The year of learning dangerously – MIT OpenCourseWare

Since my camera is on the fritz I’m consuming lectures like a thirsty camel – if anyone is interested in my plan for this year, I’m going to be trying to teach myself some sort of docu-landsca-portraiture, basically forcing myself through a year in art school. I’ll be talking about it here not because I think it’s SOOPER FASCINATING for you to read, but because it makes me accountable to myself so I don’t end up in January wondering where the year went.

First servings: Photography as Inquiry. I watched the first two lectures while proofreading something about runny noses (no, seriously). I’ll finish the lectures this week and then begin the observational part of the assignments.

Meanwhile, on the home front, tomorrow I have to sew six dresses before 3/4 of the kids leave for a week in Maine with their grandparents. And yes, Dawn, they are going to MACHIAS. (Dawn’s famous quote from last year, after being there for the weekend, is “Why on earth would anyone, anytime, EVER want to go to Machias?”) We pack them up and send them off on Monday morning. Then Honour and I will spend a week getting caught up on laundry for the first time in a year, scrubbing things with old toothbrushes, moving whelping boxes into place, and skating across clean floors wearing socks before the whirlwind of dirt returns.

Both Clue and Juno are obviously pregnant now; I could tell on Juno a good week ago and Clue a couple days later. I hate to predict numbers, and do not quote me on this, but based on the fact that they started showing this early I am guessing we’ll have decent numbers from both. Shade’s first litter with Lithie (Ch. Wolfwood Lithium Ion of Kingscourt) was seven babies, and that litter is going to be here on the 6th for evals – fantastic not only because we always love puppies but because I can see a bit of a preview of what he’s likely to improve in my girls. If he gives me similar numbers it’s going to be quite an interesting few months!

Right now, I have to tell you, Shade (who has been living with me for a month – I always forget that I have told on the blog, but he came up here from Sarah’s house because Sarah took Friday to handle her, and we keep thinking up reasons for him to stay a little longer because we love him) is the picture of the expectant dad. He knows very well what is going on and he checks his girls constantly, nudges food around for them, backs down immediately when they snark that they don’t feel good right now, and gets terribly worried when Juno finds herself a cave (she’s so tiny that she has them all over the house – little spaces behind couches and so on) and barks at me to come get her out. He honestly even looks different – more mature and direct in his eye contact. He’s a good, good boy and I’m looking forward to these babies a huge amount.

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  • Reply Maryk July 23, 2011 at 8:25 am

    It’s interesting that this MIT course is posted so openly online. When I was in grad school only those involved in the class could access the information. I looked at some of the past portfolios and they are very good. What a great way to teach yourself. But you can’t get any instructor or peer feedback, can you?

    • Reply rufflyspeaking July 24, 2011 at 5:04 am

      Right, no feedback. The challenge is finding the peer review for sure. I am taking real classes in the fall in order to get my work in front of people, but the MIT courseware allows me to be exposed to a caliber of lecture and opinion that’s just not available in the little community college where I’ll be taking darkroom. I am hoping this will be a good mix of both worlds, if I can keep myself focused enough.

  • Reply priscilla July 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

    JOANNA , You amaze me! i don’t think i know anybody who can handle the load you do.. you completely blow my mind.. with your talents and gifts! I’m impressed every single time i read your blog with not only how you are raising your kids and taking care of all the dogs you know, but your love of knowledge, and the ability to find recourse’s that are out there for you. Of course i realize you came by it through your parentage, (especially your dad) who i saw in some article was a brilliant man himself… any way bedsides stalking you, i have such a simple life, and love how yours is so interesting.. Glad you and Honour are going to have some catch up time before the bomb drops in Aug, by the way if either of the dogs waits for the 25th, its my birthday! lol
    I only wish my brain worked as sufficiently as yours .. So i guess you could say im giving you props !!!
    have a great weekend ..

    • Reply rufflyspeaking July 24, 2011 at 5:02 am

      Awwww, you make me feel good. Can I keep you in my backpack and pull you out as I look at my incredible pile of dirty dishes? Thank you so much and I really don’t think I am the cheese – aforementioned dishes prove that I am not. But it’s lots of fun to use my brain again. And maybe we WILL have birthday puppies!

  • Reply Mike July 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Open courseware is, quite frankly, one of the best contributions to the public good from any university. I personally think that any publicly funded university should do the same.

    • Reply rufflyspeaking July 24, 2011 at 5:01 am

      It IS fantastic. Now if every university could just adopt Harvard’s sliding-scale tuition, I would be all set 🙂

  • Reply Raegan July 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

    What IS good dad dog behavior? I have this image in my head that he does the deed and moves on, because if he gets close to the pups he will eat him. Oh Disney, you have not done a single good thing for dogs.

    Well, except for The Fox and The Hound. That movie is epic.

    • Reply rufflyspeaking July 24, 2011 at 5:00 am

      Ha! I know those Disney movies :). The answer is that in a healthy canid family the dad is very involved – not in the early raising of the puppies, and it usually stresses the mom out pretty badly to have him come around when they’re newborns – but once they come out of the den he’ll play with them and tolerate a lot of crap from them and he’ll work to feed them for about eighteen months until they’re grown and move into their own relationships. Dog/wolf dads don’t do the deed and move on. In Shade’s case, he has always been very, very “in love” with Juno; they’ve been good friends since they were puppies, and now they’ll sit on the porch swing together and every five minutes he’ll hop off and leap back on again to get it swinging for them (and no, that is no word of a lie – I need to get it on video because it is the cutest thing I have ever seen, the two of them looking off into the distance together as the swing creaks back and forth). He’s always felt that he needs to trot around and check everything out, pee on stuff, check back with her, go off and make sure the pine tree isn’t a threat, check back with her, chase a squirrel away, come back and check her. Now with Clue also in the picture he runs himself ragged making sure they are OK. He’s exhausted and happy all the time :).

  • Reply Dawn Small July 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I was going to comment about Shade and his harem, but I saw the word MACHIAS and started having bad, bad flashbacks. Thanks for the PTSD, Washington County!

    Love the image of Juno and Shade on the porch swing. So what’s going to be the excuse for him needing to stay a little longer when Sarah is up in a couple of weeks? 😉

    Can’t wait to squidge Shade-Lithee puppies!

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