Sunday, November 30, 2008

feeling indecisive & anxious.


healthy living.
unhealthy living.
yummy recipes.
personal enlightenment.
personal demons.
homes & stoves.
simple living.

i just don't know what to share.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

crow rests with new light
tangled deep within fresh warmth
our shadow cut glass

Monday, November 24, 2008

Simple and to the point.

Advent Conspiracy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In honor of our friend Cory, I bring to you the first ever Chicago Commons ESL Second Language Haiku Fest.

I charged my students with the task of completing several haiku during class today. Here are the English renditions. Keep in mind, this is their second or third language.

the spring has come here
pretty colors we can see
when flowers are born

the flowers are born
just in this beautiful time
then they go to die

the cold water runs
in some long, beautiful shapes
it gives me some peace

And then they wrote haiku in Spanish, which were later translated into English. Keep in mind that the translation will no longer keep the syllabic pattern necessary in haiku.

las olas del mar
con su dulce sonido
calman mi estres

the waves of the ocean
with their sweet sound
calm my stress

con su dulce canto
los bellos pajaritos
dan alegria

with their sweet song
the beautiful birds
give me joy

agua limpia
que corre por el rio
da mucha vida

clean water
that runs to the river
gives much life

las flores cantan
una gran melodia
para nosotros

the flowers sing
a grand melody
for us

and my personal favorite:

el agua corre
dulce y melodiosa
en una rosa

the water runs
sweet and melodiously
in a rose

Monday, November 17, 2008

I just can't get enough of the Ney...

Or the Oud today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Could Have

It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.
You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.

You were in luck -- there was a forest.
You were in luck -- there were no trees.
You were in luck -- a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant . . .

So you're here? Still dizzy from
another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn't be more shocked or
how your heart pounds inside me.

-Wislawa Szymborska

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I was walking in a dark valley
and above me the tops of the hills
had caught the morning light.
I heard the light singing as it went
among the grassblades and the leaves.
I waded upward through the shadow
until my head emerged,
my shoulders were mantled with the light,
and my whole body came up
out of the darkness, and stood
on the new shore of the day.
Where I had come was home,
for my own house stood white
where the dark river wore the earth.
The sheen of bounty was on the grass,
and the spring of the year had come.

- Wendell Berry

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reconciliatory Dialog

In nearly every conceivable polar situation, there are people across a wide continuum of Left to Right, Liberal to Conservative, Pro to Con, For to Against, etc. Also present on the far ends of these continuums are the ugly 1%. These are most visible when they are willing to kill and maim for their cause. Bombing abortion clinics, assassinating leaders, spiking trees, burning ski resorts, using religion, fear, and violence as weapons against an ideology that they do not agree with.

Just inside of that ugly 1% is an ugly 2% that is probably not as violent, but equally driven by fear and hate. The Obama campaign mentioned numerous times the hateful and divisive chants and comments coming out of the McCain/Palin crowds at political events. There were chants of "nigger", "terrorist", "kill him", etc.

I agree with Senator McCain in that the whole of a party can not be held responsible for the actions of a few. That ugly 2% present at political rallies who would start chants like previously mentioned are not representative of the Republican party, but they do point to the existence of that 2% end of the spectrum that still exists today in America.

It is present everywhere.

John McCain dehumanized his political opponent and referred to him as "that one".

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the HEAVILY racially charged word "uppity" when talking about Barack and Michelle. "Just from what little I've seen of her and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity." And when asked about his use of the word "uppity", Westmoreland said again, "Uppity, yeah."

And if that were not bad enough, Obama's own running-mate, Joe Biden, was quoted as saying that Obama was the "first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

This is only a sneeze, a small cough, a runny-nose-symptom of a deeper, disgraceful problem that still exists in deeper currents within our society.

Racial reconciliation is a conversation that America is not yet ready for.

Economic division reconciliation is a conversation that America is not yet ready for.

But these are conversations that we will have to participate in, and engage in if we ever hope to fulfill the greatness that our nation is intended for.

As Wendell Berry put it in his poem "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front"

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.

Denounce does not mean to destroy, reject, or render worthless, but instead to "condemn or censure openly or publicly", or "make a formal accusation against, as to the police or in a court".

Confront and censure the racism and hatred of peoples. Bring about discussion, communication, and implementation of compassion, love, and relationships that can yield the crop of reconciliation.

Dr. Cornel West can put this much better than I can. At least watch part one, 10 minutes, and continue on to part 2 and 3 if you so desire.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, November 10, 2008

Now that this election is over, I feel a bit more free to expound on my thoughts that occurred during the campaigns. This is by no means the most important of the issues I heard, it is just the first one that popped into my thought process this morning.

In response to questions of why she had not received a passport until that year, and never been out of the country, Sarah Palin replied as such.

"I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world.

No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world."

-Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric - link

I wonder what she considers "that culture". Is this another underhanded attempt to bring in that nasty "e" word and say that only those who are elitist can travel the world? I, personally, find this rather repugnant.

Mrs. Palin, while in graduate school I was earning $900 per month at one job, and another $70 - $120 per month at a second job. I still managed to pay for my own schooling and all of my expenses, get myself a passport, purchase my own backpack, and send myself on minimalist expeditions for months at a time to Costa Rica, India, and Thailand.

Does that make me an elitist? Do I suddenly sip martinis over lunch and trade stock tips with my arms-dealer buddies?

Now here is the most important part of this whole process, get ready. Do you want to know what I did learn while I was in all of those places that applies to this situation?

I learned that, in fact, I was an elitist.

We in America who can eat every day, afford a car, drink water out of the faucet, purchase shoes, and live a life mostly free of parasitic diseases and water-borne illnesses, we are elitist.

We are elite among the world's population who subsist on $1 per day or less. That's 1.1 billion people according to the World Bank.

We are elite among those who consume less than $2 per day. That's 2.7 billion people.

Out of the 6.1 billion people alive at the time of this survey, that is 45% of the world living on $2 per day or less.

Two dollars? Really? I probably loose more than that down couch cushions every month.

That is how I know that I am an elitist.

I am an elitist, and anyone who has the capability to read this blog is too. I hope we can all recognize that fact, and work with the humble understanding of our true position in the world, and therefore our responsibility to that world.

Perhaps Mrs. Palin could have learned this as well.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

do yourself a favor.

jhonathan - way to capture the sensations & love of the evening.

p.s. jake is sure to have some thoughtful reflections on the election coming soon. i, on the other hand am just enjoying the time of historical celebration!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"...That is what humanity can achieve, when we all believe in something together." - a great personal reflection on the evening of history, in so many ways.

"i was watching from two blocks away, and when we were leaving, it was this atmosphere of brotherhood and love of everyone equal, everyone lifting each other up, not one negative i saw at the rally, it feels too damn good to say I AM AN AMERICAN! THESE ARE MY PEOPLE." - comment reflecting on the evening

"I truly believe that as our next President, Barack Obama will lead my generation and my children's back onto the path of creating A More Perfect Union. It won't be easy, but I will be cheering (and continuing to volunteer) all the way." - a bit of a personal testimony regarding one woman's support for a Barack Presidency

"This is a very important moment for a black woman (at age 64) from this city to witness," she said. "He is a brilliant, very genuine person. He is a jewel." - Chicago Tribune

"I couldn’t breathe, yet I was crying. I have never had or seen such a reaction in my life. We did it. Not only did America elect the first black president, but we elected the best choice by a landslide. America tonight has lived up to its promises,” said “The Daily Show” host John Stewart. And he is exactly right. We did.

a note from Cornel West

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer." - President Elect Barack Obama

*the previous two photos were stolen - thanks Ben & Nanette!*

Sunday, November 02, 2008

please vote.

please, just get out there on Tuesday & vote.

vote green.
vote red.
vote blue.
vote clear.

just VOTE!

i did and hope you do as well. please share your story afterward - i will soon, as it was one of the most emotional experiences of my adult life.

please vote

Saturday, November 01, 2008

9 out of 10 mornings Jake & I intentionally wake up thirty to sixty minutes earlier than we need to in order to lay in bed together. Laughing, talking, crying, and enjoying the company of one another is how we enter into each day.

It's never planned nor has it become something I measure myself up against (like most things). It's a part of the day that has become "us."

I am so grateful.