Monday, October 27, 2008

once upon a school

it always warms my heart when i receive a comment that i have inspired someone to get involved in their neighborhood school. i truly believe that it is up to my generation to either save the public school system in this country - or see its demise.

lots of ideas and inspiration at a new forum put together by dave eggers: once upon a school

Sunday, October 26, 2008


"Kids today are bombarded with a pop culture that teaches redemption through buying things. School gardens, on the other hand, teach redemption through a deep appreciation for the real, the authentic, the lasting, the things that money can't buy: the things that matter most of all if we are going to lead sane, healthy and sustainable lives."
- Alice Waters

Friday, October 24, 2008

weekend to

finish putting up hallowe'en decorations
finish the young sorceress's cape
finish another grant application

enjoy some downtime with my family

hope you enjoy too


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CA Modern

our hood

CA Modern magazine chose to profile our 'hood in their latest issue:
Neighborhood on the Rise

above illustration from the original sales brochure for our homes

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

what we've been up to

we've been busy working on greening e's school - culminating in a big workday last weekend.

what did we do? 150 volunteers

planted 80 trees

painted 6 murals:

in the garden mural
Koala Spirit

painted 2 maps on the playground:

united states
we are the world

painted 5 buildings and put in 3 new gardens:

brighter walls
bungalow mural and garden

and my favorite, installed our circle art project:

makes me happy
circle art installation
circle art {from inside yard}

we gave each of our 412 students a wooden circle to paint, painted them blue on the back, sealed them with acrylic varnish, then attached them to the (ugly-suddenly-beautiful) chain-link fence. (loosely based on this project, which unfortunately hasn't made it this far south.) funded by a Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant.

i could seriously do this for a living. so good. and come monday morning seeing the kids, teachers, birds, bugs all enjoying our labours - the biggest thank you ever.

(did i mention how great my neighbors are? the best. really. the. best. couldn't have done any of this without them.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


as i was typing the post below, i received an email from a dear friend from graduate school. her husband had sent me a quick email back in august that they had a new beautiful baby daughter. i picked up a card. a little gift. and it sat on my desk while i tried to find their address on a little slip of paper i have put somewhere. and so i emailed my friend to explain why i hadn't sent the little parcel. and today she emailed back. she had breast cancer. is fighting it. has had a mastectomy and will begin chemo soon. her beautiful new baby girl came early so that she could fight this. she also has a beautiful husband and son. they are moving back home to be near friends and family. and she hopes i am well. that our girls are well. and she loves my blog. my blog. this silly place where i worry and complain. that is mainly read by my friends and family. and a few strangers who have become friends. and a few strangers i'll likely never know.

i love you s. and my prayers are with you all. you made me stop. look. and listen. thank you.

stop. look. and listen.

i have it in my mind to allow e to cross the road by herself. she is 7. and part of me feels so ridiculous as i type this. i walked to school by myself when i was 7. i took off around the block on my rollerskates at whim. and sometimes on the instruction of my mom, to chase my brother and expel some of our energy. and now i am contemplating this for my own child. what has happened? honestly, our world isn't that different - except for all the inane media coverage that permeates our lives. is it?

there is renewed worry about "predators" in our neighborhood. emails have been sent out between well-meaning neighbors warning of potential danger. we all watch out for each other and our kids and for that i am so greatful. but i don't like to worry about these things. be aware yes. but worry. no. there are so many things i could worry about.

i have gone over with both the girls what they should do if a stranger ever approaches them while they are jumping rope on the driveway. you can say hello. but if you don't want to say hello that is fine too. call me. or your dad. the front door is always open and we are listening for you. stranger danger they have learned in school. but part of me bristles at this. what is wrong with smiling at a stranger?

ok. i am completely off from where i was going here.

things are busy. our public school is hopping with activity. i have it in my mind to secure 1/2 million dollars in private and public funds before 2009 comes. and i feel we are on our way. i am working to put a public park on the end of our street. to transform our school's asphalt playyard. a park my kids will hopefully walk to. to meet their friends. hang out. a place that i will walk to. to meet my friends. hang out. community building. placemaking. i have become obsessed. to create a place where no one worries about their kid crossing the street alone. because they won't really be alone.{and we all stay aware}

wrapping up cornmuffins for the bakesale at the school tonight