The visit of Chris' father and his father's girlfriend went well, I think; it was really nice to see them and spend time with them.
They set off early this morning to drive to New Orleans, and Chris and I spent the morning relaxing and watching a DVD.
Then Chris headed out to run some errands, and I had a bit of quality time with each of the cats, since they were feeling a little out of their normal loop because of the visit.
And this evening Chris and I drove to Danville with a friend for dinner, and when we got back to town we prolonged our get-together and our conversation by stopping at a frozen custard stand. The evening was unusually mild; perfect for lingering and talking.
Pippin's feeling under the weather today because of his new course of treatment, and the vet yesterday warned us that that might happen. He hasn't wanted to eat much today, but it's important that he get his medicine, which we usually mix into his food. Throughout the day he's been willing to eat mouthfuls here and there, and as the day nears its end he's almost through with his medicine/food mix. What a champ. And he's been keeping us close company as we've been working on our computers at the long table in the big room. We can't give him much comfort, but it is nice to have him nearby, and I hope it helps him somewhat, too.
Chris and I traditionally make a chocolate cake each June and decorate it with a "moon and June" theme in honor of Christina Rossetti's poem. I baked the cake yesterday, and we were planning on decorating and eating it last night, but then Chris got a headache so we postponed until today. Until this morning, in fact. We iced the cake as we sipped our coffee, and then we had chocolate cake for breakfast.
During the past semester I developed the habit of writing 3 journal pages each morning, and it was a really good thing to do. Now that I'm in summer mode, I've been finding it harder to fill 3 pages daily. There's simply less for me to process (thankfully). So I've started a different practice which I've been enjoying. (In fact, I've been enjoying it so much that I'm afraid I'll jinx it by writing about it.) Everyday Lisa Vollrath on her gluebooks page posts a different word as a creative springboard; I'm not a gluebook person, but I've been using the words as doodling prompts, and it's really fun. I try to doodle in a way that illustrates the word. So far I've done: fathom, festoon, hegira, heliolatry, rococo, and--today's--haptic.
Chris has been buying and cleaning up older rifles for target-shooting, and though guns make me nervous (understatement!), today I went to the state-run shooting range with him. I didn't do badly for a first time: I hit the X in the middle of the bullseye three times.
(Full disclosure: I remain a vegetarian and a peace-nik, and I'm not sure how target-shooting meshes with those things.)
It's not glamorous work, but it's good to have gotten it done: lots of event-scheduling and calendar-notating for next academic year. This way it's all set before school starts; one less thing to think about once the busy-ness begins again....
For a minute it seemed too good to be true: the Globe Theatre in London this summer is offering Henry VIII, which is my last unread/unseen Shakespeare play. So I thought: could there be a better way to bring my Shakespeare project to a close?
And then it really was too good to be true: although the Globe Theatre is offering Henry VIII this summer, they're not performing it at all during the 10 days I'll be there.
But: I did reserve a ticket for Anne Boleyn, a new play by Howard Brenton that's having its world premiere at the Globe this summer. I'll be sure to read Henry VIII before I go, and then I'll be able to do a mental comparison and contrast between Shakespeare's view and Brenton's.
The past two months have contained more than a usual dose of unpleasantness and unsettledness. Today, as I was kayaking on the lake with Chris at sunset, I felt calm--both inside and out--for the first time in quite awhile.
When I'm in London next month I hope to do some research at the British Library. To that end, today I pre-registered for a Reader's Pass. I know it's the equivalent of a library card, but what a library card: to join the company of so many readers and writers, past and present!
This afternoon I met a former student at a coffee shop. He graduated 5 years ago (or more?) and was passing through town. It was good to catch up and hear what he's up to (and it was some impressive stuff). But it was also just sheerly great to converse with him; sometimes conversations go smoothly and sweetly, with the dynamics and topics and atmosphere etc. falling into easy line, and this was one of those times.
I called a colleague in Classics at another college today. We are in touch occasionally by email, but we hadn't talked since last summer. We chatted about options for Latin texts and the possibility of meeting up this summer--and then he mentioned that he's looking forward to getting an iPad. I said, "So am I." He said, "Mine is scheduled to arrive tomorrow." I said, "So is mine." He said, "FedEx is estimating delivery by 10:30 a.m." I said, "Same for mine!" Our iPads probably came on the same plane from Hong Kong to Alaska to Memphis before heading to our separate states! It was fun to discover we are iPad buddies as well as Classics buddies.
I was annoyed this morning, and I had set myself the task of cleaning out our screened-in porch area. The porch accumulates a lot of dust and pollen--so the furniture in it needed to be sprayed down with the power-washer, and the floor needed to be cleaned. I wasn't annoyed at the job, but I wasn't always embracing it with a fully happy spirit since I was preoccupied with the other things which were annoying me. Then I got down on my hands and knees to scrub the floor, and the sheer satisfaction of getting rid of some of the dirt made me feel a whole lot better, and most of my annoyance got washed away, too.
The start of my summer kayaking was delayed this year: summer-session was so intensive that I didn't get out on the water, and then this past week has been a combination of iffy weather and my feeling sub-par. But this evening after supper my freshly scrubbed kayak Tiger Lily and I headed down to the lake--hurray!
I did a little work today on an art project to hang on our bedroom wall. I had been envisioning possibilities for a couple of weeks, and today I decided not to worry about what would be better or worse and instead just set to work and see how things evolved. Not my usual m.o. for sure, but for this project it's working.
I finished reading two books in the past 24 hours. The first was Cold in Summer--a young adult novel by Tracy Barrett, whose Anna of Byzantium I read and enjoyed last fall. I got so into the plot of Cold in Summer last night that I stayed up late to finish it. Barrett has a very nice touch. She writes what I call quiet page-turners. It sounds like an oxymoron, but in her case it's completely apt.
I also finished Martial: A Social Guide by Art Spisak. This was the first of a number books I hope to read this month about Martial's poetry, in an effort to start to prepare for my Martial course in the fall. Spisak's book provided a nice and helpful on-ramp for thinking about Martial's poetry.
Chris and I sent out a mass emailing today to all incoming students to invite them to participate in the summer reading program we're running. It's our first go at this (and our school's first go), so we're keeping our fingers crossed that students will be interested. We've already had a few "yes' responses in less than 2 hours, so I think that's got to be a good sign?
It's been very quiet in the house for the past hour and a half--perfect for straightening my office, writing some bills, and ordering some books. It feels good to get my financial ducks in a row. And buying new books makes me feel like I'm seeing a new horizon.
We haven't had as much time to bee-keep this spring as we would have liked, but this morning we squeezed in a hive-check to make sure that a swarm we captured (and then combined with a queenless hive) is doing okay. They seem to be: I saw the queen; they've built a bunch of new comb; and there's brood in all stages of development.
We decided to go on the road for the afternoon, so we headed toward Leslie, where there's an organic bakery. We bought some cranberry nut bread which I'm looking forward to trying for breakfast tomorrow. But the best thing was being in the car in the sunlight. I think I've spent too much time indoors lately. I definitely feel a bit blasted by the brightness, but in a good way, as if the light has jolted me into summer.
Two years ago I decided not to wear my watch during the summer, and it was a good change. Last year I did the same, and this year I'm continuing the trend. Today my left wrist was blissfully chronometer-free.
When we moved into this house 3 years ago we knew that recycling would require more effort. Outside the city limits we don't have curbside recycling pick-ups, so we've gotten into the habit of saving our recyclables and driving them to the main recycling site periodically. Now the county is piloting a recycling program that will include us. The truck can't turn around on the ridge, so we have to leave our recycling in bags at the bottom of the hill early on Thursday mornings, but it's easier than going to the big drop-off place every few weeks. Chris and I just took this week's recyclables down, and by the time I head to work, it should all be picked up, ready to begin its journey into Something Else.
Two sweet deer in the yard early this morning. The grass is so high in some places that we could barely see them--but I bet they like the high grass and so will be back!
The cats are a little bewildered by our summer-school schedule; they can tell that we're busier and more work-focused even than is usual during the regular academic year. At times I can tell that they're forebearing, and other times I can tell that they wish we'd stop and pay attention to them. I'm grateful for both attitudes: the first shows their awareness of our situation, and the second reminds us to look beyond our work, if only temporarily. Oh to have the calibration of a cat!