Monthly Archives: February 2014

What great parents

Many years ago, during an obvious lapse in judgement which turned out to be lots of fun, I agreed to take a group of my high school Spanish students to Mexico.  We all survived.

Diego RiveraWhat I’ll never forget from that trip–made, of course, when I was much younger–was the art.   Everywhere we went were murals with obvious political statements about the government and politics and history of Mexico painted on the walls and ceilings of many public buildings.  The paintings transcended the political message in their artistry and beauty, the vibrancy of the colors, the glorious scope and vision of the muralists.   I immediately became a huge aficionada of the work of them all, but most deeply of Diego Rivera.

For that reason, I was reading about his life in Wikipedia and came upon this wonderful story.  It seems that Rivera was born one of a twin.  His brother died when he was two.  A year later, Diego began his career in art.  “He had been caught drawing on the walls. His parents, rather than punishing him, installed chalkboards and canvas on the walls.”images

How cool is this?   Most parents would probably have punished a three year old, at least discouraged him forcefully from drawing on the wall.   Did he become a great muralist because he was allowed to draw on the walls? Or did his parents recognize his talent even when he was so young and encourage him?  Or were they just the kind of parents we wish we all had and could be?

Do you have a story about how your parents or a friend or relative encouraged you?   Or have you encouraged another person to fulfil a dream.  I’d love to hear.


I’m guest blogging

This has been a tough week for many reasons.  As usual, I didn’t realize that Tuesday really was Tuesday, my normal blog date.

However, I am blogging at   and hope you’ll drop by.keep calm and what day is it

Why No One Will Ever Confuse Me with Gracie Gold

ice skatesWhen I was six years old, my best friend Linda and I enrolled in figuring skating lessons.  We arrived at the rink for our first lesson, pulled on our new skates, tied the laces, and hit the ice.   We went every Saturday morning for months and about every two weeks, Linda was promoted to higher class and I never left the beginners.  I’d tried so hard.  I followed instructions, I practiced, I pushed myself but never, never moved up to the next level.  I had no idea why not, not until years later when my mother said she always felt terrible for me as I trudged around the ice–but not only on the sharp blades but also on my ankles.  I had–and still have–very weak ankles that couldn’t support me on ice skates.  I skated on two blades and the outsides of my skates.    No way I was going to go up a class when I was “ankling” as much as I was “skating.”

I wish someone had explained it to me.   I wish someone had told me the keep clam and tell the truthtruth.  I wish the instructor had said, ‘Monica Jane, this is probably not the sport for you.”  Or that four-year-old who was quickly moved from beginners had said to me, “Why do you skate funny?”  Or my mother had suggested I not return and given the reason.  I imagine no one wanted to hurt my feelings, but, really, never improving didn’t hurt?

Do you have something you wish some had told you about?  Please share.  It makes me feel so much better.

Me and the Olympics (or, for the grammarphobic like me: The Olympics and I)

The first time I had to accept the fact I was growing–oh, no!– older was when I realized  I’d never represent my country in the Olympics.   Not that I have any athletic skills that would have even allowed me to participate snowy mountainin a competition even at the lowest level, but the realization it would never happen hit hard.   Well, not really.  It was one of those moments that reminded me I was no longer eighteen.   In honor of the upcoming Winter Olympics, I thought I’d discuss my brief career as a skier.

In high school, I went on a ski trip to Estes Park.   We stayed in a cheap ski resort which didn’t have chair lifts.  Instead, the lift was like a small garbage-can lid that one put between one’s legs and this–for many of the skier–towed one up to the top of the trail.  Not for me.  This was not friendly to a novice skier who’d had two hours of lessons, then was expected to, more or less, ski uphill.   Every time–every single time–I lost control of the skis, unable to keep them straight in the ruts worn in the snow  And every single time, I fell off the garbage-can lid half way up awk skierthe hill with only one choice:  to walk sideways in those skis I couldn’t control, across the snow and through the trees until I reached the trail.  I’d ski down the trail and start the trek all over.

As frustrating as this was, my best friend had an even worse time.  She stood at the lift station, put the garbage-can lid between her leg.  When the lift pulled her, her skis flew into the air and she fell off on her head after about six inches.   I can’t remember now if she ever got to the top of the hill.

Next week:  how my bad ankles doomed my figure skating career.


Skipping Fridays for a month or two or six

Snoopy writingIn my efforts to get the taxes together–which I do not do well or happily but feel I’m not alone in that–and working on new writing projects, I’ve decided to write only one blog a week, my Tuesday blog.

I didn’t think I’d like blogging when I first started.  The publicist at my publishing company requested I do that and I enjoy it  During the time after George’s death when I didn’t feel a bit creative, writing, I found a short blog kept me writing.  Also, I’ve been amazed at some of the topics I came upon and I really love it when someone comments.

Please keep up with me on Tuesdays!