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Showing posts from March, 2013

Interview: Bill Apablasa

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Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today’s interviewee is Bill Apablasa, creator of theother99rooms.com.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

Easy answer for me. It’s my wife. I’ve been writing about her recently on my blog, so she is on the top of my mind. But, the truth is, she’s always there. Even after 27 years of marriage, I feel wonderstruck by her each day. Even those times when my vertigo flairs up and she threatens to spin me around in my chair, or all those times when she lovingly tells me that I “make her itch.”

And it’s not that her life is all that extraordinary. In fact, it’s pretty normal. Plain wrap. Vanilla. And while I won’t use those words for her next Valentines day card, it’s true.

And, yet, beneath the humdrum ordinariness of her life, she is a woman who lives an extraordinarily conscious and exciting lif…

So Much for the Spring Thaw

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I love spring. The warmer (but not too warm) temperatures, the birds singing, the buds on trees that hint at the burst of color to come, the snow.



Wait... snow?

By calendar, spring joined us last week. According to my teenager's school, it is spring break. Looking out my window this morning, I think someone didn't get the message.



I don't anticipate any feathered visitors at the local hangout this morning.



It seems like a good day for hunkering down and writing. I wonder if that's likely with two kids at home. It's worth a try.



What does spring look like where you are?

Weekend Inspiration: Random Act of Kindness

I read a post on Momastery about a woman who paid for the groceries of the woman in line behind her. A random act of kindness. As it turns out, those groceries were being purchased for a women's shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Beautiful.

Stories like this inspire me. This is what I want to see more of in the world- people doing things to help each other, to make this world a better place.

What kind thing can you do this weekend? Don't wait to be asked. Don't wait for applause. Just serve.

Interview: Victoria Brouhard

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Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today’s interviewee is life coach Victoria Brouhard.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

Wonder can be a bit of a challenging quality for me, since I tend to get a bit too serious at times. I could definitely do with more wonder, more frequently.

Lately what I’ve noticed is the way that being in nature can cut through my anxiety and help me feel connected to something larger than myself.

Connecting in that way helps keep the stressful things in my life in perspective, which is always a good thing.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

The days when my schedule allows me to ease into my work (rather than go straight from bed to fifth gear) are glorious. And when it’s not one of those days, I’m grateful for the fact that even a few seconds of pausing and connecting to my breath and to myse…

The Best Part of Pink's Concert

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Sunday night I took my husband and teenager to the Pink concert in Philadelphia- one of the best shows I have ever seen. (Seriously, if you have an opportunity to see her, go.)

Pink's energy level is insane (as are her muscles), her voice is great, and her passion is undeniable. She loves what she does and it shows.

She performed the perfect mix of new songs, old songs, and everything in between. She even sang Chris Isaak's Wicked Games.

She danced, jumped, and flew. Yes, flew. Pink sang several of her songs while doing aerial acrobatics- tangling in scarves, climbing through and hanging off the side of a spinning ball. (That's her hanging over the stage in the photo.)

For her encore, she took her flying to a whole new level when she flipped and air-jogged the entire length of the stadium, then rose to the nosebleed seats. She zigzagged around the stadium visiting fans at all levels (all while singing "So What"). I've never seen anything quite like it.

Some of the…

My Deck is the Local Bird Hangout

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Birds have flocked upon my deck today. Apparently, our bird feeder is the equivalent of a corner coffee bar.

Feathered friends come and go amidst falling snowflakes, taking turns to nibble. Different kinds, colors, and sizes, all in search of a little sustenance.

I'm no... um... birdologist. I only know a few of their names- the woodpecker, the cardinal, and blue jay (all of whom visited before I took out my camera).

Then there are these little guys...







Some take to the floor...





Some (mostly the large birds) watch from afar...





...and some wait for their turn...



Some are shy, like this bigger black bird whose head shines iridescent blue and wings shimmer purple...





Then, of course, there is the one who watches them...



It's a busy day at the corner feeder. What wonders do you see out your window today?

Interview: Nikki McCormack

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Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today’s interviewee is writer Nikki McCormack.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I am perpetually wonderstruck by nature, especially living in the magnificent northwest. Because of that, I thought I would go a different route with this and hit on something a little different. I’ve been wonderstruck many times recently by the people around me and the little things they do, all the time, often without thinking about them, that make my day or someone else’s day a little better. Anything from a quick hug or texted smile to holding a door open a little longer for someone who isn’t so quick on their feet anymore. Seeing little things like that go on around you all the time lets you see how wonderful the world can be in the simplest of ways.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

Every part.…

I Flew a Helicopter (and everyone lived)

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I took my first helicopter ride this weekend, which then turned into my first time flying a helicopter. Freaky and cool.

Before Christmas I had found a coupon online for a helicopter lesson and bought a voucher to give my husband as a gift. He's been looking for things to do and collecting experiences as opposed to things.

Flying a helicopter seemed likely to be a memorable experience.



The lesson was Saturday and, as it turns out, instead of just riding along, I was also given the opportunity to fly if I wanted.

Did I want to? Honestly, I'm not sure, but when else would an opportunity like that arise? So, I said yes.

When we arrived, the instructor introduced himself, asked us to sign our lives away (that was literally the wording he used), and jumped into the workings of helicopters.

Using a model on his desk and a whiteboard sketch of the controls, he showed us the different parts of the aircraft and what they do. There were three controls we would need to know: the collective lev…

Word Play- Me and My Blog as Rendered by Tagxedo

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I had some fun playing with Tagxedo last night. It's an online word cloud generator that will render clouds based on a website, a topic, or a Twitter name (though I haven't gotten the Twitter feed to work yet).

Above is Tagxedo's take on Live Wonderstruck and below is what happened when I entered S.M. Hutchins as a search topic.



Curious, really. On the right side of the S.M. Hutchins cloud, I see "TX," "WhitePages," and "Gallagher" in fairly large font which implies they are common results, but not related to me. What do "DVD" and "Wilson" (on the left) have to do with anything, and what does "Fbo" mean?

I like that my favorite words are the biggest: magical, humorous, mystery, everyday, life, writer. Sneaking through the middle is the word "seeking." Love that.

Anyway, I apologize now for the stuff you will not get done today because you are playing with Tagxedo.

Happy Friday!

Interview: Liv Rancourt

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Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today’s interviewee is writer Liv Rancourt.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I have a big window in my kitchen, and the view is dominated by a Chinese cotoneaster, a huge shrub producing tiny white flowers in spring that ripen to scarlet berries by about November. I call it the Bird Buffet, and once the berries are ripe it’s covered with robins and sparrows and other neighborhood birds. As of today, the top third has been stripped of berries. By March it’ll be pretty much bare.

And then in June it’ll have flowers, and in September it’ll be covered with little green berry nubbins. And in November it’ll be scarlet again.

Against the backdrop of that shrub, with its soft serrated leaves and scarlet berries and robins, I’m watching the inauguration of President Obama. This afternoon, I’m goin…

Dear Teen

Dear Teen,

You're in a hard place right now. That place between boy and man.

The place where your caveman brain is telling you to push away from family so you can start your own tribe.

The place where you're old enough to recognize that everything is changing, but you aren't sure what to do about it or if you even can do anything about it.

The place where your free time is split between your friends, girlfriend, and family.

You have big decisions to make- whether to do what your friends are doing, where to go to college, what to study.

You have big tests ahead of you- SATs, driving tests, daily peer pressure.

I don't envy you. I've been there. (I know that's hard to believe since you've only known me as "old.")

I wish I could give you a magic answer to make everything easier. There isn't one. You are in for some crazy change, both adventures and challenges.

You can coast through, surviving from one day to the next. You'll get by.

Or you can give a d…

Weekend Inspiration - Be Real

There have been some wonderful posts around the web this past week and it seems the ones that have caught my eye did so because the person speaking was being real.

Not putting up fronts. Not trying to sound bigger or smarter or tougher than they felt. Simply being real in the moment. Nothing is more captivating.

Dear Gail - A heartfelt letter from Glennon (of Momastery) to a woman in the audience of her speaking engagement. Glennon was so moved by the woman's attentive nods that she climbed fire escapes and scoured the web until she was able to meet her. This on

See Gail's response on her blog: For those of you who were wondering what just happened... The lines at the end are beautiful.

Then there's this video of Jennifer Lawrence at backstage interviews after winning her Oscar. No canned answers. No heard-it-a-million-times "proper" thing to say. Jennifer answered bluntly and directly. How refreshing!

http://youtu.be/1ACQpZW-eTg

I found this video in a post from Copyb…

Strange Dream

I had a strange dream last night. In it I was driving on a road in France (I've never been to France, so don't ask me how I know that's where I was, but that's where I was). Ahead in the road was a giant seed/pod thingy as tall as my car and it was surrounded by a ring of piled grass.

I shifted lanes, all the while wondering who put it there and thinking it must be a bomb that would blow when someone hit it. (Because that makes perfect sense.) That made me question who would be dumb enough to hit something that large.

Of course, then I saw in my rearview mirror a car was approaching the pod and not moving. Sure enough, it hit the pod which burst open causing architectural details to fly everywhere. (You know, like statues and decorations from old buildings.)

A huge stone medallion with a bust in the center came flying over my car and landed in a river beside the road. The medallion was from a rectangular building straight ahead with lots of columns. It was supposed to be …