Monday, December 8, 2008


Happy Birthday Kaori!

a christmas carol

Mike and I took Marshall and Stewart to the Christmas Carol at the Repertory Theater on Saturday. We had agreed to take them to the show once we finished the Charles Dickens classic, albeit a condensed version. The boys liked the book but where much more excited the performance. The trap doors, sights and sounds of the ghosts, and Jacob Marley in chains were entrancing!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"a long way from Fletcher Avenue"

Today, my dad came over to help the boys and I start talking about our trip to Ecuador in February. He and I were lobbying memories back and forth across the table. A couple of times I saw a "twinkle" in his eye, a recollection beginning to unfold as he spoke. And then it was gone. It was like the memory couldn't be released, that the idea of it was enough.
As we were finishing, I asked him to tell the kids a story from his childhood in Ecuador (he was born in Colombia and was raised mostly in Ecuador). He hesitated and said, "It's a long way from here, a long way from Fletcher Avenue". Those words struck me as quick as truth and tediously as work. What did he mean? I wondered.
It's true... being there is very different from being here. Beyond the obvious, I realized maybe we understood each other... that our childhoods were as far away as if they were in a different galaxy.
I related to him when I saw him catch those joyous gleams and draw them back-in, to treasure them.
And while the first half of my life shaped me, I'm disconnected from it in a indiscernible way. It seemed to me that it could be the same for him.
I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been "home" in 17 years. Inside my chest it feels like there is a fist crumpling-up my soul when I say that I have lived a double life. My "Fletcher Avenue" is a very long way from "home". And finally, I am returning. I am pulling my children into my history. I am surging the two together.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We had Mummy Man, E.T. Superhero and their sidekick Bat Boy this Halloween. The steady sugar intake continued during the evening and all through the next day.
I've got to get the remaining candy out of the house. Who wants it?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

hilly hundred

Marshall and I biked the Hilly Hundred this weekend. It tore us down, but it was exhilarating! We opted to ride 45 miles the first day (out of 48) and the shorter route of 40 miles on day two. I am so proud that we finished it, especially considering that after we got off the bikes yesterday, I wondered if we could get back on this morning.
On Saturday, the Hills killed us! I think I pulled us
(walking) up 10 hills, wearing bike shoes with metal clips. It was painful. After lunch we found a rhythm (and less traffic). We were almost there at 5pm when the support vehicle came by to announce that they were done, which meant we would be left alone on the road for the remaining 3 miles. Marshall was so cold, tired and hungry so we decided to get a ride. I almost cried because I knew how close we were. I wanted to be smart and not discourage him. When I saw the next hill, I realized I made the right decision.
We got a lazy start, sleeping-in this morning, despite the hard cafeteria floor. It was so cold, too. I was filled with doubt about the day that lie ahead and procrastinated a bit. It had warmed up by the time we started, so it turned out to be an ideal start time. Plus, we enjoyed not having to deal with much traffic.
We rocked it today (only walking Mt. Tabor hill and one other one)! Why the difference? No bike shoes and no heavy, handlebar pannier bag. Also we layered-up so we wouldn't get cold. It worked! We received steady infusions of encouragement, including one early-on that changed our camaraderie . It was a grandma, saying that she made her grand-daughter petal and that when she needed help on a hill, she shouted, "Turbo!". From that point on, our train became a space ship, and we called to each other about engine checks, repairs, alien shields, force fields, etc. Oh, how a good story helps!
We plan on it for next year! My wish is that by that point we will have a real tandem bicycle which will help significantly with our balance issues.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

st. louis with Kaori

We went to St. Louis for Kaori's fall break. An adventure west had to be made, since it had been lacking from Kaori's US experience.
We were disappointed by our experience at the Science Center, but gathered momentum when we biked Forest Park. We lunched at Union Station and then headed over to the place where we were to stay- the Huck Finn Youth Hostel. While the neighborhood of Soulard was facinating, and the accessibility to downtown was perfect, the hostel experience made us feel uneasy. The run down and dirty building, with numerous doors and passages was weird, but meeting our roomate was frightening. (She was simply a strange person, who rambled and laughed in the middle of the night.) We decided to stick with our plan and stay there anyway to save money and I don't regret it as it seasoned our adventure.
We ditched the car and went by bike to a few pubs and to get dessert (the only thing we could afford) at a fabulous restaurant called Tony's on Market Street. Afterwards, we biked to the Broadway Oyster Bar in Soulard and enjoyed the blues jam and dancing that we happened upon.
We slept, a little bit, and then biked to breakfast and the Budweiser Brewery tour. The rest our our day involved eating and sight seeing, the highlights being, The Best Steak House in the Grand Center and seeing the Chess and Scholastic Center of St. Louis in the Central West End.

Friday, October 3, 2008

marshall's child labor

Marshall is not usually self-prompted. He has a lot of things that he likes, but usually only does them if they can be done with someone else. He also doesn't respond well to commands, so the power of suggestion is valuable. His beginning in art was mostly because he could spend time with me, observing what I was working on and then later, when left to make up his own mind about it, would start doodling.
Many times, I have witnessed transformations in his demeanor because of his practice of art. Telling stories is central to who he is, and through the labor of art, his stories are released. I would always ask him to describe his art to me, which he quickly got tired of. So, I backed off, letting him decide when he wanted to tell me the story. I realized that his practice of art was enough of a release for him, and that he didn't need to then relay the story verbally.
Lately, Marshall has begun to draw "design-heavy" things, things that don't have stories. With that, he began telling me that he wanted to build things, "like you do, mom". I have heard him express the "how-to's" of putting something together, or how this vehicle works, or how this other weapon fires a million times. (This makes him a great teacher.) The mechanics of things are what he has gotten interested in and the building of things is what he desires.
If you're wanting something to do tonight, come to the three-kid art show, "Child Labor" on the lower level of the Harrison Center for the Arts. The show goes from 6-9. There are many other things to see tonight too including new work by Tyler Munenick and The Indieana Art Exchange.

Friday, September 19, 2008

try 50 miles

We finished our bike ride! We covered 50 miles in 2 days. I pulled close to 200 lbs, with a little help from Marshall. We had our own support driver (Mike), who found us a place to stay after the first day and delivered us to and from the road as we needed (after his work day)
Day 1- Richmond to Lewisville
Day 2: Knightstown to Greenfield
Here are some highlights:

Webb's Antique Mall "Station Stop" restaurant
- Centerville
Hilltop Drive-Inn, slushies and cold water- Mt. Auburn
Raintree Inn's pool and hot tub -New Castle
"Hoosier Gym", Carthage/Knightstown/Shirley Train and Depot, Frosty Boy- Knightstown
Small towns, Indiana countryside and perfect weather
What we learned:
to plan the trip around the accommodations

that 25 -30 miles a day is more reasonable than 40
to keep Stewart off the half-wheeler on major roads (he throws the balance off considerably)
that we need a new trailer
that candy and ice cream have super powers (almost 100% guarantee to get us to the next rest stop)
how not to attach the pannier bags
What sucked:
Marshall puking at Riley park- Greenfield (he got too tired and hot)
not being able to find a place to stay along the route (the days of the old motor lodges are over)
getting a sunburn on one leg because I forgot to put sunscreen on

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

4 humans on 5 wheels

Can Marshall, Stewart, Nigel and I bike 80 miles in 2 days? We're going to try.
The plan is to leave Richmond tomorrow morning at 9 and bicycle our "peace train" on Old National Road (US 40) to Knightstown. We'll do some sight seeing in Knightstown, and head home from there on Thursday.
We are supposed to have some great weather, and we're hoping for glory!

Monday, September 8, 2008

IMA picnic

A friend and I were talking about the adventures were having and how they sound so lovely when I write about them.
Well, the truth is that most of them involve some kind of meltdown (from me or the kids).
And, most of them have a nice lesson that, when looked at in retrospect, can seem more lovely than it actually is.
But this morning was perfect! There were no meltdowns (or yelling, or fighting). The weather was ideal. The Indianapolis Museum of Art gardens were tranquil, the flora was entrancing, and the bees and butterflies were happily busy.
The only things disturbing for me were the dull peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the "Sponge Bob" artificial fruit snacks. (I didn't eat.) On the other hand, these minor disturbances were what possibly made it great for the kids, along with the dead cicada bugs, huge pile of peat gravel and dirt on which they played "king of the mountain" for a great deal of time and the water sprinklers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

school in session

This year we are "homeschooling" again. We don't really "home"school though, we do something a bit more unorthodox. The kids and I explore life together. Right now that looks like kicking of our year by doing a practice bike adventure. We biked from our house past New Palestine, to the Boring Family Farm, some 18 miles. We took all our gear with us and camped out by Uncle Phil and Aunt Jan's pond. Alan and Denise Stuckey met us for hot dogs, bringing the smore components and Alan's banjo along. How lovely it was to listen and sing with them! The kids received a hands-on lesson with Alan, feeling how heavy the instrument is and how the metal strings make the sound. The orange sun set and we nestled-up in our tiny tent, watching for the clouds to clear and the stars to be visible. The kids fell asleep listening to me reading aloud, from The Motorcycle Diaries.
Yesterday, we swam, rowed, fished and basically, just ran wild. The kids found tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs and numerous frogs and toads. In the afternoon, we packed up and headed out to the original family farm and house that Mike's grandparents built. We saw the tomato picking equipment in action, and 3 truck loads of tomatos. We visited with Uncle Phil who was busy repairing the brakes of one of the trucks and then picked some apples in the orchard. From there we biked over to Mike's childhood home and saw the horses they have there now and the creek that Mike used to play in as a kid.
We stopped over and over, in any shade we could find because the temperature was around 95 and the humidity was high. Our progress was slow and we were quickly running out of water so we called Mike who picked us up after a much smaller ride of 8 miles.
After our rescue, we drove on to visit with Grandpa and Ruth in Shelbyville.
The learning we experienced during the last two days was easy and fun, despite the heavy and slow trek. I learned that we need to wait for cooler weather, bring more water, and be ok with not accomplishing our goal of 40 miles in two days. Together, our lessons were loving life, adventure and eachother, seeing things from a new and slower perspective and making time for the wild and natural.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

miharu at the lake

We have a new Japanese student living with us. She accompanied us to lake Michigan on Labor day.
On our way home, I inquired about the meaning of her name. Miharu said that her name meant perfect weather, and then she looked up and said,"just like this".

river city brass

We went to the closing night of Symphony on the Prairie on Sunday. The River City Brass band played and fireworks finished the night off.
The boys loved the music, dancing, wrestling and running around. We loved the music and the dancing.

Friday, August 8, 2008

the sunday practice

I appreciate how Kaori goes with us to service on Sunday mornings, even when it's not the most interesting, and especially because I know she doesn't understand most what is being said. I think she does this because it's something we do as a family (and maybe because she thinks she'll pick up a little English).


We traveled east yesterday to explore an adventure route. We drove the Old National Road (US 40), "The Road that Built the Nation" from Indianapolis to Richmond. Our favorite stop was Knightstown, where we explored a local park, a creek and an old wooden bridge. We also went to Frosty Boy Ice Cream and thoroughly enjoyed tasty (but pretty generic) soft serve and root beer floats.
Knightstown is only 31 miles east of the Indianapolis. It is home to the "Hoosier Gym" (the gym where the movie, "Hoosiers" was filmed). It also looks to have several antique places off the main road and a working train depot. We plan to take a ride when we come through again. (From the signs, looks like the ride is only on Friday and Saturday, 11, 1 and 3 and Sunday, 1 & 3pm).

Friday, August 1, 2008

first art showing!

I am shamelessly promoting the art of my firstborn son, Marshall Sparrow Boring.

A dozen or so simple drawings have spilled-out from the mind of a six-year-old onto paper and coffee bags. Intriguing figures, robotic and other-worldly tell dramatic, action-packed battle stories. Come think on them at the Harrison Center for the Arts 6-10 p.m., Friday, August 1!

Have I enticed you enough? Maybe a little economically-stimulating appeal would be good here... Marshall has BIG plans. He wants to purchase an electric guitar to "rock-out on" or a SWAT Team bullet-proof vest. So if you should fancy a piece of art, simple and true, you would be glad to know they are cheap* and that a purchase would further his innocent, childish consumer goals.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

underwear heads

Marshall and Stewart came back from our trip with fewer underwear than they started with. It's a mystery...
So, they got to pick new underwear today and came out with Transformer and Batman types. They were so excited to open the packages and sport their new ones around. The second and third pairs in the packages became masks and fighting implements.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shy Ny

Nigel's shy sometimes, but once he warms up, he's a friendly chap.
(And isn't he so darling? )
He finally warmed up to Auntie Kris and Uncle Sam this weekend.

shall we dance?

I went dancing with my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law last Thursday.
I don't know any dance "steps" and, whenever I think about what I'm doing, the movements feel awkward.
When I just let myself go, things are so much fun.
I had a great time and I want to go again. any dancers out there?

Monday, July 21, 2008

St. Louis [July 14]

Looks like a town I'd like to explore. The arch is beautiful as evening comes. We study it's shape and size.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

cadillac ranch [July 13]

Right outside of Amarillo, Texas is graffiti heaven... Cadillac Ranch. It is 10 half-buried Cadillacs that are layered with paint markings. We added our little masterpieces today, leaving some part of ourselves here and dreaming that our marks will never be covered but that everyone who passes there will see us there. Weird, but that's what it's about.
Except not for David Blaine, famous magician who stole the punch from our excursion with his camera-man army. I guess Marshall and Mike were kinda mesmerized by the guy, while I was more than annoyed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

my brother's wedding [july 12]

We made it all the way to Phoenix for Matt and Missy's wedding. It was lovely.
Mike's mom made bow ties for the boys that were so incredible. The boys were too great, running around in little ties and Converse tennis shoes. Stewart looked a bit like Twiddle Dee with suspenders, playing karate with Uncle Steve while wielding my gerbera daisy bouquet.

Monday, July 14, 2008

red rock [july 8]

From Flagstaff, we traveled south to Phoenix on highway 89A so that we could drive through Red Rocks State Park and Sed0na. It was worth the extra time and nagging roadside trails.

grand canyon [july 7]

As I arrive at the edge for a moment of solice, the warm air rises to hit my face.
We want to show them without loosing them. It's terrifying to see boys moving so quickly at this height.

And now, we sit, with our legs dangling over the edge. We're taking it in together.