Saturday, November 30, 2013

Real vacation

Keith and I are home, safe, after a trip to Las Vegas, just the two of us. This was our first vacation that didn't involve relatives or friends. We stayed in THE Hotel (part of Mandalay Bay), and did these things:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Michael Jackson ONE (Cirque du Soleil)
Section 204 Row DD Seats 1 & 2
(Very good seats.)

Wednesday, November 27
Hoover Dam, power plant tour, 10:00 a.m.

Penn & Teller at Rio Las Vegas
9:00 show, Section 3AMP Row B Seats 6,7
(Front right, very near jazz duo playing before the show, close enough to notice the bass play was Penn Jilette—that was never announced or mentioned and he was facing the piano, not the audience.)

Thursday, November 28
Shark Reef , Mandalay Bay, 10:00 am

Sports display at Luxor

O by Cirque du Soleil
Bellagio 10:00 show Section 303, Row CC, Seats 1 and 2
(Those seats weren't good, nor could any very high seats be, because lights from behind the stage in several scenes were right in our eyes and we could only see if he held a finger between us and lights but then we couldn't see for having a hand in our way, so if you go to that one, get floor seats!!)

Some of the photos aren't art, but they'll remind me of something, so ignore what doesn't make sense. Several of them will end up in Just Add Light and Stir. (Two already have.) Some are of the drive there. We live in the desert ourselves, but it's different different places. Lots of beautiful sandstone that changes colors in different lights, and I always liked the scooped out erosion patterns.

My feet (ankle, knee) were really tired on Thursday afternoon and I ended up taking a nap. Those hotels are HUGE, and it's quite a hike to get across from our rooms to the shark reef, and then we went to the Luxor to see a Sports museum, and it's just a long way, with TOO Much noise, too many flashing lights, kind of exhausting in all kinds of ways.

We didn't gamble or drink any, though we considered both; the options were there.

Trees nobody planted

Trees on a sand dune in Duluth. The fence in the foreground is buried in sand. Lake Superior's over the hill.

This isn't a recent photo, but it was in an impermanent place and I wanted to save it here. I took this when Kelli Traaseth took me and Holly to Duluth in 2007. I liked the roundness, and later saw the other beautify in the photo.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Where I was when I heard Kennedy had been shot

Fifty years ago…

I was in fifth grade. We were playing outside, after lunch, under the honey locust trees that were in the southeast corner of the school. It was 5th-9th grades, in those days, at the "Hill" Jr. High in EspaƱola, New Mexico. First through fourth had just that year moved to the new elementary building up toward the hospital.

Our teacher was Mrs. Shilling, whose room was the first to the left (SE corner) of Beta, which was "the new building," just two or three years old then.

When the bell rang and we all lined up at the bottom of the stairs to go in, the teachers were talking, and didn't let us in right away. They were ignoring us, it seemed, and one of the younger women had clearly been crying.

I remember kids looking at each other with big eyes. Nothing like that had ever happened. We kept standing there, and they kept talking to each other quietly, and seriously, as though we weren't all still standing, lined up, waiting to be let into the building.

It was an overcast day, which is unusual for New Mexico, but it wasn't cold. The kids were all quiet, because something was wrong.

One of the teachers was called to the office by another adult, and the other teachers waited for her, there halfway up those concrete steps, and when she came back, there were more red eyes, and adults trying not to cry. They seemed scared, more than anything.

Then they let us into our classrooms. But the lights weren't turned on in our room. It was as dark as it could be in the daytime, kind of all pale and grey in there. I guess the teacher just didn't think about it, didn't notice.

Mrs. Shilling was older, and anglo, and so maybe Protestant. I never knew. She told us that President Kennedy had been shot, and that the busses were going to come and take us all home. She didn't know much more than that. There was just a little bit of talk, and I don't remember it. I think she read to us or gave us something kind of benign to do, because I remember it being quiet, but we started seeing busses pretty soon.

I think the Catholic teachers were the ones the most afraid, because I remember some of the kids had a less calm and calming announcement, from their teachers, which I found out on the bus, where the kids were all more talkative. We were ten, but the bus had kids as old as fifteen. Some were saying that he might have been shot because he was Catholic. Some were saying maybe the Russians would bomb us because of it now. We were used to lots of duck and cover drills, mostly the year before that when I was in 4th grade, so we were all pretty well spooked up about nuclear bombs, and we were just down the hill from Los Alamos National Labs. We were just little, and didn't know what to be afraid of, but the scariest thing for me was that so many adults were quiet and afraid, but trying to be calming and kind to kids who didn't know what was going on. Our bus driver, Mr. Serna, was quiet and businesslike—not grumpy and not joking.

It turned out that the discussions the teachers were having that day were whether we should go home or not. I guess the office was waiting for a decision from the superintendent.

The state said later they shouldn't have done that, and we had to go to school for a half day on a Saturday not long after that, to make up for having missed an all-crucial half day of school. I guess the bus drivers had the most benefit, with special hours on two days.

Also, I have no idea what kids who didn't have a parent home that day were to have done when they got home. I hope everyone had a friend to stay with until parents got home.

My mom told us that Johnson would become president and that the Russians would probably NOT bomb us, because all the army would be ready, or some reassuring thing. I remember thinking that was good thinking,if the military was on the alert. Kids in the bus didn't think of that.

I wrote this at Facebook, but figured I should save it in a more accessible place. I added:

That day, that corner of the school had deep sand, and the fallen seed pods of the honey locusts. Not so long after that (though it seemed like a long time to me then), when I was 21, and a first-year teacher, that corner was paved with black asphalt, and there were two portable buildings there. The first year I taught Jr. High, I was in that place every day, where I had been when Kennedy was shot.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Portrait of my van

I've had four vans in my life. Somewhere I have a portrait of the second one, outside the skating rink, when Marty was nine.

Here's the current one, a Town & Country, bought used at CarMax in December 2009.

It had leaves and water on it, and that's a bit unusual, so I took a photo so I can look back at it when it seems antique and hasn't been my van for a while.

The first van was a 12 passenger tan/yellow Ford Econoline.

Next, similar, less fancy, 15 passenger. That was called "the Wildebus," and we went on lots of long trips in it, and it was my around-town car when the kids were young and we took lots of kids, and bikes, and chairs, and as much stuff as we wanted. If that one surfaces, put it here. It finally couldn't be repaired once, and we got a blue...

Dodge Caravan, used, needed transmissions too often, had French Fries down in lots of storage spaces. Wore it out.

Now this Chrysler Town & Country, bought when two kids were still home (as teens), but Marty already had a jeep. We got it because the Santa Fe Unschooling Symposium was coming up and people needed to be picked up at the airport, some in Santa Fe, Some in Albuquerque. Keith and Holly and I were sharing two sedans (now both sadly gone).

I don't suppose my next car will need to be a van, except that once in a while we do take a batch of people out to eat. ANd it will carry things Keith's Prius can't even think of carrying.

I like it when people are posed against cars, in old photos. I like to see photos of cars and trucks on Shorpy and Retronaut.