Friday, June 20, 2014

Blogging, My Brilliant Career

Okay, if you live with me, if you hang out, or pass my way, I may blog about you. I can't help it. Sometimes Geoff will do something hilarious/absurd/endearing/wrong, and I gently remind him, "I blog, you know." By this I mean, I will find it very hard to resist the impulse to share _this moment_ with the world {i.e. the five or six people who read Chickenblog} and I cannot be held accountable for my actions, because you ought to know better than to let me hold a camera, and posses a keyboard. I like to believe that I am mostly "harmless" and "inoffensive," that I am sensitive to people's feelings, and privacy. I adhere to a strict policy of no unflattering pictures. BTW, if you don't appreciate a picture I've posted, just say so, and I will remove it, because I like to play nice. Believe me, my own children have censored Chickenblog content many times. It's all good.

This moment... I cannot resist the impulse to tell the world {i.e. the five or six people who read Chickenblog} that I have been living with:

Bosco – 10 year old Bearded Collie
Leo – 2 ½ year old Jack Russell mix
Buster – Red eared slider
Jordy, Dot and Nugget – hens
Lacey – rooster
Fatsy – tree frog
Gizmo – leopard gecko
Rumpy - Tarantula
Nigel – snake
Astro, Comet - Fish
Guinea pigs – Chubs and Marley
Sammy – Rabbit

Oh, and for the record: Meal worms, and crickets.

While their family is enjoying some much deserved vacation time, I have been a stand-in farmer. Here are Bosco, and Leo. And my latest crocheted dishcloth. Nice thing about dogs: You can crochet in front of them, even drop your thread on the floor, and they will not attack it, or try to carry it away. Dogs are not cats.

Alone in the house... well, not actually ALONE! I have been talking to myself. But that's a silly thing to do, so I talk to the dogs, and that seems quite rational. Bosco and Leo take in a narration of all the things I am doing... "Lettuce for you, and lettuce for you, and lettuce for you. And who needs water? Sammy, do you need water?" Good stuff, like that. Nice thing about dogs: You can talk to them, and they look interested. They turn their heads, and perk up, they get excited, or show interest, hanging on every word. Dogs are not cats.

I am fascinated by Bosco's ability to navigate the home and yard, practically blindfolded by his own mop top! How does he do it?? I've been trying all week to get a focused portrait of Mister Bosco, but he can't handle it. He needs to get real close, or turn to see what Leo's found. So all the Bosco pictures are at least a little bit blurry.

Same with Leo. No focused pictures. He's got plushies to decapitate, noises to investigate, and when I bring out the camera, he needs to move in for a real-super close-up sniff. Also, he like to sneak in for a snuggle... almost cat-like, he waits for a quiet moment and then suddenly he's on my lap, on my chest, in my face, with eyes that say "Let's snuggle. I think I belong here, don't you?"

Of all things... you'd think a Chickenblogger would have all of the farm critters eating out of the palm of her hand. Nope. Not a chance. Not with this cocky-dude in the yard. Lacey. Lacey the rooster. He is all rooster, and duty bound to defend his ladies, and he hates me. He wants to see me go down, run, flee, submit to his mighty roosterness. {He's winning. In this case, I'm the chicken.}

Alex wrapped up his first week of summer school, and helped me with our Bird House Farm. Max has been unwinding from his academic year, and preparing for our first adventure of the summer... a trip to celebrate Great Grandma Nancy's 90th birthday! William, too, has been helping me with things at home, while doing his sculpting and research. Maria is finishing her last day of school, today! Geoff... that guy never stops working, which is why I feel even more thankful for all he does for us. I've had a "job" for one week, and it's been a bit hectic, hairy, and called for creative juggling, but after tomorrow I retire. Geoff keeps going! He installed a new window, replacing one that was rotting to death. He replaced siding. Wired a gate. Caulked. Trouble-shooted... and those are the extras!

Well, I haven't retired, yet! I gotta roll. I'm taking my boots, today, so Lacey has something solid to attack.

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to 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.

Maria, Emma, Princess, Angelina :: "Zapatito Blanco, Zapatito Azul... ?cuántos años tienes tú?"

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Portland Organic

It's a crush. Maybe? Can you have a crush on a place you've been to only very briefly? I rode the train through Portland. Let's see, that was in March, 1990. Trains do not show you the very loveliest sides of any city, so I cannot pretend that my crush began then. But Geoff and I flew there, early in summer, 1992. We crashed in someone's living room, got up early and headed to the coast. I remember a wilted lettuce salad, and wondering, is this deliberate? Are these leaves sautéed, or past prime? I remember a tree lined street, big houses that were settled into their foundations like old people in chairs... comfortable, warm, welcoming company. I remember broken sidewalks, a deep blue sky, and a longing to stay, to explore. Yes, the Portland crush began then.

Peonies, and rose gardens. Or so I have heard.
Chance of rain.
Clouds, weather.
Trees, and warehouses, a river, and those settled houses.
So intriguing, and beckoning.

Then I began to notice that one, two, three... more, good bloggers were in Portland. I couldn't visit the city, but I enjoyed dropping in on Freckled. Girl. Talk... I found Angry Chicken. Down the Columbia River, I happened upon a Happy Zombie and I was smitten with her colors, her talent, her industrious skills, her humor, her joie de la vie! Sure, Astoria is not Portland, but close... there must be something in the water! When Emily Winfield Martin moved to Portland, I said, "There you go! Portland must be sweet, because look at the talent it draws!"

And then Delia and Ron, my folks, moved to Oregon. Sure, Bandon isn't Portland, but close. And through them I hear about Powell's Bookstore. And Mom sends me Sympathique, long before anyone knows Pink Martini, which is wonderful, and hip, and now my crush has a playlist and the essential feeling of being exclusive, unique, my own. And in the middle of our own housing crisis, I find my anthem...

Every moment, good, or trying, should have it's anthem, or playlist. My Portland crush is evermore confirmed.

All the while, I am being regularly tempted, lured, charmed, enchanted, and renewed by Alicia Paulson, and her Cozy, and always uplifting, blog. In fair or stormy weather, she finds the blossom, the rainbow, the perfect brownie recipe, the loveliest reflections, and most charming crafts, to brighten a day, to refocus the mind, to remind me that lovely good things are not so hard to find. Oh, yes, I am assured... Portland must be sweet.

I love that there is nothing ordinary about Portland. At least, that's the impression I get, from comments, from cliches, from that show, from my friends Janece and Paul, who lived there for a year... I totally should have gone, then, while they were there. I've said, I want to live there for a year. And that's just because I love the idea of going through all the seasons, especially fall and winter. Maybe I am nuts. Delusional. I like my Portland crush, and maybe after one visit, or one year living there, me and Portland would break-up. That's okay too. It doesn't have to be perfect. I don't believe in perfect. I believe in local humor, and local chicken, and I like thinking about going to Portland some day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Go A Wandering...

This is where my mind goes wandering these days. The roads between Bandon, and Portland, Oregon.

I am in the middle of a challenging week, with another full week coming up. It's time I am passing by hunkering down, and doing my best to keep everything safe, moving forward, and as well tended as possible. Many things are bound to slip, and I will, no doubt, lose some hair... hopefully only gray ones.

As I rise to the occasion, driving, driving, care taking, and farm(s) wrangling, my mind wanders to what I expect will be a really marvelous adventure... a road trip from Southern California to Southern Oregon. We are going to see Mom and Dad, and Grandma Eunice, and Aunt Becky, and hopefully blackberries, and definitely redwoods, campfires, elk, and bridges. I have been pouring over maps, {paper and digital}. I've reserved campsites, counted miles, dreamt of coastlines, and the smell of pines. There are college visits along the way, and some small dread of carsickness, or fatigue, but no... no, this is not discouraging. Early on, when it's all planning and anticipation every road block and inconvenience is easy to dismiss. Road trips are not for the weak, for the unimaginative sorts. I feel a surge of confidence and determination, a giddy buzz of energy when I think of the trees, wildflowers, farm stands, and discoveries that await us, the dear, familiar faces at the end of the drive.

It's still some time before we can enjoy our coast drive, our van-ful of adventuring , and like I say, right now there is a lot to be done. Daunting work, and such... so when I feel the strain, I let my thoughts begin the trip, the trip to Oregon... I recall the familiar places, the coolness of a fern grove, the heights of old redwoods, and bluffs. I take notes on places recommended by friends... stop at the seed store in Petaluma, visit Half Moon Bay. And when I feel particularly eager and daring, I imagine going further, going to Portland. I think about one more day of driving, or two? I wonder if we'll have the time, or the energy. Sometimes, on a road trip, it can feel easier to keep moving away from home, a few miles more, one more sight, one more town. Easier than turning around and driving all those miles back. Back is far, those miles feel longer, slower, less carefree, and it brings the end of the adventure. Back means the long hours on the road signify returning to normal, and routine. I do love our normal, our routines, but fresh from new adventures, and a bit worn, too, one begins to wish that home were closer, and that back-to-school were further away, that we can keep some of that road trip newness with us, a bit longer.

I love the beginning. The maps, and the speculation. I wonder, which three places we should not miss if we dare to drive 289 miles beyond our destination? Would we find a place to sleep? Is there a shop, or a park, or hike we should enjoy? Will we exhaust ourselves, trying to make too much, with too little time? Will we revel in our daring and celebrate the joy of fulfilling a wish?

Going to Portland {actually living there, for each season} is a wish I make, often. The bit I toy with, and puzzle over, is whether my wish can come true this time, or if I should wait. After all, just now, I am deep in the throes of regret and self recrimination for regularly complicating my life with adding more. More to do, more to care for, more to accomplish, more to regret. It's not always regrettable, of course, but just now... I have too much, and since there is no remedy, but to move forward, I urge myself: Dear Self, please do exercise more prudence, and do not complicate your life, do not add more, when there is already enough. The trick, I suppose, is to choose wisely, only adding when and what the heart really desires.

Oh, yes. I see the time, and now I must leave these musings and wanderings... and get back to the real tasks at hand.

{But, please... if you have a moment, do share your thoughts on wandering, on Portland, even on the complications of adding too much!}

Monday, June 16, 2014

Five Good Things

Scripps Birch Aquarium

Good Things...

1. Knowing that friends can be family. Or... that we don't have to concern ourselves with labels and societal definitions of "family," because sometimes the best "fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers" might just be a friend who cares, who plays, who shows interest, who takes you as you are.

2. Discovery... in a tide pool, on a field trip, in our understanding, in our beliefs.

3. Long pants, boots, gloves, a honey-badger shirt, a big rake, and the resolve to take care of business... even when the business has spurs.

4. Wifi

5. Geoff: friend, husband, father, brilliant, kind, caring, generous, hardworking, sincere, devoted, diligent, and dear.