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.