12/31: two to close out the year

Decorating our bulletin boards with colored paper circles.

Cuddling with Tilde.

12/30: doodling

...this morning.  Trying designs and feeling okay if some of them didn't work out.

12/29: reprinting

...the Alphabetic Austen pamphlet to send to a Jane Austen fan.

12/28: a conversation & a sighting

A talk with my brother.

And the sight of 4 bunnies near our house!

12/27: burns words

I've been looking through a concordance of Robert Burns' poems and songs, and today I found two great words:  hansel (a good-luck gift, particularly for the new year) and imp as a verb (to engraft or repair feathers to improve flight)!

12/26: completing a year

...of proofreading for Project Gutenberg.  150 pages done.

12/25: a walk

...with Chris, and with the neighbors' dog Ray.

12/24: carols and cleaning

Tidying the house while listening to Christmas albums--a good way to spend a chunk of the day.

12/23: commenting

...on the students' drafts of their senior portfolios is done.

12/22: unexpected photos

The weather was good (and it doesn't look like it's going to be great for the next few days), so Chris and I decided to go flying in the afternoon.  The plane had some troubles, though, and we cut our flight short.  As a result, I didn't get the chance to take many aerial pictures (which is fine in the circumstances--safety first!), but I did pause outside the airport to photograph the frozen roses.  It had been warm a few weeks ago and roses all around town started to rebloom--then we had a cold snap and the roses got caught.

12/21: looking

...at art in the "Art of American Dance" exhibit at Crystal Bridges today.  "Ghost Dance" by Oscar Howe was amazing (here, but the colors aren't as rich as they appeared in person); "Music" by Florine Stettheimer was a great find (here); and after admiring reproductions of Arthur Mathews for years I was glad to get to see this one (here) first-hand.

12/20: a surprise

I'm reading Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles because I'll be teaching it this upcoming semester.  I'm not sure I love the book overall, but I think it'll be good to talk about with students.  I did, however, love what it did with the sacrifice of Iphigenia.  It made total sense within the logic of the book, but I was still surprised and enjoyed being surprised.

12/19: star wars

I'd been reluctant to go to the new Star Wars film--I loved the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, but all the ones since then not so much.  Still, it felt weird to avoid it, so we went, and I'm glad to have seen it.  Plus it strangely spoke to a personal problem I had been wrestling with earlier in the day.

12/18: walking & listening

It had been too long since I had gone to the walking track!  This afternoon I was feeling stir-crazy at home, so I went--and a bunch of other people must have been feeling the same way, because there were more folks there than usual.  It was good to move.

It was also good to be listening to something other than Therese Raquin as I walked:  I wouldn't have finished it if Kate Winslet hadn't been so interesting to listen to, but--gosh--was it a depressing slog.  (Perhaps part of its point, but not providing motivation to keep listening....)  Today I started listening to Arabella by Georgette Heyer.  It feels like a "guilty pleasure" book, but after TR I don't mind that.

12/17: holiday cards

...ready to mail.

12/16: experimenting

...with sewing on top of a collage of squares cut from books.  I'm liking the effect.

12/15: bright and deep

...the colors of today's sunset.  I wasn't at the lake to watch it, but Chris and I saw it as we were driving around town.

12/14: calmly

...working through the last one-on-one student meetings and the stack of grading.  It's good not to feel rushed.

12/13: two things in twos

I bought a nice sweater last month at the grocery store (of all places!), and today when I went back I got two more in different colors.  They were on sale this time and the woman working the clothing area gave me a coupon.

And at school today I met with two students about co-curricular projects of theirs that I'm supervising, and it felt good to work out some details.

12/12: sharing

...my pamphlet from the weekend.  A lot of them went into the mail, but some of them I could deliver on campus, and I've already gotten some sweet feedback from a student and a colleague.

12/11: downtime

...with Chris.  There's still plenty of end-of-semester work to do, but we both needed to recuperate and rest a little, and it was good to do that together.

12/10: made!

I made a whole stack of pamphlets today based on my idea from yesterday.  They're solstice-themed, so now I need to send them out pronto.

12/9: another idea

I got another idea for a bookbinding project today (two in one week!), and I've already started to put it in motion.

12/8: chris in the audience

The senior Classics majors did research presentations today, and Chris came to listen.  He asked really good and helpful questions; I was grateful for his presence and contributions.

12/7: bonuses

In addition to working through a big list of things to do today, I found some time for pleasure reading and for thinking about a new bookbinding experiment.

12/6: an unexpected turn in the day

I spilled coffee all over my desk at school--not a good thing.  And my iPhone was one my desk at the time--even more of a not good thing.  But I was going to replace the phone this month anyway (since it's no longer update-able), and I got all my absolutely-necessary work done for the day by mid-afternoon, so Chris and I went to Little Rock to get a new phone and have dinner out.

(And oh my goodness is it a good thing that I can replace a phone without having to worry about the cost's effect on my budget.)

12/5: arranging poems

In the intermediate Latin class today we experimented with different orderings of poems by Catullus, and I thought the students did a nice job of explaining their arrangement choices and the interpretive consequences.

12/4: compline

I haven't built Sunday compline into my regular schedule this semester, but I managed to go this evening and was glad I did.

12/3: more practice

I have one more bookbinding session with students before the end of the semester, and I spent some time today practicing the form we'll be making and figuring out how I want to teach it.  In the process I tried some new-to-me variations that I'm glad I now know.

12/2: early night

It was a long week and included some nights of little sleep, but my light will be out by 9:30 this evening!

12/1: candidus, candida, candidum

It's a Latin adjective for "bright," "white," "shining."  I looked at all of its occurrences today in the poems of Catullus and in the text of the Vulgate--very fun, very interesting, and (yes) very nerdy.

11/30: gutenberging

This year I've been trying to proofread at least 10 pages a month for Project Gutenberg, but November nearly got away from me.  Earlier this week it seemed unlikely that I'd find the time to do 10 pages when fresh/alert/unrushed enough to do a careful job.  Then I forgot my packet of this evening's grading at school--so I found myself with just enough time before tiredness tonight to get 10 pages of proofreading done.

11/29: their creative translations

Usually we translate pretty literally in Latin class, trying to make our English reflect what's going on grammar-wise in the Latin as clearly as possible.  But today the students shared their experiments in creative translation, trying to make a couplet of Martial's really work in English as an English poem.  The results were cool.

11/28: filling up

Chris and I are hosting a dinner/reading (focused on Latin riddles!) at school on Friday, and the spots for it are filling up.  I'm always nervous that my plans for events will fall through, that people won't be interested, and I'm always relieved when things seem like they're going to work out.

11/27: reading

...in bed; enjoying a few chapters of a new book as the first thing of the day.

11/26: working on photos

...from our Thanksgiving walk along the water's edge at Woolly Hollow.  This is one of my favorites:

11/25: Chris & the cats

...keeping me company on an under-the-weather day.

11/24: better

I had a great time yesterday making books, but the last one I tried has some troubles.  This morning I realized what had gone wrong (I cut the cover against the grain instead of with it), so I made a new one and it was much better.

11/23: experimenting

School is closed for the rest of the week, so I've been doing my work at home today.  I wrote a recommendation letter and graded tests and papers.  But amidst it all I also experimented with bookbindings, trying out 7 variations on a particular technique.  That's a good day!

11/22: extra time

A morning appointment cancelled on me, so I had time to clean up my office and get organized.

11/21: bookends

On my way to work I stopped at the pier for a dose of sunlight and autumn colors on water.  (The image looks better if you click on it to view it larger.)

And on the way home I went to the grocery store.  It's a crazy week to have to go shopping, but at least I managed to do it before the last-minute rush of Tuesday and Wednesday.

11/20: sighting

A large owl, sitting in a tree outside our bedroom window.

11/19: games

My brother sent me 3 little games (2 card games, 1 dice game, and all squirrel-themed because he loves squirrels) for my birthday.  Chris and I celebrated by trying them out today.

11/18: presents and cards

...in the mail for my birthday tomorrow.

11/17: evening in the office

I've been trying to limit the time I spend in my office after business hours, but today it was easier and calmer to eat in the cafeteria and then return to my office than to pack up work to take home.  And I made some progress on the growing end-of-semester to-do list.

11/16: nice people

Chris went home in the middle of the day and noticed that I had left my lunch on the counter--so he drove back into town to drop it off for me while I was teaching!

I bound notebooks with two students at the end of the day.

And I had a short but good conversation with a colleague in the parking lot after leaving the office.

11/15: hopeful

I really liked the particular kind of hopeful note on which The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader ended.

11/14: no regrets

One of Chris' aunts and I went on a zoomline this evening.  It felt less like flying than I thought it would, but I'm glad I gave it a try.  Now there's no thinking, "I wish had tried that."

11/13: Chris' family

Not all of Chris' family came to the wedding, but it was great to see the ones who did.

11/12: afternoon flight

I booked us a flight that left later in the day, giving us time to pack in the morning rather than having to do it at the end of a long day on Friday.

11/11: two babies

I met two babies today, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  The first one was especially happy to meet me, smiling and waving a lot.  I got to hold the other one for a little bit, before he got fussy.

11/10: shoe shopping

...with Chris.

11/9: The Little Prince

...in Latin.  A group of students and I listened to The Little Prince in English while following along in the Latin version (Regulus), and it was sweet.

11/8: turtles

...watching the sunset!  Their heads poking out of the water in the colored light.

11/7: chatting

...with two of the theatre faculty.

11/6: not so hard

Writing some answers to interview questions wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be.  I don't know if the interview will end up being published anywhere, but I enjoyed the push to articulate some thoughts.

11/5: new mexico gin

When Chris returned from his semester in New Mexico he brought back a variety of locally distilled gins for me.  I opened the last one this evening for a gin and tonic, and I enjoyed its distinctive taste.

11/4: pig in my pocket

I bought a little pig figurine and I carried it around in my pocket today for good luck.  Not exactly sure why I did it, but it felt right.  And it was really fun.

11/3: a rare weekday morning

I got to work from home for an extra two hours in the morning instead of heading to the office first thing.

11/2: making mistakes

...while reading that, once caught, got me to see my own assumptions and realize new things about what I was reading, things I wouldn't have noticed or thought about if I had read correctly the first time around.

11/1: good clouds

...on the drive to school.  Too grand to be caught in a photographic frame.

10/31: interesting but...

I read an article today that was thought-provoking and interesting; it was also focused on a topic that I once thought I'd spend a lot of research time and energy on and written in the mode I was trained in during graduate school.  Though I enjoyed the article and am glad I read it, I was also glad (and kind of surprised) to realize that I don't regret the twists and turns of my research path leading in a different direction.

10/30: done

...with a letter of recommendation I needed to write.  I am reminded of the goodness of doing these in the morning--when I am fresh and optimistic.  Even better when I can also be on the porch with kind air and light.

10/29: an addition

...to the collection of little animals.

10/27: voting

Chris and I went to early voting today.  I am so ready for the election to be over; the media deluge has been overwhelming.  Though there's a bit more of election season left, it feels good that my part in it is done.

10/26: getting (a little) ahead

Getting just a tad ahead to make tomorrow a little easier.

10/25: no line

...to get our flu shots.  (And the flu shots themselves are good things, too.)

10/24: flying

...over Bigelow after work.

10/23: singing

Chris singing, in particular.  (And me hearing it.)

10/22: watching

... Let the Right One In with Chris.

10/21: Cs

Color, cardstock, and circles.  I met up in the late afternoon with a friend and we made collages using cardstock scraps and circle punchers.

10/20: good light

A stormy morning sky gave way to bright and benign yellow light in the afternoon.

10/19: reading poems

...in the morning before going to school.  I didn't really have time to do it, but I took the time to do it, and it was a good thing.

10/18: blazing

The setting sun cast a crazy-bright path across the water for just a few minutes.

10/17: trio

At the lake and during our walk up the hill this evening Chris and I saw a bat, a walking stick insect, and a tarantula!  I love seeing tarantulas, and it had been some time since we sighted one, so this was a very nice thing indeed.

10/16: cleaning

...the refrigerator with Chris.  Not glamorous at all!  But nice to have it done and nice to spend time together doing it.

10/15: moonlight

We kayaked as the moon rose.  I'd never been paddling on the lake at dark before.

10/14: fall break

It's short, maybe too short, but oh so welcome.

10/13: quiet & full

It's fall break, so I worked from home today and got a lot done--including making cookies with Chris (with ginger, cranberries, pine nuts, chocolate chips, and oats), and they're fantastic.

10/12: making a list

...while sitting in the quiet by the lake.  It was a moment of calm claimed in a not-so-calm day.

10/11: the moon

...rising and on the water tonight near sunset.

10/10: trio

A very (very!) colorful sunrise that I looked up just in time to see.

And then a little later:  beautiful light on the water on my way to work.

This evening:  accepting two more wonderful poems for Heron Tree's found-in-the-public-domain special series.

10/9: cat toy

I got a new toy for the cats, and it was fun to run around with Tilde, playing with it.

10/7: new dress

Wearing a new dress lifted my mood today.  It's flowy and light with autumn colours; it made me want to swirl all day.  And I wore it with tights, which reminded me of being little and wearing dresses and tights a lot.

10/6: activity

We've read a good number of poems in the Martial class already this semester, and I wanted to think of a way for the students to review them and see patterns among them.  So I typed up a bunch of slips:  one for each poem we've read, giving the poem's first line and leaving room for a student to write some notes about the poem.  Each student then got their own set of slips for all the poems we've read so far and sat quietly, grouping the slips according to similarities of whatever sort they saw among the poems.  Then we shared our favorite groupings.  I don't think I'm explaining it well here, but I liked it a lot as an activity!

10/5: first wednesday

...of the month, and that meant an evening phone conversation with my sister.

10/4: late but done

I worked longer than I was fresh for, but my to-do list for the evening got finished.

10/3: unexpected visitor

A former student--whom I never actually taught but did a lot of co-curricular activities with--was in town briefly today and stopped by for a quick hello and a hug.

10/2: a chapter title

This evening I was working on a gloss for one of the chapter titles in Trollope's Three Clerks.  It's an allusion to a satire by Horace, and Trollope uses it so well, partly turning it on its head, partly getting us to re-interpret an earlier moment in the novel--all in all, what a pleasure to think about.

10/1: a sighting

I saw this sweetie in the woods at Woolly Hollow in the afternoon:

Turns out, it's slender ladies' tresses (a kind of orchid), but unopened.  Chris showed me some opened ones in our own woods not too long ago.

9/30: a bin

...for the shoes I leave by the door, matching the one Chris has for his.

9/29: Issa

Issa is the name of a dog in a poem by Martial.  We had translated it in class on Tuesday, and today we enjoyed talking about what the poem could be up to.  Turns out, quite a lot.

9/28: inscriptions

In the intermediate Latin class today we translated some inscriptions, and it was a really nice change of pace.

9/27: on our shelf

Chris and I both--but separately--recently remembered a book we had borrowed from a library in upstate New York in 2000.  Neither of us could remember the title though we could picture other things about the book distinctly, and we thought we knew the author's name but initial searches online didn't lead us to it.  Finally we pinned it down:  it was Funny Ways of Staying Alive by Willis Barnstone.

What's a bit odd is that we didn't entirely love the book when we read it--but it was interesting enough (and our ambivalence interesting enough?) that something about it stayed in our minds all this time.  It seemed too coincidental that we both had thought about it recently, so I decided we should have a copy.  It's out of print, but I ordered a used copy and it arrived today.  It's now part of our household.  It felt like something of a reunion to see those pages again and have them match up with my memory.

9/26: three chapters

...of Trollope read and commented on.  My progress is much slower than I'd like, but at least I got some done!

9/25: good email

I was worried about an email I had to write yesterday, but I got an answer today that reassured and relieved me.

9/24: goods, plural

My body has been odd today:  I've felt shaky pretty much the whole day, as if I'm worried or nervous or about to cry, but I'm not.  I don't know what's caused it, but it's a good thing that I noticed it happening and have been gentle with myself.

Chris went flying in the morning and after taking off in Pine Bluff for the return home had to loop back to that airport to make an emergency landing because something in the plane's engine broke.  That part is not so good, but it's undeniably great that no one got hurt, Chris landed the plane without further damage, and his training helped him make a landing that was as safe and smooth as possible.

I finally (finally finally) hemmed four pairs of pants.  This needed to happen long, long ago, but at least it's happened now.

I exchanged some texts with my dear childhood friend.  She lives next to my mother, so she also sent me some photos of the flowers blooming in my mother's garden.

We got a very interesting set of pieces for our found-in-the-public-domain series at Heron Tree, and we accepted two of them.  We read blind, so I didn't know until after we decided about them that they were submitted by a long-time reader/supporter of Heron Tree, and that's especially sweet.

9/23: unexpected

A call from a friend this morning.

9/22: into year 9

My first blog entry here was on 9/21/2008, so I've now started my ninth year of daily good things.  I haven't managed to post something for every day (except for 2015--yay!) and it hasn't magically made me into a massively more optimistic person (though I hoped it would), but I think it's helped, as a slow transformative discipline, to push me to be accountable for noticing good things amid my frustrations and worries.  And that's a good thing.

Also good:  Chris showed me where some slender ladies' tresses were blooming in our woods.

9/21: late for work

...because I kept lingering to photograph the spiderwebs in our yard.

9/20: in the cafeteria

...vegetarian curry for dinner.  And we got to see the wonderful person who checks everyone's i.d. card as they go in to eat.

9/19: working

...on another installment in my found poetry/erasure project over lunch.  And then showing Chris the results from Friday and today.

9/18: sunday syllabub

Having enjoyed syllabub in July with my mother, I wanted to make some for Chris to try.  I forgot fresh lemons when we went grocering, but no worry:  I made it with blood orange liqueur and limes.

9/17: clarity about a shadow

For the past few months a little shadow at the back of my mind has kept me from doing something that I kept telling myself I should do.  Today the little shadow was justified, and "should" has become "shouldn't."

9/16: luminous terrain

I uncovered the phrase "luminous terrain" in a found poetry project I worked on over lunch (erasing portions of Ovid's Latin selectively to make English words), and this evening the moonlit water was its own kind of luminous terrain.  I thought there might be fishermen on the pier when I went there to take photographs, but instead I found a group of people painting the full moon rising over the lake.

9/15: reading

...some gorgeous poems, first thing in the morning.

9/14: under control

My prep for tomorrow's teaching is far enough along that I can go to bed early--which is good because I can barely keep my eyes open (literally).

9/13: eggs benedict

...(vegetarian-style) for dinner, at Chris' suggestion.

9/12: in the air

...with Chris piloting, at the end of the school day.

9/11: in the creek

I shuffled my plans to take advantage of the sun this afternoon and walk in the creek for a bit.

9/9: almost full house

...at the play-reading tonight.  The annual staged reading of the playwriting contest winner is one of my favorite events of the school-year, and it was great to see so many people there enjoying themselves.

9/8: good things

In my gathering of first-year advisees this afternoon I asked each of them to share a good thing that they recently experienced.  I think we'll make it into a weekly thing.

9/7: reading

...some assignments my students wrote.  I'm glad I structured the assignment the way I did, and it's really interesting to read what they came up with.

9/6: making a call

...to the exactly right person who exactly understood.

9/5: two sights

A morning sight:  In our un-air-conditioned state the cats decided that the warm cozy bed was too warm to be cozy, so they slept sprawled out where they could feel the night and morning air from the windows.  I smiled, upon waking, to see both of them there and so obviously enjoying the breeze.

An evening sight:  a door to one of our water district's pump houses has been painted.  This may not seem like a big deal, but Chris (who is on our water district's board) has been trying to get someone to paint this door for months, at the request of the resident who lives nearby.  First it was too hot, and then it was too rainy.  Now finally the door has gotten its fresh coat.

9/4: three in a row

Out on the lake at sunset for three consecutive days.

9/3: cool air continues

...and it's an especially welcome thing since the motor on our air conditioner stopped working.

9/2: good air

Cool air in the early evening on the lake.  And then into night, sleeping with the windows open.

9/1: microwave and more Martial

Chris used the microwave to soften some butter so we wouldn't have to wait for an hour or two before making cookies.

And it was fun to spend time with a student's choice of Martial poem this morning, reminding me of how much I like teaching Martial in the upper-level classes.  So often his poems are used in beginning Latin textbooks since they're short and humorous, but the students like them so much better later in their time with Latin.

8/31: water and Trollope

Bookends to my day:

A morning stop at the pier on the way to work.

A little time spent with Trollope and writing glosses in the evening.

8/30: a conversation

...with a student I taught when she was a first-semester freshman.  She's a junior now, and it was great to catch up with her.  She was wonderful to teach and she's done wonderful things since then.

8/29: a little time

...to tidy my office at school (something I really needed to do).

8/28: compline

The first compline service of the semester; I'm glad I took the drive into town to hear it.  The "apple of your eye" part makes the translator in me smile every time.

8/27: dutch baby

I'd never heard of it, but Chris saw a photo of it online and decided we should make it.  So we did, and it was good.

8/26: portfolio packet

The information packet for the senior's research portfolios can be challenging to put together, but I managed to do it today (which is a little earlier than in past years).

8/25: Martial

We started to talk about how Martial's poems work in the upper-level Latin class today.

8/24: frog tracks

...on the misted window in the morning.

8/23: teaching latin

I'm teaching only Latin this semester, all three levels which we offer.  The beginning and advanced classes met today for the first time, and it was fun to get back into the groove.

8/22: beginning

...to listen to a new audiobook:  Zola's Thérèse Raquin read by Kate Winslet.

8/21: water, two ways

Afternoon at the creek.  Early evening on the lake for the second night in a row.  And this was the sunset view from my kayak:

8/20: on the lake

I haven't been kayaking much this summer:  I was out-of-town more than usual, or it was too hot, or it was too rainy, or I was too achy.  This evening, though, I went out on the water for a bit.  The lake felt swollen with the rain, but the paddling was smooth and the air was kind.

8/19: finishing (some things)

Of course I thought my summer would be more capacious than it was, and some projects/ambitions didn't see their way to fruition over the past months.  But some did.  Tonight I finished one and got myself in the zone to finish another tomorrow.  And it's also a good thing that I'm being relatively kind to myself about not finishing others.

8/18: tierkinder

One of the postcards I received today had been mailed with a stamp from the German postal service's baby animal series.  The stamp pictures a pair of ducklings and it really makes me smile.

8/17: new and old

The two poets we asked to join Heron Tree as new editors both said yes in less than 24 hours.

At school today I spent some time talking with an old student who is now working for the development office on the floor above me.

8/16: forging ahead

...despite awkwardness and anxiety.

8/15: summer rain

...seen through the window.

8/14: getting over nervousness

...about whether or not the cookies are done when I take them out of the oven.

...about a new call-for-submissions that I posted this evening for Heron Tree.

8/13: conversation

...with Chris at a late lunch in town.  He finished Paradise Reclaimed this morning, and I really enjoyed our talk about it.

8/12: reading time

I finished Halldor Laxness' Paradise Reclaimed on the flight from Los Angeles to Dallas, and I read more than half of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven while waiting for a very (very!) delayed departure from Dallas to Little Rock.

8/11: sightings

...of dolphins, a sea lion, and pelicans--in Malibu.

8/10: sharing

...impressions of art and of the museum itself with Chris at the Getty Center.

8/9: agnes martin

We came to Los Angeles to see the Agnes Martin exhibit at LACMA, and now the mission is accomplished.  It was amazing to see her works in person.

8/8: the beverly laurel

We're staying at the same sweet hotel, with the same cool diner attached, that my parents stayed at when they visited us in Los Angeles in the 90s.

8/7: cool and rainy

...which is unusual for August in Arkansas.

8/6: a very good sandwich

...with tofu, at Flyway Brewing in Little Rock.  (And their beer was nice too.)

8/5: night light

Chris made me a new tilt lamp.  It's a little amber light suspended in a jar (the button battery is attached to the lid).  When you turn the jar over, the light goes on.  And shines like a firefly.

8/4: sunset on the water

It had been awhile since I've been kayaking at sunset--I've been out of town, or it's been too hot, or my body's been too achy.  But tonight I went out.

8/3: finishing

...Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset.  At 1100+ pages, it was a substantial undertaking to read it (I can't even imagine the project of writing it).  And for me the feat was a long time in the making:  one of my neighborhood friends growing up was named after the title character, and I remember trying to read it when I was younger, but it was beyond me.  Chris decided to read it this summer and urged me to do the same.  I'm not sure I loved the novel, but I'm glad I read it, I loved talking about it with Chris over the past few weeks, and I'm relieved to have returned to a scene of prior (or at least temporary) defeat and turned it into victory.

8/2: trio, plus one

Trollope, poetry, and spending time with Chris.

Oh, and a very unexpected email from someone I haven't heard from in years and years.  It turns out that his cousin is going to be an advisee of mine this year at school.  What a small world.

8/1: not overbaked

I tend to overcook cookies: I worry that they won't be done enough, and so they become a little too well done. But today I made cookies--one of my favorites from childhood--and didn't overbake them.

7/31: not freaking out

...when I saw two snakes sunning on rocks as I was wading in the creek this afternoon.

I didn't get close: I used the zoom on my camera to take the pictures and then went back upstream.

7/30: found

When I was in Loretto recently my mother and I both fondly remembered a short essay written by one of the English professors at the university back in the 80s.  She couldn't find her copy of it at her house.  I said I thought we might have a reprint of it that my father sent to me decades ago; I looked through a folder where I keep miscellaneous dear things and it wasn't there, but today Chris found it in his file cabinet.

7/29: pupusas

...at a new-to-us place in Russellville.  With thanks to Chris for remembering we had heard about it months ago so that as we were passing through today we could check it out.

7/28: folk art

I enjoyed the folk art exhibit at the Crystal Bridges a lot.

7/27: condo

As a lark I rented a 2-bedroom 2-bath condo for my brother, Chris, and myself and our little holiday in northwest Arkansas.  It turns out that it was so much better than getting 2 separate hotel rooms--a great setting to celebrate my brother's birthday a little early.  And then I realized that it was just the sort of thing that Chris' mother would have done, and I was glad to have followed in her footsteps.

7/26: elderflower pressé

I found the same brand in a store here that I've bought and enjoyed in summers past at the British Museum.

7/25: word list

Today I went through the poems that will make up the fourth printed volume of Heron Tree and picked out one noun from each for the book's cover.

Here's the list: attic, beads, bowl, clouds, color, cord, darkness, daughter, earth, edge, eggs, fence, fragment, furniture, glow, harvesters, horse, house, ice, light, lip, morning, moths, neck, night, orchid, path, photograph, porthole, quilt, rain, reflection, sleep, slope, soil, stitch, twigs, vines, visitors, updraft, water, years.

7/24: one more spin

I needed to leave for the airport at 8 a.m. this morning, but my mother and I squeezed in a quick walk around the Schwab estate before that.

Standing under the weeping elm:

7/23: pinochle

As the sun went down and the evening came on, my mother, our dear neighbors, and I played pinochle outside, enjoying the air and the company.

7/22: under the willow

Arranging a sweet table under the willow tree at which to eat dessert and talk into the dark with a childhood friend.

7/21: old and new

This afternoon I visited the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, where I worked on weekends one summer while I was in high school.  They're having a 40th anniversary celebration exhibit, featuring some of their favorite things from the permanent collection.  I enjoyed rediscovering some pieces that I remember from years ago as well as seeing newer acquisitions.

7/20: syllabub

I'd never had syllabub before, but I like the word and I've intermittently flirted with the idea of making it.  Today I finally whipped some up, and yay!  I'm sure I'll be making more again before too long.  It's a bonus that Pepys mentions having "a good sullybub" (his spelling of it) in his diary for July 1663.

7/19: visiting the lake

I took time this morning and this evening to walk around the lake where, years ago, I learned to swim.  Swimming there is no longer allowed (alas), but I took pictures (of course).

7/18: surrounded by flowers

My mother has had a lot of landscaping done around her house, and much of the (not small) yard is now a garden.  It's amazing to see a variety of colorful flowers everywhere you turn.  Here's a bit of a hydrangea:

7/17: before sunrise

Birdsong heard through the open window.

7/16: in the garden, under the tree, on the porch, and around town

Planting with my mother in her garden in the morning.

Sitting under the weeping willow tree in the early afternoon, talking with friends and neighbors.

Spending the evening out with my childhood best friend, and talking with her mother on their porch before we went.

7/15: out of the box

I grew up seeing this statue while playing and walking in the formal gardens near my childhood home.  When I've been back to visit over the past three years, she's been covered by a wooden box to protect her while restoration work was being done on the wall around her.  Today I was so, so excited to see that she's out of her box.

(Kisine, designed by Paul Manship)

7/14: start and end of the trip

The woman working at the airline check-in station was nice about my being stressed and also nice when she saw me a little later and noticed that I was less stressed.

On the way from the airport to my mother's house we drove through some fields being lit up by fireflies.  No one else was on the road, so my mother just stopped the car for awhile and we watched.

7/13: lunch surprise

When I walked into the kitchen to start thinking about what to have for lunch, Chris was already at work, making crackers to go with some soup.  We've never made crackers from scratch before, and they ended up being more like this biscuits, but they were good.

7/12: kulning

It's a kind of Scandinavian herd-calling.  Chris played audio of some examples today and the cats came running--really!

7/11: Trollope

I'm editing a student's commentary on Trollope's Three Clerks and writing my own commentary for it, too, re-reading the novel as I go.  Gosh, I enjoy Trollope.

7/10: exploring

We drove on some new-to-us country roads this afternoon.  We paused by this bridge to look around.

7/9: sunset & lightning

I wasn't sure whether to go kayaking this evening or not, but the forecast suggested iffy weather, so I decided not.  But, as often happens, I second-third-and-fourth-guessed this decision while doing my rounds at the walking track and seeing the clouds light up on my drive home.  But then I saw lightning and knew it was right not to have taken a chance on the water.  I did get to photograph a bit of the sunset from the track's parking lot.  Though not the brightest or most colorful part, it was lovely.

7/8: finally mailing

...some gifts I meant to mail long ago.

7/7: not in the morning

Every summer I give the kayaks a thorough scrub, and I usually do it in the morning.  Today I did the annual go-over in the early evening.  What a better plan!  Why did I race the rising heat in past years when I could have been enjoying the growing cool?

And the clean kayaks look really good.

7/6: another quartet

Writing this morning about Baricco's An Iliad and realizing I have yet more to write.  Remembering how intense it is (fun and challenging and hard) to think about the Iliad.

Making a big list of things I'd like to (try to) do this summer.  I needed to transform them from a vague cloud into something tangible.

Trying a new combination of ingredients in tonight's salad and enjoying it (and Chris enjoying it, too).

Talking with my sister for our monthly chat after having missed last month.

7/5: quartet

Finishing listening to The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.

Visiting with a friend in Altus, Arkansas.

Thinking about the Iliad and Alessandro Baricco's An Iliad.

Finding a pile of mail in my in-town mailbox.

7/4: woods walk

After dinner we walked for a bit in the woods behind our house.

7/3: not taking for granted

...the bluebirds on the road to Woolly Hollow.

7/2: making & realizing

I worked on some metamorphosis booklets today, and I realized that I've been making little pamphlets and chapbooks for the past 7 years or so (give or take).  I can feel how my mind and hands have gotten better at it through the gradual practice.

7/1: sharing

...thoughts and M&Ms with Chris after a day that had an unexpected twist in it.

6/30: reading

...Rivka Galchen's remarks on a Zbigniew Herbert poem in the NYTBR.

6/29: a note

It was a day of not-good-news about a dear family friend and neighbor.  But a thank-you note from a postcrosser in Slovenia made me smile.

6/28: standing

...in the middle of the creek after some difficulties in the day.

6/27: annual tradition

We made this year's Moon and June cake today.  That is always a good thing, and it's fun to think back to the June evening in 1992 when we made the first one.

6/26: writing postcards

...a lot of them! (maybe 50?) this weekend.

6/25: sounds of summer

Birds, frogs, and crickets echoing out onto the lake.  And as I was paddling into the dock, our two young neighbors talking with each other, and then with me, as twilight came on.

6/24: quick

A bureaucratic task I had been putting off took less than half an hour once I finally set my mind to doing it.

6/23: trying

...a locally brewed beer at lunch--Flyway Bluewing Berry Wheat--and liking it.

6/22: metamorphosis

I've been working on the design for a little pamphlet of anagrams entitled metamorphosis, and today I was finally able to start production.

6/21: suggesting

...two possible collaborative creative projects to a friend, and her liking both of them.

6/20: a good solstice

Flying in the morning with Chris.

Reading "The Land of the Blue Flower" by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Making a nice salad for dinner with lettuce, apple, walnuts, vegetarian "chicken," and crystallized ginger.

Kayaking at sunset.

Taking a quick shower after kayaking and then driving to the dock to watch the full moon rise.

Appreciating the excellences of the cats.

6/19: stretching

I'm still feeling the effects of our long drive to and from Columbus:  my pinched nerve seems to be acting up.  Not a good thing, but doing my trusty stretch DVD today seemed to help.

6/18: cleaning and wondering

...out a closet with Chris.

...if my mother in Pennsylvania was watching the fireflies at the same time that I was watching them in Arkansas.  (It turns out that she was--she texted me to tell me, just as I was wondering.)

6/17: building a card house

...with the Eameses' House of Cards.

6/16: other people

...were really nice to me in the grocery store today.

6/15: morning habits

While I was working on my conference paper earlier this month I didn't write in my morning notebook, and I didn't write in it while on my trip, either.  So today it was a special pleasure to write (and even write my thoughts into some clarity!) on the porch this morning after drinking my coffee and reading the NYTBR.  And then I showered in my own shower.  I know that traveling can be a good thing, but it also feels good to be at home.

6/14: home

The sun tired us out yesterday as we were driving, so we stopped early for an extra night on the road.  Which meant that it felt especially nice to finally return home today.

6/13: dinosaur world

A morning stroll among dinosaurs at Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky:

6/12: serpent mound

It's one of the largest effigy mounds in the world, and its curves are great (even if they did defy my attempts to photograph them).  A Native American gathering was taking place next to the state park, and I loved hearing the drums and singing and watching some dancing.

6/11: done

...with my conference.  This morning's keynote talk on picturebooks and comics was thought-provoking, and I enjoyed the mental exercise.  In the afternoon my talk was grouped in a session with two others, and our three papers worked really well together--it might be the best grouping that I've ever been part of in a conference.  And the location--in a hotel right off the Columbus Commons--was the best venue for a conference I've ever been to (and I've been to a lot).

6/10: another wonderful dinner

...this time at an Ethiopian restaurant in Columbus.  We used to eat at Ethiopian places regularly during our last two years in Los Angeles, but since then we've lived in areas without easy access to that cuisine.  Though I've tried to make it myself, it's just not the same, so it was great to have some familiar tastes in a new-to-us location.

6/9: food

...for thought:  a conference talk on a 19th century picturebook mentioned some things that attach in interesting ways to my ideas about Hawthorne's Wonder Book.

...for my body:  dinner at Wolf's Ridge Brewing.  It was a really lovely meal.

6/8: a stroll

...in Columbus, Ohio, admiring the architecture.

6/7: driving

...rather than flying means that I don't have to worry about making my packing as compact as possible.

6/6: senses

The sight of a butterfly and a bumblebee as I walked down the hill to the mailbox.

The scent of rosemary in the air as Chris watered the plants outside.

The sound of crinkling brown paper that Tilde likes to play in.

The feel of needle, thread, and fabric as I hand-sew.

The taste of (very small) sundaes Chris and I have been making for dessert a lot recently.

6/5: talking about margaret cavendish

Margaret Cavendish was included in the course on utopian thinking that Chris and I taught together for the past two years, so when an historical novel about her was published this spring, we decided to read it and have our own two-person book-club.  We both finished it today, and though we were pretty disappointed / frustrated with the book, it was good to talk together about it--and her.

6/4: summer work

Getting my conference paper ready counts as work, but I get to do it at home--on the porch, with Chris and the cats, while sipping lime water, coffee, or even gin and tonics, and sometimes pausing to take pictures in the yard.

(This last one is a redbud leaf seen from below; the raindrops are shining through from the top.)

6/3: trio

Morning:  finishing A Lady and Her Husband by Amber Reeves.

Afternoon:  running errands, including buying some of the new planet stamps from the post office, then returning home to make a simple-yet-nice dinner with Chris. 

Evening:  doing my writing for the day.

6/2: fixed

One of the tires in my car has had a slow leak for months.  I took it to our usual garage some time ago to get it looked it, and they said there wasn't a problem.  Still:  I kept having to add air to the tire every few weeks.  Today we went to a new auto shop, and in addition to doing some other maintenance work they found and patched the leak--hurray!

6/1: alliteration

I started to write my conference paper today, and I had fun with alliteration.  Perhaps too much fun and some of it will need to be edited out, but at least it got me going.

5/31: a bat!

We walked to the dock after sunset this evening and sat there as it got dark.  One bat zipped and circled, flickered and flapped and flew around as we talked and watched.

5/30: a quiet rainy day

A quiet day at home as it rained off-and-on outside.  I spent time on the screened-in porch with the cats, made egg-lemon soup, read and took notes for a paper, watched funny TV with Chris, proofread for Project Gutenberg, and took an after-dinner walk with Chris without minding about getting a little wet.

5/29: dessert for dinner

Strawberry shortcake on Chris' birthday.

5/28: starting to work

...on a conference paper for early June.  Of course I've been thinking about it off and on since the fall, when I submitted the abstract.  But it felt good this morning to be re-reading materials and taking notes.

5/27: enthusiasm

...from a colleague for an idea of mine.

5/26: sending

...an email I should've written months or even years ago.

5/25: talking

...to my friend Katy on the day before her birthday.

5/24: empty is good

I have a basket where I keep postcards, notes, mail-art, etc. from sendsomething and IUOMA that I need to respond to.  The basket is now empty; all arrears have been addressed.  This hasn't happened in years.

5/23: done

...with the end-of-semester tidying up of the house.

5/22: writing

...postcards in response to things I've received from sendsomething.net.  There are nice people out there in the world.

5/21: inside and outside

Inside in the afternoon:  drinking tea and having a long conversation with my brother on the phone.

Outside in the evening:  seeing the moon rise and the first (for me) fireflies of the year.

5/20: clarity

This morning I wrote myself into some clarity, working through my thoughts on Aracelis Girmay's Changing, Changing.

This afternoon I started to make the list of things I really want to accomplish this summer (and in the rest of 2016).

5/19: lotus blossom binding

Last year I came across a tutorial for a Japanese stab binding that looks like a lotus blossom (you can see it here).  This morning I finally tried it.

5/18: thankful

...in the morning for the chance to sleep in and then read and write.

...in the afternoon for finishing the last of the bureaucratic work for the school year.

...in the evening for the sunset and moonrise on the lake, for bats over the dock and whipporwills at the top of the hill.

5/17: feeling topical

...because the novel I'm reading--The Vegetarian by Han Kang--just won the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction.

5/16: clear head in the morning

...clear enough that some creative thoughts could shine through, and because I didn't need to hasten to school to prep I didn't have to block them out.

5/15: -ings

Making biscuits for breakfast.  Resting.  Writing some postcards.  Watching TV.  Doing laundry.  Playing Scrabble.  Hearing Tilde purr as I crinkle long sheets of craft paper over her (which she loves).  Kayaking.  And now I'm off to do some reading (of The Vegetarian by Han Kang).

5/14: thinking

...concretely about how to make a booklet I've been mulling over (less concretely) for a few months.  Now that school is out I have time to tinker.

5/13: others eating ice cream

It used to be the case that at the last full faculty meeting of the year the administration arranged for an ice cream sundae spread.  That practice has gone by the wayside, so I thought it would be nice to shift the tradition by having ice cream at the last departmental meeting of the year (which was this afternoon).  I picked up a variety of flavors and toppings in the morning (after a good deal of himming and hawing and finally going to a second store for a better selection), and it made me really happy to see people enjoying their scoops, going back for seconds and thirds.

5/12: taking to the air

I filed my grades in the morning and went flying with Chris in the afternoon.

5/11: grading

...at home and being done with it for the year.

5/10: after-work pleasures

Meeting a colleague for dinner. 

Finding two picturebooks I had ordered waiting for me in the mail.

5/9: at school

Some good moments at school today:  the final session for my Vulgate class (at which the students shared some interesting ideas and projects); the last of the individual manuscript readings with students in the library; a card and box of candy left waiting for me outside my office door; less time and difficulty writing the Etymology test for tomorrow than I had anticipated.

5/8: thinking and writing

...about Pride and Prejudice.  I've read the novel a good number of times over the years, but this is the first time I read it with the explicit intention of analyzing it and trying to see how it ticks.  I finished it last night and enjoyed writing about it this morning, processing my ideas and realizing that I have yet more to process.  I'm sure Austen scholars have already worked through the same issues and features I'm mulling over, but I like going through the paces.

5/7: alternating

...grading exams and reading Pride and Prejudice.

5/6: morning, afternoon, evening

Grading at home in the morning, on the porch with the cats.

Hearing my students read medieval manuscript leaves in the afternoon, in the library and without needing to go into my school office at all (a bonus).

After dinner, walking in the creek and taking water photos of the little waterfalls at Woolly Hollow, which I haven't visited in almost a month.

5/5: on the water

It was too windy to kayak this evening and I was probably too tired to paddle in any case, but a neighbor took us out on his boat and we enjoyed the air and water and light.  It seemed a fitting way to celebrate the memory of Chris' mother on her birthday--she would have been very glad that we went for a jaunt.

5/4: morning rose

Leaving the house this morning, I found this waiting for me on the bush:

5/3: latin leaf

I got to spend time transcribing a 13th century Vulgate Bible leaf today.  It's from the book of Apocalypse/Revelation, and it has some differences from the traditionally edited text (which kept me on my toes).

Here's a digital image.  (The handwriting is so small that about 10 lines fit in a vertical inch.)

5/2: reading & enjoying

...Chris' paper about Twain's views of argumentation in his book about Shakespeare.

5/1: morning, afternoon, evening

Morning and evening:  on the porch at home.  Beautiful weather.

Afternoon:  at school copying, collating, and stitching pamphlets of my Etymology class' word studies.  Putting the booklets together went a bit more smoothly than I had anticipated, and it feels good for the stack of them to be done.

4/30: green world

Spending time on the porch today, enjoying the green and smelling the privet.

4/29: end of the day

I was too tired after work to do more work (or much of anything).  Chris found a short British series called "Detectorists" on Netflix, and we enjoyed watching it, even laughing out loud at points.

4/28: sounds

...birds in the morning.

...my students talking in groups about short stories this afternoon.

4/27: cleared

I cleared a pile on my campus desk today by filing all my accumulated receipts for reimbursement.

4/26: quiet

I've been trying not to stay late at the office, but after a dinner in town with Chris I went back to my office to work.  Having a stretch of external quiet was really good, and it helped me be more internally quiet, too.

4/25: office hour business

My office hours haven't been very full this year, but today I had 7 students come in, and it felt good to be busy with them.

4/24: morning reading

Novels with coffee, coffee with novels.

4/23: honeysuckle

...on the morning air.

4/22: primroses

...of the fancy evening variety.

4/21: an early good thing

I couldn't sleep last night.  Around 3 a.m. Chris woke up and we watched some TV.  He could have gone back to sleep and I wouldn't have minded, but he decided he wanted to keep me company and it helped me relax a little.

4/20: balancing

Some things today went more smoothly, quickly, and easily than I had anticipated.  That's especially nice because something else happened today unexpectedly and unpleasantly.

4/19: beer bread

Chris made it while I was at work, and I returned home to a house that smelled like warm sweet bread and a dinner that included it.

4/18: red

Three red roses on the bush outside our house, and crimson clover along the roadside.

4/17: quiet yet wordy evening

I had some ups and downs in the morning and early afternoon, but the evening has been smoother.  And I've gotten to focus on words:  doing editing work for Heron Tree, reading about the myth of "Shakespearean" English's persistence in contemporary Appalachia, and starting to compile my class' word-studies.  Plus, on the horizon:  reading a novel before bed.

4/16: receipts and a recipe

I got some receipts in order this evening for reimbursements from school and for our taxes, and then Chris and I made cookies using a recipe that calls for mascarpone and crushed Oreo cookies.  (Yes, we made cookies in which one of the ingredients is cookies.)

4/15: not quite a cat-nap

...but a cat-cuddle with Tilde on the bed in the morning.  After my breakfast but before my shower, an unexpected few minutes of sweetness.

4/14: a trio

The smell of flowers--morning, afternoon, and evening.

The sound of frogs at night.

Entries from Lainey Browne's "Festoon Dictionary."

4/13: good to be (temporarily) ahead

I got my course preparation done sooner than expected and had an extra hour in the morning--and that was a good thing because a bookstore snafu occurred that took an hour to deal with.

4/12: reading

...the dictionary to find words with diminutives.

...a Latin Psalter leaf from the late 15th/early 16th century.  It had a great image of a perpetually full moon.

4/11: pleasures

...of the body:  steamed spinach with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.

...of the mind:  a novel that I started last night (Patience by John Coates); I was happy when I remembered that it would be waiting for me when I go to bed this evening.

4/10: proofing

This evening I enjoyed preparing the PDF proof for one of the Heron Tree poems to be published at the end of the month.  I'm so glad we accepted it.

Once I finished my other work for the evening I decided to do some Project Gutenberg proof-reading; my goal is to do at least 10 pages per month.  Not a lofty goal, but a manageable one--and I'm afraid if I set too big a goal I won't meet it, will get discouraged, and then might not even do 10 pages.  I thought I'd do half that tonight, but then I saw that a novel by Margaret Oliphant was in the queue.  She's an author I know via Persephone Books, and I was so glad to see her name and get to work on one of her books, so I did all 10 pages for April this evening.

4/9 (later addition): a new (to me) flower

I went out to Woolly Hollow after dinner, and I found this kind of flower blooming on the forest floor:

I was especially surprised because I hadn't seen it there last spring.  As I was taking pictures a group of people walked by, and a woman told me she was surprised at seeing the flowers too.  We enthused, and she asked me if I knew what they were called; I didn't.  But I do now:  it's a crested iris.

4/9: dogwood day

I had trouble finding the dogwoods this year, but then I turned around in the woods and there they were.

4/8: and more poetry

Tonight I hosted a catered dinner at school:  we ate nice food and then read out loud to one another the selections of lyric poetry I picked yesterday night.  The people at the dinner seemed to really enjoy themselves, the food, and the poetry.

4/7: more poetry

I got to spend time this evening reading through an anthology of Greek lyric poetry.  It counted as "work," but it was also a pleasure.

4/6: remembering new exercises

This summer I loved loved loved reading New Exercises by Franck André Jamme translated by Charles Borkhuis.  This evening I realized that I need to bring some poems I like to school tomorrow, and I was having trouble settling on something until I remembered Jamme's work.  Now I am set!  And just thinking of New Exercises makes me very happy.

4/5: a little rescue

I ducked into the women's restroom before my Myth class so I could brush my hair.  A student was standing at the sinks and talking to someone on her phone.  Then she started to talk to me, asking me if I thought a bug on her backpack was dangerous.  It turned out that she had called her friend because the bug was freaking her out and she didn't know what to do.  I said I'd help.  I scooped the bug onto a piece of paper and we let it go outside.  Even though the bug made her nervous, she admired how it glittered gold in the light.

4/4: a choice in the morning

I'm so glad that I stopped for a few minutes at the dock this morning on the way to work.  They were the most restful moments of the day.

4/3: a weekend with words

I've been reading my students' word studies this weekend.  I just finished, and I enjoyed it.  Always wonderful to learn new etymologies (e.g., gopher comes from the French word for "honeycomb") and be reminded of ones I'd forgotten (e.g., squirrel comes from the Greek words for "shadow" and "tail").  My brother loves squirrels, so it was fun to text him this etymology, knowing it would make him smile.

4/2: close to home

The holly bushes bordering our deck are in bloom and are humming with bees.  I'm glad to be home to see them (and to have some time on my own after a week that has left me feeling weirdly raw).