Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Creativity Share

Have I used this photo before?  I love it so much I probably have.  But that's neither here nor there.

Lots of creativity in the works this week. I'll use a bulleted list and helpful links about three creative glories.

  • Kronos Quartet is premiering a work called My Lai in Chicago tomorrow night.  Guess who's going to be there???  I'm so thrilled.  I get to hear this music and visit with my oldest pal, Janny, who is also the producer of the show.  Freaking out with glee.  But what if there's traffic when I'm driving in to Chicago and I don't make it in time?  See how my travel anxiety is creeping in to the picture?  Let's push that aside and focus on the amazing event I'm about to attend, shall we?
  • St. Paul Winter Carnival is happening this weekend. For 2/3 of my readers, this event is right in your neighborhood.  So I'd like to see some photos of some first class ice sculptures, STAT.  Those sculptors are pretty amazing, so let's head over to St. Paul and remember to support, not thwart.
  • Have you seen TANGERINE?  This movie was all shot on an iPhone 5, but it seems like a polished production. Everyone on Rotten Tomatoes loves it. From this movie, I learned that I'm definitely under-using my iPhone. Tangerine follows two transgender friends in L.A. going through a day full of adventure and tension.  Quite good and you can see it if you want.  
I'm off to the races.  Running a bit behind this week.  That's how it goes sometimes. Thursday Creativity Share is a wrap.  Amazing Kronos Quartet World Premier that I'm attending.  Winter Carnival with extreme ice sculptures.  Tangerine, shot on an iPhone 5.  Tra la la, Peeps.  Tralala.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Sankalpa 7

Come to find out, I'm not doing that great at living a wide awake life this week.  Lots of action is swirling around inside and outside of my head and frankly, I've been slipping up with flubs hither thither and yon.

Yesterday, some scientists showed up at my door while I was working with the Thirdlanders on identifying themes in fiction books.  When I saw their scientific faces, I felt an instant sinking of the spirit.  I was supposed to do about 5 things for these scientists so that they could start teaching some cool science to the Thirdlanders.  I basically neglected to do all the things and also neglected to tell them not to show up.  We worked it out, but after they left, I said to the Thirdlanders, "Wow.  That was so embarrassing.  I feel horrible that they came all the way to our school and I wasn't ready for them.  I really wasted their time."

Of course the Thirdlanders piped right up with encouragement, "It's okay, Dr. H."  and "Everyone makes mistakes."  and "You're not perfect.  Nobody is."   My embarrassment has waned because I really am under the gun with a million things right now, but I need to up my game in the attentiveness department.  Thus my sankalpa proves to be an appropriate life goal once again.

And here's another little Thirdlander story just for the basic fun of it.  We were talking about the International Space Station and writing about whether or not we would like to live there.  I would not because it costs 20 million dollars and also I have a fear of enclosed spaces  After I shared my fascinating opinion, a cheerful Thirdlander added, "I wouldn't want to go on the Space Station because I have a fear of death."

As usual, the Thirdlanders cut right to the meat of the matter.  I'm going back in today.  Eyes wide open.  To Do List in hand. I live a wide awake life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


It's time to wake up and admire the #TwinTuesday.  A lovely hammer and orange.  Rife with meaning if you think about it.  Maybe I'll teach the Thirdlanders the If I Had a Hammer song today.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Sankalpa 6

The water in Flint, Michigan is toxic.  So many powerful people knew about it, but the state government kept claiming the water was healthy.  The NYT has a good piece about all the incompetence and lying in Flint and Rachel Maddow's been hitting the story pretty hard.

It's going to cost 3.4 billion dollars to fix the water pipes in Flint.  That's money well spent, imho.  Let's get it done.

I don't want to bring everything back to me, but this horrible story makes me wonder if my water is potable.  How do I know?

I don't want to be a skeptical person, but I also know that part of being wide awake is thinking about stuff and not taking things for granted, like my water quality.  Maybe everyone's lying to me all the time.  This is kind of the drawback of this sankalpa.  Being wide awake can be a bit overwhelming and worrisome.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Hooks

I'm not sure why I'm trying to teach The Thirdlanders how to crochet.  Not only am I horrible at crocheting, I'm very horrible at teaching people how to crochet. But for some inexplicable reason, I just feel like doing it so I'm doing it.  Friday was Day One of Crochet Instruction.  I set the timer for 15 minutes and tried to show people how to make a chain. Miraculously, about ten kids actually learned how to do it.  A pal suggested I teach finger crochet first, but really the great thing about crochet is the little metal hook you get to bandy about. It's all about the tools.  In the middle of the lesson one of the Thirdlanders yelled out, "I'm not getting this, but I don't care.  I'm going to just keep fooling around with it."  The kid's obviously a creative genius.

The Thirdlanders are fabulous. At the end of the day, we watched a video about the limestone industry in Monroe County.  I took notes on the white board while they took notes on their papers.  At the end of the DVD, I said, "I'm super proud of all these notes I took!"  A Thirdlander jumped up and said, "Let's all of us stand around your notes and you can take a class picture of us."  Well, that seemed like the most brilliant idea I've ever heard, so I handed a kid the DVD case which featured a fine picture of a limestone quarry, and the Thirdlanders huddled around my excellent set of notes for some photography.  They have a silly exuberance that tries my soul at times, but at other times, I just admire how hilarious they are.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Sankalpa 5

FYI:  The book I'm reading to help me with my sankalpa (living a wide awake life) is Waking Up to What You Do:  A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion.  It's by Diane Eshin Rizzetto.  I'm on page 11 and so far, so good.

I'm feeling cheerful about the beautiful snow day I'm experiencing right now.  I've been reading, writing and soon I'll go out for some Indian food with Husbandman.

There's just one little thing stuck in my darned craw this morning and I'll tell you what it is.  Jesse Eisenberg is in our town because he supports Middle Way House.  Nancer saw him at the Y this morning!  She said she almost took a picture for this very blog, but then she thought about respecting his privacy.  Now I'm all for respecting privacy, but I'm pretty sure that Jesse Eisenberg would have been THRILLED to appear on this blog.  So, Nancer, you need to look at it from Jesse's point of view next time.  I'm going out with both eyes wide open to look for Jesse today to give him another chance to be seen on this amazing blog, alittleleeway. He loves our town as much as I do, so I'm fairly confident he'll be eating Indian food for lunch. I'm bringing the camera.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


#TwinTuesday rolls around again.  This week we have an imaginative figure and a grater.  I love how the silver on the monster stands out next to the cheese grater.  Did you notice that?  Check out the twin at WordSavvy.  Right now I'm on a 2 hour delay.  I need to get into work and set up a few fascinating learning experiences.  I'm excited to see the Thirdlanders after a three day break.  Sometimes they grow taller on the weekends now.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sankalpa 4

Sometimes I feel the people on The Bachelor aren't living a wide awake life.  People are crying right and left about how they don't get to spend time with The Bachelor.  It's like they totally forget how the show works.  If I were on the show and the Bachelor never chose to talk to me, I'd just figure we probably weren't right for each other.  Then I'd spend most of my time out at the pool reading a book or playing mancala or texting Husbandman, eking out as much vacay as I could from the television experience.

I kept both eyes open on this three day weekend.  We saw Carol, ate out at some fine eateries, and kicked it with #1 Son a bunch of times.  We are always joyful when #1 Son shows up.  He's a fun, caring young man.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Sankalpa 3

It's grey and cold here in Btown today so we took ourselves off to a little field trip to the History Center. I'm planning a lesson on Btown in 1900 so I took some photos of the limestone quarry model, the Shower Brothers Furniture Factory cabinets, the Railroad routes across our Hoosier state and of course the Gentry Brothers Circus display.  Come to find out the Gentry Brothers Circus featured dogs doing sundry tricks as well as other poor creatures. The winter headquarters for this circus was right here in our town.

Then we had soup at a soup shop.  Now we're at a coffee shop and I'm reading about history, gathering information so to speak. I read about another circus that performed right in Dunn Meadow in 1907.   The reporter of the Bloomington Evening World reported that though there was rain, the circus show was a great time for young and old.  The article ended with a fine reminder about living the wide awake life, which ties in with my new Sankalpa for 2016:

After the procession had passed the greater part of the people went to the 
grounds or to some eating place. The crowd was orderly and up to noon the 
police had not had any trouble. The management reports that there were few 
if any of the usual crooks following the show, but this should not 
encourage carelessness about taking a large wad of bills about in one's 
clothes or leaving the back door unlocked.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday Creativity Share: Tribute to David Bowie

The International Space Station paid tribute to David Bowie with this beautiful video that made me cry.

I am always a little suspicious of the International Space Station.  What are they actually getting done up there?  Mostly it looks like they're having a blast floating around and showing off.  If you want to be a tourist on the space station, you have to pay 20 million dollars.  I'm so tempted because it looks fun and I'd love to take some photos of the stars and planets, but scraping together that much cash would be tricky right now. So, here's the thing.  I'm not crazy about the pretentious posers on the ISS, but I do enjoy their creativity. With all the time they have up there, I'm not sure why they're not releasing more art, but I suppose they have to run on their space treadmills and eat their squeezable space snacks.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Tribute to David Bowie.  Some day I'll tell you all how I got to meet him backstage at Carnegie Hall.  Right now though, it's off to the Thirdlanders.  Keep your eyes peeled for some opportunities to be creative today. I beg of you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Sankalpa Day 2

I live a wide awake life.

So I'm wondering how on earth I got my computer filled up with stuff for the third time in the past two years.  It's the photos.  KR always helps me straighten things out and for the most part I follow his advice.  But it's so hard to part with my photos.  So I'm venturing into the cloud soon.  I fear the cloud, but I'm going in alert, with both eyes wide open.  KR is going to walk/talk me through the whole procedure.  I'm blogging on Husbandman's computer because mine has 0 amounts of space because I just keep putting more and more things on it and this has caused all sorts of problems. I wonder how much the cloud costs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


#TwinTuesday brings us a pleasantly unexpected pairing of cinnamon sticks and a decorative star.  If you want to see the twin to this photo, head over to KC's blog and see what she's drummed up.  A good teaching pal at work this week asked me why the artifacts in the photos are considered to be twins.  She didn't know that the twin part happens when you click on the links that lead you to WordSAVVY.  I love that people out in the world are checking out #TwinTuesday and mulling it all over.  As artists, we really couldn't ask for anything better than that.

I know I'm behind on the yearly Sankalpa challenge.  It's taken me a couple of weeks to figure out my sankalpa.  It is this:  I live a wide awake life.

Good one, right?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Loafing

Saturday was the best day ever.  Here's how it went down.  We were feeling a bit bluesy because of the continued use of the boot, so we decided to take a drive to Lake Monroe, hoping to see some bald eagles.  We drove down to Lake Monroe and found a top secret viewing location.  Come to find out, we saw a blue heron and then we saw a bald eagle, perched majestically.  I obviously can't describe the thrill I felt so I won't even try.

Next we decided to go see Revenant.  I was nervous to see it for various reasons I won't try to describe, but come to find out, Revenant is absolutely riveting.  I loved every minute except for 5 minutes near the end where I shut my eyes.  Other than that 5, I was riveted, as I've previously stated quite clearly.

After the best movie of the year, we drove over to C3 to eat a great dinner and listen to #1 play some fun jazz with a jaunty trio.  Nancy and Kev joined us. This day probably can never be topped.  Eagle.  Leonardo.  #1 Son playing jazz while I partake of a delicious cheese plate and chat with pals. January 9 will be forevermore christened the International Day of Lucky Looking and Listening.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The CoWorkers

  We have to do a crazy report card now and it's uncanny how agitated I get whenever report card time rolls around.  Last night. after entering scores for 5 hours, I left for the movies. It took me HALF of STAR WARS to let go of my report card brain and start appreciating Harrison Ford's wry sense of humor.  My school system owes me 7 dollars for that, I do believe.

 When I start getting crazy about the report card I start to doubt myself. Am I just an old FOGEY teacher who doesn't want to get with the times?  Or a lazy teacher who doesn't want to work hard?  Or an independent teacher who just wants to do my own thing and doesn't believe in collaboration?  Or a disorganized teacher who just needs to apply some structure to her assessment protocols?

Well, truth be told, I could be more organized, but other than that the answer to these questions has to be n.o.  As for FOGEYTOWN, I'm fairly hip let's face it.  As for laziness, get real.  I roll up my sleeves every day and make every second count.  As for independence, I do like to pursue my fascinating creative ideas, but I also love being part of a team.  Case in point: Many great friends have popped in or texted or emailed to share their report card woes with me these past few days.  We're all in the same boat and we support; we do not thwart.

Obviously the problem is not with me.  I'm good.  Hence, I'm letting go of the doubts and moving on to greatness and glory.


Friday, January 01, 2016

The Newness

For the last four years, I've started the year with a sankalpa kind of goal.  EX:  I'm healthy.  I'm creative.  I'm writing.  I integrate these statements into my morning chats with the universe while I'm blow drying my hair.  I'm struggling to come up with a good one for 2016.  I have a big bag of mixed up ideas about things I want to do and be. Do not by any means consider these lists complete.  My mind's just a rumbling tumble weed of ideas right now.

Specific action goals:  Read more.  Do some yoga.  Get my ankle healed up as good as new.  Have fun every day.  See more movies.  Publish more cool books with the Thirdlanders.  Take some trips.  Sit on the zafu. Make some changes in the house decor.  Learn a song on the ukulele.  Join some type of social justice group or project? Knock off my addiction to screens except for this blog which is going to get a lot of love and care in 2016 because it deserves it. Take photos of hawks and frogs in the wild.

Specific Attitudinal goals: Be good enough.  Stay in the present moment.  Approach each day with curiosity. Appreciate the ordinary.  Commit to taking the next right thought, the next right action.  Treat myself and others with loving kindness.

I really can't decide what to pick.  I'm going to mull for awhile.  For now, it's time to head on in to the school site and conquer the formidable report cards.  They really can drive me crazy, so I'll just try to make peace with the report cards and appreciate the mysterious nature of our assessment system.

Happy New Year Good Friends.  I'm feeling excited about all the newness.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...