3/31: inconceivable

Twenty years ago I wouldn't have believed you if you told me that one Saturday morning I'd be standing in a clearing amid trees near my house in Arkansas, wearing my pajamas and watching thousands of bees swarming.

I took some pictures of the swarm. The bees were moving so fast that they became golden blurs in the photos:

In this one (below), you can see the swarm hanging from a branch on the mid-right. It was too high in the tree for us to reach, so these bees are now on their own....

3/30: setting time-pieces aside

End of the work-week: taking my watch off and not turning the alarm on for tomorrow morning.

3/28: grading

I'm faced with a pile-up of grading. The stack (or even the idea of the stack) can be discouraging, but the grading itself is actually encouraging: it's been really lovely to read students' good work.

3/27: a little list

Pansies, bumblebees, a cookie, conversations, laughter, letter-writing, honey.

3/26: thick in the air

The smell of spring. I think being away for awhile (and spending time in a city) made me especially aware of it upon returning. Even the air feels green.

3/21-3/25: pause in programming

I'm heading to Baltimore for a conference. I'll be back next week. In the meanwhile, please feel free to post good things from your days in the comments!

3/20: before the storm

(posted on 3/21 in the a.m.) I finished the work on my paper, PowerPoint, and travel plans yesterday afternoon--which was a good thing, because the internet went out once the rains reached us in the evening. If I hadn't finished before that, it would have been tricky to get all my ducks in a row without the worldwide web.

3/19: driving around

A morning of errand-running, with the pleasures of seeing crimson clover & blooming dogwoods, plus hearing on the radio an interesting interview with Jon Gertner, the author of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.

3/18: (neg)otium

The Romans' word for "leisure" is otium. Their word for "business" is a negation of that: negotium.

It's spring break, which should be the time for otium, but I have a conference to go to on Wednesday, with a presentation that needs to be finished before I get on the plane. And I have a pile of midterms to grade.

On the negotium front today, I managed to grade the beginning Latin midterms this morning, more expeditiously than I had anticipated. And I finished a draft of my talk this afternoon. There's still revising to do, and a PowerPoint to go with it, but at least all the basic articulation is done.

Getting things done relatively smoothly gave me a little time for otium. Of course I took my camera and headed out amid the blooming things. And then I played with Photoshop while drinking my afternoon tea. I love the "cut-out" feature on Photoshop since it reminds me of Cubists and Matisse's collages. Here's a tulip:

3/17: shamrocks

So much is blooming today, including some wild shamrocks.

3/16: irish soda bread

From my parents. A great breakfast. I look forward to it at this time every year.

3/15: not great, but not bad

A meeting I was worried about went better than I had anticipated. It still wasn't wonderful, but it wasn't a disaster--and that's enough to make it a good thing.

3/14: things in the air

White petals from blooming trees, fluttering down to the ground in the morning breeze.

Bees attending to the sweet-smelling holly blossoms on the bushes near the library.

Stars, stars, stars on a clear night.

3/13: at home

We made dinner for ourselves this evening, instead of eating in the campus cafeteria or going to a restaurant. It felt luxurious.

And this evening, some quality time with Greek, designing a worksheet for the beginning class and reading the Septuagint version of Ruth in preparation for an independent study meeting. I've written before about enjoying the Vulgate translation of Ruth; this is my first time reading it in Greek. Maybe someday I'll learn Hebrew and get back to the original....

3/12: nearly empty

It's that time of year when things are so busy that I need to strategize about when to go grocery-shopping. I found a pocket of time this evening, and I was rewarded by the grocery store being very under-populated. What a pleasure, especially since the last few times I've gone it's been hard to find a parking spot. Maybe this is a too meagre and mundane good thing, but it was a nice to have a complication-free final errand before turning home.

3/11: lots of words

Lots of reading to do today--but I'm feeling fortunate that reading is part of what I get paid to do.

3/10: unglorious but glorious

I've been so busy at work that I've not been tidying up--and finally the lack of neatness started to impede my getting things done. So I spent much of today cleaning my campus office. The effect is amazing; so nice for my work-space not to look and feel like a bird-cage.

3/9: a Roman coin

I used the history of a Roman coin and its imagery as a way to organize my beginning Latin lesson today. It was fun to create examples of the day's grammar with the coin as my touchstone. And the students got to pass the coin around and hold in their hands a bit of money from the 1st c. BCE. Not bad for a Friday.

3/8: take two

Last year I had an abstract accepted for a children's literature conference, but I couldn't go because of family scheduling conflicts. I sent in another abstract for this year's conference, and I found out today that it was accepted. So I'm Boston-bound in June. I'm excited, both to write my paper and to have a chance to listen to other people's presentations. It was grey, rainy, and chilly today, so the good news really felt like a bright spot.

3/7: redbuds

Some are all ready to pop.

Some are popping already.

3/6: walking

I haven't had much time this semester to take my usual walks on the ridge or at the track--not a good thing. But I got to walk around campus quite a bit today, and it was probably as much walking (or a little more?) than my ridge walk.

3/5: making a difference

I had been having an increasing number of aches and pains for the past year and a half; finally, it got to be too much. My doctor and I are making some changes in things, and I'm beginning to feel a difference already. I didn't realize how much my creakiness was affecting me--body and spirit-- until I feel how it's not affecting me now.

3/4: for a bit

Too much work to spend any substantial time out in the gorgeous spring weather today, but we did get a take-out dinner and then drive to Woolly Hollow to eat while looking at the little lake there.

And something to make my heart sing: the country road to Woolly Hollow was lined with bluebirds.

3/3: clearer

Some murky things are coming into focus, which helps me move from worry to action.

3/2: projects

A major undertaking at work got finished today. Whew.

Suggested to a student some possible summer projects she might be interested in, and talked with other advisees about projects they're considering.

Continued my year-long project of sending a friend in Japan envelopes of images.

3/1: company

Had to head home right after my classes today because of a migraine. I'm lucky that I can bring stuff home and work from here when necessary. The cats were surprised to see me earlier than usual, and both kept me company as I graded quizzes and rested.

The novel I'm reading also kept me good company: The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is my fifth FHB novel. I've read The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Making of a Marchioness in the past, and it's fun to see how The Shuttle incorporates ideas and themes from all the others.

And as if he knew I needed special cheering today, a blue-bird came to the bird-bath by the bedroom window while I was watching. How lovely. I just stood and stared with my breath held.