Saturday, October 22, 2005

Recipe for a Pity Party:
1. We cruised by El Rancho the other day... saw our old place... nostalgia and heartache
2. Geoff is looking at property in Hawaii... can't say what this will lead to...
3. The Pottery Barn Holiday catalog, full of lovely nesting neatly ideas, arrived yesterday...
4. I can't find an X-acto knife

Okay. I am ready to put it out there. I am ready to confess. I am really, really, really tired of being a renter. And more: I want to unpack my Stuff. I want to settle down, organize, decorate, leave my mark, paint my walls. I want to be in a home that I call my own, and stick a nail in the wall. I want to know where the X-acto knife is, and where my big message board ended up. I want to alphabetize our books, just once. I want our address written in ink.

I want to decorate an adorable baby nursery, and 3 clever rooms for 3 bright boys, or 1 clever room for 3 boys that get along remarkably well. I want to have a compost pile, an irrigated, bunny gated vegetable garden, and a charming little chicken coop with 3 fat hens. I want the right kind of door knobs ( not hooks that catch and tear pockets,) and I want an end to popcorn ceilings and fluorescent lighting. I want to invite you to our house for a long weekend, or tea; there's time and room for either.

I am not neat or tidy, or particularly orderly, but I suspect that this could improve tremendously if we were not so often on the move. Every move is an upheaval, and a do-over. Every move means starting the system of setting up life all over again, and the process is time consuming, mind consuming. I want to give my messy, scattered self a chance at redemption; time in one place to be unpacked, moved in, settled, and somewhat certain that another move isn't 6 months away.


Deep sigh.


Please don't send me a bumper sticker like, "This is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life" or "Be Happy, You Whining Middle Class, Materialistic American." I need a few more days to wallow in self pity.

Friday, October 21, 2005

New at the Zoo

Actually, this beautiful carousal is new at The Wild Animal Park.
Maria was enthralled with the painted animals: Lions and tigers and frogs, oh my!
When she got to ride she was really thrilled.

The Lion Camp is an exhibit we have been eager to visit. We saw it last December when we went at night for the sledding, but it was dark and cold. How busy are we? It took nearly a year to get our act together, but was it ever worth the effort. I half expected to have to search to see the lions. There were three sitting content as kitties against the window. The dozens of kindergartners and flashing cameras were not annoying enough to cause a feline retreat. They stretched, yawned, and gazed at us indifferently. They might have politely meowed: "Thanks, but no. We already ate."

Three big cats let us get up close and personal. Nice kitty. We fed the deer. We fed the coots and ducks. We even could have fed the giraffes. Happily, we did not feed the lions.

We also fed the lorikeets. For a cup of nectar these little guys are happy to land on your hand, shoulder, head... whatever! Free food is their motivation.

I don't know whether William appreciates my little joke, but after shelling out money all day to feed everyone, I thought of posting a sign: Feed Teenager $2.

This was Max's favorite part of the day.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

This quick talk is working.
Too little time to devote to elaborate sentences.
Zoo today.
The Wild one.
Stopping for sandwiches at Major Market.
Our favorite market.
Max is carving a second pumpkin.
We are full of roasted seeds.
Talk of going to Renaissance Faire.
What about grilled chicken and hot tortillas for Mom's Night Out?
Max has, so far, carved four faces on his pumpkin. "But there's still plenty of room. You just gotta make 'em really close to each other."
I could grill the chicken ahead of time.
I love hot tortillas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Geoff is going to Hawaii.
I am not.
It rained, but now the rain has stopped.
On Tuesday I am cooking dinner for ten friends.
We'll eat by the ocean, not in our dining-bedroom.
Geoff is going to look at lots and homes for sale.
We may move soon.
We may stay here longer.
Should I just roast weanies and serve fancy beans?
Should I make enchiladas?
I was going to make enchiladas, but now I'm not so sure.
Geoff may go to a Pumpkin Festival.
He might see Clint Eastwood.
Or maybe he won't.
Maybe he'll find a place for us to build a home with a covered lanai and a laundry room and two or more bathrooms.
I am making a ghost out of cheese cloth and diluted Elmer's glue.
It's sticky right now.
I gotta go.
Alex and Max are done detaining Maria.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

You write the caption.

We had beans and sweet potatoes for dinner... can you tell? Maria is my Beanie Baby. Can you see her two teeth? Itty bitty little white bumps, like white rice.

Our friend Tamsyn stayed for dinner. We ate nachos with ground turkey and salsa, black beans, sweet potatoes. I threw it together, announced "Nacho Night, come and get it" and we nibbled and munched merrily. I felt almost apologetic for the informality of the one course meal. Apparently we can make an impression even when we feel less than *Martha.* As I threw more beans on the concoction, Tamsyn said sweetly "You guys are always so organized about dinner. We never know what we are going to have..." Hello? Me? Organized? Darling girl. Maybe I should learn to just say 'thank you,' but taking credit for being organized at the dinner table is too, too misleading. I'll say this much: Sometimes we do our best and it turns out good enough to make a meal or a day, or a moment special.

Little Road Trips

Here and there and everywhere, that's where we have been.

The guys, Max, Alex, William and Geoff, made it to the Air Show. It was a long day, and it was a fun day. James met them in time to see the Blue Angels. They had a lot to say about what they saw, and ate, and they were very tired by the time Maria and I caught up with them at James and Deanne's place. Deanne fed us pasta and meatballs, and Sam, their dog, provided the entertainment. It was a nice way to finish the day.

Maria and I spent the day hanging out. We shopped a bit, trying to find a perfect gift for Alison's birthday. Turns out I don't really know her well enough to say what the *perfect* gift is, so we settled on a Pier One gift card. (Okay, is it just me?... sometimes I think I worry too much about doing things "just right," which is ironic since I most often settle for "good enough.") Back to our day: We also had lunch together at Pei Wei, which was nice, since I am the only one that ever wants to eat there, which translates as: We never eat there. Maria and I shared teriyaki chicken and vegetables over brown rice. We talked. We laughed. We reflected on our 10 months together. It was lovely.

On Sunday we all went north to see Grandma E., Aunt Becky, Uncle Dan and my cousin Julie. They live in one of those old Pasadena neighborhoods, with the huge oak trees and charming Craftsman houses. It was a very nice visit. I think Grandma looks good. She's 83, and I could mention her ailments, but I am more impressed with her strengths. We enjoyed a walk together. Max collected acorns along the way, and Julie fed us pie when we returned. I know I am being short on details here; it was simply a pleasant visit and one we all agreed we would like to repeat.