I'll admit that I never expected to have a son who, on being asked if he wants to go to the art museum would go, "YEAH! When are we going? I wanna go now!"
We were up past midnight last night, until nearly 2 am, and when we got home from the party, Jet basically got through all his bed time routine, lay down in bed, and was wide awake for his first story but finally fell asleep during the second story. We stuck with a mostly Asian crew through the night, the new neighbors had a bunch of friends over for the week, and since we were, basically, the only people invited who weren't staying over, we thought we'd just stick it out. I knew that one other party wasn't exactly expecting us to come at all, and the other would have a steady flow of people through it all evening, as they're pretty well established in the neighborhood.
And it was fun. Jet had a few other kids his age to play with, and a couple of teenage boys to really look up to, and he actually ate some during the late dinner that was served and he really loved the desserts. We all managed to stay up past midnight and talk with folks and play with folks a little bit after.
But we all woke up pretty late this morning, and didn't really get through breakfast until nearly 11 am. The museum opened at 10, so we just left when we were done and ready to go.
The museum was PACKED. I guess everyone had the same idea. The good thing is that since we bought the yearly membership, we didn't have to do the big ticket line. We could just show our card at the entrance areas and just go in. That was cool. Plus, by just going this second time, we'd basically paid for the membership fees we paid the first time through and it's been barely a month.
Jet marched right up to the backpack area after we'd put away our coats, and we went to the Contemporary Art gallery. It was "The Building Blocks of Contemporary Art" and there was a stripes painting and a clear acrylic blocks set up in various light paths for another one, and he got to play with some of the blocks from his pack. The stripes were attached to a keyboard, and they were magnetic so he could make up his own sequences of colors and "play" them on the little electronic keyboard. Not too loud, but loud enough for him to hear. Then there were some paper "glasses" which were just cardboard with no lenses, and he colored them himself and went around the exhibits looking for something he hadn't noticed before. It was a good way to see the exhibit.
Then he got the "Coastal Tribes" pack and I got to see something I really wanted to see, which was a fairly large Tlingit collection of carvings, masks, and other art objects including two parkas, one made from 68 bird skins and another made from walrus intestine walls, which were bleached and then sewn with decorations of bird feathers and beads. The resultant material was water proof! So it was very useful in the wet weather there. Jet made his own box with all the drawings on it he wanted to put and he loves the box a lot.
We got snacks at that point, and ate them in a "Family Activities Area" that had hillocks of old casino playing cards and empty rolls of tape everywhere. Folks were making card houses with tape and setting them up on the window sills for folks to see if they wanted. I had fun trying to make hexagonal cells out of cards folded in half and taped together, while John did a beautiful modular piece with folded cards as well. Jet had fun just taping stuff together. *laughter*
It was enough to tide us over, so we hit the Asian art galleries, which we hadn't been able to get to the last time.
There was a sand mandala that had actually been done in 1996, and the Indian monks had given them permission to preserve it, which is very unusual. The usual medicine mandala is dismantled ceremoniously fairly soon after it's made and the sands are scattered into running water. The museum actually made a puzzle from it, and the puzzle was right next to the display. All three of us got involved in putting a good chunk of it together. One of the guards wandered by and said that he'd taken the whole puzzle apart that morning, as he was pretty sure the museum was going to be deserted today. He was wrong. *laughter* He was pretty impressed that by mid-afternoon, the puzzle was mostly complete. The whole center was done, and out to nearly three-quarters. John then finished the whole border. He was really into it. Jet and I got a few pieces in here and there.
Jet and I went on to a Japanese memory game, which John joined us to play a bit later. We then happily wandered through the rest of the displays and I got to see a bit of the painting in there.
We finished just in time to get to the Denver Old Spaghetti Factory right at the 5 pm opening time. They seated us the moment we went in and we had a huge and happy dinner. I really enjoyed the spaghetti with mizithra and browned butter. Jet had a big plate of the same thing. Hee. It was fun. We used to go to the one in Seattle all the time, and it was nice to get the memories back and eat in the red trolley. Hee.
We were well fed and headed home. Jet and I watched three more episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura. It was very good. He's really enjoying the story lines, and I was pretty astonished by the appearance of Li Shao Loong as I read the Chinese characters and then saw the Japanese transliteration of them as Shaorun and I went, "Oh! The boy in Tsubasa!!" *laughter* I would never have connected his name to the Chinese without having seen the characters right up there on the chalk board. That amused me greatly.
So it's been a good, auspicious beginning for the New Year. Art and anime and a good, creative time with Jet and John.