Friday, March 30, 2007

Beautiful children

Originally uploaded by HORIZON.

Wonderful photographs of Iran and her people by Horizon on Flickr. I would love to have copies of these photographs to hang up in my office. One of these days I am going to have a collection of children from around the world up on my wall.

Originally uploaded by HORIZON.

Lovely smile of SOK SOK, originally uploaded by HORIZON.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tulips and strawberry jam

Last week for Naw Ruz I bought three bunches of tulips and daffodils. I gave one bunch to my colleague T. who stays with me on Tuesday nights. And she left them here with me. The flowers brought such spring and joy into the room. They were still bright on Thursday morning when I was leaving for the weekend. I took them across the hall and knocked on Clara's door. She was surprised but took them in to brighten her home for a few days. Today, Clara brought me homemade Russian strawberry jam that she made herself. Her husband Alex died in December and I did not even know. What enormous life events occur within a few feet of us and we can be so unaware, so disconnected. Hmm. Clara showed me the pictures of her family in her sparkling clean apartment and gave me four Matzo bread squares from the box that she will eat for Passover in a few days. I put a couple of spoons of strawberry jam into my evening cup of tea to help me calm down enough to prepare for class tomorrow.

I have been feeling down. My first journal submission was rejected yesterday. It was a good journal and the first round of reviews were encouraging and helpful in the advice they provided but my resubmission was subsequently rejected. This small event has triggered all kinds of longings to be elsewhere in the world doing more meaningful things that I cannot even name. I do wish that I could at least invest my teaching with deeper meanings, my research and writing with deeper meanings, my very living of life with deeper meanings. As Wayne Dyer says... we must decide to live our lives on purpose.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Minimalist

For some reason I am choosing to spend my lunch time during the Baha'i fast watching cooking videos! Guess I have food on the mind.

Well I love the au naturel simple recipes for making real food by "The Minimalist" featured on the NYTimes website. I guess you might have to register if you haven't already registered with NYTimes online.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Full Cupboard of Life

i have found a new something to LOVE. and it fits with my quest to immerse myself in thoughts of the beauty of Africa: Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I have only read (or rather listened to the audiobook on my long commute) the Full Cupboard of Life. I was a little resistant to the books at first I think--some prejudice on my part for wondering how a white man could possibly presume to represent the thoughts and feelings of a Batswana woman. But truly truly he deserves all the accolades. This book is so sweet and I do think that AMS must be some kind of a genius. Such African simplicity and purity emerges in the book and it feels good and calming and centering like a nice sweet cup of African tea. The drinking of "bush tea" is a central activity in the book. I wonder if it is the same tea I have had the privilege of drinking in the Zimbabwean bush--the tea leaves boiled together with condensed milk. That is what i think of whenever Mma Ramotswe is drinking "bush tea" and certainly that is the best tea i have ever had the opportunity to drink in my life. And again I applaud AMS for presenting the sensible simple dignity, wit and beauty of the African people.

Fasting by Jelaluddin Rumi

There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less.
If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting,
every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you're full of food and drink,
Satan sitswhere your spirit should,
an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba.
When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon's ring.
Don't give it to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast,
like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus' table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this tablespread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.