Saturday, April 22, 2017

Gracias, Tierra Madre and Juliet Gordon Lowe

The sun has just risen over the urban treeline.  I sit in the shed and enjoy the shifting lights and shadows.  Not new and novel at a moment. The morning breeze shifts in pace and temperature.  The shadows of the ceanothus and nopal shift, too.   What had been a wall of solid color is now a plane of form and texture that remind me of the old silent pictures; zoetrope in muted colors of grey and coral instead of greyscale.

I like this place.  Looking forward to spending more time here.

The past couple of weeks since the wedding have been filled with good things mostly.  James and I went to Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens.  Spring was in the midst of being sprung.

We also walked through an exhibit on the work of Marcus Jones.  Ten points for you if you know who that is.  I had no idea.  He was a fellow who, like a lot of folks at the turn of the 20th century, came to the west and explored the botanical and cultural flora and fauna.  He kept detailed records that have proven useful to this day.  He wondered and wandered about the earth; celebrating her gifts.

I've also been to the Santa Monica History Museum and walked through the exhibit on Girl Scouts.  Fun thing about that exhibit is that it was curated by two Scouts who were completing their Silver Award.  I recognized several of the historical uniforms.  They were not thought of as historical when I wore them.

It was enlightening to read about the well-known women who had been Scouts.

Last year when I turned 64 I asked friend for suggestions of things that I might do this year.  Went with my friend and did one of those things - sort of.  On a Monday morning we rose up fairly early, picked up coffee, and then headed out the Angeles Crest to look for Big Horn Sheep.  They rose up earlier than we did.  There were none in sight when we arrived.

But there was this really gneiss rock and what a vista.

Last week James and I went to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.  
We were ready to be blown away by a different vista.  

Blown away was the phrase;  it was so windy all the poppies were closed.  It was beautiful to see them ripple in the wind, when I wasn't focused on keeping my hat on my head.

Today the plan is stay at home.   There will still be lots to see.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Chuy Prius (2005-2017)

Last Friday we donated our 2005 Prius to KPCC.  He was 12 years old and had 172, 172 miles when he quit working.  James and I miss him already; for all the memories we were able to make while we drove him.  

Poem for a Prius: or I’ve Never Owned a Car Without a Name
Brunhilde was first. 
Round, red Beetle, respite for poets and singers
Lars was the Volvo who followed;
Square of back and old of brake
Balloo was blue and big
Enough to carry babyseats and Girl Scouts
PT, the Red sporty Cruiser
Would have made my dad smile
And then came Chuy Prius
An inside joke in honor of a musician

He held a lot
Full voiced singing between here and Portland, OR
A howl that still reverberates on the plains of Wyoming
Snores galore when he acted as our sleep room
And so many memories

Driving through Dunsmuir

The Source; a means to spend time with our Northern Familia

The Mileage Enhancer; San Diego slid to the road trip column

Long trips, where he was our Morning Greeter

Secure Site, when bisons were among us

 Surprisingly volumatic when need - to help friends to trick out their homes

Travel times with James, when and I could talk for miles 
About the near, the dear, and the silly;
Things that keep our love vibrant.

Thanks for the memories, Chuy.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The writing is in the shed

Who knows where an idea starts?  Is it seeing a cool Tiny House in Portland?  A gorgeous mobile home in Carlsbad?  The playhouse at my Nina's home in Highland Park? 
Whatever the source, in January I found myself seriously looking into a shed that would become a writing shed.

We ended up at SoCal Sheds because they had a lot of models visible from the freeway.  Sometimes the reason is location, location, location.  And so began the trail that sent us back to Menifee and the models by the freeway.

The up side - so many choices.  The down side - so many choices.  I felt a bit like Goldilocks.  

Too elaborate 

Too tall 

Too expensive  

And then, the right size and the right fit.

And then and then.  
A shed was built in our backyard.

Six feet by eight feet of space with doubled paned windows and a roof.

A shed with a view.

The primer is on.  

Let the writing begin.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Indoor Stylin'

Over the past few months James and I have been scurrying around the house.  I think the wedding led us to some hardcore nesting at the house.

January was spent looking at old videos of Casa Martinez and then cataloguing more than 150 episodes.  I was proud of the work that our team produced.  Many of the topics were still timely.  It is a kick to see yourself on camera as a woman who is 20 years younger than the one you see in the morning as you brush your teeth.

It was also in January that James and I started to look at renovating our kitchen.  I'd been doing dribs and drabs of changes, but now we were on to taking cabinet doors down and painting them.  Our kitchen became one color  - Analytical Gray - with trim, rather than three colors with trim.

One night while we were at Ikea, James asked about the work they do with countertops.  Long story short; they were too exacting for us to go ahead with them, but the seed had been planted.  Before we knew it we were zooming around looking for countertop stores, tiles, and tilers.

In the course of the search we found the following places helpful:
Tap and Tile, Duarte Tile and Stone, CV Tile and Stone, Colores de Mexico, Patricio Tile, B&W Tile, and Gon'z Decorations, Inc.

Cabinet City in San Gabriel was our choice for countertop.  The workers that came to remove our old counter and to set its replacement reminded me what it's like to work with folks with whom you don't share a common language.  James was in the lead on that effort and I think I poured him a scotch shortly thereafter.

Thanks to input from artist and friend Liz Espinoza we decided to go with 3" tile.

Do you know that that is unusual?  I learned it is.  Which is why the list of tile places is so long.

Miguel, of Colores de Mexico, highly recommended Marco the Tile Man.  After a couple of false starts he came to the house to start the work.  He shook his head when he saw that we had 3" tiles.  The mathematical work needed was going to be too great.  Then I showed him a mock-up that James had done.

That changed everything.  We were ready to zip down Tile Road.

This was the only picture I was able to get of Marco.  He gathers no moss.  

And we enjoy the benefit of that fact.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Matthew and Maya

I promised that I would write about the wedding.  It is always a challenge to write about things that our son Matthew does because he is, by nature, a very private person.  As it turns out his wife - not so much.  So I'll try to write to the middle ground.

First, it is true what they say re: Mother of the Groom being a much easier job.  The down side is there are moments when you are sort at the tail end of the line when folks are playing "crack the whip".  They have decided and we go along.  It's okay, but unpredictable.

It was more of a challenge to be the long distance Nana to the Junior Bridesmaid and the Flowergirl.  Shoes, dress, necklace, hair, earrings.  I love the hunt that is shopping.  They do not.

Thursday prior - dinner together with our nuclear family (sans son-in-law).  Old favorites and other options 'cuz two of us were still watching their diet.  Dessert?  Nah, off to Payless to find shoes.

Friday the nietas and I paid for a parking lot rental, then went shopping for gift for their Tio and Tia - to-be.  Shot glasses and dessert cups, followed by intensive wrapping.

And some bonding time, too.

Haircuts with our dear friend Sharyl who has cut and styled four generations in our family.

She was at the first person to cut Matthew's hair and did his 'do for the wedding.  She let us know she'd do our hair and would be at the wedding site at an appointed time.

Last minute shopping for goodies for bridesmaids.  Matthew and Kate had some quality brother and sister time.  Dinner began with ice cream.  Just one of those days.

Saturday Kate and Lili dropped off a surprise from Matthew to Maya and her bridesmaids - champagne and orange juice in a gift basket.

Saturday was all about anticipation.  And small details like picking up Kate's husband at the airport.
Making sure the clothes are ready.

And before we know it, the time has come to drive to Eagle Rock.  The site is on the way to beautiful.  

The bride arrives and is radiant.

The caterers are counting plates and the barkeep is focused on bottles and ice and the placement of it all.  The rest of us are getting to our appointed places and I catch sight of my child.  The handsome young man who will declare his love and his commitment - soon. 

James and I are a part of the procession that ends with Maya being escorted by her brother's to Matthew.

I won't say more about the ceremony except that the use of tissues was widespread.   M & M wrote their own vows.  Even though they separately wrote their vows, their first sentence was identical.  I could hear Maya gasp as Matthew began his first sentence.  Such deep love.

And then party.  

A first spy of the first dance 

a moment private and revealing

Toasts by - 

Lili who is almost 13 and was a Junior Bridesmaid

Taddi, the bride's younger brother

James, Father of the Groom

Time with friends -
and familia -  

And a whole lot of dancing!


Dancing for the joy of being with friends and family!