Archive for May, 2013

Travel Theme: Pathways

Sometimes, there’s only one way home


Ah, the ferry line on San Jaun Island

No matter how endless


the path home  to Anacortes, WA

nor how circuitous


my daughter loves to walk the labyrinth her own way, though there is a prescribed way, yet both are by nature circuitous

the options may appear. But pathways like these are wonderful indeed. Thanks for the fun idea, Ailsa, at “Where’s my Backpack“.

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.


Daily Prompt: Green [-eyed Monster]

The payoff of living in the damp (understatement, that!) Pacific Northwest is the GREEN surroundings. In spring, amidst the showers, lush vegetation unfolds before our very eyes. Just look at those little fiddleheads reaching for the sky.

IMG_3590Though a northwest native, I spent five long years in the Mid-west United States and while I found natural beauty wherever I went (Arkansas and Minnesota are lovely, in their own way), I always longed to return to the greener climbs of the PNW (i.e., can you say “jealous“? that emotion was regularly felt when I chatted on the phone with my family and friends “back home” in Washington). As luck (and  A LOT of hard work) would have it, I did return and my family is now happily settled in Northwest Oregon, where we seek out opportunities to fill our senses with the rich sights, smells and sounds of this lovely region. The photo here was snapped on my “little go everywhere phone,” on a hike we took on Mother’s Day 2012, in the Saddle Mountain State Natural Area, in Oregon’s Coastal Range.

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

A word a week challenge: face

For my first foray participating in the word a week challenge (a challenge hosted at “a word in your ear“), I’d like to share two very different entries, but two sure to bring a smile to your face. The first appeared as we prepped dinner one night in the company of friends. I swear we did not alter this little cucumber in any way, other than to slice, of course, which revealed the smilie within.

IMG_6208The second entry occurred in one of those moments when the kids were just a little too quiet. I like to call this one “American Girl meets Monster High.”


Little things in life stand out sometimes. What fun!

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Ah, sweet relief, I just submitted my last grades of the semester! Welcome, summer. What do I do first? Why I pull out my smartphone of course, to check the weather, check my messages, and decide whether to fire up the actual email program on my computer.

  • Messages – checked and answered (Mom and Dad are having a great time on the coast!).
  • Weather – checked and confirmed with an outside glance: looks like summer isn’t quite ready for me, here in the northwest, it is sunny…but I am wearing a sweater too.
  • Email – checked, and yes, answered on the computer (that auto-correct on my iPhone makes for some interesting exchanges! When it’s work related I need a real keyboard).

This week’s writing challenge from The Daily Post is all about what our little phones have done to us. Do we love to hate them? Can we live without them? How do I answer these questions? YES and NO, as it turns out. I admit that I find myself fiddling with my phone a little too much when I am not in the limelight at work (that is, when I am not teaching). I leave it out on my desk so I can see if any little messages pop up, I keep it handy at home and check things while cooking, playing with my daughter, or talking with my husband after work. It’s a slippery slope, all that constant contact. I find that I have to monitor myself so as not to glance more at the phone than at my lovely, precocious 6-year-old. I leave it in the other room during dinner, but find my mind wandering towards it as conversation lulls at the table. I keep it by the side of the bed and check messages in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep (like that’s really going to help!), and use it for an alarm in the morning, and, and, and, and….if I let it, it would take over my life. So I love to hate it. I’ve been irresponsible with it. But mostly, I keep it in check.

On balance though, I love the little device that my daughter has dubbed my “little go everywhere phone.” I do my best to let it enhance my connections rather than detract from them. I live about 350 miles south of my immediate family, but my folks and two of my sibs have “little go everywhere phones” too (the third has one for work, alas, but not home life!), as do my sisters-in-law on the opposite side of the country, and that, in effect has caused the gap amongst us all to shrink.  When we celebrate holidays apart, we send pictures and notes to each other all day long, creating a multi-user photo-diary of the day – it’s great fun! Holiday happiness at home, and shared with extended family too! Win-win. When we travel, we keep each other in the virtual loop, sometimes teasingly so (my older brother can pull one over on me both in person and virtually! Turns out the pool wasn’t closed after all…), other times it’s delightfully sincere (with the phone, I found the restaurant – hooray! — as without the phone, I am most assuredly directionally challenged!). Snap-n-sending pictures, sharing a penny’s worth of thoughts, and using these devices other little features can make a good day great.

My husband has a knack for finding handy apps too. He’s miraculously connected our phones, the home TV, and the home computer all together and there’s a remote app on my little phone. With that app I can turn music on in the living room when I am in the kitchen. How cool is that? My daughter can operate it too – you can easily imagine what happens when we disagree on the music. Anyone can change it with a swipe and a tap. Battle of the bands, indeed. When away from home, with the book reading app, I am not at a loss if I forget my Kindle – I’ve got books right there at my finger tips too. And never mind the fun that can be had with the photo apps.

For these reasons, I LOVE my little go everywhere phone. My little go everywhere phone has flair too – it’s currently sporting a little matryoshka doll wrap that brings a smile to my face whenever I see it (I found one for my Kindle too – oh, what fun, they match!). Of course there can be a diminishing return to the happiness though. But that’s true of all things, not just the latest technological advancement. To my mind then, the gap is just a little smaller when my phone’s in my pocket, and that’s a good thing, to me.

“Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape”

IMG_4902The weekly photo challenge: “escape” prompt spoke to me today, as it is indeed the end of another semester. At the end of any term I find myself at loose ends, as changing gears from a jam-packed semester to an open-ended summer ripe with possibility takes some adjusting. As I spin my wheels today, mulling over these possibilities, I find myself smiling, knowing that some of what I do this summer will surely be escapist, but done with a touch of confident intentionality too, no matter how ambitious or mundane.

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

The Effortful Educator

Applying Cognitive Psychology to the Classroom

Conditionally Accepted

a space for scholars on the margins of academia

Midtown Mocha

A smooth blend of cultural happenings and infatuations.


Knitterly thoughts from Louise Zass-Bangham

Damon Ashworth Psychology

Helping people flourish

The Electric Agora

A modern symposium for the digital age

Small Pond Science

Research, teaching, and mentorship in the sciences


My thoughts on public education and other things


I overuse the strikethrough

High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching



Comments and advice for academic authors

When Women Inspire

You can make a positive impact too!


Gauge as Rx'ed

Social Emotional Learning and the Common Core

Tools to integrate SEL with your current teaching practices

Thriving in Thin Air

Setting Out for Everest

Why? Because Science.

Combating Stupidity Since 2012

Sonya Huber

books, essays, etc.

Tell Us a Story

stories about true things

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns