Monday, July 30, 2007

Car races and sliver shoes

One of mbh's colleagues invited us to the car races! I never would have imagined myself at a car race but it was lots of fun and I was as fascinated by the other members of the audience as I was by the cars. I felt this longing to go and sit and chat with people and ask them about their lives and their interests and their tattoos. In the first race, no. 17 had a whole crew of friends and family wearing t-shirts to support him so i joined them in cheering no. 17 on. It is really difficult to pass a car in front of you it seems but he passed first one then another and then another until he won the race by a long shot. It was quite exhilerating.

In other news I was somehow inspired to buy some silver shoes on our trip to Marshalls this weekend. On later reflection I decided the only explanation was Hannah's recent influence though i wasn't aware of this at the time. anyhow i love them.

mbh always loves a trip to Marshalls. He loves to buy discount gadgets and has really found some high quality items that he uses often like designer leather laptop bags, white shirts etc. This week he bought a tent and a battery powered lantern. Neither of us know the first thing about camping but we are prepared if we ever have the opportunity to go on a camping trip. Maybe Bonita and family will invite us to go with them one day. I always read her camping stories with awe and admiration.
The yinyang ottoman in the picture with the silver shoes is also from Marshalls
as well my ten dollar antique looking vase with the Chinese character for "double happiness" that is a symbol of marital harmony.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More music! and more beaches!

What a lot of summertime fun we have been having lately.

This past weekdend we went to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra at the Talcott Mountain Music Festival...

...and had a positively PERFECT beach day at Watch Hill, Rhode Island which is only a day trip away from us.

Blue skies with fluffy clouds, sunshine, clear blue waves

Sand and pebbles

3 Ladybugs!! for good luck

And this magnificent creature. Never seen one of those. Do you think Hannah would have liked it? On the drive back home we reveled in one of those "Hannah" sunsets that people around the nation reported seeing this weekend.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A few of Hannah's Favorite Things

Little Hannah left this world a few days ago. Her funeral is today. I only know her through the blogging community. Her mother has been keeping a blog about Hannah and her little sister Lily. Hannah taught everyone awareness of wonder, beauty and magic. Some of her favorite things included

lilies and wildflowers,


feather boas and tiaras and the book

Fancy Nancy. Her mother requested that people attending the funeral dress up in their most wonderful Fancy Hannah clothes and bring flowers that Hannah would have liked. I wish I could have met Hannah. In the next few weeks I will dedicate all my awareness of beauty and wonder in the world to her :)

O Thou most glorious Lord! Make this little maidservant of Thine blessed and happy; cause her to be cherished at the threshold of Thy oneness, and let her drink deep from the cup of Thy love so that she may be filled with rapture and ecstasy and diffuse sweet-scented fragrance. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful, and Thou art the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Terry, Cathy and Jessie

We had dinner guests last night. Terry is leaving for China in a couple of weeks on a business trip and is excited about his first Asian adventure so he came over to chat with us about China.

We made him play the guitar for us too. We had been talking about James Taylor concerts in the Berkshires so he played a James Taylor tune for us.

The encore was from the Hidden Words that I wish I had also recorded.

"O MY CHILDREN! I fear lest, bereft of the melody of the dove of heaven, ye will sink back to the shades of utter loss, and, never having gazed upon the beauty of the rose, return to water and clay."
(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

He played the version that has been set to music by Elika Mahoney "The Melody of the Dove of Heaven" (click to listen) from the beautiful CD Melodies of the Nightingale

More amazing guitar

Weeds and seeds

My father always used to tease my mother about her "weeds and seeds". My mother was passionate about her alternative health remedies. I just invested in some new health potions. I think my mother would be proud of me. On behalf of my father I am making sure to laugh at myself as well and not take anything too seriously and I mix a heaping tablespoon of skepticism into each new potion I try. My main philosophy for good health is also very loads of fruits and veges, exercise (important to include yoga somewhere in there), say your prayers and try to give a lot of love at every opportunity...

All that being said, my latest investments include "Organic Indian Psyllium Husk" and "Green Vibrance" from Whole Foods. My dad is definitely shaking his head and muttering "weeds and seeds". But I have been taking both for breakfast and so far I feel quite pleased with the results of my purchase. Very cleansing :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Goodbyes and beaches

Well we said goodbye to BM this weekend at John F. Kennedy airport in New York and then went to visit some friends who live close to the airport. mbh's high school classmate and his lovely wife. We went to have Northeastern Chinese food in Flushing. I was the only non-Chinese person in the packed restaurant. I am not even sure you would have been able to order your food in English. Flushing always amazes me. It is as though you have just taken a drive in your car to China. (I just read on wikipedia that it has the second largest chinatown in the US but they do not mention which is the first) And of course the food that we ate was real Chinese food far removed from what you might find available at your local China King buffet. I found everything delicious except for the sea slug (I guess sea cucumber sounds better) which I refused to even try. I realize it is rather closed minded of me but I have gotten to the point that I just don't eat things if they don't appeal to me. But I could not get enough of the liang pi--a noodle made out of mung beans that is served cold with cucumbers, sesame seed paste dressing and all manner of other goodies in it.

Our friends also took us for a couple of visits to the beach. On Sunday we went to Long Beach. It is such a cute little beach town with a very very long beach of course. It was windy so there were some lovely waves to jump around in and so many many people were there all along the long stretch of coast jumping and screeching with delight as the kind and playful ocean caressed their bodies and jostled them up and down. It struck me somehow...this relationship between earth and humans and how much comfort and joy the magnificent oceans and warm sun give us even as we also depend on them for life. Anyhow it was Fun. whew! I needed that.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"the investigating mind is attentive, alive"--some inspirtation for would be (and women) of science

"The man of science is perceiving and endowed with vision, whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this development is blind. The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the callous and indifferent mind is deaf and dead.

A scientific man is a true index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity, its status, conditions and happenings. He studies the human body politic, understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of civilization.

In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected.

It is the very foundation of all individual and national development.

Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible.

Therefore, seek with diligent endeavour the knowledge and attainment of all that lies within the power of this wonderful bestowal."

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canadain 1912" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 50)

Radicalism and Education Reform in Twentieth Century China

What a great book this is. I regret not reading it earlier. I shall have to make a close study of it. Such scholarly genius and discipline. Insights into the dilemmas of education and social and economic development in the first chapter. Breathtaking analyses of the contradictions between tradition and modernity. It pulls together major events of twentieth century Chinese history too.

Reviews of the book

"...what Pepper has given us is a book that should be required reading not just for sinologists but for anyone doing serious work on comparative or international education." Stanley Rosen, Comparative Education Review

"The relevant political context for each educational reform explored is presented with scholarly care making Pepper's book valuable to researchers in several periods of twentieth-century history." American Historical Review

"The most important book of its genre that has been writen in the past twenty-five years...This work speaks eloquently of the importance of the historical perspective in understanding the origins and resonances that mark contemporary policy...In this case, an appreciation for historical context reminds us that ideas involving the nature of social justice as related to the promotion or restriction of equality of opportunity in educational terms, have been of crucial importance to the Chinese people throughout this century." East/West Education

"With this volume, Suzanne Pepper establishes herself as the pre-eminent historian of China's efforts to adapt Western educational models to Chinese realities." Pacific Affairs

"A masterly synthesis of years of scholarly research, it is destined to become the standard reference work on the subject for years to come." Journal of Asian Studies

Set free

Gui Gui was granted his freedom yesterday evening. I hope he made his way down to the stream okay and managed to find a good dinner for himself.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Turtles and Poinsettias

BM are going back to China suddenly to take care of some minor health issues and other affairs. They will be gone for two and half months and I am just not sure how I am going to get used to them not being here to dote on us. We are entrusted with taking care of all of B's creatures that he has collected.

There are the fish to be cleaned and fed.

Then there is "gui gui" the turtle who presents me with a moral dilemma. i have a strong compulsion to set him free back to his natural habitat frolicking in the streams and catching juicy jumping bugs and meeting other spotted turtle friends for a swim. On the other hand he is B's adored pet and i would be quite lax in my responsibilities if i were party to an escape.

i will enjoy caring for the plants however. B has quite a garden that he has cultivated from abandoned pot plants he has discovered and from harvesting the seeds of some chilli peppers he particularly liked. His plants thrive so readily that he has to keep spreading them out over several pots.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

New England Arts and Crafts Festival

Yesterday was the day of the New England Arts and Crafts Festival in Milford Connecticut where my father-in-law made his artistic debut with his stone engraving work. Given the amount of work that each piece involved we set the price rather high and so were not really expecting to sell anything. But we did indeed sell one piece to a happy and excited buyer.

We also had a chance to wander around and admire other art of course. I came upon a stand that was unmistakably Zimbabwean. I went right up to the artist, radiant with delight, and said "Are you from Zimbabwe?" Indeed he was and we shared a few words about how difficult the situation is there at the moment. He comes to the US every summer to do art shows and then he is able to return to Zimbabwe with precious foreign currency and do very well for himself and his family where Zimbabwe dollars have become all but worthless. I loved his art too! The soapstone sculptures that he was selling for someone else were so familiar but his own wire art, which is also so very Zimbabwean, was ingenious and creative. I bought a few items. The lizards and chameleons remind me so much of some of my favorite childhood wildlife friends. I had geckos on my bedroom walls all the time and I loved them so much. And every now and then my father would bring me chameleons from the bush to entertain me or I would even discover one in the garden. I also bought a wire bicycle. I asked him if as a boy he had made wire cars to play with and he said that was how he got started. Little boys in Africa pick up left over bits of fencing wire and make wonderful cars that they push along with a stick. They can be really quite sophisticated.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Layli Miller and the Tahirih Justice Center

"The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. When the two wings or parts become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary. Therefore, woman must receive the same education as man and all inequality be adjusted."

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 374)

"You can kill me as soon as you like but you cannot stop the emancipation of women" Tahirih (1817-1852)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Farewells and Fireflies

Joa, Sham and Arian had a lovely farewell party in the garden this weekend. All afternoon the many friends that they have made stopped by to enjoy being near them for one last time.


Friends they had met along the way in Highland Park

Baha'i friends

Next door neighbors...

The party lasted all afternoon and well into the late summer evening when the fireflies came out. I never knew what a firefly looked like up close. I didn't even know that they would let you catch them and even glow in your hands! Well one of the young friends there was a young scholar of fireflies and she taught me a thing or two about them and got us all excited about chasing them and observing them up close.