Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Our blog, it is a-changin'...

For reasons that we know some of you can relate to personally and most of you can certainly understand (including but not limited to a stalking ex and a really screwed-up neighbour), we are doing as many others have, and creating a "members only" blog.

If we know or are fairly certain that you read our blog, then we will definitely send you the password and so on. If we haven't heard from you in a while, or never knew you were perusing, then we may not think to send them your way. We apologise in advance for any oversights!

You can contact us in the usual ways, though. So please don't hesitate to, and we'll send the relevant info along, pronto. For a couple of weeks, at least, you will also be able to leave a message at the bottom of this post.

In the meantime: Hugs and warm wishes from all of us to all of you!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year's Worth of Lotsa

Don't worry, this post won't be a year's worth long! The other day, though, looking back on the year that's about to give way to another, I realised that an incredible amount of things have come to pass chez nous in the last 365 days. There were changes and more changes, ups and downs, bigs and littles, stranges and wonderfuls...  There was learning, adjusting and readjusting, dealing with and letting go, discovering and rediscovering... There was alot.

Thinking back and through it all, though, I kept coming back to one incredible three-day weekend that I spent with my three B. Boys this autumn. It was one of those times that encapsulates for me all of the good/wonderful, lovely/gorgeous, funny/hilarious things about those three, and made me realise once again  just how lucky I've been in love.

Which brings me to another point, which is really the point, which is:

Here's wishing happiness and love to all of our loved ones* near and far, in the coming year!

* and their loved ones, and their loved ones' loved ones, and their loved ones' loved ones' loved ones, and...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Boxing Octopux

Yesterday was a rainy Armistice Day, so we went to the movies (Panda! Go Panda!—huge thumbs up from all four of us) and spent the rest of the day drawing or trying to make sense of the disorder of our household, depending upon the age of the individual. Frankly, I wished I were doing like the young 'uns, but had to allow for the fact that by organising things in my studio space, I could better be drawing in the near future. Today, for example.

Speaking of today: This morning, the boys were hilariously sweet about getting up at a godforsaken hour and all. I was helping them keep concentrated on getting their shoes on, when Leo suddenly needed more than anything else to prove to me that he could read the names on his* "person Dinosaur King cards". Which prompted Tomi to claim that he could write them without seeing them. He ran off and came back with a piece of paper that had "Zoé" written on it, as proof. This caused a mini scandal toot sweet, because... He'd written on one of Leo's drawings. He said he was sorry immediately (not a first, exactly, but rare enough to be noticed), and pointed out that we could cut that part of the paper off. I wanted to laugh. Leo was reasonable about it, but pointed out in turn that this wasn't possible, because... There was a full-page drawing on the other side. When he turned the page over, this is what I saw:

I couldn't imagine where he'd've gotten this idea, and tried to question without cueing him. Turns out he was thinking of a street party we were at about a month and a half ago. There was a boxing club who'd set up a ring at one end of the street, and were inviting people to have a gentle go. When asked if he'd ever seen boxing octopuses, he laughed incredulously and said, "Nho-o-oh!" (As in: "Uhm... Are you serious?") I'm still wondering, but am willing to be a be reluctant believer...

* Since we parents refuse all requests for Dinosaur King cards, Leo has been trading Pokémon cards here and there for the damn things. Ah, well...

1 Note the person-legs on the gloved boxer
2 The mohawked-oct isn't wearing gloves because "he doesn't
    need them"
3 Tomi suggested that the plural of a boxing octopus be "boxing
    octopux", or "octopux qui buxent [sic]"

    Tuesday, September 08, 2009

    Back to School Daze

    After a long stint States-side this summer, we landed safely this-side; did a decent job handling jet lag; saw our newly-wed friends off for their Italian honeymoon; and came smack-bang up against Real Life, which had a few surprises, and all of it hurtling at us at once.

    So-so suddenly, it was September 3rd, and we were banging the alarm clock quiet, dressing still-sleeping boys, downing a coffee, making sure the snacks were in the packs, and making the long haul to the boys' new school.

    Then there was the greeting of the new teachers, and the long good-byes, complete with tears, sobs, and even a little uprising. (While Tomi's teacher addressed adults and children en masse, the sea of adults standing in front of Jean-Philippe and me began to sway and part, and suddenly a small, determined little mass of sadness and fury that very much resembled our little boy stood before us in the doorway, coat and bag in hand, saying, "Aller ! Je m'en vais avec vous !")* When we'd finally got him re-seated, we beat our retreat—with a few glances back, nonetheless. Leo was still looking lost, and fighting back tears; and Tomi's teacher was bent over him gently, talking...

    We parents had a coffee together at a local bistro, and began our new-home-hunting: scouring the streets in the area, looking for For Sale signs that don't appear in the ads or at the agencies. I was hoping that the walking would excercise that morning's demons; instead, it worked them into a lather. By the time we sat down for lunch, I was ready for a good cry.

    We love their old school, their teachers, the friends and acquaintences (big and little) we've made there, the lovely walk through La Petite France to get there... We love our home, with its ancient charm, the view from the windows, the terrace... We love this part of the city, with everything you could want or need within a 2-7 minute walk, including the butcher, the baker, and even a candlestick maker!

    It's not that we won't find lots to love about wherever we move to, in the end, but... well... I can't imagine it, yet. And anyway, we haven't found said place, yet. So Back to School Days turned quickly into Back to School Daze for kids and parents alike in this family.

    There was a glimmer of hope on Day 2, when we took the boys up to the doors and said our fare-thee-wells. Tomi began to melt, but the following conversation ensued:

    Mom: You can do this! You're a brave little button!

    Tomi: No, I'm not brave!

    Mom: Yes, you are. And you proved it to us, just this week!

    Tomi: How I did proved it to you?

    Mom: Remember when you shucked your armbands off at the pool, and started swimming before my eyes? You knew you could do it, so you plucked up your courage and DID it. You were SO brave! If you can do that, you can do this.

    Tomi: (whispering, with a shy look of pride growing on his face) Yeah!

    Jean-Philippe had been seeing Leo off as this took place, and came over with a smile at this point. Tomi gave us each a kiss and walked right into the room.

    But in the few seconds between his parents' hugs, Leo had had the time to take in the full extent of the situation. By the time I got to him, the bottomless Sob Pit had begun to disgorge its convulsive gaspings. Soothing words were proving useless, and the bell had rung, so I hugged him and said, "You've got to go in, now, hon." He answered, "I-hi ca-han't g-gho ih-ih-ih-hin!" Me: "Why not?" Leo: "Bhe-he-cause I-hi ca-han't s-s-s-st-hop this (he indicated his heaving torso) this... this cr-cry-hing!" So I borrowed from Obama: "Yes, you can," and added, "It just takes time." We hugged, and his teacher came out, and the school day had begun.

    As I mentioned in a note on Facebook, the change of schools is good, in that they are in an international school, with a bilingual program in English (among other languages). But the change was bound to be brutal for them, because the school's all the way across town (= MUCH longer days, for several reasons), and much bigger and less beautiful than the old school. But more importantly: their friends weren't changing schools with them! And then, preschool & kindergarten are much less demanding than elementary school. When asked about their first day, their first response was, "We didn't play! We didn't draw!" Which made me laugh at first, but then made me reflect once again on all of the massive changes that they are going through right now, and how hard it must be, coming all at once as it is.


    * "Let's go! I'm leaving with you!"

    p.s. Hopefully, I'll find the time to blog about the other big and little things that went on in our lives this summer. But the chances are slimmer with every passing day. I started a blog post about our three-or-four-part vacation in the States, for instance, but the sheer number of things that we had done made it impossible to decide how to blog about it, and which stories and images to share. Ach! again...

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    At Long Last!

    The book I've been working on frantically for the past few weeks and more has, at long last, been sent to the printer! If you'd like a look at a few of the pages within, as well as a bit of an explanation as to how and why this project came about, feel free to take a look at my work blog, either by clicking on the link on the right side of this blog, or by clicking here.

    Friday, May 29, 2009

    More Fun With Bugs

    A drawing done the other night, from the day's memories...

    Above is a fleeting moment in the lives of two boys who love bugs. Or, more to the point: bug hunting. And bug sequestering. And so on. Every once in a while, they also love bug squishing. But for now, they are generally very good to the bugs they find. They feed them and add little extras - leaves, twigs - to the bug containers, to make their captives' lives that much more comfortable. If it's weevils, though, they scream, "MO-O-O-O-O-O-M! There's a BAD BEETLE! QUICK! SQUISH IT!"

    Interlude: Why is it that Moms are always given the most thankless of tasks? I ask you.

    The other day, we were slo-o-o-owly making our way home from school, with Tomi stopping at every tree and searching... searching... searching... I can't imagine what took me so long to figure out what it was that was so interesting at the foot of the trees. Ladybugs, of course. Tomi claims that the trees are usually full of them, though this is the first I've heard of it. In any case, we got to the very last tree of our homeward path, and Tomi gasped with delight: "A LADYBUG!" He scooped it up and carried it all the way home, despite the relentless tickling, where we sequestered it - of course. The next morning, Tomi gasped again and cried out, "EGGS! SHE LAID TWO SETS OF EGGS!" And sure enough... So we gave her a leaf full of aphids, to encourage her growth and that of the eventual larvæ. We shall see what becomes of this experiment...

    In any case, excitement abounds! Heh! heh!

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Weevils Wobble...

    They really do! Not that I think you wanted to know that. I didn't want to know that, either. But when you've whacked upwards of a hundred of them (and that's not including their larva and the pupæ), you start to know these things. And more.

    But hang on. Did you even know that weevils exist? Because I didn't. But they do. And there is a huge nest of them on my terrace. I used to think they were dung beetles of some sort. (Don't even get me started on the pigeon nest under the terrace. Or the view from our neighbour's hallway window...) Then, when my parents were visiting last Xmas, we went to the Natural History Museum, and what to my wonder?! but the little beggars were pinned in there with so many more worthwhile subjects, labeled Otiorhynchus ligustici. I noted it down, but was told by a guy at the nursery not to worry about them until May-ish.

    And now it is May-ish. And we are being overrun. Overrun, I tell you. So I started whacking yesterday. The boys loved that. I didn't. Then, after a bit of a web-hunt this evening, I went on a weevil hunt. Dug out the old pine that was languishing against the wall in the back of the terrace, and found, to my horror, absolute masses of the creatures and their spawn. More whacking. Ugh. Went out about an hour ago, and, well... had to start whacking again. So...

    Tomorrow I'll be off to the nursery again, to buy me something nasty (but organic). I'm not really for this kind of thing, normally, but I can't keep the whacking up. It's got to stop. And these beasts are eating all of my lovliest leaves.

    There's one for you: Did you know that weevils eat only the tenderest leaves? I did; though, as I've already taken pains to explain, I didn't know it was weevils until this afternoon. I also figured out all on my own that they are creatures of the night. And that they are extremely tenacious. They can hold on to the side of a flushing toilet for half of the flush, for instance. But when they "get it" (and if they are not in a toilet bowl that is being flushed), they drop and play dead. This took me a while to catch on to, unfortunately.

    Okay, I'm all weevil'd out.

    One last thing, before I head to bed, though:
    I was reading to the boys last night, when there was a strange sound, as though someone were hurling pebbles at the windows and missing (thankfully). We ran into the kitchen as Jean-Philippe was calling to come and see, and saw the above. The boys pulled on sweatshirts as soon as the hailstorm had ended, and began a frantic race for ice-rocks, which we stashed in the freezer for... what? Later? I dunno, but it was cute. And then it was over. And so was the Little Golden Book. And lights went out. The end.