Sunday, August 31, 2008


thanks for the responses and support offered in my rental post, below. your responses create new facets, through which to examine the dilemma. please do keep them coming!

there are many factors i didn't mention, some of them changing with each day. all will build a careful decision.

today is my birthday! indeed! unfortunately, i've been a bit under the weather, fighting a malaise that the changing seasons can sometimes bring on. that did not prevent me from eating cake after lunch. oh it was delicious. a perfect balance of chocolate and raspberry. notice the box of gearhart's chocolates? my people know how to please me!

i guess the single candle represents the one, in forty one. at least it was easy to blow out, hopefully sending my wish swiftly to the deities who will protect it.

i did not go out tonight to hear surfzilla play at beer run, and watch my love work the bass in the great way that he does, and hang out with my joyful child, and meet friends. i didn't feel like feeling bad in public. i'm often really good at pushing my limits of sleep and self preservation. but i have a birth to attend any day now. it would really be horrible to have to call in sick to a birth!

so home i am, having eaten a salad while watching the sun set from the deck. gathering my thoughts, moving slowly, and sipping some nurturing teas. and blogging. because writing is satisfying.

as are tomatoes right now. mixed into salad with other yummy fresh things.

may your labor day be as restful as my today has been. without the malaise, of course!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


today we looked at a rental which is about 15 miles from town. we are all sort of in love with it, despite some issues. the big questions are: 1. do we want to move from one rental, into another? and, 2. do we want to live 15 miles out of town?

let me share some of its charm. the ground floor deck is built around a big tree.

here is the top of the big tree.

there is nice dark wood trim, and these odd little shelves, of which there is another set on the other side.

this is the view from the kitchen window. yard. tire swing. fat tree. horse pasture. barn.

but when you look down, you look at this nasty kitchen sink. it's not dirty, just worn with age. there are a few worn out spots like this in the house.

i could have big plans for this small nook in the wall.

the landlord says he is going to put a wood burning stove here, which would rock. and i love the stone.

decent ceiling fans in many rooms.

and a loft. tashi is in love with the loft, and it would be totally hers.

the house is next to a river. a river! the river is muddy from recent rains, but far, far from overflowing, which says a lot.

here is the view from the master bedroom.

and here is the horse pasture, which is part of the property and may be rented out to horse owners. horses next door. droooool.

so why hesitate, you ask?

well, weren't we going to buy a house?
you see, it's seeming more and more, the time is just not right for that.

why would we want to live so far when fuel is so expensive?
maybe because when i take my power walk in the morning, it would be in the woods. automatically. and the idea of that -- the silence, the wildlife, the canopy of trees -- makes me a little giddy.

what about your cute blue house?
well, once our current landlord jacks up the rent, the house pictured above would actually be cheaper. and it's bigger. and it has more land. and it's pretty darn cute, too.

well, so, shut up and just do it, you say.

perhaps we will.

but if you've got an opinion, i'd love to hear it!

good mornin' sunshine

i've been trying to change my sleep habits, going to bed earlier instead of being such a night owl. but when i get myself into bed at a reasonable hour, i almost always have a restless night's sleep, and then wake up at some ungodly hour, and can't settle back down again.

the point for me is not early to bed, early to rise. it's early to bed so i can actually get eight or nine hours of sleep! but instead, i've been feeling even less rested.

today i woke up at 5:30am. that's after waking at midnight, and 2am, and. . . i am now trying to decide if i should just haul my sorry behind down to the farmer's market for its opening hour.

in the mean time, i like hearing the birds build their chorus. it is inspiring to see a new day dawn. if only the hours leading to this one had been spent in a solid sleep.

i guess i'm just adjusting.

6am full moon from kiptopeke state park

Friday, August 29, 2008


i guess i should have taken the candles off the deck before the rain.

i think we all feel a bit refreshed from the recent showers. ready to start anew as we enter the school year. ready to turn off the tv for a while after olympics and obama. and this sunday, i turn 41. how on earth? the band dan plays bass in, surfzilla, will be playing at beer run on the very occasion.

it was lovely to walk outside this morning and find watery orbs clinging to all things.

other than the surfzilla show on sunday, our weekend looks to be fairly relaxed. we will probably look at some houses. rent a movie. take a few last seasonal dips in the outdoor pool. grill some food.

float into the darkening days of september with the light of hope in our hearts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


it's been raining heavily and constantly for about 24 hours. never before have i been so thrilled about cool, damp & dark days. i was beginning to get a summer version of seasonal affective disorder after so many weeks without rain. i love the dance of it on the roof, the beads of it on the windows, the grand puddles and wet grass. i love the relief from the heat, that the parched earth is drinking it in, gulp after gulp.

and tonight, obama. he's going to rock the house.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

a few passing thoughts

last night we had friends over, which was far better than not having friends over. we ate meatloaf, baked potatoes, corn on the cob and salad. molly made an exquisite peach crisp for dessert. we watched the olympics and played cranium and fell asleep and drank tea.

today dan and i looked at a house that was so very sweet and above our price range and too near a big roaring highway. i'm feeling rather glum about the house hunt. it seems the more i look, the more i like our little blue rental, backed by what dan likes to call, the forest primeval. there is something special about being in town with the forest primeval in your back yard.

the little garden in my front yard is rather parched and sparse. but the fennel is blooming. fennel rocks, especially if you have crummies in your tummy after eating a delicious dinner of too many things combined (me, last night).

friends, food, quietude, that's what good weekends are made of.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

suitcase poem XVI

leaves are the handprints of light
little bells sing as something drifts to earth
crystals grow with each piercing glance
they broadcast the news
with the shake of her hips seasons shift
a baby is born when candle is lit
each rotation finds a page torn
rust blooms in depression

Friday, August 22, 2008

summer is setting

one of the many nice things about tashi's enrollment in the charlottesville waldorf school is that she doesn't have to return to school until after labor day. that's the way it should be, if you ask me.

i'm killing a little time at a downtown cafe before dan and i whip up to crozet to pick up tashi from a friend's house, and then look at a few houses up in that area. why would we want to live 15 miles from town? the photo above might explain.

though, just today i learned that the great little health food store in crozet -- fabulous foods -- is closing. with all the people moving up there, how could this be? it certainly makes me think twice about the way things are going up there. i wouldn't be surprised if starbucks took over their space.

speaking of taking over space, the uva students are rolling in fast and furious. the little charlottesville roadways are clogged and crowded. time to practice deep breathing.

all of you out there with kids who produce mass quantities of art, what do you do with it all? i've got portfolios. i've got plastic tubs. i've got boxes. and i've got so much i'd like to hang up or frame, but for the lack of wall space. so look what i discovered one day. you know those super strong magnets that come in a package of two. you can put them on either side of your hand and they'll stick. well, you can put them on either side of a door too. and then you can stick art on either side of the door without making holes or tape marks. is that not remarkable? i want tons of these magnets now. tons.

here is tashi's sketch of buddha. stuck to the door with a magnet.

here is tashi's sketch of reepicheep, stuck to the other side of the door with the other magnet. isn't that swell?

the buddha was an early sketch for this egg tempera painting, which tashi created at uva art camp. i just love it. she isn't happy with the way it turned out, but this one is actually hanging from a nail. in our living room.

i might not have done any crafting this summer, but i did discover that strong magnets can make great craft displays. now that's productive.

aaah summer, i'm going to miss you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

august augur

i can't admit any feelings of guilt toward my blog absence. i was beginning to think i needed to check into the betty ford for internet addicts. but as we head toward the school year and summer's end, i think i will resume my presence on the vale. if only i had something to say!

we had a lovely weekend of camping on the eastern shore. i thought it essential that in our third virginia summer, we actually make it to the coast. and so we did, modest stay though it was. sand, salt water, an abundance of crabs, a full mama moon, stunning sherbet sunsets, bugs the size of my big toe, a tent tingling electrical storm, campfire alchemy, russian folk singers and the silly jokes my brother shared made for a well rounded stay at kiptopeke state park.

i feel the quickening now, as we edge toward a busy season at work, tashi's fifth grade year and a house hunt that continues. tonight we looked at a rental out in the country side. there was so much about it to love, poised alongside a river in a large yard full of old knobby trees. the house had unique features, tons of space, two decks, built in window seats and a loft. but it was seriously trashed by it's former tenants. while the landlord said he'd be fixing it up, it was hard for me to see past the cracked walls, the cigarette stench, the stained carpets and thick cobwebs. dan and tashi could both see its potential, but i wasn't sure about giving up the house buying search for another rental that might have many hidden and obvious frustrations. at the same time, it could be an earthly paradise, an immense opportunity for creative homesteading. which way to go? we will have to think hard on this one and hope for some cosmic messengers.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


with tibetans in mind, we had thenthuk for dinner and then pinched, steamed and consumed momos during the spectacular opening ceremonies.

if only china's precision and creativity did not lead them to violent domination of so many beautiful cultures.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

an exquisite beginning

august started with fridays after five, one of its better nights this summer. the opening band, a male female duo called birdlips, performed thoughtful, melodic, quirky, celestial songs. they were like the exact antithesis of the white stripes. they had a haunting, sometimes elfin lilt, that walks one through inward meadows of the wild.

during the break between bands we ate some really good food at the box. i highly recommend it. the prices are hella reasonable and you have all these great choices of sauces and skewers and add ons for a variety of noodles. the scallion crepes topped with asian slaw were perfect as an opener. tashi was quite content with her skewer of seasoned shrimp served with plain & simple cellophane noodles.

the second band at fridays after five was larry keel and natural bridge. i'd have to say this was the best bluegrass show i've witnessed since moving to a place where the banjo-is-often. it was well balanced, not too twangy, but still traditional. larry keel spun shards of good energy and the band continually aligned with the stars.

so it was a festive friday, indeed.

saturday had a blissful start as i was given the gift of hanging out with baby aurora while her cool mama taught yoga. tashi and i proudly carried aurora into the new milano. i nibbled at a tantalizing waffle served with juicy berries (just $3!) while dancing with baby amongst the rich furnishings of an italian villa. aurora fell asleep on my shoulder, which is the ultimate honor. she awoke as we perused the farmer's market and she gave tashi and i some of the biggest smiles we've ever seen come across her wee moon face.

later that day we drove tashi off to a sudden overnight with her friend. sudden overnight means sudden datenight. dan and i had no idea what to do, as there didn't seem to be a single interesting thing happening in town. so we drove out of town, out to the blue mountain brewery, where we had a beer tasting while gazing at sunset play across blue ridge.

dark hollow bourbon barrel stout wins, hands down.

after that we drove off to uncle charlie's in crozet where a band called basshound was playing. i didn't know what to expect, but my curiosity was sufficiently piqued after listening to their tracks on myspace.

my friends in ann arbor will understand what i mean when i say they approximated the cloud nine experience.

the major difference being, basshound is just four musicians. and they pull some really odd covers, songs one would normally not want to hear covers of: zz top's cheap sunglasses, steeley dan's josie, david bowie's let's dance.

but the thing that they did was, they brought the songs to an entirely new level, turning each into a sweat house of stomping rhythm.

when i awoke this morning, it was followed by this:

and this:

and later, more of this:

also, despite the risk of black lung, we purged and rearranged our basement. we now have a pile of total junk under our deck, moldy, broken, crappy stuff, that even freecyclers won't touch. but in the basement, one no longer walks into a death trap of inaccessible items smooshed haphazardly together. everything is carefully arranged, and the center of the basement is open -- wide open -- as it hasn't been since we
moved in.

these first few days of august center around lughnasadh, the first of the ancient celtic harvest holidays. it is a time to feast on the fruits of the first harvest, dance, celebrate the earth, play games late into night, and clean out the root cellar, so sealed jars of summer's bounty can be stored away for winter.

this weekend was such a nice start.

wishing fresh food for your table, spells of stargazing, a sudden urge to dance and great stores of space in your heart, as the harvest season pulls us forward.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

august, August

a. Grand; magnificent; majestic; impressing awe; inspiring reverence; as, august in visage.

n. [Me. August, Augst; L. Augustus; named from emperor Augustus; name originally from augere, to increase.] The eighth month of the year, containing thirty-one days. The old Roman name was Sextilis, the sixth month from March, the month in which the primitive Romans, as well as Jews, began the year. The name was changed toAugust in honor of the emperor Octavius Augustus, on account of his victories and his entering on his first consulate in that month.

(Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Copyright 1952)

au·gust [aw-guhst]
1. inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic: an august performance of a religious drama.
2. venerable; eminent: an august personage.
[Origin: 1655–65; < L augustus sacred, grand, akin to augĂ©re to increase. See eke]
—Related forms
au·gust·ly, adverb
au·gust·ness, noun

Au·gust [aw-guhst]
1. the eighth month of the year, containing 31 days. Abbreviation: Aug.
2. a male given name, form of Augustus.
[Origin: bef. 1100; ME < L Augustus (named after Augustus); r. OE Agustus < L, as above]

( Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006).

august adj. [L. augustus orig., prop. "consecrated by the augurs"] 1. inspiring awe and reverence; imposing and magnificent 2. worthy of respect because of age and dignity, high position, ec.; venerable --SYN. see GRAND -- augustly adv. --augustness n.

August [ME. < L. Augustus < Augustus Caesar: see ff.] a masculine name: see AUGUSTUS --n. the eighth month of the year, having 31 days.: abbrev. Aug., Ag.

(Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language Second college Edition copyright 1980