Posts

This Is 40

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Here we are again, a year later.  I started this at 38 and continued with 39.  Obviously, it's now a thing to do each year.  So, this is 40.  First, let's update some facts. 


Home:  Arlington, MassachusettsRelationship status:  Married (5+ years)Cats Owned:  2 (Bear and Pumpkin)Other Pets:  1 mud turtle (MJ)Degrees earned: 5 (3 masters, 1 bachelor, 1 associate)Degree working on:  Phd in Higher EducationCredits Completed Toward Dissertation: 69 out of 72.Reading in 2019: 207 books, graphic novels, and audiobooksWork:  full-time: (1) Instructional Designer and Faculty Development Specialist at Brandeis University.  (2) Freelance reviewing audiobooks and graphic novels for Audiofile Magazine and Publishers Weekly.  Teaching courses at  (3) North Shore Community College and  (4) Southern New Hampshire UniversityShort Stories Written:  1Social Media Consulting Gigs:  1Weight:  247 poundsLongest Distance Run This Year: 7.18Fastest Pace This Year: 8:05 minutes per mile (5K)Run in the …

Review: The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die

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The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Payne's is an insightful and useful book to consider in making sense of the rise of populism in the world today. There are several significant points that he brings to the table to discuss how inequality impacts out daily experiences and perceptions. One key piece that he highlights and drives home throughout the book is how increased inequality (and awareness of that inequality) decreases trust in the systems and trust in people. Societies (like the US) where the unequal incomes become increasingly extreme (such as CEOs making 400 times more than the front line employee) further destabilizes society. Coupled with this, he emphasizes that some in a society may feel like they are subject to inequality, even when they are not. This sense of inequality can often result in a more reactive society that seeks quick gains (illicitly or immorally) while also castigating long-term…

Review: What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

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What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Catte, a native from Appalachia country sets down the path to redefine and open up the definition of Appalachian country from a limited, white, working or impoverish class dominated by an honor and warrior society. She sets about this with two main goals; deconstructing the myth and its impact on Appalachia culture--most recently perpetuated by J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy--and articulating the complexity of and richness of identities, including strong representations by people of color, non-Scots-Irish descendants, and LGBTQA people. As someone who has grown up, left, and now returned to her Appalachian roots, Catte finds the depictions of her place of origin problematic on a person and intellectual level and therefore traces the history of that depiction and the ways in which images and concepts of Appalachia has been used to promote eugenics, squash workers' rights, and as a sympathetic di…

Review: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

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Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Invoking Upton Sinclair's sentiment that one's understanding of a problem is not likely to happen if their salary is based upon them not understanding it, Giridharadas explores how today's elite--benefactors of increasing market-driven forces and ideologies increasingly claim that they have the know-how to fix the world's worst problems. However, so many of these problems (poverty, environmental degradation, racial/gender tension, crime) are often created, sustained, or aggravated by the viewpoint that the unregulated market can solve all problems. But Giridharadas does more than just lay the argument and the evidence out. Rather, he interviews some of the successful and vocal in this realm (the elites advocating for social change, but not so much social disruption that it affects their bottom line or personal activities) and draws out the tensions in their ideas and e…

Mudty Relationships: An Essay in Closure - Part 11

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This post is part of an 11 part essay that I have written in memory of my father, Tod “Mudty” Eaton, who passed away in August 2018. On this blog, I had previously shared the eulogy I gave at his Celebration of Life, which I think was a meaningful public goodbye to him.  This essay though is a bit more complex and nuanced in drawing out the final days of my father’s passing and how I reconciled his life, his death, and our relationship.  It’s a deeply personal essay that I have spent many hours on for the past year and with the encouragement of kind friends, have chosen to share.  


Additionally, if you feel so moved, I would encourage you to donate to my fundraiser for Care Dimensions, the hospice home that made his final days more comfortable for all of us.  
Part 11: ReflectingA year has passed since this all started. Our lives have moved one. The house was cleaned out. We carry or have dispersed with his ashes. Plenty of days go by for me that I don’t think of him.

Yes, there are ti…

Mudty Relationships: An Essay in Closure - Part 10

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This post is part of an 11 part essay that I have written in memory of my father, Tod “Mudty” Eaton, who passed away in August 2018. On this blog, I had previously shared the eulogy I gave at his Celebration of Life, which I think was a meaningful public goodbye to him.  This essay though is a bit more complex and nuanced in drawing out the final days of my father’s passing and how I reconciled his life, his death, and our relationship.  It’s a deeply personal essay that I have spent many hours on for the past year and with the encouragement of kind friends, have chosen to share.  


Additionally, if you feel so moved, I would encourage you to donate to my fundraiser for Care Dimensions, the hospice home that made his final days more comfortable for all of us.  
Part 10: AppreciatingAccepting that my father was dying in itself was not as hard as it might be for some. At an early age, he had me read The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages by Leo Buscaglia, a children’s …

Mudty Relationships: An Essay in Closure - Part 9

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This post is part of an 11 part essay that I have written in memory of my father, Tod “Mudty” Eaton, who passed away in August 2018. On this blog, I had previously shared the eulogy I gave at his Celebration of Life, which I think was a meaningful public goodbye to him.  This essay though is a bit more complex and nuanced in drawing out the final days of my father’s passing and how I reconciled his life, his death, and our relationship.  It’s a deeply personal essay that I have spent many hours on for the past year and with the encouragement of kind friends, have chosen to share.  


Additionally, if you feel so moved, I would encourage you to donate to my fundraiser for Care Dimensions, the hospice home that made his final days more comfortable for all of us.  
Part 9: PassingHis breathing slows to one breath a minute. I time the breaths to understand how close he is. My mom holds his hand, the rest of us sit or stand around his bed. His breathing has changed significantly in the last fe…

Review: Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing

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Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing by Marie Hicks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fascinating read on so many levels. On one, it captures the ways in which institutions (named the British government) perpetuates inequalities (namely, sexism) in explicit and implicit ways and then tracks the ways in which that structural inequality results in the loss of opportunity and resources for the nation. Hicks also unpeels a deeply problematic history of erasure of the prominent and important roles that women played in the rise of the computer and digital age, as the original and dominant group of programmers throughout the UK from the 1940s to the 1970s. Through her analysis, interviews, and archival recovery, she shows the ways in which women were muted, perceived as (and undermined as) threats by men for their abilities with computers. She shows how for many years Britain tried to conceptualize programming as a skill-less and femin…

Mudty Relationships: An Essay in Closure - Part 8

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This post is part of an 11 part essay that I have written in memory of my father, Tod “Mudty” Eaton, who passed away in August 2018. On this blog, I had previously shared the eulogy I gave at his Celebration of Life, which I think was a meaningful public goodbye to him.  This essay though is a bit more complex and nuanced in drawing out the final days of my father’s passing and how I reconciled his life, his death, and our relationship.  It’s a deeply personal essay that I have spent many hours on for the past year and with the encouragement of kind friends, have chosen to share.  


Additionally, if you feel so moved, I would encourage you to donate to my fundraiser for Care Dimensions, the hospice home that made his final days more comfortable for all of us.  
Part 8: MendingA different doctor altogether helps me resolve the tensions of watching my father die, the bureaucracy of care, and my own unresolved emotions.

The emotional exhaustion and fleeting thoughts are drowned out by a pro…

Mudty Relationships: An Essay in Closure - Part 7

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This post is part of an 11 part essay that I have written in memory of my father, Tod “Mudty” Eaton, who passed away in August 2018. On this blog, I had previously shared the eulogy I gave at his Celebration of Life, which I think was a meaningful public goodbye to him.  This essay though is a bit more complex and nuanced in drawing out the final days of my father’s passing and how I reconciled his life, his death, and our relationship.  It’s a deeply personal essay that I have spent many hours on for the past year and with the encouragement of kind friends, have chosen to share.  


Additionally, if you feel so moved, I would encourage you to donate to my fundraiser for Care Dimensions, the hospice home that made his final days more comfortable for all of us.   Park 7: CrackingAt least once in this process, I get asked if I’m a robot. Some assume that I’m putting on a front or trying to be strong. My emotional expression in this whole ordeal is largely absent in the ways that people exp…