12/31: ending and beginning

Ending a year of posting good things--and this is the first year I've managed to post something for every day!

Beginning to proofread for Distributed Proofreaders (an organization of volunteers who help convert public domain books into free e-books for Project Gutenberg)--and I'm glad to join the ranks.

12/30: setting the alarm

When I'm on break I tend not to set my alarm clock, but today I did so that I would have plenty of time to finish my grading.  I ended up finishing even before lunch, which meant that we had time to go to Woolly Hollow in the afternoon.

12/29: chris

Chris and I hoped to go flying today, but the weather didn't cooperate, so we hung out together at home.

12/28: unrushed

Today nothing, whether for work or pleasure, felt rushed, pressed, or pressing.

12/27: getting inside a story

I've been reading and thinking about different versions of "Beauty and the Beast" over the past few days.  I feel an essay taking shape?  Essay or not, the thinking--inhabiting a narrative and tracing its variations--is a good thing.

12/26: scallion pancakes

...for lunch.  Oh I should make them more often than I do!  A possible new year's resolution?

12/25: a luminous afternoon

An after-lunch walk with Chris at Bell Slough.  (The photo is less blurry if you click it to view it larger.)

12/24: a perch

After a not-so-good morning Chris suggested that we go out to Woolly Hollow in the afternoon.  He read by the creek and I clambered.  For awhile I sat on a dry rock in the top-middle of the cascade.  The water rushed down on my right and left, and I had an amazing view of the various streams feeding the creek from different sides glittering and converging.

A bit of the falling water and light:

12/23: midday shift

It was stormy this morning--rain, wind, thunder, lightning, tornado watches--but by the late afternoon I was able to take a walk on the ridge in the bright sun and mild air with no coat on.

12/22: solstice kayaking

The last bit of light through the trees, as I was paddling back to the dock:

12/21: baker's dozen for barbara

We never met in person, but for about 5 years Barbara used to visit my blog and I visited hers, and occasionally we would exchange emails or snail mail as well.  I'm so grateful that our paths crossed, and I learned a lot from her.  She mentioned that on difficult days or even on days without a set shape it can be useful to just keep doing stuff until you've done at least ten things.  So here are thirteen things from today:

Taking a walk on the ridge.
Making more solstice pamphlets.
Getting mail ready and dropping it off at the post office.
Updating and filing a letter of recommendation for a student.
Getting gas.
Texting back and forth with my mother and emailing a student and a colleague.
Reading with Tilde purring.  And sometimes just sitting with Tilde purring.
Watching the sunset at the dock.
Working on some photos.
Brushing the cats.
Watching TV with Chris and laughing out loud.

12/20: morning movie, afternoon workshop, evening reading

We went to a 9:30 a.m. showing of the new Star Wars movie.  Although it ended up being a full house, our fellow Sunday morning movie-goers were mellow, and it was calmer than if we had gone yesterday or later today.

Then I spent the afternoon tinkering, designing a little pamphlet to celebrate the solstice.

And in the evening I read aloud some letters (dated 1960s-1980s) which were written by Chris' older relatives to his father and which his father had photocopied for him.  Very interesting and sometimes heart-string-pulling.

12/19: from the parking lot

...I could hear the sound of the cascades.

12/18: lessening

Some anxiety I was feeling about school-related things is waning today.  Still there, but lessening.

12/17: seeing the spider

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art installed a casting of Louise Bourgeois' "Maman" in its courtyard earlier this year.  We finally had a chance to drive up to see it:

12/16: the quiet begins

With luck I have a month of quiet ahead of me.  There's work to do for sure.  But there's also sleeping in, reading, writing, taking pictures, thinking, kayaking, walking, catching up with correspondence, and catching up with friends.  And there are no meetings.  That's an emphatically good thing.

This evening I enjoyed the start of the quiet season by taking a short evening flight with Chris so he could practice his night landings.  We got to see the Christmas lights on people's houses from the air.

12/15: fuzzy buds

...on the magnolia trees and glistening in the sunlight.

12/14: claiming lunch

Usually I multi-task while eating lunch in my office, but today I took a break from grading while I ate my soup and apple and read a few chapters of a novel instead.

12/13: artforum, los angeles, and light

This morning I was able to continue reading an issue of Artforum I had started months ago but had to set aside when almost all reading became work-related.  There was an article about the new Broad museum in Los Angeles which I enjoyed reading.  And I enjoyed thinking about Los Angeles in general; I'm very glad that I lived there for awhile.

This evening as I was driving home from the office the street-lamps cast amazing light on the rain-wet roads.  Why have I never noticed that in all its amazingness before?

12/12: walking

...at night with Chris, with flashlights.

12/11: watching and weekend

We've stopped going to the dock almost everyday for sunset, but today we did.  It was a nice way to say, "Farewell, week.  Hello, weekend."  And I really needed the week to give way to the weekend.

12/10: afternoon

I went to Woolly Hollow for just half an hour in the afternoon, to quiet my head.  It didn't entirely work, but it helped.  And I got to see the sky on the moving water, the sun on the creek-bed rocks.

12/9: in it together

Chris and I are both feeling more pressed and stressed than usual by the end-of-the-semester pile-up.  Though that's not a good thing, it was good today to realize that we were both feeling the same way.  Just sharing that that's how we were feeling brought the press and stress down a notch.

12/8: a calmer day

...than yesterday, both internally and externally.

12/7: for a moment

...pulling my head out of its worry and fog to see the many, many stars in the clear night sky.

12/6: back on the water

The lake near our house had been drawn down this fall so that people could make repairs to their docks, but now the water level is rising.  It was high enough today for me to take my kayak out--the first time since September on the water!

(A picture of the shadows cast by the bare trees and swirled by my paddling.)

12/5: closer to home

I've seen a good number of bluebirds this autumn while driving to school or (especially) to Woolly Hollow; I hadn't seen any outside our house for quite some time.  But this morning Chris signalled for me to come see a trio of bluebirds drinking water on our deck, and I was glad to know that they hadn't left the ridge.

12/4: friends

...of all varieties:  human (my childhood neighbor and friend whose birthday it was today), feline (oh, the warmth of Emma and the purrs of Tilde), and literary (I'm loving Marjory Fleming by Oriel Malet).

12/3: a bright morning

From our big main windows this morning I could see a flock of white geese fly by and the sun struck them in such a way that they seemed electric!

And the bright morning light cast this reflection onto the lake:

12/2: a whiff

...of camellias on the way from my office building to my car at the end of the day.

12/1: prepping and planning

Preparing for one of my classes tomorrow meant making cupcakes for them this evening.  Usually I order the cupcakes from a local bakery, but one student is vegan and I didn't feel like querying the bakery about their ingredients, so I decided to make the cupcakes myself.  It's been a nice break from reading and grading.

And I realized that I needed to come up with an in-class activity for the picturebooks seminar on Thursday.  It was fun to poke around my mental bookshelves and decide to use a book with a very quirky aesthetic, Sara Fanelli's Mythological Monsters.  I'll be interested to see what the students make of it.

11/30: late was okay

I accidentally set my alarm for 5:30 p.m. instead of 5:30 a.m., and Chris was so quiet when he got up that I just kept dozing until 7:00!  But it turned out alright:  I got ready for school more expeditiously than usual, and I had done enough prep last week and last night so I wasn't behind or rushed.  I didn't get ahead any, but I think that's okay, and my body is grateful for the extra sleep.

11/29: moomins out loud

I had a set of Moomin books when I was young, and my sister recently sent me a fresh copy of Moominvalley in November for my birthday.  Chris and I decided to read it aloud to one another, and we're having a good time.  It's (sometimes alternately, sometimes simultaneously) lyrical, philosophical, and hilarious.

11/28: thousands

...of geese overhead, shifting their formations then disappearing into the fog to the east.

11/27: colors from the car

It was a very rainy day, but we drove around a bit and enjoyed the autumn colors.

11/26: leisure reading indulged

One novel finished in the morning; another one started in the afternoon and finished in the night.

11/25: leisure reading resumed

My novel-reading this semester has all been done in the context of teaching prep.  Today I've been reading a novel unconnected to work, and it's been a pleasure to let myself fall into it.

And here are some twilight autumn reds from a walk to the dock:

11/24: cancelled

A faculty meeting scheduled for lunchtime was cancelled, so I took a walk with Chris instead.

11/23: meetings meetings meetings (and in between)

I had a lot of one-on-one meetings with students today who are working on their projects for two of my classes.  It was good to interact with them individually, and I wish I had more time so that our conversations could be more leisurely.

And during my short lunch break I talked with one of my colleagues who told me such interesting things about her extended family's history in the area.  Ditto the wish that I had more time for leisurely conversation, but I'm glad I learned from her what I did today!

11/22: alone & together

Good alone-time at the creek.  The water was cold and active!

Good together-time with Chris, watching Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix while eating home-made pizza.

11/21: a few left

The persimmon tree has lost its leaves but there are still some fruits atop it, and they were shimmering in the afternoon sun.  When I pointed them out, Chris called them "pershimmons."

11/20: blinking lights

...or so they seemed.  They were really snow geese flying high overhead, glinting in the morning sun.

11/19: starting and ending

Starting my birthday by taking pictures.  Through the condensation on the windows at home:

And at the lake on my way to school:

Then ending the day by opening packages from my mother and my best friend growing up, who sent me a silver necklace which I am right now wearing.

11/18: a fitting farewell

It was my last text-based discussion day in the freshman seminar I teach on utopian literature (we'll be workshopping projects after this).  We read two short stories by Ursula K. Le Guin:" Sur" and "Newton's Sleep."  The students' thoughts and comments were really good, and it felt like a nice end to this part of the course.  And in a way it's a farewell to the texts of this course for me:  these seminars rotate among faculty, and I've now done my two-year stint, so I won't be teaching these works again in the foreseeable future.  In all:  I'm proud of the syllabus I designed, I feel lucky to have found such a good selection of texts to use, and I know that thinking about the texts on my own and with students has changed me as a person.

11/17: inside looking out

It rained (and rained and rained) today.  I was glad that all my classes were in the same building as my office.  I paused throughout the day to photograph the autumn trees through the windows in the hallway.

11/16: a good burrito

...after work, with Chris.

11/15: afternoon sky

I took breaks from work to photograph the clouds.  Thank you, sky.

11/14: eye / jar journal

A few years ago I made myself an "eye / jar journal":  each page has either an eye stamped on it or a jar with no lid.  On the eye pages I write about what I'm doing or thinking.  On the jar pages I record things I want to keep or let go.  It's unlike my notebook for morning writing in that I don't really write sentences per se or develop ideas--I kind of doodle my thoughts on each page.  I fell out of the habit of using it, but this past week I pulled it out and started using it again, and it's been fun.

11/13: together & alone

Chris and I ran a book discussion group today on Pygmalion, and it seemed to go well, with students saying very interesting things about the play.

And I went to the campus production of He and She in the evening.  When I went to pick up my reservation, the person at the ticket counter asked confusedly, "Just one ticket?" No confusion--I often like to go to the theatre on my own.

11/12: clarity

For one of my courses the publisher sent our bookstore 3 different (but on the surface seemingly identical) versions of the textbook.  It hasn't been a huge issue, but at times it's gotten a little frustrating in class when we're not all looking at the same thing.  I've been trying to "work the problem" over the past week, identifying who has which version, how we can tell them apart, and what we can do to fix the situation and ensure it won't happen in the future.  Today I found a quick way to sort it all out and was almost giddy with gladness.

11/11: reading

...Shaw's Pygmalion this evening.  Chris was reading it too, and it was fun to hear him chuckle as he went.

11/10: enjoying

...translating Greek.  Not only is the Greek itself nice, but focusing on it was also a good way to let go of some of the frayed ends of the day.

11/9: feeling lucky

...to have found Anders Nilsen's Rage of Poseidon for my Myth & Picturebooks course.  It's an odd book, but it seems somehow perfect as the last text we'll be reading and discussing as a group before their individual presentations begin.

11/8: realizing

...that I'm smiling, simply because I'm out in the sun.

11/7: so far

So far this semester I've minimized how much school-work I do on Saturdays.

11/6: individual sessions

My one-on-one meetings with Latin students went well today.  I had 3 hours of back-to-back individual meetings scheduled for the afternoon, and I was worried that I would be exhausted by the end of them.  But it was so nice to work with each of the students that I finished my work-week buoyed up.

11/5: pause at work

I bring my camera to work in case I want to stop somewhere before or after work, but today I used it at work.  I couldn't resist photographing the view through a rainy window on my hallway.

11/4: enthusing

...with a colleague about Ishiguro's Buried Giant.  We crossed paths fairly randomly and got onto the topic of Ishiguro also randomly, so it seemed extra special for our few words to light on something we both enjoyed, especially since we had each talked to other people who had read The Buried Giant and didn't like it as much as we did.  An unexpected connection to give a lift to the end of the day at school.

11/3: eating lunch

I have had trouble making time for lunch at work recently, but today I took a few minutes to have some soup.  Despite a pile-up of things on my to-do list I managed to feel somewhat unrushed while eating it and reading an article.

11/2: late afternoon and evening

I always enjoy ending my Mondays at school with one of my independent study students.  (I have two of them this semester, one on Mondays and one on Wednesdays, and I'm really lucky that they're such nice people and good workers and thinkers--and they do such a great job of holding their own and being "on" for a full hour of intense one-on-one work.)

Today I left quickly after the independent study so that I could take a very short flight with Chris.  When I arrived at the little airport south of town he had the plane literally waiting for me just outside the airport's door to the tarmac.  It was crazy hazy, so almost none of my pictures turned out well, but I like this one of the sunset:

And this evening I got to spend time with Guy Billout's Thunderbolt & Rainbow, an unconventional picturebook presentation of Greek mythological characters that I really like.  I'll be interested in hearing the students' thoughts and reactions tomorrow.

11/1: portfolios done

I needed a quiet 2-hour stretch to finish the grading on a stack of student portfolios.  I've had a hard time finding/making that time, but tonight I (finally) did.  That's a good thing for me, and my students will be really glad, too.

10/31: another rainy window

Rain is doubly welcome:  we really need it, and it gave me another through-the-window photo opportunity:

10/30: laughing

...with Chris at the end of a long day.

10/29: relaxing already

No, I'm not relaxing exactly, but the grand willow oak at the bottom of our hill is.  Half of it seemed to die two years ago--and we kept waiting (hoping) to see if new life would emerge.  It didn't, and Chris made arrangements for some tree people to come and take the dead part down this morning.  By the time I came home this evening the tree seemed happier somehow, like it could breathe; it already appeared as if it was letting its leaves and branches relax and reach out more on the side that used to be hemmed in by the dead bit.

10/28: coloring & listening

Chris and I colored with a group of students while listening to Anais Mitchell's Hadestown this evening.  Chris originally wasn't going to come, but I got thrown a curve ball of sorts in the late afternoon so he came to show moral support and that was especially nice.

10/27: a legacy

A colleague passed away today--unexpectedly.  He did many wonderful work for education and social justice in Arkansas, and he was such an upstanding member of our college community.  He's left us too soon, but he's left behind many good things.

10/26: fourth time through

In one of my classes I teach five novels to a group of students for half of the semester and then I get a new group of students for the second half of the term and teach them the same five novels.  I taught this course last year, too, which means that in two years I'll have taught these five novels four times.  Now that I'm on my fourth pass with them, I am a little worried about things turning stale--but for the past two class sessions the students have brought up some great new points, and I'm very grateful for their fresh perspectives.

10/25: photo op

I haven't had time to go on little photo expeditions this week, and my usual close-to-home spots (the dock and the pier) don't offer as many opportunities these days because the lake is being partially drained, which means that my usual "canvas" is gone....  But this morning I took a few photos through our rainy windows, and it was like scratching an itch a little bit.

10/24: olive relish

I like making an olive relish based on an ancient recipe of Cato's.  But I don't make it very often; usually I need some sort of excuse/prompt/push to spend several hours cutting olives, fennel, and herbs into little bits.  Today Chris and I hosted an ancient/modern Mediterranean potluck at school, so I had my excuse.  And one student said he loved it because it reminded him of the way his Lebanese mother prepares olives.

10/23: rain

It's been a very dry autumn.  Too dry.  But it's raining right now, and I'm sitting on the porch, happy to hear the drops coming down.

10/22: enjoying work

For much of the morning and early afternoon I graded and commented on student papers.  And I enjoyed it.

Then, while my students were assembling their group projects during my late afternoon seminar I wrote out some of my thoughts for them on word/image interactions in a text we had read.  And I enjoyed that too.

10/21: yellow

...light as I went for a walk this evening.

And having the time for a walk was a good thing too!

10/20: innoculation

Stopping at the pier this morning proved to be a wise decision:  school wasn't particularly pleasant, but by pausing to enjoy the rising sun on the way to work I ensured having a good thing in my day.

10/19: shared light bulb moment

In my independent study meeting today a student and I developed an idea together and got really excited about it.

10/18: more visitors

...to the aster patch.  An annual event.

10/17: mushrooms

I tend not to buy mushrooms because Chris doesn't like them, but he's away this weekend so I made myself a batch of marinated mushrooms.

10/16: cool air

The fall air is making the cats zip around!

10/15: tasks and pleasures

It's fall break, which mostly means that it's time to catch up on some things.  Today I went to the dentist and the optometrist, put away laundry, and wrote an abstract for a conference.

But I also walked in the creek mid-morning and sat on the porch in the warm air with the cats in the afternoon.  And in the mail I got a postcard from an Australian friend I hadn't heard from in years--we used to correspond occasionally and then fell out of the habit; recently I sent him a photo that I thought he would like and he must have sent his card immediately in reply.

Near-noon light on the water:

10/14: warmth

My school office is very cold and has been for years; my suite-mate and I have complained about it, but there's no way they can fix the ducting that is creating the problem.  The facilities people at school just tell us to use space-heaters (which are technically against the rules).  Now that my arthritis is worse, the cold is taking more of a toll, and my space-heater was not helping enough.  Earlier this week I was so chilled and creaky at the end of the work-day that my whole body ached and throbbed.  Then I decided to try a good space-heater that we have at home:  Chris brought it up to my office and it was perfect.  A nice even heat.

10/13: one in the wings

I usually write my good thing at night before getting ready for bed.  And when I get to bed, Tilde crawls onto my chest and sits there purring for awhile before moving into her cat-bed.  It's nice to know that even after I post a good thing each night another good thing is waiting for me.

10/12: challenging myself as well

In my picturebooks seminar we tend to focus our analysis on the images and words separately rather than on the elusive dynamic between the two.  I told the students that the word/image relationship had to be the focus of tomorrow's class so they should examine it in our various stories as they prepare.  I enjoyed making myself focus on it this evening, too, and finding some cool things to point out to the class tomorrow gave me real pleasure.

10/11: staying put

After yesterday's adventures it felt good today to stay at home.  I got to smell the autumn on the air, walk along the ridge with Chris and a neighborhood dog, and survey the visitors to the aster patch.

10/10: two expeditions

In the afternoon we went flying:

And in the evening we went to the state fair:

10/9: thinking

Getting in gear to write two abstracts for papers next week.  I'm a little nervous about getting them done, but it feels good to be thinking outside the context of course prep.

10/8: finally

The costume designer at school is also a Classicist, and I should have asked her years ago to do a public presentation under the auspices of the Classics program.  I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me earlier, but in August I asked her if she would be interested in giving a talk about her research into the clothing of tragic actors in antiquity, and she quickly said yes.  Tonight she gave her presentation:  it was interesting, there was a nice audience, it felt good to do, and it feels good that it's done.

10/7: bunny not snake

Chris saw a copperhead when he got home this evening.  I was luckier:  I saw a little rabbit.

10/6: some enthusiastic reactions

The students are very tired as we head into midterms and a wave of illness crosses campus.  But Errol Le Cain's Cupid and Psyche illustrations seemed to perk them up.

10/5: scanning

...illustrations by Errol Le Cain for Cupid and Psyche.  They're from a picturebook edition, but not really a picturebook for children.  I'd seen select illustrations from it over the years, and I finally acquired my own copy of the whole book.  I wonder what my students will make of the images tomorrow.

(And the process of scanning this evening was a good reminder that the digital image technology is really amazing.)

10/4: first time in weeks

I went to the indoor walking track for the first time since classes started.  It felt good.  After I finished my walk, I went to the community garden next to the track building and looked at all the things flourishing there.  Here's a piece of one magnificent leaf, from beneath:

10/3: sunlight

I've been getting up before sunrise most mornings.  It felt good to sleep well past sun-up today and see light coming through the windows as I awoke.

We went to the creek in the late afternoon.  Kind light on the water.

10/2: unexpected follow-up

Over the summer a student whom I taught last semester needed a last-minute recommendation for an extension of her scholarship.  She asked me to write it, and I was happy to.  I never heard back from her, and I was scared to write to her myself to follow up, in case her petition for the scholarship extension had been turned down:  I didn't want her to feel bad or awkward.  And I hadn't seen her on campus this semester--until this afternoon.  She called out to me, gave me a hug, told me the petition worked, thanked me for the recommendation, chatted, and then wanted to give me another hug before saying goodbye.  I am so glad that her scholarship is intact and that I got to see her.  It was a really good way to end a too-full work-week that had its share of my questioning myself.

10/1: sunny but not hot

We're getting an autumn feel in the air and light.  I got to enjoy it today today, sitting outside with a colleague for awhile in the morning and later walking with another colleague to lunch.

9/30: catching up (kind of)

I went to the dock yesterday evening at sunset, and I stayed longer than I had planned because one of our neighbors (whom I really like and whom I hadn't talked to in awhile) was there.  That set me back in my preparations for today's teaching.  I decided to get to school a little earlier than usual to try to make up the lost time.  But in my office this morning I got an unexpected call from a colleague who wanted to talk through an issue, which erased the gain of going in early.  (I didn't at all mind talking with my colleague, but I couldn't believe it happened on today of all days.)  Still, I managed to get all of my prep and grading done (just) before my classes.  I had to finish the last bit of grading in the 10 minutes between two of my classes, but I did it!  More work has already piled up, and tomorrow looks like it will be crazier than today, but having made it through today is a good thing, as well as a reminder that catching up--if only temporarily--can be possible even when it seems unlikely.

9/29: wings

Thinking about Christopher Myers' Wings today, on my own and with my seminar students.

9/28: quick response & reception

A student of mine recently got into a bad bike accident on campus (not at all a good thing--her jaw needs to be wired shut for 6 weeks!), so today I suggested to some people in the administration that we add some signs in particularly perilous places on campus.  They responded quickly and were receptive to the suggestion.  It might seem like a no-brainer, but often at work seemingly no-brainer suggestions are met with unexpected opposition, so I was glad that this wasn't one of those times.  (Truth be told, the folks I wrote to aren't ones who tend to oppose things; I've just gotten so used to inexplicable resistance over the years in general that I try not to get my hopes up.  Then I can be especially delighted when I get a receptive response.)

9/27: brother sun, sister moon

A colorful sunset at the dock this evening:

And then a sight of the partial eclipse before the sky clouded over:

9/26: pliage

While paging through Artforum this morning on the porch with my coffee (a perfect weekend morning activity), I came across a short article about Simon Hantaï's pliage technique.  I love the concept and Hantaï's results.

9/25: doctor appointments done

Yesterday and today I had to go visit some specialists my regular doctors had referred me to.  Not fun to try to shoe-horn medical appointments into the school-week, but I know it's easier for me than for lots of other working people.  I'm glad the appointments are over with no follow-ups in sight (knock on wood).

9/24: kindred spirit

While I was walking from the pier to my car this morning a man on a moped pulled up and starting taking pictures.  I said hello, and he said that he was stopping to take a quick picture on his way to work.  I told him I had just done the same thing.  It was good.

One of the pictures I took of clouds reflected on the water:

9/23: sky show

The early evening clouds as seen from our yard.  Before I became obsessed with photographing water I used to photograph clouds.  Sights like these make me remember why:

9/22: hawthorne

I got to teach a tale from Hawthorne's Wonder Book today, one that I've done research on over the years.  It was great to revisit the story and, honestly, it was really nice to realize how much good thinking about it I've done.

9/21: blogiversary

This blog is 7 years old:  that's a good thing, and I am grateful to everyone who stops by to read or comment!

9/20: sweater weather

I'm sure it's going to get hot again here in Arkansas, but today was my first put-on-a-sweater day of the autumn.  And I remembered how much I love an oversized grey cotton cardigan that I bought last year.

9/19: back road colors

I drove home from the creek this afternoon along a country road rather than on the highway.  Lots of bright orange-yellow on the roadsides these days.

9/18: early in the day, early in the autumn

It was not a peaceful day; work swirled me up inside in a number of ways.  But before that, for a few minutes in the morning, I enjoyed the light and colors at the pier.  Autumn is arriving in Arkansas.

9/17: tilde's voice

I love her meow.  I love that she tells us things.  I love that she announces herself.

9/16: collaborating

...with a campus colleague I don't see or work with much these days.  It was a good thing to connect with her and get a job done quickly and clearly together.

9/15: papyrus

"Papyrus" is the name that Converse gave to the color of my new Chuck Taylors.  How could I resist?

9/14: not alone at the pier and dock

This morning I stopped at the pier on my way to work but didn't get out of the car because I didn't want to disturb the great blue heron perching there.

This evening Chris and I walked down to the dock to watch the sunset and two of our young neighbors were there swimming.  After the light faded we all walked up the hill together.

I do like having quiet-time/alone-time with the water, but today it was nice to see others enjoying places that I love too.

9/13: two at the same time

I needed to bring both kayaks up the hill from the lake.  Instead of taking one and then the other I brought them both up on their carts together, pushing one in front of me and pulling the other one behind.  It was not easy, and I didn't need to do it that way.  But it was nice to know that I could.

9/12: on my own

I had tire trouble on the drive to and from the creek today, but I resisted the urge to call Chris for help and dealt with it myself.

And a photo from my solo creek walk:

9/11: choices paying off

Chris invited me to his ancient philosophy class to talk about what it's like to read Heraclitus in Greek.  It meant extra work, but it was something I really wanted to do.  So there I was at 8 a.m. this morning, trying to explain to folks with no Greek experience at all how some enigmatic fragments "tick" in their original language.  It went well, and I'm glad I opted for extra work in this case.

This evening I stayed on campus late so I could go to the annual staged reading of the winning play in the alumni play-writing contest.  I was so tired at the end of the work-week that I was tempted just to come home instead, but it was a very interesting piece and it felt so good to see and hear other people's creativity at work.  Nice to be driving home, knowing that I made the right decision.

9/10: just lovely

A student's oh so nicely done writing assignment.  What a pleasure it was to read it.

9/9: heraclitus over coffee

While I ate breakfast on the porch this morning I read some fragments of Heraclitus in Greek.  Kind of odd to start the day with well-balanced paradoxes written in a language I'll never be fluent in--but odd in a very good way.

9/8: easy reading

My evening reading in preparation for teaching tomorrow was long but not difficult.  A good thing on an evening when I'm not feeling well.

9/7: half-holiday

I had school-work and house-work to do on today's holiday, but I was able to do it all at home and in comfy clothes.  And without having to set an alarm clock.  And with Chris and the cats for company.  And with nice foods and treats for lunch, dinner, and snacks.

9/6: finishing & starting

I finished reading Speak by Louisa Hall this morning while sitting on the porch as Chris and the cats dozed.

I started listening to Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan this afternoon while sweeping the house.

9/5: waking up and picking up

Excited this morning to wake up and continue reading the novel I started last night:  Speak by Louisa Hall.

9/4: in the creek

The more I visit the creek at Woolly Hollow, the less timid I am about wading into the middle of the stream and crouching down with my camera.

9/3: frog trail

When I woke up I saw a tree frog's tracks across the condensation on one of our windows.  I always love this sight:

9/2: lots of chalk

I bought a bunch of sidewalk chalk today so that students in Chris' ancient philosophy class can write their favorite fragments of Heraclitus on the sidewalks on campus.  I'm really interested to see what they choose!

9/1: curry

Now that the academic year has begun, faculty get a certain number of free meals in the college cafeteria.  Most professors use them on lunches; Chris and I tend to use them for dinners when we're on campus until late.  At today's dinner there was a creamy curry sauce, one of my favorite offerings.

8/31: kind words and kind people

I don't write much about people as "good things," but recently some people have been especially kind to me and have written me really nice notes--in email, on postcards, on Facebook, in phone texts.  One old friend even called me "fabulous," which made me smile a big, big smile.

8/30: post-it notes

Picturebooks are part of my academic life this semester--yay!  I've already written here a few times about the myth and picturebooks seminar, and in an independent study (on the representation of poverty in children's literature) a student and I will be looking at picturebooks for a few weeks before we move onto other kinds of texts.  Working with picturebooks makes me grateful for post-it notes:  though I don't have a problem writing notes in other kinds of books, I really don't want to write in/on picturebooks, so as I read/look/analyze I add a post-it to each page where I record my thoughts and reactions.  It was a pleasure this morning to sit on the porch with my picturebook and post-its (and coffee).

8/29: closet cleaned & photos found

The closet in my home office needed some attention (i.e., sorting and winnowing).  Today it got it.  In the middle of sifting through boxes I paused to look at old (analog) photos I came across, including some of Wilkie when he was a kitten and of Chris and myself when we lived in Los Angeles, and (from a time even earlier than that) pictures from my junior year abroad in Greece and Italy.

8/28: work and play

A good work thing:  Chris and I are co-teaching a course for the second time this year, and we changed the syllabus a little this time around in order to include Hawthorne's "New Adam and Eve."  We taught it today, and the proof was in the pudding:  it was a good tinkering to make.

A good non-work thing:  The air and water and light were kind--oh so soft and kind--tonight.  I had meant to go out to a state park for a walk in the evening, but I left work too late for that and so decided to kayak instead.  I'm glad I was able to be on and with the water.

8/27: lunar calligraphy

As I was coming into the cove in my kayak this evening (how rare to be able to kayak during the school year on a weekday!), the moon was rising over the tree-tops.

8/26: making arrangements

...for independent studies.  I'm looking forward to the content of the independent studies (one on Greek, one on representations of poverty in children's literature) as well as to the chance to work with each of the students involved.  They are nice people and good students.

8/25: past work pays off

Writing syllabuses and assignments today was so much easier because I could use work I'd done in the past as a springboard.  Nice not to have to start from scratch, and nice that past-me could be helpful to present-me.

8/24: coalescing

The syllabus for my Myth & Picturebooks course is coming together.  There are many threads to weave together.  The weaving is slow, and some of the weaving/planning will be ongoing through the semester, but I feel like I've reached the point where I need to be in order for the class to begin.  Which is good, because the class begins tomorrow.

8/23: progress

Chris and I are working on assembling the annual print volume of Heron Tree, and today we took several good steps forward.

8/22: better introduction

I want to give my Myth & Picturebooks seminar an initial reading that provides a survey of the kinds of things that picturebook scholars think about and look at.  I had found something over the summer that was good but a bit jargon-y; it would have been fine, but I found one today that will be better.

8/21: photo finally

All summer Mississippi kites have been perching on the very top of the dead half of our grand willow oak.  They are very good at noticing when a camera is pointed toward them, even from indoors.  But today a young one let me take a few pictures in the morning.

8/20: tidy

I spent much of the day cleaning my office at school; it now feels ready to work in.

8/19: morning sights

Geese flying low overhead, one tree gone all autumn-yellow already, three bunnies, and two bluebirds.

8/18: good bookends

It was a tough day emotionally at work.  But early in the morning, before work, I got a great text from my brother, and in the evening a friend (who didn't know I was having a difficulty day) wrote me a very welcome email.  In the evening I also re-read an email I received the day before from a former student, and one of the sentences in it in particular is like a perfect back-to-school gift.

8/17: catching the light

I was back on campus today, and I got home later than I expected.  But I ate some food quickly and then went to the lake.  In the hour that I was out in my kayak the light on the water did many different and amazing things.  Here's one of them:

After a day inside it felt good to be in the light.

8/16: on the lake and up the mountain

Chris led me to some lovely things outside yesterday, so this morning I led him in our kayaks to the cove where more lotuses than ever are blooming.

This evening we went to watch the sunset from Petit Jean Mountain, a trip which is becoming a kind of back-to-school ritual each year.

8/15: down the hill

Chris came in after a walk this morning and said that just down the hill there were spider lilies and fiery skippers on thistles.  He led me to see them.  I couldn't get a satisfying picture of the lilies, but here's a skipper: