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May 07, 2017, 13:15

A lovely sunny Sunday with nothing to do which means I’m busy doing my own stuff. Putzing: getting things sorted for travel. (Monday week). I’m waiting for final papers to come in and am therefore not yet too busy grading. I have a feeling that will not be the case as the week progresses. Final grades need to be submitted before next Monday when I fly to Germany.
We went shopping early, which left me strangely tired for a bit. Better now with coffee and yummy yummy bacon made by Bill. Basic chores have been done and I have spoken with my sister in Germany. She is coming to pick me up from the airport and then we will take the “S-Bahn” (=a local train) to Wiesbaden. I always stay at the same hotel, which is close to the train station and a short work from sister’s apartment. I don’t stay with her, since their place is small and I’m not used to living with smokers. I like my own space anyway. On Thursday the 18th we will both take a bus to Heidelberg where I will move into my temporary apartment right in the middle of Heidelberg. It’s one street behind the main touristy thoroughfare called the Hauptstrasse (=Main St.) about a 10 minute walk away from where the class is held, in the University building devoted to foreign language teaching.
Now I will devote some time to planning and even decorating my planner a bit—yes I am pretending I am a much younger “planner-girl”…. Just because it makes me happy.

Blur - Music Is My Radar


Love this song and video!!! Yeah baby!

child badger


A nice song!

I saw a bluebird!

I saw a bluebird!! (the bird at the top of my would like to see more often list. We see a lot of cardinals and gold finches and quite a few downy woodpeckers/sapsuckers and sqawky bluejays and of course plenty of sparrows/gracles/starlings/mourning doves but not as many of the larger woodpeckers or bluebirds. (I've seen a pileated woodpecker once).
I’m doing laundry – we’ve already changed the sheets on the bed so yay us!
I've had a small bowl of cold oatmeal with almond milk for breakfast (with coffee and sparkling water) and my tummy is calm. (I have chronic stomach issues of a hard to diagnose nature....my very nice physicians assistant even put me on anti-depressants to see if that would help, but I don't think it really did and I'm glad I'm not on that anymore).
I’m trying to get my mind right and streamline my planning process so it fits my life better—I am addicted to watching planning videos and following planner addicts on Instagram, but /i always need to pull back a bit and remember to tailor my planning to my life. My life is divided into different chunks and ruled/governed by the rhythms of the academic year—it has been that way for most of my professional life, except for the couple of times when I lost my job and took what I like to call „unpaid“ sabbaticals. Alas I will never have a true-blue sabbatical, my next one will be not a sabbatical but retirement. Which is fine.

April 29, 2017, 08:00

7:52: Listening to Gould playing Bach on my headphones. Just finished Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead” 5 stars! 5 stars! Am eating a second smallish slice of toast with my beloved Earth Balance “tastes better than butter imo” soy spread. I’m drinking my second smallish cup of coffee and also sparkling water.
Am going to try and get a bit of work done now: get the German final ready. (I teach an accelerated “grammar review” class where the students cover the first year material in one semester. I always give them prep sheets for the many quizzes, as a way of breaking down “scary German” into neat and comprehensible little “grammar packets” --- as long as they devote a bit of time to studying the issues they can and often do well. The problems start when people simply do not study enough.
Musically we’ve moved on “Kol Nidrei” by Max Bruch—very nice!! (Janos Starker on the cello)
Enough for now.

April 28, 2017, 17:52

5:45pm: Trying sth diff—writing in word doc and then uploading to livejournal. Snippets from a life. My life. Friday after a diff day since I gave my fairytalers a “research” day. Some came to see me to talk about their projects. It’s always interesting speaking to students one on one as opposed to in class—they become individuals, which is good. I also find it exhausting. At least now at the end of the semester. Bill is watching “Agents of the Shield” which is such a silly how I cannot take it seriously….I am drinking a glass of Sauvignon Blanc diluted with sparkling water – I always dilute my wine with sparkling water, except when I drink sparkling wine….Lily is being cute/annoying—wandering around my desk looking forthings too chew (buttons, computer cords). She purrs. I posted a cute picture on Instagram this morning: I will try and load it in here later.

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 12:42

I had written an entry earlier but pressed something and it got deleted. I had just written how I'm a little concerned because live-journal is owned by Russians....so it seemed a tad suspicious that right after I had written that, my entry got deleted... ;-) Is big brother watching me as I write this? Probably not.
I'm sitting at my desk in my study reading Gilead (Marilynne Robinson) on my kindle. I'd prefer to read it in the IKEA chair in the living room, but Bill has the radio on while he is doing some household repairs. (Replacing the light above the sink, for example). So I am here. Which is ok.
It's colder today and so I bought the living room heater into my room.

The previous entry (the one mysteriously deleted) had talked about how tired I was from the previous week of teaching and meetings.

The coming week should be a little less tiring. I even decided to hold a "research day" in the fairy tale class, so they can work on their presentations. (We won't meet as a class). The last week they will all do their presentations. After that we have the finals week and then it's off to Germany.

Thursday, April 20: 6:34

I am sitting in "my" bed in the front room. (The bed to which I escape in the middle of the night due to sleeplessness and/or Bill's snoring). The window to my left is open and the brids are loudly chirping and tweeting...It's much harer to recognize birds only from their song. The squawk of bluejays is easy to pick out. (none of them now, they seem to be later risers). Probably some robins out there. The cats come and go--George just visited but then left. Before that Sophie ws here for a bit. Bill has a new habit of making a Nespresso before we have our "real" coffee and so I made one too--so delicious!
I had another long day yesterday with my three classes and meetings. We talked about an academic article that suggested Snow White was popular because it allowed parents to indulge in fantasizing about killing their children. One student said he thought that part as "baloney" -- which I tend to agree with, but I also tend to agree with the author's more general thesis that the popularity of fairy tales has more to do with adults than children. And there is quite a lot of "adult" content in them.
Today will be a good day because I have no appointments. I do have quite a bit of grading: a quiz for my German class and a reading quiz for the fairy tale class. But the prep for tomorrow shouldn't be too bad. We're discussing the French and German versions of "Little Red Riding Hood". After this week it is only two more weeks before the end of the semester. My sister texted jokingly yesterday "Hope you're not flying United" (to Germany). Well of course I am...since I'm signed up for their points program. It will be fine. I even have a card that will allow me to enter the frequent flyer lounge this time, which I'll do in Newark, which is where I fly first from Cinncy. Lily is here looking out of the window--she puts her paws on the sill. It looks very cute. Should try and take a picture of her.
Now I will read a bit before getting up. I"m reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, which is a lovely book. And also -very slowly-Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus, which is breath-taking--one of the big reads for sure. I'm loving it even a bit more than the first volume of Proust, but that might be because I'm reading it in the original and not in a translation. Ah to have French good enough to read Proust. As a teenager I wanted to learn Russian good enough to read Dostoevsky.... made it through one semester. I'd like to learn Japanese and would love to visit Japan one day. Other places on my list: Australia, where I lived from 0-12, some Scandinavian country, Norway or Denmark? maybe New Zealand again where my mother was from and where I've traveled to three times, the last time at the time of my mother's death in 2002.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 9:35

I'm trying hard to calm down. It's is hard for me having Bill around all the time. I am very used to having the whole house (and my time in it) completely to myself. I feel bad about being so weird about this, but I can't help it. *breathe*....
We are in Week Twelve of the Spring semester, which is the final phase. Only two more weeks of teaching. Then finals (=grading for me) and then, on Monday May 15 I fly to Germany. Yay! I'm always excited about that. I fly from Cincinnati to Newark and then later from there to Frankfurt, which I consider almost like a "hometown" because I lived close to there for the 11 years I lived in Germany and I also attended University there for the first three years before getting a scholarship to study at UMass, Amherst starting in 1987.
Today is my non-teaching day. I will meet a friend/colleague for lunch at a Chinese buffet in the next town over from my town. We might go get coffee and work in the coffee shop afterwards. I'm slightly ambivalent because I prefer just being at home. But it will be fun. I need to prepare a secondary text about Snow White for tomorrow's Fairy Tale class-it is about the history of "filicide" - women/mothers killing their own off-spring for various reasons. We usually talk about the ambivalence that some mother's (perhaps all?) feel towards their off-spring at one time or another. Of course in Snow-White this ambivalence is extreme: jealousy to the point of wanting the child (step-child) to be eradicated. The Queen even thinks she has eaten the liver and lungs of Snow White. I'm also keeping an eye on my steps. Yesterday, since I was driven to and from work (instead of walking and taking the bus) I did not get my Monday steps in a long time.

Ways/Ideas about how to maintain my mental equilibrium:
Use headphones strategically!
Close the door to my home-office
Walk and take the bus to school--as opposed to always having Bill drive me.

I've started reading the online verison of an autobiographical piece by the German writer Wolfgang Herrndorf. I think they are reading his novel in our upper level German class. The online piece, is about dealing with a malignant brain tumor. He committed suicide in 2013.