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31 May 2013

leavin the cold rainy place... and little Bear

I'm heading home today, but not without hesitancy. There's a rationally-inclined part of my mind that is doing a happy dance at the thought of going home. Going home to my Archer and warm, sunny days. But in this moment, sitting here at the gate in the airport typing away at my little tablet, I'm not happy. My little Bear - my son - is staying in Iowa with my mom for two more weeks, then heading to his Dad's house for five weeks. He cried last night when we talked about going to the airport the next morning. He wanted to come to the airport with me, and I let him. He cried when Grandma led him back to the car as I got in line for security. It was a sincerely sad cry, and it tore me in two. I wanted to bring him with me, like he asked, but I bowed to plans made months ago - made poorly, in hindsight - and said I'd see him soon. And I hugged him wholeheartedly, giving him as much of my love to carry with him as he could fit in his enormous little heart.

29 May 2013

Archer's Bones hits Main Street

I'm pining for home - can you tell?

But really, this little shop is a real treasure house, and I'm delighted that it's in our little town.

Welcome to Blissbee, Julie Thompson's "creative supply shop":

Walking into this airy little shop makes my inner artist dance for joy with every step. It really is blissful. I wouldn't mind having the entire contents of her shop at my crafting disposal. I wouldn't mind at all. In her brick-and-mortar shop, visitors are treated to some of Julie's own creations which, as you can imagine, are just as whimsically endearing as the name implies.

Bumblebees from Blissbee
I adore the antiqued bronze finish!

28 May 2013

Archer's Bones: little connections in the shop walk

The rain let up over the past few hours. Just now, I saw a peek of blue from behind the clouds. Still, I miss the warmth of Bisbee, my little town in the high desert mountains.

As I was moping about this weekend, waiting for the rain to abate, I found a bit of Bisbee on etsy. Imagine my joy! I'll share it momentarily.

But first: yesterday I went to my cousin's college graduation party. I didn't know most of the people there, despite us being distantly related and having met once or twice when I was much, much younger. It didn't matter that I didn't know them. They're perhaps the most loving people in the world. It was heartening just to be in their presence.

One of the women, whom I did vaguely remember, asked me where I was living now. I said south-east Arizona, right in the corner. I was thinking nobody this far north would have any idea there was a tiny little town called Bisbee just six miles from Mexico. She said, "Oh, near Bisbee?" Ha! That's what I get for assuming! Anyway, she's good friends with some of the people I know. I'll have to mention that to them when I get home.

Six degrees of separation, right? It's all these little connections, you see. They remind us how close we really are to each other. And Bisbee is the hub of my web. It's no surprise that my shop walk has led me right back home. The woman I'm about to introduce you to is, in my opinion, an excellent representative of our town, in her art and in her story. I hope you'll take a moment to look at both.

"Desert People"
by Quenda J. Shults,
whose name means "little connections"

25 May 2013

the rain lasts for-ev-er

It started raining last night before we went to sleep.

Oh good, I thought, the rain that was predicted will play out while we sleep, rather than spoiling our bicycling hopes for tomorrow.

Pfffffft. I had forgotten that this place doesn't keep its rain properly scheduled like we do in the high deserts.

It's still raining, at 10 am 'tomorrow.' And it's not just dribbling. It's still Raining.

Good day for books, card games, legos, and a movie.
We're going to the library and to see Epic this afternoon.

In the meantime, I'm writing. Wish me luck!

24 May 2013

Archer's Bones: the shop walk

I'm walking my way up to a grand opening on June 1st; come wander with me...
Wandering through the wilds of Etsy-land, I've come across some treasure chests that simply must be shared. There's too much Wonderful for one person to keep all to herself.
My first stop is the shop of a woman whose artwork caught me up, the net to my fish, delicately leaving me gasping for breath. Luckily for the rest of the world, and despite her easy-on-the-wallet prices, I can't actually afford to purchase every item she has available.
Take a gander, you won't regret it:
Fawn Archival Watercolor print, by Kelly Bermudez
(I'm in love.)

23 May 2013

H is for hiking in the green

Today I took a walk with poison ivy, hemlock, and wild geraniums.
Don't worry, I wore jeans.
I'm in Iowa with my son, visiting my mother. After Arizona, the world here seems painted in green. Green grass, green trees, green everything but the houses and skies. Sometimes, in the years since I left the more verdant climes, I have paused to wonder if I might like to be in a greener place.
I remember the womb-like depth of the woods were I grew up. I remember the welcome arms of that place, disguised as hickory branches, and oak and maple branches. I remember that place with love. It was green from its roots to its canopy. All shades of green with beautiful brown bark streaking through and flecks of blue sky trying to peek in from above. Beautiful, lovely, intimate. I miss that place.
But oddly, I don't miss the world being painted in green. And that is surprising. Isn't that the refrain - "oh I love the weather in Arizona, but I miss the green of ____ (insert non-desert place here)." It's so common, you don't even have to say the whole phrase to be understood by a fellow transplant. But it feels a little hollow to me. I wondered if maybe I didn't miss the green, after all.
Being here, surrounded as I am by greenery, I miss the many colors of the desert. I miss the variety. I don't want my vision tinted any one color, be it green, brown, or even rose.
I don't miss being surrounded by green.
But green is a sign of life! I hear myself argue. But in the desert, there is just as much life as there is here, if you know how to see it.
If your glasses don't wash the world with a single hue.

21 May 2013

ah, Summer

Now that my life is not being dominated by academic deadlines - at least for the next year or so - I'm getting back into my groove, finding new ways to enjoy life.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Iowa with my son, to visit my mother. I'll be there for about a week. Then I'm heading home solo - my son will stay there a couple more weeks, backpacking with Grandma and visiting cousins.

I'll be home, working at my friend's tea shop, starting my tattoo apprenticeship, spending a day or so each week tending an art gallery/frame shop, and writing, painting, and crafting. Engaged, but not Busy. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm taking a couple classes too (I know, I know...) but they're online/lower level classes. Not the monsters I took in the spring semester. Much less work to be done for these. No more senior capstone courses for me! At least not until fall 2014, when I start my Master's program. ...I'm such a glutton for academic punishment...

Anyway, this summer will be full of creativity and walking to work at shops that I love. *knock on wood*

16 May 2013

and breathe....

I'm done with the spring semester. Thank Fucking Goodness.

Usually I have issues with insomnia. For the last three days in a row, I've fallen asleep at a decent hour and overslept. I think this is my body recuperating. I am so spent.

I wish I could take the summer off. No can do, not gonna happen. But it's ok. The summer semester is short, and not grueling like the spring semester was. And then I'm done. Done-done. Not just kinda done. Done for a whole year before I start grad school.

Right now? I just wanna sleep.

07 May 2013

Naanaa's Story, part 5

"Bear, look - Muzi's home."
"What's he got?"
"'What does he have,' Bear. And I don't know... oh, I think it's a mouse. Weird."
"Oh, poor mouse!"
"Com'on, help me bring the groceries in."
"Why's he carryin' around a dead mouse?"
"I don't know. Cats do that sometimes. Just weird that Muzi's doing it. I didn't think he could catch a mouse. Or would even know to try to catch it."
"Why do cats do that?"
"To show us they love us. It's cat logic. Hard to explain. Can you get this bag please? It's not heavy."


Muzi likes how his food makes crunchy noises in his head. He imagines the mouse. It would make furry noises. That would be gross. He wonders if Mom ate it. She eats weird things sometimes.


Mom is tense. She looks relaxed, stretched out in her reading chair, feet up on the ottoman, book in hand. Naanaa knows better. He can feel the worry in her heart. She's quiet. He wonders, vainly. She has food. Boy is sleeping happily, and not hurt or sick. She is always happy with her book and her chair, but not tonight. Naanaa watches, but doesn't understand. He wonders all the way back to his bones.

06 May 2013

the psychology of primate play

Last week I had to change my topic for a semester-long research project in my experimental psychology class. There are two weeks left in the semester. Awesome. (That's a sarcastic "awesome," by the way.)

The new topic is how play behaviors contribute to the lifespan development of primates, physically and socially. I'm lucky that I have data gathered from my trip to Rwanda last summer. Still, I'm a bit stressed right now. And I cannot wait until this semester is over.


Anyway, this is a cool topic. I'm pretty much in love with it. What is the purpose of play? Why do we do it? For fun! But why is it fun? Why does it have such universal appeal, and why do children play the same ways all over the world? We're learning that play actually does serve a developmental and evolutionary purpose. It isn't just fun. And that is really interesting.

Let's talk cognitive ecology. That's the study of how a species' cognitive patterns are shaped by the specific problems presented by its habitat. We must try to understand the problems presented in the species' habitat - what predators they have to evade, what dietary needs they have to meet, how their locomotion is determined by their physical environment  - and we must try to understand the solutions possible and the solutions utilized by the species. These points of study (which are only some examples of ecological problems faced by any given species) give us windows into the cognitive patterns of that species. If we can figure out why a species utilizes one solution over another for a specific problem, we begin to understand the cognitive patterns and priorities of that species.

So why study play? Play is a window to cognition, too. Studying cognition is never a direct process, even with human subjects. With non-human primates, or any animal, it's even more problematic. In a sense, we are reduced to using Skinner's Behavioralism in order to study the cognition of non-human primates. We can only observe behavior, we cannot ask them what they're thinking (generally speaking; Koko the gorilla doesn't count, in this case). Play is important for this, because - hypothetically - it patterns adult behavior and prepares immature animals to meet the challenges they will face as adults of their species. Now, if that hypothesis were accurate, then we could expect to see evidence of that.

...more to follow.