6/30: entering an american myth

I've never read the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but I'm reading it now.  I'm enjoying a new-to-me Oz that's different from the one I know from the film version.  So far, I especially like the Tin Woodman--in the novel, there's a story about why he has no heart.  I won't spoil it here...but he wasn't always tin.

6/29: a good end to the week

Talking about "The Seven Ravens" with a friend.  He seemed intrigued by the tale, and I was grateful for the chance to talk about it with him.

Looking at some Greek to help a colleague.  It's a fun poem that he had questions about, and I think he'll be pleased with my answers.

Going sailing with Chris.  Or really, sitting in the sailboat while Chris did the sailing!  I don't know how to sail, but I am good at popping back and forth to the different sides of the boat as necessary.

6/28: another persephone book

I spent most of the day reading Noel Streatfeild's Saplings, which (I think) is a beautifully done piece of work.  The only thing that seemed like a misstep in the book was the afterword written by a psychiatrist for the Persephone edition--why couldn't the Persephone folks have chosen someone who actually liked and understood the book to write some remarks?  I include this quibble as a marker of how much I liked the book:  upon reading the afterword, I mentally and enthusiastically rushed to the novel's defense!  I think this was my sixth Persephone title--all six have been books I am so glad to have read but wouldn't have even known about if Persephone hadn't issued new editions.

6/27: 6 things

A very kind email from a friend who dates back to my graduate school days.
Reading a Grimm Tale that was like a German rendition of a Greek poem by Archilochus.
Chris listening to me as I articulated my (many-faceted!) frustration about a book I finished.
Finding Cherry Mash (a kind of Midwestern candy) at a store in town.
Kayaking to clear my head.
Wilkie sitting right next to me as I type this.

6/26: a perfect bird

It's so hot and dry that more and different birds are coming to our bird-bath.  Today Chris called me to see a yellow-and-olive bird (I looked it up later, and I think it must have been some kind of warbler).  When it jumped from the bird-bath to a branch on an oak tree, its colors blended perfectly with the green leaves, brown boughs, and yellow spots of sunlight.

6/25: out to dry

We don't have an old-style clothes-line outside, but we put drying racks on the deck in the summer, and I used them today after I did laundry.  When I gathered my clothes in at the end of the afternoon, they smelled like sun.

6/24: (most of the) day off

There was a standing joke as I was growing up that the only time my father took off was Christmas morning.  He worked a lot in his home office, and one of his theatres plus his campus office were within easy walking distance of our house, so even when he was working he was well within reach:  we saw our father a lot, and we saw him working a lot.  To a large extent, my siblings and I have inherited the habit.  But after some satisfying thinking and writing in the morning, I took today off, off, off.  I had prepared a mental agenda for my Sunday afternoon, but then I decided it could wait until tomorrow.

6/23: exchanging

...text messages & photos with my sister.

6/22: in spite of a migraine!

I didn't realize until the late afternoon that I had been contending with a brewing migraine all day, but I managed to have a good day anyway.  It included:  reading in the morning, talking about poetry in the afternoon, making some mail art after dinner, and then kayaking in the evening (with an enthusiastic 5-dog escort down to the dock!).  I'm not sure I could/should ask for more goodness in a day.

6/21: out to eat

For Greek food.  During the school year we go to restaurants out of necessity more than choice; it's nice in the summer when choice takes the upper hand.

6/20: waiting and weighing

I got asked to do something that would have some professional advantages; it was tempting to say "yes" right away, but I didn't.  Now I've had time to think about it, and I realize that there are disadvantages and potential frustrations which might outweigh any benefits.  I'm glad I waited to respond, and I'm glad that I don't feel like I have to say "yes" if it's not the right thing for me.

6/19: when work isn't work

Before the conference my daily work was writing my paper.  During the conference my daily work was listening to papers and thinking, thinking, thinking.  Both of these kinds of work I enjoy, but today's work wasn't like work at all:  reading a big chunk of Trollope for a meeting tomorrow with a student.

6/18: arancini

Italian rice balls:  I've had them in Rome, and I've had them in Asheville, NC.  Now I've had them in Conway, AR.  What a surprise to find them in the grocery store here!

6/13-6/17: a breather in boston

I'll be away from the blog while spending some time in Boston.  I'm looking forward to hearing some good conference papers, seeing an old friend, and riding the Green Line of the MBTA (the oldest line of the oldest subway in the US, or so I'm told).

6/12: suited up

I recently bought a somewhat informal summer suit to wear when I give my paper on Thursday.  The pants needed to be hemmed (of course), so I did that this afternoon.  I had to go to the sewing store to pick out thread, and I was lucky enough to find the perfect grey for the hem stitching--and anyone who's tried to match greys knows how tricky that can be.

6/11: chris' wish

Before I set out on an afternoon of chore-running, Chris said that he hoped it would rain as soon as I got home and the groceries were unloaded.  That's pretty much what happened.  We really needed the rain, so even if the timing hadn't been perfect it would have been a good thing.

6/10: done

I finished my paper this afternoon.  Of course there will be tinkering with it here and there over the next few days, but if I had to deliver it right now, I could.  That's a good feeling, and it left me with extra time today to do a few other things, of both the chore and pleasure varieties.

6/9: a good writing day

This weekend is go-to time for writing my conference paper, and today's work went well (I think/hope).  At least, I didn't seem to be at a loss for ideas, words, or direction.  One of the texts I'm writing about I've read and taught multiple times over the years, but I'm pairing it with a relatively new-to-me short story.  Today I had to move into my remarks on the short story, and I enjoyed thinking new thoughts and seeing new things.

6/8: scheduled up

I am not good about making doctor, dentist, and eye appointments for myself, especially during the school year, but today I made three such appointments for later this month.  It's time for a tune-up.

6/7: indoors & outdoors

A good indoors thing for the day:  Perhaps the most pleasant business lunch imaginable.  (Thanks, Sandy!)

A good outdoors thing for the day:  Swimming in the lake for the first time this summer.

6/6: finishing and starting (and moths)


I did the last bit of ordering for an extensive three-year book-acquisition project at school.  (Whew.)

I met with Chris and a student to begin work on a summer project.

I enjoyed the many (many!) moths alighting on the marigolds on campus.  If marigolds are such moth-magnets, I simply must plant some....

6/5: focusing

...my mind, on writing the paper that I have to give at a conference next week.

...the sun, through a monocular so that we could watch the transit of Venus safely.

6/4: inside

After lunch we went to a bank of lotuses blooming by the lake.  It was hard to photograph them, but the cloud of their smell was unexpected and wonderful.  Also unexpected and wonderful was the sight of the inside of the flower, close up:

6/3: early sounds and sights

The kitties woke me up this morning for an early breakfast, and after they were tended to I went back to bed.  From there, I watched the sky change colors with the sunrise and listened to a swirl of bird calls.

6/2: this evening on the water

The white sun through the clouds making the lake shine like diamonds, but just for a minute, and a thin, thin minnow jumping, the lightest slip of life.

6/1: just a better day

I couldn't get myself on track yesterday; it wasn't disastrous, but it was weird.  Today has been better, my energy flow smoother, and that's a good thing.