Since I came back to blogging, I have noticed that sometimes those blogroll lists that order people by how recently they’ve posted don’t always pick up my posts.  This happened with the one earlier today.  But sometimes when I post again, they get that one.  So I’m testing to see if this one will show up.

The writing year in review

A year ago, I had big plans.  And I didn’t think I could manage to live up to them.  How could I possibly complete four essays in a year, while teaching my regular load plus a summer class, commuting, and doing the necessary exercise routines that keep me from physical breakdown?  But I had the MMP-1, 2, and 3 to work on, plus an unforeseen opportunity that I couldn’t turn down, and a conference paper as well.

Readers, I did it.  In calendar 2014, I finished and submitted the MMP-1.  When it was rejected, I re-wrote it and submitted it elsewhere.  I turned in the unforeseen opportunity essay on time (still waiting for comments on it).  I wrote and submitted two encyclopedia entries of 1000 words each.  And as of about an hour ago, I finished and submitted the MMP-3.

So the MMP-2 is still a work in progress, and I have been neglecting the big translation project for months, and I have another conference paper to put together.  And at least one book to write!

I’m declaring victory for 2014, and in 2015 will be concentrating on the book and the translation, because those are the things that will make the most difference to my scholarly reputation.  I’m amazed at how much I did this year, and knowing that I finished so much makes me feel reasonably confident about my ability to finish the book.  Gods willing and the creek don’t rise, of course.  I’m superstitious, and I fear that Something Awful will crop up and keep me from doing the work I have planned.  But at least for this year, I did what I wanted to do, and that is a great feeling.  Even if my work gets rejected, I finished it, I sent it out, and I have those drafts to work with if they need further revision.  Onward and upward!

Happy new year, everybody.  I hope it’s a good one for all of us.

Gracious living

Over a decade ago, I lived alone (except for the beloved-and-departed tabby) in a third-floor walk-up with fantastic light and a treetop view on three sides.  It was warm in winter, thanks to powerful radiators.  It also had drawbacks, such as the French windows being so leaky that there was always ice on the insides on winter mornings, and being so hot in summer that I lived in the living room, sleeping on the couch, with the window-unit air conditioner blasting.  But I used my grandmother’s china, I had delicate liqueur glasses on display, and I often had fresh flowers on the table.  I thought I was practicing for the big, elegant house I would someday live in . . . graciously.

Now I realize that was the gracious living.

I know I’m a year behind, but I recently came across this series of posts: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/weekend-chores-flowers-floors-january-cure-assignment-2-198352

I liked the first one, about making a project list.  We need that, and it would be very helpful to have a list broken into projects focusing on specific rooms and areas.  But the second one (I didn’t get very far, did I?) just made me roll my eyes.  Fresh flowers.  We haven’t been able to have fresh flowers in the house since Basement Cat was a kitten.

“Think of the purchase as a gift to your home. It is an enjoyable, (affordable!) luxury but it goes far beyond just that. The flowers are a visual symbol of your commitment to caring for your home. In the Eight Step Home Cure, Maxwell wrote: As simple as it sounds, the act of buying flowers for your apartment holds great significance and will heal your home on many levels.

No, see, this is tantamount to saying, “Soak your furniture and rugs in water, tear the flowers apart and strew them over the floor, with special attention to the rugs, and then scatter rolls and puddles of cat vomit over the floor, again with special attention to the rugs and anywhere a human might walk with bare feet.”  It is not a gift to the house; it is paying for a whole lot of extra work and damage to the house’s furnishings.

OK, since the move I am using my grandmother’s china again, but I have no idea where the liqueur glasses are, and even if I did know, they can’t be displayed until and unless we acquire a china cabinet that will keep them out of reach of, you guessed it, felines.  Basement Cat is graceful and not a real danger to fine glassware or china, but Glendower is very clumsy, which does not prevent him from liking to explore shelves with objects on them.

And the china cabinet is not going to happen until we finish spending money on some of the project list entries.

I guess it’s nice to know that I experienced gracious living, once.  I wish I’d taken more pictures to remember it by.

Pedantic PSA

It’s that time in the semester: other people’s errors annoy me more than usual.  A reminder:

Flour does not fluoresce.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.