Sunday, October 26, 2008

Indi Bails me out!

I don't know why I am still surprised when I experience the creative talent of children - but I am.

I had a kick butt head cold all week long. It knocked me down for two days. The other days of the week I scuttled along (read: dragged my ass) just trying to get thru. I'm, happily, on the mend. During one of the days I was really sick I kept my 5 year old home from school to help me with my 2 year old. They play well together and I knew it would allow me to rest on the couch a little. The older one would sound the alarm if anything unfair or dangerous were to happen. I wasn't sleeping. I do that in bed - not on a couch in the middle of the playland the kids call my house (yes, the entire house). And honestly, I just didn't know how I would make it thru my day without some kind of help. My awesome friend, Laura, was babysitting later in the week so I could teach Artsmart and my Mom and sisters are working women. There wasn't anyone I felt I could call. Not to mention, I don't know a Mom who wants to watch a kid coming from a "sick house". And I bear no ill will for that! Next time I'm calling my mother-in-law. She's always willing to help in a pinch. I just felt bad about calling her very last minute (she lives an hour away with no traffic). OK, you get it, it's tough being a Mom when you're sick. Moving on...

One activity I did with Indi (the 5 y.o) on my "sick day" when her baby sister was napping -was have her take photos around the house with my digital camera. I do this from time to time. It's an interesting way to see how she is viewing the world and what is important to her. She turned the tables on me and video'd me amidst my day (it's usually the other way around!)

I'll spare you the myriad photos of our ceiling lights (all 8 cans indivudually photographed). As well as the spare pics of the individual pages of her School Days book (most are empty as of yet). She took shots of her art, my art, my office, the kitchen, the TV, her foot, herself, and my favorite shot of all, my watercolor paints. Phew, selfishly, I'm so relieved that they look used! I haven't been painting as much as I'd like - only about once a week. But, hey, we all need to recover from a bad cold.

I did get some fresh air (but forewent showering - took too much energy). Indi LOVES to climb (parking signs, the fridge, the swingset - anything). So I let her have a treat and do some climbing. I loved to climb too (I'd still do it if I had the upper body strength - but ya'll we're heavy!) Check out the spooky orange sky in the background.

Here's to Indi who was amply rewarded with treats for helping out her ol' Ma. Enjoy everyone!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bloggers Unite!

There's a blog by a local person that I like. It's called Cupcake Race.

No, the cupcakes do not race or get hurled anywhere. This blogger goes to bakeries in Chicago, rates the cupcake and takes nice photos of it (really nice, I thought he was a pro photographer). I did this in a few of my blog entries - sans photos. (But I don't have a whole blog dedicated to it). One of my favorite Cupcake Race blogisodes (ok, blog entry) is where this cupcake blogger creates an elaborate graph matrix about the cupcakes reviewed. It wasn't a joke, so stop laughing. It was awesome. What a cool way to waste time at work. ;-)

Mr. Cupcake has been very busy lately and approached me about possibly doing a review for I'm a big fan of the blog so I jumped at the chance. However, before I participate in anything collaborative, I felt it imperative that we meet in person. Just to make sure things were cool and he wasn't some freak slipping poison into the icing. We all have those odd fears about folks we meet on the Internet; friend or foe? Yikes. Some of you may have made some friends or significant others on the Internet but I'll bet many of you have not. What does it look like? Well today you will get a front row seat. Don't be too underwhelmed.

So there you have it folks - Mr. Cupcake Race in the flesh having coffee with moi. He's a person in the neighborhood. A person that you meet when you're walking down the street; a person that you'd meet each day (well, once a week at the bakery). Despite irrational fears of Internet strangers, Justin was well groomed with good hygiene and authentically cordial. Frankly he is an interesting and neat person and artist. I like him and hope you will join him (and maybe me) in a few cupcake adventures! Stay tuned!

At the Park

I have no idea why I, personally, cross paths with people who have high affinity for crap. Literal crap.

Last year while finishing a 6 mile run on a HOT August day I needed a drink. I cut through Welles Park to stop at a water fountain (this is a nice park - not a ghetto). When I found one, I approached the fountain the same time as a dog walker who had a plastic grocery bag in his hand. Rather than let me go (c'mon I was sweaty, red and breathing harder than he was) - he immediately turned his empty grocery bag inside out and proceeded to wash some brown gunk out of it into the drinking fountain. His dog and woman were off to the side of the path. I gave him a disgusted 'that is gross' and then started running - still thirsty. The man is an imbecile. Even it was chocolate ice cream did he have to wash it out in a drinking fountain? And since he was so intent on washing - why not let me go first, huh?

This past week my kids and I visited one of my favorite parks (Manor Park). It has a nice layout and picnic tables where we have lunch or snacks. I overheard a mom oh-so-sweetly ask her toddler "why didn't you tell me you had a poopie". Normal enough in my world. I don't want my kid sitting in their own feces either. Then the woman, proceeds to change her poopie toddler on the picnic table. No, not on the wide bench, but the tabletop. No changing pad, paper or coat beneath the kid. No barrier between my future picnic and her kid's leftover crap!
What's wrong with people? I didn't say anything but was VERY aggravated.

I think I'll have to start carrying around a pack of bleach wipes. Sometimes it's just cleaner to eat on the grass.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Night Painting

I am a plein air painter. I paint outdoors at my easel. I paint around Chicago. This past Saturday night I painted, for the first time, at night. Yep. I bought a coal-miner-style headlamp from Target and redorkulated and everything.

A small faction of the Plein Air Painters of Chicago (PAPC) headed to scenic Riverside, IL for this night paintout. It was in the hopes of creating some spooky or creepy, yet realistic, paintings for Poefest (a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe - Oct. 26 6PM @ Stars and Cigars in Berwyn).

At any rate, it was an interesting expereience and I wasn't quite sure what color paint I was putting on paper. But it was fun and I had a good time (see my painting above).

Riverside, IL is this crazy cool suburb where little kids can ride their bikes all over town when they're 7. It's that safe. It's like Mayberry. While I was painting some older boys rode up to me to check what the heck I was doing in their town painting with a headlamp. Well, they were out of high school (19) and riding their bikes around town on a Sat night (real achievers). After I explained what I was doing, they continued to hang out. I was finished so I packed up. They're still yapping away to each other and calling some girl on a cell phone. Then one guy asked me for my phone number! What the? I said "no, you can't have it". He said "why?" - I said, because I'm somebody's mamma! "So what" he said. I said "I'm married". Then I said "I'm 37". This, to my great pleasure, was recieved with much surprise. The instigator said "oh, I thought you were 19". His buddy, the smarter of the pair, - said "wow, you don't look older than 27". They made my night!! Sweet 27!

It gets better.

While chewing the fat with a few fellow night painters, at the local corner ice cream shop (it's so picturesque I could barf) - a gal asked me if I was "Becky". It was my old friend from grade school and high school - Halenia! Wow! She just moved to Riverside with her family from Chicago. She looked fab! She was always very cool - very athletic and smart - and from the old neighborhood. She told me I look exactly the same. I interpreted that to mean "same weight". It's not true but I'll take it!! Woohoo! I was no skinny biotch back in HS but I'm 15-20 pounds heavier now. Although I am very fit now. My abs, aside from the mommy trauma, are better than back then.

Ok, now that I'm looking at the photo of my abs - I'm wondering what *!@$ possessed me to put it up there in the first place! It's this - I work hard in the gym and am proud of being fit - even if it doesn't translate into a perfectly flat stomach or perfect body. If I can be proud, so you can you. So don't believe all that media hype gals! We ARE good enough. Oh, and flatness doesn't mean strength. I have strong abs with a layer of fat over it for good measure :-) (I'm crazy)
I digress.
This is what happens when you don't blog for awhile. And, no, I have not been drinking while blogging.