It’s the Way You….

It’s the Way You….

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This was one of the first cards I printed. I only made a handful, and I forgot about them.

But the other day, I realized I LOVE these cards. So, I”m going to set the type again and reprint. Sometimes a good idea needs to be reprised, right? It’s the way you hold my hand when I’m cold, wash the dishes every night, walk the dog in the morning so I don’t have to go out in the cold… and on and on. It’s Valentine’s Day:)

Living a Life

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I’ve been thinking about my life lately, like who I am and when I figured that out..

The hard answer is that I don’t think I knew until a few years ago. I spent most of my life trying to be someone I wasn’t, and that’s not a pretty admission.

But I do remember the first time I experienced something that would help me on this path. I took a recertification course for teaching. I signed up for programming, and I’d never seen a computer. Back in 1985, there weren’t many, but I was intrigued.

I spent the first three weeks complaining– about the difficulty, my lack of understanding, and my frustration. And then one day it clicked and I wrote a program that worked.

From that day on, I realized I loved solving problems and being creative. I began learning again, first as a teacher and then as an instructional technology coach. When we had problems with our school network, I’d stand in front of the cables and routers, trying to figure the problems out. When I wanted to start blogging, I called the only teacher in the county I knew who was doing it: Will Richardson. We installed Manilla software on the server, and we were up and running.

When the school needed a webpage, I taught myself HTML. When my second computer died, I finally learned how to trouble shoot it myself instead of following the directions to reformat (and lose) everything.  I began connecting with others online, learning both how to be a better teacher and how to use the power of a group. A few years ago, I decided to explore letterpress printing. Because I’d learned to build a community online, I knew I could reach out and get help. Now, three years later, I am printing and running a small business.

I say this not to pat myself on the back but to point out how long– 45 years– it took me to learn that I love being creative. I love to learn. I love change.

The last few years I’ve embraced the idea of solitude and quiet, realizing that more than anything, I like to be alone. And that’s ok.

My wish–for my grandchildren and for all the children–is that they learn about who they are and what they want from life at an early age. This comes from play, long talks, empathy, and kindness. Wouldn’t it be lovely if children spent the first few years of school learning to get along and getting to know themselves instead of being pounded with homework and stress?

From Will: It would make more sense to focus simply on nurturing and supporting the learning mindsets that kids already bring with them, rather than forcing them to adopt a “school mindset” that has little connection to their real lives.

Self-acceptance, learning to ignore the ego, and loving one another, these will grow a happy life. Everything else will fall into place.

 

Smiling in the Rain

FullSizeRender (4)I’ve decided I am an emotional person.

Ok, I’ve known it all along. But lately I seem to have trouble keeping the tears from filling my eyes. Last night, they didn’t fall, but I had a lump in my throat all evening.

We went to see Chicago, a band I fell in love with in college in the early 70’s. I was prepared to be disappointed. Last month we heard another “oldie” in concert, and unfortunately she had lost her voice and her enthusiasm for performing.

The evening started under gray, cloudy skies that opened up as we stood in line for 30 minutes. Our paper bag (dumb idea) melted as David tried to juggle our sandwiches, chips, and wine, the picnic we had planned to eat outdoors at Wolf Trap before the concert. By the time we were able to enter the gates, we were soaked. Luckily we found a bench to spread our mostly wet towel on.

I was seconds away from saying, “let’s go home,” when the sun came out. We stayed, and I’m so glad I did.

From the minute the horns started, I could feel myself awash in memories. Of college. Of boyfriends. Of broken hearts and best friends. Music does that to me. The tears didn’t fall, but watching these guys in their 60’s blast fabulous music made me feel a little younger– and appreciative that they are still giving it their all.

It made me believe I can too.

And there goes summer….

Photos of my dad and grandfather sitting in the same place in the old living room.
Photos of my dad and grandfather sitting in the same place in the old living room. I love how it’s a favorite nap place.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve spent a little more than two weeks in my favorite place: Rhode Island. I’ve been going since I was a baby, and that’s a damn long time.

We drifted on the salt pond, swam in the ocean, read on the back porch, and played with kids and grandkids. Plus I explored my grandfather’s scrapbook and found some cool memories!

Now I’m back and on the press. I really missed it, which tells me something. I am in my happy place here, too.

David secures the boat for an evening "float"
David secures the boat for an evening “float”

Spending our days…

DSCN4164Annie Dillard once wrote “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

As I move into my mid-60’s (yikes) I realize that this idea of living a good life (whatever that is) means everything. I know I am privileged to have choice in how I live my life–not all do. Discovering a passion, letterpress, and a way to play with words has allowed me to truly slip into flow.

“According to Csikszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning.”

This often happened when I was teaching, working with young adults and helping them find some meaning in their lives (always more important than whatever was in the curriculum). But I’m certainly finding it now in my printing work.

My other joy is having time to play with my grandchildren, watch them grow, and see my own children in their eyes and smiles. I spent yesterday with two children and Sunday will see the other two. Their visits fill me up with indescribable happiness.

Now that I’m settled in my new shop (or settled in two, actually since my new press is at home), I am trying to develop a routine. Summer is not exactly the time to do that, but it’s coming slowly.

I am trying to remember how each moment matters.