Wednesday, November 30, 2005

November totals

swim 13 workouts, 15 hours
bike 8 workouts, 21 1/2 hours
run 13 workouts, 47.7 miles (approx. 12 hours)

That is an increase in totals from last month in all three sports. Weekends away and weeks where I didn't get out on the bike during the workweek cut my number of bike workouts, but I got in long rides.

Today my long run was 5.5 miles, and we had done a breaststroke kick set at masters swim practice this morning. My legs were pretty sore by the time my run was done, but nothing that felt like injury.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


We had a good time at St. Christopher's talking with a historian of science who is currently working on science in the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. He has previously written several books on evolution. I was still sitting at brunch when he stopped by to say goodbye. When he had left, the woman sitting next to me said she had seen him quoted (assumably on the subject of evolution) and asked me if he took a Christian approach and talked about creationism. I said he is a Christian who believes in evolution, there are plenty of those. She started to say something and then stopped herself.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

what God gives us

Yes, I notice that I left out a line of the Johnny Appleseed grace. It actually says:
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun, the rain and the appleseed;
But then I don't believe that God does give us everything we need, or in Julian of Norwich's words: "All will be well."

I try very hard to believe in God's abundance, particularly in the sense of not seeing life as a zero-sum game. But I also have seen friends who tried so hard to heal and make a life and just kept getting beaten down by more bad things happening. One friend in particular is at peace now, but I don't believe God gave her in her lifetime enough for her to find any way out of terrible suffering, even though she tried so hard for so long.

I don't like the theory that God doesn't intervene because that would take away our free will--follow that to its logical conclusion and you end up believing God never intervenes, and what use is that? I certainly don't believe that God sends us bad experiences for our own good (though we may in the end be able to extract good from them). So I end up believing that God does help us, but not enough. For some reason (something like it causes too much confusion if God goes around violating the laws of nature), God can't help us very much, but God tries and we can look for that.

I don't believe we are necessarily going to get what we need, only that we can focus on what God does give us. Barbara Crafton says today:
Live in the present, but live also in hopeful preparation for good things. That way, your happiness is increased: you get to anticipate delight and then you get to enjoy it.

Now, the reverse isn't true: we're never well served by dreading the future. It just ensures that we will experience every bad thing twice, once before it happens and then again when it does.
It isn't good logic, but looking on the good side I find helpful as a way to live.

Friday, November 25, 2005

long bike ride

I skipped lunch today to take a 50 mile bike ride and had a lovely time. A few stretches were on busy roads but by going that far I got to the prettiest country roads. A turf farm is rather a funny sight--all those fields of lawn. I also went out before breakfast on the beach with my daughter on the kids' mountain bikes. It was very beautiful.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


We are at St. Christophers for Thanksgiving for the third year. I got up about 6:30 this morning and ran on the beach. I saw dolphins and pelicans and the sun rising out of the water. I ran 5 miles for the first time, here where I first started running a year and a half ago. I was very thankful. For a while a Thanksgiving song ran through my head:
The Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For the sun and the rain and the apple seed
The Lord is good to me.
After brunch I went for a two hour bike ride, but that was as much as I was going to enjoy. A beautiful day but windy, and my legs were tired.

Monday, November 21, 2005


The trouble with having release time to do administrative work (organizing the STS program) is that administrative work comes in much smaller pieces than teaching so I feel like I am juggling many more balls and not keeping track of them all. I got lots of bits done today but I have a feeling there are more I am missing. I need the stress relief of running and didn't go out this morning because of cold rain. It has hardly rained here all fall; I've forgotten I can run in the rain. I need to go to a lecture at 5:30--I don't know whether I will try to go out and run later this evening. It won't be any darker than at 5:30 am.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

C. S. Lewis

The New Yorker has a startling piece this week on C. S. Lewis. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia as a child but when I tried reading them to my children I was bothered by the British social snobbery (most noticeable in the beavers who are condescending described as honorable poor people). I think I read one of Lewis's Christian books, or maybe I have just heard them referred to so many times I think I have. The article points out that there is a different view of Lewis than the Christian one. I don't agree with the conclusions drawn, for example the author apparently cannot grasp at all the religious value of doubt. But the article is full of fascinating things I didn't know about Lewis, as well as a very interesting critique of the Christian symbolism in the Chronicles of Narnia.

Friday, November 18, 2005

fathers and God

The book that started me on the journey towards being baptised (in 1981) and joining a church was Beyond God the Father by Mary Daly. So I'm not someone who thinks of God as father, in fact I am careful not to use "he" for God. But child experience still has a lot to do with our concepts of God. I realized yesterday while talking with my spiritual director that because I am feeling so abandoned by the death of my fathers (one when I was two and one not quite two months ago) I am feeling disconnected from God. She talked about feeling that God is present so everything will be ok. I felt that implied that God would protect us and I very intensely said God can't be counted on to do that. I do believe that when I was a child God helped me survive, but oh I needed so much more.

I tend to experience God with me in the healing process, but before I turn that corner to healing I'm not good at being aware of God with me. I think I'm beginning to turn the corner, at least to work more productively on the abandonment feelings. I'm glad to be reminded to look for God.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

long run

I ran 4 1/2 miles yesterday in about an hour and 7 minutes--a bit faster pace than my 4 mile long run last week because I was worried about it getting dark. My hip was sore afterwards but stretching seemed to help. What impressed me most was how I settled in and didn't think about what I was doing and the time passed quickly. I had swum in the morning but then had a busy day with teaching and finishing up preliminary interviews for the search I am running and it felt really good to get out and run. If I can keep increasing my long run by 1/2 mile a week I will run the Clemson Half Marathon in February. I think my husband and daughter are going to speedwalk the 5k held at the same time. The cutoffs are four hours for the half marathon (I hope to do it in three) and one hour for the 5k, so it is definitely a slow people welcome event.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


I discovered two mistakes today. I arranged with the other members of the search committee to do telephone interviews Monday, and then when I emailed the candidates I wrote Nov. 15 as the date for the interview. I sent a second email to one candidate saying Monday, and he pointed out the mistake and we straightened it out. I just this minute got an email from the other one saying that Monday will work for him too.

Then I started to fill out a form for my daughter to participate in the Duke University Talent Identification Program, and discovered that the postmark deadline was Nov. 1. I filled it out anyway and wrote a note asking for it to be considered late (explaining I lost track of it because my father had died). But there are some benefits to blogging. I went to their web site to put a link in this post, and discovered the deadline has been extended and I could sign up on-line!

A 2 1/2 hour bike ride had helped how badly I was feeling about the mistakes only a little, but a shower and finding that they can be fixed has me feeling much better.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

long swim

2,000 yards in 59 minutes! Not fast by real swimmer standards, but I am happy. And I didn't feel beat when I was done--if I had had time I would have been comfortable going for the whole 3,000 yards.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

hanging in there

I'm struggling with childhood feelings of being left alone with my pain. Worked on it yesterday but ended up somewhat retraumatized, though I also got to some healing. So I distract myself with my training. Today we were supposed to do a swim competition--3,000 yards (or however much I could do in an hour). It is what is called a postal swim meet: you swim wherever you usually swim and send in a time. But the coach forgot to set his alarm, and he was going to do all the timing, so when he didn't show up we couldn't do it. Beautiful weather this afternoon and the workshop I was supposed to go to was postponed so I got in a long run--4 miles. That is the farthest I have run, and it felt good.

Monday, November 07, 2005

home again

The conference was hard. I chaired one committee meeting and participated actively in three others. I went to two interest group meetings. I didn't get to many sessions but I heard a wonderful lecture on how discussions of Darwin's character have changed over time. I received an award.

The strangest thing was that when I stood up to say my few words when I received my award, I couldn't speak for a moment. I don't remember that ever happening to me before. It was partly that what I had written out presumed that the citation for the award would be focused differently than it was, but I was more aware of looking out and seeing all those people. I wonder if it was somehow a delayed reaction from my father's funeral--I was wearing the same pants and jacket and similarly standing at a high podium.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I'm off later today to Minneapolis for a professional conference, where I am interviewing job candidates, chairing a committee that has a lot of work to do, participating in two other committees, and receiving an award. It is going to be exhausting.