Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Evening drive...

22 July 2014: This evening I found myself feeling a bit glum and restless, so I hopped in the car for a drive. I didn't even know where I wanted to go, but I started with a run to the post office. I didn't go anywhere too exciting ultimately--just over to Martinsburg, where I ended up getting a sandwich at a Sheetz--but the drive was good for what ailed me. And this song, which popped up on my ipod, helped a lot, too. I might have put it on repeat and sang along. It might not seem like a "pick-me up" song, but it sure is soothing and pretty, and it worked for me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

"We've forgotten James Powell."

21 July 2014: It's been a quiet but good day here. With A&R and summer school over, I've got a lot of unstructured time on my hands and have the brain-space to really get back to some of my scholarly projects--which makes me happy. And, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I took a good, long walk. On that walk, I heard this episode of one of my favorite podcasts, The Memory Palace. It's  excellent: beautifully written and performed, sad and moving, and given some national conversations, very timely.

Road Trip wrap-up...

20 July 2014: A traffic-free, event-free, and fun ride back home after our road trip: the perfect end to a perfect road trip!

Road Trip: Downton costumes and Hamlet!

19 July 2014: Saturday was a nearly perfect summer day. My friends Anna, Hannah, and I took a mini-road trip to Delaware to see the Downton Abbey costume exhibit at Winterthur. In planning the trip, I realized that the Delaware Shakespeare Festival was putting on Hamlet that evening--outdoors, picnicking encouraged. What more could three English-minded folks ask for?

The trip up was fun and traffic-free. The exhibit was fun and interesting. The play was great. The weather was perfect. I mean, picnicking outdoors in July sounds like a risky proposition, but it was pleasant and breezy and lovely. Before the show started, the stage manager came out and made some general announcements. He mentioned that although the forecast called for a 0% chance of rain, if it did rain, the policy is to continue in light rain and, if it gets heavy, stop for twenty minutes and reassess. But again...0% chance of rain, right?

...Until Act 4, Scene 7 (really close to the end). And a light rain started. And the actor playing Laertes, in the really dramatic and sad scene where he learns of his sister's drowning, says the line" Too much of water has thou, poor Ophelia." And the whole crowd cracked up. The actor, God bless him, broke just a bit, briefly smiling and suppressing a chuckle before recovering quite well. It was a terrific moment. You could feel everyone--the actors, the crew, the audience--just hoping and pulling for the show to finish before the rain picked up. It actually ended (more or less) by the sword fight in the final scene. Anyway, a great night and a great day!

Oh--and I won the drawing for a free t-shirt!

Some pictures:

Cora's outfit from Baby Sybil's christening. 

Mary and Matthew's outfits from the cricket match.

Daisy and Mrs. Patmore's dresses.

Sigh! Mary and Matthew's outfits from their engagement scene. The scene itself was playing on a large scene in the background, with snowfall projected all along the wall. Very emotional!

One of Matthew's suits.

Sybil's shocking pants!

Sybil and Mary's dresses from Edith's (canceled) wedding. Edith's dress was there, too, but my picture didn't come out.

The exhibit had memorable lines of dialogue on the walls. This one made me laugh.
 Anna and Hannah picnicking before the show.


18 July 2014: After the successful end of the final A&R session, I had dinner with my some of my favorite people from work. We had a great time, laughing and being a bit silly, especially after sharing and watching this ridiculous video.

You know you are lucky when you have friends you can laugh with like this.

"All Will Be Well"

17 July 2014: After first hearing it on one of my favorite episodes of Parks & Rec, I really fell in love with this song. I (finally) used an mp3 credit from Amazon to download it and have been playing it frequently, including as my "wake-up track" on Thursday morning (and every morning since then). It really is a great way to start the day--soothing, reassuring, and just lovely.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A toddler's birthday party...

16 July 2014: Today my friends' daughter turned one and they had a little party for her. I actually haven't hung out with these friends in a while, so it was lovely to catch up with them, see their kids, see some other friends and their kids, and just relax a bit. And it was a gorgeous day today: low 80s, no humidity. A perfect afternoon/evening!

Tooth drama continues...

15 July 2014: So this tooth thing continues to be...well...a thing. The pain still hasn't ever really been excruciating (thank God!), but it is still not fun. I found myself getting really down and anxious about it on Monday night. So on Tuesday, I called the dentist and he (amazingly) fit me in again. This time we are going with some antibiotics, hoping they do the trick (it's a bit more complicated than that, but I am simplifying). And just like that--with a new plan of action and a blessedly open schedule starting on Monday (A&R ends on Friday, so no more worrying about scheduling any appointments around other commitments), I am feeling optimistic. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bonus friends...

14 July 2014: Today's post connects so nicely to yesterday's. Anyway, right before I went to work today, I checked the mail and saw that I had a card from Jane's mom; just a sweet "I'm thinking of you" note that really made my day. So yeah, in addition to having a BFF like Jane, I am blessed with a bunch of Bonus Friends in my life: her awesome family. (And Jane's Mom: if/when you read this, thank you so much. I can't say enough how much your card meant to me. I'll reciprocate soon!)

Super Jane!

13 July 2014: Once again, my dear friend Jane emerges just when I need her, really making my day brighter when we spoke on Sunday. She always knows just what to say, the right balance of humor, empathy, and understanding.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

PA Trip, Day Two

12 July 2014: Day Two of my visit was just as much fun as Day One. We went to the Arts Festival, had lunch, played yard games, and even some vintage Sonic the Hedgehog. And I got to hang out with this kid.

What's not to love?

Take me out to the ballgame...

11 July 2014: On Friday, I drove up to Erin and Eric's second home in Pennsylvania. They invited me for a visit and I had a lovely time. The highlight of Friday night was seeing the State College Spikes play a home game. There's nothing like a baseball game, especially with some of my favorite people.

"Summer Nights and Days"

10 July 2014: A bit of blogging catch-up to do, but I do recall that on Thursday night, this poem, by Rachel Hadas, really spoke to me. As an adult, summer is so strange for me, emotionally. Anyway, this poem kind of gets at that strangeness, which I appreciate. Give it a read-through.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good for what ails ya...

9 July 2014: I had round two of my root canal today. As I said earlier today in a text to a friend, it was "Root Canal 2: The Sequel. This time it's deeper, longer, and ouchy-er." Unexpected twists included a previously undetected nerve (perhaps why I was still having pain after Round 1, some instruments that seemed more appropriate for mining and others that seemed like something out of science fiction, and the promise of Round 3 later this month. Anyway, the dentist warned that I might be pretty sore the next day or so and while it isn't awful (yet?), it ain't pleasant, either.

But as my post's title suggests, there are some things in my life today that have been good for what ails me. Pain medication (duh!), the couch, Netflix (working my way through Season Two of House of Cards), and this guy...


He's been my sweet little shadow since I got home. (He's even sleeping next to me now, having found me upstairs in the guest room.)

I am pretty sure I've violated a self-imposed rule from earlier in the year, when I said I'd use cat-related things only once a month for these "year of thanks" posts, but it's been a long month (more than a month, in fact) with this tooth thing, and I can't help myself. I mean, look at these feet!

Plus, the medicine might be making me a bit loopy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Catching up with a good friend...

8 July 2014: Liz W. ("Wilkie"), one of my dearest grad school friends, now lives all the way in Minnesota, so we don't get to see each other very often. Especially frustrating are those times when she's back on the East Coast, visiting her family in Northern Virginia and we still can't work out a get-together. Such is the case with her most recent visit. She's flies back to Minnesota tomorrow and we didn't get a chance to hang out. But we did manage to have a great phone conversation just a little while ago. Talking with her always makes me smile. And laugh my butt off. Example? I told her about my dental issues (sigh...) and, at the end of our conversation, she said, "Good luck with all things oral." I am still laughing at that sign-off.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My "camp" friends...

7 July 2014: I know I've posted before about how much I enjoy getting back to Summer A&R every year, but today I am especially appreciative of the folks I work with in these sessions. I had a lot of non-advising things on my mind today, but being with and working with them was a happy distraction. I am really quite grateful.

Tim's birthday...

6 July 2014: Last year I posted about my first visit to Daedalus Books in Maryland. On Sunday, I went back again with Tim and some other friends to once again celebrate his birthday. I spent less this time, but still brought home a nice stack of books. More than that, though, it was great to see Tim and my other friends.

Trimmed trees...

5 July 2014: My parents and my brother Ryan stopped by on Saturday afternoon. They helped me fix a piece of my fence that had blown off in a bad storm last week. Then I asked Ryan for some help with a couple of little trees in yard. He's a tree expert, after all, with years of experience in landscaping. You see, the trees had grown bottom heavy (if that's the right set of words???) and needed to be trimmed so that they'll grow taller. He got right to it and did a great job. In general, my brother is an awesome guy, but he showed an extra streak of awesome when he helped me out with this.


4 July 2014: While at the supermarket getting supplies for our cook-out, Vogel and I tossed a package of cheap sparklers into the cart. Something about sparklers brings me back to my youth. Once it got good and dark, we sat outside, watched fireworks in the distance, and burned the sparklers. It was a cool end to a fun day.

Holiday weekend kick-off...

3 July 2014: Vogel came into town on Thursday, complete with her new dog, Lucy. It was nice to see them both and spend the 4th with them. Things were kind of mellow on Thursday night, since I had a root canal earlier that day and was both a bit sore and a bit loopy, but you know a friend is a good friend when you can put up with each other--and actually enjoy each others' company--in such circumstances.

A successful Session A...

2 July 2014: Session A (the first of five) of this year's A&R went really well. My group was small, but great and the registration process went perfectly. One down, four to go!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Look who's ten!

1 July 2014: My awesome nephew turned 10 today. Although I didn't get to celebrate with him in person, we did talk on the phone and my sister sent me a picture of him with the gift I sent him. (Also worth noting: he's wearing the gift I gave him last year.) Anyway, I love this little guy a lot, and talking with him was one of the best parts of my day.

Bing's Burgers...

30 June 2014: Monday morning and early afternoon were, for a variety of reasons, stressful and kind of emotional. By Monday afternoon, though, things had calmed down enough for me to relax and kick back with Bing and Wes. So here's Bing on the bed, watching Bob's Burgers on the Kindle.

Greek Tragedy and Good Friends...

29 June 2014: On Sunday afternoon, I saw the Rude Mechanicals' production of Iphingenia at Aulis. It was terrific, as are all of their productions. Some friends joined me for the play. Afterwards, we took at walk down to the Rumsey Monument and just sat and talked for a bit before grabbing an early dinner. Sunday afternoons/nights can get me a bit down, so this was a lovely alternative.

Day in DC

28 June 2014: On Saturday I visited the National Gallery of Art with a couple of friends. We saw an Andrew Wyeth exhibit, a Mary Cassatt/Edgar Degas exhibit, and spent some time with the Impressionists. (The museum has a special Van Gogh on loan.) After the National Gallery, we had lunch and then wandered down to the American History Museum and spent some time there. Then we headed home. It was a lovely day, and yes, once again, just what I needed.

Back to Advising & Registration, aka "Summer Camp"

27 June 2014: On Friday, we had our annual workshop/training session for Advising and Registration (where we help the incoming first-year students make their first-semester schedules and introduce them to campus). I always look forward to the workshop and the five A&R sessions because I get to hang out with some colleagues I don't see a lot during the regular year. It's a bit like a summer camp reunion.