Wednesday, August 27, 2008

back to work

Classes started Monday, and it took me most of the day to stop feeling as if something was dreadfully wrong. It wasn't wrong, just different from last year: me in front of the classroom, doing a lot of talking (though, please, not all of it, I hope!), wielding the chalk, instead of me in a room with my computer.

Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and my routine is much as I'm used to--including reading things in the Chronicle and wanting to engage in a little back-and-forth. So that's what I did this week over at the Mama, PhD blog at IHE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

brief update

Classes start next week, which means that the meetings have already begun. I spent all morning learning things about advising so that I can do it over the next couple of days...and, after all, the rest of the semester as well. And I've been finishing up my syllabi, which has--as always--somehow also involved learning some new technologies, or new spins on old ones.

And then there are the termites. At home, not in the office. Sigh. They will be dealt with, but just knowing that they're there gives me the heebie-jeebies (whatever they are--I don't think I've ever used that word before!).

All this is to explain why my post over at the Mama, PhD blog at IHE is a little shorter than usual today--I've got a lot on my mind!

(By the way, Mother Talk is featuring Mama, PhD in a blog book tour this week. Check it out!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I just saw this over at Magpie Musing, who got it from the Times: there's a website that calculates the "walkability" of your (or any other) address. So of course I clicked right over there and entered my address. Just a bit of information: we can walk to three grocery stores, three drugstores, and an entire 6-7 block street of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, consignment stores, and one vintage movie palace that shows movies just before they go to video. Not to mention the bus stop, the museum, and the several churches and one synagogue that we can walk to. We bought the house because of all that access, and while we don't always walk everywhere, we do make use of the neighborhood's amenities all the time.

So our walkability score? Is 75. Which, fine, I can live with--after all, I can't really walk to work (though I have ridden my bike), and there aren't really affordable clothing stores (except for the three consignment stores) in the neighborhood. But when I looked at what the website knew was within walking distance, I knew there was a problem. It lists, for example, one bookstore: "Quality Adult Books." While this is technically the closest bookstore to our house, it's not one I patronize. But then, there are at least four other bookstores well within walking distance--one specializing in children's books, one general interest, one used bookstore, and one specializing in fantasy and horror. Similarly, for groceries, it lists the specialty butcher shop that I've never set foot in, but none of the three grocery stores (one of which is an independent natural foods market).

OK, I just realized that it's only showing me the very closest of everything--but it's still missing my natural foods market, as well as the best of the consignment stores. And it's listing a gourmet shop as a school (because they have classes?). So, maybe not so bad as I thought, but still a work in progress, clearly.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I may have been away, but I've still been thinking of you, my loyal readers. I think of you, my mysterious audience, often. Actually, that's not really true. I tend to assume I'm writing for people I know--for my family (especially the blogging ones), and for friends, like Becca, who comment. I know there are more of you (yes, I check my stats), but I prefer not to think about you too much lest I go all self-conscious.

My column this month is sort of about that, that feeling of being watched--really, that knowledge that one is being watched. And it's up now at Literary Mama, so you can go read it.

I've also got a new post up at the Mama, PhD blog, in which I reap the just consequences of rejoicing in my good fortune last week. Sigh.

Three Days in Chicago

I've blogged a little about it over on the other blog, so you probably know I'm just back from the Terminus 2008 conference in Chicago. I went to interesting talks and saw folks in costume, but I also got out into the city a little and really enjoyed it. The weather was breath-takingly fabulous (warm but not hot, breezy, clear--glorious weather, really) and I walked a lot--enough that even really comfortable sandals stopped being quite so comfortable. But then I found even more comfortable sandals on sale at Macy's! (I then learned from a Chicago native that I should not have gone to Macy's because it took over Marshall Field's, but alas, the damage was already done. And the shoes, they are comfortable.)

Oh! And I bought yarn at a fun store, too. Twice. (Shh.)

One of my walks took me to the Chicago Art Institute, which was a real pleasure. I got to see various things I'd only ever seen in reproduction (American Gothic, Nighthawks, Beata Beatrix, lots of Georgia O'Keeffe, and many more I'm not thinking of in the moment) but what I most liked was the display of architectural artifacts from Chicago buildings. But I don't know how to find evidence of that online, so you'll just have to imagine. Gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright windows, fascinating elevator doors, cornices from demolished buildings, etc.

So apparently I got a rather skewed vision of Chicago, since the weather was great and I had fun things to do, but all in all I'd go back, and not only for the sandals and the yarn.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Peach Season

I'm waxing a bit sentimental over at the Mama, PhD blog at IHE today...only a bit, though, really.

(Oh, and did you notice that Dr. B. has joined us as an advice columnist?)

Friday, August 01, 2008


So Nick is now, I guess, a tween. He starts middle school in the fall, and was recently heard to announce that he's "practically a teenager." Since it is one of my great happinesses in life that I will not be parenting two teenagers at once, I have quashed this notion thoroughly. Nonetheless it's true that he's a tween.

This summer he has:

  1. been to France
  2. eaten an oyster
  3. learned stop-motion animation
  4. lost a tooth (another one is hanging on by a thread...)
  5. learned to unload the dishwasher
  6. gotten used to having his sister as a chauffeur
  7. swum in the Mediterranean
  8. made pancakes for the family without a "tedium monkey"
  9. gotten well into the second guitar book
  10. grown from below my shoulder-height to well above it
  11. turned eleven.
Happy Birthday, Nick!