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October 2, 2008 - 4:47am
So far my sabbatical is not what I expected. I thought I’d stare for hours at a blank computer screen as I tried to muster enough enthusiasm to finish my book. My husband, on the other hand, was more concerned that I’d stay in my pajamas all day, not shower, and get nutty from a lack of social interaction.
October 1, 2008 - 9:33pm
The scene: an organizational meeting of the junior lego league, in the elementary school cafeteria. We're sitting at the picnic-table-style tables, listening to a badly undermotivated teacher explain the lego league. TB and I are patiently waiting for something to happen. A Dad with three boys sits down next to me. Teacher: and the projects are really about creativity, you know, thinking outside the box... Boy 1: What box? Dad: Shhh. Boy 1: WHAT BOX, DADDY? Dad (urgent stage whisper): The box inside your head.
October 1, 2008 - 6:27am
I do a lot of writing in the shower. Well, no, not actually writing things down on waterproof paper or writing on the tile walls with bathtub crayons (although that might not be such a bad idea). Instead my brain is abuzz composing paragraphs, writing lines for blogs, and thinking about proposals for projects. I’m supposed to be zipping in and out for a quick scrub, but needless to say, my showers are sometimes longer than they should be because I get lost in thought.
October 1, 2008 - 5:49am
One of the joys of doing sustainability work on campus is interacting with students. Now, I've been teaching part-time for a number of years, and I'll be the first to admit that this particular joy enlights my classrooms on only a sporadic basis. In the classroom, the student seems often to be there to get a grade, fulfill a requirement, all the while trying not to actually learn anything. But, in sustainability work, the only students I interact with are the ones who want to be there -- who want to get involved, and learn something, and do something, and change something.
September 30, 2008 - 10:07pm
This is old news nationally, but I can confirm that locally, we're seeing a definite impact of the mortgage meltdown on our candidate pools for national searches. For new faculty, it isn't so bad, since so many new faculty were renting wherever they were before. But for administrative positions, it's getting difficult to get people from outside the area, since they often can't sell their houses, or fear that they can't, or can't get enough for their houses to make the move possible. And community college salaries generally don't come close to making up for lost equity.
September 30, 2008 - 8:50am
Back in the days when my peers and I were having our children, I remember hearing that one friend didn’t plan to say “no” to her new baby daughter. She didn’t mean that she would indulge her endlessly, only that she was going to try to redirect her behavior rather than chastise it. I was incredulous — deep in the throes of parenting a four or five year old, I couldn’t imagine restricting my vocabulary that way. “No” was a necessity of life — and has continued to be.
September 29, 2008 - 10:13pm
A new correspondent writes: I just graduated with my masters in Biology and started to look at jobs in the tech industry and teaching adjunct on the side. I loved teaching when I TA'ed in grad school, a fact that was surprising to me. Well, I never found a tech job but took as many classes as I could teach at the local CC. I love it, I love teaching, interacting with the students, and helping them to understand things. I learn each day how to help both adult learners and new HS grads. I have decided to pursue teaching full time as a career choice.
September 28, 2008 - 9:50pm
Okay, so we're running a huge national debt, financed largely by borrowing from other countries. As I understand it, the value of dollars on international markets drops as more of them are held out there in reserve; in other words, the more we borrow, the less our dollars are worth. This is part of what's keeping the price of oil high despite worldwide recession, since it's priced in a declining currency. (There's also 'peak oil' and rapid industrialization in China, but the declining currency factor plays a role.)
September 28, 2008 - 5:45pm
It you live in the USA or Canada, there's an election going on in your life. I'm not going to tell you what color (oops, I mean "party") to vote for, but I do have an opportunity for you to knock some of the rust off your perhaps disused voting skills before the big day arrives. Also a chance to watch some pretty good environmental videos -- no extra charge.
September 26, 2008 - 1:30pm
Yesterday, the N.Y. Mercantile started auctioning mandatory carbon allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. They're mandatory, that is, if you're an electric power producer, located in any of ten northeastern US states, whose generation process burns fossil fuels. (So if you're a chemical plant, or have business operations only in Alabama, or you're strictly into wind- or hydro-powered generation, your don't really care.)

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