Thursday, June 19, 2008

Frosty Campers and No Spell-Check!

The boys insist they've been warm enough, camping in the tent. This morning there was frost on the ground, and all night there were no clouds to blanket the Earth, so I am sure it was very cold. Still, there are no complaints... not about the cold anyway.

Alex has been discovered by the local mosquitos, and even with only 2 bites his forearm is swollen, red and painful. I guess there is at least one reason to be thankful Chickenblog is not posting pictures! There are no mosquitos in the tent. Unfortunately the sneaky suckers have been finding us during the day, when we go on walks, and sit in the yard.

I wrote several posts yesterday, but obviously never got to a wifi spot. So, I have to debate with myself whether or not to post old news, or stick with current events. Most of yesterday's post was my long suffering tale of woe, because I lost, then found my original post. The subject gets redundant and boring, facts which I am compounding as I explain all of this, so I am going to drop it now...

Yesterday we made it to Coos Bay, to the farmer's market, and Foodie's. We sampled varieties of cranberry breads, and bought sweet strawberries. Foodie's is the smallest, the most tiny restaurant ever and all 3 menu items are incredibly delicious. The parking lot hut serves Caribbean tacos and beef or chicken sandwiches, all with a homemade blackberry sauce, their specialty. Oh, so good.

Just around the corner from the farmer's market and Foodie's we stopped in a new antique mall. Sitting outside, waiting for a new home, what do you think I saw? Hens. Lovely, gentle, Polish hens! Oh my goodness was that a sight, and a temptation. The shopkeepr must have seen me coming; he was determined to convince me that 3 more hens in the back of mini-van, driving south for 20 hours was a perfectly reasonable proposal. Not sure how I walked away from that one. Have you seen Polish hens? All black with a ball of snow white feathers cover their heads, like a lady's hat. Adorable.

My visit to the feedstore outside of town gave me another point of view... I am trying to find a place that will sell chick feed by the pound. Most places want me to take home 25 pounds at once, which is a bit much to travel with. So at this last place the woman kept asking about my circumstances... "How many chicks? How big?" Finally she concluded that 25 pounds is not too much for 3 chicks, but when I explained in more detail that I will be taking said chicks and 4 children in our family car all the way back to So Cal, she finally got the picture and she said, rather matter factly, "Oh. You're crazy."

Yes, just a bit crazy, and also a bit worried. I've mentined my concerns about Amelia behaving like a rooster... well Pip is looking and behaving like a rooster. It's the tail feathers. They are not round at the ends and standing pertly. They rise up then taper to points that fall in little curled tail arcs... very telltale of a rooster's tail. I know Pip has been a favorite of many, and s/he is certainly dear to us, but anything that crows at 0-dark hundred in the morning will not be tolerated by anyone in our tidy little neighborhood. How much sooner would we be found out if there is a cocky-doodle-doer crowing?

Not all roosters are aggressive, and if we were in our own home I would gladly give Pip a trial, an opportunity to prove himself a mild and docile fellow. As it is, living in our rental palace, there is little choice but to begin a search for Pip's new home. I write this tearfully. It was foolhardy of me to jump into this venture. I should have known better. Sigh.

Even now, Geoff is working on the aforementioned lot with trailer... I would give it a more dignified title, if I weren't so determined to remain indifferent. It's a big lot and it has a small house, and if I enjoyed shopping for paint, flooring and bathroom fixtures, then we could call it a real gem! Let's just say it is full of potential. If only all of that potential and space were ours now, but short sales are not so short, and can actually take months before we even know whether we have a chance. Otherwise, there is very little to give me hope that we will be moving to our own place anytime soon. Our friends say how great it would be for us to stay in the area, but my enchantment with So Cal has long since waned.

Gee. This would be such a nice place to stick a pretty picture... something striking to lift the mood.

Back to Coos Bay... we made a stop at the children's resale shop, the one where 90% of Maria's clothes come from. We came packed for summer, but it's still early spring here, and too cold for her favorite dresses. Fortunately, I had my usual success at the resale shop and Maria now has warm clothes to wear during our stay here, and for our winter ahead back home. Places, like Oregon and Wisconsin always have the best clothing for children in their thrift shops and resale stores... it must be the 4 seasons and real weather that account for the greater variety. Anyway, I am happy that Maria is snug and comfortable for our afternoon walks, and we'll be able to enjoy a beach day too.

It's already afternoon. It's has been a warm day, with a clear blue sky. It might feel late in the day, if it weren't for the fact that the sun will not disappear until long after 9 p.m., which is a funny thing. Even at 10 p.m., when I went to check the chicas, the sky was still faintly lit. William read several chapters of "Pippi Longstocking" to us last night, and I suppose we were staying up too late, but the internal clock cannot be persuaded to believe in bedtime, when the sky is luminous.

Delia is remarkable. As serious as her injuries are, she is taking the steps she can, and making the slow and steady progress that will lead to recovery. I know she is in pain, and I can imagine she has her fears and disappointments, but she is not letting much get her down. I think it is with a mix of humor and gratitude that she is coping with her circumstances. I wish the circumstances were much different. One day at a time. Thank you for all the prayers and kind words. Every bit helps. She has said, everyone should be praying for Ron. True, he could use our support and praise. He is caretaker #1, and we are thankful for his diligence and steadfast devotion.

Just for the sake of marking time:
June 18, 2008

Just Like The Old Days
No pictures, just like the early days of Chickenblog. Initially we had no photographs at all, and then we posted a select few. After awhile Geoff showed me how to encrypt the photographs and they could only be seen with a password. I still need to go through archives and unlock those. In recent years Chickenblog has been a photo bonanza, but until I get back to Garage Mahal and our lovely iMac, I will have to paint my views with my fancy way of talkin'.

Last night was the boys' 3rd night sleeping in a tent in the yard. Cold nights, down in the 40's, have not discouraged them in the least. There's is plenty of room in here to roll out their sleeping bags, but happily they are content to enjoy a classic summer vacation tradtion of comuning with nature, being one with the wilderness, even without the benefit of a campfire and marshmallows.

What they do have is a flashlight and a well-worn copy of The Lord of The Rings. Last summer they camped with The Hobbit. William and Alex take turns reading aloud. At home Max has been reading to Maria. When the house gets very quiet, I often find them together in Max's bed, and Max is reading from their favorite books. Campers reading in their tent, Max and Maria snuggled with a stack of books... those are 2 pictures I would love to post and remember for always.

In North Bend there is a wonderful children's resale shop, and today is farmer's market day in Coos Bay. See, I am trying to work myself up for a bit of shopping, with 2 things in mind: warm clothes for Maria and some cranberry-hazelnut bread. We came ready for summer weather, but it has been windy and cold, and not the least bit comfortable for sleeveless dresses. Most of Maria's clothes have come from the North Bend resale shop, so hopefully I can pick up some pants and sweaters and she'll be warm now and prepared for our colder season this winter. The only rationale I can think of for the farmer's market is that bread... it's so nutty, chunky, cranberrylicious. My mom says it's early in the season for fresh produce, but there is some chance farmers from warmer areas could come in.

And this is what I wrote when I couldn't find the above installment. Later, when I can sit in my own house with a full computer and other conveniences, I may delete all of this.

June 18, 2008... 12 minutes later

This is nothing like the poetry I wrote and lost!! Geoff suggested I write my posts in the mail and then save it until I get to the wifi cafe. The idea is perfect, but my execution of the plan has been less so. Trying to find a way to save my descriptive, thoughtful and eloquent submission for Chickenblog, I managed to *blip* the entire entry. All gone. Vanished. Don't think I didn't gnash my teeth and cry a little. Now, instead of making an impression of sublime beauty and painting images of quaint days in meadows, and children reading beneath stars and moon... instead of all my deep thoughts and musings, we are left with me: Cranky and bitter me, typing up a cranky, bitter post about technical woes. Whaaaaa

I think I said something about not being able to post photographs, and how that's how Chickenblog began... with no pictures. Then I sentimentally described my brave sons sleeping for 3 nights in a tent, reading The Lord of the Rings aloud by flashlight. I talked about the cold and Maria's lack of appropriate clothing, and how I thought I might drive to Coos Bay, to the farmer's market and the resale shop. It was all so eloquent, so thoughtfully composed. Trust me... it was good stuff.

I know, the lack of photographs is a bummer, especially when my writing is so limited and hindered. Every 3 minutes Max or Maria feels compelled to ask me something, show me something or tell me something, and so my train of thought is derailed, detoured and deleted. Even now, I cannot write this paragraph without 9 varities of interruption. The lack of photographs is nothing compared with the lack of deep thoughts, continuity and focus.

Sure, maybe it's obvious to you that this might not be the right time to selfishly retreat to words and deep thoughts, to turn my back on precious children who are bound and determined to regale me with detailed descriptions of Earthworm Jim, but I am obviously not as clued-in as you are. I keep hoping that my first post will pop-up on the screen, or that I will suddenly feel comfortable and familiar with the strange laptop keyboard, so that I can type faster, with fewer errors. Yes, you probably can see what I cannot: It's time to call it quits, to set aside blogging and give it a rest already. There is no point in fighting the tide, in trying to reach for the Pulitzer, when I am destined for bathroom graffitti.

I'll try to save this post, such as it is, and maybe later I can say something pretty, and find a wifi spot, run spellcheck and post my deep thoughts and other musings. In the meantime, I am going to fold laundry. And if I cannot save this post, it might be for the best. Honestly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


We are here. "Here" being the Oregon Coast, grandma and grampa's house. We pulled in to the driveway Sunday afternoon. My Mommy was standing on her porch, and it was welcome sight. The chicas survived and so did we, and at last we were able to give Delia gentle, loving hugs, to see for ourselves that in time and with tender care she will be well again.

Geoff is back at Garage Mahal again. He flew south early Monday morning. We miss him already... imagine how much more I will miss him when we drive home without him. Sigh.

So. I have about 42 different things and thoughts I would like to share and record, but there are obstacles in the way. For one thing, I had to drive in to town, find a wifi cafe and figure all of that out. The children are settling in to their lunch, Maria has stopped whining about the strange pizza. Everything is "strange" when you are 3 years old and far from home, missing your daddy. The dial-up modem at the house is s l o w. (Sorry Mom, Ron, but it has to be said.) I can't post, because the cookies are disabled and the Internet service times-out in between pages. It gives me a tremendous appreciation for my mother and the fact that she manages to read Chickenblog at all.

Ironically, having 42 things I want to post about, I cannot decide on 1 subject to post about. It's hard to get in to the groove sitting in a public place, with my salad staring at me.

It's cold here... warmer today, but still colder than what we are used to.

I saw a 7 or 8 inch banana slug.

There are many, many flowers in bloom.

I came to see my Mommy, to help, to comfort. I feel like I could leave in a few days or stay the rest of the summer. You see, Ron is taking really good care of her. He is methodical and protective, nurturing. It is very comforting to me, to know she is loved and in such good care. She will need constant assistance and attention for many months. I think I am being helpful somewhat. Cooking, and retrieving this and that is good, and I plan on vacuuming, cleaning the fridge and doing some laundry, but... I dunno. I can see where we might be disrupting the rhythm they need to establish. The children are being good, and we are managing to not get in the way, but sometimes one person's idea of being out of the way cannot match another's. Does this make sense?

So, I need to find the balance: Stay long enough to help and leave before we impose, or wear them out.

Who wants to hear about the feed store at the end of the street? Alex, Maria and I walked there this morning. It's very close, and a dear place to visit. It's not at all fancy or meant to impress with first impressions, but the people that run it take in abandoned animals and to the best of their ability make them comfortable and safe, feed and shelter them. We were approached by a coal black pot bellied pig and Maria was astonished by the sight of her. She made a constant snuffling noise and lookied imploringly at us, and Maria launched in to a full scale dialogue with "BP." When BP ran along the fence line, trying to follow us, Maria pulled my hand and said, "I have to tell her sumpting." So, we paused, and Maria consoled BP, "You live here. I'm sorry. You cannot come to grandma's house. This is your house. Sorry pig."

We also met a very purrfect momma kitty and her woolly black kitten. We saw 3 rabbits and a few hens, 3 horses and a dog. The feed store is full of old things and collections, odds and ends, it smells sweet of alfalfa, there are treasures to be discovered. Walking back to Ron and Delia's Alex saw a quail, and we anticipated the buckets full of blackberries that will be coming. Now the spiny shrubs are full of blossoms, but we remember the sweet black jewels we enjoyed last summer.

Uh. What is free wifi protocol? We did order lunch and we aren't takng seats during a busy spell, but I do feel as though we should move on. Yes, time to move on. The children are looking at me a bit desperately, a bit b o r e d.

Geoff hopes I will do this everyday, but I think when he sees what we paid for lunch, he might settle for every other day!