Monday, August 31, 2009

Going Green(ish)...

So Israel (where I live) is facing a serious drought. As a result, we here at the Bahá’í World Centre have been asked to reconsider our water needs and to do our best to conserve water. Accordingly, we've been asked to reduce our shower time to 4 (short) minutes. I know this might seem totally doable for many of you - and it is. But it's a new 'doable' for aimee piper.
I realized this weekend though, that 4 minutes of water doesn't have to mean 4 minutes in the shower.... With me? Good. So here I am on Saturday afternoon - prepping for a potluck games night (holler!)
*I suppose, for those who don't know me, it will be useful to tell you that - as Maxi Jazz of Faithless so eloquently puts it: I have long legs like an antelope*
Anyhow, back to what was will be the first of my resource thrifty showers... I decided to multitask (I typically do this) and to turn off the water when it wasn't absolutely necessary (new to this particular game). Friends, I was like a mad woman at the supermarket sweep - don't front, you know what I'm talking about: shampoo? check. conditioner? check. wash face? check. *water off* shave legs while the conditioner sets in my hair? check.
Cut the heck out of my ankle because I was so crazy to keep going quickly - even when the water was off? Sigh. Check.
It was ugly - and it still hurts!
Lesson? Save water and other resources (like blood, skin and tears) by being careful. To quote my uncle *hey Jerry!* "I drive slow because I'm in a hurry".
Note: Spelling is another thing 'not to do in a hurry'. Drought and Draught are actually antonymns and not 2 ways to spell the same word. Thanks to Ray for the head's up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guitar Hero...

Once a week I tutor a little boy in English - specifically in reading. This is actually amazing because reading is just about my favorite thing to do, and because Bayan is probably the funniest kid on the planet.
So last night at tutoring Bayan had a lot of energy (which is no surprise) but he comes out of no where with "do you know what band I like? KISS."
Bayan likes KISS.
“do you know that band”
“aren’t they cool?!”
*insert air guitar with proper rock god stance, little grunting noises indicating guitar riffs, and an occasional attempt to touch his chin with tongue*
“and they paint their faces!”

Ladies and Gentlemen – a star is born.

p.s. last night another little girl, Melody, joined us for reading times – Melody (who has just turned 4) informed that she’d like to listen to KISS, too – to which Bayan (who just turned 8) replied “no. you’re too young”.
These kids kill me! Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creative Times!

Remember when I told you, earlier this month, about the really rad fruit salad I made from a recipe I'd gotten from the NYT?
Tah Dah!

Shout out to Melina for taking the picture of the final creation.
mmmmmm. Delicious!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Women And Children First...

Some time ago, I asked you to holler at me. Okay, I toss that one around on the regular - but this one was important. It's a video called the Girl Effect... remember? Okay, good.
I read an interesting article (seriously - I couldn't stop reading it) in the NYTimes called The Women's Crusade: Saving the World's Women.

The article is largely excerpted from an upcoming book -
"Nicholas D. Kristof is a New York Times Op-Ed columnist and Sheryl WuDunn is a former Times correspondent who works in finance and philanthropy. This essay is adapted from their book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” which will be published next month by Alfred A. Knopf. You can learn more about “Half the Sky” at" - a book I can't wait to read (much as I may have to).

Friends, let's be real: "The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls and women are now missing from the planet, precisely because they are female, than men were killed on the battlefield in all the wars of the 20th century. The number of victims of this routine “gendercide” far exceeds the number of people who were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century."
Everything I can think to say (I'm still pretty overwhelmed by the article and the burgeoning knowledge of my own naivety) seems trite and cliche - so please just read the article. But here's the important part - when you finish, discuss it with someone. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And the Beat Goes On...

Images courtesy LIFE Magazine

So I'm still swimming - and consistently so. This makes me happy. No, it's not as glamorous as the pictures I found - there's a grip of hard work involved in getting myself back in proper shape (le sigh)... but I'm getting there. Take last night, for example.

We had this set of 3 times 3 100's (I'm swimming meters now!) on a descending time base - and I did it! FYI... when you're swimming you have an opportunity to think of all kinds of things - but when you've got a hard(er) set, it's good to get some music stuck in your head.

Except I realized that I've been listening to a lot of King's of Convenience and Morrissey lately... sigh. Love them, but it was really getting me no where - fast. (hahahaha.) Thank God I have a soft spot in my heart for pop music and that Rihanna's Disturbia occured to me half-way through my workout. I was really struggling for a second!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stop! ...And Go

The PEN Story from PENStory on Vimeo.

This video is courtesy 2 friends of mine - both named May (!!) - they also happen to be cousins.
Kind of cool, huh? By which I mean the video and my friends.
[May and May - check them out]

...Addendum: the eyeliner lesson has gone on pause. I spent my weekend putting together the things I got at IKEA - like hanging new curtains, planting new plants, and preparing how to best to cook with new woks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

That Girl...

P.S. this picture is the hotness, yeah?
*yes, I know that post scripts generally come at the end of one's thought train - but sometimes I eat my dessert first....*
Image: via Garance Doré
I swear I don't have multiple personality syndrome - but sometimes there's this girl inside me just begging to get out. She's pretty silly - you know the kind: crushes easy, is wont to dissolve in fits of giggles, has a child-sized attention span. [hey - that seems like the every-day aimee piper...]
Anyhow, every once-in-a-while I have to let her out or she'll wreak havoc on my life. Take today, for example. After lunch (yay for sushi!), Sholeh is teaching me how to (finally) apply eyeliner.
I tell you - it's rough when all of your girlfriends have huge and beautiful eyes.
And with that :: have a nice weekend!

Spiritual Refreshment...

“Even as the clouds let us shed down tears, and as the lightning flashes let us laugh at our coursings through east and west. By day, by night, let us think but of spreading the sweet savours of God. Let us not keep on forever with our fancies and illusions, with our analysing and interpreting and circulating of complex dubieties. Let us put aside all thoughts of self; let us close our eyes to all on earth, let us neither make known our sufferings nor complain of our wrongs. Rather let us become oblivious of our own selves, and drinking down the wine of heavenly grace, let us cry out our joy, and lose ourselves in the beauty of the All-Glorious.”
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Increasing Awareness...

My correligionists in Iran - who I feel a closeness with as though we were, unmet, already friends and family - have been persecuted since the inception of the Bahá’í Faith in 19th century Persia.
In this age of unprecedented information and communication capabilities, we have a responsibility to not let a group of people become swallowed - for the reality of their suffering, nay, their very existence to become silenced.
This article, from International CNN*dot*com/world, sheds light on the current status of 7 Bahá’ís.... Inform yourselves - increase justice.
Story Highlights

Seven Baha'i prisoners accused of espionage to go on trial next week in Iran

Baha'is are accused of spying for Israel, spreading propaganda against Iran

Case of the seven Baha'is has drawn global attention

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Holy Meteor Shower, Batman!

In the summer of 2000, the Piper family took a vacation together - we all got on a house boat in Lake Powell and explored the Arizona/Utah environs. The grandparents, parents/aunts and uncles all slept in the cabin - but the cousins got to sleep up on the roof - and every night we'd fall asleep counting shooting stars! Yeah, it was glorious.
So last night there was a meteor shower.... And if you remember the time I told you that my new room in my new flat has its very own balcony (!!!), you can probably guess what I was up to last night. The shooting stars I saw (I only saw 2) weren't as copious as the picture here... but it was still really amazing. Did you manage to see any?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting Into the Swing...

Kings of Convenience: I'd Rather Dance With You

...pretty much sums up a lot.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Necessary Summer Activities....

Image courtesy of fffound.
However unsolicited it may be, that's my advice and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So last week I found this cool article in the NYT titled 101 Simple Salads for the Season - I know, it's amazing actually. Anyhow, so I tried one on Thursday (traditional dinner!) and it was so tasty that I made a smaller version for lunch yesterday. Here's the best part! It's super easy to make.

I changed some things around and came up with the following:
  • diced peaches
  • diced tomato
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • cranberries
  • feta cheese (I prefer sheep feta)
  • walnuts
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • olive oil (optional)

I'm making this salad for Melina's birthday party on Saturday - I'll try (but can't promise) to get some pictures so you can see for yourselves.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Ides of Service...

So I'm half way through my service here at the Bahá’í World Centre.... It's actually pretty amazing.

I went to see my friend Roi this weekend - he's an internationally famous hair genius (hey Sautra, Jo!).... You may be curious (but it's also possible that this is too much information... I'm a risk taker like that) to know that I've had grey hair since I was 18 - we 'wise' early in my family. Anyhow, to make a long story short, I dye my hair blonde in order to hide the grey better. I had kind of let my roots go for a while (gasp!)... to the point that when I mentioned I was having my hair colored, friends responded with "oh.... yeah....." in the same tone of voice usually reserved for the most serious of high school era conversations.
So here I am, freshly cut and colored by the master - Sir Roi.
If you're ever in Israel, look him up - maybe not on a Friday, though.
(insert a healthy wink.)


Bahá’ís - just like most people the world over - work hard to develop a praiseworthy character - complete with all kinds of beautiful qualities like dignity, honor, trustworthiness, generosity, kindness, honesty.... Speaking of, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite qualities - patience. You see, I pray for patience very regularly, and correspondingly God gives me opportunities to be patient. And then I get to pray for patience all.over.again!
Take this past weekend, for example. I went to ‘Akká to get my hair done by the world famous Roi (see above) on Friday afternoon, and on my way back I was cutting it a little close on the whole Shabat (Sabbath) renders my entire city (Haifa) a ghost town thing.
Plus it was (and IS!) almost a million degrees outside (don't hate the exaggerator - it's hot as here!) so I didn't feel like walking up the Mountain when I got back to the city. *There is almost always inter-city transportation, but after 4 or so - not so much intra-city transportation*.
The pictures below are what happened when I got on the wrong sherut. Why? Because after 2 years in Israel, I had my first public transportation fail.
I know - I'm surprised I made it this long, too.
So there was my friend Dayyan - ready to catch me in all of my frustrated glory....
Note the chagrin when it occurs to me (finally) that I'm not as 'ambassadorial' as I might be....
Looking around for anything willing to cart me up mountain at this point.
Mid-whinge, I'm almost positive.
My kingdom for a car!

ps. the frustration saga continued - last night, in fact. I waited over 30 minutes for a bus that never came! So not only did I miss swim practice (sigh. I know - I was really looking forward), but I had the opportunity to stand around while my sweat (not so) slowly and (very) surely soaked through my bathing suits.
...excuse me while I go pray for patience - and add detachment to the list!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Meet my friend Jamak - or, to me, Mrs.
Mrs. and I have served together for 25 months already (!!!) - in fact she and her husband were the first people I met when I got to Israel.
Mrs. recently had some big news to share and - in the process of sharing this news - wound up with one of the freshest and most original photo albums around! Pretty soon she'll be able to share with her children the love and excitement everyone felt at the news of their imminent arrival!
Dear Twinsies, (I somehow feel that thing 1 and thing 2 are too much... grin)
I can't wait to meet you!
*Side note to the family: CONGRATULATIONS!


Maryam, Shirin, Saloomeh, Nazy, Jamila
Sobhani Family

I Love It...

L.O.V.E. (!!!) this song - to the point that I've seriously been listening to it for 2 days .... I'm still not really sure how got on the "Regina Spektor is amazing" train so late in my life/her career - but there you have it. I'm on board now.

Anyhow, another thing I love is this little blog called Le Love. It's glorious - and since we all know how much I love love (thanks for bearing with my redundancies) - it stands to reason that I follow it pretty regularly. (Yay for rea.der!). Which is how I chanced upon this little picture that they ffffound (I may be off on my number of ffffff's in that one - never really sure) which seems like it could somehow have been titled "dear Aimee Piper"....
AND here's where I come full circle (whew) the picture and the song/video? Sort of remind me of each other. Enjoy.

Caution: Some Traditions May Be Changed...

Last Thursday night/Friday morning, my friend Yasmin left the Bahá’í World Centre to continue her service elsewhere - as so many of my friends have already done (and as I will do in slightly less than 2 years....)
I don't have time to tell you ALL of the remarkable things about Yasmin (pictured below) - but I can tell you that she (well... now ME) is the last of the 'original Traditional group'. Courtesy of my friend Will: What does “traditional dinner” mean?
To which I naturally replied: I know – it makes it seem like there will be a turkey involved somehow…
On the contrary
It started one night shortly after (Universal House of Justice Member) Mr. Dunbar’s class moved up the mountain (of God) – at that time Kadria & Yasmin were my neighbors & Joe was (of course) living in the Blum. So I invited them over for dinner one night before class for just a quick bite as Joe might not otherwise have time to get all the way home, eat, get back, etc – and I was just starting to really be friends with Kadria and Yasmin.
Anyhow, it was meant to be a one-off, but after dinner Yasmin proclaimed that this should be a tradition. And so it became….

Also, I had – around that time – decided to make cooking my hobby b/c I figured that if I failed I could always eat a sandwich. BUT (!!!) I really hate cooking for one – I don’t like most leftovers and I felt like I wasted too much food. So this gave me a good forum to practice my recipes, etc.
Eventually the dinners expanded (mostly b/c Joe was tired of being the only man) so the meals became less elaborate, but I got really good at putting together a dinner for 7–10 people in 30 minutes!

*and there you have a basic history of Traditional Thursday*

Okay - so this story is over - time for a new Tradition: maybe Thursday, maybe not. I have some ideas (courtesy of Yasmin) and I'll be keeping you posted. I somehow think the new ones will be better than the old (hard as it may seem to picture now).
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