Friday, May 05, 2006

I had a chance to look more closely at "Small Farms;" what a gem! There's a lot to enjoy and learn, and it's so attractive. The blog is attractive, nice layout etc, and of course the subject is attractive too. I am adding it to my links, right below "Brown Glasses," which is a link I visited through Janece's blog, "Workings of the Mind." I love the simplicity of Brown Glasses. You have to click on "Some Info" to get a brief introduction to the talented woman behind the camera. Both of these blogs are awakening something in me... maybe I am feeling the Forza Anne is sending me.
I want to read this: Small Farms: A Blog from the Heart
Grinding through the minutes, days, week. I can't seem to find the joy and motivation to get over the funk. House hunting is going bad... there is so little out there. Even when we finally do find something suitable or adequate, I don't know how I will manage to get excited about another indefinite stay in someone else's house, with someone else's paint on the walls. I've moved a lot of times; it sucks. I know how to pack. I know how to unpack. I know how to kiss-up to a prospective landlord and hope they will accept our application... I wonder what stress experts have to say about the demoralizing effects of renting, moving frequently and feeling out of the mainstream?

I want to go camping again. Geoff and I were happily realizing that our RV is our home. We feel at home in it. I am so glad we have it, because it is our closest idea of a home base, a constant, physical representation of home. And the little county park where we camped... it's like going home too. I can remember the first time I went there. I think I was 4 or 5 years old and the park was just being completed. And we have played, celebrated, camped, fished, explored and grown there ever since. I know the trails and the old playground. I know the pond, the lilacs in spring, the acorns in fall, and the creek that appears in rainy years. The smell of sage on my jeans, the sight of scrub jays in the manzanita, the sound of children running around the trails, these familiar sensations are reassuring and comforting to me. Do we need a grandmother’s home, family reunions, Sunday dinners, familiar, and stable touchstones, like a place to call home, to feel safe, secure, comfortable? I know for some life is all about adventure and independence, and that striking out on your own is the ultimate expression of self and success. I find myself longing for roots and extended family gatherings, for places and people that I know, and which know me.

There is only one new listing for rentals today. I left a message with the owner.


I just downloaded images from the camera...
Maria. We have so much fun with this child. She runs around the house singing, and dancing. I would like to capture in pictures the special connections she makes with each of her brothers. She goes to them for fun, for comfort, to play... and she is learning, every day, new ways to express her affection and love, her interests.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Quite possibly, perhaps even likely, on a subconscious level, yet less obtuse, I like going out east to our old neighborhood. By error or by design the rent never got in the mail, so I had to drive it over to Bob’s, out where we used to live. We were hungry, so we stopped first for sandwiches and lemonade, which put us on the path to the Country store, where they sell tack and feed, heirloom tomatoes, chicks, straw bales and Stetsons. It smells good there, like seedlings in the sun and sweet alfalfa. Our sandwiches were good. Mine had basil and grilled onions, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted whole grain bread. The lemonade was fresh. Max ate two bagels. When we had our fill we made our way to the Country store for a quick visit. At the Country store we were surprised to find that the ice-cream saloon was closed. Closed for good. We liked to go there for the atmosphere. The woman behind the bar could toss a scoop of wild mountain blackberry or double chocolate high overhead and catch it in the cone. That was a sight. On the walls were old movie and rodeo posters, with romantic scenes of the ol’ west. The beautiful marble topped bar was wood, carved and polished. The people, patrons and servers, were friendly, and happy. Today we weren’t there for ice cream. We were there for the feel of the place, for a peek at the goats, to see what’s new, and because the Country store is on the way to Bob’s house, where we had to pay the rent.

It is spring, and I had a suspicion we might see lots of chicks, bunnies, kids (the goat kind) and calves, maybe even puppies. We’ve seen ducklings and goslings there, baby pigs, ponies, guinea fowl and even baby ostriches. Our chicas came from another feed store, but we found them on a spring day like this. A hot spring day, when things like heirloom tomatoes and ice cream seem like good ideas. Stepping out of the afternoon sun
and in to the cool cavern of the feed store is good. We noticed they have hayracks for guinea pigs, so their food stays off the floor of their cage. We filed past the saddles, harnesses, and feed sacks to the back of the store and the double doors that open to the back lot and the corrals. I could see there was a butter-blonde pony, and several goats. I could hear doves cooing and the chatter of finches. And because I suspected that we might see kittens I had a succession of thoughts, leading up to a plan, which I kept in my mind, but felt in my heart. Quite possibly and even likely, there would be kittens here. It is spring and kittens are part of spring. For quite sometime I have resisted many cute kittens. I have seen plenty of kitties in need of a home. We came close to adopting two kitties in San Luis Obispo last November, but we were over come with reason and our wait and see lifestyle. But on this day my succession of thoughts went this way: There may be kittens, they may be particularly cute, young, endearing and irresistible, and I will take one home, on our way to pay the rent.

The rest is just details…

The kitty is joy. The children are joy. Being in freakin' housing limbo bites...

Dear God,
Please let me write a bestselling novel that gets picked up for a movie, and brings us lots of money so that we can buy a home.

Totally objectionable. To begin with, you cannot decide to become a writer just because you want a huge paycheck. Writing takes skill and discipline. Also, praying for personal gain is tacky. Back to the skill and discipline: You have to write daily and with a plan, and you have to know your grammar, tenses, good word usage and you have to be engaging, as well as intelligent. Novels don’t come out of wishful thinking and desperation. And lets not forget Rejection. Writers are rejected, criticized, corrected, censored, and sent to the discount shelve. Writers need space and time, backbone.

Oh, God. Enough. I am discouraged enough already. What if I just keep telling a story that is reasonably entertaining, or at least honest and hope that someone will think it’s good enough to share?

I just got off the phone with another property management company. The yellow house with four bedrooms sounds awesome. It’s walking distance to the beach and of course in a great school neighborhood. Wanda and I were enjoying good rapport and I was fixing my thoughts on the prospect of our first summer settling in to the cute beach house. The rent is higher than we’d hoped to pay, but that’s the market. Wanda was talking and I was opening my heart and then she said, “There are two units in the back, so the front house has street parking only.” Her words came to me in slow motion and my open heart cinched up and withered just a bit. Street parking within 3 miles of any beach is “No Parking.” And ‘two units in the back’ is the equivalent of raising children next to a frat house.

The yellow house is the only new listing that looked possible. Even the Navy Nirvana Bachelor Base is gone. Someone must have been happy to have a wet bar instead of a dining room, for $3300 a month.

I just took a peek at houses for sale in the area… bad idea from a personal depression stand. There are more houses on the market than a year ago, which is a good sign. The prices seem to be holding, so please, please let this be the beginning of hope. But if the Fed isn’t going to raise interest rates, and if salaries aren’t going up, but fuel and housing prices are rising… does anyone have a clear understanding of where this economy is headed? Does anyone care that houses are being sold with no money down and variable rate loans? We may soon hear the delayed outcry over the changes in bankruptcy laws. And again, there was no upset over the death of the estate tax, so that those who ‘have’ can pass it on, but what about meritocracy?

Someone told me ‘renting is like pissing down a rat hole.’ If we don’t find a place to rent, if the bubble doesn’t release some hot air soon, we may be living in our RV, the Green Goose.

Available: Cute home with room for 6. Cozy. Customizable views. Must see!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Weekend get away! Weekend camping! Weekend fun!

It takes advance reservations and a willingness to turn your back on responsibilities and chores, and then you can get to a county park and pitch a tent, build a fire. You can feed ducks, coots and children, ride bicycles, hike, eat hot tortillas from the griddle, and gaze up through the oak branches in to the wide, blue yonder.

The trail was dappled in wildflowers. We spent just enough time there to relax and to realize that a few more days camping would be even better. William, Alex, Max and Tamsyn were happy and free to ride their bicycles along winding paths and through dry creek beds.

Though we weren't far from home, we were far from our daily lives, which was a welcome change.

We are home now, so it's back to school etc...

Would you like to join us in this week's lesson? Link up to PBS and watch Texas Ranch House tonight. We are preparing a cattle drive dinner before the program airs, then we'll settle in to the comforts of not being in 1867 Texas!