4/30: correspondence resumed

I brought a list of correspondence-in-arrears to Pennsylvania with me, but I've not done much to work through it.  Today, however, I wrote to two of the people on the list, and it felt good.  I'm going to try to write to one person on the list every day from now on until it's done.

4/29: after decades

I spent an evening with a childhood friend whom I haven't met up with in person since 1992!

4/28: new salad combination

I tend to eat fresh vegetables rather than cooked ones, so I end up playing around with salad ingredients.  I enjoyed this evening's experiment:  romaine and spinach leaves with cucumber, yellow apples, and yellow raisins.

4/27: The Meadows

Visiting The Meadows, a nearly-mythical frozen custard stand from my youth.

4/26: looking closely

...at dandelions.

4/25: birds in the bush

The massive forsythia bush outside my mother's kitchen window isn't blooming yet, but a flock of goldfinches spends much of every day perched in it.

4/24: unexpected afternoon

I was going to run errands on my own this afternoon, but my mother's neighbor (and a very good friend of mine from growing up) was free so we went together.  It was great to spend a stretch of hours with her.

4/23: sharing gobs

We had so many gobs that we gave a good number of them away!  Though I love eating them, it also felt good to share them (and to hear back that people enjoyed them).

4/22: gobs

A tasty regional dessert of my youth.  I made some today.  The recipe my family uses is close to this one:  click here.

4/21: done

I turned in my final two papers for my courses.  My second stint of being a graduate student is over.  It was a good (and somewhat crazy) thing to do.

4/20: abloom

Some small trees on campus had furry buds earlier in the week, but they are now open and smell amazing.

4/18-4/19: walking in Loretto (old and new)

I'm resuming my old habit of walking in Loretto, PA, following the routes of walks taken decades ago.  It's like I'm revisiting my old self as well as old sights.  But now I bring my camera and iPhone.

A photo from 4/18's walk:

And 4/19's walk gave me a chance to call a dear friend in Indiana and have a good chat.

4/17: a lake here

When thinking about being in Pennsylvania for a month or more, I was wondering what I'd do about photographing water.  I don't exactly need to take pictures of water regularly, but it has become such a standard practice of mine that it felt weird to think of not doing it.  Yesterday on a walk I remembered that there is a little lake nearby, so of course I visited it.  The sun was high and caught the tips of the little waves.

4/16: a kind loan

One of my best childhood friends still lives in the house next door to my mother's.  When she heard that my mother was coming home from the hospital, she dropped off a movie for us--just so we'd have another option of something fun to do with my mother.

4/12-4/15: a catch-up collection

Reading The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield.  Just fantastic.  Another book I would never have discovered without the amazing Persephone Books.

Seeing some wonderful friends of the family and getting messages of support and good wishes from others.

Playing Phase 10 with my brother, his spouse, and my mother in her hospital room.  It's kind of like Schnitzel, a card-game we used to play a lot (and I mean a lot) in high school.

Working with my brother and sister-in-law through some practical challenges--a leaking water heater created a mini-flood, a broken furnace which left the house cold on a snowy day (yes, snow in April), and getting the house ready for my mother's return from the hospital.  I couldn't imagine doing it alone!  And the repair people have been great, too.

4/11: the last day of sabbatical

Technically my sabbatical isn't over until start-of-the-school-year meetings begin in August, but tomorrow I'll be going to Pennsylvania to take care of my mother as she recovers from a surgery, and by the time I get back to Arkansas it'll be "summer" rather than "sabbatical."  So today is the last day of my sabbatical habits.  Happily, it's warm enough to be sitting on the screened-in porch with the cats--our last installment of sabbatical's "morning office," which became a regular practice last summer during my picturebook course.  I'm sure I'll continue having morning office when possible, but I'll always associate it with this sabbatical.  During today's morning office I finished reading the remarkable Skellig by David Almond and am working on some of the last forum postings for my coursework.  This sabbatical year has had unexpected challenges and difficulties, but this morning I am feeling the goodness of it and am grateful.

4/10: sixth (?) annual dogwood day

Today I took my yearly trip into our woods to visit the dogwood trees.

4/9: a good people day

I'm often awkward in my interactions with people.  Because I'm on sabbatical, I haven't been having that many direct interactions with people this year, and many of the direct interactions I have had over the past two months have been tied up in unpleasantness.  But today I did interact with quite a few people and it was all good!  Three colleagues, two students, a neighbor, a woman who works at our in-town mail place, and (from a distance) two long-time friends whom I did not expect to hear from today but am so, so glad I did.

4/8: the realm of what's do-able in a day (for me)

Sometimes I think I can do more in a day than I can.  Sometimes I think I can do less in a day than I can.  Today I planned just right and managed to go to the dentist to get a permanent crown put on a tooth; photograph some tulips; finish writing a draft of a final project for one of my classes; get some mail ready to send to a mail-art friend; meet a former student for an afternoon tea and chat; go for a walk; read some Skellig and listen to some of Charlotte Sometimes.

4/7: the last one

This morning I finished my last regular paper for my year of coursework.  I still have final projects to write, but this was the last of the weekly essays.  I'm ready to take a break from the steady press of having to formulate paper-worthy ideas and then write the actual papers arguing for the ideas, but I'm really glad I've had this steady experience.  I wouldn't have been able to make myself do it, and I'm a better thinker and writer (and perhaps also a better person?) for having done it.

4/6: getting better

Sweet Tilde the Kitten had a very (very!) runny nose last night.  Today she has been a little under the weather, but her nose has been less of a faucet.  I feel sorry for our dear girl, but I'm also amazed at feline capacities for recuperation.

4/5: going green

Browns and greys are yielding to greens.  There's no setting back the spring now.

4/4: squeezed in

It's a busy time of the year:  my courses end soon so I'm on tight deadlines for writing final papers.  As usual in packed times, I've made careful lists for the upcoming days so that the work is spread out.  Today I got through my list and managed to fit in an extra task (not glamorous:  figuring out the textbook orders for what I'm teaching in the fall and placing the order with the bookstore) as well as an early-evening walk on the ridge (which I thought busy-ness would make me forego).

4/3: in the air

It's humid today, and normally I wouldn't count that as a good thing.  But today the moisture in the air seems to be making a scent-cloud of all the amazing flowers on the ridge.

4/2: timing

Chris is recovering from a surgery he had yesterday, so when dinner-time came and he was asleep I didn't want to wake him up.  But just as I finished getting dinner ready he woke up on his own, and the meal that I thought would be solitary was suddenly solitary no longer.

4/1: new month

I am very much needing to close the chapter on some difficult and stressful things, and I think I'll use the beginning of a new month as an impetus to start a new mental page.  Luckily, the world outside my mind cooperated today by seeming to bring some conclusion to two particular worries.