Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Christmas amid the boxes

Christmas was allotted 4 hours and a 3 foot square corner of the living room. Despite these limits it was really sweet:

"Peace sister!"
New horns
Ruby's hideout
Ruby went to live with Terry for a few months after the Christmas celebration ended.

Bob opens his present
Christmas corner
Jennie's gift of art
Kate helps out in the kitchen
Last minute cards

Handing out the goodies

Kate's new earings from Dan. Beauty-ous

The DS's ruled the day

Ava shows Dan how to play

New winter coat for wintery Asheville. Thanks mom!

More Holiday pics

This was a lovely holiday dinner at Ellis Island, the big old Victorian commune where Radhika lives, on 12/23:

Annika, Travis, Radhika
Bob, Radh, Travis, Liz
Liz models her new Organic Armor in the kitchen

So cute!
Sherri, Radhika, Jen and Paul

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gone to Carolina

We said goodbye to many people and places over the last month. One special community was Trinity Episcopal church, where Paul and I got married 6 years ago (today!). The congregation gathered in a circle and gave us a beautiful blessing for our trip and our new life, during the Advent mass on 12/23. We had cake afterward.

Jill and Cindy and Jake came over that night and played "Gone to Carolina in my mind" by James Taylor for me. I cried. I've known Jill and Cynthia for almost 17 years. Little Jake, about 6 weeks old in this picture, is such a bright eyed little fellow. I felt so sad that I would miss many of the little moments of his growing up. We'll be back of course but it's not the same.

I get by with a lot of help from my friends

Many people came to help us pack. The hardest thing was figuring out what they should do. There were hundreds of decisions to be made and many of them had to be made by me. So trying to break it into logical steps and delegate started making my brain freeze up. But somehow it all got done. Two people in particular were right there tackling every complicated annoying job I threw at them, day after day - Kate and Terry - you guys are GODS! We could not have done it with out you. Other wonderful packers included Ava, Nicole, Maggie, Jill, Michael and Micki. And others helped in different ways - including playing with Connor so we could get the work done. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

Disappearing stuff

The last weeks in LA were an exercise in paring down to the bare minimum while surrounded by chaos. Cars, cats, furniture began disappearing. The usual places for your keys, underwear, toothpaste were all gone. We were down to 4 plates/bowls/forks and spoons. That made doing the dishes easier though!

We tried to give the washer and dryer away on Freecycle but people kept flaking out. We unhooked the dryer and then it sat in the driveway for a week. So we used it as a clothes line - practicing that hillbilly esthetic.

We donated the Camry to KPFK in thanks for providing us with 20 years of non-corporate news and music.

Flame and Chompsky blazed the trail to Asheville for us, leaving by air on 12/23. Gina took good care of them until we got here.

We sold or gave away about 75% of our furniture. Just kept the bookcases for the 60+ boxes of books.

Pictures of the big party

Hooray, we've got all the computer parts talking to each other again. Now I can access my email addresses and down/up load pictures again. We took 400 pictures over the last month! Holy cow. I won't get through picking the best shots for the blog today, but here's a bunch of the fabulous going away/birthday/solstice extravaganza on 12/21:

Paul and Adele Holland entertained us so beautifully. The girls loved being on stage too.

Michael brought his drum and Matty and Jim danced up a storm.

Gerry and Mara (xxoo)

Radhika and Lincoln
Terry put some of his light show images on the big screen to make it extra festive.

Birthday kids Radhika and Paul blow out their candles together.

Cheryl, Eric and Cory - permaculture buds

Dean and Lyena - can you tell they are still newlyweds?

Lisa and Rocky Kids goofing around on the couch behind Holland's fish nets.

Jill, Jen and Polly - the artist/homeschooler contingent

"Wow, can you believe all these people love us so much?"

Radhika and Liz

It was pretty random who got photographed and who didn't. I'm sorry we missed getting pictures of most of the wonderful people that came. Thanks everyone for the food, the nice messages in the guest book, the scrapbook pages for Connor, the hugs. We were kind of stunned by the outpouring of love.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Asheville at last!

Dear ones,

We're here in Asheville at last. Our computer setup is still incomplete, so I can't post any pics yet. They will be great when I get to them though.

Our trip across the country was amazing. Lots of miles on that red Subaru covering lots of western geology: Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Carlsbad Caverns, cool rock shops, alien remains (plastic ones in Roswell!). Carlsbad Caverns was everyone's favorite - highly recommended.

The landscape changed dramatically after Houston. New Orleans was fascinating. We stayed with some old Highland Park friends there, the Fitzgerald's. We saw the devastated lower 9th ward, the touristy but beautiful French District, and made a good Organic Armor connection there. We will definitely go back, not for Mardi Gras this year, but maybe next.

In Atlanta we stayed with the Carsons, some homeschooling friends from LA that moved east a year ago. They were SO nice - waiting up for us till midnight and feeding us real food after a grueling drive. We also went to the MLK jr. Center in Atlanta, which is a part of the National Park system. It includes the house Dr. King was born in, the church he first preached at, and his tomb. The exhibit was quite powerful and had me in tears.

I am so grateful for the National Park System after this trip, what an amazing job they do. Let's ditch a few stealth bombers and give them another 10 billion bucks.

Another cool thing about the trip was Patti W. told us about this organization which connects travelers and hosts from all over the world, reinvigorating the ancient tradition of hospitality to strangers, via the power of the internet. We surfed in Flagstaff, AZ, near the Grand Canyon, with a 20 year old student of nutritional anthropology (who knew there was such a thing?). She had just come back from working for a month on an organic farm in India. And she loves Chico bags too! There were 2 other couchsurfers there that night from Montreal Quebec, so we had a little party. In Houston we surfed with a homeschooling family. They were Burning Man folks and welcomed us with delicious pizza and great conversation even though they were sleep deprived with a 3 month old baby. Couchsurfing is a wonderful opportunity to make new friends. Check it out.

So now we're in Asheville, 3009 miles later. There was snow on the ground when we got here but it's been in 50s and 60s since. Bob and the truck arrived on time with everything intact. We rented 2 storage lockers and stuffed it all in. We're staying in Rod and Gina's cozy basement with heated floors and our own bathroom. Flame and Chompsky, our kitties, are so glad we're here.

I've been looking at AV real estate online for a year. I couldn't wait to drive around and see the actual houses. Many didn't look nearly as inviting IRL. I looked at about 40 houses over a couple of days and then - holy cow - we found the perfect one and bought it! It happened so fast.

The house had just gone on the market the night before and it happened to be on Elizabeth's (our realtor) street so she saw the freshly posted sign. It never even made it to the MLS. But there was a developer looking at it already the next morning when we got there. It's on a double lot and was under priced. The owners were selling off several properties from their parent's estate. They just wanted to move it fast. We tried to guess what the developer would offer and raised our offer a bit over that and we got it! We offered 230,000 which is coincidently thesame amount we paid for our house in LA, 6 years ago.

It's in a great neighborhood, full of pretty houses, kids on bikes, wide open yards without fences, and lots of trees to climb. It's a 3 bd/2 ba with a .41 acre yard. It was built in 1923. The kitchen needs an overhaul. It has beautiful knotty pine panelling in the living room, just like the old house in Brimfield. We close escrow on super tuesday/mardi gras.

Now we are looking for a studio for Organic Armor. I think we've found one, but it won't be confirmed until Monday. It's 1200 square feet, a bit "rustic", and is in the groovy River District, in a building with many other artists.

We've got orders stacking up and we've been spending money like water so I'm looking forward to getting OA going again.

It's been wonderful staying with the Asheville Murphys. Connor loves playing with his cousins and they with him. Paul's been hanging out at the pub a lot. We've met some very nice people. I went to a lovely yoga class within walking distance of Rod's house. I plan to go back twice a week. It helped me feel human for the1st time in a couple of months.

My email situation is pretty clunky. I can't access any of my old emails or my address book. I can't get online every day. Also my seems to have been refusing all mail since 12/28. So if you want to write to me use

We miss our dear friends in LA. It's good but weird starting new life at 45.

lots of love,