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2007-04-06 - 8:24 a.m.

...Good Friday and stuff...

It's Good Friday - which means that Mountain University is on holiday. K and I have a small debate about whether or not the rest of the city / province will also be on holiday, as they would be in many parts of Europe (such as Germany). Neither holiday (a Canadian Good Friday or a German Karl Freitag) pops up on my international electronic calendar.

We will know for sure when we try to buy eggs today. K couldn't bring himself to buy the last ones in the store yesterday - they were what he calls 'concentration camp eggs.' We'll wait for the organic free-range guys to come back in stock.

I had a lovely conversation with my mother last night. She and my stepfather got back from this year's family vacation in South Carolina two weeks ago, and have had a house full of guests ever since. My step-sister-in-law's father is dying. Her whole family (about 7-8 people including small children) came to stay in the house with them. They spent most of their time at the hospital and it sounds like they were reasonable house guests overall. But 2 weeks of a house full of people who are basically waiting for their beloved father to die has been rather stressful.

Their father clearly was their hero - he was one of the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII, and was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor last week. He raised a large, close family, and it is terribly difficult for them to let go. I've met him a couple of times as well - a wonderful down-to-earth man who clearly was a center for their family. It must be so hard for them to watch him wither away.

Anyway, now my mother and stepfather have their house back to themselves. It sounds as though the visit was fine, but the return to peace is quite welcome as well.


Following my last post, I spent more time looking through the job applicants for our department's position replacement (read: boring). I also had a talk with the Search Committee Chair (Remember? Professor TypeA?) Well, I'm rather glad that I did it. Because he explained to me that he was also very disappointed in the lack of female candidates. In fact he had already courted a preferred candidate - she was invited to our department and spent a day talking with people and giving talks. Unfortunately, because of family constraints she was not willing even to apply for the position.

Although I'm still not totally convinced that courting one senior female candidate is enough...I somewhat relieved that I spoke frankly with TypeA, and learned that he was thinking about the problem. Better than letting misconceptions build upon themselves. I was also glad to see him so receptive to my comments about the candidates. So, I guess I need to go with the assessment of the former chair (who is leaving for Oz today): TypeA is like a wound-up clock on one of his relaxed days. But his heart is really in the right place.

So today's summary: put words to your impressions (e.g., what's up with mom? what's the deal with TypeA?). But act carefully because you may change your mind later.

Hmph. This seems to be a theme since I've moved here. I've already told K that my experiences here have supported the adage of "never trust your first impressions."

Many of the people whom I disliked on first meeting are now people I truly like (example: the physics prof who tried to tell how to advise students seeks me out and talks cheerfully with me on a regular basis). It has been a matter of adjusting to their styles, or simply asserting myself in such a way that they see what I'm about, too. Some people are still people I don't really "like" but I have gained respect for them. (example: the student who walked away from me over the computer incident turns out to be perhaps the brightest student participant in my class, who now smiles and says hello in the hallway).

So yeah. that's the state of things today - now off to get some food.

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