Going back in time

On Friday, I thought I’d try tracking where I was every hour on the hour, sort of like in those “photo an hour” posts, but minus the photographs.

6:00 a.m., putting on my socks in bed, prior to sitting up for the rest of my clothing.

7:00 a.m., drinking tea in the rocking chair, Basement Cat in my lap, enjoying the early sunlight.

8:00 a.m., in the middle of a stretching session.

9:00 a.m., breakfast over, folding sheets from the dryer.

10:00 a.m., working on readings for my grad class.

11:00 a.m., same.

12:00 noon, finished putting PDFs, links, and self-typed files onto the CMS, about to eat lunch.

1:00, making notes in journal about what I’d been doing.

2:00, reviewing applications to LRU’s graduate program in English.

3:00, talking with Sir John about technical terms for roofing materials.

4:00, in my car, nearly to the town where I used to live, where I was going to pick up a new pair of glasses (old pair broke a couple of weeks ago).

5:00, shopping in the grocery store I used to shop in, larger than the local branch of that chain.

6:00, in my car again, almost to my exit.

7:00, gathering ingredients to make brownies.

8:00, watching a DVD with Sir John.

9:00, eating brownies with Sir John.

10:00, dozing off in the bathtub.

11:00, in bed with lights out.

It was strange being in my old town. The houses seem much closer together, the streets more crowded. More people were wearing masks outside, which makes sense for the denser conditions. One large building has now been completely dismantled, so that corner seems oddly empty. There was a new assistant at the shop where I picked up my glasses, though the optician I’m used to was also there. I noticed the flatness all over again. I feel much more at home here, with hills and, if not views, at least vistas.

It was a longish day, but not nearly as long as Fridays used to be when I got up at 5:45 to leave the house by 7:00 for a campus meeting at 8:30, and sometimes stayed on campus till 6:00, sometimes went to a social event on the way home, sometimes stayed up far too late reading to counteract the day full of people and events.

Same again

The view from my front door, this morning:

There’s a slight bump where the tallest sedum head was.

Bonus picture of squirrel (fortunately they’re good at digging):

More snow

The view from my front door:

Sedums straight ahead. The spiky green not-tropical plant to the left.

Weather for at least the next week is either “snow” or “too cold to snow.” This is proper winter weather where I live, and I’ve been putting up with this for longer than I lived in kinder climates, so you’d think I’d be used to it. I am, I suppose, but I still don’t like it. I like being warm, and going out without a balaclava, and seeing green stuff that isn’t African violets. When I still belonged to a gym, in weather like this I might go swimming, and then spend an hour or two in the steam room and on the pool deck, imagining myself somewhere tropical.

Yesterday I took a long hot shower with the bathroom door closed, fan off, and then just stayed in the bathroom till the steam dissipated.

It’s not the same.

At least we’re halfway through February, and at least we know how to deal with snow where I live (unlike, say, Texas). I need to pull up my socks and get on with things, since work doesn’t go away just because I’m sulking about winter, but I really miss the days when I could take my laptop out on the deck. Grumble grumble February grumble.

Another exciting day

Exciting because it was so almost-normal.

I woke up before my alarm went off, and would have been able to see the sunrise had there been one. But it was a grey day that just got gradually lighter, no color to speak of. Around 7:15 I started stretching, finishing half an hour later. I fed the cats, put in a load of laundry, ate breakfast, answered e-mail, wrapped a present for a friend’s birthday. Then I put up a discussion board question for a class, and hung the laundry on a rack to dry.

Around 10:30, I drove to campus, where I returned ten books and checked out three. I scanned four selections from various books for my grad class, and collected my mail, which consisted of issues of three different journals. Then I drove home again, thinking about passages to discuss in my afternoon class. I arrived in time for a half-hour lunch break before a half-hour language group meeting, then had about twenty minutes before my undergrad class.

Class was okay, but students weren’t very willing to talk. Discussion worked better last semester than at present. This might be because in the fall, more students knew each other from in-person classes. I know I have a few this term who are new to LRU. Or it might just be that it’s February and every day feels like a snowy Monday.

I had a little over an hour between the afternoon class and my night class. I ate dinner and tried to do some last-minute prep. I discovered that two of the pieces I scanned in the morning failed to send properly: I had two copies each of two selections, instead of one each of four. I think I know what happened, but I will need to make another campus run to scan the lost pieces. One of the grad students said, before we started class, that she was enjoying my teaching style and appreciated my approach to the class. This really threw me off! I’ve been feeling so barely-prepared for this class, and am constantly thanking my students for their patience with me as I make adjustments to the syllabus. The only thing I think I’m doing right is extending the same generosity to them when it comes to deadlines. We’re all doing the best we can, and it’s February, and we’ve had nearly a year of pandemic life.

After class I spent a few minutes reading through a conference paper I wrote nearly eight years ago. It’s supposed to be part of the book I’ve been working on at least that long. I’m wondering about expanding it into an article. I think this would just be procrastinating on the revisions I need to finish on another article.

On a normal day (old-normal) I would have stayed on campus for my classes, and then driven home at night. I might have managed to do some research in the afternoon slot when in this reality I was driving home.

Campus was eerily empty. While I was in the library, I saw six people, four of whom were staff. While I was in my office building, I saw one other person, a staff member who seemed to be roaming the halls for exercise, as I used to do on long on-campus days in cold weather. I had no trouble finding a parking place.

I used to get so tired of spending my life driving back and forth to LRU. I found my office building dreary, and had to remember that any library excursion would take twice as long as I thought it should. On this day, it was exciting to drive even such a familiar route (it’s been at least a couple of months since I last did so), and felt that I had never properly appreciated having an office to go to. The library errands took almost exactly the time I expected, since I didn’t have to search for books that weren’t shelved where they ought to be, nor did random books hurl themselves into my arms as I wandered the stacks, as the stacks are closed to patrons. Flirting with random books is one of the main things that used to eat up library time, but I miss those serendipitous discoveries.

Six on Saturday: in the bleak midwinter

Garden, what garden? It’s mostly buried.

I took this from inside. The focus on the bird isn’t great, but I like the effect of the blue shadows on snow. It’s almost like looking out to sea:

Hemlocks across the street:

That green spiky-leaved plant that kept hanging on? It’s still visible . . . just:

The sedums, less textural than they used to be:

Once these bits of vegetation were coneflowers:

The squirrels that visit our deck use a hole under the fence, when they can get at it. When snow covered it, they started jumping down into our yard from the neighbors’ tree. My husband observed their tracks in the snow and shoveled out their path, to make it easier for them to come and feed:

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, who has flowers blooming in his garden. Here, more snow is falling. TBH, I took some of these last Saturday, but I expect it’ll be much the same every Saturday for the next several weeks.

Where a day went

Yesterday, not today. In her Thursday post, Ganching said “It is very difficult to write a blog post every day when every day is almost identical. So what was different about today?” And I thought I’d have a go at answering the question myself.

I got up in time to see a very bright, glowing sunrise (red sky at morning, sailor take warning). I drank green tea while enjoying the sky’s color. Then I fed the cats and myself. For days I’d been trying to fit in a trip to Target to get new furnace filters, Brita filters, and assorted personal-care items, only to have other things come up (work; a last trip to the storage unit on Tuesday), and I decided, since a storm was moving in, that I wanted to go while the roads were clear. So I set off after breakfast.

It was really quite decent out: breezy, but above freezing, and there was some thin sunlight. The nearest Target had much of what I wanted, but not all of it. I had thought I might take a walk around the high school nearby, for a change of scene. I was correct that its sidewalks were clear of snow. However, for at least half a mile all around, all the streets are “no parking” all day long on weekdays. So that didn’t work out. I went home and walked to the post office to mail a package and buy stamps, instead, since the predicted snow was still holding off.

Back at home, I fed the cats and myself (yes, this does happen on a regular basis). I sat down to do some work in the hour or so I had between lunch and our cleaner’s arriving. It started to snow, fast and heavy. Sir John needed to go out to pick up cat meds, and had something he needed to get done before departing, so he asked if I’d shovel the driveway. I shoveled the entire driveway and the front steps while the cleaners were working. Snow continued to fall, more slowly than at first. I got on a video meeting, a minute or so late. When it was over, there were another couple of inches of snow on the driveway. I wondered if I should start re-clearing it, but Sir John called to say he was nearly back and not to bother. I decided that as it was late in the day and I’d done almost no work, I was going to say that Saturday fell on Thursday this week, and work on Saturday to make up. Since I wanted to say I’d done something fun with my day off, I started a jigsaw puzzle. Sir John joined me in working on it for awhile, but he had a video call with a friend during the evening, so I lingered over the puzzle on my own.

Before bed, I stretched and took a hot bath. I can feel that I shoveled snow yesterday, but I’m not too stiff. Today I cleared the steps again, but left the driveway to Sir John.