This is a quick round-up post with one update, a couple of observations, and some links.
The update: book-bag  #4 seems to be the right one for Nick. All the unsatisfactory bags have, as of today, been returned, and he has been carrying the new one for three or four days. Keep your fingers crossed that it does not disappoint. (No product placement ads here, but it came from a respected mail order house with headquarters in New England, and it has a pretty good guarantee.)
An observation: Speaking of bags, I went to Boston for the weekend carrying three of them. My purse was carefully stowed inside my computer/book-bag, and I also had a rolling carry-on. The trip was only for two days, but I had a party to attend so I needed some dress clothes, I expected cold weather, and I wanted to keep my options open for exercise, meals out, time spent with my daughter on her college campus, etc. My husband went to Boston two weeks ago for three days, carrying only a backpack. I’m not sure I want to consider the implications of these facts. But I was glad of everything I brought—though I did wish I’d brought another pair of shoes, so I could walk to yoga instead of having to drive.
Another observation: Part of the reason for my trip was a dear friend and colleague’s book party. It’s a rare academic writer, I believe, who can invite to her book party friends who’ve known her a lifetime, work colleagues, family, and friends from almost every stage of her academic career—and have them show up and mingle with each other! It was a lovely party, and it represented a kind of balance we don’t often talk about in the academy: a balanced social life. I think we often forget, in our busy day-to-day, that it’s important not only to make time for family and friends, but to acquaint them with our academic lives, and occasionally to bring our academic lives together with them as well. It is of course ironic in this context to note that my friend has actually left academe, in part so that she could achieve that balance. It’s still worth striving for!
PS—the links: Like almost everyone else in America, I’ve been following the Penn State scandal. I have little to add, however, to the great coverage and commentary available elsewhere. Susan O’Doherty raised a few questions about the story in her Monday blog post . Another IHE blogger, University Diaries , has a few things to say as well. Clare Potter, aka “Tenured Radical,” has a pithy and to-the-point piece  over in the Chronicle. There’s not much to add to those, but there’s also a quick set of updates here at IHE , and a good round-up of the news at the New York Times .