Sunday, May 28, 2017

Art. Art Art Art. Art.

E-Mom! Did you take a picture of the name?!?!!?
Me- I think I can remember "Still Life with a Melon."

For months I have been longing to take Emma to a fine art museum because I know how much she would love it. Finally, today, we went.

In case you wondered, I was right. Emma loved the experience. Poor Liam was dragged along too. He was bored and quickly grew tired of being told to hold my hand, to stop jumping, and to go dance in the corner away from the sculptures, but hopefully some of his memories of today are pleasant. 

Emma is my artist. She will draw, color, write, dance, sing, or create at the piano with a patience and attention span that frequently amazes me. She has been this creative being since she could first sing and hold a crayon. I love that about her. I want to nurture that element in her. We absolutely had to buy a sketchbook at the museum's gift shop because she insisted and I couldn't say no. *sigh*

My parents are members at The de Young and The Legion of Honor museums in San Francisco, which means I got to get in for free! (I like free.) Mama, the greatest woman in the universe, drove the kids and me to The Legion of Honor this morning. It is a wonderful museum that I have been to many times. I have fond memories of going there as a kid and as a teen, but it's been a while since my last visit. There are paintings and sculptures within those walls that moved me when I first saw them, artwork that I will always hold dear, and I'm glad I was able to share that space with my children today. Bonus: The special exhibit right now is of Monet's early work, which I'm glad we were able to see, even if it was crazy crowded and we were exhausted.  

It was a lovely day. Behold our photos:



Me, Sassy, Sassier, and a famous bridge.

So many Rodin sculptures.

Emma was really attracted to still life paintings. 

My girl and a Renoir.

"Get dressed and stop bothering the cat!" -A story of my life.

Two beauties admiring two beautiful Monet paintings. 

My favorite girl in front of one of my favorites.
"The Russian Bride's Attire" by Konstantin Makovsky

Babies + Monet = Swooning Mom

He wasn't miserable the *entire* time.
In addition to still life, Emma adored all of the fancy ladies.
This was purchased on a postcard and is pinned into the wall next to her bed. 

Someone insisted on buying a postcard image of this one, too. 

Mom! Mom was there, too. 

I wasn't allowed to carry my backpack on my back,
but sometimes I carried this monster on my front.




Also, because tomorrow is Memorial Day...




Seek beauty and art all around you, my people. It is nearer than you might think.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

What's Up?

Let's talk about life, shall we?

My daughter is amazing. She is 7.25 years old, has a doublewide gaping hole in her teeth, and is as sassy as ever. Her arthritis is officially in unmedicated remission - her last dose of meds was February 19th, 2017. Fingers crossed we see no JA for many, many, many months. Even with no active arthritis for over a year, I shield that kid. She is only just now learning how to ride a bicycle without training wheels, partly because her knee flares in the past made it really hard for her to pedal, partly because I fear her falling, hurting that knee, and causing another flare. Ugh. Am I a lame mom?

My son is amazing. He is 4.75 years old, a daredevil, and a selective/terrible listener. He brightens my world when he runs up to me and hugs me, just to say that he loves me. I don't push that kid very hard. He'll be ready enough when kindergarten comes in a few months, but he won't be ahead of the game and his penmanship will be pretty crappy. That's okay. He is a kid who likes to pick up sticks and wave them around like swords, he climbs everything and fearlessly jumps off, he makes friends everywhere he goes. He'll do well in life.

I'm me. I'm happy and healthy. I dyed my hair dark burgundy a week ago and love it. I'm contemplating my next step in my education and career. I'll be working more hours once school starts up in August. I may go to school to become a licensed veterinary technician. I really want to take some Spanish classes so I can keep up with the kids. However, I hate spending money on myself, especially since we have a goal of adding on to the house in a few years, so we shall see what happens.

The Cowboy is doing well. He loves working in the next town over instead of commuting across the Bay Bridge every day. He recently fixed his Suzuki Samurai and got it to pass SMOG, so he has his beloved "truck" again. Driving it makes him giddy and joyful. He spends a lot of time shopping, researching, and thinking about ways to improve the Samurai further. He then spends time designing, fabricating, and welding to actually improve it further. He hopes to use the remainder of his free time driving over rocks and wilderness trails. I went off-roading with him once or twice. It's fun but it's not really my thing, however, it sure makes him happy.

The kids and I submitted letters of resignation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a couple of months ago. It took some time to process, but the requests have gone through and now I am officially not a Mormon anymore. That means our names will not show up on the roles in our local congregation. I feel really good about it. I don't want to be a "non-active" member on their roles, someone they worry over and feel obligated to visit. I know people will still worry about me, but by removing myself from their records, I'm freeing myself and them of the guilt inherent in the system. I'm glad my kids' names are removed because I want them to be able to make their own choices regarding religion, when they are old enough to decide for themselves, rather than being pulled in one direction simply because they happened to be born into it. Barry will stay on the records of the church because we are different people who like different things. I'm just glad that, in spite of our many, many difference, we still like each other.

So, what's new with you?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Books of 2016

Another year over means another year of books have been read.

I still don't read as much as I'd like. I know my iPhone is part of the distraction, I'm not sure what else to blame. Still, this year was better than the year before, so that's good news.

  • Spindle's End by Robin McKinley was a really, really, really great variation on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. I loved it. 
  • Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - I managed to clean up and organize my clothing and books, but I didn't get rid of all of the other clutter in my home. I will say, my clothes in my dresser are folded in the way the author recommends, and it does bring me great joy to see all of my colorful socks at once. 
  • Royal Target by Traci Hunter Abramson was a cute, fun, yet unrealistic read. I like my book group ladies because they introduce me to books I wouldn't pick up on my own. 
  • The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein - A normal life full of trials all told from a brilliant, faithful dog's point of view. A great read. 
  • Rising Strong by BrenĂ© Brown. I'm not even half-way through this book. While I like what BrenĂ© Brown has to say, I find it really hard to read "self-help" type books. I will probably finish this book eventually. In the mean time, I highly recommend her videos and TED talks. 
  • Briar Rose by Jane Yolen was a great book. Another twist on Sleeping Beauty, but in a very different, heartbreaking way. Read it. 
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - I had listened to the audio book of Cinder in 2015, and listened to Scarlet, Cress, Fairest (I read this one on an ebook!), Winter, and Stars Above in 2016. These are more variations on beloved fairy tales, set in a robotic, space-age future, and I loved them. I really enjoy audio books because I can multi-task and still enjoy a good book. 
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse was a beautifully poetic look into the journey of transitioning through life. 
  • Enders Game by Orson Scott Card - Fantastic. A little different from the movie that came out a few years ago. I need to read the entire Enders series now.
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton was a wonderful novel following several stories at different times. I was thoroughly surprised at the end, so that was good. I'd like to read more by this author. 
  • The Last Girl by Joe Hart - This is the first book in the Dominion Trilogy. It's about a girl who breaks free and saves the day in a distopian America. I'm curious where the story will go, but the writing didn't suck me in the way other stories of this type have, so I don't know if I'll read any others in the series.
  • The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - I only made it half-way through this book and I don't know if I'll ever go back and finish it. The idea behind the book is very interesting. It is a true story about the woman who saves hundreds of Jewish people's lives during WWII in her family's zoo in Warsaw. I love the story, however, this book bounces between reading like a novel and reading like a dry history text book. I kept waiting for it to suck me in. It never did. 
So, my grand total for 2016 was 16 books. Two maybe don't count since I didn't finish them. So, it's more like 14 books and two half-books. C'est la vie.
I should get extra credit for the countless picture books I have read to my children this year, including many diverse creation stories, myths, and classic tales. I'm also becoming quite a bilingual reader, because I can read Spanish children books, too. I don't understand many of them completely without using the Google Translate App on my phone, but I can read them!

2017 is upon us and I am already reading four books. What is wrong with me?

All year long, I've been slowly reading The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by Ruth Wariner. She was brought up in a polygamist off-shoot of the Latter-Day Saint tradition. It's hard to read because it is slow moving at times and deeply troubling at others. I will definitely finish it. Eventually...

I'm also reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, one chapter a week, in sync with the podcast Harry Potter and The Sacred Text. Reading, pondering, and hearing their discussion on the chapter is a fun experience.

This week I started the January book for my book group as well as the first book in the Selection series. 

If you're trying to get more books in your life, do it for free. I HIGHLY recommend you spend some time at your local library and get a library card. I LOVE our library!!!! Also, I use the free Overdrive App on my phone to check out ebooks and audio books from my library. My other book supplier is Amazon.com - I have a Kindle and a Prime membership, so I have access to one free new book each month, one month before it is released to the public. Books are awesome. Free books are awesomer!

Cheers to a year of reading, my friends!!!!