A good blog friend of mine’s daughter is in this production  of Mean at the Youth Production company.

It’s wonderful, go see it! It’s about kids and taunting, bully behavior etc.  As someone who was the tallest girl (with — gasp, boobs) in middle school, I can identify.  It will open conversations with your kids about their experiences and behaviors.  It will let you see that your experiences weren’t unique… go see it, please!



Sunny San Diego..

So, I’m sitting outside reading e-mail and thinking about all the times I’ve been to San Diego.  The first few were for debate — Which means there are several folks out there who saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, with me.  That’s pretty cool!

I to0k this photo as part of a long-running joke with one of my debaters.  He came to So Cal for the first time with me… and immediately decided that palm trees were creepy.

Next he decided that they didn’t exist.  Oh, if only everything creepy could be wished into non-existence… hmmm…

Anyway, from that time on, I’ve been sending him pictures of palm trees — which always get a similar response “why did you send me a picture of the blank sky?”…

We’ve been playing this game for several years — long enough that he’s a coach now and about to finish a master’s.  When he decided that palm trees didn’t exist, he was a youngish person with a hard life — now, he’s gonna go out and change the world.

Now I’m in San Diego for an academic conference — the days are shorter, the work easier, but the company isn’t better….. I also don’t have any students with me to feed, track down and to ask to knock some of the sand off of their shoes before getting in the rental.

Going to conferences is generally fun — at least this one.  The folks are nice and the topics generally interesting.  Tomorrow I’ll present a paper and chair another panel.  Today I heard one of the first female fighter pilots tell us about the ethical dangers of unmanned military vehicles and talk about research ethics.  It was interesting.  I didn’t have to make win/loss decisions, tell debaters they could have done better or eat a crappy hamburger on a beautiful deck.

All that said — the debate reason for coming here was fun…. and having a long-standing joke with a former debater is even more fun.

So, I posted this photo because it reminds me of the debater I blog about as D1 –I’m proud of him and the work we did together to make his life better…. he did the debate work on his own, and I think the life work is more valuable in the long run.

D1 — I hope  you always see that empty sky :).

What a week…

Just a short post to keep y’all updated…

Over the weekend Andy and I went to the woods, saw some really pretty trees and Andy took a bunch of really cool photos.  It was in the -30 range overnight up there… burrr— but, clear, sunny and cold for photos, perfect.  I got home last night about 6:00.

Tomorrow I leave for San Diego for a military ethics conference.  It’s kinda cool because I’m going to be the only paper in the session — and some really smart folks are already thinking about it — one asked for a copy of my dissertation.  The last few times I was down there, the temp was about 70 degrees — I’m packing my sandals.

In between I have a class to teach, a BFF to discuss logic with and about 72million meetings…. well, actually three or four, but it feels like a lot packed into two days.

Sooooo — if the blog is a little quiet, it’s because we’re busy people with interesting lives that we’ll tell you about sooner or later 🙂 — you can be sure.

For now — take a couple of lessons I re-learned over the weekend:

1) No horseplay on the couch.

2) Your eyes will adjust.

My Orono peeps will get both jokes, and the rest of you will just have to wish you’d been cool enough to go to school with Andy and me.

Take that, Verizon..

Hubby “needed” a new phone.

Hubby is a 2.5L — which means his next time off before 11 PM will happen about, oh, never.  So, being a good wifey, I went to Verizon to get him one. 

Aparently, an ID with a matching address, the same last name and MY cell phone number as the primary number isn’t enough to get the hubster a new phone. 

The conversation started with:  “you aren’t on the account”… progressed to, “you could call him”… at which point I held up his phone and said, “yea– let’s do that and watch this one ring”… which is when the dink holes repeated the calling suggestion three or four times. Really,  I should have called Andy… he’d have played along…

Then the f-nuckle said the magic words, “or, he can go on-line and add you to the account.”… I thanked him (probably rudely, but I did hear Andy advise me to let it go…) and walked out the door.

Then, I went next door to Starbucks — thanks to my handy little lapotp, 5 minutes later I had myself on the account.  I wasn’t even there long enough to drink a cup of coffee.

You see, if you have someone’s phone and know the owner’s SSN, you can Verizon  text you a temporary password which will let you add yourself to the account…

I now have a new Blackberry (hubby wanted “your phone”… he got it)…you can figure out the rest.

The moral of the story, don’t piss off the Ph.D. who ACTUALLY pays the bills…

End of life decisions

My grandfather passed away almost two years ago.  He was 90, had a healthy life, happy family and some fantastic grandchildren :).  He was survived by my grandmother, who is now 94, two sisters and four children.

I was blessed to be with him and my mother when he passed.  What is was fortunate is that none of his next of kin, nor the hospital (one nephrologist aside) argued to keep him alive and on machines.  We all knew he wouldn’t have wanted to live that way…. and, we knew that if haunting actually is possible, we’d all be in for a good stern haunting-to if we kept him hooked up too long.  It’s one thing to say something liberalish and make Grandpa mad in life and it’s quite another to incur his everlasting wrath — none of us wanted any part of that.

I’m thinking about Grandpa and my family because I read this story about a woman who is refusing to let her husband go.

The gist of the story is that three metro area hospitals have told the woman that treating her husband is no going to produce positive results or extend his life.  He has significant dementia, kidney failure and infections.  The medical community calls this futile treatment.  The wife is sure that if they treat him, he’ll recover and be able to return home.  He’s 86 and she’s 57 — they’ve been married for 27 years and she has the legal right to make his medical decisions.  His care is paid for by medicaid and supplemental insurance.

The main philosophical question is who should be allowed to make the decision to withdraw treatment?  With the secondary question of whether extending treatment in cases like this is cruel?

First of all, it seems to me as if the wife isn’t using the best judgment.  Clearly, her husband isn’t doing well and probably doesn’t have a meaningful biographical life.  A “biographical” life is the aspect of life in which we have relationships with others, have memories and experiences that make us happy etc.. it’s essentially a life of the mind.  It also seems to me that caring for her husband is beyond her capabilities.

I’m quite divided over whether it’s permissible for the hospital and doctors to substitute their judgment for hers.  She knows him best,  he trusted her with his medical decisions and it seems to me that the hospital should do what she wants.

On the other hand, the hospitals and doctors have moral duties as well.  They cannot act in ways that are harmful to the patient — it’s a violation of the Hippocratic Oath to do so, the central premise of which is “physician, do no harm”.  The thing is, it seems unclear to me as to whether treating him is actually harming him.  Granted, it’s expensive and resource intensive to treat him, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to use those criteria to make end of life decisions.

I suppose, especially in this case, it’s a good thing we have a legal system that can resolve these issues.


Crabby tire boy.

The other day I had to take my car to the shop for new tires. The plan was to drop it off and go for coffee with Patty. When I arrived my contact Chad met me at the counter and followed me out to the car which I had left running.

Chad said it would be about an hour. The tires were in stock and all systems seemed a go.

About 40 minutes later Chad called and said the lights had been left on in my car and there would be a slight delay in service because the battery had died.  This was absolutely no problem for me.  Patty and I were nestled in for coffee, laptops all blazed up with nothing to do the rest of the day.

About an hour later I called chad and as promised the car was ready to go………………..this has been too easy I thought. something must be up.

When I got to the tire place it was very busy and as it happened, Chad’s line was a bit longer. So I jumped in Joe’s line.

When I finally got to the counter, Joe reminded me the lights had been left on.   I replied, “No problem, I have done that myself several times”.    That’s when young Joe kinda snapped…………..”NO YOU LEFT THE LIGHTS ON”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First of all………….Who the hell cares?   Why does it have to be someone’s fault?    Why is this dink-shrinker getting in my face?

I have a bad habit of giving advice, and had just recently advised Patty on learning to let these little annoyances in life go.  That’s what I should have done.

Instead I said, “I left the car running with Chad and as far as I know, the battery on a car wont die while it’s running, light’s on or off”?

I have a bad temper sometimes but this response was pretty measured compared to Joe’s  initial over reaction.  Then Joe schlepped through some half-assed attempt at attachment sales and I declined.

Nice thing is I didn’t let this bother me or ruin my day.

I do wonder why some folks have such an issue with customer service.    I also wish Crabby Joe a little peace, serenity and the realization that life is too short to be a blamey aggressive jerk.


Ending on good terms.








I recently had to give up one of my guitar students due to work and my new school schedule. It was a hard decision to make because he was my favorite student. So of course I wrote a kind email and I received the following reply:



I hadn’t checked email in about 24 hours and just picked up your message.  We certainly wish you all the best at Century–and beyond.  I am intimately familiar with the excitement and challenges of returning to school as a “mature” student.

I respect and appreciate your assessment that Jxxx  is ready for a new teacher.  If you’re right about this, it is largely because you have done so much to move him along musically.  I know he has enjoyed every single minute–and I mean this literally–of his time with you as his teacher.  And I have greatly enjoyed listening to you guys play together.  As I’ve said, sometimes I felt as though I should have paid for a ticket!

I’m sure Jxxxx will be sad to read your message (which I will share with him when he gets home from school), but I know he will also be very pleased to read your words of praise.  I will encourage him to print-out a copy of your email and stick it in the storage compartment of his guitar case.  I suspect it will be there for years–or decades–to come.

I hope our paths will continue to cross somehow in the future.  Perhaps you would still consider letting Jxxxx  join you for a coffee-house jam sometime in the next few months, if your busy schedule (and his) would allow.  If you would ever like a reference as a guitar teacher–or as a high-performing, personable, and reliable employee–please do not hesitate to ask.

All the very, very best,

P.S. I have attached a picture that I meant to send a while ago.  I hope you enjoy it–and you can hang onto it as proof of your influence on Jxxx  if he ever “makes the big time”!