3/31: at last!

The redbud trees seemed ready to pop last week, but then we had a cold spell and their blooming was put on hold.  Now they're doing their wonderful thing.

3/30: underway

I do a lot of materials-buying for my school, and in the course of an academic year the receipts mount up and up.  Today I went into the office and tried to get that paperwork in order so I can file reimbursement requests.  It feels good to get those bits and pieces out of my life, and my bank account is definitely going to appreciate the deposit.  It's almost two months' worth of pay!

3/29: yet again

Pelicans migrate through our area, but we're usually lucky if we see a flock from afar once a season. I've been fortunate this year:  this was the fourth morning I saw them on the lake while driving to work.

3/28: after all

Chris and I didn't think we would be able to have dinner together because of various meetings we each had scheduled.  When I got out of my last meeting, however, I called him and he was in the cafeteria finishing his dinner--so I joined him and we squeezed in a bit of time together before he had to go to yet one more meeting.

3/27: black & white

A flock of cormorants mingled with a flock of pelicans on the lake this morning.

Black and white again mixed in this evening's reflections on the water:

3/26: today's reading

Lots of bureaucratic bits to push around these days, but to balance it out there are books to read and mull over as part of prepping my classes.  Today's work included:
- translating some of Plato's Symposium and thinking about how the imperfect tense was being used,
- reading Euripides' Hippolytus for Myth class and looking up the phrase our translator rendered as "vegetarianism"--the Greek literally talks about "un-souled food,"
and
- working through more of Tracy Barrett's Dark of the Moon with its re-imagining of ancient Crete.

3/25: plato

My Greek students weren't quite ready to get back in the swing of translating Plato today, but I enjoyed poking around in his prose this morning.

3/24: walking in the wind

I'm feeling jitters at going back to school:  the next seven weeks are going to be crazy and full.  To calm myself down I went to the lake twice today, once in the morning and once in the evening.  The wind has been steady all day.  The cold on my face felt good.

Our lake doesn't see much in the way of waves usually, but here's one from today:

3/23: bird-song

I walked down to the lake to get some fresh air this morning.  I needed to clear my head.  I could hear my breath and my steps.  And bird-song.  Lots of bird-song.  I am lucky to live in a place where that's the sound-track.

3/22: good in a grey day

This morning I realized that some bureaucratic work I thought I needed to do didn't need to be done, so I went with Chris on some errands which took us on a drive through central Arkansas.  The white blooms of the pear trees and plum trees were cheering along the roadside.

When we got home we went to the lake, where I took some photos amidst the drizzle, and then we walked into the woods to visit some pear trees blooming there.

3/21: finally

My plan for grading a set of papers earlier this month was foiled by a cold and then allergies.  The hope was to have them done before spring break, but instead I've spent a good amount of break working through them.  Though not the most glamorous way to spend time "off," it's much better than having to grade while also prepping daily lessons--and I have gotten to take breaks to play with Tilde.  But now I'm done with them.  I'm glad, and the students will be glad.

3/20: two twos

Today was sunny and very springy.  Tomorrow is predicted to be otherwise, so Chris and I went on two walks today, one after lunch and another after dinner.

Next month I'm doing a found poetry workshop in the college library.  I've been dithering about texts I want to give the group to experiment on before they go find materials of their own in the stacks.  Today I chose two passages from Bruno Munari's Design as Art, and I think they'll work fine.  It's the kind of thing I could spend hours and hours on between now and the workshop (without it making much difference), so I'm glad to have decided now.

3/19: not hurt

As I was closing my home-office door I accidentally caught Emma the Cat's tail in the space where the hinge joins the door and the door-frame.  He yelped, and I stopped.  Still, there was a kink in his tail as he ran away, and I was worried that I had broken his tail.  I hadn't, thank goodness.  A good thing is a bad thing averted.  (And I will be more careful closing doors in the future.)

3/18: first morning of break

Spring break started Friday afternoon, but it only truly began to feel like break today, since I didn't have to get ready for school this morning.  Instead, I played with Tilde the Kitten, browsed the New York Times Book Review, rested with Emma the Cat, read some Trollope, got mail ready to post to a friend, and made plans for an early lunch out with Chris.  All good things.

3/17: back to school

Dr. Wortle's School, that is.  It's the next Trollope novel I'm working on with some students, and I enjoyed getting to spend some time with it today.  Treating it after The Warden is going to spark some interesting conversations through comparison and contrast.  We'll be better off for not having read it in isolation.

3/16: enjoying the air

We walked along the ridge this evening before going down to the dock, and we moved in and out of the smell of wildflowers.

Tilde the Kitten is very eager to spend time out on the screened-in porch, sniffing the spring.  Emma the Cat, of course, also enjoys it, but this is Tilde's first spring and it came to her as a surprise.

3/15: some relief

Sinus trouble landed me in the emergency room yesterday night, but today things feel better.  Although I cancelled my morning commitments, I was able to make it into the office for a good afternoon.

3/14: spring colors

This morning:  yellow daffodils, purple hyacinths, lavender crocuses, white wildflowers, blue birds, and a clear blue sky.

3/13: all prepped

I usually have at least two hours in the morning to finish preparing for my day's classes.  Tonight I finished prepping for tomorrow--so now I can go to sleep without meditating on possible test questions, and tomorrow morning I can meet a colleague for coffee without having to worry.

3/12: up earlier

I woke up around 4:45 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.  I didn't get out of bed right away (because I kept hoping I would fall asleep again), but instead I had a slow wake-up (which I like), finally getting out of bed around 5:30.  My usual out-of-bed time is 6:30, so I used the extra hour to do some Trollope work, and it felt good to be doing it when my mind was not-yet-cluttered by the day.

3/11: caught up on quizzes

I had a back-log of quizzes to grade.  I just got through them--even though I'm snuffly with a cold, I didn't want to let them pile up more.  Whew.  I'll feel better going to class tomorrow able to return them to everyone.  The students are so polite that they haven't asked about them, but I know some of them must have wondered what was up.

3/10: opting for the apple

I chose an apple rather than cookies for dessert this evening.

3/9: munari

In a bit of an odd mood this morning--a lingering cold, a night of insomnia then fitful sleep, and the residue of a week with some unpleasant moments.  I'm trying to shake it all off as much as possible so it doesn't overly color my Saturday.  Part of the shaking-off strategy was reading some short essays by Bruno Munari, from Design as Art.  I loved, loved, loved the piece entitled "Fancy Goods."

3/8: connections

Comments by Meri & HonorĂ© here at my blog, and mail from Fiona, Bee, and Carlos all in one day.  Wonderful people I've met online and have now known for years.  

There are more fantastic postal and internet friends I've made connections with, too, but it felt like such a bounty to have five touchstones to the larger world in a single day. 

3/7: getting it out (in a good way)

Something at school disturbed me today.  I could have stewed about it, and/or I could have gotten heatedly angry at someone about it.  I was angry and I was tempted to stew, but I managed to focus on writing a clear, professional, and not too long email explaining my concerns.

3/6: all done (for now)

It's a tight time of year.  The to-do list rules and keeps me from forgetting that certain balls are in the air and need to get caught.  Today's list is done before today turns into tomorrow, and I'm counting that a good thing.

3/5: good question, good news, good email

In today's class we discussed this question about the Odyssey:  Could it be that Penelope knows that the beggar is Odysseus in disguise?  There's no definite answer, but we gathered evidence for both sides and also considered the interpretive stakes.  The students were animated, and that was a welcome thing since we're in a low-energy part of the semester.

This evening I found out that my abstract for a conference in June has been accepted.  This morning I searched this very blog to find out when I had found out about the same conference in years past:  early March.  So I knew it must be soon, and then my curiosity was so quickly gratified.

A former student who wrote me a lovely email in the fall wrote me a quick note again today about some topical things.  It was wonderful to hear from her, and it was especially kind of her to write since I hadn't yet responded to her first message.

3/4: consolatory cheese

I had to leave work early this afternoon (not feeling well), but I also had to swing by the grocery store on my way home.  I am somehow not on the same wavelength as people who grocer in the afternoon--they always seem annoyed with me and where I am.  I usually grocer at night when the store has a different vibe, and today's experience reminded me of the goodness of evening shopping.  But evening shopping does not offer the opportunity of gourmet cheese samples, so that was my reward!

3/3: taking time

A round of papers came in on Friday.  I decided to grade them slowly over the next two weeks, just a couple a day, so that I would have time to spend with each person's ideas and prose.  I am hoping that focused and careful suggestions will help them with revisions and show that I took their work very seriously.  I have been enjoying my reading so far, getting to see how they pushed their thinking beyond what we've said in class.

3/2: to the rescue

There's a risk in taking my new medication every day long-term, so I've only been using it as needed.  It works so well that I have been able to go a few days between doses.  But today I definitely needed some:  I am grateful that it was on-hand, otherwise it would have been a needing-to-stay-in-bed-all-day day.

As the medicine was getting to work, I had some other help in feeling better:

Chris watched a movie with me.

Both Tilde the Kitten and Emma the Cat cuddled with me at different times.  (I think they could tell I needed some comfort?)

A friend who has seen some of my water photos on Facebook wrote to say she'd like to hang prints of some in her new house.  She and her partner are skilled in many arts and crafts, so her interest in the photos would have been a nice boost anytime but was especially so when I needed a smile this afternoon.  

3/1: pelicans

Pelicans migrate through our area but don't stay long.  Some years we don't get to see them at all.  Today as I rounded a bend of the lake on my drive to school, there they were:  a flock of twenty huge birds, all the whiter against the grey water and sky.