Saturday, October 06, 2007

Save, Save, Save!

No, this is not a sales ad. This is a reminder to everyone, like me, who remembers that backing up precious files and photo libraries is crucial and yet rarely gets around to actually doing the job. Our mega-mighty, super-tera, infinite memory hard-drive died. Like a brilliant ER doctor, Geoff jumped on its chest and spent hours doing hard-drive memory resuscitation...HDMR. When he could get a pulse and small chunks of memory files were moved to the donor hard-drive, he would use his compassionate bedside manner to coax the feeble hard-drive into giving up just a few more bits and bytes... "Come on! You can do it. Hang on... hang on!" Hours and hours of guidance, coaching, monitoring and delicate, delicate operations.

My contribution? I was the grieving spouse... wailing, wringing her hands, pacing the floor, flipping through back issues of Sunset magazine from 1989, sipping lukewarm coffee from the vending machine, calling immediate family... I was a wreck.

We aren't out of the woods yet. The old hard-drive is in and out of commission, sometimes grinding and sputtering incoherently. This morning we Geoff is trying to recover music files and iMovies. After a fitful night, mourning the losses and calculating what might hopefully be saved, I have come to a place of acceptance. There is comfort in knowing that there will be some recovery and we did put a lot on discs at one point and another. Also, I am keenly aware there are bigger issues out there, tougher burdens to bear, and with this in my mind, I say a word of thanks for the blessings in my life. My heart eases, and I add my hopes and prayers for some dear people I am holding in my heart, wishing well.

Save. Back-up. Count your blessings. Love and be loved. Greet the brand new day. Repeat.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Here We Are and It's October, Again

Maria has been redecorating. She's going with a monkey look. Three monkeys sit together, overseeing a mess only a monkey could make. A monkey or a 2 year old girl with energy to spare and a very active imagination.

If you are like us, in So Cal, and the change of season is barely discernible, you may want to visit Lady Harvatine. She has sewn-up a crafty way to bring Fall inside. I have been on the lookout for a maple tree, where I can sit beneath and look up and imagine I am in a forest of Autumn and seasonal beauty. The air is crisp, I can smell the earth and a faint wisp of smoke from logs crackling in someone's fireplace. A breeze stirs the fallen leaves. Branches rustle. A crow calls, and meets others. Far above, clouds are gathering, swirling in a sky so deeply blue it looks infinite.

Autumn touches my senses, or my imagination at least.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

No Lettuce, No Peanut Butter

Foiled again!
What do you send for lunch when the staples are low? We have jelly, but no partner and we have roast turkey, but no greens. It's too late to boil eggs.

Alex just groaned, "It's school picture day." We are late, he hasn't showered and he's trying to get books into his school bag. A loss? Maybe not. We were none too impressed with last year's pose in front of a backdrop of plastic pink and purple flowers. True... each kid was shot with a cargo net crammed with cheap, fake flowers in the background.

Lunch. Lunches. Balanced, interesting, filling, school lunch. School Lunch Challenge. And I know about the blogs with the daily photographs of cutely packed, tofu crammed, veggie strewn lunches, with fruit cut in the shapes of the 9 8 planets. Feh.

1 Hour and 23 Minutes Later

I stopped at the market after dropping the boys off at school. On the way to school Alex and I had a talk about how much homework needs to get done the night before, and not the morning of. Life: It's a process, right? At the market I got leafy green lettuce, 2 pie pumpkins, some yogurt, Amy's California Garden Burgers, corn bread mix, mineral waters, and two ready-roasted chickens. LOL I just remembered Janece's post today and I realize I am being terribly common!

Time to save the day with a cute-cute picture:

Nothing common here. My nephew is a honey. He celebrated his first birthday in August. Can you blame me for wishing we were neighbors?

We saw Daniel last week, and the boys got haircuts. Two of them got haircuts. "Finally!" says Alex. I am trying to work-up the courage to give Maria a trim. I am not opposed to cutting her hair... I just don't want to make a mess of it. After years of cutting hair for 3 little boys, I am reluctant to give Maria her turn.

Oh good grief.

You know Geoff showed me something last week: My hits. Deep in the recesses of my server are pages and pages of statistical facts about visitors to Chickenblog. How many visitors per day, where they came from, how long they spent at Chickenblog, most popular labels-topics, which days I had the most visitors. It's all calculated down to the second. And it's all kind of fascinating and then it becomes a little unsettling, because I realize that for years I was basically talking to myself, and only recently have there been more hits, but still there are not as many comments compared with the number of people reading the blog... It leads to doubt, insecurity, suspicion and feelings of conflict, turmoil and befuddlement.

My busiest day? I knew, even before he showed me, that it would have to be about the time that Anna Maria mentioned me in her post and awarded me the BNRPA. She sent 500 people to Chickenblog! 500! That's more visitors than cumulatively have visited the blog in 5 years, or something like that. Anyway, I sort of wish I had something fantastic going on at the time, something to keep 'em coming back for more, devoted. What? Face it, bloggers love company, and I am no exception. It's about exchange and community and visitors! And a secret longing to be discovered and published and buy a comfy country home and have chickens in the yard and never run out of lettuce again!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bird? What Bird?

This is a ruse.
This cat wants to eat play with the bird.
He wants it so bad he can taste it.
Bad kitty. Bad.
And sitting on the table too. Double offense.

We wondered if he was ever going to sing, and now he has started singing and it's at the fun stage, when it's novel and charming. He whirrs and clicks and chirps. When I visit him he turns his head attentively. Steve? I dunno... I think he needs a pirate-y name or something celestial, like "Pluto." Geoff offered "Trogdor." Benjamin might suggest "Lunch."

Guess what? My computer is my own again, almost. William still needs to do his English homework on the Mac, but Geoff is reveling in an early Christmas. A bright, shiny red laptop arrived yesterday and today he is loading it up with his stuff...insert geek jargon here, if you know any. Can I just say that I am thrilled for him? Not just because I don't have to share any more, but because Geoff is the most worthy person I know. He deserves a shiny, brand new, super powerful computing machine. His laptop before was a second-hand, patched-up work horse with a tricky hinge. And, he drives a very old beater of a vehicle with many alarming features and a questionable safety record + a smell. So, you see, I really do like it that he has a new laptop, and I would be even happier if Santa would see fit to getting him into a better ride too.

Now I have more computer time, assuming I continue to neglect housework, so I can share all the news. News like Maria knowing all of her colors. For a few months she enjoyed rattling-off the names of colors, a rather hit or miss process. Having three children before, I knew she would get it right sooner or later, so I never drill her on facts and figures. In the last 24 hours she hit the Rainbow Connection and names all the colors with unfailing accuracy. Brown pajamas. Purple flower. Orange pumpkin. Pink polka dots. Red singing dress. White hat. Green frog. She even tells us our favorite colors. Cute-cute!

Did I mention our full and fun weekend? Uh-huh, we went to Legoland! Or, The Mothership, as it is sometimes referred to around here. We know people in high places and fortunately they are kind and generous, so when family came to town we were able to make these extra special plans for all of us to play! Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins... all of us together, enjoying quality time in the sun, spinning around, getting wet, having fun.

It is so much fun to be in a place like Legoland with people in the mood to play... and everyone was quite enthused about boat rides, however slow, and roller coasters, and obstacle courses, robotic arm rides, apple fries, and water fun.

I can still hear my mom laughing, laughing! when her two boys took her out for a spin in a BIONICLE Blaster.

Even wilder? Choose your wild level, ride intensity on this robotic arm ride. On a scale of 1 through 5, you can decide how much spinning, inverting and revolving you need.

I've been up to a 3, which was plenty disorientating for me, but these two went all the way!

And while you are onboard, trying to retain your composure, people on the sidelines can activate water bombs that detonate in your face. William took a few hits, but Geoff was the most soaked rider.

It was a beautiful day... a regular occurrence in So Cal, where it can be autumn one day and summer the next. Max took Hans and Gretchen through the Hideaways obstacle course. They are an athletic pair and I think Max was very happy to have such willing and capable companions.

Bright sun? No, that's Maria's smile. Bill and Geoff took the two youngest explorers through the mazes, across rickety bridges and down slides.

After warming-up, and devouring some apple fries, we were ready to splash. This spot is fun to play in and fun to watch others playing in too. Water is wonderful.

I was hoping it would be warm enough for Maria and her cousin Dominic to enjoy the water, and it was. The added bonus was watching my brothers and Gretchen get in to the game. They stood beneath the ginormous bucket...

and they got soaked!

A bell rings before the bucket spills, but when you are standing beneath it, like Gretchen, Alex, Max and William were, it's very hard to hear the warning bell and before you know it...

you are part of the waterfall.

Of course once you are drenched, there's no point in trying to stay away from the water slide!

More days like this would be most welcome. Not amusement parks (not every day,) but time with my brothers and their wives, my nephew, my folks. Time to share new experiences and recall times past.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Just Checking-In

I can't stand seeing the pimple post any more, but I am short on free time and computer time. We had a full and fun weekend. We did get the house totally mostly sufficiently clean and I am happy about that. Thank you everyone for commenting on Steve. Yes, we have a bird. His $12.00 clearance sale cage sealed the deal + it rained and all the "found bird" signs are washed out notices about a found blob... it's fate. He's cute and the cats think we brought them live entertainment.

Geoff's laptop died suddenly, followed by the computer the boys built with their dad 4 years ago, so now I am sharing my iPrecious with 3 geeks... oh, woe is me. Geoff and I make sly moves to get to the Internet first. I saw this really cool fish chasing a fish thingy made with keyboard symbols (William will intervene and tell me the real name of these little icons.) OKay. Time's up... William and Alex are ready to finish their homework, and I suppose I can find something useful to do away from blogs, email and iPhoto. Sigh.