" /> Everything, Nothing, and I'm a Middle Child: February 2006 Archives

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February 26, 2006

Secret's Out

Okay, I figure all the essentials know (i.e. our parents), so it's time for my blog to get the update.

Though if you're like everyone else who heard the news, it'll be rather anti-climactic for you. I think it was bigger news to Mark and myself than anyone else.

Mark and I have extended our term of service here in Israel. As of now, we will be here until May 2007 (so you have until then to visit us). Since the big question seems to be about Mark's medical studies: he is gathering the basic A&P, biology, chem & physics books to study for the MCAT, since that's what he'd need to be doing regardless.

Also, we will be going on pilgrimage at Ridvan (the festival in which we celebrate Baha'u'llah's announcement of His claim to be the Messenger of God for this day). We are so, so, so very excited!!!


End of blog update.

February 22, 2006

Quotabie Babies

If you don't know what on earth I'm talking about, well, you're not Nathan.

When we were kids, personal computers were born [when Rae was a kid, programmed disks were already for sale, and by the time Mendon hit the streets floppy disks were already passe]. Nathan, much to his good fortune, as witnessed by his current line of work, was fascinated by them. He built our first computer from a kit from Radio Shack, and then, of course, there was the Commodore. He would get programming magazines, hand them over to me, I would read them to him - line by tedious line - and together we would create some all-text game to play (i.e. Zork). I would be outright lying if I said I did not enjoy this process as much as he did. Maybe our roles then explain our jobs today - I dealt with the words on the page, he dealt with transforming them on the computer.

I was 8-years-old when we did this. I know, because I remember misspelling "go to" in an assignment in Mr. Harris' 3rd grade class and thinking, "but 'GOTO' is one word!!!" At eight, I was still learning complex words like brackets, parentheses and quotation marks. So I made up "quotabie babies" (pronounced "ca-tay-bie bay-bies"). For some inexplicable reason, I remembered this when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom last night.

Nae, would there have been a reason I would have said "quotabie babies red" - or green - or any other color for that matter? Or was that just middle of the night muddling - perhaps with "slug-a-bug red" or some such memory?

And yes, this fretful question is partially responsible for my over-tiredness today.

February 19, 2006

Who Does This Happen To?

Amina once told me about her aunt who, after quitting her 3rd job (as in, she was working 3 jobs), her eyesight improved so that she no longer needed glasses and her hair went from gray to black. You read that correctly, gray to black.

I always thought that that was a bit extreme and probably temporary at best.

So, here's what I want to know: did my eyesight really improve? really? I guess I'll find out shortly - when I start wearing my funk fresh new glasses! Can't wait!

February 18, 2006


"That's the reason I don't like the women's fashion in Israel - it's a big 'Hooteropolis'."

My husband just said that to me. For real.

Sometimes I think I married a radical feminist.

Funny. I thought he'd married a radical feminist. Some days, though, he just puts my radical feministology to shame.

And then he deconstructs my made up term of "feministology" with his fancy Latin and Ancient Greek knowledge. Dang.

February 15, 2006

A Guide For Living With Mara - or not

I’m not evil, you’re just weak:

Whoever lives only for pleasures,
with senses uncontrolled,
immoderate in eating, lazy, and weak,
will be overthrown by Mara,
like the wind throws down a weak tree.

(Buddhist Writings, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))

Ironic, really, since my nickname as a kid was “Mara the Perfect”:

Perfect of virtue, always acting with recollection, and liberated by final realisation - Mara does not know the path such people travel.

(Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 1 (tr. J. Richards))

Ex-boyfriends (you know, all...umm...never mind):

This is what I say to you - Good luck be with you, gathered here. Dig up the root of craving, as one does a weed for its fragrant root. Don't let Mara destroy you again and again, like a stream does its reeds.

(Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 1 (tr. J. Richards))

Whoever lives not for pleasures,
with senses well controlled,
moderate in eating, has faith and the power of virtue,
will not be overthrown by Mara,
any more than the wind throws down a rocky mountain

(Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))

Follow this path, and Mara will be confused.
If you follow this path, you will end your suffering.
This path was preached by me
when I became aware of the removal of the thorns.
You yourself must make the effort.
The perfected ones are only preachers.
Those who enter the path and practice meditation
are released from the bondage of Mara.

(Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))

Ex-boyfriends, this is how to get over Mara (yeah, yeah, we know I don't really have any who need this advice):

When a man is stimulated by his own thoughts, full of desire and dwelling on what is attractive, his craving increases even more. He is making the fetter even stronger. But he who takes pleasure in stilling his thoughts, practising the contemplation of what is repulsive, and remaining recollected, now he will make an end of craving, he will snap the bonds of Mara. His aim is accomplished, he is without fear, rid of craving and without stain. He has removed the arrows of changing existence. This is his last body.

(Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 1 (tr. J. Richards))

I agree with this one:

Mara never crosses the path of those who are virtuous,
who live without thoughtlessness,
and who are liberated by true knowledge.
Just as on a heap of rubbish thrown upon the highway [okay, maybe delete this line?]

(Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))

February 13, 2006

Tea Treasures

I know, I know, it's happened to all of you at some time or another. You just have to buy me a gift and you have no clue as to what to get me!

Well, I am here to help you. Soothe your sorrows and calm your woes.

O. My. Gosh. I think I've found heaven on earth.

The other night, we went out to dinner and I ordered some rosemary tea. Turned out they didn't have it, but would I like one of their other decaffeinated teas that they didn't advertise on their menu? I decided to try 'rooibos cocoa ginger'. As I said before, "O. My. Gosh." I must have more! It was amazingly delicious.

And I found it - at the delightful online Tea Treasures Shop. They also have mint chocolate rooibus and a yummy sounding Mexican rooibus with cayenne in it.

They also have beautiful teapots and mugs and other yummy teas (which is the stuff I can mainly afford, though they also have some lovely affordable teapots).

If you need any further hints, I'd be happy to oblige. Just let me know ;-)

February 12, 2006


I knew it was bound to happen. I was just waiting for it, really.

As staff members of the Baha'i World Centre, we have the special privilege of visiting each Holy Place in Haifa and Akka once in a year. And if you can't make it the day you've scheduled your visit, too bad, no changes made. Considering most Baha'is will only visit these places once in a lifetime, during pilgrimage, that's not too much to ask of us staffers.

And I've visited every holy place now - some several times.

Except, that is, the House of Abdullah Pasha, a residence of Baha'u'llah's family for some time in Akka.

Not once. Every single year something happens to keep me from it.

Year one: a migraine that sent me to the ER (it was stupid - I'll never do that again)

Year two: we were visiting Mark's family in Spain

Year three ... this year: my dear, dear friend Takhmina is getting married. Not only that day, but that hour. Can you believe it? Well, heheh, I can. (Takhmina is the one who taught me the Kazakh waltz that I performed a year or so ago, Kua bol. And no, I didn't misspell her name, she changed the transliteration of her name recently.)

February 9, 2006

Inbetween Moments

You know that level of sub-consciousness that is experienced as a person is first beginning to wake up? I also have them when I get up in the middle of the night and try to hang on to sleepiness for the brief moments that it takes me to use the toilet, wash my hands and return to bed.

Do you experience that? Do you know what I'm talking about?

You know, it's where I have all my amazing ideas for inventions and movie story lines. It's when I have peaks of utter rage at the world over ... um, not sure. I think this morning it had to do with the rain. Which is odd, when you consider just how much I love the rain.

February 8, 2006



This is a photo of the Shrine of the Bab that my mother took while she was here last winter. It had just rained - I hope you can see the rainbow! In fact, if you really look closely, there are actually two rainbows.

[yes folks, I changed my template just to bring you this photo!]

February 7, 2006

Pittsburgh Steelers

Okay, I admit it, I'm a Steelers fan. [I'm talking about American football, by the way] I tell people it's in my blood - my uncle played for them in the 70s and went to 2 Super Bowls with them. [the US football championship game]

So, when I found out they'd gotten to the Super Bowl, and I might be able to watch the game...I made an effort to do so. I must admit though, I did miss the commercials. Bummer.

Unfortunately, and this is where it gets really interesting, the tape we got of it ... lacked sound. We watched the game on silent. One of our friends gave a great commentary (thank you, Howard!) - really, I finally think I understand the game enough to possibly remember the position my uncle played [my guess is offensive lineman]. And since watching a game on silent is sort of eerie, well, we needed music. So, a Mozart opera it was! I gotta' admit - it fit perfectly!

I highly, highly recommend watching Mick Jagger - and the entire Rolling Stones - "sing" to a Mozart opera. It's amazing and hilarious and just an all around great experience. Of course, you may never want to watch them again after that.

And it didn't hurt that the Steelers won. I bet that if you go to Leila's blog over there on my sidebar, you'll find a rather humorous commentary of what my dear Kiwi thought of the experience - and photos of us enthralled in the game [ok, as of 7 Feb. morning it isn't there, but check back tomorrow] :-)

Arr. Pirates.

Don't ask. All I can say is that for some reason, this was fun. And, somehow, eerily accurate.

My pirate name is:
Bloody Mary Kidd
Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.

February 1, 2006

Evolution of Chef

Chef, as captured by Kristen & Mendon

We have downstairs neighbors. They have a dog, Chef, a bulldog.

My first encounter with him was precipitated by me walking up the stairs to our apartment thinking, "I know our new neighbors have a dog, what if he were loose and charged me? What would I do?" 5 seconds later, I got to find out. I froze and screamed loudly for Mark - was right behind me. The owner also heard me, called off his dog and ... err, it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship?

Anyway, I'm much less wary of the big lug now. In fact, he's grown quite accustomed to us. Mark just adores him and pets him whenever he gets a chance. Chef bit him once - when Mark put his hand into Chef's dog house and tried to yank the sleeping Chef out to put his leash on him (we were having workers coming over).

Chef frequently meets us at the stairs, snorting away - fortunately, he's not a slobbery bulldog. And now, he has taken to following us up our stairs to our apartment. We now have to cajol him into letting us get around him on our steps. We also have to race up to our door so that we are in front of him as we open our door or he'll get into our house. And once we get the door open, we have to sneak through the door and slam it shut before Chef can bully his way in.

The other day, a friend came over and had this experience. I opened the door and in came Chef. I was so surprised I actually shrieked!