cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (flirty)
"I thought that now the kids are pretty grown up, we could have a movie night together and pick a nice animated film... but when we got there they all wanted to watch the same thing: Monster High. Not one of them wanted anything else." - sister-in-law

Dear Mom & Dad,

I'm sorry that for all of 1988 the only video I ever wanted to rent was Barbie & the Rockers.

Love,
Cim
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (i'm an ancient! i love chiffon!)
Here's the slightly more detailed babble about the design & execution of the Mage Carmela portrait I made for her birthday.


Carmela the Mage, 25 May 2013, mixed media on paper, A3

On Tumblr

Read more... )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (why is the beverage gone)
Tomorrow I'm going to start that work practice at the public after school program, 10-17, M-F, for the two months until school's out.

I specifically requested this, with the main motivation that I find older, school-aged children a little more interesting and a little easier to relate to than preschoolers. There's no question they're scarier for me too, since my Finnish fails to be up to the task of communication more often, and many of them still aren't really old enough to understand why I "talk funny" or don't understand something.

(As I found at preschool, some six-year-olds in an average small group are sophisticated enough to explain usefully for me, e.g. with synonyms and simpler vocabulary! But most children this age cannot conceptualize a lower level of language mastery in that way as separate from just not knowing. If I ask what's a snail, they say "But everybody knows snails: it's an ANIMAL!", not "You know, it's this big and slimy and lives in the garden, but it doesn't have a hard shell on its back", which is more or less how the language teacher tackles it.)

Anyway, school kids should be harder to follow - their conversations faster and more complex - but I'm hoping also better at explaining themselves to me, so maybe the language immersion will be more helpful than the one at the daycare was. That one was actually very useful to me! But a lot of the time went by without practicing much if any new vocabulary, at least with the children themselves, because your average 3-year-old is just not that vocal. (If I'd spent all that time with the niecephews at age 3, or any of the kids in my family, it would have been a different story: all those stories about Perrin were from when he was 3... .)

Speaking of the niecephews, my girl and [personal profile] waxjism's goddaughter/eldest niece Big C who is now 8 goes to Swedish after school, which is run out of the adjoining classroom to the Finnish one, and according to Brother in Law #1 is super excited for me to arrive. It's kind of the cutest thing ever. (I was chuffed to find out she still thinks I'm cool because she's old enough now to act very possessed and calm in person, no more of that OMG HI!!! :D that we got from the niecephews when they were wee.)

The last point is that the after school is located in a breathtakingly gorgeous nouveau building downtown, less than a block from the art museum, and possessed of an enormous marble staircase with wrought iron rails. Can't wait to take some photos there.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (thattaway)
This is a post about the planning of the fantasy portraits I painted of the triplets for Christmas for my mom and anyone else who might be interested (she's the only sure bet, as it were.)

These are the pictures (embiggenable via clickthrough):



Read more... )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sweatdrop)
I've felt like I was doing well lately in my general life goal of trying to practice smalltalk (because ultimate goal of learning how to smalltalk so it won't be like torture anymore) and act less like an awkward penguin in social situations. Class gives me a lot of opportunity to practice, and at least even when I'm a little overstimulated I can force myself to speak to my classmates.

But we went to a wedding this weekend and I suppose I was feeling a little more anxious and overstimulated and introverted than usual. And the acoustics in the reception hall were kind of bad, so that when it was crowded - ie during dinner - you couldn't really hear very well, it just made this noise soup that felt like it was pressing down on you from above, and you had to lean in and kind of raise your voice and try really hard to hear anything. And then after Wax and I got into a conversation with the dudes across the table from us finally, and were into telling stories and stuff, the happy couple were like, "We want you to play Getting to Know You with EVEN MORE STRANGERS so we've swapped the seating chart up for dessert, suckers! :D :D" and we got stuck next to completely new people.

And look, I know that the earnest, extroverted, well-meaning athletic optimistic psychologists of the world mean well - and I even like these particular psychologists personally a very great deal - but seriously, that was just not on. I had just reached my 'don't fill past here with social stimulation' line anyway, and the girls that were next to us this time were like both high school aged teenagers and not nerdy at all. (Actually there were like no nerds there, in spite of the groom's great nerdiness, which was kind of a drag. Nerd weddings are the best because it's like an sf convention and you never have any trouble talking to anybody there. Whereas mundanes always want to talk about world travel and people's line of work and like the economy and sailing and other eat pray love bullshit.)

So then they played a tiny few foxtrot-type songs for the old people (it's a Finnish thing) and then this mediocre cover band with the amps turned up too loud proceeded to do a few hours of utter crap covers of total JC Penney- basic rock songs. Like, this wedding was so Svenska Talande Bättrefolk that there WASN'T EVEN ANY METAL AT ALL, not even Iron Maiden. It was straight up like "Twist and Shout" and "I Love Rock'n'Roll" and "I Can't Get No Satisfaction".

Basically musicwise an event has been a complete failure if twice in a night you have occasion to say "Britney Spears did a better cover of this", capisce?

So. We're in recovery still and today were awakened by the phone going "One of the triplets might have a broken leg, so three bbs are on their way to your place to be watched thanks!" so we got up and took out the trash in a gigantic rush. Then we situated the three bbs on the couch and put on Batman: The Animated Series, which is the best way to soothe their savage hearts. They're gone now. And Little C's leg wasn't broken, just badly sprained or something.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sulk)
I have had a busy month. Our monthly motto mantra on our Adam Lambert calendar is "This is the opposite of what I wanted", and that has turned out to be sadly accurate.

  • Wax's computer broke at the very beginning of the month and she limped along with a backup machine using a motherboard that spontaneously shut down every time it overheated for 2 weeks+ before her shiny new laptop (Jean-Luc is dead; long live Sir Patrick!) arrived.


  • My Chris Evans & RDJ Movie Party on the 11th was... not a failure, since we had fun, but we ran into an unexpected snag with being unable to play DVDs, thanks (indirectly) to the above circumstance.


  • Perry was tested for Cushing's, a chronic hormonal imbalance common to older dogs, at the beginning of the month. He started his medication the second week, stopped eating his food in the third week and had to be given an anti-emetic, and then turned out to be responding favorably to the meds after all (as of about a week ago). However, he's still turning his nose up at dry food thanks to the diet of tasty canned stuff I had to use to tempt him to eat when he was nauseated. But overall, the dog news is excellent. My parents are paying for his medication too, which is good since it is around €70 a month, but we are still failing to recover from several hundred bucks' worth of vet visits and blood tests that the parents didn't cover.


  • Our 4 niecephews were over for tea 1.5 wks ago and I showed them Batman: The Animated Series and all of them loved it, but especially Loke, who was instantly converted into a tiny 4-year-old starry-eyed Batfan. He said "BATMAN IS THE BEST" approximately 15 times before they left (with my box set).


  • We had a nice Lillajul (cookie-baking and miniature tree-decorating) party last Saturday with the brother-in-law and luckily, because the bank was holding onto our credit card payment at the time, idk BIL's bff Thomas loaned us his car Sunday so that we were able to celebrate a belated Thanksgiving feast with [personal profile] pierydys in Rauma. It was magically delicious! I ate so much turkey pot pie and stuff that I was literally unable to eat dessert.


  • This morning my mother-in-law woke us up asking if we wanted to go to Ikea, which boy did I ever, being in semi-desperate need of several things including recycling bins, poster frames, spice jars, storage boxes, and divided storage trays. But when we got there, she rushed us through the downstairs section so fast that I didn't manage to get a single object on my list. (She bought us other stuff: a cat basket, a wire tree frame that Wax wanted for her climbing plants, a colander. But why couldn't we rush through the parts of the store that DIDN'T contain all the stuff I needed?!) Then we stopped for coffee with Wax's bro and she bragged at length about how delightfully efficient the trip was while I sat there half-comatose after a couple of hours of sleep thinking "So I got out of bed for this."


  • Next weekend I'm having another party to make up for the lack of DVD-watching at the last one and this time [personal profile] pierydys will be there and she will make me a pecan pie for my birthday (albeit a week early but PECAN PIE! I haven't had that in years! :D) and we will watch Wonderboys and have a bit of a feast; and plus I will get to introduce some of my friends to each other, and I love doing that.


  • There was a big standee display of Lindt Lindor truffles next to the checkout at the S-market under Wiklund yesterday. We're talking like it was my height and the top foot included a giant, life-size photo of a twinkly-eyed, handsome middle-aged man in an immaculate chef's outfit carefully piping chocolate onto truffles. There were bags and various sizes of assorted gift boxes and I almost cried. A little box of milk chocolate Lindor truffles costs more than my entire basket of groceries (müsli, organic and fair-trade fruit, bakery bread, cat and dog food). It's really hard being away from my parents in this season because one thing that my mother ALWAYS splurged on, no matter how much money we didn't have, was expensive chocolate.


  • Finally: this month I taught myself tapestry crochet and made a very lovely basket. However, I can't actually use the basket for its intended purpose so now it's just sitting here on my shelf full of spare balls of yarn.


On the plus side I have been too busy/exhausted for winter depression for the most part.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (fuck yeah)
CIARA, pushing an empty swing: Swing forward!
CIARA: No! You're swinging wrong!
CIARA: Swing forward! Don't swing backward! Only forward!

§§§

CIM: Good night, Ciara!
CIARA: I'm Princess Snow White!
CIM: Oh, you are? Good night, Princess Snow White! Sleep well!
CIARA: I'm Princes Snow White and I want Sleeping Beauty!
CIM: [Finds a plastic Sleeping Beauty cake-topper on the floor] Here you go. Good night, Snow White. Good night, Sleeping Beauty. Good night, Kitty.
LEON: I want a princess too!
CIM: Okay, let me look for another princess.
[A brief fact-finding mission ensues]
CIM: Leon, I'm sorry, I couldn't find another princess upstairs already. Do you maybe want a boat instead?
LEON: Okay.
CIM: Okay, good night, Leon! Good night, boat! Good night, Bunny!
CIARA: I want a red car!
CIM: Now?
CIARA: I want to hold one!
CIM: Um, okay - look, here's a red car!
CIARA: I want that!
CIM: Okay, good night now, Snow White!
CIARA: Good night!

§§§

LOKE: You need to sing to me.
WAX: Rockabye, baby, in the treetop -
LOKE: Not that!
WAX: Okay... I can sing "Stairway to Heaven"?
LOKE: ... Okay.

§§§

As we went downstairs, at least two separate voices could be heard singing to themselves (or possibly to the red car/boat/princess/stuffed animal posse, idk).
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (do a little dance)
Carmela: I go to music daycare!
Some Old Granny: You know, my grandkids used to go to music daycare, too.
Carmela [pityingly]: Yes, but not the same one.
SOG: Oh, no. This was a while ago, and it was in Ekenäs.
Carmela [lightbulb]: Martin and Leena live in Ekenäs!
[livejournal.com profile] cimness: Yes, Carmela, and we're in Ekenäs right now.
SOG: So, when Martin and Leena's baby is born, maybe it will go to music daycare in Ekenäs, huh?
Carmela [tolerantly]: Maybe - we'll have to see.
SOG: Ahem - that's right, of course, we can't know for certain.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (>:})
luciakronan


Me on Christmas Day in the Lucia headdress that Brother Linux and I made for Carmela (observe my leet quick!Prismacolor!candleflame skillz). It's still one of the most popular toys in the house despite the catfood-related advertising text you can see in the picture...
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (um excuse me)
The family that watches movies on their Nokia portable multimedia computer device together stays together.

fun times
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (artsy)
Yesterday was Luciadagen, and Carmela had just been in the preschool Lucia pageant when the House of Linux and I arrived at Casa Windows.

Brother Linux and I spent a good while making a Lucia crown for her out of cardboard, paper (pages torn from my sketchbook - good thing I brought my coloured pencils) and tape, and then Lady Linux and I made a mini triplet-sized one too. Carmela informed us that she was the City's real Lucia and that she would be tomorrow, too. She spent a long time pacing in a dignified manner and singing, especially after a red ribbon was found to tie around her waist.



At bedtime she only agreed to change into her nightgown because she could still be Lucia in it, just with a different dress, and I was commissioned to draw her in it and to make sure the nightdress had plenty of hearts on it. (Ciara, who bids fair to being the smartest member of her family, pointed at the former drawing and said triumphantly, "CARMELA!", whereupon she was praised, head-ruffled, squeezed and possibly turned upside-down.)



Loke doesn't look very glad to be Lucia.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (determined)
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (inanimate things)
I took a pretty awesome picture of the snow-and-ice-bedecked rosebush this morning, but then my camera kinda died and the picture was lost! So you get this instead.

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Those little handfuls have gotten so demanding that the last three times I saw them in a row I was too busy the entire time to remember my camera! If you want to take pictures of the little ones, you need more than two pairs of adult hands to handle all four of them. And they were actually fairly well-behaved, on the whole. There was hardly any screaming! I have no baby pictures, though, so here is a picture of my new armchair.

newly-dyed green armchair


It's the Ikea Jennylund, from the heavenly Ektorp line (the full-sized Ektorp armchair is nearly as big as our couch, but I covet it as well as the couch and the giant footrest and the chaise, because they're comfortable and overstuffed and just so pleasing). Most smaller Ikea armchairs, like the ones in the Karlstad line, are uncomfortable, but despite its firmness, this one is pretty much a delight. It's also, in stark contrast to the full-size Ektorp furniture, pretty affordable. Wax can have one soon, but we only bought one on our last trip. Unfortunately, we bought a white slipcover because none of the colours could possibly have gone in our livingroom, and I had to dye it. The colour turned out lovely, but as you can see, our washing machine wasn't big enough to allow the fabric to move in it freely, and the dye collected in the folds. It now looks like a marble-pattern from the 80s or else permanently wrinkled, take your pick.

Wax's chair is going to be bought coverless and covered with one of these cotton covers from Bemz. Bemz is a Swedish company that makes covers for a huge range of Ikea sofas and armchairs as well as throw cushions in a range of fabulous fabrics.

kids, lol

18 Oct 2008 02:04 pm
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (k/s no fandom had gone before)


You know, when I babysat constantly, or so it seemed to me, in high school, I had a preference for bad kids. The kids being bad equalled more entertainment and probably some luls later. My favourites were prone to physically attacking me with toy swords and such. Wrestling on the floor with a bunch of cheerful giggling limpets liable to play dirty by licking your legs - that's fun. Then they'd wear themselves out and cuddle on the couch watching Animal Planet. Their parents are divorced now - my coolest role models, too. Life sucks sometimes.

Anyway, though, Carmela is bad in a completely new, though just as hilarious, fashion. Yesterday she followed her visiting (second) cousin upstairs to her room, threw her out along with her dad, shut the door behind and sulked alone, yelling the occasional demand down the stairs, for a couple of hours!
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
We went to Moomin World yesterday. Not realising the drive was only about 15 minutes, I packed a zipper pouch of spare coloured pencils - Derwent watercolours because anything other than Prismacolor is a spare - and a little bright fuschia blank composition book (which is to say with lined graph paper but I didn't have any mini sketchbooks lying around), to entertain Carmela if necessary in the car.

Carmela is four, and her drawings are still toddler-level with a circle representing the person containing eye and nose circles, mouth lines, and long lines for the limbs attached directly to the main circle. But this doesn't stop her from being really interested in my drawings (more accurately, doodles or sketches - she's not very patient...) and I've recently hit a GOLD MINE in Carmela-entertainment by offering to "draw together", which means she holds a coloured pencil and adds scribbles as necessary while asking questions about the details of whatever I'm drawing. She sometimes asks me to choose the subjects myself but is interested in little beyond princesses. (YESTERDAY, walking out of Moomin World: SMILING MW EMPLOYEE: Would you like a free colouring book page? WAX'S MOM: Carmela, want a little magazine sheet, see, it has a colouring page? CARMELA: NO I DON'T WANT IT! WAX'S MOM: Well, that's okay, Grandma will just take it then - CARMELA, bursting into tears: NOOOOOOOO! I DON'T WANT MOOMIN MAGAZINES I ONLY WANT PRINCESS MAGAZINES! I DON'T WAAAAAAAAANT IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!)

So there was no recourse to drawing in the car, but after about an hour when we were standing in line for french fries, because she didn't want to walk out of sight of Grandma to do anything with me, she was whiny and tired and I had to cajole her into sitting down on the deck of the french fry hut while we waited, and happily pulled out the book and coloured pencils... and she instantly was not just calm, but cheerfully engaged. Meanwhile I drew an audience of several mothers and little girls as well as two tiny boys (TINY BOY to his sister: That was really cool!) from the french fry line as I drew the butterfly-theme bedroom from the Moomin House, the canopied princess bed, and a Princess Carmela in a blue floral dress to inhabit the room. (Her butterflies were named Flower and Flutterby.) Well, uh, GOOD THING I BROUGHT THAT THEN. It's like a magic wand. The four-year-old version of a pacifier.

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (tell me more)
Everyone has those moments where they're like, "That person is the who now?" or "I know SOMEONE on my flist had a cousin who won the international hotdog-eating competition! Was that him?" or "Wait, she's getting married? Who is this Bob? I thought she was dating someone named Mr. Mystery!"

Here are the people I am likely to mention without further explanation. )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (lady)
Here's a Carmela story for you. A week ago Carmela and Leon, the offspring of Brother Windows, were with us at Brother Linux's new residence (which will henceforth be called Penthouse Linux because it is large) and met Mrs. Linux's parents. Mrs.L's mom, to entertain Carmela, was all "Hey Carmela, look at THIS, this is - " She showed her her purse, which was dainty and floral and very pretty.

CARMELA: [grabs MrsL'sm's purse and books]


Everyone laughed for a while, and then MrsL'sm set out throughout Penthouse Linux to see where Carmela had gone with it and win it back from her. She took it away and instead gave her an enameled flower hairclip belonging to MrsL. Then she retreated to the livingroom for Adult Tiemz and a moment later Carmela appeared.

CARMELA: Look at what MrsL's mom gave me! It's a hairclip! With flowers!
MRSL'S DAD: Wow!
WAX'S MOM: Wow!
CIM: Wow!
WAX'S MOM: That's so beautiful! You really look like a princess now with that in your hair. That's a proper princess hairclip.
ADULTS: blah blah blah
CARMELA, waiting patiently for them to finish: But I wanted that purse.
ADULTS: LOLLLLLLL blah blah blah That was a great purse, but it's MrsL'sm's purse, see? Blah blah But look at what you can play with instead blah blah blah did you show it to Daddy blah blah blah princess.
CARMELA: Yeah but I really wanted that purse.
ADULTS: LOLLLLL, Carmela, yeah, hahaha, but blah let me fix that for you blah blah wow so shiny
CARMELA: Yeah! It's shiny! I'm a princess!
ADULTS: Wow!
CARMELA: But I want the purse!


portrait of Carmela in a crown of roses


In the end, it was necessary to hunt around the house to find something better to distract her with - which was a woven rattan wreath with fake roses on it made to sit on the table with a candle in its center. She put it on her head, of course. Then she commissioned this portrait, and she took the wreath home with her at the end of the day.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (fallen)
Vacation is more work than work. According to Wax. We've had one of those weeks with Expeditions every day with no days off in between to recover, until now. We're going to jealously guard our weekend before we take Lily to the vet Monday.




Yesterday involved babysitting Carmela and Ciara, and that was a lot of work. Especially because Carmela is four. And she talks constantly. And she never entertains herself. And she doesn't get tired of running around even though it's hot and sunny. It's "Cim, come and wade through waist-high weeds to pluck flowers and wild strawberries with me" and "I don't dare walk over there barefoot! Carry me!" and "Now draw another princess and a prince and a trampoline, and a palace, and a friendly dragon, and a nice queen and king, and write what they're doing there. And then write that the prince and the princess went for a walk in the forest to pick flowers and the queen said... ."

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