Getting Schooled

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Neatoday.orgOne month from now I’ll be teaching high school in Oakland, CA. I’ll be teaching awesome subjects like digital photography, animation, and game design. I have experience with each of these subjects in my professional and academic career, but next to zero experience teaching them with actual students. Therefore, the reality that I’ll be “on duty” fairly soon has left me feeling a little panicked and underprepared. That specific fear, the one of being unprepared (for whatever potential outcome you want to imagine) is kind of like my kryptonite: I do not ever want to encounter it. For this reason, I’ve put preparations for how to become the World’s Best First-Year Teacher Ever into overdrive.

This morning as I marinated in my cauldron of stress-induced cortisol stew, I started to wonder whether there was a limit to the human brain’s capacity to take in information. Not a limit on intelligence, or of one’s own capabilities per se, but like what happens to a glass pitcher if you kept pouring once the water’s reached the rim. Or what happens when a levee breaks. Or when a blood vessel bursts. I ask with a little anxiety about the answer…So…is there a hard ceiling on how much focused learning a person’s brain can handle? Like, at some point will it just explodeContinue reading »


I Survived the ’70s

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36352_447040471456_651989_nWhen I was a kid in the ’70s I was out of the house for much of the day, tooling around town on my cruiser bike, hanging out at the beach in the summer, digging up rat bones in the sand dunes, or bringing home sand sharks to swim in my friend Patty’s bathtub (yes, we really did that).

In the winter we’d be out all day building snow forts, having epic snowball battles, and wouldn’t be seen by parents until dinner unless we needed to use the bathroom, eat something, or couldn’t feel our feet anymore.

If I wanted to go to the park, I jumped on my bike, rode over to so-and-so’s house, and off we went wherever our wheels would take us. I never had, nor felt I needed, a chaperone. And I don’t remember ever feeling neglected, although this freewheeling childhood experience wasn’t without its “creepy incidents” that made me scream bloody murder and run like hell.

Looking back, I shudder at the close calls and feel reallllly lucky not to have ended up on the evening news. It was the ’70s. Parenting was different then. Kids were different then. And yet, I survived.

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Best Laid Plans

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While I’ve found it difficult lately to sit down and write my 500 words about “anything” I can certainly start off a pretty impressive list (probably at least 500) of the reasons why this daily exercise has fallen off the side of my desk. But in the interests of time and space and not wanting to dissolve into a heaping pile of tears, I’ll stick to the top five.

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Diagnosis OBD: Obsessive Book-Buying Disorder

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With the sale of e-books on the rise, some might say the printed book is headed to the graveyard.  I say, don’t buy the headstone just yet.  To me, the printed page is alive and kicking. I’ll admit, I’ve got a bit of an addictive personality when it comes to books. I own more than a dozen different sewing books, each with its own focus. There’s one for slipcovers, window treatments, and stuffed animals. And then there are the cookbooks, and the craft books, and the books on gardening. Maybe I ought to feel ashamed about this affliction, but I don’t. While there are a few books that have barely had their pages fanned, the majority of the books we own have helped me acquire the skills to make many of my favorite projects. Here’s a review of several from my stash and the projects I have made, or intend to make, from them.

Stitched in Time, by Alicia Paulson

stitchedintimeThe first time I saw this book, I fell in love with the doll on the front cover. I was really new to sewing, and had no business believing I could make that or any doll, but it didn’t stop me from fantasizing how my then four-year-old daughter would fall in love with my homemade creation. Thankfully, she did! This book not only contains fabulous sewing projects, but also personal essays, photos, and recipes by the author Alicia Paulson (creator of the blog Posie Gets Cozy). The photos of Paulson’s backyard make me want to crawl inside and have a cup of tea with her.
On my “to make” list: The reusable Happy Birthday banner.
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Just Follow the Breadcrumbs

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I’m not the type to brag about my accomplishments, in fact, I usually write about myself in a somewhat self-deprecating manner. This makes what I’m about to say all the more unusual. Ready? Here goes:

I. AM. AWESOME!!

I just fixed the printer. It took me several hours over the course of the day, in fits and starts between diaper changes and dinner dates, but I finally fixed the darn thing!

Now, I’m sure the last thing anybody wants to read is a play-by-play of how my mind works…but on the off chance I can spare others the aggravation I experienced, I’m going to share the breadcrumb trail I followed to Fix-it-Ville.
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