Middle Eastern Fare a la La Pita

So, what’s the best part of a working lunch-meeting?  The food, of course!  Take a look at this glorious spread catered by La Pita, the most popular Middle Eastern restaurant on campus.  The not-so-exciting meeting was spiced up considerably thanks to the food.  What’s on display, and what went down is what you see below in the slideshow.  More details on what’s what on the plate follows the slideshow.

So, what’s on the plate?  Chicken Shawarma, Beef Shawarma, a Green Salad with a Tahini Dressing, Hummus, Almond Rice, Falafel, GrapeVine Stuffed Leaves, Pickled Radishes, Turnips, and Jalapeno Peppers, Red Beets, Tabbouli (finely chopped parsley, onions, tomatoes), Majadera (red lentils), and for dessert, Almond and Pistachio Baklava.

Lapita

What's On Top of Your Bookshelf? (aka, the post-V-Day Post)

What’s in a picture?  Well, sure, it can paint a thousand words and all, but if it’s anything like this one, it can speak volumes on the things that are most meaningful to you.  And sometimes only to you. 

This is a picture of the top of my bookshelf.  What might appear to be an assortment of random pleasant-looking objects are in fact the most sweet tokens of love– given to me on various occasions by people who matter the most to me.  Occasions such as a birthday, an anniversary, a Christmas, a bargain found from a casual shopping expedition, and a ‘just-because’ present from a yard-sale. Given to me by people who mean something to me: people such as my go-to-buddies, a.k.a. my husband and children.

Topofbkshelf

Imagine the stories I must have for each of those things…  A grand show is what each story is!  Which is why this photo qualifies to find a home on this blog dedicated to capturing such stories.

And when you have so great a treasure-trove that surrounds you everyday, who cares to wait for a day like Valentine’s Day to proclaim your love?  You proclaim it any old day you please!

Truth and Beauty

072

I Died For Beauty

Emily Dickinson 

 

I died for beauty, but was scarce

Adjusted in the tomb,

When one who died for truth was lain

In an adjoining room. 


He questioned softly why I failed?

"For beauty," I replied.

"And I for truth – the two are one;

We brethren are," he said. 


And so, as kinsmen met a-night,

We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips,

And covered up our names. 


I wonder if these lines were inspired by yet another poem by one of the great English Romantic poets, John Keats.  Keats (who lived to be all of twenty-five years old) writes in Ode on a Grecian Urn:


Beauty is truth, truth beauty, –that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

 

Are Beauty and Truth one and the same?  Must they be the ultimate pursuit of every human being?  Is it is a faulty line of thought that suggests that one ought to be an artist to pursue these?  If you've found one have you then also found the other?  I've heard that in mathematics, two things are proved to be equal if the difference of them can be proved to be arbitrarily small.  Would this principle then apply to these two abstract concepts?  Are these then to be considered as absolutes or are they dynamic?  


May you find your own path in weighing the two in order to come to your own reality about how the two size up for you. 

Note on picture:  This is a picture that was part of an exhibit on the children of Rwanda.  I see both Truth and Beauty in one.

My Early Life – A Roving Commission by Winston Churchill

A fascinating autobiography of one of the greatest statesman of the 20th century. Churchill speaks of his very early childhood and his youth, much before his days of parliament and becoming PM, etc.

I didn’t think I’d be so interested, but I’m very taken by the style and accounting of his early influences, and especially his days in the British cantonements in India toward the end of the nineteenth century (late 1800s), and his accounts in the Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the twentieth century– in which many an Indian served as part of the British army. My own ancestors were known to have served in this war, I am told, which makes it even more interesting for me on a personal front.

It is interesting how on more than one occasion, Churchill laments his lack of a formal higher (academic) education owing to his enlisting in the Army at a young age. Those deficiencies, if any, notwithstanding, he builds a reputation as a brilliant war correspondent well before he even enters politics.

Roving

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea is a magnificent novella, beautiful in its simplicity of the story of an old man and a big fish.

It is about one last chance to prove oneself. It is a story about human friendship that is not a respector of age and station. It is a story about the indomitable human spirit to conquer nature. It is about the beauty and fury of Nature itself, and all that it holds within its power, both humans and fish alike. It is about taking pride in the work of your hands. And about the great circle of life.It is also about loss, and the value of bearing it well. It is about exercising restraint in telling a tall tale– a fish-tale, if you will!

Amazing how a small story can speak to so many things about the human condition. Thank you, Mr. Hemingway!

W_oldmanandthesea

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Things never go as planned– which is why there is always a story. As well as a back-story. And the back-story of each of the characters in this masterpiece of a novel is a fascinating one. A surgeon by profession and a writer on the side, Abraham Verghese–a man of Indian origin–offers up a brilliant first novel.

This is an epic tale about love, loss, betrayal, redemption, and everything else in between. Cutting for Stone cuts you to the quick with its three-dimensional characters spread out over continents. And if you have any interest in the field of medicine, you will thrill to the details that come in waves throughout the book. On this note, here’s something to think about: Thomas Stone asks his students, “What is the one treatment administered through the ear during a medical emergency?” I trust you will read the story to find the answer.

This novel is undoubtedly destined for success. Incidentally, I learned that in his early professional career, Verghese’s spent many years in Johnson City, Tennessee, the town next to the one that I lived in while in college!

Cutting-for-stone