Friday, January 30, 2009

And Then It Was Ice Cream Friday, Again

Miss Kitty's manicure matched her gelato.

Early Settlers: Life During "the Time Between the Pilgrims and George Washington"

Ander's class wrote slice-of-Colonial-life skits (in deliciously modern language) and performed them in class today.

His group's performance had something to do with a soap-eating horse. Miss Kitty was the playwright, and performed the part of Ander's soap-seeking wife.

The aspects of Early Amercan life that apparently most fascinated our urban second graders and found their way into every single skit:

corn bread

My favorite line (from Group 3's performance):

"Leave me alone!
Can't you see I'm trying to read the Bible?!"

Afterwards they snacked on homemade corn bread, slathered with butter they had churned themselves by shaking milk and salt in Mason jars. And just as in olden tymes, the girls did the churning (second-to-last picture, above) and the boys were very enthusiastic about eating it.

A note about Ander's 'costume' (because we all know that Ander and I are ALL ABOUT costumes, and well, a Craftsman tool robot t-shirt and a cowboy hat are obviously soooooo authentically Colonial):

Ander's teacher is experimenting with letting the kids be responsible for remembering their class projects, special assignments, vacation homework, etc.

As I walked in the classroom door, two minutes before the performances were supposed to begin, Ander ran up to me. Did he hug me with joy for being there in the middle of the day on a weekday? Um, no, he did not. Instead he stage-whispered (in a most petulant tone) "I need a costume!"

I took a deep, deep breath and said, why yes, I had indeed received his psychic message, and of course had a tri-corner hat and some knee breeches in my purse. He rolled his eyes and slouched off to mooch a hat off a classmate.

As he climbed into the car at the end of the day, he sighed, and said wistfully, "I should have at least remembered a moustache. I was the dad, after all."

Zaza Spins

Our first intentionally-tardy-via-Starbucks morning in a long while...

She thoroughly tested the spinning capability of her new letter 'A' applique skirt from Tutu, and enjoyed a hearty Second Breakfast whilst perched on her favorite ledge by the kitchen door.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flying in the Front Yard: A Mood-Altering Experiment with Low Light and Slow Shutter Speed

Next time I'll remember to use the tripod.

This was all just to get them up and moving and in a less-whiny frame of mind for their (semi) daily 'table time.'*

*Puzzle book and work book and Mad Libs and word games and penmanship practice at the dining room table -- in lieu of actual homework, which the Powers That Be at Ander's school decided to eradicate this year...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Now it's (Belatedly) Your Turn

I've been so distracted by all the beautiful babies growing up and all the glorious seasonal weather blowing through on her personal blog, that I have forgotten to check Ander's-first-Other-Mother-alissa's studio blog for about a zillion years.

And so I only just came across this meme:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 56.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST

The book closest to me at my desk-in-the-laundry-room is on a shelf about four feet above my right hand, has a red cloth cover, and is faced out (once a bookseller, always a...):

Maira Kalman's illustrated edition of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style

Curiously the pages aren't numbered, but the Table of Contents states that Chapter III ("A Few Matters of Form") begins on Page 55.

Page 56 is a full-page illustration.

Thus, I am posting the fifth sentence of what may in fact be page 57 -- a sentence I am not at all surprised that I adore out of context:

"The steady evolution of the language seems to favor union: two words eventually become one, usually after a period of hyphenation."

And here's how I magically make this meme fit my criteria for this blog...

Three words eventually became one, also:

Yes, I Caved (but the Dragon Marionette is Ander's)

Guilty confession by way of rationalizing this example of spoilage:
I totally dropped the ball for this dress-up day last year, and poor 'Za was one of a handful of kids NOT in Chinewyear gear.
And Miss L. gave Zaza the jacket for her 4th birthday.

And Za's school is 1/2 way to Chinatown anyway, and, and, and it was sooooo funnnnnn just dashing down Sunset with the big kids and Miss Kitty's tag-along Daddy-O and shopping in sped-up ninja-style just before the shopkeepers pulled the cage-gates across the storefronts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Year of the Ox and the Rites of the Alizaland Festival

On the way to school today 'Za requested a music-free ride, opting instead for a detailed discussion of tomorrow's Montessori school Chinese New Year celebration.

I have signed up to bring a main course of authentic Trader Joe orange chicken for the kids-only lunchtime banquet, and the children are supposed to dress in whatever 'traditional' Chinese clothing their harried and mostly-Anglo parents can cobble together.

Zaza is lobbying for a trip to Chinatown for a new dress, preferably one that is 'good luck red' and 'not itchy.'

I say, hmm, well I have to wait around for the plumber to arrive and then wait around for him to install the new toilet, and then we have to pick up the big kids after school, so, hmmm, maaaaaaaybe. And perhaps she could just wear her super-cute, red, Chinese, brocade, faux-fur-trimmed jacket over a red dress?

Well, only if we really can't make it to Chinatown, says 'Za.

(The truth is, it's a cloud-scuttlingly windy blue-skied day, and I would LOVE to go to Chinatown to explore and take pictures and yes, shop. So much more fun than waiting for the plumber, right?)

But then 'Za says quite matter-of-factly that Chinewyear happens at the same time as the Zazaland Festival.

Oh, I say, raising one eyebrow in the rear-view mirror. Is there a parade for the Zazaland Festival?

Yes, there is, and in this one everybody dresses as fairies.

Well, of course they do. And does anybody give or get special gifts for good luck?
Yes: pieces of paper with drawings of llamas on them.

Ah. Llucky llamas. Makes perfect sense.

And then she teaches me -- very, very patiently, word by word, over and over, all the way up the stairs to school -- how to say "Happy New Year" in Zazalanguage:
Here's wishing you and yours many many llamas in the New Year!
(Fisher Price Camera photo "My Foot" by Zaza from her carseat)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Of Umbrellas, Mary Poppins Jump-Shots, No-Longer-Very-Wooly Mammoths, and Many Many Many Wolves Caught in the Tar-Which-is-Actually-Asphalt

During and after 'Za's L.A.C.M.A. art class...

(I got her to wear trousers! Second time since Christmas!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope and...

9:35 AM

So strange to have to run out the door, to hurry children into carseats, when my head is still humming and zinging and singing from this:

What if the mightiest word is love,
love beyond marital, filial, national.
Love that casts a widening pool of light.
Love with no need to preempt grievance.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,
anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp --

praise song for walking forward in that light.

(the inaugural poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander)

9:10 AM

Hers: fireworks

His: an applauding, flag-waving, fireworks-igniting 'party monster'

9:05 AM

The New President Celebration Dance, featuring pillow-tossing and pirouettes.

8:45 AM

8:35 AM

We moved the sofa for the occasion.
And allowed him to be late to school.
And her to miss it altogether.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Meanwhile (Just Zaza and ZaMeAndad)

ZaMeAndad and Zaza took the bus to LACMA for art class.

Afterwards, they had quesadillas, and popped into ZaMeAndad's office to make a Xerox of 'Za's hand.

Another nearly perfect morning-into-afternoon.

Just Ander and I

A preview screening of Inkheart at the Crest in Westwood


a visit to our favorite children's bookstore


'lunch' at Milk ("the best place everrrrrr")


a very nearly perfect morning-into-afternoon