2/28: buttercups

When Chris and I went outside this afternoon to leave some honey for the bees, I saw three buttercups blooming. Even with the short and relatively mild winters of Arkansas I can't wait for spring, and I am so encouraged by signs that it's on its annual, inevitable way.

2/27: new (to me) people

I helped to conduct scholarship interviews on campus today, and I got to meet seven thoughtful, sweet, and earnest prospective students. I also got to work on an interviewing team with a current student and another professor, neither of whom I had met before. A day of interesting new acquaintances.

2/26: fewer worries, bluer skies

For whatever reason or reasons, my worry-meter today was less active than usual, and that certainly felt like a good thing.

And now that my sky blog project is over, I've been enjoying the sky without photographing it relentlessly. Today it was a bright turquoise--a break from grey--and the clouds kept changing, making it more than worthwhile to look out the window now and then to see what the heavens were up to.

2/25: paycheck

Tenure seems like an antiquated practice amid today's economic and employment tumult, and I certainly feel lucky to have a tenured job. But even tenured lines are not necessarily safe these days: I recently found out that a friend's position at another small college is being phased out, despite the fact that he has tenure and has been teaching there for over 20 years. It made me especially thankful for today's paycheck.

2/24: brown beret

Last year I bought a brown Polartec beret, and since we've been having such a cold winter this year, I've been wearing it alot. I really enjoy it; it's nice to get an extra lift just by putting something warm, soft, and a little sweetly stylish on the top of my head!

2/23: brave

The first crocuses of the year! Bright yellow-orange, and poking through our bedraggled grass. (If they can make it, so can I, right?)

2/22: muffins from murray

My brother sent us a care-package of amazing vegan muffins he baked himself--really, they're fantastic! And what a pleasure at the end of the day.

2/21: protection against the weather

I woke up this morning feeling under the weather and so had to revise my plans for an out-and-about kind of day. The weather outside matched my physical state: it's been grey and rainy. But Chris made a fire, and we spent the afternoon with our chairs pulled up to it. I read Garber's essay on Cymbeline to get my head working on something, and then I indulged by finishing The Making of a Marchioness.

2/20: pleasure/leisure reading

Finishing Louisa May Alcott's Work, reading Shakespeare's Cymbeline, and starting Frances Hodgson Burnett's Making of a Marchioness. I was under the weather, so reading was the best activity for the day, and what a day that made it!

2/19: morning papers

I'd like to get into the habit of writing "morning papers"--3 stream-of-consciousness pages each morning. I'm following Julia Cameron here, but she calls them "morning pages." I like "morning papers" as a phrase because it sounds like the newspaper, but it's not. In any case, on Monday and Tuesday I morning I wrote, and it felt great. On Wednesday and Thursday I had to leave the house extra early, so I didn't manage it. But today I was back at it again and glad.

2/18: thinking shakespeare

Oh my poor Shakespeare reading project! I only have a handful of plays to go, but I've lost momentum. Today I regained some: I went to a talk about my school's production of Cymbeline, which is one of my not-yet-read plays, and now I'm psyched to give it a go--with any luck I'll get to read it this weekend, before I see the play at school next week. In any case, it felt good to have Shakespeare on the brain again. I needed a reminder of what I'm missing.

2/17: gift & good news

Chocolates today from a friend. And a card from a former student letting me know she got into a graduate program for next year.

2/16: five hours

I've had some unpleasant business on my mind recently, but today I had a 5-hour stretch where the particular worries associated with the business didn't even occur to me. Hurray for a respite. And maybe this is an indication that the unpleasant business itself will pass soon and my mind can let go of it more permanently.

2/15: a sighting at school etc.

I know I enthuse about bluebirds a lot, and they've been my good-thing-of-the-day quite often. There were other good things that happened today, but the most unexpected good thing was definitely seeing a bluebird as I was walking to my car at the end of the work-day. I don't think I've ever seen one on campus before, and I was very encouraged by it. I'm taking it as an omen that this week will be better than last.

And some of today's other good things:
- writing in the morning (about nothing in particular, just writing for half an hour)
- full office hours (my office hours have been under-visited so far this semester)
- a late-afternoon talk with a colleague
- seeing a heron standing at the edge of the lake as I drove home
- left-over spinakopita for dinner!
- finishing a full draft of an abstract and sending it out for comment
- wrapping up work this evening before I'm crying-tired

2/14: it could be snow or ice...

...but it's not. All the rain today has seemed to want to take more substantial form; as I was driving around town this afternoon, it kept hitting my windshield in a semi-solid state. However, the temperature hasn't dropped below freezing, and so it's water, water, water, instead of another round of ice or snow. It might freeze tonight, but I feel lucky that we have avoided another wave of wintry weather thus far.

2/13: bees, bluebirds, and blossoms

There's still some snow on the ground, but it's melting. And it was warm and sunny enough to enjoy a walk on the ridge this afternoon. The bees were flying (so we poured some honey for them to take back to their hives), the bluebirds were flitting from tree to tree in our yard, and in two places where the snow had melted we saw yellow flowers blooming!

2/12: red, red

This week may go down in the RR annals as "the week of slime." But even amid the slime there is loveliness: one of my advisees--entirely unexpectedly--brought me a red rose at lunchtime today!

2/11: silent sign

I walked by a magnolia tree on campus this morning and noticed that it had small, fuzzy buds. So sweet, so gentle, so wonderful! Reminders amid the snow that spring will happen.

2/10: two early, one late

I got out of bed at 5:13 this morning--earlier than my custom (or, honestly, my desire). But then I received two early-bird bonuses: I got so much work done here in my home office before going to school (it was great to get cracking on things before any work-day static had built up in my head), and I also got to watch a fantastic sunrise of purples and pinks.

And just now my sister called. What a happy way to end the day. Good night!

2/9: at-home lesson

Yesterday we went to school because the weather seemed manageable in spite of the fact that the local public school district had cancelled due to snow. And though we got to school without incident, the trip back was touch-and-go, and we didn't even get the car the whole way home. So today when the public schools cancelled again, I took it as a sign to stay home: they have better information for making judgement calls than I do. We were lucky once, but why press it? Lesson learned!

2/8: two sense memories

It's snowy today--more snowy than anticipated, and more snowy than it's been in the 10 years I've lived here. The look of the trees' boughs heavy with snow reminds me of the snowstorms of my youth in Pennsylvania. And this afternoon I ate a tangerine. Not only do I love the taste of tangerines, but we also used to have them during the winters when I was young, so today the timing of the taste couldn't have been better.

2/7: hawthorne resumed

Over the holiday break Chris and I went to the walking track a lot. Now that school is back in session, it feels harder to find time to go, but I managed to get there today. Not only was it good to walk, but it was also great to keep listening to The Scarlet Letter on my iPod. With almost every chapter I'm amazed at what a fearless author Hawthorne is.

2/6: a full day

This morning I decided, almost on the spur of the moment, to go into school to attend a few sessions of a Medical Humanities conference and hear some papers on medieval medicine. This afternoon Chris and I worked on making some valentines for friends and family, and then we took a drive to run an errand. Though our errand was unsuccessful, the light streaming through the clouds was amazing to see and made the drive so worth taking. This evening found me back on campus to see/hear some readings for the campus' 10-minute play festival. Students had written all the plays, and their work was interesting, thoughtful, and carefully constructed. One of the plays especially gave me goosebumps (which isn't easy to do). What a great combination of things to make a day.

2/5: unanticipated company

I went to a play reading tonight and unexpectedly got to sit and talk with a colleague of mine who is on sabbatical. I was so glad and grateful to spend some time with her and hear her thoughts.

2/4: two pick-me-ups

So welcome on a cold, rainy day: a hug from Chris and grapefruit juice.

2/3: banana experiment

Recently I was amazed and delighted to learn that you can freeze bananas and then blend them up and the result is--absolutely unpredictably--like ice cream. (Read more here.) We gave it a try on Saturday, so we could share the experiment with my sister, and we had some left over which we finished for dessert today. I like it best when it's just been blended because then it's so light and creamy (though without any actual cream). But it was great to have left-overs in the freezer: an after-dinner sweet that counts as good for you.

2/2: trees with ears

I'm reading the Homeric Hymn to Demeter today to prepare for my class this afternoon. It's a poem which I love and which I've read many times. With each reading I see new details. Here's something about it which struck me today: when Persephone is snatched to the underworld by Hades, the poem tells us that no gods and no humans heard her cries--the poem also proceeds to tell us that "not even the olive trees" heard her call out. I love the implicit and casual presumption that trees can hear!

2/1: big chairs in a little pocket of time

Last year when my sister visited, we spent part of a late afternoon talking while sitting in two very large and comfortable chairs, the cats in our laps. When she was here this past Saturday and Sunday, we didn't clock any big-chair time; we were doing other things. But then this morning we had a little bit of time before we needed to get ready and leave the house (me for work, she for the airport), and we found ourselves in the big chairs. It somehow made her visit seem complete, and our cat Emma crawled right up into her lap, just like last year.