Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hacking Higher Education

Hacking Higher Education

This is really good stuff. This is from Maria, the lady who helped me down the top of the mountain when I panicked. Even though I'm not a "math person", I love this blog. Lots of good stuff here about teaching and learning.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Stuff

So I'm sure, dear reader (do I have a reader?), you have been asking yourself, what has this blogger been up to since last she wrote in February?

I did indeed get my medical withdrawal, but I will be seeing my advisor later thisa week to see if please, dear God, I can take a different class from the one that has flummoxed me for so long. I will then get on a waiting list for fall, or if need be, take it in the winter.

Sad to report, none of the hoped-for graduations from Master's programs have (yet) taken place. I did, however, take my long-coveted trip to Germany! It was wonderful, and I did go on that Swiss Alps trip (riding the gondola most of the way, and taking a bit of a hike after that. I needed to be helped down by a traveling companion after a bit of a panic. Fortunately, she happens to be a former Girl Scout guide who used to live and hike frequently in Montana.)She is also a math instructor. Perhaps I can get her to see me through that source of anxiety as well.

Through a strange sequence of events, I was functioning as something of an exchange student. I stayed with a truly lovely young woman (a bit younger than my son) named Astrid while her parents were away. I was worried she would be very disappointed to be stuck with one of the old folks, but she could not have been kinder or more gracious. In fact, she stayed with me when it was time for the German group to come here. That was also a lot of fun. I had a potluck at my house and went to many of the outings.

There have been some high school graduations and we have a new baby in the family. (For better or worse, the parents of the new baby were two of the graduates.) The baby is beyond adorable and I am looking forward to my first opportunity to babysit.

It has been fun to watch the kids prepare their college plans (fortunately, they all have them, including baby mama and baby daddy.) It has also been fun (and fattening) to go to open houses, etc.

I also went to my first gay bar (technically, gay-friendly bar) and saw my first drag show that was not part of a bigger performance (Cher, Cirque du Soleil, etc.). I have a relative who was celebrating a significant birthday and he has won categories in some recent pageants in this milieu. I learnrd there is something of an etiquette for these performances and also learned this seems to be a friendly, intimate neighborhood type of bar that has Monday night Bingo--who would have thought that to find the smoke-free bingo I have sought lo, these many years, I would need to stop going to the churches and frequent a gay bar?

I have not talked to my relative about this yet and don't know if I will, but I have reservations about drag performances. I don't really understand how they are that much different (except for historical issues, subtleties, etc.) from blackface. There is an exaggeration of sexuality as if that is all there is to being a woman. The performers are not emulating someone like Marie Curie or Mother Teresa or Margaret Mead, but some weird idea of what being a woman is. They dance and lip-synch and the emcee jokes (in a rather hostile way, my friend and I thought) about various aspects of being a woman.

Yet I can't say I didn't have fun. My experiences in this past year have made me think (as I always have, but more so this year) about what being a woman is/means. I know it is not what they are putting out there, but maybe that's not their intent. Is it sympathetic? Is it hostile? Is it a wish? I think it's definitely a misunderstanding.

However, I was very happy for my relative when it was announced as a birthday surprise that he would be third "House Diva" meaning he will perform the first Wednesday of every month and another one of his choice. I will go see him (and the others) again because damn, it was fun.