11/30: ovid

I am putting my coursework on hold for the next few days in order to prepare a guest lecture I'll be giving at another school on Thursday night.  Today I had to write the part of my talk about Ovid's Metamorphoses, and after a semester of non-Classics-related work it was lovely to return to a text that is an old friend and find new things to say about it.

11/29: done!

Today I wrote three bureaucratic documents that I've put off until almost the last minute.  I'm glad I've gotten good at finding words this semester, and--once I got down to the task of writing--it was actually a pleasure to engage the ideas behind the bureaucracy.

11/28: dessert as dinner

Blueberry cobbler.

11/27: gauging

Self-knowledge doesn't always seem to be a comfortable thing for me, but at least I am fairly good at predicting how long certain writing tasks will take me, and that was a useful skill to have today.

11/26: view at dinner

The clouds were lit magenta in the sunset.  I was inside a restaurant and couldn't get somewhere to take a picture, but I'm glad I was sitting near a window and got to see it.

11/25: not so bad

The "wintry mix" predicted for today didn't become too thick and icy.  And I wrote a full draft of the final paper for one of my classes.

11/24: changes of pace

Chris suggested that we go out for bagels for lunch.  It was a sweet change to our Sunday routine.

I am not done with my writing for the semester, but I have finished reading all of the novels, stories, and articles on the syllabuses for both of my classes--which meant that I could spend some time today reading a book for sheer pleasure, no pencil in hand to mark up the margins!

11/23: contrast

The chill air on my cheeks as I walk, but feeling my own warmth underneath.

11/22: full on but done early

Assignments and obligations are piled up for the next three weeks, but again today I stuck to my schedule and even finished my work earlier in the evening than expected.  The work itself was enjoyable, too--if only I can keep concentrating on it rather than the due-dates.

11/21: three things

I did everything on my to-do list for the day.  I wanted to stop at several points and leave items until tomorrow, but I'm glad I powered through.

I got to read some great things, including some new-to-me folktales in the general "family" of "The Seven Ravens" and a wonderful essay by Ursula K. Le Guin.  (Usually I don't enjoy reading what authors write about their own work, but Le Guin was downright fantastic in discussing the changes she's made to the world of her Earthsea novels over the years).

Emma the Cat's weigh-in this evening showed that he has gained some weight, reaching the 12-pound mark (his old standard) for the first time since June.

11/20: pear leaves

In our yard and all around town, the fruitless pear trees are in amazing autumn colors.

11/19: sweet day

All good things today:

- My paper didn't need much smoothing out before submitting it, and I liked it better upon re-reading it today than I did yesterday.

- I played with Tilde the Kitten, and then Emma the Cat came to sit with me as I read.

- I worked on a craft project for the first time in months, and I tried out a new technique with success.

- I listened to Handel's Water Music while tidying the house.  Usually I listen to an audiobook, but as the semester nears its end I'm feeling storied-out, and I was so glad to be enjoying music for a change.

- I kayaked in the hour before sunset.

- Chris and I had one of my favorite dinners:  LaBrea Bakery bread, nice cheese, and bruschetta with vegetarian bacon.  And then pieces of a dark chocolate orange for dessert.

- A friend posted this link on Facebook, which includes a video from a concert performed on an instrument created from Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks.

- Another friend posted on Facebook that there had been nothing good about today, and it got me to think:  every day that's a bad day for me is the birthday of somebody else somewhere, so for them my bad day is a good day indeed.  Somehow I think remembering this will help me keep my bad days in perspective.

11/18: postal windfall

So much wonderful mail, and it all arrived on the same day.  Postcards, presents, and notes--from Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Portugal, Netherlands, and Germany.  The card from Germany was a double surprise:  one of those teeny advent calendars with a personal note written in German.

11/17: curiosity satisfied & the past sweetly recalled

When I drive into town I pass a pine-grove in a park.  Though I've been wondering (for months!) what it would be like to walk among those particular trees, I had never taken the time to find out.  Until this afternoon:

And another, unrelated good thing:  It was the birthday of a high-school friend today; I knew because Facebook reminded me.  I wrote him a quick happy-birthday note, and his response made a specific (and accurate) reference to a college paper I had mentioned to him back when I was writing it in fall 1986.  Wild that he remembered that conversation and its content; I was floored, and touched.  

11/16: assembling

...thoughts for two upcoming papers and a final project.

...dominoes in a long trail.  (Tilde the Kitten enjoyed supervising.)

11/15: celebrating friday

Dinner out included a margarita and unwinding after a good day of reading and writing.

Emma the Cat seemed to do his own celebrating today by jumping around in audacious ways.

11/14: sorting and letting go

I looked through all the photos I've taken since August and placed an order for some of them to be printed as postcards.

I drove into town this afternoon and the light streaming through the clouds was amazing--and yet there wasn't a good place or way for me to photograph it.  I had to just enjoy it as it was for as long as it was.

11/13: cafeteria food

It's nearing the end of the semester, and Chris and I have barely tapped into the cafeteria meals that are part of our pay, so we're going to be eating dinner on campus often in the upcoming days to make sure we use up our allotment.  Today I enjoyed French lentil soup and blueberry cobbler, two things we don't make at home.

11/12: near and far

Tilde the Cat sat in my lap for much of the day.  I think she can tell that we're heading into a cold-weather stretch and she's enjoying being cozy.

I got sweet mail from two friends today, and I got to talk to another friend on the phone this evening.  Being on sabbatical has circumscribed my interactions a lot, and though I'm loving the time to focus on thinking/reading/writing, I am all the more grateful for the positive interactions I do have, whether they're in person, by mail, or by phone.

11/11: submitted

I finished tomorrow's paper much earlier than expected and even submitted it.  I could have held onto it and fiddled more with it tomorrow, but there are other things to look to tomorrow morning, and it will feel good to get right to them.  And today it just felt so good to write--to say what I wanted to say--without hitches.

11/10: revisiting

This week I need to read The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman for one of my classes.  Some years ago I read the whole trilogy to which it belongs, and by the end I wasn't a fan.  But as I'm re-reading The Golden Compass I'm remembering that I really did (and do!) like this first book in the series, with its daemons, the alethiometer, the armored bear Iorek, and of course the Aurora.

11/9: drinking warmth

Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are helping as I'm feeling under the weather today.

11/8: short but nevertheless good

A friend called me this morning.  She only had 10 minutes before she needed to be somewhere, but she said she wanted to hear my voice.  It was great to hear hers.

11/7: mid-day

My summer didn't have as much kayaking in it as I had hoped, but I think I've made up the deficit this fall, thanks to sabbatical.  I went out on the lake in the early afternoon, a very unprecedented time for me.  Wild light and autumn colors:

11/6: cat company

The cats curled up on me this afternoon and groomed each other (extensively) before both falling asleep.  It was too wonderful.  I didn't want to move.

11/5: quick & painless

Getting flu shots on campus.  We chose a good time:  no line to wait in.  And I barely felt the needle.

11/4: sweet afternoon

I finished my paper for tomorrow in record time; it was done by 2 p.m., and now I just need to proofread it in the morning.  After some struggling with last week's paper, I was glad this one came smoothly.  I then met a friend for coffee at 3, and I had a good, good time chatting.  We had the kind of conversation that affirmed the common ground that made us friends in the first place.

11/3: unexpected time, unexpected sight

I finished my morning work earlier than anticipated and used the extra time to head out on the water.  I paddled into a part of the lake not on my normal track and, rounding a bend, found this reflection of a tulip poplar tree.

11/2: light

The sunlight made the silver ribbon on Tilde the Cat's toy all glisteny as we played this morning.

This evening Chris and I walked under yellow-leaved trees illumined by the orange cast of the sun as it set.

11/1: feedback

Some of my fellow students wrote really nice responses/reactions to some of my postings today.