Tag Archive: son

Life Update

2014 Summer Reading Logo

So I apologize from being totally MIA from this site for the last month and a half. I started a new job at the public library and while I am loving it, it does keep me supremely busy. Plus I’m taking care of my son on the off days, which is very time-consuming, and all of this work (both paid and not) leaves me with not much free time. I was working more hours at my last job but the work was pretty easy and I was basically getting finished after a couple of hours and having a lot of free time. At the library, it is less hours, but I am packing more work into the time. I am working as a Library Assistant in the Youth Services Dept (for ages 0-18 yrs) and I get to help with some pretty cool programming, as well as working at the Children and Teen Desks as a general purpose/Reader’s Advisory/Reference point person. We’re in the middle of the 2014 Summer Reading Program (logo above) so there is a lot going on from now until July 26th, then hopefully things will slow down a bit in time for school to start again. This year’s program is very STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math) orientated as the theme has been Outer Space, so that makes for some fun programs too. The Reptile Adventures Show has been making the rounds at the libraries and my son and I got to pet an 18 ft Albino Reticulated Python named Lily, at another branch when I was off work (which my son thought was rather cool, I did too!). I’ve helped with programs on the geology of Mars, which includes making homemade Volcanoes (which points to life on Mars) out of baking soda and vinegar, as well as Paper Engineering,  where the kids have made all kinds of cool recycled paper games like Mini-Golf, a Pinball Machine, Robots/Spaceships, and Mini-Soccer Pitch. There are also STEM Crafts were the teen volunteers have taughts mini-classes on things like magnets and plants. We also have a Minecraft Education Server where the kids can have fun playing in the world on Creative (where they have all their resources) and Survival (where they have to find their own). In the future, I will be in charge of some ToddlerTime storytimes for 2-3 yr olds and Discovery Time storytimes for 3-5 yrs olds with a STEM influence. I’m also learning how to properly weed the collection of books that haven’t been circulated in over a year, which is actually more complicated than it sounds. Overall, I am loving the work as this is exactly what I got my Masters Degree in Library and Information Science for in the first place.


Aside from that, not much else is going on. I am keeping up with my reading as best I can, though even that is slowing down a bit with this new schedule. My dad gave my hubby his old computer, which is a better faster computer with a better graphics card, so I got my hubby’s computer with more RAM and better graphics card, so we’ve been doing a lot of computer gaming lately. I started playing Fable III, which is pretty additive, has pretty graphics and is a lot of fun to play. I’m looking for a new free-t0-play MMORPG, though that is tricky since I’ve played quite a few over the years. I downloaded Aionwhich I am having fun playing though the loading up time sucks and the client took me 16 hrs to download. The above picture is an example of the graphics, although I am playing as a Templar (warrior with mace/hammer and shield) and a Gunslinger (dual pistols). It gets a little grindy, i.e. lots of searching for materials for crafting and killing mobs but the main storyline is interesting enough to keep me interest.

In other news, my son turned 3 yrs old last Tues. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? I figure it’s as much a celebration of his birth as it is my husband and I surviving another year as parents. Everyone said the twos were terrible but now I hear that it might continue until he’s 4 years old. Goodness, I’ll just be happy when he’s completely potty-trained at this point (though less temper tantrums would be awesome!).


June Life Update

Things have been really crazy lately. I’ve been really busy with work and haven’t had a whole lot of free time. This is especially true last week and this week so far. I hope everyone had a fantastic Father’s Day! My husband, son and I had lunch with my parents to celebrate. My hubby finally decided that he wanted a custom license plate for his gift, so we’re just waiting for the tag to come in before we can do anything. I finally got invitations for my son’s birthday party, but will probably get decorations closer to the day. The party is on July 14 but his birthday is the 15th. I can’t believe my big boy is going to be 2 years old!

I am horrible at remembering things, so I use Google Calendar to keep track of things for me, and it sends me email reminders. Usually I have one event a week but this week, I’ve got three. So feeling a bit overwhelmed. I decided to volunteer for a program at Phoenix Public Library called Talk Time, which is very similar to another program I did for two years in Columbia called Let’s Speak English (LSE), which allows ESL speakers to practice their English in a non-classroom setting. It is supposed to be more comfortable and make the students more at ease with conversing in English. I have several friends who I met through LSE and before when I was in school in Scotland that English is not their first language and I know how difficult it can be to do if you are not confident in your abilities or have been made fun of for the lack of English or many other reasons. I got to sit in on a Talk Time session last week and was surprised and pleased that so many people came. The previous week (which was the first one) only had 6 people, but the second one had 20+. I never had that many with LSE, it had a max of maybe 10 people. As we live in the Phoenix area, there are a lot of Mexican immigrants and this meetup was no exception, but there were also people from Korea, India, Colombia, Panama and Nicaragua as well. The big difference between Talk Time and LSE, aside from the numbers, is what I would be doing with the program. With LSE, I was one of many volunteers who partnered up with one or two internationals and talked in English. With Talk Time, I would be leading the session by myself. I met with the coordinator, who was very excited about my joining the program, especially as I could actually commit to 6+ months. So I am now completing 3 online courses in Adult Education, which I’m trying to finish by tomorrow (maybe more like by Wed or the end of the week, depending on how tired I am). I’m excited about volunteering again and yes, I hope this will add to my library experience so I can eventually get a good job in a system somewhere.

I also have to finish creating an art talk, before Saturday, which I’m making for one of the committees I’m a part of at my church. We have an art exhibition opening for the current exhibit of Ethiopian Orthodox Church art, a bit late, but better late than never. I’m going to give a bit of history on the church and on the icons/art in the exhibition. I’ve honestly never done one of these, so I’m a little nervous about boring people. I’ve discovered that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is incredibly old and complex, so it makes summarizing fun (not!). However, I am learning a bunch I didn’t know, so that’s always a bonus. I will post the speech/paper after I have given the talk.

I’m also finally getting my car tinted. I would never have thought about doing this prior to living in Arizona, as I think it’s a bit pretentious. However, with having a little one and trying to protect him from the sun as much as I can, it is now essential. Plus it is a dark colored car and we have no garage so it just gets hotter and hotter sitting outside and it will up the value of the car if we ever sell it.


Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Last week got kinda crazy. My boss’s fiance gave birth the week before last so he was out of the office pretty much all of that week and most of this past week. We had just been slammed with work and on top of that, my son and I got either food poisoning or this one-day stomach bug that’s been going around the Phoenix area. Then my hubby got sick and had to see a doctor. Last weekend I got to see the new Star Trek movie, which was awesome. I saw it in 2D but I know it would’ve been pretty cool in 3D as well. I had heard pretty mixed reviews on it, so wasn’t sure it was going to be all that great. I must say though, Benedict Cumberbatch made a very interesting villain, most of all because of his deep gravelly voice (so sexy). Not to mention Chris Pine playing the hero Captain Kirk, with that roguish bad-boy charm, who has to make some incredibly hard choices to get the job done. The movie was full of male and female eye candy, but a good story and a lot of action and adventure to keep everyone entertained as well. I’m hoping they’ll continue making more of these movies. I’ve always been an on-again off-again Star Trek fan, but right now I’m definitely a fan. I grew up watching Star Trek: Next Generation and ST: Deep Space Nine, which I just loved. Probably one of the only reasons I have any idea who Wil Wheaton is today is because of that show. Well that and he now does some of the best teen audiobook narration ever. I watched a bit of Star Trek: Voyagerand think that Janeway was a pretty good captain. I know I’ve watched the movie Star Trek Generations, and the latest Star Trek movie (2009), but I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the other movies. I’m gonna try to watch the original Star Trek series with Kirk, Scotty, Dr. McCoy, Spock et al, but it’s so spectacularly bad (low budget), I’m not sure how long I’ll last. Then I was hoping to tackle 1-6 of the original Star Trek movies.


This weekend was the Phoenix Comicon. For those who have never been to a comic convention, it is definitely an interesting experience. This was my third one, and it was definitely the biggest and craziest one I’ve ever been to. I went to my first one totally by accident. I had a friend who was interning at the Museum for Comic Book Art in NYC and they were having one at the museum, and I was visiting, so I got invited to it. I wanna say that was the summer of 2003. Even though it was small, it had some really big name people there. Frank Miller, who created/illustrated the series From Hell, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns300, and Sin City just to name a few. My friend had an art-gasm being that close to a legend and got him to sign his copy of From Hell and he did a little drawing too. I discovered a few really cool things like Edward Einhorn, who did an Oz spin-off book called Paradox in Ozwhich was illustrated by the now pretty famous Eric Shanower, who does Oz comics/graphic novels. I’ve read his 5 volume set Adventures in Oz. I also discovered the series Max Hamm: Fairy Tale Detective by Frank Cammuso. That first comicon really opened my eyes to comics, though I probably didn’t really start reading them till around graduate school. My second comicon was last year in Tempe, and it was a bit bigger. I saw a lot of creators/illustrators I had never heard of and some that I had. It was a fun event.

The one I went to yesterday was similar but about 5 times bigger. It took me three hours just to walk all the way through all the vendors/artists/famous folks. They had actors/actresses from many sci-fi and fantasy shows like Babylon 5 (apparently this year was the 20th Anniversary of the show so they had about 14 cast members plus the shows creator there), The Walking Dead stars Laurie Holden, Chandler Riggs, and Michael Rooker (and I was impressed how friendly the last guy looked, not at all like his TV persona), some anime voice over actors, Wil Wheaton, and John Barrowman (star of Torchlight and a frequent guest of David Tennant’s Doctor Who). I would’ve really liked to have met the last two but everyone was charging a minimum of $20-50 for pictures and signatures, so I just checked them out from a far. One of my current favorite writers was there, Adam Rex, but he just happened to be away from his table when I was over there and wouldn’t be back for a half hour. It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic, as I have never seen so many people in one area. There must’ve been more than 1000 people in the giant halls they blended together to have one giant space for all the vendors and creator/illustrators. The Society for Creative Anachronisms was there, along with L.A.R.P. (Live Action Role Play – another friend of mine used to do that). I have never seen people in so many different costumes in my life. There were people dressed up like unicorns, any number of superhero and anime stars, Disney princesses, zombies (even saw a zombie Snow White), Catwoman, and there was a guy dressed up like a Tusken Raider from Star Wars and his son was dressed up like a Jawa. There was one random pair of girls in literally just heels, underwear with something written across the butt and a very short top. There was one whole section just for this Star Wars charity group, but they had Lego Star Wars models (Millenium Falcon, Death Star, Star Destroyer). There was this one guy who did these almost pin-up versions of sci fi girls like Princess Leia and others. They had a lot of steampunk jewelry for sale, which I liked, but most of it was out of my price range. Lots of guys and girls were dressed up like Doctor Who, which I was pretty surprised about, to be honest. I mean I know more and more people know about it, but I didn’t think it was that popular. For some reason, that kid’s cartoon show Adventure Time was also really popular and there were quite a few teenagers dressed up like those characters. From a people-watching perspective, it was a very interesting time. There were a ton of families there with small children, though I’m glad I went by myself as I know my son would not have been a happy camper for that long there. His toddler patience is shorter than mine. I didn’t manage to make to any of the panel discussions even though there were quite a few that I had wanted to attend. I think if I decided to do this again, or even better, go to the San Diego Comicon (my ultimate goal), I would buy a two day or weekend pass far in advance. That way I could hit all the vendors one day and then take another day to do panels.

Artful Saturday: Fernando Botero

Things have been crazy busy this week with starting a new schedule that includes a new job, putting my child in full-time daycare,  and getting used to the extra driving. Thankfully my son is handling things pretty well, although he’s been feeling under the weather with some sort of sinus/stomach bug thing. I still have to work at my other job today and tomorrow, as this is Holy Week for Christians (with the exception of Greek Orthodox as their Easter isn’t until May 5) and Easter is on Sunday. So figured that this art post on Botero and his most recent series Via Crucis: The Passion of Christ was rather appropriate today, as it is all about the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. If anyone is interested, I have found a medical opinion on the subject.

I first discovered Fernando Botero through my college roommate. She was taking a class on Modern Latin American art and he was one of the artists she was studying. An abstract figurative artist from Colombia, Botero is famous for his overly exaggerated full-figured ladies (almost like plus-size on steroids) and likes to take elements from many different art historical periods including Renaissance, Latin Colonial art, Romanticism etc and mixing it with modern style. According to this website, “His images are rotund and swollen to almost monumental proportions, exhibiting a highly personal concept of aesthetic beauty. They articulate both his profound conciseness of artistic tradition and a satirical observation of his fellow man. His paintings offer wit, irony, and a dose of social commentary, all while displaying exceptional skill and technical ability.” I thought his art was cool, not only because he liked to imitate Old Masters and reproduce his paintings, like the examples below, but also because of the way he seemed to glorify large women. Being one myself, it is rare to see a painter paint women like this unless it was a Rubens painting (another favorite artist of mine). An example of the restyling of art periods is his painting Mademoiselle Riviere. The original version was done in 1806 by French Neoclassical artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, while Botero’s version was completed in 1979.

Mademoiselle Caroline Riviera - Ingres 1806 Mademoiselle Riviera - Botero 1979

Another work that I just discovered is Botero’s interpretation of Jan Van Eyck (again another of my favorite artists – see this post for details as to why) 1434 painting The Arnolfini Wedding aka The Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife. We studied this painting in great detail in my Northern Renaissance class during my undergraduate career, so I know about all the cool details about the painting.  For example, the mirror in the back center of the painting reflects not only the distorted scene in reverse but also the artist himself. The dog signifies fidelity and the oranges could signify wealth as they were still very hard to get in the 15th century. This webpage describes the symbolism of the candle: “The chandelier only has one candle, which was carried in the bridal procession and then placed in the couple’s nuptial chamber. The candle may also be a religious symbol, representing the all-seeing eye of God. The painting was thought to represent the first painting of a civil wedding ceremony, which takes place not in a church but in a chamber of the home, in this case, the bedroom.” Giovanna, the wife of Giovanni, is made to look pregnant as that was the fashion, but there was to be no children for the couple. Botero’s The Arnolfini (after Van Eyck) was completed in 1997.

Jan Van Eyck The Arnolfini Wedding, 1434

The Arnolfini Wedding - Jan Van Eyck 1434

Fernando Botero, The Arnolfini (after Van Eyck), 1997

The Arnolfini (after Van Eyck) - Botero 1997

Via Crucis is Latin for the stations/way of the cross. If you happen to be in Jerusalem, you can visit these in person, but most of the time people do them inside of church with icons/paintings set up to symbolize the path. It can be done throughout the season of Lent, in particular, Good Friday (which was yesterday). I know for sure that Catholics and Episcopalians still do this, but I am unsure about other Protestant religions. Normally there are 14 Stations of the Cross (illustrated below and Spanish-English info taken from this webpage):

1. Jesus is condemned to death

2. Jesus carries the cross

3. Jesus falls under the weight of the cross

4. Jesus meets his mother, the Virgin Mary

5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

7. Jesus falls the second time

8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem and they weep over him

9. Jesus falls the third time

10. Jesus is stripped of his garments

11. Jesus is nailed to the cross

12. Jesus dies on the cross

13. Jesus is taken down from the cross and given to his Mother, the Virgin Mary

14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

Stations of the Cross

The original series done in 27 oil paintings and 34 drawings in mixed media (including pencil and watercolor) on paper, was show in the artist’s hometown of Medellin, Colombia, as well as the Marlborough Gallery in New York City. He features scenes of both Manhattan, such as the Central Park background setting for one of the crucifixion scenes and of his native Colombia, like in The Flogging of Christ, where a Columbia soldier is carrying out the sentence instead of a Roman one, a comment on the violence of the country as carried by the military. He even manages to include himself in a small 21st century self-portrait on the left side of The Kiss of Judas, whose figures are predominantly dressed like  1st century men from Jesus’s time, with the exception of Judas, who is also dressed like a modern man. Botero’s addition of himself into a religious painting is keeping up the tradition of other artists who have done the same thing, like Michelangelo depicting himself as the distorted skin of St. Bartholomew who was flayed alive, in the Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgement.  According to this website, the writer Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz writes this about the artist and his work,  “Botero, who in his own words is ‘at times a believer, at times an agnostic,’ has captured the intensity and cruelty but also the piercing poetry of the tremendous drama of Christ’s journey along the Way of the Cross toward his crucifixion.” In regard to Botero’s style she astutely quotes the English poet, Francis Bacon, “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”

Fernando Botero, Crucifixion, 2011

The Crucifixion of Christ - Botero

Fernando Botero, The Flogging of Christ2011

The Flogging of Christ - Botero

Fernando Botero, The Kiss of Judas, 2011

The Kiss of Judas by Botero

New Job!!

Despite my misgivings about having a receptionist-type job again, I have accepted one with the company my hubby works for. I’m just so excited to have a real, more than 4 hr a week job. It’s starting out part time (20 hrs), but hopefully will go to full-time in a couple of weeks if all goes well. So Yay (Happy Dance)!

Calvin and Hobbes Animated

So I have to put my son in full-time day care from two 1/2 days a week, but he loves being there, so I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue. Probably will be more worrisome for me, lol. Though I’m not gonna lie, I’m looking forward to having 5 kid-free mornings for a couple of weeks. I should be able to get a lot of reading/gaming in, which is good as I have three new adult nonfiction books I want to read.

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