Failure or Animal Lover?

So working at the farm this week is not an option…I feel like a failure, yet the farm has enough workers that it will not go to a standstill because I am not there, nor will it be that affected at all.  Why could I not work this week?  In the message I sent at 5am this morning, I claimed “babysitting issues” which is true- my two youngest would have been home alone, although they are generally asleep when I am out working so early in the morning,  Who needed babysitting?- my son’s hamster Mr. Chubbs.

Now people may think I am crazy or excessive or not even believe this story, which is why I omitted it under the umbrella of “babysitting”.  Mr. Chubbs in his anger over my youngest not being here, became agitated and tried to escape to find him last Friday.  He has done this before when his owner (my 9 year old) has been gone for more than a night or so.  He has even escaped while my 9 year old has been here only to be found under the couch where the kid was sitting.  He loves him.  This time in Mr. Chubbs’ effort to find him, he got his leg stuck in the bars of his cage.  Apparently hamsters will chew their legs off if they feel it necessary.  It was a horrible scene one of which was precluded by my 15 year old screaming and crying soap opera style.

Long story short (and yes that was short for me) $200 later and an amputation for Chubbs, has left me unable to leave him for very long.  I was right to stay with him, as apparently he does not like the dispensing method of his antibiotics in his water bottle and found a way to empty out the contents (how he did that remains a mystery).  So I am keeping an eye on him for signs of infection and will not hesitate to take him back to the Vet.  This all makes perfect sense to me, but can you imagine telling your employer you can’t come in because your kid’s hamster’s leg was amputated? Luckily this was only a side thing off the career track and I am doing most of my work from home and have 2 weeks before the Fall semester begins.  Mr. Chubbs should be on the mend by then and thus I will avoid making it to a website for the “craziest reasons to call in to work”- aka I have to babysit Chubbs the hamster.


athletic farming


radical farmwives

I don’t jog. I don’t go to the gym for a workout. And this time of year, I can’t even pull off any semblance of a consistent yoga practice. But… I do dig potatoes.IMG_3701

Late last week we were scrambling to get the year’s potato harvest out of the ground before the next round of rain set in. Our patch was about a quarter of an acre in size, roughly half a mile of row feet to dig. We knew our harvest window was limited, as we had a full weekend already planned with our weekly harvest and market to think about, as well as our annual summer field day for our CSA shareholders. And that rain kept creeping closer and closer… time to kick it into turbo gear and get our hands in the dirt.IMG_3712

This year our potato harvest had the added bonus of a middle-buster, also known…

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The Historians Cited By Mitch Daniels Denounce Him


In his statement defending his efforts to censor Zinn’s book, Mitch Daniels argued, “Respected scholars and communicators of all ideologies agree that the work of Howard Zinn was irredeemably slanted and unsuited for teaching to schoolchildren.” Daniels’ office has been sending out quotes from seven historians critical of Zinn to support that claim. I surveyed the living historians cited by Daniels, and got responses from three of them, who unanimously condemned Daniels.

Academe Blog posted Michael Kazin’s response last night, in which Kazin wrote that Daniels “should be roundly condemned for his attempts to stop students from reading Zinn’s big book and for calling Zinn a liar…” Kazin wrote about Zinn’s book, “chapters of it can be quite useful if contrasted with alternative interpretations.”

Sam Wineburg took to Twitter to respond to Daniels, writing: “Mitch Daniels uses my work to defend his shameless attempts to censor free speech. Shame!” Wineburg…

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Feminism 3.0: Fieldwork

Summer has been overwhelmingly boring, yet stressful; these states of being do not exist well when one jumps from one to another.  I have also been agitated, underemployed, and lonely to boot, reading books and watching films has either added to or subtracted from my overall essence.  Though teaching one online class, strike that, facilitating one has been interesting, my absence in the classroom has led to me to either think a.) I should really be taking a break anyway to avoid possible burnout or b.) I should be doing fieldwork, I have the time.  Unfortunately since I have decided the college attendance gap that shows more women than men are entering and receiving diplomas from universities is a problem and that it begins as a malignant reality in elementary education is itself a problem, since everyone is on break.

Of course, I have been reading what the “other side” says and this is basically that men still have an advantage even without a degree, they can go into a trade, for instance.  Having been married to someone in a “trade”, I still wasn’t convinced that this was something that anyone would really want to do, it’s hard, grueling work.  But then I saw the film The Company Men and I changed my feelings on this for 3 days or so.  I had a week previous also watched the film Margin Call, which like the former film dealt with the Great Recession.  Both made me cry and both made me realize that although men may be less able to accept their sudden unemployment in these times, due to machismo or something, it affected women too and where were we represented? The Recession took away a chunk of my 30’s, not the best time to be idle, really, although I was lucky enough to know it was coming.  Having graduated with my Master’s in August 07′, I went immediately into magazine advertising and other marketing ventures.  I had my hand in no less than 5 jobs out of college with 2 of them being promising on the resume and 3 being transient catering/waitressing/freelancing stuff to make money, so I could keep up the guise of being successful in the 2 that mattered.  Yes, Ben Affleck, we all know the importance of keeping up with your contacts at the country club.

Of course, the people with money and lots of it, were the ones I would go to for advertising space.  It became clear very soon after I began this that people were not letting go of their money very easily.  I was warned….I remember that at some point a very wealthy potential client told me soberly that things were going to “get bad”.  I knew the concept of things getting “bad”, so my only question was “how long?”.  I can’t remember the exact answer of if it wasn’t an answer at all, but just a look.  I was as prepared as any new graduate could ever be, I suppose.  But I never thought that my moving in with my parents in December 06′ on my birthday(my 30th) just a week after my divorce would end up in me being there 5 years.  Had I not had two small children, I would have went to any of the four corners of the earth rather than be there, but they needed stability, life was horrible.  I was the sole breadwinner, not primary, but sole breadwinner.  Only in my darkest hour did I ever ask for child support.  That was over 5 years ago and though I see the same dark cloud looming over me, this will never be an option. So yes Ben Affleck, I felt the same feelings that your character did, I was afraid of my children losing faith in me and I felt like a “loser” too only I didn’t have a supportive wife, who went back to work in the nursing field and I didn’t have an uncle to give me a construction job….a construction job?

I too remember those years of looking for work after the magazine fell apart and the internship at the marketing company in New York just.ended.  I was either underqualified or overqualified and the rejection after rejection ate away at me until I couldn’t even do it alone anymore.  My parents in their archaic baby boomer mentality criticized me nonstop, I was told by my kids’ school that I was technically “homeless” because I was “doubling up” with another family; my parents.  I gained weight, I got a job coach, because I qualified for that assistance.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I realized it when I watched the films that if the Recession had been caused by a terrorist attack, if people actually saw mass casualties right on CNN or Fox or whatever, it wouldn’t have been so bad.  We wouldn’t be looked at as “losers”, we wouldn’t have felt like losers.  People would have seen that this was real and not because of a lack of trying, and trying, and on and on…

But then I got my 3rd choice of a career as a professor, actually we are called instructors where I work or adjuncts or no one realizes we exist, except for our students and the Department Chair.  My career coach or whatever his title was, considered this a success and I did too.  Three years later and my full time teaching load has been cut in half due to Obamacare and every other person unlucky enough to not be full time or tenured is in the same boat.  But life goes on, people understand if a bomb actually explodes in front of your face your life forever changes, but like with the Recession, no one actually sees this.  Life goes on and people go on vacation and they feel secure, and they might blame you as a woman for remaining single, although being a wife was the job I was always the worst at.

Suddenly I began doing odd things like sending off for free samples or clicking on emails to get two cents, because those two cents will eventually add up to that $30 check that can put gas in the car.  I went on more interviews, I was asked if I “had issues with urine and feces” or if I would “enjoy working with small children”.  I felt my Feminism raging because of course I had a problem with feces and I didn’t go to school to work with small children.  Couldn’t I just build something?  What the hell was I thinking even caring about this college attendance gap?  Then today I finished a book and I got an email.  It has changed everything.

I have always been a “field person”, as a Sociologist there is nothing I love more than being “out there” and the farther out, the better.  My first day of Spring Break, I interviewed at a farm, horticultural only.  I was told I could work with migrant farm workers and others come July when the fields were ready to be picked.  I figured it would solve my money problems that always came with the lack of courses to teach in the summer, even if it would only make a difference in buying my boys new or used football cleats or allow us to go to the county fair for a night and actually buy something instead of going just to get free stuff in the merchants tent.  I had just finished reading Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski and I wondered why I didn’t just trek off to Thailand or some other place.  But that email “what is your availability next week?” saved me.  I wasn’t building anything, but it was hard work and it could be again like it was in my first practice fieldwork, I would be immersed in Spanish like I had been with the immigrants that lived just a county away.  Maybe Anthropologists might understand this more or maybe they are as depressed as I was if they aren’t tenured.  But, buying a new pair of cleats is the best I can do for my youngest, who is the only one who hasn’t lost faith in my ability to make their lives okay.  My oldest two have decided that I will always be poor and have given up and given in somewhat to “free fun” like sneaking in to the pool for homeowners and not renters.  Of course when I announced I would be a farmer next week, they assumed I would get something free out of it….we all know that nothing is free, but actually I will get some fresh produce out of it and I won’t feel like a loser, because I picked it in the sun and in the dirt and in the heat and in the rain.  So please don’t tell me I’m not trying.

How the temp workers who power America’s corporate giants are getting crushed

The more I study Economics, the more dire things look…as if The Jungle wasn’t depressing enough-

Financial Post | Business

The following story is from ProPublica, a non-profit news organization that produces investigative journalism.

It’s 4:18 a.m. and the strip mall is deserted. But tucked in back, next to a closed-down video store, an employment agency is already filling up. Rosa Ramirez walks in, as she has done nearly every morning for the past six months. She signs in and sits down in one of the 100 or so blue plastic chairs that fill the office. Over the next three hours, dispatchers will bark out the names of who will work today. Rosa waits, wondering if she will make her rent.

In cities all across the country, workers stand on street corners, line up in alleys or wait in a neon-lit beauty salon for rickety vans to whisk them off to warehouses miles away. Some vans are so packed that to get to work, people must squat on milk…

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