Monday, May 31, 2010

Mothers Blessing

Some of us thought we had been transported to the south of France: the beautiful and delicious food, the picnic tables underneath the apple trees, a nicely sunny/shady yard, and the company of wise, beautiful women in abundance.
It was potluck Mothers Blessing for a dear friend, due to bring a new sweet girl into our midst any moment. The organizers of this event sent out a muslin square (hemmed!), so that we might embellish them with our wishes or prayers or inspiration. We each had a moment to introduce ourselves and show our squares, sharing wisdom or a funny story or a hope for the new baby and family.
There were a few babies to celebrate the occasion (we did remember not to eat them):
the dimpled hands?!
Even though I think there weren't supposed to be actual gifts, I always assume this doesn't apply to handmade items. So I shared some homemade laundry soap (new babies make lots of laundry and so do five other people!). And I made the Amy Butler Apron Overlay for her also.

Because I remember how you give birth and then that one pair of maternity pants (your favorite) is still the only thing that fits or feels comfortable and pretty soon you are. hating. those. pants! And the baby will throw up on them right as you are leaving the house, and what are you supposed to wear then?! So how perfect to have an apron that is REVERSIBLE, with small prints to disguise stains, something fun and feminine and pretty to spice up your postpartum wardrobe. It could be a whole new thing in women's fashion.

~Oh wait. Did I mention this was a party at which TWO types of quinoa salad AND beets were also served? My kind of party indeed. The kind of food women will prepare for each other and themselves when no one is around to complain.~

Monday, May 24, 2010


On one of the most stellar days, one of our most perfect days in May, in Maine, we went to Blue Hill to watch this year's Pentathalon: the wind was light, the sun was warm, and the bugs were nearly nonexistant, making the day of outdoor spectating an absolute pleasure.
At Waldorf Schools, in 5th grade they study the ancient Greeks: their civilization, art, myths, political structure, and the events of the Pentathalon. As a culminating experience, many schools organize regional Olympiads (Wrestling, Long Jump, Discus, Javelin, Relay, and Sprinting), and train for the event all year. The trainer records the times and distances for each athlete all year, charting their progress and identifying their unique strengths. The focus is on beauty and form, as much as distance and speed.
Above, Jonas with the discus, his special event:
amazing to watch
When the five schools joined together last week at the campus of our gracious host school, The Bay School, the children were divided into City States...not by schools, but randomly.
So Jonas was on the Athens team, which was comprised of students from Maine, New Hampshire, and Quebec. (There were several Quebecois students who did not speak English! There was an interpreter!) In the above photo Jonas was wrestling with fellow Athenian, Seneb, from Quebec, who as you can see was determined and really very strong. Jonas held his own for quite some time before being overcome.
The city states spend the day competing with their team mates, but actually only against themselves, since the times and distances are measured against each individual athlete's former scores. The scores of an entire team are added together for a combined group score. Jonas was on the Athens team. Though javelin (above) was not his special event, he was so beautiful and bested his previous distances!
long jump
The mood of the day was reverent and filled with beauty. The children presented gifts and recited odes to the Gods, passed the Olympic torch around a circle of 80+ students, cheered for each other, and strived for their own personal excellence. In the spirit of the original Games, this was a festival of peace and fun. Jonas presented his school's gift for the Gods: a lovely Moss Garden made by the children (it was two stories, he tells me).
Each child had so much to be proud of throughout the long and strenuous day and I felt privileged to be present. It was a good day to be a mom, admiring her handsome, graceful, and talented boy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Robots R Us

Inspired by the glorious robots of Miss Smith, the movie Robots, and now this book, Sylvan and I have developed a sort of sweet, collaborative robot-drawing habit. Sometimes he'll suggest that we draw robots together. Sort of on a whim. And most times, when I am asked this type of question, I try to drop everything and draw.

robots of people we love: the Rozabot and the Theobot
You can't see it here, but the dog's tongue is wiggling;
what you really can't see is that when Sylvan was drawing this,
he paused to pant himself, as though getting the right idea
for how to make the tongue look wiggly.

We have our favorite robot-drawing pens. I favor the Micron, extra fine point: nice flow of ink, the right thickness of line. He likes a gel pen that has a retractable tip so that he doesn't have to keep track of the cap.
is this one dancing, or roller-skating?
I love the movement

We'll often begin our own individual robots and then swap and work on each other's robots in process. Or sometimes, we just stick with our own visions.

I started this funny little female robot, below, and Sylvan suggested she be parachuting because she was on an airplane and was being so rude that she was just thrown right out. It's nighttime, as you can see by the moon and ZZZZZs from the town below. Notice the detail that he added, the harness on her legs to keep her parachute attached.
Collaborative drawing never happened with Jonas. He always had (and still does have) a very very specific picture in his mind, a vision, that only he can realize. In drawing and in life. My early attempts to "help" were usually disastrous and resulted in an even more ruined drawing. Oh those difficult years when his vision did not match his abilities! Agonizing. Now, at age 11.5 (almost), he will sometimes ask me to help him sketch out parts of his main lesson pages, to resolve a troublesome foot, or help make a figure in motion, or to make a good-looking nose. I am always so flattered to be asked and try to tread carefully around his developing artist's ego.

So. Robots. Give them a try!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Assorted delicious.

the photo I would have taken, this one by my dear husband:
chubby baby hand
holds umbrella in the rain
chilly May day in Maine

Happy Mother's Day to you. I got just what I asked for: a sleep-in morning and nice breakfast (scrambled eggs, danishes, coffee) and a big day of housecleaning. Because in May, when we are so busy having festivals and baseball and parties and birthdays and someone is trying also to finish her semester, the housecleaning falls by the wayside.
Sylvan is trying out the position of catcher!

Random things sit in random places. Multiple loads of laundry in need of folding are the norm and occupy a large portion of the floorspace in my bedroom (like the photo from last post).
men who knit!
I married one.

Today we asserted order into our house of entropy.

typical May day celebration in Maine:
dismal 47 degrees

And then as I was cleaning the bathroom, on a whim, I decided to paint.

local Maine ingredients augment these fine chocolates
from Black Dinah's Farm Market Collection

You haven't ever ever seen our bathroom, blogfriends, because it is awful. It is small with weird striped wallpaper, not vintage, just cheap. Also, there was this terrible brown-beige trim around the window, edging the doors, etc. (WHO uses brown to prime?!) Plus, the wall behind the toilet was not wallpapered (OK, fine, it was ugly) and was just plain white sheetrock. And out of all of the rooms in our house, it is the one that has not been touched since our first summer here, almost eight years ago, when we made shelves in it. (There was a linen closet, strangely, with no interior shelves. It made us wonder about the former residents.)

mother's day gifts:
alphabet wine (totally librarian, right?)
PG Tips (without it, I am nothing)

So I painted. We had white paint---imagine!---that I used to prime the wall behind the toilet and the trim around the window. It looks clean! Neat! White! And I figured that getting a small start on this project would then inspire more work when I am officially done with school for the summer. I just did it and it felt SO. GOOD.

There was also some mowing and bike-riding today. Sylvan, recovering from a touch of fever-y virus, bundled himself up quite well on this breezy, chilly spring day: here he is, wearing two adult-sized down vests over his sweatshirt, down earflap hat, with ear-protection muffs.
The apple trees are in bloom, which I love. Not so many blossoms this year and perhaps this means we should have pruned better.