archaesophilia: (Default)
Why do we care about Britain's new royal? Why is the world, the Anglo part of it at least, obsessed with a woman's ability to produce a baby?

I am sick to death of hearing about women's reproductive abilities; whether we should, when we can, if it is bad or good, if we get a choice about it. 

So, a woman has produced a baby. So what? Good on her, she's managed what female mammals have been doing since mammals were mammals. Now comes the hard part, though she will not have to grapple with issues like poverty, tyranny, or any number of less than first world problems.

The thing is, I think that the obsession with the royal baby is a symptom of a greater obsession, culturally, with defining women. It is saying, "look, here is this feminine person doing what good feminine persons should do!" It says, "princesses (oh, here we go,the platonic ideal of womanhood) give birth like they wear nice hats; because it is a princess thing to do!" And every little girl in this Disney era knows that princesses always do what women are supposed to do.

I'm not sorry, but I refuse to believe that womanhood is only about wearing fashionable hats and popping out babies. What can we possibly do to break out of the collective delusion that all women are somehow princesses? Single women have careers, and relationships, and own houses, and sometimes have children, yes, without wearing fancy hats, and without being made a 'princess' first. Very often with a very silly hat, instead! Sometimes with a person of the male/female/other persuasion in tow, but not always! In fact, the data seems to indicate that there is a 50/50 chance.

I remember (and it is still happening) the outcry about Michelle Obama's arms-well,THOSE certainly aren't very princess like. They indicate that she may have a personality outside of her clothing choices! They hint scandalously at work, at sweat, at a woman who is proud of something she did which only affects her own body but which somehow personally offends people. As though those arms will reach out and erase their delusions. Well, I hope they do.

So, good on Kate for having a baby, I hope she's very happy about it. And good for her for wearing what are admittedly some very stylish hats.

But that's not all there is to being a woman.

My Quest

May. 21st, 2013 08:16 pm
archaesophilia: (Default)
I, and most likely every other woman on the planet, am on a quest: The Quest for the Perfect Bra. I have literally one dozen bras kicking about the house of varying ages and hopefulness.

In reality, I wear only one or two consistently at a time, basic bras that get the job done, holstering the breasts out of the way with minimal fuss or pain. Occasionally, I find a bra that is both functional and pretty and it is a day of great rejoicing!

This weekend I will be disposing of a box-and entire box!-of bras from you-know-who's-secret, and with them go every instance of hope, wishful thinking, and impulse buys of the last five years. In the same way that some women keep their skinny jeans, I hoard my skinny bras. Bras that I once fit into, when I was a few pounds lighter and not retaining as much water. Eventually, I have to accept that those dusty bras will never be of use to me and that they should be banished from my home.

The thing is, I really like my breasts. They're great! They're fairly large (40DDD), but not overly enormous, pretty symmetrical, and give me some pretty impressive cleavage fairly regularly. So the thing with the bras isn't wishing that they're SMALLER, its wishing that the smaller, prettier bras could still fit my breasts. Because my breasts are great, and they deserve great bras.
archaesophilia: (Default)
So, a few months ago, a friend and I took a soap making class from the local community college.

(In the interest of full disclosure, interesting scents and personal hygene are two of my obsessions, so no one was surprised by this.)

In any case, last week I made my first batch of soap, what I dubbed, Apricot Rose Soap.

The recipe is as follows:
9 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
10 oz Coconut Oil (refined)
9 oz Olive Oil
4 oz Evening Primrose OIl
1 oz Rose Hip Oil
4.6 oz Lye
11 oz Water

It makes a fabulously creamy soap with good lather. I was very pleased, and had it cut up into small chunks in preparation for a second milling where I intended to add scent (rose, what else?) and honey.

Most people recommend a crock pot for the melting, but I decided I couldn't wait, and that I could use a double boiler instead.

So, I got the boiler ready, added the soap and honey, and went to take a shower. This is the crucial mistake, when I got out of the shower, the house was filled with the noxious fumes of burned honey and soap. The water had boiled out of the pot and the whole batch of soap was a charred, gloppy mess. It smelled of a mix of burned chemicals and charred sugar.

So, lessons learned: get a crock pot. Watch your soap when you cook it.
archaesophilia: (Steampunk)
The past couple of years have not been easy for me. At this time last year, all of my equilibrium was gone. I had no emotional reserves; I was living on the edge of my own mental collapse, keeping it at bay with alcahol and denial.

So, I did what I should have done much sooner; I got myself out of the situation. I moved several states away, and radically changed my life. I still do archaeology, but the dream of academic archaeology is firmly in the past. Now I'm finishing my master's and calling it done.

My new job is in North Dakota. I'm incredibly busy all of the time; the company I work for works with oil and gas clients a lot, and they are demanding, to put it lightly. I've been stressed, and busy, and tired.

The other day, someone asked me if I was happy. I had to think about it for a minute, but I can honestly say that I really am in a better place than I was a year ago. If I'm not happy, I'm closer to it than I have been in a while. And that's a good thing, to be in a better place.
archaesophilia: (Default)
I've always been a little unsure as to where the line between not-adult and adult lies. Is it paying your taxes and bills on time? Is it going to work and getting things done?

Who decides these things, and can they please let me know?

I suspect that the signs of adulthood include...well, awareness, stress, worry, planning, and the knowledge that what you planned as a child may or mayn't have come to pass.

More than anything, I'm beginning to think that being an adult means that you don't ask someone else "What next?", but that you ask that of yourself.

The burden of decision; that is adulthood.

The problem I have with this is that I'm still not sure when you're allowed to ask for help.
archaesophilia: (Default)
The last year was rough for me; a whole lot of questioning happened, and there was so much doubt and anxiety. Along the way, somehow, things were decided. I've moved myself to North Dakota. I'm beginning a crew chief job next Monday. I've effectively abandoned a Ph.D. at this moment (Though the possibility of it in the future remains).

This is a terribly frightening endeavor; the future is not ensured in any way, and I've moved away from my comfort zone in almost all ways. My greater fear is that I'll get myself into a bad situation that I cannot get myself out of. I need to remember that I have a safety net, that I have family, that I am resourceful and capable. What I need to remember is that the future is likely to hold as many good things as bad and that the ratio of these things isn't set in stone.

I've always thought that my happiness is linked heavily to place. And I got happier and happier, I loved the places more and more, the further west I went. It is counter intuitive to me to now be going east, relative to the rest. I need to learn how to be happy here, I need to figure out how to live as a person who is not a student-up until now, STUDENT has been my occupation and my aspiration, and to a great degree, my identity.

I don't know exactly how to move beyond that. I'm terrified that I don't HAVE anything beyond that to move towards.


Apr. 3rd, 2011 03:42 pm
archaesophilia: (Default)
Feeling much better after my paper was received very well at the conference! Dr. A (a very famous person in archaeology) was very complimentary, and there was a request for a paper copy from another person!
This is entirely encouraging, and also makes me want to expand the study a little and go ahead and publish it.
And the people who I thought might have used my data in fact didn't, so there is no problem there.
Overall, this has been an excellent vacation/conference. I didn't get to go to as many papers as usual (but there was a surprising dearth of them in my area). But we did go and do lots of fun things (an amazing game store!and a trip to get new hiking boots!and much, much delicious sushi was had!).
I am feeling good (tired) and ready for the push to the end of the semester! Woohoo!
archaesophilia: (Default)
This has been a frustrating spring. My thesis is going more slowly than it ought; I'm looking at a summer or, worse, fall defense (depending on people's schedules). My advisor is...not as responsive as I would want about the issue.

I had thought that the upcoming conference would be a nice vacation, but I've just discovered that a couple of my classmates are presenting not one, but two papers on a group project that we all did for our lithics lab last year. I contributed half of the data for the project, and not only is my name not on the papers, but I didn't know they were doing it until this last wednesday. So, now I have to go kick up a fuss about it, because, really, that's not on AT ALL.

The thing is that half the things in my life are awesome-my living situation, my friends, etc-while the other half are not-school, mainly.

Despite that fact that I have some great friends, the fact remains that I'm just not happy here-but am often stressed and cynical and all of those states endemic to graduate school. I wish there was more to keep me here-if I had an advisor that cared much, or some new research goals, or an SO-but the fact remains that probably the best thing is to GTFO.
archaesophilia: (Default) not a morning person. I require caffeine, a shower, and a couple of hours before I wake up and become human in the morning. The downside to this is that I work in a field where early mornings are relatively common. I've taken to just warning people to expect monosyllabic responses to any query before ten in the morning. My family has (finally) learned not to CALL me before ten in the morning-I don't tend to remember anything said over the phone before this time.

However. There needs to be some way that I can also communicate with them whether or not I have actually had my morning caffeine by this time, as I don't always get up until shortly before ten. (Given my druthers I would NEVER have to get up before nine or ten.)

So, when I got up yesterday at about nine thirty, and my dad calls me at just ten, I hadn't had my morning cuppa yet. And he wanted to talk to me about THINGS. Plans, moving, stressful things! Things that no one should have to consider before higher brain functions kick in.

The problem is that my mood, once it is fixed in the morning, tends to be the same all day. So, I started off the day irritated and a bit grumpy, and continued throughout the day irritated and a bit grumpy. The problem is that I know that there is no reason for my bad mood beyond the morning incident, but there isn't really much I can do about it.

What I need is a magical tea making dealie that will make me a cup of tea in the morning so that there is one waiting for me whenever I wake up.
archaesophilia: (Default)
I could make the argument that I should regret this year: I've taken a year longer to finish my thesis than is proper, and I had a terrible summer, and all this anxiety and stress have been rather terrible.

Yet. Yet, yet, yet; I've learned a great deal about myself, the things I want,how I react to many situations, how to function in many ways. The lessons have been relatively hard (in some cases physically painful, in others mostly mentally painful). But I don't regret it.

My thesis is better because I've waited, read more, studied more. I'm more happy with it-and if it is the only thing I'm leaving behind, then I woud rather it made my glad. I don't regret that. I don't regret the classes I've taken, either. Those are, if anything, far more valuable than anything else.

The thing about this summer was that financially, personally, it was a huge disaster. I really should have gone and made money, if I was being financially smart. Personally, I spent the summer in pain and mostly alone. Not great.

Professionally, though, I learnt a great number of things. Firstly, to stand up for myself in a work situation. Secondly, how to recognize passive aggressive behavior in these same situations. Thirdly, that I shouldn't just grin and bear it if such a situation were to occur in the future. I regret that I lost a friend over it. I regret that this fact makes it nearly impossible for me to work with this particular group again (the senior student will always remain so, short of her leaving for another country or washing out).

I've gained many great friends. I'm more settled with myself. I've acknowledged that I probably have an anxiety problem, but that can be dealt with.

I don't regret it-some things may be regrettable-but I don't regret them.
archaesophilia: (Default)
The Graduate Organization for my department is a little bit..broken. I'm not sure exactly what happened and where, but suddenly there is friction between the members (all graduate students in the department) and the leadership. And no one seems to know what to do about it.

The problem chiefly lies with a mis-communication about several things. The first of which is what the purpose of the organization IS and what we expect our executive officers to be doing. There seems to be a sort of social/party focus from leadership while the members want a more scholarly bent. So participation is suffering quite a bit. This is because members have no recourse (without seeming to bitch and moan) if they don't agree with how things are going, so they vote with their feet. To which the officers then accuse them of being lazy whingers who never participate. There isn't a dialogue; ideas from non-leadership get shot down a lot.

The thing is, the members are stuck with whomever is elected (I'm not sure that there is a mechanism for a change or not) representing them to the faculty. They can vote with their feet and with their complaining, but not much else. Bah.

The Odds

Sep. 7th, 2010 02:44 pm
archaesophilia: (Default)
So, this semester I decided not to take any courses in my major (Shock! and something of a relief-I was burning out). Instead, I am writing my thesis, defending, and taking the "Preparation for College Teaching" course, which is really a crash course in how universities work. I think. Thus far we've covered how to be a TA, Power Point, etc.

Today's class covered the job process, how to find/apply for an academic job, what to do once you get one, the tenure process, etc. Which all served basically to say that the life is good, but the odds are bad. Particularly for women, the statistics are appalling; fewer women are full professors, they are paid less, and much less likely to have a family when they do. It makes it hard to not be just a little bit depressed about the whole idea.

The selling point for an academic career is that you have a better quality of life. But how much of that is really true? I see so many bitter people, as many as there are happy ones, it seems, in academic roles. And despite all that we still have to fight tooth and claw for that quality; when does it become not worth the effort?

The Mosque

Aug. 16th, 2010 06:45 pm
archaesophilia: (Default)
So, I've been following the debate over the mosque being built near the (former) world trade center. It seems that everyone has forgotten that, whatever else they might have been, the people who destroyed the world trade center were terrorists. And it only serves their objectives if we continue to respond in a way that fundamentally undermines the principles on which this country was founded. I speak, of course, of freedom of religion, but am more concerned about the inability to accept those of all creeds equally.

When America stops saying "give me...(those) yearning to be free," and instead stipulates "except those, and you, and whomever," we lose who we fundamentally are. America has ever billed itself as the land of opportunity, of freedom, with the promise of a future you can make for yourself. But, lately, we've delivered less and less. The class divide is growing. African Americans, Hispanics, and now Muslims, find themselves under attack both direct and indirect. Some of it is blatant, such as the GOP's position on the mosque. Some is what we call "systemic violence."

It is worrying, indeed, to see Americans set themselves against Americans, rather than seeking reconciliation.


Aug. 13th, 2010 11:43 pm
archaesophilia: (Default)
I was reading the BBC news page the other day when I ran across an interesting fact: apparently, the US dollar coin is still being made despite the bad reception it encountered when it was first introduced. The American people are reluctant to give up their bills.

Well, we're all creatures of habit. I can't fault that. But, it also appears that switching to coins for the lower currencies would save hundreds of billions of dollars in printing costs.

I hadn't thought of it that way; perhaps if people knew that by using a dollar coin that they were saving a dollar (or more!) in the long run, they would be more likely to use them. I know I am.

(I also like the idea of having a coin purse that doesn't just have pennies in it.)

So, anyone reading this, request dollar coins in your change!
archaesophilia: (Default)
I've been home from the field for two weeks, but only home for one, really.

Still angry; probably because I never got an apology, and the likelihood of getting on is slim to none. I'm having trouble letting this one go, but hopefully that will come with time. And one of my ankles is still screwed up.

I'm in the process of getting back into my thesis; right now that means beefing up my References Cited list. But as I read and research and such, I find that I'm becoming less and less pleased with the progress I've made on my thesis already. I've got about 30-40 pages written, but I'm dissatisfied with how it is written.

I think I've gotten into a writing rut; churning out term papers and suchlike has apparently made me stop reaching for good prose as well as good information. I'm a firm believer that academics don't consider this enough; the impact of their work is not only directly related to the quality of that work, but their ability to convey the information to their audience.

Articles don't have to be boring to read, but we expect them to be. And if you try to insert voice or tone or any of those touchy-feely things...Well! That's hardly academic.

Never mind that we remember the articles and books that are well written better, or that we talk about them more. And the general public is far more likely to respond to something they can understand (not waffle-waffle-jargon-waffle-hem-haw-name drop-waffle).

I've said it before, and I guess I'm saying it again, there are few things that would benefit a graduate program more than an emphasis on writing development.

Oh, and a computer lab with both ArcGIS and SPSS on the machines.
archaesophilia: (tea bunny)
We're finished with survey but not done in the field. We've still got a week or so where we'll be going around meeting people and sites. Which will be fun, unlike most of the rest of the last week and a half.

So, the second session of this season, I sprained my ankle, and fucked up both my feet so that walking was extremely painful (I cried). Thing is, it didn't start out as painful-it took a couple of days for the horror to set in. And by then I felt like I couldn't say anything (but hoped that someone would say "gee, you're lagging a lot behind everyone else, is something wrong?") lest it be seen as complaining/exaggerating/whatever. So I shut up and bore it, and lagged behind everyone else. And they didn't wait; I could be a mile or more behind them on the hike back, and no one said a word. I could say, " Hey I lost you guys in the trees/rocks/whatever" and all I got was a shrug.

The crew chief just go angry. I've worked with her before with no problems, but this time she was all stressed about getting a lot done. And she clearly wasn't interested in dealing with any problems that we might have had; her unwillingness to wait or even ask what was going on as evidence. But she kept getting angrier and cutting me out of the group.

Finally, my ankle got better and I was feeling fine for the last session. So she pulls me aside and rips into me for my performance-ie-that I was slow and sullen and had a bad attitude.

Really?  You don't see the problem with telling a team member that it would have literally killed you to slow down a little on survey to wait for them when they were obviously in pain? That isn't even bad leadership, its a simple lack of common decency.

When I went into all this, she accused me of being unable to open up. When could I have opened up? By the time I got back to camp, she had already retreated to her tent, where she camped out hiding from the rest of us. And when I did try to explain, she said, as above, that it would have killed her to wait for me.

And when she confronted me about it she mentioned that my advisor and boss "knew everything." I don't know if that means that she reported to him angrily, or that he'll just see who was writing site forms.

I'm too angry to talk about it unbiased way. I should probably stop.
archaesophilia: (tea bunny)
The trick about going to the field is learning how to suspend the rest of life. The various identities that are developed through the course of archaeological life are fascinating; we act and live differently in the field than we do at school and at home.

Indeed; the goal is to create permanence in an transient life. This is primarily done through routine and certain small comforts. Mine include tea and fruit, a comfy tent and good boots. It works to an extent. Certainly, though, this was of life could become habit forming.
archaesophilia: (goggles)
This trip home has been extra exciting; particularly these last couple of days.

First, yesterday Mum fell and dislocated her knee. Fun time with ambulances, and of course now she's bed- and crutch-ridden for the foreseeable future. Pending surgery.

Secondly, we had to put a dog down. Mica, their two year old, had been getting more and more aggressive towards people coming in the house. So that was stressful this afternoon.

Thirdly, my phone died with eight more months left in the contract period. Which left me up a creek. They couldn't do the new phone with plan renewal thing this far out. So I ended up doing an early 'equipment' upgrade, and got a blackberry, which is way more phone than I would realistically need in the next few years, but was the best option, particularly considering that I'll be in the field in a week.

Fourth, the weather had been caving in and delayed my trip back to Washington.

You can't but throw up your hands and laugh; sometimes the universe just wins.
archaesophilia: (Default)
At the end of yet another semester (they only officially end when the grades have gone up) I find myself more relieved than usual. The classes weren't a problem; I continue my streak of A's and A-'s. Which is average for a grad student.

The problem was that I needed to slow down; up until this semester I've been taking a full course load every semester-three classes. And TAing/RAing.

The point is that with all the classes that I've been taking, I think that I've been too busy to fully participate in certain aspects of academia.

I'm looking forward to writing my thesis and to finally moving forward to my own work in my dissertation; the freedom that research affords is something that I'm enjoying a lot.

I feel like this summer and up-coming year will determine the direction that my career as an archaeologist takes; whether I get my PhD with the eventual aim to teach, or whether I take an MA/PhD and go into the private sector. We'll see.

In other news, I'm very excited about data. Almost three thousand data points for my thesis is substantial enough to make significant statements.

And this semester I participated in an experimental study involving hafted bifaces, wherein I spent a significant portion of the latter end of the semester sawing wood with stone tools. That was fun; it was so much fun that it feels like cheating that I got a grade for the paper I wrote.

And we're going out to survey again this summer; this time for a longer period of time. Boo for not excavating, but hurray for getting out and working.
archaesophilia: (Default)
Finally the semester is over. This was the hardest semester I have ever had; the stress was terrible.

Oddly, the stress wasn't class-work related. It was thesis related; I was running up against the expectations (or the expectations that I thought everyone had) and not quite making it. I was also sick a lot; at the end of last semester I think I got swine flu, and it took out my immune system. So I've been sick every three weeks or so. I'm sure the stress didn't help.

But now I'm done; and I'm eager to get out and just do archaeology again. Thankfully, we're going at the end of the month for five weeks to NM. It'll be mostly survey, but I'm glad nonetheless.

It seems like after the repeated set backs of this winter, things are falling into place for the summer.
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