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
Tuesday, May 31
Leaping from stump to stump in the clearing in the woods at the Grandparent's house. Looks like a cherished childood memory in the making.
Friday, May 27
SYMBOLIC FISH KITE
flying from my neighbor's house. A cheerful flash of color. The fish are symbolic of the number of children living in the house, apparently. I believe they were traditionally meant to symbolize the number of sons only, but Hiroshi's gorgeous carp is flying proudly for his daughter.
Thursday, May 26
My local church thrift shop has somebody working there who has a very subtle yet wicked sense of humor.
Wednesday, May 25
DINNERTIME DE LA TOUR
Peter with some candles he made on his school field trip today.
Tuesday, May 24
GUERNICA AT THE DENTIST'S OFFICE
I don't love blogs that assume their readers are interested in every excruciating detail of their life ("...and then, dear reader, I decided to buy the Vanilla Cola instead of the Lemon ..."), but I thought this was pretty funny. This morning I sat recovering from the horrible, bloody ordeal of having my teeth cleaned by a very determined and punitive hygienist. I was waiting for an actual dentist to come in and make soothing noises at me and send me on my way. Heaving a sigh I glanced up and noticed this poster of Picasso's Guernica on the wall right next to my head. I don't mean to belittle the actual massacre, but the thought instantly flashed through my brain that the dental hygienist must have been glancing at this scene from time to time during my procedure. For inspiration.
Monday, May 23
Cocoa at its best, neither too hot nor too cold. And Goldilocks drank it all up.
Sunday, May 22
The endless fascination of onion skin. Translucent, reflective, fragile and tough all at the same time.
Saturday, May 21
These patient flowers have been waiting for relocation for weeks. They are starting to show some signs of "wear" but are hanging on gamely.
Friday, May 20
HENRY STIMMING ON THE GREEN
Recently took the family for a walk on the old college campus. This was the college green right outside my dormitory. Henry was instantly drawn to the grassy knoll under an acacia tree. We just watched the movie Little Buddha and this scene somehow reminded me of Buddha under the Bodhi tree. In fact, people occasionally tell me of a sect of buddhist monks who specialize in caring for autistic people, believing them to be pure boddhisattvas. I don't know about that (and I have not been able to find out whether these monks actually exist) but gentle Henry is certainly like the fiercest kind of zen master, constantly whacking us out of complacency, expectation and routine.
Thursday, May 19
H has always been amazingly good at amusing himself with long, involved games of make-believe. A small stuffed animal, a few sticks and some leaves kept him busy for quite a while a few days ago. I never did get a full explanation of the game, but it involved lots of exclamations, explosions and rushing around to different parts of the garden.
Monday, May 16
This sign seen near my friend Elisa's house raises so many questions it is hard to know where to begin. First, how do you know when is one hour after the onset of the storm? Does onset mean the first flake or when the sky darkens to a certain degree or what? Then, what is the definition of a storm? Maybe what I would consider a prolonged flurry, another person would rate an official storm, or vice-versa. Such confusion. It is hard to imagine what the ticket for a parking violation would say : "Driver parked car 1 hour and 15 minutes after onset of semi-serious storm despite clearly marked sign to the contrary!"
I like that someone with a sense of humor has attempted to "defuse" the confusing sign by attaching to it a pink plastic rose.
Sunday, May 15
MY DIRTY LITTLE HABIT
Growing things. Paul patiently puts up with various pots and glasses and baskets clustered around the one or two light-giving windows. My mother's fault, of course. It was she who first turned me into the earth and chlorophyll addict I am today.
Friday, May 13
This is the way Henry likes the local playground: empty at dusk.
Thursday, May 12
It seems that all the local schools have jumped on this band-wagon. I remember its modest beginnings as "Order a Pink Geranium for Mother's Day: 3 Different Sizes Available!". Now you get a two page order sheet. And they have started carrying succulents (like the "Hens and Chicks" at the bottom of the shot) and cactii (very popular with the boys). Since I am a sucker for school fund-raisers and for plants they have me where they want me (carrying home big flats of assorted plants!)
Wednesday, May 11
CRYSTAL BALL ON A FANCY STAND
Paul took the day off yesterday and we went to the Dali show at the PMA. (By the way, today is Dali's birthday) Then we cruised through some favorite exhibits including the Asian Hall of artifacts. I had forgotten about this crystal ball, or maybe they re-arranged the exhibits. Anyway, what a knock-out. Portent for the future: right in the heart of the crystal I could see my camera lens. And you know, a few minutes later I did take another photograph! ;->
GROCERY BAG CHAOS
For me this is the worst moment of the whole shopping experience. Making the list is OK, visiting the "Food Museum" can be sort of intriguing, schlepping the bags from the car to the kitchen, definitely NOT fun but mindless. Then, tired out from a hundred shopping decisions and pack-horsing the heavy bags you are faced with the most onerous task of all: putting the food away. Followed by the irritating dis-assembling and putting away of the grocery bags (Yes, I used cloth bags for years, I know all about it, thanks). On the other hand, I am grateful that I have the means and access to all this food. So, Let me stop complaining about it.
Monday, May 9
We went for a family bike ride yesterday along West River Drive on the Schuylkill river. Turns out it was the Dad Vail Regatta weekend, and the river was almost choked with college rowers. Despite the pretty stiff breeze and cool temperatures, the young people were glowing with health and vitality.
LATER NOTE: Re-reading this I was struck by the fact that I had used the term "young people" (as a differentiator from self) for the first time without even missing a beat. Ironic, since this was posted on my birthday. I guess I am feeling my age, and feeling OK about that.
Sunday, May 8
for Mother's Day. Came up on my breakfast-in-bed tray. Hand-picked flowers are about a million times more lovely than a Florist's arrangement. Even if one of the flowers is some unidentified flowering weed!
Saturday, May 7
A quick snapshot of today's opening in Ocean City. My friend Eliza and I were pleasantly surprised by the turn-out, especially as it was a little far for most of our Philly friends.
The new leaves are faintly red-orange. This tree is beautiful in all seasons.
Friday, May 6
Lots of action at the district's Junior Olympics! P was the last leg of his relay team and ran his heart out. Unfortunately even though he ran like mad the best he could do was to bring the team from last place to fourth. They were so far behind that this was an incredible achievement! However, although he got lots of accolades from everyone who saw his performance, there is no ribbon for fourth place. There is a real life lesson in that, which is I guess the great thing about participating in sports as a child. I never did, and think it took me a lot longer to learn some of this stuff.
Thursday, May 5
in my neighbor's yard. You could make an argument for various other flowering bushes being the quintessential suburban shrub, but I would vote without hesitation for the forsythia. When my family moved from New York City to the suburbs of Connecticut, when I was a child, this was the bush that imprinted on me. I just could hardly believe my eyes. A plant bigger than I was that was uncompromisingly cadmium yellow from top to bottom! And I could worm my way in amongst the branches and be swallowed up in the very heart of yellow.
Wednesday, May 4
My ever-changing windowsill display. Bits and pieces wash up on the kitchen floor and if they are interesting enough they get a rest on the windowsill till I figure out where they should go. Some things have been there a long long time.
Monday, May 2
FIFTH GRADE MUSICAL
Surprisingly good! Excellent props, sets and lighting. Good sound. Here P takes the mike for his moment in the spotlight.
Sunday, May 1
STRANGE LITTLE SHIP
P and H spend hours painstakingly constructing lego ships and planes and spacecraft that are unfortunately ephemeral. One slip and they fall to the floor and break up on impact into hundreds of tiny pieces. Since the guys don't follow the official lego plans, but make things up as they go along, their designs are impossible to replicate. But now they have figured out a way to keep at least some record of their creations. They bring the "good ones" to me for a photograph!
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