Welcome to my blog! I am so excited to share my art and adventures as an administrator with others. Thank you for making the time to view my blog and giving me your input.

Friday, August 28, 2009

When you get a chance, please take a look at the "One Laptop Per Child" program. You can find the link in the section of my blog titled "Get Involved In Our World". September 8 is "International Literacy Day". This is an amazing way to help all children become more literate.

More photos from our recent trip to Sonoma. I took all of these shots @ 1 of the wineries we visited, Chateau St. Jean, in Kenwood. The first time we visited this winery was 5 years ago. It was mid-September and I caught a bad summer cold while we were up in Napa; specifically, the first day there. Although on that trip I took numerous photos of Chateau St. Jean, being sick with a bad cold and fever made it really impossible for me to fully appreciate the beauty of this winery and the Napa and Sonoma valleys' gorgeous landscapes. This was not the case last week... what a glorious winery!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More photos from our recent trip to Sonoma. The photo above was taken @ Rutherford Hill Winery, in Rutherford. I took this shot from the picnic area, which gave me a nice view of the Napa Valley from where I stood.

Another shot of grapes. Look at those gorgeous variations of purple-blue on the grapes. Beautiful.

Although it is almost September, the colors of the leaves are gently changing colors. In less than a few weeks, the leaves will be putting on a spectacular show.

My husband took this shot of me in front of "The French Laundry", in Yountville. For those who do not know this the only way you can get a reservation at this restaurant is by booking 2 months in advance! "The French Laundry" offers 2 menus to choose from. I learned of this restaurant several years ago, when my husband was attending culinary school. We have talked about actually eating here 1 day, but as a vegetarian, I have concluded that there would be very little I would eat on the menu! The French style of cooking excludes people like me from their foods! Anyway, for more information about "The French Laundry", go to this link:

More my style is "The French Laundry's" sister restaurant, "Bouchon". Besides "Bouchon", there is "Bouchon Bakery". Not this visit, but on our last to Napa, we ate @ "Bouchon". This time, I wanted to concentrate on their bakery. We hit the bakery twice while we were up there this past week. I got something deliciously decadent called "TKO"; the "TKO" consists of 2 chocolate cookies filled with a light creme. I picked something that was the least sinful out of a boat-load of pastries and cookies that would make you gain a pound or 2 just from looking @ them!

The next 2 shots are from "Bistro Jeanty", another French-styled restaurant, in Yountville. I have never been to France, but the bistro's curtains, flowering window boxes, and bicycle outside of the restaurant really caught my attention.

It is 1 of my dreams to visit France before I die. When we walked by "Bistro Jeanty", I felt like I had been transformed to the south of France. More Sonoma and Napa photos to come in my next post.

Friday, August 21, 2009

We just got back from Sonoma. We were in Wine Country for 5 days; my vacation before heading back to work on Monday. I took many pictures and will spread them out over the next few posts. Although I took my art supplies with us, I did minimal, and I do mean minimal, artwork. I painted a few pages in my journal to work on at a later date.

When you are in Sonoma and/or Napa Valley, nature puts on such a show of its own that any artist, no matter how talented, just cannot compete with! Well, this artist has known that for the last 20+ years...
Anyway, here are some of my humble photos - starting with the grapes. Everything seems to start with the grapevines.

Our 1st destination was San Francisco. Here is a shot of the Palace of Fine Arts. I took many shots of the Palace. It is 1 of those places that no matter how many times I have been there, I fall in love with it each time, as though it was the 1st time. I discover something new about it everytime. And that is why I am posting 2 photos of it.

A shot of some homes in the marina, near the Palace of Fine Arts. When we lived in San Francisco, I spent a lot of my time in this neighborhood, specifically, on Union Street. There is a paper store I have been frequently for 20 years, called "Kozo", http://www.kozoarts.com/category.sc?categoryId=6.
Back when we lived in San Francisco, there was a 2nd "Kozo" store; it was in the Castro. Being the paper whore I am, even back then, I could spend hours in the store, touching all the store's exquisite Japanese papers. Because we only spent the day in San Francisco, I really limited my time and running around to just a few places. Of course, I hit "FLAX" - I spent about an hour-and-a-half and about $60.00 (including my teacher discount). My husband (who has the patience of a saint and puts up with me and my paper obsession/fetish) patiently waited in the car, with his laptop. I have been hitting "FLAX" for the last 10+ years. I am SUPER sorry that they have discontinued their online shopping - it was a fast way for me to get my "fix" until I could make it back up to the city.

Speaking of my gorgeous husband... because of my time @ "FLAX", I treated him to a late lunch @ 1 of his (and my favorite) favorite Mexican restaurants on the planet, "Pancho Villa's", in the Mission district. Every time we head to San Francisco, no trip is complete without a couple (at least) of trips to Pancho Villa's. La Mission is a potpourri of smells and sounds. Its neighborhoods are vibrant and the smells from the various restaurants, bakeries, and taquerias are quite something to behold. After Pancho Villa's, we headed to "Tartine", a renowned bakery in the Mission. We bought 2 pastries to go, and then, headed back out into the city. The pastries were dessert later that evening.

A panoramic shot from a neighborhood in Pacific Heights.

Another shot of the Palace of Fine Arts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My first 8 soul cards. The plan is to have a sample deck of 12 for the class I will be teaching in early September.

The bottom shot is of my latest work. I have been trying to carve out some time, here and there, to create a sample set of soul cards. These are my #5-8 cards. There are only 2 more days left of summer school. I have really enjoyed my 6 weeks. Being principal has been very rewarding and has given me an opportunity to connect with students in a way that hasn't happened since I left the classroom. My husband and I are headed this weekend, for Northern California, for a much-needed and deserved vacation. We will be up there for a week. I plan to take a small supply of paints, markers, and collage items to complete my last 4 cards. I always carry my camera with me - it is a BIG part of what walks out the door with me every day. I plan on taking lots of photos since we are going to be hitting Monterey, San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma during our trip.

As you know, I am a teacher and administrator in Los Angeles Unified School District. I have ALWAYS considered myself a teacher first since I spent 20 years in the classroom. During those years, I taught English. I have just started my 6th year as an administrator. As an educator, I feel very strongly that we must do all we can to promote the arts in schools. Exposure to the arts is vital in the development of all of our children. My dear friend, Mylene shared these photos of a project her daughters created together. The girls chronicled their recent visit to the museum by creating this beautiful piece above. What a terrific way of exposing children to the arts, creating life-long memories, and having all of the children collaborate in the creation of an art piece. Some of the benefits of promoting the arts to our students are 1) improving their critical-thinking skills, 2) teaching kids how to collaborate, 3) "pumping" kids' imagination, and 4) boosting students' self-esteem. Sounds like a winner to me, just like the girls' masterpiece!

The artists - Jocelyn, Madeline, Julianna, and Monica - well-done, ladies and a shout-out to your terrific mom!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another travel journal and field kit that I created. I made this 1 for my friend, George's birthday gift. This is a shot of the front of the field kit.

This shot is of the field kit and journal. When I make books as gifts, I try hard to tailor them to the recipient's taste and/or interests. Since I know that George loves to travel, the field kit reflects traveling and the journey. Another thing about George: he loves "spooky" things and Halloween, so for the journal cover, I used a "Peet's" gift card as inspiration and then, I drew my own version of "spooky creatures"!

This is a shot of the interior part of the field kit.

This last shot is the of the exterior cover that makes up the field kit. Needless-to-say, when George opened his gift, he LOVED it! Today is turning into a lazy kind of Sunday, which is alright with me! I have been on the go all week and so, a little slowing down will be good for my soul. We ended week 4 of summer school without any glitches. The middle school students are now officially finished with their program. Only 2 more weeks left of school, then I am going to get a very small break. Besides summer school, I am still working on my sample deck of soul cards. I finished 2 more cards and will be working on the remainder of the deck this week. Once I complete my 12 sample cards, I will post them on my blog.