When the brain skips a beat

A photo of a blood pressure monitor and the book "Heart Disease for Dummies"

I have much to say about this article on being a “slow professor,” but first I want to explain my absence from this blog for four and a half months. I haven’t been well. You wouldn’t know my secret if you saw me on the street or on campus. However, if you talked to me, you might note I […]

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2016 revolutions: Writing

Over the past year, I’ve been experiencing some brain fogginess. I don’t know whether to chalk it up to even less time spent exercising (because of longer hours at work), perimenopause knocking at the door, or to new depression meds I started at the beginning of 2015, but the result has been a decided decline in the […]

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2015 in hindsight: difference

As I look forward to 2016, I also want to recall how, in 2015, Marci gave me the STAR word “difference.” I printed the word on a paper star and posted it above my desk at work. Lots of things were different this year. I turned 40, a cultural milestone, especially for women. Already I can feel the […]

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2016 revolutions: Eating

This is another post about small steps adding up. A few years back, I spent several weeks eating vegan and sugar-free. The experiment worked wonderfully–I felt better physically than I had for a very long time, I looked great, and my thinking clarified. At this moment, I’m not ready to commit to that kind of […]

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2016 revolutions: Walking

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, educator and author Parker Palmer has committed to five revolutions. I share his social justice concerns and am working for these causes in my own small ways. However, I have also overcommitted myself in my professional and personal lives, and so for 2016, I’m not just resolving to refocus and […]

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Remembering Joan Van Blom

From an album on Joan's Facebook page. Her caption: "just after the finish of the 1976 Olympic finals race in Montreal, July 24, 1976, smiling at the realization that I'd won silver and almost gold. Photo by John Van Blom who was alongside the course, riding in the back of a stationwagon. John still had his own Olympic finals race within days, stroking the US quad, in the first time men raced the quad in the Olympics. (1976 was John's 3rd of 4 Olympic teams (1968, 1972, 1976, 1980) all as a sculler. His 5th Olympic team 
would be coaching our women's US quad to silver in 1984. — at Montreal, Canada - 1976 Olympics and other locations."

Bad things, I’ve been reminded by several people lately, come in threes. The threats, the heart attack scare. And now a death in the family. On Friday, physical education and women’s sports lost a huge champion—in every sense of the word—in the passing of my aunt, Joan Van Blom. Joan’s life and career illustrate why it’s wise to […]

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Pain and suffering


I’m not prone to anxiety, but the social media threats from the gun extremists have kept me awake in the middle of the night since I received them. Last Wednesday night, I woke up every hour with increasing chest pain. I assumed it was a combination of my asthma and the bad air—though the air has […]

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(Trigger warning: This post contains references to sexual assault, as well as epithets related to the female anatomy.) So. . . It’s been an interesting summer. Alas, I cannot tell you about most of it because last week I was singled out by an, ahem, Second Amendment enthusiasts’ group, which posted on its Facebook page […]

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Tomorrow I turn 40. Forty! I know many of my readers have already reached or long surpassed that milestone. However, 40 feels fantastic and momentous to me because I didn’t know if I would make it this far. Those decades of depression sometimes made it seem, moment to moment and in the aggregate, as if […]

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“Idaho Citizens”


Image by Thomas Hawk, and used under a Creative Commons license   When I listen to testimony before Idaho’s state legislative committees, I invariably hear—mostly from conservative speakers, but not exclusively—multiple people mention how many years they have been “citizens of Idaho.” I thought this was an interesting slip of the tongue. After all, those testifying […]

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