Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just Being a Twit

Not to be outdone by my blog friends, I'm now on Twitter as "smartz1". So Twit me with your best shot!

Where I've Been and Why

For the last couple of weeks, I stepped in as Acting Site Coordinator for my old After School Program: stepped back into long work days, innumerable problems, systems ignored or mismanaged, non-compliance with reporting requirements, etc. In the end, I failed to make any lasting effect.

Sometimes you just have to move on. So, this week, I turned my head, ignored the problems, and I went back to my Monday/Tuesday subbing for Ms. Mendoza. Alas, sometimes the best strategy is to focus on what you can change and leave the rest to fate.

The Importance of Art and Artists

Self Portrait: Minerva Mendoza
For most of my tenure at Hall District School in Las Lomas, I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Mendoza in the After School Program. Besides helping students with their homework, Minerva provides them with art instruction and helps them see themselves as artists. She makes me want to be a child again, working under her expert and kind guidance. Bravo Minerva!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Having a baby sister was like having a life-sized doll. I was living with my mother when Celeste was born. A few months later we went to stay with my grandparents. It was one of the happiest times of my childhood. But within the year, her father came and took her away. It would be 50 years before we would see each other again.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Clark and Anna and Me

My grandparents were married in 1944, the same year that I was born. Anna had outlived her first two husbands; Clark had never been married. He worked parttime at the lumberyard and she sold handmade quilts. They lived simply, with running water in the kitchen and an outdoor privy. They kept a cow and chickens, a small orchard and a huge vegetable garden.

Anna loved roses and grew a fence of prickly pear to keep the school kids out of them. In this small town of about 300, I was allowed to roam freely and called home after dark by my grandmother's distinctive whistle. I can hear it still.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Laura!

I grew up on the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder, dreaming of living out on the prairie, riding horses and chasing rabbits. I'd read both ways on the school bus and under the covers at night with a flashlight.

Several years ago, when I was teaching 4th grade language arts, I collected almost all of her novels for my classroom library. But I failed to spark an interest in her adventures for my students. Laura's life was just too far removed from their world of Gameboys and Yugio cards and TV cartoons. It's sad. I feel we all lose.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

You Ought to Be in Pictures

Outside our favorite thrift store, Cindy and I encountered this rather amazing sight. What do you say to someone who proudly proclaims that they "did this themselves." She (the dog, not the owner) will likely spend a fair amount of time on the analyst's couch. Cotton candy, anyone?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Much Wood Can a Woodchuck Chuck

Groundhog's Day, a leftover from years past, celebrates the possibility of Spring. Not the least of the problems with this holiday is that groundhogs are actually woodchucks. So, when the failing economy exceeds my capacity to comprehend, let alone resolve, I turn to simple things. Did he see his shadow yesterday? Will it matter? Ask the cats!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Even Steven

Twilight in the Grand Canyon by RC Gorman

When my ex-husband and I were negotiating our divorce settlement, I chose to relinquish my interest in the fine art we had collected together (notably an RC Gorman and a Miguel Martinez) in order to keep numerous works acquired from local artists that were featured on Papier-Mache book covers. I've never regretted that decision but I have felt an empty space in my life. No more! When I finally have a new home, it will be graced by a gorgeous Gorman lithograph.