Friday, December 30, 2011

what birds will find us this year?

I promised to try and remember to remind people before New Year's Day about a tradition our family has followed for years now: that of noticing the first bird we see in the new year, and adopting that bird as "ours" for the year.
Me. And some birds.
Consider yourselves reminded!  And please stop by and tell me if you decide to look for a bird to start off your new year...

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Around here...things still look a bit festive!  And we've been busy...
Eliza is working on a waldorf-type soft-bodied doll that she received for Christmas as a kit.  She is so dear (the doll. and the girl.), and after a few moments of frustration, we figured out what we were doing and she's looking pretty doll-like! Eliza is deciding to keep her bald for a few days before we attempt the hair.
Today there was a good morning of Out - the girls decided to go ride bikes in the parking lot at the school across the street...
The best part was how supportive and encouraging they were of each other.  Eliza called herself Ani's pit crew, and would call out "Come on, Little Huffy! Come on, Champ!"
We are re-reading Wise Child by Monica Furlong, having just finished Juniper, which is the prequel, but which we read second. The girls are so absorbed in this book, and I read for a couple of hours this afternoon while Eliza worked on and finished a small crocheted rug, and Ani learned how to make a crocheted chain (she was so. excited.)
I need to remember such peaceful days such as these, where everyone's needs are being met, and there are no fights to break up or stay out of, and we flow from one thing to another so well...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In this week after Christmas, life is starting to resemble something more like normal, which we haven't seen since...well...since before Halloween.  Between a raging golf tournament, two sets of visitors, and illness, not to mention Solstice and Christmas, we've been a far cry from any sort of routine.  It's feeling good to be slipping back into something more steady and predictable, if our life can ever be described in such a way.  It's a bit quieter, and there is space in our days...space to make messes, big messy messes of the artistic or emotional kind, and then space and time to move back into order.  

I've been feeling a bit introspective this week, though New Year's is not typically a time when that happens for me. Too much pressure. But I was at my Bando martial arts/yoga class tonight and I had a couple of thoughts come to mind that I thought I'd share, mostly as reminders for myself as we enter this new year.  They're a bit obvious, 'cause, well, that's me, but maybe you'll find them helpful too.

The first one is this: oxygen is good. I notice such a sweet flow of thoughts and creativity when I get more oxygen - as I walk briskly up the hill to class, and as I breathe deeply during class; this is the time when I have ideas, make connections, see things more clearly. So, yeah. Oxygen - get some.

The second thought I was having was that 7 months ago I started Bando, and there was this evil pose that I dreaded.  I was hampered by a sore shoulder that I couldn't seem to make better, and not only was the pose painful, I just didn't get it. It is called the Serpent Coil, and I came to loathe it. Now I could be considered a regular student of Bando, attempting to attend two classes every week, and the Serpent Coil is my friend. I get it. It no longer hurts, and I can actually breathe while doing it. 

Now, I am someone who thinks a lot about doing things before I ever get around to doing them, and sometimes that first step of starting is the hardest; I had been hearing about Bando for 2 years before going to a class. So, the second thought I had was this: Start something today. If I had never gone to the first class, I wouldn't be enjoying myself so much now. It is making me consider what else in my life is just waiting for me to begin.

So there you have it - my deep thoughts for the end of the year.  I also wanted to share a few photos of my favorite present that I received this past week; it was from my daughter, Eliza.  A month or so ago, as I drove my girls and their best friend, E, to the library, they were all talking about the cloaks they were wearing and how apparently no one out in the world seems to understand the difference between cloaks and capes.  They explained to me that cloaks are clothing - to be worn for warmth or for disguise (and maybe in some instances, to aid in magic).  Capes, on the other hand, well...they aren't cloaks.  I mused that maybe capes help you access your inner powers, remind you of all you are capable of, and went on at length about how there were some days when I could certainly make good use of a cape.  I'd wear it to make breakfast or to do the dishes, to remind me that I was doing important work worthy of superhero status: It is I, Super Me! Here to make your waffles! I will feed you greens to make you big and strong, like me! No clean pajamas? Never fear! I will WASH THEM!  You get the idea.  Guess what was under the tree for me?
 That's right. My very own, hand-made cape. I almost cried.  I immediately put it into action, cooking our Christmas day meal.
 And this is my super self, on alert for the cries of the needy, the hungry, those who need snuggles.
Now that's a good way to start a new year...Cape on!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

solstice: or light, fruit, and the losing of a tooth

 Much of our solstice passed as above, which Dan kindly captured for us.  We're reading Juniper, the prequel to Wise Child by Monica Furlong, which we read this year and loved. All about the making of a healer.  We took the book along on our solstice walk at The Ridges, as well as fruit and nut treats we had prepared for the animals.
The rain held off for us till the end of the hike. It was unseasonably warm, but not very sunny (not wanting to complain here, but if it's not going to winter, couldn't it be sunny?).
The girls loved playing fairy for the bird and the squirrels.  We often see deer up here too.
Up at the peak we parked ourselves on a log and read a bit, and I gave the girls small solstice gifts I'd made.  I am cringing a bit over the raggedy, raggedy old sweatshirt in these photos, which used to jog with my dad and then came to live with me and then Dan and now Eliza has nabbed it much to my chagrin, but she's right - it's comfortable, and this girl is all about comfort.  The scarf jazzes it up a bit, doesn't it (humor me)?
And then, mid-apple, Ani yelped and there on her finger she was balancing her first tooth. First tooth!! Wow. She was so excited...We had sewn a pillow with a pocket for her tooth just last week, and - isn't it interesting how different two kids can be? - she let it be known that she had no need for her teeth (much to Eliza's horror; she wrote the tooth fairy a note, explicitly requesting that she leave that and any future teeth for her to keep), and hoped the tooth fairy would take it away and leave her a little something.
Our day was so peaceful - once we got home we had Papa to hang out with, and everyone just enjoyed the day together and apart (more elving to do, you know - see below).
("Keep out" (Please) Girl at work - if you are Dad com in and if you are some umazing thing from a book or something I thingk I would like to say HI!  P.S. Dad is not aloud to com IN!)

Hope you all are enjoying these days of outer darkness and inner light...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Unsilent Night

Last night we brought in the longest night in an unusual way...
We and 15 or so others gathered uptown with an odd assortment of music players: boomboxes, MP3 players, I-pads.  We also brought our jar lanterns that we made last year for Solstice (our wool ones just fit so nicely on the nature table at home...).
 We were a part of a participatory sound installation, Phil Kline's Unsilent Night.  Playing our individual parts on cassette tapes or digital files, we strode through the town for 45 minutes, listening to bells, chimes, gongs, voices...depending on who you were walking next to, the experience changed by the minute.  It was so lovely - a bit like wandering through a gamelan orchestra on overdrive.
One...two...three...play!
  video
 We walked up the main drag, and down the other side...down an alley...
 Into the foyer of a small deserted mall, just to hear the acoustics.  We were in the company of a good number of sound geeks, including my husband.
 Dan recorded the whole event...
 so did I...
 The streets are pretty deserted right now (our little town of 8,000 grows by 20,000 when the students are here, but it's winter break of course), so we also wound our way through a Chipotle's and the local Pita Pit.
 Someone led us into the parking garage (remember, sound geeks?).
Listening to the acoustics against the concrete wall
 We ended up on the campus Green...
Dan recorded from below as we climbed the steps of the auditorium to play our boxes from the balcony.  Gradually our tapes ended, and we all nodded to each other and went on our own way. Lovely Solstice eve...