Saturday, January 05, 2019

Small joys

In a 1997 article called "Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life," I wrote:
Enjoyment—that word itself is hardly used. Enjoyment is seen nearly as a sin for some people. "You're not here to have fun, you're here to work." Why can't work bring joy? Any tiny moment can be enjoyed: the feel of warm running water when you wash your hands; light and shadow on the floor; pictures in the clouds; the feel of an old book. If you see an old friend, that can bring pure, tingly joy for which there are no words.
Today I was watching episode 50 of a Korean "variety show"—what Americans would call a reality series—and someone is decribing a Korean word based on a Japanese term (or phrase) that they ranslated as "small but certain happiness." Trying to find the original writing in English, I came across the article [Trending] #Small but certain happiness #小確幸 It's from a 1986 essay by Haruki Murakami (Western name order, on that one) called "Afternoon in the Islets of Langerhans." The article, describing the essay, says his examples are:
...eating a freshly-baked loaf of bread with one’s hands, seeing neatly folded underwear in a drawer, wearing a new shirt that smells like clean cotton and letting a cat enter into a bed with a rustling sound.
So in retrospect, as decades have passed, maybe there will be a word. There's a word in Korean. 小確幸

But wait—it jumps to another of my favorite things, which is word histories. It seems the term was created in Japan from Chinese idea-elements, and the taken up by Korean. Maybe in the way we can still create English terms from Greek and Latin elements, and maybe other languages will use the term, too.小確幸

Probably my use of "joy," and finding joy in small, everyday things is better. We already have the word joy.

The idea has been with me since before that article, and I've recommended in many ways and places that people can avoid stress and live better lives if they can become more observant and appreciative. "Stop and smell the roses" might be the best English-language prescription for that.
For unschoolers, it was easiest to tie it in with the ideas of abundance and gratitude.

From Just Add Light and Stir, November 15, 2017:

Abundance and gratitude
"If it's not one thing, it's another."

People usually say that of problems or frustrations. But what about gourds, and little girls, and music, and humor?
If you practice finding abundance, if it's not one thing, it will be another.
photo by Cátia Maciel

There are others, there, on Gratitude and on Abundance, and with practice, those become inseparable.

Oh, sweet! Note about this one below:

Gratitude for everyday things
Spoons. Flush toilets. Roofs, walls, doors. Paper and lights. Colored markers.

Love. Time.

Thoughts. Ideas.
photo by Sandra Dodd

When I looked to see some of what had come up in those search links, I saw this—the first photo I took when I got my iPad, years ago—and I was sitting in the same place:

Here's what I looked like that day:

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Way back in 2018

My Christmas letter. I was thinking I should keep it out somewhere, and this seems like a good place. I wish I had sent it to more people. Maybe some of them will find this, and I can read it again, too, someday.

Dodd News for 2018

Last year's Christmas letter came from a future grandmother. This one comes from the grandmother of three.

Ivan Odysseus Dodd was born just a few days after Christmas, on December 28, 2017. He is a robust, big, brave guy. July 3, the tiny miss Kirby Athena Denise Dodd arrived. She's becoming more comfortable in the world, with her long hair (long for a baby) and big eyes.

Not so long after that, Devyn became an official, legal Dodd when her adoption by Kirby became official. I got to be in the courtroom that day, sitting in the gallery with the baby.

Keith and I (kind of suddenly the grandparents of three, THREE!) each had a bump. I had pneumonia for two months in Spring, for no good reason, and thought I would die. I didn't. Keith had shoulder surgery in fall, and is nearly recovered because he is a self-rehabilitating marvel. He is nearly always subtly exercising and stretching one way or another, getting a little more strength and flexibility.

Keith swims most mornings, and I write every day. He still goes to SCA activities, and I still don't. Lately he's doing instrumental music, mostly recorder, with a few others.

Unlike many of the past ten years, all of us were in Albuquerque this year. We never know when that could end, but this year, we have proximity, and a full set.

Kirby is doing computer tech mostly in person now, rather than phone and e-mail, so he's meeting people and seeing lots of places in town he hadn't been in before, working for Ardham Technologies. He took his family to Texas for a long Thanksgiving week, so friends and relatives in Austin, Sulphur Springs and Dallas could meet the baby, and Devyn could see her cousins, aunts and grandma.

Marty got a BA in Economics from UNM in May. His minor was geography. He was already working for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (not a very snappy name). They like him and want to keep him, but he looks around.

Holly earned certification as a yoga instructor, and that became the fourth of the ongoing part-time jobs she has worked this year, in a prismatic sort of schedule. They vary, and all have newness and things to learn. She likes house-sitting and is good with plants and pets. Keep her in mind!

There are photos of everyone named here, and of Destiny and Ashlee, too,

I hope your Christmas is either fun or that the Christmas you're ignoring passes peacefully, and that 2019 will be a good-memory-making time for you!

2905 Tahiti Ct. NE
Albuquerque NM 87112

And if anyone sends Christmas cards and you have an extra, I love them. Please send one to me at that address. Or a post card if your in an exotic place and need someone to send a card to!

At my house, on Christmas 2018 (these photos aren't at the link above—those were all pre-December):

Devyn, Holly, little Kirby

Original Kirby and the baby-girl Kirby, Keith, Marty, Ivan

Here's a wider shot, with the mothers of those babies:

Sunday, September 23, 2018

"The Sad Sandra Truth"

This is the name of a lost piece of writing.

In a letter to the editor of a homeschooling newsletter in 1993, I wrote:
You can use the Sad Sandra Truth post. I guess it was a big deal because you're not the only one to have said it's touching and all that, only if I have copy I don't know where it is (mabye in the 3" stack of *Prodigy rsidue, but the things I have looked for there I haven't found), so if you print it I'll get to read it again myself! Was that the one that said I was Pippi Longstocking on drugs? More like Pippi Longstocking with flashbacks!
I'm putting this here so that if and when I find that I can transcribe it and mark this off my checklist.

Having found the ten issues of The Back Yard Fence published between summer of 1993 and autumn 1995, I've looked through them all and found nothing about Pippi Longstocking, and nothing beginning with 'the sad Sandra truth.' I did find things worth transcribing, and I plan to link
First transcriptions:

Living History Groups (1995)

Two things involving the Society for Creative Anachronism, and tie-in or parallel with home schooling
what I do transcribe at but there might not be anything there yet.

Electronic media isn't forever. Neither is paper.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Memories of speaking in England two years ago

A Day with Sandra Dodd—18 Sept 2016, Long Ditton, Surrey

These photos wouldn't upload there, so this will be overflow!
I created that post in 2018, but backdated it 2016. The photos are by Janine Davies. She posted them on facebook back then.

Maybe my computer was just tired, or maybe that post became unwieldy, but there are 20 more photos if you click here! and notes, too. Credits. Memories.

What's above makes it look like there weren't many there, but this was during set-up. The front-row (whole audience) there are children of organizers and long-distance friends who came early to help set up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dear Sandra, don't cry

Helpful agent of Yahoo Small Business website management wrote:
Sandra, there are exactly 7767 files on your file manager and it includes all the HTML pages, images and all media files.
OH my gosh.
Helpful agent:
There are approx 5547 HTML pages on your website which are available on your file manager.

I had told him I thought there were over 2,000 pages.
What I was smugly thinking was "Over 3,000 and maybe over 4,000."

No, 5547 pages. Now all screwed up. Maybe temporarily screwed up.

This morning I woke up to a newly-designed interface, for file creation and editing. "New improved" has not sounded good to me for a long time.

Accented characters aren't working.
Emdashes aren't working.

I am assured that my concerns will be passed on to the developers. In the meantime, I'm sorry to those who use my pages and now will see little diamonds with question marks in them, and odd series of characters where other normal keyboard symbols ought to be.
And to make that code to the left do something besides just look like another dash, I needed all this:

I told my helpful helper, even when I thought I had around 3,000 pages, that I was 65 and would not live long enough to go through and change every keyboard symbol to ascii code. Every — to — ? On 5,547 pages?

And "page" in most minds (mine, used to be) is like one side of a piece of paper, with 300 words or fewer. No, many of these webpages would print out to 10 or 20 "pages" (or more) in that old sense. These pages can be chapters. Books.

I'm too afraid to even peek at the pages in Spanish or French. I sure hope they can fix it.

Something new and cheery! A new blog to collect photos of zia symbols (the design on the New Mexico state flag) and photos of pickups (especially back-yard pickups).
Zias and Pickups (

And the older but also still busy and pretty

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Jesusita en Chihuahua

Serenata Tapatia was a music show on Channel 7 (KOAT). I was on, once. The first time I was ever on TV. I watched later. It was awkward. I was playing guitar, Mr. Felix was playing something. Conga? Bongos? We were backup for a singer from our town. But she started in the wrong key and couldn't recover, and unfortunately, what the editor picked up and showed, instead of editing out, was me and Mr. Felix wincing and shrugging at each other about not being able to fix it. That would've been 1968, I think. Same year the Oñate Fiesta was started, or maybe the year before.

Mr. Felix drove us to Albuquerque, and I saw Dick Knipfing in person. He was TALL, and moved the way actors move when they're playing Abraham Lincoln. Or maybe the way giraffes move when they're trying to be cool and casual. He had nothing to do with that show, but he was a newscaster at the same station, and he was leaving as we were coming in.

For years I wondered what the name of the theme song was. I asked a few people, over the years. I would hum some and they would shrug, or I would ask if they remembered the show. Then once in frustration, after about 40 years of wondering, I called someone who had advertised to perform music for weddings and dances and such and I hummed it and asked my question and he said "It's just a polka."

"But what's it called?"

He didn't think it had a name, or he didn't know it, and didn't care.

Sheesh. Every tune has a name. Some have lots of names.

Time passed. I was at Papa Felipe's, a restaurant, and the same recording, even came on their sound system. I asked Siri and got "Jesusita en Chihuahua." Well then! I could look it up.

I don't know who the dancers are or when and where. But this is the song.

There was another show on KOB / Channel 4, called The Val de la O show, which also had music, but also interviews and messing around, and I didn't understand what they were saying so it was more boring, but Serenata Tapatia was music, music, music. Or maybe I just remember it that way. I was a kid, and watched a lot of TV.

Here's another version:

K Circle B with Dick Bills (local)
Friendly Giant (with recorder music, not local)
Captain Kangaroo (not local, I still know a couple of the songs)
Mickey Mouse ("Tuesday is guest star day---" and "Come to the talent rodeo!")

Friday, September 14, 2018

Surprise Yard

We have planned and planted, but it's fun when plants do what they want to do. When people leave town, or have surgery, or are distracted, the yard can get creative, and beautiful.