My fourth grade teacher Mrs. Petersen taught her class how to keep a journal, and I have kept up the practice since 1976.

I have a record of my training–as a human, a scientist, a citizen of the United States, a non-observant Jew.  A Daughter, sister, wife, mother. Reader, writer, talker, listener.  Professor, teacher, leader, follower, experimentalist, theorist. Success story, and cautionary tale.

I need grounding in these crazy times, and I have science and stories to share. Also my points of view. Maybe some of this will be useful to others.


Today–on day 12 of my self-quarantine, having returned from Spain via Madrid and London during the early waxing days of the coronavirus pandemic–I start with my daily renewal of vows* as a writer, and a needed review of my job**.

UCLA Mission: Education, Research, Service

*I discovered this idea of the importance of daily vow-renewal too late for my marriage.

Some things come easier to me–I don’t need daily review on my roles as mother, daughter, keeper-of-home. The caregiving roles are hardwired in me.

Early love was easy and there was no need to reflect on the daily intentions. But marriage was hard and I did not have the practice established.

Same with writing. I want to write, to build my skills as a writer, to hone my craft, so that I can share with the world. So starting a few months ago, most mornings after making coffee and writing in my journal, I renew my intentions as an academic writer.

**It’s the same thing with my job–some parts of my job come naturally to me and other parts do not. But I will share this now:  I love learning new things, especially in physical sciences. I love students and teaching. And listening to the data–it is as intuitive to me as loving my children.


Author: Abby Kavner

I am a professor in the physical sciences at UCLA. This purpose of this blog is to remind me of my job, and to keep me in the habit of sharing.

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