Friday, November 29, 2013

fragile strength

just some of the beauty from the glass is definitely worth a visit!  dale chihuly was there signing books at the time and we got to peek inside the "hot shop" where glass was being made!

artists and children at play

i found this quote at the Tacoma museum of glass in the children's couldn't be more true for me!  "artists play, just like children.  human children and artists need the same things to fire up their imaginations.  they need quiet time, space, tools, and inspiration.  inspiration is what we see, hear, feel, and touch that gives us ideas.  when they play, children and artists can take creative risks.  they explore new ideas without worrying about what other people think or how things might turn out.  without play, creatures like us would not exist!" 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

love in a dish

about a year ago, in broadway books, i stumbled upon an interesting little book called "love in a dish" by an mfk fisher.  having no idea who this was but being immediately impressed by and drawn to the writing, i put it back on the shelf.  this weekend i found the book again in a completely different bookstore.  i should have listened to my gut and bought it, for when i got home, the last copy had been sold by our local bookstore.  but this led me on a quest for her other books, one, which i bought, outlining their stay in my favorite city, aix-en-provence!  when i looked up more about her, i learned that she has authored dozens of books and is known in the cooking world as the grandest of food writers!  fisher, 1908-1992, ranks with julia child and james beard in terms of gastronomic delights.  now, next time i find "love in a dish", i will buy it on the spot!

keeping things fresh

driving a different way to work.  visiting another town.  living in someone else's space.  all examples of deviating from the usual routine. or should i say living a life that purposefully incorporates the routine of freshness?  for we can also be tourists within our own routines:  all of the familiarity AND new eyes too.  taking time to photograph objects in the changing winter light.  picking something on the menu that you don't usually try.  making an adventure out of the smallest things.  what does vacation mean to you?

Saturday, November 23, 2013


i'm thinking of two main works today.  psalm 100 and a poem by mary oliver.  her poem is called "the place i want to get back to"... where in the pinewoods in the moments between the darkness and first light
two deer came walking down the hill and when they saw me they said to each other,
okay, this one's okay, let's see who she is and why she is sitting on the ground,
like that, so quiet, as if asleep, or in a dream, but, anyway, harmless;
and so they came on their slender legs and gazed upon me not unlike the way
i go out to the dunes and look and look and look into the faces of flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed that brief moment?
for twenty years i have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
such gifts, bestowed, can't be repeated.
if you want to talk about this come to visit.
i live in the house near the corner, which i have named

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


to understand my delight, rewind with me thirty four years or so, to 1979 and my first spirograph.  i was five and this kit entertained me for hours as i spun the pen colors to create geometric designs.  so yesterday, imagine my joy when a student gave me not just any spirograph, but the Deluxe Spirograph Kit as a gift.  he said it was the last one in the store. (add to the geometric gala by the fact that another lovely person in my life said she had been looking for a kit for me too, but the store was all out! clearly it was meant to be...and i'll share)  i knew what i was going to do when i got home from school yesterday.  the responsible adult that i am, i threw down some dinner and left the dishes in the sink:  priorities!  i broke open my new kit and returned to my inner child, making design after design.  and you know what?!  that's one smart invention (thank you engineers and architectural enthusiasts) to use the spheres in cocentric circles not to mention the other shapes (did i mention it's the Deluxe?) the box says ages 8+, so phew...i can keep playing with it until i'm 88+, that's a relief!  and it comes with the same tried and true pen colors:  red, blue and green.  ahhh.  some things never change.

the way back

this is a meaningful film about seven prisoners who escape from a siberian gulag in 1940.  starring ed harris (apollo 13), jim sturgess (across the universe) and six-time oscar award nominee peter weir (master and commander), the movie chronicles their 4,500 mile walk to freedom across the world's most merciless landscapes.  it was an academy award nominee in 2010.  the tension between helping other human beings vs. self-survival is paramount when one dares to help another and an onlooker says, "son, kindness like that can kill you."  the onlooker ends up benefitting from the very same person's kindness later in the film when he is carried by him across the desert and given a renewed will to live.  it is inspired by a true story and i will refrain from telling you the resolution in case you want to rent it for yourself!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

bayside bungalow

i'm excited to have a mini-Thanksgiving retreat at brittany's bayside bungalow (how's that for alliteration?)  she *built it herself and the little nest is currently situated on the olympic peninsula where she rents it out for people to see how they like living "the tiny life".  *after sealing the wood on our chicken coop with linseed oil, (our coop is likely about the same size as this house, actually) i really respect all the work that goes into a project like this!  for more on brittany, her process and resources for paring down, visit

Saturday, November 9, 2013


the garden is plowed, the harvest in.  we've had our first frost and are hurriedly trying to finish building our new chicken coop.  on a practical level, today i took both my bike and car in to their various shops for tune-ups and winterizing.  in a bookshop, i saw that adam gopnick has even written a book called "winter" in which he takes looks at the season through the viewpoints of artists, scientists and poets.  nature is slowing down and preparing to rest.  this rings true with my soul as well.  on a spiritual level, one distinctive of attending spiritual direction is for a common language of who God is to us as an individual.  another key piece, however, is grounding us within the larger faith tradition; the church calendar.  as we approach the advent season, the Holy Spirit strips me of my leaves and anything else that does not welcome room for the Christ child.  and on a creative level, i am always on the lookout for interesting classes, websites, recipes and novels that i can cozy in with for this season of learning. how are you looking forward to winter?

comfortable with a brush

i had the privilege of meeting a painter, anton pavlenko, at a recent art gallery event.  his modern oil impressionist paintings of france and of the countryside really resonated with me.  what was even better was to get to have some real conversation with he and his wife, courtesy of the mutual friend who introduced us.  anton shared that he was always very comfortable holding a paintbrush, since he was a small boy.  he went through a time, however, when he stopped painting and tried to fulfill other people's version of what success looked like.  finally he asked his wife if he could set up a painting area in their home and he found his joy again as canvas after canvas idea came pouring out of him.  i'm so glad he picked up the brush again.  you can see more of anton's work at

a whole lot of sketching goin' on!

what do you get when you add roomfulls of excited art students together with 217 brand new sketchbooks and micron pens?  a whole lot of creativity!  this is an actual photo from my office after i unpacked the bulk order from Blick.  it's been like an early Christmas at our school as we launch our own version of the sketchbook project.  since i've never done something like this with 1-6th grade before, there's a fun edge of discovery together as we go.  i buy up books filled with ideas; everything from zentangle (which is very relaxing and which they love) to books showing other artist's sketchbooks.  we've also had meaningful discussions and spontaneous sharing has opened up during drawing about everything from finding their purpose and not being afraid to make mistakes to what is in their heart that gives them joy and what they want to sketch next.  most all of our students are thinking about their Christmas lists, because they want art supplies!  what better gift could a teacher ask for?  i'll keep you posted on our project.  now all i need is an airstream trailer for the may 2014 art show.  know of any?