Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life Choices

I've been reading Cherrie Moraga's The Last Generation this weekend. The verse that follows made sense to me in my own life and goes well with the photos I posted in my last post.

After awhile it comes down to a question
of life choices not a choice between you/or her
this sea town/or that bruising city
but about putting one foot in front of the other
and ending up somewhere
that looks like home.

-From "En Route para Los Angeles" by Cherrie Moraga

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Grey Day

Yesterday was a wonderful day with loved ones and friends. Today, on the other hand, it is rather dreary outside. I learned recently that the day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday" by people in retail sales because it is the biggest shopping day of the year and just this one day can get retail establishments out of the "black" for the whole year. I don't know how I managed to go 40 years without hearing this term, but I have to say that it makes me proud that I hadn't.

To create a positive day out of this lack of sunshine, I was determined to take a walk and find beauty in the grey.
It even started snowing as I proceeded. These photos are what I came up with.

Enjoy your day!
Addendum: I have learned that being in the "black" is a good thing. It is being in the "red" that means being in a financial hole. Ah, the things one learns...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Day of Thanks

The United States holiday of Thanksgiving is soon approaching. The reason for this holiday that I learned as a child is not one that I want to celebrate. The pilgrims, or the colonizers, had a meal with the local inhabitants, the Native American "Indians", in order to show their gratitude for surviving a difficult year. Of course, the local inhabitants that the pilgrims shared this meal with and who helped them survive that difficult year were later killed, infected with disease, and sent off to reservations, but to this day Americans still celebrate. And despite my bleak introduction, I do too.

I love Thanksgiving because I love to cook and share food with folk. And so, for the last few years I have become quite the happy homemaker. I cook all day and invite anybody who wants to come by and share a meal. I have a few dishes that I usually make, often passed on from friends I have met along the way such as Lazaro's wild rice dressing with sausage, apples, and fennel. Other meal essentials are an apple cheesecake and a turkey. Turkeys are almost a requirement for this traditional meal.

This year I am thinking about making a turkey with some sort of mole sauce. Hence the above photo. It is a mole turkey from Epicurious. I may not follow the recipe exactly. I rarely do but as I experiment I will be reminded of another dear friend of mine, Petra. One of my favorite Thanksgivings was spent making and eating turkey enchiladas with mole sauce with her and her family.

I am so thankful for all of the moments that I have to share with my friends. And, I am thankful for you, my readers, too :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Scarf

Yesterday I had tea with a wonderful woman from Jordan. I sought her out because she is in the graduate program I am considering and because she is Jordanian. Where I live, it is not every day that I get to be around folks from the Middle East, much less a country so close to my dear Lebanon!
Even though we just met, she gave me this beautiful scarf. "I didn't know if you wore scarves," she said, "but I see that you have one on now." Ever since I returned from Lebanon, I have worn a shawl sized scarf nearly every day.
I wore the shawl to our work holiday party last night and told everyone I talked to the story. Every time I wrap myself in it, I will be reminded of a part of the world that is often misunderstood in the West. I will also remind myself and others that there will be no real "hope" and "change" until everyone is a part of it, including the Palestinians and others in the Arab World that the West would rather forget.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gay Marriage or Civil Unions for All?

I need some input from any readers out there. There has been a post election flurry around the fact that while anti-choice political efforts failed in various states last week, gay rights had the opposite luck. To be specific, efforts to gain support for gay marriage have gone backwards rather than forwards. At the LGBT Film Festival in my town this past weekend, Equal Rights Washington was giving out stickers saying that the owner supported gay marriage. I couldn't take one.

It's not that I don't think that people, like myself, who love someone of the same gender should have the opportunity to make a formal commitment to one another. It's the institution of marriage itself. Do people really want to be part of a traditionally patriarchal and heterosexist system? Not me. I would rather have my union sanctioned by the state and if I choose to have a commitment ceremony in a religious institution, then so be it. But my benefits shouldn't be tied up in this.

All couples who want a civil union should be able to have one no matter their sexual orientation, race, gender, etc... In fact, civil unions should be the only official sanction the state provides for all, regardless of sexual orientation. And with a civil union should come all the benefits that traditionally come with marriage. Then, if you want to get married, go to your church or community of faith. Under these conditions if you then want to exclude others, you have the right to. No benefits are attached and so I could care less what you do.

He, he. Some could say that the "gays" want to deny marriage to "straight" people. Not really. But read it as you like. It's a paradigm shift that even gay rights groups have yet to embrace. We are stuck on the wrong word. Forget marriage, think civil unions for all!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Vandana Shiva Lecture

I had planned to drive for at least one hour and a half each way this evening to hear a woman that I greatly admire, Vandana Shiva. The more I thought about it, however; the more I realized that my driving for so long and expanding my carbon footprint was in direct opposition to what she discusses. It is not a sustainable practice. On the other hand, the internet is a wonderful way of narrowing divides. Plus it isn't as environmentally negative (as far as I know) and I can cuddle on the couch with my sweetie while listening to Vandana Shiva speak.

This is long piece. 76 minutes to be exact. So make sure you are ready to sit down and watch it. In my opinion, she's worth it. I wouldn't bother posting it if I didn't think highly of her.

I tried to download the video and experienced technical difficulties, so here is the link. In case it works here's the video as well.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Breathe, Vote, and Hope

Breathe. Tomorrow is the day that all of these attack ads will hopefully cease.
Hope, that this country will embrace a change.
Have you voted yet?