29 November 2009

Bubble Lights

Is there anything better than a strand of bubble lights? Over the course of the last few years, I've collected a few strands but am a long way off from being able to deck out a whole tree with these effervescent delights.

Regardless, the House of Whelmed tree looks pretty spiffy and makes the entire house smell like pine.

Relax. Breath. Everything will get done.

27 November 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For the first time ever, I didn't head back to the Mitten state for Thanksgiving. Rather, I stayed in Bton and gathered a group of lovely people for dinner and a showing of Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. Conversation was delightful, food was delicious and the lines we encountered when we went to the Outlet Mall afterward were distractingly long. All in all, a fine Thanksgiving.

Surprisingly, I emerged without purchasing a single thing from the Outlet Mall trip. True, prices were low, but it just felt weird. Women in the hundreds were wandering around the store, bunches of purses on their arms, confident these objects were the key to their holiday joy. After last year's knit-a-palooza, I find that I can't try to my loved ones with whatever the stores are offering. I really enjoyed knitting for everyone last year, regardless of how much work it was. I haven't had the time to do the same this year, so I'm taking a different strategy: I've knit quite a few things for people over the course of the year. For those who I have not squirreled some piece of fibery goodness away for, I will figure out sewing possibilities. I've managed to collect a decent stash of fabric and some decent sewing skills; I can come some up with something, I am sure. For those who are left, I'm trying to wrap my head around books (I love books as gifts, especially when said books come from people who share my reading tastes and/or know me well) and vintage items from flea markets and thrift stores. If I can't make a homemade holiday, I'm thinking this is the next best thing: gifts that are thoughtful and attempt to sidestep the cookie cutter commercialism of the season. Now to check my list and make a plan to finish everything in the midst of papers and grading and general school insanity.

These next few weeks are hectic: holiday preparation, classes wrapping up, and the everyday goings-on of life. I will try, however, in these coming weeks to breathe and enjoy the season, revel in my friendships, and not let the to-do-ness of the holidays get me down.

09 November 2009

Today I Broke

Nope, I'm not crying. At least not in this picture.

It's nearing the end of fall semester, third year in and I have yet to have cried over a professor's feedback. I've taken classes with some of the most difficult profs in my department, submitted papers where I was unsure of what I was doing, spelled out my ignorance about this topic and that with glaring clarity. And never once have I cried.

There has always been something to be learned, something I've done well enough to warrant revisiting the writing a second time. There's always been something redemptive about the feedback I've received from my professors, regardless of how crappily I laid out my argument or splotchy my literature. I've never had a professor tell me my writing is sloppy and nothing more.

Honestly, I don't quite know what to do here. Were the assignment something polished, rather than a working draft, I would understand the comment. But it is a working draft and while there are sections of the paper that are sloppy, I felt my epistemology and theoretical underpinnings were solid. I don't think I'm someone who needs coddling but I am here to learn. Nothing comes out of feedback that is meant to belittle and gives no direction for positive change. Teach me.

Today, I cried. Her feedback, my apparently sloppy writing, broke me. Today, after seven semesters, countless papers, and eleven sections of teaching, graduate school broke me. I'll mend but, for today, I just want to wallow.

01 November 2009

Welcome, November

October was a great, if not harried, month. Papers (one of which I should be writing right now...), proposals, teaching, giving feedback on assignments: it makes one really have to schedule time for enjoying the season. And there has been enjoyment, friends, particularly in these last few days of October. Take a look-see:

Haunted Halloween Hellaballoos, Mummy races, and zombie parades: a nice way to see one of my favorite months out and usher in the home stretch of the semester.

Now only if I could get this paper written...