Friday, August 29, 2003

the burden theory of parenting

I realize how much I grew up in a family where parenting was seen as fundamentally about doing things you don't enjoy for the sake of your children. The assumption is that parenting is hard work with the deferred reward that hopefully you can be proud of how your children turn out. I've long tried to get away from that idea and to see parenting more as a matter of tradeoffs between my children's wants and needs and mine. But I realize how little model I have of adults just enjoying children. I didn't grow up with that.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


No particular reason, just a break from the intensity of weeks of back to school organizing. Kids at two different schools is much more complicated than I realized. But everything is started now, at least, including my own teaching. Can I keep up some energy to do anything else?

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


We went from no home internet service until two weeks ago (it was easier to go into my office half a mile away than to use a slow dial-up connection) to DSL with a home wireless network. Really neat. Though what the kids thought most exciting was sitting side by side, one using the desktop and the other a laptop connected wirelessly (via an antenna a foot away), sending each other email.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Today's entertainment

After working on a syllabus for one course and a blog for another, the thing that cheered me up this afternoon is a web site that does amusing anonymous reviews of church services, in restaurant review style. (Thanks to Sursum Corda.) My church has a new interim rector starting tomorrow; I pray he will be able to help us come together.

Friday, August 22, 2003

memorial service

I went to a memorial service for a colleague who was a character but at one stage of his career negatively evaluated and in some cases fired a lot of people who deserved better. It was a totally secular service, not even the form of a religious service without mention of God. It did celebrate him for the interesting character he was. I don't know what to feel. I wish somewhere in the process for the concept of forgiveness.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

scary California candidate

Thanks to Ampersand, some scary information from Trish Wilson about an anti-feminist candidate for Governor of California. I realize that being a candidate for Governor of California is no testimony to social acceptability, but it still makes me nervous that people can say such things and be taken seriously.

the isolated nuclear family

My son is now going to a school 20 miles away, and we have been trying to work out carpooling. I've talked to two mothers who live in our area, but they are both stay-at-home moms and not that interested in car pooling, except that one works one day a week and needs help that afternoon. We set up for us to pick up her kids that day and for her to take my son. I picked up the kids yesterday and it was a real pain to drive to her house 10 or 15 minutes past ours. But I think we need to get used to it so we will have someone we can call if we get stuck on taking or picking up our son.

In this area most middle class parents drive their kids to and from public school; it seems to be as status thing and is also self-reinforcing--because few kids take the bus, bus routes are an hour or more long. I was talking about this with a friend who said "they don't have anything better to do." Carpooling seems to be seen as an invasion of family privacy. I would like to learn how to be tied into a community more, rather than so isolated.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

computer frustrations

Today we are getting hit by the Sobig virus; campus email has been closed down much of the day. I'm surprised this one is causing so many problems, as it is the kind of virus the university usually filters out more quickly. I got maybe 30 virus related emails yesterday and today. I should consider myself lucky I didn't get more, given that my email address was stolen and used as a "from" address. Perhaps the campus computer support staff didn't get the virus blocked sooner because they were working on a different problem. The authentication server was down for part of this morning so no one could log on. Thankfully it was up by the time I taught. It would have looked pretty bad to have no one able to log on in the first day of class of a laptops-required class.

Monday, August 18, 2003

judging character

I don't usually go in for these, but a quiz testing whether you can tell programming language inventors from serial killers caught me (thanks to Penny). I got 10 out of 10--is that because I look at historical pictures of engineers a lot or because I am hypervigilant?

Sunday, August 17, 2003

long day

In my time in my office today I have:
  • Written an email to colleagues explaining that Netscape has been taken off the smart classroom computers and replaced by Mozilla, but if they want Mozilla on their office computers they will have to ask for it to be installed or download it themselves.
  • Taken my own advice and started getting used to using Internet Explorer for web browsing and Mozilla Composer for writing web pages.
  • Recreated a page that the people who built our new department web page replaced with an inadequate substitute (actually, recreated it twice, as not knowing enough about Mozilla I accidentally deleted everything I had done when I had finished it the first time).
  • Written another email to colleagues reminding them that this year they need to decide between our local course management system or WebCT or Blackboard. All three will be offered this year, and then the university will choose one for future years (making lots of people unhappy).
  • Chosen WebCT for my own courses, but realized that I don't know enough about how it will work differently now it is on the university network instead of on a separate server.
  • Emailed a professor in another department to ask why no graduate students from her program have enrolled in the course that she requested that I offer for them.
  • Researched email screening systems for my kids to use with our new home internet service. None of the company web sites answer the question of whether I have to pay double for two kids with their own email accounts. So far I'm leaning towards Kindermail.
  • Copied my son's school schedule for his church youth group, as he is going to a different school from everyone else. I hope they don't schedule things when he can't go.
  • Not gotten very far revising my course syllabi for the new semester.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

frustrating morning

I didn't have much time and I ended up spending it on worm fixes. The university got hit badly by this one, essentially anyone who turned on their computer yesterday got it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Former Episcopalians

My husband and I thought this was very funny, that the choice of people who want to leave the Episcopal church would be this run-down storefront church. (If you want to use this picture you are welcome to--a large version is here.) The Bishop of Upper South Carolina, who to my regret voted against Robinson, did write an excellent letter about how these issues sometimes take hundreds of years to work out and the church can survive heresy but perhaps not schism.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

weakness and strength

Last week was very stressful--leaving Philadephia after a month, picking up my kids from my family, and returning to Clemson. This week I got several messages and letters from my family complaining about things I didn't do while I was there picking up my kids. I thought I was doing well to get through it all and get to the airport with all our luggage. Am I strong as I thought I was or weak that I can't do all the other things too? Should I try to defend myself now or is that just getting enmeshed?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

peace and quiet

Saturday, August 02, 2003


We are leaving this afternoon for a week of real vacation at Kanuga. I will be checking my email but I won't have internet access.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Connecticut marshes

This is an example of the views I love riding Amtrack through Rhode Island and Connecticut, taken as I rode from Philadelphia to Providence on Wednesday. It was frustrating trying to take pictures from a moving train with a digital camera with a significant delay between pushing the shutter button and when the photograph is actually taken.

home safely

We're back home in South Carolina. My kids are in excellent shape, though my daughter found the two weeks staying with their grandparents, aunts, and cousins somewhat difficult. Partly it was having to compete with a slightly younger cousin as hard-headed as she is. Partly it was the expectation that everyone would do the same things. I don't think she got pushed too hard, but when I got there to pick them up I got a lecture about how I was a bad parent because I won't push her to play tennis, which is such an important life skill. Then after we left I found an angry message from my mother on my cell phone about how I had missed saying goodbye to one sister and her kids properly (there were 10 people in the family group there and four guests around at the time I was saying goodbye, not to mention two second-cousin families I was told it was important that I spend time with before we left at noon). I don't think my kids got hit with too much of that kind of thing; I suspect that it had been held back and that was why it got dumped on me so hard.