Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Frida Kahlo Flashback

The crowds were thick, but this was quite a wonderful exhibit of Kahlo's work and life. If you have never seen her work before, don't miss it. If you are a fan, get there right away. If you are open about art and experiencing art, take your kids.

I tried to determine if it was appropriate for kids by reading reviews. As some of Kahlo's work is quite graphic, I wanted to know which paintings were on display. That tactic didn't work. Most of the paintings that I thought might 'creep them out' were there. My kids did say a few paintings were gross, but my 6, 9 and 11 year old were super silent with their audio tours and took time to thoughtfully study the paintings.

I centered our trip around Frida's extraordinary life. There are people that curl up into a ball when life throws them a challenge or two, and then there are the others. Frida took lemons and made lemonade-sometimes bloody lemonade, but damn, look at her bio!

I talked to the kids about her ability to express what was happening in her life through her work. How she used art to help her communicate, contemplate and understand her life.

We discussed the power of Frida's eyes in her self-portraits. How her talent has the ability to invoke her spirit right there on the spot. Frida is in the room, she is looking over your shoulder and she is looking at you from her paintings.

Just for parents thinking about taking their kids (and there were tons of kids there!), here are some of the paintings we saw that might be considered graphic for youngsters. Considering all three of my kids have seen Ghostbusters and Iron Man (sorry, St. Peter), All in all, I think it worked out to be a good learning experience.

Afterward, 9 year old Ruth did say that she would never paint a picture with blood spurting out of her nipples to express her pain. I asked what she thought the blood might have symbolized--she answered a broken heart...but she still wasn't painting herself nude. Her dad will be relieved.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thinking About Frida Kahlo: On The Way To Visit The MOMA

I am doing a lot of desperate things this summer. First, it was taking my 6 year old daughter to Mamma Mia. Now, I am shuffling my kids off to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the San Francisco MOMA. My delicious, food blogging, buddy humored me by saying she'd join me.

As I went through Frida's biography with my children, the six year old kept ohhhhh and ahhhhhing over the gorier pics. Remember, she's the one poking the dead crow with the stick over and over. Of all the kids, she just might be my fellow Frida fan.

This desperation is part of my summer plan. If part of your kids go to camp part of the time, and your other kids go to camp part of the other time, then none of your kids are ever in camp at the same time. This leads a mom to be craving some adult activities. I knew it would happen, I just wanted it to happen for good and not for evil.

Now, I did have 5 days in a row of 3 hour blocks of time, why didn't I see Frida on one of those days? To tell the truth, I shopped and enjoyed shopping in my cone of silence. You see, you can take kids to the movies, you can take them to the wackier art exhibits, but you can't shop in small boutiques or antique shops in quite the same way.

I will give you an update.

Oh, and my kids are all going to see Buddy Guy and George Thoroughgood tomorrow at their first ever concert. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Auto Parent

A post written last summer while the older 2 kids were away at camp:

Day four of sleep away camp. Birk and I have been bonding over our divergent interests: she, the dvd player; me the computer. Hours go by where she plays quietly in her room. Hours go by that she is using both hands to hold my face and say "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

Something occurred to me on the fourth visit to the restroom at a restaurant yesterday. Germ-phobe (yes, that too) that I am, I am looking all around the bathroom stall with a sharp eye for pathogens, while listening to my daughter sing. My foot is tapping with impatience and I'm wondering if it's really fair for me to tell her to concentrate and hurry up one more time. Yes, my revelation was that it occurred to me that I have been living on Auto Parent mode.

The magic of having older kids is that they take their sister to the bathroom. They take their sister to the park. They are willing to play with plastic animals and the wooden farm house for hours. Ugh! My poor daughter is stuck with me for another week and a half, alone. Boring, tired, playless mommy.

When I try to sift the moments that we spend together, I see that much of the time we barely interact: making and serving breakfast like a zombie while I scream for everyone to hurry up or we'll be late; zooming along in transit to one activity or another while tabulating the endless lists in my mind; dropping them off for school; picking them up; transit; dinner; bedtime race; bed.

I am sometimes hearing the question, the story, the thought as she talks in the back seat. I find myself lost and nodding or asking her to repeat herself. I'm tired of auto parent. Where's the control thingie so that I can turn myself back on?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Canadian Chronicles: And Yet, It Doesn't Suck

When you watch someone take their very first bite of a s'more as their face is dimly lit by flickering bonfire--it doesn't suck. The cooking and prepping and bedmaking and tidying and seems to fade into the distance when there are happy faces around the bustling dinner table.

When the moon hangs low in the sky, candles are flickering on the dock, stars are shooting overhead and the milky way is sparkly and distant, yet close. Friends and family sit back in the muskoka chairs and sigh, and it sure doesn't suck. Pass the wine.

For all the work and exhaustion, there is reward. So, no matter how many guests we get the pleasure of hosting in a summer, we just keep inviting them back to share in good times together. No woman is an island, or a lake, or a cottage.

Gotta run, Birk just told me she re-arranged her bedroom. Get ready...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Boy Does This Suck For You

I was making beds in the guest cabin. Ruth entered the cottage, screen door banging in that fabulous only in the summer way. :

"Mommy, whatcha doin'?"

"Making the beds for your Aunt and her family. Want to help?"

"O-k. Mom, you make beds a lot here."

"Sure seems like it."

"I never see you do that at home. This is hard work."

"Next we need to make dinner for 20. Funny vacation, huh?"

"Yeah. Boy does this suck for you."

Oh, tell me, young one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Canadian Chronicles: Summer Diary of a 12 Year Old...Dogs, Limos and Long Lines at Customs

My son said it would be o-k to share a bit of his summer journal with the world.

The first entry:

Today was a flying day. First thing that morning, we got up and got our bags ready. Luckily, Dad hadn't booked a car beforehand and so he had to rent a LIMO! (yay!) So we drove to the airport with our dog and got on our first plane.

After putting our bags on the plane, the flight was about 1 1/2 hours long to Vancouver (Canada) and after going through customs, which took like forever, we went to get lunch and dinner for the plane.

We went through security and got on the plane for four more hours and I watched 2 movies and played Game Boy the entire time.

At the end of the flight, my sister had drawn a picture of the plane, so she and Dad went to show the attendants of the the flight. Apparently the attendants liked it so much that they showed it to the pilots. Then the pilots invited my sisters into the cockpit at the end of the flight and they got to turn off the engines.

We got in late and tonight we get to stay at a hotel.

Well, mainly when I was reading this I was thinking that we are a long way from Laura Ingall's Little House on the Prairie tales.