Friday, October 31, 2008

Color Coding House Points

Aleks and Bastian were both enamored with our house point beads (flat glass marbles like for keeping vases steady). I had to have Bastian re-sort them to prepare for our Harry Potter party after they played with them all morning.

To think he could be sitting in a preschool classroom being force-fed this stuff.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Death

Pumpkin Patch Fairies

I worked all day in my jammies to make chicken stock, start beans and make these seven fairies. I can't believe it took so long. They're pipe cleaners, googlie eyes, feathers, poof balls (these are technical terms, natch), and assorted odds and ends. One has ribbon, another pieces of seed pod, another cotton, another felted wool, another petals, another bead strands, and the last dyed alpaca fur. Didn't have to buy a dang thing because all that was in my craft box. We should really do more crafting.
Aleks meanwhile made all sorts of interesting puffs. One is a snitch and one a sorcerer's stone, but those are the only ones I remember.

Papa Was a Rodeo

Heather gave a mix-CD to Jon for his birthday that included the song, "Papa Was a Rodeo" performed by Kelly Hogan & The Pine Valley Cosmonauts. As Heather is a genius at the art of the Mix Tape (partially because she's worked in stores that sell CDs for so long), we've been listening to it a lot ever since Jon's party (he's still not thirty yet). Aleks really likes this particular tune (though my favorite is Sly Stone doing "Searchin'") and I noticed him singing it now and again. The chorus goes:
Papa was a rodeo - Mama was a rock'n'roll band
I could play guitar and rope a steer before I learned to stand
Home was anywhere with diesel gas - Love was a trucker's hand
Never stuck around long enough for a one night stand
Before you kiss me you should know
Papa was a rodeo
He did ask me awhile back what a one night stand was, but I was getting ready to go rather frantically and somehow shook having to answer at that exact moment. He hasn't brought it up again (yet).

Here's Aleks singing it while he crafts...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last City Fresh Tuesday of the Season

Although we'll be getting two full shares right before Thanksgiving and again right before Christmas, tonight was technically the last City Fresh date. The holiday shares are downtown too, so that's different. No more hanging out with all the volunteers on Tuesdays. No more automatic trips to the library. Winter is on its way. So much so that we had City Fresh indoors tonight. I had layered us all up and brought hot apple cider in a thermos thinking we'd be standing out in the cold and the wind for three hours. Indoors wasn't as much fun, though it was much warmer, because the boys ran around crazy like they do outdoors except this was in the way of the people and we got scolded for being loud by a librarian. Sigh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Anna Shows Aleks How to Knit

While visiting, Anna looked through my (Anna Kiss) yarn stash to see if there was anything she could use for upcoming presents since I'm no longer really knitting due to extreme frenzy in every other area of my life. She also needed to borrow a pair of needles for a specific project. Aleks saw what we were doing and immediately wanted to knit as well. I gave him his needles and yarn and he began moving the needles back and forth through a bit of the yarn, which of course yielded no results. So while I ran around continuing to clean up and get things ready for dinner (a delicious roast chicken...sooooo good), Anna sat Aleks on her lap and showed him how to knit. Meanwhile, Bastian jumped around on the bed using the knitting mushroom as a weapon.
They managed a short cast-on row, then knit up another row. Aleks pretty much made her do it while he held her hands (and talked to me) and told her he wanted to make specific projects. Then he got bored and quit. It's so nice, though, to have my kids directly interacting with people who are not me and Jon. I love that they have the opportunity to deal with different personalities, age ranges, and ways of interacting.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Painting the Pumpkin Patch

When I realized what a lovely line the Golden Snitches made, I thought we'd have a treasure hunt of sorts by following them into the boys' room, where we'd have a pumpkin patch. I think we'll make either Cornish Pixies or some kind of fairy out of feathers and pipe cleaners to have as the giveaway. Last year we had wands and Pygmy Puffs, so I don't really want to do that again.

We decided to work on the pumpkin patch first. Well, I decided. The kids seemed well enough interested in painting, so I got everything out but just orange and green for the pumpkin colors. I also placed some of our smaller pumpkins on the table for the boys to look to for inspiration.Aleks immediately started painting aliens and insisted he needed black so I had to get out all of the paint colors. Then he said he just wanted to paint aliens and not pumpkins at all and that it should be a pumpkin alien patch. Bastian saw what Aleks was doing and painted lines instead of his usual round blobs of color (which seemed perfect for pumpkins).
I was left to paint the pumpkins myself. They both liked watching me paint pumpkins, but neither agreed to participate. Later I cut them out (including the biggest, which the boys insisted was our 57 lb. pumpkin) and taped them up in their room along with the pumpkins I made a couple of years ago. Next, we need to make the fairies...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bastian's Zoob Snake

Bastian's zoob snake stretched across the room!

And had a square head.

The Golden Snitch

We made Golden Snitches for our upcoming Harry Potter Halloween Party. Heather helped. She gave the boys rock star headbands out of Halloween ribbon found in our decorations storage and they all painted the foam balls together.
She also did her nails.
A few days later, Aleks and I spray painted yellow feathers gold and stuck 'em in. They turned out really well.
Hanging in the living room, other Halloween decorations behind (all handmade).
We cut off most of the fuzziness of the feathers. This one seems to still have some stuck. We hot glued fishing line to the top of each, which had the nice effect of indeterminable direction after drying. They all look slightly different in their steering/flying. It has a nice effect. We hung them throughout the house and if you follow the line, it will lead you to the pumpkin patch in Aleks' room.

Big Bowl, Lots of Little Food

I've been staying up far too late and sleeping in (as much as you can with little feet in your face) quite a bit lately, so the boys have been scavenging food or dragging me out of bed so I can make cereal or sandwiches before crawling back in again. Some days I just get down our basket full of the packaged bulk items and they feast on yogurt covered pretzels, almonds, cashews, raisins, and dried cranberries. This morning, Bastian insisted on a bowl to hold them all. He insisted on the giant green colander which conveniently left lots of little shells, skins, yogurt chunks and excess bits on the floor for mama to clean up. He also insisted on dumping almost all of everything in. I reminded him that he doesn't like goji berries, so those were left in the bag.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A visit to the Pumpkin Patch

After my membership committee meeting at the Food Co-op, but before Aleks' speech therapy, we headed off to a local farm renowned for its apple-picking and pumpkins. We went once before on a Saturday and found it to be a nightmare, so going on a Thursday was quite reasonable. The drive was through a lovely, vaguely rural suburb with large houses on large bits of land, many with stables and barns. Like hobby farmland for the wealthy. The changing colors of the trees covering the roads made the whole trip lovely. We talked at length about chlorophyll draining away from the leaves due to the shortening days.

I thought how nice it would be to live out here, close enough to the city, but with enough land for homesteading. It's a lot like the area where my parents live, only much much wealthier. To prove this, there were lots of McCain Palin signs tacked along the roadside. An urge to kick each of them down bubbled inside me and this convinced me that living here would not be a good idea. We listened to World Have Your Say discuss race and the upcoming American election, which put both boys to sleep.

After I woke them up and we headed out to the field of pumpkins, Aleks set to finding the largest pumpkin possible while Bastian picked out three perfect Bastian-sized pumpkins.
I reminded Aleks that we had at least four pie pumpkins back at the house from City Fresh so we didn't really need this one (plus it had a hole in the bottom).
Bastian-sized pumpkin number one.
Two! Two Bastian-sized pumpkins! Bwahaha! Also, to the left you will notice the biggest pumpkin Aleks and I could find.
Inside the storefront, we picked out gourds and mini-pumpkins for our table and the boys found chocolate-covered pretzel sticks. They rode the stack of squash to the checkout in the wagon. The largest pumpkin, which I nearly dropped trying to put it on the counter, weighed in at a whopping 57 pounds! I called everyone who I thought would care on the drive back home.
I nearly dropped the giant pumpkin again trying to get it from the trunk of the car (where it barely fit and had to be maneuvered in) to the porch. It fits the pedestal perfectly. The Bastian-sized pumpkins sit on the steps all cute and cuddled up to the geraniums.
The Great Pumpkin: 57 lbs.!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Aleks' Goosebumps books

Our library had a collection of new graphic books for the younger set, so I picked out several, including some Goosebumps books because Aleks really likes the Goosebumps novels and movies. He's been having us read them at bedtime quite a bit and really likes the stories he remembers from the dvds as well as the books. After having them around for a few weeks, he decided to make his own. He had me staple paper together and write the words for him.
This is from a story called The Human-Eating Tomatoes.
I love his titles. The second story was The Curse of the Midnight Walking Scarecrows.
The first page of The Goblin of Doom had a child and parent driving in a car and the kid says, "Boring!" I think it was intended to be pronounced as Aleks does (which he learned from some horrible Cartoon Network show, I'm sure), "BOR-RING!" With the split emphasis and sing-songy tone. The second page cracks me up because of this tone that was set. The "Oh great! A goblin!" sounds so blithe and annoyed in my head, as though the goblin were treated with total nonchalance and irritation.
He made one book for his dad and one for Jonas, which he stuck in an envelope and then decorated. The crossed out girl in the center top is Lavinia, I think and I'm pretty sure it means "don't give to Lavinia."

Rainforest at the Zoo

We seem to be visiting a lot of glass-enclosed rainforests lately - first at the Botanical Gardens and then at the zoo...busy week. Anna had the day off, so we went with her and her kids.There were lots of crazy looking frogs that the boys were way into.
Anna and I agreed these looked like the wise creature the hero would have to meet and possibly be eaten by in an Anime movie. I'd be scared a' that.
And my favorite frenchy looking monkeys with the Faux-hawks and sophisticated coloring, just like last time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

At Peace Park

Tuesday City Fresh day, as usual, with Bastian, Aleks, and Reilly playing in the bike rack...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why I was MIA

I was busy planning this plus a million other events. Will post more info after City Fresh...

What it is.
I have had six (is that right?) events in the works since the beginning of September. We had our friend Kevin visiting from Nicaragua a couple of separate weekends as well. First it was the Food Co-op's 40th Anniversary celebration that I had to help organize (as the chair of the membership committee), followed by Jon's surprise (very early) 30th birthday party with The Big Lebowski theme (link to photos above). His birthday isn't actually until November, but what with one of his bestest friends in from Central America, it became necessary to do it much earlier. He was very surprised and after getting over the shock of it, we all had a wonderful time bowling and quoting Lebowski (the seminal cult classic) .

The third event was a Croning ceremony for a wonderful woman who is in my Consciousness Raising group, Sally Tatnall. Sally is 71 and has been dedicated to social justice issues in Northeast Ohio and around the globe for 40+ years. Her focus has been on issues affecting women and lesbians in particular, and in finding ways to challenge basic assumptions about organizing and living with each other. She has been a part of a housing collective for decades and also worked on or helped found nearly every local women's organization or event. My good friend Lyz Bly decided that we should do a Croning for Sally after I once asked if she'd ever had one. I put together the ceremony and we went off in the woods to perform it. I will write out the outline at the bottom of this post, if anyone is interested.

Yet to come, I still have a two-day event for the Co-op's 40th anniversary (again) which I still need to do quite a few things for and then we usually do a Halloween party because I'm awesome at Halloween parties. There wasn't really a 6th event, but I did just remember that I should probably do something for my Dad's 60th birthday at the end of November. Plus Jon and I are going away for a weekend for our 10th wedding anniversary (our first ever without both kids!) November 7th. I've also been doing a table at City Fresh each week and helping with some of the cleanup there. Then there's assorted fall tasks like Fall in the Garden, buying mums, new clothes for the boys, sorting through old clothes that no longer fit, and on and on and on. Jon's been equally, if not more busy with applying for jobs & post docs, putting together his very own class to teach in the spring, finishing his dissertation, teaching, and working for the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

The boys have been busy with their usual shenanigans as well as being dragged about all over town in search of the necessary items for the changing weather, our daily existence, and the endless array of parties I've been planning. We also made several trips to the doctor to check on Aleks' ear tubes (and schedule a surgery for new ones), to investigate Aleks' swelling, infected hand after he touched a dead bird then got a splinter, to check both boys' height, weight, and general well-being and discover that Aleks may not in fact require the surgery for a fourth set of ear tubes, which will require yet another trip to the otolaryngoloist to confirm or deny (though I canceled the surgery anyway). Otherwise, what it is is everything you see here. I am much more able to document their existence than keep up with my own, but I have not, of late, been quite able to actually get all of that up on the internets.

Oh - and one last reason I was not posting very much lately - Blogger keeps giving me $^%*&! error codes every time I publish. ARGH!!!

1) Everyone gathers, the croning is explained by the "priestess." There should be flowers, candles, and food - if outdoors, a fire in lieu of candles. The priestess says:

We gather together to celebrate Sally entering the Wise Age. Her proper title among women from now on is Crone. Who is the Crone you ask? Crones are women of wisdom, age and power. They embody all the wisdom gained through their experiences of the three phases of womanhood - Maiden, Mother and Crone. The Crone is the Ultimate Teacher of the deepest wisdom. When we look at Her through our own life experiences, we are looking into the most profound inner work of our lives. Every woman ultimately must face the night, the winter, the abyss, the end of cycles - in everyday life - to enter the Gateway of joy, self-healing, wisdom, and rebirth. In ancient times Elder Wise Women honored the Crone through secret initiations - similar to our Croning this evening.

2) We form a hand archway for sally to enter, proceeded by everyone else, until the archway is no more. Everyone stands in a circle.

3) We offer a crown of flowers, a foot bath, some ritualistic cleansing to Sally. We did a smudging.

4) We all introduce ourselves, saying our age and the stage of life we are in (Maiden, Mother, Crone). Then sit.

5) The gathered recite the following in unison:

Ancient Crone,
Cleansing waters of wisdom,
I embrace you within myself,
And dance with you 'round the well.
Let me be a seeker of knowledge,
And courageous in the face of darkness.
My heart sings your melody
And my spirit is forever whole.

6) We pass a bottle of wine from person to person, each taking a drink then telling a story about the crone and her wisdom/gifts. Then each asks the Crone/Elder for a memory about a time in their life. This is the essence, after all, of the Croning; that our Crone/Elder has gone through every state, that they are all ages, and yet beyond all.

7) The priestess or other selectperson presents a major gift to the Crone - the "crowning" of the Crone with an item chosen to symbolize the initiation - a flower or star garland crown, a crone staff, a cloak or shawl, a ribbon or flower lei, a special gourd. Also anointing with essential oil on the forehead.(We just did an anointing, presenting a staff after the other gifts)

The following is recited with this crowning:

"The paths you have walked have presented you with many options. Your life has been rich with experience, and filled with both sorrow and joy. Your teachers have gone on, and now you must assume their role. There are many who look to you now, eyes filled with wonder, hearts open, ready to learn. Now you must decide whether or not to honor your own teachers by following their steps. You possess more than just the answers. You have learned the questions."

The priestess asks for her crone name (if she is going to take one) and commitments. drumming/rattling/noise making from the guests

8) Each of the gathered presents a small gift to the Crone - each comes forward, bowing or dropping to a knee, and gives Sally a croning gift, explaining it's significance. they should then rise and bless the Crone, and exchange with her a kiss and hug. Lastly Anna presents Sally with her Crone Staff.

9) The new crone speaks her wisdom, gratitude, expands on her commitments.

10) The ceremony is ended with each guest holding a candle, the crone having hers lit first, then each lighting theirs off of hers to symbolize the passing of wisdom. Repeat:

Ancient Crone,
Cleansing waters of wisdom,
I embrace you within myself,
And dance with you 'round the well.
Let me be a seeker of knowledge,
And courageous in the face of darkness.
My heart sings your melody
And my spirit is forever whole.

11) Party. Make noise. Must have cake.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More veggies, more kale, yum, kale...

I've taken to doing a table at City Fresh to try to sell canvas bags to locals who forget their's. It's not working out so well. I'm a terrible salesperson. Bastian sat in my chair, shivering and eating his granola bar.
Coffeehouse Dude who's name I always forget collecting his half share (and perhaps Ms. Dallas' as well - she bought cleaning products from me at least!).
This week's load included the usual assortment of lovely vegetables, the boys running amok, me helping out as a volunteer since I wasn't busy selling anything of my own, and heading quickly into the library while Jenny watched the kids to exchange the videos...

Aleks and Bastian got our share for me. A volunteer tried to help tell them how much to get of each item and I sort of shouted instructions. After the squash and peppers, Aleks gave up and took off. Bastian finished up on his own.

Bastian walked home with Papa while Aleks and I stayed long after dark, loading all the empty crates, tables, and leftovers into the vehicles of volunteers. Just like we've been doing every week, more and more.