Thursday, March 29, 2012


Went to see Jonah Lehrer speak the other night.  Thanks to a friend we got to the lecture REALLY early and got seats.  We later heard the line went out the door and down the block--most didn't get in.

Why were we all clamoring to hear this talk?  Lehrer spoke about creativity.  Bottom line? Creativity is about connections.  Connections between people, ideas, circumstances.  True moments of insight happen out of nowhere and are accompanied by a feeling of certainty.

What is the "it" factor that allows certain people to pursue ideas or goals with such relentlessness?  Lehrer outlined research that labels that quality "grit."  Some folks have grit, some don't.

Other interesting points:

Neuroscience can SEE creativity and insight.

Maximal testing is worthless.

Personal connections are more important than "facts" when truly acquiring knowledge.

Jonah Lehrer is funny and his books are worth reading (he didn't say that, I did.)

After the lecture (attended with some of my all-time favorite people), I asked one of Evie's friends (age 13) how he liked the lecture.  His eyes shone as he said, "I LOVED it!"  When pressed as to why, he couldn't articulate it. Later, I realized it was because he lives in that state and he recognized what was being said as profoundly true.  Very cool.

So much can be said about our lives, our grit and our moments of creativity,  Instead, a picture is worth a thousand words.  This is what happens when Evie gets her hands on duct tape.

Monday, March 26, 2012


This past weekend we drove Evie to Crystal Lake, IL for an Aikido seminar.  This seminar brought teachers from all over the place, including a famous man named Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei.  Evie spent twelve (12!) hours over the course of two days learning from 6 different senseis and over 100 other Aikido practitioners.

Scott and I watched occasionally.  Ikeda Sensei spoke again and again about how all Aikido really happens in your brain.  He demonstrated the subtlety of human balance and concentration.  He spoke about moving energy in your body.  He spoke about friendship and our duty of kindness to others.  He was hilariously funny and very generous.

Evie was so full of ideas that the first night at the hotel she walked in her sleep twice and talked and tossed and turned all night, despite being totally asleep.  This is a girl who sleeps like a rock.  Her brain was processing so much.  When we came home, she slept for 14 hours.

So much happens in the brain.  I can see when Evie produces a cake or a dress, her other two loves.  I can't directly see what she produces in her brain.

This is exciting stuff.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Iron Chef Birthday

My mom is the queen of theme parties.  THE QUEEN.  For me those themes were Hawaii, a Masquerade Ball, an International Festival and (wait for it) a Cyndi Lauper Look-Alike party . . . okay, you can stop laughing now, I rocked those fluorescent earrings!

For Evie there has been a Japan party, tea party, animal party, Aikido party, I am forgetting some.  This year was the best, most hilarious party I may have ever attended.   This year's theme was . . .

Iron Chef

My mom asked the birthday girl to choose her opponent.  She chose my dad, "Chef Larryiki."  That alone was hilarious.  My dad's idea of cooking is raw potatoes with salsa (not kidding!)  Evie chose Scott as her sous chef, I was given to Grandpa to act as his sous chef.  At this point my dad leans over and says, "You gotta' be in charge, I am totally clueless."

We were led into Kitchen Stadium and told we had 1 hour 15 minutes to produce 3 dishes.  Then the secret ingredient was revealed: Rosemary!

Our ingredient choices, the rosemary was under the red towel.
Scott and I hammed it up good yelling things like "Behind!" and "Yes Chef!"  My mom could hardly take pictures she was laughing so hard as I taught my dad to do things he never dreamed of doing, like cutting up a mango.

In the end, Evie and Scott's team made a rosemary lime soda; tomato, parmesan and rosemary salad;  beet, potato, rosemary latkes and a rosemary, whole-wheat pasta frittata.  My dad and I made a salad with pea shoots, sunflower shoots, mango, kumquat and black apple with a  rosemary syrup; soup with dandelion, potato, kale and rosemary and a rosemary/Gruyere quiche.

It was all delicious and we finished with a mega chocolate birthday cake that Evie saw in a magazine.  She baked the cake, Scott frosted and I made the decorations.  I even followed the directions, since it was Evie's birthday.

My mom was awesome as the chairwoman, we all laughed and ate delicious food.  It was a perfectly themed birthday party for my foodie girl.

Now she is 12!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Love Letter

Evie's final project for Wilton Class 3.  She made all those flowers out of gum paste!

I think I might write a love letter to our local JoAnn fabrics.  It would go something like this.

Dear Awesome JoAnn Fabrics Team Members [don't you think they'd want to be referred to as a team?],

I felt I simply had to write to express how awesome I think you all are and how awesome your store is.  Here is why:

1) You remember my daughter and I when we come in.  You ask questions about what we are up to.  You ask Evie about current and past projects.  You never ask how old she is, what grade she is in or where she goes to school.

2) When Evie comes in to buy her own project materials you never ask her about where her mother is.  You never talk to her like she is anyone but any other adult customer.

3) When you offer classes you offer them without discriminating based on age.  Turns out it is hard for an 11 year old to take a cake decorating class in this town.

4) When I apply for the "Educator Discount Card" with our homeschooling papers your staff member chirped, "Hey!  I was homeschooled too!"

5) You help us save ridiculous amounts of money by combining coupons, pointing our special offers and telling us about upcoming sales.

Thank you JoAnn Fabrics.  Evie had the best time ever in your Wilton Courses 1&3.  She gained skills, made friends and had a blast.


Jen and Evie Lynch

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Too hot

Temps have been in the high seventies and eighties the last few days.  Yuck.

No point in trying to catch up on what we've been up to, too busy.

Our first Unschooling Conference salon is tomorrow.  I am curious to hear what people have to say.  I am excited and nervous about my presentations.

Scott's sister is here for a visit to celebrate Evie's b-day (next week).  We toodled around downtown yesterday.

The obsession with mail art continues.  Google it.

I am so grateful for computers and being able to watch so many amazing shows via a few simple cables to hook-up the computer to the TV.  Fun stuff.

Derby again tonight.  Go Mouse!  I guess it is St. Patrick's day today too.

My thought for the day?  I am jealous of people who crave and indulge in creativity more often than practicality.  I am tired of loading the dishwasher, I wanna make more art.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Each Day

Each day I have a million things I want to write about--details of our day or deep thoughts that I want to share.  When I finally have time I often feel I have nothing to put down here.  So, I rely on pictures.  years from now I hope they trigger memories of all things we were doing when we were too busy to write them down.

Scott's new workshop buddy.

Rosemary syrup for National Pancake Day.

Did I mention she likes to cook?

Sometimes tiny stuff gets stuck IN the glue stick!

What was in the boxes.  He named it "Kong."

My kimchi breakfast.  It is even better with a fried egg.  Scott is not happy.

Monday, February 27, 2012


HERE is a glimpse of the yogathon on Saturday.  So many people moving together.  It was an emotional morning.  Evie and I are in the top right of the screen most of the time, the full front shots are also of us, Evie in purple, me with my wrinkly knees in rose and green.

We took a picture of Jean with us.  Thanks to the generosity of so many friends, Grandma Beanie's Radon Raiders, had the 4th highest team fundraising total.

Sometimes, all you can do is breathe.

p.s. Evie and I went to a Zumbathon on Friday night to raise money for the American Heart Association.  Another glimpse HERE.