Three things: Faces in the woods, bean bags, and the Enneagram




Once there was a witch who cast a spell on the animals of the woods, turning them all into rocks and trees. They could only return to their right selves if a face, fashioned from clay, was stuck to their wrong selves. These little creature faces are what we made at our after-school nature club.

With a higher-than-usual tolerance for mess this week, I made two bean bags with the kids. L. helped me cut up an enormous fuchsia-coloured wool blanket and both of them helped to… well… scatter buckwheat hulls to the far corners of our flat. I started out by making one adult-sized bean bag but then realised that I would need to use all 23kg of hulls that had been sitting in the corner of our 2nd bedroom for a year and a half–way too heavy. So I cut the whole thing into two pieces and now we have two 10kg bean bags which are firm and snuggly at the same time.

Here’s a confession: I love personality tests. In particular, the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram. Anyway, I have been listening to a new (to me) podcast recently called The Road Back To You about the Enneagram and it has given me so many more insights into how I, and others work. Do you know about the Enneagram or another personality test? Some people hate them, but I am mildly obsessed…

Next week I am going to have a bit of a break from blogging but I will be back the following week.  See you then…


Putting our ears to the earth

I think I may have begun an “O’Dell Reading Phase”. Sing Down The Moon by Scott O’Dell is a YA novel about the forced migration of the Navaho people told from the perspective of Bright Morning. The simplicity of the writing somehow manages to amplify the tragedy of the Trail of Tears. A very gripping read.

We slept until the sun was high and awakened with the barking of my black dog. There were soldiers on the trail. By putting our ears to the earth we could hear the footsteps of their horses. But they came from the west. From our hiding place we watched them pass, driving a small band of Navahos toward Bosque Redondo. p. 113.

Three things: Socks, rice salad, and kindness


I started this sock more than a year ago, frogged it (because of a significant mis-counting mistake discovered just before turning the heel) slightly less than a year ago, and recently had the heart to start it again. I like the simplicity of this pattern and if I ever finish this sock, I might just make another to go with it. Sorry it isn’t a great photo–a small child has spent a lot of time chewing on my phone.

For a Seder Meal last night, I was instructed to bring a rice salad. So I made this one and it was delicious. Today I made it again, but, out of rice, I used quinoa instead, and it was even more delicious.

And a poem encouraging kindness. Oh friends, take/ whatever kindness you can find/ and be profligate in its expenditure:  This week I was (irrationally) telling myself that I was a crappy mum while an older woman looked on at my kids making a whole lot of noise in and under a shopping trolley in the veggie aisle at Sainsburys. As I tried to distance myself from the spectacle (whilst maintaining enough proximity to save anyone from an accident), this woman, who I thought had also been sending me telepathic messages of meaness, whispered to me “it’s lovely watching your kids have so much fun.” Thank you, fellow-shopper, for your kindness.

Walk inside the poem’s room

Introduction to Poetry, by Billy Collins
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide or press an ear against its hive.I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Three things: Birthday, broken toe, and nuart festival



Someone in my home turned 1 today! We celebrated by spending an afternoon at the park with a picnic of sausages and homemade beetroot bread. There are so many things that wee S. has bought to our lives that I am grateful for; primarily his joy, playfulness, and energy. We need as much of that in our lives as we can get!

I have a broken toe. Happy Foot Health Awareness Month to me. It turns out my toe has been broken for months. It turns out the NHS no longer x-rays toes because they do not have any recommendations for a broken toe. I guess the assumption is that people are wearing sturdy and supportive footwear that immobilise toes enough that a broken one will heal. It turns out that my love of barefoot walking and minimal footwear (not to mention self-administered foot massages) has not served my broken toe at all well. So I, with help from a smart friend, have learned how to strap and support a broken toe.

Will any of you be going to this great-looking festival next week? It combines four of my favourite things–walking, architecture, art, and community–so I am very excited. When I was at architecture school, we did similar public art events in the city. I loved witnessing people discover their city afresh and even begin to inhabit their bodies differently within the city. And yay! I love this manifesto: Nuart promotes a simple principle: if you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places. Nobody yet knows what you get if you plan your city streets as a dynamic, ever-changing public art museum, but it’s something that Nuart and Aberdeen are soon to be at the forefront of finding out.