Two Discoveries For The Right Brain

One – Scarlett Johansson can sing. Listen to my new favorite song, Before My Time, from the documentary film Chasing Ice:

Two – This lovely animated cycling film. Oh my gosh: it’s just beautiful!


Hello New Day

Recently, the good folks over at University of Venus posted Deconstructing Proverbs. It’s a good read if, like me, you rely on proverbs to get your points across. I felt myself wanting to contribute to the list, so here are three (why stop at one?):

  1. You made your bed and now you have to sleep in it. Meaning: we all need to take responsibility for our actions, even when they come back to bite us. Own it – and learn from it. (Notice how when I say this proverb, I avoid the lay/lie confusion? Even for this English major, that one always stumps me!)
  2. Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. I’ve often said this to colleagues who start worrying about potential institutional changes well in advance of them needing too. A few weeks ago I said this to my 3-year old who was worrying up a storm 3 days before a swimming lesson he was going to. When I said this, suggesting that we postpone his worrying until a more relevant time, he said, “Which bridge Mama? Ross Island Bridge?” Funny, that boy. Good reminder that proverbs don’t always translate well.
  3. Hello new day. Ok, so this isn’t really a proverb, it’s a lyric from one of my favorite Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers songs. It’s a nice and happy rock & roll song. I say it every morning (sometimes out loud and sometimes in song) because I need the reminder that I get to have a fresh start every day; that yesterday’s “stuff” doesn’t necessarily have to follow me. Check it out – you’ll want to sing along:

See? Sing along:

Well I feel lucky, I feel cool

What can I say?

Every time I give away a dollar or two

I find three more on the way

Now for better or worse, the whole Universe

Is singing along with every song I play

Hello new day!

Of course when I am not feeling so happy and optimistic, I might be heard grumbling this one, which actually may not be a proverb.

Yet. . .

Off Kilter

You know how sometimes things don’t come together as you think they will, or as you’d like them to? In my family we call this “off kilter.” We’re not Irish, so I am not sure how we came to use this term for this feeling, but so it goes. It is a phrase that has sufficiently and with no blame explained times when the universe hasn’t been watching over us.

Here are a few examples of how things are shaping up to be off kilter for me this week:

1) At 3am this morning my kid woke up screaming and crying and didn’t really stop all day — he’s off kilter.

2) Then my computer froze and I had to restart it about ten times before it would even let me move the cursor — it was off kilter.

3) Our lovely spring weather went backwards a few months and those of us in Portland, Oregon felt like we were living in January again — the weather is off kilter (though many natives say it’s just spring in Portland, so what do I know?).

4) And something went wrong with dinner — totally off kilter, no more explanation required.

Then, in thinking more about what “kilter” and “off kilter” meant and doing a bit of Googlestalking to feed my habit, I happened across this video, the band “Off Kilter” singing Whiskey in the Jar, which is one of my favorite Irish jigs. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t recognize it at first.

No offense to these guys — I mean, they’re brave enough to wear kilts and get up on stage and sing and dance  — AND VIDEO TAPE THEMSELVES DOING IT — but really, they’re a bit off kilter, too, which explains their name.

And yet today, my totally off kilter day, I really rocked out to this. Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

Practicing – Everyday

One of my goals is to be able to play the piano as well as I could when I stopped playing the piano 20+ years ago (something I regret everyday).  In this vein, I am practicing a piece called “Everyday,” written by Carly Comando (I was able to buy the sheet music off her MySpace page).

Carly wrote this piece to accompany a video created by her friend Noah called “Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 6 years.”  It’s an interesting video that metaphorically addresses how one person changes, and remains the same, over time — a concept that certainly speaks to the role of learning, personal growth, and change. At the end of the video, Noah writes that he is “a work in progress.” If *that* doesn’t speak to us as learners / students / humans, I don’t know what does!

“Everyday” is a lovely tune (which, by the way, has since been picked up by the NBA and is used in some of their commercials, so it may sound familiar). Here’s the video and the music:

It is my intent, though I have not yet been successful, to practice this according to its title:  everyday. It seems that will likely be the best way for me to actually learn it.  Maybe to support my learning, I should take a video of me playing “Everyday” everyday — this way I might be able to see and hear my progress in a way that I might not otherwise. (How “meta” of me.)

For the time being, you can enjoy the work of Carly and Noah instead; it’s much more ready for public consumption as my version is most certainly still a work in progress. Just like me.



Click the link below to hear what I like to sing when our students turn in their final PLA Portfolios (except I sing it with more gusto – a more celebratory tone – and not exactly these lyrics, and I don’t sing it to them or in public at all, only in the shower or car, when the windows are up.  But still … you get the idea.)

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah

I got to sing it 9 times this past term. 9 times!!! How great is that?  The line that is most relevant here is this: “Well your faith was strong but you needed proof.”  PLA Portfolio = Proof!