Friday, April 29, 2005

last day of classes

I didn't realize until supper time that the last day of classes was over. I've been deep in trying to figure out the new curriculum, helping revise a document giving information for advisors. Every time I go over it I find another error in my own material. The person who is preparing the document and I may be the only people who understand the new curriculum.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

the end is in sight

It is the last week of classes, and I still feel behind from my trip last week. Miscellaneous frustrations: I can't find a binder I need that I had in my hands a few weeks ago, I had an ultrasound because I'm having some problems from fibroids and it triggered bad memories, dealing with a student who plagiarized...

Saturday, April 23, 2005


We had heavy rain last night and then a cold front came through fast. I went out on my bike about 8:30 this morning, hoping to get out before the wind got too bad (it is currently 12 mph gusting to 36). I had a nice ride of a little over two hours, but despite yesterday's rain I got home feeling like my eyes were full of sand. I looked in the mirror and my eyebrows looked like a clogged air filter--they were visibly full of pollen. I guess eyebrows actually do have a function.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


My daughter wanted to go to Emily Dickinson's house, so we also visited Emily Dickinson's grave. Nearby was the grave of Edward Hitchcock, an early 19th century geologist who was a key supporter of the founding of Mount Holyoke College.

Friday, April 15, 2005


I was preparing early this week for a couple of places this weekend and next week where I expect not to get the affirmation I want. The funny thing is that ever since the week has been full of unexpected affirmation from other sources. The coach commented on the progress I am making in my swimming, my doctor said I manage my diabetes better than 99.9% of her patients and the provost looked at what I have accomplished with STS and said "I love you." (The provost is a woman and everyone in the small meeting laughed at her words, but those words seemed to me a gift not from her but from the universe).

I will be out of town through Wednesday so may not post.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


My daughter, who just turned 12, is receiving an award for citizenship from the governor next week. Each school in the state could select one student to receive the award. My husband says he is going to have to hold his nose to take her picture with Mark Sanford, who proudly said he wants to run South Carolina like Walmart.

Monday, April 11, 2005


I'm teaching a graduate seminar on oral history, and I was wondering how I would feel about discussing issues of memory, whether that would intersect with my personal issues. It has done so less than I expected; the readings I have assigned that deal with memory have led us not in the direction of the reliability of memory but in the direction of how we use shared memory to build community.

Friday, April 08, 2005


I have the list of what my son needs to take to boarding school next year, and I am increasingly realizing what I don't know. For example, he is supposed to take one pair of dress shoes. It doesn't specify what kind. There are several different kinds of men's dress shoes, and I don't want to buy him something that the other kids will think is weird, even if my son doesn't care. But I have absolutely no idea what kind would be appropriate, and neither does my husband.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

openness to the unconscious

In an article in the Apr. 4, 2005 New Yorker, Larissa MacFarquhar writes of playwrite Edward Albee:
Albee's plays tend to cherish, in both their animal and their human protagonists, childlike, creaturely, feral qualities--authenticity, impulsiveness, imagination, openness to unconscious thoughts. Woe betide any character who displays adult human virtures such as rationality, courtesy, prudence, or restraint.
My journey has been to learn to embrace the characteristics on that first list. I hadn't quite realized until I read that passage how much I grew up in a world where the characteristics on the second list are good and those on the first list are bad. MacFarquhar doesn't seem to be embarrassed to criticize Albee for embracing the value of the unconscious (I assume in the Jungian sense, what Freud called the subconscious).

Reading that point of view in the New Yorker is particularly resonant for me because the New Yorker is so important to the culture in which I grew up that when my mother heard that I had decided not to subscribe any more she started to give me a subscription as gift.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I have run a couple of times recently into the factoid that if you take up running in mid-life it takes 7 to 8 years to reach your peak. I actually find that encouraging--that I am only at the beginning of this adventure. It will be a year in mid May, and I started with running and then when my joints protested took up bicycling again.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


I swam today instead of biking, though it is a sunny, warmer day. I couldn't bear to face any more wind, and it is still blowing 10 mph.

In the last three months I have averaged an hour a week of running, 4 1/2 hours a week of biking, and 2 1/2 hours a week of swimming.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Jubilee Joy Ride

It was my daughter's 12th birthday and we had arranged a party starting at 2 pm, but I figured if I started the ride by 8 am I should have time to do the metric century. All did not go according to plan.

The first and last 8 miles or so of the ride run through the Clemson Experimental Forest and generally east, and so I was not so aware of the wind at first, just glad that yesterday's rain had ended. The frustrating part early on (and near the end) was almost 4 miles on the roughest paved road I have ever ridden on. It is as if in resurfacing the road with tar and gravel they arranged it just right so each piece of gravel sticks halfway out of the tar. The silence and speed and lack of vibration when I finally got to a smooth road was breath-taking.

This isn't a ride up towards the mountains, like Ride for the Raptors. It is beautiful for open farm country, not for mountain views. Open farm country turned out to be a real pain when the west wind was averaging 17 mph and gusting over 40 (according to Clemson Univ. weather). I nearly got blown off the road several times and I'm not lightweight (I weigh 155 lbs). When the gusts hit head on it felt like they brought me to a standstill. And I was wearing clothing that didn't catch the wind: bike shorts, kneesocks, and a tight fitting jersy and vest. I was just barely warm enough riding, but too cold to stand around at the rest stops. I took two shortcuts, one that cut out 10 miles and one that cut out 7 or 8 miles.

Somewhere after the second shortcut, in a particularly bad headwind, I got something in my eye. It didn't come out either just crying it out or with a tissue, so I rode a couple of miles to the next rest stop and tried pouring water over my eye. That didn't work either, but finally, trying again to rub without hurting my eye, it came out. That cheered me up somewhat, but it was still a miserable slog mostly into the wind back to the start--a total of about 45 miles after the shortcuts. The peace and quiet of the occasional moments sheltered from the wind was amazing.

I got home about 12:30, so I didn't mess up the birthday party. I have bad memories of my own birthday parties so I always have trouble with my daughter's, and this year my husband was out of town. I guess the bike ride worked; I burned off my stress and didn't get uptight about the birthday party. And my daughter had organized a good plan; a hike to a waterfall, which was sheltered from the wind. I am tired tonight.

Friday, April 01, 2005


The last university curriculum committee meeting of the year was today, and I wanted there to be another one. That is because I have more STS courses in the pipeline. We should have had some kind of celebration, after what we have been through this year approving new curricula for every department in the university. Making it work next year isn't going to be easy, but the requirement I am involved with, science and technology in society, is in better shape than anyone could have predicted.