Monday, June 30, 2008

monday update

tashi and i venture out for brief spells in between eye drops and meals. yesterday we checked out the artisan market, where i purchased a pair of dangling earrings for tashi. she can't wait to put them on. afterwards we stopped at people's food co-op, my old workplace, and enjoyed a beverage at cafe verde.

i have driven by the old homeplace a couple of times, kind of like a stalker. above is the house we lived in from 2001 to 2005. the house sits at the edge of two magical acres and faces woodlands full of trails. tashi started preschool while living in that house. i trained to be a doula. tashi started grade school while living in that house, and lost her first teeth. dan landed a managerial position at a dot com while living in that house, after driving a cab for too long. i had four miscarriages in that house but also acquired our two cats. we had several notable parties in that house. in the yard is a pond that, every spring, became an orchestra of frogs. tashi built fairy huts in the woods, we took walks down to the huron river, loki got stuck in tall trees, and i planted herbs & flowers that continue to flourish.

i was happy to see my nettles and mugwort growing tall in the middle of the yard. it's not a great photo, but you can see them in the middle, in front of the wooden bench swing. i'm dying to take a walk around the place for a closer look.

tashi started off our week in ann arbor with a visit to dan's brother's family. her cousin will and her hit it off as if they'd never been apart. they baked a carrot cake from scratch, precariously perched on the table in the photo. it was half covered with coconut and half covered with walnuts and was incredibly delicious.

we've also been watching some movies. i watched the other boleyn girl, which was fascinating, and a visual feast. now i want to read the book. tashi and i watched mr. magorium's wonder emporium, which seemed kind of awkward and poorly executed, yet fun enough.

today my mother has an eye check up, so we'll see if progress is being made. perhaps tashi and i will sneak off for a dip in the lake later. tomorrow we are looking forward to seeing like water drum and dance at the top of the park summer festival. one of the dancers was a preschool teacher of tashi's.

and then on thursday we meet dan at a crazy family friendly music festival in ohio where there will be camping, swimming, and dancing to many bands, including george clinton and parliament/funkadelic!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


i am in rainy ann arbor in my mother's wee flat, having a lesson in samsara.

tashi and i had a fun time in our roomette on the amtrak. there was some magnificent scenery between dc and pittsburgh. rivers and rolling countryside and barns and abandoned vw buses and horses and woods.

after coloring and music and silliness in our roomette, a decent dinner in the dining car and some time gazing out the floor-to-ceiling windows in the lounge, the attendant folded out our beds.

it was very cozy and the sway of the train was rather mesmerizing, unlike its horn which was blasted the entire way once night fell. i really did not sleep well because of it. we exited at toledo where the one hour wait for the ann arbor bus turned into four-and-a-half-hour wait. that was a real drag.

once we arrived in ann arbor and spent some time acquainting ourselves to the recovery situation of my mom, tashi and i, starving after our long morning, went out to have kibbehs for lunch. the greatest of coincidences wss that my dear friend laura called me from just around the corner. so she and her amazing little daughter -- sylvia -- joined us.

do you not want to gobble this child up?

lunch lead to an ice cream cone at washtenaw dairy and then errand running, which kept us away from my mom a little too long for her taste. and so i am now settling into her little flat and trying my best to be a good nurse.

tashi is running around with dan's brother's family, which is surely some good fun. i am preparing meals, applying eye drops, running errands and trying to keep my mom stationary as much as possible. aside from the fact that lying on your side 90% of the time really sucks, she's doing well. and i am grateful for the trees outside the window.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

leaving on a jet train

yesterday my mother called me with the news that she has a detached retina. that meant surgery this morning, followed by a week of having to remain stationary on her side as much as possible so that the retina will re-attach. needless to say, one cannot cook meals for oneself while lying on one's side. one cannot check their mail, water their garden, run off to the grocery store or clean their toilet. apparently it is ok to get up and use the toilet once in a while though.

so i am taking a sudden trip to ann arbor to help out my mom. tashi is coming along since she has no camp scheduled next week, and because i sure do like to hang out with my girl (as does yia yia). tomorrow we'll be climbing onto a train where we reserved the very last remaining seats. the seats just so happen to be in a private sleeper car. we're pretty stoked about having our own picture window, beds that fold out, and table on which to play boggle and kings-in-a-corner.

of course the circumstances are not good. my mother has to suffer. i have to miss a week of work and break some very important commitments. tashi has to miss her last-day-of-art-camp performance. but once she gets throught he recovery, i'm confident that my mother will be fine. and we will get to drop into some hip ann arbor haunts & happenings and see some favorite ann arbor friends.

all aboard!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

hangin' with ganesh

it's another self portrait at the twisted branch tea bazaar. i met dan here for lunch, and am now trying to stay awake until i have to pick up tashi. so i thought blogging might do it for me, though i haven't much to say. no, not much at all. for lunch i had the delicious pmt: pesto, mozzarella, tomato on foccacia. to drink: lemon licorice ice tea.

omg, someone is leaving and they have a whole salad left on their plate.

i purchased this book ages ago and almost immediately shelved it out of intimidation. for some reason this morning while walking to work it popped into my mind. i've got to sew a skirt. i must. this afternoon i'll pull it off the shelf before running off to the pool with tashi. i will leaf through it and make a decision. i will.

and that's all for now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

sun in cancer

remember my little sheet mulch project? well I did actually plant a few babies. all seem to be taking remarkably well. i didn't do a single thing to the soil, aside from break it up a little and try to pull out as many grass roots as possible. keeping the grass at bay will be a constant battle.

i purchased some very sad plants at 75% off at lowes. i consider buying plants from lowes an act of mercy, even though i know the plants are far from organic. the poor things need to be rescued. so i purchased two foxgloves and three black eyed susans. all were very unhappy but they perked right up once planted and watered. they got a little fried in the humidity wave we had a couple weeks back, but they are holding on mostly. i also planted peppermint, lemon balm, fennel, comfrey, butterfly bush, borage, echinacea, lavender, nettle, nasturtium -- all organic baby plants from the farmer's market. i scattered sunflower seeds and echinacea seeds. the sunflowers are popping right up, but i'm not sure if the other is echinacea popping up, or a weed of some sort.

i've always loved borage flowers. they are edible and strong and magical. i once was served cold mint yogurt soup with borage flowers floating in it. yummerz. i want to plant other things in my little cottage garden, a mixture of tall flowers and a variety of herbs. things that will spread and reseed and return. shasta daisies. cosmos. snap dragons. rosemary. milkweed. it makes me so happy, even if i may have to say goodbye.

yesterday we drove around seeking for sale signs and scoping out addresses we found on real estate sites. most of the houses on our list got scratched off. too close to road. rotten yard. too prefab. neighboring house looks like a meth lab. etc.

we got caught in an amazing thunderstorm in batesville. we had to pull over because there was no visibility. there were some jolting flashes, jarring rumbles and then it started to hail. we decided to have our picnic in the car.

on saturday surfzilla played an acoustic appalachian surf set at beer run. i had a great catfish dinner and drank bourbon barrel stout. i saw john and molly and other friends and a couple of families that i was doula for. good fun indeed.

happy summer!

Friday, June 20, 2008

me. me. me.

I was tagged by mediterranean views to participate in this eight questions meme.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Tashi was born January 2, 1998, so at this time ten years ago she was almost six months old. I was nursing, rocking, singing, and taking lots of walks in Oakland and Berkeley, CA, where we lived. Tashi was beginning to sit up and enjoyed hanging out in the sling. We were preparing for a big trip to the Midwest to attend Dan's grandfather's 100th birthday party, road trip through Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and visit my mom. I think I was also beginning to write this body of work, in combination with the photographs of my neighbor-friend and published electronically by this poet-friend.

To do list for today-

* already spent most of the day at work
* picked up tashi from day camp
* am in the midst of preparing a picnic to enjoy at fridays after five
* dance to the reggae. drink some beer.
* take a walk on the zany downtown mall
* come home and tell tashi some solstice tales before bed
* once tashi is asleep watch this movie perhaps
* go to bed too late

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

That is a hard question to come up with a quick answer to.

Philanthropically I would like to give to children and families in need, either through the foundation of my own effort, or through an existing organization. I would like to help people who are suffering from terrible diseases and inadequate health care. I would like to give to animal/nature preserves. I would like to give to organizations promoting peace. I would like to give to my daughter's school. I would like to make the world a perfect place. Can you do that on a billion?

I would like to buy a nice little house for my mother in a place of her choice and make sure she never has to worry about money again. I would like to buy a vacation home in Cyprus to be shared with her and other family members.

I would like to buy some land and build an energy efficient home for ourselves. I would like to buy a hybrid car. I would like to set up a fund for Tashi's future.

I would like to invest the money. How do you do that?

What are three of your bad habits?

1. self defeatism
2. lack of discipline
3. spending too much time online (hi!)

What are some snacks you enjoy?

* hummus & fresh bread & olives & cheese & fresh tomatoes & basil
* fresh fruit
* guacamole & chips
* cakes & cookies & pie & scones & dark chocolate

6. What were the last five books you read?

because i spend too much time reading the iternets, i don't spend enough time reading books. and because i tend to read several books at one time, i don't remember the proper order of anything, so i'm sure i'm forgetting something. also, this doesn't count books i've read to tashi of late.

1. sense & sensibility
2. eat, pray, love
3. beyond the sky and the earth
4. huerfano
5. a variety of poetry books

What are five jobs you have had?

1. cocktail waitress
2. bookstore clerk
3. booking agent
4. artists in the schools program assistant
5. acupuncturist's assistant

What are five places where you have lived?

kyrenia, cyprus
bradford, pa
buffalo, ny
seattle, wa
dharamsala, india

What five people do you want to tag?

no tags this time, but feel free to play along, and let me know if you do!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a big mess

my work room has many purposes. it is a sewing room. a collaging room. a writing studio. an office. a guest room. a storage room.

it is not a large room.

under the twin bed are crates full of tashi's art work, old toys, childbirth information folders and stacks of magazines. in one of the closets all of our linens precariously tumble upon a basket of fabric scraps and other miscellany. in the other closet are winter clothes, boxes of photographs, a crate full of receipts, paperwork and certificates, a hodge podge of books, my prom dress, my wedding dress, and more miscellany. i have fabric stored in cubbies, as well as all of my sewing and craft books, beading supplies, books on childbirth, parenting & massage. there are stacks of bills, poems, unframed art, wrapping paper, empty boxes. the list goes on.

the room gets messy. the ironing board always has to be cleared before it can be used for its true purpose. the twin bed is just another surface on which to pile things. sometimes i just keep the door closed and hide away elsewhere with my laptop because the chaos disturbs me.

today, while tashi is enjoying day camp, i am going to, once again, tackle my work room. put it in order. clear out what's not needed.

i will be doing this with each of our rooms, as we learned recently our landlord may be selling the house, and if not that, he will be raising the rent significantly. moving is immanent. i am scouring charlottesville real estate websites. renting or buying? we shall see. but it's time to clear things out, simplify and look forward to change.

if anyone knows of any good homes available in the area, feel free to let me know!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

my peops say these are the best scones ever

i think i've only ever made scones from a box. but today being father's day, i wanted to surprise dan with something special for breakfast. dan is the kind of guy who will eat a giant chocolate chip cookie for breakfast, if he has access to one. so i thought i'd make chocolate chip scones, because, scones seem more appropriate for breakfast than cookies don't they?

oh they were good. i used this recipe: english royalty chocolate chip scones. the mix was still quite powdery after only three tablespoons of orange juice, so i ended up using five tablespoons oj and two tablespoons of half & half. i formed a thick circle of dough on the cookie sheet and cut it into 8 pieces. i pulled it out of the oven just in time for an airy, light, delectable scone. this was dan's first breakfast.

then i made the kale & cheddar frittata found on ornagette, a very fine second breakfast.

i think i enjoyed dan's breakfast in bed as much as he did!

Happy Father's Day

may all the love & mirth that you offer come back to you this day and always.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

meet fuzzawumble

we will be frequenting the crafty crow a lot this summer for some fun ideas. today we embarked on our first project posted by guest blogger, lucky beans. tashi made this monster mostly on her very own, with just a wee bit of help from me here & there, and with the last & smallest eye patch. it is just so awesome to watch your child enthusiastically make her own softie. she named him fuzzawumble and insisted he come to the pool with us this afternoon. she was rather disappointed that i frowned on the idea of bringing him in the pool!

yea, nothing like swimming, having a little workout, and coming home to eat fried chicken for dinner and lemon meringue pie for dessert. the dangers of living near the wayside.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

hello from hotsville

i will stop talking about the weather at some point, i promise. but it has been astonishing. yesterday tashi had a baseball game and it was terminated by the 5th inning because it was simply too hot to continue! everyone involved was relieved. we came home, pulled our swimsuits on, and headed off for the pool that we are now members of. ah sweet glory. it is on a beautiful wooded property, and the pool (actually, pools, three) is not heavily chlorinated, so it was quite pleasing. we also saw many familiar faces there, which was a fun surprise.

today there was a big award ceremony/picnic for the little league. here is tashi receiving her * first ever * trophy.

i love the little smile on her face as she's walking away with her prize. all the children received, "completion awards," which is a nice touch really.

even though i made a large salad and vat of pasta for the picnic, we left before eating commenced. it was just too intensely hot to eat and socialize and be out there under the bleeping sun. dan and tashi tore off to the pool but i decided to stay within the cool of our home. i swam 800 meters yesterday, after not swimming for at least a year. my arms were so sore last night i was almost in tears. so this afternoon i'm giving it a rest. there will obviously be many pool days ahead.

something i did last night rather spontaneously was go to the gravity lounge to see corey harris. now my favorite local musician, corey harris is a musical genius. it was indeed a "rasta blues experience," a really unique blending of pure unpretentious reggae music, delta blues, and mind bending guitar jams. i was so very pleased.

an so now i will leave you with a photo of tashi's latest creative endeavor. she was inspired in cyprus by this artist's use of mixed media and so today tried her hand at it. i'd say she's doing a great job. can you see the colorful painting amongst the colorful materials all around it?!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

rising 5th grader and lots of random

it's noon and 93 degrees on this lovely saturday, with a heat index of 101. we installed the window units, and our house feels like a comfortable jet (the units are very loud). i have never been a fan of air conditioning, but now that i live in the south, it is all about survival.

tashi's last day of school was yesterday. she is now officially no longer a 4th grader. where did ten years go???

the above is a photo of tashi at seven months, sitting on my mom's lap. look at those sausage links for arms & legs. no wonder i was in such decent shape the first few years of her life. who needs to lift weights when they've got their very own midas baby?

after a performance and dismissal yesterday, there was a party for tashi's class at a classmate's pool.

fun was had by all, even the smallest.

this morning i made sure to arrive at the farmer's market by 7:30am, and even then i was sweating bullets. here are some market photos.

i am feeling better about summer. the window units help. i have stepped through the threshold of humidity shock, sunburn and razor rash. also, we joined the neighborhood pool. psych!!!!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

the sky is falling

wow, the storm hype around here is outta control.

there was a big one coming. as tashi and i ate our dinner and listened to the distant but distinct rounds of resonant rumbles, our excitement mounted. was this one actually going to hit us this time? indeed. the sheets of rain unfurled. there were a few big kablams! the sky even turned a tad green.

but it was time for jeopardy!

yes, we have one very tiny tv habit of late, and that habit is jeopardy. tashi even has her very own dance that she performs each time the final jeopardy tune plays.

but tonight jeopardy wasn't on. instead, the local news people were talking about the weather as if armageddon had hit. it's a thunder storm for goodness sake! maybe some branches fell somewhere. perhaps there was some hail.

what has the world come to when jeopardy is preempted for a summer thunder storm?

oh well. it sure helped to cool things down a bit. and the sound of thunder, once the sound of the tv hype was terminated, was oh so dramatic.

even the cats weren't concerned for long.

the loudest rumble was when dan came home and dropped my perfect sized glass storage bowl full of thenthuk on the kitchen tiles.

Monday, June 02, 2008

june bugged (or the post in which i whine)

for the first time in my life, i am not filled with joy about the approach of summer. i'm not exactly dreading it either. which is making me all the more confused. i've always been a summer girl. a fling open the windows and dance in the late night heat girl. a girl who likes the waves humidity brings to her hair. a languid beach girl. a let's-go-camp-now girl. a spaghetti strap girl. but something has changed. is it me? or is that i now live in the south? maybe it's just the neptune transit molly warned me of. or the fact that i have not yet shed that winter weight.

this weekend as the season of fierce humidity descended upon us, i got sick. my bones ached. i had no energy. i even had a fever. what kind of june greeting is that? i couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. it came. it went. i was left with nothing but a lingering headache and a knot in my stomach that is still untying. maybe it was the stomach virus tashi had last weekend?

but part of me wonders if my internal thermostat was just not adjusting to the humidity. it broke down so to speak. this theory came about yesterday when a bit of rain rolled in cooling things down a little, and i felt reborn.

and then last night before bed i noticed a raised bump on my arm. it wasn't itchy, but it was obviously a mean bite of some sort. had some little summer bug infused me with venom?

which leads me to the next topic. bugs. i'm a pretty earthy person, people. but the bugs of virginia! the cave crickets and assassin bugs and phat spiders and earwigs and stink bugs and beetles and multitudinous mosquitoes and unidentifiable bugs. oh my. the oh so leggy bugs. and worse yet. bugs on poison ivy.

ok. i'm being dramatic. like the storms that often threaten and then pass to the north.

if only the coast was three minutes away rather than three hours. that's all i really need, a body of water.

shall i complain about the lakes now? sure, there are some gorgeous ones. three within thirty minutes. where you have to swim within the ropes amongst the spit and pee of wee ones. don't get me wrong. you know i * love * wee ones. if i could have a few more wee ones of my own, i would. but that's a whole other topic to whine about.

what i really love in a body water is the freedom to swim freely away from the spit and pee into a clean soft silky expanse of spring water. or the cold clear salty sea water. not putrid tepid boggy swampy shallow crowded pee pee water. not only that, but the lifeguards make everyone clear out of the water for 15 minutes every hour. say what???

lastly, whilst swimming in the lake at walnut creek park last summer, something scraped against my thigh and then nibbled it. i'll never get over it. you cannot convince me that it was a cute little fish. it was the walnut creek worm. i'm sure of it.

ok, now that i have all that negativity of my chest, i feel a little better. sorry to not be happy happy zen delight. after my head clears and my stomach finally unties, maybe i'll wake up and enjoy the sun toasting the grass. maybe.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

field trip and summer soon to follow

the "colonial" field trip with tashi's fourth grade class was really awesome. the weather was perfect, and ashlawn highland is a lovely place to pitch a tent. the kids had so much fun, with just a little drama here and there.

there were some interesting tours and demonstrations, a few great meals, and lots of laughter with fellow parents after the kids were settled in their tents.

i loved being amongst the farm animals: cows, sheep, chickens, two peahens and two * loud * peacocks.

i had a lot of fun taking photos, as evidenced here.

i can't believe we are entering the last week of school. the year seems to have gone more quickly than usual. i wish i could say we have some exciting plans for summer, but as usual dan and i are just trying to figure out how to juggle our two jobs with caring for tashi. she will be in a couple of art camps, and luckily our job schedules are pretty flexible.

did i mention that dan landed a new job? we are all pretty happy about it. the onset of his job hunt brought with it possibilities of having to move, but it looks like we'll be sticking around charlottesville for some time now.

my big hope for the summer is that we can fit in lots of weekend camping excursions. it is so incredibly lovely around here; we haven't really taken advantage of it yet.