My name is Jacqueline - I'm a socially moderate, religiously conservative, and politically liberal girl just loving life right now! I'm a 24 year old Master's of Media Studies student at the University of Texas, but an Oklahoma alumni and die-hard Sooner fan! I'm currently writing my thesis - in a nutshell my research is about girls' online lives, particularly informal learning environments. I'm also an English & Language Arts teacher for a local Home School Co-op. When I'm not researching for my thesis or writing lesson plans - I'm usually watching college football! Oh yea, and I'm training to run a half marathon with Teams in Training this winter, I'm pumped!

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." George Bernard Shaw

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Saturday, July 28, 2007
Let the sun shine in

This has been the wettest summer ever! It rains every single day, and not just light afternoon showers, but torrential downpours, we've had flash flood advisories almost everyday. I'm so sick of it, it's depressing me and seriously hindering my exercise routine...since the only running I enjoy is outdoors.

Today is sunny though and I took advantage of it. Scout and I went down to Town Lake and jogged/walked for over two hours. It was a perfect day, warm but not too hot. There were lots of people and dogs and families out, great for people watching as we walked. It's been so long since I ran, but I did ok I suppose.

Speaking of running - I've decided I'm going to start training for a half marathon (13.1 miles). It's called Team in Training, and it's to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Basically, you meet other teammates in your city, get professional training - both fitness and nutrition - and train for about 4-5 months to run a half or full marathon. Meanwhile you are raising money (finding sponsors) to support you. And then they send you to one of 60 race destinations and you get to run with people from all over. My mom is going to do it with me, except she'll be training in Dallas. We are currently training for the Winter races, we can choose Austin, Phoenix, or Orlando. I think Phoenix would be the most fun, but we haven't decided. I'm really excited to get back in shape, raise money for cancer research - obviously something very important to me with my family history, and I get to travel somewhere for free to run a race, AND I get to do something fun and exciting with my mom. How perfect is that! For more information go

Well, time to go take advantage of the sun for as long as I can...yay!

Posted at 2:39 pm by Jac

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
At the end

Due to really early Tuesday morning classes in San Antonio, my work "lets" me stay in San Antonio on Monday nights. I know it's a good thing, not having to leave Austin at 6:00 a.m., but still, it really sucks driving to San Antonio on a Monday night (my day off!). I love teaching, but I'm getting really tired of the schedule. I'm actually starting to dread it a bit. Driving over 800 miles a week gets old after awhile. But once I'm actually here, and teaching, I'm fine. I like that part of it. Staying in hotels by yourself in unknown cities is pretty boring and lonely too. Last session I stayed the night after a full day of teaching, so I was usually so tired that I was able to sleep well. But this session, I come down on my day off, I'm not tired, I've usually just left friends, and I'm wired. I don't want to go to sleep, and I never sleep well in a big king size bed in a strange room in a strange loud city by myself. I stick out like a sore thumb too. I forget what a tourist city San Antonio is in the summer. I'm the only person at the free breakfast without kids, one of the few who isn't speaking Spanish, and usually the only one not dressed to go to Sea World or Fiesta Texas. I feel like I should come down in my pajamas, or at least throw a fanny pack and camera on, just to fit in. People stare at me, it's weird. Yes, I'm younger than all of you, no I don't have kids, yes I'm dressed professionally, no I'm not goin to the Alamo later, I'm going to WORK!

I've stayed in a lot of hotels this summer, three while I was in Chicago, and one a week every week this summer. And every single time, except once, I have had the room at the end of the hall. It doesn't matter where I am, what hotel, what city, my room is always the one at the very end. It's kinda weird, I've just come to expect it. They get out a little map and show me where to go, I should just start pre-empting them and say, oh, I know where the end is, ha. It's kinda weird.

Well, I'm just killing time between classes. I'm teaching at a University today and they happen to have a computer lab. The administrator has actually blocked MySpace, how odd is that? I mean this is a college campus for goodness sake. They didn't block Facebook though, which seems odd, why one and not the other? Who knows.

I've got a new job in the fall, but it's not 100% decided yet, so I'll wait til it is to talk about it. But, following with tradition, it is yet another job that requires explanation. Seems to be the way things work out for me, and I'm not complaining.

Posted at 11:17 am by Jac

Monday, July 23, 2007
A stolen kiss so out of place

I broke up with A this weekend. I don't know how I feel about it. I mean, I obviously did it because I felt it was the right thing to do, but it's hard. I still so badly want him to be in my life, and I think he will be. But he didn't want to break up, and friendship can be hard to navigate when one person wants something more. I mean, I know these things take time, but still, it's hard. He still really loves me and wants to be with me. He was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Austin, and definitely the person I spend most of my time with. As hard as it is, I know it's MUCH easier being on this side of a breakup, then on the receiving end though. That in mind, I think I've made a really good effort to make this as easy as I can for him. I mean, I know it's not easy, but...uh, having been on the receiving end of a painful breakup, I know what to do and not to do to make it a bit easier for him. I don't want to hurt him. Sigh...I feel kinda lonely, I spent so much time with him, more than anybody else here. But I keep hearing God telling me to feel that void with Him (Him as in God, not him as in A). And I'm was good to see him today though. We had lunch, maybe it was too soon, but he called me, and well, I said ok. I hope we can transition into frienship easily. Honestly, with the exception of one person, I have managed to stay friends with all my ex-boyfriends. I think when relationships are built on a friendship it is easier to ease back into that.

My other ex, (wow, I have 2 exes in my life, that's weird), has been back in my life for about a month. He called me out of the blue and re-opened the lines of communication. We fell right back into a comfortable friendship, talked for about 8 hours the first time we saw each other...nothing is ever awkward between us.  I think we've both just kinda accepted that we will always be in each other's lives. I mean, we do have a 6 year history together, a long, complicated, emotional history. But we are smarter than we've been in the past, at least we tell ourselves we are. Our friendship seems healthy again for the first time in over a year. And it feels great. I feel like I kinda have my best friend back. I mean, things are different, but when push comes to shove, I know he is the one who is ALWAYS there for me. He always gives me wise council, makes me laugh, and challenges me. Nobody can stiumlate my mind like he does. And well, I know he feels the same way. It's a healthy mutual respect that I think we have come to have for each other. We've forgiven each other for a lot of crap from the past and let go of some anger and resentment.We just have a heck of a lot of fun feels good having him around again.

So there's my love life update I suppose. As much as the break up sucks, I'm kinda glad to be single again.  I think that's what I want for now...I think unfortunately it's what I've wanted for awhile, which is why I guess I needed to get out of what I was in. Who knows? It's so hard to know what one really wants when it involves the love and emotions of another person. Try to reason about love, and you will lose your reason...

P.S. Finished Book VII this morning - so freakin' awesome! I love Harry Potter, it ended the only way I would've wanted it to I suppose, but I'm so sad there will never be another HP book.

Just finished:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
By J. K. Rowling

Posted at 3:16 pm by Jac
(1) comment(s)  

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Gender in terms of gender..

"Man among Men" or "Take it like a man" or "She Throws like a girl"

I've been doing a lot of thinking about gender lately - specifically how to "define" it, and the performative nature of it. As a general rule, I tend to think that masculinity is easier to define than femininity, and is easier to perform, or at least recognize. But both masculinity and femininity tend to be most easily recognized when norms or expectations are violated, rather than fulfilled.

I was thinking about "manly" behaviors. Men display their masculinity both in front of other males and in front of females. The performance in front of females is most obvious, and one can think of a plethora of examples. But, men also perform their masculinity in front of other males - completely absent of any female presence. Guys have eating contests, drinking contests, strength contests, races, pissing contests, etc. even in the absence of females. These tests are still demonstrations of their masculinity, and the winners of such displays are esteemed as masculine. Basically, (and I'm not a guy, so there could be other instances), but I think that male-to-male displays of masculinity come in the form of competition.

However, I do not think that women so overtly display their femininity in the presence of other women. That is, women are more likely to display their femininity in the presence of other men, or, the majority of the time, in the presence of mixed company.

So by this I mean, that when a girl is the only female hanging out with a bunch of guys (or even one guy), she obviously exudes a more feminine presence than the men do, so she does not have to go to great lengths to demonstrate her femininity. But, in the presence of mixed company, there are other females present and women will go to great lengths to demonstrate that they are the most feminine (and therefore most desirable) woman in the group. Men of course perform this to a similar degree in the presence of mixed company.

However, unlike guys, women do not necessarily perform their femininity in the presence of other women. In fact, I can't really think of an instance in which women feel pressured to prove to their female companions that they are the "most feminine" of the group. While feminine gender characteristics are of course being exhibited, it is not in order to prove anything, or to be viewed as the most feminine. Whereas, men, in the presence of other men, still demonstrate and perform their masculine traits in order to be deemed the "most masculine".
Back to the competition element discussed earlier, women of course compete too, but usually for the desire of men. And even when women have other forms of competition, the winner is not necessarily deemed the "most feminine", in fact, the opposite may actually be true. And a woman may actually take pride in knowing she won, and is therefore not too feminine, but rather she is strong or independent or competent.

So all of this makes me question, what does it actually mean to be feminine? Can femininity really only be displayed (performed?) in the presence of men? Why are men required to prove their masculinity? Is femininity just assumed within female-to-female relationships? Why does she not need to prove her femininity and why do men need to prove theirs? And why can femininity only be defined in terms of performing for men?

While hypermasculinity may be the butt of many jokes, ultimately it is very esteemed. Sure, women (especially girlfriends and wives) may get tired of the over-the-top display of masculinity, but ultimately, most women are very attracted to it. And while women crave a glimpse at a man's feminine qualities (especially sensitivity or open expression of feelings), the truth is, a glimpse is generally all they want. Can a guy be "too masculine?" Perhaps, but it's probably pretty hard to do - much of it is a performance, and can easily be broken down. That is, the guy is aware of his display, recognizes it as such, and can come down from it when necessary.

However, can a woman be "too feminine?" I think that most people would say yes. In fact, I hear women apologizing for their femininity all the time. "Not to sound too much like a girl, but..." Those words come out of females' mouths all the time - both in front of men and other women. Or even the explicitly apologetic version, "Sorry, but I'm having a girly moment right now..." (often when she is crying or upset). Even in front of other women, females might apologize, or at least take note of, their "excessive" female traits - getting excited about a sale, or new clothes, or crying or getting upset. Often these displays are considered petty or even as weaknesses. Myself included, I have heard many girls apologize for crying. Excusing themselves, insisting (even to other females) that they are usually a "strong" person. As if undesirable emotions must be a sign of weakness.

Why is hypermasculinity acceptable, albeit laughable at times, whereas hyperfemininity is looked down upon, annoying, and even apologized for? I don't think I've ever heard a guy say, "Excuse my manly moment, but I just have to say..." It just doesn't happen.

I don't know, I've just been grappling with a lot of these questions lately. I have a few answers, but am actually more interested in hearing other people's feedback. I've also been thinking about what it means to "become a man", ya know, that right of passage journey from boyhood to manhood. Women don't really have an equivalent. And even the words "woman" and "girl" can be used pretty interchangeably without much offense. However, mistakenly refer to a "man" as a "boy" and expect him to be upset and defensive. I guess that's why we've coined the less rigid term "guy".


Posted at 4:08 pm by Jac
(2) comment(s)  

Thursday, July 05, 2007
Lotion and Air Freshener

I'm kinda disappointed with my lack of updates this summer. I think of things to post, and then I never get around to it. I'm not exactly busier than I am during the school year, but I am spending a lot less time at home, which means less time in front of my computer. This is probably going to a rather schizophrenic post.

The job:
The job is going well. I have one day left of Early Summer session, and then I start a new session for the next 5 weeks. This means new classes and new students. This session I only taught through 8th grade. But the new session I will be teaching the high school and adult clases as well. I'm a bit nervous about it, I feel more comfortable with my 4 year-olds-5th grade classes, but oh well.

My parent evaluations from the first session were better than I had expected, I mean this is my first time teachign and all. But the feeedback was nice. I've had some really rewarding conversations with parents. Initially I was very nervous about parents being in the classroom (they are encouraged to attend with the little ones). But as it turns out, some of my most rewarding expereinces have come from interaction with parents, not the children. Although, working with the kids is great too. One class even gave me a card, and one girl gave me a teacher necklace, ha. It's been very sweet. Children never cease to make me laugh, that's for sure.

Earlier this week we read a story about a Toad who plants seeds. He thinks the seeds are afraid of the dark so he reads to them by candlelight. I ask the class if seeds are really afraid of the dark. One boy (who I absolutely love, he's my favorite kid this entire summer), says seeds can't be afraid of the dark or we would hear them screaming, ha! Made me laugh.

I always kinda chuckle when I teach at this particular location (a church). In the girls' bathroom there is a bottle of hand lotion, which I always apprecaite. But in the boys' bathroom, there is no lotion, No, instead there is a huge can of air freshener. Yup, that's pretty approriate too.

Other stuff:
Two of my professors threw a 4th of July party yesterday. It was a lot of fun. Had a cookout and shot off a bunch of fireworks. The whole RTF (grad) department was invited, so it was fun hanging out and catching up with people. Afterwards we went to shoot some pool and play darts. I love darts, not as much as fooseball though. I really miss the fooseball table. There is one in one of my classrooms, I take on a bunch of 3rd grade girls and 6th grade boys once a week. It's been fun. I hope to buy one at the end of summer...maybe.

I finally finished the book I've been reading for the past month. I have not done enough reading this summer, kinda bummed with myself about that one. But I'm used to my schedule now, and next session I'm only teaching 4 days a week instead of 5, so I think I'll find more time to read. I think I'm going to re-read Harry Potter VI, I know I've forgotten so much since I read it 2 years ago. In fact, I mostly just remember the ending. Cant' wait for movie 5 and the final book to come out this month, yay!

I really wish it would stop raining, it's starting to depress me. I mean, I guess it's better than 100 degree weather, but it doesn't feel like summer. I haven't hardly swam at all, or gone to the lake, or run, or take Scout to the park, or cookout or anything. It's raining everyday, and even when it does stop, the ground is so saturated that you still can't do anything outside. And the lakes are closed, boo. Seriously, I need some sunshine, and NOW! I'm gonna have to take a vacation just to get away from this rainy weather. I love rain, but not for a month straight!

I'm going to go see Ratatouille tonight, yay, I love Pixar films so much, they never disappoint me.

Oh, and in other news - my 22 year-old beautiful sister has been oficially sworn into the Frisco Police Department, I'm so freakin' proud of her I don't even know what to say. She is amazing!

Recently watched:
Don Juan DeMarco
Staring Marlon Brando

Posted at 2:39 pm by Jac

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