Apologies for the light blogging for the last couple of weeks. As longtime readers know, I’m on our Promotion and Tenure Committee here at my college — this year I’m the chair of this committee — and we do all of our work reviewing portfolios during the month of January while the rest of the college is doing Winter Term. It’s always a challenge to manage our work so that we get all of our recommendation letters written in a reasonable amount of time, but this year there are some personal reasons that have added an extra sense of urgency.
So ever since the first of this year I’ve been spending all my time either doing these P&T reviews or trying to cram in course preps for the spring (two sections of Calculus and a section of Linear Algebra), in an attempt to get as much done as possible before the baby arrives (click on the link above for the backstory). I don’t think anybody wants me…
I’ll be taking a hiatus from blogging from today through Sunday as the Casting Out Nines crew travels to Tennessee to visit the grandparents for Thanksgiving. We normally make our long road trip to the Volunteer State at Christmas, but this year that’s way too close to Harrison’s arrival to be traveling.
I love Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday that Christmas really should be — a time to relax, enjoy family and food and down time, and be thankful for all the ways you have been blessed in your life. I am pleased to say that I have much to think about in that respect: my wife, my two girls, my son on the way in a few weeks, steady employment in these tough economic times, and simply the ability to think and reflect and write like this. I think our culture would be a lot better off if we could discipline ourselves to be thankful. And our haste to skip right over Thanksgiving and go …
Back in May, my wife and I found out that our lives were about to get a whole lot more interesting. Everybody, meet Harrison Lewis Talbert, our “surprise” baby and third child overall.
He may not look so big, but he’s having a huge impact on our lives. We’re very happy! But we are also definitely entering some uncharted, and unplanned-for, adventures starting in January, when little Harry is due. To chronicle all this, and since my wife and I are unapologetic nerds who will use any excuse to do something technological, we’ve started up a new family blog: The Talbert Five. We had a family blog twice before, and we tried to make them pseudonymous or password-only, and it was just either too much work (in the former case) or no fun and kind of stagnant (in the latter). So we’re making this blog wide-open and hoping not too many creepy internet people show up. (That doesn’t apply to the a…
Blogging’s been light lately because of the push to finish spring semester courses. I did so today, turning in my last batch of semester grades. So maybe now I can get back into a regular swing of posting.
My main role this summer will be that of the stay-at-home dad. Our two girls normally attend preschool and daycare during the week, our 4-year old full-time and our 2-year old part time. This summer, the 4-year old will be going just three days a week and the 2-year old just one day a week. I will have one day a week to myself (see below), but the other four weekdays will be spent either one-on-one with my 2-year old or two-on-one with both of them. It’s a role that I am greatly looking forward to playing.
I will be “Mr. Mom” during the day, and then I will be teaching not one but two classes in the evenings. I signed up to teach our 8-week summer calculus course on Mondays,…
Just a public service announcement: Our crew is heading down to my Mom and Dad’s for Christmas* this morning, and we’ll be gone until Sunday. So no posting, probably.
In the meanwhile, I’ve got some posts percolating on Sage, Jott, design principles for college syllabi (as suggested by virusdoc), and lessons about teaching that I’ve learned through my Advent devotionals so far this year. All coming your way hopefully next week.
If you’re travelling too, be safe out there and enjoy your time with family or whomever/whatever it is you’re travelling for.
* My sisters and I spend Christmas Day with my folks in even-numbered years and with the in-laws in odd-numbered years. So Christmas Day is more like a week-long affair, which our two girls rather enjoy.
Editorial: This is the fourth installment in the retrospective week series. I’m having a lot of fun putting these together, by the way.
This article garnered zero comments when it was posted, but it’s one of my favorites because it addresses the issue of balancing work and life — an issue that higher education is often miserably bad at addressing — and exposes some of the arrogance and sheer nincompoop-titude that can only come in these quantities from university faculty. Honestly, put a sock in it people. Don’t some of these people have families?
I could definitely get used to this Spring Break business; all week I’ve done nothing but spend quality time with the wife and the kid. Today we took advantage of the brilliant spring weather, going to the zoo around lunchtime; and after the kid’s nap we made…
From the random number generator of my now-obsolete iPod:
Zing Zang Wing Wang Wong (The Wiggles, Wiggle Bay)
Captain Feathersword Fell Asleep on His Pirate Ship (The Wiggles, Toot Toot)
Biko (Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree)
Memor esto tuorum (Hildegard von Bingen, performed by Anonymous 4, The Lily & the Lamb)
Romp Bomp a Stomp (The Wiggles, Magical Adventure)
Paperback Writer (The Beatles)
The Waiting (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits)
Do it For Love (The 77′s, Sticks and Stones)
Fare Thee Well (Phil Keaggy, Beyond Nature)
Sea of Faces (Kutless, Sea of Faces)
You can laugh all you want at the preponderance of Wiggles songs this week. I don’t care — I will freely admit that I’m a fan. They write catchy, clever kids’ songs that work on the kids’ level — they don’t need to throw in some silly bone to the adults to legitimize themselves — and they are actual musicians. …
We’re finishing up a makeover of the girls’ playroom today into what I am calling “casual contemporary schoolroom” style. And OmniGraffle came in handy for making a scale drawing of the new layout (click to enlarge):
The room is 11 by 13 feet. Once I measured the room, I just drew an 8-inch-long rectangle and set the width to be 11/13 times 8 inches wide. Then I could go and measure each object we are putting in, and manually resize its drawing to have the right proportions using one of the inspectors in OmniGraffle. Conversely, and perhaps more helpfully, I could draw new stuff in the room with the proportions I wanted, then do the math to see how big they would be in real life, which helps me in shopping for that stuff. (For example, we haven’t bought the art table, but I now know from the drawing that it would need to be about 2′ long in order to look like it does in the layout.)
Here’s the highlight of my day at the zoo with the girls:
This was taken from the underwater observation deck in the dolphin exhibit. Those dolphins were literally inches away from us when they came back under water. The entire underwater area is big, consisting of three wide hallways and a large central hub, and you can see the entire dolphin habitat there. How cool is that?
Technology note — this video was shot using my Canon PowerShot A70, a still camera that’s ancient about four years old (with a once-cutting-edge 3.2 megapixels). This video wasn’t on the highest possible resolution (on that setting videos max out at 30 seconds in length) but I think the quality is pretty impressive. I think it even beats the fancy and expensive hard drive camcorder we recently bought, at least once the video is put on the web. Plus, it’s smaller, more durable, and doesn’t have crappy…
I am a mathematician and educator with interests in cryptology, computer science, and STEM education. I am affiliated with the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. The views here are my own and are not necessarily shared by GVSU.
The Chronicle Blog Network, a digital salon sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education, features leading bloggers from all corners of academe. Content is not edited, solicited, or necessarily endorsed by The Chronicle. More on the Network...