On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Figuring it out

I'm still trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing during the additional 12 hours I'm spending at Juvenile Hall each week. My actual duties take less than an hour.

I do believe that it's important to support the art instructor I've been assigned to. I also believe it's important to just hang out with the kids, regularly, reliably, there, always there. And to demonstrate prosocial attitudes and behaviors while I'm with them.

Aside from that, the time was passing slowly last week, sort of like it does for the kids. By Friday I had found the coffee machine and caffeinated myself when I began work, at 8:00 and during the 10:00 break when I leave briefly to empty out Demi. Coffee always helps. But it wasn't enough.

So I thought about it during the weekend and realized there was no reason why I couldn't sit and draw for about 11 extra hours while I sit and chat. That would give me a task, a better way to sit with a table of three boys, and would also demonstrate that real adults value drawing and sketchbooks and take the time necessary to fill them.

It worked! "What's that?" asked one kid. "A doodle... maybe a magic carpet." He studied it appreciatively.

Then he watched me draw the plumeria. "Is that your sketchbook?" He wanted to see more pages. But it's a new Moleskine, the tiny watercolor size, and I had just bought it on Saturday and was breaking it in this morning. Contraband is always an issue so I only brought one pencil and one Pitt pen. I precolored one page, used the art teacher's colored pencils during the class, and added the watercolor later. So now I have a job that's forming. I hang out with thugs, draw and chat. It gets me 11 more hours of drawing time per week. Yes!

And then I went to my own class and used ORANGE and black and indigo inks to sketch out this little housefinch. I have no idea why it looks so burgundy red... I didn't do it! The other two photographed in their true colors, but that little bird has sunburn.

Speaking of sunburn, the weather has reached 90º F this week. I planted the third 4x4 with corn and beans. Most of the other little crops have sprouted into recognition and I've had enough tomato plants that I gave some away. This is going to be my best garden, my very best one!

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