Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back to Reality

In other words, back to school. And, yes, this is a picture of me at dinner this evening!

This week has been a preparation week for classes, which begin next Wednesday. And I can't believe how exhausted I am already! :-) (Which is why this picture made me laugh.) Granted, my summer sleeping schedule averaged 11pm/12am - 8am/9am. This week I've gotten up at 6:15am each morning. And that's just the "ease back into routine" wake-up time. Once classes start, it will have to be 5:30am. This is always the hardest part of going back to school! I always have a lot of sympathy for my students -- they tend to look shell-shocked the first week back.

I have five classes this year: English 8 (a new class for me, though the material -- ancient/classical -- isn't all new), English 11 (American Lit, always my favorite), two writing classes, and a Shakespeare class. Undoubtedly, my blog posts will soon begin to revolve around my small but consuming world of students, papers, classes, and books. Let the fun begin!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
As thy beauty fills my soul,
For by thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O how great thy lovingkindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvelous thy goodness
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is thine,
Know thy certainty of promise
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold thee as thou art,
And thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift thy face upon me
As I work and wait for thee;
Resting 'neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory,
Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with thy grace.

~ Jean S. Pigott, 1876

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Favorite Song

Walk with me quiet, walk with me slow
With watered-down coffee, and words of gold
I can feel the edges of these things
When I hear you speak to me, so walk with me

Walk with me empty, walk with me strong
The hush of our voices, when the day seems so long
It is like a balm, it is like a jewel
It unravels all I thought I knew

Will you lead me, beside the still waters
Where the oil, it runs over, and my cup overflows
You restore my soul

Tell me the story, where old is made new
The promise of ages, and all things that are true

When the shadows fall and the wrecking ball
Swings and tears me through the heart

Will you lead me, beside the still waters
Where the oil, it runs over, and my cup overflows
You restore my soul

~ Sandra McCracken

I Love Lucy

Today I watched two episodes from season 1 of "I Love Lucy." I love rewatching these shows. They make me feel like a kid again, when every morning we would watch "Lucy" at 9:00 and 9:30. Over lunch, my sisters and I watched "Pioneer Women," the one where Lucy and Ethel face off against Ricky and Fred over who can survive longer in an early 1900s lifestyle. The thing I always remember about this one is the huge loaf of bread that comes out of the oven. Completely unrealistic, and quite hilarious. Then tonight, while I had lemon bars in the oven, I watched "Be a Pal," where Lucy tries to rekindle romance with Ricky after he keeps ignoring her over the breakfast table. The end of this one always cracks me up -- Lucy decorates the apartment in a Cuban style and tries to sing along to recorded music (which keeps speeding up or slowing down).

If you love Lucy, what are some favorite moments?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Around-the-world tea party

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
~ Henry James

In the Home section of today's Washington Post there is a small note (do 3 paragraphs qualify as an "article"?) about a teacup swap. And not just any teacup swap. A potentially international teacup swap.

Sign up by August 25. Receive a recipient's address (could be in or out of the US). Send off a teacup by September 15. In about a month, receive a teacup from who knows where. I may have to try this!

"Trading Teacups" (Washington Post)

Just My Cup of Tea - "Tea Cup Swap #6" (with link to guidelines and sign-up)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Speaking of books . . .

Yesterday I was sorting through some notes - a hodge-podge collection of classroom handouts, magazine articles, college notes - all things related to literature and teaching in some way or another, yet woefully disorganized (everything was in one big pile - now there's at least six piles, but, hey, at least they're six sorted piles!). I came across an essay I had printed out when I was in college, an author's reflections on the first "real" book she read, To Kill a Mockingbird. If you've read the book, or even if you just love reading, this essay will delight you.

"My First 'Real' Book" by Elizabeth Strout
"Who are you talking about?" I demanded.
"It's a book," my mother said.
And I sat back and thought with amazement and pleasure: this is the stuff that's in grown-up books? When we got home I asked if I could read it, and my mother handed me a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. I sat in the big chair in the living room and felt some trepidation as I opened it. This was not, after all, a book with colorful pictures. This was, in my mind, "the real thing." And 35 years later, having read this novel again and again, it maintains a status in my life as important as any first love; while there have been other books, other loves, To Kill a Mockingbird was the one that first ushered me, with wonderful completeness, into a whole new world.

Monday, August 14, 2006

One book . . .

I've never been tagged before, but thanks to Thabiti, here goes! :-)

1. One book that changed your life: The Art of Biblical Narrative, Robert Alter (has made me read the Old Testament in a deeper, more understanding manner)

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne (the more I read it, the more I love it)

3. One book I’d want on a desert island: Emma, Jane Austen

4. One book that made you laugh: The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford (Runner up: I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson)

5. One book that made you cry: Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner (Runner up: The Red Tent, Anita Diamant, which I cannot fully recommend, but which I still distinctly remember crying at the end of.)

6. One book that you wish you had written: Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (Runner up: I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith)

7. One book you wish had never been written: Hard Times, Charles Dickens (Runner up: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce)

8. One book that you are currently reading: 44 Scotland Street, Alexander McCall Smith (quite charming, originally printed as a serial in Smith's local daily paper in Scotland)

9. One book that you’ve been meaning to read: Will in the World, Stephen Greenblatt (got through a chapter and a half . . . about a month ago . . . hmmm)

And now, I tag . . . Megan, Bet, and Christa!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Blog Discoveries

I've recently come across two blogs that I wanted to mention. Both center on aspects of the Old Testament.

Abraham's Altars is a blog kept by my dear friend Megan who is nearing the completion of a independent study degree. For her culminating project, she will be working on a spiritual memoir that uses the story of Abraham as a frame. She plans to post related writings on this new blog.

In Sights is a blog kept by Emily Gray, whom I do not know personally but who attended the same college as I (and whose site I discovered through a series of links originating with Will). Emily records her observations on this blog as she reads through the Old Testament. Her focus has been on II Samuel for the most part (which I'm glad about, since I plan to read Robert Alter's translation of I and II Samuel when I complete his Pentateuch translation). You can read her philosopy of reading and recording in her first entry here.

I continue to have my love and appreciation for the Old Testament deepened, and these two sites are yet another aid in that pursuit. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

French Favorites

My favorites from Saturday's visit to the National Gallery of Art. These are from the 18th century French collection.

A Young Girl Reading, Fragonard

Group Portrait, Drouais

The Visit to the Nursery, Fragonard

Friday, August 04, 2006

Girls just wanna have fun

This weekend, one of my dearest friends from college is in town (she is also a teacher). We spent today in delightful luxury. Recently, another teacher suggested that we view each day of summer as making up for a particular day in the school year, which I considered to be a fabulous approach. This day more than makes up for a certain long day in March!

9:30 am ~ Breakfast of eggs, scones, strawberries, and coffee

11:45 am ~ Manicure and pedicure

2:30 pm ~ Afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton

4:15 pm ~ Browsing (and buying)
at Crane's

7:30 pm ~ Dinner at home

9:00 pm ~ Godiva chocolate, coffee, and "I Capture the Castle"