Monday, January 12, 2015

This is January

The Stork linocut, 28 cm by 21.6 cm or 11" by 8.5"
on creamy Japanese kozo paper with colourful confetti-like inclusions
I wanted to wish you all a happy new year, as we are well into January. I'm afraid I haven't been around very much, because baby, as they say. He's doing well, keeping me very busy and changing every day. He now walks or runs everywhere - badly, like a drunken sailor, but on his own two feet... until he isn't. It's hard to let him fall, but I think I have to, at least sometimes. For one thing, he's fast. For another, learning does involve trying, failing and trying again. He says a lot of things, though there's still some interpretation going on. He definitely says Daddy... though, much to my amusement, he kept gleefully pointing to the Christmas tree and saying, "Daddy!" RJH likes to believe he was trying to indicate that he (RJH) carried our tiny tree into the house, or that he set it up, or that he was excited... not that the tree was his father. But, in fairness, Little Monkeytoes does know who Daddy is. Likewise, he's clearly indicated that I am... Wubwub. I believe he's trying to say Mama. If you watch, the way his lips move is almost right, but the 'm' sound is more of a 'w'. Sometimes it's more like Wawub. Anyhow, he know what people mean by Mama or Mommy. Clearly, they mean Wubwub. He's even said "Cat" now and again. Minouette is much kinder to him than to anyone else, despite the fact that he has yet to master gentleness. He even - I think - is saying a couple of simple sentences. He says, what sounds like, "Lookit! What dat?" and points. This is all very good for a 13-month old wee person. It is currently quiet time, which is his vaguely naplike time. He's not big on napping, but enforcing quiet time has changed our lifes for the better. I was extremely skeptical that forced naps could lead to better sleeping at night; I was wrong. It may be illogical, but it's working. Unfortunately, he's spent most of quiet time doing laps of his crib and stopping only to 'read' his baby books (probably upside down, but adorable nonetheless).

Cinders McLeod, for The Walrus magazine online gallery

I'm afraid 2015 in the larger world has not had a lot to recommend for itself. I don't have anything articulate to say about senselessness, but I did like my friend Cinders' cartoon. I have very strong opinions about the importance of freedom of expression, to be honest, which extend to art and opinions I don't like. Many have been misquoting Voltaire. As his biographer, Beatrice Evelyn Hall using the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre wrote of Voltaire (in 1906), summarizing his sympathy for a fellow author, whose books had been burned, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’

Locally, here in Toronto, winter has come, complete with some frigid temperatures and cold weather alerts. Two homeless men have died of exposure. When faced with senselessness, I am most impressed when someone imagines something positive they can do to counteract. A handmaker I know, Nathalie-Roze & Co. takes donated knits and polar fleece to make hats and neck warmers for the homeless. I recently succumbed to the peer-pressure and joined Instagram, where I was reading about The Lennie Project. In an example of when social media can work well, I suggested we post about it to the Toronto Etsy Street Team blog - when our mutual friend Adrienne, captain of the 416Hustlers made a further (better!) suggestion of getting together to help. Now, the two biggest Toronto Etsy teams the Toronto Etsy Team and 416Hustlers are going to co-host a sewing bee to help, January 24! We're still finalizing details, but have managed to put this together very quickly. If you're in Toronto you can take part or find somewhere to donate your cozy knits at this link.

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