Saturday, August 06, 2016

Fresh Cut :: Two Hundred Twenty

It's hard to believe it's been six months since she had her first real haircut. Maria was very happy to go back to the salon for a fresh cut.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Whodunit :: Two Hundred Nineteen

Chango came around the corner to a... crime scene? So, what happened, and who done it?

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

We Live Here :: Two Hundred Seventeen

This... I could write about this all. day. long. It's not just laundry. It's clean laundry, so there's something nice to say. It's also the skates I asked for for my birthday, which I crashed in the first time I took them out, and yeah, there was physical, corporal, damage. On the floor, a painter's sponge, which is Cairo's dearest friend and playmate, and a used fabric softener sheet... my favorite, which I splurge on because it's one of the incentives that bolsters my mood when I am doing laundry. And I am not even saying "it's a good dryer-sheet," because maybe it's not that good. I wouldn't know, because when it comes to laundry, I am not that good. It smells nice. The old floor and the new floor, and the compulsion to defend or justify that they don't match. At all. And if anyone thinks it matters to me, then they don't know me. But, it is true that I know just enough about societal conventions and glossy magazine propaganda to maintain a space in my brain for an explanation: "I do not care." I regret that I know that much about societal conventions. My red chair, and the resignation that my pink chair looks worse and worse from use, and cat abuse, but the happy way I feel about having two chairs that I like very much.

And this is my picture for the day... a picture that I hope explicitly and starkly conveys that my home is cluttered, dusty, worn, mismatched, and beloved, that I keep trying, and living, and moving forward, that visiting friends, sharing time with loved ones, reading long books aloud, or painting stones to put in the garden means more to me than pushing myself to exist as though in the pages of a glossy magazine. I remember holidays, and any day, in homes of friends, family, when everything I recall is pure happiness and comfort, and it amuses me to see old photographs, and to realize that the "perfect" memory I have of the very best moments of my childhood were beautifully imperfect, humanly flawed. Worn furniture, not stylish rooms, unbrushed hair, any number of indications and clues that we were living... as active and dynamic as a verb can be, with all of the parts in motion, out of order. I come from open doors, and family tables, from crafts and glitter, from do-it-yourself. I come from picnics, patched clothes, yard sales, and doing without. I come from there's room for one more, and we have enough to share, come in, stay, you are welcome.

These messages are for me, honestly, because I forget, and I need reminding that, I am ok, as I am. Trying to be very convincing. Because I would like to be a better homemaker, and also not feel utter disgrace and regret, and shame that I am not a better homemaker. It must not be so impossible as I imagine, because I see it done, and admire the families I know that do it... order, organization, tidiness, beautiful homes, thoughtfully, artfully, lovely. I want to take care to not give up trying, or believe too firmly in that defiant voice, "I do not care." I do care. I do get embarrassed, but I'm also untrained, get distracted, and tired, discouraged. I wish I were a better person, with a cleaner home, but not as much as I wish for the next party we will host, for the next time friends will linger over dinner at our dining table, with the smily face scrawled into the wood. I wish I kept papers, spices, yarn, and car repairs in order, had a firm handle on how to make the wifi reboot, but not as much as I wish there were more campouts in the backyard, movie nights, cooking lessons, and hours of laughter, with loved ones. And I wish my friends, too, knew that I don't want to visit them to see whether their laundry is on the sofa, or under a table, or to be served something from a gourmet recipe on designer plates, but to visit, to hang out, to share time and ideas, to help one another, to talk. I do not want a Pinterest Life... I want to laugh, to create moments that will last a lifetime and be recalled as pure happiness and comfort, amidst everything, messy, shiny, good, hard, broken, repaired, in use, lived in.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Summer Sing Along :: Two Hundred Sixteen

We asked Leo to please play another concert for us, this time with his new piccolo, but we forgot that Mister Foo is a music aficionado, too. When Maria used to practice her recorder lessons, Foo would rush to be by her side, then he would meow. He'd circle around her, eagerly, and meow and meow, as long as she played. Well, we were reminded all about Mister Foo's sing-along habit when Leo started playing his piccolo! If our kitty has "rhythm," it's his own beat, and his meows aren't exactly melodic or harmonious, but his earnest enthusiasm comes meowing through! Maybe Mister Foo should be at band camp, too.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

And for as long as Leo played, Foo was in rapture.

I like to pretend he's in the middle of his aria.

And being a good dad, Mister Foo inspired Cairo's appreciation for music.

And Leo, you are not only a talented musician, and welcome friend, you are a good sport, too!

Before Leo came by, we were in the garden harvesting tomatoes and peppers. You see a lot of teeny Spoon tomatoes, and the Roma shaped, green striped Michael Pollan tomatoes, plus some golden cherry tomatoes. Oh, and a curious kitten, too.

Maria and I were taking advantage of this narrow strip of shade, where we could sort, clean, and rinse our harvest. The added benefit being the company of Foo and Cairo. It seems their interests are in music and gardening!

It took a while to get the hose to run cool water. I let the garden around the guavas enjoy a deep soaking, and the water from rinsing the tomatoes and bell peppers was shared between the mint, the blueberries, and the hollyhocks.

Cairo... silly.

Maria wants to keep some of the stripy tomatoes for fresh eating, but I think we will be roasting peppers and tomatoes today. We have plenty for all tastes.

Last night we roasted all of the golden cherry tomatoes for dinner. With garlic and olive oil on onion bagels, those were delicious!




And the spoon tomatoes... they are tiny and sweet, if Maria doesn't finish them by snacking, maybe we'll top them on a garden pizza.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

That Was Dinner :: Two Hundred Fifteen

In summer, when the hot weather has moved in, dinner gets simplified. We have a few cold cereal nights, which are always a welcome, light and easy meal. There are smoothie nights... loads of frozen fruit, cabbage or chard, and a splash of juice. Smoothies are actually the most regular summer fix, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We've been enjoying about two or three watermelons a week, and that's been quite refreshing. Last night I splurged on our favorite cheese. We dined on garden figs and apples, with a nice, crusty ciabatta, some gooseberry preserves, and Humboldt Fog, a marvelous goat cheese. Now, that was a good dinner!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

The World Around Us & Wiki Learning :: Two Hundred Fourteen

A pulley is a wheel on an axle or shaft that is designed to support movement and change of direction of a taut cable or belt along its circumference. Pulleys are used in a variety of ways to lift loads, apply forces, and to transmit power.

This is a small fraction of the haul we brought home from the AGSEM auction. I'm not sure which impresses me more: how little we spent, or how much we got! And the more activities, classes, and wandering around we do at AGSEM, the more I appreciate the opportunities there. They offer a world of learning, of shared knowledge and enthusiasm for makers, tinkerers, enthusiasts of history and craftsmanship. And like AGSEM, I think Wikipedia is a treasure. Not a day goes by that we don't learn something new, or at least find a jumping-off point for acquiring knowledge, with Wikipedia. That pulley definition is a small fraction of what's available to learn from Wikipedia... I think that is really cool!

So... yeah, just some deep thoughts and other musings I've been enjoying about the wealth of knowledge and opportunities we enjoy, coupled with the company and mentorship of great friends, and new friends, we have all the makings of happy, interesting lives: BOoM!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Sunday, July 31, 2016