A few good gems

 One of my all-time favorite GIFs. For full effect, turn on some music. Maddy and I can't stop laughing at our groovy pattern gal.

One of my all-time favorite GIFs. For full effect, turn on some music. Maddy and I can't stop laughing at our groovy pattern gal.

Let's get this weekend started right, with a virtual dance party and a few links for your weekend reading/doing:

Downton Abbey has started airing its new season in England while the rest of the world has to wait until January. Or do we? I've found a couple of ways to tune in; just in case you haven't discovered them yet, here you go. We subscribe to a VPN service that gives us access to US and UK websites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC, and ITV from here in Australia. It's a few dollars a month for a subscription. Then there's a super sneaky website (and I'm just passing this along, I have no idea how they got access to the episodes) that is airing the episodes here. (If you're like me, there goes the weekend!)

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If you have the pleasure of entertaining a handful of 9- to 12-year-old boys, may I suggest you take a page from Jenny's playbook? Sounds like the best playdate ever, at the price of a 12-pack of toilet paper. 

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Besides "paper or plastic?" one of the most asked questions of the age might be "paper or digital?" Which do you prefer? I prefer a real book in my hands (plus it's easier to share with others) but for access convenience and cost, I find most of my book purchases lately are electronic. I like a paper calendar (Moleskine, two-page weekly layouts, please) but love my online to-do list/task minder (hooray for TeuxDeux! I'm such a fan.). I'm a flexi-paper-digi-tarian, I guess. Not sure how I feel about that but I do think this French commercial nails the quandary:

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It Is An Opportunity For Great Joy: a 12-year-old boy's experience with his hospitalized grandfather. Such a lovely read about the power of story narratives and healing (via Longreads). 

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Fascinating Wired article about responsive education, self-motivated learning, and changing teaching methods to unlock potential. Go, Sergio Juarez Correa! What do you think of this kind of approach to education reform?

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Artifact Uprising just announced they're doing postcard packs, 20 of your favorite images on gorgeous double thick paper, ready to send (hmmm...another holiday card or gift possibility?) 

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In my old neighborhood, there was the sweetest lady who never had a bad thing to say about anyone. She was generous with her compliments and genuinely one of the purely kind people I've known. One time someone played a very mistake-ridden train-wreck of a piece in church, just an awkward moment for everyone involved. True to form, she managed to come up with something both true and nice-sounding to say afterwards, though: "My, I had no idea you could play like that!" In that spirit, I loved this depiction of how to say something nice about someone's art (or anything) when you have nothing nice to say: 

 by  Wendy MacNaughton , via SwissMiss

by Wendy MacNaughton, via SwissMiss

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Finally, I mentioned my favorite to-do manager above but I feel like I need to highlight really how much I love it to do it justice. Teux Deux is clean and simple and exactly what I need, with a space to write daily tasks and columns for ongoing projects. You can tell the creators' purpose was, as they put it, to design a to-do list (1) simple enough to compete with a piece of paper (2) beautiful enough you wouldn't mind looking at it all day. You can try it free for a month and after that it's $2/month.  

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Happy weekending! See you here Monday.