Friday, June 30, 2006

art with animals

Morgan has been enjoying reading to the kittens and also photographing them - both areas where kitten cooperation is not always guaranteed! So far no kittens have been (seriously) harmed in the process. Here's one of her pix, and also one of her reading - the amorphous black mass on the chair is a pile of kittens.

Today Mo made play-dough, basically by herself, although I prompted her a little with reading the recipe. This evening, there not being enough to make a giraffe (she got the head, neck and body, but only three legs) she decided to sculpt a kitten. They are much smaller, she explained to me, so there would be enough "clay". Its so humid that even though we had a decent consistency dough this am by evening it was nearly the consistency of pudding. Not the best material for sculpture, but she did manage to create a reasonable kitten before it melted. We'll try again tomorrow.

Our other animal art adventure this evening involved salamanders. I'm not sure what promted this - oh, I am informed that one of Mo's coloring books has a salamander and she wanted to know what color they are. George offered to look the subject up on the computer, and found a site with lots of pix of different kinds of salamanders, Mo selected one to use as a template. Once she had the critter colored in - George was still browsing the site, it was nearly dinner time, after all - she wanted to look at more, and found this guy with the black polka-dots on a red suit.

Cute, eh? Definately an outfit I would wear. So she snatched up pencil and paper and proceeded to draw - I just had to share.

She needed help coloring in some of the leaves - there are so many! - but otherwise its a Mo original. I love both the mid-ribs on the leaves and the smile on the salamander.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Beautiful day in the holler

Summer solstice was this week so our merry neighbors, the Pumpkin Hollow Community, had their annual celebration starting mid week and lasting through the weekend. Lots of fun fun fun! Actually, this was also my work-week at the Morningside food buying club, so I wasn't able to really "attend" in the sense of hanging out there all the darn time. That worked well for me, none-the-less. I burn out on parties pretty quickly. So I alternated working and fest-ting.

Highlights of the fun included a swimming trip to a local state rec area, where Mo had an absolutely wonderful time swimming and playing in the lake with a bunch of people she didn't know or barely knew. That was exciting for me to see. One of the neighborly Pumpkins, Shiloh, has been building a nice little friendship with Mo. About a month ago we were up there helping clear out their spring and the two hit it off big time. Shiloh is fairly quiet, not in-yer-face at all, which is just right for Morgan, and they were soon neck deep in the (empty) old catch-basin, scrubbing slime off the walls together - a perfect job for a little kid - and having a blast. Since then they have captured fireflies together, played "monster" and generally hung out. So, once I pooped out at the lake Shiloh was into paddling around after Mo and they ended up across the water from me with a group of festies, two of them kids but mostly adults, singing and playing together. Very nice to see.

Other fun stuff: the ubiquitous mud bath, for which one of our local potters donated some old clay, so my skin and hair are feeling really soft today, much singing of Shiloh's new songs, drinking various home-brews ala Mirror, Viva's Indian dinner, and various adults-only activities in the barn....

Today I'm home doing catch-up housekeeping and Laundry! Phew. It hasn't rained for awhile so we had started to conserve water by not doing laundry at home, but it poured something fierce the other day (boy am I glad I wasn't camping) and our tank is overflowing, so awashing we will go! I'm caught up on necessaries and onto odds and ends - like winter stuff that can get packed away as soon as its washed.

And of course, drinking white wine - this summer's favorite is Pinot Grigiot. The wine class I took voted it "easy to drink too much of". Goes great with housework, blogging and fried summer squash. Yummm.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Trip to WI

Wouldn't ya know, I go away for a week and it takes me a week to recover. Well, I did have some catching up to do, I suppose. Some of the Pumkin Hollow Comm neighbors came down and kept my garden tidy for me, which was a good thing. The weeds outside the garden are pretty fierce already. Onions and garlic were ready to harvest, though, and lots of peas. Just starting to have basil and summer squash. No tomatoes yet. I've got my eye on those. First fried green tomatoes of the season should be coming soon! Yummmmmm.

Y'all can see a bit of what Morgan was up to on this trip. Lora and Mike have a great big yard that was perfect for kid-play. No sandbox, but some nice dirt and freshly mown grass to play in. Fun, fun, fun. Mo took a liking to Mike right away - pretty unusual for her - and they got to play together a couple times, although he had to work for the most part. Lora's unemployed right now, which meant we got to hang out all week long. Woooo Hooooo! I just love hanging out with Lora. Morgan enjoyed playing with her, too, mostly with the help of feathered cat toys. I hope the cats had a good time.

We kept things pretty low-key, for the most part. Did some shopping - Lora took me to a place called "Dig-n-save". Ooooooh. Aaaaaaahh. It was wonderful. Among other things I found an old-fashioned scooter for Mo - the wheels on the new ones are so tiny I've been afraid they'd just stick on our half-step-up-from-gravel road. This one has larger, bike-style wheels. Needs new tires, but hopefully that won't be a problem. Mike and Lora picked up a bike for Mo at a yardsale before we got there, so she was able to learn to pedal it around on their patio (she's really struggled doing it on our yicky little road) which was a big thrill. That came home, too. I'm so glad we took the truck! Boy, was it packed coming home. We made a dressform, too, Lora and I. Which is to say, she made the dress form. I stood still while she wrapped me in duct-tape. It seems to have survived the trip home okay.

Starting to think about the trip East, now. I'm still kicking around different ideas - like maybe coming after Labor day instead of in August. I'm also considering making some stops on the way to visit friends I've made online. We'll see about that. Anyone have a preference for beginning of Aug vs September? I'm really leaning toward September, the more I think about it. Kids will be back in school by then, but the weather will still be good enough for some fun trips - Mo has a request for a beach, and maybe a zoo and it would be nice to not have to fight the summer crowds. Lemme know what you think, Grandma Jan and Aunty Jane!

Glad to be home for now.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

on the road

We drove from Dismal to Michigan City, IN yesterday. Not too bad a trip - it took us about 9 hours all told. Mo's a fabulous road-tripper. We bought a bunch of new coloring books, mazes, and dot-to-dots for the trip, and I packed a whole bunch of her books - pretty much anything I've seen her reading on her own, so she could read in the truck. She was cool with that, and driving the truck (a late decision, the fuel injector on the car is being weird) let her sit next to me and be able to reach all her books and snacks by herself. Made for a fairly smooth trip.

We had one little rough spot where I hit some traffic and she wanted me to look at something. I snarled and snapped and Mo proceeded (once she'd cooled off a little) to draw a picture of herself with a big frown on her face and a giant red X. Pretty clear message, there. Lately Mo and George have been talking about anger-management, which is very interesting. He had kind of a blow-up with his saw mill several weeks ago and did a lot of yelling before he cooled off, and apparantly it caught Mo's attention in a big way, so that she actually asked him about it. So they've been chatting on the subject of how they can deal with anger and frustration. There was a small incident last week where Mo was frustrated with a computer game and went and pet the kittens for awhile to calm herself down before going and turning the computer off. Its just fascinating to watch her working on this.

We're taking a day to chill out at my dad's house before heading up to WI and my friend Lora's house. It's been nice and mellow for the most part. There are two other kids here, Jake and Aaron - I'm not sure their exact ages, but Jake's a couple years older and Aaron a couple years younger than Mo, I believe. The kids have gotten along really well (for the most part). They've all been pretty wired to have a new kid to play with - in Mo's case two!

My fabulous dad (hi!) got a portable dvd player for us! Wooo Hooo! I'm very excited. If necessary I can tuck Mo out of the way at Lora's house with a movie while we all hang out being weird grown-ups, plus it will be handy in the car, plus other travel adventures... And! it will be handy for visiting up at the Pumpkin Hollow community. We've started going up there for dinner on a more regular basis, but I've been reluctant to bring Mo too terribly often as adult dinners can be long, dull affairs from her perspective. Now I have more options. Thanks, Dad.