Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perfectly At Home

Everyone was home yesterday. Not necessarily in the home.
Betty, get out of there.

Thank you.
Everyone was home yesterday, and for most of the day we were working and playing outside. And I think it was the combination of work and play that made the day feel pretty nearly perfect.

From the rose bed...

... where blooms are waking,

... to the orchard where the trees are taking root and giving fruit,

... I am beginning to see signs that we are settling in to our home. I see familiar touches, and I feel the comforting sense of belonging. We are claiming walls, filling drawers, spreading out, playing, making our marks. It feels so very good.

The traffic is our own, and so are the lines on the ground. Bike races, hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, plucking blossoms, running barefoot, chatting over the neighbor's fence, spotting birds, putting tools away... it's like untying knots, unraveling tension that has been building up, and letting it go. Little by little, finally letting it go.

So the day was full. Full of productive work, full of games and laughter, full of deep thoughts and other musings, and full of delightful nothingness.

Everyone did their own thing. Coming and going.

They can be elusive... the words that describe my happiness for feeling perfectly at home. The feelings are wonderful.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Our Own Mountain
The giddy bliss of living here still finds new ways to make me deeply happy.

The south side of the house is fenced around and was once a dog run. When we moved in it was the bare, dry, sun-scorched zone that I mostly avoided, except to contemplate its ultimate purpose. Well, since all the great rain we've had, the area greened up, with weeds, and it is easier on the eyes, sheltered and appealing. I figured it might be a better place to house the *farm* until the lottery coughs-up barn money, so that is where I moved Betty and Joe... the south side.

What a great decision. Rather spontaneously I tore down the messed up shelter, then dragged coop and hutch across the lawn and around the corner of the house to their new zone. I can fence in Betty, while still giving her free-range space. Now the kitchen entry does not have to be a -ahem- POOP DECK. That is progress.

I think I can muster about 42% more interest in decorating and arranging my exterior farm, than for "normal" decorating. I hung some art, and dusted. Worked on the color scheme. Pulled weeds. Watered weeds. Accessorized weeds. My dear potting table of eleventy years was put in to service again. And as we sat back to soak in the loveliness, it occurred to me that by summer the green weeds will be toasted duff, and the loveliness will have lost most of its power over our hearts. It will be too bright, too hot, too dry to be a farmy nook for our livestock.

And so I brought home trees. More trees, and a planting box and trellis. Setback from the house, but not on the fence, in line with the west heading sun, I planted a Genoa White fig and a blood orange. The fig is a new variety to me, but blood oranges are a longtime sentimental and flavorful favorite. The fig is hilarious. It's a ten foot pole. It looks like the world's worst horticultural choice ever. It is a stick in the mud. Cracks me up.

The last feature of the south side is the mountain. In fact I think this whole thing merits caps. South Side Mountain was built by all the trenching, ditching, hole digging, earth moving labors of the Fall, when we were getting control of drainage and repairing sprinklers. I love saying "we." There is more digging in our future... and Geoff was going to have all of the dirt hauled away at once. But now that we have claimed South Side Mountain for ourselves, it shall remain right where it is. It will be a pumpkin mound, or seeded for wild flowers, or we will sink a fire pit and call it our own South Side Volcano.

In the meantime it is a quarry-castle-hole digging place. This makes me happy. I love dirt, and earth, the coolness and the warmth, the wealth of opportunity. Joe, the rabbit, was digging in the soil, then throwing himself in to the the loose dirt. Betty was having a record breaking dust bath. She looked euphoric in her rapture. I have waited seven years to witness and enjoy this liberty and earthly delight.

Max and Maria played for hours. I fell asleep beside Betty. Alex took a homework break and admitted he was not too old to want to join the dig. William too recognized the attraction of dirt play. I fondly recall his tunnels to China. I was afraid Max and Maria would not have this experience... freedom and ownership, time lost to being in the dirt, making stories and games, escaping to imagination. We have played, of course, at the beach and in other gardens. But the tunnel they made is still in their garden, not washed away by the tide, or collapsed by a careless landlord. No one will object to what they make, what they explore, what they tear down. It is their own.

I do not tell them that this is "special." I am not teaching them to see it in a particular way. I like them to make of it what they will, and my pleasure is in being a witness, being beside them, planting seeds.

There are many pleasures in life, many things to desire, and places to see, but this... being in our garden, listening to their plans and watching their play... this is one of my greatest pleasures.

New seeds, likes wishes and dreams in a packet.
There is so much goodness already sprouting and taking hold. I am deeply happy.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Over The Rainbow

Our first night, sitting on the porch and eating our dinner, we saw a Western Bluebird! I have always wanted to see a Western Bluebird.

Last night I heard the owl hoot-hooting.

And who knew gopher holes were good for anything? Betty found a good pile of gopher diggings and she had the happiest dirt bath of her life. Bliss.

The gophers may decide to move out... Maria runs around the yard so much they are probably getting cave-ins and tunnel collapses!

I had better get back to packing. I love this house so much, I cannot get moved in soon enough.

It's like we are over the rainbow. And there's no place like home.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Easy As Pie
If we had grown the wheat ourselves, rendered lard, planted an apple tree and built our own oven... then made the pie... it was about that easy to make the Blue House our very Own Bird House.

And last night, easy as can be, we did make a pie and we ate it in our very own Bird House. It was apple. Max peeled and cored the apples. He thought it would be another month before the house sale was complete. Was he ever surprised when we arrived at our picnic destination.

We got our keys yesterday. I put three pumpkins on the bench by the front door. The first essentials basket is unpacked... the cow cookie cutter is a virgin, a gift from Holly's last visit to Wisconsin and a reminder of family, love and traditions. Those pretty coasters were a gift from a thoughtful and brilliant woman I know and they remind me that friendships make life much, much better. The batteries turned out to be the wrong size for the flashlight... made me laugh. The Frekvens is the Ikea gimmick I have stowed away for two years and now it will finally have a job: turning one room into two, for brothers who will share living quarters. Cranberry candles and pumpkin spice candles, so we can chase away the empty house smell. A gardening handbook... worm themed, so I can start doing more than just dreaming. And our bird chart, because I will be spending a lot of time just lazing about and identifying bird species... you know, in my free time!

It is a big blue house with a big green yard. Betty-Chica will need track shoes to get around this place. Do you remember my blue, baby figgy? Well, the momma figgy lives here. I shouldn't explain. I take the fifth.

Language is inadequate. I cannot adequately describe my struck-to-the-core giddiness. Another brilliant friend commented on a recent post: "I've never known you without the wistfulness of yearning for a birdhouse of your own again. Who will you be now that you've become all SETTLED?" The answer is I do not know, but I feel a light has been turned on, and I feel relieved, eager and energized. I am delighted to have this new chapter open up before us and I am happy to delve in.

Language is inadequate, but here are some words that spring forth...


Someday I would like to put them in order, elaborate. But for now, I really must get busy putting other things in order!

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Still Holding Our Breath(s)

All those idioms and sayings and expressions... edge of my seat, holding my breath, walking on eggshells, biting nails, pulling hair... they all apply to this last (hopefully) week of settlement or escrow. Now, I know and understand full well that owning a home will not make our lives simple or ensure endless glory and sunbeams, but I will be sprinkling stardust and beaming my own bright light when we are through this process.

The children are well.
Betty is in chica jail until she swears to give up her social calls.
Geoff has earned the Home Buyer's Medal of Honor.
Maria asks if the cats, Chango and Benjamin belong to the landlord's house or if they will come with us to the new house?
I need a shower, nap, and some kind of transfusion.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crazy Bus

Bird House Rose, photo taken by Delia

I have twenty minutes to get all caught up on Chickenblog... it ain't gonna happen.

Life is crazy right now. And I am driving the bus. Everyone is settling in to their school routines and I am figuring out how to get from here to there, then around over to that place and back to point B before the last bell rings. I really do need to print a master schedule and tape it to the steering wheel, so I can skip the "oh-my-gosh! who did I forget to pick up and drop off?!" panic seizure.

Okay. Real quick before I leave to bring Alex home, I want to say a thing or two for the sake of posteri of prosperi... because I want to.

1. My Mommy was here for a helpful and supportive visit. She saw me though every up and down and crashing wave of our escrow process. There really was never a dull moment. My plan was to let her cheer me on as I packed up everything and then to witness our first days in our own home. Alas, this was not to be.

2. My Mommy is safe and sound and back in Oregon with her sweetheart and the last of the blackberries. She did not get to see us take possession of The Bird House, but she held our hands through the tough bits.

3. The Blue House is a Bird House and in a matter of days we will have our own keys.

4. Seriously.

5. We are that close.

6. I cannot believe it either.

7. What a trip this has been.

8. I have hardly begun to get my thoughts around it, but when I do realize certain things the joy is overwhelming.

9. It is totally awesome!

10. oh-my-gosh! who did I forget to pick up and drop off?!

11. I gotta get Alex.

12. I'll be right back. There's so much more to share...

Crazy Bus: Part II

Did you hear me sigh?
Alex is home. Max and Maria are home. William is home. I don't have to be at Maria's school's Parent's Night until six, and then the first Robotics' meeting of the season begins at 6:30, so yeah... crazy days, and nights.

Six years ago we began paving the way for our family to live in Hawaii. We sold our beloved El Rancho, where we were Jolly Green Ranchers, rounding up three hens and living under a big, blue sky. We moved in to a rental house we affectionately called The TreeHouse and though it was a strange and snug fit, we had some very good times there. It was in the TreeHouse that we made friends with Tamsyn, brought home Maria, and waited for time and tide to give us a chance on the Big Island. Then we had to find a new rental. We hoped it would be very-very temporary, but somehow we have been here in Garage Mahal for three years. I cannot say they have been 'the best years of our lives...' no one will ever hold me up as an example of how to patiently bide your time and manage life in a suburban rental palace. Oh well. When fate and circumstances finally closed the door on Hawaii for good, we turned our focus and house search to So Cal... it's been a trying path, but somehow we finally matched our needs and dreams with a place we can make our own.

It feels like a Bird House... a place that is pretty and welcoming, safe for us, and a place where we have been delighted to see red tailed hawks, a big owl, many quail, doves, ravens and sparrows. Soon we'll add a chicken, then maybe some more chickens. No one voted for "Chicken Crest!" Go figure...

I'm light headed, which I attribute to lack of sleep, a very long and full day, giddy anticipation, and complete, utter dread of packing all of our worldly treasures, while keeping things "respectable" enough for the landlord to bring in prospective tenants. Like a true Scarlett I will think about that tomorrow...

Oh. My. Goodness.
Pinch me.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

It's Monday and We Are Not Late!

Sometimes gratitude can strike in a really basic kind of way. Like when it's a school day and I am sleeping and then I wake up and for just the briefest painful second I think: Gah!! We're late and the universe is conspiring against my happiness and comfort! And then the suffering subsides, because it's not a school day, and we are not late. Even sweeter... the air temperature is less than 80 degrees and there is a nice breeze.

I wasn't sure what I was going to post about this morning. I haven't been taking very good photographs lately and the ups and downs of California real estate have still been the dominant and mysterious theme in our lives, so weak material there... Or is it? Okay. Okay. So, in the latest installment of In and Out Blue House, on Friday I got fed-up with the particulars of what was being asked of us and feeling abused, and it made me so tense and cranky that I snapped at Max. Stop. I literally stopped my car and said, "Enough already. This house business has me so worked up and turned around that I cannot even function, to the point where I am misdirecting my anxiety at my very awesome son." So I called the appropriate parties and told them I was done, that I refused to go forward under the current conditions, and that nothing would make me cave, weaken or turn around on my decision to bow out from the negotiating. It meant I was willing to let go, which was hard, but living with the cranky-mean-sad-anxious stuff was worse than releasing.

It took some of the pressure off, but it made for a long weekend too. I think it was a good choice. We had reached a place where we were negotiating for almost the same thing, but it was getting out of hand in the details and expectations, and we could not surrender our rights and dignity any further. Monday morning net result: They agreed. And we agree. As I have done a most excellent job of not documenting all the ups and downs, you cannot know how many times this has fallen apart and been repaired and fallen apart again. They agree and we agree, and if they sign the latest paper work and then we sign it, then I might actually be prepared to say, "It is done."

Some people know more details than have appeared in Chickenblog, and I know they have expressed concern that 'maybe we should walk away, that maybe the Blue House is a house of Blues.' I think everything is going to be fine. Better than fine. The hardest part about this process has been Geoff's diligence and the best part of this house buying process has been Geoff's diligence. We liked the house enough to make an offer, but we had to be objective enough to protect our assets. Then we had to pick the house all apart and find out every last flaw, every loose board and leaky pipe, so that we almost did not like the house after all. Then we had to determine what we could do to make the house good... what could we fix, how would we fix it? We called in more experts, got more opinions. We got realistic... I think it's like falling in love... in the beginning it's all romantic and "yes-yes-yes!" and then you start to see the bigger picture and it can be scary and you might want to back out and there are misunderstandings and first fights, but a point of maturity and acceptance is reached, when you know the good, the very good, the bad, the ugly and it's okay, because you know what is reasonable and you appreciate the whole package.

Do I make any sense at all? Basically, we know that Blue House inside and out. I have loved it and cursed at it. I know what's right about it, and I know what's wrong with it, and I still want to live there. And as I have always reminded myself, being in our own home will not be the answer to all of life's problems, it will not cure every ailment... I know this. I am just looking forward to having something new to whine about. tee hee

Now. What do you think of Ruth's hibiscus? It's one of dozens of the cheeriest and most healthy flowers ever, growing on the shrub outside her living room door. Her own living room door, the one attached to her own house. The house she is moving in to right now. She found a comfortable and pretty house, near to all, with convenient places to walk to and the world's friendliest neighbor cat.

Hello Kitty.

Tigger is like a purring, furry welcome wagon.

I am thankful that we have we do not have to go to school today.
I am thankful that we all got to see Ponyo together!
I am thankful that my Mommy is here and that we can laugh and cry and laugh again.
I am thankful that we may have more company soon!
I am thankful for playground fun.

I am thankful for the view of the sky full of thunderheads.
I am thankful for twelve dollar chairs.
I am thankful for my ride, my hardworking and dependable Odyssey.

I am thankful for finding an old friend.
And new friends.
For friendly cats, for fig trees.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How The Mind Works

(More about my Blue Figgy later. *grin*)

When I fill the car, with gas, I love to watch the little red stick float to "full" and if it goes a bit passed "full" I immediately calculate how soon I could be in Oregon, with my mom. Twenty hours. This morning my cash did not go as far and the indicator read just below "full." I did not get that excited road trip! compulsion, which is just as well, because today my mom is on her way here.

When I drive north on the I15 I have to resist the urge to keep driving.
Turn east on the I70, continuing through Colorado.
Catch I80.
Aim for Dubuque, Iowa.
Continue into Wisconsin.
40 hours.
If the children are with me it's even more tempting.
If the children and Geoff are with me the temptation is magnified and I say aloud, "We could drive to Wisconsin," as though it were a natural option. Then I mentally assess our preparedness. Will there be snow? Can someone feed the cats and Betty, Joe? Won't Grandma be surprised?

(Soquel has an "Ugly Mug." I made my ugly mug in school. I was twelve.)

Yesterday I was three places at once. Just about. Normally I would take great pleasure in recording every stop and errand and detour, so I could feel satisfied that I accomplished a lot, but somehow I am not in the mood.

Warren says funny things in the comments and I always mean to reply, but then I don't. A lot of comments do not have a reply email, which is just one of the obstacles I face. The other obstacles include being easily distracted, having four children, and solar flares.

To all the funny, supportive, interesting, kind, friendly readers of Chickenblog: I am sorry if I have not replied to Your comments. I love Your comments.

This is the way I type "chciken" "chicken" every single time. Seriously. I have to retype cheiken every time. Oh, that's a new one!

(Remind me that my Western Sunset book is in the box marked "books-garden 2003, 2006, 2009." I am going to want to read it again.)

Maria has been working on a surprise for me.
She has kept this secret for a week.
It is exhausting to keep a secret that long, not for her, for me.
I cannot go into the garage and I cannot peek in her journal, which she keeps in the refrigerator.
When she has her journal out she brings it to me and asks me to not look in it.
She needs me to prepare the last part of this surprise by "quilting fabric for the surprise."
Then she panics and asks me, "Do you know what the surprise is?"
I know to answer, "No, I do not know what the surprise is."
Even though she has blurted twice today about the boat, I know to say, "I do not know what the surprise is."
"But didn't you hear me say it was a "boat?"" And then she panics again, having let the boat slip.
So, I look confused and excuse myself and say, "I'm sorry, I cannot hear you, because I had fluff in my ear."
She sighs with relief.
Later she asks me for a glass of lemonade. And when I don't respond in two seconds, I hear her go to her daddy.
"Daddy, can I please have some lemonade? I asked mommy, but she can't hear me, because she has fluff in her ears."

(Well. Look who's decided to join us. She mocks my security attempts.

I often think of all I could do with lottery winnings. I assume I will win some day and that my calculations and budgets are just sound planning. I never buy lottery tickets and sometimes I think this could be a problem, but I try not let it distract me from my plans.

I was about to share that when I laugh really hard, I snort, but then I thought that would be too embarrassing to admit and I realized that if I am actually considering writing about things like that, then possibly I am just procrastinating. I tend to procrastinate or stall when I am extremely overwhelmed. There are so many things I am supposed to be doing right now. Important things. This is not a laughing matter.

Did you know about this? Whoa. Cool. Make me stop.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Making Lemonade

Some of you thoughtfully inquired about the Blue House. Here is a new sneak peek.
1. I think we may need a real name for this Blue House... we seem to be making progress!
2. We have seen great highs and great lows, and you should thank me for sparing the blog all of the drama and anxious episodes.
3. Lemons, figs, roses and Torrey Pines.
4. We know what to do when life gives us lemons!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Noticed It Was A Beautiful Day

It was good and bad and hard and easy. It was blue skies and gray.
And I look around and see what is left undone. It's okay. The children are
here. We found one little pumpkin holding on... just like us. It's alright.

Listening to Jason Mraz: A Beautiful Mess and Big Sur, Mason Jennings.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Another Big Reveal

About yesterday... thank you. I don't share these things because they are the thoughts and emotions that rule my days or because I want a 24 hour pity party. It's just the stuff that happens and it tries to get me down and then I usually find something about the stuff to laugh about and then I think: "I can't be the only woman who's made a bad dress or felt utter dread about moving day," so I spell it all out and try to get a handle on it. And the best part is that your thoughts and ideas are awesome and funny and true and kind and insightful and I feel much better about the good, the bad and the ugly.

So, what would Heidi do? I think she would march me up and down a mountainside! And maybe packing, moving, unpacking, repairing, painting, cleaning and running around town is like marching up and down a mountainside! There'll be no time or strength left for whining!

We found "Anonymous!" An amazing quilter in Michigan 'fessed up about knowing "Indiana Jones" so well that she can identify the female leads from the films. Chickenblog is going to send her some green to play with in the Amazon, so she can enjoy a little spending adventure. Congratulations and thank you for playing Liz!

Ready for another big reveal? So, I showed you the towel racks, and Jennifer noted the absence of shag carpeting... I ask ya, could it get any better?!

I am faint.
A drawer inside a drawer!
It's the love child of Technology and Design.
I refuse to imagine it in 3 months when I am trying to clean blackberry jam and granola out of the crevices.
It will always be this lovely and good and pure.

The countertop. Yes, it's granite. Yes, it is good too. Actually it's hard to not get granite in So Cal... something about a HGTV-Martha Stewart-Pottery Barn Ordinance decreeing that all California homes must have either granite countertops and/or designer paint themes. California is very special.

To junk or not to junk? Geoff believes in the junk drawer. In the kitchen. It must be declared, and it must be dedicated to an undetermined assortment of things and stuff and those things must be either extremely necessary or absolutely useless. I shouldn't protest. In fact, I do not protest any more. I know it is inevitable that a drawer in the kitchen will succumb and be rendered junkful. How else to explain what is happening in this drawer? No one even lives in this house and yet the evidence proves it... junk happens.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Who Are You Anonymous?

William took one look at my pictures from Comic-Con and he knew right away... "Oh. Marion Ravenwood and Wilhelmina Scott." I was proud enough to recognize that the women were portraying female leads from two Indiana Jones features, to know that it was Karen Allen and Kate Capshaw who originated the roles, and that Karen Allen was in... Never mind. I will refrain from demonstrating my mastery of fascinating information.

So, Anonymous step-up! Maria was brave enough to cross the room and greet the two Conventioneers. She's not too proud to show her Geek genes. Besides there is a prize waiting to be claimed, so don't be shy! You know who these women are and you identified the movies they appeared in, so let me know where to send your reward!

Settlement. Settlement!
I like how that sounds. I like that very much.

Settlement: 2 a: an act of bestowing or giving possession under legal sanction.
It sounds so civilized and reasonable. Devoid of emotional writhing, nail biting, haggling, speculating, inspecting, suspecting, debating, regretting, doubting, hoping, waiting, squirming, signing or sweating.

We are in settlement. We are in settlement. Oh, have you heard the news? Yes, the Blue House, the one with the pine trees on the street. We're in settlement. Uh-huh.

Thank you. I am enjoying the comments and encouragement. The bold typed elation. It's still a whisper around here, but so far everything is coming together. One day at a time.

Want to see something?

Ta-da! Towel racks!
Little by little I am letting myself get excited, letting myself believe that this is happening.
Towel racks in the master bathroom, and there are more than two!
Hey, nice toilet, actually.
See, I am taking this slow. I am very happy about the prospect of having more than one towel rack and I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that the walls are not cave dark and covered in gold and green faux, marble wallpaper. Elated!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hello Chickenblog

For an entire week I could not focus on what to post to my poor neglected blog. It was not due to a lack of subject matter. I think I had reached a point of sensory overload, and this was before we headed to Comic-Con! I have been existing in polar opposite states of mind and emotion, simultaneously, and consequently taking care of a lot of important things and neglecting a lot of important things. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... whatever!

Things are looking up!

There is still tremendous opportunity for sensory overload and even physical exhaustion, as we have begun something new in our lives... something that will certainly require a new Label. It will be a new chapter in Chickenblog.

I can almost hear readers saying, "Spit it out already woman!" But I need to take this slow. I have to mark my words and be sure of myself. You cannot see that my hands shake, that my heart beats a bit faster, that there are fears to suppress. Plus, you try making a separate and momentous announcement in a post about thundering nerds, geeks and comic-book joy... this is hard and weird. I kind of like it though... it gives me something to fiddle around with and hide behind while I subtly and cautiously share our news.

***Geoff read this and said "Everyone's gonna think you are pregnant."
I am not. Or am I? Just kidding. Honest. I really am not pregnant. Not even a little bit.***

Dear Comic-Con, I love you. You are strange and creative, you are the released energy and joy of thousands of talented and enthusiastic souls who gather together to share their passions and labors, their zaniness and zeal. You are overcrowded, loud and offensive. You are inspiring and hilarious. Comic-Con you are fun. Thank you for being your true self. Love, Natalie (Who wants to return next year in her own super-heroine costume.)

From left to right: Spongebob Squarepants, Mister Crabs, Plankton and Emily! Emily is the designer, engineer and builder. Using a very limited supply of LEGO's Duplo blocks she brought these comical characters to life. Regular readers know we are devoted LEGO fans. My views on Spongebob are worthy of a separate post! Emily's creations were awesome and LEGO staff and other Conventioneers were stopping to admire and appreciate her sweet skills. Which brings me to another thing I love about Comic-Con: There are celebrities there and sighting famous people is fun, but the real stars are Emily and the sixty year old woman dressed as AliceIn Wonderland and the guy who made a cape out of a bathroom rug and called himself "Budget Man," a superhero for the economic downturn?! So called "unknowns" steal the show and get to shine when they release their alter-egos on humanity, when they build things and make things and share things in a place that celebrates imagination and skill.

LOL... Maria wasn't sure where to focus, since there are about 42 distractions per square foot! I hope Emily keeps designing and building. I hope she retains her engineering super joy all her life.

Guess who we found!

Okay, so it wasn't too hard to find Waldo, but can you find Stan Lee? I did! Seriously, I am not sure why I recognized this comic book legend. I knew he is the creator of Spiderman and Ironman, but I had to read a bit to learn that he also created Thor, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Hulk! I must be a bigger Geek than I realized.

Ah, here's Ironman now! More fan love... just like Tony Stark, this guy made his iron suit. So cool.

Still BIONICLE fans. Still LEGO enthusiasts. Alex, Max, William and Maria appreciate the set up Lego has at the convention, and so do I. Back home, at Garage Mahal, we have enough bricks to open our own convention and yet there were no objections to hanging out, building, seeing what's new and enjoying the sights and sounds of Lego hoopla.

Spur of the moment contest... a prize to the first person to name these two women... full names and where they appeared! Maria recognized that they were "Pretty and nice," which is why she rushed over to meet them.

Besides walking the convention hall floor, buying robot stickers and having a refreshing lunch at Bondi, we also made sure we got seats to see and hear Ray Bradbury. Legend. He had some stirring and inspiring things to say about life, something he loves, and he also moved me to tears when he spoke about hope. They played footage of Walter Cronkite introducing him and Mike Wallace interviewing him forty years ago, the night of the lunar landing! I loved his passionate beliefs and ideas about education and fostering a love of reading in the youngest children.

I think it was during his talk that I became impassioned myself. Our family has been on a difficult path... one created by circumstances and fate, by our beliefs and choices. We have been waiting to buy a home of our own. We passed on fraudulently absurd loans and homes priced like gold. We endured harsh criticism and unsound advice. And I whined. It's true. Chickenblog has been witness to all of my anger, frustration, grief, embittered wrath, tearful woes and rental rants. Some of it was not nice. All of it was challenging to live through. We have been ripped off and we have been disappointed.

The sore points and the injustices are real and obvious, but something else has been happening. Something silent, yet pervasive. Something hiding out in the open that has been tripping us up and causing incalculable damage... we've learned to be doubtful, suspicious, unhappy, sad and without hope. It's not that we are entirely without hope and happiness, but we have become too accustomed to feeling and acting like victims, to anticipating the next sad event, the next unfortunate outcome. Sometimes this behavior comes in the guise of wisdom and prudence, and experience. So, we have gained a lot of wisdom and prudence and experience and I do not doubt that we made the best choices we could with what was available. But now we need to turn up the hope, believe in the possibility of things turning out good. It is possible that everything, or most things, will be alright. Right? This is going to take practice.

We are in escrow. It just comes out in a whisper. It feels fragile, delicate. Like it could fall apart and blow away. The Blue House may become our home. Very soon I hope to say more, to say it louder and more confidently. This step in the process, on the path, is not easy, because we have grown too accustomed to doubt and trepidation, but we have taken the next step and the next one after that and we are going to keep moving forward and it is possible that everything, or most things, will be alright. Hopefully.

So many readers, friends and family have been beacons of light and hope on this path... thank you. Thank you for kind encouragement and gentle consolations. Thank you for believing this day would come.

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