Monday, October 27, 2008

Finally, some beach action

well... after 11 days here in Florida, I FINALLY got to the beach. WHAT a beautiful place it was too! We stayed at Danielle's boyfriends parents condo on Anna Maria Island... We slept in, ate breakfast and went to the beach. I was amazed at how many shells there were on the beach. They were literally everywhere... TONS of them. I filled TWO plastic grocery bags with them. I had so many, I was afraid they would make my suitcase overweight so I left them with Danita to mail to me. She was complaining that the surf was too rough and the water was green... I thought it was beautiful. She said normally it is very calm and the water is a beautiful turquoise blue... The shells are not usually so plentiful either... apparantly all of the swells and shells were a parting gift from Hurricaine Ike.. Watching the sunset and drinking pineapple juice and captin morgans parrot bay rum was the final touch to the ending of a beautiful trip. I have to thank Danita and her family for the awesome hospitality. I had a great time, the BEST time I have ever had on a business trip.

I left the next morning for home, sorry to leave Thelma and our most excelent road trip adventure... but I know there will be many more of these to come.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More reuse centers

Our next road trip was to northern Florida. We stayed in Gainesville with Danita's kids Danielle and Milo, both students at the university there in Gainesville. We toured 4 centers in between Gainesville and Jacksonville. The directors there were awesome and again let us take some stuff for Danita's class at the YMCA. So far the weather is holding, sun wherever I have gone and lovely tropical humid weather. I have given up trying to straighten my hair... and just let it doing out as it is want to do in humid weather. I actually like my hair better in humid climates... but that is another story...

The Jacksonville center is HUGE... and old high school converted into a reuse center. They are not open to the public either. You MUST be a teacher to get in. They open once ever quarter and there is a line around the building to get in. Their opening was the day before we arrived, so some of the shelves were bare, but still, a TON of cool and useable items there. Chris and John gave us a tour, and let Milo get some things for some art projects. Milo plans on going back and working with them to create murals around the building in exchange for materials. He is an incredible artist, who inherited him mom's art gene... I have rarely seen this kind of talent in a person so young.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dodging Ike

Since a lot of the reuse centers were in southern Florida from Melbourne south, and since Ike was headed for the Keys, we decided to go south first, and so after going to visit Casey in Ft. Lauderdale, we headed on down toward Miami to visit my friends Ray and Maritza and their son David. They were in the process of moving, and so we hung out and swam while they worked on the house. In the evening, I made cheezy garlic bread with the San Francisco sourdough I brought, and us gals sat in the jacuzzi while Ray brought us drinks... Maritza was calling him the butler all night. We chatted about life, marriage, kids and just being women, and happy to be visiting each other. I missed Pascual a lot while we were there... He and Ray get along so well, and they were so happy Danita and I were there, but we all wished he could have been with us. They are such fun... what is it about the latin people? Pascual and I met them on a sunset booze cruise in Aruba... we sat down and started talking before boarding the cruise, we visited the whole time and had a great time, and then we went to dinner at a brazillian restaurant afterward. They told us if we ever came to Florida, we were welcome in their home... So when we went back to florida in July to take Megan for her graduation present to Disney World, we stayed with them for a weekend and became great friends. They opened their hearts and their home to us with such love and generosity... Danita was amazed and so tickled at their warmth and hospitality... and so unused to people being so kind to strangers... She is starting to see, that if you look for the good, and see the good in all things, they rise up to meet you... and your experience is a great one... Ike was threatning the entire state...and yet we were unaffected by weather at all, and had beautiful sunny skies wherever we went the entire trip...

We spent the night with them, and most of the day. we drove to the Ft. Lauderdale airport to add Danita on to my car rental policy, so she could drive us home in the dark. (I don't do night driving) and the GPS wanted to take us through Alligator Alley, which Danita refused to drive at night... so we relocated ourselves on to a main highway, and off we went into the dark night... Along this one long lone stretch of highway, she stops the car in the middle of the road and switches off the lights so we can see the stars... well, I FREAK out... because the night before, I had a dream that we did the same thing, and a car was driving behind us doing the same thing, they didn't see us stopped with no lights in the middle of the road, and they were driving with no lights looking at the stars also, and BANG they hit us and it was a really bad accident... as I am sitting there feeling the sense of deja vu. I am having a major anxiety attack, telling her to get off the road at least, and pull into the dirt road on the side... almost hysterical.... It didn't happen like in the dream, but I was so shaken up... it took me quite a while to calm down. We got back to Danitas house after 2 am, and were up and on the road early the next morning headed to Gainesville, Jacksonville and surrounding areas...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Walter the Reuse Guru

We went to Melbourne to meet with Walter the Re-use Guru... And little did we know... but he IS reuse in Florida. He has helped many of the centers get started. He has consulted and helped many people with their programs. His background is in early child development and education.

We went to lunch at an organic restaurant in Melbourne, where we talked about our program, picked his brain a bit and he shared a bunch of information with us. We went back to the center and he did some work while we went to Kinkos to copy some of his paperwork. When we got back, he put on some soft music and started making art kits with open ended materials for us to play with. Danita made something for him to display, and she looked to be having so much fun, I want to make something too. The energy in the room just seemed make you want to make something!

The music he played provoked creativity. It didn't distract with lyrics, but generated a highly focused creative space that felt nurturing. I quickly slipped into the "zone" he spoke of and time seemed more fluid. I felt myself rushing around within a timeframe that seemed expansive. I remember asking him if he needed to leave, and him saying no because he were getting things done, and I dove right back into it again. I don't allow myself to just play and be creative much anymore, because I have so many more "important" things to do. I learned in this session, that play IS important, in fact it is vital to the human spirit. Making the time to just let your imagination run wild while you create something with a pile of stuff is very liberating. Having no set structure, rules or guidelines was fun. I could make whatever inspired me... I knew I wanted to make a shadowbox, and was pleased with how it turned out, but the real creativity began when I decided what to put in it... I wanted it to be like a stage, and I couldn't find any people, so I made the harvest sprites out of a fall floral spray that he had there. It turned into the harvest sprite ballet theatre, and I was really happy with how it turned out. My only regret was that I didn't have time to really finish it the way I would have liked... The internal critic in me started overanalyzing it and wanting to pick at it and tweak it and make it perfect. I just had to walk away at that point or I would have been there all night. I learned that when I jump into creative play, the critic in me is silenced until the end process... so learning to walk away, and actually hand it over to him was a new experience for me... I would usually take it home unfinished, and then never finish it because I can't turn that critic off... It was a very healing process for me to just let it all go and create. I LOVED it, and will be sure to schedule more time like this for myself, and together with my children as well.

Unfortunately, we were so busy having fun. we forgot to take a photo with Walter. He is the only one we forgot to photograph... I guess that just means we need to take another trip there to visit with him. I encourage anyone who is a teacher or works with children to take his play coaching workshop. You will be amazed at what you learn.

I urge you all to go out into your studio, randomly pull things from the shelves and put them in a pile, and then PLAY with it... let your imagination run wild as you glue and twist and stamp and paint... I would love to see some of you post your creations here.