September 29, 2017

Happy birthday to me! I’m 26 now, and tomorrow I’m marrying my silly, kind, very tall best friend. It’s such a tender time, and I can’t stop smiling. Our readings this week were:

  1. “Kids are Gross”: On Feminists and Agency, Caitlin McGregor.

    “For my friends without children (which is most of my friends), parenting is very ‘other’ as an idea and an experience, and Oscar can consequently become a phenomenon to observe and comment on and laugh at, rather than an individual person with feelings.” I’ve learned a lot about small humans in the past few years, but the biggest thing to remember is that they are humans – with dignity and boundaries to respect. 

  2. A Visual History of Lunchboxes, Design Observer. Delightful!
  3. Wear Whatever the Hell You Want, Jennifer Romolini. “Go to a store, find a thing you like and can afford that fits the body you have right now, pair it with another thing you like, and whatever the hell it is, start wearing it. Strut around in it. Dance in it, work in it, hug the people you love while wearing it. Don’t stress out about it….As women, we need to set new style rules for ourselves, ones that have nothing to do with age, body types, colors or shapes: Trust yourself, trust your instincts, trust what you love. Those are the only rules you need.” YES
  4. Good News For Young Strivers: Networking is Overrated, NYT. “My students often believe that if they simply meet more important people, their work will improve. But it’s remarkably hard to engage with those people unless you’ve already put something valuable out into the world.” Reassuring read to inspire you to Do the Work.
  5. The Ugliness Behind HGTV: A Never-Ending Fantasy Loop, Vulture. Long read. “The first thing counselors tell sex addicts is to stop watching porn, and we really shouldn’t be watching this much HGTV during our rehab [from the housing bubble burst]. Although it’s a soothing experience, it is also a fomenter of deep feelings of discontent about one’s living arrangements, which began to hit me hard around week two…

    HGTV makes big, expensive, time-consuming remodels look like two weeks’ work and a modest amount of money well spent. Moreover, it links these changes so definitively to personal and family happiness that you begin to wonder what, exactly, is wrong with you that you haven’t made some of them.”

Bonus Features:

  • What You’ve Learned, the Awl. This article has been passed around a bit this week but it’s a great place for wisdom. Plus I learned that the shape of a running track can be called a discorectangle.
  • Forever Gay pin Cute!

September 22, 2017

A week and a day till my wedding! Life is full of pretty paper things, white ribbon, and list after list. Here’s this week’s reading list:

  1. 2-Hour Rule, Business Insider. “2 hours [set aside once a week] may seem like a long time to just think […] but leaving aside at least an hour or so is a worthy investment. It lets your mind play, and if you ask good questions, it’ll sharpen it, too. That tends to compound over time.” More and more I’m realizing the importance of making space for quiet.
  2. Why Your Favorite TV Character’s Dress Looks So Different on You, Racked. This is about how TV costumers tailor everything their stars wear. Both tailoring and costuming are interests of mine, so I’ve known about this phenomenon, but this is a particularly good look inside. It’s so fascinating, and digs into some of the real work tailors do on a garment to make it perfect for a character.
  3. Ladies Be Tuckin’, The Hairpin. There is so much to parody and ridicule about the way magazines profile celebrities and famous people. Take a writing class people! This is creepy!
  4. Torrid’s NYFW Show Reaffirmed Fashion’s Disdain for Fat People, Racked. "There’s no reason a plus-size brand should play by the rules of a game that inherently dehumanizes its customers. There’s no runway show that’s going to convince them we deserve nice things.“
  5. Stain Solutions, University of Illinois Extension. This is a gem! Stain solutions for every conceivable thing you could get on your shirt or carpet!

September 15, 2017

I’ll be honest, this week was a tough one. I had 5 classes to teach the basics of research strategy, and although this morning’s class went really well, I’m coming away from the week feeling professionally lonely. 

So this week’s readings are pretty surface level – I was just too busy to keep up with long-form reading. Thanks for bearing with, and see you next week!

  1. What the Rich Won’t Tell You, the New York Times. This is really something. "Is the society we want one in which it is acceptable for some people to have tens of millions or billions of dollars as long as they are hardworking, generous, not materialistic and down to earth? Or should there be some other moral rubric, that would strive for a society in which such high levels of inequality were morally unacceptable, regardless of how nice or moderate its beneficiaries are?“
  2. Writing Advice by Alan Jacobs. Short but good read.
  3. Tender by Sofia Samatar. Her short stories have just the mix of ordinary and extraordinary that I relish in fantasy writers. I think she’s one of my favorite voices in speculative fiction these days.
  4. Wonderful! by Rachel and Griffin Mcelroy. This podcast used to be about recapping episodes from the Bachelor franchise, which the couple has recently moved away from in favor of simply talking about things they find wonderful. I like the positivity, and the sense that you’re just chilling with a cool couple talking about things they like.
  5. 11 Perfect First Day of School Outfits, Racked. This is so cute – people’s first day of school outfits from preschoolers to grad students and teachers.

September 08, 2017

This is my first week as the only full-time librarian in my department for the foreseeable future. My plan so far is to take it one week at a time & to go to meditation as much as possible. Plus, I’m getting married in three weeks, what?

Meanwhile, here’s some stuff I’ve been reading:

  1. The Wrong Way to Save Your Life, Megan Stielstra. This book of essays has drawn me in even as I’m struggling to find time to read this week. Especially caught by her specifics and instinct for the right details to reveal.
  2. Translating Borges into Trees: An Interview with Book Artist Katie Holten. This artist created an alphabet-then-typeface using drawings of trees, then translated (more specifically, transliterated) poems and other writings into Tree! It’s such a cool concept, I requested the book through Interlibrary Loan. 
  3. Captain Awkward: “I’m scared of spending money and everybody in my life pressures me not to.” On this great podcast interview, Jennifer Peepas aka Captain Awkward talks about how she’d love to do a series on money-related questions, and I really hope she does it, because she comes at this question with characteristic common sense and compassion for all the factors at play. Money – the having (or not having) and spending of it – is such a fraught topic, and her thoughts on “competitive thriftiness” are valuable.
  4. White Female Aggression, Fobazi Ettarh. This is a librarian-oriented blog post, but it talks about white women and how we reinforce white supremacy with smiles and tone-policing and not-so-passive aggression. It talks about our responsibility to do better, and to interrogate ourselves about our privilege and bias.
  5. Interactive Foliage Map So this isn’t a read, but bear with me – it’s been such an enormous week! This is a lovely look at where you can see fall foliage in the country, and when.