Sunday, February 28, 2010

Remembering Two Years Ago...

If we got in the car right now, and only made quick stops, we might be able to get here in time for a late hike and dinner. Part of me is imagining "here" as the same time and place, but I know that is not possible. Time travel. Not possible, except in our memories. Thank goodness for memories, and photographs, and blog archives.

And moving forward, we have a special day to celebrate. Time to harass William a bit and force him to choose some kind of something to do in his honor.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Carried Away

We can hear them lifting. They fire up, pulsing burners.
Silence, almost. Color and inflated mass moving the invisible world of oxygen and nitrogen, moving clouds, and it is audible.
Then the burner rips the almost silence.

The basket rises, scrapes the roof and treetops, almost. Touches my daydream daze.

My thoughts, something, gets carried away.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Feeling Low
How low? How about -1.9? That is a very low tide. This afternoon the tide will slip away almost as much as it did yesterday. And if you can slip away, you should... down to the beach and the rocky places where the ocean is leaving a world to discover.

Uplifted by comments left on Chickenblog (thank you: Jennifer, Zan, Star, TCavanaugh, Andylynne, and Judy) and sporting a new pair of earrings from my mother's airlift emergency package, I mustered the gumption to get my feet wet.

Some days it is all about resolve and inertia, pushing through, just to get things done. But other times, or most times, luck is involved. We got lucky yesterday. Lucky the tide was low. Lucky the weather was fine. Lucky we are healthy. Lucky that for the first time all year, everyone was released from schools early.


We shared a picnic lunch and watched the tide, an entire ocean of water, move gradually to the south and west. It made room for exploring and finding shells and for dancing. It made room for renewed energy and a sense of wonder.

Last year we were not so lucky. Every low tide came after dark or when we were immersed in other obligations... something always managed to keep us from exploring. As we taught Maria how to navigate the slippery rocks, to be aware of the anemones and scratchy barnacles, I realized it had been a very long time since Maria was in a tide pool.

Max loves the beach.

Alex loves the beach.

Maria loves the beach.

William loves the beach. We missed William.

Yes, it is January, our winter. Yes, we are really lucky. I love this picture for all it recalls, for the happiness, and I appreciate that mostly it will make people ask: What was the water temperature?! I believe it was about 59 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air temperature was roughly the same. We were cold-ish.

I love the beach. I love low tide and the things we are privileged to see when the sea is away. The wavy rocks.

Sea stars, orange and bumpy, hiding beneath a ledge, waiting.

Sand and water, discovery, freedom, even the cold... it's so invigorating and good.

We walked to the edge of the world, looking in to pools, finding crabs and fish, stones, shells, and life. Then we came back to our spot on the beach.

Alex and Maria brought out their pencils and paper.

And Max followed the tide.

I think he could use a wetsuit. His rash guard and shorts are fine in Hawaii, but 59 degrees is cold.

Beneath the clouds and sun, in the breakers, Max is floating and splashing and begging to stay out a few more minutes.

Freedom and Joy

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Life is Good
1. The move is not done.
2. I know. We are doing the best we can.
3. Maria, Max and Natalie have been really, really sick.
4. No fair. Right?
5. Life goes on, and it really is good.
6. If I resist the urge to ramble on, if I do not elaborate about how we have passed the last week, I may actually have time to publish a peek at the good life we have been enjoying...

Nothing makes our new home better than having visitors to share it with. So when Dominic and Marissa brought their mommy and daddy to hang out, we could not have been happier. Life is good.

Betty could not have been happier, and not just because Alison hugged her and Marissa fed her pumpkin bread... Life is good.

Brilliant cousin Julie actually got a lot of us to meet at the park. Quite a feat, and quite fun.

Marissa Rose... I am sighing. She is adorable and she is my brother's baby, which is just so sweet and strange and wonderful, because... because my brother is sweet and wonderful and strange... ? Okay. Yeah. He's hilarious and strange. I don't know what I am saying. I just love that they came to see us. I wish we lived closer, so I could harass him more regularly.

She did let me hold her once. Briefly. Sigh.

Do you know how hard it is to not write long, rambling notes on my deep thoughts and profound musings? To not go on and on about how much I miss my brothers and their beautiful families, and big gatherings and hanging out... if I were not pressed for time this would be a wordy, wordy post.

What time is it anyway?
Must be somewhere else, doing other things. Right now!
Life is cRazY. But I tell ya, it's good too.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Taking A Spin

It's easy enough to take a spin or twirl around if you are four years old, especially if you have a swirly skirt.

If the spin is a little road trip, a spontaneous visit northward, then a bit of planning is required.
Visit el banco... get those ducks in a row.
Disclutter the car. Disclutter is a real word. It means to make an unsightly thing pretty again.
Call ahead and see if anyone wants to see a bunch of people out for a spontaneous spin.
Leave a big bowl of cat chow.
Pat Joe.
Let Betty out for a quick roll in the dust.
Showers! Really must not forget.
Pack a snack.

What am I forgetting?
I'll bring my camera.
Maybe some swimsuits.
Call Anne and assure her that I can get the key any time Sunday.

That's all in preparation.
Hopefully along the way we will remember to stop and smell the posies.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

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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