Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
If you're looking for some ideas to celebrate plants and the harvest with your children, here's a list of the activities we enjoyed. They are all doable, most with very few supplies.
We ate pomegranate seeds and listened to the story of Demeter and Persephone and learned why we have seasons. This would make a lovely after-dinner ritual. (This is the beautifully illustrated version of the story we heard. It's by Kris Waldherr.)
We saw a tea ceremony and made origami cranes. Here's a tutorial for folding the cranes.
We sampled Tibetan butter tea for the first time. Here's a recipe.
We walked on "coconut stilts," a game kids play in Singapore. It would be challenging but fun to figure out how to scrape out a coconut.
We "painted" chocolate Day of the Dead skulls with icing and ate them--they were much tastier than the "raw" chocolate we ground with a stone mortar and pestle. You can use these skeleton candy molds. (We made sugar skeletons with these one year and decorated them, but they weren't edible. I think using chocolate is a much better idea.)
We drew mehndi patterns on silk with fabric markers (here are some gorgeous patterns and their meanings), got mehndi tattoos, and helped make vibrant flower mandalas. The mandala was drawn on a large cardboard circle, and the children filled in the shapes with flower petals. (See a whole gallery of flower mandalas here.)
My youngest enjoyed playing in a baby pool filled with black beans. You could do this with rice as well.
Enjoy the season, wherever you may be!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
“Unaccountably, I am filled with a sense of completeness, that for this moment, nothing else is needed. What is here feels like fundamental ground—wide and peaceful. Deeply familiar. I recognize it as home. . . . All the while I’ve been right in this place with that stillness, a hidden possibility, here all along. I was already home.”
Friday, September 18, 2009
What prompted this (re)search? Recently I stumbled upon the concept of lectio divina, the close attention to and prayer/meditation on a single word or passage from the Bible. It's very similar, I think, to the practice of repeating a mantra of one syllable or word during meditation. I'm trying to replace some of the self-defeating words that reside in my head with more affirming ones, hence my search. (By the way, why isn't "f**k" in Chambers?)
Here's a sampling of some words I like, pieced into a series of collage vocabulary cards.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I'm taking part in an 09/09/09 Diary project and writing down events and conversations from the day. Here are nine things that I've noticed so far:
1) I woke up at 6:00 a.m. wishing that I had gotten nine hours of sleep.
2) My daughter started 9th grade today. Before she left for school, my three-year-old warned, "Watch out for pickpockets!"
3) At the breakfast table my nine-year-old son told us the title and author of a potential book: "How to Make Split-Second Decisions," by Oliver Sutten.
4) 9 times out of 10 I can turn my little one's perspective around. Our morning drive went something like this: O: It's a bad day. Me: Why is it a bad day? O: It's foggy. Me: I think it's magical. Look outside real hard and then all of a sudden you see a tree pop out! O: Look, I see one!
Later, at school, O said to the school administrator: It's a magical day today because the trees poofed out of the fog!
5) At nine o'clock I noticed a dad taking a picture of his two yellow-raincoated children in front of school. I mentally patted myself on the back for bringing my camera and a raincoat for child #3's sendoff to preschool. I hung his raincoat on his hook but he sent me on my way before I could take a picture. I rushed away gratefully to retrieve his lunch that I had forgotten in the fridge.
6) Then I took a side trip to the pediatrician's office, where I picked up my youngest's medical forms, which are nine days overdue at his school.
7) A fellow preschool mom was telling me about her nine-year-old's school anxiety. When I commiserated and told her my kids were the same way, she said, "Oh, I forgot, you're a pro." Later on I realized I should have replied, "No, just pro-lific." Unfortunately my brain always quips too late.
8) The fog burned away by mid-morning. The sun shone down from a patch of sky between the clouds, and the world was green and golden. Goldenrods are blooming in great clumps now (many more than nine!), arching their slender, feathered necks and golden tassels on the margins where human maintenance meets gentled nature: along roadsides; in a tall line behind a split-rail fence; in squared rows in a fallow field; in an arrow-shaped patch pointing to the tree line at the top of a horse pasture; waving slowly in a meadow that was once a farm and now a nature preserve; along the treed border between neighboring farms; covering a gentle berm of bulldozed earth; in wispy traces on the rock island dividing the creek into two streams under the swinging bridge. They are at once half-wild weeds, a nuisance, a vibrant coda to summer, and prelude to the onset of yellowing leaves.
9) My son and I stopped by the creek after school. We saw a Great Blue heron patiently waiting for fish just under the dam. It was a still, deliberate creature, capturing its prey with a swift, deliberate jab. (Sorry, only one heron, not nine.)
I've also included two photos from our family visit to the New York State fair, for the sole reason that bunnies and pigs are cute, though the first thing that came to my mind when I was editing the pig photo was "bacon on the hoof." I have a one-track carnivore mind.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Without the vibrant cover of people and produce, the main pavilion reveals its elegant bones. It was designed by a local architect and shares the lines of a 13th-century European cathedral, the long pavilion like a cathedral nave crossed by a transept. A skylight illuminates the northern end of the pavilion, its geometry evoking a barnlike version of a cathedral ceiling soaring skyward.
And everywhere I see the leavings of the weekend market's bounty, products of a long summer's worshipful labor.
I hope you are enjoying September's fullness as much as I am. I've missed my online friends during this extended blog break, but I look forward to visiting your blogs and posting more regularly. I must admit I am very rusty at this blogging thing!