Monday, April 25, 2022

Some Monday thoughts

 * I'm getting close to finishing the blocks for the current quilt top. I will be glad when this one is done, but also, I'm going to have to remember not to do a "fractured' four or nine patch again; the subcutting is just too frustrating. You have to be *very* careful because if you miscut, you've really ruined the block, and since these were made from a charm pack....well, there's not any more fabric left over like there is for a quilt made from yardage

I did find a pattern for the fat quarters I bought from Quilt Asylum; it's called something like Origami Garden - it's one of those "modern quilt" patterns with a lot of open space (I will probably have to contemplate the plain white fabric I have here at home, or run to the storage unit to retrieve a piece). But it shows off the fabric and that's what I want for these; some of these are large-scale prints and others I'd rather have a bigger piece visible because of the busy-ness of the prints.

* The heavy duty grading begins this week. I got most of the lab books done this afternoon (a few are going to be late; one person has a medical excuse, the others, if they have them tomorrow? I will just accept them because I'd rather not have some of these people have to retake.

I also graded the big papers in another class (well, read through and put comments on them; I will re-read and grade them tomorrow). And yeah; I did teach worse, these were not up to the caliber of some previous years and I think I probably didn't give enough guidance. One person didn't use sufficient sample size, for example, though I thought I had discussed that. 

I don't know. I'm just kind of tired and discouraged and feel like I've gotten worse at stuff, and I don't like that. 

* Also looking at the world and feeling tired and discouraged. I'm reminded of a quotation from "The Great Gatsby," which I think I've read three times in my life - and I would argue it's one of the more-depressing generally-recognized-as-great novels. There's really no one in there I root for; most of the characters seem pretty unappealing.

But I think of a quotation from the narrator, Nick Carraway: "“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

You see that a lot. Or at least, I've seen that a lot, even going back to when I was growing up in a fairly wealthy "bedroom" community of Cleveland and Akron (as Akron was just beginning its polymers boom). Lots of people from families with money or power who could kind of do as they pleased and leave the "little people " to take the fall or clean up the mess. And I saw it in school - a kid once said "I could buy and sell your family" to me and they probably could have, but geez, what a way to be. And I do think that carelessness, that sense that "there's enough money to make it not matter what I do n the first place" is just bad. It's like the old heresy that a few Christians bought into, that because they were forgiven of past sins, that meant they could go and commit more and just ask forgiveness for THOSE, and it doesn't work that way, none of this works that way. But people do that.

And I see it now, with some petty government officials around here - throw their power around, use it to benefit them, and then not care that their constituents are getting hurt. And they make things worse for everyone in the process.

And it is discouraging. When I was in my 20s I actually thought I'd change the world for the better. In my 30s and 40s I thought that at least I'd make a few people's lives better through teaching. Now, I'm not so sure and am wondering if I just have to settle for "well at least I'm not making things worse"

Though I will say about Great Gatsby - in general, the "Bright Young Things" type novels of that era (Evelyn Waugh is the same) are kind of tiresome to me; I would rather use whatever money or power I had to be useful to society and while I know that one's value as a person is independent of what one "produces" (though this is a trap I fall into - feeling like my worth is tied to the last thing I managed to do, which is probably why I've been so miserable since the pandemic; successes have been few and far between). But I think going around and smashing things up and then throwing money at it to fix it....that seems like not the ideal way to operate.  

But also the idea of "carelessness." I think that has to be learned - or maybe, care is learned and hard to unlearn. I was taught to care and I know in some cases it hamstrings me; it's harder to make a decision because I worry about the ethical implications. Or I can't do what I want because I feel like I have to consider other people.

But I DO know people who, while not wealthy like Tom and Daisy, are able to be careless, to sort of skate away from the harm they caused and seem not to feel bad about it. (Perhaps a bit more like another despicable character from a book - Mr. Skimpole in "Bleak House," where he talked about being bad with time and with money and so endlessly and tiresomely (to my mind) imposes on all those around him, all the while protesting he is "merely a simple child" and so DESERVES special treatment. And I admit that always makes me angry, the person who believes they deserve more special treatment than everyone else, and that people have to take extra care with them. I don't know why it pushes my buttons but it does.)

* I've cycled back into having more vivid dreams (in the sense of just, lots of things happening,lots of random things from my day) and I don't approve of it. I want my brain to be less chaotic. I don't know if this is allergies or if it's because it's gotten warmer again and I don't sleep as deeply. But some mornings I don't feel rested. I'm not sure what to do - maybe I need to unplug more and like, just stare at a wall in the evenings? So my brain doesn't load up with stuff that needs to be sorted out and most of it junked and the rest filed? 

Maybe temperate-zone spring is just bad for the brain? Thinking about the person who went missing (but was fortunately found safe) last week, and some of the other things that go on. Maybe that's why April is the cruelest month? Maybe we all just need to learn to take a break in April, or hibernate, or something....

No comments: