Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yay! Another pledge!

thank you
Joanne! :-)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thank You & A Reminder!

Oh, you just thought I was through posting! After 4 1/2 hours of sleep I'm ready to do another 24 hours! (In your dreams!)

I just wanted to say
thank youagain to my generous sponsors, to my wonderful monitor Bella, to my supportive family (2-legged and 4-leggeds), to the AHF, and to Blogathon. You all helped make my Blogathon experience both successful and fun!

We raised a total of $242 for the AHF, which will do a lot of good for the people, wildlife and environment of the Himalaya.

And you can still sponsor me (until 9 p.m. Pacific time, July 31) if you haven't already!

And just a reminder to my sponsors: when you make your donation to the AHF, please annotate on the remarks/comment section of the online donation form or on your check that you were my Blogathon sponsor. And if your pledge was less than $20 and you want a written acknowledgment from AHF for tax purposes, don't forget to request one (one will go out automatically to pledges over $20.)

Thank you again!

Turn Out the Lights...the Party's Over!

post-partyWell, I may not have gotten around to posting about Mt. Everest last night, but I sure do feel like I climbed it! But you all made it a lot of fun, and I thank you for keeping me entertained with your posts and comments, and for sponsoring me! You all did a great job, and I'm proud to know ya! :-)

Sweet dreams, sleep well!


Lola conked out!This is my friend's dog Lola, who lives in Iceland. She falls asleep like this while watching television, and snores her head off. I think she looks like a Blogathoner!! ;-)

If someone doesn't sponsor me soon...

I'm gonna hold my breath till my FEET turn blue!
pissed off blue footed boobyDamn, too late. But please Sponsor Me anyway! Ya big booby! ;-)~

Mandala Videos/Maximum Eye Candy!

This first video, "Mandala Creation," is very brief, just 19 seconds long...

This one, "Sand Mandala," is done in extreme closeup with chanting in the background. It's just over 2 minutes in length...

I think they're both brief enough, different enough, and beautiful enough that they're each worth watching. :-)

And there's a new poll at the bottom of the right-hand column! (About mandalas, imagine that!)

AHF Project: Buddhist Monastery Restoration, Champa

Politically part of Nepal, but culturally and geographically Tibetan, Mustang (also know as the ancient Kingdom of Lo) is in a remote part of the country along the border with Tibet. AHF has many projects there...

Mustang sceneryFrom the AHF web site:
Nine years ago, AHF started a race against time. In the fabled kingdom of Lo, called Mustang in the west, spectacular gompas built in the fifteenth century were on the verge of collapse. Earthquakes, weather and time had taken their toll on these Tibetan Buddhist cathedrals; portions of the roofs were sagging, soot and dust obscured the sacred images, and sections of some of the 20-foot paintings were hanging like curtains, literally detaching from the walls.

The daunting mission: to restore them. Without careful intervention, these rare treasures would be lost forever.

Restoration architect John Sanday, always up for a challenge, led the AHF team of carpenters and wall-painting conservators. Together, season by season, the team painstakingly restored the structures and the astonishingly beautiful wall paintings. As they went, they trained a local Loba team in the art and science of conservation: replacing roofs, fixing twisted structures and meticulously removing centuries of black grime from the paintings.

Thubchen Gompa, Champa Gompa, Lo Gekar, Tsarang Gompa and two giant chortens have all been rescued. As work draws to a close, the results are stunning. And, as important, the Loba community has new connection to their heritage and 100 new local artisans have the skills they need to save other treasures.
champa mandala
A carefully restored mandala painting in Champa, an ancient Tibetan Buddhist monastery AHF is helping to refurbish
(Both photos copyright American Himalayan Foundation, used with permission)

Mandala Sand Painting

The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself, reminding us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite of the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism. In Tibet this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which means “mandala of colored powders.” Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place using metal funnels called metal funnels called chak-pur. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand and rubs a metal rod along its grated surface. The resulting vibration makes the sands flow like liquid. Formed from traditional icons that include geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.

sandmandalaThe creation of a sand mandala usually requires many days to complete. Each mandala contains many symbols that must be perfectly reproduced each time the mandala is created. Shortly after its completion, the monks traditionally gather in a colorful ceremony, chanting as they sweep their mandala into a jar, its destruction a metaphor for the impermanence of life. They then empty the jar into a nearby body of water as a blessing, the waters carrying the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.

I highly recommend a visit to this web site if you want to know more about sand mandalas. It's exquisitely done...

Healing the Earth: A Sacred Art by the Tibetan Lamas of Drepung Loseling Monastery

What I'm Listening to Now....

Nawank Khechog's "Quiet Mind: the Mystical Journey of a Tibetan Nomad" and "Universal Love." Though not simultaneously. ;-) Gorgeous bamboo flute music (and other traditional instruments).

You can listen to audio samples and read more about his life, music and projects on his web site.

The Voice in My Computer

Just before the Blogathon, started, I programmed my iMac to announce the time on the half hour in a computerized female voice so I wouldn't miss "post time." Seemed like a good idea at the time, and maybe it even was, but now she's making me want to do this...
Childish, I know. But I can't help it. She vexes me. ;-)

Doggy Opera :-)

Just had to share another photo of my darlings. Here is one of Willow belting out an aria, much to Tessa's amusement. Both girls are, of course, dressed in their springtime finery. (Well, a girl's gotta dress up for the opera, ya know!) ;-)


Video: Prayer Flags/Om Mani Padme Hum

Here are a lot of prayer flags in action, serious eye candy for tired eyes! Another 4 1/2 minute video and another chance to chant along with Om Mani Padme Hum. :-)

Prayer Flags

prayer flagsPrayer flags are inscribed with auspicious symbols, invocation, prayers and mantras. Tibetan Buddhists for centuries have planted these flags outside their homes and places of spiritual practice for the wind to carry the beneficent vibrations across the countryside and the world. Prayer flags are said to bring happiness, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity.

Dharma prints bear traditional Buddhist symbols, protectors and enlightened beings. As the Buddhist spiritual approach is non-theistic, the elements of Tantric iconography do not stand for external beings, but represent aspects of enlightened mind i.e. compassion, perfect action, fearlessness, etc. Displayed with respect, Dharma prints impart a feeling of harmony and bring to mind the precious teachings.

Traditionally the flags are sewn into ropes to be displayed horizontally. There are five colors of flags in a set: Yellow, Green, Red, White and Blue, representing the five elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Cloud and Sky, respectively.

Since the symbols and Mantras on the flags are sacred, they should be treated with respect. Burning is the only proper way to dispose of them.
Lovingkindness Meditation
May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be relieved of suffering.

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely...

I'm pretty sure those are the right lyrics from "The Sound of Music!" It's been a long time since I watched that movie, plus I think I may be sloughing brain cells at this point! ;-) But if I don't have the lyrics quite right, the sentiment is true. I love mountains, always have. Drop me anywere, and if there's a bump in the landscape, I'll head for it. One of the reasons I've long been fascinated by the Himalaya. I have only been there in my imagination, through videos and books, and a story my friend Iain told me about his visit to Nepal years ago. He'd go on day treks (which sounds really fun to me), and spend the rest of the time in the lobby of his hotel, which he said had a huge floor-to-soaring-ceiling glass wall looking out over the incredible Himalayan peaks. Iain would return from a trek and sit there in that lobby drinking chai and just soaking in that view. Sounds like a pretty decent way to spend a day to me!

Anyway, as another "getting to know me" post, I thought I'd share my Big Horn Mountains with you. They're no Himalayas, but they're my beautiful back yard and I adore them...
Climb the mountains
and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you
as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
~ John Muir

AHF Project: Tulin, Nepal

In partnership with another organization, AHF has helped bring solar power and smokeless stoves to the remote village of Tulin in the Humla district. This way, villagers no longer need to rely on open fires inside their homes for light, heat, and cooking. The health benefits are profound, and the kids now have light to read and study by.

From the AHF web site...

Tulin Village, Humla, Nepal

Anyone trekking to Mount Kailash from the Nepal side will probably walk through Tulin, a small village of some 250 Humlis about three hours from Simikot airport in far northwestern Nepal.

Short on land, on food and resources the people of Tulin have used wood from the nearby pine forests to cook their meals and light and warm their homes, creating an indoor haze of smoke and soot which led to chronic eye infections and respiratory problems. Tulin also had no sewage system and difficult access to fresh drinking water, which has created some serious health problems. But that has all changed.

Partnering with the ISIS Foundation and a brilliant and dedicated Swiss engineer Alex Zahnd and his local team, the American Himalayan Foundation set out to improve the lives of the people of Tulin.

The villagers were given the materials needed to build their own pit latrines. Once this was done, there were able to buy, at a heavily subsidized price, a fuel efficient smokeless stove especially designed by Alex. WLED lights were also set up in their homes, powered by a solar PV system that generates enough power to light the village for eight hours every evening, and a drinking water system was built, bringing clean water to three shared taps in the village. They also helped the village build a greenhouse.
solar panels
Solar panels in place
Equipment that isn’t maintained isn’t useful, so the team started informal education classes. Nearly all of the adults are illiterate, so they hit on the idea of using modified instruction manuals as the syllabus.

The result? No more burning eyes, no more chest infections, less carting of wood, better sanitation, clean drinking water, a greater variety of nutritious vegetables, and an improvement in basic literacy skills!
Tulin kids(Both photos copyright American Himalayan Foundation, used with permission)

Good Search

You can raise money for the American Himalayan Foundation every time you search the internet. Just use
goodsearchtype the AHF's name in the "Who do you GoodSearch for?" space, hit verify, and every time you search, AHF receives a penny. It all adds up!

Computer Yoga!

Wow, can you believe it's been 12 hours since our last session of Computer Yoga?

yoga critter

Saturday, July 28, 2007


One of my favorite things the AHF does is plant trees. Deforestation in the region due to timber harvesting, the cutting of fuel wood by trekkers and mountaineers, intensive grazing by livestock and agricultural expansion threatens the local ecology and habitat. Conservation efforts are underway to preserve the remaining forests, but AHF has also planted over two million trees -- so far!

So here in tribute, three of my favorite tree quotes...

“The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort,
are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief,
for when the light comes,
the heart of the people is always right.”
~John Muir
forest sunbeams
If only I could share it:
The soft sound of snow
Falling late at night
From the trees
At this old temple.
~Hakuin (1686-1768)
Plant trees.
They give us two of the most crucial elements for our survival:
oxygen and books.
~A. Whitney Brown

My Blogging Beverage

Found this in a local health food store on Friday, and of course I had to get myself a couple for the Blogathon! It's Kombucha Wonder Drink, an organic "Himalayan Kombucha green tea with essence of lemon ~ A Sparkling Himalayan Tonic." Perfect, no? (It's good, too!)

AHF Project: Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve

Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve in southwest Nepal is a precious haven for 386 species of birds, unique flora, elephant, rhino, antelopes, tiger, leopard and wild boar. Except during monsoon, the scarcity of water is a threat to all these wild creatures. For the last six years, AHF has partnered with Peter Byrne and the International Wildlife Conservation Society to rehabilitate and create ten water sources in this 200,000-acre reserve. Animals are now less restricted in their gathering places and have water year-round.

To read more about Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Click here!

AHF Project: Lingshed Healthcare

From the AHF web site...
Healthcare, Tibetan Style
Lingshed, Ladakh

Lingshed is a high and remote valley in Ladakh. The eight villages in Lingshed Valley have no roads, hospitals or post offices and during the winter months, the passes are closed with snow, keeping the villagers in isolation. Six years ago AHF met Geshe Ngawang Jangchup, who was looking for a way to train local amchiis (traditional Tibetan medical doctors) so health care would be available to villagers year round. AHF said yes, and offered salaries for Tibetan doctors and scholarships for students.

In these six years, the health of the villagers has improved dramatically. We continue to help - with salaries for doctors who run a local clinic and funds to train more students. We helped to build a kitchen for the clinic so the newly trained amchiis can hold health workshops and seminars. We also purchased textbooks and a machine to grind traditional medicine. Mothers have the help they need when it's time to give birth and the very young and old can get medical attention when they most need it. A little help goes a long way here.

Survey Says...!

Hey, all!
I just added a poll... it's at the bottom of the right-hand column. I've been wanting to play with this new blogger widget since it was unveiled, and now's as good a time as any! I may do more of them tonight, if I remain conscious, lucid and more or less upright (a tall order at this point!)

Tell ya what, though... cayenne on popcorn accidently snorted up the nose? VERY effective remedy for drowsiness! Ow.

What I listened to today...

My computer is in the downstairs den, and right outside is our covered patio. Hanging from the deck above the patio is a set of bamboo windchimes, with a pagoda birdhouse as a decoration above the actual bamboo chiming bits. Know the one? Anyway, last year a little wren, who didn't realize the birdhouse was merely decoration, built her nest in it! In spite of all the bamboo clattering, and our moving the chimes whenever it stormed and the wind blew too hard, she gallantly raised two babies in it who fledged one day while we happened to be sitting on the patio.

She returned this year, and all day long outside the window her babies have just been cheeping and chirping and peeping and squeaking their little heads off from inside that pagoda chime-house! Fun company. :-)

Here's a photo I took of one of her babies last year, just seconds before it left the nest for the first time...babywrenJust a little glimpse into my life. (Or into the life of a family of Wyoming wrens, anyway!)

Video: "My Days in Nepal"

Time for more eye candy! And this one is appropriate since we just visited a clinic in Kathmandu!

This 4 1/2 minute video by hariarti, "My Days in Nepal," features the chant "Om Mani Padme Hum" from "Tibetan Incantations - the Meditative Sound of Buddhist Chants." A lovely production ~ enjoy!

Imitation: Sincerest Form of Flattery

This picture is apropos of absolutely nothing. It just amuses me greatly. :-D

AHF Project: Friends of Shanta Bhawan Clinic

From the AHF web site...
Good care for pennies
Friends of Shanta Bhawan Clinic, Kathmandu

Taking care of an average of 13,000 patients a month is no easy task, but the staff at the Shanta Bhawan Clinic in Kathmandu is good at it. Very good in fact - the Clinic received the Daxya Gold Medal in recognition of their outstanding work treating tuberculosis patients. Almost all outpatient medical needs can be met here plus: immunizations, TB care, family planning, and pre-and post-natal care for mothers and children. Last year over 16,000 infants were vaccinated - a new record!

Director Luke Sunde, world's youngest octogenarian, has dedicated his retirement to running the clinic, and to making good care affordable for the poorest Nepalis and Tibetans, often refugees, in Kathmandu. Everything is on a sliding scale and the registration fee just 14 cents. Luke has led the clinic for 25 years, mentoring and coaching his 29 person staff. Most of the staff have been at FSB for so long they know many of their patients by name (which becomes more impressive when you realize they see 156,000 patients a year!)

Whoo-hoo! The halfway point!

fireworksYay for us!!!

AHF Project: HRDC

More than 30 hospitals and clinics throughout the Himalaya perform miracles every day with the help of AHF. Here's one of them...

(Photo copyright American Himalayan Foundation, used with permission)
Two happy patients in the process of healing. Each month, the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children performs over a hundred life-changing orthopedic surgeries for disadvantaged Nepali children who suffer from crippling injuries and congenital disabilities. Patients come to HRDC from throughout the country, and the Center provides the necessary follow-up care through home visits, mobile camps, and satellite centers.
bandaidHRCD: A Children's Orthopedic Hospital (from AHF's web site)...
Eighteen years ago, AHF was introduced to an extraordinary doctor. He had trained in the U.S. and come back to his homeland determined to help Nepal's disabled children. Dr. Ashok Banskota's passion to heal poor children with clubfeet, TB of the spine, polio, untreated burns and infections has led him, and us, on a journey of miracles. We have supported him through two makeshift hospitals, helped him build a new, modern hospital just outside Kathmandu and now fund his surgical costs.

Dr. Banskota tells us the miracles are the children, who come from poor families who sometimes cannot afford even a bus ticket to reach the hospital. Many arrive with disfigured bodies and fearful faces. In the loving hands of the surgeons, nurses and hospital staff, the children transform. Some must have steel wires inserted into bones to stabilize or pull a limb straight. Others experience long surgeries and months of physical therapy. Their faces belie the physical pain. They beam with smiles, they throw jokes and sing songs. They tell us that love heals.

Every child who comes to the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children is well cared for, and every day children leave the hospital with the ability to walk, leap and play. In the last year Dr. Banskota and his team performed over thirteen-hundred life-changing surgeries. AHF also offers scholarships to orthopedic residents who train with Dr. Banskota and who then become the backbone of his surgical team.

The Blogathon Song

I made up a little ditty. If you don't know the tune, make one up. If you can't sing, then dance. If you can't sing OR dance, then just keep BLOGGING, people, BLOG TILL YOU BLEED!!!
dancing hamsterdancing catdancing daisy

Oh, I love to blog
Yes I love to blog,
I'd blog all night and day...

With almost no breaks
But plenty of aches,
I'd blog till dawn if I had my way!

Oh. Uh....


Someone please just shoot me,
Shoot me now,
I don't care how...

Now, isn't that a happy little ditty to blog by as we enter hour #11?

Okay, don't shoot me... you'll go to prison and be burdened by unrelenting guilt for the rest of your desolate, ruined life. So sponsor me instead!! You don't go to prison and the AHF gets money! It's a win-win! (I just love those.)

Oh, no WAY

was that 30 minutes!! I swear, I'm in a time warp!

Now my hands are tingling. :-(

I'm working on something special, so I'll be back with it in 30 shakes!

AHF Project: Childhaven

Childhaven first opened their doors and hearts in Nepal to nine orphaned and abandoned children. Thirteen years later, 140 children, many of them refugees from the civil war, have a home and a new family with Childhaven in Kathmandu. An additional 150 children from local poor families join the Childhaven throng during the day for school - and meals - but live with their parents.

Six years ago AHF helped Childhaven build a new home to accommodate all of the children. It's a bright place, and the children's voices fill the air with laughter and spirited songs. We continue to help, with food, clothing and education for the resident children. Thanks to Childhaven, these kids have a family - and real hope for their futures.

Himalayan Sights & Sounds

Okay, I lied. Well, not really...but when I said we were moving on from wildlife, it wasn't true. I had this in my stash and couldn't for the life of me find it when I wanted to post it earlier, but I found it now while looking for something else entirely unrelated, and isn't that always the way it goes? It's too cool not to share, so here 'tis. You'll need Flash 5.0 and RealPlayer. Just click on the blue text in the middle of the page that says, "Explore the Ecoregion." (Be sure not to miss hearing the snow leopard and watching the Bengal tiger!) ;-)

National Geographic's Wildworld Sights & Sounds ~ Eastern Himalaya Broadleaf and Conifer Forests

AHF Project: Mustang Day Care

(Photo copyright American Himalayan Foundation, used with permission)
A group of happy kids at a day care center in Mustang (AHF-supported day cares provide a safe and educational environment for kids while their parents work in the fields)

The kingdom of Lo, or Mustang, politically part of Nepal but culturally and geographically Tibetan, is home to 6,000 Lobas. Most of them trade in the winter and practice subsistence agriculture the rest of the year - which means long days in the fields. Parents have, until now, been faced with the difficult choice of taking along babies and young children with them into the fields or leaving them at home unattended - neither a safe option. In one village, four children were lost in the river in one year.

With the AHF's help, eight villages have set up day care centers where a total of 270 children have a secure, healthy place to stay and play. They are also learning to read and count in three languages (including Tibetan, not taught in the local government school) and will proudly show off their singing and dancing abilities to their grateful parents - or to anyone who asks!
(I love that they're learning the Tibetan language!)

Lucky Guinea Pig! ;-)

guinea pig
(Check it out, rift! I may not have a blogging talisman, but at least I now have a guinea pig to guard my posts with powerful guinea pig booga-booga! LOL!)

Please Sponsor me, peeps, or my posts will get increasingly silly and irrelevant. (You've been warned!)

AHF Project: RHEST

RHEST students(Photo copyright American Himalayan Foundation, used with permission)
RHEST girls in the classroom (front row). The Rural Health and Education Services Trust saves thousands of poor at-risk Nepali girls from prostitution traffickers by covering the educational expenses they otherwise could not afford.

school alphabetI don't know about you, but I always loved school. No, I really did! I loved to read, I loved to learn, I loved getting new books, pencils, notebooks... the first day of school was always exciting for me (and yeah, the last one was too!) :-) I think most of us in the west take education for granted. A lot of children never get the opportunity, and for too many, that lack can lead to a lot of hardship and suffering.

The AHF helps over 4,000 children in school each year. The Rural Health Education Services Trust, another of AHF's collaborative projects, is one way they do it...

Too many young girls in rural Nepal are at risk of being sold to traffickers by their desperately poor families and sent to brothels in India. Dr. Aruna Uprety, AHF's indomitable partner for nine years, has discovered a real way out of this modern, and wretched, slavery - by sponsoring girls to go to school. Girls who have the chance to go to school have value - they are much less likely to be sold by their parents or lured by a trafficker's false promises. It takes only one hundred dollars a year to keep a girl safely in school, and this year AHF is sponsoring 2,000 girls, in partnership with Dr. Uprety and RHEST.

Many of the RHEST scholars are the first girls in their villages to attend school beyond fifth grade. Their success speaks volumes; 90% graduate from high school - in a country with a 40% pass rate. More than 100 of them have started college. These young women will not languish in brothels. They will live their dreams: becoming teachers, social workers and valued members of their communities.

You go, girls!!

Cute dog for you to look at...

Agh, I'm here, but Blogger is giving me trouble!

Here, look at our cute dog Willow while I deal with this...

More Himalayan Wildlife

Before I move on to some of the AHF's other projects and my own random natterings, I thought I'd share these photos of more wildlife of the Himalayan region, from Project Himalaya.

Inspire Me! Sponsor Me!

Let's check in on the ol' blogging bod, shall we?

1) Wrists sore, check.
2) Shoulders burning, check.
3) Fingers stiff, check.
4) Eyeballs straining, check.
5) Eyelids drooping, check.
6) Neck aching, check.
7) Brain fog, check.
8) Full bladder, check.
9) Blood pooling in butt, check.
10) Dogs and husband lookin' at me funny, check.

And there are still... oh, it pains me greatly to say it, 17 1/2 hours to go! (OMG).

So I'm putting myself through all this for the AHF... can't YOU at least SPONSOR me? Come on, five bucks? Just five lousy bucks? The blood pooling in my butt should be worth at least that much! (Seriously, this is harder than it looks, kids!)

Thank you. :-)

Aloo Achar (Nepal Potato Salad)

I'm hungry! Let's eat! :-)
grinning apple
Aloo Achar (Nepal potato salad)
From IVU's "Recipes Around the World"

* 4 medium size waxy boiling potatoes
* 4 Tbs. ground roasted sesame seeds
* 3 or 4 Tbs. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1 or more hot green chiles, finely minced (*)
* 4 Tbs. sesame oil
* 2 tsp. vegetable oil
* pinch ground Asafoetida (**)
* to 10 whole fenugreek seeds (**)
* 3 Tbs. cilantro (Chinese parsley) minced

(*) Use as many chiles, like jalapenos, as you can stand. If you can't tolerate hot, spicy food, 2 or 3 Tbs. green bell pepper can be substituted.
(**) Look for these in an Indian or Middle-Eastern grocery

Boil the potatoes in a big pot.
Meanwhile, combine the chiles (or green pepper), salt, lemon juice and ground roasted sesame seeds in a non-metallic bowl.
(By the way, roasted sesame seeds can be found as "iri goma" in Oriental markets.
I don't know if you can get them already ground up.)
Add the sesame oil just a little at a time and mix in with a wire whisk.

Using a metal ladle or a small butter warmer, heat the vegetable oil by holding it over heat.
When quite hot, add the asafoetida powder and fenugreek seeds.
The fenugreek seeds will start to darken in the hot oil in just a few seconds... when this happens dump it all into the bowl.
Mix well, then add the cilantro (Chinese parsley) and mix some more.
Check your seasonings.

When the potatoes are done, drain and peel while hot (holding with a fork if you need to.) The peel should slide right off.
Cut into 3/4" dice and add to the bowl of dressing.
Gently mix to coat all the cubes and finally adjust your seasonings if needed.
Let cool, cover and refrigerate. You can eat this after a couple of hours, either cold or room temperature. However, it's supposed to be much better the next day.

Keeps for up to 4 days refrigerated.
Inspired by Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking

Snow Leopard Video

For the Snow Leopard Trust, with music "How to Save a Life" by The Fray, this video by vitalioness14 is about 4 minutes long... enjoy!

Snow Leopard Trust

"Desktop Yoga!"

Boy howdy, that last post kinda crapped me out! I can feel the burn. So, with five hours down and 19 to go (not that I'm counting!), it's time for some "Desktop Yoga" from
My Daily Yoga Care to join me, fellow bloggers?

Snow Leopards

Snow leopards, elusive and mysterious, weighing between 60 and 120 pounds with exquisitely flecked gray fur, are in danger of becoming extinct. While they are superbly adapted for life in this steep, high and rocky terrain, their existence in Upper Mustang, Nepal (and elsewhere) is a precarious one, in part because of its predation on domesticated animals and the resulting conflict with local people.

(Photo copyright American Himalayan Foundation, used with permission)

Which is why AHF has teamed up with the Snow Leopard Conservancy to turn this conflict into collaboration, coexistence and conservation, creating more neighborly relations between the people of the region and this endangered cat.

Some of the solutions, which involve the entire community and make use of local experience and scientific solutions include...

Indoor night-time corrals with reinforced openings that snow leopards can't fit through; enhanced outdoor corrals, and solar electric fences (portable, inexpensive and effective) that help protect animals on the open range. According to Rodney Jackson of the Snow Leopard Conservancy, for every village's livestock pens made predator-proof, at least five snow leopards are saved, and people's attitudes about snow leopards are changing. Rinchen Wangchuk, SLC's field director in India, told Jackson recently: "At first the villagers could not understand why we had chosen for our organization the name of a despised predator. Today, their sentiments are echoed in the words of one: 'Wild animals are like the ornaments of our mountains!'"

According to the Snow Leopard Conservancy, corrals are one answer, but another part of the balance is to find ways to increase household income. One way to do that is through nature tourism. So they've helped organize home-stay programs where trekkers can stay in local homes, trained local people as guides that can show visitors snow leopard signs, and linked these economic incentives together with a monitoring program that helps keep track of the local snow leopards using "camera traps." Local people are also trained to set up the system of cameras, which are placed in the animal's natural habitat and automatically triggered to take a picture when an animal passes by, allowing scientists to take an elusive animal's photo without having to be there and without disturbing it.

In the early days, governments in the regions passed laws making it illegal to hunt snow leopards, but they couldn't enforce them in remote areas where the leopards are most common. Nor was it easy, with their limited budgets, for rangers to patrol such rugged habitat. Which is why Jackson believes the future of the species rests in large part with local communities, and is the best and only long-term, sustainable conservation strategy.

Much of the information in this post came from an interview with Rodney Jackson on the excellent PBS Show Nature, which recently aired an episode called, "Silent Roar: Searching for the Elusive Snow Leopard." You can read the entire interview, which includes other, growing threats to the snow leopard and what Jackson thinks about its future, as well as learn more about the Nature show and the snow leopard by visiting the PBS Nature web site.

(More snow leopard goodies to come!) :-)

AHF Project: Saving Tigers

This is one of AHF's collaborative projects. They work with Fund for the Tiger, a small group with big influence that's fighting to keep the tiger from disappearing forever from the jungles of Nepal and India. Using an intricate network of informants, anti-poaching units, armed forest guards and the lovely elephant Sonakali, Fund for the Tiger has kept poaching losses at a minimum even as the political situation in Nepal has wreaked havoc on wildlife conservation.

AHF has partnered with The Fund for the Tiger for the last eleven years, focusing on patrols in Royal Chitwan National Park and Royal Sukla Phanta Wildife Reserve. The tiger is critically endangered and this work is now more important than ever.
A photo of a Tiger sleeping peacefully. For years AHF has supported anti-poaching efforts to preserve this threatened species. Fortunately, the only thing shooting this tiger is a camera!
Photo copyright American Himalayan Foundation, used with permission.

AHF Projects

Since I'm blogging about some of AHF's various projects, I wanted to provide an overview and a message from AHF's chairman about their mission...

The American Himalayan Foundation provides vital health care, education, cultural and environmental preservation in the Himalayan region. They support and fund projects directly, as well as joining with other organizations in larger, cooperative endeavors. In all cases, AHF projects involve local commitment and community participation.
A Message from the Chairman

Dear Friends,

AHF takes care of 15,000 people every year throughout the Himalayas: poor children, young girls at risk, Tibetan elders, refugees. These are vulnerable people; they do really need help and, in most cases, have nowhere else to turn.

We're involved in more than 120 projects now, and all of them produce the kind of tangible results that really help people in the Himalayas. Children are healed; elders have shelter and a community; schools are built and refugees find hope in a new land.

As part of the AHF family, you make it possible; your compassion and generosity have answered many prayers. Please join with us to continue the work that so many Himalayan people rely on.

Thank you from all of us.

Best personal regards,

Richard C. Blum


I'm not sure if "futzing" is an accepted word or not, or something my addled brain just came up with, but it seems to fit what little Ms. Perfectionist, your humble blogger, has been doing with her blog in the last 30 minutes. So I've frittered away my time and therefore this post is a bit, o shall we say, fluffy.

But here's a bit of gravitas for you... I want to send out some sincere thank yous!

To Dan Gaff at the AHF for all of his support, assistance, and the splendid photos you'll be seeing...

To my husband for the breakfast of fresh cantaloupe, for doing the morning chores all by his lonesome, and for the wonderful neck and shoulder rubs (okay, those haven't actually manifested themselves yet, but I'm putting it out there to the Universe!) ;-)

To my generous sponsors for their faith and cold, hard (and hard-earned) cash,

To my fellow bloggers who are somehow finding the time to leave me their delightful comments of "sisters-in-arms" support!

And to my monitor, Bella, who so far hasn't disqualified me. :-)

AHF's Environmental Projects

The environment and animals, two subjects near and dear to me!

From the AHF web site...
Himalayan ecology is as fragile as it is dramatically beautiful. And it is under intense pressure. The AHF combats environmental degradation by planting trees (almost 2 million so far), supporting sustainable agriculture, and building new water systems - for both people and imperiled animals.
Two such imperiled animals the AHF works to save are the tiger and the snow leopard, and I'll be posting about them in more detail in the many half-hours to come! :-) But for now, won't you please visit Care 2's Race for the Big Cats and click on either the Tiger or Snow Leopard? One click a day, every day, adds up to a big difference for these beautiful, majestic, irreplaceable animals! Thank you!


Video: Places & Faces of the Himalaya

Two hours into it, and it's time for the promised eye candy! (And a little something for the ears, too, so you might want to turn your speakers on.) This video is "The Places & Faces of the Himalaya" by Prem (pklama1), and contains images from Nepal.
A warning to my fellow bloggers... it's a little over 7 1/2 minutes long, and you may not have that kind of time (if you do, tell me your time management secret!) But I'll make it up to you in another post soon...


You know what they say (who, btw, are they, does anyone know?)... "A picture is worth a thousand words." So here's a map of the Himalayan region, courtesy of Jagged Globe...

map of Himalaya

My next post will contain eye candy, I promise. (I'm a big fan of eye candy!) :-)