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May 2021 Check In (Finally)

I've had my coffee, my cat is taking a nap, I have jazz music playing in the background with a window open to let in the fresh air. And so finally I'm ready to sit down and do some writing.

I apologize for taking an unplanned step away from blogging over the past few weeks. I had intended to keep up with my blog through Ramadan. Clearly that didn't actually happen. Once Ramadan finally arrive, I wanted to minimize my distractions. One thing many Muslims do during the month of Ramadan is try to read the entirety of the Quran throughout the month. In the past, I've set this goal for myself, only to let myself down because truthfully it is a daunting task.

This year, I didn't really set any big goals. I wanted to walk away from Ramadan proud of how I did. I wanted to set goals that I knew I would be able to achieve. So I didn't actually set any goals around the Quran. But I still made sure to sit down and read when I could. While I most certainly didn't finish the entire Quran in the month, I can say that I read the most Quran during Ramadan than ever before. That alone is something I'm very proud to say.

Aside from Ramadan, I've had a handful of other things happening in my life. In the days leading up to Ramadan, I noticed that my cat's eye didn't quite look right. It looked cloudy in a way that I had never seen before. I waited a couple days to see if it was simply allergies that would clear up on their own. But when I found it was getting worse rather than improving, I decided to give the vet a call. After running various eye exams and doing a blood panel as well as testing his urine, my vet ultimately had to refer my cat to a specialist.

Cloudiness in the eye on the right side

In the end, I was left with both good and bad news. The good news is that his blood work and urine tests all came back normal. The specialist explained that this was a bit surprising to him since he most often sees eye problems like this with other health conditions. So thankfully he is otherwise a very healthy boy. The bad news is that he has a condition called uveitis. Essentially, there are inflammatory cells that build up inside of his eye. How we keep it at bay is with eye drops. So it looks to be a lifetime of eye drops for my cat. The other thing that he found was that there was some scar tissue on the retina in both of his eyes, indicating that he will likely go blind as he gets older.

I took a video for a friend of mine (nicknamed JZ. This video is not for the rapper ha!) to show how I give Zazu his eye drops. He does pretty well. He doesn't like it, but he tolerates it. He does try to just keep his eye closed, thinking that will prevent him from having to go through with getting the eye drop.

The eye drops have helped tremendously. He still runs around and plays like normal. He has more energy than any cat I've ever seen an thankfully is pretty good at entertaining himself.

On a different note, May is my favorite time of the year. I'll admit, I'm a bit biased since my birthday is in May. However, my birthday aside, the weather here in Wisconsin is typically very nice. It's warming up, but not too hot. Most days are sunny with clear blue skies. The flowers are blooming, the animals are chattering away, and it is an overall happy time. So I usually try to take some time off from work around this time of year, meaning I'm currently on vacation from work for the next couple of weeks.

Historically, I've been a bit of a homebody. I enjoy staying home reading a book or getting invested in a good TV show. However, with how exhausting the past few weeks....months....year has been, I'm consciously trying to make the most of my time off. I'm hoping to go out more, see new things, spend time outside, explore new places, etc. I kicked things off on Friday by going with a friend on a mini road trip. We headed up to Fond du Lac and spend the afternoon at Lakeside Park, on Lake Winnebago.

It was such a beautiful park. For a spontaneous road trip, it was truly a success. I'm hoping for more trips like this in the coming weeks.

As I mentioned before, my birthday falls in the month of May. More than that, however, is that everyone in my immediate family has all of our birthdays within a month of one another. My dad's birthday is at the end of April and everyone else is in May. For our family, this time of year is birthday season. When my sister and I were kids, it of course was one birthday party after another. But now that we're all adults, we plan a day or a weekend to celebrate all of our birthdays at once.

This year, we planned it for the day before Mother's Day. Similar to my spontaneous road trip, we picked a park that none of us had been to before and decided to meet up for a family day. Since it was still pretty early in the season, there weren't many people at the park. We spent the day together grilling, playing games, going for a short hike, paddling around the lake in my mom and dad's canoe, and overall enjoying the beautiful day.

Last year, we had planned a weekend get away at a cabin up north for our birthdays. Unfortunately, the owner of the cabin had to cancel our reservation as a covid precaution. We understood, but it was disappointing. We all enjoy outings like that. Even though we didn't plan a cabin get away this year, spending a day out at a park was the perfect way to celebrate our birthdays.

Since my last update, I haven't really started watching new shows. I have, however, watched a handful of old movies that are either new to me, or ones that I didn't remember the plot to because of how long it had been since I last watched it. So included in the movies I've watched are:

The Whole Nine Yards. This one was new to me. Not sure how I made it this long having not watched it, but it was one that I absolutely loved. As a fan of Friends, it was both fun and strange to watch Mathew Perry in a different role.

The Whole Ten Yards. I, of course, had to watch the sequel after loving The Whole Nine Yards so much. I loved both movies.

Date Night. As a fan of Steve Carell, it was arguably ridiculous that I hadn't watched this before. But I finally watched it and laughed harder than I expected to.

Blast From The Past. I remember watching just a little snippet of this movie as a kid. I know my parents watched it and likely my sister as well. But I never watched it from start to finish. While I did enjoy it, it's probably not one I'll rewatch time and time again.

You've Got Mail. This is one that I have watched and loved in the past. But it had easily been 10+ years since I had last watched it. I was actually inspired to watch this movie by a book I had read that I had read.

Which naturally leads me to the things that I have read recently:

A few weeks ago, I read about a new book called Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin. It had a similar plot line to the movie You've Got Mail, but with Muslim characters in Canada. It caught my attention and sounded like just the kind of light reading that I needed.

When I went to order her book, I found that Uzma Jalaluddin had written another book called Ayesha at Last. So right away I ordered both and dove in as soon as they arrived. These two books were so perfectly and beautifully written. I really loved both of them and highly recommend them.

This also inspired me to compile a list of my favorite books written by Muslim authors that I've read and ones that I have yet to read. I hope to write a full blog post on it in the coming days.

I'm still gradually listening to the audiobook of Rebecca and still enjoying it. I have a few other books that I've started, but I'm not far enough into most to really talk much about them.

I'm hoping to work on my writing, both for this blog as well as other writing while I'm off of work. I hope everyone has been doing well through the past few weeks and have been enjoying spring. If anyone has been reading any great books, watching fun new shows or movies, or anything along those lines, I'm always looking for new recommendations.

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