Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Daily Dose of... moving

I'm moving the Daily Dose stuff to a different blog.
It will now be at:
Go there now.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Daily Dose of... Zooey

Dad (sarcastically) - "So your new teacher is Mr. Richter? Did he tell you about his scale?"

Zooey - "What scale?"

Dad - "The Richter Scale..."

Zooey (confidently) - "No, but I don't think he has one. He's not as self-conscious as the women teachers are."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh my, oh my, oh Oregon!

Has it really been since March since I last posted? Wow, what a slacker am I? Oh well, it just goes to show what a crazy life I lead, Momming my two kids and husband through Spring Break and end of school year events! We travel... alot! And for Spring Break we hit New York City... which I will discuss later (if I ever blog again!) For our first trip of the Summer, we went to San Francisco and Oregon. My camera stopped working after San Fran put a hex on it, so I will post photos from my phone for now. Although, I do have some great video Ike made on the Alcatraz tour... I'll get it up, but it may be August before that happens!

Okay - Oregon!
We had a great time travelling with my extended family - my Team Porter plus my Mom and Dad and Team Greer, my sister and her 3 boys and husband. We all met up with "Grandma Wyoming who lives in Oregon and whose name is Georgia" ... we ended up shortening that to "Gramma George". Georgia lives in Medford, which is about an hour north of the California border. Beautiful country here - rivers and mountains abound! We headed north to Grants Pass to meet with aunt/cousin type folks. There, Uncle Steve let all the kids make paperweights in the Glass Forge where he works. All 5 kids thought it was pretty cool to play with hot lava. We day tripped to Crater Lake - a mountain lake, blue as the bluest sea, and completely still and reflective, caused by a volcanic collapse, long long ago. Went on a hike below this mountain and had a great relaxing time. Zooey and Jon (and 80% of Team Greer) went river rafting down the Rogue River, which they found extremely fun and exciting. I visited a Flagship Harry & David Store and drooled plenty. We also overnighted in Bandon, OR, a sea side village where huge rocks make the ocean really loud! There, Zooey and I rode horseback on the beach - something I'd always wanted to do! Then we drove south down the 101 and saw amazing scenery as we headed back to San Francisco for the night before flying home.

A wonderful family getaway! Here are a few photos (hopefully more to come):

My tree huggers at a Redwood Forest stop.

Ike and Zooey with Babe the Blue Ox.

The Greer boys and Zooey get ready to ride horses on the beach.

The kids at Crater Lake - notice the completely still lake and the reflection.

I had to get in a shot of Ike's t-shirt... funny!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Journal Assignment - Oct. 25, 1983

My favorite comic strip character is Opus the penguin from Bloom County. He is so smart and cute. His dreams are; to be Vice President of the United States; to fly in the space shuttle; and to be in the next Star Wars movie. His hobbies include snake hunting and putting together rock music festivals. I like him because he is sort of an idol for me. He is a dreamer and a fighter. He hates Mondays and tightly fitted schedules. He is almost just like me. Except, I'd never go snake hunting.

Dearest 13-year-old Nisa - OMG! You totally grow up and MARRY Opus the Penguin!!! Seriously!!! How were you so wise? Hey, question - if you could see the future at age 13, why didn't you do more cool stuff - like say help invent the Windows Platform or maybe get in on the ground floor of Mac? Oh well... anyway - how awesome for you to actually have loved Opus from a young age, and be married to him now! He is the best husband and daddy in the universe (hands down) - oh, and he is so fine!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Faerie Garden!!!

Hands down the most fun the kids and I have had on an art project! We found a small space in the backyard that is dappled sunlight for most of the day. We decided it was perfect for a faerie garden. We spent weeks painting houses (faeries have wings, makes sense they would like living in bird houses) and discussing what to plant. Zooey was the forman and creative director of the whole area - she chose what went where, and what our general color palette would be, but we all had freedom to paint as we chose. Ike was the fastest painter of all of us, Zooey was careful and diliberate, I spent the bulk of my time on just one thing, and Meagan handcrafted the "stained glass" window for the chapel (although its really fused glass). Finally, this past weekend, Jon got to contribute by doing some of the planting... Zooey has also sprinkled the area with native wildflower seeds and thyme... we already have some sprouts. Fingers crossed that it will grow in, and the kids will no doubt keep finding things to contribute - they have noted that the fairy tree-house for the crepe myrtle is not finished... Let's walk through the Faerie Garden now:

We start with the fairy door at the far right - it is the gateway between the magical world and our backyard - from right to left, you see the crepe myrtle (with our brass snail guarding the unfinished tree house), chapel, and dance hall. In the back, you see the bunnies marking the space where the watchtower will go (it is in production).

This is a close up of the chapel. Isn't it lovely? Meagan was responsible for this project, and hand made the window at her fused glass studio. Zooey chose this fancier pot for the chapel to sit on, knowing it would add to the grandure of it. On the crepe, you can see the base of the treehouse, and below - next to the daffodil, you can see a wishing well - painted by the cutest 4-year-old in the neighborhood, a friend who helped us out.

Here we see a few residences - Zooey's yellow house really shines here. You can see Ike's Fairy Prince castle - and really get a feel for what the garden will be when the thyme and flowers grow in. Behind the red house, we've got a "hens and chicks" succulent, and you can see some ruby grass and lavender here. You can also see that the Fairys are quite green - choosing solar power to help them with their wee electricity needs.

Meagan's gazebo is worth showing because it was our first completed structure for the garden. It will be the home for fairy tea parties, and summer concerts.

This was my main project - the hippy caravan. I really had fun, although at one point it was in danger of looking like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. You can see Zooey's park benches and fairy fences (to keep the mosquitos out), and her little blue house. The windmill was an ensemble piece involving Ike, myself, and Savannah, another neighborhood friend who helped out. You can see Zooey's favorite plant, the purple Pincushion flower, and Ike's Lambs Ear he chose for the garden. I forgot what that scrubby little plant behind the caravan is called, but I liked it because it looked kinda like a little mesquite bush (they will be Texan Fairys after all, right).

You can see the work we put in and the fun we had. Zooey still plans to add a few small chipped upside down pots, for frog houses. We get quite a few toads in the Spring and Fall, so she's hoping they will move into the garden. Stay tuned - I plan on updating this post when the plants grow in - perhaps mid-Summer? Anyway... thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Journal Assignment - Sept. 7, 1983

It's fruitless to argue with my parents about my room. They think it should be cleaned every weekend. It's my room and I should be able to clean it when I want. I don't know what their problem is, FYI says that a child should be able to create their own environment. They say that the kid will do better in school and at home. They are sick of that excuse though. My new one is: When the time comes for me to clean it, its so dirty, I'll mess it up trying to clean it.

I've been searching for this journal entry!!! We've gone back in time about 6 months or so to address 13-year-old Nisa. I know you don't understand a parent's need for your room to be clean, but I do - I'm the parent to two slobby children, whose rooms are... well lets just say that FEMA is on stand-by. Its important for me for the rooms to be clean, mainly because... well its just that... look - cleanliness is important because... Drat! I can't think of a solid reason you should clean your room. I know that my kids don't have food trash in their rooms, so its not really a sanitary issue. And I know that you tried to keep the food trash out of your room too. I'd like to say that its easier to find stuff if your room is organized, but my kids, like yourself, seem to know where things are in those messy piles. I'd like to say that cleaning your room will make your folks happy - and it will, but its not the kind of approval you are looking for. Look - just try to be tidy, your messy room drives them crazy, even if they can't explain why. In the longrun, you will grow up and be driven crazy by messiness too! You will even develop a weird compulsion to organize the dishes in the dishwasher, and hang your clean clothes by style and color. But you'll keep your creativity - refusing to put books in alpha by author order! Why should you, when its more awesome to group them by size and color? And some piles will remain, but squarely in the closet, and out of sight. Good luck with the mess - don't strain yourself.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Kids have Wheels!

I'm taking a break from the journal with this headline - both the kids learned to ride their bikes this past weekend (no training wheels in sight)!!!

Everyone has been so excited about it, that I thought I'd post some photos. I hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Journal Assignment - April 18, 1984

If I could have any animal in the world, I would choose a zebra. They are big and pretty and their stripes trip me out. They are totally unique and I just think it would be neat to have one that I could ride to places on. Its almos as good as showing up in a limo.

I'm about to fall asleep. I know you care but anyway. I stayed up (couldn't get to sleep) until 2:00 am this morning. Woke up at 7:00 am (dead to the world) I'm still trying to wake up.

Oh 14-Nisa... I still think that sounds fun. I NEVER dreamed I'd be driving a Mom-mobile back in those days. I had a poster of an electric blue Porsche 911 ragtop. It was beautiful! Now I drive a powder blue Nissan Quest minivan! Woo hoo! Not quite a zebra or a Porsche. But I don't think I've compromised too much as a Mom. There was that year I spent with a 5-yr-old and a 2-yr-old and had blue hair (electric blue wasn't available, so I went with midnight blue). I DO have electric blue toenails, though! There are the rockin' flames on the minivan - and the bumper sticker that implies we are all going to hell in a handbasket. There are my numerous t-shirts covered in skulls... I think I still show my zebra stripes from time to time, but I guess nowadays I do it in a more muted fashion. 39 is a long way from 14, but I still understand my 14-Nisa's idea about standing out in a crowd and stickin' it to "da Man." I just do it in a quieter way in my old age I guess!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Zooey's Haircut

I'm taking a break from the journal today to share my 9-year-old's journey with you. If you don't know Zooey, she is an old soul, full of life, and a joy to be around. We both got our hair cut yesterday. We both had rather long hair, and she wanted hers cut short. We both have curly hair, and she had these long spiral locks. They are gone now, and she loves it! Here are some photos from the day.

Here she is before - excited about what's to come!

We decided it was enough hair to make a large WebKin (or a small poodle.) And here she is after - drumroll please...

Sylist Cindy Herrera did an amazing job with both of us! She was extremely friendly and professional - and obviously, she knows what she is doing. She really enjoyed Zooey's joie d'vivre, and really talked to her at length before she did any cutting, just to make sure Zooey understood what she was going to do. I think we found our hair-stylist! By the way, she works with straight hair too! If you are in the Austin area, and interested in seeing her, just contact me for her info. I'm happy to recommend her!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Journal Assignment - April 9, 1984

If I could choose today's journal topic, I would write about summer vacation. I would write about sleeping until noon and stayin' up until 6 am. I would write about soap operas and swimmin' pools. And I'd write about guys and goin out to have fun. I'd write about life in the fast lane and so-on so forth, and music in the punk world. I'd write about the 4 things I believe in: Music, World Peace, War and guys.

Ahhh, life as a 14-year-old... I can even picture 1984, but when I do, it is MTV style. I can hear what it sounded like and I can see the neon colors. 14 Nisa, although they are four very good things, you won't always believe in just those things. Eventually, life gets a little more complicated. Music ends up being about the business of Music. World Peace ends up being about age-old turf wars, religion and foreign relations. War ends up being about oil, security, and feeling safe. And guys end up being about pain, self-image, dieting, game-playing, exasperation, and finally/hopefully love. Enjoy being 14... I think 14 was my last fun and truly kid-like year. I wanted to be older so badly, but I just wasn't mentally equipped to be. Thankfully, I was allowed to be a kid when I was 14.

Now... back to my MTV daydreams - remember when they still played music videos and music videos only? The dancing astronaut on the moon? The MTV theme music? Sting's voice singing, "I want my... I want my... I want my MTV."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Journal Assignment - Jan. 25, 1984

If I were to write a book, it would be about life at Goddard Jr. High. It would be so massive and then it would be made into a movie. The movie would be a Box Office Smash. I would be the main character and so would Jennifer. I'd envite everyone to playthere own part in the movie. Especially you Mrs. Biggs. No-one could depict (vocab word) you as well as you do. Some of the teachers might be hard to believe though. (Mrs. Sigmon!!!)

I keep seeing "Jennifer" in this journal, and sadly, I have NO idea who that is... I wish 14-Nisa would have given me more clues. Now, onto more important things - Mrs. Sigmon!!! Gosh, I haven't thought about her in a long time! This skinny, pale white, dyed-red curly haired goof-ball was completely, certifiably, crazy and my science teacher in 8th grade. She had also been a belly-dancing student of my mother's. (Yes, Mom was a belly-dancer... but that's a different blog entry all together!) Because she knew my mother, I guess she expected me to be a perfect student...? But as we all know, I was the class clown and way too bored in that class to behave myself. I tried though, I really DID try - but all my favorite "fine guys" were also in that class, and took pride in getting me into trouble with the White Carrot Lady.

At one point, during a geology section lesson (this is how well I remember it) Donnie began talking to David Nickel and they both were laughing right behind me. The Siggy looked up and said "Nisa! To the Office!" Well... I was confused and asked why, and she said not to argue, that she had heard me laughing and she was tired of it. The whole class was stunned that David's deep-toned laughter could be mistaken for mine, but I shrugged my shoulders, gathered my stuff, and off I went to the office.

When I arrived and explained my story, the vice-principle smiled and said, "She is a little crazy, isn't she?" And I was so releived that he understood and believed me, that I blurted out, "a LITTLE?!?" And he laughed and laughed and told me to help out in the attendance office until the next period. From then on, if Siggy sent me to the office, I went willingly, and it never made a difference "ON MY PERMANENT RECORD".

Now, if I could just remember who Jennifer was!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Journal Assignment - Feb. 8, 1984

Its been a long time since I've written to you and a long time since you've taken this up to read. I am an alien mutant. Not really, I'm a spy from another planet. You may have heard of it, Venus. I am here to prove that there is no intelligent life on earth. I haven't been able to prove it here in Texas yet but my report about Washington D.C. is promising. When the other spys and I collect enough data, we will attack and envage the Earth! Venician for ever. Peace - granola.

Eighth grade must have been pretty boring to me. I can see from just flipping through this journal that many of the things I wrote were out of boredom, just to entertain myself. Mrs. Biggs, my 8th grade English teacher was phenomenal. Everyone had said she was the toughest in the Junior High, and that she could be really mean, but I never saw that. Many of these journal entries are written directly to her. She was smart, I remember that, and she was really interested in us doing our best work, never content with any of us slacking off and just passing through. Toward the end of the Spring, she stopped coming to classes, and we were told she was very ill. She came in about once a week, to check on us and let us know she was still reading our work, so there was no room for laziness. Then she stopped coming, and my parents let me know that she was dying of cancer. I did get to see her once more, at a restaurant with her family. She was quite frail and I hugged her and told her I loved her. She died that Summer. I don't think of her all that often, what with being involved in my own family and such, but she was ONE on that handful list of teachers who really knew what they were doing. She really liked my "Peace - Granola" sign-off, and even started using "Granola" as a nickname for me - which I LOVED, given the extraordinary lack of hippiness in Midland, Texas in the 1980s! Oh, and I STILL always always always feel like an alien... which is a good thing, as my children are definitely aliens as well!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Your Fondest Dream Assignment - April 13, 1984

One day I woke up, looked into the mirror, and saw that I had turned into a giant beach ball. I just couldn't believe it. "A giant beach ball?" I said, who thought that up? I just couldn't believe it. It was such a dumb idea. Someone has just gone out of their brain. I mean me a beach ball I couldn't believe it. Then this really fine guy picked me up, and put me in a jeep. We went to the beach and he started throwing me to all these other fine guys. It was my lucky day. Someone likes me now. Gosh I believe it. Someone loves me now cause that was my fondest dream.

Oh dear sweet 14-year-old Nisa... you are a silly little twit! I do love the use of the word "fine" over and over again, though! 14 Nisa, I need to tell you that having someone like you and even love you is so much better than having fun on the beach - its totally as if one of these fine guys stops throwing you around, and actually keeps you, introduces you to his family and buys you pretty things! For sure, I'm not yanking your chain!!! You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, sweetheart, but it is clear that We need to discuss a woman's sense of self-esteem at some point. Don't settle for being tossed around by fine guys!!! There is so much more to life than being colorful and full of air, a plaything for fine guys. Remember, YOU control your destiny, not some silly beach game.