Friday, December 20, 2013


Behind me:

Three classes of final exams and papers.  Grades are calculated and Submitted.  Semester completed.

Ahead of me:

Reading books and writing my paper on Che Guevara and masculinity for the AHA, and page proofs for Mothers Making Latin America.  Due January 5 and 7, respectively.  Oh, and the kids are off for the next week and a half while all this needs to get done.  Fun times!

I plan to take the week of January 6-10 off, if the proofs are done by then. 

In this moment: I think it's time to bake holiday goodies for family. Or get on the yoga mat.  Che can wait until tomorrow.

What straddling does life have you doing these days?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

From Where I Sit

We're entering finals, and the AHA is in less than a month (and I haven't even started my paper). Thus, I am spending a lot of time in my office, reading and grading. It's just a basement office, but when I stop to notice, it does have some good views.  There is a pretty new mug from here that Howard got me recently.  The walls hold art that ranges from kid art to Guayasamin.  And the bookcase facing my reading chair holds photos and images from and by those I love dearly. (The drawing is one that Sam did when I was pregnant with Anya, and it includes "the baby" incredibly cute. He was 3 1/2 at the time.)  

I still want a "grading gnome" to do all this work for me (thanks for the idea, Khadija!) and I might not like the pressures of the moment...but it could be worse. At least I have good digs for working! 

Now, if that messy file cabinet in the corner would just magically clean itself...or maybe the gnome could take care of that too???

Monday, December 9, 2013


I suppose it's become kind of a ritual for me, blogging on the anniversary of my Dad's death. Today marks four years.

When I did Dad's eulogy, I ended with an poem by St. John Chrysostom (adapted for gender):

He whom we love and lose
is no longer where he was before
He is now
wherever we are

My Dad is with me when:
1) I see the shade of baby blue that reminds me of his eyes
2) I look at my son, who looks so much like Dad
3) I eat strawberry shortcake 
4) I am stubborn (um, way too often)
5) I seek fairness
6) I take delight in cooking
7) I see the birds that he taught me to recognize when I was a kid

I suppose that the best we can hope for is to be remembered fondly once we are gone.  I think many "important" people don't make this cut.  My Dad, ordinary bloke that he was, did.    

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We did it!

I looked around the house one evening this past week and realized: we did it.  The semester is coming to a close (three more class days!), and the house has remained pretty well organized and clean throughout.  It's not perfect, of course.  Blankets are often strewn on living room furniture after use.  Papers find their way to surfaces where they don't belong.  But they don't do so constantly, and they get put away before more mess piles on top of them.  We've also made the commitment to clean the house every week.  

Anya has done a particularly amazing job keeping her room organized once we opened up a closet and put most of her toys on the shelves in it.  (Samuel's room is another story.  He's teaching me about letting go of complete control over the house.)

And it's worth it.  When I walk through this house, and when I return home to it at the end of the day, I feel calmer.  Centered. Grounded.  Less stressed.  Home has returned to being a haven after a long day, rather than yet another source of tension.  

What makes your home feel like a haven?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Quote of a Quote of a Quote

While re-reading Tony Lucero's "Barricades and Articulations" from Clark and Becker's Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador (U Pitt, 2007), I read:

"Stuart Hall quotes Gramsci's injunction 'Turn your face violently toward things as they exist now,' then continues in his own words, 'Not as you'd like them to be, not as you think they were ten years ago, not as they're written about in the sacred texts, but as they really are: the contradictory, stony ground of the present conjuncture.'"

Tony was writing about indigenous movements in contemporary Ecuador and Bolivia, but this kind of idea is one that I encounter repeatedly these days--in both my professional and personal readings.  Perhaps I read it often before, and it's just sinking in now because I am open to its rich possibilities.  I am working to live on the stony ground of the present conjuncture.

What quotes are you loving lately?