Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jam Session

Thursday night brings dinner guests with jam for dessert. Bastian rocks out.


The neighborhood is awesome. A guy who lives next to the community garden has a trampoline for his older children who visit on weekends. Otherwise, it goes unused. He's allowed us to use it whenever we like (as long as the kids have an adult with them). He also has a giant fat cat named le Tigre who follows him when he walks his dogs. That's a nice sight, in general. le Tigre is also very nice and will let you pet him (her?). On Tuesday, the boys jumped.
I wandered around entertaining myself in the backyard. I also conducted some phone business.

The jumping and trampoline elastic made bunches of static electricity, which made their hair stand up nicely.

Strawberries are on the way next door.
The boys discovered a white spider and Bastian followed him under the trampoline to see what he would do.

Attending the Symphony

Aleks and I went on first ever Homeschooling Co-op field trip (we don't actually participate in the co-op) last Thursday to attend the Cleveland Orchestra. I wasn't allowed to take photos in the auditorium, but the art-deco architecture was plentiful all over.

In the main entryway, there is a screw embedded in the floor mosaic. The children told us about how a worker during the construction of the building dropped a golden screw that landed right in the mosaic. When the floor was smoothed down, the screw got smoothed in half.
It's now the very important Tale of the Golden Screw, part of the history and romance of the building, told to all the school children who visit the place.
I would like lamps like these for my home.

During the concert, Aleks drew in my notebook. It was sort of hard for him to sit still the whole time. We were there with a million other schools and I instantly felt under the gaze of strict authoritarians. We were also trapped in the middle of the row, so there was no leaving without big interruption. We sort of had a tense conversation the whole time, but later in the day Aleks announced he wished he was back there! I was totally shocked by this pronouncement given his attitude during. Sigh.

The whole of the concert focused on the use of the percussion section.

I don't know the first song that was played - it was a Leonard Bernstein something-or-other, but the rest were as follows:
  • Symphonic Metamorphosis by Paul Hindemith
  • March of the Toreador from Carmen by Georges Bizet
  • Russian Dance from The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Concertino for Xylophone and Orchestra by Toshiro Mayuzumi
  • Infernal Dance Of All Kashchei's Subjects from The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky
  • Perpetual Motion for Four Diverse Snare Drums by Richard Weiner, Principal Percussionist for the Cleveland Orchestra
  • Overture to West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
  • Music from Star Wars by John Williams

Friday, April 23, 2010

Warm Day Sandwiched by Two Breezy Days

On a real warm day, I don knee-high socks, not realizing how actually nice it is and head, with the boys, feet a'sweating to get hairs cut and meet friends at the playground.
It's crabapple blossom season and boy howdy! Our neighborhood is full of them!Aleks before-ish.
Aleks after. He can see again.
Bastian Before.
Bastian after. They're so cute.
On the way up to the park, we met our friend Felicia who we stopped and talked with. Then we met our friend Katie who had just dropped her phone then had a bum picked it up who tried to charge her money to get the phone back. Aleks bored of this, said, "how many people do you know that we're going to run into?" My only explanation was, "It's Coventry!" Which is true. It's just how the neighborhood works.

Then we met India with her sons River and Ian at the park and played and played and played. Bastian went down the big giant slide by himself, for the first time ever. Sort of.
It was a good day.

Knight Child, Incapable of Stillness

Sebastian wanted me to see his knight costume. Or "king" costume - whatever he called it. It involved this helmet. But then he couldn't be bothered (or maybe just isn't physically capable) to sit still enough for me to capture one of his many poses.

In Which My Children Become Revolutionaries

A friendish posted online that she'd bought a typewriter for its case and was asking if anyone would want the typewriter. I saw it early and immediately showed interest. I picked it up that evening and Aleks spent some time getting to know how it worked: how to put the paper in, how to turn it on, how to know when to switch lines, how to go down a line and back to the beginning at the same time, etc.
The next morning, he set to work writing a story. My friend Lyz says that all great manifestos and revolutionary literature were written on typewriters, so it must be a good thing to have one around. I'm not sure that's what he's writing, but maybe with lots of practice, he'll get there (and establish some specific ideology to articulate on the way).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Woodland Watercourse Adventure

When Aunt Natty asked if anyone wanted to go for a walk in the woods, my response was, "yes!" We brought buckets in case of tadpoles. I have never in my life seen a tadpole in the wild and have no idea how to find them, but it seemed a reasonable thing to do nonetheless. First we stopped a pond to see if we could see any there. There were dozens of turtles sunning themselves on logs sticking out of the water. There was also a big giant fat orange coy swimming about and a sign about not dumping your pets. We threw breadcrumbs, but the coy lazily avoided them. There were no good spots for looking for tadpoles without getting muddy. Next time we'll have to bring full fishing pants (not that we own any).We decided to try a creek for some tadpoles. We followed the stream of water from the pond under the road to a stream where we started our journey.
There were little falls all about, with bright green moss shining underneath. No tadpoles though. No spots still enough, we imagined. We continued to look, hoping to come across pools. We avoided paths completely and just followed the creek. I warned the children repeatedly that it was far too cold for falling in. They both have a tendency to either fall or wade willing into bodies of water. As we have seen frequently in past blog posts.
We peered into any place deep enough (or so we imagined) for stillness and the wriggling of half frog bodies. Aleks started to get frustrated pretty quickly.

At varying points along the trail, we would have to cross the stream or climb up the embankment to get around sections without stepping stones and too sheer banks. Bastian began seeking a way around ahead of us and nearly fell off a short little cliff and scared us to death.
A late blooming May Apple pokes his head through the blanket of leaves.
We found bigger falls too!
Trout Lilys in bloom...

I love the fiddleheads of ferns beginning their slow unfurl...

Then guess what happened? Aleks fell in the creek. We had to climb back up the embankment to find a path, which took us awhile and Aleks grumped most of the way about not finding any tadpoles. My camera's battery died (as usual), then we tried to feed the coy again, who only ignored our breadcrumbs.

On the way home, I called a naturalist about finding tadpoles who was almost no help at all, but did warn me that frogs raised in captivity can't deal with the wild because they get eaten or something. We changed Aleks into some too-small clothes from the trunk, stopped for crickets for Esteban, then ice cream for ourselves (which made us shiver in the breezy breeze). The end.