Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Remembering --

Gus would have been 85 today.

Hold your loved ones close.

Cherish every moment you have with them.

Tell them you love them every day.

Monday, October 17, 2022

On The Road Again?


I've been traveling virtually with Butch! 
As he delivers huge manufactured homes to their waiting owners.
Never leaving my seat at my computer, 
 Across and back Cali (as he calls it) 
Near the Mexican border, Malibu, Havasu, 
At the ocean shore, up in the mountains 
Spectacular views

Almost as if I was his co pilot, riding shotgun as it were.
On Skype, we laugh, we commiserate together on the state of our democracy
I cry when I share stories of his Dad with him.
Without his companionship, his love, I'd be lost.
Always, just like Carol, there when grief suddenly overwhelms me--
Always, just like Carol, there to celebrate my virtual travels with Third Act too.


 And I've been in the northwoods of Wisconsin too, thanks to Carol.
On Skpe too, and in texts, our sisterhood has never been stronger
Her wisdom, her always knowing what to say--
When I'm in tears, when I'm frustrated, when I fear I'm unraveling
Is unequaled.
Without her gifts of love and grace, I don't know where I'd be now.

From a Third Act Educators Working Group Call

I've been traveling too with Third Act
meeting and welcoming educators across our nation and collaborating with other Third Actors-- 
from Alaska to Florida, California to New York, Florida to Maine (43 states total).  
And I've met, chatted with, laughed with, commiserated with the kindest, compassionate seniors who want to continue to make a difference. 
Those Zoom calls give me hope-- 
that underneath all the noise, the vitriol, and the violence are a massive group of Americans who hope to, plan to, act to, will --
stabilize our democracy and our planet
Collaborating with other elders, experienced Americans from across the country is invigorating and fun!
And as I give my all to the Educators Working Group, the National Welcome Calls, and the Google Docs on demand coaching--
I find some comfort 
And on the challenging days, I remind myself that all this is to honor my beloved Gus.

And to be entirely honest, on the road virtually is my preferred mode these days--
For everytime I get into the car
I'm alone
without my co pilot who had been always there with me
ever since I retired in 2004.
And I miss him more (if that's even possible)
His hand on my knee, 
his "ok" when he looked to the right to tell me it was ok to turn,
his choosing which CD -- Three Dog Night, Chuck Mangione
His checking out the forsythia in the spring
American flags coming home from Chardon
Or the Canadian geese in 2 different locations.
Some days I can almost smile and others a tear or two roll down my cheek.

"Grief is surprising.  Not at first, when you are prepared for it to pick you up and slam you against the rocky shore, but later, in a month or two or ten.  Anyone who thinks the shortest distance between two points is a straight line does not understand grief." --Steve Leder The Beauty of What Remains, p 137

Saturday, April 30, 2022



Listen to excerpt from Carole King-- Tapestry

40 years
The 2 of us
Since my retirement in 2004, it was 24/7
Everywhere together
Tackling projects together
In the kitchen cooking together
Grocery shopping together
In his hospital room following his surgery together 

Each complementing the other
What my shoulders couldn't stand, he did
What his legs wouldn't cooperate for, I did

"Our love is woven
Of a thousand strands—"
-The Dark Night (XVIII) May Sinclair - 1863-1946

An extraordinary tapestry created by those years together
The warp, the weft, the thousand strands--- so inextricably woven, strong and beautiful

"Weaving involves crossing two threads, the warp and the weft, one vertical and the other horizontal, one stretched taut and the other undulating and intertwined with the first. To produce the textile it is necessary for these two threads to be bound, otherwise each will remain a fragile and fluttering potentiality...if the meeting of opposites does not take place, nothing is created, for each element is defined by its opposite and takes its meaning from it."

--Dario Valcarenghi, Kilim History and Symbols, as quoted in
ZATI The Art of Weaving a Life

I think that for us, sometimes he was the warp 
And at others, it was me.  
That only added to the depth and majesty of the weave.

Then he was gone

the "weft interrupted" 
And I wondered on that tapestry
That for my life was still unfinished--

"Kilim or slit weave leaves holes in a way that keeps the fabric strong. It teaches us that where there are places of loss, where the weft is interrupted, and there is a hole in the fabric of our lives, that fabric is still strong.The gap in the fabric becomes an opening through which to see from another perspective. In our woven lives, the empty spaces are the very places where we can see with new eyes, where we can look behind the day-to-day weaving for a moment to see our deeper truths within." From

An opening through which to see from another perspective 

"Isn't that the challenge for all of us who have lost people we love-- to keep them alive, to enable them to speak to us from a measuring cup or a breeze, a smell, a taste, a dream; to let them see life, and to live life through us? ...See it, see it all for them. You who mourn lost loves, let them dwell in the pupils of your eyes, let them live in memory."  p. 205, Leder, The Beauty of What Remains

A blossoming belief that perhaps I can continue the weave on this tapestry in ways not previously considered before, yet one true to his memory and to me. But what?

Encouraged by Carol and Butch, I turned to the web to find out more about weaving itself and how I might engage-- for I had long thought (years ago) I might like to learn to weave. 

To my delight, I discovered The Creativity Patch and Lucy
What a gift as I continued weaving the threads of the new stage of my life and as I began to learn a little about weaving. 

Starting tiny (and I do mean tiny)
Moving up a bit
Sending bookmarks and mug rugs to family members yet always challenged by the selvages
Picking Lucy's brain to graduate to a larger loom and placemats, gradually increasing the difficulty of the weave. 

Seeing through another perspective-- 
Looking out through my window on the world now 
With him always with me, living in memory

That window on the world often dismaying me 
As the hate, the violence, the polarization
Continues to tear the fabric of our nation

And Carol, in one of our conversations on weaving and the state of our nation, points me to We Are Weavers, a group founded by David Brooks,

"But Weavers share an ethos that puts relationship over self. We are born into relationships, and the measure of our life is in the quality of our relationships. We precedes me.

They want to live in right relation with others and to serve the community good.

I guess my ask is that you declare your own personal declaration of interdependence and decide to become a Weaver instead of a ripper." 

That idea "we precedes me" and "to serve the community good" speaks to me--
Is that what was missing in my new weaving of the fabric of my, of our lives?

Not one for coincidence
New York Times op ed from Bill McKibben caught my attention

For those over 60 who want to work together to stabilize the planet and our democracy 
There it was---  "we precedes me" and "to serve the community good"  and more

Thinking together on Elderhood and how that suggests a different perspective

Espousing these working principles
1) Be kind
2) Be humble (a little)
3) Be inclusive—really!
4) Boost others!
5) Take care of yourself
6) Back up the youths!
7) Be generous, but not to a fault!
8) Be accountable
9) Be creative!
10) We’re all in this together
It felt right when I read about it
It feels right now
And I think it adds just the right thread, especially with an educator affinity group collaborating, to this tapestry.

"My life has been a tapestry
Of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision
Of the ever-changing view"

I'm wondering how that tapestry might grow and change in the coming days, weeks, and months of the weaving threads together?

Seeing through another perspective-- 
Looking out through my window on the world now 
With him always with me, living in memory

Saturday, April 02, 2022

The trough

September 22, 2021, the day my life was altered forever

My beloved Gus, husband and soulmate of 40 years, left this life

But for my sister, Carol, who has called every night and sent me myriads of poems and readings via US mail, and Butch, Gus' son, who skypes daily, I think I would be lost, drowned in the trough as Judy Brown so beautifully writes. Carol sent this poem at just the right time I think -- after a really tough day at the 6 month mark.  And yes I do keep count--

Unable to put feelings to words
Chest heavy and hurting
Trying to keep so busy to fill the emptiness (the house is cleaner than it's been in a long time)
Laughing with Carol or Butch and then later sobbing alone
Staying up late enough to just collapse into bed so I could sleep
This image depicts me in the first few months and intermittently now

Grief flickr photo by HerryLawford shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

As I nodded, sometimes smiled, and wept, 
And underlined and turned down corner pages
As Steve Leder's writing spoke to me
I was more able to make that choice, to choose what I remembered
Rather than be haunted by the hard months prior to his death and that night
But the joy, the love, the special times we had -- and those abound
The beauty of what remains

Each day my conversations with Gus
Focus more and more on that
And it seems that perhaps now I realize I am growing around my grief

That I can now write this, and hopefully actually be able to verbalize it soon to Carol and Butch
For that I am grateful--

As Judy writes:
But if we rest there in the trough, in silence, 
being in the low part of the wave, 
keeping our energy and noticing the shape of things, the flow, 
then time alone will bring us to another place where we can see horizon,
see land again, 
regain our sense of where we are, and where we need to swim.
I'm feeling maybe I can see the land again and may be able to regain my sense of where I need to swim--

Monday, April 09, 2018

An invitation

Bud Hunt's April poetry prompts #NPM2018 have called to me-- no poet and yet here I am --

Prompt 3

An invitation--
to slow down and listen to surroundings
the murmurings of the wind and bird songs often lost in the frenzy of each day

to slow down and listen to our hearts
the beating that sustains
the passions that drive
the faith and love that maintain

An invitation to listen that enables considering and embracing endless possibilities

Friday, March 31, 2017

Work in Progress 2

Reading Chapter 5 of the BlendKit Reader and 

Coming upon this quote:
"there is a work-in-progress aspect to conceptualizing quality in blended learning"
Really really appreciating 
Taking me immediately back 
To an earlier post from February of last year

As I noted there:
My life has been and continues to be
A work in progress
Whether it be
Cleaning the house
Designing learning environments/experiences
Any other of a myriad of focus

At that time I was wondering and thinking out loud-- which activities/processes that I had just uncovered might best enable learning in the Blended Learning ecourse I was designing 
for Powerful Learning Practice. And as I was considering and thinking on the inquiry environment in which learning would occur, it became even more clear that my aspiration for quality might/should always be a work in progress-- For although I had quite a repertoire of processes/protocols/routines that encouraged interaction and deeper thinking, it has been my experience that there are always more that I haven't yet unearthed. In addition, the tech tools that enable these interactions among learners and with the content are constantly changing and offering greater affordances for learning.

So to discover this perspective in this reading-- after exploring the rubrics and checklists full of ideas yet in many ways prescriptive, at least for me-- caused me to smile broadly. For when I was asking last year in that post, "And that's OK, right?", here was an answer.

Joe Fahs notes "merits and limitations" in the use of rubrics and checklists for Quality Assurance while also adding his favorite quotes, one of which resonates with me:

“One might argue that faculty in meaningful dialogue with other faculty about the teaching/learning process is the most effective form of faculty development with everything else being merely layers of facilitation.
In addition, I'm wondering on the role of learners in supporting the work to assure quality learning environments. When the reading suggests:
"it is in the lived experience of teaching a course (regardless of modality) that much can go wrong (or right)"
from which designers can learn, I'm thinking that learner input is also of value as they have lived that experience also.

Finally, the reading's stance, that designers may

That stance-- of a learner--- can influence, IMHO. everything.
From gleaning new activities/processes as a life long learner of designs for learning
To being open to the possibilities of new learning learning landscapes
To continually aspiring to create the best of environments for learning
And to realizing that designing for learning is
Always a work in progress.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

THIS Caught my Attention

". Attention" flickr photo by Juliana Coutinho shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Springlike weather in March
The cold water pipe to the washer leaking in the basement
The neighbor's dog on our deck
And daffodils blooming just outside our front window
Just a few of the many distractions---

And suddenly as I was reading Chapter Four of the BlendKit Reader,  THIS caught my attention.  

A quote from Laurillard has been a favorite of mine:
"There is no escape from the need for dialogue, no room for mere telling, nor for practice without description, nor for experimentation without reflection, nor for student action without feedback." 
Laurillard, D, 2002. Rethinking University Teaching: A Conversational Framework for the Effective Use of Learning Technologies, 2nd edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer 
but I wasn't really familiar with her work and so with the table I was intrigued, wanting to learn more -- finding this (her thoughts on the design of learning environment) 
(1) Discussion between the teacher and the learner
  • Teachers' and learners' conception should be mututally accessible
  • Both should agree on learning objectives
(2) Adaptation of the learners actions and of the teacher's constructed environment.
  • Teacher must adapt objectives with regards to existing conceptions
  • Learners must integrate feedback and link it to his own conceptions
(3) Interaction between the learner and the environment defined by the teacher
  • Teacher must "adapt to world", i.e. create an environment adapted to the learning task given to the learner
  • Teacher must focus on support for task and give appropriate feedback to the learner.
(4) Reflection of the learner's performance by both teacher and learner
  • Teacher should support the learner to revise his conceptions and to adapt the task to learning needs
  • Learners should reflect with all stages of the learning process (initial concepts, tasks, objectives, feedback, ...)

Her schema is based on forming an information rich environment in which the student has control in discovering knowledge, but the discovery is supported and scaffolded by extra guidance functions (Laurillard, 1993) which provide support and feedback for subsequent learning. These functions are analogous to the coaching and scaffolding at critical times proposed in the Situated Cognition Theory.”
Laurillard argues that different media forms have different affordances, i.e. provide a different level of support for various kinds learning experiences. She identifies five media forms: narrative, interactive, communicative, adaptive and productive. According to Conole and Fill (2005), 
  • Narrative media tell or show the learner something (e.g. text, image). 
  • Interactive media respond in a limited way to what the learner does (e.g. search engines, multiple choice tests, simple models). 
  • Communicative media facilitate exchanges between people (e.g. email, discussion forum).
  • Adaptive media are changed by what the learner does (e.g. some simulations, virtual worlds). 
  • Productive media allow the learner to produce something (e.g. word processor, spreadsheet).”
At Powerful Learning Practice, we have always stressed the critical importance of effective use of technology for learning, of using the right tool at the right time and so this resonated with me on that level. In addition, this framework of discussion, adaption, interaction, and reflection seems to be one around which we can ground inquiry learning environments which I feel hold the greatest potential for learning; a framework that may be very helpful to educators shifting to learner driven/centered environments.

The table from the BlendKit reading and the quote above offer differing terms for the types of activities and media--  experiential from the table appears to enable an additional dimension to learning and that resonates deeply with me.  As I continue to think on how I might adapt/adopt the table, I'm wondering how including both tools for designing and more learner tools for documenting learning along with blending/merging where possible the activity types and thinking that might be a focus of future inquiry for me.