13 is the Magic Number (or Place Should I Say)- A Weekend in Chicago, a Poetic Perspective

Don't blink. Don't miss a second, I tell myself, half asleep, stumbling on to the bus in the dark. It is 4:30 am and they forgot to turn the back parking lot lights on. There is a line of cars with their headlights on, facing the bright yellow school bus, providing some illumination, as suit cases roll across the sidewalk. Parents are hugging their children and spouses. I have three of my children going too, so I have shuffled them to the back of our transportation and hugged my youngest son and my husband good bye. They wave as they pull into the darkness. A head count later, and we ourselves pull away and begin our journey to the airport.

At first, there is silence, it is welcoming. But then a giggle, another giggle, and students begin to rouse and get excited. The conversations infused with laughter and anticipation. Security, breakfast and we are in line, luggage in tow. As we stand in line to board, we hear an announcement wishing "Beckendorff quiz bowl team good luc…

Shadow and Shade are as Important as Color and Texture on a Classroom Canvas

Shadow and shade have an ominous connotation. There is a sense of something lurking in the darkness. A feeling that one is not seeing the whole, picture, that they are obscured. But, in the world of art- they represent a silhouette, a reduction in light, that causes other objects to be illuminated. In our classrooms, it is the elevation of confidence and joy, that with every counter-shade becomes heightened and defined.

All paintings, no matter how beautiful, need shading. This is what fills them out, gives them depth. The strokes of the acrylic, illuminates the breadth of consistency, but the hue determines the layers and perspective. We get the image to pop off the canvas, when we add a little shadow on its edges. We do not want our masterpiece to be flat and matte. We want it to be distinctive and vivid. How can we create a harmonious, natural piece of art, without seeping into a garish, artificial mural? We have to stay within the lines to keep the contrast visible. Yet, we must g…

Degradation in Isolation: Opening the Door to Verbal Collisions

There is degradation in an isolated system. When two objects collide, the energy available for more work is lessened. Momentum is compromised. But in an open system, this same collision exchanges any conserved energy with its surroundings. Mass may enter or leave the system and external forces may influence the system, and this is a good thing.This physics phenomenon applies to not only objects in motion, but ideas and information as well. When verbal collisions occur, dialogue both argumentative and acceding, there is a level of commerce, a network of correspondence that permeates through the trade route. Like the spices of Morocco reaching the far shores of New York City. Information has a path, a purpose. If we close our doors and isolate ourselves, we become limited in our thinking.

Narrow mindedness will prevail over avoidance. We need to purge misinformation, skim off the excess, the weight of ulterior motives and deception. But we can only do this if we step outside our protecti…

Think Big, Start Small: Be Ready for the Slump

Height Gives Perspective

You are at the precipice, the top of the incline. Peering out over the landscape, just before, the wheels unlock and you plummet. The metal wheels clattering against wood, making an exhilarating sound, like no other. There are screams of joy, with a little fear mixed in. Cheers of utter helplessness and happiness. Everyone on board, succumbs to gravity and acceleration and the ride of their lives.

Anticipate it, plan for it, don't counter act it. Don't get locked in phase. Keep the wheels well-oiled and the friction at a minimum. Lean in to the surge. Ride the peaks and valleys, arms held high, air whipping against your face. Tears rolling down your cheeks, as the tempest, gusts against your skin. It is awakening something inside. That inner child that you keep hidden, as you traverse adulthood. But, it is these moments, these fractional releases, that keep us motivated to continue.

As we near the end of the school year, classrooms tend to slow in thei…

The Nature of Consciousness: Butterflies and Metamorphosis


It is ridiculous to try and be something you are not. I live in a haberdashery – a warm hatchery of creativity and cleverness. We all do. It is my garden of butterflies- each floating effortless around me, their vibrancy luring me to a sense of calm. Our minds are unique, so much so, that even a distinguishable shade or hue of color, is interpreted and appreciated, in various ways. 

What is one person’s melody is another’s noise. In our minds we see what we want to see and ignore the rest. We open ourselves up to challenge and risk taking and close ourselves off, to other opportunities. Flickers become distractions only if we do not look at them head on. I close my eyes tight and let the fireflies return, throughout the day.

But the fireflies, like my nightly conquests, are temporary in my conscious framework. They twinkle and vibrate just long enough to make an impact. Like dragonflies, they live most of their existence as nymphs: remaining flightless. They stir up within me…

The Nature of Consciousness: Fireflies to Dragonflies

Fireflies You know that moment when you squeeze, your closed eyes tight and you see the yellow fireflies? The bright flashing lights in the darkness, of your eye lids. They are fleeting, yet numerous. My mind, much like the sparkles of this phenomenon, is a Mason Jar, filled with fireflies, a thousand fragile, luminescent flickers. Each bouncing off the sides in a desperate attempt to escape.

The translucent glass both a hindrance and a realization, that everything I conjure up, will not come to fruition. Most of them get trapped and flutter-less, fall to the bottom. Just like at the beginning of a summer evening, these fireflies, these specks of stardust, seem welcoming and exciting, but by morning, they are dust. Untwisting the lid, allows them to drift back into the curling, humid air. Each speck, no longer speaking the language of light. Once trapped and effervescent, now dim and forgotten.

Night-time is the time when my thoughts become electric, energetic and convincing. They are s…

Hubris to Humility: Practical Rebellion is Born

When we are good at something, we have a certain level of hubris. I know mine, rears its ugly head at times. When we put in our 10,000 hours, we often carry the audacity and chutzpah, like a badge of honor. We whisper to ourselves, "I am now an expert." What does expertise mean? Competency, proficiency, readiness. But, for many, it becomes a certain level of finesse and mastery, that often leads to self-importance. A sense of completion that can leave one stale and stagnate. If one feels they have conquered the beast, they raise shield and sword, as if to say I am undefeated.
A reinvention need not occur. Simply, a recognition of this presumption, is all that is required, to break through the ostentation. A mirror, is only bad luck if it is broken. If held up to reflect our flaws and see our strengths, it is personal wizardry, causing a shift in perspective. There is no magic moment, where this transformation takes place. The false confidence and determination, slowly gets di…