July 21: This is it?

July 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is the official end of my year-long project. But I am hooked now, so I am sure I will be blogging now and then for a while. Currently, my writing channels have opened up and I have some cleansing through poetry to do. Here is my last official poem/creative act for the year. I wasn’t sure that I would persist. But I did. And I am pleased. Not healed, not really better off than I was before, not smarter, happier, more balanced. But more fulfilled? Yes. More convinced that art will save my soul? Yes. More convinced that making art with kids is the best way to spend time with them? No, I already knew that. But I loved every minute of it.

And now for the poem.

The woman in the kitchen

Read a book to me
Buy me a scooter
Let me go to Marseille
Get out of the kitchen
Get out of the kitchen
Get out of the kitchen
Let me leave fingerprints on the glass
Let pigeons sit on the windowsill
Forget about stains on my pants
Get out of the kitchen
Let me make my own dinner
Leave the breadcrumbs on the floor
Maybe an invisible creature hungers for them
Don’t ask me again if I have eaten
Relax your shoulders
Don’t comb your hair
Let’s sit together and talk about life or nothing at all.

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July 19: A poem about herbs and babies

July 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

The last two days J. and I have been making things: he has worked on his doll for O. and has sewed on giant sewing cards. But I figured, that’s not so exciting. It’s all been seen. I quit the blog in two days. Thankfully, I have started writing. Therapeutic poems. I should have one done by my Sunday birthday. In the meantime, here is the first poem written for my daughter, a force of nature, and someone who gives me hope. The image for it came to me this morning as I was lying half awake.

I will crawl to your twelfth floor on my fat stable hands
and plant seeds on your balcony,
in your sallow barren hollow echoing flower box,
with my precise infant fingers.
Mints and sages and thymes and rosemaries and marjorams,
to overrun your neighbor’s balcony,
and your neighbor’s neighbor’s balcony.
And when late summer winds flare up,
I will laugh and clap my hands as new seeds start a revolution,
flying through unsuspecting windows into soups and noses and chairs and fertile soil,
so every flat can smell of purification, smudging, and hearty meals.

July 15-?

July 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

My, my. The year is almost up and I have blog senioritis. I haven’t been doing much, other than watching my kids make temporary installations and play my dad’s keyboard (which was great and I have no photo record of the event). I have been feeling words gather in my head, as they do when I am about to start writing again, but nothing yet. Probably because the kids, or at least one at a time, are awake between 6am and 11pm. I have decided to keep posting once in a while even after next week. In the meantime, here are some small creative excursions from the last few days:

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Here, he was being patient at the beach, while I was drinking coffee with my friends. He built a fort with the help of rocks and toothpicks. At first we were concerned about the fact that he was snatching a toothpick every two minutes, so it was a pleasant surprise that he used them to make things. Like a monster creature. And a fort.

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Then here, at a coffee shop again (I know, I know), making me a gift from post-its with a hole puncher and a gold marker. He also created some amateur body art with a yellow highlighter. Moments of peace are rare in our family, and therefore always cherished.

And finally, my mom pulled out my “pioneer” uniform from my elementary school days (most readers of this blog will have no idea what I am talking about, so here is the Wikipedia article about Tito’s pioneers) and J. had the privilege of trying it on. More on the nostalgia theme.

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July 12-14: This and that

July 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

The last few days have been busy. The kids are tired and today we stayed at home and made some boring art in the morning, which is so rare! I made a collage with the very few pictures I have access to:

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(The caption says that people in wealthier countries are happier, but I don’t believe it.)

and J. made a melting bead”Star Wars thing.” He did not specify what it was.

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It calmed down his hyperness from last night, when there were 30 guests at my dad’s house, all of whom brought him and O. gifts. Stressful, if you ask me. He requested an Angry Birds cake from my aunt who is a semi-professional baker, and this is what she brought:

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Featuring others’ creativity is usually my favorite part of this blog, and this cake is no exception. It tasted delicious too. O. got this cake:

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Yes, she ate some too. Yes, she was hyper too.

Finally, the day before yesterday I had no choice but to be nostalgic again as we saw an exhibit of ex-Yugoslav artifacts, from my childhood, before the wars. Most of the things seen here were a huge part of my growing up. I presume that every generation thinks that the world has gotten worse since their time. I know that I most certainly do.

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There was also cool art on the main street, and here is what some of it looked like:

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Entering the last week of blogging, with few art supplies. Hopefully I have internalized the need to create something every day, and wil continue even after I stop documenting it publicly. We’ll see.

July 10 & 11: Tricksters and snacks

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we went to the Belgrade zoo. I am not going to talk about what we did or what we saw as that is not the purpose of this blog, but I do want to share an awesome thing that I saw: a raven and a coyote, in two adjacent cages. It is sad of course that the two tricksters ended up in small wire enclosures in an urban zoo; but it is also lovely to see those two mythical creatures in the same place, even though it is not their natural setting. We can pretend a little:

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Today my mom was making Serbian crackers they call galete around here, and J. and I helped her roll the dough into balls and bake (and eat) it:

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These are the dough balls

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This is the ancient toaster oven we baked them in

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And this is the end result. The recipe is simple but I don’t have it.

As a bonus, here is a photo of the ceiling in my dad’s house:

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and a snapshot of my favorite thing in the world:

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I lasted eight days without a latte and then I broke down. I took the kids to the neighborhood cafe, where we sat in the shade, I got caffeinated and took some photos, and we all had a great time.

 

July 8 &9: Random acts of beauty, jams, and laughs

July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

I am still just taking pictures. Today I spent time with the kids and an old friend, a photographer, at a cafe overlooking the city of Belgrade, getting advice on photography. While I was randomly clicking, J. found an empty mini wine bottle and filled it with leaves, flowers, and a bit of water. Instant beauty. I love it when that happens. I love the ease with which kids can create art (and chaos, but that’s a different story).

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(notice the sour cherry juice next to J’s bottle; it is nice to have many juice options at cafes, and not just apple and orange as we do at home)

Prior to that, my mom was making apricot jam, and I was loving the stunning orange of apricots being cooked, so I took a few pictures of them:

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For those who follow the blog regularly and remember a certain striped dress I featured a few days ago, here is a photo that goes with it (my sister’s first day of  first grade):

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Yesterday, little creativity happened, as I left the camera at home for a truly fun outing (as these things usually happen), and in the evening the kids insisted on being awake late and not letting me do anything, so I gave up and went to sleep myself. But, here is a magical moment of laughter that I caught earlier in the day:

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The universe is good to me. I wish I didn’t fear losing it all and savored it instead.

July 6 & 7: More pictures

July 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

I think I may be done with this nostalgia thing for now, especially as my project is two weeks short of being finished. I intend to fulfill my promise and create something until July 21. After that, I think I will focus on more complex art projects that will take more than a day to complete. I want to learn something new. Like sewing. Like knitting. Like candlemaking. Like soapmaking. But more about that in the next two weeks. In the meantime, let me return to nostalgia again. I am a big fan of this sentiment. It fueled my writing for a long time. so here are some photos that are a testament to the nostalgia of the past week:

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Old dolls looking creepy and sweet at the same time as old dolls do. some Russian, some American.

Last night I was taking some nostalgic photos at my 20-year high school reunion, but I will not post those as I generally don’t like to include pictures of others (with the exception of my kids sometimes) on this blog.

 

 

July 5: My dad’s art studio

July 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

As a continuation of yesterday’s post, here are more old clothes, Chinese pajamas that I slept in when little, and that J. decided to sleep in last night:

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I still remember wearing them.

Then today the kids and I spent some time in my dad’s art studio. J. painted, O. messed up the paints, and I photographed.

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I have had a rough day, but I know that I will look back at these photos and think how lucky I was to get to relive some memories and form new ones.

July 4: old clothes

July 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

My mom saved a lot of my sister’s and my childhood clothes. As I have a daughter now, the clothes are being passed on to her. Which is so much more fun than getting new clothes. We spent some time today going through the clothes, and I picked out some lovely dresses and coats, the likes of they just don’t make any more. Here are some details.

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The beauty of childhood memories and bright colors of old polyester clothes.

July 3: Ill-prepared

July 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

So we arrived to our destination after a long but enjoyable trip. I thought we were well-prepared for crafting, but I was wrong. I brought a paper-cutting book but no paper, and it looks like our main crafting options are sewing and knitting. Until J. decides he wants to craft with me instead of watching endless television which is allowed here, I may practice some photography though. It may be interesting to photograph objects and places that were relevant to me as I was growing up. I also intend to write for at least five minutes a day (more would be unrealistic considering I am here alone with two kids and there is work I need to do). And did I mention my dad has an art studio in his yard? So maybe I am being dramatic about not being able to make art. While we are getting over the jet lag, I stood on the balcony last night and took a few photos of the view (not including the guy in his underpants strutting in front of the window in the building across from my mom’s — ah the joys of city living!)

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Wait till I am really over the jet lag. Maybe I will be able to take better pictures.

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