Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two More Garden Buddhas

The Garden Buddha project has been on my mind for a while now. I have taken so many pictures over the years of Buddha statues in gardens, but I can't seem to find them right now.

Organize much?

Yes, yes, I'm working.

Or, I could just take the approach that this is all about impermanence, so the images were meant to be lost.

Go on tangents, much?

This one isn't actually in a garden. It is in the woods and has been sitting out for a few years now, collecting beautiful moss.



I almost missed this tiny Buddha statue while on my walk. He looks so happy amongst the potted plants.



I think I just managed to talk to myself on this blog. Or is blogging always the experience of talking to oneself?

What does this have to do with garden Buddhas, Lotus?

I think I will call it self-examination.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not Your Typical Fall Photo

Fall is here and every Fall, I feel frantic to capture an image that defines the season. Something that is full of colorful abundant leaves.

I'm still working on it. It drives me nuts.

Today, I decided that if I couldn't capture what I want, I'll take all the color out and what you know? I feel better all ready!




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Monday, September 27, 2010

The Urban Alphabet - f


This one was a bit tough for me. I felt a little strange pointing my camera at this person's house. I've walked by several times before and didn't take the picture because the homeowner was present. So, then each following walk by the house, I felt nervous about running into the homeowner. I didn't want them to think I was a peeping Lotus!
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Busyness and Randomness...

....Or, better named: A post about nothing.

The beginning of each month gets incredibly busy for me. I have Board meetings, committee meetings, a community meeting, yoga, and deadlines. And, in case I forget (like I actually could) I have a baby to watch and grow. Couple all this busyness with my sudden burst of creativity and energy that comes right after a new moon, and suddenly I'm just feeling nuts about doing absolutely everything that I want to do, then feeling like a failure because I only got some of it done. I only get done the necessary meetings, once-a-week yoga and the baby watching and growing.

I'm working on being kinder to my busy self. I'm working on letting go of some things and reassuring myself that those creative projects I did not get done will just be richer and more satisfying after they stew for a while in my brain, unexpressed and unfinished.

I just realized that my camera battery needed recharged. Actually I knew that since last Saturday, but I never even pulled it out of my purse to use and be reminded that I needed to charge the battery. How sad is that?

I'm a little like this sculpture at a nearby park that spins in the breezy wind. Spinning without control, pushed around and around by an uninterested burst of air.




OK, enough of the complaining and the possibly bad metaphor for my busy life.

Just this morning I booked reservations for a week at the North Shore of Lake Superior. Last year this is where we went for a Babymoon. Now, this year we will be taking the Baby Lotus Bud. This will be our first family trip and we've decided to go over the Thanksgiving week. I'm going to try to pull together a little Thanksgiving dinner up there. The resort where we usually stay has nice one-bedroom condos with well-appointed kitchens. And, fantastic views of the Great Lake. Hopefully there will be a big storm brewed up the Gales of November and we can get an amazing show of waves breaking over the rocks right outside our condo. I'll share more of our plans as the date gets closer.

Oh, I just can't wait.

OK, busyness aside, now some randomness.

Have you seen Eat, Pray, Love?

I haven't seen it yet, but never really was a movie theatre goer. Someone that the Big D knows may be able to get it on DVD for me, so I'll just have to wait.

I really enjoyed the book when it came out in paperback years ago. I liked the idea of it, but it was very clear in my mind that I would never take a trip like that which Gilbert described in the book. I happened to share the book with a friend who was at the beginning of a messy divorce. She hated the book, blogged about how she hated it on her fairly popular blog, divorced the husband and promptly moved out of Minnesota with my book in tow. Or, at least I'm assuming she took the book. I guess she could have just thrown it away.

Yes, that makes more sense. She didn't like it so why would she take it with her? All I know is that I don't have it anymore.

I felt a little bit...ashamed. Embarrassed that I liked the book, ashamed that I wasn't more critical. But, dang it! I genuinely liked it even if there were some parts that made me squirm. I think that anyone can critique a book, but only a few can pull out good, useful, relevant to one's life, parts of a book. I spent too many doctorate seminars with people who spent an hour and half trashing a book or an article. It usually left me feeling like I hadn't read the same article/book.

Anyway, so, I wanted to read it again and remembered why I didn't have it, pushed down my throat that rising swell of shame and decided to get it from the library. There are approximately 5 billion people on the waiting list. OK, there is only 525 and I'm now down to 163 on the list.

It's still going to be a few days. You think?

While I'm waiting, in the meantime, I stumbled upon Drink, Play, F@#k: One man's search for anything across Ireland, Vegas, and Thailand.

After spending a few weeks reading Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea (for which I did not write my review, sorry!) and Crow Planet, I decided I needed something a bit trashy. Drink, Play, F@#k was indeed trashy, but actually a bit better than I expected. The Drink and Play sections actually had a bit of spirituality in it even if it was found in a drunken stupor and a roulette wheel. The F@#k section ended up being a little bit sweet. I finished the book in about a day and half, and it left me feeling like I want to Drink, Play and F@#k - all in moderation, of course. The Play part might be a bit hard to manage, but that section was all about seeking things that makes one happy and not worrying too much about the consequences, so maybe I can pull in a little bit of Play into my life.

Now, I'm moving on to some David Sedaris and oh yes, I've got to finish up Crow Planet.

I suddenly find myself with a huge stack of books to read. They all seem very interesting, but my problem is that I just discovered my television again. There are so many good films on Netflix Instant Play.

A recent one I was told about that I'm watching in parts is the Gleaners and I. Have you seen it? It's so very interesting. It's a documentary of gleaning activity in France. Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farm fields that have already been harvested for commercial purposes. There is a scene with potatoes. Hills of potatoes dropped off by processing plants that cannot sell large or oddly shaped potatoes to grocery stores so they just dump them in fields. Individuals and charitable organizations collect these discarded spuds and usually walk away with hundreds of pounds of perfectly respectable potatoes. There is also a segment on a 2 star Michelin chef who gleans all his ingredients. Also included in this documentary are urban folk and artists who search the trash dumps for food and materials.

Gleaning is a much better word for dumpster diving, isn't it?

I started thinking why don't people glean farm fields here in the States? Then, I remembered that the bulk of agriculture in this country is dedicated to monocrops, usually corn to produce high-fructose corn syrup and feed for the beef industry.

Maybe I'll have to move on to reading some more Michael Pollen and see if he's got anything to say about gleaning.

There. See. My post about nothing ended up being about something, didn't it?

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Feeling the Need for Speed


You seem to enjoy this ride, Baby Girl, and your Dad really likes to roller-blade for miles and miles with you. Now he's got plans for ice skating and skiing. I made him promise to make sure you didn't break any bones. You guys can go out and have this kind of fun. I'll just sit back and watch and perhaps, take a few pictures.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Letters to the Baby Lotus Bud: Seven Months

To My Dear Little Lotus Bud,

Dang, baby! It's been a busy month!

We did so much this last month, so much so that's it's going to be hard to recount it all, but I'll give it a try.

The month started with your Daddy going out of town for business. It was just you and me, kiddo, and I think we did great! We did a lot of walking in the morning and the evening. I miss those evening walks because we haven't done much of that since that first week.

There are two reasons why you and I haven't walked in the evening. First, that's the time you usually spend with your Dad. Second, you started eating solid foods which I usually feed you in the evening! Well, I should really say that you have started eating pureed foods. You started with rice cereal, then tried some sweet potatoes. The rice cereal got you constipated so now I've got you eating prunes to keep things moving throughout your body, and oatmeal has replaced the rice cereal. You seem back to your regular pooping self. How come you only poop when I'm around? Huh? I think you have some sort of pact with your Dad.

So, the pureed-food eating seems to be going well except for one minor issue. I took some our CSA carrots and lovingly steamed them and lovingly processed them in the baby food mill, and I lovingly dished them out for you and I swear I thought you would love the carrots! But, you hated them!



Oh, the face that you made was priceless. You hated those carrots and I couldn't even get a good picture because you fussed so much. I think maybe I didn't puree them enough or least I'm hoping that's the problem because I really want you to like our CSA vegetables.

So, here's an example of a busy week for you and me. Tuesday: the Walker Art Center. Wednesday: the Minnesota State Fair. Thursday: yoga.



By the end of the week, I was just as tired as you were in that picture. The Walker outing was great. We went with three other Mommys and Babies. There was Havah, Sylvia and Lyla who's a bit older and watching her showed me what I have to look forward to in about a year. I bet I'll be losing a lot of weight then just chasing you around! We had lunch at a picnic table in the Sculpture Gardens and we tried out our Hooter Hider for the first time.

I had the plan to try it out in public with a few other Mamas so that I could be comfortable using it the next day when we all went to the Minnesota State Fair. It was this time last year that I started coming out of my First Trimester fog. I don't remember much of last July and August, but I do remember going to the State Fair with your Daddy. I remember taking the free shuttle and trying to imagine what it would be like with you and a stroller. It was a surreal experience sitting there on the bus with you in the seat next to me, making our way to the Fair with the stroller stashed in the cargo area.

We went to see the Native Pride Dancers and I pulled you into my lap for the show. Soon, you were standing on my knees and dancing. It was amazing to see you respond in this way to the sound of the drum and the dancers.

Then came the moment when I had to feed you. I pulled out the Hooter Hider and under you went. I was completely surrounded by Fair-goers. I admit I had moment of complete fear when I first put it on. I backed off for a few moments until my heart slowed it's beat to a little closer to the Native drum. Then I tried again. Once you were latched on, I was much more comfortable and very happy that I had decided to to buy a Hooter Hider. Later, your Dad said that he was proud of me and that nearly made me cry. There was a lactation station set up at the Fair but I didn't have to use it. I really hope that more Mamas feel comfortable breast-feeding in public. Things like Hooter Hiders, nursing covers, and lactation stations make it a little easier, but no Mama should feel the need to go off alone somewhere to feed her Baby.

People looked at me a little funny. They had no idea that I had my breast bared to feed you. People had some of the funniest looks on their faces like they were trying to figure out what was behind "the curtain." Then, like a magician, I pulled you out from underneath. Now that was fun!

Anyway, we ate. In particular, I ate lots of carbs. I searched the Fair grounds for non-beef items and completely stayed away from Pronto pups (your Dad had two!), but I was missing that wild-rice burger. Next year, I kept telling myself that next year I will get to eat anything that I want. And, so will you!



So, what else? Let's see...Oh, yes, you kissed your first boy! Yep, that's right, you and Shannon got a little close in yoga class a few weeks ago. You dropped your rattle to hold his hand, then when he reached for the rattle, you grabbed his head and started sucking on his cheek. Oh. My. Goodness. That was the most adorable thing I have ever seen and that's saying something big because you are so dang cute just by your ownself.



REI baby clothes are the best. I go nuts over these so thank goodness there was a huge sale going on. It's been getting cold at the Airstream Retreat in Wisconsin and we've had to figure out ways for you to keep warm. Like putting you in long underwear and a blanket sleeper. This is a lot like me, your mommy. I'm always cold and almost always have long underwear on throughout the Fall and Winter.

I freaked out when you got all bitten up by a spider. Yes, I admit it, I freaked out and thought perhaps you had the chicken pox. I've since come to learn that spider and mosquito bites can take up to 24 hours before swelling up. That accounts for the delayed reaction on your skin and my total freak-out moment. I also remembered that your Granny, my mother, bought a couple of mosquito nettings ten years ago when she was last in India. She brought back ones for a single bed which I can't use for our bed, but they work perfect for you! I set you up with your own Rajkumari bed at the back of the trailer. No more mosquitoes bites.



Just in time for Fall when there will be no mosquitoes. Oh well, we'll be all set up for next year.

The Baby gear just keeps piling up. We're done with the bassinet, the ghodiyo (a Gujarati cradle), the play mat and the swing which are all now stacked and cluttering our porch. I've got get those listed on Craig's List. Now we're moving on to the Activity Center/jumper. What a fiasco that's been. I took you to that great big Baby store and put you into these gadgets and you loved it. There was so much delight in your eyes. I couldn't believe the shine in your smile and eyes while you were playing around. I had to buy one. So, I did. I took it home and your Dad spent two hours putting it together. Turns out it wasn't the one we selected because the display model hadn't been updated to the latest version which had none of the features we liked, such as the keyboard. So, we went back again. The second time around with this endeavour, we ended up grabbing the wrong box and again, only realized until after your Dad had put it together. Third time we got the most expensive one there and so far so good, except that your feet don't touch the ground. Dang. We should have just gotten the Jeep walker which was incredibly cute and of course, both your parents thought you absolutely had to have it, but, alas, we have a small house and so there would be no where for your to walk in the Jeep walker. We're such geeks, aren't we?

With all the busyness of this month, I didn't take many pictures of you. I'm trying to get over the idea that I've got to think of interesting "photo shoots" and just snap lots and lots of pictures. Then, I get overwhelmed thinking about all those shots getting lost on a hard drive. I've got to figure out a way to get them printed in a timely manner. Maybe if I make that promise to you, I'll actually get around to doing it.

We've had the Walker, the State Fair, the Children's Museum, lots of Co-op meetings and several trips to your Granny's to work on sewing a diaper bag. I'm certain I'll have that fully sewn by your tenth year of life.



The month ended with a sad event at which you cheered everyone up. Your Great-Grandpa Ray passed away. He was your Dad's grandfather and he lived to be 94 years old. We all went to the service and everyone was happy to see you, some hadn't had the chance to meet you yet. I love having you at these things because suddenly I get along with everyone so well! The truth is, Baby Girl, sometimes it's hard in this country to be in an inter-racial relationship, but you are proof of the beauty of that! I am certain that these societal issues will seem ancient when you get older.

We took advantage of being dressed up for the service and got some pictures taken.



You've got your Dad's stink eye look and it's hilarious to see this on you!



This last month, you started murmuring "mamamamamama."





I love you, Baby Girl! Thanks for being in my life these last seven months! I can't wait to see what this month will bring.

Love, from me, your Mommy.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lotus List Update: Visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens

Located just across the street from the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is full of linden tree avenues and massive art installations. The sculptures are actually in many different sizes, but it's hard on the first visit to give any attention to the smaller ones that line the avenue that leads to this:




The sculpture draws you directly down the lane, the cherry being oh so very enticing.

The "Spoonbridge and Cherry" is an iconic site in Minneapolis. This sculpture was created by a married pair of artists: Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Together the spoon and cherry weigh over 7000 pounds. The sculpture is a fountain with the mist coming out of the cherry stem.

I've lived in Minnesota for over twenty years and had never made my way down to these famous gardens.



As with all iconic features it is hard to shoot an original image of this sculpture. There are many images of the sculpture, in all seasons, from every possible angle to be found on posters, brochures, and postcards. There didn't seem much for me to improve upon. I needed more time to think about this and perhaps I will go back there as I've now got a sense of the dimensions, the grand scale of this playful art installation. An icy, wintry day comes to mind as a possible good day to shoot.

One thing I do like about this image is that there is the bridge (designed by Twin Cities-based artist Siah Armajan) in the background. It helps show the scale of this sculpture. Believe me: it's big!

I went to this Park for lunch yesterday after spending time at the Walker Art Center with some other Mamas. It was noon and the sun, although not at the peak angles of summer, nonetheless was high in the sky which resulted in a thoroughly blown out image.

But, that's quite alright! I managed to finish one of the items on my Lotus List. I'm glad it was this one as this is something I've wanted to do for a long time. And, I'm so glad that I got to go there with the Baby Lotus Bud. She's the best travel companion, always up for adventure and always, in her lovingly passive way, encouraging me to seek out new places!

#27 on the Lotus List complete.
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