Saturday, May 03, 2003

First William got his haircut. He's not sad...he's just deep in thought. Then Alex took his turn. He went a little shorter in the back than his brother, but slipped his cap back on, when it was done. Max's cut took the longest, but he was very cooperative. There was just a lot of hair to get through. All done.
It is raining and the remaining 1.2 million snails that I have not bagged and tossed are milling around, climbing the windows, sliding across the driveway. They too shall know my wrath.

It is raining and I am leaving the chicas locked in their coop. They have light, space, food and water, but they are still rattling their bars and demanding freedom. They never take shelter from the storm. Wet hens are a sight.

It is raining and the boys are fed. Max has had both of his breakfasts. I hear Grandma and Grandpa stirring. The cats are restless. It will take them a while to adjust to the wet day arrangements of staying inside.

The theme of this day is: "Get Busy," or "Errands and Other Child Abuse." Must: go to library, get haircuts, buy Grandpa's Lotto ticket, buy food and things that clean. Also must: wash clothes (+ dry+fold+put away,) clean *master bedroom,* settle other thousand pre-drive to wedding details. I have made a list, and a calendar, and I am determined to be successful.

Last night I answered another telemarketer's call:

Me: Hello (casual, slightly detached, very sophisticated)

Them: Yes. Is this...can I speak with Mr. Vlikin...burg? (annoying, uncertain, determined, wrong, close, but very wrong)

Me: No one here by that name (amused yet bored)

Them: can help me...(eager, scripted)

Me: (laughing) So, I am not who you called for, but I can "help" you?

Them: Anyone over eighteen (light bulb flickering) are over eighteen, right?

Me: No.

Over and Out!

Thursday, May 01, 2003

May At Last

March winds
April showers
Help to bring
May flowers

I've been waiting several months to say that little poem. Flowers bloom here all year long, but now it is May and official flower blooming time. The poem is sentimental. I remember my mother teaching it to me, and I remember thinking it was very clever. I remember I wanted to know the names of the flowers, like my mother. I have learned many flower and plant names. There are many more I do not know. Last Summer I read the entire Sunset Western Garden Book, and others. I very recently unpacked one of my favorite books, which I am reading again. "Carrots Love Tomatoes" is a very interesting book for fruit and vegetable gardeners. It gives insights that I have not found in any other gardening books, and its author looks like a woman I would love to meet and dig in the dirt with. The two leafed sprouts of hundreds of carrot seeds have sprouted all around our tomatoes.

The callas bloom again and again, especially when I cut them for a vase.

This cilantro is a volunteer from the first seeds I planted in the pasture 2 Summers ago. Now cilantro pops up everywhere, which is wonderful. This one is going to seed. The tiny flowers are clustered, and resemble Queen Ann's Lace. I will scatter some seeds and save many more for cooking.

Wild radish
At least I think this may be wild radish. It looks like the flower on my chart of California native flowers. It is part of one of the Islands Geoff did not mow. The stems are somewhat spiney, and the flowers remind me of small snapdragons, or something like sweet peas.

A classic of California hillsides and valleys. Ours were part of the wildflower seed collection I scattered two years ago. They are still returning, along with brilliant blue cornflowers and yolk yellow calendula.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

One disadvantage of Blogging from the laptop is Free Cell. The laptop has solitaire and I am easily drawn in to the game player's abyss. I must beware. Tetris is another game I must keep my distance from. I also strive to avoid carrot cake, jelly donuts, carnitas, chorizo con huevo and Fritos with bean dip.

Have you read this one? Are we really meant to be responsible for the history and origin of every word and rhyme? Does getting offended justify being awarded great sums of cash? I can count dozens of times I recognized racist or insensitive remarks that were directed at me or within my airspace. I have taken it on the chin for Native Americans, Mexicans, Spaniards, Chinese and Japanese, but it never occurred to me to get my panties so bunched up that I had to drag someone in to court. So, when a Southwest Airlines flight attendant wants to get everyone seated with a silly rhyme, I would think intelligent, rational people would focus on the intent of the message and not take overwrought offence at what they perceive to be an insult. As children we enny meeny miney moed many tigers by the toe; our generation did not associate the rhyme with it's racist predecessor, and I am willing to bet the flight attendant was not making the association either. The past is full of horrible injustices, and mean sayings, but language evolves and so can our intentions. It seems like these two women are actually doing more to revitalize a mostly forgotten rhyme. Passengers on the plane laughed because Southwest Airlines is good at easing the stress and formality of flying. Now people across the country are laughing because of an extremely frivolous lawsuit.

Of course on the other hand, one should not stand for demeaning stereotypes, or corporate advancement through racist advertising, and slogans.
Actually I am embarrassed and offended! Where is my attorney? Who can I call to "speed" to my defence?! Are you laughing at me?!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

This is not easy for me, but I have finally managed to return to the laptop and throw some more links on the page. Some time ago Geoff showed me how it's done, so it was also necessary for me to strain my brain and recall all the necessary moves.

This fellow Blogger, and chicken fan, found Chicken Blog in a Google search: Gator's Chicken Coup! Check out her lovely chicas. Alex is inspired to add to our flock.

When I first started researching hen houses and chicken coops I stumbled across these fun loving Aussie comics at Winsome Ridge. I want to write to them and thank them for affirming my dreams of being a "rancher!" Go straight to "Meet The Family," for a taste of their humor and affection.

Here are more Chicken sites I have enjoyed visiting: For coop inspiration. And to meet another chicken fan. Ever visit a hatchery?

Say, I think I've got this figured out! Learning feels good.

You Odyssey See Our New Car

Great Honda ad, for your viewing pleasure

Our punny little car joke. Better than aching for a new car is believing that your regular beater is good enough, and then finally, cautiously, thoughtfully, saving and searching, buying a new car. I love our new vehicle. I love the clean, the smell, the handling, the brakes, the handling, the brakes. I really like the way it handles and the brakes are good too. I even love the dealership where we bought our white Jet Puff. Am I repeating myself? But I really can appreciate these features, because I drove the Anti-Odyssey. I drove the Suburban Oddity; a 2 wheel-drive testament to inferior steering and faulty brakes; the mystery fragrance was our contribution, but the rest was a package deal.

It is true that there are a lot of Odysseys, and other mini vans, out there. So, maybe it's not too original. The color, I have decided, is's alert and bright. In a parking lot I distinguish my Jet Puff from the crowd by the bear fetish hanging from the rear view mirror; it works. And on a busy street, or at a four way stop, you can pick me out from the crowd; I am the one grinning contentedly, singing along with my mix tape, and waving knowingly, happily, at other Odyssey drivers.

No fair totally condemning the Big Blue Whale. It never completely failed us; it just made us wonder anxiously. And how bad can it actually be, since we have decided to hang on to Ol' Blue? We'll drive the Blue Whale to the lumberyard, the nursery, and if God is willing, I hope we can make one more Mexico trip. Blue is ideal for Sonora, dirt roads, river beds, dust, cow fields, pot holes and road side repairs. With a thorough tune up and some well chosen tools in the back, we could ride the range to my Abuelos'.

But for riding around town, I could not be more grateful for our Honda. Honda makes a great product. Tomorrow I am taking my grandparents to an appointment across town. We will all fit comfortably. Last Saturday we made a road trip to our local mountains for pie and nature (okay, just pie, but we did see some nature.) Even with Anne, Jacob, Adam, Max, Alex, William and myself all together in one vehicle, we rode first class. And next week we are making our first extra big trip, to see Bill and Alison. I think we'll be comfortable and happy as we navigate the Pacific coast and inland valleys, the rolling hills and coastal forests.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Injuries, Pride and Limbs

Well, I may never get my turn at the laptop. William was inspired by his friend Jacob's personal website, and so he spent the weekend with his dad getting an intensive web building lesson. They have been very busy teaching and learning, and monopolizing the one machine I need to make links in the Blog. It's a good trade-off; William is absorbed and learning new skills. I am sure he and Jacob will have a good time exchanging ideas and lots of laughs.

What's that smell? Sorta musty. Sorta 'lived in.' Maybe my pants...the ones I pulled from the hamper and figured had one more wearable day in them. Hmmm. Maybe I do need a Life Coach, or just a life line. At least I am only wearing my work jeans for yard work and boy wrestling. At least it's not like yesterday when I went strapless bra hunting, and thought I was dressed suitably for public scrutiny. Trying on dozens of breast contraptions and other forms of Lycra and lace bondage, tearfully staring back at my reflection in the mall mirror and turning to see the back view; across the butt of my "clean jeans" is a large crusted stripe of pancake batter. It's bad enough to be me, a fish out of her element when in a mall or department store, but this took the cake--so to speak. Don't look for a link here. There will be no photos.

I tried on the dress...the bridesmaid dress...this morning. I wonder if the fit is supposed to be sort of relaxed and flowing or somewhat like sausage casing around a superior piece of chorizo? I put on the shoes to see whether an extra three inches in height elevation reduced my breast size, but was disappointed to discover that there is no correlation.

My breakfast was a thumb size slice of cheese and an apple. It's an almost Atkins, kind of vegetarian, sort of low calorie meal. And I am still doing sit ups and other lifts, shifts and crunches. No more arm right elbow is injured from pushing compost filled wheel barrows up steep slopes, and unloading fifteen gallon guava trees... now whenever I lift things or squeeze things I am left with a shooting pain up my arm...I likely will never seek medical advice, but if any one of my untrained, but well meaning friends has advice, I am listening. One friend has encouraged me to decide on a fitness goal. My first fitness goal is to never step foot in a mall again. My second fitness goal is to maintain the stamina and strength to play all day, flying kites, chasing chickens, taking walks, hoola hooping, swimming, dancing when I cook, jumping rope. My third fitness goal is to start liking me as I am.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Like a kite. Yellow in the sky.

We flew kites yesterday with our friends, Adam, Jacob and Anne. I think it may have been easier to fly kites on a windy day. As it was the boys had to be more ambitious and vigilant to keep their crafts aloft. We found our best luck by running from the far eastern corner and back up to the western fence corner, and all the while letting the string unwind steadily.

Here are Adam and William starting their kites with a nice uphill run.

There were a few tangles when the limited airspace was filled up, but once everyone found an altitude with a regular breeze, it was smooth sailing. Here is Adam navigating the Rancho sky. After awhile a pilot needs a place to sit. Jacob's kite reached the end of its string. All the boys were very successful with their kite flying, and we keep finding good uses for our tractor!

All the kite fying was possible because Geoff mowed the field again. The weeds were too high to trudge through, but the Chica Roja, our faithful little tractor left neat rows of stickers and stubble. The birds seem grateful for the seeds and exposed bugs. Geoff left 4 little "islands of weeds" uncut, "because they're purple." I think it may be wild radish, and the rabbits make use of the refuges when they are out for late snacks.