Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Old Men in Party Hats

 
My latest.
12 matchboxes.
Meet : Bill, Frank, Tom, Bud, Ed, Leonard, Gus, Arthur, Walter, Mortimer, Charles, Milton

 
 

 
and a poem to go

Their wives who have music and dancing in their hearts
brought them to this party.
At home- their best friend, Routine.
Fuss, fume, sulk wanting to stay with him.
There.
Party hats begin to lighten their downward sloped wrinkles
The wives dance and laugh and then one by one
Bill, Frank, Tom, Bud, Ed, Leonard, Gus, Arthur, Walter, Mortimer,Charles, Milton
head to them. To the swirling joy.



 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
XO,
April

Monday, October 27, 2014

Poo tickets as a teaching aid


Speaking of poo tickets, npr, and things I love...

Paleontologist, Louise Leakey, used a helpful analogy for geologic time on a ted radio hour broadcast last week. 
The vast scale of geologic time has always been a barricade in my brain for the appreciation for the length of geologic history.

She suggested...
Unrolling (or just thinking about) a 400 sheet roll of 

.

Dinosaurs

(Hi there!)

would not enter the scene (of geologic time) until the 19th sheet from the end of the roll.
The asteroid that "wiped" (ha, ha, ha) them out didn't hit until the 5th sheet from the end of the roll.
So stegosaurus, T-rex, triceratops, diplodocus, coelophysis and all their families,  friends and enemies were around for 14 sheets of t.p.
Mammals start arriving after the dinosaurs were extinct.  But our species doesn't come into being until the last millimeter on the last (#400) sheet of quilted, bleached white, ultra soft toilet paper.
This tangible minute-amount of toilet-paper-time (200,000 years) presents the whole history of our species.

There are multiple websites that address this teaching aid, but I had never heard of it.
And geologic time is still mind boggling when I let my thinking wander to the big, ancient history of little me, but 
it does give me a clearer understanding of just how old  I am  the earth is.  

By the way, did you know that toilet paper used to come in colors?  Yes, you could match, or at least coordinate, your t.p. color to your powder room wall color. 

Things to think about when you're visiting the loo.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol



Sunday, October 26, 2014

a few things i am loving.... by way of australia

posted by:  jennifer


recently i have come across a few things i am loving... and they happen to all originate from australia.   and you know i am practically an honorary australian.... having an aunt and uncle and two cousins there.  in perth to be exact.   


and no, i have never been there, and have met one cousin once, the other never, and have not seen my uncle in over 20 years... but you know.

and, i practically was a pioneer on bring the slang "no worries" to the west coast... i mean i started saying it regularly a few years back.  and now you see and hear it everywhere.  there is a billboard in our town for a bunch of personal injury lawyers.... you know the type... top notch ambulance chasers... they have a billboard and above all there heads is "no worries" spelled out in big, bold letters.   i think of myself whenever is see that billboard.

hmm.

but in all seriousness,  i need to share some discoveries.  the first being courtney barnett.  

i first heard about her on npr.   here and now, dj sessions.  this was back in march of this year.   she is from melbourne, australia.  and she is sweet as*.... and deep, and hilarious.  she was described on that npr segment as tellling the ultimate slacker stories,  the lyrics are great. 
it is one of those albums where you can listen to a song 10 times, and then pick up on a line you have missed the previous 9 times.  and it makes you like the song even more.  here are a few lines from one of her songs, avant gardener:

         i'm breathing but i'm wheezing
         feel like i'm emphysem-in'
         my throat feels like a funnel
         filled with weet bix and kerosene and
         oh no, next thing i know
         they call up the triple o
         i'd rather die than owe the hospital
         till i get old

 so good.  but you really have to hear it because the delivery is where it is at.   the album i have is the double ep: a sea of split peas.   you can find it here.


the second thing is a new author i was introduced to.  liane moriarty.  she is a brilliant author, and has a great voice.  the plot of her book, the husband's secret,  is gripping, like break the rules (my own illogical rules of no pleasure during the day) gripping,  and i would  plop down on the bed to read whenever it suited me.   i love a book that i can't put down. but i think the thing that made it even more enjoyable to me, were the subtle nods to as what life is like, as a wife and mother and a woman.  here are a few of my favorite bits:

     "She could not meet another brand-new group of mothers.  She'd found socializing with
       the school mums difficult enough when her life was in perfect order.  The chat, chat,
       chat, the swirls of laughter, the warmth, the friendliness (most mums were so  very nice)
       and the gentle hint of bitchiness that ran beneath it all."

       ".....it occurred to her that if Polly was having PE today, then Liam would be too, 
        because weren't they in the same class?  And of course he wasn't wearing sports shoes.  
        Nobody had told Tess it was PE day.  Or perhaps they had, but she hadn't registered it.
        She wondered if she should stop at her mother's house and pick up Liam's sneakers.
        She wavered.   Nobody ever told you that being a mother is all about making what 
        seemed like thousands of tiny decisions."

      "She wished she could give Isabel a shield, like the ones riot police held, to protect her
        from male attention, that feeling of being scored each time you walked down a street,  
        the demeaning comments yelled out of cars, that casual sweep of the eyes.  She'd 
        wanted to sit down and talk to Isabel about it, but then she hadn't known what to say.
        She'd never quite gotten her head around it herself.  It's no big deal.  It is a big deal.
        They have no right to make you feel that way.  Or, just ignore it, one day you'll turn
        forty and you'll slowly realize you don't feel the eyes anymore, and the freedom is a 
        relief, but you'll also sort of miss it, and when a truck driver whistles at you while
        you're crossing the road, you'll think, Really?   For me? "
       
you can find the book here. or, as i did, check it out from your local library.  i know i will be recommending it to my book club to read. and it will not be the last book of hers i read.  oh, and one more little thing i read about liane moriarty:
   "Liane fits writing in between chores:  between pick-up and drop off times of her children,
    working the dishwasher, talking to her mom, and drying clothes."

no wonder i like her so much.  i can relate to her, and the parallels that so many women share come across in her writing. 

and to bring this post to a close, a few terms i think we should bring here to america:
   *sweet as:  good.   you mentally fill in how good/sweet it is
     fairy floss:   cotton candy.   
     poo tickets:  toliet paper
     knackered:  pooped; tired
we can do this people.   i mean if i can do it with "no worries"  we can eventually have everyone going to costco to buy a 30 roll pack of poo tickets.  come on... are you with me??

cheers!




Friday, October 17, 2014

having fun with time mismanagement

posted by jennifer:


being a slightly crazy person, i feel it is important to take on time consuming, and unnecessary projects..... especially during those times in your life when you are feeling overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done.  

this last week, i worked on two such projects.  
..... while waiting in the wings was a birthday party for my now 12 year old baby girl....
a camping trip....and a pile of laundry that continues to grow to this day.  

but, in the process of completing them, i was able to cross two things off my to do list.  always a satisfying feeling.  

the first project was making about 40 felt flowers to decorate my front arch for halloween/fall/day of the dead.
i ripped off the idea from target.  i saw similar decorations there and loved them.  after an initial attempt to make some felt flowers without instructions.... having them turn out a bit sad looking... and then finding a great youtube tutorial, i ended up with these beauties.


i like love them so much i already have plans on making about 50 cream colored ones...with snowy glitter for my winter decorations.  love! love! love!









i think they look just smashing.  and do you remember these crows?  i think they look right at home next to the flowers.

the second project was making pomegranate molasses.  

we have a longtime neighbor, who we finally met.  he approached us with a trade offer. he would take the fruits from our prickly pear cactus, and in exchange he would bring pomegranates over every day or two.  who could resist...i mean i honestly had thoughts about making prickly pear jam this year.  but in all honesty, they were the same thoughts i have had for the past 10 years.  i figured that i could put it off for another 10 years or so.  

and who could say no to pomegranates.  the first 5 days or so of him bringing over 2 or 3 pomegranates at a time, we were ready for them.  the kids were plowing through them.  what a great afternoon snack... not to mention the beautiful spray of pomegranate juice on the gray wall behind the couch.  pink and gray compliment each other dontchaknow.

but all of a sudden i had a pile of pomegranates.
and,  i had a brilliant idea.  pomegranate molasses.  i have used it before when making salad dressing.  you can find the recipe here.   i also like to  use it in marinades for chicken.   so i decided to learn how to make it.

i watched a youtube tutorial on juicing pomegranates.  

i found a recipe for the molasses.

and then the pomegranates sat on the kitchen table.  and the pile kept growing.  and a half dozen or so started to mold.  who knew they would mold...they just don't seem like fruit that would,  but i guess if you leave them sitting for a couple of weeks, it happens.

well, on tuesday, i finally got to it. 
 if you have a lot of time to kill.  and aren't opposed to stained fingers...and splatters on your walls, kitchen utensils, and kitchen curtain... then this is the project for you.

it takes 4 cups of pomegranate juice to equal 1 cup of pomegranate molasses.  i ended up with more like 5 cups of juice, so i have in my possession about 1.25 cups of precious pomegranate molasses.   and it only took about 6 hours.  i am not saying i will never make it again.  i am a bit crazy that way... but let's just say, i have an appreciation for pomegranate juice.... and understand more why it costs so much.  the same goes for the molasses made from it.









i just realized that i hadn't taken a picture of the completed molasses.  and thought i should probably take one to show how much it cooked down.  but really people, this to do list isn't going to take care of itself.  how can i expect to get things done when i drop what i am doing to take a picture?

i have a lot of time mismanagement to get to.

and i plan on having fun...and making a bit of a mess, when i am doing it.

cheers!

Friday, October 3, 2014

a crutch of the most comforting kind

a poem by jennifer:


we speak poetically, my sister and i
   meaning that sometimes our meanings don't make sense
       unless of course you have that crutch

the crutch of the most comforting kind.

that inborn knowledge that whatever you say 
    uncensored, unedited, without thought

will be understood.

no explanations
no judgement
no slow backward retreat by the audience.

it's a beautiful thing.
     and i feel lucky

that i am offered that crutch of the most comforting kind.

we speak poetically.  my sister and i.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fullerton's Hiltscher and Juanita Cooke Trails


I have clocked thousands of miles walking the Hiltscher and Juanita Cooke trails in Fullerton, California.
The geographic location remains constant, of course,
 but the scenery changes daily without fail.










California peppers, oaks, and pines
Sycamores, eucalyptus, and jacaranda
going through their yearly cycles.

Owls, hawks, and woodpeckers
Parrots, bluebirds, towhees, and song birds
bringing a natural calm to a crisis-fatigued world.

Squirrels, everyday, doing squirrel-ly things.
An escaped domestic rabbit occasionally.
 Coyote trying to eke out a living within dwindling habitat.

Bicyclists, joggers, and dog walkers.
Explorers, birders, and photographers in
an ever-changing parade on the well-used trails.



Oh, the things you'll see on Mulberry Street the trails...
Oh, the things I've seen...

An old man in Dove shorts with a front riding fanny pack.
 (Yes, the image in your mind's eye is as bad as the reality of it was!)
An old woman pushing forward through the dust using a walker.
(And me making a silent vow that I, too, will not be vain and will use whatever prosthetic needed, in order to keep moving both on and off of the trail.)
Gaits as personal as finger prints.

Mothers pushing empty jogging strollers, as their children
run ahead and gather sticks.
  Children riding on the shoulders of an adult.
Children in radio fliers, on tandem bikes, and on unicycles.

Photographers with elaborate "sets" for holiday and "save the date"
shoots...beds, chairs, tables, rugs, decorated Christmas trees, all under an oak.
Birders with tripods and large lenses. 
Students on assignment.

Runners with so much sweat flying, I hope their wake doesn't baptize me.
High school track teams with kids laughing and prancing along.
Some joggers (well beyond their teens) panting, heaving and wheezing so heavily, I mentally brush up on CPR. How many chest compressions per minute?  100.

People walking dogs.
People urging their arthritic dog along.  Dogs in booties. 
Dogs in strollers, dogs being carried in a front pack. ← Poor doggies.


I've seen amateur movies being filmed.
Tai chi movements flowing uninhibited.
Organized events: races, scouting, tree plantings.

There are domestic animals in the fenced properties along the trails 
or, some times, on the trail:
horses, sheep, goats, llamas, geese, chickens, dogs, and cats.


I have found feathers, a $20 bill, and contentment.
I have heard music wafting from above.

I've walked through fog,
on crunchy frost,
and in heat that causes my feet and hands to swell.

I've walked under an umbrella, 
under a full head of steam,
and under clouds that looked like spilled paint.

This time of the year my shod feet get so dirty from the dusty ground, I have to wash them when I get home.
There are a few times a winter when the mud is so bad, detours, board walks, and careful stepping is paramount. 

I see friends, family, and strangers. (People who know me, but I don't know them.  This happens when your daughter was a beloved 2nd grader teacher at the nearby elementary school.)

And, as you can imagine, there's every kind of attire to be seen, including
prom dresses, bridal gowns, jogging spandex and nylon,
prairie skirts, wife-beaters, toe shoes, an array of hats, medical face masks,
 and, Dove shorts!

I love walking the trails and never tire of the outdoor pageant.
I hope you have a recreational trail near your home.
And, if so, I hope you are able to enjoy it.

Happy trails to you.



t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

Saturday, September 27, 2014

there's lions in them thar' holes

...or another reason yet that you should read to your children

posted by: jennifer

so for about the past year or so we have noticed these small divots in the loose dirt under our hundreds of years old, live oak.




at first i just thought one of the kids was walking around poking a stick into the ground intermittently, but then i crossed that thought of the list.

we had a couple of people hypothesize on what they felt caused them... one being condensation forming on the tree and dripping down... but i had to throw that off the list as well.

it just didn't make sense.  and when i would walk through the yard and see the holes, i would wonder.  i started thinking it was something alien.  i was clearly grasping at straws here people.

i had of course tried to google it, but came up empty handed.  i was getting images of gopher holes... vole holes....hole holes.

these were inverted cone holes.

then one day, while reading tove jansson's  finn family moomintroll  i learned something new.






i read:
*In case you don't know, an Ant-lion is a crafty insect who digs himself down into the sand
leaving a small round hole above him.  Into this hole unsuspecting little animals fall and then get caught by the Ant-lion, who pops up from the bottom of the hole and devours them.
   You can read all about it in the Encyclopedia if you don't believe me.  Translator

now, upon reading this i looked at my son, and said something along the lines of..."do you think this is real?"  

i mean, it seemed pretty far fetched to me.  and in fact, when searching for ant-lions on ye old google, i felt a wee bit gullible.   

but guess what?!  they are real.  and we have ant-lions living in our yard.  wild huh?  so, next time someone asks what those small holes are in the dirt are from i will state with authority,
"there's lions in them thar' holes".....(ant-lions that is)

cheers!