Alas, a quiet moment. My daughter is napping, and I have settled into the sofa with tea, some dark chocolate and dried cranberries in hand to do nothing but luxuriate in the moment. The neighborhood schools started this week, and as quickly as it started, summer is once again on its way out. A few reflections from the land of Takoma Park….
It has been a beautiful summer, especially the month of August. The weather has been unseasonably cool around here, much more like Europe than the swamp that DC usually becomes this time of year. Temperatures have ranged between the 60s and 80s most days. We’ve had intermittent light rains which have kept the outdoors lush and green. It’s that time when the smells of herbs, basil, thyme, rosemary and lavender fill our neighborhood along with neighbors cooking outdoors. The area is never short of outdoor music festivals and the parks of full of neighborhood children engaged in all kinds of activities. Cool evenings have been great for long walks and park adventures. It’s really one of those magical summers filled with laughter, fireflies and muses.
We took a 10 day vacation right after the 4th of July to Puerto Rico of all places, where I wanted to go to attend a yoga and capoeira retreat led by the incredibly talented Marie Belle.
PR is a beautiful island. We spent a few days in Old San Juan before going to the Western most tip of the island to a surfing town, Rincon, where we rented a house on the ocean for the week. Old San Juan is wonderful for it’s museums, color and history. If you have not been, you might enjoy it for a weekend. The area has a rising food scene amid beautiful architecture and cobblestone streets. We stayed in a remodeled old convent-turned hotel, called El Convento in the heart of Old San Juan before venturing to Rincon. The Hotel reminded me a great deal of our fav NYC hotel, the Hotel Elysee. It also has has a nice parlor/ reading room with daily wine and cheese.
Rincon was so uncharacteristic of the typical places I would choose for a vacation spot. It turned out to be wonderful, one of the few places where I could enjoy myself so much, while doing so little. The town itself was taken over by hippies in the 60s and 70s and then later transformed to a modern-day surfing town where coastal yuppies and hipsters flea to escape their lives. There’s still a good local buzz too, and a distinctly Latin feel to the area. The benefit of local hipsters/yuppies is that there’s a thriving organic, and wonderful, food scene. Every place we dined was locally sourced and incredibly tasty from the beautiful scallops at La Copa Llena (the full cup) to the amazing sole fish at Ode to the Elephants (a small restaurant a local Thai woman runs from the balcony of her house). We also had the pleasure of cooking at home, since we had the beach house for the week. It was a charming town. Mornings were filled with my usual yoga practice. Then we’d take Diya to the beach, where she loved to play in the sand.
My husband and I now specialize in drawing monkeys and elephants in the sand. My friend Jen and her family joined us for vacation. They have a daughter Diya’s age, so we joked that, really the girls went on vacation and they brought us along.
It was nice to be by the ocean, to be with close family and friends, to continue yoga practice, to eat well and mostly to watch Diya and her dad playing and laughing so much.We needed the break, especially as housing construction continues here, and we are now weeks (rather than months) away from having a newly renovated, and much larger, house. While the construction project has been relatively easy for us–not having to really relocate, or to deal with too much noise–it has not been without it’s headaches and occasional hiccups.
In July I also returned to playing violin, and taking regular weekly lessons. I bought a lovely new instrument and bow from Potter’s violin shop, which have made me incredibly happy. I’m rusty, and but it’s a fantastic feeling to return to regular lessons. I’ve started playing Corelli’s violin Sonata Nr. 8 (Opus 5 in E minor). I’m currently working on the first 2 movements. More fun, however, is introducing our daughter to music. She also just got her first violin. It’s the 1/16th size.
At 18 months of age, she adores it. Yesterday at the park, she yelled: “All done. Go home. Play violin,” which sounds especially cute because she doesn’t quite pronounce her Ls fully. I feel proud. She won’t start formal weekly lessons for another 6 months –following the Suzuki method. But she can already hold the instrument correctly, which is quite an accomplishment. Mostly, she enjoys when I play and she has her very distinguished repertoire of Old MacDonald and The Wheels on the Bus, among other favs. She is so fast to learn, especially with rhythm and counting. If she never really takes up the violin, that’s fine with us. But I hope we’re instilling an appreciation for music that will continue as she grows up.
Alas, all else in life continues ever onward.