painting, crawling, cleaning

I spent two afternoons this week working on two paintings of my family at the beach. The photos would not upload, or I'd post them (in progress). I've been painting them simultaneously and trying to be "loose." It's hard to be "loose" with paint. It's much easier to do that with charcoal or pencil. If I had not gotten a degree in art, perhaps I could be a folk painter, but that degree leaves me a bit shamefaced. I shied away from and never took painting in college, I have an art degree and a shameful secret--I can't really paint. Our painting professors were really difficult and with graphic design as my emphasis, well, I never had time for additional time-consuming classes. Instead, I took a LOT of ceramics. :) So, now I am trying to learn how to paint. Wish me well.
Johnny is crawling and trying to pull up. He likes crawling, but he likes to stand up even more. He is very happy to be put in his playpen standing up. He will grasp the rails and hang on for a few minutes before dropping. I can't believe he is growing so fast! He'll be eight months on Wednesday! That's really hard to believe.
Tuan and I spent New Year's in FLA with my folks. We like to hit the thrift stores and stock up on bargains and books while down there. The only real non-book bargain I found were baby/toddler sandals (one pair tevas and one pair teva-like) they were ten cents for both! How cool is that? We did buy LOTS and LOTS of books and here are a few:

Library Editions of:
The Silmarillion
Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
A Jeeves book by PG Wodehouse
Mariel of Redwall
Auntie Mame

Among others, we picked up a Clive Cussler, the Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Play With Your Food, etc . . .
Tuan has been wrapped up in this novel called, Shogun (it's about Ancient Japan, I think). I've been reading a collection of suspense stories and also just finished The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I read this when I was little and at some point picked up a copy of The Five Little Peppers All Grown Up, which was unreadable. I did remember loving the former, though and while it was definitely a trip down memory lane, the writing was a bit funny. For example, the characters rarely "say" anything, as in "Phronsie said such and such." Instead, they either "scream" or "cried." The writier uses "screamed" for anytime a voice is raised, whether in excitement, melancholy or urgency. The children (and adults) cry out rather than speak which means the reader is in constant confusion about the true emotions of the plot. Also, one of the main characters, Polly, a young woman who cooks, tends the house, baby and small children while their poor, widowed mother is out sewing (amazingly capable for someone under fifteen), can't seem to handle any emotion strain without crying, fainting or collapsing. It's pretty funny, but leaves me longing for some L.M. Montgomery.

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