Created by Jack Ohman for the Sacramento Bee.

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“Oh no I got distracted by drawing lines on my hand.”

IMG_7282A student has been sharing with me the peripheral entries in her journal/notebook after class on most days. Today, and with great pride, she showed me her entry in her journal and then the actual hand it was based on (see photo below for the recording of this distraction). I’m not entirely clear why she is determined to show me these random entries as opposed to her detailed Constitution notes or reflections on some deep and meaningful quote I have given the students (well, I do have a few theories…). She also finds it personally exciting to be the first person in the class and the last to leave the room.

In class she is mostly on task and regularly shares her very honest comments about the material we are exploring. She always asks pretty meaningful and thoughtful questions always framed with a healthy skepticism. There is something so very dry and droll, sophisticated and witty, delightfully quirky about this student’s humor, intelligence, and point of view. She is very engaged in class activities, but I don’t think that even if I were to make my classroom activities yet more engaging that she would stop this recording of a stray and random doodle or thought, or stop its sharing with me at the end of class.

I really, really, really find this student absolutely fascinating. I don’t know exactly what trajectory she will take this year, but I am enthusiastically there for the ride.


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Sonnet 73: “That time of year thou mayst in me behold” by William Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
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The hardest qigong and t’ai chi posture

yin-yangThere’s a woman in my qigong and t’ai chi class who usually drives me crazy. Every time she comes into the class she goes straight to the temperature control to make sure the room is warm enough for her which is way too hot for everyone else. If you are warming up doing some of the movements she will walk right up to you and begin a conversation— usually in a voice way too loud. She will interrupt others, changing the subject and direction of conversations, so that she can be heard and noticed. She always asks way too many questions of our teacher which causes the work of our class to be delayed. Fortunately, once the class begins, she is quiet and engaged and focused.

Lately I have embraced this woman as part of my qigong practice. She forces me to let her know in as diplomatic a way as possible what my needs are (i.e., being left alone while focusing on postures before class). She forces me to tell her when she is interrupting so that original conversation can reach its organic closure and then her issues can be addressed. She encourages me (without any awareness on her part) to be direct but kind, clear but assertive about my needs and everyone else’s in the class.

I am sure that this particular qigong/ t’ai chi posture is the hardest one so far that I have experienced. I am still not entirely graceful yet in its execution and I haven’t yet fully integrated it into my practice without great effort of thought, intention, and control, but I am clearly making progress. And so is she.

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Ken Robinson: Full Body Education

2014-10-10-education     —————————————————-(illustrated by Gavin Aung Than 2014)


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Wedge of Dawn


A wedge of dawn this morning as I worked my way south to work. Up late preparing for class and grading papers. Up early to get to school before traffic on Lake Shore Drive gets too solid and clogged and before the parking becomes impossible in Hyde Park. Somehow today’s wedge of dawn made it all worthwhile, pushing open the day at the lake’s horizon in stunning triangular beauty. It’s all I can do to pour coffee into my body to wedge open my eyes.

It’s a sacred experience having the lake accompany me at my left on my morning journey to work each day, on my right as I head home. I just have to remind myself to pay attention.

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Blood Moon

ImageJB could not help himself. Somewhere around 4:00 this morning he woke me up to come outside and look at the Blood Moon lunar eclipse. I have to admit, I could have put up a fight, and rolled over and gone back to sleep, but there is something so poetic and magical and compelling about the phenomena of nature, that I did, in fact, foggily find some shoes and clothes to throw on and make my way to our backyard. There JB was sitting on a chair behind his tripodded camera. “It’s amazing. Do you see the red?” I wasn’t sure if it were just my eyes that were heavy-lidded or if the red really was there.

It was still outside. Cool but not chilly. And there was the full moon with the first bite of its eclipse appearing at the left. I was thrown back to more primitive times wondering how our ancestors responded to this lunar disappearance. Then my endurance abandoned me and I weakened to the call of sleep. I went back upstairs to the still warm sheets, knowing that JB would be out in the yard documenting the whole process of the earth’s shadow passing over the moon.

This is called a Blood Moon because of the way the sunlight scatters in our atmosphere. The light reflected off the lunar surface passes through Earth’s atmosphere, where all the  colors of the spectrum, but the reds, are stripped away.

Once I crawled back into bed, I wasn’t sure if I had actually been outside or not, whether the Blood Moon was a lucid dream or an actual observation. I remembered thinking that I would know in the morning if JB had the photographic evidence.

(Photo by JB) 

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