Thursday, May 03, 2007

Look who's here...

Geoff has time off. You may have heard he works extreme hours during crunch time. We call it "Saving the world," when we are feeling light, airy and philosophical. The whole truth is that the hours are grueling for him, and for us, and we have to pull all our love and kindness together to get through the 6 to 18 months that these sessions can run. Invariably someone will question the necessity of working 80, 90, 112 hours hours per week. The implication seems to be that he could cut back if he really wanted to... No. No, he can't, not really. His industry, gaming, is tough. He loves the work and he is one dedicated employee, but the really long hours come more from the demands of the industry than his passion and zeal. Well, the game they wrote is ready to get to the stores, and Geoff is free to come home for dinner, meet friends, change the way up high light bulb in the bathroom and go to Maria's dance class... there is so much we can do, at last. And in this tough industry, where 1000s of jobs keep going to cheaper job markets in India and China, and profits go to a smaller and smaller circle of CEOs here at home, let's hope that our time together doesn't cost too much. The security and lasting goodwill between the tech industry and it's employees is all but gone.

Never fear! If all the tech jobs go to China and we've run out of art, jewels and comic books to sell on E-Bay, then all I will have to do is find the personnel office and collect on my salary as a mom, wife, cook, driver, historian, medic, cleaner, therapist, counselor, teacher, photographer, accountant, life coach and party planner. According to, I am making good money; I guess the check got lost in the mail.

Overpaid me...

I haven't seen a paycheck, but I am getting double over-time in beautiful, bright, kind and loving children, so I still come out ahead.

Maria was tickled (what a perfect word for a giggly, wiggly two year old) to see Tutu, TuTu Grampa, Holleee and Izshe-Izshe walk into the dance studio yesterday. She was only a little distracted, but was mostly able to stay focused, tap her toes, reach up high, twist, jump and 'rock-a-bye' her bear.

She made sure her Grampa had a bear to rock-a-bye too.

Today is the first day of our vacation, so I guess we have established that we are not leaving first thing in the morning... these things have a way of revealing themselves...

Three weeks from today is Chickenblog's 5 year Blogiversary. Gee, I wish I knew how to make a bold font in my post, because an occasion like this calls for a BOLD statement. You know what? I'm going to hold a contest. Yup, I am swimming with the tide and joining the masses; blog contests are all the rage and there are always prizes. Spread the word: In three weeks Chickenblog is giving something good away. It may be a drawing, pulling a number out of hat, or maybe something elaborate... no, nothing difficult, for you or for me. Let's just keep it simple, so call your friends and spread the word. I think every person that leaves a comment and asks to have their number thrown in the hat will qualify for the big prize. I'm excited. You should be too.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I would like to be just like Benjamin, slip into a cozy den, or chicken coop in his case, and chill. He's relaxed. He has no stress, no worries, no hurries. I'm not even sure how he wedged his furry booty into such a snug box.

Supposedly we are going on a relaxing, but quick, restful, but completely unplanned vacation. We leave tomorrow? Good grief. Someone had better find a cat sitter, clean-up a bit, finish the laundry, hose out the car, then pack. Oh, and we might want to actually decide where we are going and then quick! make reservations. Families with four children cannot afford to just "see what happens;" trust me, I know. Also, before leaving the city, I have to pay the rent (must not forget, must not forget) and drop off photo discs for the yearbook. Was there anything else? Piano lesson, get garbage and recycling to curb...

Sorry... this is so not interesting... making my list of things to do makes for a pitiful post.

I have taken a lot of pictures for the yearbook and I am a bit overwhelmed by the task of organizing all of them, particularly identifying each student; it's not the sort of thing I want to get wrong. I would feel really bad if I called any student by the wrong name and it got printed that way in the yearbook. My other little project is coming along quite well. Can you keep a secret? I am making a memory gift for the boys' teachers. Again, I am anxious about making glaring mistakes, like leaving a student out or messing up on names... must leave plenty of time to edit, and proofread and repeat. The bigger, better files from the new camera are flogging my poor Mac. I hope she holds it all together until I am done.

We spent one last day with Jim and Ruth. They made it to Maria's dance class, and Jim caught some of Max's keyboard class. Overall, their stay was too short. There are 6 grandkids and they all have so much to share with grandma and grampa. Time does fly, and though we did squeeze in a lot, it still seems too soon for them to be leaving.

Oh, I guess I should get back to the list and of course to doing the things on the list. It really is hard work getting ready for a little rest and relaxation. We are long over due for a family vacation... especially Geoff. I hope I can post from wherever we go. I am looking forward to seeing new trees, more sky, funny billboards. I hope we find a little adventure and enjoy the pleasure of being together, playing and exploring.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What's Cooking

We really have been busy, which is why, I guess, that I have not been keeping the blog up to date. We were at the beach one day and we've been doing more to move-in. I repaired my sewing machine. I went to Josie's birthday party, which I briefly alluded to, but have not even begun to describe (it was awesome.) And we have been enjoying the company of our ohana, and what else? Well, there's always laundry, cooking, yearbook meetings, changing diapers, feeding the cats, killing ants, answering the phone, and driving.

So, with all that's been going on, you might not think I would dare to make chile rellenos. Chile rellenos which are delicious and by far one of the most time consuming recipes in my repertoire... right up there with bourbon pecan cakes and tamales. I don't know what possesses me sometimes. For added challenge I made them without a sous-chef, but with Maria, while photo-documenting the process.

Has anyone ever sliced in to a bell pepper that was full of baby peppers? It looked quite alien and made me wonder about genetically engineered food... cue Twilight Zone music.

There are a lot of steps in making chile rellenos.

I always like to pause between phases and make a quick assessment... I pee, check the phone for messages, change Maria's diaper, wipe my brow, scrub and recommence. (Geoff says, "don't say 'pee' when writing about food. He doesn't know that this is a legitimate function that must be addressed when committing to a 4-5 hour cooking project.)

There are some things, like whipping the egg whites, that are an absolute commitment to the next step in the recipe. After the whites are fluffy I have to proceed immediately to dipping the peppers and then frying them.

It would be bad news if I got stopped or derailed at this point, and I have to say Maria was a dream through the whole relleno process. She sat on her special stool and played with stickers and crumbled her piece of cheese.

In the end the hard work, the anxious moments, and the sink full of dishes, pays off. Geoff loves chile rellenos. Love. Love. I made 34 chiles, stuffed with cheese and sitting in a rich and savory broth yesterday. They have been sitting in our refrigerator until tonight, because they taste even better the next day. Mmmmm. Beans are simmering. Beer's cold. What are you doing for dinner?

Ruth and Corm came with me to pick Alex and Max up from school. My Hawaii in-laws were visiting New Mexico and Arizona, looking for new places to enjoy their retirement years. If they have to leave their beautiful Island home, I hope they find some place closer than N.M. to live.

Back from school and Max sits down to play with the typewriter we found last summer. He is transcribing the puppet play he and Geoff wrote.

One of my favorite ways to spend time is around the kitchen table with family. Max and his Tutu played Othello. Grampa Corm sliced grapes for Maria. Geoff was home early (!!) We were joined by Holly, Nick and Izzy.

It's so nice to be in the company of extended family. We laughed, talked, remembered, and shared. Simple, pleasant, easy, good.

Alex treated us to his strawberry muffins. Here he is with his cousin Nick.

Max did such a good job of teaching his grandmother how to play Othello, she won. Othello is a fun game.

After dinner we enjoyed fresh strawberries and the muffins Alex baked.

Here is Ruth with her Izzy girl. Holly saw Izzy walk earlier in the day, and I had the very special honor of seeing her take a 5 step jog... really, she didn't walk, she sort of jogged. She's fast!

Oooh! The beans are smelling good. Geoff is hovering, asking about the rellenos. Maria is playing every loud instrument in the house, Alex is telling me his homework is weird... I think I am done posting... too many distractions... this may be why I have better luck posting at 2:30 in the morning, when the locals are asleep.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Busy, busy. Fun, fun.

I want to post today, because I have plenty to share, but because there is so much going on I feel too scattered and flakey to sit down, focus and produce.

Went to a party for MNO,
so big, so fun, so full
of laughter, spirit, light.

Expecting return of
traveling in-laws,
waiting to hear news,
see what's next.

Planning our own
from work and school
and laundry, at home.

Downloading 347
photographs, memories,
sights and sounds,
like 80's music

Composing movies
in my head,
on my apple
and it consumes
my senses, neurons,

Cleaning, dieting,
mother, girlfriend,
busy me, riding the
suburban wave in
my American Dream.