Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Image Contest Entries

The page linked below contains some, probably most, and possibly all of the entries for the Image Contest announced here. I do not know what I was thinking when I said I would have them gathered and displayed by July 26th. We had a big party planned here that day, and then there was clean-up and recovery. So I'm sorry to be late with this.

PLEASE, anyone who knows anything about this, check the page and see if I've left any out, misspelled any names, under-credited any contributors, etc. A couple of them I found on my own, and so I assume there are others undiscovered out there on blogs, perhaps.

2008 Image Contest
DRAFT SET, maybe not all, maybe not all perfectly right.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Umbrellas and Eggs

This little video is from July 26, when we were getting ready for Kirby's birthday party. The voices in the background are Kirby and Marty. Those near are Holly and me. I show for a bit.

About those eggs... People have asked me how I can get all my boiled eggs peeled so well. Reject "peeled" and think "shelled." First I crack both ends (I do it inside the rounded upper corner of the sink). Then I crack the sides lightly. I put them in the cool water in the pan and after they're all cracked, I roll or kinda knead lightly each one, turning it, and soon the shell just comes loose with the whole membrane still on the shell. It makes really pretty boiled eggs. We were doing deviled eggs that day, but sometimes I do pickled eggs with beets, onion, sugar and cloves (and vinegar, y'know...) and garlic cloves—they turn pink too!

I'll put some photos from Kirby's party before long, but he's leaving in a few hours. Holly's going with him for three days. She took these photos of Kirby, Marty and Brett (who is their friend and also her boyfriend) playing Rock Band just a few minutes ago:

They're still playing, right up above me. I'm so glad to have Kirby home, and to have Kirby and Marty and Holly all in the same room at once. Kirby and I went out and about this morning for a while, and he told me he almost wants to stay, but he knows it's just that when he comes back home he gets the best of everyone, and he's a celebrity while he's here (this is his second visit back), and that it wouldn't last if he were back full time. He likes his job in Austin, but was just acknowledging that the draw of being here is strong. He won't be here long enough for anyone to forget to invite him somewhere or to be grumpy that he did or didn't do something or other.

I have loved having him here.

Plant identification questions

This blog worked really well for me when I didn't know what a flower in my yard was. That's here, and it was a storm lily or surprise lily (had other names too). Cool.

So I was reading on someone else's blog and found a mystery plant that hadn't yet been identified. I'm really curious too. Any botanists or trivialists here? is where the question was, and the plants are somewhere near Lake Tahoe, so Nevada, desert-NE California plants?

I have something in my yard, that came up in an unmarked (non-detailed) packet of flower seeds I got as a bonus freebie for ordering from some seed shop online. I've never seen these. It looks like a cartoon flower. There's a pink floweriness, and then yellow blossomy things stick way up out of it. When the front flower is out of focus, there will be one or more in the background. Anyone know what those are?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

art reminder, and I'll be away from the computer lots today There's a good art entry there, but go look because the text that goes with it is good.

I know there are other Learn Nothing Day follow-ups out there I haven't yet collected, but we're having a big party here this afternoon and I'll be ignoring the online world for many hours running.

Thank you all very much for the huge, cool response to Learn Nothing Day. I had a whole lot of fun (and will continue to do so for several days, but today I'm off and running).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ramona's Birthday,Friday Fill-In

This morning I took my friend Ramona King to breakfast at 6:00 a.m. It's her birthday. We go to breakfast on the 25th every year, to celebrate both our birthdays. I like that. I wish I had taken a camera. She looked so pretty and had a beautiful dress on.

1. I believe whatever doesn't kill you kinda TRIED to kill you, and that's no good.

2. If you're good at something, don't feel guilty if you don't make it your "life's work." Do it for fun!

3. Why so inflexible? Breathe!

4. Something is out there, it's trying to kill you, but you don't have to make if your life's work. Breathe!

5. If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled Two Lives to Live.
Oh wait... that's what it would be if it were a soap opera. Sitcom...
The Dodd Couple. No.
Great Dodd Almighty. NOO, no no... No. Can't.
87110? (not very exciting...)
The Sandra Dodd Show.

6. Sitting on my back porch [if you don't have one, use your imagination] I see the best back yard I've ever had, my hot tub and Keith's old green Dodge truck.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to seeing who comes to visit Kirby, and continuing with party prep, tomorrow my plans include a twelve-hour birthday party for Kirby (22) and me (55) and Keith (thirty-and-a-Kirby) and Sunday, I want to relax and recuperate!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Learn Nothing Day!

The dog is Fergie.

Rather than make new posts, I'm just going to add to this as the day goes on.

The mail came, and just reading the cover of The Smithsonian magazine, I learned something. I put it down until tomorrow.
An mp3 player came from Hong Kong. The packaging and instructions are always interesting on those. I put it aside for Marty to look at later. It's for our Saturn, which has a tape stuck in the tape player and only radio besides that, but this will work in there and we won't have to buy a new car stereo.

The Estey Organ newsletter came, and I was reading through because I'm in correspondence with someone who wants to buy one and I don't want to sell mine. The museum they're working on in Vermont, where the organs were originally made, has several Junior Organs, they say (the kind I have). Maybe they'll sell one to this guy.

Back to trying not to learn now.

The Radical Unschoolers' Network is new, and fun. I knew how Holly had answered the three requisite questions, but today I saw Marty's:

what does "radical unschooling" mean to you?
    What does "Marty Dodd" mean to you?
how long have you been unschooling or homeschooling?
    since i stopped going to school
names and ages of children
    i don't know, i haven't met any of 'em yet

Holly was member #123 (good number) and she wrote:
what does "radical unschooling" mean to you?
    I don't report the news, I just make it.
how long have you been unschooling or homeschooling?
    Never really counted.
names and ages of children
    Keith is 52 and Sandra is 55 (7/08)

1:30-3:00 lunch with Kirby and Katie Gist, at Pars where Marty was working.
Loved the waiter, Julian. Talked to him about unschooling because we had our Learn Nothing Day shirts on. He bragged up Marty behind his back. I gave him some URLs and he gave me his e-mail. We checked before we left to see whether he was working Saturday; he isn't. I came home and e-mailed an invitation to the party Saturday.

That wasn't much learning. Good session for the day.

4:45 Keith called for a ride from work. Problem with motorcycle handlebars. Drove the 15 miles or however far to Honeywell. Keith drove back, and on the way we stopped and unloaded old computers and some stuff at Goodwill, with Kirby and Katie and I forgot to do.

5:30 or so Keith has bright idea to go back to Honeywell and fix his bike. I didn't take a book. It took an hour. The sun was beating down on rocks and parking lot. I walked around looking for volcanic river rocks in the bought-and-delivered rocks in the divider islands at the parking lot. Found 30 or so. Kept coming back to put them in a towel in the backseat of the car. I was feeling sorry for myself, and sorrier for Keith, but wasn't learning much.

7:00-7:30 or so, followed Keith home slowly. When we turned into our neighborhood his tailpipe fell off. We came home, he got other tools, I offered him a ride back, but he said he should walk off the frustration. No learning for me. I came to look for more blog posts on Learn Nothing Day and found some really good ones. Learned that learning doesn't stop. (No, I already knew that.) Learned that one poor child hates Learn Nothing Day. That made me sad. I never meant to make anyone unhappy.

Came in and Marty asked me how to spell "science" in French. I said the same, but prononced differently. He didn't like the answer; I said "Google language tools." They already had a translation page up. He was putting duct tape on the sides of his project, and writing "science" in Japanese and Russian on different sides.

8:00 more or less, helped Marty with his "Science Project." Learned he and Kirby spent $40 on Everclear and fruit juice to make punch for the party. They let me taste it with a straw and it tastes honestly very good. It's in a five gallon water cooler, and I helped clear out the back fridge enough to hold it. Put a deep pie pan under it just in case it leaks a bit.

Marty said that some states ban the sale of Everclear because it's basically moonshine, and too strong. He said it was banned in New Hampshire and California--six or seven states altogether. I did not know that. Learned something. DOH!

8:45 called Hotel Albuquerque to see what time they start serving breakfast. Tomorrow is Ramon King's birthday and we always go to breakfast early on her birthday to celebrate together. She lives a few hundred yards from the Hotel Albuquerque and they open at 6:00. Perfect. But I need to go to sleep pretty soon to be clever and charming that early. Keith wakes up at 5:00 a.m. anyway, but with the motorcycle compromised and the van in the shop since Tuesday, and Kirby in town, what will be driven by whom tomorrow has not been decided. I need a Ramona carriage about the time Keith goes to work is all I know.

Marty doesn't work tomorrow, so there's his vehicle. Kirby has a parade of friends through so there are some vehicles. We'll do okay.

Holly is off at a swimming party "with schoolkids." She wore and Brett wore their Learn Nothing Shirts the other day. Brett and Kirby are playing Halo. Marty was texting when I went in. I took a picture of them in their shirts, and Marty took a photo of me in mine.

ALL DAY I waited to see if anyone would notice and comment on my unschooling page being gone. If it was mentioned anywhere, I missed it. I'm going to restore it now and go to sleep, but if anyone wants to see what they missed, it's here:, but today it was

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Today and Tomorrow!

Holly did this. This image isn't the thing. This is a pale representation of the artwork. The original has gone with her dad to work today.

We're rearranging our house some and cleaning up for a party. A big light table from the '70's got moved, and I was telling Holly a little bit about it. It has a sliding straight-edge (ruler) and an outlet on the side to plug other things in. I didn't even get into discussions of hot waxers or anything. Later. Or never.

But I think it got Holly thinking about "real cut and paste." So she came into my office and got the original paper (well, the second one--the first was in pencil, and I traced on another page with a Sharpie), and cut the letters out with an Xacto knife and glued a piece of wrapping paper to the back. The paper has a map on it, and it's not the soft wrapping tissue that comes at Christmas, but the thin but stiff and crinkly kind of paper. Light shines through it easily, and it sounds neat when you move it.

Tomorrow is Learn Nothing Day! But bigger and better for me is today is Kirby Comes Home day. He'll be here until Monday, when he and Holly will go to Austin, and she'll come back next Friday. And Saturday, Kirby and I are having a shared birthday party here. And Tuesday he'll have some other sort of celebration, on his real birthday, in Austin and Holly will get to be there.

Kirby will be 22 and I'll be 55. That's a little bit like Frodo and Bilbo turning 33 and 111 on the same day. A little bit.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Vegetable" art for Learn Nothing Day

Caleb's is at right.

Below are links to an image still in progress. Each link has different commentary.

Anza Firetail at Deviant Art

Rue's blog, a post and then the comments on this one.

for those who missed the contest announcement, it's

Singing party

Chris Orrall invited a bunch of our old folksinging group from the 70's to a party in a house she rented just for the purpose. The food was great, the company was friendly and the music was good when we weren't spending more time talking. Very nice evening. Holly was there for a while and took most of these photos, without flash, to minimize distraction. So they have the advantages and disadvantages of flash-free photos.

Other photos, some too fuzzy, others interesting but a little fuzzy maybe.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Holly artsified my shoes

Wolkies were on sale half price bu they were down to odd colors. I can't wear pink, so I skekd Holly to brown them up some. Here are the beautifle resuls..

TRANSLATION A FEW HOURS LATER: "Wolkies were on sale half price but they were down to odd colors. I can't wear pink, so I asked Holly to brown them up some. Here are the beautiful results."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Not learning

Hard to prove whether this is a picture of someone not learning, or a picture of someone acting, or pretending not to learn.

This was sent by Flo Gascon and Camille Lavallee. Flo wrote "Looking forward to Learn Nothing Day—boy do we need a break! Attached is our entry." Her blog is here:

Sent by Mark, of Over the Green Moon (and I think the cat's name is Emily, maybe)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Images arriving

Not all of these are entries. By July 26 entries will be on display pages by categories. For now, we're just looking at all kinds of pictures.

"I'm nuts about Learn Nothing Day!"

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Contest!

Learn Nothing Day Photo/Image contest with four categories:

Animal, Mineral, Vegetable or Video

Each image submitted should include the Learn Nothing Day logo/art. If you buy a t-shirt or magnet or notebook or something, that could be in the photo. Time is running out, so order soon to get things by the 24th!)

Alternatively, the image in a variety of sizes may be lifted freely for use:
  • Animal: The photo/image should have at least one animal of some sort, and the logo.
  • Mineral: The mineral is... a mirror. Silicon as in glass. Or silicon as represented by a computer. Mirror or computer (not pottery or bricks or sand or rocks, though they can be there secondarily, of course, in any of the photos). And the logo.
  • Vegetable: Plant(s) and the logo. The photo can also have people, animals, whatever... but having a botanical element is the ticket.
  • Video: The logo in a video or animated gif or flash cartoon or something. An image that moves, and that I can put on a webpage.

Images can be profound, or funny, or artsy, or might show people not learning, or learning. Have fun with it.

There will be several-to-many judges, at least two of whom aren't unschoolers and won't know anyone involved.
My relatives are ineligible.
Entry equals agreement to let me put the image on a webpage with other Learn Nothing Day art and materials.
Entrants can be individuals or teams or families.
More than one category is fine.
More than one entry per category is fine.
Entries can be on blogs or other places first, during and after the contest. No problem. Send me an image or a link to the image. You'll still own it, but I want to be able to have them on display all year until next Learn Nothing Day (or indefinitely, if this is the last one ever).

Winners will receive a one-of-a-kind quite-personalized certificate, and a copy of Moving a Puddle or a set of Thinking Sticks. If the winner has all that stuff already, I'll send something else. I don't know what. Depends who wins.

There will be at least four winning entries, and maybe more.

Entries will be accepted anytime, now through July 26, with winners announced by the end of July.

I thought about writing and poetry, but that disturbed me with school-and-teacher feelings. Writing should be for fun and practicality. And so I do apologize for those of you who have been art students and might have school-and-teacher feelings wrapped up in imagery. Sorry about that.

Here end the rules and the disclaimers. You might think of some questions, and that could lead to more rules.
Y'know why it has rules? Because it's a game. Thanks for playing.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

cat, jeep, three days busy

Monday afternoon I took Flower, our oldest cat of three, to be put to sleep. I wanted Keith to go with me but he had a meeting. I had called and talked to Kirby about it the night before. Technically Flower is Kirby's cat. On another technicality, this is not our cat. Kirby's cat got lost twelve or thirteen years ago, following Keith/kids/dog on a walk in our old neighborhood. Jumped over a fence, got chased by a dog, jumped into another yard behind that, the street of which had no direct connection to our street, probably got found by someone who loved him, but we put an ad in the paper and...

We got a call on the lost cat ad. Keith and the kids went. I reminded them to offer a reward. A little boy had made a nice cardboard house and bed for the found cat, and would have loved to have kept it, but his parents said no, if the owners didn't find it it would need to go to the animal shelter. So Keith gave him $10 and thanked him profusely. The little boy had been very happy to have found our cat and to have $10. When they got back I said "That's not Simba," and Keith said "I know."

This new cat was a big pain and I've never really liked him and he's caused trouble and damage and messes and could never retract his claws well, so he would put them in my pants leg (meaning, often, in my own leg) to get attention and not be able to take them out.

I thought it would be no big deal, but the emotions that swirled around that kinda kicked my butt. Like a little whirlwind full of trash, I see bits and pieces but can't focus on any one thing. It has guilt and the passage of Kirby's youth, it has the waste of having worthless pets who do more damage than good, with an overlay of all the increasing city ordinances (most of which we ignored) about pets, and my wishes he would've just died and not cost us a hundred dollars, and twenty other vaguer feelings and factites.

When I started this post I thought I would write "Took the cat to be put to sleep, went with Marty to the Jeep place..." This outpouring surprises me too.

Keith took me out to eat. I had already come home and made more margarita than I usually drink and then kinda wished I had filled up the blender. It didn't help. I ate all the potatoes at Souper Salad--two salad bar potato salads, potato soup and a baked potato. It felt like potatoes could magically absolve me and cleanse my soul. It helped a little.

Since Marty has had the Jeep we've been getting it to an optimal point before the 15 days are up and the government-imposed warranty is up. We've been driving around and leaving jeep or parts-of-jeep here and there, going back later, and to this point it's
  • wiring installed for towing a trailer (dealer reimbursed us)
  • got a copy of the key:
  • electronic anti-theft bizness, had to go to Jeep to get the code and back to locksmith (I paid $52)
  • zipper on back window of softtop not working, left the top at Rader Awning for a new zipper ($150ish, Marty will pay)
  • window ding, spreading crack--rock hit him Sunday, crack growing about 2" a day
  • (insurance paid in full, $65ish)

It's all great for Marty, and I like spending time with him, and I learned to really stabilize my hair and not look down at the road out the open side. He has a full hard-top and doors, but as little girls strip their Barbies first thing, it seems boys strip their jeeps. And I was impressed at how well he could tell what needed to come off to remove which parts of the top to leave at the awning shop. All those years of transformers and Bionicles really showed.

All week there was the vague plan for me and Keith to go to dinner with an old friend who lives in northern California and we haven't seen for years. Keith knew him when they were very young, three or four. Then they were in the SCA together in the 1970's, and we were going to go out with him (and maybe his girlfriend, it was unclear) and two other couples we've also known since 1978 or so. The plan kept not coming together and then Marty and Holly asked us if we wanted to go with them and some others to see Hancock.

So we did.

And I realized somewhere in there that I would rather be with my kids than with my old friends who are childless. The friendships are still there, but for me to say no to my kids, even though they're all grown enough to drive to the movies and pay my way (Holly paid Keith's way; Keith paid for me and Marty, because we showed up last after picking up the Jeep from the auto-glass place)... I LIKE my kids. I want those times with them, while it's still possible to have them.

The time we spent with those other folks (the ones who seem not to have had dinner without us, anyway, so no loss) was when we were young and energetic and also childless. None of the others had children, and I know they would've asked us about our kids and we would've told glowing wonderful stories of a job in Texas, a new Jeep and a job at a Persian restaurant, a serious boyfriend and lots of photoshop artwork and a desire to work at a flower shop, and the response would've been dismissive or critical. Maybe not. Maybe it's the dead cat guilt talkin' in my swirly mind.

When my kids are grown and gone, will I still prefer friends who have children so they'll understand what's important to me? It's not that I don't enjoy hearing the news of my childless friends. It's cool! I just don't like their attitudes toward children and teens.