Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Looking Around - A Journey Back Home

I was reading this post by Annie, at Earthen Vessel about her mom going back to the old home place. That really brought up memories of one place that stands out for me - the apartment that I had 30 years ago, before I got married to George.

In the 1980's, I paid $150.00 a month for a one bedroom apartment in an old 3 story apartment building near the campus of the University of Montana, in Missoula. My apartment was on the second floor, and looked out into a tree-lined boulevard. It was listed as a one bedroom apartment, with a small kitchen-dining area, a large livingroom, and bath. Beautiful glass-paned doors opened into the living room, and old leaded glass doors were on kitchen and diningroom cabinets.

I collaged one entire diningroom wall with illustrations from "Ideals Magazine", pictured above, which featured bucollic countrysides, little country churches, country cooking, and patriotic poems. I lined the windows with sheer curtains, and had hanging plants in the windows. Coleus starts and 'Bloodroot tendrils' spilled over bookcases filled with cookbooks and sculpture from my art class. It was a home for a 'hippie', with vanilla candles, macrame wall hangings, beads and crystals hanging from driftwood, and spices and grains in old glass jars.

I remodeled the drab 1930's style bathroom, which featured very old plumbing and a black and white mozaic tile floor. My sister and I worked together, pounding cedar shakes onto the wall, and adding an old cherry crate for a shelf. I acquired a beaver pelt from a relative out on a ranch, and when I was finished, my bathroom looked like an authentic old west outhouse.

My apartment had a large closet with an oval window, and that became the bedroom for my daughter, Laurel. I made a stained glass insert to put in this window, so that soft pastel colors would filter through the floral pattern, and spray colors into her room. It was enchanting! Perfectly suited for a little girl.

Laurel's bedroom was a room large enough for her bed, a desk and chair. I painted a mural on the wall, of a nest of rabbits. It came with built-in cabinets and drawers which I painted lime green, and it had another large window in front of her little desk. This is the room my daughter fondly remembers from her childhood when she was age 3 - 6 years old.

Laurel left this little apartment when she was six, to live with her father for three years. She lived most of her childhood in Wilmette, Illinois, sharing time with her father and his wife, and living with George and I in our home in Glenview, Illinois.

Once we all moved away from Montana, Laurel was determined to move back there. She got her Masters Degree in Psychology at the University of Montana. Many times, she would walk past the apartment building on her way to classes, and look up at the little oval window that was her bedroom. She would remember that place being 'the happiest home' she could ever recall - when it was "just Mom and me, girls together."

Once I went to visit Laurel, driving down from Kalispell, about 70 miles away. We had just finished lunch in her little apartment, and she suggested going over to the old apartment - just to ask the tenants if "we could look around". We did so, unannounced, a little apprehensive about what we'd find.

There were a group of guys living there. The rugs, which I shampooed to keep them a bright apricot, were dingy. All the picture collages were gone, the curtains replaced with shades, and the rabbit mural was gone - painted over. I walked over, ran my hand down the side of the wall, and felt the rise of rippled paint where their tails had been.

Nothing looked or felt the same. Even the shingles in the bathroom had been taken out, and resurfaced with touchups and new paint. It was an apartment that held no spirit of a young woman and her little daughter. Laurel and I thanked the guys and left. We drove back to her apartment, discussing all the changes and how good life was way back then.

You know, you can never go back home again. But, I love going back there in my mind, to remember the many friendships I made, to remember the art projects, the classes I took at the University. And, of course, one day George entered my livingroom to attend a Baha'i Holy Day celebration. Thirty years later, he's still sitting here, never very far away. And Laurel - she's left Montana too, and lives near us, over in Renton. She's a lucky woman - all her parents gather together several times a year, both sets, and we celebrate being a family. Although the places have changed, we've all managed to stay together. Still making memories.

A Tour of Michigan's Outhouses

Heavenly Days....As you probably know by now, I love little houses....and this is of the smaller type. Go here for a tour....

Outhouses of Alaska - For the Coffee Table

Why are outhouses marked with a cresent moon? How do you survive a trip to the outhouse up in Alaska when it is 50 degrees below? What do you do if you find yourself sharing space with a grizzly?

The answers are in Harry M. Walker's colorful book, "Outhouses of Alaska". This book takes you out back, into the heart of Alaska, with it's colorful characters, quirky stories, and amusing photos......

On The Go With Escargot

Don't Just Stand There, Folks!

Last weekend our family witnessed a terrible car accident while we were waiting for a red light to change. It involved an old truck driving about 35 miles an hour through the intersection, and another car, a silver newer model, driven by a young man. It all happened so fast that it was over in a 'split second', just this loud crash, then smoke and two crumpled front ends.

The damage was the worst I've ever seen - of course both were going about 35, and it was a front end collision. It looked like the silver sports car was driving in a turning lane; it had no right to be where it was. The driver of the old truck was just following the traffic ahead of him, and somehow that silver sports car was right in front of him, suddenly, without warning.

We had our two sons, Taraz and Rahmat, and their friend Megan in the car with us. We were behind several cars, waiting for the light to change. After we heard the crash, we saw smoke and steam pouring from the crushed motor of the sports car. Traffic had stopped all around this car; nothing was happening. I got out my video camera, there in the car, and zoomed in on the accident scene. Maybe no one could see what I was seeing - the young man inside the silver sports car was not getting out. He appeared to be stunned. (I probably had the best view, as I was using a zoom-in focus, with everything clear and magnified, like I was 5 feet away.) Then, to my amazement, cars started driving away! No one was walking over to the car, to open the door and check the young man, to see if he was OK.

As I was filming, Rahmat dialed 911 on his cell phone, George gave Rahmat all the information about the intersection, including street names, and what we were seeing. It seemed like an eternity - no one was checking these damaged cars. They just kept driving. I knew if I got out to run over there, I could be hit by a car. As the light changed to green, we watched the young man get out of the car, and walk over to the truck, which had skidded backwards about 30 feet on the wet pavement. The man in the truck was not getting out. His truck probably didn't have airbags, and George said he was likely quite injured.

The traffic kept moving, and we were forced to go ahead, but as we rounded the corner, driving past the vehicles, I filmed all of it, then filmed all these young people in the back of our van....lingering shots on my family, as they were all discussing the terrible accident.

We couldn't believe the damage - the front end to the sports car was crushed almost up to the windshield of the car. I was amazed the young man was able to get out of his car. He was on the way over to the truck when I lost sight of the accident.

I hope the police and ambulance came quickly. But my lingering thought was: why didn't anyone immediately stop, get out of their car, and verify the condition of the accident victims! Don't they know that seconds count? An airbag could be crushing a person's airway if they are passed out. Or the car could catch on fire. Any number of things could require the help of a bystander....and they all drove away.

Crash Test Dummies - It's For Real

In many serious car accidents, some of the most terrible injuries are to the lower body as the shape of the driver's compartment is changed by the impact. Scientists doing experiments used artificial, man-made dummies, but in 1998 resorted to using real human limbs, to make their experiments more authentic. Story here!

"... the design of almost every aspect of a modern car interior is based on the tolerance of different parts of the human body to violent impacts. Safety engineers have tuned the padding on the dashboard, the strength of the seat belt webbing, the stiffness of the steering column, the thickness of the windscreen glass, and even the rear view mirror mounting, according to how much of an impact the body can withstand without being seriously injured."

"If you want to build a dashboard which doesn't fracture the skull when a head slams into it in a crash, you need to know how much of a blow the head can take without being fractured. The padding must be as stiff as it can be - make it too soft and in a high speed crash, the head will plough right through, into the metal behind. Make it too hard, and even at low speeds it may cause fatal brain injuries."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Planning A Hike At Cougar Mountain

Megan, Taraz, and Rahmat came on our hike on Sunday up at Cougar Mountain, near Renton. We took a trail along Cold Creek, a wide horse trail, that was a hard vertical climb for about a mile. It evened off, circling the mountain as it got to a higher elevation, and then it wound downward through a beautiful forest. Of course it rained the whole time, a light drizzle, but that didn't diminish the pleasure of a hard climb. As usual, I was taking off coat and sweater, eventually climbing in just a thin turtleneck shirt.

In this photo we've all gathered at the Starbucks, to coffee up before we start. While the guys were figuring out trails and locations, Megan and I visited with the sweetest young woman, Molly, who sat next to us in a dark corner, on a sofa with her husband and kids.

Just The Ladies Discussing Motherhood

Megan looks pensive here, as she listens to Molly talk about raising her two young children, a 3 year old girl and an 8-month old boy. Molly is a stay at home mom, and comes to Starbucks on the weekend with her hubby, for outings.

In the lower photo I'm holding out my hand to make a point about having 5 children. We compared notes, and Molly is a lot like me - likes a clean house, puts things away before bedtime. Being a stay at home mom is just like running your own business - to make it work you've got to have goals, get focused, and get organized.

Taraz perked up his ears when Molly talked about being sensitive to fabric, and clothing labels - I guess I am too, as I often will wear a tee shirt wrong side out to avoid feeling a scratchy label. It is fun to see others with the same odd tendancies. I really enjoyed listening to Molly describe her colicky baby, trying to use a snuggly and back-pack. We talked about all of our hiking excursions with toddlers and babies in tow.

She is already trying to integrate her kids into social events, and learning to teach them to stay busy....I had to laugh, because I pulled out a case of KINEX under the seat of George's car - a box of leggo-like shapes for children to put together. He takes them on his home visits, so that when he is talking with the parents, the kids stay occupied.

George handed Taraz my camera, and told him to shoot some photos. So, he got one of Molly and I and one of Megan. He took some others, and we'll be e-mailing them to Molly in a few days. It was a fun coffee break, discussing trails, kids, and getting to know someone new along the way. I wish Molly many wonderful years with her family - and I told her it really goes by fast....too fast.

The Cougar Mountain Hike - Sunday

Here is a sign at the trailhead on the way down the mountain, it indicates two options - going to an overlook two miles away, or finishing the hike at the trailhead. Taraz and Megan were interested in hiking the two miles to the overlook. We'd already done about three miles, some of it hard climbing, and we only had .09 of a mile to go before finishing. George and I were worn out from the climb, so we had to take a vote, using Rahmat as the deciding vote. It looked like he was going to side with his brother and Megan, so George talked about going to a restaurant for an early dinner, something we don't often do... That settled the score. We hiked down the mountain to the trailhead.

As you can see, we hiked to a beautiful waterfall within the Cougar Mountain Range. All of that water eventually flows into Lake Washington. Oh, speaking of signs, there was one warning us of bears, cougars, and cave-in dangers.

This area had at one time been a coal mining area, and there were pock-marked areas where underground mine shafts had caved in. You could also see mineral residue in the mud and rivulets in the road - just unsightly yellow and gold liquids trickling down the access road.

Mom! Come On - You Can Diet Tomorrow!

Owens Beach in Point Defiance Park

We walked along Owens Beach, in Point Defiance Park this last Saturday - but the day was a torrent of rain, then sunbreaks. We found a muddy trail in the forest, and it was so beautiful I hope to go back when the sunshine is out, and get some images. There were huge foot-shaped mud puddles everywhere, like a tell-tale gossip story of who had been there, and where they went. When the sun glinted onto them, it was really quite impressive - but, wouldn't you know, I left my camera in the car!

I followed George, as he tried to prance through the forest in a type of jogging routine. Why people try to do a running walk seems a little confusing to me...just relax and enjoy the forest. But, here he was with his arms up like a boxer, mincing his steps around the potholes and mud pies. I could almost imagine him wearing a pink lace tutu, cavorting thusly, and saying, "oh my, oh my".

We made arrangements with our sons Taraz and Rahmat, to go together on an extended hike on Sunday up at Cougar Mountain. They brought their friend, Megan, and we had a long afternoon hike along Cold Creek. I'll have photos of that hike at my 4:00 posting, when I have a chance to check my photos.

Blogging Together, Sharing Ideas

A small portion of my husband's day is spent getting an excerpt ready for his blog, "Baha'i Views". Since he started this project, George has enjoyed exploring the website, Baha'i Reference Library, Statements of the International Baha'i Community, Baha'i Academics Library, and just generally googling Baha'i and doing blog-searches on Baha'i. When I first started blogging, he didn't see what 'all the fuss was about', and that sure changed once he started blogging himself. We now spend time every day talking about sites on the web, why we write as we do, and share a lot of reference materials together during the day (through e-mail) and in the evening. He prints stuff up for me, as I can only do limited viewing on a computer screen because of my vision.

Although I do not often reference these sites that George enjoys, I do go to Ocean, a free collection of the World's Religious literature managed by a unique book-centered research engine. I can punch in one word or phrase, and it will reference hundreds of locations where the concept is being used; I used to look up words or hunt for materials in a library, I can now push one button, and select whatever I'm researching.

Love And Other 4-Letter Words

"The body, she says, is subject to the forces of gravity. But the soul is ruled by levity, pure." - Saul Bellow

"There are three kinds of men who do not understand women: Young, old, and middle-aged." - Anonymous (and with good reason)

"To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten." - Anonymous

"Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." - Peter Ustinov

"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." - Rumi

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Not Getting A Round Tuit

We had hopes of going for a long all-day hike yesterday, but Rahmat spent the night here, then we waited for a friend to drop by to pick up a projector, then there were chores and shopping to get done...and pretty soon the day was over. I made blueberry muffins for our Ruhi Class, and George made buttermilk pancakes and scrambled eggs with cheese, peas, and sauted onion.

Taraz and Rahmat ate in the den because "In Living Color" was on TV. I'm amazed at the programs these young people watch. Jim Carey's humor is always a hit around here, as bad as it can be sometimes.

I photographed breakfast's left-overs, and noticed that one of my films was on this little TV - that's George on one of our canoe glides. It was pouring rain, and he was suited up in raingear. I watch those glides while I work in the kitchen. It brings back wonderful memories. On this film I filmed scenery as we drove by in the car, and "Car Talk" was on NPR. That is my favorite radio show, and the sound of those guys laughing filled my kitchen as I was cleaning.

This last photo shows two of the 4 - 6 speakers George uses on some of his gig's. These things are huge, and stored in the garage in the backyard. It is a real effort to pack everything up, set it up, then disemble and store. He tapes a lot of electric chords onto the floor, tests his sound equipment, and lays out all the trays of music. It takes at least 2 hours to set up for a musical function. His last one was at a Baha'i Celebration last Sunday, and he is just now getting around to unloading his gear. All the seats in the van have to be removed, and they are tossed onto the patio. All week I've intended to pull them out of the walkway, away from my patio table. It sure can look trashy.

And, the garage, well, it needs to be torn down and rebuilt. Last I looked, several boards had become full of holes, parts of them shot out. I asked Rahmat what happened there. At the time he was holding a powerful bow and some arrows. After he shot the arrows into the hay bale, he noticed that they'd gone clear through the bale into my garage! But that's not all, seems he took a liking to all my antique pots and pans lining the wall of the goat corral there on the other side of the patio. One day I walked by, and saw holes in all the bottoms of my nice old pans. Sure, they were there just for decoration, but in a pinch they could have been used. Well, now all of them are pot-holed. He's since discarded that hobby, traded it for "paint-balling", and I've taken all the arrows, about 30 of them with those pretty multi-colored feathers on the ends....I stake my tomato plants with them. And, a few laid-back Dahlias.

Just Get Milk and Eggs

I made a short list (5 items) for George, with the comment "And anything else you'd like for a meal"...he came home with over 70 items, and spent $125.00.

We never grocery shop together - he says we'll spend more money that way. But, what do I want with turnips and rutabegas? Or Molle? He says he's planning a 'root-vegetable' casserole, and the molle goes over the chicken. I can see it now - 4 days worth of roots that will perish before they are eaten.

Not For The Birds, You Say

You should have heard it! All of a sudden this morning, I heard a bunch of crows and seagulls out in the street, squaaaking and cawwwwing. It was so persistant I got up to see what was going on. There were about 14 big birds, fighting over bran muffins. Problem was, the muffins were so heavy, so big, none of the birds could fly away with one. They all took turns biting and trying to fly off with the whole thing. They'd get just a few feet into the air and the bran muffin would fall with a thud to the ground.

I thought that was a good meal for the birds, I just felt they needed the darn things busted up, spread out nice on the street, so everyone could have a share. So, I went out in my robe, and pounded the heavy things with my boot, sliding the innards all over the pavement. There were at least 6 good bran muffins there. Then I heard, "Bonita! What are you doing?"

I looked across the street into Beth's house, and there she was in her jammies, checking ME out. "Just spreading out these bran muffins so everyone here can get a bite!" I figured she thought me nuts. But, turns out she was the one who threw them out there, right outta the oven. I couldn't figure out why she donated them to the gulls, and she said, "I couldn't get the paper off them. It was stuck like glue." I told her she could have just cut the tops off, scooped out the insides and poured hot milk over it. "That's what I would have done," I said.

She didn't want to bother, and maybe it was a good thing - the gulls might come back again tomorrow for my stale bread. But for sure, they won't get any of my blueberry muffins, pictured above.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mission Improbable

Reclining in the Barcalounger, Reading

"Blueberrypatch" had a great post the other day. MrEddie delights in finding new words, they captivate the attention, and stop you in your tracks. I enjoy coming across a new word, too, and I look up the definition, and write it in a little book. I left a comment on the post, pointing to an author I enjoy who lives up in Seattle - Jonathan Raban. He wrote a marvelous book, "Arabia - a journey through the Labrinth". His words were so rich, so filled with power and imagery that it made me want more - I went to the library and read every book he has written. I'll share a few of his words and phrases here:

Snogging with a girl in the grass; antimacassars; aspidistra bowls; crapulous melancholy; a splendiferous tie in gold and silk; an English seaside town with too much pastel pebble-dash and too much tea-shoppe half-timbering; incessant tintinnabulation of their halyards; the frippery of the place! the gewgaws; puce-faced; a louche and gamey quarter of the city; an etoilated and bony posture; the views of a rabble of spotty adolescents; apostate intellectuals; lawyers toadying to the interests of the crown; soutanes, birettas, surplices, stoles, copes and chasubles filled a trunk in the parsonage; the wittering accent of a cleric in full cry; a warble of Japaneese, a snatch of cockney, a bit of Idaho, a float of dandys, a coastline of hillocks; and, the small and smelly unisex salon with its odor of acetone, peroxide and synthetic jasmine, where a patron is washed, cradled, patted, and pummeled...

And, I'll offer a word I've never heard of before - Alexithymia. "I have no feelings for this condition."

But, I saw it here - just take a look at the symptoms lists, culled and summarized from current diagnostic criteria used in the United States by mental health professionals - the DSM, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Can you believe all the fancy words here? Agoraphobia, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome, Cyclothymic and Dysthymic Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Shared Psychotic Disorder - now, I'm up-in-arms! Up-the-creek! Outta-whack! How is it possible to put a label, a word, on all the multitudes of variation of human responses?

Another blogger has a few things to say about this, Shrinkette, of Eugene, Oregon. I like her comment: "Psychiatry diagnoses behavior that society doesn't like." She also admits that psychiatrists tend to over-pathologize. She talks about depression. I wouldn't know, but I did find my acquired affliction: 780.9 Age-Related Cognitive Decline, an adjustment disorder. And, I'm getting sick and tired of all the big words.....Picking up an air of truculent intransigence, am I? I think it is time to get out in the canoe today, and for those of you who aren't able to get out on the water - read Jonathan Raban's book "Coasting". I loved it!

I Had A Feeling This Was True

From this report, from the Iraq's Ministry of Labor, it is reported that 20 percent of Iraqis live in dire poverty. In addition, some 171,000 families live on $30 a month:

مع أكثر من 634 مشردا من شوارع بغداد بينهم عدد كبير من الإناث
بغداد: {الشرق الأوسط} اعلنت وزارة العمل والشؤون الاجتماعية في العراق أمس، ان نسبة الفقر في العراق بلغت حوالى 20% من اجمالي عدد السكان. وقالت ليلى كاظم عزيز، المديرة العامة في دائرة الرعاية الاجتماعية التابعة لوزارة العمل والشؤون الاجتماعية، ان «حوالي مليوني عائلة عراقية تعيش ليس في حالة فقر، وانما دون مستوى خط الفقر، على اساس المقاييس وفي ضوء المؤشرات التي تحددت بدولار للفرد الواحد».
واوضحت المسؤولة لوكالة الصحافة الفرنسية، انه «بعد الحرب برزت ظاهرة خطيرة في المجتمع العراقي، وهي ظاهرة الفقر التي من اهم اسبابها البطالة وحوادث العنف والغاء الكثير من الدوائر والوزارات». مشيرة الى ان «رؤية الوزارة لعدد المشمولين برعاية الاسرة يكاد يكون قطرة في بحر، قياسا مع الاعداد الهائلة من الفقراء». واشارت المسؤولة الى ان عدد المشمولين حتى هذه اللحظة، هو 171 الف اسرة على مستوى العراق براتب 40 الى 50 الف دينار عراقي في الشهر (حوالي 30 دولارا اميركيا)، وهو ضئيل قياسا بالحالة الاقتصادية والمعيشية السائدة في العراق.
يذكر ان من اهم اهداف قانون الرعاية الاجتماعية الرقم 126 لسنة 1980، كان منح راتب حكومي الى الاسر المتدنية الدخل او المعدومة والمقسمة الى ثماني فئات. واستمر العمل بهذا القانون حتى سقوط النظام العراقي في ابريل (نيسان) 2003، وكان يشمل بين 50 و60 الف اسرة براتب قدره 5 الى 7 الاف دينار عراقي، في ظل ظروف العقوبات الاقتصادية الدولية، التي كانت مفروضة على العراق. وفي ما يتعلق بتعديل الوزارة لقانون الرعاية الاجتماعية بموجب قانون جديد تحت اسم «شبكة الحماية الاجتماعية»، قالت ليلى كاظم عزيز ان «السبب في ذلك يعود الى عجز قانون الرعاية الاجتماعية عن مواكبة المستجدات التي ظهرت في المجتمع العراقي بعد انتهاء العمليات العسكرية عام 2003، حيث ظهرت فئات جديدة ادت الى استشراء الفقر في المجتمع العراقي، فكان لا بد من التغيير». واوضحت ان «القانون الحالي اصبح يشمل فئات اكثر، وان الرواتب اصبحت تتراوح بين 70 الف دينار في الشهر الواحد للعائلة المكونة من فردين، الى 90 الف دينار للعائلة المكونة من ثلاثة افراد وهكذا، بزيادة قدرها 10 الاف دينار للفرد الواحد الى حد 120 الف دينار للعائلة المؤلفة من 6 افراد واكثر». واشارت المسؤولة الى انه ستكون هناك عملية تقييم لتطبيق النظام الجديد كل ستة اشهر لدراسة الاسعار والتضخم، حيث من الممكن ان يزداد سقف الاعانة وألا يتوقف عند هذا الحد. وبينت ان الفئات الجديدة الوافدة الى قانون شبكة الحماية الاجتماعية الجديد، هي فئة العاطلين عن العمل وفئة العاجزين من المعوقين وكبار السن وفئة ذوي الدخل المنخفض. واختتمت المسؤولة حديثها بالقول «من المفترض ان يشمل القانون الجديد مليون عائلة فقيرة، اي بمعدل 5 ملايين فرد، حيث اعطيت لكل محافظة حصتها قياسا للكثافة السكانية لديها». وأصبحت مهنة الاستجداء من الفنون الرائجة هذه الأيام في شوارع بغداد والمدن الأخرى، واتسعت بشكل كبير في الآونة الأخيرة وبدأ بممارستها أناس من مختلف الأعمار. واوضحت عبير مهدي، المسؤولة في وزارة العمل والشؤون الاجتماعية المشرفة على حملة جمع المشردين، لـ«الشرق الاوسط»، أن حملة جمع المشردين والمتسولين انطلقت في العشرين من شهر مارس (آذار) من العام الماضي ونفذت حتى الان سبع مراحل، بالتعاون مع وزارة الداخلية التي اضطلعت بمهمة مرافقة لجان الحملة بسبب الظرف الأمني وخطورة بعض ألاماكن وأيضا المجموعات التي قد تكون مسنودة من قبل جماعات أخرى في الغالب تكون خطيرة، وأسفرت المراحل المذكورة عن جمع (119) متسولا في المرحلة الأولى، والثانية (83) والثالثة (16) والرابعة (87) والخامسة (115) والسادسة (91) وأخيرا كانت المرحلة السابعة التي جمعت (123) متسولا ومشردا، وبذلك يكون مجموع ما تم جمعه لحد الان (634) متسولا ومشردا.
وأوضحت عبير مهدي أن النسبة الأكبر من المتسولين والمشردين كانت من الإناث، فقد بلغ عدد الإناث في المرحلة السابعة (81) أنثى والذكور (42)، وبأعمار تراوحت بين سنة واحدة وأربعين سنة، وان الوزارة اتخذت إجراءات صارمة ومشددة في التعامل معهم، ومن بينها اتباع نظم وقوانين قادرة على الحد من هذه الظاهرة غير الاجتماعية، وتم إيداع جزء منهم في دور الأطفال المختصة بتربية الأطفال الأيتام والمشردين لرعايتهم وإعادة تأهيلهم مهنيا وتربويا.

"For Heavens Sake!" - Don't Look Up

This is only a small portion of the list of potentially hazardous PHA's you should post on your refrigerator, in case of impact. Check here daily, for significant changes.

Prov. Des. EMoid q Q H Epoch M Peri. Node Incl. e a Opps. Ref. Designation (and name) Discovery date, site and discoverer(s) 2006 BC10 0.00744 0.676 3.366 19.7 20060306 319.5 233.7 21.9 0.9 0.666 2.021 ( 3d) E2006-B59 2006 BC10 2006 01 23 691 Spacewatch 2006 BQ6 0.01541 0.885 2.028 19.5 20060306 302.2 304.7 307.7 12.6 0.392 1.457 ( 4d) E2006-B59 2006 BQ6 2006 01 22 G96 Mt. Lemmon Survey 2006 AL8 0.04689 0.380 6.302 18.4 20060306 17.9 65.6 312.3 35.9 0.886 3.341 ( 17d) E2006-B59 2006 AL8 2006 01 08 703 Catalina Sky Survey 2006 AM4 0.00868 0.345 1.621 21.9 20060306 330.9 139.5 123.4 4.2 0.649 0.983 ( 16d) E2006-B55 2006 AM4 2006 01 08 G96 Mt. Lemmon Survey 2006 AR3 0.00694 0.879 4.027 20.5 20060306 27.0 39.9 13.2 4.8 0.642 2.453 ( 19d) E2006-B59 2006 AR3 2006 01 06 704 LINEAR 2006 AS2 0.00805 0.761 3.437 20.3 20060306 357.7 79.3 126.3 2.6 0.637 2.099 ( 20d) E2006-B59 2006 AS2 2006 01 05 G96 Mt. Lemmon Survey 2005 YP180 0.01323 0.525 2.221 19.4 20060306 68.6 92.1 289.2 4.1 0.617 1.373 ( 24d) E2006-B36 2005 YP180 2005 12 30 703 Catalina Sky Survey 2005 YO180 0.03653 0.817 2.145 20.5 20060306 61.7 87.5 7.9 5.8 0.448 1.481 ( 7d) E2006-A65 2005 YO180 2005 12 29 568 D. J. Tholen 2005 YY128 0.02793 0.442 2.860 18.4 20060306 338.0 314.5 300.6 3.8 0.732 1.651 ( 26d) E2006-B59 2005 YY128 2005 12 30 691 Spacewatch 2005 YQ96 0.04811 0.496 0.992 20.5 20060306 302.2 340.0 282.7 22.2 0.333 0.744 ( 19d) E2006-B09 2005 YQ96 2005 12 30 703 Catalina Sky Survey 2005 YU55 0.00130 0.652 1.629 21.9 20060306 171.5 268.9 39.4 0.5 0.429 1.140 ( 26d) E2006-B36 2005 YU55 2005 12 28 691 Spacewatch 2005 YT8 0.01954 1.022 4.049 21.6 20060306 17.3 164.5 283.6 10.8 0.597 2.536 ( 29d) E2006-B26 2005 YT8 2005 12 24 704 LINEAR 2005 YS8 0.01767 0.799 2.595 19.8 20060306 60.2 298.2 56.5 17.4 0.529 1.697 ( 29d) E2006-B24 2005 YS8 2005 12 24 703 Catalina Sky Survey 2005 YU3 0.04324 0.409 4.700 19.8 20060306 33.4 340.8 2.8 3.1 0.840 2.554 ( 34d) E2006-B55 2005 YU3 2005 12 22 703 Catalina Sky Survey 2005 YS 0.04904 0.320 1.102 19.7 20060306 312.8 327.8 288.7 19.6 0.551 0.711 ( 34d) E2006-B36 2005 YS 2005 12 21 704 LINEAR 2005 XL80 0.03145 0.884 2.568 18.1 20060306 349.2 143.4 53.5 10.9 0.488 1.726 ( 46d) E2006-B59 2005 XL80 2005 12 14 699 LONEOS 2005 XT77 0.00290 0.617 1.065 20.9 20060306 324.5 150.0 84.9 17.2 0.266 0.841 ( 30d) E2006-A17 2005 XT77 2005 12 10 699 LONEOS 2005 XJ8 0.03789 0.734 3.129 17.0 20060306 359.6 67.1 116.2 23.6 0.620 1.931 ( 52d) E2006-B59 2005 XJ8 2005 12 04 703 Catalina Sky Survey 2005 WJ56 0.00699 0.813 1.104 18.0 20060306 269.5 297.9 288.1 21.6 0.152 0.958 ( 56d) E2006-B36 2005 WJ56 2005 11 29 704 LINEAR 2005 WY55 0.00003 0.690 4.277 20.6 20060306 3.3 286.0 248.4 7.3 0.722 2.484 ( 46d) E2006-A62

Friday, January 27, 2006

Setting The Stage For Fair Play

Efforts to improve the human rights situation in Sudan have fallen short of commitments made following the signing of a peace accord a year ago, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports today.

"Noting that the conflict in Sudan was initially sparked in response to marginalization and discrimination, the report recommends that resource allocation be fair, transparent, non-discriminatory, and involve the affected communities. The Government should also permit and facilitate the assistance of humanitarian and development assistance, especially where it is unable to provide the required services itself. "

Being Taken For A Ride

Megan and Taraz took me to an Anthropology class at Pacific Lutheran University yesterday, pictured here. You'll see them on the left, background, next to our friend Debbie, whom I've known for about 18 years.

The class gave a presentation on world religions, with two presenters here, Rachel and April, as lecturers and students in the class. Debbie has been their source of information on the Baha'i Faith, taking them to inter-community gatherings, Ruhi study classes, firesides, devotionals, and potlucks within our community. Debbie is like a den mother, she loves youth. You can see her sparkling here, just listening to Rachel.

I'm not at all like Debbie - I could survive quite well living like a hermit, speaking only to passing clouds. When a Japaneese man got up and spoke about Buddhism, and the images of meditating in a cave came to mind, I imagined myself ready, bags packed. This mind-set tends to put me to a disadvantage sometimes, as one could imagine. I can tend to live in a little world of my own, not realizing that the real world is vastly different from the one I have in my head. And then, there is the matter of Taraz, who knows what a ditz I am, and plays it for all its worth.

When we were driving to PLU, Megan talked about her job as a research assistant in a lab at the University of Washington. She does experiments in immunology. Part of her job requires that she 'pick up mice', down in a room that is free of any incoming pathogens, because the air is filtered between rooms. Also, she has to shower, wash her hair, get into scrubs, and wear a mask, so that no microbes are introduced into this holding area. As she was describing the proceedures, I was just lost in the image of taking a shower on the job, the shampoo, the careful drying, pulling scrubs out of sanitized packages - I couldn't believe going to such extremes, that they would even filter the air that you have exhaled. Megan kept talking, and I guess Taraz saw my bewilderment, heard me say, "You mean you've got to do all THAT just to pick up a mouse?" Megan nodded, "You bet!", and to back up her comment Taraz said, "Yeah, Mom, I went there a few weeks ago. You should see the Chinese woman who gave me a manicure..."

Rebuilding New Orleans - Pride and Spirit

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the extent of the damage to the city surprised most of us. We simply weren't prepared to see such damage, such loss of life, and so much desolation.

We all saw buildings swept away, and whole neighborhoods flattened. We saw the damage that seemed incapable of repair. There was a lot of speculation about rebuilding another city in that location, of restoring the French quarter, of re-establishing the old familiar patterns of life. Slowly, that rebuilding is taking shape. From the news coverage that I've seen, neighborhoods are being cleaned out, and businesses are starting up again.

With the return to normalcy, if one can use that term (we know many thousands of people still wait for homes and trailers), the mayor must pull together a community to give what New Orleans is famous for -
the Mardi Gras. Yes, although it is shortened, it will occur!

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the final day of Carnival, which begins on the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Kings' Day or Twelfth Night. The Mardi Gras will start in February this year, to allow time for planning and co-ordination of traditional festivities, including jazzfests, music in the
French quarter, traditional Creole cooking, the big parades, the zydeco music, and webcams that can tune you into different celebrations. The history of Mardi Gras is here, and if you want to see a gallery of photos, try this - it is filled with colorful images. I'll post a few below from the pet parade. Those pooches got some tender loving care...

Pet Parade - Mardi Gras - New Orleans

Pet Parade - Mardi Gras - New Orleans

Doctor Bob, Say It Isn't Sooooooooo!

I read this post on "The Doctor Is In" last night right before I went to bed, and wouldn't you know, his story line kept me awake! He has written such a powerful story, that I shudder if it turns out the way he has written:

"The barge on the Thames was next, eight days later. The Korean nuke was low-yield and dirty, but served its purposes well, killing tens of thousands instantly, many more over the ensuing weeks, decapitating the government, and rendering London uninhabitable for a generation. Paris was next, three weeks later, the Iranian bomb prepositioned in an unused Metro tunnel, it is thought–to destroy a millennium of Western culture while preserving the Muslim suburbs. Russia was next–not Moscow, as expected, where security was airtight–but the oil fields, setting alight enormous blazes which would burn for years, destroying forever in one blow the economy of the butchers of Chechnya."

"And then–the pause. Months passed, terror reigned, as anarchy roiled Europe and the Middle East burned. Global commerce stopped; oil became unavailable at any price. Jews and Muslims alike were slaughtered, torn apart by angry mobs and incensed governments. Angry recriminations flew like missiles between governments and politicians, as the world economy ground to a halt. Riots were everywhere, marshall law ruled, as all personal freedoms were revoked under pain of incarceration–or worse. Religion was outlawed in many places–and suspect everywhere. Conspiracy theories abounded–was this calamity fomented by America, as yet untouched in this global conflagration? The truth could not be spoken: the last Korean nuke was discovered, serendipitously, in a freight yard in Atlanta–its ensnarement now top secret lest public panic ensue. The two remaining, quietly resting, somehow avoiding the frantic search of all inbound cargo–one in a tanker truck in the Jersey refineries outside New York City, the other in a warehouse just south of San Francisco, located directly over the San Andreas fault–awaiting their synchronized detonation, that fatal day on August 6, 2008 …"

The Price Tag of War

After Dr. Bob's story perhaps you aren't ready for this....

LAST WEEK, at the annual meeting of the American Economic Assn., we presented a new estimate for the likely cost of the war in Iraq. We suggested that the final bill will be much higher than previously reckoned — between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, depending primarily on how much longer our troops stay. Putting that into perspective, the highest-grossing movie of all time, "Titanic," earned $1.8 billion worldwide — about half the cost the U.S. incurs in Iraq every week.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sisters On The Fly - Cowgirl Caravans

About 7 years ago, Becky Clarke and Maurrie Sussmen sat on a drift boat in Montana, fly-fishing. They were happily drinking a glass of wine in celebration of catching an 8 lb. Brown trout. From that moment on they invited friends to share in their adventures. It became known as the "Sisterhood", and boasts 117 trailers and 200 women who get together for fly-fishing adventures.

The ladies range in age from 85 to 28, with everything inbetween - and it's women only - the COWGIRL CARAVAN.
Sisters on the Fly has vintage trailers from the 1950's, about 12 ft. to 16 ft. in length. There are Shasta's, Scotsman, Aloha's, Scotties, teardrops, and even an Airstream. Each trailer has its own name and number, and it is decorated inside and out in a western theme. I saw these cute trailers featured on the travel channel, and I can tell you that they are charming, delightfully decorated - and the beds have feather mattresses with down comforters. Many have fanciful, hand-painted interiors, with custom woodworking and personalized design - miniature museums of culture.

After a hard day of exploring, fishing, and horseback riding, it is pure bliss to fall into your own feather bed at the close of the day. Awake to the smell of coffee and bacon cooking right outside your door. The Mission Statement of Sisters On the Fly is, "Offering empowerment and sisterhood through exceptional outdoor adventures." Are you interested yet? Want to tag along? They'd like you to join the caravan -
a calendar of scheduled locations is provided on their website, along with pictures of trailers that can be rented. Check out the photo gallery and the slide show showing the camping and fishing. This is a fun group of women, only.

Just Park It Here For Lunch

I looked at every teardrop camper and then some, from the gallery on "Sisters on the Fly", and this little unit is my favorite - the diningroom is outdoors, the welcome mat is spread, and lunch is ready. I really like the look here, crisp, clean, unpretentious - and I'm imagining not only some fishing, but some horsebackriding up into the hills.

Winging It - Robert Glenn

On Dec. 8, 1903, with government funding, countless advisors and great ballyhoo, Samuel Pierpont Langley's flying machine plopped unpleasantly into the Potomac. Nine days later, Orville and Wilbur Wright got their "Flyer" off the ground. Why did these bicycle mechanics succeed when a famous scientist failed? Langley's plans were mostly theoretical and his machine was produced from blueprint and built by others. But by studying the Wright brothers' working notes, you see that their insight and their execution are woven together. By trial and error and over a period of time they solved problems like wing shape and wing warping. Each adjustment was a small spark of insight that led to others. Along the way they found it necessary to build a wind tunnel and other devices to test the lift and controllability of their ever-changing designs.

Applying the Wright metaphor to the artistic creative process, we can see that success might come with a succession of adjustments in a series production. In Keith Sawyer's controversial new book "Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation," he explains that these adjustments need not be world-shaking. One does not necessarily have a sense of revelation. Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University, uses the Wright brothers' "tinkering" as an example. Indeed, it's the minor nature of changes that leads to progress. To bring this line of thought closer to our easel experience--a progressive process of working from one quasi-experimental work to the next might lead to artistic character. On this path, errors are inevitable, even vital. Failures become the stepping stones to success. By carefully watching and managing a personal progression, a creator stealthily finds his muse.

In these letters I've often talked about series production as an aid to creativity. With small works in series there is greater freedom to experiment and err. Combinations and variations abound within each small work and within the greater series. A feeling of letting go, of "winging it," brings out our innate inventiveness. Instead of a theoretical blueprint-based slavery, one feels the magic of automatic flow. The interest and attention of the creator is held by this process and the results often have a sort of celestial inevitability--the look of natural beauty and persistent magic. Works thus produced might even "fly."

Spaceweather And Assorted Goodies

Spaceweather.com gives news and information about the Sun-Earth environment. It gives information about the space weather stations, and tips viewers off when planetary sightings are good. In San Francisco, photographer Mila Zinkova was admiring a Pacific sunset when he captured this image. He says, "There were huge waves on the ocean," says Zinkova. "Suddenly I saw a different wave at the sky. I've never seen such clouds before and they were just amazing." These clouds, sometimes called "billow clouds," are produced by instability, when horizontal layers of air brush by one another at different velocities. A better name might be van Gogh clouds: It is widely believed that these waves in the sky inspired the swirls in van Gogh's masterpiece "The Starry Night".

"In other space-related news, six months after NASA scientists first peeked inside one comet from afar, they're bringing pieces of another Earth for study under the microscope. The Stardust spacecraft will jettison a 100-pound capsule holding comet dust. It will nosedive through the Earth's atmosphere and make a soft landing in the Utah desert."

"Last July, the Deep Impact spacecraft released a probe that carved a crater in a comet, exposing its interior to NASA telescopes. The Stardust mission went a step further by retrieving the first samples from a comet named Wild 2, which was about 500 million miles from Earth when Stardust launched in 1999."

"Comets are bodies of ice and dust that circle the sun. About 4.5 billion years ago, a cloud of gas and dust collapsed to create the sun and planets. Comets formed from what was left over, and scientists believe studying them could shed light on the solar system's birth. "This is a true treasure," principal investigator Don Brownlee of the University of Washington said of the Stardust capsule. But the capsule isn't home yet. First it faces a blistering descent, piercing the atmosphere at a record-breaking 29,000 mph — the fastest re-entry of any man-made probe."

Simpler In Principle Than Practice

"Any physical theroy is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: You can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory. As philosopher of science Karl Popper has emphasized, a good theory is characterized by the fact that it makes a number of predictions that could in principle be disproved or falsified by observation. Each time new experiments are observed to agree with the predictions the theory survives, and our confidence in it is increased; but if ever a new observation is found to disagree, we have to abandon or modify the theory. At least that is what is supposed to happen, but you can always question the competence of the person who carried out the observation." ~ Stephen Hawking

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Go Ahead, Trim The Eyebrows Too

What happens when you: 1) have nothing to do 2) own a sharp knife 3) have a large lime 4) own a patient cat 5) drink too much tequila 6) and it's football season?

Plenty of Back-Talk Here - Me And Myself

Oh, I have to laugh. It takes a lifetime to put ourselves in the right place - the butt of our own jokes, our own odd character. I was reading Annie's post on handling 'whining', and I couldn't help but remember all the complaining I used to do when I was first married, getting used to George. It seems like whining is the first line of defense when we meet up with disappointment - "If I whine loud enough, he will notice, and do what I want!"

Now, I'll have to say that George and I are absolute opposites - he is intense, dynamic, and an extrovert; I am quiet, introverted, orderly, and careful of all the little details - so you can imagine what it was like being married to him - he was like a bull in a china shop. He didn't belong in a house - at least not mine!

I scolded him about tracking mud into the house, about leaving bathtub rings, about having too many irons in the fire, about 'not planning his life', and the list goes on and on. No matter how much I talked about my side of things, he just kept on being who he is - too many irons in the fire, spontaneous, and the house could collapse underneath us while waiting for home repairs. Here it is almost February, and the furnace vents in the crawlspace under the house still haven't been wrapped with insulation to make the system more fuel-efficient. (Possums have torn it to shreds) I think he is waiting for me to crawl under there and do it, and if I don't bring this up, he will continue to let it slide. So, you can see, we've got a problem here.

Reading Annie's post helps me realize that it takes years to build up patterns of interaction that keep people connected. In the beginning, it is just shock - how can he live this way, or why won't he understand how I feel. But, as I lived with George, I gave up repeating myself. I'd just get frustrated, and go talk to myself in the mirror, bathroom door shut. My kids knew I was pounding my fists, as the house was shaking, but I had my say, and I was the best listener I ever had! I paid attention to myself, looked at how ugly I could look! And, when I had my say, I'd just put on a smile and go finish the day's chores. Just getting into the habit of 'making soup', getting busy, would be a comfort - cause you know men never really say what is most comforting to a woman, and they sure get disgusted with her emotionality. It drives them away.

So, I had lots of discussions in front of my bathroom mirror - eventually my kids teased me about it, and I became a character that amused even me. Even now, looking back, I laugh at how I struggled to find a coping mechanism that would appease my need to vent, and yet it gave me the feedback that I really needed - how I was coming across, how I looked and sounded. I had to become a listener, to see things from different perspectives, as a comfort to myself - it distanced me from my own entrenched views.

When I did this with George recently, over crawling under the house to re-insulate the furnace vents, he said, "I'm apprehensive about going under there...who knows what will crawl over me - BIG spiders, rats. Its not something I want to do." I would agree, and I've left the ball in his court.

Seymour Conservatory - Wright Park

Every couple of months you can count on a new horticultural display at the Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park. I went over and checked out the azaleas, daffodils, cyclamen, and amaryllis. I enjoy the soft music, the fragrance of the soil and tropical plants, and I stay awhile to watch the large koi swimming in the pond. A waterfall bubbles over lava rocks, and spreads bubbles over the surface of the water. Little aquatic plants, resembling duckweed, cover the surface of the pond, so the fish remain hidden. The most unusual plant was this papyrus, that had the most delicate fan of leaves - I felt them, and I thought how Egyptians cultivated this plant thousands of years ago, to use the fiber for paper.

Pathway Colors - Seymour Conservatory

Refresh Your Memories - Take the Test

This is a History Exam for those who don't mind seeing how much they really remember about what went on in their life.

1. In the 1940s, where were automobile headlight dimmerswitches located? a. On the floor shift knob b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch c. Next to the horn

2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was it used? a. Capture lightning bugs b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing c. Large salt shaker

3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters? a. Cows got cold and wouldn't produce milk b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled c. Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors and milk would freeze, expanding and pushing up the cardboard bottle top.

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance? a. Blackjack b. Gin c. Craps!

5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available due to rationing during W.W.II? a. Suntan b. Leg painting c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear whenyou couldn't tell whether it was coming or going? a. Studebaker b. Nash Metro c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid? a. Strips of dried peanut butter b. Chocolate licorice bars c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

8. How was Butch wax used? a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust

9. Before inline skates, how did you keep your roller skatesattached to your shoes? a. With clamps, tightened by a skate key b. Woven straps that crossed the foot c. Long pieces of twine

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision? a. Consider all the facts b. Ask Mom c. Eeny-meeny-miney-mo

11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940's? a. Smallpox b. AIDS c. Polio

12. "I'll be down to get you in a ________, Honey" a. SUV b. Taxi c. Streetcar13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pet pony? a. Old Blue b. Paint c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill? a. Part of the game of hide and seek b. What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores c. Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doodyshow? a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring b. Princess Sacajawea c. Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographedtests were handed out in school? a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was believed to get you high b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window c. Wrote another pupil's name on the top, to avoid their failure

17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps withpurchases? a. To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos

18. Praise the Lord, and pass the _________? a. Meatballs b. Dames c. Ammunition

19. What was the name of the singing group that made the song "Cabdriver" a hit? a. The Ink Spots b. The Supremes c. The Esquires

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco? a. Tony Bennett b. Xavier Cugat c. George Gershwin

1. b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in Europe, took till the late '60s to catch on.
2. b)To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?
3. c) Cold weather caused the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle top.
4. a) Blackjack Gum.
5. b) Special makeup was applied, followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.
6. a) 1946 Studebaker.
7. c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water.
8. a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.
9. a) With clamps, tightened by a skate key, which you wore on a shoestring around your neck.
10. c) Eeny-meeny-miney-mo.
11. c) Polio. In beginning of August, swimming pools were closed, movies and other public gathering places were closed to try to prevent spread of the disease.
12. b) Taxi. Better be ready by half-past eight!
13. c) Macaroni.
14. c) Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill. 15. a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring. She was another puppet.
16. a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink to get a high.
17. b) Put in a special stamp book, they could be traded for household items at the Green Stamp store.
18. c) Ammunition, and we'll all be free.
19. a) The widely famous 50's group: The Inkspots.
20. a) Tony Bennett, ! and he sounds just as good today..

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

For Dinner Tonight - Quinoa Wheat Salad

What we've got here is Quinoa Wheat berries, a grain from the Andes (in the halved orange); lima beans in coleslaw dressing; Falafel Croquettes (ground garbanzo beans), fried chicken, and spinach salad. Applesauce cake is the slender bar on the right.

Quinoa has been a popular food among natives of the Andean altiplano for millennia. Its ability to grow in high, often cold altitudes ensured that corn and most other crops could not compete with it. When Pizarro and his army marched into Inca territory in 1532, they discovered a well organized and even sophisticated food and agricultural system supporting the Incas. The three primary staple foods were potatoes, maize, and quinoa. My daughter, Laurel, gave me the Quinoa (pronounced “keenwah" ) and I have been challenged to find a good recipe, so I made one up - and it is very good:

Boil the grain in chicken broth, until all water is absorbed, then add sauted onion, green onion, cilantro, and finely chopped DRIED apricots, apples, plums, and peaches. Add cinnamon to taste...and I heated up some of my pink grapefruit jelly (about 1/3 cup) with juice from a whole lime. There is just enough tart, sweet and cinnamony flavor to make a nice quinoa salad on top of spinach. The lima beans help to balance out the amino acids in the grain, to make a complete protein. The falafel croquettes are just a fun 'adornment' to a salad. Normally, I put them in pita pockets with a little yogurt and vegetables.

The applesauce cake was made from apples that I canned, using apples bought in bulk at reduced rates. Applesauce cake was my dad's favorite cake. He liked a burnt sugar frosting on it, but here I just mixed lemon juice with powdered sugar, and drizzled it. I served it to guests at our Ruhi Class on Sunday afternoon.

I do love to cook - and I always do it early in the day, right after breakfast, when I'm not fatigued. I have done this for years, cooking food early, then putting it in containers for later. That way, when my kids were hungry, I always had a meal ready for them. Just heat in the microwave and serve.

Religious Persecution In Iran

Recently I visited with a Baha'i friend of mine who was born and raised in Iran. She talked about the persecution of the Baha'is, and other minorities, in Iran. Although she got out of the country on 'refuge status', with her husband, most Baha'is living in Iran are unable to get out of the country. She and her husband have since become American citizens, got their degrees, and both have professional jobs.

She said the Baha'i Faith has been in her family for many generations, and that there are still about 200,000 Baha'is left in the country - they are unable to obtain higher education; they are not allowed any government jobs; their property, their homes, can be seized without provocation; they are denied legal representation of any kind; and they are forbidden to teach or share their Faith with anyone. They are not free to practice their religion. She said that the killing of Baha'is has subsided over the past few years, although the recent death of one man, Dhabihu’llah Mahrami, is questionable, as he had been held in prison for 10 years because of his religious affiliation. My friend said that all of her brothers and sisters have moved to the United States, but that her parents are still living in Iran. They fly here once a year, to visit their children.

The U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Report 2005, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, indicates that "Baha'is, Jews, Christians, Mandaeans, and Zoroastrians constitute less than 1 percent of the population (of Iran) combined. The largest non-Muslim minority is the Baha'i community, which has an estimated 300,000 to 350,000 adherents throughout the country. Credible estimates on the size of the Jewish community vary from 20,000 to 30,000. This figure represents a substantial reduction from the estimated 75,000 to 80,000 Jews who resided in the country prior to the 1979 Islamic revolution. According to U.N. figures, there are approximately 300,000 Christians, the majority of whom are ethnic Armenians. Unofficial estimates indicate an Assyrian Christian population of approximately 10,000. There also are Protestant denominations, including evangelical churches. The U.N. Special Representative reported that Christians are emigrating at an estimated rate of 15,000 to 20,000 per year. The Mandaeans, a community whose religion draws on pre-Christian gnostic beliefs, number approximately 5,000 to 10,000 persons, with members residing primarily in Khuzestan in the southwest."

"The Government restricts freedom of religion. The Constitution declares the "official religion of Iran is Islam and the doctrine followed is that of Ja'fari (Twelver) Shi'ism." All laws and regulations must be consistent with the official interpretation of the Shari'a (Islamic law). The Constitution states that "within the limits of the law," Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are the only recognized religious minorities who are guaranteed freedom to practice their religion; however, members of these recognized minority religious groups have reported imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Adherents of religions not recognized by the Constitution do not enjoy freedom to practice their beliefs. This restriction seriously affects adherents of the Baha'i Faith, which the Government regards as a heretical Islamic group with a political orientation that is antagonistic to the country's Islamic revolution. However, Baha'is view themselves not as Muslims, but as an independent religion with origins in the Shi'a Islamic tradition. Government officials have stated that, as individuals, all Baha'is are entitled to their beliefs and are protected under the articles of the Constitution as citizens; however, the Government has continued to prohibit Baha'is from teaching and practicing their faith."

The government of Iran restricts freedom of religion. If they do not allow Baha'is to practice their religion they should allow all Baha'is to leave the country. Grant them visas, and let them practice their faith elsewhere. Any country in the world today that fails to allow religious diversity in their midst, fails to grow in the contemporary world. It is easy to become narrowminded and entrenched; it is harder to learn the skills of integration.

Additional Reading - A Fellow Blogger

I'd like to point you over to my husband's blog, "Baha'i Views", a project he started January 10th. George promotes scholarship and has been posting a few quotations a day from his personal reading. He writes:

"This blog is basically a reflection of where my personal study of the Baha'i Faith is taking me. For most posts you can click on the excerpt and bring up the complete text from which the excerpt is drawn. In sharing these quotes and inviting comment, I am inspired and guided by the following: 'The ease and relative impersonality of the electronic medium require in some ways an even higher level of self-discipline than is the case in situations where a spirit of unity is reinforced by the opportunity for direct personal contact and social interaction. In the pursuit of such a spirit of unity, Bahá'ís will, without doubt, wish to assist the consultative processes by sharing and discussing relevant Bahá'í texts. This will itself have the further effect of drawing attention back to the framework of Bahá'í belief' (Letter of 19 May 1995 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice in 'Issues Related to the Study of the Baha'i Faith')."

The Call of a Maiden
Human Nature
Baha'i as the Embodiment of a Systemic View
Neither Corrupt Nor Good
Art Is Worship
Struggle Against Ego
A Unique Delivery System
Rational and Supra-rational Knowledge
A More Feminine Society
Science and Religion Combine

The Baha'i Concept of Prosperity
Call Into Being
Holy Mariner
Call into Being
Hyperbolic Language
We Are Even as the Bird
The Heart Must Be Cleansed
The Problem of Evil

Scientific Knowledge
Beware Lest Ye Contend
Moral and Spiritual Education of Children

The Search for Values in an Age of Transition
The Soul's Submission to God
The Baha'i Claim

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pierce County Humane Society

Every couple of months I drop in on the Humane Society, just to look at the animals, to see what's there. One time I saw rabbits, rats, cats and dogs - and a pair of goats. You never know what to expect. I got in the habit of going here when my kids were little - it seems we were the family in our neighborhood where someone was always dropping off a pet. Sometimes we kept a cat, and sometimes we took the animals here.(When I can figure out how to get better lighting from my camera, I'll photograph the animals, and share a few with you.)

Until then, just imagine a clean place, with tours of schoolchildren brousing the kennels. Every animal is checked and placed in a kennel with others that are tempermentally suitable. Today, I saw Chows, St. Bernards, a Corgi, Beagle, labs and retrievers, Huskies, and many mixes. Only one dog was barking - and you could see why he was there - he would not be silenced. Other dogs were waiting eagerly, tails wagging, for adoption. I enjoy watching the crowds of children talking to the dogs. There was an old woman in a wheelchair who had come down to talk to the animals. I figure her family brings her here to awaken that nurturing instinct. Animals are so important to the elderly - and I know a pet provides perfect companionship.

It was a busy day there today, with several tours, animals getting checked, cages being cleaned. It had a happy, good feeling - check it out sometime. Maybe there is someone waiting there for you.

I'd Be Getting Out Of The Water

What is your risk of shark attack compared to your chances of getting bit by animals in NY City, hit by lightning, having an accident in your home, or being attacked by an alligator: Statistics here.

Slipping Through The Cracks

I was sitting with my son Taraz many years ago, and out of the blue he asked me what causes men to wind up on the street, holding a sign saying "Will Work For Food". He inquired about the hobos getting a free meal at "The Mission" in downtown Tacoma. After I talked about mental illness, drug and alcohol addition, role modeling, making ones own choices to be responsible, and spirituality and health, he asked, "Do you think I will ever wind up like that, holding a sign and sleeping at the Mission?"

I felt his worry and concern. He had just tried 3 times to get through the 9th grade. We'd worked with special education teachers, holding many conferences and working with incentives. I talked to doctors about ADD, wondering if Ritalin would help Taraz. But, George, who works as a counselor in child development, refused the medical model in favor of self-regulation techniques. "Read your body", George would say, and then Taraz would have to learn to regulate his energy in a more calming manner - generally by isolating himself in a room he'd created strictly for that purpose. In time, he would be able to focus on homework.

If he was in a study cubicle, at the University of Puget Sound, if he was left undisturbed with his books, he could make some small measure of progress. But he was unable to keep up. One day George told him that a 'vacation' from acadamia might be worth a try, and that is what Taraz did. Of course, I worried about him, as I struggled to support my husband's point of view.

While Taraz was away from academics, he began to cultivate his own interests, plan his own day. Music filled the house. Creative projects on tape and DVD were born. He began interviewing me on tape, and we talked about what was important in life, what made us happy. He eventually entered a Bates Technical College, and got certified in Digital Arts.

I began to see that he had slipped through the cracks perhaps for a good reason - to cultivate what was most unique about himself. That all along, he was uncommonly joyous, so ever- ready to shout, laugh, give bear hugs, and explore. Unstiffled by rigid academic structures set him free to get in touch with the fullness of his true endowment - a sensitive heart and an effervescence that reaches out to others.

I've told him to work hard at anything he does along the way, to bring it to the level of an art. With that attitude, I hope he will prove to himself that he hasn't slipped through the cracks, unworthy of any acknowledgement. He's becoming a pretty good dishwasher at a couple restaurants in town. I've told him, "The dishwasher determines who will come back. If those dishes are dirty, it doesn't matter how good the service or the food is. The customer will not come back."

So, slipping through the cracks may be tough, but, if he works hard enough he might just find a workable niche that is a beginning. Thats all he needs right now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

On My Front Porch - A Forest Display

I just put all this greenery together in a pot - cedar fronds, huckleberry leaves, salal, and lichen...from our hike yesterday. It smells heavenly.

The Charles L. Pack Forest - Washington

The University of Washington's Charles L. Pack Experimental Forest provides a field location for faculty, staff, and students from the University's College of Forest Resources. They can teach, conduct research, and demonstrate modern forest management here - classes were in session as we hiked the trails. Our hike was about a 2 mile, uphill climb yesterday, starting about 10:30 a.m. - just perfect for a hiking/canoeing day.

We walked through different forest blends, mostly Douglas fir and western red cedar. As we hiked to the top of Hugo Mountain, various trees were marked, indicating something important about each one. We hiked to the top, and passed several lovely waterfalls. This is a popular area in the summertime, where horseback riding and mountain bikes are allowed in some designated areas. Hunting occurs in season. It was a great day for a hike, then we followed it up with a couple hours of canoeing. Check out the post below...

Canoe Paddle On Mineral Lake - Washington

Mineral Lake is a mountain lake near Mt. Rainier. It is a fishing lake, with a tumbledown resort and old fishing cabins. Because the lake has so many underwater logs, power boats are discouraged. It is good for canoeing - about a 3 1/2 mile paddle all the way around.

The photos above were taken yesterday when the rain had cleared, and the sun was just getting ready to pop out. We started our paddle at 1:00, and finished at 3:00. We had very peaceful water, with no wind. I did a fair amount of paddling, and filming too. There were greebes and a couple dozen cormorants drying out on a log in the middle of the lake. George and I were the only ones out on the water. Note the moss on the tree limbs - a bit spookey, but fun to canoe under, if it doesn't pull out your hair.

Graffiti Colors On Forest Rocks

When people splash their inscriptions on the rocks along a road, do they know that within a few years it will be illegible? Moss and lichen will take up homesteading, and the rain and sun will spoil the best of comments...sorry folks, Mother Nature rules.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Making Up Stories Of Our Own

Bubbie Dear sent me this illustration in an e-mail, and I find the moods therein just haunting, somewhat melancholy. I e-mailed her back, asking for the storyline to go with it. I want to know, "what happened to the little girl".

Where is she going, and why does she have a bag packed? Why are there storm clouds behind them, and the slight rays of sunshine on the road and on her face? Who is the man holding her hand, and is she leading him, or is he taking her.......what knowledge do they share.

I am affected by image. If there isn't a story, I will make one up. Oftentimes, when I am watching TV, I have the sound completely off, and I am imagining my own story, based on all the little details that I see on the screen - details that become significant because there was no dialogue distracting me. If I am riding on a bus or waiting in an airport, I'm reading cues, building storylines, imagining characters.

When we were little, we built stories to carry us forward, with much of the substance shaped by fairytales, Bible stories, and our parents narratives. I'm sure every family has a predominant story, repeated over and over, decade after decade, that defines a family or a life. I wonder how much of it was truly real, or simply imagined based on needs or emotion. Who did we blame, who helped rescue us, or how did we emerge stronger than ever. What are the stories that we tell, and why are they so important to us?

Charles Dickens' Little Nell

The illustration above (by Jessie Willcox Smith) is of Little Nell and her grandfather, in Charles Dickens' fourth novel, "The Old Curiosity Shop". This is a story about human worth, lonliness, caregiving, death and dying, disability, poverty, spirituality - and more. Bubbie Dear sent me the image and her favorite quotes, below:

"Dear grandfather," she cried, "let us leave this sad place tomorrow and beg our way from door to door, if we must. Let us never set foot in dark rooms or melancholy houses any more, but wander up and down wherever we like; and I will beg for both of us," and she clung about his neck and wept upon his shoulder.

Her grandfather, now quite childish, easily agreed to her plans, and very early one fine morning they slipped away from the old shop...Neither of the fugitives had the least idea of where to go when they had once escaped. They had no plans, no destination in mind, but they hurried away from the noisy streets and were delighted when at last they reached a quiet green roadside where they could eat their scanty breakfast.

(later in the story) Nature herself seemed against them now, for rain fell, winds blew, and once the warm ashes beside a factory furnace had to serve as their couch and their bedding for the night. Nell felt every day that she grew weaker and could not long protect her grandfather, but what was to become of him without her, friendless and feeble as he was?

(later in the story) They found her calm and beautiful in her white robes, her couch decked with green leaves and winter berries and her grandfather weeping by her side. Life had been too hard for her gentle spirit; but she slept a happy sleep, and we know that her waking was "happier than tongue can tell or heart of man conceive."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mediterranean Brunch With Ruhu'llah

My son Ruhu'llah stopped by today, and I fed him a Mediterranean brunch - Hummus with Pita Bread, Spinach and Tomato Salad, and yellow Hubbard Squash. Throw in a little green onion, cilantro, purple grapes and apple slices - and you've got a nutritious meal. (click on photo to enlarge)

Mediterranean dishes, like Hummus (ground garbanzo beans), Tabbouleh (bulgur cracked wheat), and Falafel (chick-pea croquettes) are all favorites of mine. The recipes are Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian in origin.

I buy the powdered mix in bulk at Fred Meyer, and I try to always have them prepared, on hand. I mix the dried Hummus with water and put it through a blender, to make it smooth. Add a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice, with a dash of paprika or lemon-pepper on top. Within just moments you can have Pita and Hummus with a cucumber - tomato salad and fresh fruit. I bake the squash ahead of time, with brown sugar, cinnamon, and olive oil.