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4 kittens

Springtime Rash

Posted on 2018.04.29 at 23:17
I have a second kitten!

Recall this original illustration:


And completed:

Mostly I love it and I'm very happy with it.  Again, the photos are weird and distorting - his body is more nicely round, like the original, than it looks here.

There is one thing that is driving me a little crazy, however. (Should I pause and let you try to find it?)

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(I'm perversely relieved to have identified a thing that's bothering me. Now I know the kind of error and scale of I'll be dealing with. Second, I think it's pretty correctable. And if it's not fixed, I'll be okay with it.)

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It's the eyes: they're not even.

The left eye is too high. It's especially obvious if you start with the ears and follow the forehead down. 

If you go back to the stencil outline, the eye is in a different (more correct) spot. So the error was introduced in the shading.

Here's what I think happened: I think the left eye was actually a forehead stripe. Cover up the left eye, and you can see the actual left eye about a centimeter down, across the nose from the right eye. Cover up the right eye, and the left eye all of a sudden pairs nicely with the eyebrow-ish stripe.

I think that at some point she got confused - she thought the left eye was the cheek line, and the left eyebrow was the eye, and so she darkened and added the white highlighter incorrectly. (It's clearest if you compare the stencil to the shaded one, above - the left cheek has jumped.)

So I think if she darkened the left eye into an eyebrow, and added some white highlights where the left eye should actually be, it would be fixed.  I'm really not terribly upset, but I do hope we fix his darling little face.

I took 4 ibuprofen again. This one hurt more than Rascal, but it wasn't very bad. Maybe a 2-3 on the pain scale. It hurts the most at the beginning, and then the skin sort of gets less sensitive from the vibrations.


Rascal: This is my frog.

"When I was a baby, he was my little tadpole. Then he grew legs and then he lost his tail, and now he's three, like me."


I was awarded Faculty Member of the Year by our student government. I appreciated the sentiment and I got a nice plaque. I'm not sure if I've gotten a plaque since I was a child.


Ace spent her birthday money on this:

at a yardsale. A commemorative Barbie - CelebrationTheresa - from the year 2000. I stage-whispered to Ace that she should ask, "Can you do any better on the price?" but she squirmed and wouldn't. The garage sale folks knocked $5 off the price anyway.

Ace wrote this:

Once upon a time there was two puppies, but one of their childs was a panda! Then they saw a daddy panda. The daddy panda had one baby panda cup and a puppy cub. And then the mommy dog said, "Daddy panda, want to trade children?" and so the daddy panda said, "Sure! a panda for a puppy!" So then the daddy panda carefully pushed the puppy cub up, and the mommy dog pushed the panda cub up, and then the two that had been carefully pushed shook hands and went to each other's mama and dada!

(Our little sweet segregationist. I promise to tell her about diversity.)

I forgot to photograph this when it was timely, but this is what Ace made and gave to Hawaii for her birthday.


The older kids participated in Piano Guild yesterday. Very much against Hawaii's will. Furthermore, after she sandbagged her choices for pieces about a month ago, I got fed up and make her pick a piece that was a stretch. She picked Minuet in G (as I mentioned here) and worked her tail off on it. As a compromise, I told her that we could wait until the last possible moment to either commit to playing Minuet in G at the Piano Guild, or switch it out for an easier piece.

That last possible moment to swap songs came and went, and no one spoke up, and so we found ourselves in the waning days, committed to the Minuet. Her rendition was still pretty rocky, much rockier than any of us would have preferred. I was nervous on her behalf. 

Friday night, she had an all-out meltdown in fear. I was very sympathetic, but I also think it's good and brave to go out on a limb and try something hard like this, so we kept a Show-Must-Go-On! front about the whole thing.

Hawaii passed Saturday morning by making us all cinnamon toast. She toasted them with tinfoil arranged in different shapes to produce outcomes like so:

L for Hawaii, M for Pokey. There was also a heart and a stormtrooper toast.

The recipe encouraged kids to "make them your own!" which Hawaii interpreted as "go around the outer crust rim with Nutella" which was delicious but it's hard to think of a messier version of toast to hand to the little kids. 

But then the toast was eaten, and it was time to head to Piano Guild.

How'd she do? Hawaii breezed through her first three pieces. When she got to the minuet, she kept her composure, and played beautifully up until the very last two measures, where she stumbled, couldn't recover, and backtracked from the last line, and finished the minuet. 

I was absolutely delighted. It was one of her better attempts - I was very relieved that she hadn't stumbled so badly earlier that she'd had to restart a whole page. (When I was a kid, my mom would try to moderate my expectations by scaling what we'd take as a victory. "How about this: if this soccer team only beats you guys by three goals, we'll count it as a win!" she'd propose enthusiastically, and I'd respond with disgust. But I super understand where she was coming from now. You just want to protect your kid. My point is: in my head, I decided I'd consider it a win if Hawaii didn't have to go back and restart the second page. So she won! I did not share this with Hawaii, however.)

If we'd had another few weeks, she'd have had the piece spotlessly down. She really did work her tail off on it. Afterwards, Hawaii's expression was pinched and grim, and I still am not sure how she felt about it, but she was in better spirits for the rest of the day.

(Pokey also did very well!)(Hawaii was also very nervous about sightreading, but I was not at all worried on her behalf about that, and so that did not register much with me. She did fine.)



augh! my beautiful boy! What happened?!

Jammies hit a grounder to him during baseball practice and it popped up on him. Jammies felt absolutely awful. One of the other coaches is a trainer, and poked gingerly around and said he didn't think anything was broken in the occipital bones, so we skipped the hospital, and in fact the swelling seems to be going down already.


Hawaii: I have a joke. How did the boy get sunburnt on a cold day?
Me (skipping the science lecture about altitude): I don't know, how DID the boy get sunburnt on a cold day?
Hawaii: Because he lived in ancient Egypt! Get it? Because a cold day for them is still a hot day for everyone else!
Me, being no fun: Or modern Egypt!
Hawaii: Sure. It could be modern Egypt.



At bedtime one night, Rascal was bawling his eyes out over the end of storytime. He was wailing in bed, inconsolable, when I went to hug him goodnight. Finally I redirected his attention, got him to breathe and calm down, and talk to me. He heaved and sobbed and told me his sad tale, and I echoed it back to him, naming his emotions - the normal thing one does with an emotional three year old.

Pokey piped up, up from out of sight in the top bunk of the other bed: "I like listening to you calm down Rascal," he said. I was touched. Pokey continued, "His little voice is so cute! And he sounds so sad. It's so cute."  I agree, it is so cute.

Also I choose to interpret Pokey's comment as a compliment. Listen, they all listen when you parent one of them. You're always parenting all of them, even though three of them aren't in the hotseat. The compliment is that Pokey likes the naming of the emotions and feels himself self-regulate upon hearing me assist Rascal with the process.  (Am I full of myself or am I full of myself?! Yes indeed! Oh so full.)


Jammies showed me the poison ivy rash he has now, from removing the poison ivy last week, in advance of Hawaii's scavenger hunt. It's on his forearm and on his legs.  "I actually get this rash every spring," he confessed, "and I just call it my Springtime Rash, and I never really thought about it."

I thought that was funny. He also said, "also I never exactly believed you when you said there was poison ivy in the backyard. I thought the reaction would be much quicker." Nope, it takes a day to show up.

I've been meaning to plant an ivy on the front trellis, but then this just started growing on its own.  Pretty!


Ace told some joke, and my attention was elsewhere, and I politely said, "That's a good one!"
Pokey interjected, "One time I told a joke, but I messed it up, and I was about to correct it, when you said 'That's a good one!'  Before you even heard the right joke! So now I don't trust you when you say that."

I laughed and laughed. Since then, I've said "That's a good one!" a few more times. I thought Pokey might get the meta-joke and start to laugh with me, but he's kept his reaction to himself.


We took the kids to see these guys:

They're from New York, but the director is from the Valley, and they put on a free show locally (probably as a rural outreach sort of thing. Heebieville is funny - we qualify for rural assistance in all kinds of ways, but we get far more than our fair share of rural outreach because we're not really that rural, and so it's so easy and convenient for the kind folks in Austin to fulfill their rural outreach mission.)

Anyway: if you're in New York, I highly recommend catching a show. Absolutely first rate ballet folklorico, insane amount of energy and beat and rhythm to it, and just a joy to listen and watch. And some strictly musical pieces by the band, without dancing.  The band was also superb.

At the Q&A afterwards, Hawaii raised her hand. When it was her turn, she had to speak into a microphone and introduce herself. Her question was: "Was there ever a time that you really wanted to quit, but instead you decided to persevere?" (She really did use the word persevere.) The lead dancer/director got all choked up and emotional and shared a story about repeated setbacks by injury.

Ours was just held at the local middle school. Afterwards they served Mexican roasted chili lime corn and fruit and watermelon juice.

Good advice to all, whether or not one is transitioning out of from childhood to one's teenage years or not.

My next kittens will be done on Mother's day, so there's a bit of a lull until the next round of excitement.

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