Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

December 18, 2012 - 8:25pm
As I write at my computer, my nine-year-old daughter is on Skype with a friend who lives on the other side of the country. Together, they are working on a web page that showcases their passion for hamsters. She figured out how to construct her webpage using the documentation on Google Sites. She’s a pro at finding info using Wikipedia, she loves searching for images using Google, she’s even put together some crude computer animations.
December 17, 2012 - 5:48pm
I spent the weekend thinking about Christmas cards, and Christmas presents. Not the ones that I have not yet bought, or sent, but ones that were postmarked Newtown last week, or purchased in Danbury a week or two ago, already wrapped and ready to be put under a Christmas tree. Cards with pictures of children on them, children who will not see the Christmas the cards celebrate; children who will not open the gifts purchased for them. I cannot think about these gifts, these cards. I cannot imagine the grief of the families.
December 16, 2012 - 3:25pm
When The Dark Knight Rises came out, an improv classmate mentioned having heard that Christian Bale's costume was so elaborate he had to be sealed into it at the beginning of each filming day, necessitating a catheter until the costume was removed. "That's why I'm sticking with improv," another classmate observed. "I'm Batman because I say I am."   I was reminded of this exchange the other evening, when a friend and I amused ourselves while waiting for a performance to begin by compiling a list of reasons we prefer improv to "legitimate" theater:
December 13, 2012 - 8:40pm
Several years ago, I found myself at Cleveland, Ohio’s own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One of my fellow visitors pointed out an exhibit that showed a report card from John Lennon. It seems that John Lennon had a difficult time with math, which surprised us. We had both always thought that math and music went hand in hand, that learning music would help one excel in math, and that mathematical talent would help one learn a musical instrument. I thought of this recently when I observed my daughter’s Christmas concert, performed by all the students at her school who are taking lessons to learn to play a band instrument.
December 12, 2012 - 8:01pm
After taking the fall semester off, my son Nick is ready to begin his college life in January at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, the "jewel by the bay."  As he reported in this blog, Nick went through a period of distracted, teenage depression — his high school burn out years.  He spent more time on YouTube than Algebra, causing his parents undue worry as they received calls from guidance counselors telling them that Nick was close to not graduating.  
December 11, 2012 - 8:00pm
In the early nineties, when aerobics classes with canned music and fancy spandex fashion were all the rage, there was no way I’d ever be caught dead participating in such a group sweat fest. From what I’d heard about aerobics classes, there was lots of whooping and shouting, and the people I knew who were enthusiastic participants were 20-somethings with perfect figures.  A group class like this was hardly the place for a shy, self-conscious person like me.
December 10, 2012 - 8:51pm
I’ve written before about how helpful it is, as a teacher, to be a student, but this semester I had a very different experience with that than I’ve had before. Previously I’ve learned a lot about teaching when I took tae kwon do, a martial art with which I had absolutely no previous experience, or when I participated in faculty development seminars that focused on areas that I did have experience in but wanted to develop further. They were two very different cases—either I was a rank beginner, eager to soak up whatever knowledge I could get, or I was an advanced student, ready and able to polish my skills. In the first case, almost anything the instructor said was helpful because I knew nothing at all; in the second case, I had a good grounding of knowledge and understanding, and so, again, I could make use of almost anything an instructor said—or at least put it in some kind of context and, perhaps, decide not to use it.
December 9, 2012 - 2:53pm
Ben handed in his application to the BFA program at his college last week. It was a demanding process, involving writing, arranging, performing and recording three original compositions and performing and recording a classical piece, as well as a written essay and a resume of pertinent experience.
December 6, 2012 - 6:59pm
There is a concept in economics called a "leading economic indicator," in which certain economic outcomes are seen as providing information about the direction the economy is taking. For example, sales of cars or of new homes may be seen as leading economic indicators, since such sales tell us a lot of information about the willingness of consumers to purchase items that are expensive and which need to be paid off over the course of several years. I thought of this recently as I drove around our neighborhood with my husband and daughter, playing Christmas music on the car radio and admiring the different decorations that have sprung up on the homes in our neighborhood.
December 5, 2012 - 8:37pm
Tonight I watched the last installment of the Twilight films. Over the past four years this has become a tradition with the young woman I've been mentoring. She introduced me to the first Twilight film -- which I found surprisingly good -- and then I encouraged her to read the books. These were the first books she really enjoyed and I read them with her. She was a young teenager when we first began and now she's a lovely, mature young woman contemplating marriage.

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