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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12 seeds for the New Year

Last spring, my urban patio garden did inspire me to grow more plants. My bell pepper is  still producing despite the cold weather!!! In the name of biodiversity, I pledge to buy and store 12 different seeds every New Year. I do not have green thumbs. I have "purple" thumbs because I have a great ability to grow  "edible" plants only!!  I can keep cute plants around. However I take care of my edible friends! Gardening is therapeutic. I believe in a gardening revolution. Save seeds..Organic or not. Buy and store seeds. I got 12 kind under 12 dollars plus shipping for 275 seeds total.
Let's nurture nature...
Here a quote of J.Sterling Norton from here
"The generations of flesh pass away; and plants and trees, by root and leaf, take the substance of the dead forms into their being rebuilding again the vegetable kingdom whence they were ravaged for the sustenance of animals. In this earthly round of being ages come and go, as shadows and sorrows come and go over each individual human life...The animal kingdom of today was the vegetable kingdom of an age that has been; and the physical man - all the animals - will be the plants, flowers, fruits and forests of the years yet to be. So proceed the cycles of transmutation - inevitable as death, and wonderful and the mystery involved in eternity: change unceasing, but loss never, for frugal nature permits no waste, and, though her forms disintegrate and disappear, substance, mental and material, lives forever, defying decay with the smile of conscious and ineffable immortality"

Few of my seeds for the New Year at Hirts Gardens

AMAZING Egg Tree 15 Seeds-Grow Indoors/Out-Edible Fruit
AMAZING Egg Tree 15 Seeds-Grow Indoors/Out-Edible Fruit

Romanesco Broccoli 50 Seeds-Heirloom-Best Taste Veggie
Japanese Black Trifele (Russian Truffel) Tomato 20 Seed    

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Foundation of the week- Coexist Foundation

"Coexist has been involved in a range of inspiring, exciting and transformational projects that promote better understanding between faith communities through education, dialogue and research.
  • Coexist drives and supports educational programmes and initiatives we hope will capture the public imagination
  • Coexist promotes dialogue and reconciliation between groups in conflict with one another
  • Coexist encourages research into programmes which further relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims, and between these faiths and others."

 Image from here

Friday, December 24, 2010

Quote from Oogway in Kun Fu Panda

This is the movie of our winter break.  Funny as always and we love the message.
The secret is there is no secret!!! Priceless wisdom!!  Enjoy our present!

"Quit, don't quit? Noodles, don't noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present." Oogway

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coexistence of religions and celebrations.

I grew up as a catholic in an Islamic country. On Friday, I would happily go to the mosque with my friend. Many of my  friends were attending, and afterward I was always invited to share their delicious meals. On Saturday, some Danish protestant nuns were offering succulent baked goodies. Of course, I went to visit them when I could. On Sunday, it was Sunday school before the service.  At the end of which, we were always rewarded with some fancy European goodies.
At six years old, I was chosen to be Mary in the nativity play at church. I was so happy to be “the virgin Mary”. Oh yeah, I was “the” Madonna. The day of rehearsal, the priest gave me a doll to be “baby Jesus”. It was a cute blond and blue eyes doll. I ask if I could have a “black Jesus” instead. The priest said no my child. I asked again. He said no. I asked again. He finally said, no my child Jesus was not Black. I answered that The Madonna was not black but I was. I told with that the Holly spirit would have taken my color in consideration. The priest did laugh very hard. I was upset... Later at home, my Dad told me that Mary and Joseph were Jewish. So they were more likely tan with dark hair. And it did not matter anyway. I should let it go. Obviously, I did not completely let go…However, I went with the baby Jesus chosen by the priest. I was also graciously bribed with dates by my mother to comply with the original play. My stomach and I were always open to dialogues.  I was a calm child but outspoken, often bribed for silence with food.

As for the celebrations, we celebrated all the Islamic holy days and catholic one. The first Christmas I do remember was amazingly creative and funny. My mother managed to create a fake pine tree with a tropical plant. We did decorate with tons of homemade crafts. The final touch was shaving cream for snow under our tropical heat. It was a fabulous tree!!! I never believed in Santa Claus.  I always loved the family spirit during the holidays. It is at the end of the year, you are grateful to be healthy and loved.
I knew that my parents could not buy fancy toys. I always asked for cheeses and sweets. Anything that travel several miles in boat was pretty fancy to me.  My stomach and I were happy!!
At twenty years old, I converted to Islam. Today, I am still celebrating Islamic and Catholic holy days. And our son is celebrating all of them also. I think he knows about Santa. However, he loves the magic and the toys so much that Santa is real.

Religions are messages. Spirituality is within our soul. I know that my spiritual journey is the reflection of who I am. By the way, I do  believed in Zen. I was a good catholic and  I am muslim. My mother told me once: " I do not know if you are praying but regardless the language or the style, you must pray. And you must meditate quietly 15 minutes a day". Thank you Maman!

At the end it is the same moonlight for our dreams, and God is orchestrating the pre-established harmony. No matter what kind of religion or philosophy  we are  following, we are playing the same melody. And we have common dreams under the same moonlight.We must coexist...
Peace to you all

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Prophet -Un prophète by Jacques Audiard.

It is about the journey of a young North African prisoner in France. He is sentenced to six years in jail. I was expecting stereotypes and a lot of clichés. I was agreeably surprised. It is a fiction about  our fantasy “hero”, a Tony Montana like personage that makes it out alive.
In this pure fiction, I like how the racial tensions are portrayed.  The main character managed to stay alive. He went from the invisible “slave-maid” to the “ultimate gangster”. It is perfectly done because it already takes place in prison. It does take away the glamour of “wannabe Mafioso”.  
Seriously, it is a must watch. The movie is in French, Arabic, and Corsica with subtitles. It is nice to have movies about Arabs in France. It is sadly so familiar but the message coming out from some of  silent scenes is outstanding. One of the best films I have seen!!!
Verdict: Excellent !!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The uncomfortable Truth-Nneka

She is very talented and soulful.

Let us make a change why can’t we turn the page
Lord make us able
Without u we are totally unstable 

Soulful Vagabonds

Worldwide governments and citizens are struggling with “immigration”. In this global recession, immigration is treated like an epidemic requiring several forms of quarantine.  As immigration rate increase, deportations are skyrocketing. In this global unfair monopoly game, people are following the money. They are scavenging for resources. We are all doing it!!! The big difference is our locations on the monopoly board. It is the survival of the fittest. Immigration is a part of globalization.  This global community is without borders for people that have the right passports, visas, and wallets. It is also without frontiers for people that have hope and dreams!!The fortunate vagabonds are tourists or volunteers.
In my opinion, immigrants are soulful vagabonds that are tolerated in good times, and despised in hard times.Until the day, we are able to move to the Moon or Mars: Immigration will remain a problem on Earth!
To all  the aliens, citizens of the world and soulful vagabonds...
Same Moonlight for our dreams.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quote from Whitney M.Young, Jr

  • “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Filosofia by Bau

Bau is from Cape Verde. This is a beautiful melody. "Filosofia" is the perfect title for this instrumental melodic prose.In my opinion, this is a great tune to relax, think or focus.Enjoy!
Keep on composing your symphony regardless of the leitmotif...
Same Moonlight for our Dreams

Friday, December 10, 2010

Arsty Peeks: Allan Bean

Allan Bean was the fourth man to walk on the Moon. He is an Astronaut-Artist. He incorporates small amount of Moon dust in his paintings!!! He is using color to express what he felt. My fascination to the Moon is obvious!!Allan Bean lived the dream. He is  sharing the bliss.Thank you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Astrobiology and Space Exploration by Lynn Rothschild

I got this link about Astrobiology from the Loom on Discover
It is a Free winter 2010 course from Stanford!!! 
A free access to 14 lectures about Astrobiology and Space Exploration by Lynn Rothschild!!Thank you to Lynn Rothschild! 
Let us explore…
Same Moonlight for our Dreams

"Lynn Rothschild is an evolutionary biologist-astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center and a consulting professor at Stanford and Brown Universities where she teaches Astrobiology and Space Exploration. Dr. Rothchild's research has focused on how life, particularly microbes, has evolved in the context of the physical environment on Earth and potentially elsewhere in the solar system and universe."


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learn from your DNA with 23andme

I was reading the article " One diabetes gene to explain it all". The author did talk about 23and me. And you know what, they are having a holiday sale!!! Yes you can have your DNA tested for health or ancestry at $99 instead of $499.Until December 25. There is a tiny asterisk about an extra $5 for 12 months subscription. So it is really  $159 total. To be honesty, the idea of knowing is so tempting...Seriously your DNA unveiled...
I had to share!

"23andMe, Inc. is a leading personal genetics company dedicated to helping individuals understand their own genetic information through DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools. The company's Personal Genome Service™ enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry and inherited traits. The vision for 23andMe is to personalize healthcare by making and supporting meaningful discoveries through genetic research. 23andMe, Inc., was founded in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science."

The global increase of heart disease and cancer

In the “A Global Call to Action on Cancer and Heart Disease”, Christine Gorman explains that the increase of heart diseases and cancers is linked to the adoption of Western-style diet and lifestyles.  She also points out that cancer is a side effect of success. Longer life implies aging populations, so cancer and heart diseases are the new trend. However the lack of available treatments, resources, and infrastructures is accentuating this disease trend.Beyond the side effect of longer life spam, adopting a Western-style diet is the worst.

The exodus from rural are to urban area is destroying the global health. In developing countries, many farmers are forced to move to urban zones. They are giving up their lifestyles and cultures to mimic a new one, a western lifestyle symbolizing social ascension. So the rice and beans meal is becoming bread and canned something.  With the loss of traditional farming, native cereals are replaced by white rice. In an article, I found out  that we are eating more rice than we are producing!!! “Rice is the staple food for around 2.5 billion people, or more than one-third of the global population. The global price of rice has been increasing for much of the current decade. According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a non-profit research and education center, this is because the world is consuming more rice than it is producing, and global stocks are becoming rapidly depleted

Low income populations are working more and more to make nothing. They are incorporating fast food feeding to the detriment of traditional meals. As a child I rarely had processed food. Our food staple was rice, beans, tons of vegetables, fruits, fish and meat.  At eighteen years old, I left home for the first time. Far from my mother, I westernized my diet so much that I gained weight. I also got sick. My anemia was at the worst. I understood that the spinach, lentils, chicken livers, chick peas, and beans were necessary to my well being.  I went back to what I was used to. Mom was right!!  To this day, I eat all my veggies.Sometimes I am craving plantains, yucca roots, and other cereals!And I am thankful for Asian stores...

The globalization of resources should not be associated this new trend of “consumption colonization.” Supermarkets have their place in emerging economies as long as Local Farmers Markets are promoted and protected because only a tiny minority can afford decent food in those supermarkets. Supermarkets should buy and sell local products as well. I believed that we inherent our parents diet. With heritable epigenetics, our diet influence the genes of our children and grandchildren. The inequality, the imbalance of resources and climate changes are causing majors change in disease trends. The solution would be reasonable access to medication, protection of local economies, and of course the increase of  local farming!
We are what we eat...
Same Moonlight for our Dreams

Monday, December 6, 2010

Foundation of the week:For the love of chocolate

Really for the love of chocolate!!!
"For the Love of Chocolate Foundation provides scholarships for qualified students in the specialized training of the pastry arts. The foundation awards scholarships to students in the full-time programs taught by The French Pastry School for the City Colleges of Chicago. For the Love of Chocolate Foundation promotes commitment in pastry arts education for individuals looking to change careers, as well as individuals who have shown potential in the culinary field but who have no formal pastry education." 

Running to free my mind

These past weeks, I perfected a delicious pie crust, a healthy oatmeal bran bread, a great Pho Bo broth and the ultimate Belgian-German waffles. I love cooking and eating. I love food!!! Last week after too many buttery goodies, I could not resist the title of the runner’s world magazine “Special inspiration issue”. Yes I did purchase it for the first time. I felt so inspired by the title.
And you know what, I am running… It is addicting as always but this time I am ready to keep my motivation running.  I was enjoying the magazine until I started reading about “The confession of Eddy Hellebuyck” Seriously!! I purchased this at $4.99 for the inspiration and secrets of lasting motivation... In the midst of it, I get a super long messy confession on EPO doping and redemption. I respect his confession. It takes courage to come clean. I do get that there are heroes only in presence of villains…I am sorry for all the people that lost the races because he won. I wonder if he has to pay back the prizes. But this confession is a little too much too late…Well RW magazine did boost my motivation however I am not buying another issue...
I will keep on running because it does free my mind. There is some kind of raw honesty about running. It is a personal multitasking effort that asks inner motivation. Your lungs, heart, and muscles let you know the truth, as well as the extra jiggles…aka "extra love"...
My confession:
I will keep on running to stay in shape, to compete with my dear self. I also will keep on running to eat healthy, cheesy, creamy and buttery. And for the love of chocolate...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Economics of Happiness: content or fulfill?

With the current economy, there is a shift from pursuing to creating happiness.For the longest time the ultimate goal was to be fulfilled in order to be content.  However we can all remember that someone told us to be content to reach happiness. Happiness has no price but it is becoming a new economical field. Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness renewed discussion about the concept of happiness economics. According to Wikipedia: “The statistical relationship demonstrated is between happiness and the logarithm of absolute income, suggesting that above a certain point, happiness increases more slowly than income, but no "saturation point" is ever reached.” The evidence is that happiness is determined by relative and absolute income.

Coming from immigration, the most important lesson I received is that everything is relative. You may not have a private pool but you have access to a pristine beach. You may not have cupcakes but you have one mango tree. You may not have fancy but you have enough. The crucial silent message is that sacrifices made for better future and financial stability should not alter the fact that happiness is about being content. Being content is what makes people happy. For example children in refugee camps and war zones still find ways to be happy because material is relative. 

 In my opinion happiness is based on the ability to adapt and accept that the norms are relatives. For all children issued of immigration, the concept of happiness can be a cultural and an emotional conundrum. You love your heritage but you have to incorporate your environment to create your own happiness. At the end it is all about experiencing, appreciating, sharing and staying true. And if you are blessed, you have the opportunity to travel and learn from others. And remember that we are all different but the same. And under the same moonlight we have common dreams of happiness

Underwater Sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor

Jason deCaires Taylor is an artist, a diving instructor, an underwater naturalist, a photographer and the creator of the underwater sculpture park in Grenada. Just amazing!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Magdalenha by Sergio Mendes

Sergio Mendes is a Brazilian artist. I am loving this song.
Let us dance for freedom!
Email me if you did not dance!!!:)

Cool link on origin of samba here

Using Clone troopers to explain slavery

Few months ago, my seven years old asked if all blacks were slave in ancient time!!!I was surprised. I did manage to explain the concept of servitude and greed, using "Star wars". He loves clone troopers. So I took the clones for example. Clone troopers are used as slaves, because their only purpose is to fight to death for someone else. I told him that slavery always existed among humans, from Europe to Asia, Africa,and to America. The clones were created by Palpatine. He was greedy and immoral. He wanted power at any cost. Clones are humans not machines. Slavery is what happened when people pretend that the others are machines not humans.

All humans desire freedom regardless of  skin color. I pointed out that he loves Captain Rex, and Commander Cody because they think freely. They are free even if they are serving the republic.By thinking freely and having the respect of the Jedi, Rex and Cody are not slaves. However, they are still in servitude.The Jedi do not like the situation of the clone Army. The Jedi hope that by winning the war.The clones will be free.

Today, we also have clone troopers, Jedi and Sith. Some people are still treated like slaves or servants. Blacks were slaves as well as other races. And he should not worry because they are Jedi in every race!!So everybody will win. My young padawan did listen. He was relieved that all blacks were not slaves!

Here a quote from a slavery Timeline.
 "Before 1400: Slavery had existed in Europe from Classical times and did not disappear with the collapse of the Roman Empire. Slaves remained common in Europe throughout the early medieval period. However, slavery of the Classical type became increasingly uncommon in Northern Europe and, by the 11th and 12th centuries, had been effectively abolished in the North. Nevertheless, forms of unfree labour, such as villeinage and serfdom, persisted in the north well into the early modern period. In Southern and Eastern Europe, Classical-style slavery remained a normal part of the society and economy and trade across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seaboard meant that African slaves began to appear in Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Portugal well before the discovery of the New World in 1492. From about the 8th century onwards, an Arab-run slave trade also flourished, with much of this activity taking place in East Africa, Arabia, and the Indian Ocean. In addition, many African societies themselves had forms of slavery, although these differed considerably, both from each other and from the European and Arabic forms. Although various forms of unfree labour were prevalent in Europe throughout its history, historians refer to 'Chattel Slavery', in which slaves are commodities to be bought and sold, rather than domestic servants or agricultural worker."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2 December

"The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, recalls the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV)of 2 December 1949)."


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