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It’s okay to reach out to a friend for no reason whatsoever

A lot of people in my life seem to need a friend to reach out to them this week.

To send a virtual hug, to give a pep talk, to say "yeah, that guy IS a jerk!"

To just be reminded they’re not alone.

I’ve never been good about reaching out, but this week I’m trying harder. Not just because it’s Mental Health Day on October 10 (which it is) but just because we all need to be reminded that there’s someone out there thinking of us, especially now.

Who can you send a text to today to let them know you’re thinking of them? Even just a book or TV show that made you think of them? Or use it as an excuse to share a funny GIF you saw. 🥰

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Who needs a magical fairy door to somewhere right now?

Me! I do!
So I made one.
It was a fun project and I certainly could have done more, but it’s a good first start.
The kids helped picked out the spot.
They were worried it might be too high up, but I pointed out fairies can fly, so it’s probably fine.
And we’ll keep working on it, maybe put a deck up for the fairies to land on.
This was inspired both by my daughter’s love of building fairy houses right now, and by my discovery of the Tiny Doors of Atlanta.
I love miniatures in general, and would love to go check those out someday! And make some of my own.

In play,
Beth

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Playful meditations: Walking at night

moon and stars
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Sometimes enriching moments are the quietest ones; the times we find ourselves alone, quiet, with nothing to do or think about other than what is immediately in front of you. A meditation on what is happening now.

I got to experience that tonight. I have been working from home this week and so my normal routines have been disturbed, meaning I have not been taking my normal short walks in the morning and afternoon. The first time I really got to go walk tonight was after the kids were asleep, just after 8pm. It seemed late but I needed to get out, so I strapped on my sneakers and jacket and headed out the door.

I walked briskly to stay warm, although the air was not as cold as I had expected. The street lights were enough that I did not need a flashlight, but still dark enough that I felt the blanket of dark surround me.

There is something much more meditative about going for a walk late at night rather than staying inside and exercising to a TV or on a treadmill. I breathed in the air deeply, smelling the wood fire smoke coming from a fireplace. I could feel the quiet of the night envelop me, I could hear only my own breath, and feel the solitude of the night.

It reminded me a little bit of staying out late in high school and community college. We lived near a beach town, and on summer nights we’d stay out on the beach until well after it officially closed, basking in the dark and fog and solitude and freedom.

I ended up not being the only one out this evening, but with a nod and a smile, all half dozen of us seemed to silently acknowledge that we were each aware of the comfortable quiet companionship of the night.

Sometimes the quietest activities are the most enriching. I need to try and find other opportunities for it.

What has worked for you? What are your quiet enrichment moments? A cup of coffee? Driving home in the car? Knitting? I’d love to get some more ideas. Leave it in the comments below.

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“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic”

Books make us think, feel, and wonder.

Lost and Found Books

Illustration by Ezra Jack Keats via Every Child A reader Illustration by Ezra Jack Keats via Every Child A reader

Carl Sagan (1934-1996), astronomer and book lover:

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.

Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

~excerpt from the 11th episode of Carl Sagan’s 1980s Cosmos series, titled “The Persistence of Memory”

More information about this illustration at http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Pages/keats/Ezra-Jack-Keats.html

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5 things that make me fulfilled

  1. Taking photos
  2. Getting outside into nature
  3. Creating playful spaces
  4. Creating experiences that can be shared
  5. Designing home spaces or outdoor spaces

What are the things that make you feel not just happy, but fulfilled, truly that feeling of inspiration and completeness?

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Putting children at the heart of urban planning: a call for action

Focusing on designing and making a city kid-friendly has been found to be make a city more friendly and usable for all!

Rethinking Childhood


Authors: Tim Gill, Adrian Voce, Darell Hammond and Mariana Brussoni

Cities around the world are failing children. 30 years after the launch of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – which aimed to make children’s needs and views central in policy making – most cities are hostile if not life-threatening places for their youngest inhabitants.

The global death toll of children on the roads is surely the most shocking illustration of the failure of urban planning. Road traffic is the leading global cause of death among people aged 15–29, and the second highest single cause of death for children aged 5–14.

Dangerous hilly road with cars and pedestrians, Ciudad Bolivar, Bogota Ciudad Bolivar, Bogota

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From The New Yorker: In France, Elder Care Comes with the Mail – Carriers for La Poste have a new job: checking in on the aged.

A mail carrier in Lomita, CA will knock on the door of my 95 year old grandmother every day there is a mail delivery, just out of the kindness of his heart. With this new service in France, postal carriers will also notify the elders’ families of any updates. It is so good to see this natural kind of fit become more structured and organized, and doing more to keep elders connected to their community and family members.

For less than 40 euros a month Monique Jaspart receives weekly home visit from her mail carrier Aurore Raquet through a program called Veiller Sur Mes Parents - Watch over my parents
From the New Yorker: For less than forty euros a month, Monique Jaspart receives weekly home visits from her mail carrier, Aurore Raguet, through a program called Veiller Sur Mes Parents (“Watch Over My Parents”).

From The New Yorker:

In a sense, Watch Over My Parents was created by accident. The service began in 2013, after a heat wave, when a number of overburdened city halls asked their local post offices to check on vulnerable and elderly residents. Éric Baudrillard, the director of V.S.M.P., told me that there has always been a “natural link between the French and their postal workers.” At first, La Poste was happy to do the check-ins for free. Soon afterward, though, it proposed a paid version of the program, called Cohésio, for insurance companies and municipal governments. The service was extended to the general public in 2017, under the name V.S.M.P.

In France, as in many developed countries, people are living longer than ever before. By 2035, a third of the population will be over sixty. Millions of people over the age of seventy-five already live alone. As the population ages and disperses, with more young people moving away from their birthplaces, traditional safety nets—family, community, the government—may not be enough to support the elderly. V.S.M.P. is a response to this grim prognosis; La Poste sees opportunity in “la silver économie.”

Read the entire article Here .

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Still kicking!

Hello old friends!
It has been awhile since I’ve written. I’ve missed you all.

I’ve taken on some new projects in my life the last few months that are truly all-consuming. Fun (mostly) but also requiring a lot of time, and frankly the same brain power I normally use for this blog.
I also am considering tweaking the blog a bit – not a lot, just making it more focused. But I’d love to hear your thoughts, what do YOU want to learn more about? What is exciting for you to read and ponder?

I’ve also gone on so many fun, enriching experiences that I want to share here (so much for focusing. 😉 )

For now, I just wanted to share a few photos of my adventures, both big and small.

I suppose I could just check in with more short notes like this – I always strive to create something great, but sometimes just showing up is great enough.
I’ll keep checking in.

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Break the system – with flowers (Guerilla Gardening)

Because nature is chaotic! Gardening is cathartic and also great at just forcing us into being playful and seeing what happens.

I’ve been having a hard time getting out and playing in my garden this summer – and everything has turned to weeds!
I’ve been looking for some inspiration, or some way to make things more "fun".

Whenever I need a little playful inspiration, I just look up "Guerilla Gardening" and am never disappointed.

Check out one of the original Guerilla Gardening sources: http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggtroopdigs2.html

Curious? Want to start? Yes please! Fight the power, with flowers! Here are some tips to get started:

https://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggtips.html

https://www.seattleweekly.com/arts/a-beginners-guide-to-guerrilla-gardening/

architecture · community · play

Seattle may get a new neighborhood. How will they incorporate green and playful space?

The National Guard is moving out of its long-time location in Interbay, a historically industrial part of North Seattle. It is near two very posh neighborhoods, close to the tech and business center of Seattle, and right next to the new light rail being developed and built over the next decade.

Seattle wants to be proactive about how they design this new space. There is a sense of inevitability hanging over this project that it will be dominated by high-density condos and be catered to the young urban techies working at Amazon, Google, and Facebook all just two miles down the road.

interbay

But it doesn’t have to be. Or rather, that high-density urban development doesn’t HAVE to preclude itself from ALSO including green spaces and playful design incorporated into the end product.

The location itself is also a serendipitous mix amazing natural features like water and parks in a central location to many in Seattle, at least those north of downtown.

Lots of different consultants and teams are already weighing in on what this area could look like.

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Plan above from of the KUOW article that cued me into this. Notice there isn’t a lot of incorporation of play structures or green space, other than the trees lining the light rail path and a couple of smaller parks.

Interested to learn more? The city is having an open house Wednesday May 15, 2019, to discuss options. It would be GREAT to have voices go and support the need for open play spaces in the new development, whatever it may look like. Bring your ideas and let your voice be heard:

Interbay Public Development Open House