Saturday, October 24, 2009

I rush here, I rush there . . .

Busy Days! Thursday was crazy if satisfying: I left the house at 7:45 to catch the 8 ferry, grabbed a coffee and brioche in town (too rushed to get breakfast at home) then hurried to campus to meet with a student. 9:30-12:30 in the Writing Centre, back-to-back appointments, then I hurried down the hill to my 1:00 class, stopping at the cafeteria on the way to grab lunch. Taught from 1:00-4:00, with students loath to let me go because they are finally beginning to realize that their assignments might require some work, and, thus, some help. I managed to shake myself free to run to the car and drive cross town to my 4:15 Pilates class -- an essential stress reducer! 5:15 back in the car and back to campus to meet a friend/colleague for dinner at 5:30. Lovely meal, satisfying and lively conversation, but rather rushed because we were both heading to a 7:30 event.

Yet, while part of me would have preferred heading home then to veg out in front of Grey's Anatomy followed by Private Practice, I was so glad I made myself attend. The reading -- by Britain's Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy -- was among the best poetry readings I have ever attended, and I've been to many. Duffy was warm, engaging, and very, very funny. She's also generous with her audience, taking the time to introduce poems, explaining their context and providing necessary background. And she performed, rather than simply read, bringing the poems to life. Sometimes, hearing a poet read, it's easy to think it would have been better to stay home reading the words to oneself. But from now on, I will read Duffy's work with her voice still resonating within me, her particular accent shaping each word, her lively inflections highlighting the meaning of each phrase.

And I came away with a gorgeous broadsheet, numbered and signed by Duffy and printed on wonderful artisanal paper, of a poem she "gave" to our University. At least, this is its first publication; it's tied to our History Department's "World War I Letters and Images" project; and all funds from its sale ($50 each) go to fill the coffers of the Trust that brought Carol Ann Duffy this year, and others in the past, to speak to us and spend time with our students. As I say, very generous. Besides the worth of the poem itself, which is considerable, and the visual attractions of its printing and the poet's signature, I'm excited to know the destination of another print in this very limited series: it's going to Windsor Castle. In fact, if I heard correctly on Thursday night, it will be presented to Her Royal Majesty, the Queen!

Friday was a rushed day as well, with marking and getting organized in the morning, then a hair appointment at noon (always fun -- I love my hairdresser!), catching the 3 ferry to Vanc'r, and arriving downtown at our apartment about 5:30. Since Pater was already, surprisingly, home from work, we decided to try Vij's, thinking that maybe this time we'd be early enough to get seated right away. Uh-uh! (as in "No way" -- how does one indicate the negatory uh-uh, rather than the Yes one?!!). Vij's takes no reservations, but as compensation for the inevitable waiting, wonderful snacks are always circulating in the area surrounding the bar where one hangs out 'til a table's available. Putting our names on the list last night, we were warned that we'd be at least an hour before sitting down. It passed quickly with a glass of Masi Campofiorini and assorted Indian-fusion nibbles, we caught up with each other's weeks (Pater was up in Sitka, Alaska), and then enjoyed a yummy meal.

This morning I got up early (before 6) and have already marked papers for a couple of hours. I'm planning to wander the shops a bit this morning and counting on seeing Nola this afternoon.
Meanwhile, can I send you off to look at some responses to The Blue Meme? New reader Northmoon, also a fairly new blogger, has taken up the challenge here. And Tiffany, at Truly the Dullest Blog (which it isn't, not at all!) shares some very well-chosen blue treasures here.

Now I'm off to a busy day of relaxing -- really, that can make sense! What about you? What are you up to this weekend?


  1. Sometimes your life sounds absolutely perfect to me. Not to deprive you, of course, of any right to feel anxiety, angst, or general malaise.

  2. Those sound like very full but satisfying days. How fabulous that poetry reading sounds! I can't remember the last time I attended one, but unless one knows what one is getting into, it's sometimes hard for us laypersons to separate the wheat from the chaff, if you know what I mean. I do remember attending one or two in my early 20's where the "poets" seemed to have an esteem for their own work disprortionate to their talent...

  3. You always seem to pack so much into your days! I have had a very slow week, mostly spent in bed with flu. Hubby is in Croatia on business so the boys have had to fend for themselves for a lot of the time. This evening, however, Number 2 Son and I went to the movies - he to see Cirque du Freak and I saw The Secret Lives of Pippa Lee - really, really good! Robin Wright is super, as is Maria Bello. Also, I just can't quit Keanu Reeves!!! (Ok, I know he's no Olivier or Guilgud, but still....) Hope you manage to relax for the rest of the weekend! Patricia

  4. Oops, make that The Private Lives of Pippa Lee!

  5. Wow, that makes me feel like my life is positively calm at the moment. From the sounds of it, though, you're finding it all very energizing, which is the best time of busy there can be! How inspiring that reading sounds ...

  6. My goodness--when do you do your lesson plans? I don't see any room! I love the thing you said about "with students loath to let me go because they are finally beginning to realize that their assignments might require some work, and, thus, some help"--so perfectly and so accurately expressed.

    Your days do sound so terribly full, but also so glamorous. The morning ferry and evening poetry reading go a long way there. I envy you both!

  7. I'm so gad that you had a wonderful time with our Poet Laureate. We are, understandably, very, very proud of her in the UK; she's a terrific poet and a great ambassador for poetry.

  8. What a whirlwind! Carol Ann Duffy, wow! Do you know the poem that begins
    "Not a red rose or a satin heart. I will give you an onion"? (Valentine). Made Le Duc a valentine with that poem on the front.

    Spent Sat aft. having lunch and at water spa (Body Blitz) with a GF and brunch today with another couple. Everyone rushing to get out in the mild weather before it turns really cold.

  9. LPC: It's true; I recognize the perfection and good fortune in my life, but I reserve my right to malaise, anxiety, and angst!
    Pseu: Yes, one must choose carefully . . . your clever phrasing about poets having an esteem for their work disproportionate to their own talent brings to mind those students I occasionally encounter who, having received a D or even an F on a paper, want to bring me their poetry to read so that I can see how "creative" they are . . .
    Patricia: Hope you're on the mend. I haven't heard about Pippa Lee, but I really admire Robin Wright (used-to-be-Penn). Curious to know what it is about Keanu Reeves that you like -- he always seems close to wooden to me, which suits some roles . . . he was fine in My Own Private Idaho, for example, imho.
    Tiffany: Oddly, I realize that I am finding the busy-ness energizing right now -- generally, I'm inclined to get a bit whiney, tired, with it all, but not at the moment.
    PM: Oh, believe me, if you could see me biking through muddy dirt roads to catch the early ferry, wending my way down the boat ramp and wet slippery dock, glamour wouldn't be the first word that comes to mind.
    As for the prep, altho' there are many, many things to dislike about teaching 3 sections of the same 1st-year Writing course, I've gotta like the single prep!
    60/16: Yes, I can understand your pride -- she's a wonderful ambassador, really something special!
    Duchesse: Should have known you'd be familiar with Duffy's work! I don't know that poem -- yet! it sounds like one to seek out. She read quite a few from The World's Wives -- very, very funny! I always envy/admire you for the time you spend with GFs -- my lifestyle makes that difficult for the moment (with Pater and I living in different cities through the week) and I really miss that.

  10. Mater - I agree that Keanu can be a little wooden at times, in fact, I think he's famous for this, but I just think he's cute!!! Yup, colour me shallow...! ;0) Patricia


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