Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Outdoor Classroom

Another post inspired by lovely folks on Twitter:

@rjleaman posted a tweet with a link to @thedublab's brilliant blog post about Outdoor Classrooms, an inspirational idea, which I hope will really catch everyone's imagination.

Not only do schools (and the environment) benefit from outdoor classrooms; there is a positive effect on the wider community too:

"Beyond the school, the construction of an outdoor classroom also benefits community members by providing opportunities to increase their environmental awareness and knowledge, while offering additional means of participation in both their child’s education and local environmental stewardship."

There has even been a positive effect on the level of vandalism:

"To date, no vandalism or disturbance of either the nursery beds or the native wildflower landscaping has occurred. This is significant, given that the schoolgrounds receive considerable traffic after hours and have experienced defacement and destruction of property in the past."

Tree nurseries, native wildflower beds and proposed contructed wetlands are all fantastic places to encourage the interest of children and their familes in nurturing the environment. Such wonderful learning spaces benefit everyone and this idea really excites me!

Youngest Daughter is a keen gardener, helps out at a local farm at weekends and during school holidays and is thinking about studying horticulture/agriculture at college. I know she would love something like this at her school and am pretty sure the school would be up for it, so I will print off Dave Riddell's post and take it in.

I know myself the benefits of gardening, from mental and spiritual health benefits to the benefits of physical exercise and fresh air, the ability to eat better food (while saving money) and the feelgood factor of doing something positive for the environment.

The benefits are phenomenal, the possibilities are endless ... an outdoor classroom would be such a treasure in any community. I hope you take this idea and run with it.

With thanks to Dave Riddell and best wishes for continued success. May there soon be many, many thriving Outdoor Classrooms!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Niebu: A new word, a new world!

I have learned a new word today. I love learning new words! But this isn't just a new word for me, it's a newly-created word. A simple word with a short but inspiring history and complex meaning. A word I hope you'll share with everyone.

I've noticed recently that some of the guys I follow on Twitter have been using the word "Niebu" as a greeting, possible also as "Goodbye." It was obviously a word filled with warmth, and humour, but I thought it was a private joke between friends ... it made me smile but I didn't ask what it meant. (Very unlike me!)

Working my way through a huge backlog of RSS feeds this morning, I found an explanation, by James Chartrand of the fantastic Men With Pens. It was James who had inadvertently created this amazing new word. Very early in the morning, still in a pre-jetfuel haze, James' "Mornin" to Dave Navarro emerged in the Twitterstream as "Niebu!"

Dave returned the greeting and a simple typo ("Mornin" typed one space to the left on the keyboard) quickly became a greeting and then a word to represent "Goodbye" as well. Soon it became so much more than that. In the words of James:

... it was amazing to watch the metamorphism of a simple typo into a mainstream phrase. It evolved, too, beyond its salutation form. It began encompassing a sense of peace, of happiness and of joy.

“It’s better than The Force,” I mentioned, and people nodded in agreement. Niebu says it all.

You can laugh over it. You can wrap it around your mind and feel good. It rolls off the tongue. It’s short, succinct and carries good associations. It represents belonging and community.

It does. And it has been embraced by the Twitter community, who have written more about it on their blogs:

What does Niebu mean? Dave Navarro explains on his fab Rock Your Day and lists some of those who regularly use Niebu on Twitter. (Perhaps that should be those who regularly Niebu ... I think it works as a verb too!):

Niebu grew to have new meanings as James’ friend mocked him with international flair. From brettlegree to WritingJourney, from IttyBiz to melissadonovan to vegaspenman and more,

Niebu means everything from “Good morning,” to “Good Night,” “Aloha,” “Mahalo,” and “Holy crap, I need to subscribe to Rock Your Day right now!” (but only if you pronounce it while drinking heavily).

Bob Younce on The Writing Journey explains the phenomenon of Niebu:

We use Niebu to mean “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Good Luck,” and even refer to Niebu as a sort of tribal Deity, as in “My Twitter is acting up. Quick, sacrifice a virgin to Niebu.”

In reality, Niebu means Community.

It means many things, all of which are positive and filled with the generosity of spirit that James and his friends are known for. Niebu is now an everyday thing on Twitter, an everyday expression of community. A gift, a simple word, that holds a new, more caring world within it. It's certainly taken off and caught everyone's imagination on Twitter, I'm guessing it will soon be an everyday word in our lives, I certainly hope so.

Just goes to show that language is magical and words have a life of their own.

And that 'mistakes' can be beautiful things with amazingly positive results!

Niebu to you all. May the force of Niebu scatter sunshine through your lives.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Eating a Dragon ...

Youngest Daughter and I are always on the lookout for a new food adventure.

Eldest Daughter will try new things but is more cautious and needs proof that it won't kill her first, whereas Youngest Daughter and I always want to be the first to try it!

This was a particularly lovely adventure ...

We bought a Dragonfruit last week, because we had never seen one before, because it was beautiful (like some kind of exotic flower) and because it had such a cool name!

Unsure what to do with it (that's half the fun!) we cut it in half ...

It was very mild in taste and had a texture somewhere between kiwi fruit and watermelon.

"Is this all for me?"

"Are you sure about this?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not Being an Ostrich!

I have learnt today (for the nth time, for goodness sake!) how good it feels sorting out my financial 'file', which has existed for a while in the form of a pile of letters, some of which I confess are still unopened from before Christmas ... that's last year, now! (Blush!)

I know from a lifetime's experience (have never been good with either money or numbers) that when I face up to them, take stock of my income and expenditure, and send the details in letters, the situation will be much improved; the financial situation itself, the clutter situation (paperwork filed neatly away instead of following me around the house and growing daily), and the stress situation! (Three successes with one action, hey?) It felt so good last week when I put six envelopes into the post box, and even better this morning when I received positive feedback from three of them ...

So why do I always behave like an ostrich?

Perhaps it has something to do with my Jungian attitude (introvert/extravert) ... more about that in another post, have promised myself I will work on Student Mum today.

Now things have been arranged, yet again, I am determined to keep on top of financial stuff ... I have a proper file, a cute little bag with a gorgeous grey kitten on the front, with it's paw on a love heart sweet (well, it keeps it all tidy and my youngest daughter gave it to me for my birthday, it makes me feel good when I look at it, so am hoping it will be easier to get it out once a week and examine the contents!)


PS I also learnt recently that ostriches don't actually bury their heads! If I remember rightly, the myth arose from the fact that they turn their eggs with their heads, and their nests are built up slightly, giving the appearance of them burying their heads. Still a great image though, and one I can certainly relate to!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bad hair days!

Today (well, yesterday in fact) I have learnt (again!) that teenage girls are very sensitive and that the best thing to do when they are having a bad hair day, is not to offer helpful suggestions, or even sincere compliments ... but to simply vacate the room (possibly even the house!) :o)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Wonderful World of Blogger ...

Another blog, another intention!

Would really like to share life's lessons on here, from random facts learned to more philosphical musings and funny stories.

Anyone who wants to add their own is more than welcome ... sharing being the whole point!

I have learnt today (for the past few days, in fact) that the community of writers on blogger is amazing. I am so glad I made that first move, wrote that first sentence ...

Sincere thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome and for inspiring me with your wonderful blogs!