February 17, 2016
5:18 – woke up. Should I go to the Y? Too tired.
5:34 – head downstairs, bathroom break, check email, NY Times, Instagram, and Weather
Mom doesn’t want a website. What should I get for her birthday instead?
5:49 – make these notes; head downstairs to walk on treadmill and listen to music. Need to get more exercise. Fewer than 1900 steps yesterday. Too much sitting and talking or grading.
6:13 – finished walking on treadmill. Listened to On Being podcast about language development. Heard a baby in time-lapse audio learn “water” over 6 months, starting from “ga ga” and ending in “water.”
Thought about the new inserts from the podiatrist I saw yesterday. Not sure about them. Time will tell.
Photo 1: wall in front of treadmill in basement
6:15 – took shower. Thought about podiatry appointment from yesterday, the light flashes I’m seeing in my left eye, and also “I don’t care what Chris R. wants, I’m not playing Rush or Neil Diamond or Bob Seger. Won’t do it. The taste differences between us are sometimes vast, but he’s a good sport.”
6:30 Heading upstairs to get dressed and wake family
To younger daughter: “You’re wearing a tunic, huh? Why do you need two nics? Isn’t one nic enough? Got a disappointed, quizzical look. Comedy jokes! Tough crowd.
Heard NPR story on a Scottish town 8 years after Trump opened a golf course and promised all kinds of things. Didn’t really deliver.
Typing these notes.
Time to take the dog out.
7:00 ish – down for breakfast of a Panera bagel with cheese and veggie sausage. Read about how Chirlane McCray, the first lady of NYC, was a founding member of the Combahee River Collective in the 70s. Cool.
Talked about artificial flowers, Taylor Swift and Hamilton on the Grammy’s with older daughter.
7:26 – got ready to leave
7:40 – finally in the car heading to school. The girls bicker and there’s some hitting. Wife cross with that, as am I.
Walk to Honors College
Take picture of tennis courts and power plant stacks.
Think about these twins I see many days walking towards Cooper Science. They’re never together. Weird.
See a woman with a dog training it to help the blind.
I don’t have to stop to cross the street.
I make a time-lapse video walking past Sursa Hall getting into my office.
Print comments on first thesis statements. Cut them up.
Think about JR and the Whitinger dinner and his illness.
Take picture of copier while it’s running my job.
AB is coming to talk about her thesis.
Prep my materials for my 9:00 class.
Time to review Dante. I like Dante in the abstract, but not the reality. What’s wrong with me? Too many Florentine’s I don’t care about.
Met with AB about her thesis. Asked me if and when my kids understood that death was a thing and was there an afterlife. She wants to interview them.
Met with another student about her paper
9:00 – class – talked about Method papers, then Dante. Why is Hell frozen, do we agree with the order of sins, etc. Described writing Method papers as “climbing the hairy back of Satan out of the darkness of ignorance toward the light of truth.” That’s a keeper, I thought.
Got text from brother about work/life balance.
10:00 – did that class again.
10:50 – writing these notes.
11:00 – graded classes daily writings.
11:15 – had lunch of leftover sushi and browsed web for relaxation before my 12:00 class
held office hours.
Read articles on the fight to replace Justice Scalia.
11:34 – finished lunch, back to work, thinking of readings for next week for 202.
Talked with office mate briefly about JR’s health.
12-1:50 – taught two sections of [class], discussing issues in Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
The last class argued that men have waffle brains and women have spaghetti brains and therefore maybe women couldn’t experience enlightenment. I had to swallow my tongue and calm down before responding as I really can’t stand broad, sweeping, essentialist statements about any one group.
It made for a lively end to my class day.
2:00 Walked home. Thought about my answers yesterday to S. and S. and how I probably came off as not as open as I could be about trying to like Muncie. I thought that I wished I had said that my essential issue is that I don’t feel like I belong to this area, geographically speaking, and that that’s really true of all places. I can’t go back to anywhere I’ve lived and truly feel at home. Without that feeling of belonging I don’t feel like investing in this place. It’s not home in the deeper sense. I don’t belong to a place and I think that matters.
2:15 Talked with D. about some issues she’s facing. Tried to comfort and reassure.
2:50 We went together to Burris to get G. Student Center is on lockdown over a suspicious package so Burris dismissal was a bit charged. Talked to LL, psych prof, about the spaghetti and waffle brain thing. She’d never heard of it. Hooey, she called it.
3:15 dropped off at home with G. Played “Early Autumn” on the piano. It’s been in my head today.
Made a cup of tea.
3:30- enjoying tea and a snack. Talked with G. briefly about what the afterlife is. I was asked if she would talk about her ideas about that on camera for a student project, so I was curious.
3:35-42 – wrote these notes.
Now some Dante reading.
3:52 Helped daughter with division
4:15 – drove to pick up older daughter at Burris after basketball practice. Took picture for this project.
Talked about the lockdown
Got home, collected recycling for trash pickup, scooped dog poop out of the yard.
Thought about Dante’s Purgatorio. Left my book at school; now I have to go in tomorrow.
I think I’ll give my students an in-class writing to ease their burden a bit as they prepare their method papers.
4:49 – down to the treadmill to walk a bit more.
Went back to that podcast about language from first thing this morning. An interesting comment about our increasing awareness of the mental life of sentient beings and the implications for us. …”the social life of lobsters.”
Wrote these notes.
Took trash out to the street.
No longer going to the jazz and poetry thing at Pruis. Kids will be out of sorts.
5:25 – tried to help daughter with her math frustration. I don’t know what a factorial is. I’m out. Useless pretty quickly at math homework.
Wrote these notes.
Walked around, tried to help wife with this and that.
Listened to daughter practice violin.
6:15 – dinner of caccio e pepe and roasted squash and salad. Girls are unexcited. G won’t even try it even though it’s basically pasta, cheese, and pepper. Ugh.
6:45 – some piano playing, working on “Early Autumn”. Damping the keys makes the improv sound better.
7:00 – girls in bath, wife planning a quilt for a friends 50th birthday.
Tried to fix internet connection issue.
Writing these notes.
Reading an interview in Slate with Michael Dukakis. The girls are in the bath singing “Hallelujah” over and over again – in harmony and in key. Amen to that.
Supervising (loosely) lunch making by my children. They are very loud.
Played the piano. Major “Great American Songbook” phase right now.
Happy that “When the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day” showed up in the songbook. Tried to play it. Not bad. Tried to sing like Bing.
8:15 – just finished a 20-minute conversation with older daughter about the value of practicing and getting better and the idea of deeper pleasures, not quitting, etc. Not sure she got it but she was listening, so I’ll take that. Not every conversation goes that well, so ok.
8:37 – kids down for bed.
Read some email. Agreed to meet a student tomorrow. Agreed to teach two classes for a colleague in March.
9:00 – cereal snack. Can’t quit the sugar.
Scold girls for being noisy when they should be sleeping.
9:15 – reading the Strobist blog to think about photographic lighting.
9:20 – started brainstorming what it means to “pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.”
9:30 – talked with D. about the performance she just came back from.
Talked about my talk with S.
10:13 – finished my brainstorming. Feeling spent but good about what I was able to think about for my Whitinger lecture.
Heading up to bed. Read a bit from Elvis Costello’s autobiography Unfinished Music.