Wednesday, June 30, 2004


If anyone invented the internet, it was the National Science Foundation. But the organization has ended up with a web-based system for submitting proposals (called Fastlane) that is so bad it is mindboggling. I tried over and over again to update the information they had in their system on me, and it kept telling me that email addresses with blank spaces weren't allowed. Finally our grant specialist cracked the problem, she hit delete several times before typing in my email address. Apparently the form was prefilled with several of the forbidden blank spaces. I don't know if the problem is that NSF developed its system too early and now is stuck with a system with older and less forgiving technology or the issue is that described by the astronaut who said that it wasn't encouraging to realize he was sitting on top of a rocket built by the lowest bidder. (The quote is variously attributed to Michael Collins and Alan Shepard.)

Sunday, June 27, 2004


Yesterday I biked 11 miles. Today I took a walk of over an hour, and in the middle of it I ran 1/4 mile on a track. And my hip hurts--not while running (or walking home) but afterwards. Very frustrating; I really want to run.

Secretly I'm inspired by reading the book Slow Fat Triathlete, by Jayne Williams. She started with a short kind of triathlon with a half mile swim, a 12 mile bike ride, and a 5 k run. I could easily do the bike and I've at times done that kind of swimming, but I am getting nowhere on the running.

Friday, June 25, 2004


I took my kids to the ophthalmologist and my son has become more nearsighted and my daughter now needs glasses too. I knew with two nearsighted parents there was little chance of them escaping, but I guess I hoped they would be more like my husband, whose nearsightedness is mild, than like me. It looks like they are progressing faster than that.

It is scary how much glasses cost. And it isn't just a matter of replacing the lenses with the new prescription, the frames don't last. I wore the same model frame for close to 25 years (replacing them with identical ones maybe every 6 years), until about 8 years ago, but now the frames from two years ago are no longer made so it isn't possible to get replacement parts.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

home again

The picture is from the Estabrook woods in Concord.

The trip went smoothly, though it was hard to be in a place with so many years of tradition, having changed my lifestyle so much. The kids expect to go to the bakery for donuts every morning. I took advantage of the bicycles there to try out bicycling and it did work for me, though it isn't my first choice. So now I need to get one of our bikes at home fixed up.

Friday, June 11, 2004

off to Chatham

We leave tomorrow morning for 10 days in Massachusetts, mostly in Chatham. I expect to be checking email occasionally.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


One of my other attempts at balance today was in exercise. I took a short walk, which aggravated my hip towards the end, and spent 15 minutes on our exercise bike. I have a deep aversion to TV and the bookholder for the exercise bike is broken, so the problem is finding a way to enjoy it. I've got a 3 CD set of Tom Lehrer--those might do me for a little while.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


My hip that had been stiffening up after running started to hurt today. I suddenly realized I had felt something like that before when I had bursitis in my knee, and I happened to see an expert who confirmed I have bursitis in my hip. Frustrating: just when I was getting to the point that I could feel a difference from the running, now I have to take a break from it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


I set an early alarm so I could arrive before sunrise at the dike where I run in hopes of seeing the transit of Venus. I read a story about it in the Economist that made me want to see it for history's sake. I've seen a total solar eclipse, but never a transit of Venus. In fact I found the fully exposed and fully developed 4x6 film I made in high school for observing the partial phases of the solar eclipse, and got them out for the transit of Venus (though they are faded and chipped). But then when I went out the door I discovered it was raining lightly.

The rain actually stopped when I got to the dike, so I could run. I haven't figured out how to deal with eyeglasses (very nearsighted), rain, and running. When I walk in the rain I use an umbrella.

Monday, June 07, 2004

becoming an associate

I had a good retreat and was received as an associate of the Order of St. Helena. The friend with whom I first went to the convent came, which was special.

From the first time I went to the convent, one of the things that struck me was that when the retreat was over instead of everyone dispersing, the sisters were still there, still singing the same services four times a day. It is that sense of being part of an ongoing community that led me to decide to make a formal connection.

Friday, June 04, 2004

heading off again

I'm leaving later this morning for a retreat at the convent, where I am intending to become an associate. I have come to feel that the sisters are my safe family and that it is time to make a concrete commitment to that.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


My greatest fear about this summer is that I will not get the manuscript finished that I have promised to finish. I'm feeling a little better because I have had three very productive days. I've treated myself by quitting early after I have written three or four pages and doing foolish errands, like driving 50 miles to East Flat Rock to order a new pair of custom orthotics, when my old pair hasn't worn out yet.