Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016

I do like living in a neighborhood that has fun with Halloween.  Tons of people out for trick-or-treat, the Pumpkin Pavilion event, and I don't think anyplace in the country has anything as cool as Zombie Hill.  They outdid themselves this year:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mona the Scorpion!

Mona is amazing.  She made her costume almost completely unassisted this year.  She did all the sewing on the machine including the zipper.  She watched me do parts of Quinn's costume (since there were useful similarities) and then copied what I did where it worked, and came up with her own ideas where it didn't.  The only thing I helped with was occasionally unjamming the sewing machine when it acted up, and I hand stitched on all the extra legs for her torso while she was at school to save her a little time.

Honestly, she did a much better job of creating a scorpion costume than I would have.  Her attention to detail is impressive, and she did many things in a way I wouldn't have tried that worked beautifully.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Quinn the Lobster!

Check out my son the lobster!
I gave myself a head start on Halloween costumes this year because I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time in October, but then it turns out I only needed to make one costume.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Which Part of the Moment?

Recently I've been pondering the idea of "living in the moment."  The phrase sounds virtuous in its simplicity, but I'm not finding it all that simple.

Parts of it I get.  When I look at each of my children and am occasionally overwhelmed with how fast it's all going by, I try very hard to really look at them.  I want to be present and appreciate who they are at that specific time.  When I'm at a concert I try to clear my mind as best I can of the flutter of mental distractions that vie for my attention so I can truly hear the music as it's happening.  When I practice I know I need to focus in order to be productive.  When I snuggle up against my husband at night, I know not to take such basic comforts for granted.

I've even learned to accept living in the moment when it involves pain.  Occasionally I suffer debilitating headaches, and I've found the best thing to do is not to resist.  When I took birthing classes before having Aden I remember the instructor refusing to use the word pain to talk about labor, preferring to tell her pregnant and nervous pupils that it was merely "an interesting sensation."  That, frankly, is disingenuous at best, but there is something to it.  If you don't have a choice about being in pain, fighting it adds to its intensity.  Better to relax and find it "an interesting sensation" if possible.

So I see the value of "living in the moment."  The problem I'm having is that the phrase seems to imply that there is only one thing in that moment.  What if the moment is multi-faceted?  What if living in the moment is about reflecting on the past or planning for the future?  What about all the choices you might have to make about what living in the moment actually means?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Now and Then

Lots of busy days recently, but oddly many moments in which to reflect on the passage of time.  Between remodeling the kitchen where we're trying to put in something new that reflects the past, and my oldest baby starting high school, I find myself thinking a lot about where we are now and how things used to be.

Last weekend I got to participate in a wonderful event organized through the VSA (Violin Society of America).  They have a large convention every year, and I will be returning to Cleveland next month for this year's gathering.  But lately they've also been doing smaller regional events.  This recent one happened to be in Detroit, so I jumped at the opportunity to go since I would also get to spend time with my mom.

The focus was the collection of instruments owned by Henry Ford.  Apparently he was a fiddler, and since he was also rich he decided to fiddle on incredibly valuable instruments, including two Strads.

We were allotted time to examine eight important violins.  There were armed guards and strict rules about not wearing any necklaces or rings while handing the instruments, and for some reason we couldn't take photographs, so I don't have any to share.  I did get a shot of where the violins are usually displayed, so there's that:
The closest we get to studying with the old masters is to look carefully at what they did and try to emulate it when we can.  It's always exciting to hold a Strad.  There was an Amati in the collection that was stunning, and a Guarneri, and a curious violin played by Maud Powell who was the first American woman to be a successful international violin soloist.  My favorite instrument at this viewing was the 1740 Carlo Bergonzi.  That's not a name people outside of luthier circles usually know, be he was kind of a violin maker's violin maker.  His work is beautiful and precise and rare.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Lighting and Cabinets and Walls, Oh My!

Lots of progress in the kitchen in the past couple of weeks!  We're in the odds and ends phase now, where there is still stuff to build but all the major elements are there.  The back splash can't happen until the counters are installed, there are still holes to plug and a bit of painting to do, and the last steps will be finishing the floors and installing appliances, but at least now it''s all starting to look like a kitchen again.

The last pictures I shared were all of the demolition.  Since then walls went in, and floors.