School, scheduling, recreation and feminism

After school today I talked to both of Hazel’s teachers, trying to get an idea of what we need to do, what we might be missing, what the day and week is like in general for Hazel. Conclusions: I need to check the classroom blog more often; we need to make sure Hazel’s purple folder stays in her backpack; we need a spot in the house for her paperwork and/or homework packets; she has gym twice a week, music once, art once, library once; and, I do like her teachers.

Further learnings from this first couple of weeks include that I really should take a snack pack with me when I go pick her up, because she and the twins love to play in the playground after school for an hour or more, and they’re always hungry by then. Also, I’ve met some very friendly and interesting people and am starting to feel a sense of community with the school and its families. That’s great.

I’m modifying my teaching schedule Wednesday nights so that I no longer have to wait impatiently for Ted to arrive so I can run downstairs to teach. That is stressful, and I get no transition time whatsoever between family and teaching time, which causes more stress. So I’m making the lessons later. That way we’ll have family time when Ted gets home and I’ll also make it back up for bedtime. Better.

I wrote a whole bunch of words at my writing group last night, something like 2000. I’m pleased. I seem to be chugging along a bit faster now, and am getting to know both the main character’s father and his mother quite a bit better.

And now, I am tired mentally and physically and I’m going to goof off for a while. I watched the first three episodes of, “Outlander” yesterday and the day before. Now I’ll watch the fourth. I know the books really well. I have mixed feelings about them: I enjoy the writing and some aspects of the character development, but I find them deeply problematic in terms of their characterization of women and people who are not skinny. They are long, and since they’re so familiar I listen to them on audiotape at night to help myself fall asleep (I use the Jane Austen, Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien books in the same way).

I get really tired of aspects of them. For example, the main character, Claire, is always asking questions while her husband, Jamie, is always answering questions and making statements. There are ways in which her characterization doesn’t make sense: in order for her to have been the highly successful doctor and head of hospital department she’s portrayed as on the one hand, she has to have more perceptiveness, proactivity, and command than she is written to display in the context of her relationship. She is allowed authority and competency only in her area, medicine. He gets all the rest. It gets old. I get the feeling that the author isn’t seeing the ways in which she’s contradicting herself.

And the level of violence, particularly in the later books, sometimes feels unnecessarily over the top.

Nonetheless, I have a fondness for various of the characters, and it’s hard (almost impossible?) to find unapologetically and unproblematic feminist fantasy or sci-fi, books in which women are not accessories, and instead are prime movers of their own lives and destinies. So I’m watching the series. And it’s fun to see the incredible scenery, to see a setting that I’ve only imagined. A bit jarring when I come across things that are significantly (or even minorly) different from the books, but that’s ok.

So here I go to goof off…


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