John Clifton Goines

John Clifton
Goines, 53, of  McCurtain, OK passed away
Saturday, October 27, 2012 in McCurtain. 
John was born February 28, 1959 
in Bakersfield, CA to Shelby & LaHoma (Burris) Goines.  He was a truck driver.  He was preceded in death by her parents’ children,
John “Butch” Goines and Sherry Goines; brother, Leonard Lakey and sisters,
Ruthie Goines and Linda Austin.

No services are
scheduled at this time. 

House in Lo Curro

House in Lo Curro  Designed by  Schmidt Arquitectos Asociados, the house is Located in Lo Curro hill in the capital of Chile, Santiago. The site, long and with gentle slope, is covered with a forest of eucalyptus trees planted 30 years ago

Designed by  Schmidt Arquitectos Asociados, the house is Located in Lo Curro hill in the capital of Chile, Santiago. The site, long and with gentle slope, is covered with a forest of eucalyptus trees planted 30 years ago

Y Project

The project is located in Nazareth Illit The site is located on a hill, facing a view toward a green soccer field, a duplex that we added a new floating mass. As a result of this traction, was necessary to do some changes to the building: moving columns and re-design the internal structure of the interior space of the house.

hypercubus mobile hotel room

developed as an idea for the tourism industry, austrian firm studio WG3 has conceived the 'hypercubus', a mobile hotel room. 
the concept of the design is built on three fundamental concepts: employing open areas with available infrastructure (or also could be self-sufficient); 
the creation of small modular units which are portable and introducing a new element to the traveler of a pre-paid apartment, 
under a unified corporate design. the minimal housing units were specifically fabricated to use existing resources and be transportable, 
and can adapt to particular needs depending on the season. with a single architectural component, the project reinterprets the notion of
accommodation as it can be totally independent technically; installation can be non-permanent and several hypercubus' can be grouped into clusters.

villa SK

on a small budget, austrian firm atelier thomas pucher was able to completely transform the 'villa SK' for the owners by merely 
adding an extra component. the unmodified existing house now serves the private functions, bedrooms and bathrooms. two horizontal planes
of red-colored concrete extend the entrance of the original aged structure almost to the end of the property line. full-height glass panes 
envelope the new living room with knotted hardwood flooring, ultimately making the surrounding yard and climate conditions the real 
enclosure of the space. 

Summer home in Buš


Wordless Wednesday: Big Bandtastika

No Halloween For My Kids in 2012

My kids miss the old tradition we had in the Connecticut neighborhood where they'd trick or treat with neighbor kids then attend a party at one of the family's homes. The parents would walk behind (the streets had no lights and it was really dark) then we would be at the party also (in the adult room).

We did not celebrate Halloween last year, our first year in Texas. My older son had rowing practice then we gave out candy.

This year both kids have rowing practice. Again I will give out candy.

I would have suggested a rowing team party but all the schooled kids have a ton of homework to do, so a weeknight party is out of the question. At a recent Saturday night party for both parents and kids three families left at 9pm (an hour early) so their kids could go home and do homework. The kids on the team are serious about their schoolwork. A number take honors or pre-AP or AP classes and all are on a college prep track.

Update: as of last night, a boy in my son's co-op class asked my twelve year old to trick or treat tonight. His mother explained there are no kids on his street either so he boy felt alone. That kid's older brother is going to a church party.mmy son will up have to skip rowing practice to domHalloween, which is fine, because you are only a kid once. He started rowing early so there is no reason he has to have a high school responsibility load in seventh grade. So we will costume shop today apparently.

Knit and Connect at Vesterheim

Every fall when I notice a chill in the air it makes me want to grab my knitting needles and get busy. Maybe this is an ancestral memory—an urge that was once essential for our survival. These days, knitting is no longer a necessity for making it through the cold Midwestern winter, but a luxury and a creative outlet. Maybe these are even better reasons to grab those needles and seek the company of other knitters.

I wish I lived a little closer to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, so I could attend their Knit-In on Nov. 3–4. Knitters will be dropping by any time from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. one or both days. In addition to knitting and conversation, there will be special presentations, tours of Vesterheim's textile storage, and a stash sale of yarn, patterns and notions. For a schedule of the day and more information contact Laurann Gilbertson at or call 563-382-9681. More information is also available at

I also wish I could take one of the upcoming knitting classes at Vesterheim: “Knitting a Danish Nattrøje Sweater” on Nov. 1–2, or “Knitting a Swedish Halland Sweater” on November 5–6. In fact, Vesterheim has a great traditional arts program for all ages. I encourage you to check it out!

Do you like the idea of taking a class to learn—or improve—your skill at a Nordic craft? Then look for our upcoming article about combining hobbies and travel in the January issue of Viking!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.
Photo courtesy of Vesterheim.

Temporary Tattoo

I almost got a tat last night. I was at an event where someone was set up with stencils and spray guns, a little seat and a small crowd watching as he put the barbed wire tattoo on a fellows wrist. I noticed he had scorpion stencils available and might even have considered it if I weren't off to meet someone.

So had I followed through I would be wearing a red scorpion on my forearm today, just in time for Halloween.

Nothing more to say about that except that if you're interested in reading my novel, The Red Scorpion, or one of my volumes of short stories, here's a link to a page with descriptions of my various books of fiction. I consider the stories my crown jewels. Many are very special to me. Available on Kindle, Nook and the Apple store. If you have an iPad or tablet you can download the app. You may also skip the link and click on one of the book covers here to the right for direct link to Amazon store and read the reviews.


Sherry Hornburger

     Sherry Lynn
Hornburger, 54, of Poteau, OK passed away Tuesday, October 23, 2012 in Muskogee,
OK.  Sherry was born June 1, 1958 in
Nowata, OK to Bill & Shirley (Spencer) Hornburger.  She was  preceded in death by her mother, Shirley
Smotherman; and daughter, Takela Hornburger.

Survivors include
her daughter, Brandy Hornburger of Poteau, OK; father, Bill Hornburger of
Stillwater, OK; 3 brothers, Joe Hornburger of 
Valliant, OK, Bill  Hornburger of
Poteau, OK, Randy Hornburger of Norman, OK; 1 sister, Shalle Marie Hornburger
of Poteau, OK; 5 grandchildren, Brian, Jeremy, Brandon, Alexa, Christopher; 1
aunt, Alice Fix of Tulsa, OK; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives &
loved ones; many beloved friends.

Services were 2
pm, Monday, October 29, 2012 at Evans Chapel of Memories, Poteau, OK
with Rev. Jim Cook officiating. 
Interment  followed in Oakland
Cemetery, Poteau, OK. 

Gary N. Morgan

     Gary N. Morgan, 67,
of Poteau, OK passed away Monday, October 21, 2012 in Poteau.  Gary was born November 9, 1944 in Muse, OK to
Wilford & Lois (Rose) Morgan.  He was
a convenience store cashier.

Survivors include
his wife, Paulette Morgan of the home; daughters, Carol Morgan, Cheryl Bohannon
of Poteau, OK; granddaughter, Brandi Shoup; special friends, Katherine lee,
Diana Walker, Tyler Shoup, Danielle Walker of Poteau; his mother, Lois
Pickering of Poteau, sisters, Virginia Wilson of Poteau, OK, Evelyn Potts of
Whitesboro, OK; brother, Curtis Morgan of Talihina, OK.

Memorial services were 10 am, Saturday, October 27, 2012 at Evans Chapel of Memories,

Bobby S. Morgan

      Bobby S. Morgan, 68
of Shady Point, OK went to be with his Lord & Savior on  Sunday, October 28, 2012 in Cameron, OK.  He was retired from Whirlpool.  Bobby was a member of Trinity Baptist Church
in Pocola, OK.    He was preceded in
death by his wife, Carol; son, Robbie; his parents, Russell Morgan & Jewell

     He is survived by
his wife, Mary; two daughters, Ronda Hill & husband, Roscoe of Pocola, OK;
Teresa Hensley & companion Tommy Miller of Cameron, OK; stepsons, Eddie
Hesslen of Paris, AR, Kevin Hesslen of Greenwood, AR; brother, Marvin Morgan
and wife Rose of Pocola, OK; grandsons, Waco Hill of Pocola, OK, Keagan Hensley
of Cameron, OK, Tyler Hill of Louisville, KY; step grandchildren, Edwin Hesslen
of Ft. Smith, AR, Hope, Hannah and Hunter Hesslen of Greenwood, AR; great
granddaughter, Audrey Hill of Louisville, KY; other relatives & loved ones;
many beloved friends.

     Services will be 1
pm, Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at Trinity
Baptist Church,
Pocola, OK
with Rev. Tommy Parker & Rev. Richard Maness  officiating.  Interment will follow in Shady Point Cemetery, Shady
Point, OK.  Pallbearers will be Tyler Hill, Waco Hill,
Keagan Hensley, Edwin Hesslen, Ronnie Ward, Leon Laymon, Steve Doshier.  Honorary pallbearers will be Alan Butler,
Danny Minor, Robert Miller, Dennis Main.

     The family will be
at the funeral home in Poteau on Tuesday evening from 6-8 pm to visit with
relatives & friends.

Contributions may
be made to a Humane Society or your choice or your favorite charity.

Norwegian Hockey Comes to Minnesota

With so many North Americans lamenting the ongoing NHL lockout, Minnesota finds itself in a very fortuitous situation because we still have high-level international hockey to enjoy! This week the Norwegian National U18 hockey team traveled to Minnesota to take part in the NIT Bauer Invitational Tournament.

This Norwegian team is comprised of 25 players from the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation, many of whom are expected to make an appearance at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In addition to playing in the tournament, the U18 team, coached by Robert Jonsson, will also play a couple of friendlies with local Minnesota college teams, like St Olaf and Augsburg.

If you are in Minnesota this week, I definitely recommend you check out the tournament and cheer for the Norwegian Athletes! If there’s one thing Minnesota is known for, it’s our hockey, so when you throw in a team from Norway you just know it’s going to be a great showing by everyone involved. I believe tickets for the tournament are available from the New Hope Arena and can be purchased over the phone or at the door.

To learn more about the U18 Norwegian team, check out their Facebook page as well as this site dedicated to the U18 team with player and selection info. For their full schedule info, click here.

Join me in welcoming this great team to the Midwest and wish them luck against some of the finest U18 hockey players in America!

Villa Amir


CLF Houses

The project is located on a plot along a low density residential street in the neighborhood of “El Once”, approximately 400 meters off the principal boulevard of Villa La Angostura. In spite of its apparent centric location, there is a predominance of small isolated and unaligned single family houses, empty “urban” plots and large private properties. In addition to these characteristics you will find the compacted rubble of the street, the absence of sidewalks, urban furniture and light points and the great profusion of trees give the area an unstructured and open character. A recent change in the regulations was made to modify this situation. The goal is to achieve a higher density in the area, without intention of creating an urban street section, by encouraging the construction of new row houses. This change comes with a very strict set of rules regarding the choice of materials, the use of colors in the facade and the angles of the roof.

Patisserie Uchiyama



Contemporary Gem In Croatia Our House by DAR612 (6)

There are plenty of interesting homes throughout the world– and this little treat in Croatia is a combination of 3 flats built into one large space, about 4,300 square feet. It’s just a prime example of clean sophistication. Designed by DAR612 and titled “Our House” this family home is complete with multiple floor plans, luxurious finishes and amenities.

Inthralld Daily Email SPANISH PAVILION

Spanish Pavilion Glows In The Netherlands (6)

Color’s involvement in architecture is on the upward swing, and it’s an exciting time in design. Architects Pulgon Diseno put together this Spanish Pavilion in Venlo Netherlands and it is an exquisite ode to their culture.
An organic blend of shapes, materials and colors– this pavilion is not only outfitted on the outside, but the interior is fantastic as well. there are backlit panels in neon colors complete with flat screens, informational areas and sustainable materials.


Enough - Moving On

I have poured out my heart here lately and aired the dirty homeschool laundry. I think that I've probably gone too far by sharing all that as there was some sensitive information about my son, or at least he may think so.

I shared it all as I think it is important for others to hear that homeschooling is imperfect but more importantly, that homeschooling is a PROCESS that evolves over time. We face challenges and we have to re-evaluate and reconsider and make decisions. We come up with an ideal, we see reality as something less than perfect, we consider options that we think may solve everything and be superior, but in the end in this case we decided that imperfect homeschooling is still a better fit for our older son than public school is. So, we're still at it. We went through a lot of family stress over this issue but when we came out the other side our son had a better attitude and improved behavior. So the struggle was worth it.

With two kids doing intense homeschooling this year, and with them (sadly) needing strict supervision my own time on a computer is limited. The room we homeschool in does not have a computer for me to use.

I will be busy homeschooling the kids so I don't know how much blogging I will do. What is done may be about the content we are learning and books we are reading together. I do need escape time so read books, especially before bed at night, so you'll see some book reviews here of books that I read for pleasure.

Death info on Leonora Evans

 Leonora Lewis Watkins Evans was one of Birda's older sisters.
(She was commonly referred to as "Nonie", and her given name has mutated into many different variations: Lenore, Lenora, Leonara, Noni, etc.  Not sure exactly WHICH way is the correct way to spell it.)
Photo from the personal albums of Bryce Merkley
Photo cropped from original larger group shot.
According to these documents the following dates apply:
BIRTH: 16 Aug 1876- Holliday, Salt Lake, Utah
DEATH: 8 Jan 1948- Palo Alto, Santa Clara, California
She was 71 years old when she died following a major operation.

SOURCE: SL Trib 1948, Jan 10, p.24
Obituary transcribed:
Lenora L.W. Evans
VERNAL, Jan 9- Lenora Lewis Watkins Evans, 71, wife of E.W. Evans, Vernal, died Thursday at 5 a.m. at Palo Alto, Cal of complications following an operation.
She was born Aug 16, 1876 at Holladay, Salt Lake County, a daughter of Siney and Elizabeth Coleman Lewis.
Mrs. Evans came to Vernal in 1895, where she married Alfred Watkins, who died three years later.  She them married Mrs. Evans at Vernal.
She had been active in LDS church activities in the Relief Society and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
Survivors include her husband, Vernal, two daughters, Hazel Domney Evans, Palo Alto; and Mrs. George Foster, Columbia, Carbon County; three stepchildren, Bert Evans, Provo; Mrs. Lillie Murdock, Heber, and Mrs. Jean Scandian, Palo Alto; and the following brothers and sisters, Mrs. Annie Wiest, Mrs. Charles Hatch, Mrs. Jennie Hullinger, Frank Lewis, and Mrs. Birda Merkley, Vernal; Mrs. Georgia McClelland, San Francisco; Charles P. Lewis and Siney Lewis, Los Angeles.
Funeral services will be conducted Tuesday noon in the Vernal Second LDS ward chapel, by Phil Watkins, bishop.  Burial will be in Vernal Memorial cemetery.
Friends may call at the family home Tuesday from 10 a.m. until time of services.
*Spelling and punctuation corrected wherein I was aware.

Local Obituary:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1948, Jan 8, p.1
 Local Obituary transcribed:
Mrs. E.W. Evans Dies On Coast After Operation
Mrs. Leonora Lewis Watkins Evans, 71, died this morning (Thursday) at Palo Alto, Calif., following a major operation.
Mrs. Evans was born at Holliday in Salt Lake County, August 16, 1876, the daughter of Siney Lewis, Sr., and Elizabeth Coleman Lewis.  She lived the early part of her life at Midway.
She and Alfred Watkins, and rancher, were married at Vernal.  The couple settled at Midway.  They had one child, who survives.  Mr. Watkins died three years following their marriage.
She later married E.W. Evans, a harness maker, at Vernal.  The couple had three children, one of whom survives.  Mr. and Mrs. Evans have since resided at Vernal.  Mrs. Evans went to the coast for her health in early December.
Mrs. Evans was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and was an active Relief Society worker.
She is survived by her husband; two daughters, Mrs. Hazel Dominy, San Francisco, and Mrs. Ephia Foster, Columbia; three stepchildren, Bert Evans, Provo; Mrs. Lily Murdock, Heber; Mrs. Jane Scalen, San Francisco; three brothers, Siney Lewis, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.; Frank and Charles Lewis, Vernal; five sisters, Mrs. John Wise, Mrs. Charles Hatch, Mrs. Asher Merkley, Mrs. Harold Hullinger, Vernal; Mrs. Lynn McClelland, San Francisco, Calif.  Funeral arrangements will be announced later.
*Spelling and punctuation corrected by me wherein I was aware.

Funeral notice:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1948, Jan 15, p.1
Funeral notice transcribed:
Final Rites Held For Mrs. E.W. Evans
Funeral services for Mrs. Leonora Lewis Watkins Evans, 71, long time resident of Uintah County, who died January 8 at Palo Alto, Calif., following a major operation, were held at the Vernal Second Ward Chapel, Tuesday, at noon, under the direction of Bishop Philip Watkins.
Prayer at the home was offered by Bishop Orion R. Jones.  Harold Hullinger gave the invocation at the services and Charles Hatch, the benediction.  Speakers were Bishop Watkins and President Archie Johnson.  Musical selections included: prelude and postlude, organ, Elaine Evans; "Have I Done any Good in the World Today?," vocal duet, Thressa Hadlock and Frank Walker, "Calvary", vocal solo, Avard Rigby; "One Fleeting Hour," vocal solo Virginia Hacking; "End of A Perfect Day", violin solo, Gilbert Childs; E.J. Winder dedicated the grave.
Pallbearers were Evans Smith, B.G. Simpson, M.B. Lawson, Rex A. Murdock, M.E. Murdock, M.B. Murdock.
Mrs. Evans was born at Holliday, August 16, 1876, a daughter of Siney Lewis, Sr., and Elizabeth Coleman Lewis.
She and Alfred Watkins were married November 25, 1895 at Vernal.  The couple settled at Midway.  Mr. Watkins died November 10, 1896.
She and E.W. Evans were later married at Vernal.  The couple have since lived at Vernal until early December when Mrs. Evans went to California for her health.
A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Mrs. Evans was an active Relief Society worker.
She is survived by her husband; two daughters, Mrs. Hazel Dominy, San Francisco and Mrs. Ephia Foster, Columbia; three stepchildren, Bert Evans, Provo; Mrs. Lily Murdock, Heber; Mrs. Jane Scalen, San Francisco; three brothers, Siney Lewis, Jr.,  Los Angeles, Calif., Frank and Charles Lewis, Vernal; fives sisters Mrs. John Wise, Mrs. Charles Hatch, Mrs. Asher Merkley, Mrs. Harold Hullinger, all of Vernal; Mrs. Lynn McClelland, San Francisco.
*Spelling and punctuation corrected by me wherein I was aware.

Photo from the personal albums of Bryce Merkley
Cropped from larger family group sheet
Because Leonora died in California, it will require some further investigative work to obtain her death certificate.  When I can procure it, I will post a copy of it on this page.

*I just noticed there are some discrepancies in the dates that she and Alfred Watkins were married- I shall have to investigate this further and post my findings on their marriage post.

A Few Minutes with Wisconsin Artist Patricia Lenz

From the first I’ve been a big fan of Patrcia Lenz’s vividly intricate collages and mixed media pictures. In our first meeting I learned that she lives in Northern Wisconsin on the South Shore of Lake Superior, a wonderful setting for being an artist. To say I was impressed with her work is an understatement.

EN: What first attracted you to making art? 
PL: Prosaic: probably coloring books, making paper dolls. Also, my grandfather liked to encourage me to draw pictures using crayon and watercolor. Huge stained glass windows and art (mostly reproductions) on the walls of my rural church and in my elementary school.

EN: The detail in your work is quite impressive. How do you know when to stop? 
PL: I don’t. It’s collage. Huge challenge facing me as I add details which refer in some way to content. Everything that attracts me relates to my intention or inner story. I intend to make a strong, standing alone central image, but as the work progresses and I add more & more images I obscure that visual part. I start the work, I look at it, think about it, see if it’s what I want, and I find myself including so much that the original clear, basic, simple is gone. It becomes dense.

I have been extremely prolific, producing first ceramics, painting, prints, fibers, fabric printing and collage/appliqué, jewelry before I began to concentrate on generating flat collage, appropriated image and photo shop composition. Actually, since I am doing so many things—including time consuming work on developing Superior Council for the Arts programs, much of my work is preceded by pages of notes I take while reading—fiction, essays, weekly New Yorker, New York Times.

What I read factors into what I produce visually. In that sense, it’s narrative. I can’t always explain where ideas came from when images show up in my work. Sometimes your guess is as good as mine.

EN: What is your background? Did you study art in school? 
PL: Art school, yes. In addition to individual workshops, classes, I have undergraduate and graduate art degrees. The primary influence art school had on me was leading me to museums, galleries, art collections—I always feel energized looking at original art that is removed from me by space &/or time. Antiquities fascinate me. I don’t necessarily look for the idea behind what I see, just the images, compostion, colors—overall impact. And that changes. I do love the look of Dutch realist "vanitas" still life paintings, for instance, for the jewel-like color tones and the symbolism. Everything will pass and re-emerge... I don’t do rotting fruit, but I think about it.

EN: Who have been your biggest influences? 
PL: Besides my memories: biggest influences are things I see and store as I travel. I am an avid museum goer—ancient and modern art. I do a lot of drawing for reference, often focusing on one piece or detail. I rarely refer specifically to the drawings and studies in my sketchbooks, but it’s all in the storehouse.

EN: Can you describe your process for making pictures? 
PL: I collect images from photographs I have taken: pre-photo shop, I enlarged and copied images, recombining them with images appropriated from colored print pages. There is always a narrative running through my head as I find images that relate to my intention. I do a lot of selection and discard before I actually start the work. When I have it in my head, I work fast...the results, after combinations are put down, surprise me. Naturally, I see things emerge as the work is put down. When I do a final color print (Giclee on watercolor paper), I work back into it with pastels, paint, pencil, ink.

EN: Where can people see more of your art? 
PL: Art Dock, Blue Lake Gallery, Art In the Alley, Stone’s Throw, Bayfield. And the annual Duluth Art Institute & SCFTA annual Holiday members show and sale.


Tsuchihashi House

tsuchihashi Tsuchihashi House by Kazuyo Sejima

Tsuchihashi House is a minimalist home located in Tokyo, Japan, and designed by Kazuyo Sejima. The residence sits atop a small 775 sqf site, and has a transparent lower level to allow an abundance of natural light to enter the space. Each level is separated by use: the living space in the basement, the kitchen and dining room on the ground floor, and the bedrooms on the upper floors.

house of san-jo

korean practice studio_gaon has recently completed 'house of san-jo', a single-storey dwelling within the 'city of light', known as gwangju, 
the fifth largest city in korea. the area is 300 kilometers from seoul and is also known for art and its yearly biennale. the conceptual
starting point for the home derived from a 19th century style of music, 'san-jo', which expresses the emotions and thoughts of humans 
with a slow tempo that gradually speeds up. within view of the 1,187 meter tall mountain, mudeung-san's gently sloping rocky hillsides 
are reflected within the stone columns.


Contemporary Villa Amanzi Overlooks The Andaman Sea (10)

The long sleek look of Villa Amanzi in Thailand is an ode to the constant beauty of the architecture that comes from this country. In a definite league of its own, this home is inset on the cliffs overlooking the Andaman Sea and the views are spectacular.
The house itself, designed by Original Vision is a whopping 8,600 square feet, and revels in a gorgeously cantilevered pool, seamless finishes and contemporary furniture.
The long floor plan is constantly drawing the user to the view of the sea and the giant rock aversion that stands between the house and the crushing waves.


Weihai Pavilion

The Weihai Pavilion is an exhibition space for a major new residential development situated on a new island of reclaimed land in Weihai, on the northern coast of the Shandong Peninsula.

Ice House by Minarc

To create a serene family sanctuary that harmoniously connects inhabitants with the surrounding natural environment, while combining the best sustainable, eco- friendly materials and energy efficient technologies with minimalist architectural design.
Ice House, Reykjavik, Iceland, by Minarc, Photography © Torfi Agnarsson


New Procedures for Older Son & Homeschooling

The day after deciding not to enroll into public school, coincidentially, we had our second counseling session in which my son shared with the counselor that his goal was to succeed in school with a college prep plan and to still have time for rowing, Boy Scouts, and the robotics team.

We are working with the behaviorist so my son can temper his raging teenage hormones and make better choices regarding anger management. We have a new red flag procedure in process when my son does unacceptable behavior so that we will separate and he will go calm down, then we regroup. This will help me feel less threatened and scared about what he will do. There is a rule against violence toward other people and against breaking or damaging physical property.

The therapist is trying to help my son work toward choosing right actions that will get him to his goal instead of saying no to everything immediately, even when it plainly takes him in the opposite direction he needs to go to achieve his goal.

I was told to use certain language. I am banned from saying, "I want you to do this lesson" and "I need you to do this". Instead I have to say, "You need to do this lesson". This is supposed to put the responsibility for the academic work in my son's hands and not make it a power struggle issue between me and him. Sometimes I think semantics are over-rated but whatever, I'll say it that way if it will affect a positive change.

I am to give a detailed to do list with actual assignments not time assignments on them. I can no longer say "study math for one hour" or "read the history book for one hour". I explained that due to the slow visual processing speed it is hard for me to judge reasonable expectations when reading a certain book. I can expect too much or expect too little. It is easier to say "do it for an hour" and to accept whatever the page count is that can be accomplished.

Everything on the list has to be easy to evaluate if it was completed or not. We struggled in the meeting to come to an agreement on what way it should be evaluated, daily vs. weekly and the negative consequence that will come if he fails to meet the objective. He is supposed to be kept home from rowing practice if he fails to do his work. The session ended as time ran out just when my son was getting really angry with the counselor so we don't have a firm understanding about whether I'm checking the list at 3:30 pm or at 9 pm or the next morning or at the end of the week.

I am brainstorming some other creative ideas to help my son succeed. When decisions are made and/or tried, I will share them here.

For now I am busy scrambling to make up customized lesson plans or to acquaint myself with new curriculum since my son dropped the three online classes. I am making to do lists. I am also super busy homeschooling my seventh grader, having put in no fewer then 40.5 direct teaching hours with him in the last seven day period.

I am exhausted to be blunt.


At first I didn't get it. I understand the concept of "a perfect storm" but what's with the Frankenstorm bit. When I called my brother who lives near the South Jersey shore yesterday, he explained it to me. There are two storms colliding, with the storm coming in from the west accelerating the power of the incoming Hurricane Sandy. Add to this that it is a full moon with extra high tides and finally (ta da!) it's Halloween. I guess this last bit is where the name comes from.

From what I'm reading this storm has nothing funny about it except the name. According to Jon Coen's A Tale of Two Storms on ESPN Action Sports Online, Hurricane Sandy "is already the second largest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic. The destruction will be widespread."

In 2008 I wrote a blog entry about monster movies which culminated in a few reminiscences about Frankenstein. The next day I bore down on the influence of Frankenstein on culture by interviewing
Susan Tyler Hitchcock, author of Frankenstein: A Cultural History. I'm certain that if the book gets reprinted, it will include a chapter on the Frankenstorm of 2012. Hopefully there won't be a Son of Frankenstorm in its wake.

To friends and family out east: "Batten down the hatches." Stay safe... and warm. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. 

My Older Son is Not Enrolling in High School This Year

As you may have suspected, my older son is not enrolling into public school this year. I was ready to let go, honestly I was. But this is not a decision that I can make, my son has to be involved and he needs to buy into it or he will not succeed in school either.

My son said that he did not want to attend public school before I phoned the school to inquire and he definately did not want to enroll once he heard what I had to tell him.

My son wants freedom and flexibility. He dislikes hoop jumping even when he thinks it is legitimate and he doesn't want to hoop jump when he thinks he may be unfairly judged.

Even knowing he is lacking skills in certain areas, (many science minded boys are not lovers of writing composition or literary analysis), my son does not want to repeat a grade due only to being possibly labeled behind in English. He would rather do double time and do two grades of English or cover three years of English in two calendar years to make it up.

So we are back to the drawing board about how to homeschool this current academic year.

Intergalactica: Part III

After a final inspection of all her moving parts, the doctors uttered an ancient ritual incantation and the automaton was animated by the spirits of life. In the next instant lights flashed, the doctors leaped away and Aurora was hurtled into the universe to fulfill her mission.

Intergalactica is a collaborative project conceived and produced by Patty Peterson Mahnke, Kate Dupre and Ed Newman in the spring of 2012.


What the Public School Said

I waited fifteen days from the day of the blow up over the computer hacking to wrap my mind around the fact that I had said that we may give up and quit homeschooling. I let the idea sink in. It was an emotional issue and I didn't want to act rashly or to rush into it. In those fifteen days I would say the days were good days, not fair, not excellent, but decent and acceptable. So suddenly I was not in a rush to push my son off to school.

In one conversation in that timeframe, my older son said that he thought maybe he would perform higher if he were pushed harder and by someone that was not Mom. I felt that what he wanted was for me to be just Mom not teacher because he felt someone else may drive him to perform better. He said he did not like that homeschooling was causinf me stress and to become physically sick. I was dumbfounded because when I gave him a hard courseload, even with online classes last month, he could not/would not perform, and when I gave him some middle of the road load he still was not doing it. I had to keep narrowing down the workload to finally reach a level that could be accomplished in one day. So now he wants more work?

When I phoned the public school the registrar was pleasant and professional. She explained what I needed to do in order to enroll my son.

I had to leave a message with the guidance counselor who was in charge of dealing with homeschoolers. She was also professional and pleasant when she spoke to me the following day.

I really wanted my son to do a shadow day but the school prohibits is "per federal HIPAA law". I personally question the validity of this but I did not question her about it. I was also told my son's visit would present a "security threat" to the students. I kept my mouth shut on that one also.

If enrolling mid-term the student is required to know all the past material learned this semester. The easiest thing to do is to enroll at the mid-term or at the start of the year. I had no idea that was the case and for best success my son should wait until after the December break to enroll.

Incoming homeschooler high schoolers must show a list of curriculums used with details such as a scope and sequence. All scores and grades must be turned over. Examples of work done must be shown also. Another professional would be assigned to the tast (not the guidance counselor) to scrutinize the homeschool materials to see if it matched with Texas state approved curriculum. At that point the student would be told if what they did was home was acceptable. If they think a course is acceptable they do not give instant credit, the student must pass the current course then at the end if they pass they get retroactive credit for the homeschool course. For example, pass English II and then get credit for English I. Do not pass English II and there is no credit given for English II or English I.

I asked about course availability and rules, such as could my son continue to take both Geometry and Algebra II this year and the answer was no. Students can take ONLY one math per year, period. Students who fail math can take a summer remedial course but no one can take a summer course to get ahead. (The cookie cutter analogy fits here.) This reminds me of the fact that public schools tend to have an easier time keeping students back instead of finding a way to customize the education to give each individual student the best prospect for advancement and higher achievement. Our goal with my son's math is to finish Calculus before high school graduation which is a pre-requisite for some colleges for an engineering major. Since he did not finish Algebra I in grade eight he trying to fast track the studies to catch up.

To enter in a grade other than freshman, six credits must be accepted for each grade level. So if my son did 5.5 credits in his freshman year (due to illness that he had), he would not be allowed in as a sophomore, he'd be knocked back to grade nine. This is despite the fact that if all goes well in homeschool grade ten my son would earn more than six credits.

Homeschoolers don't always have to care about getting an exact number in a calendar year, what is more important is what happens by the end of high school for graduation requirements, or what courses and tests should be finished by the time the college applications are made. In general, some studies can be slowed down, repeated, or sped up. Students can work through the summer on a longer course. Homeschooling has so many freedoms that I sometimes forget about and take for granted. Some of these my son never realized were things to feel grateful for and to appreciate.

As soon as I knew all this I had a talk with my husband over the phone and a talk face to face with my son to report the facts. I'll share more in an upcoming blog post.

Schock and Awe

Collaboration by Jeremy Schock and Eric Dubnicka
Last night I attended the Duluth Art Institute opening featuring a photography exhibit called Instant Love: Polaroid Land Cameras and the Impossible Project and the collaborative work of Jeremy Schock and Eric Dubnicka, aptly named In Cahoots. The former will be on display through November 23 and the into the end of December.

In thinking about the two exhibitions, I thought I would make some suggestions here about how to enjoy an art show.

A lot of us who have been in the art scene for years, or decades, may take for granted that what we see at an art museum is the same thing others see, and frankly, this is simply not the case. A report by the National Arts Index indicates that more people are attending galleries and museums than ten years ago, but the reactions I see on some peoples' faces give me the impression that they are worlds away from enjoying some of the art that many fans of the arts get enthused about.

Here are just a few suggestions for those who are new to attending art openings or art museums.

1. If you don't "get it" that is O.K.
Sometimes the artist is exploring concepts that are elusive unless more fully explained. There may be written materials that you have not seen regarding the aims of the art. There may be a historical context that the untrained viewer is unaware of. Don't feel guilty or bad about it. You can, however, talk to the gallery staff or a friend who is knowledgeable about art history and learn more. The gallery may have printed the "artist's statement" regarding the work displayed which contains an explanation to help bridge the gulf between you and the work.

2. Meet the artists if you can.
It's kind of an unwritten rule that the artist should be there for his or her opening. This affords interested persons the opportunity to pick the artists' brain. If you have an interest in understanding a painting, its choice of themes, modes of expression, there is no better source than the creator of the work. Ask them questions about where their inspiration comes from. Ask what it is they were trying to achieve. What attracted them to explore these themes? Where are they from and why are they here? How did you do that?

3. Meet the other people who attend the show.
Just a small portion of the turnout at the DAI last night.
If you go to enough openings you'll start to get to know other people who are curious about the arts. You'll see them at events. They may even tell you about other art events. But go out of your way to meet the artists because they are usually people just like you. 

4. Drink the wine. Or the punch if you prefer.
Most art openings have finger food and something to wash it down. The show is not about the food and beverages, but they gallery offers it up like any good host, to help make your stay a more pleasant one. "You are a guest and we want you to feel welcome here."

5. If you do see something that interests you, take time to engage the work.
What's going on in the picture as you look at the details. Step back and look at it from a distance. What do you see now?

6. You do not need to be a pro to enjoy it.
Preprinted tissue on repurposed material, by J. Schock.
Poetry, theater, art... it's not created for professorial dissection. It exists to be engaged, to connect with viewers of all types. Well, that's a half truth. Some people make do what they do for critical acclaim. Others, because they have a need to create. But for the most part, music and poetry and art are for the masses.

7. We don't all like the same music, so why do we need to like the same art?
We don't. I respond to this and don't respond to that. We have different tastes. Some people like miklk chocolate and others prefer dark chocolate.

8. If you see something you really like, maybe you should own it.
I've started collecting pieces from various local artists. Here's the deal. You can enjoy it for a few minutes or you can enjoy it for life. I never tire of the pieces I've purchased. They are a form of aesthetic nourishment. Unlike food which is served but once and digested, art continues to inspire or nourish your soul over and over again. 

As for the work of Jeremy Schock and Eric Dubnicka that is currently on display at the Duluth Art Institute, I found many of the pieces quite enthralling. I'd encourage you to take a lunch hour and mosey on over while the exhibit is installed these next two months. Tell me what you think. I enjoyed it.