Reviewing for my dissertation defense next Friday continues in a quiet way. The biggest surprises are just finding the occasional typos or awkward sentences that still made it through my and Fr. Fahey's long editorial process. With a few points in the oldest parts of the text, I've actually surprised myself in the re-reading with the discovery that I had said or figured out something that I had since forgotten. I thought that I had revisited it all enough to keep it all fresh in my mind, more or less.
My students were mock-whiny on Wednesday about asking to have class outside in order to enjoy the warm weather. I might entertain that eventually, but I certainly didn't want to appear that easily persuaded, and besides, we had a lot of board-work to do that day. We finished up our reading of Book Eight of Augustine's Confessions, which is always a bit of a disappointment for me when I do that in an Introduction To Theology class, just because the experience is so much richer if you can read the entire text with them. But this group continued to impress, giving me as smart a reading of Augustine's understanding of human psychology as I have ever seen from a beginner's group, and continued into interesting discussion of the implications for spirituality and ethics that comes out of that understanding of humanity. Against all the nonsense that they'll ever hear from people who have never read Augustine that he is responsible for every sexual dysfunction in our culture, they were able to come to grips with the inherit moderateness of his approach: that it was sensitive to a wide variety of human impulses and problems. (Augustine having figured out the existence of the unconscious mind nearly 1500 years before Freud.) I was impressed.
Dinner plans for Thursday went astray when Erynn twisted her ankle during an easy work-out in preparation for her home meet today. The timing and inconvenience of it all put her into what she freely admitted was a pretty towering mood, and so we had to postpone again, after we both had rescheduled this at least once or twice already. So I'm hoping that that was just a bad bang and not a real twisting that's going to mess up the season for her.
I had a fun flashback of an email from Evan Walsh, who was my Editor-in-Chief for the school newspaper at Saint Joe during his senior year. He said he'd been in a mood to write some nonsense and could only conjure up the continued misadventures of Hermann Krieg, the fictional new principal that the newspaper announced to the student body during a principal search that went through April Fool's Day some years ago. Good memories, from the funniest and most creative group of students I ever worked with.
Leslie wrote to me the other day about the girls' responses to a set of notes I had sent to each of them by email. The one that really struck me was Sophie's response to my offer to bring down a Hawkgirl story to read to her. She thought this was an acceptable idea, but she said that she would rather have the Easter Bunny read it to her. This was one of those things that just made you have to reassess everything that you think is going on in the mind of someone just going on three years old, and that it is far less "realistic" than we might think as adults of long habit. I also began to wonder just how much I was interchangeable in her mind with the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus: that Uncle Mike, after all, was just one of these persons who appeared from time to time, often bringing gifts or being entertaining.... Maybe she's not being so illogical, after all....