Monday, July 30, 2007

a few highlights

oh my, it's been a while!

things got pretty busy in ann arbor, and while wireless was available at our mackinac island hotel, i refused to pay to access it. now we are at dan's parents' house in milwaukee. we'll be departing shortly, camping one more night along the way, and arriving home tomorrow.

ann arbor was a lot of fun. we had some nice lake moments in the silky clean waters of pickerel lake and were treated with a visit to my friend laura's cabin on long lake. we drove by our old house on two acres in the woods, and i saw my herb garden continuing to thrive. we ate lots of good food, had a barbecue with friends, ran errands with my mom, visited the farmer's market and the microbrewery, watched a friend of dan's playing the conga's at a club. i miss a certain urban air that ann arbor has. i never spent much time in detroit, but the proximity is evident.

on friday we took a long drive up to mackinac island where my brother and his fiance were having a wedding. we took the scenic route along lake huron. i made a plan to photograph artifical animals, of which there were many. but if we would have stopped for every one, we may still be on the road today. i'm sorry to say i passed up the giant pink flamingo, the polar bear wearing the initial D, the spotted cow made out of metal tanks, the leaping dolphin, and the huge buck. the latter was lost when about 200+ photos disappeared when my camera battery died while uploading. a scrambled memory card resulted in the wedding reception, most of mackinac island, and the upper peninsula, erased. oh what an awful feeling.

we stayed at the stonecliff, a rather fancy hotel on mackinac. it was on the north west part of the island, away from the fudge eating tourist crowds, and was an oasis. i witnessed some of the most incredible flower gardens, shoreline views, winding wooded roadways, victorian homes, and crumbling stone walls. one reaches mackinac island by ferry and there are no cars permitted. so we enjoyed many lovely walks and rides on the horse drawn taxis.

the wedding was very sweet. it is my brother and his fiance's second marriage, and they held a lovely ceremony on the grounds of the hotel. both of them were "given away" by their children. there was a full moon that night, and fireworks were sent off from four different areas in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the mackinac bridge.

yesterday was spent driving through michigan's upper peninsula to wisconsin. we stopped at a beautiful beach on the north end of lake michigan. it could have been the bahamas. unfortunately the photos were lost with the 200+ mentioned earlier.

there will be some processing ahead. anytime i spend much time "at home" i come out feeling like i need therapy. i'm not sure how much vacation was really in this vacation. but it was wonderful to have a break from routine, see friends and family, and road trip. i very much love a road trip.

and now tashi will be staying with nanna and grandpa and aunts and uncles in milwuakee. there is a deep sadness in me at saying goodbye to her for two weeks. but she is eager for the fun ahead and i know that perhaps dan and i will have some fun too.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

some ann arbor activities

fun at the hands on museum:

my mother's fabulous stuffed veggies:

tashi and laura and ice cream at the washtenaw dairy:

(the above picture is posed. laura is not really a fugitive from the insane asylum.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

ann arbor again

we are comfortably tucked into my mother's apartment in ann arbor, michigan.

the road trip was lovely. we started on saturday morning on highway 33, a small mountainous highway that begins in virginia and ends in indiana. we drove through the blue ridge and allegheny mountains, enjoying views, valleys, wild flowers and rocky ridges. if i would have taken photos of everything i wanted to, we'd still be on that road, in the mountains. so many crumbling buildings, kitschy yard decor, vintage sign boards, and beautiful landscapes.

we lunched at an outcropping of granite called seneca rocks.

tashi and i took a nice walk along the river while the driver napped

and then onward, onward, through quaint villages on winding roadways. we found a campground at north bend state park in west virginia, near the ohio border. a nice place with an area for tent camping, an increasing rarity in the world of satellite dish toting rvs.

we just happened to be there when they were having a "sports jamboree" and we were across the river from the gathering. it started out with some decent live music, moved on to some really painful karoke, and then ended with a live band and an elvis impersonator. the elvis act was actually quite fun; tashi and i had a little sock hop around the fire.

after dinner we took a little hike in the darkening of day. we ended up on the "cemetery trail" since tashi is into all thing haunted lately. on our way back down tashi kept saying that buried in the cemetery are the people who fell on the trail. i promptly fell after her third or fourth time of uttering this. and i fell hard. that's what i get for hiking in dansko clogs (i originally thought we were just going to take a walk around the campground). i practiced breathing for childbirth to get through the pain. and thought for sure i'd be going to the emergency room the next morning.

it was a sleepless night. on one side of us was a man snoring in his tent. on the other side was a family singing christian songs around the fire. a generator for the camground would occasionally emit a tornado of white noise. i awoke around 3am in an unbearable amount of pain from my ankle. i ended up taking two strong painkillers that i just happened to bring along (it takes A LOT for me to ingest a pharmaceutical). just as the pain was beginning to ebb, a child from the christian song singing family started screaming that their puppy was "shitting and puking and farting" in the tent. we proceeded to hear the dog barf and get spanked for doing so. in the mean time dan was making jokes that the snoring man sounded like someone unzipping their tent. this resulted in me going into hysterical laughter every time the guy snored.

sunday was a tired day

but we made it through the ohio flatlands

with a stop at the "spotted owl cafe" for lunch

this is my first time in ann arbor since we moved two years ago. dan and i took a walk downtown last night (well, i hobbled) and oogled at the changes. one of our favorite books stores is gone! there is a wine bar! what does it mean to name a restaurant, "no thai!"?

we are getting stuffed with my mother's amazing greek cuisine (so much for the diet which was just beginning to show some success) and are looking forward to visits and wanderings.

more soon! pictures added daily to flickr.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


the cats are sad and luna wants me to pack her in the suitcase.

we'll be camping tomorrow night somewhere in west virginia or ohio. we'll arrive in ann arbor on sunday. see you soon!

Friday, July 20, 2007

if tashi had an identical twin. . .

cuteness overload

check out my dear daughter's blog to see the cool thing she made at art camp. dan will bring the other projects home tonight. and she made a film too!

eentsy weentsy kitchen

what am i doing people? we are leaving tomorrow for an eleven day vacation which includes camping and wedding. i should be packing. i should have been out of the house two hours ago running errands. i should be preparing the house for the housesitter. but when a girl wants to take pictures with her digital camera, there's no stopping her. even if they are mundane pictures of her kitchen. which, as i know you've heard me mention, is the size of a walk in closet.

i was holding off on showing the kitchen because i wanted to somehow make it better. first of all, the twink lights burnt out and i wanted to replace them. but heck. someday when it's a new and improved kitchen, you can look back at these old pictures in wonder. but i doubt that day will come. we're renters and so the addition which would make this kitchen at least four time bigger, won't be coming.

but here it is, in its tiny cluttered glory.

this is the in-law shelf. multi-color vase from mother in law. new orleans gargoyles from brother in law. picnic basket from sister in law. red vase is from a friend in law.

the poster over the stove is merely meant to be a splash guard. we make lots of stir fry. it's a romantic poster of libra and her sparrow

thank goodness the frig is set into the wall.

some of the twink lights are working. they make me happy. dan's sister made the beautiful celtic stained glass piece. never mind that it was a wedding present. for him and his first wife. the hanging vegetable baskets are usually full of potatoes and onions and garlic. grocery shopping is one of the errands i have not yet embarked on. must have the house stocked for sitters.

these are cheap little k-mart particle board shelves stacked on top of each other (with view of dining room to the left and cool tibetan-wall-hanging-gift-to-dan-from-tibetan-government-in-exile on right). the shelves hold canned goods, spices, herbs, cook books. sometimes if you bump the shelf it teeters and things crash out on to the tile floor and break. i like the tile floor, but it's hard stuff.

and this my friends is my counter space, on a good day. i don't like the counter. it's made out of some weird plastic like material. but it's better than no counter space. and gotta love those exposed shelves that might fall on my head at any moment.

the light is kind of cute, even though three out of four of the bulbs are burnt out right now.

sometimes i feel like i'm on a houseboat in my kitchen. i'm not sure why. but right now, i really should leave this vessel and go run my errands.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

potty talk

i have too much to do and nothing to say, so i'm going to give you a tour of my least favorite room in this house, our bathroom.

there is a soap dish above the sink, but it holds stones.

i think the faucet is cute.

the piece on the right is a replica of an ancient greek representation of baubo, a deity known for her boldness. because it is a tiny bathroom with no room for a magazine rack, i put the little basket on the wall to hold some little books.

these little hanuman books fit perfectly in the little basket, and make for good toilet reading.

i like these flower tiles; there are five of them in various spots.

here is a picture of a bathroom in the bathroom. it was taken by local photographer, tim o'kane. i would like to give it a better frame one of these days.

i've had these fish for over two decades and just can't seem to part with them.

this was tashi's night light for a long time. now it helps us find our way into the bathroom in the wee hours.

i haven't shown you the things about the bathroom that i don't like, which includes molding grout around the bathtub, a tile floor that never looks clean no matter how hard you scrub it, a hole in the ceiling where there is supposed to be a light, and lights above the mirror which are groovy, if only they were wired to work. but i will show you the peeling paint.

devendra banhart - inaniel

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

fire on broad & shamrock

dan and i were watching a movie when suddenly we smelled something burning. we raced around the house, checking tashi, looking for a fire. when we knew the source of it was not within our own home, we went outside. the sleeping neighborhood was under a blanket of smoke. smoke that mingled with the mist of a recent rainfall. i called 911. dan ran down the street. the fire trucks came. i walked part way down the street. with my camera.

am i an insensitive freak and/or a repressed reporter?

no one was injured. the family who lived downstairs, alerted by my husband dan that their building was on fire, cleared out safely with their baby. the family who lived upstairs, where the fire actually broke out and was ripping through the roof, was not home. and now they have no home.

about nine firetrucks came to the scene. the flames were extinguished quickly after their arrival. it is a sad night, but i'm relieved the people are safe.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


i found this nice little fairy puzzle for 50% off. tashi and i put it together last night and then she got slap happy. it was bedtime.

this saturday we're going to pile into our car and drive to ann arbor, michigan. my mother lives in ann arbor as well as some dear friends. i haven't been back since we moved two years ago.

after a week in ann arbor we'll head to mackinac island where my brother is getting married.

and then we're going to drive through the u.p. and into wisconsin to drop tashi off in milwaukee where she'll hang with dan's family and her beloved cousins. she is beside herself with excitement. i'm not sure what to think but you better believe dan an i are going to have some date nights when we return to our empty nest in charlottesville!

i realize that i haven't followed up on some things.

1) the toy soldier tashi found was mostly likely made by the barclay mfg co, which introduced a line of toy soldiers in 1932 and remained in business until 1971. we think our guy is from the earlier years. he's had a rough life and wishes for troop withdrawal in iraq.

2) pleats won for the table skirt

i have a lot to do before we depart on saturday. but i can't resist blogging while on the road.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

the hobbits came out of the hills

last night i saw bob weir's band, ratdog, at the charlottesville pavilion. it was one of the better grateful dead-ish concerts i've ever been to.

i was part of the late 80's influx of deadheads, attending my first show in the summer of 1986. the last time i saw jerry garcia alive was in 1994.

sometimes i'm embarrassed to admit that i was (am?) a deadhead. i'm embarrassed because i have seen the yuck ways of the deadhead, particularly my generation of frat boy deadheads, and understand the negative connotations. i got really sick of being around people who listened to nothing but bootlegs and had a completely closed mind to other kinds of music. i appreciate a multiplicity of fashion statements and, though i am a hippy at heart, it doesn't mean i own nothing but tie dye and indian skirts. i have always loved a wide range of music and rarely choose to actually put a grateful dead disk in my cd player. there is just nothing like being at a live show, and feeding off of the energy of the scene. that is where my appreciation of it all finds wings.

last night was one of those shows that gives one a taste of flight. it was lovely seeing the old and young and middle aged hippies of the greater charlottesville area come out to play. it was also fun seeing a few acquaintances, and realizing that we share this spark. but mostly last night's show had the taste of freedom in it that the more positive experiences of my early grateful dead shows had. it was a freedom that rode in the with the music and rode out with the smiling crowd. a cosmic freedom. a freedom of movement and mind. a freedom that leaves you wanting more and more and more. which is ultimately a constraint.

there were moments when i wasn't consciously trying to dance, but the music commanded it. when the bass engine stormed through the song, "the other one," my body responded before my mind could censor it. there is great power in music that smacks you out of your self-conscious shell.

it is always special sharing this kind of show with dan, because some of my early psychic connections with him happened at grateful dead shows. long before we were aware that we would date each other, have a child together, get married, we met eyes and exchanged words at a few dead shows here and there.

last night's show felt like an anniversary party. a very romantic one.

in true deadhead form, i'll provide a setlist, lifted from elsewhere. i'm just not the kind of true deadhead who sits around memorizing the setlist or predicting the next song.

I: Jam > The Music Never Stopped > Easy Answers > Mama Tried, Senor > Money for Gasoline > Walking Blues > Eyes of the World

II: Peggy-O@brdj > Fever@, Estimated Prophet > The Other One > Stuff, Dear Prudence > One More Saturday Night

E: Ripple

Friday, July 13, 2007


we are having technical difficulties with the ol' modem in the homeplace. bear with me as i come and go!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

shifty luv

last night i watched the movie down in the valley while embroidering this little piece. it's hard to watch a movie and embroider. i kept having to skip back on the disk.

the shift is very old and shapeless but super comfortable. i like to wear it around the house or to the beach. it's 100% hemp and looks pretty much like a pea green potato sack. i thought it could use a little luv. kind of like all the characters in the movie.