Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jerry's Love Offering

Jerry's Love Offering
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

I've got some sweet but blurry photos up on flickr, from Krista's birthday Saturday. Krista was ambivalent about 'celebrating' her birthday, but it happened none the less. Somehow the ritual of it all is very appealing. Especially when the cake is presented, with song, glowing with candles for the big wish. I love it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunrise by Mary Oliver


You can
die for it--
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills,
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India,
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter

Snow Trip Photos By Dave S.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tahoe Tumbleweeds

Snowy Mountains
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

I’m sore. And I’ve still got bruises on my butt.
Friday morning we crammed ourselves into our little jetta wagon and zoomed up to Lake Tahoe to join our friends The Tumbleweeds—an overgrown playgroup that coalesced around kids who are now eight or nine years old. I think the youngest sibling is actually five and the oldest, India, is seventeen. At 47 I was the very oldest person in general. And feeling it.

I joked that we saw Al Gore on the way up. Standing on a corner, waggling one of those signs people hold nowadays to advertise crap. Al’s sign said “I told you so”.
Meaning there wasn’t much snow. You could just tell, even if you’d never been up that way before.
But there was a little and the kids lost no time making use of it for sledding and such. Fun. And danger. Our condominiums were on a little slope, backed by thickets of willow and trees and a creek. Quite pretty. The boys were sliding down the steepest slopes right into the thickets!

On Saturday we convoyed over to a petite skiing resort with a long German name and a slope set aside just for sledding. By sledding I mean plastic saucers and plastic toboggans of various kinds. None of those old fashioned wooden jobbies with the metal runners—thank god. There would have been lots of red snow.
As it was, the scene was chaotic and dangerous, with joy riders caroming down the icy slope, almost completely out of control and unerringly pulled by some mysterious gravitational force towards the hapless folk in their way at the bottom of the run.
Some of these hapless folk were other riders who had just landed. Others were true morons who seemed to be unaware that other people really exist and have physical properties such as weight and momentum. A true learning experience for them.
For myself, I was surprised to learn just how many of these idiots could populate one tiny ski resort.

Of course, I wasn’t feeling too bright myself, as I overshot the end of the icy ‘snow’ into the muddy gravel beyond and ended up slamming my ass into a little ditch full of very cold water. I think this might have been my first run! And that hard (yet wet) landing gave me the first and worst of my bruises. Ouch.

Somehow the sledding got more and more fun as time went by. In part because the warm sun softened the icy ‘snow’. But also because we began doing formations.
My personal favorite was one inspired by skydivers. We would hook our feet over a fallen fence at the top of the slope and plop face down on our saucers, all in a line, feeling the gravity of our situation. Linking hands we’d take off and the folks on the end would whip around to join us into a star pattern. A very fast moving, bumping laughing spinning star. This was really really fun!

There was a place at the bottom where a small pool of slushy water had formed—I suppose from so many people ending up there. It just got deeper and deeper. It had all the gravity of a black hole. In the star formation, some of us would be zooming downhill feet first. I’ll leave you to wonder whether I ended up in the pool.
Each night a team of parents would provide dinner for all. We’d feed the 13 kids first and endure the chaos and noise from a relative distance. Then the kids would go downstairs to watch television (shudder) while the adults ate in peace and quiet. Bliss.
The food was good and absurdly plentiful. We’d all radically miscalculated and brought way too much. I was teased for bringing three pounds of butter to go the bread for our meal. We used two sticks. Of course Krista brought six loaves of bread! We used two.
Oh well.
Each family fended for itself for breakfasts and lunches. I was astonished to see how efficient they all were! It finally occurred to me that all of their kids go to school. They have to be spot on to get them out the door in time. It was impressive (but I was secretly glad we get to lounge around in our pajamas all morning, drinking tea and having discussions).

On Sunday we tried a different slope, higher up and free to all on public land. The snow was much much softer (and yet way bumpier too). As the day progressed it became faster and faster sledding. Some of the more intrepid climbed high up the slope out of sight and would come barreling down this crazy chute, grabbing air and slamming down with an ‘oof’ over and over.
I’m ashamed to say I retired somewhat early. I had the sense that my tail bone had been crushed and was leaking spinal fluid. Not far from the truth it turns out.
I was also extremely agitated by the presence of snowmobiles and the rat bastards who drive them.
Aside from the horrific noise and the stench from their lousy two stroke engines, they were endangering people left and right. I felt an unaccustomed and unsettling violence posses me and was not entirely sad when we left that place.
I would be happy to see snowmobiles banned for recreational use. I’ll just leave it at that.

Aside from the big fun on the slopes, we had a wonderful time sitting around the condos laughing and debating and philosophizing and playing the cheap guitar we brought home from Bali. Being part of a group like that is fairly new for us and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

To be honest though, I don’t think the high elevation agrees with Krista and I. Each night we’d wake up around 1am and be completely unable to sleep until 4am or so. Weird. And laying there breathing that thin, dry mountain air was something of a torment. Ugh.

It was a good trip though and I’m glad we did it. I find myself wishing out little house was big enough to host another gathering. Maybe we’ll rent a hall.


Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

India is sporting the scarf she knitted--her first big project. We hung out for a while on this Lake Tahoe beach and found lots of really cool stones. I took home a flat round black 'gratitude stone' to keep in my pocket.

Base Camp

Base Camp
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

We were perched about half way up the slope and had lunch here (and licked our wounds). It got pretty steep and slippery up there at the top.

Holden and Byron

Holden and Byron
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

You can see how the bottom of the slope ends in muddy gravel. They said last year this was all covered with snow. It made for a bumpy ride.

Our Playground

Our Playground
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Our Sunday slope. It was snowing! If you go to flickr and go to 'see all sizes' and go to the largest size, you can see the others way off in the distance.

Kid's Dinner

Kid's Dinner
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

It felt like utter chaos getting the kids fed. Then they would disappear and we could eat in peace.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

delivery girl

delivery girl
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Ritual magic to open a new solar cycle for Joyce.
Last night we came over to celebrate Joyce's birthday. Another trip around the sun. Jerry made soup, salad and warm bread. We brought this very sweet lemon cheesecake and our good wishes.


Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Solar Return

joyce's cake
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Theory of Everything

Here's a BBC program on the latest physics--including parallel universes, M theory, etc. All jazzed up with dramatic music, special effects and whatnot, but possibly worth watching. I'm glad I sat through it. It's about 45 minutes long and apparently explains everything.

For the classy geek

Saw this on Neatorama. Love it.


Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

This is my first grade class photo. If you study the teacher (the one on the right) you may get some insight into why we homeschool our girls. Sort of a cross between the Grinch and Miss Trunchbull.

The principal doesn't strike me as a particularly well adjusted personality either. Yikes.

I don't remember any of these kids at all, but I've enjoyed studying their faces as I removed the dust specks. One poor girl has a huge bandaid on her cheek.

I can't help forming impressions of these young folks. I'm sure this one boy must have grown up to be an alcoholic. Another strikes me as an asshole businessman/politician type.

I'm intrigued by the black girl to the right of me. Being so young I had no awareness of race, I'm sure. I think Oregon was very white and probably fairly racist at that time. I wonder who she was. And the girl to my left has a very intense expression too.
Probably why I'm smiling--stuck between two pretty girls.

(If you click on the photo and then hit the "all sizes" button, you can see a better image.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Maps of the Top Ten Countries

I stumbled upon this amazing collection of top ten country maps. Everything from "countries by most forested" to "top ten most urbanized countries". You've got everything from top ten toy buying to shark attacks to almond producing to murder rates per capita. There seem to be hundreds of them.
Some of them are eye opening indeed! Check it out.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Casio Un-commercial

I've told so many people how wonderful my little camera is, that I feel responsible for doing an Un-commercial.
About a week ago my camera broke. Turns out that there's a serious design flaw: it's very easy for the camera to be turned on accidentally if either of two buttons gets bumped. Then the lens opens.
Or tries to open. If it's in your pocket, or a case, it tries to open and fries the lens unit.
On ebay there are about 20 broken lens ex-s500 cameras right now. I found someone who will fix it for $128 plus shipping.
You can actually buy a refurbished one for about $100 on ebay. Which is what I did. Even with the high probablility that it will break again, I love my little camera!
Casio definitely set the standard for 'spy cameras' and there are now a number of other brands with similar styles. Perhaps they don't have this turning on flaw, I haven't explored them yet. And perhaps Casio will fix it on newer models. In the meantime, buyer beware.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Day of Visits

We had NINE visitors yesterday! Aja (who had spent the night). Thalia (who came to pick her up). Meredith, Zephyr (who we took care of all afternoon), Karen and Zoe, Jerry and Joyce and Danny. Aside from Aja and Thalia, these were all just folks dropping by. It was lovely, but most unusual!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Happy Imbolc

walnuts and frog
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Yesterday was Imbolc, and though we didn't realize it at the time, we managed to celebrate in many ways.
Krista and I watched spellbound as a huge flock of robins swarmed the trees in our backyard, right overhead. There must have been 40 or 50 of them flitting about and devouring the privet berries. Most unusual.
Our friend Meredith brought by a dozen little eggs from her banties--another wonderful omen of Spring. And India made a fire, down at Jon and Lux's house! Very much in the spirit of Imbolc. We went for a moonlit walk with the girls coming home.

Today we shelled a bowl of walnuts that Eden and I had collect some months back. Our neighborhood used to adjoin a big walnut orchard and there are many beautiful old walnut trees here and there. There are also many happy crows who feast on the walnuts.

Singer Songwriter

Singer Songwriter
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Krista has been doing a bit of songwriting lately. A bit of writing. And lots and lots of research via her silver portal to the web (shown here). This little nook has become her power center lately.

Loose Tooth

Loose Tooth
Originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Eden lost another tooth. She no longer really believes in the tooth fairy (I think), but fully expected some cashola to appear under her pillow. The willing suspension of disbelief is an important skill around here.