Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lotus List Update: Walker Art Center

#87 on my Lotus List of 108 Things is to visit all the museums in the Hennepin County Museum Adventure Pass. I think this is an excellent program, great for stay-at-home moms living on a budget but who also cannot miss out on local culture.

The Baby Lotus Bud and I had been to the Walker Art Center earlier this summer. This time I invited three other mamas and their babies to join us. I'm trying to accomplish two things: first, to get a regular monthly outing planned with a bunch of mamas and second, to get these mamas to join me on the quest to visit all the museums on the Adventure Pass list.

And, although we both had been to the Walker earlier this summer, I thought we should go again as it was before the compilation of my List. I also knew where to park, how to access all the galleries, and where to have lunch, so it was an easy outing to coordinate for the initial Minneapolis Mama gathering. Hey, maybe that's what I'll call this group of mamas!

This gathering was all girls! It was awesome to be surrounded by such feminine goodness!



The Minneapolis Mamas gathered and made our way into the Walker Art Center. It kind of sucks that I couldn't take any pictures in the Center because we were quite the vision of the hip stroller parade. We spent quite a bit of time in the Benches and Binoculars exhibit, all of us mamas trying to guess which was the Georgia O'Keeffe. None us picked the right one (not even me, the Mama who had been here earlier this summer!) which was great as this affirmed we were viewing a not-so-typical O'Keeffe. A couple of the Mamas identified several other artists correctly, and then, we moved onto the next gallery floor.

I was particularly interested to see four pieces of art created by Kara Walker. She is amazing and disturbing and incredible and honest and shocking. I am blown away by the content and the scale of her work. I can't wait until the next time her larger exhibit comes again to the Walker Art Center. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few years back. I was stunned by her quiet, yet strong demeanor



We headed to lunch at the Sculpture Gardens just across the street from the Center. We happen to find the most perfect picnic table for lunch totally covered in shade and with a clear view of the skies to the West from which a storm was approaching.

Three of us used our nursing gowns for the first time. Mine's called the Hooter Hider and I totally get a kick out of the name! Nursing out in public can be uncomfortable. Although I have no shame in whipping my boobs out, I don't care for some of the looks I get from people in the vicinity. The fourth Mama chased her little sweetie around who just couldn't stop going for the squirrels.

We nursed, we ate lunch, we changed diapers.

Refreshed and rejuvenated, we returned to the Art Center for a stroll through a few more galleries.



It was a such a great outing for me. I didn't feel rushed with the sense of having to return to feed the Baby Lotus Bud. We both returned home tired and content.

What a great day! Next month: The Minneapolis Institute of Art.

1 down, 17 more to go!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Lotus List Update - three more microbrews

The Big D was out of town for a little while and I had decided to make a meal with ingredients that he didn't care for, specifically olives and capers. He'll eat capers but will not touch the olives. I made an eggplant caponata and it was yummy. I had planned on getting a bottle of wine to go with the meal but when I wandered into the local liquor store, I found a rather large display of microbrews right near the entrance. I thought, what the heck, let's knock a few off my goal of sampling 50 microbrews. I chose three. I probably should have taken notes while drinking these brews, but I didn't. I just gave into the experience and hoped I remembered something about them later.




I loved this one the best. It is a Black Butte Porter brewed by Deschutes Brewery out of Bend, Oregon. I could definitely taste the chocolate finish. Drinking this porter confirmed the fact that I much prefer darker beers. They always seem smooth to me and totally drinkable. You'd know what I mean by "drinkable" if you've ever had a bitter brew that you couldn't finish. The website mentions something about drinking this while eating a hot-baked pretzel and I just about groaned with the thought. I can't wait to have this one again!



Flat Earth Brewing Co. is local, right out of St. Paul, the sister city on the other side of the Mississippi. Yeah! A local microbrew. I had the Angry Planet Pale Ale. Yes, I'll choose wine because it has an attractive label, so why not beer? This label was hilarious! It features a very cranky looking Earth, fuming and muttering "Da earth ain't yer mudda!"

This beer was only slightly bitter and definitely drinkable. But, I think I'd rather try the Porter next time. This brewing company has a number of seasonal brews which I want to keep in mind as it is an opportunity to sample more local microbrews. In particular I want to try the Winter Warlock.



OK, so for this last one I had high hopes. I saved it for when the Big D returned back from his trip as we are both big fans of the Deadliest Catch. Captain Phil Harris died the morning that our Baby was born and it was very strange to return from the hospital and get this news. Like, hey we were only gone a couple of days, did the world have to change so much?

This microbrew from Oregon's Rogue Ales is in honor of a different captain from that crab-fishing reality television show. It is Captain Sig's Northwestern Ale. And, I'd have to say it is about bitter as that fisherman. I couldn't drink it. That's why I mentioned drinkability with the other brews because when I got to this one, I just couldn't do it. I really like the idea of this beer and the fact that a portion of the proceeds support the Fisherman's Fund. I love the label. I just didn't like the beer.

Oh well. I can't pick all winners and the point of this was to try something new, something I ordinarily might not try. If not for this being on my Lotus List, I would have walked right by that enormous display at the liquor store with all these bottles who's labels were gorgeous to look at. I also had a really lively, friendly conversation with one of the staff at the liquor store who got a kick out of my goal of sampling 50 microbrews.

These beers kept me company after the Baby Lotus Bud fell asleep each evening. Thank goodness she sleep 12-13 hours a night now, but it sure feel lonely without the Big D around.

4 down, 46 more to go!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Abundance of Garlic

I love garlic. I love a lot of garlic and I always, I mean always, add more garlic than any given recipe requires.

Just try to imagine the joy and love I felt when I saw this:




Ohhh, baby, I felt totally out of control. But, at $3 a bulb, I had to limit myself to two. I can't believe I walked away with only two!



I'll tell you about one thing I don't love - mosquitoes. They seem to not like me so much when I eat lots of garlic. Garlic keep mosquitoes away. Apparently, vampires, too.


I joined Communal Global today. Seeking community and finding it! Check out Tuesdays Around the World

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another project for a busy Lotus.

So, what does a Lotus who happens to also be a Gemini do when she is busy? Like super, crazy busy?

She takes on a new project.

Yep, that's me. I know I'm getting back to my usual pre-baby neurotic self when I find myself taking on new projects and actually busting my ass to complete them. Gone are the years that I wallowed in self-pity and sat around eating minty bon-bons.

Just kidding on the bon-bons.

Really. I don't even know what a bon-bon is.

I wanted to blog last week, but the Big D was out of town and I had Baby all to myself. 24/7. And in case you are wondering, I think I did great! I really think I'm getting a handle on this whole mommy thing!

On to talking about my new project - Freezer Paper Stenciling.

I was sick of not finding the right clothes for the Baby Lotus Bud. When I did happen to encounter something cute, decent, even witty, of course, the piece was well over $20. There is no way, no how that I will buy something that expensive for a baby that will wear it for about a month.

Plus, I tend to dress her in a onesie and a pair of pants quite often. We've gotten a lot of dresses from friends and family, but honestly? She looks a little butch in those frilly dresses. Even the green ones. So, onesies, it is.

I learned how to do this relatively easy project here. It is an easy project but it's also addicting. The start up cost are minimal. I'd say the onesies (or t-shirts) are the most expensive items and you've got to be sure to get ones that don't shrink a lot. Carter's is a decent brand.

Here's a shot of my supplies.



The fabric paints are a little over a dollar per bottle. Stencils can be found online. That big raven in the picture is for a shirt for the Big D. He's got a thing for crows. So much so that our daughter's middle name is Raven.



The first shirt was an "Om" for yoga class. I tell ya, she's the cutest, most stylin baby in yoga class! But maybe I think that because I'm her mommy.



See the raven shirt?

An alternative to using picture stencils is to check out funky fonts to print out words for the shirts. I found the Samarkan font that resembles the Hindi script (Devanagari) and printed out the word "rajkumari" which means princess in Hindi. Whereas I would be mortified to dress my daughter in a shirt that says "princess" somehow "rajkumari" doesn't seem to terrible to me.



Maybe it's because my mother used to call me that except that the way I remember it, she made it sound like she was swearing at me. I had no idea that it meant "princess" until I was older.

Like I said earlier, this project is addicting. Once I got started, I couldn't stop. I made one for the daughter of a friend who is a drummer.



Cute, isn't it? After I gave it to her, I realized that it was far more appealing to my friend who is the dad. No problem, mon. I'll just make another. With flowers.



For Emerson. Hopefully Lani won't see this post before she receives the shirt in the mail. Fingers crossed.



For my nephew who is nuts about karate. Ka-Ra-Te.



For the Big D.



For the granddaughter of a blogging friend.



Now I have to figure out what I want to do for myself. But, not until I have finished the other eight that I have plans for.

This is so addicting!
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The Urban Alphabet - another O



A better "O" than the last one I shot. This one was taken near the Mill Ruins Park on the banks of the Mississippi. There was a lot flour being milled in these parts in the late 1800s. Apparently two extremely large explosions destroyed this mill twice and at the time it was considered to be the largest mill in the world. At one point the mill could grind up 2 million pounds of flour per day.

Ugh. Thinking about all the flour just makes me feel chubby and lethargic.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Lowering the Horizon

It was extremely hot this last weekend in the Twin Cities, but for some reason, we decided to go to the Loring Park Art Festival. No one in this family handles the heat well, but I was determined to have a great time because it was just wonderful being out as a family, plus one guest. It was a day that reminded me how beautiful Minneapolis is, the City of Lakes.



This festival was situated around a lake and it was interesting gazing at the tents across the water and past the cattails. It reminded of a medieval encampment what with all the canvas tents sporadically billowing in the wind. The set up was just perfect in that there was only two rows of tents/vendors/artists lined up all around the lake. Aside from the heat, this was not an overwhelming experience nor an overstimulating onslaught of color, art, sound. The centering lake balanced out all the sensations and made for a lovely afternoon.

Take a look at this picture and see for yourself what I mean.



And now the same shot but with the horizon lowered.



There is a big difference in these photos in terms of composition and light despite being taken from the exactly the same spot.

These days many dissertation memories are springing up from the depths. Out of nowhere, it seems, I have these snippets of triumph and heartbreak seep through my pores and assault my emotions. Here's an example of a good, instructive memory.

Four years into my program I was in the process of fleshing out the "architecture" of my project. Seeing the structure of chapters emerge, building ideas like I would build steps from one level of a house to another. Trying to cap the project with a roof that could contain all the ideas, yet limit the focus to something manageable. Everything seemed to be a visual exercise in grounding theory.

I happened to catch a documentary on Ansel Adams where there was a segment about how he conscientiously decided to "lower his horizon". This was incredible instructive to me back then when I was struggling to climb my mountainous doctoral program. The mountaintop figuratively represented my goal and on my way there all I could see was up, the granite impossibly attainable and looming, constantly threatening failure. Once I stopped and lowered my horizon, I was able to see the many steps, plateaus, etc., that I had to encounter on the way to the top. Finally, I was able to see a little more of the process in a less strenuous, more realistic manner.

I'm still floating around these days with goals in mind, but no plan on how to get there. Thought I would bring my horizons into check. Maybe take more time out of my day to gaze at the beautiful scenery and circumstances of my life.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

love thursday: lone acorn



The seed of life as represented here in this lone acorn is colored with such a vibrant green. Summer is so full of these lessons of life, vibrancy, endurance, perseverance. And, doesn't that mean that these lessons are ultimately about love?

Love is life, vibrancy, endurance and perseverance.

Love is what nourishes the seeds of summer and the seeds of life.

It's a good time to alive and in love.

Tell me - is there some symbol of summer that means love to you?
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Letters to the Baby Lotus Bud - Six Months!!

Dear Little Lotus Bud,

Six freakin, frackin, mother-sucking months you have been here on earth, outside my belly, inside my home, and in my heart! Everyday I look forward to seeing what new thing you will do and yet, I am so utterly heartbroken that you are no longer my tiny little peanut.




It seems that you've found your tongue. I think that means you will grow to be a female version of Gene Simmons fronting your own band.



I think I told you last month that most days your Daddy comes home from work and pulls out his guitar. Lately he's held his guitar close to your feet and you seem to kick tap to his music. Sometime you get so excited, he's got to pull back a little bit so that you don't bust his guitar with your precious little feet.



If your Daddy has any say in it, you'll be a musician. Or a snow boarder. Or a hockey player. If I have any say in it, you'll do whatever it is that you love and you will do it well, really well.



Last Friday we took you out to see a local band and you started shaking your rattle! This was a momentous occasion for your parents who spent most of their early dating life checking out local bands. Granted back then, we usually didn't hit the town until after 10:00 and there was a lot more beer involved with those nights. This time we went to see the band at 6:00 and we drank lots of water. It was still great and the musicians oohed and aahed over your incredible cuteness!

You did great for most of the evening but then when it came close to your bedtime, you got cranky and we had to take you home. That's quite all right, little one. I love that you are sleeping through the night now.



You see? We are finally finding ways to fit you into our life. There are adjustments to be made every single day, but we're slowly figuring it out. Life does seem to be resuming to something like before, but it just all seems better now that you are here.



That's you in our bed! Your eyes look blue! Everyone says that your eyes will change color and everyday I think you couldn't get any more perfect. And, yet, you do!



I already figured out that are the best yoga partner I've ever had.



Now I've come to realize that you are great motivator for tackling high hills. We've started working out together on a regular basis. I take you for a walk up the hill to the highest point of elevation in Minneapolis. Doesn't look like much here, does it? Believe me, the walk kicks my ass! And when I get to an unbearable burn I look to you for an encouraging smile. You keep me distracted from the burn and then before I know it, I'm up the hill and ready for the next one. Thanks for that, baby. Now if I would figure out how to use you when I working abs. I've got my own personal trainer now. You're my personal trainer and I'm your masseuse. I like that deal.



Everytime we go to yoga class I end of thinking about all those other babies. Lucy, Bella, Shannon (a boy), Edward, Sylvia, Julia - Yes, there is an Edward and a Bella in our yoga class. There is also Nina, Leessa, and Bennet. And there's Emerson, Addy and Ajoy. I think what an awesome generation to grow up with. You all have a lot of work to do to fix this planet that your parents and grandparents messed up.



Everytime I raise you into warrior pose - up, up, up, up - I think that's what you do for me. You raise me up, up, up, up. I want to be a better person so that I can be a good mother for you. Your generation is going to make everyone on this planet better. The future seems brighter and cleaner and more vibrant.



The days are passing way too fast for me. You are starting to sit up, although not quite on your own yet. You will be starting solids next week. I never thought I would miss the day when you stop getting all your sustenance from my breasts. Granted that day is still another (at least) six months off, but I'm already thinking the day is approaching must sooner than I want. My milk supply is really low and I know that there are times when you are really hungry. If that happens again, I promise I'll pick up some organic formula from the Co-op. But truthfully I'm hoping that it won't come to that because you will be starting solids so soon. I'm popping fenugreek capsules like a junkie.

Here's a memory I never want to forget: Early in the morning after you Daddy grabs you from your crib, he brings you to me so that you can drink from my breasts. You seem so sweet to me. I stroke your soft, soft cheeks and my heart melts with the intensity of love I feel for you. I want you to stay this age, a time when all your needs are met and all you have to do in life is be loved and look adorable. I never gave you permission to grow so quickly. I can't believe you are defying me already!



On July 28th, you started giggling. A hearty giggle that made you cheeks and shoulders shake. I was so thrilled I called your Daddy so that he could hear it, too. You giggled for at least fifteen minutes and I kept sneezing to keep you going. I guess you like it when I sneeze a high-pitched sneeze. That and "nom nom"s on your neck. You cheeky monkey!

Love, from Me, your Mommy.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Urban Alphabet: A




Finally the 'A'! I would try to do these in alphabetical order, but life just doesn't appear so nice and neat. Keeping my eye open for a 'B', or even a 'b'. But, I will post any letter that reveals itself to me.

Chicka chicka boom boom!
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Club Mamas

Book Club Mamas



The book for August is Wide Sargasso Sea. I have read this book several times and it was also part of the reading list for my preliminary exams. Each time I've read it, I've really enjoyed it to the point where I'd rent the movie just to extend the experience a bit further.

This is why I have joined the Book Club Mamas. I want to interact with this community of artistic and holistic and authentic Mamas and this book gives me a good way to jump in.

This time around I've decided to read Jane Eyre as well. You would think as an English Ph.D. I would have read this already, but no. If you are not sure why this book is relevant to Wide Sargasso Sea then I guess you'll just have to come back to read the Lotus Review.

The review I will be sharing won't appear until later this month. I wanted to post this in case there are any others who want to join in. From what I've read at Holistic Mama's site, you don't have to be Mama to participate.

Come on! Join in! "There's always time for reading!"

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Urban Alphabet: h


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The Urban Alphabet: O


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The Urban Alphabet: T


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Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Urban Alphabet: p



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The Urban Alphabet: q



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The Urban Alphabet: r



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