Big Day for Ben Blair

November 15, 2007

It’s true. It’s a very big day for Ben Blair.

Tonight, from 5:00 to 7:00, he’ll defend his doctoral dissertation. (It deals with the tensions between teachers and schools — in case you’re curious.) I’ve read it. All 230 pages. And it’s super smart and very well written. Full of interesting words and terms like: Dialectic. Institution. Discourse. Trajectory. Cultural Form. Mythos. Logos. Bracing. Phronesis. Bureaucracy. Objectifying Consciousness. Rationale. Deliberate. Conception. But mostly “dialectic.” I think it says dialectic 1 million times.

He also refers to loads of interesting thinkers and philosophers. People like MacIntyre, Dewey, Rousseau, Van Manen, Plato and on and on. The whole thing is very impressive and academic, as it should be. He’s worked incredibly hard on this for an incredibly long time. In fact, we originally moved to New York, over 6 years ago, so he could accomplish this very thing.

And unlike his fellow students — or even professors, in most cases — he’s done this worthy thing while also adding three kids to the family of four we had when he started. While taking turns as primary bread winner and stay-at-home dad as needed. While teaching 3 of his kids to ride a bike and snow ski. While being an exceptional father. An exceptional husband.

He even sends me cool links to share with Design Mom readers. Just today he sent a link to these too-great-for-words photos by Jan Von Holleben.

Ben Blair is a good man. No doubt he will do an amazing job tonight (but feel free to wish him luck anyway). And then he’ll have a PhD from Columbia University. And then I’ll call him Dr. Ben Blair.

Tonight, after his defense, he is meeting me at Grand Central Station and we are heading to a hotel for the weekend. A well-deserved weekend without any kiddies. So I won’t be here tomorrow. But I’ll be back Monday (well rested!) with big news about my week of Holiday Giveaways.

Hooray for Ben Blair!

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen November 15, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Good luck to Ben & enjoy your weekend away!


2 Amy November 15, 2007 at 2:04 pm

What a huge accomplishment! You must be so proud. I’m sure he’ll do wonderfully well and hope that afterward you two can enjoy some much-deserved alone time. Congratulations!


3 R-Eight November 15, 2007 at 2:15 pm

We’ll be thinking about y’all here in Texas. Good luck Ben!! Have a great weekend!

Love you guys!


4 jordan November 15, 2007 at 2:29 pm

hooray for ben!!!!


5 jen November 15, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Don’t be ashamed to say that it is your PhD, too! I know (from my own experience) that the wives/husbands/significant others of PhD students put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their partner’s work. Congratulations!


6 J, L, C, P & E November 15, 2007 at 2:35 pm

You are one of the sweetest wifes when you write about your husband. :) I went to high school with Ben Blair…He was always a genuinely kind & funny guy. I’m not sure if he would remember Lori Bingham. I love that Ben shares ideas and links with you for your readers. I have been enjoying your wonderful blog for so long now!!

Best of luck tonight Ben & then have a wonderful weekend!!


7 Blue House Mom November 15, 2007 at 2:44 pm

Good luck! What an accomplishment.


8 sweetbeans November 15, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Oh my gosh! Hooray for your family, and for Ben. That’s a huge mountain to climb. Toi toi toi (that’s good luck in opera-speak.)!


9 Kirsten Michelle November 15, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Wishing the soon-to-be Dr. Ben Blair the very best of luck this evening!!!
Wishing you both a lovely weekend of celebrating the incredible commitment that has brought you this far together ;-)
Congratulations it’s an amazing accomplishment!!!


10 robin k November 15, 2007 at 3:29 pm

I love you, Ben and Gabby.


11 Michelle November 15, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Good Luck Ben!! From the Call Family!


12 zannestar November 15, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Good Luck Ben Blair (I’m smiling really big – because that’s my brother’s name too…Ben Blair! – But he’s not a doctor, he’s a major :-)


13 Wendy November 15, 2007 at 3:38 pm

May the force be with you, Ben. And have an awesome weekend- ’tis well deserved.


14 Sarah Jane November 15, 2007 at 3:40 pm

My husband is a school teacher with a goal to get his phD at columbia (or other worthy institution!) Best of LUCK!!!! and congrats!!!


15 LobotoME November 15, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Good Luck to your husband! That is a HUGE accomplishment.
Have a wonderful weekend without the kiddos – well deserved!

- Jenny :)


16 Chloe November 15, 2007 at 3:56 pm

A well earned congrats to both Ben and you!

And I love the pictures – thanks Ben! Good luck tonight!


17 Anonymous November 15, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Best of luck, Ben. You’re sure to wow them.


18 Laurie November 15, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Wow! Many congrats! Have a great weekend!


19 jared stanley November 15, 2007 at 6:00 pm

good luck ben!

if they ask you a question you don’t know, make sure to retort with a question of your own, and then say “PSHISH!” and start laughing at them when they answer.
if that doesn’t work and you’re still stumped, just wet your pants and start shaking, they’ll probably be more forgiving.


20 ~j. November 15, 2007 at 7:22 pm

This post inspires me as my husband is gone most nights “finishing” his dissertation. *sigh* I hope to be in your shoes by next summer. Congratulations to you both!


21 Petunia Face November 15, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful relaxed weekend getaway!


22 Emily S. November 15, 2007 at 8:07 pm

Well deserved! Many congrats from some old friends. We are so happy for you.


23 Lizzy November 15, 2007 at 8:13 pm

good luck and congrats for the big finish. enjoy a quiet and restful weekend!


24 Bek November 15, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Good Job Ben. I know how hard/long he has worked! Does this mean that you might not be in NY for long? Is the next step teaching somewhere? How exciting..

BTW..I saw your family picture on Tophers blog. SO FUN!! You all look great (I cannot believe that Ralph is that old…it can’t be true…)


25 Mean Mommy November 15, 2007 at 9:18 pm

I do believe Dr. Ben Blair just might be the most distinguished name I’ve ever heard!

Congrats to BOTH of you. Such an undertaking is not accomplished alone!


26 liz s November 15, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Dr. Ben Blair! Congrats! YEAH!


27 compulsive writer November 15, 2007 at 11:26 pm

Best wishes and congrats!


28 liz November 16, 2007 at 12:26 am

wow BRAVO BEN!!! That’s dangerously awesome. Then again, dare I comment after reading some of the words Gabby shared from your writing that I don’t really know the meaning of?

ps. Gabby is it inappropriate for me to suggest you bring a really fancy teddy to your weekend together? ;-)

pss. does this mean ben will write on his blog again?


29 Kyran November 16, 2007 at 7:17 am

GO BLAIRS, Doctor & Missus Doctor!

I find all those big words rather sex-ay, myself ;-)



30 Bonny November 16, 2007 at 8:36 am

If it can be compared, I did a thesis defense at the end of my masters degree…It was much shorter than 200 something pages. I understand the accomplishment and it definitely warrants and weekend away. Congrats to both of you! I’m just so excited for you!


31 Amy November 16, 2007 at 9:48 am

Hope it all went to plan last night and enjoy your kid-free weekend!


32 lisa v. clark November 16, 2007 at 10:46 am

Have a WONDERFUL weekend! I know that you deserve a big pat on the back as much as Ben for this great accomplishment!

Good luck, Ben! You have worked so hard and you are super-duper smart, so we have all the confidence in the world in you!


33 ~cari~ November 16, 2007 at 10:59 am

Wow! What an accomplishment! I’m sure he’s a good man but from what I see, he’s got a good woman beside him. It’s always nice to hear about couples who work as a team. Congratulations to you both! Enjoy this weekend.


34 UpsideUp November 16, 2007 at 11:43 am

and then you’ll be a doctor’s wife! awesome!

GOOD LUCK BEN BLAIR! Can’t wait to hear of your overwhelming success!!

Hope you used lots of those big words in your defense. And hope the weekend away was all that AND a dialectic of chips.


35 Anonymous November 16, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Vow, such a nice post! Congratulation – for sucess in work, and family! Enjoy your deserved weekend.

ps I write from Croatia – Europe.


36 Kimba November 16, 2007 at 12:37 pm

Wow, tell him congrats!


37 Kristi November 16, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Wow–what an incredible accomplishment!! Congratulations to you both :)


38 Denise November 16, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Yes, hooray for Dr. Ben, one of my favorite people. How nice it will be to have this all done. And who wouldn’t accept as absolute truth anything Ben says? Of course it will go splendidly!


39 allysha November 16, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Congrats, Ben Blair. We’re excited for you. (And for Gabby!)


40 julie November 16, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Way to go Ben & Gabby! What a team you are, have a great weekend!


41 Mom101 November 16, 2007 at 9:17 pm

Go Ben Blair!

(That’s in regards to both the hotel activities and the dissertation)


42 Robyn d November 16, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Congratulations Ben and Gabby!!! We’re so happy for your family. Have a great weekend!


43 Jane November 17, 2007 at 8:10 am

I would give anything for ANY degree, let alone a PhD from Columbia University’s Education Department! What an accomplishment! Congratulations!


44 lisapow November 17, 2007 at 2:37 pm



45 Beta Maia November 18, 2007 at 2:31 pm

OMG. I found your blog randomly and I felt in love with it. You have such a great taste and everything looks so nice. You are awesome! Congratulations I simply love everything you post.

oh, and Go BEN!!!


46 BeachysCapeCodCupboard November 19, 2007 at 11:07 am

Well done! Congratulations to everyone in the Blair family! =)


47 Girl con Queso November 19, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Dr. Ben Blair rules.


48 Demarion Borden January 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Really enjoyed this article post.Much thanks again. Want more.


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