8/31: results

My decision last night to go to bed early and postpone school-work until the morning paid off.  I woke up feeling better (if not 100% of normal, at least 85% or so) and got to school early so I could do all my class preparation without rushing.

8/30: recognizing a cold

...and taking to my bed.  It might not seem like a good thing, but it's far better than pulling myself through an evening's work, hoping that mind can overcome matter, and feeling physically worse and emotionally demoralized at the end of the night.

So is the good thing (essentially) that I acknowledged reality?  I guess it is.

8/29: postal surprise

When I got home this afternoon I found in my mailbox a package from Sam, a friend in Australia--hurray!  She sent a letter, photos, a fabric swatch, and a zippered pouch she made out of interesting fabric selvages.  The pouch is super and lovely--and it was super and lovely to hear from her.

8/28: adventure paddling

I'm a flat-water kayaker--for me, being out on the lake is more like stretch-and-tone than cardio.  But every now and then I find myself amid a stiff wind, and that's a different story.

Tonight I felt like I had to go kayaking.  How many more week-nights will there be this year that are clear-skyed and warm with no absolutely pressing homework for me to do?  One of my neighbors and his friend good-naturedly laughed at me as I wheeled my boat down to the dock; they knew there were little white-caps on the water.  Heading out was fun, a bit like riding a merry-go-round horse that rises and falls very smoothly.  I paddled, but I wouldn't have needed to.  Heading back was a challenge.  I'll admit that for about a minute I wondered if I could make headway against the wind and waves.  "Oh no!  Am I going to have to pull off the water and call someone to come get me?"  But I kept at it and made it, smiling as the air blew in my face and the water crashed into my boat.

8/27: the frogs return

Lots of little tree frogs (and I mean lots, and I mean little) live around our house.  I didn't see many of them this summer (too hot and dry?) but now they're all over.  We watched one in particular move its way across one of our big windows as we were eating breakfast this morning, the heat of its body leaving a small frog-shaped print every few centimeters--quite a lovely set of tracks.  And the frogs themselves are sweet to look at:  bright green with gold lines.

8/26: a benefit to patterns

The common-ness of the common ingredients of my weekends makes doing them feel a little like an extended meditation, a kind of practical yoga.

8/25: private track

The public track felt private this evening:  for most of my time there I was the only person walking on it.  I usually like it when other people are there, but today--after a week of getting used to being among people again at work--it felt special to be alone and not have to be aware of who's in what lane and whether I need to hurry up, slow down, or move aside to let someone pass.

8/24: applause

My beginning Latin class clapped for me because I could go around the room and name everyone.

8/23: out during the week

Now that school has started, it's difficult to get out on the lake on week-nights.  There are almost always a few more hours of work to do at home each night, but today that wasn't the case, so I took advantage of the time to get some paddling done.

8/22: magic

After the summer, my body isn't used to teaching, and I've come home sore yesterday and today.  (I was a little comforted to hear that a much younger colleague experienced the same thing!)  This evening I did a quick stretch routine, and it did wonders.  Both my body and mind felt magically refreshed.

Magic of a different sort was the topic of tonight's reading.  My upper-level Latin class is translating portions of Apuleius' Golden Ass this semester, and before we get started with the Latin we're reading the whole novel in English.  Magic features heavily.  I haven't taught The Golden Ass since 2006--I had forgotten how fantastic it is.  Or rather, I remembered how fantastic it is but I had forgotten how fantastic it is to read it and think about it.  And we're using Robert Graves' translation, which seems to convey in a pitch-perfect way Apuleius' style and spirit.

8/21: morning clouds

The clouds gave me a gentle greeting this morning as I stepped out of the house on my way to work.  I was grateful for their grace.

8/20: a quiet day

The last day before classes begin.  I spent the morning and afternoon at home, working in our clean and quiet house.

We went grocery shopping in the early evening, and on our way back Chris pulled off the road twice so that I could take pictures of the clouds as they caught the colors of sunset.

8/19: pizelles

Chris and I were recently talking about pizelles (not quite sure how they came up), and he decided that our household needed to acquire a pizelle iron.  It arrived about a week ago.  Last night, around 10:30, Chris suggested that we make our first batch.  An unusual time to start baking, but we did it.  And the result was good.  Pizelles were the last thing I ate yesterday and the first thing I ate today.

8/18: fairly clean slate

I was caught in a bit of a fit of purging mania in my school office this afternoon.  The mania feeling wasn't a good thing, but the result is a paired-down work-space.  I had been keeping things from 2000 that I hadn't looked at in over a decade.  I needed to clear away some of the pile-up of the past so I could maneuver in the present and even move into the future.

8/17: a walkable 85°

When I was growing up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, 85° would be considered one of the high temperature readings of the summer.  Here in central Arkansas, an 85° day in August feels like a gift.  I could walk around on campus without scurrying to reach the next air-conditioned building and without feeling like I needed to take serial showers.

8/16: anatomy & physiology

Back in December and January I wrote about preparing to teach a course on Medical Etymology.  I was supposed to teach it this past May, but I had to bow out due to health issues (ironic?).  Now I'm hoping to offer it in May 2013, and my preparation resumes!  I found a better textbook to teach from (much more user-friendly for both teachers and students), and I'm working through it.  This new book does a better job of linking the words to an overall understanding of how the body works (or how we think it works)--which means that in addition to dissecting* lots of wild technical terms, I'm also doing a sweet review of some anatomy and physiology basics.

(*Dissection of words is as close to physical dissection as I want to get!)

8/15: two down

A long day in my office today, but in between appointments I was able to be effective:  two of my three syllabuses for the semester are now done.  I had planned to begin working on them tomorrow....  It feels so good to be 2/3 done before the point at which I had planned to start.

8/14: refreshing

...to have faculty meetings which are more about ideas and less about academic politics.

...to kayak in the cool evening air.  I brought my camera along of course:

8/13: lunch at home

We had a long day of meetings at school, but we did get an hour and a half off for lunch, so we drove home to have lunch with the cats.  Not our usual practice for a school-day, but the cats were glad to score some middle-of-the-day wet food.

8/12: writing by hand

I've had an on-and-off habit of hand-writing a letter every Sunday morning.  I wish it were more of an "on" habit than an "off" one, but I have trouble maintaining it.  Today, though, I did write a letter after breakfast, and it felt good to have the words come onto paper without my backspacing to edit them afterward.

8/11: end-of-summer air

Chris and I both went kayaking this evening, and we were out on the lake a little later than usual.  The air was soft and kind as we were paddling; by the time we were heading home I could feel a coolness, the kind of reminder that it's the end--not beginning nor middle--of summer.  Of course, it's Arkansas and we could be having hot weather well into October, but for this evening it felt like Augusts I grew up with in Pennsylvania.

And here's tonight's sunset:

8/10: higher

We've had rain since I last went kayaking.  The lake is still lower than usual, but I could feel the difference in the water level went I got into my boat this evening.

I brought my new waterproof camera out onto the lake.  There were no clouds high in the sky directly above me (which would have been my first choice for a photographic subject), but there were some on the horizon at sunset.

8/9: new knockaround

I have a "good" camera, but I also like to keep a camera in my schoolbag, and my good camera isn't an appropriate candidate for that:  it's bulky, and I'd worry about it getting banged about.  I've had a faithful little point-and-shoot as my schoolbag camera for some years now, but this summer I'd been fantasizing about having a camera that I could also take kayaking (sometimes I really wish I could photograph the sky from the middle of the lake).  Today I got an Olympus Tough TG-820, which I can throw in my bag, take kayaking without worry, and even swim with.

8/8: cooler

Unexpected rain this afternoon brought the temperature down.  The air smells fresh and green.

8/7: swimming myself into optimism

I woke up a little panicky and pessimistic, and I realized that that was not going to make for a good day.  So I took myself down the hill and swam before lunch.  It's hard to have negative feelings in the water, and they didn't come back even when I got out of the lake.

8/6: can travel

This weekend I realized that my passport wasn't in the place it should have been.  I don't have any upcoming international travel plans, but I felt uneasy knowing that I couldn't leave the country.  This evening I found my passport, and it feels better to know that if I wanted to go out of the country, or had to go out of the country, I could.  The uneasiness was based on the hypothetical, but the relief is real.

8/5: vitamin D

My trouble with a pinched nerve over the past months was compounded by a vitamin D deficiency, another thing that made it hard to walk.  By the time I was diagnosed, my D-level was crazy low even though I thought my daily multi-vitamin was insurance against things like that.  I was given a mega-pill to take once a week, and today was the day for my last pill.  I may need to renew my prescription (a blood test in a few weeks will tell), but I won't mind it at all as a maintenance measure; in fact, I'd welcome it.  Vitamin D is an amazing thing--which I wouldn't have realized except the hard way--and I'm so, so, so glad to have enough of it in my body these days.

[And though I'm hesitant to give advice here, I feel like it's important enough to mention explicitly:  next time you go to the doctor, it might be worth getting your vitamin D checked just in case.  The level slips gradually, and you just feel more and more tired and run down until one day it's not easy to walk across the room or stand up straight.  Believe me, dear blog friends, I wouldn't want that to happen to you.  End of the public service announcement.]

8/4: not a screech at all

We swam in the lake at sunset, and then some of our neighbors came down to the dock and we stayed to chat with them.  By the time we got up the hill to our house it was dark.  We heard a bird-call we've never noticed before:  it sounded like a horse whinnying.  Turns out, it's a screech-owl.  They're mentioned all the time in ancient literature, but until tonight I didn't know what one actually sounded like.

8/3: non-olympic strokes

My favorite swimming stroke used to be breast-stroke; these days my preferences have switched to elementary back-stroke and side-stroke.  They feel like yoga, I can think while I'm doing them, and I can look at the sky or the landscape while I'm moving through the water.

8/2: catch-up

Yesterday I wasn't good at mustering myself in the evening to exercise, but today I made up for it by doing my stretch video in the morning and then walking at the track in the evening.  Stretching felt good, and walking was super-fun because I started listening to Five Children and It on my iPod.

8/1: big edit over

This morning I finished a very large editing job that's taken me a month.  Whew.