Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fierce beasts to protect us

One of the interesting things about South Africa is that people see dogs as home protectors.  In addition to the high walls and electric fence, a few dogs patrol each garden.  The small ornamental breeds of dog are not as common there.  Instead you have Rottweilers, Rhodesian ridge-backs and lots and lots of German Shepherds (crossed with sharks) to produce fearsome looking predators. 

Today, Wren and I went down to the U-district to find a home protector of a different kind - a gargoyle!  Its Halloween season (although not quite decorating time) and the kids are getting interested in all things spooky.  Since the D&D phase, Wren has been very interested in gargoyles so he was intrigued when I told him there was a shop that sold them.

Josh said "Yes, and then you can have baklava at The Continental.  You must do it."

A plan was made.

The gargoyle shop is called Gargoyles and is very dark and cluttered with statuary.  The floor is dirty - in the sense that there appears to be dirt upon it - and has leaves lying around so it feels as if you are in the garden of a creepy old house.  The walls are black and in one corner a fountain gargoyle spouts water from its mouth.  Most of the gargoyles are made with resin but some are made from heavy cement and suitable for outdoor use.  I nearly bought an old ogre but instead took some pictures of likely home protectors (to go by our stairs on by the pathway).  We bought a few tiny little pewter gargoyles for halloween.  Wren loves them.

Why are you making me squint into the sun.  The
Sun is too hot and sunny.

The strange little ceramic creatures living
on a mossy stump in Ravenna.

And their gargoyle kindred.

This is the gargoyle I would like for our front wall.

Wren outside the gargoyle shop

More little guys on the parking strip
On the way home (by bicycle) we passed a home with a most splendid array of pottery 'personalities' on their parking strip.  Its one of those things that one or two would be kitsch but with abundance they are splendid and original.  Wren suggested we make some too.  Many of them were made from a basic form of clay rolled around a tin can.

Frost did Soccer camp this evening and had his first experience of a fierce macho firm-talking Coach.  "WHADDAYOU DOING LOOKING OVER THERE?  LOOKADME!"  and "YOU CAHN-DO THAT!  GOAL TO RED!" when Frost, on the sidelines, moved as if he was going to intercept the ball.

I am not sure what Frost makes of it.  It is a very different style to the inclusive, caring and parental coaching style which he has experienced to this point.  I saw him rubbing his eyes at one point but he was also very focused, quick, attentive and doing very well on many drills.  We shall have to watch and see where this leads.


We are all wondering :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

High speed wobble

Its interesting how fast I deteriorate under the fast pace of modern motherhood.  The vacation in South Africa was like the crest of a gentle slope.  Up there, under the large leafed green trees, creaking around Dad and Ingrid's home getting all my food and laundry done for me, I was a relaxed and indolent vacationer who actually thought "what do I want to do today?"  

The languor survived about 4 days at home, days in which the laundry mounded, the food was make-do and there was no school.

Fast-forward a week or two and I am now careening downhill towards an unknown destination.  Every day starts with a brief moment of stillness and then I have this high speed wobble as I try and complete the innumerable THINGS TO DO that Don't Get Done By Anyone Else.

I'm not upset or anything, really.  This is a not a complainy-pants blog post.  Its a post to announce that the culprit is CULTURE not NATURE.   I am quite able to slow down and be languid.  I am not a stressed out twit by myself.  The stressed-out-twitness happens at the intersection of my personality (best described as Be Responsible, Wear Underpants and Don't walk around on Old Toast) and reality (easily referred to as Drive Me to X, Feed Me Y, and Pay Z).

Yesterday, the Driving was to Frost's annual pediatrician appointment where he is growing proportionally and both he and Wren had their flu "snorts" of Flumist.  Thankfully this year the "Swine Flu" vaccine is nicely packaged in the flu shot and since they had flumist last year there is really onely one flu vaccination required.  Yeah!

Also, Wren went to preschool and was slightly less sad when I left him.  He is not yet happy or anticipating it and asks "when is preschool done forever?"

Heather babysat last night and Josh and I went out for dinner to Volterra - a Ballard Italian restaurant which seems to be a bit obsessed with jowls.  Every second meal was "boar jowl" or "bull jowl" or something else jowl.  I guess animals have tasty cheeks?   The vegetarian option was tasty - it was little packets of pasta (like a 3-D ravioli) stuffed with eggplant in a puttanesca-style (not anchovy) sauce with a bit of a kick.   We shared a desert and it was too big for both of us!

Josh is still on the quest for a satisfying HOT COFFEE cocktail.  I think he means a hot toddy or a coffee with something alcoholic in it.  He had one but has not yet found nirvana.

Wren has been a bit miserable.  Josh and I talked about his anxieties, which seem to be mounting.  We are not sure whether he is 'nervous' about things because of his surgery causing some psychological damage or because he is a bit nervy by nature and is 3.  He is very concerned about:

1) dogs
2) baths
3) being carried on shoulders and,

cried out in alarm when Joshua picked him up to put him on a little ledge (ok, on an electrical box in the park and I was sitting on it too.  It wasn't the electricity (although he asked if it would go IN ME) )but the swooping pick up that alarmed him.

This morning, Frost is off to the orthodontist.  My main concern is to ask the orthodontist to please glue the retainer into Frost's mouth.  Or drill it onto his teeth.  He chews it around in his mouth all day, rotates it, flaps it. He says its because its loose and falls down when he opens his mouth but regardless it is the most irritating thing in the whole world to talk to a child who is flipping and chomping at his retainer with this click clack noise all the time.

Okay, perhaps I should ask the OD to 'tighten it' first.

Its light.  The first kid is awake.  If I am going to wash my face and clean my teeth this is the last moment open to me before the speed wobble takes over!

"Are we going to have breakfast, sometime soon?" asks Frost from the couch where he lies in the pants he wore yesterday (which he plans to wear today).   We are going to have to argue about it in about 6 minutes (after washing face etc etc).

The court is in session!