Monday, September 30, 2019

Day 81: Not sure what I think of this...

While in class this afternoon, my husband sent me an update on the situation with the car:

"VW needs their Master Mechanic to figure out what is wrong."
"He's in tomorrow."

Wow.  My car needs a Master Mechanic. It sounds so fancy and high-class.

But I'm imagining that it's not nearly as good as it sounds...

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Day 80: Not much

The best laid plans... 

I had to go to a birthday party today and planned to carpool down with a friend. Went to pick her up, and my gear box wouldn’t go into first. So we took her car, and I figured that once we got back I’d ease my way home in second. (Diesels lug low.). But then it wouldn’t go into reverse!  So all our carefully laid plans to get home early (allowing me to come home and write and maybe even spin) became, instead, a long wait for a tow truck and a late dinner.  

Life, right?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Day 79: Mulling

I have been mulling - for some time, really, but quite a lot recently - systems of thought and/or practice which have been robbed of their transformative or radical potential, and how to reclaim that potential.  I started to write about it, knowing that this is a many-post sort of thing, but it turned into a screed more than an exploration, and I want to think about it a bit more. 

So, instead, a few bullet points for you:
- It's raining here, off and on
- Yes, in Southern California
- I'm glad, we need it
- And it's not lightning-type rain, so it actually reduces rather than increases, the risk of wildfire
- It means that I didn't ride D this morning
- But I did get a pile of grading done, and prepared for Monday morning's class
- So maybe I can sit down with my spinning wheel this afternoon?
- After I make a pot of minestrone soup
- And maybe take pictures of the socks I just finished
- But I'm not going to block the shawl I finished this week, since I'm not sure it'll dry all that well
- I really need to cast on for a baby sweater for a friend who's due in November
- I'm thinking a Baby Surprise Jacket, since they're so much fun to knit
- But my stash is packed away during our latest construction stuff, and I'm having trouble with the idea of buying yarn when I know I've got to have something in stash, right?
- On the other hand, is it so bad to buy yarn?

All right.  I'm off to make soup and spin and watch the rain.  Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Day 78: My family knows me so well

On the family group chat today:

Tess:  I saw this on Tumblr and honestly, this describes you to a T, mom

Rick:  Should be "a subversive force of construction"

I think this is a compliment...  ?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Day 77: Thoughts on the word "strident"

Except not my thoughts.  Read Deb Cameron's piece about the word "strident" (in this case, as applied by a male Twitter user with regard to Greta Thunberg) today, and thought it was worth sharing.

Meanwhile, how about that political chaos, eh?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Day 76: Octopodes follow-up

I told my students about the plural of octopus (octopodes, for those who missed the earlier post)(or who missed the footnote about this).  They always find it entertaining (or, they find me entertaining because I'm so entertained by the whole thing)(I take what I can get).  The next class, one of the students indignantly informed me that her partner, upon being told about octopodes, asked what that meant for the plural of centipede?  She was annoyed (he harshed her buzz).  I was delighted.  What a great question!  I love great questions.  But I told her that I don't think it changes anything for centipede, because I believe that centipede derives from a Latin root (rather than a Greek one). 

Yep.  I just checked. Latin, ergo (ha!) centipedes.

But still octopodes*.

*With, in case I forgot to mention it, antepenultimate stress. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Day 75: When a joke isn't

I am teaching my language and gender class this semester.  And I am a linguist, which means that I'm always thinking about the ways in which the use of language serves to (re)create social structures, especially structures of power.  And I have a fantastic student doing an independent study this semester on toxic masculinity and ways of changing the production of masculinity to avoid toxicity. 

All of this is to say that, when a dear friend said this weekend, as someone who believed he is doing a favor for us in watching over our younger daughter while she's at college, that he'd get a pitchfork to fend off the droves of people who would want her, it arrested my attention.  When I pointed out that she's more than capable of making informed and intelligent choices about her body, relationships, and sexuality, he said he was just kidding, with a bit of a wink and a nudge.

I didn't point out all the ways that it wasn't a joke.  I didn't point out that, for that statement to be a joke, it must rely on our shared understanding and acceptance of a set of social structures that have been labelled patriarchy, the oppression of women, toxic masculinity, and rape culture.  I should have.  But I did that social smoothing over thing, and copped out.  I should have, though, because when we put "jokes" like that out in the world, we repeat, believe, and create the structures that those jokes rely on.  In other words, they aren't jokes - they not only reflect but also make the world we live in.

Basically, that joke assumes that: men are sexually aggressive; women should be sexually pure; the sexual purity of women is of consequence to the men to whom women "belong" in some way (older brothers, fathers, etc); those men become upset when other men advance on those women and thus have to fight those other men off. 

Those assumptions are at the heart of the structures I mentioned above. They subordinate women to the will of men (either men's will to have sex with them, or their will that women not have sex).  They license aggression on the part of men by presuming that it is natural and innate (the evidence is strongly in that it is not).  Those two things coupled make rape culture seem natural (rape is what happens when females are available to male sexual aggression, which is why women are often blamed for their rapes - they shouldn't have been available, which is something they control; while men are not blamed, because their aggression and their sexuality are assumed to not be under their control).  All of these are hallmarks of patriarchy - a world which centers male stories and perspectives.

For this reason, I absolutely loathe the jokes about fathers waiting in the bushes with loaded guns to scare their daughters' dates.  They depend on the same idea that daughters are their fathers' possessions, and that fathers don't want them to be taken away by boys/men.  I also hate the "don't hit women" trope - it assumes the male violence is normal and that it must be restrained to protect weak women.  Why don't we say, don't hit people?  Honestly - why don't we say that?

Don't hit people, y'all.  And please don't make jokes that aren't.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Day 74: Back, one fewer

We flew home yesterday, Rick and I, one person fewer than we started with.  We had a great time at orientation, and exploring Seattle a bit while making sure that Kiv had everything she needs to get started with the quarter.  Having time to make the transition helps - first we're all in one hotel room, then she's in her dorm but we're still seeing each other, then off we go.  It's the moment the plane takes off that kind of gets me - this is how far away she is.  This is how long it would take me to get to her if something were to happen. 

At the same time, though, is the feeling of - this is the place where she gets to take her first steps into independent adulthood. This is the place that will nurture her learning, and the growth of her self.  This will become her place, where she is the knower, the insider.  This is her launching pad.

And check out the excitement - it doesn't get better than that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Day 68: A big step

Tomorrow, Rick and Kiv and I fly up to Seattle.  Her college orientation is on Thursday, and then we have a day to poke around before she moves into the dorms at Seattle U on Saturday.  Rick and I will hang out on Sunday, partly because we haven't had a lot of time the two of us lately, and partly just in case there are any last-minute things we all forgot to pack or ship, and then we head home, and our younger daughter will stay behind.

I have to say, having done this once, that there is something weird about that walking away moment.  It's exactly the right thing, it's expected and exciting; it's not like it's even the first time we've left her or she's left us.  But this step feels bigger, somehow.  Bigger in all the right ways.  Bigger like she gets to figure out how she likes to be in the world without seeing herself reflected in our eyes each night.  Bigger like she gets to figure out so many things about herself.  Bigger like each year she goes back to school is one step closer to that day when coming home on breaks and holidays isn't the automatic thing to do, because she will have this huge expansive life of her own.  And we'll have an important place in that life, but an important place among other important things.  And that's all as it should be.  But that walking away moment, when we turn to go and she turns to stay.  Whew.  That's a big one.

As I think I mentioned, there was a time when I was going to go on retreat (cancelled in the Tilly time), and although I realized I wasn't going to go before I had to say it, I wouldn't have posted during the days I was there.  (Silent retreat and all.)  When I made the commitment to my magpie year, I knew that there might be periods like that.  I'd been thinking about the retreats required by my teacher training, but I've decided that I'd like to treat these five days as a different kind of retreat.  I'd like to treat them as a time to be fully present for this transition, without narrating it in my head in preparation for writing about it.  If it turn out that I have something I really need or want to share, I will.  But what I'm saying is, I'm giving myself a spaciousness here, with as few obligations as possible.  So I'll see y'all on the flip side.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Day 67: axolotl

The NYT published this poem in its Magazine on Sunday, and I just loved it.

   - ire'na lara silva

          little warrior
almost imperceptably
from so much healing
          how many regrown limbs
          how many repaired organs
even precious
     brain tissue
          created anew
teach me this
          little warrior
how you remain
     tender and
          soft and eternal
          in the face of struggle
how is it the healing
     has already begun
          even before the wound

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Day 66: Done!!

So, as I wrote earlier, I finished this about a week and a half ago.  I took the finishing in alternating bits - weave in some ends, knit squares together, weave in more ends, knit strips together, weave in some ends, knit the sides, weave in the last ends.  That helped a lot with making all of the ends seem less daunting.  And today, after taking Kiv to Target to get the last (almost - there will be more Target shopping once we get to Seattle, for things we don't want to pack like light bulbs and school supplies) of her packing list, we finally had time to take a few photos.  I think you can see that she was humoring me.  And now it's folded up and packed away.  We leave midday on Wednesday. 

The details again.  This was The Shieling (the link is to my Rav project page), Kate Davies' spectacular blanket pattern.  The colors and yarn were so perfect for the pattern that I decided to forego messing around, and ordered the yarn from Kate.  I used 31 balls of Milarrochy Tweed (a wool/mohair blend).  I have bits and bobs left over, but only one full ball over the amount called for in the pattern (and that full ball is in the main color, Hirst).  The pattern is well-written and easy to follow, and honestly, it was a fun knit - it was only the timetable (and the fact that it's a blanket, so there's a LOT of it) that added a certain je ne sais quois to the whole experience. 

But it's done, and now my girl will have a hug to take with her to college.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Day 65: Thwarted

I had a whole plan for posting today. Either it was going to be photos of the blanket before it gets packed up, or the start of a whole series of musings that have been churning in my mind lately. I made a good start on the day, even.  I stretched first thing (because otherwise it doesn’t happen). I got to the barn to ride at a fairly reasonable hour (because otherwise it doesn’t happen). Of course, it’s yucky hot, so D and I were happy to be done - she rolled in turnout while I slammed water, and then we both were grateful for shade in her stall. Then home, where after a quick shower I lugged my cushion outside in the shade and sat for a half an hour (because if I don’t do it first thing it doesn’t happen).

Are you noticing a theme?  The sheer number of things that I can only seem to make myself do if I get after them first thing in the day is alarming, given that there are only so many “first thing”
hours available.

After lunch, I sat down like a disciplined human to get through what I hoped would be two piles of grading. And my students broke me. Honest to Pete, folks. I ask for analysis, and I get something odd and random. People said that words were adjectives “because it can stand alone” (not a sufficient test to ensure you have an adjective).  They said words were nouns because they were things (unacceptable), or verbs because they were actions (equally unacceptable). Or they cited tests that are useful (can be intensified), but clearly didn’t actually try to apply them (because “abatement” can’t be intensified!!). And one kept telling me that something “preceded after” something else. I made it through the pile and then gave up. I couldn’t take another one.

I am now lying on the couch, trying not to look at the pile of papers waiting for me, and afraid to boot up my computer, because there’s grading online, too. I’m writing this on my phone, which is suboptimal, but there is no grading on my phone.

Tomorrow is another day. Maybe there will be more hours in the morning this time.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Day 64: Sneak peek

This has actually been done for a bit, but there’s been no time for photos. Looks like I made that deadline!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Day 63: A perfect quote

A friend of mine, upon hearing of Tilly's loss, just sent me a fantastic quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay.  I thought I'd share:

The presence of that absence is everywhere.

Isn't that the perfect way to put it?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Day 62: An honest horse

I was mulling over a post I want to write about Disco (which will be forthcoming), when the phrase "an honest horse" came to mind.  She is an honest horse.  When people say that, I take it to mean that the horse they're talking about is out there, doing their best, and if they spook or don't do what you ask, it's not out of malice.  It's honest.  They were scared, or they didn't know what to do, or they were hurting.  It means that even if you have a bad ride, or (knock on wood) get hurt, it's not because the horse was trying to get you off or hurt you.

As that came to mind, I found myself thinking - I wish people were honest people, in that same sense.

And then came the very interesting thought: I actually think they usually are. 

Isn't that interesting?  To consider that, maybe, most people, when they do something hurtful - even really hurtful - are acting out of fear or ignorance or inability, rather than true malice.  I think that's interesting because it so often feels like malice, especially when it's a repeated behavior.  Especially when it's a really damaging behavior that we have no control over, and maybe can't even remove ourselves from the influence of. 

I'll be honest.  I know that I've hurt people.  (OK, that's a ridiculous way to say that - I'm human, of COURSE I've hurt people.)  But if I'm being straight with myself (instead of mean and self-judge-y and setting myself up to fail), it's usually an honest hurt.  It comes out of my own ignorance or fear or inability.  (Is this resonating with the hurt people hurt people thing from last week, or what?)

But (still being honest), when someone else hurts me - especially when, outwardly, it's actively directed at me and who I am and what I do - it feels like malice.  It doesn't feel like an honest action.  (I also feel that way when D's being particularly troublesome - it can feel personal.  But it's easier for me to step back and realize that it's not, in fact, personal when it's a horse instead of an adult human being.)

I think I need to think more about this.  It's a very unformed sort of thought.  But it feels both true and useful in some important way.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Day 61: The second arrow, Part 2

Another place where thinking about the second arrow has been interesting and helpful is in dealing with my health.  At the moment, that has to do with having an autoimmune arthritis. (Or two: I put it this way because my initial diagnosis was seronegative RA.  About seven or more months ago, I developed some patches of psoriasis, and my rheumatologist added psoriatic arthritis to the list - this is one potential course of the disease, to start with the arthritis and then move to psoriasis.  I thought we'd changed diagnoses, but my PCP pointed out that overlapping and multiple diagnoses are possible, and that that hasn't been ruled out.  At this stage, I find it easier to talk about autoimmune arthritis.)

The first arrow is pretty easy to notice.  On many days (not all), joint pain, sometimes fatigue, weakness in my hands.  Typing hurts.  Those things are uncomfortable or outright painful.

But then there's the second arrow.  That arrow takes the form of stories about how this is so awful and unfair; or about how it's only going to get worse; or about how frustrating and upsetting it is to not be able to open a jar, when I used to have the strongest hands in the house.  They own the future - and it's always the most negative future possible: I won't be able to ride any more; if swimming hurts, and walking hurts, how will I ever get any exercise?  And if I don't exercise, how will I sleep?  How will my clothes fit?  Those stories take me out of the present experience and into all kinds of things that haven't happened yet, and adds the misery of those things onto the discomfort and unhappiness of the current moment.  Worse yet, they linger, clinging to my attention even when the current discomfort wanes, or when other, happier things might have caught my attention, were it not so bound up in offering energy to the rantings of the second arrow.

Recently, the first arrow has had to do with the drugs that I'm on.  I'm experiencing what I believe to be some side effects from the big gun drug I take every week, and I'm preparing to go off that drug to see if a) the side effects abate, and b) we can find something that works without the side effects (and maybe even c) something that works better than this one to control inflammation and pain).  The side effects range from annoying to pretty darned uncomfortable.  But they're not (I'm assured) life-threatening in any way, and I'm mostly able to live with them.

The second arrow - boy howdy, are there second arrows around this one!  I shouldn't be on these drugs, I should be able to control this through diet/willpower/energy work/sleep/exercise.  My rheumatologist and cardiologist both think I'm nuts and are simply humoring me.  The last time I went off this particular drug, I had to live with a pretty unfun flare - I don't like pain, I'm back to work full time, how will I manage if I enter into a flare and have to spent six hours on my feet and run back and forth across campus twice a day?  What if I don't lose all the weight I gained on this drug and I'm just lazy and fat after all?  What if my clothes and rings never fit again?

Do you see how crazy my second arrows are?  Stories, fears, anticipation (or whatever the word is for negative anticipation - and why don't we have a word for that?  Dread isn't quite right, although it's close.  Maybe nonticipation?  Antiticipation?).  And those thoughts usually have the energy of a squirrel hyped up on amphetamines set loose in a nut store.  They don't quit.

The first arrow is what it is.  Pain happens to everyone.  People get sick who don't deserve it.   I'm part of everyone, and I'm not immune to life's ups and downs.  I'm not going to get out of this one without getting hit by those first arrows.  (Hell, I'm not going to get out of this one alive!)

But the second arrow?  That one I have some leverage over.  That one, I can look at and say, thank you for trying to keep me safe, but I've got this.  Not always, not every time.  But even sometimes is a good start.  There's a spaciousness in refusing the second arrow, in trying not to pre-own the (not yet happened, maybe never will happen) suffering of the future.  The first arrow is more than enough, thank you.  I'll stick with that.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Day 60: Mondays

Mondays, it turns out, are long days. I teach a three-hour class in the morning, and two more shorter classes in the afternoon. Six hours in front of students, three totally different topics. Yup - I am well aware that teaching grade or high school is kind of like that every day (except with more hormones). Y’all have my sincerest admiration.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Day 59: Interesting observation

So, it turns out that, when the weekend comes around, the absolute last thing I want to do is to look at a computer.  I'd assumed that weekdays were going to be the hard ones, in terms of making sure that I get a post written, but I'm thinking that (as demonstrated by yesterday's failure to post) weekends are going to be a larger challenge for me.  Something to mull over...

Friday, September 6, 2019

Day 57: More linguistic oddities

Just a few things that caught the magpie's attention over the last day or so, regarding English's strange spelling/pronunciation mismatch.  Here's the thing: a lot of the weirdnesses of English spelling and pronunciation can be explained by the fact that spelling got codified by the printing press before some significant changes in pronunciation took place (among them, the Great English Vowel Shift)(which always sounds like it's something truly awesome, but is really just a matter of vowels moving up the vowel space across the board). 

So, for example, "goose" used to be pronounced the way it looks, with a geminate (long) vowel sounding like the vowel in "hoe", and a final schwa (a sort of neutral sound).  Then that o sound moved up to become an u sound, and the final vowel was lost, and there we are.  (I'm oversimplifying.)

This is why the "break" in "breakfast" sounds different than the word by itself - because in the context of the word breakfast, it maintained its original vowel pronunciation, but it changed when it stood alone.

But there are some words that are spelled exactly the same but not pronounced at all the same, and I honestly don't know why.  So I give you just a few examples to ponder.

Why are "good" and "food" not pronounced the same?

And how about these three?  (Try saying the last one with the same vowel as the first two - you'll get a giggle.)


Something to chew on.  

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Day 56: Eff that!

So something that's been capturing my attention and curiosity quite a bit lately is the F word.  Fair warning, I am going to actually use the word and others like it in this post - as I say to my students, we need to be able to talk about linguistic data, even when those data involve words that are troubling and uncomfortable.  Of course, we also need to do that with care and tact, one part of which is this content warning.

So, fuck.  It's an interesting word.  (Please note: this is not an acronym meaning For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge or any other such thing. It's a nice solid word whose root dates back to Indo-European.) Among other things, it clearly meets what I tend to think of as the phonological trifecta for a good curse word: it begins with a fricative (voiceless is great, because it lets the speaker get a lovely good long hiss going), then a vowel (of course, every syllable has to have a vowel, so this isn't really a special feature or anything), and ends with a voiceless stop (for extra punch).  Go ahead and say it out loud (even if you're uncomfortable, it's worth giving this one a shot in the privacy of your own home), and you'll see what I mean.  The hissing start, the firm end - they make for great curse words.  Shit also fits this bill quite nicely.  (As does another very offensive curse word - another warning incoming here - cunt.) Words like "damn" aren't quite as satisfying, because they reverse the abrupt and lingering (not technical terms) sounds: it starts with what we call a stop (because the air is stopped in the mouth before being released), and ends with a nasal, which can be drawn out.  So damn is better for times when one wishes to express shock or awe:  daaaaaammmmmmmn, dude.

Another interesting thing about fuck, to me, is that it seems to be much more common than I remember it being when I was younger.  Now, this could be because I wasn't privy to adult conversations in which fuck was being used (in the same way that I wouldn't use it now in front of a small person).  But over the last decade or so, the range of contexts in which fuck is used seems to have expanded.  Places which I might have thought of as "damn" places are now, sometimes, spots where fuck shows up.  Often without an intervening shit stage.  It seems less illicit somehow.  I'd love to hear from readers who were born before me (I'm 1971) - was this word being used in adult conversations regularly in your experience?  In casual conversations?  Workplace conversations?

So, I'd say that now it wouldn't shock me to hear it in a hallway conversation at work (all right, in the interests of full honesty, it wouldn't shock me to find myself sometimes using it in hallway conversation, under the right contexts).  But it would take an awful lot for me to use it in a faculty meeting (although I have colleagues who certainly would, and I don't find myself being offended or shocked).  And I can't imagine myself using it in, say, an Academic Senate meeting, or in a meeting with my Dean or senior administrators.  (Again, that's not a hard and fast rule; I have heard others using it in some of those contexts.)

My daughters roll their eyes at the advice I give them about appropriate contexts of use.  They understand why I'm telling them that, and I know they're careful, but I also know that they think of it as an "old person thing",  in much the same way that they think about my advice about choosing easily concealed places for an eventual tattoo.  Yeah, yeah, we get it - some old fuddy-duddy might be upset by it; they know they need to heed that fact, but they think of it as on the way out.  So that in itself says something about the shifting naughtiness value of fuck.

What also interests me about it is the range of contexts where I hear it used on television.  In particular, it always strikes me as funny and anachronistic when I see shows filmed now but set in, say, the 70s, where everyone's dropping f-bombs left and right.  I'm thinking here of The Americans and Mindhunters, as just two examples.  It brings me back to my earlier question - were adults using fuck all over the place in the 70s, just not in front of me?  But then again, even now I don't hear people using it as frequently in real-world adult-only workplace conversations as I see on those shows.  I'm not sure what it's meant to convey or what purpose it serves. 

As I write this, though, I find myself wondering if it's to get those shows to appeal to a younger audience - an audience of people for whom fuck feels more on the scale of dammit.  In other words, by using the conversational style of the desired audience, even if its anachronistic, they hope to make the show feel relevant to them, or like something they can relate to?  I don't know, but it is an interesting trend to note. And it's pretty recent.  I often watch older shows (not even that much older, actually) like Castle or In Plain Sight (why yes, I do like police procedurals, why do you ask?) - and nary an f-bomb in sight!  Maybe it's a network/cable distinction?  That's an interesting thought, too.  But it still implies that audiences want/relate to/find relevant the use of fuck, such that producers will use it when allowed.  (Writing this, I'm realizing that explicit sex scenes fall under this explanation, too, although that's a post for another day, but can I just say that I don't give a - you guessed it - fuck if the characters are having sex? I'm not interested in seeing it!!)

What do you think?  Have you noticed the rise of the f word in the real world?  In your preferred fictional worlds?  And has it always been there and I missed it?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Day 55: Books

I have a book problem.  In the sense that there are more books than I have time to read, and also in the sense that I tend to collect books that I want to read, even though I haven't read all the other books that I've collected that I want to read.  Two more are winging their way to me right now:

Language, Gender, and Sexuality (Scott Kiesling)  (I'm letting myself a little off the hook on this one; I'm teaching my language and gender class this semester, and I have a student doing an independent study on language and queering cisgendered masculinities, so it seemed like a good resource for both of us, and our library network didn't have it, so...)

World as Lover, World as Self, Joanna Macy (this one's just for me)

What's on your book list right now?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Day 54: Back at work

One of the interesting differences between summer and the semester, for me, isn't really the amount of work - I do work more during the school year, obviously, but I also work during the summer - it's being around people all the time again.  Often the same people (academic departments and colleges are like families - you're with the same people for decades - and, like families, they are more and less functional, depending on their composition at any given time).

Two quotes* that have kept running through my head last week and this week:

Hurt people hurt people. 
Buddha would love boundaries.

They go together, right?

*Dudes, I'm an academic.  I have tried to get good attributions for these, but I can't!  I've always heard the first in the context of AA, and the second I have heard attributed to Pema Chodron.  My apologies to the originators of these sentiments, if it is someone other than these.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Day 53: Talking with plants

A friend of mine just sent me a link to a neat article from the NYT.  I love it because it speaks to a laundry list of magpie objects:
  • What we don't know about plants could fill many books; we are surrounded by them, we eat them, they are critical to our survival on this planet, and yet we treat them as inanimate and uninteresting to a very large degree
  • Scientific objectivism - so many things to say about this, including:
    • the need to decolonize science
    • which is related to the need to recognize other ways of exploring and knowing our world
    • and also related to this funny thing science does where it's so important not to anthropomorphize that we go to the other extreme and refuse to use appropriate basic terminology to describe what we see (like not using the word "learn" to describe some plant behaviors - why not?  because it maintains the specialness of humans?)
  • Interconnectedness.  I love the last quote in the article, about going about the world being surrounded by subjects, rather than objects.  Can you imagine if we did that all the time?  How differently we might be in the world?  This is a broader project of decolonizing our mindsets - instead of thinking of ourselves in a top-down relationship with objects to be used, what if we thought of ourselves in reciprocal relationships with beings that had their own interests, needs, and desires?  
So many things to unpack and think about...

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Day 52: On the edge

Literally. I am on the fourth edge of the blanket. Then four very short seams to connect the mitres, some ends to weave in, and the college blanket is done!  I think I will make this deadline with time to spare (knock on wood).