Sunday, September 30, 2007

autumn's child

the final countdown is here. tomorrow dan and i will see devendra banhart play in a historic synagogue in dc's chinatown. hopefully our puttering car will make the two hour drive.

here is his appearance on conan o'brien earlier in the week. that's the night i went to bed at 8:30pm.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

brownish consumer report

this morning i went to the salvation army and was pleasantly surprised to find all clothing was marked at $1. unfortunately i didn't have much luck finding anything worthwhile for myself or my family, just a few comfort items. but i did find this seemingly vintage oleg cassini shirt and for a buck couldn't pass it up. i'm hoping it will fit dan, but if not, i may just keep it on display for a while. love the peacock motif and metallic thread!

i also found this cute little franciscan discovery bowl from their topaz line. apparently it is a sugar bowl missing its top. but i like it just the way it is. a little old lady tapped me on the shoulder while i was in the check-out line and said, "i'm so glad someone is buying that; i've had my eye on it for days." i'm not sure what about the 50 cent price tag stopped her from buying it herself, but it seems i made her day anyway.

speaking of brownish. today when tashi and i were on our way to the vegetarian festival in downtown charlottesville, we passed on one street corner a semi crazed looking dude with words scrawled on his bare chest. i didn't bother reading the words, but when he said, "watch out for the poopie" i realized that was just what he had written in dark ink across his skin. he pointed to a heap of dookie up the side street a ways. tashi was stunned. after that i felt like everyone i looked at was on acid.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

part three of a project and completion

i've been finishing up this project at tashi's baseball games of late. this is the last installment:

this is the whole thing:

and this is what it was made to cover. a nasty upholstery wound in our car, covered with duct tape (the car came that way, and, despite its few cosmetic flaws, it's been worth all $700):

doesn't this look better:

even from the outside:

tashi thinks so:

of course, as soon as there are a couple of wiggling kids sitting in that backseat the whole thing will probably crumple and i'll have to keep adjusting it. but it's been a fun effort anyway!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

tattoo sharing

ok, so i was searching around for devendra banhart tour reviews because i'm going to his show in dc in one week (and i'm about as excited as i've ever been for a concert), and i found this bunch of videos of him at his house in topanga canyon.

but the real point of all this is that he showed off his triple goddess tattoo on his inner arm, the same one i have on my outer arm. the tattoo bit is in the "jim morrison's couch" clip. is that cool or what? well i think so. . .

and how's this for a late feet week photo? he wears size 12.5. with the special feature of having toes longer than the big toes. i love my man.

X Stands for XOXOXO

in particular, today, for my husband, on our 8 year anniversary.

and for tashi, who has been along with us the whole time!

here is a little summary of eight married years:

year one:

we packed up our home in oakland, put all our belongings in storage, and went to india for a year. the summer of our first year of marriage was spent in a monsoon.

year two:

we lived in india for most of that year. it was not only an amazing journey, it was a great family experience of adjustment to another culture. the summer before our second anniversary was spent in corvallis, oregon, in back-in-the-u.s.a. culture shock. i worked on a manuscript all summer and gave tarot readings, while dan discovered there were no dotcom jobs to be found, anywhere. 9/11 happened. we bought two used cars and moved our butts across country to two acres and a pond in ann arbor, michigan.

year three:

dan drove a cab and i worked in a food coop. it was a difficult year but we lived in a magical place. after a long time of being away from the great north, we re-acquainted ourselves to snow: shoveling, scraping, warming up the auto, sledding, snowmen, walking on ice, the amazing soft white silence. tashi started preschool.

year four:

we got our cats, loki and luna. well, let me clarify, tashi and i came home from the pumpkin farm with them one day. dan wasn't entirely thrilled, but fell in love with them in about ten minutes. they brought us a great deal of joy and laughter, and added just that much more family to our family. just before our fourth anniversary, tashi started kindergarten.

year five:

dan got a job at a dotcom and stopped driving a cab. he no longer worked when i didn't work, and we could start having dinners together again. we spent our fifth anniversary visiting san francisco, and having a marvelous time with sorely missed friends. we enjoyed britt and adriano's wedding, just a couple of days after our own anniversary.

year six:

some community was finally beginning to gel in ann arbor. we had a couple of blow out parties. we went out dancing late into the night to reggae music, while tashi hung out with yia yia on occasion. tashi made it through her first grade year with tears and laughter and songs. always songs. and just before our sixth anniversary, dan landed a job that merges his passions at the tibetan and himalayan digital library. we moved to charlottesville in a month's notice.

year seven:

blue ridge beauty. temperate winter. winding drives through historic villages. little blue house. blog picks up. we both worked for the same department at uva. lunches together. warm lattes delivered by dan in early morning. tashi very happy with her new found friends. chicken pox on halloween. a summer in cyprus.

year eight:

skipping stones in sugar hollow. swimming in mountain lakes. tashi joins a baseball team and learns to play violin. dan and i no longer work in the same department, but we can meet for lunch on the corner. dan is in rocking band, and i have more time for my own pursuits. we're looking ahead and walking arm-in-arm down a path of dreams made real.

thank you dan, for your patience with me when i am worried, negative and controlling. for your boundless support of my passions. for your steady love and your strong heart. thank you for building such an incredible bond with our daughter, and for being such a dependable co-parent. thank you for being so smart, so funny, and so kind. i can't believe life has rewarded me so.

and thank you tashi, for putting up with two parents who don't often take the easiest road.

Monday, September 24, 2007

R.I.P. Lotus Landing

it's just a concrete slab, but a peaceful place to dangle your legs and appreciate the creek below

today, this is what you see

there is a great letter about why this is happening, here

a note tashi left, "how dare you cut trees down"

this is a quick something i sent off to our neighborhood association this afternoon:

my daughter, husband and i have two special spots in the neighborhood. we lost touch with them in the humidity of summer, but just last night, on autumn equinox, took our old familiar walk from broad, to shamrock, and down mulberry, to the creek. there is a big concrete slab there we like to call lotus landing. it's a place we sometimes visit to gaze at the creek, enjoy the small fish darting back and forth, toss stones, and just sit, because what's not to enjoy about a creek? it's also a great spot to play pooh sticks, a game the favorite bear plays in one of his stories. we would release our sticks on one side of the pipe running under the road, and scoot ourselves to the landing to see whose stick popped through first. this was a family ritual.

last night when we arrived at lotus landing it was covered with huge downed tree trunks. there were several severed stumps sticking up from the ground and a mound of branches carelessly tossed over the already drought damaged creek. we tried to justify it somehow, thinking that perhaps the trees were diseased.

today my daughter and i walked back there, wanting to investigate why this had happened. but it had only got worse. now the trees were gone on the other side of the creek. the workers told me it was so a sewage line could be built there. my daughter and i sat sadly on lotus landing, where still we could gaze at the little fish darting around. but for how much longer? we had to leave when they started up the mulch machine and ground up our magical world.

from there we walked to our second favorite spot, a foot bridge that crosses the creek on center street. this is where my daughter, about two years ago, thought up her name for the waterway: fairy creek. that too had changed. one whole side of it had been cleared. it no longer seemed so inviting for the fairies.

we walked home, heart broken and confused, wishing we could do something. but the trees are now mulch. it's too late.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

happy autumn equinox, otherwise known as mabon

it's been an awesome day. it started it out a little rough, not feeling so swell, the general malaise i've been experiencing all week. but i was cheered by a visit from kevin, suzanne, jakob and their new family member, julian felix.

he is a seriously delicious little sprite.

i was further cheered by a visit with the amazing molly, who gave me a knitting lesson! cheggit out!

this is going to be a nice scarf, knitted by me me me! and then i will knit and knit and knit other things. well, that's the hope, anyway. i am so relieved that i can do something with my hands when i am sitting on the couch feeling completely useless while watching the "six feet under" marathon.

tonight we had a bit of a mabon feast: split pea soup, potato leek gruyere gratin, fresh salad and chocolate stout (well, just one of the latter for me). it was delicous.

we went around the table and talked about what we were grateful to the earth for, and what we hoped for the earth.

after dinner we stepped outside and watched a bat swoop around above our house. it was the first time i've seen a bat around here and i felt honored. bats are good luck. afterwards we took a walk to lotus landing, a cement block beside a creek where we like to sit sometimes, throwing stones and observing little fish. the creek was stinky and so, so, so low. and at least five trees had been chopped down next to the creek, which just ripped our hearts out.

were they diseased? or are the land owners insane, the people whose creek bordering property the trees were on?

at least we were cheered by this little fellow, who came chattering by.

he seemed well cared for, and we think lived across the street. he was also upset about the trees.

we came home and read equinox stories. and now i will knit myself to sleep. blessed be!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

tomorrow is autumn equinox

not much to report today. just a photo. of reflection.

wishing you all a peaceful transition into a new season.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

under the weather

that's how i'm feeling. not that i don't dig autumn. i so love the shifting light, the relief from heat and humidity, the feeling of change, the moodiness of it all. but like persephone, i tend to go underground in the colder seasons, and the knowledge of the coming darkness fills me with apprehension.

but mostly i'm feeling funky because i have a urinary tract infection. if you must know. it's only the second one ever in my life, but also the second one this year. is this what turning 40 is all about?

so i've been spending a lot of time on the couch, creeping myself out with how quickly i'm moving through the "six feet under" seasons (gotta find out what happened to lisa. . .), and reading lots of magazines.

i treated myself to a short stroll into the salvation army this morning where i found these cute cups and creamer. i love the odd little plants. i usually like to serve tea to tashi in little cups such as these, and the creamer can even be used as a small tea pot. well, except that it has no lid.

tashi is currently playing upstairs with a friend (they are awfully quiet, which means i'm probably in for some sort of surprise). perhaps it's about time for me to salvage this day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

blah blah bloggity

ok, i seem to be a sucker for memes lately. i really like these kind where you can join in but you're not expected to tag anyone. i like the format that they provide on days when i'm not feeling particularly creative. i first read this quesionnaire on pixiegenne's blog. she does phenomenal decoupage work. you should check her out!!!

1. Do you promote your blog?

i don't know if promote is the right word. i tell friends about it. i have a link to it on my flickr profile. and i usually leave the url when commenting on other blogs. but when people i've just met tell me they've read my blog through a blog aggregator (is that a word?), i turn bright red.

2. How often do you check hits?

i used to check daily. but it was too depressing. now i check when i remember the stat counter is there. which i guess is more often than not.

3. Do you stick to one topic?

not really. i'm not a one topic gal. it's become a little more focused on the things that i make or the things that i fantasize about making and the things that i do with my family and the things that i do by myself. but it's generally all over the place. i like it that way.

4. Who knows that you have a blog?

some friends. perhaps a few family members? people that i've connected with in the blogging community. or anyone that asks me if i have a blog. who else knows? c'mon tell me!

5. How many blogs do you read?

pretty much all the ones that i link to. and a few more. there are so many out there. it can become all consuming. i do have a life outside the computer. though my poor little daughter might not agree (righ now she's sitting on the couch next to me reading "the dark is rising" while i tap away at the keyboard).

6. Are you a fast reader?

what kind of question is that? not exceptionally fast. but not slow either. sometimes i just look at the pretty pictures. i'm a fast typer though.

7. Do you customize your blog or do anything technical?

i would like to customize it. it took me over two years just to figure out how to put my own picture up as the header. and i didn't even figure it out. my husband did. i'm a bit lazy about figuring out technical things.

8. Do you blog anonymously?

no. sometimes i worry about that. but i try to trust in the universe.

9. To what extent do you censor yourself?

perhaps not enough. . . i don't know. i don't write about sex and drugs. i do write about rock and roll. i don't voice negative opinions about friends and family, or talk about the latest argument i had with so and so. if i did, i'd transmute it into a creative use of language. i don't do that much either.

10. The best thing about blogging?

it motivates me to write. it's not as personal or as whiney or as out there as my journal entries usually are (i've been toting journals around in my purse for at least two decades; i have crates full of them). but it's still a writing practice, experimental or straightforward or intellectual or confessional or not.

i also love the connections that are growing with other bloggers, and that i've even made a friend or two through the blog.

and i like being able to combine words and photos. the digital camera brought a whole new dimension to blogging.

who else wants to join in? please let me know if you do!

W is for Woods

whenever i need a little psychological boost, a visit to the woods usually provides renewal, insight and peace. the woods inspire awe and wonder. there is an awakening in feeling small amongst a set of towering trees, whilst also observing the vast natural landscape of things even smaller than myself: fungus, stones, birds, tiny animals, wildflowers, leaves and lichen. there is nothing like a walk in the woods to put you in your place, to shrink your ego and to provide you with enough solitude to sort through your thoughts. i almost always come out of the woods slightly wiser than when i entered.

going into the woods as a family is generally very rewarding. as much as tashi complains about hiking, she usually ends up having the time of her life. the woods are like that. you might not feel that motivated to get there, and you might even feel a little ambivalent while in there, but eventually, you find yourself discovering the unexpected.

i spent most of my childhood in the rural pennsylvania countryside, at the foot of a hill that was topped with endless forest. i used to spend hours alone, climbing the hill, visiting the swamp, walking down the fire road in the enormous silence. of course, i often made my way to the garbage dump, where i found treasures to furnish my secret playhouse, which was also in the woods. or i would hang out in a wrecked car that sat alone and out of place just as you entered the woods. no matter what, the woods provided enough ominous mystery to always make me feel like i was having a great adventure.

dan and i had one of our first big adventures together in the woods, hiking into the ventana wilderness near big sur, ca, camping alone along a river where no other human life existed for a couple of nights. camping has always been a highlight for us. and so it remains.

we were wed in the woods, in the mendocino woodlands, amongst the redwoods. there is no holier sanctuary than the forest. i don't think i've had more fun, what with so many friends and family members gathered for a weekend in the redwoods, celebrating love and nature. we were married by special friends, a pagan priest and priestess, had a great celtic band, and the most amazing mendocino caterer who used organic, fresh, local food. i hope we can repeat the party again someday!

we've been lucky too in our living spaces. in ann arbor we lived a five minute drive from town, but on two acres in the woods, with a pond, near the river, bordering a park. and now we live near the university, but with a nice stretch of woods bordering our back yard.

i don't think i could survive otherwise.

if you're feeling blue, or confused, or if you need inspiration, or silence, or if you want to add a little adventure to your day. just do it. hit the road and visit the woods.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

diva II

ok, since we're on the subject of divas, who out there has ever seen polly jean harvey live? oh, oh, oh, oh. i saw her in san francisco sometime in the mid 90's (it must have been 1995, after her release of to bring you my love. my poor, poor memory). she was incredible, and i'm pretty sure she was wearing a red dress like this one.

PJ Harvey

and oh my, bjork and pj harvey together, covering a rolling stones song!

talking cats

full circle's post about jokes & laughter reminded me of something that has been cracking us up for a couple of weeks now. imitating these cats has become a thing in our household, especially "oh don piano".

horsey love

tashi made me these earrings around a year ago and this morning i realized that i just haven't been wearing them enough. the horses are made from a pretty awesome shrinky dink kit manufactured by klutz.

i love horses, even though i don't have any real experience with them. they are such profound, strong and beautious creatures; i would so love to have a friendship with one. i fantasize about taking lessons, about grooming, about peaceful rides in the woods with a horse that i know well. it just seems so meditative. i am intrigued by the silent communication one can have with a horse. perhaps someday. but for now, these earrings fill me with just enough horsey love.

Friday, September 14, 2007

chillin' with my girl

something i savor about tashi's stage in life is that she actually loves the idea of spending time in a cafe reading. this afternoon we went to the newish cafe, shenandoah joe, which is also a roastery of gourmet, organic, and fair trade coffee. it's a cozy spot with puffy couches & chairs and barristas who sure do make a mean cappuccino.

so tashi and spent about two hours there, reading our respective books, and snuggling up to each other sometimes. sitting next to her is emma bean, a large rabbit we found in a thrift store when she was about four. emma bean was named after her doppelganger from a lovely children's book that i highly recommend.

i got started on amy karol's bend the rules sewing. i'm looking forward to attempting some of the projects, though this sewing business still seems very mysterious to me.

practical do it yourself encyclopedias

just hanging out at home in my flip flops on a wonderful, cool, rain sprinkles morn, i scored from freecycle a complete set of "the practical encyclopedia of good decorating and home improvement" and seven volumes from the "family circle do-it-yourself encyclopedia". these sets are full of the best of the 70's. wee wonderfuls has some excellent shots of the former. there is a also a nice set on flickr.

the kind freecycler even delivered them to my doorstep!!!!

i'm not a freecycle hawk, but some days, when i'm at the computer, and the emails roll in with their little "dling!", i get lucky. i am so grateful for the nice things i've managed to save from the landfill: an awesome cast iron soup pot, brand new red danskos, an ikea bookshelf, piles of real simple, martha stewart living, everyday food, and ranger rick magazines, fabric (some vintage, some not), canning jars, a few nice toys for tashi, and a set of stereo speakers.

the other day a brand new bread machine was posted, but i didn't score that. darn.

if you have a freecycle in your town, i highly recommend it. not just for scoring things, but for giving things away. every thing i clear out anymore goes through freecycle. it's very satisfying to make someone's day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

V is for Virgo

i don't usually focus so much on sun signs because i know that the whole birth chart is much more representative of a person. but i do have five planets in virgo, including the sun sign. i'm pretty darn virgo. i'm detail oriented, critical, nurturing, i don't like chaos, i have funky digestion, i'm pure (ha ha ha), analytical, and often times, worried. i like the wikipedia grab bag of descriptions for virgo:

"It is associated with purity and service. Individuals born under this sign are thought to have a diligent, analytical, self-sufficient, controlled, orderly, and modest character. The Virgo person is practical, industrious, efficient, intelligent, full of sass, thorough, methodical, exacting, precise, detail-oriented, observant, work and service oriented, painstaking, pragmatic, discreet, health and cleanliness conscious, mentally active, and flexible."

full of sass!!!! yea, i like that.

i'm not an astrologer, though i value astrology and like to bring it into my tarot readings to a certain extent. my friend molly is an astrologer, an awesome one i might add. here is something molly has to say about saturn, which just moved into virgo on september 2 and will remain there for around 2.5 years:

"Saturn in Virgo challenges us to get our act together. The upside of Virgo is efficiency. We will all be looking for ways to simplify, make better use of our time. If your desk looks like a tornado hit it, or if you can’t cook a meal without bringing down a tower of unused dishes crashing down over your head, then maybe it’s time to really think about how you’re going to manage the material reality around you— Virgo is an earth sign, so we are dealing with physical “stuff.”

The downsides of Saturn in Virgo are criticism, worry and perfectionism. We want to get our act together, but not too together. Some folks will put off even starting to do the work it will take to achieve their heart’s desire, because of the fear that it’s too big, it will take too long, or the result won’t be good enough. Don’t be one of these folks. Just get something down on paper. Perfect or not. You have to start somewhere. Then you can nip, tuck, edit, revise, and perfect your ability as Saturn moves through Virgo. Study the how’s, the why’s, the details. Ask for constructive (Saturn) criticism (Virgo). Even if it hits you a little harshly (Saturn’s character is not gentle), it can be quite helpful if you are willing to put your ego aside and take the essence of it to heart. But don’t let destructive criticism stop you in your tracks. Some people have their own stuff going on that makes them lash out at others in a mean way. Don’t let it get to you."

please read molly's entire essay on saturn in virgo, as it affects all of us, not just the virgos. molly's forecasts are excellent as well. in fact, if you live in the charlottesville area, i'd recommend making an appointment with molly to learn about your birth chart, or your current transits.

i feel like i'm at a critical point in my own virgo life, a time where i absolutely must focus on doing the work that is important to me, the heart's work. not only must i do it, i must develop it into something that is a secure center of focus, not just a side show. i think i'm off to a good start.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

thrifty thoughts

today was the first temperate non-humid day in at least a month. it was glorious. here is a reflection of my happy dansko feet:

the skirt is from the new spca thrift store that tashi and i visited yesterday. a sigrid olson with tags, it cost me $2 rather than $100+.

speaking of feet and shoes that fit them, this is a little problem we have going on by our front door:

six pair of those shoes are tashi's.

i found a few nice garments for tashi from the spca thrift, some of which were so new they went into the christmas gift stash. tashi's birthday is on jan 2, so the gift collecting begins early. i'm doing pretty good this year, collecting finds from clearance sales and the like.

i also picked up several yards of this fabric from the thrift store:

it's the bird w/ red plummage that i love the most:

i hooped a piece of it because the colors seemed like an ok choice for the yellow wall and the kitschy art work:

but i'm not so sure. the busy pattern seems to get lost in the busy-ness of it all. dan thinks my hoops are silly:

i'm trying.

a great benefit of working part time is that today was my last day in the office until monday. now i can finally begin to appreciate a wee bit of solitude while tashi is at school. time for lists and priorities. i need to set aside some writing time. some doula development time. and some craft time. it may be a little ambitious, because the hours that tashi is in school for the two remaining days of the work week don't amount to all that much.

i'm trying.