Thursday, September 10, 2009

New blog

I haven't posted in a while, the reasons being I got swamped with work and other goings-on here plus I started another blog - The BeeBopParade. You see, I figured that most of my updates for the last 2 years revolved around Mr. Mark. So it only makes sense to create a separate blog for him and his adventures.

Not sure what to do with this blog yet (will explore some ideas, such as turning it into a scrapbook or make it private and keep cute, but strictly personal diary in it).

Hope to see you over at BeeBopParade!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independence Day '09

Great Independence Day this year! First thing in the morning, I celebrated independence from my alarm clock. Chris entertained Mark (who got up at his usual 6:30am, grrrr) and I got to sleep in. What's even better is that after I woke up at around 9am, I got to spend another half-hour in bed reading - something I haven't done in years.

In the mean time, Chris took Mark to buy some fireworks. Of course, he couldn't wait for the evening and soon was teaching Mark to throw Pop-Its. Mark was having lots of fun with them.

Since we didn't have any plans, we just stayed home and watched our garden grow (and yes, it is more fun than it sounds). We've already picked quite a few tomatoes and a couple of cucumbers. As a matter of fact, the first thing Mark does when out in the garden is going to the cherri tomatoes, picking one and eating it on the spot. He then goes over to the cukes and looks for one ready to pick. If he finds it, he pulls it off the vine and bites right into it. Now, if Mark would only munch on a sprig of parsley and nibble on a leaf or two of basil, he'd be having a kind of deconstructed salad. Just wait 'til the watermelons get big, LOL.

Back to the 4th of July... Back in the house, Chris noticed that one of the gallon jugs of milk was about to expire and decided to try making some mozzarella. And then he used the whey to make ricotta... And then whatever was left he used to bake bread with... All turned out very yummy! See, now we can make our own sweet butter (made it last weekend), cheese, and of course bread. Add fresh tomatoes and basil and we can open our own little restaurant, LOL.

In the evening we all went over to our friends (and neighbors) for some 4th of July grilling. There were several other toddlers there, all about Mark's age and LOTS and LOTS of toys. And of course, drums, including real ones. Check out the videos at the bottom of this post.

We briefly went to the Fairgrounds to check out the taiko drums demonstration by Triangle Taiko. Mark loved the hands-on part where all the kids were allowed to drum to their hearts' content. (Apparently Triangle Taiko has a program for toddlers - will check it out!) When we got to the performance, he watched for a bit, but there were too many people around making it hard for him to see and he was tired as well. So we went back home.

Or rather, we went back to our friends' house for some fireworks. Now, I don't like fireworks of the kind that are set up in yards and driveways. Mark didn't like them much either. He actually got scared and started crying so I took him into the house and let him drum on big drums for about half an hour.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Our First First Friday

Finally, after almost 3 years of living in Raleigh we got around to going to the First Friday. First Friday is a gallery walk in the downtown Raleigh that happens on the first Friday (doh!) of every month. The galleries stay open late and so do restaurants, cafes and some stores (and many offer special discounts just for this event).

I don't know what took us so long. Just one thing after another. But today Chris had a day off and we finished with all the errands early. So we had two choices - to stay couped up in the house or to get out. We chose to get out. Conveniently, I had the First Friday brochure on my bulletin board (it's been there for the last 6 months).

We promised Mark a ride on a bus (something totally new to him) and he agreed not to put up a fight and join us. We parked the car at the Seaboard Station (another place we have yet to check out) and boarded the Downtown Circulator bus. This bus is super-cool in its own way - it's hybrid, air-conditioned, and is absolutely free to ride.

So we rode the circulator around much of the downtown and got off at the Moore Square stop. Of 22 downtown galleries that participate in First Friday, we decided to go to just one - the Artspace. Artspace is not really a gallery. It's a arts center that houses studios of several artists and hosts events and art classes.

We were a bit worried about how Mark was going to behave since it was getting late and he was getting tired and cranky. Not to worry - there was live jazz music! And what do you know, there were not one, but TWO drummers. Needless to say, Mark spent the next hour or so practically glued to the place alternating between sitting on the steps and standing in front of the drum sets.

Which was perfect because Chris and I were able to take turns walking around the studios and admiring the artwork. Now, I don't know about Chris, but I don't have much experience with contemporary art. As someone who's been brought up on a diet of socialist realism with a sprinkling of classical art, I mostly don't "get it". So on rare occassions that I'm in NYC, I get to save $25 or so by skipping MoMA.

Sometimes I get ashamed of such ignorance on my part. But then I think that individual works of art are like people - there are lots of them and most are strangers that I barely acknowledge. But sometimes things happen - something catches my attention or peaks my curiosity - and I end up talking to a few of the strangers (and even making friends) or suddenly understanding and appreciating a particular work of art.

So it was absolutely wonderful that I've made not one, but two such discoveries at my very first First Friday. One was a clay Horsefly by Pat Scull - it kept me smiling even after I left Pat's studio.

And the second one (and I have to say my absolutely favorite discovery of the day) was a painting called "Red Doors" by Eric McRay (see the top of this post). I even got to talk to Eric - about this particular painting and about his other works which represent a variety of styles.

When I got back downstairs, Mark was still watching the drummer (Chris was watching Mark all this time). We spent a little bit more time listening to the smooth jazz and then it was way past Mark's bed time and we had to leave.