Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Fish Trap Chandelier

In Make something on January 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

fish trap chandelier

I love it when the stuff that’s gathering dust waiting for the right application finally comes together. All it takes is the right framework. I found the fish trap at Junkology in New Braunfels, Texas. I think it’s a lovely, graceful form but I didn’t know that when I bought it. I just knew that it was $8 but if I got it with the metal milk crate, I could have both for $25.

I bought it for a friend who also collects crap waiting for the right application and he’s especially enamored of rusty wire and metal things. So this is made for him. And I’m learning that what I really want to do once I put pieces of stuff together is to light them up. It’s like adding glitter to a birthday card, you know? Makes the crayola seem somewhat magical.

I’m going to make him say he loves it before releasing it ’cause, well, ’cause I love it and can find another home if he can’t.


Holding as a legacy

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm


Beverly and I were talking last Friday about legacy, something that’s important to both of us and probably to everyone. Merriam Webster defines legacy as

something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past

It’s definition suggests that it has a short time span, so we think of the legacy we can see. We tend to view legacy as BIG, like what the Gates Foundation will do and how UNICEF impacts the world and the important leaders who come out of Harvard and Oxford and the Sorbonne. My most recent duh discovery is that legacy is like the butterfly’s wing. You can’t tell to what degree your small actions in your short lifetime will change the world. You can’t tell IF they will have a legacy; legacy for most of us rarely happens in the span of a human life.

I’ve been thinking about holding as a concept and what that means based on what I do daily. Holding is that process of protecting something that is sacred or special to someone, allowing it to emerge and develop and founder and fall and rise again. It’s like the arms of a mother around a newborn, the total sense of safety and acceptance. Holding is critical to legacy. It’s the thing that allows our best becoming. It’s the place where risk is possible and no failure is permanent.

The Eye of the Dog Art Center is a place of holding. It’s not the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art but it might be the first stop on the path.

And then I thought about the work that I’m doing. I’m now writing curriculum to teach young people how to coach groups. And  part of that curriculum includes teaching the group members how to peer coach. I am working hard to get it right. If I do, I began to dream about a legacy, where several countries in Africa develop and preserve these advanced communication techniques derived from coaching. I think about how different conversations would sound. I really like that idea as a legacy. And I think about how to help people create places of holding. See? Butterfly wings.

Hey, all you visual thinkers out there looking for inspiration

In design, drawings, Images on January 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm


When you’re looking for inspiration for simple imagery, look here:

And they tell their story much better than I could. Read this to find out how they got started.

Thanks to Elizabeth for finding and sending!!!


In Uncategorized on January 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Exactly three years from the day they met, she said, “I’ll walk with you to the edge of the map. After that, it’s all darkness and I can’t promise to stay.”

That’s how I began my story on storybird, a site that allows you to choose from wonderful images that inspire stories. You build the story page by page.

Poke around and see what you think. If you want to add to the story, comment here and I’ll invite you as a collaborator.

Can you add to my story?

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference

In cocktails on January 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm

ImageThis last weekend, I drank for charity. I attended the second annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference. Surprisingly, I learned a lot about cocktail theory — what makes a good cocktail.

  • High proof liquor makes better cocktails than lower proofs because the flavor is stronger.
  • The word alcohol has the same root as alchemy.
  • There are 5 dimensions to consider when mixing and designing cocktails:
  1. The dominating flavor
  2. Mouth feel
  3. The balance between sweet and dry
  4. Contrast of flavors
  5. Complexity

Here’s one of my favorite cocktail recipes, shared from the woman who manages the bar at the W Hotel in Austin.

  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part frambois liquere
  • 1 part ginger liquere
  • 2 parts whiskey

Shake vigorously with ice and serve over ice. Quite lovely. I didn’t even know really that I was a cocktail person. But what was even more surprising is that Eric, who is a total beer person, discovered that a cocktail or two is a lovely thing. There were some really grand bartenders here, who have elevated the cocktail to a gourmet event.

I spoke to Adam, the bar manager at Barriba Cantina, who told me that St. Germain is the bartender’s ketchup. And his favorite cocktail recipe is:

  • 1 tequila
  • 2 champagne
  • 1/2 St. Germain
  • 1/2 fresh grapefruit juice

That wasn’t what he was serving however, but I’m going to try it because the cocktail that he created was also wonderful. It was:

  • 1 fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 St. Germain
  • 2 whiskey

Shake, again vigorously and pour over ice. Top with 1 part green Chartreuse and add a large piece of grapefruit peel, which you run around the rim of the glass and then place inside. He said, “Don’t bother with little twists. If you use a big one (about 1 x 3) people can also use it as a stirrer.” Hmmm.

How did I recall these recipes in a sea of liquor and cocktails? Evernote!!!!

There were many notable discoveries over the two evenings I spent of the three that were offered. And some things that seemed to me to go beyond adventure into just plain weird, .like the tea sandwich that was white bread, sardine, salami and kim chi. Not a bad taste but lordy, the breath that came back from that would remove paint.

I also was able to recall through great examples, what it was like to be young and foolish, from the beautiful young women in cruel shoes all over the stairs at the Majestic to the painfully embarrassing drunks with more money than sense. I have been those people in my past minus the more money portion. Okay, maybe that’s not true for I surely have had more money than sense, even some times when my pockets were empty.

I think of myself as a traveler

In Wandering on January 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Masaai jumping dance

but not a Traveler. What in the world does that mean? I’m not talking specifically about the Romany Traveler but much of the psyche is the same.

I go places to sense and pretend and fantasize what its like to live there.  In Paris, I skipped the Louvre to sit in sidewalk cafes, awkwardly ordering moules off the menu and watching the sidewalk traffic as I slurped them down. Yes, I think they’re better in Paris. Unless you eat them in Amsterdam in the heart of mussel season, standing shoulder to shoulder with others in a small crowd and throwing empty shells into a growing pile on a nearby table. In silence, you too could be Dutch.

Eating local; having local experiences. Like taking a bus to the North Sea to participate in a local radio station’s Splash Day. But really, who were they kidding!!!! You gotta admit,only a local would put North Sea and Splash Day into the same sentence.

Often traveling involves visiting farmer’s markets to see what can be bought and eaten for the season that you’re there. My mother remained a Traveler all her life. My father with memories of being a Traveler gave me a portable steamer to take with me after I told them of the piles of wild mushrooms at the market one trip. Piles that screamed to be bought but then couldn’t be eaten. I’ve met other Travelers as well but mostly I read about them on their blogs, those who travel for life if not for a living.

That’s the value of a local guide, more local than guide, who will direct the taxi off the road to buy a bag of peeled sugar cane from a wheelbarrow, explaining that chewing the fibers strengthens the teeth. Yes, I’ll believe it for the duration of the bag.

The little t travelers is a lot about suspending judgement and relying on the experience.

I admit, that there are times when you absolutely MUST see what MUST be seen. Sometimes, when you are invited as a tourist to jump with the Massai you sort of have an obligation.

So who is a Traveler then? Little t plus.

It’s someone who immediately puts aside their normal behavior to embrace their current environment, who rises early if that’s what’s called for, even if the flight was 12+ hours long. Who eats later than they would have thought possible because that’s how its done here. Who can turn a packaged tour into a series of surprising experiences merely by turning a different corner. Who is comfortable asking for directions and recommendations in stumbling English. . . and then follows them. Who takes local transportation and hopes for the best. Who becomes a temporary local and finds comfort and delight outside their comfort zone. Who can pack in a heartbeat and never look back. Who keeps a bag in the trunk of the car or the front of the closet filled with layering, practical, lightweight, warm and cool clothing and a single pair of shoes.

And that’s the thing that holds me back mostly. Shoes. How can a single pair be right for all occasions???!!!

As a traveler in-transit, I settle in to the journey, armed with the reading material that can get me through an eternal plane flight, with enough battery life to power back up when necessary and paper for take off and landing. As the hero, Anthony Adverse, put it, it’s one of the very few occasions when we can be fully in the present. (Incidentally, if you need a novel that will last you all the way to Africa, that’s a good one.) I don’t worry about getting sleep or timing because normal rules are suspended.

You see us little ts as we cocoon in our seats, comfortable in the limbo of between, where time is only ours and no one can reach us and even if they can, we can pretend they can’t.

2012 in review and casting forward

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Click here to see the complete report. . . if you are interested. But here’s what I’m thinking. I abandoned this blog essentially for 2012. See, after writing over 500 pages of content over the last two years, writing wasn’t really a recreational thing for me in 2012. But that’s not write ’cause it’s also how I think. So rather than thinking entirely about what I’m doing for work, I need this kind of stimulation.

Resolution #1 Work toward posting at least once a week.

If you look at the stats on this last year, I posted 32 times . . . to an essentially abandoned blog.  52 is better than abandoned, but might not require that much more effort. So I’m in.

Resolution #2 Eat more vegetables and less meat.

It’s not enough for me to do the first part. That just really translates as eating more.

Resolution #3 Move more — more times and more often with shorter stillnesses.

But will I go to the gym when Karen isn’t waiting there for me.

Resolution #4, from my dear friend Mel, I make it  for both of us. Take a lot less shit from people.

I still can’t believe that you’re not going to come swimming this year. Or the next.

Resolution #5, Do more good. More often and have fun doing it. Live better stories.

Recalling A Million Miles — they don’t need to be BIG stories, like hiking the Inca Trail. Just better.

Resolution #6, Do more to keep up with friends. Make new friends.

My circles seem to have shrunk again as they do in cycles. But that’s dumb ’cause there’s lots of great people already in my circles. I just need to plan connections. See you in Feb., Janine. Are you coming, Shannon? See you Friday, Abby.

Resolution #7, Raise my “traveler” to “Traveler” status.

If that doesn’t make sense, you’ll have to wait for the next post.