Friday, September 18, 2015

~This Moment~

~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments, for all to see.
Dear Foo, giving me loving snuggles and purrs, at the end of a long day. Sometimes, it feels like our pets know when we need something extra.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Historic Treasure Map Discovered in Aftermath of Massive Storm*

*Forgive me, but there's some evidence this click bait business may be working.

When I first considered installing a Little Free Library of our own, I imagined that we would be giving something to our community, that I would need to procure new books, often, that I might even need to visit second hand shops and library sales to keep the inventory fresh. I thought about not wanting the Little Free Library to run empty, get dull. It was daydreaming about this, about happy neighbors, and being a good steward that really sparked my interest in going through it, putting up a Little Free Library. It's been wonderful. It's been fun, easy, and a source of happiness for all of us. It's also been surprising. Nothing horrible has happened. We haven't run out of books, or been run out of town. Thank goodness, no... the surprise has been how much enjoyment I am receiving. I meant this to be a gift, but I feel like I am getting the gift. We have new books, almost daily... certainly more than I can read, before new ones arrive. We meet new people, and their dogs! And then there are the treasure maps, the mysteries, odd collections, the fascinating connections. Our Little Free Library and the neighbors who share in the exchange have enriched our lives.

Geoff and Maria discovered a collection of works by Don Blanding. I happened to open a volume to a poem about leis... Hawaiian leis. It was a lovely bit, sentimental, because of our love of Hawaii. Geoff turned to the Internet for more insight into this poet and discovered "the poet laureate of Hawaii," a man who lived an interesting life, with many ties to Hawaii. It was he that suggested and founded Lei Day, back in 1927.

In other volumes we found old letters, poems, and holiday greetings exchanged between two women. A third woman's name is written inside the poetry books. We haven't deciphered the connection, if there is any, between the owner of the books and the two women exchanging cards and poems. One of the poems was poignant. There are stories, and lives touched, everywhere... of course, and yet it can be a somewhat startling to glimpse into a life, to take notice of something probably forgotten, perhaps lost in time.

Don Blanding wrote poetry, and was an artist, too.

This book is probably a bit too abused to be kept, but I don't want to part with it. Pages are stuck together, and it's moldy, warped, weathered. But the contents are amazing... it's an old fashioned crafter's Instructables, with every thing from patterns for making a pewter pitcher, to lanyard making, to illustration and design. It's not a huge book, but it's dense, full of plans, and advice for making, and tinkering. And in this same book, out fell the treasure map. I wouldn't bet these stores exist any more... and I still mean to do a Google search. Does anyone who lived in Los Angeles recall seeing hobby stores called Jiggs and Robbies Hobbies, or U-Mak-It Hobbies? I think the people on this thread would enjoy seeing the treasure map we found.

{The Internet is amazing. Mysteries solved, discoveries made... in a few strokes of the keypad.}

"The Craftsman's Creed"
All of the fine traditions and the skill...
Are mine to use to raise my craft's renown,
And mine to teach again with reverent will...
Thus do I love to serve,
With fingers that are masters of the tool."

It's fascinating what can be discovered, even in a very little library... real treasures, for certain.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Local Library Barely Survives Massive Storm

No flooding, not even any dampness, and so our Little Free Library has survived, what I hope will be, the first of many rainy days this new season.

Honestly, I think I would have used another title for this post... perhaps:
The Good Rain or New In The Library, even Rainy Days and Old Books. But, data suggests that the poor reception of Chickenblog, the dwindling readership, may be a result of uninspired headlines, and a sad lack of tawdry confessions. We need click bait! Geoff's read some articles on the subject and he says the key to blog success is confession. Something shocking, but not too shocking. I should reveal a humbling or embarrassing anecdote or personal belief that attracts attention, brings in the crowds, but not so disgusting that it scares away the half dozen or so regular readers.

What do you think? Do we need more bling, more zing?

I just wanted to capture the rain. To find it in pictures, to see it up close, and hold it near. The rain has been a perfect expression of my relief, a cleansing of my thoughts, my fears, my grief. It restores my hope for the work of firefighters, for the places in peril, it cooled our long and taxing heat wave, and it marked the day when Geoff came home. When Geoff's doctor came to tell me everything went very well, I was surprised to begin to feel the release of fear and worry, surprised to realize what a tight grip it's had on me. This is a New Year, a fresh start, and in time we will know for certain if Geoff's new heart rhythm will stay steady, regular. We drove home in a quenching, cleansing downpour, and it suits the occasion beautifully, this new beginning, with a new rhythm to move to. I wanted to go into the rain and feel the hope it symbolizes, to observe it, and absorb it, and believe in it.

Friends have been sending messages, offering help, prayers, insightful humor. It's tremendously comforting to feel connected, to know that there is a safety net. And there were some who gave me even more support and security, covering for me and keeping our family on course. Thank you, Carol, Diana, Janece, Paul, and Amira. Maybe the highest expression of my gratitude and appreciation is saying, I wasn't worried, didn't have to second guess, because I knew I could count on you.

Here's a zinger, even something of a cliffhanger: Maria and I drank milk that was ten days expired. That's right. You read correctly... my incompetence with homemaking has reached a new low, and there may be dire consequences. I could {and am tempted to try to} write a long essay about how challenging life can be, how it can "look" okay on the surface, how we "manage," but standards slip, things slide, and not so very far below the surface you can see there is room for improvement. So, yes... I am eager to begin again, to... how do I describe this? I am thankful and happy, and we are cautiously optimistic, so why do I feel like I might burst into tears, collapse from relief? It's almost as though my cells are so accustomed to this tension of fear and worry, that I am exhausted as we enter this new phase when things are getting good. Apparently, I need to get my act together and go buy fresh milk. Because, in the middle of Massive Storms, health crisis, and heat waves, we must carry on, and believe.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Five Good Things... an exercise in hope and faith

There is a gorgeous fountain in the business center where Maria has a class, and have I mentioned we are in a heat wave??
1. I am proud of myself for not sitting in the fountain.
2. There aren't any No Swimming in our gorgeous fountain signs posted, but oops there are No Photography signs posted.

Janece and I went on a walk, and on the way out it felt good and invigorating, and we saw lovely sights and were pleased, but on the return we were pitiful and bedraggled and other adjectives.
It was simply too hot. Much too hot.

So, yes, our FB feeds are full of witty, and desperate, posts about heat, misery, sleepless nights, sweat buckets etc.
Scientists have discovered that open whining, grousing, moaning, and sighing loudly reduces your risk of heat stroke and/or criminal behavior.
I invite all of my friends to lay it on thick! It helps!

But. We have much to look forward to, and even good things now. Last night I was scurrying through the market, buying up easy meals, cold things, and other staples. And lo! The pumpkins are here! It's happening. I took pictures, because... come on! You know me by now. I took pictures, because it's what I do, and the thought in my head needed a visual reminder: Good things are coming, you'll see.

If you could, please say a prayer, think good thoughts, smile at the sky, whatever works for you, just do this with Geoff in mind, please. Because, today he is going through something, all over again, that we hope will restore his health, and bring his heart into a happier, healthier rhythm. The second time around makes me realize that ignorance was bliss, so now we know what's ahead, well... it's harder.

Good things...

1. Good doctors, great facilities, caring people, our helpful and compassionate children, friends on hand that make a comforting safety net.

2. Our Maker Faire application has been accepted. "Officially," this time.

3. Love. Hope. Faith, and convenience foods, like those breakfast muffins from Trader Joes that the children love so much, because love, faith and hope can't run on an empty stomach.

4. They Might Be Giants singing Put A Little Birdhouse in Your Soul."

5. Talking to Geoff about all the things we will do, might do, want to do, dream of doing.