Monday, January 28, 2019

Last Year...

Christmas morning, 2018

Now it's almost the end of January, nearly a month into this new year, and I am not quite so disappointed that this Christmas morning picture is out of focus. I'm just glad to have it... to have the happy memories it recalls. We did celebrate Christmas, and it was a blur of joy and overabundance.

On Boxing day we picked up from where we left on from Winter Solstice, and share dinner and a campfire with more friends. And I am pretty sure this about the time that we started making our plans for next year, which basically entails more nights sharing dinner and campfires with friends.

I miss friends. And I miss feeling stronger, more capable... I won't lay all of the blame on the accident, because I know I struggle to be on top of things in the best of times, but I really feel my inadequacies these days. Frankly, if you saw how hard I struggled just to spell "inadequacies," you would cut me some slack. I am not really interested in excuses... I want to be a better friend.

I am lucky. And thankful. Looking through these pictures, I feel it all over again... the certainty that seeing the people I love, even the ones that I unfortunately did not get a picture of, is the best of any day. Whether celebrating a birthday, or just figuring out a new robot together... that company, laughter, support, and energy exchange is priceless.

Is my New Year resolution taking shape?

More time with friends.

The last day of 2018, and this year we went out! Unheard of! Alex's work party... (which, honestly, we did not crash) was at Robin and Sean's, and we were all invited. Besides being Alex's bosses, they're dear friends, which is why we imposed and stayed very late, and ate all of the tacos, and dished out the second round of churros and ice-cream. It was a very good party.

This is a plug for Salud Tacos, because their tacos, cooked on site, were insanely good. Genuinely deliciosos!! This is not a paid endorsement. Maybe I was especially vulnerable... going through the holidays, wishing for family traditions and familia, nostalgia, cultura, a bowl of posole, a piñata, missing my Grandma, all of the intangible bits that give the season sabor, and Salud swooped in in their taco van, and shut me up!

When I went back for my second plate they apologized for making me wait a moment... they were preparing dessert, "churros and ice-cream." And I thought eh, ice cream. And churros? I'll take tacos over churros, muchas gracias.

I accepted my dessert, to be polite, you know. And then I embarrassed myself with gushing and running my fingertip all around the rim. I went back to the catering station and begged, Begged for the secret formula. I won't divulge all of what they shared in confidence, but my Tajín crush just redoubled.

For the latter half of the month I carried around those wool felt balls I repurposed from Trader Joes. It was my gift and comfort to share crafting and creating with them, and Robin really raised the bar in creativity! She brought out her beads, and I acted as her assistant. Do you know what makes a lovely NYE... friends, light, laughter, tacos, Tajín, craft, games, and puzzles. We were cozy, content, and together.

Before the year ended, we hugged our hosts and thanked them. We were back home in time for Bambi to fix us all toshikoshi soba and veggies, for a happy year-passing. And that was all last year.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

January 24-26 Birds and Things

January 24 ::
Back in December, the birders returned to our neighborhood, and this time they really hooked me. The bird to watch for? Everyone is coming to see the Grace's Warbler. And thanks to a local birder and new friend, I was able to see this rare bird many times with these great binoculars Rita lent me. For a few weeks new birders were walking up and down our street, and as often as I could I would join them... we found many birds, and many of them were new to me.

Little did we know that when we named our house just how apt The Bird House would be. Our first impressions and experiences, seeing many birds, and new ones, continues; I love our Bird House!

And I love how birders and birding have lured me out of my daze, helped me (literally) step out of the house, and my comfort zone, into a gentle and uplifting experience of observation, appreciation, and engagement.

January 25 ::
Not being sure what I was making with the crocheted bubbles, I decided to stop when it was square. So it is a cozy mat for flower vases.

Speaking of cozy mats, could he be any snugglier, cuter? I think not.

Maria with Max V... another Max V, come to think of it. He's a freshman, too, and they are both clocking in their metal shop robot hours to earn their chance to participate at regionals, and hopefully Championships. Everyone on the robotics team has to put in a minimum of 50 hours before the first competition, if they want to travel with the team.

January 26 ::

When I was about 6 years old, and we lived in Ramona, in an old house with big trees, gardens, chickens, even a pony, we also had swings. They were rudimentary things, hanging from a tree, perfectly made for fun. What I remember most clearly about them, was that they were long and strong, and adults loved them as much, if not more, than the kids. I have vivid memories of the grown-ups happily clamoring for their turn, and the relaxed easy smiles that came over them when they were swaying up and back. They looked carefree, and sounded merry... more like kids then was usual or expected. As young as I was, the idea stayed with me that play, easygoing and airy fun is not something that should end with being little, young. I've held on to this, and it's what got me proposing that our family could make a swing... and I hinted, suggested, nudged, and designed for a few years. We make things, all the time... why not a swing? And not just a swing, but one for grown-ups and young people, alike. A swing that could make me feel as though I am 6 years old.

Guess what... for Christmas I got a hunk of steel, the mechanical part that holds rope, or chain, to a steel bar for swinging! William started painted the steel poles, last week.

All along we knew, the hard part would be getting this super tall creation standing. Using the barn as scaffolding was kind of genius, and pretty nutz, too. And how awesome are our friends? Answer: Totally Awesome. Saturday morning I get them on the phone, casually, "Hey, what are you guys are up to?" Paul, Janece and Amira were over within the hour, and we put them right to work. Janece and I took the jobs of gasping audibly, and saying things like "Don't get hurt, please!" Long, steel poles weigh a lot. Five long, steel poles weigh a ridiulclus lot.

After the pieces were assembled, they carried it to where we planned to stand the swing set. All of this was hard and challenging... and made me have second, third and fourth thoughts about my bright idea.

Hard work and planning pay off!

And teamwork wins the day! What a great sense of relief and accomplishment we felt!

Benevolent Order of Makers! The The BOoM Nerds!
Max, Alex, William, Paul, and Geoff~

Amira, Maria, and Janece~

Next up is leveling, pouring concrete, and making the swings. And I am going to have to be patient, because this is already a very busy time of year. I suspect this will be worth the wait.

(This post was back-blogged on April 29, 2019.)