Threshold Concepts and You

So, the new draft of the “Framework for Information Literacy” (used to be called “standards”, so I may slip and use that word for them occasionally) has been partially released by the ACRL. The simple Information Literacy Standards (that was not a slip) have been replaced with threshold concepts.

Since I am always trying to maximize my time, I decided to write my Philosophy of Education paper on threshold concepts and philosophy and all that, so I can possibly have something that will benefit my day to day life…

By definition, a threshold concept is a concept that is so disturbing, so new, that it creates conflict in the learner at first. Then, once it is mastered/accepted, it has a transformative effect, and once learned, cannot be unlearned.

Of course, I need to tie this to philosophy, and I just keep thinking about The Matrix. There has been a lot written (I’ve recently learned, thanks to this class) about the philosophical aspects of The Matrix trilogy. How we’re all blind to reality, then we achieve enlightenment and learn the truth. So, threshold concepts awaken us to the truth. Like Neo when he wakes up to a completely new reality (with no eyebrows).

Here’s my problem with The Matrix, which may or may not be relevant: I am like the guy who was happy with steak. Ignorance is bliss, you could say. He wants to go back and be plugged in and be blissfully unaware that they are all slaves to the machines. He just wants to eat steak again. So, I’ve always identified with that guy. Why do I want to be transformed? I mean, in the real world, everything is so drab and dull and I bet they all smell bad too.

Anyway, that’s probably not going to go in my paper. I need to find someway to relate the threshold concepts to the philsophical ideal of enlightenment WITHOUT saying I would rather be ignorant (i.e. eat steak). And I need to do it soon, because the paper is due in a few weeks.

So, keep watching as I attempt to work these out in my mind in a public forum.

Having it all…

I want to talk a little bit about a topic that I’m trying to formulate into a possible dissertation. It’s rough- I mean *really* rough- but, like I said, I’m trying to formulate it.

I also should admit that it’s totally a selfish topic. They say you have to really be passionate about your dissertation topic. So, yeah, I’m passionate about something that has to do with me. Of course I am.

I am part of a demographic of women who waited longer than normal to have children. We worked on our careers (or in my case, floundered around getting different degrees and not finishing Ph.D.s) and then when things were stable (again, relatively, in my case), decided to have children.

These women (I’m speaking of a broader group now, not just me)(Because I can’t write a dissertation on me… but wouldn’t that be awesome if I could?) are part of academia. In many cases, they are tenure track faculty. They started their careers, then had children, then found themselves in the middle of their careers with small children. Small children are HARD to take care of. I have said many times (hopefully not so much that my boss can hear) that I would be a much better librarian- more success in the field definitely- if I didn’t have children. It is frustrating.

In academia, you don’t just show up at 8:00 and go home at 5:00. You teach your classes, you do your research, you write, you travel, But that is all so hard to do with small children. Plus, I don’t care about equality in the workplace, it’s different for mothers. Have you seen this?

Anyway, we women academics are struggling with mid-career/tenure issues while raising small children. Each of these activities on their own is a full time job that takes everything you’ve got. To try to do both- well, sometimes it feels impossible.

In her book Lean In (2013), Sheryl Sandberg says we *can* have it all. (Of course, that’s a very general paraphrase). In fact, I think I should review that book. Maybe that will be a blog post for another day. But, anyway… she does talk about the double standard that women face that men don’t. On the one hand, I think she is a feminist. With age and experience, I’ve learned that I can’t have it all. But it’s much more complicated than that. Yeah, I need to devote a blog post to this book.

So what I’m thinking is a qualitative (yes, I said qualitative) study on these women. Asking questions like:

- Do you feel you’re struggling?

- Do you feel your career is suffering because of the children?

- Do you feel like you can in fact have it all?

Of course, I would work on methodology and it would be more complicated than that, but this is something I’ve really been thinking about.

I guess we’ll see in about 2 years when I write my proposal if I’m still on this topic, or if it’s changed. Hopefully I’ll just refine it.


WTF, Y’all?

I have a series of WTFs to share with you today.

The start time is not the actual start time.

One of my doctoral classes meets on Saturday mornings at 9:00 am. 9:00 am is the official start time. Now, I’m sure you can imagine with three children it may be a little hard to get out the door and to class on time. I am usually slinking in at 8:59.

Well on Saturday I got there at 8:59 and class was completely underway. Apparently my instructor looked around the room at 8:55 and was disappointed there weren’t more people attending, so he decided to go ahead and start. WTF? So I guess the new plan is “If you’re not early you’re late.”

Daycare closes because it’s windy. Or there’s no power.

I’m not really sure why daycare closed, but it did.

Monday was a busy day for me. It was also extremely windy, and the power was going out all over town. I had somewhere around 1 million meetings (but I still found time to go to the gym). Fifteen minutes before a string of two REALLY IMPORTANT CONFERENCE CALLS back to back, I get a call from the girls’ daycare. “The electricity has been out for an hour, please come pick up the baby.” So, there were a couple things that were weird about this. First of all, they are sending kids home because the power’s out? Is that really a thing? Secondly, I have TWO children there, but apparently, they just wanted me to pick up one.

So I told my boss, “Hey, there’s an emergency, I’m supposed to go pick up the baby.” And he said, “Ok, go ahead.” But, I had a problem. This weekend I used my husband’s car so that he could have my car, because my car is the only car all 3 kids fit in. So my garage parking pass was in his car. He was going to get it to me after he taught class. But, here I was needing to go pick up the kids- or “kid” I guess- but I literally could not leave the parking garage. So I called him and told him I needed to leave to pick up the kids. Well, he just said, “Ok, I’ll cancel class.” Well I tell my boss I’m going to stay afterall, but I have to trade cars and parking passes etc…. so he said they would wait for me. So people in two different states are waiting for me, I’m waiting for my husband, and I lose my phone, which has my keycard to the building in it. I eventually found it- IN MY POCKET (I swear it wasn’t there)- and went to the (very late) conference calls. So that was a big win at the whole “Career mom” balance thing….


Actually it was a fail. (Source)

So, maybe it’s time for me to get some new shoes:


They’re just so comfy…

Actually, I have a friend who knows 100% more about fashion than I do who is helping me understand what basics I need to have a nice mix-and-match professional wardrobe. With shoes that have the soles attached. Check out her website, she’s awesome.


Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will not be able to file my taxes tomorrow… when they’re due. It’s okay, I owe the IRS so much already what’s a little more. WTF ever.


Do you have any WTFs to share with me? Because I like to know I’m not the only one who seems to be surrounded by them…

Remember that time I finally learned how to fold a fitted sheet?

I set the lofty goal this weekend of actually learning to fold a fitted sheet. I’ve tried before and given up, but this time I was determined. I looked up some directions online and that gave me some ideas.

Here’s the start:



So, the first step is to fold it in half. But, the really important part that helped me this time was tucking the corners of the bottom into the corners at the top. That probably doesn’t make any sense, so here’s a picture:


 The goal was to make it as much of a square as possible.



Next, I folded it inwards:


Then I just folded it as normal from then on. Here is the finished product:Image


I realize it isn’t perfect, and it’s probably not going to impress those Martha Stewart type people, but it works for me. Here is the entire set ready to be put away neatly:



Also, a cute baby in the background. A special thanks to her for not unfolding this at all during the process.

So, there you have it. I took a step toward having a little more order in my life today. My son approves:


What Did We Learn This Week?

We learned I want to let my hair grow.

It’s not as bad as last week, but every day this week I’ve had trouble figuring out how to fix it. I have no idea what to do with it. So I’m going to grow it into a bob. Should only take a few months, right?


My makeup, however, looks excellent.


I love Dana Linn Bailey’s hair. And body, actually. Business in back, party in the front. Source.

We learned that no matter how much I clean and organize, my kids can undo it in less than 5 minutes.


“But I’m really cute!”

We learned that some guys in the weight room are misogynistic jerks… but I’m going to suck it up and go there anyway.


I will also continue to take gym selfies, and try to look as bad ass as possible.

We learned that with the right TV show keeping her still, I can actually braid my daughter’s hair.


It was Sponge Bob

We learned that at 11 months my “baby” officially a handful.


I believe this was right after I caught her with the computer charger in her mouth. Look how happy she is about it.

So, here’s to making it through another week without dying or getting fired.




Intimidated by the weight room?

So, I’m going to tell you a story….

I’ve worked out for years, but I was primarily a “group ex” girl. I even worked in management at a gym for a year- but I was the group exercise coordinator. I was very rarely in the weight room.

I did my Body Pump style total body workouts in group ex 2-3 times a week.

And then I started lifting heavy.

First I started at home. Then I realized I needed heavier weight than I could handle at home, and certain machines just couldn’t be replicated.

So about 2 and a half years ago, I started seriously weight training.


I even had abs! You see those? (Don’t look at the laundry)


I even had some pretty impressive shoulder muscles after a while..

I even lifted the through my third pregnancy


That’s right…

Now, walking into the weight room can be intimidating- especially for a female. Most of the time I work out in University rec centers, though, so I just tell myself the boys in there are young enough to be my kids and know nothing :-)

Most of the time, I just put my head down and just go. I don’t think about what other people are doing, or what they think of me. I know I’m not visibly in shape right now, but I am capable and know what I’m doing.

I still, however, find myself getting ready nervous when the weight room is crowded.

Today I went to the local gym that has childcare. It has a different clientele. I usually workout in the weight room at 5 am on Weekdays, but I realized after I made the appointment for childcare that I had scheduled my workout for 10 am on a Saturday, which was bound to be a busy time.

I psyched myself up and told myself I had every right to be there.

The weight room was crowded, and full of guys. Guys who seemed to be trying to look as cool as possible. My first exercise was Romanian Deadlifts, followed by Squats. I would have liked to use a squat rack for both, but I can make due with just a bar for RDLs. Both squat racks seemed to be taken. One with 2 guys spotting each other and squatting ridiculously heavy amounts of weight. The other looked like this:


So, this is universal gym speak for “This rack is being used”. Notice the towel, and the bag, and the water…. I watched while I went to a bench and used the bar for my RDLs, and he did not do a single squat. (I might add that he was wearing a shirt with HUGE letters saying, “I’m not here to talk”, yet that seemed to be all he was doing…)

Apparently he wanted the OTHER squat rack, but was reserving that one just in case. When the other two guys started to walk away he moved his stuff. I racked my weights (another rarity apparently) and asked him if he was done with the squat rack (that he never actually used). He laughed and said, “Oh, I never started!”. (cough*asshole*cough)

I started my set. I realize my weights are small, but I am focused on form, and I don’t feel the need to let my ego get in the way. So, I guess that makes me look like a “weak little woman” to some people. I did my first set, and then tried to rerack the bar, but he was in the way. Like, if I put the bar on the rack, it would have poked him. 

I guess he saw my hesitation and thought, “This dumb girl doesn’t know what she’s doing.” Because he sighed loudly and started to adjust the rack so that the place to put my bar was much lower. It ended up way too low. But obviously I didn’t know what I was doing, right? Because I’m a girl in the weight room.

I was angry. I wanted to tell him, “Look, I may not look like I lift, but I lift. I am a certified personal trainer, and I work with a coach who is an IFBB pro. I know what I’m doing.” Of course, I didn’t. I put the anger into my squats and kicked some ass. But dammit….

For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t wait to get out of the weight room. I felt like the minority and I felt disrespected. I’m sure it may sound like I was overreacting- maybe I was- but I didn’t like the feeling.

It’s not going to keep me out of the weight room though. It’s just going to make me stronger.


Me doing a badass selfie in the weight room today. Because I don’t give a **** what those guys think…. (Or at least I pretend I don’t).