Adam in 07

The big development is Susanna's move from Stanford to UBC. She decided to take the UBC offer in the spring of 06, and our main concern from the beginning was finding a house. She liked her California house so much, and while Vancouver is no more expensive than the Bay area UBC cannot subsidize faculty housing the way Stanford does. The problem was solved when we discovered Bowen Island, north of Vancouver, a manageable though not short commute to UBC. Deer, long walks, a village-like atmosphere, and the big city nearby. Eventually we found a house, on a cliff overlooking a lake in the middle of the island. A peculiar beautiful wooden palace at the end of a long very rough road. (We now own a 4WD station wagon and a 17 year old Jeep.) It needed a fair amount of work before we could move in. We made the move in June, a long drive in a series of rented cars, for the sake of the dogs. Since then we've gradually become more and more comfortable there. During the fall I was on the island with Susanna about one weekend in three. I plan to be based there during the coming Spring and Summer, travelling to Edmonton as needed.

The year has also been coloured for me by illness, the first serious illness of my life. Late in 06 I began to find my walk clumsy and my hands and feet losing sensation. By mid Spring it was frightening, with walking pretty difficult and some loss of bladder control. (Though I went off to conferences: driving around New England with non-functioning feet, and taking a long flight to Brazil. In retrospect I marvel.) Made worse by unconfident diagnoses. It was not till May that I found a really helpful neurologist, whose first guess was a spinal cord inflammation, though a subsequent MRI and spinal tap indicates something involving the brain too, a widespread inflammation called ADEM (acute disseminated enecephalomyelitis.) It's like an attack of multiple sclerosis, except that it is unlikely to be followed by another one. Probably caused by reaction to a virus or an innoculation - I had a flu shot an appropriate time before it all began. Since some time in the summer I have been recovering, and hope to continue to. The test for me is the walk round the lake near the house on the island. About four miles of sometimes rough terrain. I can do it in a couple of hours, walking with a stick, but at the end I am limping badly. If ever I get to doing it without the stick and without limping I will consider myself recovered.

Work has been going well. I have a good draft of my book on virtues of limitation management (good ways of being stupid), and plan to get it into presentable form this coming spring. I have been putting a lot of energy into my eccentric course on logic through databases, which I write a substitute textbook for each year. This fall it worked well: unlikely students grasped hard stuff. And I learned a lot about how to improve it, both pedagogically and in terms of intrinsic philosophical interest. Next year's version will be wonderful. I plan to write up a paper in formal logic during the spring, my first in a long time, and I'm doing occasional pieces looking ahead to a future project on linked families of emotions. That's enough.

We will be on the island most of the time. Vancouver is a fine place, and if you're there come and visit us.

Adam

 

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