Monday, November 15, 2010


I've been feeling lately that I want to post to the blog, but don't have something sustained to say. I have a million thoughts running through my head on a daily basis, and every once in a while think, "oh, I ought to write about that on the blog." But then what I have to say only turns out to be a couple sentences. Not so much a post.

So I was wondering this morning: what's up with my brain? What seems to have caused this lack of ability to sustain a complex or deep thought?

I came up with a couple possibilities: I've been grading a lot. My students' papers, depending on the class, do indeed contain deep thoughts, but I have to move on relentlessly to the next paper, not dwell on anything for too long.

The more likely culprits seem to be Facebook and Twitter, and web-surfing in general. I have been nearly compulsive lately in checking FB & Twitter--and for no better reason than "what's new since the last time I checked?" I'm not even sure I enjoy it anymore. So they're going in time-out. Or at least in slowdown mode--I'm going to try to make a point not to check them more than once a day. I have a lot of reading that I had put aside because it's hard to read anything long during the semester (I'm usually reading boatloads for homework); perhaps it's time to give that material some attention. Sustained thoughts, sustained ideas--that feels like what I need right now.

In the meantime... here are some scattered photos from the past week or so, and some scattered thoughts to go with them.

Out and about
Recently we went to two events at my school that we really enjoyed: one was a fundraiser for the Bodo Initiative, part of Education for the Future Foundation. My dear former student Lydia Spitalny created Bodo after she spent a semester abroad in Kenya; Lydia is inspiring, and her work is changing lives. Here is a picture of a drum circle, at the end of the evening, that Dexter actually got brave enough to participate in. More cowbell!

And here is another evening in the same space just a week later: the annual Culture Fest. In this piece, our campus group Wafiki wa Afrika were presenting a song...

... and there was also some wonderful dancing from Pakistan and India!

(My photos are bad, but the events were fun.)

At Dexter's school, the students presented a Veterans' Day concert that was quite nice. My favorite part was where they invited all the veterans in the auditorium to stand up, introduce themselves, and tell what branch of the service they were in and when...

(This is the stage before the kids arrived.)

I'm as liberal as they come, and yet events like this get me every time. After we got home, Dexter called Grandpa, Pop-pop, and Great-Granddad to thank them for their service.

Closer to home
Dexter must have had a growth spurt; either that or we haven't bought him clothes in a long time (distinctly possible). It seemed like he grew out of everything at once. So I've set aside the too-small stuff to take to the rez when I go back in March. Pirate has decided that Dexter's old socks make a lovely nest:

He's a sock pirate!

And speaking of happy, here's my teacup, complete with bloom:

Such a nice way to be greeted at breakfast time!

Let's talk about...
The weather here lately has been really weird. Warmer than I ever remember fall being, with three-ish-day spots of cold every now and then. And dry as a bone. Every time we get a little rain, with that warm weather, a couple flowers in the garden come back. They look confused.

Anyhow, here's a tree on campus that one day seemed to drop nearly all its leaves at once:

I was happy to catch sight of it before the leaf-blower crew came by, to have a chance to see the carpet of yellow leaves that belonged to that tree.

Look who I found in our driveway!

I can't remember whether a wide middle stripe means a long winter or not. And: is this wider than usual?

I have no idea...

Back out again
And, lastly, we are indeed turning toward winter, despite the weird warm temperatures. We went walking in a local park that features some meadows--places where the park folks are working on establishing some tall-grass prairies. I liked the splash of red we saw every once in a while among the blonde stalks:

Isn't this a beautiful color palette? We pay so much attention to the trees, but this field, it seems to me, was celebrating fall, too.

I hope you have a chance to celebrate fall, and to gather your thoughts.


Edited to add: the group's name is Rafiki wa Africa. I am a doofus.


  1. First of all, Adult Onset Facebook Induced ADD is a rare and often misdiagnosed disorder. You need to seek help immediately and fortunately, you don't need to go to a doctor. Here's what you do: just rent the entirety of Dr. Who or Xena: Warrior Prioncess or some other cult TV show from Netflix and watch every single episode. That will satisfy your craving to delve into deep and meaningful subtext without really straining your brain too much. Seriously, you can check it out on the DSM, it's a totally legit therapy.

    Alas, I smushed a woolly bear just last week. Stepped right on it without realizing it. And right in front of the kids. You'd think I killed Santa Claus right before their eyes, that's how upset the were.

  2. EXCELLENT idea, KLM! I wonder if I could substitute Buffy... (Oh how I miss that show!) And our Thanksgiving break is about to begin, so I have more time, right? (ignoring the two stacks of papers I just collected... :P )

    Sorry about the woolly bear trauma. Sounds both icky and dramatic.

  3. Karen, my family is in Michigan and my dad has been talking about all the leaves piled up in his yard and how he can't get his grand kids to come over and rake them anymore. As for the scatterbrainedness - I can't imagine teaching as well as writing, blogging, etc. I want to teach someday, but it has got to be seriously tough to juggle all your students' needs as well as your own. Enjoy your Dr. Who Thanksgiving marathon!

  4. Meghan, I hope your dad finds some enterprising neighbor kid who will rake leaves for cheap! This year the leaves were not as colorful as usual, but there they are on the ground anyway. :)

    Yes, juggling--that's my life. My job is a job and a half, so getting anything done that isn't teaching or committee work is a bit of a feat. But I absolutely love teaching and believe I'm doing good work, which is in itself a plus for me--helps me keep going.

    Thanks for stopping by! Have a good holiday!

  5. Karen - you have a great holiday, too! Someday I want to take my kids to the Northeast - Vermont or upstate New York - to see the colors in the fall. Even snow is a novelty for them. I was reading a book to my son tonight and explaining to him how we'll be able to go sledding and make snowballs this winter if we drive to the mountains. He asked me if we cooked the snow if it would turn into soap. (He's 2)