Saturday, July 06, 2002

Funny Chicas

They're at again. It bears repeating that our chickens delight me. I can be in the deepest funk, and visit my chickens for a thorough mood altering experience, and I will be transformed. I sit on a rock by their coop, or anywhere else in the yard and just watch them live their chicken lives. It is meditation. It is soul soothing. It is funny. They peck, peck, peck, and bok, bok, bok. They ruffle their feathers and roll in the dirt, and make a great fuss to bathe themselves in the dust. If I approach them with a piece of watermelon or grainy bread, they will follow me anxiously. How can I describe a chicken's walk? It is more than a waddle. It is a balancing act in forward motion. The tiny chicken pelvis paddling frantically to propel two skinny chicken feet, while holding up a mass of feathers and a bobbing, bouncing head. They are a comedy troupe, unaware.

Our front door has sidelights, two narrow windows on either side of the door, that run from floor to ceiling. When they wait on the "WELCOME" mat we can see them through these two windows. You'd think they could read. They are patiently waiting for their welcome. They stand on the mat and look up at the door.
Chicken dialogue:
"They're home all right. I heard them.
Just wait, one of them will come out and then they'll see we've been waiting.
Try knocking again."
God, I amuse myself. The boys are amused too. They laugh heartily at the latest chicken antics and we love to speculate: "What are they thinking in those chicken minds?"

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Progress, and Pride

Our retaining wall is more than an idea. It is form and function, and it is almost complete. These guys have been working very hard. I think plaster is next and then it will be capped with royal saltillo bull nosed brick, so that we can sit on it or set Grandma's macetas on top of it. I'm also enjoying the stone path they arranged to go up to the high point of the slope. It makes the ascent steadier. I am celebrating the pleasure of having really good ideas implemented by other skilled people. Our most pressing issue is finding projects to complete that work around the gaping holes that Mission Pools still has criss-crossing the prairie.

Geoff is not working tomorrow. We are going to find some way to honor the 4th of July. We are the generation raised on national self contempt, distrust, mistrust and disillusionment. We were assured by anyone who had traveled abroad that Americans were greedy, corrupt, without culture or values, bad cooks, ignorant and a primary source of the world's woes. When I was a kid we were regularly visited by Harry, a college English professor, and his Swiss wife. They came to hang out with my parents and to condemn us as 'typical lazy American kids, watching too much tv, eating twinkies, making Christmas lists and playing with store bought toys.' Shameful, ugly Americans. If you weren't about protest, or controversy or political correctness , then you were surely shallow or naive, artless, unsophisticated. We have heard, ad nauseum, about American shortcomings, disgraces and failures.

This year is different. We find ourselves looking for a broader vision; the whole picture has to include more than just 'what Americans don't do right.' We want to embrace the strengths of this nation, and to celebrate the ideals and potential that were born and have evolved since the founding of this country. This year we are telling our sons that as a nation we strive to create a place for freedom, for men, women and children. We are not perfect; no nation is. But we have a set of laws and expectations that insist we look out for each individual's rights, and we have a government that is dynamic and with our involvement can be representative of our values. We can overcome ignorance and missteps. We should not let go of the vision: That all men are created equal; we have inalienable rights. These truths are self evident, but have been obscured by years of bitterness and self loathing. We are home to many languages, religions, faces and voices and we do a praiseworthy job of making it all work. Our greatness doesn't lie only in what we are, but also in our potential to improve. We plan to celebrate the good stuff, give credit to our achievements, honor the men and women who strive to make this a better country, and world.

Geoff brought home a flag pole for our big flag, and tomorrow we'll grill some Boca burgers and checkout the fireworks. We'll talk about our favorite television shows and desserts, Disneyland, camping in National Parks, reading books, singing anything we like, the best rest stops in Iowa, birds we've seen and places we'll go, and how great it is to live here, in the United States of America. I will be happy to hand my children a legacy of pride in their country, constructive, insightful criticism of their country, and the inspiration to carry on the fight for freedom, individual rights and justice in their country.

Thank you nurses and firefighters, teachers and Peace Corp volunteers, police officers, letter carriers and mediators. Thank you Heifer Project, Habitat for Humanity and Pediatric AIDS Foundation, MADD and the Kidney Foundation. Thank you to the Lutheren women who quilt, and sew pajamas. Thank you Rancho Coastal Humane Society, and Dr. Gee. Thank you Hans, and men and women like you, for stepping forward in our defense. Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, July 01, 2002

The Christmas Quilt

Today is the first day that I will admit it is hot. There have been hot days up to this point, but I felt it was too soon to start making a point about it. Talking about the heat rarely ever changes anything. And whining about the heat only raises everyone's temperature 5 degrees. Summer here goes well in to October. There will be more hot days. There will be hotter days. Enough said. I wonder if I should call Leah, at Mission Pools, and see how scheduling is looking...

I will be brief today, because I am distracted. It's Christmas in July! I've picked up the quilt I started last November, and yesterday I made great progress on it. It is a Christmas themed, sampler quilt with hand embroidered squares. Since I never pre-engineer and I rarely measure overall yardage, I have reached the creative portion of the project: making the squares fit together in a pleasing manner. Well, I am off...!

*Updated September 28, 2010*
The quilt was completed November 2004, days before Maria Olivia was born.
I posted pictures in March 2007.

Sunday, June 30, 2002

What Is A "Blog"

Someone asked 'what is a chicken blog?' It had not occurred to me before, but 'chicken blog' does sound like a term for some sort of chicken act or deposit. We do get little chicken 'blogs' on the sidewalks, so careful where you step. But a blog is someone's log posted on the web and published by a server, like Blogger or Blogspot. There are thousands of other logs posted. Blogger formats and posts the websites for people. Mine is the no frills, free publication, but there are other more elaborate blogs with links, and graphics. I am geek dependent, and rely on Geoff to do my technical support, and in exchange I remind him what month this is and where we keep the Christmas lights, stuff like that.

Another point someone made is that the "e-mail me" button doesn't have my actual address installed. Initially, I left it blank, because I was too much of a wuss to want to hear responses, or worse yet to see there were no responses. This morning I tried to set it up, a daring act technically and emotionally. Unfortunately, technical support has already left for the office. Anyone compelled to responded to Chicken Blog, please write to me at:

There was an inquiry about the men working here; no, they have not been "checking me out." When I speak of "my cupcakes," I do not flatter myself. I have actually been practicing shameless acts of baking bribes and trying to keep the crew working, without succumbing to heat exhaustion, by passing out popsicles. The men are guilty of some bragging, being patronizing and breaking a few pipes, but they are otherwise respectful gentlemen.

The swimming pool update is somewhat discouraging: they aren't done. Well, I didn't really expect them to be done yet, but work has come to a grinding halt and the woman who schedules the crews says she can't have the next group out until after the 8th of July. The plumbers and electricians are supposed to come next, and then we get inspected. After that comes gunite (the concrete), then plaster and tile. By all accounts, the closer we come to being finished the slower the work gets done. In the meantime, the landscapers, who work very fast, are going to be stalled by the open trenches Mission Pools has left for the gas, water and electrical lines. Hopefully they can stay occupied finishing the retaining wall and beginning to install irrigation in other parts of the yard. Mission Pools has too much of our money already to be influenced by my cupcakes!