labelleizzy: (inherent worth and dignity)
I havent written here in weeks. it was Burning Man prep, then i was gone for Burning Man, now this week has been Burning Man recovery. big fuckin deal, I guess, and yeah, it kinda was.

Met a ton of good people,






discovered I'd conquered last year's terrors, was productive and helpful, did my volunteer shifts, and so many bonuses.

During my shift at the Temple, I met the temple's designer. That was super cool, and he gave me a token to remember the Temple, it's truly lovely.
So was the Temple, though I had a rough time connecting with it at first.
(Temple Photos go here)






Tried to mostly take photos of people, missed a number of important people, though. Didn't photo too much of art cars or even the Man, my memories are quite vivid... there was a carnival theme this year, and there was a maze set up around the Man, with a small shrine in the middle. That much was very different from last year.

This year was full of dust and sandstorms, whiteouts where you can't see in front of you past the length of your arm.
(we hid from one whiteout in the Ali Bar Bar tent.)
I trusted my goggles and my dust mask, I knew what to do, and I survived just fine. It was cold as fuck at least three nights out there, and we hadn't brought enough bedding, but our friends lent us their extra blankets and we got by fine. We ate delicious food thanks to Jeff, and our tent was very comfortable. (also thanks to Jeff.)

Discovered what it's like to have my own things I want to do on Playa, and Jeff and I intentionally separated more than once to go have explorations and adventures.

I have this strange conviction that it didn't matter what I looked like, how I was dressed, how fat I am, how old I was compared to the Young And Cute. People were warm and welcoming and lovely, pretty much across the board. Kind words and gestures that are still soaking into me days later.

Last night was a "Dust-off" party thanks to someone in the extended Burner community. Met a few more new people, had some good conversation, watched some friends dance with fire and glow-poi and hoops, and I think I needed that.


To remember that was real, that community, that affection, that honesty and commitment to being better in the world.

The commitment to burn brighter.

I have more writing to do, I've been inhaling stories like a vacuum cleaner, it's time to start putting my own words out there again. It's easier to write when I'm alone in the house. Jeff and Our Jenn are out at the Farmers Market. I'm going now to get my coffee and finish something I started yesterday, and I hope to write more later today.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
His hands are strong, blunt and square.
He works in silence, for the most part, letting his actions do the instructing, with bare hints of where students should watch and learn.
From a rounded, spinning lump of clay he pulls a graceful mug shape, smooth and even with thin sides.

The Beginner's class gasps when, after separating the beautiful shape from the wheel, he deliberately slices it in half to show the walls of the mug in cross-section, so thin and even with beautiful lines. We exchange glances. It's so EASY for him, after thirty years of practicing his craft, and we know we will struggle to make items that don't either collapse or else have inch thick walls and bottoms.

Several weeks later, I have enough practice on the wheel to only feel mild envy instead of shock when he demonstrates a technique so far beyond my skills that it might as well be rocket science. Still, I watch in awe as he shapes the clay with skill and ease. I notice my mouth is hanging open in admiration and I just don't care.

Grace, skill, and subtle elegance. Clay worked into every fold of his fingers. I want to be able to do that. I will need many more classes and dozens of hours of practice.

Half-accidentally, I pull a beautiful bowl from a lump of clay. I'm not sure how it happened, because I wasn't thinking. Rather, I was living into the feel of the clay beneath my hands, utterly engaged in the slow and mesmerizing process as it changed and opened up.

Just for that moment, in the best possible way, I lost myself.

The second bowl is more of a struggle. The third bowl stretches and warps and collapses.

The following week we are meant to trim our pots, which means to carve away unnecessary thickness at the base and to shape the "foot", or the pedestal our bowls or mugs rest upon.
The first part of the process is upending our greenware and recentering them on the wheel, then we anchor the piece with evenly placed blobs of soft clay. Then, we start the wheel spinning, and carve away at the underside of the piece to form a pleasing and functional shape.

The first of two bowls that had survived the previous week, the bowl I had lost myself in making, trimmed up like a dream.
The second bowl first refused to center, then once I finally anchored it, spun out of control off the medium-speed wheel at the first touch of the carving tool. Of course this knocks a big ugly chip into the rim. Of course the clay is dense and too dry, and so was the anchor clay.

With help from a teacher, we re-center and re-anchor the bowl, and he lends me his own (properly sharp, with a lovely graceful line) trimming tool. What a difference proper tools make! I trim and smooth the base, until again I am looking glumly at the chipped rim.

My friend suggests I even the chip out so it looks intentional, and carve out more chips for a kind of flower edge. I try this, but I do not love the effect. It is part of the learning process, though, so I plan to take even this sad example through the glazing process.

A week later, I am glazing all my recent work. And now? The weird little too-hard wanna-be flower bowl has called for an experimental double-dip glaze with a drizzle of contrasting color across the overlap place.
IMG_20141015_211150
IMG_20141015_210946

I have my fingers crossed, because these pieces haven't been fired yet, but I think in the end this may turn out to be my favorite piece from taking this six week class.
Not because it was easy, but because it was part of the process.
Making one, I was in the zone; making two, I struggled, then I failed in the making of the third.
With this specific piece? At first I didn't love it, then I was actively angry at it, then I tried to redeem it, then I found a means whereby it could possibly be beautiful.

Working to transform raw or broken things into beauty is what I've strived for my whole life.
Starting with myself.

I don't claim to understand the concept of shibusa (2) or how to determine if something is shibumi (3) or not.

But the older I get, and the more often I try new ways of making things, the more I come to appreciate the beauty in the process, in the struggle, to create. I'm coming to appreciate subtle and nuanced, where once I envied bold and blatant. And I also have come to understand there can be beauty in the imperfections. The creative process, the struggle to find meaning, my life itself are filled with little things gone wrong (and right). What we expect to happen can turn out to be something totally different instead, that may also be wonderful. This is true in life as well as in art.

Redemption, transformation, metamorphosis, and growth come both in big gestures and in small details.
I am not my teacher, with his steady hands, his years of experience, and his refined technique. Still, in my state of Beginner's Mind, I can create something unexpectedly beautiful, or beautifully unexpected.

(1) from http://www.mkdkarate.com/senseis-blog/what-is-shibumi-shibusa-shibui
(2) from http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibui
(3) from http://www.studiokotokoto.com/2013/06/18/shibusa-and-shibui-a-severe-exquisiteness/


This has been my reentry to [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol for week 25 (hello again!), and the topic I chose was "shibusa."
labelleizzy: (thinky thoughts)
I am an artist.
*smirk*
Yeah, and HOW many years has it taken me of Making Things to be willing to say that? Too damn many.
Too many years of judging myself harshly, of getting in my own way, of "saving" art supplies and fabric and my time, energy and engagement for "some other time", some time when I was "worthy" of using them.

*shaking head*

Recently I grokked that destruction is a necessary part of creation.
I must destroy the beautiful clean lines of that shrink wrapped notebook if I am to use the notebook.
To make something useful from that gorgeous kelly green silk, I have to cut into it, not leave it stored up in a box in the garage.
If I cut that t-shirt to fit me, and sew it back together? It will look SO much better on me than if I schlump around in a Men's XXL, no matter how cute the graphic.

I have to tear the paper. I have to write on the canvas. I have to stick my hands in the wet clay and PUSH. I have to get out the hammer and the anvil, the beads and the copper and the pliers and the wire cutters, put my hands on the project and CHANGE THINGS.

.
.
.
I'm going to have to learn and relearn this for the rest of my life, aren't I?
Because it's so easy to sit on my ass and just absorb how amazing everything is, without making my own mark.

Chop wood, carry water. Every day. Enlightenment isn't a one time deal. It's invented and created and realized over and over again.
Because I'm human, and I fall asleep sometimes into life but I don't WANNA walk through the world asleep!

I have to keep waking myself up. It's not easy to stay awake to this truth right now.
I'm largely contented, and let's face it: my life is really simple, as Scalzi says, I'm playing in Easy Mode, despite the ways I am weird and not mainstream.

so here is my goal: do one thing everyday that makes me uncomfortable. Destroy something. Make something new from the remains. Speak truth somewhere that it needs spoken. LEAVE MY HOUSE more often, god can I get out of my comfort zone more, please? I won't learn very damn much staying at home reading and writing on the computer. Poke at people until they agree to do things with me.

Take some damn risks. Do something new. Open up wider. Say yes more often, solicit chances to say yes more often.

Say Yes. Get my hands dirty. Get off my ass and MOVE.

Writing is one of my art forms, that's why I've been loving this writing competition so damn much. Someone ELSE is kicking my ass by giving out prompts that I have to challenge myself to meet. It has forced me to try thinking and writing about totally new things, and I've been taking the chance to write in totally new styles as well.

Make the thing. Do the thing. Wake up, wake up WAKE UP!
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I never used to think of myself as an artist, which is funny and sad on a number of levels. I had this image of myself as a fuckup, someone who does stuff half-assed, has trouble with completing projects, and I wouldn't let myself justify costuming or calligraphy or writing as "artistic". I'm almost entirely self-taught in those realms, which was part of the problem.

Finally I decided I could call myself an artist once I'd become a part of the Waldorf teaching tradition. My program follows one of Steiner's precepts, that the Teacher as Artist is a goal to strive toward. And it's made clear that the artistic technique is not just meant for the Art of Teaching, though it's a part. I struggled hard to make my work "artistic" as my teachers requested, characterizing rather than defining, showing the gesture or direction of an idea rather than delineating it.

I also struggled with comparing myself to my classmates. I have always been an enthusiastic maker of images, but I had never had much instruction with regard to technique, while half my classmates produced what seemed like masterworks in comparison to my own clumsy efforts.

The first teacher training art class I felt at home at, wasn't even an *art* class.
The second half of the High School Mathematics curriculum taught to the Waldorf Teachers-in-training is Geometry, including the artistic component of Geometric Drawings.
There is a real peace in learning how to be precise. We were explicitly taught the steps and stages for any geometric construction. Bless Patrick for a meticulous teacher, breaking down the techniques with ease and clarity, having us practice until we understood.

24PointConnection GeomDrawing
(image of a 24-point geometric web)

Once I began the process of drawing a geometric figure, I found myself in this incredibly clear-headed space. Like a life-long weight of self-judgment had lifted. Liberating!
I can't even really explain how it felt, what it did to my head, to my sense of self, to be able to grok clearly and completely how to construct this precise and beautiful thing.

flowery fun with geometry
(image titled "Flowery fun with geometry" using many interlocking circles and colors and shading to create a flower shape.)

Being able to create these complex and meticulous drawings sent me into a very Zen space. My head quieted, my focus narrowed, and all there was in the world was me, my hands, the paper, tools, and pencil. Completely "in the Zone", completely in flow-state, I very rarely wanted to stop or even pause in the process. It seemed *easy*, and was definitely FUN.

I had a paradigm shift. No longer could I tell myself "it's too hard, I can't do that, too complicated, too detailed, I'm not ____..." where ___ could be anything from "that kind of artist" or "precise" or "clever like that" or "skilled like that" or even the base canard, "good enough". Those evil little brainweasel voices couldn't be heard over the all-consuming focus on the process of construction, the flow that somehow seemed so easy in such an unexpected place after so long striving after it.

SimpleGeomFlowrWNotes
(image titled "simple geometric flower with notes", seven interlocking circles filled in with blue, pink and green.)

Why am I not doing geometric drawing all the time? It's lovely, it's satisfying, and there are thousands of possible projects to practice.
Why NOT do a thing I enjoy, and that brings me peace? Why NOT enjoy exploring my skills, expanding my image of myself to include calm precision and creation of beauty?

Every day we grow and change. We all transform ourselves into new people, a little at a time. Sometimes the transformation is consciously done, sometimes simple passage of time creates the transformation without us thinking much about what we're growing into, what we're becoming.

If the time will pass regardless, why NOT be intentional about what you choose to do with your transformation?

I wanna get GOOD at the art. And I know it doesn't just happen, I know I have to work at it. I have to LET myself get good at it. I have to be willing to fail and to suck and to throw stuff away sometimes. I have to go GET what I need to get better, I have to take lessons, write scripts for comics, watch YouTube instructional videos, practice little chibi drawings, start doodling on my tablet computer, and with the watercolor paints, and just allow myself to practice and experiment.

And I have to remember that nothing worth having is birthed all of a sudden.

ComplexGeomFlowr1
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 1", initial shading and coloring)

Art in particular is part of a slow and steady process, a conversation between me and the paper, or the clay, or the paint or fabric or the computer screen.

complexGeomFlowr2
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 2", intermediate stage of shading and coloring)

Art for art's sake is fine, I think it's a worthy goal just to bring more beauty into the world, to provoke conversation or thought or change. Art has the ability to wake people up to something they may be unaware of in the world.

complexGeomFlowr3
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 3", completed shading and coloring)

Art can serve an even higher purpose though. Art can bring a chance for transformation and healing, rest and respite, community and peace.
All of these are things that the artistic process has taught me, has brought to me.

This, this making things, making art, changing one thing into another thing by channeling ideas and images THROUGH ME, this is one way I can contribute to the world.
And to make this contribution, means that I can give myself permission to learn these skills properly, to practice the crafts that I love: writing, art, communication, teaching, healing. I can give myself permission to practice them until I am properly good at those skills and can then use them out in the world to the end result of community and healing.

There's so much pain in the world and not nearly enough beauty. Too much loneliness and not nearly enough love, compassion, and beauty.

I can do this. I can remember, and use as fuel for the work, the fact that the things I HAVEN'T done are the things I have most regretted.

Face the Fear and Do It Anyway.
labelleizzy: (thinky thoughts)
Last night I was telling Nick about a (possibly apocryphal) Buddhist teaching story:

The master has a large jar, a bucket of big rocks, a bucket of gravel, a bucket of sand on the table.
He instructs the student to fill the jar with the big rocks, as full as it can go.
Then he asks the student, "Is the jar full?"
The student replies, "Yes, teacher."
Now the master asks the student to add the gravel to the jar. Most of the gravel in the bucket fits into the spaces between the stones.
And he asks the student, "Is the jar full now?"
The student replies, "Yes, teacher."
The master indicates the bucket of sand, and the student knows what comes next, and pours the sand into the jar, and it settles in around the gravel and the stones.
"Surely it's full now, teacher?"

The master smiles, and pulls out a bucket of water from beneath the table.


I heard this story used by Steven Covey to talk about prioritizing your life according to the values that matter to you. In the video, the Big Rocks all have words painted on them. Words like "Family" "Romance" "Health" "Job Advancement" "Planning" "Self-Care" "Spiritual Development". All the kinds of things people talk about as their Highest Values.

Only Covey told the story backwards.
=)
He had the folks taking his seminar fill the jar with sand first, and then try to fit the big rocks in on top of the sand.
All of the taking care of yourself kinds of Rocks got left out, and it was a pretty powerful symbol.
Then he had his demonstration victims Subjects dump the sand out, and fit all the Big Rocks in FIRST. THEN add the gravel, THEN add the sand.

So, he points out, if you take care of the big Values first, you can fit the Projects and the Everyday Little Tasks in around them.
But you can just as easily let the Everyday Little Tasks take up All The Time You Have, and get to the end of your day not having taken care of any of the things you really find VALUABLE.

I'm finding myself dealing a lot in Sand, and not so much in the Big Rocks as I would like to.

So I'm making a drawing, and trying to set up a visual reminder of my priorities.

I've marked one "rock" as Dance, Music, Art, and Writing. I'm struggling for brief vivid descriptors. I could put Roles in, i.e. Wife, Friend, Sister, Aunty, Daughter, Lover. I could put it in as Nouns for the things I value: Self-care, Artistic Expression, Kindness, Philanthropy. I could use a personal pagan metaphor: Persephone, Demeter, Hermes, Artemis, Athena, Dionysos, Cerridwen, Brigid, Argante.

I'm leaning toward the Nouns at the moment. How about you? How would you describe the things you Value above all others?

How do you fit it all in?
labelleizzy: (make things!)
wow. a solid night's sleep and two solid meals (well, and menstrual cramps becoming manageable) make a lot of difference in my mood!

I know what I want to do:

I want to MAKE STUFF.

I am happy when I Make Stuff, when I manifest new things in the world that have never been there before.
I don't want to read someone else's script, I want to write my own.
I finished a piece of art last night; it was so joyful to bring it to completion!

I wrote music to set a nonsense poem to; it will be wonderful fun to teach to the girls!

I made a garden! I planted rosebushes where they weren't before!

I want to make stuff. Moreover, I want to make stuff be BETTER, also.

It's a good wide umbrella. I can teach, I can priest, I can be an activist, I can build community, I can make more art. I can do a lot of the things I love doing and need to do, and I don't need to hang a job-description around my neck for other people.

I am a Maker.

*satisfied*

Now to find a gig where I can DO that...
labelleizzy: (multitudes)
Finding myself lately, looking at a lot of older people. I see people with white hair and wrinkles, in athletic shoes and support hose, walking confidently or with a walker or in a wheelchair, hand in hand with a companion - a sweetie, a daughter, a son (or so I assume), or a caregiver (again I assume)...

and I realize I am indeed at middle age.

42 is a good age to be at, but I will be exceptional for my family if I live to significantly past 80.
So now is a good time, especially since I HAVE the time right now, this year, this season, to think and plan out what I want middle age to look and feel like, and to think and plan and imagine what eldering will or may look and feel like for me.

I think I need to really re-examine what I think I know about getting older, and what it will feel like from the inside. I think I am learning that a lot of assumptions I used to have about how the world worked, drove COMPLETELY off the tracks after I discovered a pagan practice, after I discovered a polyamorous lifestyle, after I realized I don't, and I can't, fit tidily into the boxes that pop culture seems to want to put everyone into.

I overflow. I am large and abundant and have way too much love and hope and earnest curiosity and quirky interests. I am not nearly sarcastic or bitter enough for "what it feels like is expected of me". I'm an idealist. I'm inclusive. I'm passionate and frequently relaxed and forgiving. I like to make things myself, to find things out myself.

I don't think we have enough dialog about what it means to leave the Youth Culture behind and move into ... what? What does it *mean* to "get older" or to "become mature" or "adult"?

Who are the models of behavior? What do we need to do to move from here to ... wherever there is? What can, what MUST we shed and leave behind to make the journey?

If I think of this process in a pagan context, I can use the five-stage model, which goes Maiden-Mother-Teacher-Warrior-Crone. (the last four steps, I feel, interchange and interweave in women's lives as we grow older and more experienced and sure of ourselves, rather than being concrete, definable stages we progress through in an orderly fashion.)

I've been through Maiden, Mother/Teacher stage (my teaching and librarianing all had a deeply maternal caretaking quality), have spent some time in Teacher/Warrior stage and want to spend more there and gain in strength and confidence. I want to return to Mother/Teacher stage as an artist, birthing words and images and inspiration... since I can't birth my children, I will find children to mother and mentor and teach; I can't "lose myself" in childrearing, so I will strive toward finding myself in artistic and community endeavor. I will find my own teachers, and worry later about Being Teacher, if I choose to return to that. Teacher/Warrior needs community, and I've let my community drift away from me for too long. If I rebuild and regrow Community for myself, I think that over time, my other needs will gradually be met: needs for people time, needs for meaningful work, needs for playful and productive connection and belonging. And my need for FUN. =)

Have been living in "stuck" mode for too long. Been struggling to do *anything* productive. I've been homecaring, and taking care of my own body. The good part of that, is that for the first time in my life, taking care of my physical self is an unconflicted, unguilted, first priority. Too many "wake up" calls about my health in the last few years.

No more "shoulds": The change is here. I *am* moving my body. I *am* finding the foods and activities that help me feel strong and healthy and good. I *am* looking to the future, to 50, 60, and yes, to 80. I'm Off The Path. I have NO idea what these years are "supposed to look like" and you know what? I don't care. I can survive in the wilderness, I can feed myself and take care of others and make all my own tools.

Not getting any younger. (in some ways, thank Gods for that!) Therefore: NOW it is time to take stock/inventory, time to truly see where I am as I descend into the season of Dionysos, into the dark and the cold, into the introspective time and the Lesser Madness. Sink my Roots. Allow myself the time to make my Tools, talk with others about the Path Ahead, laugh and eat and drink wine around the fire, love hard and plan to Do Important Things before I die.

Ripples in the pond. Are my ripples from a big ol' PLONK or are they the cascade of light, sweet rings shimmering out from a single smooth stone skipped far across the pond? I'm hoping for a many-times multiple skip with a surprising dogleg hop at the end before the splash...
labelleizzy: (Default)
Realizing today that I've a need to move some folks around, and am adding some people to filters about specific subjects dear to my heart; also I've friended some new people, people who might want to read some of my posts I'm not aware they're interested in reading.

After I adjust the filters, I'll do test posts. OK?


[Poll #1784744]

Thank you for your feedback!
labelleizzy: (this is it)
Recently the idea circulated round here on Livejournal to describe oneself in terms of absolute truth yet to paint what might be considered an untruthful picture of yourself as a whole.

In contemplating this idea I'm realizing that I can only think of descriptors of how I *used* to be but am no longer, or events or injuries, or choices I made, which can no longer describe the me I am now.

What am I now?

A teacher, a student, an artist. A dreamer, an idealist, a warrior for the truth. A happy homemaker. A woman with two lovers. A woman who is moving out of Mother phase but is not ready for Croning... I think Teacher and Warrior make good intermediate stages, don't you?

I am a crafter and a destroyer and a designer. I am a gardener and a keeper of the flame. I pray and I meditate and I struggle with forgiveness.

I am forgetful when I get immersed in technological storytelling. I get sucked in SO BAD by computer, TV, or phone that I try to take media-free vacation days where I don't touch any of them. This is hard though because the smartphone is soooo magnetic...

I have good intentions that I don't always follow through on. I miss my own deadlines. Yet I am still producing more and better quality projects with greater quotae of finished-ness than I have ever done before.

I get a lot done some days, and some days I do nothing at all. I'm okay with that. I quit shaming myself and beating myself up over not meeting my own or others' expectations, somewhere around five years ago. It didn't help, and it made me feel miserable.

I try to live for myself now. I try to DO a lot for others, but that's different than LIVING for others, the way I used to. I make my own goals and help my life to have rhythms that meet the goals without panicking or pushing myself, or at least not any more than a natural focus and attention to detail requires.

I love more easily. I don't tolerate drama much anymore. My ups and my downs both tend to be flatter than they once were (of course we used to be talking Himalayas and Marianis Trench, so that's actually a GOOD thing!)... and because I no longer need to wallow in my OMG SQUEE or OMG POOR ME, I do indeed Get More Stuff Done. More art, more fun things, more time with the cats and my sweeties. Soon, more time for my friends, and I can't wait!

simplification is very appealing. purging the unnecessary is very appealing, and I'm more ruthless than I ever have been. but, but I get overwhelmed by the leftovers of my former lives. Especially paper, especially in huge piles still packed up from the last move or the move before that one. so I don't deal with it for long periods of time. maybe I can trade with someone I trust: I'll go through that one box of paper for you if you will go through that box of paper for me. Save out the things that are actually useful and trash the rest.

I have tattoo plans that might surprise some people.

If I love you, live with you, and am happy and content, I will match and fold your socks in the laundry. If I'm pissed off, your socks will still be clean but you will have to turn them right side around and match them up for yourself. (I just turned a TON of socks right-side around today and matched them all up and made a pretty drawer-space for them. Today is a good day!)

Sometimes I'm a hypocrite in small ways. For instance, I will often forget to clean up after myself when working on a project, but if someone ELSE does that I get very angry. (shrug) Guess that's pretty human.

I'm working on (gently escorting) some bad habits (downstairs and out the door). Some I can't get rid of myself, so I plan to hire someone to help. Namely, a fitness/rehabilitation coach. Best advice on this: find someone my age or older who GETS what it means to rehab an injury or illness, and will listen when I say, this is my goal, how can I best and most safely achieve it?

I like to brain dump and don't always bother to come to a pretty conclusion. =)
labelleizzy: (jump for joy)
Thankful:

1) gorgeous crisp clear sunny day
2) art supplies
3) idea for art that Jeff has and wants to explore
4) tons of food in the fridge and freezer and pantry
5) friends who love me
6) family who love me (even though I'm weird...! they haven't said that for awhile though.)
7) warm cozy clothes
8) warm soft cozy bed
9) better-than-decent health, better than decent body
10) good brain that works on solutions in conjunction with heart and body
11) tea (mmm tea, time to go boil a kettle)
12) beautiful things in my life like movies, furniture, jewelry, this house
13) my cats (of COURSE my cats are #13!)
14) the sea, the sky, the trees, the earth, the flame - all so beautiful and so different!
15) my vegetable garden
16) medical insurance (fucked up that this is something to be thankful for instead of everyone just being covered!)
17) texture of objects - my teacup, my sweater, this desk, my cat's fur...
18) peace I've found since figuring my shit out and uprooting the unhealthy stuff in my heart
19) clarity of thinking since #18
20) children I get to work with
21) dedicated teachers and students I get to work with
22) cool people I have yet to meet(!)
23) adventures
24) learning new stuff (and getting frustrated and figuring it out)
25) the internet and all the friends I have found in it
26) really good pens and crisp strong paper
27) self-knowledge
28) intuition and having learned to trust it
29) breakfast at 11:45 am
30) and breakfast for dinner last night =)
31) the bike friendly town I live in which also has decent public transit
32) learning new things about how my body works in particular (see #24)
33) toast with cream cheese and fig spread (and all the other tasty foods!)
34) autumn leaves backlit by the descending sun
35) sunlight breaking through the clouds during a rainshower and how the world glows
36) my faith system and the deep thorough nourishment it brings me
37) rereading favorite beloved books (I just found Freckles on Google Books! I think I'm going to cry with happiness!)
38) Everyone reading this. You are appreciated and loved.
39) Second chances
40) Everyone who ever extended a hand or said a kind word when I was down. You made a difference.
41) A fresh and shiny new year to learn, love, grow, work, and change the world for the better.

Love,
Liz

argh.

Mar. 25th, 2010 08:58 pm
labelleizzy: (cats)
My cats keep taking turns coming and sitting upon or lying upon the poster I am trying to create.

I turn away to check my notes, fact check, or add to my spreadsheet, and a new furry body has interposed itself. First it was Tribble (now she's here investigating my blog post) SEVERAL times, and at the moment the ginormous personage of Otter is completely eclipsing my working copy. (the joke about the cat who sits around the house, REALLY sits AROUND the house? not completely wrong with Otter.)

So. A brief break before the eviction notice is served. I hope this time of me-vacating the space will negate the interest the space has for him just now; have YOU ever tried to dissuade even an amiable 22 pound cat from sitting on a flat surface that you value and are trying, carefully, to apply art and calligraphy to?

Yeah, me neither.

Wish me luck.

=-/

Today.

Mar. 25th, 2010 07:24 pm
labelleizzy: (quiet before the work)
my teaching day was good, then okay, then ARGH with unnecessary student craziness and outright cruelty.

*headdesk* I had to write a note to the vice principal as well as to the teacher.

Then I got home, and [livejournal.com profile] eeyore42 was there! I didn't have to manage my frustration alone! It made me feel so much better to talk about it, and to eat some food. Then I phoned [livejournal.com profile] chinders about delivering compost-food to her house, then I got to go visit her and check on the progress of her garden (yay), dog training (yay) and behbeh chickens! I got to hold baby chickens! (almost adolescent chickens!) One perched on me for awhile, it was awesome.

Came home a little while later, started layout work on my poster for class this weekend. It's challenging - I'm doing art that requires a certain amount of precision, and well. Precision has rarely been my strong suit, but it is coming along.

I think that this is going to be great. AND I can put off one of the assignments I thought I had to do, till next weekend: read three more Steiner lectures and make a poster for THOSE. well.

Back to it then!
labelleizzy: (laughing)
Today went very very smoothly. The teacher has a routine of the students practicing their work at the OH projector, then they do their own work in pairs or independently.

Bathroom rule is pretty standard: 5 minutes maximum out of class.

Fair enough. One kid, the last period I was working(fifth) decided to "go to the bathroom" but was gone for 15 minutes. The students were debating whether he'd gone to Starbucks or Panda Express. I was being quietly amused at how aware they were of this particular student's, um, proclivities.

Then one kid (I have to hand it to him for carpe-ing the diem) says, mischievously, "Hey, we should call him, put him on speaker phone, be really quiet, and ask him where he is." Eyes go slideways toward me.

I thought for a second, was even more amused, said, "Sure, let's see what he has to say for himself." The kids were delighted, the call proceeded, the kid outed himself in front of the whole class. He says how he went home for chocolate then realized he wanted his ipod for after school sports practice...

O.M.G. I was (silently) laughing so hard I took my glasses off and was wiping tears out of my eyes. Now, it wasn't mean-natured or anything, it was just, he did something goofus, now we've busted him and we're gonna laugh a little.

Kid moseys into class a few minutes later. Avoids eye contact. Slides, maybe slinks out the door when the period ends. Probably thought he got away with it, too.

He didn't. I let Ms. Woods, the sub-scheduling secretary, know what went down. She LOL'd as well, and then I happened to mention this kid had been seeming disconnected and avoidant and not-grounded, or floaty, "kind of like a stoner", I said, "though I'm not implying I believe he is one"... Ms. Woods says, "Well, if you even THINK he might be doing something like that, we want to know about it."

A good day. I got a whole Waldorf lecture read and annotated while the kids were working today, connected the dots for it by doing some artwork (boy, I'm glad I thought to bring my homework to do!!), and got a damn fine bellylaugh out of the deal as well.

I love that his peers totally punk'd him.
labelleizzy: (Default)
Ridiculous and inconceivable that tomorrow is my last day of Summer Session for the Waldorf teacher training.
I won't get to see my friends every day? I won't have dance and art history and creative writing and speech classes every day? I won't get to hang with the incomparable Ken, my sculpture teacher? I won't be learning new songs on the fly every morning with Lisa?

*WAAAAAHHH!!!*

This has been wonderful. I am entirely sorry it's almost over. I will survive the transitions necessary, but for now I have to kick my own ass to get there.

I get to bring a lot home with me. My Main Lesson book from Roberta's class, with art and poetry we created together. Some of my sculpture work. A LOT of literature to read and share, including a great article on the Waldorf philosophy of reading in elementary school. I have work I want to continue to refine, including writing and speech exercises, some of the art in the Main Lesson book, and I have a bit of clay I can use to be creative, and which might last a long while if I am kind to it.

Tonight I have to make a card for Glenda, another for Anne-Marie (my class secretary), and try to do a bit of practice for Saturday's assembly: the skit, the speech exercise, and the eurhythmy performance.

Gonna take the husband out to find some food he finds appealing. Right now he's feeling better enough to play piano, which is a VERY good sign.

Love ya, read y'all later,

Liz
labelleizzy: (balance)
In other life news, today finishes the second full week of the summer Waldorf teacher credentialling session.
I am STARVING. I am always starving when I come home after classes. AND I eat like a pig at snack (11:00) and at lunch (1:00) ... but I'm not changing shape at all, unless i'm gaining a little bit of muscle ... I suppose it helps that we are dancing for an hour every morning, and doing sculpture in the afternoon, and I'm THINKING like a hard-working thinking-thing the rest of the day (my Creative Writing teacher and Program Director, Dorit would have FITS about that description, not to mention all my parenthetical habits and multiple-adjective descriptors, hee!)

Other teachers and students refer to the work we are doing as spiritual work. And that it's HARD work I do not deny, nor do I deny its spiritual nature. But spiritual work burning this many calories, is just something I have to make an effort to wrap my head around.

Snack and lunch are incredibly tasty affairs at summer session. Today the snack table had berry scones, a variety of bagels, cream cheese, corn bread with honey butter to spread on it, melons and berries in an attractive display, hummus and sliced peppers and cucumbers and tzatziki... plus very tasty coffee with honey, brown sugar, whole milk and half-n-half, and a variety of teas, both caf. and decaf.

Lunch has been fresh, organic, and varied, and incredibly tasty as well.

I love my sculpture class. Ken Smith is also our Art History teacher, and he's built like a short balding blacksmith, with a gentle New Zealand accent and a puckish sense of humor. Really devoted to his subject, and very heart centered. Unfailingly polite and helpful, even when our class is feeling our oats and we start to talk over him. I thought sculpture would be kind of scary, you know, new means of expression, but he's so approachable, it's very easy to ask questions and get help.

I love my eurythmy (dance) class. Glenda was born in South Africa, has lived and worked all over the world so she has this intriguing mixy accent, and she's SO graceful and warm and welcoming and sweetly funny. I told her today what an amazing "stage ninja" she was, backstage (behind a simple curtain) at the first Wednesday night performance... she was unnoticeable, and I was LOOKING, and on top of that, managed to change costume back there, utterly unobtrusively... the way she walks is amazing, the variety of movement styles, accents she flows between, the real gentility of her manner... wow. I will be sad when I no longer get to work with her every day. I will really miss her. And I love the range of movement she has us doing, and doing beautifully, in class. She is unstinting with praise and warm eye contact, and I love that about her also.

I love my Language Arts class. Roberta is an experienced Waldorf teacher, having ushered two classes through from first to eighth grade, and now teaches teachers and, I believe, works part time in another Waldorf school with students having reading difficulty. She's profoundly deaf and relies on hearing aids, which gives her speaking voice a kind of metallic, flat affect, but her enthusiasm and encyclopedic memory for verse, rhyme, game, and story makes her a real force to be reckoned with. I hope my mind is as sharp and my will as enthusiastic by the time I'm her age (which I don't know, but she's got white white hair and an 8 year old granddaughter, so...)

I am having a time of it in the creative writing class. *wry*
Dorit, I am discovering through the grapevine, lacks certain social skills like tact and communicating the parameters of an assignment. She knows her subject, that's for sure, but when her way of telling you how she wants you to write an assignment consists of saying, write three sentences using these subjects, and then proceeds to just rip every body's work in front of the class? Hm. So she's letting everyone make their natural mistakes first, then bringing examples to the class for correction and suggestions... which is not too bad, everyone can give suggestions for improvement... kinda makes her the bad guy, but she's almost gleeful about it (funny, for a melancholic personality!) so yeah. She's maybe harsh but I don't see anyone crying on the way out of the room so it's probably all right.

And honestly? if anyone can break me of the remains of my codependent habit of trying to please authority figures? It'll be Dorit. Nothing I do seems to please her, I seem to irritate her somehow (no, really I have evidence) and tbh she's starting to irritate me also, though I'm trying to be compassionate about it. I'll work to stop trying to make her notice me and just pay attention to doing the work properly. And I have to admit I haven't given it as much thought as I have the other classes, cos hey, I can write already! I am a Writer. </ poncy pretension> heh. I need to give those assignments decent focus and not dash something off as I have been doing. I need to go ahead and draft something, work on the draft and change and experiment and fix things... I need to really friggin' WRITE, and do myself proud.

Lots of progress being made now. This is the halfway point, I can't believe we're already half-over, it's gone by swift as the wind over the El Sobrante hillsides...

I. Am. Loving. It.
labelleizzy: (balance)
From my lecture notes, Nov. 14 "The Teacher as Artist"

"The goal of Waldorf Education is not primarily to teach a child how to make a living.

The child should be empowered to develop their whole BEING: to develop their capacities so they can go forward in their life to meet their future and succeed with creativity, courage, warm-hearted clear thinking, healthy forward-thinking, focused strong wills."

and

"Waldorf teachers have a simultaneous challenge to develop heart and spirit as well as mind at a comparable pace as conventional education techniques."

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