Archive for the ‘Assorted and Sundry’ Category

There is a crack in everything

July 1, 2018 @ 9:31 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I can run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud
but they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me

—Leonard Cohen, Anthem

(my favorite version)

Things I’m doing for fun these days

June 28, 2018 @ 5:54 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Fun Learning Stuff

1.

You know about the long, flower-drunk photo walks that carried me through the long, flower- Portland spring. I enjoy going through my photos later and marking a few to share on Instagram. I don’t like to do heavy edits but I do usually bump up the contrast a little bit and adjust exposure if necessary. And I nearly always nudge greens just a tad bit bluer. Sometimes I try out filters in VSCO but most filters seem to tone down the rich, saturated color I seek out when I’m taking pictures. I enjoy looking at other people’s soft, pastels and filtered light, but I’m a color junkie and my own photos are a reflection of that.


(Greens bumped toward blue here but the orange and pink are straight from Mother Nature.)

2.

The Index Card a Day Challenge. Every day, splashes of color on a simple index card. Low pressure, high fun.

3.

Reading The Penderwicks to my kids. We’re just about to finish the first book, which got as many giggles and belly laughs as it did the first time around, when I read it to my older set. (Nope, I haven’t read the new one yet! It’s on the list, of course.)

 

Chit and chat

June 25, 2018 @ 5:43 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

In the comments of the previous post I was reminiscing about the (quite long-ago now) shift from early text-only blogs to posts spotlighting gorgeous images, and how grumpy I was about that shift at the time. What’s the matter with a nice wall of text? LOL. But I gradually got on board, and then I started growing milkweed and documenting monarch butterfly life cycles…and bit by bit, photos won me over. Also, cute babies.

But my WORRRRRDSSSS MATTTTTERRRRR banner-flying makes it particularly funny that I went all gung-ho Instagram when it took off.

Anyhoo. Here is it a Monday in late June (ye gods, how can it possibly be late June already?) and I’ve done my day’s work, both on the novel and the advocacy gig, and I’m sitting in my favorite pub watching the couple next to me share a cherry custard float I didn’t know was on the menu (it’s a chalkboard special today), and I have about an hour before Scott pings me to say the meatloaf is ready, so here you are, a real live blog post.

(crickets chirping in my brain)

It’s not that I have nothing to say, it’s that I have TOO much to say. But lucky for you, I’ve said it on Facebook. Hey future Lissa, when you dip back into these archives, know that you were advocating hard for compassionate treatment of immigrants today, okay?

What should I blog about?? I need an assignment, y’all. I mean, it’s big doings here in Bonny Glen PDX: Jane graduated from Cal Poly last weekend and is home with us now for a few weeks at least, and Wonderboy (about whom I would write much more if I could just decide on a more age-appropriate blog nickname for the kid) graduated from 8th grade this month. HIGH SCHOOL, my dears. I mean. And lots of antics and adventures swirling around the other four kids too.

And Scott has a big Batman miniseries launching in August, about which I’m very excited. Illustrated by Kelley Jones, who is both brilliantly talented and a total sweetheart. OH YOU GUYS—I wish you could hear the conversations between these two stay-at-home comic-book-creator dads. This project has been years in the making and in our old house Scott used to pace on the patio outside my window during his frequent phone calls with Kelley. Of course I could only hear one side, but it was clear they spent a lot of time chatting about dad stuff and swapping chicken recipes. I mean, total melt-my-heart stuff. I keep telling them they need to do a podcast. Spend five minutes talking about comics, sure, and then get to the recipes and laundry stories!

Last week I went to a community singalong in Southeast Portland called (fabulously) OK Chorale. 70 people crammed into a bar at Revolution Hall singing—get this—a Duran Duran medley. (Duran Duran Medley Medley, said the songsheet. I’m still grinning.) It was my absolute ideal of a social event. Happens twice a month and I freely admit that my resolution to get up early and get my novel-writing done before breakfast was given a tremendous boost by the desire to free up my evenings.

A year ago today I was in the middle of a whirlwind trip to Portland to look at the house we’re now living in, and to meet with Wonderboy’s school principal and special ed administrator, and a suddenly-squeezed-in consult with a breast surgeon about a four-day-old diagnosis. I just looked at my calendar from that week and it’s just bananas. Genetic testing, Ron’s birthday party, flight home, movers’ estimate, MRI. All in the space of a week. And I was teaching a Bravewriter class that started that week, too. Oh plus the kids’ piano recital the day before I got on the plane to come here. BANANAS. How my hair didn’t go fully gray that week is beyond me.

(It’s on the way, though.)

Meatloaf’s ready. Gotta run. How’s that for some old-school Bonny Glen blather, eh? 😉

Sumer Is Icumen In

June 5, 2018 @ 5:23 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry


Helen Holmes, The Hazards of Helen — my inspiration photo this week*

*hahaha, I started this post almost a week ago! Photo still applies, though.

This incredible Portland spring seems to have been going on for at least four months, and yet I find myself absolutely gobsmacked to hear people talking about summer like it’s imminent. Oh sure, I’m aware Wonderboy’s last day of school is around the corner and Jane’s Cal Poly graduation is the week after that. I’m making our SDCC plans and paying June bills and harvesting a strawberry a day from the hanging basket…BUT STILL. Summer? Seriously?

We’ll stay in high tide for most of June because we’re having so much fun with our current slate of studies. So I don’t have that end-of-term winding-down feeling I’m seeing so many of my homeschooling pals express. I’ll probably be firmly settled into summer mode about the time everyone else is gearing up for fall. Being out of sync with the crowd is more or less a way of life for me, though, so no worries. 🙂

It hit me recently that we’ve been here almost a year now and I’m going to have to stop talking about Portland as if I’m newly arrived. It’s been such a fast year, though! And everything is still so new! Every week: a new wave of bloom, a new slant of light. So much we haven’t done yet! Sauvie Island, the Columbia River Gorge, the zoo, the rose garden. (I’ve been to the latter on a previous visit, but not with the family.) And yet…in some ways I’m more rooted than anyplace I’ve ever lived. Or rooted differently, I guess? Because of the advocacy job, I regularly attend the coffee hours and town halls of state legislators. Some of them know me by name now. I drive to Salem at least once a month. I’ve manned tables at community events. Perennials I planted last summer are blooming once again. How is it already JUNE?

Wednesday

May 21, 2018 @ 6:23 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I think this is my favorite photo of the hundreds (thousands? eek) I’ve taken since we moved to Portland. I posted it on Instagram with a riff on the much-beloved William Carlos Williams poem:

so much depends
upon

a red garage
door

glazed with rain
water

beside the pink
dogwood

And while I’ve appreciated “The Red Wheelbarrow” for many years, I feel like I get it in a deeper way now. There’s a feeling I get when I look at gray-blue clouds piled over a blue mountain, or sunlight shining through black tree branches, or the evening sky shot through with light and shadows—a feeling like Emily Starr’s flash, you know?

I started writing this post last week (thus the title) and didn’t have a chance to come back and finish until now. It’s Monday morning, early, kids still in bed, sky like mother-of-pearl. I’ve been awake since before dawn, dunno why. The enthusiastic birds outside my window, probably. I contemplated getting up and taking my walk early—I usually go in the evening, during golden hour if I can possibly manage it—but I opted to lie in bed and watch the walls turn from gray to blue. Got up around six and slipped out to the back yard to smile over our little garden like a proud mother. We have radishes coming up in the garden, and my first strawberry is very-nearly-almost ripe.

Anyone remember my big long strawberry-rhapsody post from a million years ago?

Eighteen dollars: less than four times the amount we paid for last night’s gone-in-a-flash berry feast. And now I get a steady stream of berries from June to September. Like the wantons they are, the plants have multiplied with abandon: we must have hundreds of individual strawberry plants now, each fertile and heavy with fruit in its season. I am a neglectful gardener (just ask my neighbors) and I do nothing to baby these plants. I ignore them. I don’t do chemicals and I can’t be bothered with fertilizer or compost. We have terrible soil: thick red Virginia clay that is not at all disposed to encourage root growth. The kids’ caterpillar farm (fennel and rue) springs up right from the middle of the strawberry bed. The strawberries don’t care. They thrive on adversity. They scoff at the miserable growing conditions; they sneer at the crabgrass; they launch themselves over the retaining wall and bloom in mid-air. They send exploratory runners into the lawn, and Scott mows right over them. For this callous treatment, they reward us with a riotous, bountiful harvest. You can’t beat us down, they proclaim. You only encourage us to flaunt our fertility. We will, we must, reproduce! We will fill the world! Let those fat, bland, expensive greenhouse-grown excuses for berries beware! We are sun-warmed and sweet. We will make you weep for joy.

There is no modesty in strawberries.

And there was no brevity in 2005 me, apparently. 😉 Oh for the days of big long text-heavy posts!

May 14

May 14, 2018 @ 8:08 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Nature Study

Hello hello hello hello!

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary. You know I gotta post that pic I always post. 🙂

Still crazy about this guy. (Understatement.)

We celebrated Mother’s Day by…cleaning the garage and basement. Yes, I am THAT woman: the one who saves the grungiest jobs for the day her family lives to do her beck and call. 😉

My gift was a really lovely surprise: a couple of weeks ago I posted a pic on Instagram of some perfectly GORGEOUS flowers (Hayley Mills voice there, obvs) I spotted in a neighbor’s yard on one of my walks. I learned that they are called Lewisia (after Lewis of Lewis & Clark) or, commonly, bitterroot. I adore them.

I swooned hard again when I saw them at a nursery the week after—but I was there for garden starts and I Firmly Resisted the Temptation to Indulge. And then the other day after my first post-treatment mammogram (all clear, hurrah!) Scott surprised me with a detour to the garden center. Unbeknownst to me, he showed my Insta photo to an employee…and now I have my ownty-downty little bitterroot plant. Bliss.

my week in pictures

April 13, 2018 @ 5:14 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Photos

Some things I shared on Instagram this week. Lots of rain, but quite a lot of sun, too, and we even had short-sleeves weather one day. As for the rain, well, I’ve become a person who puts on her boots and gets out for a walk, rain or shine. Charlotte Mason would be proud.

(My hair, though. Hoo boy, my hair.)

Songs in heavy rotation on my walking playlist this week:

Anthem by Leonard Cohen (this version performed by Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen, which I adore beyond reckoning)
Life on Mars

Thursday (a scintillating post title)

April 5, 2018 @ 4:32 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

One of the talks I gave at the VaHomeschoolers Conference was about habit-building, so my own habits (good and bad) have been much on my mind—especially my lost habit of daily blogging. I’m rusty!

And a bit blank. I always feel like I have so much to say as I’m opening the tab, and then it all skitters away.

Well: there’s always notes about the day. We’ve had steady rain all day and I had to settle for only a short walk, not the long rambles I’ve been enjoying. This morning we meant to do some Serious Lessoning but instead I wound up showing the kids YouTube clips of 70s and 80s theme songs and other important pop culture touchstones. 😉 H.R. Pufnstuf’s opening remains as bizarre as it was when I was little, for the record.

I spent the afternoon working on my final issue of this year’s BraveWriter Arrow lineup: The Thing About Luck. And now I’m drying off from my walk and realizing it’s just about time to get ready for the next event on my list: a town hall with my state senator and representative. Time to put on my advocacy hat.

What was your Thursday like?

April. It’s April. It’s APRIL.

April 4, 2018 @ 5:22 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Photos

Who, me in denial? Tax day around the corner, and deadlines not far behind?

Not to mention someone’s twelfth birthday coming up. TWELVE.

Things we did today:

• Fed the neighborhood goats, Woodrow and Grover
• Made a cloud in a bottle
German with Felix & Franzi