17 April 2008

i make baskets...there, i said it

Don't start laughing and snorting at making baskets. Basket weaving is an ancient craft. It's not done without patience, bandaids, and several hours of wrestling long, wet strips of wood.

My mom and I recently went on a mini-vacation together to the Point Reyes National Seashore for a two-and-a-half-day basket making retreat. Such grand fun. Rustic group cabins were available at the environmental education center,

but since that's not my mom's "thing" (and this was her birthday present from me) we opted to stay at a near-by barn loft apartment above an artist's studio, complete with a small kitchenette, a very small upper-loft (second sleeping area) accessed via a ladder (that's where I slept, but I did get her up there for a picture), a private patio, and daily rooster calls (he was a bit confused on the concept of what constituted a morning wake-up time).

At the end of the retreat, we both returned home having seven baskets between the two of us--not all completed but that's the nature of the craft and the time constraints).

New threads of memories to share and recall: morning tai chi and yoga, a walk to see the blooming wild irises near the ocean shore, quail watching/listening (three covey's of over forty birds in each were spotted with their cute bobbing heads in the grass), a night-spotting of a cougar by the roadway, and an absence of the deer.

What a wonderful weekend to recharge my creative soul--cell phone and computer free isolated working environment, sea air, nature, and new friends.

I must recount a dash of humor shared during a culminating/bonding exercise we did near the end of the weekend. It was a bit like musical chairs, where the chair-less person in the center of a circle of occupied chairs directed "all those who...{fill in the blank}" whereby all the participants who also shared/experienced it stood up, madly dashing for another chair in the circle that was temporarily vacated. The last person left standing then had to divulge something else, thus keeping the ebb and flow of participants ever-changing. I'm sure most people have done similar exercises for bonding in groups--I have done a variation of this in my classroom. But with fifteen women, after two days of retreat, sharing meals and sleeping quarters, interesting personal tidbits are sometimes exchanged.

  • "All those who have blackberries": Now, I would have thought that there would be a great rush of movement--not so. Only one woman stood up, so the exchange between chair and center of circle was oddly quiet. Then the woman who was now in the center stated how odd that no one else had blackberries in their yard. The laughter was riotous, since everyone except her understood that "blackberry" was not a bush but a pda/phone. What a sign of the times of technology.
  • "All those who have lost their underwear while walking": (Yes, you read that correctly). Again, only one person stood up, but then I must confess I was surprised by the statement and by the fact that another person also shared the experience. By the end of the explanations (yes, there had to be explanations) I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard. Let's just say the two occurrences involved: 1. laundry day where one is down to the last pair of underwear one should have thrown away long ago since the elastic has lost all memory of being elastic, wearing a skirt, carrying a basket of clean laundry down the street--she took a quick look around, let them fall, walked out of them, and kept on walking. 2. last month of pregnancy where the underwear never stay around such a girth, shopping in a mall, her pregnant-duck-waddle-walk turning into a walk with her knees as close together as possible trying to hold up the underwear while looking for a restroom or changing room to make the appropriate "adjustments".

10 April 2008

a growing movement

Now, maybe it's hormones, maybe I was born at the wrong end of an era, maybe I'm an idealist, but I am quite touched by the many different people I have come across (on the internet as well as in person) who create small differences in the lives of others. They give me great inspiration and affect me deeply.

This "Don Quixote" aspect of my being brought me to teaching and continues to energize me. One moment at a time. One small change at a time. One child at a time.

What started out as a plan for bringing art and social empathy into the classroom and home, continues to evolve into something deeper, bigger, stronger.

Krystyn Heide is the passion behind 'Hope Revolution', yet another way to encourage and inspire others.

07 April 2008

meme: passion quilt

"Afterwards, in bed with a book, the spell of television feels remote compared to the journey into the page. To be in a book. To slip into the crease where two pages meet, to live in the place where your eyes alight upon the words to ignite a world of smoke and peril, colour and serene delight. That is a journey no one can end with the change of a channel. Enduring magic."

I want this quote {from "The Way the Crow Flies" by Anne-Marie MacDonald} tattooed to my...well, no I really don't...maybe the feeling, the rush, the passion evoked by this quote to be embedded in my teaching--ha, I do this already!

::Worlds to Ponder and Explore::

I have been challenged by Diane to the education meme Passion Quilt, which seems to be spreading throughout "edublog-land" by creating a picture-quilt of what we educators most passionately want children to learn. There are so many passions for me and the priority of this list is fluid. I have chosen 'reading' today, and have added a quote from a book, which states my passion much more eloquently than I could.

3 Simple Meme Rules:
  • Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about...and give your picture a short title (be sure to give credit to the origination of the picture if it is not your own).
  • Title your blog post "Meme: Passion Quilt" and link back to this blog entry.
  • Include links to folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.
As a meme grows and spreads, it mutates. I see many educators also adding explanations and details as well as the photo (how can an educator worth any salt only post a picture with a title?). This was created by a public school educator and has branched out beyond the brick and mortar schools to homeschooling (which takes many wonderful and creative forms--parents are indeed the first, primary, front-line educators of their children). I think this meme is addressed to all, whether their children are yet-to-be, little, or grown, whether they have formal training in education or not. I also will add another metamorphose to this meme. The original "rules" stated an inclusion of five links/people. I have chosen to take that out. It sounds too much like a chain letter {shutter}. This meme will continue on its own or it will die out (both scenarios are natural progressions). If a reader is compelled to share their own passion on what they want their children to learn, then please do so. As Yoda said: "Do or do not...there is no try."

06 April 2008

simply still, day seven :: "a barn raising"

This was made by my brother, originally to be a bird feeder, but for me it's the ultimate post topper. Its origins are barn wood, rusted corrugated metal, acorns, and leaves (I'm not sure of what type). Time and weather have released the glue's hold on the acorns, as only a few tops remain. The outline of the delicate leaf structures exist simply as shadow images on each end now. Personally I think these changes only add to the rustic look that I so love.

The tree is my beloved "Dawn Redwood". It's one of a very few cone-bearing deciduous conifers and is nicknamed a "living fossil" because evidence of its existence can be found in fossils over 50 million years old.

04 April 2008

simple still, day five :: "rocketing to school"

Protected areas where rural children wait for the school bus are wide and varied. I found what looks like a nose cone of a plane to speak of adventure and excitement.

03 April 2008

simply still, day four :: "here's looking at you kid"

A few of our masks nestled in an alcove of the office/library.

02 April 2008

simply still, day three :: "red's updated basket and hood"

The basket: our winter solstice basket with acorns from our oak tree. The hat: our daughter's from water polo camp at Stanford University. The tree: a pine we named "Charlie Brown" because of it's stunted growth having been in a pot too many years--it has since overcome such a sight and is a handsome specimen.

01 April 2008

simply still, day two :: "kelp forest recycled"

The kelp baskets are my own creation I made at a workshop in Berkeley. The kelp bladder rattle was made by a friend and is used by my husband.