The Homefront

Coming in just under the wire to ensure an at least weekly blog. Not sure if you’ve found this, but my, how the bar has been lowered lately.

Anyway, to start us off, our roses are about to bloom! Now lest one get any grandiose notions, our roses look fantabulous for about 2 weeks and then for the rest of the year struggle along, lose their leaves, and generally let the side down. But to celebrate the positive (shot carefully taken to avoid the dirty car in the driveway and the falling apart communications box right nearby), here is the first rose:

Now onto the charismatic fauna in our lives (not our kids). I’m going to start with something sad that occurred earlier this week, so brace yourselves. Note: I know that in the grand scheme of things, especially where we are in the world right now, this loss is small, but it still hit me hard. Wonderful Bill Tillman, a 20 year-old dark bay jumper at the Red Barn, left this world on Monday after stepping wrong during a canter and breaking his leg.

Bill Tillman was the BEST. Beautiful manners and quiet well-being – but at the same time, with very high expectations for his riders, and thus a perfect teacher. If you didn’t ask correctly, you didn’t get what you wanted. But if you did ask correctly, well, sure thing! In addition to how kissable Bill was, I really appreciated his tolerance. He never appeared to get aggravated with the multiple, often presumably conflicting, requests I would issue; he would just wait till I figured it out, trotting along nicely.

Onto happier news. One lovely thing I did this week instead of working or keeping up with my blog was supervise the chicks while they pecked around the garden. They are DARLING to watch. I did think of you all and took a bunch of videos. (Don’t worry, I’m only including one – 16 seconds. Peaceful, right?

The grass really is greener!

Oh wait! I did do something this past week besides sitting outside watching our chickens. Did you hear about the Code-in-Place course being offered by Stanford’s Computer Science Dept, out of the goodness of their hearts? It is a free, online course – a five-week, trimmed-down version of CS 106A, no grades, no credits, just the joy of learning (or the aggravation of doing battle with Karel, depending on how you look at it). I have a lot of students who have taken 106A and I was always curious about programming (beyond STATA, which will always be number one in my heart) so applied and was accepted! Am three lectures and one online small zoom section in. 

My kids were pretty worried about my section – specifically, that I would find it impossible as a student to keep my mouth shut. “They don’t want to hear from you! They want to hear from the teacher!” It’s a problem – faculty are used to talking all the time and generally mistake their experience in the classroom as an indication that everyone around us wants to hear us all the time. Oh wait…is that exactly what this blog presumes? Ah well, moving on.

In addition to learning a little Python, I also thought it could be helpful to get some sense of what it’s like to be a student in this online zone of ours. It’s not so easy! Especially when, just 3 hours after the first assignment is posted (due 1.5 weeks later), various people from around the world felt the need to email the entire class (n=9,000) to announce they’ve finished the assignment. When I expressed my outrage at this, there were lots of eye rolls, “You’d never make it in high school again” and “Chill out!” types or responses from the kids. Ok – but seriously – you’re with me right? Who does that? Days later I am still struggling with this dang assignment. I do feel so grateful, though, to the lecturers and the army of section leaders who volunteered their time to help us all learn.

And with that, I will leave you.

Ok! One more horse picture for the road, since you asked – here is Rook. He is such a cutie pie, right? Take care, all.

Published by Lianne Kurina

I am an epidemiologist, the proud director of the Program in Human Biology at Stanford University, and a very keen horsewoman.

4 thoughts on “The Homefront

    1. Thank you! Now of course you probably have to say something nice since you are my big brother, but in any case you’ve just guaranteed yourself a very favorable profile in a future blog :).


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