“you’re cute”

I think I am both in love and in hate with this phrase. In some situations it makes me feel incredibly small and patronized and judged, but in other ways i find myself trying so hard just to come across in a situation as “cute.”  just a side note.

TODAY BEGINS BLOG-A-DAY-MAY!! Another somewhat random compulsory reason for me to blog every day! because I kinda need some assignment like that in order to make sure to document what’s going on. (As mentioned via twitter, the Bonar Family Residency Program is currently searching to fill our Document-er position. Job benefits: friendship, love, following Aliya around everywhere.)

This is going to be really exciting and I hope you will join me for this very exciting journey of May 2010.

So today a highlight was going to Milagro Center for my 3rd volunteer shift there. I’ve been assisting with their production of “The Wizard of Oz” which all the kids are going to be performing at the Milaro Showcase in 2 saturdays. the drama teacher for some reason left in the middle of the play production, so they are having lots of extra practices and a volunteer lady from the community has taken over being the drama teacher just for this play.

It was an exciting day for 2 reasons. Mostly, I finally could move past being “the new girl” and not knowing the organization or the rules or the teachers or the kids names or what was going on. Some of the kids recognized me, and I felt way more legitimate to give them something to do or assist them with whatever they were working on than I did the first week as an anonymous new person.

So, we painted cardboard lolly-pops for the munchkins to hold in that scene, and then also made a evil purple-and-black telescope for the Wicked Witch of the West. It turns out that lolly-pops have a kinda confusing/difficult pattern to replicate. who knew.

great moment: at the sink cleaning brushes. to the girl that just arrived to practice:

ALIYA: “Hi I’m Aliya, what’s your name?”
GIRL: “Estephanita. But everyone calls me Este.”
ALIYA: “Este. great.”
(beat)
ESTE: “You’re cute.”

i love it. not at all sure why she said it, but in this situation I’ll take it.

Another great part of being at Milagro today was looking at how being a community-based artist, or at least an artist that works with other people, is definitely not just about making art. you have to know how to be with people and enroll them in doing a project together, and also know how to make it so that a big group of people actually get something done instead of just running around and making a mess. I knew all this, but I could really see it in action here. The drama teacher lady, who I found out is actually just a mom who has some acting experience and she just signed up to be a volunteer like I did, didn’t know how to manage a group of people — let alone a group of kids who want to be doing a million things at once anyways. The Milagro teachers were getting so frustrated because she could do the drama stuff, but she couldn’t figure out how to have the kids do it too. I saw how there is a difference between just telling the kids how she wanted the scene to go, and then actually setting up a situation where the kids were understanding or really a part of the scene and could find their own acting within it. Its a tricky line, especially when there’s a deadline and a lot of lines and scenes and props to make and it feels like it just needs to get done! I totally understand!! but, it was also really useful for me, as an aspiring teacher/supporter/artist/empower-er/leader to see that dynamic fail, and see places where the kids could be more engaged, possible ways to make that happen.

Anyways, I’m really excited to be a part of the program now, and starting to figure out what they’re making and doing and creating, and where I can fit in and contribute!! Its SO GREAT to be around an organization that is just doing something so right, they have something really key going on. They have the school busses drop the kids off directly at the Center after school; they have a really rigorous schedule which fits in play/snack/art/homework/mentoring and more into each day!; they have paid staff that are dedicated to the kids AND can lay down the law with them; they have a volunteer/mentor program that is really integrated and makes a difference in making their organization work. So, I’m excited. I’m aiming that this summer I could be teaching a class there, or doing a program (installations? stuffed animals? creating forts? storytelling? you know, the usual suspects) that would be like practicing my proposed Artist Residency right here (right now) in my own home town!

Also exciting today: businesslady meeting with Mz. Julie Evans. We are working on an amazing application for her to be the Head Blogger at the I Am A Super Woman Network, a fab company I know nothing about, headed up by Alicia Keys. Basically, Julie is an amazing blogger, and an amazing person dedicated to empowering women, and an experienced journalist, so it’s perfect!! We have basically killed this cover letter, resume thing. killed it. but, it looks really good.

It’s been super fun working with Julie on this because it’s a great excuse to talk to Julie multiple times a week and actually have her pick up the phone! And, we’re empowering each other to be Super Women and get Amazing Jobs!! She is empowering me to apply for this AWESOME AMERICORPS JOB!

side note: I am having businesslady meetings with everyone. sometimes, I have to make sure I set up funtime meetings, just to balance it out. and to make sure i have friends, and not just business partners.

I feel like this post also has to be a back-log-blog-post to report the Episode of the Turtle In The Pool. I think it was on Tuesday? or Monday? I looked outside, and there was a giant at least 1foot diameter turtle in our pool, swimming around! so awesome! But then, I realized it’s probably not so awesome for him. And he was big so he couldn’t get himself out.


Anyways, I spent a good part of the afternoon/evening poking him and lifting him partially with all kinds of sticks and nets. didn’t work. I built him a bridge. I’m not sure I could have climbed this bridge if I were him, but he figured it out and the next day he was gone. so, good work Turtle, Brief Resident to the BFR Program. And thank you for the opportunity to make more pool installations.

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