Monday, December 26, 2005

gnome home

it is the day after x-mas and my paperwhites are blooming.

today we drove up to the blue ridge parkway where we were hoping to show my mom the breathtaking views. we were disappointed to find the road closed because of a few patches of ice. darn southerners. but we took a nice walk to the first overlook and enjoyed the scenery.

then we went to staunton, a village built on a hillside full beautiful historic buildings. we had a picnic in the car by a duckpond, played chase with tashi in a playground, then visited some really boring gift shops. the jolly roger haggle shop was a good one though, an antique shop that claims to have over a million items. three floors of kitschy glory! i purchased a reclining garden gnome. i couldn't resist him at a mere $4. he is dressed in green and napping.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

bright lights big wishes

the sacrificial leg-of-lamb is in the oven (what can i say, my greek mom is here), tashi is playing with her playmobil faerie set while listening to a new smithsonian kids cd, dan is fitting his new guitar strings onto his guitar, the cats are crashed after madly playing with their new catnip toys, and i'm typing in my cozy new slippers.

probably the best gift of all was this, designed by dan and tashi. i'm not quite set up for mail-order yet, and right now i'm just making teas and dream pillows, but this is certainly an inspiration.

merry christmas, happy chanuka, and what speaks most to me personally, a bright and hopeful winter soltice to all.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

solstice mouse

the attic rag dolls came out yesterday morning and had a really fantastic exchange, but i somehow deleted it and was then depressed for the rest of the day.

tonight i am up way too late because i've been lighting solstice candles and baking cookies and clearing the coffee table which had about five layers of junk piled on it. but it's solstice and you're supposed to stay up until sunrise anyway. not that i'm going to make it that far.

the highlight of the night was the mouse incident. luna, the champion cat, caught the mouse that has been haunting our kitchen. she carried the poor sentient being around for a while, throwing it down in various corners of the house and growling at it.

at one point she was hanging out with her prize behind the christmas tree. the next thing i knew she was gazing down into the christmas tree stand, a deep narrow vessel almost full of tree trunk and water. she had somehow tossed the mouse in.

so dan and i took turns crawling under the tree branches, our heads crowned with pine needles and precarious ornaments, shining a small flashlight toward the innards of the tree stand where we could see a tiny mouse leg floating up from under a knob of the tree trunk. an extraction with chop sticks was attempted, which only succeeded in pushing the mouse down further. more water was added, with the hope that the mouse would float upwards. eventually it did seem to rise a bit and i managed to pull it out by grasping its poor dead paw with some tweezers. the mouse was tossed outside, much to the dismay of luna, the champion cat, who blew it by trying to bury her catch in a christmas tree stand.

that folks, defines my winter solstice 2005. fa la la la * la la la.

Friday, December 16, 2005

the neon skies of charlottesville hollywood

last night we were sitting at the dinner table and talking about earthquakes when our windows rattled and there was a strange unearthly scratching sound. we thought the wind had suddenly whipped up and was shaking the icy trees, but later when we stepped outside we realized that the top of a tall pine had broken off and fallen right next to our house, crushing part of our cute boxwood, and pulling down the power lines which actually continued to work. we are lucky that it didn't crush our roof, or knock over the chimney, or crash into tashi's bedroom, as it very well could have.

not long after the tree fell the sky flashed a crazy neon green a couple of times and then the power went out. some nearby transformers had blown. our electricty came back about three hours later, but this afternoon there were still large areas without power. tashi announced that she was beginning to like virginia, as the winter storms here seem to bring a lot more excitement. school was cancelled yet again today and so begins christmas vacation.

this afternoon tashi and i emerged from a downtown gallery after checking out some amazing murals by lincoln perry. i met eyes with a woman on the sidewalk and found myself searching for a reason why she looked so familiar. she smiled at me, nodded, and just as she brushed past i realized i had just met eyes with sissy
. images of a young prom queen drenched in blood flashed through my head. i felt a giddy little thrill. she lives just outside of charlottesville and apparently feels no need to hide herself away from starstruck admirers.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

chopped locks

last night i went to the starr hill music hall to participate in hops & chops, a benefit for the uva children's hospital and locks of love. with a donation of at least six inches of hair, i was promised a free haircut and free admission to see three local bands. and so, i donated my hair. the hairdresser, located in a dimly lit space on one side of the music hall, tied my hair into a pony tail and chopped off ten inches, rather than six, and she didn't really finish the job. this left me feeling a bit grumpy. but it's just hair, and at least it was all for a good cause.

i quite liked the first musical act, morwenna lasko and jay pun, jammy violin gone wild with acoustic guitar. the other two bands, shapiro and fountainhead, seemed like good bands to listen to while getting really, really drunk. i didn't want to do that so i left a few songs into the last act's set. it's not that i don't love angst rock, but i didn't feel the need to further aggravate my bad haircut mood.

i'm hanging at home with tashi today, as school was cancelled for the third time in nine days due to another ice storm. she begged to watch "the sound of music." 'tis the season for epic family classics. the second half has just begun.

the ice has coated all that exists out of doors with a dangerous glimmering layer. i need a haircut for my haircut.

Monday, December 12, 2005


i'm having a bad day. this morning i arrived at work and realized that i'd missed a doctor appointment scheduled for earlier in the morning. actually i missed two, as one was for me and the other was for tashi.

i promptly called the doctor's office and they said there was going to be at least $70 charge for missing the appointments. i almost fainted. the woman on the phone said she'd talk to the doc and see if he might waive it.

well, they called me back this afternoon and said that actually they are going to charge me $75 for tashi's missed appointment, and $85 for mine. now, i know doctors' offices usually charge money for missed appointments, but i didn't think they charged that much. also, i made this appointment a month and a half ago. you'd think they would have called me with a reminder. i mentioned that to the bulldog on the phone and she said that they have it marked on their list that they left me a message. i don't * ever * remember receiving a message. but of course that doesn't matter to them.

i feel really crummy.

the thing is, about a dozen people recommended this doctor as being an amazing guy who also practices naturopathy. since i'm not much into the alopathic way, it is important for me to have a doc such as this. but now i feel kind of resentful. i guess i shouldn't feel that way, as i'm the one who screwed up. but i feel like they are way over-charging me. kind of digging the knife in and twisting it. had tashi and i actually showed up for the appointments it would have cost only $30 for the both of us.

at least i got some free fudge brownie mix from work today.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

little tree / little silent christmas tree

today our goal was to cut down our own yule tree. first we went to ashlawn highland, home of fifth president, james monroe. at ashlawn highland you are permitted to cut a tree down from the edge of the forest and leave a monetary donation if you wish.

we had a nice walk along the edge of the forest, but the trees were either massive, or tiny and spindly, like charlie brown's tree in the famed christmas special. so we left ashlawn highland without a tree.

we took a drive southward, and then westward, and then northward, looking for a tree farm. i was doing an invocation by singing "oh christmas tree" with new lyrics. and then the sign appeared, in red and green, "christmas trees!"

we turned left, pulled into a residential driveway, and for $20 we were able to cut down a tree from a small family owned tree farm. a friendly dog watched from the porch as the sun set behind the blue ridge. we chose a white pine, nicely shaped and full, with long soft needles. dan and tashi sawed her down in a few fell swoops. while dan hoisted her into our vehicle, tashi and i sat by the stump and offered up our gratitude. i thought i might cry.

we brought it home and trimmed it and plopped it into the big ugly plastic stand and covered it with lights and ornaments. this year i've finally given up on trying to have the perfect looking martha stewart tree. damn those six planets in virgo. i did insist on stringing the lights myself though.

so now we've got a tree in our living room. the cats stare mischievously at it. tashi does a jig next to it. dan and i gaze at it while drinking honey mead, trying to figure out what to do with the displaced items that once stood where the christmas tree now stands.

it is indeed so very pretty. . .


little tree - a poem by e.e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"


i was in a crowded east bay bart station with tashi. we were waiting for our train and i badly had to urinate. i told tashi to wait right where she was sitting and ran off to use the facilities (take note: i would never, ever leave a seven year old tashi sitting alone on a train platform). naturally, when i returned, she was gone. there were people swarming around everywhere. i started calling her name and freaking. there were some red cross personnel standing at a table and i told them i couldn't find my daughter. they were unsympathetic and said that there was not much they could do. a security guard overheard me and said, "don't talk to them, they're mean." he made some phone calls to various stations, and then proceeded to gaze down into the tracks. that made me feel really uneasy. i wanted to call dan. i wanted to call 911. i knew the security guy could communicate with the train drivers. with each idea that came into my head, i felt great hope that tashi would be found. and then i awoke.

i hate these kind of dreams.

i had another the night before. dan, tashi and i were at a big house party. i was letting tashi do her own thing, as there were plenty of friends around and i knew she would be safe. but she disappeared. i spent hours searching for her and freaking. the friends were unsympathetic. i was beginning to give up hope and then tashi appeared out of the blue. she told me she was afraid to tell me she was going anywhere, because she was with her new boyfriend and she feared i wouldn't approve. i told her i didn't care who her boyfriend was, to just let me know if she was planning to go somewhere.

hopefully it will be seven more years before i really have to worry about any of this.

but in real life, tashi told me yesterday that a friend of hers informed her that seven year old girls could have babies. of course seven year old girls can't have babies. why mom? this opened up a can of worms.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

house not heat

everyone is in a frenzy because a "winter storm" is expected. that means it might snow a couple of inches. schools will close and people will drive as if satan was throwing boulders at their windshields. they'll pray to their almighty lord and vote for george bush.

in the meantime, our house doesn't hold heat. we discovered there is no way to close the chimney flue. it just hangs open belching out every last bit of precious warmth. the heating unit in what is supposed to be our guest room is completely useless. and there is nothing like insulation in the walls.

we might as well just huddle around a space heater like we did in india.

but you know, i'm just whining for the sake of it. at least i have a roof over my head and it's a fine one at that. brand new in fact, because this house almost burned to the ground a year ago. and we have organic kale to eat and two fat cats to laugh at and lots of clothes, blankets, toys, books, cd's and a couple of jobs. so i can't complain about a house that doesn't hold heat when i could be sleeping in a doorway with a greasy paper bag for a blanket.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

snow day in the south

we got a call yesterday morning from one of the second grade parents announcing that school was closed for the day. i was completely bewildered. she said, "welcome to virginia, snow is expected." it was raining a little outside and felt tepid. we just couldn't believe it. dan was enraged, saying he was going to complain to the administrators. he never wants to complain to administrators!

so dan went to work early, and then when it was time for me to go to work i dropped tashi off at dan's office where she watched "the wizard of oz" on one of the computers (she saw it for the first time on the big screen this past summer), ate pizza, and watched dan do an internet satellite search for our old house in oakland. i worked for four hours and then picked tashi up. they were both smiling.

in the mean time the rain turned into a spattering of little flurries, which later turned into fat flurries, which finally began to stick around the time i got out of work. one of dan's co-workers said there isn't a snowplow in all of charlottesville. when it snows it just sits in the road until spring.

tashi and i came home and built two snow men and had a snowball fight. i started to feel wet and yucky and my socks wouldn't stay up in my boots so i came inside. she stayed out there for almost two hours, laying on the ground looking at the sky, cleaning off the car, doing acrobatics in the fluff and finally, rolling a giant snowball and draping her body on top of it as if it were a yoga ball. i could hardly get her to stay outside for ten minutes when it was warm and the last lingering bugs of summer were present. now i can't get her to come inside when it's mushy, dark, wet and snowing. i think she's got the midwest in her veins.

this morning all the trees are under a blanket of snow, crystalline under the sun. it's gorgeous. tashi's school is two hours delayed, but she does have school while all the rest of the schools are closed. and i just realized i'm supposed to be at work in 20 minutes. see ya!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

welcome to december

it's been a busy week of building the cottage industry. i bottled up two dozen mason jars of my herbal tea blend, "pixies by the mouthful," labeled them, and decorated the lids with holiday fabrics and ribbons. there are a dozen scattered about the barnswallow, and i have several more at the waldorf school store. i also intend on sewing up many dream pillows, and then preparing my next herbal tea line, "mother's little helpers".

aside from that, dan is doing some contract work and so i can't get online as much to write to all of you dear blog readers (one of you? none of you?). it's fun to pretend one has an audience.

today is the waldorf school christmas bazaar, a time when tashi's school truly feels like hogwarts. at least it did in ann arbor. i think the bazaar here will be a little more low key, but still crackling with magic. i'm being a good mom and volunteering with set up, baking, the candle dipping room and the school store.

the really rotten news this week is that a former co-worker of mine from people's food coop in ann arbor committed suicide on wednesday night. i've been turning this over in my mind and it's just really devastating. julie "sparrow" harrison was a beautiful spirit, so loving, giving and positive. that was the external julie anyway. she was certified in massage and, though in a wheelchair, was beginning to take on clients in reflexology and the like. and then something happened to her at a rainbow festival. too many mushrooms i heard, and a desire to drop her anti-depressant medications. things haven't been the same since. i can't believe she put out her own light. i thought she was a survivor. one thing is for sure, she was a great force of good will in the world. she had a huge community. her beautiful warm light will shine on in the hearts of those who loved her.

soon to come, pictures of the pixies.