In which a school-loving graduate student reflects on the balance and intersections among her life as a doctoral candidate, her love of all things knitting-related, and her adventures mothering an amazing boy along with her wife!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Ph.D'ing side of things

I don't know that I've written much about my doctoral work. It doesn't have the highs and lows that parenting does, nor does it include the joy of creating clear and useful products that knitting does. But it surely feeds my mind and soul in a very particular way.

Right now I'm in the midst of grading papers for the course I'm teaching. It's a course on school reform -- a subject near and dear to my heart. I'm struggling right now with the grading. Lots of folks have missed the main point of the paper. The writing is fine. The ideas are fine. Everything is fine. But missing the key component of the paper -- integrating that somehow into the argument, that's the problem. It's left me wondering if something is wrong with the assignment, which I created. Or with the teaching, which I'm only very partially responsible for. Or whether the point of the assignment is somehow out of vogue.

These questions, though I'm sure vague here, really cut to the heart of teaching and learning, which lights a fire in me. I love teaching. The weekly dialogue with students in person. The dialogue in writing as I respond to their writing. Engaging in enduring questions of school reform with others -- coming to conversations with just as many questions as they do and perhaps fewer answers now that I've spent many humbling years doing this work.

I find that doctoral work keeps me living in the realm of what I don't know. What I DO know, though, is that the everyday work of it -- the teaching, the grappling, the conversations with others, and in particular my students, are inspiring to me. And that will always keep me going.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This week we paid our final visit of the season to our beloved Lindentree Farm. I love our summertime ritual of visiting the farm weekly, gathering our food from the CSA area and the fields themselves. Playing, eating, exploring. Wondering about leaves, bugs, plants, and flowers.

It brings a nice, slow rhythm to our lives, and it connects to the earth, to the source of our food. I always feel a whistful loss at the end of the season. This week it was cold on our visit, and as I enjoyed the coolness on my cheeks and the warmth of my sweatshirt, a small bit of loneliness crept into my heart as I knew we wouldn't repeat this ritual until the rebirth of next season.

Yet the sadness couldn't last long as I watched the lovely farm pixies scamper among the raspberry bushes hunting for those last few blushes of fruit while the sun set ever-so-quickly overhead.

By the time we were vaguely smeared with reddish berry juice the moon had risen full behind the trees.

'Twas a peaceful end to the season.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Playin' around

Q's magazine cover
Originally uploaded by megincl
Sometimes I can't settle down to serious business. Which is okay. Sometimes. Today it was pictures that were distracting me. And funny picture-editing tools. I grabbed a cool tool off the web that let me make a picture into a faux magazine covor (among other nifty things). This is my first try. Not great, as I didn't get the length of the lines right, but it was fun. And I like imortalizing Q like this!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sick boy.

That about sums up how I've spent my time this past week. Q's been sick. Katie and I have been trying to juggle caretaking and school. And waking many times in the night to a hacking cough. Although not my idea of fun, a cuddly sick Q is nice for a few days, as we spend most of our time together snuggling and chatting. We've discussed school, books, friends, seasons...

More to report on soon, but I wanted to leave you with an image of the sick one. Our number one task when Q is sick is to keep him hydrated. Often I feel like we're jumping through hoops to make it happen. Until Katie remembers the magical camelback!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In the meantime, though...

Here are a few gratuitous pictures of the lovely boy. Thanks for indulging me.


That about sums up how I feel when I try to figure out how to fit everything in. My plate is too full. Or my plate isn't big enough for everything on it. Or I don't have enough time. Or I don't have enough free time. Down time? I seriously can't figure it out. Right now, no amount of scheduling, saying no to things, etc is helping me get everything done. Or at least get everything done such that I don't drop dead with exhaustion.

This isn't, though, meant to just be a complaint post. I really just wanted to come here to say that there are some other "real" posts brewing. That I'm not neglecting this blog as much as it seems like I am. That I'm thrilled when anyone reads it! (Oh, and leave a comment if you visit...I'd love to know you were here!).

So, I'm going to try to move things from a state of neglect to a state of healthy productivity. Consider it a project. And with it will come more and better blog posts. Promise.