Showing posts with label Projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Projects. Show all posts

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.


Sunday, February 12, 2023

words, words, veggies

Earlier this week, I was invited to say a few words about love at today's UU sermon. I started with one of my favorite writers--the late, great June Jordan who wrote at the intersections of feminism and anti-racism and her statement that "none of us have known enough tenderness." How right she sounds--and how I want to do everything to change that. 

I teach, so I'm no longer afraid of public speaking, but my heart rate certainly galloped when I climbed up to the stage and saw all the rows of semi-familiar faces. Nu was such a great support and hype-person all morning.

Pic: Superbowl? More like super foods bowl. Haha. Nu and I were so charmed that that tomato is so Valentine-themed. It reminded me of my long-ago peace tomato.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

double bubble

The reflection of the graffiti doubled how colorful that patch of the bridge looked as L and I came around the bend, and it reminded me of Laura Gilpin's poem "Two-headed Calf." 

L hadn't heard of this amazing poem, so I found it on my phone and read it to her with my voice breaking at the end.

Then we finished up our walk and I headed into a day of meetings meetings meetings meetings.

And some good news from this week: two poems  accepted to an anthology of pandemic-era writing, and also accepted--an academic book proposal that the editor who wrote back characterized as "gentle and kind."

Thursday, December 08, 2022

as for myself

I've sunk narcissus bulbs
into dark, stony places 
                                                 pushing them down into dirt
                                                 hoping they'll rise...
my random presents to myself
mirroring blessing
                                                  as the weeks arrive, curving
                                                  into Christmas
I yearn for their spiky baroque
their green resilience
                                                  to lift color into the cold air
                                                  rustling me to worship 
for a fragrance--so like flames  
to rescue me from winter

Wednesday, October 05, 2022


Taught all my three classes today, then drove back home, packed for about 25 minutes, took two meetings back-to-back from 4-5 pm, bid hurried goodbyes to Nu, Scout, Huck, and Big A, and was on the road with EM by 5:08 pm.

We're off to Purdue U to present on our transdisciplinarity and pedagogies of hope project at a roundtable. Since that's a mouthful--we usually refer to it as our "Hope-O-Calypse" project. 

We asked: "How might humanities scholars understand the meaning, nature, and strategic value of hope in an increasingly dystopian world and disrupt the prepackaged narratives of capitalist constructions and military-energy regimes? We consider a range of theoretical and pedagogical approaches to the question of how our fields of study might develop concrete strategies to help people (including our students) understand the enormity and complexity of these problems while simultaneously equipping them with ways to respond with agency rather than despair."

Anyway... here we are... EM and me... saving the world (or at least trying to)... riding off into this yolky sunset.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

and that's (not) a wrap

I came home to the roofers hard at work with Tyvek wrap around the front of the house too. Older pictures I've posted show we've had that bright blue tarp up on the back roof for a long ass time

And while we've looked forward to this day for over three years, nothing could have prepared us for the all-day hammering, trampled garden, and glass from the skylights everywhere. (Thankfully broken skylight glass is clumpy and cubed like car windshield glass--not slivers.)

And now we hear the roof beams are rotted and need replacing ($$$). Plus they need to be ordered and that will take time. I know there's a crying jag coming my way any time now.

Friday, June 03, 2022

moment of Zinn

Sometimes I peek over the edge of the abyss with my kids and feel their outrage, earnestness, and helplessness all over again. I am proud of their empathy and compassion... and also, I worry about how difficult their lives are becoming.

My annoyingly (probably) long email signature has forever quoted Zinn: “Human beings are not machines, and however powerful the pressure to conform, they sometimes are so moved by what they see as injustice that they dare to declare their independence. In that historical possibility lies hope.” 

I want to continue to hope... to act in "however small a way" in the service of what we all deserve. And if that means supporting my kids in the difficult choices and services they want to contribute to the world, then so be it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

"work it real good"

A working lunch--which I couldn't eat. Shouldn't people serving a set lunch make meat, croutons, nuts, and other things people cannot/might-not-want-to eat add-ons rather than plate it all together? (Sorry this is a bit of a pet peeve; I don't eat meat and my kids are allergic to nuts.) 

But I got some oars in at lunch. And I shared this article about faculty exhaustion, which is important because everything about the last three pandemic years has been additive and nothing has been moved or withdrawn to make room for the extra stuff we've taken on.

Got some other campus work done, delivered flowers and cards to two young admin colleagues who finished their M. Eds, took flowers and card to MB who'd had shoulder surgery, and then set off for a long walk-and-talk with JG. It was the perfect, fluffy-cloud day for it--and as always, my mind is clearer after I get some JG time.

At various points I also got to collaborate on an NWSA statement on the Roe opinion and then I really got into Lauren Groff's Matrix. This is a book that kept showing up in my recommendations, and I kept resisting because nothing about the title or the book cover indicated it was about MARIE DE FRANCE and a HISTORICAL NOVEL--I'd thought it was sci-fi!!! Loving it, BTW.

Pic: The bike trail in Alma with JG. 

Monday, May 02, 2022

"the sense of an ending"

It was such a solid workday. The six of us worked from 7 am figuring out and finalizing conference details with no breaks except getting up to stretch on the hour. Even lunch was making notes and sharing docs over sandwiches. 

At lunch, one of the servers asked what we were up to and when I told her we were arranging a huge women's studies conference, she said she wished she'd taken a class when she was in college... in the 70s. She remembers the fight over ERA and how it laid the "foundation for everything." So I was telling her about the Mrs. America show on Hulu, and her name was Sally--so we sang a bit of "Ride, Sally, Ride."

At the end of the meeting I was so tired, especially as there was a lot of new (to me) software and platform-ware. I went back to my room caught up with the fam, and napped for a bit. 

Those of us from the meeting still in town met up for a great dinner at a small Somali restaurant where they gave us a private booth because we were the only women there. This was my first time meeting in person (all of our other meetings had been on Zoom) so there was a strange mixture of familiarity and the excitement of sharing some of our favorite stories about ourselves. 

We were still joking and laughing at something and calling goodbye to our servers as we were walking out of the restaurant, and then we started to fall silent as we passed the TV on the counter and each of us silently read the blithe chyron stating there was a leaked "Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade." 


Pic: Sharing on family chat the fancy welcome swag bag the hotel gave me when I checked in and the uninspiring view from my room.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

a reminder that "doing the most" is not an accolade

April showers, check; April flowers, check.

I'm excited my favorite part of the year (the warm part) is almost here. I'm not even sad/mad that my sabbatical is now officially over (as this is finals week). I think I've garnered a few professional responsibilities and established some working/writing habits I can continue over the summer. 

In the meantime (just) today: I helped lead a WIAB meeting, joined an AC shared governance team, drafted a SLSA proposal with EM, and wrote up a panel and roundtable for the SA caucus.



Pic: Daffodil Hill near the Radiology Gardens

Monday, April 11, 2022

tree fellers and friends

I was as excited as a toddler when I saw this little tree feller in the backyard. We've had four trees come down this last winter and I haven't been able to plan any outdoor events because it looked and felt inhospitable (and unsafe) with tree limbs everywhere. 

My favorite part of this picture is that when the driver saw me--with my phone out and dramatically miming taking a picture and asking if it would be ok--he very kindly paused so I could take one. As I mentioned to the kids in family chat--this is way more than they ever do for me. And the little monsters... had the gall to go "ha-ha" on that comment. 

L is back from her month-long trip, so I got a long walk with her this morning to catch up and it made me realize yes--lots of things have changed in a month: I'm more hopeful for Nu; I know what At's plans for the year are; I'm getting used to Big A's work-related absences. A lot of sadness with each of those situations, but growing acceptance too.

And then while the rest of the world was busy doing Monday things, I treated myself to a movie with KB. At her request we saw Everything Everywhere All At Once--and overall, it was clever and compassionate and I love the idea of an older woman cast as a superhero... still, the middle section and its fight scenes felt overwhelming to me. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

mud and miracles

Just the perfect day for a barn-raising at Tender Heart Gardens, the queer gardening collective Nu and I joined up and fundraised for. We spent a couple of hours getting muddy, prepping beds, setting up mulch, etc. etc. etc.

It was perfectly bright and sunny; plus, with yesterday's rain at our backs everything was so much easier to clear and tackle. SS, LAS, BS, and CL came to work alongside us... there were dozens of volunteers this time! 

My mom-style snacks weren't laughed at by the cool kids, I was able to hand off CL's birthday presents in person, and Nu and I went to a deli with SS and LAS in our muddy clothes for lunch before coming home to thorough showers and a nap.

I planned to use just the top picture, which I took myself, but then this second picture showed up and I found my bossy stance hilarious, so here I am.

SO excited for the change of seasons and cautiously hopeful for the pandemic's waning. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

and another one


I did it and it seemed to go well and it was very gratifying. Extra thanks to Nu, who helped me position and photograph slides and thanks to the two fellow panelists who said they'd already put in orders for the text I'd worked on. 

Also, I surprised myself by finding enough time to run 4 miles (a lot for me), pre-prep a stir-fry for dinner, check in with LB and KB and wash my hair. Sometimes a big event day has me shoving everything else aside, so this felt like a moment of growth. 

I rewarded myself by finishing the novel I'd been reading, and am unwinding in the bliss of not having to show up anywhere--in person or virtually--tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2022


Serious face (and reading glasses) on for chairing the Michigan Academy WGS section conference proceedings. Just so incredibly invigorated by the work of students and colleagues who presented and happy to build some mentoring and networking in there too. 

I have another conference (SALA) coming up tomorrow where I will have to present a paper, and then poetry selections to finalize for Jaggery, tons of  22 advisee and committee meetings next week, and a campus-wide women's month presentation on the same day of Nu's first appointment with a new therapist. Add international and pandemic news, what I'm reading (Laurie Frankel's This is How it Always Is), surprise snow instead of spring today, and the knowledge that Big A will be home for just two days in the next eight and it has me feeling... panicky. 

But one step at a time will get me there. First step: finishing up my slides for tomorrow's talk. Second step: preparing to let tomorrow be another dry shampoo kind of day.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

slips and slides

I started the day walking with L, who will be away for a month. It wasn't the best day or time for a walk as it was pretty icy, but I couldn't pass up the chance to say goodbye to L, whom I'll MISS SO MUCH. Not even 20 mins in, I slipped and fell "very gracefully" as L assured me 😁😂.  

Not usually an office day for me, but I had to prep with some students for upcoming conference presentations, so I headed in. Plus I was putting together goodie bags for International Women's Day anyway--it started as a cozy and convivial MacCurdy Event, and I'm not happy about its distant-sterile pandemic avatar, but it's better than nothing. Fun chats with colleagues and dean during drop off...

While rushing home so I could take a virtual meeting, I realized that (a) my day was very busy and people-y for someone supposedly on sabbatical (b) filling my day with so much busy work is a clever and virtuous way of NOT doing the writing I'm supposed to be doing. 

Pic: Office nook--I repurposed the top of an office supplies box as a tray.

Saturday, March 05, 2022

flowers and sweets on the day after

My baby sister who loves birthdays used to think the day after one's birthday was the saddest day in the world. Today wasn't at all bad, however. (Although world news, which I had silenced since my family was trying so hard to make my day happy, is beginning to leak in around the edges.)

The traditional lush bouquet from my in-laws arrived today, and I knew who'd sent it even before I opened the card as there were fragrant stargazers at the center... I had told my lovely MIL a lifetime ago when she was doing the flowers for our small wedding that they were my favorite flowers. Stargazers still are my favorite flowers and I get a tiny frisson of extra love that she remembers still. (When I buy myself flowers, I tend to go for carnations as they are inexpensive and last at least a month.)

I had a walking date with EM at the horticultural gardens, at the Rose Garden to be precise. It was a lovely day (in the 60s!) so it was a fierce reminder that it was still March to round the corner and see no roses. We came back home to recover, drink tea and eat birthday cake and talk about projects and family. Then EM whipped out a giant box of Shatila pastries, assuring me they'd keep forever. But this box is so beautiful and so huge, I think I'm going to have a full on (outdoors) party to do it justice.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022


I started a fundraiser for my birthday for the first time ever, and it's just not getting the traction of my other Facebook posts. I couldn't use the Facebook fundraiser template since this non-profit does not have a 501c3 classification, so this isn't being promoted by Facebook, and I wonder if the GoFundMe link is making it algorithmically inaccessible. In any case, it's not working very well.

I'm bad at asking--and especially bad at asking for money--so just sitting with this for a bit.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022


A breakthrough in family therapy for Nu and Big A--a moment just beautiful in its vulnerability. I am so proud of these two stubborn people who don't give up. 

And a welcome breakthrough on an essay I'm working on just as I was falling asleep last night. I was too tired to even scratch out a note for myself, but it lingered when I sat down to work the next morning. Like all the best solutions, it was there all along! 

In other news, I'd sent out a flawed proposal and instead of being rejected, one of the evaluators messaged me backchannel to revise and resubmit--which I did. It reminded me of this story on bias I heard on the radio detailing how well networked people benefit from excuses and clemencies unavailable to others. I never thought, I guess, that I would be on the receiving end of such benefaction. 

And of course, putting it all into perspective--the James Webb telescope has settled into its permanent orbit and I wonder what else we'll learn about ourselves. 

Monday, January 24, 2022


Finally at that stage where the Red Cedar is frozen solid and the crazy college kids have cleared patches to play hockey on it. A day that was prettier to be in--with the snow falling lightly--than it was to photograph.

But I went outside today. I started some good sabbatical habits--working steadily through the day until it was time to pick up Nu. Got a proposal sent off; whittled the chapter that was at 20K down to 11K. It needs to be at 8K--so I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

"catch my drift"

The Michigan Department of Transportation's list of snow plow names is adorable. Here's the full list... my favorites are "Mission Implowssible" and "Catch My Drift."

Looking at yesterday's first real day of time tracking really helped me see (a) I ought to prioritize work (b) separate emails from deep work (c) make time for work (d) I haven't yet a clue where this time will come from.

There are a lot of hours spent hanging out with the fam and hiking and soaking in the tub, but Non, je ne regrette rien.


Some days are just about Huckleberry sticking out their tongue and trying to boop you on the nose.  That's all I have in me today.