on the treadmill. I finished up with dips and chin-ups on the Gravitron.

Stereotypes: Eastern Girls vs. Western Girls

8 Jan

In the last few days, I’ve come across some pretty one-sided articles purporting the supposed East vs. West dichotomy among Muslim women. The overwhelming attitude seems to be this:

Western Muslim women:

  • domineering
  • man-hating
  • can’t cook
  • anti-domestic
  • too focused on career
  • ‘hos

Eastern Muslim women

  • submissive
  • shy
  • great cooks
  • domesticated
  • family-oriented
  • angels

Just…what?

Has it ever occurred to anyone that all of us women, regardless of which religion, race, or creed we come from, are the combined total of our life experiences? And that regardless of where we grew up or come from, be it “East” or “West” (and even this differentiation is subject to debate) we all have unique characteristics and values?

We’ve heard the song and dance before: “Oh, Muslim girls here are too wild, we need to go back home and find us a nice, ‘gaow-wali/village’ girl.”

But that’s all it is, a song and dance. And I think people repeat this just to repeat it, because it’s catchy and it’s what they’ve heard, and it’s what everyone is saying. But honestly, I don’t think anyone, Muslim man or woman, really believes it.

Just today, I had a delightful lunch with a friend of mine and her lovely co-worker, who I met recently at an office party where my friend works. All three of us (I feel safe to include myself in this group 😛 ) are educated, intelligent, and gainfully employed…and guess what we talked about? COOKING! It started with my Mediterranean Veggie sandwich, and from there escalated into an exchanged of recipes, the similarities between Columbian, Arab and Indo-Pak cooking, and the power of knowing exactly what you’re eating and how it was prepared.

Not a single one of us felt like we were discussing an inferiority-inducing topic, or that a village fairy would descend from on-high and with a touch of her magic wand banish us to some fictional village where we would be chained to a tandoori oven.

It’s funny, but so many of these articles I read focus so much on MEN do this and WOMEN do that…doesn’t anyone remember we’re all people, too?

There is an amazing vidder out there, named Lim. She made an amazing video, called Us. It put whatever is coming out of these cutting-edge studios to shame. Someone commented and said, This is fantastic. Which company do you work for? She quite succinctly replied, I’m a housewife. 🙂

It’s unjust to box Eastern Muslim women into this category of submissive, shy doormats whose only existence is to serve her man and keep her mouth shut.  It’s unjust to box Western Muslim women into this category of loud, overtaking, domineering you-know-whats who hate men and hate anything to do with domesticity and spit on babies and tea-cozys alike. I’ve noticed so many Muslims here in the ‘States and abroad, men AND women, have this attitude and it simply isn’t true.

Every Muslim woman I meet is a complete, multi-faceted creature unto herself. We’re all struggling to be good Muslims, insha Allah, and it’s unfair to try to box us into a single category and call it the truth. It’s not.

***

In other news, I walked and ran almost 4 miles today. Feel grrrrreat. That, my friends, is what’s up. 🙂

Kulfi.

5 Jan

Today was cold enough–as the Desi people say–to turn your blood to kulfi, an otherwise delicious frozen treat made from milk, sugar and natural flavorings like coconut, mango, pistachio, strawberries, etc. In this context it means, “It’s cold like nobody’s business, yo!”

After staying awake post-Fajr, I was crazy enough to brave the freezing cold and head to the UCF gym at 8 AM. To my utter sadness, the gym was not opening until 11 AM.

I headed to the virtually deserted student union to thaw out, and struck up a random and delightful conversation with one of the employees workin’ on the second floor. She saw me peering at the closed computer lab, and with a smile said, “Sorry, everything is closed.” From there we stumbled from polite conversation about the weather, to the similarities between Desi and Puerto Rican cookin’, to the etymology of language, to the quirks of her son before and after he was born, to the correlation between spices and prevention of memory loss. It was…one of those little moments that only happen in the morning. I think we talked for a good half an hour, just with me standing on the stairs of the second floor while she leaned over the banister.

I decided to drop by work and take care o’ some bidness, then puttered around in the library for a bit, and by the time I was done it was  5 minutes to 11 AM.

I headed to the now open gym, and walked/jogged about a 2 mile loop around the indoor track, (took me about 30 minutes) followed by some sets on the Gravitron, my favorite machine ever.

Just got back from spending a few hours with my Nani and Nana…which was interesting 😛

Seerah Path review session tonight! Woohoo.