Category Archives: Life

March Recap

It’s been quite a month. A little overwhelming. A lot happening. How I Met Your Mother ended. I cried. It was bittersweet. The Ted and Robin ending made sense and it was fitting that the kids were in on it, but a little more time with the mom would have been nice. The Barney ending…perfect.

I read a couple of books…literally, maybe three. (But I don’t have the energy to actually look on Goodreads.)

The saddest thing this month…we found a new home for our cats. It’s for the best. The same afternoon they went to their new house, Tiny was wandering around meeting her new animal friends and Ellie had found a safe place at the top of a closet to hide out.

So it was a month, hopefully I’ll be a better blogger next month…

Happy April!

February Recap

LIFE

SO MUCH. My undergraduate college might go co-ed. We have started the pre-qualification process to buy a house. Other life stuff that I’m not ready to share yet. On the crafty side of things, I’ve almost made a blanket. AND I’m still trying to navigate the many options & tricks & complexities of being self-hosted. (Also, work has been really rough the last couple of weeks so I refuse to give anything relating to work its own group.)

MOVIES

I came thisclose to completing my Academy Award goal — I’m two movies shy of seeing all that I wanted. I’m still trying to decide who I want to win though…I’ll decide Sunday morning.

BOOKS

I significantly reduced my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf compared to last month.  What used to be nine books long is now down to four.

Currently Reading
I don’t feel like I read that much in February, but I guess eight books in a short month isn’t terrible. I’m abandoning more books this year. I’m just not interested in slogging through something I’m not enjoying. I rate abandoned books based on how much I read and how much I hated it… :-/ Probably not the best method.

February 2014 Snapshot

I’m making my way through the shortlist for The Tournament of Books…so far I’ve read over half of the titles and I’m working on another one right now.  Darcy & Tiny are also helping with selection and cuddling of the books. They would be great resources for the Tournament of Books team next year when they start to pick the shortlist.

Tiny Selector

 Happy March!

Thoughts about Chatham

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around what I want to say about this Chatham news for over a week. I’m still not sure my thoughts are terribly coherent, but here it goes….

Fling on the Quad -- Chatham 2002I attended an all-women’s college. A decision I’ve never regretted despite massive student loan debt. I decided to become a librarian at my small school. I made amazing, incredible, brilliant lifelong friends. I learned that I can survive on my own in a city triple (quadruple? even bigger?) the size of my hometown (though I was protected by my campuses natural barriers to the larger city — you know, big houses and trees).

Prior to making a last minute decision to apply to Chatham (mainly for the mansions as residence halls), I’d never considered a single sex institution. I’d already applied to the University of Central Florida in Orlando and the University of New Orleans. I was pretty sure I’d be going to law school after college, but more than anything I was applying to schools because of their location.

But sometime during my senior year we read The Awakening…. I realized that I could go to a college without silly 18 year-old boys that called girls “feminazis” AND had mansions for dorms (I feel weird typing that instead of residence halls, but when I was 17 that’s what I actually said in my head).

“Why wouldn’t you want to send your daughter to an institution whose sole purpose is to insure the success of women?” she asked, looking my way. “Three percent of women graduating from high school go to women’s colleges, and yet 30 percent of congresswomen went to women’s colleges and 20 percent of the female CEOs. There’s a reason that is the case and that’s why we are still here.” — from Tom Matlock’s 2011 post, Are Women’s Colleges Outdated?

My alma mater, Chatham College, has grown it’s grad program significantly since I graduated. In fact, it isn’t just a “college” anymore. Now it’s Chatham UNIVERSITY and the women’s college I attended is (apparently) known as Chatham College for Women. The school that I graduated from doesn’t seem to exist and that feels even more true now that the option to go co-ed is on the table again.

Purple & White Forever

When I was there between 2001-2005, the school had just (relatively speaking) been “saved” from going co-ed in the 90s by some serious World Ready Women and it seemed to be on the right track. Of course, there was always the rumor of the change to a university because even then the grad programs were seriously touted.

I’m devastated that President Barazzone and the Board of Trustees are even considering this. Despite the statistic that says only 2% of high school girls would consider a single-sex institution, I think it’s a bad decision.  (And let’s not forget what they say about statistics…)

Quote

The Greater Pittsburgh area is home to approximately 40 colleges & universities. That doesn’t even include the for-profit schools. Chatham is UNIQUE. As far as I know, it’s THE ONLY all-women’s college in the area (and it has mansions for dorms!).

The more I’ve heard though about how the campus is now versus when I was last there nine years ago, the more I realize (again and again) that Chatham is no longer the school I attended. It seems to have completely forgotten about it’s undergraduate program and that thought brings me to tears. I had professors that knew me even though I never took a class with them. I had a team of people to help me through my second semester (after a truly dismal first semester). My tutorial project senior year was mind-boggling and so hard, but it ended up being absolutely worth it.

According to the research, “women’s college respondents reported making more progress in every measure tested,” including “understanding themselves and others,” “general education,” “ability to analyze quantitative problems,” and “desire to contribute to the welfare of the community.” — from Wellesley ‘Sleepwalker’ Uproar: Have Women’s Colleges Outlived Their Purpose?

I just hope that all of the opinions against going co-ed are heard and not dismissed. There are solid arguments on both sides — I was speaking to a co-worker that was appalled by the idea of single-sex colleges even existing still (weird, right?) — though it doesn’t mean I want to hear the side that disagrees with me. After taking a week and reading Reflections from the President one more time, I’m less angry and just sad that she’s turning her back on something she “saved” twenty years ago. Sure she brings up excellent points, but she’s always had a way with words. Just do a search of some of the excellent words she’s shared about how wonderful all-women’s colleges are in the past.

Way back in 1991:

Barazzone pointed to research showing that graduates of women’s colleges are more than twice as likely as graduates of coeducational colleges to receive doctoral degrees.

They are also more likely to go on to positions of distinction in private industry and government, she said.

Asked if women’s colleges reflected an unreal world because they excluded men, Barazzone replied: “I don’t know that living in a man’s world is particularly real, either. It’s important to prepare yourself to live in a balanced world.”

(About that student loan debt I mentioned earlier…it would be interesting to see what would happen if a private college significantly lowered it’s cost. Would the lower price tag attract more students? I’m sure it would bring in a few more than the current average of $30,000 per year. But I could be wrong, I got a C in Economics AND I have student loan debt — clearly I am bad with $$$.)

I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know what the board and EB will decide. I just hope that one day there’s still a school out there somewhere to provide a place for a girl to learn where she isn’t called a feminazi.

More:

January Recap

LIFE
This month I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do since I moved my blog(s) to WordPress 2+ years ago: Self-Hosted. It’s not been an easy transition. My media files are a DISASTER. I have to go back in and re-add featured images, I have to attach EVERYTHING, and the majority of them still seem to be living over at the dotcom side of things. It’s been pretty annoying. But I’ve been told to persevere and that it will get better…there are just going to be some long nights of attaching and re-uploading in my future (unless someone knows a better way…?).

The other thing we did that we’ve been meaning to do…the kittehs went to visit the nice doctor lady and will never have kittehs of their own.

BOOKS
I bought an excessive amount of books this month. There was the Friends Book Sale and our trip to Powell’s AND Life After Life in paperback. So many reasons…(excuses)…to buy more books.

I read a few books this month (my Bout of Books week was a great success!); although I’ve started WAY more than I’ve finished over the past couple of weeks. My Currently Reading shelf is worse than ever before.

Currently Reading Jan 31, 2014

One weekend I just started a massive of books and kept reading the one that stuck. The only one I’ve made significant progress with is The Son (which is fantastic!).  I’m trying to give all the ToBX picks a chance…but it might be more difficult than I thought. I’ll probably end up with an entire post about my ToBX efforts.

Despite all the false starts, I’ve read a few books this month. Some good, some not great, and some unfinished (13 finished, 1 abandoned, 6 started…yeah, that’s a total of NINE in progress).

Jan 2014

It’ll be interesting to see what keeps its 4 or 5 star rating by the end of the year. (Yes, I do change my ratings as time goes on…sometimes my initial reaction isn’t what I would’ve gone with had I given it a little more thought. I typically don’t change the review itself, just the star rating…I wish Goodreads allowed half-stars, that would help me out a lot.)

WORK

At the beginning of the year I switched to a new schedule, it’s a whole new world. I work every other Saturday and have three days off in a row every other weekend. It’s pretty awesome.

MOVIES
I made Jesse watch Steel Magnolias. He got a little verklempt. I love that movie…who would get a little teary-eyed?

ALSO! The Golden Globes were on and the Oscar nominees were announced — so I’m working on seeing all of the Academy Award nominees. I feel like I’ve made excellent progress on that goal.

Mt. Hood & friends.

A Quick Trip to Portland

On Saturday I experienced my first perk of “Non-Rev” flying. I had no idea it was called that until I went to the dentist and answered a question about Jesse’s new job. My hygienist said, “I’ve only flown non-rev once, we didn’t have any problems.” So that’s what it’s called…

(Perhaps I haven’t shared the good news…Jesse got a new job with an airline! Yay!)

Where's the magic?We both had the weekend off so we decided to fly to Portland, OR for a few hours. We decided on Portland because the flights there & back gave us enough time to hang out, plus public transportation in PDX is fantastic. We were also attracted to Portland by two tourist-y locations to visit in our four hours on the ground: Voodoo Doughnut and Powell’s City of Books. (I’ve never seen Portlandia, but maybe I should watch an episode now?) We love food and books so it really worked out.

Q: You’re going to Portland for the day? Why?
A: Because we can.

(As ridiculous as it sounds, it was a lot like driving up to the Grand Canyon in a day — which I’ve done with my family ONCE. The difference though: the airplane has a bathroom, when it got dark I could turn on a light, and the view from a plane is better than that from a car.)

Mt. Hood & friends.

Mt. Hood & friends.

So we left PHX bright and early — I bought coffee, I packed a couple of reading options (Three Weissmanns of Westport, Shotgun Lovesongs, & many other prepubs from Edelweiss on my iPad), and we were off! I was incredibly distracted by the view from the window seat, there were real mountains and SNOW and big areas of NOTHING.

Rainbow!We took the MAX line downtown and headed straight to Voodoo Doughnut. (The ride into Portland really didn’t sell me on the city…lots of trash.) Of course we tried the Maple Bacon Bar because…well…bacon on a donut?! I thought it was delicious, Jesse didn’t love it.

Then we walked over to Powell’s City of Books and whoa. It is HUGE. Four stories of books AND a second location right across the street. I definitely got lost and bought books that I didn’t really need but felt the urge to purchase anyway. Plus I saw the Espresso Book Machine in action — pretty cool!

Books.However, I also spotted prepubs FOR SALE for $15. First, it shouldn’t be for sale. Second, for the same price as a new book…umm…really? The other annoying thing about Powell’s — used books and new books were smushed together on the shelves. Annoying? Yes. I also question how much they were selling used books for and if some of those “new” books weren’t actually used. When I see a book with a broken spine selling for the same price as the new book, I’m gonna have a few questions.