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Archive for April, 2012

I’m still alive

For those of you who read (I don’t think there are many of you), I’m still here, I’m still alive, and I’m still not ready to talk about what’s going on in my life.  Still in transition.  Although I can bring myself to type out some things that have been going on with me lately.

The first draft of the 25-page paper is done.  I finished it last night, after spending six hours writing on Monday and about an hour doing the conclusion yesterday.  I hate wrapping up papers, I always feel like I’m not as eloquent as I want to be.  But.  It’s done.  And it’s sitting on my computer for a few days before I can sufficiently pick myself up off the floor to edit it, slap the bibliography and title page on it, and send it to be printed.  Yeehaw.

My friend Tina’s bachelorette party was this past weekend.  We went to Foxwoods Casino, had dinner at Shrine, and got pampered at G-Spa the next day.  It was a really good time (I wish I could get a full-body salt scrub and massage every week of my life, truly).  My friend Drea got a picture of me all made-up and fancy (wearing a borrowed dress — thanks, Tina!).

 

And then Drea made me laugh…which resulted in this picture.  Which I think I like better, honestly.  It’s less fake.

I am not a glamorous person.

I am on my second-to-last required reading for the semester, which means that school is only two weeks and one finals week away from being done.  Scary.  I’m nervous as all hell about my grades and especially about these papers, but I’ve worked really hard, especially in light of recent events that have made studying and writing very difficult, and I at least know that I did my best.

My husband quit his old job yesterday.  David had been working 76 hours a week (on average) and yesterday decided that the burnout was just too much and he was going to quit his part-time job.  I’m glad.  He was really only keeping it for the insurance, and he can get emergency-only medical insurance through his other job.  I know that he was happy about the extra money, but money isn’t everything, and I’m glad that he finally took a step back and re-evaluated the situation.  I’m hoping this heralds good changes.

Here is a seal photobombing some penguins.  It’s been making me smile lately.

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Life in transition

I haven’t posted in almost two weeks, and there’s really only one explanation for that — something I’m really not ready to talk about, on a personal level.

Suffice to say that right now, my life is in transition.  Big changes are coming.  They are probably going to be changes for the better, but right now I’m a little raw and it’s difficult to see the silver lining.  In truth, I will be okay, I realize this.  Whatever the storm that comes, I will be okay in the end. 

Life may not be what I anticipated, hoped, or expected, but it is still a life, and it is still mine, and it is still precious.  Must remember that.

 

I find, in times like these, when life is in transition, the best thing to do is go back to basics, do what makes you feel happiest, the simple things.  I am knitting a sock on US 2 DPNs, of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn (my favorite) — a simple, basic pattern that requires little thought.

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The book is my last required reading for my History of Sex and Gender class — War’s Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America by Beth Linker.  It’s strange to think that I’m reaching the end of the semester.  My 25 page paper has 10 pages complete, 15 to go (too bad those two pages of endnotes — with many more to come — don’t count towards my page count).  I haven’t started the 15 page paper yet, but the research is almost complete.

There’s a lot of rawness in my life right now, a lot of pain.  But it will get better.  It will.

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Hello everyone!

That was certainly a blog outage.  Unfortunately, this is Holy Week, my busiest week at work for my day job (working at a church), and I’ve been running off my feet all week.  Fortunately, it’s almost over!  This is my Friday, and tomorrow I’ll be in Massachusetts for Friday and Saturday.

Since I will be trying to take advantage of the days off to read, research, and visit family members, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to have time for a blog update.  But have no fear!  This week we’re going to do Book Reviews You Won’t Care About a day early!

(I know you’re all so happy you won’t be missing it)

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In BRYWCA, I will review the latest history-based book I’ve had to read for class (or chose to read, because I’m me and I love that sort of thing.  BRYWCA books will always be nonfiction, and will always be historically factual (or theoretical).

This week was a particularly good one for assigned literature in class.  Both books were short, snappy, and very interesting.

ImageIn Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, author Greg Grandin writes about the automobile magnate and capitalist giant Henry Ford’s attempt to create a mini-American city and rubber plantation in the Amazon jungle in the early 20th century.  Believing that “what worked in the United States would work everywhere”, and having pioneered and perfected the assembly line model, Ford bought a tract of land in Brazil the size of the state of Delaware, and built a rubber plantation.  After building tiny streets of clapboard American cottages, and after hiring workers at the then-incredibly high sum of $5 a day, Ford’s dream of a tiny Americana seemed ready to take off.  But sociological differences between American and Brazilian culture, coupled by a biological ignorance of the growth of the rubber tree, lead Ford’s bustling little Fordlandia into economic ruin and failure.

Fordlandia is a really good book for both lovers of history and the public market.  It is a tale that those who study or are interested in imperialism will know well: a wealthy idealist chooses to buy or invade a country that he knows little to nothing about, tries to convince the natives that his way is the best way, ignores customs and biological differences, and his little empire collapses around him.  The difference between Ford and other leaders (like King Leopold we spoke of last week) is the lack of brutality mixed with his blind ethnocentrism.  While I shed no tears for the death of Leopold in King Leopold’s Ghost, I felt sad for Ford as his empire collapsed around him, and as Grandin described his last years as his plans deteriorated and he became largely conservative and technophobic, almost in a Howard Hughes’ manner.  As my teacher put it, this is the story of a “kinder, gentler imperialism.”

Condom Nation: The U.S. Government’s Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet, by ImageAlexandra Lord, is a short, brief, but thorough look into the history of American sexual education in the 20th century.  Beginning with the outbreaks of syphilis and gonorrhea among American soldiers during World War I and continuing into the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the culture wars of the 1980s, and the continued fights between conservatives and liberals during the 2008 presidential campaign, Lord gives considerable insight into the eternal arguments “Should sex education be only taught at home?  Does abstinence-only sex education work?  Should the government ‘interfere’ in our sex education?  Does it help more than it hurts?”

I really liked this book.  Like Fordlandia, it’s written for a more public, rather than scholarly, audience, and it was a quick and easy read.  It was interesting to see the pictures of the pamphlets, advertisements, and posters used to alert the public to the availability and advisability of contraceptives and avoiding venereal diseases.  Having grown up in the post-culture wars era, during the rise of the AIDS crises, I was really only familiar with the latter part of this book, and it was very informative as well as interesting.

Fordlandia: ***

Condom Nation: ****

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