Tuesday, October 31, 2006

V Hatches the Egg

It is 3 pm Halloween afternoon. V's costume, which I spent one weekend making, has already been put on, worn to school, taken off, thrown up on, brought home, washed, dried and is ready to go for Trick-or-Treating tonight. That's a lot of excitement for a costume only worn one day. This year she chose to be a robin, as a follow-up to last year's egg costume:

Here's a summary of its production:

First, make your plan,

take measurements of your subject,

cut out the body,

try it on with the preliminary hood,

add the red-breast,

paint the beak and feet,

make the wings and tail feathers,

put it on.

We decided to abandon the idea of wearing the feet at the zero hour. The tail didn't last long, as it kept tapping the back of her heels as she walked. One person thought she was a penguin. No one else bothered to comment. Oh well. She looked great, and felt great, despite the upset tummy in the morning and having to come home from school for fear she was actually ill. I told her the costume might smell a bit funny since I couldn't very well put the cardboard wings and tail through the washing machine. I did the best I could by hand. Overall a successful Halloween, and we even carved the pumpkin and toasted the seeds.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Slogan

In the shower last week I came up with a slogan I would put on a sticker or pin and wear proudly. I haven't actually typed/written it out so I don't know what it looks like in print, but in my head it sounded good, so here goes: Less Vanity More Planety It does make one think, doesn't it? Like a vanity license plate that you have to sound out in order to figure out what it says? I came up with it after contemplating people that spend extra money on posessions that say something about their position in life, rather than just buying a basic item that will accomplish the same thing. And then thinking what effect those types of purchases have on the earth and our ecosystems. Like Glade Plug-Ins. Must we use electricity to make our house smell...like a tropical rain forest (because soon that will be the only place you can actually smell one)? Or a specialized kitchen appliance that does something you can do with something you already own? Like those rotating ovens made just for cooking frozen pizza. What happens to those things after people realize they can do the same thing in their own oven? All of those pizza cookers end up at garage sales and Goodwill and eventually landfills. All that plastic and metal and wiring laying somewhere under the earth. I go to a lot of garage sales, so I see the stuff right before it hits the landfill. And Hummers? 'nuf said. I think that for every person out there that is willing to pay a little bit extra to support local farms or the mom-and-pop store on the corner, there is another person that is paying a lot extra to waste resources. How can we ever get ahead, much less keep up? We need to think more about the impression we leave on earth, rather than the impression we leave on other people. The former is more vital and long-lasting than the latter. Less vanity. More planety.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

La Sylphide

Prompted by one of P's (husband's) law professor's love of ballet, I borrowed a DVD of "La Sylphide" from the library this weekend for us to watch and see if V (daughter) was interested in it. To say that she was interested in it is an understatement. For two acts (2.25 hours) she was glued to the screen, the graceful dancing, the symphonic accompaniment, the costumes, the mystery, the questions. And the questions. And more questions. And she watched it 3 times. Because the on-screen synopsis was in French, I researched online as we began watching it so we would know roughly what the storyline was. Strangely enough, there is some degree of interpretation involved, and we never quite settled some key points. James is supposed to marry Effie, a human girl. Instead he becomes infatuated with a fairy, and she pursues him by appearing to him periodically throughout the day of the wedding. The fairy (la sylphide) steals the wedding ring and runs off with it, thus interrupting the ceremony, and James follows her to the forest where she lives. Because she is a fairy, he can't really be with her because she's constantly flying around, so he implores a witch to make a magic scarf which will remove her wings. When he puts the scarf around her, however, not only do the wings fall off, but she also dies. Meanwhile, Effie marries his friend and James is left with nothing. What we weren't quite sure about was whether the witch *meant* to kill Effie or not. She held a grudge against James after he evicted her in Act I because she predicted (by reading palms) that James and Effie were not supposed to be together. Some storylines claim the witch gave James instructions for using the scarf, which he violated. Others claim the witch was tricking James all along just to make him miserable. To start, we spent much time explaining to V what a fairy is, why everyone can't see her, and why someone would want to marry a fairy instead of a human girl. We boiled down the moral to "Greedy Greedy makes a hungry puppy" because if James had just been happy with the fiancee he had, he might not have lost everything. V seemed satisfied with this explanation, but had plenty of questions about fairies and flying and invisibility and why someone can't marry two people at the same time. She loved watching the dancing, which didn't surprise me as much as her interest in the story. It also took a while to explain to her the concept of a "curtain call" where the performers are no longer "in character". Overall, an enjoyable show which educated all of us. I had never heard of La Sylphide before, but it is a famous Romantic Ballet from the 1800's.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

August Vacation Wrap-up

We made it back from vacation, and what a time it was! I could start a "Nevada County Vacation Checklist" of things we attempt to do each year just to see if we are successful. It would include such things as "Meet up with a friend from high school you haven't seen in 10 years or more", "Recognize a person at the fair that you knew in high school", "Take a picture of daughter with a Job's Daughter's Corn Dog", "Spend hours basking in the sun on a rock in the Yuba River" (didn't get to do that one this time), "Shop at used book stores", and "Taste and purchase local wine". My daughter got to ride plenty of rides this year thanks to the tons of discount ride tickets we bought in advance (they're good every year - good thing!). And thanks to my mom babysitting, we got to spend some "adult" time in the beer garden with pals from high school. Now we are in the middle of daughter's teacher's 2-week vacation, during which I must find alternate care for her for the 9 hours I am at work. This year my neighbors and friends truly amazed me with their willingness to have daughter over for day-long play dates. These people really go above and beyond! We are coping decently with husband away in Salem. I decided it's just not worth the money to watch someone else mow my lawn when I am perfectly capable of doing it myself. So there I was last Sunday morning pushing the Black and Decker electric mower around the yard. Yeah! Tonight in the tub, daughter drew a picture of herself and a witch, dressed all in purple. I asked if the witch's underwear were also purple, and she said she didn't draw them and that's because the witch was wearing no underwear because she sold them all to her friends.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Barely monthly...

You'd think I could eke out at least a monthly entry, but here I am 3 days late. Husband and daughter are on vacation. I join them next week, and get to enjoy 5 days/nights alone with peace and quiet in the meantime. Except for the noise of the cats breaking into their timed-release food dish. Our vacation next week includes attending the Nevada County Fair, which daughter has attended each of her 4.5 years on this planet. I've lost track of my consecutive attendance, but it's likely close to 10+ years. Far be it for us to go to the fair of the county we reside in. The Deschutes county fairgrounds does not have the distinction of being the "most beautiful" in the state, as the Nevada County fairgrounds does in California. The best part of the N.C. fairgrounds are the plentiful pine trees in which the Butler Amusement rides are strategically nestled so each one makes you feel you will be wrapped around a tree trunk sticky with sap picking pine needles out of your hair by the end of the night. And the incredible food area, aka "Treat Street". I have never been to a fair or festival with better food. The only "must have" is a corn dog at the Job's Daughter's booth. (The phrase "Job'sDaughter'sCornDog" is practically one word.) Other than that I generally rotate between tempura (the booth I know the best because I have worked there during several fairs), corn on a stick, baked potato, bratwurst, salad bar, hamburger, soft serve, and root beer float. And never forget free honey samples at the honey hut for some quick energy and go power. Other activities during our vacation will include a visit to the Yuba River, drinks at Lucky Bar USA in downtown Grass Valley, wine tasting at Lucchesi winery, a movie at one of the theaters my friend manages, plenty of babysitting by my mom, coffee at Caffe Mekka in Nevada City, browsing in J.Jacksons and Gray Goose, fondue at Friar Tucks, and general reminiscing in the area I lived from 1978 to 1990. This year I expect to see at least one friend I haven't seen in about 10 years. Not to mention all the Nevada Union High School 1987 alumni I will have my eyes peeled for. Then, to end it all, my husband goes to Sacramento to take Amtrak to Salem to start law school. Daughter and I go home to Bend to find out what it's like without daddy around.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Just testing this out

After repeated attempts to actually start a blog, and thinking I have nothing to say, here I am again. I could talk about any number of the recent movies we've been getting at the library ("Mean Creek", "The Machinist", "On the Waterfront", "Quadrophenia"), or the entertaining things my 4-year old daughter does (checks out everyone's flip flops to see if they are "Rainbow" like hers), or the most recent gourmet recipe I made (today it was a dry rub for pork spareribs for the neighborhood 4th of July BBQ and Vanilla and Mango ice creams), or how I am inspired by a friend in Southern California to write a blog and not care who reads it or what anyone thinks.