Maria loves art. Alex is her favorite artist of the moment. He came home with a project completed at school for Valentine’s Day, and she has been showing it around, proudly saying, “Look, look. Perty, perty.” She says things in pairs. It’s cute, cute.
Alex, this is a pretty, pretty piece. Where shall we hang it?
Max slept a little better last night, so hopefully he is on the mend. He’s playing more piano, which I take to be another sign of his recovery. Have I written about his original compositions? He has developed his own system for musical notation and he writes piano pieces, which he plays. They are soothing and pleasant to listen to. I also like it when he does musical interpretations of “Do a Deer” and “Yo-Ho a Pirate’s Life For Me.” He likes me to guess what he’s changed. He knows just how to play them so they change mood, and it’s not a matter of hitting the keys harder or softer. He actually changes keys and arrangements. This may call for figuring out how to add video files to Chickenblog.
When Mitchell’s mom, Julie, came by last night, Maria was carrying Alex’s art around and Max was playing piano. William was at the computer, working on an essay response to reading the first 5 chapters of Huck Finn. Our usual assortment of projects and messes were spread throughout the house, and Julie said kindly that our ‘home is brimming with talent and activity.’ Well it is brimming with something, (that’s just my self-deprecating aside.) I thanked her. I managed to not deflect her praise or to misinterpret it as a comment on chaos and clutter. I looked around and absorbed the truth that happy, creative, curious, clever and active people live here. I even felt a joyful spark of pleasure from the realization that life around here reminds me of one of my favorite movies, “You Can’t Take It With You.”
We don’t have a Russian dance instructor who comes for dinner, or fireworks in the basement, (we keep ours in the garage) but we do seem to enjoy our creative outlets and freedoms. My idea of a happy home more closely resembles the Sycamores’ freethinking haven than anything else I can think of. I guess that’s why we’ve lived with Lego robots on the dining table, bunk beds in the dining room, chickens as pets, showering outside the kitchen window, home-schooling, and making a soup kitchen on the front porch.
We are trying to make plans for a long over-due vacation. We are applying only one rule, and other general guidelines. The rule is: We have to go somewhere we have never been before. We are still undecided. I picked up ”500 Place to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up” for fun and amusement. We’ve been to 30 of the recommended places with our children, and learning this we actually felt a little pride, a little bit like we’ve done something right. Isn’t that silly?
William and I like to close our eyes then pick our vacation spot by flipping through and stopping with a finger on a random page. Last night we landed on Osaka’s Aquarium Kaiyukan, which looks really great. We would definitely have to add The Studio Ghibli Museum to any visit to Japan. (Weird. Why can't I have super code powers? If this link isn't working and you must see a really cool collection of Ghibli Museum photos, then cut and paste this URL: http://www.tautoz.com/ghiblimuseum/) The book isn’t necessarily a great guidebook and I wouldn’t rely solely on its suggestions for ideal destinations, but it’s been an amusing starting point. Eventually we’ll need to do more than speculate and ponder. For me, the planning is the start of the adventure. What’s your favorite part of a vacation or trip?