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Radio and Learning + A Little News

November 12, 2010
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Mazie's new favorite place in the whole world. Saguaro National Park east of Tucson, Tanque Verde trail

National Public Radio has a large presence in New Mexico. In addition to NPR, The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, has its own station as well and their programming complement one another nicely. Spanish music dominates both stations and we we’re surprised to find ourselves recognizing songs in Spanish after a few weeks. Like most Public Radio, a good portion of the mid-day programming is either classical music or classical jazz. Who cares? You might ask. Well, normally not me, but… we have noticed a pretty cool thing when it comes to that mid-day music programming that I for one might usually switch off, and the kids. This is no big news flash but sure fun to see first hand. That music really stimulates them. When classical or jazz comes on, they either engage in wonderful imaginative play, or alone, grab a workbook of some kind and begin some type of self prescribed learning, swaying or humming a bit to the music. A couple weeks in and Mazie Jane started asking if she could take the radio to the back bedroom to enjoy while writing secret codes. Hell yea!!, I’d say, you go girl! Since all the music, she has really taken her learning in to her own hands, following her own curiosities more and more. It’s really neat. There truly is a positive correlation to music and kids learning and behavior. We notice more concentration and enjoyment during these positive times. They may not last very long, for Holt especially, he is only four, but what enjoyment while learning to learn.

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Holt is proud of the fire-breathing dragon shield he made

Mazie Jane is nearly completely on auto pilot with her learning. She reads for enjoyment, writes songs and lists of what she likes as well as letters, does workbooks for math and comprehension, and she’s happiest when the recycling box is full, full of possibilities for art. We just try our best to notice any interest on her part and follow up on it, give her the tool, she’ll usually run with it. And Holt has a great hold on the alphabet song, can write his name and a few more words, can count past fourteen, is quite the master at mazes, loves any book about dinosaurs and his drawings of animals are large headed with long legs and oversized, bold teeth. “Yes Holt, that does look just like me” My teeth apparently are larger than my head. He’s tough to keep up with on the trail, jumps split legged from rock to rock or over a prickly pear, identifies most plants he passes, and can run a half mile flat out. When he’s done with all that he’ll be ready to be chased and wrestled. Non stop, both of em.

We left Albuquerque in Belle’s wake this past weekend. We had half-heartedly planned on staying until December or who knows, but a wonderful opportunity arose that had been on the back burner since late September. We’ve accepted a position as caretakers for a 900 sq ft strawbale just off the Sea of Cortez in Baja Mexico. The house is entirely solar powered with a gravity fed water system. The position entails upgrading/finishing those services as well as some general remodel and upkeep and may run anywhere from six months to a year or more. The owner, who lives north of L.A., just wants us to make it a functioning and comfortable home. We are psyched. This feels like the ideal situation for us and the skill set match seems perfect. It’s a perfect time for us to stop traveling for a while and enjoy sedentary life in a culture we all enjoy. We like the owner, whom we’ll be meeting to cross the border with on the 14th, and already seem to have developed a nice raport and working relationship with him. The kids and I are brushing up on our Spanish(Cam’s is pretty good already), and we’re all wide-eyed with expectations.

It was a bit sad to leave Albuquerque, we sure took advantage. We really enjoyed the numerous, well funded and kid oriented libraries with story times, music lessons and knitting Tucson  Saguaro 011circles for Mazie Jane. The city parks, each one a new favorite after every visit, were well stocked with kids and nice parents most all the time, and had a great diversity of cultures in its users. And, the parks are very dog friendly, with a very lenient leash law. We also love the food, not just the Mexican but the organic produce is abundant and affordable. Oh, and holy smoke, the recycling is great, easy drop offs and the only sorting is glass, not by color either, just glass separate from all else, so easy. The city is easy to navigate and camping here and there was, to our delight, accepted. Oh, the one blemish on Albuquerqe, someone stole our hoola hoops off the back of Belle. Who the hell steals hoola hoops, and one was a kids size! Isn’t that kinda like stealing a peace sign? I like to think they were then sold cheaply or even given to kids in need of smiles. Bummer anyway. So my wife then has me buy a hundred foot  roll of polypipe to make a bunch of them to give away. You know I didn’t fuss about taking in a 100′ roll of polypipe in Belle, right? We’re also especially bummed to leave good friends Cindy and Jerry, who sent us off with a good sack of fresh venison after a special overnight date with the kids. We’re still hearing about the pancakes and french toast for breakfast. And oh, the huge piles of whip cream! I for one, still dream of the fried chicken dinner Cindy served us, wow! Thanks again two those guys for being another reason to like ABQ. So, we’re currently in Tuscon, getting some needed, and turns out, major repairs to Belle before we head south of the border. We want all to be dialed in. Although internet access may be shaky at times, we should have it, so we’ll hope to update pretty quickly after settling in a week or two.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jessica lee permalink
    November 13, 2010 3:25 am

    You guys are going to love baja. I recently returned to Missoula from there. I met some really great people while traveling to surf spots learned from the locals. It was a brief but memorable trip. My friends Kamala, Ituri, and Osel live in the Zaccahitos area just north of San Jose, a spot by the name of “Shipwrecks”- when you see the lending library you know your in the right place. I just sent Kamala spilanthes seeds. The waves were a lot of fun. I now have a kinetic feel to add to my surfing visualizations. Whooo hooo!! There is an organic market in the town of San Jose del Cabo on Sat. and a artist’s market on Thursday afternoons. I love you, graciously!

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