Wanting to start all of the things, plus a quilting class announcement

I’ve been quilting this week. It’s a great quilt, but the design I chose is very detailed and it’s taking a long time. Which gives me lots of time to think. Which is scary. I shouldn’t be allowed so much time to think.

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It’s very tempting, here on winter break, to Start All of the Things. You know the tune: I’m going to clean out my studio, I’m going to start a dozen quilts, half a dozen knitting projects, plus I’m going to add all of these other new habits.

And about 3 days after I start back to work, I’ll remember why I don’t Do All of The Things during the school year anymore: my day job is a huge energy hog. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great job (most of the time), but for an Introvert to spend her day with Teenagers and Other Adults all day long…woof.

I did have one brainstorm today that I really do think is a good idea, and I started working on it, and that’s where the announcement comes in. I’m putting all of my old Feather Boot Camp class stuff together into some posts here on my website. I even made a banner:

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Making a banner makes it real, right?

I was going to wait until I had it all ready to go, but I may go ahead and release the first class later tonight, but definitely tomorrow morning.

I know that I’m out of the quilting loop, and there are lots of other feather classes and books and whatever out there. I put all of this work in to the videos and handouts though, and even if they help just one more quilter,  it’s worth the effort to get it off my hard drive and out in to the world.

But first I have to go quilt some more. I’ll try not to do any more brainstorming while I’m at it.

(edited at 7:20p: the first lesson is posted. http://wp.me/PqREJ-1Lu)

Horrible Warning #559

IMG_2699.JPGI shouldn’t be allowed out of the house. Look at what I do to unsuspecting knitting needles! I stuffed the project in a car door pocket. Apparently the needle fell out and got caught when I closed the door.

Mark asked if he needed to get out some tools to try to repair it. Sadly, I suspect it will never be the same.

Rather than restarting blogging on the first, making it look like a New Year’s Resolution (which I don’t do), I thought I’d be sneaky and start a few days ahead of time. And what better way than to show everyone what kind of a goof I can be.

Perhaps I should have lied and said I don’t know my own strength and that I bent it with my own two hands. Would that have been a better story? Probably not. Not believable enough.

Except wait: ask me how many push-ups I can do at one time!

Go ahead, ask! (I’ll wait!)

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SIXTEEN.

I did 16 push-ups yesterday. I made all 3 of my boys ask me that question yesterday. They all humored me, and even gave me high fives and fist pumps. They thought I was ridiculous, but hey, by now, this fact shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that knows me.

Which means I have to thank YOU, dear reader, for humoring me, too. I’m totally give you high fives and fist pumps right now, too.

Perspective

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For my entire life (well, since my feet stopped growing, anyway), I have suffered the woes of having big feet. Size 11s do not grow on trees. And sometimes, a shoe that looks cute in a size 7 or 8 looks ridiculous when stretched out to be big enough for us big-footed ladies.

Imagine my delight in the discovery that in the right setting my feet actually look, dare I say it? Petite? Well, when compared to my boys’ size 15 feet in their brand-new size 15 basketball shoes, they do.

I was telling a group of people the other day that when I post on the Internet, I try to think about whether or not I would be willing for my words (or pictures) to show up on the front page of the New York Times. So often, what I post is probably silly to many, but if I don’t mind the world knowing about that particular silliness, I don’t mind posting it. And while my children would probably hate it if their feet were splashed all over the news, they are going to die of parental-induced embarrassment any day now, anyway, so there’s not much I can do about that. (Srsly, that’s a real thing. I looked it up on the Internet, and you can believe everything you read there).

If the NYT question doesn’t work for you, maybe ask yourself “Would I want my grandma to read this?” or “Would I want my children to read this about me some day?” Whatever you the question, I think it’s useful to ask yourself SOMETHING before posting. Too often I see people on Twitter or Facebook saying the dumbest, most unkind things and I wonder if they really thought before they posted. Words do have consequences, and putting them in perspective — would I want these words to be the one thing I’m known for — might just change your decision about whether or not you will actually post them. Perhaps NOT posting something is the kindest thing you can do for yourself or someone else.

I think the whole world needs a lot more kindness. And a lot more perspective.

 

Shakespeare so far — #ShakesMOOC and #FLShakespeare

As you may recall, I am taking two different online Shakespearean courses. One is called Shakespeare: On the Page and in Performance (hereafter referred to as ShakesMOOC), and the other is Shakespeare and His World (aka FLShakespeare).

Before everything gets away from me, I wanted to post some thoughts on the plays that I have read thus far. I’m trying to keep this brief, but then I start to get carried away, so please, bear with me.

Romeo and Juliet

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By Jules Salles-Wagner (French, 1814-1898) (Bonhams) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I read this originally in HS and was turned off by it, and thus Shakespeare in general. Reading it as an adult for ShakesMOOC, several things come to mind. First, seeing performances of it, especially Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet from 1996, brought home the emotion of their tragedy more completely to me than just reading it.

I resisted the love story the whole through — I don’t have a lot of patience for the overly dramatic. To me, the leap they both make from being instantly in love to suicide being the only option in the face of obstacles is unfathomable to me. Maybe that makes me a pragmatic old fogey, but I kept thinking DUH. Use your resources! Better to live apart now and retreat a bit, to come up with a better plan later!

This will never be my favorite play, but I have a much better opinion of it now. This is, in part, because I am more comfortable with the language, and I came to it with a much more open mind than I probably did when I was a sophomore in high school.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

By John S. Clifton (1812 - 1912) (British) (Artist, Details of artist on Google Art Project) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By John S. Clifton (1812 – 1912) (British) (Artist, Details of artist on Google Art Project) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This was read for the first week of FLShakespeare. The focus of this class is a little more historical rather than literary — it isn’t dissecting the text as closely, and is using the play as a vehicle to draw out certain aspects of Shakespeare and his life and times.

MWW was a bit of a palate cleanser after the deep, dark depths of R&J, although a lot of the humor and puns went right over my head. I did enjoy it, but don’t’ have a lot more to say about it. That makes it sound forgettable, and it wasn’t, I just didn’t have as much of a connection with it as I do with the others that I’ve read.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914) (www.artchiv.cz) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914) (www.artchiv.cz) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is one of two plays shared between the two classes. I read this for FLShakespeare about two weeks ago, and we are now starting on it for ShakesMOOC. I am a fan of the comedies. I don’t think (at least I hope!) that this isn’t because I am shallow or superficial and just want to laugh. Even the comedies have serious moments, and challenging themes and language. Just in the first videos of the ShakesMOOC class on MND, I’m learning about the topic of transformation, and how prevalent that theme will be, from the first scene to to the end.

I suspect I’ll have more to say on this play later.

Henry V

This is another one that I read for FLShakespeare. I read some of it by reading the text, and then checking comprehension with a modern text translation, and also watched parts of it on YouTube — various staged and film versions of it. I find myself a little surprised that I’m looking forward to watching a full filmed version. I thought the history plays were probably kind of boring, but….there is still plenty of humor throughout, and seeing it performed makes such a difference. I was also surprised (and yet, not…) to learn some cultural references that are familiar to me…are originally from this play. The phrase Band of Brothers — is a Henry V reference to what I have since learned is a fairly famous speech from the play.

Othello

By Christian Köhler (1809-1861) (Koller Auktionen) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Christian Köhler (1809-1861) (Koller Auktionen) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Finally, for tonight’s post, Othello.

Oh, Othello.

I’m not even sure what to say about this tragedy. To me, this is far more heartbreaking than R&J could ever be, I think because everything starts off between the two lovers in a way that I was much more willing to buy in to. The main thing I’ve gotten out of the class videos and subsequent discussions is that there really are no easy answers. Iago is evil, but I just can’t let Othello off the hook. Race is involved, but is it a racist play? One of the exercises we could choose to do is a close reading of a short passage. I managed to write 350 words without even trying analyzing just 4 lines of the play. So much detail and so many layers to dig through — so many interesting word choices that give so much meaning that a reader doesn’t even completely grasp at first. Or even second or third! It’s definitely a lesson for someone that might want to be a writer to consider how much weight different words can convey. A lie is one thing, but slander — so much more meaning wrapped up in that word. Slander isn’t just a falsehood, it’s a lie that is malicious and intended to harm.

Overall, I’m glad to have read this, and will be revisiting it for FLShakespeare in a few weeks. I know that it will continue to haunt me.

What’s Up Next

As I mentioned above, ShakesMOOC has just started discussing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Merchant of Venice is up next for FLShakespeare. I haven’t started reading it yet, but when I contemplate it, I keep getting Shylock conflated with Sherlock in my head. Which isn’t all bad, because then I get to think of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Randomly, on a Tuesday

1. This pencil cup. It is the dumbest design I have ever seen for a pencil cup, I’ve had it for years, and it has always annoyed me. I don’t know why I keep using it.

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2. When we were out at the farm raking on Saturday, I hung out with Miles. I think he was happy to see me. He kept rolling around on the concrete in front of me, getting covered with corn dust and then wanting to rub up against me. It was great.

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3. Speaking of raking. This damn tree dumped a ton of leaves, and as you can see isn’t done yet. I envision another Saturday of raking in my future. Yay.

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4. I have broken my no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving ban. Home Free AND Pentatonix BOTH have Christmas albums out. I regret nothing.