Saturday, May 31, 2014

adult conversation, please...

i am, no exaggeration, starved for adult conversation. being a teacher K-6 plus middle school means that for 8 hours a day 5 days a week i am surrounded by monosyllabic grunting, bad lighting, screaming, lunch garbage, thuds of unknown origin, repeated locker pounding followed closely by slamming and screaming that sounds like it's coming from a girl but could just as easily be from a 6th grade boy, and the occasionally recognizable words ending in 'aguuughaha'. (love them dearly but i've gotta say i'm glad there's only 5 more days.) at the end of the day i have sensory overload and have put out a lot of energy but i personally have not had much, if any, meaningful interaction at my level and not much life-giving energy has come to me unless i have the energy to initiate and make it happen. so i have taken up talking to myself. a scary amount. what's scarier is the conversations make sense and are getting longer and longer. they're somewhat interesting, even, if i do say so myself. art, philosophy, goals, contemplative prayer, biking, egg farming, dreams & passions, music, books and culture. like today, for example, while i was talking to myself i dictated a random list of things for myself to write down that i want to do and places i want to go. things i want to make: wood coring for candles, painted canvas in beach colors, clothespin trivet (ala scandinavian style), encaustics, glass fusing and shrinky dink jewelry! (remember shrinky dinks?!)and support my pottery friend's work at Solabee's (shameless promotion here). i want to eat at the Joel Palmer House in McMinnville (known for their black truffle oil), try Buvette restaurant in NYC, and Beach Plum at Martha's Vineyard. i want to sit out under the patio lights at Babica Hen while the sun goes down while sipping sweet red wine under a string of lights surrounded by candles. i want to learn to build a small house. and decorate a vacation cabin with those clean-looking natural rugs you can drag your bare feet on while surrounded by white linen and turkish towels. from magazines i learned that you can eat the pea shoot part of the plants too (and recipes for doing so), that putting kale in a dehydrator better preserves the nutritional value of said vegetable, and how to make a balsamic glaze reduction to pour over strawberry icecream. i want to make candied lemon and orange peels and buy a ridiculously expensive red Le Creuset pan that i can use for life. i want to open my home and property every Sunday night from 3-6 for parties where other grown ups come and have smart, interesting and meaningful conversational soirees until the stars and desserts come out because no one is in a rush and no one wants to go home. this is all if i were queen of the world, you see...

au naturelle

all things natural. it's time to be barefoot, i say, and feel the ground beneath your feet; look around and see what nature has to offer; listen...taste and see...i am barefoot right now and i'm appreciating that in less than an 11-mile radius i can both grow and buy fresh produce, wine, olive oil, and farm fresh cheese. natural. i love that, instead of medicine when i have a cold, i can eat all the fruit and vegetables i want as my own prescription and draw a bath with salts and a rosemary/lavendar herb mixture picked from outside my door. (i'm chasing my cough away with a ginger, honey, lime & sriracha drink as i type...i think it will kill my germs if it doesn't kill me first...but it was free--as opposed to the lotus vegan places sporting names like "the green goddess" who would charge $12 for such a concoction...but i digress. it's the end of the teaching marathon, i get at least one blogging digression per entry) anyway, it's seriously beautiful out. while not feeling 100%, my sleep pattern has become ridiculously early to bed and up before dawn, which i quite like. the other early, early morning i had the sharp clear thoughts that you can only really have at 3:00 am and i wanted to write them down before they slipped away with the clamor of the day. at around 4:00 am i noticed the bird-song outside the window just going wild which reminded me a lot of faith: feeling the light and singing before you can see it. i would like this kind of faith. again, it seems natural. i can walk out into the yard and check on my garden, give it a little to the chickens while i let them out to forage, eat lettuce straight from the raised beds. this is where the springs run clear and the stars come out freely, where i think my best thoughts and soak up rich silence like an oasis for the calm passion and wise action that life requires. naturally, from the inside out and back again.

maya angelou

(a moment of silence, please, in honor of one of the greatest women poets ever to have walked the planet)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

school of life

there may only be 9 days of school left, but i want to keep learning every day! my top classes to take as an adult? architecture, glass fusing, graphic design and typography. what would you take if you could sign up for anything?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

a perfect portland day

start your artistic self off at tandy for a class in leather dye (it's a good day when my fingers are stained with color)...then to the sugar cube for a little something sweet...go on a free walking tour of irvington historic neighborhood homes and gardens...foster & dobbs for cheesy goodness (triple cream fromage from france!) and an iced coffee; families arrive by bicycle for afternoon meals...not far from a cute shoe store and broadway books! there are even "poetry boxes" along the walk--some by local poets and some by robert frost. how cool that someone in the neighborhood thought to create these and keep them updated. such a lush, beautiful time of year, May:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

can i have my girl scout badge now?

true confession, i never was a girl scout. as i told a friend, i had a brief stint as a bluebird but all i remember is the vest...and some sewing in 4H, that's it. so last night's spontaneous challenge had me most powerfully calling on my inner pioneer and asking somewhat desperately "WWGD?" (what would great-grandma do?!) what's all this, you ask? we butchered our first meat chicken. i'll spare you the details too, but just take this from a gal who would rather wreck her car than hit as much as a bird or squirrel in the road: i have never killed my own food before. i put on my "man shirt"--the one that i wear outside when i'm pretending to be a farmer; the shirt that "it-doesn't-matter-what-happens-to-it-plaid". "relax..." i told myself while pacing nervously and imagining the worst, "people have done this for centuries...get back to nature..." but then looking at the bird still very much alive, all i could do was hum "circle of life" and apologize profusely to the rooster. granted, the process wasn't as awful as i'd imagined but it's still quite low on the totem pole of things i can't wait to do on a spring evening. i learned a lot, which is a core value. i had a new experince, ditto. and i found myself drawing graffiti on the face of colonel sanders in my mind. poor bird. "don't watch", i told the other ones. we offered a thankfulness offering for the life which we were about to take and i'm invited to dinner tonight which reminds me just how much of a strictly egg-chicken farmer that i am. so can i have my girl scout badge now?

Sunday, May 18, 2014


time and time again, the most interesting people i meet tend to be the ones who are most interested in life: other people, learning, exploring--you name it! with three weeks left in the school year and thinking about the term "professional growth", this phrase interested=interesting comes to mind. don't get me wrong, there is a time for workshops and seminars for your work self just like there is the gym for your body and church for your's just not the only thing. since we are whole people and one area of growth touches every other area, it can only make us better to love every aspect of life that we're invited into each day. sometimes we praise those who "stay late at the office" when maybe what would make their productivity go up is leaving early to go rock climbing! in teaching, i've gotta say, it's not about the worksheet. i use worksheets, but how to use them is the question. i think the most interesting teachers have full lives outside of the walls of their classroom that they can then bring into their lessons by nature of who they are, thus bringing the material to life as well. on the heels of putting on the art show, which felt more like play than work, interesting to me meant watching three dvd's in a row. this is unheard of for me! but, it's precisely what i needed to rest my brain and tune out for a while before tackling whatever creative project is next. all things in balance, which for me meant a little time on the couch. but that's my exception and not the will you make this day more interesting?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

country retreat

wake up slowly. brew coffee. light candles. stare into east-facing greenery. draw a warm bath. flip through design magazine. stretch and do yoga. sip lemon water. eat spa food (fruits + veggies + hummus). watch chickens flutter. traipse in backyard. reseed carrots and cauliflower rows. water. this is my country retreat. this is my life (today), ahhh...and this is my yard in late may:

Friday, May 16, 2014

open sketchbook show

feeling energized after putting on our annual school art show! what's not to love about being able to give away $250 in art supplies to kids who jump up and down when their ticket number is called and hug their new materials to their heart? based on, we did this with our school. 350 sketchbooks and pens arrived in my office last october and today it all came together. copies of famous artist's sketches lined the walls next to K-8 work...ladders, shelves, crates and creative displays while images and videos played on the screen...families slowed down, put their phones away and connected over design. Do. More. Art!

Monday, May 12, 2014

got party lights?

dear sunday

dear sunday, i've always loved you, but lately i've been appreciating you even more. you were created so we would have time to sit in porch rockers while the rain came down around us--the sound giving cadence to our holy shared laughter and pastries. you are witness also to the sparkling ocean tides; waves that soothe and sun that heals. with you there is always time to watch and appreciate the eddies of swirling rivers and hunt for what washes up in the seastrand. you aren't demanding in the way that other days can be; you might point out that the sun is in a different position, but you never ask me what time it is. there's lingering small-town conversations as the characters we've come to recognize in the play of our lives come out from a long winter to find each other in familiar scenes. also sketching, morning coffee sipping that turns into afternoon coffee sipping, naps, maybe finishing that novel or anticipating the poppies' bloom. you give strength and silence to carry into our more active surface waters; anchoring our random thoughts and feelings to the calm of the deep that is always with us. i can't say that you're my favorite day, because i like them all, but i definitely have favorite things about you that make every day better! love, a fan of yours

Saturday, May 3, 2014

do. more. art!

here are some recent art images. i've had fun lately learning everything from how to core wood and make leather bracelets to field trips that are too much fun to be called field trips and making books. what will your next creative venture be?