1/31: quiet

Mostly I kept Chris company through the day since he had a bad headache and didn't feel up to much.  I also did a little research, and we went down to the lake at sunset time, though there wasn't much of a sunset--more like a turning to blue before dark. 

A quiet, unrushed day--a pause in the push of the week--is a good thing.

1/30: images

Every day I start the Greek class with a "thing of the day."  It might be a quotation from an ancient authors, an interesting word in English derived from Greek, or a picture.  Today's thing was a 17th century engraving showing "America" giving Poseidon a box of chocolate to take back to Europe (here).  And one of the last things I did before heading home for the weekend was find two images that seem to illustrate the moment in the Iliad when Thetis asks her son, "Child, why do you cry?" Teknon, ti klaieis in Greek--possibly my favorite 3 words in all of ancient Greek literature.  (images here and here).

1/29: long-lost taste

When I lived in upstate New York and in California I loved to eat Dannon's coffee-flavored yogurt.  Dannon still makes it, but for the past 15 years it hasn't been available in the grocery stores near us here in Arkansas.  Now it is.  And the first spoonful today--oh my goodness, what a sense memory.

1/28: a good morning

I read a helpful research article while drinking my coffee. 

On the way from the house to the car Chris pointed out that the winter honeysuckle is blooming.  I paused to smell it.

Arriving on campus, we heard, then saw, the waxwings.

I was in my office early enough to be able to prepare for my classes in an altogether calm way.

1/27: a little bit

A bit of time this evening to collect some bibliography for a research project that is overdue in getting underway.  Though I need to dig in soon, every little bit helps (I tell myself!), and during the work-week there's only time for little bits, it seems.

1/26: clarity in hindsight

A decision that was fraught and difficult to make last week is so clearly the right decision to have made this week.

1/25: listening & assembling

A pleasant morning spent as I started to listen to the audiobook of John Wyndham's Chrysalids while finishing up a bit of lingering chapbook-binding.

1/24: smaller circle

After a week of talking at work it felt good to have a day of more circumscribed conversation with only Chris, the cats, and some neighborhood dogs.

1/23: at the end of the day (and week)

As I stood at my office door at the end of the day, double-checking all the lights and plugs to make sure that nothing was turned on or plugged in that shouldn't be, I realized that my to-do list for the day was done and my desk was tidy.  That felt like a good way to end the first week back at school.

1/22: tired but trollope

I was drained at the end of the teaching day.  I thought I might not be able to focus on any tasks in the evening, but I have some Trollope (The Three Clerks) to read for a project with a student, and that was a perfect way to combine working and resting.

1/21: pieces falling into place

Today I had to finalize the syllabus for this semester's myth course.  I had been weighing different possibilities for weeks, and when the time came to decide among them today, the answers seemed to unfold.  The process felt more organic than in the past, and I'm making some changes that I think are good (or at least that will be good to try).

1/20: upward

I started the day very nervous and worried, but it got progressively better.  Good things included:

Little pockets of time by the lake in the morning (just for 5 minutes, but a calming 5 minutes) and at sunset (15-20 colorful minutes).

Being on the same page as one of my colleagues about a difficult joint decision.

Getting syllabuses and first-day materials ready for two of my courses.

Going out to dinner with Chris but making it home in time to see the sunset together.

Not having to do prep-work tonight for tomorrow's teaching.

And receiving a lot (really, a lot!) of mail today from wonderful Postcrossers.

1/19: first outing of the year

Both the temperature (60 degrees F) and the wind (not more than 6 miles per hour) were right for kayaking today.  It got chillier as the sun set, but it was worth it.  I can feel that my muscles weren't used to paddling, but even that is a good feeling.

A photo from the beginning, middle, and end of my outing:

1/18: king cake

A colleague and friend brought a king cake back from New Orleans for Chris and me.  Chris was hoping she would.

1/17: remembering a twinkle

Chris' Uncle Emil passed away last night--which is so, so, so not a good thing.  But it was good to spend some time remembering him today.  He was one of the kindest and gentlest men I've ever met, and it could be said of him--literally--that his eye twinkled when he smiled in a particular way.

1/16: sunset back at home

It was great to watch the sunset light show yesterday inside Turrell's installation at Crystal Bridges, but I was also glad to be home today to watch the sunset in my usual way, at the lake.

1/15: skyspace at sunset

I've been wanting to watch the light show at sunset inside James Turrell's Skyspace at the Crystal Bridges Museum.  Today I finally did.  Some moments:

1/14: calming comforts

A day-long workshop at school left me with an unquiet mind, but this evening I've been slowly steadying myself with a warm dinner, hot chocolate, and postcard-writing.  And now I'll head to bed and treat myself to reading more of The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.  I read it when I was young and recently decided to re-visit it--and it's amazing how I can remember reading particular sentences decades ago.

1/13: taking myself to the movies

...to see the documentary about the Tate Modern/MoMA exhibition of Matisse cut-outs.

1/12: bierocks

When we went east in December my sister and her spouse had just made a supply of bierocks, which we had never eaten before.  This evening we made some for ourselves.  I love the taste, the process of making them, and the fact that this word can also be spelled with an x:  bierox.

1/11: not ice

Freezing rain was in our forecast, but it never got cold enough for the rain to freeze.  I know an ice storm is likely to come our way eventually this winter; still, I'm glad this wasn't it.

1/10: with chris

We spent the whole day together doing little-to-no work.  (Spending the day together might not be that rare, but doing no work is very, very rare indeed.)  A morning walk in the fields below the house.  An afternoon drive in the countryside, poking along small roads.  An evening of Netflix and sweet crescent rolls filled before baking with (Chris' idea) chocolate chips and trail mix.

A photo from the Old Texas Cemetery, near Guy, which we visited in our afternoon travels:

1/9: sooner rather than later

In mid-December I read Tove Jansson's True Deceiver, loved it, and looked forward to reading more of her fiction.  I'm now in the middle of The Summer Book.  At first I thought I should wait until summer to read it (so that the weather inside and outside the novel coincided), but I was too impatient to get more of this wonderful author's work--and it turns out that it's kind of nice to read a book set in warm weather when the temperatures outside aren't going much above freezing.

1/8: mediterranean tastes

We went out for a nice lunch of Greek food and Turkish coffee, and this evening I made more ancient Roman sweet cake.

1/7: inside and outside

I'm grateful for walls, roof, and heat in this cold.  When you know you have a warm envelope to return to, a walk in the chill air can be so good.

1/6: good mix

A nice balance of work and leisure today.  Work:  odds and ends (both in the office and at home), mostly administrative, to wrap up last semester and get ready for the new one.  Leisure:  lunch with a friend, a walk in the sun with Chris, and then an early dinner out.

1/5: afternoon off

I worked this morning and meant to work this afternoon--but then Chris came home from flying and said that from the air the waterfall at Petit Jean looked fuller than ever, so I suggested we drive out after lunch.  And we did.  After checking in at the overlook, we decided to walk the canyon trail to the bottom of the waterfall.  A good afternoon, full of the sound of rushing water.

1/4: coming out of my cocoon

I've been in a sort of cocoon between Christmas and New Year's:  I was resting from the semester, from the trip east, and from the difficulty of the first anniversary of my father's passing; I was also needing to finish grading and to bring a translation project to the next stage of its development.  So I kept mostly to myself.  But now I'm feeling ready for more contact.  I made arrangements to have lunch with a friend on Tuesday, Chris and I met up with our fellow Heron Tree editor for lunch today, and I had a nice email exchange with the editor of another literary journal.

1/3: good timing

It's been grey and rainy today, but the sky cleared a bit just as we decided to go for an afternoon walk.  And as we walked flocks of geese flew low overhead--I love to hear their wings flapping as they pass.

1/2: not having a migraine

The first day of 2015 was clouded by a migraine, but sometime after midnight it went away, and I was grateful for a clear-headed day.

1/1: lucky charms

My sister and her spouse gave us a bayberry candle to burn to the nub on New Year's Day, which is supposed to be good luck, and we had it burning all through today's grey afternoon.  For dinner I made an Italian lentil salad, since lentils are also supposed to bring luck in the new year.