Sunday, November 13, 2011

The last beautiful Fall day this year, probably

It's been a great fall.  After we made it through all the rain, earthquakes, and other storms we got the beautiful foliage, the mild temperatures, and lots of good local produce.  We've spent a lot of time outside enjoying the sunshine, blue skies and the crisp air.

I think this weekend might be the last of that.  We had a few bouts of cold air, lots of wind, and the trees finally gave away all their leaves.  Now that the sun is hiding more, and our days are getting shorter I'm going to feel the need to stay warm.  Maybe I'll cuddle up with a good book, drink some hot apple cider, and watch the skies turn from blue to white.

Here are a few shots from this weekend.  J and I raked all the leaves in the back, front, and side yards. Almost all of them have fallen and have blanketed all the grass.  We couldn't see any of the lovely green grass we had worked so hard on in the last few years.

It was hilarious to see Lhotse -the dog, find her way through all the leaves.  She almost can't be found!

I hope you're enjoying your November, where ever you are!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You mean, she actually posts??

Wow, it's been a long time.  Let's hope I can keep this up.  I'll try for once a week, and then maybe I can kick it back into high gear.  I have to admit it's been hard to get back into the swing of things.  I've been involved in a lot of things for the fast few months.  But it's all been really good.

Firstly, I finally started my yoga/art program!  The first session was this Tuesday, and it went really well.  We're working with a small group of teenage boys who are mandated to be in the detention home for 6 months.  The boys are all around 16 or 17.  I expected some excited behaviors or even some complacency. But they did great.  Some were glad to greet a time when they could kind calm down, and others were excited to do some movement.  I can't wait to go for it again next week.   It's a 9 session program, and we'll have to cram it all into 5 weeks.  I'll keep you posted.

I've also finally committed to yoga teacher training.  It begins in January and runs through June.  It's going to be intense, but I'm sure, a powerful experience.  I've already started reading the texts and taking tons of yoga classes to prepare.  I *think* I'll be ready.

Last but not least, I have some art work that I donated for a SEVA project my friend is working on.  She's raising money to go to Haiti and donate her time, energy, and money to help fund some educational programs there.  She's so inspiring.

Here's my artwork I donated.  We'll see what it goes for in the auction.  They're just some small pieces, and the pics were quickly taken with my phone.

This summer I was working on some pieces that were inspired by plants and nature.  One of them is a lotus, which is very symbolic to yogis.

So, my goal is to keep updating!  It's a work in progress, as always.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Divisible by 2,3,4,6,9,12,18

It was a lovely birthday weekend, and I'm ready to have a year of things that will teach me something.  Every year we usually learn many new things. I'm thinking that there will be no exception to the rule this year.  Last year at this time, my outlook might not have been so positive.  But everything changes.  And I'm so thankful that they do.  This year I hope to invite a lot more into my life.  I hope to accept everything that is given to me (good and bad) with compassion and hope.

This weekend was fantastic.  I went to work and some of my students even  made me a card.  There was even a little cake for me.  I got home a little early from work and took Lhotse for a lovely little walk.  Then Jarle came home and said," Get ready for dinner".  He surprised me by inviting my parents and my best friend to my favorite Thai place.  We all chatted and had a great time.  Talked about the good ol' days in Bonn, and really just enjoying each other's company.

Saturday-- was the day of rest.  I managed to sleep in a little.  My husband made me some French Toast, and a mimosa!  Then it was off to paint.  I managed to paint for a few hours.  It felt nice to just not think about time, or putting it all away.  Jarle watched his football game, and we ate a lovely dinner.  Complete with some wine and a cupcake.

Sunday was almost the same, except I had a nice yoga class midday.  Painted some more and settled in for the rest of the Sunday.  We also managed to have some good Italian to end the brisk fall weekend.

I can't complain.  I got a few gifts, practiced yoga, painted, hung out with my best friend and family.  It was the perfect birthday.

I also feel that birthdays are a good time to be a little introspective, a time to reflect.  I guess I've been doing that a lot these days.  With yoga, you do spend quite a lot of time focusing on yourself.  Thinking, meditating, moving through breath.  It really does have an effect on the mind, body, and spirit.  I used to be so closed off to that way of thinking.  I used to focus on how I "appeared to be".  Not about how I looked, but how I appeared to be thinking, feeling, and being.  That is not the way to live.  

I guess that's why I'm so attached to yoga these days.  I feel like it's a time when I should reflect, I should work past the hard stuff, and commit to doing my best at that moment.  I feel like there is no one there judging me because I can or can't do something.  I'm only doing it for myself, to find things out about myself.  My limits, the challenges, my successes.

I know this has gotta sound all very "new age", right??  I'm not going to go join a commune, or start carrying crystals, or talk about the vortex... No... But I'm committed to being aware of myself.  My positives and my negatives.  And I hope that I can somehow create a balance of those things.

Now- does this mean I'm not going to yell at the person who cuts me off when I'm trying to make a  turn at a light while driving?  

Ummm, I'll try not to.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Survived the earthquake.... Now surviving Irene

As I was just about to write this post, the electricity popped on!!!! Ok, I guess we can go make some dinner!!!! More later!!! I'm just so elated right now!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquake Frenzy!

Yep, it's true.  Virginia had a pretty large Earthquake on Tuesday.  It measured a 5.8 in our area, and it happened at about 2 pm.  I was in the hallway of my school using the copier machine, and all of a sudden there was shaking.  I thought to myself, "Oh something is shaking, I think the earth is shaking...Oh my god the earth is shaking! I hope it's not stopping. Please stop! Ok, that was definitely an earthquake."

You probably know that earthquakes really just DON'T happen in these parts.  Yes there are thousands of tremors all over the world, but this was huge news....maybe not to those who live on fault lines.  Many people I talked to thought that there was bomb or something, or a huge metro accident or something.  Which isn't so far fetched.  When the plane hit the Pentagon 10 years ago people did hear it and feel it. So when something really strange happens around here, it's intense, people don't know how to react.  People assume all sorts of things.

Talking to my students about it was really interesting.  Many of them were actually really frightened.  I think some of them didn't even know what it was, and then most of them didn't even know what to do. In spawned a great conversation about natural disasters.  We talked about tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis.  Most of them were unaware of what some of those were.  No one was in shock and most of them were able to laugh about it, and of course some them just played it cool (what happened...?  who cares?). 

On the next list of strange natural weather phenomenon is Hurricane Irene.  It's supposed to move up the coast by this weekend, should be a huge storm in our area.  I am not panicking, but in 2003 there was a huge hurricane, and it took out power for a whole week, and water was shut off.  It was kind of a nightmare..... So I plan on stockpiling some snacks and water, just in case.  Maybe a flashlight or two.

As I look out the window now, it's very gray and overcast, there are bouts of sun rays occasionally, but I think it's clear that something is headed our way.

No-- I don't think it's the end of the world.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Mornings

Waking up later than the usual time (8:30 instead of 6:15)
Walking downstairs to see the morning sun filling our little dining area
Taking time to make the perfect cup of coffee (decaf, with lots of frothy milk)
Fresh OJ
Homemade Waffles

Yep.  I REALLY like Saturday mornings.

I hope you enjoyed your Saturday morning.

Monday, August 08, 2011


Yep, that's how many more days (work days) until next summer break.  I often feel that I'm more connected to the new school year rather then the new calendar year.  I definitely get a feeling of hope when the new school year starts.  Which is good.  I always feel like it's a chance to start again, because I really DO love teaching, and no matter how difficult it can get through the year, I am so thankful I get to call this "my job".  I can't imagine being a teacher and NOT feeling that way. 

So-- this feeling of hope, how can I project that to my students? How can I keep that going all year long? Is it even possible?  

I guess I'll be answering that as the days go by.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

It goes way too fast

So I've had a couple of days to work on art, but the count down is on, for real.  I only have a couple more days until it's back to the J-O-B.  I feel like it's taken the past 2 days just to get started on art making.  I know I need to just keep my practice up, but I just really enjoy painting the day away.  Yesterday I made 3 little paintings.

I started making mazes again.  They symbolize so much.  I was trying to figure out a way to put something in my artwork, but the truth is, I just don't really like putting "things" in my paintings.  I draw objects on their own-- as sketches.  I have tired time and time again to put little flowers, or objects of nature into my pieces, but I just don't feel like it's my work.  So-- back to mazes.

I begin by measuring and marking my path with the ruler, draw lightly.  Then create path colors by mixing the paints to get the desired color.  I LIKE muted colors.  They aren't bright at all, and they tend to go more towards the grayer tones.  I'm trying to decide if I like my writing in the path, or if I should do something else with the writing.  I'm still very much tied to my script.

I have started a larger maze.  It's on top of some collaged papers I found.  I think they were blank music sheets.  The one that has the measures on them.  So I cut them up and pasted them up.  You can still see the lines under the painting because I used washes of paint.  I still like layering, and I still like that you can see the lines from the paper.  The washes on the paths are a muted green color and gray.

I'm trying to think of other things I would like to collage... I like simple patterns of lines, maybe words and text?  I don't know.

I'll post pictures if I get it together.  I have one small odd painting I did with a lotus.  But I don't know, I just don't feel connected to it.

It's nice that I've gotten this chance to start on some things, but I don't know when I'll find time to do this again.  I guess I really wish that painting was my job.  But then, I guess I'd have to figure out how to sell my stuff.  I tend to make my artwork for myself...and not everyone likes what I do.

Anyway, back to art!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ready to go!

Wow, I got a lot done today.  I guess that's what happens when the dog and husband are away.  I finished my proposal for The Creative Connection Art/Yoga Program and the Curriculum guide.  I also wrote some evaluation and assessments (hate those things).

All I have to do is wait for the approval from the D-home and I'm ready to go.  Please please please cross your fingers that I get approval soon.  I've not worked so hard for something like this since graduate school.  I really feel that there is a shift that's about to take place.  It might take a few years to see the final pieces come together, but I'm on my way.


It's a beautiful day out there

Somehow it's always nice after a summer rain storm.  You get much needed precipitation to make sure you lawn and garden are maintaining that green sheen, and it just cools everything off.  At least for a few moments.  I seized the day this morning by taking a nice walk around the neighborhood.  It DOES look nice and green.  This is usually not the case by the end of July.  Usually every one's yard looks so brown, that the grass just breaks off like straw. (Except for the people who water their lawn constantly)  It's so nice to look around and seeing things blooming, vegetable gardens providing nourishment, and trees not sagging from the heat and humidity.

I hope that I can maintain that feeling (the not sagging part).  I'm in the final stretch of summer vacation and I want to make sure I use every moment I have to do the things I love.  One of them being CREATE ART!  I've started a few small pieces, but they aren't quite there yet.  They seem a little lacking.  I'm not sure what yet.  As you know I create a lot of layers in my art work, and I think the one that's giving me trouble needs another layer of something.  Layers are intriguing to me.  Think of all the things that are layered.  Right?  SO much to un-peel and pull back.  The core, the center, the inner piece is protected or hidden from layers.

Ohh-- I just got some ideas.

Anyway, it is a beautiful day out there, I'm hoping the heat and humidity stay back a little longer so I can enjoy the last of my cappuccino (home made) outside on our little patio.

I hope you're enjoying the day where you are.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Let's all do the dance of JOY!! Creative Connection, the art and yoga program I'm getting off the ground is funded for yoga mats, blocks, straps, and a few art supplies.  This is just what I needed to keep the momentum going.  It has been a busy summer. I've been completely immersed in the planning of this program and I'm so happy we'll have some awesome supplies to see it through!!  What a great relief.

So now I have a grant under my belt, I'm actually going try and fund myself.  It would be nice to get paid for all this planning and implementing, wouldn't it?  Well, that's step 2 and definitely high on the priority list.

But for now a big hug, thanks, and tons of gratitude to all the people who funded this pilot program.  I hope to make it grow and spread!!!

Om - Shanti - Namaste
Everything - Peace - I honor the divine spark that is within you, which is also within me

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Art

The summer is going away faster than I imagined.  I've been trying to find time to do some art, but have had very little success on creating new images.  I have a bunch of ideas, but can't seem to get very far on the implementation of them.  I WILL! I vow it.  BUT-- I did kind of come up with a way to re-use some of my art.  And re-use some of my old dreary clothing.  TRANSFERS!

Remember when you'd go to the beach, you'd pick out one of those hundreds of designs to get your very own souvenir tee-shirt.  Well, I'm doing it with my art.  I actually like how these came out.  I have another that I made for my husband too, but I forgot to take a picture.  I think I've stumbled on a little way I can use my creative juices for a quick, successful creative process.

I'm no stranger to printmaking, either, so I really like using previous images over and over again.  So here they are.

This is from an old painting I did in graduate school.  I cut out the part that I wanted to be on the shirt.  

The one on the left is actually a multi media collage I did with some old word-a-day calendars.  It was fun to make, but I also decided to cut out certain parts and apply them to the shirt.

The blue one has a parts of a painting I did before I graduated from college.  I printed the whole picture and then cut out some positive and negative shapes.  I like the organic, rounded shapes.  And you can still see a lot of the texture of the painting, which looks already worn on the shirt.

What do you need for this?  Old clothing, ink jet printer,  iron on transfer paper, and an iron, and some original art work (or even photos).

I am working on a series of yoga-sinpsired art.  This is one of the first ones.  I used my old typewriter  for all the text.   Then I cut up the text and collaged it all together, and then overlapped yoga drawings (in seated-meditative positions) on top.  Painted it.  I'm still not done with the painting, but I liked how it looked already, so decided to give the transfer idea a try with something that was still in the stages of being done.

You can really see the texture here, and the holes in my shirt at the's retro, right?

So we'll see how these guys wash and wear.  A couple of days from now the iron-ons might fall off, who knows????  I did by the cheap ones.  I plan on buying the better quality ones next time.  And hopefully I'll use some different artwork.

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer.  I have had a good one, it just goes so fast.  I'm off to NYC for some much needed inspiration and then I'll be back.  Hopefully in the next week and 1/2 I'll have some new small pieces to post.  I can't wait to show you what I'm planning!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

All I ever do

It seems like all I ever do is update my class blog lately.  I love my students, but miss writing about my own art, my own life, and whatever else i feel like writing about.  I have about 2 more weeks left, and then I'm hoping to get back to doing everything I LOVE! Like writing, painting, making, baking, walking, running, swimming.  Basically any verb that ends with and -ing (keep it clean folks).

Seriously, I have neglected a huge part of my creative self this year, and I feel badly about it.  I think part of my happiness is connected to making my art.  I VOW to myself and to you that I will make it a priority over the summer, so that it then because a habit, which then becomes an extension of myself and what I do in my daily life.

Summer is coming soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's your motivation?

I'm a little low on that.  I haven't been writing the blog, or anything!  It's just one of those things.  Maybe it's because the RAPTURE is upon us... no, just kidding.  It's been a really dreary week.  The east coast is getting so much rain, it's depressing.  This is a very unusual weather pattern for us, and I think it's finally gotten into my head.  Normally I think I do ok around dreary days, but not this week.

Sorry, I got nothing for you right now.. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

To all you wonderful mom's and mom's to be out there... Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

DONOR'S CHOOSE!! My students need your help!

My grant idea was accepted!  Make a donation!  Spread the word! Or come up with your own idea for your students!  I'm so excited.  Things are taking shape.  Gotta get my art-yoga curriculum in gear!!!

Here's the link to my grant.

Happy Days!!!

Monday, May 02, 2011


A while ago I heard about the organization called "Donor's Choose", but I never sat down and wrote a mini grant for my art classes.  I guess I didn't give it a second thought because of  time (there's never enough) and choosing a project.  But I finally did.  I decided to do a write up for the art/yoga idea.  I may not be able to change my curriculum and include the techniques in my classroom, but my principal and his boss both said that it would be a valuable enrichment piece.  So, I bit the bullet.  If I get this grant, all I'll be able to launch a pilot enrichment program WAY ahead of schedule!  I'm so excited.

This is a step in the right direction, and I realize I'm going to be making a hefty donation of TIME, but if I want the project to become more than just that...well... I need to move forward.  I finally realized that I need to stop waiting for the opportunity to come my way, but instead make it happen for myself.  If I'm telling my students to reach for the stars, why aren't I?  What example would I be if I just stopped and stayed exactly the same? Did exactly the same thing?

That wouldn't make me a very good teacher.

Hopefully the bid for donations will be up by next week.  Hopefully I'll be spending the next few weeks figuring out the curriculum  I'm sure to get a boost when I attend a yoga workshop in a couple of weeks. This is exciting!  Keep your fingers crossed!

So for now-- I'm calling this project "Creative Connection".  It'll probably see some name changes if I see a similar program with the same name, but for now...... this is what I'll call the enrichment project.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


So it had been 2 years since I had been to the beach.  And it was a great trip.  But the beginning was a bit rough.  I left Alexandria at around 8:15 am on Saturday and finally made it to my destination in North Carolina at about 6:00 pm.  That 10 hour trip should have only taken about 6 and 1/2.  Why so long you may ask?? Oh the stories I can tell. I will tell you about each leg of the trip, and that might help to break it down for you.

8:15 - drop "J" off at the metro, with Lhotse, baggage, and groceries in tow
8:20 - stop at local coffee shop to well, get caffeinated.  Forgot to add a touch of sugar, go back and add sugar, and in the meantime see a "missing" poster for one of my students... (she ran away for 3 months, turned herself in and is safely going to a program away from her familiar group of "friends-- I think it's a good thing)
8:27ish - After the shock of seeing the poster, I get back in my car and head to the highway. Seems to be going until.....
8:33 ish - TRAFFIC!  MAJOR TRAFFIC! AND RAIN!! Did I mention it started to rain, and by that I mean downpour, oh and traffic.
8:45 ish - Enter barking dog in the car.  yep, that's Lhotse.  After a lot of petting and driving she finally decides to sit quietly.
9:30 - Still traffic, still rain, not even close to Richmond (which on a normal day would only be a 2 hour trip..if that.)
10:00 Pull off the road, in the rain, let dog out, take a walk, drink some more caffeine
10:05 Back on the road, more traffic
12:00 Finally pass Richmond!  That's AMAZING!!  So happy to have made it past that point, I really feel like I can move along now.
2:00 Another stop-- gas, "lunch", dog walk.  It starts looking gray again, I fear more rain, ergo more traffic
2:30 Yep, more traffic, but no rain
3:00 Open road.  Sweet!
4:00  Dog Stop, still really cloudy, strange....
4:15 Turn on the radio... Finally in North Carolina. have thinned out... humm....
4:20 TORNADO WARNINGS FOR THE LISTENING AREA! WHAT???? From this point on I'm constantly listening to the radio, it seems like I'm going in the opposite directions of the tornado, but who knows?  So, I keep listening.
4:45 Reports of touchdowns around me, but it seems north of my I keep going.  Lhotse is amazingly quiet.
5:00 I'm getting close.  I see signs for the coast.  Still cloudy and ominous, but I decided to keep going.  I'm in the listening area, and they keep talking about funnel clouds, but I haven't seen any, and don't see any in front of me.
5:30 Almost there
5:45 RENTAL OFFICE!  I pick up the keys for the rental. I've made it.  A huge downpour is about to unload on us, but I don't care. After 10 hours of white-knuckle driving I find the place and get ready for a huge glass of wine.
6:00 Unpacking.

Phew.  It was quite a trip to get down there, but after six o'clock everything seemed to brighten, lighten and get warm.  The first day was still quite chilly and windy, but the sun was out.  I didn't go in the water, and just read and relaxed on my own.  It was kind of nice being there by myself, but I have to admit I got lonely quickly.

It gradually warmed up to mid 80's throughout the week.  Jarle, Mom and Dad joined Lhotse and I on Monday evening.  The rest of the week may seem quite unimpressive to you.  We ate, swam, relaxed, napped, drank, played a few mean games of scrabble, walked, collected shells, played many many games of bocci ball, and had a ball!

The trip had been well worth it.  The fresh ocean breeze was great, and I actually felt refreshed.  I love these kinds of trips, where all you have to do is be you.  That's it.  The best part of the trip was exposing Lhotse to the beach.  At first she was a bit timid, but by the end she made up for it.  She loved discovering the new smells, and ran all over the wide beaches.

So now that countdown is on to the next beach.. Next up family vacation at Bethany Beach! Can't wait to do it all over again. Without the Tornadoes, Traffic, and multiple Lhotse stops.

There was a place were you could see more sand dollars, but all I saw were broken ones.

A new pastime for the Lhotse. She loves to fetch water-logged sticks.

Broken shells abound, but we did find many non-shattered ones too.


Cute husband enjoyed his time at the beach too.

Lhotse! On the run!!!

I had to jump for joy because I was finally on vacation! 


Long time no see

I've been away relaxing at the beach with my husband and my dog.  And it was great.  I'll take some time and post some picks this weekend.  This week back to work has been busy, but good.  I plan on updating my latest news with you this weekend.  It's been a LONG week.  But, I haven't forgotten you!

See you this weekend!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Thursday already

I'm actually kind of ready for the week to end.  Friday is grade day, and then ONE, count them, ONE MORE WEEK until the beach. And I think it's finally hit me.  I'm ready for a break.  We haven't had a holiday or anything since the one day in February.  It's about that time.  Now I just have to hope for some warmer temps, and maybe I'll dip my foot into the cold Atlantic waters.

Anyway, life roles along.  Teaching is going well, but we've had a few crazy weeks with some students.  I don't know why?  I know enough not to take it personally, I just wish that I could spend more time working with them on work, instead of using my patience to teach them a more positive way to communicate... --Just Breathe--

Saturday, April 02, 2011


It's a long story about WHY I like UCONN.  Maybe someday you'll hear it.
Go Huskies!

A little set back

When you get a good idea going in your head, you're bound to run into troubles.  I've been researching a lot of stuff for my yoga/art curriculum idea.  I'm really excited about it, but unfortunately don't have the backing from my school.  I'm a State Operated Program, and the educational superintendent, said while she understands the benefits of yoga she can't stand behind it as an educational component.

A couple of things that I've been thinking.  One, I don't think she understands that I'm trying to create a curriculum that would include some yoga.  I don't want to REPLACE art with yoga.  I want to make them work side by side for a more therapeutic program.  On a positive note, she did say that it would make a great after hours or weekend program.  I hear what she's saying.  

So, I'm going to write out something and clearly try to create some kind of pilot program.

A few problems.  I need to find some funding.  I can't actually implement a program without being a certified yoga instructor.  I need funding, want to get a grant.  However, to get a grant, I am GUESSING (I know, I shouldn't guess) that I need approval from my principal to get any kind of educational grant.  There are tons of grants for yoga, and later this program could get a grant from that type of grant, but they're for people who are already certified yoga teachers.

So the next step is figuring out how I can get funding so I can be certified... Hummmmm.....

In the meantime, I'm taking yoga again.  I think I have some time, but I'd love to be certified by the end of next year!  There's so much to think about.  BUT-- ALL GOOD!


Friday, March 25, 2011

It's been a while

It gets so busy this time of year, doesn't it?  Especially if you're a teacher.  March always seems like the longest month to me.  Winter isn't over yet, you can't really spend a lot of time outside yet, and you kind of start the big push until the end of the year.  For me, the end of the year doesn't come until June 28th! It's such a long year.....  BUT, I'm putting a plan in action that will keep me busy until the one month I do get off in July.

I've made up my mind and I want to create a non-profit that benefits underserved, incarcerated, at risk youth. Over the last year I've been doing tons of research on the benefits of yoga (and art)  and  I've seen some really great non-profits who have made a commitment to serve the population.  I think it's what I want to do.  So, I've begun.  I kind of feel like it might be what I should be doing. 

Some of you may be wondering, but Kate, you don't teach yoga.  True, I teach art, and I want to create some kind of curriculum or program that is art and yoga based.  There is so much literature about how yoga and art are good for you mentally and physically.  It's just so ideal for those two to be together. 

I feel so excited about it, and I'm doing a little bit of work everyday.  There are so many steps to take to make this happen, and I think it will take 5 years of work to possibly get it to be a non-profit or business.  But I'm going to try.

First up, I'm back to taking yoga classes.  I've been doing taking yoga classes off and on for about 10 years, this year I've been practicing on my own.  It's time to get back into the classwork, and be around others to learn more.  I've also signed myself up for a 3 day workshop in May for "Street Yoga" -- they have a website, check them out!  I can't wait to go to it.

So this is all in it's infancy, but I think I have a plan of action.  I need a few more people on my side, and of course the money to get all the training I need, but I'm hitting up my principal for that, and hopefully the State Operated Programs Director. 

Wish me luck, but I guess I'm finally ready to share the news, and that's a good thing.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Perfect way to start my day off!

How I love Jon Stewart, he's the best in the whole wide world......

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A word on professional development

I love teaching, I wouldn't really want any other kind of career that let me work directly with people and expose them to my love for art.  I'm coming to a crossroads though.  I feel like I need to find a new direction for my teaching.  I've been working mostly with at risk students most of my teaching career.  Students from mostly low-socioeconomic backgrounds and caste aside.  Most of the kids are low in several skill sets (including social skills). 

I currently teach in a lock down facility.  This is my 4th year there, and I love the students I teach.  They're a big challenge.  And I love challenges.  I feel like I offer them the best I can at the moment.  But I feel like I'm leaving out huge components for them.  Most of them are transient, many of them are in and out of the school.  Some students I've known all 4 years, off and on.

I'm trying to figure out what I can do to better my teaching.  I've checked into the basic programs I'm interested in, such as MFA in Painting, MA in Art therapy, and recently Certificate in IB programs.  Clearly the most time consuming one is the MA in Art Therapy.  Next.... MFA, and least IB.

When I factor in the cost and time of each of those programs, the IB certificate is the most attainable.   However, I'm not sure if it's the one that would most benefit my students.  I don't know, it might be just right.  However, this week, I became suddenly worried about my career.  My principal met with me to talk about the possibility of me getting my Art Therapy License.  I told him that it would take 3 years of work, and be very costly.  He said maybe there was something we could do about that.  But now I'm wondering if I should be worried.  It is completely appropriate for an art therapist to be in my current position, and I'm wondering if my job is dependent on my professional development choice.

I'm frustrated by the way my school district handles professional development.  All school districts are cutting back, and now to be reimbursed is a first come first serve until the money runs out.  And of course there is a cap on what you can ask for.  In this area, a three credit, in-state, graduate course is $3000.  Our school district will pay 1/2 of that per semester.  It's actually quite ridiculous.  How am I supposed to get the professional development I want...and actually need?

Yes, I do feel that teachers should be as current as possible in practice and curriculum, but it's up to the districts to really aid in the process.  I feel like my only choice is to participate in meaningless free professional development offered by my district, which in reality offers me nothing that relates to my students or my area of teaching.

So, I'm frustrated.  I want pursue something, anything, but am not sure what I should do.  Maybe this is the time to talk to my principal, and see how he can work with me.  I think he would tell me if my job was actually in jeopardy.  So I'm suspecting I'm pretty safe for the next school year, at least.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Heart Day!

Or as I like to say... the day of CHOCOLATE!  No matter what, for now...there is always chocolate.  I will partake in many forms of it today..... candies, hearts, brownies.... I love chocolate. And if I could perhaps change the idea of this holiday, it would ONLY revolve around the good stuff. 

Ahh, so love, yes, show your love...but eat and savor your chocolate.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Applying to get out there!

So, we may be a day late and a dollar short for the teaching international recruitment fair this year, but we decided to throw our hat in the ring anyway.  There were only 4 schools we could apply for anyway, because of what we could teach.  We wrote a really good cover letter and revamped our CV and added a picture of us from Italy.... So maybe someone will investigate or give us a reply.  If not, we're ready for the next round a year from now.

I've been wanting to put my hat into the ring for sometime now, and since J is still looking and searching high and low for a permanent job, I finally got him on board.  Is he still going to be looking for a job to stay state side?  Sure! But at the rate this economy is going, I have a feeling we'll be in the same spot as this past year. 

It's good to break the mold every once in a while, I tell him, get out of your comfort zone! See what's out there! You never know where it can take you!  So if we don't get a job this time around, maybe it will lead to other avenues of thinking for the both of us.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The year of the Rabbit

This must be the year for me, because I was born in the year of the rabbit.  And from what I hear it's supposed to be a much calmer and peaceful year (all for it). I mean it doesn't it kind of seem like the year of the tiger (last year) was something quite ferocious?

Well Happy New Year (again)!  And I hope that this one brings you pleasantries and happiness.  Because, be forewarned,  the next year is the year of the DRAGON!.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lacking in postage

Sorry, just keeping my eyes posted on what's happening in Egypt.  What an incredible time.  I'm sorry to see it turn after yesterday.  The protest I saw yesterday is completely different then the violence I saw today.  I know that a revolution can not make a society go backwards.  But I hope, really hope, that Egypt will be able to unify itself again.

I was lucky enough to experience some real bouts of national pride when some friends and I attended the African Cup Final in Cairo.  Egypt won!!!   And I utter saw happiness, joy, and really loud celebration! 

I'm glad that they're back on line, I'm glad that we're able to get some more authentic reports. These are some photos of where I lived .

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Expat in Egypt

An interesting article about a woman who lived where I lived, and her feelings on the current protests in Egypt.  I also read in other articles that the lootings have definitely stretched to Ma'adi.  The French Version of Walmart was even looted... Not far from Ma'adi.  It's hard not to pay attention.


My thoughts are lost in what's going on in Egypt right now.  It's such a significant time for that country, and the rest of the region.  I hope that what is going on there means positive and peaceful changes that will come.  They need a new government.  One that actually puts the people of that country first.  Not an autocracy.  YES, I'm talking about you Hosni.   It's ridiculous to even think that they call themselves a democracy when they disconnected use of the internet and mobile phone issues.

The people are speaking out and I really hope that means a change is gonna come.

Thoughts are with you Misr.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Andrew Bird

Had the extreme pleasure of seeing him play about 2 years ago.. I'd see him again and again.  Absolutely one of my favorites.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The snow. THE SNOW!

If you weren't following my feverish postings on FB, you might have thought I held out no hope for no school tomorrow. Well, you'll be happy to know that, it's not happening.  Otherwise, I would be in bed by now.  So I thought I'd just post a few pics.  This wasn't really supposed to be anything... but, as I said before, I'll believe it when I see it.. And I did.

Yes, I'm following my own blogs

AND SO CAN YOU!! I'm hoping that this will keep me in line. With art....and teaching (although I don't seem to need help with this one).  Look in my profile and you will see two additional blogs I'm trying author.  One's about me as an artist.  The other a classroom blog I hope my students can be a part of on a regular basis!   Follow me! It'll be a blast!

Bon Chance!

Planning for a winter curriculum

Well, an early day! Thanks to the bad weather we're having. It's said that we're going to have some pretty nasty weather over here in the DC metro area. We'll see about that. I never believe it until I see it. Every newscast says something different, and of course I check "weatherunderground". But no one really knows. All I know is that I got out early and it's on to making the rest of my plan for the rest of the week.

You have to be flexible when it comes to teaching in my school. Since I run more of a therapeutic program with art, I change a lot of things all the time. I don't usually have a full on open studio (it happens sometimes), but for the next few weeks, it might happen. I always like to give them a theme or technique, because after all, I have to keep track of everything. And they do like to have some structure. So my lessons are usually very open ended, especially since a lot of kids do not take art, have never taken art, or are just totally not into anything...

Right now we seem to have a lot of kids who are in and out. So that means short term drawing projects, or small paintings, or whatever. Too bad for some, we're working on a big theme-- Optical Illusions. We started with "Op Art" (which was quick, easy and fun for most of them). But, we've moved on to tessellations. They love them, but they're time consuming. Since there are kids coming in and out, they don't quite get the same satisfaction because you do have to invest your time, energy, and skills... I get a lot of," I don't want to do this, I leave tomorrow (or whenever)".

So I'm at a crossroads. Tomorrow is Thursday.. Friday is the end of the quarter. I'm thinking... maybe do some skill building, because it's just not worth starting something new for the new people, and the old people are not finished with the tessellations...

My goal is for students to have a meaningful experience in my class. And while I know it's completely up to them (they are 15 and older), I still want to do my best to help them find some kind of art niche. It wears me out sometimes, but when I see a kid really enjoy what he or she is doing, it really makes it all worth it.

So tomorrow- we could have school, it could be a 2-hour delay, or no school. I gotta think ahead so I'm not just offering up "free draw".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ice ice baby

It's cold outside. Ice is everywhere, it hasn't even begun to melt. NO SNOW! Just an ice storm. Here are some pictures! Thankfully we have the day off from school! Only to be made up in March.... oh well, I'll take it.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Hi, it's me again

First day back to school is always the hardest, isn't it? I had a shorter-than-usual winter break because school started after Labor Day. Well, not for me. I started school back in August. But our calendar goes along with the local school district (at least most of the time). So our vacation was cut down to 10 days. I have to say, by day 7 I was really into it. So into it, that I wish I had another 7 days to get my way out of it. It's kind of like a tease to get that amount of time off. I'm not going to complain, but it was hard to get up this morning.

But I survived. Many of my students were still there (well, there's no vacations in lock up is there). I have to say, they were pretty eager to see me for art class. Which is nice.

I've been kind of preparing what we'd begin when I got back, and decided on optical illusions. I thought it would be the perfect tie in to so many art periods, styles, and techniques. So I'm ready.

Oh, forgot to tell you... one problem. BUDGET. What? No budget?

So plans may change. I have a few supplies left over from the year I was gone, but mostly everything is in danger of being used up!! I tried to order things in the beginning of the year, but it was "complicated" (won't get into that right now, all you need to know is that people were supposed to put in the order and didn't....multiple times). So I made a huge order and put in back in November, and well, here we are... No New Supplies.

Frustration is setting in. I think I can hang on for a few more months making something out of not much.

In addition, I'm also in 3 different classrooms throughout the day. It's amazingly horrible. I've been told there'd be changes, but the new year has not brought a single one. Not even a storage space in one of the classrooms... WHAT THE HECK.

But-- a change is going to come, my friends. It has to come. I will make it come.

So survived is definitely the word for this Monday. I'm sure there will be a few more posts like this... But I hope not.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


It's only the second day of the year and I'm off to the museum. The National Gallery of Art is still showing the art of Archimboldo! I'm so excited. I've maybe seen 1 in my entire life. He does compositions of head that are composed of plants, animals and object. They're bizarre, but accurate. He was definitely ahead of his time, and artists after his time copied his strange and surreal visual representations.

It's in the final week, and then the whole exhibition is back off to Italy! So glad I get to close out my holiday with some art of inspiration! Pictures posted when I get back!!!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Hello! 2011

Another decade has come and gone. I hadn't even thought about that until just now. 10 years ago I started out the beginning of this decade in New Mexico! In between I've been quite lucky to have some amazing travels and meet some pretty amazing people along the way.

I haven't been much of a blogger this year, I have to say. I think i was just too busy to even consider telling much of a story. This year was full of some amazing highs, though. Oh, I don't know, like getting married. I can't wait to see what the next 10 years will bring us. I hope that I can spend more of this coming year focusing on a variety of things. I aim to gain some balance, and live more day to day instead of dredging up the past, or getting to ahead of myself. It is more useful to focus on the day to day things, what's going on now.

Do I make resolutions? No, not really. They'd always end up being broken. The only thing that I can resolve to do is try to learn something new everyday. Try to make the most of my day, and live my life how I want to live it.

So I know, not too much wisdom going on. I just wish everyone out there to have a wonderful, healthy, happy, and peaceful NEW YEAR-- and NEW DECADE!!!