Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What do you need for a happy life?

I was asked this question at my first 'back to school' staff meeting. A moment to pause and reflect, before the race of the school year begins.

I need sunlight and flowers and raindrops. I need walks in the woods, on the beach, on a city street, in a museum, or a beautiful garden.
I need some animals around, usually a dog, who love me just cause I walked in the door.
I need my bike to ride, my legs and arms to stretch and run and do yoga, and someone to rub away the pain. Or a hot tub soak now and then.
I need and am grateful for good health.
I need the laughter and comforting acceptance of old friends, and the possibility of new ones.
I need ART and music and dancing and great food and drink and someone to share it all with.
I need all the colors of the rainbow. And some paintbrushes, paint, fabric, thread and yarn.A sewing machine, too.
I need BOOKS, piles of books. And time to read them.
I need explorations near and far, sometimes alone and sometimes not.
I need to do work that matters, to feel frustrated and then successful, and to know I made a difference.
I need my family who always loves me no matter what. And I love them back, with the craziness that goes along for the ride.
I need the joy and sadness and pride of watching my 2 children grow from my womb out into the world.
I need Daniel by my side , in my bed, in my head. To talk and listen. And just be. Always there, always.

What do you need for a happy life?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gardening frustration and other things

My vegetable garden has been rather wimpy this summer. I did get some great kale, chard and lettuce in June. But the rest of the summer it has been one issue after another. Battling with the squirrels, above, over squash. This was going to be a beautiful butternut, one of my favorites for making soup.

 It remains to be seen if we get any red tomatoes, September is usually when they ripen. It was a fog in the morning- sunny afternoon kind of summer, with many warm days, so I'm not sure why my vegs have been so lackluster.

Here is a leaf painting I made last week. A photo will have to suffice. Just got a new computer and now I have to upgrade everything, CS 5 or 6, Word, etc... it''ll take a while to get all the bits working. It's one of those 'if you give a mouse a cookie' sort of things... one thing leads to twenty more. Ugh!

We did get a lot of gorgeous anemones, though. Usually they don't bloom til September... and this was last week. Do you think we're in for an early winter?

Oh, and here's a link to a list of the 'Top 100 Picture Books of All Time', put out by School Library Journal. I'm surprised by how many recent books are on the list. Many old and new favorites, and some I've never heard of.  Take a look!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Inspiration: Maria Montoya Martinez

Here's another amazing woman I've been reading about:

Maria Montoya Martinez. She was born in 1880, in the town of San Ildefonse, in New Mexico. As a little girl she almost died of smallpox, but was taken to eat the sacred dirt at Chimayo, a holy spot nearby, and recovered. She learned traditional pottery from her aunts and women in her pueblo. She and her husband Julian worked on an archeological dig nearby and helped uncover ancient black pottery, which intrigued her. She worked to figure out how it was made, experimenting with burnishing and firing methods.

Her husband painted decorative symbols on the pots, exploring glazing methods.

She taught what she'd learned to the people of her village, for her people believe in sharing everything with each other. Her village became prosperous because of San Ildefonse blackware. People came from all over to buy them. Along the way, she had four sons, and a daughter who died as an infant.

 Her son Popovi Da, became a potter as well. They  made many pots together. She made pots up into her nineties, and died in 1980. Her work is coveted in museums and galleries all over the US.A retrospective of her work was held at the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington, DC. She was invited to the White House by five different presidents and granted many awards during her lifetime.
Kristin   (great blog, check it out, her work is gorgeous!)
just told me about a video of Maria making pots... thanks to youtube and Kristin , here is Part One of 'Hands of Maria', you can find part two on youtube...