Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's 2 a.m. - do you know where your articles are?

After a week of craziness (well, really, a month of craziness, I suppose), I'm back home with my family for a little break before wandering southward to spend some much needed time with my Sweetie for the summer. Happily or sadly, depending on how you look at it, there really hasn't been a lot to report recently. Work moves at a snail's pass, and the end of semester has finally come and gone with nary a whimper from me or my students. While I have no delusions about not needing to work rather a lot this summer, I am looking forward to some small breaks and maybe taking it a bit easier than I have been for the last little while.

However, I find myself facing a kind of funny situation (weird funny, not so much ha-ha funny). I'm tired of work, and I know that I do need a break. But, now that the pressure's off (well, somewhat off, although not really...more just on very temporary mental trickery kind of hiatus) I find myself inspired to work. But not normal work through the day and have the evenings off kind of inspired. This kind of inspired is frantic at two a.m. inspired. Thus far, it has involved the download of new idea-mapping programs and virtual notecards, the seeking of articles in enormous databases, the filing of data into reference management programs, the reading of theoretial articles in place of the new Jamie Oliver cookbook, and all kinds of other apparently very important tasks that consume me late into the night.

I don't know that I'm complaining, per se. Really, anything that gets me a bit closer to getting the dissertation done, or even a bit closer to just being able to get the dissertation done is fantastic in my books. But I'm hopeful that inspiration doesn't keep hitting so late. This two a.m. thing? It's a wee bit tiring, and doesn't seem to lend itself well to quality work. But, for now, I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Endnote love

I finally updated Endnote on my computer this morning.

It works now.

And it's made me so happy I almost cried.

I'm just sayin'.

That is all.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Food for thought

Given my recent lack of grocery shopping - which was, admittedly, supposed to happen today but was put off after a surprise request for five vials of blood rendered my left elbow useless for carrying much of anything - I've been living these last few days on some simple yet yummy meals. Thin almost-omlettes studded with mushrooms and onion and very coarsly ground black pepper. Fluffy oatmeal pancakes with syrup and applesauce. Brown rice cooked in veggie broth with kale and carrot. Roasted veggies tossed with olive oil on a bit of pasta.

Food can be a complicated series of relationships. I think rather a lot about food, but in a lot of different ways. I love food - love thinking about new meals, trying new things, turning to old standbys, perusing new cookbooks, heading to the grocery store. I also fear food (or, more accurately, "food") full of unpronouncable ingredients and enough chemicals that it never really seems to go bad. I wonder about it's production, and especially the issues around the labour and transportation and environmental conditions that all get wrapped up in it. I worry about food security issues, especially with the ever-increasing concerns about peak oil and rising food prices. I daydream about producing my own, both because of these worries and because of the fact that there are just so few things better than a plump, sun-warmed, fresh-picked tomato from your own plants coupled with a bit of fresh, home-grown basil.

I tend to eat in trends. I go through periods of loving particular foods, or particular types of foods, and eat them until I no longer want them. Then, it's onto something new, and I'll come back to it eventually. For awhile it was eggs - quiches and omlettes and scrambled egg wraps daily for lunch. For a week or so last month it was edamame with so much salt my tongue started to buzz. Sometimes it's pasta. Often it's sushi (but that I don't generally make myself.) Right now, it's veggies and whole grains which, all things considered, is probably not such a bad way to be eating. I'd like to give some more thought to the ethics of what I eat, though, and how my eating patterns fit into the larger scheme of things. I hardly think I need something else to dwell on, but it seems to be an important and (frightningly) timely issue.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Keywords for life

Current keywords for the best bits of life:

homemade salad dressing; poems of Pablo Neruda; gold dance shoes; The Quincunx; orange and grey together; "A Cook on the Wild Side" from Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall and the BBC; addictive no-knead bread with strawberry-rhubarb jam; fresh cucumber-apple-carrot juice; following along with Yoga Today; new contact with old friends; Iron and Wine; sleeveless shirts (finally!); green tea; Emmylou Harris with Mark Knopfler; mad sushi cravings; trolling Apartment Therapy; sleeping late; fresh spring bedding; newfound social life; finishing grading; Anthology of American Folk Music

Month and a half in review (bulleted edition)

Since my now next-to-last post, I have...

- almost finished teaching an undergrad course (6 more papers to grade!)

- finished my dissertation proposal

- started my dissertation ethics proposal

- complained a lot about both my dissertation proposal and dissertation ethics proposal

- submitted papers for publication - fingers crossed!

- been accepted to a summer program at Oxford

- successfully tested for eighth kyu in aikido

- panicked about being accepted to the summer program at Oxford

- had a long visit with my Sweetie

- ordered a whole pile of dissertation books

- started exercising again

- took a weekly swimming class to improve my skills

- gotten in touch with a few old friends

Lots accomplished. Lots still left to go. But, seeing things listed like this reminds me of the progress that I'm making, and that things are happening. Bit by bit. Step by step. Little by little. Plus, there are all the little moments in between the big things that just fill things out and make life all the better. Great conversations. Good meals. Hugs. Long walks. Compelling reading. Sleeping in. Staying up late. Napping.

There lots of stress, but there's more to smile about. Works for me.

Oops, I did it again?

No posts for a month and a half. I could say I've been crazy busy with the teaching and the dissertation and all manner of work things, and that would be kind of true. I could say that I just slipped into the ether again, and that would be kind of true too. I could say that I'm just plain old lazy and...well...that would actually probably be pretty true, especially if we factor the state of my apartment into the equation.

But, the truth is, I've been feeling like in writing this blog I've been becoming too serious. Too flat. Too not-me, in some ways. I feel so much funnier in real life. So much more animated and lively and silly. And while I'm not always all of these things consistently or simultaneously (especially now, when I spend a large chunk of my time as a ball of stress for various reasons), I just don't feel like they've been coming across. And, as a result, I'm faced with considering (yet again) what, exactly, I want this space to be, and how I want to be in it, and what I want to do with it.

Tonight I got dressed up all in orange and dark grey, and I walked across the street and gabbed and laughed and ate cheese and donuts with a friend for hours, and it was great. I came home and had a long online conversation with my Sweetie, and that was great too. Now I'm sitting on the couch, window open, breeze blowing, shoes tossed off on the floor beside me, and this is great too.

I don't feel like I'm capturing any of that - the little bits of my life that make it so great. Maybe it feels like something no one else would want to read. Maybe I just need to keep posting until I find some kind of a voice that works and that allows me to keep writing regularly, rather than in fits and starts. Maybe I really did just deserve that B+ that I got for creative writing in undergrad and this just isn't the venue for me.

For now, I'll keep on trying though, and will see what comes out. But, one thing I know is that while I don't necessarily want this whole space to be lighter as a whole, especially as I ponder serious issues in my own life and the world in general, I do want it to have more lightness working its way in.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Very Big City cleanout

Despite the fact that I always travel with a suitcase, I also have a rather large wardrobe stashed at my sweetie's place. But, there are a few issues with this arrangement.

First, it's a problem in general that I have a wardrobe all ready to go, and yet I'm going to the trouble of packing and hauling "stuff" (as George Carlin terms it) around with me.

Second, when I arrive, I kind of rediscover my clothes, and wear those far more than I wear the stuff that I actually bring. This is also compounded when I hit up the local Goodwill and wind up with "new" things to play around with. So, even though I bring stuff with me, it doesn't tend to get worn, especially given that I tend to forget what I've already stashed.

Third, because I'm in University City (aside: is it sad that I can't remember if this is my usual pseudonym?) most of the time, the clothes that I like the most from Very Big City tend to wind up coming back with me when I travel. As a result, even though I tend to rediscover clothing that I like when I'm in town, the bulk of my wardrobe isn't necessarily the nicest or most flattering of clothes.

Today I decided to start doing something about my wardrobe situation. In part, it made sense since it's looking like sweetie is going to have to move at some point in the next six months, and I wanted to have less stuff here to be hauled around.

However, I also think this is a good idea given the overhaul I've been working on in my own apartment, and especially to my wardrobe. In general, I'm trying to clear out all of the clothing that doesn't fit, doesn't work with other stuff and, most importantly, doesn't leave me feeling good. I certainly have some clothes that aren't particularly flattering, but I have lots more that are just so-so - not terrible, but not all that great either. I'm trying to get rid of everything but the best, in the hopes that I'll have a cleaner, simpler closet as well as an easier time dressing in outfits that really make me feel great.

So, I now have three large bags ready to go to Goodwill (easily over another 50 items), plus another pile of things that I'm considering (which will inevitably wind up going too, since they clearly aren't so very fantastic.) The closet is much cleaner, my clothes are the ones that I really like, and I feel better overall.

Given how much of an improvement I'm feeling, both her and at home, I'm thinking I should spend some time really thinking about how I want to dress and what I'd like to have in my wardrobe. Part of my problem, I think, is that there are a number of different styles and fashions that I really like - Anthropologie is the first that comes to mind. Because I like them, I tend to pick up bits and pieces here and there that fit into the aesthetic. The issue is that these styles don't tend to look so great on me - either in general, or just to me. But, in any case, the items don't get worn, and just hand around, taking up room and giving me too many options in the morning.

I'd like to take the time to figure out what I really like, and what really works for me. I do have some general ideas as to styles and preferences - Toast and J. Crew seem to be good for me in terms of aesthetic and wearability, as do most other simple designs in good materials - but I'd like to take these ideas and figure out specifics, in the hope that I can only wind up with things in my closet that really will get worn and loved.

But, for now, I'm happy to work with what I have, take in my Goodwill donation, and enjoy the new space in my closet.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pre-travel update: the year thus far

I'm going to be travelling soon (albeit brifly) and before I go away, I decided to take a look around and to see how my New Year's theme is coming after being inspired at Living Deliberately.

I wanted some more sustainability and balance in my life, specifically in terms of:

- academic and work
- community and relationships
- health
- creativity
- home
- finances

Some of the changes have been gradual, so I'm happy to realise that I have made a good amount of progress on some of the things I wanted to work on.

- Strides have been made in prepping for teaching classes early, which is good for work and for my stress levels
- I've applied for another conference and a summer program, since I know I sometimes need motivation and goals to work towards
- A number of weeks with my sweetie are coming up - yay!
- I've taken some extra time to see friends when opportunities presented themselves - a bit extra time on campus means a lot more time with people I don't always get to see all that often
- Three words: lots of salad!
- I've signed up (and attended!) advanced swimming lessons (one class a week) and aikido (two classes a week)
- I'm also doing yoga a few times per week before bed
- Given my bad ankle, I'm also taking steps (doctors and physio) to get it better - I'm rather fond of being able to walk, and I'd like to be able to do it for a long time
- Over the last few days, I've purged over 50 things per day from my apartment - I now have sex garbage bags, plus lots of other stuff ready to go
- The bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are also nice and clean now
- I've made a few goodwill trips, but only spent money on a birthday gift for mom
- No purchases other than food and gifts have been recent memory, which is nice...(oh...the trip...that too, and a cookbook with a bunch of recipes I've been dying to make...crud)

So, not a lot on the creative front, other than one night's worth of drawing the last time I was in Very Big City. But, I haven't had the TV on in over three weeks now, so I've been listening to more music and reading a lot more, which at least feels a bit more creative than just watching.

For the next few weeks, I'm hoping to:

- keep improving on managing my class and getting prep done early
- finishing my dissertation proposal (finally!)
- work on some papers with an eye to publishing
- more time with friends, including planning for a potluck at my place
- one extra night of yoga a week, plus some pilates for core strength
- more greens (and reds and yellows and oranges)
- clear out a bit more, especially books and kitchen stuff
- no more unnecessary purchases - as minimal as they've been, I'd like to be able to save that little bit more

So, that's it for now. There have been slips along the way - most notably in the form of caramel filled Hershey's kisses (betcha can't eat just 10) - but I'm proud of what I've managed to get done. And now, I think I need to pick up a drawing pad and get to work on improving on my creativity that little bit more.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Social balance

It has come to my attention that I live under a rock. It may be a very comfortable rock, but it's a rock nonetheless.

I think this is something else that I need to work on.

I walked out of my office today, and saw two of my friends together, holding hands and kissing.

This surprised me. It was a good surprise, but a surprise nonetheless.

I ran into a friend a few minutes later, and asked when Tall One and Cute One had gotten together.

Apparently, over a year ago.

Over. A. Year. Ago.


Apparently something else I need to balance in my life is social time. While I certainly don't think that not knowing the latest news and/or gossip is tragic by any stretch, it might be nice to know nice things that are happening to my friends in a timely fashion. So, with that in mind, I'm going to try for a bit more hang-out time on campus and at work, and see what transpires. I'll let you know what happens.

And now, back to cleaning out under my rock a bit more. It may be a comfy rock, but it's also a very messy and cluttered one right now.

The purge continues

Still no pictures - turns out that I can't find the appropriate cable to connect camera to computer in the mess that is currently my apartment. But, I have confidence that the purging and cleaning will eventually reveal its whereabouts.

In the meantime, the purge goes on. While this certainly isn't all that I've been doing lately, I'm still proud of my efforts. I cleared out the closet with shelves in my apartment. As I went, I got rid of a bag of stationary, 55 sewing patterns (yes, 55), a few pieces of fabric, a small ironing board, ten CDs, two coats and a scarf, two shoulder bags, a backpack, a binder, and a few books. Again, a small dent, but a dent nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sustainable blogging?

So, while I've been learning, or at least trying some things to make my life more balanced and sustainable, apparently one thing I have yet to figure out is how to sustain this blog, or at least get to it more often.

I still need to post pictures of the disater that is currently my apartment.

I still need to set out some guidelines for the purge that I'm working on.

I still need to think and write through some of the other things I want to work on - health, community and relationships, work, and so on.


However, even though I haven't been writing about these things, I have been working on some of them. So, in the interest of being at least somewhat accountable, and making sure that I note accomplishments as much as failures, here are a few things that I've done over the last week or two.

- I've gotten together a bunch of clothes to go to Goodwill, in the interest of simplifying my apartment
- I've picked up a bunch of healthy foods and have been eating yummy and good-for-me foods (well, yummy except for the apple-lettuce smoothie - yes, you read that right - which we will henceforth never speak of again)
- at work, I've at least managed to get my lectures started early in the week, even if my general perfectionism means I'm still tweaking them a half hour before class
- at home, I've cleared my desk - as well as the bookshelf with my work texts on it - so that I now have more of a workspace (there are still some lovely before pictures though, I think)
- I've signed myself up not only for another semester of aikido, but also for advanced adult swim lessons, which I'm hoping to write about soon (truly, this was a pretty great decision)
- ever night, before I go to sleep, I've started reading something non-work related - it's lovely
- I haven't turned on the TV since I got home, which has freed up lots of time for working on all of these other things (hooray - this one feels great!)

So, that's how things have been chez moi. It's been busy, but I'm feeling good about how the year has started, and am looking forward to getting more into these things as time progresses and, with any luck, talking about them more too. Perhaps that's the next thing that I should work on...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Let the purge begin!

No pictures yet - my north-facing apartment has been too dark for photos, and the flash makes things look...well...awful. So, hopefully there will be sun soon, or at least enough light that I can post hugely embarassing photos of my apartment. Oh, the fun!

On the up-side, I was feeling inspired tonight and started the great purge of 2008 (somehow sounds less exciting than the great snow of '49, or something similarly weather-related.) In any case, I managed to fill my bundle-buggy (one of those folding pullable shopping carts) with clothes to go to Goodwill. It's not a huge amount, and there's sooo much left to do, but a start is a start, the journey of a thousand miles starts, and so on and so forth.

So, thus far the tally stands at: a skirt, a pair of shoes, four dressy shirts, a dress, a blazer, six t-shirts, eight sweaters, and eleven pairs of pants. Again, not a huge dent, but enough to feel like a bit of a start. More will come as I have more time, I'm sure, and somehow the process gets me excited and keeps me working, so hopefully that'll work in my favour too. Really, right now I'm just pleased as punch with myself, especially for getting rid of more pants.

My eventual hope is to get rid of some kind of a percentage of almost everything I own. I haven't set a number yet, though. I think part of the reason for this is that I don't want to pick something I can't do but, on the flip side, I also don't want to not have something to reach for. But, it's early yet, and the details can come in a bit. Right now, I'm pleased with whatever I can get ready to get out.

Now all I need to do is find a way to transport it all to the Goodwill, so it's not hanging around here forever. The bundle-buggy, while an obvious solution, is somewhat awkward on the bus, and the local drop-off has yet to open. I'm a little loathe to drop it off at the Goodwill, lest I wander inside and start undoing my good work. But, I suppose it's all lived here for awhile - it can just live here a little while longer, if need be.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


No photos today - I've been in transit from Very Big City to Big City on the train today (14 hours, oh joy), and will be in transit for a few more hours tomorrow from Big City back home. Sadly, there is some work waiting for me there which really must be done prior to anything else.

(Not that anyone has likely noticed, but yes, I'm so tired right now that I can't remember any of my pseudonym names for places that I live and travel to a lot. Perhaps I'll fix that tomorrow.)

For now, I need sleep in preparation for a week heavily front-end-loaded with lots of teaching, meetings, appointments, and various other committments. I'm hoping to get scary apartment photos up soon, but if not, this is why. However, they should be up by Thursday at the latest, when I think I'm going to start clearing out my apartment, piece by piece and bit by bit. And, in the meantime, I'm hoping to give some more thought and planning to the other things I want to be working on this year. Again, this'll happen bit by bit, but I'm finding having these things not only written down, but out there too, to be rather helpful in terms of motivation.

Now, if only this motivation would extend to getting through the first chunk of this coming week...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Seven weird things

Accepting the general invite at Bitter Betty Blogs, here are seven weird things about me.

Despite my usual claims to being weird, odd, strange, and generally kind of quirky, seven things was surprisingly hard to think of. I feel like not being able to think of seven weird things is in itself rather weird. Of course, more will spring to mind at three this morning...

1. I can barely stand to have my belly button touched.

2. I also hate the feel of nylons. While I hate the material and the fact that they fall down, I really hate the way they snag on any rough bits or edges. It turns my stomach just thinking about pulling them on. /shudder

3. When I sleep, I must be covered from my head to my chin. Preferably in a whole lot of blankets. Even in summer. And I must be on my stomach.

Okay, so I've made it to three, and just realised that I covered this rather in-depth here. So, some of these are doubles, but now I'm going to try for four new ones to get me up to seven. Oh, the challenge!

4. There are remarkably few movies that I can stand to watch over and over again. I have a DVD player, and a collection of a whole three DVDs (well, two of them are TV series seasons). I just have no interest in watching things over and over again.

5. I obsess over even the most basic emails to get my wording right. I can ponder a three sentence email for hours to make sure that my tone, meaning, message, and word choice are all right. All this, even though I doubt any one notices, or even cares.

6. I'm scared of heights, but whenever I'm on a high-up balcony, I entertain fantasies of climbing up on the railing and just hanging out. (It would never happen, I just can't seem to prevent myself from thinking about it.)

7. I do my best thinking in the shower, but the ideas go away soon after I'm done. Some days, I've gone running to my desk with goo still in my hair just to get at paper and a pen to write something down.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Clearing out

The first thing I need to do this year, or at least the one that's on my mind the most, is clearing out my apartment. Between stuff from relatives, things I already owned, and my thrift store love, I have rather a lot of stuff. My apartment doesn't tend to get overwhelming, but it is rather full, and does tend towards surface messiness. As a result, I spend more time than I want to cleaning and even working to get rid of stuff.

My hope for clearing out a bunch of stuff is that it'll mean less time cleaning, sorting, and purging. With any luck, my apartment will stay cleaner longer, freeing up more time and energy for the other things on my list that I want to get into balance - work, health, relationships, and so on. In addition, since cleaning is one of my favourite forms of procrastination is cleaning, I'm also hoping that removes one easy sorce of work-avoidance. While it does get messy now, it really isn't all that hard to clean up. It's just difficult to keep clean over time because of all the stuff.

While I don't think I can do this all in one fell swoop, I'd like to get rid of a fair amount of stuff right off the bat this year. However, I know that with my teaching and other work responsibilities, the process will have to be somewhat slow.

But, this isn't the easiest thing in the world for me. I tend to become attached to my things, especially those with happy memories or those given to me by people that I care about. Logically, I know stuff is just stuff, but that doesn't make it all that much easier when facing down a purge.

In addition, I worry about getting rid of stuff because I might want it later. This isn't so much a simple "I might need this someday," but more a fear that I might regret getting rid of something for more complicated emotional reasons (not that I'm necessarily clear on what these reasons might be). I think that perhaps Shari at The Glass Doorknob said it best, in her 248: Thoughts on Clearing Out post.

Go take a look if you want. I'll wait.

In any case, part of the problem is that my apartment gets cleaned when people come over, so no one ever sees the mess. I'm not really accountable to anyone for it's state on a regular basis and, when I am, it's brief. So, here's the plan. When I get home (I'm away for a few more days yet) I'm going to take uncleaned photos of my apartment, and will post them here. It's entirely possible this will be hugely embarassing, but I suppose I can deal, so long as something good comes from it. As I clear out, I'll also take and post photos of how much stuff I'm getting rid of, and the end result. My hope is that with visible doumentation and hopefully people following along, I'll be even more motivated for this project as well as more able to see and track my results as I go.

Long nights and slow days

My sleep schedule's off, which seems to make for slow days with not a lot of work. In turn, this makes me feel behind in my work and less motivated to sit down and do. So, I don't, and then I feel even more behind. It's a bad cycle that I hope to break tomorrow by getting at least one thing crossed off from my to-do list.

However, I don't want to get hopelessly lost in feeling like this, and so I'm thinking about what I'm grateful for today. Here are a few bits that spring quickly to mind:

- getting a bit of work done, despite feeling unwell
- a boyfriend who I love very much and who gives great hugs
- yummy Indian food
- friends with whom to eat yummy Indian food
- a flexible job where I can take a day off, even if I just need one
- a warm, comfy bed in which I'll get to snuggle in very soon to read and sleep before starting a brand new day (hopefully involving some more productivity than was on the books for toda

No matter how "meh" I feel, and how behind and badly about myself I feel, I think there are always good things that I can focus on, and that help me feel better. And for this I'm grateful too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lost in lists

I'm a big fan of lists. I tend to keep a lot of them. I have scads of grocery lists and shopping lists. List of books I want to read and music I want to listen to. I keep to-do lists, should-do lists, and want-to-do lists. But these lasts lists are getting a bit overwhelming. There's a lot on them, even just in terms of things that need to be done, and as more gets added, I get more and more antsy, to the point where even less gets done, and I stress out even more. It's really a rather viscious cycle. And so, right now, I think I need a list of things that I have acomplished, to show me that all that I need to do is possible, and that some of it is even done already. And so, since the start of January, I have:

- survived my first class as an instructor
- finished the methodology draft for my dissertation proposal
- finished the timeline draft for my dissertation proposal
- finished the first set of revisions for my dissertation proposal (why yes, the propsal is my Big Thing right now - why do you ask?)
- started writing lecture notes for my first real lectures
- started a teaching dossier for a tenure-track position that I may or may not apply to soon (tba)
- started near-daily yoga and strengthening exercises

There's still a lot to be done - get together references and a cover letter, more revisions and changes, and ethics review that needs to be done, plus a whole slew of lectures. But it's good to see that things are somehow getting done. The usually do, eventually, but a concrete list is always a nice thing to have, especially in this case.

New Year's theme

Given the general craziness of the last few years (long story...perhaps for another time), I've been liking the idea of having a theme for the year, both to follow and to inspire me. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my interests for the last few months, and especially the ones that are growing a lot. I've also been pondering what I need, and where I have issues in my life that need to be addressed. And, after a bunch of pondering over deep cups of tea, I think I finally have a theme for 2008.

Balance and sustainability.

(Okay - so maybe that's kind of two themes.)

The first thing that got me thinking about sustainability was environmental issues. I started thinking and reading more and more about what's going on in the world, and what can be done at the local level. I found myself inspired by Patrick and Holly of Hen Waller and Jim and Peggy of earth home garden . I got to thinking about ideas of self-sufficiency, and living out off the grid as much as possible - making do, crafting, growing food, and all manner of other activities.

Then, I got into thinking about sustainability in more general terms. Although I was familiar with all of it's concepts, The Story of Stuff hit me pretty hard. I've always been interested in things that were older, durable, well-designed, and made to stand the test of time. I began to consider how to further surround myself with things that would last, or had already lasted for a long time. Things that would get more comfortable or worn in over time, that would eventually show their age, that would hold up and wouldn't need to be replaced anytime soon, and that would be useful and beautiful because of all of these qualities.

A bit later, it also struck me that sustainability was something that I needed more of in my life, in even more general and personal ways. I needed to find some kind of balance that I could then make sustainable, over time. There are so many things that I have going on and, even more that I'm interested in that I really should think about how to keep everything that I do sustainable for the long run. As it stands, I currently do just about everything in fits and starts and in cycles where one thing tends to get focused on while others get pushed aside.

In general, I want to create the life that I want and make it sustainable for me as well as for the world around me. I need to find a way to balance all of the different areas of my life - academic and work, community and relationships, health, creativity, home, finances - and get myself to a place where they remain balanced and equal priorities. While I do this, I also want to make sure that they have as little negative effect, and as much positive effect on the world as possible. I know this won't always be possible, but I certainly think I can get this better than I have it now. Even better, I also see ways that managing one area will help to make the others easier to maintain as well. I'm looking forward to thinking out and exploring the links between these areas as I go.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Inconspicuous consumption

I don't buy a lot. In part, this is because I can't afford to, at least not on a grad student budget. Mostly, though, this is because I don't like buying into capitalist consumption all that much, and I'm generally trying to buy as little as possible. But, that doesn't mean that I don't still look and get inspired by things that I see.

Rather than keep these things to myself, I thought I'd share the wealth.

These Asa Westlund shoes:

Cabled knee-high socks from Toast:

This print of Oceans Don't Freeze by Jen Corace:

New Year, New Posts

I've been a bit slow posting in the new year for a few reasons.

First, which I'm not generally one for new year's resolutions, I do like to think of a "theme" for myself for the year. Rather than rushing into one this year (and then failing miserably), I took some time to think about what I want from this year (which I'll porbably get into in a later post.)

Second, I've been busy. A few different circumstances have gotten me a bit behind in some of my work, and I've been trying to catch up. Also, I wasn't anticipating all of the administrivia that comes with my new lecturer position at the University. It's been taking up a fair amount of time, and is really boring to write about. But, I think things are more or less in place now, and I'm good to (finally!) get myself back on track.

Finally, I've been away from home almost since the New Year, and was away from home even before that as well. I'm not so good at staying on routine when away from home, let alone implementing new plans, and so not a lot has been done on any sort of New Year's theme as of yet. But, I'm getting there, even while away, and hope to getting down to write about it soon.