Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
I feel as though, when the planets align as they did yesterday, I am being affirmed that yes, hosting a blog where creativity and community meet up is an important and noble contribution. There's no question it is fun and rewarding, but I assert it is actually IMPORTANT. Read on...
Today is Friday. Typically Free For All Friday. But, for quite some time I have been mulling over a new idea. Freebie Friday. This, as it turns out, is the perfect week for its official launching.
It's all in my garage in card board boxes (laughing). I collect things like bottle caps, of course; scraps of cardboard; metal, wood; Kleenex boxes; National Geographic magazines; tons of stuff.
To win the set of twelve wine glass charms from the talented Wendy, simply send a post with your guess of her favorite number. Clue. It is between 1 and 50. The first person to guess (or come closest by 10:00 tonight) will win.
Don't win, but wanna get a set (great teacher gift by the way)?
She typically makes them in sets of four and sells each set for $15.00. She also makes bottle cap magnets for $5.00 each. Wendy's email address is email@example.comSigning off until tomorrow...
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I'll explain further, but first a brief note...
I love Mott's Applesauce containers. I stalk my kids as they are eating a serving, in order to make sure they don't throw away the containers. I use them to hold paint when we're painting, beads, rhinestones, google eyes... any and all craft items. They're easy to wash out and to stack and store when I am finished.
- Taste of USA: Yesterday was New York. Today is Tennessee and Michigan. Friday is the day that residents of the state should post the "taste of their state." If you have questions, click on the Taste of USA icon in the top right hand corner. Cheryl and Katie have done a nice job of presenting all the important information!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The best part of wearing stockings (from my perspective, not my husband's) is the white piece of cardboard that comes in the center. That is, of course... unless you buy your pantyhose in an egg. I love those pieces of cardboard. They are the perfect size (6" x 9"). Crisp and white. Sturdy, but not so thick it feels like a clumsy piece of brown corrugated cardboard. I've designated an old magazine holder to collect these and other pieces of cardboard just like it (bedding usually has great cardboard inserts too).
1.5" x 5.5." The first time I laid eyes on one... "bookmark" immediately came to mind. I love them and think they make great homemade accents to accompany a top-selling birthday book. Today, I set five of them in front of Matthew with a big box of markers. It was just the right amount of coloring for him... and in the end, he made something functional.
- Today begins week #2 of Taste of USA. Last week was fun, thanks to the hard work of Cheryl and Katie and still... I know we can do better with regards to our participation. Let there be no confusion... Here's all you need to know: (1) Today, tomorrow, and Thursday residents of the featured states AND non-residents should feel free to comment. (2) On Friday, only residents of states featured this week should post their favorite thing about their state. The winning state, receives a fun-filled afternoon of brainstorming, prize-winning, and community building!
- This week's states are: Idaho, Alaska, New York, Tennessee, and Michigan.
- On deck for next week: Illinois, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Arizona.
- Matthew's first puppet show was a hit last night (for background, see Monday's blog, Scene Three, Take Two).
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
- Click on the Taste of USA icon in the top right hand corner of my blog.
- Go the Comments section immediately under Cheryl's post for today (6/23)
- Tell us what your state is made of. Do this by telling us a place you'd love to take me should your state win and I end up traveling to your city.
- ONLY residents of the state should be making posts today! Be sure to let us know from which state you are hailing.
- Starbucks Update: I went to Starbucks this morning at 8:30 a.m. and the books WERE STILL THERE and... placed back in a perfect stack!
- This morning there was an article in the Dallas Morning News telling of Herb Kelleher's retirement after 31 years as Chairmen of Southwest Airlines. Here's a quote from one of the many pilots employed by the company. "I still have personal notes written by Herb," he said. I can't imagine any other executive having time to do that or taking the time to do that." Yet again, affirmation that a simple note packs a powerful punch.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
- Today we celebrate Washington D.C., Massachusetts, and Hawaii. So, regardless of where you call home, if you have a fun memory, favorite place, or a friend in any one of these places, let us know. Click on the Taste of USA icon, check out our fun facts (provided exclusively by Cheryl) and then leave a post. It's simple and fun.
- NOTE: If you live in anyone of the states celebrated this week (Alabama, New Mexico, Texas, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, or Hawaii) you will want to gather forces for TOMORROW. Friday is the day residents of their respective states must post "what your state is made of" (favorite locations, cools sights, novel places to see). The winning state - once we've completed our national tour - will win a creative brainstorming session with me to help create the future of highlowaha.com (not to mention win cool prizes and so much more!).
- Next week we celebrate... Idaho, Alaska, New York, Tennessee, and Michigan.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
First a quick observation and then note... I set out my Random Acts Books at 8:47 a.m. on a coffee table at a Starbucks, just up the block from where my boys go to school. I then got a coffee and headed outside to the sunshine where I enjoyed my coffee and scoured the paper for creative ideas until 9:34. Periodically I looked up to see if anyone acknowledged the prominently placed books, but the glare from the sun made it impossible to see inside. Instead I resigned myself to waiting until I was finished and then just being surprised. Forty-seven minutes later... the books were still there and while the stacks were moved slightly to one side, they were still completely in tact! Yes, I was surprised!!! Update: At 4:52 just before picking my sons up from school, I swung back by the Starbucks to see if any of the books were gone They were all still there... still on the same table, but no longer in a neat stack.
You know what this means? The books were New York Times best sellers, so I think it means, people are just NOT used to have random acts of kindness come their way. They were skeptical...unsure if there was a motive... or, what kind of commitment they might get themselves in if they actually delved into the stack and... heaven forbid... took one! I'm not discouraged. Instead, it fuels my fire. I envision a world where people jump in with two feet when accepting a random act of kindness. A world where no strings are attached and a free book is just a free book. Today I resolve to do more acts of kindness, starting in my own little corner of the world, and maybe just maybe, you'll join me. We'll start our own little random acts revolution and we won't wait until National (or World) Random Acts of Kindness Week in November and February.
Perfect segway into today's post...
I entered today with no real dilemma, other than my less than good mood... and my new observation that people are hesitant to accept a random act of kindness. Self-Help 101 says nobody can change the behavior of someone else, so I didn't think it smart to set my challenge around making people more receptive to random acts. I suppose the dilemma could have been, "how do I snap myself out of a funk?" That didn't seem appropriate for a week where my instruction to self was, "Forget about yourself, focus on others." Besides, with two random acts under my belt, I'm starting to feel better and "snapping out of it" seems less urgent.
At a loss for where to go, I decided to start backwards this week. In other words... first pick the card and then establish a dilemma. Interestingly enough, the card I chose read, Try a Random Idea." I took this as a good sign, since this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week. So, here we go...
Try a random idea. There was once an Indian medicine man who made hunting maps for his tribe. When game got sparse, he'd fold and twist it, and then smooth it out. The rawhide was now etched with lines. He marked some reference points, and a new map was created. When the hunters followed the map's newly defined trails, they usually discovered abundant game. Moral: by letting the rawhide's random folds represent trails, he pointed the hunters to places they hadn't looked. Stimulate your thinking in a similar way. Open any book at random and put your finger down on a word: "magnet." How does it relate to what you're doing? What associations can you make? What random ideas can you try?
I did, in fact, have a book with me... Never Eat Alone: And other secrets to success, one relationship at a time, by Keith Ferrazzi. It is a book I am finishing with the hopes of sharing a point or two with you over the next couple of weeks. I opened up to a random page (pg. 165) , closed my eyes, and pointed to the word, "other." So, with that I decide to ask how the word, "other" might be connected to doing random acts of kindness. Still stuck, I decided to take a peek at the context in which I found the word. In other words, what was Ferrazzi talking about when he used the word, "other." So listen to this and tell me the coincidence is not more than can be left to chance....
"There are a lot of things we can do for other people: give good advice, help them wash their car, or help them move. But health, wealth, and children affect us in ways other acts of kindness do not."
I'm sure you're sitting wherever you are... work, home, etc... thinking I rigged this. I did not. I randomly assigned this week to Random Acts of Kindness. I randomly selected the "random idea" card from sixty-four cards in von Oech's whack pack. It just so happens I am reading the book mentioned above AND that I picked the word "other" from thirty-three lines of text, embedded in a paragraph about doing acts of kindness!!! If you just so happen to be reading this then you, like I, should be convinced there is a reason. There are way too many planets falling into alignment for there not to be something preordained about the whole darn thing.
Ferrazzi goes on to define, "health," "wealth," and "children" and explains helping people in any one of these three ways impacts people more profoundly than other acts of generosity. Health can be things as sharing a diet or an exercise regiment for someone working hard to become more healthy. Wealth can be as blatant as helping someone make money to less direct efforts such as passing along a referral, helping someone make money, or sending business someones way. Finally, "children" refers to assisting the children of a friend with a goal he/she might have. Examples might include helping someones child land an internship or job, introducing him/her to someone employed in his/her area of interest, or showing a keen interest in some other aspect of the child's life.
My synopsis... there is someone in your world who is in need of your generosity with regard to either health, wealth, or their children. That is why the chips fell as they did and why you are sitting here reading this right this very minute. So, take a minute and figure out who that person might be and how you can help. Then, do it. Make the phone call, send the email. Do whatever necessary.
As for me... I'm still reeling from the coincidence of it all. Once recovered, I'll get busy too.
- Today "Taste of USA" features Texas. Regardless of whether or not you are a resident of the state, let us know if you have a fond memory, funny story, joke, favorite song... something you associate with Texas. Then, on Friday residents of Texas, along with Alabama, New Mexico, D.C., Massachusetts, and Hawaii will compete to post the largest number of favorite (and most creative) things about their state.
- Helena, if you're out there... let me know if there is something I can do to help get Stanley on his way to Julie in New York.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
- Taste of USA: Today we celebrate New Mexico, Wednesday is Texas, Thursday is Washington D.C., Massachusetts, and Hawaii. Friday these states must muster up as many people as possible to... "tell us what your state's made of." On deck... Idaho, Alaska, New York, Tennessee, and Michigan.
- Free For All Friday: We have some takers for this week's Free For All Friday Challenge. First, Andrea (killer aerobic instructor) is hosting a Carnival-themed party for her six-year old son. She has some games brainstormed, but is looking for the extra fixins (party favors, prizes, decorations, music selections, fun outfits she and others can wear the day of the party, food choices, etc....) Important Note: Andrea will not read the blog until FRIDAY, so mill over it for the next few days, but don't post your genius ideas until this Friday.
- Also, Maureen's daughter is turning 16 in February. In New York this is serious business, so a reception hall has already been booked and party planning is in full swing. She is looking for our readerships' collective knowledge and creativity surrounding Sweet Sixteen Court Ceremonies (did you know this existed?), as well as best places to purchase once-in-a-lifetime-princess-tiaras (she said if Texans, host to pageants galore don't know where to get a tiaras then who will?).
- Congratulations to Heather. She was just offered a new position AND PROMOTION at the University of Texas at Arlington. This, of course, means she will be moving my way in the next couple of months. Can you see my smile coming through your computer screen?
Signing off until tomorrow...
Monday, May 19, 2008
- Taste of USA: What's Your State Made Of? is fully up and running. Click on the icon in the top right hand corner of my blog to discover the rules of play and to check the fun out along the way. It is going to be a fun couple of months and you won't want your state to miss out. Speaking of states... Alabama, New Mexico, Texas, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, and Hawaii you are all up first. On deck (May 26-31) are Idaho, Alaska, New York, Tennessee, and Michigan. It will be much more fun if people from each of these states participate, so if you know someone... encourage them to tune in. As for you... get ready to share your stories of people you know, vacations you've taken, fun facts you've learned, etc.... I'll go first... I don't have much association with the state of Alabama, but I do have a friend and valued colleague who lives there. Corrie... if you're out there and reading this...HI! I'd love a quick update on the other Corey.
- Helena and Julie... hopefully you are working out the Flat Stanley pass off. Let me know if I can help.
- A big thanks to Cheryl and CSPgradstudent for making Taste of USA happen. Cheryl is a creative (and technological) genius who helped make the click-on page (my technical term) work and CSPgradstudent is the conscientious, detail-oriented - and also technologically savvy - person who will be reporting updates on where each states stands.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
- According to CSPgradstudent - who was appointed highlowaha.com bean counter, all but three states are accounted for. We need a mere three readers from the following sates: West Virginia, Montana, and Wyoming.
- The reader for whom we brainstormed ideas about moving from one office to another reported a successful event. She used some of our ideas by asking students to record favorite memories in a journal. She also distributed cards featuring a photo of the view from her office window. Cupcakes were had by all, her signature treat.
- CSPgradstudent also hosted the graduation celebration for which she was seeking our ideas. Maybe she'll post the outcome.
- Remember! Our goal is to have 100 educators post favorite student gifts they have received (or wish they would have received) THIS FRIDAY! It is not to late to help make this happen. Contact, parents, aunts, uncles, former teachers, coaches, neighbors, former classmates, etc... All we're asking is that they post one idea. Their name will go in a drawing for a box of school supplies for next year's classroom.
- Added incentive... if they mention your name... you also win a treat.
- There's more than one way to cook an egg, just like there's more than one way to recruit teachers: Scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, fried, hard boiled, soft boiled... these are all the ways you can prepare and egg. Call, email, write a note, personal invitation, list serve, word of mouth, students, contact professional teacher associations, notify the PTA, advertise... these are all ways to recruit teachers for Friday's blog.
- Both require turning up the heat: Barbecue is low and slow. Grilling is hot and fast. For the purposes of this week's exercise, we will be GRILLING. Today is Wednesday. We have until mid-night on Friday to solicit input from 100 teachers!
- Chefs and recruiters follow recipes: A recipe when talking about cooking a meal is fairly obvious, but what about a recipe for recruiting?... For the purposes of this activity, we'll view recruiting as a form of marketing (marketing the idea of posting to teachers far and wide). The four "P's" of marketing include : Product (getting teachers to post); Price (free); Promotion (Any teacher who makes a post on Friday will be entered in a drawing to receive school supplies for his/her classroom next year); Place (teacher lounges, highlowaha and other relevant blog sites, pick up and drop off lines outside of school, etc...)
- Both are better when they include dessert: Preferably CHOCOLATE. So, have I got a treat for you! Refer the greatest number of teachers (which we'll know if they mention your name in the post) and YOU too will earn a treat...compliments of Sous-Chef Claudia.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I have Friendship Journals on the mind, because my very good and patient friend, Dawn, is still waiting for the journal's Arizona arrival. Here's the quick low down. About eight years ago ten women I knew tried to join forces to begin a never ending Friendship Journal. The idea was the journal would fill with entries as it moved from person to person. I think the journal started in Georgia, stopped in Arizona, then LA, and then New York where it was lost and never recovered. That was the end of that.
Two years ago my friend Dawn suggested we revive the idea, but this time modified to be a touch more realistic. Round two has worked much better. She started us off. Back and forth between the two of us the journal has gone, ever since. The pages are filled with funny stories, serious reflections, family photos, recipes, winning ideas, life ambitions, and so much more. There's no timeline and no pressure. Hang onto it for a month (or more...) or turn it right around. Tag your it. That's why it works. It's just a simple gesture reflecting our own going commitment to stay in touch... forever.
I savor the days the journal shows up in my mailbox. I never let myself open the envelope immediately, as it is impossibly tempting to flip to the last page and get her latest update. No, instead I savor the experience. I tuck the journal away and make a date with myself. I either go to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, where I can hide in the corner of the store and read the pages slowly, or I curl up under the covers in my bedroom. Either way, it is quiet, uninterrupted time. For those fifteen or twenty minutes I am single, with no kids and remembering what life was like surrounded by supportive and loving girlfriends. It is my oasis.
- Ship it "Media Mail." It costs less and because there's no rush... it works out fine.
- Bubble envelopes can be recycled if you using mailing labels and cut the top.
- You'll be surprised to find all the fun, one-dimensional things you can fit in the pages of a journal (DVD's, CD's magazine clippings, stickers, quotes, photographs). Have fun with it and view it as another venue for your creativity.
So today the journal is Arizona bound. Off for another journey - carrying with it fun tales, hopes and dreams, pictures, and thoughtful questions. And, maybe a small treat is included in the envelope to boot. From the moment I mail it, the wait begins for its long journey back to Texas. Dawn, tag you're it!
Speaking of journeys... check out Helena's Flat Stanley adventure under today's posts. She did a great job of hosting Stanley in Canada and now he's off to his next destination. Julie beat our readership to the punch, so she is his next host. I am not sure where Julie is posting from (we have a couple), but where ever it is, Flat Stanley is sure to have fun! Julie, pass along your mailing address and I will be sure Helena gets it.
Signing off until tomorrow when we will DEFINITELY will be whacked on the side of the head...