Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mr. T Spends the Night

Toby brought the GGs home with him Monday night so that they could spend the night and stay with us all day Tuesday. Mr. T was supposed to go with his parents to the City. Unfortunately, Mr. T did not want to be left behind. His mom said he stood at the door and cried after the GGs left. He pulled a bag with him and said, "I pack." He was so pitiful, that I had his parents bring him out so that he could stay with us too.  It was the first time that he had spent the night with us. He did pretty well. The GGs did well too. Here is a photo of Mr. T sitting in the morning sun.
He was a busy boy making lots of messes, but no real harm done. He fed the dogs two bags of chips at two different times by pouring them out on the floor. He poured my coffee on the floor.  He dumped the watercolor water over himself and the floor. He is quick. Or possibly, this grandma is slow - slower than she used to be, anyway.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Teaching Reminders

Here is some art that I have been working on. This one is Bobcat Pass in NM.
This one is from Ocate, NM.

Back in my public school teaching days, I learned that I could teach the parts of speech or the "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner," but when it came to making a difference in a child's life, that was not so easily done. What a kid learns at home way outweighs anything I could teach. And truthfully maybe it was not my job to teach life lessons.  Maybe I should have stuck to grammar and lit, but it is difficult not to try and help, and that is what I was doing - trying to teach kids to get along in life, manners, etc.  One time, a student used some foul language while talking to me. He was not being rude, just talking. Casually, I said, "You aren't suppose to use that sort of language to me." In all innocence, he replied, "Why not?"  I said, "Well, I'm your teacher and out of respect, you don't use bad words when talking to me. You would not use those words with your mother, would you?" He was truly dumbfounded and went on to say that he did use that sort of language with his mother and she used it with him. That was a "life lesson" for me.

I can think of a couple of times when a student came to me and told me that what I had said (taught) had really made a difference - made them think differently. And those students actually said thank you. Those moments made teaching worthwhile.

All teaching is worthwhile. Just being with young people is worthwhile. Sometimes, though, it is like hitting your head on the wall over and over to no avail.

Earlier this week I taught a watercolor class for teens through the Chisholm Trail Arts Council. It was sort of a summer camp thing. The teens I had were on the young side. I would say most were 13 year olds with a few 14 to 15 year olds. The CTAC director had said she did not think the teen class would make and that I would probably only have a few kids. Although I asked her to give me an exact number so I could plan, the director got busy and forgot to tell me there would be 16 kids. Dang! I had prepared for maybe seven kids.  So I plunged in and did my best. Most of these kids were not artists, but just kids whose parents wanted them to be busy. Most of these kids were immature. So I had to let my expectations go and just have fun with them. And we did have fun, I think. I had forgotten how kids could be.

Then yesterday the Tutoree came over. We had lunch together, and she caught me up on what was going on in her life. She told me about some problems in her life, and I offered her some wisdom on her problems. My wisdom was not to her liking. We had a pretty good row about it, which is not really that unusual with the Tutoree. We've had lots of rows. What was unusual was her anger over something so simple. Of course, once she was mad, she was not hearing anything more. She pretty much told me that she did not have to do what I said. True, but she should consider what I said. She said no to that too. It all made me feel like the last three years of teaching her, gaining her confidence, being her friend, and trying to make a difference in her life were gone - disappeared into thin air. I was reminded that even when you pour yourself into a child, you may not do any good. Then again, sometimes results are not evident until years later. It does not stop me from saying what needs to be said or doing what needs to be done.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Mountain Fever

When the 4th of July rolls around, I get terrible homesick for the mountains. I miss the parade in Red River and all that goes with it. I miss the cool weather.  Last year Jes and I were in Red for the 4th. We had a good time, but it was not the same as yesteryear. The parade is just not what it used to be. People used to put lots of effort into their 4th of July float. Now it is mostly 4 wheelers. They all look the same. Things change. Such is life.

This year we went to Marlow, OK, for the 4th. Toby and I manned a booth for a friend who is running for district judge. We were there from 8 AM to noon at the local park along with all the other Okies. It was an interesting crowd. The temps were in the low 90's, which is rather cooler than most 4th of July's. And yet, I kept thinking, "It is just hotter'n hell in Oklahoma." We all wore our yellow shirts and made quite a showing. Approximately 75 people with yellow shirts showed up at the parade to support Josh.  Other candidates for other offices were impressed. Jesse showed up in time for lunch and took this photo with a bear. I was impressed. She did not have a yellow shirt since she has been off gallivanting in the mountains.  After our trip to Peru, she made a trip to Red River and did a bit of backpacking and camping in the high mountains. She said there were no bears, but plenty of mountain goats. You can see one in the lower left corner of this photo.  NM reintroduced the mountain goats to the area and the goats have thrived. Jesse said the goats were a bit intimidating - the goats got pretty close - apparently people have been feeding them. I love these pics of the mountains. It has been a long time since I hiked to Wheeler Peak. Homesick for the mountains. Yesterday, GBN1 asked me what was the best part of our trip to Peru. I said for me, it was the bike ride in the mountains.

Thursday, July 03, 2014


Although our vacation was great, it would have been even better if I had not gotten blisters on my feet. The blisters limited what I could do in Cusco, so I rested up. Then we moved on to Lima.

Lima was a big city.  Our friends from Chile said this of Lima, "It is always overcast in Lima, but it never rains." When we got there, it was overcast, which was actually very nice. The hostal we had booked was in the Miraflores section of Lima. Our room was not ready, but Gonzalo (very cute, young guy) put our luggage in a room and sent us off to explore the city and have lunch.  We walked down the street and found a coffee place that had the World Cup playing. From there we walked to the Huaca Pucllana and ate lunch at the restaurant there. It was very nice. We spent a bit more money, but the food was excellent. We tried a bit of cuy - an appetizer. Then I had sea bass - yummy. The sun was out now and it was getting pretty warm so we had a couple of beers before heading out to see the ruins. We took the "English" tour.  When our guide began speaking,Toby turned to me and said, "Good thing we took the English tour." Our guide's English was a bit funny - maybe due to his high-pitched voice. Toby could not understand anything he said, so we were all repeating the guide's words. And the guide had a habit of repeating words his own words. It was entertaining.  The ruins there interesting, too.
We continued our walk - this time heading down the the Boardwalk. We watched the para-gliders - lots of them - floating all along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. So cool. I was glad that Jesse, Lindz, and Shay opted not to do it :)The Boardwalk was so beautiful! I loved it, but the walk was killing me.
Shay said we had walked over six miles. We were looking for some "bohemian" place which was suppose to be artsy. I guess we eventually found it - maybe. We stopped to have coffee and dessert and to ask directions. Then we took a taxi (yay!) to the Bridge of Sighs, which is suppose to be very romantic.  When the five of us packed into a small taxi, Shay pulled out his phone to use Google Translate to tell the driver to go to the Bridge of Sighs. Of course, the translation did not translate exactly like we expected. So Shay tried to get Google to say "romantic place." We all, including the driver, got such a kick out of the translations. The driver took us to the bridge easy enough. The bridge was lovely and fun, but it was more walking as we walked down to the ocean view again.Then we walked back to a little plaza where a chocolate festival was happening - that was fun!  We bought some chocolate! Imagine that!

By this time I was worn down and my knee was killing me. It was as if my body was saying, "Enough!" Toby and I took a taxi back to the hostal while the kids stayed to have fun. Our flight was at 4 AM, and I wanted to rest a bit before we had to go to the airport.

The flight home was pretty uneventful. TACA airlines always seems to make a pitstop in San Salvador. Last year when we went to Ecuador, we had the same airlines. We also had the same tense moments in San Salvador where they have people (no machines) go through EVERYONE'S luggage with only an hour lay-over. We actually had several interesting moments with our airlines - I don't think I have ever had to take so many buses out to the tarmac to catch planes. We also taxied through some interesting airport stuff, too. Even back in Dallas, we had some "third world" moments. What is happening with airports? Never a dull moment!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

City Tour of Cusco and Nearby Inca Ruins

When we left Machu Picchu, we took the bus down the mountain. On the bus we met a young man from the Philippines by way of Canada. Jef fit right in with our family and joined us for lunch and the afternoon in Aquas Calientes. On FB, he shared these two photos with me. I thought this one of Machu Picchu an especially nice photo of the sun coming up and hitting the ruins. This photo was taken later in the day at a coffee shop when we needed a little coffee to perk us up after a long day, and we still had to catch a train, a bus, etc. to get back to Cusco. 

Once back in Cusco and a day of resting up and a bit of shopping, we booked a city tour. We met our guide in front of the Cathedral de San Francisco in the Plaza de Armas and started our tour inside the church. The church was pretty amazing with the combination of Inca and Spanish cultures. I especially liked the huge painting of the Last Supper with cuy as part of the meal.Then we walked a few blocks through the town to Qurikancha Temple of the Sun. You can see the Spanish influence with the arches. Then look through the arches to see the Inca Temple of the Sun. From there we took a van to Sacsayhuaman.  We did not get to spend nearly enough time here. These ruins were pretty fascinating, but it was getting to be late afternoon and we still had other places to see. Here is Shay and Lindz in front of the huge Inca rocks. More giant rocks!
 Next the van took us to a place called Tambomachay.  We had to walk up a long hill to get to these Inca ruins and it was getting cooler and darker. Still, pretty fascinating!
 Last, we went to Q’enko. Now this was a place I would love to have seen in better light. Our guide took us into a cave used by the Incas to do some sort of rituals - like operating on people's brains. It was so dark inside the cave that we were only able to see by using cell phone light. Here is a link to read up on the City Tour and the places we saw.

Next I will try to share some pics from Lima.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More Machu Picchu

To show you we actually made it to Machu Picchu, here are some more of Kathryn's photos. This is she and Pete.  Apparently this is the perfect spot for a photo - all the guides stop here. We took lots of photos here, but this one is the whole gang
Me and Toby from a distance
and Jesse.