19 December 2011


The lurch, it begins. Not quite free of my grading, I fled Indiana late last week and have been hiding out with friends. Oh, Michigan: I miss you.


Grading to finish today. I am oh-so-close to being free of my instructor responsibilities for Fall 2011. So. Close. Knitting at a feverish pace. (Hadn't I promised myself NOT to do handmade ho-ho-ho holidays this year?) Have two quilts to finish before the big day. Two. (Really, Nick? Are you insane?) 


And this is how the holiday goes, sputtering and, at times, angsty but I really wouldn't want it any other way. 

Now to finish that grading. 

07 November 2011

Some Days

Sylvie's Baby Sweater

Some days are just Ride a Bummer days. Some weekends are Bummer Road Trip weekends. Sometimes you just got to ride it out and the only thing that gets you through it is the thought that it can't be forever. Embroidering initials on a baby sweater, is helpful as well. 

It will not last forever. 

06 November 2011

It Will Be There

Granny In Progress

I took a day off. Okay, a few days off. I ignored dissertation work, did minimal work on a manuscript due in a week, and didn't clean my apartment. 

Pile of Grannies

Instead, I sat on my couch, watched Doc Martin episodes, and worked with some yarn. Granny squares, mostly. There may have been some Florence + the Machine involved as well.  

The Stack

And I will get back to it tomorrow. 

31 October 2011

The Halloween That Almost Wasn't

It's Halloween. Crap. When did that happen? One of my favorite Halloween specials ever - 1979's The Halloween That Almost Wasn't. It would be on the Disney Channel when I was a kid and it brought together everything I loved: Dracula, Halloween, comedy. I watched this EVERY chance I had. Decades later, in the midst of my own Halloween-that-almost-wasn't, I still can't help but find it entertaining. Best line: "It's one of those days I wish I was dead. And stayed dead." Enjoy. 


And my orchid? According to Brooklyn Orchids, it appears I have quite a few roots, but I don't see any flower spikes. This is unfortunate, but means I've been taking decent care of the plant. 

And now: grading. Happy Halloween! 

30 October 2011


There are few phrases in the English language that piss me off more than Welcome to the real world, as though I'm existing in a fantasy land of pixie dust and marshmallow-crapping unicorns. In my real world, I'm spending seven hours a day in front of my computer, attempting to make sense of data, while teaching and applying for jobs. Oh, and resubmitting articles after revising them. And writing letters of recommendation for teacher candidates. And attempting to keep myself in clean clothing so I don't get any weird looks when I go out in public. Real world, my ass.

In other news, I'm not sure what is going on with my orchid. I'm assuming this is good growth and leaving it at that...


20 October 2011

Linky Love: Cold and Dreary Edition

It is cold and dreary outside. I suspect that summer has finally given up the ghost and we're in the downhill slide into winter. It's a bit of a tricky thought - I thought I'd be much farther along on my dissertation than I am. I also thought teaching nine credits the first eight weeks of the semester would be easier than it was. Delusional, I am.

Anyway, I'm trying to get back into the swing of posting. So! Some links:

Amazon sidesteps the publishing houses: perhaps the very definition of post-modern.

I am normally suspicious of Starbucks, but I like this idea. It makes me like them more.

Hm. This is fascinating to me. Fascinating. I wonder if the gender trend will turn: men looking for woman to donate eggs and their womb.

I've been applying for jobs: apparently, I will never be a department chair.

Or, perhaps I'm not a nice guy. Hm.

Off to dissertate.

18 October 2011

Regrets Collect Like Old Friends

I keep telling myself, "You regret it because it is good. You regret it because you want it to always be good." 

My head recognizes that it couldn't always be good. That's why I said what I said. There's an expiration date: like milk. 

So I will rail against the expiration date, enjoy it while I can, and be thankful I had it in the first place. 

30 August 2011

No Life

Dear Undergraduate Pre-Service Teacher,

The purpose of this letter is two-fold. First off, I want to thank you for your participation in class. As I stated in our syllabus, discussion is essential to the social construction of knowledge and your insights into class readings and connections with your own experiences and what you are seeing in the field is delightful. I am looking forward to the rest of our time together.

In order to make that time run more smoothly, I feel I must offer a piece of advice and it is this: there are few things that piss me off more than the comment "You must be okay having no life" in regards to the amount of work, including readings, that are part and parcel of the education experience you are paying for. It is insulting on multiple levels. To begin, I am insulted that you fail to recognize the work that I have paid to the construction of our class time together. While you are reading sixty pages a class period, I had to read nearly five time that to come to our class readings. What are you reading is the best of the best, culled from a large body of research and practice. Additionally, I have spent time making explicit the connections between the readings and to educational practice so that you may benefit. Furthermore, while I have read the readings at least once, I will read them again in preparation for classroom discussion. For some of these articles, I have read them a dozen times or more. Yet I still manage to find new insight in them. I have worked diligently to provide you with quality reading materials and they may be many in pages, but we have sixteen total class meetings, at the end of which you will student teach. There is much to learn.

Furthermore, I am confused by your surprise that I am unwilling to bend my expectations to the lowest common standards. I expect you to be exceptional elementary teachers and will accept nothing less. The topics we cover in class are not my pet topics; I am not spending half the semester on educational technology or critical literacy, Rather, we are delving into topics that will serve your students well. Here's what you may not understand: while you are responsible only for the classroom of twenty-four or so students you will teach in the course of the school year, I am responsible for the instruction they receive. There are twenty four of you currently enrolled in my class; if, going with a conservative estimate, half of you find jobs, that is 288 students my current actions are influencing. I have high expectations for those children and, thus, I have high expectations for you. I will work you hard because I will not let those children down.

This, aside from plagiarism, is a sure way to raise my temper. You see, I have a life, one that I have dedicated to mentoring new teachers. I still find time to work with children, to teach reading, to work on my dissertation. To knit. To see my friends, although never as much as I would like. Yet I still find time to read and reread the course readings, to plan classes that are meaningful and interesting. I live correctly within my personal politics and I believe in education. I believe in teachers and in helping pre-service candidates become more than they thought they could be. So, before you question the quality of my life, question your dedication to your chosen profession. Do you want to be an informed, critical, savvy teacher or do you want summers off?

Honestly, I have to time to suffer fools and if your answer refers to summer, you may want to take this class with another instructor.

Be Well,

22 August 2011

At the Start

I taught my first class at my new campus this evening. Teaching is such a ridiculous high. This is the fifth year I've taught this particular class and I love that I know it inside and out. 

At the beginning of the class period, I had all twenty-five students line up behind a piece of painter's tape on the floor and pointed thirty paces ahead of them at another line of blue tape. I began rattling off terminology, things they will know by the time we are done. For each item they knew, they took a step forward. No one moved forward more than seven paces. "That," I told them, gesturing to the distance between them and the finish line, "is the intellectual distance we have to cover this semester." 

I love using the space as a metaphor this way. They know that they will be inching ever closer to that finish line, class by class. It also keeps me honest. I know that they are reliant upon me to help them get there. I can't help but love the sense of urgency. 

(Above photo from an installation at the Louisiana State Museum's exhibit Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond. Amazing exhibit.) 

21 August 2011

Vacay Photos: NC Ocean

It's the eve before the beginning of classes and I'm still tweaking my syllabuses. Hard to believe that I was lounging on a beach this time a week ago...





Where the heck did the summer go?

19 August 2011

Vacay Photos: New Orleans

I think I've redefined my definition of lucky, having found myself on a plane three times in the past three weeks. I enjoyed the amazing city of New Orleans (I say amazing, having rediscovered the city after the last excursion out there) while visiting my Bestie in Baton Rouge. A few snippets from my time in Louisiana: 






17 August 2011



Yesterday, I woke up to the sound of the beach, the cacophony of waves hitting the shore. I closed the evening on a plane headed back to the Hoosier state. It was a vacation that ended much too early. I would have gladly spent several more days on the beach, punctuating the space between book chapters with dips into the salt water. 

Alas: the new semester starts on Monday and there were meetings to attend to. 

It was a solid reminder, I thought, of the state of relationships. While they have the potential to be long-term, there is no guarantee it will last. The key to both relationships and vacation: enjoy it while you are there, in it. 

11 August 2011



I've been away, experiencing and not doing too much documentation about those experiences. Returned from Louisiana last night after a week in the humid south. Amazing time - Baton Rouge and New Orleans are amazing cities, for very different reasons. 

And now? Preparing for classes to begin in a week and a half. True to form, there are a multitude of last minute changes. More after I get caught up... 

22 July 2011

Links, Hot Friday Edition

It has been deathly hot this week - then again, it's been deathly hot everywhere this week. I'm a bit stressed by the idea of July being so close to done. I've fallen short on my dissertation goals for the month, haven't canned a single thing, and those twenty pounds I lost? Oh, they are back. With a vengeance. So this week has been a week of prep: clearing out the items on my To Do list that are impeding on working on my dissertation, making lists of what is in season for the farmer's market this weekend, and locating a gym in my new town. 

And? Links. Things that have been in my browser that I've found completely fascinating. 

...or just kind of sad. Having lived in the Ann Arbor area while teaching, I'll miss Borders

Just when I thought I couldn't love Al Franken any more, he does this

This seems like a good plan, in conjunction with the exercise. 

Facebook's got nothing on Ravelry

Anne Lamott's reminding me to find time

And just so I don't misplace it: The Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota has an awesome portfolio collection re: The Giver

And now? Off too Bloomington for the day. 

20 July 2011


I still knit. I swear. Just not as much as I would like to. This baby sweater has been on the needles for the last few weeks and reminded me why I extremely dislike fair isle knit flat. (Oh! the pain!) 

These are in process photos - the sweater is now blocking. More photos once buttons have been procured.


12 July 2011


Noun. "A tendency to lapse into a previous condition or pattern of behavior; especially, a falling back or relapse into prior criminal habits." 

And that, my friends, is the word of the day. 

06 July 2011

More Silverware

More Vintage Silverware

I bought more starburst silverware while thrifting over the holiday weekend. I couldn't resist, really. It was six pieces for a dollar and there were tons of forks and soup spoons and, well, I thought I didn't have enough of them. 

One look at my silverware drawer (and the look on Manfriend's face when he found me at the checkout, silverware in hand) reminded me that I was wrong. 

But! (There's always a but when thrifting, isn't there?) But! There were patterns that I didn't have: 

More Vintage Silverware - New Patterns

I'm particularly loving the closest pattern, with the nebulous stars. I wasn't able to track down much information about any of the patterns, save for the one farthest away. It's a pattern from Hull called Enchanted Star. I only know that much from the stamp on the back. 

So: I have too much silverware. 

But: I will be prepared for the next large gathering. That's it. Eco-party planning. That's what I will call it. 

05 July 2011

In the Meantime...

The past week and a half has been something of a blur: I moved into the new place, met an academic writing deadline, and started teaching my summer class. I've had an apartment with no Internet, a new class of students to get to know, and really no time to be here. Huge surprise, right? 

The Manfriend and I left for Michigan the weekend to visit my aunt and just returned this afternoon. Five days, a limited amount of work that could be done in the Internet-less country. There were many games of cards played, three (THREE!) whole (WHOLE!) books (BOOKS!) read, and lots of laughter. It was just what was needed. 

Hope the Fourth was good for you and yours! 

24 June 2011

Linky Love

Bloomington, 24 June 2011

The mornings have been like this all week: overcast and chilly. By the noon, though, the sun comes out and it's lovely. 

A few sites that have been hanging around on my browser; time to put them here: 

I will be the first to admit to my obsession with Detroit and this tour of the River Rouge (the river, not the factory) is fascinating. 

I am constantly struggling with the putting together of colors. Kuler will pull colors form an image to create a set of colors that would work together. 

Kathryn Clark's quilts based on foreclosure patterns in cities are beautifully sad. 

There was so much about this NYT article that was fascinating: My Ex-Gay Friend

Back to packing. I dislike packing. 

23 June 2011



Legion Memories

Bingo Night at the Legion

I should be packing. I should be working on some of the writing deadlines coming up. I should be, I should be, I should be. 

And for the most part, I am. 

I've been waking up every morning and scooting off to the coffee shop to write before I can think any better of it, alternating between my writing for other people and writing for myself. I've been writing the stories I think will make up my dissertation and I think I might actually have something to write about. Something solid, something that might actually be useful. 



I've also found some time for fun. Not much, but just enough. Exhibit A: Bingo. Tuesday night bingo at the local American Legion - and I won! So did four other people, making our winnings equal to the cost of our pack of cards and an ice cream for the Manfriend and I afterward. 

Too much fun and pretty much like high school: who has what markers? The caller? Totally like the prom queen. It was totally nostalgic, too - my Gram was involved in the VFW for years and I remember sitting in the hall during bingo, too young to play, drawing in one of those notepads she always had on her. 

And tonight: celebrating the newly-minted Dr. Lee with fancy adult beverages! 

And after: more packing! 

Exciting life, no? 

20 June 2011

Moving in

Tired of Hipstamatic yet?

Me neither.

I started the process of moving today. Keys have been obtained and some kitchen things have been dropped off. I, thankfully, have some time between now and when my lease ends here, so I can move in slowly.

But dang, that light. I love that light. I'm also trying to think of a color to paint a wall in the living room... perhaps a light, light yellow?

19 June 2011

Work Horse

The New Workstation

I bought a new computer. This seems to be my modus operandi: every two years, I end up buying a new system for one reason or another. I bought a new MBP to go to grad school with; it croaked and I bought the lovely laptop you see above. I collected massive amounts of dissertation data and my poor laptop started wheezing. Literally. There was no way my machine was going to handle my collection of video data and still allow me to work, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy the desktop. 

I've had the machine, which I've named John Holmes, since Wednesday and it's really changed my work patterns. Due to the size of the screen, I can have multiple documents open at one time and it's made all the difference in the world. I think I'm in love, although I keep stressing out that I now have to actually write a dissertation. It's a little terrifying, but it will be done. 

Now to finish a draft of an article... So much to do. 

17 June 2011

Song of the Summer

I'm pretty sure I found my song of Summer 2011. I'm also sure that I'm over my head with the move and deadlines and teaching. 

I can make it to August. I can make it to August. 

(Isn't this the opposite of what I used to think as a child?) 

13 June 2011

Thrifty Finds: Martz Lamp

Lamp, Martz

I don't need another lamp - hence why I almost passed this beauty up a week ago. I had glanced it on the shelf at the Goodwill and immediately loved the shape of it and the gray stripe. I love gray more than one should. I left it on the shelf, thought better of myself later that night, and kept my fingers crossed that it would still be there the next day. 

Luckily - there it was, in all of its mid-century modern goodness. To boot, it was signed Martz near the electric cord - a name I had remembered seeing before but really had attached no meaning to. I snatched up the lamp, wandered home, and proceeded to Google where I found the page for Martz Lamps  on the Jet Set Shop. Apparently, they're rather sought after - insanity. I need to find a different shade - I found a similar lamp with an original shade on eBay, but will have to find an alternative that won't cost me $250. 

To make myself feel better, I bought this lamp and gave another away - thus, the number of lamps I own stays static. 

12 June 2011


Iron and Wine, Indianapolis, 10 June 2011

Music, for my friend Kelly, is her life. She lives within songs, they encapsulate her experiences. It really is an amazing thing to watch when at a concert - her literal embodiment of the song. 

I, however, have more of a soundtrack - music I live beside. It's on in the background, perpendicular to me going about my life. 

On Friday, I was at the Iron and Wine concert in Indy and I completely enjoyed myself. I was slightly exhausted - my film festival (and the end of data collection) had happened that afternoon - but found myself thinking through the hours upon hours of video sitting on an external hard drive. To the sounds of Iron and Wine, I began constructing coding structures, thinking about applicable theory, and doing all kinds of insane general research think. 

Crap. I'm a researcher. 

For all of my talk of loving teaching (and I do!) and rethinking my decision to come to graduate school, I'm a researcher. I didn't see that one coming. 

03 June 2011

Quote Possibly

New digs?

This could, quite possibly, be my new living space. 

Things I love about it: 
  • Convenient location to work. 
  • It's super spacious! 
  • Those windows! The light!
  • It's in an old school building - uber-cool factor!
  • I can paint. Not that I would. But I have the option. 
  • Close to a park and nestled in a really cute neighborhood. 
  • Relatively inexpensive. 
Things I'm not-so-in-love with: 
  • The kitchen still retains its 1992 charm, complete with mauve countertops. 
  • The carpet. While it's not bad, I was hoping for hardwood floors. 
  • No laundry in unit. (These are such first-world problems.) 
I'll find out early next week whether it's mine or not. I'm honestly so in love with the light that comes into this space that I'm fortunate there are only three not-so-in-love withs. I would deal with a few more to get that sunlight. 

02 June 2011

Thinning Out


I love the primary set of Pyrex bowls. After coveting them for years, I came across them at the Flat Rock Flea market several years ago and snatched them up. The unfortunate thing? I found them too shallow to use and found myself returning to the set of MSE green glass bowls and a set of melamine bowls from Williams-Sonoma for my mixing and other bowl-related needs. So they've sat in my cupboard, looking pretty and all Pyrexy. I've moved them from the Mitten to Margi's through three houses in Bloomington. That's about seven years. And I haven't used them once. 

I'm preparing to move again - let's hope tomorrow's apartment showing is a winner - and have come to the conclusion that I need to sell some of those things I've collected that I just don't use. The stack of Bauer saucers and luncheon plates? Oh, so lovely, but hardly ever used. (And heavy! I forget about heavy!) Random coffee mugs? Yes, you must go as well. It's unfortunate, but true. 

I have a ton of work to do for a project I'm working on today, but between transcriptions, I'll be listing things on eBay in hopes that these beautiful things will find homes where they will be used and loved. They are things to be enjoyed and I sometimes forget that having isn't necessarily enjoying them.

31 May 2011

I still play with yarn. I swear.

Lane and Mike's Wedding Granny Afghan

I finished Lane and Mike's granny square afghan last night, weaving the last of the loose ends (and there were a lot of loose ends!) into the blanket. It was about four months in the making and I'm thrilled to ship it out to the newlyweds. I think it will be an excellent - and colorful - afghan to cuddle beneath during the grey Wisconsin winter. 

Squirrel Mitts, Facing

I've also had a few moment to finish the thumb (why is it always - ALWAYS! - the thumb?) on this pair of squirrel mittens. They are, unfortunately, the last of my holiday 2010 knits. Yes, that's right - 2010. I am a horrible dissertating graduate student. That's my story and I'm planning on sticking to it.

29 May 2011

The Evening's Spoils

Canning_Season's First Jam

The strawberry-rhubarb jam is tangy! Almost like a Sweetart, which should be good on crusty toast. I did have a chance to try out the Weck jars I picked up in Ann Arbor a while back and golly, they are pretty. 

I did end up having something of an inner dialogue with myself after realizing I as preserving jam made from strawberries grown twenty miles away in jars that were manufactured 6000 miles away. Granted, I bought them in a small hardware in Ann Arbor, but I felt a bit frustrated with myself for buying them when I could easily purchase Ball jars - made in the USA, as the sticker on their packages now indicate - for less money. I also know that the environmental cost of these jars and their trans-Atlantic journey will be offset by the many years I will use them and the reuseable-ness of the lids... but still. 

My understanding for advocating for Weck jars is not only that they are beautiful - and they are, hence why I bought them in the first place - but also the glass lids, which are free of BPA traces. I still have to do some reading about the topic, but Tattler has BPA-free (and reusable!) lids for canning that I might give a go. They're more expensive, but if I don't have to buy new lids every season, that might be an okay thing. 

I know I sometimes get caught up in the aesthetics, whether it's my knitting or canning or the things I surround myself with. I get that all these decisions come with certain costs and I need to remind myself to be more aware of them as I'm not sure about the 5,980 mile difference between where my strawberries were picked and where my jars were manufactured.  

28 May 2011

In a Jam

Farmers Market Strawberries

In a jam. Horribly pun-tastic, I know, but I couldn't resist. 

The Man Friend and I went to the Farmer's Market this morning and they had strawberries! I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for strawberries to make their appearance and feared that they may not. The weather in this part of the country (as in many others) has been ridiculously wet this spring. In the past week, we've had some pretty forceful windstorms and the ground was so wet that trees were simply lifted out of the ground. 

Regardless, there they were: small, red blobs of promised summer. I snatched up two pints - one for eating, one for jamming - and come tonight, once I've made headway on the pile of work that still isn't done after a crazy week, I'll be making the season's first batch of rhubarb-strawberry jam. 

But first, the list of to-do. It never seems to end... 

24 May 2011

The Problem Continues

More Mugs - Starbucks 2008 (2)

Yep. More mugs. I'm almost ashamed, but when I saw them in the thrift store, mugs I had been regretting not adding to my collection since Christmas 2008, I knew they would be coming home with me. 

20 May 2011

Yet another installment in a seemingly endless list of "I have a problem..."

First, it was silverware. Then came the mugs. I love it when the majority of people leave any given college town. It floods the local thrift stores with things they didn't want to move with and that I might like. Case in point: the Orla Kiely mug above. I love these mugs; they are hefty and hold a copious amount of coffee. I got three of them for my birthday a few years ago and have been lamenting not picking more up ever since. 

I've found five of the mugs at Goodwill over the course of the last two weeks: four of the gray and brown pears above and the green abacus mug above. I've listed two on eBay and am keeping the other three. I just need to think about what to do with all those other mugs I own... 

I also couldn't pass up this little beauty, a Jadeite coffee mug I picked up last weekend when in Michigan. 

So yeah. Another mug. Crap. 

I think I have a problem.