Monthly Archives: May 2012

Support for the Playground

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Mother’s Day has come and gone, and this writer has neglected her blog for too long!  This special day for us mamas came in mellow, not like the song lyric “mellow yellow” but more like the mellowness of a fine red wine which fills you with the warmth  and flavor fullness of the sun, soil and grapes from which it is made.

The holiday celebrates that which we mamas have made – our babes. Mine are growing rapidly, with my oldest having left the nest during a time of difficulty and college-aged angst, which he is still working through.  I miss him at times like these, but not as much as one might think.  I helped to grow that boy to young man the best way I knew how and I honor his need to do it his way. While I’m the mom o these boys I love, it’s not mine to hold them back if that is their desire.  I support that desire and the freedom to make it; we all have our own individual dance cards.

College son sent me a song that of course touched my heart as this is how he rolls. “Turn To You” by Justin Beiber brought me to tears, as it should, reminding both of us of how strong a bond between parent and child can be. I missed him much that day as he plowed through his studies finishing up him freshman year.

Young One, our baby, is not so little any more. His nine year old self created a sweetie pie card proclaiming me the best mom in the world! What an honor! He did do some shopping together, which, frankly was unnecessary given the prestige that came with my world honor.

In a red picnic basket were items that were just plain fun.  Candy from my childhood, straws with umbrellas, fish glassware and more overflowed from the basket.   The message:  “Keep Playing and Keep Writing Mom!

I will, boys, I will.

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Library Revolution

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I love NPR.  NPR, or National Public Radio, offers in depth stories about news, culture, politics and local issues. They also have weekly radio shows that I love to listen to including “This American Life” and “Car Talk”.  You name it, they cover it in an enjoyable, engaging way.  I feel my brain growing each time I listen.  Let’s face it, for a life long learner like me, this is fuel for play.

Yesterday, I was listening to reporter Allison Cuddy discuss the changes happing in the concept of libraries as we know them. We often think of libraries as a place with shelves of books and a librarian whispering “shhh” at the patrons.  Libraries, just like everything else in this century, are evolving into much more than that.

Jane Addam’s Hull House now has an art lending library.  They will come and hang a piece of art in your home and loan it to you just like a library book – except it is not due back for three months.  Also in Chicago is the new Poetry Library which houses – you guessed it – books of poetry.  Finally, Public’s Hotel has created a library room complete with coffee shop and books where guests and visitors alike can curl up in front of the fire with a book – or an electronic book – and a cup of coffee while experiencing the mind traveling experience that comes from reading a great book.

As I listened to Allison report on this story of libraries, I wondered if there would be a way to create a play library.  Not one in which you go in and play like some form of an adult version of Chuck E. Cheese or anything.  But a play library where, based on a person’s interest, you could type in one type of play that you enjoy and a suggested list of other things to try might come up:

Enter: Movies

Books made into movies

Attending the Academy Awards

Traveling to famous movie locations

Movie Group (think Book Club)

Movie themed parties

The library idea also got my wheels spinning even more.  Libraries provided venues for the experience of community – whether you are at your local library or the Public Hotel’s library, you are around other people who are part of the community which you are a part of at that moment and time.  What about a play library or an adult play group where we swap and borrow each other’s play ideas?  A play group for grown ups where we share stories of our play experiences and become energized by the new experiences of others.

Share with me, dear reader.  Share your play experiences and let’s make a play library.  Let’s be part of the library revolution!

Where Are You? Wait, What? Chicago?

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“Keep the promises you make to yourself” ~ Dove chocolate quote

Clearly you have noticed that it has been a challenge for me to keep focused on play! Each day I am certain you have arisen with the hopes that I had written another installment about my play adventures.  For those of you to whom this applies, I am so sorry I let you down.

  Truth is, I had put playing on the back burner until the semester ended and could go back to balancing the work I do in my practice with the role I play in my family. Grading is time consuming, especially at the end of a semester, but so worth it.  I understand that it is not play nor self care, however, reading the cultural autobiographies the students wrote was like reading sacred stories.  I am so fortunate to walk with my students as they come to understand themselves more deeply.

During this time, my husband planned a date night.  I did not know where we were going or what we were doing.  The anticipation was energizing,  All I had to do was dress myself up and attend, like in the old days when he would pick me up in his fancy car and off we’d go. (Now days his car is pretty fancy but much larger to accommodate children and the gear that comes with them, but I digress…)

We headed into Chicago and explored a neighborhood on Halsted Street, not too far away from my alma mater DePaul. I love the area and as members of Team Suburban we don’t often go into the city just to explore.  We went in and out of shops, and laughed at all the stores who had bowls of water for dogs and actually allowed the dogs in the stores.  Lululemon had the most pet/people couples.  One bulldog looked noticeably stressed, while his owner picked out runner shorts, as if he might have to actually run with his owner!

The great delight of the evening, besides the company of said husband, was the trip we made to the United Center!  I had not been there in more years than any of us can count and was pleasantly surprised to note that this was a home game for the Chicago Bulls.Yahoo!!  I adore sports, with football and basketball at the top of my list.  Not that the evening could get much better, but when we arrived in our seats, they announced that Derrick Rose would play with the team that evening. He had been recovering from a back injury and all week long Chicago Bulls fans had waited in anticipation to see if he would play Saturday night’s game.  Noah, Boozer, Rose, and “Hot Sauce” were all going to be in the game! Yeah baby!!

We had fabulous seats, way up high where you can truly see the game play in the X and O strategy that coaches use when explaining new plays. Seeing the players move across the court as a team, and not as an individual player, made me aware that basketball looks like a dance full of grace, pace and movements that flow from one end of the court to the other.  A joyful and competitive dance.

The night ended far too quickly for me.  But the impact of the night did not.  Today, I still smile from my head to my toes thinking about that night at the United Center.

That tells me something.  This girlie has to keep focused on play.

Keep the promises you make to yourself.  Thanks, Dove chocolate!