Monday, March 27, 2017

27 I Can See Clearly Now

This "grand" entry is wasted on my sensibilities. And sending people up on tall ladders isn't so great for my senses, either. Those double glass panes are a pain, but they look better today, thanks to William and Geoff. Sorry spiders, but it was getting ridiculous.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

26 Real Crafty

The crocheting muse comes and goes, particularly when it comes to making hats, beanies. I have made cute, functional crocheted hats, and then I have been through long stretches of time when nothing works... I get only frog worthy yarn messes, ugly things that look like Regretsy submissions. For one thing: I don't have a practiced and firm grip on reading crochet patterns. In fact, just looking at instructions with all of those abbreviations, and secret coded symbols makes me feel weak, hivish. So, I either follow YouTube tutorials, or make things up. Recently I made up a pattern for a crocheted beanie, and I have super-successfully replicated my work, many times. Hats everywhere. My own design, my own pattern, and I can adjust it for sizes, and repeat it... it's miraculous, for me. But I worry that the muse will flee, so I have decided to write down my recipe. Only, remember... I don't read patterns, but I am trying to write down a pattern.


Hopefully, my notes and pictures will suffice. Hopefully, if I forget my own beanie pattern, I will be able to decipher my feeble scrawl and cryptic descriptions, enough to produce another crocheted hat. And maybe, just maybe, someday I will be invited to play with the A-List bloggers, the crafty crowd, the cool kids of the Internet. Otherwise, my very first crochet pattern will be submitted to the lesser known, but still distinguished publication... Drunken Amateur Crafter Monthly. Any subscribers?

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

25 Local Outing

Can you name (one of) our favorite movies?
Of course, it would have been better if we had our knit beanies.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Friday, March 24, 2017

24 Lists

Geoff and Cairo, they just left with Max and Maria to run a few errands. I stayed back with an earnest announcement... I'll stay home and take care of laundry and cleaning. So, naturally, I am blogging.

Forgive me, for I blog.

In the interest of saying stuff that's on my mind, but with the sincere intention of being both brief and swift, I will list.

1. Last night I made it to MNO (Mom's Night Out.) It was lovely, and delicious, it glowed, and sparkled. I'm quite fortunate to know these women. They raise my thoughts, my aspirations. They sent me home with salmon and cupcakes. Everyone should know marvelous women, with generous souls.

2. Max is home on break. Alex is on break. Geoff is on break. Maria... Maria is home, sick, with a low grade fever... you can't win them all.

3. Geoff has been asking me to hang the art I have been making since December. And honestly, it really has taken a lot of coaxing and encouragement to get me to bring them out of their shoe box and up onto walls. I have begun.

4. My car has an estimated value of $458.00, and an initial repair bill of approximately $3,000. These numbers don't add up, but they do. My Jet Puff Odyssey has been my golden chariot, my steadfast steed, my safe and reliable ride to anywhere. I love my minivan.

5. New cars are astonishing. I went on a couple of visits. The bells. The whistles. Have you seen what a new car can do these days? New Odysseys have a vacuum in the trunk. A vacuum! Simply knowing about that one feature will amuse me for the next 4 to 6 years, no doubt.

6. We're going to order all the fixes on Jet Puff, and hope she holds. I'd like to drive her to the moon, before I finally put her out to pasture.

7. I've started walking every day, again. Since Tuesday. That's how it is, right? You start, you move forward, something sets you off course, then you gather yourself, and start, again.

8. {I am holding this spot for all of my fears, anxiety, worries, and frustrations. I won't specify them, but I will acknowledge that they are more than I can carry, and maybe I can just set them in this space, and take a break from trying to hold them all at once.}

9. We were invited to see Pink Martini, at the Hollywood Bowl, with two dear Aunts and a dear Uncle... and so, we have begun to look ahead and make summer plans, and there is something cheering and soothing, and right about marking a date on the calendar, months away, and thinking, That is going to be good.

10. There's more I am thinking, more I'd like to pull out of my head, unravel, look at... but in the interest of being both brief and swift, of balancing blogging and getting stuff done, I will end this sentence, this post, with a message:

I hope you enjoy this day, and tomorrow. And thank you for visiting Chickenblog. I appreciate the company.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

21 Grandpa Chango

Nearly seventeen years old. Maybe actually seventeen years old, already, but we won't make it "official" until the first day of April. April 1st is the day we assign as every cat's birthday. We haven't been very consistent in celebrating cat birthdays, though. But 17 is a big one, I feel, and Chango, our Grandpa, is such a dear old man cat, that I believe something must be done, some kind of celebration should be organized. Don't you worry, Grandpa Chango. We will fete you. You will have bonito flakes, even a lap or two of cereal milk from the bowl... whatever your heart, and tummy desire, damn the consequences. You are so worthy.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Monday, March 20, 2017

20 Outing

When William suggested a walk tonight, it took us a while to get lined up and out the door. So, instead of strolling down our dark street, we opted to explore a mall. A mall with wide sidewalks, a koi pond, piped in music, cheery lighting, and shops. It was nice... nice to be out, moving, nice to see pretty windows, with pretty displays. And finally, I couldn't resist the one shop that always manages to lure me in, both tempting me and vexing me. And I am not even going to say their name, though I am linking, here, and you may want to guess, just for your own amusement, which store in the whole wide world is my consumer frenemy, the purveyor of things I am loath to lust for. They have ceramic bowls, with chickens. Bowls. Chickens. I'm done for. It's frustrating when, at last, you find the material things you dream of, desire, which had always been odd and obscure, worn, shabby, rustic, thrifted, but which have suddenly become chic, hip, and not remotely thrifty. Alas. Alas, what folly to be burdened with good taste. Maybe what I really need is a designer to curate and display my own vast collection of worn, shabby, rustic and thrifty treasures, to their best appeal. It is, indeed, nice to walk, late on a week night, to see pretty things, smell lemon poppyseed candles, imagine where old wooden boxes and crates came from, how they would look in our Bird House, or might be artfully reproduced. So very nice, so very perilous.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

19 Gathered Around the Campfire

Alex, Max, Maria, Amira, William~

This was, I suppose, a farewell to winter campfire. I've been distracted, for some time, and the idea that we are on the verge of spring comes as a genuine surprise. And so, the rain in the forecast is spring rain, and soon there will be spring break. A new season, new plans, new hopes. A fresh start? Yes, let's hit refresh, and plant some seeds, dust corners, change the sheets, sleep with the windows open, just a crack. I welcome all of it, and take joy in anticipation of more gatherings, books, stories, songs, laughter, spring.

Winter, thank you. You were fine, loved your storms, and rain. Until we meet again, farewell.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

18 His Rats

Neo Cairo Nepenthes love his rats. Loves his rats. He loves his plushie, stuffed, toy rats. There's really no other way to say it. It's just that simple, just that true.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Friday, March 17, 2017

17 Las Flores

Camellias, flowers so beautiful, even dropped, fading, decaying, they evoke allure, grace, dignity. Youth, perfection, so-called flawless qualities are only one kind of a beginning, an easy thing to love. I also love time-worn things, a long story, the creases in a page, the substance and resilience beneath the shine.

In a passing stroll, mere minutes, I was delighted by a lot of beauty. I am happy to have noticed.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

16 On a School Night

Maria's school had a STEM Family Night, an evening of demonstrations and science-tech-engineering-math activities for some of the fifth and six graders and their families. It's not a program Maria has been participating in, but she was invited to be part of the group who exhibit. So, we brought Da Vinci out of semi-retirement (really, it was more of a sabbatical,) painted him blue, dusted off his drawing table, ran some diagnostics on his programming, and lent him a team hat. He was raring to go! So was Maria. She reviewed all the technical aspects and systems that operate Da Vinci, our drawing automaton. She's got it down... that he runs on Inkscape, the opens source app that allows our Egg-bot circuit board to direct three motors to move magnets along the x and y axis, plus the up and down motion of Da Vinci's pen hand. And she can discuss vector vs raster, or pixel illustrations, how she develops original art in Scratch, up loads it in Inkscape and Da Vinci can reproduce her drawings.

And one more thing... we get a surprising number of people that stand before our creations, scratch their heads, and ask, "Why? What's it for?" This question, and also the implication that our pursuits are pointless, can be frustrating for us, and have dismayed us, too. Geoff and I tend to get a bit defensive, even incredulous, because we think the answer is so obvious! The answer we often proffer is, "Why not? But we know this doesn't do much to achieve outreach, to help someone who doesn't get it to appreciate the elegance, beauty, purpose of making strange things. It's not always easy to maintain our energy and message when demonstrating at a fair for ten hours, two days in a row, but Maria shared her thoughts on the question,"Why? What's it for?" and I think her words are going to do a great deal to help us feel like we have a thoughtful and succinct response.

So... the next time someone, with a puzzled expression, asks incredulously, doubtfully, "Why? What's it for?" We can reply, in Maria's words, "We are here to demonstrate what we've made, which are things that might not seem 'practical,' but which show the principles of science, technology, engineering, art, math, music. The skills and knowledge applied, and taught, in making our creations are practical skills, which can be applied to 'real life' challenges and objectives, invention, innovation, and fun. We learn how to make, we share what we make, and we inspire more making."


Happily, most of the time, people totally get it, and that's what we love about bringing Da Vinci out, on a school night... sharing our love of STEAM is fun.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.