Tuesday, December 16, 2008

her/him

snow-white/cook
nut-cracker/wash
dancing/dishes
ink-pens/first word
drawing/ball
numbers/light-switch
moon/ask for
phases/help
reading/little hand
slide-bed/pulling
film-making/big hand
horses/empty
cows/dishwasher
sad eyes/dancing
dogs/birds
godd/ess
etc.

corners of my house




(see Keri Smith, How to be an explorer of the world)

who said you had to go to seedy tenements in bad new york neighbourhoods to get the paul auster, charles bukowski, leonard cohen feeling? why, my house does a fine job...

advent


Friday, December 12, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

artist date #2

the challenge: "to find two fabric items at the kringloop, chosen solely for their prettiness, and to deconstruct and reconstruct them into as many different items as possible as fast as possible"

the items: blue lambswool sweater, flower-pattern nightie

the price: 1,50 euro

the results: a hip-skirt with belt; funky patch to mend torn woolen caleçon; blue wool leg warmers; winter joker hat; stella the fruit bat.




Sunday, December 07, 2008

90


my grand-father has turned 90 today.
Pozdravljaju s dnem rozhdenja, ded! kakoj ty u nas molodets... i krasavits! krepko tseluju tebja i zhelaju tebe eshe mnogo mnogo schestlivyx let.

sinterklaas



...


to show up
at the page
at the needle
at the thread
at the pen
tired
sad
elated
beating pulse
in the temple

to show up
hands frozen
hands open
pulse in the heart
of the hand

to show up
to pick up
the needle
to thread
the pen

to wait

breathing

to wait

to move
a little
gentle
darning
or
drawing the sky
down
or ...

moving
fingers
still
heart

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

restless


leaky toilet
running water
restless
all the pens run out of ink
restless
cold fingers
wrapping yarn
hand to elbow
leaky toilet
restless
endless
stories
in my head
restless
'if i had...
will she now...
and what if...
wrong! wrong! wrong!
me she her me wrong!'
restless
cold fingers
wrapping yarn
elbow to
clenched jaw

...

outside the window
the endless sky
shape-shifted
one million times
in the times it took
for one same small story
to spin one same small circle
again and again
in my head...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

3

this blog turned three years old today. three years and 493 posts. such a long time for a blog, such a short time in a human life.

and yet...

... please to consider the following:

three years ago, on the day i began this blog, i had

- never taken a photograph except the occasional unfocused holiday snapshot;
- never read a feminist treatise;
- never read about buddhism;
- never baked bread;
- never meditated;
- never done a single yoga exercise;
- never visited an organic food store;
- never touched a sewing machine;
- never sewn anything by hand except perhaps a grand total of three buttons;
- never heard of homeschooling;
- not touched a knitting needle since that deplorable incident in third grade involving mlle. Hardy and the infamous bootie;
- not made a drawing since age 6;
- not sung out loud since age 10;
- not written anything since the diary i kept as a teenager;
- not yet met my son.

most importantly, i had never, ever, ever ever, not even in my wildest dreams, thought of myself as an artist.

incredible, isn't it? the distance travelled. and although i guess i deserve at least half the credit for travelling it, i would not have been able to do so without this blog. and without you people.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

quote

(it's not very pc, but i am sure my more conservative and/or male readers will forgive me, for how can one resist sharing the irresistible)

heard in the car on the way to leiden this morning:

'mama, nu moet je echt ophouden met praten over je tompons, want mijn yoni raakt ervan in de stress...'

(mama, now you really have to stop talking about your tompons, because my yoni (as in sanskrit for female genitals, in case you were wondering) (and that is a long story) (which luckily for my more conservative and/or male readers i am not going to share right now) is getting really stressed out...)

the curse has come upon me...

i am menstruating for the first time in exactly two years. november 2006 was the last time. odd thing, this baby-belly-breast business. odd thing too how much one can miss monthly bleeding. i felt all new yesterday, full of possibilities. real. strong. big. with lots of argggghhhh in my belly. and an odd urge to treat myself to something to mark this new phase. so in my usual weirdo way, i went online and got myself these. and this (i tell you, medieval torturers had nothing on me). i also found this little piece of additional information:

"The animal of the new moon menstruation is the toad, with all her knowledge, her slipperiness, her ability to be quite alone, and her untouchable (poisonous) exterior."

yep, that's me to a t. slippery. poisonous. and alone (or desperately wishing to be). oh, and knowledge. yes. much knowledge.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

taai taai




afternoon baking with new friends. Jet and Isabelle had a great time baking and a great time eating, and Antoine came up with a creative toothless solution for his 'falling star' (suck on it until it melts). even the mamas managed to try one each before they cooled down and turned into rocks (the taai taai that is, not the mamas).

(marc just came in to say they taste great (the taai taai, not the mamas), although some are a little hard...) (... he also mentioned making tea and watching morse with me...) (... and i can hear him cleaning the kitchen now...) (... and clearly these are the very reasons i married the man)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

only

it's only november. and already i am depressed, exhausted, sick, tired and ready for summer. can't believe there is still december, january, february, march and (if last year's luck holds out) april to go before the sunshine, the warmth, the light. bah. am recovering from third flu in a row. the farm bankrupcy situation is still up in the air, unlike the gorgeous autumn leaves, which lie in sad dried up heaps on our street, brown and dejected, sneakily concealing dog diarrhea and other surprises. bah. i managed to miss autumn, my favourite season. it simply passed me by.

all right, this is depression. barbara has a song about it. here (with subtitles in catalan, no less...).

anyway, back to the usual medication: yoga. fresh air. movement. writing. dancing. hugging favourite small people. colour therapy.
(PS. for those whose french is as good as my catalan, i have taken the freedom to translate:

It sends no warning, it simply arrives
It’s coming from far away
It has been shuffling from shore to shore
With its sulky face
And then one morning, as you wake up
It’s almost nothing
But it’s there, making you sleepy
In the small of your back

The ache of living
The ache of living
That you must keep on living
Whatever living may cost

You can wear it on your shoulder
or as a jewel on the hand
As a flower in your buttonhole
Or just on the tip of your breast
It’s not necessarily misery
It’s not Valmy, it’s not Verdun
But it’s tears in the corner of your eyes
At the thought of the day that dies, at the thought of the day to come

The ache of living
The ache of living
That you must keep on living
Whatever living may cost

Whether you come from Rome or America
Whether you come from London or Peking
From Egypt or Africa
Or from the Porte Saint-Martin
We all make the same prayer
We all walk the same road
How long it is, the road, if you’re walking
With that ache in the small of your back

No matter that they try to understand us
Those who come to us with naked hands
We no longer want to hear them
We cannot, we are all spent
And alone in the silence
Of a night that knows no end
Suddenly we think of them
Of those who did not return...

...From the ache of living
Their ache of living
That they had to keep on living
Whatever living may cost

...And without warning, it arrives
It’s coming from far away
It has been walking from shore to shore
With a smile on its lips
And then one morning, as you wake up
It’s almost nothing
But it’s there, filling you with wonder
In the small of your back

The joy of living
The joy of living
Oh, come and live it
Your joy of living...)

Monday, November 17, 2008

free

we came home yesterday from a wind-blown weekend by the seaside with our beautiful belgian friends (two-footers and four-footers) to find a letter waiting on our doormat. not just any letter, though, the letter. after a suspense-ful two weeks, two letters to the town council and some excellent advice from a homeschooling lawyer (not a contradiction in terms for those of you who wonder), Isabelle has been granted an exemption from the dutch schooling act. she is free!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

joint art

isabelle and i have devised a way to immortalize her art. it involves plain second-hand t-shirts, one of her drawings, and my free-style reproduction of the latter on the former. it's good for her (she gets most of the credit, and can burrow for hours in my large stash of fabric scraps). it's good for me (since i am not 'the creator', my editor tends to shut up, and i can practice with imperfection. loverly).
the critics have been giving us raving reviews. so beware, oh various december recipients, you've got yourself some old t-shirts coming.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

quiet

it has been quiet around here for a long time, for which i have an odd urge to offer an apology... until i start wondering who it is i am apologizing to, and then i get into trouble. you know, the usual (who's reading this? who am i writing it for? why am i writing? and other existential blah blah questions). so. no apology then. i have been busy surviving. had a burnout (difficult stuff). sort of clambered out of burnout only to find ourselves in a potential bankrupcy (the farm we were buying and then not buying and then maybe buying and finally really NOT buying, enormous legal difficulties with that, lots of uncertainty and the damocles sword of having to pay incredible amounts of money for sure (but not knowing as yet how much)). it turned out to be too much for me to also keep up with this here space.

now i'm here once again (this blog seems to be having trouble dying an honorouble death). feeling a little small, a little exposed, a little fragile. and really glad to see you all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

cookery

we celebrated the birthday of peter pan today. it seems that although he does not want to grow up he would like occasionally to celebrate. so we complied. with garlands, balloons, gifts (i am now the proud owner of my own mowgli doll and a barbie television). and a french-style apple tart. this was a real joint-venture: isabelle wrote the shopping-list, carried the groceries from the store, made the dough, rolled out the dough, filled the pie with apples, smeared the apricot jam over the top of the pie and licked clean every utensil and container she could lay her hands on. i supervose. antoine threw the cored, peeled and sliced apples into the bowl with water and lemon juice. and then out of it again. fun was had by all.

(the recipe for the apple tart comes from this fantastic, best ever, i-am-so-happy-i-bought-it cookery bookery)

Friday, September 19, 2008

isabelle

I.
- mama, ik ben zo misselijk, ik denk dat er drugs zaten in die snoepjes... oh nee, toch niet, want ik heb géén gekke dagdromen erbij...

II.
- mama, weet je wat leuk zou zijn? als de kindjes en grote mensen in china die barbies maken wel gewoon centjes en eten ervoor zouden krijgen, en dat ze wel af en toe zouden mogen slapen, en dat ze dan barbies zouden maken met grotere voeten, en met rechte voeten zodat de barbies zouden kunnen lopen en staan, en ook met grotere handen, zodat ze zouden kunnen werken en koken en baby's vasthouden, en ook met echte hangende borsten met zo'n puntje in het midden, dat is dan de tepel waar de baby melk uit kan drinken... en dan zouden die barbies ook niet de hele tijd glimlachen, en ook gewoon normale korte benen hebben, en een dikke taille, en niet zoveel make-up... dan zouden het echt mooie barbies zijn, vind je niet?

(ahem... do you think i might be overloading my four-year old?)

(I. - mama, i am so nauseous, i think there were drugs in those sweets... oh no, i guess not, because i am not having any odd day-dreams...

II. - mama, you know what would be nice? if the children and the adults in china who make the barbies did get money and food, and if they were allowed to sleep from time to time, and then they would make barbies with bigger feet, and straight feet so that the barbies could walk and stand, and also with bigger hands, so that they could work and cook and hold babies, and also with real hanging breasts with a dot in the middle and that would be the nipple, where the milk comes from for the baby... and those barbies wouldn't smile all the time, and they would have normal short legs and a thick waist, and not so much make-up... then those would be really beautiful barbies, don't you think?)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

ikigai

just found out (here) that it means 'that which gives life meaning' in japanese. nowadays, little big things. a new yoga class. sunshine. signing up for sewing lessons. these patterns. this book. this book. this artist. an entire day spent lazing about. the fact that my mobile phone has a video function.
video

Monday, September 15, 2008

fairy house

we spent the weekend roaming a belgian forest with some two-footed and some four-footed friends. then, on sunday morning, isabelle and i went for a mama-daughter stroll, just the two of us. and we found this one spot, with this one tree, absolutely perfect for a fairy house (we'd been talking about building one ever since this book arrived in the mail).
there it is. we started with the main house (on the right in the photograph), but then isabelle decided we needed a separate bathroom annex, since the roof of the main house should be waterproof, but the roof of the annex should let in the light and the rain (the rain to fill the bathtub and the light so you can look at the sky from your bath). the bathroom also contains a towel-rack with a leaf towel and a leaf mirror on the wall (mama, the fairy can't see herself in that mirror, but look, when the sun falls into the house like this, she can see her shadow reflected in it).
the little poles around the house fence off the fairy's garden, and the beech nuts (green balls) laying in the niche between the house and the bathroom are the fairy's reserve food supply for the winter.
here is a view of the inside of the main house, you can see the white table on the right, with a stool covered with a red rose-petal cushion. behind the table, in the far corner, tucked into the roots of the tree, there is a bed, with a very soft feather mattress and a down-and-leaf blanket. next to the bed (on the left), there is a rocking chair made from the same birch bark as the table, and on the floor there is a green leaf carpet in the shape of a flower. on the table, there are bowls (walnut) and cups (acorn), and a flower vase containing the most amazing little feather i have ever seen (real-life size of feather 2 mm).

i simply loved doing this with her. it was magic. and i had such trouble leaving it behind in the woods; i wanted to take it home, or alternatively move right in myself. 'but mama', she said, 'if we don't leave, how can the fairy ever come out of hiding to look at her new home?'. sigh.