A Broad View

Image 6-21-19 at 7.28 PM

I’ve heard so much about The Broad Museum, everywhere. From people (in person) and people (online) to people (via a phone or text conversation). With each conversation the more I heard the more I wanted to visit this artistic place in Los Angeles.

My youngest son, Brad, (who appreciates art, all kinds, from Jackson Pollack to Basquiat to Andy Warhol to Kaws to Picasso), and I walked passed an extra long line of people (who didn’t purchase  free tickets beforehand, online) and into the tall rectangular structure, anticipating a rewarding experience.

The building is interesting. Simply driving by it seems to be an ordinary structure, nothing much to think about. But if you stand a distance away you can see how art is used to form the shape. Looking towards the entrance, the north side of the building, you will notice that the bottom corners are sliced off, creating a unique design. You will also make note of the complimenting gashes carved all around its surface. Plus, there is a small oval (window?, I think) surrounded with a frame of blue and yellow.

When Brad and I entered the building our first option, if we so chose, was to stand in a line (Yuk! I hate lines!) to sign up to experience the Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama (2 hours later, from that moment). Line displeasure aside, we concurred, Why not? An interactive piece of artwork should not be bypassed.

We assumed exploring would take a while, a couple hours at least, so we took the escalator to the 3rd floor – the only floor with art displayed – and strolled around the venue, gazing at and contemplating various pieces. Of course, we had to hit the Basquiat works and the Andy Warhol’s, which did not disappoint. I learned that the Barbara Kruger pieces are the color inspiration for the ultra popular clothing store, Supreme. Supreme’s red and white colors, the styling, and the font they use are an imitation of Kruger’s. We walked under the oversized table and chairs created by Robert Therrien, which was supposed to return one to childhood memories of crawling around. For me, I didn’t vibe on that memory – I never crawled under tables. But, the style of the chairs Therrien recreated are a perfect match to a chair I have that belonged to my dad, long ago. A chair that is a staple piece in my home office. Jeff Koons’ colorful balloon-like animals and fruit (made with stainless steel and a mirror-like surface) are fun pieces of art. Reminders of the good things in life. And the black and white photos by Robert Longo make you think. As does the charcoal on canvas drawing by Jenny Saville.  Both artists created a feeling that I have been part of a similar story. And finally, the exhibit Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power was extraordinary and thought provoking, showcasing contributions by artists beginning during the civil rights movement.

Heading back to the ground floor, to the Infinity Mirror room. I realized we still had 45 minutes left before Brad and I could even stand in line (Blah!) to enter the space filled with panels of mirrors and strings of lights. We wondered if it was worth the wait.  Right about that time, as we were contemplating leaving (instead of waiting), Brad and a guy – an employee of The Broad – both about the same age, engaged in a conversation about the pants and shoes each was wearing. (Fashionistas are everywhere!) There had to be some kind of bond because when Brad asked, “Is it worth the wait?” pointing toward the Infinity room. Mr. Employee said, “Follow me.” We did. And he graciously guided us to the front of the line.

Wait or no wait, it was worth it.

On the way home, we discussed what we thought about the museum and it was determined that, overall, the works of art were definitely worth taking the time to visit.

Yet, the downfall, was that with so many people given access to The Broad at one time, the noise level was very distracting. Art should be experienced quietly, reflectively, and respectfully, like libraries.

 

Summer

IMG_0872

As a teacher, summer always comes just at the right time so that I can take a break from the chatter of work. Don’t get me wrong, chatter is good, chatter is great, especially when speaking about kids in the classroom. The energy is rewarding in that students are engaged and excited to learn. To grow. To gain confidence. And to feel safe. To not worry. To embrace themselves. To know they are worthy. And to have a voice. A unique voice that needs to be heard.

That said, I definitely enjoy my summers. I create a schedule that’s not a planned time-frame but rather a loose, relaxing, take it day-by-day lifestyle.

This morning, I woke up three hours later than I would have if I had to go into work. I sipped a hot cup of (black only) coffee while watching Good Morning America. I began writing (again, finally) after six months of nothing noted. I enjoyed a grapefruit before heading out for a walk through the neighboring neighborhood, which is full of foliage and steep hills.

Summer is important because, for me, it is the key to maintaining a calm demeanor. A calm demeanor means protecting my well-being. And protecting my well-being is required for when I return to the classroom for another year of learning and building confidence within my students. Because, what’s better than a very patient teacher?

the healthy option

it’d been several months that i had been mad at myself, coming home from work, from a day filled with the energy of 10 year olds. i’d walk in, drop my gear on the kitchen table, turn on the television, and lounge on the couch with the intent to calm my mind for a bit. the problem was i’d feel myself sink lower and lower, and before i knew it, i was falling asleep.

so.

i made a statement, not only to myself but to rudy as well. ‘i want this tv gone, out of the house.’ by the next day i had moved it into the garage, where it sat unused. and then i transferred my after school activities to the kitchen table. the hard chair and tabletop  worked, for a while, until i reminded myself that while working on teacher work i could use my computer to watch… whatever.

bad.

several more months passed when i made another statement. ‘all i do is sit here and watch shows on Netflix. i’m kidding myself. i am losing it. not taking care of myself. i need a stand up table.’

‘huh?’ rudy grunted.

‘well, a desk. a desk i stand at instead of sit. it’s a healthy option.’

the thing is, as a teacher i walk around the classroom all day long. checking students work here, checking behavior there, and guiding lessons everywhere. by the time i get home, the steps i’d taken at work, about 6500, made me feel i’d earn sit-down time. but, i’d mistakenly believed sitting for the rest of the night made up for all the walking i did during the day.

wrong. i was feeling bloated.

so, i did a quick search of desks that you can work at while standing.

and boy, did i find a beauty. it’s called an UPLIFT DESK, made in austin, tx. the tabletop is made from reclaimed fir wood and comes with a controller (attached to the desk) to automatically adjust its height.

i’m in love.

plus, a new puzzle obsession has occurred, an activity that (both figuratively and literally) keeps me on my toes.

and.

IMG_E0326

to add to all the joy i am feeling, i have set up the room in my house, the one with the wall full of windows and, more importantly, the light filled room surrounded by items given to me by my sister and my mom, two people who are on my mind daily, two people who continue to guide me and remind me about what’s important in life.

What’s so Difficult About Staying Organized?

Long, long, long ago when I was a wee child I used to clean without being asked. It wasn’t a chore. It wasn’t mandatory. It wasn’t expected of me. Yet, I cleaned. Organized, Put things in their place. And the result? Boy, did I feel invincible, as if I could do anything. Cleaning and organizing are my go-to activities whenever I need a boost of contentment. Once completed, I can relax.

Of course, as that small, youthful girl I had no clue the benefits I’d gain, nor did I recognize any joyous feelings I may have experienced during those early years. I mean, really, I was only about 5 years old, I think, when it all began. When cleaning and organizing became as common to me as did writing with my dominant left hand. I still can vividly see myself in that small bedroom, making beds, arranging shoes, folding clothes, and sweeping the floor. Or being in the kitchen. Putting hand-washed dishes in their place and organizing the lower cupboards, the ones I could reach, stacking pots and pans. Did anyone notice? I don’t know and I didn’t seem to be concerned whether my work was recognized or not. I simply enjoyed the task.

As the years progressed, I have continued to keep my spaces [mostly] in an orderly manner. I prefer an organized household – or classroom, for that matter, simply because it’s so much easier to find what I’m looking for. But, that’s not to say that, seriously, sometimes a bit of disarray is fine and dandy, and ironically can be very comforting and soothing. Just not to the point where chaos begins to take over. Because, then, my mood takes a dive.

Fast forward to today. There is a teenage boy – young adult, actually – in the house who finds it very difficult to stay organized. I can’t recall how many times over the years that I have gone into his bedroom, cleaned up, created places for cherished items, and walked out feeling content. Clutter be gone! Yet, within days, somehow, somewhere all is lost, under a pile of clothes, both dirty and clean.

And he doesn’t understand what the problem is.

I get it, I do, we’re all individuals, good at certain things and great at others; and, we all have something we are lacking, things we can improve.

In the end, I do have to say, my lacking in trying not to eat “junk food” for the betterment of my health takes a backseat to having a clean and organized space surrounding me.

Life

 

IMG_0977

 

Ups, downs, and all arounds.
That's life,
unexpected events and occurrences
mixed together with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good turns bad, which looks ugly, and feels never-ending.
Yet,
life is a journey.
Nothing should be the same except for deep-rooted feelings,
and the love for one another.
So,
when things seem impossible
remember, look around, and embrace what's possible,
what can be.
The bad and the ugly
are reminders not to take life for granted,
Rather,
grab hold of the good,
ride with it,
embrace it,
and remember it, always,
and forever.

 

Here’s a Love Story for You

pexels-photo-556667.jpeg

Rudy was about 16 or 17 years old, living in Honduras, (long before he met California). He was a senior in high school, a star basketball player, and an overall good guy. A nice guy. Friendly. Sometimes observant, sometimes talkative.

There he was one evening, walking across the only bridge in town, when he sees her walking in the opposite direction. Her green eyes look at him, casually. Her long dark hair rustles in the breeze.

The most beautiful girl in the world.

She’s Honduran with mix of her dad’s Australian.

Rudy gazes at her, shyly, unable to speak.

Unfortunately.

He doesn’t see her for a few days. And then he does. Again. Crossing the bridge.

“Hola,” he says.

“Hi,” she responds.

And off they go, heading in the opposite direction, passing without another word.

He asks friends about her. Asking them about the beautiful girl who speaks English.

“Oh, her? She’s been around. Where have you been?” they say, playfully shoving him.

One night, not too long later, he goes to a party and sees her there. He feels his heart pound, excitedly. Feeling confident, Rudy introduces himself and asks her to dance.

She told him she used to have a boyfriend with the same last name. “Yo tenía un novio con el mismo apellido.”

Bravely, innocently, and boyishly he responds, “¿Quieres otra novio llamado Romero?”

She laughs. As if he’s a joke.

Rudy wants to sink into the earth. He feels stupid. Why did he ask if she wanted another boyfriend with the same last name?

So, he turns, walks away, drags his feet. Feet that seem to take ten years to move to the other side of the room. His head hangs down. He starts to leave with friends. The party is over, for him at least. But, she runs after him, says she can see he’s feeling down and that she is sorry, she didn’t mean any harm. Didn’t mean to be rude.

Suddenly the air filled with music.

Rudy asks, “¿Quieres bailar?”

She grabs his hand and pulls him with her, back to where the party is.

 

 

Anger Strikes a Pose

IMG_0193

A few years ago a student of mine stated, “You’re so chill, so easy to talk to.” I smiled, happy I was making an impact with my low-key demeanor. Happy that just being me was important to someone else.

“You know what I also really like about you?” she added.

I made eye contact with her. “My blue Vans™ High Tops?” I joked.

“Well, yeah,” she laughed, “but I like how you respect kids. Instead of talking down to us, you speak to kids as if we are equal. Like, you don’t make me feel small. You make me feel I can accomplish anything.”

“Wow! That’s so great. That’s exactly what I am hoping I am doing.”

I must say, all that is awesome, great, the reason I wanted to be a teacher, a person who has an impact on these youngsters who cross my path, not only to educate them but just as important, to build their self-esteem.

BUT, this year, for the first time, no kid has ever said nice things about me, to me. (Not that I need the accolades) it’s just that I have questioned myself as to why I am allowing deep-set negative feelings about the world at large seep into my core and camouflage who I truly am. In other words, I feel what’s good about life has taken a backseat to what is wrong in our world. Thus, these feelings have had an impact on the kind of teacher I never thought I’d be.

Nothing dramatic, just not cool. Not chill. Not low-key.

“…I like how you respect kids. Instead of talking down to us, you speak to kids as if we are equal…”. 

I’m missing that. 

A few weeks ago, when I had a conversation with myself (yep, I do that, I talk to me because I know myself best) I realized my behavior was out-of-tune. Today, the old me, the chill me, stood if front of a group of relaxed,  smiling kids who seemed to enjoy being in my classroom.