Hi. I'm a painter, a writer and a mother of three teenage sons, one with a severe disability. This is a journal: riotously disorganized, full of art, food, children and everyday domestic events. Unless you are a friend or family member you may not be interested, but you are welcome to look. Artists who are parents may find some common ground here, as well as parents of children with special needs. For art only, see my site: nancybeamiller.blogspot.com
Friday, April 29
A window display which caught my eye. I like the gesture of the little maiden who seems to me to be saying "Well, how did I get here?" as she hangs bedecked with jewels amidst the opulent display. On the other hand, her gesture could just mean "Ta-dah!"
Thursday, April 28
BUILDING WTH CLOUDS AND WIRES
Not wanting to try and park in the city at rush hour by myself, a few evenings ago I took the train in for my friend Katie's birthday dinner in Chinatown. The views of the evening clouds and light were just astonishing. Like a William Joyce illustration.
Wednesday, April 27
Walked into the bathroom the other day and realized that once again I'd forgotten to lock away the shampoo and conditioner. Henry had used the conditioner to make a very interesting creme on glass painting on the medicine cabinet mirror, reminding me that they say artistic talent is inherited, as well as (probably) autism. The shampoo was poured neatly down the bathtub drain. Probably didn't have the right "finger quality" needed for the Joan Mitchell-like mirror painting.
Tuesday, April 26
LILACS AND SKY
I wish I could say I took this shot while lying full-length on my velvety lawn, reveling in the heady aroma of sun-warmed lilac blossoms gently swaying above my head in the balmy breeze. Aaaah. But I didn't. I was standing on the sidewalk in front of my neighbor Hiroshi's house drawn by the hypnotic perfume of the flowers and wishing I had a lilac of my own to worship. And maybe a Mock Orange, and how about a Redbud and some Hydrangeas and...Fortunately, Hiroshi is very generous with his blossom deficient neighbors. His yard is like a one man arboretum.
Monday, April 25
A photo meme I like recently ran a challenge with the theme of "Self Portrait". Oddly enough, just minutes before clicking on to the meme I had finished taking a quick series of family photographs, including this self-portrait. I took the shots very quickly, to be downloaded into Henry's new assistive communication device, his "talker". I think it is called a Dynamo, but we haven't seen it yet because it is still being programmed.
Anyway, despite having this shot right to hand, I got all squeamish and coy and took a whole bunch of arty self-portraits, macros and partials and shadows and mirrors etc etc. But I could not bring myself to post any of them. I finally decided that the quick "talker" shot might be raw and straightforward but it had the most integrity. Unflattering perhaps, but honest. The words of an old old hymn came to mind, "Just as I Am, Without One Plea".
Friday, April 22
It is always fascinating to vist Paul's furniture shop, and see the bones and innards of his elegant pieces. His upholsterer was having a day off so we got to peek at all the stuffing and sewing machines in his part of the shop (sort of like a shop within a shop).
Thursday, April 21
A simple trip to the local supermarket can be a foray into visual overload or bliss, depending on one's mood.
Wednesday, April 20
This flourishing primrose is the lone survivor of a bunch of Easter flowers I planted last spring. It looks so incredibly healthy and vigorous, but it was pure chance that these particular conditions suited it: all the other hopefully recycled plants bit the dust.
BIRTHDAY CAKE LIGHT
Yesterday was Paul's birthday and a lovely time was had by all. Peter took this shot and did such a great job that no cropping or tweaking was necessary.
Tuesday, April 19
LEARNING BY DOING
Sometimes the only way you can understand how something is put together is to take it apart.
Monday, April 18
Henry during a recent melt-down. We couldn't figure out what to do, or what he wanted. Neither could he, or at least he couldn't tell us (being non-verbal). Must be incredibly frustrating for him. Finally the storm blew over. I must say the principle of "This too shall pass" is of enormous help during times like this, when you have to watch helplessly as he suffers inexpressible agonies of some kind.
I got a photo request that had me digging through old photo files and I came upon this one. Not even a year old, but I had forgotten about it. Since H. (the cello player) lives in my old house, I knew the light like the back of my hand and was able to get what I wanted right away. A visual pleasure and he sounded great too!
Friday, April 15
BABY AT REST
This is a friend's child who conked out peacefully one day during a quick visit. His face was luminous with sleep. Liz is always very good-natured about letting me grab her baby and stick my camera in his face and this time was no exception. "Maybe just don't use a flash?" she suggested.
Thursday, April 14
Henry loves these kind of toys. If it is shiny, glittery and whirls, lights up and makes music, it is OK by him! Unfortunately, these things are made for toddlers and cannot long withstand the adoration of an eleven year old, even one with hypotonia! One of the reasons I am so often thrift shopping.
Wednesday, April 13
We took our first family bike ride of the spring on Sunday. There is rowing club for the disabled down on West River drive that we like to stop at. Paul and I have (admittedly, unlikely) dreams that someday Henry will enjoy participating in this sport. So I think we just like to be near the building. Plus it is a great place to watch for turtles.
Tuesday, April 12
I happened to check out my StatCounter just as Genre Cookshop reached 20,000 visitors. Kind of like watching the odometer on the car hit a big number: exciting albeit in a transient, meaningless sort of way. But I could not resist taking the shot!
Monday, April 11
Throw ball, run, catch ball, run, knock down anyone else who caught ball, run, get up again with blood streaming out of your nose, run...
Saturday, April 9
Utter and mutual. Makes me think of A Dog Year by Jon Katz. which I recently read. Lots in there about how devotion can be bought with a pocketful of liver treats. Yet, are humans so different? Maybe not with liver treats but isn't there at least some truth to the saying "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."? Cupboard love is often denigrated as shallow, when perhaps it is the most elemental and natural type of devotion there is.
Friday, April 8
The welcoming committee on our front walk this evening.
Wednesday, April 6
SHADOW OF A DAISY
Daisy the cat, that is. Hugh pointed this scene out to me. "Maybe you'd like to blog that."he suggested, ever helpful.
Tuesday, April 5
Some people smoke, some do drugs, I thrift shop. It is hard for me to pass by a sign like this one. I don't spend a lot of money, but the hunting is deeply satisfying.
Monday, April 4
I came upon this lush display at a local nursery. My first impression was "Wow!" But taking a step or two closer, doubts crowded in. Everything was too perfect. Not a dead leaf or broken stem in sight. Then, I didn't get the sensation you get when approaching real plants: humidity, and a faint whiff of chlorophyll and decay. A few feet away I had already categorized it: fake. Just like King Solomon's bee.
Sunday, April 3
Daisy has a soft heart too. She always seems to know when I am feeling a little low, and follows me around taking every opportunity to curl up next to me and purr hearteningly.
"H" MARKS THE SPOT
Henry's home assistant (TSS) hasn't been in all weekend and I guess he was missing his usual activities so he dumped several boxes of materials into his bed. Note the letter card in the middle: H. Almost wonder if it was deliberate, like the mark of Zorro.
When I meet nice, interested people in stores or parks and I tell them that Henry is autistic (because he is doing something very strange and they are trying to figure out what is up) I can usually predict the next sentence out of their mouths. They get this kind and sympathetic look on their eyes and they say, bracingly "Oh, wow, Autistic? Well, I hear that autistic kids are all geniuses at something!" I always just smile and bite my lip. The fact that around 80% of people with autism have mental retardation (depending on which study you read) is NOT what they want to hear. Besides, they are somewhat correct. Henry's genius obviously lies in the mess-making department.
Friday, April 1
A NICE HOT CUP OF COFFEE
to get me started on a chilly morning. Sometimes it takes more than one. Looking closely at this shot I see that my Winsor & Newton commemorative mug is from 1992. The gilt may be somewhat abraded but it has sure held up. Now that is quality for you!
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