September 28, 2018

Well, hello there. This week I am rounding on my 27th birthday and my 1-year wedding anniversary. It’s been quite a year −

I’ve felt like I’ve been full to bursting with ideas, typing madly from the moment I get to work till I leave. Full of notes, brainstorms, talks I want to give someday, exercises I want to try in the classroom. It’s been a fertile period for my brain and I’ve felt really confident in my abilities lately.

But yesterday I made it back to the meditation room for the first time this semester and I realized how quickly I’ve gotten out of the practice of Doing Nothing purposefully and for a set amount of time. I fidgeted. I breathed shallowly. Thoughts swooped and drifted through my head like the ghosts in Mario Brothers. There was a tempting moment where I thought, “I’ll just take a few minutes and puzzle over this work problem while I’m here,” as if I wasn’t already doing something very important! Nothing!

I’ve noticed that even though I’m in a period of high motivation and ideas, I still need to keep up the habits that separate my work and the rest of my life. One great way to keep those things from bleeding into each other is to rely on rituals

cues that your body gets used to over time that say, “This is what you’re doing right now. You can transition. You can focus on this.” Meditation 2x a week is one important ritual for me; walking Persey after work is another. What are your rituals?

  1. Having Faith In Your Students. Love this. “I go into every class believing that what I am saying to students is vitally important and that they have the ability to change their thinking and behaviors; I believe that my students can go beyond what I anticipate. I can proudly say that every day I work with students, I see glimmers of genius. Nothing can be more fulfilling to a teacher. But it is all a matter of faith.”
  2. They’ve Found It. Can They Read It? Adding Academic Reading Strategies to Your IL Toolkit. This was one of the readings I found this week that got my mind racing with the implications. Especially startling for me is this finding: “These types of articles have become increasingly specialized and complex. A 2002 paper comparing scholarly articles published in the 1970s with those in the late 1990s found articles in most fields to be longer and to contain more references…Asking a student to write a 5 page paper on capital punishment is to turn that student loose into a thicket of information resources in which hundreds of thousands of pages have been written on the minute aspects within the broader context of capital punishment.” I believe these findings complicate the “lazy students” trope. For a long time I’ve thought that smartphones, video and other visual mediums, and Twitter have allowed our young adults’ reading stamina to atrophy. And maybe that’s true – we are all experiencing assaults on our attention at all times. But I see more clearly now that is my responsibility to ensure that our library collections are used effectively, and the fact is that most students have trouble using them. Excited about what that means for my classroom in the future.
  3. XOXO in an Email: What Your Sign-Off Says About You, Vogue. “Closings (ways of saying ‘goodbye’) are the trickiest points in a conversation, written or oral,” reminded Lackoff in an email. “You have to both get away and convince your addressee that you still like them and want to continue the relationship in the future.” I use xoxo with my mom…can’t imagine using it with my coworkers, but with other women I work creatively with, absolutely. It’s so cute. It’s an acronym but instead of evoking a chat room, xoxo has vintage valentine vibes.
  4. The Apples of New York, The New York Botanical Garden. I got my image from this collection today. Definitely go check them out, there are such great (public domain) images of fruit, flora, and fauna to be found here!
  5. Finding My Voice, ACRLog. Can I share my own piece, maybe just this once? I just started blogging for ACRLog, a blog for academic and research librarians, where I’ll be talking about my teaching journey and library news! 

September 21, 2018

I slept so much last weekend while David was out of town, and I still feel like I could nap the afternoon away! This week’s finds feature a lot of fashion and visuals, so feast your eyes:

  1. Plus-Size Vintage Really is Hard to Find, Racked. This look at the history of plus size clothing was helpful to me, at least in unpacking why I’ve never been able to take much more than a visual interest in vintage clothing. One historian comments, “After stoutwear ended and before plus-size in the 1980s emerged, women were sewing for themselves,” which I am actually still seeing! Women sewing their own clothes because designers and mainstream retailers are just not providing clothes that flatter us.

  2. Experts Agree: We’re in the Midst of a Paradigm Shift in Women’s Pants, Quartzy. “Denim silhouettes shift in a major way about every 10 years, enough to define the decade when you look back on it. We entered the skinny jean phase around 2007 when we left bootcut behind and stuck with that silhouette for about 10 years without fatigue. It was time for a change.” There’s some talk in here that kind of bums me out – about how when suddenly everything in our closets looks outdated, we’ll have to all go shopping for new clothes and that news excites retailers – but I also like thinking that every decade has an iconic denim that defines the era.

  3. Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, the Guardian. I always love these. I’ve noticed that there is a half-conscious reaction in me, a Noah’s ark instinct perhaps, that loves to see two animals of a kind interacting – cuddling, tussling, or climbing on each other. I look at two cats washing each other’s ears and think, “Yes, that looks about right.”

  4. The Harvard Color Detectives, The Paris Review. I wish I was a color scientist! “Toward the end of the interview, I ask Khandekar how much the collection is worth. None of my questions, even the dumb ones, have elicited even an eyebrow raise from him, but this one is different. “I have no idea,” he says. “It doesn’t matter.”” The pictures in this piece look like a wizard’s shop. This author writes a column on the history of colors (another dream job), and I’ve shared her pieces before!

  5. You’ve Got Mail (1998) – Art of the Title. Just learned about this website, Art of the Title, which highlights the title sequences of film and tv.
    Some of them have interviews, some just the title sequence.

    Of course I’m using the You’ve Got Mail title as my sample, but check it out and look for your favorite movies, it’s really interesting!


September 14, 2018

I’m WIPED y’all. I looked at my list of readings this week and they’re all really intense and sad.
Can I just share 5 nice things with you? Here’s some light fare for a dark week, dear friends – if you are in the path of this storm, I hope you find the resources you need to stay safe!

  1. 25 of the New Words Merriam-Webster Is Adding to the Dictionary in 2018
    . My girl “zoodle” made the list!
  2.  10 Tips for Baking Simple Bread at Home, Bon Appetit. My (dad’s) tip for baking bread isn’t on here, but feed your yeast a little warm water and sugar to get it started before you combine it with everything else and it rises much faster! This time of year is perfect for making bread.
  3. She’s All Fat podcast. One of my new favorite podcasts! I’ve been thinking of making a post of 5-10 of my favorite podcasts, which keep me company in every ordinary moment that I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts (god forbid!). Keep an eye out for that post this month, but in the meantime check out this awesome body positivity podcast – these women are sharp, funny, and kind.
  4. The concept of Facebook groups. This is not a link but it is my favorite part of Facebook lately – being a part of groups related to my work or interests (I belong to a few librarian groups and a self-care group) has brought positivity and new ideas to my News Feed.
  5. Colorplan. This is a cool tool to play around with color combinations, to kill a little time while you wait to hear back from someone, or to look at every beautiful shade that the Internet can bring me. (I heard about this one from Swissmiss Studio, a design blog I like!)

September 7, 2018

Does anyone have creative ways to get your dog exercise during these scary-hot weeks? There was a heat index of 105 this week, and we’ve already been to the creek twice and Petsmart for a shopping spree – anyone have other ideas?

  1. Why Married Women Are Using Two Last Names on Facebook
    , the Atlantic.

    I made this choice – two last names, no hyphen – as my legal name change. I didn’t make the choice so I could be findable on Facebook (lol!), but because the thought of not having Hampton in my name anymore didn’t sit right with me. This is such a personal journey for all kinds of marrying people, and I don’t think there’s a wrong choice as long as you feel good about it. My mom made her maiden name a second middle name, which taught me early on that there is always more than two choices. I think my parents’ model of mutual respect, refined over years of shifting needs, informed a lot of the way I approach marriage. For me they prove that a 50/50 split of “the work,” defined exactly the same over the years, isn’t what I want to go for. In different seasons, one person does more like 60 or 70 percent, and then things reverse in another stage of life. As we approach our first anniversary, this is something about my parents that I admire and hope to imitate.

  2. Romantic comedies are having a moment. Can it last? Vox. “I think any defense of rom-coms has to begin with the idea that it can be enjoyable and worthwhile to watch two attractive people trade banter, face complications, and eventually fall in love, and there is nothing wrong with that. That basic plot template is not inherently less valuable than the one about the sad, mean man who is really good at something and so has no excuse but to be terrible to the people around him, or the one about the people who fight in a war and are very brave. The fact that we treat rom-coms as frothy nonsense for dumb people stems from the fact that romantic comedies are generally marketed to women, whom our culture does not like — not from the genre’s inherent value.” Loving this discussion of my favorite genre.

    ”Part of what killed the romantic comedy in the mid-’00s was that the biggest studio rom-coms, your How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or your Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, were getting increasingly slick and smarmy and cynical. They followed the formula of a rom-com on a surface level — aspirational jobs, fancy clothes, beautiful people — but they were made with a palpable contempt for both their characters and the people who enjoy watching romantic comedies. These movies didn’t care about their characters or why they should fall in love; they were just putting them through the motions. And watching them didn’t feel escapist and joyous and fun. It felt gross and slimy.” YES.

  3. Why you feel richer or poorer than you really are, The Cut. “The problem, of course, is our reference points are often wrong. My parents had the same amount of money before and after they remembered the pool; the cost savings weren’t real. For social comparisons, Gladstone notes the critical obvious: “Spending is public, but saving is private.” We see our neighbors taking lavish vacations and buying new cars — not their debt or dwindling savings.” Interesting. Money is gross!

  4. It Came From the 70s: The Story of Your Grandma’s Weird Couch, Collectors Weekly. “During postwar years, we were very much about expansion of America into the West: Phoenix, Arizona, and Houston, Texas were exploding,” Kueber explains. “All of Texas and California were growing, growing, growing, growing, growing. So all things ‘Western’ were huge, from ranch houses to denim jeans. Along with that come all these Old West motifs in furnishings. My Grandma and Grandpa loved those Western TV shows when I was young. People were coming off the farm, too, like my grandparents, who moved their family from the farm in North Dakota to the suburbs of Southern California in the ’60s. In my attic right now, I literally have an ox-yoke mirror that came from North Dakota. Grandpa took this farm implement and upcycled it. It’s a part of America’s farming, pioneering heritage. But what am I going to do with it? I can’t sell it now. I can’t even give it away.” There’s history in all kinds of mundane, even ugly things, and I like that. I learned about this subreddit called What Is This Thing, where people post pictures of odd tools and plastic parts, foreign foods and mysterious toys, and commenters weigh in. I’m amazed how quickly commenters can identify things, and it reminds me that for every unfamiliar thing, there’s someone who’s an expert, and I think that’s wonderful.

  5. I Worked With Avital Ronell. I Believe Her Accuser, The Chronicle of Higher Ed. “The American university knows only the language of extortion. “Tell,” it purrs, curling its fingers around your IV drip, “and we’ll eat you alive.” Avital conducts herself as if someone somewhere is always persecuting her. She learned this, I imagine, in graduate school. No woman escapes the relentless misogyny of the academy. The humanities are sadistic for most people, especially when you aren’t a white man. This is understood to be normal. When students in my department asked for more advising, we were told we were being needy. “Graduate school should destroy you,” one professor laughed.” I thought this was one of the best pieces on this situation and the larger exploitation culture in academia. This conversation, which is also picked up in this New Yorker piece, is very intense and if you don’t know much about this story, you should know going in that there’s a lot of frustrating undermining of victim stories as well as some pompous discourse. As I read these pieces and reflect on another boundary-crossing situation in the Mountain Goats fandom (plus more repulsive behavior from Louis CK), I am just so sick of the ways that people with power crush weaker people, and experience very few consequences. Also, real talk: Don’t date your students! There is absolutely no circumstance where this is not creepy.