Thursday, November 26, 2009

3 weeks away

I just came back from a 3 week trip of amazing intensity; the first leg was going up to Massachusetts to sit my 5th 10 day meditation course.

my teacher
I went in with a strong intention to WORK, hard, and focus. It helped to have my own room, and my own meditation cell. other than hours and hours of meditation, a few things stood out. One was the moment when i caught my mind in the act of grasping for something, ANYTHING, to react to. I witnessed it scrambling madly for some thought or memory, positive or negative, to latch onto and then freak out about. fascinating to see that my mind's ceaseless exertion is not necessarily about feeling good or bad, only that my brain is constanly in the act of grasping for something to react to.

There was also a fascinating moment when i got to witness myself generating negativity, anger in this case. The whole course functions by bell--bells are rung to signify the end of each sit, the start of each meal, when to wake up, etc. towards the middle they started to get spotty; one tea time bell was a half hour late and they stopped ringing altogether in the pagoda. a bit unsettling, naturally, but not a huge deal. one day, i was sitting in the hall during the last pre-tea time stretch. my mind started to wander, contemplating whether or not the teatime bell would be rung. my body intuitively felt that the end of this session was approaching, and some part of my mind queried, "what if thye don't ring the bell?" and in response, in a moment of stark mental/emotional clarity, i watched the thought/emotion rise up from deep within myself, clearly illuminated by the nothingness that surrounded it..."i'm gonna be pissed!" what!?!? i'm making the conscious decision to generate this negativity, creating suffering for myself? WTF? crazy to see this, and a deep learning moment.

Another highlight was at the end, the metta session where we learn the loving kindness meditation. i've already internalized to some degree the concept that all suffering truly comes from within, not from outside circumstances. yes, hard to actually put into practice in one's life. in a way though, its easy; no ones wants to suffer, and if i'm truly the source of it, it provides a clear path out of suffering. but somehow i'd never quite heard the flip side, which is of course equally important. the source of happiness is only inside me, not outside. whoa! huge! that radically transforms my orientation to everything, illucidating how much i depend on outside sources for my happiness.

more soon on the other amazing and inspiring legs of my journey.......

Sunday, October 25, 2009


i quit playing violin for over a month recently. all the band/combo stuff dried up--accordianist from accordian death squad joined the circus in south america, and trout and i seem to have lost the motivation for the irish stuff. things got busy, we bought this hostel, etc. somehow, it doesn't take much and suddenly i'm back to being 12 years old and not wanting to "practice." nevermind that it brings me immense joy, and is critical to my mental/emotional well-being. i'm just to fidgety NOT to play music--having the outlet available at all times is so sanity inducing.

finally, thank goodness, someone posted a link to this video on facebook . i showed it to housemate darla who does not have this problem--she obsessively plays music all the time, and told me that it seemed like i didn't like my violin very much! we ended up jamming on it. lately i've been listening to some amazing and nearly indecipherable macedonian's why i love eastern european culture....the lyrics translate to
If I die or if I'm killed
Don't cry for me
Pour red wine
And break the glasses

Hey, faithful friends
Sing a song, remember me

If I die or if I'm killed
Don't call a priest
Come to my grave
And dance the oro

If I die or if I'm killed
The memories will be
What a wild dude I was
In the years of my youth!

also trying to the jazz thing--darla's currently obssessed with this song, so i've been playing it a bit. now if we can just get the band back together....

Sunday, October 4, 2009


last night we took a friend and willow out to acorn for the Testival of Villages in the Sky. I was feeling a bit trepidatious, big parties often give me the weirdies esp. since going off substances. the benefits of social lubricants... I often get caught in the "where should i be now, what should i be doing now who should i be talking to" brain trip.

We got there around 4 and rounded up folks for a game of ultimate frisbee--the frisbee folks are always ready to go play wherever, whenever. we even had a couple of the teens, kids of x-commundards both. it was just super fun, tight tight D so you had to be on your toes. those kids just tearing around the field.

I made my way down to the party site slowly, after meditating. amazing how sometime it takes the whole hour of sitting there fighting with my brain, and then in the final minute, something just falls away allowing a tiny bit more presence.

then slowly bouncing around--rockin' out on the dance floor, chatting here and there. romance in the herb garden with the moon washing everything in steely blue light, chatting with vince about romance ("what is that makes something romantic?"), sitting in the crow's nest looking down at the beautiful fire circle, people wandering. watching willow and tarren tear around all night, jumping in the trampoline, the ball pit, chasing giant balls around...sitting by the fire as the evening wound down.

Friday, October 2, 2009

this is hard

highlights of today--our first graduation weekend inquiry, more phone-line nonsense, an accidental double-booking (by previous manager), and host + guests temporarily locked out, eek!

despite all that, its rolling along with a few new bookings. its still bizarre to me every time someone calls on The Booking Phone. Still a bit nervous too, brad (old manager) is so polished and confident sounding. soon, soon.

meanwhile my lungs keep filling with mucous and i have a wracking cough. feeling nervous about winter's onset and the coming chill!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

we own a hostel

i've been neglecting this blog because it was feeling too solipsistic and self-absorbed. now there's news--BIG news. We (a group of 6 people--3 X twinoakers, 3 current Woodfolkers, 3 Patchwork Farmers, 2 members of the cult of Rebecca's[local health food store]--yeah, small town with lots of crossover) have now OFFICIALLY taken ownership of Alexander House. the hostel has been running for about 5 years, in an sweet little house in belmont. the crazy thing about this project is that its a collective endeavour; no boss, no manager, no bottom line except all of us. pretty f'n amazing.

today was our first day, and we've already experienced: random man who forgot his coat, and returned to retrieve it/befriend the current guests, lost luggage delivery during dinner (chris went over to deal), request for guests with a service dog (turns out its illegal to refuse or charge extra). It is amazing, overwhelming, exciting, awesome. the best part is that we're all in it together--and that feels pretty great. tell all your friends and fam--we're still working on the new-and-improved-website, til then you can book a room by calling 434 327 6447.

Friday, July 31, 2009

momentum an amazing thing! and overcoming inertia.

the self expression leadership program is really helping me push through resistance, put myself out there, make requests of people and be in ACTION!

my project #2 is to transform Cville into a garden of eden by establishing edible landscaping (fruit trees, nut trees, berry bushes) on city property, in parks, and on commercial property that borders public spaces. i met khadija abdur-rachman a couple weeks ago--she's a city person who works for neighborhood development. our brief chat left me confident that she had energy and know-how in this area. i knew she'd be a key person but it still took me 2 weeks (!!!) to get the nerve up to contact her. i finally emailed her today--within minutes she'd written back an excited email, full of energy and ideas. the gist--she's in!!

then, i went to alexis--burnt out on cville activism that he is, i'm banking on his fruit-o-phile nature to overcome his pessimism for local organizing (he does have over 80 fruit trees in the yard). brief chat and....also in!!

then, the scariest one. susan, who works for the urban farm and used to work for parks and rec. intense power house lady. not the exhuberant, bubbling type. quick to point out the many flaws in a seemingly good plan. after staring at the phone for a full 5 minutes, continually talking myself out of it (we dont' really need her! etc.), i just picked up the phone and called QCC. totally by chance, i caught her in the office (its market day). i gave it to her the quick and dirty. dropped some names. told her i thought of her, b/c it perfectly bridges her worlds of city parks and rec, and community based urban farm.

and....just like that....

she's in!!!!

whoa. that. is. whack.

i've already sold vince on it, so we've totally got a kick-butt group. of course i have no idea what this will REALLY involve, what it will look like, etc. but ride now i'm just ridin' the wave.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


part of the agricultural intern position that sky and i have taken on is CANNING! our goal has been to grow as much food as possible, and preserve as much as possible for the winter. we kicked off on saturday, bumbling through the tomato canning with kelly's help. should we cook them down? can them whole? add spices? take the skins off? a quick call to Acorn and we had what we needed "just add a bit of apple cider vinegar and you'll be fine!"

On Monday, i made a bunch of pesto with basil culls from the farmer's market via food not bombs, as well as a big pan of zucchini bread. Alexis approved fully, and licked the bowl. Tuesday, sky made another batch of lacto-fermented purple kraut. i've become very addicted to the kraut.

today, we did another round of tomatoes and then got adventurous with roasted peppers--preserved in a balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic rosemary concoction. whoa! major yum. its pretty decadent eats around here these days, with all of the luscious tomatoes, zukes just starting, peppers, basil, and beets. not to mention onions, leeks, carrots, cabbage....

next up: canned blackberries and blueberry jam. peaches, pears, grapes...and FIGS! though the figs don't usually make it to the canning stage.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

birthday bash

i've never thrown myself a big 'ole birthday party before. in fact, i've never really thrown a big party before. The experience was really remarkable.

Tons of people helped out--a crew of awesome fairy women came over in the morning to transform the house--ivy and flowers everywhere, billowing fabric and candles. sky and trout made pies. as people started to arrive, i had the supreme delight of playing music w/trout and ez.

it was nice to be present and offer my energy to the party in that way--i love playing with trout so much. as it grew dark and the room slowly filled with people, fruit, and flowers, we faded out and began corralling folks for the play-within-the-play.
some chaotic madness ensued, as we tried to cover all the parts and fill in gaps. the quartet of Wall rehearsed their segment in one corner as thea and i attempted to coordinate the other characters. "do we have a theseus?" "no, i'll go find one" "oh wait, we have theseus, we need demetrius!" "whose bottom?" "jon. but he doesn't want to be in it. but elsa will. oh wait, she's already oberon." etc. beautiful chaos.

After one false start, the actors launched into the dramatic and absurd play. it was utterly hilarious and spectacular, i couldn't help howling with laughter throughout. vince's dramatic, touching and prolonged death scene (in striped tights) was particularly moving.

After the play, everyone started singing the birthday songs--traditional, plus the usual twin oaks bevy. my favorite:

its your birthday/grunt/its your birthday, grunt/people dying everywhere/vultures flying in the air/its your birthday/grunt/may the candles on your cake/burn like cities in your wake/its your birthday/grunt

...and then a wild dance party. there was lots of fruit: peaches, mangos, bluberries, ground cherries, plums; as well as the apple and peach/wineberry pie, ice tea, wine, and dates. it was a truly decadent and magical evening.

and jon's chaps brought it to the next level.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

day in the garden

sky and i slept in til a deliciously late 10:30 this morning (well, mostly slept) so after meditating, half the day was gone! it was a big garden day, slowly turning out the brassicas and making room for the summer/fall stuff. we pulled up the rest of the onions and hung them to dry, trimmed up the last batch and bagged them. harvested the rest of the broccoli side-shoots and pulled up the plants. harvested the first leeks, thinned the beets (and harvested the thinnings). the tomatoes are starting to come on, and we have an amazing variety--fuzzy peach, grape, german striped. some big mamas, too. getting close to canning time. harvested some purple cabbage and made a new batch of kraut.

and then cooked a lunch of beets, broccoli, tomatoes.

sky went out to twin oaks tonight, and its sweet to have the night to myself. indulge in an episode of 6 feet under (yes, i'm a closet addict), eat some peaches and coconut milk ice cream, call friends, clean my room, prepare for the BIG DAY tomorrow. and now to bed, as i've got an 8:30 date with a neighbor to talk about borrowing a weed wacker.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

ask and....

one of my favorite landmark distinctions is "making powerful requests." Today, sky and i were tabling for Urban Evolution (yes, its starting to be like THAT) at a Meet Your Neighborhood event in Lee park. Towards the end of the event, the main organizer came over and urged us to go up to the main tent. A few city workers, from neighborhood development and public utilities were there answering questions from the people.

we ran over. The audience questions were on the wane, so i jumped in right away. First, i asked about edible landscaping on city land, including parks. i got a name in parks and rec--the dude to follow up with. then i asked about grey water, and got a muddled answer about rainwater for landscaping. sky took the mic then, and asked about zoning and the 4-unrelated-person maximum occupancy regulation. nothing new there; preventing slumlords, accurately judging utility use etc.

i sat in my seat, very present to last nights dream in which i was invited to join boulder, colorado's city council. these people's JOB is to serve us, to make cville a better place to live. so much of our work is about neighborhood development. this was an amazing opportunity, what else could i ask for? i've been planning a ridge st. block party for august--a harvest fest, cookout, neighborhood story sharing party in the street. so far, the various permits we'll need total nearly $300. i've been feeling pretty stumped about where that money will come from--this is not a wealthy neighborhood. folks have been happy to bring a dish to share, or share stories. they're psyched to have a party in the neighborhood. i went back and forth in my head "ask, no i can't ask, just ask! no, i can't." it never hurts to ask, i decided. so. i made my powerful request, bumbling a bit and ending with the possibility for the event; a chance for the community to really come together and connect, have a good time and build community. pause. winning smile. the three panel folks silently stared at me. pregnant pause.

then, the moderator approached me and said quietly, "sometimes we can make an exception. give me a call" and handed me his card. i looked at it, and it said "Maurice Jones, Assistant City Manager."


Thursday, July 16, 2009

the power of doing

its amazing how impossible and overwhelming a project can feel when i'm doing NOTHING to move it forward. and, how ease-ful, inspiring and energizing it is when i am doing stuff--even tiny things, to move it forward.

my self expression and leadership program project (well, one of them) is a ridge street neighborhood block party/cookout. its been evolving slowly, and i'm getting more excited about it. tonight i talked to the remaining neighbors on the portion of street that we want to shut down for the party. one lady had refused to open her door last night, shouting through the glass "we don't open our doors after dark!!" today, she was outside. i chatted with her and she begrudgingly consented to the block party on her street, as long as she could get her car in and out. then she blew my mind by offering to make a dish, even if she couldn't make it!

at the next house, i knocked right in the middle of the bath hour. a twin boy and girl (totally adorable) took turns peeping around the corner and shouting for help as i spoke with their mother. she said that her grandfather had built the house for his wife and had owned all the land around. he sold it off bit by bit.

this neighborhood is rich with stories, from folks who have lived here 20, 30, 50 years. a new piece of the project is starting to emerge as i meet more of the people who live in this neighborhood. I want to create an oral history, a collection of stories. and have an opportunity for folks to share their stories with fellow ridge st. neighbors at our august gathering.

my tendency is for projects to get bigger in my mind, and then overwhelm me into paralysis. the key, i'm learning, is to continue to create opportunities for leadership for OTHER people, expanding the pool of leaders, and thus, what is possible.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

treats of the day

1. between bikerideberrypicking and afternoon garden shift, heat of the day: iced coffee with maple syrup and soymilk.

2. staking up the peppers. hot, sweaty, dirty. time for a break: wineberries with coconut milk ice cream, hazelnut milk, crumbled cookie.

3. last treat of the night, before lasts tasks, after exhilarating mini-canvass of raymond st. neighbors for the ridge st. block party: wineberries w/soymilk and maple syrup.

Monday, July 13, 2009

renewed committment to blogging, and bday fest!

ok, i've said this before but.........i so enjoy blogs when the blogger posts regularly! so i am renewing my dedication to regular blogging.

feel free to hold me to that........


i haven't thrown myself a birthday for quite a few years. and the last time i did, i ended up running away and hiding due to a severe case of overwhelm/meltdown.

this year, i'm breaking through the resistance, and throwing myself a big 'ol bash. midsummer nights dream theme, dance party, fruit, flowers...2 days after the full moon, 2 days before my real birthday. feels fitting as i turn the big 3-0!

Here is an excerpt about another midsummer nights dream party, from which i take inspiration.

From The Hanged Man by Francesca Lia Block

We decide to have a Midsummer Night's Dream full-moon party. My mother brings out all her white tulle and we hang it in the trees. We cut out paper stars and glue blue and pink glitter onto them and scatter them in the tulle canopies among white Christmas lights. We buy watermelons, pineapples, cantaloupes, honeydew, strawberries and cut them up and put them on platters and my mother makes her punch. It is a citrus-greenish-yellow color and it smokes. We call it the witch brew and everyone is drinking and dancing around in their white shirts and dresses and lace and masks and glittery scarves.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

lost romance

alexis and debbie are here tonight, sweet in their new romance. eating wineberries and soy cream by the blackberry bush, then watching the sunset from the roof.

as soon as they walked in the door, i felt downright ornery.

trout was just here overnight, and it was sweet to be with him. i so appreciate the comfort and acceptance that are endemic to his being. ease--cleaning up the broken glass from my rushing while i tend to the bleeding toe, bustin' out the chords for an impromptu gospel number at the farmer's market, landing smackdab in the middle of a new social scene complete with blueberry crepes and french animation. just rolling with all that comes.

maya today told me about planning her and chris's beach trip. "so i said, can we take on the waves, you know, really trash talk em? and most people would, what are you talking about? but chris, chris is like yeah we can take on the waves!! heck yeah! i mean, who says that? who does that?" i can see so clearly how perfect they are for each other--each so vital, vibrant, kooky, kind and generous.

what all this brings up is: I MISS ROMANCE. i miss the newness, that spark of beginning, when it seems like a small miracle that such intense feelings could be reciprocated. the unfolding of mirrored recognitions......and the charm and delight of every small, shared moment. keening for that. how can i bring this back into my relationship?

well, first off--talking with maya clarified this--we should certainly stop living together. sharing our emotional, work, and social lives nearly 24/7 drives me stark raving mad, and i totally loose any sense of self and center. its been a blessed relief to have him gone, expand into the space of myself, my friends, my life. every day feels like a new gift, filled with unexpected delights and surprises. unpredictable. mutable and shifting and wild. like the world is my new lover, each day unfolding anew.

this gives me hope

this beautiful clip broke me open and made me sob uncontrollably--in a good way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

holding it all

sky and i sent to see Nassim Haramein speak. can't really capture him and what he had to say in words, but it left me feeling optimistic and broken open to the possibility of our evolution as a species.

on the way back, we got into a heated discussion about what it all meant for who we are and how we do our work in the world. at one point, i said something about not being able to take in all the pain in the world. i just can't hold it all.

and now, hanging up curtains in my new room, it hits me again. my father is living in iran again, we all know what is going down in israel. and now peru is in my heart as well, my friend rat is there now, participating in the latest round of gov't oppression and protests.

its alot to hold in my heart.

i feel very alone.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

nearly midnight, and i can't sleep. there's a stuckness in my chest, can't get it moving and so can't fall asleep. thoughts don't really help and they are keeping me awake. or is it the full moon?

some that are passing through the noggin: how can i be in a romantic relationship with someone when there is no room for us to just be, not doing, planning, working, or actively engaged in anything. just being. somehow that's reserved for when we are apart. this bums me out and sets my mind whirring towards the folks with whom this does seem possible.

stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck

doesn't help that i haven't been sleeping enough, all i want to do is sleep but my body/mind won't let me.

my room is crowded with dried herbs, i borrowed ali's food dehydrator for 48 hrs, kept it full and running continuously. mulberries, mint, rosemary, chamomile, oregano, raspberry leaf, bee balm. i feel drawn to collecting and drying herbs, pushed towards it instinctively every time i step into the yard.

in the old days, medicine and cooking were the same; women cooking and adding the necessary herbs to the food for physical and emotional well being.

i look forward to the fall of civilization as we know it so we can all get back to the real stuff that matters most, programmed deeply in our bones and DNA. gathering food, sharing music, drying herbs, cooking together. just being.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

what makes me tick

1. berry picking
2. music-playin'on the front porch at dusk
3. guit-tar pickin'
4. chocolate eating
5. any kinda dancing
6. herb gathering
7. early to bed, early to rising
8. deep belly laughing
9. summer swimming
10. destination-less bike riding
11. late afternoon sprawled-on-couch reading
12. food processing
14. tree climbin'
15. gettin' shit done
16. lazy lollin'
17. chicken watching
18. bare feet on the earth
19. letter writing
20. just being

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

whirlwind, continued

driving back from meditation land with lun was a trip--we got into a conversation about ascending to the 4th dimension in 2012. time is speeding up--and i can feel it. coming back, suddenly 2 collective businesses are leaping into existance (hostel and patchwork farms). lovely folk appeared, with whom i'd love to create a community. we've got a Realtor scanning for our perfect community house, looking to move by early autumn. the garden has exploded, and we're digging up a neighbor's yard for a quasi-community garden. we threw a fantastic (12 hour marathon) woodfolk 10th anniversary party. i performed 3 times in 3 days, and we took over a parking spot.

i'm still landing a bit from the transition--and it was SO GOOD to descend into the depths of my body for a week, reconnecting on a cellular level with the deepest truth: everything changes.

ironically, this feels like a vital mast to hold fast to as life rushes and streams through me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

off to meditation land

amidst the flurry, i'm about to disappear into a week of silence and service. leaving behind my entire life is stressful and liberating; upon returning i'll be doing all kinds of crazy stuff. parking spot reclamation, 2 shows at the tea house, woodfolk 10th anniversary, twin oaks wedding, slideshow.

life is sweet

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

announcing the urban evolution blog!!

Dear friends and allies,

Our new blog is live and active: Chronicles from the Urban Evolution in Charlottesville, VA

There's a reason why the counter-culture moved back to the country in the '60's. But it's time to return to the city with the lessons learned. Often when people leave intentional community there's an assumption that they will have to re-adjust to a mainstream lifestyle. We're proving that this is not so, and this blog aims to chronicle our efforts.

Several of the early posts provide an outline of our efforts, which continue to evolve as our lives here in Charlottesville evolve. Also included in these posts is a request for financial and material support, which you are welcome to ignore. We are using this blog as a vehicle for our fund-raising efforts, but the primary purpose is to document our efforts in the hopes that they can be inspiring and/or edifying to others.

You can subscribe to our blog via the a link on the blog's sidebar . Or you can sign up for our email list, which also includes announcements about upcoming events, activities, and gatherings we're involved with here in town, and occasional articles and informational snippets we think are worth passing on. You can subscribe to the email list here or let us know and we'll put you on.

We hope you enjoy it!

In Community,
kassia and sky

spring! is! here!!! (pics to follow)


this dog barks and
how crazily houses
eyes people smiles
faces streets
steeples are eagerly


ing through wonder
ful sunlight
o-p-e-n-i-n- g

are(leaves;flowers) dreams

come quickly come
run run
with me now
jump shout(laugh
dance cry sing)for

it's Spring
and in
earth sky trees
where a miracle arrives


you and I may not
hurry it with
a thousand poems
my darling
but nobody will stop it

With All The Policemen In The

- ee cummings

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I have Pinkeye!

or is it poison ivy? either way, i look like bloody hell.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

april fools

US Transportation System is a Giant Ponzi Scheme!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

creating the ocurring world

for my part--i stayed late at the vaudeville show the night he came home. was gone all the next day, in town with friends and meetings. seeking solitude in my room at night. gardening all morning saturday. didn't stop in when i got back, smokey and tired from being a rock-star in richmond. didn't come to cuddle this morning, instead staying in my comfortable groove of carrot juice, last minute email, hardening off cabbage.

i feel hurt and also scared to open up my life again, fearful of again allowing my gentle and subtle rhythm of days be subsumed into his more powerful i'll just stay here and cry to my computer.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

where i'm from

you can walk on the water.

Friday, March 27, 2009

good stuff about today

swooping down the hill on my bike on watson at 9 AM, bleeding unexpectadly early, sharing kate's exciting news, aurora walking, robert's insights, ticklinghug from dream. meeting with shell, she brought me lentils and a carrot! strategizing the cville bike revolution. general hilarity. wearing the minnie mouse dress, polka dots and stripes. strolling, running into jennifer at the jewish pre-school, impromptu concert in the courtyard for the 3 year olds. one kid dinging along to the music with his tricycle bell. sitting with thomas under the giantly beautiful blossoming tree in lee park. diving into open presence, tapping into dormant parts of myself. early for the QCC meeting! explosion of possibilities to link with and learn from this awesome organization. dragging ass to critical mass...but our little band of 7 rocked hard all over town, even through the rain! saw a pair of striped underpants in the street. brought a couple kids home after as it turned to down pour, hot shower&snuggily clothes, alexis' enchiladas and hilarious stories of the wild days of early woodfolk. pawing through pictures of young sky, exuberant, skinny, painted and wild. rain pouring down outside. safe, warm, satisfied.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

st. paddy's day special

here's our practice version of "rocky road to dublin"--mala was in labor so we weren't sure if ez would make it to the show.

and here's another awesome version of the tune--check out these irish studs and their rock n' roll bodron playing!

the concert was super fun, and we're going to do it again at the twisted branch tea bazaar. hurrah!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

day of magic?

today sky left for california, with willow for 10 days. i left around lunch time, driving to twin oaks with tommy (/slinky/kenny), potential new VB drummer. pick-up truck. arriving at twin oaks amidst the usual tumult of emotions, and then bam, mala's in labor and having her baby.

holy shit.

we played music for most of the afternoon anyway, still toying with the beautiful sensuality that arises when trout and i play together........

playing our St. Patrick's day irish concert at tupelo, to a crowd of folk including my awesome housemates...meanwhile ez's new baby birthed around 7:30pm...

disappointment of my make-out exception being unknowingly spurned...seeing the tiny new baby, 2 hours old and so perfect. the rush of emotions--desire, sadness that sky doesn't want this, feeling out of place, rejected, alone. ready to crawl off and lick my wounds, or wallow in them.

scooped up then at the perfect moment into beautiful presence and connection. back down to continue my masochistic torture, watching trout and juniper do the subtle dance of eye-talk and tiny gestures, feeling betrayed after sharing musically SO INTIMATELY...soaking up the praises for baring myself...and then more safe warm open connection.

i feel jealous of ezra, and clearer on my own path. its too huge to make a snap decision, but all throughout the day i felt myself in the wrong place, the wrong orientation. i'd been thinking of this decision in terms of myself, the impact on my life, not in terms of who it would make me be. how it would alter my relationship to myself and the world.

so surprising to see perfect and utterly unwitting paths peep open, a reminder of the tinyness of my brain's capacity to grock this wild, wooly and wonderous life.

Monday, March 2, 2009

parking spot reclamation

i wrote this for the urban evolution blog and kickstand bike zine...

“National Park(ing) Day is an opportunity to celebrate parks in cities and promote the need for more parks by creating temporary public parks in public parking spaces.” --

So much of our public space is dedicated to the use of motor vehicles. Park(ing) days are a way to temporarily reclaim a small piece of that space for the people! (For more information about other Park(ing) Day events, check out Here in Charlottesville, we created a 2-hour “park” on West Main on a Friday morning. A cardboard car served as a traffic barrier. We created a comfy living room space in our park(ing) spot with a carpet and some chairs. A table loaded down with vegan chocolate chip cookies, dumpstered chocolate, popcorn, and tea from the Twisted Branch provided an added enticement. Once we set up the space, we invited all passing bikers, pedestrians and even some cars to join us for tea and cookies. Early on we had a story hour, and later we were entertained by a violin/accordion duo. People had a variety of reactions: some ignored us, some cautiously accepted a cookie, others joined our cozy space and hung out for awhile. We had a great time, and plan to continue doing it monthly! The next Cville Park(ing) day will be on March 31st.

p.s. the cops didn't hassle us at all!

Capitol Climate Action

Friday, February 27, 2009

all I did was post a few fliers and send some emails, i swear!

BEEEEEEEEEP "message 1, left at 8:13 AM..."

"hi, I'm calling for Kassia. My name is sara ross from CBS 19 News and i'd like to hear more about this 'critical mass' ride that you're organizing."

me: !??!?!?!

here's the story that aired on the morning news, including a brief snippet from our interview (live at Woodfolk!)

flaky hippie is better than agro anarchist, right?

they showed up at the ride, too, and wrote the following story:

Critical Mass Bikers Spread Awareness
Friday, February 27, 2009

The people were biking for what's called Critical Mass. For many of these people, biking is their main form of transportation and they want to make sure other drivers are aware of their presence.

Charlottesville is home to a large community of bicyclists. Many of them rolled up Friday evening to show support for Critical Mass, an event to raise awareness of bikers.

"Charlottesville is a very bike-able community. We have a lot of room for improvement. But, were actually designated on a bronze level as a bicycle friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists," said Caroline Heins, a bicyclist.

David Nelson was watching as the bikers went by. He said, "I think bikes and cars can get along and its a wonderful thing to have bikes. They use light power and no gas that's wonderful."

Not everyone is out to prove a particular point. Some joined in simply because biking is fun.

"I'm always up for a group bike ride and today is a perfect day for a ride its not a torrential down pour," said Ruby Holler, another bicyclist.

The bicyclists started heading East on Main Street and rode all around the city. They hope their ride will remind drivers to share the road with bikers.

"I think the more we see people on the streets, the greater the awareness to every body who uses the roadways that it really is a shared space," Holler said.

"People will learn as things like this raise their awareness," said Nelson.

The cyclists said the more people are aware, the more biker friendly Charlottesville will be.

Critical Mass has been known to cause traffic problems in other cities. Friday we followed them for part of their ride and they did not cause many problems. There were a few honks from drivers, but other than that it looked like a smooth ride.

Critical mass takes place in cities worldwide. The event is always held on the last Friday of the month starting at 5 PM.

(gotta love the friendly cville press..........)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

seeking balance

my last 2 posts sum things up pretty well--higher-than-ever highs, extreme life satisfaction, and then total overwhelm, all-consuming anxiety, debilitating doubts.

the former generally applies to my "work" life--organizing projects, events, community activities. the overwhelm and anxiety creep in when the swell of accumulated responsibilities rises to a peak. and the doubt plays out in my relationship; juggling the giving of and taking space, being supportive, backing off, taking responsibility--probably i'm pmsing right now, but at the moment i just wish he would do something huge and unmistakable to show his appreciation and support for me.

ok, here's a brief list of the goods and bads:

i'm supremely psyched about:
--raw organic apricot kernels and fermented green papaya
--neighborhood garden work party, kids playing in the yard, women digging rocks out of the garden bed and laughing
--the spinach and garlic sprouting in our garden
--malt sweetened chocolate chips
--parking spot takeover, converting innocent bystanders into space-reclaimers
--the look on the face of the woman at the veteran office when i told her we'd be having tea and cookies in her parking spot
--quaker meeting
--my social skills seem to be improving with heavy use!

I'm bummed about:
--attempting to arrange impossible logistics
--laptop addiction
--lack of spiritual grounding in my life
--being cold
--endless digging
--people who don't call back
--waves of anxiety
--never catching up
--feeling obliged to nag

generally, my life is f$%&ing amazing and i feel pretty blown away by it. and, i'm learning (the hard way) about the joys and sorrows of becoming an activist martyr, super-organizer as sky calls it. since i'm not employed in the traditional sense, i feel this obligation to expend 150% of my energy working on the projects that i believe in. and, frankly, i'm still a bit surprised and shocked at my new-found effectiveness. certainly, sky is a huge help in pushing my beyond my self-perceived limits (and helping pick up the pieces when i fall of the cliff instead of leap gracefully across the abyss).

stage 2: make this life sustainable and spiritually nourishing. without that, there's no point to any of this.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

today=WOW, or, too tired for pronouns

7AM: re-setting the alarm, grudgingly dragging myself out of bed, groggily eating potatoes and mushrooms, biking the hilly route to hogwaller, shell's little shackety shack filled with warm baking smells and beautiful cupid bikers in red tutus and pink tuxedos. drinking coffee and eating chocochip scones, mixing a batch of scones, cleaning up, delivering an order and then home, meditate.

2PM: thea and crew arrive with ample decorations to transform the house, pinning red clothes to the ceilings, sweep, mop, repeat. transforming the bathroom in to a den of beauty. the living room into a decadent lounge and dance stage. the kitchen into a cozy snacky spot.

5PM: cooking dinner, frantically...wanting to feed and nurture everyone with dahl, rice, potatoes n' onions, cabbage salad. resting for 2 blissful minutes, cocooned in my nestbed hands over eyes.

7PM: back into the fray, last minute prepping. upstairs to transform myself into a beautiful queen (cassopeia). back down to a kitchen full of costumed wonder-folk! eyebrows shoot up and remain for the duration of the night. sky orienting people, (CASSANDRA CAME!!) who enter shoeless to our palace of love and sweet comfort. bouncing around, arranging snacks, washing last dishes. welcoming people.

9PM: creating a web of community connection and appreciation, heart swelling larger. bonfire lighting people's faces. plopping on the couch, robert telling me i'm beautiful. connecting deeply--not with words but rather shared emotion. sinking in. dancing. feeling the love vibe. getting a foot massage from raven.

people drifting off, more thanks, feeling the profundity of creating this space of openness and love here in town. amazed again that we pulled it off.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


i've been feeling heavy of late--weighted down. yesterday while cooking dinner and
listening to israeli music i had this intensely poignant longing for judaism. for feeling a part of something spiritual, deep, meaningful, lasting. ancient.

all day i've been inexplicably on the verge of tears, like someone i love has died. no excuse, it was a beautiful sunny day. tarot told me to consult a fiery crone-like woman. know of any?

i'm losing touch with the things that are most important to me, that i am intuitively drawn to; massage, herbal healing, doula training, music. my life feels very male; goal oriented, driven. tiring. stressful. lacking in beauty and grace.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seeking Bike Commuter Stories!

Some of us here in Charlottesville are putting together a bike commuter zine for the Virginia Festival of the book--here's the promo, please send in your stories!!

Wanted: Bike Commuter Stories

ACCT and Community Bikes volunteers are gathering OUR stories-- from the streets of C'Ville (or other places you have ridden). Drawings, pictures and other graphics encouraged and really great stories, road finds, great conversations with friends and strangers.....

We will be creating a little bike 'zine with the best stories. We will have a debut of the zine in March during the Festival of the Book. (March 18-22).

Please send your ideas to or call 434-882-1516 to help with the project.

Monday, January 19, 2009

bakery moves by bike

check out this awesome video of my friend Michael Dolich moving his bakery by bike! totally sweet and inpsiring.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

should be sleeping

latest brainstorm....

groups of neighborhood-based garden cooperatives: 4 or 5 people who have gardens and want more help with them would rotate weekly garden work parties. folks who like gardening but can't have a garden can jump in and help.

this came out of chatting with brian at food not bombs this morning. we chopped peppers and he fed an avocado to baby mave (the most intelligent looking baby i've ever soon--i swear she looks right into your soul), and tossed around ideas for building community through urban ag and growing food.

at tonsler park, we unloaded the beans and rice, fruit cake, tea and dishes. rollie x twin oaks was there, i chatted with him and he echoed the theme of late, hard up on money and wanting to start a garden. brainstormed with shelly about an urban bike commuter zine, to be released during the VA festival of the book. laughed about an article that mis-quoted her as saying that because she bikes more, her family eats less (she actually said that they consume less, as in not buying useless crap that you don't need anyway).

i walked home after, contemplating my mentrual state and reconnecting to my innards.
kelly and i had our first massage train trade later--i worked on her for an hour, then she demonstrated and we practiced on sky. she's good. she worked on my forearms and neck a bit, noodlefying my upper back. lent my a wrist brace to sleep in, and warned me to take breaks when doing garden work. stretch the wrists daily.

we're going to do weekly trades, i'll work on her for an hour, then she'll work on me and demonstrate on sky. next week, neck and shoulders. she lent me her anatomy book. feels good to get back into massage, very grounding. and a bit overwhelming how much i have to learn. still figuring out where the muscles are and how to feel them.

tomorrow is another garden day, more digging beds and maybe a field trip for some row cover--the kale and spinach are languishing. bread and puppet is in town, i'm trying to convince sky to take a night off and see them. band practice in the afternoon. life rolls on.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Horror in Gaza

This snippet from The Guardian brought me to tears...

Read the full article here

>>Israel's assault on Gaza has exacted the bloodiest toll of civilian lives yet, when the bombing of UN schools being used as refugee centres and of housing killed more than 50 people, including an entire family of seven young children.

The UN protested at a "complete absence of accountability" for the escalating number of civilian deaths in Gaza, saying "the rule of the gun" had taken over. Doctors in Gaza said more than 40 people died, including children, in what appears to be the biggest single loss of life of the campaign when Israeli bombs hit al-Fakhora school, in Jabaliya refugee camp, while it was packed with hundreds of people who had fled the fighting.

Most of those killed were in the school playground and in the street, and the dead and injured lay in pools of blood. Pictures on Palestinian TV showed walls heavily marked by shrapnel and bloodstains, and shoes and shredded clothes scattered on the ground. Windows were blown out.

Hours before, three young men who were cousins died when the Israelis bombed Asma elementary school in Gaza City. They were among 400 people who had sought shelter there after fleeing their homes in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza.

Abed Sultan, 20, a student, and his cousins, Rawhi and Hussein Sultan, labourers aged 22, died. Abed Sultan's father, Samir, said the bodies were so mangled that he could not tell his son from the cousins. "We came to the school when the Israelis warned us to leave," he said. "We hoped it would be safe. We were 20 in one room. We had no electricity, no blankets, no food.

"Suddenly we heard a bomb that shook the school. Windows smashed. Children started to scream. A relative came and told me one of my sons was killed. I found my son's body with his two cousins. They were cut into pieces by the shell."

The UN was particularly incensed over targeting of the schools, because Israeli forces knew they were packed with families as they had ordered them to get out of their homes with leaflet drops and loudspeakers. It said it had identified the schools as refugee centres to the Israeli military and provided GPS coordinates.

The Charlottesville Peace and Justice is joining the nationwide call for an end to US funding of the Israeli attacks on Gaza this Saturday, January 10, 12pm at the Federal Courthouse.

Monday, January 5, 2009

triple balancing act

just over a year ago, i gave a presentation for the ending of adamah, a 3 month jewish farming program in connecticut. i told my fellow community members that i am a musician, a healer, and a community builder.

now i find myself balancing these three:

frantically learning new tunes for this saturday's gig with the accordian death squad, biking across town to band practice with my violin on my back. busking on the downtown mall.

studying to be a doula, scheduling massage practices with my massage therapist housemate. bartering massage for mending.

helping create community in this house and in charlottesville, networking, scheming, connecting. cooking dinner and apple crisp for my housemates. digging up the garden and somehow attracting a crowd of eager volunteers. creating a vision statement for a new community.

during the past 2.5 years of travel, tumult and transition, i've yearned continuously to settle down and put down roots. and now that i'm finally blessed with the opportunity to do just that, i can see so clearly that the depth and quality of my life right now is directly related to that extended period of exploration and experimentation.

Friday, January 2, 2009

random gut selection

today was a day when i often felt like crawling out of my skin and flogging myself. it started on a sour note and seems to be ending on one. hormonal swings make it tough to remember that everything is constantly changing, each moment a fresh opportunity.

alot of the shit i was spewing this morning landed on sky, still we dug up the garlic patch-to-be and got a stereo from a craigslist dude. driving around endless post-urban sprawl was my first descent into The Pit. my absolute least favorite activity, buying shit (groceries, speaker cable) and driving around endlessly. blueberry-banana-clementine-maple smoothie helped, and meditating and showering did wonders. the bike ride to brian and cassandra's was completely delightful, feeling strong and flying down hills.

the hormones will just flare and take over, dragging me along spitting fire. its a bit alarming and disturbing. picked a fight with alexis over nothing, and ended up upstairs in tears. i could rant but as sky said, why bother generating more negativity.

on a bright note, our meeting, the first face to face urban design council, was totally awe-inspiring and amazing. we have a totally rad group of people with the perfect skill set and energy to work. and a 5-3 F-M gender ration!

i have a feeling the next week or so is going to be a bumpy ride as my hormones drag me through the dirt. hopefully i can get a few seeds in the ground along the way...