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.