A lighter topic

Chris said my posts were pretty heavy lately and I needed to post something happy. He’s right. The posts all have been pretty heavy lately. He suggested posting some kittens.

Here is my main man, Murray, helping me work. He’s available for adoption through St. Louis Pet Rescue. This guy is my shadow, always by my side, or in my lap, or the back of my neck, or on my feet, etc.


Here Murray is sleeping on the bed with his brother, Bobby, on laundry day.


Here is Bobby. He is also available for adoption though St. Louis Pet Rescue. Bobby is my morning buddy. He greets me in the morning when I get up to head to the gym. He loves being held and getting kisses just like my resident cat, Kitt Kitt.image

For your cute kitty video viewing pleasure, here are some videos of kitties from St. Louis Pet Rescue.


Mufasa and Powder

Laverne and Toby




Your data is the wrong data.

“Quantitative or qualitative?” he asked in a loaded, hurried tone.

This question always exasperates me. Immediately, I think, ‘Oh, you’re one of those. Oh, brother!” and roll my eyes.

I was at a social for WordCamp St. Louis hosted by the local WordPress community. This gent had traveled all the way from Indianapolis. He said he wouldn’t be attending the second day, as he “found what he needed.” His goal wasn’t to learn anything, but to find a person to build him a WordPress site. I guess no one knows the WordPress in Indiana?

Ok, let me start at the beginning. This gent started the conversation with, “Oh, I thought she was your daughter!” when I walked up to where he and Chris were already conversing. I asked what brought him to WordCamp and what he did. He’s a consultant in the K-12 sector and teaches statistic part-time. Then he asked what I do. I said I was finishing up my PhD and before I could tell him about my study he blurts, “Quantitative or qualitative?”

You see, among researchers, there are two camps: qualitative and quantitative. Each sees their own research type as better than the other. A vast majority of qualitative researchers see quantitative as good foundation for qualitative. It informs the study and points to where qualitative method should be used to go deeper. On the other hand, a vast majority of quantitative researchers refuse to recognize qualitative research as actual research at all.

I ignored his jabs and explained my study, all while he poo-pooed it.

I love Seth Godin’s example in his article: Actually, more data might not be what you’re hoping for.

So, data gave us the Kardashians.

I imagine the survey went something like this:

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is the least and 5 is the greatest, how much do you like spray tan?

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is the least and 5 is the greatest, how much do you like unimportant drama?

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is the least and 5 is the greatest, how much do you like rich people whining?

And the people interpreting the results viewed the data as, “By golly! People want the Kardashians!” *

But, did they ask questions like:

What are your favorite television shows?

What about those shows makes them your favorite?

Describe television characters you enjoy watching.

Tell me about how you decide on a new television show.

Do you see how the data both are valuable, but both will get you very different information? Data gave us the Kardashians, but maybe we could have had something cooler.

So, Dr. K-12 Qualitative Consultant, you see, my aim in life is to never stop learning and never forget how to listen. Maybe you have forgotten, or maybe you’re a republican and never learned how. Just crunching numbers together with some equations, or software, doesn’t give you the nuanced answers provided by the human condition. It takes critical thinking and continued learning about society to process that information.

*Yes, I know my questions are biased. I’m doing this as an example and to be funny. Relax, Mr. or Ms. Quantitative, there is room for humor amongst all those numbers.

Busier than thou

Sometimes I mention something offhanded like, “Oh, sorry, I got busy this weekend with yard work and forgot.” Or “I work full time during the day so I don’t have time to check Facebook or email until the evening after kids are in bed.” My comments spoken with the intent of informing people of when they can expect me to respond to them or complete a task are all too often met with a response something like: “I’m busy too!” or “I work full time too and have 2 small children at home!” or “Must be nice!”

While I’m sure all of us are convinced we would win the busy war if put head to head, I am not sure where this keeping up with the Joneses style busy battle started.

I am a school liasion. I am a room mom. I work. I am working on my dissertation for completion of my Ph.D. I operate a non-profit pet rescue I started. I have two kids, one of whom is on a competitive dance team, gifted, and plays guitar and cello, and the other is a defiant toddler. I am on committees at work. I volunteer with three professional organizations, of which I am a member. I have pets, chickens, and a house. I like to workout and shower daily…but none of that really matters to you. These are my commitments and my schedule and while it is impactful to others, it ultimately only matters to me. And that’s ok.

When I use my commitments to explain something, I am not expecting a “busier than thou” response. I don’t disagree with you that you’re busy too!

Elizabeth Kolbert writes in her article “No Time” for the New Yorker:

One theory she entertains early on is that busyness has acquired social status. The busier you are the more important you seem; thus, people compete to be—or, at least, to appear to be—harried. A researcher she consults at the University of North Dakota, Ann Burnett, has collected five decades’ worth of holiday letters and found that they’ve come to dwell less and less on the blessings of the season and more and more on how jam-packed the previous year has been. Based on this archive, Burnett has concluded that keeping up with the Joneses now means trying to outschedule them. (In one recent letter, a mother boasts of schlepping her kids to so many activities that she drives “a hundred miles a day.”) “There’s a real ‘busier than thou’ attitude,” Burnett says.

How do you respond to the busier than thou responses? Next time you hear from someone about how busy they are, respond with something new. Respond with empathy.

Racism is ‘punk ass bullshit’

I am so tired too. Tired that this sort of “punk ass bullshit” is happening in our country. We’re better than this. What a waste that someone decides to spend their life hating! What an absolutely worthless choice of how to spend time!

Beyond that, they take up our mental space and attention that we could be diverting to new issues in society. They just want attention and decide hating and bullying others is how to get it. How selfish!

We are fighting with each other when we all just want to live and be free and move forward in society.

I am so disappointed this has happened even on my own campus. We’re better than this. Billikens are for others – for the greater good. So many students, faculty, graduates, and staff are wonderful people with such giving hearts. What a shame this is how these particular students chose to repay their fellow Billikens!

Don’t stop talking about these issues – we shut up, they win. We shut up, it keeps happening, nothing changes.

Read more
Racist text messages lead to SLU investigation

St. Louis Post Dispatch: SLU officials promise ‘justice’

Vice Provost at University of Wisconsin Madison, Patrick Sims: Enough is Enough