Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hello Kitty :: Two Hundred Nine

Once upon a time... in a cozy nest of pink, there slept a kitty Boo.

The End

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Le Voyage a la Supermarché :: Two Hundred Eight

Ça va? Maria and I slipped away for a special breakfast... and found ourselves enjoying some local French culture. Of course, the net effect is that I want to say everything in French, now. By the way... we highly recommend the tarte aux framboises!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Parlez-vous le français?

Baies rouge avec de la créme.

Bien chien, dans le café.

Un café crème, s'il vous plaît.

Jolie tartes et des bonbons.

Eau avec du citron. Rafraîchissant!

Bonne journée, mes amies~

{Je vous remercie, Google Translate}

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Would Like To Print and Frame This Thread

Beautiful, the Carol King Musical is coming to town, and I got this impulse to see if maybe some friends could join me to see it. If I could sell enough eggs, I would buy tickets for all of my friends, fly my mom down. But even if we can't get to the show, I will always treasure this interaction with my friend, Carol. The best of social media... when you put something out there, and someone reaches out, and connects with you.

Natalie Van Hola... I've been daydreaming about seeing "Beautiful... the Carol King Musical."
Have you? Should we go together...
Sunday, August 7? Not sure if there are (affordable) tickets left, but should we look?

Carol $71

Natalie Van I should sell chicken eggs!

Natalie Van Okay... if we can't pull this off,
we should run all the fans in the house and play her albums on full volume...
dance party!

Carol I love you.

Natalie Van I love you, too. Thank you, friend.

Carol Carole King is one of my favorites too! Michael ran into her at UCSC. I mean he actually ran into her.

Natalie Van There's a story there!

Natalie Van For sale: Fresh Organic Free Range Chicken Eggs! Only 71$/dozen... A steal!

Natalie Van I'd like to sell two dozen... my friend, Carol and I have some place to go.

Birthday Badminton Clinic :: Two Hundred Seven

Instructors Geoff, Aunt Holly, and Tutu Ruth with Maria... Uncle Rich and Izzy gave pointers, too. This was just the sort of sports clinic we've been meaning to share with Maria. She has enough interest and enthusiasm for playing things like four-square, kick-ball, and badminton, but needs to develop her skills, and with that, her confidence.

Besides improving Maria's game, we were at Holly and Rich's to celebrate Ruth's birthday. Happy Birthday, Ruth! It was a beautiful day, and we had all afternoon and into the evening to enjoy Apples to Apples, some video games, catching up over our visits to Wisconsin, even making plans for next weekend.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Summer warm, summer casual, and all quite enjoyable.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

To The Beach :: Two Hundred Six

Bambi and Alex invited us to meet them at the beach. They walked, then Geoff, Max, Maria and I caught up with them. Was anyone else visiting a So Cal beach yesterday? It was weird... the ocean was choppy, there was a lot of wind, and the riptide was wild. We watched waves coming in and moving out. Backwards waves! Waves perpendicular to the coast. As crazy as it was, we had a blast getting tossed around in the surf. The water action made the ocean floor as irregular as the waves. It was deeper near the shore than further out, and overall the whole beach was very shallow. While we bobbed and paddled, Max described the physics and properties of the wave actions. Then we took turns pulling each other on boogie boards.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

All the rest of our beach visits this summer have been at dusk, or even after sunset, which has it's own flavor and advantages, but this time was great for spending hours in the water. Geoff and Maria went on a Pokémon search... they usually have a game or puzzle they enjoy working on together. We also packed some of our apples, and the last of the Hook's Dill Jack cheese.

The beaches are busy during this first heatwave of summer, but we found a sweet spot.

A double boogie train! With the weird tidal action, it was usually easier to move parallel with the shore. It didn't seem to be a good day for surfing, or traditional boogie boarding. But it was perfect for playing and cooling off!

The cheese. We carried it from Mineral Point, up to the NorthWoods, into Chicago, and at the airport it gave me special trouble with the TSA, but it was worth it. Thank you, Paul, for the recommendation. We are so glad we could extend our happy memories of being in Wisconsin!

And... one more bit of wild fun before the day is through. Standing in line for Handel's Ice Cream may seem crazy, (I have never seen longer lines for ice cream) but trust us... totes worth the trip!

Good day.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summer Delights :: Two Hundred Five

Summer fruits, salads, smoothies... we're eating cool, but when it comes to mangos, sometimes I gotta spice things up a touch!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

When I search for an image that I've edited, then exported, I sometimes find older pictures with similar titles... it's fun to see when I've repeated myself, been in a similar mood.

May 2008...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Cornered :: Two Hundred Four

Cairo has entered his active kitten phase... the rambunctious, frisky, pouncing, bounding phase with sneak attacks, and ridiculous maneuvers that demonstrate that he is also still goofy, awkward, cute, and sometimes too much! When he needs disciplining we've taken to calling Mister Washburn Foo, or Papa Foo. Papa Foo surveys the situation, and with a look in his keen eye you can tell he means to get a handle on things. He moves right in, pins his Boop, and bathes him. Cairo loves the chance to wrestle and battle, but it doesn't take long for him to realize he's cornered, and he submits to another bathing from Papa Washburn Foo.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Corner At The Entry :: Two Hundred Three

Home sweet home, right from the entry. This corner changes with each season, with each new sprout that emerges in the big planter, with every this or that left on the table, or hanging from a nail. When I come home I see familiar things, like bird houses, and beach stones, seashells, and the onion tops that grew again, and I feel a sigh of bliss, because this is our Bird House, and those are our onions, our treasures and bric-a-brac. It's almost seven years since the Big Blue House became our own Bird House. Seven years settling in, making a home, trusting, learning, enjoying. I wish everyone, who desires it, could have their own corner to call home.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Corners of Our World :: Two Hundred Two

These morning glories... gorgeous. I'm gazing at this image and reflecting on everything it means to me... the forms and colors, the fragrances, and variety of flowers are always amazing, always a pleasure, that I welcome a chance to feel restored by even the smallest sampling of nature, that gardens are a gift that go beyond boundaries and our differences. I am recalling the great masses of morning glories that grew in a curtain around the place where Geoff and I were married. I am feeling some relief from the stress of politics, and car troubles, worries, and headaches, because the corners of our world have picket fences and flowers, beach walks, and chickens, challenges and solutions. Setbacks, and comforts.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

And just to sustain the feeling of relief, to restore some levels of calm and hope, here are a few more corners of our world.

This was our first summer trip to the beach. We packed a picnic, came with a shade shelter, and towels. We built a fire, and hung out for hours. It was a good day, and a good reminder that we have this tremendous resource practically at our front door. I met a woman from Phoenix, visiting with her family, and she was so thrilled to be at the beach, so delighted to hear some of my impressions and suggestions for future visits, and she declared, "You must be here... everyday?" But, no. No, we don't go to the beach nearly that often, and I did feel a blush of embarrassment admitting that. I'm tempted to list all of the "important" reasons and excuses for why we don't go to the beach everyday, but that's not helpful, or necessary. Instead, I have been simply trying to go more often... however late the hour, or unprepared I feel, even if we cannot stay long, or I feel like there's one more thing I should do instead, and maybe especially, even if I feel like it'd be easier to just stay home... I have been making the trip to the beach.

Our corners of the world include chickens, goats, cats, and robots. We love our Bird House, the home we've made for our paints, and projects, our pie pans, books, and quilts. And even though I love to travel, relish a good road trip, home is where I want to be, to return to, to hideout. Yeah... I think I have become a bit more reclusive. Is it the outside world that sends me deeper into our retreat, or the voice inside, acknowledging that I am happy in a smaller, familiar corner?

Last week Alex suggested we go for a walk after dinner. And so I relented, and chose to head out, rather than hideout. It was a welcome escape from bad news, and anxious feelings about other, bigger plans in the works.

I cannot decide if it's a spiritual, new-age philosophy, or something scientifically proven, and factual... doesn't matter: The beach, with waves hitting the shore, spray in the air, the salt, all of those negative ions and their positive vibes, make a body feel better. Movement is good, company is good, the rhythm and sensory pleasures of the beach are all good. And after our time in Wisconsin, thanks to Laura and Gary, the hike at the waterfalls, the day on the lake, I think this natural joy can happen anywhere... anywhere we are in motion, away from routine, from the ties of our usual comforts, in a place where we find ourselves as part of the world, and not driving by it, using it, consuming it, but actually engaged, joining in the breath and rhythm of the wind, or water, the movement of birds, the trajectory of the sun, the rising of the moon, it's healing, uplifting, inspiring, good.

Of course, I am not always readily available in body and mind to acknowledge this brilliant insight, and so I stew in my worries, resist the tide, and forget to go out, to hold hens, smell flowers, walk barefoot across sand, wade along the lakeshore, water my fuchsias, book that camping trip! Alas! How much I miss. And... Hurrah! Because it's not too late to try again.

And the corners of our world increase, and move out, forward. And, please, however prepared I could be, or might have been, or ought to be... some changes are going to take more time, more faith, more daring, more beach walks, more deep breaths than others. It is a paradox of sorts, to feel as confident and awe-inspired by Max, by where Max has come from, by how much he has achieved, and how well he has prepared, and yet to feel myself so surprised, so emotionally unprepared to face this next part of the journey, his, mine, ours. I saw it coming, I did not see it coming. Life, you are tricky, like that.

Then we have this. Neo Cairo Nepenthes, our boop. Our fur baby. A corner of the world so distracting, and silly, so alive and amusing, that we cannot help but laugh out loud at the sight of him.

I am always in a mental battle with myself over how I would like to be, and how I am. I would like to be a domestic goddess, with fresh linens on every bed, and a dinner plan for every evening. I imagine a clear desk, clean car, groomed goats, flossed teeth, toned calves, and spotless shower walls, but nope. Right now, there is a very pretty bouquet on our mostly clean table cloth. The pantry is as immaculate as I can ever hope, and William did as much for the cabinet where we keep spices... I call these incidences miracles! I very recently cleaned and organized the critical components of the master bath, and my car is tidy, and finally getting some recall issues attended to. This may be as good as it gets.

Sure, the airbags, shift lever, and "SRS" unit are getting replaced, but there's also the matter of my dying ignition tumblers, the suspension and shocks, the disintegrating steering wheel. It seems my new car, my darling Jet Puff, somehow, got old. And I try not to panic, but nothing stays the same, fresh, new, tidy, organized. Much to my dismay, I find that housework bores the heck out of me, so that doesn't help. And the news is full of bad headlines, no matter what your politics are!

Flowers! Quick! Beach walks, too, even if it's late in the day, and we forget to bring towels. More time in nature, more laughter, cat posts, slow, deep breaths. And stepping back, like this, blogging, looking at these pictures, I am reminded that life may be tricky, but it's going to be okay. And sometimes, quite often actually, our lives are much better than okay. We have a very pretty bouquet of flowers on a mostly clean table cloth... and that's quite a lot to be thankful for, right there.

More walks, even if it's because my car is in the shop, and they're 'not sure what's wrong with your starter.' I gotta look up, and look out, and move forward.

Breath in. Breath out.