reminiscing: advice from a professor

i recently came across these notes i took on the first day of one of the prerequisite classes for the film program in college. it still seems applicable in many ways, and i thought it would be fun to share it here.

1. be a part of your education. ask questions.
2. become known on campus (in the department)--my duty.
i am a professional student, teachers are my clients. always serve the client.
3. it may never be too late.
4. never accept a poor grade--ask for a chance to redo (one on one)
5. be professional in approach--be polite
6. if you're not prepared, don't show up--be responsible
7. pick 3 buddies
8. type everything--as perfectly as possible
9. keep a copy of everything you turn in (even if you have to photocopy). always have a backup.
10. assume everything can be rewritten or redone (2 weeks for this class)
11. be gracious
12. read your syllabus--assume it could slide--always come to class
13. contact professor before absence
14. be responsible for missed time--call a buddy
15. never miss a final
16. don't visit during lectures--we're paying for it!
17. stay until the end--participation
18. don't burn bridges
19. do assignments on the day assigned--always ahead--especially print papers--plan ahead
20. challenge: no homework on sundays--however, earn those 24 hours off
21. don't let problems slide--get counseling (it's free and confidential)
22. most four-year degrees take five years--do you want your degree or an education? (*leave a major class--a GE--to that last semester so you have to stay)
23. challenge the system--some rules don't apply to everyone--work with the teacher
24. back doors open--volunteer time--come in running
25. be malleable and able to negotiate
26. take notes as if you'll teach this class
i especially like 11, 18, 20, & 26. what advice did you receive in school that you still remember today?


the new obsession.

pinterest. i didn't think i would jump on that wagon, but it turns out i'm really enjoying the ride. i love having a visual bookmark keeper. i love seeing what my friends are pinning so i can get to know them better. i love having the visual reminder of the things i want to do--the ideas aren't tucked away in my email or bookmark file somewhere--they are there! on my declarative board. or there! on eat well.
what are you obsessed with lately?


afterthoughts: jane eyre(s).

*watching movies in a theater really is an engrossing experience. i was entranced by this film and kind of sad when it was over because i wanted to see more. i don't go to theaters much anymore, so it was fun to feel the magic of the experience again.
*when i grow old i want to be judi dench. (or helen mirren, but for the sake of this writing i'll go with judi dench.)
*the film has many beautiful sequences that made me think of an anthropologie catalog. i kind of hate to use a commercial comparison like that, but i thought of anthropologie several times as i watched jane walk through gardens and forest in gorgeously corsetted plaid and plain dresses. it turns out the director is also a cinematographer. this is one of his first feature films and i'm excited to see more from him. i love how he brought the visual elements from his cinematographical background to directing this film.
*there are at least 22 film/television adaptations of jane eyre, including versions made in china, india, and mexico.
*the script for the 2011 film was adapted by a woman. this is only the second film version i could find that was adapted solely by a woman. a 1997 version included one woman on the three-writer team. the 2006 bbc mini-series was also adapted solely by a woman.
*i loved the styles within the film. mia wasikowska's hairstyles were amazing, and for some reason i was struck by the look of the women's bare eyelashes. and mia wasikowska is simply striking.
*i like the name jane even more now. my previous experiences with jane eyre left me wanting. i saw the 1996 version with william hurt as an introduction to the story. when i finally tried to read the book years later, those were the actors my mind's eye conjured. gothic lit is hard for me to get into and i actually gave up on the book halfway through because i wasn't enjoying it.
*i think seeing the posters from some of the film adaptations was very interesting, especially after finding out which versions were adapted by women and which ones by men. it's also funny to think that these films all tell the same basic story--would you ever guess that from their posters?
i would choose the 2011 version (7) purely on poster aesthetics: the simple, elegant font; jane as the main image; rochester as a part of her dress, as an element she chooses to make a part of herself. i am a bit curious to see orson welles (2) as mr. rochester, and that poster is the most intense. i'm not keen on the male dominance in posters 3 & 5. i suppose the male stars (george c. scott & timothy dalton) were the main draw for those versions, but it still seems wrong to have the namesake of the film in miniature compared to her male counterpart. plus what's with the ugly font on poster 3? that said, it's interesting that the 1934 version (1) has the stars in equal places, as does the 1996 (4) version.
based on the posters, which version would you choose to see? do you have a favorite film/tv version of jane eyre?


my grown-up self.

growing up i collected ideas and images in my mind of the kind of things i would do and the kind of person i would be as a grownup. i thought about it again recently when i came across a blog with a sign on the sidebar that says: "i'm an adult and i can do whatever i want."
for some reason, reading it stated so boldly reminded me of all the choices i really do have. it's funny that i still have a "someday" mentality about so many things, and how i do still think "someday when i'm a grownup." i've always heard people say you don't feel too different as you grow older, but now i think i'm starting to get it. i mean, i thought i understood, but now i can see i have been a grownup for quite some time and there are many things i envisioned myself doing which i never do. and now i'm thinking it would be fun to try to do some of them. so i give you:

1. wear lipstick
2. throw dinner parties. fancy ones, with three courses and cloth napkins.
3. have garden parties
4. go to art galleries & foreign film screenings
5. wear a dress/skirt on a weekday
6. have nicely manicured fingernails
7. wear jewelry
8. have a clean, well-designed house

well, you get the idea. the fun part of my vision, obviously, is the more artificial stuff. i liked to think i would shop at j. crew and drive a land rover and be part of the scene in some urban setting. i also dreamed about the more important stuff:

1. marry the man i love in the temple
2. be a mother and stay home with my children, if possible
3. find ways to develop my own talents and nurture my family's talents and interests
4. maintain close friendships with my loved ones--family and friends
5. be a proactive person who makes connections and works hard

both lists are still important to me, and i'm happy to say that i feel i'm doing the things i value most from this second list. it's a helpful thought because lately i've been thinking so hard about this dream:

1. be a published writer

i envision it. i envision it real good, but i feel like i'm stuck on the other side of it, trying to figure out how to get close enough to touch it. how can i break through the wall? that is my question. for 59 chocolateless days that has been the question. it seems like spending any amount of time with words is a push in the right direction. so here i am.

back to the fun stuff. i'm looking at that list that little me dreamed about and thinking, i can do that. i am a grownup! i can do all of this if i want to! it's all about priorities, and planning. and finding the right shade of lipstick.
what's on your grownup list? are you living your grownup dream?


it's astonishing.

i'm amazed. astonished. flabbergasted. blown away. overwhelmed. astounded. stupefied. by what? the internet.
there is just. so. much.
so many great things. so many good things. so many things i wish i had thought of. honestly, i'm having a hard time not being a bit cynical these days, because i'm so inspired but simultaneously baffled by my own lack of creativity these days.
oh, i know what this kind of admission arouses in the poor people who have to read it. i'm not feeling sorry for myself (that was yesterday), and i'm moving past obsessively reading blogs to find some clue for where these people come up with stuff. i know it's all a matter of perspective--and documentation. but i also know i'm not the only one who feels like i don't do "anything" (besides keep three kids alive and happy and try to make dinner and sometimes clean my house and make myself presentable and NOT eat chocolate, among other things).
so i need to do something already.
okay, i will, but first i want to do a bit of a brain scrub, to slough off all these dead thoughts i have swirling around in my head. because nothing cures dead brain cells like a list! (and you know you really need to do this if you type out brain cells as one word.)

*my recipe collection is now online here. the idea is to use the site as a place for my sisters-in-law and me to share recipes. everything is gluten-free. it still needs some editing, and more pictures, but mostly i'm really excited about it.
*speaking of food, i think about food all the time. it doesn't help that i currently have six jamie oliver cookbooks checked out from the library.
*i've been mildly obsessed with clothes lately. it wouldn't be too big a deal if i just had a small fortune to spend on clothes, but my clothes budget is only one of those things--small. much of my free time lately has gone to window-shopping, online window-shopping, slight coveting, actual shopping, and returning items i think i could find for cheaper or make in the hypothetical world where i sew. i'm ready for this rollicking process to be over already.
*wool felt. i just want to make stuff with it and maybe drape myself. just kidding, it wouldn't really drape well.
*coconut. and oats. and triple layer cakes i really want to make 37 days from now.
*stripes. i love them. i want to make my kids clothes from them. and wear them almost all the time.
*all things tiny. i will have to explain this more later.
*eating muesli for breakfast. or having a fruit smoothie. i looove strawberry yogurt honey smoothies. i will have them in my heaven.

and now, in picture form, thought not complete:
that may not be a complete list, but i feel better. now to see how my freshly-scrubbed brain works. i hope my will now glow.


style: yes, please.

image from j crew.

i daydream of being effortlessly stylish, loving everything in my closet, and never again dreading that i have nothing to wear.
one can always dream, right?
in my dreams, i roll out of bed to a beautiful closet where all my clothes are hung on wooden hangers and my shoes are lined up neatly and i can put on anything and feel lovely.
there seem to be two ways i can work toward my dream. one: worry less about what i wear (that's fodder for another post). two: focus more on the basics. three: think more carefully about color.
i went through my clothes and did an inventory--i wrote down everything i have. then i made list of the things i feel i'm lacking. i tend to bargain, buying bits and pieces, sometimes missing the essentials to really put a look together. after seeing how much stuff i do have, it was refreshing to see how small my missing item list was. included on that list:
jeans or dark pants, preferably with a slimmer leg
a new summer skirt
some kind of blouse
a light gray cardigan
a couple more everyday shirts
something striped

this spring i'm excited to try something new, something feminine and daring--like berry lip stain or orange lipstick or a skirt--on a weekday. who knows, maybe doing something adventurous superficially will somehow transcend to the rest of my actions.

what's in the wardrobe of your daydreams? do you see yourself trying something bolder this year?