3/31: ever greener

Today it was yet greener outside than it was yesterday. It's as if I can actually see the growth of new leaves on the trees from day to day. And I was able to take a walk after dinner to enjoy some spring-time air with Chris. Even the light felt green.

Another good thing for the day was logging on here (just before turning off the computer for the night) and seeing 3 comments in today's post. Thanks, Elaine, Starwatcher, and Angie!

3/30: getting through

It was an exhausting day, but I made it. There were a number of small good things scattered throughout my time at school, and I'm grateful for each one--but for now I'm going to celebrate the fact that there's only one Monday each week and that this week's Monday is drawing to a close.

3/29: pogo girls

Chris and I went walking on the bridge at Murray Lock and Dam this afternoon, and two girls were making their way up the big bridge on pogo sticks. For a minute I remembered exactly what it felt like to be a girl on a pogo stick.

3/28: meeting on the street

I was taking my walk this morning and as I was strolling down the street, what did I see? Chris driving to our house in his truck! A familiar sight that's become unfamiliar this semester. He's back for a week during his spring break.

3/27: pink(ish) light

I'm in my office, spending some quiet time between the end of the work day and a dance concert on campus in a bit. Years ago I bought a pink light bulb for my office reading lamp. I rarely use it because I usually want the full force of the overhead light--but right now I have only the reading lamp on, and its pink bulb is creating a soothing atmosphere to help me slip into the weekend. (And the light is more "warm" than actually "pink.")

3/26: dogwoods

in bloom, offering platters of pale blossoms

3/25: real work can be a real pleasure

I had a string of office hour appointments this afternoon, and they all went very well (or at least I think they did!). Each session felt friendly and productive, and it seemed that we made real progress together--whether we were talking about Greek, independent studies, or scheduling for next year.

3/24: smooth exit

Sometimes (even "often") I get distracted by random tasks at the end of the work-day, and then I spend an extra hour in my office not being very productive but getting more harried and more hungry--which usually leads me to grab food on the go and return home feeling hassled. But today I left in a timely way, which means that I had the patience to make myself dinner at home and that I now have the wherewithal to start an evening of grading with less of a hassled feeling.

Oh! And in order to make such an exit I had to walk through thick pouring rain. The sidewalks were running with water a couple of inches deep in some places. But I didn't mind: I preferred getting wet to getting caught in my bad cycle by waiting in the office for the rain to stop. Here's a case in which getting soaked is a good thing!

3/23: encouraging words

A colleague at work today gave me a much-needed pep talk.

3/22: a fruit and a word

I was excited to find blood oranges in the grocery today. And I was excited to learn a new word by paging through the dictionary: hesperidium. It's a noun denoting a berry which has a tough skin and fruit divided into sections--I don't usually think of oranges, lemons, and the like as "berries," but they are; citruses in general are hesperidia. (I especially like this word because it's derived from Greek mythology and the golden apples supposedly growing in the Garden of the Hesperides.) So now I can unite today's fruit and today's word in a single sentence: The blood orange is a spectacular hesperidium.

3/21: definite dog progress

Last year when we moved in and I started to take walks along the ridge, the neighborhood dogs would run up to me and bark (a lot). Today they ran up in a calm and friendly way, happy to see me, and they quietly walked with me for part of my route before they headed into the woods for some doggy, springy exploits.

3/20: bureaucratic non-hurdle

One of my advisees at school needed an exception to an administrative rule, and I was in the best position to propose the exception and then route the request. I expected that the whole thing might take a week of email exchanges and explanations. But it didn't. It took half an hour. My student now has her exception, and I had the pleasant surprise of bureaucratic smoothness late on a Friday afternoon. A good way to end the work week.

3/19: coloring

Every year the Classics students and I host a coloring night on campus, and tonight was the night. Crayons were spread around the table as people colored pictures of Greek vase paintings and Roman statuary. Our color choices were decidedly un-Classical, and that was fun, too.

3/18: a long email

My internet connection at home isn't working, so when I got to school this morning I had a pile-up of emails in my inbox. One of them was a long letter from a friend who's spending the year in Hong Kong. What a nice thing to read first-off in the morning! (And if you happen to see this posting, Bryan, thanks a bunch.)

3/17: music too?

Over the summer I finished putting together a kind of performance piece which involved my translation and arrangement of a number of Sappho's fragments. One of the professors in the Theatre & Dance Department here is going to stage it next year. And yesterday one of the Music professors mentioned that she might write some original music for it, too!

3/15: a single student

I don't have much occasion to teach one student at a time, but today one of my very serious Etymology students missed the first part of class, and after class we found an empty room so that I could teach her the bit of the lesson which she missed--it wasn't something she would have been able to teach herself. It was such a pleasure to pitch myself for an audience of one: I could use a different tone, a different pace, adjust to her exact speed, answer all her questions. I know one-on-one teaching isn't always practical, but when there's a chance to do it, it's great.

3/14: there & back again

It was good to visit Chris and see the brown countryside of the upper-midwest. It was likewise good to touch down in Arkansas again this evening and smell the moist green spring in the air. And, of course, the cats are glad I'm back (and I'm equally glad to see them).

3/14: snow geese & a spirit mound

Our rambling today took us into South Dakota, and all along our route we saw snow geese flying overhead. Thousands upon thousands of them; I've simply never seen such complicated yet delicate wheeling in the sky on such a massive scale. And one of our destinations was a strangely shaped chalk hill which Lewis & Clark had visited and which Native Americans had told them was a home to little spirits. We climbed up the hill, and though we saw no little spirits we enjoyed the wind, the view, and the cries of the geese from above.

3/13: detail, detail, detail

We walked around Sioux City this afternoon taking photographs of architectural details, which is one of our favorite things to do. Sioux City is an amazing place for this particular pastime because the city has a history of very elaborate terra-cotta ornamentation on its buildings downtown. Wonderful intricacies in an orderly explosion of adornment.

3/12: three w's & chris

We drove around Chris' corner of Nebraska today, seeing Winnebago (where he's teaching), Wakefield (where we had lunch in a local bar), and a collection of historical windmills (which was really great). Equally great is getting to spend time exploring a new-to-me landscape with Chris.

3/11: getting ready

I'm heading out to visit Chris, and I just finished a long, multi-day list of things to do before the house-sitter arrives. The house is ready, the cats are as ready as they'll ever be, and all I have left to do is pack! Compared to The List, packing will be peachy.

3/10: valuing my time

I realized last night that my astronomy class isn't really satisfying. I learn about 5 minutes of interesting/useful information per meeting, but the class and the commute combined are 3 hours. So I'm not going to go tonight. It was a hard decision because I didn't want to seem like a quitter to myself. But I'm not a quitter: I ordered myself an astronomy book that looks excellent, and I'm going to work through it on my own instead. And maybe quitting gets a bad rap; maybe sometimes quitting is making a bid for oneself.

3/9: unexpected exclamation

I held the door open for a woman at the post office today. When I smiled as she passed, she exclaimed (honestly, exclaimed), "Praise the Lord for that beautiful smile!"

3/8: meeting the gardener

Although we've lived in our house for over a year now, we still haven't met everyone on the ridge. There are a variety of reasons for that: some people like to keep to themselves, some people's paths just don't cross ours in the normal course of things, and we just feel too shy to knock on people's front doors "cold" to introduce ourselves. But we've been wanting to meet the woman who has an amazing garden in her front yard because the bees spend so much time on her flowers. And today she was out working while I was taking my walk. So we talked, and I ran to get her some honey as a thank-you for her flowers, and then I met her spouse, too. I'm always awkward making small-talk (or so I think), but I was glad to meet these folks.

3/7: opening

I slept in this morning since it's Saturday and the start of spring break. By the time I was eating my cereal the sun was certainly up. And all the flowers were open! For the past week I was wondering when the flowers in the yard would move from all-but-open to fully-open, and now they've done it. But today might not have been the magical first day of full-open-ness: I realized that for the past week I've been leaving the house before full sun in the morning & returning after sunset in the evening, so of course the flowers were shut when I've seen them recently. So today's good thing is a combination of the flowers' being open and my being around to witness it!

3/6: sweet surprise

I didn't receive one today, but I gave one! I brought some honey to school for my colleague who reminded me yesterday, and I also brought some for another colleague as an unsolicited token of good-will. It felt good to leave it in a little bag outside her office door so she'd find it after her class.

3/5: a friendly reminder

I promised one of my colleagues at work that I'd bring some of our bees' honey in for him & his family--and then I forgot to do it. Today he wrote me a very friendly reminder about it. Though I wish I hadn't forgotten, I'm actually grateful that he felt like he could write a cajoling note to jog my memory. When people genuinely, comfortably take that tone with me, it feels good--like home.

3/4: suite-mate serendipity

One of my suite-mates at work is on sabbatical this semester, and I really miss seeing him. Today he was unexpectedly back in town between his travels. We spent almost an hour talking in between two of my classes. (Usually we don't have time for such leisurely conversations when we're both teaching, but he didn't have other pressing appointments & I had--magically--finished preparing for my second class early.) The best part of our conversation was when I mentioned that I had just bought Roberto BolaƱo's novel 2666 and was looking forward to reading it: it turns out that he had just gotten a copy of it for himself, too! It is so nice to feel like you're on someone's wavelength.

3/3: we got to go outside

For the past two weeks it's been overcast on Tuesday night--so my astronomy class hasn't been able to look directly at anything in the night sky as a group. There was a fair amount of cloud cover this evening, too, but the teacher took us out anyway, and we could at least talk about and look at the brightest stars.

3/2: extreme training

My brother & I talked this evening on the phone, and we discussed the similarities between the mental training my students are undergoing in learning Greek & the physical training he undergoes in preparing for extreme racing events (like Ironman challenges or 100-mile runs across the desert). There are a lot of parallels (believe it or not), and he gave me some advice to pass on to my students. I think that they are so used to hearing advice from my perspective that some encouraging words of wisdom from another person will be really welcome.

3/1: (not) a zombie movie

I'm under the weather today, so I'm trying to take it easy. I spent part of the afternoon watching Les Revenants, a 2004 French movie about recently deceased people who come back from the dead & the living people who have to adjust to their return. The movie is beautifully done, and it's not a horror film at all. (Not that horror films are bad things--just that it's rare to see a movie with this subject matter that's not a horror film.) It's very philosophical, asking viewers to ponder what it means to know someone and to love them. Love and grief can be selfish emotions, and this movie gently gets us to see that, as part of who we are.