It was my birthday yesterday, and I had to lay down Mister President, my dog of ten years, to rest forever.
. . .
Mister President came to me at the height of my selfishness, during a time of my life when, fundamentally, I was interested only in myself, despite all the relationships I’d had up until that point. And when he came to me, he taught me how to care for someone else, to devote myself to someone else, to really love someone else — unreservedly and unconditionally .
. . .
In this way, he saved me. Without him, I don’t know if I would have been ready to fall in love with Laura when I met her, and more importantly, I don’t know if I would have known how to sustain that love. And without Mister President, I don’t know if I would have been equipped to care for and truly love our wonderful daughter.
In and of themselves, those are two enormous gifts that he gave me. This is what dogs do, I guess. You think you’re doing all the giving. But they give you more than you know in return.
We have dealt with the deaths of several people close to us in the last few years. This comment on MetaFilter really speaks to me:
This is what helplessness feels like. Nobody is good at watching someone they love pass away. In the face of fear and sadness and anger and denial, when your brain is spending most of its processing power yelling and then crying and then yelling again “No! Noooooo! No!” for days or weeks on end, you don’t always do the best things. You don’t do the things you’d imagined you would do. You don’t do the things you will wish you had done, when you spend the ensuing years reliving those final hours with your mom or your dad or your spouse. You feel like a drowning person, flailing about for something to hold onto, but there’s nothing to hold. You try all the coping methods that have worked in the past: tell a funny joke, give them something to be proud of, distract yourself, even lie and say it’s all going to be ok, but it all seems crass, and none of it stops the dying.
But that’s ok. It’s horrible and terrifying and you do everything wrong, and still somehow there is beauty in your very failure. You are being forced to face up to something huge, and your inability to handle it is part of what makes you human, part of the price you pay for loving deeply. There is a profound honesty in this fumbling, an admission that the loss of this person is leaving you directionless.
In addition to needlepoint and bargello, I also do cross stitch–though, my cross stitch projects tend to be much less ambitious than my needlework designs.
Here are a few of the cross stitch projects that I’ve done over the years:
The dogs in this design come from Mary Norden’s Ethnic Needlepoint book:
These elephants come from the same book:
I did this for an online gift exchange:
In this post, I noted that most of my needlepoint and cross stitch designs are original. Here are some of my designs
You can download the pattern here.
Every design that I’d done recently before this was all done on 45 and 90 degree angles, so I decided to try something different.
Ever since Barack Obama became president, I’ve pondered the role of racism in regard to his presidency. Now that we are in the final days before the 2012 election, I have finally come to a conclusion about the issue. Racism is alive and well in the US, but you cannot chalk up the large number of people who hate Mr. Obama simply to racism. Instead, I have concluded that base-level racism just puts people at a different starting place. I look at it this way: a lot of people really hated Bill Clinton when he was president, but at the heart of the matter, he more or less was a good ol’ boy Southern white guy. Racism gives the same people a different starting place with regard to Obama. The hatred for Obama is fundamentally probably no worse than it was for Clinton, but the race issue puts these same people at a higher starting point, therefore the overall level of hatred is higher.
In 1997, I completed my Ph.D. in German literature/cultural studies/translation studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Here are the abstract and table of contents of my dissertation:
The three dramas of nineteenth-century German playwright Georg Büchner represent an interesting case study of how literary reputations are made and how the value of literary texts is determined. This dissertation undertakes a detailed examination of the reception of Büchner’s dramas in Anglo-American culture from 1919, the year the first English-language translation of one of Büchner’s plays was published, through the 1960s, when Büchner had become an established part of the canon of world drama.
Employing a methodology based on the work of Hans Robert Jauß and Michel Foucault as well as several contemporary translation theorists, the goal of this dissertation is to investigate some of the factors that influenced the building of Büchner’s literary reputation in the United States and England. Based on the findings of this case study, it is also the goal of this dissertation to make a contribution to the on-going development of a non-normative, reception-oriented approach to translation studies.
The research of this dissertation is based primarily on the published English-language translations of the plays of Georg Büchner, the texts that were published with the translations, and the published reviews of the translations and performances of Büchner’s plays in the United States and England from the beginnings of the reception of Büchner’s works in England and the United States in the early twentieth century to the 1960s, when Büchner’s reputation had been well established in English-language culture.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Theoretical Groundwork
- Translation Study as a Linguistic Study
- Translation of “Sacred” or Canonical Texts
- Translation as a Process
- Translation as Rewriting
- The Power of Reception: The Cultural Turn in Translation Theory
- Translation and Horizons of Expectation: Histories of Reception
- Translations as Cultural Manipulation: Rewritings as Regimes of Truth
- From Theory to Practice: An Interim Conclusion
Chapter 2: German-language Büchners
- Büchner’s Life
- Early Failed Image: Büchner as Young German
- The Socialists’ Büchner
- Büchner for Social Democrats and Naturalists
- Büchner’s Reception in Germany: The Twentieth Century
Chapter 3: Anglophone Büchners
- Büchner in America: The Socialists
- Büchner in the Early Twentieth-Century: The Great European
- Büchner in America: The German-English Version
- The Other English Büchner: Büchner after World War II
- Büchner and the Canon of World Theater
- Büchner and the 1960s
- Büchner as an English Classic: Conclusion
Chapter 4: Büchner as Reception Case Study
Appendix A: English-language Translations of Georg Büchner’s Works through 1980
Appendix B: Performances of Büchner’s Works in Britain and the United States through 1980
Back in high school, I started doing four-way bargello needlework. At some later point, I moved on to needlepoint (in bargello, the stitches are the same direction as the canvas; in needlepoint, stitches are diagonal to the canvas). Every time I visit a used bookstore, I check out the needlework section. I’ve bought a lot of needlepoint books over the years, but by far, my favorite designer is Mary Norden, and my favorite book of designs is Ethnic Needlepoint. I’ve designed most of my needlepoint projects myself over the years, but I’ve now stitched several designs straight from this book. Here are two of them that date, roughly, from the mid-2000s: