Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dear October, Please Slow Down

October 10... A place where Geoff makes things.
As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with the month of October, except that it never lasts long enough. I wish it were October beginning in September, right up until we start bringing home cream and potatoes for Thanksgiving, then it can be November, which should also be a longer month, but I am getting ahead of myself, which is just the concern I am addressing... everything is going too fast!

As dedicated as I have been to savoring every bit of this month, I am aghast to realize that we are well past the half-way mark. And, as usual, it's hotter than July. I will not complain about the weather though, because we are at least being spared wildfires. It has been too long a hot, dry, tragic fire season. The anxiety and dread of these wildfires is always just within touch, too close at hand, and the news from Montana, Oregon, Orange County, and especially Napa, Santa Rosa, Sonoma... is heartbreaking. "Fire Season," and "Fire Weather..." these are common terms, now, because the climate is changed.

Oh, lost my train of thought, or really it's that my "train" rides a wild, twisting rail, and though I intend to stick to happy news, and reflections, the real world is calling for attention, compassion, so I think, again, of Puerto Rico, of Standing Rock, of people struggling to hold on to hope, justice, respect, to life. I think of family, of my own doubts and insecurities, of the gnawing foreboding that drops my heart, burns my eyes, and crushes the hope and understanding that I'd been tending, guarding.

Everything is not fine. To keep myself moving forward, to try and sustain some hope, to be resolute, persistent, and resilient, I seek beauty, laughter, the sound of hummingbirds in the garden... I gaze admiringly, appreciatively, at the bliss of a cat's nap, pumpkins, a yellow bicycle, a favorite corner of our home, hands at play, minds at work.

Alex sanding the bat shield.

When we lose the eighty-degree days, I will be roasting more pumpkin seeds.

October 11... The chickens, too, will be happy for any pumpkin carving that we do.

Maria's cat's meow.

There have been some cool days, which explains how I've managed to work on two new shawls, and finish four crochet hats, and bake pumpkin bread.

Maria took charge of the Haunted Cookie House I brought home from Trader Joe's. Besides following textbooks and being immersed in online courses, homeschooling has its share of spirited projects and activities.

Cairo looks as though he is inspecting Alex's work, scrutinizing the details, the quality of the design. "He bites the wood," Alex pronounced, half amused.

October 12... Cairo, looking innocent, not biting wood.

Another part of homeschooling... outings, walks, hikes, explores, fresh air, nature.

Diced pickles, and only a smattering of mayo. I had to capture this moment, when Maria is building one of her ideal sandwiches. It makes me happy to think of those tomatoes she collected from the volunteer plants that are still producing outside the kitchen door, to recall that Max and Alex were building their ideal sandwiches, too, that the kitchen was cool, and safe, and we had what we needed. Another day, another lunch... I love when normal is a pleasure.

Boston, New England was a year ago, and I still feel smitten, and romantic about it. I still see the influence of that trip, like this wall... I came home from our trip with a fresh notion about settling into our home, putting up art, being here. Alex advocated for hanging art, moving in, for a long time, and I know he thinks this was long over-due, and is barely half done. And I admit... it's a source of contentment, a smile inside my heart, to see things that make me happy, reminders of things I love, that amuse me.

This year began with a resolve to learn to paint, and I was at it, intently for about three months, and then the muse left me. It was like that, too... like I was being lead to paint and paint, and paint, but then it stopped. And I'd look at all the paintings I'd produced, and feel a bit removed, almost astonished... happy that I had that moment, sorry that it was gone, and unsure how it came to be in the first place.

Then Gina called me. She's a friend from way back, from mutual friends, and the Squaremont neighborhood. We shared cars, dogs, holidays, and laughs. She got me on the phone and lavished praise on those rats in dresses I'd painted. Seriously, like a true friend, you know the kind... you aren't hanging out anymore, but it only takes one phone call, one visit, to put you back in the same kindred groove, familiar, comfortable, loving, just like always.

Gina knows. I laugh, self-consciously, thinking of my crazy process, what it takes to inspire my thoroughly escapist, whimsical, therapeutic depictions of life in a sweet, hopeful dream world. Thank you, Gina. With any luck, I can keep this up, and the world can be just and kind, too.


Wholly gobs, this is a long post.

Undaunted, the Chickenblogger persists.

October 13... Pippi and Pepper, the only two hens not in a frightening molting state!

We aren't seeing too many of these while the hens work on growing new feathers.

Cairo is not molting.

October 14... Maria and I were in Pacific Beach, then Hillcrest, and down to India-West Washington. It was one of those outings that sees a lot done, and a lot gets noticed, appreciated. I like those kinds of outings.

How easily amused am I? Well, I am delighted right now for deciding that these are bumpkins. Bumps on pumpkins... bumpkins. I realize I don't need to explain it, and maybe someone's thought of it before, but this moment of linguistic play is a happy thrill. Don't let me keep you.

Every neighborhood, in every city, should have at least one nursery, especially one like this favorite.

We came across this sweet message, and took the bowl of chalk, left out, as an invitation.

Maria, Max, Corey, and Alex... Saturday night and spider solitaire.

Happy Day.

October 15... Old sketches, and more painting.

I still have not seen or met another polka-spotted cat, like our Foo.

I love how every cat has its own weirdness, quirks, endearments. Foo sleeps with his eyes open. Also... fangs. What a dear.

Hehehe... this post is still really long...

I wish October were really long. I wish everyone were safe, respected, inspired. I may as well add... healthy, strong, supported, loved. I am sending out prayers, best thoughts, kindnesses, love, and courage, wherever it's needed.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Relief From Grief

September 19~
William is the cat's meow.

Yeah... this is as scary as I want my Halloween, or any day. From now on. Forever. It's too much to ask, I realize, but can we get some kind of break, at all?

This post is an escape, a focus on anything in recent days that has turned my head, captured my imagination, lifted my spirits, given me hope. I wish we could all choose to take a break, to close our eyes, or open them wide to take in a beautiful view. I wish there were hopeful moments, safe spaces, promising horizons, for everyone... peace, kindness, compassion, reason, and empathy are in want. I am taking this time to reflect on the good that sustains me, and that will help me move forward.

September 23~

Our friend, Manuel~

This reminds me... I want to plant a bed of wheat. When I should I do this?

Standing out while blending in, at a favorite spot.

Sometimes "word" art is too much, too cliche, or saccharine or preachy, or verbose (like me), or bland, and sometimes I am tempted. I do love words. And metal. I love enamel ware, and galvanized steel, and forged steel.

I have been smitten by these patterns since memory... there was a fabric shop in a brick building on the 101, in North County, on the west side, north of Swamis. I would time travel to that shop.

The girl who never naps came home ready to make an exception. I think we all napped that day.

Her socks: You're beautiful. Don't change.

September 26~
This rat he pulled out of my basket on the dresser, threw it onto the bed, and tussled it into submission. It was epic.

September 27
Seventeen, and a half. He is our old man, and months count.

September 28~
Almost tempted to braid it. That beard.

She knows.

Friend, taking his share.

Did he stay here all day? I think so. I could have done the same.

September 30~
When I put up the post box, with the bird embossed on it, I imagined a little message center between it and my postcard stand. Now we have the note paper and my chicken shelf. Maria and I leave letters in the box.

A mash-up of lessons and interests... Maria is homeschooling, studying art history, and world history, and she gets lessons in ancient armor and weaponry from Alex, then she researches more for her D & D characters. All of it seems to be showing itself in sketches she has on her desk, in her folder.

We could pretend this is a mighty roar, to greet the day. We could...

October 3~
A hat, to pass the time. This was a long day, in suspense, and care. We've heard good news, since, and the hat is finished, too. I've also started another hat, and a shawl. Because, there is a lot to care about, and be in suspense over.

I walked up to entrance of the market, and in the farmstead display I found pigeons. It was as though I was the only one who could see them, stealthily perched in the cornstalks and gourds, surveying the price of pumpkins. Were they nest shopping? I could have watched them for hours.

It's been months since I sketched. I feel awkward and inept, all over again. Rats.

October 4~
Introducing Sweet Pea to the dog biscuits we stock in the Little Free Library. Good dog, Sweet Pea.

We can put anything up there, but for me it will always be the pumpkin shelf. And it will always make me long for Massachusetts, and passing time with Jennifer.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.