Monday, April 30, 2007

All Back Home

We've returned home to Athens after a week-long trip to Iowa for my grandpa's funeral. The trip was exhausting, both physically and emotionally, but I'm very glad for how smoothly everything went. Planning a 24-hour round-trip roadtrip at the 11th hour, scrambling to find people to cover my teaching for the week (thanks, Erin, Kristin and Kurt!), packing and loading up the car after a day of teaching and grad classes...I'm really surprised there weren't more glitches and disasters.

The relative smoothness of the trip allowed me to devote my mental and emotional energy to joining my family in mourning the loss and celebrating the life of my grandpa.

The picture above is of Charlotte enjoying the tulips in Scholte Gardens like a good little Dutch girl.

For more on my grandpa's death, you can read my dad's blog on the last three weeks.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Goodbye, Opa

Melvin Ernest Deur

June 1, 1921 - April 21, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

More Congrats!

Congratulations are due to Jeff's brother Mark and his fiancee, Katie. I hear the story of their engagement is one for the books! (Something involving Fifth Third'll have to ask Mark). Congratulations, you crazy kids!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Duh! (Duck)

It seems Charlotte has said her first word (other than mama and dada): Duh! Which, naturally, means duck.

There are many ducks in Charlotte's life. There's her rubber ducky that she bathes with. There's the duck on her plush yellow Little Einstein block. There's all the pictures of ducks in her various books, including fluffy feathered ducks in her touch-and-feel farm animal book. There's her stuffed purple duck with the crazy eyes that Grandpa and Grandma Deur gave her for Easter. The purple duck quacks and has fuzzy white hair on top of his head; it's her favorite. When she sees purple duck, she says "Duh!" It happens enough that I don't think it's coincidence.

So it's only appropriate that we got to introduce Charlotte to the real thing yesterday. We all took a walk into town, and as we were walking past one of the frat houses on campus, I noticed something strange. A few guys were sitting out front and they appeared to have little creatures perching on their shoulders. I peered more carefully, and saw...Duh! Yes, baby ducks. I asked if we could come see the ducks, and they were obliging.

Charlotte appeared less enthusiastic about the real thing than she is about pictures of ducks or even the plush purple example. But she did try to squeeze the little baby duck, perhaps to hear him quack. As I removed her little hand from around the poor ducky's neck, I realized I was probably more excited about the baby duckies than she was. But who could blame me? They're adorable! Duh, indeed!

Monday, April 16, 2007


We've spent all evening watching the terrible news from Virginia Tech.

I certainly can't imagine what the students at VTech went through today.

While I was scanning GoogleNews, I came across this article: major school shootings.

The stress faced by students is well documented. In my almost-six quarters of graduate studies, I've seen two students drop out for various reasons. I've also witnessed countless freak-outs by my friends in grad school, ranging in severity from compulsive M&M eating to excessive partying. And I too have felt the intense pressure of making the grade. (Confession: the compulsive M&M eating was me).

My point isn't necessarily related to today's events. I was just thinking about the kind of pressure students face, whether self-motivated or not.

Today as I was walking to my car after class, I was thinking about what it would be like to have the idyllic spring afternoon broken by gunshots, to have my classroom invaded by an armed man. What would I do? How would I react?

I was hurrying home to see my baby and I didn't even notice that my backpack was unzipped. As I swung my bag off my shoulder, my laptop fell out and clattered to the ground. Any other day, I would have been devasted. I probably would have said words I wouldn't repeat in polite company. I might have hunted down some M&Ms.

Today, however, I just picked up my Dell (which is working fine, by the way) and got into my car. There were more important things going on.

I guess my point is that it comes down to perspective, and your ability to put things into perspective. I'm glad I've been able to do that.

Friday, April 13, 2007


The last time I wrote a real post on here was just after spring break, and as I've just wrapped up the third week of spring quarter, I feel a little ashamed to have taken so long to write. But this quarter is shaping up to be much busier than I had anticipated. Although I'm teaching the same course I taught last quarter, the daily work and minor adjustments to the syllabus take up a good amount of time. And I'm only taking one grad course, but the reading load for that class is pretty heavy.

But besides all that, the biggest thing that has kept me from updating is that I've just been busy spending time with Charlotte. Right now I hear her waking up from her nap, which means I'll have to pick this update up later. But rest assured that Miss Charlotte is doing well, growing by leaps and bounds, and amazing us every day with her growth and change both mentally and physically.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter!