Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Day Closer to Grandma's House

Zoom, zoom, zoom, bumpity-bump. We are rolling up the miles, passing beautiful sights and keeping our eyes on the road. It kind of seems like no matter how far we've come, we still have a long way to go... that's how far mom and Ron live. We'll be with them tomorrow. It feels like my heart is there already, so it will be good to catch-up with myself, then be some help to Delia and Ron.

I don't know what else to say... all of our stories are from the inside of a crowded mini-van, driving up the 101 through the Central Coast, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Gateway to the Redwoods and here, our restop for the night: Fortuna. Fortuna. I think it sounds pretty and promising, and with that in my mind, I will say good night. The stories will have to wait, because I am road dizzy. Good night.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Uh. Here We Are.

We are sprawled all over our room, the Best of the West. Or Rest of the West. It'll do. Every door has a very legible, neat little notice that reads "No Pets." Do you think that includes livestock? What can I say we I am a rebel.

Tomorrow we will rise with the sun, or sooner, and continue north. Maria has already asked "How many minutes we at Grandma's?" And 20 minutes later, "I wanna go home now." We'll be on the road again by 6 a.m., which Geoff realized means 7 a.m., and from the backseat William wisely cracked, "So, 8:30 it is!"

Important note: Geoff checked the batteries of all those smoke alarms that never went off. Everything is supposedly in working order, but I say we need back-up. And I would just like to laugh-out-loud, because in 6 years of blogging that was my dear husband's first comment. A correction! Ah, but he's making it up to me by escorting us all the way to Oregon!

Well, it's time for lights-out and I don't want to miss my corner of the double bed, so I am signing off. Sweet dreams all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Case of Fire...

Happy Birthday Alex!

That's not what Alex woke to this morning. No, what he and everyone else woke to was me calling, "Geoff! There's a fire in the kitchen! Help!"*
My thoughts were immersed in a phone conversation with my grandmother, as she gave me the details and discussed her concerns about my mom's condition, when the pre-heat bell on the oven sounded, I turned to see huge flames coming from the oven. "Uh. Grandma, I have to go. There seems to be a fire."

Alex's single wish and specification for his birthday was croissants for breakfast. Sweet boy. Easy request. But the proofing croissants dripped butter, apparently, and the butter pooled on the bottom of the oven, and that is what caught on fire. The house filled with smoke... interesting to note we do not have smoke detectors. Stinky, stinky smoke and the croissants, that had looked so puffy and ready to bake, collapsed in a dejected heap... they looked sad, but not as sad as Alex.

Everyone put on shoes, drag a comb across your head. We are going to the French bakery. Thank goodness we have a French bakery to go to.

I cannot shelter them from the sad news, the series of unfortunate events. I cannot hide my anxiety and gloss over the setbacks, though I do try. Believe it or not, I do spare even Chickenblog all of the tragedies and gory details. But life is an uneven journey and in case of fire, gather your loved ones and make a new plan. Never give up. Never surrender!

*Geoff said, "You should have taken a picture of the flames for Chickenblog."
I laughed and said, "Oh, yes. That would say so much about me: I didn't have the wherewithal to throw baking soda on the fire, but here's a cool picture I took!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

High Speed Internet, How do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways...

In anticipation of being parted from my dear computer and all the fancy trimmings, I must make a long, long post.

To begin with I am filled and fortified... your kind comments and even phone calls have been so heartening. It's hard not being immediately by my mother's side and besides regular calls to her and talking to my brothers, it's been the thoughtfulness of friends and family, and the blogging community that have helped me remain calm, feel supported and keep things in perspective.

And I think the prayers and healing thoughts are doing a great deal of good. Delia's been taken out of ICU, and they are commencing physical therapy today. She has been fitted for a custom neck brace, and her husband is going through some lessons on how to help her. When I talked to her last night she was in good spirits. She had so many visitors! Bill (happy birthday bro!) Alison and Dominic, Hans, Becky, Dan and Grandmother... they were all there to visit and care for her. I think perhaps Ron got to have a bit of break too and that's good. Hans snapped a cell phone picture of himself and her... gee, it's been 37 years since the 2 of them were in a hospital together on a June 10th. They are smiling. I am relieved to know that she is recovering, but I feel such a lot of sadness knowing that there are going to be many hard days ahead. Healing is not always easy, and her injuries are significant. My poor mommy.

Who thinks Betty looks like she just stepped off the Tilt-A-Whirl? She is so loopy and goofy looking.

Uh-oh. I think she heard me. Don't get your feathers ruffled Betty. We love you.

Meeting our obligations and getting everything in order is going fairly well, and I think the plan to be available for my mom on a longer term basis is a good one. Geoff has helped me finalize travel details and with a few more errands, meetings and adjustments, I should be traveling north very soon. My infamous tooth is messed up, but my dentist and I agree the cure can wait, so that is good news. Of course seeing the cost estimate for the next appointment did little to ease the pain. Insert nervous laughter here.

Amelia is a much better flyer than what we saw last week! She's a little too good. A little too cocky. The suspense is making me nuts. Do we have pullets?

Or do we have cockerels? Anyone? I've read dozens of articles online. Vent checks. Feather checks. What about spurs? Do hens have spurs? There are several accounts of hens that have spurs and even hens that will crow!

Are these spurs? Those 2 pale spots on her ankles...
I keep imagining all 3 of them are roosters for one reason or another, but there is no conclusive evidence.

Now this is conclusive. One of our tadpoles is a frog. A teeny, tiny hopper.

The journey began April 13th and we now have one tadpole turned frog success. The rest of the tadpoles are in varying stages of development. This has been such a fun experience. And educational too... for the children, of course. The frog swims to Max's hand and sits there. Must be love.

She said it was coming! She dropped hints and left clues!

Can anyone really be prepared for a gift from Calamity Kim? Her heart overflows, onto fabric, onto paper and right in to our home. We were flying high just anticipating the arrival of this latest chicky-apron. Leave it to Kim to send so much more. All of the little touches and sweet messages were the nicest boost to our morale. Honestly we all sat together enjoying the unveiling of each token of Kim's talent and imagination.

That's Pip, Lola and Lady Betty Oprpington sitting amongst the daisies. And the chicken wire panels are pockets. Maria found a message from Kim in 1 pocket. It fits beautifully. It looks delightful. Thank you Kim. You really do make the world a better place.

Well, all these links, the swiftness of the server, my iPhoto and the ease of Googling and searching... what bliss! These diversions and reflections are keeping me sane... lol! Computer and server, I love thee a Googolplex! I may just have time to post once more before we head north, and after that it could get sketchy. Thank you again for keeping us in your prayers, for generosity beyond compare. We are blessed in a Googolplexian ways.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thank Goodness For Gardens, Water, and Light

My mommy was going to be here today, for my brothers' and son's birthdays and for a promotion, for hugs and catching up, before she had to go back to Oregon to start a new job. Sunday night we got a call/s... it's a blur. Geoff told me she'd been in an accident, "She's okay." That's what we have to hear to save us from collapsing: She's okay. He's okay. It's okay. And considering what happened it is a miracle she is okay, though she is a long way from all better. My dad drove through the night to be with her, and my brother flew the next day. My other brother (happy birthday bro!) is going to be with her today.

Your prayers and healing thoughts would be much appreciated. For her, for me.

It's amazing how many times my mom has made the 20 hour drive, to come and see us, to help with babies, to visit and celebrate, to connect, and I always worry about those winding roads, the logging trucks, the long days... I think of how much love she has for us that she does this so regularly to see me and the kids and my brothers, their families, her mom and sister. We always wish for an opportunity to find some place where we can all be neighbors. We think it would be so wonderful to find each other in the same town or neighborhood, just around the corner, a short walk away.

It's a tremendous comfort to me that her husband is with her and caring for her. And I was glad Bill could fly up for a quick visit, to hold her hand. If she didn't have their company I would not hesitate to abandon everything and be with her. Instead I am trying to get my ducks chicks (thanks Pam!) in a row.

Fortunately we do not have to move. Garybob, the landlord, was appeased with an increase in the rent. We are still trying to make our trailer on land deal happen. It manages to get more complicated by the day. I say "I am detached," but of course that is a lie. In truth, my heart is saying Please, please, please let us make this our home. It's a mess, but we can fix it in time. Please. Please... I dunno.

So, let's see... I got the car serviced, which was a bit overdue, so that's good. Today I go to get my tooth serviced... somehow I don't think this will be as fast and easy as the oil change and tune-up. My visits with my crappy dentist of 4 years ago are haunting me again... have I ever shared the story of how he drilled through to my sinuses? He didn't say a thing and only stopped when Alex asked, "Why is my mommy bleeding so much?" Yeah, that's a good story!

There is an overwhelming amount of cannot be postponed school paper work that has to be turned in, checked-off, stamped and triple signed.

Alex's birthday is Thursday. He already knows his modest party is going to be postponed. He didn't complain at all, but I saw that look... the one that a mom always wants to turn into a smile. I can tell he's bummed.

My best friend didn't wait to be asked. She'll watch the cats, the 2 birds, the rabbit. I'll take care of the chicks. Don't ask. Seriously. I have some hard decisions to make.

I will not be driving to Chicago. For months I have been drawing up itineraries and deciding on routes, and I have also been thinking, Am I nuts?! Yes, a lot of waffling, but with strong leanings toward being with everyone in Chicago and then Wisconsin. Geoff is going and he'll be gone for a week. The children and I will be missing Geoff and a Midwest family memorial for Jim, Corm.

And in Mexico, my abuelos will have family, except for us, gathering to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. S e v e n t y! !Setenta años¡ Felicidades abuelos.

I hope I can get those chicks in a row, tie up loose ends and be ready to leave to Santa Rosa, then Oregon, by Friday. I think my screaming tooth might be the biggest obstacle. The children are such good travelers, so helpful and easy. We'll pack the bare minimum and be prepared to go with the flow, hopefully making things easier for my mom by cooking and cleaning and renting lots of movies, adjusting pillows, pulling slugs out of her garden!

Lola's Garden is looking so beautiful. Did you know that cosmos are drought tolerant, that they even thrive in bad soil? It's comforting, somehow, to know that good things are possible, even in less than ideal times and places.