neversremedy8: (In the Looking Glass)
It took me two and a half hours to open and close code the interview transcriptions from my conversations with my great aunt Alice. While I did it, I used my TA's suggestion of semantic fields to help me organize certain categories on which I wish to focus for my 5-8 page thesis/ethnography. My thesis paragraph and concept paragraph are both due on Friday. This procedure was totally worth it. No matter what thesis I choose (and I have not yet found the right words to frame my thesis), I have all of the data I need to back up the claims I might make. This is huge to me. I feel very reflective of my own values and views of myself in this light--like I'm more aware of why I have this view of myself that I'm not good at constructing sound arguments, and it stems from Rockie's constant demands to know where I came up with certain ideas, this need for me to always cite my sources, even in casual conversations. Now I have all of my sources cited for this paper, and all I need to do is construct an argument and fill in the pieces with the data I collected. I've never really felt I could do such a thing competently. Even my paper on Sunday, while I had reems of notes on my readings, didn't feel very sound, in part because I didn't give myself enough time to reflect.

Ana's teacher and I had our conference yesterday afternoon and discussed Ana's lack of reflection in her reading. I realized I did something similar, for although I can glean quite a bit of information from a reading, I don't usually dig very deeply into it. I've gotten by most of my life on being able to write bullshit and getting an A on it, because even my casual perusal was usually analytical enough for the average human. Now I have a chance to prove to myself that with a combination of passion, reflection, and serious delving into the data provided, I can create a valid, deep, structure argument. A sound one. Just this morning, I ran into Marco, one of the dads at Giddens and he mentioned needing to write today. I inquired into his project, and he said his "fall project" was looking at the food consumed during year 1 BC. I had a mock conversation with him in my head about how I'd never be able to handle writing non-fiction because I'm not good at backing up my arguments and I didn't want to publish three hundred pages of bullshit. At least with fiction, I can create a universe in which my arguments are always sound and everything works to my rules--and let's not forget the use of poetic language that is often found lacking in historical non-fiction. Anyway ...

I've been rather stressed... )

And the funniest part is, I now have the budding skills of an ethnographer and could print out all that I just wrote about my experiences today, open code each line, create semantic fields, and go back to close code everything in search of points to back up any themes I might wish to focus on. I could gain greater insight into my own views of self, health/sickness, values, and cultural beliefs. Ha! No matter the grades I get, this is the type of learning I was looking for when I returned to college. Gaining more of the skills I feel I need to be a whole, well-rounded human being. I could even manage to analyze my language for patterns in use and how they might connect to cultural contexts.

Oh, and did I mention that my attempts at begging worked? The prof for the BIO-ANTH 477 class, which requires a pre-req in BIO A 201, which I don't yet have, gave me the add codes anyway. I'll get to take a class on viewing human gender evolution in a variety of cultures. Yippee!

Also, yesterday, I sat down and brainstormed the ideas of what my values are for education on becoming a whole human being. I told Ana what I was about, and backed it up by saying, "and you know that these are my values, mommy doesn't actually possess all of these ... yet."

I began with the quote:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein
Emphasis mine for all things I have thus accomplished. I would add a few things to that (e.g. birth a baby), but the concept is what interested me most. That to be whole, one must have exposure to and experience in the basics of a broad range of topics. I told Ana I would type up my ideas later and formulate them into something more eloquent. I asked her if she'd like to read it when I was finished, and she nodded her head adamantly. (I know I did take a look at educational goals I would have for a school if I designed one, but they looked more at classes, and I realized that what I really should like at for my expectations of self, daughter, and future projects, is not a range of classes, but a range of values that could be achieved by a combination of classes, experiences, and other elements.)

At some point I also need to take another look at the recent death and death-related experiences I've had in the last year. I think Ana needs more coping skills offered to her as well, since her main one currently seems to be to ignore the world and plunge into computers and video games. But that's an entirely different post.

I'm out of time now. I need to go get Ana. With my short amount of time left, I could read more of the Hmong book, write up notes for the bio-med timeline I have due on Friday, or write notes for preparing my thesis. I think I've already ruled out reading, because I can do that any time. Note writing seems like a good idea, since I'm so clear and organized in my thoughts right now.

Whatever you take from this, please remember to always take breaks when you feel yourself overwhelmed. Real breaks aren't escapist, they are the exact opposite. Real breaks bring you back into your body and recenter your being on all levels. Find your path to achieving this when you need to. Love to all. Be well.


Nov. 3rd, 2008 02:19 pm
neversremedy8: (Solidarity)
First, let me share [ profile] squidflakes' endorsement for Obama, because he hits on so many points that many of us are focused on and concerned about.

Yesterday, I mentioned to Craig that I sometimes think of Gore (our Presidential-Elect in 2000) as our sovereign-in-exile. It seems appropriate to me that after eight years of his work to change our environmental policies through media and community discussions, that we should be looking again at an election that may suffer the same election-stealing tactics that the 2000 election did. This isn't so close a race, and yet the Republicans are once again up to their voter fraud tricks, and trying to divert attention from it through accusations against those "vile and evil liberals" (i.e. us) of doing exactly what they do themselves. So, keep copies of the mounds of articles coming from the media already about voter fraud on the Right, because if we don't, those bits of proof may disappear after tomorrow.

On the other side, if Obama is elected and recognized as the President-Elect, let's hope that he and his family are kept safe during and after the election. We've lost too many important leaders to the whims of the mad and prejudiced.

BTW, when did "liberal" become a bad word? And when did being a liberal equate being less of a patriot? Rhetorical questions, but they bother me often.

I think I nailed that midterm today.

"57 academics just punched the air."


Oct. 30th, 2008 05:16 pm
neversremedy8: (Calm Eye of the Storm)
My mother has a fever and is sick.

The sound of a fire truck going past Johnson Building (not anywhere near a road) made all of my Anthropology class pause to wonder.

I have a thought in my head: "You must burn to know how to be a dragon."

I get outside to find that, just a few feet away, Red Square has been cordoned off by firefighters. Woman with blonde hair pulled back yells at us, "Red Square is closed. You cannot go through Red Square. Don't you people get it?" We're sent away, she glowers at me and those other students who want to see what's going on. They haven't had time to put up the police tape to keep people out, so even as I and others turn away, waves of more students all getting out of their latest classes keep coming. She yells the same thing again and again, trying to prevent them into Red Square, meanwhile there's a stream of bodies coming from behind her through the Square. She yells, "none of you can step on a single one of these bricks. Got it?"

I'm already going around the back of Suzzallo to the Allen entrance. I talk to my mother about her fever and illness. I talk to my mother about her dreams. I tell my mother about [ profile] gira's offer for Samhain/Dia de los Muertos. Burning.

I get ahold of [ profile] damashita and she informs me of what's going on on campus. A 61 year old man, a former employee of the UW, covered himself in gasoline and set himself on fire. Right in the middle. I tell her that I wonder if it was caught on UWTV, and then I wonder if it's show in the media, kept silent by the police, or if it will surface on YouTube next to a Darwin Award. I can't imagine the title "former employee" bodes well since I know about the lay offs that have already taken place at the college, the lay offs that are threatening Craig's department. Who would want to lose their job at 61 in the middle of this economic crisis?

When I come home, I've already cried in the car, but I'm not sure why. You have to burn to understand how to be a dragon. I haven't told Ana in the car, yet she reads a passage to me about dragons in the book she's reading, how they used to be called the "seeing ones," and although they were vastly huge beings, were depicted as tiny as butterflies. Ana tells Craig she wants to burn her homework so she doesn't have to do it.

We come home and the kitchen and living room have candles burning. Everywhere burning. I have a snack and then check my hair to make sure I haven't set myself on fire. I didn't drive well. I kept wondering why he did it. I imagined, before I knew his age, a young man. I made a snide comment earlier, "well, it is midterms." I had this fleeting thought that maybe he was just curious ... curious about what it was like for the witches burned at the stake. Later I wondered if he was making a political statement. The middle of red square at a big campus where the middle of Red Square means being on streaming video and TV, it's quite a statement. More noticeable than the increased suicides in Wall Street. ("Watch out, it's raining bankers.")

Why? Maybe it really is all wrapped up in the phrase "former employee." What a terrible way to go. It was appalling when done to thousands or millions of Europeans in the Inquisition, and I can't imagine ever thinking that that's the best method of suicide. Maybe it was just a way to get back at the college, but his survival instincts kicked in in the middle because he was said to have flailed, screamed, and tried rolling around to put out the fire. But he'd doused himself in gasoline, and no amount of water or smothering was working. I can't imagine what he was thinking during all of that. Maybe he wasn't thinking at all.

If you look at the link, you'll see a picture of the woman who shouted at us carrying fire extinguishers. You'll see items being gathered into bags and carried away. I stood and talked with the photographer who took them as I tried to get a few shots of it myself. To show that I was there. This is nothing like the time when the two naked lesbians walked hand-in-hand through UC Berkeley. No one died that day.

Letter from UW )
neversremedy8: (Dramatist in Hat)
Frustrations continue. There is now silence.

Craig has a cold, and I'm working very hard to keep from getting sick myself as I've already been sick this quarter and I lost out on three days of class last week. Three important days.

At present, a pot of chicken and garlic is cooking with herbs and olive oil and when it's ready, I'll add carrots, broth, more herbs, spices, and water until it's boiling. Then it will simmer for a while, and just a short time before it's finished, I'll add the spinach & egg noodles.

Every chicken noodle soup I make is different, but somehow I always know what to put in it, what balance of herbs, what spices, even what vegetables to make us feel better. Sometimes I add curry. Sometimes it's more of a lemon-pepper broth or it has the essences of an Hungarian dish. Sometimes it has Thai spices, and other times, it's Japanese. It doesn't matter. Tonight I don't know what it will taste like, not yet, but it will have spinach noodles and rainbow carrots.

Ana's teacher has not written me back. She said they had a talk in class about bathroom behavior again, but she couldn't remember what the teacher said. I couldn't believe that she didn't pay attention, when it was so important to her, but ... ugh.

My friend Consuelo, whom I worked with at NSCC and is now in my Archaeology class, sat and talked with me during my hour break between classes today. She happened to suggest taking a minor as well as a major. Now I'm considering it. I suppose I'll really make a decision after we know who's going to be the next president. To attach myself to a minor would mean graduating later than I planned. I'm not sure if I want to do that. If I can take a minor for which I've already had some classes and use up my limited electives for that then maybe it's possible to still graduate in the summer of 2010. I wish I'd given more consideration to it before now, but seeing as I wasn't sure of my major until my last quarter at North in 2004 ...

Anyway, if you want to weigh in on it, if I decide to have a minor:

[Poll #1287015]

Class M Planet found where Vulcan was said to exist in Star Trek

David Sedaris on Undecided Voters via [ profile] silveringridd
neversremedy8: (Tea and Rain)
Wow. So very much in pain. I took a nap as soon as I got home, but I survived my first full week of education at the UW. I should be out celebrating, but Craig has my sore throat and my knees are inflamed. Bah!

And the rain has set in, which means fall is charging in and I realize after a stressful trip home that I should get my brakes checked, my tires inspected, and anything else that might impair my ability to stop when stopping needs to happen. It feels as though the left front wheel is wobbly. Not good. Have promised [ profile] jrsp that I will bring by the Accord for an oil change and a proper look ... this may happen in the next couple of weeks. Anyone want a Jiffy Lube gift certificate that will expire soon?

I had a lovely time this afternoon eating lunch, drinking tea, and talking with one of the TAs from my Linguistics class about graphic novels and the ills of society. She talks fast and I can, too, so we packed in a lot in an hour and a half. I drank a GIANORMOUS cup of packet chai with sugar in the raw and half-and-half. Mrrow-um.

Unfortunately, I'm still not feeling my groove. The cough/congestion is still lingering and I've been feeling rather old and well, like a giant troll among fairies. Even had a dream about it during my nap today. Blech.

I recommend you all read an inspired and inspiring essay on Joe Six-Pack that speaks to the "average American" and the people Palin thinks she's talking to when she uses the phrase.
neversremedy8: (Insert Chinese Here)
While I thank all of you who suggested I could get inexpensive health care as a student at the UW, I looked into it. For annual coverage, I would owe $4224. After tuition and books, I have about $1000 for the month, so um ... yeah. Maybe I should talk to someone at DSHS and see if I qualify for SOMETHING there.

neversremedy8: (Good Breeding and Low Morals)
I'm working on my linguistics homework. I am supposed to write the etymologies of ten different words (list given by instructor) and link likely reasons in history for those words to have become part of the English language when they did. So, part of this is understanding the Norman Invasion of 1066. I'm looking it up on wikipedia and find myself very distracted by the language used to describe what happened:
and the extensive penetration of the aristocracy of Scotland by Norman and other French-speaking families.
Personally, I'd like to see historical reenactment films of all of this ... penetration of Scottish aristocracy by their French conquerors. Surely we could create a reasonable, detailed, eight hour documentary about the subject. After all, there was an extensive amount of it to cover.

It's almost 8pm and I'm still only half way through the list. Gods, I had no idea etymological dictionaries lead to such broad tangents, even as I imagine the orgy, I realize that a lot of that penetration was happening to and by my ancestors.
neversremedy8: (Horses Fly)
So how likely is it, four years after working/schooling at North that I would run into one of the coolest people I ever met there here at the UW in one of my classes. Four years, and I run into Consuelo in my Archaeology class. The girl I thought was awesome who likes to "blow shit up" just started here, has the same major, and we're in a fucking class together. Mind blown.

In the first two days I have already learned two very important lessons:
1. I hate stairs.
2. Use a map with the course offerings BEFORE registering and settling on classes.

Science fact: Did you know if you take a large woman with a cold and send her marching up staircase after staircase through thickets of other students and across wide campuses that she'll sweat and cough profusely through her first two hours on campus?

Next lesson to learn: how to be succinct in writing science facts.


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