Hello all! I’m Katherine McCauley, and I am happy to be here. It is always a pleasure to exercise the old blogging muscles and to have a new avenue in which to share a photo of my very good cat, Michael. Please cherish it.
My lifelong goal was always to become a notary public, but I achieved that goal a few days after turning 24 and subsequently realized that I am likely going to live for a while longer yet, so I have had to come up with some new ones. Currently, I’m in my first year of the public history program, working toward my goal of starting a career in museum education, and I am also taking steps to achieve my other goal of harvesting cranberries in a cranberry bog. I anticipate that these will keep me busy for the next couple of years, at least.
History has not always been my focus, and in fact it has only been my focus for about four months now. I have a BA in Spanish Studies from AU and a Spanish translation certificate, and until this past August I had spent significantly more time studying phonology than studying history. Certainly there has been an appreciable learning curve, but a ship in harbor is safe, etc., etc. I’m enjoying it very much.
From as far back as I can remember, I have been a person who likes things. Here is a brief list of some of the things that I like (far from exhaustive):
- Mystery novels — I like reading in general, and in one of my less-good decisions, I decided to read 50 mystery novels in 2017. I do not recommend doing this. I did, however, survive, and miraculously I still do love a good mystery. My favorites are Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey series, a good Agatha Christie (I am happy to help you figure out which are the good ones), and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
- Bonsai — A combination of two things I love: trees, and miniature versions of normal-sized things. My favorite place in DC is and has always been the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum. Get there!
- Cross-stitching — This is a highly pleasant hobby. I’m absolutely miserable at meditating in general, but getting into a cross-stitch flow is about as close as it gets for me. I am working on a small lighthouse piece right now, but this is my most recent finished work.
- Saabs — I can’t really explain this. I just love Saabs. I don’t care about cars otherwise, but something about seeing a Saab, especially a Saab 900, just fills my heart with hope.
- The scene in Twin Peaks in which Ben Horne’s brother comes back from Paris and they eat sandwiches together — Listen, folks, I don’t watch a lot of TV, but in my extraordinarily uninformed opinion, this is about as good as it gets.
- Birds — Well, birds are also as good as it gets. Rarely does a day go by in which I am not overwhelmed by the immense beauty of one bird or another. Ravens are my favorite because they are intensely smart, like all corvids, but also extremely silly and cute in their muppet-like appearance. (Speaking of Muppets and birds, my favorite Muppet is Sam the Eagle.) I also love owls (especially great horned owls and snowy owls, and with the exception of barn owls, which are scary) and cranes and herons, and my favorite bird I will likely never see in person is the magnificent King of Saxony bird-of-paradise. I also love puffins. Speaking of which:
- The great state of Maine — Maine : the entire U.S. :: ravens : the entire class Aves. Truly the Ben Horne and his brother eating sandwiches of states. The happiest hour I passed in 2018 was the one I spent building cairns on a beach in Vacationland. One of the unhappiest hours I passed in 2018 was the one I spent trapped inside a time vortex as I tried to escape Acadia National Park, but…water under the bridge.
All this said, I am a person who likes many things, and for most of my life I have been sharing the things that I like online as a way of connecting with people. I’ve been blogging on various sites for as long as I can remember, and I’m constantly looking for new ways to share my passions, whether through making a website about my exquisitely powerful cat Mr. Cecil (it’s called Cecilnet, you can visit it at www.cecilnet.org, and I am very proud of it), posting daily art history Instagram stories, or chronicling all of the books I read (Mysteryfest ’17 and beyond) on Goodreads.
As such, my main hope for this course is to learn how to apply this longstanding love of sharing information online to the field of history. I’m really looking forward to learning about the possibilities for sharing history online and the best practices for doing so. It’s always a thrill to become acquainted with new platforms, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to learn how to develop real, useful digital tools for sharing my enthusiasm for history with the public.
I’m so looking forward to getting to know all of you and to learning alongside you, and I’m eager for our first class meeting. In the meantime, best wishes!