2/28: inscribed

A picturebook I had ordered arrived in today's mail.  The book is no longer in print, so I had to buy a used copy.  I chose this particular copy because it contains a handwritten note from the author:  "To Katherine, a very sweet girl who loves to read books!  Your friend, Kathryn Hewitt Nov. '90"  And below this note Kathryn Hewitt drew the face of a cat named Goldilocks who appears in the book.  It seemed melancholy to me for this book to be without a home, and though I'm not Katherine, I love to read books and want this one to have its home with me.

2/27: work as relief

Much unpleasantness in some aspects of my life these days (alas), but doing my schoolwork today distracted me and was even fun.

2/26: a little time

...to do a little art project.

And then in a sweet coincidence, when I logged on to write this I saw that Meri posted on her blog about spending some time with her daughter and art.

2/25: reader-response theory

Today I read a really lovely account, written by Lois Tyson, of various reader-response theories.  Tyson was so clear as well as personable in her prose, and it was very interesting to think about what kinds of reader-response practices I incorporate into my classes as well as my own reading (and writing-about-reading) habits.

2/24: an afternoon of other things

I finished my schoolwork in the morning, and so my afternoon could be otherwise occupied--with Trollope, walking on the ridge (and listening to Holly Black's Doll Bones), and passing a few words with a kind neighbor.

2/23: sweetness that stops me in my tracks

Walking on the ridge today, I smelled the first blooms of the winter honeysuckle!  I had to pause and enjoy before moving on.

2/22: postcrossing

March 1st will be the 7th anniversary of my joining Postcrossing.  I haven't been as much of a sender in the past two years as I used to be, but I still enjoy it, and I want to get back into the habit of sending cards regularly.  Today I wrote 15 cards--a nice break after a day and a half of too much un-fun thinking.

2/21: brackets and before the weekend

A meeting on a tense and unfortunate topic went about as well as it could have.  I'm glad I managed to have the meeting before the weekend.

And before the meeting I got a lovely (unrelated) email, and after it I got another lovely (unrelated) email.

So something bad was not as bad as it could have been, and it was bracketed by goodness.

2/20: good news

A former student of mine has been having serious health trouble for years.  Today she got some good test results and posted about them on Facebook.  I am so, so, so relieved, happy, glad, grateful.

2/19: problems resolved

I went to bed with two issues on my mind which had arisen in the latter part of yesterday evening--too close to sleep-time for restful slumber.  But by this morning one of them (a computer glitch with a research database I was really needing to access) had righted itself, and this afternoon the other one (some practical planning combined with some complicated interpersonal dynamics) got sorted out in a conversation with my mother.  Here's to better sleeping tonight!

2/18: chance encounter

I was on campus for a meeting and then dinner this evening, and after leaving the cafeteria I crossed paths with a great student from my Myth class last year.  We didn't really pause to talk, but she did say in passing that she had recently pulled her copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses off the shelf to read a bit of it.  She's not a Classics major or minor, so it really made me smile to learn that she both kept the book (rather than sell it back to the bookstore at the end of the semester) and read it when she didn't at all have to!

2/17: no coat for the conclusion

There was ice here for almost 2 weeks at the beginning of the month--very unusual for Arkansas--but today was so warm that I didn't need a coat for my afternoon walk. I didn't want to be presumptuous, so I wore a coat anyway, and then had to take it off and carry it because it was too hot. I was listening to the last hour of Liesl & Po, and since the weather was so balmy and sunny I just kept walking until I reached the end of the audiobook. Listening to the novel was such a delight, and I'm very eager to read it now and spend more time with the story in a different way.

2/16: a once-favorite food

When we lived in Los Angeles, we used to love ordering Chinese take-out orange chicken and eating it with a dear friend.  The dear friend now lives in Indiana, and we have become vegetarians, but the urge for orange chicken survives!  Chris recently found a frozen version using not-real-chicken at the grocery store, and I had leftovers of it for lunch today.  It's been decades since I've had the "real deal," but this rendition certainly satisfied my memory.

2/15: back on track

I got through today unassisted by cold medicine--hurray!  And I was finally able to get the grocering done, something I meant to do Wednesday evening, but then my cold came on suddenly and I was derailed.  Spending Saturday evening at the grocery store may not seem ideal, but I was so glad to be there.

2/14: better

I'm still dealing with my cold, but today was better than yesterday, and I'm hoping for more onward-and-upward movement toward health tomorrow.  In the meanwhile, in fits and starts, I'm getting some thinking done about my class readings and about two papers that are due on Tuesday.

2/12: warmth amid cold

It is chilly here today, but I got to read Hawthorne's description of a warm October day which he spent among golden trees in 1850.

And I have caught a cold, my first (and maybe only?) one of this winter.  A cozy dinner was comforting.

2/11: righted

I finished my schoolwork expeditiously this morning, so I spent the afternoon and early evening putting my room (somewhat) to rights. I wish I wouldn't let it get into a shamble-y state, but then it does feel so good when a little order is restored.

2/10: a favorite meal

We made peanuty noodles tonight--it used to be a regular dinner dish, but we haven't had it for too long.  A menu omission that is now corrected.

2/9: dictionary time

For one of my assignments this week I decided to do an etymological analysis--it wasn't exactly what was asked for, but it addresses the week's topics from a different angle. I think I needed a change from the kinds of assignments I've been writing weekly since mid-June, and I enjoyed getting to apply some of what I do when I teach my etymology course in a new context and as a student. It's always nice to have an excuse to poke around in the dictionary.

2/8: lingering

The pelicans have made a longer stop in our neighborhood than usual during their migratory route.  They don't seem to mind the snow and the cold.  They are so big and so bright, really amazing to see in person.

(This photo will look better if you click on it to view it larger....)

2/7: listening

On my 3-hour drive home today I started listening to the audiobook of Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver.  Oh my goodness is it lovely.  When I got home, I ordered a copy of the book because I know that after I finish listening to it I'm going to want to read the words on the pages.

2/6: mission accomplished

I was supposed to give a paper at the University of Arkansas in December, but a winter storm hit the state, the campus shut down, and my talk was cancelled.  It was rescheduled for tonight, and now it is done.  It was a lovely audience to share my ideas with, and I'm grateful to them for inviting me and making arrangements for my talk twice.

2/5: still icy

The ice has been beautiful for the past three days.  I don't know how to capture the sparkling lights on the tree branches with my camera, but I've been enjoying taking very close-up pictures of ice:

2/4: smooth

My first formal paper of the semester was due today, and the writing process went so smoothly.  I think I will miss the regular impetus to crystallize my thoughts in essays once my sabbatical courses are over.  It's definitely gotten easier to be clearer in words and for longer stretches over the past few months.  I'm grateful for the exercise, and today I felt the exercise paying off.

2/3: glinty

Light ice overnight.  Not enough to cause trouble on local roads or topple trees and power lines, but enough to make the world outside my windows glisten all morning and well into the afternoon.

2/2: cats and colors

Taking breaks from words and work to play with Tilde, cuddle with Emma, and fiddle with my painted papers.

2/1: gentle

Rain falling, but not hard.  And some fog.