A blog of art, photography, food and writings.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


7 x 10 "

Rena Williams, watercolor artist
Auburn, Alabama

Rena Williams' Blog

Rattling Gourd Gallery website

Visit Sarojni's website
Email Sarojni

Monday, November 27, 2006



Sarojni Mehta-Lissak

Partially deflated, the gray clouds
roll in--anemic now; their glory in
fullness mostly dropped at sea.

When we awaken, remnants of a
visitor are evident, but no floods
or rushing water down the gutters
echo the sounds of a true rain.

Moistness touches only the surface,
making streets slick as ice so wheels
spin in frustration. Asphalt steams
upward as the sun hits it, permeating
the air with a smell of "crude."

And carob pods, putrid in their
dampness, bring back memories
of years on the playground...

Just below the damp soil lies bone
dry, compact dirt, dehydrated from
months of barren skies. Silt and dust
now sit on weakened leaves and
flowers as a weight of thin mud;
not cleansed to reveal their beauty--
but merely tantalized that their thirst
might be quenched.

Yet when it came, it was only a
drizzle; stingy, withholding
and impotent.

Visit Sarojni's website
Email Sarojni

Sunday, November 19, 2006


7 x 10 "

Rena Williams, watercolor artist
Auburn, Alabama

Rena Williams' Blog

Rattling Gourd Gallery website

Visit Sarojni's website
Email Sarojni

Friday, November 17, 2006


As a freelance writer and the House and Home editor for Natural Family Online, my job is not to tout my expertise in the area of eco-friendly living, but to write on subjects in this genre, which will inspire readers to move along the green continuum.

Apparently, the word hasn't gotten out to enough people and I am destined to keep at it.

This past summer I had a revelation, and the sights that spawned this inner awakening still gnaw at me...

During one particular week, no matter where I turned, I seemed to come upon numerous individuals who were involved in eco-"unfriendly" practices as I went about my business in east Long Beach. One morning, while I walked my dog along the street in front of my house, a fleet of trucks labeled, "Vector Control," entered my neighborhood like a commando squad. I watched in dismay as workers shot streams of pesticides into the manholes and storm drains in an attempt to rid our area of mosquitoes. No doubt these pesticides were harmless to humans, animals, and schools of fish--the lucky recipients at the end of the sewer system. I quickly yanked my dog's leash and headed away from the toxic spray.

On another day, I took my puppy to a local park for a walk along a meandering nature path. Flanking us on both sides were men in white suits, who looked more like workers in a uranium plant than city employees out for a day's pay. Not only were they swathed from head to toe in protective clothing, but they also sported masks and gloves, leaving no skin exposed. Their job? To spray every weed in sight. I hoped my dog wouldn't romp in the grass, nor eat the verdant blades beneath her paws. After all, dogs shouldn't do that, should they?

My final straw, was when my daughter and I exited a Rite Aid store and watched a man open his pristine item and then flagrantly toss the wrapper on the ground.

It appears that some people have never learned that throwing trash anywhere, is aesthetically unappealing.

Each of the above scenarios was deeply disturbing to me and left an indelible mark that keeps nudging me to keep writing and sharing positive ideas on "greener" living.

If we each took the time to sit, listen and watch life around us, we would see that the water, which runs off our lawns--and often contains herbicides--is the very water the birds dip their beaks into for their daily drinks. The snail bait we put out to protect our beloved flowers, rests in the same beds our dogs burrow their noses in. And the pesticides sprayed in our public buildings, insidiously remain behind, seeping into our bodies while we transact our business and pass through marbled halls. These chemicals are everywhere. We breathe them, touch them, walk through them--and worst of all, expose our children to them.

When I observed the actions of a few this past summer, I realized, as a society, we have a long way to go. We must begin to make more conscious choices in the things we buy, and be willing to make changes in our personal habits. We can pick the weeds by hand and use non-toxic products at home. We can write letters, call local government officials and make our voices heard.

Options do exist.

It's up to us to make the world a greener place. And we can do that, one step at a time, in a good-faith effort to move along the eco-friendly continuum.

Natural Family Online
Visit Sarojni's website
Email Sarojni

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


"Brilliance Forest"
6.75 x 9"

Rena Williams, watercolor artist
Auburn, Alabama

Rena Williams' Blog

Rattling Gourd Gallery website

Visit Sarojni's website
Email Sarojni

Monday, November 13, 2006


On Saturday night, my family and I attended a concert in Los Angeles,
which commemorated George Harrison and his love of Indian Music. Five years ago this November, Harrison died of lung cancer in Beverly Hills, and with his passing, he left behind not only a wife and son, but also a body of work that the world will always treasure.

The concert, held at the Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo, resonated with the beautiful music of Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and other talented musicians. Bhatt's instrument, the mohan veena, is a 19-string guitar played lap-top. Bhatt was accompanied by Subhankar Banerjee on the tablas.

After the intermission, Laksmhi Shankar (Ravi Shankar's sistr-in-law) performed four classical vocal pieces.

To the audience's surprise, Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison, and son,
Dhani (17 years old), were both in attendance. Before the concert began, Olivia came up on the stage and spoke of her late husband and his love of Indian music. Even though Harrison was not with us, his presence filled the theater and remained palpable throughout the evening.

At the end of the concert, all the musicians stood on stage along with Olivia and Dhani. The audience was clearly in awe and many people were crying when "Here Comes the Sun," started playing. George Harrison looked down on us from a photo on an easel draped with garlands of marigolds.

A very memorable evening...

In 1973, George Harrison founded the Material World Charitable Foundation to sponsor diverse forms of artistic expression and to encourage the exploration of alernative life views and philosophies. To learn more about his foundation, and to visit other sites of interest please click on the links below:

George Harrrison website
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt website
The Music Circle

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


8 x 10"
Acrylic on panel

by ©Rick Wheeler
Rick Wheeler's website

It seems that with the first hint of fall I immediately start yearning for pomegranates. They're beautiful, colorful and packed with a flavor that is at once sweet--and tart.

The best part for me, is that my in-laws have a pomegranate tree in their backyard, and every year I eagerly await the fruits to ripen. Unfortunately, this year when the pomegranates were ready for harvesting, my in-laws were away and by the time they were home, most of the garnet colored fruits were hanging from the drooping branches, split open and available to any bird or bug.

But my father-in-law rescued enough to send my family home with a bulging bag of pomegranates, and later, my husband spent a long time coaxing the shimmering seeds out of their tight cocoons.

For those of you who would like to know how to incorporate these seeds into your cooking, I'd like to offer a few suggestions and a recipe:

Tips for Using Pomegranate Seeds

-Sprinkle in salads. The color of pomegranate seeds is eye-popping and will bring anyone back to the salad bowl for seconds.

-Use on top of hummus--that scrumptious Middle Eastern dish made with garbanzo beans and tahini (sesame seed paste).

-Sprinkle over fish, chicken, or even meat, along with some chopped herbs, like parsley.

-Combine with sliced oranges as a salad. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and you're set to serve.


1 15 oz. can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. tahini
1 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped coarsely
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
water for thinning (about 4 T.)
chopped parsley
1 T. pomegranate seeds

Place all ingredients in blender except water, parsley and pomegranate seeds.
Start blending and add enough water to help mixture puree easily. Continue blending until very smooth. Pour onto platter or plate, and with a spoon, make a circular design in the hummus. Pour olive oil into grooves. Sprinkle with parsley, and top with pomegranate seeds.

Serve with organic, whole wheat pita bread, cut into triangles.

Visit Sarojni's website:
Sarojni Mehta-Lissak

Email Sarojni

Monday, November 06, 2006


Did you know that Java-Log company diverts more than 42 million kilograms of coffee grounds from landfills each year? These previous cast-aways are now used to make firelogs that burn with a "green" stamp of approval.

Read more about Java-Logs and other eco-friendly firelogs in my article on Natural Family Online:
Out of the Woods and Into the Fire: Eco-Friendly Firelogs

Visit Sarojni's website:
Sarojni Mehta-Lissak

Email Sarojni

Friday, November 03, 2006


After a nearly five-year restoration hiatus, the Griffith Observatory--located on Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles--reopens today for stargazers and black hole buffs. The closure of this icon allowed workers to complete needed renovations and a 40,000 square foot expansion. These facelifts, which included a multi-level exhibit building, a state-of-the art planetarium environment, a 200-seat presentation theater--and more--cost 93 million dollars.

For those of you who live in or near Southern California, or for others who may be coming to California on vacation, make plans ahead of time to see this astronomical site. There is an expected "crush" of people, so organizers at the Observatory have created a system to allow visitors to enjoy the new building and exhibits in an orderly way. This will be through a timed-entry system, with reservations.

Parking will be at an off-site location with shuttles available to take people to and from the Observatory.

Costs to visit?

General admission: $8.00
Children 5-12: $4.00
Children 4 and under: free
Seniors 60 and over: $4.00

To make reservations, call this toll-free number between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m:
(888) 695-0888

Or visit the website:
Griffith Observatory

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Why leaves change their colors???

Read more by clicking on this link:

Accu Weather

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


"Just Before Daylight"
5 x 7 "

Rena Williams, watercolor artist
Auburn, Alabama

Rena Williams' Blog
Rattling Gourd Gallery