Thursday, May 26, 2011
Today, for the first time, we caught a glimpse of our resident snake (should we name her Eve?), which is singly responsible for why several ranitas that have hopped all the way to our water feature to claim it as their own have not-so-mysteriously disappeared after our dear Mr. Frog died two winters ago.
Earlier this week, my husband caught this wild turkey strolling at the edge of our property, right at the entrance of our driveway, as she crossed toward the woods where her huge flock (of maybe 20-30 wild turkeys) live and where they routinely walk up and down these hills.
I also spent a few hours in my office today readying my scholarly plan for summer: one proposed book chapter that needs to be done by late June and an accepted journal article that needs to be ready by late July, and then it's on to my book project.
Gathering my research together and starting to make notes on what I want to argue in that chapter is exciting and reminds me (after reading thousands of pages of student writing) how much pleasure there is in the creative art of academic writing. Although some students have actually told me that they think the words "creative" and "academic" are opposites, nothing is farthest from the truth. I thrive on the creative process of working to distinguish my interpretation of a particular text from existing scholarship and of attempting to contribute to a larger scholarly conversation about and understanding of an issue or a work, and I can't be more pleased that this kind of creative work will be the focus of the rest of this year and the beginning of 2012.
The pre-tenure review process went well so I have been re-appointed at my small college on the hill, I have a one-year research leave to write a book for which I have an advance contract, and I also received the junior faculty teaching award this year. As I've said before, I'm sure my beloved papito has had something to do with all this good fortune and that he is also basking in all the good that has come our way. He would be the first to remind me of all the reasons I have to be grateful -- Dios te vino a ver, he would say -- and to feel so incredibly blessed that I have all these opportunities and privileges.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Chiquita, the Chihuahua, is loving the sun and the heat, and all she's missing is a pair of Wayfarers and a pink bikini to be quite in her element.
The first Farmer's Market of the year was last Saturday and I bought fresh rhubarb from an Amish farmer (who always has the best vegetables) and made my first fresh rhubarb pie of the season.
This wondrous bush is also in full bloom and I don't remember seeing it last summer, or even the summer before, so perhaps the alternatively wet and warm conditions have helped it burst into show.
Even the hostas look like they're unfurling into giants.
At school, classes are finally over and the semester officially ended today. I am buried in grading (have about 200 pieces of student writing, of varying lengths, to grade between now and May 24), which doesn't contribute to being in good humor, especially since I swore to myself that I wasn't going to do this to myself again. But I'm trying to take it in stride and work relentlessly to get it all done well and on time, especially given that I am on leave next year so I won't have to worry about having déjà vu all over again.