Chicken Blog by Natalie

Where The River Meets the Sea - 10 hours 22 min ago

Many years ago, William explained to me the true meaning of nostalgic, and it didn't seem right when he explained that it's not just happy memories, sentimental thoughts, but an anxiety, an ache, pain. I recalled, this academic summary, the clinical description of deep homesickness, sitting on the bank of this little river, the dappled light streaming through clouds and redwood trees, I felt it, and knew better than ever before what nostalgia is. Extinguished campfires still smoked lightly, and I could smell my abuela's kitchen the smoke and tortillas, wood burning, flour with lard and water, cool tile floors, earthen walls, sunlight in the lime tree... it's a fragrance that caught my breath. What is that smell of home doing in this canyon, in this place where the river meets the sea? And why does it make my heart ache to think of places and sensations that I cannot access at will, may never return to, or know as I knew them before? And how can a very favorite place, a place that restores me, lifts me, make me feel deeply sad, long for intangible moments? Nostalgia. Just how William explained it to me. It must be true... we are stardust, or how else can we feel connected to places and moments seemingly detached?

Moonstones and Beanstones and Nursery Cats - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 09:08

While William and Geoff took care of the Bird House & Barn, Max, Maria, Alex and I went places north and west. It was part vacation, part academic. We visited schools... viewing, assessing, rating, and ranking by our own precise and unique criteria. But let's talk about moonstones, and other gems. We spent lovely hours on the beach, reading books, walking, talking, and sifting through sand and pebbles in search of luminous, pale, smooth and round moonstones. The risk, I suspect, of naming a beach for a singular treasure is that the poor beach will be pillaged and robbed of its treasure. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the search, and came upon our own treasure: Beanstones. If you ever find yourself combing the shores in Cambria, California, do stop and look down; there are beautiful beanstones, everywhere. We found pinto beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils and split peas, black beans, adzuki, and all sorts and sizes of Scarlet runners. Little caches and piles of these stone beans made a pretty sound tumbling in our hands, and pockets.

The beach was cold, windy, bitey. We were not well-prepared for this kind of weather, which was fun in its own way. It made it all the nicer when we hunkered together, or dashed back to our room and sat by the fire. We explored the town, too, which is quaint and charming, and winds through a valley, and up the sides of high sea bluffs... making for enjoyable explores, fun discoveries, like finding Cambria Nursery and Florist. We followed paths, came upon a tea party, made friends with the nursery cats, and declared it a very good nursery. I could have filled the van with salvia and blue hibiscus, cape mallow, and rock rose, too.

The sardines? Naturally, that's a long story. Last summer, when we were in Wisconsin, we celebrated Paul's birthday. Geoff's brother took us out on his boat, then back to his lovely home for a cookout. A friend brought appetizers, including a can of sardines. The sardines that changed my mind about tiny fish in tins. And I cannot be entirely certain they were sardines. Could they have been anchovies? She opened the can and introduced them as having particular qualities making them delicious and above all other tiny fish in tins, but I was foolish, reckless, unheeding, because, after all, I do not like tiny fish in tins... or so I believed, and I did not pay close enough attention. The brand, the ingredients, the specifics? I know not. To be polite, I took a small, timid sample, on a big cracker. The small, timid sample changed my beliefs about these things. All year I have had happy recollections of this particular delicacy, and have held firmly to the hope that it could not be so difficult to find the same delicious tiny fish in a tin can. I didn't realize it, but Max had tried the fish, too. And on this trip, perusing the aisles of the Cookie Crock, searching out our supper, Max asked if we could try canned fish, sardines, or anchovies, or something. Whatever it was we had at uncle Paul's birthday party, last summer.

Round One: Cento, Skinless and Boneless Sardines in Pure Olive Oil: No. Not bad. But not the ones we enjoyed at Paul's birthday party.

We will not give up. We will not surrender.

~This Moment~ - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 05:09
~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments, for all to see.
Agent A, and Agent M, on the job, at the Zoo.
Mission: Explore and celebrate.

A Heart For Sharing - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 09:16
Close to home, far from home, wherever you are, we hope you...*find pretty stones*watch sunsets*look for a blue moon*hear rainfall*laugh*plan a party*eagerly await what lies ahead*feel relief *know what to do*fix a problem *see something weird*sing*make something you can't not make*love, and be loved
This little pebble heart was sitting on the beach, and we're happy to share the hope and caring, the kindness it stands for. 

Five Good Things - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 05:00

Sewing again! It's the same simple dress I drafted for Maria 6 years ago, and a second time when I wanted her to have something light and cool for Hawaii. This time I want to honor the original inspiration for the dress... the beautiful embroidered dresses from Mexico. So, I've cut the yoke and sleeves. I love using freezer paper to make my own patterns; it's convenient and practical. Then I turned the edge over, twice, at the neckline, hand stitched that in place, and then added simple blanket stitch and crocheted that edge. Now, embroidery. In my usual eager style, I sketched some forms and grabbed some embroidery floss... stitch-stich-stitch and... I already want to start over. I'm not happy with the colors, the shapes, the pattern. It's so hard to stitch in mirror... making the left look like the right. Even if I do start over, I won't be too disappointed by the extra work... I need the practice, obviously. I'll tell you what's easier, and more instantly gratifying: Pinning beautiful embroidered work on Pinterest! {I am so good at that!}

Good Things...

1. I finally made it to one of the monthly Mom's Night Out gatherings. We're approaching a nineteenth anniversary. Lovely women, who care deeply and share generously.

2. Learning to be patient... though I admit this is something I can still work on.

3. Another successful dance performance for Maria; this time at a wedding. The special bonus was being with Emma and Priscilla.

4. 1.5 minute showers... three times a day, to beat the heat.

5. Talking to my cousin Priscilla about college visit strategies, as a parent... questions I can ask, services I can look for. She helped me expand my expectations, and release some self-doubt.

Who about you? Still feeling summer bliss? I hope there is good in every day for you.

Birthday Zooza-Palooza - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 05:30

We filled the day up with a picnic, carousel ride, and zoo explore,
then a family cook-out at Holly and Rich's place...
where there was badminton, and bison burgers, patio lights, and tiramisu!
All of this to say:
Happy Birthday, Mom-Tutu Ruth. We love you very much~

~This Moment~ - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 05:30
~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to see.
The weekend storm that beat rainfall records in San Diego, for July... and we loved every drop. Maria is soaked, after dancing in the shower, and sitting beneath the shelter Alex and Max put up. Books, naps, cookies and milk... all the more enjoyable with steady rain spattering the nylon roof.

A Passion For Lilikoi - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 09:03
Passiflora edulis. We know them as lilikoi... a good syrup over shave ice, a refreshing juice, and an amazing vining plant, with elaborate flowers and egg-shaped fruit. Thanks to Ruth, we have two vines taking over fences in our yard. Our chain link has never looked so beautiful. They grow fast, and happily, so we are already hoping we can whip up some of Janice's amazing passionfruit butter... but this depends on keeping Maria from eating all of them, straight from the vine!

The flower. It's quite a spectacle. Bold, and bodacious. With stories and details as intricate as the flower itself.

Ours are the smaller, purple variety. The fruit drops to the ground when it's ripe, but I try to get them before they fall. When they are ready, they slip easily off the vine. Also, they begin to shrivel a bit, then a lot, but unless they've become spoiled, they're usually only sweeter when they get this way.

It looks like an our fence sprouted Martian eggs! The fruit is a lightweight, for its size, and feels hollow.

This one is about to drop. It's so much like an egg, it even has a hard outer skin, like the shell of an egg.

This specimen isn't fragrant, and it doesn't need anything else to make it more attractive!

I sawed this open with a serrated knife. It's not hard to cut, just a bit more than you might expect, like thin cardboard. Then, inside we find a rich jelly with slippery black seeds, and a distinctly tropical fragrance, tangy. Maria scoops it out with a spoon, and sighs and delights with each taste.

The flavor... it reminds me of pineapple with peach. I haven't actually paired pineapples and peaches, but that's my final answer.

Maybe you can tell me something about Passiflora edulis, confirm something... a visitor shared with me that the vine will only grow for seven years before the entire plant dies. Kapoot! Have you heard such a thing? She seemed quite certain of this fact. I suppose I could Google this, but sometimes I like to stumble upon information, or discover the answer in a conversation. Our neighbors have a massive vine, growing the width of their back yard, practically. It may not have long to go, and the thing is... a lot of neighbors have vines successfully propagated from the first neighbor's plant. So. What do you think? Will the junior plants of the original last only as long as the first plant? Does the seven years start from when the seed sprouts? Mysterious, mysterious Passiflora!

Five Good Things - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 09:27
Even if it is a Monday morning, sometimes it's easy to think of five, or more, good things.
1. Rain.
2. Heavy rain.
3. Two days of rain.
4. Summer rain.
5. Lightning, thunder, and rain.

See what I mean?

I kept pinching myself, all weekend long, because I feel we've had about the most interesting and satisfying weather one could hope for, in summer, in a drought. Saturday morning found all of us, cats, too, in our bedroom and watching the lighting, squealing to the thunder, and thoroughly thrilled with the copious amounts of water descending from the heavens. And for once, it was a real rainfall, and lasting, so we had to take measures. Taking measures is when you close your car windows, cover robots, find umbrellas, and check on your goats.

Poor Goats!

Poor, poor, poor, poor goaters. They want Hunter boots. They want LL Bean ensembles, and raised walkways. They cried for umbrellas of their own. In fact, Ada left the garden cottage and followed me back to her cottage when I came out with an umbrella. Dear Tasha inspected my umbrella, even testing it a bit, but she did not budge from the tiny kitchen shelf in the tiny garden cottage. There must have been a small lull in the deluge, because eventually, I found her in the chickens' cottage, and Ada beneath the chickens' covered roost.

Here's the thing: We built this marvel of suburban farmdom, our goat and chicken run, in the midst of a serious drought, when rain is so rare, we think succulents are actually incredibly beautiful garden plants {Yes, they are beautiful, but it's with some measure of disappointment that I forego lush beds of thirsty flora, berries, and ferns. I cannot deny this.} We call it an "open-air" barn, because the only thing going through it was air! There is no roof... just rafters, and hardware cloth. And that's been fine. It's been great, but when it does rain. Heavy rain. Two days of rain. Summer rain. Lightning, thunder, and rain. When that happens, mud happens. Mud. The kind of mud that makes a slurp-sucking sound and threatens to remove your shoes. The kind of mud that holds puddles. Muck mud. Dirty farm mud. Smelly mud.

Okay. I gotta stop... I am grossing myself out. Sorry about that.

Sorry, Tasha. Sorry, Ada. They hate the mud as much as the rain!

I really do intend to jot down some good things, but just bear with me... I need to say 1. Chickens are not bright, and maybe I am not either, because I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince them to roost in shelter, instead of in the absolute wettest spots. This exercise left me utterly soaked. 2. Humidity and heat are not good, and neither is cleaning out an open-air barn when it is hot and humid, and muddy!

Good Things...

1. Everyone was home, and we were together to enjoy a full weekend of fun and unusual weather.

2. The air smells good. {Away from the open-air barn.}

3. Sitting and stitching and laughing and sharing, with Diana and Maya.

4. Dropping Maria off for her first day of tech training, so she can be a technology expert and helper in school!

5. Beginning to appreciate that next week we will be on the road, visiting institutes of higher learning, while also enjoying the redwoods, and fern filled canyons, seeing elephant seals, playing Pink Martini CDs, and making happy discoveries.

Here comes the sun. Are you ready for the new week?

~This Moment~ - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 10:03
~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to see.
The sky is blue, dotted by only one cloud, maybe two. The mockingbirds have been whistling scales all night long. There are no more apples on the trees, but the lilikoi is dripping with fruit. It will be a hot day. Hotter than June. As hot as July. But this moment is calm, shaded, still. Things feel settled in, and go unnoticed. A broken chair in a quiet corner, waiting.

"The key left with the time traveling boy." - Thu, 07/16/2015 - 10:05
It's a good summer. We are stopping. We are going. We are playing, like children. We are sleeping late. We are rising with giggles. We are taking new routes, and traveling familiar paths.

Maria wrote a sentence generating program in Scratch. William calls it "Immediate gratification Mad-Libs," which I think is an apt description. We've generated dozens and dozens of random and silly sentences. I cannot forget "The key to the front door left with the time traveling boy." It's the start of something...

Another consequence of our Downtown journeys... a luxurious and scrumptious stop at an old favorite, Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts. Maria and I spent almost as much time admiring each of the edible art pieces as we did sharing this flourless chocolate masterpiece, and Alex arrived just in time to help us, too.

Almost seventeen. I think this surprises me more than anything about our children growing up. My cousin Vicky wisely noted that, "because of the three boys, he is your baby." She's right. He's always been the little brother, keeping up with the big boys, but the truth is he's no longer just keeping up, he's making his own way, sometimes leading the way. His interests, his skills, his plans... they are shaping into good things, his own things. There's nothing to do for it but to watch admiringly, appreciatively, supportively, and make room for his growth.

Yeah, we've got this summer wired.

{Pun. Can't be helped!}

Alex's sculpting class has us captivated, with what he's making, with the materials he's dabbling in, with what's next. We are in love with this wire woman, 6'4" tall, an elegant form. Now he's moved on to clay and plaster, building a totem. I have a special appreciation and gratitude for his teacher who implores her students to look into found sources, and hardware shop materials for their art supplies. {Have you priced college textbooks, lately?? Good grief. Resourcefulness, and economizing, are good lessons.} Alex likes clay... that's what he learned yesterday, and I couldn't agree more. Clay is good stuff, and when I told him how I loved ceramics when I was in middle school, he observantly reminded me that I could love it, again. Take a class. Smart fellow, that Alex.

Be a lifetime learner, has been an expression I have repeated to my children all their lives, especially when we were homeschooling. "When I don't know the answer, we'll figure it out together," I would assure them. And this was well before the Internet was the gem it is today. They have taken me at my word, and soared. It troubles me that in this country we continue to make education a financial hardship, an untenable burden. Why make knowledge and skills such privileged information that students have to sink themselves into massive debt, or say pass when choosing higher education. Don't we want, eagerly, selflessly, to have the brightest and best, to support and nurture intelligence, critical thinking, and practical skills, for the greater part of our population? {Not to lecture anyone... I simply cannot help expressing some of my frustration and confusion.}

Where was I?

Sewing! William is back at it, and he is soaring with this dress shirt pattern. Not to say it's been easy, that he hasn't brought out the seam ripper. But, together we are figuring out all the pieces, and the shirt is looking quite sharp, even for a muslin. I share this as much to acknowledge his accomplishment, as to recognize how much he inspires me. I'd still be stringing fabric squares together, taking the easy way, if left to my own devices, especially if I were the beginning tailor. Not William, though... he keeps jumping into the challenging stuff. Sewing plackets, fitting collars, customizing fit and sizes. There are moments when my head reels, and I think "quit!" Not William, though, and as a result he is getting better, and better, and inspiring me to do the same.

Walk Into a Shop - Tue, 07/14/2015 - 11:43
For one errand, then another, we've found ourselves in San Diego more than usual... far more than usual. Once I get over being turned around, one way streets, parking rules, and the accelerated pace, I find that there is a lot to discover and enjoy, a lot to appreciate, Downtown. On one such excursion, we walked through Little Italy, then into something of an old curiosity shop, called Architectural Salvage. Rust and wear, treasures everywhere.

My thoughts, this morning, are as pressing, random, worn, frayed, and eclectic as the bits and bobs in this shop. I wish they were as orderly.

* Alex has his passport.
* I love letters, alphabets.
* Ants come into houses when the weather changes.
* The weather changed.
* I've made reservations, and tentative plans for a visit to colleges.
* Tuesday evenings = cheap night at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. Rides are a $1.
* Thank you Bethany.
* My strong convictions and ideals are not impervious, nor immune, to the pressures, expectations, demands, criticisms, accusations, assumptions, hopes, wishes, good intentions, doubts, second guesses, and confusion that comes with having a high school senior who intends to pursue a higher education.
* You can do too little.
* You can do too much.
* You will get it wrong, if even by doing it right.
* It will be what it will be, but someone's gonna get blamed.
* I feel stressed. And a weensy bit cynical.
* Someone should water the garden.
* But drought.
* Where is Maria's Pluto shirt? {It's always been a planet in her heart.}
* Ever since articles about the perils of sitting have been popping up everywhere, I find myself laying down, more, just to be safe.
* I love enamel wear.
* I love store cats.
* Hit me up for beets.
* We have a lot of beets.
* The dress shirt William is sewing is turning out really well.
* I miss Mexico.
* I miss BFTC. I miss him a lot. It makes me cry.
* This could go on all day.
* But, there's too much to do.

Five Good Things - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 09:46
Pictures on my phone, this morning, included two selfies of me trying to pick a fabric color for a dress, Geoff cooking, yummy food (mediocre pictures), and the photograph I stole from Anna Banana... fields of lupines before a lake, with glacier cut valleys, and towering plateaus. She's in Iceland. It's a stunning image.


Well, I thought I would share pictures from a party, from last week. But honestly, don't you want to see Iceland, first?
The colors are so heavenly, even the distant slopes are muted hues of blues and purples. It makes my mind whirr to think of standing before so many flowers, wild, overcoming the scene. My imagination is captured.

Good Things...

1. Summer vacations, and the friends who share their pictures. If you ever wonder whether it's a good idea to share your vacation memories in social media, whether people like that sort of thing... well, you have my vote!

2. Watching Pride & Prejudice with Diana, Stacy, William, and Maria... giggling, swooning, and enjoying good company.

3. Hearing from my mom that things go well with our Oregon family... with our growing Oregon family. Soon, Henry and Eva will join the Northwest ranks!

4. Observing the pleasures of summer enjoyed by William, Alex, Max, and Maria... reading, sewing, sculpting, programming, sleepovers, card games, walks and talks.

5. Learning the details of Alex and Bambi's impending Scotland adventure!

Monday, mid-July... the days, the weeks, are passing swiftly by.

I have always envy-admired the passages in novels where the protagonist recalls every detail of a time, or place, or any descriptive account of an event in someone's life, practically photographic. The story teller professing to recall, oh so vividly, every significant and minor article, as though nothing could slip their notice, or escape their memory. I've wondered if, before photography, before recordings, and easy supplies of papers and pens were at hand, if we actually noticed more, paid closer attention, trained our minds to hold onto views, shapes, fragrances, the sounds of someone's laugh, a bird's call, lines of poetry... to reminisce, to recite, to remember. And it's not just the passing of our summer days, that makes me reflect on memory, on slowing things down by paying close attention... my children are growing, as children do, and I miss their baby-selves, those toddling days, and all those summers past. I have adored and cherished every day, each new year, sharing with them, watching them. And I have tried to diligently observe, appreciate the details, be in the moment, as they say... but, still, the days pass, and suddenly toddlers are adults, and the little changes amount to new interests, new plans, new views, and however closely I was minding everything, appreciating all I could, we seem to have hurled ourselves through space and time, and here we are... in the future, and still moving forward. It all passes swiftly by.

It did not happen without warning, this time rush. I can recall the wistful looks of adults, the sighs, the admonitions from weary grown-up people... they seemed to relish telling me that life is short, to expect time to sneak up on me, for everything to pass quickly by, but at sixteen, or twenty, what can it mean? We have little to compare our time with, so the warnings, while duly noted, were more abstract than practical, less inspiring than simply gloomy forecasts. Happily, my Mommy consoled me with this... Grow up? Don't fret too much about being "grown-up." Think of your favorite people, of the happiest people. Do they stop playing, stop exploring, stop learning, or sharing? No. The happiest people retain their wonder, nurture joy, and they play. There's no question that things will change, that we will have our duties and chores, that time will pass, and quickly, too... but thank goodness for play, for wonder, imagination, for mindfully observing the details, and appreciating the good things.

~This Moment~ - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 06:00
~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to see.
The sun is shining. The birds are singing. We are summering.

The Results Are In... - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 16:19
When I told Chango the results of the voting for Favorite Backyard Chicken Blog, he gently reminded me that "There's more to life than awards, and commercial success. There are naps, back scratches, drinking water from the tap, rolling in catnip."

Hazel Nutt Ratty Rat's whiskers twitched thoughtfully, then she theorized that the whole thing was likely a scheme, rigged, probably a fly-by-night operation. Then she asked if there would be a second dinner. "Not to change the subject," she said, "but let's not lose sight of what matters, right?"

"ChickenBlog is not the first, nor the second, not even the third Favorite Backyard Chicken Blog," I told Mister Foo. He yawned, then showed me his belly, which I did not rub, because there's only so many times I'm going to fall for that ploy.

They knew it all along. "Write a Goat Blog!" they advised me. "Goats are trending, and we look so cute," they mentioned, time, and time again. Now, Tasha can hardly meet my eyes, and Ada just shakes her head, and looks at me sympathetically, with pity.

Goats know, I tell you. They just know.

I haven't even told the chickens, yet. There's no ribbon for sixth place. What if they ask to move to another coop, lay eggs for another backyard chicken blogger?? I think it's best if we just hide the newspapers, turn off the radios, and let this news day pass. Some new event is bound to come along, then we can forget all about this little embarrassment. Don't worry. We'll be fine. Really.

City Art Explore - Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:31

Max, Maria, and I tagged along when Alex went downtown to explore a gallery, and art studios.
The timing, and activity, fit perfectly with my summer mission: Go, Do, Enjoy!

First stop: the gallery showcasing the art of Chris Warr.

{Did you follow the link? Did you notice it was possibly the starkest website ever? Me, too. I was trying to think what to say about his work, whether to share my impressions, describe his materials, the light, the use of space, but I think I will defer to the artist's tone, and let the images speak for themselves. Art.}

We followed this with a visit to Space 4 Art, where we found a rambling, captivating, and inspiring center for art... for living, creating, reflecting, sharing, and performing. We were instantly drawn, magnetically attracted. Here are some pictures I snapped while we were there... just a small glimpse of a place that is obviously rich in opportunity, and possibilities. We were invited to see the working studios of both Chris Warr, and May-Ling Martinez.

{For the record, I am perfectly amenable to occupying an urban-loft-warehouse, with rooftop chickens, and alley goats. This place somewhat reminds me of our own Bird House Space 4 Make.}

It's Been Exhilarating - Tue, 07/07/2015 - 09:41

How to describe twenty-six years of marriage? This could take volumes, pages and pages, thousands of pictures, maybe a blog of 26 years, not merely 13. Our twenty-six years of marriage have been exhilarating. An adventure on black ice, skating at high speed, with everything ahead of us, and beauty all around us. Our marriage has been a road trip, with no brakes {twice, actually}, with children, pets, friends, spills, detours, unexpected sights, familiar rest stops, flat tires, and a constant compass: Love. And I cannot help but notice that this anniversary feels particularly poignant and meaningful, because I believe that blessings, opportunities, even a simple meal, are all enhanced and far more enjoyable when shared. So if I may, as a long-married woman, who still feels like a giddy girl in love, I would like to wish love and companionship, respect and caring, partnership, and beauty, through marriage, for all who seek it.

Five Good Things - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 10:08

I do not know where to start I do not know where to end! I could begin anywhere, I have so many things to share, moments, places, stuff we've seen and done. It's been a full, active summer, so far. And, so far there are no particularly grand plans, or too many specific agendas, except: Go, Do, Enjoy. And while Carpe Diem, Mañana, may fit my reality quite succinctly, I am insisting that we Carpe Diem, Hoy!

Good Things...

1. Books, books, books, and making the time to enjoy them. Summer reading, much like spring, winter and fall reading, is full and satisfying. Which reminds me... I need to tidy our Little Free Library. It's packed!

2. Zen Tangles. My friend Annie, over at Being Here, will be tickled to see that we've finally taken the time to dabble in an artistic pursuit that she has been enjoying, and even teaching, for quite some time. I've been intrigued by Zen Tangles, and then really inspired, seeing Annie's progress. One evening last week I shared some of Annie's gorgeous works with Maria, and the very next day we happened upon a wall of supplies for playing at Zen Tangles. We are hooked!

3. One university visit done. And done well. The funny part is that it was for Max, but Maria is the one who is decided and settled, and would happily submit her application this fall!

4. Summer Movie Nights. The big screen, a full house, some things spontaneous, friends, and of course, a movie. First we finished the LOTR trilogy, by watching Return of the King. Last week we watched Moonrise Kingdom. Next up: Lawrence of Arabia.

5. Our weather. Seriously, how will I ever be able to face real summer when the sun finally does shine in earnest? We have had day after marvelous day of clouds, and breezes, and showers, mist, even thunder and lightning! I have never known anything quite like this... not in Southern California. Feels like Waimea, east side. I love this weather!

Maybe I will share pictures from the art studios and gallery we visited, scenes from our day at UCSD, moments we enjoyed at Robin's birthday party. I spent part of my morning editing and formatting 53 photographs! It's nice, really very nice, how a simple snapshot can fill my head with good feelings, happy recollections, new ideas, contentment, gratitude. It's a helpful measure to have these reminders on hand for when managing the other, less shiny, aspects of life, right? It's Monday, again, and maybe you are in traffic, or in your cubicle, there may be a litter box to clean, mail to sort, or some other crisis to face, but I am hoping you have something good to reflect on, reminders of joy, kind company, sights, inspiration, comfort. {I am thinking of all my friends, loved ones, and sending good thoughts, and best wishes for this new week.}

Friday Night Chicken-Chicken-Goat - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 14:44
Do you remember the game Duck-Duck-Goose, and the mush pot? I have to admit, I'd forgotten the mush pot, which isn't surprising since this is a game I have not played since kindergarten. {ohmygosh! Wikipedia is so awesome they even have a simple animation to illustrate how the game is played!} Friday night found us hanging out with goats and chickens and friends, when Amira exclaimed,

"We should be playing Duck, duck, goose!"

Maybe... but shouldn't it be Chicken, chicken, goat??

Of course it should.

Round and round the fox goes... chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken...


Corina and Caia, Maria in the mush pot, Rayna, Matthew, Grant, and Amira is the fox.

Celine on the run!

Well, that was certainly fun! Maybe next Friday we will play Simon Says?

Sandcastle Season - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 06:00
It's sandcastle season... the best time at the beach is when you can make something beautiful with water and sand, and your hands.