Sunday, November 30, 2008

...Cultural Shame

Dear friends... I was saddened, dismayed, and truly disgusted today to learn that a man was trampled to death this weekend by over zealous holiday shoppers. Let me remind you that the origin of 'holiday' is from the Old English 'Holy Day'.
Before I compromise my own dignity and unleash my lower, cynical self - I'd like to share with you some Words from Bahá'u'lláh, excerpted from The Advent of Divine Justice, a series of messages to the American Bahá'í community from Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.

"By the righteousness of God!" writes Bahá'u'lláh, "The world, its vanities and its glory, and whatever delights it can offer, are all, in the sight of God, as worthless as, nay even more contemptible than, dust and ashes." "O ye My loved ones!" He further exhorts, "Suffer not the hem of My sacred vesture to be smirched and mired with the things of this world, and follow not the promptings of your evil and corrupt desires." "Disencumber yourselves of all attachment to this world and the vanities thereof. Beware that ye approach them not, inasmuch as they prompt you to walk after your own lusts and covetous desires, and hinder you from entering the straight and glorious Path." "This civilization," is His grave warning, "so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men.... If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation."

As we have so recently taken the time to ponder and reflect on those things for which we are most thankful; let us now resolve to - individually and collectively - behave in a manner befitting our station as humans. Let us restore dignity this year. When you pray, meditate, or put positive energy into the atmosphere, please remember this man and his family. I do.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

From the Vault...

As promised - more new(ly developed) pictures....
As Kalila and Kadria can attest, I was up on this trolley forever!
I was like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Photographer....
I wish that my other pictures of this had turned out - cest la vie, no?
But it was rad, trust.
I took this picture of Kalila as she was trying to fix her bag.
She looked really endearingly earnest.
Now that I see the picture, I really like the angles of it - like a zig zag sort of effect.

This picture I had to crop the heck out of!
It's taken in the heart of the street bazaar in downtown Tel Aviv.
*note to self: need flash*
But I really dig the way the fruit is lit in this shot.
It sort of reminds me of how obvious early Christian and even Rennaissance artists were in letting their audience know what about the piece was the subject - or, in certain conversations, what was good and of God.
I guess you should eat fruit?
...a message from my camera.

True Happiness Is...

Some time ago I mentioned that there were several Bahá'ís on pilgrimage to the Holy Land from the DRC. This week there are two groups: one from Ethiopia and one from South Africa. This morning I was invited to attend a breakfast reception for these friends....
So beautiful!
Just now, as I am typing this, the friends are singing and chanting in praise of God. They are just one floor below me, and their songs are echoing up through the hall of the International Teaching Centre. It is, truly, an amazing experience.
In a continuation of my thoughts on thankfulness - let me say that today I am thankful to be surrounded by such love and fellowship; so that, while I am missing my family at home, I feel part of a larger family here today.
Thank you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

As Per Usual...

I'm thinking out loud again.
My Nana sent me an email today wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving (hi Nana!).
When I visit the Holy Shrines, I regularly am inspired to meditate on those things for which I am most thankful - like my family, my health, and the myriad opportunities and experiences I have been afforded.
I swear I'm not entirely bekar - but on blogs I am wont to read - I've seen a series of lists of things to be thankful for. I think, however, that we (I mean humanity at large) have reached a stage in our collective maturity where it is no longer sufficient of acceptable to be thankful in words alone.... We must, instead, show our thankfulness.
"Have patience---wait, but do not sit idle; work while you are waiting; smile while you are wearied with monotony; be firm while everything around you is being shaken; be joyous while the ugly face of despair grins at you; speak aloud while the malevolent forces of the nether world try to crush your mind; be valiant and courageous while men all around you are cringing with fear and cowardice."
I find this quote from 'Abdu’l-Bahá especially poignant today as we consider what it is that we hold most dear and are, in fact, most thankful for.
*Head's up on the quote provided by: Nava.*

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Preview of Sorts...

So as you may know, I've finally completed my first ever roll of film! ...okay, so I've completed rolls on disposable cameras before - but this is different. This time I took pictures on a camera that is all my own - forever. To tell you the truth, I'm pretty pleased with my initial efforts. I was truly pleasantly surprised with many of the results.
When I first mentioned to Kalila that I wanted to learn to take better pictures (and with film), she told me that, with any hobby, you had to be prepared to spend money and time. I suppose it only fitting, then, that she be the subject of the first photo I post:
This picture was taken at a little (and terribly cute) cafe in
Old Jaffa, Israel.
In a 'putting it all out there' kind of way, I wasn't super happy with the colors in this one. I made it black & white; now I really like it.
Yay for editing....
This picture is really rad. Grafitti is a big deal here - artistically speaking.
This piece is actually 3D - it's like they've decopaged a Dandy (a la Oscar Wilde) on what would otherwise have been an unremarkable stretch of wall....
I'll put more up soon - hope you like the initials....

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Nothing If Not Competitive...

So in September, a few people got together to celebrate this guy's birthday. This picture must have been taken just after he realized I had usurped his first place standings....
Joseph K. Fradella
Glance: Askance
Target: Camera

Yasmin & I
Please note that by this time I was exhausted - but winning.

Yeah Boiiiii - she seemed to say...

The approximate distance by which I had missed the pin I wanted.
I realize I look scary - but it's an incredibly telling photo....

p.s. My brother, Bill, is a fantastic bowler - he's even bowled a 300 before!
p.p.s. I had the highest cumulative score that night (from 3 games). ...but it was close!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three's Company...

I finished my first roll of film today!
Updates soon. *which is code for when I get it developed and if I like anything I took....*

Tan Cerca Y Tan Lejos...

But I'm coming! ...or, for those of you not in Europe - I'm going!
Parisian store front - um, yes please!?
Found via Black*Eiffel
This blog, Copenhagen Cycle Chic, is like my new virtual homeboy.
So dang fun.
So dang cute.

ps. I like bikes so well, I don't even care that it looks like I'm late to the party - but my 'back-in-the-day' friends know....

Curious and Curiouser...

So last night on our walk (yay for walking again!) I was trying to explain to Nazy the 'consumerist mall culture' that is my home town. ...about how I used to regularly swing by the mall (most usually the Spectrum) on my way home from work and just generally check things out. I likened it to the way you may check out the blogs/sites you favor daily.
You may swing to Barnes for a coffee and a read - but on the way you window shop the new trends, people watch (almost my favorite sport), and eventually check the headlines on the Times, Harpers, VF (etc.) - all before popping upstairs to the New Release section to see if there's anything you can't live without.
With me?
Well... in my tour of all things I like virtually (or do I virtually like them?), I found this site! His name is Christopher David Ryan - and I quite like what I see.... Now I have all kinds of new pictures to make up stories to!
...Looking forward to this day.
These 2 are just so completely rad!
Thanks for indulging me in my excitement....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shenanigans, Tom Foolery, and etc.

Are you looking at me? ...looking at you, looking at me?
The Bahá'í World Centre is famous for its gardens - not so famous, but equally lovely, is the little garden in front of my desk. Justin, Noly & I - one fine and sunny day in Haifa, Israel.

For Your Consideration...

So I've some exciting 'up and comings' in the life of aimee piper. My mom is coming to visit me soon (ahem. 1 month & 2 days!!!) and in February I'll be going to Europe for a friend's wedding and some general I've-never-been-here-before-sight seeing.
I've been saving up pictures I find that make me think of all the cool things I'll be seeing and doing - but I saw this one today and I thought it was so perfect. For a myriad reasons....
The artist's name is Christopher David Ryan. You should check his stuff.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Peeling Back

...another level of my nerd factor.
So you know by now that I read the dictionary - it must then come as no surprise I take 'words of the day' from Dictionary(dot)com. They come in to my auxiliary email account, so I don't check them so regularly.... Imagine my pleasant surprise, then, when I noticed they've added a new dimension to the etymology of the words: the date it first came into use in it's current definition. This, added to the already available (from the _____ from the Old ________ for to _____) makes for a very happy aimee piper!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shameless Girl Strikes Again...

So we have a mail room here at the Bahá'í World Centre - and twice daily some lovely person from this office makes rounds and brings us mail, etc. Usually it's work related, but sometimes not. So this morning I ran into the mailman, below is the conversation - potentially conversational embellishment warning....
Me: "So anything good in there for us?" *not so inconspicuously peering into the crate with mail*
Mail Man: "Well, there's one piece here."
Me: ...less than casually dismissing his peace offering of work related mail. "No, I meant is there anything good in there - like mail for us."
MM: "oh, not today."

ps. and by us I mean me.... You know, a little something to break up the monotony - a little pleasant surprise action.

Oh! Hi mom - I didn't see you there.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh Canada!

Coeur de Pirate Comme des enfants from Dare To Care Records on Vimeo.

Dear Canada,
I largely suspect that you are too cold for me - but I really like the music your people are putting together! Sigh. What's a girl to do...?

Head's up courtesy of Nazy. Originally witnessed the goodness on this blog.

So yeah, I seem to be in a music mood lately - what about you? Hear anything good you'd like to pass my way?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Imagination Wins... Again

I don't really have so much of a story today - or, at least not one I want to share. But I thought I'd share this picture, at least - you might like (ahem. love) pretty things, too. Suffice it to say that my imagination has created a scenario involving me sitting on this bench (not too hot, not too cold - with a perfect little breeze) and this band playing this song just out of view.
I hope you enjoy my daydreams as much as I do!
...because sharing is caring, right?

ps. If you haven't seen Penelope, yet - I highly recommend it!
pps. The artist of the above (although I've played around with the original) is Leonid Afremov. Support the artist!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Espresso Desserts...

So I've been doing some thinking, lately - I'm wont to do that you know. I think it's a result of all of the change that's happening in our lives. Exciting and exhilerating change. Change to write home about, journal, blog, laugh and sing about. There is change afoot so important that everyone alive today will someday take their granchild on their knee and tell them about it.
Although the fall of the Old World Order has been painful, to say the least, we are witnessing the rise of the New World Order foretold by all the Books of God. While on His visit to North America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá'u'lláh, tells us about this momentous and historical Age in which we live. He says:

"I behold in you the making of a goodly tree upon which divine fruits will appear to give sustenance to the world of humanity.
With hearts set aglow by the fire of the love of God and spirits refreshed by the food of the heavenly spirit you must [...] order your lives in accordance with the first principle of the divine teaching, which is love. Service to humanity is service to God. Let the love and light of the Kingdom radiate through you until all who look upon you shall be illumined by its reflection. Be as stars, brilliant and sparkling in the loftiness of their heavenly station. Do you appreciate the Day in which you live?

This is the century of the Blessed Perfection!
This is the cycle of the light of His beauty!
This is the consummate day of all the Prophets!

These are the days of seed sowing. These are the days of tree planting. The bountiful bestowals of God are successive. He who sows a seed in this day will behold his reward in the fruits and harvest of the heavenly Kingdom. [...] Its fruitage and flower shall be the solidarity of mankind, the perfection of justice and the praiseworthy attributes of heaven manifest in humanity.

Today the nations of the world are self-engaged, occupied with mortal and transitory accomplishments, consumed by the fires of passion and self. Self is dominant; enmity and animosity prevail. Nations and peoples are thinking only of their worldly interests and outcomes. The clash of war and strife are heard among them. [...] You must deal with all in loving-kindness in order that this precious seed entrusted to your planting may continue to grow and bring forth its perfect fruit. The love and mercy of God will accomplish this through you if you have love in your own heart.

[...]The zephyrs of a new and divine springtime are wafting their fragrant breaths from the invisible world. Know ye then the value of these days.

Awake ye to the realization of this heavenly opportunity. Strive with all the power of your souls, your deeds, actions and words to assist the spread of these glad tidings and the descent of this merciful bounty. You are the reality and expression of your deeds and actions. [...] The verdure and foliage of spiritual growth are appearing in great abundance in the gardens of human hearts. Know ye the value of these passing days and vanishing nights. Strive to attain a station of absolute love one toward another. By the absence of love, enmity increases. By the exercise of love, love strengthens and enmities dwindle away."
‘Abdu’l-Bahá (excerpted from The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

So these are some of the things I've been thinking about. How to facilitate a change towards peace and love. It's no surprise (surprise!) that I'm a child of the 80s - so play along yes? No one ever says "I want to join the hate parade". Who wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, "Self? Who can I hate today?" Nobody - because it's crazy talk, that's why. So let's keep in the realm of crazy & we'll keep love and peace and tranquility in the land of sane, hm? Yeah, sounds good to me, too.

Image credit.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

To My Once and Future....

In a general 'just putting it out there' kind-of-way, I'm a not-so-closet romantic. This is, of course, only news to you if you don't get daily updates of my CHS therapy sessions....
Anyhow, I saw this picture a while ago, and I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to use it here - and realized (I may not be quick, but I get there...) that I would have to create my own excuse. Ready? The excuse is that I like it. *Click the picture to make it bigger*
ps. I like this song, too.

Discover Björk!

...welcome to a day in my life.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Operation NICE: Homework Style...

A few years ago at New Years, my grandma and I (HI Nana!) decided to make the same resolution. We decided that when someone paid us a compliment that we would accept it graciously and say thank you instead of trying to deflect it out of a misplaced sense of modesty or, worse still, insecurity. I still work on this; mostly because I think that multiple generations of women have been raised to either avoid attention altogether - or to play the coquette to ever new and sickening degrees. I feel, sometimes, that by honestly thanking the person who has so kindly complimented me - that I almost take them aback or catch them off guard. ...but I digress.
I read a really interesting post on Operation NICE today (you should check it out, it's really quite amazing - conceptually and actually) about making a Love List. The aim of this particular Love List, though, would be those things that you love about yourself.... Easier said than done, hmmm?
I love when I make people laugh, I love that I still learn new things everyday, I love that I’m friendly, I love my smile (this is a new one for me – and it feels really nice to say that and mean it), I love that my eyes match whatever color of blue I wear, I love how tall I am (also a new one for me…), I love that I am creative, I love that I am passionate about art, music, literature, people, life…. I love my nerd factor, I love being a Bahá’í, I love being a woman, I love my family – which makes me :: me!

Ps. how rad is this picture?!? ...almost as rad as the blog I found it on.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

...Pay It Forward?

I got the idea for this post from a blog I check in on Peonies and Polaroids. Anyhow, you're meant to take the 4th photo from the 4th folder on your computer....
This particular photo comes from my experimentation phase - photographically speaking. Which I'm technically (okay, actually) still in. I actually really like this photo, and I'm glad of the excuse to share it, proper style.
I took this picture while I was walking home one night during the spring. The tree was in full bloom and I was working to learn the gadgetry of my (now defunct - hopefully only temporarily so) camera. I still prefer taking pictures at night - I just love the way that the subject and the light pop out from the dark. I also love the way the bay of Haifa is lit here... at night it transcends being just another ship yard and takes on the look and feel of what I imagine its potential to be....
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