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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January 23, 2012
When my husband was a child, he was so traumatized by the Disney movie “Snow White” that, as an adult, he informed me that no child of ours would ever be allowed to see it. Since my husband’s usually a pretty anti-censorship, pro-Freedom of Information type, this struck me as odd.
January 16, 2012
The first week of classes is always a bit of a blur for me. I love meeting my new students, getting my syllabi in order, catching up with colleagues — but, really, it’s so busy I can barely breathe.
January 9, 2012
Today is the first day of the new semester. I don’t teach until Wednesday, but it was my daughter’s first day on our campus as a full-time student. After two and a half years elsewhere, she’s spending a semester with us, saving money for a summer trip abroad and getting a different perspective on what it is her parents do all day.
January 2, 2012
As the new year begins I feel mostly how arbitrary the turning of the year is. The new school year began in August (September for some of you, including both my kids); the western Christian liturgical year, as I noted recently, began in November, and the Lunar New Year won’t come around until later this month.
December 19, 2011
Most of the faculty folks I know are either in the throes of grading or just done. The students have mostly gone home and we are finishing up the dregs of this semester as we prepare for the holidays and, before we know it, the next semester. Those of us whose grades are in may also be able to experience just a bit of what our students are going through now by reviewing our own student evaluations from the semester just past.
December 12, 2011
This is the season of Advent, the beginning of the Christian year. In the Episcopal tradition in which I grew up, and whose rhythms still influence my own, Advent is a season of lights — the Advent wreath, with its four candles (one for each week of the season), is its primary symbol. It is also a season of anticipation, of waiting, and of hope.
November 28, 2011
Tolkien’s subtitle for The Hobbit, “there and back again,” is a not-so-subtle reminder that his protagonist — supposedly much like Tolkien himself — is not much of a traveler. While he makes the journey with the dwarves that restores their gold to them — and nets him the ring that sets The Lord of the Rings in motion — he would really, really, rather be at home than on the road.
November 21, 2011
I’ve had laryngitis since last Wednesday. Not just a little scratchy throat, a gravelly whisky voice, a sultry contralto—no, I’ve been pretty thoroughly silenced. For two days I had not even a throaty whisper—then I developed a little Kathleen Turner-esque huskiness that quickly turned back into silence when I tried to use it too much. I’ve had to cancel seven meetings, one class, and a planned trip to speak at another college. Every evening I’ve hoped I’d wake up able to speak, and every morning it’s been clear I can’t.
November 14, 2011
This is a quick round-up post with one update, a couple of observations, and some links.
November 7, 2011
I’ve just spent an hour online looking at messenger bags with my son. When he was getting ready to start high school, we bought him a new bag, a more “grown-up” looking bag, a messenger bag that could hold his laptop and all his books. He carried it proudly to school, slung over his shoulder with all his school supplies carefully stowed in all of the pockets.