The Updates #3

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Well, I've made it three weeks so at least I'm getting in a rhythm (though saying it now, can almost guarantee that I'll drop it in week 4, right?

A picture of a dog with black and white fur facing the camera.
A doggie I met this week (more about
the encounter below)

I did my first two pilot interviews and they went well.  By went well, I mean that I feel like I'm getting a stronger understanding of the methodology and how to interview participants well within the framework of the methodology.  It was also interesting to see how the interviews went from the perspective of data; even though it's not data that I'll be using, I was glad to see the kinds of answers and thoughts arise that reflected experiences and deeper meanings that participants connect with their usage of academic pirate platforms.  An exciting week for sure and next week, I have my final pilot because I start up the full call for participants.


The semester starts the day this post goes live (Monday, August 22).  Am I ready?  Do I think our faculty are ready?  That's a loaded question. We have faculty who haven't done what is needed to be best ready to use the new learning management system.  Given how much of our courses need to use the LMS, that's concerning and can certainly cause a certain amount of anxiety and stress.  Yet, something I have learned along the way in my time at College Unbound is that it will work itself out.  No system is perfect and this won't be perfect either. There will be hiccups and really big unexpected things.  Yet, I'm not worried per se.  I want to respond as someone that can support our faculty and make them feel comfortable. My thinking of late has been that if I respond to faculty who have ignored previous communications and calls to get ready for the semester with my own stress and angst, I'm not necessarily doing them any favors.  Instead, I'm probably increasing their own angst and that is likely not going to help.  In worst-case scenarios, directing my angst towards them may lead them to do the same with their students (knowingly or not) and no one wants that.  So I'm in a space of calmness and rolling with things, showing up how I can to support our faculty who are here to guide our amazing students in their own growth here at CU.  Right now, I feel a lot like the photo of the duck I took this week and included in this post.  Keeping calm up top, even if I'm doing my fair share of swimming frantically underneath the surface.

What Am I Reading

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing by David A. Treleaven
A great look at how mindfulness, without proper training and consideration around trauma, can actually be harmful to people.  Treleaven covers a lot of different ways this can happen along with some experiences with his own patients as well as some solid research and guidelines for navigating these situations.

Clementine, Book One by Tillie Walden
It's a story taking place in the Walking Dead universe, following young Clementine who makes her away up through New England with a prosthetic leg and an Amish teenager heading north to Vermont. It's a fun tale by Tillie Walden whose work I've been working through the last few months. I liked it but at times, it was too hard to make sense of some panels given the mixture of black and white panels and a bit too grainy drawings.   

What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States by David Zirin
I don't like sports in any real way; I have lots of critiques of professional sports but Zirin's work always reminds me of how one can be extremely critical of a space and yet, by doing so, reveal one's love for the space.  In this case, this collection of Zirin's essays throughout the 1980s-2000s is a great introduction to Zirin's work and in general, critical sports literature that attempts to draw out the racial, gender, and ethnocentric practices within sports and how they manifest around these games. From Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell to Lebron James and Kobe Bryant to many others in between, Zirin scores a great many points on the problematic ways that sports exist in modern society.

Think Good Thoughts about a Pussycat by George Booth
I stumbled across this book in a flea market and collections of published cartoons are usually pretty fun.  This one felt a bit more of a labor. It seems like a lot of context was missing either because of the time it was being published (mid-20th century) or where (appeared to be British in nature).  

Star Wars Leia, Princess of Alderaan Manga, Vol. 1 & Vol 2 by Haruichi
A teenage, Leia, attempting to prove herself a capable and strong leader in the eyes of her parents must face several ritual challenges but as these challenges bring her into contact with the Empire, Leia is realizing more is going on than she ever realized.  It was a fun enough manga with some familiar faces for fans.

Impact Winter by Travis Beacham
First, a meteor strike has called a forever-winter and then, the vampires showed up.  A small crew is set up in a secret bunker under a castle when they capture a vampire who is seeking asylum. A fun if fluffy premise for this genre. It was a full-cast audio production on Audible and so it sounded well and was entertaining enough but not much to write home about.

Hide by Kiersten White
A broken down amusement park, 14 invited guests, a chance at $50K--and nothing is what it seems. As a suspense/horror story, this is fun. It has its moments but it's not particularly intense or gory.  The story is infused with a bit of the Greek myth that feels like it could have much more interesting elements to it (such as a larger series), but it never feels too fleshed out enough to be thoroughly enjoyed and explored.  

A white duck sitting calming on the water while the legs swim under the surface
My aspirational approach to 
work these next few weeks.

What am I Watching: 

Continuing with: What We Do in the Shadows, Season 4 & Brooklyn 99, Season 5

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law 
The first episode is definitely enjoyable. It made me laugh; a lot of good humor about gender, toxic masculinity, and rejecting the hero-training montage trope.  I've missed Tatiana Maslany since her Orphan Black days. There's also several moments of breaking the 4th wall and am wondering what they're planning to do with that.  

What's On My Mind:

Plantar Fasciitis
I've come to the conclusion that I have plantar fasciitis given the pain in my foot when I first wake up or after sitting for a while.  Apparently, it's an issue of tightness and pain at the front of your heel around where the arch begins.  Right now, I'm trying to ice it, stretch it, and do some more leg-building exercises to better support the muscles.  I'm probably going to need to do some physical therapy but that might have to wait until after the start of the semester.

The Lost Dog
So this has been sitting with me all week.  Last Monday, I was finishing up my morning run.  I often like to finish and walk down the parallel street to mine.  In the morning, there is a house on that street that has 4 cats just all hanging out in front on the porch.  They are all chill if you stand on the sidewalk, and one of them (I have mentally named him Mayor Penderton) comes out to greet, demand pets, and mark me.  It's very cute and this portly tuxedo cat is hard to say no to.  

On Monday, while I was petting them, I looked up to see a dog (photo above) slowly walking over.  The dog was quiet and demure in its approach. As it came closer, it was clear the dog was malnourished (could see skin clinging to its ribs) and suffering from mange (most of the hair from mid-back to hind legs was sparse at best).  The dog came over and sniffed my hand and allowed me to pet it. It had a collar but it didn't look like it had tags. I also was trying to be deliberate and careful in my interactions, not wanting to scare the animal nor knowing what kind of state the dog was in.  

Still, the dog was sweet on the whole and I wanted to help it; get it some food and maybe see if it was possible to find an owner so I took a photo of it.  I also tried to keep its attention but it started to move away back across the street.  I wanted to follow it but I also didn't want to scare it.  I went back to the house to get some food (cat food but figured that would be fine) but when I returned, I couldn't find the dog.  And now, of course, nearly every day at least once, I've passed by that area to see if I can relocate the dog and help it.  

I try not to have regrets or make sure I do everything I can do to learn from them and thereby, change the narrative that regrets can make (check out Daniel Pink's The Power of Regret for more about this).  But I find it's these small moments that I build regrets around. Maybe because I've been thinking about the moment but the interaction, though fleeting, felt connective as if in that moment, the dog, who clearly has been navigating a tough life on the streets chose to come out and say hello to me and I missed the opportunity to help and learn more about who this creature was and what role it was supposed to play in my life.  I think that's gonna sit with me for a while and in the meantime, I'll be walking down that street regularly in the morning hours to see if it comes back.  

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.