Sunday, May 31, 2009

While You Were Gone, by M

We went to PLACERITA Canyon. Just a meer 15 minutes from my house, and yet never go to. But frequently visited it as a kid... we got to pan for gold when the crick was high, learn about the early gold rush here, the white oil oozing from the ground and of course just Saturday I saved everyone from a 5ft nonvenemous snake. I like totally went snake handler on it. It was pretty rad. Naturally I do not have a picture of that, and the epic heroics that ensued but Brigid will vouch for me. The asian couple with kid totally applauded me and the white guy was horrified. ah, nature!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

While You Were Gone, by M

My 6th grade english teacher found me on facebook.

No really.

I was staring at the friend request : so and so reckons they know ye. (i still have FB turned to "pirate english") And I racked the brain thinking who is this guy and why does his name seem soooo familiar. And then I thought could it be?! NO WAY! I rushed home as fast as traffic and my edge could carry me and flipped thru my yearbook and there he was. A little dorkier and fresh faced, but still pretty cute then my imagination made him but, I had such a crush on this guy as a 6th grader. He was nice, gave me attention, encouraged my stories- turned his smily faces to martians on my papers (of which a couple i still have). And I have till this day remembered him fondly. As one does with vague impressions that you can trust because you've carried them with you for so long- He was a good guy, a good teacher to me. He made a difference.

So I asked him, how on earth did you remember me?!

To which he replied:
P**** cast ye a bottle with a message.
(dead men tell no tales)

"Hi Mendacious!! Of course I remember you! You always had a happy smile and encouraging word. What have you been doing these past 21 years??"

I. Am. Floored.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

that’s quite a blossom

There are two, actually. I just don’t remember squash blossoms being so big… Beautiful. I don’t know if it’s the variety, the health of the plant, or if I’m seeing everything through new eyes this year. But, I’m enjoying the show, as well as the impending arrival of oh-so-tasty squash. (The other plant, by the way, appears to be zucchini. Total luck, planting one of each from a hybrid seed pack.)


Through the glass.


Up close: it’s really about as big as my hand!


Where I've been when no one was looking, by M

here i am at seal beach. here i am at ibsen's "ghosts" over at 'a noise within'.

here i am at the huntington library: with friend cath who took an afternoon with me while she was in town... it was a warm day for march.
one of my favorite things...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Place In Which, by M

i'm cube 4.116

later in the day:

Found bathrooms far away.
Quadrant south bldg.
Found breakroom.
No coffee cups bcs the company is green.
Nevermind that water is actually a nonrenewable resource.
They have biodegradable forks.
I did not bring a cup.
No screener tapes to do today as yet.
My chair sends me flying backward.
Uncertain how to fix.
Situation amended.
I am on the 4th floor.
Cube#: 4.116 (I am not joking about this fact)
On the corner of the bldg facing away from windows.
Situation amended.
But the chords only stretch so far.
Uncertain if I am being watched.
It is likely.
Drink exploded over keyboard and computer.
am currently craving: burritos

the deck

A photo tour of our new deck as it was being built. Clearly, the dogs were an integral part of the process. Favorite moment: When the deck was half built, the dogs ran down the stairs and Bailey went one way (to the completed platform) and Bender went the other way (the unfinished part), completely confused as to how to maneuver it… classic. That’s my dog. :)


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Monday, May 25, 2009

Dear Penelope, by M

The girl has a new keyboard. It doesn't quite sing but she likes it just fine.

She's sitting in dirty clothes for the 2nd load of laundry, chewing on sunflower seeds and petting her dog Bodo. The cup of cold tea to her left has an iceberg bobbing in it and outside its cool like Spring might be if the girl didn't live in LA, and there's a bright pink watermelon rind from yesterdays BBQ sitting on the sill. Her Grandpa called her a b-r-a-t midway through past the hotdogs and during the shortbread cookies. She didn't think it entirely untrue but it made her sad to think that was all he would ever know of her. And Carmel, who's 94, didn't like that he called the girl that, and had told the girl before, that it is H-E-C-K getting older, except to her ex-nun sister who's 90 she said, H-E-L-L.

The girl wanted to tell you that today she feels like a round drop of dew in the base of a flower bud, a dark, quiet cool place until the sun comes out. She shimmers in private.

Nothing so important seems to be going on, not letters to herself or volcano stories, or outings to far off places, 'xcept she's praying a lot for some people over here and that seems like the work she likes most right now. When they're praying a breeze strikes up and it occurs to her that its the Holy Spirit coming right down and refreshing them. A visiting wind that says what they're doing is pleasing him who created the dark green grass she finds herself on or the coral tree twisting up and bursting forth red flames for flowers.

The girl sometimes grows weary, and sleeps like she's sleeping off ages. And the girl has a silly job right now, apart from the praying one, that she's not so positive about but her dissatisfaction only smolders. Never flares. And she wonders if God has a hand it, because she's trying to fan the flames and it never takes. Friends come down too and temper with encouragement, so the girl sits and waits and wonders whats next, kicking up dust, picking flowers.

Her knee speaks to her sometimes of giving up and of getting old, but she keeps on jogging and walking and swimming and yoga'ing, and tries to go with care but keeps on going anyway. That's the thing she thinks. No matter how slow the results. The other day she saw a house surrounded with plants in buckets and pots, clustered, struggling as if they were the remnant of an apocalypse and she longed to see them set free in the ground, but seemed like the ground wasn't to be trusted, maybe wasn't ready or the owner not willing to let them go free.

And as the sun is up and the girl has swam, and laid out on the beach and eaten hotdogs and is off to another such sort of thing tonight, she has to go. There's more to be said, about missing Penelope and coming back around as the rains come and the waters increase. Books to be read and stories to be written. Men to long for and debts to be paid. Schools of discipline, peace and rest. And all of that in moments and a blink. She only hopes for her, the girl has conveyed just enough.

tiny yellow squash


I’ve lost track of the days, but here they are: the first yellow squash(es?) of the season! There are several, as well as flowers on the other plant. I don’t know what the other plant will come out as, since the seed pack was listed as a mix of squash? It will be kind of neat to find out.

The tomatoes are also looking healthier after a dose of plant food (worm poop spray, for reals) the other day.

The pepper still looks a little wimpy to me, but maybe I should have planted it in more sun, rather than the shady bed. Learning experience.

I was also brave and thinned out the okra, and I think it was a good move. I’m down to six plants, which I know is still way too much, but hopefully they will grow better than they had been—and I can freeze extras for okra yumminess throughout the year.

I also thieved some pine straw from a local park, and laid it down over the top of some newspaper (thieved from the recycle center). One pile of straw included some duck feathers from the park pond, and the birds in our yard found them like, immediately, within an hour, staging their own stealthy operation to acquire nesting materials. I didn’t get enough pine straw overall, and would go back for more, but the whole operation felt a little sneaky to me, so I think I’ll wait until next year. Next time, I plan to go to campus (for a lifetime of debt? they owe me), and fill up maybe 3x as many bags. Meanwhile, I’m filling in the blanks with some pine bark purchased by the giant bagful from the home improvement store.

AND, it turns out that we have some decking leftover from our deck project (pictures soon), so… third garden bed! Third garden bed! Third garden bed! I may be a little excited about that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a colorful meal

At the BB Brewpub on Saturday night, I ate the best damn fish and chips I ever had. The garden greens salad wasn’t bad either, and by “wasn’t bad,” I mean it was flipping fantastic. Here is the view from this restaurant:

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The menu uses all local ingredients, and the beer is also fab. Not too expensive, either. As we sat outside, the troops were getting restless. The chips/fries couldn’t come quick enough. While we conversed, a possibly homeless and definitely wasted guy strolled the sidewalk flanking the deck. He attempted to engage *whomever* in conversation, including the owner; I wouldn’t meet his eye, although N.Lo started to catch it just before the man was escorted away, around the other side of the building, by some sort of big, burly bouncer. Yikes one.

A little later, a man rode his bike by the restaurant and, not paying attention, smacked right into the back of an SUV. I only saw J. wince and then caught the tail of the accident, which was the man flipping onto his back with the bike on top of him. Yikes two. He was fine, he said, just embarrassed, although obviously the drivers of the SUV, as well as all of us witness at the restaurant, were concerned. He rode away apparently fine.

And THEN, there were sirens. Police, fire, ambulance. Someone on that far side of the building was taken away on a gurney, wearing a neck brace. Yikes three! We have no idea who: the drunk guy, or the biker? And we never found out. I’m kind of dying to know… and also dying to go back for some more fish and chips. Served with a side of malt vinegar aioli… I’m just saying.

Monday, May 18, 2009

chickens are really birds, so shouldn’t i hate them?

I would have loved to find the chicken named Penny (pic 11)—can you imagine the photo opportunities?—but alas, it was not meant to be. The urban chicken tour was organized into about 5 groups of urban chicken-raisers that were within walking distance of each other. We chose the group closest to a friend’s house and toured four backyards, all with very different coop approaches. As one informational sign on the tour stated, you can spend as much or as little as you want when raising your chickens. The first setup was fairly simple, with a basic framed-out coop covered in chicken wire. Nearby was another frame of baby chicks. The kids, of course, were thrilled by both sets of chickens, old and young. I always enjoy seeing the kind that have feathers covering their legs all the way down to their feet. Funky.

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The second coop was much fancier. Look at that thing!

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One of the chicken owners treated us to a small show of feeding the chickens some clover. I found it interesting that chickens do not subsist solely on grain feed and grass, but also lettuce, bugs—enough to assist greatly with insect control in one’s garden and yard, as well as shrimp and oyster shells, which fortify their own egg composition.

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The third coop was a little less fancy, although it had an apparent second floor where the white chicken disappeared to, mystifying the children. You could hear her knocking around in there, but she was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s the white one?” K.Lo asked so many times that N.Lo began to echo: “White one. White one,” in a semi-frantic way. The coop had a window to look in, but as one little girl noted twice, mainly for effect, “That window sure is mighty dirty.” You couldn’t actually see inside.

I enjoyed the sign, “Welcome to Our Coop.” Also, around the corner, the chicken owners were in the process of building a second coop, which I guessed would eventually bookend behind which the chickens were free to roam? The playhouse was small, but charming, and gave me the greatest. idea. EVER. I’m just saying!

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Fourth and finally, we landed in this backyard, which I couldn’t help taking photos of, in addition to the coop. It was such an eclectic little fairy-tale spot, no lawn, but lots of big trees and glass ornaments hanging everywhere and just stuff to look at. I could see myself in such a backyard daydreaming life away. Magical. I would love an outdoor space like this one day, filled with plants and patios and metal art and random stepping stones made of salvaged stone, although I admit I would never use the polished granite used by these folks, knowing that face-breaking would be an inevitability. And in fact, just as I had that thought, it started to rain, and the chicken owner advised that we should all be careful, because those suckers get slippery. …Yeah! I loved that they adorned the magnolia tree with glass wind chimes, prisms, and mirrors, and that plants covered so much of the space, but none of that plant life was grass. Also loved that um, they totally had my sign on their coop! Check that out. I love it. Regardless of whether I will ever raise backyard chickens (my friend J. has grand plans for my children one day joining 4-H and participating in the annual hatchling project, so this misadventure may just be inevitable), I loved the urban chicken tour. Fun stuff!

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