Alien Farm Boy


DevinAge2Mess DevinAge2Party

Here are a painting and sketches of my son when he was around 2 or 3 years old, when he could count among his achievements succesful potty training and looking adorable.

Today he turns 26 (!!!) and still looks adorable (still potty trained too). He’s also a more sociable party guest than as depicted in this old sketchbook (although somewhere along the way he lost his Mess Detector). Besides this he is funny and smart and a wonderful writer; speaks Japanese fluently, which is useful in his work for Japanese television; is a cool painter; is sweet to his parents, generous to his friends, and a fabulous big brother to his little sister. Happy Birthday, dear Devin, and thank you for coming.


Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright


How often does Chinese New Year fall on Valentines Day? So I had to celebrate both.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger (as were 1998, 1986, 1974, and so on backward every twelve years). If you were born in the Year of the Tiger, you are lively, engaging, sociable, and affectionate. Friends are always welcome in your home. You are impulsive, which can express itself in outbursts of generosity or hot temper. You are stubborn, a bit vain, and sensitive to criticism. Know anyone like this? Maybe you can guess which of your friends are Tigers without even knowing their birth years.

Tigers are supposed to be compatible with Dogs and Horses, and incompatible with Goats and Oxen. A Tiger/Tiger match is not recommended because both like to be in charge. Uh-oh. Well, Happy Chinese New Year, all you Valentines!

Morning Has Broken

Today is the birthday of Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), born in London, England, into a rather bohemian musical, literary, theatrical family. The lucky girl. She was delicate, and so was homeschooled among shelves crammed full of books—fairy and folk tales, history and mythology. She began writing quite young and was encouraged (of course); in her teens she collaborated with her brothers on their theatre productions; by age 19 she sold her first fairy tale.

Farjeon went on to write a range of literature for children: stories, history verses, plays, and lots of poems, among them the one above written in 1931 to accompany an old Gaelic melody and later popularized by folk singer Cat Stevens and other musicians. Her work abounds in wit, unexpected turns of phrase and plot, magic, humor, and nonsense. She is probably best known for her collection The Little Bookroom and the Martin Pippin stories, but if you have a little girl who loves to jump rope and she has NOT read Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep, you must drop everything and run straight to the library together to check it out. (If it has not yet been pulled from the library shelf and sold on Amazon. See Each Day post 2/11/10.)

Japanese animation lovers, take note. The King’s Daughter Cries for the Moon, an Eleanor Farjeon story originally published in 1955, is presently being adapted for a Japanese/Korean animation feature, scheduled for release in spring 2011. Now wouldn’t that surprise Eleanor.


The Tomes They Are A-Changin’


This may be a little cryptic. It’s my response to a recent meeting held at the much-loved local library, in which unwelcome developments present and future were laid out before us. Despite its being held during a snowstorm, the meeting was well-attended by many unhappy patrons.



It’s been a busy day without time to prepare something (there are no snow days when you homeschool). So, inspired by the dozens of wet shoes and boots in the front hall, I am putting up a card I made for our favorite local children’s shoe store salesman when he retired to Florida several years ago. And if he’s watching the weather channel, I’ll bet he’s glad he did, too.


Snowed In


The sun came out today, so my daughter and I went to sketch the interesting heaps of snow in the alley behind the house. Well, it may have been sunny, but the wind blew snow continuously and exasperatingly from the rooftops onto our sketchbooks. My daughter had wisely chosen colored pencils; I had a pen, and the ink alternately froze on the tip and bled when it hit snowflakes. I have renewed respect for all painters of snowy landscapes.