Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Anniversary -- Remembering the Saptapadi

Greendaddy and I had wedding anniversary on February 19th. We haven't yet celebrated -- though we did have a babysitter that night, so we could go see Barak Obama speaking at a Houston megarally. I have an inkling Greendaddy wants to be the one to tell you all about that, so I won't go on about it.

In celebration of our anniversary I will announce the reinstatement of some of the pages I created for our wedding's website and post a little about the description of the vedic wedding ceremony and the vows we took that day here.

Notice, over to the right, beneath the profile of Greendaddy and I is a little link that says: Our Hindu Wedding. If you click it, you'll find prettier pages, pictures, and a detailed description of the entire cermeony.

On the Vedic Ceremony

The Vedic wedding ceremony is more than five thousand years old, and is still performed in Sanskrit. It weaves two souls, two families, and two communities into one harmonious existence and a deep significance is attached to every step within it. With the completion of the ceremony, Greendaddy and Magreen enter into Grihasthashram, the second phase of life, which is devoted to family.

Our wedding will be beautifully sung by the priest, Rajan Joshi. Few people know Sanskrit well enough to understand the literal meaning of the ceremony. According to the seers who wrote the verses, there is more than one kind of meaning to them-the meaning behind a word's definition and the vibrational meaning of a word, which transcends language barriers. Thus, Om has a literal meaning (peace/breath/all that is) and a physical meaning in that its sound connects a person hearing it to the universe. This idea extends to all words in the Vedic ceremony-they all have multiple literal and sonic/transcendental meanings. If the ceremony were translated into another language the sonic meaning would be lost.

Thus, the performance of a Sanskrit ceremony retains the particular sounds of the Sanskrit words, as it connects us to a tradition older than history. We hope his small book will help everybody present to understand the literal and symbolic meaning of the ceremony, and that the sounds of the chants will move us all to a higher plane.

Here are the vows we took. Though it was unusual for a vedic ceremony, Greendaddy and I repeated the core wedding vows in both Sanskrit and English. We worked hard to translate the Sanskrit vows into English because we wanted our guests (and ourselves!) to understand.

The nice thing about translating from Sanskrit is that it offers a lot of room for interpretation since many of the sounds mean many things. I think next anniversary I might add a few new fangled vows...but it is nice to remember what we began promising.

Saptapadi (Seven Steps) Wedding Vows

Greendaddy: With this step, let us love, cherish, and respect one another.
Magreen: With this step, I ask that our lives together be full of joy.

Greendaddy: I promise you my love until our last days.
Magreen: Let us create a home full of laughter, where we find serenity and strength.

Greendaddy: My love for you will grow deeper day by day, as we share in each other's trials and triumph.
Magreen: May our marriage be blessed by peace and harmony until our last days. Let us have a measure of patience and forgive with grace.

Greendaddy: May we enjoy lightness, joy, and beauty until our last days.
Magreen: From our foreheads to our feet shall we share in each other's bodies.

Greendaddy: I embrace your family as my own as well as our own yet to come.
Magreen: Hear me now, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, I will be with you.

Greendaddy: May we care for people more than possessions and for honor more than honors.
Magreen: May the dimensions of our home be measured not by the details of the house but by the depth of our sacrifice and the breadth of our studies.

Greendaddy: Let us be friends and partners until our last days.
Magreen: May all those present bear witness that we take these steps by our own will.

**Photos by Cristobal Perez, Azul Wedding Photography**

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Green Family's Further Adventures with No Poo

I know the blog world has been up at nights wondering about the state of my family’s hair, and whether or not we have stayed on the no poo wagon. So here it is, the key to your future good night sleeps: my further adventures in no-pooing (not to be confused with Grasshopper's earlier problems with not being able to poo {solved by putting molasses in her cereal instead of multivitamins w/iron}).

First of all, needed to use the baking soda every day, or my hair would get overly oily, and this dried out my hair, which there is a lot of, but which is thin enough that just looking at a picture of the desert is apt to dry it out. The vinegar rinse helped a little. My hair wasn’t dry the way shampoo makes it – I mean, shampoo strips and dries, whereas baking soda just dried, at the same time it at least left some of the natural oils on my head. Sounds strange, but that’s what happened. Now having these oils has been a blessing: my hair looked fuller, was interested in doing a variety of things its untexured, overly-shampooed state had prevented, and was glossier.

While I liked this effect, there were a few things about using baking soda I disliked. First of all, I wondered if ultimately my hair was even more dry using baking soda than just shampoo. Secondly, it was awkward to take this method travelling -- powders just don’t travel well. Thirdly, it’s awkward having baking soda near water, and showers tend to have a lot of that. Last of all, I felt as tied to baking soda as I had to shampoo, and I was ostensibly trying out the No poo method…and I realized poo was just baking soda in this new reality of mine.

I was considering giving up, which was a hard choice since I liked my textured hair, and so I did what any desperate person does in this situation: googled “no poo” one last time. The second hit was something I hadn’t seen before, an article by Audrey Shulman, a reporter for The Phoenix, in Boston. Her method, which she says is Mexican in origin, is to wipe the left side of your wet head 100 times with a rag, and then the right side of your head 100 times. I’d heard of doing this with a boar’s bristle brush, but that never really worked for me. But since I was at wits’ end, I decided to give her particular method a whack.

I am happy to report that was in November, and since then, I have had a fabulous no-poo experience, devoid of baking soda. When I first started her method, I shampooed twice a week, now I shampoo once a week. This is far better than the baking soda, infinately better than using shampoo.

This is exactly what I do:

I put a wash rag on each hand (one of those rags sewn closed like a mit would be ideal, but I don’t have one.) Standing with my hair under the water, I grab my soaking locks with one rag, pull down, and then grab in the same spot with the other hand. I tried with just one rag and that took too long to get to one hundred, and was actually more awkward – two rags is easier. I do one side, then the other, and I go pretty fast. With the first hundred I try to cover all the hair on the left side of my head, the second hundred, ditto on the right. It takes three or four minutes. Like Ms. Shulman said in her article, my hair feels the way they tell you hair ought to in the TV commercials: soft, conditioned, not too oily, manageable. For zee first time in my life.

I haven’t gotten my act together to make some rinse with my essential oils, for a perfumed coiffure, but figure I will in the near future. Right now my hair smells like nothing, which is fine by me.

Grasshopper, by the way, still uses Aubrey Organics Baby shampoo once or twice a week. In between her hair doesn’t require the washrag cleanse, thank God, because I can’t even imagine trying to convince her two year old self to go for that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't Tell Woody

Grasshopper and I were singing, "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land" in the car. We end the song,

"This land belongs to you and me," I say.

"No. To Grasshopper and Mommy."

"Okay, to Grasshopper and Mommy."

"And Daddy," she adds. "Akshay, Asha, Dada, Dadi. And Nina."

"And Percy cat?" I ask, and she laughs.

"And Percy cat. And Grandma. And the telephone."