Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Time to Be Born, A Time to Die

Ron's friend, the one with cancer, passed away this weekend. Even though it was expected, I was surprised how quickly it happened, and when Ron told me, it sort of knocked the wind out of me.

We had a baby girl nine days ago. Pregnancy and post-pregnancy hormones can make one overly emotional, but I can't stop thinking about Ron's friend's family, his widow and his little boy. I can't imagine doing what I do every day on my own and I'm so ever thankful for the health of those I love.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

All In a Day's Work

Yesterday something happened that I knew would eventually occur, just a matter of time. A crazy student showed up wanting to meet with me unannounced.

I've met with plenty a displeased student. In the course of my career, there are students who are angry with me for one reason or another. That's fine, I don't worry about those too much and if they want to meet with me, well, sure, why not.

It's the crazy ones that worry me. Sometimes that's a fine line, the crazy vs. the angry. But it's worst when the student is both.

I evicted this particular student 4 years ago. On paper, it was because she engaged in disruptive behavior that negatively impacted the community. In reality, she's the only student I've ever tried to get involuntarily committed. It was not pretty.

So 4 years pass without a word from here and suddenly here she is wanting to see me. Pronto. Thankfully, I happened to be on the phone and I have a wonderful staff who ran some interference. There are very few people who I will not meet with. There are very few people who make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. But she falls into both camps. I made some calls after that. I'm fortunate that some of my closest allies on-campus are the Security Director and Legal Counsel. These are excellent people to have in your corner. The student is now restricted from campus.

This student never threatened me. She has displayed no propensity towards violence. I have no real reason to believe she wanted to do anything other than speak to me. Although, after 4 years, a disgruntled person showing up to speak with you is rarely good news. I told my lawyer friend, when he asked why I didn't have him pulled out meeting for this "emergency", that I figured I was probably blowing the whole situation out of portion. His response, "We don't have the luxury of making that assumption anymore."

Campus violence is on the rise. Everyone remembers Virginia Tech, but there are dozens and dozens of others that didn't get as much press. Then there was this, which involved students I know and level of violence that no one wanted to believe could happen.

I feel like if I ever have to write a dissertation, I think it's going to involve the increasing danger on college campuses.

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Monday, January 04, 2010


I know every parent is slightly biased about their own kid. It's impressive to see your baby, who used to be able to do NOTHING, really take an active interest in learning. And learning more than just about how to eat and walk and other basic necessities. I'm talking about school-type learning.

Rolo can spell his name. He occasionally gets the "a" (in his real name) confused with "b". But he gets the whole thing right most of the time. He can also correctly pick out the following letters: a, b, c, d, j, k, l, m, n, o, and w. Sometimes z. He had letters that float in the tub that have helped him with this, as well as that toddler computer I mentioned that he's been doing letter with. He still makes mistakes, even with the letters he "knows" but he gets them right more often than not--enough that I really think he knows them.

He can also count to 20--and by that I mean he recites numbers 1 through 20. In addition, he can also count off how many objects he has or is looking at, but only up to about 10. It took him awhile to get the hang of counting objects and he'll sometimes still count the same thing twice, but in the last week he's really gotten the hang of it.

Also? He's been telling me, with varying levels of success, his left from his right. He'll hold something in his right hand and say "This the right one", then switch hands and say "This the left one". Again, he sometimes gets it wrong, but he often gets it right--especially when he does it on his own, not with me prompting him to perform.

Clearly, he's a genius.

ETA: And I forgot to mention shapes! He knows circle, square and triangle. Same as with everything else--he doesn't have 100% accuracy but he gets them right more often than not. And as seems to be the case with all his learning, he's more accurate when he just picks out a shape on his own. Sometimes he'll say "Look, Mommy, a circle!" or I'll overhear him naming the shapes in a book. But if I start asking him what shape is what out of the blue, it's more likely he'll give me a wrong answer. Which, maybe is because he's unsure, or may be his deliberate way of telling me to stop treating him like a circus pony. Probably the latter.

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