Saturday, November 29, 2008

vacation is the life for me

it was a quiet thanksgiving for dan, tashi and i. but we feasted as if we were having a party for twelve. our local free range turkey turned out perfectly golden and moist. the stuffing, the cranberry chutney, the sweet potatoes, the vegetables, all grand. i added too much milk to the mashed potatoes, and it seemed that perhaps the gravy was thicker than they were. but it was all good never-the-less.

we usually have our feast in the early afternoon, which i prefer to waiting until night time. that way the cooking is over with, and there is time for relaxing by the fire, walking, a film, a game. we did all of that. the walk especially was nice. we met a very friendly horse neighbor. he ambled on over to us, let us coo at him and stroke his nose. we fed him grass from outside the fence (evidently much more tasty than the grass inside the fence) and gazed into his deep, long lashed, eyes. i am so thrilled to be living near horses.

the cows are very shy, but curious. i love how individual each is.

and the sunsets, they can't be beat.

yesterday we took a nice drive up the shenandoah valley, lunched in luray, and then entered fort valley within the two arms of the massanutten mountain. it is a valley within a valley, so to speak, a rather mysterious zone. it was a beautiful meandering drive that ended all too quickly. we traveled south on the outer west side of the mountain and then took a side trip to the woodstock tower. it was a bit hazy out, but the panoramic views were worth it.

after that we had our annual visit to the green valley bookfair, about as much as we will venture into shopping on "black friday." we stocked up on a huge load of bookish surprises for a quarter of the price. if you live in the area and have not visited the book fair, it is well worth the journey, especially if you have a child that is a voracious reader.

today we will be going into downtown charlottesville to sit at the holiday market. we are selling some handmade items by tashi's fifth grade class (& parents), a fundraiser for a couple of class trips on the horizon. come on by for beautiful glass bead bracelets, kite paper stars, beeswax luminaries, and some original textile work!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

grateful day

i am grateful that there is no longer a fortress of boxes in the middle of tashi's room.

and i am of course grateful for tashi herself, and her little brother on the way.

i am grateful for sunlight, streaming through windows. nourishing rain. beautiful snow. and wind that reminds us of a fragile balance.

i am grateful for a wonderful new home, a wood stove, the forest and a full refrigerator.

i am grateful that my husband made it home alive after too many drinks with his friends last night. even when upset by such things, i am grateful that we share a life together.

i am grateful for two cats who make us laugh.

i am grateful for friends and family, near and far. wishing you peace and abundance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

microwave chocolate must try

since our new residence comes with microwave, i could actually jump up and try out this recipe as soon as a read about it here. tashi had just asked me if there was any dessert, and cake in a cup was a quick solution.

i got a kick out of it, really. and it was actually good. the chocolate chips made a sort of frosting. but i don't think i stirred quite enough at the bottom of the cup, because there was some dry powder when i tipped it upside down.

it only took two minutes in our microwave, which is 1500 watts. make sure you watch it while it cooks, because it's a trip watching the cake rise out of the cup!

thanksgiving thrift, or the post in which gender is revealed

before i sink my elbows deep into days of stuffing and mashed potatoes and basting the bird, i thought i'd treat myself to a little thrift session. i walked into the spca store, and saw that childrens clothing was half off. i hadn't yet purchased a thing for the gestating one, let alone make anything. so i started searching through piles. you see, many of tashi's old clothes -- which i have been holding onto all these years -- won't do. at least the floral, pink, frilly, skirted items won't. as society dictates, anyway.

but stripes will do.

and more stripes.

and motor vehicles! oh my!

and of course, ducks.

with tashi, the gender remained a mystery until she was delivered. but this time, we pretty much wanted to know as soon as we could. i think that after so many losses of little known souls (though i always had a sense), there is a desire to know as much as possible about this one.

i have been so nervous this pregnancy, not feeling entirely convinced it could possibly be. but as i approach my 19th week, and i begin to feel this little guy wiggle and dance, and start to focus on how we need to prepare for this new life entering our home, i find myself facing a bright, soft, sweet sunrise, and a warming breeze. i am beginning to embrace this new dawn, as clinging doubts and fears loosen and drift off.

i picked up a present for myself too. i've had my eye on this swan for a year. an entire year it has sat in that thrift store, unclaimed. today i found it at half price, and decided it had been waiting for me this whole time.

isn't she sweet? i think so!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

saturday night movie

yesterday was a day of furniture placement adjustment, raking, and more unpacking of boxes. after tashi's favorite dinner of kasha varnishkes, we popped in the two towers, so to continue yet another round of the the lord of the rings trilogy. i've seen these films so many times, i actually fell asleep.

i guess one could call it cozy, with tashi and loki both on my lap, sitting by the fire, watching orcs and men.

here are two of my favorites.

today i have to make a thanksgiving shopping list, go with tashi to her school to participate in a class project, and once and for all, get my sewing room set up for some sort of production, minimal as it might be this holiday season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

cafe time

because there is going to be an asbestos abatement performed in my workplace, all of our offices are being moved to the second floor of the building today. so my belly and i have relocated to a the nice sunny new cafe called para. i really like the location of this cafe at the end of a small street called elliewood. the building is perched on the edge of a hill, between the railroad tracks and a small road. when a train passes the whole cafe vibrates.

but really, it's impossible to accomplish much here because of databases and files i can't access from my laptop. so why not play with photobooth?

decaf cappuccino anyone?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i'm dreaming of a white tuesday

this morning i arose from bed and was absolutely amazed to see snow on the ground. perhaps this is an advantage of living at a higher altitude. i'm guessing it didn't snow in charlottesville, as even a dusting can send the whole town into a frenzy of alarmed uncertainty. schools have been closed on days when snow was simply "expected." i try not to be snide about it, but having grown up in a pennsylvania snow belt, and lived in both buffalo and ann arbor for periods of time, i just can't help but roll my eyes. i am always happy to see snow, and tashi is ecstatic, jumping out of bed without a quarter of the usual prompting, and squealing in between bites of bagel.

oops, we hadn't even raked the leaves yet!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

rise and shine

this morning after our oatmeal we took a brisk three mile walk. it's the first walk we've taken out here aside from a few jaunts down our road or in our woods. horses and goats and alpacas and cows, oh my! and of course, mountains, changing character depending on sunlight and clouds. it was wonderful start to a day of relaxation.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

gray day, bright moments

dan and i did manage to pull off a date last night. we discovered a persian restaurant off of seminole trail, near rio road, called zam zam. there wasn't a huge selection of food there, but we had some nice kebabs while watching sad events on aljazeera tv.

afterwards we went to the full moon ball at fry's spring beach club. what a great place to see bands! i liked sarah white and ted pitney in particular. by the time jim waive and the young divorcees came on i was so tired we had to go after a few songs. but i was really impressed by his high energy band and in particular, the few originals i heard. and for a big hairy guy in a cowboy hat, he pulled off a pretty sensitive and stunning cover of patsy cline's crazy.

now it is a saturday, and the sky is full of leaves and rain and mist. i am supposed to do a photo shoot of a building an architect friend designed, but i am concerned about the dreary conditions. this photo shoot is a first for me. i also had a photo included in an online guide to amsterdam. they found it on flickr and asked if it could be included. i think it is the funny guy in orange that makes the photo. i seem to be having some good photo karma lately and am enjoying it.

to bring some color to this gray day, i'll add a few things i found in a bag of random papers i dumped out this morning. this was probably stuff piled on our coffee table that i gathered up before our move.

first there are some collages tashi and i did at a recent family art jam at the uva art museum. the collages were based on the el lissitzky exhibition.

first tashi's:

then mine:

in the bag of papers i also found this piece that tashi created sometime while i was running around busily packing up our former house. it is a flip book of sorts, so you can change the characters' clothing. love it! she is such a resourceful kid and continually astounds me.

Friday, November 14, 2008


today i feel like the unpacking turned a bend. i finally feel like i can sit in our living room area and just relax. it is amazing what getting some books up on the shelves will do for a room. that combined with moving the rocking chair so it is near the wood burning stove and kicking all boxes out of view.

also, i scored a marvelous retro lamp in mint condition from the spca thrift store. i don't think the lampshade is quite right for it, but it will do for now. it is "handcrafted" drip ceramic and wood. it still has a tag hanging from it. i can't quite identify it's decade. 50's? 60's? 70's? its tag says retro to me.

my sewing room is the next big mess i've got to tackle. the sewing room is actually the "mud room" i think. there is a door to the garage in it, and there is a big closet in which a utility sink, the washer and the dryer reside. there is also this huge awful mirror in there. what were they thinking, people? we can't really take it down, and even though i thought about installing a curtain over it, i also need to have some shelves there. a curtain with shelves in front of it might look a little, well, weird. weirder than this big ass mirror? not sure. any creative ideas on how to transform a mirror?

but now, i must get out of my frumpy sweat pants and t-shirt. tashi has an overnight with a friend, and dan and i are going on a date. i hope i can stay awake. . .