Sunday, July 23, 2017

big hair

Back in the 70's and 80's, people spent hours and used harsh chemicals and raw eggs to get their hair to stand up. All it takes for Ava is to shower and go to bed. When she wakes in the morning, voilĂ !

Saturday, July 22, 2017

i am from

One of Ava's assignments was to write her own poem based on Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon. The first stanza of Lyon's piece is:
I am from clothespins, 
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
(Black, glistening, it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

Here is Ava's poem:

I am from...

I am from Kleenex boxes
from bookshelves and craft supplies
I am from the house with the half-pipe driveway
the brightly painted garage
I am from the flowers I can't remember the names of
The all-encompassing Maine forest whose long gone limbs I honestly don't mind falling unless it harms more sentient organisms than it helps
I'm from Kolbasz and skeletal figures
from Nandy and Grandpops
I'm from planning out everything and the Swedenborgian Church
and from having to travel past more than a few towns to get there
I'm from "If you say something bad about someone, you've got to say three nice things about them" and "There are no bad people, just bad choices"
I'm from She'll be Comin' Around the Mountain and from going down to Mimi's house each year
I'm from Portland and Almont
Lentil loaf and palacsinta
From the year our lawn got eaten by the cinch bugs
and we decided to put a time capsule on top of the septic tank
From all of my sister's stuffies in piles around her room
I am from the champion eggs of every Easter
my internal combustion engine cake
and finally from my friends and family
(not just because I'm curious what human meat tastes like)

Friday, July 21, 2017

reading preferences

Zsa Zsa went through a phase where she was only interested in reading a book if there was a cute animal on the cover. During that time, I sat down one day, saw her current selection, and realized that she was nine years old. The same age her sister read The Communist Manifesto, and immediately fell in love with Communism. Many parents claim their children are polar opposites; some days I have that feeling.

To Zsa Zsa's credit, over the last year her topics of interest for reading have diversified a great deal. She had the same absolutely fantastic fourth grade teacher that Ava had, and this teacher has truly sparked her passion for reading. On another day, she refused to stop reading and wandered the grocery store looking like this.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

game night

Since there are many variations and extension packs for Settlers of Catan, the grandparents and the girls have been exploring the game. A great excuse to spend time together. On this particular game night, they're playing the original base game.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

silly girls

Without fail, if a friend comes over, it ends with some sort of performance. One day, we were treated to a silly dance routine by these two.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

labor day in nyc

Kurt loaded up the car and brought the girls down to pick me up after the video shoot and drive us to NYC. Last year's Labor Day visit was supposed to include a viewing of Phantom of the Opera for Ava, but didn't happen due to a mix up. So we returned to make things right.
We stayed with our favorite New Yorkers, Ahu and Maya. They live in what I think is the most gorgeous neighborhood in the city. This sunset alone was worth the trip. We saw it while out for a walk with Maisie the Hound. I love that it's so easy to find absolutely any kind of food nearby. I think that night we had avocado toasts.
On our way to Broadway, we walked by the National September 11 Memorial.
We took the subway from the new train station, the Oculus. Quite an architectural achievement, it was difficult to focus on walking both around and inside it when you're busy looking up.

Kurt took Ava to see Phantom of the Opera, which she had studied in 6th grade. She absolutely loved it.

Zsa Zsa and I decided to see Matilda. The stage was surrounded by giant Scrabble tiles because the main character is a child prodigy. Since Zsa Zsa was fresh out of theatre camp, watching kids on stage in a Broadway show was thrilling.

After the shows, we met up with Ahu and Maya, who'd gone to see An American in Paris. We had dinner at the bar of an Italian restaurant. Since there was quite a wait, Zsa Zsa led a game of Heads Up. Situated at the end of the bar as we were, we involved some of the people waiting for a table in our game.
After a delicious meal and a few bottles of wine, we walked a bit to meet up with our now mutual friend Holly. Maya brought Ava and Zsa Zsa back to the apartment to hang out with Maisie. Some of Holly's friends joined us as we sat out on top of a boat enjoying the warm evening.
We had a very slow morning as Kurt had partaken of whisky after the wine and needed to recover before the drive up to New Jersey.

Can't describe how much we all love spending time with Ahu and Maya. We adore them. And with all the turmoil in Turkey these days, we're so happy they're in the States.
Oh and we love Maisie too. She shows us how to get to know New Yorkers quickly when we take her out for walks or to her favorite dog parks.

So once Kurt recovered, we headed over to Bill and Jill's for a visit. We didn't see much of Deckard or Freya, but Zsa Zsa was very excited to sleep in Athena's bunkbed loft and play with her.
The rest of us were content to have our Bill time and Jill time. And Providence never ceases to amaze me. Seeing this photo of Ava and Bill just reinforces how perfect a choice he was to be her godfather. He'd be great for any child, but for Ava, he fits just right.

Monday, July 17, 2017

working with Tom Peters

I've worked with business author and management guru Tom Peters for 17 years. These are a couple of shots from a video shoot he did for a client. Because I've worked remotely for 15 of those years, we're rarely in the same place. So I asked one of the crew to catch us together.