Wednesday, January 4, 2012


There’s a lot to be said about good, old-fashioned dictionaries. While access to online definitions,
etymologies, usages, etc. can be handy, the opportunity to browse and/or to find a new word, new being previously unfamiliar with, is not often there. At least not without a lot of scrolling back and forth or up and down. My screen is very compact.

So much can fly out as you flip through those thin pages. And some dictionaries offer thumbnail photos in the margins. I see an intriguing picture, I read the caption, and sometimes, after reading the brief dictionary blurb, I go on to learn more about the subject via the Internet and/or other resources.

CURIOSITY: a desire to know or to learn; inquisitive; from the Latin curiosus. Does public education encourage students to be inquisitive, to ask questions, to learn more? Teachers are required now to teach to standardized tests. If their students don’t perform well, the school district suffers financial consequences. The push toward this during recent decades, as mandated by legislation, has robbed teachers and students of the opportunity to be curious and to enjoy all the inherent results thereof.

How would children react to a teacher telling them to put away their books and giving them time to daydream or to do whatever they wanted, by themselves, without disturbing their peers?
Wouldn’t that be interesting to observe? I’m curious what children would do. Would they be suspicious? Would they test boundaries? Would the sneaky avid reader pull out his or her sci-fi or mystery or historical fiction book? Would the behind-the-book doodler pull out his or her notebook? Or would these activities no longer hold the same attraction absent the dare factor? How would a child with attention deficit disorder handle such freedom? Would teachers
even be allowed to grant such a time?

I imagine the first time a class experiences such a magical kind of recess from the minute-to-minute structure of a normal school day chaos would erupt. A blank slate. What to do with such
freedom? It just seems we really need to give time back to children. We need to let them daydream, wonder, imagine. We need to give their thinking space to roam. We need to give them time to digest what they’re learning. We need to help them see, help them learn how they can puzzle things out for themselves. Or how working together to solve a problem can engender a sense of teamwork and cooperation. We need to let them be curious and give them time to satiate that curiosity.

Elevate to the highest priority in this country a genuine respect for our youngest citizens and their education and all desired improvements will follow.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Okay, so technically today should read zero-one-zero-two-two thousand twelve (or twenty twelve, which enjoys a nice little alliteration), at least in some countries. In others it would read zero-two-zero-one, etc. In my world, since I enjoy playing with numbers, I read it as a walking rhythm, one-two-one-two.
Mention of zeros reminds me of several debates I have had with an intelligent friend. Said friend always commented snidely about people using the letter 'o' in lieu of 'zero', when saying phone numbers, for example. A seeming insignificant peeve. I argued that the 'o' one hears in such cases would actually be written thus: 'o. The apostrophe represents 'zer-', just as it represents the letter 'a' in we're. It makes total sense to me.
Actually, I think this friend needed a little self-esteem boost. But I didn't fully realize that at the time. Instead, I staunchly defended my use of 'o', feeling my explanation a perfectly reasonable and correct one. I did not give space to, or consider very much what might have been going on with this friend at the time. Of course the past cannot be undone. That's okay. Now, when I feel very, very sure my answer is the best, the most plausible, the absolute truth, I stop myself. I look not just both ways before proceeding, but I try a whole 360 degrees. I consider my intention.
It's not so much a matter of attempting humility, but of recognizing that life need not be a competition. It is so liberating to let ideas settle on people as they will. We can't make anyone see things or believe things the way we do. We can't make them act the way we want them to. Yes, in some instances it's natural, or maybe even important that we try winning others over to our 'side'. It's the intention that matters.
Think of the zillions of different perceptions of people around the globe. It boggles the mind! All those eyes, windows on the soul, so to speak. I love that the '-ow' of window means 'eye'.
And so, I walk one-two-one-two around the earth, step by step, in my mind, and see that all of us need shelter, food, water, and to be able to sleep. We are all of us human beings together on this planet. Good night, Everyone!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sushi and Collage

I send out to all beings in the world wishes for love, laughter, good health, and safety throughout this next year!
What do sushi and collage have in common? Both can be communal activities, the results of which can be shared by all. Both involve assembling raw materials, although sushi doesn't, or shouldn't include the concept of recycling. Both are art forms. Both are fun.
It was a wonderful way to welcome the New Year. Creative energy flowed. Ideas commingled. Seeming chance decisions evolved into something that made sense. It doesn't always happen that way. But I noticed that when I stopped trying to make what I thought others would deem an interesting collage, and just let it happen, I was happy with it and the way the colors and images worked together. I found connections I hadn't planned.
As for sushi, experimentation with various ingredients is always fun. The dabs of ginger wasabi sauce was too strongly sweet, but the wasabi seaweed crisps added a delightful seashore taste. How I miss those dark, wet masses of seaweed and kelp strung along the beach after high tide. The smell always compelled me to seek out a savory chowder.
I could get downright silly and say life is like sushi, with so many different factors rolled up together, each day a slice we consume to move on to the next. Or life is like a collage with its varied experiences creating one overall image, one persona.
Life is what it is: a transient mix, dynamic, never the same moment to moment. I find that comforting and exciting. The creative energy of the universe is vast. I am grateful to be a part of it.