Thursday, June 29, 2017

sedona photo essay

the larger view

crossing "grand canyon" off my 'wild woman list of things to do' is a thrilling feeling.  even this word girl can't describe it, it falling too short of description--you truly do have to see it for yourself!  it's the reason that often nature 'is my favorite church' because, like visiting the ocean, it puts me in my proper (small) place regarding the great scheme of things.

(tourist tip:  if you don't have time to raft the colorado river in person, taking in the IMAX version is worth it)

i thought a lot about positive and negative space; the canyon, but also the magnitude of space and sky that made the contrast possible.

at the top of the rim, we met the nicest navajo woman who, over ice cream, told us about her favorite place to get navajo tacos and she was right!

my cousin gave me an early birthday gift, a copy of "grand canyon:  a different view" by tom vail that i would also highly recommend.

heaven's gate

my cousins live right next door to my aunt in flagstaff, arizona.  on my recent visit, in addition to getting to see the grand canyon for the first time and the red rocks of sedona, i think the most important part was getting to know one another better.  there was time for, as my friends in hawaii say, "talking story."

what was it like being a missionary in south america for over 35 years?  what did you learn from growing up in boarding school?  and i had time to look at my cousin gail's artwork.  being the "baby" cousin, i was little when they would come home on furloughs.  gail (who has since passed away) is the one who taught me to draw and who gave me a cross stitch and wrote on the back, "being an artist takes practice, so keep practicing" that i keep in my current art classroom.

she loved to paint scenes from ecuador, especially blue doors and open gates.  her last sketch, "heaven's gate" which she did in the hospital, is the one her husband asked me to watercolor in memory of her.  always colorful, her pieces seemed to brighten with time and experience. 

just during this trip did i learn that gail had wanted to be an art teacher!  what a colorful mystery...
"heaven's gate"

love & laser tag

summer weddings are sweet.  brides and grooms who've loved each other since they were eight years old are even sweeter.  such is the case with my lovely young friend here.

it was delightful to pitch in as a community to get everything ready and also enjoy ourselves along the way. it was also a blast getting to know and hang out with her friends.

here's a major reason why you should keep up your daily exercise routine as you mature:  being an almost 43-year old bridesmaid, my idea of a bridal party might be a nice dinner out and early bedtime.  this bridal party?  late night laser tag!

having friends of all ages is such a good thing--in this case, ones that keep you young!  there we were chasing each other through the trees, bridesmaids vs. groomsmen.  the twenty-somethings were panting, pouring water over their faces, and calling it quits just as i was ready to go for another round.  that made me feel good, as in, yes, those walk/bike/occasional swims/yoga are worth it! 

they are finally married, which in some ways is no different than having them around at all the events anyway, except that now it is official.  and theirs is a marriage i can truly see lasting for life; one of growing old together.

Monday, June 12, 2017

wonder woman

what a great movie to see to celebrate ending one of the best school years ever!

i really enjoyed this film and have made a mental note to get a lasso of truth for my classroom next year.

when i was four or so, the wonder woman series starring lynda carter was on tv and, as i recall, i had a pair of wonder woman underoos that i would zoom around the house in when the show came on.

what is it about super heros and heroines that so appeals to us?

my summer reading stack is growing and in it is this book, "the secret history of wonder woman" by jill lepore.

i just finished reading the entire laurie king sherlock holmes and mary russell series (12 books in all) and have "originals" by adam grant to start as well as a book on beekeeping and one on trees.  then there's books on the grand canyon for my upcoming arizona adventure.

what can i say? i love to learn.  i think the most meaningful note from a student this year was, "miss smith, here is a quote i am giving to you, 'i am a teacher who continually loves to be taught.' "  super powers or not, i think that there is no higher compliment than being called a person who loves to grow. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017


in my twenties, jet skis might have appealed to me.  in my forties, it's all about kayaking and, my latest adventure of sailing.

the magical moment when the captain cut the engine and the wind filled the sails.  that, and our conversation while aboard the 30-foot vessel "the Mahalo" which was perfect given my times in Oahu with friends.

sailing is part of nature without seeking to conquer it.  it works in tandem and, it seems with the truest of sailing, invites ones ego to get out of the way (it doesn't matter whose boat is bigger or faster and it's not really about leisure--as defined by our modern industrial age).

no, it's about, in the captain's words, " in analog time rather than digital."  "listen," he said, "humans were wired to hear birds singing and other voices...records with a needle...we were meant to live in the curves of snow banks and waves, not surrounded by hard lines, pixels and angles." 

the more i thought about it, the more i agreed.  "if it's all about when you get to somewhere you have to be, take a speed boat," he added.  "if it's they journey you're about and you want to sail because you love to be on the water, join the wind." 

i learned so much, not only about sailing, but about life.  i loved the feeling of the slightest touch of the steering wheel directing such a beautiful boat.  and i loved that, should the wind see fit to pick up, we would go faster.  but if not, it was great just to be aboard.  i think i'm hooked!