Or maybe buzziness is a better way to put it. The marigolds on campus today were beset by all sorts of winged things: moths, flower-flies, honey-bees, bumble-bees, and what must have been either hummingbird moths or bumble-bee moths. Despite the activity, it would have been easy to walk by the flower beds without noticing, but once I stopped and looked and let my eyes focus on that level of detail and motion, I saw a few visitors and then more and more and more.
It's already time at school for my department to apply for programming grants for next academic year. It's a bit odd to be thinking about 2011-2012 when 2010-2011 is less than one-quarter over. But if we want the money, now's the time to plan. Many of our programs are repeats from year to year, but today I had a new idea that I'm excited about: an afternoon workshop, near Valentine's Day, about ancient Greek and Latin love spells. It'll be nice to educate myself more about ancient magic, and I think students will really enjoy the material. So though it's weird to be thinking about February 2012 in September 2010, it's fun to be thinking that in February 2012 I'll be doing this workshop!
I love the crisp, rich taste of (non-alcoholic) apple cider. It's a taste I remember from the autumns of my youth in Pennsylvania, and I loved the year-round availability of apple cider when Chris and I lived in upstate New York. Here in Arkansas what's usually sold as apple cider is slightly stronger-than-usual apple juice, but I found some northern-style apple cider in the grocery yesterday. This morning when I woke up the air was nippy, and it felt perfectly perfect to pour myself some cider for breakfast on such an autumny morning.
An inside-the-house good thing for today: clearing the recyclables (catalogs, magazines, paper) that had piled up in my home-office.
An outside-the-house good thing for today: enjoying the autumn air while drinking mocha and eating scones with Chris near the Arkansas River at Toad Suck Park.
One of my colleagues decided to invite to campus a scholar whom I knew when we were both much (much) younger, in different phases of life entirely. She won't be coming until next year, but for funding reasons we need to start some of the planning now. So today I've been in touch with her by email, and it's funny to feel a little bit like the person I was when I first met her.
Today I got emails from two past students whom I really enjoyed teaching. They're asking for advice and recommendations for graduate school applications. Though it means more on my plate, I don't mind that kind of work.
This evening I got an email from a colleague who looked like he was going to drop a ball that I would have to pick up. But he came through after all, and now I don't have that bit of extra work on my horizon.
I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon to have some stitches trimmed, and it was the fastest doctor's office visit ever. We got there early and I was seen right away--and we ended up leaving even before my appointment was scheduled to begin! My last visit to this particular doctor was a multi-hour affair, so I was especially surprised by--and grateful for--the speediness of this check-in.
Chris didn't need to go with me, but he did (and he drove the half-hour each way), so I'm grateful for both his driving and the chance to be together a little bit before we're exhausted at the end of the day. We are both hankering for a road trip, but it's unlikely to happen soon--so maybe drives to Little Rock on errands are going to have to do for now.
This morning Chris led me into the yard (in my pajamas) to show me a new-to-us flower. It's small and delicate, and I found it in one of our wildflower identification books: it's a forked blue curl.
This evening we went out on the porch to look at Jupiter. Over the next few days it's going to be brighter in the night sky than it's been since 1963. Last night we even had time to take out the telescope and view it that way.
On Monday and Tuesday we ate dinner in the school cafeteria. On Wednesday we went to a Greek restaurant with a friend before our evening faculty meeting. Yesterday I had a hankering for pizza, so we went out. Today has been our first dinner-at-home day this week. Whenever we have dinner at home I like to make a salad as part of it, and today it felt especially nice to return to salad-making (and salad-eating).
To sleep a little later this morning. (I really needed it.)
And to take a short walk along the ridge before getting ready for work. (I really needed that, too.)
It means I'm behind on my grading, but I'll catch up this weekend.
I've been working on a collage using very small clippings from junk mail. Each day I've been going through the catalogs in the mail, cutting out teeny tiny squares and rectangles, and then gluing them together. This evening I finished a piece of about 200 purple bits; the effect is somewhat like a small crazy quilt. It was a good transitional activity, letting me unwind from work before settling into home, so I think I'll start another one in a different color tomorrow.
I was walking down the hallway today when a colleague remarked that I looked very relaxed.
It's true that I was feeling particularly good and calm at that moment, but I was a little dismayed that my state was different enough from my norm that it was worthy of comment.
But then I realized: today was different from my (recent) norm. My cold is really gone. I'm not hurting from Friday's surgery. I managed to sleep the whole night through last night. And I had just gotten good news about my biopsy. No wonder I looked better!
Chris and I started a summer reading program for new students at our school this year. It's a way for students and professors to read a book over the summer and then, at the start of the semester, meet over dinner for a casual "book club" type of discussion. The first dinner discussions have been held, and the responses from students and professors alike have been very positive. The program questionnaires they filled out have a lot of great comments that we'll be able to include in our grant re-application for next year. On a less practical level, we feel so glad (and proud) that we launched something that really clicked with other people and made them feel like part of a community.
A mostly sleepless night, and the wakeful times not full of the best spirits. Then a daunting day. But I bucked up, faced the rain and a packed schedule, and I did it. Only a few household tasks left before I can let myself turn in for the night.
Today I also drove for the first time on the newly opened traffic circle along a major route through town. I was kind of dreading using it because I wasn't sure other drivers would have good etiquette on circles (which are not common here), but my spin on the circle went just fine, and the circle itself seems nicely designed.
Today in Gender Studies we're discussing selections from Hildegard of Bingen, Sarah Grimke, and The Woman's Bible (a commentary by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a Revising Committee). I don't agree with everything they write, but--wow--they faced authorities head-on and said what they had to say. Their fearlessness, intelligence, and determination: those are good things.
I caught a nasty cold last week, and by Friday I had pretty much realized that the long weekend would be spent recuperating (and I was glad to have a long weekend for it). I usually have a hard time resting when I'm not feeling well (or so Chris says), but this time I really did it. Early to bed on Friday, and take-it-easy days on Saturday and Sunday. Today I felt well enough to get some work done, and I did it expeditiously enough that I even had time to tinker with photos on my computer this afternoon, order some postcard prints of them, and go kayaking on the lake this evening. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would miss out on holiday kayaking, so I was especially delighted to squeeze some in.
Earlier this year I switched my home-page on Safari to a live-feed view of a stork nest in Hungary. Barbara had mentioned it in a comment here, and I really-really-really enjoyed seeing the development of the baby storks. Thanks, Barbara!
The nest is mostly empty now, though, so it was time for a change (at least until a new season rolls around). My new home-page du jour is the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Today's photo is particularly amazing: brightly colored gas swirling around a black hole. The center (or as close to the center as we can see) is white-hot. Really: go check it out.
As Chris was working outside yesterday, he noticed a bee swarm settle on a low-lying tree branch, so we shook it into a box. It's an odd time of year for a swarm to be striking out on its own, but it may be a lucky thing for us: one of our hives recently lost its queen, and we can combine the swarm with the queen-less hive to make a strong colony.
I've been getting up half an hour earlier than in my school schedule of years past. This means I get to watch the sunrise each morning, the sky lightening and coloring before the sun finally opens up the day.
I had a meeting with a colleague yesterday, and at one point something he said really baffled me. And I think something I said baffled him. We were not on the same page, and it kind of stuck in my mind through the evening. This morning I woke up and realized what the source of our misunderstanding must be, and--sure enough--when I wrote an email to my colleague to see if I was right about how we got one another wrong, that was it. It was nice to be back on the same page again (and not to have it stuck in my mind anymore as well).
It's the first day of a new month, which means it's time for me to change my bulletin boards at home and work. I like to put up postcards to match the colors of my calendar pictures for that month. It's a kind of revolving exhibition. What struck me tonight is how amazing it is to hold pieces of the world in my hand and shuffle through them. All the postcards I've received over the years amount to a quite a pile of visual riches, and what a luxury to have an excuse to look through them every 30 days.