Monday, June 21, 2010


My children are in great schools. Their schools have wonderful teachers, exceptional peers, even amazing administrators and staff. William's school blows me away with their caring and dedication. I love my visits there. Alex's school was a second home during robotics build, and as second homes go, it's pretty awesome. I am more than happy to hang out with Alex's friends, teachers, and mentors, and their families. Max has found a safe haven, a place he has figured out and can navigate. He has had two kind and gifted teachers, each giving him the support and attention he needs. And Maria's school was a salvation to me... she was so happy and nurtured, it was like sending her to an extension of our home, so that I felt supported and confident when I kissed her good-bye Monday through Friday.

So... please understand when I scream: Freedom!!!!
I am only celebrating our liberty from drives, schedules, homework, standardized tests, and other people's plans.


At Alex's school, class of 2010, and his wonderful teachers.

For so many reasons I tear up when I look at these graduation photos. I've known some of these seniors since they were babies. My cousin Vicky, our dear friends son, Henry, all those amazing robotics seniors Andrea R, Isaac S, Tom H, Kevin B, Ben B, Kevin S, and children I have known for years, Ben K, Tanner S... they are moving on, and they left in style. The best graduations ever. Every student writes twenty words, which are read aloud as they come forward for their diplomas. Personal. And laid back. You know a school has done a good job when that many students pronounce their love for their school, for teachers, for their peers.

Isaac and Henry. Engineers Inside.

Isaac, we know from two amazing robotics years. He and Alex also share a passion for airships and steampunk. They hope to work on both of those this summer.

Henry. My goodness. I met him in this same garden Easter 1994. He must have been about two years old. But our family friendships go back further than that. Geoff knew Henry's mom and dad when he was about Henry and Isaac's age and they were all at the same software company. Jola flew with Geoff on his first business trip. Mark has been his manager a number of places and times. Mark and Jola have been our friends always. Friends that are more like family, ties that last.

And Henry has remained as sweet and bright as he ever was. He did the work, supported and warmly nurtured. He made the grades, and stayed on a good course. His achievements are remarkable, admirable. What an honor to see him on this day, when we could all share his pride.

It makes me glad to know Isaac and Henry are going to the same school, to know they will be met by other wonderful students, like Amy K. What? I am just a bit emotional... I can't help thinking about them, and caring for them. All of them. These beautiful children fill me with so much hope and pride.

Okay. No more tears. Joyful tears.

How do you know you have great neighbors?

1. They are the only house that opens their door on Halloween and find chocolate to share with Dorothy.
2. They keep chickens.
3. They hang party lights in the garden, on the house, throughout the year.
4. They do community gardening.
5. They give away lemons and pumpkins.
6. They invite you to color eggs at Easter.
7. They build a biergarten and invite everyone on opening day!

Alex, Maria and I walked over, not sure what to expect at our first beer garden party. We brought Chimay, and I was glad I did, since it was Mike's birthday, as well as biergarten opening. The garden filled up with friends, and overflowed, and everyone was relaxed, happy, celebratory in mood. We had a great time. Geoff joined us too. Maria showed him all the delicious food, the grilled sausages, the potato salad, the salad with plump blackberries.

The chocolate cake. When the hosts whistle and announce the arrival of a cake, you have a good clue that you had better line up for a slice. Maria was prompt. Good choice, Maria.

Nice tie btw. She picked that up when we were thrifting Saturday morning. I am impressed with her eye for style. A little flair is just the thing for a biergarten party.

Yes, we do have great neighbors.
We ate well, and met interesting people. We all enjoyed Maria's birthday dance for Mike... she applied her ballet steps and twirls to the Oompah-pah music playing in the beer garden.

Then we left for home, eager to finish projects and chores, so we can host parties of our own. We keep inviting to our movie under the stars night... time to set a date!

So. To work! William cut the steel roof for the new shark cage temporary and predator proof Casa de Chicas. After he cut the two sheets, he ran the dremel across the edge, smoothing out snags and sharp bits.

William's principal, Mr A, asked him what he'll do this summer and I was happy to hear William's reply. He wants to spend his summer making things. This is good. This is very good.

There's more.
Long post, I know.
We've been busy.
I won't share every thing, every highlight.
I will say: It's nice the summer has begun with so many pleasant and good happenings.

William helping with the roof, Geoff repairing the porch, and preparing to hang the swing, Alex and Max walking and talking together, and Maria and me sprucing up the garden... Joe was out and about, Betty still on the nest, and the chicas acquainting themselves with the new casa... it was a good evening at the Bird House.

We consider raking, but I reminded Geoff that stubbly weeds are chickertainment for freaky feathered fowl.

After playing all afternoon, after chocolate cake and biergarten dancing, after an hour demonstrating the proper way to make mud... she asked, "We can wash my tie, right?"

Yes. Yes we can wash ties. And we can play in mud, play Rock Band with old and new friends, walk and talk, make things, garden, plan, unplan, dance, visit, reflect... summer is here, and we have the luxury of a bit more freedom.

Welcome summer. Thank you freedom.


judy in ky said...

Wow, what a lovely life you lead. I want to move to your neighborhood.

The Words Crafter said...

Uh huh, I'm with Judy! Your family is lovely and everyone seems to have such imagination and skill...and FUN! Love the tie!

Anonymous said...

You are living some great memories Natalie. So glad for the family and community you have.

Anonymous said...

BIG smiles all around and BIG congratulations to the class of 2010 :-) Those little chicas are sure getting big.

tara said...

Here is to an awesome summer for everyone!! Bring it on.

tara said...

I just hopped over to Happy Zombie from your blogroll and see that you won something!! Yah you!

mtnchild said...

You have a wonderful life! Enjoy your summer with some "Freedom"!!

If I lived in your neighborhood, I wouldn't be able to keep up with you ... LOL

Anonymous said...

What kind of chicklets are the white ones with the pantaloons and fluffy hats? They look like the ones Tori & Dean just brought home. They're too cute! (But my heart still belongs to Joe.)


Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Zan... you are admiring Zelda and Trudy, the Silkie Princesses. Puff, the small and dark one, is also a Silkie.

Joe is doing well, and has been loving the garden improvements and extra company.