Friday, March 31, 2006

a mash of clutter cake

today i was having a "the house is a catastrophe of clutter" crisis when tashi said, come outside and draw on the sidewalk with chalk. and so i did. sidewalk-chalk-drawing is good therapy. we drew flowers and peace signs and animals and no more war slogans.

and then i came inside and cleaned out tashi's closet for starters. i found this cool three drawer flat wooden thing at salvation army, pink and blue and it slides right onto one of tashi's long closet shelves. just a little more storage space for too much stuff. clothes too small off to freecycle. winter clothes for next year in the plastic tub. games and puzzles rearranged. the dress-up basket purged of tattered items. and tomorrow the summer clothes will come out of the basement.

but that's just a start. so much more needs attention. my office. our bedroom closets. the living room. somehow our coffee table is clutter central and no matter how hard i try to keep it clear, every few days it gets piled high with newsletters, ranger ricks, stones and twigs and bits of bark, hair ties, pens, keys, coupons and fantastic drawings.

but enough about clutter.

we're going to have a robert altman festival here because i've never seen any of his films, at least, not that i recall. so dan picked up three today: mash, 3 women, and short cuts. right now he's off purchasing slices of cheese cake from a deli that makes killer cheese cake. i've been so good about my diet (yes! i've been on a diet!) that tonight it's time for a treat. cheese cake, red wine and mash. sounds fantastic, eh?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

the hawk leaves the nest to hunt for food

oh my!

today i had my second round of interviews for a somewhat high powered full time job. shortly thereafter i was offered the job. and i accepted.

i’m amazed.

i have been all over the map with jobs since i graduated from college a million years ago. i’m a certified CMT, a trained doula and i’ve studied herbal medicine with several amazing mentors. i’ve worked in the book industry, in the health food industry, in some public schools and in some private offices. after the birth of my child i tried my best to spend as much time at home with her as possible. i nursed her for three and half years and never had a single night away from her until she was five. i think she trusts me now enough to let me go a little.

despite all my training and interest in the healing arts, i’ve been unsuccessful at getting my own practices going. i’m at a point in my life now where i crave something steady, something challenging, something professional, something that ties together my many skills and something that will teach me new skills. i also wish to take the pressure off of dan who has been the main bread winner for so long.

i have some trepidation about this job. as dan said right before my interview today: it’s a win win situation. if you get the job, it will be a great new challenge. if you don’t get the job, you won’t have to bother with it.

i'm concerned about the learning curve, being able to rise to the challenge of this job. i’m concerned about childcare and being less available to my daughter. i’m concerned about the lack of time i’ll have for my creative passions. but i’ve also been concerned about our finances, my feelings of stagnation, my lack of ambition. and so not only is this job a gift to my family’s well-being, i view it as a great opportunity to learn things that might help me in the future to deliver my passions to the world with more skills and confidence.

today, right after i got the call announcing that the job is mine if i want it, i sat outside on our front stoop and watched a hawk circle above our house. i pulled out my animal oracle deck and the card face up and waiting for me was the hawk.

“when you have a sense of your roots and of the breadth of your life, you will start to feel pride and a growing sense of nobility and stature. once you know where you have come from and where you are going, your life will be filled with inspiration and enthusiasm, you will sense a new day dawning, and you will be able to make decisions with confidence.”

it is time to soar.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


here are some nicknames that we like to call our cats:

loki (which is his real name)
lo lo
loranger (because he's orange)
big guy
mr. tricks
smokestack loki
mr. mooster
oh lo
big fella
tough guy
great big orange cat
rabid rabbit

luna (which is her real name)
la la
loo loo la la la
lunar module
luna kahoona
little sweetpea
la lou
lou la
lunar baedeker
ooo loo

either one:
kit kat kitty kitty kat kat
critter cat

Sunday, March 26, 2006

sunday drive

this morning we had breakfast at the bluegrass grill. i’ve been wanting to go there since i first spotted the place and finally, we made it happen. the wait for a table was long, and the wait for the food was even longer, but it was all well worth it. fairly priced large proportions of deliciousness. dan had the best corned beef hash i’ve ever tasted, i had a delightful “mediterranean fritatta” and tashi had some awesome chocolate chip pancakes.

afterwards we took a little digestive stroll and then decided a sunday drive was in order. we drove east to unexplored territory in fluvanna county. we landed in palmyra, the county seat, a place so small we drove right past it at first. we turned around and found the tiny tucked away main street, lined with a handful of quaint historical buildings. it was pretty darn cute but just screaming for an espresso bar. the old stone jail, built in 1828, was a particularly compelling piece of work. i liked the wooden bars on the windows.

and then we discovered the heritage rail trail. we took a nice walk on this trail-once-railroad-corridor, collecting stones, old rusty things and bones. we stopped often to the gaze at the rivanna river below. at the end of our walk we communed with some cows in a nearby pasture. one took a particular interest in tashi. it cautiously walked over to her and sniffed her outstretched hand and then just sort of lingered around gazing at her shyly.

we collectively decided that we want a couple of australian sheep dogs, a dappled brown and white horse and a few cows. but there are probably other things that need to come first.

we continued our drive eastward down winding country roads and past old homesteads. we passed lanes with such names as fox hunt, poor house, deep creek, running deer, boyd tavern, breezy hill and three chopt. and then we came home and played boardgames.

have a happy week ya'll.

Friday, March 24, 2006

taraxacum officinale

this is our first spring in charlottesville and we are having fun discovering the botanical offerings in our yard. today we saw our first dandelion. it drives me mad that so many people try to rid their yards of dandelions. they are amazing nutritional and medicinal gifts. the greek word taraxsos means disorder and akos means remedy. the leaves are loaded with calcium, iron and vitamin a. the roots are one of the best liver tonics around. and if you're not worried about your liver, then make dandelion wine. it will knock your socks off.

dandelions are good for so many things, that you should just clickity click and read. let them flourish in your yard. and love them. walt whitman did.

The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging,

As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,

Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass--innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,

The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face.

(from "Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

on this particular

today a coyote was captured in central park.

today i saw a small swift moving falcon dip along the highway as i drove tashi home from school.

today tashi discovered many purple violets blossoming in our yard.

today i am distracted and nervous.

today i ordered some very cool t-shirts from threadless after reading about their sale in soulemama's blog.

today i wore my hair in braids and itched my poison ivy two or three times.

today i signed tashi up for gymnastics because she's been begging for it.

today i had my tenth cup of coffee at java java. that makes my next cup free.

today i made some lists.

today the doll house children were being very naughty so tashi and i turned one of the characters into nurse matilda.

today i planted some pansies.

today blogger is experiencing a server problem and an engineer has been notified.

today is now goodnight.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


my desk is in front of a window which faces the neighbor's house. on the other side of the neighbor's house is a very tall pine tree. near the top of that pine tree is a huge nest where a red tail hawk roosts. next to the big pine tree is smaller pine tree where more red tail hawks reside. to sit here watching hawks swoop to and from their abodes is pretty incredible.

it was a good weekend. yesterday around 11am we decided to go to la taza coffehouse where a singer songwriter from pittsburgh was performing. we like to take advantage of opportunities to see music that don't require hiring a babysitter. we enjoyed brad yoder and his clever songs. we hung out there for a couple of hours, eating burritos and reading our books. it was disappointing that the first two menu items i ordered were unavailable, but i got over it quickly.

it's been a weekend of watching spooky movies about boys with super visual powers. on friday dan and i watched donnie darko, which i highly recommend. last night the sixth sense was on tv, so i turned on the tube and tuned in. it was pretty good too.

today i took tashi to see a stage production of pinocchio put on by enchantment theater company from philadelphia. it was a play of mimes, fantastic masks, magic and human sized puppets. very fun, well done and visually pleasing.

be it the hawks in the neighbor's tree, or a film about witnessing the walking dead, or a singer of acoustic songs, or a play about a good hearted fool, it's great to be entertained!

Friday, March 17, 2006

the wee folk win

tonight at dinner tashi told me about a dream she had last night.

st. patrick was standing in front of her. he gave her a halo. but on that halo was inscribed a lightening bolt. he said that a leprechaun engraved the halo with a lightening bolt. try as he might, he couldn't erase the lightening bolt.
and then he opened up a sack from which emerged a gaggle of leprechauns.

pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

a note for mom

today when i picked tashi up she handed me a note that she had written. this is what it said:

dear mom!

you need to lrne how to shot my centaners for lunch. today at lunch allmallst all my grbonso beens had fallen owt of my centaner!!!

love tashi!!!!

i knew i shouldn't have used that container, its lid often pops off.

currently tashi is taking a bath while loki the cat sits on the rim of the tub watching with fascination.

my wrists, encased in ick, are unbearably itchy from poison ivy and typing isn't helping.

happy all-things-irish to you

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

happy holi!

holi is a hindu festival of colors that occurs on the march full moon. it is also a celebration of krishna. folks run around throwing bright powder at eachother. when we were in india we found a safe spot on a hillside from which to watch a band of holi revelers. they went from house to house making lots of noise with horns and drums and then a plume of color would fill the air. ah, those were good times.

the wind is a-blowing. the cat loki is meowling.

today dan was rear ended. on my two arms, poison ivy rash.

what i thought were cherry blossoms, are actually blossoms of the bradford pear tree.

it has been deliciously warm here. hot even.

tonight i'll be cooking fresh wild caught red snapper.

the best news i heard all weekend was that gail norton resigned. cool.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

richmond for the day

as mentioned in a prior post, the in-laws are here and we are entertaining them. today we took them to richmond. it was our first time there too.

i had no expectations. or maybe i did. having lived in ann arbor for four years, i think i expected richmond to be somewhat like detroit. a depressed industrial wasteland with pockets of cool funk and danger. i was pleasantly surprised. richmond is chock full of amazing and well-kept old buildings and equally amazing old and quite-lively neighborhoods (i've since been told that there are some pretty rough pockets in richmond, but what city doesn't have its share of that. i've also been informed that it is ultra conservative).

we started out with the canal walk where we read historical markers, saw some locks and ducks and old boarded up warehouse buildings and the reynolds wrap distribution center (!). i loved all the old brick and paint.

we ended up in a neighborhood called shockoe bottom where we had lunch at a hip bookstore/cafe/eatery called cafe gutenberg. dan and i shared a huge house salad, a burger and homefries. tashi had an amazing waffle. and the inlaws shared some brats & sauerkraut. it was meaty and mighty. for $3 dan bought an interesting historical text on druids

the farmer's market pavilion looked really cool, but there was just one farmer there today, along with an antique seller. i also saw edgar allen poe's house from the outside. the train station is an incredible piece of architecture. while on our way to fetch the car dan and i discovered a cool cobbled road in the shockoe slip area. afterwards we checked out the capitol building under renovation.

the fan district was something to behold, an area full of incredible old houses and big monuments to notable men.

we ended our day in the carytown district, a busy-quaint-commercial shopping and dining district with vintage clothing shops, buskers, overpriced boutiques, magicians, antique shops, street peddlers, restaurants and cafes (and unfortunately some nasty chains like mcdonalds seem to have crept in).

it was mostly richmond's architecture that impressed me, and the liveliness of the place. i'm looking forward to further explorations of our nearest metropolis.

it was another gorgeous hot day today. the forsythia has sprung, as have the daffodils. the crocus bulbs suzanne gave me before she departed for nepal have sent forth their pretty little purple blossoms. thanks suzanne!

Friday, March 10, 2006

the opening of all things

this evening i pulled a bunch of vines down from a tree and bunched them into a ball. i wrapped it with christmas lights, plugged it in, and hung it from a tree. it's very festive and got me to thinking about all the things i might do with the abundance of vines in my yard.

as i was playing with vines, dan lit a big blaze in the firepit and burned off some of the fallen branches and sticks we've gathered up from the yard. we've been trying to clean our yard up a bit and make it more user friendly. it's a good size for a city plot and has lots of huge trees in it. we basically have a mini forest. this has its downside -- ivy, scrub brush, grapevines, fallen branches and a large population of bugs -- but mostly it's a blessing.

as dan played with fire and i played with vines, tashi played under the green skirt of a beautiful big pine tree. this seems to be her special spot, a club-house to be perhaps. i've also built her a lean-to, or fairy hut as we like to call it, in the back of the yard. this is sure to be the scene of many far flung adventures.

it was a gorgeous day today, well into the 70's. earlier we took a drive up into the blue ridge and then down to crabtree falls, a beautiful steep cascade in the tye river. we had a picnic of turkey sandwiches on sourdough, a salad of walnuts, raisins and mixed greens, and delicious homemade guacamole with chips. for desert there were grapes and homemade peanutbutter oatmeal cookies. at 8:00 pm we are still too full to eat dinner.

i noticed the cherry trees blossoming today for the first time. and when we got home, folks all over our neighborhood were out on the their stoops, in their yards, hanging out at the foot of their driveways. dozens of outdoor conversations drifted about on the breeze, along with the scent of nag champa and the thump of rap music. how i love the openings that spring brings: the opening of blossoms, of doorways and windows, of hearts and passions, the opening of vision and the opening of the sleepy mind.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

what now

we're all getting over some sort of virus and the in-laws are visiting. today was monticello, tomorrow the blue ridge parkway. tashi has no school because of parent-teacher conferences. there is a great deal of chatter.

here is another poem by tashi, written just a couple of days ago.

The ants went marching
through the hills
The butterflies
did fly
The bees hummed
between the flowers
And collected nectar
for their hives

right now tashi is impressing the grandparents by counting perfectly by fives backwards from 100.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

tashi's spring poem, circa 2003

i was going through some old stuff today and i came across this poem that tashi dictated to me about three years ago (she was five). i thought it might be appropriate to post as spring equinox approaches. emma bean, by the way, is a favorite stuffed rabbit.

The flowers bloom
In the spring
They bend and twirl in the wind
The crickets chirp
In the breeeze
The ladybugs dance
On the hill
The breeze is bending all the trees
The kids come out and pick the flowers
The cuckoo birds come out of the clocks
and say cuckoo cuckoo
The cats purr outside
Lamps light up in the street
Emma Bean stays in the house
Playing with her toys about
Tashi comes out and reads with her mom
After her mom has watered the plants
The chairs rock while people knit
And birds chirp in the breeze
Butterflies dance in the trees
Then night comes and takes over the sun

Saturday, March 04, 2006

flash back forward

last night i went to a party. the only person i knew was the hostess. she is a very nice person. there were lots of smart folks there, writers and painters and musicians and aging skate board punks. the music went from grunge to funk to grunge to jazzy improv to grunge to the grateful dead to grunge to reggae. i loved it.

i talked to a girl who rides horses and a guy who manages the news department of a local weekly and photographer from a daily and a girl who was working at the jefferson theater the other night when i went to see a film.

another person i knew showed up and then i knew two people. her and i talked a lot about places i've been which are places she would like to be.

music stirs up the past.

i remembered that when in seattle i used to live above band members of the screaming trees. or was it mudhoney? or soundgarden? obviously it didn't matter much except that they used to wake me from my sleep when they cursed loudly at each other and threw furniture around. seattle was a place of intersections and dead ends, a place of downs and peaks. there was an overpass park and an island, a martini bar and an espresso cart. that was the year nirvana burst through the charts and i shaved my long hair off into a cute stubble. i had my first crush on a girl and my first date with a black man. seattle was full of watery reflection and blurry intention. it was a place of yearning and mosh pits. my rent in seattle was only $100 a month. my roommates were both painters. one was an alcoholic painter who used to come home at 4am and steam potatoes and garlic. the other was a recovered alcoholic painter who was a good friend until he asked me if i was physically attracted to him and i said no. boy-painters have big egos.

once, when i lived in seattle, a junkie gave me a bouquet of bright tulips. a few days later i caught him making a drug deal on my telephone.

the year i lived in seattle was one of the worst years of my life.

but the memories are good.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


ok so here i am in downtown charlottesville using the community computer at the mudhouse cafe. i came down here with the original intention of seeing a $3 movie at the jefferson theater. but there was a sign on the door saying my movie wouldn't start until 9:30 because of technical difficulties. i've decided to spend the next couple of hours in the cafe, as it's an opportunity to read and write and pretend like i'm traveling alone in some strange town. besides, this computer is nicer than mine.

the movie that i will now see at 9:30 is "a history of violence." i'm a little nervous, because as the title implies, it is apparently quite violent. i am intrigued however, as david cronenberg is a good director and i have a thing for viggo mortensen. yes, i admit it. though i would certainly prefer to have dan at my side as i watch the unfolding of this particular film. he is giving tashi a bath however, while i fiddle around in a cafe on a wednesday night.

i did call dan to let him know that i would be home later than expected and the phone call was actually a source of amusement. the only payphone on the downtown mall seems to be the one in a dark, smokey bar called miller's. it is at the top of a mysterious stairwell in a phone booth. a real phone booth with a seat and a door that folds shut. i thought that was really novel. in a world of cell phones ye old phone booth seems to be obsolete.

my life must be pretty boring.

on other fronts, tashi announced today that she is going to be the queen in her class play. what could be better than that? she, by the way, is reading like mad lately. being a waldorf child, we weren't really sure when the reading thing would actually kick in. people admonished us and said our child would be illiterate because waldorf teaches reading so much later than most schools these days. but actually, she is far from illiterate. it is such an amazing thing to see her curled up on the couch with a nose in a book. she's already gobbled up one chapter book i picked up for her at the library, and now she is reading an old favorite, "ramona the pest."

i can't help but feel everyone waiting in line for their latte or chai or mocha is reading over my shoulder. it's a strange feeling. so i'm going to sign off now and read my book. write in my journal. sip tea. and eventually, go to a violent movie alone.