It’s the end of Ramadan and Idul Fitri (or Eid ul-Fitr) was on Tuesday. My friend Arie Dyanto, who lives in Jogjakarta Indonesia, and I exchanged emails and he expressed how he was looking forward to Idul Fitri because it would be quiet around Jogja since many people would be leaving town. I wrote back and had to remind him that Jogja would be anything but quiet and instead would be crazy crowded since everyone from Jakarta would be coming into town. He wrote back: “well you’re right,he he he… i wish everyone will have a good time this year most likely they still have to be together under a tent.” I was actually in Jogja during Idul Fitri in 2004 and we ended up basically stuck in our hotel for 3 days because it was so difficult to get around. We were stuck in traffic on our motor bike for 2 hours.

For those unfamiliar with this holiday, this is from Wikipedia:

Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر, Persian: عید فطر), often abbreviated as simply Eid, sometimes spelled Eid al-Fitr, is an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Fitr means “to break the fast” and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family is awake very early and then after praying the first normal everyday prayer, is required to eat in a small quantity, symbolizing the end of Ramadan. They then attend special congregational prayers held only for this occasion in mosques, in large open areas, stadiums or arenas. The prayer is generally short, and is followed by a khutba. Worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace and love after the congregational prayer. After the special prayers festivities and merriment will be commonly observed with visits to the homes of relatives and friends in thanking God for all blessings. Eid is a time to come together as a community and to renew friendship and family ties. This is a time for peace for all Muslims in the world to devote to prayers and mutual well-being.

It is a joyous occasion with important religious significance. Happiness is observed as attaining spiritual uplift after a month of fasting. Muslims normally dress in holiday attire.

For Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr is a joyful celebration of the achievement of enhanced piety. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory, peace of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims here are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but thanking God for the help and strength that they believe He gave them throughout the previous month to help them practise self-control.

Remaja Bangkit/Reviving Youth

Here’s another update from Aisyah Hilal from the Cemeti Art Foundation:

Dear friends,
Attached, please find Cemeti Art Foundation’s Recapitulation of Donation’s Expenditure for the post-earthquake response. The data was compiled upto the 30th of September 2006, some images of AkuOke! project, as well as updated information compiled by CAF’s partners that received donation’s distribution responding Yogyakarta earthquake (distribution of “5,9 SR Video Project” and “Remaja Bangkit/Reviving Youth” project).

In this September, on Mondays in Dusun Sampangan Kidul (Wirokerten, Banguntapan, Bantul), AkuOke! organised activities that suited the character of Sampangan Kidul’s children in general, i.e.: the activity of aquasport on the village’s river, playing the percussion music with Caesar (percussion musician, was active in the Gebu’in percussion group), playing various children game (gundu, halma, ular tangga, dakon, dam-daman, benthik, cuthik lele, panco, gambar umbul, and tebak gerak). In general the children of Sampangan Kidul tend to be individualistic, familiar with the idea of strong competition and differentiation among male and female, highly ignore to strangers’ presence. Therefore, the options of activities AkuOke! has been giving are those that potentially negotiate to the above mentioned characters. The activities made possible of interpersonal cooperations, giving appreciations to somebody else’s creation, role, opinion, either to female or male peers.

In Dusun Tegal, on Thursday during the month of September 2006 we had various activities, e.g.: making postcards for friends, tour across the nearest villages, the application of batik (tie-dye technique). On the 21st of September we did a tour to the studio of Papermoon, the office of Cemeti Art Foundation, and to the Taman Pintar in the complex of Taman Budaya Yogyakarta (Arts Center).
With the full conscience and consideration that AkuOke! is a side activities that take only small part of the children’s life (among the family and village’s environment), we then made an effort to communicate with the parents (especially the mothers), both in Dusun Sampangan Kidul and Dusun Tegal. AkuOke! was present in village’s regular meeting. In this occasion we gave explanation on AkuOke! project, the findings during the interation of AkuOke! with the children, the obstacles AkuOke! has been facing, the changes that AkuOke! has successfully been observing among children, as well as delivering information that AkuOke! will soon be terminated.
Since AkuOke! project was initiated, we have been asking local youngsters to get actively involved in the activities, so that they keep up with the process of communication, interaction, and exchanges of idea, so that they would be continuing the similar activities after AkuOke! is terminated.

Last but not least, Cemeti Art Foundation would like to thank to friends and colleagues who believe Cemeti Art Foundation to pass on their support to the needed parties.
That is our short information. The updated report and recapitulation will be released in the upcoming early October. Thank you.

Mining In Montana

This is one of my and my mom’s favorite activities when I visit, which is to go through old stuff in the house. Everytime I’m home I get a whole new wardrobe from my mother’s sixties and seventies collection, many pieces that were knit by my grandmother. We also puruse through the closets and drawers for things that my mother passes on to me that I remember and are dear to me.

On this visit, the most special piece from her clothing collection that I received is a beautiful long skirt knit by my grandmother. I love this!!

AND then we discovered part of her owl collection! I forgot that this obsession also included a mushroom obsession. (She embroidered the one with the white background.) In the seventies, one entire wall and cabinet were adorned with the collection. (My brother has the rest of the collection.)

This is my favorite.

We then found a painting that my great grandmother (my mother’s grandmother) had done in the early twenties. It brought back memories of listening to Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald and looking at it when I was a kid, thinking that was it.

And then there are the photographs!

This is a picture of two table designs that my mother won first prize for and were exhibited at the Yellowstone Art Center (the only fine art museum in Billings) in the seventies. Again, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree!! Is there any wonder that I’ve grown up to believe that home interior is a valid form of high art. Yeah, this is it!!

My parents back when they were my age now (my mother sportin’ one of her great outfits — she just gave me the knitted shawl that goes with the skirt, unfortunately we couldn’t find the skirt).

Dad at the office (love the sideburns!)

Dad and one of his friends (love the tie! — unfortunately you can’t see the whole thing because Blogger has this bad habit of cutting off the full image sometimes)

Dad after one of his marathons.

X-country ski trip

Montana Trip Two

I just got back from a whirlwind four day trip to Montana to pick up the car that I bought from my dad last summer. Michael Zheng went with me, which was a total treat. Our trip started off with a bit of a glitch that was rather humorous. We arrived at the airport on time, and we both got flagged for the Homeland Security screening (this is due to me, because for some reason I am now on the threat list — I was also flagged in Colorado last time I visited Montana — I find this totally amusing since I’m one of the most benign passengers traveling). Of course this all went smoothly and nothing was found to be a “dangerous risk.”

We then had about 45 minutes until our flight left so we decided to get some breakfast at a cafe right next to our gate. Michael and I can talk and talk and talk, as was the case that morning. We got on the subject of politics (which we often do), which I can’t remember now exactly what the discussion was, but all of the sudden I asked what time it was; Michael looked at his clock and said “we’ve got to go!” We left our money on the table and dashed next door to the gate, only to find that they had just shut the door and the plane was still sitting there, but they would not let us on. So there we sat for another 2 hours in SF. Later on the flight Michael read some article in the airline magazine that couples who are just starting to see one another, should avoid discussing politics … touche!

We ended up arriving in Billings at 10:30 pm rather than 3:30 pm. My mother picked us up and we went back to her house and fixed Michael a whiskey, lemon, and honey drink since he was just starting to get a cold. We stayed up talking for several hours and went to bed. It felt great to lay in bed in front of the large screen tv and just snuggle after such a long day.

The next day we went to breakfast at Pugmahons, an Irish pub and cafe — very yummy. We had planned to drive up to Red Lodge to visit my dad, but the weather was pretty crappy and it was already snowing up in the mountains.

So Michael and I took a drive up to the top of the rimrocks that look out over Billings and then went back home to hang with my mom. It was a really nice afternoon of sharing. She showed us her pictures from her trip to China last summer to visit my sister-in-law’s parents (making Michael very homesick) and Michael shared his knowledge of each of the places she had visited. The funniest thing was that my mother, brother, sister-in-law (who’s from China), and their son Ethan stayed in Building Number One when they were there, which is part of a large complex/city of nuclear physicists, which both of Hui’s parents are. Michael and I cracked up every time she referred to Building Number One since it sounded so Kafkaesque.

We finished off the day going to dinner at the Granary and ordering a bunch of tapas — very good. My mother adored Micahel — “he’s so intelligent, kind, and very good looking” (the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree!) Michael asked my mother if I’ve always been “so progressive,” to which my mother responded “Oh YES! she’s a true redhead”

The next morning, my father drove down from Red Lodge to finish up the paperwork and spend some brief time with me and Michael. He and my mother were very worried about us getting caught in bad weather so they made sure that we were prepared with some old boots and heavy socks my dad found for Michael (luckily they have the same foot size), a big down parka for Michael (I luckily had already been given another whole new wardrobe from my mother so I was prepared), blankets for the car, water, and a bag of candy bars. So we were set!

Michael and I then headed to Borders to buy some CDs since we realized that we’d both forgotten to bring music for the 20 hour trip back. Our musical tastes are pretty diverse, but we introduced each other to new music that we both enjoyed.

Michael’s pics (I loved all of these!):
Cesaria Evora, Voz D’Amor
Stan Getz and The Oscar Peterson Trio
Astor Piazzolla, Tango: Zero Hour
Miles Davis, Birth of The Cool
Julian Bream, The Ultimate Guitar Collection

My pics (Michael loved The Flatlanders and Jimmie Dale Gilmore so much that he wants to a documentary on Jimmie Dale):
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come On Back
The Flatlanders, June 8th 1972
No Depression
Gordon Lightfoot
The Dixie Chicks, Home
Townes Van Zandt, A Gentle Evening with Townes Van Zandt
Nick Drake, Way To Blue
Glen Campbell, Southern Nights
The Essential Leonard Cohen

My next post will include some of the gems that I brought back.


The Clarion Alley Block Party is happening this year, thanks to Antonio and Brad K. Alder!

Also, here are some new and newish murals on the Alley: