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, January 30
in a cold house - I, too, shiver -
reluctant to unfurl.
Sunday, January 28
GRAND BAGUETTE ADVENTURE
One of our neighbors is a chef and he often brings us leftover baguettes. The boys fall upon the bread like a pack of ravening wolves but then there is lull when they look for other ways to enjoy the versatile loaves. H was rather ingeniously making his new underwater Lego adventurer swarm all over one and I thought it looked pretty interesting. For a lazy Sunday photo, anyway!
Friday, January 26
BROTHER BOY AND SISTER CAT
H and I were playing Memory a few nights ago and our cat Daisy hopped up to the table to join in the fun. Of course, what she really was trying to do was to tell H "You forgot to feed me!" Feeding Daisy is one of his evening chores, and one that is somehow very hard for him to remember, despite his being the family champion at Memory! Almost every evening I have to ask him "Did you remember to feed your sister cat?" Yeah, we call her the sister cat! Inspired in part by this beautiful poem written by Saint Francis of Assisi.
Thursday, January 25
It was a loooong weekend (Friday thru Wednesday) of Henry home with the stomach bug that just wouldn't quit. I became as one with the washing machine and antibacterial wipes during this period. Thankfully, he got through it and I brought him back to school yesterday where he ran right in without even a backwards glance. They were having lunch at his house and he made a bee-line for his place at the table and had to be prompted to even say Goodbye to me... which is fine, actually. It is a relief that he has landed in such a safe, wonderful place that he loves and is both educational and emotionally curative for him as well!
I hauled my weary carcass home and began the final clean-up. I thought I might also be coming down with the same nasty illness but I gradually perked up as the day wore on. So, I guess it was just simple exhaustion. Still, my bed looked awfully inviting last night! Oh, the bliss and comfort of a hot water bottle on a cold night.
Wednesday, January 24
WRITING IN CODE
Saw this lying around yesterday. Secret code, written for fun by one of the boys. Personally, I am always trying to understand people, events, situations (code cracker of the mundane?) rather than trying to further obfuscate the already somewhat unintelligible. But maybe that is an Autism Mom thing.
FAVORITE for the writing challenge.
Monday, January 22
and miserable. My poor Henry. He is mostly past the lying-in-bed-like-a-limp-rag part of his illness. But this next stage seems to have moments of utter misery and despair, possibly due to pain or boredom or the unsettled feeling of being out of his normal routine. Who can say? The clasped hands are not actually imploring me for anything: they are linked because seconds before he was raging and he has learned that squeezing his hands togther while he bellows has better consequences than what he really wants to do: squeeze his mother's head till her jaw snaps. Ouch! He is soon going to be as tall as I am too, so I am glad for his new rage dispersal method, however temporary.
Anyway, this rage seemed to sap what little strength he had mustered, and he is now back upstairs lying in bed like a wet rag. And I do mean wet. Washing machine ho!
Saturday, January 20
The twins turned thirteen today! Henry, home from school for the weekend, celebrated by getting ferociously ill. He has spent most of the day in bed. And we've had to change his sheets and pajamas nine times today so far, it's that kind of illness. (Aren't you glad I shared this detail?) It is so hard because he can't talk and we have to guess what to do for him, based only on his various symptoms and reactions. In some ways it is also easier because he can't talk, and complain and whine and demand things. (But I'd take complaints over silence anyday of course!) P, in contrast, had a nice day hanging out with a friend, biking around town, relishing a special dinner and enjoying his gifts. Henry came down for the celebration, ate a few bites of cake, looked at his gifts and went back to bed. The poor baby...er... teenager!
Friday, January 19
scream the children. Slower slower, implore the adults. I can't believe we are heading towards the end of January already. My twins turn thirteen tomorrow...
Thursday, January 18
We are having our first sticking snow today! It is lovely, but even as I type this the storm is slowing down. I suspect all we will be left with is a fine dusting, like powdered sugar on a doughnut. Snow just the way I like it!
Wednesday, January 17
pilgrim. I asked H to pause a moment in his back yard play so that I could take a few test shots for lighting. He complied with his usual good grace...but a tinge of long-suffering-ness comes through. This faintly martyred expression, along with the staff (broom handle javelin really), and the forsythia "halo" gives him the air of a pilgrim or young man on a quest. Bonjour Monsieur H!
Tuesday, January 16
and a little sad. What you can't see clearly in this picture is the BB hole in the glass, right above the sale sign. Adds a certain poignancy to the scene, but I wasn't able to get the right angle. While I was shooting I noticed some agitated movement within the store. Just in case someone pointing a long black lens at the store front was causing distress, I quickly moved on. I didn't want a confrontation with the store owner. I am gathering from the massive sale sign and the hole in the glass that she is maybe not in the best frame of mind right now, and wouldn't have been receptive to measured discussions of art and blogging... Yeah, okay, I'm chicken! And that's sad too, come to think of it.
Monday, January 15
A bit of a departure for me. I was trying to shoot a macro shot of a leather bag hanging in my closet and didn't realize this bejeweled velvet clutch was in the background. Steep hill by moonlight?
Today being Martin Luther King Junior Day, here in the States, I noticed a terrific quotation by him on another blog, which prompted me to look him up on BrainyQuote. A lot of good ones there, some quite high-minded as expected, others more earthy and zingy. Here is one I enjoyed mentally chewing on for a while:
Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
An updated redux of Plato's Allegory of the Cave? Hard to tell, taken out of context.
******************************************************************************************************************************FAVOURITE: Leather Challenge.
Saturday, January 13
Léon Fréderic, 1894, Winter
approaches-snow in his hair-
flowers on his back
It has certainly been an unusual winter. Robins running around on the still-green grass. Bushes blossoming. Buds swelling on twigs. But a forecast of snow on the way! This painting is at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of four bizarre, compelling paintings representing the seasons, by Belgian symbolist Léon Fréderic.
Friday, January 12
as a duck pond. Actually, that is not all that peaceful is it? Lots of activity: birds, fish, insects, squirrels. This duckpond at nearby Haverford College is a favorite hang-out for duck-loving bread-flingers of all ages, and lots of dog walkers also make it a regular stop on their route. The occasional college student drops by to ponder the meaning of life. It's a busy place for such a peaceful little backwater!
Thursday, January 11
FOLLOW YOUR STAR
We are going to start packing up the Christmas decorations this weekend. Our "tradition" is we do this the first weekend after Three King's Day. Ok, really our tradition is that we are lazy. But also, once all the bother of putting up the tree and all the trimmings is over, I truly delight in them! Especially the tree, lit up at night: so beautiful. And I don't start feeling that the decorations are unseasonal until, oh, say, close to Valentine's Day.
These little blobby snow babies actually have quite a bit of personality when you look at them closely. I like the hopeful but not entirely confident expression on the face of the baby holding up a star.
Wednesday, January 10
My book group just read Wuthering Heights, a revisit for most of us. I noticed that we each had a completely different edition (those who'd brought the book along that is.) The actual words of the novel were the same, but that's about it. And we all had very different reactions to the book as well! I wonder if the formats had anything to do with that?
I do enjoy discussing books, but truth be told, the real fun of the meeting is connecting with the other women in the group. The modern equivalent of the 1950's bridge group or 1960's coffee klatsch? Those women-getting-together-and-talking groups were belittled for so long, but I think people are now realizing how actually important they are. Hence the proliferation of book groups. Reminds me that when I was in Mexico a decade and a half ago, we visited a town with a communal laundry washing area. I was surprised at how many women were there, both old and young. I asked my aunt who lives in the area if this was because they had no running water in their homes. She laughed and admitted that actually every home had running water now, but the women liked to get together and talk and this lavandería gave them a reason!
Tuesday, January 9
on my windowsill. Whenever I see a zebra I think of the saying When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. Meaning the simplest explanation (or diagnosis) is probably the correct one. This precept is also known as Occam's Razor. I do think it is generally true. But when in life you have had a few presumed horses turn suddenly into zebras... you learn to keep one eye out for stripes!
Monday, January 8
I have been eager to post this shot ever since I took it on Christmas Eve a few weeks ago. But I couldn't think of a hook, or a reason, other than simply "Isn't this sweet?" And that is not really my style. Luckily, today's Moody Monday theme is "Cute" - so hooray! Here is my chance. This little girl is a distant cousin on my husband's side. She and her equally adorable sister wore matching taffeta and velvet dresses: like a left-right punch straight to the heart for a mother of three boys!
Sunday, January 7
who's got the button? I was sewing a button on some boy pants earlier today. A chore made fun by getting the chance to play with my button collection. My father's mother was a very fine sewer and I inherited some of her button collection. I didn't really know her well, she didn't live near us and she died fairly young, so I like to pore over these little links to her history and imagine the tales they could tell.
Saturday, January 6
We went for a family bike ride earlier today because the weather was so incredibly warm. It hit 71 degrees Farhenheit (that's about 30 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year!) Shorts and tee shirts in January? Creepy. We stopped by one of our favorite visiting spots, the head-drying grounds behind Saint Joseph's University art building. My husband Paul was joking around a little and I could not resist taking the picture. I prefer the head on the right, don't you?
Friday, January 5
Interspecies bonding in the chicken run at a friend's party a few weeks ago. Not sure what the hens felt about being so petted and adored, but the girls sure enjoyed themselves.
Thursday, January 4
GONE IN A FLASH
Henry is home from his school for a long winter vacation. One of the errand destinations I can usually take him to fairly easily is our local Trader Joe's, a grocery chainstore. It is a small sized shop, brightly lit, with cheerful cartoon signs all over and I guess the feng shui is good because we can usually get in and out pretty quickly and smoothly. Unlike bringing Hen along to the local supermarkets at which Paul and I have amassed many a blood-curdling tale: having to abandon carts midway the expedition due to Hen's sudden terrors or rages, apologizing for knocked-over displays and the startling of elderly folks and babies. Well...OK, enough about that. Trader Joe's often gives away balloons to little kids. I sometimes get one for almost thirteen year old Henry (still a little kid in many ways.) He bobs it around delightedly in the store and carefully carries it into the car to take home. But INVARIABLY, as soon as home is reached, he opens the door and quite deliberately lets it go.....
We watch it ascend into the heavens. Then he gets upset when it doesn't come back. How to explain?
Wednesday, January 3
a new year and people
laugh cry make resolutions-
winter berries gone by spring
Tuesday, January 2
A ROCKING BREAKFAST
at the Autism Cafe this morning. Henry "asked" me for (handed me the containers of) leftover egg noodles and vinaigrette and ketchup (a piquant morning combination) and sat down to eat. But then he got distracted by the music playing on the kitchen CD player. Swept up in rocking and listening he did not eat a bite until the song ended and another, less spiritually gripping one, came on. The song that spoke to him was Baloo, Lammy by Bonnie Rideout, in case you're interested!
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