Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Lady Washington

We learn that a sailor's duffel bag was also his resume...

It showed off his sail stitches, and his knot abilities...

Jason and Brianna check out some scrimshaw...

Here's a close-up...

We learned about trading and travel along the Pacific Coast...

Joshie learns how to calculate knots and how to use a compass...

A daring repairman works on the lines...
We drew vocabulary diagrams, based on this illustration...


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Working Like a Dog, with a Dog...

The plan is to make a dozen cupcakes and five nests...

Turns out, I'm a coiler now...

Needing to decorate and then to make eggs...

It was freezing in the shed, so this guy bundled up...

Trying out a bird mold, with no electricity in sight...

When it rains, I can't plug into the garage power...

So, I layered up and worked by candle light...

Hoping that the order for the dozen cupcakes is for reals...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gratitude



 I have a lot of gratitude in my heart. These are just a few things that have made my life better:

       Family:     

                 I love my family very much. Over the years, more kind people have been added to our 
                 circle. It has been a delight to see my nieces and nephews find, and then form their own
                 families. I am thankful for my oldest sister. She seems to hold our entire family 
together with the power of her love and kindness.


       Friends:     

                   I'm not one to have a large support group of friends. I have a small number of people that
                  really mean a lot to me. Sometimes I'm amazed that they stick with me and my nonsense, but they do. Their kindness and support makes 
                  life worth living.


         Shelter:      

                 So grateful to live in a home in a semi-safe neighborhood. My house is my sanctuary. I've
                  been working on renovating it for about 16 years. It's finally almost done. Like a mandala, just in time to let the termites have their way with it...
                  


         Animals:    

              I'm lucky to live with animals. I appreciate Snorkel, the class turtle. She puts up with a
                   lot of virtual poking and prodding. And, the class fish are pretty patient, too. They put up    
                   with being overfed and starved on quite a regular basis. My all time favorite
                   support animals are my two doggies, Percy and Winston. They are yin and yang. 
                   Winston is mellow, loyal, obedient, and intensely watchful. Percy is "all bets are off" 
                   nutty. He is a very playful and affectionate puppy. Each day, when I get home, we have a 
                   spectacular greeting routine. Their unconditional love is both smothering and nurturing. I
                   can't seem to work out in the shed, without Winston watching my every move. He's an
                   awesome creativity task-master.


         Work:      

              I am thankful to be employed at a school that values "the whole child". Academics are 
               very important, but so are the things that enhance and enrich education. I like that parents
               are involved in the educational process. Last week, I had a parent stop by after school in        
               order to ask me about her son's reading score. She saw my car at 4:00, and waited for me.
               This never happened at my old workplace. Parents were so busy and disengaged. The very
               nature of financial survival in the Bay Area, kept them at assorted jobs. Also, the nature of 
               the educational system itself, discouraged parent involvement. I appreciate being able to 
               share my passion for art with my students, without criticism. I also enjoy being the only 
               teacher on my team. It means that there aren't any compromises, and the responsibility is 
               all mine, whether for success or for failure.


          Machines:

I am thankful for my new scooter, Marcello. He's extremely swift and fun. The more I read
about the past, the more thankful I am for my washing machine, and my car. The modern
conveniences leave me leisure time to do my art work. Trips to the laundromat really
ate into my art time. Now, I can multi-task, creating while doing chores simply. 
Having clean, potable water is a blessing. I can't imagine the burden that hauling
water is to many people on our planet.


           Humor:     

                I am thankful for having a sense of humor. The world is a pretty dark place of late. Being
                 able to take the long view and spot the irony is a help. Kids always make fun of me for 
                 laughing at my own jokes, and for laughing at inappropriate times. I think that having a 
                 sense of humor is actually a virtue.


         Past Experiences:

The past definitely colors the present and the future. I am grateful for all of the memories 
and challenges that I've had during my life. There is only one person that I'd have preferred
not to know, and that's a pretty good track record. Upon reflection, that person moved me
to a location where I needed to be at that particular moment in time. So, I can now understand
the purpose for all of the heartache. It did have a purpose. In general, I have been blessed
to overflowing. I don't have a lot of money, but I am rich in all of the things that make
life worthwhile. 

             

Work Never Takes Vacation

Pulled some nests from the kiln...

These didn't fit, so I'll have to fire another load...

Will be selling some nests at our school fundraiser...

I like that this one looks like rustic carved wood...

Piper's pumpkin rattle finally emerged...

These cupcake boxes now need a brownish wash...

Made a dozen more for the Take Aways show in January...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Proportional Drawing

This is one of my Thanksgiving class traditions...
Each person carefully draws an assigned section of a photo...
Hoping that this is a new holiday tradition, as well...
Once all of the drawings are done, I randomly connect them...
Watercolor is tricky on this for fourth graders...
Each person "sees" proportion and color differently...
And, now home to put a wash on these cupcake boxes...

Friday, November 18, 2016

Castro Adobe (In Progress)




Our class paid a visit to the Rancho San Andres Castro Adobe, located in our very town. This house was built on a large land grant, that was given to the Castro family. And, the family ran cattle on the acreage, which included the land fronting Sunset Beach. The Castro family participated in the hide and tallow trade that was a crucial part of early California's economy. Jose Joaquin Castro was a six year-old member of the Anza Expedition in 1775. The house itself, was constructed in 1848, by Jose Joaquin's son, Juan Jose. Ranger Ritchie guided us on a tour of the property near the house. Students made small adobe bricks, and with the help of our class volunteers, used the restored cocina to make some tortillas.

The house was severely damaged in the Loma Prieta Earthquake, and the process of restoration has been lengthy. The Castro adobe is rare, because it has a second storey. The top floor was a fandango room, where guests could visit and make use of the dance floor. Our class could only visit the great room on the main floor, since the retrofitting isn't quite complete. But, I plan to go back and visit on one of the living history days held at the park... 

Currently, I'm reading a book that discusses the settling of the southwestern part of the United States by Spain. It is interesting to draw conclusions from Ranger Ritchie's presentation for the students, and from Colin Woodard's interesting book. Spain's ties to America were brief and tenuous, but they definitely left a mark. The Mexican connection seems even stronger.



Kids feel the texture of the cork trees brought from Spain... 
In the newly rebuilt kitchen...
Persimmon trees survived the woodpecker onslaught...

Official logo by Michael Schwab...

Hot chocolate stirrers in the cocina...

Corner shelving holds kitchen items...


Monday, November 14, 2016

Grey Beach Day

The water and the sky matched perfectly...

Low tide critters were everywhere, especially the piers...

Winston investigates...

Percy picked fights with the seagulls...

I've only been here one other time during low tide...

Very hazy and foggy, with no tourists...

Hoping this cement ship lasts one more winter...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

"Tyranny Naturally Arises Out of Democracy"


The title is a quote by Plato, by the way. It has been a rough two weeks. Sorry that I haven't written for a while. I feel like I've been facing the complete and utter breakdown of my country. Also, my wifi was busted. 

By now, you know that half of America voted for a new leader. Half of our population decided to not participate in the outcome of the election, by not visiting the polls. That form of protest isn't receiving enough thought, in my opinion. Is anyone wondering why that many people actually opted out? So, I've been thinking and reflecting a lot about the future. And, in pondering the future, I always return to the past. President Washington is one of my favorite people from history. When a young person, George began copying The Rules of Civility as a penmanship exercise. These rules discuss appropriate behavior. They represent a personal code or creed, by which Washington lived his adult life.  

So, after looking at some of the negative posts on Facebook by friends, connections, and family, I started looking through the Rules of Civility:


           #22: Show not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another although he be your enemy.

#65: Speak not a Jest where none take pleasure in mirth Laugh not aloud, nor at all without Occasion, deride no mans Misfortune, though there         
Seem to be some cause.

So, how do we move on, in the face of increased racism and possible tyranny? And, in the face or such a groundswell of anger on both sides. Well I think that George Washington has some answers to this situation, as well. 

"Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals."

"If the freedom of Speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

So, yes, let's protest the election. Let's continue to speak out. But, we must be in it for the long haul. There are four years ahead. Pace yourself. Watch out to protect the freedoms of those around us. There are a lot of groups to watch out for, I belong to two such groups. As a woman, I will continue to speak out when cat-called, minimized, sexually harassed, or defamed. I am a member of a religious group that was persecuted by the government in the past, and actually forced to flee the country. I will watch out for other marginalized groups. Maybe the whole point of this election, is that we haven't really ever been asked to demonstrate our courage of conviction, and now we are going to need to take a stand, and to prove our worthiness as citizens. In general, I choose to mind my own business. I'm an introvert. But, cross anyone that I care about, and prepare for me to unleash the full force of my personal version of "kara-te"...

In the meantime, I have downloaded some books to my kindle, in order to learn about the present and the future, from the past... We don't always get what we want (I voted for Bernie, as a write-in candidate, because I knew that Hillary would win CA anyway, and I believe that our two-party system has been broken for a long time). Be educated, be aware, don't wallow.