• DC2 has forgotten how to swim since the pandemic started.  Zie can still float and stuff, but zie had gotten to a pretty decent ability level with strokes previously.  DC1 doesn’t seem to have been affected.
  • I am concerned about monkeypox once colleges start. I think it is insane that the US isn’t moving heaven and earth to get more vaccine doses ready.  And it’s ridiculous that they haven’t learned from the Aids epidemic about branding things “gay diseases.”  If something isn’t done, college campuses are going to be hit really hard.
  • Talked to a former admissions officer from a top (but not top 10) SLAC and she said that yes, they are less likely to accept 16 year olds, but they do accept them if they’re good enough otherwise, or at least that was the case when she was working (admittedly before she got a PhD!).  I’m starting to be convinced that ED (early decision) to HMC (Harvey Mudd) is DC1’s best option (not that I have any say in the matter, and I’m trying to keep out of hir decision-making processes, but for my own peace of mind).
  • Told everybody I met at a recent conference that I want to move and that DC1 is graduating from high school.  One of them said, hey, I’d been thinking about you for this dream job because my dean wants more economists.  And everything about the job sounds perfect for me– lower teaching load, in one of my favorite cities, hard money but encourages grants, kicks back a large percentage of overhead as unrestricted research funds for the next year, lots of classes directly in my specialty (I haven’t been able to teach any classes in my specialty), tons of people working in my area across the entire university.  And it’s a private school.  I can’t get my hopes up though– I’m not sure I’m amazing enough for it.  But I sent in my cv and my grants chart.
  • Retire By 40 mentioned that he tells his kids that minor setbacks build character.  My mom used to say that a lot too.  DH and I really don’t say that much if at all.  I’m not sure why.  We both do a lot of solutions oriented stuff (though if it’s something like a cut finger, there’s sympathy, and an offer to kiss it and make it better which is invariably refused these days) and possibly some gentle teasing/reminders on how to avoid the situation next time.
  • In the end, the admissions office at our local university were awful and after giving us faulty or missing information several times, decided that DC1’s application was not complete (there was a waiver not in the instructions that needed to be on official outside letterhead rather than the form they gave us, so we would think the application was complete when it wasn’t and we got a lot of conflicting information from them), so DC1 will not be taking Calc 3 this coming semester.
  • The research teacher also basically said it was too late to do the research class, plus DC1 would need to find a lab and all the other students had started looking for a lab back Spring semester.  The email was kind of mean, so we’re thinking maybe a good idea to not get a rec letter from that particular teacher.  After some prodding DC1, zie revealed that this particular teacher also strongly suggested that DC1 not do the research class when zie asked her about it last Spring.  DC1 did get an A in her physics class, but the last six weeks grades were lower than the previous weeks.  I’m not sure what happened.
  • So DC1 is taking a study hall.  I can’t say I’m not relieved.  A little extra time will be helpful both with college apps and with DC1 being able to devote time to 5 AP classes, varsity orchestra, and who knows what else.
  • Hopefully DC1 can wow either the calc-based physics teacher or the AP chemistry teacher.  People say great things about AP Chemistry.  [Update:  Calc-based physics is the same teacher… hopefully DC1 can redeem hirself in her eyes.]
  • If you run out of scheduled posts on wordpress, it no longer shows the “scheduled” menu option.

20 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    Wow. 5 APs and we just heard there weren’t even enough kids signed up for honors chemistry 2 (no AP available) so we’re stuck taking humanities instead. I thought about classes at then community college but I honestly think the HS options may be more challenging and there isn’t a uni nearby. You’ve done a lot to give your kids a great education.
    I love everything else about our school. I just wish more AP options were available. This past year kids got into Yale, brown, Williams, u Chicago and other top schools so I guess we must check some box for people. (I think small rural school).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      None of the humanities elective AP classes made. AP Stats, AP physics C, AP chemistry, AP English Lit, AP government/econ.

      Zie wanted to take AP Music theory but it is never offered and AP art history didn’t make. AP Spanish literature didn’t fit into hir schedule.

      I’ve been impressed with STEM here but horrified by English/history. So much fascism/racism.

  2. Turia Says:

    E has lost an incredible amount of swimming skill as well. A lot of it is endurance and strength but it was a real eye opener. He won’t drown if he falls in, but he needs to be put back in lessons (and P will drown so is an even higher priority).

    I am also freaking out internally about monkeypox and universities. Q thinks monkeypox is a gay man thing, which tells me just how powerfully bad the public messaging about it has been because he is usually free of health disinformation.

    GOOD LUCK with the job! Is it in a better state? I know that is a big incentive for you (I am hoping that the result out of Kansas suggests that perhaps the slide into fascism can still be arrested).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yes, a better state.

    • EB Says:

      But if we pretend that everyone is at equal risk for monkeypox, when to date in the US it is overwhelmingly being caught by gay men, we will not be able to direct resources where they are most needed.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Right now it is gay men. When college starts that’s probably not going to be true anymore unless there’s government intervention targeting universities.

        Also the message that it’s a “gay” disease means that when people are at risk (see: Spain) heterosexual people will ignore the problem, especially in areas where homosexuality is stigmatized.

        There’s also a long history of lessons learned from the aids epidemic that’s being ignored. (Went to a great talk the other week about the Ryan White act which was brilliant but way too late.)

      • EB Says:

        Oh I completely agree that colleges and universities should be taking steps to inform students and provide immunization, when it becomes widely available. But for the moment, testing and treatment must be directed to those who are at high risk in the present moment, and that is men who have sex with men.

      • Lisa Says:

        Also, we need to consider WHY it is overwhelmingly affecting gay men right now. The message shouldn’t be that everyone is at equal risk, nor should it be that this disease targets gay men in some way. It seems that frequent intimate contact with multiple strangers is fueling the spread. So if someone wants to reduce their risk, they could decrease the number of partners they are intimate with and/or avoid intimacy with strangers for a while. This messaging would apply to gay men, college students, anyone. I know that not everyone will follow the recommendations, but it doesn’t seem that we would need that many people to be a extra careful for a month or a few in order to let this outbreak burn out.

  3. Lisa Says:

    I am also shocked and dismayed that monkeypox has been able to get a hold. Did we learn NOTHING? It really should have been controllable, given that it’s SO MUCH less contagious than COVID and the method of spread seems pretty well understood. Frankly, it’s also ridiculous that colleges and universities aren’t doing more to get the message out. Maybe my uni has a campaign that will kick in just in time for orientation. I’m not holding my breath.

    Fingers crossed for you to find some good options this year! With colleagues on the lookout for you, I’d imagine that there will be options. I hope one is just what you’re looking for!

    Also, as a chemist I’m partial to AP Chemistry. If for no other reason that it gets you out of an entire year of college chemistry plus lab. Big bang for the buck!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It seems crazy! We had been good at containing outbreaks before (remember bird flu? ebola? etc.). I have to think that we’re still suffering from all the bad hires and internal destruction from the Trump years. We have fricking POLIO back in New York. It is insanity!

      (Also: I am old enough to have been in classes with a kid who had polio before coming to the US. NOT something you want.)

  4. CG Says:

    It is wise of you not to get too excited about Potential New Job, but _I_ am excited on your behalf! Fingers and toes crossed over in this corner of the internet. Oldest will be taking 3 APs this coming year as a sophomore and is nervous, especially about APUSH which he has heard is really hard. I LOVED my APUSH and did not think it was hard but that was a long time ago and I am really good at memorizing stuff. Sounds like there is less of that now and more primary source material (which I question a little…maybe it’s good to have the big picture first and then dive into primary sources? but we will see). Our youngest also lost some swimming progress over the past couple of years, but managed to get it back this summer with some one-on-one lessons. Good luck to your kids!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      AP US History? DC1 actually had a really amazing teacher for that class– not mildly racist like the World History teacher nor super racist like the Human Geography teacher. But… he died unexpectedly last year. I don’t know anything about who is teaching it now.

      Last time I got excited about something, I tested positive for covid the morning I was supposed to present. Time before that, I started a pandemic. Stoicism is where it’s at.

  5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    We definitely lost a good bit of swim proficiency since the pandemic started too. I think we are finally started to make up that loss with the last few months of lessons.

    I share your concerns about monkeypox when school starts. It’s utterly maddening that the government is mucking it all up once again. Everyone I know in person has said “it’s HIV all over again” with regard to the botched messaging and approach. I suppose that part is worth something. It’s extra maddening because there was a Twitter thread earlier that we DID handle an earlier monkeypox outbreak years ago beter than we are here.

    My fingers and toes are crossed for the possible job opportunity becoming a reality – and a good one! As a dear friend told me when I was going into an interview and didn’t want to jinx myself: I will hold the excitement and anticipation for you.

    I don’t think we’ve SAID that disappointment builds character but I think I think it. We tell JB that we all have to learn to handle disappointments in life, because they will happen, and it’s ok to feel sadness and other related feelings about it.

  6. rose Says:

    Polio, AIDS, Measles, German Measles, Whooping Cough, TB, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Tetanus, Chicken Pox/ Shingles,Yellow fever, Malaria, Scurvy, Ebola, Leprosy, Cancer and more…. so many ways to be disabled or die. Then medicine and science made inroads.
    Today, due to greed and fear, so many think it is a better to turn back the clock on science, women, equality, etc. It is very depressing. I am tired. SO, more postcards. Sometimes the dragon wins but the answer is to NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you to all who keep fighting.

  7. accm Says:

    Good luck with the possible new job!!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:


      Went into work today and was immediately accosted with service— not even mine— several of my colleagues are not answering emails and they need a decision/guidance on curriculum stuff. This is why it’s best to work from home!

  8. 32piece Says:

    I’m trying to remember if your kid is thinking of engineering? If so, just want you to be aware that HMC offers only a general engineering undergraduate degree. They don’t offer the typical bread-and-butter programs of Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, etc. It’s a great school, the major is ABET-accredited, and they’ve clearly made this a deliberate choice, but it is very unique and I was surprised when I learned that during my child’s college search. Especially considering that USNWR ranks college degree programs that don’t even offer those degrees (which I disagree with completely). For example, it ranks HMC in not only general engineering, but also in Civil, CompE, EE and ME which are obviously not offered. Just an FYI in case you didn’t know and would find the info useful.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think it is a good fit because although zie knows zie wants to do computer science as a career zie isn’t sure in what context, and zie isn’t ready to commit to EE or BME etc. at age 15. HMC would allow hir to try it out and then get an MA should zie want to specialize. So it’s actually a benefit rather than a detractor (DC1 also has Swarthmore on hir list).

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