Monday, March 20, 2017

i miss mardi gras

my grad school days in southern louisiana were made all the better for being introduced to mardi gras festivities.

i miss king cake. etouffee. gumbo. still have my favorites beads, though, and music that gets me in the mood to sing along.

these guys helped us remember mardi gras this year: boudreaux & thibodaux, honest-to-goodness louisiana crawfish.


in a bizarre and unexpected twist of weather, we got a bit of snowfall just before spring. i think it was the only substantial amount that fell this season; enough to close or delay school for a few days, but not enough to go outside and play with the snow gear i so responsibly stocked up on at sales last fall.

i made sure there was suet in the feeders and my little feathered friends wasted no time in squabbling over it. with my lack of flash, dirty windows, and shaky photography, you'll just have to take my word for it that i could identify everybody.


bluebird and the juncos

eastern bluebirds - possibly a mating pair?

european starling

carolina wren
from my facebook post:

Been playing Birdy Bingo with my kids throughout the day. With the recent snow, all the birds are coming to my feeders and I wanted my children to join me in identifying the Eastern Bluebirds (possible breeding pair?), Carolina Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers, European Starlings, and Black-Capped Chickadees that come to the suet feeders, along with the Northern Cardinals and American Goldfinches that frequent the seed feeders, and the Dark-Eyed Juncos who hang out underneath both to pick up the bits that drop down. What I haven't seen today are the White-Breasted Nuthatches. 
How do we play Birdy Bingo? Not with bingo cards, as one might expect. Instead, whenever one of the kids correctly identifies a bird, I yell "BING BING BING!" (Thanks to my eldest, who pointed out to me that my "binging" made it Bingo.)


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

fantastic parties and how to throw them

artemis impresses me every single year with the birthday parties - invitations and decorations, creativity and cake, guests and games, planning and possibilities - all brought to fruition solely by this remarkable young person whom i've had the distinct honor and privilege to cultivate. to mark the successful conclusion of fourteen years of existence outside my womb, remy threw another epic party, this time based on the movie fantastic beasts and where to find them.

fans of harry potter may be familiar with the occamy:

movie enthusiasts may recognize such significant elements as newt's suitcase with the undetectable extension charm, which was recreated imaginatively within a stairwell:

note the specific book titles, chosen carefully as a nod to harry potter, magical beats, and detection

come and see what is contained herein:

a surprisingly easy-to-spot bowtruckle

a surprisingly un-shy mooncalf

MACUSA's magical exposure threat level device

there were things to do to indulge creative tendencies, like "make-your-own fantastic beast" out of cardstock and tape:

a version of the hedbanz game, highly popular among the tween/teen crowd, using characters and beasts from the movie artistically rendered by artemis:

and a "who's-the-best-niffler" game (adults hid hundreds of plastic gold coins around the first floor of the house, then party people scrambled to collect the most to win the coveted candy bar)

i found it fascinating to see the methods by which each player counted their collected coins

recalling the delights of jacob's bakery (kowalski quality baked goods), we had cinnamon rolls and cheesy naan and little scones and cake. oh, the cake, a delightful and tasty treat baked and constructed by steve (as always) and designed and decorated by artemis, right down to the silvery eggs:

a good time was indeed had by all, as evidenced by the proliferation of dabbing:

happy birthday, artemis.

Monday, March 13, 2017


artemis had a two week (spring) break from biology. i was able to persuade the teen to accompany me to visit the national gallery of art to experience the alexander calder exhibit in person.

this was no small undertaking for me. i don't feel comfortable in big cities. i have difficulty navigating - either walking or diving - and i easily get disoriented. things feel too much and more than i can handle.

but i was brave and determined. i had an experienced d.c. explorer and metro traveler at my side. we made it there and back and actually enjoyed ourselves along the way.

view through my sunglasses and the metro window. the colors were even more vivid than my camera could capture

artemis was so cold on this windy day

calder permanent installation in the east building's central court atrium

it's a 76-foot long mobile

13 panels, 12 arms, 920 pounds

"capricorn" by max ernst

the faces & poses make me smile
there are actual poppies in anselm kiefer's lead and glass sculpture "angel of history"

a friend suggested i take time to experience leo villreal's "multiverse" light sculpture. it's got a moving walkway (and my accommodating teen, when i'm very lucky!)

within the calder exhibit:

"crinkly worm"

"rearing stallion"

david smith's "circle"

andy goldsworthy's "roof" drew us both in"

within the book area in the gift shop

back to the lights

my next first album cover
back to the stone hives

we'll go there on another day