Wednesday, December 26, 2007

AV here we come!

Here's our cross country itinerary:

DAY 1 (12/27)
From: Los Angeles, CA approx. noon
drive: 265 mi - about 4 hours to Las Vegas
Las Vegas arrive about 6:00
Excalibur Hotel

DAY 2 (12/28)
leave Las Vegas about 2:00
From: Las Vegas, NV to Grand Canyon Village, AZ
277 mi - about 4 hours 31 mins, arrive about 7:00
Grand Canyon Yavapai lodge on the canyon rim

DAY 3 (12/29)
Grand Cyn all day, leave 5:00 pm
drive back down to Flagstaff
92.7 mi - about 1 hour 41 mins, arrive 7:00 pm

DAY 4 (12/30) Leave Flagstaff 9 am ,
520 mi - about 7 hours 44 mins to Roswell, NM
pitstop: Petrified Forest National Park, 1 hour detour - scenic drive
Roswell, NM, arrive approx. 9:00 pm
Motel 6?

DAY 5 (12/31) leave Roswell, NM 9 am
drive 103 mi - about 2 hours 9 mins to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
arrive by 1:30 pm (last tour 2:00)
leave Carlsbad 4:00
155 mi - about 2 hours 51 mins, arrive Fort Stockton, TX
NIGHT 5 New Year's Eve
Hotel ?

DAY 6 (1/1)
leave Fort Stockton, TX leave 8 am
drive 506 mi - about 7 hours 5 minsto Houston, TX
NIGHT 6 1/1 Houston arrive about 5:00

DAY 7 (1/2) leave Houston, TX, 9 am
348 mi - about 5 hours 22 mins
To:New Orleans, LA arrive about 3:00
stay with old friend John Fitzgerald

DAY 8 (1/3) NOLA
leave about 2:00
Drive:468 mi - about 7 hours 2 mins
To:Atlanta, GA, arrive about 10 pm
Atlanta, GA
stay with homeschool friends the Carsons?
DAY 9 (1/4) explore Atlanta until after lunch,
leave for Asheville 2:00
Drive:208 mi - about 3 hours 35 mins
arrive Asheville, NC about 6:00

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas part 8: conclusion for now

Well, you all knew I was being a bit overambitious with this blog - trying to document and make commentary while my life was turning into catapillar soup, as Lyena would say. There is so much to say but it will have to wait, I just wanted to post some pics. Read what I just put on the Truffula Tuft blog for a little summary of the feelings.

I have a million pictures of the big party and other stuff but I have to go back to work, packing and setting up for Christmas so it will all have to wait.

love love love you all,

Merry Christmas part 7: Billie Tea Party

Billie's 6th birthday tea party was an elegant affair despite the drizzle. Maggie pours tea, Shea sips, Billie whacks the pinata, beautiful cake made by Maggie, Heather and Mara watch the whacking, Jill and Lucia enjoy the yummies.

Merry Christmas part 6: piano lesson, Michael P. Birthday

Connor's last piano lesson with John :-( What a great teacher he is.

Followed by a bunch of pics from Michael's 40th birthday party. Didi looking glam, Sherry and Radh, the birthday boy, Terry and Radh, Tracie who came down from SF with Don for the occasion, and Avery looking a bit sleepy.

Merry Christmas part 5: Slumber Party 2, AAC dinner

Slumber party number 2 with Cody, Jackson and Nereida. Followed by the AAC holiday dinner at the Lebanese Kitchen. Yum. We played telephone around the big table.

Merry Christmas part 4: fam pics

Family pictures for the holiday card. Ava was with us that morning so she got to be in them too. And Ruby kitty.

Merry Christmas part 3: Lyena, 3 witches, Phoebe

Here I am with Lyena at her birthday party. Followed by the three little witches, as Bob calls them - Ava, Billie and Zoe, climbing our kitchen doorway. Last is Phoebe and Connor who got to play one afternoon, while her mom Polly helped me pack.

Merry Christmas part 2: Face/LA

The FACE/LA homeschool kids have an annual craft sale in December. Here some of the Friday Homeschool kids sell their homemade soap and scupley pens.

Below that one you can see Connor and some of the teens putting together holiday stockings for the homeless. We put things like shampoo, cough drops and nutrition bars in each one, along with the other new sock in the toe. It's tied it with a ribbon and a recycled card and each family that contributed stuff gets to take a few home. You leave them in your car and hand them out to people in need as you travel the city. It's a great way to get kids involved and has provoked some good conversations about politics and values in our family.

Merry Christmas part 1: Nutcracker, Slumber Party, Parade

Connor's friend Jackson was in the Nutcracker Suite, dancing the part of one of the Russian dancers. They performed at the fancy-schmancy Alex Theater in Glendale.

Slumber party number one 12/1 - a lively game of monopoly with Connor, Finneas, Malcolm, Elliot and Teodore.

Highland Park Holiday parade 12/2. The Arroyo Arts Collective had an entry and we marched with theFranklin high School kids and the big puppets. It was a gorgeous sunny witer day in LA.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sad plus Inspection

I'm feeling sad about so much today. My good friend Sheri was just diagnosed with liver cancer. It's one of the bad ones, very hard to recover from. She is so young and healthy and vibrant. Also Paul's dad is in the hospital fighting a staph infection. He is another very strong person, full of vitality. This mortal coil seems extra fragile this winter.

Lots of people are calling and emailing me, trying to set up one more playdate or get together with us. The calendar is getting full quickly. Meanwhile I have so many things I need to research and get ready. It's OVERWHELMING!

We had the house inspection yesterday. The inspector was amazingly thorough. After a couple of hours he pronounced the house in good basic shape, except for the old plumbing. We knew that would be the only issue.

We hung out with the Burns' family (the ones buying the house) and their realtor Pat for a couple of hours at the house while the inspector worked. Kind of weird but not unpleasant. We like the family very much. If there wasn't so much riding on the moment it would have been really fun hanging out with them. Connor played so nicely with their little 18 month old son Indio.

Soon we'll see how they want to respond.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sister Kate

There are many people I'm going to miss terribly when we leave and one of them is my sister Kate. She came over yesterday to help me pack. She always makes the extra effort to stay connected and be supportive. Soon she'll be the only Murphy sib left on the west coast :-(
She came here just before New Year's eve, 12 years ago, when I lived in Silverlake. Can't believe it was that long ago. She was just a pup out of college. She lived in what would later become Connor's room, but he was only a gleam in my eye at that point. She worked for me at Artemis Designs for a while and always maintained her calm and sense of humor despite my frequent stressing out about slow drying paint and obnoxious customers.
She is very sad about us leaving too, but she said that she and her new husband Dan were considering a move to New York. That would be awesome!
BTW - Kate and I packed 24 boxes of books from the living room and then ran out of boxes. There are another 6 boxes worth left on the shelves, not counting Connor's room and the upstairs book shelves. Damn, we have a lot of books. I bought 100 more "bankers' box" type boxes yesterday. They should arrive on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I decided to start this blog to stay connected to friends and family through this very big change we're making. Also to procrastinate a little more and avoid starting to pack!

People want to know why we are leaving our home city of 20+ years to start over in a little town in the (gulp) south. Isn't it over run with rednecks and Bush lovers there?

Well, there are rednecks there. Plenty of them here too though, along with gang bangers, 24/7 traffic jams and smog.

We are ready to live in a smaller, greener, cleaner, quieter place. We are hoping that the low cost of living and the (relatively) cheap real estate will enable us to have more time and energy for the things we love - art, family, nature. We also hope to create a more sustainable life there, leaving a smaller footprint on the earth.

Asheville is not a podunk place. There is a thriving arts community and loads of eco-hipsters like us, including my darling brother and his family (who are the coolest people I know). The politics are progressive - they defeated a new coal burning plant last year.

Of course "Wicked" and "King Lear" with Ian McKellan is not playing in their local theater. There are far fewer museums and galleries. I will miss that. Instead there are trees and rivers and people that don't lock their doors. It's a trade off and after much soul searching, we're making the trade.