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August 27, 2008 - 8:26am
Watching the Democratic National Convention this week, I was struck by the convention’s focus on mothers’ legacies, particularly in Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s superb speeches. Clinton’s statement -- “My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for president” -- highlights the incredible transition that took place in my own mother’s (and grandmother’s) lifetimes.
August 26, 2008 - 9:54pm
I'm really growing to hate that little paper clip that comes with so many emails. On any given day, at least half of the emails I receive have that little paper clip. Invariably, I'm supposed to read whatever is attached, immediately grasp every contentious point, and remember it all when quizzed randomly a week later by someone saying "but you knew about that! I copied you on the email!" Honestly, I'm starting to think that speed reading is a job requirement.
August 26, 2008 - 1:08pm
It's easy to get wrapped around the details. And being a campus sustainability analyst/auditor/planner/provocateur means dealing with a lot of details, many of which don't come out quite the way I'd hoped. So, it's nice to be able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. (Often a good idea, unless you're working on a scaffold.)
August 25, 2008 - 10:22pm
Readers of a certain age (ahem) will remember dittos. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and photocopying was still considered the province of the elite, public schools did mass-reproductions of handouts on ditto machines.
August 25, 2008 - 10:18pm
I read a piece in the Chronicle last week about being a parent and an adjunct. Maybe you saw it: "It's All in the Bag," by Corinne Bennet. You see, her nice, professional-looking handbag also works as a diaper bag, but she's in fact unable to bring together her dual lives as parent and part-time professor quite so neatly.
August 25, 2008 - 10:15pm
OK, so it's badly written, and the key section (at least from my perspective) is entirely ungrammatical, but McPaper recently published an important article about "thinking green". It seems like the American Psychological Association has determined that (1) being outside can make us happy, (2) being made to feel guilty can drive us into denial, and (3) we're even more likely to go into denial if an "authority" says it's OK to do so.
August 24, 2008 - 8:55pm
We're trying to raise The Girl to be a strong and independent woman, which, given her lineage, is a bit like pushing an open door. But she's four, and sometimes she has a little trouble finding the sweet spot between 'registering an objection' and 'being an insufferable diva.' Last week, towards the end of an extended tug-of-war between TG and The Wife: TW (exasperated): TG, you're being mean and bratty. TG: I'm not mean! (storms off, downstairs) (a few minutes later, overheard from upstairs)
August 22, 2008 - 5:03am
I’ve just had two weeks of faculty orientation activities and I am so tired I can’t see straight. Between the introductions and receptions and workshops on balancing scholarship and pedagogy, I have had little time to chip away at these little things known as syllabi. Classes start next week. I had a plan to get everything done. It has not been altogether successful. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love all the orienting I have had the luxury of enjoying lately – it’s just the balancing thing already seems to be getting the best of me.
August 21, 2008 - 2:07pm
Our friend Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin says there are three kinds of exhaustion: “Exhaustion caused by muscular fatigue, exhaustion caused by overtaxing the brain, and exhaustion caused by amorous excess.”
August 21, 2008 - 4:59am
Yesterday I met with the new chair of my department to tie up loose ends, hand over some paperwork, and give him whatever advice I could. I felt a bit like I do when I leave town and my husband takes care of our daughter: part of me hopes it goes well, but a selfish part of me hopes something goes wrong so he will see how hard it is. Like parenting, it is hard to really prepare someone for what’s involved in chairing a department. Neither endeavor looks that taxing on paper.

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