Monday, April 25, 2016

Tiny houses (rejection of)

I'm saving some things from facebook, from a discussion of a funny, well-written article on tiny houses. In case facebook is archived forever, here: blah blah Tiny Houses

It's my writing below:

I think what makes tiny living possible is MacBooks and iPads (or their equivalents). And cellphones and internet.

The reason our kids didn't fit better into the house we had before (where Marty is now) with its 1200+slightly more sq ft is because before they were born, Keith and I already had lots of music, books, projects.

Picture a 1990's computer and printer and telephone in a tiny house. And a VCR and some tapes and a 1990's TV. Where y'gonna sleep?

Camera, photos, albums, negative storage?

But these days my projects are on my website and blogs. Photos don't take space. Music is on the phone and the computer. Even letters from relatives aren't taking space.

So a tiny house can work beause people can read, watch movies, take photos, do research, communicate with relatives without owning books, magazines, videos or DVDs, photo-storage boxes/books/binders, dictionaries or other reference books, stationery, pens and stamps.

But what about sewing and woodworking? Keith and I still need a big house.

I keep my computer's back-up drive in an old VCR rental box, wrapped in a green linen napkin. There's some artsy/practical mixing of eras. smile emoticon I stick it on the shelf like a book, in my office, and it's safe to throw into a suitcase.

I've had a computer broken and one stolen when I was out of the country, so I keep the backup current, and never keep it in the same bag as the computer.

Oh, and when I visited India, in the Phoenix airport on the way home, the computer started dying. The next day it was gone. I did lose some notes, names and addresses, but I had been backing up the photos. So back up your computer whether your house is tiny or huge.

With a hot knife, I took out the post that held the video tape in place.

We live near where there was a large video rental store, and used to find boxes in the dumpster. I've used them to ship Thinking Sticks and other small things in the mail, and am nearly out of them now. I should have picked up hundreds of them; they're so strong and solid.

Where, in a tiny house, would one store valuable dumpster-diving finds?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hearthstone Magnet Frame

This isn't news, but for the record, to keep this in a cool place.... Once upon a time Kirby lived in Austin and had a photo of his parents, and a magnet that made a frame. So for a while, we were (on Kirby's fridge only) a Hearthstone card. He, Destiny and Devyn moved to Albuquerque in early 2015, and things were rearranged.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New car

I'll want to know when we bought this car, so I'm bringing notes here for future-me.

Most of it happened Monday, but I didn't say much to anyone at all. I wanted a done deal and a photo before announcing it.

Here's what I posted on Facebook:
Extra key:

Extra car:

The size of a tumbleweed (and a bit more):

Here's what was on the Korean Drama discussion:
I sat in the driver's seat of a Hyundai Genesis sedan the other day, and looked all around and thought... Wow. I didn't want to own it, just to be in it and think about seeing them in dramas. :-)

It was very comfortable, and there seemed to be every automotive accessory and engineering improvement known to man in there. Beautifully arrayed. Solid.

I've had a crush on those little Fiats since they came to town, and Monday Keith took me to see them. We had been once very early, two years ago, to look without salesmen. Yesterday a nice young salesman showed us several models. The big ones were too big—nearly as long as my min-van, so what's the advantage!? The small ones were too small. The sporty one had a seat that only adjusted oddly, by tilting. Keith needs the seat leaned way back because he's over 6'1" and I need it to be nearly straight up to support my back. Some of their models won't do that.
But there were other things I didn't like, too. My crush dissipated. It was infatuation, not love.
So we went to Car Max. I sat in one Fiat I DID like—and was thinking about it. Then I sat in a Smart Car, there, and had a new crush. It was sold, though.
And I sat in that Hyundai, and had a dramatic Korean moment. :-)

Then we went to the Smart car dealer, with me thinking I would order one and let it take its time, but had it not been a banks-closed day (Presidents Day), we would've had one right then, Monday. So we had it Tuesday morning.

Sorry it's not about the dramas, but there's a tie-in.

I'm posting this Friday; we got the car Tuesday February 16.
Today I was feeling uncomfortble about having gotten a car when my van just got new keys (because of a recall), and it's running well. Twice in the past few weeks we've needed an extra car because one was in the shop (Keith's, and then Holly's, and they won't be the last), so though I thought we could really use an extra car, now they're all here.

Keith reminded me that the van is nearly to 100,000 miles. I looked: 99,730. So 270 miles to go. The smart car has 200 miles on it, and had 101 when we got it. Keith helped me feel better.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

City on the Edge podcast

On February 3 (2016) I was interviewed by Mike Smith and Ty Bannerman, for their City on the Edge podcast, which is fairly new. I'm episode #8! It was a realy fun conversation. It's out, but I haven't listened yet, as I write this. I heard the end of it.

It was put up today! Please listen. :-)

But here's where I want to put clarifying notes here, as I listen. I have one already—I didn't lose sleep over it, but I was sorry to have said something unfair.

Mo's my next door neighbor, I said, and it sounded like is, but it was a "was." She moved in next to us on Princess Jeanne, when my kids were little and she had her grown son and daughter, and two granddaughters my kids' age living with her. Currently she's Marty and Ashlee's next door neighbor. We've always stayed in touch, and I hope Mike and Ty will have us as guests on a podcast together someday. I love Mo's stories.

The room I grew up in Española had "just two steps down," I said. I didn't say that one was about 12" down, onto concrete, and then there was a 10" step or so. That top "step" was a hinged storage box, sort of. It was like a climb or a jump down.

And it was The Chelsea NEWS, not "Times." I should've had more notes with me. :-)

I said that James Daniel had been in a band, but I meant to say it was called Perfect Vision.

The links I said I would send are all in another blogpost of mine here—to the articles from January 11 and 12: [and links to some of the publications from 2009 when Letters of Note printed the letter are here: Bowie Letter]

I don't think my dad said "fire-proof paint." He probably said "heat-proof paint." The company was called M.I.C.A., Mineral Industrial Commodities of America, and the plant was in east of the highway, south of the businesses in Pojoaque, up against the sandhills, on Pueblo land, so at school each year when they checked how schools would be funded, one of the questions was whether a child lived on Indian land, or if the parents worked there. So my dad working there must have gotten some federal funding for the Española Public Schools.

Near the end there, I said that my friend's parents didn't want her to date Indians. That was never stated, and I shouldn't have said it. They didn't want her to date ANYbody. Another neighbor who lived between our houses, though, had specifically been forbidden to continue a relationship with a boyfriend from one of the pueblos, for that reason. He was in the same band as one of my boyfriends. [Yes, it IS a small world!!]

In Española, in those days, there were some Hispanic families (older local families who had or had had money, it seemed to me—"good families) whose prejudice against the local Indians was longstanding, inherited, not personal. Anglo families didn't have that. For whatever reason(s), I was allowed to hang out and socialize with any of the kids, and I often had a car, and time...


That ending was added later, elsewhere. I did not get a taco on a warm night, but I got to to Mike's house on a freezing night, and have a ton of fun.

[More notes might come.]

I did NOT end up telling two first impressions of Albuquerque. I told one, and then got to two concerts I went to. :=) Sorry, guys! But I can tell, next time, maybe, my early memories of the NEW Theatre at Winrock, and of the zoo, when there was only one modern enclosure. If there's another chance, I will tell more first impressions. OH! The businesses that were advertised on TV. And Keith says to mention the airplanes. I'll leave this here for notes for myself for next time.

And the part that I couldn't remember was the two incidents that gave me courage to read the letter aloud.
1. The letter had been read aloud by someone else at an event in London
2. I wrote the foreword to ta book and it was made an audio book, read by a man. I had passages of my writing read aloud by women, or quotes, but hearing it in a male voice was different. And there was one difficult phrase that he understood and read the way I would have.
That's "the best thing I was ever going to say." If I find the article about the London reading, I'll bring dates and the name of the reader. He's famous, but I didn't know who it was.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

"The Best Thing You've Done"

This was a writing prompt I responded to, on Live Journal, July 2008. It's still true in 2016.

Q: If you were to die now, at this moment, what would you think of as the best thing you've ever done in your life?

Sandra: Helped people think more clearly and to see their possibilities.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

My name, in a list

Sometimes I come across my name in a list of names. It's fun.

Looking for the re-print date of one of my articles in Pathways to Family Wellness, I found this, instead, by Dr. Peter Grey:
Of course, I am far from the first to cry out that the Emperor is naked on the issue of schooling. Indeed, many have been saying this longer than I, including such pioneering thinkers as A.S. Neill, John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, Sandra Dodd and Daniel Greenberg. We need all such voices, and we need them to be heard. So, here goes… - See more at: "Schoolhouse Rocked"

This is nice beause I came first, and because that magazine is no longer around, so the page will be gone soon.:
The Homeschooler

This national magazine is published quarterly by the Homeschool Association of California (HSC).

The Homeschooler is filled with helpful articles and resources for homeschoolers. It includes regular columns by prominent homeschooling writers such as Sandra Dodd, Wes Beach, Michelle Barone and others... *

These are fun because I found them by accident, and I feel a little thrill, and that's all. :-) I've brought them here to look at again, someday.

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie's passing

I added to this gradually through Monday and Tuesday. It's not so much about David Bowie's passing as about people's responses to me on on those two days.


I wake up at 6:30 these days, to take Devyn to school. My phone is my alarm clock, so with that in hand I saw that I had a message from Kirby that started Sad times, figured you should see it here before...

I was blurry-eyed and wanted to come to the computer so I could read better, and respond.

The first thing I saw was someone having posted "Just learned that Sandra was officially Bowie's first US fan heart emoticon Still shocked at the thought of him gone."

Kirby's full message was
"Sad times, figured you should see it here before some less tasteful page announces the news:"
It linked to a BBC news announcement.

Fifteen minutes later, Melissa Chan called me from TIME magazine and spoke with me for quite a long time. Then we had an e-mail exchange. They already had an article up, and it hadn't been updated with anything from me when I looked at 7:45.

Melissa wrote a separate piece after she spoke with me. Most of it, especially at the beginning, is exactly what I said. Later it gets a little muddly. David Bowie’s ‘First American Fan’ Looks Back on Singer’s Touching Letter
The title of the article is lame (David Bowie’s Letter to 14-Year-Old Fan Resurfaces After Singer’s Death), and it wasn't a gift from my uncle. It was a reject from the station for being rock'n'roll and not country. My uncle used to give my cousin, Debbie, all the rock albums. Debbie went through a pile and took what she wanted, and brought the rest to give to Nada, when she stayed with us that summer of 1967. Nada went through the pile, took what she wanted, and gave me the rest. So it was rejected three times before I got it.

The letter didn't "resurface," as it was never lost.

Helen Whitehouse of the Daily Star corresponded with me by messenger, asking interesting questions, and will have something on their website at 9:00 UK time (2:00 pm here).

Janine Davies:

This interview of Sandra for the Daily Star yesterday is really lovely.

Two young people connecting so sweetly, and then both going on to inspire so many in their different fields.

It took the edge off yesterday a bit to read and share this wonderful story.

Stephanie Beth Currier:
Very sweet story of letter exchange between Bowie and a then young girl whose own life and writing would inspire many to take off-road adventures.

Except for a couple of times when I sound more British than I could ever be, I think it's wonderfully well done.

Kirby sent me a great comment:
Actor Simon Pegg wrote on Instagram: "If you're sad today, just remember the world is over 4 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie."
I put this on my facebook page:
September 15, 1967, The Chelsea News published and interview and an article about David Bowie. I know, because he sent me the newspaper. The end of it says this:

I might transcribe that whole interview and article, from that paper, when I get a chance. The scans aren't easy to read.

An unschooling mom wrote:
Thought of you this morning when I learned of David Bowie's passing.

I think of you often- at least from time to time- usually it's some nugget of wisdom that has changed the way we 'family'... blessed & changed the way i parent: i am a more fun, more thoughtful, more responsible mama thanks to the ways your work has touched my life... hmmn.

ANYway... funny how the mind works & what brings someone to mind. This morning I think of you. And Mr. Bowie. With heartfelt thanks & much Honor to you both for the contributions you have made to my life. To so many lives. Thanks Both.
I wish you peace.
Another wrote:
Like many today, I've shared your "letter of note" from David Bowie. Thank you for sharing your letter with the world. It's an incredible glimpse that only you could give us. I'm so glad you saved it.
Part of a longer discussion:
It seems obvious to me, now, that you would write his first American fan letter and he would respond in length and with much cleverness, to you. Two originals brought together through music. Very apropos.
Some of what I'm going to add here I will have cut and pasted from comments on facebook or messages, so I don't have to write it again.

Although one article says so, the letter did NOT make me "the envy of my friends" because they had never heard of David Bowie. I told a TIME magazine reporter this morning something I hadn't thought of so clearly before. I had the opportunity to listen to that album without any prior knowledge of him. Few others in the world, ever, had that chance.

Someone linked me in a post with a video interview from 1979 in which he told the reporter he had liked New Mexico. I wrote
When he was filming The Man who Fell to Earth in Madrid, New Mexico, a friend of mine said "Isn't that they guy who wrote to you?"

Yes, I said. The friend was really pressing me to GO there to the film site and introduce myself. I said no. I had no interest.

Others have asked since, but I had already written what I had wanted to say to him. I wasn't being giddy fan-girl. I had been impressed by his songs, and by his writing, and I had already communicated that and he had been generous to share that packet of stuff with me. I didn't want to invade his privacy, and film sets don't let just anyone on. The friend said "Take the letter, and they'll let you in."

Really, I didn't want to do that.

But I'm glad to hear he liked New Mexico, because I think it's the first part of the U.S. he saw, making that film
There was another time, when the letter was published in Letters of Note, that someone from New York City contacted me insistently, that I should meet up with David Bowie and if I wanted to, he could arrange it. I politely declined. He was insistent, nearly to the point of being insulting. I said I had no interest in invading anyone's privacy. Probably this agent-of-meeting guy was hoping for the excuse to meet David Bowie himself. I didn't want to assist anyone else to bother him, either.

People should give what they want to give, and not be harrassed or bothered beyond that. He gave us music, movies, lots of interviews. He sent me a letter, a newspaper, and photos. I shared them freely with others years ago (thanks to scanners and the internet), and you can see them here:

Second half of the day, waiting to be interviewed for KOAT TV. Lida Alikhani called, late morning, and will come here.
Later note: Lida was sweet and efficient. She was her own sound and film crew. Here is a longer, nicer version than appeared on the news, with text and video, and a link to the letter on my site. Read David Bowie’s sweet reply to a 1967 New Mexican fan letter

One of my kids' friends posted this on facebook (click it to go to the page she linked):

Got a call from Meredith Dunkel with a request for a radio interview tomorrow/Tuesday morning on 99.5 Magic FM (Albuquerque). Meredith says she'll try to send me a copy, and it's okay for me to put it on my site if so.

My sister linked this Huffington Post article on facebook. I especially love the title: David Bowie's Response To First US Fan Mail Shows How Truly Humble He Was

Another unschooling mom statement (and a good one for sure):
That is so freaking cool! Who could have known how big of a star he'd go on to become but she liked him then for who he was then.
And something more serious:
Sandra Dodd has had a profound and hugely positive impact on my life, especially when I experienced my first wobbly steps into the world of homeschooling, and more importantly, Unschooling. And once again she humbly shows how she is a woman far ahead of her time. As I said, you never cease to amaze me!

Continued on Tuesday:

I didn't keep the names with these quotes, because I didn't have time on Monday to ask anyone for permission (nor to eat).

Another unschooling mom wrote:
How fitting that Sandra Dodd was David Bowie's first American fan; no one could have known it at the time, but this is a letter from one groundbreaking pioneer to another.
This morning I drove do KOB's studio to do an interview for NBC London, but it will be on in Albuquerque tonight, and I don't know where all else where NBC stories are shared.
Here's what was on in Albuquerque: New Mexico woman shares letter from David Bowie

I have a request to participate in a podcast on New Mexico doings, in a couple of weeks.

Alex Polikowsky wrote:
I like what my friend wrote on my page (she has met Sandra): "It's such a sweet exchange between 2 young people with a love of words and music before they both became "famous" in their respective fields. They both went on to inspire many people.❤" Christine Snyder Hall
I really like it, too, and this from Alicia Knight:
Very exciting! How cool something you did as a teen would have reverberations today.
Commenting on a 2010 article that made the rounds again (my own comments, left elsewhere yesterday):
That article is a bit irritating. Why would I be "the envy of my friends"? He was totally unknown. Both my cousins had rejected the album, from a pile of demos from my uncles C&W station.

And the letter had been out, in photocopies in the 70's, and on my webpage from 2001. So "unearthed" is a little dramatic. :-)

BUT... Letters of Note had found it on my site, when the blog was new, and the day after he put that up, my site which usually got 1,500 hits a day, give or take, got 90,000. So it wasn't "unearthed" but it was spread around! smile emoticon

I was just interviewed, and they said that I was kind of famous now. I said I thought the letter was famous. :-)
Joyce Fetteroll wrote (I have the note in that collection now) that now my letter had fans.
I think I will end this narrative on Tuesday night. It has been a part of the celebration of the life of David Bowie—a focus on one incident in his youthful pre-fame. I'm happy to have received, and saved, that beautiful letter.

Susan Gaissert wrote something beautiful, and I accept it gratefully:
This is my friend Sandra. She wrote David Bowie his first American fan letter when she was 14 and he was 20. Because she is smart and thoughtful and always knows what's important, she saved that letter and shared it through the years, so that now, in our sadness, we all can read it and see what a gentle, sweet young man David Bowie was.
[and then she shared the NBC story]