05 November 2009

Kids are weird. Good weird.

Yesterday, I got a package in the mail from my sister's family. It had some nice cards and gifts in it, and it had some stuff from the chickens. Otherwise known as my nephew and niece, or Nanu and Nanki, respectively. Just a note: in Gujurati, "nanu" means "small and cute," while "nanki" is a cute word that I think was sort of made up to mean "small, and girly, and cute!" As babies, they were both small and cute, but we couldn't give them both the same freaking nickname, now could we? That would make things hard. Especially for them.

Anyway, the kids sent me a ton of really cool hand-made crafty gifts and I love them. But I'll admit it: some of them are a little confusing. They didn't *necessarily* come with instructions; or, alternatively, I'm not understanding the instructions. I'm not always good at instructions.

So, first off, I got a lovely hand-drawn card; if you click on the picture, you can read it, but it is a little blurry.

Two hearts on the right represent Nanu and Nanki; in the text, they ask for a picture of Flopsley.

Quick note: back when the kids were here, they heard Craig's plant at work had almost died, because he hadn't been around to take care of it for a month. They felt bad; he had been playing with them all month. So they gave him a new plant. Nanu decided on a parsley plant, mostly because pickings were slim at 9.30pm, and the plant itself was in pretty poor shape. Pretty...floppy. And hence – Flopsley.

I'm proud to present: FLOPSLEY! He's much healthier now, and he hardly ever flops these days.

I believe this is a... guitar. Or at least part of one. Am I meant to attach other parts of the gift to it, to complete the object? It's a beautiful guitar regardless; it's got way more soul than the wooden number Craig usually plays. Maybe I displayed it upside-down...

Ahh, now this makes perfect sense to me. It's a flag, with my name and Craig's name on it, and drawings of us, with arrows indicating which drawing is meant to be which person. Clear as day. And lovely.

This seems to be the same sort of idea, but as you can see, it's precociously abstract. Definitely Nanki's work. She's so ahead of her time. Who ever heard of a non-representational flag? It's genius.

Then, a tongue depressor falls out of the envelope.

Hmm. And then this:

Another blurry picture, but as you can see, it is an...irregular shape, with a pencil drawing of what seems to be...(aha) a FLAG! And written on it: "Glue stick on right back."

But I only got one stick.

Who's making that choice, Sophie? I leave all that to one side and pull out the rest of the items. A beautiful paper flower examines the spaces between 2 dimensionality and 3 dimensionality. A strong statement.

Then, I find a truly intriguing piece. A rolled-up package, with a flap, and green cap on top.

I open it like so, and it turns out the green cap is attached to the flap...

I push the tab on the bottom up, like so:

A smiley face! How nice! I pull the bit with the face on it out of the package... maybe it's going to be a doll!

I pull the doll out, stand him up, and I'm...stumped. Again. A cryptic message, to be sure. If it is a doll, it's decidedly minimal. That's cool, I can suspend disbelief. I just don't know if I'm supposed to unroll these packages-- there could be coded messages inside!!

The coolest part was a flip book they sent me; it's a cool little thing that helps kids do their first flip books, and figure out how flip books and animation work. I've made a little video-- the music in the back is "Where Do They Make Balloons" by They Might Be Giants, a favourite band I shamelessly shove on the chickens every chance I get.

These kids are amazing. And seriously weird. I love it.
More news of Sydney Springtime: we harvested our first tomato! He's cute and adorable and round and red! I love him, and we picked him right off the plant on our balcony-- food miles? Try food feet. Actually, that sounds a little gross. Try food...centimetres? Doesn't quite have that ring-- let me know if you come up with something better!

Among the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my whole life are Sydney's jacaranda trees. These are flowering purple trees, standing right alongside your stringy gum trees, standard green & brown characters. For a few short months, shocking clouds of dark violet burst out among the green-gray leaves that usually line our streets; it's spectacular. And sparkling. It's hard not to love this place, sometimes.


  1. Oh yes, that's good, because it's independent of the units. Americans might be surprised to hear that "food miles" prevails here, but in this old British territory miles are used quite regularly as an informal measure of distance, and moreover, the word "miles" is still used to refer to an unspecified, usually long distance, like "oh, you're miles away from that." No one says "sorry mate, that's kilometers away." Kms just don't have the right ring to them, and I suppose the word "kilometer" is also harder to say than "mile." I've also found that people have an intuitive understanding of feet, inches, and so on, though they would never talk about them in school. Since the reality is that the US still uses imperial units, many manufactured goods, especially tools and hardware, are measured in inches, and so most countries still have to suffer our archaic measuring system.

    But don't ever say "ounces" to anyone outside the US. That's one unit that'll get you butt-punched. And I might do it myself.