The bank robbery

Asalaam alaikum!

My next adventure, Lulu and the Monkey Marriage will be coming out early in 2014, insha Allah.  I can’t wait!  But I have to, because it’s not quite ready yet… In the meantime, here is a little excerpt.  I hope you enjoy it, insha Allah:

 

Stick ‘Em Up!

Early Saturday morning, Mama, Baba and I were extra careful not to wake Darlene and Charlene up during fajr prayer.  “Fajr” means “dawn,” and that’s the first prayer of the day for a Muslim.  I made wudu  even more quietly than usual.  I wasn’t about to give up my HWTM title if I could help it.

“Making wudu” means cleaning up for prayer.  “Wudu” is the Arabic word for “ablutions,” which is an extra fancy way of saying “cleaning up for prayer time.” It is not hard at all to do, but little kids need a little practice.  Me?  I’m a pro. I use just enough water, and not too much.  So when I was done making wudu, I dried off the bathroom sink with a little towel  and checked the floor for splashes.  No one wants to slip on a wet bathroom floor, especially not my houseguests.

After praying, Mama and I made breakfast– fruity pancakes and turkey sausage.  Baba Ganoogie yummo!  Darlene and Charlene came down when they smelled that!  They were very polite houseguests because they said “please” and “thank you” and offered to help Mama clean the kitchen when they were done eating. Mama ate with us, but Baba took a plate of food and a cup of coffee out to the front porch so he could give Charlene and Darlene some privacy.  I snuck out to Baba for a minute, and not just so I could get out of cleaning the kitchen!

“Baba!” I yelled quietly.  “Why are you eating out here? I miss you in there!”

Habibti , I’m just giving our houseguests some privacy.  You’ll have me back in a couple days, insha Allah.”  Exactly as I thought. 

No, wait.

“A couple days?  Are we still going to the fair tomorrow, Baba? I don’t like going without you, and besides, I think Mama doesn’t want to go.”

“I think we’re going to have to postpone the fair for a couple days.  With what’s going on this weekend, we’ll be a lot busier than I expected, insha Allah.”

“What?  But Baba!  You said we’d go Sunday!” I yelled. “That’s not fair!”

“Aww Habibti, I have to take care of the business. We’ll probably be busy because of Miss Barbie’s wedding, and there’s a special pizza order that needs to be filled for–”

“I don’t care!” I interrupted. “I want my Baba! And I want to go to the fair!”

Yes, I knew I was acting a little babyish, but I wasn’t worried.  First of all, it is just so much easier to get away with being naughty with Baba than with Mama. If I acted like that with Mama, she would ground me until I had children of my own.  But Baba likes it when I act jealous of his time away from me.  It’s our little game.

Second, I really did want my Baba.  He is just the best, and he works so hard every day.  Sunday was supposed to be MY special day since Mo and Sho were gone.  Baba gets me cotton candy and usually wins me a big stuffed animal at the fair.  One year though,  he spent a bunch of money at a game and couldn’t win, so he talked the man into letting him buy one for me.  See?  How many people would do that?  My Baba is fabulous!

“I know you want the fair, Habibti, but it will just have to wait, insha Allah.  Hey.  Come with me to the bank. I need to make a deposit before it closes.  We can get a smoothie and some cash for you and your Mama, too, since you’re going to Riverside in a few hours.”  Well, that’s the end of that discussion, I thought, and put on my sneakers.  I’m in the mood for a red sucker anyway.

But then the most amazing thing EVER happened at the bank.  Stupendous.  And scary for Ms. Joyce.

The. Bank. Was. Robbed.

That wasn’t the amazing part.

A monkey was driving the getaway car.

I think it was the getaway car, anyway, and it was definitely a monkey in the driver’s seat, but no one believed me.

It’s not even a minute drive to our bank, but Baba takes the car when he has to make a deposit so he and the money can be safe.  We pulled into the bank parking lot and parked the car on the side of the building.  There aren’t too many bank customers on Saturday, so Baba and I usually park on the side, between the bank and the coffee shop.  That way, we can pick up my favorite smoothie treat– orange and mango with whipped cream and an umbrella.  I crossed the parking lot and ran into the shop where I ordered mine and a berry blast for Mama, and when I came out, WHOOSH! A monkey in a dirty white car honked the horn and blew past me like a bullet!  That monkey was a very unsafe driver.  He must have been late for a wedding, because he was wearing a tuxedo.  I thought for a second that he was on the way to Miss Barbie’s wedding, because hey, everybody in Southern Virginia was going, but then I thought, nah, that’s just crazy

When I crossed the parking lot to the bank, all of a sudden there were police cars everywhere– from the county, town and state.   Sirens screamed, blue lights flashed,  and the police all got out of their cars and started yelling.  I froze, and instantly thought of Baba.  Oh no! Is Baba safe?  Did someone mug him for the deposit? So I looked and looked for him while the crowd in front of the bank got bigger and bigger.  Everyone in the county apparently had to come and see what the fuss was all about, including Jody, who was supposed to be making my smoothie.  It  took me a minute to finally spot Baba, who was rubbing his elbow, but the police wouldn’t let me through.  When I saw that Baba was talking to Bobby, my favorite police officer, I stopped worrying and took a seat on the grass.  Bobby was a good egg.  He’d have Baba in an ambulance alatool  if necessary.

After a few minutes, Mama came running from home and found me, and we waited for Baba together.  When Bobby finally let him go, Baba called Mama with his cell phone so he could find us in the crowd.

“Baba! I was so worried about you! What in the world happened?  Did you get mugged?  We’ve been so worried and we’ve been waiting for hours!” I yelled, exaggerating a little bit and hugging him a lot.

“Asalaam alaikum Habibti,” Baba answered and laughed.  “It was a bank robbery, if you haven’t figured that one out yet.  I am fine– a little bumped and bruised.  I got knocked down on the way out.   But Miss Joyce and the other tellers are fine.”  Subhan Allah and astaghfurallah, I hadn’t even thought about Miss Joyce!  Alhamdulillah, I was glad she was not hurt.  “Let’s go home– the FBI will probably be coming by this afternoon to ask me some questions, but in the meantime, you have two weddings, and I have to get ready for work.”

“The FBI? Are you kidding?  This is huge!”  I yelled and then thought about it. “Remind me again what’s the FBI, please?”

And I forgot all about the monkey.

Pandas for Peace!

Asalaam alaikum!

Did you know that animals can help bring good relations between countries insha Allah?  Especially pandas?  It’s true.

File:Lightmatter panda.jpg

(from Wikipedia)

In 1972, President Richard Nixon went to China during the height of the Cold War.  (Your parents can tell you about the Cold War, insha Allah.)  The United States, being a capitalist and democratic country, didn’t get along with China, which was a communist and non-democratic country.

But President Nixon thought it was a good idea to try.  And China said “Okay, come on over and visit.”  And the US and China didn’t become perfect friends, but no one is perfect. And, you have to start somewhere.

So, what does this have to do with pandas?  Well, as a goodwill gift to the United States, China gave two pandas to the National Zoo in Washington DC, the most awesome zoo on the planet, masha Allah.  Those pandas’ names were Hsing Hsing (sounds like Sing Sing) and Ling Ling.  They represented the new friendship between the US and China.  The giant pandas were agents of diplomacy.  Diplomacy means figuring out a way to be cooperative and friendly, even if it is not easy.

(Those pandas were adorable, according to my neighbor Miss Debby, who got to see them when she was about my age.)

Today, there are a few zoos in the US that have pandas.  This link (http://www.giantpandazoo.com/panda/) goes to a panda place, where you can find info about the brand spanking new panda at the National Zoo.  It is a cute little thing, but it sure doesn’t look like a panda bear yet.

Peace is best.  Allahu alim.

Cane toads and kudzu

Asalaam alaikum!

I hope everyone’s Ramadan is going well and that everyone’s fasts are acceptable to Allah.  Emoji
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Didja ever fly into the United States (on an airplane and not by flapping your arms Emoji) and wonder why the the Customs agent asked if you and your parents were bringing any seeds or plants into the country?  Well, there is a very good reason for that!
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You see, Allah made plants and animals with natural enemies, which basically means that the population of a particular plant or animal has something (or some things) that keep it in check.  For example, cats eat mice, right?  Without cats, there would be more mice than we could shake a stick at!  (Definitely more than the Cuties would be able to handle on their own…)
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Wild animals in different parts of the world have things that keep the population in check.  This cane toad (from Wikipedia Commons) is native to South America, and other cane toads are native to North and South America.  Well, someone got the bright idea to take about 100 cane toads to Australia to eat some pesky bugs there, and you know what happened?  The toads started multiplying, and there are about a million there now!  What happened?  Well, there are no animals to eat the toads in Australia, because you know what?  They’re poisonous to most animals!
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But, there are many animals that are native to North America and South America that like to eat cane toads and won’t get hurt by their poison.  (Before you ask, “Why not just take some of those animals to Australia too?” do what Mama would say and think that one out to its logical conclusion.) Here’s more information from National Geographic about cane toads.
File:Bufo marinus01e.jpg
So what about plants?  The same type of thing can happen– but the natural enemy could be the animal that usually eats the plant, or it might be a microorganism that doesn’t exist in the new habitat.  Or, it could be something that the plant has that helps it just survive in its old habitat, but go nuts in its new habitat.
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Have you ever seen kudzu? If you have ever visited the Southeast, you probably have.  It looks like ivy and it coats almost everything it touches– homes and trees and ground cover– it’s not picky.  It can grow a foot a day, and it smothers every plant it touches.
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Well, kudzu was brought from Japan. Unlike many American plants, it developed a “symbiotic relationship” with American bacteria that produces nitrogen.  “Symbiotic” means something like “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. The bacteria lives off the kudzu, and the kudzu uses the nitrogen that the bacteria produces to help it to grow and to spread like crazy cuckoo.
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So, special steps need to be taken to keep the amount of kudzu down.  It’s used for animal grazing and to keep soil from eroding, but really, there’s waaaay too much of it.  Subhan Allah.
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Remember that when you’re going through Customs, and you’re thinking, “why does he have to ask all those silly questions?  I wouldn’t DREAM of bringing back a live plant or seeds!”

Plastic water bottles

 Asalaam alaikum! This post is about recycling water bottles– my friend Cara Kareema wrote this to deal with all those bottles left after Iftar at the masjid. Jazak Allahu khair Cara!

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Here is a list of what we can do during Ramadan to recycle those used plastic bottles we throw away after Iftars:

 

 

My grand Idea- so like it, share it, and then do it!

Each year billions of tons of plastic from water bottles fill our landfills and waterways. Many water bottles sit half used on tables headed to the trash. After iftars bottles are thrown away and left on the ground without any regard to where it will end up . It is a vicious cycle that we can end. We all are caretakers of our planet. It is urgent that we become more conscientious about the benefits of thinking green and recycling. We can start by collecting our empty plastic bottles for recycling after each itars (breaking of the fast)

There are a few simple things we can do.

1. Make signs and designate certain garbage cans as recycled only.

2. Instruct everyone to drink all of their water before opening another bottle

3. Pouring unused water on the ground at the nearest tree (I am sure the tree won’t mind)

4. Taking our own water supplies to the masjid for our personal consumption in safe, non-plastic containers (I use glass bottles)

5. Encourage our kids running around the grounds to “pick and pour” get the water bottles from the tables, pour the remaining water from the containers. They will be more than happy to pitch in, last year 10 boys helped me in this effort and they were very enthusiastic about this project.

6. Teach our children the benefits of doing good deeds and caring for nature.

7. Request that your Imam makes an announcement that your masjid will be a green pro- recycling site and that all of the metal cans and bottles will be recycled

8. Donate a green garbage can to your masjid for recycling

9. Consider recycling campaigns, your masjid can raise funds with every pound of plastic that is delivered to various recycling facilities

As more of us recycle, our environment will gradually improve and there will be less of a demand for potentially harmful plastics that are not safe for us in the first place.

Did you know that the FDA completely exempts the oversight of water that is packaged and sold within the same state? That means 70% of the bottled water we drink are not regulated by the FDA. Bottled water has been proven to contain Bisphenol A, or BPA, and some have been found to leach toxins and chemicals into the contents of plastic bottles.

It is to imperative that we stay mindful of all of the consequences of using and wasting plastic water bottles. Lets start thinking green and doing our part during Ramadan and in our every day lives by recycling.

Please share

Cara Karema

What’s a juz?

Asalaam alaikum!

We’re gearing up for Ramadan, and Mama asked me to go online and find out what’s Sunnah for reading the Quran during Ramadan. It turns out that we are supposed to read the entire Quran during the month of Ramadan, one “juz” a day.  That is a lot of reading!

What’s a juz”?  There are thirty parts of the Quran. Each part is called a “juz.” In the Qurans that are printed in some countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, there are a little over 600 pages.  So, a juz is about twenty pages.

20 pages  X  30 days of Ramadan = 600 pages

Can we do it?  Insha Allah.  But we say “Bismallah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem” first!

Also, Mama reminded me that when we recite the Quran, we say “Authu Billah min shaytan ar-rajeem.”

There is a lot more to know about the Quran.  Insha Allah, you can find a lot of facts about the Quran at IslamWeb’s Kids Corner.  Of course, ask your mama or baba first before checking any new website.

Salaam!

Lulu

Marhaba!

Marhaba!

Welcome to Lulubug’s Blog!

Asalaam alaikum!

I hope you’re having a great day today, insha Allah. Please stop by my blog occasionally for cool info about stuff, and about me and my family.

Don’t hold it against me if I write about something that is just a tiny bit educational. Mama says that I have to make good use of my time, insha Allah, because wasting is haram. Spending too much time on fun stuff that doesn’t have benefit, Mama says, is a waste of time. She says the trick is to make the educational stuff interesting, so it won’t seem like work, and it also won’t be wasting time. (We’ll just see about that!)

My brother’s Mo and Sho, are the most awesome guys on the planet, so once in a while, I’ll tell you about what’s going on in their 12-year-old world. (Actually, it’s a 24-year old world, if you add them together, because, you know, they are twins.)

Mama and Baba are busy with adult stuff, but once in a while, they might have a recipe to share– something easy that everyone can do, insha Allah, even my neighbor, Miss Debby, who tells me that she burns water! (Now how on earth a person can burn water is beyond me, but she says she has a tried and true method, if I’m interested. I’m really not.)

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