Chicken Blog by Natalie

Cat Rounds :: One Hundred Twenty One

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 08:55
Chango El Cubano, 16 years old, speaks, loves milk, tuna flakes, and his spot on the bed. Mister Washburn Foo, 3 years old, prone to falling butt first, loves feet, socks, shoes, and eating wool.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Lap Dog :: One Hundred Twenty

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 08:42
Tioga + Maria + Your Caption = Dog Dollars for Charity!

We will make a donation to our local animal shelter, in your name, if we choose your caption!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

The Wax Museum :: One Hundred Nineteen

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 10:22
Before turning out the lights and passing out, I got a bit effusive on social media, and posted to my FB wall, "I love our community... schools and teachers, peers, neighbors, the locals we see around town. Life is very good here." It was inspired, in part, by this moment at Maria's school, and countless others like it. It was inspired by coming home from a long day, feeling deeply grateful, so that without explanation, or particulars, I simply had to say it, something, aloud, to put it out there. I wanted to single out each friend, each classmate, every teacher, and classified employee, all the families and volunteers, mentors, and acquaintances we cross paths with... in our community, at Maria's school, at Max's school, at Alex's school, in markets, at that cafe Geoff loves so much. It may have something to do with staying in one place long enough to develop relationships, make connections, and become familiar with familiar faces. It may have something to do with being in an especially warm and generous neighborhood, and town, with exceptional people. I cannot literally single out each and every individual, but I think people will know... and I hope they know that I am thinking of them, and feeling happy to know them, to share in the experience of consideration, kindness, generosity, support, caring, and dedication that we enjoy in this town.

My friend, Stacy, commented on my post, "Indeed. Did something extra wonderful happen today to inspire this post?" And the answer is, "Yes." It was the open house at Maria's school, the culmination of study and effort from our children, the patience and dedication of their teachers, the support and extra contributions of the volunteers, and families. Every fifth grader chose a person in American history to portray in a museum of their own creating, where they shared all they'd learned, and made. It was fantastic, those presentations, and their earnestness, diligence, tenacity. It was about seeing a school and classrooms overflowing with children I admire and respect, teachers I appreciate for the extra measures and thoughtful efforts they extend to those students, the families that I've come to know as friends, as a part of a greater network, a caring safety net. It was about feeling part of something good, and realizing that it extends to so much of our lives here, in places all over our community. The wonderful thing that happened was that I was reminded that we are part of a beautiful, safe, creative, caring, invested, compassionate community.

I am savoring the details from last night, like how much I learned about great people in American history, how deeply touched I was to see everyone's displays and presentations appreciated by the parents, by siblings, and other schoolmates. I love the new art Maria's teacher framed and hung, how beautifully and thoughtfully their self portraits were developed and displayed... it reflected not just the talents and beauty of those students, but the caring and respect of their teacher. I love that once again Maria was eager to visit the next grade classroom, to look for her friends' work, to meet sixth grade teachers, and eagerly anticipate next year. I love that she saw and greeted teachers from past years, that she fell asleep talking to me, saying, "I know I am lucky, and I'm so grateful." She feels it, too... that happy realization that she is surrounded and supported by a lot of good people, and I think it's wonderful that she knows it is special.

We click like, or tag friends, because we want them to know we appreciate them, or agree with them, that we want them to know, "I'm here and thinking of you." I'd like to tag everyone I care about, everyone I wave to, or share a moment with, the cashiers at the markets I visit, the woman who makes me hot chocolate, the friends who I could call for a ride, or soup, or sympathy, the dad last night who leaned in closer to catch every word from the child speaking as Emily Dickinson, or William Clark, the friends who lent a dress, or shared their flowers, the brothers who said encouraging things, and stayed up late to lend a hand. I would tag the mentors and students in St Louis, FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, shout-out to them and share in their elation and success, the challenges they meet. And, you, too, when you've clicked like, or left a comment... I know this local community extends far and wide, across town, across the country, abroad. Thank you. I am lucky and so grateful.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Making Art :: One Hundred Eighteen

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 16:31
With lumber he salvaged from a moving and demolition job he had, Alex is building his next wood composition for sculpting and carving. I've seen the designs and sketches... it will be amazing.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Oh! The Pistachio! :: One Hundred Seventeen

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 09:59
I had no idea. Gelato. Did you know? Robin and James tried to make it clear to me, and Max, Alex, and Maria confirmed it... that Gelato Gaia is the step above and beyond ice cream. It is sumptuous taste goodness. But until we went out to celebrate Egg Drop Day, and the awesomeness of Box of Noodles and Bounce Missile, I had no idea. I sampled the Belgian chocolate, and no surprise, it was super yummy. But I resolved to refrain. Most of my life I've confronted frozen treats with the utterance... "Nah. It's too cold (hot, late, early, bright, dark) for ice cream." Then Geoff gave me a taste of pistachio and all of my defenses fell, shattered. You guys! Pistachio gelato. Gaia Gelato! This discovery is the end of my blog. I have to quit writing and photography to take up running, and aerobics, and also get a real, paying job. Ok, maybe that's a bit desperate, but for sure this was a game changer in my relationship with frozen desserts!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Color Play :: One Hundred Sixteen

Chickenblog.com - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 05:30
I tell Geoff, "I'm 3D printing," because he's into that. And layer by layer, with hook and yarn, I am building something. The trouble is I don't have colors I am convinced of, in love with, so I've frogged almost as much as I have printed. And that is frustrating. In my alternate universe I have sponsors and patrons, and publishing deals, and every color of the best yarns, so I can be greedy and amused and make shawls and shawls and shawls. In the mean time, crocheting, even when I decide to pull something apart, still makes me happy, calm, safe, thankful, mindful, content.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Egg Drop Engineers :: One Hundred Fifteen

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 09:24
Sarah, Amira, Maria, and Emma~

Maria, with her Bounce Missile, and Emma with her Box Noodles, are ready to face the Fifth Grade Egg Drop Challenge! Maria has anticipated this event since first grade. For the first round, eggs in their protective cases will be dropped from the top of the school library. All the survivors will move on to the highly anticipated 100' ladder truck drop, when our fire department brings in the big truck, and drops the egg capsules from the top of the extended ladder! It's quite a scene! Not only does the egg have to survive the fall in something made by the fifth grader, but as soon as the object lands, the student has 30 seconds to open the capsule to prove the egg survived. We hosted a small make club event, so we could facilitate some design and construction. Sarah and Amira were on hand for company and cheering. Maria capped her missile with a volley ball, so that it bounces, absorbing the shock of the landing. Inside her tube, the egg is lovingly swaddled in bubble wrap. Emma envisioned a bouncy cube, and she drilled holes to string yards of pneumatic tubing through... she loves using the power drill! Both eggs survived an approximately 30' drop onto asphalt. We're looking forward to the main event!


With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Pool's Open! :: One Hundred Fourteen

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 08:47
Tioga and Curry were over,
and Tioga, by official proclamation and plunge, declared:
The Pool is Open!
Then he decided to shake on it.
With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Breathtaking Beauty :: One Hundred Thirteen

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 22:23
Forever is composed of nows
~Emily Dickinson

Carol came with beautiful flowers and we made bright bouquets of darling faded blossoms, to enjoy now. Forever is how long I will remember the happiness I felt in sharing this day with friends.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

After School Special :: One Hundred Twelve

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:14
After school special... with Max, stopping by for pizza at the newly reopened place.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Pipes, Surf & Breakfast :: One Hundred Eleven

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 09:48
Someone enjoyed a board meeting before breakfast. I love our surf town.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Sculpture :: One Hundred Ten

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 08:34
Alex is working on a series of sculptures, the first being the wire woman. Now, this wood carved woman is finished, and she looks like one of his paintings has come off the canvas. On small and large canvases, Alex has been painting his designs for automatons and robots. This bust began as a block of wood he formed from scraps, then carved and painted. Then he assembled more wood pieces to construct her up body. Thanks to a generous donation from El Nopalito Market, Alex will have a fresh supply of scrap lumber from old pallets... he's already designed the next three installations.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Native Sage :: One Hundred Nine

Chickenblog.com - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 05:30
Do you know the fragrance of the backcountry in Southern California? The sage? The buckwheat and ceanothus? The sun on granite boulders? Coming home with handfuls of salvia apiana, the white sage infused into my clothes, and hands. One by one, I replace suburban shrubs with either fruit trees, or native plants. Today I came home with two more sage plants, and my car smells like a day in the country, like running in the hills in Ramona, climbing over rocks, coming home. More veggies, and companion flowers for bees and butterflies, too.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

White Carnations :: One Hundred Eight

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 08:35
Dianthus caryophyllus, with sweet spice fragrance. They are more beautiful and plentiful each time they bloom, again.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

One Day :: April 10

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 04/17/2016 - 10:36
When my hard drive died, I had to breath deeply and let go. I was facing the possibility of losing 56,000 photographs, from just one of my iPhoto albums. I have four albums, dating back to 2002. We do have some things backed-up, and I will spare you the details, and drama, but it wasn't looking too good. My biggest consolation was Chickenblog. I would panic, or feel a grief pang welling up, then I would remind myself... you have Chickenblog. It cannot all be lost, because you post so much there.

We can cut to the happy ending. Between Geoff and Apple, my Mac is restored. Nothing was lost, and of course we are redoubling our efforts to save, save, save. And I was struck by something else, as much as I {over} share on this blog, and in FB, there is far, far more that I leave out. In fact, I do not publish my best photographs, my favorites, the more intimate family moments, and dear memories. Believe it, or not, I actually do exercise a modicum of respect for my children's privacy, and keep more personal occasions off the Internet. William and I were scrolling through the archives of our photographs, and were pretty relieved to find that we had not lost some special treasures. Now, I want to figure out which direction to take for the future... publish more, print more, carry on as usual?

Here's a {small} bit of a day I would not want to forget, the photographs I would be sorry to lose... It began with Scooby Do Lego play, me and Maria goofing together, visiting the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, and a feed store, walking the boardwalk and pier in Oceanside, then home to work on the pumpkin patch, and into the night by torchlight.

It's not about perfect record keeping, or the things we collect, but I am so thankful for the glimpses, the captured reminders, that recall all the goodness, the days I love, being with my loved ones.























Back For Another Look :: One Hundred Seven

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 04/17/2016 - 09:09
Max went back to University CA Irvine, for another look. This time Alex came along, and we explored all of the Physical Science, Computing, and Engineering buildings. The campus layout is thoughtful, and makes for convenient exploring. Love Aldrich Park! Of course, we didn't actually expect to meet the dean of physical science on a Saturday afternoon, but the visit, walking, asking questions at the Celebrate UCI booths, was worthwhile.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

First Bicycle :: One Hundred Six

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 08:17
A fortunate score at the second-hand shop, and at last Maria is learning to ride a bicycle! She spent a couple of hours at it, and has the sore bum to prove it. She's teaching herself, with happy enthusiasm, by balancing and coasting, then testing the pedals. Every success is seen in her smile. Next order of business is to resuscitate the rest of our bikes, and find a safe place, out of the damp air, to store them.
With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Wood Work :: One Hundred Five

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 12:25
Something with wood... that's as much as I know about this latest project. It may have something to do with the base for William's dinosaur model, or another thing to make with the CnC router. It's probably nothing to do with the very elaborate and evolving "marionette" project. I hear the 3D printer working on a new part. Alex is hoping to pick up some palette lumber for carving. Maria has been researching Emily Dickinson, painting her portrait, and developing a timeline of the poet's life for a big presentation. Max completed economics, and switched over to a government class. With another Maker Faire on the horizon, and school(s) pacing toward another year end finish line, there are works in progress, and all sorts of goings on around our Bird House.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tamarindo :: One Hundred Four

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 15:37
Our chicas get a lot of treats, but my paleta de tamarindo is not one of them!

#popsicleweather #shoplocal #elnopalito
With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Waiting :: One Hundred Three

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 10:15
Mac is repaired, and on her way home. Got all my table top goodies sorted and sitting in a box. This has me thinking about organization... hmmm~

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