Rilke and Rumi quotes

I just finished reading This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness and found it  pretty thought provoking. Sure, I spent of lot of thinking what the author was keeping inside her own head ("you're being such a pushover!" etc.) but it was interesting for it. It is a rather powerful idea that you can choose to responsible for your own happiness by not making it dependent on things that are outside your control.

And it's almost inspiring, in a way, that she valued her relationship with her husband (or at least, who he was truly when he wasn't depressed about his lack of career success) and their children to work in the way she chose to hold it together. She's not some passive woman who just couldn't bear the thought of being alone or anything. You can read her initial essay, "Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear" for a primer.

Anyway, she mentions some quotes from Rilke and Rumi that they included in their ceremony, that resonated with me:

Rilke, translated from the German by Stephen Mitchell
The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.
Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all out tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far into life, is solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.

Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become world, to become world for himself for another's sake. It is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things. Only in this sense, as the task of working at themselves ("to hearken and to hammer day and night"), might young people use the love that is given them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must save and gather for along, long time still), is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives as yet scarcely suffice.
From Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

Honeymoon ideas

I'll be taking the first week of August off from work to go volunteer on an organic farm in Princeton through World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms-US ( with my friend Amy. The deal is you pay for a membership to access a directory of organic farms that you can then contact and sort out the times to visit them and work for around 5-6 hours/day in return for food and lodging. Here's the description of the farm we'll be visiting in Princeton:
Farm consists of 61 acres total, vegetable and fruit production in raised beds on approximately 5 acres (biointensive planting) woods, streams and pasture lands. We have three flocks of chickens which move over land in "mobile homes", two goats now and cows are planned for. We have a CSA and market at the farm, deliver produce to area health food store and restaurants during growing season June through October. Our egg co-op goes through the year, as does animal care. Interns and volunteers participate in all aspects of work, sowing in greenhouse from February, transplanting, weeding, trellising, harvesting, etc. Marketing, compost making throughout year.
We did it once before on a trip to Europe the summer after sophomore year, when I was having my mid-college crisis and was determined to collect up interesting activities not for the purpose of resume-building. It was a wonderful time, it was around 5 weeks total.

The first half was at a vineyard in the south of France with the most adorable British-Canadian-Indian family ever, and the food was a revelation. I still think about them often, even though Amy's the one who's actually kept in touch with them. The kids must be all grown up by now.

Then, for the second half, we went to this poultry farm in southern England, which was more of a hobby for a doctor couple, but that was pretty great too. We worked with their recalcitrant donkeys, mucked out the chicken and turkey coops, fed the ducks/geese, collected eggs, etc. We also went on a day trip to Brighton beach (of Pride & Prejudice fame to us) with the very cute French boy who was also staying with the family at that time. I would really like to make a photobook of that whole trip from Amy's photos. Mine were mostly ruined by the X-ray machines at the airport, tear.

Anyway, I think that that would be an easy and cheap way to have an unusual honeymoon if you're both into that sort of thing. Dan would be disaster, what with basically being allergic to nature and all, so currently we've been talking about...Alaska! This started from my mom wanting to go on an Alaskan cruise but I'm undecided on whether I want our honeymoon to be a family trip. Leaning toward 'no' right now, though it could be awesome.

Then Dan mentioned that the Tuesday after the wedding is the annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game, which is around 6/21 each year in Fairbanks, Alaska, and starts at 10:30pm, through midnight and ending around 2am.
With Fairbanks a mere 160 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the sun is just beginning to set in the north as the game gets under way and, at its conclusion some three hours later, the sun begins to rise again - also in the north. 
It sounds pretty awesome even to a non-sports person such as myself. So, what I'm thinking right now is flying out to Fairbanks on Monday or Tuesday (flights are cheaper in the week and we'll have Sunday to recover from the wedding festivities), catching this ball game, then renting a car and driving to or taking the train to Denali National Park & Preserve, going on the bus tours, maybe doing some biking, then proceeding on toward Anchorage and getting on a 7-day cruise that ends in Vancouver. These cruises seem to usually depart on Saturday, so then once that's over, we could spend the weekend in Vancouver and fly back on Monday or Tuesday (we'll have Monday off for July 4th).

It'd be a pretty big vacation, overall, but each component is a little cheaper than I thought it would be, so maybe I can talk Dan into it. We'll see. It's not just the money but the using of vacation days as well. I just did some calculations of how much vacation I've got now plus how much I'll accrue by mid-June of next year, minus the 5 days for the week with Amy in Princeton (where I also hope to do some scouting of local vendors for flowers and such...fingers crossed!), minus ~15 days for one week before the wedding and two weeks of honeymoon after, and I think I've got about 5 days left after all that. My mom is thinking about a Caribbean cruise in December with her and my dad, I have to think about whether I can squeeze that in as well. Vacation is the best! :)

Some other relevant links:
Funny she mentions a MetaFilter thread in that same post about sleeping in the airport, Amy and I slept in the airport on our way back to Paris and she's got at least one good photo of me sprawled out on a sleeping bag next to our luggage cart. Also, her flight in to Paris was delayed so we missed our original train and had to take an overnight one that then dropped us off at a remote bus stop at 5am where we had to wait for an hour before the next connection came by. Filed under, things it's better for my mother not to know too many details about :)

Lattice pocket pie mold

How adorable is this pie mold from Williams-Sonoma?

Definitely one of those unitaskers Alton Brown rails against ($9.95)

Brought to my attention by Jenny of ljcfyi

To give you an idea of the scale.

She also made some savory pies: swiss cheese, goat cheese, and mushroom.

I wonder if you could make a whole bunch and freeze them? They'd be much easier to store than regular size pies and therefore could help achieve the pie theme more easily. And (here goes the rationalizing) if they do freeze well, Dan could have homemade pie lunches/dinners instead of getting frozen chicken pot pies from Trader Joe's and such. Hmm.

My Jello Americans

Senior year, my roommates and I decided to decorate our common room with an America theme: a red/blue/white quilt, pillows, etc. but the crowning glory was the "Wall of Great Americans." This included such luminaries as Stephen Colbert (from whose book I Am America (And So Can You!) it all started, really), George Lucas, Bruce Springsteen, and Jay-Z.

Anyway, we threw an America themed party as well, dressed up as 50s housewives, serving jello shots that had red, blue, and clear layers to them. I can't remember if I even had any, but they were still awesome.  If the My Jello Americans blog had been around then, I'm sure it would've been even more stunning:

Any wedding would be improved by jello shots of this caliber, methinks.