Sunday, October 30, 2005

chicken pox pie

so yesterday i spent a huge chunk of time sewing tashi a halloween costume. i'm not one of these people who grew up with a sewing machine in the house. i did horribly sewing an apron in my high school sewing class. i've never used my sewing machine for anything but mending tears and stitching square dream pillows. but let me tell you, i did a great job on tashi's cat costume. it's made of shimmery black velvet, edged with white fuzzy trim and has a wirey stuffed tail tipped with more white fuzzy trim. tashi was very pleased with it, but unfortunately she won't get to sport it this year. just before bed last night she announced to us that she has the chicken pox. i lifted up her shirt and sure enough the tell tale spots covered her chest. poor kid. all month she's been counting down the days to candy madness.

how to relieve the suffering caused by chicken pox on halloween weekend (things i have tried or will try before the week is up):

fill a large cotton sock half way with dried rolled oats. tie it off. place kid and sock in warm bath and let them smear, squeeze and drip the sock seeping with oat milk all over themselves. let them hang out in the tub with the sock for as long as they wish.

play lots of board games.

give them rhus toxidodendron, a homeopathic also used to relieve the symptoms of poison ivy.

read lots of books.

apply calendula lotion, salve or oil.

tell appalachian ghost stories.

have child bathe in an infusion of burdock and comfrey.

carve pumpkin, place candle in it and watch shadows dance on walls of dark room.

let the child fan themselves. the breeze is a way of itching without irritating the skin.

pick plantain from your yard. cut up the leaves and make a strong infusion. freeze the infusion in an ice tray. apply plantain ice cubes to itchy areas (copyright me).

feed your child chicken pot pie.

watch carefully selected videos with nice nature scenes.

wear a mask and go trick or treating for your child so that s/he still gets a fat bag of candy.

don't feed your ill child candy.

talk about the true meaning of halloween. that it's the ancient celtic new year, the night when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. that people used to burn candles and leave out food so the dead would pay them a visit. call it samhain (sow-when) and make sure they know that it's the christians who demonized halloween.

allow your child to dance around the room, huffing and puffing, in an itchy frenzy, as if possessed by said demons.

sew and stuff a black cat pillow out of left over costume fabric. add some lavender to the stuffing to encourage relaxation.

give your child chamomile tea before bed time, sing lots of lullabyes and then write in your blog while hoping s/he is drifting off into a blissful slumber.

any other suggestions?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

poetic forms


train breaks
leaf light in hedge
with sudden announcements
for cat calls and sleeping dreamers
will drown

___ * ___ * ___ * ___

leaf light
jewel like fills
eyes upon window wants
sea foam, question of tides and choice
wide shells

(there is an e-magazine wholly dedicated to the cinquain! it's called Amaze).


printer (ours bit the dust)
digital camera (the one we used in india sucked, and doesn't interface w/ mac)
a rake
warm fuzzy slippers

set to go in the south

yesterday dan and i scored two free desks from the freecycle list. dan's is a big solid wooden computer desk and mine is a small wide desk that i will use for my sewing machine. my smaller desk has a very convenient shelf underneath where i can stack collage materials.

lately i've been amazed by some of the things posted on the freecycle list: a hot tub, a blind 19 year old horse, a car and a pint of half eaten ice cream.

one of the good perks at rebecca's natural foods is that employees get 30% off of everything, even sale items. also, we can place a wholesale order with the distributor once a month. this gives us 50%, sometimes even more, off of bulk quantities of food, herbs, bodycare products, supplements, pet food, and, amongst other items, fun things like candles and incense. i am very excited because i can order organic herbs in bulk and finally start my cottage industry. i've been wanting to market my tea blends and dream pillows and i believe the time has come.

tashi, who goes to school up in the mountains, said that she found snowflakes on her hat yesterday.

i think the dream i had the other night about the nasty water in the bus had to do with our bathroom sink, which is plugged.

now that i'm working in a very busy little shop where customers are full of questions, i'm continually astounded by the fact that the majority of people talking to me have southern accents. i might even get used to it someday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

dreamslinging: more than you ever wanted to know

i remember two dreams from last night.

in the most recent dream, dan and i chose one of many buses that were to be transporting a huge crowd to a rally. democratic virginia gubernatorial candidate tim kaine was on our bus. so were a bunch of raggedy looking hippies. the bus was actually going to the taj mahal. there was only one other woman on the bus. someone was passing around a fat joint. the tibetan sitting next to me smoked most of it. dan decided to swallow the remainder. suddenly the bus was full of nasty water. i jumped off and wandered to a nearby stream where there were a bunch of clay vessels. i used one to scoop out the nasty water on the bus. then i saw ann arbor friend katy shay and told her i was taking a bus to the taj mahal. she was happy for me.

in my other dream it was christmas morning. there were no gifts under the tree because we were too broke. i was in a panic to change that before tashi awoke. i remembered that i had some gifts i chose earlier in the year hidden away in the closet. i was madly wrapping them. and then i was searching for the sari wearing indian barbie i picked up in dharamsala and have had hidden away since. it was time to give tashi the barbie. i wondered if she would remember some old puzzels she had played with as a toddler. i dug them out of the basement and figured i'd wrap them up as if new. my brother arrived and i asked him to go in tashi's room and stall her so i could finish getting the gifts ready. there was a small pile of gifts from him now under the tree so things were looking up.

wishbox: a bin for all my practical and materialist longings

Handbook of Poetic Forms (Ed. Ron Padgett)
towel rod
two (at least) wood bookshelves
a new bra
dresser for tashi's room

poetic forms

Autumnal Acrostic

Cabin fever sets in
Oily streets when the rain
Lull in activity
Dark the days ahead

Monday, October 24, 2005

my man and a cup of joe

it's a brisk morning in charlottesville, va.

dan returned from london in the wee hours of the morning, but not without being pulled over by a cop between dc and home. he'd been asleep at the wheel and swerving.

we're about to go out for coffee at our favorite fair trade joint, java java. i kicked the coffee habit in 1994, and suddenly seem to be picking it up again. i can't seem to resist a spiced chocolate espresso on occasion, while gazing over the steaming cup into the elfin eyes of my favorite person.

Friday, October 21, 2005

rear rage

this evening i was stuck in a backed up line of sedentary rush hour traffic when, pow! i was rear ended. tashi was safe and sound in her booster seat, but i could feel the kink in my neck immediately. i jumped out of the car to deal with the guilty driver behind me when s/he took a sudden turn up a side street to the left and peeled out into oblivion. i did manage to jot down the license plate number. upon examining our car i was happy to find no damage. we have one tough subaru bumper. it made up some for the seething annoyance i was feeling toward the rude rear ender. now all i can do is hope that i don't wake up in need of a neck brace.

i have been rear ended on too many occasions, and always at times of major transition in my life. dan and i were severely rear ended by a drunk under-age driver in a california parking lot the first weekend that dan moved to the bay area. and then we were rear ended again by a silicon valley yuppie not long before we left for india. sure enough, upon our return from india, my brother in law tom was rear ended by a carload of born again christians while transporting us from the portland airport to his sister sue's house. and now this, in our friendly new hometown of charlottesville, virginia. except this time i wasn't provided the honor of meeting the driver.

we avoided it as a couple in ann arbor, though dan was rear ended alone in his cab. so i guess tonight was my turn.

dan is in london for a conference. he got to hang out with my cousin david all day today and visit the cool gallery that david works at.

it's girls weekend for tashi and i. we started it out by getting rear ended. surely tomorrow will be a better day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

tents to pakistan

if you have an extra tent lying around, get it to pakistan now.

i am still trying to find out how.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

virginia plant sightings: the southern magnolia

magnolia grandiflora

the magnolia family is extremeley ancient. fossil remains of the magnolia have been discovered dating from between 36 and 58 million years ago.

magnolia flowers do not have true petals and sepals but are made up of petal-like tepals. flowers do not produce genuine nectar, but attract pollinating beetles with aromatic, sugary secretions. magnolia flowers are primarily pollinated by beetles of the nitidulidae family because magnolias evolved long before bees and other flying pollinators.

magnolia grandiflora, or southern magnolia, grows up to 90 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide. she's a beauty! i've been observing a huge one growing outside the barn swallow. there is something so vintage and classy about her.

southern magnolia was introduced to europe in 1731. this tree was quickly popularized for its shiny evergreen foliage, showy flowers and elegant form. magnolia grandiflora also was found to be widely adaptable to different climates, soils, and exposures. it was the first magnolia to be widely planted and is now considered the most widely grown ornamental evergreen tree in the world.

as stated here, the bark of magnolia is being researched as an agent against amoebic dysentery. the beautiful flowers have been considered a symbol of purity for thousands of years. in ancient times, this herb was favored for increasing longevity, brightening the eyes and making the body feel light. the parts of this herb used medicinally include the bark and the unopened flower buds.

the unopened flowers are a decongestant and can be used for nasal congestion, sinus headaches, and sinusitis. the flower buds open nasal obstructions by helping the body expel mucus.

the bark has been used to break addiction to cigarettes. the primary properties of magnolia Bark are analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, hypotensive, and stimulant.

the japanese use magnolia to help control stress and anxiety. japanese researchers have determined that "honokiol" and "magnolol", two chemicals found in magnolia bark, are up to 1000 times more potent than Vitamin E in antioxidant activity. the bark also contains isomagnolol, essential oils (eudesmol, maschilol, pinene), alkaloids (magnoflorine, salicifoline, magnocurarine), and tannin. the unopened flower buds contain essential oils (anethole, camphene, cineol, estragole, eugenol, limonene, pinene, safrole), alkaloids, and beta carotene.

magnolia has several known topical usages including its use as a douche (made from the bark) for leukorrhea. in central america, magnolia schiedeana is used topically as a poultice for scorpion stings. in general, bark is harvested from magnolia officinalis, while the unopened flower buds are from magnolia liliflora. the common name magnolia also includes the species magnolia glauca and magnolia grandiflora.

ghost brain

tashi announced that there are three ghosts living in the small storage space attached to her room. one ghost is a good ghost. but the other two ghosts come out at night and try to steal her brain.

today i start my new part time gig at Rebecca's Natural Foods. i'll be working in the supplement and body care department, which is the department i worked in at the co-op in ann arbor. part time at a health food store and part time at an artisan shop will do for now. the flexibility of retail fits well with tashi's school schedule, and i feel like i am at least working for industries i respect: health food/alternative medicine/the arts.

tashi took the bus home from school yesterday for the first time. the bus stops at the plaza where i'll be working, which is quite handy. and it adds an hour and a half to my day. when i went to pick her up, i saw her through the bus window looking quite pleased with herself. as i approached the bus she waved me away, just too cool.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

mountain livin'

this afternoon we drove up to the blue ridge parkway and stopped at humpback rocks where an old mountain farmstead is located. we listened to a very animated appalachian storyteller share a tale about a panther stealing a newborn baby, then we had a picnic while watching a christian bluegrass band. dan and i exchanged many uneasy glances.

after deserting the band and checking out the old rustic buildings, we resumed our drive down the winding parkway, occasionally stopping to take in amazing views of the shenandoah valley. on our way home we found ourselves stopping at the "walton's mountain country store," a place near the home of, yes, you guessed it, john boy.

man, do i need a digital camera or what! there is so much crazy country kitsch around here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

crepes, kale and quality coffee

it's an extraordinary saturday in the blue ridge. the sky is blue and the air is fresh. the leaves are changing and the cats are purring.

let's hear it for pay day! yay pay day! let's hear it for moving expenses reimbursed! yay uva!

dan, tashi and i have started our day with a visit to the charlottesville farmer's market. first we ordered breakfast from the old fashioned crepe stand. dan and tashi had a banana/nutella crepe. i had a spicy capicolla, tomato and fresh mozzarella crepe. dan drank fair trade coffee and i drank a locally made chai. tashi had a sip of my chai. we ate while watching a fine three piece bluegrass band. occasionally the farmer in the stand next to the band would jump up and join them on harmonica.

afterwards i wandered around and purchased a boat load of locally grown organic veggies at reasonable prices. i also picked up some tofu, made by local intentional community, twin oaks. dan and tashi sat in the shade and played rock, scissors, paper. dan also improvised one of his squirrel stories. this latest one seemed to be about squirrels escaping the new orleans flood. when all was said and done at the farmer's market we went to the salvation army where everything was ratty and overpriced.

this afternoon we'll attend a play at the old michie theater. every saturday they put on a marionette play and today's is rumpelstiltskin. tashi is pleased.

but right now i'm going to make lunch. i think i'll saute fresh kale and tofu.

coming soon, more virginia plant sightings.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


this morning i had a dream that i took mescaline and went to a burrito shop on 16th steet in the san francisco mission. the burritos in this particular eatery were incredibly leaky & runny. what i really wanted was an amazing burrito from taqueria cancun on 19th and mission. i was feeling too insecure to make my way there though. eventually i drove off in my car, blinded by the intensity of the traffic lights.

now what is this all about? the longing for the best burrito in north america? a desire to take psychedelics? or the fact that i'll just settle for what's in front of me rather than go for what i know is far superior? a footnote on the dangers of driving while tripping? or was it somehow provoked by the pbs special on parliament/funkadelic that i watched last night?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the welcoming committee

this morning dan found the contents of our glove compartment (or what was left of it) all over our car seat. obviously someone had been in there. they took the radio face plate, the headlamp and i'm not yet sure what else. i guess it was pretty stupid of us to leave our car unlocked in our driveway. our car radio hasn't worked for years anyway, so i hope they enjoy it.

yesterday two female mormons stopped by. i opened the door, saw their badges, said i'd made my spiritual choices, thank you, and closed the door in their faces. as the door was closing one of the women tried to get in a few words which included, "you can see our commercial on tv."

Monday, October 10, 2005


today i am celebrating columbus day with this letter:

Dear Ms. Walter:

You applied for the position of Library Circulation Desk Assistant (part-time) at blah blah Community College. While the college received a number of applications, the search process has been completed and a candidate was selected for the position.

We will keep your application on file for one (1) year. You may review our open positions by visiting our website at blah, and contact us if you wish to have your application activated for any advertised searches.

If you have any questions or wish to apply for another position, please do not hesitate to contact me at blah


blah blah


i am still 99% sure i landed another job. though most people would say that it isn't the kind of job a woman in her late 30's with a college degree should have. but you know what, fuck 'em.

dan is at work like a good non-supporter of this holiday. tashi is coloring and talking to herself. i am wrapped in a towel, having recently stepped out of the shower. luna is clinking about in her big shiny red heart shaped name tag. loki is asleep on the nearby futon. he snores.

here is a petition you can sign if you think there should be federally paid "native american day" holiday, rather than columbus day. and check out the good voices of some native americans here.

our goal today is to figure out if tashi should be aphrodite, athena or artemis for halloween.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

busking in the south

the rain has stopped and our phone line is up and running. parts of charlottesville lost power for a couple of hours today and our basement flooded. most of our stuff is set up high in the basement, and what is on the floor is in plastic tubs. so everything should be alright.

tonight dan did some busking on the downtown mall. it is a very popular thing to do in charlottesville and one doesn't need a permit. so, wearing a students for a free tibet t-shirt, he took his didgeridoo on down and set up in front of a chinese import shop. he honked and droned the didg for three-and-a-half-hours and made a little gas money.

why did dan need to busk, you may wonder. several reasons. one is that we weren't exactly planning on moving. it happened very suddenly and we didn't really have the resources set aside. dan has been promised reimbursement for the moving expenses, but that has not come through yet. and until i am more gainfully employed, things are a bit tight.

speaking of, i'm 99% sure i've landed a job to supplement the barn swallow. more on that when i know for certain.

it has been mentioned in a couple of papers recently that the median income for charlottesville is close to or lower than the national average, yet the cost of living here is around 9% higher than the national average. apparently it is more expensive to live here than in nearby cities, dc, roanoke, and richmond.

and so, busking is a creative way to earn some spare change. personally, i thought dan looked handsome sitting there with his exotic musical instrument. but i think he felt a little sheepish about it. i've always thought it would be fun to have a family road show. if he ever does it again, i might join him by adding some flourishes with the tibetan singing bowl and the native american rain maker. and tashi can twirl around in her rainbow pixie outfit.

tonight the rain is my lullabye

the queen of the sky spigot has turned it on, has let down her liquid mane

we are dampening down on virginia's red earth

streams are spilling over. basements face flooding.

our telephone is out, or at least, is in and out. each time i pick up the receiver there is a new sound. pretty soon something is going to crawl out of the mouthpiece, perhaps a chinese authority or a giant grey cricket

the dsl is in and out too

hints of a himalayan year:

mouse, wires, giant bugs,

small boxy kitchen

rain outside open window
the humid shawl

tibetans at market
twisted branch tea house

the cobbled possibility
with few cows

rolling ramble

Here follows the set list from thursday night's Rolling Stones concert:

* * *

Start Me Up
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
Tumblin' Dice
Rough Justice
Ruby Tuesday
Sweet Virginia
All Down The Line
Night Time Is The Right Time
Miss You
Oh No Not You Again
Get Off My Cloud
Honky Tonk Woman
Sympathy For The Devil
Midnight Rambler
Paint It Black
Brown Sugar
Jumping Jack Flash
You Can't Always Get What You Want

* * *

there is the story about what it was like to be an usher

there is the story about how being an usher is not really the job for me

there is the story about how the wheelchair section i was stationed at had spaces numbered 1-13 but the tickets issued were numbered 1-18

there was the bomb threat which at first i thought was a good old fashioned drug
bust (it happened just after band introductions; ron wood was sitting down to do something special for us)

there was mick jagger, who looks swell at 62

and how about his his t-shirts for trivia: a black one with sparkles, and a reddish one with some funky full frontal skeletal batik

there was the stage and the big blasts of flame they shot out from its two pillars accompanied by fireworks

Here is 70 Volt Parade's set list (Trey Anastasio & friends)

* * *

Air Said To Me
46 Days
Come As Melody
I Am The Walrus (The Beatles)
Night Speaks To A Woman

* * *

trey anastasio hit the stage full on just rang it out serious guitar trance

but i didn't watch and couldn't really hear the details because all the people were pouring into the stadium just then and i had to help them find their seats and ponder the questions i hadn't answers for

(is it any mistake that we had not a single briefing about what
wearing the bright yellow t-shirt that said "STAFF" really meant

yet we were stationed on one of four aisles closest to
the stage where all the "wanne be closers" were flooding

and no smoking in the stadium meant we were
expected to tell people to put it out)

my final thought for this particular misguided entry is that
being an usher takes the magic out of being present to the performance,
the magic is with me now,
and that is real cool

Thursday, October 06, 2005

my new life as a roadie

as previously noted, i signed up for a temp job, setting up chairs at scott stadium for the rolling stones concert. it was quick and easy and we were out of there by 10:00pm last night.

the stage is a monster. there was no sound check, but they did turn on all the speakers one by one. i heard some of the most unearthly horrible sounds emerge from those speakers.

i got to watch a bunch of wildly tattoed roadies in action, and then a few of us were selected to come back this morning because we were "the best of the best." kind of like reality tv when some are voted off the island. i was one of the lucky few who got to return this morning to continue set up. more roadie action and unearlthy noises, fireworks, and fog machines. the bonus point is that those of us who returned this morning and worked our booties off get to go and see the concert tonight! we have to wear god awful yellow t-shirts and act as ushers, but who cares, i get to see trey anastasio and mick jagger for free. this concert costs like a billion dollars a ticket.

so now i'm listening to exile on main street, kindly gifted to me long ago by steve dickison. thanks steve. thanks universe.

mouse toast

this morning i put two slices of bread in the toaster and pushed the control. suddenly the toaster jiggled and a mouse wriggled its way out of the top.

imagine my surprise.

i'm generally not one to scream at a mouse, but in this case, i did, really loud, and with a great deal of horror.

it was a cute little guy, i must admit. it ran really fast and disappeared in a gap between the wall and the countertop. that would explain why our two cats are often found sitting in the middle of the kitchen, staring at the cabinet as if they can see through its door.

the worst part of it was the smell of burnt hair afterwards.

and the fear that our toaster may have been infected with the plague.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

virginia plant sightings: purple hyacinth bean

dolichos lablab (lablab purpureus)

i see this lovely flowering bean vine everyday in tashi's school garden. apparently it is easy to grow and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

the hyacinth bean is also called lablab, bonavist, chinese flowering, egyptian, pharao, shink, val, wild field, and indian bean

apparently the beans can be toxic if eaten raw and in vast quantities. but if cooked, or if eaten raw when young and green, all should be well. the bean is a common food in india and africa. it is apparently mild to the taste and rich in protein. it can even be prepared as tofu or fermented into tempeh in the same way as soya beans. the immature seedpod contains 3.2% protein, 0.8% fat, 5.4% carbohydrate, 0.81% ash. it is rich in vitamin B1.

the leaves can be cooked, like spinach, or dried for later use. they contain up to 28% protein. flowers can be eaten raw or cooked in stews.

medicinal actions: anthelmintic; anticholesterolemic; antidote; antispasmodic; antivinous; aphrodisiac; astringent; carminative; digestive; febrifuge; hypoglycaemic; stomachic.

the plant prolongs co-agulation time. it is used in the treatment of cholera, vomiting, diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, alcoholic intoxication and globefish poisoning.

the flowers are antivinous, alexiteric and carminative.

the stem is used in the treatment of cholera.

the juice from the pods is used to treat inflamed ears and throat.

the seeds are anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, digestive, febrifuge and stomachic.

in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the seed is used to strengthen spleen, tonify qi and alter dampness as well as relieve and remove summer heat. it is commonly found in several Chinese patent medicines. it also has a history of food and forage use for both humans and animals.

it's great for your garden as it will enrich your soil w/ nitrogen.

find most of this information and more on this website.

of chairs and stones

we were supposed to start setting up chairs at the rolling stones venue at 1pm today, but apparently mick doesn't want things sitting out for so long. so we're starting at 5pm. whatever! i hope sound check happens to make it all worthwhile. trey anastasio is opening for the stones, so maybe we'll get a peek at him. i have never been a huge fan of any of these guys, though i don't dislike them either. what it comes down to is that i'm a sucker for the euphoria of a big music event. this morning i drove by the stadium and saw all the white tents and tour trucks and suddenly felt a wee bit of excitement enter my day.

leaf brown
languid waver of solemnity
warbler insists
to sit
giddy language
lift and borrow
damn knit of brow
broken, besieged
phat again
crux of corruption
all told
must and mold
petunia and pigment
the fallow lesion

Monday, October 03, 2005

odd jobs

this morning i was scanning the employment listings when i came upon an ad from kelly temp services calling for people to help set up for the rolling stones concert. $10 an hour to set up chairs in scott stadium during sound check. i figured, why not, and went to kelly to sign up. of course, signing up involved two hours of filling out paperwork and watching videos about safety on the job. i walked out of there feeling like an ex-con, but at least i'll have some instant cash and a story to tell.

charlottesville is really proud of their rolling stones concert. we'll probably be able to hear it from our deck, and that is good enough.