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.

2/3: bluebirds and a bid

I saw a bluebird at the same point on my drive to school for the third day in a row.  And I took myself out of consideration to be chair of my department next year, which is a real bid for sanity.

2/2: aunt florence

I logged into the blog this evening and found a comment from my Aunt Florence--what a wonderful surprise!  And what a wonderful person she is; I am lucky to know her!

2/1: pig & cake

I took one of my tiny pig statuettes to school with me today.  It travelled in my pocket and then kept me company on my desk.  Very comforting.

Also comforting:  little cakes after dinner.  We didn't have any, so Chris drove us to a nearby store to pick some up.

1/31: many thoughts

A day of thinking:  about the Iliad and the Odyssey, about philosophy and poverty (prompted by Chris' reading/thinking for one of his classes), about what it is to teach and learn an ancient non-spoken language, about moves people (in literature and in life) make to shore up their identity.

1/30: returning home

...to conversation with Chris and scallion pancakes.

1/29: sun, sound, and remembering

Walking in the afternoon sun while listening to (and still very much enjoying) Wintersmith.  And remembering that I saw an eagle on Friday afternoon.

1/28: a little break

...from my to-do list.

1/27: sorting and straightening

No one came to my office hours this afternoon--which is kind of sad.  But I used the time to do some organizing and clearing that really needed to happen.  I'm glad I'll be returning to a tidier office on Monday morning.

1/26: starting and finishing

...the workday with Homer:  the Odyssey in the morning, the Iliad in the evening.

1/25: unexpected

A spur-of-the-moment end-of-day conversation with a colleague.  And we kept realizing that there was more we wanted to talk about together.

1/24: a few postcards

...written during quick breaks at work and dropped off at the post office on my way home.  They were all for really nice people to whom I owed mail, and it felt good to be sending something their way.

1/23: toum

When we were visiting my brother in Salt Lake City we went to a wonderful Lebanese restaurant in his neighborhood--he's a lucky fellow; it's only a few doors down from his house!  I loved the toum (a kind of garlic sauce), so I decided to try my hand at making some myself.  We had it with a Lebanese-inspired dinner yesterday and today.

1/22: after (almost) a decade

...I'm teaching the Iliad again.  I had to stop teaching it when I got colleagues who wanted to use it in their regularly taught courses (so I switched to the Odyssey for the general Myth class), but this semester I'm teaching a special course focused on the Trojan War, and we are reading the Iliad in its entirety for that.  Of course the past ten years haven't been entirely Iliad-less for me:  I've taught some of it in Greek and looked at select parts in Greek and/or English for various classes and projects, but it feels very good to be revisiting the text as a whole again.

1/21: after a decade

I'll be teaching some students how to sew a Coptic binding on Wednesday, so I had to rehearse how to do it myself.  It had been a decade (and perhaps a bit more than that) since I had done that kind of stitch.  It's not my favorite binding to do (hence the decade hiatus), but getting into the rhythm felt nice.

1/20: resurgam

I started today's Latin class with asking them to translate the verb form resurgam ("I will rise") and then showing them sketches of the 19th c. submarines named Resurgam designed and built by George Garrett.

1/19: morning epiphany

...of a new kind of assignment to try out in my Trojan War class.

1/18: welcome feedback

...from my partner in the swap which prompted me to make the Robert Burns booklets earlier this month.  My pamphlets are unusual, so I'm always a little nervous when I send them into the world, and then it's such a delight (and relief) when people receive them kindly.

1/17: bookmarks

I designed some Heron Tree bookmarks last week, and today they arrived from the printer.  I liked the look of them on my computer screen, but I had been holding my breath / keeping my fingers crossed that they would look okay when printed.  And they do.  Whew.

Here they are:

And this one lists one noun from each poem in our fourth (most recent) volume:

1/16: finishing, starting, and continuing

Finished:  a writing project that's taken far too long.  As a bonus I especially liked writing the last sentence; it seemed fitting as a last sentence.

Started:  listening to Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett.  It took me awhile to choose a book to start listening to (I finished Arabella on Saturday), and I'm really glad I persevered and found this one.  I got pulled into the story so quickly that I kept sweeping the house just to keep listening.

Continued:  proofreading Alfred Church's Faery Queen and Her Knights. It's my favorite thing that I've worked on for Project Gutenberg so far.

1/15: antidotes

I started reading Thoreau's "Walking" yesterday and was excited to pick it up again this morning. Unfortunately, my feelings about the essay changed as I read on; I got more frustrated and disgruntled the more I read. I was keyed up with ambivalence! Working on Trollope helped, as did a gin and tonic, a walk to the lake, and reading some of Ben and Me (a childhood favorite).

1/14: accordion binding

It's not my favorite book-binding technique, but it lends itself well to presenting certain kinds of content in a way that mass-produced books can't, so I've ended up using it a fair amount--for falling down falling through (summer 2015), metamorphoses (summer 2016), and now sprung tune (January 2017), as well as for 2 color-concept blank booklets (inspired by paint chips) I made this evening.  It can be a vexatious binding, but I'm glad I've gotten all the practice with the form and some variations, and I've made my peace with it.

1/13: concrete & the faery queen

I read an interesting article in Artforum magazine this morning about the restoration of Wolf Vostell's Concrete Traffic and the use of concrete in his other art.

This afternoon I did some Project Gutenberg work, proofreading some pages of Alfred Church's retelling of Spenser's Faerie Queene.  Really fun.

1/12: porch time

It was warm enough to sit on the porch with the cats this morning!

1/11: venus

...through my camera.

1/10: a song

...that made me smile and laugh (in delight) so much I almost cried:  the Dropkick Murphys' cover of "You'll Never Walk Alone."

1/9: new plan

A project with a deadline didn't work out the way I had hoped it would, but I thought of a substitute that would do the trick.

1/8: at home

It was good to see my family, but it's also good to be back home and still have a week before I have to be in the office regularly. This evening I went to the dock at sunset time, and the wintry lake was shimmering as I listened to Arabella on my iPod. I felt like me.

1/7: squarrels

Our flight left later than others', so Chris and I had a little longer in Salt Lake City with my brother.  We went to an art museum, had a nice lunch out, and played Squarrels, one of the squirrel-themed games he had sent me for my birthday.

1/6: curry for Epiphany

When I was growing up my mother always used to make curry for the feast of the Epiphany.  Today we were all together in Salt Lake City and went out for a curry dinner.

1/5: kandinsky cupcakes

I'd been wanting to decorate cupcakes like Kandinsky's circles in this painting (link), and my brother and I thought it would be a good thing to do when the whole family got together.  And it was.

1/4: a reworking

I finished reading Clemence McLaren's Inside the Walls of Troy (which is on the syllabus for my Trojan War class this coming semeter), and I liked the way she re-did Priam's embassy to Achilles.

1/3: Chris & fiction

A day with some errands and some body pains--but Chris was a great companion around town, and the Comet in Moominland (out loud with Chris) and Arabella (on my iPod) kept me company at home.

1/2: moomins again

Chris and I started reading Comet in Moominland aloud together via Skype when he was in New Mexico last year, but he had some health troubles while out there that made reading aloud at night hard, so we put the reading on hold.  Now we've restarted the book, and oh it's fun.

1/1: coffee and Carmen Herrera

Chris was out walking when I woke up this morning, but before he went he had gotten everything ready for my coffee--all I had to do was flip the switch on.

And while I was drinking my coffee I read an article by Sarah K. Rich in Artforum about Carmen Herrera's exhibit at the Whitney.  I was so glad to learn about Herrera, and I really enjoyed Rich's comments about Herrera's use of triangles.