8/31: kaiti

I met a former student, Kaiti, and her spouse for lunch today; they live three hours north of Conway, but they were in town for the morning and early afternoon.  I hadn't seen her in four years, despite various hoped-for and sometimes almost-accomplished meet-ups during that time.  It was great to catch up with her.  It also made me so happy when she said--with no prompting from me--that she feels like she uses Latin every day:  although she doesn't work with the language directly anymore, she said that in her nursing studies and work she relies on the systematic thinking that learning Latin developed in her.  Her spouse wasn't there for that part of the conversation, but when he joined us he happened to mention that Kaiti often tells him that she feels like she uses her Classics degree all the time because of how it has trained her to think--so to me that suggests that she wasn't just saying that to make me feel good about what I do, that it's really truly the case.

8/30: rachel

Rachel is my sister.  Like many sisters, we've had our share of rollercoastering in our relationship over the years, but as I get older I realize how much we share and I consistently wish we lived close enough for us to get together regularly and hang out casually.  Every now and then we send each other photos of things we see lying on the ground (abandoned toys, lost necklaces, stray playing cards, etc.).  I saw a bright orange ticket on the ground at school the other day, but I didn't have my camera on hand.  The ticket was clean, however, so I picked it up--and today I will pop it into the mail to Rachel.

8/29: chandra

I met Chandra through swap-bot.  I don't participate much on the site anymore, but I'm grateful that it connected me with Chandra, Fiona, and some other wonderful folks.  Chandra and I both work at small colleges, and we both enjoy photography (as well as sending postcards of our photos).  Chandra wrote to me today because I asked her where she gets her postcards printed--I'm looking for a new printer.  It was great to hear from her in general, and I'm excited to try out a postcard source.

8/28: bryan

Bryan was a student in my first class at my present school (15 years ago!), and in the time since we've gradually transitioned from a student/teacher relationship to a friendship.  I'm oh so grateful for that.  Occasionally on this blog I mention taking trips to Altus to meet up with a friend; that friend is Bryan.  He has a blog  (click here) which recently got named as one the top 10 food blogs for northwest Arkansas, and this evening I was happy to write to him to congratulate him on that, his new baby, and a new job he'll be starting next week.

8/27: rhonda

Rhonda was our next-door neighbor for the past six years; she moved away at the end of July.  Today I sent her a postcard with a picture I took on the lake because I know she misses this place.  She's a really great, interesting, and kind person--she's done things like raise orphaned baby raccoons!--and now that she's in far-away Florida I wish that I had gotten to know her better when she was here.  But knowing her at all is definitely a good thing.

8/26: ann and anne

Today I wrote notes to two friends named Ann(e).  Ann is a colleague; though we work on the same small campus, we don't see each other as much as we'd like.  Anne is a dear family friend whom I've known since I was in grade school--she was actually my 8th grade science/math teacher and helped me study for the SAT way back when; more recently she has been amazing to me and my family during the challenges of my father's death and my mother's surgery.  I am grateful to/for both Ann and Anne.

8/25: fiona (and a plan)

I spent some time this morning writing to Fiona, whom I've not met in person but with whom I've been corresponding regularly since January 2012.  We send each other postcards several times a month, often about what we're reading, but touching on other topics too.  Her friendship is definitely a good thing.

(I think I'm going to try to use my daily posts to appreciate some good friends and provide an impetus for me to write to them, so this post is the first of what I hope will be a series.)

8/23 & 8/24: woolly hollow

Woolly Hollow is a small state park about 20 minutes away.  We visited it with our cameras on Saturday near sunset and on Sunday after lunch.

Turnsole on Saturday evening:

A moth on Sunday afternoon:

8/22: turn-around

The morning didn't start off entirely auspiciously:  there was a computer glitch at work that I had to deal with before 9 a.m.  But then I talked with a friend of mine on the phone (about Emily Dickinson et al.), had a nice set of text exchanges with another friend, met briefly with yet another friend in the afternoon, started (and finished!) work on the cover for the print edition of Heron Tree, and kayaked at sunset.  And while I was on the lake I saw a heron in one of the heron trees along the shore.

8/21: breakfast

Cornbread with blueberries, home-made and using honey from our own hives.  Eaten on the porch in the early morning before heading off to school for a full day of meetings.

8/20: lunch with twombly

I scheduled myself so that my lunch break would be long enough for me to leave campus and have a real meal on my own before returning for an afternoon of meetings.  I went to a favorite Japanese restaurant of mine and brought an issue of Artforum.  It included a series of people's reflections on Cy Twombly.  I'm glad I didn't read the issue when it originally came out (back in November 2011); it was too close to Twombly's passing, and it would have made me sad to read.  Today, instead, it felt like unexpectedly meeting up with an old friend--I had a kind of company at lunch after all.

8/18 & 8/19: enough

The days are a little over-full with back to school busy-ness.  But on Monday I got enough done on campus that I could work at home today, and today I got enough done before sunset that I could go out on the lake for a little bit.

8/17: two for today

I forgot to post yesterday, so here are two good things for today.

When Chris was in Ustica, he had caponata at a relative's house and brought home a recipe.  We made it for dinner and ate it with wine from Ustica, too.

The possibility of thunderstorms meant that kayaking wasn't in the cards, but I walked down to the dock at sunset and was glad I didn't miss seeing these colorful clouds:

8/15: enthusiasm

I met a friend to talk about The Goldfinch, which I had suggested we both read.  She was so excited about the book that she started talking about it before she even sat down in her chair at the coffee shop.

8/14: a request

When I pulled into the dock from kayaking, a group of neighbors were hanging out, so I joined them.  And the son of one of them asked me, so politely, if he could take my kayak into the cove to try it out.  I said yes, so he did, and I think he liked it.  Then he helped me strap it onto my little trolley so I could wheel it home.

8/13: workshop at home

Chris and I are team-teaching a course this semester, and today we worked hard on preparations together.  Though some faculty attended workshops on campus this afternoon, we decided that we could make more progress on our course by staying home and working here.  It was intense, but we were able to be on the porch, and the cats even kept us company for some of it.

8/12: offering

Our new neighbors have two young boys.  One of them (who is maybe seven years old or less?) came up to me with a little green frog sitting calmly on each of his outstretched palms.  He wanted me to hold one of them, but it didn't seem to want to migrate onto my hand, so we just admired them together.

8/11: emily dickinson then email

I knew I needed to do some work-related email today, but it's still summer, so I let myself spend a chunk of the morning on an Emily Dickinson project and left the email for the afternoon.  When I finally got to it, it wasn't as formidable as I made it in my mind.  You'd think I'd learn that that's usually the case (but at least this way I experience the happiness each time when the reality is easier than what I imagined?).  Then I got some nice email feedback from colleagues--hurray for internal and external positive reinforcement.

8/10: twice

On the lake in the morning, to show Chris the lotus cove.

On the lake in the evening, to watch the sunset solo.

8/9: done & begun

I finished one chapook-binding project in the morning, and in the evening I started the first design tinkerings for another one.

8/8: cats, then chris, then cats and chris

Playing with the cats this morning.

Picking Chris up at the airport.  (He's been in Portugal and Italy for 3 weeks!)

Convening on the bed to watch television (humans) and cuddle (cats)--all 4 of us in the same place at the same time once again.

8/7: new & old

New glasses:  arrived, adjusted, and enjoyed.  It's nice to have a moment of surprise when I see myself in the mirror.

Old issues of The Horn Book:  slowly being worked through (now that I've finished my backlog of New York Times Book Reviews) and also being enjoyed. 

8/6: continuing goods

I know similar things have come up frequently in my recent posts, but good stays good even when repeated?

Conversations with a friend and with my sister.

More book-binding (and done with less over-wroughtness).

Wet and warm air, kind light and colors.

8/5: conversation

As I think this blog may intimate, I spend a fair amount of time alone, and if I don't have a certain amount of alone-time each day, I get over-wrought.  But for the past few days, as I've gotten so focused on book-binding, I think I was alone too much--even for me.  Today I met a friend for tea (iced) and a long chat.  And then, near sunset, as I was heading back to the dock with my kayak, I saw my neighbor's boat and paddled over to him.  We talked--boat to boat--as the dark came on.  Different kinds of conversation, but both so good.  For the friends, and for the conversations, I am grateful.

8/4: counter to plan

I thought I'd stay in this evening and book-bind, but I was getting a little too intense and crazy about it, so I made myself go kayaking to unwind my mind.  And once I got out on the water I decided to kayak in the direction opposite to the one I usually take.  I was rewarded by coming across a lotus patch!  A lotus seedpod:

8/3: two-fold

I called my brother this evening, and we had a good chat about his recent trip to our childhood home.  Then he helped me with the code for some stray details on the Heron Tree website.  No one visiting the site will probably notice what we changed, but I'll notice and be glad.

8/2: binding & listening

Today's work was bookbinding, or rather the prelimaries to bookbinding (i.e., doing a lot of cutting).  When my work is reading or writing, I prefer silence, but since I wasn't reading or writing, I listened to hours and hours of audiobooks.

And here's an offering for this week's Saturday PhotoHunt (the theme is "cloudy"):  some fisheye clouds photographed last night from the lake.

8/1: lots

Many good things!  Waking up early without an alarm, having a meeting with an advisee, beginning to read a new novel, reading an interesting article in the NYTBR which explained why Roald Dahl's books might be especially effective as audiobooks or books read aloud, writing a bunch of business emails that I had been putting off, realizing that writing the emails wasn't as taxing as I thought it would be, talking with a friend and covering much various ground, having the chance of rain disappear so I could go kayaking, said kayaking, trying the fisheye on my camera, eating popcorn for a late dinner, realizing that though I could eat popcorn for dinner it wasn't as satisfying or fun as I thought it would be and so switching fare.