On my plate right now is a project that I just can’t get motivated to work on. It’s paid work (a book manuscript I need to edit), but the subject matter, the language (academic-speak, in which I have some fluency but find near-incomprehensible when it’s filled with this much jargon and convoluted phrasing), and the urgency of the project all combine to make me want to avoid working on it.
I realize, of course, that this procrastination will come back to bite me in the butt in a week or two, when I have to do the sleep-deprivation thing in order to hit my deadline. But right now, my brain is just not in the right place to work on this stuff, so I’m putting it aside and not thinking about it this evening. I think I’ll watch a movie and knit instead.
When talking about luminaries in his field, my archaeology professor used to add verbal footnotes to their names as he said them: “That one’s dead” or “He’s still alive.” Sometimes he’d say, “He’s an asshole,” but most of the commentary was about the person’s life status.
As an academic I adopted a version of this practice myself, mentally noting whether a renowned scholar was still alive (and what his or her current academic affiliation was, if I knew it) whenever I encountered that name. Over the years it’s been interesting (for lack of a better word) to see so many famous names slide over into the “dead” column.
Every once in a while, though, I’m pleasantly surprised to discover that someone I’d thought no longer among the living is still very much alive (and often kicking). Today’s surprise: George Steiner.
. . . and thanks to my awesome friend Jean, I am extra-prepared for it this year! She made this scarf for me last spring, but I’m only now getting to wear it for the first time.
Yup, I’m still here. Hope you are, too.
It’s been a busy autumn. I’ve done a lot of knitting. I made a new pair of socks for Sylvia (purple yarn with sparkles in it!), a wool pullover for myself (more on that in a future post), and one of these:
This is the Anouk pinafore from Knitty. I made it for a friend of mine whose daughter was born in late spring and knit it in a size that would fit her (I hope!) this winter.
Working on this filled me with all sorts of nostalgia, because I had made an Anouk for Sylvia when she was two. She wore it frequently until she outgrew it . . . and even then she continued to wear it a bit longer. It’s now safely stored away in our bin of “clothes to keep.”
Have you heard of the site Caring Bridge? This free-to-use (supported by donations) site makes it easy for a sick person (or, usually, his or her family) to send out updates and news to a member list of family and friends (who can in turn post comments and messages of support). It’s a great site, and I’m really glad it exists. But it also makes me terribly sad.
Yesterday I got an e-mail inviting me to join the page for my grad school advisor, Nancy. She was diagnosed with cancer last winter and has been sending out occasional e-mail updates. But there are so many people in her circle, and writing those e-mails is difficult (taking up valuable time and energy). So, with her approval, her sister has started a Caring Bridge group.
When I logged into the website, I was greeted with a list of other groups I belong to: one for Doug, and one for Melinda. I read the Caring Bridge updates (in both cases, written by their spouses) as each of them went through cancer treatment, suffered pain and loss, and died. I think about both of them from time to time, and mostly I remember them as the vibrant, active people they were before they got sick. Seeing their names on this page, though, reminded me of the unhappy endings of many cancer journeys and made me wonder if Nancy will tread a similar path.
The new Photo 365 project started on 1 August, and this time there are four participants: Heidi, Jean, Deborah, and me. I’m less than thrilled with the latest iteration of Flickr’s iOS app (which I use for most of my uploading), so I’m not always up to date with my posting.
Here are the most recent twenty-five photos I’ve added to the group:
Last August 1, my friend Heidi and I started a Photo 365 project together. Every day, we each post a photo to our Flickr group. My photos are here,* and Heidi’s pictures are here.
We’ve both missed occasional days here and there, but for the most part we’ve been pretty successful at charting our year in photos. We’ve enjoyed the experience so much that we’ve decided to start another Photo 365 project together when this one winds up at the end of July, and we’re happy to have any interested friends join us.
There are no set themes—we photograph whatever we like. Some photos just document everyday events; others are more composed shots. Occasionally we comment on each other’s pictures, but there’s not a whole lot of chatting going on, so the “active interaction” component is not demanding at all. Mostly we find this project useful as (1) a nudge to take at least one photo each day, and (2) an opportunity to share photos within a small community.
If you’re interested in participating in this project, let me know! The new Photo 365 starts on August 1!
*(As you can see, I’m a bit behind in updating my photostream. I’m busy with work deadlines at the moment, but I’m hopeful that I’ll have time to bring my current photo project up to date before starting a new one!)
Here’s the answer to the mystery posed in my last two posts (1, 2):
Sylvia had a friend over, and the two of them decided to play “spies” with these big boxes. They cut eyeholes so they could see out, then positioned themselves on the sidewalk in front of my house. Whenever a car drove by, they’d “stalk” the car by jumping up and running after it.
I’m sure my neighbors now think we are nuts.