Ownership and Self

Ownership and sense of self… I think I have connected my mother’s things to my mother and held onto them to hold onto her. But she is always going to be part of my life, even if she has died. She is always going to be part of whom I am and how I am. I only hope that in some small way I can be more like her in terms of loving people and being open to getting to know folks.

I read a paper that said 50 to 60 years after you die, no one will remember you anyway, and I think that may be accurate, if you live to be an old person. If I live to be 70 and my grandkids are in their teens, they’ll live another 60 years and then they’ll be gone. It really shocks you into a sense of the ephemerality of this world when you have already lived 50 years and you think about all the people who will be forgotten when you die…. My Grampa Ben, my Great-Uncle Charles, Uncle Ward… None of my siblings or children met those people, knew them, and loved them. So they will leave the world, too.

And that is part, I think, of my need to hang on to possessions that belonged to family—to keep holding on to that family that is gone. In a real sense they don’t exist anymore.

We have given lots of things away this last three years, as we have moved, inherited goods, and moved some more. I am okay with having given those things away.

But I know that I have held on to many things simply because at one point I could not have afforded to replace them. And some of those things I may never use. … Or by the time I got around to using them they might not be usable.

Since I own all I need (and most of what I want) I really need to start thinking about paring down. What can I give away or get rid of that is just sitting around taking up space for no good reason? Yes, there are even some pieces of furniture I have that I kept because they reminded me of something when I was a girl. But I will always have those memories and I don’t really need that furniture.

I have also told myself that part of the issue is that I don’t know what the boys may/will want. Well, I asked Micah and I know what he wants. And I asked Elijah and he says he doesn’t want anything. I know that he might take some things eventually, but he doesn’t want anything. So I need to stop letting that idea enable me to hold onto items that I don’t need and that are filling up my space in a less-than-useful way.

Work and Working

Just some thoughts from the last couple of weeks.

How much time?
Three weeks ago I filled out a form for a higher education survey. It asked me how many hours I worked, besides teaching, in a week. I wrote 9-12, because that was how many I had done that week. For the last two weeks I’ve done 40+. And for the next two it will be like that as well.

It looked like I had less work than I actually do and I knew it at the time, but I am not particularly good about figuring out how much time something will take or how much time it does take unless I am purposefully taking note.

Tenure questions?
All along my boss has said I have plenty of publications for tenure. Now, though, as I begin creating my portfolio, he mentioned that I need more and I need to argue that the ones I have gotten in the last two and a half years are sufficient. This is stressing me out.

I have let the publications get slower because I have been trying to do my teaching at a higher level and that takes more time. Also, I’m having trouble doing the last formatting for my dissertation -> book (which is long overdue if I am going to do it).

Probably, also, I haven’t paid as much attention to getting published because he said I was good.

Now, that’s at issue.

In total I have one book, eleven journal articles, one chapter, seven reviews, and eleven creative pieces. Since I started here, though, it is two articles, one chapter, two reviews, and five creative pieces. The creative pieces won’t count at all. The reviews don’t count much. That leaves one chapter (not in my actual field) and two articles (in smaller, lesser known publications).

My boss was actually surprised to learn that they are both peer reviewed. He said I will need to mention that in my portfolio. Okay. I can do that.

Boss also asked about publication from a grant I received last year. I said I hadn’t published because I didn’t find what I expected to… He said I should try to get it published anyway. So, in addition to working on the conference paper and my portfolio, I will also have two articles to write. Where will I submit them? I don’t know. That’s also a problem.

Really I should get the stupid dissertation book formatted, printed, and sent in. That will be one more thing done. (But it’s hard, I whine.)

Foot Revelation

Today at the gym I was trying to do some exercises the trainer wanted done and I could not do them. When I walk, I put all my wait on the balls of my feet. I’ve had people tell me before that you are supposed to strike the heel when you walk, but I’ve never really done anything about it.

Today, though, I realized that the reason I couldn’t do the work is that I always put the pressure on the front of my feet–and maybe that is why the doctor said I have arthritis in my feet. The arthritis was bad enough this last summer that I couldn’t walk, so I went to the doctor to find out what the problem was. I thought I might have broken a bone, but it turned out to be arthritis.

When I asked the dr what arthritis was, just to give myself some breathing room, she basically explained it as exactly what happened with my jaw. So I’ve had arthritis since I was 16, at least. That actually makes sense to me. It explains why, even though I’ve given up nightshade foods, I still get aches in the joints. My allergy to nightshades gives me that, but so would arthritis.

Back to the gym:
So I was talking to my trainer and I said that in grade school, I remember being told I should not walk or stand like I did. Back then I would stand on the sides of my feet (the outside of them). That and the way I walked would wear out the shoes on the sides, while the rest of the shoe’s sole would look almost brand new. I can’t remember why I went to a doctor, but they said to quit doing that.

I am postulating, and I think I am correct, that sixth grade is when I started walking on the balls of my feet–instead of on the sides. So I’ve been misusing my feet for 40 years, not just the last three with the five-inch heels.

Maybe that’s why I was so likely to fall and sprain my ankle.

I need to start walking on my heels.

Allergen Fail

#fail

Chili’s served me pretzels which had BBQ sauce on them. (Tasted it on the first bite.) I left to go get benadryl and Ron asked them to change them out. We got them to go. 2 of the 4 had BBQ on them again. Some people can die from allergens added randomly to their food. Thankfully the most likely result for me is three or four days of difficulty walking, typing, driving, any type of movement. I am hoping I got the benadryl in time to avoid that.

Thought for the day

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”
Ronald Reagan

Today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday today and I saw the quote as a comment on a Facebook post about that.

When I first saw the post, I was like, “What?! I forgot Reagan (my niece’s) birthday?”

Then I remembered she was born the day he died, not the day he was born. And, yes, she was named for him.

Books Nearby

This past Saturday Ron would talk about a book for a while and then I would ask about another book. This happened twice. Both times it turns out that the book I asked about is next to the one he was talking about in our bookshelves.

bookshelf under daybed metapicture

I guess I have finally organized our library in my head. (And to think it was after 15 years of marriage that I finally merged our SFF books.)

Weird

I was reading a book by Tawny Weber and the main character had the same first and and a similar last name as a character in another series. Then I realized both have the same name for ex-boyfriends too. Then I remembered that each of them fell in love with a Seal.

…Apparently Harlequin does some weird thing where they give you the name of a character and a situation and you write the novel and they publish it, even when another of their novels has the same character.

Now the two Edens are nothing alike, but still I think it’s weird. It’s weird enough when I know it’s going to happen–like when they publish the three books that won the start contest. But this was just odd.

Writing

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry this month–inspired by Barbara Rollins’ Facebook publications of NaHaiWriMo poetry.

Some are haiku.

Some are quick, rhythm based songs.

Some are alliterative artistry.

Some are hints, unfermented in the casks of my mind.

Many of them are very good, but except for “Tumbleweed Wrangler” I have no idea where I would send any of them.

I am oblivious!

At 3:45 (just after letting my 2 pm class go) I decided to walk to the Campus Center to buy colored pencils for class. I arrived at class at 3:58. The students were sitting there waiting for me.

Class started at 3:30. I did not realize that until about 15 minutes ago.

I need to set alarms on my phone.

Ukrainian Cauliflower

For Supper Club, the theme was Eastern European. When looking for recipes, I found one for Ukrainian (well, that’s what the main division said) cauliflower that sounded excellent. It’s a fairly simple receipt, though the times they gave were off.

This baked Ukrainian cauliflower recipe is similar to scalloped cauliflower and cauliflower au gratin because it is made with a cheesy cream sauce. If you want to gussy up the presentation of cauliflower for a special dinner, this is the way to do it.

Sometimes, I substitute finely chopped nuts for the bread crumbs for an interesting twist. Here’s a larger photo of baked cauliflower.

Makes 6 servings of Hungarian Baked Cauliflowr

Prep Time: 20 minutes (No, about 40.)

Cook Time: 30 minutes (No, about 50.)

Total Time: 50 minutes (1 hour and 20 minutes)

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower, washed, trimmed and broken into flowerets (a mix of sizes are fine)
1/2 cup crisp bacon pieces or chopped ham (or both?)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons grated cheese of choice (used Havarti)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs or finely chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans
1 tablespoon melted butter
Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold beef or chicken stock
1/2 cup cold half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cook cauliflower, uncovered, in boiling, salted water for 8 minutes or until barely tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add bacon or ham and set aside.

To make the cream sauce: In a small saucepan, make a roux by melting butter and flour and cooking 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cold stock and cold cream and, with a wire whisk, stir constantly until sauce boils. Cook over low 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix 1/2 cup cheese into hot cream sauce.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a medium shallow casserole or gratin pan. Mix cheese sauce with cooked cauliflower and bacon or ham. Transfer to prepared baking pan.

Mix bread crumbs or nuts with melted butter and 2 tablespoons cheese. Sprinkle over cauliflower. Set casserole dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake about 20 minutes or until golden and cauliflower is cooked.

I really liked the recipe. I think it was pretty good. Ron said it was good, too, but that could have been “good for cauliflower.”

The original website was about.com.

Baked Cauliflower

I needed an Eastern European recipe for supper club.

Looks good:

http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/vegetables/r/baked-cauliflower.htm

A Different Take on a Blessings List

For several years, I kept a blessings list where I wrote down each day something I was grateful for.

I still wish I had done it every day.

Today (just past the first day of the new year), I saw a video on the 365Grateful campaign from the woman who started it all.

She took a photo each day of something she was grateful for and wrote down why she was grateful for it.

Thankfully I already took photographs yesterday, so I can start with those.

I am thankful for my nieces–who love me with open arms and hearts, who spend time with me willingly, who help me in my poetry projects, who look at my photography/book projects, and who want me to cheer them on in their lives, too.

TedxSF

You protect what you fall in love with.

A ten-minute video from Louie Schwartzberg who has created time lapse photography for 24/7 for the last 30 years.

“Happiness Revealed” from 3:45.

Imagination…you want to go deeper in.

Today is the one day that is given to you. It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. … Cultivate that response. Learn to respond as if it were the first and last day… Then you will have spent this day very well.

Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open.

Array of colors for pure enjoyment.

Look at the sky. Note how different it is from moment to moment.

Everyone’s face tells a story. Not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors.
… It flows together and meets you here.

Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. Electric light. Cold water, warm water, drinkable water.

Enormous number of gifts to which we can open our heart. Open your heart to these blessings and let them flow you, so that everyone you meet this day will be blessed by you… just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.

Then it will really be a good day.

Moving Art at Upworthy

Conflicting Marital Advice

We went to Jon and Angela’s baby shower (boy) the day after Christmas. Since the day before Christmas Eve is our official wedding anniversary, I told Jon we had been married 25 years now. He asked what advice we would give.

I told him, “Hold on.” Don’t let go. Don’t give up. Don’t give in.

Ron, on the other hand, said later that, if he had been able to (some big shower thing happened and stopped the conversation), he would have said, “Let go.” Don’t hold on to every little thing. Don’t focus on the things that are going wrong or that you don’t like. Don’t get all caught up in what is wrong.

So, if we had given advice, it would have been (apparently) conflicting, but I don’t think that it is at heart.

Don’t give up on the big things. Don’t focus on the problems. We’d both agree with that, I think. Though Ron would probably mention that a lot fewer things are “big” than you might think.

marriage advice from themetapicture dot com

Image from themetapicture.com

Connections

When I first came to my new position, I was asked for a six-word autobiography. My teaching blog is down, but it had to do with coincidence being God’s working in my life. It was beautiful and succinct. This will be far more rambling, but it also is a weaving of God in my life.

First, I visited with my good friend AB in Weatherford, halfway between our two homes. I spoke of “being the answer to Jesus’ prayers,” an idea I learned in the preaching of Phil Ware. She spoke of a recent sermon/talk which said that the fields are white for the harvest when we are willing to be used in the harvest–that, in fact, our willingness to be used by God makes the harvest white.

Then I was reading Popular Religion in Late Saxon England and Jolly spoke about salvation as an event and a process. It is/was, she said, a one-time thing and in the same way was a metaphorical spiritual journey.

While reading God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom by Tumminio, I texted AB this quote: “When humans follow that example (of Christ) and commit to love the way Jesus loves–caring for all people and not just those for whom it is convenient–they help to bring about the reign of peace God hopes to create on earth” (Location 1786 of 2877).

God tied the Yale story and AB’s teaching into a thread.

He also tied Jolly’s book to Tumminio’s book. I highlighted the following: “The first part (of salvation) is recognizing there is a problem that affects all humans–sin.” I wrote Event. Then I highlighted: “The second is a solution that corrects that flaw, and that solution results in salvation.” I noted Process. (Location 1758 of 2877) The author did not use those words in the discussion. But in the “Questions for Your Reflection” at the end of this chapter, she wrote: “Is salvation an event or a process? Which characters are saved over time in the story and which ones receive salvation in a moment?”

Maybe the autobiography/idea was closer to –Connections: God weaving disparate life events.

Image was a tapestry once for sale at Grimalkin's Hearth.

Image was a tapestry once for sale at Grimalkin’s Hearth.

I am taking the gifts of interlacing that God is giving me in my life just now and celebrating them here. Thank you, God, for the time to read, the eyes to see, the mind to comprehend, and the grace of your connections.

I also had some interesting ideas for the research and creative projects for my students next semester. I will need to develop those before I forget them.

Holiday

We’re at Dad’s and it doesn’t seem exactly like a holiday. I know it is because I am stressing about being in my sister’s house and taking care of it– and taking care of Dad. It feels more like work though.

Today I have:
fed dogs
brought in trash (Didn’t have to take it out because R did! I got to sleep in 2 more hours.)
done 3 loads of laundry
unloaded 2 dishwashers and put away dishes
loaded a dishwasher
taken Dad for a hair cut
gone to the grocery store
checked and sorted the mail (Dad’s, S’s–junk or real) and it’s 10:30 am.

I need to walk the dogs and I need to send my diversity abstract to LonCon, but I haven’t really written the one about London and I don’t know if the other will fly. Maybe I will send both? Did they say you can only send one?

My alarm is going off for LonCon abstract, so I need to get that done.

Reading Leechcraft

I finally pulled out the Anglo-Saxon Leechcraft book and started looking at it some more. I was working on writing poetry and I actually ended up with a poem about the visual rhetoric of the book as it is looked at from the outside and first few pages.

I discovered that it was published by Burroughs Wellcome, a company which has become GlaxoSmithKline much more recently. My dear friends B and J G from NC have worked there for years, though B is now homeschooling instead.

That made the book, already a jewel for its information–which I have been unable to access in modern English anywhere else, even more special.
anglo-saxon leechcraft cover image by ShD