Sunday, March 9, 2008

Arirang and St. Pat's and Box O'Books!

May Peace and Prosperity Come to All of Us

On February 26, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra played a concert in Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Philharmonic President and Executive Director Zarin Mehta wrote “this is an excellent occasion to expose North Korea to one of the greatest cultural performances in the world, and it would promote unprecedented openness on the part of the North Korean regime.”

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel the world. I can honestly say that when we have the chance to meet other people from other cultures, we quit thinking of ourselves as “us” and “them.” Once we are face-to-face, we smile, we laugh, and on some deep level, we connect with others, even if we don’t speak the same language. To me, that’s the saddest thing about where we are today as a country: It’s no longer safe for us Americans to travel as we once could.

About that Encore...

I thought you might like to know more about one part of the concert that’s been under-reported. The performance concluded with a final encore of the traditional North and South Korean folk song "Arirang." I remember the song from my visit to Korea in 1986. Here are some of the words:

“Arirang, Arirang, O Arirang/The Pass of Arirang is long and arduous,/But you will climb to the hilltop,/ Where the sun will always shine./The times we live in are most trying,/ To this thousand miles of river and mountains/May peace and prosperity come.”

That’s a scrapbook page of me with some nice ladies I met on my visit. I was told that as Korean men were marched away to death camps by the Chinese, they sang Arirang. I’ve sung it since to Koreans—and they always tear up. Maybe it’s my voice! But more likely, it’s that they know I paid attention. I heard something that made an impression on me, and I have remembered it all these years. A song of longing for peace and prosperity in the face of tragedy and war. What could be more appropriate?

You can hear the whole concert at

St. Patrick's Day Project with Mrs. Grossman's Stickers

And in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a fun recycling project using Mrs. Grossman’s Stickers. Save a plastic container from a restaurant or grocery store. (Mine had dip in the center and veggies around the outside.) Choose a container that’s more “rubbery” than brittle! Clean and dry it well. Add the stickers--I selected the cute leprechan and clovers. Coat the stickers with clear nail polish. (Buy clear nail polish at the Dollar Store for this.) Voila! You’ll have a fun container for treats. Because of the nail polish, the container can be washed carefully by hand and re-used. This is really great for taking treats to a get-together or for a bake sale. I put shamrock cookies around the outside and Jelly Bellies in the center. You know, it's all about the presentation.

Box O'Books Contest Ends Next Monday!

I added two more books to the box this weekend. And after seeing how cute those Mrs. Grossman's Stickers are, how can you resist this fun contest? must sign in on this blog to be entered. That means filling in the boxes to the right that ask to add you to our mailing list. Now...what will we do with your address? You might receive a newsletter from us...but you can opt out of that when it comes if you wish. Or you might receive a notice if we're doing a signing. That's it. Not big stuff. (We aren't sophisticated enough to do BIG stuff!)

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Akinol said...
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