Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Moving On

Central Virginia is just ridiculously beautiful. We hope you'll come visit us!

By now, most people know that Meredith, Sebastian and I are moving to Charlottesville, VA, where we own a house. This is a decision we've been planning for several years and as you might well imagine, our feelings on the subject are a big jumble. Quite simply, we're very excited about what we're doing, but we also love the life we have made for ourselves in New York.

Here are the facts: we're leaving the first week in July. We'll be living in the Belmont neighborhood, which is sort of the bohemian area and very close to down town (a 15 minute walk to the city center). Sebastian will be attending Clark Elementary, the K-4 public school across the street. I will keep my job at New York Road Runners, which will require spending the majority of the autumn in New York, then scaled way back during the rest of the year. After the Marathon, I'll look for a second, and hopefully local, opportunity or something permanent and part-time like I have done in the past.

We're very fortunate to be able to step from one situation that is very good and into one that's even better. I am sure that we could be happy either place but at this specific stage in our lives and careers, Charlottesville is starting to make a little more sense. Here are some of the things we're looking forward to that we're not getting in New York:

  • Contact with nature, Earth, Sky, green, and living things. That is the source of my art and sanity.
  • Time/space to actually get work done. There's a lot to see and do in New York, but it's very difficult to actually get work done.
  • Lower overhead. Speaks for itself, I think.
  • Easier, more relaxed environment, especially for Sebastian.
  • Slightly less dysfunction school system.
  • Proximity to Family. Really becomes an issue with the advent of children.
  • Ready supply of organic food and fresh eggs. We'll have our own private CSA.
  • More affordable babysitters. Ever pay $100 to see a movie?
  • Live in my own home. Not only from the American Dream perspective, but also from a standpoint of controlling one's own environment.
  • We'll have our own garden and compost cycle, along with some more green-living efforts we're planning but keeping secret for now.
  • Easier logistics. I love New York, but ya gotta admit: anything involvig any kind of logistics is 100 times harder than it needs to be.
  • Larger workspaces. Related to the overhead issue, but there's also the possibility to work outdoors.
  • Coffee/wine/dinner/etc on the deck or the front porch. What could be better or more civilized? We'll even have a front porch swing.

What it ultimately comes down to is wanting a change of pace. I don't expect Charlottesville to be quantitatively better, but it will be very, very good and certainly different. Meredith and I are pretty good about periodically changing things up. Each time we do so, we learn more and improve our lives.

This is not about bailing out of New York or quitting anything. It's about shuffling the deck a little bit and hopefully we won't lose anything. We plan to hang on to our friendships and the people that matter the most to us. Everything else is just scenery and we can always come back if we wish.

This blog, which voices both sides of my ambivalence about life in the city and the country, will take new turns. Perhaps the balance of power between Citymouse and Countrymouse will shift. That will be the subject of our next entry.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This Kid is Amazing.

I am astounded at Sebastian's high spirits. Of course, he moped for a few days after his accident (the extreme pain might have had something to do with it), but he has quickly moved on with his life and has begun to make lemonade.

One of his favorite tricks is to get on hands (or rather elbows) and knees and propel himself forward with his legs along the wood floor like a snow mobile. It's pretty hilarious and ingenious how he has quickly adapted to his new situation.

Time moves slower for children and a day seems like a really long time, so from Sebastian's perspective, he has had the cast on forever, even if it has only been ten days of real time. So he has already adapted and moved on.

There is a lesson in there for us: he's not wasting any time at all worrying about what he cannot do. He is finding the virtue in an undeniably adverse situation.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The City that Never Sleeps

Now there's an easier way to view some highlights from my City that Never Sleeps series. here. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Could be worse...

No tickling for 4-6 weeks. Sebastian still knows how to have fun though!

There's no too ways about it: it's not fun to have two broken arms. It's not much fun to be the parent of a kid with two broken arms either. He's completely helpless: he can't do anything that requires the use of his hands, which pretty much covers the entire spectrum of human experience. he can't even get in or out of a chair without help. It's alot of work, especially with Meredith away on her book tour.

It's impossible not to feel pity for him but I often find myself feeling sorry for pitiful me, who basically just had his life put on hold at an extremely busy time. At those moments, I try to remind myself that I'm not the one with the broken arms; he is. However cranky I may feel, he has it a million times worse.

Yet Sebastian has remained in relatively high spirits. He occasionally complains or moans or even yells but I think he's entitled. It can only be frustrating and obviously painful, yet he still does his cute little dances and makes his silly jokes and is [mostly] a fun person to be around. There are some very small side benefits as well: no more wiping his mouth on his sleeve at the dinner table, for example. There's always a bright side, right? Sometimes you just have to look really hard to find it.

I am very fortunate to have such a child, and he's fortunate to not be hurt much worse. We are, all of us, very fortunate indeed.