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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Burmese


Golden (upper ©Corvallo-lower ©Andrea)

My friend Andrea just returned from another trip to Myanmar/Burma and she brought me back these most exquisite lacquer bowls & tray (see above).
I don't think the above photo does their beauty justice. These handcrafted flexible bowls are just stunning.
Thank you so much, Andrea!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ronnybrook

If you do purchase milk products I think the best place to buy from is Ronnybrook farms or an independent dairy like it. Ronnybrook seem to run a sensible and progressive family farm that gives their herd access to pastures and green foods. They bottle most of their products in glass containers that will be reused if you return them.
Recently Ronnybrook introduced their drinkable yogurt also in large glass bottles . If you like this format for their yogurt let them know. You can write to them at: info@ronnybrook.com.


the non-homonogized Ronnybroke products are delicious © Nina Corvallo

Buying dairy products from Ronnybrook and farms like it, is not just about the animals (even though this should be reason enough), this is also about your well-being and about the farmers. NPR recently did a report on the struggle of the independent dairy farmer. You can find John Burnett's piece Independent Farmers Feel Squeezed by Milk Cartel at: www.npr.org.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

सप्तपदी

From a wedding program I learned about सप्तपदी - Saptapadi- a central rite performed during Hindu wedding ceremonies. Bride and groom take seven symbolic steps together (traditionally around a fire) and declare their desire for the following:

1. Pure and nourishing foods

2. Development of physical, mental, and spiritual faculties

3. Wealth& prosperity through righteous means

4. Acquisitions of bliss, mutual trust, accord , harmony and love

5. Virtuous progeny

6. Enjoyment of all seasons and self restraint for longevity

7. Seventh step symbolizing the consummation of their friendship into a close union and true companionship.


There are variations to the exact wording of these goals, Wikipedia cites the following seven 'phera':

1. With the first phera, the couple invokes the Gods for the plenitude of pure and nourishing food and a life that is noble and respectful.

2. With the second phera the couple prays for physical and mental strength and to lead a healthy and peaceful life.

3. The third phera is taken for the fulfilment of spiritual obligations. The Gods are invoked for blessing the couple with spiritual strength.

4. The fourth phera is taken for the attainment of happiness and harmony through mutual love and trust and a long joyous life together.

5. The fifth phera is taken to pray for the welfare of all living entities in the entire universe and for begetting noble children.

6. The sixth phera is for bountiful seasons all over the world. The couple prays for bountiful seasons and seeks that they may go through these seasons together, just as they would share their joys and sorrows.

7. With the last phera they pray for a life of understanding, loyalty, unity and companionship not only for themselves but also for the peace of the Universe.

I think there are some good ideas for any marriage/partnership/person here. I like that these are goals and/or desires the couple are supposed to strive and wish for, and it is not something they must achieve.
Realistic goals & reassessment according to an article in The Economist (June 25, 2009 The evolutionary origin of depression: Mild and bitter) might just be the key to happiness.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Women

This weekend's New York Times Magazine special issue Saving the World's Women has an excellent piece by husband & wife team Nicolas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn titled The Women's Crusade. This must read essay was accompanied by absorbing photography by portraitist Katy Grannan.
You can find text & images by visiting www.nytimes.com and by clicking here. (tx Madyha)

Mr. Kristof and Ms.WuDunn's book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (from which the piece was adapted) will publish September 8, 2009 -- I've pre-ordered it.

The Pulitzer winning couple also talked about ways you can help, and they recommend www.kiva.org, an organization I read about previously and that allows you to chip in and give loans to people across the world. For instance you could also help Mongolian single mom and entrepreneur Ochgerel Bat-ulzii expand her small business with a few simple clicks. Pretty neat.
Mr. Kristof and Ms. Dunn have more tips on how to make a difference in their NY Times Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid guide, which you can find by clicking here.

Also in this special NY Times magazine is an interview with Madame Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. You can find the interview - conducted by Mark Landler and titled A New Gender Agenda, by clicking here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Compost (in NYC)


Potbelly Pig © Corvallo

Not sure how come I was unaware of the Lower East Side Ecology Center, but I am glad I finally found out about it. We cook a lot and every time I throw out vegetables scraps I wished I had a garden where I could compost or knew a pig nearby I could feed some scraps to. I am vaguely aware that I could compost in my apartment, but truly I would not know what to do with all that compost. I add a little vegge matter to my houseplants' soil but those plants cannot absorb all the compost we generate.
But via the compost initiative I can now drop off my kitchen scraps (and cat hair!) while I shop at the Farmer's Market with the LES Eco Center. Sweet.
If you want to find out more and where you can drop-off your left-overs for composting, go to www.lesecologycenter.org. The city is happy to point you in the right direction to 9for composting & other things): www.NYC.gov/wasteless or call 311.