Category Archives: Uncategorized

Yoga ball update

I did buy the yoga ball and I use it here at my computer desk. I roll around some and do some balancing. It seems to be working fine. My grandchildren saw a photo of it and want to come play with it.


Words for today


  • persistence
  • risk-taking
  • resilience

Don’t just sit and let things happen to you.

  • Learn
  • Be curious
  • Have an active, growing brain

all of your life. Learning is not just for school children.

A blog post from 10 years ago

I started this blog a bit over 10 years ago. On that Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday in 2008, I wrote about a childhood experience that has affected everything I have done since. With all that is going on in our country now, I thought it a good time to repeat it:

I grew up here in California, in the heart of the state where agriculture is king.  We grow the fiber and food for the world, and although it is done by large conglomerates now, when I was a child growing up, it was done by small farmers, farmers like my father and his friend, Mr. Price.  Farmers who made a living on small plots of land and fed and clothed the world.

My dad met Mr. Price and his wife when they came to chop cotton on our farm.  They hit it off because, although handicapped, Mr. Price worked harder than any man my father knew.  My dad was always looking for hard workers because he believed that is how you make a way for yourself in the world, by the sweat of your brow.  Race, politics, religious convictions, they meant nothing to my dad, only how hard did one work.   That was his measure of a man, and Mr. Price filled it well.

Our farm had excellent soil, and my father, being an excellent farmer, worked it sun up to sundown,  growing high quality cotton on it each year.  Mr. Price owned a small piece of land not too far from our farm, and he too was trying to make a living by farming this hardscrabble land.   My father was sympathetic to his plight as the soil was highly alkali and so harder to coax a good crop from it.   He offered to help Mr. Price with his farming, especially since Mr. Price only had one arm and one tractor that was on its last leg.  My dad knew it was hard to farm with good soil, good equipment, and all digits.

Because my dad had an open account at the local seed and fertilizer store, he took Mr. Price there too so he could buy his yearly supplies and pay after harvest.  It’s the way farmers make their living, paying their accounts after they’ve been paid for their crop.  However, the fertilizer store refused to open an account for Mr. Price.   This was a store for the white farmer, and Mr. Price was black, or as we said in those days, Negro.  My dad, who had a fierce temper, was furious but not thwarted.  “Ok, then put Mr. Price’s seed and fertilizer on my account,” thinking that would solve the problem.  Alright, but all materials had to be delivered to the address on the account.  Every delivery that was made was dropped in the front yard of our home where Mr. Price and my dad would then reload the bags into the back of Daddy’s pickup and haul them another 3 miles to Mr. Price’s plot of land.  I would watch from the living room window as the two men, one with only one arm, would lift those bags from the pallets where they had been dropped into the bed of the pickup.  I learned the lesson, you do what you have to do to get the job done, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

My students get upset to learn that a store wouldn’t sell to a black man, but I point out it wasn’t that the store wouldn’t sell, it was that it would not sell on credit to a man who was a different color.  There was the perception that Negroes would not be good for the money when it came time to pay up.  Mr. Price always paid Daddy, by the way.   I also point out that this was only a few decades ago, and it was right here in California, not the deep south where we think of racism.  I remind my students of what people like Dr. King have done for all of society and that we should remember what it was like then and look for how we can continue to improve the lives of all people.  As my father would say, “hard work never killed anyone,” and sometimes the hardest work is just to change people’s attitudes.


When it gets to be too much

The news is unsettling, to say the least. Not just in the world, but the United States, and even in Fresno. I would prefer to bury my head right now.

Instead, I will go out in my backyard and enjoy the quiet for awhile and think good thoughts and ask God to send peace and grace to all of us.


Back to school

The teachers and other staff have returned to Columbia (and other schools in town). Most went back last week. Lots of meetings and planning before the students ever appear. 

I stopped by this morning to drop off school supplies I had collected–backpacks, notebooks– and shoes and pants. Another retired teacher friend brought binders for me to deliver. The shoes were paid for by a retired art teacher. 

The sixth grade teacher who was brand new last year has returned. He asked if I would work with this class again. Sure. Would he like a class set of notebooks and pens?  Yes, that would be great. There were also 10 packs of lined binder paper in the box that he could use as he has his students do lots of writing. 

In chatting with the principal I learned that my presence would be desired on the first day of school. To make sure the first morning goes smoothly. Sure, I can do that. I have star erasers to hand out as I greet my former first graders and will remind them to be bright shining stars. 

A new week, month, and year

The week started with the grandchildren leaving. The month started with a serious hot spell. And I began a new year as an official senior citizen. This was the birthday that delivered that special card–the Medicare card. I also had to get my military ID card updated so as to distinguish myself as “senior.”  

A few other birthday cards also arrived, but only a few. I send actual cards to about 30 people a year. I got 4 cards in the mail. Maybe it’s time I just gave up. Cards in the mail must not mean much to people. I really like to get cards, but, as you can see, not many like to send any to me. Can you tell how very disappointed I am?

No record this time

It appears we will not tie or break the record of 21 straight days of triple digit heat. It is much cooler this morning, in the 60s instead of high 70s, with a forecast of 99 for this afternoon. 

The nearby forest fires are making for some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Of course, the air can be pretty bad for breathing purposes. As I stepped out on the front porch this morning, the sun exploded through the tree branches.