Weekly snapshots of life in 2016
This weekend’s weather is the stuff autumn is made of — sunny, slightly cool in the morning but warm enough in the afternoon to allow for a brisk walk without a jacket or sweater. I tried to break away from the routine of just doing school/activity-related events that we’re stuck in these days. I felt like I just needed to do different things to avoid feeling trapped in our current lifestyle as well as rekindle whatever creative juices I have in me. Plus, the current political environment is so charged right now that I feel I need to distance myself a bit from toxic but constant bickering buzzing everywhere these days. So I ended up seeing a movie, The Dressmaker, going out to dinner at a local tapas restaurant with Richard and insisting on a family outing that has nothing to do with our ordinary gig during the week. And I can tell you that with just some minor adjustments, I feel recharged and energized to start the week.
Why do we, as parents, feel that we need to sacrifice our needs and priorities for our family and children? I know as mothers we are usually the glue that holds the family together. However, I do believe that for us to effectively parent, we need time to honor ourselves — our desires, passions, and all. We need this vitality and energy to inspire our children who often look at us to model their own behaviors. Do you often find time for yourself? What do you usually do to recharge your batteries? I’d love to know.
Few highlights from the week…
She’s down to celebrating her bday to twice instead of four times a year
It’s a special year at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) as it gears up for the Winter-Spring Season with a Matisse exhibit, featuring some of the artist’s works along with those created by American artists who were inspired by him. It truly is an exhilarating time to be MAM docent as momentum builds up to February…
But before we skip months ahead, let’s not forget about the MAM’s two current exhibitions — “Do It,” a conceptual art show, and “The Matisse Series,” an homage to the artist by former Montclair resident Janet Taylor Pickett. I think these two exhibits show how the MAM consistently bring works that are refreshing and thought provoking, allowing us to open our minds and be inspired visually and aesthetically by what’s in front of us, in our slice of northern NJ.
I did not really know much about conceptual art until this exhibit. I supposed one of the simplest ways to describe it is that these are ideas or instructions created by the artists with audience participation in mind. A show that started in Paris in 1993, “Do It” has traveled throughout the world with interpretations of artists’ directions always subject to unique variations depending on the venue. Some of the artists featured in this exhibition are Yoko Ono, the late Hassan Sharif, Hreinn Fridfinnson and Sol Lewitt.
“The Matisse Series”
This exhibit features about 76 collages and three hand-made books by Janet Taylor Pickett, who will also be featured in the museum’s February Matisse exhibit. I love her focus on dresses and the role they play in our definition of womanhood. Her collages are a rich mixture of color, images, culture and texture, along with the personal. Throughout the show, we get the sense of Ms. Taylor Pickett’s narrative, her autobiographical demonstration of people and culture who shaped her to be the artist whom she is today.
If you’re looking for some visual and artistic stimulation without the hassle of a New York museum, you should check out MAM and its’ current exhibitions. I promise I do not get any incentives from promoting the place even if I am a docent there…
Weekly snapshots of life in 2016
Where does time go? I can’t seem to find my right footing, my proper pace in this new school year. I try to stick to my schedule, which I’ve tried to simplify this year with less activities for the girls. And yet, here I am, a month and a half into the school year and I am beat. Is this the new normal? Does having older kids in the suburbs mean more running around as I now have to drive them not just to their activities but also to their social commitments?
Don’t get me wrong, there are many joyous moments in parenting like seeing how the girls’ interactions with their friends change over the years. As much as I get annoyed with petty tween stuff at home, I am often satisfied with the kind of friends they have and the quality of discussions they engage in. There’s a certain amount of sensitivity to others and tolerance in differences among friends despite the enormous time spent on texting and social media. Perhaps it is possible to raise emotionally-aware kids despite parents’ concerns over how social media can stifle children’s connectedness with others. What do you think?
Some moments from past week as we gear up for Halloween…
With temperatures cooling off a bit and days getting a bit shorter everyday, I have been on the lookout for books to add to my fall/winter reading list. It’s so hard for me to settle down and read a book these days. Most of the time, I get interrupted and other times. I just fall asleep. But I am hopeful and will keep on trying to read a few pages, even if it takes me a a month and a half to finish one novel.
Here are some of the titles that I am thinking of:
- The Mothers by Britt Bennett – It’s a complicated story of female friendships, love, and motherhood (the mothers we are and want to be as well as mothers missing in our lives). A debut novel from Britt Bennett, the book’s characters are supposedly quite captivating that we’ll be thinking about them long after we’ve finished the book.
- You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris – His video went viral on social media after the Bataclan shootings in Paris where his wife was killed. This will be a bit sad to read but there’s something beautiful about his will and courage to go on. My favorite line from him is when he said of his toddler son and terrorist attackers, “For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom.”
- The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Cheng – It’s a funny satire story of rich businessman, Charles Wang, who is financially ruined and must now find a way to save face and restore pride while uprooting his family who are quite content with their very privileged lives in boarding schools and 1,000-count bed sheets. The question for Mr. Wang is will he be able start a new life in China and still keep his family together or will it be too late for any drastic solutions. Sounds like a fun read.
- Walk Through Walls by Marina Abromovic – The greatest and most controversial performance artist of our time, this memoir details Marina’s strict childhood in Yugoslavia as well as her 12-year relationship with performance artist, Ullay. Another book on how personal courage and ability to persevere allow us to overcome challenges in our lives.
What about you? Any good books that you’ve read or planning to read this fall?
Images via (1), (2), (3), (4)
Weekly snapshots of life in 2016
A week where not much happened, just the usual routine of work, school and rushing to activities. Now that C’s school is a bit farther away from home, she gets backs from school late in the day. So I had to schedule the bulk of her extra-curricular activities on the weekend, which means less time for us to unwind and relax before the new week begins. I am running pretty tired these days but then again, that’s the case for most of us, right? There’s just never enough time to do everything.
There were some fun moments this week like…
…Getting Brady to try on his Halloween costume where he seems a little peeved about the whole situation.
…C getting adjusted to a different pace and way of learning at her new school.
…Ines feeling a little under the weather but still gave her cross-country meet all she got.
…A short but sweet moment among cousins to beat the Sunday blues.
Have a great week everyone!