Saturday, January 12, 2008

Everyday Life 30 :: 6 We Wish!

If this were our everyday life it would mean that we found a way to be neighbors with Tamsyn again, that we could have the pleasure of her company on a regular basis, that the children would have their best friend to hang out with. Well, at least for 3 days, being with Tamsyn, and hearing 5 children laugh, it is our everyday. What a joy.

She is with us for the weekend, before she flies back to Virginia. The children gave her the Christmas presents we had saved for her, including the big photographic collection of baby mammals and the pink and green handbag I ordered from Tracy. Both very good choices, and the children were so happy to see they pleased their friend. Then we had the fun of telling Tamsyn we were taking the liberty of celebrating her birthday a week early:

Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Need I say more?
Beautiful children, beautiful weather, lean crowds, and a very happy way to fill a day. We enjoyed all the favorite rides, our picnic lunch with homemade chocolate chip cookies, running all over what was formerly Tom Sawyer's Island... now it is a pirate's island, and full of deliciously creative "Pirates of The Caribbean" details and amusements.

Shiver me timbers! Don't eat me!

We never fail in to slip in to a what if conversation, when we visit the island.
What if we could live here...
What if we hid in the cave and spent the night on the island...
What if we found a secret cave, with a hidden room with real treasure...
What if we could invite all of our friends and family for an exclusive, private Disneyland day...
What if we could design our own island...

We go on and on.

On this occasion they could have renamed the ride: Soaked Mountain. "Splash Mountain" is too understated. William and Tamsyn were positively drenched. It was comical seeing Tamsyn pull off her shoe and pour water out.

As it turns out we do have our own treasure.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Everyday Life 30 :: 5

The left half of the landlord's refrigerator.
Plenty of magnets.
2 salsa recipes.
Calvin and Hobbes.
Tamsyn's painting of a house... October 2006.
Max's sunflower... March 2007.
A little photograph of William... September 1994.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Everyday Life 30 :: 4 Outside, Over There!

Yesterday we took our P.E.outside. We were lucky to arrive in time for a wide open beach. The tide was very low and the shoreline was revealing a view of the deep. And I do mean deep... we were treated to something quite extraordinary.

Maria walked a considerable distance. Imagine her trying to keep up with her long legged brothers. No wonder she runs a lot. Her boots were perfect for a bit of splashing. "Boops," she calls them.

I love how walking on the beach relaxes everyone. Alex and William walked and talked, looping back to help Maria keep up. Max ran ahead, to this uprooted sea kelp. He was really impressed by the strength of it. He put all of his weight in to pulling the stipe before the long, lanky limb of the sea kelp broke loose.

This is the holdfast, or the root base. Sea kelp grows in a forest, which provides an amazing ecosystem... I am recalling all the wonderful things my middle school science teacher taught me. Thank you Carol.

And here we have the fronds... I think they look like a mermaid's salad.

I almost always have my camera with me, and lately when I don't have my camera William has been reminding me to bring it along. I love digital. I love that I can take just a moment to capture something pretty, or amusing or memorable.

There are a lot of sea gulls on the beach, and though I have heard them called the cockroaches of the sky, I still think they are handsome. This poor fellow is missing a leg... he is not impersonating a flamingo.

Surfers are dedicated. Enthusiastic. Devoted. Single minded. Passionate. At least this guy had something to keep out the winter temperatures. His wetsuit included a cap.

Max enjoyed playing with the length of seaweed he won in the wrestling match. Swinging it, dragging it, twisting it. He could not wear it out.

Maria did wear out. William and I took turns giving her shoulder rides.

Textures and colors and the play of light on water... I find so many beautiful sights to point the camera at.

Low tide is is always magical.

Max talked to me about sea stars and how they eat mussels. Do you know how they do it? Maybe I should have Max write a guest post... it could be his own science feature.

We thought it was time to head home, but luckily we lingered a bit longer, otherwise we would have missed seeing this shark. Uh-huh, a shark.

She (I did not see any claspers) was caught in a tidal pool, where there was not enough water for her to breath. Fish rely on swimming or the free movement of water to push water through their gils, and this poor girl was drowning.

I wish I had more photographs, but seeing a unique situation I switched my camera to film, and maybe Geoff can help me post the footage I captured.

A small and concerned crowd had gathered and we were trying to figure what to do. Maria was crying. She is not too crazy about fish and the word shark seemed to make a bad impression on her. Two young men decided to be brave and they picked up the small(ish) shark from behind and rushed it back to the surf and deeper water. It took two attempts and they were successful. Yay!

While we were looking at the shark, I thought, Gee, it doesn't look like a baby leopard shark, which are common and mild. It really looks like a shrinky-dink great white shark, but I thought that sounded too dramatic, and too unlikely. Guess what? It was a shrinky-dink baby great white shark! What do you think?

Dudes, it was totally awesome. I hope she remembers us kindly, and I hope she returns to much deeper water.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Everyday Life... 30 Days :: 2
Yesterday I was inspired by Amanda Soule, of "Soule Mama," to dedicate 30 days of photography to looking at the Everyday. I started yesterday, I committed today, and I think it's kind of funny to make it an official project, since it's more or less what I do everyday anyway. Perhaps it is the discipline aspect that I am looking at as the unique approach, and I like the idea that I am going to make a dedicated effort to seeing what is going on under our roof, in our lives. Amanda is right, it is fleeting, the time we have with our children, and it is interesting to really take in a focused view of what is happening. Well, maybe not always focused... I purposely did not delete yesterday's fuzzy action shots.

So, everyday, Maria draws, and her artistic style made a very sudden development since yesterday. She got bolder and more elaborate. This is her self portrait. Someday we may forget that she always calls herself "Girl." We may be partly to blame, since she has many, many nicknames, but no matter how many times we ask her to say Maria, she always replies "I'm Girl." Until today. Today she handed me this picture and said, "It's me. It's Mree-ah." And she added, "I have wobbly, wobbly arms and wobbly, wobbly hands."

Everyday there is tea party or a picnic. Something is always cooking.

Something I don't do everyday is go upstairs. William and Alex's bedrooms, and a huge open area, are upstairs. The boys are usually downstairs. It struck me as surprising how little I think about upstairs. My house will be single story.

After staying up late, reading "Building Robots With Lego Mindstorms NXT, Alex sleeps in a little. Sleeping-in, now there's something to try everyday!

In other news, Jennifer brought my attention to a very exciting happening on Public Television. PBS will be airing a series called "The Complete Jane Austen," starting January 13th. It includes all new productions of Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility. Gee, if this isn't reason enough to order DVR, I don't know what is.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Life is Motion

Everything is moving. And I've noticed everything will move, whether you agree to ride or not. Resistance is futile, and like on an amusement park ride it may even make matters worse... resisting, that is. Better to just surrender and flow. Oh, wait. That can't always be right. I can't "go with the flow" when it's about injustice or when my values are compromised. Never mind. Deep thoughts are one thing, but trying to encapsulate a method for living into a bumper sticker philosophy is ridiculous.

Everything is moving. Some days we ride. Some days we stay in our pajamas and eat pancakes for dinner. That's better.

This is a peek of a little something I am putting together for my Sweetheart.

This is Maria playing with a DS. She can draw an image and then delete it, or duplicate it, or send it to another DS. Mom? Mom, what could I do when I was 3? Yesterday she was cutting out little faces she drew, then she cut out feet shapes and put faces on them too. Happy Feet. Looking out the window at breakfast, Maria said, "The birds are flying on the rain, and the clouds are getting wet."

Lego has a Mars Mission theme. It's been out for a while, but it is new to Max. He loves it. He took his Christmas money and his allowance (and his mommy) to the store last night and added a new set to his collection. He stayed up late, working next to me in my bed for company, and assembled everything. This morning he shared all the intricate details and his exuberance.

And now for some Links. The Web would not be a web without links.

If you are ever in the mood to discover design ideas or delightful ways to waste time, you need look no further than "How About Orange." Jessica Jones has led me to all kinds of interesting quizzes, ideas, tutorials and games, and her latest suggestion looks very good. Colorful, design inspired office supplies... that so totally appeals to the optimistic office bee in me.

Geoff has a special way of communicating with me. He sends emails with news links and other, lighter, topics. In the subject bar is the only clue about what he is thinking. The subject that came with this link was "hehe." The fate of the planet hangs in the balance... how will you vote?

He shared this one with me too: Click it if you love Christmas music, talent mixed with humor, and you can bear to hear one more holiday medley. I think Anne shared it too. I get to hear her sing this weekend!

OKay. That's it. I gotta get myself in motion!