Sunday, August 26, 2007

School starts once again

I started my 8th year at Denison on Wednesday, Aug. 22 with new faculty orientation in the library. The 12 tenure track ones look younger and younger, and the 30+ part-timers are of all ages & types. Denison's increasingly generous sabbatical and leave programs, plus a new teaching load of 5 courses per year (one less than before), means we rely on part-timers more than when I arrived in 2000. Thursday night we inducted about 600 First Years (no longer called Freshmen) in a convocation where faculty march in robes. Now that's OK when the temperature is moderate, but at 95 degrees in that gym, it's truly miserable, if mercifully short at 45 minutes. Friday night I was among several senior administrators who helped serve food in the picnic buffet line. Again, it was miserably hot, and I was wearing plastic gloves to dish up barbecued beef from a tray above a sterno burner. Geez........I just tried not to sweat into the food!! You KNOW how much I enjoy hot weather.

Happily, by Saturday the heat broke and our docenting at the Robbins-Hunter Museum was unusually pleasant. We sat in the new front porch rockers, and lots of visitors and locals stopped by to chat or take a tour of this magnificent 1842 pure Greek-revival house built by a local builder from Minard Lefever's pattern book. Some photos show the house's additions. They were wisely placed to the rear of the "Temple" section, that has been restored, but otherwise has gone blessedly undisturbed. There's a popular doll house exhibit closing soon, so several people are coming in to see it before it closes. You'd love it, Mom.

Mid-afternoon we drove over to Columbus to Barnes & Noble to get a couple of travel books to help us plan our proposed trip to Romania next spring after Commencement. We want to visit the Vernons before Christie and Andrei get too grown-up. Christie will turn 5 and Andrei 3 in April. Then we saw "Broken English" at our favorite neighborhood theater, the Drexel East, followed by dinner at Guiseppe's Ritrovo, another fave.

Today's weather provides another perfect Sunday for cooking (by Louie, of course), laundry, reading, and steaks on the grill for supper, along with corn, tomatoes, and grilled baby eggplant. WISH you were here, Mom!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Aug. 18-19, 2007 Granville at its best

A thoroughly beautiful weekend, the last before students return and the busyness kicks in big time. Fortunately, one of the best things about our life is its rhythm. Just when I'm ready to scream or strangle someone, the students finish exams and disappear, and most faculty with them. Just when I'm missing them, they turn up again. It makes life predictable in the most pleasant way. Students and faculty will be back starting this Wednesday, so all is gearing up once again. I love it.

The library is open year 'round, but during breaks the hours are 8:30-4:30 weekdays, vs. 8:30 a..m.-2 a.m. during the terms. We get our projects and planning done during breaks, and the pace is different.

Linda & Mark Cain, good friends from Cincinnati, visited us for dinner and overnight Saturday. It was almost 24 hours of fine food, drink, and best of all, conversation. The weather has been perfect, so the house is wide open, and lots of porch sitting going on. Linda is a retired library director/later senior administrator in the Provost's office at the U. of Cincinnati. Mark is Chief Information Officer at Cincinnati State College.

There's a photo here of me sitting in one of the new rockers on the porch of the Robbins Hunter Museum, a perfect Greek revival mansion built in the 1840s, where we're docents several times every summer. The RHM is next door to our public library, so you'll also see the construction for the new addition going up. It's going to be much better. Good.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Aug. 11-12, 2007

We're remembering Cheyenne and Joseph on their birthdays. Woke up to a big limb down outside the kitchen bay window. Must've been a mysterious wind over night.

It's been a most beautiful and quiet weekend here. Yesterday, after the Farmer's Market, we drove about 25 miles south to Lancaster, OH to see a fine quilt exhibit and a movie ("Hairspray"), then dinner at Shaw's. Kay and I had dinner there a few years ago. It's a traditional dining room in a small hotel, with good food and friendly professional service. We shared chicken with mango salsa and fried oysters. Yum. The ride in the TT through corn fields and horse farms was just perfect.

For breakfast today (Sunday) I cooked stone-ground grits (1+ hour, stiring frequently). We bought them years ago at Hoppin' John's in Charleston, SC and keep them in the freezer. That, with bacon, cinnamon toast, & sliced tomatoes made a fine, filling breakfast. Lasted us until suppertime.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

a few snaps of Louie & Rene's trip to France last month

First, Mom's 89th Birthday Photos

Mom enjoying chicken feet brought to her party by her friend, Cindy, from The Oaks, as well as having her children and some grandchildren around for the weekend. Everyone had a great time!

Summer Weekend in Granberry

Today's corn haul from the Farmer's Market. You'll taste it at Thanksgiving!

Early walk to the Farmer's Market at Main and Broadway for 16 ears of sweet corn, glads & zinnias to brighten the house, tiny eggplants and beets to cook on the grill tonight along with steaks. We'll eat two grilled ears of corn tonight. With the rest we'll make creamed corn to freeze for Thanksgiving in Huntersville.

I put the just-washed sheets and pillow cases on the line outside, which I love, but don't often get to do. They are so crisp and sweet-smelling after being outside in the sun all day. I remember you hanging tons of diapers on the line at home.....glad I never had to do THAT!

After that we took the TT convertible to McDonald's for gravy biscuits (not as good as Hardee's, but really ok), then picked up fresh pies to deliver to our retired friends in nearby Newark who can't drive any more.

It's hot and dry here, but really quite beautiful this summer. We rock on the porch many evenings after it cools off a bit. If it's cocktail night, we almost always have those on the porch, along with cashews or almonds or Graeber olives (the big, green, buttery ones in brine, not vinegar, that Caroline introduced us to years ago). Obviously, life is REALLL good, and we're enjoying every minute. Raise a glass to you, too!

We just got word that Louie's Uncle Leo, 98, died in West Palm Beach, where we'd visited him and Aunt Rose last year. At that time he was still playing tennis and softball! A retired engineer at Koppers in Pittsburgh, he'll be sorely missed. Remember when the two of them came to Louis's 50th birthday party in DC? Louis will fly down tomorrow for the Monday service and return Tuesday.