Showing posts with label Class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Class. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

bird by bird (or sheep by sheep)

Ok, it's past 3:00 am and I really should go to be in bed, but: 
  • Huck and Max are cuddling on my feet,
  • I've been working on the online course assignments that came with my service enlistment after a kind and encouraging reminder from the course facilitator, 
  • Big A is at work and texting me and I kind of really like chatting with him;
  • I need to check in on my sister who's fractured her hand and she is in a timezone that's 10 hours ahead, 
  • I have to finish writing this,
  • I want to read some more before I fall asleep. I'm currently reading the final installment of Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy and love old Thomas more than any self-respecting socialist should.
  • etc. I have a lot more B.S. excuses for my sleep procrastination.

Next week, after I come back from vacation, I'm going to make sleep hygiene a priority. But one thing at a time. As the wonderful Anne Lamott says in another context, I should take it "bird by bird."

Pic: I was so delighted I got a warbling goldfinch in this shot! MSU Horticultural Gardens with L. 

Monday, June 05, 2023

not merely a reflection

Workshop on campus today... For whatever my usual BS reason(s), I got very little sleep last night. I was pretty groggy even after a strong black tea--just not enough caffeine, I guess. The adrenaline shot I got from thinking that there was a cop car behind me as I was merrily speeding along to work woke me up nicely though. Ha.

When I stopped by my office during a break, I realized it had hosted a small miracle, as my plants were mostly ok although they hadn't been watered since Friday, May 5th... before I left for the UK...  a whole month! My geraniums were even in bloom. They got a heartfelt thank you and a good soaking today.

Oh, I had to take a break in my office because I teared up a few times because of mentions of Scout, and I could feel a good cry coming. I'm glad people get it. Even the colleague who said "I don't mean to sound callous, but it is a dog" is trying, IMO.

Pic: Radiology Gardens with L last week. The orange shadows in the water are koi--not merely a reflection of the red maple in the back...

Monday, May 22, 2023

Home: In two pics


I brought my midwestern travelers home!
I love that there are some families and parents in this picture too...




Reunited with my babies! They took this selfie looming over me as I was falling asleep on the couch around 8:00 pm.

 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Karl Marx, Gordon Ramsay, Farewell London

Last day in London today. I'd signed us up for a Karl Marx walking tour, but most people wanted to try to get on the London Eye, so off they went with my blessings. I took the bus to Piccadilly Sq. to meet the walking group and milled about on the fringes of a well-heeled, Boomer-ish looking group until I realized they were there for The Beatles walking tour. A few feet away a smaller, rag-tag group was beginning to gather and when I tentatively asked "Marx?" They responded "Yes!" and "Absolutely!" so enthusiastically I felt I was at a political rally.🙂

The guide has a doctorate in Marx studies, and although the sights themselves were merely the seedy front of buildings and smelly alleys, I learned A LOT. The best moment was towards the end of the tour when hearing about Eugene Pottier's travel through England, our multicultural group began to sing The Internationale in their native tongues.

So I had a super nerdy day by myself, then a farewell dinner with the group at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant recommended by a student, where we celebrated another student's birthday, and suddenly everyone seemed super sad to leave and "return to reality." I love these people. But also, I miss my babies, and am ready for my routines and grappling with the reality of a life without Scout. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

"All the world's a stage"

I'm in bed mode now, so just four more days before I head for home. I can make fake it. (Look at me with all my theater and acting references.)

I've been checking in with students and our chaperone, and basically everyone is simultaneously having a great time and also ready to go home. Good to know I'm not the only one.

Also, the last time I did this, At came along as a student and Nu came along as my companion, and I made breakfast for them in my flat every morning and we weren't apart for Mothers' Day. Guess it makes sense that this time would feel different and difficult.

Pic: A Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre. Not my favorite Shakespearean play, but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would because it was a different version from the one I saw in May 2019.
 

Monday, May 15, 2023

Hyde Park Time

In honor of being at Speakers' Corner, everyone recited a small piece from a famous Hyde Park speaker. It's always interesting what people choose--we heard a variety from Pankhurst to Orwell.

I remember specifically asking people to memorize their bit, and... some didn't. I need to sit with why I feel so irritated by this.

I don't feel well today. + I'm at that point in the trip where I'm seriously counting down how long before I get to go home. A week is the upper limit of time I can spend away before the experience begins to pall. 

Pic: Our picnic at Hyde Park. 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Kensington Pavilion: A toast to tea


In preparation for reading the Edwardians, we sat down to a proper afternoon tea party in the Kensington Palace pavilion today. And like proper people of leisure we lingered there for nearly two hours.

It's Mothers' Day in the U.S., so lots of sweet pictures of friends with kids and moms on my feed. It made me miss At, Nu, and Huck pretty fierce. 

No reading today as it's a Sunday, but I did share this article that blows my mind every time“Tea if by Sea; Chai if by Land.”

Pic: All dressed up with pinkies out, cos we're fancy like that.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Oxford: building a longer table

I absolutely love when I can bring my old life and my current life together. 

Today we went to Oxford and my students got to meet my old profs. Lectures, Q&A, a long pub lunch at a suitably long table... my heart is full. 

A couple of students said they'd like to do graduate school at Oxford/in the U.K. I love being able to help--even a little bit--to nudge open the door from our small bubbles into the world.

What we read: papers by Robert and Will because we were meeting them. And also--thanks NGS--extracts from R.F. Kuang's Babel because it's set in Oxford and is about translation and colonialism.

Pic: Profs and students at The Royal Oak. A colleague brought their adorable 13-year-old doggie to lunch... and I had to quickly blink away tears because I started imagining Scout making it to 13.  I miss everyone at home right now, and I think some part of me thinks he'll be there when I reunite with the rest of the family in ten days.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Bloomsbury: reception

The class got a special tour through Bloomsbury with performances from Mike and Cindy. 

A person who yawned in class when I lectured on T. S. Eliot and E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf and Rabindranath Tagore is all smiles here. My feelings aren't hurt or anything. 😉

Pic: Mike and Cindy enacting Hilda Doolittle(H.D.)'s dance of adultery.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The British Museum: just saying no (to cultural theft)

Everyone in class is tickled by the fact that the British Museum is older than the United States. And everyone in class is outraged about much it owns and how it "loans" (ha!) stuff back to countries and communities of origin. 

We prepped for our visit by reading lots of poems linked to artifacts at the museum. Some of what we read:
W.B. Yeats “The Second Coming” 
Thomas Hardy “In the British Museum” 
Daljit Nagra "Hadrian's Wall" 
George the Poet “The Benin Bronze” 
John Keats “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles” 
Percy Bysshe Shelley “Ozymandias”
Seamus Heaney “Punishment”

Then we waded through museum studies videos and articles to work our way around themes of cultural appreciation, appropriation, colonial theft, etc. At our visit, I polled the group to see if they thought we ought to--as the museum suggests--make a donation. They went with "Hell no!" 

Pic: Under the beautiful dome of the British Museum today.
 

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

London: fuzzy glimmers

I, along with tons of people on the internet, learned about "glimmers," which are "the opposite of triggers" on CupOfJo (and elsewhere) this weekend. I cannot say how much I love this concept.

A bit jet-lagged and tired today, but here are a couple of glimmers.

* Made a quick trip to the local Sainsbury's and I found my favorite mango-passionfruit yogurt. Why do they not have this in the US? It's the most sublime flavor IMO and the first spoonful just took me back to uni days.  

* Someone texted me that they got a 4.0 on a test and I haven't figured out who it is--whether friend or student or advisee or kid of a friend, etc... but I'm so happy for them!

Pic: A fuzzy picture of the view from my room (we're right in the heart of Bloomsbury).

Sunday, May 07, 2023

balance sheet

Things I've done: Stocked the fridge, used up all the fridge veggies, watered all my plants, finished class prep for the next week, talked with/texted everyone, cleared brush, distributed the morels we found yesterday, read a ton, cried about Scout, spent extra time with Nu and Huck, fought with Big A, made up with Big A, took long soaks and longer walks...

Things I've not done: actually packed for the two-week trip to the UK my students and I are leaving on tomorrow. Yikes.

Pic: Walk with L in Baker Woods. Trillium in the foreground! L and I found this patch right as we were wondering if we would see some. It was like we had magically summoned them. Trillium! 
 

Thursday, May 04, 2023

visits (pasts and futures)

I had to visit my CASA kids at the Luce Road school today. I got such a running tackle-hug combo when CD spied me walking down the hallway. Then their aide reminded them to use "walking feet" in the hallway, and I remembered how I love elementary school sociolects. And then CD began announcing loudly and proudly to everyone that I was their case worker. OMG. I love kids and their lack of filter and the weird things they're proud of. 

I also got various random kids stepping up to me to shyly say hello. I had to wonder at the combination of shyness and speaking unprompted to a stranger they didn't have to speak to. I was chuckling on the inside and all grown up on the outside. The whole thing was such a delightful interlude. 

This had been Nu's school ten years ago, so there were flashbacks to my serious kindergartner and of bringing puppy Scout to school and being told he had big feet so he'd be a big boy, etc. And then I saw Nu's first grade teacher, Ms. G. I remembered how Nu told me and Big A not to smoke (we don't) because Ms. G's parents had died from smoking. Ms. G thought it was hilarious--not her parents' deaths, but what her students' parents remember ten years on. And THEN, I saw one of MY students from five years ago, whom I had mentioned in class just this morning (for the random reason of them having been a picky eater on our London trip). That was truly bonkers.

Today brought many smiles. And Big A will be back home tonight too...  (Just seven more trips to Milwaukee before his job moves back to Michigan. YAY!!)

Pic: Wandering with Huck in the backyard... there's grass growing inside this tree hollow!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

a feminist fair

We held our eighth WGS Symposium today, and students did SUCH a great job. I was a bit miffed on their behalf that we didn't get a bigger crowd. They worked so hard and were so creative in their projects--they deserve ALL the acclaim.

I have been bragging      
about     
these people    
for           
years now. 

I took tons of photos as usual. My favorite this year has to be the poster about men's mental health surrounded by the smiling faces of the many guys who came out to support their friend. 

I feel so hopeful around my students. 😍 

Pic: The Gender-affirming table with pronoun pins, and a blank U.S. map to test attendees' knowledge of trans-exclusionary states.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

(AI) Art Class

If it takes a special kind of nerd to sit in a classroom on Sunday afternoon, I am that nerd. 

EM and I signed up for an AI art workshop around my birthday--I'd asked friends to give me experiences/donations to RDC this year since I already have so much stuff, and this was EM's pick for me. (Let the record show I tried to make her take me to Cocaine Bear, but she balked. Even birthdays will only get you so far. Ha.)

I enjoyed the heck out of the fact that our instructor for this very new tech was a very old person. Take that, ageism! EM and I played with style and color all afternoon. It was fun, especially since I'm not an artist in real life. But like Chat GPT with writing, Dall-E is just ok. 

Also (pet peeves coming up next): I thought the point was to get AI to do the boring tasks so humans could have more time for creative ones, not vice versa. It also bugs me when corporations (via AI) steal samples from artists to make stuff (it doesn't bother me when those roles are reversed).

Pic: "Holi in the style of Marc Chagall" by Dall-E2. Love the colors, but the expressions are off; the two on the right look especially tortured.

 

Friday, March 17, 2023

marking some moments

It's St. Patrick's Day!*

It's conference day!

I spent all day chairing the WGS section of a conference. Four of my (undergraduate) students presented--brilliantly. I was so proud of them. 

Some years we mark St. Pat's Day--our Ganesha wears green, and we make Irish food. This year Nu forgot to wear green was wearing their usual black (and red) so someone gave them a slip of green construction paper to pin to their clothes.

Shoutout to the Michigan legislature for some heartening legislation recently. Yesterday, we passed gun control bills (not perfect, but a start) and expanded the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Law to include prohibition of discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation and gender or identity or expression." This protects the wellbeing and safety of so many young people I know and love, and I'm truly ecstatic about it.

Pic: A screen shot of some of us at the conference... I like how it looks like an academic photo booth!

* We're not Irish, but I love the Irish for their centuries-long struggle against British colonial rule and inspiring and mentoring the India Home Rule League along the lines of the Irish Home Rule League in the 19th century. Their anti-apartheid work in South Africa and Palestine in the 20th and 21st centuries is another A+. And of course--we all love Derry Girls.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

one celebration at a time...

Happy International Women's Day!

Here's a pic from the annual MacCurdy House International Women's Day tea celebration today. I think it's the first one we've had in person since 2019. As always, great conversations and solid community building.

(Yes, I know it's Holi today too, but I got home so late from work... the plan is to celebrate it on Saturday when more of the family is home anyway.)

Thursday, February 23, 2023

OMG/ChatGPT/Canon in D

I took a trip down memory lane earlier this week when I recalled the first time I heard Pachelbel's "Canon in D". 

Then on a whim I sauntered down AI Alley when I asked ChatGPT to write me a poem based on that incident. ChatGPT obliged with the poem on the left. 

It's quite the doggerel. 

Which is why I don't share the moral panic about students using it to cheat on essays and exams. From everything I've seen, ChatGPT seems to tend towards the bland and the banal. I think I'd be able to tell something was off from the odd combination of impeccable grammar and tediously repetitive sentences.

Famous last words as I head off to grade midterm essays and exams...

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

circle of care

In class, I'll sometimes joke that I'm not the late, great Maya (Angelou)--I'm the regular, living Maya, so when I saw this card on the podium in the classroom, I chuckled. 

But the kind words inside about the classroom being a "positive space" where they could "learn and grow"nearly made me cry. 

It has been a tough couple of weeks for all of us in this part of Michigan. The streets and sidewalks are full of election lawn signs repurposed to offer support and bouquets left at impromptu shrines all over the place.  I now know of way too many first degree survivors of the shooting. Classes resumed yesterday at MSU and I'm proud of students for continuing to demonstrate at the capitol and demand common-sense gun reform.

I am sad that second-degree survivors like my students who stayed on the phone with their MSU friends during lockdown or were traumatized by proximity and details have just been expected to show up and carry out their duties as if nothing happened. (I'm mostly guilty of this too. It's difficult to do something substantial without institutional approval.)

In the evening, BSL stopped by on her way from dropping off a care package for SE, and I had a care package for her. Not quite O. Henry "Gift of the Magi" style, but for a moment like this, I think I like the ecology of a continuum of care more than a transactional one-to-one economy. And hugs are among the best thing humans do. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

a "class" picture

My capstone students did such great work on their finals this week. 

I look forward to all the conference presentations that are going to evolve out of their work here over the next few months...
 

hanging in there/hanging by a thread: a week of random things I thought about with A in the hospital

Wednesday, July 10:  Big A's healthcare team doesn't have a clear way forward, so neither do we. But I found the buttons to move his...