Sunday, November 8, 2015

I got away from my family for a few hours yesterday to enjoy a rare (for me) opportunity to attend an art teaching thingy.  I had a lot of thoughts during the excellent presentation (Philip Yenawine was presenting Visual Thinking Strategies)

In a nutshell-- the teacher presents a image (or poem or text or photo or painting or ?) and asks the following questions

  • What's going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
    • What more can we find?
    The mediator paraphrases what the audience says before going on to the next comment.

    (Hopefully) an interesting discussion ensues where all the participants are able to "see" more and learn about each other.  We did it as a group with a contemporary painting showing African American people outside of  either a burning/burnt church or school.  I had never seen it before, and we never learned the name of the artist or the work.  (I just was trying to find it on-line, no luck).  The 200+ participants were mostly women, but the two men in the audience raised their hands all the time (and got called on half the time).  I could have raised my hand, but I was having too much fun watching and listening to everyone else.  The image could have been a Rorschach ink-blot for all the individual back-story and experience people brought.  The pleasure was two-fold-- enjoying a complex and excellent painting and getting a chance to eavesdrop into the lives of perfect strangers.  

    • The process reminded me of text-based Bible studies I had done in InterVarsity in college.  It was a similar set-up-- people gathered around naked copies of Biblical passages, everyone armed with colored pencils, highlighters and an open mind.  Of my many, many years of Bible studies, these are the ones that I remember most fondly.  It was very democratic and fun.  People spoke, scribbled, politely disagreed and I learned a lot about the people around me and I saw the text with fresh eyes.
    • Even though I didn't share, I was very engaged.  I found myself wishing church could be so good.  Church has all the ingredients-- willing participants, art and/or text (mostly text, but hey, there's a lot of church art out there) and someone to lead it.  Are there churches like this?  I have never been to one.  
    • I was having spiritual feelings.  "Spiritual" is hard to define, but for my purposes it means "transcendent, numinous, making the intangible accessible".  There's a communal aspect to it, also.  Like the enjoyment of a good meal with friends.
    • I was reminded how much I love art.  Art in museums, art in the classroom, art on the streets and sidewalks, art in people's homes, art in nature, art in the 'nets.  Art is engagement in community, in spirituality, in world-expanding.
    One of the participants challenged the speaker to justify spending precious instructional time with students on this.  I nearly cried in my seat.  Learning how to see, learning how to think, isn't that why we have education?

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    Douglas Wilson and Books & Culture

    One of my favorite twitter/internet trainwrecks is the ongoing Douglas Wilson debacle.  True Fact-- I first heard about Douglas Wilson in a positive way from El Caballero.  Apparently, El Cab tried to get a job teaching at Wilson's "seminary".  (Ha ha, good times that!)  Not to worry, El is still mongering books at Moe's.

    One of the very last Christian-themed magazine subscriptions that we have hung onto over the last few back-sliding years is Books and Culture, 'cuz, usually, it's interesting.  But imagine our shock, nay, horror, of seeing DW's byline in the contributor's section fairly regularly.  So in light of the more recent debacles, we penned a "letter to the editor" slamming their choice to publish such a craven bastard.

    Because I am very dubious that our epistolary brilliance will ever see the light of day, I am posting it here totally (sic)

     Dear Editor,

    We have been subscribers for over 4 years now, and enjoy the wide range of christian writers, perspectives and topics within the world that you bring to your readers.

    That said, I am concerned that you publish articles by Douglas Wilson (July/August 2015, Jan/Feb 2014).  He condones antebellum slavery ( and holds many other extreme views about women, minorities and sexual politics.  What is most disturbing is that recently it has come to light how he has deals with sexual predators in his church-- viz-- putting young women in harm's way, and then blaming them for what inevitably follows. ('s his defense of pedophiles in his own words In all these issues Mr. Wilson privileges any person in a place of power (slave owner, molesting pastor) and offers them forgiveness, while ignoring the plight of the innocent whom they have abused. I do not believe that the editors or readers of this fine magazine would agree with these opinions of Mr. Wilson and quite frankly would find them directly in conflict with the Gospel. While his articles for Books and Culture may not be actively advocating these views, your decision to publish them, gives him a platform and allows him to seem mainstream.



    We used about 1500 of our allowed 2000 characters and there was no way to embed the links.  I wrote the first paragraphs, and then the hubs added the last bit about the power imbalance (NB, Michel Foucault takes up a lot of shelf space here, but I haven't read him).

    Saturday, April 18, 2015

    I hate Pinterest

    I am the last person on the block to figure out/be given (cuz I never buy) the latest gadget or app.  So, after years and years of hearing people rave about Pinterest, I finally gave it a whirl.  I wanted it to stow an interesting HuffPost article about international food.  I also pinned a few yummy- looking, but savory recipes.  Usually I toss recipes here for future reference, or, if they are really important, I write them on index cards and put them in a special box, like my grandma did.

    Here's what I pinned, as of now.

    (Gar, I am having troubles getting images onto this damn blog, been trying for an hour, flick and tinypic and, of course, blogger are not letting me do this!  The cruel cruel irony is that I taught a damn lesson on this yesterday, with blogger, on fucking iPads!)

    That pin that looks like macaroons, that is the original HuffPo article I pinned, it is actually a review of a mail- order international snack service.  The rest of my pins are savory recipes.  I am following SafeEggs, my friend N, and The 5dollar dinner mom.  I am grossly overweight right now, Pinterest, and I don't need reasons to make sweets.  

    So this is the first thing I see, Andy Griffith pushing frozen lemon pie and milkshakes.  I am getting fat just looking at it.  I scroll down a little.  Lots of egg recipes, that is fine.

    Then, cheesecake and strawberry butter.  Gah!  Then, as if Pinterest can read my mind,

    Friday, March 20, 2015


    Most of the time I am trying to just keep my head above the water.  But I miss large projects, and conventions and hanging out with artists.  One of these days I know the precious times of wiping little bottoms will be over and I'll have time for more elaborate creative pursuits.  Like learning to play the accordion.  In the meantimes, I have Mr Doob.

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    Pressure Cooker Applesauce

    5 large Granny Smith apples
    1 T cinnamon

    Peel and slice apples into large chunks

    Put into cooker with cinnamon

    8 minutes

    Natural release

    (I didn't invent this either, but I couldn't find the timing for apples in any of my notes!)

    Sunday, September 21, 2014


    I am loving this liquid diet!  (Only if I get to cook for myself, though).  I made this cornstarch pudding recipe, subbing 3 T of cocoa + 1 T oc coconut oil for the baking chocolate and coconut sugar for the white sugar.  DAMN DELICIOUS.  In fact, I gave myself a very painful jaw spasm trying to shovel this into my pudding hole.

    NB, the recipe calls for nearly 20 minutes of uninterrupted stirring.  I did a lot of stirring, but not that much (I have a life, yo!).  I don't have a double boiler, but I used my flame tamer's accumulated heat to do the last 10 minutes of cooking. 

    The texture, after it cooled, was amazing.  Nearly as semi-solid as jello and so so smooth.  Not a single whiff of cornstarch flavor (the prolonged cooking/stirring takes care of that).  Absolutely a dessert I'd proudly serve to friends, and worth the effort.

    Saturday, September 20, 2014

    Quite a bit of vicodin later...

    Good friend posted this Red lentil soup recipe last year. Made it last night, and just blended the onion topping right into it.


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