Sunday, July 11, 2021

A busier week

Lately, covid restrictions have been lifted, most places, in New Mexico, and little Kirby turned three (July 3), Marty had a 4th of July party, Ivan got three stitches (July 9), and Holly asked me to preserve this gif from just before covid came to town (January 2020; she was at a wedding).

Keith turned 65 while camping out with his friend Needham, and a bobcat or something foot-printed the tarp he was sleeping behind.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Retirement, spiritual retreat, cocooning...

I'm saving this in a more public place, because it won't be available to everyone when that group is archived. I've added names, and corrected typos.

If you were a member of Unschooling Discussion 2021, you will still be able to see it there, where links make images and you can see the responses. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2021readtherules, May 23

Sandra Dodd, May 23, 5:23 pm

My #2 son [Marty] just posted this:
My 3yo son called The Batmobile his "Spider-Man car" and I let it slide.
#growth #chivalry #pickyourbattles #namaste
The hashtags are the best part.
My #1 son [Kirby] will turning 35 this summer. When he was four, about to be five, we decided to unschool. Here Is his middle of three, at my house, just a bit ago, and there are other photos on my page, today, if you click my name.

I'm tired now. I wrote a long post explaining my plans, and lost it. That makes me even more tired. πŸ™‚

I'll leave the part about grown kids and grandkids, for now.
Sandra Dodd, May 23, 2021, 5:38
I'm grateful to every person who has ever helped with any group, by being a moderator or admin, or a regular poster, or a quiet person who writes and points out a bad link or typo. It takes a lot of people to make a group strong and good. Anyone here who isn't already a member of this group might want to go and join:
Radical Unschooling Q & A

This group (Unschooling Discussion 2021) won't last until the end of 2021. I'm going to close up at the end of May. There will still be resources, though! This group will be archived, so you'll still be able to come in and see what you wrote, but non-members won't find it or see it. Another week, and I would like to rest more, and feel less obligated to strangers.

Sandra Dodd, May 23, 5:43
Those who don't own my books should consider getting them. The Information Is solid, and books are more substantial and long-lasting than any collections of pixels.

Many online meeting places, where people shared stories and ideas, are just gone. I will continue to spend time cleaning up and improving my website, but it could still disappear someday against anyone's wishes, because it is code on machines, and so is fragile.

Moving a Puddle
and other essays

NEW EDITION of
The Big Book of Unschooling

Sandra Dodd, May 23, 5:49
I will keep Always Learning available, because some of the best unschooling writings anywhere, ever, are in there. My website has hundreds of links to longer writings, there.

If you join that group, you can read archives, or post questions, and see responses either at the site or by e-mail.

It is NOT the newest technology, but it's also 20 years old, nearly (later this year).

https://groups.io/g/AlwaysLearning

12,904 Topics, Last Post: May 13
The most recent post is #78,747 and there is VERY little fluff or nonsense.

Sandra Dodd, May 23, 6:13
I will post nearly every day, until that fades to most days. Lots of days. There are 3800 posts there today, and I hope to get to 4000 before I lose steam.

https://justaddlightandstir.blogspot.com/

The SUMMARY

I can't think of the best way to state my plan. I want to...

—retire, but not completely;
—retreat from daily life into the figurative mountains, but still have the internet;
—cocoon myself;
—hibernate a while.
I won't stop everything, but I will be less directly accessible. Perhaps later this year I will set up something for announcements, good bits, and maybe to answer questions if there are any new and original questions that come along. πŸ™‚ (And maybe not. πŸ€—)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Large-scale world problems

Marty joked today on facebook that they should not remind people of the things from one year ago. I got a good one, though, that I want to save.

Sandra Dodd, May 20, 2020
Shared with Public

I didn't write this. It's going around. I will say that my grandparents were all born around 1900. I will comment at the bottom.
______________________________

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million. When you're 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. When you're 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills six million. At 52, the Korean War starts and five million perish. At 64 the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn’t end for many years. Four million people die in that conflict. Approaching your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could well have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening. As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? A kid in 1985 didn’t think their 85 year old grandparent understood how hard school was. Yet those grandparents (and now great grandparents) survived through everything listed above.

Perspective is an amazing art. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this. In the history of the world, there has never been a storm that lasted. This too, shall pass. Copied from another post. Feel free to share (I did ).

______End of that quote_____________

I've had these thoughts a lot, though. As a baby boomer, I missed the worst of the 20th century, but I lived with and around people who were still scarred by it, fearful, or in mourning.

I was lucky to know all of my grandparents.

The first to die went around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis (Lynn Adams). During Vietnam War protests, my mom's mom (Annie Mae Hathcock). When inflation was irritating even younger people, in the 1970s, my grandfather was living with my cousin, Nada, in El Guique (Vester Hathcock), and the fourth of them, Gladys Adams, died in 1989, when George Bush Senior was president and most things were stable and calm.

The odds were small, of someone living through all those listed wars, the dust bowl (these folks all lived mostly in NW Texas and some for a while in southern New Mexico), rheumatic fever (my mom's little fingers were both crippled early; it didn't show much), scarlet fever (one of their sons died as a teen, of that), polio (one of their sons, a light case)... There were stillborn children on one side, and a baby who died on day 1 on the other.


I will repeat this, from the lifted, borrowed writing above:

Perspective is an amazing art. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this.
Some people's sons are on military assignments even now. If yours are not, be sensitive, and try to be grateful.

______________________________ end of 2020 writing ____________________

A year has passed. Not an easy year, but no one in our family died of Covid. Our friend Kate Holford (Marie Heuser) died 14 months ago, and her funeral will be in a few days, in Denver, because finally people are allowed to gather for such things, to some extent.

Because Keith and I got Covid vaccines, Marty and Ashlee felt safe enough to bring Ivan and Wynona to our house, in late April. I had seen Wynona twice before, in person, not up so close, though. She can walk, and Ivan's talking lots. I missed a year of their lives, but Facebook shed light on things, and Ashlee had Wynona Monday posts; those were great.

It has been a very difficult year, and the problems continue. Even without death, there's trauma. Friendships and families have broken over issues related to covid. Some people used to sanitize their groceries before bringing them into the house. People were afraid of mail order a year ago. Now there are other things that seem safe, or dangerous, and will be found not to be so much, in a year, or five, or twenty.

People are pretending to know everything, and making declarations with bravado, but looking back at problems in my youth, and in the decades before I was born, I know that much of what is claimed now will be disclaimed later.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Teachers

May 5, 2020, this was posted on facebook. I was tagged. I'll share my responses.


There's only a couple of teachers that I can say influenced me in a good way. My 7th grade English teacher Sandra Dodd was an amazing teacher. Mr. Albert Fernandez wasn't my teacher but he was a teacher at my school and he was also amazing. Thank you both for giving me confidence 😊😊
That was written by she-who-was Tracey Perraglio. That's for identification without outing her by her current name. Hometown friends will know; that's fine.

I wrote:
Thank you. πŸ™‚
It was so long ago, and it's nice to hear there are good memories and that confidence was part of the effect! GOOD!

I was Sandra Gill then, probably, or Adams (part of my first year). I have lots of fond memories of those days, too.

I learned a lot, teaching.

I learned a lot teaching where I went to school, and having former teachers as co-workers! πŸ™‚
She responded:
You went by Gill back then. You were a great teacher and always had a smile and encouraged us πŸ™‚ You did good πŸ™‚
Mine:
I'll name some of my own favorites.

Sally Gonzales (4th, and I helped in her classroom a time or two a week, one year when I was in high school, as a "future teachers" project. I kept up with her after I left school, up until my own daughter was 9 years old, and Holly and I visited her for a few hours at a restaurant and then her house.)

R.A. Martinez (8th and 9th grade English; actually 9th grade twice—long story, but most of what I know about punctuation and word choices came from him and from Sally Gonzales, and that's some of what I passed on, with their voices in my head, when I taught English.)

Robert Felix (band grades 5-9, choir 7-8)

Sam Jamison (choir in high school; I made all-state once)

Jacquie Littlejohn (English in high school)

That is the order I met them, AND the order of their value to my life. They treated me like a person, more than "just a kid." When they knew that I really wanted to learn, they shared what they had, and what they loved. They all gave me information and ideas above and beyond what they "had to" do.

Others I remember warmly for one reason or another:
Mr. Cipriano Trujillo (6th grade)
Mrs. Bency (I don't even know her given name πŸ™‚, 2nd)
Miss Tomlinson (1st)
Mr. Lujan (French, two years, and sponsored a class they let me design, on current events, one six-week session)


That's the end of what was written in 2020. Now I'm off on my own, 5/5/21:

The class Mr. Lujan sponsored but didn't teach was "History '69." Each student gave a presentation on something from current events, and led a discussion. That year, the electives were switched every six weeks, and I LOVED that year for that! I wish they had kept it, but the scheduling must've been difficult.

From Sam Jamison (my choir teacher), during that experiment in lots-of-little-electives, I took a humanities class. He was the first to help me see that everything is connected—science, art, technology, communications... That has been the way my mind has worked since then, and I'm grateful for having had that opening at the age of fifteen.

I don't remember the other four I took.

Miss Bency provided the ivy, and I still have some, thanks to a string of relatives passing it on, and eventually back. Now my daughter, Holly, is the main caretaker. I'm down to one plant here, and for many years I had none.

Miss Bency is here, and most of my 2nd grade class. Click it to enlarge.

I'm the first on the bottom row. My mom always managed to do something bizarre with my hair for photo day.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

The Return of Sandra (perhaps)

I used to LOVE this blog, when people used to read it, before everyday news moved to facebook.

I think I'll start using it again. I keep wanting to write something, or keep something, and can't decide where. All around me, over the years, online platforms change or are abandoned. Someday this will go, too. I don't like that. 🙂

Nearly every day, now, I think of something I was to write and can't decide where best to put it, so perhaps I will restore this old truck.

Some of the photos seem missing. They've been moved, and I'll need to change the URLs, one at a time, but that's okay.

Some slide-shows that were easily made with photobucket lived on that site, and the code was abbreviated, so... gone is gone, on those.

Memory, not new, but the topic came up a few times recently.


We had SCA visitors once (date to be added, maybe, someday) and drove them touristing. One of them (Patrick/Padreigh (?)) posted this photo on Facebook in 2020, and I snagged it. There's me in the driver's seat, and if you can zoom in, there's Holly in a car seat and Kirby standing up. The visitors from Tennessee were out to take pictures of something, and our van was part of the something. Cool!!

February 1999, big van (15 passenger '83 Ford) went into the shop for the last time; didn't survive a $1200 repair, too much engine damage
Odd, to pay a bunch of money and have the van pretty much die on the operating table. We had it towed back and Holly used it as a playhouse for a few years. She decorated it hippie-bus style and used to listen to Alice's Restaurant out there.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Keith, me, arguments, peace

I wrote this on facebook in 2018, and I would like for my kids to be able to find it someday. Others might benefit, too.

February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day report
Young love was fun. Longterm love is different—different things are fun. Familiarity. Having a good woodpile. Memories. Projects. Grandchildren.

Our friend AndrΓ© Begnaud commented, "Hair color may change, but those smiles are still the same!" I responded:
We're not always smiling. Some disclosure: Sometimes we start to recite one of our repeat arguments, but we remember it's a re-run, and jump to the end, or trail off. They're about feeding cats (how to), or putting tools up (one of us is too short sometimes, and figures "on the bench" is close enough), how to do laundry (mostly we do our own now, and it pisses me off that his isn't totally ruined for his not following my instructions).

I guess the trick is to know it's about cats, tools, and laundry, and not about the soul of the other person.
Keith and I have been married since 1984, and were a couple for six years before that. It averages out to 40 years, these days. This year, our youngest child turns 30; the oldest will be 35.

Most mornings, we play three games of Dr. Mario. We're evenly matched, and if one of us wins all three, the other is probably unwell somehow. We've joked that it's our Alzheimer's test, but it can be an indicator of smaller problems, too.
"Are you okay?"
"I didn't sleep well," or "I was thinking about..." and then we can help each other.

Most evenings, we play two games of Five Crowns. I do all the shuffling and dealing. That started when Keith was recovering from 13 broken ribs and a broken sternum, after his life was saved in early 2019, and he was revived from cardiac arrest, by SCA friends, and then firemen, and then ICU doctors, all three in one day. So I shuffled and dealt when it was uncomfortable for him, and now I just do it because I do. Keith keeps score. It's a time we can talk, if we need to, and joke if we don't need to talk.
The photo above was taken by Rachael Rodgers, in November 2016. She took this one and several others that day:
That photo predates the births of Ivan, Kirby Athena, Tommy and Wynona. I looked better in the other takes, of that arrangement, but others looked beautiful and happy in this one.

Moments pass. Try to keep the peace.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 in Review, Christmas-letter style

I have links to the Christmas letter. I sent out lots, thinking partly that it might be my last chance. 2020 was like that.

This is being written afterwards, but I'm backdating it so 2020 has more than one post.



2020 Christmas (if you'd rather go to the website version right away)

2020 Christmas
Sandra Dodd

(You could skip to the good part about how this whole Christmas card is a picture of the basket.)

BUSINESS:

Please don’t feel bad if you didn’t send me a card. Don’t. It’s stressful. Let it go. Maybe send me a text or e-mail, or you could click “like” on some facebook thing. That’s plenty.

PERSONAL:

I made this letter from me, because Keith didn’t want to tell people he had another “cardiac episode,” but because it’s my story, I will tell you that we learned this much, on August 9: an implanted defibrillator can wake a guy up and put him back on schedule, heartbeatwise. Keith is well, swimming, splitting wood, playing music (more info at the link below).

Grandchildren review/news (all are well, as are their parents):

Devyn (2009)
Ivan (2017)
Kirby Athena (2018)
Tommy Kore Lynn (2019)
Wynona/Wynnie (2020)
I am informed that this is to be the full set, forever, including by Holly, who has recently moved into her own home, much nearer to the artsy vegetable farm where she works. I’m happy that all of our kids and kid-in-laws are employed, all from home except for Holly.

THE GOOD PART:

The card is a picture of a basket. Gerard David apparently owned a basket, five hundred years ago, and worked it into at least three paintings. In this one it is clearly a diaper bag—rolls of swaddling cloths are showing.

TIME OUT: I've put this letter online with links and images, if you'd rather.
sandradodd.com/2020

A few years ago I read a book called Vermeer's Hat, by Timothy Brook. It’s about connections among people and places, and how the Dutch East India company traded with China, which led to the blue-and-white ceramic magnet of a windmill that I (and many others) own. But in between those things were stories of ships and Spanish silver mined in South America, and how the travel and exchanges of goods were working. History and connections, technology and art.

Many of Vermeer’s paintings were made in the same room, with the same window, sometimes the same props, art, or map. Vermeer’s Hat is about his stuff. I enjoyed the whole story, and all the images.

So time passed, and I had one Gerard David image on my website. A few years later, I found a second one, out in the wild. Same basket. I got excited and did web searches for discussions of that, but I didn’t find anything. Cool!

This year I happened to see an SCA-related discussion of baskets somewhere, and there, right there, was the same basket. Another Gerard David! There was some artistic license in the color, but still…

As if that weren’t exciting enough, when I went to look for Christmas cards this year, what pops up but Gerard David and his basket.

Thanks to Julie and Adam, I got to see a Gerard David painting in London. No basket there. I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t Spanish, as I had first guessed. When I was a kid, the two male neighbors closest to my age were Gerard Vigil, to the southeast, and David Sanchez to the north, so the name was easy for me to remember. Gerard David was not Spanish, but Dutch, as was Vermeer. He lived in Italy a while, and ended up in Brugge until his death, all before Vermeer was born.

These connections are a reminder that even from home, we can explore the world, thanks to other people’s clues and unintentional gifts, and the wonders of the internet these days, with so many detailed photos.

I could be sad at home, or I can be happy. I have years of practice at conjuring and sharing happiness. Keith knows that sometimes I fail. I get scared, or have a bad dream, or feel sorry for myself, but I revive and recover and put out one more Just Add Light and Stir, where people can peek into moments in other families, viewpoints of other people, and sightings of birds or lizards on other continents, in other seasons. There are words and ideas people can take in for a moment, or an hour, or to keep. Then I feel better.

I hope next year is easier and sweeter for all of us. If it is, your memories of an expansive world should allow you to jump on and ride it.

Best wishes for peace and health!



If you got this far without going to the letter with images and links, here are previews (which are links, too).