Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If I write something, am I committing myself?

It's spring break 2010 (yes, almost a year since I last posted). Having a couple of free days has sent my mind wandering into creative, textual pursuits that I've sort of abandoned over the past year. Not that I've been lazy: my needle has been my constant companion. But I just haven't felt like writing. (This is partly Facebook's fault.)

So: maybe I'll try to post stuff now and again. What I really like posting is pictures, but it often takes me too long to get things off the camera and onto the hard drive. I promise to start small, OK?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Membership has its rewards

Now that a single adult admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is $18, I finally caved and got a two-year family membership. Astrid likes to spend time there---though, really, her idea of "spending time" is racing past every painting in a gallery, taking a 30-second rest on a bench, and moving on to the next room. That is, of course, unless she has a sketchbook....then she's likely to stand in front of a single piece for up to ten minutes.

Yesterday I forgot to take her sketchbook out of my backpack before I checked it, so we were in racing mode---right up until our last minute in the museum, when she was completely wiped out. That's when I got this picture of her.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Astrid and the Bike are Now Friends

After struggling to admit that she really *does* know how to ride a bike without an adult holding the back of her t-shirt, Astrid gives in to her own expertise and rides independently. We are very proud of her, and thankful to Elliot for riding up and down the block with her for an hour yesterday (she's not allowed to go around the block without a grownup).

T-Ball pictures

I took these pictures of Astrid the Astro (and her biggest booster, Elliot) a couple of weeks ago. I especially like the shot of the team huddling with Coach Ernie--he's an excellent teacher, and he ends every game by inviting the girls to chase him around the bases. "Chasing Ernie" has quickly become a treasured ritual.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And I came tumbling after....

Last night I slipped on our (wet) back goodness, did it hurt. I am spending the day in bed, on my side, because neither sitting nor standing (for more than a minute or so) is an option.

I'll be missing a daylong "retreat" at work tomorrow--not something I was looking forward to, but certainly it would have been much better than the fix I now find myself in.

I have a view of fluttering maple leaves outside my window, and I can hear the cars zooming down the street, and the birds singing, and the psycho squirrels squabbling on the roof overhead. In a minute or two, I'll hear the kids walking home from school; Astrid will go to her caregiver's house as she usually does. Later she has a t-ball game, which I will sorely miss (no pun intended, believe me....)

Otherwise....I was able to get Netflix to work on my laptop, so I watched a good documentary on Petey Greene, the African-American talk show host and civil rights activist from the 60s-early 80s. I'd like to find a way to work the film into my spring 2010 seminar on cultural capital and advanced literacies. I also watched parts of a couple of films on Joe McCarthy and the Statue of Liberty--neither one was as gripping as Petey Greene.

I'd like to sleep, but I can't get comfortable.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I found a writer to read

My children are frequently puzzled by the fact that I don't like to read fiction all that much, especially since I'm an English professor with a special interest in narratology. I love to teach fiction, but I don't like to read it. I'd rather read about history or politics or medicine (best of all: the political history of medicine!), or about how to make things.

As part of the research I'm doing on body image, motherhood, and DIY culture, though, I have been looking at some creative nonfiction by women writers. This morning, I came across the writing of Susan Ito, a blogger and the fiction co-editor at Literary Mama magazine. (I ask myself why I've been assiduously avoiding Literary Mama for so long---is it my busman's holiday thing [I don't want to read literary stuff when I'm not officially working]? Is it my sense of inadequacy at being an academic writer rather than a "real writer" [a distinction that my mom made back when I was in graduate school. I don't think she still sees my work that way, though I haven't asked her]?)

Susan Ito is a wonderful writer, and Literary Mama is an excellent publication. I'm very glad that today I found both of them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I miss CRAFT

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, and now that I'm trying hard to avoid writing the article that I'm supposed to be completing, it's probably the perfect time to do so. I miss the printed version of CRAFT magazine. Even though some of the projects were dumb (I'm putting this nicely), I loved seeing what people were coming up with. I learned to embroider by reading CRAFT--an outcome that I think was worth the price of my subscription, given the halo of serenity I've learned to create for myself while embroidering (at baseball games, on airplanes, while playing seemingly unending board games with my fractious children....).

The columns (especially Susie Bright's) were often really good, and even when I disagreed with them, they helped me think through some of the theoretical issues that handwork constantly raises for me (like the blurry relationship between "art" and "craft" [something Jennifer New has been writing about], connections between handwork and environmental sustainability, the power of handwork to nurture social relationships and communities, etc.).

I wanted to be excited about getting issues of CRAFT's sister publication, MAKE, in place of CRAFT....but so far, MAKE doesn't grab me. I generally ignored articles about electronics in CRAFT, and there's a lot more of these (plus lots of computer stuff) in MAKE. On the up side, Elliot seems somewhat interested in these features, especially now that he's learning more advanced stuff about computer programming from his father.

I sure hope Threads never goes out of business. That would be a really, really sad day for me....