Saturday, March 29, 2008

a shower in today's forecast

that's right. i'm going to a baby shower. this one is for a friend and former co-worker for whom i am a doula! i managed to whip up some handmade gifts for the occasion. these are becoming my standard, from bend the rules sewing.

a nice soft blankie.

and some bibs.

there is nothing like the deadline of a shower to kick you into action!

this week i will work on some more baby gifts that are way overdue for a little woodland creature.

i must add this video, with which i have become obsessed. thanks to soulemama for mentioning it on her blog. i love everything about it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

a moment in rembrandt square, amsterdam

another little video from our trip. we strolled through rembrandt square on our one afternoon/evening in amsterdam. a sad song. some pigeons. what would rembrandt think of the digital billboard and all that neon?

for other little clips from our trip and etc. go here!

yak yak yak

this is often how tashi's day begins.

i'm so happy these little gals have popped up in the yard.

the sun is shining; it is a truly lovely day.

and the yak wishes you a happy friday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

pajama interview

and here is a somewhat embarrassing little video of tashi interviewing me in cyprus. we're in our pajamas and greek tv is blaring the background. do i really look like that? i forgot to put on my camera make up.

(man it takes a long time for blogger to upload videos)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

drums & dancing in cyprus

i took several little flip videos while in cyprus. i'm slowly beginning to upload them here and there. this is a tiny little video of tashi dancing when we came upon a drum circle near our hotel in nicosia. i wished i could plop down with my djembe and join them.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

some light to follow the darkness

i should be in a bad mood more often, because each time i am, it seems, a lovely gift arrives in the mail from my beloved friend laura. last time it was a very cool vintage dress which i have yet to model on the blog (i will, i promise). but this time, oh my, this time, just after hitting publish on the last post, the most gorgeous treasure landed in my mailbox.

it's a brooch of pure enchantment.

and i can't leave out the card that made me laugh out loud (warning: language!)

how this wonder woman with a newborn gets around to sending me mail, i will never understand. but she sure made my day.

thank you laura; i love you!

a fragile balance

i took the above photo a few mornings ago while on my way to work. it was a bruised cloud morning, which only intensified the red bricks and verdant lawns around me. because it was particularly dark, the streetlights were still on, making it appear as dusk, but for the particular sting and song of dawn. i wanted to just stand there in the middle of the sidewalk and hold onto that perfect balance of light and dark. but alas, the jittery reality of a village awakening urged me to move on.

the equinox came all too quickly for me this year. i welcome spring, and worship the sun. but i'm not at all prepared for the ritual greeting. i feel like tashi's ostara basket is lacking, and we have yet to color eggs. usually we make food dies using cabbage, coffee, turmeric, onions, beets, but this year it is going to be the store-bought tablets. it feels rushed, without honor.

things are uncertain around here. the other day dan was given notice that his work contract won't be renewed in august. while things have been turbulent on his job front for some time now, the certainty of its termination has felt like a mixed blessing. we're relieved that he has five months to find a new job, but what will that job be, and where? in the mean time, the country plunges into recession, toxins seem an unavoidable plague, our budget is so tight right now i can't buy seeds to plant a garden, gas prices continue to soar, bush is still our president, and i have been having some mysterious health issues which simply may be due to stress. i have to say, i sure did like waking to mornings of salt tinged sea air in cyprus.

anyway, sorry to be a downer this morning. i try to keep this blog fairly optimistic, but i don't like to censor my writing such that reality is phased out. and today's reality is that i'm not feeling very cheerful. i know that will change in a few hours. tashi and i are going to attend another art jam at the uva art museum, the theme being mosaics. we'll color our eggs. we'll read and sing and laugh. we'll hang out in the yard. it's a gorgeous day.

my family, the season, the sun: all sources of light to balance out the darkness inside me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

an urge for dialogue

if you are concerned about recent events in tibet, and wish for china to refrain from violence and instead, open up dialogue with the dalai lama, please take a few seconds to sign this petition.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

thrifty thursday

today we made a quick stop at the salvation army and found some fun.

tashi really wanted these italian boots for dress up. they were pretty hard to pass by, especially since they fit me perfectly.

and then i found tashi this brand new paisley sundress. too bad it doesn't also fit me. just the right garment for a spring equinox gift.

and an unopened vintage (i think) quickpoint pillow kit by bernat. a little silly, but at $3, why not give it a try!

really i wish it would have been this pattern:

and finally, a couple of demitasse cups so that i can serve up my greek coffee properly:


in cyprus there is hope
Europe's last divided city in sight of peace

By Daniel Howden, Deputy Foreign Editor
Thursday, 20 March 2008

The solution to Europe's longest-running conflict could begin with the agreement to remove two barricades dividing Ledra Street in Nicosia tomorrow. The reopening of the main commercial thoroughfare in the continent's last divided city would send the strongest signal yet that a peace deal for the Mediterranean island is finally in the offing.

Cyprus's new president, Demetris Christofias, will meet the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, tomorrow with the symbolic end to the division of the famous street widely expected to be the first gesture agreed to by both sides.

While the aluminium barricades that separate north Ledra from south are hardly intimidating, they do stand between two very different worlds. To the south the mix of high street shops and cafes, like their patrons, could easily be part of any city in the European Union. To the north is a largely tumbledown urban landscape, evidence of the economic and cultural isolation in which Turkish Cyprus languishes. The ends of the street symbolise the two communities' fates since partition: Greek Cypriots have grown wealthy on the back of trade and tourism, eventually joining the EU; while their Turkish counterparts have been mired in poverty and isolated from the outside world by political leaders who, until recently, rejected talk of reunification.

Between the two worlds is a decaying buffer zone, a place that time forgot, which in its own way sums up the international effort to bring the two sides together. Weeds push through the broken glass in shops where no customer has set foot for more than 34 years, and glass bottles with 1970s labels gather dust next to more modern rotting rubbish left by peacekeeping troops.

The UN-controlled no-man's land – or green line – first drawn in 1964, marks the UN corridor dividing Turks from Greeks. The capital, Nicosia, found itself on the front line when the two communities went to war in 1974 after a Greek-engineered coup on Cyprus prompted Turkey to invade. The end of the fighting brought partition to Nicosia, and Ledra Street was cleaved in two.

Last year, the concrete walls on the street were abruptly demolished by the Greek side. That demolition was not seen as much more than a gesture while the Greek Cypriots continued to be led by the hardliner Tassos Papadopoulos. His defeat and the election of a left-winger, Mr Christofias, has revived hopes that permanent partition can be avoided.

The newcomer was elected on a tide of dissent and has warned that this year represents the last chance for reunification. "This time we must succeed. A new failure will be devastating," said Mr Christofias. He warned people not to expect immediate results: "Not everything can be done immediately," he said.

The immediate sticking point is that Mr Talat wants to use the comprehensive UN blueprint drawn up in 2004 as a starting point, whereas Mr Christofias prefers a more recent incremental approach agreed in 2006.

Whichever path lies ahead it seems the first step is likely to come with a crossing on Ledra Street. "I hope an opening can help in furthering contact between ordinary people so that it can heal their wounded souls and lessen the distance between them," Mr Christofias said.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

crocus haze

have you ever hit publish when you were not at all ready to do so? i did that earlier today.

today is the first day in what seems a long while that leaving the house has not been required.

when the empty vessel of your home, which simultaneously is alive, is full of possibility.

there has been a lot of this sitting at the computer. but productively sitting.

the stringing of some lights in the bedroom.

the kind of dusting where, instead of removing all the objects off the surface and doing a clean sweep, you just dust around the objects, sometimes with the pads of your fingers (this method not approved by the clean police).

the arrival of the first of a new magazine subscription dan gifted me with at christmas. subscriptions to living crafts were being offered as a fund raiser for our school. sweet!

and also today, a great deal of reflection.

i even started the day off sitting on my zafu and meditating.

i successfully procrastinated on two projects i am giving myself a march 28 deadline for.

i'm hoping to discontinue this sluggish behavior once tashi gets home. a fellow parent is giving her a ride, so, as earlier mentioned, it is not required of me to leave the house. but there are a few errands to be run. and i would like to get outside and pick up the yard a little. the strangest bits of garbage seem to drift into our yard.

dinner will be lentils, rice with orzo, sweet italian chicken sausage and greens. and then it will be time to hunker down and read all about ostara.

wishing you all a thoughtful spring equinox. dig in and plant those seeds for real.

oh, and for those of you wondering why the photos of the highchair: when i saw the seat this sweet chocolate bunny was sitting in, i was inspired to photograph tashi's beautiful old neglected highchair.

the latest on events in tibet & china

Tibetan students hold vigil in Beijing
Curfew imposed in Xinjiang towns

ICT report, March 17, 2008

Tibetan students held a silent vigil in Beijing today to honor the courage of Tibetan protestors in Tibet. The group of around 50 students sat silently in a circle with heads bowed outside the Central Minorities University in the Haidian district of western Beijing this evening for around six hours. They were surrounded by an official security cordon preventing outsiders and other students from joining the protest, although some foreign reporters succeeded in gaining brief access to the protestors.

While some Tibetan students are known to have taken part in the pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in June 1989, this is the first known demonstration by Tibetans in China's capital.

According to a source who received a message from Beijing, the students were allowed to leave at around 1 am, which appears to indicate that the authorities had followed a strategy of containing the protest in order to avoid provoking further dissent. It is not clear whether reprisals will follow. One source reported that a senior Beijing official arrived at the protest to ensure it was closed peacefully.

There was also a peaceful protest today by students at the South-Western Minorities University in Chengdu, although details could not be confirmed at the time of going to press.

These two peaceful vigils follow a peaceful sit-down protest yesterday (March 16) of around 200 Tibetan students on the campus of from the Northwest Minority University in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. In a message to a Tibetan in exile, one of the students said: "We are staging our protest in a very peaceful means and we are going to held a candle light vigil tonight." A foreign reporter who spoke to some of the students said that some of the students knew people who had been killed during the protests of the past week in Tibet, and that they wanted to pay silent tribute to their courage. One report said that some students in Lanzhou held a further sit-in today.

The protests by Tibetans in Beijing took place hours before the deadline imposed by the Chinese authorities for Tibetans to hand themselves in if they had taken part in rioting and demonstrations in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, over the past few days.

According to sources, the atmosphere in Lhasa is now 'terrifying', with soldiers carrying out house to house searches and taking people into custody. Tibetans who have pictures of the Dalai Lama are targeted and in some cases have been taken away. In an instant message communication with a Tibetan in exile, one Tibetan reported: "A [details withheld] university student child was taken by police. He was hit and as of now still can't stand." When asked why, the same source said: "Because he had a picture of Kundun [literally 'the presence', a reference to the Dalai Lama] around his neck."

A British newspaper, The Times, reported today that as the midnight deadline approached in Lhasa, four trucks in convoy made a slow progress along main roads, with about 40 people, mostly young Tibetan men and women, standing with their wrists handcuffed behind their backs, witnesses said. "A soldier stood behind each prisoner, hands on the back of their necks to ensure their heads were bowed," reported Jane Macartney from Beijing. "Loudspeakers on the trucks broadcast calls to anyone who had taken part in the violent riots on Friday, in which Han Chinese and Hui Muslims were stabbed and beaten and shops and business set on fire, to turn themselves in. Those who gave themselves up might be treated with leniency, the rest would face severe punishment, the broadcasts said." A blogger on a Chinese website also referred to the incident. Reliable sources informed ICT today that foreign non-governmental organizations had been asked to leave Lhasa, although details could not be confirmed.

Curfews imposed in Xinjiang

According to Uyghur sources, the authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), or East Turkestan, have imposed curfews following the protests and crackdown in Tibet in at least two towns in Xinjiang, Kashgar, and Hotan. Perhaps fearing copycat protests, people have been instructed to be home by 10 pm, and there is a stepped up security presence of police with guard dogs. According to reliable reports, people found outside after 10 pm have been detained.

This report can be read online.

Press contact:

Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612

Sunday, March 16, 2008

free tibet

Statement by the Dalai Lama on recent events:

I am deeply concerned over the situation that has been developing in Tibet following peaceful protests in many parts of Tibet, including Lhasa, in recent days. These protests are a manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people under the present governance.

As I have always said, unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution. It is unrealistic to expect unity and stability under such a rule and would therefore not be conducive to finding a peaceful and lasting solution.

I therefore appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people. I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.


as you can imagine, our household is paying close attention to events unfolding in and about tibet. a lot of the news and footage can be found online. here are a few links.

bbc video of the dalai lama

videos of recent events, including peaceful tibetan protesters clashing with the nypd. what's up with that anyway?

press release by international campaign for tibet

send a statement to the international olympic committee

the latest news on tibet by tibetans

video piece by the guardian uk

video piece about the tibetans' olympia torch ceremony

unbelievable footage of rightfully angry tibetans (ignore the commercial at the beginning. and hopefully you have windows media player, unlike me)

silent movie

i forgot to bring my flip camera to the school dance last night, but had my photo camera which takes little silent films. here are a bunch of people dancing to surfzilla, the band in which dan plays bass. especially notable is our tashi, in the yellow skirt. if you are playing music on your computer while watching this, it might just work. or if you wave your mouse over a song name and click, you can actually listen to surfzilla here! rock on!

Friday, March 14, 2008

free date

i think perhaps i'm finally beginning to resurface. the jet lag hit me hard this time, and even though i've been going to bed at a reasonable hour all week, by 9pm i am absolutely exhausted.

yesterday tashi went with her 4th grade class on a whale watching trip to virginia beach. they spent the night at a cottage belonging to one of the class parents, and will return early this evening. it was strange to come home to an empty nest. so dan and i went on a date.

we decided to make a picnic of pesto ravioli, cypriot salad, and red wine, and go in search of sunset. we didn't really have enough time to make it to the blue ridge, so we thought carter's mountain would be good. but the road was closed. so we went searching around the monticello ashlawn-highland area for a good spot. can anyone tell me some good spots in or around charlottesville for catching sunset?

we found ourselves driving down a rough dirt road that ended with a gate. we could see the sun sinking behind he hill, and there was a lovely expanse of farmland before us. we knew that perhaps we were on private property, but decided to go for it, as the sun had about 20 minutes left. sure enough, once i'd laid down our blanket and food, the grounds keeper came driving over. when he saw we were just enjoying the view and having a nice picnic, he had no problem with us at all.

as soon as the sun set all the birds started getting busy, and there were lovely twittering scampering sounds all around. we enjoyed the peaceful moment, then backed out of the dirt road before night fell.

we followed our picnic with a glass of koumandaria at home. koumandaria is an old world cypriot wine originally made in the monasteries. it is sweet, but has a bit of a fiery edge.

i almost had my koumandaria taken away from me in the amsterdam airport. it was a duty free item purchased in cyprus. it was in a sealed bag and all, but apparently the u.s. has a rule that you can only by duty free from the final country you are in before flying to the u.s. i begged and pleaded and said i'd take sips out of it to show them it wasn't explosive. finally the security supervisor agreed i could take it.

afterwards we took a pleasant walk downtown, gazing into windows, people watching and catching the marvelous conclusion of john doyle's set, piped out of the gravity lounge.

it was a fine evening, without having spent a dime.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

my six word memoir: a meme

i was tagged by the very sweet cami of full circle to participate in this interesting "memoir" meme.

here's the story behind the meme, copied from the original post:

As I read yet another book review of a memoir this weekend, my husband told me that I should write one. I said that my story would be much too short and rather boring so when I ran across the following book I decided it was just my speed. A six word memoir! Written by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser, Not Quite What I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure is a compilation based on the story that Hemingway once bet ten dollars that he could sum up his life in six words. His words were- For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. There’s a video on Amazon with examples from the book, it sounds like a fun read! I’d like to start a six word memoir meme and here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere

4. Tag five more blogs with links

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

it's been interesting mulling over this. my meme, and my tags, follow.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

she seeks anemone, root severed, seaborne.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

i tag:
lucky beans
my marrakesh

The World is Watching, China!!!

(I received this recently)

Dear SFT members and supporters,

*** Before you read this, please keep in mind that the safety of
people like those I'm about to mention is in the hands of people like
us. We have worked to open up space for people in Tibet to speak out,
and now Tibetans are taking that risk, built on the hope that the
world is watching. Now we must fulfill that role. We must be watching
and making others to watch, so that China has no favorable course of
action, so that China must back down and refrain from violence as
Tibetans tell us the real story. ***

This year's Uprising Day brought with it the largest protests in Lhasa
in nearly 20 years. Details are still coming out but scarce. It seems
there were at least 3 major protests:

- On March 10 itself, a large number of Tibetans gathered in the
Barkor square, perhaps around 100, encircling police as a smaller
group staged a demonstration. 16 people were arrested, 14 of them
monks and one as young as 15 years old.

- Also on M10, 300 monks marched from Drepung towards central Lhasa.
Reports indicate they intended to protest in front of the Potala for
the release of others detained in October at the time the Dalai Lama
received the Congressional Gold Medal. 50-60 from the march were

- On March 11, 500-600 people, mostly monks, marched from Sera
monastery to the police station to demand the release of those
arrested at the Barkor. They were attacked by police with teargas;
it remains unknown how many were arrested.

Both Sera and Drepung monastery have since been sealed off, converting
them into a sort of prison themselves.

An eyewitness report of the first protest can be found on this travel

Latest news

News updates are coming in frequently, this is the best place to keep up with them

- WATCH the events in Tibet as they unfold.
- TELL all of your friends and family members what's going on and ask
them to do the same. If you use Facebook, etc., post the news
articles there!
- Write to local and nationwide news media and ask them to cover the
story in Tibet.
- Contact me to volunteer in coordinating and mobilizing for Tibet.

Never forget, our eyes watching DO MATTER. 20 years ago, the tear gas
police fired would have instead been bullets and hundreds of Tibetan
patriots might be dead. But while treatment may be lighter on the
surface, China still aims to do the same violence behind closed doors,
through beatings and torture of those arrested, if they can get away
with it. We're here to see to it that they can't. It's that simple.

Join Tibetans in making history in 2008.

In solidarity,

Rich Felker
Students for a Free Tibet
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

Monday, March 10, 2008

metalworking goddess

shira loa's handcrafted adornments are alive, sensual, mysterious, amazing. check out this video to sample her incredible art and learn a bit about her process. she sings beautifully too!


tashi had her ears pierced for her 10th birthday on jan 2. i promised her she could change her earrings once we found some nice pure gold or silver dolphin earrings in cyprus. if you didn't know already, tashi loves dolphins. well, we didn't find any nice dolphin earrings in cyprus, not because there weren't any, but because we really didn't spend much time shopping.

lucky for tashi, when we arrived home there was a package from aunt sue awaiting her, and inside it was a pair of sterling silver dolphin earrings.

has anyone had a harder time than me getting the original piercing studs out of their child's ears? they were impossible. i even went back to the piercing pagoda with tashi, but the woman working there wouldn't attempt it. she just told me to twist and pull at the same time. this is not easy to do when your child is telling you it hurts.

well, i rolled up my sleeves this afternoon and got down and dirty. i put a little aloe vera on the post, as a kind of lubricant. i trimmed my nails, so as not to poke tashi. i had her lay her on side. and with a little twisting, jigging, and tugging, i finally go the darn studs out. too bad they are so pretty because we will probably never put them in again.

tashi was so thrilled to put on the silver dolphins. thanks aunt sue!

home again, home again

it was a tiring journey home, with one fascinating evening spent in amsterdam, holland, where we gazed in awe at incredible architecture, peered down charming alleys, walked along otherworldly canals, avoided oncoming bicycles, and opted for pizza and pasta for dinner.

after finally landing in dc's dulles airport on friday afternoon, we came upon terrible traffic for the drive home, and instead of two hours it took four.

but we are home.

i managed a good nine hour stretch of sleep just last night, which will hopefully do the trick of evicting the jet lag. tashi seems to be doing just fine.

i'm a bit nervous about going to work today and facing all that i've got to catch up on. tashi is excited about going to school and seeing all her friends again. on the home front, i've got phone calls to make, appointments to set, bills to pay, seeds to start, a workroom to tidy and projects to undertake. we managed to get groceries and laundry mostly out of the way over the weekend.

before i can blink, tashi's spring break will be here. but this one is being spent at home, with some visitors we hope.

happy week to you all.

all images from our quick jaunt in amsterdam

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Approaching Departure

It’s hard to believe that we only have two days left in Cyprus. It’s never easy to leave, and just when I start to feel at home, the day of departure arrives. Whenever I visit Cyprus I find myself wondering if it is part of my life’s path to return for good. But what might be my path is not necessarily Dan’s or Tashi’s. Is it merely romantic to think I could find my muse in a villa by the sea? That the missing link in my creative struggles is in the land where I was born? Or is it just an excuse? Would the landscape of my writing change in a landscape of olive trees and blossoming almond? Would the sound of the sea affect the cadence of my work? Is it possible to find inner peace in a bitterly divided country? Or is the challenge of fusion under disparate conditions the challenge that will fuel my passion?

Alas, it will all be packed away in my little blue heart as we return to Virginia and our little blue house. But I am eager to see my Love and our friendly cats.

Nicosia is always a bittersweet city to be in. I am in awe of the hearty venetian wall that stands tall and strong and contains a remarkable old city with buildings both decrepit and transformed. There are dozens of galleries full of exciting art and countless cafes bustling with people having animated conversations. Yesterday I visited the Moufflon bookstore where the books are piled in the aisles and the workers get excited when you ask them for guidance. It is a place that smells like books, where you wipe the dust off of old tomes and find fresh perspectives.

In Nicosia there have been a few wrong turns into bad restaurants or dead end roads. There is the barbed and barreled green line where you can peer into streets that have sat frozen in time since 1974.

There is the depressing presence of McDonalds, TGI Fridays, KFC, Papa John’s. There is so much noise, dust, traffic and litter. But I just have to be reminded of the nearby Troodos Range where wild flowers are beginning to blossom and herds of goats are moving about with the jangle of copper bells.

Or I just have to walk into the municipal market, rich with bright produce, jars of syrupy sweets, hand woven baskets and fresh loaves of crusty village bread.

Or I have to walk down the narrow winding streets of the old city and look up at verdant rooftop gardens to find beauty that brings a sense of inner peace. Or I just have to walk into a lofty gallery with high ceilings and art that captures a certain light, a certain sadness, a certain bit of old world that can still be found if you seek it out. Or perhaps, I just have to walk into my uncle’s house and gaze at his thick oil paintings of a quiet world.

And if there is nothing else, there is always the azure Mediterranean sky.

Last but not least, there is the one true wish.