Monday, July 30, 2007


Mostly I’m not too fond of being tagged, but this exercise isn’t too bad.

The Rules:

1. First, post these rules.
2. Post 8 random facts about yourself.
3. Write a blogspot about those facts.
(Actually, I’m not sure I see the difference between #2 and #3).
4. Tag and name 8 more bloggers.
5. Tell them that they’re tagged at their blog.

But I’m going to ignore #4 and #5. If you’re reading my blog, and would like to do this, consider yourself tagged. If you’d rather not, feel no obligation.

Eight Random Facts About Me

1. Occupation: Before I retired, for 37 1/2 years I earned my living as a high school teacher. For 37 of those years I taught at the same school, Lodi High. I taught English, art, ceramics, and English as a Second Language - mostly English and English as a second language. I loved teaching, because I was never bored while the students were there. It was always an exciting experience to go to work. I retired at age 61, for health reasons - but teaching was becoming so restrictive (teach this lesson, this way, at this time - and if any student doesn’t learn well you are liable to be sued) that I felt a little relieved to quit. My average work day as a teacher was about 12 hours long, and I generally put in another six or ten hours during each weekend.

2. Retirement: I love being retired. The two best things about retirement are that I can go to the bathroom any time I feel the urge, and that I am no longer exhausted (I’d been exhausted for most of my life from the time I entered college to the day of my retirement). Now I can take naps!

3. Marriage: I was married for 25 years. I’ve only been married once, though Bill went on to his third marriage immediately after our painful but amicable divorce. Bill died last year, so now I don’t know whether I am a divorcee or a widow.

4. Family: I have one daughter, who is intelligent, hard working, and has a loving heart. She is married, and lives in New Zealand with her husband and my granddaughter, who just turned one. I also have two middle-aged step sons. The older, Will, lives in the midwest and I rarely hear from or see him or his wife and girls. The younger, Ron, lives a little over an hour from me. He has a wonderful wife and four intelligent and delightful children, whom I am privileged to see more frequently. I have a wonderful sister who is a lawyer in Connecticut.

5. Parents: My mother died May 8, peacefully in her sleep, at age 86. She is survived by my stepdad, Larry, with whom I eat out 4, 5, or 6 times a week. My father is still alive at age 90, in Lancaster, California, and he and his wife Audrey go out dancing once or twice a week. Dad says he doesn’t need his walker when he’s dancing, because he can lean on his partner.

6. Pets: I have one cat and one dog. The dog, Jet, is an outdoor dog, a black lab, mainly. The cat, Piddles, is an indoor cat, a calico, who sleeps with me at night, sits on my lap when I’m at the computer, and hides when company comes. Piddles is doing her best to coat my house and all its contents with cat hair.

7. Home: I live in the country, in a semi-rural area between Lodi and Stockton, California. I’m a terrible house keeper. My house is always a mess, and I honestly have no interest in cleaning it. But if I know you are coming to visit me I’ll clear a path so that you can come in, sit down, and go to the bathroom if needed. If you’d like to stay over night, we can manage that too - I have a mattress leaning against the wall in my guest room, even though I no longer have a bed to put it on.

8. Life style: Sedentary. I stand and walk from computer to bathroom to couch. I turn the pages in books. I lift small paint brushes. I push buttons on the television remote. That concludes the list of exercises I do daily.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Illustration Friday - Moon 1

Here's a couple of moon images I painted as ATCs a year or so ago.
Both are acrylics, 2 1/2" x 3 1/3".

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Illustration Friday - Poem 2

This is my first attempt at spray paint art. I did it to illustrate the rhyme below. It is 2 1/2" x 12".


by Focus

© 2000 Focus, all rights reserved

Lengths of silver wire, bent but strong,
They hold together papers that to me belong.

My pockets all are bulging with paper clips.
I wiggle 'em and jiggle 'em 'tween my fingertips.

There is a world of things these clips can do.
Myriads! Let me explain a few to you.

Bend some clips and twist 'em so they're sharp and poke
Then leave on chairs to startle unsuspecting sitting folk!

Clips can clean your fingernails, clean your toenails too.
Clips free stuck computer disks, open mice gummed up with goo.

Clips set hair in pincurls, or a clip may part your hair.
Or, like barettes, they style it! Use clips everywhere!

Clip up hems that tear out. Clip the latch that wriggles free.
With a clip you pick the lock when you've mislaid the key.

Press a clip into soft clay, to get textures fair.
Get some clips just to keep. Get some clips to share!

Clips make office jewelry, like bracelet or like ring.
Clips make shiny necklaces, all hooked up in a string.

Jumbo clip can be a compass. Hold your finger at one end,
Then swing the other end about with point of ballpoint pen!

Use a clip to measure. A small clip's near an inch;
So if you don't have a ruler use a clip in a pinch.

Paperclip the cloth unto the pattern when you sew.
Use a clip as bookmark so your place you will know.

Clips make handy tools. Use a clip to punch a hole!
Use paperclips to hold a waving flag atop its pole.

Clips gleam in silver pattern on a crafty picture frame.
Lay clips out upon your desk to spell your lover's name.

Use a clip to make a handle for a paper cup.
The cup may leak a little, but you can pick it up.

A clip may be a weapon, hurtling through the air.
(Naughty boy with rubber band is who shot it there.)

A clip can bend into a toy for a child to flip.
It can be a pull for broken zipper, so that you can zip!

A clip can be quite stylish! Make a fringe on skirts or shorts.
Use clips as hooks for buttons - it really takes all sorts!

Cut it, and put a worm on. Use it as a hook!
Then bake the fish with recipe clipmarked in your cookbook!

A clip can push back cuticle. A clip can scrape off paint.
A clip can be a halo for handcrafted Christmas saint.

Use a clip to mend your glasses. Use a clip to make a spring.
Use a clip as inspiration for a song you want to sing.

Clips have added to our language. We have clipper ships at sea!
Horses trot with "clip clops"! There are news clips on TV!

Clips are metal or they're plastic; clips are big or small.
We have a close relationship. I love them, love them all!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Illustration Friday - Poem 1

So the word for Illustration Friday this week is "Poem". I notice most folks are illustrating a specific poem, rather than the general concept of poetry, so I decided to do the same. This is a poem I wrote about 5 years before I retired, rather a dark period of my life.


by Focus

© 2000 Focus, all rights reserved

Tired, I stumble to shower.
Tired, drive yawning to work.
Tired, drag home to grade papers,
Tired, and slightly berserk!

Tired, I answer phone's ringing.
Tired, tell slick salesmen "No Thanks."
Tired, "No, this is wrong number."
Tired, I growl at phone pranks.

Tired, I balance bank statement.
Tired, sort bills in tall stacks.
Tired, appease bill collectors.
Tired, I write out the checks.

Tired of my worry, and weary.
Tired of dark blame thrown my way.
Tired of dirt, dust and laundry.
Bone tired, in a life gone dull gray.

And here is the illustration I just did for the poem:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Illustration Friday - Geeky

Geek training should begin early. Indeed, geek training for my granddaughter has already begun. Less than a year old, she already has her own keyboard! Obviously, the black t-shirt with pocket protectors comes later.

acrylics, 4" x 6".

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Illustration Friday - Twist

Predator & Prey, colored pencils and ink, 4" x 6". The prey twists and turns, leaving twisted streams of bubbles in his wake, as he tries to escape that vicious predator.