One year later!

dog named Syke with snowy noseWell – I have been remiss on the blogging/writing front for the last several months, but Christmastime is here. I moved back onto Thackeray Place ONE YEAR AGO TODAY! Woo Hoo. I’m still thrilled with the work and results. It has been lovely to sit at my desk and enjoy the view – even in the throes of a final push on the dissertation. Here are a few photos

Musings on NYC

While I wouldn’t want to live in New York City (unless I made oodles of money and could escape regularly) – I do love to visit. Here are the things that fascinate, frustrate and make it fun.

  • I think most women here are skinny – only the tourists strike me a heavier. I’m sure that is inaccurate – but in my observations from Tribecca to the upper 60s today it seemed to be the case.
  • There are some really ridiculous shoes for all the walking people do.
  • Summer brings tables out onto the sidewalk – no matter how small the space for them. I find this delightful. In fact – so many interesting things happen on the sidewalks – selling, washing, garbage. There are few alleys – so it’s the only option. One can even see giant pig statues!

  • Brunch is good, but I believe Seattle has NYC beat on this score.
  • Seeing a musical on Broadway is special – the theaters are intimate, the performers A+ and audiences reserve a standing ovation for performances that truly deserve it.
  • There are shops dedicated to the funniest things – like balloons and other blow-up things.
  • NYC has done fabulous things like turning an old elevated train track into a long park – The Highline runs between about 30th & Gansevoort – about 1.5 miles.
  • Buildings that house giant companies are set in compact spaces – not on “campuses” – so one is reminded in every block that they can come and go. Like this one?  
And finally  – a view from the roof.


New Great Niece

Hi – after all that posting about the house. There has been other creation in the works.

Claire Elouise Mattox was born this morning at about 9am Bend, Oregon. Mom (Sarah Achterman-Mattox) and Dad (Jason) and big brother (Kevin) are doing well. She was born on her uncle Michael & Aunt Amy’s anniversary too!

All grandparents are thrilled as well (Tom & Patty – pictured here – on my side). She has her middle name from her Grandma Elouise on Jason’s side!



Some interiors

I was going to wait until all art was hung and bookshelves were up, but thought I’d post what I have of my interior! Pretty self-explanatory I think. The main floor bath has the detail shots since these are old things that I like. The last several are from my new second floor. The messy office is evident — needs work!


The stats: I gained 4 steps in the front – so the main floor came up about 2.5 ft. The whole house was pushed backward by 2.5 ft too. The roof was completely redone and I believe it went up about 3 ft  – so the total gain is about 5.5 ft. The fun thing is to compare the roof line to the flowering plum tree in front. Or the big cedar in back. These were taken just about the same time of year – two years apart.

I’ll post the inside (mostly the new) when things are a little more put together. At some point JASDesignBuild (link to see their site) will come take pictures and post them.

So happy to be back home, but getting used to some new routines with laundry in the basement now, having a tenant, stairs, etc — very fun.

love this idea

Sadly – right now I cannot take a sabbatical, but someday I’d love to do this. I think it’s a good idea even for a week or so. Highly recommended reading for anyone feeling overwhelmed by too much communication and email. From Danah Boyd:

Background on Email Sabbaticals…

Years ago, I realized that there was no way to take a vacation and manage the always-on, always-in-contact lifestyle that technology affords. Initially, I thought that it’d be possible to simply ignore email while on vacation and deal with it afterwards but I realized that this was untenable. It takes months to catch up on thousands of emails and I’d come back and immediately burn out again trying to catch up. I’d end up declaring email bankruptcy, thereby failing everyone who contacted me because of my delinquency. I knew that I needed a different strategy.

I decided to start taking email sabbaticals as a systematic and respectful way of publicly communicating my boundaries. Six months before vacation, I let close collaborators and colleagues know that I intend to be wholly offline during a set of collectively known dates. A month before I leave, I write out to everyone that I work with to make sure that we all know what I need to accomplish before I leave and make sure that we have a check list to get it all done. I also publicly blog that I will be departing, letting everyone else know that they should get in touch if they’re going to need something from me. A week before, I message out again warning people. In this way, I systematically make sure that I take care of others’ needs before I depart. Communication is key to an email sabbatical. Disappearing without properly making certain that everyone has what they need is irresponsible and disrespectful.

When I am on vacation, I am confident that I have taken care of my responsibilities before I left. I have contingency plans set up for anything I can predict might happen while I’m away. I make sure that my brother, mother, sysadmin, and housesitters all know how to reach me in case of an emergency. But most importantly, I know that my email spool is not filling up with a big To Do list that will haunt me when I’m gone. Do I miss things while I’m on vacation? Most certainly. Inevitably, I will receive numerous emails from journalists covering year-end stories about teens, people wanting me to review journal articles, students wanting help with their term papers, and perhaps an invitation or two. I do feel guilty not personally responding to these people to say that I’m unavailable but that’s precisely the point. I need to let go in order to truly take a break and refresh. Are there going to be people pissed off at me because I’m on vacation? Sure. But I’m also used to getting pissed off emails everyday from all sorts of people yelling at me for my attempt to explain teen life. Part of me feels a guilty pleasure knowing that I will never see 5 weeks worth of angry emails.

The advantage of an email sabbatical is that I can truly take time and decompress and ease back into everyday life in January without an overwhelming and unmanageable list of To Dos. Personally, I think it’s a whole lot more respectful to preemptively and openly communicate that I need a break than to screw up and declare bankruptcy when everything crumbles. But maybe that’s just me. I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking that I’m a royal bitch for saying enough. Or think that I’m a privileged brat for being able to carve out time for myself. Personally, I think that we all need to start looking inwards and understanding our limitations and articulating our boundaries. Breaks aren’t a bad thing; they’re a fundamentally important way to refresh. I know that I will be a far better scholar when I return than I am right now because I’m too burnt out to think straight. I need this break. And I bet you do too. And taking a long weekend isn’t the same as taking a serious break. Which is why I’ve been saving all of my vacation days so that I could take a serious pause.

Anyhow, I wish you a happy December. Chag sameach, happy holidays! And please, for your sake and mine, take some time for yourself. {{hug}}


Apartment almost done!

Well – nothing like being out of town for a few days! Makes for big changes. The apartment looks like a real place to live now. OK – so there is still some tape and plastic up for painting, but the door on the left goes outside – the open one goes upstairs to my house.

Then there is the entrance to the apartment!   and doors to bath and bedroom.

Kitchen – almost there – and bedroom closet. Finally – the bathroom is so lovely.