Friday, December 28, 2012

Gerald Harness--Artist of the Joyce Oroz

Today I am proud to announce the Dragonfly Gallery, “Artist of the Month” for January. Gerald Harness, (better known as, Jerry) is a talented painter and valuable member of the Aromas Hills Artisans. He is an artist who reaches outside his comfort zone, painting new and different subjects, honing his skills as he goes, and sharing his newest projects with AHA members.

Jerry was the “17th Naval District Artist” in the navy—stationed in Alaska. After serving in the navy, he spent 40 years in engineering—mostly in aerospace. He stopped painting in 1970 but took it up again after his retirement in 1993. Jerry decided to try painting landscapes even though his comfort zone was painting portraits. He went on to paint many historical scenes of sailing ships, cowboys and pioneers.

What kind of guy is Jerry? In his own words … “I’m still trying to improve my scribbling.” Yes, he is a very talented, but modest artist.

I hope you will drop by the Dragonfly Gallery, 380 Blohm Ave., Aromas, and see Jerry’s wonderful work for yourself. 

After a fabulous 2012, the gallery is now bursting with new and unique items for sale.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Concert and Silent Auction

Brief announcement:

There is going to be a Silent Auction and Concert Fundraiser on Sunday, January 6 at 5pm at the Corralitos Cultural Center to help Randy Peyser, who has just completed chemo and radiation for breast cancer.

Many local performers are offering their help, including Alisa Fineman and Kimball Hurd, Michael Gaither, Marky Starks, Patti Lemon and The Jazz Committee, and more.

Items are needed for the Silent Auction. If any AHA members would like to donate an item for the Silent Auction, please contact Randy at 726-3153,

Thank you all!

Randy Peyser
P. O. Box 151
Aromas, CA 95004
(831) 726-3153
Mark Twain said, "Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest." Supporting Randy is "doing right" and a good way for us to start the new year.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wishing You a Happy Holiday Joyce Oroz

The world didn’t end … this time, but I’m sure there will be new opportunities in the future to act like fools, throw a party, spend too much, drink too much and deal with the consequences when the sun comes up bright as ever.

Not to say that Josephine did all that.

                                           Photo by Avery Laurin

Now that the world is turning again and the “season” is upon us, Josephine wants to wish you all a surreal Solstice, a simple and spirited Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and a sterling New Year.

Did Solow just roll his eyes and raise his paw?

Solow hopes you are able to find everything you buried in the back yard before the world would have ended.
Dear friends, I hope you live your heart’s desire, spread good cheer and meet me here on my blog in 2013. So much to say—so little time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Christmas Poem

As I yammer on about my dog, Sandy, her name pops up a million times all across the country. First it was the terrible storm, now it's the unthinkable tragedy on the same east coast. I am going to share with you a beautiful poem I recieved from a friend. I hope it will comfort you.
Wishing all of you a happy Christmas.
                                     Potery by Jane Rekedal
Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38

  when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.

  their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air

  they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

  they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.

  they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

  "where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.

  "this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."

  when what to their wondering eyes did appear,

  but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

  He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.

  then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

  and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring

  those children all flew into the arms of their King

  and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,

  one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.

  and as if He could read all the questions she had

  He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."

  then He looked down on earth, the world far below

  He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe

  then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,

  "Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"

  "may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"

  "I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"

  then He and the children stood up without a sound.

  "come now my children, let me show you around."

  excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.

  all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

  and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,

  "in the midst of this darkness,




Sunday, December 16, 2012

Honk if you love my Joyce Oroz

Does this blog make me look fat? Do I sound a little touchy today? You would be too if someone unplugged your cell phone charger and you thought you were charging it and in the middle of the night your dog walks into your bedroom and indicates fervently that she needs to go “out.” After you let her go outside, you hear a weak beep coming from your cell phone—the noise that drives the dog crazy. Call me insensitive, but my dog is way too sensitive. Standing barefoot on the freezing deck in the moonlight, I was unable to convince my dog that it was safe to come back inside the house, that my phone was off and the world would not end in five days. She has a stubborn attitude that pops up occasionally, like at two o’clock in the morning. For two hours I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, imagining bears, mountain lions, giant salamanders and all sorts of wild animals preying on my poor little pup. Finally, at 4:00 am she barked the bark I had been waiting for. With mixed feelings (grumpy joyfulness) I opened the door and let her in. Even a lab can get cold, but it takes at least two hours. She brings us the newspaper in the morning and the mail in the afternoon. How can we not forgive her for a few hours of lost sleep?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Sruggle a good thing? Jim Strigler

STR/AFP/Getty Images
In 1979, when Jim Stigler was still a graduate student at the University of Michigan, he went to Japan to research teaching methods and found himself sitting in the back row of a crowded fourth-grade math class.
"The teacher was trying to teach the class how to draw three-dimensional cubes on paper," Stigler explains, "and one kid was just totally having trouble with it. His cube looked all cockeyed, so the teacher said to him, 'Why don't you go put yours on the board?' So right there I thought, 'That's interesting! He took the one who can't do it and told him to go and put it on the board.' "
Stigler knew that in American classrooms, it was usually the best kid in the class who was invited to the board. And so he watched with interest as the Japanese student dutifully came to the board and started drawing, but still couldn't complete the cube. Every few minutes, the teacher would ask the rest of the class whether the kid had gotten it right, and the class would look up from their work, and shake their heads no. And as the period progressed, Stigler noticed that he — Stigler — was getting more and more anxious.
"I realized that I was sitting there starting to perspire," he says, "because I was really empathizing with this kid. I thought, 'This kid is going to break into tears!' "
But the kid didn't break into tears. Stigler says the child continued to draw his cube with equanimity. "And at the end of the class, he did make his cube look right! And the teacher said to the class, 'How does that look, class?' And they all looked up and said, 'He did it!' And they broke into applause." The kid smiled a huge smile and sat down, clearly proud of himself.
Stigler is now a professor of psychology at UCLA who studies teaching and learning around the world, and he says it was this small experience that first got him thinking about how differently East and West approach the experience of intellectual struggle.
"I think that from very early ages we [in America] see struggle as an indicator that you're just not very smart," Stigler says. "It's a sign of low ability — people who are smart don't struggle, they just naturally get it, that's our folk theory. Whereas in Asian cultures they tend to see struggle more as an opportunity."
In Eastern cultures, Stigler says, it's just assumed that struggle is a predictable part of the learning process. Everyone is expected to struggle in the process of learning, and so struggling becomes a chance to show that you, the student, have what it takes emotionally to resolve the problem by persisting through that struggle.
"They've taught them that suffering can be a good thing," Stigler says. "I mean it sounds bad, but I think that's what they've taught them."
Granting that there is a lot of cultural diversity within East and West and it's possible to point to counterexamples in each, Stigler still sums up the difference this way: For the most part in American culture, intellectual struggle in schoolchildren is seen as an indicator of weakness, while in Eastern cultures it is not only tolerated but is often used to measure emotional strength.
It's a small difference in approach that Stigler believes has some very big implications.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Dragonfly meet and Joyce Oroz

Getting back to Barbara Scoles and her hand carved Santas..... she is planning a demonstration of carving techniques at the Dragonfly Gallery, Saturday, December 15th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.
The gallery is showing a variety of Scole's work, including Santa earrings and ornaments plus Santas and green men plaques.
Rereshments will be served at the meet and greet.
Hope I see you there!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Trees or Trucks? Joyce Oroz

So, I’m sitting around with a gimpy left hand, thinking I should get in the spirit and shop for presents and write Christmas cards. All my excuses are gone—can’t stall much longer. I’m driving again, I write with my right hand and a credit works very well with a right-handed swipe. What am I waiting for? And then it hits me.

The Tree!

That is the first step into the season of joy. My husband will accompany me to the local hardware store parking lot (dragging both feet) where the trees are thick and nicely shaped into unnatural cones. Once we begin looking, the looking never stops—even though I spotted the one I want in the first two minutes. He looks for things like size, price and freshness. I rely on my intuition. It’s the emotional attachment between me and the tree that counts.

Even though I love Charlie Brown, as an adult, I could never settle for a Charlie Brown Tree. I have too many ornaments.

I grew up in the middle of a forest with a family of wolves—I mean hunters. My family loved to hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. After a refreshing hike through damp, rotting leaves, we would see our pray, a humble, trembling little redwood tree that looked anemic on one side and pathetic on the other.

As proud hunters, my brother and sister and I would tug-a-war with the cut tree as we tried to be the one to bravely drag it home.

I think Josephine would handle Christmas in a different way. She would let the little tree live. Why waste decorations on the tree when you have a red truck?

I’m starting to feel joy—hope you are too!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rebuilding With Joyce Riley

Presenting another beautiful poem by Joyce Riley, written after 9-11

In the wake of disaster, in the face of despair
Let us rebuild our faith prayer upon prayer.
Let us clear away anger with the strength of a squad
For, happy are those, whose help is of God.
Though great walls have crumbled, our foundation is there.
Even now we are building, prayer upon prayer.
Standing firm on a rock beneath shadows of
The heros of autumn, we are building with love.
In the wake of our love, we will find peace is there,
So, let us keep loving and living each prayer.
Happy the heart, where love does not cease;
And, happy the mind, which comes forth in peace.