Friday, December 27, 2013

Keith's ice interest / hobby / habit

Two things could use explanation, maybe. We collect run-off water from the roof, for watering the yard. If the ice isn't taken out, but bucket or barrel will break or (if metal) stretch. So there's a practicality to taking it out. And I have a book called Moving a Puddle, which is what James Daniel was talking about. (An essay, and the book lifted the name, and it wasn't about ice: "Moving a Puddle.")

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ability and opportunity

Climbing the walls…

This image went around recently. If anyone knows the origin, ownership, or name of the climbing boy, I'll add them! I wanted to put it next to a photo of Holly years ago, and have a place to add others if there are others to add to this (so far very small) collection.

Amanda wrote: Hello! Here's a pic of my daughter, Katelynn, I would like to submit for your Climbing the walls page.

Kes Morgan-Davies, added November 2015:

Ethan James, added November 2015:

Harry Woodman:

Caitlin, added September 2018:
Annie Regan, the mom, wrote: "Caitlin would have been 8 in these photos (she's now 13). We have quite high ceilings so she's up above the doorway."

From Pushpa:

(also at Peace and joy and love)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Beautiful words about mothers' sons

Pre-note: I know someone is tweeting all these posts as "unschooling," but better blogs of mine to follow for unschooling inspiration are: Thinking Sticks—Playing with Ideas and Just Add Light and Stir

This blog is about me and y own thoughts and doings. Sometimes unschooling and my life intersect, but this blog isn't all about unschooling.

There are beautiful words found in various places, and I thought I would collect some here. This will be added to later, perhaps.

In Chichester Cathedral there is a corner for Naval-related memorials. One of them touched me especially. I hope I transcribe it correctly:
Sacred to the memory of Lieut. GEORGE PIGOT ALMS, of the Royal Navy, who was killed onboard the SUPERBE, in an action with the FRENCH Fleet in the EAST INDIES on the 13th of April, 1782, in the 16th Year of his Age. He was the eldest son of Captain JAMES ALMS, who commanded the MONMOUTH, with the most exemplary Bravery, in the same Engagement.

He lived the Pride and Hope of his Parents, the Delight and Admiration of his Frends, the rising Ornament of his Country, and fell GLORIOUSLY in the Discharge of the Duties of his Profession honored and lamented by all who knew him.

Impressed with the bitterest Affliction and at a time that her Husband was still fighting his Country's Battles in INDIA, his fond and disconsolate Mother has caused this monument to be erected.

My photo of the full plaque was fuzzy, because that corner of the cathedral is very dark, but here you can see someone else's photo, showing the ships:

The words to a modern Christmas song are also beautiful, and about a mother and son.
Did you know
That your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod
When you kiss your little baby,
You kiss the face of God
Oh Mary did you know

Full lyrics, commentary, and the video of a vocal performance are here:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Real vacation

Keith and I are home, safe, after a trip to Las Vegas, just the two of us. This was our first vacation that didn't involve relatives or friends. We stayed in THE Hotel (part of Mandalay Bay), and did these things:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Michael Jackson ONE (Cirque du Soleil)
Section 204 Row DD Seats 1 & 2
(Very good seats.)

Wednesday, November 27
Hoover Dam, power plant tour, 10:00 a.m.

Penn & Teller at Rio Las Vegas
9:00 show, Section 3AMP Row B Seats 6,7
(Front right, very near jazz duo playing before the show, close enough to notice the bass play was Penn Jilette—that was never announced or mentioned and he was facing the piano, not the audience.)

Thursday, November 28
Shark Reef , Mandalay Bay, 10:00 am

Sports display at Luxor

O by Cirque du Soleil
Bellagio 10:00 show Section 303, Row CC, Seats 1 and 2
(Those seats weren't good, nor could any very high seats be, because lights from behind the stage in several scenes were right in our eyes and we could only see if he held a finger between us and lights but then we couldn't see for having a hand in our way, so if you go to that one, get floor seats!!)

Some of the photos aren't art, but they'll remind me of something, so ignore what doesn't make sense. Several of them will end up in Just Add Light and Stir. (Two already have.) Some are of the drive there. We live in the desert ourselves, but it's different different places. Lots of beautiful sandstone that changes colors in different lights, and I always liked the scooped out erosion patterns.

My feet (ankle, knee) were really tired on Thursday afternoon and I ended up taking a nap. Those hotels are HUGE, and it's quite a hike to get across from our rooms to the shark reef, and then we went to the Luxor to see a Sports museum, and it's just a long way, with TOO Much noise, too many flashing lights, kind of exhausting in all kinds of ways.

We didn't gamble or drink any, though we considered both; the options were there.

Trees nobody planted

Trees on a sand dune in Duluth. The fence in the foreground is buried in sand. Lake Superior's over the hill.

This isn't a recent photo, but it was in an impermanent place and I wanted to save it here. I took this when Kelli Traaseth took me and Holly to Duluth in 2007. I liked the roundness, and later saw the other beautify in the photo.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Where I was when I heard Kennedy had been shot

Fifty years ago…

I was in fifth grade. We were playing outside, after lunch, under the honey locust trees that were in the southeast corner of the school. It was 5th-9th grades, in those days, at the "Hill" Jr. High in EspaƱola, New Mexico. First through fourth had just that year moved to the new elementary building up toward the hospital.

Our teacher was Mrs. Shilling, whose room was the first to the left (SE corner) of Beta, which was "the new building," just two or three years old then.

When the bell rang and we all lined up at the bottom of the stairs to go in, the teachers were talking, and didn't let us in right away. They were ignoring us, it seemed, and one of the younger women had clearly been crying.

I remember kids looking at each other with big eyes. Nothing like that had ever happened. We kept standing there, and they kept talking to each other quietly, and seriously, as though we weren't all still standing, lined up, waiting to be let into the building.

It was an overcast day, which is unusual for New Mexico, but it wasn't cold. The kids were all quiet, because something was wrong.

One of the teachers was called to the office by another adult, and the other teachers waited for her, there halfway up those concrete steps, and when she came back, there were more red eyes, and adults trying not to cry. They seemed scared, more than anything.

Then they let us into our classrooms. But the lights weren't turned on in our room. It was as dark as it could be in the daytime, kind of all pale and grey in there. I guess the teacher just didn't think about it, didn't notice.

Mrs. Shilling was older, and anglo, and so maybe Protestant. I never knew. She told us that President Kennedy had been shot, and that the busses were going to come and take us all home. She didn't know much more than that. There was just a little bit of talk, and I don't remember it. I think she read to us or gave us something kind of benign to do, because I remember it being quiet, but we started seeing busses pretty soon.

I think the Catholic teachers were the ones the most afraid, because I remember some of the kids had a less calm and calming announcement, from their teachers, which I found out on the bus, where the kids were all more talkative. We were ten, but the bus had kids as old as fifteen. Some were saying that he might have been shot because he was Catholic. Some were saying maybe the Russians would bomb us because of it now. We were used to lots of duck and cover drills, mostly the year before that when I was in 4th grade, so we were all pretty well spooked up about nuclear bombs, and we were just down the hill from Los Alamos National Labs. We were just little, and didn't know what to be afraid of, but the scariest thing for me was that so many adults were quiet and afraid, but trying to be calming and kind to kids who didn't know what was going on. Our bus driver, Mr. Serna, was quiet and businesslike—not grumpy and not joking.

It turned out that the discussions the teachers were having that day were whether we should go home or not. I guess the office was waiting for a decision from the superintendent.

The state said later they shouldn't have done that, and we had to go to school for a half day on a Saturday not long after that, to make up for having missed an all-crucial half day of school. I guess the bus drivers had the most benefit, with special hours on two days.

Also, I have no idea what kids who didn't have a parent home that day were to have done when they got home. I hope everyone had a friend to stay with until parents got home.

My mom told us that Johnson would become president and that the Russians would probably NOT bomb us, because all the army would be ready, or some reassuring thing. I remember thinking that was good thinking,if the military was on the alert. Kids in the bus didn't think of that.

I wrote this at Facebook, but figured I should save it in a more accessible place. I added:

That day, that corner of the school had deep sand, and the fallen seed pods of the honey locusts. Not so long after that (though it seemed like a long time to me then), when I was 21, and a first-year teacher, that corner was paved with black asphalt, and there were two portable buildings there. The first year I taught Jr. High, I was in that place every day, where I had been when Kennedy was shot.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Portrait of my van

I've had four vans in my life. Somewhere I have a portrait of the second one, outside the skating rink, when Marty was nine.

Here's the current one, a Town & Country, bought used at CarMax in December 2009.

It had leaves and water on it, and that's a bit unusual, so I took a photo so I can look back at it when it seems antique and hasn't been my van for a while.

The first van was a 12 passenger tan/yellow Ford Econoline.

Next, similar, less fancy, 15 passenger. That was called "the Wildebus," and we went on lots of long trips in it, and it was my around-town car when the kids were young and we took lots of kids, and bikes, and chairs, and as much stuff as we wanted. If that one surfaces, put it here. It finally couldn't be repaired once, and we got a blue...

Dodge Caravan, used, needed transmissions too often, had French Fries down in lots of storage spaces. Wore it out.

Now this Chrysler Town & Country, bought when two kids were still home (as teens), but Marty already had a jeep. We got it because the Santa Fe Unschooling Symposium was coming up and people needed to be picked up at the airport, some in Santa Fe, Some in Albuquerque. Keith and Holly and I were sharing two sedans (now both sadly gone).

I don't suppose my next car will need to be a van, except that once in a while we do take a batch of people out to eat. ANd it will carry things Keith's Prius can't even think of carrying.

I like it when people are posed against cars, in old photos. I like to see photos of cars and trucks on Shorpy and Retronaut.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Balancing, stages, profiles

I'm cleaning out some old lyrics game storage, but I didn't want to lose this photo. Holly took it of Marty playing on some broken shopping carts behind the grocery store, years ago. I'm guessing they were 13 and 16, but am willing to be reminded otherwise. For the lighting, there's a lot of detail in the profile.

Children grow up, but all the stages of their childhood stay alive in their parents' memories.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Because of this photo, someone told me the word for these bench seats: Chariots. Because of that new knowledge, I took photos of several other examples, in southern California, this past week.

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Here's one by Bea Mantovani, which links to a Just Add Light post in which it appeared:
9/2/13 How will you be? photo BeaCarousel.jpg

There's a photo here of two plain boxes, on an Australian merry-go-round, that (says the caption) were once roofed and draped.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Zebra Day

One day, there were lots of zebras and zebra-like things.
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The building reflected on these cars (click to enlarge), and across, there were striped awnings:
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Kept on seeing stripes!
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On this one, the zebra's legs faded into the tiger's stripes. It shows in the photo, but it wasn't the purpose or intent of the photo. The second one is the tiger on the Encino merry-go-round (the first one shows up top), and the stripes were carved into the wood.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Where have I been this week?

Locals are asking me where I've been and I forget, and I'm confused, so I'm going to make a list. Also, I'll need to identify carousel photos and this might help.
Sunday, to Roya's sale in Jennifer's yard in Bixby Knolls (Long Beach), and Cypress College to a flea market and to see Rent.

Monday, Northridge (to Rose's apartment, and to eat at Joyce's Cafe), then Encino (outdoor merry-go-round) and then a mall with a two-decker carousel outside a Target (Westfield Topanga Mall). Canoga Park, outside the mall, they were setting up an ice skating rink, outside. Then Santa Monica pier, where the merry-go-round was closed in its building, but we could see it through windows. ("A few miles north, the original Santa Monica Pier features a newer amusement park, similarly called Pacific Park. Today, the rides and attractions of the Santa Monica Pier include the Carousel that is featured in the 1973 Academy Award -winning film, The Sting." *)

Tuesday, Shoreline Village, in Long Beach: The carousel had arcade games up against it. We went and took photos of the ferris wheel and roller coaster.

Wednesday, Two malls next to each other. South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa had a big carousel, but all horses. Nice chariot. And a smaller section of the mall, across a road, had a small, English King Arthur carousel.

Thursday, Mary's Cafe in Sierra Madre, then Monrovia, Covina, Pasadena to the museum, Citrus College to see Fiddler on the Roof.

[added from Pam's comment below]

Friday, Saturday, Sunday - The HSC Unschooling Symposium in Cypress/Los Alamitos.

And, unexpectedly, Sunday night - wandering in the dark in a little orange grove in Northridge.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Monkey with pockets; Velociraptor with knife

The theme of this week has been photos of merry-go-rounds.  I will never be able to share everything I've seen and learned, but I'm going to try to share some of it!

At Encino Plaza, there is an outdoor merry-go-round.  Because it's the first one we saw, I assumed more would be outside, but this was the only one.  The others were in malls or in buildings at piers.

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There was another dinosaur, and another weapon, on other rides later in the week, but they weren't together.

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King Arthur's horse has a sword in a scabbard, so that suggests that it's the rider who's expected to use (or imagine using) that velociraptor's knife, and not that the crazy lizard is going to pull out his own knife while he keeps chasing those sweet, innocent mammals.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Same sun, different horizon

I saw the sun come up in Phoenix, and go down in California.

It made a really long day, especially since one was Sunday morning and the next one was Monday night. :-)  Still... pretty exciting that neither was in same-old New Mexico.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mailbox photo collections (lack of)

It seems there must be a blog or site dedicated to a collection of photos of mailboxes. Somewhere in my stuff is a photo my mom took of me, at the age of three or so, standing tiptoe to try to look in our mailbox right after my mom had stencilled the mailbox. I hope I find it again someday. I think it's in an envelope of a dozen of my best photos which an acquaintance took to scan for me when scanners were new. He had them on a webpage that's gone now, and the photos are in an envelope he returned and... It's somewhere. Yikes.


If anyone knows of a solid, regular collection, please leave a link below. I'd like to link it on my wheelbarrow blog. I would have called my blog wheelbarrow.blogspot, but someone already has that; also wheelbarrows... Bummer. Someone has mailbox.blogspot, too, but there's only one single photo from May 2012.

I found these smaller-than-a-blog collections:
23 Pleasant Mailbox Pictures
17 Pictures of Old Rustic Mailboxes
Here in ‘Merica, we love our mailboxes (34 Photos)
I take photos of my own mailbox sometimes. I wish I had more, of all my mailboxes ever (though there haven't been that many). Take a picture of YOUR mailbox!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

My book mentioned casually

This is the first time I've seen a photo of my book with unrelated books. I've seen it with other books about unschooling or parenting.

This blog came up in a yahoo alert. It's a calm and calming post, and says in part "I've been taking Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling along with me these days; its little bits and bites are perfect reading when I have a few moments to myself outside Irish dance class or waiting for a co-op class to finish up."

Direct feedback is always appreciated, but there's something extra special about discovered mentions—like finding wild strawberries or rare mushrooms growing in the woods.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

My favorite photo

A carousel at Hollycombe Steam in the Country, Hampshire, taken June 2011. I went back and took some other photos of the same carousel in 2013 and they're not nearly like this one for luck, light, framing and symmetry.

It's been the background on my iPad, and the iPad is unwell, so I'm putting it in several places for safekeeping.

I will have other favorites other times, no doubt, but this year, this is the one.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Angel match

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I took that still image from the end of a video. When I looked at it the next morning it reminded me of another image I've seen often, by Rosso Fiorentino, Florence, Italy, 16th Century:

The first is Chiara. She performed at our house last night, as "Apricity," opening for Amy Steinberg.