Monday, October 30, 2017

through eyes of others

want to see the world through eyes of others?

look no further than the documentary section of your local library.

my empathy and curiosity took a great flying leap after viewing the following films:

"a man called ove" (what the world looks like to a fictional swedish widower)

"one day on earth:  the world's time capsule" (what was going on around the world on 10.10.10)

"happy people:  a year in the taiga" (putting yourself into the skis of hunters in siberia)

"orchestra of exiles" (how violinist bronislaw huberman saved over 1,000 jews with music)

it's akin to travel, really, when you can't leave many perspectives!  i highly recommend it, when your world feels small, and even when it doesn't! 

Friday, October 27, 2017

via libri, way of the book

a friend let me borrow one of her rare books (a copy of the diary of samuel peyps, circa the mid 1600's) the book itself was published in 1924, so is approaching 100 years old!  once i recovered my breathing i took it safely home and began reading.

for peyps, who was an administer of the navy of england and a member of parliament, keeping a diary was a daily discipline.  his entries begin with 'up and to the office' and always end with 'and then to bed'.

in between are some hilarious observations about human nature, commerce, and daily life in england during that time.  for example, i notice a steady diet of swan pies.  also, references (and not always flattering ones) to the hired help.  not to mention musings as to why his uncle is so interested in whether peyps' wife is with child or not and samuel hoping it is because he wants to give them money.

he is also very into the details of his shaving, noting the type of razor he is using and whether shaving his beard will make such an endeavor easier (yes). all in a day, eh?

if you, like me, are a book lover extraordinaire, you might also like this website about rare books to add to your collection:

happy journal entries, or blogging, as we say today...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

grandpa's hat

of my grandfather's earthly possessions, there were really just two things i wanted when he passed away:  his fishing kreel and his hat.  why?  because they represented who he was.  (that and his Levi suspenders, but i was ok to let those go).

i wore his hat this week and got more compliments that i expected.  for one, i was almost afraid to wear it.  would it fall apart?  what if the suede got wet?  the side feather has seen better days, but you know, it actually fit pretty well.

grandpa was a tall and stately presence but the hat was only a bit loose on my head (it helps that i inherited his thick head of hair no doubt).  the inside label says "large JC Penny" and it reminded me of where i come from.

i'm not one to put things in moth balls; i use them, for better or worse.  and wearing this hat was more than just a fashion statement, it meant land and fishing, love of nature, hard work, family legacy, honesty, strength, humor and generosity.  all of the things i would want to wear as my character and more...

the mountain between us

despite the fact that this film did not get great reviews, i liked several things about the story line.  for one, as a person who has been stranded on a mountain (albeit in a different way) i could appreciate their problem-solving strategies.

if you were to follow me throughout an ordinary week, you would hear me say, "figure it out, smith" to myself, as it is my "go-to" phrase when i am otherwise unsure of what to do.  i thought the characters worked well together to maximize the situations they found themselves in and used what they had in order to survive.

typical literature conflict modes of man vs. nature and man vs. man were in good working order.  there wasn't so much of man vs. self except perhaps at the end when the characters are unsure of how to continue life (don't want to spoil anything in case you haven't seen it).

and i like that they take turns helping each other.  we all need to be both the givers and receivers in life, regardless of the kind of mountain we might be facing.

a lot of other people are queued up in front of me for the library book, but i'll look forward to the novel by charles martin when it's my turn.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

leaf stomp

my very most important note to self lately?

"stomp leaves with girls"

while the leaves are still crunchy, try it. 

i think it is impossible not to smile while stomping leaves.

letting kids throw them all over you is up to you.  but that's fun too. itchy, but fun.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

what matters

everyone knows teachers don't teach for the money.  i like to say if i have enough to cover what i need, some of what i want, and always enough to share, then it's just right.  it's paychecks like this, from an anonymous middle schooler, that motivate, "ms. smith, personally i think your style is exciting and fun.  art hasn't really been fun for me in the past but since i've had you, it has been.  i really appreciate your positivity and energetic spirit.  thanks for always cheering me up!" 

i'm a "to-do" list person.  voted most likely to go back to her to-do list to write down an additional accomplished item for the sheer satisfaction of crossing it off.  but yesterday, i went to the girls' volleyball game even though i had a long post-it list of teachery things to do.  and i don't regret it.  because i remembered what it was like to be a student and how epic it was when one of my teachers showed up for a basketball game or orchestra concert.

another girl this week said, "you don't need kids, you have us.  you can be our art mom!"  and i did feel like a mom who realizes her kids are growing up fast and doesn't want to miss a moment.

i have another new long post-it of things to do this morning (it's a new day, after all) but i'm choosing to join their middle school retreat, just to enjoy them and be present.  the thing is, people are fascinating and have interesting stories to tell if we have room and time to listen.  i feel like i'm seeing them for the first time in some ways and there is no amount of money in the world you could pay me in exchange for such riches.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

harvest time in the vineyard

this photo was fun to come upon.  cresting the hill, i first heard--and then saw--the scene.  harvest time in the vineyard.   a symphony of clippers resounded in the fall morning air as the workers moved fast down the rows.  so fast, in fact, that by the time i was able to reach my camera, all of the workers except this one had disappeared into a sea of leaves, only their white buckets showing through the rows.

country walk photo essay

feathers, stones

Thursday, October 5, 2017

founder's week

it's founder's week at warner pacific college.  when the flier came in the mail, i noticed my great-uncle's photo highlighted next to the schedule of events.  he looked a lot like my grandma, or rather i could see my grandmother's features reflected in his.  so, i got out the copy of his autobiography, "of time and tides" by a.f. gray and started reading it.

looking for what we have in common, i smiled at the picture of him as an old, wise man sitting on a rock by the pacific ocean.  he described enjoying feeling his smallness in comparison to the ocean's vastness, a feeling that draws me to the coast as well.

he wrote songs and poetry, both things that i enjoy.  i realized in a new way that we are not born in a vacuum, i came from these people.  and i had a sudden urge for this legacy not to end with me.

i got my grandpa griffin's favorite hat out of attic storage and put on the locket containing my smith grandparents' wedding anniversary photo. 

even though i chose to attend a different university, i am proud of my heritage and of the fact that we support a memorial scholarship at warner in honor of my grandma.  i like sharing in the tapestry of values and beliefs that ground me to something bigger than myself and wonder how i might pass those on to the next generation.

what are some things you really appreciate about who you came from?