Origin Stories

 The beginning of the Spring semester was just in January but feels like a million years ago.

 I feel like each day is a decade long in this new next chapter that is unfolding in my life, and I sometimes get lost in my  search for peace, happiness and meaning.

 This is my second semester 100% "back in the classroom" for all of my courses after the disruptions of zooming etc, and I'm still trying to figure out how to make a bridge from the things that used to work "before" to the things that will work for the students I have now. 

 I have to assume all of my students have been through at least a few bumps in the past 2 years, and if they are taking face-to-face classes they must be hoping to take part in some new normal  that they are willing to get out of bed, get dressed and  risk their lives for. 

With that in mind I dig deep to make every class meeting special.  They play Reacting to the Past games (which have brought backflips, splits, assassinations,  bribes and much karaoke singing in the past weeks), snack on a buffet of treats and take pretests based on the "wrong answers only" principle.  

I'm doing my best. 

The one thing I haven't done is share what they wrote the first day of class when I handed out a sheet of paper asking for their name, pronoun (omg that is an entirely different column stay tuned), contact info and "What is your superpower If you have multiple superpowers please list as many as you can" (followed by a promise that I will keep them secret).

Here are their answers, in no particular order:

*I'm a Leo!

* I can communicate with inanimate objects, especially electronic devices

*I can wake up at any hour and be wide awake!

*I can forget anyone's name

*I can do anything I put my mind to. I can also fly.

*I can laugh like Seth Rogen

*top secret

*Sense of direction. I never get lost.

*Reading minds. 

*I'm pretty good at multi-tasking and I am (sometimes) a human lie detector

*1) Drinking. 2) Being on time for class.

*Drawing this mouse perfectly every time (NOTE: student drew perfect mouse)

*I've never seen a ferret in person

*I'm a mother of 4, ages 13, 11, 7 and 3

*I love children, especially newborns

*Willpower and chasing my dreams

*Photo editing. Cat whisperer (they all love me)

*I can play 4 instruments

*supersonic flight, super strength, and the ability to manipulate anything at the atomic level

*shape shifting (I'm trans) and being able to write

*The power to control matter

*I can see around corners. I just can...

*Telekenesis

*I'm actually an alien wearing human skin

*I am a curious person and I like to ask questions. I'm good at taking minor details and finding a pattern. I like to debate/discuss. History is one of my favorite subjects.

*Caring, imagination

* I have ADHD and can get hyperfixated on topics I'm interested in and I hope it helps me here!

*I'm always on time, I hate being late. I'm also a super fast runner.

*I can do hair and dye hair.

*Teleportation

*I try my best at everything. Big creativity and sense of humor

*electrokinesis, telepathy, time travel, omni-telepathy, teleportation, that's it!!!!

*Can hold a grudge forever

*Invisibility, teleportation, flight, super-strength, psychological manipulation.  All of these powers are very real. 

*I'm left handed

*I control black holes and gravity

*Invisibility. Persuasion. Shapeshifting. Really smart, really stupid.

*My superpower is my strength and my will to never give up and push myself to keep going no matter what

*I'm able to have multiple hobbies and be very detailed but then I can lose interest within minutes and be super spaced out

*I know how to find out information without being caught

*My awkwardness is mostly amusing! My bosses think so at least!

*Seeing the future

*Invisibility and animal communication (dogs/cats)

*Affect others' emotions

*Photography pro

*My superpowers are staying on task, being prepared for any situation, and having a good attitude

*Super jump

*I've done multiple internships at animal hospitals and I've never had a dog not like me

*Cooking

*spending too much money

*competitive knowledge

*I prefer to keep my powers private lol

*I could fly

*I am not really sure

* I can draw a photorealistic portrait of your face or pet

*Talking with others ;-)

*I am colorblind and good with sports fact

*I am an empath

* I can speak three languages

*I'd say my superpower is to read people

*Having the ability to stay on tiktok all day

*Extreme self-awareness

*Not really sure

*Lol I don't trust you

*I'm good with people

*I am a cyborg. I have two metal rods in my spine.

*I have ADD

*I find ways to solve problems concerning my financial needs since I was in elementary. I'm a hustler. Yes, legally.

*Stubborness and hyperfocus

*I'm tall AF, I play basketball. Main superpower is gambling

*weightlifting

*Chronic anxiety and procrastination, ignorance, camoflauge .... psychosis?

*Super strength (not really I have tiny arms) and super speed (I have to run across campus to get to class)

*Animal whisperer

* Never having to sleep

*I have no known superpowers

*Superstrength, genius, drinking a lot

*I can read people's personalities based on body language and speech (extreme psychoanalysis)

*If I have a superpower I haven't figured it out yet

*I can make clothes

*Perpetual calmness

*overthinking. Sometimes I feel like professor X

*Cleaning my room in under 5 minutes

*I'm really good at tiktok

*I have to come back to this question lol

*My superpower is procrastinating until the last possible second

*My superpowers include overthinking and eating way too much

*Invisibility

*super procrastination

*Cooking and eating way too much

*I can read people's emotions SUPER well ;-)

*Wearing crocs everywhere

* I could read people's minds

*I'm kind! I'm an overachiever, I want the best for myself,  I'm competitive

*Mind reader

*I want to have the ability to manipulate atoms but I won't lie and say I have it already

*I like to laugh a lot and smile

*sleeping for a long period of time

* The power to overthink things

*I can stay calm under stressful situations




First Tuesday of the Year

 

Today is a day to meet new challenges.

Channel creativity, build community, expect the best from everyone. 

Plant rows of dares, harvest bouquets of provocation, plow through trials and tribulations.

Today's food: California skillet at Village Inn, with the hollandaise sauce on the side 

Today's quote: What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” ― Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Today's exercise: celebrating finally writing my syllabi (they aren't even due until ten minutes before class actually starts and you can't change my mind on that)

First Tuesday of January

Today is a great day to practice leadership. 

Inspire, include, help, serve.

Plant rows of better futures, harvest bouquets of excellence, plow through procrastination.

Today's food: spaghetti and meatballs, but the healthy kind with all the veggies in the pasta and the sauce

Today's quote:  What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today's tv binge: The Stand. I am completely addicted to post-pandemic stories included Last Man on Earth, Station 11 and the Handmaidens Tale. 




How Books get their Titles: What if Women Wrote History?


Republished from January 2, 2021

This isn't the place where I tell you about how 2020 sharpened many of my ideas of what a professor does and how they do it.  

 In case you were worried,  please know my classes went very smoothly and I  challenged students while extending grace and kindness in ways that I had not before considered. 

The single biggest blessing that 2020 brought me was quality time with my daughter who moved home in Spring during the early hours of the pandemic and has since spent day after day with me.  

Yes, we lived together for most of her life, and no there was nothing wrong between us but over a year or two we had less and less shared experiences and I let her drift off to learn what people need to learn at her age.

But then she moved back and the walls came down. 

We watched Handmaidens Tale and Grey Gardens and please don't make me list all the shows here but understand we found more and more common ground.  

We talk about hard things and silly things and make up a game where out of the blue one of us pretends the dog doesn't exist and asks the other one "why are you talking to the floor? are you OK?" 

 She makes me improve my decorating game.

I teach her the joys of lululemons.   

She reads my writings. 

I revel in her art and documentaries.  

We aren't the same but we see each other and try to learn from each other.  

One day we were almost leaving the house to pick something up and I stopped our dash out the door to say I need to jot something down that was really weighing on me.

 She gave me a second and before I wrote it I told her what I needed to write:

 I've always thought if I was a nice girl and was kind enough, I wouldn't have to deal with really hard things or big feelings.

I believed that if I just behaved right,  then difficult things would have to go away easily. 

We took a moment to talk about that unwritten rule that seems to be a "female" thing and where it might come from and how dangerous it is.  

She helped me find a pen.

I cannot account for all of our other hours together but one of the single most important moments of my recent history happened soon after that.  

Zoe and I were doing one of the things we do to pass the hours when someone  (older than either of us) jumped in our bubble to announce they had an idea that was question but actually mostly a statement and that was "What if women wrote history?"

A thousand years pass in the seconds that followed.  

First, I looked right at Zoe and in one blink ask her wordlessly,  "did you just hear what I heard heard?"

She blinked back "oh hell yeah" and exhaled and I'm pretty sure she was noticing how I was taking a second to respond.  

We've discussed the difference between reacting and responding and hoo boy I am taking a hard minute to let the universe give me words and not the howling the WTF!!!!! 

I feel boiling at the bottom of my stomach, far from my disciplined and unmoving mouth.  

I feel unseen and invalidated in a way I could never have expected. 

 I feel like all the years of behaving and being quiet and trying to shrink to exactly the right size to fit whatever keyhole I needed to fit in suddenly are coming apart.  

I question why I have been following my mentor's advice of not writing too many books out of concern no one would take me seriously.

I question why I let myself be lead to write a dissertation on male Cuban-American bankers when my interest was in enterprises formed by immigrant women to help other immigrant women.

I question why I happily accepted being how smart I was "for a girl" by Jesuit professors who were ill equipped to respect me as an academic or ever see me as becoming their equal. 

The question was a gift, and my response was a choice.  

I said, "What if that was an actual college major?

And the person asked, "Was that YOUR major?"

And I said, "Something like that....." and the conversation just ended.

When Zoe and I were alone again I said, "See that? That's how my books get their titles."

She told me to write it and here we are. 


First Monday of January

 Today is a day of uncertainty.  

Look into the fog, accept the unresolved, embrace the ambivalent haze.

Plant rows complexity, harvest bouquets of entanglement, plow through obstacles

Todays coffee: Nespresso espresso with dashes of sugar-free caramel, almond and hazelnut syrups, topped with foamed half and half.

Today’s exercise: Jumping rope, jumping through hoops, jumping into a new semester.

First Sunday of January

 Today is a day for adventure. Turn off screens, move things around, shine new lights.


Plant rows of motion, harvest bouquets of strength, plow through negativity.

Last night’s nightmare: continuing the streak of vivid dreaming with again losing my shoes — I lose my shoes in every fucking dream. Stranded outside target with no car and no mask (masks were in car I gave away) and all the numbers on my phone called the wrong people.

Todays food: fajitas tapatias 

Today’s exercise: raising eyebrows multiple times

First day of the Year

 Today is a gift, like the first steps after crossing the finish line of a marathon. Enjoy the view, embrace the present, be kind. 


Plant rows of plans, harvest bouquets of vision, plow through rocky terrain

Today’s food: seriously some adult in this house (me?) needs to go to the grocery soon. Ask me after that 

Last nights nightmare: a new one…. I dreamed was that I never finished my PhD. and was trying to figure how to re-enroll but also I was like so if I never finished my PhD why do people call me doctor…. have I been lying? It was really confusing. Also, I kept losing my shoes.