Wednesday, November 29, 2006

desk spell

leaves, petals, berries, pebbles

i distribute and sort

create piles

fill bins

in my palm a seed pod rests

i fill each furrow

wind blows my trail into dust

care echos in ear hollow

the tedious pace of finding that place

brush strokes may emerge from key strokes

accountability is a virtue

an invocation attached to each voucher

Sunday, November 26, 2006

ascent or advent

a quick post while i wait for the cherry gingerbread upsidedown cake to cool.

we had a festive thanksgiving with friends suzanne, kevin, jakob and hound-dog ty joining us in our home. the food was grand: turkey and tofurkey and brown-sugar-pecan-crusted-sweet-potato-whip-up and sesame green beans and mashed potatoes and both meat and no-meat gravies and sausage-cornbread-apple-stuffing and cranberry chutney and salad and pecan pie and chocolate chip brownies and ice cream and wine. after our feast we flopped around the living room watching hindi-flick lagaan and discovered that jakob might someday be a bollywood star, so spirited was his dancing. tashi and jakob made a clubhouse in the linen closet and ty escaped at least four times and the cats hid under the beds and comforters upstairs. on friday we romped around on the pedestrian mall, found trippy disco ball and glass mushroom yule-tree ornaments and stuffed ourselves silly once again at guadalajara. it's very fun to have friends visit and i must say that spending a holiday with kindred spirits is particularly low-pressure and not at all dull.

today after our fourth breakfast of turkey hash we raked leaves and did laundry and wrote lists and lounged in the hammock reading holiday stories. every year as christmas season takes off in a frenzy of commercialism and jesus worship i become a more committed pagan. i demanded we go out for a walk on the rivanna trail which was even better than i expected. we collected dried up seed pods and red rose hips and tashi made mud pies and chortled at the top of her lungs.

and so now it is with mixed emotion that i tread the dark path toward the winter solstice. may you all keep your spirits high through this season of confusing messages. whether it's based on a belief in the sun or the son it's really about focusing our intention toward manifesting peace and balance.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blessings on the Blossoms, Blessings on the Fruit, Blessings on the Leaf & Stem, Blessings on the Root

Cranberry Chutney

3 cups cranberries
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 naval orange
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
ground cloves to taste
ground cinnamon to taste

1) simmer cranberries, honey and water, covered, for ten minutes
2) uncover and simmer another ten minutes
3) cut unpeeled orange into chunks and chop finely in food processor or grinder
4) add orange and seasonings to cranberries with another 1/2 cup water
5) simmer another 20 minutes, stirring often
6) chill

Thursday, November 16, 2006

a ramble, because

it's been a strange week of stress and mishaps. work is all about number crunching right now, with budget preparation, annual reports, and travel reimbursements for conference attendees. not my favorite sort of thing. it's making me feel blue and grumpy. it's making me question my existence. but when all is said and done, it's satisfying knowing that i can do it, and i can do it right. i keep trying to appreciate the challenge, to take on the problem solving with enthusiam. it sure helps that my co-worker moved the espresso machine into my office.

aside from number crunching, and meanies, and dingbats, things keep going wrong. the other day i baked apple custard pies and the custard dripped all over my oven. it was like burnt candy. there was smoke everywhere and now my oven is wreck.and then i discovered the next morning that we'd left the freezer door ajar all night. it's been popping open lately if you sneeze in its direction. magic. but the two cartons of melted raspberry with dark chocolate chunks ice cream was not magical at all. nor was all the half thawed meat product. and the ravioli. and the homemade pesto in ice cube trays. and so on. that freezer was well stocked.i'm not convinced that any of it is beyond edible. though i won't touch that now refrozen ice cream.and the cat (the two cats that become one when i don't know who the culprit is) peed on the recycling. and then tonight i found a staple in the mashed potatoes. that's after i splattered the milk all over the counter, the things on the counter and the wall. but a staple? in the mashed potatoes?

i realize of course, these are total non-issues.

i would like to announce that i have the best kid on earth.

i was told that the other day when she was on a field trip with her class at the frontier culture museum in staunton, a docent asked the kids what their favorite food was. what did my kid say? kasha. her favorite food is kasha.

i love her for saying the other morning, "oh mom, you're not going to wear that ridiculous shirt are you?" i love her for howling like a coyote out the car window each time she and dan drop me off at work in the morning. i love her for all the carribean folk songs and irish traditionals and silly jingles she sings. i love her for being so honest and compassionate. i love her for telling me she wants a rolling stones cd for christmas. and a science kit. and some art supplies. i love her for sitting on the living room furniture while simultaneously brushing her teeth and reading a magazine (even though i scolded her for it).i love her because she thinks slugs on rotting pumpkins are cool. i love her because she reads and sings to me now at her bedtime. i love her because she now asks me to braid her hair and trim her nails rather than running like a banshee to the nearest closet. i love her because she begs us to read her hindu comics each time she takes a bath.i love her wet kisses and her big blue eyes and snuggly sweetness. i love her when she hangs out with her friends and thinks she's too cool for mom. boy, do i love her.and i haven't even begun to tell you just how much.

Friday, November 10, 2006


lunchblog update time. today it’s ginger stir-fry noodles by seeds of change. followed by orange chocolate chip cookies by me. pandora is currently playing ben harper. who i like a lot. soon I will turn on the friday reggae show on wtju.

it is absolutely gorgeous out today in charlottesville, virginia. dan is in san francisco and the nice weather at least helps to buffer my envy.

tashi and i look forward to a fun weekend. tonight we are going to a dog’s birthday party. other people with their dogs will be there. tomorrow there are activities associated with tashi’s school, assembling stuff for the upcoming holiday bazaar and then participating in the lantern walk. on sunday tashi has a schoolmate’s birthday party to attend which will give me a couple of free hours to hang out in a cafĂ© and pretend i am still a bohemian. or i could madly run around trying take care of errands. perhaps i will take a hike on the rivanna river trail. or do yard work. or curl up on the couch with my cozy cats and read. it all depends on the day.

and i have a couple of movies. barfly, which i’ve never seen. it is directed by barbet Schroeder who directed two films which featured soundtracks by pink floyd, more (pretty bad) and la valee (better). the other film i have is masala, a hindi flick a friend recommended.

that’s the lunchblog update for today, concluding while neko case sings on pandora. i really like her too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"what's changed today is the election is over and the democrats have won" -- george w bush, 1:15pm

if i lived in the san francisco bay area, i'd go to this exhibit.

it's a humpday lunchblog update. it's a happyday lunchblog update because of the change in the political tide. i am smiling while eating stromboli and minestrone soup.

though i'm also annoyed about the marriage ammendment that passed in virginia.

aside from big things like elections, there are little things to report. things like, tashi had her first sleep over at a friend's house on saturday. this means that dan and i got to go out on date. we quickly ate slices of pizza at christian's on the downtown mall, and then caught a movie, the illusionist. it was good fun.

after our movie and a pot of pepperment tea at the mudhouse, we decided to bar-hop. first we went to C&O, a funky old dark wood place with expensive french cuisine, a wood burning stove, and a gallery. apparently it was once a dilapidated old diner that had served as a sandwich joint and raunchy bar for C&O railroad travelers. the bar is now cozy and well stocked with many expensive wines. dan and i opted for an irish coffee and a hot toddy. it was a cold night afterall.

after the C&O and our realization that it's just as expensive to drink cocktails as it is to eat french food, we decided to settle with beer. so we went to miller's and then star hill. not very adventurous, but what can i say, we're out of practice. we limited ourselves to one drink per place, so after three drinks we were perfectly sober. i like that because then you feel just fine when you wake up the next day.

this news just in, donald rumsfeld has resigned. i think i'll go bar hopping.

but first i have to quote this piece excerpted from informed comment:

' Bush's fantasies are even disturbing his fans. In a sit-down with wire-service reporters, Bush assured them that Rumsfeld, the most incompetent man on earth, would keep his job for two more years. Maybe in the last days of the Republican-dominated Congress, Bush can get him declared Defense Secretary for Life, sort of an American Raul Castro.

Gushing over Rummy and Dick Cheney, the two principal thugs who lied to get us into Iraq and designed the disaster, Bush claimed they "are doing a fantastic job and I strongly support them."

The remark prompted conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan to raise the question of Bush's mental fitness. Sullivan told CNN Bush is so delusional, "this is not an election anymore, it's an intervention."

Sullivan, long a cheerleader for the war in Iraq, said Bush is "so in denial" he simply can't come to grips with his failure: "It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind. No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that is has been done well. It's a disaster."

Sullivan added, "For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it. I'm sorry, there is no other way to say it."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

mac & jeeze

it's a lunchblog update. today's specialty is moosewood brand macaroni and three cheeses. it's a fairly decent frozen lunch choice, though i'm always weirded out by the packaging that gets nuked with the food. who knows how many dioxins and other lovely carcinogens get mixed in with the meal.

i'm creating this post via email, by the way. while recently looking at my various blogger preferences i discovered this was an option. we'll see if it works.

last night was a candy fest to beat all candy fests. first we took tashi trick or treating on the uva lawn. the lawn stretches out from the rotunda and is lined on either side by the range. the range (or ranges, as there are several) are long rows of beautiful old dorm rooms, designed by mr. jefferson himself. only the brightest get a room in the range, but rumor has it that each occupant also has to agree to buy $300 worth of candy each halloween for the kiddies that flock to the lawn. tashi was one of those kiddies and indeed her black cat bag was full to the brim when all was said and done.

as if that wasn't enough, we also took her around the neighborhood. she had the chicken pox last year, so i guess we were making up for a lost year. we were also pretty curious about our neighbors, who after a year, we still don't know. after the neighborhood round her bag was again full to the brim.

much of the candy has been offered up to the candy goblins. tashi enjoys this ritual every year, of deciding which candy she'll leave out for said goblins.

today i am being chastised for the web of deceit i'm weaving around my child by making her think there are candy goblins. i'm feeling the guilt in a big way. but as dan's friend said, we're the goblins because we're goblin' the candy (actually its been donated to co-workers and grad students).

to me its an exercise in generosity and restraint. it's also kind of like propitiating the gods. goblins, gods. close enough.