Friday, March 16, 2018

Decoding the World, One Stall at a Time

There are no showers in here,” my daughter observed. I was squatting before her, holding her square on a toilet.

It’s true, restaurant bathrooms don’t have showers. They don’t expect you to take a shower here.” We processed this new bit together. We switched spots and she placed little hands on my waist and thigh: “I will hold you, so you don’t fall in,” I thanked her and she purred, “It’s okayyyyyy, You’re fine. I won’t let you fall in. Because you’re a sweetie.” Which is not why I refrain from letting her fall in, though it’s nice to hear: she’s in a highly contrarian phase and it’s safe to say we’re both exhausted at morning's end/ afternoon's end/day’s end. 

Afterward she chattered to a polished woman using the nearest sink. The young woman gave her a pained, tight-lipped smile, and briskly shook water from her hands before exiting. I reiterated that outside of Daddy and Mommy, who are very proud, people probably don’t want to hear about her bathroom accomplishments. “But why?? WHY?” Her response was equally as pained as the woman's expression had been; I did my best to clear matters up. 

For the moment. Because there are so many why's throughout the day, so many mysterious basics to nail down. Not to mention the larger, more complex issues which dog our existence through adulthood. I confess, I often get a kick out of some of the easy ones -- it's like I'm a tour guide, helping to decode the odd ways of a strange place. Often the question momentarily startles me, as I'm yet again brought back to a large gap in understanding some aspect of our daily life. How busily the babies/toddlers/preschoolers must puzzle together all levels of existence. Astounding. So it's nice to get the questions wherein you may simply say, "Ahh, this is a paperclip, we use it to attach papers to each other; this is a penny, we don't eat them"* vs. rambling discussions of how currency is valued, how monetary value and people's worth become linked; how governments can choose to actively grow glaring inequalities...

Obviously, these conversations are farther off, though death is already popping up (courtesy even-the-sanitized fairy tales). While I try not to sugar coat things for her, so far I have sidestepped defining "guillotine."  I know the Madeline books were written in a different time, but why include a guillotine??? Bah. Ahh that Peppito... 

But to return to potty training. As I'm sure that's what you'd prefer to read about. I'm not a fan of potty humor/body humor. Never have been. I don't think I'm squeamish, but it just leaves me cold. So, I get not wanting to engage with random young folk about their bodily functions -- though I like to think pre-parent me wouldn't have been huffy about it. But I have begun to understand that to be in tune with where my daughter is turns out to demand a letting go of my attachment to some societal niceties. She may turn to stranger-you and brag about her poop, or check in about whether you have a penis; or loudly sing variations of POOP(/Y) and PEE to the tune of Annie's "Tomorrow."** And we can teach her the gradual lessons of propriety, but they won't take effect for quite some time. It still makes me cringe a little, but also laugh. It's probably good for me. A little less propriety and a little more devil-may-care can't hurt. And on balance, it beats a scream-crying fit any day of the week.

*also perfect illustrations of how even the "easy" questions beget answers leading to more questions. 
**Also, relating to propriety and boundaries, privacy still holds some mystery to her. I was in the bathroom, alone, until her appearance; she announced," I will close the door so you can have PRIVACY". She certainly closed the door, but with both of us inside. She smiled proudly at me, and twiddled the shower curtain.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Recess is Over, Leave Your snowshoes by the Door (Thanks for the break, Austin!)

Hard to believe we were basking in Texas sunlight less than two days ago. It's NOT snowing in Southeast Michigan at 10:32 AM on this Thursday, but the snow shelf on the back deck ...

We had a groovy time in the So Co corner of Austin, Texas this past week. Rick presented to and investigated local youth theater organizations; and I wrangled the girl into and out of her umbrella stroller, which is in its last days size-wise. I blamed the captive germs on our flight for the cold which bloomed in me almost immediately after arrival; I was fatigued and grumpy, but cheered by the low fifties temperatures. Also the airbnb -- how fantastic is it to pop into someone else's surroundings? This one was clearly a rental -- basically a few rooms from an Ikea store -- but WOW to be in a place that's less clinical than a hotel chain, that simultaneously retains the blessed state of no-clutter. When we walked in, ambient beats played softly. Our child gleefully disassembled the cushions from the l-shaped sofa in order to create a "bed" on the floor (naturally, in the middle of the walk space) and launched herself across the barren couchscape, giggling.

Last stop one night: Auguste & Marcel. We had just decided on calling for a car over a long(ish) walk back, but maybe one more place? It was quiet, just dark enough; we plunked ourselves down on a leather couch by the front window. This trip brought home the fact that I'd happily go out with more frequency, if people watching from a couch were guaranteed. Also recommended? "Velvet Sunrise," which I ordered despite no knowledge of velvet falernum. The cocktail was well balanced, with a nicely spiced warmth to it; I asked the lanky, Afro'ed bartender if he had created the drink. He was wistful: "Nooooooo, my brother actually.  I keep trying to make a drink with tequila because I love tequila, but I haven't come up with anything worthy to put on the menu." 

Another couch outing -- and one of the highlights of the trip -- The Continental Club. It's a tiny, old bar with a small stage, boasting a solid roster of talent. Opened in 1955, it was refurbished and restored to its 50s appearance in 1987 (interesting history here). A lot in Austin bears an updated retro feel: perky neon signs outside bespoke burger places, blocky starbursts of chrome framing tall plate glass windows, diners with throwback curbside service; a stranger you chatted with in the park a few blocks back, who pauses his truck at the stop sign to matter-of-factly ask if you need recommendations for your Austin stay. Similarly, back inside the club, it feels like another time. Not fifties, but not now. The barback has its normal spirit bottle display, but the TV is mutely set to a random Technicolor musical*.  Rick & I turn from the bar proper to scope out the rest of the room. The stage is backed with a red crushed velvet curtain, with a jazzy Continental Club sign. Small, high tables are grouped tightly in rows, with all seats facing forward; these are mostly full, and we gaze across to the far side wall, which has a raised platform of leatherette seating. 

Closest to the standing/ dance area -- two spots free and clear! Have we missed something? Is it reserved? If so, there's no signage, and we are the gleefully ignorant tourists descending. We settle in, though I fret. A handful of people seated in the front-facing main section cast glances at us once, twice; one man repeatedly does so. Gaffe? Or non-local oddity? We don't have cowboy hats; I lack a glossy mane of hair which seems to be the norm for women; one or the other of us gazes at a phone. We also have too many things with us. I shuffle my bulky colder weather clothes to a smaller space and hover about the drink at my feet;  Rick drops a credit card and the circulating waitress purrs, "Y'alll are a mess~~" But no, we are allowed to be right where we are, and once the music starts, it's a great night.

Thursday night is Barfield, aka Mike Barfield, aka Barfield the Tyrant**. He's an older man in a wide brimmed cowboy hat. His shirt pools around him, his legs swim a bit in his jeans. His voice isn't super rich. And yet he's cool and assured, in command of the stage. For the first two songs, he shakes his maracas throughout, pivoting on one tiptoe to swivel his leg and hips around in a descending groove, while delivering Blues-y vocals. His voice raises to a falsetto in the traditionally lecherous "You're What's Happening" ("'re a high school honey with your shorty shorts on..." the lyrics increasingly, blatantly, obnoxious as the years pass); despite discomfort, this song is as infectious and funky as the rest.  Barfield dances, he grooves, he surveys the audience. Not a dancing crowd, this night, though many of us bop around in our chairs; a woman leans against the opposite wall, mouthing all the lyrics. In moments of heightened drama, he lifts both hands -- fluttering like hummingbirds -- toward the ceiling, like a preacher: Behold the Funk. 
 2015 interview here.

When we returned for a set on Saturday night, the entry was three times higher and the place was hopping. No chance for elevated or seated viewing this time around. And with this music, you need to stand, anyway. The cocktail waitresses were having an exhausting time of it, right arm held aloft with a full drink trays, as they were endlessly forced to recreate paths through the jostling crowd. We made it midway through a set by Tomar & the FCs and I would have been happy to listen for three hours. Ultra charismatic, high energy lead singer, beautiful backing vocals and -- again -- tight, jamming band. In between original songs they played to differing crowd demographics with strong covers of Prince (yayyyyyyyyyy!) and Shania Twain (ehhhhh). If you need more funk in your day, play this in the background (recorded at different venue).

*some kind of violent hilarity unfolds (in a saloon? bordello?) with full-dress nuns banging men over their heads with whatever's at hand (boxes, vases); chagrined gentlewomen enter the fray. They do their best to rise above feeble feminine physicality, evading harm and landing a blow, yards of silk ballooning around them. It must be an obscure one, Rick can not place it. 

***as in "The Tyrant of Texas Funk," coined by another, about him; he claimed it for himself.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

You Will Always Need a Shot. Everyone Needs a Shot.

The gift that keeps on giving
"So what's wrong with you?"

"Umm nothing is wrong. I'm just here." As directed, I'm stretched out on the floor. I am an unenthusiastic patient. My daughter frowns and looms, as much as an almost-three-year-old can.

"But," she persists, "What is wrong?" A pause. "I will be your doctor today."

I cave. "I...have a cough."

"Okayyyy. Has a dog crawled inside you?"


"Okay. Have any animals crawled into your head?"


"Okayyyyyyy. Well. I'm almost certain bees have flown in your ears~~"

"Oh my god, really!~~"

"So I will give you ear drops" puff! puff! from a tiny bottle "and give you bandages" and with that she stuck address labels from her grandparents' home across both my ears. She tucks the labels around the edges of my ear lobes.

"I don't know about this~~" It's very disorienting to have stickers over one's ears. I push myself up from the living room rug. I

"~~And you will need a shot."

"Can you please not give it on a bone? They are meant to be given into fat (or muscle?)"

She ignores me and jabs into the tops of my feet. "There you go."  

The doctor has impressive availability, and is open to alternative paths to health. Inconsistent bedside manner. Information about medical schooling currently unavailable. She is always accepting new patients. 


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Chicago Art Minute

Half a week has passed since we drove out to Chicago. Our primary reason was Hamilton, which obviously doesn't need the approval of an occasional blogger. If you haven't seen it, you're already sick of the hype. Nevertheless: you'll be blown away and probably bawl.

Otherwise...Quick hits from a long weekend:

1. We were hustling along after a scrumptious dinner at Little Goat, trying to reach a screening of "Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri" on time. As usual, the directions were clear until they weren't and Rick was squinting at his apple compass, marching forward, and then halting. We passed the nasty opulence of a Trump property and rounded a corner. And were met by a cluster of "Gentlemen":

Blocky, dynamic. With just enough space between its various forms to invite goofballs like me to squeeze in for photos. But the light was low, and Rick's patience was wearing thin, and we had Frances McDormand to see. More on Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming and the journey of the Gentlemen to the AMA plaza here.

"An Elegant Woman at the Elysee Montmartre"
2. French painter, Louis Anquetin, in the Toulouse-Lautrec room of the Art Institute of Chicago. Never heard of him and was on the verge of attributing his painting to someone else. Anquetin was dismissed as a "one hit wonder" by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but Toulouse-Lautrec spoke to his importance among his circle, calling him "the glory of the [Atelier Cormon] studio"... (according to the painting museum label). Aside from befriending Toulouse-Lautrec (and sharing a studio with him), he was also friends with Vincent Van Gogh, and Emile Bernard. Together with Bernard, he developed a painting style termed cloisonnism, which the image is an example of:

"Cloi­son­nism is char­ac­ter­ized in partic­ular by strong contours and surfaces that have been barely elab­o­rated, but also by the bright colors and a bold picto­rial compo­si­tion beyond the rules of central perspec­tive."

Mishmash of other artists? Possibly. Less prominent? Definitely. He later veered away from this painting style in favor of the Rubens school, without gaining much of a following. But what a refreshing, beautiful painting. I love the bold outlines, and the decorative elements in her dress and coat, especially when considering the delicacy with which her face was painted.

3. Wonderful, tiny lives. Rick & I were trading off on daughter wrangling at the Art Institute of Chicago. We try, and mostly fail, to wander as a group, as I want to meander, linger, and share; Rick strives to keep a good, brisk pace; and the daughter wants to to climb every dias, touch all the things, befriend some guards, and kidnap a baby or at least commandeer a new walker into Ring-around-the-Rosie. So this time he mostly took her, after a brief meditation in front of "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte." I didn't get far before he called me; and I expected bullet points about a meltdown, with a consensus needed about whether to stay or go. "We're downstairs in the miniature rooms, you've got to come down here." The what? I said. At the science museum the day before, there had been another miniature "fairy castle," which had seemed somewhat cool in its ornateness, and inventiveness, but also rather twee -- not that we had a chance to really look, as the girl was momentarily fixated on cows and would not stop. More minis? "I know, I brought her down here because I thought she would like it, but they're just REALLY incredible."

I agreed to come down and wound up spending almost all the rest of my museum time in this section alone. It's not just that each diorama is exquisitely detailed; that every diminutive item carries the proportionate heft of its real world counterpart; that the room reads as authentic to its assigned period and place; or that it all speaks to an exceedingly heavy concentration of both money and fussy, fussy labor. The crowning glory is this: every room leads to hallways, or other barely glimpsed rooms, or a side garden, a night sky, rolling pastures. You are compelled to gaze in, in all directions, to see as much as you can, because there's a new bit of world beyond each room. And the tiny inhabitants may have vacated the viewing space, but there are robust lives being lived, just beyond your vision.

"California Living Room, 1875-79"
French provincial bedroom Louis XV -- love the inset bed
English Cottage Kitchen 1702-14

English Entrance Hall, Georgian, c. 1775

... And now back to our normally scheduled program. May our tiny little lives be light filled and many roomed~~

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Consider the Winter Camel

It's 4 degrees with a windchill to approximate -9. It's not that I haven't been outside, but I already feel a bit stir-crazy, knowing we have yet to reach the heart of winter, and not knowing how many brutal cold snaps will come our way. The girl doesn't fully fathom the ferocity of cold this week, so she periodically pulls socks on and rallies for the household: "And now! Let's go to the park!" No one here shall be pushing swings or whipping down slides anytime soon. It's a shame we don't have a nice transparent toddler version of a hamster habitrail lining the upper walls of our little ranch: we could plunk her in, and hear her endlessly scoot around from room to room. She'd burn off some energy and we'd excel  at locating her by scrabbling sound. She would, of course, call for us to join her, which would be physically impossible, but we could wave dramatically and bounce in periodically to assess her toy nesting skills: and leave small presents for her to find in different parts of the trail. Reader, do you feel better? This scenario has already had a calming effect on me. Sad to leave it!

So, here we are in this nasty Winter business, supremely lucky to be protected from its brunt. Possibly feeling in a bit of a slump, but one must remind one's self, January is often Slumptime, what with the royal Family rush of holidays preceding it*, the relative lack of sun, and --  if one ascribed meaning to the artificial construct of calendar time -- and neatly tied one's major tasks up in a bow by year's end -- one may feel especially floaty, without major projects to help order the days. Surely there are new projects to be had, and most definitely there are endless obligatory tasks to be squared off, checked off and otherwise eliminated. My friend told me over lunch that she has been writing out plans to span 2018; and asked what mine were. I fluffed about, though I have been thinking about it. But more on the level of approach versus goal setting.

*which is not meant to disparage family time, natch, only to say the packed nature, and all of the surrounding hubbub leaves one worn out. 

Regardless of where we are this January, it's time to re-up. Here's another fine year for us to invest in ourselves, each other, and our world. A fine time to consider (and buy and look at) Carson Ellis' screen print, which started out as her annual family holiday card last year:

From Carson Ellis' blog
A Handful of Items to Consider, from Someone with Shoddy Credentials:

When compelled to navel gaze,
don't ignore the negative,
but practice holding things lightly.

Make your spaces work for you. When you want to be nestled, make it so. If your space is overly stuffed, but you know you need something cleared out for sanity, give yourself that -- without the clearing process turning into a project in itself.

 Go for what you want. But don't apologize for adjusting down, when you have considered the situation. --> Insert here the video which I could not upload --> my child intently dragging a red rocking moose and random stuffed animal to our cart in IKEA last month. I noted that she had already lobbed 5 stuffed animals into the cart, which exceeded the stuffed animal limit, and that the moose going home with us was highly unlikely. After plaintively explaining that we didn't have a moose, so we had to get the moose, she frowned at it, lobbed a 6th stuffed animal in the cart, and walked away. Sometimes you think a moose is necessary, when really, a camel stuffed animal + a small bear in striped boxers will do the trick. Very few things in this life are truly essential, and focusing on those non-essentials could actually be tripping you up. Maybe what you want/need looks a little different than it did a few years ago, or last year. Maybe it's packaged differently. Some may call you fickle. That's okay: life is fickle. 

When invited to be in a parade, go for it! Special events and times come bundled with hassle. Enjoy the glitter and the exhaustion.


Whatever you're undertaking, allow yourself to be at your current level. One refreshing toddler trait is their frequent belief that they're doing GREAT at whatever is at hand. Obviously this reflects our enthusiastic encouragement - but this, too allows them to forge ahead -- and develop some real skills. Recent declarations from our shortest family member include: "I'm great at drawing!" "I'm a very good Mommy" (when she's not tossing her baby doll across the room), "I AM AN ADULT" "I'm great at jumping!" "I'm a VERY fast runner!" It's patently obvious that toddlers are works in progress, but still most people who describe adults as such are seen as a bit laaaaaaa, if not annoying. Yes, the growth rate is drastically reduced, but otherwise it still holds...

I don't need IKEA kitty drapes. but I want them.
<-- Take time to appreciate simplicity and repetition. It's easiest to be blown away by detailed, finely honed skill -- but there is wisdom and appeal to bold, pared down visuals.

Allow space for the magical. Which is not permission to let magical thinking hold sway... Also remember that sometimes theories -- including your own -- are simply that. Be open to revision.

Happy belated New Year, All! Warmest wishes during the coldest time of the year...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Give me a Bottle and the Open Road

The Little One has definitely turned a corner. One of a million, I am told. Possibly we thought we had already arrived at the "terrible twos" (/some say three is the beast//others say, there IS no such thing! to any of it -- which only says to me that No-Such-Things got off super-easy and are now irritatingly free to blissfully dismiss all the developmental oppositionality that occurs to the rest of us). For about six months, she has been crying princess-and-the-pea style numerous times a day, which is met with varying levels of patience by the taller people in the house. So we're good with that, or at least pretty good most of the time. It's possible that questions like, "Can we NOT cry about EVERYTHING?" may have escaped lips. Maybe this morning, maybe not.

Two days ago, amidst red-faced wailing about having three packs of markers versus two packs of markers in her reach, she frantically dashed all reachable markers to the floor, before attempting to launch herself across the dining room table at me, ALL while bellowing at me. The bellowing didn't work out so well, as she was heartily out of breath; the words were incomprehensible. Still, she bellowed and glared. It took a little while for her to recover from this. The force of it was daunting; and became more so, when the intensity level was repeated later on in the day. Rick and I were sitting on the kitchen floor, trying to play a nice ball of catch between the three of us; this was foiled after she decided all balls must be covered with blankets and absconded with. We kept snagging balls from the corners of the room and at least threw back and forth to each other; but she seized that one from us as well, blanketed it and ran away. I forget what caused the latter-day crying, but it presented as a running wail. She was mostly naked, scream-crying and running circles between rooms. In the doorway, she added a volley of foot-stomping and eyed us, with our hopeful outstretched arms. We were like magnets. She felt pulled toward us, but would yank herself away: "No! No! NOOOOoooooooooooo" It was almost laughable, but for the fact that she was clearly having a hard time. And sharing the exhaustion.

Yesterday, she added hate into the mix. I had never heard her say she hated anything before. And this was clearly experimental. Hate as confidential, hate with a smile. "I hate applecots," she announced, though this only seemed to apply to apricots cooked in oatmeal. "I hate cheese," she said later. The absurdity of this statement was only surpassed by "I hate bread," which I didn't bother to acknowledge. At the end of the day, she observed, "I hate toothpaste," after sucking it off the toothbrush, as she usually does.* While the protest/loud processing behavior is pretty exhausting for all involved, it *is* interesting to actually be able to see behaviors emerge, and to see someone clearly trying on different ways of being. Obviously, we're all performing our public selves -- and even aspects of our private selves -- but how often is it the case that we actively need to incorporate brand new ways of self expression or being? Hey Guys, today I started hating stuff! Well, not really hating them. But I said I hated them. It's a little glitchy... 

Her sole daytime nap is usually more of a downtime/quiet time. Which is usually more of a singing time, mixed in with some shouting. But lately if I drive her more than ten minutes in the afternoon, she's out like a light-- usually a few minutes away from our destination. So today I decided on the drive nap. One of the few remaining beautiful days, I have a new car that's actually fun to drive, we're golden! I shifted from a podcast to some chill music, the backseat was pleasantly quiet, and I had the pleasure of drifting off with my thoughts.

From the backseat: "...Sooooooo...HOW was your YOGA??"

This question was delivered in exactly the tone of an awkward exchange between two barely known acquaintances, who had not anticipated speaking to one another. One person has decided they, at least, will break the silence.

"It was great, honey, thanks. How was your storytime?" She liked it and noted a handful of standouts from the library. She started flipping through her Curious George early reader (which is not to say she can read~). Loudly: "Theeeee End!"

"Oh you're all done, then? We can look at that more later after we get back home."

Flip, flip, flip... "Theeeeee End." I remain silent, internally cursing myself that even if she stayed awake at home, I could have  been doing something right now. At least one of us craved downtime. "THE. END."

Me: "..."

Daughter: "You didn't say! You SAY."

I had clearly ignored the social contract. "It's quiet time, honey. Time to rest and relax, so I'm not going to talk more ~"

"It's NOT quiet time, I have this lovely BOOK TO READ and I am not rest and relaxing. SO it's NOT quiet time." So obviously, there was no sleep involved.

But NO! There was! But only after an empty milk bottle was lobbed into the front passenger seat, some fitful crying. But then, silence, or rather, better than silence: a light babyfied snore. So there I was, able to just be with myself, driving along country roads, past rock quarries and church signs, past crossing signs limited to deer and tractors; rolling through Norvell and Napoleon to a soundtrack of old Breeders songs and ambient electronica. What more did I know at the end of the day than at its beginning? Not much, but thankful for mobility, for witnessing developing personhood, and thankful thankful thankful for true respite.

*Our common and ineffectual remonstrance: "ToothBRUSHING not toothSUCKING!"

Friday, December 1, 2017

Focus Not Upon the Spider

Blah, blah blah, yadda yadda yadda. Let blah equal self-recrimination and despair over infrequent posting and yadda equal defensive justification via anecdotes of normal levels of chaos. That was easier than I thought!

Breathe in, breathe out. During a punishing* Vinyasa class this morning, I perspired, fumbled a bit, and recovered. A tiny spider picked its way across the wooden, sunlit floor between yoga mats. I forgot it almost instantly, but moments later a nearby woman shrieked and collapsed mid-contortion. Hopefully she didn't pull anything, because collapsing at those moments is especially dicey. Which would be why I have only tried home yoga twice in the presence of toddler daughter, who felt compelled to climb me during downward dog; launch herself onto my back any time I looked somewhat table like; and slither herself beneath me moments before I had planned to lower myself to the mat. Back at class, the shriek brought matters to a halt. I was happy for the disruption, as our fabulous and challenging teacher had just proposed something which made me guffaw. In case you're a super yogi, I laugh at yoga when the thing proposed is barely comprehensible, much less attemptable**, by myself anyway. The proposal involved fire breathing while doing a plank, but also hopping straight up from one's hands and feet, in the plank stance, SPROING! Huff-huff-huff-huff! SPROING! I huffed, but failed to sproing; and quickly collapsed. A whimper/whine came from the front right corner of the class, over the idea that maybe the teacher had offed an insect.

"Relaxxxxx," soothed the teacher, exiting the room, with her hands cupped together. She returned: "Now it's survival of the fittest. Though the spider will probably die from the cold." Why did that cause me to laugh? I guess I'm working on compassion, wish to be more openhearted; but there's still a part of me which derides what I perceive to be "soft-hearted." Is this derision/dismissal an indication of how far I have to go? Or is it just an acknowledgement that there will always be boundaries between what one finds acceptable and not ? Look out! This is what happens, when I have a few hours away from my child, and I can swim about my head.***

Rick and girlchild are home now -- little feet thud above me. Short-lived protest crying sinks through the floorboards. I'm hiding in the basement, which I hope to do more frequently, as it gets colder. It only seems appropriate. I'm sitting at the tool bench, next to the furnace, with printmaking cards in various stages, all about me. My back is kinked up in weird ways; I slouch and straighten like a loopy cartoon character at odds with his barstool. The muscle twitches are due to a.) hanging the picture book exhibit at the library yesterday, b.) raking, mostly for toddler amusement and c.) aforementioned yoga class. 

from @aadlgram
But back to A! All 46 pieces in "No Cake is Safe" are now on display in the multipurpose room of the Ann Arbor downtown library. Woohoo! It was my first time hanging any show and boy-howdy was I grateful for the experienced help from Val Mann****. It has been interesting to see how the exhibit feels in its different venues. At the University of Michigan hospital, it felt expansive, in its open atrium, glass ceilinged space. At the Dexter Library it meandered along halls. Here, it's almost cozy. Self-contained. It feels quite nice to be in the space. I look forward to returning there for some quiet time. So far, manuscript submission and agent searching for picture book publication has been full of waiting and uncertainty. But here is this thing I have made, and I can sit and be with it. Lovely! And, as always, it's great to be part of a larger exhibiting program -- to have the privilege of seeing what other artists are exploring. So many things to be happy about.

ALSO at the downtown library, I'm super excited to be selling prints and cards at next Saturday's Tiny Expo. SO, come visit me, if you like what you see, go one floor down and swing by the Cakeasaurus exhibit. Two birds, one stone. Ayyyand see all of the other great vendors and make something cool in the Secret Lab, whaaaat. So really, three birds. 

BUT no... it winds up being FOUR birds, one stone. As Tiny Expo is part of the fabulous Winter Art Tour. So, get or print your passport, get it stamped at 4 venues Dec. 8-10 and maybe win something fabulous! Shop local, support creativity, have fun.

Hope to see you next Saturday! Here's a smattering of what will be at my table:

Happy December, All.

* nay, cleansing and fulfilling.
**what is impossible today may be fully realizable tomorrow! 
***I'm not a very good swimmer. But I love being in the water. 
****who probably could have hung it all, blindfolded, with one hand tied behind her back.