Sunday, September 13, 2009

First semester outside the classroom

I have had a very busy and monotonous month since I last wrote on this blog. Each time I write I tell myself I am going to be more diligent and intentional about recording my happenings. But one thing or another distracts my attention. In the past it's been the busyness of the new semester, lots of books to read, or a really long paper to write. This time it was working 40-or-so hours at the Loyola bookstore. This has included lots of mayhem, and lots of soreness from hauling books, running in circles to help customers and manning the register. But now things are slowing down a bit, and I have time to think and do.

This last weekend I traveled to Madison for the long Labor Day weekend and to see a friend get married. I look the Van Galder bus, which is always a tedious 3-4 hours, but a marvelous opportunity to day-dream about ideas, plans and the future. On this particular trip, my brain was focused on wanting to do something Public History-oriented while I am not yet working in the Public History field. Something to pad my resume, if you will, and keep me on my feet. This is what I came up with:

For some time I've been toying with the idea of learning how to make a website. Paired with this is my own family history project which has become a never-ending hobby. I eventually wanted to compile the information, photos and family tree into a book. But then I got to thinking, why not a website, that I could update as I discover new information? So, folks, I have decided I am going to create a website! I still need to find the best provider and the cheapest way to get a domain name, but at least the ball is rolling. I'll start with the family tree and the basic birth, marriage, death info, but eventually I want to write a narrative--if somewhat fictionalized-- of their immigration and life in America.

A similar project fell into my lap courtesy of Jews for Jesus. Each fall, Jews for Jesus hosts a long-weekend retreat in WI. In addition to plenary sessions and general fun, there are workshop sessions, and I get to teach one! I have yet to hone down the details, but I am going to talk about how the grand sweeping narrative of Jewish history is so important to the understanding of an individual's own family history. Almost every paper I've written during my college career touched on the Jewish experience, so I have a lot of information to pull from. This should be fun, but I am going to need some input. Let me know you have any suggestions.

So in between working at the bookstore and scouring job postings on craigslist,, and museum websites, I do in fact have some things to keep me busy. That's always a good thing, right?
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