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Archive for July 2008

grand rapids

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This blog’s name comes from the fact that we’re going to be living in Grand Rapids, Michigan and that Felix is growing. We hope we’re not. We’d like to stay the same size, or maybe even shrink a bit.

I (C) got a job teaching in the Visual Studies program in the Art Department at Grand Valley State University. After the very long and sometimes discouraging job search, one of my professors suggested that I apply for this job. I had gotten my hopes up about two jobs for which I was a finalist (at Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Georgia College and State Univ.), so I was determined to not set myself up for disappointment again. Both B and I felt pretty discouraged. When I went up to Grand Rapids for the interview, it seemed like a really great place. The department has some very cool things going on and the program I will be teaching in is really pedagogically progressive. And, after living in central Illinois, Michigan looked like the Garden of Eden. It’s beautiful, very green, rolling hills, and cooler than here. Here’s a picture of the city.

Here\'s the city

So, I got the job, which is a Visiting Professorship, renewable for up to three years. They foresee it becoming a tenure-track position, but haven’t secured the funding for that yet. I’ll be teaching Time Studio (time-based art, like video and sound), Interactive Studio (interactive art, like internet art, art using physical computing, maybe interactive performance), and Creative Problem Solving, which “focuses on understanding and making meaning in images and objects in a contemporary context. This will require investigating the contemporary practice of art and design, study in how images and objects work, and the development of basic studio processes and experimentation.” I think all of them will be really good classes to teach. In the fall, I’ll be teaching one section of Time Studio and two sections of Creative Problem Solving. In the spring, it will be one section of Interactive Studio and two of Creative Problem Solving.

The three of us took a trip up to GR early this week. We were terrified of traveling with Felix because he had been crying a lot for many weeks. But he was an angel. He didn’t cry once the whole drive up there, was so good while we were there, and was great on the drive back. Here’s a picture of him and me on the drive back.

The real reason we went up there was to find a place to live. On our first night there, we drove around town and looked at a bunch of the houses that we were scheduled to see the next day. We saw some really scary places in bad neighborhoods. I felt really bad for people who have to live in those neighborhoods because of economic or family situations. We were pretty discouraged, but did see a few places that looked livable. The next day, we saw those places with the landlords, as well as a few others. We saw a duplex in a really nice, quiet neighborhood that we really wanted. The rental agent said that the owner was really selective and that they had already turned down three people who had turned in applications to live there. I had never thought that we might be turned down by a landlord, but this made us a bit nervous. It was a big relief to find out that we were approved and we’re really excited about the place and especially the neighborhood.

The exterior is pretty plain, but the picture shows the big window in the living room. And the bathroom will be our nicest bathroom ever. Those that have been to our house in Urbana will understand us being excited about the bathroom. (We have bad green linoleum and very ugly brush-patterned pink tiles, with a falling-apart shower surround.) These are small things to get excited about, but we are
excited nonetheless. And the street will be the quietest street we’ve ever lived on.

So, this is the life we’ll move to in a few weeks. Next post will be about Felix and our club foot experience.


Written by rapidgrowth

8 July, 2008 at 3:49 am

Posted in AllOfUs

the beginning

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This is no way to start a blog. But this is the way it starts.
We start with today and work our way back, and then forward at the speed of time.

Today Felix (whom, we have become convinced, we should have named Vlad) was very unhappy. At times, we didn’t do too well in the happy category either. So, we decided that today, we would start to do what we have been meaning to do for a long time: name ways that we have seen God’s hand in our lives and that he has blessed us. So, the list will start here. Some of the other posts on this blog will have other items on the list. Maybe I will try to make things that make up this list maroon.

Being far from most of our families during the past two months has sometimes been really difficult. Many times, we have wished that our parents were nearby; we could have used their wisdom and experience. But, in their absence, we have been blessed by other people.

-Jenny Thomas came to Champaign-Urbana to do research here. She was a saving presence for us. She was calm and told us that we and Felix were doing okay. She was the kind of wise, experienced parent that we needed as Felix’s most intense weeks of screaming and crying were getting started. When we started talking about what to put on this list of ways God has blessed us, Jenny coming here was the first thing Bree mentioned. We wish that she hadn’t had to leave town for the reason she did, but we were really grateful for the time she spent with us.

-Jenny and Spencer Snow are a couple in our ward. We like them a lot and are really grateful to have been able to get to know them. They have a very well-behaved baby girl named Zoey. Just having them around to talk to has been really good for us. They understand a lot of our concerns, and even when they haven’t personally experienced the challenges we are confronting, they are kind and empathic.

-Ben and Christy Spackman have been good friends for a while. They have helped us maintain a sense of normalcy. Life as we knew it exploded when Felix was born. Ben and Christy brought us good food, let us go over to their house to unwind, and reminded us that the world outside of Felixland did indeed still exist. We will miss them when we and they leave.

-Alissa and Matt and Bryn have been very supportive. Although most of our families are far away, we have been really grateful to have some family kind of nearby.

-Good people in our ward at church who have taken care of us. We didn’t really feel like we were the type to need lots of food from ward members; we could handle it on our own. But people brought us food anyway and it was a huge relief to have good, healthy food already prepared for us.

These good people (and there are others) have been a blessing from God.

Written by rapidgrowth

7 July, 2008 at 4:20 am

Posted in AllOfUs, Uncategorized