Saturday, July 23, 2011


::BeeWoman as depicted by Jim Lujan.::

On either end of the convention room floor, at Comic-Con, are artists, entrepreneurs, writers... small booths. In the center are the mega displays from the big studios and corporate types. We like kickin' it around the periphery, where you can shakes hands with the creative forces, the famous, and the new faces of the comic art scene. I have the most fun here.

Hold on... I need to back up a bit. For Comic-Con, the fun starts at home when you are dreaming up your costume, for a real, imagined, newly minted character. The fun spreads as you start spilling the glitter, cutting the fabric, gluing and painting, and measuring for size. Then you are in the parking lot, and you see your first Stormtrooper, a Sailor Moon, some Pokemon. All over downtown San Diego, and all over the Convention Center, you cannot help being amazed at the sight of all those inspired and enthused people, expressing their alter egos, or maybe their truest selves. Revealing, reveling, and sometimes slightly revolting. Always in good spirit. Amiable zombies, friendly Stormtroopers. Even Captain Hammer kept his ego in check.

And so, it was with fun in mind, that I decided to take Maria's original concept drawings for BeeWoman and make them as real as possible. She and I had a good time choosing a dress style, sewing the strips for bee fabric. Twisting her hair with yarn to build a beehive. She helped make the pipe cleaner bees in her hair. She drew the bee and heart on her bag, which reads: BeeWoman: Saving the World, one garden at a time! And when she arrived at Comic-Con she was thrilled to meet everyone. Everyone! She wanted to admire what they had accomplished, and she wanted to share her creation... a superhero who protects gardens, pollinates flowers, makes honey, and shoots laser spiders from her boots.

:: "Creepy fun." (Rated M, for mature audiences) ::

You may have heard about my epic fail, an entire day taking pictures with no memory card? Still feeling mighty pukish about that. I am so grateful to have in my possession some priceless memories, and even some tangible evidence of the many great men and women we met. Jim Lujan was one of the first to really appreciate Maria and her bright concept. Together with his booth brother, José Cabrera, Jim Lujan gave Maria... er... I mean BeeWoman the star treatment, and his personal interpretation of her persona. We love it!

::A busy little bee by Karen Knighton. ::

It would be so great if we had a keepsake of all the cool people we met. Maria and I keep recalling one more moment, one more character. She stood next to the Tardis, and with a weeping angel. She met princesses, and Darth Vader, Wonder Woman, Bob the Angry Flower... and even the scary or "angry" characters were all super nice, very friendly.

::Adorable and classy... a little Bird Envy indeed.::

Maria exchanged drawings with several artists. Some of them took photgraphs with BeeWoman, possibly using actual memory cards! I hope they can take a moment and share their pictures with us. We do feel really fortunate to have some original art. Thank you awesomely cool talented Comic-Con people!

We bought the book! Joey and Maria Andrade wrote a Christmas story with a robot elf! You know I could not resist that!

:: A BeeWoman Dreamworks' story board? Maybe... ::

This is David Pimentel's sketch. He is Head of Story at Dreamworks. After forgetting a memory card, not buying his book was the second biggest error of the day. He says, "Life is short, do a sketch!" I am so glad he made this one for us. BeeWoman is kicking into action. David also took the time to give Alex encouragement and advice... words of wisdom from one artist to another, priceless.

:: Evoke a book of David Pimentel's art is available at his blog. ::

When she grows up?
Maria says, "I want to be myself."
My hope is that she always finds herself in the company of fellow scientists, technicians, engineers, artists, musicians, and mathematicians, inspired to play, create, and keep her garden safe.

Picture This...

BeeWoman! Saving the World, one garden at a time!
BeeWoman says it best: "Comic-Con is the best!"

The End.

(insert picture of me, Chickenblogger, crying pitifully, shamefully)

I brought my beautiful, heavy, black camera, to Comic-Con, and I took hundreds of pictures. Awesome pictures.

Pictures of Billy Dee Williams.
Pictures of Peter Mayhew.
Pictures of HR Puffnstuff, out of twisted nostalgia, and also to freak Alex out.
Pictures of grand vistas, spectacular Comic-Conness.
Pictures of Maria with every single cool artist, cosplayer, writer, and media person at the convention.
Pictures of William, Alex, and Max smiling, with Comic-Con bliss on their upturned faces.

I can see every picture, every moment. In my mind. You cannot accuse me of being too proud, or of being too prepared. I am neither. Not one picture exists in the real world. Too late, we discovered that there never was a memory card in the camera. None. Nothing. All lost, or never possessed, actually. And no, the beautiful black camera never says, "Hey, check me out, no memory card!"

Soul crushing heartache.
Sad, sad, sad.

(insert picture of me, Chickenblogger, crying pitifully, with raccoon eyes, bed head, and a look of bitter despair)

I did take one picture with my handy mobile device. BeeWoman. From her boots to her beehive, utterly adorable and creative.

Not pictured:

BeeWoman and her dad, the BeeKeeper, complete with suit.

BeeWoman and her brother, Alex, the Marvel Hydra Soldier. He made his own mask and helmet.

William, Alex, and Max sporting huge smiles as they watched a LEGO video.

Me. Ironically, dressed as my alter ego, Chickenblogger-SuperMom. At least here, fiction can be better than truth when I tell you, I looked awesome! But the absurdity and embarrassment of dressing as a blogger/photographer/ultra-together mom, and having no memory card in my camera... well, it sort of diffuses my eagerness to make a big deal of this fantasy memory.

I feel ill.

(insert picture of me, Chickenblogger, throwing-up a little bit. Just kidding. Sorry about that. Gross, I know.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

{this moment}

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.
:: Idea from Soule Mama ::

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 20, 2011

For the Record

July 20, 2010
Alex, in Oregon.

Oh deer. Where does the time go? How do we move through an entire year, in the blink of an eye?

I decided I need to write a list, because I am getting dizzy thinking of everything I am forgetting, and forgetting everything I am meaning to remember, and remembering stuff I meant to do, and so on...

A list is what I chiefly need. And I decided to include a picture or two, and that's when I (finally) decided to look at these that My Mom sent from Alex's Oregon visit last summer. And strangely, crazy-happenstancedly, these photos are exactly one year old. To the day! And so it's like this big cosmic reminder that a year can pass very quickly, and that I do need lists, and reminders, and more of whatever it takes to get my life in order, because there is a tendency for me to fail in the realm of order.



That was sort of a mouthful of random introspection. Likely confirming some people's perception that many blogs are fluff and nonsense. Nonetheless, I stand by statement and declare it: sensesical and fraught with deep meaning.

Also: Happy Birthday Gretchen!

Okay. So. Order. Lists. Reminders of what must be accomplished. Because clearly, I am in need.

#1. find a hotel-lodge-roof and floor for our last night of vacation
#2. make spare keys (the ones I made last year do not work... not one of them argghh)
#3. take cats to the vet. Do not be late.
#4. clear the three baskets of clean laundry that lives perpetually at the foot of the bed
#5. clean ratty-rats home
#6. make a second third fourth fifth attempt to barricade chickens from garden bed
#7. finish all Comic-Con costumes
#8. find a seafood restaurant for dinner with AquaMan, AquaWoman, BlackManta, BeeWoman, BeeKeeper, and SuperMom
#9. mail water bottle to Grandmother
#10. load memory stick and return to Mom
#11. collect one large shade loving plant from Jess
#12. shred paper work
#13. pack for trip to Midwest
#14. give Rebekah a concise and non-demoralizing list of what to do and who to feed while we are away
#15. let Corina know we made a plan B
#16. thank Corina for so readily agreeing to be our plan A
#17. set a date for hosting MNO in August
#18. share the date with MNO moms
#19. pay bills
#20. wash the car... Really? I mean, sure the car is dirty, but how clean is it going to stay, waiting for us in a remote airport parking lot?
#21. feed children, repeat
#22. seems like there was more...
#23. clean... It never ends, does it?
#24. floss
#25. figure best way to pack ukulele
#26. probably clean some more

Do all of the above, and love the children, breath deeply, reflect gratefully, and take up yoga. It's later than I think.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I love, love, love, love, love, love my digital camera.
And I love downloading my camera and discovering the faces and places waiting to be recalled. And I love when someone else took some of those pictures... this happened last week, when friends invited us to come by and share dinner.

When you have a digital camera, you can pout, if you want to, but there's really no need.

:: Maria, Natalie, Mike ::

With a digital camera, you can keep snapping shots, until you get all smiles.

:: Sparky and Michal ::

Pictures of pets. Pictures of friends. Pictures of friends holding their pets. Endless possibilities.

:: Three Mikes ::

Endless silliness captured and preserved. I love the freedom. I love the memories.

We brought our raspador and homemade strawberry syrup. We made shave ice. Maria's practice beehive hairdo was holding up really well. She's going to be a super heroic BeeWoman at Comic Con.

:: Mugging for the camera... Mike and Suki ::

I love my digital camera, and I love neighbors who say, "Let's share dinner."

:: Maria, Caia, Mike ::

I love summer and summer fun, and summer smiles.

:: Caia and her Uncle Mike ::

Caia is learning the ukulele too. Like me. And Mike loves taking pictures. Like me. And we all like shave ice and strawberry syrup.

:: Alex and Suki ::

This makes me happy. Good one, Mike.

:: Suki and Maria ::

I keep meaning to learn more about photography, to practice what I learn. But one thing I know: it's worthwhile to just keep snapping. Also, it's fun to see what happens when your camera is in other hands... you get a new point of view.

Thank you Mike, and Suki.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I So Busy Having Fun

Dear Summer,
Please don't stop being wonderful. Your weather has been ideal... sometimes a bit hot, but tempered with some cooler mornings, breezy evenings. You have brought us celebrations, and random fun. You have brought visitors, guests, roommates, friends, family, a fish. Our home is as full as our hearts. Thank you for letting us sleep a bit later, for keeping us from boredom, from too many agendas, from other people's rules and deadlines. Oh, Summer, thank you. Never end, or at least promise us you will come again, every year, for always and forever.

::Tamsyn, Geoff, Suki, Maria, Grant, Eli, William and Alex... laughing at this.::

We have been doing and having all kinds of funness and play, like visiting Legoland with Suki and Tamsyn, seeing the aquarium, posing with LEGO Darth Vader. We ate a mermaid pancake. We had fish fingers and custard for breakfast. We visited Technomania Circus. There have been fireworks, and works of fire. Painting, drawing, cutting, gluing, sewing, reading, singing, laughing. Lots and lots of laughing.

::Tamsyn, Maria, Suki::

We are not slowing down. Too much to do! Most of it is our choice, which is such a treat, such a blessing. Today is dedicated to finishing costumes for Comic-Con. The house is full of alter egos and Marvel heroes. Maria has developed a brand new comic heroine who will debut this week. I have a lot of sewing to do! Remember: Bee Woman is coming to save the planet's gardens and farms!

::Tamsyn, Maria, Suki::

For one week there were as many girls as boys in the Bird House, and that was a lot of fun. It would take an elaborate, multi tiered flow chart to describe every place, every activity that has kept us Birds busy... from SteamPunk gatherings to midnight showings of Harry Potter, from drawing fish scales, to rehearsing musical scales.

::Tamsyn got steamed and punked for a Chrononaut Night::

Have I mentioned the music? Oh, I love the music.
Broadway bound Tamsyn singing like a linnet bird, and preparing to record an audition video. Suki strumming her ukulele, and her pretty voice, lilting and bright. Eli and his guitar. Maria practicing her C chord... new music on our play lists, new songs we sing along to. Instruments, and humming, and the air abuzz with music. I. love. all. of. it.

::Michael, Maria, Michal::

The Biergarten has been open twice this summer. We have good friends. We are meeting new friends. Summer has been a wealth of smiles, and good feelings.

::William, Max, Maria, Suki, Alex, Eli::

Movie nights here. Movie nights at George's. Midnight movies, and a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. I hope there is time for a few more. Big screens, hot buttered popcorn, a crowd, a shared summer night.

::Suki and Maria::

A comic book Summer. A sprinklers and sparklers Summer. Tomatoes and basil. Shave ice and hula hoops. Apricots and apples, pies and salsas. We have been writing our own adventures and making happy endings.

::William, Alex, Suki, Delia, Eunice::

Didn't I say expect to be surprised? Yes. And look what happens! My Mom came from Oregon. With one days notice, I find she is coming to Southern California, and happily the very next day she and Grandmother come to our home too. Cheers for spontaneity. Cheers for love and family, for staying in touch and getting together.


Thank you, Summer, for birthday celebrations, late ones, and early ones. Thank you for spontaneous reunions, and hot coffee, for long tables with room for all. Thank you for Tardis shirts, and Sonic Screwdrivers, for Portal cakes, and sing-alongs. Thank you for propane torches, low-rider dogs, and sleepovers, cousins, and bunny expeditions.

Dear Summer,
Do not be hasty. Do not hurry, and be gone too soon. We have so much to look forward to. So much that we are happy to anticipate, but with each passing day, we fear that you will be over before we are ready for school bells and sack lunches. So stay a bit longer much longer... long enough for swims, and pitching tents, for fireflies, and adventures, for a thunderstorm, and a road trip. Stay, until we begin to long for longer nights, and Jack o' lanterns, for school friends, and falling leaves, whenever that may be.

Yours truly,

Natalie, ukulele student, and Queen Bee, so busy having fun...