7/31: mushrooms in the morning

I hadn't even finished my coffee this morning when Chris asked if he could show me the mushrooms that had sprung up seemingly overnight in our yard. So I pulled on my snake boots and went out to the woods in my pajamas--and there we saw bright red and bright orange mushrooms, as if they had popped out of the pages of a fairy tale.

7/30: new books, fresh horizons

Some new books have found their way to me over the past 24 hours: David Petersen's Mouse Guard Winter 1152, John Barth's Chimera, Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, and Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth. Mouse Guard was a much-appreciated gift from a friend which reminds me of my youth (when I would only borrow library books which featured mice as characters); Barth's Chimera might be an avenue for future research; and the Kipling and Sutcliff books are possibilities for a course I'm meditating on representations of Roman Britain (to be taught in Britain someday? maybe perhaps?). In any case, they all feel like breaths of fresh air.

7/29: zine in a day

I heard about the 24 Hour Zine Thing back in 2007. I had never written a zine before, but the idea intrigued me. Neither July 2007 nor July 2008 was conducive to an all-day zine-writing experiment; still, the idea stuck in my mind. And last night before I went to bed I realized that I could spend today doing a zine for the 2009 challenge. So I've been working at it all day--it's a compilation of various kinds of word-based literary-ish lists. Tomorrow morning (before my 24 hours have expired) I'll print it out and bind it. I'm not sure I'll zine again, and my "product" is definitely different than it would be if I didn't have a tight deadline, but I'm glad that I gave the challenge a go.

7/28: drinking a cold beer

On a humid summer night. Because it's still the summer holidays.

7/27: sundog circle

I went swimming this morning in the lake, and as I was backfloating I saw the faint spectrum of a sundog circling the sun.

7/26: moving past the murders

I've slowly been reading BolaƱo's 2666, and I think it is an amazing book in many ways. The fourth part is tough-going: several hundred pages cataloging murders based on the Juarez femicides. Today I finished that section of the novel. I still have a lot to process--including guilt for being so relieved to be done with that portion of the book. But I'm counting it a good thing that I stayed with this challenging novel and am now beginning its fifth and final section.

7/25: successful socializing

I get nervous at dinner parties and similar gatherings. But tonight our neighbor held a dinner get-together and we attended and it all went smoothly and warmly and was such a good thing. I take no credit for the overall success of the occasion myself (and indeed, I'm jealous of the unseen touch that made it all crystallize so well), but I do count it a victory to have gotten through a social evening without second-guessing everything I said.

7/24: almost a chair again

For 18 months I've been wanting to refurbish a chair we've kept in storage. The frame of the chair is lovely, but the seat is--well--un-sit-able. A few months ago I tried one method of re-doing the seat; it didn't work (and I ended up ruining a lovely piece of fabric I'd been saving for something special), so I got discouraged. But I've come up with a new plan, and I've spent the afternoon putting it into action. By the end of this weekend it should be done, and my chair will be able to fulfill its chair destiny.

7/23: all at once

I'm still not feeling well, so today's good thing is in the vein of looking for the silver lining. After a morning in which I tried to act as if I were all better, I needed to retreat to my bed for the afternoon. I took with me The Road by Cormac McCarthy and read it in one fell swoop. It's rare enough these days (these years!) that I have the chance to read a book straight through in one long pass, so at least feeling sub-par has allowed me that scarce opportunity.

7/22: dragonflies

Lots of them, piloting over our hip-high grass.

7/21: classic chris

Sometimes Chris and I are a bit at cross-purposes with our wishes for the weather: he wants it to rain so that his fig trees etc. will get water, while I want it to be sunny so that I can go kayaking. Today his wish prevailed. But I'm reconciled to it--partially because I know it's good for everything outside to get a drink, and partially because it became the occasion for Chris to look out the window this morning and exclaim, "I just want to cheer every drop!"

And here's another wonderful Chris thing for the day. He was working on electronic stuff all morning and into the afternoon. The finished project is a device that translates bat sonar into sound that is audible to humans. Really! (Now we just need some bats to test it out on....)

7/20: through to the morning

I woke up this morning before the alarm rang (Pepys would say "up betimes"), and I felt fully rested. And I didn't have to take any cold medicine before bed nor did I wake up in the middle of the night. It had been a full week (yikes!) since my last full, uninterrupted, and/or unmedicated night of sleep--so this morning I awoke with cheerfulness and relief. I hope that it bodes well for the rest of today.

7/19: good collective thinking

Chris and I met with two colleagues from work today for the first of our graphic novel workshop sessions. We're each teaching a graphic novel in one of our classes this year, and we received some faculty development money to get together and discuss our different texts and our ideas for teaching them. Today we talked about Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Franz Masereel's Story Without Words and The Idea. The conversation about Masereel was especially good; I felt like we were all getting further by talking together than we would have by working/reading on our own. It's nice when time with other people is earnest and productive and idea-oriented. It seems to happen too rarely.

7/18: more good company

Still ill today, but I feel lucky to have access to a variety of things (and people!) to keep me occupied as I'm trying to recover: a movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole, a novel by Elizabeth Bowen, podcasts from my brother, and snippets of Gerald of Wales read out loud by Chris.

7/17: keeping company with pepys

I use Pepys' diary as my homepage so that I read an entry a day. Yesterday and today (in 1666) Pepys was feeling under the weather. I'm quite ill today myself (though luckily not with the same ailment as Pepys), and while it's not nice to be sick, it is kind of fun and funny to have a friend-in-illness across the centuries....

An additional bit of silver lining is that I didn't get sick until we got back home. I'm glad that I didn't have to take any time out of our holiday-ing to recover.

7/16: familiar comfort

Chris and I were travelling in England and Wales for almost two weeks. It was good. But today we're back home, and it's equally good in its own way to be resting in my own bed again.

7/3-7/15: offline

A girl's gotta get offline every now and then. So I'll be away from the blog until mid-July. But in the meanwhile, please feel free to post good things from your days in the comments!

7/2: all loaded up

I just got an iPod, and over the past day I've loaded it up with music, movies, and podcasts. It was a crazy kind of fun. And Chris knitted me a case for it, which I just put a ribbon on as a finishing touch.

7/1: more than 100 skies

As of today, my sky blog has more than 100 contributions from 30 different people. I think that's a good thing, and I'm very grateful to sky-senders from around the world!