Monday, March 30, 2009

Pushin' It

Jake and Burt, as I'm fond of calling my daughters, decided a few weeks ago to enter the Cesar Chavez poster contest in the Salt Lake School District. While they plotted their designs, I was roped in to get them poster paper, which had to be a specific size, and round up magazines I'm done with so they can cut them up. It took me a few days to get the message to my brain at a time when I could accomplish it, but I did get it done.
They both worked hard for one evening, then Jake got bored with the process, announced there was no way she could win such a highly competitive process, and stopped trying. Burt, as usual, tinkered a bit more, then started procrastinating but announced she was going to finish. When she says that, she does it. Much of her effort consisted of staring at a photo of Chavez she found on the Web. After looking at him for about 20 hours, she freehanded her version of him. Then she set it aside until a couple of days before it was due.
When she tackled the project hard, her primary task seemed to be cutting out pieces of the magazines that were ether black or blue. I couldn't figure out what she was doing, but it clearly involved a lot of little bits of paper and a ton or so of glue.
I was off the day the project was due (remember the painting fiasco?). Friday's a short day, so Burt was home early to tackle her project. And she did. I went about my business, occasionally reminding her she was running out of time.
It was due at 5 p.m. in the downtown district office. At 4:35, she declared it finished. I couldn't believe it when I looked at it. It really was an amazing effort -- hair and shirt were collage, face pastel chalks, background some of the paint from my wall. Mixed mediums indeed.
Still, we had to get it there and that would prove daunting. We had to route ourselves around a car accident and slowdown. Then, a half mile from our destination, I got stuck behind a horse-drawn carriage. Normally I love those, but not that day. We were on a mission and it felt like the meteor was about to hit planet earth.
I veered down a side street and found -- ah, hell -- a series of no-left turn signs. I swear the digital clock was ticking loudly. The ride had taken a decidedly desperate turn. We were not going to make it.
I started coaching them on the emergency plan: When I get to the district office, you girls get out and run inside. Maybe you can get in before they lock the outside door. Then well try to talk them into taking it.
In fact, we pulled up at 5 p.m., straight up. They rushed inside and I went in search of a parking spot. All I could do was hope... When I got there, they'd found the right room and made the deadline with no time to spare.
Today, the school announced that Burt's effort took second place in the district. Whoohoo.
Here's her take on Cesar Chavez....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My "Modrian" masterpiece

By popular demand, here's my wall painting masterpiece (see Skippin', below). Now that you can see the painted wall, you can kind of picture the painted carpet.:)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Took a week off because I had too much vacation time and, as always, a ton to do. The first couple of days, I mostly hung out with Beaux. But today I decided I'd better hit it. I didn't mean it literally.
I'm in the process of painting one wall of the living room with these cool glazed overlapping rectangles that I saw in a book. Simple task, a single wall. But it's the one that's open at the top, dividing the kitchen and living room. That's where the lanterns normally hang out.
I pulled them off and pulled myself up to the 8-foot-above the ground ledge, where I happily painted for a half hour before a little voice below me said "where are you?"
Beaux's next question was a good one. "How you getting down?"
Woops. Monkey me can climb, but you can't exactly dangle from a freshly painted ledge.
While he got the ladder I should have used to begin with, I carefully put the lid back on the can of paint. No reason to risk spilling a drop ----
--- when you can trip on a chair leg and -- holy crap -- heave the whole thing at the wall you're not painting and the entire expanse of carpet that lies between.
Besides wall and carpet, I also thoroughly soaked with robins-egg blue paint a bench that contains coat hooks and a compartment where the girls (I now know) hid a bunch of (seriously soaked) notebooks. I'd scooped up a boat load of paint (who knew a quart can hold a gallon; spilling must expand it) and positioned plastic underneath to catch what came pouring out the bottom.
Then I spent a couple of hours shampooing carpet (that was going to be Friday's big play date)
Okay, disaster resolved.
Next up, I went to move the bench a little. AnD THE DAMNED THING COLLAPSED.
Now, by this point, I didn't even flinch. Just walked in the kitchen, washed my hands and sat down with a cup of coffee to play Sudoku.
I still have two days off.

P.S. At 11 p.m., I remembered I was supposed to go to a friend's daughter's wedding reception. Ah, hell. Back to sudoku for me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I tried the darkness and prefer the light

A year ago, I went to Sweden in December to cover the Nobel Prize, which one of our locals won. That's where I first walked toward the light. Seriously.
It was darker than damned hell there in December, the sun coming up around 8 a.m. or a bit later. By mid-afternoon, the Littles were traipsing home from grade school in the dark, which is oddly discombobulating. And I found myself disoriented by the greyness of life. I'd go to an assignment at noon and come out to black skies. At 4 p.m. Say what? Left to my own devices and with no deadlines back home, I'd probably have just curled up and slept.
All this is a long way to say, Welcome, Daylight Savings Time. I love you. I wish you were mine year-round (although that extra hour of sleep in the fall feels slightly decadent and delicious. Must be my age.).
I dance in you, play in you, spend quiet time weeding in the garden. You extend my day past work time long enough for a quiet stroll through the neighborhood, a bike ride with the girls along the river trail.
Yes, sunlight, I could find you in the early morning — if I were one of those odd early bird types. I'm not. So I meet you in the evening and we enjoy each other's company.
When others say bad things about you, just ignore them. I love you big time.