K: I miss The Kitty. Maybe I’ll look at pictures of him.
W: That will make you happy.
K: Can you imagine the era before photography? You would only have the paintings of your cats.
W: We would have had to do more portraiture.

Just finished stitching The Princess Bride by @weelittlestitches while listening to the Pop Culture Happy Hour episode for the Princess Bride’s 30th anniversary.
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Coursework Complete: What Now?

Hi. I’m Kimberly, and I just submitted my last coursework assignment ever (unless I take more after I advance to candidacy, which, let’s face it, is a very real possibility).

I feel like I should rest, but I also feel antsy. So I’m going to make a few public commitments and share a few thoughts about what happens now.

In terms of official officially what’s up…

Now I write a comprehensive literature review on topics related to my area of research interest, which include theory, methodology, and a few different Connected Learning topics. More on that as it proceeds.

Also, I keep working on Project READY.

But also…

I’m planning to publish e-prints of a few annotated bibliographies based on literature reviews I’ve been sitting on. Those literature reviews are the foundation of lots of research ahead of me, and I don’t want to publish my synthesis and analysis, but these are tricky topics where you have to dig into weird places to find literature, and I think it could really help other scholars to get those bibliographies out there. I’m not going to reveal the topics yet because I don’t want to accidentally hint at any conference juries that particular papers are from me.

I’m working with the UNC SILS Coalition of Youth Librarians to start a Triangle area chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance. To that end, I’m going through their Wizard Activist School program.

I’m submitting a proposal to the Connected Learning Summit.

And personally…

I’m going to be packing and purging stuff from my house. We’ve lived in it for five years and there’s definitely stuff that hasn’t been touched in that time.

I’m going to a twentieth anniversary reunion party for The Bronze posting board, the thing that made fandom a social activity for me.

I’m waiting to really dig into cosplay beyond the casual until I can get a good craft studio space set up.

I want to cross-stitch everything from weelittlestitches, but that’s not new.

I want to crochet myself a whole wardrobe of lacy things out of black yarn.

But really, what’s next?

A nap. Christmas decorations. Leonie’s 2018 Shining Year workbook.

Oh yeah, 2018! So that’s going to happen.

Yep. For several years now – probably inspired by Leonie but I’m not sure – I have selected a word of the year. I often find out around March that I picked the wrong word. My 2016 word was FLOW and it turned out perfectly. This year my word was WORK and it was the right word, but it didn’t manifest quite like I expected.

I’ve been searching for 2018’s word. I want to encompass healing, self-care. I had a revelation in the shower yesterday, as I was agonizing over whether my blood sugar would be good when I went to the doctor today (it was; I’m pretty sure that’s thanks to drinking crazy diluted apple cider vinegar, on the advice of the PCOS Diva). Showering and driving, the best activities for having good ideas.

Anyway, this thought came to me:

I want 2018 to be the year when I treat my body with the same care that I treat my mind and my emotions.

Obvi, I’ve invested more energy in my mind than in anything else in my life. And I tend to look after my emotions, and listen to them.

But my poor body. We have been enemies, thanks to chronic illness. I don’t treat it well at all. There are a lot of reasons. I mean, I don’t drink much or do drugs besides those prescribed to me/readily available over the counter. But I also don’t eat nutritious food as much as I’d like or move on the regular or take good care of my skin and hair.

I’m so sorry, body.

So yeah, I’m still working on finding out what word captures that feeling. It’s not HEAL.

I’m leaning toward GLOW right now, but how much that’s influenced by the Netflix series is hard to say. (By the way, Netflix… I need more GLOW merch. kthx.)

It’s what we’ll go with for now.

So, that was really rambly. What’s next, again?

I’m going to glow.

And take a nap.

Free af: A meditation on finishing coursework

It’s a Friday night at 10 pm. My toddler is sleeping beside me. I just spent the past hour browsing conference programs, finding potential colleagues on Twitter, and dipping my toe into the waters of academic Patreon. It’s 10 pm on a Friday and I’m engaging in activities some might classify as work. But to me they feel like play.

I submitted the last of my parental leave work today. I will finish my last bit of coursework next week.

Today I wrote two research prospectuses, both related to game-based learning in libraries. Earlier this week, I planned a partnership to leverage fandom for making the world a better place.

I am done with the tyranny of other people’s syllabi and it feels amazing.

I have had excellent professors who taught excellent courses and I have been either fortunate or strategic about following my interests in fulfilling my assignments. And yet today, when the only work I have to do is the work I have designed (because even my assistantship is something I was part of designing), I feel lighter. Like after two and a half years of getting by, I can finally manage to do the work I started this degree program to do.

I told myself that I would take a true break from work over winter vacation, but now I know that’s not what I want. I want to get moving on this work – work that fills my cup rather than emptying it, work that feels like play, work that keeps me up past my bedtime because I want it to.

I am aware of how academia works. I know this feeling won’t last.

But today… Today I’m filled with excitement about what comes next.

Yesterday’s #dailytarot pull: the two of wands, Tarot of Pagan Cats. I pulled this yesterday & re-read the description from #wtfistarot & @bakaraw: "Let’s Do the Damn Thing." (p. 79) "Okay, but what IS the thing?" I thought. To me, this cat looks like she’s ready to do the thing but is looking out across the water, waiting for the cat who will partner with her to arrive. I didn’t know what the thing was. Later, I got a tweet from a Master’s student about how the Coalition of Youth Librarians wanted to partner with me on starting a local chapter of The Harry Potter Alliance (@thehpalliance). At first, I said, "It’s too much for me right now." I had an email from HPA in my inbox responding to my filling out the chapter form, but I’d snoozed it until January. Then, as I was listening to the @dreamfreedombeauty intro episode & they were talking about what manifestation feels like and following a feeling, I thought about how I had literal physical chills during the HPA presentation at #AASL17. I thought about the tweet. I thought about how sure, running a chapter is too much for me alone, but maybe not too much in partnership with others who want to do it anyway (rather than friends I might have invited who weren’t as committed). I thought about how the two of wands "encourages fearlessness in our decisions." I thought, "You know what? Let’s do the damn thing." So COYL will discuss it at their next meeting, then I’ll meet with those of them who want to do it, and then we’ll really get started in January.
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