Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Two ATC Posts

My first ATC trade for March was a quick trade Mayan mask theme. I found this Mayan head in an old art text. After trying it out on several backgrounds , I decided this black and white op-art was the best fit. I especially like the way the black and white appeared in the eyes. I sent the card off in the hand made envelope below.

The second trade of March was a pattern card. My trade partner likes kaleidoscopes, so I wanted to use the patterns in the form of a kaleidoscope. Along the way of experimenting, I thought of a Victorian puzzle purse as an extension of the pattern theme. I have never before now made a puzzle purse that did not start with a square piece of paper. Rather than cut of the extra parts under the top folds, I had to adjust the folds so that the purse would open to show the pattern on the inside. After a lot of trial and error, this is what came to be.

I made tight creases on the inside folds so that it easily collapses back into the shape of the card.

I sent this trade in a single sheet folded into an origami envelope. I created the page on the computer. I used this paper, because I felt that the collage fit with the pattern theme of the trade.These envelopes generally make it through the postal machinery, but sometimes they get chewed up. I usually ask the post office to hand stamp these types of envelopes and hand sort them. They will often hand cancel but then throw them into the sorter anyway.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Mail Art and ATCs

Because I have been so busy doing family history/genealogy work and scanning family photos all winter, I have not done any mail art or artist trading cards since last Fall. I started to swap again in February with some Valentine ATCs, a decorated paper trade, and a mail art swap. Here are my little creations:
This is the envelope (front and back) that I decorated for the paper trade. The decorated envelope was not part of the trade, but I like to do mail art whenever I have some time to do it. My wife says it is a little too much to decorate the return envelopes when I send out the bills. I only do that once in a while. I had to ad another 

The theme for the first Valentine ATC trade I did this year was to alter a King, Queen, or Jack of Hearts playing card. Several years ago, I found two movie star (Clark Gable and Greta Garbo) playing cards on the internet. The cards were of diamonds, so I already had to alter them to use them in the trade. I cut out the heads and the bars with their names on them and pasted those pieces on the hearts cards. Only one card was required for the swap, but a king must have a queen, and since I had the two movie stars, I made a pair, and added a couple of heart "jewels" to them. I also made the envelope in which to send them, which was also not required for the swap..

Below is the second Valentine ATC trade and its envelope. I used to make the word collage heart. My swap partner said on her profile that hot pink was one of her favorite colors, so I colored one of my op-art backgrounds with a high lighter and added a tiny jewel heart at the center of one of the spirals. I tiled the tagxedo heart on an 8½ X 11 piece of copy paper, folded the envelope, and added a few other things.

The following envelope was for a thank you note. I made the stamp, showing my grandson, at Each stamp costs twice as much as a regular first class stamp, but it is worth it for a special letter when the recipient knows "my" baby.

The purple dots look a little like Mickey Mouse ears. By the way, if you happen to see this young lady at Disneyland, beware. She is one of the pick-pockets from the 1630 French painting, The Fortune Teller, by Georges de La Tour. I have used her as a decoration many times. Thanks, Georges.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tempus Fugit

Wow, I haven't blogged anything since last October. There was just too much to do in the last five months, I suppose, to have time to compose something that is half way intelligent. That's not to say that this blog will have any semblance of intelligence either. But one may always hope for a good out come. I have spent many hours working on genealogy/family history this winter, staying up way too late each night at the computer prowling through the records on, et al. I have been able to reconnect with long lost, to me, cousins throughout the U.S. I was not able to attend Roots Tech in Salt Lake City this year because of, ironically, concurrent, important family events.

My father passed away on January 29, at the age of 91. His coaching buddies wanted to get together for a memorial service to remember his life and career.. So very early in the morning on Sunday, the 15th of February, my wife and I flew out to Long Beach, California, Julian Smilowitz, one of my father's former football players who had also become a fellow coach with him, picked us up at the airport, took us to church, fed us lunch and got us to the event center behind the La Mirada City Hall in time to help set up the room for the memorial service. At 3:00 p.m., about sixty former students and coaching buddies arrived at the memorial service. My sister, Jill, and brother, Mark, drove in from San Diego and Riverside, and were among the last to leave. The last of the crowd didn't depart until after six. There was a lot of visiting among old friends, many of whom had not seen each other for years. Monday morning we flew back to Salt Lake City. We were gone for about 30 hours.

We are having another memorial in March at the assisted living facility where my father was living. All my children and grandchildren are driving down with us to San Diego from Utah, and all the rest of the family from Southern California will be there as well. It will be the first time everyone has been together at one place since my mother's memorial service twelve years ago.

I had hoped to inter their ashes in one of the wall niches at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on Point Loma, but it is full. The last place was claimed in May of 2014. I suppose we could have them at Miramar National Cemetery on the north end of San Diego. But Rosecrans is such a beautiful place overlooking the bay.
Senior photo, Withrow High School, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1942

Army Air Corps, Air Supply Command, China, Burma, and India, 1943-45

Coach "Goody"
The last photo of my parents together, October 2001.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Few Random Thoughts before My Birthday

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I catch a glimpse of my father peeking out at me.

Lately, when my picture is being taken, some old man keeps standing in front of me. I wish he would get out of the way.

One would think that after spending over 50,000 dollars on a new knee, I would have a better knee than the one I replaced. It's only been 3 1/2 months, but I don't think I am being too impatient.

After losing 45 pounds, I have noticed a lot more wrinkles. I suppose the fat used to keep the wrinkles smoothed out.

I don't feel old, but it is shocking to think that I have been teaching longer than most of the teachers at my school have been alive.

When I retire at the end of next year, after 43 years of teaching, it is sobering to think that in no time at all I will be totally forgotten.

I hope I have done some good in the lives of the multiple thousands of students I have had over the years. I did get a thank you letter a few years ago from a former student who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Utah. So that is one who made it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Oops! Forgot Again.

Yesterday evening in the drizzling rain, my wife Chris and I went to the Texas Roadhouse to celebrate our 42nd anniversary. Our actual date is the 19th of August, but with school all day and my physical therapy in the afternoon the significance of the day was pushed out of our heads. Who says two heads are better than one? About ten o'clock that night, my son Hyrum and his wife Emery called and sang us the "Happy Anniversary" song. (For you old folks who at an early time in your lives watched the Flintstones, it is the song to the tune of the Lone Ranger theme which was actually the William Tell Overture.) We both laughed and said, "Oh yeah, it is our anniversary."

We have forgotten our anniversary more than once over the years. It is really a bad sign of something when you have talked about it the week before and still forget on the day.

Many years ago when our children were little, my wife and I had a part time job on weekday evenings working at Our Mom's Pies, a small pie factory owned by some friends of ours who lived down the street from us. My wife made and baked the pie shells while I mixed all the cream fillings and whipped cream and measured the fruit fillings. The work of the evening was dictated by the number of orders from restaurants in the area. One evening, after preparing a large order of pies, we were in the car driving home, too exhausted to talk and trying to reserve a little strength to take the babysitter home and put the kids to bed. I turned to Chris and asked, "Do you know what today is?" "It's the nineteenth." "Yep, the nineteenth of August, our anniversary." We both looked at each other and burst out laughing.
The dating couple ready for the BYU Fine Arts Ball 1971.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer's End

I know it is only the 16th of August, but school started yesterday for teachers, and students reluctantly wend their way to school next Wednesday. So, for all "in tents and porpoises," summer is at an end! This is the first summer in at least the last 25 that I have not been at school two or more times a week getting ready for the next year. This year, I stayed away most of the time. Of course, I also had my right knee replaced in June, so that helped to keep me away from school.
 Here is my knee at six days.
Here is my knee at six weeks; still swollen but slowly shrinking.

Before my surgery, I was able to do a couple of projects in the front yard. I finished the parking strip with volcanic gravel, and I landscaped the flower bed in front of the living room window. It certainly looks better than the periwinkle and snow on the mountain ground cover that was there before.
 This is early June. The flower pots and boxes and  beds are all lush now.
This is after all the larkspur and blue flax on the right of the walk had been pulled so I could harvest the seeds.

The week before my surgery, my wife and I did take a quick vacation to Arizona. Our fist destination was the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. On Tuesday the 17th, we drove from the Salt Lake Valley to Nephi on I-15, then headed east through Nephi Canyon to Mount Pleasant to catch Highway 89. I enjoy driving along 89 down to Kamas, Utah. It is a two lane road through quaint towns, villages, and beautiful vistas of fields and mountains. At Salina, we took the I-70 for one stretch of freeway going west to reconnect with the bottom leg of 89 at Sevier. We gained a little time on the freeway, and it is a beautiful drive through the mountains before they fall away into the western Utah desert and the I-15 corridor. I didn't stop to take any pictures, because we wanted to have some time at the Grand Canyon in the afternoon. I didn't think we would make it before dark, because Highway 89 about eighteen miles south of Paige had collapsed, and we were forced to take a huge detour.
Fortunately, we arrived at the eastern entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park in the late afternoon and still had a few hours before different sites closed for the day. We first drove to the Tusayan Museum and ruins, because it closed first.
Who is that old man in front of the museum? Oh, it's me!
Chris hiding behind an ancient pot in the museum.

After a self guided tour around the ruins, we backtracked to the Desert View Visitor Center. The Desert View Watch Tower was one of our favorite spots in the Grand Canyon. It is one of the several structures in the park that were designed by Mary Jane Colter.
 We loved the tower. The rock patterns are different on each wall that you examine. Inside the four story tower are murals painted by Fred Kabotie.

 Looking down from the third story, and looking up at the ceiling from the ground floor.

And here is that old man again. The canyon was very smoggy on this afternoon. The rest of our time at the canyon was clear, especially in the mornings.
In the gift shop was a shelf of kachinas. Chris said I should buy one for a souvenir. I usually buy a tie from wherever we are visiting, but I didn't see any at this gift shop. This is the kachina that I bought.

The first night, we stayed at Bright Angel Lodge, another building designed by Mary Jane Colter, and had a very nice dinner at the Arizona Room. We were not in the lodge itself, but in one of the cabin units with shared bath. We were about thirty feet from the rim trail.

We arose early and hiked the rim trail for about two miles or so from our cabin to Mather Point, Canyon Center and back. We watched the sun rise over the North Rim while we hiked and saw a few dear and a moose. The rest of the day we visited two other Mary Jane Colter buildings, Hopi House and Lookout Studio; El Tovar Hotel, out of our price range; and took the shuttle bus to Yaki Point and South Kaibab Trail-head. For lunch we visited the Bright Angel Restaurant and had a chicken salad pita, which we highly recommend. Instead of mayonnaise, the dressing is yogurt with fresh mint. One pita is big enough for two people, so we ate half for lunch and the rest for supper.
Ready for a morning hike beside a very wide, long, and deep slice in the earth.
 Early morning visitors to one of the lodges along the canyon rim.
Looking down to the west just before the sun crested the North Rim.
Wow! Like an atomic blast on the horizon, the sun arises.
Here's that old man again. Very rare picture because he is awfully close to the edge here.
Just after the sun cleared the horizon.
 Lookout Studio as seen from the Rim Trail in the pre-sunrise light.
The entrance to the Lookout Studio later in the morning
 Here is Hopi House near the El Tovar Hotel.
 Duck your head. It is a low door.
On Wednesday night, we stayed at Yavapai Lodge, because when we booked our rooms Bright Angel didn't have anything available for our second night. It was nice to have two different accommodation experiences, but we both enjoyed the Bright Angel "cabin" the best. Thursday morning we took a bus tour out to Hermit's Rest. When we returned, we had a light lunch at the El Tovar Hotel restaurant. Another great meal.
 Under the bell at Hermit's Rest.
An fascinating pile of stones.
Resting by the fire place inside the pile of stones.

After lunch on Thursday, we left the Grand Canyon by the south entrance and headed for Phoenix. We have two rental properties in the greater Phoenix area. Our tax man keeps telling us we need to visit our properties, so we thought this would be a good time to follow his orders. We stayed in Mesa that night and meet our property manager on Friday morning. He gave us a map to the two properties, which are not close to each other. It felt like we were driving forever as we made a huge circle from Mesa to Florence to Maricopa and back to Phoenix all on two lane roads. We had noticed that the car was over heating a little on our drive down. After we left the property manager's office, the temperature really started to climb.
The week before we left, I had had the car checked out at the Chrysler dealership where we bought it fourteen years ago. (Yes, it is old, but it has been such a good car!) They found that the water pump needed replacing and some seals in the cooling system were leaking. They did all the work we needed , but they didn't replace the thermostat when they flushed and refilled the radiator. So there we were in 100 plus degree Phoenix with a clogged thermostat driving in low gear with the windows open. Chris started calling all the Chrysler dealers in the area, but they were all booked up and would not even look at the car. Finally we found Earnhardt Chrysler in Gilbert who would look at the car, but couldn't promise to do anything until Saturday. We finally limped into their service line and explained the problem.
We sat in the waiting room for an hour before the service manager came in to give us what we thought would be bad news. He said that they had finished another car faster than expected and had looked at our car. He agreed that it was the thermostat, that they had the one we needed in stock, and that they would start working on it. An hour or so later we were on our way to Flagstaff where we stayed the night. So, if anyone needs service in the Phoenix area, Earnhardt Chrysler is the best. (A very nice waiting room too.)
 Our two little rental houses in Arizona.

Friday evening we ate at a nice little Mexican restaurant a couple of blocks from our motel in Flagstaff. The temperature was very pleasant, so we walked. Saturday morning we headed up good old Highway 89 for home. We made a little side trip though Sunset Crater National Monument and Wupatki National Monument. I sure love my Golden Age National Park Pass.
 Wukoki Pueblo.
Wupatki Pueblo.

We followed Highway 89 up past the Echo Cliffs, and crossed the Colorado River at Navajo Bridge. We visited Lee's Ferry for half an hour and watched some Colorado River rafters set off for a run of the river through the Grand Canyon. John Wesley Powell would have loved these huge rafts and all the supplies. Continuing on Alternate 89, we drove past the Vermilion Cliffs, over the mountains, and back to Kanab. When we reached I-70, we headed west to I-15 and shot up the corridor to our starting point.  I-15 for speed and Highway 89 for beauty.
 The Colorado River at Lee's Ferry.
The overlook of the Vermilion Cliffs. A little bit windy here.

The rest of the summer I have been engaged with physical therapy and genealogical research on the internet.
(Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a physical therapist? You can negotiate with a terrorist!)