Thursday, October 07, 2010
HUDDLED BENEATH THE SKY
The sadness I have caused any face
by letting a stray word
I have caused you,
what can I do to make us even?
Demand a hundred fold of me - I'll pay it.
During the day I hold my feet accountable
to watch out for wondrous insects and their friends.
Why would I want to bring horror
into their extraordinary
Magnetic fields draw us to Light; they move our limbs and thoughts.
But it is still dark; if our hearts do not hold a lantern,
we will stumble over each other,
huddled beneath the sky
as we are.
~ Rumi ~
(Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)
I've shared biographical information about the great Jelaluddin Rumi in past posts, but I've never shared anything on Daniel Ladinsky:
Daniel Ladinsky is an American poet. He was born and raised in the Midwest United States. For six years he made his home in a spiritual community in western India, where he worked in a rural clinic free to the poor, and lived with the intimate disciples and family of Meher Baba. In introductions to his Hafez poetry, Ladinsky notes that he offers interpretations of the poet Hafez, rather than translations. He believes that it is more important to convey the emotions in Hafez's poetry than to keep the same rhythm in the English language, and he uses the most simple words possible.
Praise and Criticism
Since the release of Ladinsky's first book, I Heard God Laughing, his ostensible renderings of Hafiz have become widely quoted. The fact that Ladinsky's poems do not actually represent Hafez' work was a source of embarrassment for Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario, when it was discovered that the poem McGuinty had recited from Ladinsky's book at a Nowruz celebration in Toronto had no corresponding Persian original.
Many point out that Ladinsky's poems are originals, and not translations or interpretations of Hafez. Christopher Shackle describes The Gift as "not so much a paraphrase as a parody of the wondrously wrought style of the greatest master of Persian art-poetry."
Ladinsky's work has garnered positive commentary from Akbar S. Ahmed and been favorably endorsed by The Christian Science Monitor writer, Alexandra Marks, and has been quoted in contemporary Muslim American non-fiction. Some hail Ladinsky's contemporary work for creating an immediate access to the spirit and intention of Hafiz' verse. Ladinsky authored a short essay in the form of an Amazon.com review, entitled My Portrait of Hafiz, that offers a description of the process and background of his work. The Islamic Foundation of North America has used Ladinsky's The Gift in a children's Islamic Literature curriculum.. He has also reviewed contemporary poetry, such as Full on Arrival.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
About a week ago, I got this recipe off of someone's(???) blog, and I don't have a CLUE who it was. Anyone? I'd love to give credit to whoever I got it from because my housemate and I LOVED IT!
YAY! WILLOW49 posted below...and it was her blog that I lifted the nobby cake from! THANKS SO MUCH Willow (bowing and scraping)! I'm going to make it again this weekend (many pears to use!), and this time I'm going to cut down on the sugar by 1/2-1/3.
Molasses is a key ingredient...and not only does it add a distinctive taste to this cake, but blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals, blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health: It is an excellent source of manganese and copper, a very good source of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium and a good source of vitamin B6 and selenium.
I looked up the word nobby and it's British slang, and means fashionable or elegant; stylish; chic. On the other hand "knobby" is a rounded projection from a surface, such as a lump on a tree trunk. The way the diced fruit projects out of the surface makes me think that the latter spelling, Knobby Apple Cake, would more accurately describe this dessert.
Nobby Apple Cake
3/4 c. sugar (I used granulated cane juice crystals, aka Sucanat)
2 T. butter, softened
1/4 c. blackstrap molasses
1 egg, beaten (if I don't have eggs I substitute 2Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp. water)
3 c. chopped apples (I have also used pears)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1 t. vanilla
1 c. flour (I use 100% WW)
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
Cream sugar and butter; add molasses, beaten egg and mix well. Add apples, nuts and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and combine well with apple mixture. It's an odd-looking concoction, very thick.
Spread evenly into a greased 8 or 9" square pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes (I double the recipe and use a 9"x13" dish; it takes more like 45-55 minutes). Serve hot or cold.
My housemate and I both love this.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
The title of today's blog is the headline for a most interesting article I read today in the Life section of USA Today. Though I didn't find it on their website, I DID find the article:
The article says in part, "Yet despite these hazards (the link between alcohol and breast cancer), because alcohol also reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, studies have found that women who indulged in a drink or two a day actually had a slightly lower overall risk of dying from a heart attack....The risk of dying from a sudden heart rhythm disturbance drops, too, by 36 percent, for women who have a drink a day...."
Sooooo, I started wondering whether the heart benefits of wine were equally available by eating the grapes themselves or drinking pure grape juice? Here's a Mayo Clinic response to that question:
DOES GRAPE JUICE OFFER THE SAME HEART BENEFITS AS RED WINE?
Answer from Martha Grogan, M.D.
"It's thought that red or purple grape products may reduce your risk of heart disease by relaxing your blood vessels, allowing your blood to more easily flow. This benefit is most likely due to substances called antioxidants found in the skin and seeds of grapes â€” especially dark red and purple grapes. One particularly important antioxidant, resveratrol, is also found in grape juice â€” especially juice made from dark purple Concord grapes.
"Recent studies have suggested that red and purple grape juices may provide some of the same heart benefits of red wine, including:
* Reducing the risk of blood clots
* Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol
* Preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart
* Helping maintain a healthy blood pressure
"Both red wine and grape juice also contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to increase your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol and lower your risk of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), and may help lower blood pressure.
"Eating whole red or purple grapes has benefits, as well. Some research suggests eating whole grapes also delivers the same antioxidants that are in grape juice and wine. You also get the benefit of the fiber if you eat whole grapes.
"These findings on grape juice are good news for people who want the cardiovascular benefits of red wine without the alcohol. Remember, if you do choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation â€” no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men."
Though I don't generally drink juices (I prefer the fruits from which the juice is derived), Knudsen's Organic Concord Grape 100% Juice is my choice when I do! Funny thing, I used to hesitate to buy it because of the price. But when I compare it to a good bottle of wine (other than the Trader Joe's Shaw wine!), it's a bargain!
With Kaligirl's comment about polyphenols (a type of antioxidant), I had something else to investigate!
First of all, "Polyphenols are chemicals found in foods that help to prevent the damage of free radicals in the body---unstable molecules that can damage the arteries and cause numerous health problems. Different types of polyphenols exist, and eating a wide variety of foods will ensure you get the healthiest diet possible. Several studies have been conducted in an attempt to learn which foods contribute the highest levels of polyphenols to our bodies."
I wanted to know more about these food sources of them. The one I quoted from above was especially concise, and continued:
"The USDA lists blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, citrus fruits and other fruits as good sources of polyphenols...dark grapes, bilberries, cherries, apples, dark plums, blackberries and blueberries were all good sources as well. Fruit juices, such as grape juice, can render especially high levels of polyphenols. All fruits contain polyphenols or other antioxidants, and a healthy diet should contain around three servings of color-rich berries, citrus, melons, fruits with a pit or other fruits each day."
The article continues, discussing all food sources for polyphenols:
Friday, September 24, 2010
Inspired this morning by my friend PennyAn's sharing of some of the riches of one of my heroes, poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal.asp?id=PENNYAN45 I decided to share a poignant poem by a contemporary poet-philosopher -- Naomi Shihab Nye, a political, spiritual Palestinian-American from Texas(!), who also *speaks to* my heart, mind, and soul.
The blog title, The Words Under the Words, is the name of the collection in which this piece is found. (I highly recommend anything by her!) www.amazon.com/Words-Under-Selected-
Poems-Corner/dp/0933377290 I love what the great poet William Stafford says about her, "Reading her work enhances life."
These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
(The Words Under the Words)
Naomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University.
Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, including You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, as well as 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East, Fuel (1998), Red Suitcase (1994), and Hugging the Jukebox (1982).
Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit. About her work, the poet William Stafford has said, "her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life."
Nye has received awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, the International Poetry Forum, as well as four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow. In 1988 she received The Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, selected by W. S. Merwin.
Her poems and short stories have appeared in various journals and reviews throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle and Far East. She has traveled to the Middle East and Asia for the United States Information Agency three times, promoting international goodwill through the arts.
She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2010.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I read this depressing news in Daily Finance today. It's just the sort of thing that we SparkPeople are out to defeat by taking control of our health and our lives!
Whenever I see obese people, I immediately think about how the Spark Program could guide them in changing their life! There's gotta' be a way to share this great resource without offending others...?
NUMBER OF FAT PEOPLE IN US TO GROW, REPORT SAYS
By Greg Kellerap
PARIS -Citizens of the world's richest countries are getting fatter and fatter and the United States is leading the charge, an organization of leading economies said Thursday in its first ever obesity forecast.
Three out of four Americans will be overweight or obese by 2020, and disease rates and health care spending will balloon, unless governments, individuals and industry cooperate on a comprehensive strategy to combat the epidemic, the study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said.
The Paris-based organization, which brings together 33 of the world's leading economies, is better known for forecasting deficit and employment levels than for measuring waistlines. But the economic cost of excess weight -- in health care, and in lives cut short and resources wasted -- is a growing concern for many governments.
Franco Sassi, the OECD senior health economist who authored the report, blamed the usual suspects for the increase.
"Food is much cheaper than in the past, in particular food that is not particularly healthy, and people are changing their lifestyles, they have less time to prepare meals and are eating out more in restaurants," said Sassi, a former London School of Economics lecturer who worked on the report for three years.
That plus the fact that people are much less physically active than in the past means that the ranks of the overweight have swelled to nearly 70 percent in the U.S. this year from well under 50 percent in 1980, according to the OECD.
In 10 years, a full 75 percent of Americans will be overweight, making it "the fattest country in the OECD," the report said.
The same factors driving the epidemic in the U.S. are also at work in other wealthy and developing countries, Sassi said. "There is a frightening increase in the epidemic," Sassi said, "We've not reached the plateau yet."
The lifespan of an obese person is up to 8-10 years shorter than that of a normal-weight person, the OECD said, the same loss of lifespan incurred by smoking.
In the U.S. the cost in dollars of obesity, including higher health care spending and lost production, is already equivalent to 1 percent of the country's total gross domestic product, the report said. That compares to half a percent in other OECD countries, Sassi said.
These costs could rise two- or threefold over the coming years, the OECD said, citing another study that forecast obesity and overweight-related health care costs would rise 70 percent by 2015 and could be 2.4 times higher than the current level in 2025.
The OECD found that rates of obesity, defined as a body mass index above 30, show a wide variation across its member countries, ranging from as little as 3-4 percent of the population in Japan and Korea to around one-third in the U.S. and Mexico.
"However, rates are also increasing in these countries," the OECD said. Outside the OECD, obesity rates are rising at similarly fast rates in countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia.
The OECD advises governments on economic growth, social development and financial stability.
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