March 2010

30 Mar 2010 10:11 am


Making the strawberries cry

Spring Break is over. And not one blog post. I didn’t really travel except for a day trip to Tulsa to see Sesame Street Live and the Tulsa Aquarium with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. Mainly I cooked….and cooked….and cooked.


And I enjoyed it.

There’s nothing like feeling like cooking, cleaning and being with family. I didn’t realize how much last year took out of me until recently. It’s good to feel well enough to mop a floor and run up and down the stairs, delivering laundry to the rooms.

Health is important to happiness.

When I was a little girl I loved Ice Cream. Vanilla Ice Cream with chocolate syrup was my favorite. I remember sitting at the kitchen table, eating my ice cream and waiting for my mother to turn her back. When she did, I would stir my ice cream with the chocolate syrup until it was soupy. Then I would try to speak in my mother’s voice and say, “Take your medicine.” Savoring the taste of that ice cream flavored “medicine” came next.

Back when I was little, medicine wasn’t specially flavored for children and neither were vitamins. I remember choking down some kind of liquid pink medicine that gagged me. It tasted like a mixture of eggs and bubble gum. I think my mother called it sulfa.

Swallowing pills was also a problem for me.

So, when I stirred my ice cream into soup it was really my idea of great medicine.


Our family doctor, F.E. Shearer delivered my brothers and sister and me into the world, a world much different than today. My mother told me that my birth cost one hundred dollars. Fifty dollars for the hospital and fifty dollars for the doctor. Of course, this was before President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Congress passed Medicare.

I remember Dr. Shearer well. He looked like the doctor in Norman Rockwell’s painting and he was a kindly, patient man.

Dr. Shearer doctored my brothers and sister and me through broken arms, tularemia, measles, mumps, chicken pox, spider bites, and stomach upsets. Dr. Shearer was my doctor until I married and took off to my life as an Army wife.

Army medical care was a shock from the start. We spent more time waiting to see a doctor than standing in commissary lines. We were never assigned to a specific doctor so any “follow-up care” would find us with a doctor we had never seen before.

Most military hospitals in the states lacked a sufficient amount of doctors and when I discovered that we could go to a civilian doctor I took advantage for the sake of my children. Champus covered eighty percent of the care and I was able to submit our doctor bills directly to them for reimbursement.

Champus was a good system but it was altered and reduced during the Clinton administration. Tricare was in its early phases.

We were living near Washington D.C. at the time when a school nurse reported to us that our daughter might have scoliosis. Because of the changes in Champus we could no longer go to a civilian doctor so we had to take her to Walter Reed for her routine scoliosis check. She was sent down for an x ray. As she was putting on the robe I heard the x ray technician complaining that he had been on leave and was rusty at taking x rays.

Later, when we saw the doctor he had a pretty grim look on his face. He asked my daughter if she had tied a knot in the belt of her robe when she had the x ray and she answered yes. He showed us the x ray and there appeared to be a tumor on her spine.

The good doctor reasoned that the x ray must have been faulty but just in case, he wanted to send my daughter for some more tests.

What followed were two more months of gripping anxiety as she was scheduled for a bone scan and an MRI. The waiting for the results was agonizing for me. But it turned out, the tests ruled out a tumor. In addition, she didn’t have scoliosis.

I had always heard that Walter Reed was a great hospital. It serves the greatest people in the world and although my daughter’s doctor was a concerned, thorough doctor, the hospital lacked the resources and training that was needed to serve active duty military, much less dependents.

Another incident in early 2000 was horrifying to me. My husband and I were stationed in Germany and he came down with a kidney stone. He was sent to Landstuhl but they lacked the facilities to handle large kidney stones. Hospital officials made arrangements to medivac him to Walter Reed.

I was not allowed to accompany him because of lack of funding.

A procedure to blast the stone was unsuccessful so it had to be surgically removed. After the surgery my husband woke up in the hospital corridor. The hospital was so crowded that he had no room.

I was not surprised when in 2007 The Washington Post revealed the disgusting conditions wounded soldiers had to endure at Walter Reed. The left went wild in their hatred of all things Bush, even though the over crowding and lack of resources had existed for many years. In fact, it was during the Clinton years with the cuts in the military that the conditions at Walter Reed and other military medical facilities began to erode.

The thing is, kids, this is what we have to look forward to, now that socialized medicine has passed.

Obamacare will bring us bureaucrats, red tape, more graft, incompetent medical technicians, over crowding, lack of resources, lack of doctors, dirty hospitals, more taxes and wealth redistribution.

The military has already seen it and endured it.

We’ve been there and done that.

The transformation of America that Obama envisions is not healthy change.

I miss Dr. Shearer.

22 Mar 2010 03:30 pm


I watched the televised coverage of our nations’ descent into socialism this weekend, when I could stand it. I have never suffered under the delusion that Democrats can be trusted so when I saw the non-stop coverage about whether Congressman Stupak would say yea or nay I changed the channel. I knew he would pull a Lucy in the end.

And he did.

The Congress passed socialized health care 219 to 212.

The fiscal integrity of our nation, both private and public has been under attack since January 20th, 2009.

We are now going “down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.” Ronald Reagan

The thing is, a majority of the American people are against Obamacare. This has to be the most intrusive, invasive legislation in a hundred years. The biggest power grab; a mandate requiring Americans to buy health care insurance whether they want it or not and if they don’t the IRS will be sicced on them.

Will we turn over and go back to sleep? Will we allow Barack Obama and his pack of hellions to take our country down to the ant heap?

Hell No!

We won’t!

10 Mar 2010 08:33 am


Forget the NCAA tournament, the Iditarod, and the Academy Awards, it’s Art Season for me. Three art competitions in recent weeks have had me working day and night to prepare my “players” for their chance to shine.

Why do I do it when most of the Arts establishment discourage competition in art? (and other areas)

Art will take them places.

The art establishment discourages competition in art just as educational elites frown upon any kind of competition in schools. Children are not being encouraged to compete or to strive to achieve in many schools in America, unfortunately.

Talent is the great equalizer; I’ve taught in high socio-economic schools as well as the low socio-economic school where I am teaching presently. I much prefer schools in poor neighborhoods. The children aren’t as distracted by ipods, video games and other prizes of the well off. Many of my students are immigrants and appreciate the education that our school is providing. Many, of course, not all, of the students who I taught who came from richer neighborhoods did not have aspirations to achieve.

When life comes easy, achievements are few.

What does the national art educational establishment consider important? Not achievement, nor excellence but social justice.

The theme of the NAEA 2010 National Art Education Convention is: Art Education and Social Justice

The theme of the 2010 Convention, Art Education and Social Justice, is appropriate to our time. The historic election of President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor reflects our ever shifting demographic. Our nation is truly questioning itself in order to discover and redefine who we are as a nation, what we believe in, and what needs to change.

The White House held a briefing on Art, Community, Social Justice, National Recovery on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 that was attended by arious representatives of the current administration and more than 60 artists and creative organizers. All gathered were there to not only pledge their support for the arts and community organizing but also to begin a real dialogue on issues of social justice and our nation’s economic and emotional recovery. Joseph Reinstein, Deputy Social Secretary, said, “The administration believes the arts play a critical role beyond art education in saying what a democracy is” (2009, p.5).

It is never a comfortable task to question oneself; there is fear at what we will find. But the arts are used to questioning, probing, and searching. As Maxine Greene writes, “[T]he arts will help disrupt the walls that obscure…spheres of freedom” (1988, p. 133). This year’s Convention seeks to do just that.
–Vanessa Lopez, Roland Park Elementary Middle School, Baltimore, MD
2010 NAEA National Convention Program Coordinator

The National Endowment for the Arts, community organizing and social justice.

Where have I heard this before?

Now I’m back to matting and shrink-wrapping artworks that express students individual and personal thoughts and ideas. No more personal in Obama’s world?


Here are some artworks by my students:



04 Mar 2010 01:11 pm


When Hillary Clinton stated last October that she had no plans to run for President again some political pundits coughed into their hands. From the looks of this photo of Hillary in Brazil recently I’m beginning to take her seriously.

Mrs. Clinton’s global efforts as Secretary of State are not working out so well. Brazil just snubbed the U.S. on sanctions against Iran. She’s caused trouble with Britain over the Falklands. She’s having bad hair days and “occasional overseas gaffes” all over the world.

Does this reflect on President Obama or is Hillary Clinton simply ineffectual?