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Take Two
Sylvia

TAKE TWO

ART. Such a big word for three letters.  What is Art? What is Art’s purpose and place in our lives, community, country and the world? How do we engage with Art? How is Art made? And by whom? Who are the Artists? What is their purpose and place in the world?  The responses engendered by

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Suzanne’s Studio
Suzanne DeCuir

Bowls of Memory

I have been working on a piece conjuring up memories of my Irish ancestors with these bits of cloth and emblems of places and things.  My grandfather came from Northern Ireland the year before the Titanic sailed; he was one of 12 children and since he died in the 1940s, he was never to see

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The Happy Guinea Pig
Natalie McDonald

Confronting Perfectionism with Sourdough – Part 1

Shortly after the pandemic began, my household acquired a new member: Stan the sourdough starter. Stan’s appearance in our lives was prompted by the concern that we would not be able to obtain bread while in COVID-19 lockdown; we take bread very seriously in our house. So we ordered a dehydrated starter, and after a

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The Happy Guinea Pig
Natalie McDonald

Teaching Citizenship on July 4th

Since January, I have been volunteering as a citizenship instructor, teaching weekly classes (over Zoom for the duration of the pandemic) to immigrants here in Los Angeles who have applied to become naturalized U.S. citizens. My co-instructor and I focus on preparing our students for their interviews with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well

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The Happy Guinea Pig
Natalie McDonald

A New Chapter for “The Happy Guinea Pig”

When my mother (Pamela Beere Briggs, Two in the World’s resident “Book Lover”) launched this website with me last year, we intended “The Happy Guinea Pig” to be a space in which to reflect on our two-year homeschooling experiment—and how this wonderful adventure continues to resonate in our lives 10 years later. But the world

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Confessions of a Book Lover
Pamela Beere Briggs

Penn Center, one of the first schools for formerly enslaved children

In 2010, ten years ago, Bill, Natalie (age 13 then) and I took a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; and St. Helena Island, South Carolina. We were immersing ourselves in history. It was a two-hour drive from Charleston to the Penn Center, one of the places we wanted to visit. We had to

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Confessions of a Book Lover
Pamela Beere Briggs

Mary Jackson Helped Make NASA

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Wednesday the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA. Jackson started her NASA career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer,

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Confessions of a Book Lover
Pamela Beere Briggs

Scraping Away Injustice

One person can make a difference. Each of us can make a difference. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t powerful enough, wealthy enough, fancy enough, strong enough… to make a difference. The biggest differences are usually simple acts of kindness or justice. Two years ago, I read an article about Irmela Mensah-Schramm, who

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Confessions of a Book Lover
Pamela Beere Briggs

Breakfast of the Birds

Gabriele Münter’s “Breakfast of the Birds” (1934) has long been one of my favorite paintings and I like it to visit it in person whenever I am in Washington DC at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Right now, I feel so much like the woman in the painting: looking out at the

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