Seattle, Solitude and Self

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I’m going to Seattle – flying out of Phoenix – alone.

I’ll walk to Bruce Lee’s burial site and I will utter his famous words:

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”

I’ll walk a mile to the Korean Bamboo and slurp kimchi tofu soup which is the fare of my clan.

I’ll venture into the Seattle Art Museum, study Iskra Johnson’s Color Bath and art from Jodhpur, India.

I’ll go to the Space Needle and, standing on the rotating glass floor, look at the bustling world below me.

At night, I will write and paint and bask in the hushed moonlight.

In my sojourn, the silence will allow me to hear myself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Recommendation

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I just saw a documentary called “Twinsters” on Netflix (Thanks Erin)!  It’s about a 27-year-old Korean adoptee who finds out via social media that she has an identical twin who grew up in France. Their ultimate meeting and journey to South Korea is fascinating.

It’s a feel good testament to love, which might be just what you need to see right now.

 

The Sign

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In the airport, waiting to depart

What’s this? Our flight’s been delayed 

Five hours (!) – Why? It’s raining in Phoenix

Disappointment, fear and anger encroach

 

Is there any other way to get home sooner?

I ask the counter lady

I’m sorry, all flights are backed up

I laugh then, because her name tag reads “Zen”

 

 

 

 

A Clean Diet

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There’s lots of talk about “clean diets.” If you want to start eating well, but don’t know where to begin, look to the Mediterranean Diet. It’s one of the most universally agreed upon regimens for feeling good:

Key components of the Mediterranean diet*

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise

(I would add: limit caffeine, sugar and fried foods).

*From The Mayo Clinic

Watercolor & Resist

 

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I’m traveling and I left my fine paintbrush at a friend’s house. So I thought I’d try wax resist using a white art pencil and on the lettering and then paint over it. It “kind of” worked out. A white crayon might work better. I’ll paint this bag again when I get home. It was fun!

Flavor of the Month

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“My kids are around pit bulls every day. In the ’70s they blamed Dobermans, in the ’80s they blamed German Shepherds, in the ’90s they blamed the Rottweiler. Now they blame the Pit Bull.” 
― Cesar Millan

Death and Dying

When we think of our loved ones who have passed, we tend to get sad.

I invite you to look at “death” in a different way. It’s taboo in our culture to think of the passing of a loved one as anything but tragic, but Byron Katie says we are being self-centered and selfish (we, the survivors) when we think this way. 

View her video(s) here

Distillation

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In drawing and painting, I am cultivating “my style.” I am definitely not someone who likes (or can) make realistic faces and people. In elementary school, I excelled at stick figures with faces of tiny dots for eyes, no nose and semi-circle mouths.

But this was a fun and relatively easy portrait painting that I learned from August Wren on Creativebug.com. I like the bold colors and rough frame.

On the Daily

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Photo from Debbie Hudson

My optometrist told me about his Corvette Stingray. He got it from a couple who purchased a brand new car and needed space in their garage. Everything in the Corvette was shot: the engine, upholstery, paint, some of the body was dented. They had it towed to his house.

Two years later, his Stingray is on the road. He fixed the engine himself. The upholstery still needs to be replaced, but the car has come back from the dead.  The doc worked on it every weekend for two years.

Sometimes, our dreams might take years, because we “only have the weekends” to work on them. But with diligence and consistency, they WILL actualize.

 

 

The Venerable, Not the “Old”

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I didn’t give much thought until I became afflicted, too.

My mother, possibly the sweetest person on earth, lamented, “I feel like people don’t like old people.”

You need to watch this video if you think you’ll live past forty.

The speaker is Scilla Elworthy, a peace builder and founder of The Oxford Research Group. She’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. She makes excellent points about maturation. There’s such a stigma with the word “old” and “aging.” We are all getting older, day by day. If we’re open to learning and truly get wiser, then we are “distinguished” and respectable, not old.

Google Keep

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I installed and started using Google Keep yesterday. I love it! I like the options (changing color, archiving, check boxes, adding to Google Docs) and the simple layout.

This is a great way to keep your notes connected to Google. You can also connect a collaborator on projects, send it to your email, and add drawings and pictures.

 

Deep Work*

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Sketches for Book 2 illustrations

Doing deep, meaningful work requires a lot of time in quiet solitude.

I’ve been procrastinating and distracting myself from my deep work (National Board Certification, writing and illustrating Book 2).

So, I shall remove the distractions: posting and reading feeds in social media (FB, Twitter) and checking (and re-checking) the news. Honestly, reading the news and getting upset is not helping anyone. But somehow, I believed that being up to date on current events was being good citizen. As long as my vote is informed, I’m good.

Now, on with the deep work…will you join me? What are your distractions and excuses?

 

 

*Cal Newport

Sunday Suggestion

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Just thought this was funny.

Joined the gym with my teenage daughters today

They both told me they wanted to start exercising (!)

We ran on the treadmill, lifted some weights…shared some laughs

Over dinner, Josie (16 and perenially anxious) said, “Wow, I feel so relaxed.”

 

So my suggestion today is to do something different with your kids. Put work aside and talk, laugh and move.

 

 

 

 

Interval

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I sit with a few girls during lunch recess

we all like to doodle

Tomorrow (September 22) is the first day of autumn (!)

But it’s Arizona – 96 degrees and humid from a recent storm

 

Laura’s drawing pretty ladies shopping

Julia is sketching fashion (dresses, skirts, shirts)

and I draw ferns, acorns and other accoutrements of Nature

kids are shouting and running around us – we remain composed

Companion Communication

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Unsplash

He’s texting and calls out, “spell upholstery please”

I answer, “u-p-h-o-l-s-t-e-r-y”

He asks for more –

a-d-r-e-n-a-l-i-n-e

h-a-l-l-e-l-u-j-a-h

d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s

Outside, the owls – a traveling pair – coo

I wonder if she has to spell for him, too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frivolity

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We have a natural tendency to be preoccupied with things and competition (Mine is better than yours, I make more than you, I’m good at this, what are you good at?)

But there comes a time when this comes to a natural conclusion (perhaps a little after adulthood), and can be replaced by something deeper: Finding your essence identity (spiritual dimension).

The material and form identities still exist, but they should no longer give you a sense of who you are.

Lighten up. It’s just form. You never cease being you and there’s no need to get excited or stressed about the forms that happen in your life.

(Eckhart Tolle)

If Only…

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The 15-year-old daughter says, “I want to start going to the gym.”

Incredulous, I ask, “Are you sure you want to go to the gym?”

“Well, I want the effects of going to the gym. Is there a pill out there that tastes like watermelon Jolly Rancher that will make me look like I work out?”

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror

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Stage I: Messy Art Journaling

 

Hey there, preening girl!

“beauty” is destined to flee

“Real You” will remain

 

About this poem: as I age and raise teenage daughters, I realize the stage where I was distracted by the issue of physical appearance played a “hyped up” role in identity.  All that time and energy directed toward something I was really not in control of could have been invested in cello playing, writing or reading a good book.

I’m also keenly aware that I still care more than I would like to – I exercise now with the goal of building and keeping muscle/strength but aesthetics still has some play in my intentions.

Our culture idolizes the young, which is silly because being young is fleeting and not based on wisdom or experience. It’s just dumb luck.

 

 

 

Sunday Suggestion

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This week’s suggestion is an overall recommendation to “go for it.” Stretch yourself. Take a risk. Invest money and time in yourself to be better.

I’ve been teaching for over 11 years and the subject of pursuing “National Board Certification” has come up multiple times. Each time, I dismissed it immediately, based on what I had heard as simply “extra work” for an empty title. But the people who have been saying that are people who did not pursue the NBCT. 

Recently, a colleague (who IS certified) spoke highly of the program. I attended two meetings this week and I’m now completely ALL IN. I’m going for it. I don’t even care about the title or the actual certification. It’s the process….the four modules will require me to create, re-create, and reflect on my teaching process with students and their parents. I have discovered a renewed sense of respect of the profession. Teachers create the certification process for NBCT. How refreshing: Teachers having control of an education program.

Yes, it it will require a huge time commitment. But it will be worth every minute to gain a heightened awareness of my teaching process: be the best teacher I’ve ever been, be able to mentor others, gain confidence and forge new friendships on district, state and national levels!

If there is something you’ve been considering, but worry about the time or expense, ask yourself, “What is the cost if I don’t do it?”

 

Some trivia: Did you know that although Arizona is often in the bottom 3 in terms of investment toward public schools, we rank anywhere from 12th to 16th in number of National Board Certified teachers in the nation? Teachers in AZ are working hard in their profession – despite the bum rap – for our students.

 

Security!

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From MS Tech

If you don’t have two-step verification on your email and social media accounts, I strongly encourage you to do it now! It’s an easy guard against fraud.  I realized that I have not done this because I my financial accounts have not been violated. But that’s dumb…why wait for it to happen?

If you have a Google account, go here: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/

Follow the directions. It’s easy!

On Facebook, go to Settings.

Under Security and Login, you’ll see:

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Click on edit and follow the directions. It’s easy and well worth the security you’ll have.

Adding another layer of security to your online accounts is free and easy. It will add just a few seconds to log in, but is nothing compared to the time and expense of recouping your identity and credit if breached.

 

 

 

I LOVE This…

“September 04, 2018 2:21 pm

One order of large fries with a side of Asian representation, please. Over the weekend, 21-year-old college student Jevh Maravilla noticed a lack of representation in the posters at his local McDonald’s. He then decided to take the matter into his own hands. Maravilla and friends took to creating a fake (yet incredibly professional-looking) McDonald’s advertisement featuring themselves, and get this: the faux poster went unnoticed for 51 days.”

 

From Hello Giggles

Bullet Journal and Financial Tips

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Thought I’d take a chance and be vulnerable. Share.

Above, my journal entry for yesterday and today.

Below, my financial tips that have helped my husband and me reach our goal of $1,000,000.

I know it’s totally taboo in America to talk about salary and net worth. But I really want to help people who struggle with money. 

I’m a teacher, for Pete’s sakes.

I don’t make a lot, but I also don’t spend a lot. I started my career in radio and I made $17,000 a year. I ate pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner until I developed a food allergy. Of course, I was unable to save for retirement during that time. I don’t have regrets: I met Gloria Steinem (she’s a goddess!), the lead singer of Simply Red (he was a jerk) and Lou Diamond Phillips (swoon)!  I befriended Steve, our Program Director, who encouraged me to be a writer. So, I don’t regret that year, but it was an entire year that I did not save or invest money.

My next job: administrative assistant in a money managing firm. Wow, did I learn a lot. I learned about stocks and investing and I started my 401K.

There are two things I recommend you do ASAP:

  1. Start a financial spreadsheet with every asset you own…how much you own. Also, keep track of your debt (credit cards, mortgage, etc.) and make a plan to pay them off immediately.
  2. Another Must Do: start an IRA. Contribute to your company’s 401K.

If you can, find an excellent financial advisor. We did this and I attribute much of our success and wealth to him. You’ll need to do research and be financially savvy. NEVER simply hand over your finances to someone. ALWAYS know what is going on with your money! And don’t be shy about telling him/her what you want to sell and what you want to purchase.

Owe Vs. Own

Guess which one you want to grow?

Maybe you have a lot of debt. Maybe you have no debt but very little savings. Whatever you dream for yourself, you can do it! Just make a plan and begin.

Picture Day

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My 15-year-old daughter was describing her picture day at school session to me.

“The photographer had us put our feet on this tape for what must have been a ten-foot person. Then he told me to point my shoulders to one lamp, but look at the other lamp. And he yelled, Keep your back straight and look over here! I think he took a picture of my profile. ”