Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Strands in the interWeb

After nearly seven years of blogging, and reading other blogs and perusing the Internet, I am pleasantly surprised that I can still be surprised. There is good news, and there are inspiring stories, new ideas, funny insights, helpful suggestions, silly jokes, entertaining videos, pointless ponderables... it's all out there waiting to be discovered and sharing the surprises is one of my favorite parts of blogging. Sometimes I think I could retire from actually contributing new material and just spend my time pointing out all the talents, the industrious people, highlight those that do marvelous things and humble things and hilarious things.

Last night I swept the chicken coop and did lots of toting, baling, hauling, shifting and shoving, and between trips from the front yard to the back, I would see Grandma's geraniums. Sigh. I do not like geraniums. There. I said it. Maybe I have said it before, but even thinking it makes me feel ashamed. Geraniums have so many qualities to admire... colors, full and frilly petals, lovely leaves and most of all their hardiness. But still, honestly, I do not like them. It's the smell. Mmph. Not nice. Not for me. But these are Grandmother's geraniums and she tended them and propagated them and moved them from home to home and replanted them in bigger pots, and so even though I do not like geraniums, I do love Grandmother's geraniums.

All through the blogosphere people are posting about signs of Spring and what is happening in their gardens. Alas, my garden is really Garybob the landlord's garden, so I am going to point out other gardens for you to enjoy... like the flowers in bloom at "The Big Yellow Farmhouse."
Alicia Paulson has posted all sorts of photographs and reflections on Spring in Portland.. get Cozy with Posie for garden inspiration and virtual neighborhood walks.
I honored Earth Day by sweeping fallen leaves and moving earthworms to a spot safe from the hens... Turkey Feathers enjoyed time in her garden planting seeds in the earth and inside under a grow light.
And to make all of our flowers happy some gardeners go the extra mile... I am talking about "honey super cells..." well, no. Not me. Warren, at Home Among The Hills is talking about bees and beehives and wax and silky cocoons. It's all there. It's all good.

It's almost risky visiting bloggers like Amanda Soule... supposedly I am cleaning house and doing errands, but when I see her patchwork quilts and wool needle felting... I get completely lost in a dreamy state of wishful thinking. And of course reading one crafty blog only leads to opening more pages from other talented, inspiring crafty bloggers, so naturally I found myself visiting Anna Maria Horner, her latest post reveals special news about their growing family. She says "Little=Happy" but I always find big inspiration in her art, decorating and fabric designs.

Speaking of felt birds and bees, do you know where babies come from? Do you know how to make a baby? I had to look when "Oijoyphoto, The Blog" posted Como Hacer un Bebé and I was not disappointed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meet Gilbert

Meet Gilbert

Say "hello," Gilbert.
Hmm. Gilbert is the silent type, yet expressive. Quietly waiting for his dinner to fly by.

Alex wondered out loud about large canvases and so I made special trip to the art store for this 18 x 24 art board. He started sketching Monday night, while we watched a Rick Steves Europe episode.

Alex and Max love frogs. Together they research the kinds of frogs that can be kept as pets. They weigh the pros and cons of frogs that may bite and frogs that are too small to hold. They like the African Clawed frog. They have been waiting for us to be in our own home so they can have a pet frog. In the meantime Alex draws frogs and toads. Remember when Gilbert first appeared? He was Alex's mood barometer when he started going to school.

Sometimes Gilbert smiles, but most times he looks like a curmudgeonly guy and Alex likes him this way. Alex added cheerful tulips, a flower he finds quintessentially floral. Gilbert seems unimpressed by the flowers or the wonder of his sylvan home. I like him too. I respect his reflective mood, his reserved emotions, his solid presence.

Today Gilbert is going to Kinkos. I'll make a copy of the sketch before Alex starts painting him. Then I may stop at the art store and pick up another canvas.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The First Monday of the Rest of Our Lives

Slowly but surely uncertainly we are tackling managing our affairs business.

I knew I was not ready to post today. This is more like Mad Libs than actual writing.

Saturday morning the children turned, sorted and matched sixty-seven pair of guy socks. Geoff thinks that it's sufficient to get by... I think sixty-seven divided by 4 is sixteen, and sixteen pair of socks is way beyond sufficient.

Besides matching socks, we vacuumed and mopped, and moped, and we dusted, scrubbed, and shredded paper work. I swept chicken straw, and made a really scrumptious falafel dinner. Eww... that is not a very appetizing compound sentence... chicken straw---- dinner. Good grief. We also had a movie night and dinner at Tutu's house, which made for a fun evening. Cousin Nick came over for some Sunday game play. Geoff and I took Maria to the farmer's market and we discovered the sweetest-juiciest grapefruit ever. Geoff joined Facebook.

I did not take any pictures of this, but Geoff and I made huge progress on Chickens Abroad. This is not easy. Everything is very complicated when done x six and in a far-far away land. Maybe it's appropriate that as our twentieth wedding anniversary approaches we are organizing an event as complicated and elaborate as a wedding! We have all flights ticketed. We have one week in Barcelona reserved. We have our last night in London booked. We know positively where we want to stay while we are in the Netherlands and the rest of the days are loosely, vaguely kind of figured out in a general way. Somebody keeps putting the Alps on the table and I keep referring Someone back to the wisdom of friends and world travelers like Lesley, of Chapter III. We really have tried to simplify and reduce the number 'must see' destinations and we have been successful, but in the end I suspect we are going to wear ourselves out... but in a fun way... lol. Still left: rental car, London B&B, Paris hotel, some museum tickets, and stuff.

So. I bet there is Monday stuff I am supposed to be doing, like making phone calls and moisturizing my feet, paying bills, dumping rain water from backyard containers, returning a library book, changing the cat litter, buying groceries, making the bed, finding my glasses, organizing confirmation numbers and doing sit-ups.

One more thing. I hesitate to mention this, because I know we are the Housing Whiners, but just for the sake of true record keeping... our offer on the home we like best, so far, the one on life-support, the one we put in last summer... it's moribund.

Know this... you do not have to pay your mortgage or your second mortgage. I can put you in touch with the "owner" of a comfortable 4 bedroom house, who has not made his ten thousand dollar per month mortgage payments in well over a year. CountryWide Mortgage gave this "owner" many dollars in home "equity" loans and now that he is under water and cannot pay, his lender with the help and sheer "genius" of our government is helping rewrite the loan and reduce his debt. It's brilliant really. I wish I had thought of it... buy a home I cannot afford, then take out more loans against the "value" of the property, fill my house with designer furniture and big screen TVs, drive a new Cadillac Escalade and skip mortgage payments for 18 months, because we all know the only consequence of this can be the kindly help and taxpayer dollars of my neighbors.

And now I am going back to read the email from about "How 6 Experts Cheer Up" and a "Recipe For Happiness."