Saturday, December 27, 2008


I've been waiting for someone to write this for a long, long, long time.

Facebook, be damned for giving people inferiority complexes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

To Bring Him Laud

Happy Holidays. Here's a Christmas hymn from Alex and friends. You can click on the picture to listen or right-click and "Save Link as" to save the MP3 file. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I've been working on a Christmas gift for my dad (not saying what it is, though I'm 99% sure he doesn't know what a blog might be, let alone check ours) and I've come across some priceless gems from the past 45 years in Diaz family history. Lucky for us, my grandparents were somewhat photo-happy, which is a feat considering they were a)living in Batista's Cuba, b) working class, and c) photographing through the age of the silver plates to the Polaroid. Here are a few of my favorites.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We had a very Hispanic Thanksgiving.

Which means there's a lot of conversation about how little we know about Thanksgiving. But we are very thankful for a lot of things. We hope yours was great, as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Welcome all wonders in one sight...

Advent's soon, and for us, it's felt like a year where repentance, death, resurrection, and celebration -- the themes of Advent -- have swirled around us like a good winter snowstorm. Here are some lyrics from a favorite hymn by Richard Crashaw:

Heaven in earth! and God in man!
Great little one, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to earth!

Happy Holidays, a little early. Or right on time, depending on how you look at it. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving, too.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Remember, remember to VOTE in November

It's finally here. Alex and I phoned folks from the Obama headquarters here in Cville. He got hung up on, I got a few heated comments. We mispronounced names. It was all worth it, though. In the room with us were several kids, under the age of 10, on the phones calling, gesturing wildly and chatting up whoever was on the other line, talking about gas prices and tax policies. It wasn't hard to remind ourselves that in less than 48 hours, this country could be a totally different place.

I was also doing it for the primary purpose of getting this poster I'd been eyeing in the headquarters window for some time. Finally, one of the women there struck a deal with me, saying that if i gave some time on the phone, she'd give me the poster.

They ran out of yard signs a while back, so we made do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Alex on Common Grounds

We're grateful to Justin for this interview on Common Grounds :

Alex on Common Grounds

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We did finally make it to visit with Alex's other wife, the Mets, last Thursday.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Algodon (or why is the self so afraid of being stuck with another self? or thanks, walker percy)

“Why it is that of all the billions and billions of strange objects in the Cosmos-novas, quasars, pulsars, black holes-you are beyond doubt the strangest?”

We celebrate two years.

And yes, marriage is bewonderment.
Sometimes, marriage feels like getting lost.
Mostly though, it's like being found.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


While it may not be the audience that Alex originally set out to attract, like cubs to honey, the 3-and-under crowd has discovered Alex's music and has proven to be some of the most enthusiastic in terms of providing listener support. I mean that. When Alex played at the Pavilion for Fridays After Five, morning recess delight ensued in the pit where drunken hippie dancing usually happens. We've now figured out that in pull-ups or in diapers, they'll come waddling out to his concerts when they're before 7.30. They listen to his records, and some even shred air guitars (it might look sort of like panicked belly-scratching). I think it's kind of awesome.

This is a letter that Alex got in the mail today from a favorite pre-school fan. More details on their fan-musician correspondance can be found at Alex's website ( Elias has a special way with knowing just when to send that encouraging word. Thanks, Elias : ).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


"Somewhere is better than anywhere..."
- Flannery.

We've been driving a lot these past few weeks, catching up, saying goodbyes, some with a more lasting sting than others. Here are some more pictures from our summer. We're glad to be here, in one place, back in Charlottesville for a few weeks at the very least.

The Curbys , who moved a few weeks ago, will be missed dearly. Mary and Tim have been sources of wisdom and laughter for us these past couple of years, Benjamin is quite possibly one of the most delightful little kids ever, and baby Katherine is just awesome. We're glad they're just up the road in DC.

Here are some more from our trip to FL:

Michael and Alex on the pier in Cocoa Beach.

Heather Diaz, in a modified choke hold:

Heather returned from the teepee (also "tipi", "tepee"; a word more generally spoken, les generally typed, I suppose) on the Wobbly Cart Farm in Washington State to join us for the week in Miami.

She's doing something awesome. Again. She is spending these months until November in a very real teepee as part of her adventure participating in a workers' collective at a farm along the Chehalis River in Rochester Washington. Heather is learning how to farm, sell farm shares, practice food preservation and maybe even beekeeping! And it really is at the Wobbly Cart Farm. Dirt roads, nice neighbors. When the food crisis hits, at least one of the Diaz family will be eating. We caught her only with the most cunning of camera skills and the snap of the new iphone camera...
which Ashley was tired of after a while

(well. not really).

Here's the whole family, including cousins Ramon and Maria, in Miami at the restaurant where they dine nightly.

And the following week, Ashley and Beth tackled humpback (the last time Ashley did this, it was in flat form -- see earlier post entitled "Worth it").

While Nelson and Alex worked on turning the armoir that had been sitting in the back for the past six months from this:

to this:

Ashley spent this past weekend with her closest friends from college and their growing families, while Alex played shows in Charlottesville and Richmond and got to see some of his closest college friends and their kids, as well . Here are some shots from those

John and Sam, who both are incredibly talented and play with Alex. The third photo below shows Sam and Kate, who is a dear friend, gifted visual artist, and precious to our church.

The close-up of the mike-eater:

In Richmond:

Luke. We. Love. Luke.

And I (ashley) love these precious, precious girls...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Kite Running

We've spent the past week on a pilgrimage of sorts through Florida. Many friends may already know that my dear abuela passed away this April, on her 88th birthday. Alex and I left this past Thursday morning and drove all the way from Charlottesville to Melbourne, Florida, where we spent three days exploring the beaches of St. Augustine, Cocoa Beach, and Melbourne itself.
In Melbourne, we bought a parafoil kite at a small kite shop. In my family, we listed kites in with the other things you would need at the beach. Shovels, plastic buckets and sifters were your instruments for the beach earth, your swimsuit and goggles for the water, and the kite, you used to conduct the business of beach play in the sky. My dad, of course, acted as our kite sensei of sorts, running with the kite as we held the spool and string, and shouting to us "more slack!" and "pulluppulluppullup!" And somehow, even when the air seemed impossibly still, Dad could make a kite fly. There still, to me, seems to be something uncommonly wonderful about flying a kite that's too high for you to see - the tugging and dipping on the string is every bit as strong but comes from something that you can no longer see. It was Alex's first encounter with a kite. Our trip was a real gift. After this year of loss and redemption, on our vacation, we flew kites every day.

From Melbourne, we drove to Miami. Our time in Miami will be revisited later, but has been spent with family, searching out more of the story of my family's immigration from Cuba, and standing alongside my father as he continues the process of grieving my grandmother and closing the house we all knew as Abuela's for 50 years. We spend time with my dad's cousin, Ramon, and his wife, Maria. Once we told my dad that we'd bought the parafoil kite, of course, he made sure we found more time to fly kites again on the beach in Miami. Cubans love kites. We're driving to Tallahassee tomorrow to visit my other grandmother and will return to Charlottesville after spending a couple of days with her.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"It's's Beard-fa-say, d*%n it!"

A few weeks ago, I got to go home for a long weekend of much-needed family and friend time. When I get to Memphis, my usual first, middle, and last stop is my best friend Grace's home, where her two (now three!) kids are always ready with something brilliantly hilarious to do or say. Bill Cosby was right. Kids say (and do) the darndest things.

This last visit was especially sweet as Addie and Caroline were preparing for the arrival of their newest sibling, and were doing so with characteristically Addie and Caroline flair. But that's another post. When not busy darting in and out of the new baby's room, Addie, 3, had been cultivating and refining her attentions to beards.

That's right. Beards.

Not necessarily beards-already-on-people, per say. This is no "Let me see what that scraggled-y hair is on your face, sir" sort of research initiative. This appeared to be more of an evangelistic effort, based in her creative energies that surfaced most proudly as she carefully ripped and colored beard-ish shaped pieces of papers and handed them out, inviting the recipient to the "Beard Show" (which sounded like the "Beer Show" until her mom clarified by saying "we're not talking hops here."). What's more, Addie's beard distribution transcended both age and gender. Beards for all humankind.
Caroline? She's 5? Give her a beard.
Mommy? No beards for girls? No way -- one for her, as well.
Alex? Has his own beard? He's never had one of mine -- take this back to Charlottesville.

This post is for Addie. There's a world of bearded culture out there, apparently. Here are some pictures and a growing guide.

Here's a beard or two:


And of course, a style guide (Addie's beards are available in a few of these variations):

And finally, a picture of us modeling our very own beards, for the Beard Show:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

look out

Yesterday, we got to see Pete and Libby Slade, and their AMAZING kids, Anna and Jake. Pete and Libby are friends from my first days in Charlottesville and we were so excited to see them -- it was our first time to meet Jake, who was born right around the same time we were married in 2006. Pete caught a picture of Jake getting a little fresh...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Down In Fraggle Rock

Yes, it has been long since our last post, but after long last we have returned!! Yesterday we ventured to Virginia landmark Luray Caverns. What an amazing and weird place! The photo to the left is of a "lake" within the caverns that perfectly reflects the ceiling above it. It's hard to capture using a regular camera, but some of the sights were truly amazing. More interesting however, were the names (and I'm not making these up) of the various points with the caverns, such as "Pluto's Ghost," "Titania's Veil," "Saracen's Tent," "The Fish Market," and my favorite "Workout Hill." Yes, there's a whole world of random allusions and puns down there.

The caverns have been a tourist destination since 1878 when they were discovered by a few locals in the side of a rock. We also learned that Luray Caverns are also a popular place for a destination wedding! (Seriously.) There have been over 500 weddings down in these damp, dark caverns. I cannot imagine what they were like. The caverns have also been featured on numerous TV shows including TLC "The Wedding Show." (Can someone tell me what that is??)

All in all, our time spent in Luray Caverns was fun, although a bit long (the tour took over an hour and was 1.25 miles long). At the end we partook in the "Wishing Well". As you can see, Ashley was very excited to toss a few coins down into the clear pond filled with the loose change of tourists from all over the world. The money collected therein is collected every year and donated to charity. Very nice.

So if you're looking for some underground adventure or just can't find that perfect place to tie the knot, look no further than Virginia's Luray Caverns, you won't be dissappointed.