Saturday, December 30, 2006
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
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
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
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
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
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.
(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
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
Thursday, December 14, 2006
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
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
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.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
i distribute and sort
in my palm a seed pod rests
i fill each furrow
wind blows my trail into dust
care echos in ear hollow
the tedious pace of finding that place
brush strokes may emerge from key strokes
accountability is a virtue
an invocation attached to each voucher
Sunday, November 26, 2006
we had a festive thanksgiving with friends suzanne, kevin, jakob and hound-dog ty joining us in our home. the food was grand: turkey and tofurkey and brown-sugar-pecan-crusted-sweet-potato-whip-up and sesame green beans and mashed potatoes and both meat and no-meat gravies and sausage-cornbread-apple-stuffing and cranberry chutney and salad and pecan pie and chocolate chip brownies and ice cream and wine. after our feast we flopped around the living room watching hindi-flick lagaan and discovered that jakob might someday be a bollywood star, so spirited was his dancing. tashi and jakob made a clubhouse in the linen closet and ty escaped at least four times and the cats hid under the beds and comforters upstairs. on friday we romped around on the pedestrian mall, found trippy disco ball and glass mushroom yule-tree ornaments and stuffed ourselves silly once again at guadalajara. it's very fun to have friends visit and i must say that spending a holiday with kindred spirits is particularly low-pressure and not at all dull.
today after our fourth breakfast of turkey hash we raked leaves and did laundry and wrote lists and lounged in the hammock reading holiday stories. every year as christmas season takes off in a frenzy of commercialism and jesus worship i become a more committed pagan. i demanded we go out for a walk on the rivanna trail which was even better than i expected. we collected dried up seed pods and red rose hips and tashi made mud pies and chortled at the top of her lungs.
and so now it is with mixed emotion that i tread the dark path toward the winter solstice. may you all keep your spirits high through this season of confusing messages. whether it's based on a belief in the sun or the son it's really about focusing our intention toward manifesting peace and balance.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Blessings on the Blossoms, Blessings on the Fruit, Blessings on the Leaf & Stem, Blessings on the Root
3 cups cranberries
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 naval orange
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
ground cloves to taste
ground cinnamon to taste
1) simmer cranberries, honey and water, covered, for ten minutes
2) uncover and simmer another ten minutes
3) cut unpeeled orange into chunks and chop finely in food processor or grinder
4) add orange and seasonings to cranberries with another 1/2 cup water
5) simmer another 20 minutes, stirring often
Thursday, November 16, 2006
it's been a strange week of stress and mishaps. work is all about number crunching right now, with budget preparation, annual reports, and travel reimbursements for conference attendees. not my favorite sort of thing. it's making me feel blue and grumpy. it's making me question my existence. but when all is said and done, it's satisfying knowing that i can do it, and i can do it right. i keep trying to appreciate the challenge, to take on the problem solving with enthusiam. it sure helps that my co-worker moved the espresso machine into my office.
aside from number crunching, and meanies, and dingbats, things keep going wrong. the other day i baked apple custard pies and the custard dripped all over my oven. it was like burnt candy. there was smoke everywhere and now my oven is wreck.and then i discovered the next morning that we'd left the freezer door ajar all night. it's been popping open lately if you sneeze in its direction. magic. but the two cartons of melted raspberry with dark chocolate chunks ice cream was not magical at all. nor was all the half thawed meat product. and the ravioli. and the homemade pesto in ice cube trays. and so on. that freezer was well stocked.i'm not convinced that any of it is beyond edible. though i won't touch that now refrozen ice cream.and the cat (the two cats that become one when i don't know who the culprit is) peed on the recycling. and then tonight i found a staple in the mashed potatoes. that's after i splattered the milk all over the counter, the things on the counter and the wall. but a staple? in the mashed potatoes?
i realize of course, these are total non-issues.
i would like to announce that i have the best kid on earth.
i was told that the other day when she was on a field trip with her class at the frontier culture museum in staunton, a docent asked the kids what their favorite food was. what did my kid say? kasha. her favorite food is kasha.
i love her for saying the other morning, "oh mom, you're not going to wear that ridiculous shirt are you?" i love her for howling like a coyote out the car window each time she and dan drop me off at work in the morning. i love her for all the carribean folk songs and irish traditionals and silly jingles she sings. i love her for being so honest and compassionate. i love her for telling me she wants a rolling stones cd for christmas. and a science kit. and some art supplies. i love her for sitting on the living room furniture while simultaneously brushing her teeth and reading a magazine (even though i scolded her for it).i love her because she thinks slugs on rotting pumpkins are cool. i love her because she reads and sings to me now at her bedtime. i love her because she now asks me to braid her hair and trim her nails rather than running like a banshee to the nearest closet. i love her because she begs us to read her hindu comics each time she takes a bath.i love her wet kisses and her big blue eyes and snuggly sweetness. i love her when she hangs out with her friends and thinks she's too cool for mom. boy, do i love her.and i haven't even begun to tell you just how much.
Friday, November 10, 2006
it is absolutely gorgeous out today in charlottesville, virginia. dan is in san francisco and the nice weather at least helps to buffer my envy.
tashi and i look forward to a fun weekend. tonight we are going to a dog’s birthday party. other people with their dogs will be there. tomorrow there are activities associated with tashi’s school, assembling stuff for the upcoming holiday bazaar and then participating in the lantern walk. on sunday tashi has a schoolmate’s birthday party to attend which will give me a couple of free hours to hang out in a café and pretend i am still a bohemian. or i could madly run around trying take care of errands. perhaps i will take a hike on the rivanna river trail. or do yard work. or curl up on the couch with my cozy cats and read. it all depends on the day.
and i have a couple of movies. barfly, which i’ve never seen. it is directed by barbet Schroeder who directed two films which featured soundtracks by pink floyd, more (pretty bad) and la valee (better). the other film i have is masala, a hindi flick a friend recommended.
that’s the lunchblog update for today, concluding while neko case sings on pandora. i really like her too.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
it's a humpday lunchblog update. it's a happyday lunchblog update because of the change in the political tide. i am smiling while eating stromboli and minestrone soup.
though i'm also annoyed about the marriage ammendment that passed in virginia.
aside from big things like elections, there are little things to report. things like, tashi had her first sleep over at a friend's house on saturday. this means that dan and i got to go out on date. we quickly ate slices of pizza at christian's on the downtown mall, and then caught a movie, the illusionist. it was good fun.
after our movie and a pot of pepperment tea at the mudhouse, we decided to bar-hop. first we went to C&O, a funky old dark wood place with expensive french cuisine, a wood burning stove, and a gallery. apparently it was once a dilapidated old diner that had served as a sandwich joint and raunchy bar for C&O railroad travelers. the bar is now cozy and well stocked with many expensive wines. dan and i opted for an irish coffee and a hot toddy. it was a cold night afterall.
after the C&O and our realization that it's just as expensive to drink cocktails as it is to eat french food, we decided to settle with beer. so we went to miller's and then star hill. not very adventurous, but what can i say, we're out of practice. we limited ourselves to one drink per place, so after three drinks we were perfectly sober. i like that because then you feel just fine when you wake up the next day.
this news just in, donald rumsfeld has resigned. i think i'll go bar hopping.
but first i have to quote this piece excerpted from informed comment:
' Bush's fantasies are even disturbing his fans. In a sit-down with wire-service reporters, Bush assured them that Rumsfeld, the most incompetent man on earth, would keep his job for two more years. Maybe in the last days of the Republican-dominated Congress, Bush can get him declared Defense Secretary for Life, sort of an American Raul Castro.
Gushing over Rummy and Dick Cheney, the two principal thugs who lied to get us into Iraq and designed the disaster, Bush claimed they "are doing a fantastic job and I strongly support them."
The remark prompted conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan to raise the question of Bush's mental fitness. Sullivan told CNN Bush is so delusional, "this is not an election anymore, it's an intervention."
Sullivan, long a cheerleader for the war in Iraq, said Bush is "so in denial" he simply can't come to grips with his failure: "It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind. No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that is has been done well. It's a disaster."
Sullivan added, "For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it. I'm sorry, there is no other way to say it."
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
i'm creating this post via email, by the way. while recently looking at my various blogger preferences i discovered this was an option. we'll see if it works.
last night was a candy fest to beat all candy fests. first we took tashi trick or treating on the uva lawn. the lawn stretches out from the rotunda and is lined on either side by the range. the range (or ranges, as there are several) are long rows of beautiful old dorm rooms, designed by mr. jefferson himself. only the brightest get a room in the range, but rumor has it that each occupant also has to agree to buy $300 worth of candy each halloween for the kiddies that flock to the lawn. tashi was one of those kiddies and indeed her black cat bag was full to the brim when all was said and done.
as if that wasn't enough, we also took her around the neighborhood. she had the chicken pox last year, so i guess we were making up for a lost year. we were also pretty curious about our neighbors, who after a year, we still don't know. after the neighborhood round her bag was again full to the brim.
much of the candy has been offered up to the candy goblins. tashi enjoys this ritual every year, of deciding which candy she'll leave out for said goblins.
today i am being chastised for the web of deceit i'm weaving around my child by making her think there are candy goblins. i'm feeling the guilt in a big way. but as dan's friend said, we're the goblins because we're goblin' the candy (actually its been donated to co-workers and grad students).
to me its an exercise in generosity and restraint. it's also kind of like propitiating the gods. goblins, gods. close enough.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
this morning i baked bread. this is a big deal for me. i've had a history of bad luck with yeasted things. once i tried to make hot cross buns that turned out hard as river rocks. another time i made a bread in the shape of a spiral that was so huge we ended up feeding most of it to the wildlife in our yard. usually unyeasted quick breads are the way for me. my patience for kneading is about as high as my patience for knitting. i'm just not the perfect hippy mom.
but this morning i baked bread. it was really the first time trying to bake a basic loaf of bread. and it turned out fantastic. i enjoyed the whole process of puttering around the house while waiting for it to rise, and rise again and rise a third time. i loved punching it down. and i had a great bonding experience with tashi as we took turns kneading. an awesome aroma filled the house while it was baking. and the pleasure tashi expressed while eating her first warm, butter slathered piece was the ultimate reward. i think we'll do it every weekend.
i also have an appreciation for peeling paint. the whole "shabby chic" furniture craze. an old house that is perfect but for its paint. a mouldering barn that can barely be called red. yet as the paint begins to peel in our house, just after a year of its application, i often feel dismayed. huge layers of paint ping to the floor. the ceiling boasts bubbles. where ever a nail is driven in for pictures, paint begins to crack and separate.
today i was taking note of the smooth layer of soft yellow that exists under the peeling paint in the living room. it's as if our landlord knew the paint would be peeling, and left us with an alternate color to look forward to. i'm beginning to have curiosity about how it will all look once the house is peeling more than it is painted. maybe i can help it along.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
once downtown we locked up our bikes and did a lap around the farmer's market admiring beautiful pumpkins and multicolored corn husks. tashi was treated to an absurdly decadent caramel apple. i was saving the space in my backpack for the booksale, so i didn't purchase any of the expiring harvest's treasures.
the sale was at the book cellar -- a store that lost its lease in the midst of the sale of the historic building it's housed in. the book cellar offers tons of great used books, some collectors editions, and lots of brand new cut-price books. today their books, which are already half price or less, were reduced an additional 40%.
we compiled a pretty big stack of books which is a bit nutty considering we haven't even an inch of space on any of our bookshelves. we picked titles as far ranging as, "A Pictorial Anthology of Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy" to "The Ultimate Muffin Book." tashi also picked out a nice stack of chapter books including an old hardcover about a cat called "Pyewacket.
i digress but it seems like so many good things in downtown charlottesville get sold to this one rock-industry individual and then the good thing changes. i've only lived in charlottesville a year, but am often told how wonderful the grassy bowl at the end of the downtown mall was before the concrete slab covered by an imposing tent was erected. i managed to squeeze in several $3 movies at the funky jefferson theater before it shut its doors for rennovation. and now he's bought a building called the hardware store, where there is a galley of shops which includes the book cellar, the only place i care about. the saddest part is, after 18 years in business, another independent bookstore must fold its walls and liquidate its books.
we spent the rest of the afternoon in the twisted branch tea bazaar, the beloved slice of india teahouse on the downtown mall that is not owned by coran capshaw. at least, i don't think it is.
Friday, October 20, 2006
i am loving it, and i am able to appreciate it even more because i was released early from a work training. i came straight home to be at home. it’s a spiritual experience.
i am alone, the windows open. i am assembling things and feeling writerly. loki is flat out in a pool of sunlight on the wool rug. luna is smiling at me with her best green eyes.
last night i pulled out my basket of fabric and made a purse. i’ve never made a purse before. it turned out pretty well for my first -- hippy rag bag though it is. i enjoyed clunking away at a machine leaving thick tracks of burgundy thread. i used denim from well worn garments. i made an external pocket from a sparkling indian mirror pouch. the inside is lined with a segment of dan’s ripped up old sexy jeans. i kept the trouser pocket intact making an internal compartment. i love it that I can slip my hand into dan’s pocket even when he’s not beside me.
i’ve piled up a group of textile projects that i’m determined to complete. a skirt for tashi made from (more) jeweled indian fabric combined with black velvetine and a red gauzy cotton. a purse that tashi has requested made from faded denim and old cloth napkins embellished with bright images of mod shoes and peace signs. and a curtain panel-shade made from a vintage skirt i’ve had for over a decade, a romantic mixture of geometry and paisley in earth tones.
the leaves are lime and yellow and burnt and red. the sky is blue-before-samhain. the breeze is calling us out to unfurl the kite i found at a yard sale three years ago. there is a warm balm, a cool breeze, birds, crickets and chrysanthemums.
happy autumnal weekend!
stay out of other people’s bidness. we are all jah’s children. the only lesson is kindness.
i walked away from a reggae show the other night feeling so incredibly uplifted. the famous musician and his great band were energetic, passionate, very gifted. there were lyrics advocating non-violence, tolerance, self-respect. the audience was a lovely mix of colors, shapes, sizes, hairstyles and body odors. and the only smoke in the air was that of ganja.
after dancing my heart out i walked away feeling like i’d just seen the best reggae show of my life.
the next day i surfed the internet to learn more about this musician. i read the lyrics of a song he wrote about shooting gay people in the head. i saw a clip of him performing it on stage. and i read that he’d been tried – though acquitted – for gay bashing. good people are protesting this very tour he’s on. and i just spent a blissed out evening under his song.
it makes me feel more than a little icky.
i can only hope that he will find the way of wisdom. repent the injustices he's advocated. beg for forgiveness from those he's hurt. and use his gift without discrimination.
but i can be pretty idealistic.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
frost hit charlottesville early saturday morning. at 7:30am i found a thin layer of ice on some things.
i was volunteering at a yard-sale-fund-raiser for a third grade farm trip that my daughter will embark on in spring.
i brought coffee cake and herbal tea and another brewed strong coffee and we sold books and baby clothes and puzzles and bikes and things. there was a raffle to win an artisan crafted concrete sink. there was set up and first rush and tear down.
it was a great success.
i bought a cool old camping trip coffee percolator and the moosewood low fat classics cookbook, clothing items and trinkets for tashi, and a still-in-its-shrinkwrap bjork cd: vespertine. tashi has been obsessed with her magic eight ball. yard sales can be like stumbling upon hidden treasure.
somewhere in there tashi and i drove off to scottsville to see dan and the band he's in play vintage surf music at the james river festival. my heart exploded.
at night a couple of dan's co-workers came over to watch "the life of brian". i watched it too except that i fell asleep sometime after brian wrote "romani ite domum" all over the governor's palace and awoke just before his crucifixion.
today we went up to humpback rock's where we saw another band that dan's bandmate is in, a terrific celtic ensemble called king golden banshee. the leaves in all their golden umber alchemy against an ever so perfect blue. a glorious sun that softens the bite of the bitter air. tashi, dan and a mandala coloring book. the sweet sounds of flute, banjo, bodhran, and acoustic guitar.
on that note, i will end my busy but beautiful weekend.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
it was a fab weekend at carter’s caves state park.
dan and laura rolled in late friday night after dan and i drank most of the beer. we were able to hand them our last two wolaver’s organic brown ale. we sat around the fire under the harvest moon and exchanged stories and smiles. saturday included strong coffee, turkey bacon, two cave tours, chicken sausages, an awesome hike around dramatic rock formations, guyere cheese, romps around a meadow, fair trade red wine, surreal underground waterways, kindling collecting, baked potatoes w/ flourishes, a flat tire, jarlsburg cheese, plant identification and mattar paneer. we were all pretty tired by saturday night.
sunday was all about breakfast, packing up camp and a morning hike that fooled us. we were the last to leave the campground after disco bellydance lunch bagel dandelion delight. we followed dan and laura and their temporary tire to the closest slave-mart where one can get a new tire on sunday in god’s country. you can also find some fine $1 hats and $4 sunglasses.
and then we said goodbye.
monday was all about exhaustion, seasonal affective disorder, missing kindred spirits, and fiscal frustration.
tonight is my new vinyasa yoga class that kicks my brittle butt.
that is the lunchblog update for this typical october tuesday.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
tomorrow night is the harvest moon and we're going to be in kentucky.
tomorrow morning we're packing up the car with all our camping gear and canned food and heading west over the appalachians.
we'll be meeting our pals laura and dan from ann arbor at a campground in carter's caves state park. we'll pitch tents and worship the moon. and on saturday we'll check out the caves. one has a 30 ft waterfall!
i didn't go camping at all over the summer so i'm beside myself with excitement. i love hanging out under the big starry sky until the wee hours. i love to emerge from a tent on a crisp morning and rekindle embers from the night before. i love to share the wonder with my daughter, my hubs, and a couple of dearly missed friends.
but i don't love camping in the rain. so everyone, think good thoughts now. please.
we'll be back on time for columbus (was a crook) day.
enjoy the full moon blog stars.
Monday, October 02, 2006
loki has a shaved tail for the second time this year. once again he was bitten. this time we have a much better vet. no hysterics about the possibility of rabies. no head cone. no stitches even. the bill was 1/5 what it was in january. loki is well and looks like a punk rock kittie with his shaved tail. we have to give him an antibiotic pill every night and limit his outdoor time. he is none too pleased.
aside from cat-astrophe, we had a fine weekend. on friday we drove to williamsburg where a couple of good pals moved recently. they teach hinduism and buddhism at william and mary. they bought a nice house and adopted a sweet dog. their boy jakob and our girl tashi play very nicely together. we all ate two kinds of chocolate cake before bed and hung out at the farmer's market in the morning. the william and mary appalachian string band was very enjoyable.
after our too short visit we launched ourselves to virginia beach where we had scheduled a ride on the dolphin boat. tashi is obsessed with dolphins so we thought this would be a nice treat. we first checked out the neptune festival but it was way too crowded to be considered fun. we saw a world record breaking (for height) sand sculpture of neptune's underwater palace.
the dolphin boat was chock-full-o-hillbillies smoking cigarettes while holding babies in their arms. we saw lots and lots of dolphins. they didn't show off for us, but they would all come up for air in unison. when the boat turned around and picked up speed for the return we saw a couple of dolphins leap in the wake. and then when we got close to the boarwalk area we had a bunch of para-surfers visit our wake. they were desperate for any kind of wave.
after all that fun we ate fish at a seafood place that is probably not worth returning to. and on the way home we stopped by our nearest trader joe's, two and a half hours away from charlottesville in newport news. i stocked up on black beans, olive oil, whole wheat pasta, whole grain cereal, balsamic vinegar, tom's of maine toothpaste and other miscellany. we sure wish trader joe's would come to charlottesville.
on sunday we cleaned out our dank root cellar and discovered mildew on many favorite things. we should have known better. now i feel like i have black lung.
time to sing a goodnight song to tashi.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
tonight at the last minute dan said -- oh, so and so and so and so are meeting at ludwig's for an oktoberfest dinner. and i said, well damn, let's go. so we did.
for a year we've had a curious eye on ludwig's bavarian schnitzelhouse. we live just a few blocks away and drive by it daily. it seemed as cold as its stone exterior however, and expensive. we weren't hip to the rowdy lounge where you can drink liters of frothy german beer. where you can eat goulash or four varieties of bratwurst or half a roasted chicken for under $8. where you are served by a surly waitress in a white apron.
during oktoberfest you can win funny green hats with plummage and sunglasses shaped like beer steins (dan did). even tashi prized away some plastics: a kinderegg, two strands of shiny beads and a couple of balloons. and you can hoot and holler and throw paper airplanes (dan did). and believe it or not, you can have smart conversation amongst it all.
that's what happened tonight at ludwig's.
happy autumnal equinox to all you people pulling out the wool blankets (or not). and happy anniversaries too. you know who.
Friday, September 22, 2006
But for a quick overview of Parliament Funkadelic, best song was probably Maggot Brain, but perhaps for my own sentimental reasons. Also, the drummer, guitarist and bassist did an awesome jam on their own. The riff, I'm told by my husband, was Jethro Tull's "New Day Yesterday." And the show ended with “At the Hop”!!?!!?
Sir Nose did some good twisting and grooving and it was pretty fun to see a bunch of audience members on stage joining the circus. George Clinton was glorious and his entrance was all that it should have been, in his wild robe, carrying a long staff with fuzzy haired skull face on the top.
Really, I’m not sure if I can say one song was better than another because the whole show completely rocked. Continuous music for three and a half hours without so much as a break between songs. Those guys (and one woman) are awesome and have so much spirit. It was definitely a music event to remember.
The guy with the giant orange cowboy hat probably should get the prize for best dressed audience member. Though the girl with the watermelon colored hair , watermelon colored gloves, and green & black striped tights gets a close second.
"Bullshit" was the recurring phrase of the evening. Its fun to yell that sentiment really loud with lots of other people in this day and age.
As soon as I find a set list I’ll post it, as well as more impressions of the event.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Today is a very exciting day because it is going to be followed by tonight. And tonight Dan and I are going to see Parliament/Funkadelic at the Charlottesville Pavilion. That’s right, we’re gonna get funked up. Tickets were a birthday present from Dan. The last time we saw P-Funk was in San Francisco at Fort Mason. Boy does that ever feel like a long time ago.
We even hired a babysitter. She’s going to bring over cookie dough and bake with Tashi.
And so you can guess what I’m listening to on Pandora. So far they have played: The Motor Booty Affair; Handcuffs; Super Stupid; I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing, Everybody’s Got a Thing; Flashlight; This Broken Heart; P-Funk; Rumpofsteelskin; Cholly and Smokey. With a few obscure songs by misc funk bands thrown in between.
Music reviews are not my thing, but I’ll be sure to check back in and let you know how it all went.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Today’s literary trivia: Edgar Allan Poe attended one semester of college at UVA. Just blocks away from my office his dorm room is enshrined behind a glass door through which the curious can peer at spare furnishings and a raven sculpture.
Watch for falling nuts. The Squirrels are tossing them by the multitude from the tops of tall trees.
That is the lunchblog update for today.
Friday, September 15, 2006
but i'm not weeping, i'm eating.
yesterday i accidentally left my closet door open and wouldn't ya believe, the cat, which ever one it is, did its business on a big backpack that is stored away in there. thank goodness for a fine product called bi-o-kleen which seems to take care of catsmell.
that is the cat urine update of the day.
anyone know what to do about a cat that has taken to random pissing?
i'm sorry. this really isn't a very nice topic is it? goes to show that life these days is a little on the dull side.
but it's the weekend! that means fridaynightdowntownpeoplewatchwithabeer and saturdaymorningfarmersmarket and maybe a blueridgesundaydrive. yay.
ok, i gotta get outside for a bit of my lunchbreak and continue reading karma cola by Gita Mehta. cheers.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Life on the ranch is hectic, messy and rather overcast. I haven’t much to report, but thought I should make an appearance.
You could surf on the mushrooms in our yard, except that they are beginning to rot and fall off their stalks. The grass needs a trimming and the deck needs lots of love. Raccoons knock our garbage can over every night, so rubbish appears in unexpected places. Loki is surely upset today, locked in the house because of rain. We suspect Luna of being the one that pees on any canvas bag left on the floor. She’s destroyed Dan’s computer bag, taken a shot at our collapsible cooler, messed up some decent farmer’s market sacks, left a taint on Tashi’s backpack and even left her mark on a few pairs of socks. If you come to our house, remember to set your bag up high. And if you remove your socks while watching tv, don’t toss them on the floor. We are working on this problem and will be sure to keep you updated.
I just leant my umbrella to a faculty member. It is fluorescent pink and blue and yellow and has the word “love” printed all over it.
That seems as good a place as any to sign off.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
on saturday tashi and i visited old town alexandria after dropping my mom off at reagan national airport. the potomac river had flooded a bit the night before and there was a line of sludge and plastic water bottles all along the waterfront. we visited the torpedo factory, a place that was once indeed a manufacturer of such, but now houses dozens of artisan studios.
on sunday a jet-lagged dan, tashi and myself went to an open house at a winery where we had a picnic, a wine tasting and a wade in the rockfish river. tashi didn't want to stomp on grapes with her bare feet because there were bees buzzing nearby. later she didn't want to wade in the river because an adult smashed a wine glass on some rocks.
after our winery experience we took a drive up and over the blue ridge and dropped down into lexington where there were military boys in white uniforms lining up at every restaurant. we resigned ourselves to ordering subs on the outskirts of town and then went to hull's drive-in where we watched the second pirates of the carribean movie. it was a full house. the last time i went to a drive-in theater i was in high school and surely crocked. hull's is the only non-profit drive-in in the country and very family oriented. a group that calls themselves "hull's angels" saved it from its near destruction a few years ago. the movie was pretty gruesome, not the type of film we would normally choose for tashi's viewing pleasure. but she accidentally saw the first pirates movie on tv and loved it so much we assumed the second one would be as entertaining. we came away fairly ambivalent about the whole experience.
labor day was about groceries, hair cuts and new school shoes.
alas, tashi is now reading to dan before bed, and so i must go join them.
Monday, August 28, 2006
I'm stuck at work waiting for a rainstorm to pass before I head home. So I thought this would be a good after hours blog opportunity. Right now I'm listening to Cheb I Sabbah on Pandora while the bruised sky breaks opens.
Yesterday we went to Luray Caverns. It was an awesome underground network of stalagmite cathedrals, deep crevices and mirror ponds. It is just unbelievable that this surreal world exists under an unassuming grassy hill. Tashi was a little spooked as it felt like a vicious goblin might appear from behind any of the many wild formations. But all in all we had a grand time.
The drive through the Shenandoah Valley to Luray was about as scenic as can be, with the Appalachian range to the West and the Blue Ridge to the East and the lazy river winding back and forth throughout. And then we had another blissful ride home through the Rappahannock Valley (pictured above). It was perfect dream of rolling pastures, animated mountains, pretty homesteads, horses and cows. The kind of land that makes you want to get off the grid and sell herbal teas for a living. Wait, wasn't once I going to do that? I may yet. . .
On saturday we checked out Lexington, Virginia. Unfortunately I didn't run into Sally Mann. We did roam through a kitschy community fair and eat funnel cake. Afterwards we got lost on some back roads leading to the James River and then we drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway where we enjoyed more stunning scenery and a wonderful sunset.
It was just the kind of Virginia weekend we needed. Even if the car wanted to overheat and was spewing a foul black smoke every so often.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
yesterday we went to washington, dc, which is mere two hour drive north east. we went because my mother wanted to go to the anti-war march (pictured above). there certainly could be worse things to do with one's mother. dan and tashi went to the national zoo while mom and i joined in the crowd of 30,000 and chanted, "iraq, lebanon, palestine! occupation is a crime!" it was a very upbeat demonstration and i'm glad we attended. the sign i carried said, "president bush, quit the killing of innocent children!"
we met dan and tashi at kramer books and afterwords cafe near dupont circle. it was happy hour and i drank two very dark turbo dogs. we then drove off to georgetown where there were lots and lots of yuppies and expensive restaurants. we ate at a lebanese restuarant called fetoosh. i didn't order the right thing, but dan's kebabs and tashi's kibbees and my mom's gyro were quite tasty.
we arrived home just in time for a saturday night live re-run. i promptly fell asleep on the couch and got a kink in my neck.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
ants: thanks to grants ant stakes, there are fewer tiny annoying creepy crawlies in our house.
dust: my mother is making sure to keep it all at bay
hawks: there are still red tail hawks roosting in the tall pine tree two doors down. but the small hawks i've seen in my yard are not red tail fledglings at all. they are coopers hawks who kill songbirds. the other day tashi and i witnessed one pulling apart a bird and feasting. afterwards it made a series of yakking sounds and puffed itself up all proud. and then i had to observe it torment a cardinal and steal her babies from the nest. it was one of the worst nature watching experiences i've ever had.
cicadas: yesterday i found one on its back on the sidewalk, trying desperately to turn himself upright. i helped him out. and then this morning i found one of those cool dried shells stuck to our deck. cicadas are a trip.
mice: oh forget it, way too gross.
tashi: she's in an art daycamp at the mcguffey center. yesterday she drew human figures with charcoal, scuplted with clay, and sketched a camp-mate without either lifting her pen or looking at the paper. did i mention that she read like seven books when we were in cyprus? including the first two harry potter books. who was it that said waldorf kids end up illiterate?
food: we ate at a great new nepali/indian/tibetan fusion restaurant on the downtown mall. the service was slow and the food slightly overpriced (except for the lunch buffet which is very reasonably priced), but i must say the momo's and pakoras were some of the best i've ever had. and the company, it was quite excellent. buddhists are so nice & interesting, ya know.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
clickety click if you want to see documentation of our one night in london with my cousin david (who was a tireless video taper). some of the "arrival" video is fun central london stuff. we're pretty tired looking in the "epilogue." and "talk talk" is just that, and lots of it. pretty good recaps of our trip to cyprus, which at this point doesn't even seem like it actually happened.
stay tuned for virginia adventures, we hope.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
the beauty of cyprus is subtle. it emerges from a rusty tire rim. it grows from the stone rubble of an abandoned village home riddled with bullet holes. it peaks out from between ostentatious resorts and villas. it drifts between traffic jams and round-abouts. it sinks behind the akamas peninsula and rises from the shore of the pomos point. it brings you a sense of harmony despite its very destruction, despite the devastation of a land less than 100 miles away.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
- - - - - - -
yesterday, after visiting aphrodite's temple in kouklia, we drove up into the mountains. we wound through several villages of stone houses and red roofs. the greenery multiplied and the breeze grew fresh and strong. we lunched in omodos, a village of white washed walls, blue wooden shutters, thin cobbled alleyways. old women sit in doorways concentrating on needlework and urging tourists into their shops. there are several old wine presses and traditional houses. we continued on to troodos, near the highest part of the range, and rode horses on a dirt track where we had sweeping views in all directions. tashi's horse was rita, and mine, ramon. they were very good horsies. after some fun in the playground we began our descent, stopping at troodhitissa, a peaceful monastery that looks more like a swiss chalet. we ended up in mongaria, where there was a festival celebrating the region's famous commanderia wine. we saw several awesome traditional song and dance routines, observed a boot cobbler, a basket maker, a chair caner. we drove back to our flat in the late-late night, my eyes fighting to remain open.
the day before we took my mom to ayios neophytos monastery built near a cave where the saint once carved out a home for himself and lived a monk's life. the funky village of lemba followed, a small community of artists and students. the cyprus school of art is there, surrounded by a colorful wall of sculpture and found objects. tashi decided that it was where she would go to college. i indulged in a beatiful teapot of lemba pottery. hopefully i'll get it home in one piece. lemba also has a very cool archeological sight of prehistoric round stone houses, but tashi was too hot to deal with it. afterwards we drove to lara bay, along the west side of the akamas peninsula. we took a swim at the blissful sandy beach, which is also one of few turtle hatcheries. a small girl named nikoletta befriended tashi. her parents were both mute.
this morning i visited the archeological museum here in polis, a small but fine collection of well preserved antiquities. polis was once called marion and then arsinoe.
today, tomorrow, and the next, our last in cyprus this summer.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
when i first came into this cafe/bar with two computers tucked into a hot upstairs loft, i was so happy because they were playing bob marley. sometimes bob marley is all you need after weeks of greek pop music. but now they are playing very, very loud euro-trash disco music and it hurts.
but i am here and thus must update.
tonight as i drove in solitude the ten miles to polis from our little flat i felt such a mix of emotions. the sun was setting beautifully in tones of lavender and violet over the sea with the mesas and mountains of the akamas peninsula looking like a sleeping beast. i felt sad that i have just one week left in my birth place, which, sooner or later given enough time, always casts me under aphrodite's spell. i felt so much love that i thought i'd melt right there in the car and merge with the sea. but i also felt remorse, after the tension and stress of my mother and my aunt. and i felt lonely, not having my beautiful man by my side in this incredibly romantic place. and i felt huge waves of awe for my daughter who has been so entertained by the adults and who is filling her sketch book with intricate drawings and who is completely intoxicated by the underwater world. snorkeling in the mediterranean sea is way up there on the list of the best things to do with one's child.
that and climbing down into the ancient underground tombs that we visited yesterday. the tombs of the kings is an incredible sight of deep underground burial structures built as far back as the 4th century BC. tashi was certain is was going to be really boring but then couldn't get enough of the steep stairwells leading down to the well preserved underground temples full of burial chambers. we saw several lizards and a long black whip snake. all along the site are fig trees, caper plants, palm trees and wild thyme.
earlier in the day we swam at petra tou romiou, an outstanding rocky outcropping along the south coast where aphrodite is said to have risen from the sea. the water was icy cold, but so refreshing. tashi met another eight year old american child at the rocks and had a really good time connecting with a little person.
and so all goes well and seems to get better. but right now, i've got to escape this music!
Saturday, July 15, 2006
but this isn't an ordinary unlocking. it is the kind that takes place when a stupido tourist like myself locks her keys in the rental car.
this is how i started off my day.
first i went to the bakery, where i picked up olive bread, halloumi bread, a fat ham and cheese pastry, and another crispy pastry stuffed with a sweet cheese and sprinkled with powdered sugar. then i went to the grocery store where i picked up milk, bacon, frozen halloumi stuffed ravioli, juice and a cheap beach towel with dolphins on it. i returned to a locked car, keys in the ignition. so i walked back to our flat, which wasn't all that far. and then i walked with my mom back to the car because she speaks greek. she talked to the grocer who talked to his friend who drove off to get the mechanic. the mechanic arrived and wedged the window slightly open with strange expandable device, and stuck in various wires, first trying to press the unlock button, and then trying to pull the keys from the ignition, and then simply pulling the lock up with success. several villagers and ourselves looked on with suspense while he performed his operation. twenty pounds and two hours later we were able to get into our car and drive.
i was in a pretty fowl mood after that. it was a sort of climax to all the bad communication that has been going on between my mom, my aunt, and yes, myself. i'm tired of being told where to park, and how to back up, and what to eat and how to eat it. i'm tired of the fact that one person wants to take this path to the beach while the other wants to take the other. life is tough isn't it? ok, that's the end of my vent for now.
last night two of my cypriot-born-now-american cousins and their wives arrived from the states. the last time i saw them i was basically tashi's age. that would be 31 years ago. so we had a big family dinner at a great fish restaurant on the latchi harbor. it was a good old fashioned fish mezze. one plate after another of mussels, calamari, octopus, snapper, swordfish, awesome village salads, bread sprinkled with olive oil and herbs, taziki, taramosalata, and tahini.
today we all went to another beach on akamas, a protected cape of northwestern cyprus where there is a famous spring where, it is said, aphrodite used to bathe. again, the water was a crystal clear display of blue of hues. tashi swam around with her new mask and snorkel, pointing out a number of colorful fish, shells containing crabs and spiny sea urchins. cozy coves flank the bluffs. rocky outcroppings rise up from the sea.
yesterday we visited paphos for the second time. paphos has some awesome ancient ruins and mosaics against a backdrop of every cheesy tourist trap you can imagine. the other night a cypriot musical group performed a tribute to abba. the abba cult lives, even in cyprus. there are tons of shops selling cheap souviners made in china and india. one pub after another. pink pelicans. overpriced food. glass bottomed boats. crowds of tourists looking like cooked lobsters for lack of sunscreen.
i couldn't spend as much time as i would have liked to at the mosaics, as tashi was tired and hot. but a glimpse of the amazingly well preserved depictions of gods and goddesses was better than no glimpse at all. afterwards i took tashi to the paphos aquarium where we saw lots of fish, shrimp, eels, crabs, turtles, sting rays and a couple of alligators fresh from the mississippi. this was a nice compliment to the snake museum we visited the other day, where we saw about six native cypriot snakes, several lizards, spiders, a scorpion and some more turtles.
the other night there was a "pannayiri", a street fair that usually takes place in celebration of saint's day. it was very similar the "mela" i experienced in india. there were booths selling traditional foods, sweet honey balls called lukomathes, piles of pulses, nuts, candies, jujuko (long strings of walnuts encased in a sweet sugar taffy), air dried meats, sausages. some booths sold household items: beach towels with weird depictions of spider man, cinderella, sea creatures and race cars. kitchen ware. bedding. there were booths of pirated cd's and dvd's. and lots of booths selling very junky toys. there were carnival games where you could win caged birds, goldfish, three foot high victorian dolls. and more booths selling junky jewelery and hairbands. it was fascinating the way a carnival is.
so while emotionally i'm feeling a little fragile from the weirdness that is emitting from my mother and her sister, i'm having a great time with my daughter.
unfotunately another war has erupted in the country next door and i'm feeling pretty sick over that. having been completely ignorant of news for a few weeks now (aside from who was winning in the world cup games), the only physical impact that is felt here is that the airports are busier because flights to beruit have been diverted to cyprus.
so i'll end this with a wish for peace.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
i awoke this morning at 5am and went out for a walk on the shore, shell searching as the sun was about to rise from behind a troodos peak. peaceful, cool, silent, but for the crow of a rooster and the slam of the raging surf. i saw a sideways walking crab, a shy lizard and a leaping fish. the sun eventually covered the land in laava and i found my way back to our cool chamber.
yesterday was a tiring drive into the troodos mountains. we went to the stavros psi tsokas preserve where moufflon are protected. moufflon are a kind of wild sheep with beautiful thick curved horns, once endangered in cyprus. we saw five moufflon in their enclosure. after a nice picnic of ham and halloumi sandwiches with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, we drove to the obligatory kikkos monastery where my mom got giddy over icons. after that we drove into the cedar valley where a huge collection of the very ancient tree grows.
soon we are going to return to the beach on the akamas penninsula where the water is crystle clear and calm. there are many rocky coves to explore with a mask. the fambly is waiting for me to complete this post so i must run. hopefully i will have more time to disclose details soon.
Monday, July 10, 2006
i've found a lovely internet cafe in town and am drinking illy espresso while i type. sure beats the the nescafe espresso i've been plagued with.
aaaah, coastal bliss. after a week of fun in nicosia, the capitol city, we are now residing in a small flat in ayia marina, on the north west coast. we are near a lovely village called polis, where i sit now. i don't have much time and i don't know when i'll make it to this internet cafe again, so i will attempt to give you a synopsis of the days.
week one/nicosia, cyprus:
we stayed in a fine hotel called "the classic" within the venetian walls of the old city. a lot of time was spent walking up and down ledra street -- a sort of pedestrian mall with the likes of starbucks, mcdonalds, traditional tavernas, shoe stores, and the green line dividing the cypriots and the turks.
while in nicosia i visited a few museums:
1) the cyprus museum, a house full of archeological wonders which i mentioned in a previous post.
2) the handicraft museum, the byzantine icon museum and the modern art museum all within the archbishop's palace. while there a minor hurricane hit and tashi and i sat on a covered balcony watching the rain travel in horizontal slabs as the palm trees bent and swayed. the paved grounds all around the archbishopric filled with about eight inches of water and we had to wade out. the streets were flooded, angry cypriot drivers in a bottle neck were cursing each other, and then we witnessed a collison. a fine day of art and weather.
3) the state gallery of contemporary cypriot art. it was my first time visiting this awesome neo-classical house full of incredible art work. i loved it. i wish i could include some pictures here, but i don't have time. some of my favorite artists were constantinos yiannicouris, adamantios diamantis, andreas-antis ioannides, telemachos kanthos, john corbidge (he made a painting of me when i was about three), angelos makrides, christophoros savva. to name a few. now repeat those all with your eyes closed.
and of course there was family, family, family in cyprus, my godmother, and my childhood friend olga. i had souvlaki five nights in a row.
last thursday my mother, my aunt tina, tashi and i departed from nicosia in our rental car. we drove through a clay pot making village, kornos, and chatted with the old ladies forming the thick red pots. we drove through lefkara, the lace making village, but a storm hit and it was too rainy to get out and enjoy the sights. then we went to apollo's temple perched above the sea, followed by kourion, an ancient amphitheater and archeological site also perched above the sea. we looked at mosaics and ruins and pillars and then went down to a beach where tashi and i splashed around in some big waves. and then onward to ayia marina, our home until our departure at the end of july.
our first day in this area was spent swimming in strong waves, driving as far east along the northern coast as permissible before hitting the cypriot/turk partition, and eating awesome fresh fish and calamari.
the next day was spent hiking into a breezy gorge, swimming in a rocky cove, and driving on twisty dirt roads through abandoned crumbling villages. we saw loads of goats of all shapes, sizes and colors, some with straight horns, some with curly horns, some with beards, many with spots. they were perched on rocky cliff sides, standing on old tin cans eating the leaves off of tree branches, crowding the road in front of the car, lolling about in the shade. crumbling stone structures, or small caves built into the cliffs, cropped up here and there where the sheep herders sleep. tashi and i fed grass to donkeys and watched partridges scoot along the road.
a bit of flora and fauna includes bright violet bouganvilla, white and pink oleander, aromatic jasmine, gardenia and geranium, purple thistles, luscious grape vines, olive, carob, juniper, cedar, eucalyptus. . .
today my mother and aunt tina are going to drop tashi and i off at the hippy beach by the campground. we discovered it last night, a clean, sandy, shallow, calm stretch with umbrellas and lounge chairs along a fragrant stand of eucalyptus. you can view the the akamis penninsula to the west and the pomos pennisula to the east. most of the beaches so far have been rough with deep drop offs which is difficult for tashi, but this one is perfect. and because it is close to a campground, i call it the hippy beach! it is clean with a snack bar and we are going to have a relaxing day while my mom and aunt visit monasteries in the mountains.
ciao, for now!
Monday, July 03, 2006
we had lunch today in small family run taverna with checked tablecloths and caged birds. we had meat & rice stuffed vegetables, pork afelia (wine marinated pork w/ coriander), roasted potatoes, bulgur, thick amazing yogurt, fresh crusty bread, a cooling salad of lettuce, tomotoes, olives and cucumber, lemonade, cyprus coffee and a sip of ouzo.
today is a special day for me. i now officially have dual american and cypriot citizenship. my cypriot ID card was issued this morning, and on friday my cypriot passport should be ready. i feel like dancing on tables and breaking plates.
yesterday we visited the cyprus museum where i got to marvel at statues of aphrodite, artemis, bacchus, zeus, and appreciate stories painted on pots, and ogle ancient jewelery and read about the looting of ancient treasures.
aside from the love of being here, there are some odd family dynamics to navigate, not the least of which is mother's and mine. but we'll survive.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
here we are in nicosia, cyprus. the journey was epic and the first night was sleepless and hot at my uncle's partner's condo by the sea, a lovely place except for the mouse sized coakroaches. we awoke after just a couple of hours of sleep and jumped in the beautiful, cool, cleansing sea. we are now tucked away in a decent hotel in the old part of the capital city where we will visit many relatives. last night was souvlaki and greek mezze at a restaurant next to "the green line" with my three bearded uncles. the green line is the division between the turkish occupied part of cyprus and cypriot cyprus. the is a big sign there that says, "the last divided capital." pictured above is a lookout point on the green line where you can weep and gaze over at the turkish side.
tashi continues to be a great traveler despite the heat, hassles and sleep deprivation. though right now she is very bored watching me email and blog. i will sign off and pay my fee and we will walk the hot cobbled streets back to our hotel where we will luxuriate in air conditioning until lunchtime. sorry this post is a bit dull, more adventures ahead.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
we boarded our flight from dulles airport yesterday evening, only to sit there for almost three hours. all take offs were "suspended" due to a storm on the horizon. no storm materialized, but i guess i should be glad that they are watching out for us. then when we got to london the flight had to circle around in figure eights for about 20 minutes until it got the all clear to land. the lines we had to stand in to get to our connecting flight were unbelievable. needless to say, we missed our connecting flight to cyprus. we are booked on the next flight which should be boarding shortly.
i have had two 30 minute cat naps but that is about it in over 24 hours. i'm dizzy. tashi would not sleep on the flight and was up for a good 24 hours herself. she's now crashed out on a bench. with my mom watching over her.
this airport is more like a shopping mall. a really expensive shopping mall. i never thought i would do such a thing, but i paid money to take a shower. after virginia humidity it was worth it. there are some fine showers in heathrow airport.
more soon from the next internet cafe!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
packed and ready i am reminded of a box that belongs, now -- to a ghost.
a train crawls above the abyss, where one mountain joins another. . .
in the light of eternity i come back to myself, my small self. with a big bag packed full. under rain that makes heavy. the just-that-dark way of the clouds.
secret title: "i fed the assassin's horse"
hekatombs of blog
soon, i will breath in the mythical night. i will witness the dry eroded circumstance.
i will look into the eyes of the painter, the photographer and the reporter.
i will step into the vaults of the venetian wall.
i will massage the sun baked stone with my painted-toenail-toe.
i will face the moon carved sea and ask her to guide me.
Friday, June 23, 2006
all week the forecast has been building up to an expected rain. it was supposed to commence on saturday and then on friday, first around 5:00 then around noon. but when i got out of work today i thought to myself, it's friday, after five, the sky is a picture of tender blue serenity, and off i pedalled to the charlottesville pavilion to hear eric lindell from new orleans. well first i had to shop around a bit for the fambly in cyprus. must arrive bearing gifts. then i had a spinach salad at eppies. by the time i arrived at the pavilion mr. lindell was well into his set and took a break after two songs. it sounded good and i was looking forward to more.
then i noticed people looking up at the sky and cocking their heads and speaking to one another in ominous tones. just because there were dark clouds to the south, east and north didn't necessarily mean rain, did it? i mean, there were no dark clouds to the west, where the weather is born. i decided to ignore everyone's fretting until somone said loudly, "we're going to get slammed." i didn't want to ride home in a thunder storm or a torrential downpour so i hauled ass out of there and arrived home to the hum of thunder. and then some fat drops fell. but as i write, there is still nothing to say i could not have survived another set of mr. lindell.
oh well. the cats were hungry and yelling at me anyway.
and i think the big pyrotechnic sigh of relief is coming our way. i hope so. because i couldn't even sleep in our bedroom last night, so much like an attic in the sahara it was. are there any attics in the sahara? well mine is.
ok, well, i think i'm going to go sit on the deck in the slow drops of rain and watch the storm roll in. happy weekend!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
over the weekend i was invited to local astrologer molly cliborne's house for a barbecue. the remarkable thing is that molly and i had never met, we'd merely exchanged a few words via the blog. but this kind trusting soul invited a complete stranger into her house for dinner, and i'm ever so glad. not only did i get to meet molly, who i'm certain is an extraordinary astrologer, i got to meet her boyfriend john, who will sell you a nice house if you'd like, and their groovy friend visiting from dc, christine davis, who is a massage therapist and dance instructor. cool things happened. like i found out that christine was born three days after me in the same year. and i was given a tour of molly's herb garden, where i saw lots of old friends, like nettle and yellow dock and red clover and passion flower vine and mullien and echinacea and catnip and comfrey, to name just a few. and i saw a bat and a cat and ate organic chicken cooked on a grill. i got to converse about doula stuff and cosmic stuff. i didn't get to see stevie the cat pee or poop in the toilet though, which she does regularly. but i'm so happy to have met some nice new friends. thanks molly!
on sunday i took the class christine davis was in charlottesville to teach, afri-cardio dance. i love it and would like to do it more, even if i am a klutz and not very polyrhythmic. darrell rose played djembe. as the dave matthews band website says, darrell rose is the "best african percussionist you're likely to find in the deep south." and he plays on the downtown mall almost every friday. it was good fun.
otherwise i've been working, and making neat little piles of things that i will take on my trip, and riding my bike back and forth, and purchasing things like razors and shaving cream and tampons and travel packets of kleenex and a multitude of airplane snacks. oh and i put together a binder of activities for tashi: coloring book pages, word searches, crossword puzzles, etc.
last night i watched a movie by cypriot director michael cacoyannis called, iphigenia, based on a tragedy by euripides about agememnon having to sacrifice his innocent young daughter so that the gods & goddesses would bring wind to the greek army, freeing them to set sale to troy. it was rather beautiful and sad and exciting and well done. plus it featured the music of mikis theodorakis, a righteous peace-loving greek composer.
and could it be hotter? why yes, it could. just add 90% humidity to the 90 degree temperature and you've got a mean southern summer.
anyhow, happy solstice.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
to the fathers in my life: my own father in new york city. the father of my child, currently in milwaukee. wishing you a sunny relaxing day full of creativity and smiles. wish i could give you both big hugs on this day, massage your feet, serve you breakfast in bed. but hopefully you can feel my love and admiration wash over the miles and flow into your hearts. thanks for all that you do. cheers!
Friday, June 16, 2006
time medic ticks root scrawl
girl still canvassing snarl
palpitations in pulp
gnash petal twist on sallow
salt lick clicks in-hall
in hillock kicking
warblers explode on over
on over warblers explode
vacillating hillocks fall dune
smoldering petals pigment
in-hall receding lick
canvas rolled scroll
ravels binding time
medics tick gnash and pulp
girl still quivering ash
zoe krylova, 1991
Thursday, June 15, 2006
once when i was a single woman i really savored my solitude. but i guess i've gotten pretty used to having either dan or tashi or both around. it was slightly eerie coming home to a house that would be inhabited by only me and two cats for almost two weeks. usually when i get home i launch into cooking an often elaborate dinner while listening to npr. today i ate tortilla chips and guacamole while watching the bbc on tv. after dinner is when we give tashi a bath. instead i gave myself a bath. usually around 7:30 we ask tashi to put on her pj's. instead i put mine on. and then we read to tashi, though tonight i simply read to myself. so eeriness turned to ease. though i already miss the hugs, the operatic singing and the very wet kisses. i was relieved around 8pm to hear two sweet voices on the phone safe at their stop-over in ann arbor.
my only vehicle is a bike while dan and tashi are away so i plan to get some exercise. hopefully that and the less elaborate meals will make some room for all the souvlaki, mousaka, village bread, haloumi cheese and fresh fish i plan to eat in cyprus.
we will leave for cyprus just a couple of days after dan and tashi return. june 28th to be exact. i haven't finished the iliad. and i haven't brushed up on my greek. maybe on the airplane?!?!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
we're in the full swing of summer here, though the last couple of days have been delightfully cool. tashi had her last day of school on wednesday when we got to see her whole school pull out some great performances for the closing ceremony. we celebrated with lunch at milan, a favorite indian restaurant.
yesterday we went to the virginia renaissance faire in spotsylvania. it was probably the smallest ren faire i've ever been to, but fun and easy. we saw a recorder duet, a juggler/fire eater/contortionist dude, several young "highland dancers", a hammered dulcimer fellow, some nice lady singers, a knightly man and his wife, two pretty horses, several trippy alpacas, queen elizabeth, and mad maggie who was dragging around a bone on a rope.
today was a day of too much shopping, looking for gifts for various family members who have graduated or having an anniversary or will be celebrating a birthday or are fathers. we made the majority of our purhchases at the ten thousand villages shop which is all about fair trade goods. look for the ten thousand villages nearest you.
here is a story about an orange tabby like ours. grrrrrrrrrrrr!
WEST MILFORD, N.J., June 9, 2006 — At least one bear doesn't want to know Jack.
Jack is a 10-year-old, orange-and-white tabby in West Milford, N.J. And when the cat spotted the bear in a neighbor's yard earlier this week, the clawless kitty let the bear know who's boss.
The bear scurried up a tree and eyed the cat for 10 to 15 minutes, while Jack stared and hissed from the ground. The bruin inched its way down before jumping off and running away.
But Jack chased the bear into the brush and up another tree.
That's when Jack's owner realized what was happening and called her cat.
Jack's owner, Donna Dickey, told The Star-Ledger of Newark that Jack considers the area his turf and doesn't want anyone in his yard.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
last night we went to the pavilion for charlottesville's fridays after five. a grateful dead cover band called alligator was playing. at first i was grossed out by my own middle aged predicament. the band started and at the same time i saw three menopausal women in their office clothes dance a grateful dead dance complete with wavy hand gestures. it just kinda made me not want to go there. but really i have no choice in the matter do i?
so i played chase with tashi on the grassy embankment between the pavilion and belmont and about four songs before the concert ended i realized that really, this was a damn good jam band. i'd had enough red hook to make up for the lack of anything else and tashi was willing to dance with me and so we spun and grooved and then a kick ass thunder storm moved in and the whole audience crowded together and kids were laying down in torrents of water stained with red virginia earth and lightening was making a strobe and the south cooled off by about twenty degrees and the band was doing a good job imitating a job well done and the audience for a moment became one writhing entity. really it was a fine climax.
on the way home we saw the vulgar bulgars, a local klezmer band, performing in a doorway and so we stopped and boogied for a moment. and then we saw some african drummers and tribal dancers performing in another doorway and my heart yearned to do one or the other: play my djimbay or do an ancient dance. instead i said, "wow, what a mad little town we live in," and felt incredibly inspired.
today i went to an end of the year party at the home of one of tashi's classmates. there was a pool and a lake and horses and a hot tub. but what really made things come full circle is that the song playing when we walked into the party was saint stephen by the grateful dead.
i drank a good amount of white wine and talked with some very interesting people. i got to know some awesome parents who like to live a little on the wild side and this to me was a big relief. then i tried to commune with a horse. he was such a stud. he looked my way, walked my way a bit, ate some grass, and then sauntered off to drink some water. he looked back my way and then did quite a fast trot in the opposite direction. later i saw him down pretty close to the fence where i'd been standing. he was flirting with me, but really, he wasn't going to give me the time of day. never the less, it deepend my determination to become friends with a horse.
becoming friends with a horse. that's got to be part of the charlotteville experience.
and then we came home and there was a huge fireworks display. i saw the grand finale from my deck. june 3? fireworks? the connection is not apparent. but it was a good end to a good saturday. even better is that there is a sunday yet to come.