Sunday, May 27, 2018

Children have become a luxury.

Children have become a luxury.

Instead of new cars, I have kids.
Instead of a fancy house, I have kids.
Instead of touring Europe, I have kids.
Instead of ATVs, camper, boats and other toys, I have kids.
Instead of jewels, designer clothes, or the newest iPhone, I have kids.

With birth control easily available and cheap, compared to a pregnancy, I have chosen to have each of the children I had. The last several I very specifically remember asking for. They are the jewels, the work, and glory of my life.

They are my focus, my entertainment, my joy and my hope for the future.

The birthrates in the US have fallen to an average of 1.77 children per women. That is sad. "Why don't people want babies?" is easy to ask, but most of it has to do with economic reality and not desire. Many people would also buy that fancier house/car or iPhone if they could afford it. However, most women still carve out space, time and money, for at least one of the cute little mini-mes in their lives, often at older ages than ever before.

Are children now status symbols? if so it is an ironic one. 

The one that almost precludes all others. For if you choose to have kids, you choose to have your walls colored on, you choose to stay up all night with inconsolable infants, you choose to wear sweatpants and forget to brush your hair some weeks. You choose to stretch your belly out of any recognizable form. You choose to spend your evenings at little league games and PTA meetings, weekends camping with Boy Scouts.  You choose to have your names scratched into your car's paint by a kid who just learned to spell. You choose to have the iPhone thrown in the toilet. And you choose to love them, again and again, no matter what they did to your stuff. You learn that the things that make you the happiest are not things at all, but are the relationships and growth of those around you.

Perhaps, kids are a status of your state of mind, one where it not only points to your economic status, but to your priorities.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Chief Glory of Women

Virginia Woolf might have done her best to talk about what was not being said. In this regard, she quoted Pericles “The chief glory of a woman is not to be talked of” (242). That, of course, begs the question: What is the chief glory of a woman? With all those books written on women, we are left wondering what could there possibly be left to talk about? (right now I am snuggling my baby who fell asleep on my chest, and I am beginning to suspect that the chief glory of a women lies somewhere around the snuggling of babies.) Unfortunately, Virginia Woolf never had that opportunity, and neither did any of the male authors, and that is why they couldn’t talk about it. They never experienced it for themselves. So perhaps Woolf and Pericles saw the chief glory of the women in terms of what is considered taboo, the things that are not to be talked about.

(stolen from my seminar paper)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hiding Under the Bed

Final Writeup for Mr. E's Monsterous Monster Wiki Project

About eight weeks ago, knowing that a project was coming up for my wiki and weblog class, and also having just learned about the awesomeness of wikis, I embarked on a daring and dangerous project of cataloging the monsters of Mr. E's imagination and putting them into an online encyclopedia.

The dangerous monsters nipped at my fingers and crashed my phone's camera, but I claimed success after the initial cataloging of 26 of these monsters, and prepared plans for a further expedition. Expedition and cataloging plans.

Over the last 6 weeks of hacking through jungles of paperwork, crossing rivers of maple syrup, and peering around mountains of pancakes, we captured and cataloged 55 different species of monsters.

The key components of success were listed as:
  • 2-4 pages added to the wiki each week. That would be 24 pages for 6 weeks. We got 61!👍👍
  • Pages on dyslexia and social media and dyslexia. 👍
  • Wiki is well organized, with an index. 👍
  • Wiki should have several contributors. (with the aid of pumpkin cookies, I did bribe someone onto the wiki, who fixed a spelling error) 👀
  • Share on social media 1/week in an attempt at marketing. We got about 5 social media posts and 40 followers. I also blogged about online marketing for Mr. E. 👍
  • Weekly reports (available below) 👍
  • Readings that helped me to write and understand more about wikis 👍
Overall, the expedition into monstrous territory was a success, but getting other to tread where angels dare not is a challenge. There are a lot of people interested in and enjoying the humor and creativity of the monsters as cataloged, but few are brave enough to peer underneath their beds with their cameras ready, although at the wiki we welcome all contributions.

Mr. E became inpatient with me, while he was creating and I was writing my seminar paper so that he began to take matters into his own hands and started taking pictures of the creatures himself. He did all the sock monster photography. I gave him a few tips on needed full light and flat camera angle. But this excited me. He was participating in the wiki!!! Now, to see if we can move to the next step (someday).

When writing on the wiki I tried to keep it "wiki wiki," as quick is the nature of most internet surfing. For more or deeper information I linked to my sources. I  was amazed at just how much research goes into a good summary or introduction of a topic or new idea. Like, any good technical writing: the clearer and shorter the better.

Things I would change if I were to plan the expedition again: 
  • I would look a little longer at wiki hosting sites before choosing one. But this one does have the largest 2 features I was looking for. (free! and easy to use) The downside is the side ads.
  • I would set up a scanner to scan all monsters that come to light in 2-D, for higher quality resolution and better lighting.
  • I would be more consistent on my marketing efforts. Having something worth posting every week is a challenge. Mr. E does not create monsters according to anybody's calendar.
  • Bring more people with me, and more equipment (like cameras that don't crash every time they see a sharp claw)
What I like best about this whole project is that it does not end with the class (I can not deny it started with the class, though), the project is designed to continue indefinitely on the web, adding to that great curiosity cabinet of all real and imaginary things.

I have really learned to value the web for the voices it gives people. No longer do we need to interest a publisher to be heard, or have money behind us, we have the internet. And the internet has search engines that catalog and list the things they find even in the farthest corners. I don't like to brag, but my most viewed web post over the last 15 years has been the one discussing, in medical terms the impending birth of a 5th child and what that means for labor, that post has had over 500 visitors. The second most is a short post on universal health care and taxes, about 300 visitors. It excites me to be found as much as it excites me to find. We have a voice even if we refuse to pay for marketing.

And speaking of voice, (this connects into my lit project, which is focusing on women writers.) The web has given women a voice, who for centuries were silenced by the concepts of not needing education to bear children. Women came forward and blogged things that were specific to women, and often culturally taboo and connected with other women who have been in the same boat. Women's issues have been left out of literature for hundreds of years, But, it is precisely that it is left out that is so fascinating. There is a long history of not talking about the biological aspects of being a woman, for men either find it gross or uninteresting, or as my husband says "both." That is why we buy books on puberty for our girls, as it is not discussed in polite society: in case a man might overhear. At least today, the internet has helped bridge the gap. We have women willing to post pictures of miscarriage or early birth, husbands willing to show how their wife looks in the net panties after birth, no end of blog posts on pregnancy or those who are hoping to conceive. The internet marketing on period panties actually brings the word out of whispered obscurity and into our Facebook feeds.That is power, that is connection. Not only does it link us to the world, but most importantly to each other.


Monday, April 16, 2018

What the last few weeks of the semester feels like


Whistle while you work

I have a washing machine that plays a little tune when it gets done with its load. I feel happy and wish to dance all my way to the laundry room to change that laundry.

Do you think if I whistled/sang when the dishes needed doing that someone would come happily running and do them?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Weekly Refelction on Final Project week 5?

Yup, The wiki project is still going on. However, I agree with Bonnie, why can't school just be over yet?

Breathe, only 2 more weeks. You can do this.

Yes. I finished all my readings, played wiki fairy and fixed little details on the beast. And then added more monsters, because Mr. E just keeps making Monsters. I peered into his room this morning and what did I see?
A whole heck-a-lot of monsters waiting for me.

I haven't yet got Mr. E on his own wiki. I have barely been in the same room as him all week. So I managed the pics, the uploads and the new pages on some of these babies, but not with much input from their creator, as Dad was taking him to a movie. Maybe a chance tomorrow evening?

I also managed to put this pic on our Facebook page, inviting people, once again to that great wiki.

The readings I did this week did not provide further insight, but in some ways supported the written work on the wiki on dyslexia and wikis.