Thursday, September 19, 2013


Today when it was time to leave to walk Jonathan to school, I went out to the garage and grabbed a pair of shoes and slipped them on in the dark.

After we had walked half a mile down T-view drive, I looked at my feet and noticed I was wearing one brown shoe and one black one.  And that the black shoe had a thicker sole than the brown one, so that I was limping.  And I had been limping without even realizing it for half a mile.

The family thought my mismatched shoes were hilarious.  Actually, I laughed the hardest of everyone.  By the time we got to school, I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.  And then I had to walk all the way back home with one black shoe, one brown shoe, limping.

I remember introducing myself once at a college meeting.  As I said who I was, a woman across the table called out, "Oh, we all know who you are.  We see you walking up and down T-view drive all the time!"

Next time you see me on T-view drive, check out my shoes.  And if they don't happen to match, maybe pretend you didn't notice.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Tim and I have been away from home a lot in the last four months.  First, I was gone most of June.  Then Tim was gone most of July.  And then I was gone again for much of August.  At church, I found a substitute for my job playing piano, but I think everyone grew tired of trying to remember when I would be around and when I would not.  One of the ladies currently in charge of organizing the class asked me upon my return if I would be around for a while now, and I said yes.  My next major travel wasn't until October.  She raised her eyebrows.

By the next week, they had found someone else for the piano playing job.  I should add here, for those less familiar, that our jobs in church are all volunteer. Typically, people rotate through church jobs, switching in and out every year or two.  Before I was pianist, I was a teacher for the adult Sunday school class.  Before I was an adult teacher, I was a kids' teacher.  The difference with switching out this time is that I'm not switching back in.  I am officially out, with no plans for anything new until a year from now.

It's kind of a relief.  I can now travel without the added hassle of finding substitutes.  And that's lucky for me, because I forgot that my next time away was actually in September.  I missed last week again, because I was saying farewell to these people:

Good luck, above people.  You will need it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Three new year's resolutions

It's a whole new year at work!  And because I'm spending the year on a research leave, I have a little more time to do something new and different.  

These are the new and different things I plan to do:

1.  Learn something.  A student suggested a reading course on a book I've always wanted to read.  Since I have the time, I agreed to sponsor the course.  Another group will be reading a different book on a related topic.  Since I have the time, I plan to attend.

2.  Be a better mentor.  I've got six students working for me, which is kind of a lot.  My goal is to figure out how to get them to mentor each other, actually, with more senior ones taking the junior ones under their wings.  Sounds great, eh?  In real life, one of my undergraduates, who came highly recommended, stopped by my office today and said she wanted out.  She didn't think she would have the time for my research project after all.  Reader, she has been on the job for less than two days.  I told her to give it another week.  

3.  Finish the three papers I have in draft form.  Might I possibly get them submitted by December?  One of them yes.  Two of them maybe.  Three of them?  Seems unlikely.  But it would be really great....

That's all.  I only want to do those three things.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Report on August

My parents leave in just over a week to spend 18 months as church missionaries in Croatia.  

Yup.  What do you do with your retirement?

There is a language training center here near G.O.D. University, and my parents signed up to take Croatian lessons, all day every day, throughout August.  We welcomed them into our guest bedroom for the first part and the last part of the month.  In the middle of the month, they had to stay with my aunt down the street, because we had a pre-planned family reunion with Tim's family at his cabin.  

The most exciting feature this year at the cabin was the bats!  There was an indoor bat problem.  Bats flew in the chimney every night, and had to be carefully caught and released.  We used the top of a plastic salad container to trap a bat against the wall, then we slid paper under them, and then we tossed them outside.  

The real bat man (TM) came by each morning to try to plug up the bat holes, so that they could live their lives happily away from where we were living our lives.  And each evening he came back at dusk to see if they were still flying out from under the roof of the cabin (they were), and if so, where they were coming from.  The real bat man (TM) drives a white pickup truck (the bat-mobile) and lives in Idaho (Gotham city?).  He has white hair and a bald spot, but he is rather fit for a guy whose grandkids (boy wonder) are old enough to climb the ladders for him to spray foam under the eaves of the house.  

We were back from the cabin on August 8.  On August 9th, Jonathan and I flew to Hartford, Connecticut.  And on August 10, my sister Deb and her two youngest came to pick us up near the airport.  We spent a fun weekend with Deb and her family, and then I took a train to New York City to attend a conference.  Jonathan spent his days at the Eli Whitney museum in a science day camp, and he spent his afternoons and evenings with Deb and her kids, while I was at my conference.  

Oh, and Tim was home in Provo doing boring work.  

The conference ended on August 16, and then Jonathan and I spent another fun weekend in Connecticut.  We went to the beach -- here's my sister and her youngest at the beach:  

And to church, to the local school playground, and just hung out and had a lot of fun.  Here is a picture of Jonathan and his cousins just having fun.

And for future reference, Jonathan really loved the Eli Whitney camp.  It was his favorite camp of the summer.  He built all sorts of cool science toys, which we had to somehow cram into our suitcases to take home.  

On August 19, we flew back home and took the train from the airport to our city.  New feature!  You can now take light rail and train all the way from the airport to my town, and it only takes two hours and $5.50.

But anyway, on August 20, my parents came back to stay at our house to learn Croatian.  

And on August 21, Jonathan started 5th grade.

On August 26, my parents came back to our house to learn even more Croatian, and this time my youngest brother followed them down and also spent the week.  And good times were had by all.  I got to meet my brother's girlfriend Miranda.  We played Settlers of Catan.  And due to lack of a single wheat card, my brother won the game.  I was robbed.  Literally.  

Anyway, it has been a lovely August, and it has been nice seeing so many relations.  And the next time I write, it will be September.