Day 339, February 17, 2021

Dancing for My Dinner

Tonight's soundtrack: Return to Forever, Molde Jazz Festival, 1972

I met with a group of students today and one of the topics was self care in the pandemic. One student talked about how important it was for her to create transitions between activities. When she explained what she meant, I discovered that I also treasure those rituals of transition. 

At a certain time of the day
Franklin comes and finds the 
patch of sunlight on my floor
to take a nap.

At the end of my work day, I will take off my button down shirt (my work costume) and cardigan, and trade it for a sweatshirt. I'll then build a fire in the wood stove and return to my office space to write. It is more of a symbolic transition than a functional one, though once the fire picks up it makes the living room nice and toasty for later in the evening. We don't burn the stove all day because our office rooms are far from the stove and it would stay cold in our office spaces (also known as kid bedrooms). It feels a little against my nature to not build a fire in the morning when I'm at home in the winter, but it is one of those negotiated ways of being that has evolved. 

In these later days of winter, I worry that I have become even more sedentary than I have been these last few months. My walk down to the river has been curtailed by deep snow and a short dog, and by meetings that impinge on the noon hour from either side. Just today, Franklin seemed like he might be willing to tromp through the deep snow on our noon walk, but I had only 10 minutes to circle the house and microwave my beans and rice. 

One of these days, when I have a little extra time, I'll put on the snowshoes and try forging a path. I imagine it must be pretty down there.

One of the ironic things about the pandemic and my routines of transition, is that I'm listening to more music than I have in years. When I was a guitar builder, there was music constantly playing out of the little boombox in my workshop. I particularly remember a Grant Green collection that was in heavy rotation. In more recent years, I listened to music I created, or played in, either to learn the changes better or to analyze rehearsals (Vimana recorded almost all of our practice sessions). I listened to bands my friends played in and saw lots of live music, shared billing on gigs, and occasionally listened to something someone wanted to highlight for me to listen to. But the home stereo was used relatively rarely, and my car rides to work were usually spent listening to audio books. 

It wasn't always that way. I used to think of myself as a behind the times audiophile... someone who fawned over the great audio gear of decades past. I have a wonderful music system pieced together with a turntable from the '70s, speakers from the '80s, a tube preamp and solid state amplifier from the '90s, and a cassette player from somewhere in between. Despite its hodgepodge intergenerational nature, it sounds wonderful, but because of its size, it lives in the basement music room and I only get to listen to my records when I'm doing projects on my workbench, or working on my desktop computer. I never had time or made time to mine the treasure-troves of YouTube, let alone watch entire concerts. Now, that is a nightly ritual as I write my blog. I'll see what the YouTube algorithm suggests, or I'll ask my son for suggestions, or I will think of an artist who I've always been curious about and just never had the opportunity to explore.

In addition to the soundtracks that accompany my evening writing ritual, several years ago, one of my daughters bought a family subscription to Spotify, and I have to admit, the whole concept of web playlists seemed strange and abstract to me. I am a person who loves to slip records out of protective plastic sleeves and hold physical cds in my hand. The only time I listened to Spotify was when I wanted to listen to my daughter's playlist that she shared with me. But, in the pandemic, I have become a fan. At dinner time, I'll slip in my earbuds and explore an artist, find a playlist, and start dancing/cooking. I dance as a form of exercise, as a form of transition, as a way to entertain Franklin, as a way to feel joyful about things, as a way to get funky. I have playlists exploring Jimmy Smith, the band Stuff, one made up with different versions of Autumn Leaves, and a bunch of different funk, funky jazz, and similar fare. 

I sometimes wonder what I must look like to the neighbors when they look across the street and see my silhouette as I make dinner. I try to put on a good show and be as entertaining as I can be in case they are looking. Franklin seems to enjoy it.

As the day nears its end, it is a pleasing way to transition. 

I worry about what the future looks like, even with the vaccine. But dancing allows me to just be in the moment, to freeze on the beat with a spatula in hand, to stop and execute a spin while also checking if the wood stove needs another log, and flip over the shrimp in time to James Brown.

Cheers and stay warm,

Leo



Junebug has been having issues, so we protect the bed with a clear shower curtain,
but she has discovered a loophole to our plans.

From Our Friends:

From the Leading for Change Consortium:

Framingham State University hosts Dr. Eddie Moore on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 @ 4:30 p.m. 

Dr. Moore is a pioneer doing great work in the Equity Diversity and Inclusion World. 

Please see attached PDF flyer for more information. This is a FREE zoom event.

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vehLYSdUROaFHSq7BtD0mg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

You can learn more about Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. at https://www.eddiemoorejr.com/

 

 

GCC is delighted to share with you a great event that we are planning for next Monday, in celebration of Black History Month. 

Please see the attached flyer on the panelists, which includes our own Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior. 

To register, please see: https://www.gcc.mass.edu/events/embracing-our-legacy-to-inspire-a-brighter-future-a-black-history-month-conference/

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed:

Why Your ‘Objective’ Screening Rubric Produced Biased Results

Five things that search committees can do to move more women and people of color forward in the executive-hiring process.

From Learning for Justice:

What It Means to Be an Anti-racist Teacher

Anti-racist educators often hear that what they’re doing is “extra,” that it “doesn’t belong at school,” that it “isn’t real work,” even that it’s “indoctrination.” Those sentiments are the work of white supremacy, and Lorena Germ├ín, co-founder of Multicultural Classroom and #DisruptTexts, sat down with us to break all of it down.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Research suggests that attackers who disrupted online classes often did so at the invitation and encouragement of students in those same classes -- which instructors need to know if they want to guard against noxious interruptions.






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