20 April 2010

It just hit me: the semester ends in two weeks. Drat, drat, drat. How did I get here? 

I'm struggling against myself as I work to finish up classes, draft my quals exam questions, and prepare to teach class this summer. This last part is a new addition to my summer docket: a three-week course on children's literature in the elementary classroom. This is the class I've been lusting after since I arrived in Indiana and I finally get to teach it. Twelve sessions. Three weeks. It begins in three weeks and I still have this semester to wrap up. 

I imagine there being some all-nighters in my general future. Overall, this isn't a horrible thing. 

In other news, dang is it beautiful outside. 

17 April 2010

Weekend Away

Saturday in Detroit. Book sale at the Detroit Public Library and an afternoon wandering around The Henry Ford. Brilliant, I tell you. Brilliant. 

13 April 2010

Herman Miller Goodness

I'm trying to zip through the week, which is a tricky proposition. I try to live in the moment, to expand my hours as much as possible, but with a trip back to Michigan in the plans for the weekend, I want Thursday afternoon to be here NOW. I haven't seen my best friend Candice since Christmas and we are planning a weekend of lounging, sight-seeing, and general tomfoolery.

I'm overly excited about heading to the Henry Ford, literally just a hop, skip and a jump away from Candice's house to see the Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller exhibit. I'm a sucker for HM, a Michigan company whose plastic-molded chairs and futuristic office furniture are celebrated for their mid-century aesthetic. I will, one day, own a circular oak table surrounded by white plastic-molded chairs with Eiffel bases. It's a goal.

As I researched the exhibit in an attempt to plan out our weekend, I came across The Print Gallery, another Michigan company with a unique Herman Miller connection. Since 1970, Herman Miller has been hosting a summer picnic for their employees and commemorating them with annual posters; The Print Gallery has been given permission to sell prints of these visual delights. They are so summery, so bright and cheery, yet still full of the aesthetic one would expect from Herman Miller.

All images: EverythingArt.com

These are some of my favorites and with decent pricing (from $45 for recent posters to $250 for limited editions), I think I'm making one of them my "congrats, you survived another semester" present to myself. Now if only I could finish writing all the papers that need to be turned in before that happens...

11 April 2010

Lists rather than actual posts.

I've been meaning to post for about four days now but haven't seemed to find the time. As such, I have a ton of stuff in my head that I need to get out, which will result in the following list:

I have the best roomies ever. This past week was filled with anxiety and woe as I had... 

...a keynote address to give on Friday. Don't I look all scholarly-like? I was asked to give the keynote at a small conference here on campus, the only directive was to make it inspirational. When I signed on, I figured I could pull it off without a problem. Only when I realized the Dean of the School of Ed was last year's speaker (and my course supervisor and on of my teacher heroes was the speaker the year before that) did I start falling apart a bit. As I wrote last entry (which also consisted of a list - let's hope this is not a habit I'm starting here), who am I to give this talk at a conference about exemplary? Crap. So I avoided myself all together and talked about my kids, our time together, and how important they are to me still. I talked about exemplary work in college as a contract for future exemplary work, binding them to providing students with thoughtful, deliberate instruction while still being aware of who their students are as people. Reviews have been positive, which is good. (Notes to self for future speeches, should I ever be asked again: you over-plan. Remember thinking you had about ten minutes of dead air time so you hurried up and wrote more? Yeah, don't do that. You forget that people need time to laugh, time to think. Oh, and just put notes on your PPT slides. You are not a reader of the screen. You know this, trust yourself.) 

I finished Sweater Quest, by the hilarious Adrienne Martini, a week or so ago and it inspired me to try knitting socks again. My first summer of knitting, about two years ago, I managed to work my way through a sock from the top-down, which was an unnerving project - what if I run out of yarn? what if they don't fit? OMG, WHAT AM I DOING!? Not a pleasant project. So for two years, I've had this skein of Harry Potter sock yarn in my stash, taunting me (particularly because I had to search high and low and across three states for the blasted thing). Using some mad Google skills, I located some tutorials (here and here and here for those interested) and cast on. A little over a week later, I've a sock! And it fits! No pictures, though... I'm trying to wait until I have them both done... It could be a while. 

Mmmm... a quilt top. It's so much better than the first one. The seams on this one (kinda) match up. This is a good thing, no? 

Okay. I feel better. Now to finish taxes, figure out why my data set is out of numerical order, and plan for tomorrow's class. Perhaps all of this can be done out in the sun, yes? 

05 April 2010

April, I am so glad to see you.

My friend Mark and I used to email each other every Sunday with our three highs of the week, three lows of the week. I'm unsure when we fell out of the practice, but I think it might be an easy way to get myself back into the writing here as the four drafts I've been working on just aren't anywhere near publishable. So, without further fanfare: 


* Today, while teaching my undergrad class, we all sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" as part of a phonics activity. 21-year-olds singing this little ditty just makes all the planning worth it. 

* I ran into a good grad school friend I hadn't seen in a while at the grocery today - had a chance to catch up and make plans to get together for coffee later in the week. 

* This book is slowly but surely bringing me back to something resembling academic life. 


* Writer's block. I'm giving a keynote address at a small conference on Friday morning and am struggling. The last speaker was the Dean, the year before that was the Director of one of the programs at the school. I am simply a grad student - what can I possibly say? 

* It's the first humid day of Spring, which is giving me a massive headache and a premature desire to turn on the air condition. Will take two aspirin and wait it out. It's too early for the A/C. 

* I'm struggling with some big life decisions, which sucks. I mean, good because I have options, but the actual figuring out of those options sucks. Hardcore. Like a Dyson.