Monday, March 30, 2015

a date in another state

Yes, we did it again. Managed a full 24-plus hours alone together, by traveling four hours to Louisville, KY to see a play during the Actor's Theater's annual Humana Festival. Thanks to generous friends who took in Ani, and an incredible amount of independence and adventurous spirit from Eliza (who navigated her time between friends, with stretches happily on her own). What is the addage about "it takes a village to make a marriage", or something like that? Well, it kind of does.

March is insanely busy and diffuse for us, with an increased workload for Dan, who taught a weeklong workshop in Colorado during his spring break, wrote and presented two papers for a theater conference the following weekend and was dialect coach for a show that opened last week. On my side it means more single parenting and all of it means little quality time together, so we were ready for some time together.  

We dream of going to Louisville for a full weekend of the festival, which features new American works and incredible artistry. We saw the world premier of Charles Mee's Glory of the World, about local Kentuckian Thomas Merton. It began and ended in prolonged silence, but it was anything but silent in between, alternating between philosophical references to Merton and his life and something like scenes from a frat house. Dan summed the energy up by speculating that the playwrite was going for excess, in all things. It was a lot of fun to watch!

before the play began...
...and after it ended.
The other part of this adventure was staying in an Airbnb.  It was only my second, and Dan's first, and it was interesting, to say the least.  The host was away for an art show in New Orleans, so we let ourselves into her apartment and were greeted by four huge and endearing cats. The decor was morbid that a thing? I think I made it up, but in any case, parts of it were right up my alley - bones and stones covering most surfaces, and books, tapes, and video cassettes lining the walls.  The big-eye paintings I could have done without. 

the biggest sweetie, the pirate cat

The neighborhood was great, just blocks from Bardstown Road and many shops and restaurants.  The sun was still up after the show, and though it was a really cold day, we wandered and enjoyed the light.

frozen fountain

El Taco Luchador for dinner, some handmade ice cream, and drinks and pinball at the Outlook Inn. Home to watch Pretty In Pink (!!) and heavy petting on some cats and asleep in a comfy bed.

Till next year, then.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

a wednesday hike

I have a goal this spring: to hike every week with the kids, gradually increasing the length until we can do an all-day (really, not just playin' in the creek kind of all-day) hike. Ultimately, I would like to be able to stay out a night, though the options for doing so nearby are few.  

My friend Jen has been longing to do the same with her family, so this was the first of what I hope will be many spring and summer hikes together. We're gonna have to brace ourselves for a bit of resistance, however. There was so much whine on this hike, I could barely drive home...(come on, that was funny.)

It was 70 degrees yesterday, and they're threatening snow in the next couple, so out we went to Gifford, the smallest state forest in Ohio!  The trail pretty quickly turned into this gorgeous little hollow with a creek and mossy rocks to explore.

chorus frog?

I see you, Hepatica
I might have whooped and fist-pumped when I found this...
Yes, I cheer for the first flowers of spring.

Up to the ridegeline to see what we could see - butterflies, stone, still-bare trees, rattling their bones in the warm wind.  Spring, I can feel you...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thank You For Sewing!

Dear Sewing Enthusiasts,

Thank you for your dedication and hardwork to unite or fasten by stitches a more beautiful world. You are such fine advocates that we wanted to reward you with this small prize box.  We hope you enjoy it and continue your quest to make and do and be.

We are all in this together! Baste on!
Bernina P. Singer

This mystery box arrived on our doorstep a week ago.  I don't even know how to describe the joy that errupted upon its opening.  Sadly, my photos just don't quite do the trick, but please use your imagination, pretend that you LOVE sewing and are turned on by yards of colorful fabric, buttons - buttons! -  and thread...and you will have some glimmer of the energy surrounding this bounty.

Also included was a copy of One-Yard Wonders, which Eliza used and loved in her sewing class.  I'm kinda thinking that even I could make a few of the items in there...

Eliza pounced upon a package of metal studs and knew just how to use them.  She painted a few and embellished a newly-cut pair of jeans shorts.

So the sewing madness around here continues, thanks to the juicy infusion of a beautiful mystery box!!!  
sewing a new bag
button love
THANK YOU, Bernina P. Singer! You are a sewer of magic and joy!

Friday, March 20, 2015


Ani's new spring 'do

I can hear the peepers that occupy our neighbor's pond from inside my kitchen.  I can also hear Ani narrating a story as she moves her critters around the living room (...then slipped away. I was awoken too early the next morning from my deep slumber.  I was on the bed in the next room. It was early. Not too early - it was like midnight when we got here - oh geez, it was kind of early.  They were running around shouting "It's easter! It's easter! Guys, wake up, it's easter!" Well, we can't go out looking for eggs in just those fat little bloomers, now can we?).  We've had a fairly uneventful Spring Equinox, other than that we all felt good today, and it's been a while since that's happened.  I'll take it.

We read at breakfast about the old traditions of the equinox - called Eostre, sound familiar? - and cleaned off our altar/nature table to make way for the new.  The day was cold and did not call to us to come out of our spring cleaning - and sewing, Eliza is on a roll - but I know we will be celebrating the coming of spring in our own ways over the coming days.  I have let go of needing to mark one single day, and the space that provides in my soul is remarkable.  So much better than the stress I used to hold, wanting to make new traditions and make them Now.  

We are collecting spring in the way that we do...peepers. New birds. Buds. Amphibian eggs.

Some of these may have found their way home from the puddle where we found them, to live on our kitchen counter for a while.

Expansive, hopeful, beckoning.  Happy Spring!

in time of daffodils (who know 
the goal of living is to grow) 
forgetting why,remember how 

in time of lilacs who proclaim 
the aim of waking is to dream, 
remember so (forgetting seem) 

in time of roses (who amaze 
our now and here with paradise) 
forgetting if,remember yes 

in time of all sweet things beyond 
whatever mind may comprehend, 
remember seek (forgetting find) 

and in a mystery to be 
(when time from time shall set us free) 
forgetting me,remember me 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

first signs

A crocus, a bee...a redwing blackbird "okaleeee!"

Creeks flooding their banks, climbing onto the road...

And today, on a walk with Dan, the unexpected sound (I mean there is still snow in the shadiest turns and hollers) of peepers! They're here! No other sound is more spring to me than peepers.

The fields we walked past are tranformed for a few weeks into vernal ponds, and today they were alive with frogs.  

Redbellied Woodpecker
The week has been wet and warm, and we've run outside to enjoy the sun when it's appeared.

birdwatching from the roof

The girls and I got out to put some juice into our tree studies.  We collected some twigs to study and draw back home.

Our identification skills aren't too sharp in this area, but we focused on learning the characteristics of twigs - the leaf scars, the terminal and lateral buds, the bud scales, the positions of the buds (opposite, alternate, whorled) - and came away with the knowledge that someone could use these features to identify different species!  We did all right with a few - the dogwood was easy, and the cherry - but we'll have to confirm some of our suspicions once things leaf out.  

Sometimes I think it's worth looking at something more closely just to know that these details are there, that a mark so small can be an important part of a tree's signature.  To know something exists. 

There was also a birthday party this weekend for our friend Osha, with Garfield-and-Pi-themed games, and a Pi pie and a chocolate fountain, which doesn't have anything to do with Pi or Garfield, but who wouldn't want a chocolate fountain at their birthday?  I called to see how it was all going before heading out to collect one of my girls, and I could hardly stop laughing when Jen told me that when the kids were making up games to play she threw out the suggestion "why don't you see who can be still the longest? (a la Garfield the lazy cat)" and they did it! For an hour! And to make it even funnier, Ani, the girl who needs to be drumming or getting lost in a repetitive sound for so much of her day, tied at one hour ten minutes!!  These kids crack me up. The prize was a book of Garfield comics, so she was extremely motivated.

There was also a four-day-old calf roaming about the farm.  You can't get much springier than that.