Thursday, March 26, 2015

Glory and dusk

Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
- excerpt from The Cloud, Percy Shelley

We've all heard the saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining". BUT, I recently found out that some clouds, not all, have glorious rainbows too!

As I flew back home to snowy Minnesota, still adrenaline-filled from the thought-provoking sessions from the conference in Denver, I found myself not working, not sleepy, and not reading on the airplane. That in itself is rare, but even moreso is the phenomenon I caught on my handy-dandy iPhone: a rare rainbow halo from the clouds.
Apparently, this is called a Glory - a majestic, yet elusive optical phenomenon! It is a rainbow of concentric rings (or halo), which forms on a cloud of water droplets around the shadow of an object (our airplane). This article had an even better picture with the plane's shadow. Since there was a snow/rain storm from Denver to the midwest, I was treated to this great view.  While I was at it, I also took pictures of dusk as the plane started its descent.

Dusk from above

In the misty clouds

Dusk from below
Amazing what you see, when you actually look!

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.
 - excerpt from The Cloud, Percy Shelley, 1792-1822


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Not your bubba's hamantaschen

A few weeks ago, I took my oldest to a playdate with her best friend at an indoor playground.  While taking a break at the water fountain, one kid around the age of 8, approached me and asked me if I was Mexican.  I said no.  She proceeded to ask if I was Chinese.  I smiled and said no, and was wondering if she was going to continue with her guessing game.  At this point, Tamar hugged me.  The girls eyes widened, and she incredulously asked, “That’s your daughter?!” I said yes, and admittedly,  a bit annoyed by the question. She ended her prying with:  “Is she adopted?” I simply said no, and left her to her confusion.  I mean, did it really matter if the answer was “yes” to any of her questions?  But that lesson was not mine to teach.  
It’s been a few weeks since that happened, but I still find myself wondering if I’m teaching my kids enough about diversity and tolerance.  I certainly hope so. With their blue eyes and my youngest’s light hair, neither one of them look like me nor my husband, but they are half-Filipino.  While we don’t eat rice 3x a day, you’d find us celebrating Shabbat with dishes I grew up with – noodles, soy-sauce stewed chicken, and lumpia.  It’s a bicultural home.
With one of the most joyous Jewish holiday coming up, I realized that the story of Purim is about opening ones eyes and embracing diversity. So, I thought it appropriate to celebrate my bicultural kids on this holiday. In keeping with the time-honored holiday custom, I baked Purim's ultimate pastry symbol, hamantaschen. But this time, I used 2 different fillings - the traditional poppyseed, which my husband loves, and my homemade red bean filling. Yes, that's the kind that you normally find as filling in mooncakes, rice cakes, and hopia. It's the very same azuki beans (a.k.a. pulang munggo in Tagalog) that I found during the summer market. 

The verdict? YUM. The kids actually preferred the bean over the poppyseed filling! (as long as I don't call it "bean", and used "azuki" or "hopia" instead. As a bonus, since there's  leftover poppy seed filling, I made some yummy poppyseed cheesecake with lemon curd glaze. Happy Purim!