October 4, 2019

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These amazing bronze Basset Hounds are snuggling on the sidewalk in Loveland, CO

My dearest cousin is getting married tomorrow! According to the fantastic Fall Foliage Prediction Map, we’ll be in the partial-peak of the leaves changing color, and I’m excited to celebrate with her in this, the finest time of the year. I love going to weddings, but it’s best when it’s someone you love so much and know so well. Looking forward to my heart metaphorically bursting.

  1. Learning is Supposed to Feel Uncomfortable, HBR. “While the act of learning is primarily intellectual, behavioral, or methodological, the experience of learning is primarily emotional. And it’s the emotional experience of learning — of being a beginner and making mistakes, often publicly — that often keeps people from even trying to learn.” Lately I have been thinking about the affective element of teaching. I love this! As we get older, it feels like there’s fewer things you absolutely have to learn — you finish your schooling, you start your work or your daily routines and things become straightforward. Librarians and educators talk about wanting to encourage “life-long learners,” because it’s so good for your brain to be learning new things. This summer David and I have started learning how to play baseball. We’ve been watching YouTube videos (created for little kids learning to hold their very first bat), throwing a lot of terrible pitches, and sweating in the park. But the feeling of finding progress, slow and clumsy as it is, has been one of my favorite memories of this summer. I’m still an absolute beginner, but I have started to notice when things feel right, like when I know the pitch I’m throwing is going to go right across the plate where I intended. Learn new things! Don’t be afraid to be embarrassed by being a beginner, it’s a doorway to some of the best things in life. I also like the part of this article that talks about “emotional courage,” to feel all your feelings honestly.
  2. Nancy Pelosi: An Extremely Stable Genius, New Yorker. “When I asked Pelosi if she thought Trump knows, in this instance or any other, the difference between right and wrong, she replied, “He knows the difference between right and wrong, but I don’t know that he really cares. I do think his categorical imperative is what’s good is what is right for him. In the campaign, he told us who he was. He said that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and nobody would care, that his supporters wouldn’t care. Well, he could violate our Constitution, the integrity of our elections, and dishonor his oath of office, as he did in this call, and think that nobody cares.” I think that’s a helpful perspective as someone who cannot relate to or understand any of this president’s motives. For a while after the Mueller report I was thinking like “Pelosi, just give this the greenlight, it’s cut and dry in my eyes,” but I find I do admire her for the gravity and care she has taken on this. She isn’t relishing this process, and I am not rejoicing about it either. It’s going to be a hard road for this country and I hope we can muddle our way through toward our better angels.
  3. Tuna Noodle Casserole: It Only Sounds Disgusting, Heated. I love Samantha Irby’s writing. “(if you shell a single pea for this recipe, you’re a fed)” I would read a cookbook of recipe/memoir essays if she wrote it. I would read Xerox machine instructions if she wrote them!
  4. The “Cancel Culture Con,” The New Republic. I’ve been seeing this article make the rounds on social media but also some education conversations at work. So much of what we talk about with new college students is critical thinking and nuance, and this distinction is important in my mind: we may have freedom of speech from the government, but not freedom from consequences from our peers. This piece also suggests that some winging about political correctness/free speech has more to do with aging or classing into irrelevance for some of these comedians. “As far as comedy is concerned, “cancel culture” seems to be the name mediocrities and legends on their way to mediocrity have given their own waning relevance. They’ve set about scolding us about scolds, whining about whiners, and complaining about complaints because they would rather cling to material that was never going to stay fresh and funny forever than adapt to changing audiences, a new set of critical concerns, and a culture that might soon leave them behind. In desperation, they’ve become the tiresome cowards they accuse their critics of being.”
  5. September 2019 Short Questions (Part 1), Captain Awkward. “Hi Affluent Fellow White People, YOU are the one who bought a house next to [a college that’s been here since the 18th century][a string of rowdy bars called “The Manhole,” etc.][A Whole Bunch Of Not-White People Living Their Lives]. Learn to go with the flow of the neighborhood you just showed up in and STOP calling the police on your neighbors for living, it’s racist, obnoxious, and it gets people killed. The police aren’t ‘the manager’ you get to use to make a place conform to your baby’s sleep schedule, and your neighbors are good enough not to call the cops on you when the little angel shrieks through the night and your jealous, neglected beagle joins the chorus. Being alive makes noise. If you can’t adapt to the vibe of the ‘hood or building you chose, it’s probably time to move somewhere you’ll be “more comfortable” and scout your next dwelling-place for sound at multiple times of day to make sure it’s something you can actually live with without becoming a nuisance.” Captain Awkward does these short Q&As every so often, and while a lot of her advice is good, this passage in particular is golden. Especially thinking about zoning in Frederick and other places, as well as the rude and racist grousing I keep seeing in my neighborhood’s NextDoor (“teenage shenanigans!” I see you, Tabitha). LOVE YOUR DANG NEIGHBOR people.

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