Friday, August 22, 2003

Mom's Night Out is upon us, and I am happy like a kid with a huge playdate-sleepover-swimming-girl party! The only part that's a stretch is me being a kid, but the rest is all happening for real. Tonight. At the Rancho. The house is very nearly sanitary, which is good. Now comes grocery shopping and food prep. A little fine tuning around the pool, and by tonight I will be all ready to welcome this wild bunch of women, who are my best friends. That's it. Have yourselves a good day. I gotta get busy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Holy kilowatts! Thanks Enron, Governor Davis...
our electric bill reads more like a mortgage payment for a Malibu Beach shack.
Guess what's worse than the heat.
We will have to cut usage even more.
Don't come around here after sundown; we'll be reading by candlelight, naked.

I am hearing from a couple of readers that our garage adventure and purge sessions have been inspiring. My heart swells. In all honesty, ( and I am all honest, all the time) the work really sucked, and the emotional factor was trying as well. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I felt like I had pursued material goods to an ill extent and then neglected to care for everything. BUT (there's always a big but in every good story) it was worth it. I don't regret any action we took to remedy our situation. I do not miss the books and clothes and housewares I donated, or the reams of paper we finally shredded and hauled to the curb for recycling, and I certainly don't want to ever see any of the broken and worn out things we tossed in the dumpster. Use or lose it. When in doubt throw it out. If you can come to a point where you are ready to make a big change and release, free up space, and chase away mice and spiders, then go for it. I wish you success, and when it seems daunting have courage and persevere.

I know some people will not relate, because they have "the gift of constant order." Their bills are paid and filed, their children are fed at the appropriate time of day, and they don't rely on chickens to come in and clean under the kitchen table. People with the gift don't opt for letting the dishes soak overnight, in to the next day, overnight again. The gifted people would never make a move by emptying drawers in to boxes and vowing to sort them at the new house. I think these people who iron and alphabetize would read Chicken Blog and react the way most of us do when hearing about a celebrity's release from rehab; we wonder how they ever got so messed up in the first place.

Well, I should be cleaning the kitchen. There are dishes in the sink, and tomatoes are spoiling on the counter. But I hear Max hanging on his brother's bedroom door. He is heartbroken and in a bitter tone he says, "You guys don't understand me. No one will play with me. You aren't my brothers any more, and I am proud of that." Poor Max. I think I'll just let those dishes sit awhile more, so Max and I can play in his kitchen...

Monday, August 18, 2003

Dreamy Misted Mood

It is foggy this morning at El Rancho. I had many strange dreams last night, and somehow waking to still and shrouding fog, keeps my mind in a dreamy and misted mood.

We have taken our garage cleaning energy and brought it in to the house. I have vacuumed crevices, emptied deep and cavernous drawers, and opened ancient boxes. We have purged more and more. We had three irons and three staplers. We had three address books, four maps of Orange County, and I can't think what else, because now that it is gone, thrown away or shared, I can barely remember the stuff. Those things which we have packed and carried, stored and sheltered are as foggy to my memory now as the pasture and the valleys.

Holly and Nicholas braved the heat and traffic to spend Sunday evening with us. We chatted our way through several topics. We talked about the trip they are making to Wisconsin. It's hard not to envy that; they'll be seeing Grandma Nancy, Sophie, all the cousins and baby Griffin, aunt Carol, Dad and Lily, Laura and her fiance. They'll get to be on the lookout for fireflies, and enjoying the charming and fun qualities that are infinitely wonderful about "The Poor Family" and Wisconsin. Sigh. We also talked about December travel and the possibility of us joining them in Hawaii. They plan to be there for Christmas, which is a great time of year to go. So, if we can get our act together, maybe we can play too.

What else? Oh, yes, we talked about the every-other-year Halloween party that the boys and I organize. This is the year we are due to invite all our friends and family to our house for a costume party, with food and foolery. We make half the fun in choosing our theme or emphasis, taking care to consider the youngest in the crowd, and decorating and preparing. This year we have a suggestion; Holly feels, strongly, that our focus this year should be on pirates! Yo Ho, and a bottle of rum, scurvy thieves and scalawags out to have some fun. She was bit, and so was Anne, by Pirate Fever after seeing Pirates of the Caribbean. It's not clear whether it was the entire movie that was so engaging or just one particular hunk of seafaring pirate flesh a.k.a. Johnny Depp. I have got to get to the theater and do some investigative research.

There are definitely some very good ideas that come to mind when thinking of Buccaneers and sea captains. Since some guests are reluctant to dress up, or insist they can't think of "anything" to come as, we like to have a long list of inspiring suggestions. Last night we came up with a preliminary sampling, and there are many. There are The Pirates of Penzance and The Major General, Maori Pirates with tattooed faces, corporate pirates, he pirates and she pirates, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the pirates led by Captain Hook, and all the Never-Land characters. There are the futuristic pirates of Treasure Planet, and Robert Louis Stevenson's original Long John Silver and poor Ben Gunn. We can serve treasure, like "pieces of cake." And raise our own Jolly Roger...I wonder whether a chicken skull on black cloth would scare off the Redcoats and other party poopers? Yes, many good options to work with.

It may seem too soon to be planning a party for the end of October, but so much of the fun is in the planning, that we just can't help ourselves. William tells me with a straight face, "Buccaneer comes from the original price pirates charged for piercing ears." Even the pasture, all foggy and forlorn, made it quite clear that it is not too soon to prepare for Fall and all her delights.

These grew voluntarily, in the pasture, above the compost pile.