12/14: non-school week-day

I still have grading and other things to do to wrap this semester up and set myself up for the next one, but I didn't have meetings, classes, or exams today.  So Chris and I got up in the middle of the night to watch meteors, I read the NYT Book Review over breakfast, I met a friend for lunch, and I enjoyed an afternoon walk in the sun along the ridge.

12/13: remembering

...to write an email to our new vegan/vegetarian chef on campus to thank her for the great selections she's made available this semester.

12/12: lunch conversation

I had a good lunch-time discussion with two colleagues about Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing.  It's the fourth book the three of us have read/discussed together this year, and I'm grateful for their thoughts, perspectives, and reading camaraderie.

12/11: reading

I often do a little grading while I'm proctoring students' final exams, but it can make me (more than usually) self-conscious to be sitting at the front of the class with my marking pen while students are taking a test that will soon be meeting said marking pen.  So after a bit of grading during today's Greek exam I decided to read a novel--John Green's new Turtles All the Way Down--on my iPad instead.  And it was good to be thinking a bit about metaphor and the body and the self.

12/10: a sighting

A bare-limbed tree with four vultures in it.

12/9: like snow

I woke up early in the morning, hours before sunrise, and outside things were covered with what looked like a heavy dusting of snow.  No snowfall was reported, so it must have been thick frost--thicker than any frost I'd ever seen.  And it was all but gone an hour later.

12/8: some nice responses

...about two, my most recent pamphlet, and about the Cupid & Psyche dinner last week.

12/7: a soapberry (?) tree

...with its leafless branches and pale berries against the blue twilight sky.

12/6: claiming

...a moment of calm in the afternoon to write a card to one of my aunts and then dropping it into the downtown blue-box before driving home.

12/5: la la la

I recently gave a friend a copy of La La La:  A Story of Hope, a picturebook by Kate DiCamillo and Jaime Kim.  Today she gave me a pin with "la la la" on it in return.

12/4: at the end of the day

Enjoying writing a recommendation letter while hearing the sky churning outside.  (We need rain and I think it's coming!)

12/3: aloft

...with Chris at the helm.  We had planned to take an afternoon flight over the Thanksgiving holiday, but both of the planes we use were out of commission.  Today one was ready with a new battery.


12/2: three

Eating chili paneer for the first time.

Seeing Emma the Cat's ears prick up when he heard the sound of bells.

Realizing that there wasn't a porch light on:  it was the moon.

12/1: a handful of good things

...giving my Greek students little end-of-semester Pegasus good-luck charms.

...having company for Quiet Writing.

...hosting a sweet dinner/reading of Apuleius' tale of Cupid & Psyche.

11/30: easy visit

I grew up with a lot of stress related to going to the dentist, and I'm grateful to a series of wonderful, kind, and gentle dentists and dental hygienists who have helped me shed some of that stress as an adult.  Today's happily stress-free dental visit reminded me of that gratitude.  (Also welcome is the glimmer of hope that not all childhood stresses need to be permanent baggage in adulthood.)

11/29: winning combination

...of Coke and meds to ward off a migraine.

11/28: bird rescue

When I walked into my building at work this morning, a bird fluttered across the hallway--inside!  A few of us cooperated to get it back outdoors safely.

11/27: a little lull

...in reading and commenting on drafts.  I'll get a pile tomorrow, but I'm grateful for tonight's respite since I'm not feeling well and it's weirdly welcome to have the space to own that I'm not feeling well.

11/26: noticing I'm smiling

...while kayaking this afternoon.

11/25: currents

I walked on the ridge in the late afternoon, and the air was a mix of warm and cool.  Every few steps I could feel myself entering a new current, like when you're swimming and move from a warm patch to a cold one in the water.

11/24: strands

...of sunset.

11/23: chocolate banana bread

I finished the nut roll I bought myself as a birthday present, and I enjoyed starting my mornings with it.  Now my mother's birthday present to me has arrived--a banana bread with dark chocolate pieces--and I have another delicious way to begin the day.

11/22: a week-day at home

"Natural rising" as my parents would call it (i.e., no alarm clock), followed by emails and photos in the morning, then house-cleaning in the afternoon and into the evening while listening to the wonderful audiobook of Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight, with pauses for making dinner and playing cards with Chris.

11/21: student meetings

...today:  9 of them.  To talk about Greek, possible projects, ideas for papers, and general life stuff.

11/20: two phone calls

I was tired (really tired in a way I couldn't shake) for most of the day, but I perked up in the evening while talking to first one long-time friend and then another on the phone.

11/19: combining

...two flavors I like by making chocolate cake and icing it with teaberry frosting.

11/18: celebrating early

For my birthday I ordered myself a nut roll from my part of Pennsylvania; I just can't find anyone in Arkansas who makes them, and I really enjoy them.  Though it's not my birthday yet, I treated myself to it for breakfast this morning.

11/17: ending the work week

...by doing Quiet Writing with a friend and then going to dinner, where we talked about work (of course) but also art, and then did some art.

11/16: labyrinth

It's been awhile since I walked the labyrinth at school, but I did today.  The autumn light through the colored leaves was amazing, and I was glad to spend a little extra time in it.  The labyrinth itself was covered with fallen leaves, which made the path harder to follow--yet harder in a good way because it made me focus on my steps.

11/15: the georgics

We read the bit about Orpheus and Eurydice from Vergil's Georgics in one of my classes yesterday and I forgot how odd that text is.  As a result I don't think I set it up at all well in class, but I've been thinking about it since then, have clarified and pushed my thoughts, and have some idea of what to say tomorrow.

11/14: starting

...a long-distance creative collaboration with a long-time friend.

11/13: trying new ways

...to go over the homework in Greek class.

11/12: not the wisest thing

...to go kayaking while feeling under the weather.  But the sun was mostly shining and the autumn colors were out, and I would have regretted it if I hadn't gone out, just for a bit.

11/11: sorting

...Japanese hand drills and bits.  I use them in book-binding workshops with students and then don't organize them afterward.  All the parts had become a jumble over the years, and I finally took time--with Chris' company--to sort them out.  I hope that I can keep them un-jumbled going forward.

11/10: capping it off with chekhov

The school day was packed:  I was on campus before 9 a.m. and left after 10 p.m.  But among other things I had some good meetings with students, chalked Latin on the pavement with two of my students, went to Quiet Writing, heard a guest lecture from a colleague about video games and Pompeii, and went to the campus production of Uncle Vanya.  The play was intense--heart-breaking and tender and strong--and a good way to end the week.

11/9: calmer

Both the day and I were calmer than has been the case on recent work-days.

11/8: a word

...I don't remember having come across before:  exnihilate.

11/7: twice

I called a good friend this afternoon as a quick break from work.  We talked for 15 minutes.  Then she called me this evening and we talked for 15 minutes more.

11/6: lemon

I made egg-lemon soup for dinner and lemon drop cookies for dessert.

11/5: emmeline

I received the latest catalog from Persephone Books last week and had a chance to look through it this weekend.  They reprint books that they love and that the original publishers have let fall out of print--and one of their picks this season is Emmeline by Judith Rossner.  I read this book a long time ago, when I was in high school:  my mother had read it when it was published and enjoyed it, and a few years later she recommended it to me.  Some of its scenes are still vivid in my head thirty+ years later, and I'm glad that the Persephone edition will bring it to new readers.

11/4: calming down

It was a difficult work-week, and by the end I was at a pitch of stress and full-on-ness that didn't feel good at all.  I'm glad I was able to give myself the day to dial back by reading (some for work, some for pleasure), printing and assembling a few pamphlets, hanging out with Chris and the cats, and walking at the track while listening to a Terry Pratchett / Tiffany Aching novel.

11/3: re-presenting inscriptions

In my intermediate Latin course, we took a little bit of time at the end of class on Wednesday and today to rewrite our favorite Latin inscriptions on paper with markers in whatever way we wanted.  Even though it wasn't an explicit (or even expected/anticipated) part of the activity, all of the students chose to put the words on the paper in a way that enacted their meaning, and that made me really happy.

11/2: reading revisions

I had planned to devote the day to reading my students' revisions of some of their recent essays, but I found out earlier this week that I'd have to go to a clinic in Little Rock for some more tests today.  Nevertheless, I got up early to try to get some reading/grading done before I went.  That didn't go well; I persevered but was queasy.  And then Little Rock (which can often be a fun place to go) felt cramped and unpleasant.  By the time we got home for dinner I didn't have high hopes for an evening of grading--but oh was I wrong.  Though I didn't finish reading all of the papers, I got two-thirds of them done, and they were a pleasure.  The students' individual voices are coming through so clearly, and it's great to hear them in my mind's ear as I go.  With revisions generally there's the risk that students will treat it as a time to do superficial editing and make quick adjustments, but so far it seems like this group took the revision round seriously, using it as an opportunity to solidify, clarify, and extend their thinking.  And they're doing it with heart.

11/1: thinking

...of possible projects that some really great Classics students could do, and seeing them get excited at the prospect.

10/31: looking forward

...to going to bed and instead of watching something reading a book for pleasure.

10/30: someone I didn't know

...stopped me in the cafeteria this evening to tell me that she really enjoyed my recent lunch presentation about different pages, what they give to us, what they ask of us, and what they suggest about the act(s) of reading.

10/29: not letting

...some gender-inflected yuck sent my way get me too down.

Instead:  I went to the creek with Chris in the afternoon, sat on the porch with the cats at tea-time, and worked on a variety of things (including a final tweak on yesterday's pamphlet design and some preliminaries for another new pamphlet) this evening.

10/28: a prototype

Yesterday during Quiet Writing Community I had an idea for a pamphlet.  I woke up thinking about it and went through a bunch of mental revisions of the idea.  Then I did some tinkering on paper, and with minimal hassle had a prototype in hand in a couple of hours.

10/27: an unexpected electra

A community theatre here mounted on a hill-billy/horror-themed production of Sophocles' Electra, and a friend of mine and I went to see it--a good way to end the work-week.

10/26: sleeping over

I had an early morning doctor's appointment in Little Rock, and I decided to drive down and stay in a hotel last night so that I could have the first appointment of the day and wouldn't have to worry about getting caught in traffic.  It was such a good thing to do:  as I was driving home after my appointment I saw that the traffic in the opposite direction was backed up, and I'm glad that I didn't risk being part of that, fretting about whether I'd make it to my appointment on time.

10/25: enjoying inscriptions

We've transitioned from the Vulgate to inscriptions in the intermediate Latin class.  Today we talked about the Vindolanda tablet with the birthday invitation on it (here), and they seemed to like learning about it.  In general I've been loving seeing how much work tenses and cases do in condensed epigraphical formats, especially epitaphs.

10/24: turning around

I drove by the bridge on my way to school this morning, deciding not to stop.  But then I changed my mind, turned around, and spent 10 minutes looking at the light on the water.

10/23: gretel

I know she's not real, but I'm glad she exists in story.  I know she's not real, but I don't think she gets the credit she deserves.

10/22: a rainy day

...made the cats cozy inside and growing things happy outside.

10/21: back to rights

My home office had gotten disorganized over the past two weeks:  books, papers, and projects piled up, and we had been using the futon as an extra bed since we were taking turns being too ill to sleep in our bedroom without disturbing the other.  The room needs a thorough work-over at some point, but today I least tidied it up so that it's a workable space that feels clear.

10/20: after midnight, before noon

I went to bed after midnight and Tilde the Cat was happy to see me get into bed.  She crawled onto me and slept on me in a sweet way she hasn't before.

One benefit of having worked late last night was having time this morning--to stop at the pier and take photos on the way to work, to re-do a Greek worksheet without worry once I realized I had made the whole darn thing using the wrong homework sentences, to do a last-minute scan of an interesting page I wanted to add to my lunch-time presentation, and to practice the presentation.

One of this morning's pictures:

10/19: working late

...on a presentation and enjoying it.

10/18: finding/making meaning

Tonight Chris had the last meeting with his group of boys on probation, and I came to do an altered text activity with them.  We thought it would be a fitting way to conclude:  create meaning in/through/with what you're given.

10/17: erasing again

Last year I started an erasure project but stopped working on it before it was done.  Today I picked up where I left off.

10/16: even better

I'm still not fully well (and was a bit loopy in my classes today), but when I woke up this morning I was immediately relieved to sense how much better I was.

10/15: better

I caught a cold on our little get-away to Mt. Magazine.  My sinuses were rebelling Friday evening and Saturday, but today I'm a bit better--let's hope that trend continues and I wake up well (or at least well-er) tomorrow.

10/14: electronic delivery

Sending my sister her birthday present via email so that it reaches her on her birthday.  Somehow that feels good, more like what it was when we were growing up and so of course celebrating one another's birthdays in person.

10/13: the morning view

...on Mt. Magazine:

10/12: listening

...to Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Chris on a little road trip.

10/11: our new quilt

...is so nice to fall to sleep (and wake up) under.

10/10: dinner outside

...on the cafeteria balcony with a former student who graduated a few years ago and came to town to visit during her med school fall break.

10/9: having my phone

I went to the grocery store without my wallet, which I didn't realize until I was checking out.  But the cashier let me call Chris on my cell phone, and he gave me my credit card information.  I'm not always resigned to carrying my phone with me everywhere, but having it today saved an unfortunate situation.

10/8: a good sunday

Typical weekend things, good nonetheless:

The New York Times Book Review and coffee on the porch with the cats and Chris.

Morning kayaking.

Fried rice for lunch.

Working on photos.

Getting Heron Tree tasks done without stress.

Sweeping the house while listening to more of A Hat Full of Sky.

10/7: walking & listening

It had been too long since I'd gone to the indoor track, and I had it all to myself tonight.  It had also been too long since I'd listened to some of A Hat Full of Sky, and it made me smile so much as I walked.

10/6: texts & emails

...from a dear friend from high school.

10/5: two-thirds

I'm two-thirds through with commenting on a second round of papers.  That still puts me behind where I should be, but I've caught up some this week, and I'll finish on Saturday.

10/4: making notebooks

...with the small group of boys on probation that Chris works with each week.  This week I came to the meeting and everyone made a notebook using a Japanese stab-binding leaf pattern.  They were really nice and did a great job.  I've done this workshop with different audiences over the years, and these boys saw the underlying logic the quickest.

10/3: rain

We had a rainer-than-usual summer, but for the past month:  nothing.  Today it rained, and though I had an umbrella in my bag I didn't get it out to use for the walk from my office building to the car.  Then Chris and I ate dinner on the porch so that we and the cats could enjoy the change in weather.

10/2: a new ingredient

I made vegetarian egg-lemon soup for dinner yesterday, and I knew we'd have the left-overs for dinner today.  I wanted to add some more protein, so while the soup was reheating I chopped and sauteed some fake-chicken pieces to mix in.  It was a great addition, and I think it will become a regular ingredient when I make this soup!

10/1: me in the air, lines on the ground

Chris took us flying over the neighboring fields today:

9/30: me on the water, autumn in the air

As I was kayaking this evening I could smell the fall leaves for the first time this year.

A photo from my outing:

9/29: moomins, not movie

At dinner Chris and I looked up what was playing at the local movie theatre, but nothing caught our eye.  So our after-dinner entertainment was taking turns reading Tove Jansson's Moomins and the Great Flood out loud to one another.  It feels good to be back in the Moomin groove again.  We already have a copy of Finn Family Moomintroll to start next.

9/28: new doors

We have 3 sets of inside/outside double-doors plus our front door, and over the past 2 days they've all gotten replaced.  The old doors were pretty nasty when we moved in (10 years ago), but because they were still functional it seemed extravagant to replace them; over the years, though, they'd become less reliable and sound, so it was finally time to switch them out.

9/27: a gasp (and more)

I stopped at the lake on the way to school, and the clouds spread out on the water made me gasp.  Literally, and before I realized what I was doing.  I'm afraid that a picture gives just a slice of the whole--it can't show the expanse of the shimmering reflections, but here's a glimpse nevertheless:


While I was at the lake I thought of a student who, two years ago, walked by me on campus one morning as I was photographing clouds.  I was (of course) self-conscious; I don't like it much when people see me taking photos.  But the student and I chatted, and I said a few words about what I was doing and why.  And then early today he wrote me an email that recalled that conversation and mentioned how great the clouds were this morning.  I'm so happy that he remembered and that we saw the same sky near the same time.

Overall, today was a much better day than yesterday:  I was thrown for a loop less and felt more secure in myself, my perspective, and what I have to offer.

9/26: okay

It was a day of ups and downs.  I was thrown for a loop by some things at work and was uncomfortable standing up for myself; plus I'm feeling a little pressed (understatement!) by the pile-up of "to do" items this week.  But on the upside, I'm ending the day on a positive note:  I've regained some equilibrium, I've gotten enough done (even if it isn't all I'd wish), I'm grateful that my students were "on" in both of my classes and that Chris made dinner when it was clear I was going to be late, and I've touched electronic base with some lovely folks whom I wanted to thank for their kindnesses.

9/25: new to me

In my classical myth & children's literature course tomorrow we'll be discussing Spires & Gerstein's I Am Arachne.  I'm trying to rotate some new-for-me texts into the course (as well as keep some of my favorites), and this will be the first go for this book.  It's a problematic work in a number of ways--I'm not sure the 1st person perspective on the myths is developed very well (it feels breezy), and in a number of places it's disturbing in its treatment of gender (why are modern retellings of myth often  less critical of gendered violence and power imbalance than the ancient texts themselves?!).  But it was interesting to trace thematic links from story to story, seeing how Spires knits them together.

And (added later) here's another good thing before I head to bed:  I just saw a golden clipping of crescent moon through our kitchen window!

9/24: puzzled

...by the end of The Watch and what it means for my understanding of the novel's beginning.  But puzzled in an interesting way that had me sit quietly and still for many minutes once I finished the book this morning.

9/23: crocheting

I remember learning some crochet basics when I was younger, but I hadn't done any crochet in decades.  Chris has been crocheting since May, and this evening he talked me through making a granny square.  It seemed implausible that it would actually be a square at the end, but it was.

9/22: contemplating contemplative practices

Two colleagues and I had dinner together to discuss a book we had read about integrating contemplative practices into college-level courses.  Though the book ended up being disappointing, the conversation we had was rich and full.

9/21: bloggiversary

9 years of good things, and now starting year 10!

(And I like "bloggiversary" with 2 Gs so that it looks more like "anniversary.")

9/20: pindar's word order

This morning I was looking at the word order in the opening of Pindar's 1st Olympian ode.  What's usually translated as a straightforward simile is not so straightforward:  if you go word by word it's a metaphor or equation first, then the simile word appears.  That's much more interesting.

9/19: morning, afternoon, evening

As I was getting ready to leave my house in the morning, I was thinking about my childhood best friend.  Just as I was about to send her a text, a text from her arrived on my end!

After lunch I was looking over the reading notes some of my students turned in, and one student used the adjective "thoughtsy" (on analogy with "cutesy").  It made me smile.

In the evening I opened my mail and found a print of Mary Ellen Solt's "Forsythia," which I love.  (Thank you, Carol!)

9/18: moth-writing

I was eating my breakfast on the porch this morning while it was still dark, and little moths were whirring around the light on the deck.  They caught the light and, against the dark background, their crazy-quick movements seemed like writing in the air.  If it happens again I'll try to take a picture, but this morning I just wanted to sit and watch.

9/17: kinds of quiet

Grocery shopping in the afternoon was hectic but surrrounded on both sides by more calming things:  reading on the porch, watching two deer graze at the edge of the woods, and going to compline.

9/16: before and after lunch

Before lunch:  experimenting with an idea for a pamphlet. 

After lunch:  writing a proposal for work.

In both cases I'd been thinking about these things off on on for months, and it feels good to put them in motion.

9/15: on its way

For over a decade I've been sending honey (from our bees) to a friend for Rosh Hashanah, but a few times I've cut the mailing close, and last year I didn't send it in time at all.  This year's honey, however, started its journey this morning and should arrive on Monday, well before the holiday begins.  A small victory, but I'll take it.

9/14: clytie & colors

When I was little we had a record that told a number of stories, and the story of Clytie was my favorite one on it.  Years later I read about Clytie in Ovid's Metamorphoses--a grimmer telling for sure!  Today I searched online and found a digital copy of the record from my youth and I had to listen to the Clytie story right away.  Amazing to be transported by the words and sounds back to an earlier me.  And interesting how the story merges the ancient myth with aspects of Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid."  (If you're curious, the recording is here and the Clytie story starts almost 5 minutes into the whole:  http://www.mousevinyl.com/content/best-loved-fairy-tales-disneyland-records.)

On my way to school this morning I stopped at the lake.  They recently moved an old bridge from elsewhere in Arkansas and installed it near the pier where I sometimes take pictures.  Today I tried some photos from the bridge, and this is one, with fall colors looking more like flowers than leaves:

 

9/13: an upturn

A difficult morning turned into a better afternoon because two dear people took time to communicate carefully and caringly with me.

9/12: beginning to read

...students' essays on Hawthorne's Wonder-Book.

9/11: taking a portrait

...of a new figurine on a new dollhouse rug:

9/10: morning kakaying

I was on the lake in the morning rather than the evening for a change, since I hope to go to compline this evening.

 

9/9: first chapter

I started The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, and what an amazing first chapter.

9/8: writing about reading

At Quiet Writing today I wrote for a bit about the experience of reading Franck Andre Jamme's New Exercises.  I'm trying to understand why reading it felt so amazing and liberating, and I think I made some progress.

9/7: syllables

I was working with a student on Greek pronunciation today, and I realized that instead of dealing with whole words we needed to focus on syllables.  It was fun, and I even made a voice recording on my phone that I could send to him so he could practice on his own.  And then I realized that the whole class should do some similar practicing, so I made a more comprehensive syllable sheet this evening and a voice recording to go with it.  (In general I really dislike having my voice recorded, so I must be keen on this project to throw that dislike to the wind or at least temporarily bracket it.)

9/6: phone calls

...with my mother and my sister.

9/5: a nook

There's a little area nestled into the winding staircase in my office building, and over the years I've thought that it would be a sweet place to read.  Today as I was heading upstairs after my last class a young woman was there!  I stopped to tell her it was the first time in 17 years I had seen anyone do that, even though I've thought about it a lot.  She was clearly happy with the nook, and I was happy at her happiness.

9/4: a new thought

...about Hawthorne's "Three Golden Apples" in A Wonder-Book.  It has a different feel than the other stories in the book--and I think I'm beginning to understand why it makes sense for it to be different.

9/3: creek time

I spent an hour in the creek at Woolly Hollow in the afternoon.  Neither cascade was running, but the creek itself was rushing in places and its sound filled my ears.  I got some very-close-ups of light on the rippled water, like this one:

9/2: friends

A day when the only interactions are with friends:  via email and telephone as well as in person.

9/1: discoveries

Finding an interestingly bound book at school in a Spanish professor's "give-away" pile.  It's so much nicer to have the glossary as a separate, parallel "book" instead of having to flip to the back to look up words--my Latin and Greek students would appreciate this format!


Opening the refrigerator door and seeing a HUGE jar of mild pepper rings that Chris bought for me.  (I love them and keep them around all the time, but an 80 ounce jar for a human family of two feels hilarious.)

Reading Carol Beth's comment about Thither we went.!

8/31: analyzing

...Hawthorne's "Paradise of Children" with my seminar students.

8/30: greek tales for tiny tots

I got a copy of Greek Tales for Tiny Tots through interlibrary loan and scanned it.  It was published in 1929, written by John Raymond Crawford and illustrated by Pauline Avery Crawford.  The cartoon drawings of the stories are often funny.  For instance, this one, in which Perseus and Andromeda have chocolates for breakfast:

8/29: commenting

...on some preliminary writing my students had done.  Their writing wasn't for a grade, and it won't be revised, so my comments could be differently pitched than usual, and that change felt good.

8/28: starting verbs

We moved from accents to basic verb forms in Greek class today--it's nice to be making meaning.

8/27: taking a break

...from the evening's work to go out on the deck and photograph the sunset. The flash of color and light didn't last long--I'm glad I was there for it.

8/26: making

...cinnamon rolls.

8/25: back to quiet writing

It was the first meeting of the Quiet Writing Community this semester, and it was so good to be writing in silent company again.

8/24: both kinds

We ate in the school cafeteria tonight, and for dessert there was strawberry cake and German sweet chocolate cake--I couldn't make up my mind.  So Chris said, "You get one, I'll get the other, and we'll split them."  So we did, and it was good.

8/23: sunrise

The start of school means the return of the alarm clock.  But at least I get to see the sunrise:

8/22: meeting

...two of my classes for the semester.

8/21: eclipse at home

Our school had an eclipse-viewing event, but Chris and I decided to watch from home.  We lay down in our driveway on towels and pillows, put on our special glasses, and watched for about 45 minutes (straddling the point of most coverage) before heading to campus for the rest of the afternoon.

8/20: chocolate biscuit cake

It was my first time making one, and we've been eating slices of it for days without getting the least bit tired of it:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chocolate-biscuit-cake-364790.

8/19: cascade time

...at Woolly Hollow.

8/18: after a meeting

...at school we went to the art museum in Little Rock then to a microbrewery for dinner, and we were back home in time for me to kayak at sunset.

8/17: planning

...for my seminar.  I haven't pinned down all the details yet, but it feels good to have a clearer / firmer idea of how the course is going to go.

8/16: mostly smooth

I've been a bit nervous about heading back to work, but today's time in the office was okay.

8/15: abstract

...written!  And new thoughts formulated in the process.

8/14: an afternoon sighting

...of a coyote eating persimmons in the rain.

8/13: rain & air

A rare August day in Arkansas with rain and cool air.

8/12: busy morning, quiet afternoon & evening

This morning we got up early so we could pick up some medicine for the cats and run errands in town, but then we were at home for the rest of the day.  I made some collages in the afternoon and then watched Vera with Chris and the cats in the evening.

8/11: a walk alone

...on the beach in the morning.  And an unexpected life lesson was posted there:

8/10: sweet time spent

...with my sister and her spouse.

8/9: water at the beach

Oh I got to spend almost two hours floating on the incoming waves!

8/8: sky at the beach

We didn't have time to go in the water, but here's the sky as Chris, his father, and I stood on the boardwalk.

8/7: enjoying reading

...New Grub Street by George Gissing and some articles about museum history/theory.

8/6: a teeny tiny bunny

...hopping under our deck as I walked outside.  We've seen more rabbits than usual over the past year, but this was the tiniest rabbit I've seen here to date!

8/5: fresh figs in the morning

From Chris' fig trees!

And other good things in the day included receiving some really nice feedback about my Sisters pamphlet, finishing the revisions/expansions to my Beauty and the Beast paper, and getting to kayak for the third day in a row.

8/4: all three together

For a short time today all three cats were resting together on the same chair.  The two older cats sleep together all the time, but I didn't know if that would change when we introduced Phineas into the mix, and I didn't know if they'd cuddle up with Phineas himself.  Seeing them all together made me happy and made me realize how much Phineas has become part of our household in the past month.

Here they are (Em in the back, Tilde on the right, Phineas on the left):

8/3: an email

...inviting me to be part of a panel about Classics and children's media at a conference in the spring.

8/2: revising & expanding

...my Beauty and the Beast paper.  It's a matter of adding footnotes that connect what I'm saying to other scholars' work and mentioning a few things that there wasn't time to mention in the presentation.  When I get into this kind of work I enjoy it (but weirdly when I'm not doing it I forget how much I enjoy it).

8/1: reading some articles

...about the physicality of books, interacting with books, and book-binding.  They were on my summer reading list because some students who are doing a book-binding project with me wanted to read them so I thought I'd read them, too.  They were fun to work through, and I'll admit it was gratifying to see that a lot of what other people say resonates with the things I've done and thought in regard to book-making, book theory, and book history over the years.  It's reassuring to know that I'm not out in left field--or if I am, I'm not alone out there!

7/31: up early

During the summer I normally don't set my alarm clock, but I had to today because I needed to do some things before the door installation people were scheduled to come (right after lunch).  Being up early meant that I could enjoy the coolness of the early morning porch and get a fair amount of reading done before the time I usually get up.

7/30: woolly hollow outing

We spent the afternoon at Woolly Hollow.  I took pictures in the creek while Chris read on the bank.
 

7/29: walk with Chris

Usually I read and write in the morning, but today after reading for a little bit I went with Chris on his walk.  The flowers smelled oh so good!  And as I was taking a photo of a thistle, a skipper flew into the frame.

7/28: shorter hair

I got my hair cut earlier in the week and I'm feeling the goodness of the shorter length in the summer weather.

7/27: glasses

I chose two new sets of glasses frames this afternoon.  It'll be a few weeks until I can pick them up, but I'm glad they're in the works.

7/26: micro-collages

I met up with a friend and we made inchies from old Artforum magazines--we each did half of each, so that each one is really a mini-collaboration.  We backed them with magnetic tape to make it easy to put them on our filing cabinets in our offices at work.

7/25: smoother sailing

I've been thinking through an idea for another new pamphlet for two weeks, and now that the format for Hers is finally set I decided to give the new idea a try this afternoon.  And by this evening I had a little stack of them made (they're entitled Sisters: Three Palimpsests).  It's nice to have a smoother trip from idea to thing after having had to wrestle with Hers.

7/24: portrait time

...for a bear figurine:


Taking some funny pictures was a nice break from around-the-house chores.  And getting those chores done was a good thing, too.

7/23: summer rain

Chris, the cats, and I sat on the porch as the wind and rain churned up the green-and-brown smells of the ground and brought the temperature down.

7/22: all in one go

I try to proofread 10 pages each month for Project Gutenberg--it's not a lot, but it's a sustainable minimum especially during the school year, and of course I can always do more in a month if I want.  I did 12 pages for July this evening and am feeling happy that I started--and have kept on--volunteering this way.

7/21: finally?

My most recent pamphlet has been the most challenging to format so far.  I've had some breakthroughs over the past 10 days, and each time I've thought, "This is it."  But this evening I think I really settled on a final form.  Though it's been a clear development (retrospectively!), it's been a somewhat awkward and uncomfortable process, and I'm glad to have pushed through. 

7/20: three cats together

I've been a little worried at the changing dynamics in the house, with three cats now rather than two.  The two got along so well, often sleeping together and in general hanging out together.  The new cat is a kitten, so the older cats are needing to adjust to his energy and the kitten is needing to see how he can fit in.  But they were all three playing in the same room this morning and this evening--I'm hoping it's a positive sign for the future.

7/19: back to Trollope

It's time to write commentary on the uses of Classics in another novel by Trollope, and as I'm reading I realize how good it feels to be among his words again.

7/18: mail & email

So many great notes, postcards, and emails today--hurray!

7/17: creative projects

A kind of ache-y day, so it was hard to settle into any one thing, but I enjoyed a number of little activities:  hanging the banner Chris and I made, making a collage from Artforum clippings (I had been stuck on how to do it but then had a bit of a break-through), and experimenting with more paper-pocket formats for my pamphlet.

7/16: zuleika dobson

I've been having trouble picking books--though I'm loving listening to Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching novels, I've been disgruntled with my recent choices for leisure reading.  But now I've started Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm, and maybe I needed some British satire to shake me out of my rut!

7/15: painting

...a banner for one of our walls with Chris.

7/14: book-binding break-through

I worked on a new pamphlet last night:  I really love the words for it, but I've been having a hard time (since January!) coming up with a format that feels "right."  When I called it quits last night, I had something that would work, but I wasn't super-psyched about it.  This morning I paged through an old Artforum while drinking my coffee, and while nothing in particular pointed the way forward, just seeing other people's experiments seemed to help, and by lunch time I had a good way forward.  By dinner-time I had refined the idea even more, and now I have a prototype in hand.

7/13: Shakespeare's dust

I started Dust by Michael Marder, and my jury is still out on it (though I'm tipping toward the not-so-pleased with it).  But he did mention one of Shakespeare's uses of "dust" in Hamlet, and that prompted me to look at all of Shakespeare's uses of the word and categorize them.  A kind of fun activity with my morning coffee.

7/12: paper

A kind of paper I ordered for a project arrived, and it's pretty much exactly what I was hoping for (always a risk when you order sight unseen).

7/11: teaberry cookies

I love teaberry ice cream and frozen custard--it's a taste I associate with the summers of my childhood.  I recently bought some teaberry extract, and today I used it to make an Amish cookie recipe.  I halved the recipe, but still ended up with 44 cookies!  They're tasty, though, so I won't mind eating them.

7/10: cascade

I drove to Woolly Hollow in the evening, and when I got out of the car I heard the rushing water of the cascade.  It seems late in the year for it still to be running, and I was so glad.

7/9: power-washing (part 2)

Today I power-washed the porch furniture and then (sans power-washer) scrubbed and mopped the porch.  The porch feels and looks so much better now--I hadn't realized how much gunk had gradually accumulated through the past few seasons.

7/8: power-washing (part 1)

This morning I washed the kayaks with our new power-washer.  They look great.

7/7: finished

...Walking by Thoreau. I'm pretty vexed by the book, but I've left it half-done since early in the year so it felt good to finish it while drinking my coffee on the porch this morning.

7/6: re-railed

I got myself a bit emotionally derailed in the late morning and into the early afternoon, but then I switched to work on projects that made me feel like me, and--bam--I was back on track.

7/5: quiet writing

...with a colleague and friend in the library.  (Jackhammering outside, alas, but it was still wonderful.)

7/4: better relations

We brought home a new (as yet unnamed) kitten yesterday, and Tilde and Emma weren't too happy about it.  Today there's been some thawing in the inter-cat dynamics, and let's hope it continues.

7/3: walking track

I'd not been to the indoor walking track for quite some time.  It was good to go this evening:  I needed to move; it was uncrowded (only 2 other people on the track); and listening to Pratchett's Hat Full of Sky made me smile.

7/2: 65

...Postcrossing postcards traveling.  It's been a long time since I've had in motion all the cards I'm allowed to have in motion, but I was feeling like it's weird to have a lot of cards piling up at home unsent so I've spent some hours this weekend writing and stamping!

7/1: leftover lunch

Orange tofu on rice, leftover from yesterday's dinner.  It was my first time making it, and it was easy enough and successful enough that I know I'll make it again.

6/30: a June tradition

Making our Moon & June cake.

6/29: ten things with thanks to barbara

I've been out of sorts today, but was heartened by remembering the advice of Barbara (a fellow blogger), who said that on tough days you just need to keep going until you do ten things.  So:  reading Artforum, paying bills, balancing my bank accounts, proofreading for Project Gutenberg, making flight arrangements with Chris for an August trip, going into town for some errands and dinner with Chris, grocery shopping (again with Chris!), writing to a fellow presenter from the conference to let her know how much I enjoyed her paper, ordering new swimwear for the August trip as well as some replacement clothes (I let some things get threadbare or worse), texting back-and-forth with my childhood neighbor/best friend.  I'm still out of sorts, but I'm so grateful to remember Barbara (she passed away a few years ago) and have her advice to keep me company.

6/28: phone call

...with my brother.

6/27: cool morning

Perfect weather to return to porch mornings.

6/26: robert louis stevenson

Chris and I listened to Treasure Island on the drive to Tampa and The Master of Ballantrae on the way back.  We finished just as we turned off the highway and onto the road to our house.

6/25: cemetery stop

We did half of the drive home today and stopped in Cuthbert, Georgia, to walk through an old cemetery.  I took this picture of the tombstone for Aaron Lane Ford and Gertrude Castellow Ford:

6/24: ending on a good note

The keynote speech at the conference was very disappointing and frustrating, but the panel I went to after that had some nice surprises, which was additionally welcome since it was the last session I attended at the conference--good to end with food for thought and not annoyed!  In the afternoon I went to the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts with Chris.

6/23: a last minute choice

...to get a coconut iced coffee with my bagel at lunch.  It was a good split-second decision.

6/22: a better day

...at my conference than I had thought it would be.

6/21: a rainbow

...seen from the road.

6/20: alabama

...a new-to-me state.

6/19: emails

I get cathected about writing emails, and over the past week I've let them pile up.  But this morning I sat on the porch in the cool of the new day and got them done.

6/18: sharing

...a chocolate frozen custard with blueberries with Chris.

6/17: forgetting

...my worry about the conclusion to my paper while meeting up with a friend for iced tea, a chat, and a game of Quiddler.

6/16: experimenting

...with using pizza crust yeast to make cinnamon rolls.  And it worked!  Which means we made cinnamon rolls--start to finish, from measuring the ingredients to taking the baked rolls out of the oven--in 30 minutes.  This is a happy discovery.

6/15: memory game

I met a friend at a coffee shop and we played a memory game that uses images from Louise Bourgeois' Ode to Forgetting on the tiles.

6/14: using mind & body

A good beginning to my writing today, and then a good outing on the lake.

6/13: finishing with a phase

I finished typing up notes on the books and articles I read for my paper.  At times I was impatient with the process, but it ended up being really good, both helpful and enjoyable.

6/12: some good thinking

I'm behind on my work for my paper, but I am working, and today I did some good thinking (though of course I wish it were more).  And, happily, that thinking validated some of the reason for my falling behind:  my decision to re-read a novel that I thought would be a nice "extra touch" but ends up being pretty crucial.

6/11: baking

...the marinated tofu and loving it.  And then making a mini Baked Alaska because Chris often jokes that he'd like some and I thought it was time that the jokey wish became a reality.

6/9: more lake

In my kayak with the moonlight.

6/8: reading then lake and pier

A day of reading, and one of the articles I read--on the grotesque and Villeneuve's Beauty and the Beast--was really good.

Then, to try to give my mind a break, I went kayaking at sunset and noticed that the moon was rising.  So Chris and I drove to the pier to watch the moonlight on the water for a bit.

6/7: a summer morning

...on the porch with coffee, Chris, the cats, and Artforum.

6/6: returning

...to my work on Beauty and the Beast.

6/5: making

I've been working on a new booklet of Odyssey erasures today, and Chris has been learning how to crochet lace.

6/4: getting back on track

The past week has been not-normal, and I needed to take time to process that.  I'm still processing, but I'm also feeling like I need to move back into the stream of things, and so today I managed to take a walk with Chris in the morning before the rain started, make pizza with Chris for lunch, cook some curry for dinner, write an important letter to a friend, and do a bunch of Heron Tree stuff.

Here are two photos from the walk.  A pale wild rose:


And a bug with its head in a Venus' looking glass:

6/3: cloud eggs

...for dinner with Chris.  (And he bought a great bread to go with them.)

6/2: out a bit

I still have low spirits and a cold, but I ran some errands and that was good.  One errand included picking up packages from our in-town mail place, and a Quiddler set was waiting for me there, so I got to introduce it to Chris at tea-time today.

6/1: made easier

I knew I needed to make a certain decision and I even knew what it needed to be.  But getting some more information today made it all the easier--a clearer call that I don't need to feel regretful about at all.

5/31: rock and water

I woke up to sad news.  Chris said we should go to the cascade at Woolly Hollow in the afternoon.  It was a good thing to do.

5/30: finally

...going to a new micro-brew place we've been meaning to check out.

5/29: reading & seeing

Reading to a dear neighbor, and trying to be a peaceful presence in a difficult day.

Seeing peonies blooming along the north wall of the Schwab gardens just before leaving Loretto.

5/28: working

...on some hats I helped my mother design for Beauty and the Beast.  And the director liked a picture of one of them that my mom sent him.

5/27: dinner and cards

My mother, our long-time neighbor, and I went out to dinner at a Greek restaurant we've gone to whenever I've been in town over the past few years.  And then we came home to play Quiddler, which we're all newly hooked on.

5/26: cordial kits

The first of the dandelion cordial kits were made and shared today: syrup, cans of seltzer, a lemon, and the directions for making lemonade with it all.  And I got to enjoy some myself while chatting with a childhood friend before taking one of the kits up to her parents at their house.

5/25: the lake

It's been windy and/or rainy for most of my time in Loretto:  not the right weather for visiting Lake St. Francis and taking water photos.  But yesterday there was a space of clear weather and low wind after dinner so I took a quick walk down to the water.  The light was low, but the bank of cow parsley across the water was lovely.

5/24: gutenberging

I finished May's proofreading for Project Gutenberg with some pages from Alfred J. Church's retelling of the Iliad for children.

5/23: cooking & baking

...to celebrate my mother's birthday.  The day started with our cooking cloud eggs as part of a fancy breakfast and moved into baking a chocolate garbanzo bean cake for dinner's dessert.

5/22: done

...with the last of the bureaucratic tasks for the 2016-2017 school year.

5/21: helping

...a friend with her laundry.  (Okay, I wasn't much practical help, but at least I kept her company at the laundromat.)

5/20: sharing

...the dandelion cordial with my mother and two friends!

5/19: wisteria

...on the Schwab estate.

5/18: picking dandelions

...for dandelion cordial.

5/17: walking

...in the older part of a small village cemetery with an old friend.

5/16: reading

...some secondary scholarship about versions of Beauty and the Beast and enjoying thinking about the ideas involved.

5/15: compliments

...from really nice people on my favorite suit.

5/14: forest morning

Chris wanted to show me a flowering bush in the woods this morning, and as I took pictures of it I realized that if I focus on something far away while having my camera set on "microscope," I get a great bokeh effect.  I think this captures the feeling of being in the springtime morning forest:

5/13: turning the day

The day--and I!--felt glitchy into the afternoon, but then I decided to try to work myself into a better way.  I spent time hanging out with Chris, had tea on the porch with the cats, helped a little bit while Chris made me a great tilt lamp that looks like fireflies in a jar, made vegetarian poke bowls for us for dinner (a first for me and I'll definitely make them again in the future!), and went kayaking after dinner (my first outing on the lake of the season).

5/12: digital and analog

Today I set up the Altered Odysseys website to display some of my students' work for a creative project they did over the past year.  It feels oh so good to have it up and running--it was something that I was finding hard to do during the semesters. I also posted a call for submissions on the International Union of Mail Artists website, so I hope we get some other contributors.

And this afternoon I spent an hour cutting and pasting low-pressure collages with a friend at a coffee shop.

5/11: before the rain

A trip to Woolly Hollow was disappointing this afternoon:  the creek and cascade are still blocked off due to damage and overflow from recent rain--and then on the way home we got a flat tire.  Luckily we weren't far from home when it happened, and also luckily Chris was great at changing the tire before the rain poured down (I read him the directions from the manual).

Here's a rose that I paused to take a picture of before heading home from Woolly Hollow:

5/10: stopped in our tracks

We paused on our evening walk to look at some blossoms that had fallen to the ground, and then we heard some light popping sounds.  It was the tree letting go of a lot of the blossoms at once and the blooms falling to the ground!  We'd never heard anything like that before.

5/9: two

...students came up to my office after our last class meeting to say goodbye and thanks.

5/8: grading

...Latin tests and Myth tests (though there's still plenty more of each to do).  I got a lot of the Latin grading done while the students were working on different parts of the test (an unexpected goodness), and some of the Myth answers were really interesting to read (which is always sweet).

5/7: forgoing flying

...to write the Latin final exam.  Though I was sorry to miss out on a beautiful day in the air with Chris, it was the right thing to do to head to school in the afternoon and put together the Latin test in quiet and calm.  I'd have been much less collected if I had waited to do it this evening.

5/6: chris laughing, chris defending

Laughing:  at The Man Who Came to Dinner.  It's one of my favorite movies, so Chris has seen it many times over the years.  But it had been awhile since our last viewing, and Chris suggested we watch it this evening as a way to combat some physical woes.  It was great to have him laughing next to me, and it did make me forget my physical woes!

Defending:  Trollope.  I read a reference to Trollope as an author "in the first rank of the second tier" or something like that, and it made me really sad and mad.  I mentioned it to Chris and he jumped right in with indignation of his own.

5/5: a semester of quiet writing

It was the last quiet writing session of the semester.  I'm glad that I stuck with it, and I'm thankful that I had company along the way.  I'm grateful, too, to the library for letting us use such a great room each week.

5/4: hd's analogy

...of myth as both the lamp (the story/narrative/plot) and the light in the lamp (what the story gets us to think about).  I mentioned this to my students at the start of their final Myth test this morning.

5/3: smell, sound, and sight

The smell of flowers in the air before and after the rain.

The sound of the rain coming down; I paused on the porch to listen before heading to my car.

The sight of the trees through the rainy-day windows in my hallway at work.

5/2: new chairs

...for my school office.  Something I've needed for awhile (the chairs that came with the office aren't great for all body types) but the departmental budget couldn't accommodate.

5/1: the return

...to our own bed and the cats and electricity.

4/30: the flexibility

...to check into a hotel for the night when the power goes out at home.  It wasn't bad to spend the day at home without power (enforced quiet & focus!), but it'll be chilly at night--and so heat as well as the ability to take a hot shower in the morning will be welcome.

4/29: the book review comes through

...by mentioning a book that just came out and that I need to read for my conference paper in June.

4/28: second friday

...in a row that I've gotten to do some book-making.  A student had mentioned that she was thinking of making a miniature coloring book with some of her designs, and I said I'd bind them for her.  Today she dropped them off, so this evening I worked on scanning the images and designing the format.

4/27: another emblem

I gave the Latin class individual photocopies of this emblem (link) yesterday; it was fitting, I thought, on a day of bad weather.  Today I found this one (link) to give them on Monday since it'll be our last class meeting and the emblem's about endings.

4/26: a few

...drop-ins at a notebook-making workshop this afternoon.  It was perfect to have a handful of people (but not more than that) and a break from normal kinds of work.

4/25: two

...bluebirds flying overhead on my walk from the parking lot to my office building.

4/24: cancelling

...a meeting for tomorrow, making today much less stressful.  (The stress would be worth it if the meeting could have helped--but it couldn't, so it would just have meant extra stress.)

4/23: scanning

...one of my students' Odyssey alterations.  It was great to see them altogether as a set.

4/22: making

...a new pamphlet!  This time, an erasure of a journal entry by Dorothy Wordsworth.

4/21: loosening

...my thinking with my weekly quiet writing session.  It helped me figure out what to do for my final exams.

4/20: different seat

I've been sitting in the same place in faculty meetings for a number of years now (a decade?!).  Today Chris and I sat in a different spot--across the room--and the change in perspective was good.

4/19: trying out

...the ancient game of knucklebones, but with plastic ones!

4/18: signs of mid-spring

Honeysuckle and whippoorwills.

4/17: mail and email

I got a great email from a friend this morning and then an amazing photo from a penpal in Switzerland this afternoon.

4/16: hot cross buns

...which Chris picked up at the store because I remembered they'd be in stock for Easter.

4/15: attending to things

Some practical things have gotten pushed to the side in the past 2 weeks, but today I organized receipts (for taxes and for reimbursement from work) and bought my plane ticket to Loretto in May.

4/14: at twilight

A walk with Chris on the ridge and two bats zipping around above us.

4/13: making progress

...on my back-log of grading.  Which is a good thing because a pile of tests came in this afternoon.

4/12: mapping out

...the remaining assignments for the semester for one of my courses.

4/11: reading a bit

...before going to bed.  I haven't been doing that lately as much as I should.

4/10: foggy but not worse than that

I'm in a fog or haze of tiredness and allergies.  But I got through the day non-disastrously and am feeling a little less self-conscious than I have recently, and those are good things.

4/9: experimenting

I was worried that my plan for the conference wouldn't get "buy in" from the attendees, but they were very up for trying what I suggested and talking and sharing.

4/8: only

Thinking about the weirdness of the word only while sitting on a balcony among trees in the late afternoon light and mild air.

4/7: just a little bit away

I'm spending the night in a resort in Heber Springs, which is about an hour from my house.  I'm here for work this weekend, but the surroundings are a pleasure.  I arrived around sunset and got to sit on my room's private balcony amidst the dogwoods as twilight came on.  It was a tough day with some goings-on in my department, so I'm glad for the step away.

4/6: a good thing early

A number of years ago a colleague and I started a tradition at our school:  on the first 3 Thursdays of April--as a way of celebrating National Poetry Month--we have chalk available around the campus fountain so that people can chalk bits of their favorite poems on the pavement.  Since today was the first Thursday I took my bucket of chalk out to the fountain early, and my colleague was already there, chalking.  I didn't look at what she had chosen to write.  I had decided to write out Karen L. George's remixes of two Emily Dickinson poems (you can read them in Heron Tree's found poetry ebook, downloadable at this link).  And then it turned out that my colleague had chosen an Emily Dickinson poem, so there was unexpected/unplanned synergy between our selections.

4/5: qwc

A colleague referred to our "quiet writing community" with its initials today, and that made me smile.

4/4: reading and remembering

I read Euripides' Iphigeneia at Aulis (in English) tonight and had vivid memories of translating it in 1989.  I'm enjoying how this Trojan War class is stitching together different parts of my reading life.

4/3: sophocles

We're reading Sophocles' Philoctetes in one class and his Trachiniae in another, and I'm enjoying thinking about them side by side.

4/2: dogwood day

The annual trip into our woods to visit the flowering dogwoods is one of our household holidays, and it was today!  We went in the morning when the light was great and before the rain and thunder rolled in.

4/1: cascade

Chris and I took a visiting friend to Woolly Hollow this afternoon, and the water was running over the rocks.  We sat at the top of the cascade in the dappled sun and looked down at the jumping water.

3/31: done

I ran my last public event for the school year this evening:  a dinner/reading focused on Horace's Odes.  I think it went well, and I'm also glad that my slate of events is over for now.

3/30: good q & a

I hosted a public lecture by a visiting speaker this evening, and after it there was time for a question & answer period.  People were engaged and intent and asked good questions.

3/29: class discussion

...about Alice Oswald's Memorial.

3/28: time with poetry

...both ancient and modern:  Horace's Odes, as well as poems by H. D., Andrew Davis, and C. P. Cavafy about the Trojan War.

3/27: twombly and aeschylus

Cy Twombly's Fifty Days at Iliam today in the Trojan War class.

And prepping Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound for tomorrow's Myth class.

I'm tired and sick and piled up with tasks, but--wow--are Twombly and Aeschylus good things to have in my day!

3/26: nevertheless

I'm not feeling well today:  I had a rough night and then a day of sinus trouble.  But I quietly worked through some tasks and am trying to enjoy a bit of quiet before the next two crazy busy weeks begin.

3/25: feeling glad

...that there's still one more day after today before heading back to school.

...that I got more spring cleaning done.

...that there are more Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett to listen to, since I finished Wintersmith.

...that I wrote an email (and, I think, a good one) instead of putting it off.

...that Chris and I had salad for dinner rather than getting fast-food take-out.

3/24: dogwoods

...all around town and along the road into town!  And the "volunteer" dogwood in our yard is getting its first flowers ever this year.

3/23: spring cleaning

Chris and I began some planned spring-break cleaning today.  It feels good.

3/22: taking the plunge

I've been playing around with the idea of organizing an online working group focused on Classics and children's literature, and finally the idea needed to be either abandoned or moved into actuality.  So today I made a website and tomorrow (with luck) I'll send out a call for participants.

3/21: out in the world

I was at odds with myself today:  spirits and energy were weird and low.  I needed to be lifted out of my mind and muddle a bit, so Chris and I ran some errands and got pizza for dinner.

3/20: work & play

This morning and afternoon I worked on school tasks, including making posters for a visiting lecture and flyers for some of next year's classes.

This evening after dinner I went for a walk and afterward joined Chris and a neighbor at the dock, where we talked until dark had settled in.

3/19: the air!

Even though I witnessed it, I can hardly believe how full of flowers the air has been today!

3/18: first sightings for the year

...of butterflies.  The caught the eye of even Emma the Cat, who watched them with us.

...and a bat.  We saw one as we walked back up from the dock this evening.

3/17: more thinking

During quiet writing time in the library's special room I wrote a lot about Alice Oswald's Memorial.

3/16: thinking

I'm very tired this evening but even in my tired haze I've very much enjoyed thinking about the Iliad and its relationship to An Iliad by Alessandro Baricco.  I feel like I'm doing real thought-work.

3/15: three things

I've been doing extra-curricular workshops on campus each year on bookbinding and altered text/found poetry, and today I realized that those workshops have spurred students to undertake some good projects of their own.  Of course, it's fine if workshops are a "one off" kind of experience, but today it felt rewarding to realize that my workshops changed people's paths a little bit.

I wrote an email to my colleagues and feel much, much better about departmental issues than I have in awhile!

And I actually took some time to go to the dock near sunset, something that used to be a much more common occurrence than it is these days.  The water was sparkly in a not-usual way:

3/14: waxwings in the morning

I did my Latin prep at home this morning and so got to see the waxwings flying to and from the holly bush for berries.

3/13: noticing more

...flowering native plum trees as I'm driving to school.  I had been wondering where they had been this year, but I think I just started looking for them too early.  Now I see a lot of them.

3/12: enjoying again, but now on foot

Yesterday we looked at the flowering native plum trees from the car.  Today we went into the woods near our house to visit some close up.

3/11: enjoying

...the scattered redbud and wild plum trees seen from the car as Chris and I drove into town and back home again.

3/10: reception

I was worried that Barrico's Iliad might be a hard sell in my Trojan War class, since it's coming after the picturebook version of the Iliad we read and we're in a low-energy point of the semester.  But the students seemed animated by and about it--and they especially liked the Thersites chapter, which I'm really taken with, too.

3/9: in my office at night, reading

...An Iliad by Alessandro Baricco (translated by Ann Goldstein).  I'm so glad I pared down the selections my students are reading, giving them--and myself--the time and space to linger, think, and enjoy.

3/8: gain not loss

We've been talking about a picturebook version of the Iliad in my Trojan War class, and sometimes it's hard to discuss an adaptation without lamenting what it's left out.  Today the class made a nice move away from that and toward interpreting the picturebook's program itself.

3/7: two former students

I got an email today from a former student:  she told me that she'll be participating in a travel-seminar in Greece this summer and that another one of my former students will be on the trip, as well.  They didn't overlap during their undergraduate time, so their paths are crossing for the first time, knitting together student generations.

3/6: questions

It was good mental exercise to come up with a set of final discussion questions about Cross and Packer's picturebook version of the Iliad.  Now I'll be excited to hear the students' answers!

3/5: walk and words

Low spirits this afternoon were dispelled by a walk on the ridge while listening to more of Wintersmith.  Oh what will I do when I finish this book and its sweet pleasures are over?  Hopefully the other Pratchett novels featuring the character Tiffany Aching will be as good!

A narcissus at the end of my ramble:

3/4: work and leisure

I graded the Iliad tests in the morning and early afternoon, then got ready to meet a friend for coffee/tea.  We sat in the sun and talked.

3/3: proceeding

...with various things at work, despite feeling overexposed and vulnerable.

...with writing in my notebook on Friday afternoon, even though it would have been more practical to spend writing time on emails.

3/2: talking

...about The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead with two colleagues over lunch today.  I think we had a really good and intense conversation!

3/1: taking a break

...to do a Latin-into-English erasure of a page of Ovid's Metamorphoses.  It was hard to "get in the zone" (partially because I hadn't done one of these cross-language erasures in a few months and partially because everything's so busy), but I persisted and it was a good thing to do.

2/28: internet radio play

A student sent me a link to "A Drop in the Ocean," an Odyssey-inspired radio play taking place on a submarine, and it was great to listen to it today in my office.

2/27: two chapters

...of The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason, which I'm preparing to teach tomorrow.  I don't think I love the whole book (will need to spend more time with it), but I really like these two chapters--"A Night in the Woods" and "The Book of Winter"--and I hope the students will enjoy reading/thinking about them, too.

2/26: planning

...the upcoming assignments for the picturebook version of the Iliad we'll be reading next in the Trojan War class.

2/25: posted

Oh the Trollope commentary for The Three Clerks is finally complete and published!  I love Trollope, and I enjoyed reading and thinking about The Three Clerks a lot--but the work on this novel (which started in spring 2015!) got complicated because of some wrinkles with a student in summer 2015, and then there was a ripple-effect of delays, both practical and psychological.  But now it's done.

2/24: a company of three

...of us at quiet writing this afternoon.

And while I was writing I had a little (start of a) break-through connecting Twombly's Iliam series and Alice Oswald's Memorial.

2/23: complimented

...by a colleague on my use of my turn signal while exiting a roundabout!

2/22: revisiting the slow professor

I read The Slow Professor over the summer and discussed it with some colleagues in the fall.  Today I met with a different group of colleagues to talk about the book, and it was great to hear their thoughts and enjoy an hour of engaged conversation together.

2/21: working

...at home for an hour or so this morning before heading to school.

2/20: a little holiday

No classes today because of the national holiday, and I enjoyed...

...getting to sleep in.

...working on the porch a little with the cats for company.

...going into town for a hair-cut that was hard to schedule on a day when there was school.

...taking a few photographs of blooming things in the yard (and then ordering postcards of those pictures as well as yesterday's).

...reading my students' analysis sheets on passages from book 24 of the Iliad.  They used a format that I'm experimenting with this semester, and they did really nice work.

...finishing the Odyssey.  What a semester: one in which I get to read and teach both the Iliad and the Odyssey!  And reading the Odyssey reminds me of translating parts of it in graduate school with a fellow graduate student as we sat outside in the UCLA sculpture garden--that's as much as a landmark memory as the Iliad landmarks I mentioned last week.

2/19: in the air

Chris and I went flying this afternoon.



(notice the little bridge that doesn't meet one side)



2/18: a kind response

I flubbed something in an email to my students because my mind was in weekend-mode.  I apologized, and a student wrote back a super-kind response, mentioning a flub-up he had made earlier in the day out of tiredness/weekendness as well.

2/17: solo

My colleague couldn't join me for quiet writing in the library at the end of the day, but I went myself and it was good.

2/16: remembering reading

I finished reading the Iliad (in English) this evening, and book 24 is so, so good.  Not only have I enjoyed reading the Iliad again after a space of (too much) time, but I've also been glad to feel the layers of past readings.  Particularly keen are memories of translating some passages with my college Greek professor in 1988 (when my Greek was basically brand-new), of working my way through the whole Iliad in Greek during my second semester of graduate school in 1991, and of reading the text in English with my "Women in the Iliad" class at the University of Rochester in 2000.  Of course there have been other passes through the poem at other times, but these are landmarks for me, and it was good to acknowledge--and feel the resonance of--these fixed features of my reading landscape.

2/15: a question about bodies and the answers

I asked my students a question about the many (many!) descriptions of bodies becoming undone in battle in the Iliad.  Their answers were great.  I wrote them up on the board as they talked and then didn't want to erase (and lose) them all.  So I asked a student to take a picture with her cell phone and send it to me.

2/14: at the end of a long day

Every day this week I'll be coming home later than usual.  Which means coming home hungrier than usual.  Today when I arrived Chris had a plate of cheese and bread for me to graze on while I made my dinner.

2/13: preparing

...a Valentines Day activity for Latin class.  We'll be translating short friendly sayings into Latin and then writing them on little cut-out hearts.  It will be sweet!

2/12: more of many good things

More Iliad, including book 21--Achilles fighting the river!

More Iliad erasure.

More Wintersmith.

More Heron Tree.

I usually stick to the "less is more" mantra, but there's a place for "more is more" too.

2/11: formatting

I spent the day formatting the PDF that collects all of the poems in Heron Tree's Found in the Public Domain series. I wasn't able to add all the bells and whistles that I had imagined, but I did what I could, and it feels good to have pulled the volume together.  (You can view and download it here.)

2/10: quiet writing

...in the library at the end of day with a colleague. A good way to end the week.

2/9: reading the iliad

...and coming on great parts that I had forgotten--like when Athena puts nectar and ambrosia in Achilles' chest so he doesn't get hungry even though he's fasting in his grief.  Honestly, how did I forget that?  But I'm glad to have gotten the pleasure of (re)discovering it!

2/8: erasing the iliad

After I put together some materials this evening for an altered text/erasure/remixed poetry workshop I'm running tomorrow, I did a little erasure of my own on a page of the Iliad.  My challenge:  to make a battle passage not a battle passage.

2/7: translating

...the Dropkick Murphys' version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" into Latin this morning.

2/6: a supportive email

...from a colleague, and it was unexpected.  I felt like he understood and appreciated something I am trying to do.

2/5: time in the sun and water

Work-wise I didn't have time to spare to go out into the sun this afternoon, but I really needed to--and I did.  It had been over a month since I'd visited the creek at Woolly Hollow, so we went there:  Chris read while I waded with my camera.