Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for September 2012

NYTimes Meets RI House Hunting

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Over the last few weekend Charity and I have been going to open houses to learn a bit about the local real estate market.  Much to my delight one of the houses we walked through was featured in the NYTimes yesterday.

For years I’ve perused the “What you get for $___,000” series looking for interesting architectural features for my dream home scrapbook.  It’s fun to be able to have actual seen one in person.  I liked it that they featured the best feature of the house: the hand made backsplash for the stove (pictured right).

Written by furthermusings

September 27, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Around Town

Astronomy Shots of the Year

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This slideshow was beautiful. Beautiful and amazing.  5 minutes and 55 seconds worth of wonder rendered right here in my living room.

The fireflies, which always make me think of summers in the mountains, make this one my favorite:

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September 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Bringing Up Bébé

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Last night I finished Bringing Up Bébé  by Pamela Druckerman.  It’s the tale of an American woman who raises her daughter and two young sons in Paris and the sharp contrasts she sees between the behavior of her kids and the behavior of the French children she’s surrounded by.  The French kids are calmer, more relaxed and better behaved than her kids which sends her in search of the reasons.

Bringing Up Bébé is one part parting self-reflection, one part anthropology, one part parenting advice, and one part humor.  She’s writes well, knows enough to ask what American science has to say about French parenting culture, and is funny to boot.

Overall the French parenting style she describes seems much more sane than the American one she (stereotypically?) describes.  French parents are less concerned by unlikely risks.  They give their kids more freedom but also more boundaries.  They want to have parts of their lives separate from their children and for their children to have space from them to become their own people.  Parenting is a lot of intentional work to study the child and listening to him or her.  But listening doesn’t mean French parenting isn’t a democracy.  French parent’s decree is absolute… but they are only absolute about a few things.  They only make threats they can back up.

Some of the particular cultural institutions sound awesome: French daycare (at the creche) is free to the parents and paid for by the government.  Each creche has a chef who prepares four course lunches for the kids, helping them to develop their palettes.  Sending your kid away for a week on kindergarten school trips sounds lovely… maybe I’ll move there…

Overall the book is a lot of fun and provides some good food for thought.  I’m curious what I’ll think of her descriptions of American parents and of her prescriptions from French parenting when we actually have kids.

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Written by furthermusings

September 17, 2012 at 7:22 am

Posted in Reviews

A Life to Aspire To

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This video pretty much encapsulates my true calling in life.  If you get bored with the hunter-gathering bits skip the five minute mark where he and his wife cook dinner with an impromptu accordion ballad.   It’s all fantastic.

I wonder if Charity is up for this…

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September 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

Posted in Geeky Blogs, Laughter

Renters Insurance (or Making a Difference in the Classroom)

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An email from a former student came today.  It’s gratifying to know that my courses really have helped people’s lives.


Hi Dr. P,

Hope all is well and that you are enjoying your time at Brown. I just wanted to say a quick thank you for your budgeting lecture. I recently moved to New Orleans and thankfully, because of you, purchased renter’s insurance! All of the damages sustained from Isaac are covered under my policy. I will never go without it. Please make sure to include that lecture for your current students. It saved me so much.

All the best,

Written by furthermusings

September 3, 2012 at 9:36 am

Posted in On the Job