Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anniversary, Shmanniversary

Today is Deneen and my 23rd anniversary. This is where I wanted to take her.

Riviera Maya, Mexico, which was the Groupon special today. But we just spent the day sitting in the house in Ocotillo. Boring!

Last year on this day I gave my last tour of the Museum on Grand Turk. A week later we were on a cruise. In 2009, we spent our anniversary at a party at Margarittaville and then my band played at the museum on Grand Turk. In 2008, I spent my anniversary with Dave Horn kayaking with the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Maybe next year we can go somewhere cool. I have booked a hotel in San Diego for Labor Day, Christmas, and New Years, just in case. But today was a bust.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

IMLS Grant

I was just reading the blogs from February. It seems kind of crazy how different things are here now. Yesterday, I had a $135,000 grant due to the Institution of Museum and Library Services for their Learning Labs in Museums and Libraries program grant. On Friday I did not think there was anyway I was going to get finished. On Saturday it was too close to not finish. At about 5:30 on Sunday morning I did not care whether it got finished. On Monday I read through grant requirements and realized I was missing two huge things and I had to rewrite the whole budget again.

When I re-read through the grant it was kind of impressive. The grant is based on the Afterschool Homework Program we developed at the Turks and Caicos National Museum. I even used Tuval's and Kenlove's blogs as examples. That program was funded by a grant of $5,000 the first year and $9,600 the second year.

The IMLS grant is for one of 30 Learning Labs to be funded throughout the country. The grant is for 18 months of planning and prototyping. I would love to fully fund this program at $135,000.00. Shoot, I would love to fund it with $9,600. The program in the Turks and Caicos was one of the best things I have ever been a part of. There is lots of support here to do something similar. In fact, the program would be seen as a monumental step forward for both the museum and the youth of Ocotillo.

Here is the grant abstract:

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is planning the development of a Learning Lab. At a minimum, the Lab would be a place where community youth would have access to internet, computers, and printers, and a staff member who could tutor or assist with homework, research, and academic projects. As envisioned, the Learning Lab will be a space where youth can explore natural science informally through connecting the natural history of the desert surrounding the museum with technological applications such as video editing, video webcasting, photo manipulation, graphic design, website development, and a new concept we are calling “geo-blogging.”

I have been working for the last three months to get all our Ts crossed and our Is dotted so that we can submit grants on It came down to the last minute. But I just got an email saying that our grant had been transmitted to the reviewing agency. Baby steps for most institutions, but huge monster steps for here.

Manic Mondays

Martin has left the Building.

That would have been this title. But that seems a little...well lets just say an undersell. After sleeping in for all summer, on Monday we all got up at 6:30am. I made breakfast burritos.

Today was Davis' first day of high school.

Lucas started his junior year in a brand new school. He sat at a table in art class and everyone started speaking Spanish. He said he did not understand a single word of the conversation.

Deneen drove into El Centro and hung out all day waiting on school to finish.

Martin and I drove into San Diego.

I had been up all night on Saturday and worked until about 3:00am on Sunday writing a grant that was due on Monday. Monday morning I was still waiting on resumes from consultants that were itemized in the grant budget.

Martin and I stopped at a Starbucks on the way. I got online and worked for a couple hours. We got into San Diego at 1:00 and I went to a meeting. After that, we went of to Balboa Park. I was hoping to see the Gustav Stickley exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art, but museums are closed on Mondays. I forgot.

We walked around the park and I lectured Martin on the 1915 Panama Exposition, applied ornament, the effect of industrialization on architecture, and the advent of Modernism. Martin gave me another birthday present.

Around 4:00 we went over to Hodad's and ate our last meal. I lectured Martin on word-of-mouth marketing, commercialization, and food as an aspect of culture. Martin ate a huge hamburger.

I dropped Martin off at the airport.

I think this summer was the most time I have spent with him in the last three years. It is very sad to see him leave.

I drove over to Little Italy to the Starbucks and sat for the next four hours trying to get my grant submitted before midnight ET. Wrong username. Then wrong password. Then systems crash Google Chrome. Then systems crash Explorer. Then systems crash Then "we close in 21 minutes." Then start the whole thing over. Then email receipt and validation of acceptance at 11:47 ET.

I called Martin who had not left LAX yet. Said goodbye. Told him that I had gotten the grant in.

Then I started home over the grade.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stephanie's Visit

I am not sure what is happening to August. I did not write a blog for two weeks and now I am trying to get caught back up. I feel like we have not done anything, but in the last two weeks I had a birthday, Deneen had a birthday, we drove to Pasadena twice, we saw Bryan and Terry twice, been to San Diego twice, the coiled clay summer program came to a close, we held a "Starry Night at the Museum" overnight program, I spoke at Rotary about the Turks and Caicos Hurricanes, which made people cry (seriously), Deneen was offered a job in the El Centro School Disctict, I was hired as a contract architectural historian by a multi-national company in San Diego, school started, Martin flew home, Oh, and Stephanie flew in from Columbus, Ohio, for a visit. During this time I had a massive federal grant due which required so much work you can't believe it.

But, this blog is about Stephanie. She arrived last Thursday and spent the weekend with us. I kind of felt bad. I feel like we did not do very much. For most of the day we try and stay out of the heat. I told her she could at least go back to Columbus and tell people we aren't kidding about the heat. And that we really have tacos every meal.

Thursday night I took her driving in the desert. She screamed the whole time so I don't know if she liked it. Martin took her hiking on Friday night. She came back very pale and said she almost died. On Saturday night she came to the museum overnight. Well, not quite overnight for her. But none-the-less, what she got was a pretty good snapshot of our lives here. We enjoyed seeing her anyway. On Sunday morning we all stumbled in from staying up all night, said goodbye, and she was on her way up to see Bryan.

In all that time, I only got one picture of her. That was at the last coiled clay art session.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Starry Night at the Museum

On Saturday we had our first museum overnight. This was the night of the Perseid meteor shower. We had 14 kids, all from Ocotillo, come spend the night. We made coiled clay pots, we fired pots in a camp fire, we roasted hotdogs, and we watched two movies. The four girls fell asleep early. The guys stayed up from 2:30 to 7:30 playing video games.

I worked all night on the text for an IMLS Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums program grant.

I was outside several times to see the meteor shower. On Grand Turk we watched all the meteor showers. I saw 20 or 30 last year during the Persied shower. This year it was a very bright full moon. I saw two.

I was also thinking that I know why most people think museums are for adults. It would be way easier.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gamble House Visit

This weekend Martin, Deneen, and I stayed over in Pasadena. As the home of the Rose Bowl, we know Pasadena well. Actually, that's not really true. We know OF Pasadena well. And in fact, that's not really true either. We know the Buckeyes have played in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena 14 times. That's not really true either. I did not know that. I just looked that up. I guess what I really know about Pasadena is that as a true Buckeye fan you expect Ohio State to be playing in the Rose Bowl any year they are not playing in the national title game.

Anyway, what was surprising is that we went over to the Rose Bowl and discovered that it is actually called the "Rose Bowl." We were thinking that the actual game was called the Rose Bowl and the stadium was c

alled something else. The stadium was built in 1922. That was the same year the OSU Horseshoe was built. I did know that. For many years the Rose Bowl had the highest seating capacity of any football stadium in the county. This was true until 1998 when the stadium at the University of Michigan was enlarged.

I also know of Pasadena because of the Gamble House. The Gamble House is the winter home of the Gamble family from Proctor and Gamble of Cincinnati. The house was designed by Greene and Greene in 1903 and was an icon of the Arts and Crafts movement. Today, is is a historic house museum.

Though I am very familiar with the house, I had never been. This is why we stayed over. The house was open on Sunday from 12:00 to 3:00 with a limited guided tour every 15 minutes. The house did not dissapoint. I lectured Martin on the Arts an Crafts movement the entire visit.

I think that is what Martin got me for my birthday. I took him to the Gamble House and he did not complain once.