Monday, March 28, 2016


There is no tyranny like petty tyranny, and there is nothing so petty as an HOA.
Just saying...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I joined two more mail art groups this month along with Mailart 365,which I joined at the end of last year. They are keeping me busy making and decorating envelopes. I have made 82 envelopes as part of Mailart 365 since January 1st. The goal is to have made/created 365 pieces of mail art (envelopes or postcards) within a one year (365 day) period regardless of what date you begin. I chose the 1st of January so I could keep track. Otherwise, I would never know if I were ahead, behind or on track. I am a little ahead right now, so I will have plenty of items to mail out with my two new groups, Mail Me Some Art and The International Union of Mail Artists. I don't know if I could be considered an "artist," but I do make mail art, and some pieces are, in my totally unbiased opinion, rather good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sing Me an Old, Sad Song

While re-shelving the two hundred books I pulled from the stacks last week for a special seventh grade reading assignment, I have been listening to Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Peter, Paul and Mary, Emmylou Harris, and a few others. It has been a bit of time since I listened to a lot of these songs, but I didn't remember these old folk songs being so sad. Even the songs with up beat lyrics sound like they are written in a minor key. Perhaps it is only that I am getting old, and these songs simply sound sad because of the memories they pull into my head of people who are no more and places that are no longer the same. If I listen to these good old songs too much, I will have a great, black cloud of depression floating over me, and it is too beautiful a day to have that. So, I had better put on some Bach and cheer up.

P.S. Bob Dylan wrote some great songs, but he sure couldn't sing them. Thank goodness, other people can.

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.