"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Friday, October 29, 2010

Poetry Friday

New weekly feature here on my blog, "Poetry Friday." I was inspired when a blogger I read linked to this inspiring blog where the owner has challenged herself to write a poem a day (200 something, straight in a row so far!) and I also happened to be sitting down making a list of all the things I'd like to dust off in my life and one them happened to be that I wanted to spend more energy on my poetry.

Sometimes things just come together like that. So, I have joined in on Poetry Friday. I hope that I will write on-the-spot original poetry most weeks, but sometimes I may share poems I love by other authors or poems I've written at other times in my life and a little of the context.

Coincidentally, Melissa, the blogger who first led me to the daily challenge has begun her own Friday poetry highlight. See this week's edition to get a taste. Great minds think alike.

Today I am sharing a poem I wrote two years ago about this time of year when I set a little writer's prompt up for our mutual stimulation and suggested we each write an autumnal poem that has something to do with marking the season without connection to nature.

I had forgotten that I wrote it and then when I started baking again this fall in our new kitchen I discovered that our old oven is a little prone to be smoky and now when I start to cook Ru says worriedly, "Do you think it will make smoke?" And then winces in the direction of the "smoke proptector." Heh heh.

A Rite of Fall

In autumn my remembered
 Oven develops
 An appetite for
 Clouds of smoke,
 Belching them towards the
 Dozing smoke detector,
 To awaken him from
 Cobwebbed summer slumber.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This Is Why....

This is why I bought a house with old wood floors. I knew there was a reason. 

How great is that?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Hallows Eve

Well, costume construction is in full swing and we are all stocked up (I hope!) on candy to hand out. I hear we live in a whiz bang neighborhood for Halloween celebration and so we're hoping we don't run out of sweets on our first run.

The boys waffled and wiffled about what they wanted to be. Ru was stuck on being a ghost for a while, (more on that in a bit) and then then he was thinking about Spiderman and then he decided once and for all the a fireman was the thing. Dee talked about Batman at first and then began insisting that he was going to be a doctor "in pink" whatever that may mean. Ru corrected him all the time, "You mean a nurse. They wear pink. Do you want to be a nurse? Is that what you mean?" (Which I thought was hilarious...not pink is for girls but, pink means a nurse. Kids are a riot. I love child logic.) And Dee would reply confidently, "Nope. A doctor. In pink." So, I was all set to dress him in pink scrubs and a white lab coat and then suddenly he decided that he wanted to be a fireman too. Ru thinks its great fun to be twin heroes and we have had more new declarations so today the supplies were purchased and assembly began. Firemen it is.

About that ghost business. I wasn't sure what to do with the whole ghost bit. I grew up in a family which forbade dressing as anything remotely mystical or devious so a ghost would have been out of the question while A's family was all for the creepy and the scary as that was somehow part of the night. I think two things give me pause,

1.) I have a hard time personally enjoying "dark" characters and decorations. I am pretty black and white and scary is icky and happy is good...and I'm not very able to enjoy the creepy or the foul.

2.) Really. I have very small children, one of whom is already up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT with nightmares. Do I need anymore darkness in his life? I'll pass.

So, I'm not sure exactly what to do with the whole topic ultimately. In some ways I think that forbidding my children to ever take part in anything that isn't puppies and rainbows, all innocent sweetness all the time is a bit strange. Life is dark and light, scary and hopeful...death is real, bad guys happen....etc. That said, I'm not sure I want my little boy dressing up as the ghoul either. It somehow really unsettles me. I really would love to think this whole topic through more thoroughly and think I'll try, (Anyone for a good verbal hash-out on the subject sometime? I'd love to try to tease out the issues involved.) but until then, with the limited mommy brain cells I have available and the short amount of time left until the holiday itself I decided to tell Ru that maybe I'll change my mind at some point and I'd love to keep talking about it, but at this point I wasn't willing to make any scary or icky costumes. Only good guys allowed.

The other piece of the holiday that I feel bears some weight and should be addressed is the church holiday business. I know that our Reformed brothers and sisters celebrate Reformation Day at this time of year and I've heard of families posting Luther's 95 Theses on the front door as a thought provoking reminder. In our church this is the time that we celebrate All Saints Day...a time to remember those who have gone before us and to bear in mind what a great historical tradition we are part of. In some parts of the world celebrants spend special time remembering their family members who are dead and gone and/or beautifying the family plot in the cemetery. I just love this photo from Poland, via Wikipedia...all candlelit beauty. So peaceful and warm, not how you usually picture a cemetery at all. We don't have any family members who were buried here, but we can light some candles here in our home, maybe on the porch and of course certainly in our pumpkins. And I plan to print out and hang a symbolic picture of Christ and the saints and talk together with the boys about those who have gone on before us.

While I mused, I enjoyed reading the following two articles on the topic of Christianity and Halloween. The first, from a pretty mainstream believer, talking about how important it is to seize the chance to interact with our neighbors in a loving way. I love that and also the notion that the whole country plays dress up together for one night. Those are both lovely things. The second article is from a Greek Orthodox believer who talks about the origins of the holiday and the oft recited notion that it has sinister Celtic roots. I always love debunking and I also appreciated hearing his ideas on honoring the saints and interacting with neighborhood children on the topic.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leaf Art and Paint Art

Well, the giant white pine that towers over our house from the edge of the nuns property next door has begun dropping a whispering carpet of gold needles on our driveway, and the maples next to the road are finally glowing lemon drop yellow. This afternoon on the way home from my painting fellowship I pulled over to give the baby his pacifier and take off his jacket and Ru spent the entire time dangling from the window, grinning, picking giant bouquets of maple leaves off an overhanging bough outside. We've hit the good times in autumn.

I can't find paraffin in any of the stores around here for some reason but I saw this brilliant idea somewhere to dip all the leaves your kids find on their gathering excursions in liquid wax and then thread them in garlands to hang in the window where the paraffin will make the colors stay long after the glow has faded from the branches. If anyone sees paraffin in Stop and Shop will ya'll let me know? Gosh that sounds like beautiful fun!

I haven't done  a painting update in a good long while so I have more than the usual trove of work to exhibit. I think I'm getting better...slowly but surely. My painting mentors continue to chuckle at me when I start a new piece because apparently I choose ridiculously hard subjects with startling frequency. Heh. If something's worth doing, its worth doing a hard one, I suppose. I'm ambitious if a bit over hopeful. *grin*

Here's a peek at some of my latest work and a little view into our painting group today. All the shots of paintings with no painter at work are mine.

This last picture is the painting I'm working on at the moment. I love the way that I can take a photo I hoped would turn out well but ended up out of focus or something and use it for a painting and make it an entirely serviceable work of art that more aptly captures the scene that I was trying to remember. This is Ru with the first radishes from our garden last spring.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn Magic

We went off to pick some pumpkins....

And we found....

....just the perfect collection.

There were hay rides and...

...blue skies and gold leaves everywhere we looked.

I picked some Sweet Annie for drying in a bundle in the kitchen. Smell so good!

Nib just looked up the entire time. So much pretty foliage overhead!

There were a few leaf fights.

Curiously the leaves on our own trees in our yard have yet to really turn or start dropping in earnest. It was kind of fun to drive out to this farm and enjoy a preview of fall leaf play. 

Some very, very happy sheep.

I love this boy.

There was a gorgeous blushing sky on the way home.
 We put the pumpkins on the front and back steps, the back door ones are for the more timid family members who are afraid of pumpkin smashers and the front step clan are the folks who are so unabashed about their celebratory fall spirit that they really believe the neighborhood and yea, the world will be good to them. The glass is half full and half empty at our house.
And this morning we baked another apple cake

I love the things they make out of Tinker Toys. So glad I picked them up at that yard sale.

Can you believe he's about to cut through is first two teeth? Such a sweet soul.

Testing the cake (which is already half gone)

 It is nice and moist. Plenty of apples, lovely sweet and shattery crust on top, but still, I dunno...I think I want it to be more spiced and a darker color. Maybe I need brown sugar in it or some whole wheat flour or something. Still searching, but feeling closer than ever.....
And my trash table is done! Well....sort of done.
 I ran out of paint before I could get the wooden edge along the top painted and the leg paint is a bit weak, but I was so anxious to use it that I think I'm just going to let it ride for a while. Its living in the sunroom, giving a boost to several houseplants who couldn't reach the light well. I love the silvery metallic top and have to admit that I stole the idea of painting it a metallic silver from my sister Foxy. What can I say? She has good taste! I am considering getting some kind of decorative wooden feet at Home Depot to screw in and raise it up. Its a bit low, too high to be coffee table material, but too low for pulling a chair up.