Friday, July 30, 2010

Haiku Friday

Haiku Friday is getting a late start today due to computer issues, but here it is:

You know the rules 5 - - 7 - - 5

Today’s subject: rainy day schedule

the seamless grey clouds
try to contain the days sun
but it will peek through

But… I wrote that haiku this morning, while it was still cloudy here in Glendale, and guess what? The sun did peek through and the rain is no more- so maybe one more haiku for the day:

New subject: peeking

excited glances
in shy anticipation
can’t contain the smiles

So grab on to the subject and join in- happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reading Time

To be perfectly honest, I get kind of nervous when I meet new people. One nervous afternoon, I found myself cross-legged on the floor at the Phoenix Public Library, trying my hardest to make a mischievous little dog’s voice come to life. All I wanted was a smile, and as soon as the little girl I was reading to laughed, I felt my nervous tension melt. That little dog’s voice empowered me- I can do a mean Toad and Kangaroo too.

Though I will sit and read children's books anywhere, anytime- the afternoon I am referring to was part of a volunteer project called “Read to Me” through HandsOn Greater Phoenix.

One of the greatest resources I have found in my search for community involvement is HandsOn Greater Phoenix. They have countless opportunities to get involved- from reading to kids to tending gardens, serving food, and cleaning up schools- they have a calendar full of great opportunities to volunteer in our communities. A great plus- the volunteering projects are graded with age appropriateness labels. So if you are looking for a volunteer opportunity to take your kids to you can peruse the calendar to see what they have.

I have fallen in love with the “Read to Me” program. They have several downtown locations, and volunteers meet about once a month to read books to kids who are brought in from inner city neighborhoods. After we read, the kids present their favorite books to the group. This program allows children over ten to be part of the volunteer team- my son partners up with me and whatever child we are fortunate enough to be paired with. It is so rewarding on so many fronts. Primarily, it gives us the opportunity to be involved together to serve a cause that I hold near and dear to my heart- literacy. It solidifies a sense of community through involvement.

I have a great son, a bunch of great nephews, and all of my friends have kids that I adore. I used to believe that being a good role model to them was enough- and granted; I still believe that is really important. However, rather than having them learn just from my example, I realize I want these kids to be in it with me- involved up to their elbows. Projects like "Read to Me" are a great way to get our kids active.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Art Table

You know what I love about artistic expression? The diversity of it- I love how we all have unique ways to express ourselves. Your creative outlet might be light years away from mine. My son’s artistic voice can sometimes be like his personality- quiet and a little reserved, or sometimes it can be loud and totally out there. He likes cardboard and creates sculptures, and houses, and multi-level command centers out of it. Or sometimes he just likes to draw the logo of his favorite football team. I myself am a totally addicted doodler. I doodle all day long, on everything around me. One day I started really thinking about creative outlets, and thus: the art table was born.

I have a semi-formal dining area and an eat-in kitchen in my house, and we really are not formal dining room people so we really never used the semi-formal space. I started to think it was the perfect spot for a creativity hub- a place to organize our boxes and crates of art supplies that I had stashed in various closets around the house (making it hard to find that green pipe cleaner you desperately need to finish that project). I put up a cube bookcase and organized all of our art supplies and then started shopping for a table. I finally found one that was perfect- a plain white table- absolutely nothing fancy about it. I also found some awesome bright colored stools that were perfect for it (super simple and totally affordable). I brought it all home, set it up and put a cup of permanent markers in the middle of the table; declaring it free space for whatever you want to draw. Only one rule: respect other people’s drawings.

Every person who has come into my house has added something to the table- it’s become our cornucopia of doodles. All of our friends and family have contributed- my son had a birthday party and him and his school friends spent a good hour drawing on it. One nephew was a pinch too small to use permanent markers on his own, so I worked with him and made a picture out of his traced handprints. I keep a clear tablecloth over it most of the time to protect the art, as it had started to wear off a little bit- eventually I plan to cover the top with a clear varnish. But that is once we run out of room, and no matter how hard I try to run out of room I find I can always squeeze something on.

It’s more than just our art table too. It has become our homework table, our school project table, our game table, our puzzle table, the Lego table- a table where we can spend time together doing endless amounts of things. I have to say it is a piece of furniture that I absolutely cherish, and not only because it has become a doodle documentary of family and friend history, but because to me it is a symbol of open expression and acceptance.


I come from a family of 'Thank You' note enthusiasts. If my grandmother gives you a gift, and you do not reply Emily Post style within a certain number of days you are in trouble. Nobody wants their Grandmother to think them rude, right? I appreciate this influence on manners in my life, but I want to put my own twist on it.
This weekend as my son and I labored over the 'Thank You' notes for his recent birthday I started thinking. My goal everyday is to come up with some new way to reduce, reuse, or recycle. So as we mailed out our notes I had visions of them in recycle bins around the city, or gasp, a worse fate- in the dreaded garbage. We were too late this year- the thank you notes have all been sent out. But for future needs- what can we do to say thanks in a more effective and more efficient way?
Instinctually, a face to face thank you (if possible) is the answer right? That just isn’t quite as far outside of the box as I would like. I want to say hey, I am thankful but I also want to be creative and send a message here (to my son as well as the recipients of our thanks). I thought, you know, why can't I just give each one of them a peach (or insert local and in-season fruit or yummy treat here_______)? A peach is sunny, happy and delicious- it can be a token of our thanks as well as a wish for good health. Hand deliver a peach, say thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, please enjoy. (Incidentally, my son thinks this is both hilarious and awesome). But some of our relatives live in California and Oregon, which makes it a bit hard to hand deliver the peaches. So we decided to take pictures of ourselves enjoying whatever gift was given and write our thanks on the back (because Grandma is not going to throw away a picture).
So we missed the boat this year- but just to experiment with the effectiveness of our idea, we are going to practice random acts of peachness. We have decided to randomly hand out peaches to our loved ones, thanking them for being awesome. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
You may wonder why I started this blog with thank you peaches. I wondered too, but I thought it carried a good lesson. If my post brings a peachy smile to your face, then that is awesome. If it makes you think of a more earth friendly approach to etiquette, life, or just today- well that's awesome too.

Ok, so- things to look for in the days to come:

· My first punk rock DIY project: displaying the kids art

· Haiku Friday starts this week- stop by to join in!

So in anticipation for that, and to end my very first post, a haiku- just for you:

peaches are the way
I have chosen to give thanks
And also hello