Weekly Update: 03/27/20

I’m trying a new thing with a weekly round-up on Friday.

This has been the second week of social distancing for us. We order our groceries via Instacart, always tipping 10%. I’m wondering now if we should tip higher. If they go on strike, we will find other ways to get groceries, but as someone who is potentially high risk for COVID-19, it has been such a blessing/privilege to be able to get groceries this way.

This was our first week “back” from M’s earlier-than-expected spring break, which means Zoom calls with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, parents, and teachers at 9:30 am every morning. It’s been such a balm to see all those precious faces, to hear the kids say each other’s names and say hello. M and I also did a call with the family of one of his dearest friends. He wasn’t super interested, so it was mostly me talking to them, but it was still nice to do. (Moms trying to talk to each other while the kids are around, though, isn’t really a thing that can happen.)

I have stolen a few moments here and there to work on both my dissertation research and the research for my assistantship. I’m hopeful that next week I’ll be able to dig into those more.

Very little gets done aside from keeping the kid alive. I have had a couple of glorious baths with sea or Epsom salt in them. Media gets consumed. Sleep happens, though often poorly. We eat, and the food mostly isn’t junk (my Hershey-bar-with-almonds habit notwithstanding) but I wouldn’t say there’s much cooking going on. W makes tacos, or I toss some chicken and potatoes in the Instant Pot.

It’s been beautiful outside. Going out and sitting on the deck, it’s easy to forget what a scary time we’re living in. People walk their dogs on the trail. Kids ride bikes. M and W’s mom play in the yard with a beautiful set of fairies and animals that she got for M.

I am trying to blog daily. I spent a late night using every resource from holisticism that mentions purpose or career to help me think about what’s up with my life. While I don’t think the movement of the heavens controls what we do, I think astrology and human design are valuable tools for interrogating ourselves. If we’re reading a description that is supposed to be of us, we can ask ourselves whether it resonates or not. Mine usually does.

Between those resources and Co-star, I am coming to terms with the fact that while I want to do meaningful and helpful work, my priority in life is more home and family and less career. Not that I don’t want one, but that career doesn’t define me. I’m realizing that spontaneous self-expression is very important to me, as is interrogating identity and how it is constructed. I’m embracing the fact that blogging is the most accessible form of spontaneous self-expression for me, that it’s one I’ve been carrying on in one form or another for almost 20 years, and that it’s a very fine hobby to have as one’s primary hobby. The others wax and wane, but blogging is always here.

This is a nice segue into what I’ve been reading online this week, because as I decided to really embrace kimberlyhirsh.com as a personal blog rather than a professional blog or something aimed at getting me jobs or providing income, I’ve been reading about personal blogging and its value. Here are some of the things I read that stuck with me:

  • How blogs changed everything This is a post from 2009, but still has a lot of value today. My favorite part is when Rosenberg says, “Blogging allows us to think out loud together.” I love the concept of blogging-as-thinking. Every time I run across it, I go, “Oh YEAH! THAT’s why we do this!”
  • Personal Blogging Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me This more recent piece, written in 2015 and updated in 2017, references the earlier one. The author writes:

Personal blogging does not require you to become an expert at anything but your life. We’re all experts at our own lives, and sometimes we have experiences that are universal that would bring like-minded people together. We share these experiences on a personal blog in the hopeful attempt to reach out and make other people who are going through the same thing a little less alone.

This helped me think about the purpose of my site/blog. It’s three-fold: first, it serves as a way for people who meet me to get to know me deeply. Whether we meet face-to-face or online, it has value because I try to be myself here. I’m old enough that I’m kind of done pretending to be something I’m not. If people see what I write here and don’t want to work with me or be friends with me, we weren’t going to be a good fit anyway. Second, it serves as a set of reminders to myself. My future self is the primary audience for this blog. Over and over I search its archives for things I’ve written, whether about health or academics or something else entirely. Third, it is a way to help people, to make them feel less alone, or to illuminate processes that may be opaque to them. This is really what this quote is getting at. (You’ll notice the new description, with both Helpfulness and Transparency included in it. That’s what this is about.)

There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.

This is happening more and more, especially with technologies like webmentions supporting it. (Hat-tip to @c, author of that article.)

And this is an especially valuable moment for it, for focusing on this small bit of the digital world over which we have control:

Finally on the personal blog front, Robin Sloan and Colin Walker really get at the reason I’m embracing kimberlyhirsh.com as a fully personal blog (which will necessarily include my work, because it’s part of who I am):

The thing about blogging is, you can just write about the things you love. A “professional” “critic” (scare quotes because who even knows what words mean anymore) has to do something else, something more difficult: manage a kind of unfolding… aesthetic… worldview? Balance one thing against the other? A blogger suffers no such burden. A blogger can simply 1. love a thing, and 2. write about it.

In that aforementioned new tagline, “Enthusiasm” is the first word. It’s placement is very deliberate, I assure you.

And one more thing. Because it’s All Muppets All the Time (my DVD set of Season 1 of The Muppet Show just arrived!), I really appreciated this article asking Why Doesn’t Disney+ Have More Muppet Stuff?.

Last but not least, current consumption:
🎵: Labyrinth Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/The Muppets (2011) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
📖: Blue Mind by Wallce J. Nichols
🎬: Picard
🦸‍♀️: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures
🎮: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Lego Marvel Superheroes, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Lego Marvel Superheroes 2

Kimberly Hirsh @kimberlyhirsh