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JUVENILE HALL There were ten boys this afternoon for arts and crafts. I showed them samples of mandalas from a book and then one I had started. I held up the various rulers, pencils and stencils that I had brought in. We were working on black paper with Prismacolor pencils. Most of the boys got into it and the results were striking. I displayed the final pieces in the front of the room so they could all see them and appreciate their effort and accomplishment. I reminded them that they could make mandalas on their own with paper and pencils.
NEW PROJECT I keep coming up with new projects and creative ideas. This one involves documenting my life on a daily basis with 100 words and one photo. I bought an album and backtracked to January 1, 2007 although I didnít actually have anything until the 4th. I assembled everything through March 1st and will keep taking pictures and writing so that there really is a dayliness to it.. Periodically, once or twice a month, I can download photographs and keep it current. I need to buy a USB cord that fits my camera so I can download each day.
PAELLA One of our daughters gave my husband a class at a local cooking school for a Christmas present. He chose to learn to make paella. Today she came over for a paella lesson which was, of course, our dinner. I took two photos of the finished product as my documentation for today. Dinner was delicious. There was chorizo, chicken, mushrooms and other veggies with rice. I should have stopped with one serving but it was too good. Dessert was a custard tart with a crisp crust and lots of fruit on top -- huge blackberries, blueberries, kiwi slices and strawberries.
SLEEP Beulie wakes up at 5:00 each morning, as though some internal alarm has been set. Weíre tired. I havenít gotten out of bed with the 7:00 alarm three mornings in a row, Iím just too whipped. Sheís starting to bark more too and more loudly. What she wants is to play with Brix and to have totalfreedom all day. What I want are blocks of quiet time so I can work. Sometimes I give up and stick her in her nighttime sleeping crate where she crashes for long stretches until I can give her my full attention.
BIRDS I can hear the cheep and chortle of finches outside the front window. Iím guessing that theyíre finches because I see so many surrounding the birdfeeders in the back yard. I wish I knew names of more birds so that I could identify our visitors. I just started feeding birds and observing them through Steveís binoculars. They are so hungry and feed so greedily and so busy, busy, busy! There are three tube feeders hanging from the liquid amber tree by the fence and, whenever I look out the kitchen window, there are about 20 birds clinging and pecking.
DOWNTOWN I was downtown earlier this evening but after 9:00, after the stores were closed. I donít do much shopping but I was with a friend and we were window shopping together. I want to go back during the day when everything is open and I can browse and browse. There were intriguing little gizmos and things that I might want to look at more closely, if not buy. I donít need more junk and clutter but I do like things to look nice. Increasingly, I want ďprettyĒ or ďinterestingĒ in my world. I want more fresh eye appeal.
LIBRARYTHING I just discovered LibraryThing.com. I can catalog my books and I can retrieve them to see what I own. I can read what others have to say about them. But I havenít figured out how to sort them by the Dewey Decimal numbers or Library of Congress or even alphabetically. That would give me the organization that I lack in the house -- I would see them lined up the way they would be if I were in a real library. I also need to tag the books by where they are in the house -- now THAT would be useful!
TOO MUCH -- This was one of those days that was just too full with too much to do, to consider and to learn. Our Spanish class is becoming more intense now that we have a different, more active teacher, and the work load has increased. Thatís two hours. Then I went to Juvenile Hall for a group of jerk boys who are in trouble, another hour. I saw one client. I hauled the new puppy with me everywhere so sheís as exhausted as I am. Commuting time today was 1-1/2 hours. There was also puppy play today - fun!
TGIF - I am so glad this is Friday and wish the weekend would go on forever. There was too much intensity this week -- the girlsí shouting match at Juvenile Hall, three sobbing clients, the potluck for a friend who got bad cancer news, the friend I disappointed by canceling out on her, going to the dentist, etc. I feel a bit frazzled. I want to use the weekend to revamp some of the storage in my office, wash the windows, damp-dust the blinds and sort things out. With more organization I wouldnít feel so pulled apart when things go awry.
83 YEARS -- I attended a friendís 83rd birthday party today. Imagine being 83 and well enough to celebrate! There were about 12-15 people there, I didnít count, and it was delicious and festive. Almost all of us knew each other so this was a group of friends as well as individuals who had a connection to the birthday girl. I am not expected to live that long. My health is poor and I donít do enough to improve it. Itís already a miracle that Iíve lived the past five years. I canít imagine living all the way to 83.
PROGRESS Someone helped me figure out how to transfer photos from my camera to my computer so I can print them directly or forward them to friends. This has been a problem for over a year so Iím thrilled to finally have it solved. I also figured out how to combine all the blogs I follow into one folder so my button bar isnít so congested. I continue to struggle with technology but I also keep learning. I should take a one-day workshop so I can work more effectively. I spend so much time trying to get computer tasks done.
HONOLULU - Steve made all the travel arrangements for our trip. It will be great to see John and Tracy in their natural habitat again since we missed last year. This is a celebratory vacation and I expect it to be wonderful. Leon recommended a place to stay and we got a discount by mentioning his name. Steve was gracious to the manager on the telephone, it comes so easy for him. Heís going to have me take his luggage since he will be transferring from his trip from London. Itís unusual for us to be trekking all over like this.
ALMOST CAUGHT UP -- Heather and I went to class this afternoon. It ended at 6:00 so we went to Verizon to get her new cell phone. We stopped for hamburgers, then on to Albertsonís to download and develop the film in her camera. Now she can call her friends again and put her pictures in her album. We have two more things to do -- she needs a haircut and we need to make reservations for her restaurant birthday party. The haircut can wait until Friday but the reservations can be made tomorrow. She has the party invitations almost ready.
SPANISH - I wrote my Spanish composition which is due tomorrow. As usual, I put it off until the last day but, once I started, I did my best. Iíve lost much of my original enthusiasm for learning Spanish since our teacher was changed. Thatís silly -- the new one is engaging, hardworking and kind. But I donít want to work hard! I thought I already was working hard enough. It would be good for me to put forth the extra effort necessary to master this language at least well enough to be able to chat with the boys at Juvenile Hall.
TORN PAPER - For arts and crafts today I showed the kids how they could tear up bits of paper into random pieces and then let the shapes remind them of something, which they could draw on the shape, then glue it onto a larger sheet of paper. Itís sort of like looking at clouds and having oneís imagination tricked into seeing an animal or object. I brought in 100 markers so all needed colors were available. They had glue sticks. There was permission to be momentarily destructive. Everyone ended with a sheet of paper filled with these simply designed scraps.
HAPPY DOG - I called Steve and suggested meeting at Happy Dog for a hamburger lunch. We were not a matched set. He came in looking all dapper, just back from a court appearance with a tie and polished shoes, wearing a suit. I had my pink Keds, a pink turtleneck and cord pants and unmatched jacket and looked like I was ready to clear out the garage. Thatís the way itís always been with us and yet somehow it works. I try hard to do things right and miss every time. I hope the house is clean when I die.
BLOGGERS ANONYMOUS Weíre all going to be members of a new group with the escalating rate of blog formation and the time we spend constructing and reading blogs. At least thatís my truth. I have two blogs now -- one is like a weekly letter to the universe, especially friends and family. The other one is updated almost daily and has many more photographs of projects and daily life. They have similarities -- I can only vary my life so much -- but they serve different purposes. One is slightly censored, the other one shows projects and mistakes and would interest fewer people.
BISCUITS - I surprised my family by baking homemade biscuits for dinner this evening. They were to accompany the corned beef and cabbage Steve made for our St. Patrickís Day celebration (one day late). Both Steve and I had read Clyde Edgertonís book, WALKING ACROSS EGYPT where the main character, Maddie Rigsby, makes biscuits on every other page. I developed such a hankering for some that I actually made some! They were fresh, warm from the oven, and full of butter and calories. I would like to cook and bake more in the coming weeks before I forget everything I know.
FRUSTRATION CITY -- I spent almost all day studying for my Spanish exam tomorrow. The new instructor has doubled the work load from the last teacher - right in the middle of the semester. I was working carefully and diligently and got the workbook pages done correctly, including the composition. Then I tore out the pages from the lab manual. I looked through all the CDs that came with the package and there wasnít one for the lab manual. I donít know if Iíve lost or misplaced it, never received it, or if it can only be borrowed from the language lab.
MAGAZINES - I have a stash of magazines, actually several stacks all over the house. I think I am officially a hoarder and I donít know why. I am committing to pitching one per day until Iím all caught up. I donít even know if I can accomplish this by the end of the year, there are that many, but I am going to keep at it and log it in on 43things until Iím finished. Iím humbled by how many there are and by how much space they take up in my life and in our home. I want success!
THREE DOG NIGHT - Parisse is back, Beulie is still here and probably not leaving and Brix, of course, is here. I think we will have three dogs for at least 1-1/2 years, possibly longer. These are great dogs - three black or yellow labrador retreiver/golden mixes. Each is beautiful. The two black dogs have shiny fur; the yellow one is full of fuzzy baby fur. They seem to get along with each other. They play, they lie down and watch each other, they chase, steal each otherís food and play in subtle ways that I donít even get.
BIRTHDAY - Tomorrow is Heatherís 34th birthday. This year sheís getting mostly art supplies -- a sketch pad, a copper embossing kit, a pesanki die and wax set, a paint box and I forget what else. She is quite interested in art and making things and I want to encourage that. I have wanted to make Ukrainian Easter eggs for years so this year weíll learn together. It looks so complicated! Signing Heather and myself up for the same art class has been one of my best ideas. Weíve both benefited and learned. I keep taking the same ideas into Juvenile Hall.
BIRTHDAY - Today is Heatherís 34th birthday. When she came home today the dining room table was stacked with all the gifts I had wrapped, mostly new art supplies. Iíll help her with some of them -- copper embossing, for example -- to get her started. She seemed pleased with the ďtravel packĒ of supplies that she plans to take to Yosemite, Honoulu and Alaska. We both need to draw as much as we can while we are traveling. One of the best things I ever did for Heather was to enroll her in the SRJC art class. She is doing so well.
LETTER - A teenager from Sierra Youth Center wrote a letter to me. I received it yesterday just as I was leaving Juvenile Hall where I first met her a couple months ago. She wrote on March 1st. Iím annoyed with the Hall staff that someone held it up for three weeks before it was given to me. This poor girl probably thought I wasnít going to answer when, in truth, I answered in less than 24 hours. If she had gotten a prompt response from me it is more likely that she would have written again. Now, I donít know.
PARTY - We just got home from Heatherís birthday party. Sheís 34 years old now. She looked well this evening. Her skin was clear, her hair recently cut with a nice short style that suits her. She was wearing a coordinated navy outfit and looked well groomed. I was proud of her tonight. She was kind to her less abled guests and helped them cut their food and served them. She was gracious in her response to her gifts. Little by little she seems to be maturing. I need to help her more here at home to keep her doing well.
POSTCARD - I had fun today making a collage postcard for Chase. I used a motel advertisement from San Francisco Magazine for the background and added amusing (to me) magazine images to alter the original photograph. It was simply a playful way to use the many magazine clippings Iíve been assembling, now on a daily basis as I attempt to clear out all the stacks of magazines around here. I will probably make lots of these because it was so fun. I need to be silly on a daily basis. The reality of my situation and my work life require it.
JELLY BEANS - I got a case of the munchies tonight and indulged in a thousand, million Jelly Bellys (or is it Jelly Bellies?). Anyway, I ate a lot, way too many and I really, really enjoyed them. I donít know how much sugar that was and I hope I never find out because it was a lot. My whole body is so wired itís like electricity is going through every cell and my ears are ringing too. The right thing to do would be to toss the rest of the bag but thatís asking too much. They were SO good!
INITIATIVE - Iím arguing with myself about whether or not to go to my Spanish class tomorrow. I really donít want to. Iíve missed one class so far this semester, so if I donít go tomorrow I will miss a second one. I know Iíll miss two more in May, so four altogether. That seems a bit much. Iím lethargic, have been all day. I havenít been getting any exercise. I donít really eat all that much, just too much for my current activity level. I need to reduce the carbs and up the exercise. I especially eat too much sugar.
KITCHEN SINK - I started flying with FlyLady.com again, picking up from last year. Step One is always to shine your kitchen sink each night so you start the morning with one thing done well. It Ďs truly a morale booster, I agree with her. Iíve completed ten days ( of eleven) with a shiny kitchen sink so now Iím ready to find out what the next best step is. Iím hoping to develop habits that really help us stay neater and more organized. Iím willing to work on this the rest of my life. I want to die neat and tidy.
HISTRY - I just added reading history to my personal goals. Someone gave me a huge American history text. My goal is simply to read one section daily, like people read the Bible. It will usually only amount to a few paragraphs so thereís nothing difficult about it, itís forming the habit that might be hard. I know so little about our nationís history, itís embarrassing. My hope is that I can play catch up and develop some basic body of knowledge in this important subject area. I need to put the book on the table where I see it.
EARLY - Beulie woke me at 5:30 this morning. I let her out and when she returned she slept another 30 minutes but it was all over by 6:00. Then Parisse joined us. So, at 6:05 I was writing my three morning pages and the day had started. Heather is going to a basketball tournament today and is being picked up at 8:00 so I wanted to stay up and see her off -- and also to wake her up so no one overslept. Iím not usually up and functioning this early but today hasnít been that difficult.
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