Further Musings

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

Archive for the ‘UNC’ Category

DPP Day 15: At the Gym

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Most of the DPP blogs that I follow are domestic in their choice of subject.  Since most of the bloggers are moms with kids it’s natural that they take shots of what they see.

So I thought I’d mix it up a little bit with some shots from the gym.  Grunt.  Grrr.  (Those are the sound effects from the weight room).

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Written by furthermusings

December 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Pictures, UNC

DPP Day 14: Shooting Hoops

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It’s cold here but the gym is warm.  I’ve enjoyed shooting hoops and playing ball a couple of times this week.  It’s fun to be a crafty old vet and say things like “All the way from the 1970s!” after a nice drive to the basket.

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December 14, 2010 at 8:56 am

Posted in Pictures, UNC

Reminds me of Platform 9 & 3/4

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Written by furthermusings

October 12, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Posted in UNC

The View from 8 Stories Up

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Two weekends ago Charity and I had a lovely Sunday date.  We walked a mile or so down the streets of Chapel Hill over to the new condo towers in town. As we strolled under the brilliant blue skies we talked about the future, about schools and non-academic options, musing as with a rarely frankness about choices that are probably coming.

We went to the open house on the eight floor for the views and were treated to the best view of central NC I’ve ever seen.  Between the six custom apartments we were afforded 360 views of the slightly rolling Piedmont. The only thing that could have made it prettier was if the leaves had begun to turn. I mentioned more than once that here was a view that could nurture a mountain soul like my own.

To see the view, we toured each of the six apartments. Each was two bedrooms with central, open living space focused around floor-to-ceiling windows.  Each had a balcony. Some were pocket sized: perfect for a book and drink. Some were stunning: decks meant for parties, hammocks, and eating dinner outside six months of the year.

We walked around bantering intelligently about the merits of small bedrooms, integrated living areas, and the various nooks each apartment afforded.  We think we would make great HGTV participants.

One thing we couldn’t afford was the price: 660s to over a million.  Our taste in apartments decidedly outstrips our income.

That night, when I told my friend Steve about our tour, he said something like:

Was that a good idea?  It’s not like the seed of Andy and Charity’s greed lies dormant.  You guys might think twice about pouring fertilizer on it.”

I think that was a fair question.

But, for now, I think I’m more in awe and less envious or covetous.  Something about me really loved those apartments.  The nooks, the view, the beauty.  They were amazing, but I don’t need them.  It doesn’t bother me that I don’t (and can’t) live there.

But on a less self-complimentary note, I’ve been thinking lately about the monetary restrictions that come from being a professor, particularly when I consider jobs at the lowest end of the pay range.

I’ve thought about the type of house that I do want . . . and realized I will be disappointed to live in a house isn’t cool (to me at least) and is just functional.

I’ve thought about the income I might make, the cost of the kids we aspire to have, the ability for my wife to have the life she wants at home with them.  Can we have those things at all?  Will we be able to travel to Europe?  To shop (judiciously) at Whole Foods?

I wonder if my desire for these things and the willingness to make real sacrifices to achieve them makes me greedy or just someone with distinct tastes.

So far in life I haven’t had to face really wanting something but being unable to have it for financial reasons.  Part of that is that my desires are in line with our incomes.

But I’ve realized are some things that I want.  How I will react when (if?) I can’t afford them?  Will I adjust my desires and avoid the grief of not having money to do something important: attend a funeral, send my daughter to summer camp, or give my wife the stay-at-home parent title she might really desire.

Steve says it’s good to un-earth our subconscious desires planted in us by culture, the behaviors and assumptions that drive us without us every questioning them.  Lets push them out into the light of day he says.

Facing real jobs, with real incomes, with real tradeoffs is an opportunity to do so.

Written by furthermusings

October 9, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Posted in Reflections, UNC

The First of Many Lasts?

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Today marks the end of second summer session here at UNC.  This afternoon I sat in the front of a classroom in Murphey Hall, as I have for many years, watching students scribble away nervously on their final exams.

Near the end of the last hour, when there were only a few students scattered across the classroom, a student in the front row stood up to turn her exam in.  The she got closer to the podium the bigger she swung her arms until she windmilled her exam on the pile with a smack and exclaimed “Finished!  Finished!  Finished! My last exam and I’m free at last!” Tossing her blond hair from side to side she skipped back to her desk.

Turns out she’s a senior who has already graduated and this was her last time in a college classroom.  She and her friend drew apples and books on the board for a while in celebration and finally left arm-in-arm, giggling as they whispered to each other, leaving me and the final two stragglers in the hushed quiet of the classroom.

After the last student turned his exam in, I sat and finished a bit of grading before packing up.  I straightened my papers, erased the board (leaving the silliest bit up with a smile), and then, as I left, I turned around to turn the light off.

I looked back across the tiny bit of celebration and it suddenly occurred to me that this was very likely my last moment in a UNC classroom as well.

I just stood quietly for a second taking in the scene gazing across the oak planks, the empty scattered desks and out the tall ceiling-height windows into the green of the quad.  Six years.  12 classes.  30 sections.  600+ students.

I took a deep breath and felt a little . . . a little I don’t know what . . . then I said a brief goodbye, turned the lights off, and walked back to my office.  And that was very probably the last time I taught students at UNC.

This is the first of many farewells that will come in this year of moving on.  This one was soft and poignant in how it snuck up on me so quietly and so unlooked for on this hot July day in the middle of working on my dissertation.

I’m excited to be graduating.  I’m excited to start a new career.

But all that going requires some leaving.  Just wanted to notice and mark the first bit happened today.

Written by furthermusings

July 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Reflections, UNC

An Email from a Student

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A followup email from a student inquiring when she would get my comments on her paper.

This is so embarrassing, I just checked my “sent” folder and discovered I did not send the prospectus to you. I am so sorry, I feel like such an idiot. Attached is the prospectus.

Tis been a day filled with students (and a professor) white as sheets when they realize they’ve forgotten to bring their essays to class . . . or forgotten to come to class to give the exam.  Oops.

Makes me think again about the balance between grace and holding people to high expectations.

Written by furthermusings

March 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Posted in On the Job, UNC

At Center Court

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Yesterday I was recognized at half time of the UNC game for winning a teaching award. I thought it worked out rather nicely that I got to stand dead on center court.   Dad got to go down to the front row and snap a few shots, which was great.  I liked this one particularly.

Written by furthermusings

January 18, 2010 at 12:09 am

Posted in Political Science, UNC