Monday, June 29, 2015

Steel Magnolias

Much of my time these past few weeks has been devoted to the sound booth of our little community center, working the sound effects and stage lights for our upcoming production of Steel Magnolias.   Rehearsals five days a week, then dress rehearsal this past Thursday followed by the cast party, and finally performance weekend:  Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday matinee.

Bleeding armadillo the cast party

The original play was written by Robert Harling, whose real-life sister - her struggle with and ultimate loss to diabetes - was the inspiration for the story.  We are all more familiar with the movie, which fleshed out many of the scenes including the wedding scenes, and put faces to the male characters who are only mentioned in the original play.  But their story lines track very closely and those iconic lines that we all remember so well were faithfully lifted from the play and included verbatim in the movie.

My booth mate, handling microphones and house lights

This particular play was a "stretch" for our pool of in-neighborhood acting talent and truthfully, some of the ladies on stage were much better than others at embracing their characters and remembering their lines.  Our little acting troupe has never done a drama of this caliber before.  Our repertoire usually includes comedies, melodramas, murder mysteries, and musicals....formats that lend themselves well to large casts, fewer lines, and much forgiveness for ad-libbing.

Dress rehearsal

But we pulled it off, more or less, and escaped mostly unscathed, although very little word of mouth kept the house only partly filled on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  By contrast, our previous production, The Carol Burnett Show, proved so popular and well-done that the Friday night audience and their rave reviews resulted in full houses for the last two performances.

Rehearsal: view from the sound booth

The computer is now put away until our next production, and my annotated script is filed away with all of the other scripts where it will be forgotten for a couple of years and then eventually thrown away in a burst of de-cluttering.

Cast party buffet

So now I have time to reflect a little bit on this particular story line.  Its poignancy, while not closely mirroring any particular event in my own life, still rings a little true in some ways that have given me pause to consider. In particular, the title of the play, Steel Magnolias, defines the woman who wears a feminine exterior while retaining a certain inner strength.

Two adjectives that I consistently hear others use to describe me are "strong" and "independent."  And I'm always taken aback when I hear myself described this way.  I don't think of myself in that light at all.  I just see myself as a woman living alone, doing the best she can, while harboring all of the insecurities and fears inherent in any woman who unabashedly wears her femininity and her heart on her sleeve.  What else was I supposed to be but strong in the face of my loss?

Magnolia in my front yard

When my husband died, I was suddenly very much alone and on my own.  I had no immediate family nearby, not even within driving distance.  I'd lost the person that I loved more than anything in the world.  I was suddenly pushed into the role of Head of Household in a brand new house I wasn't even sure I could afford.  I'd lost not only my pillar of strength - my husband - but a good chunk of our household income.

In no other circumstance did the expression "Suck it up, buttercup" apply more than it did to me on that day in July, 15 years ago, as I dealt with all of the financial, legal, and civil issues that I was facing alone.

I had two choices:  dwell on my loss and succumb to the drowning pool of pity; or stand tall, take charge of my life, and find the strength to move forward as best as I could.  I had a lot of details to work out on my own in those next few months after he died.  I couldn't afford to look backward....I had to keep looking forward to find the steady path.

And what about independence?  I suddenly found myself alone in a world that invests more in relationships and couples, and all but dismisses the "party of one."  I could stay home and be the grieving widow until I died inside, or I could go out into the world solo, eating alone in restaurants, attending plays and musicals alone, traveling around the country by myself.

Someone asked me the other night if I ever got lonely doing all of that travel by myself.  How do I answer this?  Yes, I do get lonely, but I'm not willing to succumb to loneliness by thinking about it, never mind admit it to a new friend.

If I allow myself to stand there in front of some of Mother Nature's beauty and wish there was someone there with me to share it, then, yes, I do feel lonely.  If I watch a particularly well-done play or musical alone, wishing there was someone sitting next to me holding my hand, then yes, I do feel lonely.  When I cross the finish line after running a half marathon, collect my finisher medal and then walk back to my car or my hotel room alone, the victory is a bit empty without someone there celebrating along with me.  When I eat in a nice restaurant by myself, the empty chair next to me or across from me serves as a reminder of just how alone I am in this world.

But over these past 15 years I have learned not to look at life through the lens of a lonely person.  If I think that I am lonely....then I will be lonely.  If I think that I am living life despite my being alone, then I am continuing to live my life as fully as I can, given the cards that I have been dealt today.

So as I sat in that sound booth, watching our actors play the roles of strong southern women - none of them any less feminine for their strengths - I wondered about the message they were sending to the rest of us.  Just how much strength and independence do all of us harbor beneath our magnolia exteriors?  And more importantly, Why aren't all women described as being strong and independent? Because beneath it all, every one of us has the capacity to be that way.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Marathon of Maintenance

It seems that every two years or so, the "to do" list gets long enough that I am no longer able to ignore it.  Two years ago I knocked off a bunch of projects, most of them annoying little wear-and-tear repairs that were bothersome or at risk of causing greater damage if left unfixed.

This year's list had been growing for quite a while.  In fact the top item on the list - replace the smoke detectors - was added almost a year ago and I'd even ordered their replacements from Amazon with the idea of pressing my son into action the next time they came over to visit.  Well, we never had that opportunity before he and his family were transferred to San Diego by the there they sat, a box full of brand new smoke detectors.

Then over the ensuing months I kept adding new items to that list until I had accumulated a whole bunch of wildly diverse chores.   While one or two of these I could probably do myself, the majority were out of my skill set or my strength or my ability to work overhead while standing on a ladder.

In my travels last month to the Dakotas to knock off those states in my "Half Marathons in All 50 States" quest, I stopped over for the night in Wichita and met up with a friend for dinner.  I knew that this friend had been unemployed for a few months, having been laid off, but I hadn't realized just how dire his situation was getting.  He had found a part time job, working two days a week at a fairly decent hourly wage, but it just wasn't enough to cover anything more than the very bare necessities.  An unexpected major expense would be devastating for him.

He's handy and a recent post of his on Facebook, showing photos of a plumbing job he was doing to earn his room and board, got me to thinking.  Why not pay him to drive down to Houston, spend the weekend, and knock off this long list of projects?

My offer was extended and he jumped at the opportunity to fatten his bank account a little.  Would it be possible to come down this weekend?  Yes!  So I did some menu planning and made a quick trip to the grocery store, then made sure the guest room and guest bathroom were ready.

My friend arrived about 8:30 PM on Friday after a long drive down from Wichita, and was barely in the door when I immediately put him to work, walking him through the list of tasks, taking some measurements, and making a shopping list with plans to hit Home Depot first thing in the morning.

Power washing the deck and patio

Look at how beautiful the deck looks after its cleaning!

The clean patio is now so white I need sunglasses to step outside!

I decided to go ahead and buy a Ryobi electric power washer, since the price was not much more than the cost to rent a large gas-powered power washer for the weekend.  This electric power washer puts out plenty enough pressure for home applications and it's fairly small and lightweight so that I can easily handle it myself in the future.

My faithful ficus tree, now bumped up to the next size pot.

While at Home Depot I bought two pots and some potting soil to bump up a couple of my outdoor plants.
My "rescued" and adopted dieffenbachia, finally out
of its nursery pot and into a real pot with good soil.

I bought paint mask tape and white paint for the cabinet bases, a project that I meant to get to before having the laminate floors installed but never got around to it.

My friend taping my baseboards so that I can paint them.
I hate doing the prep work but don't mind painting.

The finished result...looking so clean and bright!

Some replacement light fixtures for my kitchen, breakfast room, and pantry hallway jumped into my shopping cart.  I have always hated those original fixtures!  They were not especially high quality, just typical contractor-grade and supremely annoying.  The large fluorescent light in the kitchen was hard for me to reach, even on a 10' ladder, and I always struggled with removing the overly long and difficult lens so that I could clean it.
The original overhead fluorescent light fixture:
Plain, harsh, and difficult to remove/reinstall the lens
Old, plain overhead fixture replaced with this beautiful island light fixture:

Major improvement over the ugly fluorescent light.
This light quality is softer, and closer to where work is being done.

The hanging lamp over the breakfast room table looked cheap, and its fluted glass shade was very hard to clean.  So good riddance to those!

New breakfast room hanging light

Such a huge improvement in both looks and light quality.

Even changed out the ugly pantry hall light to this
slick and stylish LED light.

I bought a replacement doorbell....the old original bell is badly discolored and dark and I'm surprised the button even still works.  These are easy to replace and I could easily have done this myself, but it jumped onto the "to-do" list only because I had someone coming to tackle this long list of tasks anyway.
Getting the deck stained/sealed.  A slow tedious process
when a sprayer is not used.

Finished and now drying.  Looks so different!!
I bought Thompson deck stain/sealer, rollers, roller pan, brushes to coat the deck with after it gets power-washed.   Some other odds and ends came home with me from Home Depot, including a couple of packages of CFL bulbs for the new light fixtures, some long-handled scrub brushes to use on the patio and deck to keep them fresh-looking after their power-washing.  And almost $600 later, we were done shopping.  Whew!

Back at the house, purchases unloaded and it was time to get going!  We took a brief break and had lunch at the golf club house, but then quickly got back at it.  While my friend assembled the new pressure washer, I made quick work of re-potting the two outdoor plants.  I then had my friend go ahead and tape the baseboards in the kitchen so that I could start painting them while he was power-washing the patio and deck.

I had dry-rubbed some ribs the night before and so got the smoker going as soon as we got back from lunch.  The ribs smoked all afternoon while we worked and when they were done, I cooked some fresh corn on the cob and made a salad.  We made a quick run to the little corner C-store for beer and then sat down to enjoy dinner and catch our breaths.

The next day the smoke detectors were replaced, the deck was sealed/stained after it had a chance to dry over night, and part of the driveway (it's a very long driveway) was power-washed.  Not a very relaxing birthday, in fact most of my plans to have an enjoyable celebratory dinner with birthday cake for dessert were dashed as my friend raced to get as much done as possible and stressed over dealing with a mechanical issue with his truck.

He did what he could, finished what he had time for, but he had to get back on the road before it was all completed. I finished power-washing the driveway later that week, and added to the next to-do list, those items we couldn't get to.

I could take consolation however in the fact that the biggest or most difficult items on the list were successfully completed.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

San Diego Sightseeing

It's Monday in San Diego.  The Half Marathon race is over.   The son has the day off from work.   A perfect day to take a ride in the convertible and let my son and daughter-in-law show me some of the sights.

My ridiculously flashy rental car.  My daughter-in-law and my son
took turns driving it on this outing.

View of San Diego skyline from Point Loma
After some discussion, we all decided to spend the day down in the Point Loma area.  Daughter-in-law Christina drove the kids to school while son and I walked to Einstein Bros Bagels for breakfast, with Christina meeting us on her way home.  The morning marine layer moved out to sea much earlier in the morning than it had since I got here, so we had beautiful blue skies and glorious temperatures as we drove down I-8 toward the peninsula.

The Light House at Cabrillo National Monument

I was at Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument in 2008 on my motorcycle, but it was a quick visit to the national park and I wasn't in the most comfortable of clothes to spend more than a few moments getting the national park stamp for my IBA National Park Tour and taking a few photos of the lighthouse.
Pretty sculpture with a whale backbone behind it.  This point of land is
an excellent viewing spot for watching the Gray Whale migrations every year.

See that bank of fog off in the distance?  This rolled in every night and
receded every day around noontime.

Cabrillo Lighthouse behind us.  At Point Loma

My handsome son!

Coastal walkway along the point - Jeremy and Christina

As we strolled along the bluff overlooking the Pacific, my son drew my attention to a submarine being escorted back to base.  It was fun to watch, as two tugs zipped out beyond the channel markers to meet the ship, a pilot boat joined them, and the little convoy continued on into the channel.

A submarine being escorted back into the harbor by tugs and pilot boat

Before leaving the peninsula, we stopped at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery so that I could see some of the graves that date back to the early 1900's.  My grandson's cub scout troop placed flags in this cemetery for Memorial Day, and he was impressed with the history associated with many of these graves.  Veterans of the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II...sometimes veterans of two of these three wars.
Check out the dates and service record
of this veteran!
A very interesting headstone.  The plaque beneath it
tells the whole story.

There's a monument to the men whose lives were lost in an explosion aboard the Navy ship, the U.S.S. Bennington on routine maneuvers in Narragansett Bay in 1954.  Seeing that was very poignant.

Monument to the men killed in an explosion aboard the USS Bennington in 1954

My son had a place in mind for lunch, a pizza restaurant recommended by co-workers.  It was within walking distance of his Navy base, and we saw several men in uniform picking up lunch to go, or sitting to grab a quick bite.  We even saw a few Australian Navy officers who were on a ship docked at the base.  That was cool!

Lunch at Pizza Nova, with son and daughter-in-law

After lunch, my son drove us a few blocks along the edge of the Navy base where he works, and then we headed back to the house, Christina behind the wheel.  We needed to be home in time to gather up the grandkids at the end of their school day.  Jeremy and I walked to the grandson's school to get him, while Christina drove to Mimi's school to get her and take her to ballet lessons.  Walking back home, our arms filled with grandson's year-end accumulation of projects and artwork, we treated ourselves to Italian ices along the way.

A glorious day spent with my son and daughter-in-law...a rare treat when we can sit and stroll and chat at leisure.

Tomorrow I say my goodbyes with hugs and kisses, return to the airport, turn in my rental car, and fly home. It's been a wonderful and full trip!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

San Diego Race Weekend

As reluctant as I was to leave my family, even if only for a day and a night, I said my goodbyes to Christina and Mimi after a leisurely, late breakfast on Saturday and drove into downtown San Diego to the Courtyard Marriott.  Once there, I grabbed my little carry-on bag and turned the keys to my rental Mustang Convertible over to the parking valet and went inside to the check-in desk in hopes they'd let me get into my room early.   Hooray!  They did let me check in!

View of the Gaslamp Quarter as I walked down 5th Ave toward the
convention center.

My friend Sandy was taking the train down from Los Angeles and estimated her arrival at around 1:00 PM, so my timing was good.  I walked the few blocks - about a mile - to the convention center, and then went inside the Race Expo to pick up my race packet and to browse the vendors.  I visited the vendor booths a bit as I waited to hear from Sandy, and then walked out to the atrium area and ordered a Starbucks cappuccino.

Being happy at the Brooks Happy Island!
My favorite brand of running shoe!

The Cali Combo mascot.  Run two or more California R'n' R
races in a year and earn this extra medal!

Just as I was waiting for my Starbucks drink to come up, Sandy texted me to say she had arrived at the convention center.  I spotted her as she walked in the door, so cappuccino in hand, I joined her.
We finally meet up in Cali!  

We went back inside, got her race packet and then browsed the vendors together.  It was the largest Rock 'n' Roll expo I've been to so far.  Not as big as Chevron Houston or Flying Pig, and a few others though.  Word on the street is that they charge the vendors too much to exhibit, so not many sign up to exhibit.  But this one had quite a few vendors, with a wide variety of goods for sale, races to promote, nutrition products to sample and taste.

Giant screen in R'n' R booth

When we got to the Rock 'n' Roll Races booth - an enormous island booth with all sorts of multimedia going on - Sandy immediately stepped up to one of the computer stations and signed up for next year's San Diego race.  She couldn't resist the low, low on-site early registration fee of $50 (normally well over $100) and the free t-shirt.  As she waited for the guy to bring her the shirt, I relented and signed up as well.  It didn't take too much convincing on her part ("you can run with me, your son lives here, you can visit family, the weather is perfect," etc) to get me to cave in.

Waiting while Sandy (behind me at computer station) registers for next year's race.
I ultimately signed up, too, peer pressure being what it is.

Expo visit now complete, we walked along the harbor to a Cheesecake Factory for early dinner.  We scored an excellent outdoor table, let our waiter know we were in no hurry, and then had a wonderful, leisurely dinner, starting with glasses of wine and guacamole dip, then our entrees (miso salmon, brown rice, snow peas for me), then a slice of toasted s'mores cheese cake to share.

It was nice and relaxing, and so was the leisurely stroll back to the hotel.  Sandy walked part way with me before she headed toward her hotel.  We made plans to meet at the start line the next morning, both of us agreeing not to get there too early.  Once back at my hotel, I laid out my running things, set my alarm for 5:00 AM and then watched some TV before trying to get to sleep.

I had no problem awakening the next morning, since my body was still on CDT.  I got dressed, ate my breakfast of Cheerios and a banana, then departed the hotel at about 6:45 for the long walk to the start line.  The race start time was 6:50 AM for the half marathon runners, but I was assigned corral #25, though I had planned to scoot into a lower number corral.  It was about a 1.2 mile walk to the start, so I figured this would be just about right, given the 1 to 1.5 minute intervals between release of the corrals.

The walk seemed to take forever!  I crested the hill alongside Balboa Park but still couldn't see the start line ahead.  Another couple of blocks and it began to come into view.  Whew!  I began to worry that I'd cut this way too close.  My cell phone chirped at me, telling me I had a text message.  It was from Sandy. "Where are you?"  I didn't want to slow down enough to respond but also didn't want her to be concerned about me, so I let her know I was just a block or so away.  She texted back to tell me she was in corral #18 on the left side and to look for her.

So I walked up the left side of the corral barriers until I got to the #18 sign, but didn't see her.  I also couldn't find an opening in the barrier fence to get in.  Corral #18 was within two or so corrals from being released across the start line and I began to panic that there would be no place for me to enter the corrals this close to the start line.  So I backtracked to the first opening, which turned out to be at corral #20 and then texted her to let her know where I was.  She responded to say that she would be walking along the left edge of the course, and to look for her.

Well, after 3 or 4 miles, I never did find her, so quit worrying and slowed my pace a bit.  I eased into a comfortable rhythm and began to look forward to mile 6, where Christina and Mimi planned to wait for me.  When I got to mile 5 I texted her to let her know I was a mile away.

The neighborhood we were passing through between miles 4 and 6 was a really cool little area, filled with craftsman-style homes, most all of which were neat as a pin, some with fun, funky paint schemes, many with just a touch of California Hippie to them.  An older lady in a wheelchair had a big bucket between her feet and was making enormous bubbles with a huge bubble wand.  Another older lady with long flowing gray hair and hippie-style long dress was waving a large incense burner over the runners, blessing us as we went by.  A choral group of older men and women were standing in front of a house singing a Capella, and another group had pulled a fire pit onto the sidewalk in front of their house and were seated in lawn chairs around the pit, chatting, drinking coffee, cheering us on.  The whole neighborhood were mostly all out in their yards and driveways to cheer us on.  They really embraced the event.  I researched this neighborhood once I got back to my son's house, and learned that these houses were built in the very early 1900's and were some of the first residential homes to be built in the then-new city.

It was so wonderful to have family cheering
me on in the San Diego race.  Fun sign they made for me!

As I neared mile 6, the race route had us turning right onto Adams Street.  I spotted Christina first, and began waving my arms.  She didn't see me right away, as she was scanning the runners ahead of me, looking for my familiar face.  But then see did spot me.  I could see Mimi prancing and playing along the edge of the race course.  She didn't see me until I had come to a stop next to Christina.  Then her shyness kicked in and she wouldn't pose for a photo with me.  But that's was probably all a bit overwhelming for her.  I learned afterward that when Christina started marshaling her back to the car, she said she wanted to stay to see me come by again.  Sweet, sweet girl, unclear on the concept.

Sandy at the mile 6.1 relay exchange location.  She did
the relay with a friend.  I stopped long enough for a
selfie with her then I continued on for the second half.
I was buoyed by this meeting for the next few miles!  I got another text from Sandy saying she was at the relay exchange spot, just down the road from where my family had waited for me.  I caught up with Sandy for the obligatory 'selfie' and then continued on alone, since Sandy had done the first leg of the relay and she was now done.

At about mile 8 or 9 I began to have some lower GI issues.  Sometimes I get this at about mile 2 or 3 but it's usually a "one and done" kind of portapotty stop.  This was different.  I was taking an antibiotic and one of the possible side effects was diarrhea.  I'd been on it for 4 days now....could this be the delayed reaction?  Apparently so, as I made portapotty stops nearly every mile for the rest of the race.  It was not fun, and greatly cut into what had, up until that point, been a very good race pace.  After the second stop, I quit caring.  As long as I finished, my time really didn't matter.

The last mile was the hardest.  The portapotty sessions had taken a lot out of me, figuratively and literally.  I was trying to drink water and gatorade at every hydration station to compensate, but I was really dragging in that last mile.  Good thing those last few miles were scenic, if hilly, as they took us through the eastern side of Balboa Park.  It really was gorgeous!

The race route, data from my GPS watch

At one point, a really good drum troupe was pulling us up a very long hill with their rhythmic beats.  I could hear them for a mile.  Then when I finally got up to the top of the hill....there they were!

An incredibly good drum troupe!  If I hadn't been running in a race, I would
have shot a short video of them. 
Finally, across the finish line, medal around my neck, a bottle of chocolate milk, some water, and I was feeling a little better.  I found a place to sit down on the ground, something I never do immediately after a race, and ate a banana and finished my chocolate milk.  I needed to find a portapotty again, and went wandering in search of one.  I found the bank of porta units and, unbelievably, there was a long line!  I've never experienced this at the finish line!  Usually these are totally abandoned and empty!  It was an Argggh moment for me.
Taken by one of the photographers right
after crossing the finish line.  I always feel
worse than I look!

Then I was okay.  I began my long walk back to the hotel.  I'd scouted this walk.  It was very straightforward.  Just up a few blocks on 11th St, left turn onto Market St, across a few blocks to 6th St, then north to the hotel at 6th and Broadway.  And there would be a Starbucks right on my route!  I'd even tucked my Starbucks card into my pocket in anticipation.   So a fully caffeinated Vente cappuccino came back with me to my hotel room.

I laid down on the bed for a bit, ate another banana and a granola bar, sipped my coffee, then started moving toward the shower to get cleaned up, and then checked out of the hotel.  They'd given me a 2:00 PM checkout, thankfully, so I had plenty of time.

Pizza and recovery food!

I was out of the hotel and back on the road toward my son's house by 1:30 PM.  I looked forward to scarfing down a couple slices of leftover pizza that I knew were in their fridge and washing it down with some of my son's home-brewed beer, cold out of the kegorator!

My finisher's medal

Official finisher photograph
 My son and grandson were home from their camping trip, my daughter-in-law and granddaughter were at the beach.  A good time to chill out with son and grandson for a couple of hours and just relax.

Tomorrow, the grandkids are both in school and my son has the day off from work....a great opportunity for the three of us to do something adult-ish.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

San Diego Visiting

Well here I am, it's Friday morning, and we have granddaughter Mimi home for the day, while grandson Trevor has school.

The evening before, my son and grandson put on their scout uniforms and got ready to leave for their scout awards meeting that evening.  My son is cub master and by all accounts is loving it!
Trevor, looking so grown up in his cub scout uniform

The scouts

So this morning, it's a girl's day out.  As a special treat, Christina, Mimi, and I headed to Einstein Bros Bagels for a second breakfast after dropping Trevor off at school.  We had an hour to kill before taking Mimi back to the school for a pre-kindergarten interview.

The little interview done, we got into the car and drove the few miles to a Hobby Lobby so that I could buy some cotton yarn, crochet hooks and a little kid-appropriate cross-stitch kit for Mimi.  I intend to teach Christina how to crochet and Mimi how to sew.  I had a couple of Lego kits at my house, left over from when the grandkids spent a week with me last summer, and I shipped these off to the family once they got settled in San Diego.  So today was also a good day to do some Lego'ing with Mimi.
Working with Mimi on a Lego kit:  Downtown Bakery
We worked on our needlework projects on and off throughout the day, before Christina left to go pick up Trevor.  My son Jeremy arrived home from work a little early, as he and my grandson were going camping for the weekend with the cub scouts.  They had just an hour or so to get ready, so Christina put together some quick tacos for dinner.  Soon they were on the road, heading for their weekend camping trip, leaving us three home for the evening.

When I signed up to do the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon, I also signed up to do the associated 5k race on Saturday morning, but that would have meant heading into downtown San Diego on Friday to get the race packet and then staying Friday night in a hotel.  I had made my reservations originally to include Friday night, but when I found out that Mimi's school was having an art exhibit at 6 PM on Friday, I made the decision to just blow the 5k race off and called the hotel to cancel the Friday night portion of my stay.  Instead of going into town Friday afternoon, I will now wait and go in on Saturday mid-day, get my race packet, meet my L.A. friend for dinner then stay Saturday night at the Marriott before running the half marathon on Sunday.

So with my plans now rearranged - for the better, I might add - we had an early dinner then went to Mimi's school to see what this art exhibit was all about.  Four and five year olds learning all about Georgia O'Keefe and Andy Warhol definitely had potential and I didn't want to miss it!

Apparently what they were learning about these artists was sticking with them.  Christina was telling me that Mimi would come home from pre-school and talk about the artists and what they did that day.  Are we short-changing our five year olds by not diving into topics such as this??  The evidence is clear:  4 and 5 year olds can definitely learn and appreciate more deeply than we give them credit for.

One of the pieces they auctioned off...this one was my favorite, a group project in which all
of the kids participated.  It's made from plastic cups
that were softened with heat and then painted.

Mimi's interpretation of  Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Mimi's interpretation of an Andy Warhol piece

It was fun to see these pre-schoolers' interpretations of some very famous artists!  The school did a few group-effort pieces of art and then auctioned them off to raise money for the school.  These group projects were actually quite good and I had my eye on one particular piece until I saw just how high the bids were going for the other items.

Mimi's interpretation of a Georgia O'Keefe work. Mimi's work is the one on the top left.

After the art exhibit and reception, we all filed into a meeting room and watched a really well-done video, comprised of hundreds of adorable photos of the kids playing, eating, working on different projects ranging from science to cooking to art.  A very enriching curriculum for 4-5 year-olds.

The children's interpretations of Starry Night.  Mimi's work is in the bottom row center.

It was fun and I was really glad that I'd rearranged my Friday plans to spend more time with my family.
At Mimi's Creative Art Show

Tomorrow I go into downtown San Diego, check into the hotel and then switch gears into race mode.