Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sometimes It Takes A Long Time To Get Smart

I am not saying I have become smart. But just now I figured out one little thing that makes me feel real smart. Or a bit smarter. Never mind. Every time I post I have to write all the HTML for the title and to post pictures. Either it's because I am lame or blogger is lame or Macs are lame, either way there is a lot of repetitive code writing and it tends to slow the whole process down. Suddenly it occurs to me... why not create a template that I can pull out, copy, cut and paste and use for each post? This is one of those things that is simultaneously simple-duh and brilliant-wow. Right now I am exhilarated by the brilliant-wow aspect. It only took me seven years to think of this, but just imagine how streamlined and smart the blog will be from now on!


I was hoping I had more to say. You know something insightful or fascinating. Something that clearly justifies avoiding house work.

Dang it.

I got nuthin'.

Can I answer any questions?

Hold on.

Let me see...


Here we go.

Em asked, "And.... did the camel spit at you?"

Answer: No. She did not spit at me, but I am savvy about these things. Sometimes it takes a longtime to get smart, and I learned about animals that spit when a camera shy llama gave me a face full of wet DNA in 1988. It's a "funnier" story when Geoff tells it.

Katie, you heard right, "crazy sharp claws," but what about the other bit? Did you all read what Laura Jane added? "...they are also notorious for peeing on unsuspecting folk who hold them, including politicians - they're not proud!" Hilarious. This is just the kind of factoid that makes koalas even cuter in my mind.

Jess, a talented food seamstress, asked whether I have other fabric foods besides strawberries and corn?

Answer: I do! I do! Just scroll down my "Where Was I?" post and you'll find all kinds of veggies and good eats. Recently I made a mushroom and a few corn tortillas. Everyone should see your milk carton!

That's about it for questions and answers. Looking through the comments I was most happily reminded that I get some really wonderful feedback, remarks, encouragement and helpful insights. Thank You. Very much.

It took Max 4 weeks to decide he could let me see him in the class play about geology. He was embarrassed... and he explained it wasn't about stage fright, but more an issue of feeling that the presentation was immature and childish. It must be hard having the sensibilities of a 52 year old man with the experience of a 10 year old boy... just another aspect of Asperger's Syndrome we have learned to recognize and love. I am not allowed to share too much, hence the pictures of Princess Twirls A Lot doing her thing, but I can say that he sings well, speaks clearly, knew all his lines and that Maria and I very much enjoyed the class production of "Geology Rocks." And Max was a good Mountain.

That is all.
Now I am going to clean.
Unless you have a question.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

I Like How Zoo Sounds With Kazoo

Maria is fascinated with rhymes, and sometimes she can make a rhyme, like mouse and house and sometimes not... tree and chicken. We're working on it. No, we are playing with it. She loves to recognize a rhyme, and I love that she enjoys the word play.

Another thing we are playing with is naming animals at the zoo. We were there last week. What fun. A cool morning, a blue sky and a world famous zoo just waiting to be rediscovered.

This is our blogiversary week. That is the anniversary of Chickenblog! Seven years. Seven years of rambling and reflecting. Seven years of me putting stuff out there and then getting really giddy when You write back. I still don't know what it's all about. I still feel like I am just figuring this Blog stuff out. I still have only eight cents in ad revenue and no idea how to make changes to my new and improved banner. That's okay. Chickenblog is comfortable and familiar, like a pair of sneakers you don't want to toss. Is that a good analogy? Sometimes Chickenblog feels like an outdated pair of sneakers, the kind most people wouldn't take a second look at or that I should be embarrassed wearing in public. Chickenblog is not the latest in fashion footwear, wildly popular and highly in demand. What's up with all this shoe talk? Yeesh.

Where was I?

The neighbor is using a jackhammer?

The neighbor is using a jackhammer. It's so close, I can almost imagine I hear my dentist telling me to open wider. It's so close it drowns out the cackling hens... now that's close!

A lot of blogiversaries are celebrated with contests, prizes, giveaways. I've had some good ones. Good prizes. Good winners. Good times. I was thinking of having a name these animals contest, but eh. I guess I am just in that kind of mood... eh... sorta take it or leave it... whatever.

Do let me know if you recognize this guy though. I was totally taken with him. I want a home edition. I think he would be a great ottoman. I had no idea they are so big. Speaking of rhymes... I had a nickname that rhymed with his name... ______-Nat. That's your only clue.

Actually I can still hear the hens. The jackhammer and the hens are going at it, and even with the windows closed the noise is decibels beyond comfortable.

I love this animal... he's an otto-something, but he would not make a good ottoman. I remember in school seeing nature films and the very best ones showed these playful guys sliding in and out of rivers. Movies at school... those were the best, and even film strips were better than paperwork and coloring in the lines. I also remember there was always one kid who knew all about the projector or the film strip player. The teacher always seemed relieved to have this geek helper around. I worked as an audio-visual technician in a middle school for a while. Yes, basically I lied and cheated for that job, and yet I managed to hold my own.

Did you sigh just now? Did you? Seriously, is it possible to look at one of these without cooing or wishing you could hold one, ignoring of course the fact that they have crazy sharp claws?

How 'bout now? They are so cute. It's ridiculous how cute they are. What if I had a blogiversary contest that went like this... the 100th commenter gets to hold this incredibly cute marsupial?! Eh. Not gonna happen. Sorry.

Here we go. This one suits me. Right here. Right now. I think about my troubles and I just start foaming at the mouth. Who cares? Whatever. I love this lady. Go ahead, ask her why she's foaming at the mouth. Ask her about her messy do, the wide hips, the extra stores of body fat. She totally does not care. Do you know what a Bactrian can do? And with good aim I might add

William forgot his notebook, so I gotta get that to him. And I think Max was supposed to take flowers from his garden to his teacher for teacher appreciation week. Teacher Appreciation Week. Never mind. Our Belgium hotel choice is not available, and the Swiss place is charging more than their website offer, no word from the London hotel, no idea where to stay in Germany... gotta remedy those.

Anyone that wants to talk about the housing market or why I hate all most realtors, email me or call. Other than elaborating on the rampant corruption and ethical vacuum that is the Realtor World, I have no updates on our house search.


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The More Things Change... Or Do They?

William, 14, Alex, Max and Geoff, October 2005... Disneyland

Sometimes I look back and see where we've been. I pick a year and read the archives from this week in 2002 or 2003 or '04, '05, '06, '07. This time I chose October 18-22, 2005. Regrettably, I see that not much has changed. Since then we moved again, but not to our own place. Geoff was in Hawaii again. He did look for a place for us, like he did 3 years ago, but mostly he was there to say a final farewell to a place we had held dear. Happily, the things that cheer and sustain me have not changed... except that they have grown... the children are as enthused and kind, as wonderful to be with as ever. Geoff is still intent on making our lives full and safe. I did wish for 3 hens, and I think we have hens now... is that progress? I'm not so sure.

Alex, 11 years old, upstairs in the TreeHouse

One big improvement is that the boys have bedrooms now. No more bunk bed in the kitchen/dining room/living room. It was cozy. Truthfully, I would be happy to return to smaller quarters if the space were a space all our own. Our zest for pumpkins... pie, bread, cake, roasted seeds, decorations, carving... that has not changed a bit. We still love it.

Maria, 11 months old, at the Wild Animal Park... oh, and Me, 38

We still love exploring in our community and making road trips north and east and south, and as far west as we can get. For all my longing and disappointments about housing, I cannot complain about our adventures. We have been many places and taken full advantage of our homeschool flexibility. I can see missing that, if we ever get tied up in a mortgage and house repairs. I relish the chance to complain about something new.

Max, 7, and Alex with baby Maria

I wonder what they will remember... what they will carry with them, what they will discard.

Remember last spring, when I moved all of the sewing things in to the garage? Alex and I have shared a section of the garage all summer. Surrounded by stacks of boxes, tools and treasures, he and I played and worked at our hobbies. Alex with robots, circuit boards and wires, and Maria and me with fabrics, pens, papers, chalk and thread. It's been a nice arrangement, but this week I am making a whole new mess arrangement. Alex needs more room, and we need to make better use of the odd square footage at the top of the stairs. The house is big, but there are a lot of useless spaces... we do not need a dining room or formal sitting room, or a foyer with pillars, or a landing. Now the landing is a sewing room, or it's becoming a sewing room, and soon the extra space in the garage will accommodate garage kinds of activities, like building robots, making toasters, designing rockets etc... I hope everyone will enjoy the new possibilities.

Alex's entertainment for Maria, October 2005

Our bed is green now. We still share our room with Maria, or does she share her room with us? I still love that quilt... not one that I made.

And now it is time to get William and Alex from school. It's 2008 again, and time to move forward.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Maria is 3

Doesn't the zoo sound like the quintessential destination to mark a 3rd birthday? Doesn't quintessential sound lovely? I have no idea what it means. I can confirm though, that the zoo is a very good place to go when it is your 3rd birthday. Maria, with her raisins in a zoo pail, walked and ran and explored and delighted for many hours... and we delighted as well. William, Alex, Max and I spent most of the cool, gray day, following Maria up and down hills, through trails and to the exhibits of some beautiful animals.

We assume she liked it, mostly. At nearly every enclosure and exhibit she retracted her feet and said, "Don't eat my feet."

So, when Alex and Maria looked at the teeny-tiny marmosets, she said, "Don't eat my feet."

And quite understandably, when we went to pet the goats, she said, "Don't eat my feet."

She liked this activity, being a butterfly in the Children's Zoo. She liked the real, live insects too. I am not going to show the picture of the bird eating spider. Too creepy, for me.

"Don't eat my feet."

The otters like cold, gray days and they were very active.

Most of the animals were active and we got to spend a lot of time enjoying up close visits, especially with the orangutans, gorillas, and a crocodile.

Maria loves looking at pictures. She loves to sit on my lap, or her daddy's and look at Chickenblog pictures. This will probably be one of her favorite posts.

The zoo is a nice place to visit on a quiet day. We took our time, and only rushed when we wanted too... like when we ran to see the elephants and the rock hyrax. Otherwise we sat down and waited to see how long the crocodile could hold his breath. Answer: A long time.

No enclosure was secure enough to convince Maria we were completely safe, so she depended on her brothers to keep her protected.

I had to come back and add this elephant. William laughed and said, "The elephant is the quintessential zoo animal. So true. Thank you son.

And to the very end, Maria admonished every creature: "Don't eat my feet!"

OKay, seriously...

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We're Going to The Zoo, The Henry Vilas Zoo

Back to Wisconsin. Like I said, we didn't laze about the whole trip. One day we met Gabe and Betsy, with their children, Griffin and Jordan, at the Zoo in Madison. The free zoo!

We saw bison, lions, seals,
prairie dogs
a badger
an ostrich
a black bear and a polar bear!

We had sno-cones!

We fed goats.

Hungry, hungry goats!

The nice thing about a free is zoo is no one feels pressured to see everything and do everything.

Without the pressure, there's time to sit and reflect, sketch. No hurries. No worries.

Geoff remembers this zoo from his childhood. I love visiting places he recalls fondly. Here's the bubbler he remembers. Bubbler? A bubbler is where water bubbles up for a cool drink. A fountain is where you throw a coin and make wishes. Wisconsin talk... I love it.

Time to check our primate arm-span:

Griffin, age 5 and quite a primate!

Max, age 9... ready to climb and swing!

William, age 16 ... a good sport for his mom. Ahh.

Alex is 13 and also humoring his mom. Thanks son.

Maria is 2 and she's a monkey girl for sure!

Jordan! One more 2 year old monkey girl!

Before we left, we had two bear encounters that were really awesome. First the polar bear sniffed the air from deep inside her lair and then she slowly, cautiously stepped out in to the late afternoon heat.

Max reminded us about a polar bear's remarkable sense of smell and their unique distinction from most animals, they think humans are tasty.

In the enclosure next door we met the black bear. He looked big. Who remembers? One kind of bear will chase you if you run, so you are supposed to stand your ground and another kind you should run from? Which is which? Might be good to know.

There's more Wisconsin to come, like quilts and the football game and tamale pie...

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