Postcard from the Choctaw Nation

Description on back: The most characteristic feature of the French-influenced Choctaw traditional clothing is the cutout appliqué work on the shirts worn by men and the dresses and aprons worn by women. The full diamond design, probably the most common on clothing and baskets, is derived from the markings of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Other common designs include the half-diamond or the circles and crosses representing stickball and sticks.

Traditional Choctaw Clothing
Originally uploaded by aimeedars

Movie Night

I expect Clint Eastwood’s films to be difficult and dark. With Gran Torino, my expectations were met. I was surprised, though, by how funny the movie was, both in its dialog and its commentary on the character of Walt (maybe Mr. Kowalski, but definitely not Wally).

In future semesters, I may show the scene when Walt first visits Sue and Thao’s house during a celebratory feast to illustrate cultural norms and cross-cultural differences.

The movie is continuing to simmer in my mind – I wonder how Walt’s own family could be so detached and unaware of Walt’s strengths. Also, what allowed Walt to be touched by Thao and Sue when he clearly built so many barriers?

One note that did not ring true to me was the way-too-obvious cross symbolism. Despite that, I cried and cried at the end. Unlike the end of Million Dollar Baby, I also felt hopeful, too.

Ravelympics Report

In February, I participated in my first Ravelympics. During the Olympics, knitters and crocheters pick challenging projects to complete while watching (or not) the athletes as inspiration. A number of categories include cables, sweaters, designing, toys, and even a category for finishing works-in-progress.

Because I wasn’t quite sure what it was all about, I only committed to one project – a cabled scarf – for the “Go Pug Yourself” team, a Ravelry group of knitters/crocheters owned by pugs. I finished the scarf (my first project with cables) and received the coveted badges of completion.

This scarf is from One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochet and uses Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton.

College Teaching

I am going through the process of my second year review at work. Student evaluations of my teaching are on my mind – a little too much! This has made me remember some of my favorite college teachers and classes. What do you remember liking most (or least) about your college professors? What things did they do to make you think they were awesome and enthusiastic? What were the characteristics of the courses you thought were challenging?

And, yes, if you are wondering, you will be tested on this! ; )