Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Planning for May Day: Dancing, crafts, games and food!

I can hardly believe that May is nearly here! Wasn't it just Mardi Gras?

As May Day is the official holiday of this here blog, I HAVE to have a party, of course. And from the looks of my bloggy visitors lately, there are a lot of people out there looking for May Day activities. I am here to help you.

Feel free check out previous May Day festivities, including songs, coloring sheets, crafts, etc. (2009 plans and 2009 actual, 2008 plans (and why I call my blog Painted Maypole) and 2008 actual and a homemade floral crown and a May Day poem by Tennyson).

This year there will be the usual dancing 'round the Maypole (if I get to it I may cement the pole into a bucket... last year it kept falling over). I think I may makes some anklets with bells to attach to our ankles and we'll do some dancing and knocking of sticks or waving of handkerchiefs to approximate Morris Dancing, another May Day dancing tradition.

I plan to make these adorable flower baskets (on the right) from Charlotte's Fancy. (Check out some other May Basket ideas at The Crafty Crow)

We can fill the baskets with these flowers from Family Fun.

I think I'll clear out my felt and fabric supply and make these flower pins, also from Family Fun.

My May Queen is getting more and more into games, so I think we'll play Nine Men's Morris (follow the instructions to see how to make and play this board game), which is apparently a traditional English May Day game. Maybe we'll play one of her favorite games, Sleeping Queens. Although there is a pancake queen, a heart queen and all manner of flower queens, there are no May Queens in the game... so maybe the winner will be crowned May Queen.

And May Day Hoop racing sounds like fun, too!

We'll decorate flower shaped sugar cookies. Because cookie decorating (and EATING) make any party fun! I mean, what's a party without a sugar high? (looking for a cupcake sugar high? these would be adorable, edible may day baskets.)

Whew. I think that will keep us busy! Now I better invite some kids over to share the day with us!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I've been feeling as if I've lost my voice lately. In this space, as well as out and about in the world. I find that I have things swirling around inside, but the words and the space to share them are not there.

Fittingly, I'm losing my actual voice as well. My allergies are kicking in, and my voice is weak and scratchy.

Being voiceless can be very disempowering. And in many ways right now I do feel disempowered. Out of control. Unable to speak safely.

But an advantage to being voiceless is that it forces one to LISTEN more.

I'm listening.

What will I hear?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just Jumpin' and Havin' Fun

The feathers shake and the trombones blare and the dancers squat and shimmy. The crowd marches and you feel like you're here.
Hangin' in the Treme
Watchin' people sashay
Past my steps
by my porch
in front of my door

The first episode of HBO's new series, Treme, depicts the first second line in New Orleans after Katrina. A character argues that he should get the first shower because he has to get to the second line (the other character merely has to go open her restaurant). This is NOLA. This is how important the culture is to her people.

Two episodes in and we are in love with this series. It captures so much of what we adore about New Orleans. The music. The food. The people.

The spirit.

The show is full of humor and heartbreak. It is about the struggle of a city to overcome amazing obstacles, and about the human failings and triumphs along the way. We were hooting with laughter at John Goodman's character one minute, and breathlessly wiping away tears the next.

The scenes of the destroyed houses? Not nearly destroyed enough, but still close enough to stop us cold. We're thankful no one has invented smell-o-vision, but for anyone who was here after the storm, it is an odor you do not forget. The visual images were enough to call it to mind. The mud on the floor and the mold crawling up the walls much higher than any water line.

The show is populated with real New Orleans musicians. Real Mardi Gras Indians. Real people of New Orleans partying down the street.

It's a love song to New Orleans. Please, have a listen. I promise you will not leave unchanged.

Down in the Treme
is me and my baby
we're all going crazy
Buck jumpin' and havin' fun
all lyrics from Treme Song, by John Boutte


I would love to know what people who have never been to NOLA, or have only visited but not lived here, think of the show. If you've seen it, please share your thoughts.

Also, I highly recommend the 30 minute documentary about the making of Treme, Beyond Bourbon Street. You can follow that link to watch it. And if you follow the John Boutte link you can go to his website, where Treme Song will automatically play. You can even buy a CD. Trust me, you won't be disappointed (I can personally recommend Jambalya, which includes Treme Song)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lay down my burdens

This afternoon I went to the French Quarter Festival, and laid down my burdens... down by the riverside. I danced with the Cajuns and the Mardi Gras Indians, and grooved with the funky festival goers. I ate crawfish and alligator and bread pudding and boudin.

Next week I will lay down my burdens by the oceanside.

I'm sure I'll pick a few of them back up at the end... but hopefully the vacation will make them lighter and easier to bear.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not in control

I feel stifled lost beige out of control bored incredibly busy worried lonely stressed uninspired selfish martyred grieving

I move forward when I want to go back. I press onward not knowing where I'm going, not wanting to go at all. I try to trust that there is an end. A good end. Out there. Somewhere.

I keep going.