Chicken Blog by Natalie

19~ BOoM Nerd Family

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:37









Happy Father's Day, to all the great dads!

The North County Maker Faire was a two day event, full of work, play, tinkering, sharing, connecting, outreach, mentoring, teaching, learning, and a whole lot of fun. We are the Benevolent Order of Makers, and Junkcade... we make things and we share them!


With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

18~ Extended Family

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 10:55
Charles, Diana, Eric, and a new high school graduate!

Congratulations, Lucas! Max and I were happy to be at another wildly original SDA graduation... to be reminded of the friendship you two have enjoyed since fifth grade, there have been some great times, going way back, and you've been a good friend, always fun to hang out with. It's exciting to think of all the wonderful things in store for you!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

17~ UCI Out For Summer

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 06/17/2017 - 10:31
The minutes were long, but the year... well, incredibly, it's over, and from here, it feels like it went by very fast! Three quarters, 47 units, a whole lot of cafeteria dinners, and suddenly, his freshmen year is through.

Alex and I went up with him before his last final, then helped him remove the last of his things. For the record, he and his roommate, Grant, defied the dorm room cliches... things were tidy in there!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

16~ Sleeping Beauty Success!

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:24
The very first production of the brand new Musical Theater Club, Sleeping Beauty, was a magical success! Fairies, and goons, singing and dancing, lights, music, curtain, props... everything lead by the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, under the guidance of two dedicated teachers, Ms G and Mrs A. And... darn it! I took video of the dragon, which was fantastic, honest! But I don't have a photograph of the climatic scene. I am kicking myself... lol!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

15~ A Birthday Gift

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:12
Bambi, Alex, and Max... at UCI

We celebrated Alex's birthday over the weekend, so we could all be together. And when it was Alex's actual birthday, Bambi had special plans for him in Los Angeles... outings, explores, the Santa Monica Pier, an overnight adventure. But there was a gift in it for me, too. They sent this picture to me, from when they stopped in Irvine to hang out with Max, who was in the middle of finals. They had a cafeteria dinner with him, and then stopped by, again, the next day, to bring him home. The picture was a delightful treat in and of itself, but the thoughtful kindness surrounding the visit, the ride home, captured in this moment... my heart is full. These people are joys.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

14~ For Her Yearbook

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:00
Over the years I've shared events and occasions that Maria has eagerly anticipated. Things she observed in first grade about what fourth graders do, like sleepover on a ship, and the fifth grade egg drop. She was even thrilled anticipating sixth grade camp. All of these she planned for, talked about, and reveled in... but for six years she was dreading the Teachers vs. Students Softball Game. She doesn't care for the game, or the pressure she feels, because she doesn't want to let down her team. She's never enjoyed sitting in the afternoon sun, as a first, second, third, fourth, or fifth grader, to watch the game. So, with the day looming, and plenty more on her plate as the school year, clubs, projects, and events mounted on her calendar, she was feeling the dread, more than ever. She was even more frustrated when she forgot the actual day of the game and wore a dress... but! Never mind! It's good and done! She smacked that first pitch, and ran to first! Then made it to second, and so on, all the way home, one base at a time.

This was one more day when I was there, and thankful... thankful that she overcame her dread, and found success. Thankful to have time and opportunity to be there, to see her games, plays, clubs, moments, to volunteer, to observe, to participate, to drop off a lunch, and pick up some slack. To be part of a wonderful school and community. She's lucky, so am I. And this shot went right into her yearbook!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

13~ Dragon Progress

Chickenblog.com - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 09:39
Not a shadow of doubt... this dragon prop is turning out fabulously!

With the four sections attached, we begin working out the handles and how best to coordinate the handling of our Maleficent beast!

Then transport it to the school and add more parts to help it fit and maneuver backstage.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

12~ Is The Pool Heated?

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 09:29
People ask, and the answer is...


Nope! Not heated!

But the brave souls still have fun!

Maria, Amira, and James choreographing their synchronized swimming routine.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

11~ Dusk

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 21:00

Feeling Summer... it's coming.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

10~ Set Progress

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 06/10/2017 - 09:17


Max came to help Maria cover the panels on stage for the Sleeping Beauty school play. The Musical Theater Club made these trees for the forest and cottage scenes. We also used this time to take more measurements... there's very little backstage space, and the dragon has to be able to fit behind the scenes, and come onto the stage, easily. It's a big dragon!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

9~ Farmer Washburn Foo

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 21:00
Yes, six photographs of Mister Washburn Foo being a fabulous farmer, surveying his homestead, basking in the glow of love and sunlight.








With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

8~ We Make Dragons

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 20:00
It's official, now... we make dragons! We have our carved dragons, for tents, and now we have the front end of a puppet dragon for the school play, Sleeping Beauty. Maria conceptualized and designed it, and with assistance from Natalie, Max, Alex and Geoff, William built it! I guess that makes us a team, or a club... yeah, a Benevolent Order of Makers!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

7~ The Old Man and the Old Moon...

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 22:00
At the Old Globe. Thank you, Lisa, for this mid-week gem of an outing!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

6~ Winding Down and Picking Up

Chickenblog.com - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 19:00
Maria and Shayla, like busy garden gnomes, painting signs for their school garden.

This happens near the end of every school year... oddly, it gets simultaneously calmer yet more chaotic, some things close and finish, and some things become more hectic, more demanding, busier. We are there. Big projects, performances, exhibitions, field trips and sixth grade traditions fill our calendar.. And even as we are reeling a bit from all that, there are classes that have already met for the last time, and Maria has noted, sadly, "This really is the very last time, Mom. No more school kitchen, or garden. No more yoga. The last concert is Thursday." These very last times are hitting home for us, as we prepare to close the door on grade school, on days at a place we loved from the start, and have come to love and appreciate more and more with each year. Each of us, in our own way, is experiencing the realization that as the days go by, we are entering a new era, with new plans, in new spaces... which is exciting, but what we leave behind will be sorely missed.

Speaking of new... there is one interesting aspect to this transition that I need to figure out and familiarize myself with. We've never lived in one place for as long as we have lived here, in the Bird House, in this town. We aren't going anywhere, and neither are our friends, or the school garden, or the community we have become a part of, and there may very well be connections we can retain and opportunities to experience, and enjoy, even if Maria moves on from her grade school. What a comforting, intriguing notion, and what hopeful possibilities.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

5~ Busy As A...

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 20:00
This busy bee, visiting our passionfruit vine, walked around each flower, across the corona filaments, and beneath the anthers. It was like a dance, with particular steps.

Later, at the University of California Irvine, I stopped to admire this magnolia blossom, and there I got to observe another busy bee.


With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

4~ Impromptu

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 13:42


A few peaches from our small tree, two apricots... barely ripe. If the trees do better next year, share more delicious fruit, this dessert will be doubled, or tripled, or more! It's a Trader Joe's frozen puff pastry, defrosted and unrolled onto parchment paper. I sliced the peaches, and apricots and sprinkled them with a generous tablespoon of sugar, and of pancake mix (also TJ's), then added a dash of the Penzeys Pumpkin Pie spice (Thank you, Jennifer!) Into a 400 degree oven, until it looked golden and smelled yummy. I half-heartedly threw a little powered sugar at it, because I thought it would look pretty, but then we couldn't control ourselves and ravaged the little thing, in no time, so the effect was only a silly delay! I love our sweet orchard, and impromptu peach creations.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

3~ Some of Our Saturday

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 14:24










Some goats and some chickens, some egg collecting, and feeding the farm. Some monkey bread, thanks to Alex, Bambi, and Max in the midnight kitchen! Some crocheting, with a happy shift in thinking, believing and behaving (I gave up trying to complete a granny square blanket that doesn't look like it was made by someone who has never made one... because: I am an amateur, and con amor I am making a wonky, crooked, earnest, and funky thing, that I somehow adore more, now that I am being realistic.) Some kitties, and some clutter, some tidying and dish washing. Some of this Saturday is behind us, and some is still ahead. I hope you, too, have found some good in your day.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

2~ Worthwhile

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 19:29
On Instagram I shared a peony bud, tightly closed, with pink and mottled petals densely layered, closed, like a secret. I remarked, As though buying yourself flowers isn't a nice enough treat, peonies are like prettily wrapped gifts, that open themselves, to delight. In the store, some peonies are already open, already glorious and bodacious, and they are tempting. But my favorites are the private, shy ones. I don't mind seeing them before they bloom, waiting, observing the quiet affair... petals multitudinous, and unfurling, some blushing and smooth, some finely ruffled, a sensuous eruption, unhurried. Peonies are made to delight, blossom to do so. I hope you can grow them, and if not, like me, I hope you can buy yourself this worthwhile treat.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

1~ Coming Home

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 19:12
Alex came with me to bring Max home for the weekend. On our way back south, we stopped at a favorite spot, where we watched dolphins, in a pod, swimming down the shore, only a few feet beyond those breakers. You know, whatever ignorant or selfish ideas anyone wants to espouse about our planet, its worth, and our need to protect and defend it, I believe having clean air, and water, are sufficient cause for us to act in accord with good stewardship, and sensible safeguards, for ourselves, and generations, to live healthfully, intelligently.

One planet. One home. We are in this together.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

31~ At Home

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 08:55
Tucked into a corner of the living room, immediately adjacent to the open kitchen and dining room, is Geoff's lab... one of his labs. You could count the space he works in when he's running Frankenrouter, or the table in the garage where he's surrounded by the tidily organized drawers of tools and parts. I am hard pressed to think of an area of making, of creating, that he hasn't at least thought about, or dabbled in. Before I go to Google, I ask Geoff. I started listing all of the things I know he can do, all of the projects he's completed, but printing it would embarrassment him. The richness of his accomplishments is noteworthy, and quiet, too... add humble, and modest, to that list.

I frequently daydream about lottery winnings, or a Chickenblog publishing, or ad revenue, windfall, and the fun begins when I oversee the remodel and construction of a workshop... bump out the garage, enclose the carport, add windows, and light, storage, and workstations for seminars and make events. Our stroke of luck would facilitate space and resources for the designing, tinkering, playing, learning, building, and making that we love, and that we love to share. It's nothing to do with dissatisfaction with all we have... it's just a happy notion, a gleeful wish for someone I love, for dreams we measure. Either way, I want to always see him in the golden chair, tinkering and making, in the heart of our Bird House home.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

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