Sketching

Where is the best place to make art?

On Greek Revival steps at the base of the Bunker Hill Monument?

By the glow of the dim emergency lights during the Charlestown Naval Yard’s introduction video?

In the shadow of an old photograph of an even older warship?

Or is it all of the above?

We never know when the need to sketch will strike. Today the need seemed to arise every time we paused for even a moment during our visit to Boston.

Were they drawing sketches of the historic sites we were visiting? Making architectural sketches or maps? Not today. Their interests leaned more towards dress designs and cartoon cats.

Art has the power to be a conduit for connection- between individuals, between cultures and between disciplines. The practice of creating is often art itself. The girls were soaking in their surroundings, putting their ideas and visions onto paper and making a physical/kinetic connection between the sites we visited and the drawings they created.

Where is the best place to make art?

Wherever you are.

A Kayak Adventure

We kayaked across the south end of Katama Bay this afternoon as Catherine went out solo in her kayak for the first time!

She paddled steady, kept her eye on the destination point of reference and easily made it across to the beach and back. What a kid!

The Swimming Gene

Here’s Catherine in her happiest of happy places, face down in the ocean with her mask and snorkel. I don’t think she lifted her head for a good 15 minutes at least!

“Mama, I think that I got the ‘liking swimming’ gene from you. And you must have gotten it from Grandpa.” This girl sure knows her biology!

Ye Haw, Elsa!

Halloween in July!

(As if these Salem girls don’t have enough Halloween in their year!)

They played spooky games, ate ‘spiders’, went trick or treating and then Catherine rode off into the sunset on Golden Amber. What a night.

Ghost Writer

We have been so, so fortunate to have had many days in a row of perfect, summer, beach weather! After the winter we just had, you can be sure that we have been taking full advantage of these lovely days!

Today, though, when the girls and I were discussing our plans, they asked if we couldn’t have a “home day”. I wrestled with myself a little bit- home days tend to have a little more tv in them than I’d like and I usually end up cleaning up scads of art projects gone amiss.. but the three of us did need a day out of the sun, so, in the end, we stayed home.

This week at the library, I stumbled across a dvd collection of Ghost Writer episodes. They were instantly checked out as I floated home surround by a cloud of nostalgia. I popped the first dvd in this morning, not knowing that the house would soon be filled with Ghost Writer hysteria!

Posters were made and Ghost Writer fan pennants were crafted and taped to colored pencils to wave around. Esme practiced her new reading skills with every new note on the screen and Catherine set to work making keys and writing notes in code. When doing things in another room I was visited frequently and given detailed updates on the plots and the clues the kids were using to solve their mysteries. Plans were made for the forming of a potential Ghost Writer fan club. Episode after episode after episode was eagerly consumed.

I had hoped they would enjoy it, as I did, but I hadn’t expected their all consuming enthusiasm for a twenty four year old* PBS show. It was all just to fantastic! In a world where kids tv shows with diverse, smart, girls and boys are hard to find, I’m glad that this one can stand the test of time…mostly!

The girls are in bed now, but they changed into their pjs talking about GW and I’m sure it will be the first thing they want to do in the morning. They may have spent a huge part of today watching tv, but they used their minds and talents creatively, made connections, practiced new and old skills and were thoroughly entertained. Win, win, win, win, win.

*Catherine did note, “This show must be pretty old. I can tell because of all the old fashioned things.” So, true, Catherine. And you didn’t even mention the wardrobes!

Not Always Awesome (but still Awesome!)

If you take a close look at the above photo, you’ll notice that only 50% of the children are smiling. The other 50% are scowling for some unknown reason. But now, after the fact, they will both tell you that they had a great walk up to the light house and back.

This is how many (if not most) of our particular family’s outings tend to go. We might have a good start, but sometimes it’s rocky. One or another of us doesn’t want to go. Then things are great for a while…until things aren’t great for someone (or everyone). Sometime in the middle we hear, “aren’t we going home yet?” from one and “I never want to go home” from the other. And more often than not, we have a very pleasant second half of the trip as we wind our way homeward. All in all, our outings skew towards the awesome end of things, with a hefty sprinkling of “why, oh why, did we decide to do this?” added in for good measure.

Even with all of the complaints and the feet dragging and anything else they throw at us, I wouldn’t give up these trips, big and small, for anything. Even on the worst days when they fight me the whole time just to turn around and say how much fun they had.

Day by day, outing by outing, we are all learning to work through our feelings. Tiredness, not getting our way-edness, tempering our glee when we do get our way, keeping on keeping on, and so forth.

And some outings are perfect from the word go. Go figure.