Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Workplace dreams and dreams of other flavors

In How we learn and think, I NEED THAT! on September 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I have a box  full of index cards that I keep on my desk. I keep blank cards in my car. When I have an idea or I need to know something more, I write myself a note on the card. Like if I have an idea for a character (or two) or a story or a potential product. I don’t take action on the ideas, well most of them and mostly not yet I hope. In fact, this video talks about how long it takes for an idea to incubate. So that box is my idea incubator, along with various piles of slips of paper and file folders and yes, the bottom of my purse and the little and big blank books that I carry around.

The mere act of writing things down has power.

I found this list of what I wanted in a workplace this morning and thought I’d share it.  I found that I had to be in the anti-space for a long time before I knew what the best place looked like. And amazingly enough, I either have this now or am capable of creating it. Fascinating!

What do you dream about?


Come and play! You too can create wonderful woven wire chains.

In ART!, Make something on September 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm

November 18th, I’m teaching a woven wire chain making class at Eye of the Dog Art Center. There are two styles that you can see in the photo above. One is knitted on a spool, like you did if you were a Brownie as a girl; the other is called Viking knit. Both are very soft and flexible, which still seems odd to me. You can sign up and find out more about other classes by clicking on this link.

And if a single woven chain isn’t sexy enough for you, you can “sew” them together to create bands, like this one:

Or you can sew a string of the chains together and flatten them to make earrings, like these:

Or, do a short chain and add a handmade bead at the end for a pair of dangle earrings. Or add small beads up and down the length of chain. Or weave three strands together and stitch beads into the holes. Or make a wire bolo.

We’ll talk about all of that. Plus, we’ll drink wine while we work.

We’ll be working in copper wire, but silver or gold filled wire makes lovely pieces too.

You’ll get a knitting spool, draw plate and crochet hook so that you can continue to build your collection after this mini-workshop.

Come play with us!

The Olive Harvest Festival, part romance part reality

In Big Fun!, Friend's doing cool stuff that you can share, Let's eat, Wandering on September 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Sevillanos, as big as your head

We went to the Olive Harvest event at the Texas Olive Ranch last week. . . all week. Before we went, I watched the trailer to the documentary in development on the Texas olive oil industry. It made me cry (that’s not really all that difficult, but still. . . ). The trailer is nothing but romance, okay, some hard romance stuff, but still very romantic. I thought, “We too could be olive ranchers and drive the wild olive to harvest.”

I drove through the 2 hour long empty space south of San Antonio to get there [Carrizzo Springs] with romantic movies playing in my head the whole way, my car’s a/c contributing to the  movie theater experience.

I arrived the night before the real event and drove along row after row of heavily laden trees about 10 feet high. There are 40,000 of them. Row upon row.

The trees are overflowing with olives, green olives

The South Texas Sky mounded clouds above them. I drove to the pressing shed; the hosts poured cold wine. It smelled of olive oil, really great olive oil. It doesn’t have air conditioning. The dogs lie on the cool cement floor; I considered it.

Eric arrived in his 1980s conversion van. Since it had no road a/c, we went to the motel and jumped in the pool and took a shower and drank water and did whatever we could to rehydrate Eric.

We camped on top of a hill with a 360 degree view and a lovely breeze, after sitting in the clear evening breeze and watching the stars.

The following day the Harvest Event began, right about the time I was scuttling madly about looking for a tree, a bush, anything to hide behind to pee. Did I mention that unless you plant a tree or a bush, they’re pretty hard to find?

The day broke 100 degrees, before noon. There’s a large aquifer here but no water on top of the ground, except for the olive trees. The water smells of iron and sulfur, if you can find a tap.

We watched parts of the harvest and walked the rows of olive trees having been warned 53 times to watch out for snakes. I had on my snake flip flops; it was too hot for shoes. Olives are flat out beautiful and these spoke of abundance.

Looking directly into the harvest bin

That night there was a gourmet dinner in the field with music, just enough to show on the film. Everyone was done and done in about 10. The next day we picked a bucket of ripe olives to brine. The ripe olives are warm in your hands from the sun; the green less so. It made me think that blind people could pick out the ripe olives. . . but then there’s the snakes.

We picked these for brining

The ripe olives are now on their first week of brining; they will go for three or four. The brining removes the bitterness, although if you bite into a really ripe olive in the orchard, you can taste the rich, ripe olive taste beyond the bitterness. You spit it out after you taste it and you say, “Ahhhh.”

The area is depressed and dusty and hot, hot, hot. You can see for miles. It’s flat and sandy, with just a little bit of clay to make things slick. It took me half an hour to wash the mud gumbo off of my car after they got it unstuck from the mud left from the drip irrigation. Not quite up to the axles. Everyone drives pickups. I drove a Volvo station wagon. Now you say, “Ahhhhh.”

A beautiful shell of a building in Crystal City

It’s a magical place, more Tim Burton than Walt Disney. I can’t wait to go again. I’ll bring skirts instead of jeans; I’ll wear flip-flops instead of boots. I won’t go into the fields where snakes are (I saw no snakes, just one dead tarantula). I’ll camp in the van again, with the same holey bucket to pour iron and sulfur water on my head in the middle of a day over 100 degrees.

I won’t imagine myself in Italy and I won’t try to figure out how I too can be an olive rancher. Instead, I’ll get a place in Ruidoso and invite them up. And they’ll bring that incredible olive oil that is like drinking butter and pepper and something else. And we’ll pretend we’re in the mountains in Spain or Italy.

They come in all colors, at once

Notes from a massive online course

In How we learn and think, Uncategorized on September 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I’m in a course on Personal Learning Environments this month. It’s all online and has over 900 learners. It focuses on how we learn on our own and what tools we use and it’s very Web 2.0 centric. (My brother says friends don’t let friends say Web 2.0.) My major discovery was symbaloo. I’ve only just dipped my toe in the water but it could be something life changing. . . okay, well maybe it could organize all the info that I gather from the web for a project into one neat package. I have to figure it out but if a very bright 7th grader could, I can too. I know I can!

It feels a lot like the early days of e-learning, where we spent most of our time trying to figure out what was what. So, we’re not approaching the practical how to part, which is how I learn, let me do it and I’ll figure out the patterns.

I think it’s because PLEs are so user centered that you can’t propose anything for anyone else without breaking the concept of user centered. It must be so free form as to be unformed. It even seems to make it hard to talk about in anything but the abstract. The cases where universities have entered the fray still break the concept.

I’m in the midst of trying to articulate how I learn. I’m posting my week one notes here because I need a place online to share them. But I thought you might find the idea interesting as well.

So, how do you learn? And what kinds of things drive you to learn? I guess I’m starting with Why do I want to learn and When?

Why learn – Why do I want to learn

The dreams of friends

In Friend's doing cool stuff that you can share, How we learn and think, I NEED THAT!, Make something on September 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

The curse of the girl most likely

I’m not an advocate of the Devil’s. We all hear enough about why something can’t be done? Why it can’t work? It seems to me that our real responsibility to our friends is not to keep them from falling down but to push them fast enough so that gravity is overwhelmed by speed. Or something like that.

Gordon MacKenzie, author of my favorite children’s business book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, took on the role of Creative Paradox at Hallmark. His job was to listen to ideas. His response was to pronounce them good. Here’s a quote from a bit of dialog from the book:

“Most newly hatched ideas are shot down before they even have a time to grow feathers, let alone wings. In saying yes to all those who brought their ideas to me, I was simply leveling the imbalance a bit. And it worked. One yes in a sea of nos can make a difference.”

This reminds me to say, “Yes! What a fabulous idea!” And then, when I can I must add, “How can I help you get there?”

One more quote ’cause I love it. It’s that one from Faust, a poke in the stomach as a reminder.

Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Do ants doom big ideas?

In How we learn and think, Uncategorized on September 1, 2010 at 9:41 pm

We’ll never know whether the grasshopper in the story was working on world peace for the insect world. Society wouldn’t sustain his thinking. Let’s face it. Dreams (and dreamers, at least the role) have limited life spans. From the moment you talk about a dream, you have about a year (maybe) to produce a result. And our increasing connectedness drives us to faster conclusion.

I’m a fan of long incubation cycles, of chewing on ideas in large groups, in project management terms a fan of wasting a lot of people’s valuable time .

Where does this kind of work belong? Who funds it, tolerates it?

This quote appeared three times over the last week, in a novel I was reading, on an internet page and finally in a play script from 1940. What in the world is it trying to tell me???