Taking Stock: May 2020

Making: An effort?  The first couple of weeks of quarantine lock down (and all the video calls that commenced) had me really concerned about the state of my face.  It just looked so old.


And I know intellectually, that growing old is a privelege denied to many.  But still.  So, I started making an effort.  On heavy video conference meeting days, I put makeup on.  And have a more reasonable camera angle.  Spoiler, my external webcam, which I think I have had for 7-8 years?  Not the best camera for accurately representing my face.

Cooking: I didn’t realize it, but Bon Appetit has a new series of recipes, which I think are meant for novice chefs… or those wanting to use simple ingredients.  Whatever the case, I have made their No Knead Foccacia and its wonderful.  Like, so good that even the sprigs of rosemary I pruned off the half dead plant on my deck couldn’t ruin it.

Sipping: So much carbonated water.  I’ve been kind of frustrated with Best Buy and Target with getting my soda stream carbon tanks.  TBH, I don’t believe that I should have to drink still water, like some type peasant.  And since I am home with Dave, we have been going through the Soda Stream tanks pretty fast.  There were three different times I went to Target for a tank and couldn’t get one… once after I called to check that they had them.  Truthfully, if I was a smoker and had a fire source in my pocket, I would have set fire to the store.  So, I found a company that does exchanges through the mail.  The tanks are a little more ($20 as opposed to $15), but they are shipped straight to my door.  And I don’t have to fight the urge to burn Target to the ground.  Apparently, you get your ass called a Karen for that shit.

Listening: I have been listening to all the audiobooks! None of the Mann-Booker books… the one I have going on my phone is the Luminaries, which is absolutely awful.  I feel like I have been listening to it forever.  If someone told me that it was 1000 hours long, that would feel about right to me. For some reason, I am physically incapable of sitting and reading a book these days… but I am whipping through the audiobooks.

Wishing: For travel.  I want to go some place.  I don’t know where.  Somewhere. I am thisclose to packing Dave and Nico into a car and driving to Texas to stay with my sister and her family.  Just to go.  Just for a change of scenery.

Enjoying: Imperfect Produce has started carrying meat and seafood.  I don’t always get my selections, but last night I had scallops that were delicious.  Really like getting a box on Monday knowing that I’ve got a good start on produce for the week, along with some protein.

Loving:  An iPad pro.  I just got a new work laptop (Surface Book), so this was really not necessary to buy.  But, I was honestly fed up with trying to read stuff on my Kindle.  It seems that every time I’d go to read on it, it was dead and the memory was full, despite it having a big ass SD card in it.  I also wanted it because I love digital magazines.  Also, as much as I try, I just get make an “Everything” Notebook happen.  So, I end up with a notebook for every occasion and without fail, I usualy don’t have the notebook I need when I need it… so I’d like to experiment with notetaking with handwritten notes on the iPad.  I’ve even been thinking about making my own digital planner, with all the spare time that I have.  If I figure out how to monetize them, its over for you bitches.   *silly*.  I really hope that I use it a lot.  Like, I kinda wish I could go back and do school so that I could do shit like this:

Watching: All the series!  Seriously, how in the hell am I unable to get a paper’s analyses together, but I have managed to watch all 7 seasons of Brooklyn 99 during the pandemic. I have also watched: the first season of Beforeigners, the first season of LegoMasters, half of the first season of the English Game,  two seasons of Killing Eve, and all of Four Weddings and a Funeral. How? Also, I have watched the first (and only) season of Making the Cut (on Amazon).  We’ve also watched the entire collection of Jeopardy on Netflix, as well as the first parts of Season 2 of Sunderland Till I Die and Take Us Home Leeds United.

Hoping: Really hoping to get more people into the parent group at Nico’s school.  I’d like to be able to do more grant writing and fundraising and not have to do community building events and stuff that I don’t want to do.  I have found my first couple of grants, I just need to get off my ass and do it.

Wearing: Masks these days.  Really glad I was able to pick up some cotton print last year to rep Manchester City and the Cubs.

Following: The Kitchen Committee on Insta (@thekitchencommittee).  Maggie Mason found a box of recipes at flea market and has been posting the recipe cards.  Followers claim them and make them.  Then send a pic of the dish, as well as their impression.  Absolutely genius.  The recipes are what you’d expect.  They look like they were written by someone’s grandma, having lived through the great depression.  And saved.  Lovely.

Noticing: I am notiching the hell out of Carolyn Marten’s wardrobe on Killing Eve.  I love it.  It is definitely my vibe: solids, age appropriate, lots of gray, black, and navy.  cm_tabcollarcoat_whitetop

No so certain about that white top- mostly because white tops are magnent for food for me.  But that gray jacket? WANT! The crazy thing about the way she dresses, is that it’s low-key, but expensive AF.  Really need to get a house, so I can have a sewing corner, so I can have a dress form, so I can sew these clothes, because even I can’t justify an expensive Armani wardobe.

Thinking: I am thinking about doing another Master’s Degree.  DPU offers a self-designed interdisciplinary Masters.  You’re limited to no more than 6 courses in each of the different colleges.  The more I learn about digial humanities, the more I am intrigued by it, its methods, and its tools.  As an employee, I can take up to 8 credit hours per quarter, for free.


Making like Nicole and posting a blog post of stuff I want…

So I am a little weird when it comes to fashion… there are somethings that I like thare are very hip and stylish, but I am always afraid of wearing them because I imagine the inner monologue of people who see me with said item.  Like, “Someone needs to tell that one that she is too damn old to be wearing a miniskirt” or, “Someone tell Jessi that Hannah Montana called.  She wants her style back.”  So my friend LH wears a lot of stuff like this… items that I find cool and that I would like to wear… but I probably ought to just wait for her to get them and admire her great taste.  Henceforth:
I have been on a terrarium kick lately.  For some reason I want one.  This is the segment of the program where Dave tells me I am not allowed to buy anymore plants because I do a fine job killing the ones I have now.  Sad face. 

I had a really awesome one of these that had Van Gogh’s Starry Night on it.  It was in my pocket when I ate it on Bourbon Street in New Orleans after the Malawi dinner in 2008.  No, I was not intoxicated, I hurt my ankle.  It had to go to the great purse in the sky because it was broken. 

I do realize that I have a problem with bags.  I am currently seeking therapy.  Thanks.

Copy McCopyson

You’re gonna be jealous, you’re gonna be jealous!!

Yeah… try not to cry about it.  So my bag finally came in this week.  I didn’t realize it, but the etsy seller I did the alchemy request from, based in Canada.  So it took forever and a day to get here.  But its pretty awesome:

Of course, it is only meant to be used as a diaper bag, packed full of diapers, bottles, clothes, and the like.  I have used it the last couple of days as a bag-bag, to carry my stuff to and fro from work…. its not really meant for this… because it is kind of floppy.  And the strap could definitely be wider and padded, which would make it easier if you are carrying anything more than some diapers and a change of clothes in it.  When my mom tells me that I ought to stop belly-achin’ about it and just make my own bags, I dont think I can… mostly because they look usually look kind of complicated.  But I could make this one.  I’d have to make it so that its not so floppy (maybe use some type of interfacing??)

Isn’t she pretty?  Doesnt she make you happy just looking at her?  She has a ton of storage stuff… including a little pocket to put my cell phone in (so that it clips to the strap with those little white buttons you can see there… of course, I was a dumbass when I sent the girl the specs of my phone… becuase it was just that… just my phone, not the phone and its case… but live and learn, right?  Right.  I am very happy with the way it turned out. 
So here is the thing that Nicole is probably going to steal.. its a baby foot!!
Just after Nico turned 1, Michaels was having a sale on art canvases… so I bought a couple.  I got one of the small ones and painted it and made Nico do a foot print on it.  I was thinking of a plaster paperweight that my mom has of one of JJ’s hands that he made at preschool when he was like 4 or 5.  I know she treasures it because its sooo small… and cute.   So, I though it would be cool to have something like that from Nico.  Plus, its an easy mother’s day gift when he gets bigger… all he has to do is paint a canvas and make a print of his foot… Bam!!  I would love it!!
I also got a biger canvas and painted it blue and did prints of our hands.  But its not ready for the blog yet. 
That is all. On a completely unrelated note… I am really loving etsy these days. Really.  It really is the most useless website there is.  Really…its all art, jewelry, not functional clothes, etc.  Nothing that I really need. Just all stuff I WANT!!!!!!  I am trying to think of something that I can get to commerate the PhD… something that will last… that I could have and think back to this chapter of my life closing… perhaps even something I could pass onto a kid… but I keep drawing blanks because I come across something like this:
Seriously, it took me longer to click on the item and purchase it than it did for me to decide I want it.  Guess what?  Nico doesn’t spit up anymore!!  We dont need burp cloths!!  But I had to have them…. good thing I know people having babies.  Lost my damn mind…
Okay… back on the grind.  Have a good one…

Mama’s little helper…

Weekend:  WIN!!

This weekend was terrifically brilliant and awesome.  I spent most of Saturday working on the old dissertation.  I figured out kind of a tricky thing that IE had wanted me to do to add to the dissertation.  It was kind of annoying, but I figured it out, because that is just how I roll.  I ended up submitting a somewhat near to the last draft before going to committee draft to IE last night (this morning).  I am wiped out exhausted this morning, but I definitely feel good (adderall will do that for ya!).  Commence vacation till I get comments back (woooooooo hoooooooo!!) from IE.  The light at the end of the tunnel is now visible. 

I pulled two all-nighters last week, as such, this weekend was pretty subdued.  I was able to catch up on some stuff around the house (can’t wait to post two new art projects that we completed.  Commence my sister stealing my ideas and doing them for herself.) 

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Sociology Dept’s welcome back picnic out at Maclay Gardens.  Nico had a good time walking around getting into stuff.  Turns out the little man is crazy about swings.  I was swinging him in one of those high-backed baby swings and he had a look on his face that can only be described as PURE JOY.  Wishing I could have taken a picture of him…

Speaking of him… Nico now knows how to put away toys.  If you sit with him on the floor with a bin and tell him to put the toys away, he can pick up the toys and put them in a bin.  Isn’t that great?  He also is starting to understand commands… like Sunday I was in the kitchen with him cutting out a pattern for shorts.  I had these little scraps of tracing paper that needed to go in the trash, so I called him over, handed him the scraps and told him to put them in the trash can, and pointed.  He did it.  Of course, he also got in the cabinets and pulled out pots and tried to put them in the garbage can too… so… there is that. 

Also, we went to IHOP on Sunday for some morning noms.  He apparently loves pancakes, because he was making like his Uncle Billy and ate him a ton of pancakes…. with strawberry sauce on them.  Then he looked at him and very distinctly said, “Mama.”  I would love to call this his first word… but when I asked him to point to Mama, he pointed to himself.  So… maybe not quite yet?

I have decided to re-start my photoblog.  Don’t be jealous.  In stead of posting a new original picture every day, I am committing to just post one picture every day.  And rather than it being pictures of my new pedicure, my latest culinary obsession or the like, I am trying to do some more artsty-photos, because let’s be real here, I have, literally thousands of pictures on my hard drive.  And secondly, I take a mean picture… even with my crappy point and shoot camera.  And thirdly, I have discovered Picnik.com… Talk amongst yourselves.  Its pretty much like Picassa only, a cranked out on speed and beefed up on steroids version of Picassa. 
This newest venture was born out of my recent not too fiscally healthy obsession with Etsy.  I havent bought any prints yet (see previous statements on paying for things I feel like I could do myself), but I am currently obsessing with these BIRDS, these HOTAIR BALLOONS, and the Sacre Couer in Paris.  Here is the thing: these pictures aren’t anything I can’t do.  We have already establshed that I have a pretty good eye for composition.  Now it’s just a matter of mastering the photoediting stuff… hence my discovery of Picnik.com.  Plus, now that I am not frantically trying to finish the dissertation during my lunch hour and breaks at work, etc.  I know have time to do other stuff… right?  This is how I am selling it to myself, anyways. 

In any case, my new photoblog web address is:  http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/jcbrphotog in case you wanted to see pretties…

All for now… hope you all have a fabulous week.


Here is a picture of Nico helping go through some of my crafting stuff.  He is saying, “Trash, trash, trash…. throw this away, throw this away, trash, trash, trash.” Frankly, I am offended.
Not much going on around here.  I wish I had something exciting to report.  Oh, someone who saw my abstract in the PAA program from this year is editing a book on Demography, Public Health and Nursing.  This person contacted me yesterday to see if I would be interested in making that paper I presented a chapter in the book.  I am not sure how legitimate the offer/request was- so I sent it on to IE to see what he thought.  I had sent the paper off to a journal and got back a revise and resubmit… and before I sent the paper to the book people, I would obviously redo the analyses and the write up, incorporating the comments I got back during the review… which I need to do anyway for the R and R.  To me, I see no reason to NOT do it, except for the fact that it might just be accepted in this book, which would preclude it from being published as the article.  So we will see.
I also got an offer from the Department to TA again in the fall.  This is tricky for me, because Dave and I were just talking about how awesome it will be when I am done TAing this semester (because I have had to pull several all-nighters to grade).  But you dangle some moneh’s in front of my face, and I am forced to reconsider.  On one hand, 3 grand buys an awful lot of toys for Nico… but on the other hand, I am quite the Beast when I have only gotten 6 hours of sleep in 2 days.  I just don’t know.
Other than that, not much new to report.  Dave and I are trying to keep the house in it’s current state of cleanliness.  I am trying to put 15-20 minutes a day into picking up things, putting away, folding laundry, etc.  everyday.  Which doesn’t sound like much time now, but when it is 1130 and you’re falling asleep at your computer while grading undergraduate papers, it is a lot.
I have decided that I need  a piece of furniture that I am not even sure exists.  Basically, it is a huge armoire with lots of storage- but, and here is the kicker…. it has a slide out or pull out table top thing, that stands at about waist-height, so that one could fold laundry on it.  Any of my Dallas or Orlando peeps ever see something like this in Ikea? I want one!!
In an unrelated matter- I have finaly gotten off my ass and done it… long before Nico came a year ago, I was in a constant serach for the Perfect Bag.  Really… it has been a life-long quest.  In this quest, I have surmounted quite the collection of bags… from the fantastically wonderful knock off Dolce and Gabana to the sling Adidas Bag, to the Adidas Sling backback, to the grey blue bowling ball bag that I am currently carrying.  Each of these bags has an element that I consider integral to the Perfect Bag.  The Dolce bag is stylish and has a couple of great, useful pockets.  The adidas sling has several key pocket placements, including a cell phone pocket on the chest strap, but is not big enough for a laptop. The adidas backback has plenty of room, but not a lot of shape, so it sometimes gets real bulky… etc.  Clearly these problems would be expounded by the diaper bag process-given the exponential amount of stuff that I carry around.
So, I got fed up with it… and went on Etsy to put in an alchemy request.  I am currently working with four different sellers who are each bidding to do a bag.  I will eventually probably narrow it down to 2, and have two made, with the PLAN to keep one and give one away (I happen to know several moms).  That is the PLAN, but more likely, Mama is going to end up with two new diaper bags!!  Be jealous!!
So that is it.  That is the most exciting news I have to report.  Arent you glad you tuned in today?