Friday, January 08, 2010

Must Glue-Cut-Glitter-Stitch Something

It's almost overwhelming how crafty I feel. Not sinisterly coiling a handlebar mustache-kind of craftiness. I need to make something.

Maybe I should sinisterly coil my own mustache. Bitter Betty is crafty that way.

Unless I clean my office/studio/nerve center first, I will be putting the cart before the horse, but it's almost overwhelming how crafty I feel and I cannot wait. Something whimsical is bursting to get out of my head. And inspiration is calling.

And if my crafting is justified and purposeful, something hyper organized for say... next Christmas, then I can have fun and relish that elusive sense of accomplishment.

I'm going to do something. Seriously. Must. craft. create. make. I'll download Lady Harvatine's "O, Holy Night" and start basting and snipping to her lovely voice and the ukuleles strumming...

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Monday, December 21, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things... Christmas Style

Like Nikkipolani, I have some favorite things and these last days before the big day I am feeling the magic and rush of joy as we go all the way to Christmas day. Some of my favorite things came all together yesterday...

Favorite number 1: The majesty and pageantry, the utter charm and mild chaos of a Christmas service with the children. There was nothing exclusive about this telling of the Nativity. All of God's creatures were welcome to the manger. Maria joined the children from learning circle, as a kitty, and sang (or as Max points out, she mostly lip-synched) "Do You Hear What I hear?"

I loved seeing friends, hearing music, reflecting on peace and love and hope and joy, and having my family around me.

Favorite number 2: Having family around me. It's official :: We have a Christmas tradition. We got to enjoy a second annual Downtown Cultural Holiday Extravaganza. We took Ruth to Holiday Pops. We walked to the Gaslamp and saw favorite sights, like The Bondi, and the home of our favorite annual convention.

Walking downtown we saw lots of fun holiday sights. I count fun and good humor as a favorite.

No school. That's a favorite for sure. Not just for these dear boys, but for me too. I am so thrilled to have them home. I need the free labor. We are going to have some good times.

Last year our downtown walk was a scramble to find Symphony Hall and it was really cold. This year our walk was leisurely and the weather... So Calwonderful.

The Pops were in great form and they were joined by Mariachi Champaña Nevín. Feliz Navidad. Before the concert begins children are invited to the "petting zoo," where they can acquaint themselves with the instruments. Maria returned to the violin she remembered from last year. So many favorites... live music, sing-alongs, new experiences, dressing up, a camera battery that holds up just long enough for a few snaps.

After the concert we had a downtown dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, then we enjoyed the Christmas lights all the way to Holly and Rich's front door. More favorites... lights and decorations lovingly displayed for the holidays, and dropping in on family for a casual visit.

The calendar for today includes haircuts for the boys, which means a nice visit with a dear friend. Maybe some shopping... hmmm... maybe just window shopping. I definitely need to do some housework. After visiting Ruth's beautiful home and Holly and Rich's beautiful home I am super motivated to put actual ornaments on our tree... beyond that, I am a realist. One more favorite, because I think of it on a daily basis :: A Christmas Story from Clover and Alicia. I think Clover may be my favorite dog in the world.

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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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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

TI, A Drink With Jam and Bread

Irresistibly bloggable. I would have been delighted to see this in person and I am very grateful to Gretchen for sharing this spoonful of sugar... a nice perk in my day.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chicken Abroad... Fairly Interesting

Maria made me a bumper sticker. It is the only bumper sticker I have ever put on a vehicle.

I suspected that my earache would muddle my brain, and it has is. My brain is muddled. I cannot hear and I feel like I have a dense accumulation of cotton candy in the cavern between my ears. I have seen a doctor and he did look in the ear, and he did pause and look again and then he prescribed an arsenal of pills, and drops, and after drops to counteract the gut bomb antibiotic missiles. I have been stoic and brave... no moaning, no writhing, no pathetic displays of my weak morale. But I have also been fuzzy and withdrawn, detached and very sleepy. I have not answered the phone or replied to messages, because it's too hard and frustrating trying to understand spoken language and make coherent replies. Forgive me for not being fully present.

And forgive me for semi-announcing something that sounded big and amazing, when it is really more fairly interesting and kind of silly.

Here's the deal: Geoff and I have planned to go to Europe since about 1983. It's one of those things we have postponed and delayed and fumbled and put off for later. But no more. We have passports gasp! We have cute little passport holders classy! We have maps and guide books clever! We have gumption finally!

Don't tell Geoff, but I think I may have been the single greatest obstacle to our European adventures, because I am Chicken. I am also frugal, and pragmatic, but those may be fancy talk for Chicken. Bok-bok-bok-bok-bok... I do not like to fly. Not a bit. I do not like to fall from the sky and sit in heaven and imagine my family having to clean my messes and miss me, and not be able to enjoy one more Christmas or planting another vegetable garden. I may have control issues too. Just saying. I like my nest. I like my Odyssey, which is an extension of my nest. I love my bed and my comfy quilts, and the familiar sight of my children reading, playing, eating, smiling and singing. I love my husband... I may not see him often, but he's close. I have a vague and lingering suspicion that the world is flat. Don't laugh. Until I get to a spot and see it for myself, I get an uneasy feeling that it's not all together solid and there exists a possibility that I could fall off. My nest, the familiar range of my world, is comforting and good, and like any good hen, when the sun goes down, I want to return to my home.

OKay. Just as an exercise, try thinking of a fear or concern that you shelter deep inside, however unfounded or embarrassing, and then write down the fear, however irrational or silly. It's illuminating.

Geoff and I have planned to go to Europe since about 1983, and we are going to make the trip this summer! We are going as a family. We are going for... uh, I am not sure how long we'll stay or where we will stay or whether we will need rail passes. In fact, there is a lot we do not know, in spite of our guide books and the Internet. And because we don't know much, Geoff decided we need an advance party, a scout. And he has decided that I deserve the honor of being the European Advance Party. I am the EAP. I pronounce it Eeep!... like a scared mouse or a nervous Chicken. I know. Some of you are thinking that 'this is an amazing opportunity, a wonderful gift, a chance of a lifetime.' And I know that I will be profoundly affected and thoroughly mesmerized, that I will love my adventure abroad... eventually. Right now I feel a bit anxious, uneasy and nervous.

There are a lot of wonderful stories about individuals who have left their comfort zone to discover new lands and new people, and they share marvelous tales about exotic sights and renewed spirits, about art and history and winding roads into uncharted territory. I don't know of many stories about a reluctant Chicken, traveling with advance reservations (no pun intended) and a good cell phone... a Chicken, who's first inclination is to stay home and bake lemon bars, and quilt. So, even though I may sound silly or as though I do not appreciate this opportunity, I am going to tell it like it is: I am a reluctant and nervous Chicken Abroad, sent as a scout to learn the ins and outs of traipsing through Europe with 4 children. I hope you find this more amusing than annoying. I am not a total 'stick in the mud.' Really, discussing my fears and admitting my homey nature, helps me, so that when I go finally do go forth I will be prepared and receptive... it's my process.

Non-Chickens know where they want to go. The AAA lady says she has a "before I die list." She said it's about places she wants to see, things she wants to do, and then she looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to finally decide where my flight should land. Now, partly, my noncommittalness was due to the earache; it really messes with my decisiveness and ability to focus. But I also have no particular must see destinations in my mind or heart. I sat in front of the maps and kind of weighed the pros and cons of this place and that, of late winter travel, and direct-non-stop flights, and even after pouring over books and maps at home, I didn't feel any closer to a decision sitting in front of the patient travel agent. Working from the ground up, we put together a plan that goes something like this...

I am flying to Barcelona. I like saying Barcelona, the soft "B," slightly dragging the c, and I like that it is close to another country, because Geoff wants me to visit two countries, for variety. From Barcelona, I am taking a train to Avignon. Avignon is also fun to pronounce, and I chose it because 1. My mom went their and she brought me table cloths from Provence and 2. I like to sing "Sur le Pont d'Avignon, l'on y danse, l'on y danse..." Then it's back to Barcelona, where I want to walk along Las Ramblas and buy my lunch in the Mercat de la Boquería. I squeezed in a day trip, also by train, south to Castellón de la Plana.

There it is. My tickets are purchased, and all I need now are comfortable shoes. Maybe a phrase book too. I went online to learn something, beside the words to a children's song, about France and Avignon. I discovered a website for a great looking restaurant and got perky about the prospect of dining there, so I clicked on the menu... I can speak a fair amount of Spanish, so I optimistically (read: thoughtlessly) believed that another Romance language could not be too hard to decipher... lol. There was not a phrase or word or vowel that I could make sense of and in a moment of simultaneous enlightenment and ignorance I blurted: Cr@p! It's like a foreign language! K... time to brush up on my French. Note... I am mentioning that I speak "some" Español, but I am arriving in a region where Catalan is spoken, which is like, totally like a foreign language!

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Monday, January 05, 2009

We *Heart* Cheese

I cannot rightly explain why I chose to post the cheese for a third time. I mentioned it in yesterday's post. I showed the wax covered, Bucky faced cheese in an earlier post, and I cannot promise he won't show up again, in some future post. He cracks me up.
Look at him. He's feisty and proud, and he's Cheese! It's hilarious. Bucky can be anything he wants to be. He can be the usual mascot things like sweatshirts and bumper stickers, but the Badger, he really branches out. He's stands for corn chips and salsa, for bed sheets, lampshades and area rugs. I found tire covers with the fightin' badger boldly standing guard. I love that he came to us as cheese.

I remember after one summer visit to Wisconsin, William lamented the glaring and sad lack of mascot pride in California. He asked why we don't have a character, something dear and confident, that unites our state in a campy, spirited fervor of team and state elation. It's kind of sad that we are missing that. Not sad sad, like pollution or animal abuse, just a unique opportunity missed. Briefly, we had The California Raisins, but it didn't last, and I can't say they gave me that same amused sense of delight and familiarity that I get when I see Bucky Badger.

Bucky is like real. He's like a family member that reminds of home, and makes us sing:

If you want to be a Badger,
Just come along with me,
By the bright shining light,
By the light of the moon;
If you want to be a Badger,
Just come along with me,
By the bright shining light of the moon.

By the light of the moon,
By the light of the moon,
By the bright shining light,
By the light of the moon;
If you want to be a Badger,
Just come along with me,
By the bright shining light of the moon.

Actually, it made me a bit squeamish about slicing into him to get to the cheddar cheese. Geoff had to do it.

Do you know what else is different in California? In So Cal? We bring snow home. I had forgotten about this until a couple of days ago. I saw a family standing in their driveway and they were shoveling snow from the bed of their truck and dropping it in their driveway. On purpose. Put. snow. on. your. driveway. I would not know this is absurd had I not lived in Minnesota for a year, and during the worst blizzard in 100 years. But I remember throughout my early childhood seeing families return from the local mountains carrying as much snow as they could collect and piling it on their cars and in their trucks. It was like a prize, a hunter's trophy...We were in the snow! We have proof! I envied those lucky families, those cool folks with their frosted souvenir. If you think this is hilarious, then I will know you have real winter.

I wonder what Benjamin would think of walking out in to the snow. He looks like he is dressed for it, but I think it would still be a shock.

Thought... Benjamin, in a fez, would be an awesome mascot.

Do I even need to mention that I have not cleaned the sewing space, or finished any of the 3 quilts I am working on? Ah, but I did finish the crocheted blanket and it's adorable. Not sure "adorable" is a word I typically apply to things I make or possess, but this pink on pink, with baby blue, afghan with a row of popcorn stitches and a shell edge is undeniably adorable. No picture. Sorry.

There must be a lot I need to do. I seem to be procrastinating. I'm very tired. I am sleepy too.

Happy Birthday Ron. We want to take you to the movies. Our treat.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time to Hitch Up Our Sleigh!

Couldn't resist taking a snap of a blue chicken. I think my favorite Christmases are the ones when we all spend time together and indulge in new activities. This year we had the pleasure of sharing the fun with Ruth, when she joined us for a day of music and holiday merriment Downtown.

As for hitching up my sleigh... well, goodness! Today is December 23rd and there is still lots to do. Not because I feel pressured to do too much or because I feel obliged. We just have plans and errands and the sun is shining again, for the moment, so we gotta go, go GO! Geoff is working loooong hours and we haven't seen him since our Sunday together at the House of Blues and Holiday Pops. We want to have everything nice and ready before he comes home for Christmas day. So, this post is going to rely heavily on pictures... they tell the story of our fun day, getting our annual dose of cultural exposure in the big city. Big cheers for House of Blues' Gospel Brunch and another salute to the San Diego Symphony Holiday Pops!

Peace to You. Good Will Toward All. We hope to keep Christmas with us all through the year.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Colors of Our World

Messes everywhere and so we begin where we may, and I say let us begin with the pieces. Crayon pieces here and there and everywhere. We gathered them all, or probably only most of them. We sat together and unwrapped broken Crayolas, sorting them into color groups and discussing our combination options. We experimented with mixes and gradients, with a bright pink and a bumblebee black and yellow. And we have no idea what the results will be when we pull them out of the oven. We've never done this before.

We're excited to see our creations. To color with them, and to share them as party favors for Maria's birthday party.

We're Listening To: Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," David Bowie, Eugene Ormandy and Philadelphia Orchestra. Last spring we watched a wonderful version of the story on PBS

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's November! That's Scary!

Other things that scare and dismay me...
I could not find the flour tortillas that I bought for Wednesday night's dinner. Turns out they were "hiding" on the kitchen counter.
Maria wore the same pumpkin outfit I made for William's first Halloween, 17 years ago! Where does the time go?!
We didn't have a fraction of the trick-or-treaters that we've had in years past. Now I am trapped in a house with 4 pounds of unclaimed chocolates!

Now for the stuff that bolsters and delights me...

Alex dressed as Dexter from "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow." He planned this one for months and months.
With his thrift shop threads, a little hair gel and his retro ray gun, he was good to go. When the boys insisted I watch the movie, I should have known I would enjoy it, because
they are good judges of what I like, and I like good CG, and imaginative storytelling... like the kind you can find in a Hayao Miyazaki release. As I said before, Dexter is a good fit for Alex... those 2 inventive and morally courageous guys are a lot alike.

Another good match... Max as Young Indiana Jones. A scholar with adventure in his heart, eager to do what is right and be prepared for whatever comes his way! Max has been on a school break and he and I, with Maria, have been enjoying our own adventures together, like long walks, park visits, collecting pumpkins, reading "The Phantom Tollbooth," again, and having long talks about politics, elections, video games, lunch, housing. I don't know which of us will be sadder when he returns to school Monday morning.

Here's our pumpkin! She never had a doubt about dressing up as a pumpkin for Halloween. We had a long day, beginning with helping at the high school's pumpkin carving contest, then pumpkin carving at home too. Before it got too late, we lit a lantern and went outside for trick-or-treating.

Where does the time go? I certainly never thought we would pass 3 Halloweens in this house. And how can William be too old to dress up and trick-or-treat... nah, I think he'll join us again next year. It wasn't about maturity or other dull hang-ups like sophistication; it was about running out of time to do a good job. Maybe we should draw up plans today, because we don't want him to skip next year.

Time to swell with maternal pride.
They swapped favorites and the youngest 2 exchanged dyed candies for chocolates. They shared, sorted, and waxed poetic about caramels and Smarties, about peanut butter and almonds. They let Maria double trade and trade back. They gave William good stuff and implored him to join them next year. Max confided that it wasn't quite as good without William. Maria spent more time re-enacting trick-or-treating in the house than she did going around our block. There is nothing scary or distressing about these children. They are a pleasure to play with, and live with, and they made this another Happy Halloween.

We're Listening To: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra & Erich Kunzel, "Beware of The Blob." That's an Amazon link, but we bought the single from iTunes.

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Thursday, April 03, 2003

More Lists, because I like reading other people's lists, because I am too frazzled to think in long sentences, because someone else got me started ("...if you had a 6 title video library...?") and because I love trivial and meaningless activities. So, in no particular order, and definitely not limited, here are some essentials:

Six Title Video Library...I guess I would have a circulating collection...I just know I will add more when I see other lists...

1. A Room With A View
2. There's Something About Mary
3. It's a Wonderful Life
4. Ghandi
5. Sponge Bob: Sea Stories
6. Frida
7. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (original animated)
8. Mississippi Masala
9. Women On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown
10. The Empire Strikes Back
11. Monsoon Wedding
12. A Christmas Story
13. Smoke Signals
14. The Sound of Music
15. El Norte
16. Pee Wee's Big Adventure
17. Spy Kids
18. My Father's Glory + My Mother's Castle

Six CDs I Can Play Straight Through +12 more, because I can't count

1. Hawaiian Style Band: Hawaiian Style
2. Oingo Boingo: Dead Man's Party
3. Nat King Cole: The Unforgettable Collection
4. Los Lobos: Del Este de Los Angeles
5. Tino Rossi: C'est A Capri
6. Raffi: Bananaphone
7. Tish Hinojosa: Cada Nino
8. Robbie Robertson & The Red Road Enemble: Music For The Native Americans
9. A. Paul Ortega and Joanne Shenandoah: Loving Ways
10. Makaha Sons: Ke Alaula
11. They Might Be Giants: NO!
12. John Denver: The Best of John Denver Live
13. Robi Kahakalau: Sistah Robi
14. Dixie Chicks: Wide Open Spaces
15. Linda Ronstadt: Canciones de Mi Padre
16. Patsy Cline: Greatest Hits
17. Rodgers and Hammerstein: Oklahoma!
18. Lullaby, a Collection
+ more, because I don't comprehend "limits"
19. Christmas Music, lots of it
20. Madness, English Beat, Tears For Fears, Bob Marley, Depeche Mode, Duran, Duran, Louie Armstrong, The B-52's, Talking Heads, Santana, Gipsy Kings
21. Jane Siberry and k.d.lang, singing "Calling All Angels"

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