Choose to be Curious

Curiosity & the Farmers Market

IMG_1557What if you go somewhere familiar and choose to be curious?

What more do you see, hear, taste and learn? We find out on this fun visit to Arlington Farmers Market at Court House.

How to make soap, taste test olive oil, store mushrooms; where the best fruit grows; who plays the charango….and some of the stories behind all the people who make up the market.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #24: Curiosity & the Farmers Market.

Choose to be Curious, Uncategorized

News Literacy: Now more than ever

What to do in an age of “fake news” and echo chambers? Get curious about your news.

US and Virginia government teacher Patricia Hunt joins me to talk about news literacy and how to build strong and discerning information-processing muscle. Being intentional about what we know and how we know it has never been more important.

I love that inspiration for this story came as I sat in traffic in I-95 on the way to my parents’ house for Christmas. Proof that even those moments and hours that feel utterly lost can and do yield good fruit. Serendipity for the win!


Listen to Choose to be Curious #23: News Literacy – with Patricia Hunt.



Every mention of immigration these days is so charged, I just wanted to have a thoughtful conversation about the simple and everyday ways in which curiosity contributes to picking up and moving somewhere new.

Luckily, I found two wise young people to help me out — plus, a bonus closing cameo reflection on (re)gaining appreciation for and finding inspiration in one’s homeland. I am deeply grateful to Anderson Escobar, Mariami Shengelia and Arturo Ramirez for making this show possible.

“The world belongs to the people who are curious.” ~ Albert Einstein

Listen to Choose to be Curious #22: Immigration – with Anderson Escobar and Mariami Shengelia.




Life Lessons

Mosaic as Metaphor

I like the meditative quality of mosaic work. I can sink entirely into the task, focused only on the chips of glass and ceramic in front of me, attentive to color and shape and nothing else. Can feel the quiet, the only sounds the occasional crack of the nippers at their work and my breath, soft and even.

But there’s more to it than that. Something about putting pieces together again, assembling a coherent work, maybe even something pleasing, from jagged shards. Order from disorder, beauty from brokenness.

I think it appeals to me, especially right now, because it reminds me to be hopeful, that we can (re)assemble, even from what seems irredeemably shattered. We can pull the pieces together, play with the harsh contrasts, appreciate the colors and sharp edges. We can make something of it. Even still.

Life is a work in progress.


Thank Goodness for Sesame Street

elena_urioste_ph_tinozzi_023-1280x853Bach, Kodály, Ysaÿe, Kreisler, Halvorsen and a traditional Bulgarian folk tune each washed over us in their turn. The cello and violin playing with and for each other, with and for all of us. The music filled the space, bursting to the ceiling, finding every corner, leaving nothing out. I could imagine it tumbling out the door and down the street, a heady rebuke to the leaden sky.

Elena Urioste and Nicholas Canellakis entered the chilly church hall radiating joy. Their chemistry was lovely, their smiles genuine and warm, their technique exquisite, their playfulness undeniable.

For an hour, two, I was swept up in the incredible beauty of which humans are capable.

For an hour, two, I sat cocooned, entranced, soothed.

The program notes tell me that “as a mere two-year old [Elena] saw an episode of Sesame Street in which the great violinist Itzhak Perlman demonstrated his instrument for Elmo and, according to her parents [whom we met on the way out the door], she was hooked.”

All I can say is: thank goodness for Sesame Street.

Check her out here. Check him out here. They often play with the remarkable Michael Brown, about whom I have written before.

Yup: thank goodness for Sesame Street.





Choose to be Curious

Oh, Those Unexpected Allies

handsI’ve been finding hidden treasures a lot lately. It pays to go looking.

Over breakfast and ginger-turmeric tea this morning, N. remarked on my ever-expanding universe. She’s right: I’m in a sort of acquisition mode, or maybe it’s more like intermolecular attraction. I’m spending a lot of time with new people, discovering–and actively pursuing–new connections.

I think of it as the up-side of current circumstances. I’ve become quite intentional about my outreach. As the world seems to be crashing in on itself, I survive by pushing back against the imploding forces.

In December, at a friendly non-partisan if not strictly apolitical gathering, a woman reflected on a lesson she’d learned in her professional work as an evaluator. Don’t underestimate the power of unexpected allies, she advised. We don’t know where our best assets may yet be.

After quoting her in just about every applicable conversation–have you thought about where you might find unexpected allies in this fight?–I thought it was time to hear more from her…

Listen to Choose to be Curious #21: Curiosity & Evaluation – with Carlisle Levine.