Monday, January 31, 2011

weekly accountability: January 30-Feb 5

No, I didn't get all of my goals done this week.

Seriously, this was one of those weeks that makes me want to throw in the towel and go herd goats. Surely, goatherding is more compatible than academia with childrearing? Between cancelled preschool, and days off for our caregiver, and the caregiver's sickness, and Pumpkin's sickness, and 3 evenings lost to meetings, I got nothing done.

Actually, that's not true, I just didn't get finished with the book review for this week, because I spent the time I did have massively over-engineering the project. I always do this, and it really cuts down on my productivity. The review can only be 750 words, but I have 17 pages (single spaced!) of notes, and then I wrote an outline that's longer than the damn review! Typical.

I'm not making any goals for next week. If I can just get my classes prepped and keep my kids healthy, I'll have done my best.

Friday, January 28, 2011

a small tip for creating family-friendly work environments

I mentioned in a previous post that my current institution has a family-friendly atmosphere. I'd say that's true 95% of the time. The one big exception is our tendency to schedule evening meetings. This week, I had meetings 6-9pm on Tuesday, 7-9pm on Wednesday, and 5:30-7pm on Thursday.

Sometimes it's impossible to avoid evening meetings, and when everyone is teaching 12 hours a week, it can be challenging for committees to meet during the day. But when everyone is available for an 8am meeting, I hate that I'm forced to be the nasty, uncooperative person who refuses to let my colleagues sleep in, all because I have small kids at home.

It's an awkward situation, particularly because the other committee members don't want to admit that the only reason they won't meet at 8am is because they don't want to get up that early. After all, I'm not asking for some kind of unreasonable concession, like a week-end meeting, or making everyone come to my house. I'm asking that they schedule a meeting for regular work hours, rather than at night. They can't say "I'm too lazy to get out of bed before 7:30," so instead they come up with a variety of strange excuses. One committee member told me he didn't want to get up at 5:30am. Since he lives less than 15 minutes from campus, I was surprised, and asked why he would need to get up at 5:30 for an 8 meeting. He hemmed and hawed and said he had to pack up all his materials, do the last prep for class, etc., etc. Unless I want to make things even more awkward, I can't just say "so pack your materials the night before!" (In his defense, he's extremely supportive of me, and of family-friendly policies in general, and he was going to be traveling that day.)

So here's my tip for colleagues who want to create a family-friendly work environment: try to avoid evening meetings. They may not seem like much to you, but to the parents of young kids, they're a major frustration. Remember those meetings last week? First, my husband had to take care of the kids, which is difficult since Pumpkin screams all evening if he's not in my arms nursing. Dr. Mr. Palimpsest had a lot of work to do those evenings, too, so it was tough on his schedule. Second, I missed out on the primary time I get to spend with my kids. On daycare days, I only see Bunny between 7-8am and 5-7pm. I missed some or all of that evening time for three nights in a row. Third, my house was completely trashed after three days of me not cleaning in the evening. Seriously, there wasn't a clean dish in the house, the kitchen counters were covered in food bits, the floor had three days worth of highchair mess. It was disgusting. (It's not that Dr. Mr. Palimpsest won't clean, but it's harder for him to do so when Pumpkin is screaming. See above.)

So, I repeat the tip: try to avoid evening meetings. I know it's a pain to get up, but remember that you're weighing your feelings of "gee-it's-a-pain-to-get-out-of-bed-and-be-at-work-by-the-normal-beginning-of-the-business-day", against a parent's feelings of "this-goddamn-evening-meeting-is-costing-me-precious-time-with-my-kids-and-putting-strain-on-my-marriage-or-costing-me-babysitting-money-and-is-making-it-impossible-for-me-and-my-children-to-follow-our-normal-lives-and-routine". Parents of young children are often probationary faculty, and concerned about gaining a reputation as bad colleagues. They may not argue against evening meetings, even when they're a significant burden. Please, my esteemed colleagues, be sensitive to the needs of young families when it comes to demanding evening service.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

another in-class activity: four forces of evolution

We had a surprisingly fervent and productive discussion on belching in my intro to cultural anthropology class on Tuesday, but that's not what I want to discuss in this post. Here, I'm going to explain the very simple exercise that I used to help students in Intro to Bio Anth understand the four forces of evolution. I devised this because my students frequently confused genetic drift with gene flow (the names are too similar, I think), and they often have trouble understanding that genetic drift and founder's effect aren't the same thing, rather one is an example of the other.

My class has 60 students, and we meet in a small auditorium with an aisle down the center. First, I had everyone stand up, and I shifted them a bit so there were equal numbers of people on each side of the aisle. I told them they were two squirrel populations, and they lived on opposite sides of a significant, but not completely impenetrable barrier, like a river. Then, I told them that their shirt colors represented phenotypic variation in the populations. I wrote each shirt color on the board, along with the numbers of individuals wearing each. We discussed the differences in variation in the two populations (only one population had a pink variant, for example, and black was much more common in one population than the other, although it was common in both).

Next, I had them "act out" gene flow (in a completely PG manner). I had everyone from Population 1 who was standing closest to the aisle walk across to the other population. These represented squirrels who rafted across on logs, or whatever. Then, we re-calculated the frequencies of the variants, and talked about how this caused evolution to occur by changing frequencies of alleles. (Yes, we talked about the difference between allele variation and phenotypic variation.)

Then, I had them "act out" genetic drift. I told them that the lowland areas of Population 2's territory had flooded, and every squirrel who happened to be in the first two rows died. The first two rows sat down, and we again re-calculated the variation in the population. We just happened to lose a unique variant in this exercise, which was a useful illustration.

Then, I had them "act out" founder's effect, by bringing the first row of Population 1 out onto the stage and forming their own, new population. It turned out there were no women sitting in the first row on that side of the auditorium, which put a damper on their reproductive potential as a population, so we joked about picking up female squirrels from floating logs. We discussed the genetic diversity of the new population, and how that genetic diversity would change (or not) through time as the population grew.

Finally, we "acted out" selection. I picked the most common shirt color in Population 1 (black), and told them that black-shirted squirrels were more susceptible to squirrel plague than other squirrels. I had the black-shirted students count off 1,2,1,2, and then told all #2s to sit down. We then re-calculated the frequencies of the variants, and discussed the fact that different environmental conditions, with different selective pressures, would lead the different populations down different evolutionary paths. (I asked the students what would happen if the squirrel plague continued to be a problem in Population 1, but didn't effect Population 2. One of the students replied that, in the future, when Population 1 sailed over the river to conquer Population 2, they would likely wipe them out from disease. Nice image of squirrel conquistadors rowing their logs across the river, huh? Kids today read too much Jared Diamond.)

It was a very simple exercise (although time-consuming), and it conveyed only a very basic understanding of evolutionary forces. But, it more graphically demonstrated the concepts than any lecture or textbook example. I'm waiting with baited breath to see if it actually helps them on the exam.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

gender gap in service

I'm sure you'll all be shocked to hear that a new study shows a significant gender gap in the hours of service per week among tenure-track professors. The study was conducted at UMass Amherst. The most surprising result, from my perspective, is that female associate professors are doing a great deal more service than their male colleagues, but that does not seem to be the case for assistant professors. I wonder, to what extent that may be an age/generational change, or is that only wishful thinking on my part?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

academic mothers and breastfeeding

Many working mothers would like to breastfeed. Not all do, and babies do fine on formula, but many of us struggle with working full-time and nursing. I'm not an expert on breastfeeding, but this post about my own experiences is for first-time mothers, and administrators/fathers/coworkers who want to support a breastfeeding-friendly environment.

Before I had kids, I assumed that a good pump and my own office was all that I needed. My first child, Bunny, was 6 weeks old when I went back to work. My supply was strong and Bunny was a good nurser. I rented one of the top-end machines, and headed to my office. By the time Bunny was 9 months, she self-weaned, a reaction to my continuously diminishing milk supply. What went wrong? First, my job was not terribly flexible, for an academic position. I literally had to fill out a time sheet if I wasn't planning to be on-campus between the hours of 9 and 5 each weekday. As a result, I couldn't run home and nurse over lunch, or for a short break. Second, I attended a couple of conferences and I had a few job interviews that required multiple-day absences from home. Pumps are great, but they are no substitute for physical contact with your baby.

I realize that many women don't breastfeed for 9 months, so I'm not crying a river over Bunny's nursing history. Still, I had planned to breastfeed exclusively until she was a year, and I had no particular weaning date in mind. (My cousins, some of whom are La Leche leaders, have nursed their children until 3 or 4.)

With my second child, Pumpkin*, I wanted more time to enjoy his first year. This was not just because of the nursing relationship, but that was part of my decision making. Luckily, I was in a more flexible, tenure-track position. I was able to make some changes, and Pumpkin was exclusively breast-fed until we introduced solids at 9 months, and cow's milk at a year. At 14 months, he's still getting 50% of his calories from breastmilk, and I expect to nurse until he self-weans.

Here's what I did with Pumpkin:

1-part-time, instead of time off: Luckily, Pumpkin was born a couple of weeks before Winter Break. I finished up the Fall semester, and had 6 weeks to recover before the next semester began. Technically, I could have taken another 6 weeks off, before going back full-time, but instead I negotiated a one-course release for the Spring semester. I went back to work at 6 weeks, but I only had two classes, instead of three. Unfortunately, one of those classes was a lab, so it was 50% more classtime than a lecture course, but still, I had an easier than normal semester. I only put Pumpkin in daycare four afternoons a week, so I could be home with him every morning and all day on Tuesday. No, I didn't get anything done all semester (except teach the classes), but it was my maternity leave, so I gave myself a break. That following summer, I was able to spend most of my time with the baby, and in the Fall I only had one class (for programmatic reasons), so Pumpkin was in daycare 3 days a week, and I stayed home with him Tue and Thur. (On the Thursday, Dr. Mr. Palimpsest stayed home and cared for him, but I worked at home so I could nurse and help with emergencies.) Pumpkin didn't start full-time daycare until last week; he turned 14 months on Sunday.

I'm very lucky to have this flexibility. (It also helps that I'd easily get tenure at my current institution with my existing publication record, so I wasn't under a lot of pressure to get other things done.) I know not everyone can do what I did, but some women may have the opportunity to go part-time - rather than take time off but then go back to work full-time when the child is still less than 6 months - and that may work better for them than more traditional forms of maternity leave.

2-family bed: Bunny was a good sleeper from day one. She would sleep in her own crib for 6 hours straight by the time she was 6 weeks old. Pumpkin was the opposite. We switched to the family bed when he was less than a week old, since it was clear we would never sleep again if we didn't! I know there are dangers to the family bed, and I'm not advocating it for anyone else, but it worked for us. I've gotten more sleep with Pumpkin than I did with Bunny. One side-effect is that Pumpkin nurses all night long. This has helped maintain the nursing relationship, even when Pumpkin and I were separated all day.

3-family-friendly environment: I am blessed with a job at an institution with a family-friendly environment. Pumpkin attended a series of meetings his first semester, and nobody complained (even when I spent the meeting walking him up and down, soothing and jiggling). I nursed in meetings, and at social events with my colleagues. Obviously, most academic mothers can't choose their environment, but if you are a colleague to a new mother, I beg you to remember that creating a family-friendly environment means more than supporting generous maternity policies. In fact, my institution has pretty awful maternity policies (6 weeks for new mothers, 2 weeks for adopted parents and fathers, no other considerations allowed). But, the administration and my colleagues were willing to work with the rules. And, they have been very open and understanding about my schedule needs.

Again, I'm no expert, but many people fail to understand that many women need more than a commitment to nursing and a pump to be successful at breastfeeding. Administrators may never be willing to make the changes necessary to support nursing in the workplace, but first-time mothers should be aware of the challenges while they're planning their child's first year.

*When I was pregnant, I used to call this child Boo Too, since Bunny is our Bunny Boo, but now I call him my Pumpkin Pie, so I'm changing his name on the blog.

Monday, January 24, 2011

weekly accountability: January 23-29

My goal for the past week was to finish a book review, and write a short grant proposal.

For the second week in a row, I did not meet my goals (argh!). I have a draft of the review, but it's not done yet, and I didn't get to the grant. I lost all of Monday to Bunny's stomach flu (and I wasn't feeling so hot myself). Monday is the day I do all of my class-prep, so I spent the rest of the week scrambling to get classes ready. I'm also just starting to adjust to this semester's schedule. I'll get it together soon!

This coming week, I'll finish the review, write the grant proposal, and hopefully start revising an article for resubmission.

Friday, January 21, 2011

thinking like an anthropologist

You can expect a lot of teaching-related posts in the near future. I'm teaching Intro to Cultural Anthropology and Intro to Biological Anthropology this semester. I used to teach these classes MWF, but I've switched to TTh. The TTh sessions are 100 minutes, so I need to break up the classtime and avoid too much lecture. Even if my students would patiently sit through 100 minutes of lecture, I'm not sure my voice would hold out; I have 3 100-min classes back-to-back (6 hours straight of teaching, with just 20 minutes in between each class).

Wednesday night, fueled by desperation for an activity that supported this week's theme of "What is Anthropology?" in my Intro to Cultural class, I came up with the following. I call it "Thinking Like an Anthropologist". First, I gave a lecture on how the anthropological approach differs from that of sociology, psychology, political science, etc., etc. Then, I give them this handout:

Activity: Thinking Like an Anthropologist

Divide into groups of 3 or 4. Please make sure you are sitting across from each other, not all in a row, so you can see and hear each other. Read the case studies below and think about how an anthropologist might approach them. How would an anthropologist's approach be different from that of another researcher (an economist, ecologist, etc.)?

For each case study, answer the following questions:

1) Which community(s) involved in this controversy/event could the anthropologist study? (Who are the people affected or involved in the case study?)

2) What specific research questions should the anthropologist ask within those communities? How might the knowledge gained help solve the problem or shape responses to it?

The Amazon Rainforest is threatened by development. As regional population grows, farmers are clearing the forest for land to feed their families. Large businesses also have interests in the region, especially mining and cattle-ranching. Some local indigenous communities have fought to keep outsiders off their lands. Government agencies are divided in their approach to the shrinking rainforest, since it is both an important environmental region and a critical economic asset. Brazil has suggested a giant nature reserve to keep all development out of the region, but much of the ongoing deforestation is already illegal.

Public health officials are concerned that modern patterns of transportation and travel could lead to disastrous epidemics of new diseases. Such diseases could originate anywhere, but many diseases begin in farming communities, when an animal virus mutates and infects humans. Disease can then spread through tourists, migrant workers, traveling businesspeople, visits to family in other regions, etc. Once introduced into an airport or major port city, the spread of disease can be difficult to contain.

In 2005, the city of New Orleans was 80% flooded by Hurricane Katrina. The after-effects of the hurricane are still felt in the city. While many people suffered losses, the poorest residents were the hardest hit, and recovery remains slow in many of these neighborhoods. Many government and non-governmental agencies continue to rebuild New Orleans, but there are barriers to full recovery, including bitter political arguments over how money should be spent, and whether biases against the poor and residents of color shaped responses to the crisis.

Before letting them loose on the case studies, I gave them an example of another research project (one relevant to the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa), and how I would answer the questions I had posed using that example. Then, they had a good idea of what I was looking for, and it eased them into the activity.

The students discussed these case studies for a good 20 minutes, and almost all of the conversations were intense and on-point. I was impressed that they put so much effort and thought into the topic, especially since there are 70 students in the class, and I can't be everywhere at once. After they had had time in small groups, we discussed the cases as a class. I wrote on the board the subject communities they suggested, and then we discussed the research questions that would be appropriate to each of them. The students did a great job in thinking through the complexities of the problems, and recognizing that research in a wide web of inter-connecting communities could be relevant to the problem at hand. For example, students suggested that anthropologists could work with U.S. consumers of items produced from the Amazon, to understand what factors influence the consumption of materials with high environmental costs.

The activity began in desperation, but I think it's a keeper.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the last first day

Forgive me if I can barely type straight. I teach for 6 hours (3 consecutive classes) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, today's will be an easy post, a quick description of the first day of class for my upper-division seminar on Mesoamerican archaeology*. This is the last post in my short series describing the first days of class.

I'm not a Mesoamerican archaeologist, so I've focused the course on student research, rather than lecturing. It's critical that the students have a good rapport, since discussion and research presentations will be the heart of the class. With an eye toward creating a social atmosphere, I made the first day of class a little party. I made posole, brought chips and salsa, and played Mexican music on the computer (Grooveshark is my friend). I also put together a PowerPoint presentation of images from Mesoamerica today. It plays continuously in the background while we're talking and eating.

There isn't a lot of deep meaning to the party. The purpose is just to start the class with a festive and social atmosphere. I do, however, talk with the students about the clear pre-Columbian influences in modern Mesoamerica (the maize in the posole, the Aztec influences in Mexican art, the native features on people's faces, etc.) This is a useful exercise, since only half of the students who take the class are interested in archaeology, per se. The others are Latin American Studies majors, or taking the course for other reasons. Tying the archaeology into the modern cultures, then, helps secure their interest.
*If you know me, you may justifiably wonder why I'm teaching a class on Mesoamerican archaeology. No, I don't know a Mayan cenote from a hole in the ground (granted, the difference is rather academic). Let's just say there are a variety of political factors in play.

Monday, January 17, 2011

weekly accountability: January 16-22

My goal for last week was to finish a book review.

I did not meet my goal. Everybody got sick, including me. Stomach flu, ugh! Bunny didn't go to daycare because of it. Boo Too wasn't sleeping in the evenings, which cut down on my productive time, and basically I felt like death on a cracker. So, no book review.

My goals for next week are to finish the darn book review, and to write a short grant proposal.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

introducing the culture concept

I talked about the first class of my Introduction to Biological Anthropology class in a previous post. Today, I'll talk about the first class of my Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class.

My main goal in this class is to make students aware that culture is "naturalized", so many of their beliefs about what is "naturally" or "fundamentally" human (gender roles, attitudes toward material goods, etc.) are actually a product of what they've been taught as a member of their/our culture. In my experience, this simple concept is incredibly difficult for many students to internalize.

As with BioAnth, I do an activity before I even hand out the syllabus. I take this activity from John Omohundru's Thinking Like an Anthropologist textbook (highly recommended for anyone with an interest in active learning.) I ask students to draw a "typical family" in their notebooks, just a quick, stick-figure sketch. I give them a little time, then I draw on the board a "standard" mom, dad, little boy, little girl, (and dog, just for fun). I ask how many people drew the same thing (plus or minus the dog), and almost everyone raises their hands. Then I ask how many of them come from a family that looks like that picture. A much smaller sub-set raise their hands. Then I tell them that far less than half of households in the U.S. look like that picture. I ask them, "If it's not actually typical, why is this considered a "typical" family? How did I know what you drew?"

I lead the following discussion through the anthropological concept of culture, specifically discussing how our culture teaches us what a "typical" family is "supposed" to look like. I then ask about the other ways that families can be structured, and we discuss that the "typical" nuclear family isn't just a minority of families in the U.S., but is a minority world-wide. I lead them to the conclusion that the nuclear family is not a standard or default form of family structure, one that comes from some basic biological adaptation. I wrap up the discussion by suggesting that we've engaged in a process of exploration that will serve as a model for the whole class. First, we recognize what we've been taught by our own culture, the richness and fullness of our lived cultural experience, and the assumptions that are part of that experience. We then explore the wealth of alternative concepts and structures around the world, while gaining the recognition that "our" way is not an inherently characteristic of all humans but is one among many equally exciting ways of being human. Finally, we are able to talk about fundamental aspects of humanity in a deeper and more sophisticated way (for example, by recognizing that the concept of "family" is universal, even if conceived of in different ways.)

I'll admit, there are students who still don't get it, and the majority of students only understand my point imperfectly. My hope, frankly, is just to get such students thinking about their own assumptions. Whatever else they learn is gravy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

crm/academic partnerships

The last statistics I saw suggested over half of archaeologists work in CRM. Yet, we hear frequent complaints that undergraduate and graduate students are not being trained for such jobs. So, I was interested to see this article about a partnership between Hurt and Proffitt (a civil engineering company) and Sweet Briar college. Hurt and Proffitt are going to pay for the renovation and equipping of a new archaeology lab at Sweet Briar. Two adjunct professors at Sweet Briar, who run Hurt and Proffitt's CRM program, will supervise paid student workers in the lab, and coordinate with specialists as needed. The students with this experience will have access to paid summer internships, as well as other research opportunities.

I worked for CRM companies my last few years in grad school, and much of the data for my dissertation came from CRM work. This was common in my program, and I'm very supportive of partnerships between academic and private interests. Some of the analytical specialists in my grad programs were running contracts through their labs, which helped employ their students and give them experience. I hadn't considered the opportunities to do this at a small, liberal arts college like Sweet Briar, but I'm sold on the model! I spent a few minutes thinking about whether we could do it here, but I don't think there's enough work in the region. And I don't have a real lab. And I don't have enough students. Darn.

Monday, January 10, 2011

weekly accountability: January 9-15

The daily writing hour and weekly accountability postings really helped me get things done last semester. I'm going to continue them in 2011, and I invite anyone who wishes to join me to post their weekly accounts in the comments section. (The post explaining the process is here.)

I don't even remember what my goals were over the break, but I didn't meet them. It was a slow research time, between my broken computer and our daycare provider's vacation (she only has faculty families in her daycare, so she knows we're not teaching and can take care of our own kids.) I did managed to make my co-author's suggested changes to an article and get it submitted, but that's it.

This week, I will write a book review. That sounds so short, and it would be, if I'd already read the book!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

you never get a second chance...

I used to consider the first day of class the easiest. All you have to do is go through the syllabus and you're done, right? Then a psychology friend told me that studies show the first day of class is critical for setting the tone of student engagement. If students are drawn into discussion and active learning on the first day, they will be more likely to participate for the entire semester. So, now I try to do two things the first day of class: 1) have some type of discussion or activity; and 2)drive home the over-all theme of the course.

For example, my first act in Intro to Biological Anthropology, before I hand out the syllabus, is to ask students what characteristics make us human. (I swear I got this activity from John Hawks' blog and a lecture by Stephen Jay Gould, but now I can't find links to either of them. Maybe I should discuss plagiarism on the first day of class. ;P) I get a mix of answers from the students. Some, you'd expect (bipedal, big brain). Some reflect the students' understandable first-day naivete (our sense of adventure; our ability to think, instead of using instinct), and a few bizarre answers (we can swim! we have five fingers!). Anyway, I put them all on the board, then we discuss them, talking about which ones are truly unique to Homo sapiens, and which are shared with other animals.

After the discussion, I explain that all of the answers on the board are, indeed, unique characteristics of humans. Then I point out that any one of these criteria could be violated without compromising the essential humanness of an individual. A quadriplegic can't walk on two legs, a victim of throat cancer can't speak, an infant born with a profoundly damaged brain is not be capable of higher thought, or of more than a few days of life, yet each of these individuals is human. I explain that the one thing that holds us together as a species is our shared evolutionary history. I tell them that the main goal of this class is to explain how humans have been shaped by evolution, from an exploration of modern human biodiversity to the deep evolutionary history of our species, with an understanding of our adaptations within the spectrum of primate adaptations worldwide.

It's a very simple exercise, but it's surprisingly effective and, dare I say it, profound. I've had students comment on this first class in their end-of-semester evaluations! The discussion forces them to examine their own assumptions about "humanness", and sets the stage for the rest of the course. It helps that I constantly tie my lectures, labs, and activities to the theme of evolution throughout the semester.

I'm always interested in hearing about other people's experiences with teaching strategies that work, so I'd love to hear about yours! Next time, I'll talk about my strategies for the first day of my Intro to Cultural Anthropology class, and my upper-level regional archaeology seminar.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

computerized once more

I have a computer again!

I mentioned in my last post that I'm not a fan of Christmas. It seems like something always goes wrong. This year we got lucky. Sure, we all had colds for the first week, and the cat threw up on our bed on Christmas day, a fact I discovered by slipping under the covers in the dark, only to have my leg encounter something cold and wet. Granted, my computer died on Dec. 23, just in time for every business in the country to close down, not to mention a series of storms that shut down the highways in and out of town for days. Still, we didn't have any big family fights, everyone has all of their limbs, we have a job, and a house, and enough food to eat. All in all, we have a lot to be thankful for. In the end, my dead computer was even a blessing in disguise (albeit not from the financial standpoint); I was forced to take a real break, spend some time with the kids, and generally enjoy the holidays.

I didn't mean to skip blogging altogether over the holidays, but given the circumstances, I waited until today, when my new computer arrived, to get back to the blog. We chose the cheapest new computer we could find, but so far I like it. It's truly tiny, and will be great to carry into the field, on trips, etc. So far, I don't mind the tiny keyboard, and hopefully it won't give me wrist problems down the road. It's called an "Eee PC", which for some reason I find endlessly amusing.

I plan to get back to blogging next week, once I've gotten all of my files transferred to the new computer (none were lost from the old one, praise God!) I hope you all had a great break!