Friday, July 15, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment}~A Soule Mama ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hauoli Means Happiness

Where does inspiration begin?

And where will it take you?

In May we went to Maker Faire, and ten feet through the entrance gate we were already fully immersed in Maker Faire fun... namely, the hula hoops. Someone brought giant hoops to share and sell. Have you ever seen them? They are heavier and larger than the typical toy store kind. Whenever I saw them, and the gifted women who were whirrling and twirling in them, I always thought, those must be for good hoopers. It turns out I was not understanding the physics. Hula Hoop physics. Suki is a good hooper, and she was having a great time. Maria picked up a hoop and lo! she was pretty good too! The greater mass of the heavy hoops keeps them in motion, so they are easier to use than skinny-cheapie hoops! I thought this was very promising... and then I thought about all kinds of other things, and sort of forgot all about my future as a stunningly gifted hula-hooper.

::Cody and Tamsyn::

Until... until Elizabeth Mitchell was a guest blogger at Soule Mama, and suddenly I was utterly smitten and captivated by hoops all over again! And this time, I learned that not only are big hoops easier to use, but that they are easy and fun to make at home!


::Emma is softening the end of the 10' poly pipe by holding it in boiling water::

The video that Elizabeth Mitchell and Storey made is charming and sweet, like their music. I just wish our neighborhood hardware stores were as well stocked as theirs is. I had to visit four stores before finding one that could order the supplies for me.

This is what I bought:
100' of 3/4" Polyethylene Pipe, ideally at least 100 psi, and I wish it were a bit higher and also 1", but what we got works!

10 Internal couplers... they connect the ends of the poly pipe

Duct (Duck) tape and or electrical tape... for prettyness.

This grocery list will get you ten hoops, so call your friends and invite them over. The cost for poly pipe and couplers came to thirty-six dollars... not a big total per happy-hooping friends!

You will also need a pot of boiling water, and pipe cutters. Watch the video... it really is that easy!

::We did figure out that holding the poly pipe in the hot water for at least a minute and then forcefully getting the connector in is key to a good tight fit::

::Always Paradox, Andrea is preparing her hoop::

We basically cut everyone's ten feet long, because I was worried about having enough. I made mine last, and there was plenty extra, so I asked Suki to advise me about the size. Her suggestion is to make it taller than from the ground to your waist. My hoop I measured from the bottom of my ribs, which was a little more than ten feet.

::Cristina came from the beach... she had a total Aloha day!::

One more thing! Rice. For the fun swish-swish-swish effect we funneled in a generous tablespoon of rice. Simple trick with a lovely sound, like a rainstick.

::Emma and Lonnie and Andrea::

I dunno... I seem to make things big. Know what I mean? Like, okay, I want to make a hula hoop, but why not ten hula hoops and friends, then we can play ukuleles, and make shave ice with homemade strawberry and lemon syrups? Big, like that. And why not? Sometimes just sharing with a friend or two makes a simple something, something special.

::Alex went for sweet coffee over his shave ice::

I made strawberry syrup, and lemon syrup... pureed fruit, sugar, water, and sugar. As they say in Hawaii, It was ono. This is a NO DYE zone, and having dye free shave ice is a real delicious treat.

::Jess likes the strawberry::

::Lemon and strawberry for Jesse and Jacob::

::The strawberry syrup tastes like strawberries... right, Lonnie?::

::Maria covered her hoop in all kinds of electrical tape colors::

We made our hoops. We decorated our hoops. We played with our hoops. We ate shave ice, and had seconds, too, and then we kicked back. The rest is just memories of hauoli.

::WOW... Word of the Week: Hauoli means Happiness::

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Expect to Be Surprised

::Photograph By Delia::

This is a gratitude post. Long overdue. My prayers are all gratitude, but sometimes these things need to be, want to be, declared. Out loud.

Thank you, mommy for sending us photographs, and pencils, chipotle jelly, fabric, Velcro, patterns, magazines, scarves, earrings, earrings, earrings, and love. Above all: love. And thank you for making your way all the way here, whenever you can. You never stop caring, extending yourself, staying in touch. And Ronnie, thank you too, because you are a great facilitator, a true heart.

Thank you, Geoff. For all of it. I would follow you anywhere.

Thank you, Missy of Spring Bean Things, because your talents and generosity come together, and you have bestowed gifts upon my home. I am humbled.

Thank you, Annie T, because in the market today Maria stayed warm wearing the pretty hat you knit for her. And because you have a lively and expressive spirit.

::Our tree gives smiling lemons::

Thank you Suki, for the music in our home. Every chord, every melody, every whimsical note that you emit makes me feel ever more blessed.

Thank you, William. I see you there, quiet and aware. You are perceptive and caring, and everyday I am the recipient of your thoughtful kindness. I love you.

Thank you, Lisa, and Holly, and Ruth... three women who made everything easier, more pleasant, more fun, on the Fourth of July. Where would I be without the extra hands and good hearts of family and friends who quietly and wholeheartedly step in and participate? Happy, safe children, and clean forks... these are the daily miracles that make me thankful.

Thank you, Max. You endure, you strive, you excel. You are dutiful and brave. You amaze me, and... well, the rest I save for your ears, because that is how you would prefer to learn how much I love you.

Thank you, Lady Betty Orpington. My hen. My muse. My reminder that dreams can come true, but only if we are willing to step out and scratch around.

Thank you, Aunt Carol. For listening. I poured my heart out, and you listened, with kindness, intelligence, and compassion. It was a tremendous help.

Thank you, Andrea for being a light... shining your gratitude, your attitude, your passion... your beams reach the darkest recesses and make life brighter.

::Our tree makes bird apples::

George, thank you. You are the kind of teacher and friend that makes all the good difference in the world. One hopes to know smart, dedicated, interesting, inspiring people. We are fortunate to know you.

Our neighbors, our biergarten brothers, our sisters in the 'hood: thank you! We were happy enough just to find a home, but you have made our lives here very, very dear.

Alex, thank you. You are navigating new waters, trying on new hats, growing up, and I am marveling over it all... seeing you become your own self. What a privilege. I love you.

Janece and Anna Banana, thank you. One of you, I have yet to meet in person, and one of you has become a closer friend than I ever knew possible, and if it weren't for you two, online-multi-player gaming, and FB, I don't know how I would make it through the week! (Take that, social media naysayers!)

Thank you, Bill and Alison for keeping us up to date, for those dear peeks and photos of life in your neighborhood. Those regular glimpses of your beautiful family do my heart good.

Maria, goodness, you are. Thank you for bringing me along, as you embrace joy, and dance through life with optimism and love so great, so profound that it is what I never thought probable, but hoped to dream possible. You are happiness.

::Delia's photograph, taken in Corvalis, Oregon::

Expect to be surprised. I am learning, new things, all the time. And even amidst grief and heartache, I find that life gives me reasons to smile, reasons to reflect with a grateful heart on some really marvelous people and events. And amazingly, delightfully, I find that the more I open my mind and heart to the possibility of good, the more I find to smile about, to enjoy, to celebrate. It does not have to be a grand gesture, or a big occasion... I know that joy comes in small and unexpected places. Thank You for that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cakes and Tea

The cakes.

Alex and Suki prepared some dainty delectables to bring to Lonnie's tea party. Pumpkin cake with rolled oats, and a cream cheese frosting. Sweet and tasty.

Alex, an artist in the kitchen.

Suki, the lovely accomplice.

Since she couldn't make it to the grown-up tea party, Maria was delighted to find there was enough pumpkin batter leftover so she could bake her own dear little muffins. William, Maria, Michal K, and I had a lovely tea party here at the Bird House.

And that is the end of our Cake and Tea tale. A happy end.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Launching T-shirts!

Goodness... there is still a lot to be said about our Fourth of July. Looking through our photographs, I realize that we really did pack in a lot of fun for one afternoon. So, sometime before the sponge-bucket-water game, and after the sponge-bucket-water game, we were launching T-shirts from the T-shirt cannon prototype version II. (You can check out version I at Love and Rockets.) Besides being fun to hold the cannon, and punch the button, I think people enjoyed the whole spectacle, not to mention trying to catch free shirts!

This time Shayan gets to take aim. Now, let me see if I can remember what changes were made since we last played with this device. The tube is smaller, and they replaced the... the... thing... the valve! The new valve is bigger. (Thank you, Alex. You can go back to sleep now.)

Smaller tube + bigger valve = bigger crowd, more smiles, and greater distance for shirts to travel. They used to travel about 100' and now the T-shirts can be launched 200' away... a few hit the pool!

Systems checks, cameras ready, and Kyle has his hand over The Button. If you come to the Bird House, and you get to push The Button, let's just say it's life altering, even when it isn't hooked up to a cannon.

And we shout a warning to the rest of the party out in the yard, and then we countdown...

we remind everyone that it is loud...

Can't you just feel the anticipation?!

Yeah, it is that cool.

Across the yard, they dash for the incoming T-shirt. Grant has it in his target. Can you see the white tubular projectile coming down, above the hula-hoop? That's one of seven Time-Warner Connect A Million Minds T-shirts we collected at FIRST Championships in St Louis. It's all about promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Music, and Math... actually we include the "art and music," so it is STEAMM, instead of just STEM.

We are all about promoting STEAMM.

And fun. So much fun.

And smiles. We love promoting smiles.

Annie is at the helm, or what do they call the cannon master, the one taking aim? Anyway, Annie is boss.

Now Andrea is boss.

Geoff shouts, "Incoming!"

Something about the noise... a lot of pictures show the boss with their eyes shut. The shirt is wrapped in painter's tape to keep it wound up in the tube.

Yeah, it is that cool.

Erika, Lonnie, and Emma.

Have I mentioned how excited I am about FIRST 2102 Team Paradox in 2012?

Yes, very excited.

So. T-shirt cannon, on the Fourth of July. Very cool. Very fun.

And today, in the metal shop, ever greater improvements will be made on the prototype, so that the T-shirt cannon will be a robot! Now, how epic is that?