Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chicken Coupe

I think sophisticated humor is subtle, and possibly literary... it is witty. There is no need to roll on the floor laughing or to point out the sheer genius of the joke, explain the punch line... but, man, I crack myself up. I think, those years in the institute of higher learning have finally paid off. Chicken Coupe! Get it?! It should be embarrassing to me that I am so taken with my joke, but consider: I've been awake since 5:40 and I don't drink coffee, I haven't had a haircut in over a year and I've only had one pedicure in my entire life, I don't get out much, last night I had a horrible stomach ache, and yet in spite of all my glaring disadvantages I still come up with a zinger!

Chicken Coupe. That's really funny.

And if subtle wit does not work, then how about playing the cute card? I'm not above that either. Have you ever seen a 3 year old catch a pullet? Maria crashes through the undergrowth, she dodges and Betty weaves. It is a comic pursuit that ends with cackling and giggling glee. Maria calls Betty her best friend and what friend wouldn't want to share a ride in the cozy coupe?

Amelia stands back and watches the scene unfold. She hasn't crowed this morning. I wonder if I cured her with 3 hours in solitary confinement. Yesterday I left her in the shower stall... it was my desperate attempt to avoid eviction by a neighborhood mob of angry city folk. If you think Amelia looks stern, you should see the look Geoff gives me whenever she crows.

So, what kind of home would you put us in? Certainly not another tidy little place like Garage Mahal. We need something less fussy and "grand." We need a yard, for sure. We need storage and rooms for a family of 6, but not necessarily 6 rooms. We need hardwood floors and no more than 2.5 bathrooms. I do not want to see another suburban mini-mansion with a bathroom for every bedroom. Gag. One generous kitchen is more valuable to me than any number of "formal" rooms. No columns, no chandeliers, no marble entries. Laundry chutes... laundry chutes are cool. Laundry rooms are awesome, especially when the architect knows what happens in a laundry room, so it's designed with work in mind. I would not object to a laundry room the size of a bedroom. I would not object to a swimming pool, raised garden beds, a barn, or a finished attic. I like window seats, niches, arches, covered porches and old trees.

One of these is Fantam the Dark Bantam and the other is Buttercup. But which is which? Can you tell them apart, because we hardly can. Buttercup has actually gotten darker and Fantam is growing more golden feathers.

Our teeny-tiny farm operation brings so much joy. This picture brings me joy... the bliss, the exhilaration, the intuitive instinct for enjoying the moment at hand.

1 tomato plant and a handful of ravaged carrots, 4 chicks and a bunny... it's not much, but it is certainly testing the limits of this yard. I would so much rather have a real chicken coop, than a master suite and sunken tub. Oh, wait... let's enjoy the moment at hand... who wants salsa?

Who wants carrot salad a little snack?

Yesterday's post was a fond look back to happy times and our sad last visit to Kalopa, and it was a farewell and aloha to our plans and hopes for a life there. I wonder if we will ever part with all of those dreams, but I know we need to make new plans, to know what we want now, in order to move forward. It still feels like we are living in a holding pattern, waiting for tomorrow. That's not good, I know. So I look at my children and I follow the chicas, and pluck tomatoes and I let go, while taking in new visions and enjoying the moment at hand.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Aloha Hamakua

Hilo Hanakahi words and music by Keola Naumu

Hilo Hanakahi
I ka ua Kanilehua

Puna paia `ala
I ka paia `ala i ka hala

Ka`û i ka makani
I ka makani puwehuwehu

Kona i ke kai
I ke kai mâ`oki`oki

Kawaihae i ke kai
I ke kai hâwanawana

Kohala i ka makani
I ka makani `Âpa`apa`a

Waimea i ka ua
I ka ua Kîpu`upu`u

Hâmâkua i ka pali
I ka pali l koa`e

Ha`ina ka puana
I ka ua kani lehua

Only a few memories from 19 years of visiting and loving Hawaii and ohana. "Hilo Hanakahi" Gary Haleamau with JJ and Darlene Ahuna Hilo of Hanakahi Where the rain is in the lehua forest Puna of the fragrant bowers Fragrant with the blossoms of the hala Ka`û a windy district Wind that scatters the dust Kona, land of calm seas Sea marked with sea lanes Kawaihae has a sea A sea that whispers Kohala has a wind A gusty wind Waimea has the rain A cold pelting rain Hâmâkua cliffs Cliffs where the bird soars
This is the end of my song
Of the rain in the lehua forest
A Sunday Afternoon

It can be hard to believe... when they were babies we knew some day they would be older, that the difference in their ages would be less noticeable, and that they would play together. It seems sudden. Time passes quickly, somehow. Now here they are, 2 little girls, born 16 months apart, cousins. Cousins chatting together, sitting in Izzy's room playing, exploring the yard and sharing the slide. Learning to take turns. Practicing patience.

Practicing patience takes a lot of patience. I love Maria's body language... she's actually trying to contain herself. Sweet temptation. When is it my turn?

Do you remember the toys in other people's homes were better? Newer, different. Everything at cousin's house is wonderful and better. This tricycle for example is very, very good. It can be pushed and steered from the long armed handle.

Whether riding or pushing, Maria could not get enough. And I was even more impressed with the trike, when I saw a toddler could successfully maneuver it.

Even the sandbox is better. After they had their fill of cycling, they made their way to the full sand box. Izzy showed me her bandaged ankle. Is it just me, or does "bandaged" sound more traumatic than just explaining that she had a cartoon band-aid? She had a cartoon band-aid on her ankle.

There, see? It's not so bad. I love her expression. She knows it's worth some sympathy. Maria carries a bandaged finger like a near fatal battle wound sustained during a famine, while she was rescuing kittens from a tornado. It holds a lot of weight, it's got a story, it demands your attention and respect. "Look. Look. I am hurt and let me tell you how it went down."

We should refill Maria's sandbox. It's down to the dregs. It's more like sandpaper than play sand. I would wager cash, that we have more sand in the carpets and on the floor of the car than in the sandbox.

Nick and Max, with a neighbor friend and uncle Geoff, were playing a basketball-baseball-soccer kind of game, that was very reminiscent of Bill Ball. Bill Ball was my brother's democratic, diplomatic, all's fair, anything goes, ball game played with any number of players and any variety of bats, balls and arenas. It was an awesome game to play with friends. This game was dubbed Max Ball and it was rigorous and lively, and much enjoyed.

We are getting together again this Sunday, when Max is celebrating his 10th birthday. A pizza, some cake, Lego time and time to play with cousins and other friends. Max, 10 years old? It's hard to believe. Time passes quickly, somehow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One of the Crowd

It's the original, and like no other: It's Comic-Con. It's comic books and artists, writers, characters, posers, geeks, nerds, superheroes and anti-heroes, it's garbage and flyers and swag, weirdness, classics, cutting edge and cutting room floor. Comic-Con began as a comic book themed convention, in San Diego, in 1970. It's grown and it's evolved, and I can't help but feel that it is forgetting its roots a bit... it's in danger of being over taken by the Hollywood-Corporate-Commercial Machine and all of those big spenders tend to drive out the smaller franchises, small (and skilled) talents, local talent. If I were a journalist I would have a hard time deciding my angle on this story... Comic-Con: History, Lore, Changes, Venues, Artists, Video Games, Genres, Movies, Animation, Manga, Anime, Toys, Fans, Graphic Novels, Comic Books, Comic Strips, and a fervent wish that the organizers and attendees would Go Green... swag, flyers, cards, leaflets and garbage were everywhere! What Would Wall-E Do?

It is a spectacle. Sights and sounds from all directions and plenty of people eager to see and be seen. There is some temptation to go in costume. The creativity, the atmosphere of play is inspiring and infectious. I think the attention you could draw might be overwhelming. I like that at Comic-Con there is an opportunity to attract attention to yourself, to be amusing and interesting and have people want to take your picture, and it has nothing to do with being an empty celebrity, famous for your inheritance or ability to promote your youth and shopping habits. We enjoyed seeing Chewbacca, and in the past we've met famous authors and artists, but the surprises and draw of the convention are the real people, the geeks and fans, the enthusiastic individuals enjoying a day, or 4, of playing with fantasy and creativity. And at Comic-Con anyone can be a part of the scene.

Anyone can be a part of the scene. Starfighters from "Star Wars?" Yeah, we saw the Tie Fighters getting lunch.

OKay, I will admit not every subject matter at the Comic-Con is family appropriate, or even particularly praise worthy from a peace loving, love and harmony perspective. Maybe some expression is a safety valve, an outlet to relieve pressures. Maybe some expression is simply scary and best avoided. It can be a microcosm, a sampling of the good, the bad, the ugly, the absurd, and the earnest endeavors of creative people. It can be really funny. When these Tetris pieces walked by, a spontaneous chorus hummed in the crowd... the distinct tune was a heartfelt tribute to these collaborative enthusiasts.

I've seen plenty of scantily dressed shegeeks... nothing any less naked than beach attire. Too my amusement this was the first year I came across hegeeks in their under-roos! Hilarious.

We go for the camaraderie, the talent of writers and artists, the encounters with enthusiastic people and to enjoy an atmosphere of play, where people can be themselves or be an alternate self... And we go for BIONICLE, and the comic book series that William, Alex and Max have been enjoying since 2000, or was it 1999?*** They met the writer, Greg Farshty. Alex spent a long time talking with a master-builder from LEGO.

***Update: William informs me their BIONICLE interest began in 2001.

Geoff and I took turns at the LEGO table with Maria... for hours!

Technically I am a geek by marriage. I brought my quilt and was happily immersed in my own fantasy. I wish I had done this other years.

I never could find the booth that was reputed to be selling Totoro T-shirts. Bummer. But I had a good time going around the convention floor, and taking in the sights. Watching people sketch, seeing familiar faces and publications, reading other T-shirts. I loved the graphics this booth was offering. I loved how he would light up enthusiastically when people admired his collection. Success? Success is loving what you do and finding a place where you can share it.

Eventually we have to leave. It takes awhile for there to be consensus about when exactly that time is. This year Alex wanted to stay much longer. I think we should seriously consider buying our 4 day passes for 2009 now. This guy lost his voice, which is one of the many hazards and risks we face at Comic-Con, but by next year we'll be ready to face it all again. Rest-up Howard, there are only 357 days until Comic-Con 2009.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Missing Cable

This weekend I carried Geoff's pocket camera with me. It's small and convenient. I took pictures, just like Anne said, at Mom's Night Out. Pictures of our friends and the beautiful garden, and Yanina's lovely table with summer lights and summer colors. I took pictures at Comic-Con, where I tried to take in the vibe and action, the characters and humor. Comic-Con has almost endless points of view to consider and I look forward to distilling some of it for Chickenblog. We stopped for a visit at Holly and Rich's and I took quite a few pictures there. The children were playing in the yard, looking cute, being active, having fun... those are wonderful occasions to photograph. In all I took more than 100 photographs. And, if I knew where Geoff's cable is I would be sharing those pictures, instead of these thrift shop shots I took weeks ago.

Curious... I know allspice is good in pumpkin pie and I like nutmeg in my oatmeal cookies, but what do you put in a fiddling cowboy spice jar?

I was tempted 21 times and for 21 reasons to delete my last post, because it was sad and personal, and it is risky to be so open. It makes one vulnerable... I really appreciate the responses, the feedback and support. For one thing, saying things out loud helps me filter and sort, and even to diffuse strong emotions, so that I can make calmer, more rational choices.

Secondly, I get good advice and an outside point of view that helps me either confirm my beliefs or waken new ideas to help me move forward.

And thirdly, and this is a good one, I really love the idea of dispelling the myths and fabricated notions of what women and mothers and families are like... in other words, I love showing the challenges, the scenes that are not airbrushed and glossed over. Without personal trainers, tidy yards, nannies, sitters, trust-funds and higher than average social and financial advantages, without a publicist and stylist, some of us struggle to find all of the right answers, to know what to do or how to do it. And even the people that enjoy some or all of those niceties, even they, struggle on occasion. I find it reassuring to know I am not alone in doubting myself, in trying to be better as a human, as a mom and leader and partner and friend.

So I risk showing my dark side, my weak points and I feel awkward and lame for it, but I feel honest too. I feel true, and when others recognize my feelings and obstacles and can relate, or can empathize, sympathize or feel a connection, then I believe it is worthwhile. A conversation begins, we can help each other, we can laugh it off, and wipe our tears and we can take heart knowing that this human experience is better shared. And the exchange is awesome. All of your comments and insights and perspectives are so valuable and interesting. It's a powerful force, feeling connected, to support and be supported, and I thank you for contributing to the conversation. Because of the comments it is a conversation, and not just me whining, and I really appreciate the exchange.

Liz, you made me laugh out loud, because you narrowed down the topics to 2 key and practically insurmountable issues. Housing and perfect fit jeans?! No wonder I am overwhelmed, right?

Nikkpolani, sexing chickens is apparently an elaborate, mystical realm that is not well practiced, because the *Help! I have roosters!* posts are rampant in the chicken-blog arenas. I am not alone in this crisis! I have yet to hear anyone say "I bought poulets and I have hens, and no roosters."

Tilly, thank you. Hooray for chickens, and hooray for people who take the time to leave a comment, even if it's just, "Hi. I am reading today." Your comment is very sweet and it feels really good to hear what you said about my posts.

Tarie, thank you for the hugs. I am sending you hugs too.

Janece, we can never hope to say it all in 1 post, or in the comments. Life is too complicated, but I just love that you shared your thoughts and experiences. I am bolstered by your willingness to be honest, and by your friendship... what you told your NY friend was good... an understanding friend is a treasure. I just know we are destined to meet face to face some day, until then, thank you. Thank you for your understanding, your support. LOL, like you, I don't know where to start or end.

Anna Banana, aren't we fortunate? I feel as though through blogging we have this rich tapestry of views and ideas and wisdom, and the strength of all these wonderful women can be shared... we can share it through humor and wisdom and even through sniffling. And we are especially fortunate that we can meet in person and have a real hug from time to time.

D.A. , you're right about Laura Jane, and I am taking it all in. Thank you for the hug.

Laura Jane, "chiqa," really? I'll take it as a sign. Actually, I don't need any signs, with a friend like you. I just need to read and reread your words and frequently remind myself of all the wise and caring things you said. I believe you are in a perfect career, guiding women through labor, delivery and recovery... you have the nurturing, gentle yet firm wisdom and experience to guide women through rough patches and narrow passages. Your skills are helpful in many more stages of motherhood than just the delivery room. Thank you. Very. Much.

Campbellgirl, it's good to let Garybob off the hook a bit... just a bit! Humor helps, but I think Laura Jane is right, and we must be kind(er) to our lovely selves. Think how kind you've been to me, and I thank you for that, and consider how worthy you are too. Why do we find this difficult? You deserve to escape the bag lady mode and to slip in to something as lovely as you are.

Most times I do not know where my post is going, where to start or where to end. Hopefully I will find the camera cable and post fun pictures and share interesting details about life, the universe, MNO, flan, comic book heroes, children, chickens, friends and everything. I like it when my mom reminds me that we are works in progress. I enjoy sharing the progress with all of you. Live long and prosper.