Saturday, December 30, 2006

five things you don't know about me

a meme.

i was tagged by britt. i'm not sure if these five things are supposed to follow a particular format, so i'm just going to wing it:

1) greek was my first language. after moving to the u.s. from cyprus (i turned four in transit), my mother stopped speaking greek to me and my memory of the language faded into nothing.

2) the house i spent most of my childhood in was at the end of a dirt road in rural pennsylvania. our property was separated from a golf course by a creek. golf balls used to land in our yard and in the creek all the time. i would collect those golf balls, shine them up, and go and sit on the golf course and sell them.

3) my senior year in high school, i was one of three girls awarded "life of the party." ahem.

4) for entertainment, i like to read novels by indian women and travelogues about india. for scholarship, i like to read poetry. the odyssey is my favorite classic.

5) the siamese cat i grew up with was named aphrodite. she used to sleep on my back every night. she died of heartbreak when i left for college. i sure miss her.

i have to add this in,

6) i didn't know what meme meant, until i looked it up.

i now tag ladyman, molly, fire escape gardener, deevee and linda diane.

Friday, December 29, 2006

theatro tashi

this is the doorway puppet theater i made for tashi as a christmas gift. it fits into any standard doorway with a tension rod. it has inpsired much entertainment of late. we can't wait until the next show!

i live in virginia!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

as the light returns a light passes

my favorite james brown memory is from halloween, 1991, when i lived in seattle. some acquaintances and i, all west coast transplants from buffalo, were at a crowded warehouse party. i was dressed up as a "fortune teller" and was carrying around my tarot cards, doing on-the-spot readings. at some point a joint went around and then james brown was blasting from the stereo. all at once everyone at the party started dancing. it was this magical frenzy of motion, when the music and the movement connect you with not just everyone in the room, but the universe. myself and my friends were in a semi-circle, all smiling at one another, locking gazes, sharing the love. it was a small moment, but has become my favorite james brown moment, when he arranged all of our spirits under one song, and through the funk, all funk was lifted and there was only bliss.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

wishing you

we are enjoying vacation!

yesterday tashi and i made bubble wish bread, a recipe we found in the circle round book. after the dough has risen each participant pulls off a hunk the size of a golfball. you place a piece of dried fruit in the hunk to represent your wish. you do this until all the dough is used up. the balls are dropped into a bundt pan and a sweet blend of melted butter & brown sugar is poured in here and there, in between layers. after a second rising the bread is baked for about half an hour. out comes a delightful loaf of sweet bread, charged with wishes.

other activities yesterday included a puppet play of "the elves and the shoemaker" at the old michie theater. a long nap on the couch while listening to choral music. snugs with my loves. and the finishing of the fabulous homemade doorway puppet theater.

we are enjoying vacation. long hours beside a twinkling tree in a cozy house, playing, baking, snuggling, crafting and resting.

may your days be peaceful, bright and inspired.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

christmas eve eve

the cats woke me up this morning with the usual scratching and meowling. some mornings they are so good and others. . . grrr! even tashi still sleeps.

there is thick fog between the trees and the ground is wet with recent rainfall. tashi is very sad that no snow is coming our way this christmas. it was a bit odd running my errands yesterday and having to carry an umbrella. four years in michigan was four white christmases.

we had a chimney sweep visit recently. a year ago when we tried to light a fire in our supposedly working fireplace it backed up. this year we decided it would be worth it to have it checked out. the chimney sweep discovered the metal guard at the top of the chimney had collapsed. he lifted it up and secured it, inspected the chimney which needed no sweeping and said we were good to go. so yesterday dan built a blazing fire in the fireplace. it was beautiful but made the mantle so hot i thought everything on top of it would melt. and then it backed up. the whole house was thick with smoke and ash was blowing out and landing upon nearby surfaces. dan separated the logs and the fire diminished. he didn't want to pour water in as it would create an even thicker plume so he picked up each log with tongs and, one at a time, carried them outside and piled them onto the walkway in front of our house. then there was a little fire on the walkway.

it took a while for all the smoke to clear out of our house and now the aroma of campfire sticks. i don't mind. but i do mind that our fireplace appears to be useless.

last night tashi and i did the annual solstice ritual of poking cloves into oranges. while we do it we think about the year that has passed and make resolutions and wishes for the year to come. sometimes we talk about our thoughts and sometimes we are silent. last night we were silent though in the end discovered that we both have the same wish.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Winter Solstice

(a day late)

vacation begins today. glorious glorious vacation.

yesterday we celebrated the winter solstice as much as we could with me at work all day. tashi discovered presents throughout the house which would suddenly appear. the faeries deliver these. usually the presents are books as story telling is a great way to pass the dark of winter solstice.

when i got home from work we cleaned out our frig and put food out in the wild for the animals. and then tashi and i took a walk around the neighborhood, looking at the variety of lights (all these people who don't even realize they are trying to lure back the sun), admiring christmas trees in picture windows (that which remains green when so much else in nature is dormant) and counting wreaths (which represent the circle of life, don'tcha know).

before bed we lit the floating candles and talked about what we would like to see grow and strengthen in our lives. and then we read a sosltice tree for jenny to tashi before lights out.

once tashi was safely tucked in bed i completed the curtains on her puppet theater. i have only to attach the valance fabric and some dowels. it's a success! and then dan and i cracked open the delicious dandelion wine my friend laura bottled at midsummer. a magical mist rose from it and it fizzed with joy. we enjoyed a small glass of it, wanting it to last through the days.

now there is last minute shopping, a gingerbread house to assemble, cookies to bake, presents to be wrapped and relaxation to be had. one floating candle still burns.

wishing you all resfulness and peace, feasts and good fortune.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

we vishnu a merry christmas

i know that i should be working on the puppet theater right now, but at least i got a good start the other night. it took me two hours to do what an experienced sewer could do in half an hour, but hey, at least i progressed. i'm intimidated by the actual cutting out of the window where the puppet show will be displayed. and so your are staring at my procrastination effort.

plus it's late after a long grouchy day.

it started out with my cat luna scratching at the walls endlessly before sunrise. she has been very interested in my bedroom closet lately. but when i found that-which-shall-not-be-named in there the other day, her closet forays came to an end. so she has been scratching at the closet door and the walls around it at ungodly hours. we threw pillows at her and she finally stopped. i was pretty tired when i awoke to tashi smiling at the bedside, dressed up in sparkling things and weilding her wooden sword and shield.

dan, tashi and i eventually went down to the holiday artisan market. it was a frightfully beautiful global warming day, and we were able to walk around in nothing but our long sleeve cotton shirts. the market was bustling and there were some fun things to gaze upon and some delicious thigs to digest. but tashi decided to be tired and cranky and pestered dan the entire time to carry her (she knows better than to ask me). she is two weeks away from being nine years old; carrying her around for an hour just isn't an option. we all became snarly fast.

afterwords i ended up going to the dreaded indoor mall by myself. sometimes i actually get a little kick out of the mall. it's warm, there are comfortable plush seats, each store offers a different atmosphere, you can buy really yummy giant pretzels, and the people watching can leave you both charmed and deeply depressed. today i left feeling depressed. then i went grocery shopping.

as i drove home i had this fantasy that dinner would be well under way and dan would be standing in the kitchen with an apron on. but no, dan and tashi were off somewhere on their bikes, enjoying the frightfully warm weather. i experienced a completely irrational bout of resentment that grew as i unloaded each grocery bag. just as i was about to scrawl out a note that said, "cook your own dinners" before running off to have a stiff drink, tashi came through the door like a shaft of sunlight.

so i made parmatzo chicken and rice and green beans and salad, and afterwards, while snuggled on the couch watching rudolph-the-red-nosed, i promptly fell asleep.

parmatzo chicken
(this recipe is for six and i always cut it in half because we are three)

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (organic, if possible)
1 cup matzo meal
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tbsp italian herb blend
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs

pre heat oven to 375

1) mix the matzo meal, cheese & spices
2) in separate dish, beat the eggs
3) cut the chicken breasts into nuggets
4) drizzle olive oil in baking dish
5) coat chicken pieces in egg and then dredge in matzo mix. place in baking dish.
6) if you wish, pour remaining egg and matzo over meat
7) sprinkle minced garlic on top
8) bake for 50 minutes

they are delightful.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Hanukkah

Shalom Chaverim, Shalom Chaverim,
Shalom, Shalom,
L'hitraot, L'hitraot,
Shalom, Shalom

Oh peace be with you
Oh peace be with you
Oh peace, Peace, Peace
Till we meet again
Till we meet again
Oh peace, peace, peace

Thursday, December 14, 2006

trying to become a productive elf

oh dear, is it inspiration that i need, or motivation, or both.

a while ago i found this doorway puppet theater in the magic cabin dolls catalog. tashi has been into puppet shows lately and i thought it would be a much better venue than her current tabletop theater. and then i found myself saying, i can make that!

i surfed around on the web to see what sort of doorway puppet theater gurus i could find, and sure enough, i found that this revered crafty mom blogger had once done it herself. she is a thousand times more talented than me in the textile arts, and i doubt my theater will measure up, but i keep looking at her's for inspiration.

i picked out the fabrics a little over a week ago and still they sit nicely folded next to my sewing machine. they are a fun combination of colors and designs, but i am a little surprised by my choices.

tonight, yes, tonight, i will begin. i just needed to psych myself up first. so here i go. . .

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


today i couldn't wait to get home to the evergreen in the living room, the garland on the fireplace, the stockings hung neatly in a line and the cats sitting in a puffed up comfort staring with adoration at the colorful ornaments. i think they know that christmas means a few new catnip toys and lots of ribbon and balled up paper.

we chopped our white pine down at davis creek tree farm, tucked in an idyllic valley at the foot of the blue ridge. it was far more fulfilling than picking a tree up from the mall parking lot. it's now glittering with white lights, wooden whimsy, delicate glass ornaments and a half dozen disco balls.

and tonight we're going to watch the grinch! we're not a big tv family, but the good old fashioned animated grinch is not to be missed.

that's the latest in family holiday trivia.

i had a very nice visit with karen. food, conversation, laughter, chocolate truffles and walks, that's what good visits are made of. i hope it won't be another 13 years before we see each other again. i must mention bizou, where we had dinner on friday. one review calls it, "upscale down home cooking." it was incredible. we shared two appetizers: grilled shrimp on polenta and squash ravioli both with some knock-your-socks-off sauces. and then we shared an entree, fresh tuna on smashed potatoes with an incredible red onion/fennel root sauce. for desert we had grilled banana bread with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. it was pure exquisiteness topped off with a drink at fellini's and darryl rose on drums.

karen's visit came as a nice relief during the busiest time of year at my workplace. and soon, very soon will be a glorious full week of vacation bridging solstice and the new year.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

full moon morning

this morning i stepped into the frosty world and saw the most spectacular full moon above a hill. it disappeared within moments and i felt so fortunate to have been given that quick glimpse. it was the best way to start a day.

tomorrow my long time friend is coming to visit! we were roommates in buffalo in 1990! but we first met in -- well -- probably 1987 or 1988 when we worked at the same sandwich shop. i was new to buffalo and karen was kind enough to invite me to parties and introduce me to friends. we shared many a late night together seeing bands and bar hopping and making art and living with the passion of single girls in their early 20's. it's been over a decade since we've seen each other, but thanks to the internet we've remained connected. and now she's going to visit us on her way up from visiting family in atlanta and roanoke. it will be interesting to see how much, and how little, we've changed. whoop!

the house is festive and cozy. i pulled out various twink lights, and holiday elves, and a spray of red berries. i purchased some poinsettia from a grade school boy. the ornaments wait anxiously for their tree. perhaps this weekend we'll go to the same tree farm we visited last year and chop down a poor little evergreen to worship for the coming days.

wishing you all a week kept warm by the hearth of your hearts.