Pen to paper

I have always put pen to paper. For as long as I can remember I have loved words, stories, and the connection and meaning they have on our lives. In elementary school, writing stories came naturally to me. Maybe it was because the crazy amount of books I read. The books inspired me to write and create my own version of reality. Writing for me came in a variety of forms. I often wrote in a journal and recapped my world, my questions, my painful moments, and sometimes the happy times. Although often I found I was lead to write when things were not good, as it was a way to process and formulate my thoughts and feelings.

For a few years in elementary school, I was the class representative to go to a Young Author’s Conference in my town, where you would bring your handmade book and had to read it in front of a group. If I remember correctly there were even finalists from the conference that went to a state version. In fourth and fifth grade, there was the “Little Hoosiers” writing contest, where we were to write about someone in our life that had grown up in Indiana. One year I wrote about my Great Aunt E’Beth, someone I had interacted with only a few times. She was related to us on my grandmother’s side of the family and had an interesting life. I researched her and her husband’s impact on my hometown in the early 1920’s. It was interesting to learn how integral and active they were in the community, and I found out later that I had won second place in Indiana for my essay on Aunt E’Beth.

Short stories, research/historical writing, and journal writing… there were so many ways that words inspired me. Then something happened. Life got crazy taking care of my mom, college, and then taking care of my grandma. Other things consumed me. I stopped writing and processing a world that sometimes did not always make much sense. Eventually I began to write in a journal almost daily. I made notes of quotes that inspired me. I made sure to spend time every day writing. But nothing like I did as a child. I wrote for me, but never really went back and explored the short fiction writing that I did as a kid. I think about it often and even dream about what it would be like to have a book pour out of my fingertips.

If you write, are a writer, or have that urge to let the words flow, I encourage you to write just a little bit everyday. There is something inside me that wants to go back to being that little girl and write all the crazy ideas that came into my head. I know one day my mind will quiet enough to let the words inside come out. For now, and over the last 3 years my writing has morphed into this blog, and I hope the ideas that have escaped my mind have inspired and uplifted those of you that read random olio.

Bikes instead of desks

I am a fan of activity. We sit too much. We watch television, surf the Internet, and generally have become less mobile in recent years. I am not one that is comfortable sitting for long periods of time. I need to move. So when I saw that schools are utilizing standing desks, I thought: “What a great idea.” The article is titled: “Standing Desks Are Coming To Schools, To Cure Obesity And Increase Attention Spans” and it is brilliant that the focus is on obesity and attention spans.

I can remember the strange desks we had a school. Either you had one that had a top that pulled up (and sometimes would easily fall back down on your hand or your head). The base was made of metal, and the top part was made of wood. The other variation we had in my school was also wood + metal, but the desktop did not lift up, rather there was almost a cove/drawer that did not move and was open where you kept all your supplies. I think if I had a choice looking back I would take the more lethal variety of the open top desk. It allowed you to find things more easily, even if it sometimes felt like a hatchet.

In any case, neither desk did anything to help with obesity or attention spans which is why I love the idea of having kids stand. Whether for the attention span aspect of being able to focus more readily or to learn how to sit still, even if it means it is happening while standing. I wonder how many elementary school boys can stand long enough to make it through a class each day? However, if they can pass the test, maybe that is amazing progress for other kids.

Or you can take it to an entirely new level. with this Fast Company article titled: “This School Has Bikes Instead Of Desks–And It Turns Out That’s A Better Way To Learn.” Maybe we can have an amalgamation of both standing desks and bikes to add some variety. Well, actually mostly all for variety. I agree with the article, with physical education and recess being cut either entirely or significantly, maybe these are the new options for maintaining activity at schools?

A more focused and active child, what is not to love? What do you think?


So I was recently thinking of a summer while I was in college. I was a camp counselor, and I had the most hilarious camper. She somehow had been taught (or made up herself) that breasts, boobs, whatever you want to call them were “oobajubawobbles.” Oh what fun the counselors had with that one (after hours of course). If only I could remember each word she had for the size. She had a different word for flat to massive. Normal size was oobajubawobbles, extra-large were super oobajubawobbles…the list goes on.

Ah, the fun and randomness of little ones. If I remember correctly she was in elementary school. Talking about oobajubawabbles made her laugh so much, so I did not mind. Even if we were really talking about breasts. I love that something that happened 15+ years ago brings a smile to my face, and a chuckle. I do not remember what she looked like, and I do not remember her name, but the word was so different that the story has never left me.

As someone who can get excited while talking, thus talk fast and often smooshes words together I have a fun time thinking of all the strange words I have made up over the years. Chris and I often find we make up words that only we know and understand what they mean. We use them in public, or sometimes awkward situations and we both can communicate without those we are with understanding the meaning of our words. So maybe it is not just kids that say the darndest things.

In case you were wondering there are no search results on for: oobajubawobbles. Maybe today we can make history. Share this blog post and let’s see if we can make it findable on google. For that little girl who could not stop laughing about oobajubawobbles.


Voracious desire to learn…

What I remember most about my mom was that she loved children and that she was a teacher. From before I even went to school, there were kids and babies underfoot in our house. When I was really little until about second grade, my mom ran a day care in our house. I had a love/hate relationship with her job. I loved the constant and instant access to playdates and friends. I can still remember the names of the children and some of our many adventures on our back porch, quasi above ground pool, outside riding bikes, etc. Even the time when one of the boys proposed to me and gave me a ring, (yes I guess courting starts young doesn’t it?) What I hated – was that I had to share my toys, my bedroom (babies sleeping), and my mom when I came home from school at the end of the day.

A few years later she moved to her main love, teaching elementary school. Again, I had a love/hate relationship. When I was in second grade, she was the secondary teacher in the “other” second grade classroom. For anyone who knows what it was like to have your mom teach in your school, or be highly involved in your school, there were times when you loved that they were nearby, and other times when you were going through growing pains, teased, or gaining your own independence, that you wished you were dropped off at school only to see them at the end of the day.

Either way, we do not get to pick what our parents do for a living or how they are present (or not) in our life. We do eventually have the opportunity to look in hindsight and see what we learn, or how these experiences evolve us into the people we are today. I am grateful to have had those years with my mom, watching her extreme patience (I wish I was granted with such patience). She valued education and learning and even now thinking about it, she got her masters in teaching in her forties, not an easy feat with three growing kids and a job. Maybe that is why I have such a voracious desire to constantly learn new things.

I am not a teacher. I absolutely love children, but I do not think I would have the patience to spend my day in a classroom and then come home sane to my family. I admire, commend, and appreciate each and every individual that teaches in a classroom. You shape the world for so many little (and not so little) beings each and every day. Thank you, mom, for teaching me to solve problems, crave ideas, and to continuously try new things. Miss you.

Memories of creativity?

Do you remember that first childhood moment when you felt creative? I remember the house I grew up in often had many projects in differing states of completion. It might have been an art project, or learning to bake something in the kitchen, or my mom was canning, or my sister was singing, you name it. At the time I did not know that the different creative projects I did as a kid with my mom or sister would be something I would want to continue doing as I grew into adulthood. Looking back, I am grateful that I grew up in a home that cultivated creativity, as that is now the thread that weaves itself throughout my life.

my first Batik

my first Batik

I distinctly remember doing batik at home with my mom. I do not know if I learned how to do it at school and then wanted to do it at home, or vice versa. After purchasing some Rit dye, in the range of navy and cobalt blue, some muslim fabric, and wax we were in business. I will not bore you with the step-by-step details, but after melting the wax, I painted it on in the pattern I wanted to stay the creme muslim color. Once that was complete we dyed the fabric and I had my batik artwork. I believe we stretched the final piece around cardboard. If I were doing it today, I would probably stretch it around a wood frame or pressed board for durability.

Maybe it was because we did not have a television growing up, but I found that my free hours would be spent with creative art projects (oh and of course reading). Eventually, in elementary school, I applied and submitted a portfolio to be apart of a Gifted and Talent art class. If I remember correctly, the class met after school. I was accepted and so thrilled. I loved the different projects I got to do as part of that class. I also remember really enjoying drawing. In one art class we learned to draw upside down. See link for the famous Pablo Picasso drawing that we used to learn this technique. Does this image look familiar? Did you learn a similar technique?

I am a strong proponent of exposing kids to all types of creative activities. Even if they do not become artists; the problem solving skills, willingness to try new things, and the potential confidence they learn, it is worth it. Maybe in the end they do become artists.

Were you a creative kid? If so, what were your earliest memories of being creative?