Wednesday, July 29, 2015
My Russian lessons are coming along. I'm learning to read "The Three Bears". It was written by Tolstoy, which I didn't know. Goldilocks was a Western literary addition. In the original story her character doesn't have a name, but is known as 'a little girl'. The father bear's name is Mikhail Ivanovich, the mama bear's name is Natasha Petrovna, and the baby bear is Mishutka.
The book I ordered from Amazon arrived today. I didn't know that the vendor was in Moscow. That explains why it took three weeks to get to me.
It's beautifully illustrated, but it's more like a pamphlet than a book. Nevertheless, it was worth the price to have it, and someday, Insha'Allah, I can read it to a little Russian child.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Monday, July 27, 2015
Mid-summer pictures. It's a work in progress.
I set the stones yesterday.
I'm not finished with the roof, but it's close. Finally.
As my father said, "The problem with owning a home is that no matter where you look, there's something you should be doing".
Friday, July 24, 2015
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
I came across an article about Soviet cartographers, and it happened to include a 1980 detail map of the neighborhood where I lived in San Francisco in 1970. The end of the Cold War was decades away
That's our place at the corner of 17 Улица и Cтанян (17th Street and Stanyan) !
I have difficulty reading Russian cursive in which all the park labels are written, but I can read most of the street names. That's Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle in the middle of the map. You can see Stow Lake, where we used to canoe on quiet and serene Sunday afternoons and paddle gracefully for hours.
Kezar Stadium is in the lower right corner of the park. I remember one afternoon when I was painting the bedroom walls, I could hear through the open window the cheers of the 49er fans at Kezar in the playoff game against the Cowboys, if I recall correctly. As the game progressed, the cheering became infrequent and muted. I knew the game was lost. Afterwards, I happened to be outside when the dispirited fans walked past my place on their trek to their parked cars.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
I visited the apartments I lived in 55 years ago, and I was surprised at how well they've aged.
From the street, they look just as they did a half a century ago.
The first difference I noticed was the low fence atop the concrete retaining wall. Civic codes were likely updated and required it. My choice would have been concrete bollards with stone veneer and wood panels to match the building siding between, tho..
I had a job sweeping the driveway when I was 13, so I noticed how spotless it was.
Our apartment was on the first floor. The annoying No Parking sign is new. The small, horizontal windows are bathroom windows. It was in our bathroom that two teenage boys, one of whom was wearing a spooky Halloween mask and wielding a butcher knife while the other produced eerie sound effects, terrorized their father in the shower just weeks after having seen Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". It was surprising how good-naturedly he took the prank.
It was a studio apartment. Our furniture consisted of a picnic table, a bookcase made of boards and bricks, a small table and two aluminum cots for my father and brother. I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag.
Rather than high-rise buildings and a park, this view from the corner was once of Bellevue Junior High.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
This is the best image we had of the most distant planet on the 13th of July.
On the 14th, the view was much clearer.
'After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface -- roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth'. NASA
Pluto and it's moon Charon.
The New Horizons mission.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
This is an excerpt from a letter to the Bahá'i community of Ireland from Counsellor Adib Taherzadeh.
THE SOUL CAN ONLY ACQUIRE GOOD QUALITIES
We notice that in the physical world, the embryo in the womb of the mother starts its life with one cell. With the passage of time the cell multiplies, limbs and organs come into existence, eventually the embryonic life comes to an end, and the child is born as a perfect being. Here we see the vast contrast between the first cell at the beginning and its consummation at the time of birth.
The same phenomenon occurs with the soul. At its inception it is without experience, and its qualities and powers lie latent within it. As a result of its association with the body in this womb-world, its individuality develops and it later acquires spirtual qualities and divine attributes which it carries to the next world. But the soul cannot take with it bad qualities, for in fact these are but the lack of good qualities and do not exist, just as poverty is the lack of riches. If a man has lived an ungodly life, his soul is impoverished and can take only a small measure of goodness with it to the next world.
From study of the Writings we gather that similar to this world where there are degrees of existence such as the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and man -- and even in each kingdom there are many divisions--in the spiritual worlds of God the souls of man will also progress on different levels depending on what good qualities they take with them to the next world. Those on a lower level will not be able to understand those on a higher one. Here we see an example of how the same principle which operates in the physical world, namely the diversity of God's creation, is also operative in the spiritual realms.
Monday, July 6, 2015
Vali was gentle and moderate. I was surprised when a member of the Universal House of Justice-- while serving me tea and upon learning that I was from Santa Cruz, California--inquired as to his well-being. It was a testament to Vali's stainless character. How grateful I am for having known him.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions! Verily, I beseech thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world. O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.