Friday, March 21, 2008

Seeking Paparazzi?

I find it to be such an odd, odd concept that people would seek out the experience of being followed by paparazzi. Granted, I am a little camera shy (getting in front of one, anyway) but it seems like we may have taken our obsession with celebrity culture a little too far. We can now hire paparazzi to follow us around, pester us, and make us feel just like Brad and Angelina.

I was so bemused by this article in TIME a couple of months ago, I tore out the page and stuffed it in my bag, thinking I would mention it to my husband or maybe share it with you all. I just rediscovered it there this morning, slightly crumpled and still just as incomprehensible to me. Apparently hiring paparazzi is a happening new trend for birthday parties and people out for a night on the town. According to the article, at Celeb 4 A Day for one low price of $1,499 you can hire "six paparazzi for two hours, a publicist to tell them to stop bothering you, a bodyguard to protect you from the crowd, limo service, a glossy MyStar magazine cover [with your picture on it] and a CD containing 10 photos."

You hire paparazzi to bother you and people to get them to stop bothering you? Is this stuff for real?

Sunset Photos

The Fast ended at sunset yesterday with the celebration Naw Ruz, the Baha'i New Year. Naw Ruz is a celebration of renewal, of new beginnings. In the world outside we will soon begin to see signs of spring--new shoots pushing up through the cold soil, buds bursting into bloom on the trees. On a personal level, the pensive period of the Fast leaves me feeling refreshed and uplifted and ready for new challenges and experiences to come my way.

Happy Naw Ruz everyone!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Links, links, and more links

The problem with reading lots of blogs is that it makes a person feel slightly envious of the many talents of others, and also quite ambitious to improve oneself by learning new things and undertaking new projects. To that end I have been assembling a list for some time of places to go, recipes to try, things to learn, and craft projects to attempt. I thought I might share them here in an effort to give myself a little bit of accountability--sort of like New Year's resolutions or 43 things. So please don't hesitate as the year goes on to check in and ask me, "have you finished knitting that cowl?" or "whatever happened to those caramels you planned to make?" I'll appreciate the encouragement!

Projects on the Agenda:

Things to Learn:
Places to Go:
Recipes to Try:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Seeking Inspiration in the Kitchen

Usually when I'm seeking inspiration in the kitchen, it means I have the fridge open and I'm trying to decide what I should have for a snack. I'm happy to say that today for once that was not the case. Today I was looking for something to photograph.

It has been a while since I last took my camera out for a walk to take pictures of the neighborhood, or experiment with some new technique I have been reading about, and I was feeling an itch to hear that satisfying sound of the shutter clicking. Since I have been lying low with a cold and sore throat the past few days, I was not about to venture outside where it is still winter.

I never cease to be impressed at the many bloggers out there who are able to bring out the beauty and personality of their homes through a picture of a chair here, a stack of books there, a pair of shoes forgotten on the floor... If only I were a photographer who could make the pile of unfolded laundry in the living room look casually beautiful!

Anyway, inspired by that idea of finding some prettiness in the everyday (and stuck in the kitchen anyway because I was making strawberry sauce), I decided to snap a few photos of some corners of my kitchen. In doing so, I think I found a new appreciation for the kitchen I so often sigh over (so small, so old, so little counter space). Really, it's quite a nice place to pass some time.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Portraits of Tea

Rose tea.

Clockwise from top: Grandma's Garden fruit tisane; Persian black tea; chamomile; Turkish apple tea.

Jasmine Tea

Saturday, March 8, 2008

International Women's Day

Typically I like to keep things light here on the blog. But what is the point of sharing things with family, friends and strangers in cyberspace if I don't share the things that matter?

This evening I was pondering this quotation from the Baha'i Writings:

There must be an equality of rights between men and women. . . For the world of humanity possesses two wings: man and woman. If one wing remains incapable and defective, it will restrict the power of the other, and full flight will be impossible. Therefore, the completeness and perfection of the human world is dependent upon the equal development of these two wings.

Today is International Women's Day. The fact that we need a special day in the year to remind us to celebrate women seems an indication that we still have a long way to go before we reach that ideal of equality we aspire to.

Statistically women in the United States still earn only 77% of what men do for the same jobs; 1 in 3 women worldwide will be a victim of physical abuse during her lifetime, most likely at the hands of an intimate partner; all over the developing world women's literacy rates are significantly lower than men's; and women are many times more likely than men to suffer forced prostitution, rape, trafficking, and indentured servitude, and in many countries these crimes go unnoticed and unpunished.

I hope that anyone who stops by to read this will give a thought to those statistics and agree that they are unacceptable. No matter where we live and what we do, every one of us can make an effort to become informed about the issues that uniquely impact half the inhabitants of our planet, be a voice for equality when the opportunity presents itself, and strive to change the attitudes of those around us. We don't want to hand those statistics down to our daughters and granddaughters.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Care Packages

Growing up on the other side of the world from our family and friends in the United States, I came to expect a few things when it came to staying in touch:

Having to speak very loudly when calling long-distance and and then waiting for the 10 second lag before your words made it across the miles to the person on the other end of the line.

The mail taking at least three weeks for a letter to get to the U.S., and then another three for a response to get back to you.

And care packages? Don't even bother trying. The box might make its way to its destination after a few months wandering the mail routes, but its contents would not.

So when I headed off to college leaving my family behind in Nepal, I did not expect to receive too many packages. But my parents surprised me. At the beginning of my first Fast in college, what should be delivered to my dorm but a massive, heavy box with my name on it and just the words "Love, Mom and Dad" on the label. It is a thrilling thing to return from class and have friends tell you "there's a big package for you at the bell desk." Of course, it is a known fact that when you are young and away from home, there is nothing better in the world than to receive a package from your loved ones.

My parents had ordered a box of navel oranges and ruby red grapefruits and had them sent to me, and I enjoyed them every morning of that Fast. (I also learned to juggle with those oranges, now that I think about it.) Since then my parents have sent me a box of citrus fruit every year during the Fast, and still it is always a thrilling surprise to see the big package for me in the lobby. This morning we had the first ruby red grapefruit from this year's batch for breakfast.

As I was preparing to post the picture above Ash asked me, "Oh, are you going to blog about that?" When I said I was, he gave me permission to quote him as saying "These are the best tasting grapefruits I have ever eaten." And they really are.

Thank you Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Light seeps through our shutters this morning at dawn.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Fast

Today was the first day of a very special time of year, a time when Baha'is all around the world make efforts to turn our attention from the material and the mundane that so often occupy our thoughts and focus instead on the needs of the spirit, sometimes overlooked in the craziness of our daily lives. It is a time of prayer, reflection, and service, and as a symbol of the effort to prioritize the needs of the soul over the those of the body, Baha'is forgo food and drink between sunrise and sunset. I like to think of it as a chance to refresh my spirit in preparation for the coming year, which begins with spring on March 21st.

The Fast lasts for 19 days, and I did have an inspiring little photography project in mind for those 19 days in order to share this uplifting time with you all. As it turns out, however, I was not able to get things together in time. Fear not. If you are seeking something uplifting I highly recommend you wander on over to Nineteen Days--a collaborative photography project by Amy and Leila, who will be taking pictures every dawn and dusk in New York City and Sydney, respectively, and sharing them with all of us. I may join them by posting a dawn photo or two here myself if I can manage to remember my camera in my bleary-eyed state before sunrise. Suffice it to say, this morning I did not. Instead I share a photo I took during the early hours of the morning during the Fast last year.