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Sunday, October 26, 2014

All of my challenges in one day

Where did the week go?
Work got in the way.
Then there was the matter of my birthday with phone calls and visitors for a couple of evenings. The there were a couple of evenings of dinners with good friends, one of which I hosted. And I wake up this morning thinking that today's To-Do list is pretty long:

Swim between 30 and 40 laps in order to get a decent start to the week and to help me sleep because this sound sleeper has been having sleep problems the last couple of weeks.

Get a notebook going to organize the 52 songs that I'm writing this year and compose another song before I go to bed tonight.

Walk or cycle.

Write a blog post. This is my second one this morning, so I'm okay.

Take, edit and publish a problem.

Read. When all that is left is reading, I'll feel as if 'm on vacation.

If I get any free time, I'd also like to draw something. Drawing has been on my mind in the last few days and I'm not sure why. I also get a release from drawing and mind-mapping but I rarely make time for these 2 activities.

For now,  I have a breakfast date and must get dressed to join my friends. When I get home, I'll take another look at my list and maybe only do what really needs to be done today and enjoy this autumn day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

This is why I love spending my days with kids: Adora Svitak

Adora Svitak illustrates just by being herself what I love about spending most of my waking hours with my students. Yes, I know that I'm the teacher, but honestly, I am learning every day as much if not more than they are. All of my students have something to offer me and I love exchanging ideas with them and trying to figure out how I can hopefully help grow into who they would like to become while doing no harm and not being a hindrance to them.

If you are at all intrigued, listen to this amazing young girl:

My new favourite artist: Shea Hembrey

My mind is blown! I so get this guy it ain't even funny! He is wacked out amazing in how he goes after different styles of contemporary art going so far as to even create bios for his imagined artists. I just love it.

For once, I see someone who is doing things in so many different directions and it inspires me with my fruit fly attention span. There are so many things that I love to appreciate in art and nature and so many ways in which I enjoy expressing my gratitude, playfulness and curiosity and Shea Hembrey validates all the personas that we can be.

He inspires me to keep reaching towards different methods of expression and trying to tap into my students in different ways, especially my harder to reach students who can be dyslexic or dyspraxic or just plain shy and unsure of themselves.

If you are just a bit curious, have a look at the art and a listen to this wonderful artist on this Ted Talk.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New quote

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

- Robert Louis Stevenson -

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thanksgiving Monday check in

“Do not fear mistakes - there are none. ”

Miles Davis

A week ago Sunday, I wrote down several challenges for myself:

1. Write 1 song a week. Goal 500 songs

2. Write 1 blog post every week. Goal 52 posts

3. Read every day. Goal read 1000 books

4. Publish 1 photo every day. Goal 1000 photos on Flickr

5. Cycle/walk to work all school year. Goal walk cycle 1000 km

6. Swim 100 laps every week from October to April. Goal 3000 laps

I managed to compose a song sans lyrics so far which keeps playing over and over in my mind. I must write down the music and start recording it today. I've also started a second riff. I brought one of my guitars and a stand and put it next to the bed in the master bedroom. Having the guitar out and within easy reach entices me to grab it and play. I improvise a lot  and often follow the path of "mistakes" in my playing realizing that they lead me to discoveries.


I'm writing now as an update so I'm counting it as writing a blog post. I write every day. I've written over 100 pages in my journal since starting a new notebook on September 10th. I'm not terribly good at updating blogs.


I read every day and manage to read one or two books a week on a good week. I've been adding books to my Goodreads bookshelves, but I'd like to know how to delete books from the "want to read" shelf. I'm currently reading Isobel Losada's "A beginner's guide to changing the world". I love armchair travel. No altitude sickness. No border crossings. No visas. 


I've been having a lot of fun taking photos and playing around with cropping. I've faithfully posted at least a photo a day on Flickr. 
My best buddy and I went on a nowhere trip yesterday stopping anywhere we thought might snapworthy.

I even encouraged a talented, local photographer to get onto Flickr. After searching to find a photographer who inspires me, I finally found a link to her website. I couldn't remember Mary Jo Hoffman's name nor her website's name, but I stumbled upon it through Pinterest. 

Despite, some rainy, cool and stormy days, I rode my bike or walked everywhere I went in the village except when I went to swim laps at the hotel pool or when I needed more than 1 grocery bag. I'm proud of myself even if the distances in the village are negligeable.

Last Monday, I swam 50 laps (each lap is 75 yards), Wednesday, I swam 25 laps and I got back to the pool and swam 25 laps Saturday night. Again, a real, hardcore swimming would spit me out with a gulp of chlorinated water, but I'm still proud of myself because I at least get off my butt and go swim when I could very well just lay back into the Lazyboy and read some more.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Time to play and The Happiness of Pursuit (by chris Guillebeau)

Normally, in another life, I would have spent Friday night and most of Saturday correcting student papers and tests and hand to be sure that I could hand them back graded when I see them on Monday. But not this weekend.

A migraine had shadowed all week long, creeping up into the left hemisphere of my brain at the end of a busy day, before bedtime or even waking me up in the middle of the night. I don't feel stressed so it must be hormonal, or lack of food or hydration.

So, Friday evening, after spending a fun day in a nearby forest with my students learning survival skills, I mellowed out and started reading Chris Guillebeau's newest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, which is all about quests in all kinds of forms. 

I didn't even put on any make-up or leave the house. I just puttered around, de-cluttering my study and before settling back down to read. I didn't think I had it in me to take on a quest.

I just finished the book. As I chatted with my best friend last night, I realized that I had been on many mini quests. Over the last year, I slayed a dragon which required many smaller battles which I discuss in greater detail in my Flow Let Go blog.

As I read the end of Chris' book, he lists the questers which he interviewed and some of their quests touch a chord. I had no idea that photographer, Thomas Hawk, was into publishing 1 million photos. I admire his work regularly on FlickR and he has even favorited some of my photos (Gush, squeal, guffaw!). I don't want to invest that kind of time investment into my photography but he inspires me to do more. Hey! I'm up to 252 photos on my Flickr account.

I've written around 100 songs and have posted some on Youtube. That's okay. But I never made it my goal to write a lot of songs. They just kind of pour out.

I've traveled to 20 some odd countries, but I haven't gone anywhere in years. (Hair colour has changed but I see that I've come full circle back to wearing round wired rim glasses.)

I like collecting stringed instruments, but I don't like "stuff" enough to get into collecting.

I've written dozens of journals since my teens. I have a stack next to the bed for which I need to find a home. I managed to organize the ones in the footlocker in chronological order from left to right after coming home from a worshop in 2011 where I won a copy of Leaving a Trace by Alexandra Johnson. I came home and went through closets and attics gathering old journals.

I turned 50 in October 2012 and I had decided to read at least 50 books that year and swim 50 laps of the beautiful Ch√Ęteau Montebello pool on my birthday.

Chris Guillebeau wrote about Elise Blaha, whose quest is to do serial crafting projects. I think that I lack the focus to do the same thing over a long period of time, but being a serial something or other sounds closer to who I am.

I have always dabbled in all kinds of things. I'm naturally curious and love researching all kinds of stuff. The Internet has made this easier especially since I decided to move to the country but the Web has also worsened my short attention span. So yeah, serial artistic projects appeal to me big time.

If I focus my play time on activities where I regularly forget to eat could have a lot of benefits besides losing a couple of extra pounds.

These activities involve:

Making music
Taking, editing & publishing photos
Editing videos

Now, what kind of a quest could I concoct which would involve all of my loves?

1. Write 1 song a week. Goal 500 songs

2. Write 1 blog post every week. Goal 52 posts

3. Read every day. Goal read 1000 books

4. Publish 1 photo every day. Goal 1000 photos on Flickr

5. Cycle/walk to work all school year. Goal walk cycle 1000 km

6. Swim 100 laps every week from October to April. Goal 3000 laps

I have a bad memory so I'm going to print a copy of this list of goals and pin it up in my study.