Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This marks my 300th post since launching my blog in September 2004 under the title Follow the Bouncing Ball…. In traditional ten-pin bowling, 300 is a perfect score. And that seems a good enough connection to me to let this post be about some of the things that seem to be going perfectly in my life right now. A great deal of my jubilation stems from matters of stress and/or concern that now seem to be resolved. Hence, there will be some darkness before the dawn in each of these items. But bear with me. There’s a happy ending to each.
  • On Saturday, my right ankle started to ache a little bit. My right foot is my “good” foot – i.e. the foot that was not partially reconstructed after its heel was smashed to pieces in a car accident two years ago. I figured the pain had something to do with the way I walk now, which is probably a bit off-center and with my weight shifted differently than it once was. But by Sunday, my right ankle was quite swollen and it was quite painful to walk. It was a little bit better on Monday, thankfully, because I had to start school. But by Monday night, my right big toe started to hurt a little bit. This worried me because I’ve had mysterious swellings of my toes before, and they’ve been quite painful and sometimes quite debilitating. On Tuesday, which was also a school day, my big toe was in a lot of pain. It was way more sensitive than my ankle, and even the slightest touch really hurt. This made it difficult to walk, and I could bear to do so only if I put a lot of weight on the right side of my foot, which I worried would just re-upset my ankle, which was finally getting a lot better. Well, lo and behold, walking is bearable again, just as of today. My big toe is still stiff, but not exactly painful. I can also still feel some tension on the right side of my ankle, but nothing compared to a few days ago. So I’m healing, and I’m incredibly happy about it. I don’t have any classes on Wednesdays, so it helps immensely that I’m not walking around campus. By the time I go back to school tomorrow morning, I hope to be 99.9% normal ... or at least 99.9% as normal as I ever get.

  • In my previous post I mentioned that, as a Florida state resident, I’m now supposed to take 12 credit hours per semester. I was not fully resolved as to what I would take to fill the extra three hours required of me as a Florida resident, and it was stressing me out. To make a long story short, due to budget constraints, they’ve now changed their policy and are asking us to cut back to nine credit hours unless we really need to take 12 right now. I don’t, strictly speaking, and so I’m dropping the moral psychology course I was originally going to take. I’ll only be taking a class on intentional action and another on early modern philosophy, but other than that, I’ll be doing my TA work and doing research that I hope will ultimately feed into a dissertation. I’m genuinely interested in the moral psychology course, but I think my time will be better spent elsewhere. Besides, after speaking with the professor of the course and soliciting his advice, I was going to take the moral psychology course only on a pass/fail basis, rather than for a grade. In doing so, taking the course would not have contributed to my degree requirements, so I’m really losing nothing by dropping it altogether. I can still read the literature if I’m interested, but I won’t have any official obligations whatsoever. That’ll be very nice.

  • There are a couple of other perks to dropping the moral psychology course. First of all, the class goes from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights. If that isn’t bad enough, the early modern philosophy course that I need to take goes from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursdays. So, with a one-hour break in the middle, I would have spent every Thursday sitting through six hours straight of graduate level philosophy. Not exactly ideal. And I’ve already done a class that went from 6 to 9 p.m., and one that went from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and I assure you, I’d much rather be home by that time of the day. I feel all the more disconnected from my family when I’m not home in the evening, especially when I miss out on my kids getting ready for bed and saying goodnight. There’s something sad about going to school and knowing I won’t see my kids until the next morning. That’s no good. So, not only will dropping the class free up a lot of time during my week, but it will also make my Thursdays much more tolerable, and it will allow me to be at home with my family in the all-important evening hours. That means a lot to me. And to top it all off, feeling quite excited about the plan, I told Eddie that my really long day of school wasn’t going to be so long anymore and that I wouldn’t have to be gone until it was dark on those days. He seemed just as excited as I was, and he said to me, “One of my favorites is when you’re home!” Almost makes me want to drop out altogether!


  1. You know, people have suggested that before. I don't know enough about it, but in skimming Wikipedia's entry on gout, it certainly sounds plausible. It's been a few years since something like this happened, and overall, it's only happened a handful of times, so I don't know how much to worry. But maybe I should be talking to someone. I certainly wouldn't want it to become more frequent or more intense.

  2. I still think that it's gout. Especially if the pain is focusing on the joint and in the toes.

    On another note, I totally understand what you mean about not being home in the evenings. When my oldest was really small I worked from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm and then was in school until 10 or 11 pm. I never saw the poor kid and after my schedule finally changed it took a long time for him to be comfortable around me without his mom around.

  3. Hi Ben...Here I am again with my suggestion, that if you can, eat a lot of cherries for gout. I have no idea if any are available for you or not. I worry about your health.

    I am also warmed by your feelings about being home with your family. It's such a good thing, the way you feel. And I'm happy things are working out well for you...I really want all of you to be content to be where you are right now. How is Mel? I never hear much from her.

    Geesh, is this a comment or a letter, eh???

  4. And congratulations on your 300th blog post. Thanks for getting me and all of us involved here. It really has been a good experience. Love you Ben,...