Wednesday, November 30

Fear of God

So I recently was able to explore yet again the applicability of one of my favorite pieces of wisdom:

You build from strength to strength.

To me, this means that if we recognize a strength in ourselves (or in a group, or whatever), an excellent, if not the best, way to progress is to utilize and further develop said strength.

I have long (2-3 years) found that of all the Writings of Baha'u'llah, the Seven Valleys (an elucidation of the mystical journey of the seeker of Truth) is the one I connect to the best. One issue that's been bugging me is finally coming to a resolution because I was reminded of the importance of the fear of God, which lead to go back to a study of the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Book, the Baha'i Book of Laws), with the new focus on this theme. The fear of God seems to be the key to a lot of things in my spiritual life right now. We'll see where this all leads me!

Thursday, November 24

I believe some new pictures are in order! You may like to know, for instance, where my sister works on her PhD in Microbiology Madness! This is the area - her lab is actually behind us (to the left):

This was the last day that Leigh was able to wear so little to go outside. Now she wears various paraphernelia to reassure the various passers-by. I'm thinking of taking her out like this again, though - look how happy she was!!

Although in Andre's hands, such sticks are swords, be not mistaken: princess Leigh only wields magical wands.

As confirmed yet again at the parent-teacher meeting that Charlotte and Guy-Claude attended today, crazy-frantic-all-over-the-place-Andre is actually pretty much the perfect elementary school student. He has taken it upon himself to double the number of crafts that are required of him, as they slowly take up all the space in the appartment. Below is a mandatory presentation session for the family. That's a wolf he's showing, and there are two sheep also that he and I played with later on.

We've picked up on the Amia tradition of responding to "How big is Leigh" with raising arms to "SO BIG"!

As mentioned in a previous post, we tried our various legs at sledding - a dramatic experience:

We recently attended a toy parade - a big event for children all over Quebec:

The Polomat family arrives at the scene in style:

Cute kids all over the place - these three were particularly charming:

But no one rocks like we do! (please ignore the lady scolding you with her eyes - she knows not what she does)

One really cool thing they did in the beginning was pick up tons of used toys for poorer children, brought by watchers for this purpose:

And the parade:

These ladies were just crazy-energetic:

Brazilian music - the girl in the middle, Luana, is an awesome capoerista, and membership coordinator for the classes I take:

Leigh is victorious!!!

Moving right along, here are some pictures from the "Values Workshops" I've been helping Charlotte with. With her is Kathleen, with her son Angus. The two of them are always a huge help, and I get to see them quite often through various activities:

For the last one, on campus at Universite Laval, we had to rent a taxi to take the whole family and all the stuff:

Early set-up:

Regent was our guest artist, helping us to get in the South America mood - destination Chile!

The craft was papier mache. Below is the preparation of the (chilean) giraffe pinata, the group activity (where Guy-Claude was evidently sharing an excellent joke), and the ritualized giraffe-beating:

Ta-dah! Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 21


I just remembered one of the coolest things that happened to me, after posting a link to!

It was a beautiful rainy day in the early spring of 2003. I was standing on the back veranda of the Student Commons at UIUC, facing the quad. There probably barely a dozen people in the whole quad, when suddenly, two ninjas appeared on opposite sides (I can only presume that these were students enacting this because of a bet, or something equally ridiculous). They started walking toward each other, engaged in a dialogue about honor or something totally sweet like that. (Again, there was nobody, so I had to be one of two or three audience members, and I saw no one with a camera.)

Then the two ninjas dashed toward each other, crossed each other, exchanging blows with their swords (fake, from what I could tell), and stopping again some six feet away from each other. One had obviously been hit. They went on to fight for a good two minutes! It seemed somewhat choreographed, and rather amateur, but TOTALLY SWEET nonetheless.

Then they stopped, tired and beat. They resumed their dialogue, which ended with one ninja telling the other, "I am your father", answered by, "NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!!!"

I don't remember quite how it ended, but I vowed never to forget that immemorial event.

Another great memory is when some 8 of us friends dressed up as ninjas to kidnap Brent (quite a struggle), enact a kung fu-inspired scene where he saved the day, and took him to Dave & Buster's for an evening of fun. This was his last bachelor party - combined with Nate's, post-vowaging.

Oh the good times...

Sunday, November 20


Skating is so much fun! We went with the whole family: Charlotte (my sis), Guy-Claude, and their children Andre and Leigh. I didn't fall, and I was going at least 10 times faster by the end than when we started! (someone said, "you're doing well: you've made a lot of progress since you got on!"). Andre made a lot of progress too! And Charlotte was re-connecting to her experience from 20 years ago...
I attribute my skill to capoeira. Capoeira, or most any martial art, serves to strengthen mustles, balance, confidence, the sense of touch, etc. - basic physical facets that influence everything from walking to skiing. I am an avid proponent of martial arts for (most) everyone. The body-mind-connection they foster works better than just about anything else I've seen.

I played go with Rob! (in Richmond) It was great to catch up with the one who taught me the most about the game. I've been playing quite a bit online, and solving go problems, and even reading articles and such.

I've got several lines of action going for my job search in China. If all else fails, I'm pretty much good to go with Footprints, but they may not be able to place me in Shanghai, so I'm looking elsewhere (some of the prospects would simply be magical!)

I was role-playing "Call of Cthulhu" last night, and since my character was traveling in the world of dreams, became narcoleptic, started having horrendous nightmares, and was gradually losing control of her 14-year-old son, I acted out a crisis and got all emotional. It was rather fun, but it worried the other players a little, who don't really know me. So I threw in some comedy by having her fall asleep right in the middle of her bantering. Despite the silliness of it, I was actually also engaging the other players in a dialog about what is good, why we do what we do, how our actions connect us to our environment and to our past, and other such deep questions. I was definitely spicing things up for the game (I only took center stage for one short scene out of the whole evening, though).

Everybody is officially sick in the Polomat family. That was the verdict upon our group visit to the doctor's today. So now everybody's taking medicine. Somehow I'm not sick yet. I would attribute that in part to capoeira too, actually.

My home excercise routine (a couple times per week, outside of capoeira class) is now beefed up a little. I do some 300 abs (different kinds) and 80+ push ups (recently different kinds also). I often feel like I could do more, but I usually don't feel like it...

Guy-Claude, Charlotte and I have been watching Farscape still when we can. We're in the fourth season, almost caught-up to where I had gotten - so I'm really excited to see the rest!

I still wear a bandana almost every day.

I've been listening to lots of George Winston lately, and not a little of The Roots!

Sorry I went a little crazy with all of dem links there...

Anyway, life is good. Chapter after chapter.


I have been content with my actions, content with my efforts. I believe I am beginning to glimpse at the meaning of seeing the end and the beginning as one, possibly even seeing neither beginning nor end. I was always here in Quebec with my sister and her family. I will always be here. When I am in China, I am (will be) still here. The further we descend up into the world of spirit, the more reality sinks in. For years I have felt that many a wisdom springs forth out of paradox.
I am gone.

Saturday, November 12


This is just a post to confirm that this is the CORNER, as mentioned on Robbie's weblo. You may sit for a while. Let the following picture attest to my official business partnership with him:

Please take note that I am kind to all visitors, despite them being fit only for the CORNER. Note my kindness to cows:

and to hippopotomi:

I am also very good with duck-billed platypussies, but official records have been sabotaged by competitors. The following is a picture of one such competitor, whose astro-donut was poisened with jigglewashabies by my expert pranksters-ninjas:

Same competitor is not to be confused with my beloved sister, who would never eat a donut - let alone an astro-donut... Posted by Picasa

PS: I'm also grateful for Mara mentioning Charlotte and I on her weblo entry about "Third Culture Kids"

Sunday, November 6

40 Hours

I the "Call of Cthulhu" roleplaying game I recently began, when our characters travel into the world of dreams, one week there equates to only one hour in waking life (only we're sleeping).
If Leigh were in the world of dreams, that would be 40 hours of sleep (10 months)

It almost does feel like a dream, when I consider how much different life has been with her. We took off together with Charlotte to Montreal for a 5-day stay last week, on the occasion of a colloquium the latter was attending.

I thought it might be worth noting some of Leigh's development in the two months that I have lived and spent many of my waking hours with her:

- Leigh went from kind of crawling to now moving all over the place, including up to 10 steps in a row on occasion.

- She has always slept from about 8PM to 8AM, only seldom waking during the night (except when ill or teething) - ye reading mothers, I do understand the jealousy, it's quite miraculous! As for naps, went from 3-4 almost scheduled 30-minute naps per day to hour + -long naps or none at all.

(This is a picture of us at the Baha'i Sanctuary in Montreal, the Maxwell home where 'Abdu'l-Baha stayed briefly:)

- Leigh has always had great determination, even stubbornness: she knows what she wants (to eat, to touch, etc.), and is rather dextrous. It's hard to determine how good she is at communicating, since a big part of that lies in our willingness/ability to understand her various sounds

- Her sounds went from frequent bababas, dadadas, and mamamas (with differing degrees of perception of intentionality from us adults) to a relative reliability in what she says - she does know papa, mama, byebye (kind of), ah-teh (supposedly "Andre").

(This is Leigh, enjoying one of our several stops at Yoy, a sushi cafe with bubble tea, great prices and nice atmosphere - our favorite spot in Montreal:)

- Leigh has taken a most definite liking to me, with much pleasure in seeing me, and complete trust

- She has been not only taking blocks and various objects _out_ of boxes, but importantly also putting them back! She also likes piling stuff in my hands. She's really good about letting people taking things away from her, including other babies!

(Leigh and I visited the Biodome, with its various gorgeous foreign environments, including the Laurentian Forest:)

- Leigh, of course, LOVES other babies and children. She also loves all people, and is particularly practiced at charming them. many people are really good with her too - they'll play with her, talk to her, etc. - often random people on the bus or in the street! It's inspiring, 'cause it helps me realize how much it helps - I too have become significantly more comfortable entertaining and amusing other babies.

- Leigh especially loves her family. The days when she gets to stay much of the day with her whole family are her happiest, where she frequently grins and giggles. She and Andre (her brother) get especially well along. He loves to let her claw at and clobber his face (her great sign of affection), and he manages to be very gentle and considerate with her, despite his over-charged energetic penchants.

(Leigh got along well with Myrtille, Annie's daughter - Annie being a friend Charlotte met up with at the colloquium:)

Everything has been just so fabulous for me! I am immensely grateful for these times, and Leigh has taught me more than most single individuals I have known. We share a great deal of intimacy, and our spiritual journey so far has been rich. I can't help but wonder what our connection will look like in the long run, especially if a very long lapse of time passes between my departure in December and our next encounter... Surely, whether on a conscious level or not, we have a close bond. I talk and sing to her a lot, so I imagine my voice will always be familiar to her. Plus I can count on Charlotte to tell her about me - as she has certainly done with Andre, who considers me an integral part of his life. (In fact, we're planning on each giving the other one of our ears, so we can hear each other and all other things once I move to China...)

Fish with frog's eyes,
Creation is perfect.