Monday, August 31, 2015

A couple of days ago a friend asked me what it is that I see in the bark of trees, especially eucalyptus trees, that keeps me coming back for a second or third or forty-fifth look.  It's hard to explain, but it's easy to demonstrate.  Maybe it's a matter of math.  Consider the number of trees in San Diego... and then in the world... and...

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I looked up from where I was working this afternoon and really saw what I had seen many times… books and stuff… and a photograph from a long time ago.  I don’t know who took the picture, probably around 1965, but I came across it in a box a couple of months ago and put it on a shelf near where I write… someplace where I could see it.  Today I glanced at it and then looked more closely at the books surrounding it… and then back at the photograph.  Wow!  We were young once, and our kids were young.  The picture was taken a few years before we went off to live in Singapore… That happened in 1969… It’s altogether appropriate that some of the books on the same shelf are about history.

Today I got the other pictures from a hillside… because they reminded me of eyes staring out from a hillside on the south side of Mission Valley.  I don’t know what they are or why they are there or how long they’ve been embedded in the hillside.  I believe they are very old, maybe many millions of years old. Nearby another eye peers out from a melaleuca tree from somewhere south of the equator on the other side of the world .   

The focus of the other picture is definitely now… a bee working a flower bush on this August afternoon.  LIFE IS GOOD!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

ALL GOD'S CREATURES...  After an hour at the Museum of Photographic Arts my friends and I had lunch at The Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park.  After Lunch I trudged across the Park to where I'd left the car, and I came across a group of people near the Science Museum giving people an opportunity to "play with" some creatures that I usually avoid like the plague. With camera in hand, how could I pass up the opportunity to get pictures!  Wow!  LIFE IS GOOD...

If you are interested in the exhibition at MOPA, get there in the next couple of weeks.  The show closes on the 13th of September.
Get information:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Went out walking in my neighborhood this afternoon, and found pictures worth keeping.  I don't know if that bird is a catbird, but I do know a catbird seat when I see one.  I also know the eucalyptus is the chameleon of trees... changes daily.  I couldn't resist taking this one out of its environment, suspending it, and surrounding it with blackness...  Then I found a bee busy at work in the middle of a bottle brush blossom near where I park my little green car. The bee ignored me.  The security guy who patrols our community during the day came over to see what I had found in the bottle brush tree. He is accustomed to seeing me poking around in bushes and aiming my camera at trees.  Good guy... When I got back home, I took a black and white photograph of what we would call in Arkansas our "front room." I thought black and white was appropriate remembering the importance of "front rooms" when there has been a death in the family.  I took Ed and Sam to the airport this morning for their sad trip to Detroit.  Their Dad died... and I am reminded that death is part of being alive, and that LIFE IS GOOD.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A squirrel and a lizard (look for it) and the amazing fountain at the Eastern Edge of Balboa Park all with billowing beautiful clouds in the background... and downtown the carrion cactus around the corner from the building with crosses and homeless people lined on the shady side of a church...  Again a poem.  You make sense of it if you can.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


All around are images that don’t make sense, 
that are spent or never had a value placed on them,
But Max is another story, a force of nature
who doesn’t like white trucks or shoes…

But that doesn’t keep Max from being lovable
when white trucks and shoes are hidden
behind whatever exists between him
and the rest of the world…

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Walk in the Park

A poem in ten stanzas

Monday, August 24, 2015

Forgot to say… when I was writing about kindergarten and the core curriculum… that much, much more happens in kindergarten than focus on numbers and shapes.  My friend Bobbi from Florida reminds me that kindergarten should be a rich, full experience for a child.  It’s in kindergarten that a child really begins to understand herself/himself as distinct from “the other,” and the experience of kindergarten is an introduction to a world that is different from the world of home and family.  Bobbi says it very well... and she describes the ideal kindergarten experience.  What she got in kindergarten is what should happen to all children.

Other Voices...

from Bobbi J…

I did go to Kindergarten at age five, and I loved it.  What I remember, however, had nothing to do with "math."  I could already count when I started, and wrote numbers up to 10. After that, I am sure I never encountered numbers again until first grade.

Kindergarten conjures up memories of colors and smells and tastes and sounds - all related to the senses. We knew the melodies to ten classical pieces because we sang songs that were written for children to those melodies. We also learned French songs in French and Spanish songs in Spanish.  I am sure we did not know those languages word for word in English, but we knew what the songs were about, and probably 60% of those foreign words entered our language world   subconsciously and stayed with us. For example, I have always known the words guapo "that handsome boy" and chevalier "of the round table" even though I never met them again in a classroom until Junior High School.

I remember a playhouse at one end of the kindergarten room and a castle at the other. I remember finger paints and watercolors and screen spatters and what happened when I mixed blue and yellow.
Although I had been read to as a child, I had never heard the rich stories presented in kindergarten. Those tales turned me into an avid reader.
I learned the names of the planets and how to look at a the constellations in the night sky. Such wonder!

Because of that important year, I have been creative all my life.  I am a poet and a costume designer and an actress and a dancer, and a dynamic teacher of Shakespeare and Hawthorne and Dostoevsky and most of the classics; I do balk at Hardy (except Madding Crowd - and maybe, Jude). I have trained actors who have won Oscars and Tonys, and I have trained teachers who have been rich gifts in the lives of their students. 

So -"no" - I do not think I would put my child in a Common Core kindergarten class.  I do believe in rigorous standards for the other grades, but kindergarten should be about social encounters and exploration and joy.  I wouldn't want my kid being marked "wrong" just yet. He/she will experience" that" for the rest of his/her scholarly life.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Art in San Diego…

I’m going to take a couple of days off from writing what I’m thinking about the Common Core Strategies for “bringing up” the test scores of American Children.  My gut reaction to the whole business is that all decisions about what should be happen to children in classrooms all across America should be decided by teachers.  It’s on my mind, so I’ll continue to think and write and post my writing on the BLOG over the next few weeks.  In the meantime…

This morning’s L.A. Times’ Arts and Books section begins with giant type under a giant chalk drawing by Michelangelo: CREDIT NOT SET IN STONE.  The drawing is indeed by Michelangelo, but the story by Mike Boehm questions whether or not the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley is correct in assuming a “rarely seen bas relief sculpture created toward the end of his life” was actually done by the great artist himself. There is no doubt that the small sculpture should be exhibited, but there is plenty of reason to doubt that the bas relief piece should be shown to thousands of people who will believe it was done by Michelangelo.  My advice: It ain’t gonna hurt anybody for people to make the trip to the library to see the important bas relief pieta, but I wouldn’t put any money on a claim that it was done by the man who designed St. Peter’s Basilica and did the David and thirty-six other significant sculptures. 

My suggestion:  Be sure to go to The Timken Museum in Balboa Park and see the Johannes Vermeer Lady in Blue Reading a Letter before it goes back to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on September 9th.  While you are there drop over to MOPA so catch the unusual exhibition Seven Billion Others before it leaves on September 15th.