10/31: seeing and feeling

When we went down to the lake for sunset, the wind was blowing hard and I could actually see it move across the top of the water.  "Who has seen the wind?"  I have.  And the wind felt good too.

10/30: tidying and its after-effects

In addition to normal-for-me daily activities (writing, walking, reading, thinking), I straightened up my desks and vacuumed the carpets.  Oh it feels good!  And now if I could only make those things into normal-for-me daily activities as well....

10/29: vegan version

A friend introduced me to hot and sour soup in late 1989, and I loved it.  But since becoming vegetarian it's pretty much been off my menu because most places make it with meat stock or meat seasoning.  Today I had a vegan cup-of-soup version for lunch--ahh!

10/28: twice

I went out on the lake this morning.  I'm not usually a morning kayaker, but there was so much fog that I couldn't resist finding out how it would feel to be paddling inside it.

And then this evening Chris and I walked down to the dock to watch the sunset.

10/27: good timing

My evening walk coincided with my neighbors', and I enjoyed the chance to catch up with them.

10/26: writing, remembering, and a moment's rest

I've been having trouble writing to my regular postal correspondents lately; I've fallen out of the monthly postcard habit, and I miss it--and I feel bad because the people who actually write to me are really wonderful and don't deserve postal silence on my end.  Yesterday and today I managed to write some notes, and I'm hoping the trend continues.

I remembered today a good thing which happened yesterday but which I didn't post:  I've been working through Catherynne Valente's Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and a chapter yesterday--in which the main character turns partly into a tree and sings a lullaby to her own Death--was really lovely.  It's a good thing in the present to remember good things in the past!

I worked on two writing assignments today, and I got one completely done and another mostly done.  I wasn't sure I would find thoughts or words, but I did.  I also got an email from my teacher today with some nice feedback on the paper I submitted on Tuesday.

It's been rainy today, but I walked down to the dock at sunset nevertheless.  I innovated and took a cup of coffee with me, which felt cozy.  I saw a heron, a hawk, some turtles and minnows, and geese.  And I rested my eyes from words by looking at the water.

10/25: old school

I typed addresses on some envelopes using our electric typewriter.  I enjoyed the sound and feel.  I've gotten so accustomed to word processing that it's strange--both nostalgic and exotic--to use a more definite machine.

10/24: windows

One of the best things about working at home this year is getting to sit at our big table and look out windows which go nearly from floor to ceiling.  Today at lunchtime I watched a flock of bluebirds, and throughout the afternoon I saw a yellow moth flickering around the asters.  I'm only getting to see it all because I'm on sabbatical--wild to witness what kind of life the yard has when we're usually away.

10/23: gifts

I received an unexpected and very thoughtful present from someone I've never met in person.

Also, less tangible but still feeling like a gift:  I heard that at a meeting today a colleague spoke warmly and enthusiastically about the London summer program of mine which she participated in a few years ago.

And the wonder of public libraries!  I tend not to use them because I have the campus library, and if it doesn't have something its interlibrary loan service is quick, but when it comes to picturebooks for my courses, local public libraries have been fantastic resources offering immediate gratification.  When I went to a branch this evening to return some books, I was amazed at how full the parking lot was.  Hurray for public services, a gift for us all.

10/22: dinner out and together

Chris and I thought we'd each fend for ourselves for dinner this evening because our schedules were different, but in the early afternoon we were both asked to go out to dinner with a campus visitor and we rearranged our evenings so we could.  We helped out a colleague and got the extra benefit of spending unexpected time together.

10/21: fairytale farewell

One of my courses is moving out of the terrain of traditional fairytales in a few days, so I used my paper today as a chance to survey, sum up, and say good-bye (for now) to a land I love.

10/20: francesca lia block's los angeles

When Chris and I moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s my mother sent us Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat books, and we loved reading them out loud to each other.  In the mid 2000s Chris and I ran a book group at school focused on the books, and it was fun to share them with people and hear their reactions.  Today I've been reading Block's latest novel, Love in the Time of Global Warming.  Its surreal post-apocalyptic Los Angeles is a far cry from the fairytale "Shangri L.A." she paints in the Weetzie series, but I'm enjoying spending time with it.

10/19: watching things with wings

So many bluebirds flying around this morning.

And butterflies on the asters this afternoon.

10/18: on the move

At the end of our after-dinner walk we saw a tarantula making its way up our driveway.  I enjoy our occasional tarantula sightings, and we hadn't seen one in quite some time so this made me especially happy.

10/17: sabbatical rhythm

Recently some stuff on campus has been distracting me from my own courses and work, but today was back to what I'm hoping much of my sabbatical will be like:  a morning and afternoon of reading then an early evening on the lake, thinking about what I had read in the morning and afternoon.

10/16: happy accident

My mobile phone pocket-dialed a friend this afternoon.  It was wild to hear her voice, very unexpectedly, coming out of my pocket!  So we talked for a few minutes before each getting back to our business at hand.

10/15: hundreds

...of blackbirds.

And lots of other birds too.

All day.

10/14: always a special day

Today is my sister's birthday.  Since she's older than I am, 10/14 has always been and will always be known to me primarily as her birthday.  I was glad to be able to wish her a good day and good year, and I had fun choosing some gifts for her.

10/13: a gathering of goods

Today is Chris' father's birthday.  He has been very kind to me over the years, and I am grateful to have an annual reminder to tell him how much I appreciate him and to wish him well.

As a result of our little road-trip on Thursday and Friday as well as some stuff at work this week I fell a little behind in getting my assignments done.  Today I caught up.

I finished writing a long work email I had been composing off and on over the past couple days.  It felt good to send it off.  Of course, almost as soon as I hit "send," I realized I should have mentioned two other things, but it'll be easy enough to follow up with those later (or let them fall by the wayside?).  For now the burden feels lifted.

I had time to go kayaking, and the weather cooperated.  Here's what it looked like when I first set out:

And here's how it looked an hour later as I was coming back in:

I may never see the Aurora Borealis, but I do get to see amazing Arkansas skies regularly.

In addition to taking lots of pictures while paddling I came up with an outline for the paper I need to write tomorrow.

10/12: on to a better future

Our house had a well windmill when we bought it.  It was no longer attached to a well, and it wouldn't have been easy to attach it to our well, so it was a large, lovely, creaky feature at the top of our hill.  Its wooden mounting was starting to have serious challenges, and we realized that it would have to be dismantled sooner rather than later so that it wouldn't someday crash onto our car port.  A man answered an ad Chris put out, and he came today with a hydraulic lift and spent the late morning and early afternoon taking the windmill apart and packing it up.  He plans to use it, so our windmill has moved on to its third life.  I will miss its sound, but I think it will be glad to be working again.

10/10 - 10/11: a little getaway

Chris and I drove up to Fayetteville yesterday for an evening Classics lecture, and then we drove back home this morning.

Good things about the trip:
- spending 6 hours with Chris in the car
- seeing some colleagues who have been friendly with me over the years
- meeting someone who did archaeology with Chris in Portugal a few years ago
- thinking about someone else's research and talking about it with Chris
- getting a break from my usual routine
- stepping out of my usual context

I'll be a little crunched for time this weekend as a result, but I think it was worth it.

10/9: unexpected

A friend unexpectedly in town so we were able to have dinner together.

Another friend unexpectedly called so we were able to chat briefly this evening.

10/8: aster action

The asters are blooming, and I spent some time early this afternoon watching them as they seemed to flicker with all the insects flying around them.

10/7: words, words, words (and some images)

It's Monday, so that means a paper is due tomorrow evening.  For this week's essay I enjoyed analyzing three gender-altered fairytales (Kate and the Beanstalk, The Brave Little Seamstress, and Sleeping Bobby) written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Giselle Potter.  I am grateful to local public libraries for making this possible:  the library in Conway had two of these books, and the teeny tiny branch library in Greenbrier had the third.  I would have been at an impasse without them!

10/6: a little mission

Chris does genealogical research, and he belongs to a site where people post requests for photographs of the gravestones of people they're tracing.  This morning we went to a small cemetery nearby and were able to fulfill two requests.

10/5: work and reward

Nine pages written and a cake in the oven.

10/4: before 8:30

Three scholarly essays read before the morning had even really begun!

10/3: bird business

I bought a second bird bath this summer, but the birds seemed to scorn it.  Finally they're warming up to it, and it's fun to see them queue up to take a dip.

10/2: clearer

It was humid when I went on errands this afternoon, but by early evening cooler air had moved in and everything felt less close, both outside and inside my head.  It seemed like it could rain so I didn't kayak.  Still, I walked down to the dock for sunset.

10/1: deer

Since my work is done at home this year I see our house and our yard more than I usually do.  Today I got to watch the deer wandering underneath the persimmon trees, grazing.