Saturday, January 21, 2012

Emily's room

This post was going to be about finally finishing the endtable for Emily's room.  She had borrowed the end table from the porch to arrange her many special things a few months back and Leila had asked me to make her a replacement table.  I decided to make this one - from a design in Thos. Moser's book on Shaker furniture, with some simplifications.  It took me longer to finish this than I dare admit, since it was still in pieces for Christmas, but I am quite proud of it.  The drawer sticks a little and I compromised and screwed the drawer together instead of attempting the called for dove tails.

But, when I went to take pictures of the endtable, I was drawn in to Emily's intense decoration of her room.  When I was about her age, I shared a room with my sister Anna.  We put the bunkbeds in the center of the room and hung curtains on the bunkbed to divide the room so that we each had our own private spaces.  I moved my rocks and microscope into the closet and decorated it with pictures cut out of my Ranger Rick and Boy's life magazines.

From Emily's room
Emily has built on the same decorating bedrock, but out done anything I had ever attempted. Most of the pictures are from the National Geographic, but include bits and pieces from the Economist, the Scientist, the New Era, candy wrappers, part of an eggnog box, crafts she made in school, for holidays, and a large environmental poster.

The hanging bats were from Halloween and haunt one corner

Her cartoon characters, doodled on scraps of paper during church and school.
From Emily's room

This is my favorite drawing she has done.  It may be hard to see, but it has animals throughout and the letter T is a tree with monkey's hanging from it.  The ocean bubbles up around the word "Earth."

The arrangement of of faces without eyes is a little odd  though, especially since the eyes are distributed between pictures from magazines in the rest of the room.

It makes me feel like the walls are watching me.

As the years go by, she becomes more and more herself and I am happy to see her transform.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Conversations with Colleen

I am convinced that my daughters' personalities were fully formed before they were born.  When they first opened their eyes and lungs outside the womb, they are themselves.  Colleen(er), as she often adds to her name, most certainly was internally perfectly developed before her physical body has caught up with her.  She often has the funniest things to tell you in her own way.

Her Earth
She regularly tells us about life in her earth.  She has a sister there, she says, named something like Sesskah.  Her sister tells her scary stories about lions sometimes.  They play together in her earth, or argue sometimes.  Once and a while they fight, but mostly her sister is nice to her.  Her mom, in her earth, makes her favorite foods to eat.  When she likes something she will often say that it is exactly like that in her earth - food, games, clothes.

We watched a PBS show about paper folding, called Between the Folds, fascinating documentary.  She was concerned part way through and asked me: "Why are there not any girl artists?"  I said, "Girls could be artists, I don't know why they haven't talked to any."  She frowned, put her finger to her cheek and tapped it lightly.  After a few minutes, "I am an artist!" she exclaimed and ran to get printer paper out.  For the rest of the documentary she folded the paper into square table-like shapes

This was weeks ago, but has continued to make her paper art, which is getting more complex every day.


From Colleen Gardunia

While Leila was in Abu Dhabi, I made each of the girls help due chores after each meal.  Colleen asked me if she could help do the hand dishes instead of clearing the table.  I shrugged, filled up the sink, and waited to see how long that would last.  She washed all of the dishes.  And there were a lot.  She kept up a steady prattle,  "I am the best dishwasher in the entire world!  I wash them so faster.  You don't even have room for them I wash them so faster.  I am a better dishwasher than Emily!" (This is actually true,  Emily touches the dishrag like it is covered in germs and it would be better if the downstairs maid took it away.)  Ever since, she asks if she can wash the hand dishes, along with the affirmations about her dish washing prowess.

The other night she asked me if she could be an artist and still wash dishes.  I told her that dish washing was a good skill to have as an artist.  She asked if other artists washed dishes.  I told her that I imagine that a lot of them wash dishes for a job sometimes.  Then she wooped and exclaimed, "I am the best dishwashing artist in the Earth!"

Gender roles

From Colleen Gardunia
Lately, she has been very aware of women's roles.  She has asked Leila and I a couple of times about whether girls go to college.  We have always pushed higher education and encouraged our girls in that direction.  She seemed skeptical that girls needed to go to college.  Leila told her of course they do.  She then came to me and asked, "Can girls get jobs?"

"Of course," I said. "Don't you remember Katie that worked with me?"

Colleen scowled, "But she doesn't work with you now?"

"No," I said. "She got a different job"

Colleen brightened.  "Because she had a baby?"

Well, she did, but that isn't why she left." I tried to explain.  "She just wanted to do something different and she found a job with more flexible work hours where she could live closer to her family."

Colleen, skeptically and slowly,  "Right."

I am just waiting to hear what motherhood is like in her earth.

The Future
She has asked multiple times recently, "How many days until I am old?"  Our answers don't seem to satisfy her.  I wish sometimes I could capture our kids at this age and hold them there and they wouldn't have to get older.  But then, I love seeing Emily and Aleah mature and when I glimpse a shadow of the young women they are becoming I am so proud to be their Dad.  Even if that means there are very few days until I am old.
From Colleen Gardunia

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The other guys: Candidates that will not be president in 2012.

I love the underdog, especially in politics. I voted for Nader when I lived in Texas, and I can remember watching the Ross Perot infomercials when I was in high school.  It takes a unique personality to spend time and money arguing and fighting against a political process that is impossibly larger and immovable. They remind me of Sisyphus, except they volunteered to roll the boulder up and down the hill. All of them are idealists, some are dreamers, some extremists.  All have a lot of chutzpah.

There are a bunch of candidates that have gotten little to no attention. Here are my favorite of the bottom tier. There are probably two dozen others I found that seemed to be very similar in their devotion to low taxes, repealing health care reform, and hawkish foreign policy.

Buddy Roemer - Definitely my favorite.  I think I would actually vote for him if he was the Republican candidate.  He is trying to fund his campaign only with small donors, which I admire.  He used to be a Democrat, then switched to the Republican party.  He has federal, state, and business experience. Unfortunately, I think he is going to drop out.

Jon Huntsman, Jr.  - The more liberal version of Romney. He has foreign service experience and seems likeable enough.

Almost no one runs against a sitting president of your own party.
Darcy Richardson - even more liberal Democrat. Bring on single payer health insurance!

Randall Terry  - extreme pro-life Democrat.  Is this guy in the right party?

Extreme Longshots:
Rocky Anderson - He was mayor in Salt Lake City and now founder of his own political party.  Why does he think that will translate to the US presidency?  I do not know.

 Vern Wuenshe - He reminds me of a high school economics teacher. No charisma.

John Davis   - the flag painted wrench in his photo is hilarious enough.  Tea Party-esque politics

Mike Ballantine - living in Vietnam.  He is running his campaign from there.  Enough said.

Stewart Alexander and Alex Mendoza Socialists.  Really.  There are Socialists for president!

Scott Keller - Occupy the Whitehouse?  He owns the website in case you were thinking of squatting there.

Peta Lindsay - She is a 27 year old anti-war activist.  She missed class on the day they explained you needed to be 35 to run.  Maybe in 8 years she will run again.

Mosheh Thezion - Doesn't believe in smiling for photos.  Doesn't like having his picture taken.  Doesn't proof-read his website for his campaign.  Quotes a lot of scriptures.

Deonia Neveu - She doesn't believe in being "personally worshipped and glorified", like the other guys? She says she has a lot of drive though.

Jack Fellure - Runs every time.  Last name rhymes with failure.  The Bible is his platform.

Andy Martin - The guy that started the Birther idiocy.  Now is trying to argue for Obama really being the son of liberal activist Frank Davis.

Jeff Siggans - President and Pope.  He is running for both.  Really.

Jonathon Sharkey - This guy should be on a sex-offender's watch list.  He drinks blood, has a bad mustache, and has unhealthy relationships with teenage girls.

And there are more!  Wikipedia has a whole list of alternative parties and their candidates here, including Roseanne Barr and the Naked Cowboy.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Kate: my new yoga instructor

Kate telling me to put my heels to the floor. 

Last year when I went to Hawaii, I woke up at 4 in the morning in my hotel room and was bored flipping channels.  I was going to go for a run, but my hotel - long story- was in a warehouse district by the airport and the tattoo parlor was still open and I just didn't feel like it.  I ran across a yoga show, tried it that morning and felt great all day.  Sore in weird places, but good sore.

Kate showing me Down Dog

I decided that while I was there I would try to continue to wake up at that time so that I wouldn't want to stay up late when I got back.  Every day I woke up to yoga at 4:30, ate breakfast at 5:30 and out at dawn.  I haven't been terribly consistent about it since, but I really enjoyed it as a form of exersize.  I am not very coordinated or flexible, so it is pretty funny.

Oops, I am off track.  

Kate likes to go down and do exercizes with me.  She is actually quite good at them.  Much more flexible than I.

Caught back up. 

One of these days I would like to take a yoga class, but the idea of paying, going to a room full of people in stretchy pants, and doing it discourages me. My back and neck have never felt better though than when I am consistent about practicing.