Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Day the Music Lived

Blissful sigh..... alone with my thoughts again at last...
A few days ago I picked up an old school-looking am/fm radio with a record player on top, CD slot barely visible between the old dials on the face, and cassette tape slot on the side. Oddly enough, the first song we heard when we turned the radio dial was "American Pie." Here's a video of the day the music lived again in the Flint-Last household.

I'm now happily listening to a CD of Cat Power being played skip-free through the woody speakers, feet kicked up on the couch, not a baby in sight, basking in the glow of our tiny tree in an otherwise empty house.....aaaaaahhhhhhhh.

I really don't know where to start in describing my life of late (as in the last month). Trying to paint for a show opening in now less than a month, eloping with Mike and honeymooning with a baby, shopping for Christmas presents and shipping everything by Dec. 14th so I could put my mind to other things, taking on two free-lance design jobs (something I never would have attempted if it hadn't been for good friends willing to pay well and if our car hadn't ended up in the shop), maintaining a household, learning how not to be a big sister to my 20 year old sister and her worm-infested cat, all this whilst still making myself available as Penelope's doting mother. I guess to summarize, life for me lately has been an exercise in patience and surrender. I feel like one of those tiny sand box toys, you know, the ones with the little sand-mill that dumps the fine filtered pile of sand in a little dome by it's feet - I feel like I'm the sand mill in the middle of a huge sand-storm and the tiny grains of sand are what's left of my patience and my being, everything that ends up in my paintings. The art has helped me through so much, and it's been so inspite-of-myself-honest that I feel the work is better for it. As I'm running out of time now to achieve my full vision of all the pieces I had hoped to or made sketchers for being in the show, I'm reaching a place of closure with it. Whatever doesn't seemed resolved seems appropriately so. The remaining panels seem unresolved or too personal, like the graphic "nativity" scene (come on, who really wants a painting of Penelope's birth on their wall?!), and what I think will end up being my piece about weaning (as I haven't weaned yet, I just trust that one will work itself out when I get there). The m.o. "paint what you know" just seems to keep holding true and I trust it implicitly here. I'm rather pleased I was able to get all the Christmas hoo-haw out of my system last week so that I can now just focus on the final touches on one of the larger pieces which I so wanted to bring a step further. I've added the new concept to the piece I think I might entitle "Me and my Shadow" the other night. I think once I can really achieve a sense of space and make the false backdrop look like a painting within a painting I will have achieved more than I had dared hope for with these few new works. I picked up the "Birth" piece (the splitting pomegranate piece pictured in an earlier blog) from Raven Frameworks this week along with the "Milk Giver" piece and the sperm-meets-pomegranate seed shapes on the molding of the frames are just stunning. I'm just squirming with anticipation at this point to see them all held in the gallery space together whispering their secrets to each other - like the thick silent roar of the museums in Paris or in a library - I like to pretend that's what that sound is, books and paintings talking to each other. But to see all of them, framed and dusted, under the hallogens, on a creamy white wall that falls away like a thick fog behind the piece. To see how the paintings stand on their own away from the chaos of my studio and my life, that will be my moment when my knotts will untie and I will hope to feel "You've arrived my dear. Congratulations. Now rest for a while."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yesterday cont....

I almost forgot the Penny milestones! Yesterday Penny used the potty for the first time! It was sort of a case of being in the right place at the right time without your pants on - I'll spare the details and those that want them can call and ask but it was pretty exciting. She is also saying "pants", a full "hello" not just "hi", is often putting multiple words and/or signs together, and is very clear about her preferences (eg.: hot cerial vrs. cold serial, etc...). Her ever increasing brilliance never ceases to impress me. Here's a sweet moment we had this week:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Revelation Week

This week doesn't seem to be slowing down in intensity for me really - but not for lack of trying. I even went so far as to get up early one morning before Penny was awake even and started the tea and did some yoga (which hasn't happened in ages for me) and I got a full hour of me time first thing no less! If you are not or have never been a mother, you might be stunned as to why the incredulous tone. My day usually begins with a smack on the face or a fistfull of my hair being pulled out by Penny and a cheery "HI!" an inch from my nose and sometimes a bonus wet morning baby kiss (which are the best!!!) and a gesture towards the door, then a diaper, a mad dash to the bathroom to see to my own needs, then take my best shot at convincing Penny that brushing our teeth is a realy fun game, then if I'm very lucky a quick shower in which I need to dance and sing (and any other form of entertainment that you would assume might best be reserved for opportunely clothed moments) for Penny whilst trying to actually clean myself, followed by running Penny her own bath and hopping on one foot trying to be in two rooms at once between getting on each article of clothing so I can be sure she doesn't drown in two inches of water. On the days she's really into bath time I get to dry my hair and that coupled with a hot morning chai can make me feel almost human again, maybe not like much of a woman, but human. An hour later I'm picking Penny's crusty oatmeal breakfast off my jeans. This is my life.

Intensity, yes, as I was saying. Every day I seem to set out expecting one kind of day and then something else entirely seems to unfold. It's not been stemming from the painting this week - in fact I've ended up having very little time in the studio at all. Since last week was about research, it only follows that now come the revelations. Here was today's revelation I jotted down in my sketch book:
"Last night I dreamt I was planting an herb garden - and it hit me today: Last weekend when Mike and I had one of our first real difficult dissagreements and then finally when after two days we reached a point of understanding about our silly non problems - reached that point in an conflict where you finally hit the root of the matter - the kind of resolve that unveils what really motivated one to get bent out of shape about who puts the fresh garbage bags in the can - when you reach the emotional core and you can finally move through it and move on. I find it interesting that after our big talk I was dead-set on immediately going to work on pulling out the Rosemary bush that has swallowed our driveway and entry way whole, the monster of my discontent that has been staring me down for months now (I pulled the other one out while I was pregnant that one month I actually had energy and I was back for blood this time). Penny asleep in the car still we wrapped a rope around the base of the bush and yoinked it out if seconds flat. I think we were both surprised at how easily it came free, and instantly we felt the catharsis and the symbolism of what had just taken place. I went to work planting new flowers in the bed and sweeping the driveway while Mike became the caseworker in the innocent until proven guilty Rosemary bush relocation program, which now resides under a new name in the far corner of the yard where it belongs and will be (where we will all be) much happier with it. The symbolism of this act, and the relief we both felt in planting something new where frustration had once flourished was not lost on us. We'll see if she appears in the next painting...hmmmm" [the gears are going again]

Here's the only tangible sign of headway I've made in the studio this week. The rest has just been the business of being an artist and not necessarily a whole lot of painting: running pieces to and from the framers (Terry you've been a life saver and source of solace every time I see you - Thank You!), I hit a few local stores with my greeting cards and magnets some success there, some heartbreak. I'm not used to having to put myself out there so much - in an art show you usually toil in solitude for a year or so and then have one night to let the work do all the talking, and the people that come are there to see it - I'm not as comforatable with having to do the talking and approaching other people peddling my art like I'm selling a Kirby. So, these are hard knocks but good ones, and the successes certianly make it easier to take the failures.

Today also ended up being about friends in need. I did a Tarot reading for a friend (which I hadn't done in years) and three major arcana cards came up - Jen, I know you'll understand the implications of this immediately. I also got to hob nob with midwife Emily for a little while (talk wedding stuff, relationship stuff, baby stuff, and of course discussed the really crucial question of the day, "so, what are you going to wear for the art show?" - which is still looming over my head unanswered ;)
My evening ended on a really lovely note as I was able to answer to the call to arms from my lady friend Rena to unite and validate, weild our affirmations and bare our souls. It had been a long time since I felt a sense of ritual, not since the full moon circles my grandma Berta hosted when I was her apprentice as an awkward child and almost-woman. Rena had this idea to write down the things we loved about each of the other and then share them aloud. I suggested writing them down in 4 separate notebooks so we could have a keepsake and reminder of this gesture. To be in the room was to know what it is for your heart to swell and there was not a dry eye in the place. How lucky I am to know so many poets. Heather and Amy, I also suggested that we transcribe our little party favors for you so that you two can add to them as well and we'll start our love poems to you as you were sorely missed and it was too special for you to have missed out on completely.

Mike, I'm missing you terribly and as I sit here typing, Penny is lying here next to me somehow managing to take up the whole bed in your absense. Thought you'd enjoy this little slideshow of how sweet and snuggly she looks right now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Down the rabbit hole

It's a rainy Oregon Saturday, Penny up at seven and napping by nine, eggs simmer on the stovetop, a British quiz show just audible from the kitchen radio.
How I wish I had more moments like this to hear my own thoughts. So much time passes these days where I can't quite discern what's happening in my life without seeing my thoughts tangibly in front of me.
This week has held a special kind of synchronisity and intensity - and I don't just mean little things like the last dish just fitting in the dishwasher, or having just enough butter to make two loaves of bread. Having my momentum back with the painting has pushed everything else into motion. Everything feels stirred up, cast open, leaving me feeling especially tapped in to something larger than myself, more atuned to life's billboards, but also feeling terribly exposed and vulnerable. shaken.
Despite my attempts to take the last couple days to rest up after these late nights, my nose has led me down the rabbit hole and I've had to heed the call. In following this rabbit's nose I've ended up at the door of several local artist's studios sometimes quite unintentionally. An old friend, a new friend, and the third, a collector of my work I thought I had lost all record of whom I didn't even know was a brilliant artist. Oddly enough all three are successful local artists who have each been here in Eugene 20-some years. All three are now entering the phase of their careers and lives where they can retire from having to do the production line, bread and butter products to keep themselves in paints and brushes, able to solely focus on doing the work they have always yearned to do. I always pictured this stage as what it's like to finally have "arrived" - a concept which, until now, I didn't really believe could be realized.
It's strange to knowingly be at the beginning of so many roads, a new marriage, a new family, new life, new art - so much in the thick of it that it seems to swallow us hole at times. I'm cherrishing those moments when we wake up in the middle of our day and think, I'm happy, truly happy, despite the struggle and lack of sleep, the diapers and the dishes, the inkling of knowing how much we truly don't know. It's a lovely kind of awakening, to realize life as you live it, and see magic there.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wet Paint

The last three days have been up at 7 with Penny until Erin gets home so I can sneak out to the studio, fixing dinner when Mike gets home, getting Penny bathed, boobed, booked and to bed by 8, then back out to the studio where we both work late until around 1 am. Whew, I'm spent! Erin's taken Penny for an outing so I'm going to draw a nice long breath and a nice long bath and hopefully a nice long nap will follow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Two down, only twelve more to go

Had a great time in the studio today - finished these two:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat?

Milestones to report:
So far this week Penny has signed music, elephant, giraffe and rain - she is also decidedly enamored with Uncle Dwayne (which isn't really new news at all).

Here's a cute moment we had this morning.

Today was interesting in that it ended up being about something totally different than I had supposed it was as I had Erin slated to babysit Penny all day so I could get to some real painting. She got called in for work however so we adapted our plans.

We decided to go trick-or-treating at my old place of employment and say hullo to some friends, drop off gifts etc... Man I miss that crew. It's the kind of place where people actually dress up for halloween and you can have lots of desk flare, and frankly, it's a place you WANT to go visit after an unpaid maternity leave. Penny was shaking in her elephant pants at the sight of Dave's abominable snowman costume however so on to running errands.

Home by noon and the studio is staring me down - I'm at the scary part now where I finally have everything I really need to begin the painting part of the rest of my pieces in earnest. I've got my custom cut wood panels, all the surfaces gessoed, all the sketches ready for transfering, the larger pieces stretched on their stretcher bars and here I find myself completely parylized. I don't know where to start. I had to get unstuck somehow so I called my old studio mate John Holdway for a little critique and brain-picking session and I'm so glad I did. He did a great job at keeping me focussed on beginning on the bits I was sure about and trusting that the other unresolved bits would work themselves out in time, to allow myself a little flexibility and sense of adventure by giving myself some leeway by NOT overplanning everything to the tiniest detail. JUST DO THE WORK. It always sounds so simple but it was just the kick in the behind I needed. He also gave me some great insight into this piece and a really great concept for where I think I want to take this painting. I'm not going to spoil the surprise as I don't know that I will have time to bring this any further than it is so stay tuned.

Here are some pics and video of our Halloween night out at Sam Bond's. We had a blast. Afterwards we went to the Hill's for snacks, wine and a cozy fire. Penny was acting so silly and sweet and stayed up until 9:30 without a melt down.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Freckled with Fall

It's been a pretty kicked back Saturday so far. Penny scooted up to Mike this morning, said "walk," signed horse and said "hat!" - that's as close to fully communicating as she's come so far.

Saturday market was dreamy today. The warm happy sun was shining down on warm happy faces - there are none more devoted sun worshipers than those from Oregon and I do love to watch them bask - the band was playing some old Gram Parsons tunes, we got our Bangkok Thai food craviings satiated, and we thought we had a sighting of the Flat Mountain Girl band but now we don't know who they are but they were great - here's the 6 second video clip I got before my camera ran out of batteries so if anyone knows who they are we'd love to know.

Afterwards we drove up to Skinner's Butte in the Volvo - which to me is such a happy driving experience compared to our gas guzzling grociery getter whose windows don't roll down - Penny fell asleep just on arriving so we parked and basked on the flagstone like true Oregonians and looked out on the city freckled with fall. Pretty spectacular.

Yesterday's Sun

Milestones to report:
Penny signed squirrel and tiger, and made her first drawing.

I love this time of year in Eugene, there's a kind of momentum to these crisp sunny autumn days - something in the wind that pushes us along to squirrel our little projects away before winter sets in, and still, a bittersweetness as the shadows grow long to stop and enjoy the color of the day.

Yesterday, we got to meet Jun(-bug), just returned from China with newly adopted doting parents Ben and Meagan. I remember how odd it seemed to us when we had just joined the parent-club, how people we'd kinda stopped seeing around since they had kids started eagerly coming out of the woodwork, with an unspoken understaning in their underslept eyes - like how fellow volswagon drivers wave to eachother with that wave that speaks vollumes. Funny to be in those shoes now, hopeful to know more hep folks that get it when you have to excuse yourself without much warning cause you can see the baby meltdown clock a-tickin, folks that will vallidate your ugly moment confessionals, and congratulate you when your kid fiinally slept through the night, and you can unabashedly discuss the intricacies of your diapering system without pausing to ask yourself if you're boring anyone by talking about poop so much. Hope I didn't seem too eager and scare them off, I never really know these days between lack of sleep and painting fumes what it is I'm talking about so much.

We took advantage of the sunny day and went for a bikeride to the park yesterday with Stacy and Avery. Of all the neat-o things to play with at the big park they seemed most interested in the concrete stairs - at least that made it so Stace and I got to stand near eachother and talk rather than chase after the kids in different directions. After we went to meet Mike and the Hills at Sam Bond's for beer and pizza. The moon on the ride back was huge and orange and spooky - we shouldn't have talked about ghosts on the ride home, my imagination is too vivid it seems and I kept identifying ghoulish faces in my bathrobe hanging on the door before bed. This is why I can't watch horror movies.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back in the swing

It's been a super week back. I got settled in last Friday, unpacked, stocked the fridge, etc.... Mike got back Saturday - we were so excited to see him I drove to the airport two hours early - Penny totally walked again for Mike and has done nothing but ask about him while he's at work, pointing inquisitively at his photos. She is still waking up around 4 or 5 in the morning to happily slap him on the back and say "Hi! Da-deeee!"
Sunday we got together with the Shula-Grooves and the Hills for some family fun out at Thistledown Farm and went for a horse-drawn hay ride to the pumpkin patch - it doesn't get any more wholesome than that I tell you. Came home and made apple pie and caught up with Erin - learned a thing or two about making your own pie crusts.

Had my pre-pre-show meeting at the Jacob's Gallery yesterday. We settled on the name of the show: "Reliquary, The Everyday Sacred" and it sounds like everyone's work will jive with it. I did feel a little vulnerable being the only one to bring photos of the work I'd finished so far and also the sketches I've done for future work, showing just how far I have to go - I got the feeling from the other artists that I wasn't alone on the last minute train however.

Today I spent five hours doing all the touch ups I needed to on the three large pieces - maybe it's the full moon, maybe it's that pomegranates are back in season, but some things got done, I tell you what!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Maui, Days 12-13

Yesterday was pretty bla. I was underslept and headachey, not feeling very inspired to write or draw, and missing Mike so much that my tummy hurt. I pretty much just spent the day trying to steal naps when Penny did or else watched her sleep when I couldn't, trying to pick out her features that most resemble Mike's.

Look how long she's getting!

Mom and Penny seem to be getting along swimmingly.

This morning I did some more sketching at the beach and gabbed on the phone. So and so got in a car accident, so and so finally got laid, etc....Life in Eugene trucks along with or without us. What a treat it was when yesterday I got to hear from a dear old artist buddy from my SB days. So good to still feel close and connected to those once thought long lost. Joey, I'm still counting on that mixed tape!

Today I packed, tomorrow we travel. This trip has been more rejuvinating and creatively prolific than I ever would have dreamed. Picked up some good habits (mostly a better diet and the drive n' sketch), lost a lot of the bad. Ready to jump back into "real" life and rainy Oregon all over again with a fresh perspective. Home again, home again jiggety jig.

Here are the new roughs. Feeling a little indifferent about these ones for some reason.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maui, Day 11

Today's been pretty mellow, mostly consumed with making phone calls to family and friends. I wouldn't be writing a blog today at all except that I'm feeling the pressure of there being a Day 1-10 and no Day 11 - which is a lame reason to write.

Here are the only noteworthy things to mention about today:

#1. Penny signed snow, girl, and boy.

#2. She also took a major face plant before bed which left her bleeding from her front teeth - nothing seems to be shaken loose except my cool.

#3. Teething tablets are half as expensive here - can you beat that?

....and, I wasn't going to mention #4. for fear of sounding petty but I have to come clean and let those of you know whom I told I thought I lost 10 pounds in my stay here, it turns out it was a faulty scale but I am still pleased about losing five. It turns out that living in a household without cheese could be a good thing for me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Maui, Day 10

This morning Penny woke up and immediately began systematically spewing her entire vocabulary of spoken and signed words, and I was surprised at how much she knows now. I don't know signs for half of the new stuff she wants to say so it's getting hard to keep up with her. So far she either says and/or signs and uses the following correctly:

hi • bye • cat • bird • dog • baby • hat • hair • eyes • mouth • teeth • nose • toothbrush • brush • horse • cow (and moooo) • this? • that? • bottle • boob • milk • drink • water • ocean • swim • flower • bath • surprise! • happy • silly • up • mom • dad • peek-a-boo • shoes • no • yes • hug • kiss • bear • ball • butt • potty• butterfly • diaper change • wind• go • car • uh-oh • wow • whoa • yuck! • Thank You (she just signed this over lunch today!)

She also called me a "Boob-bot" today which I would consider to be fairly accurate.

Mike, you would be impressed with how well she's doing with standing. Here's a video from this morning.

Another success with the drive n' sketch today - hoping this little ritual works as effectively on the mainland! - and got to have a nice long chat with Mike on the phone. This perhaps steered the direction of my sketching.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Maui, Day 9

The morning drive n'sketch plan did not go over well today so I took Penny around the Wailea Shopping Center as I needed the excercise but also needed to stay out of the heat. It appears that the Enchantress, one of my favorite boutiques that used to be located in the quaint little boardwalk town of Paia has gone bougie and moved into the mall. Their store photo album is filled with pictures of Paris Hilton now so what used to be one of the best kept secrets of Maui is all over the map and the tabloids now and the prices have gotten just as overblown. Penny and I had fun looking at the Halloween costumes though. The Terpsichores Daughters would have had a hay day in there with frilly bloomers and ruffle skirts gallore.

Afterwards, went back home to eat and see about more luck with nap time and lucky for me Penny was down so I got in more sketching time than I ever could have hoped for. I'm pretty happy with the new bird/pomegranate one.

Afterwards we went to fancy dinner and live (easy listening) music at Tommy Bahamas. I'm so fat and happy and I don't know why mom and I don't drink together more often!

Maui, Day 8

Yesterday was pretty mellow. The morning drive and sketch routine worked like a charm. I got to write a card to dad. I found this one that totally fits him - see image below by Darshan Zenith (Mike, see

I guess there is a Karmen Ghia one on the website but no cards left at the store or I would have gotten one for you. Anyhoo, this guy certainly found his niche, eh? I wonder why it is I can't seem to love one particular subject matter enough to master it and make it my bread and butter. Even though I'm on my 16th icon, the style seems to change between each piece whethor I want it to or not, and I'm beginning to feel really blocked when I know I need to come up with a new one. Sometimes I tell myself that this just means I've gotten all of the obvious stuff out of my system and this is where the REALLY good stuff begins. Other times I just get paralyzed by the fear of nothing coming, like now, and then nothing does. Usually this is when I would go to color to switch modes from the planning of paintings to actually painting but that's a little harder to work into the morning drive and nap routine. Sigh, sometimes I really do miss watercolor.
Went to a deli at the Grand with Mom for lunch. Penny and I saw a butterfly up close. She said "up" a lot and has been practicing standing on one foot and stepping over obstacles while cruising. Even though she slept for about an hour and a half in the morning she seemed ready for another nap by 2 but ended up staying up past bedtime. Desperate and exhausted, I read one last bedtime story when she started pointing at the light and signing flower and after arguing about this with her for a good long while I suddenly realised that she was pointing to the flower pattern on the lamp and had to laugh at my tired self.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Maui, Day 7

This morning mom's back was out so we got to borrow the car and go to the beach on our own. Penny fell asleep on the way so I got a blessed full hour-long sketching session parked in the shade just me and Nick Drake. I think I'm a little closer to deciding what I want to do for the Birth icon and worked up some new sketches.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Maui, Day 6

Penny firsts of the day:
The focus today was on motor skills, namely how to multitask while standing hands free: drinking water, shaking shaker, reading book - she did some pretty impressive squats from standing position and then back up to standing. She was more interested in this than doing any more walking today so sorry baby, no new videos today.

Penny was pretty crabby today after her teensy twenty minute morning nap, but mom was good enough to put up with it and watch Penny so I could put the ground in on a new icon painting. I also got to draw up some thumbnails deciding on the scale and direction of the work I hope to have in the upcoming Jacobs Gallery show. I meet with the gallery Oct 24th and I keep feeling a little unprepared, like I haven't done my homework. Maybe it's just that I'm not as far as I had hoped to be, but maybe they will be ok with what I've done, especially since it's a group show so quality vrs. quantity is definitely what I'm going for. I was able to work out that if I use the older icons in the show I will have 20-25 total pieces to choose from at most, and if I only show new work, I'll have 5-10 pieces total although 3 of them will be very large. Because all of the new work is so stylisticly harmonious and they all use the bird/pomegranate theme to weave my mythology of metaphor, I'm concerned the older pieces will seem out of place and comical against the tone of the new ones.

It's been a challenge staying with the bird theme, but I think picturing a real infant would only lead people down the wrong track with thinking that I'm trying to talk about a religious theme as opposed to a personal narrative. I think I've figured out an idea for the pregnancy piece but I'm still in the rough on my birth sketch.

Everyone sort of naturally drifted to their own corners of the house today so Penny and I were left to our devices of napping and playing. She liked the pool today and was very excited to encounter the poolside cats. I'll try to catch some pictures of them tomorrow. One of them has gorgeous markings that look like wood grain.

Here's a photo of this evening's sunset view from the upstairs balcony where I was painting today.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Maui, Day 5

Penny firsts of the day:
She signed bunny,potty and fish; she also said the words bear and "yuck!"

Everything today was smooth sailing. Penny ate two breakfasts, took a bath without a fight and had an hour long morning AND afternoon nap, allowing me to get in some pretty necessary sketching time.

Mom took us to lunch at the Maalaea Grill and then to the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium. We only had an hour at the aquarium but had a blast. I wouldn't have guessed it but the sea turtles had incalculable, birdlike grace, circling and diving, arching their necks, and pumping their limbs like outstretched wings. Seeing this particual creature face to face had me so enamored that I forgot about the tank for a moment and was reminded of stumbling upon a fawn and in the middle of the woods as a child and, taking it as a personal visitation from the spirit world, walked smiling secret smiles to myself the rest of the day, telling noone.

My other favorite was the unicorn fish. They look like caricatures of mousy, neurotic CPA's with incessant head colds - their silly cartoon human faces mistakenly placed on the bodies of a fish and sharp noses that just beg for spectacles.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Maui, Day 4

Penny took her first steps today! First to my mom and then to me. I can't believe we actually caught it on video! Mike will be so proud - and of course totally sad he couldn't be here - sorry baby, there was no stopping her. Ok, I have to admit we did egg her on a little. For some reason singing Happy Birthday like total lunatics inspires her to do things she knows will impress us.

She also signed flower and learned how to open and close a sliding door while standing up. After the big rainstorm we went to the beach at last. The rain cooled things off nicely and it was still overcast enough for we two pasty "haoli" to venture out in the afternoon hours. Penny promptly scooped some sand into her eyes but we did get to stay long enough to put our toes in. Can't wait to take her tidepooling.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Maui, Day 3

Today we tried the opposote approach to fending off the tooth monster - getting the heck out of the house. We drove to Kahalui which was a good half-hour drive. Fortunately that meant at least that long of a nap from Penny which is more than I could get from her yesterday. Even Maui has strip malls, yuk. Between Penny's abbreviated naps these last few days, the time change adjustment, the midday heat/humidity, and Penny's reluctance to be passed off to family for any great length time I'm feel pretty deflated. Making the trip to Ben Franklin's to get art supplies today is now seeming somewhat pointless. Hearing more about the ongoing war between my hosts and their neighbor - namely over his smoking in the common areas but now I've learned of his distaste for the sound of small children (the last family that lived here apparently had an infant with previously unmatched vocal projection) - so now I'm feeling completely on eggshells every time Penny cries and there's no way in this heat that we can keep the windows closed, and there's no way with these new teeth and sleeping arrangement that she's not going to cry. What's a momma to do? Homesickness has officially set in.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Maui, Day 2

Penny was a clingy tooth monster today so we stayed on at the homefront mostly. Went swimming in the morning and even though it was only 10:30 I've gotten myself a crispy little sunburn. Penny said (not just signed) "silly" - "horse" - and "Wow!" today, and stood up on the living room carpet for 40-mississippi seconds! hmmm.... I may need to rename this blog Planet Penny.

Just got back from a stroll along torch-lit paths on the beach and bite to eat at the Kealani Hotel. Enchanting. Goodnight Mike xoxoxox! Hope your flight to Germany was swift and painless. Love and miss.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Maui, Day 1

Penny was ready to greet the day at 7, so we got up and made breakfast and took our first bath in the jacuzzi tub. I acccidently hit the jets button with my elbow which prompted an angry surface sputtering sound (since the water was so shallow) spewing no small amount of processed insect parts into the water and scaring the bajeezes out of Penny. Then I spotted a cane spider the size of my hand moving agressively (I'm told they're harmelss but I swear it was) on the ceiling right above our heads and that scared the bujezzes out of me, conditioner still in my hair, bath time was officially over. Shortly thereafter I stubbed my toe but I think I'm still a few days shy of losing the toe nail. The rest of the morning spent in quiet repose nursing headache and foot and shamelessly using sign language DVD as babysitter.

Latter part of the day much improved, caffeinated, foot salved and iced, napped, etc... Mom and Penny read books while Dharma played his new harmonium, a goregeous little harpsichord-meets-achordion sort of instrument - he found it at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, CA. It's gorgous with keys that look like mother or pearl and decorative inlaid wood. Here's what the school says about them (

"Brought to India in the mid-19th century by European missionaries, the harmonium has been adapted for use in Indian music. It in now the instrument of choice to accompany a wide variety of singing styles. From the small, portable harmoniums popular for kirtan and chanting to the Calcutta-made scale change harmoniums popular with ghazal and classical singers, and everything else in between"

Later on in an effort to beat the heat Penny and I tried out the kiddie pool in the shade of the back porch as the sun was too high to attempt the grown-up pool. Explored the house some more - Penny's certified baby-proofing inspector skills in full force: dug the mirrors. found a mouse trap. Went into Kihei for Thai dinner, yummm, Penny made friends with other customers and taught herself how to sit down and get up from sitting in booster on the floor... stood up no hands for about 12 seconds!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting to Maui

Getting to the airport was a bit of an adventure with only a few minor setbacks - the dead car battery at the gas station before leaving town and the two times traffic was at a complete stop on the 205 - just enough to keep me stressed out until we were safely seated on the plane. Luckily however, once we got to the airport it seemed like nothing but green lights and no waiting.

Penny was a dream on the plane despite her only taking an itty-bitty 30 min. nap. We were lucky to be seated next to two doting grandparents (an elderly couple, very Christian canary farmers, that yes, were both wearing canary yellow, and acted all kissy like they were on their honey moon - ok, so that level of PDA was a little gross but I secretly hoped Mike and I will be that full of passion when we're that wrinkly). Both of them were in need of a baby fix so they didn't mind her playful kicking while she nursed and dropping things in her "uh-oh" game play. The lady behind us was drawn into a game of peekaboo and asked later if she was "always so good natured" to which I had to smirk and say "she has her moments" in a resigned kind of way. When I knew she couldn't stand being on my lap for one more second, I put on her sign language DVD and half way through they were already saying that we were about to begin our descent. Not as bad as I had feared!

Mom's house in Maui Meadows is breathtaking. Spacious and breezy, full of votive statues, fountains and flowers, and a view of the ocean from the upper deck. Mom really went out of her way to make us feel welcome and Penny was extatic to see baskets of toys and books and musical instruments waiting for her and wasted no time looking at ALL of it in the first half hour of being here doing her little crab scoot from room to room at speeds I didn't know she was cabable of. I was extatic to see that mom had already gotten diapers, wipes, lap pads, beach toys, and even a pack and play crib with a changing table, mobile and a little attachment that makes nature sounds and plays music. We spent the evening getting settled mostly. Penny was exhausted as well and slept a good half the night in the pack and play.

Here's a slideshow of our new digs: