Functional Friday

The plumbers did their job well, so now we can run water again, do laundry, wash vegetables and ourselves. Yay! It was quite novel to have breakfast before 9:00. Maybe I’ll get the hang of getting up early again.

Other things I have done today:

  • read for my grad class
  • corrected proofs for a book review
  • walked about 2 miles
  • met with a student
  • met with dead language group
  • cooked greens
  • processed two loads of laundry
  • bought groceries (there will be more cooking)
  • went thrifting, and scored an Eileen Fisher velvet top for $7

Thwarted on Thursday

I had plans for today, mostly about work I was going to polish off: research, service tasks, some stray things to grade.

But we have a clogged pipe in the basement, which I spent awhile trying to unplug myself, before I determined that I lack the right tools and we needed a professional. While doing this, I forgot all about a scheduled online student conference.* Oops!

Called the plumber, got voicemail, left a message. The cleaners came; I told them not to do any laundry and to take it easy on running water in the kitchen.

Called the plumber back, got a person who can send someone tomorrow (good), in the first morning slot, 8-10.

Back in the days when I regularly left the house before 7:00, I wouldn’t have minded this, but these days it’s noteworthy if I’m out of bed before 9:00. Sir John, as I frequently note, is a vampire. We do want to get our pipes seen to before the weekend, but this is going to be a little painful.

Well, yes, first-world problems.

In the end, I did manage to do some work on a spreadsheet, some edits on an accepted article that needed a little titivating, and my dead-language prep for tomorrow. And take a walk.

*Student hadn’t done the reading and was glad to re-schedule.

Ten things I did today

      1. Slept till 9:15
      2. Went for the longest walk I’ve taken since I got sick
      3. Read some of what I’ll be teaching in this week’s grad class
      4. Cooked brunch for the two of us
      5. Worked on a research-related spreadsheet
      6. From primary sources, answered an obscure question for a friend working on a related project
      7. Granted a student an extension on a paper coming due
      8. Took a shower to warm up
      9. Took a nap
      10. Set mousetraps

      Thanks to Ganching for the format.

      Ending one silence

      It has been a very, very long time since I’ve had any contact with my first boyfriend. We dated for four years, but it was an often-stormy relationship that ended badly. Some years back, I stopped thinking ill of him, and also got a better perspective on what a self-absorbed drama queen I was in my teens (“unlike every other teenager,” Sir John said, kindly).

      After some web-stalking and dithering, I sent him a brief note to say hi. He was pleased to hear from me, and wrote me the nicest note about my dad, really the best one I have received. I wish I could have told my father what he’d done for my boyfriend (I guess I need a pseudonym for him, although of course in my generation every man is named Michael, David, or John, so the real one wouldn’t give much away). If my dad remembered David (we’ll say), of course; in the last year, he seemed not to remember much about my youth. He knew perfectly well who I was, but I had the impression that along with being me, I sort of stood in, as well, for my mother and his mother, that I was an amalgam of every comforting feminine presence in his life.

      But my dad’s death was one of the prompts for initiating contact, along with memories of my mother, in her last years, worrying over someone she had dated, or been friends with, when she was young.* Somehow, she knew where this man was, or had been, and that his wife was still alive, and maybe he was. My mother worried and dithered over whether to get in touch, or if that would be unwelcome, and on and on, rather tediously. She never wanted to take the step, and that seemed sad to me. If there had been no response, or if she had been rebuffed, then at least she’d know; and maybe it would have been nice for them all to reminisce about the days of their youth. The passage of enough time can shift people’s perspectives remarkably.

      So I decided I’d take the risk with David, taking the advice I tried to give my mother. It seems like we’re in the same place as far as feeling that having been young together trumps any unhappy memories. It’s early days, but I’m happy that we can reconnect.

      At the same time, I think I needed the long break. If we’d always been connected through the Book of Face (which I have never been on), or had heard about each other through friends, that would make the situation feel very different. Probably a constant irritant, TBH.

      *I never was sure I had the whole thing straight; she tended to speak allusively, to forget that she was talking to someone who didn’t know the story, who hadn’t been there. But I think the story was that he was a college classmate, young but already married, with whom she had coffee a time or two. When he telephoned her house to make some arrangements (about a church-group gathering? again, not sure), my grandmother made a scene about her “seeing a married man.” But the wife was also a friend . . . I don’t know. It was very muddled. If you have a lurid mind, it could sound bad, but my mother was immensely innocent as a young woman, and probably thought it was the height of sophistication to have a cup of coffee with a married man.

      More silence

      Along with being able to silence my phone, it has occurred to me that when my Brother Less Reasonable sends me e-mail, I can . . . . . . . just . . . . . . . . . . not . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . answer.

      Even if I do the thing he wants me to do, I don’t have to tell him about it.

      I don’t need to placate him or humor him or argue with him.

      My Brother More Reasonable observes normal conventions of human interaction, like asking how Sir John and I are doing, and provides explanations/rationales when there are things he would like me to do. So he gets responses. I even enjoy interacting with him.

      Just Stay Silent. It’s an amazing pleasure.

      Cooking and conic sections

      I’ve had this tab open for ages because I meant to blog about the story. So here we are. I don’t remember now how I got there. xykademiqz? Rachel Neumeier? Or maybe some other writer’s/writing blog. Anyway, I enjoyed it. It was oddly prescient for 2015. Sad in places but hopeful, as well.

      At the fora-formerly-known-as-Chron, people are posting about an essay in the New Yorker on the decline of the English major. I no longer subscribe (after 30 years!), but read part of the piece at a site that pirated it. (In a month I’ll be able to get the whole thing via the LRU library site, if I really want to.) Various lines struck me as badly written, not up to what I think of the NYer’s standard, and then I hit the phrase “upside-down parabola.”

      A parabola describes a conic section. It’s a type of curve. It doesn’t have an inherent direction (up, down, left, right, whatever).

      I infer that the math major is also declining.