Friday, May 18, 2018

Kidbits and Updates

Each is not a whole post, but together it's a lot of catching up:

  • Last week, Sis and I went to a compass class with some of our GS friends.  And it was taught by a friend we had made at Hog Island last year!  So great to see her again.  I learned so much. I did not know how to read a compass.  Hold the compass flat in your hand, with the curved part at your wrist and the printed red "travel arrow" pointing out from your palm.  "Turn on the compass"--I know, it's not electronic--means to put the "red in the shed," i.e. move the "compass housing" so that the red part of the needle that always faces magnetic north moves into the outlined arrow or orienting lines/arrow.  Now you can tell what direction you are pointing by whatever direction and degree lines up with the travel arrow.  You reverse it to go in a particular direction.  Want to go Northwest?  Move the compass housing to put NW at the end of the travel arrow, move yourself to put the "red in the shed", and walk in the direction of the arrow.  At least I think that's right.  Sis was much better than I was.  I know there is so much more to orienteering but it was a great start.  I'll practice at Hog Island again this summer.
  • We went to three orchestra concerts last week, one for our school and two where the kids from our orchestra were invited to play at other concerts to help round out the sound.  They played "Vida La Viva," a bit from "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," "Shadows," and . . . something else.  I love hearing my kids play . . . and it was even bittersweet to hear the little ones play "Hot Cross Buns."  Sis and Bud have come a long way.  And they'll both be playing in the orchestra again next year.
  • Piano duet.  Yep, Bud and I are finally playing a piano duet.  I had stopped taking piano during CPE but am starting up again for the summer.  And so we actually did some planning during Monday's lesson.  I'm dusting off "Finlandia" and "The Entertainer" (both easy piano) and then learning my part of "Vida La Viva."  Yes, the Coldplay song.  Just like Bud played in orchestra.  I know it.  He likes it.  And one of the parts is just my speed.  Only challenge is that I don't really count when I play, just play by ear to the tune I know, which makes it almost impossible to play in the right spot with a duet partner so I'm practicing counting.  Whew.  But the playing has rejuvenated Bud, who spent last night playing "Phantom of the Opera," "Prince Sidon," and other songs.  One of my favorite sounds in the world.
  • Bud has had a few kung fu performance in the last few weeks, which is not our usual performance time (May and October are the big competition times; January/February are the big Lunar New Year performance times.)  He performed at Quassy Amusement Park, a small, old local park with rides and games next to a lake.  The performance went well, but the team had even more fun wandering around together and going on all the rides--swings, tilt-a-whirl, this big boat that swings like a pendulum, tea cups, another ride that flips and holds you upside down.  I enjoyed the lovely weather and riding the carousel.  Oh how I love a carousel!  Bud even rode with me towards the end of the day. 
  • And he earned his Black Belt right before we left for Italy.  The school hadn't been doing belts for the team (it's more of a karate thing than a kung fu thing anyway) and so their Master gave the team the chance to earn their belts.  Bud practiced for weeks, on top of his years of kung fu, and he earned the black belt, embroidered with his school, and a beautiful plaque to go with it.  We're so proud of him!
  • INDIGO GIRLS!  Last week, we all went to hear the Girls in concert in New London.  We arrived early enough for dinner (mac and cheese pizza, chix and broccoli and bacon pizza, pasta pomodoro, great salad and yummy cakes) at this great local pizza place, Two Wives--and the only men in the building were Bud and those on the staff!  Everyone was there for the concert, which always draws about 95% women.  Most of them were our age or older--and not even all of them were dykes!  Of the five others I knew there that night, only 2 were lesbians.  But they were moms of twins, just like us.  Gotta introduce the kiddos to the culture, you know?  It was great--they played most of our favorites.  We got home really late, but we didn't care.  Besides, it was Mother's Day weekend and there's not much these two moms like more than a Girls concert.
  • Mama and I gave ourselves our big Mother's Day present:  we went to the Met museum all by ourselves, leaving the kids at home on Saturday.  I had wanted to see the Thomas Cole exhibition and it was closing on Sunday, but the kids didn't want to go.  And after three orchestra concerts, the Indigo Girls, the compass class, and a kung fu show, we decided they would probably enjoy a day at home much more . . . and we might enjoy the moms' night out all by ourselves.  And we did!  There was some traffic heading into the city on Saturday afternoon, but we talked all the way there.  The Cole show had some great pieces--Course of Empire, Oxbow River, a little trompe l'oeil with an oil sketch of a landscape, a view of Florence in front of which I no longer needed to say "I'd love to take you to Italy!"  There were also paintings by Claude Lorraine, de Loutherbourg, Turner, Constable, including cloud studies and Hadleigh Castle.  The concept of the show--Cole was influenced by European art and travels--was nothing new, but it was pretty.  We also liked the parallel show about Americans in Italy--with sketches and drawings and watercolors by Sargent, Elihu Vedder, and Maurice Prendergast.  We especially liked the Venetian views.  We enjoyed a ham sandwich on a baguette, rich chocolate cupcake, and a cup of coffee in the American courtyard, treating this trip into the city like we did Italy by taking it easy and enjoying ourselves, slowly.  The last show on our list was the French gardens show, tracing the rise of public gardens and private gardening as a hobby after the Revolution and through the 19th century.  There were still lifes by Fantin-Latour, Odilon Redon, Mary Cassatt--I loved her lilacs--and Caillebotte's chrysanthemums.  There were also many women-in-the-garden scenes by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, and Morisot, though little discussion of the trope.  There were watering cans, hand rakes and trowels, and maps of gardens, including a great panorama postcard of the Tuileries with all these wonderful snippets of people.  It was a lovely show.  I think I might be getting excited about going back to Paris someday, with the kids, once they've had more French.  As we perused the shop--I got the gardens catalogue but not the Cole (I have the one from the very-similar Wadsworth show I saw when I came back to NYC in fall 1994 to see Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard--when I stayed with Mama in her dorm, actually.  Full circle.)--I saw mention of a Visitors to Versailles show and so Mama and I trekked up to it.  Great 18th-century court costumes, dec arts, and even a room devoted to an early 18th-century visit by Siamese ambassadors from the court of Ayyuthaya who brought gifts and wore special hats. Yep, Thailand.  Circle again.  We absolutely skipped the Heavenly Creatures and the Catholic Imagination show; well, sort of.  It was spread out through the Medieval court on the first floor so we passed by the overdone fashions and big crowds on our way to other exhibitions.  It was a dramatic place to stage the show, with all the Catholic art of the Middle Ages, but I am completely uninterested in modern fashion. Give me those 18th-century court gowns any day.
  • We saw Avengers: Infinity War.  Loved it.  It's past the point where I worry about spoilers; by now the details are well known.  Of course, it's the deaths that got everyone.  And we all seem to have the idea that most won't stick.  But I'm guessing they'll surprise us--it's too easy if Scarlet Witch somehow breaks the Soul Stone from the inside or Cap sacrifices himself for Bucky (and them all) and switches places with everyone in the Soul Stone.  I don't think he'll survive the next one, Cap.  And I think Black Panther, sweet Spidey, and all of those who disintegrated will be back. Doctor Strange knows exactly how it will all pan out.  No resurrection for mischievous Loki, though.  He was one of my favorites.  And I think Gamorrah will get, who I think entered the Stone as Thanos's sacrifice, will get out, too.  And all of that in time for the new Guardians, Spiderman, and Black Panther movies!
  • Sis got her braces off!  She was so excited that she took a bag of popcorn with her to the appointment and had been planning her candy consumption for months.  Mama brought her a bag of jelly beans, gummy bears, Star Bursts, Carmellos, jar of caramel sauce, two bags of popcorn from Trader Joe's, and I don't know what else.  She now has a clear retainer.  And says her mouth is "soft!"  Bud will get his braces in a month (he lost his lost baby teeth later than she did)--I teased the orthodontist that he could just recycle the brackets and give us a discount. 
  • CPE is wrapping up.  I have 62 hours left, a final evaluation paper (already at 10 pages), and three more essays.  Whew.  I witnessed a funny moment last week.  The priest startled a sleeping patient who then tried to get out of bed.  I fetched a nurse.  The patient kept saying, "I need to get to my business." (You could tell he meant work.)  The nurse said, "You can do your business here in bed."  "It isn't funny business!" he replied.  We all started to giggle.  The nurse said, "I can't believe you said that in front of the priest!"  The priest was laughing harder than all of us.  More on CPE later.  It's my day off!  Which means some Zentangle, crocheting, blogging, and watching reruns of "Arrow."

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