Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Girls

Tomorrow my daughter and I leave for North Carolina and her summer camp counselor job. This afternoon two of her best friends showed up and the three of them sat around the kitchen table for a few hours (and missed the fourth, who is staying in New Haven for the summer).

I love these girls. A jeans-and-t-shirt gang with no apparent interest in make-up or hair (although each one of them is quite capable of making a dazzling appearance on occasion). They are so funny and so smart and so relaxed, and they are so appreciative of each other and so good to each other.

As I headed outside, I thought of the four sets of parents sending their tiny girls off to Montessori school, hoping that pouring water and building the pink tower would somehow foster independence and friendship. I remembered these same girls peforming in elementary school programs, giggling through elementary school campouts, making serious middle school presentations, and preparing their magnificent 8th grade French feast, complete with musical entertainment.

It's been five years since they made their 8th grade Montessori graduation speeches and here they are, young women with licenses and colleges and plans.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Fox Habitat

The foxes (see entries below) were not in evidence last night; tonight I got a brief glimpse of the mother trotting over the hill on the other side of the road from the den. The cemetery has been busy and crowded the past two days with, no doubt, guns going off during the ceremony this morning, and it's suffocatingly hot, so presumably the fox kits are lying low and cool.

The first image above is of one of my newest favorites. I like it for the wrong reason: the deterioration of the stone is strangely moving in a cemetery where most of the work retains its original exquisite quality. The woman memorialized died at 27; her three-year-old child, who died four years earlier, is buried in the same plot. In front of the statue lie her husband and, apparently, his second wife. I wonder if his second try at matrimony worked out more happily than his first.

The second image reads "Our Dolly ~ Mildred." Mildred was one of 175 people, all but three of them children, who perished in an elementary school fire in 1908. Another marker nearby honors 19 of the children who could not be identified after the fire. Mildred was eight years old. People still bring her flowers.

The foxes inhabit a place of such beauty and such sadness.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Early Evening: Fox Famille

Late Afternoon in the Life of a Fox

Cemetery Morning

The foxes (see post below) were asleep this morning. But high above their den, another inhabitant of their tree peered out.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Break in the Rain

Rumor has long had it that a pair of foxes live in the cemetery where I walk. I've never seen them, despite having been there many mornings when the gates opened at 7:30, hoping for a fleeting glimpse of red fur before the runners and maintenance guys materialize.

This afternoon, the strep and congestion and coughing pretty much behind me and a day's downpour having transformed itself into sunshine, I decided a l-o-n-g walk in the cemetery was in order. The hill at the end is pretty steep, and I was looking at my feet, and thinking about how I was going to die before I made it up the 700 steps to the top (yes, I've counted), when I glanced up and there, about 50 feet in front of my binocular-less, camera-less self, was a fox.

"Well, hi," I said in delight.

And then there was another. And another. And another. And another. FIVE fox kits!

They live in a hollowed-out tree. They act just like kittens -- they stretch and they scratch and they roll over and they bump into each other and they flop down with all four paws and chin flat out on the grass.

I don't know how old they are. They seem pretty big, but they stuck together and they didn't leave the immediate circumference of their tree. I watched for as long as I could, using a large rectangular monument as a blind. At one point, there was a thump! next to me and two of them dove into their den, but then a pair of ears popped back up. (The thump? A cedar waxwing had dropped dead out of the tree above me. That poor bird had probably traveled through the thunderstorms last night en route to Canada, and was just too stressed to last the day.)

Eventually I had to leave. The cemetery closes at 5:30 and the kits seemed to be alert and hopeful, waiting for their parents. My guess was that the parents were concealed nearby and waiting for me to leave.

I'm hoping for a clear morning tomorrow, and to post some of my own pictures a little later.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday Some: DaVinci and Wisteria Lane

So we went to see The DaVinci Code last night. It's a fun thriller movie -- adventure, murder, and intellectual intrigue across Paris, London, and the French countryside.

There might be one or two little moments of offense to Christians. There's a quick flashback to the activity at heart of the ritual in which Sophie's grandfather participated, and Tom Hanks makes a brief and unconvincing reference to the possibility that the Divine lies within us.

But otherwise?

The shenanigans of the Desperate Housewives every Sunday night, a show which I have on good authority is watched in millions of Christian households, is far, far more offensive to the fundamental beliefs and values of Christianity.

I stand by my original assessment of the outcry raised over The DaVinci Code. As long as women are running around an upscale suburban neighborhood with their boobs bursting out of their tank tops, having sex with every hunk who meanders down the street, abusing and prostituting their immigrant labor force, and burning down each other's houses, they're in their place -- sexy, insipid, and without impact on the world around them.

But to suggest that women might have a role to play in the divine message of love?

That's pretty worrisome, isn't it?

Dan Brown had to wrap it up in the cloak of a marriage and sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but that's not what bothers people, if you ask me. What bothers them is that Jesus was the message and that Mary Magdalene was the first to proclaim it.

So today's Sunday link is to
a terrific little series on The DaVinci Code hosted on Beliefnet by the charming and dramatic Robin Griffith-Jones, the Master of London's Temple Church, which figures prominently in the novel and movie.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Fruits of Loss

In her book Motherless Daughters (which I haven't read in years, but I think I have this right), Hope Edelman concludes that women who grow up without mothers tend either to become somewhat fragile and dependent, always hungering for that steadying presence or, freed from the usual boundaries imposed by female socialization, to become fairly independent and resourceful. I like to think, of course, that I fit the latter category.

When my children were in the range of eight-to-ten and carpools had become a necessity of life, I once asked a good friend if she ever thought, as her kids rode off in the back seat of someone else's car, that she might never see them again. "Never," was her response. "I always do," I said. It's a hard thing, but not a bad thing, to be aware of the the moment. Mindfulness. Sometimes it emerges, unbidden, from the long and ever-presentness of absence.

My daughter commented once, only a few years ago, on how we always say "I love you" when we separate. A walk to the drugstore, a flight to the west coast. She knows, I think, that I want to be sure that she heard it, if something happens. I never told her that. I never wanted to impose the damage of loss on her. She carries it lightly, but she does, I think, carry it.

Last night, achy and tired and unable to swallow, I headed up for bed early in the evening. She came up and stretched out next to me and we talked for more than an hour, rehashing the problems one of her friends is facing. Eventually I drifted off, done in by pain and sleeping meds. But not before I remembered that my mother never, ever, got to stretch out on a bed and explore the issues of young adulthood with her daughter.

I am so very fortunate. Not just in the doing. But in the knowing.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Moving Right Along

The lovely daughter ordered the first season of Grey's Anatomy from Netflix and it has arrived and I have a terrible sore throat and earache so we are about to curl up for a Grey's marathon. No DaVinci Code tonight due to (a) aforesaid sore throat and earache (b) pouring rain and (c) basketball tournament. I did buy a copy of the novel today (probably the fourth one purchased for this household, since we are always losing and buying the same books) so I can refresh my memory while Other People are consumed by basketball.
Other matters worth noting:

Today I received a most generous compliment from my boss on my handling of the AP testing marathon over the past three weeks. I guess it's good to know that no matter how miserable a task makes you, you can still pull it off with panache.

The same lovely daughter spent Wednesday at the state capitol as a participant in a lobbying event for gay and lesbian rights. Our state apparently holds the enviable position of 50th (yes, out of 50) in its extension of basic civil rights to gay and lesbian citizens. We watched with horror in November of 2004 as the state turned a deep shade of red and handed our President his victory, and then realized over the next few weeks with even more horror that said victory had been engineered in large part by the mean-spirited stealth lobby that had placed anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballots of several states for the primary purpose of drawing out voters whose compassion for their fellow citizens apparently knows no bounds and who would be likely to vote for George II as long as they were out there ensuring that heterosexuals would retain their lock on the marriage contract. So the lovely daughter went out to do her part to rectify the situation. Have I mentioned before how proud I am of that girl? (Or that I feel too lousy to revise for the purpose of inserting the occasional period?)

We are also home to the Restoration Project and the Patriot Pastors, more efforts designed to plant us smack in the middle of some kind of new theocracy in which anyone who voices the slightest hint of disagreeement will be quickly consigned to hell. Thankfully some of the progressive pastors of our state have finally launched an organization to counteract those who have been lining up churches to vote for the Republicans and God.

I really could use the all-out flights of fancy of The DaVinci Code to blot from my mind the irrationality of the actual present. I will have to console myself with Meredith and McDreamy instead.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday Some

In which Gannet Girl suggests some ideas for your perusal:

When I first fell in love with birds, as a young law student desperate for a view of the universe other than the one under which I was buried in the library, I was completely taken in by the great horned owls already settled into their nests in the January snows.
Yellowstone Wolf reminds me why.

In a more domestic setting, my current screensaver has been "borrowed" from the May 10
(sometimes) photoblog cat entry. What a GREAT image.

Two more weeks and I'll be taking the lovely daughter back down to the Blue Ridge Mountains for her summer counselor job at her (and her brothers', and my) old camp. In the meantime, we can visit the mountains

Some of us have adult children nearing the point at which employment becomes mandatory, and many of us have discovered that our offspring are not entirely clued in to the process by which ones becomes gainfully occupied. I wish Polar Bear's
hilarious rendition of a discussion with one such young person did not hit so extremely clsoe to home.

Here's the
island of Iona, where a group of midwestern Presyterians will land in July. And here's the community where we'll be spending our week, along with a couple of hundred other people from around the world.

And, as long as I'm in the mood for daydreaming about traveling instead of grading papers, here are a few other summer objectives:

Chartres Cathedral

Notre Dame de Paris

Sainte Chappelle


Vicki, by the way, recommended what looks like a fabulous place to stay in Paris. Just a teensy bit out of our price range, but we will definitely walk over for a visit.

And finally, some folks wondered how Gannet Hirl got her name. It's in my
November 19 entry. I guess you have to scroll down, since I can't figure out how to link to an individual post.
( I would conclude by referring you to Paul's continuing saga of his journey as chaperone par excellence to the British Isles. But since he gave me a hard time about doing that once before, I will only suggest that you try Single Man Writing. If you can find it.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

And Here's What I Ordered Today!

In no particular order:

Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (Penguin Classics) - Henry Adams

Chartres Cathedral: Illustrations, Introductory Essay, Documents, Analysis, Criticism (Norton Critical Studies in Art History) - Robert Branner

Columba-The Celtic Dove - Kathie Walters

Cathedral of the Black Madonna : The Druids and the Mysteries of Chartres - Jean Markale

Chartres: Sacred Geometry, Sacred Space - Gordon Strachan

Leaving Church : A Memoir of Faith - Barbara Brown Taylor

Chartres Cathedral - Malcolm Miller

Notre-Dame De Paris - Alain Erlande-Brandenburg

It Might Really Happen

I've been working on hotel reservations this afternoon. If anyone has any Paris favorites in the 4th-6th, let me know. We have places to stay, but I am more than willing to entertain suggestions, especially for the vicinity immediate to Notre Dame. Or we could venture forth from the Left Bank and go to Montmartre (in the 18th) if I had any idea about where to stay.

Mon mari et moi will meet in Paris; he gets to fly direct but I am going through Glasgow. We'll spend four nights there, so far at a hotel in the general neighborhood of Notre Dame; then head to Chartres for two days so that I can immerse myself in the cathedral for 24/2; then back to Paris to stay in a St. Germaine des Pres hotel we've enjoyed before. Then he'll return to les Etats-Unis while I go back to Scotland and on to Iona for a week with a group from church.

There are gannets off the coast of Scotland! Check out
these amazing photos!

It's seeming too good to be true, but it could happen. . . .

Friday, May 12, 2006

Leonardo, The Templars, and the Antichrist

Fiction with Biblical themes? You mean To Kill a Mockingbird or Cry, the Beloved Country? Oh, probably not.

I wasn't going to write about The DaVinci Code. I thought it was entertaining when I read it, and I think the movie will be fun; end of story. I thought the Narnia series was insufferably boring (I read all seven volumes out loud to my kids one summer, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when they became competent enough readers to revisit the series on their own). I read a few of the Left Behind books and found them revolting.

Ubuntu asks whether The DaVinci Code is no worse than Left Behind, and I thought I'd reprise the comment I left there:


I think the Left Behind series is far worse than The DaVinci Code. Left Behind presents a nineteenth century cult-like view of an angry, vengeful god, and details and glorifies violence a la CSI. It plays into the very worst of our natural inclinations to seek power and redemption where there is none.

The DaVinci Code, while certainly disingenuous with its historical claims, at least keys in to some of our more rational and generous inclinations -- a natural curiosity about the earthly life and humanness of Jesus, and a desire to unearth the sacred feminine in a glorious faith that has largely sought to deny that element of both God and humanity.


I thought about this subject a little more today, and I concluded that the gender dilemma is at the heart of it all. Left Behind presents a fierce and intensely masculine god -- a version of God with whom most Christians have at least a passing acquaintance. In fact, many Christians embrace exactly that characterization of God. And many people who don't just shrug their shoulders and conclude that, since that appears to be who the Christian god is, they're not interested.

The DaVinci Code
offers an intriguing look into a god who is is both and neither male and female, and into fictional cultural attempts both to suppress and to revive that understanding of God. A number of people find that latter effort appealing, but have so little knowledge of the Bible and Christian traditions that Dan Brown's concoctions seem like a refreshing bit of clarity illuminating a murky pool. And then, of course, there are those who find any mention of "female" and "god" within more than a few words of each other an appalling denigration of their version of the Christian story.

Yep -- gender. The female one in particular -- such a subversive Other in her very existence that fundamentalists decry even the questions raised by The DaVinci Code and laud Left Behind as something akin to fact.

As usual, "there are more things in heaven and earth. . . than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Sometimes we need a Hamlet or a Scout Finch or a Stephen Kumalo far more than we need a Tim LeHaye or a Dan Brown.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Good Couple of Days

My 11th grade contemporary history students are doing end-of-the-year Powerpoints on world issues. Yesterday: Global Warming. Today: Darfur (complete with slides of themselves and their classmates at the D.C. rally). They've done a fabulous job so far. Tomorrow: Tom Friedman's The Lexus and The Olive Tree.

The 8th graders are presenting themselves as Revolutionary War and early American leaders. They're doing a fabulous job so far, too.

The 9th graders wrote an essay test on World War I today. I guess I'll find out soon enough whether they did a fabulous job. Or not.

Round One of AP Testing is almost over. We have a couple of late tests next week, so I suppose there is a possibility that this misery will extend into eternity, but tomorrow I get to finish packing up the first batch of booklets and answer sheets and take them to UPS.

Son Number One landed a summer job in Chicago today. Nothing fancy, but it meets his financial and social needs. Son Number Two rolls in tomorrow night for Dental Disaster Recovery Part III.

A couple of people made some confusing comments about my own comments on sleeplessness a few entries back. Apparently enough of my readers are just enough younger than I am that they don't know the havoc that this particular hormonal stage of existence can wreak with sleep patterns. I have never had cause to bemoan PMS-type symptoms, which for me appear only in the form of a grocery cart mysteriously full of salt-laden snacks once a month -- but this sleep thing has about undone me. So if you see me online at odd hours, just yell "Hey." I was right here from about 2:00 to 4:00 this morning, trying desperately to develop enough sleepiness to crawl back to bed. The night before, it was from about 1:00 to 3:00 -- and then, God help me, the cat located a mouse under the bed. A FULL HOUR of mousie torture followed. I found the mouse, departed to its eternal rest in a predatorless heaven, in front of the bedroom table a couple of hours later when I had to call it quits and get up.

So it hasn't been a PERFECT couple of days. But it hasn't been bad.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This Could Be A Problem

Don't try and pretend this wouldn't leave you completely traumatized.

Monday, May 08, 2006


In about twenty minutes I have to leave to spend the entire morning proctoring the AP Bio Exam.

I guess if that goose can wait out the eggs, I can wait out the College Board.
On a different note:

Yesterday I was sitting way in the back in church. It was very crowded, because the senior pastor was just back from two weeks in Syria. He was preaching about the need to view our faith, other faiths, God, the world, expansively and generously. At some point he referred to God as "she," as casually as one might more usually refer to God as "he."

Two rows in front of me there was a couple whom I would pinpoint at just a few years older than me, maybe later 50s rather than earlier. When the minister referred to God as "she," the woman looked at the man. He looked at her. Then he smiled and put his arm around her.

I will be trying to remember that moment when I am saying, "Stop and close your test booklet. Leave the booklet on your desk with the folded side to the left. Do not open the other booklet until you have been instructed to do so. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200."

Saturday, May 06, 2006


When the lovely daughter headed off to college last fall, it was with the same anticipation and eagerness that most freshmen feel. A new part of the country. A dorm, a roommate, classmates from everywhere. Classes in subjects always just out of reach in high school -- psychology, philosophy, Italian. A new beginning.

I couldn't go. As a teacher, I had to begin my work year at the same time that she did. So I stayed home and commiserated with a friend in the same boat, while our husbands accompanied our daughters thousands of miles from home. For my husband and sons, who would not go back to college for a few more weeks, it was supposed to be a nice little family vacation. There was a lot of laughing just before they left over the fact that the boys would turn 21 just after they left the French Quarter and Bourbon Street -- but at least they would get to see what they would be missing.

Well, we all know
what happened.

After leaving most of her clothing and belongings in her dorm room and spending three days in Baton Rouge and two more back on the road, the lovely daughter turned to me and said,

"Mom, I did everything I was supposed to do. I worked hard and got good grades. I did the SATs and ACTS and APs. I visited colleges and did interviews and wrote essays. I filled out an endless series of forms. I got my letters and I made my choice and I went shopping and we drove 1000 miles, and my college...DISAPPEARED. What do you do when your college just disappears?"

Now there's a question to which I had always wanted to know the answer.

At first she thought she'd just stay home and take classes at a nearby university for the semester. "That was pretty traumatic," she admitted -- an attitude she retained for about an afternoon. By the end of the day she had remembered: "I never wanted to go to college in-state. I don't want to go to college in-state now. Do you think I should call all the colleges to which I was admitted?" And by the next afternoon she was settled: Willamette in Oregon would be her next stop, with a full tuition waiver as Willamette's contribution to the hurricane relief effort.

(I used to think it was a little strange that kids sent applications to such disparate kinds of colleges. That was until I accompanied one of my sons to an Admitted Students Week-end, where it seemed that everyone we met, including my own indecisive offspring, was wranging over the choice between Big Bad City University of Chicago and tiny, bucolic Northfield, Minnesota's Carleton College. Just like the rest of us, teenagers are struggling with the who-am-I-and-where-do-I-want-to-be-in-life question. So when my daughter's final two choices emerged as boistrous and wild Tulane and New Orleans and tiny and somewhat more placid Willamette and Salem, Oregon, I was prepared to go with the flow.)

I can't say enough good things about Willamette University. The lovely daughter arrived after freshmen orientation was over and classes had begun to a delightful roommate, a complete set of bedding, a welcome basket from food services, and a welcome letter from the president of the college. Her advisor got her into courses the next morning, the bookstore could not have been m0re helpful, and she was on her way. Over the course of the next three months she made a great group of friends, did a terrific job academically, played intramural soccer, volunteered at the Salem animal shelter, watched Gray's Anatomy on Sunday nights, and just generally had the best first semester of college that any of my three children have experienced.

In January: Back to Tulane. This time it was a little more difficult -- she had already built a college life elsewhere. The roommate with whom she had corresponded back in August had never shown up then, and decided not to return for the second semester. Katrina permeated the atmosphere, the news, the consciousness of everyone at every level. In its wake was a beginning of a semester was full of the triumphant sense of survival and the energy of renewal.

The girl dove in -- studying conscientiously, making friends, singing in the college choir, volunteering in the 9th Ward, dating a little, and finding a new Gray's Anatomy group. But it wasn't the same -- she had left her heart behind at Willamette. And there wasn't anyone to talk with about that. Most of her classmates, who had spent their first semesters in college situations they disliked, were thrilled to find themselves finally beginning their long awaited first semester at Tulane. And the size of the school was a bit daunting in and of itself -- she found that she often met people whom she liked, and then never laid eyes on them again. At Willamette, her natural reticence had been thwarted by the tiny campus, where she couldn't help but run into everyone she knew every day.

I watch each of my children struggle with the choices of young adulthood, and I try to stay out of it. (Really, guys, I do! You have no idea how MUCH I leave unsaid!) I worked hard to keep myself out of this one. Not that I knew what the answer was. Of course, I had some views, which I restrained myself from announcing. The Willamette admission counselor was a candid and forthright woman who easily acknowledged the difficulty of the circumstances: the allegiance to an original dream, the sense that there might be more opportunites at a larger school, the feeling of responsibility toward the renewal of New Orleans, the brevity of the experience there, all balanced against the equally brief but undeniably satisfying experience at Willamette. The Tulane advisor, in contrast, did not respond to an email that should have alerted her to the fact that a major decision was in the works.

My comment, when asked point blank what I thought: You succeed in life when you are surrounded and supported by people who care about you and whom you care about. It doesn't matter how large or small, how prestigious or unknown, how near or far, the institution or locale. What matters is whether you can make a place for yourself and find "your people" there. We will love you and support you no matter where you decide that is.

A visit back to Oregon over Easter week-end clinched the deal. Within a matter of days my daughter had a roommate, a room, and a schedule of classes for next fall at Willamette. She sounded happier and more settled than she had in weeks.

I can hardly wait to see her tonight. She sounds so adult, so at peace with herself, on the telephone. I think that she has had a profound experience of finding out who she is, what matters to her, and how she can live most happily and productively. Not a bad beginning for 18.

Friday, May 05, 2006


So here's what I did today:

I managed all and proctored some of this morning's APUS exam, and worked on moving Monday's test to a quieter locale, due to a bit of a snafu yesterday. College Board demands consumed my day from 8:00 am - 1:30 pm and for another hour after school ended. I am just a bit testy on the subject of AP Testing at the moment. Absolutely no pun intended. Do not mess with me on this topic.

I pretty much abandoned my 9th grade history class to another teacher, thanks to the never-ending AP Exam.

I had a long talk with my department chair about some humorous student moments. I was in desperate need of humor by that point.

I called the lovely daughter, who with her father was in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, en route home from NOLA. As we were talking, a rock flew into their windshield and made a tiny little star-like hole in the glass. After she finished being startled, the lovely daughter said that it's a very small hole and probably doesn't need to be repaired. I reminded her that the car is leased, meaning that it does need to be repaired. I would be a little testy about that if I weren't already at my limit of testiness over the APs.

I called two Presbyterian seminaries and asked them to send me their admissions packets. (You did WHAT?)

I walked over to the cemetery and sat on an elaborate piece of grave statuary overlooking the ravine for a long time. An extremely determined woodpecker decided to share my space, but I do not have the headache he was trying so hard to induce.

I thought a lot about
Lisa's two recent entries. I think I commented too hastily there. I suppose that all I really have to say is that there is a mystery and power and love in the grace of God so far beyond us and so present to us that the journey toward that spirit, however expressed, is one of the most precious of gifts.

And now, because I need to work on my own very last paper for the semester and finish some major cleaning and do some laundry and attend to about 50 other things crying out for immediate action, I am going to the mall to indulge as wholeheartedly as possible in the temptation to buy my lovely and beautiful and beloved daughter some new clothes as a welcome home surprise.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Spring Sagas and Estrogen Depletion (I Guess)

I'm tired.

One son -- been looking for months for a summer internship, to no avail. He's really discouraged.

Other son -- avoiding the entire employment dilemma by going back to Spain for the summer.

The lovely daughter -- changing colleges. A saga of its very own, which I am without energy to relate. I'll just say that I'm proud of the young woman she's become, and leave it at that for now -- except to add that she will be home Saturday night and I can't wait to see with my very own eyes the young woman she's become in the four months since I kissed her good-bye.

I'm in charge of AP Testing at my school. It requires a tremendously tedious amount of organization -- not one of my strengths. I was there till almost 7:00 tonight (I finish teaching at 5:15) getting ready for the next round. Two tests down and eight to go.

Today I taught eighth graders about the Bill of Rights, eleventh graders about the collapse of the Soviet Union, and ninth graders about the American entry into World War I, and fielded two parental phone calls about the SATs and two about grades. Best teaching moment of the past week or so: hearing a 9th grade honors student, the one who had lodged the most vociferous protests when I announced that we would be looking at World War I British poets that day, mutter at the end of class that they were "pretty good."

I'm listening obsessively to the Dvorak's New World Symphony. That usually means something's going on in my life. Which it is. I'm having what I would describe in as understated manner as possible a spectacular Ignatian retreat. At least this week I am.

But this business of waking up at 4:00 every morning is making me really, really tired.