Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Woman of Valour

A difficult text. Don't analyze it. Just hear the love, the appreciation, the awe for what women accomplish. We can aspire to be everything that the words describe, and more. The postcards that I created with "A Woman of Valour" as my inspiration are almost ready to fly around the world. The creative effort has kept me rooted in my head for the last couple of months. It has been a time of dreaming and problem solving rather than my usual creative enterprise of sitting at my sewing machine for hour after hour.

First - fabric dye with sparkles sponged over a cut out of a woman's profile onto commercial cotton

Second - the fabric is pressed onto a 4 by 6 piece of Fast 2 Fuse (in some cases the base fabric is the portrait in many it is navy fabric with a crisscross Magen David pattern)

Third - on the cards with the Magen David fabric the portrait is machine appliqued

Fourth - a line of quilting to delineate the features

Fifth - remnants from cutting fat quarters are used to make the woman's hair

Sixth - fabric markers are used to enhance her features and to add symbols (Heart, Hamsa, Magen David) to some of the cards

Seventh - a white rectangle of fabric with these handwritten words is pressed to the back of each card :

Self Portrait as a Woman of Valour
Full of Beauty, Love and Imperfection.

Eighth - more fabric remnants are zigzagged around the edges to frame the card and hold the layers together

Ninth - make two more postcards because when I went to the address list I realized I was supposed to make fourteen of them!

As I worked on these cards I found myself relishing the flaws. The way the faces looked less and less real, threads dangling from the stitching and and from the fabric remnants. When I showed them to my family they saw some of them as masculine and had trouble seeing the face in some of them. I welcome this ambiguity.

From my Journal:

Self Portrait as a Woman of Valour

Each card is unique. Each has its own beauty and its own flaws, just as I do each time I look in the mirror. I am grateful to the author of this prayer and to our tradition which honours "women's work".

When I was in second year University a young man in my program felt empowered to classify the women he studied with as GW or not GW. I had the honour of being proclaimed not a GW - not a Good Woman. Sadly he was struck down by cancer before graduation so I never had the opportunity to speak to him as an adult about the injustice of his words.

With this series of postcards I am now reclaiming my place in the world as a GW "A Woman of Valour"!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A simple plan for controlling the "galloping gimmes"

Give your children a weekly allowance equal to one dollar per year of age - my children get $8.00 a week. This allowance is not dependent on good behaviour or the completion of chores. It is to help them earn the value of money, the importance of budgeting and the satisfaction that comes from making a purchase with their own money. Explain to them that their allowance and any other money they may receive will be allocated for the following purposes:

10% will go to charity - the children put theirs in Tzedakah Boxes
30% will go in the bank - I've actually bumped that part up a bit. Our bank transfers $5.00 per child per week to their own accounts.
30% will go in their wallets for bubblegum and bouncy balls
30% will go in their piggy banks to save up for something special like a Hamster!

Introducing Stripes

I don't know who was prouder at the pet store, me or Emily!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In honour of a small stone and my cousin Nomi

My garden is awake and ripe for enjoyment. The clematis vines are twining, the buds are forming on the strawberry plants, the furniture has found places to welcome and soothe us. The trees are leafing out to provide shade. Soon the vegetables will be planted and our garden will feed us food as well as beauty and relaxation.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Difference of Opinion

This morning in the Zohar household we are discussing rules. To be honest, when are rules not central to the Art of Parenting? What are the rules of engagement? Bedtime, hygiene, homework, meals, they're all governed by rules.

Today's point of contention is the Family Room coffee table. Remember when you put your feet on the table (not that any of us would ever do that) and your teacher asked, aghast, "Would you do that at home?"? Well in my house the answer is "Yes!". And my children would sit on the table and stand on the table even though they have been told since infancy that the household (and society's) "rule" is that we don't do any of those things.

My husband's position on this relatively minor infraction is "Lighten up Francis!" Mine is that we need to train our children that rules are never to be broken even if we don't understand the point.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Yogini and the Pea

Marlene always tells us not to let an errant prop touch us when we're doing a pose. "It'll drive you crazy" she says. I was painfully aware of this in my practice the other day. The slightest lump or bump in my own set up was unbearable. Let alone the excess props that kept creeping into my space.

Is this an idea that she put into my head or is there an essential truth here? I'm wondering if the visual and physical distractions of our day to day life could have a more profoundly disturbing effect on us than we give them credit for.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to see that something is out of place in an almost empty space? When we empty our minds to meditate we notice the excess thoughts running around.

Simplify, simplify. Make sure your clothes are comfortable. Give your extra stuff away. Lorna's garage sale for the Ugandan Orphan's Fund is a great place to start.