Sunday, April 19, 2009

It can't be....

Modesto often makes the top of the lists of the worst towns in the United States to live in, for reasons that are not always clear to me...I've seen a lot of places on my travels that I wouldn't wish on anyone. One of those books complained that the best thing about Modesto that anyone can say is how close it is to other, more wonderful places like the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite, the Mother Lode, the Coast Ranges, and the Bay Area. I've always considered that an advantage. Imagine living in a place that you can visit the snow, but not worry about shoveling it off your driveway. Imagine living in a place where you can visit a temperate rainforest, but if it is raining, you can drive home to clear skies. Sure, we get the tule fogs, and it is hot, dry and dusty in summer, but altogether Modesto is not a bad place to live.

We are building a long-needed Community Science Center that will house the biology, physics, chemistry, astronomy and geology departments as well as a nice museum, a planetarium and an observatory. We are near the end of the architectural planning and the subject of office choices came up, and the idea of seniority was floated about. With the retirement of our astronomy professor this semester after 35 years of teaching, that senior person...was me. OMG.

I am finishing my 20th year of teaching at the college. TWENTY years! I don't know how that much time passed so quickly. I was the young kid in the department when I started, surrounded by veterans of 25 or 35 years or more. One by one they've retired, and new people arrived. I was once the one with the young kids at department functions, but now the young kids belong to others. My kids are pursuing their careers and degrees.

Well, at least I am not the division curmudgeon yet. There are still some math professors that have been there longer than me....

Today's comic is a picture of me drawn by one of my students back at the beginning: a thinner soul with wiry long hair, and a great attitude about the grading he had to finish. Just like the pile I should be working on right now.....
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