Monday, January 26, 2009

Fly-flappers and Flit-a-dees

If you ever watched Winged Migration you might remember how the film documents the bittersweet journey of geese, cranes, swans, pelicans and other birds across the continents. During a particularly whiny with a drippy nose day, Mai and I snuggled up and watched this movie.

"Is that a sad song?" Maia asks.
Hmmm, what do you think? I say.
"It is. Why do they have to flap away?"

I explain a bit and tell her a few names of the birds that are migrating. She says: "No Mama Shana, those are fly-flappers," or "ming wings" or "flit-a-dees."

"I wish I could fly to a warmer place... so fast. Are they going to mexican?"

We have been reading books about backyard birds and made a few of Denise's pine cone feeders and now whenever Maia sees a bird, she says, "oh, that's a black-eyed centra cope!" (huh?) I suppose if someone were telling me strange sounding names all day, I might want to tell them a few too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Inside the glass dome, walking through the arid dessert, greenness appears in all forms. Flowery and shiny, grizzled and furry, spiky and sharp, wiry and reaching, always, towards the sun.

We had a lovely visit from Auntie Steph, Uncle Pete and cousin Olive. Since they came during such cold weather, we visited the children's museum, the aquatarium and the domes (which has it's annual train display in the show dome). We ate yummy Indian (thanks Jen for planting the idea of Bombay sweets in my brain!), has a late Christmas celebration and went out for a Mexican dinner while the grandparents (thank you!) watched the kiddos. As for The Road and book club, thank goodness we has such delicious samosas, bobotie (South African curry) and sweet treats that we didn't have to eat our lovely guest, Steph!


My brain has turned to mush. It is mashed and soupy, sticky and clumped and microwaved on high. It is hard to think thoughts some days, thoughts with logic and reason, thoughts that reference a certain reality of concept and theory, history and politic. I feel like I am missing a certain intellectual aliveness that sparks parts of the brain that loading the dishwasher and picking up legos doesn't. Nevertheless, the dreamlike quality of life with a three year old is a universe unto itself. How exhausting must it be to be three? Just being a witness 24 hours a day to the wide moodswings and intense fits of energy is bone tiring. Of course, all will smooth out in time, as it always does, but today and most likely tomorrow I will rest my poor head and let the magical world of the toddler (always in revision) take me where it will.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In a blue cloud-cloth

Bluish shadow snow heaped in mounds slope up and down the block, rooftops are sculpted round with creamy white frosting. Frost feathers across the glass windows, scratching stars and forests and muting the view like glass blocks. A croupy cough crackles the air and my brain swims in a pool of sleeplessness and anxiety; the plans and schedules and routines wiped clean again with illness and cold weather warnings. Just when you think family life will "normalize" it gives you a shot of panic and pours a bucket of ice water over your head. Juj had the croup when he was Maia's age and I remember walking around the block in the dark night with a small boy wrapped blankets hoping the air would soothe his cough. But now the wind blows in at an icy -17 and we stay put, wrapped in knit blankets, wool socks pulled up to the knees and as much fleece as possible.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back to the books

I am working feverishly on one of my last handmade cloth books... got to get it in the mail like yesterday. I know now that if I were to make more cloth books with a number of editions, there are some things I just wouldn't do again! My book from last semester was also an accordion style book with text and images printed on cloth. I used a lot of coffee and tea dyed organza, ironed onto freezer paper and put through the printer which worked out fairly well. Apparently I have been reading too much Eric Carle because I can see some similarities between this book and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The text begins: "I am eating my way through..." and ends with "I am still hungry." The hand stitching was relaxing. I would sink into the couch after dinner and sew under the light of a table lamp as the kids played or read or slept. The holes developed later, purely by accident by a bit of rust sparking in the microwave, so I cut more and stitched around and through them. I like the idea of peek-holes, of something being hidden and partially revealed as well as the cuts and suture-like stitching. I will be working on a lot more books this next semester with different bindings and although this book isn't where I'd like it to be, it really opened me up to new processes and ideas. What more can you really ask for in art?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pukin' pirates

That dang shameless influenza bug got a hold of us and we spent the last week of winter break hosting a big vomit-o-rama fest complete with puke buckets, dry heaving, hot and cold flashes and those nasty aches and pains. We spent lots of time in front of the fire last week, while JB read aloud from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Or we listened endlessly to The Peter Yarrow Songbook of Sleepytime Songs , which was a nice break from high energy goofiness of TMBG and Laurie Berkner. There is, of course, nothing like a good folk song to put one's miseries in perspective. We also learned to "fight recklessly and plunder mercilessly... to become the most famed pirate the world has ever seen" in a strategy board game called Pirate's Cove. A little couch time, extra naps, lots of Popsicles, movies and games and we rebounded just in time to cram as many activities into the weekend as possible. When we finally could get out, we went to see Act ReAct, an interactive exhibit at the art museum which the kids loved because when else can you run around in circles, jump, dance, touch and emit high pitched screeches in an art museum? And I assure you, me mateys, them much recovered buccaneers was a swashbucklin'. Aye! I soon be makin' them walk the plank, Arrrr!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Inside and out

Hope you are keeping warm!