Categories
Misc Parenting

50 things to do

A list not about working from home but what I’m doing or am aiming to be doing. A list in no particular order to go with all the other lists out there. Hoping you find some inspiration within and are not one of the unlucky ones with serious things to do like look for work or care for a sick family member.

This is the list of what I’m telling myself to be doing (subject to change at any point in time for any reason whatsoever):

  1. Look at images from the great museums and art collections of the world. Here is a list of open-access galleries: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/open-access-image-libraries-a-handy-list/.
  2. Read a book, or two, or three. Here is my list from last year: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/12/16/books-i-read-in-2019/.
  3. Tidy up.
  4. Listen to Philip Glass: https://open.spotify.com/artist/69lxxQvsfAIoQbB20bEPFC?si=2Z1Kfi6ASj2dQjQKxsXYlg
  5. Be affectionate.
  6. Listen to an album you never have listened to before. Here is a helpful list to get started: https://www.kexp.org/kexp-top-903-albums-2019/
  7. Start a blog. Here is a great place to do it (and it’s free): https://wordpress.com/
  8. Get a helmut: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/02/20/get-a-helmet/
  9. Make a mini-zine: https://austinkleon.com/2020/03/04/how-to-make-a-zine-from-a-single-sheet-of-paper/. Here is mine: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/07/four-little-fires/
  10. Doodle with Mo Willems: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%23MoLunchDoodles
  11. Do some watercoloring.
  12. Build a fire.
  13. Take a walk.
  14. Go running. Better yet go running in the rain: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/11/07/running-in-the-rain/
  15. Write some thank you cards.
  16. Get 8 hours of sleep.
  17. Write a letter to someone.
  18. Read some poetry. Start with how to be a perfect: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57243/how-to-be-perfect
  19. Listen to This is Water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI
  20. Play hide-and-seek.
  21. Cook something you love, and cook something you’ve never cooked before.
  22. Learn to cook.
  23. Meditate. Here is the app I like currently: https://wakingup.com/
  24. Build something with legos.
  25. Have a wrestling match.
  26. Bake some bread.
  27. Have a camp out in your living room.
  28. Watch a documentary.
  29. Take care of your plants.
  30. Eat healthy.
  31. Read the Burrito Rant: https://medium.com/@jackdire/dear-guy-who-just-made-my-burrito-fd08c0babb57
  32. Try to learn something new. And then write about it: https://getonwithit.blog/category/willw/
  33. Bake some cookies.
  34. Make a collage from a magazine, old wrapping paper, or a book.
  35. Host an online meetup using Zoom: http://zoom.us
  36. Draw something. Try a drawing a day: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/01/04/a-drawing-a-day/
  37. Use this list of ice breakers to generate a fun conversation: https://zoom.us/
  38. Write in a physical notebook.
  39. Practice gratitude. See the 5MJ questions for a good start: https://www.intelligentchange.com/blogs/news/the-five-minute-journal-questions
  40. Search Twitter like Google instead of looking at your feed.
  41. Look at pictures from previous trips. Here is my most recent: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/01/notes-from-islay-and-jura/
  42. Update your resume.
  43. Think of something you can do to help someone else.
  44. Reach out to a person who you haven’t talked to in a while.
  45. Give yourself a foot massage.
  46. Look at the stars.
  47. Read The Tail End: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html
  48. Be gentle with yourself.
  49. Relax.
  50. Stop looking at your phone. Call someone.
Categories
Art Kids Parenting

Four little fires

I like to think of art projects like little fires. First you gather your wood (the materials), you built it (get everything set-up) and then you light it. When inspiration strikes, you get burning.

I love the process of gathering the materials from the store (art, craft, book, hardware, etc) and have them all ready, meaning out and in view, so we can work when the mood strikes. Until I have a dedicated studio space this means transforming our dining table over the weekend, but here’s proof that it’s worth it: four projects done over the past four roughly four weeks that just sort of happened because the fire was ready to be lit.


The mini-zine

I got this idea from Austin Kleon. I never knew how to fold and tear a piece of paper like this until now, and it’s a little detail that makes it super easy to transform any piece of paper into a mini-zine. No idea where the story came from either.


Mixing by hand

Me: “Sam you want to do some painting?”
Sam: “Yes daddy!”
Slide out some large sheets of card stock. Squeeze tubes of different color paints on. Watch him mix. Repeat!


The paper laptop

Vivian created this paper model of a laptop complete with fold out keyboard, sitckers on the case, kick stand, and laptop sleeve with handles. It’s just like what her parents use, and she even drew a browser on the screen showing “Google: Unicorns” on it with the search result.

No one helped her, no one even knew she was working on it. We were just going about doing chores while she was busy doing something at the dining-table-turned-studio.


The box critters

Kav made these with the kids, starting with some cutouts from a magazine and expanding into homemade hands and eyes and tails of all sorts. Reusing materials from around the house is a bonus, as it the fact that this art gets named and played with after. This genre of art project (box critter-making?) is an underrated wellspring that we’ll be sure to tap into more often.


I love art projects. Keep burning those fires!

Categories
Kids Parenting

Get a helmet

I got Sam this race car helmet from the gift shop at the Glasgow Museum of Transport recently (an awesome place to go by the way). Museum gift shops are a guilty pleasure, I always find something I want that’s usually overpriced, and the kids always seem to as well. However, this helmet was only £4! It must have been a mistake, as I’ve seen all manner of plastic items with much fewer parts priced three times as much, so I considered it a purchase worthy of the few hours of fun that we would have with it.

The thing is, Sam barely took it off once over the course of the next couple of days. I think I actually had to tell him that he couldn’t sleep while wearing it on the first night.

That £4 purchase has now given us days and days worth of fun.

But the best part of the helmet purchase is seeing how Sam behaves differently with it on. He’s a race car driver! A superhero! He’s invincible! He pretends that the visor gives him an extra shield to protect him against the sun (which is actually kind of true) and against Grandpa’s robot laser beams and careens about shouting and sliding with wild abandon.

Aside from the huge smiles that we all get and how much fun it is to play with Sam and his helmet, it’s gotten me thinking about the connection between the playing dress-up and pretending to be something versus actually being it. What’s the difference? We all start as pretenders and we all feel like fakes at first. What you wear (and how it fits) can make you feel invincible or invisible. You have to start somewhere.

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given was from a former mentor who would tell people that really wanted to switch what they were doing professionally (i.e. take on a new role doing different work than they are currently doing) to simply find a way to start doing the work now, regardless of whether they had permission. In other words, get a helmet and start pretending.

A £4 helmet gives Sam permission to be something that he might not think he is, but that’s exactly where the path to being a race car driver starts.

Categories
Art Parenting

Rainy day watercolors

Last Saturday Kav and the kids and I were faced with a stormy Saturday with no plans and very little daylight to work with. Luckily I have been amassing a small bunkers-worth of art supplies, including some proper watercolor supplies. You don’t have to ask me twice, queue art project time!

Fight water with water!

Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums, but I think it often gets a bad rap as something that’s overly messy or difficult to do. I’m definitely no expert, but it’s always fun to play with water with kiddos and with the right supplies, it’s really easy to create cool art with.

Here are some of the things that made this session good:

  1. I have actual watercolor paper. Although our paint was whatever, having paper that can actually take a little water is key.
  2. We had multiple pieces going at the same time. Watercolor involves a lot of back-and-forth between being wet and letting things dry. Letting things dry can be, well, boring, so that’s when you work on piece number 2 (or 3 or 4).
  3. We worked on the pieces gradually after the Saturday as well. I have waterproof pens and we added to the paintings on an ongoing basis over the week. There’s something about having pieces visible and in progress that feels good.
  4. We tried different techniques. I showed them washes, we tipped the pages and watched the color run in different directions and used that as a tool for flower stems. There was plenty of exploration.

Afterwards I started to see how this kind of project could translate well into a workshop setting. Kav’s been prompting me to do something like that at the kids school, so we’ll see. We’re starting out the new year with a new medium. Here are a few of the finished pieces:

Categories
Parenting Work

The (home) office door

Working from home full-time is fantastic, but having an office in a small house with two small children means that staying focused can be a challenge.

As any parent will tell you, a closed-door is not a universally recognised symbol by children to knock or come back later. It’s more like a general invitation to see what’s happening behind. A locked door generally leads to more knocking. You have to get a bit more creative if you want to minimize interruptions. So I had an idea.

As a project, the kids and I created a few things for the office door that now serve as an interface between us while Dad is working.