Thursday, September 29, 2005

mastering the everyday magic

Today's my favorite day of the week. I teach all my independent study tutorials today -- a procession of smart, happy,
motivated students who have sought out their passion on their own and now just need an older colleague to
point them in new directions to deepen their understanding. Before they arrive, I cook soup and bake apples, I dance
barefoot in the kitchen, I cut some new flowers to put on the table, and I make lists of things to do on the upcoming weekend. And I prep. Perhaps the best thing about this kind of teaching is that I get to read and re-read outside of the groove of my usual specialties. So that's refreshing.

And because these meetings are at my house, I work a little harder than usual at making my house a welcoming place.
Our decorating style around here could best be described as "Generous Relative." We have a lot of older (but not
antique) mismatched bulky pieces -- things our aunts and parents were eager to get out of their house because
they are a little outsized. I've never really figured out how to make all this stuff work together to look like a home.
I'd say it looks more like a used furniture store showroom, in that it's ill-lit, slightly jumbled, and more than a
little dusty. So when students come over, I make a special effort to dust and vacuum, break out the smelly candles,
and so forth. They're forgiving and the coffee is strong and hot, so it makes for an intellectually engaging time.

Later, I'll work on a grant proposal. I'll decide whether I want to apply for a Fulbright summer
in China (that would involve leaving behind partner and kid for 6 weeks). I'll write a recommendation letter (difficult
to do when the student has left one with the impression that he'd a lot rather be playing soccer than taking one's
class...and the recommendation is not for playing soccer or coaching a soccer team, which is where I suspect
his heart lies...). I'll grade some exams. And I'll probably take my kid swimming.

Anyhow, it's on these days -- when the wind is singing high through the trees and the air is just a little chill --
that I manage to concentrate on the everyday magic that is mine. A little down time pulls that into perspective.


jo(e) said...

I love this post. Your life sounds a bit like mine, although I am not always that appreciative.

My house, though, is decorated in "Early Garage Sale."

imfunnytoo said...

Or, mine "Grubby, Mismatched and Comfortable"

I love this description. Makes me want to cook...uh well er...not really.