Hope Mirrlees

You know how when you learn a new word, suddenly you see it everywhere? Miss Mirrlees seems to be having a moment. I had notice of this translation in my inbox yesterday: Paris. And one of my students is doing a project on the Hogarth Press, so perhaps the original dust cover will soon swim into my ken.

Vocabulary lessons

I learn the most interesting words from watching the Tour de France. For example:

*Pandemonious. “This is a pandemonious stage!” (Bob Roll)
*Incredulation. “Look at the incredulation on his face!” (Phil Liggett)
*Dareness. “Does he have the, the dareness to go for it?” (Phil)
*Misery loves comfort. (Christian Vande Velde)—as Sir John said, “That’s not the expression, but it’s certainly true.”

There will undoubtedly be more of these over the next ten days or so. Perhaps I will remember to share.

In which I regret my love of sticky notes

Many of my readers will wonder how I could possibly reach this pass. Even if I have a lifetime supply, office supplies are a joy forever.

This regret has to do with my note-taking habits. Well, that and my tea-drinking habits.

I have finally got round to working with a book I’ve had checked out for, um, let’s just say awhile, and discovered that I did at one time start reading it. The first 90 pages or so had multiple blue sticky-notes stuck into them, with actual notes written on them (yay! not only did I start reading, I took notes, so I don’t have to try to figure out why in the world I marked that page).

So far, so good. However, through a combination of carelessness and clumsiness, yesterday I overturned a cup of tea on my desk, and this book was in the way. Since it’s a library book, I rescued it first, before any books, notebooks, or clothes belonging to me.* Interleaving it with lots of toilet paper and weighting the book means that today the pages are dry and flat, no warping.

Unfortunately, a number of the pages are also stained blue at the edges, even though I hastily removed all my sticky notes (which are now adorning my desk). Why couldn’t this have happened to a book I own? (Sod’s Law, duh.) I could tell, yesterday, that the sticky notes were sucking up tea much faster than the book’s pages, and there was only so fast I could work, particularly as I didn’t want to tear softened, wet pages.

I think at this point I should leave well enough alone. A quarter-inch blue edging is probably not the worst thing that could happen to a book, while trying to remove the color could cause further damage. We will not even consider trying to apply blue dye to the entire leading edge of the volume.

But I regret the bright blue notes.

More happily, perhaps this gives me license to procure more sticky notes, in paler colors! Any excuse . . . .

The corollary, however, would no doubt be that I ought to divest myself of brightly-colored notes: not sure I can bring myself to it.

Or stop drinking tea while working.

Definitely unlikely to bring myself to that.

*All of these also came in for contact with tea, but since none of them had bright blue sticky notes attached, all have cleaned up nicely.

More fairy gardens

I found a new one on this morning’s walk, a whole fairy village of at least half a dozen houses, complete with central square, fairy picnic, fairy farm, and a decidedly mundane model moving truck (with a Bekins label) parked outside one fairy house. I couldn’t tell if fairies were moving in or out. But why do they need a moving truck? What happened to waving a magic wand to make the hard stuff just happen?

Or are non-magical critters like Borrowers moving in?

There goes the neighborhood.

Fairy Gardens

They’ve popped up all over Our Quaint Village, with variations. There’s a Dinosaur Garden that I often pass on my walks; it is popular with toddling boys and their fathers. Not far away, my eye was caught by an enchanting miniature chalet, standing among tree roots, behind a little courtyard paved with shiny glass cabochons; then I noticed the old 1930’s style model car partially sunk into the mud a foot or so away . . . and then a dinosaur looming behind the tree.

What sort of fairy would move into this Jurassic Swiss Appalachian Park? Someone out of an urban fantasy? Emma Bull’s Finder? I’m still pondering this.

Groundhog day again?

The apple tree outside my study window is in full bloom. When I came in the room, for a moment I thought it had snowed overnight, but it’s just the lovely white floof of the tree, and the pink tinge is the flowers themselves, not the rays of sunrise.

Betsy Ray was right: apple blossom is rosy.

Brain . . . going . . . numb

I have two papers left, and they should both be good ones, so I took a break to look at posts on the Chron’s fora.

“I’d just give her the makeup” read the beginning of a post.

“Makeup exam” failed to cross my mind. I was thinking Sephora, MAC, etc., wondering why a prof would give a student makeup.

Never mind.

Nomenclature anecdote

Partner. In what is apparently now a blog-archive habit, I found this early post from Flavia: http://feruleandfescue.blogspot.com/2006/05/in-praise-of-partnership.html. It reminded me of a wedding I attended, with Sir John, a year or two after Flavia’s post.

We were finding our seats at a table full of people we did not know; some guests were already sitting down, and others had yet to find their place cards. One man introduced his wife to us, and then said, “I’ll save this seat for my partner.”

I blinked, and smiled brightly, thinking, “How very . . . enlightened. I would not have expected that in this company.” Sir John later told me that he had the same reaction.

And then the penny dropped. The bride and groom were lawyers, as were many of the guests. The man meant law firm partner, not that he was in a poly relationship, or had a legal wife and a homosexual partner (gay marriage was not yet legal at this time, how strange that is to remember now) who knew about each other and all attended social events together.

I suppose a lot depends on your social circles. What else, after all, would lawyers working together call one another? I did have the impression that “partner” was getting much wider traction as a relationship term for awhile, but perhaps legalizing gay marriage has shifted us back to “husband,” “wife,” or for a gender-neutral term, “spouse.”

A few more random observations

  • I’m reading two sets of archives at the same time (Dr Medusa’s and KulturFluff, and how I regret Frenchie Foo having disappeared her whole blog). I should sync them up, because one is starting the summer and the other is writing about Thanksgiving, and it’s making my head spin.
  • That’s okay because it makes me go back to work.
  • Students. Oy. I was assigned a class at the eleventh hour, so made sure that for the first few weeks, all readings were available online, since there was no way the bookstore would get books in for the first week. But this week we’re starting to read Actual Real Books. I showed everyone the books in the first week of classes, reminded them periodically about buying books, have posted announcements on the electronic course thingy, etc. And now students are “confused” and don’t know what they’re supposed to read.
  • Like heu mihi, I’m reading Malory. In this case, re-reading. There is some serious timeline-slippage in the Book of Tristram, which I’m only now picking up on. Hmmmmm.
  • Is February over yet? I’m not sure I can take another week of this weather. I appreciate the lengthening days; they’re great. But I have actually started wishing for snow (yes, I, the desert creature who spends the winter imagining she’s an iguana) in preference to any more freezing rain. I hate freezing rain. (I do love the meteorologists’ abbreviation fzdz for freezing drizzle, however.)
  • Maybe I should have done these bullets as a Fortunately/Unfortunately series, but I’m too lazy and the items are too random.