Category Archives: thinking out loud

The View from Sixty Two

I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday: low key with gardening in the morning and gel printing in the afternoon. I even made supper. Don’t feel sorry for me: I had been with my family over the weekend. Plus, I like to cook and it was easier than having to present myself to the world.

I was considering the typical “five things I’ve learned” blog post with advice about how to live your life. But, honestly, I can’t tell you how to do that. I have not always been that intentional about my own life. Absent some latent talent or burning passion, I followed my interests, wandering a bit both physically and metaphysically in the world until I found my place in education and, eventually, ed tech.

I suppose this blog is one of the ways I offer insight into the kind of life that brings me joy. There may be aspects that resonate with you. But, frankly, if you enjoy the hustle and bustle of an active, public life, you would probably be bored stiff here at the farm. And, I would find your life exhausting. I tried it for a few years and, while I loved working with educators as part of several programs, the relentless schedule and travel just wore me down.

I was describing the work to a younger colleague who commented that it sounded exciting. All I could remember was one particularly grueling week when, after negotiating Boston rush hour traffic on a Friday, I fell asleep on the shuttle bus after dropping off the rental car. The driver gently nudged me and then helped me down and into the terminal. Embarrassing but also a wake up call that this work was not for me. I began looking for other opportunities that would keep me closer to home.

What I realized was that I had a choice. That would be my reminder to you: you always have choices, and sometimes over the course of a life, those choices change. A friend was saying that she wanted to give up a particular activity but couldn’t because they needed her. I gently suggested that, while her concern was legitimate, she could give it up. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” You are allowed to change your mind, make different choices, pursue new ideas.

One big lesson I have learned is the uselessness of worry. As I was thinking about this blog post, Mary Oliver’s poem “I Worried” crossed my path. I leave you with her thoughts read by Helena Bonham Carter:

P.S. As I was getting ready to press publish, I thought of one more thing: I have written a lot about my meditation practice. I think, no matter how busy you are, finding time to just sit and do nothing even if for a minute, it important. Learning to be alone with yourself is a valuable skill.

Do Not Go Gentle

I have not had the energy for public writing these days: I write my morning pages and have been doing 500 words a day as part of the April version of NaNoWriMo. The latter is meant to be memoir but mostly I find myself ranting about the state of the world and wondering how much cash I should be hiding under the mattress. Then, in the midst of looking for dopamine hits amongst my Insta feed, there is this: Michael Sheen, all wild hair and Welsh intonation, performing “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas. Happy National Poetry Month! Stop, take a breath or two and just let the words flow over you.

Michael Sheen performs “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas

Grass & Water

I spent a lovely long weekend with friends, playing games, listening to live music and sharing stories. I didn’t make any art but I did save lots of videos and pattern ideas. My friends live on a lake and I was inspired by the blues and greens. I made three version yesterday: two watercolors (one watery, one dry) and one acrylic using a printing block and stencil I made out of foam. I like that one the best and am finding myself drawn to printing.

Making Art

I have been experimenting with watercolor and colored pencils over the past few days, drawing designs and flowers. Today, I tried out an idea I had seen a couple different places on social media: stained glass painting. I used watercolor to fill in the sections created by the tape. Before I pulled it up, I designed to outline each section with a black marker.

Most of the examples just kept the white spaces white but I thought they were too wide so experimented with filling them in. The black spots were made with the eraser ends of whiteboard markers.

One of the ideas behind the #100DayProject is to choose one thing and experiment with it. This idea of taping and painting and embellishing appeals to me. There are lots of possibilities: thinner or even thicker tape, different designs in the margins, perhaps a background besides just the white paper. I could use stamps, make doodles or write quotes over the shapes. Or cut out the shades and reassemble them.

I am calling it, “I Don’t Hate This.”