2/28: the weather waited

The forecast said that there would be snow today, but it held off all morning and most of the afternoon, smoothing my way as I went about my business: a hair-cut, lunch out with a friend, a festival of 10-minute plays at school. By the time I was heading home, the flurries had begun--just in time for me to take my walk along the ridge among snowflakes. I feel a bit snuffly now because (though I bundled up) I got a little chill, but it was worth it to walk through the falling snow. (And it's a good excuse to have some hot chocolate now.)

2/27: Friday afternoon laughter

I was punchy in the Etymology class this afternoon, and I said a lot of funny things. We laughed more than usual, and it was a good last class of the week.

2/26: grant granted

I found out today that a funding proposal I submitted some time ago was approved at a meeting last night. The grant will provide money for a number of Classics students to participate in a summer working group / reading project. I think it'll be a good experience for them and for me, and I'm glad and relieved that other people saw merit in the proposal.

2/25: squeezed in

I didn't take a walk this morning because I wanted to get to school and begin to prepare for my classes as early as I could manage it. But after dinner this evening it was still light so I was able to squeeze a walk in then. Yay for lengthening days! Two of my neighbors were taking a walk, as well, so we walked & talked together for part of the time.

2/24: empty can be good

For the past two Tuesday evenings I've gone grocery shopping on the way home from my Astronomy class. The store is amazingly empty at that time, the whole process of shopping becomes quicker, and it's fun to zip up and down the aisles.

2/23: a terrific tragedy

I just finished reading Scully & Herington's translation of Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. I assigned the play for my Myth class tomorrow because I knew it would work well with other texts we're covering this semester. But I hadn't read it since 1988, so I needed to seriously re-read it this evening! And it was fantastic--harrowing and even depressing, but fantastic.

2/22: philosophical figures

I've been trying to put something in the mail for Chris everyday, whether it's a postcard or a photo, a notecard or a quotation I've found. Sometimes it's a little crafty something that I've made. And in that vein I've been sending him each week a "philosophical figure." I have an old philosophy book, and I've been cutting the pages into thin strips. Then I arrange some cut-up strips into abstract shapes on colored cardstock; I also create a frame with more strips of text. Not profound, and probably not even philosophical, but fun and (I hope) interesting to look at. I just took a break from grading and emailing to make one.

2/21: so glad I went

This evening I went to see the Theatre Department's production of The Hot Mikado. It was more sweet than hot, but no matter: I enjoyed it very much. And I didn't know that two of my Myth students were in the production, so it was a surprise and a treat to see them in a different venue.

2/20: bees on speedwell

Earlier this month I wrote about my first sighting of spring wildflowers. As I was walking along the ridge this afternoon I saw some bees on a flourishing patch of speedwell. The bees' work for the season has begun! I can't be absolutely certain that they were our honeybees, but I think they were....

2/19: the Odyssey again

I'm teaching my Myth class both semesters this academic year, and because my colleague has decided to teach the Iliad in his Greek Civilization course, I've switched to using the Odyssey in the Myth class so that students who take both courses don't repeat texts too much. At first I was sad not to be teaching the Iliad; I really (really) love it, and I wasn't looking forward to picking up the Odyssey (which I hadn't read or taught since 2004). But I've enjoyed reading it through twice in back-to-back semesters, and--especially this second time round--I've been appreciating its complexities a lot.

2/18: touching base with my brother

My brother and I have recently been in more contact than usual, and I've been glad to learn more of the details of his daily life and not just the broad strokes. We had a good, solid, sweet, and real conversation on the phone this evening. What a nice note to sound near the end of a day.

2/17: on the other side

I've gotten so used to being a teacher that I think I sometimes forget what it's like to be a student. Today, however, I went to the first meeting of an evening astronomy class being offered at a nearby state college. It was so weird to take notes! And to feel nervous about chiming in! It's a good to have a first-hand reminder of what it's like to be sitting in the classroom rather than be standing in front of it.

2/16: the benefit of my own efforts

I ended up staying on campus an hour longer than usual today. By the time I arrived home, I was more than a bit frazzled by things. Which made it so wonderful to walk into the house and feel the relief of its tidiness. My domestic chores this weekend definitely paid off! I felt like I was entering a haven, and knowing that I had done my part to create the haven increased my pleasure.

2/15: a walk & fairy traces

I had planned to go to my campus office this afternoon to catch up on some work, but my mind and body rebelled, so I've been doing various domestic things instead, punctuated by a walk in the woods. When Chris & I come across odd bits & bobs, we say that the fairies left them. (It sounds so much nicer than saying we've come across an old midden.) Today's fairy find was this poor piggy bank. I guess the fairies are feeling the economic crunch, too, such that they broke open their savings?

2/14: relief in two forms

On most days I'm likely (rightly or wrongly) to express a fair amount of skepticism about large international corporations. But today I'm grateful to the pharmaceutical industry & to Coca-Cola. All morning and into the afternoon I had a migraine which I couldn't kick with milder means, so I turned to the double whammy of Imitrex & Coke. And now, as afternoon is making its way into evening, I can feel the pain moving out, away.... That's a good thing.

2/13: direct understanding of indirect statement

There are 3 ways to express indirect statement in Greek, and for months now my students have only known 1 of those ways. This week they learned the other 2, and today we went over the homework in which they practiced the new constructions. It went very smoothly. The students are doing great work in the Greek class this year; I am so grateful to them for their earnestness and good spirits.

2/12: two takers (so far)

In January I wrote about my sky photo/mail/blog project. Chris sent a photo in support, and now 2 other people have contributed. It's really fun to see other people's skies....

2/11: an admission

I made a mistake about procedure at work today. I don't like being wrong, but I was. And I admitted it with as much grace as I could muster. I think there's plenty of work for me to do on the "grace" front, but mustering what I did today still counts as personal progress. And--you know? --though it's not fun to be wrong, I liked the feeling of acknowledging it and moving on, unencumbered and in the clear.

2/10: a little box (and its contents)

There isn't much of a tradition of Italian settlement in Arkansas, and though I'm not Italian myself, I do occasionally miss living near an Italian bakery. One of my colleagues (who knows this about me) recently returned from a trip to the Philadelphia area, and--completely unexpectedly--he brought back a little bakery box of Italian cookies just for me! I had some for breakfast, and some more for lunch, and I'm going to have another one right now. It's a good thing it's a little box....

2/9: a well-placed post-it

I won't lie: I've been having a hard time lately. I don't want to write much about it here (since this blog is a happy place), but things at work and home have been running me ragged. I have two more action-packed days before things can (with any luck) return to a more normal pace--so there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm nevertheless exhausted and also (alas) coming down with a cold. Sigh.

However, all this not-so-good-ness is a set-up for today's delightfully good thing! I walked across campus mid-morning to get my cup of coffee and to drop my mail into the traditional blue post-box that sits just outside the campus center. I pulled the handle down to drop my mail in, and there it was, a pink post-it note stuck on the inside, and it simply said: "You are strong." I was tempted to take it as a talisman for my day, but then I realized that someone else might need that message today, too.

2/8: a smile from a stranger

When you buy a pack of gum or a candy bar at my grocery store, the cashier sets it down in a different place--so that you can put it right in your purse or pocket instead of having it packed with all the other groceries. Today the woman in front of me in the check-out line forgot to pick up the candy she had bought. I called out so that she wouldn't lose her goody. She turned and started to be very apologetic until I explained that I wasn't annoyed with her at all: I simply wanted to make sure she got her sweet. And then she flashed me a big smile.

2/7: added sibling goodness

I think I've written about my favorite tea before: Earl Grey with lavender. When my sister was here at the end of January & we were making tea, she mentioned that she loves Earl Grey with lavender, too. So every time that I pour myself a cup (like right now), I have the extra pleasure of thinking of my sister.

2/6: the first of the season

I just saw the first wildflowers of this year's spring! (Although winter's not completely over, winter and spring overlap for weeks and weeks in Arkansas.) I'll have to wait until I go home this evening to look up the name of the wildflower I saw, but it was small, delicate, and very blue.

Added later: I looked up the flower in my Petersen's Guide, and I think it's a speedwell. The picture below doesn't show the exact flowers I saw today (I didn't have my camera handy when I was walking across campus this morning and spotted them), but I took this picture of the same kind of flower a couple of springs ago as I was walking along Tucker Creek and availed myself of the camera feature on my cell-phone.

2/5: the best way to grade...

...is in the morning with a clear head, sitting at a table facing a window as the sun comes up, with comfy pajamas on and silence all around. I got to grade my students' Myth quizzes under such lovely conditions today.

2/4: spinach

I like spinach. I like eating spinach. And I especially like steaming fresh spinach leaves--which I did tonight for part of my dinner. Chris is less of a fan of this particular leafy green, but since he's not in residence, I can eat it to my heart's content for the next few months at least.

2/3: a new look for the gallery

A number of years ago Chris and I put up a "gallery" in our old house, and we set it up again when we moved last year. "Gallery" is an overly grand name for what it actually is: a series of three large, black bulletin-boards on which Chris and I post art projects we've made, photos we've taken, or pieces of writing we've done. Newer things gradually replace older things, and we keep all our past "exhibits" in a little trunk. As of today the gallery is exclusively devoted to Chris' photographs. He's been sending me photo postcards from Nebraska, and as they've been arriving I've been removing things of mine to make room for them. I'm looking forward to an all-Chris wall for awhile.

2/2: wicawa

Chris told me today that in the language of the Winnebago the word for a wild cat is pronounced in the same way as the word for squash. Are they in fact the same word, identifying some deep underlying similarity between panthers and pumpkins--or are they homophones, sounding identical but only accidentally? No one knows. I think I'm in such a state of mind tonight that the uncertainty of this question seems to me to encapsulate the human condition (but in a good way).

2/1: porch time

Today was sunny and mild--quite surprisingly so, given that we had ice storms earlier in the week. After my afternoon walk along the ridge, I made myself a cup of tea and drank it on the porch. I let the cats come out, too, and they were so happy to sniff the sweet air.