Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On We've Come A Long Way, Baby...

I may be infringing on a copyright somewhere... but I was thinking just now about the funny little phrases we use - even though our technology has taken us to a point where they're mostly out dated and quaint.

Like the one about watching a pot of water boil.

...I'm watching Little Mosque on the Prairie (great show - get on board. Seriously.) on 'tv for people who don't have tv' and I was thinking to myself - "self, watching the little red bar scoot across your screen isn't going to make that episode stream any faster".

No? Too much? Well, it's late - and I'm waiting for my cold medicine to kick in so I can (finally) get a good night's sleep.

Anyhow, last shout out for LMOTP - good wholesome fun. Do what you like, but I think I love this show.

The Deets Are Come...

So you may recall that I've been reading with Bayan (the fan of KISS, polyglot, 8 year old wonder) for about a year now. During this time we've made some remarkable breakthroughs - he now really loves Harry Potter, for example. But I've always struggled to find things that are simultaneously at his reading and interest level - English is, afterall, his fourth language... and he is a very active and intelligent 8 year old boy.

What to do?

Today I came across an article from my favorite NYT contributor (Nicholas D. Kristof) titled "The Boys Have Fallen Behind" [a brief op-ed discussing the growing gender gap in education - specifically in the west: boys are under performing girls in almost every subject, even math]. At the end of the article Kristof shouts-out a great little web site: guysread.com (also highlighted below with the really cool pictures excerpted from the site).

Friends I tell you that this site is a gift! To quote the site "Our mission is to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers."

The importance of this site cannot be understated. Go to any book store or library and you will find a whole array of books that cater to girls and women at every age level. Boys and men have much fewer options - there's certainly no equivalent for 'chick-lit', for example.

Right... so I digress, I get it. But if you love reading like I do and/or are working to encourage boys to "become self-motivated, lifelong readers" - you should really check out the site.

*To sum: I am not a professional blogger, I am not being paid to review/recommend this site. I'm just really passionate about literacy. Spread the word.

The More You Know....

I have been waiting almost a YEAR for such a site!
....More deets soon!


Moab, Utah
So you'll remember that I had big plans for this weekend (see below) - it was, afterall, the first weekend of spring! Most importantly, it was my dad's birthday this weekend - happy birthday, Dad! He and my grandfather (hi-ya Papa Jim!) are road tripping it up in the south west - in Moab, Utah specifically (hence the lovely photo).
I was otherwise a little under the weather. Ironically, I'm also a little over the weather! I know that in some places it's still actually cold - but I'm ready for summer weather. By which I mean dresses and sandals... (shhhh. But I kind of - read actually - hate shoes and socks.)

Friday, March 26, 2010


The first weekend of spring... and I'm that excited!
Image via mackin ink

Message From The Universe...?

So I need a vacation.
It’s been almost 14 months since I was in Europe.

Naturally I’ve been fantasizing about vacations and where I would go and what I could do…
Today’s word of the day (WOD)?

impecunious \im-pih-KYOO-nee-uhs\, adjective:
Not having money; habitually without money; poor.


Anyhow... what are your thoughts? (All two of you...) Any ideas for vacation spots for the non-ballers in the audience? ...I mean me. Suggestions welcome!

On Spring Cleaning...

So this image first took my breath away in October 2008... I know this because I emailed it to Kadria and used at least 742 exclamation points. Yes... I'm being superlative, but it's my story.
Image courtesy Ruby Press

Anyhow, so I keep getting messages from my computer telling me that my "inbox is almost full". Clearly we all know that I'm the opposite of tech-savvy, so I don't really know what the pie chart explaining my kilobyte (or mega? whatevs...) usage/consumption rate - but I do get that it's time to scroll through the good old 'archives' and see if there's anything I can live without.
Maybe I'll just have to construct a virtual shoebox to keep old letters and photos in... I find these little files to be extremely useful when I need a mid-day pick me up: pretty pictures can sometimes be more effective than a cup of coffee, don't you think?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hasta La Bye Bye...

Matt and Kaveh
...See you Matt. Don't forget - I expect big things... and updates!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Regular Renaissance Woman...

There's this sort of unwritten tradition with the water polo team at Technion University here in Haifa... whenever there's a special occasion (birthday, graduation, Holy Day, etc.) the person to whom the 'special occasion' belongs brings treats.
I made cookies for the team (in honor of Naw Ruz - see below) and brought them in last night. No pictures, kids - but I trust you to know what homemade chocolate chip cookies look like.
Well... my efforts were completely rewarded last night!

One of the guys – when he tasted the cookies I made – said “you’re really wasting your time in the pool, you know? Well… you’re not – but these cookies are really good”.
Insert blush here.

Happy Naw Ruz!!!

Nava, Lydia, Jason, MaSovaida, Aimee
Mona, Mae, May, Abi
So you've heard me mention the Fast... well friends, the Fast has concluded and Bahá’ís all over the world celebrated the Bahá’í New Year (Naw Ruz) this weekend!
Here in Haifa some friends and I dressed up all fancy-like and went to dinner and then - on a whim - took the bus to the movies to see Alice In Wonderland (3D!).
It was A.W.E.S.O.M.E!
You know how when you're with fantastic company you could be doing almost anything (or nothing) but still have the best time?
Yeah... it's like that.
Hope you had a nice weekend - as is evidenced above, I for sure did!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sea Changes...

Thankful for the past, appreciative of the present, hopeful for the future....
Image courtesy Kadria
I'd like to tell you that my mind is racing right now... it's rather not. There's a sort of dim haze where thought typically dwells. But yet I am overwhelmed by a million inadaquate thanks to a personal hero - a man who is truly a legend.

Mr. Hooper Dunbar, retiring member of the Universal House of Justice, just gave his last 'Thursday Night Youth Study Class'. For those of you who don't know, this class is world famous. Literally.

He has, with few exceptions, met with the youth and young adults who serve at the Bahá’í World Centre here in Haifa, Israel for 31 years. Every week.

He has inspired legions of young people to arise to serve the Cause of God on earth and to serve tirelessly their fellow humans.

He is indefatigable in his encouragement and support.... Tonight was no exception. He helped us to prepare for a life of service - to constantly have an outward looking orientation.

He will be as greatly missed as he is loved. ...but I cannot but be happy for him and his wife. When your life is service, I feel that there is only room for happiness.


So it's three days until spring - three days until the Bahá’í New Year... and the day is just so beautiful! I feel as though Van Gogh must have been somewhere along the Mediterranean Sea when he was inspired to paint the piece below.
The sea is so vibrant today and all of the trees are in bloom! Hurray!
...thanks for indulging my 'giddy'. I can't promise that it won't happen again. Until then!
Image courtesy ...etc.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Charming Man...

Fashion. A word that has a myriad definitions - near as many as there are people on the planet. This is largely because I think most people think 'style' when they hear it.... But let us consider older, perhaps more fundamental definitions for this word. Fashion - to create, the act or process of making, workmanship.

I love that fashion can (and, in my humble opinion should) be an action word - not really a noun. And I think that's why I appreciate the street-style blogs so well. I think that a lot of "high fashion" - even if it's photographed to look alive - is about the label... somehow the model provides the movement. I think that modern style should be about fashioning your wardrobe in such a way as to be able to really express your creativity. Maybe that's why 'ready to wear' often seems so boring to me, somehow.

Anyhow... I continue to get some of my best ideas from men's wear blogs - like the two pictured below. Both blogs focus on an attention to detail that is truly inspirational... but I think it's the energy and power - however subtly captured that I love the most.

On Your Marks, Get Set...

Back in the day when I worked at Starbucks (copyright thing), I had this super rad colleague - Nina. Okay... to be fair, most of coworkers from that period were pretty amazing. I don't know what it is about coffee shops attracting just the most interesting people... must be something in the water (ha.) ...but I digress.
Anyhow, Nina and I talked about all sorts of things - we were both English majors, both loved music and art and free coffee (oh... hey *$'s. I totally meant employee discounted coffee) - and she always recommended this band: OK Go.
So yeah... the Indie band the rad coffee shop girl waxed ecstatic on has emerged as an world famous are now winning Grammy's and etc. For good reason - these two videos (for the same song) are ridiculous.
...by which I mean "I can't decide which one I like best".

There's rad science experiment video complete with lessons in detachment...
*Always necessary at this time of year*

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

And then there's the marching band option (WHAT!?) ...and we know what a sucker I am for a quality marching band.
How about y'all - do you have a favorite?

Also? Big shout out and hearty thanks for the head's up to A Little House in the Clouds - you're a star!

El Ee Tee Es Gee Oh... Let's Go!

So as you may know, I'm playing for the Maccabi Haifa women's water polo team - and loving every minute of it! ...not least because of my awesome friends who come out and support the team - even if that team is the (ahem) underdog.
Abi, Matt and a homemade pom pom
Can you believe how awesome these people are?!

Diana & Ibrahim
*Homemade signs!*

From left:
Mona, Soha, Nava, Diana
Y'all are the best!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sun Rise...


Every major Manifestation of God has brought a period of Fasting and a time of remembrance and reflection to the believers of God. As you may know, for Bahá’ís that time is now.
As per of course, I've been thinking out loud....

The first couple of days of the Fast - it felt like my soul was completely in charge and on top of things. It was like I had this internal monologue (dialogue?) - spirit to body. It was as though I was a cheerleader... But by about day 5 of the Fast (sigh), my body spoke back. No need for particulars, friends - it wasn't pretty.

Anyhow, I'm happy to report that, as was to be expected, my body and soul have reached an understanding. There's a sense of collaboration now. You see, the Fast isn't really a physical thing - and it's certainly not a diet. It's a spiritual exercise in moderation and in learning to reorient our lives, namely by placing God at the center of lives.

There can be no plurality between soul and body....

God is sufficient unto me. He verily is the All-Sufficing. In Him let the trusting trust." -Bahá’u’lláh

Sun Set...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And... Jazz Hands!

*Heads up courtesy I Heart You*

Possibly the best video I've seen all year - and just in time for spring?
Hecks yes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Without Further Ado...

Aimee & Mona
You'd never guess, but I only met Mona 2 weeks (maybe 2.5 weeks) ago - I can already tell we're going to be great friends! *See exhibits A (above), B and C (below).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Minor Instruments, Major Fun...

Last weekend Haifa had the opportunity to entertain a number of visitors from the UK which naturally inspired a "Come Dine With Me" (International Edition) themed Ayyam-i-Ha party.
Milly, Claire, Liam, Andisha, Aimee, Mona

*Ayyam-i-Ha is a period of thanksgiving, service, and celebration in preparation for the Fast.
Liam, Mona, Aimee
14 Sheqs, Haifa

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

As Predicted...

So we all know that this year's going to be big (ahem). Well, it looks like my talented friends are at it again. I know, right? First making rad books - now rad music - and it's only March!
[rubs her hands together and grins with anticipatory glee.]

Andy Grammer, kids. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

...With My Brother And My Sister Standing By

I realize it's possible that this is entirely too much background information for you - but I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I've recently picked up Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (right now I'm in the India section) and there's a place where she mentions that you can't have concentration if you don't have tranquility.

This really struck me because I've been feeling so adrift lately - I even wondered if it were possible that I were somehow becoming (getting?) stupider. Crazy, I know... but my usual child-sized attention span was reaching epic proportions. And I really do feel that it's possible to have so many ideas and questions and 'things to remember' going on inside your head that when you go to pick one - just any one - you come up with nothing.

...which brings me full circle to the part where I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I was thinking how I hadn't called the family in a while (sorry Mom!) but I've been really thinking, lately, about how much I love my family. And I got to thinking how cool it would be if my brother and sister and I were together (hey Bill, hey Mer). Naturally this song came to mind.
Alexi Murdoch friends. Listen and love.

...Go Marching One By One

...hurrah, hurrah!

So Bahá’ís all over the world are Fasting. The Fast is a time for people to cleanse themselves, spiritually and materially, of all earthly defilements. Physically this means that I don't eat or drink water from sun-up to sun-down for 19 days. Spiritually I have been given an opportunity to pause and reflect on my relationship with God and to sort of figure out what that means to me - and of course to then do something about it.

Some super talented friends of mine (Amy, Kadria, Ryan, Sholeh - to name a few) have for the past couple of years collaborated to translate their intense personal reflections on such matters into the visual via photography. Specifically they have taken two pictures (morning and evening) every day during the Bahá’í Fast.... This year there is a book! The project is called Nineteen Days: dawns and dusks of theBahá’í Fast.

I give to you a preview:
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