Friday, September 28, 2012

Community Unity

One of my school year commitments is a year long involvement in "Community Unity: Racial Healing."  There are 20+ of us on Western Michigan University's campus that have made the commitment to meet bi-weekly to discuss race: to share stories and work through feelings/memories/experiences.  Last weekend, we spent two days getting to know one another, beginning to share, beginning to trust.

This isn't going to be easy work.  Racism is so entrenched in our society, in so many ways.  Ways that don't make sense but perpetuate the negativity regardless.

As a Gender & Women's Studies instructor/scholar, I'm familiar with this work.  With terms like "white guilt," and "privilege" and ''oppression.''  Very different to read about it in a textbook, even to teach it, then it is to share a space with someone processing through the pain of the experience.

Regardless of one's skin color, we all have an experience of race.  Most assuredly, not a positive experience of race.  Already, this process is bringing up long-buried memories of difference, of discrimination for me.  This weekend I learned that the magic is in our stories - shared and silent.

And, as the facilitator illustrated, we are all cousins on this journey.  What affects one, affects us all.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Inspired by Color

I've been very into texture lately in my beadwork.  (Well, I was.  Three weeks ago, before school started.  Currently, I'm feeling inspired by exhaustion.)

Here's a few fun pieces, full of texture.
I found these fun tiles while in Dallas.  Great shading.  I thought the mix of mottled matte, shiny glass pearl and semi-shimmery seed beads was perfect.

Then, I did this piece.  Love the color mix!  These yellow pearls mixed with the shiny aqua bugles just make the piece pop.  And seem a perfect compliment to the stunning art centerpiece.
Isn't she fabulous?

Finally, I finished this piece - full of texture, mixing reds and purples, inspired by my love of India - the one place I MUST visit before I die.

 Love the patterns in this, mixing different sizes of seed beads, bugles, cubes, and accented with red velvet czech glass and wire spirals.
This feels so decadent to me.  So luxurious.

So, now that I'm settling into the pattern of school and have gotten some big commitments either completed or manageable, I'm looking forward to my beading time again.

More pattern, please!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Usually, TV is background noise for me.  Football while I'm grading.  (No risk to my students here, unless OSU or the Lions do something really dumb.)  Burn Notice reruns while I'm beading.  Because once you've seen one car chase, you've seen them all, right?

The main reason why I'm picky about television is that there are so few shows that portray women as agents of power.  (Check out the Bechdel Test for more info on this.)  Part of my perspective as a feminist is that I want to see women as leads in shows, not revolving around a man, or playing helpless/bimbo/dumb.  You know the type-casting.  Shows that empower rather than minimize = very rare.

Enter 'Sons of Anarchy.' 
Oh, my.  Blood.  Guts.  Way too many car/motorcycle chases.  Female characters that are raped and beaten and disrespected.  Full of stereotypes and misogyny and discriminatory language.  Racist name-calling.  Worse violence.

And fabulous writing and acting.

I've been hooked - and I mean HOOKED - for the past two years.  The writing and acting is just that good.  And in the midst of all the chaos, the female characters remain some of the strongest portrayals of women on tv.  It makes me cringe, every week.  But I love this show.

And now, after J brought home the first two seasons and I've spent the past two weeks watching, I'm hooked on 'The Walking Dead.'  
Equally cringe-worthy.  Creepy.  And laugh-inducing, cause really - Zombies?  But the story  - of an apocalypse, of finding/creating a family in the midst of chaos, of survival against all odds, of questioning life and death.  The destruction of all you know and love and believe and trying to maintain a sense of humanity and sanity amongst all the loss and horror.  Yep.  I'm in.

I'm so in that I don't even bead while watching.  :) 


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beaded Beautifulness

I know.  I'm really slacking on my blogging lately.  Trying to fall into some sort of pattern now that school's in session.  I have three big assignments to accomplish in the next two weeks, outside of teaching and my own classes.  Once these adventures are complete, I'll be able to breathe.  And think of other things besides the Cold War, Women & Politics, and racism.  Whew.

In the meantime, have you seen this new book from Lark?
Many, many designs of gorgeousness inside.  I'm treating myself to a prolonged viewing, absorbing no more than 20 pages a day.  The pictures are wonderful.  Though I do wish there were more info about the artists... their inspiration for the design, obstacles they might have faced, where they got some of their components.  There's so much more involved in a piece of beaded beauty than the finished product.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Thank you.

You make me proud to be an American.
And a woman.

You also reminded me that my hard work, my studies, my investment in teaching is necessary.  Important.  Valuable.
And that reward doesn't come through riches.

The reward
is in making peoples' lives better.

That is the best life I can live.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It's football season!

For those of you that didn't know...

As a Gender & Women's Studies teacher and scholar, I always feel slightly guilty for the pleasure I take in watching football.  After all, it's a sport where women aren't allowed (except in the under-funded and under publicized women's leagues that are developing in some areas).  And the culture that surrounds football is not always the healthiest, with its limited expression of masculinity.

Football season is tied up with the excitement of a new school year for me.  New classes, new opportunities to learn.  All those students!  (All those papers to grade :(  )  Maybe I was infected with Buckeye Fever, during my years in Columbus.
Imagine walking around a huge campus with over 60,000 students, 95% of whom are wearing red.  Can't help but be infected. 

Plus, I come from a family that believes in the superiority of U of Michigan (arch-enemy of OSU).  Ugh.  I've never been a believer.  It's a fun rivalry with my brothers, especially the year I served them dinner using OSU plastic silverware.  :)

I should be a Bronco fan, I know.  Actually, I'm watching the team play on tv as I write this, losing badly.  Par for the course.  Not so big on the football is Western Michigan University.  Academics - FTW.
The best part about football?  Great to bead to.  I can listen, looking up when I hear the crowd roar, wait for the replay, and then go back to beading.  Nice.