Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I should preface this by telling you that I majored in English Literature at University... and that the single hardest class I ever took was English grammar. I should tell you also that the best students in our class were those who had English as a second (or third, etc.) language.
Flash minorly forward in the background of the heart of today's post: my favorite mistake that native Persian speakers make when speaking English is that are often wont to confuse their he/she pronouns - in Persian there is no distinction of gender in the second person pronoun....
This is why, when I read prayers in the Bahá’í Faith specifically dedicated to women, prayers that have often been translated from the original Persian, I realize the profound importance given to the station of women by Bahá'u'lláh. The soul is genderless - gender is merely a phenomenon of physical existence - but this does not mean that men and women do not contribute uniquely, yet equally, to the beauty, wonder, betterment and advancement of humanity.
The following prayer, penned by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh), touched - nay, rather sang to - my heart last night. Whether you are a man or a woman, I hope you feel equally inspired:

"O Thou kind Lord! Bestow heavenly confirmation upon this daughter of the kingdom, and graciously aid her that she may remain firm and steadfast in Thy Cause and that she may, even as a nightingale of the rose garden of mysteries, warble melodies in the Abhá Kingdom in the most wondrous tones, thereby bringing happiness to everyone. Make her exalted among the daughters of the kingdom and enable her to attain life eternal.
Thou art the Bestower, the All-Loving."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Think About It...

My mom and my grandma tell this story of my great-grandmother 'Granny' who, due to circumstances beyond her control, only finished the third grade. But she never quenched her thirst for knowledge. In fact, she would sit and read each night - with a dictionary by her side so that she could always be learning new things. Although she passed away when I was 10 - and I never knew her so well in person as I've come to by (not so) secretely hoarding stories of my family's history - I was and am profoundly awed, inspired, and influenced by this story.
My favorite book is my OED (specifically the Oxford Dictionary of Current English, third edition). It's well worn - and not half as fancy as the one Ione Sky immortalized in Say Anything - but I love it. I really like to go through it at random and look up words that are sure to have an "origin". Well, all words do - but origin in the sense that the dictionary tells you the root or etymology (from the Greek) of a word. So today at lunch - I've been reading Paradise Lost at lunch (sigh. I know...) and I keep my OED handy.
Anyhow, I was reminded of a word I absolutely love today. Not because I use it overmuch, mind - but because the origin is literally so cool.
Ahem. genial /jee-ni-uhl/ adj. Friendly and cheerful. ORIGIN Latin genialis 'productive'.
...I'm just saying.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Love Letter In Photos...

Dear Fall,
Welcome back - you have been sorely missed, but this makes reunion (if we ever get out of this Indian Summer...) that much sweeter, right?

There's a rumor of rain in H-Town this weekend, and while I'm minorly concerned that my tea party on the balcony guests might not love it - I mostly don't care. Because I.love.the.rain.

Ps. If you decide to rock up on the tea party - all unexpected style... note the dress code. This might be the only exception Yasmin & I will accept to fancy dress....

...such a fan of irony - and of pretty fridays. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oriental Night in an Occidental Age

The Inspiration: (images of Seville, Spain & Old Jaffa, Israel)
The Invitation:
The Soundtrack - ok, so part of it....
Fancy dress tea party doubles as a dance party doubles as an excuse to gather a bunch of people who maybe don't know each other so well so we can all make new friends....
I'm super excited!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

...Si, Solo los Domingos

Some friends (the K's) and I went to Tel Aviv this weekend. Excepting the airport, I'd never been there before - and I really loved 'adventuring' around the city. Such a fantastic atmosphere. (Hopefully, I'll be able to post pictures from it soon)
I felt that we were in perfect harmony with summer that day.... Like we weren't quite ready for summer to be gone - and summer wasn't quite ready to loose it's hold on the world.

... in fair New York, where we lay our scene, my friend Amy of Montague fame (I told you about my nerd factor, yes?) took this picture at the Coney Island boardwalk. I actually saw this picture earlier last week - and I was totally won over by the beauty in it. But I had no idea how completely it would capture the feeling of my experience with the beauty of summer's end. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Need Therapy...

So did any of you used to watch Friends back in the day? (Is it weird to think that there will be a day when people you're talking to won't know who Ross & Rachel are?) Anyhow, do you remember when Ross married the Brittish girl (sorry - I don't remember her name...), and Ross was having this melt down about how the girl had all of these elaborate plans, and he would have been happy with a JOP (Justice of the Peace) ceremony.... And how Monica had to step in and remind Ross to let her have her day because she's probably been planning it since she was a little girl?
Well, I kind of have a similar issue. I regularly put the cart before the horse - I call it Cart before the Horse Syndrome (CHS).
It's no surprise that I love looking at pretty things, right? Well, many of those pretty things just happen to be wedding related.... and I'm not even in like.
Yeah, it's like that.
Anyhow, I ran into this picture this week - and I think it's hilarious! I especially love the lady in the back with the hat - she's just along for the ride.

p.s. I think I could hear the collective sigh of relief all the way from OC.... Oh, hey Mom.

...In the Lines

Have you ever looked at pictures of yourself as a kid - or even as a baby - and been able to see the person you are now? I think sometimes we can look at habits we had as children and see the people we are now....

When I was a kid (like last year... or yesterday) I would usually only color the main characters on the coloring page - unless I was feeling really artistic.

My life is mostly like that - the finer details aren't so filled in....

Image credit.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Brief Introduction...

This week's "thoughts on all things I think are pretty" surprises even me. ...okay, so I'm not so surprised as I am impressed with myself - but you'll see what I mean.
As you can probably tell, I err on the side of obsessed when it comes to fashion and art and etc. But lest you get the wrong (ahem. right) idea - I read a lot, too. A lot. And the things I found to be most beautiful and inspiring this week were things that I read.... The piece I've chosen to share with you all (or you 5 - I mean, let's not be dramatic, right?) is from the writings of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The picture is one that I took during the Bahá'í International Convention of the Shrine of the Báb.

To learn more about the Bahá'í Faith... click here.
I hope you enjoy this Friday's post and find it to be as beautiful and inspiring as I do.
"By night, by day, at morning tide and sunset, when darkness draweth on, and at earlly light I remember, and have ever remembered, in the realms of my mind and heart, the loved ones of the Lord. I beg of Him to bestow His confirmations upon those loved ones, dwellers in that pure and holy land, and to grant them successful outcomes in all things; that in their character, their behavior, their words, their way of life, in all they are and do; He will make them achieve distinction among men; that He will gather them into the world community, their hearts filled with ecstasy and fervor and yearning love, with knowledge and certitude, with steadfastness and unity, their faces beauteous and bright.
- ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'll Deny It If You Tell Anyone....

But I actually miss running. Can you believe it?!? Me, aimee piper! Sigh, I know - what is this world coming to???
For the last 8 or 9 weeks I've had a pretty good weekly schedule of exercise - running at least twice a week! Insert praise here... No? Well, I'm proud of myself. But for the last 7-10 days I've been super super busy and I haven't run (or been swimming!) at all. And I miss it.
...never thought I'd say it, much less mean it, is all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Planes, Trains & Automobiles... O My!

One of the things I appreciate most about being here in Israel - as opposed to Southern California - is the truly great public transportation system in place here. I'm willing to acknowledge that I think the transit system in Israel is rad because I'm from OC (where it is virtually non-existant) - as opposed to, say, NYC, or something - because these things are relative... but I think we can safely say it's at least decent.

So now that I've established that my experience with public transportation leaves a little something to be desired... let me tell you about my Thursday Night Adventures. It started as a lovely invitation to dinner in Nahiriyyih (ironically enough, what I consider to be the OC of Israel...). Some friends and I were going to enjoy some delicious Indian food - and have a bit of a field trip. Little did Nava or I know what an adventure it would truly become!

While other of our friends would be meeting us there - Nava and I decided to take the train into the city. I suppose I should tell you that that express train doesn't go directly to Nahiriyyih; you can either take a slower train, or, if you choose the express train, you can simply transfer at another station.
Nava and I decided that to avoid confusion, we would take the direct train - although it would be a little slower. ...to clarify, we had 1 ½ hours to meet our friends for dinner. Plenty of time, right? No. No it was not.

Let me summarize the entire kerfuffle for you: Nava and I spent almost an entire night getting to and from a dinner we didn't even join (except to say HI) - we were so late - and wound up going to another restaurant in the city, instead (big shout-out to Max Brenner!) where I had the most amazing tuna salad sandwich. But not so much Indian food....

Lessons? Learn to properly read a train schedule, and a touch more Hebrew than I presently possess wouldn't go amiss, either.... This has been A Day In My Life: thanks for joining.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Looking At Me, Looking At You...

I suppose I should preface this week's Friday Post by telling you that I love all of these pictures for very different reasons - but the reason I've put them together on the same post is very specific. It's about their distinct attitudes to the camera and audience that I find so striking...

The subject in this photo, seemingly unaware of her audience, has - specifically with her body language - nonetheless invited her audience into the role of voyer.
Here we have Einstein completely aware of the camera/audience, and therefore completely in control of his actions in relation to the shot. The possession of this picture does not lend a possession of the subject - in sharp contrast to the model above.
This last photo may yet be my favorite in this series. This woman, a Dalit from India, is likewise completely unaware of her audience. But there is nothing in her posture to denote that she is either a simple bystander waiting to be chanced upon by a voyeristic audience, nor is she somehow complicit in her own objectification....
Just some random and hasty thoughts for what is shaping up to be a fine September friday!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Literally or Figuratively...

We clean up okay.
I didn't cook (what was an AMAZING dinner), therefore I must clean. My mama raised me right!
Picture taken by Sina Taheri

Kalila at the Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Báb
Picture taken by Kadria Simons - she's wicked talented...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cost Productive...

My swim coach in college, Flip Darr, used to say that the only way to swim fast was to swim fast.
The only way to make a difference is to make a difference.

I really love this video. But let us be sure to neither romanticize the poor nor demonize the rich. What is needed is constructive action. In the work of creating a better society, let us all work as equals: not that one group is to be a recipient of aide, or as objects of development - but as subjects of development.

In a message to the Bahá’í world, the Universal House of Justice has stated:
"The greatest concern of Bahá’í [Social and Economic Development] projects has to be the development of the [peoples'] capacity to make decisions about their spiritual and material progress and then to implement them."
...this is conducive to human dignity.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Um, Don't Cancel My Friendship, But...

My nerd factor is gi.nor.mous. Game Night is high on my list of "two favorite words". I play RISK (traditional, God Storm, & - my favorite - Star Wars versions) almost every weekend. I used to tell my friends that my mom said I couldn't come out to play/go to your party - all so I could stay home and read a book. (sorry if that was you... but big shout out to my mom!) In fact - when my mom grounded me, she took my books away. [Insert sheepish grin]

So where am I going with this?
I want to shake the hand of the person who submitted this secret....
Ps. It's true: they are.
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