Oct 25, 2012

Finding Mr. Wright and House Painting

Can you imagine going all summer with my house scraped and no paint on it? I refused to invite anyone over because I was too embarassed to. My house is nearly painted now.  I've gone through three handy men this year.  It all started in March.  The first guy started and scraped 3/4 of the house.  Then he started asking for money and then didn't show up for several weeks.  The next guy did the same thing, except he didn't get any money and didn't show up for months. I don't have months to play around with here. The third guy was the winner.  I should have chosen the third guy in the first place.

I spent all summer waiting on the second guy to finish.  He stopped coming mid May. Then I started bugging him to find out when he was coming to paint.  "Oh, I am coming, " he said. Then one day, I discovered that he came and picked up his stuff without telling me when I went into the garage to get something. 

Now, I have a beautiful green house with white trim.

We still have work to do, but it is no longer embarassing to look at.  At least not from the front.  I am sure my neighbors are glad to see that I have finally done something.

I think that the door will be the color of eggplant.  Purple and green go so well together.  Tomorrow, I put on new porch lights and my house number. My mail carrier will be pleased. (My neighbors on both sides of me don't have their numbers on either) I am so thankful that I was able to do this without going into debt.  Really, I am very thankful.

Oct 24, 2012

Walking with Zombies

Halloween has never been a big thing for me.  Usually, I am in the house enjoying myself by watching a movie or reading a book.  On Sunday, there was a Zombie walk downtown. I really like the fact that people want to dress up and have fun, no matter what their age.

Some people spend hours getting ready for this event.  

They go to the Goodwill and buy clothes just for this occassion.

Then visit specialty shops for the makeup.

It is all for fun.

Get out a little and enjoy life before it is over. I did.

Oct 23, 2012

The first, the third, 60, what are you saying exactly?

Photo by telachhe - CC-BY

People say things in the strangest way.  All of my life, whenever someone would ask me my birth date I would say the month first, then the day and finally the year, never adding the zero in front because it is assumed. There are some people here in Indiana that when they are asked their date of birth they will say, the first, the third, 60 or 01, 07, 1972. I am confused. What? During the day, I am taking a lot of calls and I write down a lot of information.  But when someone says things a bit differently I am taken back a little and lose my bearings.  Often I will ask them to repeat what they had just said. Where in the world did they learn to say their birth date in such a confusing way? This is not just a one time thing, but it happens almost daily. The thing is I have lived in Indiana for a long time and never heard anyone say it until I worked at a hospital.  I want to shout through the phone, "You sound very ignorant, did you know that?!" OK, I am done complaining now.

Oct 22, 2012

Looking at the Soul

Imagine what life would be like if we could see each other's soul instead of what's on the outside

Oct 19, 2012

Room for Hope: An evening learning about Palestine, art and cuisine

Last night, I attended an event called Room For Hope, Images of Courage and Redemptive Suffering in Contemporary Art along with a food sampler of Palestine. Just by chance I heard it advertised on NPR.  I thought that this would be a good way to learn more about Palestine.  Michael Spath was the guest speaker, who is a professor at IPFW, and has been to the Holy land many times.  

Here are two of the lovely hostesses in traditional Palestinian dress.  They explained what each dish was to the guests.

Delicious sweets with nuts and dates

Traditional grape leaves filled with meat

Kibbe is an appetizer filled with ground lamb and Bulgar wheat served with yogurt sauce. ( I ate three of these, they were delicious)

There were pastries filled with cheese, oregano, and spinach.  The ladies spent hours cooking for this event.  My hat is off to them for all of the hard work.

There was Hummus, Baba ghannouj, Tabbouleh,  Arab salad and many more items to choose from.

                The exhibit will be on display until the end of November.

Arab Spring by Taleb Dweik

There were several artists promoted in the exhibit: Taleb Dweik, Asim Abu Shakra, mona Hatoum, Sliman Mansour, Ismail Shammout, and many others. This art exhibit alone is worth the trip. 


The First Presbyterian Church
300 W. Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Oct 18, 2012

Traverse City, Michigan and Autumn

Last week, when I arrived in Michigan it was cold and raining.  Snow was predicted for that evening.

As I emerged from my hotel room, I was greeted with crisp air, sunshine, and fluffy clouds.

I walked on the beach for a while, trying to take it all in.

Then I went for a long drive.

The landscape was filled with amazing color.

This is pure Michigan.

Oct 15, 2012

Educating Girls is Obscene

The attack on 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai a week ago horrified people across Pakistan and abroad. Today, she was taken to the UK for specialized treatment. She was shot because she was promoting education for girls. Why? It was the Taliban who attacked this girl, with intentions to do it again if she lives.  Did you know that they are not Afghan people at all, but radical Muslims from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. According to the Taliban, educating girls is an obscenity.  Do you know why they think this?  Because the girls will be able to think for themselves. Education is a human right. Women want more from life than to live under the dark cloud of total submission.

The female mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Oct 12, 2012

Evening with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Photo by Tony Demin

Yesterday, I drove five hours just to see Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the Opera House in Traverse City, Michigan. The Opera House was packed. She was the first guest speaker in the National Writers Series.  I sat on the first floor, only a few rows from the front. Last year, I read her books, Infidel and Caged Virgin while Nomad is on my bookshelf waiting to be read (I needed a small break from the topic). Ayaan is an elegant, soft spoken, yet strong woman, whom I admire very much.  She was interviewed by Jack Segal for the first part of the lecture. She talked about Islam, women's rights, education for women, the Taliban, and religious tolerance.  In 2005, she was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. The second half she took questions from the audience.  I had my question ready. I stood up with a pounding heart, trying to calm myself down in the process. The words were jumbled that came out of my mouth, but I got the point across eventually.  She understood my meaning and elaborated on the answer for several minutes. She is brave for speaking out like she does. I take my hat off to her.

Oct 8, 2012

Black-Eyed Peas and Potato Curry

I have been working so much overtime that I haven't had time to do one of the things that I love best, cook. Today, I came home at my usual time and out came the pot and spices.  This is an Indian dish that I really like.  It has a little heat to it but you can control it by adding in as little or as much as you like.  This recipe is adapted from the book The Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Shehzad Husain & Rafi Fernandez with a little touch of my own.

1 lb of frozen black-eyed peas
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp five-spice powder
1/4 ts asafoetida
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tbs ghee
1 tbs vegetable or olive oil
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red chili powder
5 tbs tamarind juice or 1 tsp of concentrate
2 potatoes, cut into cubes
1 large tomato, skinned and chopped
4 fresh green chilies, chopped
2 tbs chopped cilantro
1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)
2-3 cups of water
salt to taste
a few mint leaves

In the bottom of a soup pot add the ghee and vegetable oil and place on medium heat.  Next, add the onion and all of the spices, bouillon cube, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Then add the black-eyed peas and mix well with the other ingredients. Add the water and simmer for 40 mintues to an hour, until the beans are tender.  Remember this is not a soup, add about 2 cups of water first and it if needs more add a little at a time. The water should be about 1 inch over the beans. Once the beans are tender, add the potatoes and simmer until they are tender.  You don't want a lot of sauce with this recipe.  Simmer until the sauce is nearly gone. I served this with fish, and it would be good with chicken.  Enjoy!

Oct 5, 2012

This is your life...

I cannot really add to this other than we let other's take control when we shouldn't.  Embrace your life fully because it is so very short. The closer that you get to the end of it you will realise how short it really is.

Oct 4, 2012

Women = Oppression, Maybe?

I watched the PBS special Half the Sky on Monday and Tuesday evenings.  I knew about the oppression of women in Africa and India.  It really surprised me how this is not just a singular problem but a global one.  Where cultures are influenced by religion (sometimes not) and tradition to the point of making half of their population atrophy.  Women in some countries do not have a say over their own bodies because they are expendable. Life is valuable in every form, from plants to people, we all have our place and job to do in this world.  Change cannot come from without but from within.  If these women want change then they will have to be brave and take risks to stand up for themselves, even though the rest of the world is right there willing to help.  When one girl said that she would not allow her son to marry a girl that didn't have genital mutilation because God would not like it, I cringed.  It is time to think outside the box of culture and abstain from those traditions which cause harm not only physically and mentally, but spiritually as well.  Click on the link above to watch the documentary.  Women need to be lifted up to the same status as men. Equal! Because, quite frankly, we are more than equal.