Ten Years (Well, Really More)

I really wish I hadn’t lost the first four+ years of my blogging.  When I started this  (as a running blog in 2002?)), I didn’t fully understand how I was recording a history of thoughts and feelings. But now I have at least ten years (not counting photos which somehow didn’t transfer in the early days.)

What do I know? That nothing stays the same. I have tried to remove the words “always” and “never” from my vocabulary. At 65, I’ve learned what I like about myself. And I’ve also come to terms with what I don’t. I recognize some early life events that made me who I am, and these days I forgive myself for those life mistakes that came as a result of those events.

I’m so glad I found a passion in teaching, writing, and printing. Perhaps I’ve left a small legacy in those, something that my grandchildren will enjoy learning about. These are, after all, the moments that make up a life.

 

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”