Divi Zheni at MIT

The regular Sunday-night international folk dance at MIT had special musical guests last night. Divi Zheni (“Wild Women”), a women’s Bulgarian chorus and band, sang and played for dancing. Village-style dancing is my favorite–repetitive, fairly simple dances done at some length. I adore dancing to live music. The Women’s Folk Orchestra (“the only requirement is that you’re a woman”) played an international set to close the evening, with a wonderful Hora Miresii as a last dance. It was a real treat to hear this lovely music sung live.

Friday Five

1. Were you raised in a particular religious faith?

No. We were what I now call “culturally Christian” much like people on the East Coast who are cultural, but not religious, Jews.

2. Do you still practice that faith? Why or why not?

No. After I came out, and as I’ve reflected on my own spirituality, I’ve tried not to continue habits or practices based on religious beliefs I don’t share. I’ve also become a very active member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), so I’m actively practicing a faith now.

3. What do you think happens after death?

I don’t know. Does it matter?

4. What is your favorite religious ritual (participating in or just observing)?

I like silent grace before meals (holding hands quietly and reflecting on where my food comes from, being thankful for the food, the company, and for life in general).

5. Do you believe people are basically good?

I believe all people have a spark of goodness within them, which they can turn to and follow. I do not believe everyone is inclined to do this.

Folk Vests

Folk Vests: 25 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World by Cheryl Oberle is a nicely done book with lots of ideas. Much like Oberle’s Knitted Shawls, most of the patterns aren’t actually patterns for Japanese or African, etc. knitted vests but are rather patterns for knitted vests inspired by international textiles.

Home to Harmony

By Philip Gulley. Sentimental and moralistic, but all the same warm, loving, and generous. Phil’s Christianity isn’t willing to leave anyone behind. Harmony is a well-drawn portrait of small-town life with affectionate pokes at most everyone.

Botany of Desire–finished!

The chapter on apples confirmed my impulses to buy locally-grown, heirloom varieties (of anything, not just apples). The second chapter was really more about people than tulips, and made me hope never to get caught up in financial speculation. The pot chapter made me want to fly off to Amsterdam. . . . The final chapter, on potatoes, made a trip to McDonald’s sound scary. Makes me want to buy only organic produce.