Trying New Things : Indy WordLab

Last week Two weeks ago, Heather, Julie and I tried something new. We trekked downtown (which isn’t seeming so far away for Heather these days, she’s there a lot) and we attended September’s Indy WordLab. It’s true. I spend my day looking at words, and for fun, in the evening, I went to an event about words.

It was so much more than that.

For starters, I finally got to see Indy Reads Books for myself. It’s a real used bookstore, located right on Mass Ave. It operates as part of Indy Reads, Indianapolis’ Adult Literacy education initiative.

So. WordLab.

There’s a speaker (usually a writer) who leads the group in some kind of writing exercise.

Our group was lead by Indy WordLab organizer and author of Nothing New: An Irreverant History of Storytelling and Social Media, Ryan Brock. He led us in an exercise that started with 30 minutes of writing, then a shorter amount of time (6 minutes?) and then finally, 90 seconds. The only requirement was that we include the phrase “autumn leaves”.

So what did I write?

I wrote about my kid, of course. Here is my 30 minute product. It kind of sums up what’s been going on around here the last few weeks. It was inspired by the fact that she learned to ride a two-wheeler on my birthday. It’s not a gift I’ll soon forget.

The end of summer is a new beginning. New shoes because her feet have grown. New backpack and lunchbox because her tastes have changed.

She’s asking for phone numbers and posting on My Big Campus. She guards passwords and tracks her allowance. The training wheels have come off as the neighborhood pool closed, and she’s taken off down the street.

Her birthstone earrings have been returend to her jewelery box, and she’s raided mine for a pair of hook earrings.

Autumn leaves turn as she leaves one place and surges head first into the next.


After we wrote, we shared in small groups. It was like a college writing class, except it was free, it was for fun, and there was no grade.

And we’ll be going back in October. Are you interested in joining us?

Life Lesson: Mom, Every Person is Important

It all started with a book.

Book cover of Americana
It’s a book about the USA, written about men, by a men, for men!

The other night, we read the book, “Americana Advenure” by Michael Garland. It’s an interesting book, and it held MaM’s attention for several read throughs. There are things to find, illustrations to ponder and quotations galore.

After reading it, MaM asked why I reading over the back page, which listed all of the quotations in the book.

“I’m looking through the quotations to see if there are any by women.”

“Mom, there won’t be any, there aren’t any women presidents.”

“I know, but not all the quotations are by presidents. Oh look, ‘Independence is happiness, by Susan B. Anthony.”

“She was a president?”

“No, but she worked really hard so that women could vote.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, when Great Grandma was a little girl, women weren’t allowed to vote. Men didn’t think their votes were important.”

She got a look on her face, and said earnestly, as only a seven year old can, “Mom, every person is important. Why didn’t the men think the women were important?”

“Well, that’s just how things were. So Susan and her friends started protesting, and holding up signs, and working hard to get the government to understand that the women should be voting too.”

“Well I don’t know why the men were being mean the the women. I think those boys need to be taught a lesson.”

MaM and my grandma, circa 2010

My grandmother was exactly the age my daughter is now when her mother was granted the right to vote. Nearly 100 years later, the book Americana features exactly one quote by a woman.

I find it hard to accept that this is the world we live in. I mean, really.

Here’s my hope: in ninety years, when her great grandchildren are reading books about America, I hope the women are better represented. It’s not that they’re not accomplishing things, it’s that they’re not being recognized. My hope is that my daughter’s generation will change that. After all, and I quote, “Mom, every person is important.”  

It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

girl scout cookie box artA few weeks ago I waxed poetic over at Persephone on how much I love that MaM is a Daisy Girl Scout. I mean, I am really enjoying her whole Daisy Girl Scout experience. The field trips, the friendship, the unique experiences….I just love it all so much.

Then we went to the Girl Scout Cookie Rally last night, and my joy was brought to a whole new level. We got her cookie order form (it looks just the ones I used in 1985) and the manila money envelope — I think the National Office must have ordered 5.5 million of them back in the day, because they are exactly the same. Exactly.

The price, of course, has gone up. Cookie counts, of course, have gone down. Boxes are now $3.50 each, and some cookie counts are as low as 14. But they taste exactly the same, and man are they good!

Something I found interesting when looking at the cookie order form is that a) all ingredients and nutritional info is listed for each type of cookie and b)the ingredients, for the most part are pretty basic.

Only one cookie has HFCS, the Dulche De Leche (listed in the containts less than 2% of the following section), and only the chocolate varieties (Thin Mints, Samoas & Tagalongs) contain Partially Hydrogenated Soy Oil. I think that’s a testament to the fact that the recipes really haven’t changed all that much since I was selling these yummies myself.

New (to me, anyway) is the program “Operation Cookie Drop”, where patrons can donate the equivalent to the price of a box of cookies and a box of cookies will be sent to military troops. Here in Indiana, the cookies are sent to the troops being processed in and out of Camp Atterbury.

We can officially start taking orders today — leave a comment if you’re interested and I will email you to confirm!

(MaM does need to be involved in the process, so she’ll be making some phone calls & writing thank you notes)