Tuesday, October 20, 2009


My randomnest post... or is it my most ramdom post? Or is it that I am getting punchy, losing orbit, losing my mind?!

The best part about packing? Rediscovering treasures like Alex's sketch of a real life battering ram. It was on one of our really great road trips, when the boys sing to me and we make all kinds of wild plans and dream-up fantastic notions, that the drawing was started. On this particular trip, when Maria was two years old, and I decided to take the children all the way to Oregon, Alex was full of history facts and trivia. We become totally amused with our vision of what a ship's battering ram might look like if the crew employed an actual ram. I knew Alex could take the ridiculous concept from idea to paper... and he did.

I so completely relate to this poor guy. Just look at his worried-wooly face. He knows trouble when he sees it! Tied to the last days at Garage Mahal, and heading straight for more heavy lifting... that's me.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Look Me Straight in the Eye...

Tell me the truth... do you miss me?

I miss blogging. I also miss having everyone in the same house and having our computers and sofa and clothes and washer and dryer in the same building. I miss furniture. I miss our dryer. I did not know I was missing our dryer until I tried out the one that the previous residents left behind... it spins and makes noise, but no heat. Rip.

And don't ask me why this move is going so slow. Don't ask me. Come on. These things are complicated and probably actually boring to hear about. We are going just as fast as we can. We still have a couple of weeks left on our lease, so at least that is on our side.

What's today? Sunday? October? I am all turned around. So. No later than Thanksgiving, I think some things will be grooving again and even Chickenblog will be updated and possibly interesting.

Thank you.
And good night.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

The Nitty-Gritty

I love the first few days of a move... the early days when I take a carload of precious treasures and new sponges to the future home and I put everything away and the new house is the loveliest-tidiest-prettiest spot on Earth. I love how clever and neat I can be, how manageable everything is. It's such a brief time, such a tiny, tiny brief time. If time and money were no object, then I could move all of GarageMahal over to the Bird House six boxes at a time and unpack in an orderly, leisurely manner. **sigh**

But sooner or later the luxury of taking it easy is surpassed by the annoyance of not being done. That is when the big truck arrives. That is when, under the pressure of getting the truck back to the lot in 24 hours, we pile it in. We stack and shove and haul and load and make big progress. And in two days we accomplished a lot... we completed Phase One in two days, so that 99.98% of our outdoor stuff is moved from point A to Point Bird House.

Cold beer.

Settle down.
Party over.

Oh dear. Now the Bird House is looking a bit lived in. Know what I mean? I mean we are trying to move out and move in and we have to carry on with the usual chores and homework-school schedules, and apparently laundry doesn't take a holiday when we are up to our ears in bubble wrap. The new house honeymoon is waning. Don't misunderstand me... I am loving the new house and I am totally smitten with the view and the big kitchen and the ours-ness of it all. It's just that I am passed the point where I can keep the new place fantastically cute and tidy, while packing and clearing out the old place. And in the rush to move as much as possible, as soon as possible, we were not exactly setting everything in its ideal space. And at the end of the day I am a bit sore, completely whooped, a tiny bit overwhelmed and slightly confused. The cats are here. The cat food is there. The fifth grader is there and his homework is here. Get the picture?

I have seen it all before. It's just one of those moving things, and it will pass. Eventually. Right? Oh please say it will pass!

Just kidding. I am totally in control.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Phase One :: Day Two

Other than the many light loads I've made during the week, yesterday marked the official start of mission impossible our big move.

I am calling this Phase One.
Phase One is all about everything in the yard moving from GarageMahal to the Bird House.
Everything, including:

the table
wheel barrow
potting table
a rabbit

even her, Lady Betty Oprington.

We started yesterday, and even with some minor setbacks (like the truck we reserved not being actually available...) we still managed to make a good sized dent in the job. Unfortunately, "good sized" does not equal "all done" or "almost all done" or "nearly there." Oh man. Why can't "good sized dent" = "almost done?"

It's not just that there is a lot to move, it's that a lot of it needs to be de-spidered. No matter how often I brush and sweep throughout the year, those spiders, the shiny black ones with the decorative red stamped bellies, keep coming back.



I am bolstered by all of your sweet-sweet comments and encouragement. It is so much fun to feel like you are celebrating with us. Thank you.

We are going to keep brushing, sweeping, stacking, sorting, lifting and hauling, we are going to get all of the tools, and flowers and vases and spades and the hutch and the coop and the stuff moved over...


Then on to Phase Two. Amen.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Every time I move, and trust me it's been many times, I pack a box or basket with the essentials. The essentials are things that cannot disappear in the moving mix, those things that I want to have on hand right away. Some of the essentials are clearly important or significant, especially at the outset of packing. But toward the middle, and right through to the end, the essentials get quite random and voluminous. That's when things get complicated.

In the beginning I am all hyper organized and rational and my game face is on. In the beginning I am like a moving master, all knowing, all seeing. Where is the cow cookie cutter? Do we have any C batteries? Are those starlings or mockingbirds? The answers or the resources are mine and I can provide all things necessary, even in the midst of dual-domesticity... but that is only at the start of the journey.

How long can I sustain the illusion that I have everything under control, that moving is "easy" because I am so experienced and perky? Not long. No. Soon I will have several baskets and boxes that are full of the most important articles, those necessities that keep us moving forward and safe from absolute chaos. Soon we will be in a last minute panic, trying to get out of here with GaryBob on our heels, and still trying to get homework completed and cobwebs cleared and that is when we will pack at least two ten boxes with everything from the garage pantry and our immunization cards, telephones and hair dryer. Those boxes will be labeled URGENT :: OPEN NOW and those boxes will get packed at the back of the garage and discovered a few days before next Easter. I shudder at these truths. These inevitable realities.

But for now I have this lovely Pack-Basket and it is filled with the essentials and it is plain to see that I am a moving master. These are the small lies and deceptions I feed myself in order to have the courage to keep moving forward.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

The Bird House and The Carpenter
I miss blogging. I write so slowly that the little free time I have has not been sufficient for pouring out my deep thoughts and other musings. Somedays I am home just long enough to make it messier and then I am off to drive another shift of the school bus. Yesterday was out of control with errands and me being magical and appearing three places at once... actually Wednesday was the same, and Tuesday wasn't much easier, and come to think of it I am running late now!

This post is going to be about as mixed up, weird and random as... as me! I am just going to throw stuff out there.

Stuff like posting the worst pictures I could find of the Bird House.
Why bad pictures, and unflattering views?
Because I am trying to calm my excito-meter. I am trying to chill, settle down, take it easy. My mind races with the excitement of impending domestic delights and I get all worked up and eager to be out of Garage Mahal and settled in to the new nest. Reminding myself that the Bird House is flawed, redirects my giddy energy toward industry and purposeful actions. I need to stop thinking about window treatments and paint chips, and where to hang my plates, and get busy with the practical and necessary chores of both moving out and moving in.

There are junk drawers in Garage Mahal and a garage that is overflowing with worldly treasures... moving sale? I have made some progress with packing, but experience tells me that the last boxes are the toughest. It gets down to the dregs and the oddly shaped things or the very fragile stuff or the things that have no purpose yet are highly valued and must be kept forever; those are the articles that will torment me when I am trying to get every last speck out of Garage Mahal and into the Bird House.

I cannot glamorize or overly glorify the qualities of Bird House, or I will be confounded and dismayed when I finally notice that any home, a rental or a dream come true, has weaknesses, needs work, must be whipped in to shape.

So, what's up with the hook in the wall? Any guesses? There isn't anything opposite the wall, and it's not the kind of place where you would hang a dog leash. Maybe they had some kind of heavy garden art-sculpture.

Clearing things here and coldheartedly purging excess and refuse is inspired by the sight of this:

This Bird House utility closet not only needs to be emptied in to a dumpster, but it also needs to be gutted and done over, because of a leak. Somewhere behind the drywall, or coming from upstairs and settling in to here is a leak, and the leak must be found and repaired. ASAP. What about those extra tiles? If I can find a Habitat ReStore, then maybe I can make a generous donation.

A walk-in attic! Stuff! Not our stuff! Oh boy!
Wait. Are those moving boxes? Excellent.
I wonder if the ReStore can pick up...

A couple of roof fans, some insulation and drywall... this could be an interesting niche.

This is a mixed blessing. What you see here is a mess of aging, failing and black widow-riddled pool equipment.
Pool? Did she say "pool?"
Gee. Haven't I mentioned the pool? I grin hugely every time I think on it. The children love the water. I love the water! We cannot wait to be loving our very own water, but my giddiness is definitely tempered by the reminder that the pool needs love. A. lot. of. love. For one thing, no one is getting in the water until we fix the whole "faulty wiring problem." Seriously.

This is lovely.
I pop over and dead head and give them a nice cool drink. I inhale and marvel at the colors and varieties. It's a raised bed and I can see it from the kitchen sink and from the driveway.

It truly is just like real life. It's good and it's frustrating, it is hard and worthwhile. The whole package. And my future self will thank Me very much if I get up off my blog and work. No more daydreaming or fretting. No more procrastinating or pondering. No more Googling Lewis Carroll. The time has come, to pack our many things: Our shoes and ships and sealing wax--- our pets and books and cooking pots and Lego sets and strings! It's time to call the carpenter!

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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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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Love All The Pretty Nines

I admit, I like numbers. I like it when the digital clock reads 1:23 or even better: 12:34! I like it when numbers make patterns or when they appear in an order that triggers a happy memory, a birthday or anniversary. The significance I apply to numbers is really only about the novelty or prettiness. I did not think Y2K meant anything more than a cool new year, a change from all those 1900s I was accustomed to. We created numbers, dates and minutes; systems for keeping order and categorizing the things in our world. Calendars aren't even universal or particularly accurate... just ask any kid born on February 29th! Anyway, 09/09/09... well, I think it looks really cool and it's fun to say and tonight for less than a second we will be aware of a unique accounting figure... when it will be 9 seconds after the ninth minute, after the ninth hour, on the ninth day of the ninth month, in the year oh-9! It calls for a home cooked meal, maybe dessert, or a walk on the beach and a splash in the seventy-four degree Pacific!

Mom and I had a midday break on the bluffs. A little lunch, a little breeze and a whole lot less heat than last week. What a relief! I plan on downloading all the beautiful pictures she's been taking and then posting them here on Chickenblog. I'll take all the credit and glory. She will be the honored guest photographer.

We've been riding our own kind of waves with all the house ups and downs... and honest, I am not trying to belabor the point, but the waves do keeping coming! Don't worry, I am still standing and I think my humor is intact. Dude. It's totally gnarly.

Paranoid-superstitions... every time I make real progress with packing, we have an escrow setback. There could be a connection. I may try unpacking today, just to see what happens. I have also thought of ordering checks, personal stationary and address labels for Garage Mahal... to ensure that escrow closes on the Blue House and we get to leave our rental palace!

Before 09/09/09, we had 09/08/09 and that is a date I will always remember. On September 08, 2009, our family had four children in four different schools. We are spanning an academic spectrum of grades. It is quite an accomplishment. Last night I had a moment's relief as I reflected on the day. I sighed and thought: I did it! And then I remembered that I would have to do "it" again, and again and again! Until June, 2010. It's a bit early to be taking a bow, or looking for accolades.

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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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The Neighbor's Dirt Is Better

The neighbors know who Betty is. We've been here almost three years and I still have had not met most of the people living in vicinity of Garage Mahal, but Betty has. She's social that way. She calls on her neighbors. She's not shy. And the neighbors are apologetic when they knock on my door, "Uh, excuse me. Sorry to bother you. Do you have a chicken?" I didn't think we live that far from the country, but they really do seem stunned at the sight of an actual chicken! I introduce her formally. I bring eggs to them. I assure them she does not bite. I do all I can to smooth any ruffled feathers, but I cannot seem to stop Betty from crossing the road.

And where was she the other day? Where?

Oh, the panic. The heartache. Where is my Betty?
And I call her name and peek under all the subtropical plantings.
I shake her oatmeal tub.
I anticipate that sweet moment when I will see her eager paddling, her feathered sprint as she runs to greet me.

I scan the street for feathers. A dreadful, anxious task, but people drive fast and loose here and she never looks both ways.

And then, by sheer luck, I see her. She did not run to me. She did not peep. She dug in deeper, determined to make the most of this luxurious dirt bath. She knew... I know she knew... she had no business digging in the neighbor's newly planted yard, kicking up the fluffy, fresh soil.

Betty. Oh, Betty. This is not neighborly.

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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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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Youngest Scholar

She's my baby.
But she's got wings and she wants to fly.
So, now she is going to preschool.

We were all in the car riding home and she talked a mile a minute about pretend camping and tricycles, about painting and story time and snack
and about the girl who is her friend and then suddenly it was quiet. Total silence. Alex giggled and I glanced in my handy Mom Sees-All Mirror... she was asleep. Her hands were still poised to punctuate her last statement, but they were stopped in place. Her body was limp, her jaw slack. Even her braids looked exhausted. By my calculations, and accounting for post Europe-jet lag time, she was going to night school and we were bringing her home at 10:00 PM.

Well, whatever time it was... Maria loves school and her new friend. This three days a week introduction will give her a lot of confidence and prepare her for bonus room... the old school kind of kindergarten she will start in September. Maybe it will prepare me too. Two in high school and a fifth grader, now a kindy-girl too.

Is there a support group for this sort of thing? *All your children are in school and now you have to figure out why the house is still a mess how to manage your "free" time.* Free time. I don't know. I am taking four children to four different schools... four drop-off times and four pick-up times. Four packets of registration forms and solicitations for volunteers and four open house nights and four different fundraising harassments. And I have not even fully recovered from robotics, which is like a fifth child.

I can't help this: Thinking about domestic perils and the logistics of raising four children always brings me to my least favorite, yet recurring subject... getting a home of our own. I am not going to dwell on this or assume the fetal position, but just for the sake of record keeping... the Blue House deal has not entirely fallen apart. Like other offers before it, we find that the Blue House is on life support. I am obtuse. Sorry.

When Maria woke up we went out to visit the garden. A while back we decided to take over that front part of the yard that was meant to be kind of formal and tropicalish and convert it in to our suburban rental farm, with barrel garden beds and a picnic table converted into a chicken's coop. The rabbit is there and so is the laundry sink that I planted near the faucet. It was daring and silly, but we even planted pumpkin seeds. Pumpkins in a barrel? It could get totally out of hand, but I could not go one more year telling the the children "No pumpkins this year. We have to wait." The seeds sprouted before we left to London and were we blown away when we came home to see the vine taking over and growing ten feet to the north and ten feet southward. Even our volunteer tomatoes found enough heat to ripen on their vines.

We may actually get a homegrown pumpkin. It's been too long.

Maria watered flowers and washed this and that. She discussed all the possible ways we could enjoy the second tomato. She ate the first one! Alex helped me move the spray nozzle to the temporary hose, since the old one sprang a leak geyser.

Betty came out for a bit and let us hold her, but she started making her way to the wall, so we had to lure her back home. All the neighbors have met her by now, and it's funny to hear them ask about her, because they doubt what they saw when they tell me... "Uh, did you know we saw something... it looked like a chicken? In your yard." Maybe I can get a bell for Betty to wear, like the kind we saw on the cows in Switzerland. I need to find the size that doesn't pin her to the ground, but definitely weighs down her escape flight.

Everything is doing well. I sat and surveyed our bounty, our lush little farm corner. I sighed contentedly. And I pondered. What if by some miracle the Blue House is destined to be our home? What if A follows B and the stars align and goodness prevails and we get to stop our search and move in to our own place? Then I tried to imagine moving a pumpkin in a barrel. How heavy is that thing? How much heavier will it be after escrow closes? Could we leave it behind? Would that be a small price to pay for getting a real yard with room for dozens of pumpkins? No. We should do our level best to move the pumpkin with us... somehow. Then I felt sad thinking the Blue House will probably not be ours. Then I felt grateful that at least we have our own pumpkin growing. Then I wondered if it's too late to plant more pumpkin seeds and I seriously considered sneaking over to the Blue House and sticking a few seeds in the ground... just in case.

Ah, the mind does wander.
Sometimes I think I should refrain from writing when I am sick.

Sometimes I think it's a very good idea to say what I want to say. To stick my foot in it. To step up and move forward, take a stand.

Jennifer, this last picture is for you. We always seem to be *in step!*

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