Before you start reading this, jump to the end and press play on the Animoto slide show. That way it will be loaded and ready to play by the time you get to the end of this post.
What an intense, busy year this has been for me. My art took a back seat to my goal for the year, which was to get my master’s degree in educational technology. I had to take six classes, write a huge paper and create a field project, so that’s what I’ve been working on for the last twelve months. I finished a little over a week ago. It was a great experience for me; I learned so much! But it was hard work and left no time for making art or writing.
I’m starting my twenty-fourth year of teaching in a little more than a week. I’m excited to use what I learned this past year with my students. There are so many new things I want to try with them that I feel a little nervous and overwhelmed about it. I have to remind myself to start small and focus on adding new ideas and content in little steps so I don’t lose my mind.
Even though I feel like I spent all my waking hours working on my master’s project this summer, I did take time to do a few fun things. Michael and I went to Monterey to watch the motorcycle races at Laguna Seca. I didn’t think I would like it very much, and was basically going to keep him company. When he was a young boy in Greece, he would read the motorcycle magazines and dream about going to Laguna Seca to watch the races. After 24 years of living in the U.S., we finally made his dream come true! And it was a blast! I had a great time and would definitely go again without hesitation. I’ll write some more about that trip in another post.
I also took the kids to see the Coldplay concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View. What a great concert they put on. They played for two solid hours. A highlight for me was an acoustic version of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean,” which was just amazing. The only downside was the traffic getting there, which was horrendous. I like the Shoreline because it’s a medium sized venue and you don’t feel like you’re watching ants on a stage. However, our seats were awful. I bought the tickets online and when I got them I noticed tiny print that said “Possible Obstructed View.” Huh?? Believe me, if I had known that, I wouldn’t have bought the tickets, especially not for the price they charged. Or I would have tried for different seats. Live Nation said that we could return them, but the show was sold out and I really wanted to go, so we took our chances. Good thing everyone stood up for the entire concert. We were two rows up from a huge projector that totally blocked our view of the stage when we were sitting down. Shame on Live Nation for selling us those tickets in the first place. The traffic and the crappy seats were disappointing, but ultimately Coldplay’s fantastic performance and music made up for it.
My family also got to spend four days at Bass Lake near Yosemite. My sister’s family invited us to join them. The water in the lake was warm and beautiful and we rented a party boat and took the kids tubing. My sister, Kris, eventually talked me into going tubing, too. Boy am I glad she did! It was so much fun; I haven’t laughed that hard in I don’t know how long. We also took a drive to Yosemite Valley for the day. That place is so incredible. I’ve been there at least six times in my life and it never ceases to amaze me.
Another fun thing I did this summer was go to the Italian Street Painting Festival in San Rafael. It’s a fund raiser for the Youth in Arts program. The city closes off several streets and uses blue tape to mark off huge squares on the asphalt for artists to use as their canvas. It’s a two day thing, and I have to say that I like going Saturday to see the work-in-progress. The half-finished faces look like they’re rising out of the pavement. I don’t know how the artists do it. They must be so sore the next day. They do all their drawing with chalk while on their knees or crouched over the art. There were lots of hats, and kneepads, and I bet lots of Motrin the next day . . . at least I know there would have been for me. The art work is amazing. I took lots of pictures and used Animoto to make a little video to share with you. If you’ve read this far, hopefully the movie has loaded into the page by now. I hope you enjoy it.
Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.