Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Love The Water

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you for sharing this video. Sometimes, I think the things we enjoy the most are those that resonate, that reflect back the truth we believe, the ideals we hold up, admire. I want to say, in a modest, unassuming way... I see the water. I feel it all around me. But I do sometimes forget, or maybe it's that it overwhelms me, and I feel it like a weight, a too expansive realm. I woke up feeling a bit of that heaviness.

The commencement speech, by David Foster Wallace pulled me out of a bit of a spiral. I needed this, Jennifer. Thank you.

And hey, however any of you are feeling today, I hope you will listen to this speech. It's up lifting... not a grand remedy, not a superficial trifle, but the kind of truth that simply resonates and raises your thoughts, and spirit.

Friday, May 10, 2013

We Make It!

We made it into the Make Blog, and it's such a rush! I feel exhilarated!

Do you know about our other blog, Love & Rockets? Thats's where we wave our Geek Flag, where we share all that we imagine, invent, create, tinker, play, and make. It's where we hope to reach out to family and friends and inspire STEAM learning and teaching, between all the curious minds! Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math = STEAM, and those subjects are what we have a passion for. We express that passion through our involvement in the Maker Faire, with FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, with FIRST Robotics, and really, just our daily lives and interests. So, when a rising star needs a shout out, we answer the call. When a high school robotics team wants to build a giant robot, we open our garage. If an inspiring young man needs big room, and some paint, for a big idea, we like to lend a hand.

It means a great deal to us to be welcomed into the Maker community, because one of the nicest things about life is sharing, and Maker Faire, and the Maker Family, share with a generous and inspiring passion.

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Seeing The Garden

Tucked away at the bottom of our property is a purposefully landscaped garden. It was built to help maintain the septic system, by requiring very little water. Xeriscape gardens are desirable, and a practical necessity in dry Southern California. Conserving water is responsible, and in the garden it can be accomplished beautifully. Since I don't need a fussy-manicured garden, there isn't too much to do to keep things looking good here... reduce the Mexican sage, and the potato vine, which each grow profusely, year round. Pull weeds, which grow profusely, year round. And trap gophers, which grow profusely, year round. Easy to care for... and easy to forget.

I have been so preoccupied with the chicken run, and Maker Faire, with laundry, and flossing, and Boggle (Heaven, help me!) that I'd sort of forgotten that we have this meandering path, and lovely plants, until some of you made your kind remarks! Oh, yes, I reflected. Our garden is lovely, the flowers are in full bloom. Thank you. It's so nice to see our garden with this renewed appreciation.

Now, having read The Sunset Western Garden Book, like a romance novel on a tropical beach vacation, voraciously, I can identify some of our plants. Happily, for me, there are a few mysteries. I actually enjoy being stumped. Wondering is a pleasure.

Come into the garden?

Let's begin with a mystery! This shrub, with long bowing branches, has leaves of green and a dusky aubergine. They are soft and supple leaves, and I have no idea what the plant is, besides beautiful!

Another... long, slender, clean stems tipped with a cluster of teeny, dry flowers, which remind of millet seed. In the fall the stems will bear small curls of dried leaves, which are brown with a metallic sheen.

Here is a native species, and a favorite of mine: California Mountain Lilac, or Ceanothus.

I know this plant as Kangaroo Paw. A native of Australia, and lately very popular in So Cal landscaping. It's a real exotic, I think, with those fuzzy red bits, that open with tomato blossom-like flowers.

Do you see what I mean? Maybe it's the yellow star shape that reminds me of tomato flowers.

This is the other fuzzy bloomer, the Mexican Sage, or Salvia Leucantha. It's a member of the mint family. I think it smells a bit... mmmm... pungent, kind of sour. It grows like mad! Naturally, it would be something the goats don't eat!

And the goats do not eat Grandmother's geraniums, and yes, these are the same geraniums Grandmother started at Neptune, brought to El Rancho, and I've cared for ever since. They are happy and settled, and much respected.

Duranta. It's a member of the verbena family! Well, unlike the flowerbed verbena I recall, these are towering shrubs, and their flowers cascade down, almost wisteria-like.

Does anyone know its common name? It's too romantic looking to be just "Duranta."

Sweetbroom is romantic. Scientifically? Genista stenopetala, a native of the Canary Islands. I'll remember this because they are as yellow as a canary bird!

These Alstroemeria are often seen as cut flowers, in bouquets. Ours don't ever grow long, florist shop stems. That's okay.

When it comes to flowers, I cannot help being frank. Geraniums smell not good, and bird of paradise? Yawn. Is that awful? I mean look at it! It's beautiful, and unique. The colors are saturated with tropical intensity. You see, the thing is, they are everywhere, in So Cal, and they need lots of cleaning up, and snails use them like cheap motels. Having seen too, too many in rental palaces, and strip mall beds, I forget to see them, to really appreciate them.

Another Kangaroo Paw, this time in golden hues, with red stems... like the gradient colors of a sunset.

I do not plant poisonous plants, which is why I am wary of this Lantana: "The Lantana berries are edible when ripe, though like many fruit are mildly poisonous if eaten while still green." Thank you, Wikipedia! Happily, the goats do not touch it. It makes pretty flowers, needs no irrigation, and is hearty... but I wouldn't mind replacing it with something like a guacamole tree!

The chicas have always been admiring and appreciative of their garden. Such smart ladies.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

True Love

This man was not just a great stop-motion pioneer. Harryhausen was an animation auteur, someone who helped to prove that special effects and animation are an art form through which the craftsman's unique vision can easily match the technical aptitude utilized therein. His fantastic and beautiful monsters could be as appropriately horrible and grotesque as a story demanded, and yet, when they are slain, they so often have the sympathy of the audience. THAT is Ray Harryhausen. He literally LOVED his creations.

It is a fact that, with all due respect to the undoubtably talented directors/writers who officially headed the films that he worked on, Harryhausen was, deservedly, the de-facto embodiment of high-adventure-fantasy cinema; "Argonauts" and "Sinbad" were and always will be Harryhausen films. And all of this gorgeous movie artistry was more or less something that he did all on his own. It would be like if the late great Stan Winston personally modeled, animated and/or physically crafted every dinosaur in Jurassic Park! Of course, he wasn't trying to prove anything. That was just the way he liked to work.

So, (I have to reiterate) when you see the giant statue of Talos clutching his throat and writhing slowly to the ground in "Argonauts", or when the vicious dragon guardian is killed by the sailors in "7th Voyage" and you actually feel sad for these monsters, you know that that is Ray Harryhausen's personal touch--his stroke of true love and sympathy for the things that he made--that is shining through. I hope, beyond words, that this person is remembered. Even if it's only by the animators, prop fabricators, and SFX artists of today who love what they do and who knowingly preserve Ray's legacy and the fantastic things that he created for us, then I know that Harryhausen will live forever.

William, on the legacy of Ray Harryhausen

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

One Down...

Finally! For better, or mediocre, I finished one of my writing assignments, and even managed to complete some related paperwork for Maker Faire 2013! Are we going to make it!? The day is drawing nigh, and we still have so much to accomplish!

Jennifer, in Calfornia, sent me a pep-email, it was like a nice, bright beacon at the end of this tunnel! Thank you, Jennifer!

Before I jump into the next urgent item on the long list, I'll just spend a moment or two revisiting awesome Maker Faire memories, and I hope you enjoy highlights, too! Recalling the inspiration and creativity that awaits us refuels my determination to get everything moving forward!