Sunday, August 31, 2014

Quote of the Week- 6 Months in our House

The fellow that owns his own home is always just coming out of a hardware store.  ~Frank McKinney Hubbard

 Unless one decorates one's house for oneself alone, best leave it bare, for other people are walleyed.  ~D.H. Lawrence

Friday, August 29, 2014

3 Things for Yesterday- Oshinkoshin Falls, Reflecting on White Privilege, and Work Work Work


1. Michael Kenna, Oshinkoshin Falls- This is my favorite thing that I genomed yesterday for Artsy, and I just think it is ridiculous. Michael Kenna does atmospheric landscapes pretty consistently, but his play with snow and the Japanese landscape has quickly risen to be my favorite. I can't get the picture anywhere, but you can check it out on Artsy- https://artsy.net/artwork/michael-kenna-oshinkoshin-falls-utoro-hokkaido-japan
2. A Mother's White Privilege- http://manicpixiedreammama.com/a-mothers-white-privilege/ I have been thinking a lot of these things, as I grow yet another white man in my uterus. We like to think we earn things, but part of the challenge of race (and the ridiculous racial inequality still at play in our country) is there is nowhere to hide from our privilege.  I think the points she makes are solid, but I have been trying to think about what you can actually do with this that isn't condescending or it's own kind of problematic. How do you raise sons who are aware of their privilege and do something about it?
3. Work Days- Is there anything more satisfying than actually making progress? We are getting somewhere, albeit slowly.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today's Inspiration- Cayce Zavaglia

Zavaglia may top the list of my absolute favorite discoveries since I started genoming for Artsy (I am up to genoming about 100 artworks a day, so I am seeing an awful lot)! Cayce Zavaglia makes portraits, mostly of individuals, with embroidery thread. It may not sound like the most rigorous or complex methodology (it sounds very folksy DIY), but take a look at the finished product. They are not only gorgeous (do they kind of remind you of the texture on van Gogh self-portraits- not that modern but so beautiful) but incredibly impressive in their technical mastery and understanding of the different textures on the human body. They just look so real, like a Chuck Close portrait done in string.

Not all are of children, but I liked this example from the Colossal, because you can see the back of her canvas and the detail of her work. I am totally obsessed, so I hope you like her work as well. Go look at more.

from http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/10/new-photorealistic-portraits-hand-embroidered-by-cayce-zavaglia/

from http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/10/new-photorealistic-portraits-hand-embroidered-by-cayce-zavaglia/

from http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/10/new-photorealistic-portraits-hand-embroidered-by-cayce-zavaglia/

You can also see a video about her process here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

12 Things for our Trip Home





1. The Exceptional Crafting Genius of my Aunt Renee- That woman is a living breathing ad for Cricket. She made a lot of the decorations for our shower (as well as some decorations for us to wear, which I thought was especially cool), and they all turned out amazing. Just gorgeous. I mean, she made a steampunk animal diaper cake. I am going to guess not too many of those have existed in the history of the world, and it was so touching to see all of the work and time she put into our shower. Also, I stole most of it for the nursery, so I will be sure to report back on how I reworked her genius into the Baby’s room.

2. This teddy bear-Speaking of incredible crafters, Shelly whipped up this teddy bear with leftover fabric from decorations. You know what I can whip up with leftover fabric? A small pile of fabric. I love this bear, and obviously Kalila did too!
3. Polly’s Cookie Dough Swirl (with extra Cookie Dough)- The cookie dough at Polly’s (which otherwise must be most notable for a serious bug problem and a giant parrot) is exponentially more delicious than any other cookie dough ever combined with ice cream or yogurt. I don’t know where they get them from, but they are delicious.

4. The Yellow Shoes-I bought these sandals from Mocloth at the beginning of the summer, and I still can't put them on right in one try. On this particular day, I may have even started with them on the wrong foot. Still, they got all kinds of love from peopleand they do look like summer on your feet. Plus, you really feel like you earned those compliments.

5. Fruitbaby- That unsettling feeling in your stomach really just points to the sublime awe that anything could be this awesome. My mother-in-law is the greatest, and I feel like this is the year of the watermelon sculpture. Or maybe this is the beginning of watermelon sculpting, and 5 years from now, we can have out own reality show for our elaborate fruit salads.


6. Facetime- How did people get through life without facetime and skype? My Aunt Ann did the majority of the planning and work for the shower, but because of her chemo schedule, she couldn’t come. I hate that she missed it, but it really makes it easier to have her there in her own way, being passed around to chat with other and watching me open presents. I like that even when we have to be absent from each other’s lives, if we care, we can still find ways to be present. Still, I can’t wait to give her a hug and thank you in person.
7. Sharpie Dinnerware- My Aunt Gretchen made us this incredibly sweet plate for the shower, and it makes me tear up every time I look at it. She raised two sons who treat others and each other so well, so I really appreciate her advice (also, her sass). She said this was a pinterest idea, where you draw and write on a white plate with sharpie and then put in the oven. Such a simple idea, but the finished product looked so nice and I love the quote she picked.
8. Bonfires, S’mores, and Helium Balloons- I like that part of the party where people have started to bail, and whoever is left is there because they are genuinely having a good time. The pressure feels relieved, and I can listen to my cousins sing like Helium munchkins and to my Father in law tell stories of his early years in the States. It felt like an embarrassment of riches.


9. Surprise PymatuMing fish date- It wasn’t a surprise exactly, because it stands as one of our longest traditions, but we were both surprised that we made enough time to go to see the ducks walk on the world’s ugliest fish. The Boy worked hard at keeping that window open. The Spillway claims to be the secondmost visited tourist site in Pennsylvania. I hope they are telling the truth. Key to making the trip exceptionally awesome? ABBA's greatest hits/
10. That it is definitely PymatuMing not PymatuNing- How could we both have had the name wrong our entire life? Truly, how does that even happen? Did one of us make the mistake first 10 years ago, and the other one just accepted it? Or have we both mispronounced the name independently our whole lives? Is this the secret key to our love?My mom tells me we are just saying it with a Western accent, but this news rocked our world.
11. King’s Country Breakfasting- You can't get a cheaper or more magical breakfast. If you are in Western PA, I strongly recommend you stop here and have an awesome breakfast lik we did with my beloved Dale.

from msmagazine.com
12. This- Gah, she may not be perfect (even if instagram says different), but she is just the best. Own it, people. Live your lifelike you are staning in front of a big glowing feminist sign. There is a bunch of great writing on this already.

Picture of the Week- Home Home Home






Quote of the Week- Compassion and Difference



"Sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence. " -David Byrne

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." -Maya Angelou

Bumpwatch Week 27







How Far Along: 27 weeks. This was the final hurrah of the second trimester, and to be honest, I am still loving the “honeymoon” period of the pregnancy. People keep asking me how I feel about my impending birthing decision, and right now, I feel like I have dancey company with me all the time. He feels like a sweet lovely presence, not something I am willing to bust up my lady pieces to expel. I know I will get there, but not this week.
Also, for my loyal readers (aka my family members) who are wondering why the baby shower isn’t here, it is not because I find the tactics of women’s bathrooms more interesting. Cross over day is Sunday, so the shower belongs to week 28. 

Best Moment of the Week: Being home! There have been so many great moments being with family and hearing their thoughts/ ideas/ jokes about what life will be like when the baby is here. Aubrey offered to let the baby have her blanky (better known as Danky), and I am pretty sure I have watched her murder a grown man to protect that business.

Most Interesting Prego Quirk: People (namely, older women) will let you ahead of them in lines for the bathroom. I feel like this is sweet, but also totally confounding. I mean, yes, I have to pee, but don’t you also? Aren’t you also in this line? How can we gauge who is holding it the most? On the other hand, BBG seems to have set up camp directly on my bladder, then conducts his regular dance parties, so maybe I have some sort of inappropriate panic on my face. It is kind of nice for airplanes, though my actual favorite prego accommodation is that people mostly will move out of the way for me, as I now take up the entire aisle. All of it. If I turn, the bump will whack someone in the face like a rebel backpack or especially aggressive purse.

I Would Really Like Some: I got to eat Leonardo’s twice in one day, so I can’t really say I want for anything. Clearly, between the bathroom lines and the pizza, BBG and I are spoiled. I am exceptionally excited because my Nana made her snickerdoodles, which are cinnamon sugar heaven. 

Bizarro Thing No One Warned me About:  My longtime friend Jenny took our prego pictures, and I know they will be amazing, because she just rolls that way. With the experience of engagement pictures and wedding shots behind me, I know that good photographers take more pictures than you can imagine anybody needing (my dad says a good photographer is really about being able to throw away the junk and see what’s good). I really just want a couple of pictures, but I know Jenny got us some great options and I am looking forward to seeing pictures. 

What I was not prepared for is how much pregnancy photography is about looking serene or contemplative or quietly glowy. I believe I have failed on all counts. How does one look serene? How does one not smile when they are getting their picture taken? My advice for pregos looking to have a document is to practice looking awed or peaceful in the mirror before you get there. Or I guess you could just be truly relaxed and peaceful, that is another way to do it. I will be practicing lovingly looking at my baby from here on out, so in every picture of the two of us together, people do not suspect I am telling him an inappropriate joke or teaching him profanities. Which is what I am planning on doing. But with a serene face, because motherhood makes you serene.

And The Boy?: He also failed at being a father model, but I think he actually enjoyed it. I have noticed he keeps mentioning his dad, and his choices, and why he thinks his dad spoiled them. I feel like this is the first step to being self-reflective about who he wants to be as a parent. Awesome. But mostly he made weird noises and intentionally stuck his nose in my belly button when he was supposed to be lovingly kissing my bump.  

Looking Forward to:  The baby shower, spending more time with my family, getting baby shoes and hats, because they are just the cutest. I am thinking about a new alternative parenting where the child only wears clothes neck up and ankle down. Everything else? Totally naked. It might ruin the carpet, but it would looking freaking adorable.