Saturday, October 31, 2020

From Brasil! X Freaking out about the election

 This is a most useless blog. All the people who used to read me here are my friends on FB and IG. I still miss their blogs and their words, but I'm still connected to some of them. 

Obviously I blog more for me than for anything else, but sending words out into the great void for nobody to read is sad.

In any case, I came to Brasil and threw my mom a really really cute birthday "party" -- with about 10 socially distanced people who came at different times and my brother, his wife, my husband, my son, two of my mom's former students, and my cousin on Zoom. 

I rented and bought pretty decorations and hired a photographer, and later my brother helped pay for all that (not that it was expensive, the dollar [and the Euro for that matter, my brother lives in Finland now] go a long way with the Real, and stuff is cheap here).

The trip and trying to work online are doing a moderately OK job in distracting me from the election, but the truth is that I AM FREAKING OUT! I am very upset, I don't think there's a solution for "Trumpism" and how it's going to destroy America (even if he loses) and how if he is re-elected will simply pave the way for all kinds of injustice and the destruction of democracy.

Even if he loses things will be hard and dire. Sigh... 

I cannot believe he may win. I am so so so traumatized by 2016 that the thought of it happening again is just unbearable. I can't think about it. If it happens, then what? How do we keep on living. 

And we had to put up, in the last two months, with a pastor basically preaching from the pulpit to vote for this trash in the name of religious liberty. So outrageous. 

I wish I could stop being mad at people and what they believe -- IN THE NAME OF RELIGION! Of saving unborn children, of saving individual freedom. Hordes of people brainwashed by Fox News and the lies the religious right constructed to make it possible for Christians to support the most anti-Christian president ever. 


So much hypocrisy. The Supreme Court. That lady. 

It seems it gets worse and worse every day... I'm only writing this so I can look back on it after the election. I cannot have any hope, however. 

Even if Biden wins, everything is so destroyed it will be hard to put it together. Very hard. I can try to dream he'll win and that Kamala will run in 4 years. We can dream, but how can the dream ever become a reality if in the name of "conservative values" people vote on an IMMORAL man who lies and who has been a con artist all his life? How? How can this be?

In the name of religion and of preserving the country's "whiteness" at all costs -- that ship has sailed, BTW. And I get ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY at latinos voting for him. How? Sigh... just because he's a "macho man" who appeals to their conservatism?

I'm mad at everyone... and this is not healthy, but it's just exhausting. 

Some good quotes from John Pavlovitz

From here (published in 2018): 

It isn't political disagreement, it's divergence on a fundamental level; as people realize they may need to let go of relationships in order to hold on to the deepest contents of their hearts, to be their truest selves, to use their most authentic voices.
From more recently (10/12/20) :
I don’t believe any good people are voting for this president a second time—or they are in complete rebellion against goodness as they do.

I believe that act is fundamentally antithetical to anything good.
Sigh... how will we be able to keep interacting with these people we fundamentally disagree with?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The First Case

 Well, well...

Today I got an email from a health department case investigator saying that one of my students who had attended class in person had tested positive for the virus. 

It didn't come as a surprise because one of my students had already told me they weren't coming to class anymore and had been tested because their roommate had been in touch with someone who had it. Another student went into quarantine voluntarily with their roommate when a cluster in their dorm was detected (they did it before they were told to do so).

I called the case investigator and this person told me (after asking lots of questions about the classroom) that it probably would be OK to continuing meeting -- since students are six feet apart and wearing masks, -- but I decided to not teach in person this week and reconsider next week. 


I don't want to feel guilty because I actually taught in person, but it's hard not to. I did what I thought was best for them and for me and I don't regret having tried it. There are some challenges with having students in the room and in Zoom at the same time that are quite unique, but OTOH it's nice to hear students talking, being able to answer their questions, etc. 

I will begin using this breakout room recommendation with all my classes, instead of only the advanced one.

In any case, I do have good reason to teach from home this week, so yeah... that's that. I really wanted to have given it a try, and I did, and now I feel kind of disappointed and despondent at having to go online for safety's sake.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

My husband is coming back from Brasil!!

This pandemic has been hard. 

I wish I had been blogging.

I wish I could be journaling the way I did pretty intensively from February and March until May. 

Instead, I waste, throw away, trash HOURS AND HOURS of my "one wild and precious life" (Mary Oliver in "The Summer Day") on my phone. 

And I don't even feel guilty. 

Oh, the stupid gloating & smugness -- it's not as bad as before -- all of the introverts so happy. All the extroverts dying inside.

And the awful, awful realization that the world will never be the same. This absolutely crazily unprecedented experience will change everything forever. 

It's no longer the grief for the lost things... the son's senior year experiences, the husband lost sabbatical months in Denmark, the younger son's lost months in Brazil. 

The wonderful and anticipated trip to Turkey, Greek Islands and London.

The family reunion week in a wonderful beach in Florida. 

The trip to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday (next month). 

Or the family cruise in January 2021.

All cancelled. 

It's no longer the grief for those, it's the grief for what will never be. 

The grief for the near certainty that Democracy in America (and Brasil) will die an ugly death. 


Anyway, my husband returns tomorrow. It was not as hard at all like the 63 days without him, from December 26 to February 27, sigh... but still, I am glad he's coming back. I love him and miss him. 

Yeah... maybe I'll start blogging again? After all, it's been nearly three weeks I now have a desktop computer. I love desktop computers and hate laptops with a vengeance. 

OK, gotta go to bed. Nobody will read this, but still, it feels good to be posting after so long. Micro-blogging at Instagram is not the same. And FB is awful.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A Corona Virus Social Distancing Social Media Pet Peeve: The Smugness

OK, I don't have the courage to write this on Facebook, so I'm taking refuge in my blog! I've been writing updates there regularly because, given our unique circumstances*, our family was directly caught in the disorienting path of this pandemic before most people were.

There are two kinds of smugness I have found quite unbearable on social media (FB and Instagram) lately: the smugness of homeschooling parents (past or present) and that of academics who already work or have lots of experience with online teaching. Sigh... It's quite unconscious, I'm sure, especially the second kind when all they want to do is be helpful to other clueless academics, but it's still not fun to encounter either one. ETA: there is a third kind! The smugness of those who already work from home! :-(

I no longer have young(er) kids and the one year in which we "cyber-schooled" precisely ten years ago was AWFUL. My youngest is currently doing online school, but he works independently all the time and all I have to do is to proofread essays. In spite of that, I cringe reading some comments of folks who have lots of experience with this because it sounds like they're almost "bragging" that their lives haven't changed a bit! Sigh...

It's more complicated with the distance learning academics because it's good to have some support, but I still feel like I'm being "preached to" or something. I can't really explain too much, it's more a gut feeling. It's kind of funny because most of the academic friends I have on FB are all former bloggers, some of whom might even still be reading this blog -- most aren't! That's why I'm writing here.

ETA: This is not nice, but all of you introverts out there are also very very smug saying that this is your dream come true and stuff. Come on, do you just want to make extroverts feel mad at you and feel worse? ;-P

In any case, here is my short rant (edited twice now). I hope I get some comments!!

*My husband was spending his sabbatical in Denmark, came to the U.S. for two weeks for a conference which was promptly canceled (Ah! The blissful ignorance we experienced two weeks ago cannot be ever recaptured!). Then we traveled to Colorado (and I now regret that) to come home to news that I'd be teaching online and that Denmark was closing its borders and the whole country. My husband remains here. Now our son's boarding school in Brazil is being kind of cancelled and he's there with my elderly parents, so we are very apprehensive about that too!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

An Emma Overdose

Similarly to February 2011 and 2016, I was craving some Jane Austen this month, but it looks like I went completely overboard this year! ;-P

When I finally got to see Little Women in the theater last month I was thrilled to see the new Emma preview!
So, of course, I needed to prepare for this new film that seems to be perfection itself!

I re-read the novel over a couple of days two weeks ago. Then, I was determined to see the BBC/ WGBH series that I had completely missed back in 2009, I don't know why or how, considering I wrote several posts about PBS airing "The Complete Jane Austen"  back then (I lived blogged some of the adaptations). I must have missed it due to my crazy life cyber-schooling the boys last year. It features the delightful Romola Garai:

 I had to start a Hulu free trial to see it, and although I hated the stupid commercials, I went to bed 2 am last Monday night to see it. It didn't disappoint, and was quite delightful.

This afternoon, I saw Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma, and that was pretty ok too, but I still like the miniseries better. The film is a bit too rushed/ compressed and Mr. Frank Churchill (a very bad Ewan McGregor) is nothing, really. I must own that Mrs. Weston (Miss Taylor) is 100% better in the film, though.

I can't wait for the new Emma! March 5 cannot arrive soon enough! I will try to " force"  my husband and my son to see it with me! ;-)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

11 years ago TODAY, I posted a Lyle Mays song; Today, he died!

OK, this is a little bit too much of a crazy coincidence, but it's true! In fact, he died yesterday (2/10), but the news reached everyone only today.

How did I find out about my post? Someone (from Brazil!) posted a comment to that post on my blog, probably after finding the post when googling Lyle Mays, so I went to read the post (and the whole month of February 2009). I was reading when I decided to check the date of the post, and I was kind flabbergasted!

There are two musical deaths connected to my birthday (I'm sure there may be more, but I''m not about to Google that). Louis Armstrong died the day before I was born (so it was on the news on 7/7/1071). Then last year, the day before my birthday, João Gilberto, the most amazing interpreter and the "inventor" of bossa nova, died. :-( 

I don't really know Mays' works, apart from my favorite Zizi Possi song, but I sure will check him out now!

You can enjoy "Mirror of the Heart:"

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

In 2019...

(I need to do this, I've done it nearly every year! At least starting in 2010, I think)

Here's the 2019 preview post.

So, in 2019...

... the year started and began with all or some of us in the Caribbean! We'd never been there and now we went twice in one year! I visited Tulum in early January and then again in mid to late December.

... we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary several times! I bought 3 different cakes for photo ops. I haven't yet shared photos of that on social media (only on our Holiday card

... I went to Brazil TWICE!! The second time wasn't that exciting, but the first trip in July was short and really great.

... my oldest son got his driver's license (best thing ever!) and had his first girlfriend, but she ended the relationship 5 months in to my great disappointment and his heartbreak. Sigh...

... I taught my dream class (a language class about music from my country) using the 5K grant I'd received, and we all had an absolute blast, it was awesome!
... We went on our first cruise, spent a wonderful week in FL again with my husband's family, and K & I went on a lovely week-long all inclusive resort (first time!) trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico, to celebrate our anniversary!

...I applied for "promotion" in my job even though I'm not tenure-track. I wasn't at all nervous or apprehensive about that, but my colleague is. Especially because he thinks s/he spent way too much effort on this and why can't they make a decision already. Yes, that is the reason. Very like this person.

As for what I wrote in the preview post, my ADHD continues to be super bothersome and I should find a therapist, but I'm hanging in there.

New Year, (Temporarily) Divided Family

So much to catch up on, so little motivation to blog. Anyone still out there? (apart from Jenny in New England, hi Jenny!)

This will be a "different" Spring semester. The temporary above is not really temporary according to my husband because our oldest, who turns 18 this March -- HE WAS TWO WHEN I STARTED THIS BLOG! Has it really been 16 years? -- is going to college in August. Yeah... and I do say that completely matter-of-factly (auto-correct says it's matter-of-factually -- NO, no way!!) ;-P

The other day someone wrote a hilarious comment in one of Dooce's tweets, they said something like "I'm from the 2000s when people still blogged" or I'm " 2000s style blogs person." Me too, I had to respond, me too!

In case, temporary separations aside, the fact is that our youngest son (15.5) is in Brazil until late May, my husband is in Denmark (enjoying the second part of his sabbatical doing research abroad), while our oldest son, the cats, and I, stay home.

Yeah... I have lots more to say about all this, but it can't be now. I need to go to bed to teach tomorrow. The brutal mega-commute of 160 miles round-trip hasn't gotten any better.