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November 13, 2008 - 4:57am
Last night I attended a parents’-night talk on healthy eating at my daughter’s preschool. I had no intention of going; as an avid reader of books on nutrition and someone who cooks absurdly healthy meals, I knew they would be preaching to the choir. But my daughter was in a frenzy of excitement and begged that we attend the “party at school,” so I forced my husband to sit for an hour in an uncomfortable chair while two nursing students nervously lectured to 15 parents about the food pyramid.
November 12, 2008 - 10:00pm
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that community colleges will be the next beneficiaries of their largesse. A few responses: First, Woo-Hoo! (insert video of DD doing the Snoopy dance) Second, I hope they're willing to recognize the work that has already been done, so they don't spend great googahs of money reinventing the wheel. Philanthropists have been known to do that.
November 12, 2008 - 5:01am
I know that my mother and mother-in-law laugh at me behind my back. After all, I’ve taken some pretty ridiculous stands in the name of feminism since my daughter was born. To my mother-in-law I implored: “Please. No pink or frills or lace. I know she’s your first granddaughter, but I want to go easy on the girly-girl stuff.” Ha! Somewhere around age two my daughter mysteriously gravitated toward ruffles, lace, and sparkles, despite my best efforts to steer her toward practical, sporty, gender-neutral clothing.
November 11, 2008 - 9:23pm
TB, who is in second grade, wrote his first novel yesterday. With names changed, and sans the distinctive illustrations, an annotated guide to the text: Title Page: TB and TG and a Walk in the Woods (with illustration) by TB (on the side, there's a diagonal stripe that says "New Series!") Contents Page: Woodsy...Page 1 Home!...Page 4
November 10, 2008 - 10:09pm
(Happily, this isn't a concrete issue for me now. This just falls under "I've always wondered…") What are the rules governing faculty votes of no confidence? I've been lucky enough that I haven't actually faced one of these, either directly or indirectly, which may explain some of my ignorance on the subject. From a spectator's perspective, they strike me as somewhat ambiguous.
November 10, 2008 - 9:52pm
It doesn't make sense. Fourteen hours of mostly sitting around shouldn't leave me more tired (and certainly more stiff) than fourteen hours of farmwork, but it does. Or it has. Because I am. Still, it was a day generally well spent. Bookends of problem perception surrounding useful insights into solutions. The opening bookend was Van Jones. Inspirational and celebratory, but with a hands-on, pragmatic perspective. Three underlying problems:
November 10, 2008 - 9:49pm
One of the things I do when I'm not teaching or preparing for class, not grading or cooking or working on my research -- one of the things I do relatively rarely, in other words -- is knit. I like to knit. It satisfies on many levels. For one, it allows me to create something without requiring great effort -- I just follow the directions. I don't need to think very hard about it. It can be done while I am watching TV, or listening to the radio, or even (once) listening to a conference paper. Sometimes I get a Christmas gift out of it, or a warm scarf for myself.
November 10, 2008 - 7:43am
An alert reader sent me a link to this story about New Hampshire. Apparently, the Granite State is considering funneling most high school students into community colleges after tenth grade. (Tellingly, the story allows that "those who want to go to a prestigious university may stay and finish the final two years.") This is one of those ideas that carries in it a real grain of truth, but that takes it much too far.
November 9, 2008 - 8:22pm
To save gas, money and GHG emissions, a number of us from the Backboro area shared a ride to AASHE 2008. Specific jobs differed, but everyone was concerned in some way with campus sustainability. That's why it struck me as odd when, while we were driving through a particularly commercially dense portion of Virginia (I-95, a bit south of Washington DC), someone in the car remarked on how much they'd love to live in an area like that. You know, with any store you wanted, so you could just go out and buy what you needed.
November 7, 2008 - 4:03pm
Before Crazy Larry dropped out to play the train conductor in some holiday “experience” that we aren’t allowed to call The Polar Express down at the mall, he was an IT manager at a famous university. He and his staff provided support to administrators and faculty, some of whom willfully refused to help themselves yet expected instant and total service. There’s a triage for this sort of thing when resources are limited—resources are always limited—but out of some sense of privilege the faculty especially felt they shouldn’t have to play by the rules.

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