Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fun By The Handful

I broke into my secret reservoir of Clever and Crafty Stuff. On hand: fabric markers, and ready to color hand puppets... everything necessary for a quiet evening at home, while watching a family favorite, Arsenic and Old Lace. We hadn't seen the funny, classic since last Halloween.

While Max and Benjamin snuggled, and ate fresh, buttered popcorn, William, Maria and I began developing characters for a Halloween Puppet Show. We haven't written our play, yet, but it will feature a girl, a witch, a cat, Sir and Lady Bones, and possible the Headless Horseman.

Sir Bones. I say, you are looking dapper. William was the clever one who showed us our puppets could combine two characters in one...

Lady Bones. Mistress, what have you done with Sir Bones?
She is not saying.

Maria went straight to work on her happy witch's alter ego, Angry Witch! We were adding accessories with felt and hot glue.

Salutations, Señor Mouser.

Now, I am off to the craft store for more supplies. Can I bring you anything? Glitter, glue, cheese?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Falling For Starry Night Hollow

Maria and I still like to visit our favorite quilt shop, Starry Night Hollow. It is a dear place, a creative sanctuary, tucked away in an area home. Truthfully, my own fabric stash is so over appropriately well stocked, that maybe I have no business visiting fabric stores. But the Hollow is more than a great fabric store. They sell patterns, offer classes, they have unique notions and supplies, and there are always incredible quilt samples and other sewing projects for inspiration. Friendly people gather and work there, and I always come away feeling imbued with new spirit.

And this weekend the Halloween Spirit is upon the Hollow. Maria and I went for an infusion of seasonal creativity and camaraderie. And we got just what we hoped for... fun, crafts, company and a good time. I can hardly believe it's been three Halloweens since I brewed up a witching tale to go along with Kim's decor and theme. The pumpkin patch this year is just as charming, and Maria was just as eager to see all the sights.

After saying hi to all the ladies, we made our way to the backyard, to the caramel apples and crafting supplies. Then we got down to business, but in a relaxed, mellow fashion. I kind of had to remind myself about "relaxing." But, a few minutes in the garden, breathing in the lavender and ocean breeze, and I was feeling okay about slowing down.

Kim is always so generous with her crafting supplies, and the refreshments. Their Fall Festival continues tomorrow. Maria and I were immersing ourselves in this cute project... turning wooden beads into Halloween necklaces.

Glitter. Glue. Paint. Tinsel. All the good stuff.

Maria tore napkin corners to make ears for her kitty. Looks a bit like Chango, I think.

Oops! We didn't see this notice until we came inside. Maria and I were so engrossed in the Make and Take we sort of Made and Took two, each. Sorry about that, generous Hollow friends.

If you cannot make it to Starry Night Hollow, maybe you will see Kim Rado at Market. She will have a booth at the International Quilt Market in Houston, October 29-31. I see Anna Maria will be there. I wish I could be there too... all those amazing talents, wonderful people gathered together... what a treat! Anyway, it makes me happy to see Kim being recognized for her original creations, and hard work.

I thought our visit was over, and it was, but we actually returned minutes later! I was picking up Alex and Tatiana from school, and Maria was so buzzed and giddy about her afternoon, she wanted Alex and Tots to share in the fun. And so. Back we went!

Alex and Tots agree: Claire needs to visit the Hollow, and meet Kim. Claire is their classmate, and the president of the fashion and design club at their school. I agree with them. It's fun to bring creative people and good resources together, and I think this is an inspired match.

Alex and Tots settled in the backyard, only slightly prodded by Maria's enthusiasm and insistence. Her fall on Wednesday left her very badly bruised, but no less perky.

Alex, the beret and chic coiffure is out of this world, as is her alien complexion.

And, of course, a visit to a Fall Festival would not be complete without a suitably seasonal confection.

Kim, and all at Starry Night Hollow, thank you for another happy and memorable day of fun!

Friday Favorites

Some weeks are just too much for one moment, so I am going with another blogging tradition: FFF: Friday's Five Faves

Oh. Wait. Does this mean I have to count? Good grief. I am totally not in the mood to count, or think about order.

Ahem. This is a Chickenblog post, for a Friday, with random references to stuff I really liked from this week. Thank you.

Max is transitioning from home school to other school, and this week I have been enjoying his company especially much, since we have Maria home from school too. Wow, what a weird sentence. I think wine with dinner may have been a radical move on my part.

Yes, well, basically we have had some fun, some escapades, some adventures of the atypical variety. Fall Break = Blessing

Fall Break means Maria can join us on the regular walks Max and I have been taking. Sometimes the beach, sometimes the nature center. Always refreshing.

This nature walk was around the lagoon. We made two passes, because Maria hoped we would see something new. We did not see mule deer, badgers, weasels, gray foxes, or snakes. But it was fun looking.

We saw fish jumping out of the water, and egrets looking for fish. We saw ducks. We saw the last blooms of nasturtiums, tunas... the bright red cactus fruit. And seaweed, carried by the tide up the river.

A new school year, and new team members for FIRST 2102 Team Paradox. Team San Diego hosted a demonstration competition. It was a last opportunity to see LogoMotion played. It has been my favorite game in the three years I have followed Team Paradox and FIRST robotics. Of course my opinion my shift in seventy-nine days, when the new season kicks-off! It will be interesting to see what they have in store for all of the high school robotics teams who are preparing for and anticipating FRC in 2012!

Big thank yous to our hosts, FIRST 2485 We Are Robotics-Lords. They have great facilities, and it was a good opportunity to show our newest team members the ins and outs of a playing in competition.

Mark Leon! Have I mentioned who Mark Leon is? Yeah, I think I have written about this blue haired-NASA-math emcee a few times. He knows how to shine the spotlight on math, science, and the kids that bring it to the field. Thank you, Mark!

It's not enough for Team San Diego to devote a twelve hour day to robotics, they always manage to do more, go further, which is why it is no surprise that the event was played for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Team San Diego and FIRST are in the Pink!

Tatiana, Tots. Yup. She definitely makes the list. The list of favorite things from my week. She is a national treasure. Smart, funny, and beautiful. And a really cool thing is, I am available to see my kids to school, volunteer, show up at robot competitions, take hungry people out to lunch, find canvases and buy duct tape. This time and opportunity is good, but what makes it truly great is that all these children and friends, and friends of children... all of them make it worthwhile and special.

And... one more hug.

What a week.

Hey, it's Friday. And late October. Where are the days going? How did we get here?
It's nice to look back and reflect on the favorites, the highlights, and goodness that comprises our days. Now, for the days ahead! Forward!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Home Coming Week at Home

It's homecoming week, and today is Disney Day.

So. How many hardcore Disney fans do we have out there?

Does anyone recognize these two?

From Disney's animated nouveau classic, Hercules, we have Hades. And on her/his right is a slightly (read: totally) more obscure Disney villain: Living Laser.*

*Purists may contest the Disney-ness of a Marvel Comic villain for the Disney Day Home Coming theme, but I have been assured of its validity. Disney bought Marvel. It's a corporate thing.

No. He is not from Tron. Yes, Tron is Disney.

She is totally playing against character. In real life Suki is this year's Senior Home Coming Queen. She likes her coffee sweet, and cold.

Hades: Whoa, Living Laser, did we forget something?

Living Laser: Forget something? Impossible! No. Wait!

Hades and Living Laser, running back to house: Art projects!!!!

Living Laser: Duct tape! Can't run!

Chickenblogger: I love my life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An E Ticket!

We had one more visit from our friends, before they headed north. Have I mentioned how happy these two are playing together? Paul and Janece describe it as water molecules and I think that is a good picture... they are cohesive, adhesive, and happy water molecules, magnetically attracted to each other!

Another thing that is magnetically attractive... Geoff's Mini!

Here we go!

Beautiful day, that Sunday. Yes, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the coast was beckoning. And we got last hugs, until next time! And we shared more plans, hopes, and laughter! And there were juice pops! And, well... I think their faces say it all!

For the record, all over town the Anagram Sisters shouted loudly, joyfully: "Riding in the little car is the best!"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Did, Done, Doing, Gonna Do!

#1. I love Maria's school.
She is happy.
I am happy.
There is a warmth and sincerity in the students, families, teachers, and staff, that makes being there a pleasure. And Friday, when we left, I realized that as much as I am looking forward to Fall break, I do not feel worn-out and overdue for a break from school... which is about the nicest thing I could say about that!

#2. Before Fall break, there was Pumpkin Patch and Crazy Hair Day!
We were trying for a beehive hairdo, but there is never enough time in the mornings, so we let all those yarn extension ponytails just hang down... and it looked pretty crazy!

#3. I wish I could show all the pictures, all the cute kids in the T-shirts they dyed, sporting their crazy heads. They were having a fabulous time running around, enjoying the pumpkins, crafts, and games set up by parents.

#4. Fall Break! Fall Break! Falalalalala-La Fall Break!

#5. Sorry. Didn't mean to rub it in about how we are on Fall Break.

#6. Don't be too jealous. I still got four other children to wake-up, M-F. Poor guys.

#7. Glue + Swabs = Refrigerator Art!

#8. She made me feel like a rock star when I told her I was one of the moms that cut all those swabs. *blush*

#9. Orange tie-dye is an awesome save for an old shirt that was very, very stained.

#10. Seventy children painting, playing, smiling, gluing, snacking, together in their custom made pumpkin shirts is adorable. Totally adorable.

#11. I am fighting an impulse to wake everyone up and drag them to the beach for an early morning walk.

#12. I am fighting an impulse to crawl back to bed, and snoooooooze.

#13. We have been listening to this: "The Langley Schools Music Project. LOVE.

#14. We watched this: "Mighty Uke." More LOVE.

#15. Colleges. College Applications. Grades-transcripts, test scores, choices, options, letting go, stepping in, stepping back, moving forward, deciphering, growing, deadlines, "prowling"... what a journey.

#16. Fall Break! Fall Break! Falalalalala-La Fall Break!

#17. Cleaned our bathroom.
Just saying.

#18. I want to go to the San Diego Zoo.

#19. I want to get the transmission replaced in the Jet Puff Odyssey. Poor-poor Odyssey. Poor-poor me, driving with that piece of craaaa... ~uhm~ mechanically challenged transmission.

#20. Fall Break! Fall Break! Falalalalala-La Fall Break!

#21. Who am I kidding? Laundry, paperwork, and chauffeuring never take a break.

#22. I want a guidance counselor.
I want answers, suggestions, encouragement.
I want to put something out there.
Chickenblog gives me a lot, and I am compulsive obsessed diligent happy to keep it up, to have the years of memories, deep thoughts, and even pointless musings, but I have reached a point where I am wondering about making something more of this.
Let me be frank: income.
Do you think I should open up the ads?
Would I really be selling-out if Puppy Palace and Taco Town bought space on Chickenblog?
Many successful bloggers use ads, take money, earn a living through ads.
I am realistic: traffic here has not achieved levels that would support a puppy, or buy us tacos, but maybe... maybe there is a way to make my deep thoughts contribute to the bottom line. Maybe?

#23. I really don't want to work at Puppy Palace, so it would be really amazing if somehow the thing I already work at could generate taco money, and keep the Bird House singing.

#24. I worked at a taco town, in high school. And a department store, for a credit card, and a bakery, a theater, in a copy room, at a high school, for a magazine, for an urban research firm, in a restaurant, and one summer picking peppers.

#25. I was technically fired from the pepper picking job. Apparently I was kind of shabby as a fourteen year old day laborer.

#26. Other skills I have include: cutting swabs, taking pictures, collecting pets, piling papers, feeding children, ordering pizza, comparing schools on College Prowler, and making lists.

#27. I can make numbered lists, and I can color code the subjects. I have my own crayons.

#28. I hope you are getting some breaks, enjoying this Fall season, and making some happy plans.