Tuesday, February 28, 2012

mid-week leap

Hope your extra 24 hours are full of the delightfully unanticipated.

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Saturday, February 25, 2012

for sundays that are mondays

images via

Oh, fearful people, fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
With blessings on your head.

18th century verse

color matching

So I have a Pinterest board dedicated to colors, and the other day I noticed an interesting pattern. Here are some images from the board . . .

And here are some shots from our wedding last June . . .

Sea glass and coral, tomato and mint, salmon and sage . . . whatever you call it, this color combination and any variation thereof is forever cemented in my brain. 

Strange, considering I probably wouldn't decorate with these colors, nor would I describe them as being my favorites. And yet there's something I find so visually appealing about this combo. They suited our wedding -- early summer, vintage flair. Maybe I like the mood, what they describe, more than the colors themselves.

What are your favorite colors? What mood do they evoke?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

spelling test

A few months back, I enthusiastically signed up for the Sketchbook Project. Not just "the" Sketchbook Project, like the normal everyday, open-to-all project, but a limited edition version (fancy, I know). This, after failing to complete the first (normal everyday) project I signed up for back in 2010.

Would you like to see this year's progress?

Yep, that's right: A whole lot of nothing. 

Well, OK, to be fair, I did take the staples out of my book in order to eventually rebind it.

But other than that . . . nada.

Of course, I signed up thinking to myself, This time will be different! This time I will own this project! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

And then of course the book stayed in its shipping envelope until last week, when my trembling hands decided it was time to face those white blank pages. 


I've done nothing but pace around them since, waiting for a moment of genius to hit before those pages tear me to shreds. (Interesting little role reversal there, no? Ha.)

The theme I chose for my sketchbook is "How to Spell and Other Things to Learn," and I brainstormed numerous connected ideas -- I wanted to incorporate learning Arabic, as well as learning how a culture communicates other than language. I wanted to examine rule-following (as in spelling) versus rule-breaking (as in a life well lived). And hopefully I still will.

There is still time. There is plenty of time. But I need to start.

At this point, it's clear that the what I most need to learn is the very thing that comes so naturally to my students: How to emphasize the process, rather than the product.

That, and how to start. Just. Start.

I don't know why this is so incredibly difficult, but I know that if I can push through the literal pain of facing those pages, I will be a better person for it. I need to unlearn . . . to relearn . . . As per usual: Fingers crossed.


UPDATE: Annnnnd cue breakthrough! (HOORAY HOORAY HOORAY!) After publishing this post, I got down to doodling while letting my mind wander. Instead of staring at the pages, I put a pencil in my hand and let it do what it wanted. Mostly that involved jotting down lots of little words and phrases, as opposed to visuals (I tend to be a pretty verbal person, if you haven't noticed). And then suddenly . . . BOOM! Everything came into crystal clear focus. I mean, forget Polaroids -- my mind was on it like a top-notch SLR. And now I have the perfect framework for my project, a structure to follow in order to more effectively push my boundaries . . . I'm so happy I could cry. Welcome back, enthusiasm. It's been a while.

our daily bread

A few weeks ago we finally bought a gas tank for our stove (since our apartment building sits in the middle of a construction zone, the gas lines aren't hooked up just yet). I've loved being able to prepare meals at home again -- there is something immensely satisfying about sustaining oneself "from scratch". My brother's girlfriend gave us this cookbook for Christmas, and I've slowly been working my way through the recipes. Last week, I baked a loaf of the rye soda bread found in the book. Served with a generous helping of herbed butter and a big bowl of soup, it was the perfect meal for a cozy night at home and again as lunch at work the next day.

Thanks, Hillary! :)


The Bay by Helen Frankenthaller, via The House That Lars Built

Attempting to get my thoughts in order, as there is SO MUCH I want to write about: Fear posts, life updates, and everything in between. Part of me wishes I had a writing prompt, something to give me a concrete direction for a little while and allow for a bit of clarity. Sharing this painting and admitting it's all a blur will have to do for now. I don't have writer's block so much as writer's fog, and my brain is basically made of play dough. Back soon, hopefully the polaroids developing in my mind come in to focus by then....Cheers.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

why i teach

Or perhaps more aptly, why DO I teach?! It hasn't felt like much of a vocation lately.

In an effort to keep the spark alive, it helps to watch and read the works of innovative thinkers. Ken Robinson is probably one of the most reassuring figures of all. This TED talk of his is a few years old, but it continues to inspire me.

I needed that today.

You know? Your boss doesn't always know best. Systems are subjective. After all, as Robinson points out, Shakespeare was a child once . . . and he had an English teacher. 

Here's to doing things differently, and to the sparks that fly when little wheels are turning. Invention is more important than cleanliness, and asking good questions is more essential than memorizing sight words. At least in my classroom.

Monday, February 13, 2012

your heart

Photo from our wedding ceremony, June 2011

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

From "[i carry your heart(i carry it in]" by e.e. cummings, 1952


Happy Valentine's Day, folks. We generally aren't traditional Valentine's-y type people, so we aren't planning anything especially romantic or out of the ordinary. Although I did buy some heart-shaped molds and was planning on making my famous chocolate cupcakes (I use this recipe), complete with festive toppers, but I'm not sure how many people want baked goods from these hands at the moment. It makes me a little sad to let a holiday go unmarked in some way, but oh well. A poem shall suffice. (More than suffice, actually. Mmmm, I LOVE a good poem.)

sick (yes, again)

This time with a particularly bad bout of the blues.

Found here, via Pinterest

On Thursday I came down with the worst fever I've ever had. Really, Andy had to pile every single blanket we own on top of me, and still I was having these crazy shaking chills and hallucinations. I'd never experienced anything like it before. Andy kept trying to convince me to go to the hospital, but I couldn't get up. Thankfully, some lovingly administered ibuprofen eventually brought things back down to a more manageable level (meaning, non-hallucinatory) . . . until the migraines started. Once again, the worst I've ever had. By Saturday I knew I needed to get to the doctor ASAP, where I was told everything was related to a bad case of sinusitis. Who knew? 

Unfortunately Saturday was also poor Andy's birthday, and caring for me wasn't exactly the happiest way to spend it. He was definitely a great sport about it though, picking up my prescriptions, then running out to buy saltines and ginger ale when I started throwing them up. I believe I officially owe him about a billion times over. And love him more than that. I've promised him a birthday do-over, but he claims he has no interest in such things. Still, the deep dish cookies I was planning on making? I know he won't mind if we give those another chance.

As of now, things are essentially back to normal, except for the fact that I can't seem to stop crying. Being physically sick is intrinsically linked with homesickness for me, so that probably has something to do with it. Also hormones. In any case, this particular crying jag is an intense one, and I'm definitely struggling a bit as I attempt to climb my way out of it.

God bless my husband.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"watchin' downton"

Do you watch Downton Abbey? I've never known a PBS show to garner so much love! This video made me laugh out loud.

Andy and I were able to catch some of Season 2 back in September but somehow our viewings got phased out as we became increasingly busy. Now that things have settled down, it seems a Downton marathon might be in order. (Speaking of, when Andy first got wind of the show he wasn't at all sold, but he ended up watching the entire first season in one sitting!)