Wednesday, January 30, 2008


and so i've already begun the lists, the frantic searchings for things that suddenly seem necessary for travel ease, the mind racing with wardrobe crises. at a time when one must save every last penny for impending travel, the need for a new purse, a new suitcase, a new jacket, a power adapter and an overdue haircut become evident. never mind finding decent & affordable lodging.

today i visited a website that lists all the things you can and can't carry onto an airplane. it was very helpful to find out that i can actually take water on board, but in 3 oz bottles only. i can also carry on a corkscrew. for the 3 oz bottle of wine of course!

the kicker was the column on the page that gives you the "week at a glance" in airport security. where you get to find out how many people needed additional screening due to suspicious behavior, and the number of firearms that were discovered, and that there is a tally of disruptive passengers, and that several incidents caused checkpoint closure or terminal evacuation. just a friendly reminder to live in fear.

but alas, i'd rather not.

just breathe. drink chai. and eat oatmeal. with fixins.

so does anyone remember the pet rock trend? who beside me in their childhood purchased a little rock in a box with googly eyes? i bring this up because tashi seems to be displaying the urge for a petrock. the other day she came inside with a rather nondescript rock she'd found in the yard. she named it nockrock. today she built a house for it. soon she will be setting a place for it at the table and we will be serving it small cups of soup.

and now, for some entertainment. you will see why i find driving in cyprus rather nervewracking:

Monday, January 28, 2008

goin' to cyprus!

yes, it's true! thanks to my mom, tashi and i will be joining her on a trip to cyprus for two-and-a-half weeks in late february. while i am beside myself with excitement, it is a bittersweet journey. my mother's eldest brother has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer, and so he is the main reason we are making this trip.

the three of us went to cyprus for a month in the summer of 2006. this is a much shorter trip, and we will be in nicosia, the capital city, for most of it. i'm looking forward to seeing family and walking the streets of the old city. and i am looking forward to eating souvlaki and cypriot salads at least every other day!

here are a few photos from our last trip. these are film photos that i've taken a digital picture of, so the quality is quite bad. first of all, the camera i took with me at the time was broken. secondly, the pictures in their original state are not as blurry as they appear here. i look forward to making use of my digital camera this time, and my little flip video camera.

most likely a shepherds hut, with a few stray appliances

boat named makarios


ruins ruins everywhere ruins (and byzantine churches)

tashi reading in dappled light

whitewash and window

tashi and yiayia swimming in the crystal waters of akamas

Sunday, January 27, 2008

some scenes from saturday

oatmeal for lunch

midday candles

tashi designs a line of clothing

she sets up shop, a venue for her design innovations.

Friday, January 25, 2008

7 weird jobs

bitter betty has invited folks to play along with the 7 weird things meme. she made her's specific to 7 weird jobs, which sounds like fun to me. so here are 7 of the weirdest jobs i have had.

i worked at burger king when i was a senior in high school. unfortunately i had big hair, not pink hair, like bitter betty. if only i'd been so hip. i lowered french fries and chicken and fish into a vat of sizzling carcinogenic oil, slopped stuff onto burgers and eventually was promoted to cashier. the supervisor was really annoyed when i quit to go off to college.

i was a cocktail waitress. twice. it was my other job while a senior in high school and it was at the option house. i also served up things like hot chicken wings and fried mozzarella stix. i was a cocktail waitress again for a short stint after i graduated from college, at nietzsches in buffalo, ny.

one summer vacation i found work at a weird deli in buffalo named puddi babs. the owner used to do things like put rotten lettuce at the bottom of a container, and top it with fresh lettuce. i was laid off the day i was planning to give notice. i had landed another job at a summer camp in the catskills, a camp for children with learning disabilities. that was quite a job. one of the children used to punch herself in the face and scream for matzo crackers.

one summer i worked for an independent yellow pages company typing (on a typewriter, people) ad information onto little forms. it was a painful job.

when i lived in seattle i had four different jobs in the pike place market. one was at a bookstore called collectors bookstore. i was going through a semi punk phase and one day the owner sat me down and asked me to start wearing nicer clothing, similar to what i'd worn in my interview (a skirt). and then she said to me, "those overalls you're wearing right now, they've got to go." another job was at a comic book store where they wouldn't let me do anything but sit at the cash register smiling at the handful of customers that came in daily. they would play japanese anime on the tv behind me and get angry when i turned my head to watch it. the other two jobs were cool, one at a health food store called magnano's. i worked with selene (lead singer) and valerie (drummer) of the band seven year bitch. the other was at a great anarchist book collective, left bank books.

my year in seattle was a very hard year.

so i moved to california. my first job there was at country cheese in oakland. it was a desperate move. i wrapped big chunks of cheese in plastic and was a cashier amongst a bunch of laotion immigrants.

i worked for a music booking agency for a short while in san francisco. i represented a folk singer name sonya hunter. i also had to lie over the phone for the boss to people like mavis staples. "sure your check is in the mail." most of my friends have heard this story.

ok, that was really far more than 7 weird jobs. and as i was typing it, i felt strangely like i've said it all before.

but i'm going to tag four people!
bliss blog
green kitchen
north node
patience crabstick

lunchblog bazaar

indeed, i am at the twisted branch tea bazaar yet again. it's a good pit stop after a downtown appointment, when i've got just an hour left before it's time to pick up tashi.

tonight dan and i are going out to see some live music while tashi spends the night with a friend. we are going to see six organs of admittance, and i am very excited. it's taking place in the uva chapel, a location i would have never imagined as open to rock bands. psychedelic music and chambers of stained glass: a good mix.

aside from that little bit of excitement, it's been a pretty mundane week. i quit drinking coffee (again). we finished reading the golden compass, just in time for it to leave the theater. tashi has been astonishing us with her violin playing. i saw juno, and highly recommend it. and i'm finally getting ready to make some things for an adorable little friend who was born in december.

how was your week?

Monday, January 21, 2008


my daughter tashi loves mail. every day, one of the first things she asks me when i pick her up from school is, "were you home?" which leads into, "did i get any mail?"

she is completely jealous of all the junk mail and bills dan and i receive every day.

today she complained about no new comments on her blog. i said she needs to make a new entry and perhaps folks will comment. so she has done that. here is yet another plea from me, to all of you, to leave a comment for tashi!

we are having a long weekend as today is MLK Day and tashi has no school. nice!

it's been a very quiet weekend with little activity as tashi has been fighting a cold and mild fever. we've watched a couple of family friendly movies, played some board games, read, ate some thenthuk with molly and john, and have managed to sneak out for a walk or two. today i am going to meet a friend downtown to see juno, and i'm planning to walk there in the crisp but sunny day.

wishing you all a great week ahead!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

sparkle light

i finally gave in and took down our christmas tree. but instead of putting all the christmas lights away for the year, i decided to hang them around the house.

the big freeze





we finally got a good dose of snow, which is now freezing rain, and will melt tomorrow when the temps rise to 50.

we took tashi to school at 8am only to find out, once back home, that school was closing at 10am, the worst possible time to pick the kids up because the roads hadn't been plowed or salted yet. if we could have picked up at the normal time, the roads would have been cleared and the early morning snow mania traffic would have settled down. the must-close-everything response to snow always evokes snide comments from us, the bitter northerners who lived many years in snowbelt and great lake affected winters.

but still, it was enjoyable. and a little bit exciting too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


of a "wintry mix" abound. we can only hope. and wait.

in the mean time. i'm making a tv cosy.

the gray fabric with the burgundy stripey squares was part of a pile of fabric i scored on freecyle. it's not particularly appealing, but it's a nice linen weave and i thought it appropriate for such a utilitarian device. the patch in the front center isn't sewn on. i just stuck it there to see what it might look like. it sticks right to the linen. i'm thinking we could have a changing scene, like a felt board. the patch & top piece is from a pile of remnants i acquired from an upholstery shop i once worked in. yes, i worked in a fabric store before i ever had even the slightest interest in sewing. how strange.

of course, i am completely improvising as i've got no pattern. i've been wanting to make a tv cosy ever since i saw this one and this one. for the longest time we've had a lovely silk shibori scarf (which was the altar cloth at our wedding) covering our tv, and i feel the scarf deserves a much more honored fate.

i still need to sew the back onto it, but it actually works fairly well as is. i had some corner challenges with the three dimensionality of it all. i'm sure there is some trick i don't know about. but all in all, i'm quite pleased.

if i had a bigger house, the tv wouldn't be in the living room at all. but alas, it has found it's place in the corner, and for the majority of the time, it shall remained covered.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

this is my poem (in flux)

it is what it is. it is what i have.

* * * * * * * * * *

her red dress, or, untitled

empty well
forced her to the wall
where she sat

around corner
shadow of her
fills corridor

eyes lined with kohl look back

who put the red pale there
needing to be filled needing to be emptied

when will it reach equilibrium?

open wardrobe stands
containing damp wool
warm leather

one’s deepest concerns fill creases

her small hand searches fleece pocket
fiber from which
swallowtails rise amongst tall stalks

what of the chipped marble orb,
broken chain,
folded notes written in lead

what of the old mosaic tile
can’t be found in the velvet lined chest

she lay in the native grasses
and cut moon from stone

* * * * * * * * * *

(it was different 7 days ago)


try this followed by this!

Monday, January 14, 2008


yesterday was my three year blog-iversary and i missed the party. oops.

i guess i've never paid much attention to my blog-iversaries. when i first started my blog i thought i would try to write a fantasy story via blog entries. well that fell flat really quickly, and then the blog languished for months at a time without an entry. it wasn't until i moved from ann arbor to charlottesville that i started making regular entries. and so here we are.

i used to write in a journal all the time. i never went anywhere without a journal in my purse. i still carry a journal, but it seems like instead of sitting down with it i tend to sit down with the computer. so i guess the blog has been a form of journaling.

i've made some friends through the blog, i've found inspiration through other bloggers, i've enjoyed blending words and photos, and i've discovered so much generosity in the world of crafty bloggers. thanks for reading, but even more, thanks to all those who share their worlds, words, creations, families and feelings through their own blogs.

i didn't totally miss the party yesterday. dan sat in with celtic band, king golden banshee, at fellini's, and i got to enjoy the show (and some dessert) with tashi. she had pomegranate gelato and i had a ricotta cheesecake with some berries. tashi made a rather surreal drawing.

and we enjoyed some very nice music.

Friday, January 11, 2008

twisted lunchblog update

after a morning appointment i have some time before picking tashi up at school. so i've seated myself in the wonderful twisted branch tea bazaar. i decided to order a new item on the menu, the smoked salmon sandwich. nyum. and the salads here always make me so very happy.

of course, it is all accompanied by a pot of chai and a view.

i always sit on the raised platform with the cushions and low tables.

and here, some shots of the tree, the twisted tree.

happy weekend!

for the californians in the audience

Fight Schwarzenegger's plan to close 9 Bay Area state parks!!

Fri, January 11, 2008 - 9:59 AM

Take a look at this article from

In an effort to deal with a projected $14.5 billion deficit in the state budget, Gov. Schwarzenegger is proposing to close dozens of state parks *indefinitely*, including 9 in the Bay Area. These 9 parks include Henry W. Coe State Park near Morgan Hill (the largest state park in Northern California); Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, the first urban recreation area in California and a popular fishing spot; Austin Creek State Recreation Area and Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve near Guerneville; Tomales Bay State Park in Inverness.

I don't know about you, but some of these are my favorite parks! This proposal is very, very wrong.

If you value these oases of nature, please contact the state legislators below and tell them you are opposed to these closures!

-- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Sacramento office (916) 445-2841; San Francisco office (415) 703-2218; e-mail from the governor's Web site at

-- Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles: Sacramento office (916) 319-2046; e-mail

-- Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland: Sacramento office (916) 651-4009; district office (510) 286-1333; e-mail

-- Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman of Irvine (Orange County): Sacramento office (916) 651-4033; e-mail

-- Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines of Clovis (Fresno County): Sacramento office (916) 319-2029; e-mail

back by popular demand

another little video of tashi, on her birthday. if anyone has any suggestions for good places to store videos so family can access, let me know! i'm not so sure about putting lots of videos of my daughter on youtube. it's a bit too public (as if this blog isn't).

Thursday, January 10, 2008

and then the fairy child sang

that was so fun, it's time for another one. here tashi sings the kalevala chant, a lovely song she learned at school. i think she's a little embarrassed by her mom who is perhaps a wee too enthusiastic about the new camera.

the fairy child

ok, maybe the video upload is going to work this time. dan gave me a flip camera for christmas. when we were out for a hike the other day, we caught this little fairy on film!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

twinkling tuesday

even though we're back to it this week, i'm blessed with a part time job. go to work monday, have tuesday off. sweet.

one of my new year's resolutions is to get more fit. part of my plan is to walk daily, which i've been doing for the most part (or, every other daily). on sunday tashi, dan and i walked part of trail near monticello. today, very soon in fact, i plan to go there and walk the whole thing. it's not long. but the luxury of being able to take a walk by myself is making me a little giddy.

we've also been doing some yardwork in our spring like weather of late. today it's expected to be in the low 70's. yeesh. we didn't manage to rake the yard this autumn, but i think it helped the grass survive drought like conditions. instead of getting burnt, the leaves protected the grass and allowed some moisture to remain.

raked not raked

we're currently in the process of raking leaves up into our scrubby areas along the edges of the yard. hopefully this will deter some of the poison ivy growth just a little. i also prepared a sheet mulch area along the edge of our little front yard. i've always envisioned a flower garden there, preferably a tall cottage garden. my sheet mulch, a layer of cardboard topped with dead leaves, will hopefully kill a strip of grass and leave a layer of dirt that i can plant in. i didn't add compost or anything, but will do so once the grass dies away. we'll see how it goes!

lovely cardboard, on which leaves were later piled

sometimes it's difficult to find the will to put a lot of effort into the yard of a rental. it makes you more attached when the time comes to move on. then again, it's nice to leave a stamp of beauty behind. in our old yard in ann arbor (a magnificent two acres of woods, pond & meadow)i planted a lot of tall flowers around our deck, and created a medicinal herb garden in the middle of the yard. last summer when we drove by, i saw my mugwort and nettles towering. it was so nice to see that the new tenants hadn't removed the "weeds" and seemed to instead be honoring them.

slowly, slowly we've been working on the yard of our current abode. we cleared out the hugely overgrown area around the hammock and that has become a zone of bliss. we cleared out some invasive scrub around the deck so that now we have a view across the yard into the nice patch of woods. i've attempted to encourage growth in the planters around the front of our house. but this spring i have high hopes for a real garden. perhaps not food just yet, but some beneficial herbs and flowers, flowers, flowers.

what seeds will you sow in the new year?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

back to it

this morning we arose and rubbed the last bits of vacation dust from our eyes. we drank tea and ate oven pancakes. dan and tashi sit on the couch, reading erik the viking, a book i gave dan for christmas. we've declared it a lazy sunday, despite five loads of laundry, and empty frig and a living room which is more like an obstacle course. my one big chore of the day is to drive into the beautiful virginia countryside to pick up a brand new rice cooker i scored on freecycle.

oven pancakes: add powdered sugar and watch your cholesteral

our tree will remain up, despite the fact that the tree recyclers will come by this week. i like to obtain our tree a couple of weeks before solstice and take it down several weeks after. it makes me sad to see all the holiday decor disappear so soon after christmas. even though the consumer calendar demands we move on, it is still the season of darkness, a time to continue encouraging the light to return. this doesn't have to happen with electricity and neon, but candles, greenery and symbols of hope need not be cast aside so quickly. the pagan festival of brigid or imbolc approaches, one of my personal favorites.

it's actually been a rather exhausting vacation. i am trying to look forward to getting back on schedule, going to bed earlier, eating fewer sweets, managing my time better and moving on to some new projects. but it has also been a thoughtful vacation, and i look forward to putting some of those thoughts into action.

wishing you all a smooth return to the regularity of things.

tashi, jesse & classmates after the dress up relay at their tenth birthday party