Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sketchbook challenge- February's challenge- Opposites

I wasn't very excited about this challenge subject. I don't know why, I know contrasts are important in art (and Life) but I still was reluctant. It's taken me this long to decide to just go ahead and make "something" and not over think it so much. I did a basic sketch of Mona Lisa and then spent time filling in the different parts with doodles (mostly patterns). The best I can say is that it's done so I am keeping my promise to myself.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What will it get you?
I went to the job fair today for the local amusement park. I went in open minded, open to any possibilities (except food) and I went in with a BA in education, years of experience working with kids, past experience working at amusement parks, and past experience in retail sales.
I ended up getting a summer job working in a new jewelry shop.
I'm ok with that. It makes it possible to fulfill my current obligations, keep the job I currently have, and doesn't conflict with my sister's visit or my own art projects in the works.
It gets me in the door, shows them what I can bring to the table and let's me see what it's like to work there.
I think I did well with the first interviewer, not as well with the second (mainly because she asked all the same questions he did with a lot less interest) and then got passed to the third who was perky but kept saying, "how does that work for you?" at the end of every statement. "It works great.", "it works fine", "sounds great" "ok"( hard to keep finding a different answer for what's clearly a habitual phrase for her.) After a lengthy meeting with the medical folks, who went over every section of the questionnaire again (no, I don't have anything wrong with me) I finally get to the final stop where, after 3 1/2 hours, I finally get to talk to someone I know (from the boosters)as she checks me out with the final report date, she tells me we won a bid at the auction the other night. Steve was convinced we didn't, so we left. OOPS!
So, I report in May for job orientation and then later, cash register training.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things in general-
Delaney has started pre-track this week. This gives the kids a chance to get back into shape and have an idea which events they want to try out for. Delaney has already been quite vocal about being a thrower again, but I suspect she'll also run in some event too. There was a bit of an issue this week but, I'm sure it will be worked out by the administration. Because the practice runs until 5:30, we took her with us to Branson to see the gong show. The Gong show was a benefit for Meals on Wheels and was more geared to local- ish talent than the "stars". Not to say there weren't some people in the show that have come to Branson to be stars, they just haven't made it (exactly). I didn't mind the hometown flavor of the show and I could sit through some of the bad acts, but the judges comments were very hard to listen to as they rambled and stuttered through their reasoning. Even Delaney was saying , "oh, come ON!". Margaret's husband Larry performed an original song that was quite humorous (and a bit cynical) about wanting to be a Branson star. I think of everyone there, the judges were most appreciative of the lyrics. But, there were people who had "shows" in Branson and several kids who wanted to be the next cutiest thing on a stage. A family from Ar won and, I'd agree that they did have the best show at doing a show somewhere. Not sure the sound system was set up correctly for all of them singing, but good stage managing will fix that. Nothing beats family harmony. One older man sang, messed up his lyrics, was going to gong HIMSELF, and the judges said, "go to the chorus" and then sang along to back him up. I loved that.
Anyway, Today, Delaney teaches after school in Gen yes, Tech yes until 5 and then we have Maura's Band concert. I didn't mention here about Delaney's trip to Jefferson City with gen yes tech yes or what it really means.
GYTY is a program that Mrs Elfrink from the tech dept at school has put together for kids who are very tech savy to teach teachers how to use new gadgets to enhance their classroom. The group is made up of HS and MS students and Delaney and her friend Brooke have taught 2 classes (3rd one postponed because of snow) and they went to the state capital to show off their program. They met legislators and others (like college students) and spoke to them from a booth. Delaney had no problem going to people's offices and asking them if they'd like to see their booth and there might be more in store for her since she does so well. I was jealous that she got a trip to the very top of the capital (outside on top of the dome!). I was glad she had this opportunity to see the capital since the NJHS trip was canceled due to fuel costs.
I subbed this week for the gifted teacher, because I am familiar with DI and her class is working hard to be ready for competition. I was concerned I would have to be careful, since I am judging a challenge, but this class was not doing my challenge, so it all worked out. They seemed to be concerned about the instant challenges... so we practiced a couple and then we talked about how they did. I think it was helpful.
Finally, I've been working on my latest quilt. It's in early stages, but I am enjoying the combination of patchwork and painting.. and also considering what the process is. I have typically worked on all the elements of the top before quilting and then binding. I'm changing that up little by little. In this piece, I think the quilting will come next followed by more surface design. I think that before the quilting, I need a border. I'm still thinking of what fabric that should be. Also, using quilting to provide a different visual interest in areas. I'm visualizing almost scribbling or hash marks in areas. But, I'm still musing about that.
In view of the recent commotion over a teacher blogging, I read through all my posts, just to be certain I didn't cross the line. I have made comments of the education system in general, some personal insights into the education process, but didn't get into specifics into any particular students.
As always, I maintain that I want the best for my own kids, the best for the kids in my school and the best for our country's future. I've had some enlightening conversations recently with one of my old college professors about the quality of a college education and how THAT'S changed.
If I was under any illusion about how kids won't be prepared for college, I guess I shouldn't worry about that any longer.
Speaking of college, Tyler had a "how to" speech in his public speaking class. He chose to do, "how to force a card" (as in Magicians forcing cards) and apparently, no one understood how he was forcing them... they just were amazed by the trick even though he went over it a few times. The Power of Magic! LOL
OH,I didn't mention the IBM challenge on Jeopardy with Watson. It was pretty amazing, but with some glaring holes in his education. You could tell baby boomers made him because he was well versed in Beatles' lyrics, but was a bit lost geographically. (Toronto is not a US city) but overall, I could see the value of Watson in the medical field very easily and it could be "House" without the attitude.
Maura continues to get tons of mail from colleges and we are amused by the variations of her name. Myro seems to be the family favorite. Speaking of her, she's on the third piece of her dress and is working on her solo piece for band competition. A piece, I might add that she was never "forced" to do by the previous band director, so she didn't bother. Maybe in the past between marching competition and winter drumline, she was happy to opt out of Spring competitions, but it never made me very happy that she was allowed to.
So, now that I've covered all three kids, I can close for now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

glittery chunks
The second snow storm- This was round two of our storms and we got more snow and less ice.
The snow was powdery and ended up with a clumping of flakes, so the top layer was textured and then it sparkled like glitter was mixed in there. Click on the close-up pic to see the sparkles.
People are saying this will probably be our last snowfall. The temperatures have risen this week, so the snow is melting, the sun is shining, and people are thinking about gardens again.
The weather cleared up enough for my friend Margaret and I to travel to Carls Junction for DI training. It's been a while since I've seen Margaret, so we had a grand time together. We are judging 2 different challenges,and I was assigned to a more popular challenge, so I'll see more teams than she will. We've committed to spending the whole day there. This is my 5th year and this is her first. It's a great program, or I wouldn't be doing this again. Maura has participated in it for years, but this time she's not, still, I believe in encouraging kids to think creatively and this competition is all about creative thinking.
We only had a half day of training, so we were able to do a bit of exploration of Joplin. Every time I go, I try to get a better picture of the area. This trip, we searched out the Spiva gallery. The roads in downtown Joplin were still very slushy. The gallery was a very nice surprise. The attendant was very pleasant and explained they had two exhibits- one by Linda Mitchell, an artist from Atlanta, and the other by Gary Adamson, a local artist from Eureka Springs. They try to show a national artist and an artist from within 200 miles.
I liked her work but not her images. That doesn't make sense on the surface, but I liked the texture and colors and mixed media items combined, but didn't particularly like all the images she did of animals and stuffed toys. I've never been that interested in paintings of animals, especially ones that are dressed up. It's an interesting idea that she makes odd looking stuffed animals and then uses them in her paintings as models. I can't fault her on her mixed media- it looks complex, whimsical, it communicates her message well.
All in all, it gave me food for thought, which is a successful encounter in my opinion.
I don't think we'll have much time to explore the next time we go, but there has to be a time when I'm over that way (and the weather is nice) to see Carthage. I'd love to see the Older homes there and explore the Civil war history.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Saturday's snow play day
The kids have gone out to play every day but this last snowfall was wetter and they were finally able to make a snowman and then have a snowball fight. I went out awhile to add food to the feeders and take some pictures. I love it when the sun is shining and we have snow. It makes for such interesting shadows.

Dress in progress-
This is the second piece of the dress, but I wanted to show how the process is going during the snow day break from school. She's been watching movies and weaving and texting as she goes. ( in between sledding with her brother and sister)
We have had some success with getting tabs from other states. So far, we have some from Tx, Az,La, Fl, SC,IN,Pa,MO and VT with a promise from TN. A long way from the hoped for 50 states, but still quite impressive amount of support for a 16 year old girl hoping to make an unusual prom dress.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Some thoughts on the recovery-

I had a thought today that had to do with a recent news story that was explaining how there were several thousand people who have been out of work for so long, they've stopped looking for work and are no longer counted in the unemployment statistics. I don't have any first hand knowledge of this, but I'm guessing that if you don't continue to show up at the state unemployment offices and do something there, they stop counting you in the list of unemployed.
I've also read stories of companies that laid people off are doing quite well in other locations- in essence, shipping their jobs off shore. Some of these companies have taken Government Bailout money (in the form of reduced taxes) without putting workers back on the payroll.
I wondered why all this money was being directed to the Recovery and wasn't working well as compared to the great depression and the WPA. I was also curious to wonder why there was no concerted effort , like the WPA, happening now.
I found this site :
and there's a very cool interactive map which shows all the projects funded by the Recovery program. I have to be honest when I say any projects In my location did not result in any new jobs being created. I could be generous and say that for a few examples it at least kept the company and their employees working.
This is part of the problem- the government has decided to filter the recovery money through companies and the companies are not hiring workers or re-hiring workers, instead, they are using the tax breaks and grant money to move their business elsewhere. The money meant to put Americans back to work is not doing the job.
During the depression, the Government created jobs, but the money went directly from the Government to the employees to work on a variety of projects, from building to documenting
what life was like in the US. We have fabulous collections of art, photography, and writings as well as hundreds of bridges, public works projects, dams and roads that all were paid for by a government wanting to put the money in the pockets of Americans.
I'm not seeing that scope of work in the current projects. Are you?