this is the august update

youth triohey all you wonderful people. it’s been a long week and an even longer month, filled with lots of busymaking, vacationing, and picture-taking – and even some singing. you’ve probably noticed, but just in case, do pop by my flickr site to check out the latest photos and leave a comment or two. Along with updated vacation photos – mostly landscapes so far, more people shots coming soon – I’ve also posted some photos of the Super Ex, taken on the day I performed at the Joy of Faith concert with a musical group of Baha’i youth (well, mostly youth, with one youthful gentleman along for the ride).

It’s that time again. What time, you ask? Why, the time to get children’s classes in gear for the upcoming year. Our local coordinators have been kind enough to forward me copies of a pilot curriculum for Baha’i children’s classes, developed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, based on the “Baha’i Education for Children” series by A. A. Furutan. I’ll be using the pilot curriculum as a framework for our children’s class (“our” because I’m not the only teacher, and because the class is starting to feel a little like a family to me), which will entail translating it into French and finding corresponding French-language activities to replace those that don’t survive translation. See baha’i children’s class ideas to follow the progress of the class this year.

Those of you who have been following the situation in the Middle East and who have wondered about the state and condition of the Baha’i World Centre and Holy Places in Haifa and surroundings will be pleased to know that, according to the most recent communication from the Universal House of Justice, “no damage was done to the Holy Places and that the friends here remained in safety, pursuing their tasks with steadiness of purpose and exemplary perseverance”. Of course, as has been noted by many people since this most recent outbreak of violence began, we must remember to keep in our prayers not only our friends at the World Centre, but also our many fellow human beings who find themselves innocent victims of this conflict. Perhaps now, more than ever, is the time to rededicate ourselves to championing the Cause of world unity and to teach peace all the world around (to borrow a turn of phrase from Red Grammer). Part of my efforts in this wise include my participation in the core activities of the Baha’i Faith, most notably the above-mentioned children’s classes. I’ve also had a strong desire to start a study circle that would allow friends, family and acquaintances to get together and exchange on some of these topics. If you’re in the Ottawa area and you’d like to get involved, please do let me know.

On a side note, I’m seriously considering returning to my earlier vegetarian diet, after a hiatus of a few years (induced by a knock on the head). I was originally a pesco-ovo-lacto vegetarian, which means I would eat fish, eggs and dairy products – I’m thinking I may become pesco-pollo-ovo vegetarian, adding chicken but cutting out dairy (since I definitely have lactose intolerance issues). Basically, that would make me semi-vegetarian, or “wishy-washy” as some might put it. Any feedback, comments, and encouragement you may have would be greatly appreciated – via email or comment on this post. And Martin, I already know what you think.

chillin’ day

yeah, it was a cold day today, especially for June. Oddly enough, I prefer cold weather. I said that to the guy behind the counter at Bridgehead and he thought I was nuts. Apparently people came to him all day to complain about the weather (along with buying coffee).

So anyway, besides being cold, today was a pretty quiet day. I got up at about 8:00 (on Saturday?!? ya I know.) to go participate in the devotional program for People and the Planet, a biannual conference sponsored by the Sierra Club. One of my neighbours, Diana, is part of an organization called Faith and the Common Good – which gathers representatives from many religions and faith groups and gets them focused on environmental issues – and they were asked to prepare devotions for the conference, which is how I got involved. I guess someone heard I could chant prayers well. It was cool, although I didn’t stay there too long. I saw a few people I recognized – Tazz‘s friend Rhetta was there, for instance.

I needed breakfast, so, after pausing briefly at a local natural food store for a few groceries, I went walking down Elgin and stopped at The Lieutenant’s Pump for Saturday brunch. It was pretty good (read my review on Yahoo) – I got to sit around eating my omelette and watching England and Paraguay beat up on each other at World Cup soccer (sorry… football).

Once I got back home, I started preparing materials for this week’s children’s class. That took me until about one o’clock, when I jumped on my bike and rode off to Julie and Fanfan’s place for the class. Oddly enough, there were no children. We waited until 2:00, still no children. Oops. We chalked it up to a logistical blip and kept the lesson plan ready for a future class. Fanfan came by at around 2:30, and we all watched some more World Cup soccer together as Argentina and Côte d’Ivoire battled it out. Fanfan roots for Argentina and (to be fair) I rooted for Côte d’Ivoire. It was a more interesting game than the England-Paraguay game.

Now? Well, now I’m blogging, hanging around with the cat, and getting ready for bed. I’ll probably take some time to make phone calls tomorrow, and get settled and ready for next week. This past week has been a bit of a trial, with lots of working late and pushing my limits. I think milk and cookies are definitely in order.

favourite vegetarian recipes

following up on Sam Benoit’s comment on the ‘bridgehead’ post, here are a few of my favourite vegetarian recipes. FYI, I used to be a vegetarian, and am still quite sympathetic to vegetarianism – and have been thinking about returning to that simple, balanced way of life recently. I’ll tell you all sorts of stories about how I came to put my vegetarianism on hold, though. Just ask me. I dare you.

  • kashke bademjoon – one of the greatest persian dishes of all time, and (sadly) one of the few vegetarian ones. (apparently there’s a vegetarian ghormeh sabzi recipe – neat huh?)
  • potato and pea curry – a favourite indian dish. I also tend to make a nice curry with sweet potatoes and broccoli… maybe I’ll post it sometime. btw, indian food is my favourite type of cuisine.
  • misir wot – or miser wat, or whatever. an ethiopian lentil dish; basically, as the recipe says, “spiced lentil mush”. the secret is in the berbere sauce, an african spice mix that can be difficult to find in North America (it’s worth it, though)
  • potato knishes – whenever I stop at a local bagel shop, I always grab a few knishes on the side. Potato knishes are the most common, but I’ve seen knishes filled with things like spinach, cabbage, and broccoli too.
  • artichoke and sundried tomato pizza – a mouth-watering mediterranean combination that packs a punch. try making it yourself – it should turn out less greasy than delivered pizza.
  • spinach lasagna – everyone loves vegetarian lasagna – even marty!

BTW: Are all Bahá’ís vegetarian? No, but the Bahá’í Writings look upon vegetarianism in a very positive light. Bahá’ís don’t have special foods associated with rituals or ceremonies; we eat all sorts of things, depending on where in the world we live. Check out some pictures of Bahá’í food.

bridgehead

Bridgehead is an Ottawa-based chain of coffeeshops (or coffeehouses) featuring organic, fairly-traded coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate. I discovered them a while back, but rediscovered them lately when one of the co-founders of Otesha came to talk at the Howden fireside (and that’s a whole other story!). Bridgehead has six coffeehouses in Ottawa, including their newest coffeehouse that just opened up at Bank & Albert. Yes, that’s smack dab along most of the main bus routes going downtown – so if you’re taking the bus, whether to Carleton University, Ottawa University, or, hey, anywhere – you can take five minutes and fill your travel mug with hot, fresh, organic, fairly-traded coffee (or tea, or cocoa, etc) and be sure that the people who grew and harvested the coffee beans (or tea leaves, or cocoa beans, etc) were paid a fair wage and didn’t have to burn their skin on toxic pesticides. How cool is that? Give it a try.

Disclaimer: Bridgehead is not rewarding me in any way for this endorsement (not even in coupons or discounts). Think of this post as you would Marty‘s rants about Quizno’s – it’s just me raving about something I really enjoy in life and want to share!

happy ayyam-i-ha!

Happy Ayyam-i-Ha to all you lovely people out there!!!
Been to several Ayyam-i-Ha parties so far. Tonight’s party was in Sector 1 (East-end Ottawa) and included truckloads of yummy food like zereshk polo and kookoo sabzi. OMG I love kookoo sabzi. um anyway. lots of hanging around and chillin and being all friendly and together and having fun and eating. On Saturday night I had the pleasure of hanging around at Julie and Fanfan’s place after our weekly children’s class, after which they invited family and friends for an evening of togetherness and amity and eating lots of Haitian food. You know—plantain, grilled salmon, and a delicious dish made with beans and rice. We played Jenga until we went nuts. Fanfan was crowned Jenga King, with Paul coming in a close second.

Wednesday night is the Feast of Alá, and after that, the Fast starts. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to print out your very own list of sunrise and sunset times, and check out some fasting tips to help you get the most out of the Fast this year. Got some tips you’d like to share? Post a comment!

little tiny update

hey. not much happening; really busy at work right now. I’m taking a two-minute break. mom’s birthday was yesterday; we went out to Suisha Gardens and had some phat Japanese food. Sushi. yummmm. Tempura. YUMMM. Most amazing restaurant ever. Tamara booked a tatami room for us (a westernized version where you don’t really have to kneel). I’d love to go back and get the real article – I hear they actually have kneeling rooms. Anyway, the ambience was excellent and so was the hospitality. Our waiter(s) did an excellent job of dodging my niece as she darted about the room during the evening.

In other news: it’s Groundhog Day, and Canadian groundhogs seem to concur in predicting an early spring this year. This potentially spells doom for well-loved winter activities such as skiing, skating, and snowshoeing – hopefully Winterlude will still go on as planned.