Tuesday, September 30, 2008

creativity in the air...

For reasons that are too complicated to go into here, PK and I have 72 hours to strip off the wallpaper and re-paint a room in our house. Because of this, I've been staying up waaaay past my bedtime lately. The cool thing about that though, is that I actually got a chance to listen to this:


Creativity radio. Way cool....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

progress report...

I was lying in bed the other night, thinking about how this whole “creativity year” plan is going, when I decided to do a little informal polling of the household. PK had just started to fall asleep, but I find that repeatedly poking him in the shoulder blades usually takes care of that, and I proceeded to quiz him about how we have been doing this year in terms of our creative progress.

The Verdict? Not too shabby.

I had a few goals when we first started to talk about trying to structure our lives differently, and I feel like I’m making a lot of progress. I’m doing a much more creative job in which I write and challenge myself daily. Some day I might even get paid for it—but one step at a time! I’ve learned how to throw a pot, started playing around with photography, and put up a few bookshelves in an attempt to get more organized. I’ve started thinking more about approaching the world in a mindful way-walking softly and with heightened awareness. A good start, in all.

PK has had a good year too. He’s looking into selling his photographs. Ditto the pottery, which he has an amazing talent for. He invented an incredible card game, and has ventured into woodworking some more. All on the list of goals…

But most importantly, we have kept the dialog open about how to live more creative lives, and it hasn’t slipped under the floorboards and disappeared like so many other goals in life seem to do. We have a way to go—to learn more balance so work doesn’t eat away the hours we’d rather be painting, among other things.

And I’m sure PK would love to see me find a way to think about these things at more civilized hours. Baby steps…

Sunday, September 21, 2008

yet another rabbit hole...

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of reading as a way of creating alternate realities in student’s lives. What is the difference, I wonder, in the way our brains think about a memory associated with something we have actually done, compared to a memory of something we have read? Especially after a lot of time has passed and the "real" memories become misty...

I have had very intense (flow) experiences while reading books where my imagination has gone into overdrive, I’ve imagined noises, practically felt the rain of a hurricane, or smelled the burning fires of a city under siege. Once we are done the reading experience, or the real experience, all this is shuffled into our minds, filed away under different subheadings. What happens when those memories get mixed up? I have sometimes started to tell a story I heard from someone only to realize that it wasn’t the result of a conversation I had, but a book I read. Is that just early senility, or a sign that perhaps this memory thing is trickier than we thought?

There are a lot of layers to this line of thought I’ve been chasing lately (and, I’ll admit, even a few diagrams I had to draw to get things straight in my brain)…not sure where it will end up…but it's an interesting line of inquiry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

piracy is our only option...

After discovering that, due to the recent stock market volatility, our 401k plans will not in fact be able to fund a lengthy and comfortable retirement in the south seas, we decided to take matters into our own hands. PK and I, along with a wily band of fellow rogues, successfully conquered this small island off the coast of Maine. Arrr.

Friday, September 12, 2008

mindful snorting noises...

So, I just started a class in Ashtanga Yoga--I really like the approach of the studio I go to since it focuses so much on mindfulness and body awareness. I've done yoga for a number of years, but usually in a gym or rec center, and the focus has been more on physical movement rather than mental movement, so I'm fascinated with some of the philosophy behind ashtanga yoga. That said, I'm having a problem. Ujjayi. Ashtanga yoga synchronizes breath with movement, and my particular teacher wants us to breath in a specific style that when done properly sounds like it should be followed by the phrase "Luke, I am your Faaather". So what's my problem with Ujjayi? I can't keep a straight face. I've been trying all week, and the best I can muster involves a long gurgling noise followed by about 5 minutes of hysterical laughter. Every time.

Sometimes I'm not sure I should really be allowed to be an adult...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

kids today(or, good reasons to practice my pranayama techniques)

So PK and I are in the local Asian food market, picking up some nummy treats. "Oh look,"I say, "now they sell melon bars* by the box! K.** would be so excited"

A small boy with messy blond hair and an annoying smirk on his face suddenly appears in the aisle and says to me, with a sneer "yeah, except that's DURIAN fruit***, duh"

Um, WTF?

Now, two things go through my head. One, I know a stinking durian fruit popsicle when I see one, and I was definitely talking about melon bars thank-you-very-much, and TWO, what sort of child runs around Asian markets saying snotty things to strangers anyway? I, however, put my new yoga training to work, took some deep breaths and restrained from making any snarky comments at all. Instead, I fixed him with my "teacher look", grabbed my MELON bars, and calmly walked away. I feel so proud of myself for behaving...

*a frozen treat made from musk melon that will send you into spasms of happiness just from smelling it, not to mention actually eating one...

**my good friend who has recently moved to Nantucket, where, tragically, there are no melon bars.

***Not a melon, durian fruit has a scary spiny exterior, and is supposed to smell like rotting human flesh, but taste like vanilla custard. No thanks, durian popsicle makers...http://www.durian.net/

And what kind of kid knows what the hell a durian fruit is, anyway?

Things that go bump in the night (or, a shout-out to nonlinear thinking...)

Scene: The apartment, 2am. All are asleep, dreaming of distant shores and candy and stuff.

From the kitchen come loud scuffling sounds, kind of like someone wrestling with a milk jug

WA-what the hell was that?
PK- That was the *!@*#!! cat. If my eyes would open I'd kick her A#@#@#>
WA-falls asleep

3:00am The noises resume at increased intervals, this time accompanied by intermittent meowing noises

WA- But that doesn't sound like the cat
PK-(mumbles incoherently)
WA- (gets up, noises stop and discovers the cat sleeping in the living room.)

Cat- (Opens one eye)- Stop looking at me!

WA to PK- I can't find anything.
PK- Every time I go she hides. I'm not getting up again.
WA-I don't think its the cat-she's not clever enough to pull off a fake nap so fast.
PL-this sucks.

The noises continue for hours.

4:45 am

PK- I hate the cat
WA- That's it. I've had it.
(she gets up, gets dressed and turns on all the lights. PK follows. No source of the noises is discovered. As WA searches the area of the Tupperware, PK makes a discovery in the blinds at the top of the kitchen window.)


This is not our cat. This is some other random cat who snuck into our house somehow. A cat extraction took place, during which PK was too busy laughing to document the event.

Sadly, this happened the night following a discussion I had in one of my classes about using non-linear thought in problem solving. As I was focused first on the idea that the cat was behind the noises, and second, that the noises could only be coming from the pile of Tupperware in the corner, PK was scanning the whole room for things that looked out of place. Score one point for the engineer for thinking on a higher plane!

Note to self: Maybe you should focus more on actually listening to what happens in classes instead of staring out the window and wondering if you'll have good waves for paddle surfing the next day. You never know when you might actually use this stuff...

Monday, September 1, 2008

au revoir, summer

Yesterday I hiked a small mountain up north, and noticed the first birches turning yellow all along the rivers. Right now they are scattered in the hillsides and swampy areas, but it won't be long before even our quiet little town bursts with color. This is my favorite time of year for so many reasons. I get overwhelmed with the beauty of the trees, and the frost and the way everything bends when the fall winds whip through. I love pulling my sweaters out of the closet and bundling up against the evening chill, and huddling before campfires before crawling into frost-touched tents. We still have several kayak trips planned, barring northerly hurricane trends, and I can't wait to be out on the islands, where the reds of the island oaks merge into the gray-green sea. This is a wild time of year, and with it I can feel my brain coming awake again after the lazy, hot days of summer. Last week alone I had 6 deep thoughts, and I think there might be more on the way...at the very least I feel posts brewing in the back of my mind...

when you are too busy to weed...

you wind up with The Garden of Chaos... which means that when the cantalope are in season, it's like the Easter bunny was running a little low on gas money and had to pick up some work on the side. Consider this sneaky little melon...