Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Productivity

Man alive, you are all going to be way impressed at what happens here today.


(To make up for yesterday, which was not very productive at all due to my wine drinking book club meeting on Monday night). (Super fun, but really, some poor choices were made).

Okay, everyone.  Stand back and marvel.  Here we go.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Earring

One duckling hopped up on a lily pad as the family swam by.
Great news.  Found a favorite earring behind my dresser.  A favorite earring that's been missing a long time.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Friends

Balloons.  Fist of 5?
Now that the learning challenge is over, I can go back to noodling @ thoughts of little consequence.  Yay!

Have mixed and mingled with some of Bloomington's finest these past 2 days.  I don't like saying good bye to pals.  I'm kind of ignoring this part.  In my mind, everyone's coming to Israel too.

I've let myself devolve into full fledged anxiety about everything.  I look for something I need, I find it, I lose it again.  It's all part of the fun game I like to call Moving to Israel.

Sunday mornings are my favorite mornings of all.  Coffee, New York Times.  Bagels.
I hope Israel has all of these things.  The workweek begins on Sunday there, so that may throw a little wrench into the works.  At this point, we really don't know.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Learning #30: Final Learning Entry! Way to get it done!

Kwayayish Falls
Learned a bit from some blogs today.  My friend Sam Quinones taught me about Hell Restaurant in Compton.  This gal Tania Luna taught me about becoming a surprisologist.  Sounds good.

The learning challenge has taught me a thing or two as well:

  • I learn something pretty much every day.
  • Sometimes I have to work a bit at learning. Learning just doesn't show up.
  • I mostly learn about stuff, not how to do stuff.  I want to learn more about how to do stuff in the future.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Learning 29: Burl Treen

Herald Times made my life pretty easy today with their story about a guy who creates burl treen.  I got super excited when I read that because I knew learning was about to happen.  Come to find out, a burl is one of those bumps you see coming out of a tree sometimes.  They happen when the tree has an infection or is damaged in some way.  Treen refers to small functional objects made out of wood:  a bowl, a fork, a shoehorn.

Not sure I'll keep this new format because some people can't comment.  I noticed that if you click on the blog name up at the top, it seems to enable commenting???

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Learning 28: Cutting of the Slack

 Called my mom today. Even though she's in a lot of pain and frustrated by her fractured clavicle, she listened to my list of woes with typical Momful sympathy, wisdom and selflessness.  "I just don't know how I can get stuff done," I kvetched.  "And I'm going out with friends today and I shouldn't be.  I have no business having fun when I have this much to do. I'm freaking out."
"It's important to cut yourself some slack," said Mom.  So that's what I learned today, to cut myself some slack, even when I'm being a slacker.  As usual, Mom's words ring with truth.  I'm feeling pretty happy with how my day went.  Follow my Mom's maxim people.  You won't regret it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Learning 27: Migration

Come to find out, Israel is a great place for birding because Israel is right at the crossroads of 3 continents:  Europe, Asia and Africa.  Birds from these three regions migrate through in Autumn and Spring. Note to self:  Bring binoculars to Israel.

Also learned that the new royal baby has the name of George.  At lunch I said to Husbandman, "I wonder if we'll be alive when this baby becomes king."  Husbandman feels it is highly doubtful we will still be alive since the kid is #3 in line for the throne.  Too bad.  I would have liked to have seen George's coronation.

Not letting it get me down though.  Bigger fish to fry right now.  On the good side, my new glasses arrived today.   They are so light and clear.  I love them so. I feel a great deal of contentedness, now that I have new glasses.

What do you think of this format for leeway?  Trying to snazz it up a bit.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Learning 26: The Pie

Learning was slim pickings on this marathon travel day.  Despite some significant fatigue, I kept searching for opportunities to learn.  Lucky break happened when we drove past Waffle House on our way home and saw some signage for Fruit of the Forest Pie.  What the heck is fruit of the forest pie, we wondered aloud.  Come to find out, it's a real pie, and it's all over google.  It has apples, 3 kinds of berries and some rhubarb. 

I may head over to Waffle House for this very pie tomorrow, even though I'm not a huge berry fan. 

Great weekend in Seattle, btw.  From beginning to end.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Learning 25: Women Artists

Burke Museum this morning.  Learned about women artists from many different countries who work in collectives to create for various reasons.  A beautiful exhibit and this weekend they had vendors selling art from all over the world, made by women.  I almost bought a small painting from Nepal, but then I didn't.  I'm trying to own less stuff.

20 Something returned to Berkeley this evening. On the way to the airport, I gave her a list of things she should do this year: blog more, have tons of fun, keep her room clean, explore creative outlets, go to the eye doctor.  Once we got to the airport, there were tears.  No surprise there.  As we cried and hugged, 20 Something said, "Dude, you're going to have such a great year."  I really liked that she called me Dude.  It cheered me up.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Learning 24: Vacation Education

  • Learning of today:
    • My mom broke her clavicle this week.  The clavicle is a collar bone. 
    • Dumpstafunk is the best funk band from New Orleans right now.  We're going to see them tonight.
    • A watermelon salad has:  watermelon, lemon juice, mint and feta cheese.  It tastes so delicious. Walk into your kitchen and make one now.
    • Wallace Falls State Park is stunning.  It's named after 2 people Joe and Sarah Kwayayish from the Skykomish tribe.  I think it's kind of weird that Joe and Sarah have the name of Kwayayish, and someone decided to name the park after them, but they didn't use their real last name. Kwawayish.  Wallace.  Guess there's some tentative connection there.  Still and all, this is such a lovely place to hike and have lunch. From now on though, I'm calling it Kwayayish Falls.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Learning 23: The Fry

Seattle Kin grew this tomato right in their yard!!!!!
We're in Seattle.  Everyone loves Seattle, but I love it just a wee bit more.  Sorry, everyone, that's just the way it is, so deal with it.  Seattle's a fine place for everything.  Today, I focused on some learning as we flitted from one fun spot to another.

First off, baby Salmon are called FRY.  You can actually go to the Chittenden Locks here and see the salmon running. I didn't do that, but I walked along Piper Creek in beautiful Carkeek Park.  Come October, the salmon will be running through.  There is an art installation in Carkeek Park along Piper Trail called ART HIKE.  We saw 9 of the 14 sculptures.  We saw them and read about them using the iPhone to scan the QR codes.  Obviously, a very neat thing to do.

We walked to the beach and had a picnic.  Saw an osprey circling over the water.  Then it rocketed down to the ocean and pulled up a flounder.  Flew away overhead with the flounder in its talons.  I made the bird & fish identification later, using the iPhone for additional purposes of learning.

After a latte, we walked through the Japanese Garden. We ended the afternoon at Frank's Oyster and Champagne Parlor.  I had a Pimm's 55. Pimm's is a gin based drink containing a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs.  Mr. Pimm created it in 1823.  My Pimms 55 was super refreshing.

Soon we will pick up 20 something at the airport.  The learning will continue anew tomorrow, when we hike at Wallace Falls, along a trail with NINE water falls.  Basically, I'm living the dream.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Learning 22; Dashed Attempts

I visited my Tumblr today.  It's been a long time since I've been to visit and my Tumblr wouldn't look at me at first. I coaxed it back to me by posting a picture and spending some time with it.  I followed John Green and another person on Tumblr.  If you have a Tumblr let me know.  I need to learn more about Tumblr.  I have this idea that Tumblr has something for me, but so far I can't figure out what it is.

After saying goodbye to my tumblr, I learned how to make a gif, but my rabbit gif looked not too interesting, so I released it into the cyberwild.

Then I continued on with learning about  cool classroom blogs, but I haven't found any that I think MAN ALIVE, BEST BLOG EVER!

So,  I'm going to let go of my learning for now and do some walking about.  But just FYI, It's not even 9:30 and I'm having a fantabulous morning over here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Learnings #21: Dogs, Buses, Estrogen

I learned about clipping a dog's toenails from my little sister Faith and our good friend Bonnie.  If you have a dog, you should be getting this done.  Otherwise, the toenails can grow into the dog's little foot pads.  That part's not on the video because the video shut off unexpectedly, but I thought it was important to share.

Here's some other learning I did today.  I keep hearing the expression "thrown under the bus" this summer.  I've heard it a zillion times.  Where'd this phrase come from you ask?  Well guess what?  No one really knows, but this is interesting; huddle up.  The expression's not that old.  Etymologists think it first showed up in the late 80's or early 90's.  I think that's fascinating.  The expression's everywhere.  One linguist said that people are sometimes like parrots.  We hear a phrase and then we say it.

I have a doctor's appt. today and I know my doctor is going to suggest I start taking estrogen.  I've got about 20 minutes to learn more about this before I head out to discuss this with a medical professional. Probably should have focused more on the estrogen learning and less on the bus expression learning this morning.

At this point, water under the bridge.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Learning #20: Monkey Mind

Photo Credit:  Joy Heffernan
Anxiety's been high this summer and though I've considered working on living a more peaceful life, I've had some trouble learning how to do this.  My anxiety is fairly specific right now---I'm nervous about moving away for a year to a new country.  I'm nervous about coming back to a new unknown job.  (I'm excited about both these things as well, so don't feel too sorry for me, unless you feel like it).  I know if I keep moving to the next right thought, the next right action, it will be better for me, but mostly I just sit around feeling anxious and acting like a freak, and getting further and further behind with the To Do list.

I read an editorial about anxiety in the NYT yesterday by Daniel Smith, the author of Monkey Mind, that may help me learn to settle my crazy self down.

Basically Smith says that anxiety is the stress that comes with not knowing stuff.  BUT, if you can embrace the certainty that you aren't ever going to know with certainty what's going to happen, then you can know something that's true and solid.  So I think that's pretty smart, and it's a new perspective for me this summer.  Good questions from Smith to ponder as I noodle around today:  For what is the message that everything is fluid but its own solid fact? What is the relentlessness of uncertainty but something about which you can always be certain?

So, I've learned a little trick to deal with anxiety from Mr. Smith. And I thank him heartily.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Learning #19: Review of Free Your Mind

Stunning Bluebird.  Photo credit:  Joy Heffernan, my sister.
I was all pumped up for some learning tonight.  Husbandman and I went to see Free Your Mind, a documentary about using meditation to change your brain.  It wasn't that great, honestly.  Here's our review.

L:  Did you learn anything?
Hm:  No.
L:  I don't think I did either.  Which is pretty weird for a documentary about neuroscience.
H:  It wasn't a documentary about neuroscience.
L:  Okay, what was it about?
H: It was about meditation and breathing techniques being used to calm stress.
L:  Yes, and yet, they were making the claim that our brains can be changed through meditation techniques.
H:  And yet they presented zero evidence to that effect.
L:  Okay, true that.  Hmmmm... Any redeeming factors to this film?
H:  The little kid was cute.
L:  He was my favorite part.  Do you believe that meditation could help you be a better husband?
H:  I'm going to go do the recycling.
L:  Okay, I'll help you.  Basically, if people want to see this, they should.
H:  Do you ever say they shouldn't?  When it's a zero?  I think you should.  Even if they want to, they shouldn't go.  Like that movie about Google, The Internship. People shouldn't see it.
L:  This is where my review philosophy differs from yours.  I believe in freedom.
H:  What are you a Tea Party member?
L:  Okay, let's just go do the recycling and leave it at that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Learning 18: The Lasik

I've had trouble with my glasses fogging up for some time now.  Usually I ignore it.  But sometimes it's so foggy I can't see.  And other times people I'm with like to point out that my glasses are fogging up and that's kind of a drag.  Either way, I end up taking off my glasses, waiting til they defog, and then putting them back on.  Last night, I went through the fog/defog procedure about 48 times while trying to watch #1 Son play tunes at The Tap.  SO ANNOYING.  This morning I ordered new glasses.  When I was in the glasses place, my glasses were fogging up.  I wasn't doing anything but sitting there talking to the glassesgal.  She said, "I've never seen anything like that. You're not even moving.  You're just sitting there. That would drive me insane. You must buy new glasses." So I calmed her down and pulled out the credit card.  My new glasses are lighter and I added a defog coating on them, so I should be good to go.

After I ordered the new glasses I drove home, wondering why I have this foggy problem.  Maybe I should get Lasik instead of new glasses, I thought.  Got home, and jumped on the googler to learn about Lasik surgery. After the learning, I've decided Lasik is not for me.  I can't stand the thought of someone cutting and lasering my eye, even though the results of better vision are usually immediate.
Would you, or have you, gotten LASIK?  Weigh in here, peeps.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learning #17: The Feminism

Jack Halberstam spoke at 20 Something's graduation ceremony.  Husbandman loved Jack's talk, so I was super happy when JannyC sent us a link to the awesome speech on the website here. I loved the use of pop culture as a template for discussing the meaning of graduating as a Women & Gender Studies scholar in 2013.

The problem with a learning challenge is that you are hoping you can explain what you learned in the blog entry.  After reading the awesome speech, I decided to learn more about Halberstam.  Jack's written a ton and I've always wondered about this book @ Gaga Feminism.

Though I tried to learn as much as I could, I'm not going to be able to explain it well yet. I'm still learning.  But I think there's something there about moving past dichotomies and oppositions and seeing feminism as complex and perhaps performative?  Anyway, interesting stuff.  From Jack Halberstam's funny, inspiring speech, I've been on a learning trail today that's going to move on out into the future.  Neato torpedo.  Learning takes time and it's not always quick and easy peasy lemon squeezy. That's okay. Fun to be thinking about this stuff.  Soon, though, I'm going to have to get super serious about organizing for our big trip.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Learning 16: The Purple Flower Moments

I took this picture of a purple flower just yesterday.  So that's a coincidence.

Remember a few years ago when we did the A - Z challenge, based on this book here that was given to me by Good Pal Menosky?  Well Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a great new gig going on right now.  Every week she makes a new web page and if you sign up, she sends you an email on Wednesday about her new webpage. This week's webpage is about purple flower moments.  A purple flower moment is, as far as I can tell, the here and now, a space where you are aware and noticing.  AKR makes her webpages on Weebly. So I decided to learn how to make a webpage on Weebly.  Here's the webpage I made!   I may make more of these as I learn about the different gadgets.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Learning 15: The Rest Areas

I believe I've shared this before, but maybe not.  Here's the deal.  I'm a huge fan of our nation's interstate rest areas.  When on a driving trip, I look forward to stopping at rest areas along the way---stretching my legs, reading any historical plaques that may be placed there, checking the helpful maps posted on the walls, taking some photos.  Rest areas help to curb travel fatigue, and come to find out, that's why they were built in the first place.  For safety, people.  For safety.  This morning I discovered this invaluable site right here and learned, not surprisingly, that multitudes of people feel the same way I do about our nation's rest areas:

.... with the passage of time these sites have become more than stewards of Interstate travelers.  They are important cultural landscapes, expressing the expansion of road building and the growth of leisure travel that emerged during the mid-century period.  As well they articulate the desire people felt to remain personally connected to their nation even as it was growing ever more disparate; and are quirky and engaging manifestations of the mid-century’s cultural aesthetic and ideology.

That last sentence sums it all up in a nutshell. So I was frustrated yesterday as I drove through four of our greatest states to learn that rest areas were few and far between.  Come to find out, I've learned today that states are closing rest areas because of budget concerns. This really cheeses me off, as you can imagine.  Some people think we don't need rest areas any more because we have gas stations and fast food restaurants along the interstates.  These people are wrong.  I saw a family of about 19 climb out of 2 cars yesterday and they needed the rest area.  Kids were running everywhere.  Seeing those littles reminded me of childhood travels. We were a family of 9, and we drove all over this vast land in our VW bus.  We loved the rest areas.  My mom would make us baloney sandwiches.  We'd explore the environs, pick up some vending items and some informative brochures, and head back on to the open road.  I hope rest areas don't go away completely.  Public spaces are an important part of living in a democracy.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Learning #14: The World War Z

Brotherman and I just saw the awesomest movie ever, World War Z. Part of the movie is set in Jerusalem and I can not wait to explore that city.  I learned a ton from this multi-genre film, which blends horror, suspense, action and even a little bit of sci-fi.  Probably the most important thing I learned is that in the face of global annihilation, we all need to help one another and to keep fighting.  Brad Pitt really inspired me to act a little calmer, a little braver in the face of adversity.  You should see this movie if you want to.  You will learn so much.

 Right now I'm watching Wimbledon.  I can not believe how happy I am when watching Wimbledon. I love sitting in my parent's recliner.  I googled recliner and learned that the modern recliner was patented by a HOOSIER by the name of Daniel Caldermeyer.  WELL DONE, SIR!

So far, my visit with the Georgia Peaches has been a dream.  Breakfast at Cracker Barrel, Movie, Wimbledon, and soon I'll eat the foods my mom made for me:  Cheese Pie for dinner and for dessert, Pumpkin Pie.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Learning #13: The Accident

Drove 9 hours in torrential rain to visit with my fam, the Georgia Peaches.  I learned on NPR that our national anthem was composed during the War of 1812.  I'd always thought the song referenced the Revolutionary War.  So that's some prime time learning.

Here's where the search for learning can backfire.  As I drove 9 hours in torrential rain, I listened to Loving Frank, a great novel about Frank Lloyd Wright and his love affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney.  I had one CD left to go when I arrived home. After relaxing and chatting a bit, I decided to google search to see how much of the story is really from real true life.  I ended up learning the horrid ending to the book ACCIDENTALLY!  Sometimes learning really bites. Frankly, I'm irked.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Learning 12: The Desserts

Quite possibly, I could conceivably make some desserts while down visiting the Georgia Peaches aka my fam.  I could make a cake that looks like an American flag with jello and koolwhip.  Or I could make a pretzel jello cake with kool whip.  I learned how to make these cakes today and it's just a matter of doing it.  Maybe my mom will help me.  She knows how to make a lot of different types of foods.

Quickly moving bug
I wish #1 Son were going on this trip with me.  I fear that he's going to be lonesome without me around.  Husbandman's still in Vienna.  Today he sailed along the Blue Danube!!!! on some type of boat. I also learned from his trip that wienerschnitzel is veal, but it can also be pork. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Learning 11: Learning

 Was getting kind of down about not learning anything today, so #1 Son asked if I would like to learn a drum beat.  He's a very good teacher and I learned how to lay down a pretty neat beat in no time.  Tonight I practiced the beat again, and showed it to Kevin and Nance. After they left I wondered about this thing called learning. What is it exactly? I re-read some thoughts about learning by Lewis and Moje:  "Learning involves and requires participation in something.... Learning goes beyond the moment of participation to constitute a history and to shape a future act of participating."

I participated for some moments in some drumming, but does this event shape any future acts of drumming?  I suppose it will because I know something now about how to hold the sticks, and how to count out the beat while I move from bass drum, to snare, to cymbal. But if I never drum again, did I learn drumming?  Probably not.  I think I only learned drumming if I keep drumming in the future.  Still mulling this over.

 #1 Son also helped me winnow through his hundreds of t-shirts that are stuffed pell mell into his dresser drawers.  As he lay on his bed, I held up each shirt and he would usually say something like, "Mom, that's a dope ass T.  Obviously I'm keeping it." We are keeping most of the t-shirts, so that's good.  It was nice to be able to see each tee shirt and talk about its history with #1.  A productive and fun day.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Learning 10: Renoir

I learned a lot from the movie Renoir.  I saw this independent film on my own since poor Husbandman's in Vienna right now.  I learned a lot about this fab artist and his family and his models. His last model fell in love with his son Jean.  They married and she became an actress in his movies.  Sadly, they later divorced and she lived in poverty.
Jean Renoir was an acclaimed film maker and writer. His older brother Pierre was an actor.  His younger brother I'm pretty sure worked in film and ceramics.  Not a lot out there on the younger brother, who was called Coco. As for the famous dad, the guy painted non stop even when he was in horrible pain with arthritis toward the end of his life.

Informative Aside:  The Lilly Library on campus has a small exhibit of Renoir correspondence.

I liked the film a lot.  5 on the fist 5.  The film has sent me off on a Renoir learning spree this morning --- looking at paintings, reading bios, watching videos. I don't think you can ask for too much more from an independent film or from a breezy summer morning.

The New Blue

Our home is being painted .  I love this new blue.  It used to all be the red brickish color of the deck as shown above.  For various reas...