Friday, July 31, 2009

Help me decide: Is that good enough?

My boss came to my office and I was too busy to actually have a discussion with him, but he was asking about my daughter and I told him about how I didn't know everything because I wasn't there but explained overall, and told him that I needed to be there from now on. She'd be seeing a physio, ergo and the rhumatologist in Montreal (1.5h away). He asked me if I had any vacation time left so I said yes, 6 days. So I get the feeling he won't let me take another week off and that I will have to use those days to go to appointments. I wanted to take afternoons off for appointments and have those hours deducted from my pay. I feel like I need another week of vacation time, seriously! Been there now for almost a year and a half and I took 1 week off in a row only.

It's not good enough, is it?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Won't get bullied anymore!!!

My daughter was in the hospital back in May, as some of you might remember reading, and she was diagnosed with systemic juvenile arthritis. Obviously, a chronic disease, and she doesn't have a light case... She had fever daily for a month before they put her on pretty high doses of medecine containingn cortisone.


She saw the specialist (rhumatologist) for the first time today and I couldn't be there. I might have written about how my boss yelled at me last time when I had to miss 2 hours of work one afternoon to go to an appointment. I've taken up my 5 paid sick days so far this year, plus an extra half day (that was deducted from my pay that week) and when I asked for those 2 hours, he told me the situation had to fall into place, "or else". Well... I know what my priorities are and that's my daughter, but I got bullied into missing all the appointments she has had since I got yelled at. And now the specialist appointment she had today. I will end up getting all the information I need to have by having my husband tell me the gist of it and then calling myself for all the info, but I should have been there.

I feel so bad for letting him make me sit and shut up when I knew I needed to be there. I got bullied into shutting up this time, but next time I get a chance, I'm talking to him, or to the big boss, and letting them know that it won't happen again. That I WILL be missing days or hours of work here and there that they will deduct from my pay, and that I won't be told to straighten myself out "or else". I know how valuable I am there as an employee and they will have nothing else to do than shut up and let it be.

I'm an accomodating type so I don't ask for much from them, and even if I feel they are asking for a bit too much sometimes, I just do it. Asking me to take care of an extra part of the workload in the company is a bit too much, but telling me I can't miss any more days, even if the reason is my daughter -- that is more than a bit too much, it's UNACCEPTABLE and I have all the right to miss those days. So I'm done getting bullied and I'm standing up to that boss.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Big days

I'm having big days at work! We are a pretty small company (6 employees) so we don't have many employees and so whenever someone goes on vacation, it can affect the other workers' work-load. I'm not so lucky in my position for this because I replace EVERYONE! We have one employee who just does programming, and so her job doesn't change at all whenever someone is on vacation. But when she will go on vacation, I will do part of her job. One employee only speaks French, so whenever any of the others go on vacation, she can only help for the French part of the job, which is the smaller part of our clientel lately, so she's not as useful. Two people are in another office doing loans, so they are only helpful by taking care of more loan applications when the other agent leaves, but useless for any others. And the other employee other than me is a new one, so she can't help out for anyone's vacations. The only thing she suffers is that we have less time to help her when someone is on vacation.

So right now, the other collections agent is gone, so I'm taking all her calls, and helping with fax reception because she used to have the free time to do that, and being a loans agent when the lines are full because of the increase in clientel!! This on top of my normal job. And then the next 2 weeks after, I am going to be doing part of the programming job, and replacing in part the other collections agent again, who will be doing a bit more of the programming job than me. GAH!

Then I get home to find a mess everywhere! Gotta clean, cook, feed my daughter and try to bring her outside a bit since her father doesn't ever leave the house with her! The babysitter is on vacation so it gives me more work at home too to have my husband trying to take care of her... It's annoying! It's much work!

Had to get that out!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pronounced my shahada

Yesterday I said the shahada out loud for the first time with my husband. I might have whispered it while alone before, but never in full voice, and never with anyone. I've been considering myself Muslim for a couple weeks now, but it's a step towards considering myself Muslim in a more official way. We were both just lying together in bed and it was said there. It was a really cute moment and he was touched.


It was in part a birthday present from me to say it out loud for the first time with him, even if he knows I've been considering myself Muslim. To me, yesterday will be the date I will think of as my conversion date because the rest was just so gradual I could never put a date on it. I like that it's on my husband's birthday. I'm happy to now be able to feel like I can say I'm Muslim instead of saying that I'm Muslim in an unofficial way. I know this doesn't make it more "official" than just feeling like I am Muslim, but to me, saying it out loud and having another Muslim hear it is what I needed!

So I'm happy to say that I am Muslim :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Picture


My uncle has been sending me a bunch of pictures today. For some reason, he went and dug up all sorts of old pictures. Here are me and my brother at about 3.5 years old and 1 year old respectively. We don't look much alike now... Well, we do in some ways because we are both kinda tall and skinny and have oval faces with light skin and freckles and are overall just "normal" looking since we don't have any especially remarkable features like perfectly high cheekbones or negative ones like a crooked nose. But he has curly red hair, mine is so straight and brown. He has green eyes and mine are brown... And we have a cousin that looks SO MUCH like him that it just makes me look a bit less like his sis!


But don't we look a bit alike on this picture? Our eyes are popping out in the same way, I find!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

10 Honest things - a tag

I won't be able to say who tagged me because I know there were 3 or 4 and I can't remember them all. SO SORRY! I love your blogs though, sisters, sorry for not linking back to you.



To do the Honest Scrap tag… Here’s the deal. Tell your readers 10 things about you that they may or may not know, but are true.

1) I am a very lucky person for having such a great family. Loving, supporting and understanding parents with an open mind, a nice brother, many aunts and uncles looking after me and cousins who are friends.

2) I imagine myself going to Egypt to live someday. Not permanently, but for a couple years for my daughter to learn about where she's from and become fluent in Arabic. And for me to learn Arabic as well.

3) I come from a bilingual (French-English) family. My mom speaks French as a first language and my dad speaks English. The main family language is French, but me and my brother went to school in English (except for me doing my last 2 years of highschool in French, just for fun).

4) My husband is a big dude and he weighs approximately twice me and my daughter's weights combined. :p (I am not very heavy though and our daughter is only 2)

5) I've been working full time for about a year and half now as a collections agent.

6) I can't wait to go to university. I can't even start to think about it now because of other responsabilities, but it will not leave me. It is something I WILL DO.

7) My dog died a year ago this month. She was actually put down and I'm a bit upset with my dad for doing that to her when she wasn't in such bad health (she was 14 years old though). I can't feel too upset with him though, knowing that he loved her as much as I did and cried way more than me.

8) I don't like when people take pictures of the dead people at funerals. I accept that they do it, but when they send them to me, or post it up in a private place, I REALLY don't like it.

9) I loved my childhood and I always remember it as the best time of my life.

10) I am too open sometimes. I don't feel the need to keep everything to myself because I am not ashamed of what I do or am or what happens. But I am learning that sometimes it's best to keep my mouth shut about my personal life and my thoughts.

I think everyone has been tagged for this, but if you haven't, please post! I actually enjoy reading everyone's 10 honest things, I just can't remember who hasn't posted one yet! DO IT! YOU are tagged!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not welcoming a certain kind of attention

I can't pinpoint what it is about a person that makes others think that it's OK to talk about sex and other inappropriate topics, and what it is about a person that lets others know it is not OK to do it with them...

I know that a woman in hijab generally does not have virtual strangers (or acquaintances) start a conversation about sex with them out of the blue. Covering does let people know you are a modest person concerned with your religion, and just that will make people understand that you are likely not open to being flirted with, or open to a conversation about sex. That part is easy enough to understand.

I don't cover though, and people also seem to KNOW by the way I am that I am not the type of person a conversation like that is OK with. I hardly get into situations like that at all and I interact with people as I wish. I am not the most outgoing person, but I have learned not to be too shy either with time. I am friendly and not "cold" (like I have been before). Maybe it's in part the way I dress. I don't seem religious, but I am modest in the way I dress. For someone who doesn't cover, it's a combination of the modest dress and the modest way of acting that does it though, I think...

Here are my behaviour tips to have people stay away from inappropriateness:
-to never bring up inappropriate subjects or even make a hint of a joke towards it;
-to not encourage the situation by laughing for example, if the person tries to bring something up;
-to be a bit formal with these virtual strangers and not treat them like friends (because friends know you well enough to know what kind of discussions are appropriate with you)

This is what I feel has worked well for me, although some people just don't get a hint and don't read cues very well. It is best to just use the sentence, "I feel this topic is inappropriate." for such cases!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Husband's birthday: What do do?!?!

It's my husband's birthday on July 24th and I don't know what to do for him or get him. We are very different people when it comes to gifts. I know he loves electronics and these things and that's what he always tries to get me. I hate this stuff and I can't imagine what he could want or need!! Games... well he is picky on his games but he loves them. He needs to break the addiction so I would never want to encourage it.

He keeps telling me he wants me to go to Egypt as a gift. So far the plan is for him to go alone with Nora for 3 weeks (he wants to make it 4 maybe) next month and I only have 1 week of vacation left. It does not seem worth it for me to go for only a few days. I will want more! And I will go back to work exhausted!!

So he really won't tell me at all what he might want except for the Egypt thing, so I will have to decide myself... I will try to get Nora a babysitter for the night so we can go have a nice supper, go see a movie, and have some time just him and me in the evening.

I would love for him to have a wedding ring! His hand is BARE! So that would be an idea. If not, a... I have no clue. I'm thinking of things I want for him!! Gah! Ideas appreciated! Anyone with a gadget-freak husband?!

Baby Names - Just for fun!

I love names and I've been making lists of names since I was 10 or something. More seriously since I was 15 and my cousin got pregnant, which made me discover a baby names forum. I'm not a regular anymore, but I was for a couple years at least!

My taste in names has definitely evolved over time, from slightly weirder names that just sound cute to more classic names (which are still my overall style). More recently, I've begun to appreciate more "Islamic" names. Names that have good meanings for a Muslim and names that are part of Islamic history. For the meanings, I don't care if it's an English, French, Arabic, as long as the word is a good meaning. I wouldn't consider a name like Oliver Islamic, but it's not against Islam either and I think it's fine.

Here are some names I love, Islamic or not:

Nora (already used!)
Ayah
Sumaya
Nala
Lana
Sumar

Theodore
Oliver
Ismail
Ilyas
Ibrahim

I used to not like names that were too obviously Muslim, like Muhammad, Abdallah, other Abd names at all, but I guess with my growing conviction of Islam, I have begun to love these names as well. I would rather not name my child Muhammad since it is really so so common in the Muslim world, and just a name that isn't seen positively by non-Muslims.

I have really grown in my taste in Arabic names. I didn't like them much before, but I could even see myself using a name like Adbdullah now. I want to look over the Abd names to see which I like, but Abdullah has the best meaning, and flows more than the other Abd names to me.

What are some of your favourite names?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mentionned Ramadan at work: Bad idea

I was thinking about my Ramadan hopes at work today and I made the mistake of mentionning that I planned on fasting the whole of Ramadan this year. I am not Muslim to them or anything similar. I just have a Muslim husband and they can tell I have nothing against Islam either.

When I said that, one of my co-workers started to go on about how I would not be able to. Then talked about how I felt sick 2 weeks ago and had to rest on the couch during lunch hour. I didn't get how that was related to fasting, but apparently, she thinks I am too weak and would get sick. I told her that in Islam, if you are sick, you are exempt from the fast so of course if it made me feel too sick to be able to work, I wouldn't be taking days off to fast in my bed, I'd be eating to get myself back into shape. That I had a VIRUS a couple weeks ago, I was not fasting!! Her reply was that I was eating and I was sick, so how sick was I going to be if I fasted!

She went on to use the word stupid when referring to my Ramadan fasting plans... I just told her it was not necessary to use these words and put me down before I even got into it, and that I regretted mentionning it.

Now I feel like I will have to fast in "secret" and not mention it. If I get sick, boy will I hear about it. I have used up my 5 sick days (and 5 hours more) because I was off for 3 days when my daughter got sick and spent time in the hospital. It's true that I have been sick more than normal for some reason though. I think maybe I'm no taking care of myself enough with being busy working full time and taking care of a toddler full time too. I've had some difficult times with my marriage as well (although things are looking way up these days). It has caused major lacks in my appetite and I might not be nourished like I should be overall. I guess that can't help.

But that co-worker was really not nice about it at all. I sometimes see her as a friend, but she is obviously nothing close. She's really just a co-worker and we might meet up a bit after work, but it has never been without an occaision. She is a co-worker at work, and an acquanitance outside of work. Nothing more and I really really know it now.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thoughts...

I read Pixie's post on her opinion of barriers in the mosque and it really struck a cord with me about the ideal behavior of a person. I never put too much importance in the "women of the Sahaba". I focus a lot more on the Qur'an and the essence of Islam and put aside hadiths on Muhammad's habits and way of doing things, and so even more, the "women of the Sahaba". I just thought it can be interesting to learn more about it and useful like anything in history is, but not more than that. I'm not much into history anyway so it was not so interesting to me.

I consider myself a bit on the liberal Muslim side. I feel the need to see things more broadly. I don't think we need to limit ourselves to being exactly like good Muslims were back when the Qur'an was being revealed. I think the Islam is a religion that moves with the times, and that the meaning of the Qur'an remains the same, the message is the same, but the habits and ways of doing things can change. I write this part in the present tense because it is still who I am and how I see things, but it is to a different degree than it once was.

I was reading Pixie's post, and she mentionned how liberal Muslims want to pray behind the men, but in the same room, without any barrier, and how they use as an argument the way it was at Islam's beginnings. In Muhammad's time, the mosque was set up that way. I thought that was a pretty good argument. But she goes on to show that really, it is not. People are not like they were in these times. It becomes better for us women, and more convenient even, to pray in different rooms or behind a barrier.

I guess I've become more strict in my views... I am far from being ready or even wanting to implement everything in my own life. I can't even pray 5 times a day! I don't even pray once a day even though I know it would not be so hard for me to do so... :( I need to work on all that of course and I will (inshaallah).

All that to say that I have grown to appreciate the "stricter" or more fundamental Islam. I have become able to see the beauty in this way, and I've become able to see the Ideal society as a Muslim or Islamic society.

-------
Funny side note: After writing the above part of this post, I read Pixie's post on the Madhabs where she mentions she finds people who consider themselves liberal Muslims or strict Muslims stupid. I mentionned both these words in my post. :P I disagree with her and I don't consider any of these views stupid. Different people on a different path can all be doing things that are right for them at the time... No reason to see their views as stupid.

Allah is fading

That title sounds really bad... And I guess that might be one of the reasons having a henna'ed "Allah" might not be allowed. I henna'ed "Allah" on my wrist and the word is starting to fade... I think this is why some people say that it is haram to have the name of Allah on your body?

What do you believe?

I think it's a reasonable argument... But then again, would that mean that it's haram to write it on a piece of paper that could potentially be "mistreated"? Jews write G-d to avoid anything "bad" happening to the name of God, even online, but I've always thought it was a bit much. We know it means God and the word God is not God himself... So it leads me to thinking that it might be perfectly OK for me to have "Allah" written on me.

I found it to be a positive thing. When I touch my hair or something, I see the design and I think of Allah! I might not have otherwise! :)

Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Prayed with my husband


It was a strange experience for me to pray with my husband. I have prayed twice in congregation, but never with my husband alone. I guess it was similar in the way things are done, but I still felt a bit uncomfortable. I'd never heard him recite Qur'an before or really seen him pray (he was on the other side of a barrier at the mosque) so it was different to see him doing this.

It was a nice experience though to have prayed together. I was a bit surprised he accepted to when I mentionned it, but he did!

I still think it will be better for me to pray alone though because I found it a bit hard to concentrate on what I want to be concentrating on. It's all good to think the words, but it takes some effort for me to feel the meaning behind them, and it was too rushed for me to be able to feel the meaning behind it. My husband said he was going a bit faster because he thought I wanted it to be done fast... He said next time he would go slower, so with time I might be able to get used to being with someone else while I pray. It is a good experience for sure. I will try it again.

Do you guys pray with your spouse usually, or alone?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Islam

I have not pronounced my shahada officially, but I do plan on doing so. And I see myself as Muslim. I see myself as a very very new Muslim, and not "officially" Muslim because of not having said my shahada, but also because I am not practicing. I guess I'm preparing myself mentally more than anything... I shouldn't delay though, I know that. But it's the time it's taking anyway.

My husband is starting to see me as Muslim too, which is weird but nice. I see that it is something that's important to him, even if he's struggling a lot with Islam himself. It's something we will be able to start going through together. I think Ramadan will be a turning point for him this year since he will not be alone like he was last year. It was hard for him to be away from Muslims for the first time. He really didn't do very good last year. He fasted and there were some small efforts to be a bit kinder with me, but that was the extent of it. This year will be different. Insha'Allah.

I had something I wanted to post about and it was not this, but I cannot remember what it was! I will try to remember... I will try to keep posting and updating the blog more regularly than I have been. And I will try to post better more focused topics too. Don't remove me from your subsciptions, I will try to be better! :)

Vacation over! And need a book recommendation

Tonight is my last night of vacation! It was great to not have to go to work for a full week and just be able to relax a bit. It was really 4 days off from work because of Canada Day that was already a day off, but it gave me 9 days straight without having to think about the office and the clients and the iffy relationship I'm having with some co-workers lately.

I spent the first weekend really sick, but felt better Monday and had a nice time with my husband just at home. It was raining crazy all day so there was really no other option than staying inside. I relaxed a bit with my daughter Tuesday morning before bringing her to the sitter and then did errands all day. Wednesday was a full day at the zoo with a Muslim friend of mine (introduced to me by another friend and blogger Anisah from Anisah's Thoughts). I slept until noon on Thursday since I asked my husband to leave me one day to not have to wake up at 7am with my daughter and from Friday until today (Sunday) I went to my uncle's house in the Laurentians which is about 1.5-2h drive.

It's beautiful over there, but man, it's so middle-of-nowhere. I would not want to live there full time. Taking 15 minutes to drive to the convenience store, 20 to the groceries and pharmacy. My aunt drives 50 minutes to go to work. It's not my type of place, really. It's even less my husband's type of place, being from Cairo! But I think he enjoyed how green it is, how many lakes there are, the mountains too!

So, the book recommendation I need is for my uncle. He has a bit of a bad impression of Islam because of things he has read and the good Muslim people he hasn't met. He read this book called the Hajj that seems to have given him all sorts of negative ideas about Islam and me and my husband were telling him that he should read something that talks positively about Islam. He doesn't want to read just a book about Islam or about the Qur'an... He seems to need it to be a novel, or something with a story. I told him that it will be hard to find a real Islamic novel... And that if there was one, it would probably be kinda boring... Scholars have better things to write anyway. But that the other thing I could think about was a conversion story book. It would have information about how Islam has improved the person's life, and information about misconceptions about Islam, all that. Does anyone know of one that would be good for someone like my uncle to read???

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