Cloister Commentary, Day 284: Nasty Weather of All Kinds

Dismal weather was moving in to cruelly combine with the continued COVID wildfire, so we headed out for enough curbside provisions to get us a few days into 2021. Speaking of cruelty, our political leadership continues to find ways to withhold economic relief from struggling Americans; I had thought this time a winning combination had been found, but where do I get this optimism from?

We had a very nice evening, finishing the deeply powerful Wright Thompson book Pappyland (last time I will mention it, but I’m trying to hypnotize you into buying it), enjoying some butternut squash soup and some locally baked batard (courtesy of Uprise Bakery), toasted and garlicked, and spreading out in the living room for a few hours with books, cats, beer, and the intense, painful honky tonk music of Gary Stewart. We closed down the day with three episodes of TrueSouth, which focused on the terrific cultural cuisine of Nashville, Shreveport, and New Orleans. In all our trips to the Crescent City, how did we miss Mandina’s?!!

Streaming for Strivers:

Is there such a thing as a bad Bob Wills – Tommy Duncan album? I think not.

Cloister Commentary, Day 257: Past-Tense Verbs Galore

Ended my semester tutoring at Stephens. Didn’t do any sessions in person, but it was encouraging that we did not have a decrease in tutoring requests but did have one in cancelled appointments. My only in-person interaction with students was to notarize a few absentee and mail-in ballots. I miss students, but I’ve stayed healthy and so have most on Stephens’ campus. Looks like more of the same next semester; I hope my on-line comp class makes.

Had to get another blood panel run (nothing major). The poor intern tasked with drawing my blood might have been too distracted by my kitten mask (made by my mom), since she couldn’t draw blood in three sticks. The head nurse got the needle in and blood drawn while I was still explaining the mask to the intern.

Made a decent effort to curb a few habits. Kept myself to one small cup of coffee and no unhealthy snacks. Nicole prepared an Indian dish with butter sauce that was scrumptious and found some good pre-packaged garlic naan at the store.

Spent the evening continuing to bury my nose in Lee Smith‘s Saving Grace. If you need a high-quality page-turner that is sure to beat the pants off Hillbilly Elegy, check it out. Also, listened to some VINTAGE Western swing from the Thirties. That stuff never gets old, and it’s got serious juice.

Dreamed I was substituting at Hickman. The hallways were realistic, but when I entered my room, first it was shoebox-size with 35 students (I counted), then it elasticized to the size of a lecture hall, with the students suddenly very socially distanced. There was a foosball table a few juvenile delinquent types claimed the teacher let them play every day (BS, but why the table?); the ten students that had to sign out to go to tutoring just left without my signature; the remaining students laughed at me for saying reading could save them, but then were surprised not only that I was going to teach the lesson plan but knew my sh*t. Then a cat woke me up.

I miss students.

Streaming for Strivers:

Wills and his Playboys in autumn.