Ah Boston. Recently my mom treated me and the girls to a Day Out. Thanks Mom! We rode a ferry to Salem, MA for a quick visit. After returning to Boston, we took a break at a crazy fountain near the aquarium. The water shot up pretty high and the steam hissed; it was a pretty good effect and I was able to practice my water shots. I would love to go back at night. I am sure the light and the water would be spectacular.
I really enjoyed this fountain. The water looked like flying jellyfish which is pretty cool as long as jellyfish don't really fly. Could you imagine? Eegh. I have this thing about jellyfish. I am simultaneously drawn to and disgusted by them. That's probably why I am working on a jellyfish series of paintings. Go figure. Anyhoo, I watched the fountain long enough to realize that the water basically makes sculptures in the sky. I love it. There is nothing like flying jellyfish sky sculptures.
The huge Curious George banner outside the exhibit.
Over the holiday break, we took a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum to check out the Curious George exhibit. We wanted a pretty laid back holiday and tried to not travel around too much, but this exhibit was too much to resist. It was close and I wasn't sure the kids would ever get to see original art and manuscripts by the Reys. I love looking at original artwork and seeing the original work, and sketches from the Curious George books was intriguing.
We learned so very much. The kids were enthralled and really hung in there, actually studying the exhibit and looking closely at the details. I tend to linger over museum pieces studying details too so I was happy to see this. It's a bit easier to explore museums and their treasures when people aren't clamoring to go and are happy to observe the rich details.
I didn't know the Reys had to flee the Nazis, and I was unaware that they traveled so much. It was intriguing but so interesting to see their passports, telegrams, art journal/diaries and New Year's cards. There was also a pop-up book exhibit. My favorite was The Pop-Up Book of Phobias. Really people. It is a bit subversive. I mean all anyone needs is a clown or spiders popping up and out at them. There was also a cool version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The museum also hosted a few pieces by David Macaulay. Book and art awesomeness . . . .
I can't show you any photos from inside the exhibit due to copyright laws, but I got a couple of shots outside the exhibit. If you live nearby and get a chance, you should go. The exhibit ends February 5th.
Doran was the only one to brave meeting George. I was happy to see this was the old-fashioned George from the 70's. You know the one. I still have my stuffed George-tucked safely away from my children. Sorry guys. He was one of my absolute most favorite toys.
Blurry photo of the fam going in. I am pretty sure this is legal. To the Powers That Be: Please don't arrest me. This was a fabulous exhibit and I wish I could show you more. Seriously if you can, check it out! There is a lot of inspiration and dreaminess to be found.
While we were in the Cape, we visited Plimoth Plantation. It is a historical recreation of a Wampanoag homesite and of the English settlement that was just up the road from it. At this "museum", you can "experience life" as it was lived in 1627, or something approximating it. Plimoth Plantation partnered with National Geographic to write up my absolute favorite book about Thanksgiving.
As many of you know, I love travel, museums and history so I was all about this place. It was wonderful talking with the reenactors. I don't know where they found these people, but they were spot on in character and knowledge. I was very impressed with their skills, accents-just everything. We spoke to an English immigrant who really was repairing a gate that a cow broke through. He talked of how he preferred his old home back in Europe, of how lonely he felt here - quite fascinating.
We also met a housewife who could not read. She told us who we could visit to get answers to some of our questions. She explained that her place was in the home and she didn't know much outside of her home duties. She did know enough that she could tell us that part of their purpose of being in the "New World" was to make a profit for the company that sent them over. I got a sense of how life could be isolating for women (more so than the men). I knew this already but it was something to see a live person, dressed in period clothes with a period accent telling me this.
The Native Americans weren't exactly reenactors. They are Indigenous Wampanoag telling the story of their people and America from their perspective and experience. It is something to think that they have lived in what is now New England for more than 12,000 years. It was so interesting and just plain wonderful to hear of their experiences through their own modern words even if the tale is a tragic one. Several visitors became uncomfortable with what some of the people said about history as well as the present day treatment of Native Americans and the environment. It was something to observe them checking their watches and slowly backing away. The woman we spoke to was none too impressed with Squanto. I had no idea he was revered so much in English culture. She soon put to rest any "pure and innocent" ideas about his character.
I could see this woman was very powerful and feel what she was saying. I didn't know until talking to her how the Wampanoag saw male and female as equals and how they approached family, time and raising children. She definitely did not approve of the way we rush ourselves and our children around trying to make appointments and beat the clock. It was a wonderful sense of connection to "go back in time" and absorb the environment and surroundings.
The fog that day definitely lent some more atmosphere and mystery to an already engaging place.
This is the teenaged boy Helena was so smitten with that day. I wonder if Howl knows about him.
Beautifully dyed reeds made up the walls to one house.
By the way, the only light coming into this house was from a hole in the roof-amazing.
Hmm a possible painting. I have such a backlog of images it's scandalous.
This guy has the best ensemble. Check. It. Out.
We had an amazing time. We'll go back soon and visit the Mayflower II. If ever you have the chance, I highly recommend stopping by Plimoth Plantation. It is fascinating to experience, in the flesh, the stories of the people who lived so long ago.
Back when my in-laws Lisa and Lyle came to visit, we took them on a big walking tour of Boston. We didn't get to see all of it, but we saw a lot in a few hours. I am so lucky to live amongst and near so much early American history, Native, African, English and Dutch. It is true that without at least a grasp of the past, we are floating and unanchored. I am very lucky to be able to share this history with my children.
I was doing a lot of walking and talking in between a few sprinkles of rain so I got only a few shots. Here is some of what we saw:
The Hancock: it's amazing how people have jobs (spotters) watching the windows to ensure they don't pop out and fall to the ground below. I couldn't even get the entire building into frame.
The Public Garden
Feeding squirrels on purpose. You know about my relationship with squirrels.
They did get to be up close and personal with it though. I have to admit that was neat.
Here's the lady Helena wanted to exhume. The Granary Cemetery is a fascinating place. It is humbling to be amongst the bones of Sam Adams, Crispus Attucks, Revere and Mother Goose. The grave markers are absolute works of art.
It was a great visit. I got to see Boston with new and more appreciative eyes.
Where do you like to go to soak up some ancestor vibes?
I need Cape Cod today or something like it. I'll take a pond at this point. This morning was one of those mornings when I am left exhausted, wishing school were already over. Tuesdays are now choir rehearsal days for Doran. He loves choir and since there is so little he seems to like enough to participate in, Greg and I gladly encourage choir. There are a few things I think he would love to do but doesn't have the motor coordination or speed in order to participate in a mainstream school band or sports team. He can participate in mainstream choir. He does it very well and most importantly he loves it.
It's important enough that I spend once a week really rushing in hopes of to getting the children fed, dressed, snacks and lunches prepared and all of us out of the door by 7:30am on choir days. I can count on one hand how many times that has happened for the whole year of choir. I know many of you conquer this feat daily(and at earlier times) and I am in awe. However, no matter how early I am up, or how early I get the kids up or how much I have prepared the night before, we usually end up late-not too late, but late all the same. It's really easy to get into a self-criticizing spiral about that though I try not to go there.
Usually it's one of the following that contributes to the tardiness: someone has a tantrum; someone really messes up a diaper or training underwear at an really inopportune moment; another person can't find what I told him or her to put in his or her backpack the night before; someone falls down the stairs (I'm not joking); the town decides to do major intersection work during rush hour; it goes on and on.
This choir morning was pretty unbelievable. Doran had one of his intense sneezing incidents (a lot of children with autism have sensitivities to the environment that cause different atypical and intense physical reactions). I won't go into it due to the gross factor, but it's an unpredictable morning ritual-occurring anytime from the moment he wakes up to when he steps into the school doors. I don't know what happens after that. With so much going on every morning, I can't hover over him with tissues, and he has yet to get the timing of using one on his own so you can imagine how things develop. This is one way autism affects him.
Then I discovered that Doran had opened the child-resistant (ha!) cap to the liquid allergy medicine and simply balanced it on top of the bottle-perfectly. I couldn't even tell it was open until I picked the bottle up by the cap and medicine flowed freely all over the inside of the cabinet. I should know by now to never pick up anything in this house by the cap. I think I need some behavioral training too. ;-)
We did manage to get out of the house, but then there was a huge traffic jam on the side street that I use to get out of our neighborhood. I;m talking cars hanging out in the middle of the intersection through red and green lights kind of traffic jam. I imagine there was some sort of chaos on the interstate because this rarely happens. I took the long way to school so that we were at least moving and had a chance of getting to school while choir rehearsal was in session. Helena was not pleased with this development. Doran was a good 25 minutes late for rehearsal, but he got there.
Luckily the choir director understands that I am working by myself in the mornings. Doran doesn't do too well waiting for things to start anyway. It's usually much better when he can go right into something and start. It works out but I still have nagging guilt.
So this morning I am left with a need for Cape Cod. Maybe you are too after reading this. ;-) Thanks for your patience and for coming along for the school morning ride. I'm happy to hear your stories too. Feel free to share any morning or day challenges you have had lately. I'm all ears.
And now it's time for some soothing pictures.
The dunes can get very tall. I find them fascinating.
Tasty and inexpensive seafood can be found here.
Ah better now. This makes me feel like I can go anywhere and do anything. Happy Tuesday!
It's Monday so I am joining Amanda over at the habit of being for her Weekending series. Feel free to join us.
This weekend brought:
the first weekend in May and the realization that the year is speeding by all too quickly
a slightly slower pace, one that I really like, and hope to experience more often
the realization that Miss Helena's ballet recital is fast approaching. This is one of her most favorite times of year
new battles with squirrels and feral(?) cats. What gives?
some precious, precious time painting. Things are moving along slowly but still more quickly than my pre-studio days
the certainty that I need to write up my family and household routine with the help of the Fly Lady. I haven't reached true Sanford and Son proportions yet, but I need something to organize all of my work without having to remember everything. May is a very full month to put a positive spin on it. My overtaxed brain can only handle so much. A nice notebook telling me what needs to be done in the house and out of the house and when will help, at least I hope so ;-)
our first Sunday being completely unplugged as a family. I was inspired by wonderful Heather over at beauty that moves
The ceiling at Grand Central. There's my sign-Aries. I can't believe they were trying to tear this place down for a parking lot. I am so glad that didn't work. Thank you Mrs. Onassis.
Signs in the station's bathroom.
Last Sunday, I went to New York City with my mom. We met up with my younger brother, Walker, who is lucky enough to live in there. We took one of the most harrowing cab rides I have ever taken. I have never had a harrowing cab ride in NY, but I did that Sunday. It was so intense Mom wanted to get out early and walk the rest of the way to the restaurant. I think we had about three near accidents-at least that was my perspective. I saw and felt the cab pass within an inch or a half-inch of buses and trucks. I think my mother's eyes were closed for the entire ride. She doesn't even know how much she paid him. Maybe that was the cabbie's strategy.
To recover from our wild ride, we walked around the city. We then ate a delicious organic brunch at Isabella's. The food was spectacular. Walker had lemon-scented french fries. I'll have to get some next time, as they were one of the best things I ever tasted. Before brunch while Walker waited in line, my mom and I went to the Sunday flea market across the street from the restaurant. It was so fun. I could have spent hours looking around at all of the cool stuff. After brunch, we walked our way to Broadway, past Lincoln Center and all kinds of interesting architecture.
Then we saw Memphis! That was the best musical I have ever seen. My mother got tremendous seats. The Shubert is a small theater and we were about eight to ten feet from the stage in the orchestra section. Thanks for a fabulous birthday present Mom! I saw sweat flying. I saw beads (from the beautiful beaded dresses) flying and bouncing across the stage. The actors were working. It was great to be able to look right into their faces. The stage design, music and story were phenomenal. I am very privileged and lucky to have been able to see this show. It was a gift. This is just a reminder of how necessary art and creation are. After the show, we talked about how one of the first things a repressive government does is shut down or defund the arts, calling them frivolous and unnecessary. We talked about how when people (same or different) dance or just listen to music together, how their differences melt away and community is built. To those who would have it otherwise, art is a dangerous thing.
After the show, we scooted to a little Greek restaurant. The meal was delicious and the company was so fun. I hated to leave New York, but I needed to get back to my loves. So I have vowed to go to the City more often and to take the children, well at least some of them. Eden may have to wait.