Wordless Wednesday 6.4.14


Wordless Wednesday: 5.28.14



Reflect,” is the “word in your ear” challenge for this last week of 2013.  A trip to the beach was in order for us yesterday, after spending a week in the house nursing nastiness and feeling simultaneously relieved that we are on vacation for the holiday so we didn’t have to muddle through work, but also feeling cheated, like we didn’t get to do all we’d hoped for during the holiday. Turns out though, in reflection, that we’ve had a wonderful time: we’ve relaxed and enjoyed our cozy home, our sweet new puppy, and have watched movies, read books, and given many of the new Christmas treasures a fair shake. But with the whale migration in progress and our vacation time dwindling, we decided to dose ourselves up with some Tylenol and drive off to the beach, leaving late and thus staying late. In the afternoon dusk, the reflections on the beach were gorgeous.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Clutter: Creativity:: Cleanliness: Conventionality. Cool.

IMG_8050Two weeks into the Fall semester, and my workspace is a mess already! I tidy up at the end of each term, but it never takes long for the [not-so]comfortably hectic piles to grow, sometimes, it seems, of their accord. Indeed, there are days when I am secretly envious of my colleagues who keep their offices in a constant state of order. I’ve always been this way, and there are times when the mess makes me a little crazy. Yet, there are also times when the mess feels just about right.

Given my ambivalence about the state of my workspace, you can image my delight when I came across a summary of recent research examining – experimentally no less – relations between a tidy (vs messy) workspace and outcome variables like creativity and conventionality. In the press release titled “Tidy Desk or Messy Desk, Each has its Benefits” the current “take away” from the set of studies published to date is that:

  • Messy work spaces stimulate creative solutions to unusual problems
  • Tidy work spaces stimulate conventionality and “doing what’s right”

So maybe that’s why I feel compelled to clean house before I sit down to pay the monthly bills (or clean the kitchen before planning the shopping list, or, you get the idea….)! And now I’ve got a new view on that quirk of mine too, that I really don’t mind the mess at work too much, yet, I really do prefer my home to be neat-and-tidy (despite the fact that it is often a bit of a mess too). It all makes so much sense now. Thanks, Dr. Vohs, for this happy bit of insight.

Travel theme: Big

As my sister Lisa reports over at “Northwest Frame of Mind,” she, our Dad (at “Around and About the Pacific Northwest“) and I all snap photos where ever we go, and since we’ve all been blogging here at WordPress, it’s become pretty obvious that we see the world through similar lenses, with our personal perspectives too though, of course. We all recently spent the weekend together and have all already posted many shots from the day trip up into the Mt. Baker Wilderness area. A big adventure with our kids and their BIG personalities. Perfect fodder for Ailsa’s travel theme: Big.

Dad presents an image of a  big old doug fir, and here I present the same big old fir with a dollop of big personality:

IMG_7631 And now some new additions to the array we’ve all added. First up, a big climb for little legs. We didn’t quite make it up to the top of Table Mountain, but a valiant effort was made by all.

IMG_7696Back down at the trail head of Artists Point, this image captures a moment of big intrigue for little ones: “Could we find snow bears in there, mama?” (She knows better, but can’t help imagining what might lurk under the mysterious “snert field”).

IMG_7762A great day full of big fun with big views and leaving us all with big ideas to share with the blog-o-sphere.

IMG_7786Summer in the Pacific Northwest offers up big opportunities, for sure. What a backdrop.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One shot, two ways

For the The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge “One shot, two ways” I waited for an opportune moment to try my hand. That moment arrived over the weekend when we decided to head up to the Mt. Baker Wilderness area for a mid-day hike. We first stopped off at the ranger station to check in and get our parking permits. Out back of the main building, this is what we saw:

Picture Lake was our next stop on our way up the mountain.  On clear days, the scenery is simply stunning, where Mt. Shuksan appears in duplicate, as a perfect reflection can be seen in the glassy water of the little alpine lake. That’s not what we saw though. Rather, the entire mountainside was banked in mist, but the glassy water did still reflect the trees along the banks.

And on the backside of the lake, we were struck by the mystical scene pictured here. I wouldn’t have been surprised at all to see a magical boat emerge from the mist, silently transporting the lady of the lake herself.

Once we reached Artist’s Point, we gathered up our packs and started to climb. Though it’s August, patches of snow are still abundant. What fun to hike in short sleeves, alternately crunching through snow and traipsing through rocky trails. Lovely sights, all around!

Though we didn’t make it all the way up to Table Mountain, we all had a ball – all 12 of us! A remarkable and wonderful group spanning three generations ranging in age from nearly-6 to 71!

Back to the challenge though — which images do you like better, the landscapes, or the portraits? I find that it depends on the shot.

Daily Prompt: Back to the future

Anachronism — The word that inspired Michelle W’s daily prompt the other day.

Anachronism (noun): an error in chronology; a person or thing that’s chronologically out of place. Write a story in which a person or thing is out of place, or recount a time when you felt out of place.

The moments that come to mind when I think “anachronism” reflect snapshots in time, where a glimpse into the make-believe world of my daughter leaves me struck by the passing of time and technological progress. Some things remain the same when it comes to the make-believe of the very young. Little ones re-play what they see and experience over and over again, presumably to help them gain understanding and awareness and belonging in their surrounds (a developmental process I discuss at length in two posts — Part 1 and Part 2— over at my other blog: cognitioneducation.me). In many ways children’s surrounds haven’t changed much: adults go to work, chat with other adults, manage the finances, cook, clean, care for the children. And children play, follow adults through stores or marketplaces, and so on – you can easily imagine this of course. But subtle things change in these daily dramas – things you don’t necessarily expect when you use your own childhood memories as your baseline for comparison.

I became a professor of Psychology before I became a parent. Before becoming a parent, all those developmental milestones, complete with illustrious examples from my own childhood and from research experiences alike were neatly tucked away in my mind, ever ready for class discussion. Once I became a parent, I eagerly awaited the opportunity to see these moments unfold in real-time, in my own home!

I was not disappointed.  My little one grew and changed right one time, allowing me to mentally tick off those first year milestones one after another. For example, on her first birthday, much to my delight, not only did she utter a clear word, but she also demonstrated a clear act of make-believe (oh joy – a sign of symbolic representation, just as Piaget predicted!). But the act gave me pause. Here’s what she did:

She picked up a calculator, held it to her ear, and said plain as day, “hello?”

At some point in her second year, a similarly delightful moment for reflection presented itself. We were playing “store” together (oh what fun – more evidence that her internal scripts were growing and maturing, right on time if not a little early — she was clearly preoperational!) and I was the customer where she was the cashier. With the vividly painted wooden fruit settled nicely on the counter in between us, I reached into my imaginary purse, and with the image of coins and bills in my mind’s eye, I pretended to fiddle with money and then dropped coins into my daughter’s expectant hand. But her response gave me pause. Here’s what she did next, with a slant-eyed, quizzical look:

She pinched her thumb and pointer fingers together and made a swiping motion with her forearm, stating, “here you go.” Then she handed me what must have been a paper receipt.

So much for the age-old example of using a banana for a telephone – telephones don’t look that anymore. And so much for coinage too. When I shop I pay with a debit card, not cash! Silly me.


What do princesses pretend to be, when they play make-believe?

Travel Theme: Wild

Take a walk on the wild side? Ok, don’t mind if we do! There’s plenty of wild life out here in Oregon to keep us busy exploring for who knows how long? Probably always.

At the beaches, we never tire of exploring the tide pools teaming with wild life:

We really don’t need to travel far to explore the wild life though, as there’s plenty right in our own back yard.

The little garden snakes are usually only for viewing too…


…excepting, of course, for the little one that slithered over my toes the other day, losing its “shi*” in alarm (the snake that is!). Now that was wild!

For more wild views, check out Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme: Wild“.

Travel theme: Tilted, take two

Though I’ve already entered a post in response to Ailsa’s travel theme “tilted” I just can’t stop thinking about alternate views. My first “take” on the challenge — images of my daughter taking an off-kilter approach to her surroundings — was a fun stretch, but since that time, a desire for a more literal interpretation has lingered in mind. In particular, I love the diagonal angle of the surf at sunset and the lonely sloping tree Ailsa presents in her challenge.

So, the other day while we were cooling off at the beach (indeed, it was downright chilly!) I tried my hand at some imitation. What do you think?

slack tide at Indian Beach

slack tide at Indian Beach

strong wids and crashing surf make plumb lines the exception not the rule

strong winds and crashing surf make plumb lines the exception not the rule

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right? I think I’ll happily continue to work on capturing tilts in my images. Thanks for the challenge, Ailsa!

© Erica K O’Shea at “growthandpossibility.wordpress.com”, 2013.

A word a week: Unexpected

Expect the unexpected” is sage advice for any parent, right? Right. Or sometimes, just expect to be charmed in the most curious ways.

"up you go little guy"

“up you go little guy”

After watching for a moment, I asked my daughter: “Whatcha doing?” She turned with a grin and said, “Mama! One of these little guys was giving another a piggy back ride and I thought I’d let some of the others join in the fun too, so I am helping them all take rides!”

Enjoy the ride, little ones...

Enjoy the ride, little ones…

Charming, indeed! I wonder how many more little snails are out there now, compared to two weeks ago? Unexpected and totally delightful innocence. For more images that capture the unexpected, visit “A word in your ear” and enjoy the ride!

Sara Peden

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