2/28: getting the touch back

I bound some notebooks this morning, using a technique that I haven't practiced in a few years.  The first one was a little iffy as I was getting the feel back, but then my hands remembered how to get the right tension.

2/27: film at home

At dinner Chris and I talked about going to the movies, but then we decided there was nothing showing at our local theatre that we were particularly excited about seeing.  So we stayed home and watched the documentary Tim's Vermeer, which we had rented from Netflix.  We made the right choice:  it was a good film, and it felt nice to be cozy at home with the cats as the winter night got colder and colder.

2/26: crossed letter received

Last week I wrote a crossed letter, and that was a good thing.  Today I received one, and that is also good!  I enjoyed the intentness of the experience of both writing and reading that way.

2/25: some positive responses

...to my campus-wide call for paper printed on one side only for an upcycled/recycled notebook project.

2/24: both

Another snow day.  One bonus of working from home is time with the cats.  Emma sat in my lap as I read after lunch, and Tilde slept in my lap as I worked at my computer at tea-time.

2/23: twice

One walk on the ridge in the afternoon with Chris.  Another one on my own near sunset.  And both in the falling snow.

2/22: gratitude

I found out last night that a dear, grand lady had passed away--she had been a kind of fairy-godmother to us children in the neighborhood as we were growing up, and I am so grateful that I got to experience some of her specific magic.  I am also grateful to my childhood neighborhood friends--one of them wasn't sure I would have heard the sad news so contacted me yesterday to let me know, and another one of them wrote a perfect tribute paragraph on Facebook today, saying so well what more of us were thinking.

2/21: chapter and coffee

By late morning a migraine had descended on my day, but before that I enjoyed drinking my coffee while reading a chapter in a biography of Emily Dickinson.  The chapter focused on how aspects of her schooling (in terms of both specific content and general disposition) are apparent in her poems.

2/20: roman game

Chris and I played a Roman version of backgammon this evening.

2/19: sooner rather than later

I realized a student had a very full (indeed, too full) plate of things to do this semester, so I suggested that he think about not doing the project with me that we had been planning.  He thought about it and decided not to do the project.  I'm bummed because it means I don't get to do the project, either, but I honestly don't think it would have worked given his schedule--and it saves us both time and frustration to realize that now.

2/18: tea for two

This afternoon a student came to my office hours and she happened to have with her a care package from her mother which she had just received.  She noticed my electric kettle and suggested that if I had an extra cup (I did) she could share some of her tea from her package (she did) and we could drink tea while we talked (we did).

2/17: a crossed letter

I first remember reading about crossed letter writing (see examples here) in one of Trollope's novels (either Small House at Allington or The Last Chronicle of Barset).  I thought it was fascinating--and today I gave it a try.  Truly a different relationship to one's words and thoughts to set them out like that, and I imagine a different experience for the reader, since the words won't at all jump out from the page on their own.

2/16: weather days

Classes were cancelled today due to icy weather.  I like teaching, but cancellations like this make me remember the excitement of "snow days" when I was growing up.  And tomorrow is cancelled as well!

Truth be told, my excitement would be a lot less if the electricity had gotten knocked out (always a danger with ice storms here).  So:  while nostalgia-inspiring "ice days" are a good thing, functioning electricity is, too.

2/15: beginning two books

Starting to read a new book, one from my small stash of Persephone Books, The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham.

Starting to listen to a new book, The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier.

2/14: discovery

I thought I'd need to spend all afternoon on a work-related task, but I finished it before lunch.  And because it was amazingly warm and sunny out (70 degrees Fahrenheit!), we decided to walk at Bell Slough.  Alongside the path I spotted a bee tree!  I've heard people tell stories about visiting bee trees with their grandfathers, and there is one on campus, and I even helped to move a felled one once--but this was one that I discovered, and that felt special.  Here's a pollen-toting bee lingering on the threshold.

2/13: gathering

I did a lot of bibliography work today, ordering some articles and printing out ones that were available online through our library.  Now it's a matter of reading what I've collected!

2/12: little star

I read a very short overview of the history of the asterisk today.* 

*It was sweet.

2/11: resumed

Some years ago I organized a program at school to make notebooks out of paper printed on one side only, since so much of that goes into the recycle bin.  I thought, why not use it on the other side before sending it to be recycled?  It was fun to work with students, bind notebooks, and distribute them on campus for free, but when I went through a bad patch health-wise I had to put the program on hold.  Today I started it up again, and that feels good.  We're just in the paper-collecting phase right now, but I look forward to doing some notebook-sewing before too long.

2/10: sorting

When I was a child, my siblings, mother, and I would often put together puzzles on winter evenings.  This year I had a puzzle craving, and I happened to see one online that I thought it would be fun to do.  I ordered it and it arrived today--and what a flashback to past winter nights as I did the preliminary sort to find the border pieces.

2/9: on campus early

I was on campus early this morning, giving me time to drop off a gift at a friend's office (so that it would be waiting for her when she got to school) and chat with colleague whose path I rarely cross but whom I admire.

2/8: thinking

...about Trollope while re-reading The Fixed Period in preparation for a meeting with a student tomorrow.  What a good thing Trollope's novels have been in my life.

2/7: not wise but wise

It was a beautiful day and we went hiking at Petit Jean.  Turns out, the trail was too long for me (it was 5+ miles and my arthritis flared up) and I didn't really have time to take an afternoon off (given the pile-up of work), but alongside all that it still seems like it was the right thing to do.

2/6: good words

A great email from a former student first thing in the morning:  how wonderful to be told on a tired Friday that a course one taught almost a decade ago has stayed with and been important to a student.

At the end of my day, some other good words plus good images in Virginia Wolf, a picturebook by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault.

2/5: afternoon email & evening article

Two nice moments on the scholarly front today. 

When I got back from my afternoon class I found a lovely note in my email inbox, written by another academic working on Trollope and who had come across the Trollope's Apollo website as well as some of my other Trollope-related work.

I prepared for tomorrow's Latin class today before dinner, as I was waiting for a meeting of Chris' to finish.  That meant that I had time this evening to read an article for my research, and I chose an essay about the dynamics of gift exchange in Emily Dickinson's correspondence.  The article was well done, I thought, and it felt plain good to learn and think about something new.

2/4: fun with lasers

Tilde and Emma have stopped being really interested in playing with the string and ribbon toys, but over the past week they've gotten very enthusiastic about chasing the laser pointer, and it makes me happy to see them be active.

2/3: odds and ends & an ending

Spring semester is always so hectic-feeling, no matter how I try to arrange it.  So it feels like a victory if I can keep random tasks from proliferating.  Today I addressed all the odds and ends I had planned to.  (I don't know if this means I'm an effective do-er or a realistic planner, but either one is a good thing.)

I finished re-reading Trollope's Three Clerks last night (my first reading of it was about 15 years ago).  It's a relatively early novel of Trollope's and not my favorite overall--but I discovered last night that its final chapters may well be my favorite conclusion to a Trollope novel.  What a pleasure.

2/2: odysseus at start & finish

In my first class of the day we translated an adaptation of a passage from Lucian's True History in which the narrator delivers a letter to Calypso from Odysseus.  In the letter Odysseus writes that he was wrong to have left Calypso's island and is ready to return--Calypso just needs to say the word!

My prep-work tonight for the Myth class tomorrow has been reading books 5-7 of the Odyssey.  Much of book 5 takes place on Calypso's island, so that was a nice echo of my morning class.  Plus books 5 and 6 are my favorites in the whole text, so it's a pleasure to revisit them.

2/1: and over or

Most days I have to choose among things:  either/or is my usual setting rather than both/and.  Today, however, contained more "and" than "or."  I got to read the book review and play with Tilde and Emma and do some Heron Tree work and order some postcards of recent photos I've taken and read two articles for my research and go walking at the indoor track and make pizzelles with Chris (and eat too many of said pizzelles).  And now I am getting ready for bed.