Sunday, May 5, 2013

Padfolio Mod Project

Padfolio Mod

Three years ago, when I became Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts, I purchased an “executive padfolio.” It was perfectly practical on the inside and hideously ugly on the outside. It had a unique feature that allowed you to fit a sketchbook and an iPad in the pocket side. I tried over the years to hide the ugliness under stickers and tape. It just looked worse as the stickers rolled up, wore off and collected grime. I searched and searched for a better looking model that had the same flexible feature, but it never appeared. Recently, I came across some wonderful binder mods by Amanda Hawkins and I was inspired. Since my tour of duty as Chair is coming to a close, I thought it would be the perfect time to dissect the padfolio and put it back together again – for a new and more creative life.

Padfolio Mod

I carefully cut the cover off and discarded it, while preserving the integrity of the inside structure. I found an old collage in my flat files that happened to be the perfect size and consisted of some of my favorite symbols for creativity and mortality. I ran it through the laminator with lam on one side and adhesive on the other and cut it in half. Then I found some old left over book cloth with adhesive on the back from some hard cover journals I made a few years ago. It was perfect for the spine – flexible and durable. I used black duct tape to bind the edges of the whole thing and now I have a very functional organizer that I like to look at.

Restore | Recycle | Reuse | Reinvent | Recharge | Rejuvenate | Release | Rework | Refashion | Refocus |  Relief

Padfolio Mod

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Drawing Thinking Drawing Thinking

I am still planning to continue posting to this blog as inspiration arises, but I am focusing more energy towards my current creative research and the associated blog:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Eating Frogs and Drinking Lemonade

Our Hydrangeas Sometimes we make plans and life intervenes. Sometimes these plans are for two months of travel over the summer - plans that have unfolded in the same manner every summer for 10 years. Completely unraveled. So, here I sit in my house in the same spot I sit every other morning of the year while my husband does the traveling without me. The reason is not insignificant - you do what needs to be done. That doesn’t mean there is no disappointment or sadness or grief. It just means that priorities are best kept in order and in this case it was the right thing to do.

So, here I am, eating frogs and drinking lemonade. Frogs include such things as doctors appointments and difficult work projects. This blog post is a frog. I have been procrastinating on writing and posting - using distractions and mundane tasks not to post, not to write, not to make. An example of lemonade can be found in the picture you see here. Our Hydrangea bush - since we are gone every summer, I have never seen it in its full glory. This year it is loaded and blue. I will have fresh cut Hydrangeas for as long as they last. Pardon me, while I take another sip of fresh lemonade.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Email Deluge

If email is not a problem for you, I would not bother to read on. Go spend your fruitful time elsewhere.

It is annual report/performance review time at my job. I am looking back and completing a rough accounting of all the things I accomplished (or not) last year. Where did all that time and energy go? Out of morbid curiosity, I did some very rough calculations on the amount of time I spent on work related email. I am horrified by the results.

8,500 received

3,200 sent

(These numbers are rounded down by 5% for possible error or duplication and comprise work related email only. This is not a scientific analysis nor pretends to be.)

OK, so we’ll look at an extremely rough calculation on this:
Let’s say I spent an average of 5 minutes writing each of these 3,200 emails. (Obviously, some took seconds and some I slaved over, but 5 minutes is probably a reasonable average.) That equals about 267 hours or 6.75 forty-hour work-weeks of responding to work related emails. (This figure does not include reading the ones received - I work in academia - academics are not known for their brevity.)

The numbers are ugly. I am unable to bring myself to scrutinize this further in order to estimate the real time involved in all aspects of this communication. This is not the way I want to spend my life or my work. This is not the way I want the people I work with to spend their time. It is time for me to step away from the machine(s). My machine driven life is out of control. I am complicit. I am addicted. This is NOT how I want to spend the second half of my life.

So, here’s my resolution for 2012: to live in my body – to detach from the machine (as much as possible within the confines of my career requirements.) It doesn’t help that my livelihood depends on the machine, BUT how much work can I do without it? How much time can I spend without it? How many of these emails actually require a response? How many emails are truly critical for me to send? How can I build borders and boundaries around the reading and response to email?

I’m not looking for “Inbox Zero” or to be more efficient with email communication – I’m striving for less – less reading, less writing, less processing. Just less. Much less. The goal is more flesh presence (I like being in the room with you); more creative work; more book reading; more writing; more time in real life, in the real world, in real dimensions. Yes, I’ve read all the articles on email management and I was GTD long before it was the hip-geek thing to be (I took my first workshop with David Allen when I was 25 – and that was 25 years ago.) No, this about email abstinence, detox and mindfulness. This is not about being more organized. It is about leveling up the mind, body and spirit. This is about no longer participating in the insanity.

In an effort to conserve my time and energy and my colleague’s time and energy, I hereby vow to respond to fewer emails, to send fewer emails and to proselytize to the congregation until every damn one of you is converted. So, when you see me next week and ask me if I received your email, the answer is “yes.” I just didn’t think it was worth my time or yours to respond.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Have you forgotten how to play?

I have and I am trying to relearn this valuable skill.

One of the best presents I received for my half century birthday was a coaching session with the wonderful Gina LaRoche. We met last week to discuss the deep journaling that she was having me do in preparation for the session and uncovered some interesting things. One of those “things” was the lack of play in my life. This was not a surprise to me - I simply hadn’t had time to reflect on it. Subconsciously, I had already started addressing this by scheduling a weekly half hour Laughter Club at the University. We meet in the Blackbox Theater and laugh and breathe and clap. Sometimes we dance. Sometimes we meditate. Sometimes we speak gibberish. We laugh through obstacles. We laugh through failures. We laugh through successes. We laugh for no reason at all. No matter how depleted I walk into that room, I leave transformed, rejuvenated and de-stressed.

I have led Laughter yoga classes for special events, but I haven’t, until now, been able to create a weekly practice. It is possible and positive to laugh alone, but it isn’t as powerful as a group experience. There is something about the eye contact, seeing others laughing and hearing their peals, giggles, and guffaws that transports the experience. How often do we give ourselves over to uninhibited joyful communing? The weekly refresh and refocus has started to have a profound effect on my overall well being. Is it a biochemical restructuring at the cellular level? Neuronal plasticity? Rebirth of my inner child? None of the answers truly matter to me, because what I am noticing in my life are significant increases in my laugh capacity, lung capacity, and joy capacity. Imagine, all that in 30 minutes a week.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Denmark Roadtrip 2011

Denmark Roadtrip 2011

We have just returned to Oslo from a two week road trip through the Danish countryside.

I have posted some pictures:
Denmark Roadtrip 2011 - a set on Flickr

I try not to take the same pictures over and over, so here are last year’s pics:
Tivoli 2010 - a set on Flickr
Copenhagen 2010 - a set on Flickr

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Life on the Fjord

My favorite beach

I have finally gotten around to posting some pics of our Summer life in Norway:
Norway Summer 2011 - a set on Flickr. We don’t have much internet access (a true blessing!), so we are limited to checking email once or twice a day at most.

Yeah, I know, I have trouble holding the camera straight and I didn't take the time to fix them in Photoshop... ;)