Monday, June 12, 2017

wonder woman

what a great movie to see to celebrate ending one of the best school years ever!

i really enjoyed this film and have made a mental note to get a lasso of truth for my classroom next year.

when i was four or so, the wonder woman series starring lynda carter was on tv and, as i recall, i had a pair of wonder woman underoos that i would zoom around the house in when the show came on.

what is it about super heros and heroines that so appeals to us?

my summer reading stack is growing and in it is this book, "the secret history of wonder woman" by jill lepore.

i just finished reading the entire laurie king sherlock holmes and mary russell series (12 books in all) and have "originals" by adam grant to start as well as a book on beekeeping and one on trees.  then there's books on the grand canyon for my upcoming arizona adventure.

what can i say? i love to learn.  i think the most meaningful note from a student this year was, "miss smith, here is a quote i am giving to you, 'i am a teacher who continually loves to be taught.' "  super powers or not, i think that there is no higher compliment than being called a person who loves to grow. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017


in my twenties, jet skis might have appealed to me.  in my forties, it's all about kayaking and, my latest adventure of sailing.

the magical moment when the captain cut the engine and the wind filled the sails.  that, and our conversation while aboard the 30-foot vessel "the Mahalo" which was perfect given my times in Oahu with friends.

sailing is part of nature without seeking to conquer it.  it works in tandem and, it seems with the truest of sailing, invites ones ego to get out of the way (it doesn't matter whose boat is bigger or faster and it's not really about leisure--as defined by our modern industrial age).

no, it's about, in the captain's words, " in analog time rather than digital."  "listen," he said, "humans were wired to hear birds singing and other voices...records with a needle...we were meant to live in the curves of snow banks and waves, not surrounded by hard lines, pixels and angles." 

the more i thought about it, the more i agreed.  "if it's all about when you get to somewhere you have to be, take a speed boat," he added.  "if it's they journey you're about and you want to sail because you love to be on the water, join the wind." 

i learned so much, not only about sailing, but about life.  i loved the feeling of the slightest touch of the steering wheel directing such a beautiful boat.  and i loved that, should the wind see fit to pick up, we would go faster.  but if not, it was great just to be aboard.  i think i'm hooked!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

among the named

for all foster children still waiting for the security of love

into the wind and it will whisper
back your name

water can be only faithful
to its shore

although i could not take you home
i will dare to meet your gaze as pounding
surf to a stone yet to be smoothed

you, whose childhood bloomed
too soon, petals strewn like peonies
surprised as much by breezes as by play

deer have danced a path for you
the cormorant, a nest

sky-cathedral clouds
spill, tumble themselves
just to be near

while fields so lush long
to hold such limbs and
lovely, still

may you always belong here
among such an abundance of trees?
(yes, always)

ls 5.30.17

Sunday, May 28, 2017


christophe louis quibe is an artist i learned about from one of my students.  quibe is a french artist who lives near paris.  he is known for his minimalist art by using only one or two lines for a single project, a simplicity i find beautiful:

carrying vs. compassion

these days when the flag is half-mast regularly and tragic news becomes all but routine, i am reminded of anne morrow lindbergh's wisdom that we are not meant to carry but a few people well.  it is good for me to reread her book "gift from the sea" at least once for every new decade of life and be reminded that she said, and rightly so, the human frame was only designed to carry so much.

so if we are only meant to carry a few people well, what about the rest of the world?  that's where i believe we can offer compassion but without straining under the weight of it all on our own shoulders.  a compassionate attitude that rays out from the center of our being can extend beyond the smaller circle of intimate care to include not only colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers, but also neighborhoods, cities, and regions. 

just today a young lady i met was all too aware of the era in which she was growing up.  she was on her way to an essential oils workshop at the foster family camp we are facilitating and she said, "i wish we could just 'bath bomb' the world instead of using real bombs.  then everyone would smell like lavendar and be relaxed and happy and maybe stop fighting!"  i'm with her.  bath fizz in place of violence any day. 

may our compassion extend even as we carry a few people well.

Monday, May 22, 2017

contemporary gallery

i will hereby unabashedly use my blog to brag about my kids--the kids i teach, that is.  because of them, we just put on an amazing art show--contemporary gallery style!

we showcased not only pieces they did in class throughout the year, but projects they did outside of class as well.  their assignment? to find a contemporary artist and make a project in their style.

we had everything from food network inspired cakes and woven baskets to glass pieces and architecture.  we extended the project to include any visual aspect of a job or vocation, so the middle schoolers were happy to know that included athletic shoes as well as tattoo and makeup artists.

the result was a colorful array of work with heart.  i believe kids rise to a higher level when they have some choices about what they are learning and making.  in many cases relationships were deepened as grandfathers taught granddaughters how to build or kids inspired parents to create again after putting art aside to work and raise a family.

not only that, but all of us learned about scores of artists we had never known about before!

what a beautiful and inspiring end to a year of shared creativity.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

true blue

this, from the oregonian..."crayola's new blue:  brought to you by science, OSU.  its new crayon is based on pigment discovered by a chemistry professor.  crayola is adding a new color to its cavalcade of crayons, and the striking blue hue got its humble beginnings in a laboratory at oregon state university.

the new color will be based on the pigment known as YInMn, which was discovered by oregon state chemistry professor mas subramanian in 2009.

'we are a company all about kids, creativity and color, so we strive to keep our color palette innovative and on-trend, which is why we're excited to introduce a new blue crayon color inspired by the YInMn pigment,' smith holland, CEO and president of crayola, said in a statement.

the discovery of the pigment, which is 100 percent non-toxic and does not fade over time, happened because of a fortunate accident.

'luck favors the alert mind,' subramanian said in 2015.  'you have to be prepared.' "