Libby Gruner

Libby Gruner is an English professor at mid-career who started her family in graduate school. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two children, whose 7-year age gap means that she will be the parent of a teenager for quite a while yet.

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Most Recent Articles

August 9, 2010
This summer for the first time my family joined a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). We signed up to receive a weekly supply of vegetables from a local farm family, paying in advance to minimize their risk and ensure that we’d get an ample supply of fresh vegetables every week. It was a little bit of a leap of faith. Friends have done it in the past, but this was our first time, and we weren’t quite sure what we’d get. We weren’t sure we’d like it, or that we’d be able to use it all up before the next week. We weren’t sure it would be worth the price.
July 26, 2010
Recently I’ve been remembering a conversation I had with my dad many years ago — when my husband and I were still in grad school and my daughter was about three years old. As I recall it, I said that I was turning out not to be one of those moms who laments when the children get “too big to cuddle”; rather, I was really enjoying being the mother of a preschooler. My dad — who by this time had helped raise four children — didn’t miss a beat. “I really like being the parent of graduate students, myself,” he said.
July 19, 2010
About once a week I take down the biggest mixing bowl I have and start pouring, dropping, and even occasionally measuring things into it. A carton of oatmeal; a bag of whole raw almonds; a couple of handfuls each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds; wheat germ, flaxseed meal, and/or sesame seeds, if I have them. I stir them around, then add spices (cinnamon and ginger, a little salt), oil, and sweeteners — lately, equal parts honey and agave syrup. Stir it up, spread it in two rimmed baking sheets, and put it in the oven.
July 12, 2010
(My last blog post contained a spoiler alert—this one may need a “book nerd” alert, for I fear that its musings are only of interest to folks like me whose books threaten to take over their living spaces. Consider yourself warned.)
June 28, 2010
[SPOILER ALERT: SOME PLOT DETAILS OF TOY STORY 3 REVEALED BELOW] This is my 100th blog post for Inside Higher Ed, if my naming conventions for the almost-weekly posts can be trusted. So in a perhaps self-indulgent celebration, I’m musing here a bit on some favorite family movies.
June 21, 2010
I’m delighted to report that my daughter has indeed found gainful summer employment. It’s not full time, but it will do — she’s got a series of childcare gigs lined up that should keep her busy and reasonably well remunerated through the summer.
June 14, 2010
The summer after my junior year of high school I got a summer job in a resort town in Maine. It wasn’t my first summer job — I’d worked previously as a day camp counselor and a babysitter — but it was my first summer job away from home. The job wasn’t glamorous: I worked four hours a day cleaning a restaurant. My brother got me the job; he was doing outside work at the same resort, and when their regular cleaner hurt her ankle he mentioned that he had a sister sitting at home with no job. A few days later I was on my way.
June 7, 2010
I’ve been consumed by news stories lately, one local—within the community of “mother bloggers” — and one national. The local, a story of a child’s death; the national, the Gulf Coast oil spill. They have little in common except the way they make me feel: impotent, enraged, worried. Impotent, because it seems there’s so little I can do to change the way things are. Enraged, because the stories both suggest miscarriages of justice.
May 24, 2010
This morning I woke up with a cold. Stuffy nose, scratchy throat, hoarse voice. The end of the school year often brings some kind of illness — I think that somehow my immune system, overworked during the school year, lets its guard down when the students depart, and the next new bug that I encounter grabs me. In this case I know where it came from: Nick spent most of last week home with a cough. He wasn't all the way better this morning, either.
May 17, 2010
When I first wrote about teaching and tae kwon do, over two years ago, I was just about to head back to the classroom after a sabbatical, and open to rethinking my teaching in a number of ways. So when I distilled five teaching principles out of my tae kwon do classes, I focused especially on my role as teacher, as someone — like my tae kwon do instructor — who was up front in the classroom, leading the way.

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