Fifty-Two Months

Persephone & Mary

Dear Persephone,

You are now fifty-two months old. Our family vacation hasn’t allowed much time to sit and write, so in addition to being late, this letter will be abbreviated.

One highlight of the past month was your dance recital. Since we live in New Orleans, this was a major outdoor party with food and cocktails and a wonderful community vibe. Your class performed the same routine twice, because of technical glitches with the audio. On the first go-round, just when you hit the hula section, some guy in the audience started yelling, “Take it off!”

Despite the fact that we live in a city where exotic dancing is a semi-respectable profession, I thought this was highly inappropriate. I lunged across several rows of seated parents, knocking over at least one bowl of steaming hot beans and rice, crunching someone’s sunglasses underfoot, and accidentally bumping a grandmother’s nose with my knee. I laid into the guy, scraping my knuckles up pretty badly on his incisors.

OK, that didn’t really happen, but I thought about it. I’m glad I exercised restraint. A few days later, upon review of the video recording, I realized that he was actually yelling, “Shake it off!” — encouraging you and your classmates not to let the audio difficulties throw you.

Standing on the Moon

Now that you and your mother are both done with school, your summer break has begun in earnest. Here are some random things you’ve said or done recently.

One night, at dinner, you were pretending to be a princess and had a slight food mishap, which led you to state, “My crown has ketchup on it.” And I wondered: How many times, in the history of humanity, has that phrase been uttered?

On another evening, you informed me that you were pretending to be Barbie, who in turn was pretending to be you. The mind reels.

You made up a riddle: What do you call a pineapple in disguise? A disguised pineapple.

The Sewerage & Water Board provided us with some free entertainment on one Saturday evening, with an emergency dig right across the street. We sat on the porch with your friend Lala and watched. Lala thought they were digging for treasure. You thought they were digging for worms.

And finally, these words of wisdom: “Dada, there’s nothing better than love.” Out of the mouths of babes and children.

One last thing, actually. You mixed up a potion. Later, you put the potion on your altar and cast a spell over it. Despite my interest in contemporary paganism, I’ve never gotten into magic(k) and witchcraft, so I’m not sure where you got these ideas. Just from the popular culture I guess. I must admit it sent a chill down my spine to hear you chant: “Persephone power will arise…”

Potion

Venus in Transit

Mirror Rig

I was mighty excited to see the Transit of Venus this past Tuesday. I set up a tiny mirror on a tripod in our back yard, which reflected the image of the sun through our kitchen and down a short hall into my darkened office.

Sun Spot

This is called the reflected pinhole method, which is a safe and simple way to observe solar events.

Continue reading Venus in Transit