Easter Eve and A Question of Bees

Easter Eve should be its own celebration, like Christmas Eve or All Hallow’s Eve.  We should, I don’t know, dress up in funny rabbit ears and eat just one Cadbury Creme Egg.  Yes.

I wasn’t going to post just yet.  I’ve been waiting for one more story component to pop up online, but there is a pressing matter at hand today.

While retrieving pictures of said pressing matter, I came across some photos that should be shared.  So first up are the View Club shots:

Construction 3-26-13

Boone Sculpture Garden 3-26-13

I didn’t take pictures of the mountains because frankly the view that day was hazy, murky, and disappointing.  This will make us all smile, though:

Smushy at 12 weeks

Smushy at 12 weeks

Smushy!

Have you ever seen my ear gauges?  Or my blond streak?  We can thank my sister Michele for the secret profile shot, and Paintshop Pro for the heavy cropping.

ear 3-13

Without jewelry, the hole is the diameter of a pencil.

What else did I find?  OH!  A couple of foreigners on the porch:

Rob and Noel, aka Dutch and Cuban.

Rob and Noel, aka Dutch and Cuban.

And buffet table decorations for tomorrow:

What a quack-up.

What a quack-up.

We no longer color hard-boiled eggs because no one really eats them.  One year, however, someone…I think it was me…thought we should let the kids color them, but then use them in dishes such as the potato salad.  It wasn’t the most practical idea, but we tried it anyway.  If the eggshells were cracked the resulting colored egg whites were quite pretty, and perfect for deviled eggs.

Marbled egg white

Marbled egg white

When we did it on purpose, though, the results weren’t consistent.  So now this happens instead:

Future deviled eggs

Future deviled eggs

The eggs are peeled and sliced, and the naked egg whites are dyed.  Our Easter deviled eggs are the prettiest around!

And now onto our more pressing matter.  Mom and I came home from last-minute Easter shopping to find everyone in a bit of a tizzy.  They said there had been a swarm of bees in the backyard.  Well, sure:  it’s Spring.  It’s sunny.  Bees are good.  Leave them alone.  Right?  All you farm types? Right?

Roses.  Beezes love roses.

Roses. Beezes love roses.

If there are that many bees, let’s go buy one of those square hive things and a spaceman suit, and put those suckers to work!  Free, fresh honey and beeswax!

But do you see what I see?

Um...

Um…

Now, I’m no expert on bees n’ things, but this doesn’t look good.  Apparently they filled up this side of the yard in a literal swarm, and then clustered themselves into this Cone of Doom in about ten minutes.  No one has been stung thankfully, but…hmm.  Thoughts?

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I Must Admit

I am procrastinating.  Completely.  Utterly.  Unabashedly.  Well, maybe a little abashedly.

I’m working on a project for Creative Writing that has been sort of a nightmare.  My group has not worked well as a team.  As a result our project is late, and the instructor gave us the option to do separate projects.  Ouch.  She also told me to stop being so nice and doing so much of the work, but I can’t help it:  maybe it’s the mother in me, but I don’t want anyone to be left behind even if they deserve it.  I’m very protective of my team.

My official part of the project is anything that has to be done on-line, so right now I am supposed to be setting up a blog in order to make our project available publicly.  I am having a hard time finding a theme that works for me.  So here I am, procrastinating in this blog instead.

By the way, our project is on a book that started out as a blog, isn’t that a coinkydink?  It’s called Galerie de Difformité by Gretchen Henderson.  You should check it out, especially if you’re a writer.  The more you read through it the more sense it sort of makes.  I am a little heartbroken that I will have to resell my copy.

I have View Club shots from Wednesday, when it was nice and overcast.  Nearly perfect weather in my opinion, as I like it cool enough to need a light jacket and arm warmers, but not so cold that I need a scarf and hat.  Ideally it is also raining, but that’s a tall order here in the SoCal.

San Gabriel Mountains, 3-20-13

San Gabriel Mountains, 3-20-13

Construction, 3-20-23

Construction, 3-20-23

Boone Sculpture Garden, 3-20-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 3-20-13

Now that Jess is helping her aunt, I get to see this sweet face more often:

Smushy at 10 weeks

Smushy at 10 weeks

He already has his daddy’s crooked smile and his mommy’s terribly sad cry.  No matter how many babies I see enter this world and grow, they never cease to be amazing.

Have a lovely weekend!

J Story and the Wizard of Oz

One day several weeks ago in Creative Writing class, we were finishing up the day’s activity which involved a crazy freewriting exercise that our professor participated in with us.  She had just remarked how funny it was that she and two other students referenced the Wizard of Oz, when someone found a little plastic bead on the floor with the letter J on it.  Our professor immediately assigned us a 300-word fictitious story about the origin of the bead, and it had to reference the Wizard of Oz somehow.

300 words isn’t much, and it didn’t take me long to come up with a story, but I just couldn’t get it out.  Usually I go a different route if what I want to write isn’t working, but I knew I had this, so it’s been nagging at me.

Today I finally got this sucker out!  Wanna read it?

Tisoré held her large, round belly and sank into the wooden rocking chair in the nursery.  One toe, the only part of her body that wasn’t bloated and tired, pushed off the floor to set the chair into a soothing back-and-forth motion. She began to hum a lullaby in time to the rhythm of the rocking, feeling at one with her unborn daughter.

Tisoré wanted a simple name for her: perhaps Emma or Lily or Jane.  Her husband, Breygard, however, insisted on visiting the Mystic Namegiver.  He made the trip to the Emerald City himself, and proudly returned with a tiny, square-beaded bracelet, white with black letters bearing the name Jenniah.

Jenniah.  Tisoré hated it. It was ugly and inconvenient, like the gaudy nursery Breygard insisted on filling with expensive antique furnishings.  Like the clothes Tisoré wore, even now:  too tight or short or revealing, lest Breygard ridicule her for being frumpy.  Like her too-long hair, because the last time she cut it Breygard didn’t speak to her for a week.  Like any choice she made without Breygard’s approval.

Tisoré inhaled deeply as she opened her eyes, but the breath stalled in her chest when she caught sight of that bracelet, mocking her from its perch on the goldwood changing table.  The chair stopped rocking.  Heart pounding, Tisoré jumped up, stormed over to the garish table, and snatched up the bracelet.  With a strangled howl she ripped it in two, sending a small explosion of beads showering through the air and skittering around the room.  Her body crumbled to the floor as she sobbed her frustration and helplessness into her empty hands.

Eventually, Tisoré ran out of energy and tears.  She placed a hand on the floor to heave herself up and felt a small crunch under her palm.  Lifting her hand, she found the crumbled remains of the H- lettered bead, and with a jolt of fear thought of Breygard.  Quickly she crawled around the room to collect the rest of the beads, grabbed a needle and length of elastic thread from her sewing box, and set about repairing the bracelet.   She knew Breygard wouldn’t notice the missing H:  he was controlling, yes, but none too bright, and a particularly bad speller.  She froze in a cold panic, however, when she realized she was also missing the J.  It was a glaring omission he was bound to notice, intelligent or not.

Or was it?

A delicious wave of excitement rippled through Tisoré.  The Mystic Namegiver wasn’t called mystic for nothing, right?  What if…

She strung the remaining beads onto the elastic, tied off the ends, placed it back on the changing table, and waited.  She, a poor, feeble-minded female, would bat her eyelashes and feign ignorance of such great things, deferring instead to her omniscient husband.   She giggled at the thought of using his bloated ego against him.  Would he really fall for it?  She had no choice but to try.

Many years later, Tisoré sat in the rocking chair, pushing herself back and forth with one toe against the floor.  Her daughter stood in the middle of the nursery, hands on her own swollen belly, supervising the renovations while she swayed gently and hummed a lullaby to her unborn daughter.   The room was too dark and fancy for a child, to be sure, but it wasn’t so bad.  Her mother, however, was rather insistent that she make it her own.

Two men inched past her, carrying an ornate goldwood dresser, followed by her husband.  “Annie,” he asked, “Where did this come from?”  He placed a tiny square bead into her hand:  white, marked with a black letter J.

Annie started, and turned the bead over in her fingertips.  “I don’t know.  It looks like one of the beads on my name bracelet.  Look at this, Mother.  Do you know where it came from?”

Tisoré neither opened her eyes nor interrupted her rocking rhythm.  “No idea.  Chuck it.”

Hot-a Hot-a Hot-a!

It is 9:17 pm.  I’m hot.  It’s 63°F (17°C) outside right now, but today’s high was 82°F (28°C).  The warmth seems to be seeping out of hidden places.  Just enough of it to keep me on the edge of perspiration.

View Clubs!

Mountains, 3-12-13

Mountains, 3-12-13

Construction, 3-12-13

Construction, 3-12-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 3-12-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 3-12-13

Smushy!

Smushy, 9 weeks old.

Smushy, 9 weeks old.

They’ve been out of town visiting Grammy, so we haven’t seen them in several weeks.  A few weeks in the life of a baby is a long time.  He’s changed a lot!  My kids say he acts like a human now.  He focuses, smiles, coos, tries to use his muscles, makes a boo-boo lip when he cries…

Waaa!

Waaa!

He’s filling out and has the cuuuutest heart-shaped face.   Mama has asked for help, so Jess is starting to spend mornings with them.  They call her the cousin-nanny, which comes out “cuz’nanny.”  She basically plays babydoll with Smushy while that Mama Lady does luxurious things like vacuum and take slow showers.  Not a bad gig.

What else is there to report?  Inscape is finished and going to print.  Every year the English Department faculty read the pieces chosen for Inscape and pick one in each category to win a special award.  None of us editors won, but the pieces that did win were good.  My favorite poem won, which made me happy.  I tried to secretly share it with you, but the formatting came out all wrong.  Boo.

I am going to drive home with my windows down.  I shall leave you with one last image of late winter in Southern California, with hopes for all the frozen toes out there to thaw soon.

The dandelion:  unwanted weed or maintenance-free ground cover?

The humble dandelion: unwanted weed or maintenance-free ground cover?

A New Talent

No pictures today, but I have a video for you!

I forgot how bad school vacation is for me.  I should have remembered from December, when I got so depressed.  I was looking forward to Spring Break this week because I have been working so hard.  I had plenty of writing to keep my mind occupied, but when the blues creep in I absolutely hate writing.  All that yuck sits among my words like decomposing swamp moss, and I can’t bear to look at them again, much less revise and refine.  I know I need to get over it, but I’m claiming Unskilled Newbie Writer credit.

In the meantime, I read through Celi’s blog and learned a lot about her farm history, which was fun.  Even the sad parts, because those make me feel good, too:  life comes, life goes, life continues and is good.

I also taught myself the cup game thingie…I don’t know what to call it.  *L*  If you saw the movie Pitch Perfect, you know exactly.  It’s not new:  it was in an episode of Full House way back when.  An English singing duet, Lulu and the Lampshades, redid an old song called Miss Me When I’m Gone and added the cup game to it.  The movie Pitch Perfect borrowed it, and now You Tube is rife with covers of it.

So to distract myself one day, I decided to learn it.  When I showed my daughter, Jessica, she learned it, too, along with the song.  She in turn inspired my sister, Michele, to learn the cup-banging part with us.

We wanted to make a video of the three of us showing off our new talent, but Michele, bless her heart, is a solo act.  So she recorded Jess and I instead:

I hope your week was, at the very least, as productive as mine, and that your weekend is happy and restful.

Catch-Up Again

Oooooh my wonderful readers (all 4 of you), has it really been three weeks?  Way too long.

First off:  View Club shots:

Boone Sculpture Garden, 2-8-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 2-8-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 2-14-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 2-14-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 2-20-13

Boone Sculpture Garden, 2-20-13

Construction, 2-8-13

Construction, 2-8-13

Construction, 2-14-13

Construction, 2-14-13

Construction, 2-20-13

Construction, 2-20-13

San Gabriel Mountains, 2-8-13

San Gabriel Mountains, 2-8-13

San Gabriel Mountains, 2-14-13

San Gabriel Mountains, 2-14-13

San Gabriel Mountains, 2-20-13

San Gabriel Mountains, 2-20-13

Wait a minute…what’s that white stuff on the tippy-top of the mountains?  Could it be…?  Yes!  Yes it is!  SNOW!!!  Here’s what I saw when I left home that morning:

Snow in the 'hood.

Snow in the ‘hood.

Real snow!  No lie!

Real snow!  No lie!

With all that sun, though, I figured it wouldn’t last, and I was right.

San Gabriel Mountains, 3 hours later.

San Gabriel Mountains, 3 hours later.

Just the shadiest cracks, crevices, and canyons around Mt. Wilson (where the radio towers are) still had snow.

I’m still sacrificing my Sunday mornings to The Reyn.  I’m not picking it up as fast as Israel wishes I would, but when one only works 4 hours a week, one does not make much progress.  After one month I’ve logged as many hours as two days on a full-time job.  And who would expect a new employee to be proficient after 2 days?  But I’m getting there.  When I figure out how to keep my energy up and my muscles from crying, I’ll be golden.

Inscape is a week or two away from printing.  (There’s an explanation in this blog post, if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)   Going over the nonfiction pieces in December, I realized most of them were about people, or other tangible things that could be photographed.  And what better artwork to go with a nonfiction piece of writing than a nonfiction piece of art like photography?  Since he thought it was such a good idea, the faculty advisor made me the sort-of-official photo editor.  We weren’t allowed to notify authors that their written works had been accepted, just in case something had to be cut last-minute, but I got special permission to ask the nonfiction authors for photographs.  Every author I emailed sent me a photograph to go with their piece.  Yay!  I submitted some of my own photography, and commissioned a shot from my sister, Shelly, so she could see something of hers published.  The other editors thought my nepotism was a sweet big-sister gesture.

They also thought one of my shots would make a great wrap-around cover image for the book!  I was beyond excited; even more so than when they accepted my written piece.  But wouldn’t you know, as soon as the group voted to use my photograph, another editor walked in, literally seconds later, with an amazing hand-drawn cover.  Gagh!  Everyone kind of looked at each other awkwardly, until our print man said it made a perfect title page.  Whew!

Inscape cover proof

Inscape cover proof

There will be a minor change to the title and spine, but otherwise here it is!  AAAAHHHH!!!!!!!

I haven’t been able to participate much in my new club because their meetings are at the same time as Inscape, and since I’m getting independent study credit for Inscape, it takes precedence.  I have, however, attended all of the Inter-Club Council meetings, which I thought would be a cake walk.  And they are, but there’s more to it than just showing up:  we actually have to vote on stuff!  And pay attention to things like budgets and service hours.  As it turns out, volunteering to help out my club has led to a position in student government!  What the heck, man???

No new shots of Smushy.  Either I’ve been too tired, too busy, or Momma has been in the high desert with her own momma.  Smushy is two months old today, can you believe it?

I think that’s all.  It is very late and my brain is kind of fuzzy.  Have a wonderful weekend!