Saturday, October 31, 2015

pumpkin day . . .

ander's book preference for hallowe'en was an old favorite; pumpkin day, pumpkin night by anne rockwell. he was eager to recreate the narrative, so we started with a friend at krop's crops.

finding just the right one

"i shall call him Mister Pumpkin"

at almost 14 pounds, mr. pumpkin was a little unwieldy to carry all the way to checkout

where are my legs?

Friday, October 30, 2015

back in time

the year is 1525. the place is revel grove, oxfordshire, england. plenty of room for cosplay & revelry. this is the maryland renaissance festival.

many of these delightful photos were taken by steve or shari (our comrade-in-arms for this adventure). that's how i appear in a few of them :)

once we got through the loooong, tedious traffic in order to park, this was a welcome sight.

we saw these "tree people" all day, walking and chanting everywhere they went
first things first - gotta get some food

not quite the "badger & sword" pub we'd hoped for, but close
about time my son was properly fitted for his own weapon

his size belies his ferocity with a sword
the kids' play area's pirate ship was BRILLIANT

archery demonstration

methinks a pagan forest god or green man

cheerleader for the jousting

king henry viii & catherine of aragon

a jousting challenger from the holy roman empire


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

home sweet home design

having written about diana's skyscraper project, i realized that i never did get around to describing her first experience at architectural design back in the spring.

this class was the first one of its kind offered at compass. registration for the class was in such demand that they made it possible for another section to open. signing up on a wait list has its advantages - she got in.

the teacher served as the client, requesting a 30' x 60' "footprint" single-person, one-story home with ocean and mountain views (a person can dream, you know) with a gourmet kitchen for entertaining and plenty of storage for outdoor sports equipment. the rest of the design decisions were up to the individual students.


floor plan
bird's-eye roof view - this was a big challenge for her

colors & kitchen design

other details

more details
her presentation style is clear, unapologetic, and enthusiastic. you can definitely see her in her design for others.

the architect teacher with a happy student
to be clear, diana said she does not intend on pursuing architecture as a career. she really wanted to learn how she could design her own home as an adult rather than rely on someone else's interpretation of what she wanted. after taking this class, it's clearer in her mind what can be done in a safe and solid way and and how to translate her dream into construction documents to follow. who knows where this knowledge and experience will lead her?

oh, and she commented months later, whilst playing minecraft, that the best thing about the class is that she finally learned how to design a proper roof. so there you go. wins all around.

Monday, October 26, 2015

skyscraper design

diana recently finished up another arKIDtecture class at compass. this time the focus was on building skyscrapers.

it was an intense seven weeks. i think it helped that diana and some of her classmates had some experience with the process, having done it in the spring for a single home design class. but still, having one fewer week in the session plus the added study of the details in what makes a skyscraper, the teacher pushed these 7-9th graders to really see what they could accomplish.

i was amazed to see how diana found her own ways and times to get into her creative flow. *she* broke the large task into manageable chunks and scheduled them around her other activities. her self-induced drive to be creative and attentive in the details her work brought out some of the worst but mostly the best in her. i was grateful when *she* would invite me to look at different elements and ask for feedback and initiate discussions about design concepts and decisions. to witness *her* struggles and heartfelt effort and mistakes and recovery and revisions and then to see her emerge confident and proud of what she had created was beautiful to behold.

my apologies in advance for viewing difficulties of the lines. these construction documents, especially the elevation, were done in pencil and the time & effort necessary to make them darker for greater visibility was just prohibitive for this project.

#pbh at the heart, baby!

presentation of charette
ground floor is lobby

prismed glass roof to create rooftop greenhouse space
fabulous details

color and furnishing options

hexagonal design has two mirrored apartments on each of 15 floors. i especially love how the patio space is accessible to both dining and living rooms to enlarge it and allow the outside in.

enthusiastic presentation to audience of classmates & parents

proposed skyline of student works, including residential, retail, & office spaces, manufacturing, military, dance academy/performance hall, and library. looks like a nice place to live.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


we went to our first air & scare at the smithsonian air & space museum, udvar-hazy center two years ago. my memory was of long lines and lots of people and my son in a particularly adorable costume which he did not want to wear once we got there. so ander and i sat it out last year, letting diana and steve attend with friends.

this year was different, though. with ander's increasing exploration of All Things Star Wars, his eyes were drawn to a photo of star wars character cosplay and he asked where it would happen and please could he go.

with much trepidation and very low expectations on my part, we made the arrangements to attend. it was worth every moment.

easy entry to parking lot. quick-moving line to get inside. catching up with friends even before we got in the door. gracious and patient cosplayers and volunteers and staff and other families with trick-or-treaters. sooo many fellow vaders.

dodging all but one candy station and bypassing the activities, ander was on a focused mission to find jedi kids to battle. he was not disappointed, though i think the parents of most of the other children wished that there wouldn't be so much light sabering happening. fortunately, we found some open space and a couple of willing opponents. in between there were nods of recognition among the other young sith, appreciation of and attention to detail by other young jedi, stormtroopers, and bounty hunters, and animated spottings of chewbaccas, han solos, princess leias, jabbas the hut, a sand creature and some of the most darling little yodas ever. ander easily found his people there among the crowds.

plenty of kids were drawn to ander's enthusiasm and charisma. one young girl, about ander's height and dressed in a classy-looking supergirl costume, came out of a candy line in order to express her admiration for him. another tiny boy in a delightfully accurate-looking bb-8 astromech droid spent some time exploring ander's mask and light saber and the two had fun playing chase in a safe space.

also lots of photo opportunities, because he could wear his mask and there were NO EVIL BLINDING FLASHES from cameras.

standing in line to get in: legolas, darth vader, zom-bee

fear me! i command the power of the dark side of the force!

bee-utiful and creepy at the same time.i think it was the effect she was going for.

with ahsoka

with sand troopers

with boba fett

r5-d8 astromech driod

droids with attendant jawa


with r2-d2

with biggs

with tie fighter pilot

with imperial officer

big darth & little darth

battling obi-wan kenobi

battling luke skywalker

it was a really, really good time. good enough that ander woke up happily reminiscing about having met and dueled with *young luke* and asking to go again next year dressed as a jedi so he could find sith kids to battle. sure, little buddy. so much yes.