Saturday, January 29, 2011

Amphibians and their flighty friends

Who doesn't love bees? Hmm. Aside from my sister in law, who is massively allergic to them. And other people who are afraid of being stung. But otherwise, aren't they lovely? Etsy seller KandiceInWonderland introduced a treasury, Bee! I'm Expecting You, including the animals from this Emily Dickinson poem:

Bee! I'm expecting you!

Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due—

The Frogs got Home last Week—
Are settled, and at work—
Birds, mostly back—
The Clover warm and thick—

You'll get my Letter by

The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me—

Yours, Fly.
-Emily Dickinson 1830-1886

My little frog painting is among the amphibian representatives.

The Dickinson poem reminds me of the wonderful stories I recently read with Lucy: The Squirrel's Birthday and Other Parties, by Toon Tellegan. A delightful collection for adults and children, similar to Winnie the Pooh in its prosaic but poignant revelations about small things.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hello Honey Honey

For Christmas Lucy had asked for an American Girl Doll, but I told her that would be over my dead body, which she agreed to, but I had second thoughts... Anyway, after a long search for an alternative, she chose a doll from Hello Honey Honey, on Etsy. Émile is a huge fan of this doll.

I love the idea of factoring composite numbers into their component monsters. I'm not sure if children will agree about its intuitiveness, but I am thinking of getting You Can Count On Monsters for Lucy, after hearing about it on NPR.

I really have enjoyed listening to The King Is Dead, by the Decemberists, brought to me by NPR. I loved Shankhill Butchers off of the 2006 album, Crane Wife, with its nursery rhyme malevolence. This new album is much lighter, but very good. I have the tunes humming round my head all day. Especially January Hymn.

I have started reading The Dancing Wu Li Masters, by Gary Zukov. I have two categories of books I enjoy reading these days: inconsequential fantasy, or dry. Dry anything, but I particularly love reading about mind bending physics, and quantum mechanics fits the bill. I like it that I can try to understand it, but I will fail. Like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, comprehension isn't the point. It leaves my thinking mind with the same newly washed feeling that meditation gives my emotional and aware mind.

I have a fantasy life where I am a mathematician. When I was little, the dream was that I was a physicist, but then I realized that math was more fun actually to do. In my pursuit of understanding, I read Einstein's Relativity: The Special and the General Theory. I so desperately wanted to be smart enough to understand it, but, well.

Maybe I will follow up The Dancing Wu Li Masters with a Dan Brown book. Then I'll feel smart. For now. Until I try to write something like that...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Gender

I listened to Claire Dederer on OnPoint, and feel like I recognize her story of growing up in the 70's with a mother who felt trapped by motherhood, unable to find herself, to be free. My mother's answer was to meet a new man, dance and drink all night, and forget about her daughters, until the day, a decade later, that she had a religious revelation. Dederer's mother sounds a little less troubled, but her mother's new man was named Larry, just like my mother's...

And, after listening to the interview with Cordelia Fine, Laurent and I discussed an old chestnut, whether or not there are hard wired sex differences in the brain, taking chess achievement as an example. But then, it only takes a minute on the internet to refute the idea that men and women are very different there: Judit Polgár was chess Grand Master at a younger age than either Kasparov or Bobby Fischer, and chess people tend to care about such things as "how young was x when amazing achievement z occurred"... Point being, time puts more and more of those old biases to rest, so, um, like, shouldn't we trust time to do away with the rest of them, too?

I notice that I treat Émile a little differently than I treated Lucy as a baby. I think I treated her more like a flower--hard to explain, but I think I projected the girl and woman I thought she would be, and I am similarly projecting a, this time completely nebulous, but masculine, future on Émile. It's very illuminating to a die hard feminist like myself to confront my own gender expectations. Who cares if she wears fairy dresses? Who cares if he does? Either way, I'd rather that my expectations don't limit them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lucy's writing

Lucy wrote an email to my sister (below) and this is my sister's response:

What an interestingly cryptic work. Tell her I approve both of the local, personal and liminal natures of it; as well as the wisdom of including numbers (never to be overlooked as valuable members of the communication structure).


Sunday, January 9, 2011


I once made a New Year's resolution to get back my stomach muscles. That didn't happen. I can't remember any other resolutions...
But I'm considering taking resolutions seriously this year, after I coming upon the Kabbalah "ten questions to ponder", written up in the Huffington Post by Levi Ben-Schmeul. I had a vision of myself being wise and long-sighted, okay with letting my daughter be who she is, even when I don't like it (like tonight), and picked out these three points of meditation from his list:
  1. What will make me wiser?
  2. A hallmark of wisdom is seeing a greater picture than what your ego wants you to believe is true. Is your vision narrowly focused on personal gain? Imagine a larger vision of yourself as a powerful person living to fulfill a greater good. Strive to achieve outcomes in what have been difficult situations that embrace your larger vision of yourself.

  3. How can I deepen my listening?
  4. We have numerous voices clamoring for attention in our heads (as well as outside of them). Some are innocuous, some benevolent and some out for destructive purposes. Take time in a quiet place and consciously listen to the competing voices. Align with the ones who will support you in your quest for growth. When listening to an outside voice, find that quiet place inside to allow space to truly hear what someone is saying.

  5. How can I be more compassionate?
  6. Compassion flows when you appreciate the interconnectedness of life. It is particularly difficult to be compassionate to someone who is feared or seen as a problem. Examine what is rejected along with what is accepted both within and outside of yourself. Seek to be more inclusive as you open your heart to the inherent interconnectedness of life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Progressive stages of beardedness

Émile watched the denuding of his Papa's face this week. We were afraid he would cry, and refuse to be held by the naked-faced stranger. Does that baby look alarmed to you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Final Selection?

I am putting together a few paintings for my friend Elyse's new yoga studio, Om Kids Yoga Studio, and I think this might be the poses/critters I use for the paintings. Thoughts?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reflections on New Year's Eve

Taken by Lucy's 4 year old friend, Iliana.

Still in love with the photography of children by children.