Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Legion of Honor - Rodin's hand and the flag

Aidan with Dale Chihuly "wig"

Dale Chihuly glass at De Young Museum.

Thanks to Ginette Aidan and I were treated to exhibits at the De Young and Legion of Honor. Friday was De Young and Dale Chihuly. Very exuberant work to say the least. Aidan was OK with touring through but a bit bored until we came out the other side and they had a movie playing of a week of workshops or glassblowing he had done. We must have sat and watched that for close to an hour and Aidan was fascinated. (I agree that watching master glassblowers at work in an edited movie is pretty cool). Today we headed (with the addition of "Pop") to sister museum Legion of Honor for Women Impressionists exhibit. 4 women. It was quite impressive. Aidan was BORED. The rest of us enjoyed the special exhibit and regular collection. Don't know if there was overflow or what, but there were several Chihulys there as well (like "wig" above).
So how did we decide to spend our train $$? A Wii! Mommy had to kick in a bit extra to get us there. At least it comes with several games you can play. I figure I would just as soon have the guys swinging their arms throwing an imaginary bowling ball as exercise their fingers on the little handheld computer DS Lite as they currently spend much too much time doing. We'll see... My perception is that the majority of Aidan's classmates have Wiis. I am sure that is an exaggeration to some extent but truly I have been amazed how many people including the parents play. Aidan is also currently lobbying for a hamster (for no good reason I can deduce). Today they approached me and asked if we didn't get a Wii if we could spend some of the $ on hamster stuff (like a cage). I want to know where this cage will go and who is going to clean up the poop. Aidan kindly threw himself on that one for this summer while Quincy was at camp but then somehow it would become Quincy's responsibility... (maybe Aidan has more homework? I didn't listen too closely to the rational).

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The pieces all laid out after we cataloged and photographed them. Our track layout below.

The end of an era? I popped the question to Quincy yesterday. So, any chance you are willing to sell your trains to make room for other toys? To my surprise, he didn't have to give it much thought before agreeing to the idea. Could be that seeing grandad's big set of electric trains and getting our own set out after we got back played a part. Could be that his brother is fairly uninterested/unwilling to play trains with him that is more to the point. Daddy is still willing, but both parents don't really like having the tracks left out too long (and good toys stay out for as long as possible!) because they block floor space to the bed, Pete's closet, the clothes drawers etc. Quincy threw himself into the task at hand. We grabbed the box of tracks, the box of trains, and tried to round up all accessory buildings we could locate. Then off to the office (biggest clean area of floor in the house) to catalog and photograph them. Quincy interestingly enough decided to group them for sale. I drew the line afterwards at BAGGING all the individual groups. We took over 100 photos! Crazy. Turns out we have over 200 individual pieces. Some retail as high as $50, most more like $20 for trains. We got a lot of this at great sales or was given to us but we have a lot of value here. Of course it has been well used and is dinged up and paint is chipped, but no matter - still good fun for the right aged kid. I loved setting up track with the kids and trying to use as many pieces as possible - we had some pretty crazy track layouts! We made a last layout after setting everything out. I'm including the pic here. Didn't use all the pieces (didn't even use the turn table!) but we did manage to go up quite a bit. Usually we use the duplo legos to hold up the double layers but yesterday we stuck with using only train pieces. Funny - think I'll have a harder time letting them go than the kids will. Of course I did mention that we can use the proceeds for Playmobil, Lego and DS Lite games - 3 of their current favorite things... Quincy was also very disappointed that my sale strategy was to pick a number and post the whole lot on craigslist.org. He really wanted to save a few of his groups to sale streetside! I 1) have NO interest in sitting down by the sidewalk for a few hours and 2) can't imagine he'd actually be able to make a sale, but think it very interesting none the less. He will go far (if he wants) in life. Not afraid to hustle (or try to sell things). Not afraid to try any new experiences that come his way (signed up for every camp I mentioned to him!). We went to Raging Waters down in San Jose today. Aidan was almost in tears at the thought that we had to go down a few of those huge slides - while Quincy was busy marching on ahead ready to try the next thing... They both did do all the slides we proposed (pretty much all that had inner tubes or rafts you rode down ) and had a great time doing so.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Here is the newest member of our extended family - baby Grant. He seems a delightful baby (in that he mostly sleeps and never seems to cry!). I did briefly see him (during the course of maybe 4 or 5 hours over 2 visits) with his eyes open - he was alone in his car seat. Otherwise he couldn't manage to keep his eyes open as here after I picked him up (put him right back to sleep!). He was busy yawning and doing other funny baby things - all with eyes closed.
This is grandma Edie's new baby. He isn't quite so new at closing on 5 months. They have named him "Rascal". Really when I think back to Paco's childhood (puppyhood?) Rascal can't begin to compare in rascalness! He is a delightful dog. Quite cuddly. A bit puppyish (chews on a few things he shouldn't - like baseboards!). Surprisingly intelligent and willing to learn new things. He lived his first 4 months in a kennel. He will have a delightful rest of his life living with my parents and Paco. Quincy admitted to his brother after a few days (and his brother of course spilled the beans to the rest of us) that he actually liked Rascal even BETTER than Paco. A high complement indeed.
Misty mushroom - I was trying to figure out why it was so foggy - then I realized the poor lens was fogging up as it was rather shocked from going from the nice air conditioned inside to the warm humid outside (and this was probably before 9 a.m.). Don't they grow them big in Floriday?
Here is a typical mushroom about 1 to 2 days after a nice little thunderstorm dumped some rain everywhere and filled up the retaining ponds (and threatened to overflow the swimming pool).
This is what the little oval mushrooms look like the following day - they burst open and have flat tops! Then you can take misty photos of them from underneath like the first photo (I was expecting it to be oval shaped as that it what it had looked like the previous evening...).
I think ole misty was 3 or 4" high.

Clearly Florida is good mushroom growing country...

Here are a couple of "critters" I made in ceramics. I was soliciting gift ideas. One resulted in Fairy House for the cousins (actually made 2 and kept one for our tiny garden). Mom asked for "critters". My first attempt was the little gator guy shown here. He is about my hand span long (altho he is curved a bit). He lost a bit of his lower jaw in the first firing. I took him out to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park one day for a photo shoot before I gave him away. It was close to noon and sunny and warm. Many asian couples/friends were out for walks. What particularly cracked me up is that about 4 individuals stopped when I was photographing him and asked me what kind he was. What kind of what? I was wondering... I said he was pottery but guess one guys grasp of English was less than stellar as he followed up by asking how big he was going to grow... I mean - come on! The gator was very well received by my classmates and my teacher. The glazes we use are really rather mysterious in their outcomes very often. This guy got some "traditional" glazes underneath topped with some raku specific (melt at lower temps) glazes on top. I quite liked how his coloring came out and it was pretty much what I was aiming for (green) which was somewhat unusual - phew! Mom saw his photo before getting him as a present. I imagine she likes him fine altho she didn't say too much.

Critter #2 is fish with fish in his mouth (look closely). One of his fins (left as you look at him) fell off in firing #1 but I have it to glue back on. More unfortunately he suffered some serious breakage on the way home from the photo shoot. I have some hopes of repairing him - my teacher says elmers works wonders for these things. My teacher particularly liked fish - especially my use of commercial and raku glazing. I think he was painted with yellow under glaze for part of him and topped with "oil spot" - a glaze I thought I really liked - until I got back a box I made for Aidan (another request) and realized that it can be a bit ghastly. Here it is OK.

I made a niftly little turtle I was rather fond of. Unfortunately my teacher managed to drop it when loading it in the kiln for final firing. He ended up in 5 pieces and the tail is AWOL altogether and he is missing a bit of his front lip that made him look a bit fierce - but the shell totally was in the fire or something and achieved almost total copper luster and is quite cool so I will try my hand at using elmer's glue on him as well. It is actually rather remarkable that teacher Dennis doesn't drop more stuff. I'll include a pic of him too. He uses really long tongs and big fat stiff gloves. Here is a pic of Dennis taking out one of my pieces - a little ring holder thing.