Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Little Collage with Frida and Diego

This is a piece of Mail Art that I sent to Portugal for a Mail Art exhibit called "desAMORes." I found out about the exhibit yesterday, and I hope this will travel through the mail and get to Porto, Portugal before the deadline. It is a collage on 8 1/2 X 11 card stock with a geometric design printed on it and colored with red watercolor marker. the page is folded in half to make it envelope size. Well, it is in the hands of the postal workers now, so we shall see if it makes it through the machinery.I joined a Mail Art club on line Mailart 365. The idea is to make and send 365 decorated letters or post cards in 365 days. I started on January first, and this is number 43. I am one day ahead.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Rest of the Quote

I have been cleaning out school boxes of things I have saved over the years as I prepare for my retiring in June. I pulled out this old, always inappropriately used quote from one of the manila envelopes: "He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches." I don't think there is a teacher alive or dead who has not had that demeaning, dismissive statement hurled at them directly or at the profession generally at last once in their careers.
The statement is from George Bernard Shaw, but it is only the first line of what he actually said. Of course, those who use the line to insult educators are either ignorant or mendacious, as the full quote puts the statement in a much more teacher friendly context.
Here is the full quote, with the context in italics. Let the reader be the judge:

"He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches. What is more they are the only available teachers, because those who can are mostly quite incapable of teaching, even if they had the time for it."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Personal Hallmarks of 2015

As I contemplate my big personal events of 2015, infinitesimal as compared to the world catastrophes, wars and rumors of wars, jihadi murders, corrupt politics, and the suffering of multitudes, I did pass through some personal events that were big to me.

My father died in January, and we traveled down to California twice for memorial services. One in La Mirada, where he coached football and other sports and was athletic director at the high school for many years, where many of his former students and fellow coaches spent an afternoon remembering the "Old Buzzard." He was very loved and respected. I, my sister and brother, and our spouses attended that gathering and were thrilled by the remembrances shared by those who had been influenced by our father. The La Mirada High School stadium is named after him, and the football team dedicated the 2015 season to him. The team won the state championship game for 2015 in Goodman Stadium! The other memorial was at the care center in San Diego where he lived the last five years of his life. That was a big family reunion with all the children, grand children, and great-grand children celebrating his life with his friends and acquaintances at the center.

19 June 2015 was the 50th anniversary of my Huntington Beach High School graduation. I had contacted several classmate who still live in the area, but no one in the class tried to organize a reunion. That was a big disappointment for many of us who would have gladly traveled back from our far flung abodes to join in a celebration. Oh, well. Maybe there will be one for the 100th. I know of many of our classmates who have passed on, and I wonder how many of us are still breathing.

October 16th was the 50th anniversary of my baptism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has been a wonderful and interesting 50 years, and I have never regretted that decision to join the Church. In January I was ordained a Patriarch.

2015 was a year of construction for us. We moved our bedroom into the family room and then knocked out the whole back wall of the house expanding the kitchen and adding a dining room; turning the office into a master bedroom with bath and walk in closet; and taking out a wall between the living room and our old bedroom to make an alcove for the piano. There is a new basement under the addition as well. It has been a year of construction dust and dirt in and on everything. Hopefully everything will be finished soon, so that we can move out of the family room which has been our kitchen, dining, living room for the last eight months. Fortunately we have a bathroom and a very small kitchenette in the family room, so we have been able to wash dishes in a sink and not in the bathtub like some other house remodelers we have known.

Near the end of summer, my wife and I had our cataracts removed and had new lenses put in each eye. I am amazed at how much better my distance vision is. I don't think I have seen this well in the last 60 years. I can now drive without glasses, AND I can read the street signs, which I couldn't do even with my glasses before the surgery. I only need glasses for anything closer than about four feet.

My wife retired in June after 24 years of teaching, and I have turned in my intent to retire in June of this year, making 43 years for me. So we are embarking on a new phase of life in 2016.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

An Hour with Norman Rockwell

One of my college roommates, Jack Peterson, with whom I have stayed in contact for the last 43 years, is visiting the area with his wife, Suzi. We spent the afternoon together at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art viewing the American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell exhibit. I have always loved Rockwell's illustrations and paintings. He certainly captured the spirit of an America that no longer exists. I wish I had all those Saturday Evening Post magazines that came to our house in the 50s amd 60s. My favorites were the April Fool's covers where you could find all sorts of strange images worked into the painting.
On the steps of the museum.
Down to the basement for the special exhibit.
Chris, Suzi, and Jack in the lobby.
My mother had several books of Rockwell's collected works. Her favorite painting was of the farm boy and his father sitting on the running board of the farm truck waiting for the train to take the boy to college. It is called "Breaking Home Ties." She loved the emotions written on the faces of the two and the dog.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Project for the New Year

I have joined a mail art blog called Mailart 365. The idea is to create and mail 365 decorated envelopes during 365 calendar days. I chose to start on this first new day of a brand new year. From looking at the postings of other bloggers on the blog, one may post several images of decorated envelopes on the same day  and then skip a few days. The goal is to create and mail 365 envelopes in 365 days. I joined this blog to motivate me to get more envelopes done. Hopefully it will work. Here are my first six envelopes for the new year. They were finished and mailed last week, but I am counting them as part of this year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas 1953

I have been doing a lot of Family History/Genealogy work during the last three months. I went through the boxes of papers that I found at my father's house after he died, and I found a lot of interesting artifacts and photos. Some of the photos I already had in my collection, but I recovered a few that were in better condition than the ones I had. Here are some from a Merry Christmas from my past.

These photos were taken in Lordsburg, New Mexico, in 1953. I turned six in October, and Jill turned three in November. We look mighty happy here. You don't see tinsel on a tree anymore. I don't think you can even buy it now. I loved to watch the old bubble lights on the tree, and the tinsel shimmer and wave in the air currents. Ah, the by gone days.

My Christmas letter for 2015

December 2015
Merry Christmas from Mike and Chris:
We have been into our main floor remodel for over a year now. We were hoping to be finished by Thanksgiving. Then it was by Christmas. Now it is, “When will this be done?” The walls are painted, the carpet is in the bedroom and office. The flooring for the dining, kitchen and living room is waiting to be installed, which should happen this weekend. The cabinets are supposed to be ready, and all the appliances are at the warehouse waiting to be delivered. The master bath hasn’t been started, and all the electrical has not been completed. There are three other bathrooms we can use, but it is hard to have a bedroom and walk-in closet without lights. Shall we hope for MLK’s birthday or Presidents Day?

My dad died last in January, so we made two weekend trips down to California for two different memorial services. One in La Mirada, where he coached football for so many years, and one in San Diego where he was living. The tributes that came in from former students and his many friends were overwhelming. La Mirada High School dedicated this year’s football season to him. All the home games were played in Goodman Stadium at the high school.
This picture was taken twenty or so years ago. That is Rachel and Rebekah at the top.
Chris retired in June and is busier than ever. She has been our general contractor on the remodel which is using up a lot of her sanity. She volunteers at her old school once a week and is directing the school play again (there goes the rest of her sanity). Two days a week she takes care of three-year-old Gabriel. It is not tending-it is a four hour play date twice a week! He commands total attention; no playing by himself. He is a charmer and a cutie, but he has occasional manifestations of terrible temper. I call him my little “frumious Bandersnatch!”

Alexander and Isaiah are enjoying high school. They love the activities, especially the sports events and parties. Isaiah is in honors math, and Alex is in honors English. They are both in French, and sometimes they let me tutor them. I still drive them to school on my way to work, and pick them up on my way home. The high school is about three blocks from my school. Alex was one of only three freshmen to make it into the fall musical. He had no speaking lines, but he had a one line solo during one of the chorus numbers and was in most of the dance numbers. The play was Urinetown. The play was very strange, but it had some nice songs. Alex was fantastic, of course.

I am retiring at the end of this year. After 43 years I am throwing in the towel. I have been teaching longer than 90% of the teachers and all of the administrators at my school have been alive. I stayed this year because I wanted to have one year in the brand new school building. My last day is June 4th. I wrote my retirement letter last week. It felt a little disconcerting to actually put it down on paper. Counting all the years I was a student and all the years teaching, I have been in school around 62 years. It’s about time I graduated.

Chris and I had our cataracts removed and new lenses put in both eyes. I am amazed at how beige the world was before the surgery. Everything now is so bright and colorful, and the distance vision in my right eye is so clear that I can see details in the mountains that I never knew were there. And that is without glasses. My left eye is better, but still blurry and will always be that way from laser surgery scars on the retina. But my vision is so improved, that I can drive without glasses. We both still have glasses, but they are mainly for reading and computer and to correct a little astigmatism.

The kids are all well and working hard. Rebekah just returned from a three week cruse around Australia and New Zealand. She had a wonderful time, but said there was too much time at sea and not enough time in ports. She will move up from a 30 hour to a 40 hour position at the library in January. She has been waiting for those ten hours for a long time.

Emma is an administrative assistant at a home health and hospice agency. She recently got a part time job at a multiplex theatre complex to make a little extra money. She gets to go to movies free. The only problem is she has no free time to see any.

Rachel has been doing some work on her home. She was able to pay off her new windows and put on new shingles and rain gutters. Exciting stuff! She still hosts fantastic programs for children at her library and gets to spend lots of money on BOOKS.

Joe got a promotion in the Murray water department. He is an inspector. He still does his old job, but he also inspects. What he inspects I don’t know. Joe has really done a lot of work on our house. He did all the new siding on the addition, finished the fantastic gabbled porch, insulated the addition main floor and basement, and at lease a hundred other things on our remodel. We couldn’t have done it without him.

Hyrum and Emery are always happy to jump in and help us out when we need it. They are installing the new floor in the kitchen and living room with Joe. They are real troopers and always cheerful. Emery is still working from home doing accounts and invoices and whatever else for the steel company. Hyrum builds houses all over the place. Sometimes he has to spend weeks away from home with his crew building in the Utah outback.

So, except for a few scrapes and bruises, we are all healthy and happy to be busy; and we are hoping you are too. We wish you a Merry Christmas and happy 2016.
They finished the floor a few days before Christmas, and we were able to do a little decorating.
The piano nook.