Monday, May 28, 2012

The Devlin Monologues

I went to the Devlin Monologues not really knowing what to expect.  I knew that my improv teacher's one-man show was going to be autobiographical so I went wanting to learn a little more about my instructor, a theatrical equivalent of facebook stalking. Not only did I get my voyeuristic insight into Devlin Bishop's childhood, I got a funny, heartfelt, emotional tribute to his parents. I'm not doing it justice here, so let me first say this:

I was blown away.

Devlin left too seats in the front row symbolically empty, reserved for his military dad and east-German mother, both dearly departed. He jokingly said that if they were sitting there they would be embarrassed by the stories he had to tell.  Indeed many of the tales--garbage picking in the middle of the night, inadvertently parking a car in a bird sanctuary, a Christmas corsage re-purposed from a stripper costume--would have been enough to make a less reserved couple blush.  And yet by the end I felt as if I knew this family, felt the love they had for each other. I could picture his mother knitting him barbie clothes for a doll he didn't dare ask for, I saw the last moments he had with his dad, when his father said I love you for the first and last time.  Devlin teared up at the end, as did most of his audience.

I can't imagine his parents being anything but proud at the pure courage that Devlin displayed, opening up his soul and sharing it with us. It was beautiful.

So five very bright stars, supernovas even, and two thumbs way up.  Not that you guys can see it.  One night only. Though I'm told that he does another one every year.

Since I met Devlin in November, I've come to know him as a talented improviser and a genuinely sweet man.  Though I don't know him well, he told me that it meant a lot to him that I wanted to be at his show, and I could tell that he meant it. I admire the way he keeps his emotions close to the surface, laughs easily, cries unashamedly, loves freely. Now that I've seen his one-man show, I admire him all the more.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mommy-Daughter Weekend

While the boys are enjoying a weekend of loud cars and eating junk food around the campfire, Jadzia and I enjoyed some Mommy-daughter time.
In an effort to make the weekend special, I began by giving her a Dora nail polish set and taking her out to lunch at our favourite sushi restaurant, August 8. Jadzia is partial to edamame, so long as I squeeze the beans onto her plate for her. Even ordering what I thought was a modest amount, I was stuffed by the end.

After the restaurant, we headed to the garden store to buy some flowers for our front lawn.  I'm not really a gardener, but my reasoning was that if I plant store bought flowers in my front lawn, it would look like I didn't mow on purpose and the neighbours wouldn't call the bilaw police.  Anyway, Jadzia helped me pick some random perennials, a couple shrubs, and a tomato plant.  I planted them randomly about the lawn.  We had a watering can and after every plant was in, I sprinkled it with water and told Jadzia that was to welcome the plant to our yard.  "Welcome to our yard, little plant," she said.  Later she lost interest and played with potato bugs while I dug, planted, and hauled rocks from the backyard.  Jadzia quote of the day: "Awe! A potato bug, the cutest animal ever!" It amuses me how she can be such a tom boy in such a girlie girl way.

On Sunday we lazed about in the morning, then went to Bronte Creek for the afternoon.  Jadzia and I both wore red dresses and pigtails but, since it was just the two of us, there was no one around to take our picture together. No matter, she's cuter than I am 

There were adorable baby ducks in the pig pen (pigs were MIA), but Jadzia's favourite was the large snapping turtle in the nature centre.  Normally content in his aquarium, the staff took him out for a run and he promptly fell asleep in the grass.  Note, I say "he" without actually knowing if the turtle is male or female. Jadzia, on the other hand, uses "she" as her default pronoun when talking about gender ambiguous creatures.  
That evening, we went to a barbecue potluck at my friend Cara's house.  Everyone chipped in for fireworks and we had a really nice display.  Lots of Jadzia's friends were there and without William it seemed a lot more quiet and subdued.  Not because Willliam is overly rowdy compared to other kids, but because for some reason William and Leyla become insane when they are together.

 Anyway look, I used the fireworks setting on my camera:

So my sweet daughter was up way past her bedtime (by about 3 hours), seeing as the sun refused to set early.  She was still awake at the same time in the morning though.

 On an unrelated note, this is what our robins look like now.  When the boys come home, I'll have to get Adam to set up his camera again.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wildlife of the Suburbs

Recently, a family of robins made its home in front of William's bedroom window.  Adam set up his camera at the foot of Will's bed and one of the kids captured the above photo using the remote shutter. Note, no zoom required, they really are that close to the window.  Just two days later, the babies already look more robin-like, their down becoming feathers.

At around the same time we noticed the robins, we also saw a large rabbit in our backyard. It moseyed around the yard for several minutes while my whole family, including the dog, stood watch at the window and only hopped away when I started taking pictures of it.

I was just marveling at the beauty of nature right in my own backyard, when I heard about a black bear being spotted, and promptly shot dead, at Mountainside Park, not far from where we live.  While I don't relish the idea of meeting a bear while biking to the park with my kids, I'm saddened by the tragic loss of such a beautiful animal.  The bear didn't attack anyone, didn't do anything wrong except to wander into our small patch of paradise, where all kinds of creatures are welcome as long as they are less deadly and dangerous than we are.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Jekyll and Hyde Phenomenon

This morning Adam and I went for a parent-teacher meeting at William's school.  Mrs. L raved about our boy. He knows most of his upper and lower case letters, and about half of the sounds they make. He can write out the numbers between one and ten all by himself.  He spends most of the time building things out of Lego and always has a new creation to show the class during share time.  When he does get around to putting pencil to paper, he creates wonderfully imaginative drawings with fantastical stories to go along will them. He's independent, cleans up after himself, and is happy playing with his friends or by himself.  I was pleased with the meeting, not because any of this is a surprise, but because Mrs. L seems to get William and genuinely appreciate him.  She also gets the sense that he enjoys his time at school.

So why, then, is it now our routine to have temper tantrums every school day? Sometimes he fusses about school itself, other times he invents other reasons to throw a fit.  Today he wanted to bring a toy that shoots missiles and we asked him to choose a more school-appropriate toy or even just leave the missile at home.  Giant meltdown.  He became way too upset to pick something else.  I ended up dragging him to school screaming.  I pulled him by his jacket, his back pack.  If I let him go he ran in the opposite direction.  When he made his legs go limp I had to pick him up. Then he punched and kicked me in the face.  He bit my knuckles to get me to let go.

This isn't separation anxiety.  He isn't being bullied.  There's no reason for this other than torturing his parents on a semiweekly basis.  Mrs. L says that the routine might stop when he's had a break for the summer and Jadzia goes with him in the fall. Anyone have a quicker solution?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group - Insecure Artist

Well it's the first Wednesday of the month, time to open up my fragile psyche and expose my insecurities.  I write but I also paint so I'm insecure in all kinds of mediums.  As many of you know, I recently started work at an art store.  My boss is a painter herself (much more talented than I).  The store is filled with paintings of people, landscapes, fruit and flowers, all created in a beautifully naturalistic style.  She works in oil, acrylic, and water colour with equal skill.  Working there made me want to paint again.

To say that my style is different would be an understatement. I have ideas that must be put on paper, but even after four years of university art courses my work never achieved the realism evident in boss lady's work.  Both the girl and the wolf in the above painting were traced from a photograph.  Emphasis on ideas over style. It's like my writing in that way.  Whatever else my work might be, it isn't flowery.

So I assume that if my boss saw one of my paintings she would hate it.  My writing too, probably.
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