Thursday, March 31, 2005

Up in arms... Posted by Hello

Be less creative?

Good review in the Rake about two new books by Canadians.

(Blog addendum: The following reviews don't jibe with the Rake reviews, but I read them after posting this. Nation of Rebels sounds like right wingnut're an elitist if you don't shop at Walmart. I won't be ordering it. Caniglia didn't mention any of that in her reviews. The Niedzviecki review below mentions that the author talked to real people who have experimented with moving out of the mainstream.)

Nation of Rebels: Why Counter-Culture Became Consumer Culture (Heath and Potter)
Hello, I'm Special: How Individuality Became the New Conformity (Niedzviecki)

Reviewer Julie Caniglia concludes her review with the suggestion that we cut back on self-expression and ratchet up our perceptions of what's going on around us. I'm curious about these books and their connection to what I'm reading in Harper and Kamler about a focus on individuality and self-expression in writer's workshop pedagogy leading writers to ignore the social story lines we live.

The reviewer states that the authors point out that there are more writers now than the reading market can support. I need to keep blogging tho, that's all there is to it. But...I acknowledge that I probably should try to curb my desire for hits and comments. I suppose I won't download that site counter after all.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

See how nicely they get along... Posted by Hello

94 Posted by Hello

Sacred Wine Ritual

When I first moved up here, I walked by cafes and looked longingly at pals inside, yakking over assorted beverages. I wrote to my friend Marion that I loved having so much free time this year, but I most missed talking with friends while drinking wine. Last night I went to the pasta bar with Jessie and KC after class. (They got carded, I did not.) Food and fun talk with these two friends from the northland pleased me immensely. As I left them, I was surprised by a flood of emotions.
Note to sabbatical, work the sacred wine ritual into your routine.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Now they live here too. Posted by Hello


I spent some time reading blogs in the early evening Easter eve, while family watched Almost Famous yet again. I happened to come upon a string of blogging about women and violence and women and (in)visibility. Then I moved into more Bryson reading and came upon the story of Rosalind Franklin, a scientist who studied DNA in the early 1950's. Franklin was treated with disrespect and condescension and her data was shared with competitors without her knowledge or consent. Franklin was pressured to stop studying DNA and she did. She went on to publish extensively in the field of virulogy. She died at age 37 of ovarian cancer. She had not worn a lead apron when using X-Ray technology to photograph DNA. Her competitors won the Nobel Prize after her death. Theme night for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

One hysterical child, one older sister Posted by Hello

I cheated at pooh stix. I didn't drop my stick as the others did, but flung it over the opposite side of the bridge. Dropped and almost broke my camera in the process so I felt like a dork. Was it worth it? Posted by Hello

Take the Meanness Out of You

Whenever my father visits, and I'm dressed in running clothes ready to leave for a slog, he says, "Go for a run! It'll take the meanness out of you!" First off, I was going for a run anyway, so I don't know why he feels the need to give me this direction. Second off, don't tell me I'm mean, okay? Third off, there is some rightness to his words, which kind of irks me all the more. Yesterday started off with me in the starring role of Queen of MEAN. I had to apologize to two people before 9 am. I pulled it together and went for a run. Rosalyn walked behind me and pretty much never lagged far behind. Annoying, but still the meanness did dissipate through this slight physical activity. A movie in the afternoon helped too.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mite Squad

The mites below are lake mites, but Bryson has this to say about bed mites...

Most living things are small and easily overlooked. In practical terms, this is not always a bad thing. You might not slumber quite so contentedly if you were aware that your mattress is home to perhaps two million microscopic mites, which come out in the wee hours to sup on your sebaceous oils and feast on all those lovely, crunchy flakes of skin that you shed as you doze and toss. Your pillow alone may be home to forty thousand of them. (To them your head is just one large oily bon-bon.) ---A Short History of Nearly Everything, p. 365.

This could be useful information sometime.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I'm obsessed with mites right now. Tell you why later... Posted by Hello

Editing the editor

Katha Pollitt wrote about the role editors play in keeping women out of journalism. I am fooling around with using editor as a metaphor for the writing teacher and I try to be critical of the metaphor as I write. At some point, the editor thing may just fall apart. The dissertation keeps doing that. I work on something for weeks and then I feel dissatisfied. But John Green and many other writers seem to embrace the revision work they do with editors, so it may be useful in the end. Rosalyn recommends Green's new book, Looking for Alaska.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Breakfast Blog

Rosalyn described the Safe Child Syndrome article by Beth Hawkins in City Pages as "judgmental" and I had some issues with it as well. Though we both agree that a dad and kid walking next to each other at an indoor playground probably don't need to be talking to each other with walkie talkies. I visited indoor playgrounds when the kids were younger. but I found them a bit sad. I didn't feel like talking to the other parents because I suck at chitchat. So I would try to read a book, but these places are so loud and distracting, I would end up just watching my kids as they squirmed through the tubes. I didn't want them to be kicked by another kid and I didn't want them to kick anyone else. Crowds of kids jammed together into tubes can lead to trouble. There's a little bit of "blame the victim" in the piece, since parents are represented as hovering overbearing worriers. Hawkins cites Winnicott and suggests parental worry might be a manifestation of repressed aggression or resentment toward our own kids. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe what is resented is the lack of access to free public spaces and facilities. Hawkins concludes her piece with a story about a family who moved into a neighborhood with a public park, let their kids play there, and then were told their kids were too young to play in the park without supervision. Through miscommunications based on good intentions, the family ended up being investigated by social services. A few years ago, Rosalyn and some friends wanted to organize a picnic in a park at home and one parent decided that she would need to be there to supervise. They were seventh graders in a public park on a Saturday afternoon. They're dropped off at the mall regularly all on their own, but public space seems more risky? I don't get that. Breakfast is now over so I must actually get to work. Hawkins wrote an interesting piece. The carseat section alone I could go on and on about, but I need to move on... Check out her piece if you get a chance. Such sad photos...

Friday, March 18, 2005

Text Shirk

Reading Kamler's description of a writer's workshop for women 60 years and older. One woman wrote the story of taking her husband home from the hospital to prepare for his death. When Kamler worked with this writer, they talked about what was represented in the story and what was left out. Focusing on what's left out in my own dealings with kid writers is difficult. I slip into regrets as I re-analyze the same story over and over again and realize the lameness of some of my interactions. Too late, woman. Move on. I'm reading Harper's book too, about teenaged girls in a feminist avant garde reading group. Harper hopes that the girls will come to love the poetry she presents, just as she does. I've been there as well, wanting certain outcomes while trying hard to respect individual preferences. I'm disappointed when ideas are resisted or rejected, though I try not to take it too personally. I can't win because I also get concerned when people embrace the ideas too wholeheartedly. Are they coerced by teacher authority? Shirking these contradictions, I spent the day with two delightful teens. Fun and easy going. They balked at my suggestion that they integrate the Lego Man into the photo as a fake friend, but other than that, they were pleasant as can be.

more mall fun Posted by Hello

mallpals Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Nap or Coffee?

Travelling the Twin Cities with pal Judy the last few days, as documented by my breathtaking blogphotos. Stone Arch Bridge and Spoon Bridge, Al's for Breakfast, Alma's For Dinner, river runs in the morning and happy hours in the evening. There's a coziness to company I quite like. Conked out on the couch after the airport blues, Peter asked me if I were sad, tired or both. The combo plate of course, and a nap helped. Now, the latte.

spoonbridge photo Posted by Hello

marshall fields flowers Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005

Monday Mopping

Minneapolis Mud Room. Who was I to think you could be mopped clean
in 15 minutes? An hour of switching mops, rinsing and wringing, letting you dry, beginning again, start by sweeping back to mopping. You look better, but still madly muddy. Quinn swept yesterday and told me, "I didn't do a great job, but it's better than nothing." A model motto.

accidental photo Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 13, 2005

the weekend is over

Husbandman has returned from an extended trip to the northwest territory.
We visited the Weisman today and learned about Alfred Maurer, the first
American Modern. Also ate ice cream at Sebastian Joe's. I made progress on the Bryson. A diary entry if there ever was one.

weisman Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 12, 2005


We saw Robots today. And I'm wondering what to make of it. Fun and interesting visually, but here's the premise. Regular robots can't afford fancy upgrades on their bodies. They rely on old parts found here and there or purchased at the hardware store. High class robots have shiny new bodies. Corporate/owner class robots decide to eliminate spare parts, forcing robots to buy fancy upgrades. Those that can't afford to upgrade will be outmoded and sent to the chop shop eventually to be melted down. So a group of ragtag robots rebel and defeat the corporates. Everything's good because now the ragtags can go back to fixing their pathetic forms with spare parts. The lower class is once again content because they're not going to be annihilated. Yay!

backyard Posted by Hello

Friday, March 11, 2005

Slowing Tensions

If I read one chapter each day I can complete Bryson's book in 11 more days.
I've given up on a few books this year after hundreds of pages of reading, creating a sense of dissatisfaction not with the book but with myself, that I've not made a good match. I like reading this book, Brief History of Nearly Everything, but each new chapter requires a mental readjustment as I gear up for scientific topics I know nothing about---geology, particle physics, chemistry. I didn't think I was remembering much of the text, but in the past month, I've read with (some) interest news articles about neutrinos, Mt. St. Helens, and fossil finds. I've been slowing down on my chapter a day goal recently. So close and yet so far. Maybe if I weren't falling asleep every night at 9:15, I could get this done. I might have hypersomnia.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bed Head on Pinnacle Day

Peter forgot his passport. Our neighbors to the north let him in, but warned him that the Americans would not let him return. So I had to leave my house to procure transportation for said document. I like to run in the afternoon after fumbling around with work in the morning, so I left the house with bedhead and worn down running apparel. The good part of being away from home is that I know no one so it doesn't matter too much what I look like when I leave the house. At home, I'm sure to see people I know and they're sure to make comments to me about my appearance, and probably to anyone else they see that day. My standards have become quite relaxed and that's a little scary since they weren't all that high to begin with. But my mission was accomplished, and if all goes well, husbandman will be allowed to return to the country of his birth in a few days.

Monday, March 07, 2005


A great weekend in Chicago. Food and drink galore. Sunny downtown yesterday has turned into a snowy today. I didn't get to see the Bean.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I hate these machines more than I can say. Posted by Hello


Off to the place with the dreaded duplicating technology. Overhead transparencies have gotten tedious, but powerpoint requires a scanner, which I have not. I have 60 minutes to talk at a conference and will have about 50 transparencies, each with its own little story. I'm trying to pull out of my ruttiness, trying to be more forward looking. So up ahead looms Chicago for iceskating, spa services, art institute, and fine foods galore. And a chat with teachers who research their own classrooms. Cloning concepts from paper to acetate is a drag, but it needs to be done. Perhaps Chipotle will duplicate a burrito for me when I'm through.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Last Word

Hunter S. Thompson just typed one word on the sheet of paper in his typewriter before he shot himself. The word was "counselor." Quinn thinks Thompson was leaving a clue, that his counselor may have caused his suicide or even have been trying to kill him. Peter thinks that maybe his wife had suggested a visit to a counselor because of his depression. I wonder if the word was a final piece of advice, a recommendation that his family visit a counselor to help them cope. Rosalyn believes he may have been beginning a letter to his counselor.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Rosalyn's Penguin Posted by Hello

Pinnacle Day

In my Monday night class, Writing in Schools, the class discussed if novels were better than professional wrestling. I said they were "different" and the professor, father of twins and others, told me I couldn't hide behind that word. Just watch me my friend.
As for words, Quinn announced early yesterday morning, "My philosophy is...our thoughts redefine our words." Asked for further explanation, he said that a word is defined differently by each person, according to their thoughts.
Saw a nuthatch today. What's better a nuthatch or an eagle?
Made savvy mom's squash soup. It tastes happily like Thanksgiving.
Am leaving on Saturday for Chicago to talk to the class of good friend and former grad student pal, Dr. Katie Van Sluys . The talk is almost done, but not quite.