Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Ballet Folklorico :: A Big Night

In November Maria joined her school's new dance program: Ballet Folklorico. It was only last spring when she first heard about the possibility of participating, and she was already over the moon to start dancing. The class is meeting once a week, except holidays... there were a lot of holidays between November and last weekend's school Talent Show, and I mention this because I am so impressed with what their instructor achieved in teaching those children in such a short time. Nadia took first through sixth grade students, with a frequently shifting attendance record, and taught them all the steps to La Costilla, then choreographed a dance for them to bring to their school's Talent Show. When the big day rolled around Maria felt very excited, eager to perform, but it was a hurry up and wait kind of day. Hair, make-up, and dance skirts were on and set by 3:30 pm, then they took pictures, rehearsed, and waited, and waited, and waited. They were the last to perform, after thirty-four other acts, and an intermission! {lol... what can I say? This school's got talent!} So, it was a long night, but in the smiles, and exhilaration she expressed, I'd say Maria found it very much worthwhile. And something really sweet... in that packed assembly room, from the back where students were standing on mini-bleachers, we could hear fourth grade girls cheering, "Maria! Maria! Maria!" It's really touching to know her friends were there and happy to support each other.

(There are at least fifty more pictures, and yes, some video, too. I cannot share every image, because I don't have permission, but I would love to share my dark, jumpy, slightly out of focus, from a long distance movie of their dance, so I will have to see about getting that accomplished, somehow. I must remind myself: Si, lo puedo hacer! Yes, I can do it!)

{10:11 am: On hold with Apple Support, and feeling a deep and burning frustration with the unintuitive, uninspired, and horrible iMovie software. Did they decide to make the entire movie making process a dark ride through the bowels of Hades, or was it just a chance happening? I used to make these movies for gifts, easily, happily. No more. Why, Apple? Why??

10:14 am: 22 minutes into this, and it's my second call. I am feeling increasing disappointment.

10:15 am: Remember when an Apple product was smart and intuitive, when they had the grace to make users feel smart and intuitive, too? Yeah, that was a thing.

10:17 am: Note to Apple: Do not play sh!t music for people on hold; we are already irritated.

10:18 am: When you forget why you are stuck, listening to horrible songs through tinny iPhone speakers.

10:23 am: Still holding with Apple "Support." William suggests I go to YouTube and watch tutorials, because "Yeah, iMovie is not friendly." Good suggestion, William.

10:24 am: Cannot hang-up, because of compulsion to tell Apple that they make me very sad, and angry, and I want them to be great again, but never mind, because they have fallen, too, too far. Ergh.

10:26 am: Hey! They're playing Santana... Oye Como Va... no va bien, amigo. No va bien.

10:35 am: Got through, and met Fernando. He's in Atlanta. He tried to help... or at least he said he would help. But, then the call dropped. First thing he did was take my number in case the call dropped... so, he will call me back. Right? Apple? Fernando? You will call back?

10:38 am: Nope.}

Monday, March 02, 2015

William's Very Good Birthday

We had a very good day celebrating William's birthday, with rain, and puttering, and banana pancakes. Friends came by... James and Celine, Mark. Mike was here, and I've started calling him Magic Mike, because he's doing such a beautiful job with the screened porch. Geoff has reached the on-call phase of crunch time, and fortunately he was home all day! Very good. We basically just followed William's lead, beginning with the delicious breakfast he fixed for us... fresh strawberries and buckwheat pancakes with bananas, then some old-time gaming, and mellow hanging out. William got Maria totally hooked on Adventure... Colossal Cave Adventure, and they mapped it all out... with{out} help from Chango{?} Cats. Classic game. Geoff was very happy to recall his early Adventuring days. We were all very happy to enjoy the day-long rain, flipping on the newly installed porch lights, eating the donuts Mark brought. When we all sat down to dinner, then birthday pie, I was very happy to recall that, beginning with William's birth, I've found my deepest sense of purpose and satisfaction... being a mom. It's beyond words to describe how happy I feel, to look around me and see my dearest ones, to be with Geoff, to see our children, to reflect on and enjoy our dreams coming true, to share with each other the new dreams and plans we have. Even knowing that plans will change, and not every dream can come true... just to have this opportunity to follow life's twisty passages, and mazes, with William, Alex, Max, Maria, and Geoff is very good, very worthwhile.

Friday, February 27, 2015

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to 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.

Our porch is becoming a screened porch. And because Geoff is still in crunch-mode at work, and still recovering, we are blessed and delighted to have help... good help! And so, things are moving swiftly, relatively easily, as though the five years of anticipation, the year of planning, and configuring, will be behind us in a moment, and in another fleeting moment we will have a new space to gather friends, to sleep through hot summer nights, to play, and craft, and make things, to tinker, to daydream. The rotted post and joist are gone, and the shade beams are out. Mike removed the facade from the posts, and lowered the pitch of the roof. Plywood sheeting is already halfway up, and maybe some of the tin roof will be installed in time for this weekend's rain. {My job in this is to convince our hens to increase egg production... we would like to send a breakfast's worth to our friends, in thanks for introducing us to Mike.}

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mission San Juan Capistrano Postcard Day

California state history, including the missions, are the focus of fourth grade studies, and this week Maria and I made a special class visit to the mission in San Juan Capistrano, only an hour away by train. I will spare you the historic tidbits and trivia I have amassed over the years, because Wikipedia can probably do it better, anyway. As close to home as this mission is, as many times as I have stopped in San Juan Capistrano in forty-eight years, this was the first time I've been into the mission. It was a gorgeous day... a postcard day, and well worth the trip. I especially loved the gardens, and the areas where we could see how things were done... like the tallow vats, the kitchen, where they forged metal. As a chaperone, I was accompanied by Maria and four of her classmates, including her friend, Emma. After our self guided audio tour, we ate lunch on the lawn, then made the short trek back to the train station. {Five Stars... Five Thumbs Up... Five Fat Hens... I rank the train ride and stop in San Juan Capistrano very highly for the gorgeous ocean views, and relaxing ride, for the central station, convenient to sights, dining, shopping, and scenic walking.}

Riding home... backwards. I had forgotten how gorgeous this ride can be, how often there is only bluff and sand between the train and the Pacific Ocean. And. We saw dolphins playing in the surf. Yes, dolphins. Actually, we see dolphins playing in the surf, from the beach, often, but everything that happens on a train is somehow magnified in awesomeness... like riding backwards, seeing the ocean, eating chips and guacamole... Awesome!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Five Good Things

Weekend time... a chance to see Geoff {rare occasions during the height of crunch-mode,} breakfast out, and the general pleasures of some down time from school and office. I brought my down time basket... it's brimming with embroidery floss, needles, fabrics, yarn, hooks, scissors, and I try to keep it on hand so I can finish, and start, projects.

My latest interest has been shawls. For about ten years I have wondered how to crochet a shawl, and I have seen some really gorgeous ones, too. I made some independent {I don't need no stinkin' instructions!} attempts, with hilariously disastrous results. It amuses me to realize how many years I can live with an idea, be inspired to learn something, and just let the days go by until it feels right. Well, I finally jumped in, and with a quick search on YouTube I found Brittany, and her Granny Triangle Shawl tutorial. I made a blue shawl for myself. It was so easy! Seriously! Do I wait, because fate will align all the elements and things will fall into proper order? Do I wait because I am a dork, and forget to take advantage of all the amazing and readily available opportunities at hand? Brittany's tutorial is great, and in no time I had the pattern and rhythm rocking. And while our breakfast order was on its way, I had a moment to gather loose ends on a red shawl for Maria.

Max's new semester is in full swing. He's taking Calculus II, and AP physics, American History, and weight training. He loves all of his classes. Everyday he has something new to share with us, and on this day we enjoyed a thorough discussion about aerodynamics... what makes a plane fly? He's got it down, and was happy to begin Maria in her physics education. I love that I used to homeschool some of my children, and that now they are far ahead of what I could instruct. These days, I get the lessons from them. They teach me so much, on so many subjects, and I love the experience of seeing them excited about what they are learning.

Good Things...

1. We may be only days away from a crunch mode slow down, as the game Geoff has been working at is nearly finished... first things will ease up, and then there will be a much deserved break!

2. It might rain. The forecast has been a crushing disappointment, so far, but there is still hope that rain will come. {Finally... it's raining. I really must get rid of that weather app... it stinks}

3. The chickens are really getting into the egg laying mood, and we are finally seeing more colors, more sizes, more eggs! We may be back in business, soon.

4. Dance classes for Maria have been intense as they prepare for this week's school talent show. The challenge has been choreographing for a constantly changing group... there are no two classes alike, and so once a week the dance they are rehearsing has to be re-choreographed. Maria still loves ballet folklorico and is as devoted as ever. It's impressive to see how much she has learned since November.

5. William is experimenting in the kitchen... and we have enjoyed some tasty new recipes, all made gluten, dairy, and sugar-free, no nuts, no seeds, no beans. The limitations are not easy, but he is finding success and pleasure in the new foods, and challenges.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday, Cat and Flowers

Mister Washburn Foo, and all of us Bird House cats, wish you a warm, inspiring, playful, and bright weekend.

Friday, February 20, 2015

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to 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.

Mending sheets, building illusions, sorting papers...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bird House & Barn

... a Farm Report~

Sure, it's February, but one cannot assume that the month of February falls in winter. February 2015, here at the Bird House, will be recalled as the fairest summer in memory. No rain, so far. No blustery cold, nor excuse to don long underwear. Instead, beach weather, and parasols for shade. I stocked up on cold weather feed for our hens and goats... organic lay crumble with some bits of grain to keep the chicas insulated and content. The goats have a rich supply of alfalfa, a hay better suited for actual winter weather. The one nice thing about this unwinter is that the hens have decided to raise their egg production. I don't think the Marans laid anything in January. Now we are up from one or two eggs a day to four. This is a welcome increase. That's Mako Ameracauna in the goat cottage. She'll leave us a green egg, and later this afternoon, she will follow me into the garden, sit in my lap, ask for a treat. Only Mako and Little Debbie can fly over the fence. They are the wider open spaces free-rangers!

My sweet peas are lush and full {only leaves and stems, for now}, interspersed with the snapdragons that are in full spring bloom. I cannot wait to have sweet pea blossoms throughout the house. The orange trees and lemon are as white as they are green, with fragrant flowers, and fruit, too. The apple trees are blooming, the fig tree is waking up, fresh leaf buds are dotting its bare limbs.

You would think all this great weather would mean more fun in our Viking tent, but, alas, with the warmth came the mosquitos. Horrible bloodsucking wanton ladies of the dusk! They have been the bane of our festivities all our years here. Time for another mission to find out all the puddles and wet places... ironic plague for drought times. Do you want to know something special? You do? As long as we have lived here, we have imagined that our porch should be a covered, and screened porch, like Grandma Nancy's, in Wisconsin. More shade, no bugs, cats in, rain out, more open doors and windows, make space... it's been a favorite daydream and topic of wishful thinking. And now we are days away from commencing this big project... roofing the porch, building low walls, making screens, adding doors, and creating a space to escape hot summers, and rain {should it ever return,} an extension of the home so we can spread out our projects, and activities... we like to make things and we like to share and exchange ideas and events with friends. I am very excited about the prospect of all of this, and for the first time, I can actually muster some interest in the imminence of another hot summer. If we can add some cots {catres} then I will happily relive childhood Sonora summers, complete with chickens raising the sun.