Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lillian Virginia Mountweazel :: Garden and Tea

As noted, it's high time Lillian Virginia Mountweazel, Weazie Ratty-Rat, has a post of her own. And so I bring you Weazie in the Garden, with Tea.

On a blue sky November day, I gathered empty pots, and a bag of bulbs, and decided to share planting paper whites with Maria. From her cozy home, we saw Weazie, watching us with an expression that clearly read, Oh, do please let me help.

Out came Weazie, and she went straight to work, helping to gently tamp down the soil, and count bulbs. "Don't nibble, Weazie," we gently reminded. She never nibbles anything but carrots and other suitable ingestibles, but we wanted to be sure she did not sample the bulbs.

Maria was enthralled... brown, papery clumps were sprouting? They will become dainty, white flowers on long graceful stems? Weazie was delighted too, with her work, and the perfect sunlit day. She scurried about sniffing, counting, tending each pot.

We brought her dish, with something for refreshment. She selected a favored tidbit.

Nibble, nibble, nibble.
Weazie is dainty. She eats slowly, mindfully. Perhaps she is French? She does seem to dine with a Parisian's air of refinement, and savoir faire.

In the meantime, Maria was tucking in the bulbs with some moss. She and I talked about the eager bulbs that had already begun to sprout, and how happy they would be to straighten up, now that they could reach the light.

Pardon me for interrupting, Weazie interjected. Is this something I may try?

In all the busyness of planting and conversing, my tea had gone cold. Pity, but I wasn't thirsty either, so...

Weazie helped herself. She takes chai with a bit of milk, and lightly sweetened, thank you.

The Mountweazels, purveyors of fine teas and exotic spices, came to this land aboard great sea vessels, where in the cargo hold they would brew a great many cups of tea to sustain themselves on the long voyage, and she licked her lip contentedly.

A bit more.

And now a cleaning. No cream on the whiskers, please.

Weazie tidied herself.

Right, and left... until she was suitably clean.

Yes, Weazie?

Oh, I was just thinking, she seems to reply, How lovely it is to garden with friends, to share diversions, and nourishment, and to reflect on the joys of anticipation. Flowers and Christmas, holidays and friends. It makes my heart glad.

Me too, Weazie. Me too.

All the bulbs in pots, snug in the earth, facing the sun.

Our work and play are done.

Friday, December 09, 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.
:: Inspired by 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.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Dear Santa...

For the record: It should more or less read...
Dear Santa, I know you are one of the helpers, not the real Santa. The real Santa was St. Nicholas, and he lived a very long time ago, and did nice things for children, that we have embraced and carry on to this day, because charity and love are good, and we like to believe in things we cannot see, and keep our faith in peace, sharing, and good will toward all. I know my mommy and daddy are believers and keep Christmas, the magic and faith, alive in our home. Now that I know the *secret,* I can do the same. Of course knowing the truth does nothing to dampen my love of Christmas, and all the traditions and fun that comes in this season of light. And so, please do note my wish list, and thank you for the crayons.

Maria's drawing of the wooden dolls we painted together; our own dear Nativity.

She figured it out all by herself. The whole Santa gig is up, but she isn't crushed and dismayed. She thinks it's funny. And she also seems perfectly content to carry on believing, in a new fashion, and immersing herself in the pleasure of knowing the truth and keeping the faith.

So. I guess it should come as no surprise that at the top of her list is, "science stuff... anything science-y!" She asked for a squishy brain for her birthday, and a science encyclopedia, and those have been embraced and adored very much. Rounding out her list, dear Santa, please: An American Girl doll. That catalog found its way into our home and is covered in stars... "and this one! And this one! And I like this one too!" Stars all over every page.

She has been a very good girl.

She asked Santa, but she winked at me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

All I Want For Christmas

Marissa, and furry friend, Georgie

This week I had two very quick visits with my brothers and their families, and Mom and Dad. And I do mean quick! We were squeezing in our time together, between events and obligations, and stuff, and other stuff. Times when my brothers and I are with Mom are very few, very far between. (Not gonna cry. No. Nope. Not gonna.)

It's kinda cliche to call a little girl a "doll," but I think it every time I am with Marissa. She is adorable and petite and has these golden ringlets and a darling kewpie doll face. Of course she doesn't sit like a doll. The girl must have athletic parent genes... actually, she really does! She is a daring, moving, go! go! go! girl! She leads the pack.

Here at home, besides the frosty temperatures in the house, you would hardly know it's nearly Christmas. I have done very little to get that ball rolling. I brought early gifts for Dom and Marissa. It's purely selfish, because I hate missing seeing them enjoy their new toys.

The hotel where they stayed was decorated, the kids looked shiny and bright, family was gathered... it's all the Christmas I need.

Hans and Gretchen joined everyone for breakfast, and Maria and I met up too. It was lovely and casual, with time to catch up and share some laughs. In my ideal world, there is more time for lovely, casual meetings with laughter. I miss these times.

Bill, Natalie, Delia, and Hans

Oh. Dear. This makes no less than forty-two emotions and anecdotes come to heart and mind. (Not gonna cry. No. Nope. Not gonna.)

I can always count on Bill for some comic relief.
I need some comic relief.

Bill and I were enthralling Alison with nostalgic memories of our youth spent crisscrossing empty lots and open fields. From the hotel we could see all the new construction and developments that have popped up where we once played.

I wonder what they will remember about these days. What memories will they return to again and again, to laugh about and recall fondly? Cousins make the best friends. These three were at play within minutes of getting together.

Maria chose the kitty for Marissa, and the doggy for Dominic. Dom named his dog Snoopy.

Okay... how's this for a plan... Alex goes to school on the Central Coast, and we all move there? Good one, right? I know. Crazy. But I do think about it.

It would bring us eight hours closer to Grandma BooBoo, too!

I never regret taking pictures. This was a tiny whirlwind visit, before everyone had to head in four or five different directions. I have these to hold on to and enjoy. And though I am not ready for Christmas, have not decorated, or wrapped, or mailed, or baked... these pictures are a lovely reminder of what I want most for Christmas... time with loved ones, laughing, playing and making happy memories.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I Love a Parade!

Our community's Holiday Parade was the longest, coldest, most fun night of the year! Everyone goes... everyone is in the parade, or knows someone in the parade. Anyone not in this category is missing out, and should come next year! And possibly the best represented bunch there? FIRST 2102 Team Paradox!

No. No, I am not biased. This is scientifically, statistaclly, emotionally, instinctively proven and true. Amen.

I shared one tiny fraction of the planning and work that goes into getting Lavender updated and spruced for her big night. Now you can see the final results, 'cause *surprise!* I took some pictures! If I had a maid, driver, personal trainer, and decorator I would take the time to make a video, and I would compose songs about how incredible these students and mentors are. I would write epic poems expounding the merits of young people reveling in the delights of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Music... full STEAMM ahead!

Back: Kiley, Eli, Alex, Nate, Blake, Sam, Eric, Steve, Chester
Front: Sammay, Suki, Sarah, Erika, Lauren, Andy, Maria

Friends, old and new! The Robotics Club of SDA, FIRST 2102 Team Paradox. Spirited and Inspiring, an award winning, competitive, high school robotics team that designs, manufactures, builds, wires, programs and drives robots. A team that writes grants, volunteers and serves its community, mentors, and dances. A team that says, "Passion FIRST," and then acts on their convictions. A team that knows how to have a lot of fun!

Seriously. A. lot. of. fun.

But you gotta do the work, and take care of business time for the fun to be solid. Suki is business time.

Yellow on top, red on the bottom, blue capes, and Paradox all over.
All the colors play for Team Paradox.

Rick, our greatest distance traveling mentor, has made helping at the Holiday Parade his traditional contribution. We are lucky to have him. Eli, please thank your dad for his team spirit!

hahaha... here's where the light fades, and my photography gets wonky artistic. These wind up being my favorite shots, because they represent the electric charge, the energy and motion of the night! Erika and Victoria are energy and motion!

Annie and Maria are energy and motion!

These are taken on the side street where all the entrants are lining up, staging, preparing to hit the main street. The wait is hours long, but quite entertaining. We fix the float, and scrounge for snacks, we jump, cheer, laugh, visit, and enjoy the vibe.

Andrea and Suki

Friends and family come by, and we get to see many of the entrants rehearsing and getting their business together. All the schools, churches, Y-Clubs, youth groups, charities, local businesses, bands, organizations... the whole town! shows up with skateboards, bicycles, instruments, cool cars, contraptions, creations, smiles, and lights. Our float was #75... that's a lot of entrants!

Some families have children in two, three, even four different groups. Since our float was near last, we get more and more kids that join us when they have covered the route. It's like a dynamic conveyor belt, looping, and evolving as the parade goes.

Maria and her buddy, Myron

I have to add a personal note here. Thank you, Diana, Corina, Chris, Myron, Kiley, Kyle, and Sandy. I was telling Geoff how blessed I feel to be at home in this community, to have friends that think of us and help us, who we can turn to for support. In our town, and in our robotics family, I am frequently reminded that we have exceptionally kind and generous networks... it is an incalculable wealth. This night I was extra especially appreciative of these good friends.

Sammay, Geoff, Darrahl, Myron, Rick

Of course, now I am thinking: Thank them all! Everyone on this team, the families too, make being involved such a wonderful gift.

Darrahl and Bobbie

Yes! Thank you Team Paradox. You give our family countless blessings.

Grant. Grant, you came back!

Last year Grant gave blood along the parade route, when he fell while dazzling the crowds in his robotic costume. This is definitely more than we expect of our team members, so we are glad he honored us by fearlessly returning to the scene of his sacrifice.

Our friends, Chris and Corina, came by to see the float in action. Alex was happy to show them Lavender's new skills. She can rise and bow, chomp her jaws, and turn at the base. Lights aplenty, and our fog machine flowing. Parade regulations prohibit flames, and projectiles (not even chocolates *insert face of befuddlement!*)

Okay... we got there at four, and we are still waiting for our turn down 101. The night is long, but never dull. It's basically a street party, where we can enjoy a little civil disobedience, like riding in truck beds, and dancing in the streets.

Bobby is meeting Henry!

Maria wanted to dance, but her next choice was to ride in the pick up bed and wave to everyone. And her wish came true!

Check out the mini-bot tower, transformed into a tree of lights!
Check out all of those bright and dedicated Paradoxians!
Check out Lavender's sexy pose... she really is shiny!

Engineers are cool.
Enough said.

Here we go!
Suki reminded everyone where to place themselves, led us in a cheer, and we moved out! And she's keeping Grant safe too. She's so business.

Not yet on the official route, but Maria and I are already waving and cheering!
Hi Corina! Hi Chris! Hi Henry!
I love it when this city feels like a small town.

We turn the corner. Alex oversees the arm. Sammay has the drill ready. Eli has the control. Let's do this thing!

2102 on the 101!

Lavender turning and shining and thrilling the crowds! Up front our team dancing and cheering Paradox fashion... with spirit!

We found friends all up and down the street.

Play "I Spy Karen and Tom."

Maria saw her teacher, and I saw Adriana! Hi Adriana! Hi Paul! Hola Araiya!


Rotating love.

I could hear the crowd cheer when Lavender turned to face them!

She has sweet moves!

And the kids started lining up for Paradox tags!

We've got spirit!
Yes, we do!
We've got spirit, how 'bout you?!

After riding with 4H, Olivia jumped aboard the Paradox float.

Then Kyle joined us, and Sandy rode alongside.
By now the parade was "over," but the fun was far from over. Going trolling speed we went back to the staging area, picking up friends along the way, making sure everyone had rides. Lavender's base was secured to the trailer, boxes were moved to the truck bed, a giant pizza was ordered, and we made our way safely and happily back to the Bird House.

As soon as things get cleaned up, and Lavender comes down from the trailer, I want to convince Geoff and Alex to set her up in the front yard. We never get holiday lights set up, and I cannot think of a better display than Lavender and the mini-bot tower lighting up our winter nights!

One last picture, because Kyle's smile lights up a winter night quite nicely, too!