Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Saturday - Saturday 3/22/2008

I'm really looking forward to seeing the family today and sharing a meal. We're not religious, but we look for opportunities to get together. I'm going to suggest we name a random weekend to do this again before Thanksgiving... our own midsummer holiday. Otherwise, we don't see each other quite enough.

I'm really glad that we get to head off through the desert rather than hitting a major freeway the whole way down. We'll pass Mormon Rocks and go through the Cajon Pass on our way. Maybe I'll get some more photos to share.

It's 100 miles each way. Thank goodness Hydra and I both like driving.

Good Friday - Friday 3/21/2008

I worked a half day from home today, and then I went to sit out in the back yard.

It just doesn't pay to drive 45 minutes to work and 45 back on a day the boss is going to let people go early.

Also doesn't pay for me to start at my usual 6:30 and be let off at 1:00, which is about the halfway point for everyone else, but by which time I've put in 6 1/2 hours. (That pesky math rears its ugly head again.)

I swear, the last time I looked at this tree it was still bare!

Ice plant and gazanias under that tree. The first time someone told me the name of the orange flowers, I thought she was pulling my leg. Right, I'll repeat that!

As I sat there just out of the direct sunlight, with Dodger in his travel cage on the table next to me, reading Tomasina's truly wonderful novel, I began to hear...something. Was that dry leaves skittering across the sidewalk between the house and garage?

No. That was running water! Running water under the house, and nothing was even using water inside. Phooey.

I turned off the main water supply to the house and it eventually stopped. Called a plumber, who is generally local but also happened to be nearby. I was thinking that this is a holiday and it's an emergency, and it could cost between $200-300, especially if he had to go under our house.

Boy, did this go smoothly. The plumber came over right after Hydra came home and fixed it pretty quickly and only charged $100.

I love Acton.

I've Got Class - Thursday 3/20/2008

I had a great time with my girls! We went to the park. M, above, is holding a puppy that was there with it's little girl master.)

It’s really great to have some space to stretch out in. The guided mental walk went really well. Afterward, I let them play on the playground equipment while I made sure I could make out their writing and then read it aloud to them. They could opt whether to claim their writing or not, and all of them ended up being proud of it. I think they liked hearing me read it. (This was from my sister’s notes about the guided walk.)

We decided that next time we’ll write about Easter a little and that we’ll write love stories. They were all really excited about that. I told them to bring a picture from a magazine or whatever of a boy, if they want to. What kind? Something that will inspire you to write a love story. General excitement.

S hanging upside down. What a great smile.

At the end they hung around with me instead of scattering and M, who I thought would be trouble, but who really brings a lot of creativity and energy along with her slight mouthiness, asked me what inspires me. I thought about it and said that finding beauty in places that don’t seem very beautiful inspires me, and pointed out a stack of scuffed buckets. They pointed out flowers, and the wood of the table, and we enjoyed the way the sunlight shone through the drips of sap on the canvas over the outside table, and the pine needles poking through the netting.

“What inspires you about this place? Other than Me?” (M again, too funny.)

“Honestly, you girls.”

I told them I want to come back because I love what they’re writing and I’m interested in hearing more and getting to know them better. They really heard me, which was a neat moment. They all were saying “Bye, Miss!” at the end instead of just running from me. Yay.

The only thing I regret is that some of them weren’t there…only six today. But they want to be sure to go back to the park with the others.

Amazing. Before the class I was SO TIRED from staying up late working on the class prep, from working 3 9 hour days in a row, coming in at 5:30 this morning so I could finish work before the class. I think that being worn out made me less inclined to make them toe the line (though I don’t think I’ve been brutal), and we had a better time.

Making an Example of My Breakfast - Wednesday 3/19/2008

Okay, now that I see the photo of this innocent multi-grain scone, I feel a little sad about making an example of it.

But it's the only photo I took on this hectic Wednesday, and I do have a point to make.

Good grief, food prices are jumping! The last time I bought one of these--granted, it's been a few months--it was $1.75. Today it was $2.25. Someone can probably tell me what percentage that is.

It's easier for me to figure out on the individual boiled eggs they offer at Priscilla's, which went from 50 cents each to 75 cents each. Dang! That's a 50% increase!

Right? (I'm so math-phobic.)

I mentioned it to coworkers and we all agreed that a bag or two of groceries seems to have gone up about the same amount. Lots of sad headshaking and further agreement that it's because of gas prices.

Even people who don't drive are paying the price.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The New Hearth - Tuesday 3/18/2008

Almost everyone stops by on their way out of the coffee house. Niceties are exchanged.

I like seeing people straggle in before light. They have more time to talk to the baristas at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at this hour.

They have really excellent loose leaf teas here. I'm particularly enamored of the Chai.

I mix 2 teaspoons of CB&TL Chai with 1 teaspoon of English Breakfast in my three-cup pot on weekends.

If you like green tea, try the Gen Mai tea with puffed toasted rice. It's a great afternoon pick-me-up instead of a snack.

Pacific Airmotive Corp. - Monday 3/17/2008

When I see these old industrial sites, I always think about all the lives lived inside. So far I haven't found a whole lot on the web about Pacific Airmotive. What a great business name though, huh?

They were apparently a vibrant part of Burbank's now-dwindling aerospace industry.

Monday, March 17, 2008

How Green Was My Valley - Sunday 3/16/2008

All good things must come to an end. We packed up our stuff, had coffee with our friends, said our good-byes several times, and headed home.

I do the site reservations for our group, working with the camp manager, who is wonderful. I've been doing it for a couple of years and it's gotten easier and easier. A couple of guys from the club take care of other duties while we're at the campground, so it's not all on me.

Although it's always fun, for some reason this weekend was absolutely fabulous and relaxing. One of the best.

I always take too many books and notebooks and plan to get some reading, writing or critiquing done. I knew enough to leave my laptop at home this time. As usual, my brain just melted into the pleasure of walking back and forth across the live oak shaded campground, catching up with friends and joining in on harmonies, and I didn't accomplish much other than remembering how to be a content little human.

This valley on either side of the 126 stretches from Ventura to Valencia. The ordered rows in this shot are orange groves.

Flowers! These yellow ones remind me of mustard from back home. There are purple lupines in between at some points.

Today was Dodger's 15th hatchday! I forgot to do a birthday portrait.

He had a pretty great weekend, I think.

Here he is on Friday afternoon, enjoying the morning light from under the awning on our trailer.

And the Beat Goes On - Saturday 3/15/2008

More hanging out with friends making music. These are some real gems, both musically and as people.

A Campy Weekend - Friday 3/14/2008

It was a foggy morning where we woke up outside of Fillmore, CA. I missed a really great shot of a handful of guys starting work in one of these fields. They grow recognizable vegetables up here between the orange groves.

That's my cowboy! Yeah, we rode the horses into town for supplies.... Erm, drove the Tahoe in to Starbucks. What a great morning.

Our flock had a great time outside on the picnic table. Dodger's also out here, tooting and laughing and saying "Hello" to passersby.

I wandered around the campground looking for the music. Where was everyone? I had a great conversation with a couple of other Songmakers, but I was...

Hey! They're all at our place! And most of them are playing Hydra's guitars!

My friend, HammerGrrl's hammer dulcimer. I wish I could let you hear her play. It's like being transported to another century. It soothes the soul.

Pre-Apology Bagels - Thursday 3/13/2008

In an effort to pre-reward the generosity of my coworkers who are about to cover my researcher-eating shows for a day, I brought in gigantic fresh bagels and cream cheese.

From inside "my" classroom at Taking the Reins.

Believe me, if you had told me when I was twelve years old that I would one day teach creative writing in a converted stall, it would have made complete sense to me. More sense than my living in California.

I made sure I had enough material to get through the whole two hours. One girl didn't come back, but there were two new girls in her place. I think I worked them a little hard, and they might have felt a bit like this gecko.

Drumroll, Please - Wednesday 3/12/2008

These are the bowls I heat my soup in at work.

Did I mention, it's been really busy since we've been back at work and all the shows are trying to produce 6 episodes in the time they'd usually do four?