Category Archives: Academia

Fall Potpourri

Another very fall tomato

Halloween Chickens!

And the behind-the-scenes of the chicken photo shoot:

Radish eyeballs

Fibers show at my school’s art gallery

This was my favorite piece

In school news, I recently gained approval from my university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for my doctoral research project. It was a very rigorous process that involved fun steps such as writing a 45 page paper, completing a 37 page IRB application and making multiple revisions over several months; all of that while keeping up with regular coursework, clinical hours and my regular day job. Like I said, fun! My project is going to be very simple; seeing if the addition of exercise (walking 20 minutes, 5 times a week) helps to improve symptoms of depression. I will begin collecting data soon, just as soon as I get final approval from my hospital (where I work). The actual approval should be no problem, it just involves scheduling/assembling like every member of the senior management team and several physicians in one place at one time; which as it turns out, is also a very fun process. I usually don’t share tedious details of my life like this, but am asking for a few prayers for me in the final stages of this process; they would be much appreciated!

Back to the potpourri of pics from the past month or so!

Halloween!

Someone with a giant camera took these 2 photos

Sports photography isn’t my strong suit but I did get this one amazing shot (of another kid on the team; not the Spy):

Practicing our selfies in the stands #footballfans

Cheerleading fan may be more accurate for ‘Zilla!

She got a big haircut!

We got our first frost

And not too much longer until we will really have to stop calling Babyzilla “baby!”

Due February 2nd :)

Thanks for visiting and have a happy thanksgiving!!

Late August in Squirrely Garden

Squirrely Garden is the garden at Baby’s school (and was named by the preschoolers). I am the CEO of Squirrely Garden, but have taken a bit of a break from my executive duties as of late. We went to Colorado, had to spiff up Spy Garden for a magazine photo shoot and most of all: it has been 100 degrees for two weeks.  Today was the first day I’d even set foot in Squirrely Garden since July 17th…

Squirrely Garden July 17

Squirrely Garden July 17, 2014

Squirrely Garden August 28, 2014

Squirrely Garden August 28, 2014

There is a garden in there, I swear!

There is a garden in there, I swear!

I meant to just take a quick look today, but confronted with this weedy jungle I was compelled to clean up least one of the beds.

For the record, these are not the proper shoes for impromptu gardening.

For the record, these are not the proper shoes for impromptu gardening.

The weeds are rampant, but the heat seems to have just about let up, which means the kids (and teachers!) will be back in the garden regularly. We made a plan to get the whole garden weeded in the next couple of weeks and the other good news is that more than just weeds are growing…

Watermelons! (There's about ten or so nearly ready to pick)

Watermelons! (There’s about ten or so nearly ready to pick)

And more teeny watermelons just starting to grow.

And more teeny watermelons just starting to grow.

Watermelon Blossom

Watermelon Blossom

The pumpkins got a late start in Squirrely Garden but they are growing well now!

The pumpkins got a late start in Squirrely Garden but they are growing well now!

The big grassy masses (among the weeds;) is lemon grass.

The big grassy masses (among the weeds;) is lemon grass.

I will definitely be taking some lemon grass shoots for our garden from this mass next time I’m up there: lemongrass is such a great flavor (and the smell…mmm!)

And check this out!

And check this out!

This eggplant variety is called Fengyuan purple and I am so happy it is growing in Squirrely Garden; the ones I planted in Spy Garden have yet to fruit.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Downhill from Squirrely Garden…

The playground awaits the kids (having breakfast in the dining hall in the background)

The playground awaits the kids (having breakfast in the dining hall in the background)

Playground Cave

Playground Cave

A view of the school from the playground.

Another view of the school from the playground.

Squirrely Garden is on the hill past the tree in this photo. And that corner of the school building is Baby's classroom (well, her INDOOR classroom: the real classroom is the forest/garden/great outdoors!)

Squirrely Garden is on the hill past the tree in this photo. And that corner of the school building is Baby’s classroom (well, her INDOOR classroom: the real classroom is the forest/garden/great outdoors!)

Seen on the bulletin board in Baby's class.

Seen on the bulletin board in Baby’s class.

But how nice to have a nice cool classroom when it is 100 degrees!

But how nice to have a nice cool classroom when it is 100 degrees!

Origami Mobile

Origami Mobile

Solar Dehydrator in Progress

Solar Dehydrator in Progress

Very interested to see how this solar dehydrator works out; might have to have Smoochie build one for us if it is successful!

47. P.J. O’Rourke

P.J. O’Rourke is one of my favorite writers of all time. You must read his book, Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut. It is hilarious. Here is an excerpt:

From Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut

From Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut. The reason “His whole life was an act of literary criticism” is highlighted because this is the quote I googled to get the quote. Obviously I remembered it verbatim!

And that’s just from the Acknowledgements section of the book. He is absolutely hilarious. His “Website Welcome” page on http://www.pjorourke.com is PERFECTION, seriously click on this link and read this thing. Basically I agree with every word and gosh it is SO FUNNY. So where am I going with this? I don’t have any exciting October Garden How-To’s and didn’t take any pictures of golden sunlight or frolicking children and puppies today. So in searching for something to write about, I decided to search for something I already wrote. As an English major at Wesleyan University, I wrote the paper below. It was supposed to be a reflection on Dictee (which is a very abstract, disjointed book by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha). Pretty much the whole book is in the nonsensical format of my paper:

My Name Was Here

le 24 avril 2003

givemeanA. Issac

The Sad, Lonely, and Crazed Woman of Dictee:

Links in the Web of Knowledge Systems

The multilingual work that provokes readers to consult an outside work in pursuit of a knowledge can claim a priority in stimulating thinking at the same time that it points to the necessary intercultural, weblike nature of all knowledge systems.                             (Spahr 139)

Je pense donc que je suis.

Je pense [excessivement] donc que je suis [fou].

Elle pense. Elle parle. Elle prononce. She thinks. She speaks. She utters. “Hers now. Hers bare. The utter.” (5) The utter, bought by a high price—the woman’s sanity—lost in nervous anticipation. She is not at ease. Cha’s Dictee “is built around discomfort. It has little reading ease.” (Spahr 124)

“She hears the ringing and the call is announced.” (139)  She labors over the ring. She thinks too much. She is mad. She overstates the obvious.  Reading in too far, too many Re’s and she knows it, “Re dust[1]…Resurrect it all over again. Bit by bit. Reconstructing step by step…” (129): because she is so lonely.  She says “You fade.” (128)  Perhaps the subject is physically absent but with obsessed words she shows that her subject still actively torments her, and it is her own fault: (1) she creates the Re dust, (2) the Re dust becomes “A shadow”, (3) she reconstructs, re-enacts, rebuilds: (4) creates “a new shape” reminiscent of the original, but without true form. “It seemed to resemble but it wasn’t.” She is heartbroken and crazy over something or someone, she recreated its/his/her image over and over, and continually her Re creation reveals itself to her: reminds her she was only pretending.  All of this Re business results in trouble with the verb. To go. Aller.

“Something takes only one to start.” (128)

The Aller passage is vague, vague, vague. Because of this ambiguity, the reader can connect it to other passages. Connect it to Laura Claxton. Laura writes to Mr. Reardon unaware that he has moved. H. Small writes, “Of late I have not heard anything from him and cannot advise you of his present address.” (142) Laura will be sad when she reads these words. Sad for her sister. Her sister who “is in awful shape/she threatens/to kill her self and/her children and/husband has done/all they can” Her sister is crazy (over/under Mr. Reardon?). So crazy, in fact, that perhaps she doesn’t even have a sister: she writes to herself in 3rd person. Her doctor told her to do this, in a journal, for therapy, to help her eat.


[1] Re dust: The fictitious world created by too many what ifs? Too many re-readings, re-enactments. The writer addresses the personification of what is created by these re’s: “You Re dust”

Beat her anorexia, stop her from going crazy. “She is afraid of going crazy.” (146) Much easier to write those words in 3rd person. Elle s’écrit. Reflexive verbs. She fights with her body.

“In the whiteness/no distinction her body  invariable no dissonace synonymous to be come yours.” (118) To become yours. DO become your body. Devenir. “The verb.” (118) To become.

dreyers joan of arc

Carl Dreyer, 1928: La Passion de Joan d’Arc. Impressive fanatic. Crazed? We were in confirmation class reading Catechism and trying to finish our French homework we found it “NOT possible to distinguish the speech” (67) of either. READ and call crazy what is wildly ambiguous. The ambiguity invites unusual juxtapositions/relationships because it does not have to be read LINEARLY.

*             *               *

Ok so that’s the paper.

It’s over (thank goodness).

If you are confused right now, that’s the point. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

Did I actually “read” Dictee? Of course not. Part of being an English major is writing pages and pages on things you know nothing about. Thumbing the pages as you would do a picture flip book one can quickly conclude: This work is disjointed. It has no plot. It makes many vague social/cultural/political references.

What was at stake that we spend 2-4 hours of class time (at 40 grand a year that is some expensive class time) in such serious discussion of this crappy book? Well…Theresa Hak Kyung Cha is a published author. While I am a lowly blog glog writer. Interestingly enough she seems FAR less concerned with the reader’s pleasure in “reading” her book than I am.

So, the punchline, people, is, I got an A+ on the paper. It took me ten minutes to write. If you can appreciate this paradox, you seriously need to read some P.J. O’Rourke.