Wednesday, June 24

As Summer Was Just Beginning

I know I have been delinquent with my blog updates the past few weeks, but in my defense, I have been rather uninspired and there is not much going on at the moment. By this time, of course, summer has officially begun. Eric just began teaching his course on ancient Egyptian religion at UCLA and I will be wrapping up school group lessons tomorrow. (I have declared it an official day of celebration.) The summer months will still be busy, just with different kinds of distractions. Beginning next week I will have no teaching assignments on Wednesdays, which will give me the luxury of one day a week to research and prepare for upcoming projects. For example, I am preparing a course comparing nudity in the ancient Near East, Egypt, and Greece. Also, two special exhibitions are opening at the Villa this summer: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani (July 16–October 5, 2009) and The Chimaera of Arezzo (July 16, 2009–February 8, 2010). I have about a month or so to study up on both of those exhibitions so I can be ready to present them to the public by the time they open. I am very much looking forward to both of these shows. They will both have an archaeological bent to them compared to other special exhibitions I have taught here, which will make them particularly fun for me.

In other news, we are now a two car family again. You will recall some months ago I reported that the engine of Eric's old beater overheated and seized, leaving him stranded on the 405 freeway. Since then he and I have been negotiating the use of our one remaining car as best as we could--and not doing half bad, all things considered. Anyhow, last week a friend of his bought a new car and very kindly sold his old one to Eric for a price he could afford. So we now have two cars again, and what a luxury it is! I will enjoy very much not making grocery trips on my day off with my little push cart and waiting on the bus in order to get around and get errands done.

With all that in mind, you could say things are going pretty well right now. We have no extraordinary plans for summer since we usually take our vacation in September, after Eric is done with his summer teaching. What we will be doing is taking advantage of the awesome SoCal summer weather, enjoying time with friends and family, and going to lots of summer movies. I have learned to make the most of my unusual work schedule and have got myself into the habit of seeing movies on Mondays, when everyone else is at work. It is a lot of fun to kick back with your soda and popcorn and see a movie in an almost deserted theater. Once you know how great it is without the crowds, it is almost disappointing to see a movie any other way. Also, at the end of the summer I plan on escaping the city for a visit home.

But, for now, there are miles to go so I had better get to it. Time to get busy learning the stories revealed by the golden graves of Vani.

Summertime in the Villa's Herb Garden

Tuesday, June 9

Kellie's Wedding

A little over a week ago, on May 30th, Eric and I were in his sister Kellie's wedding. Kellie and Jeff were married at the Wayfarer's Chapel in Palos Verdes. Unfortunately the trademark "June gloom" of southern California moved in a day or two early, and it turned out to be an overcast, chilly, misty day. Even so, the beautiful locations made for great photos. The venue from the ceremony was the Wayfarer's Chapel. It sits right on the coast and is a beautiful place no matter what the weather.

Unfortunately, I think my day of gallivanting along the coast in the chill and mist helped to run me down and opened me up to attack from a vicious rhinovirus that's been going around. The past week I have suffered from a nasty head cold. This bug made its way around the office this past week, taking out several of us. It definitely slowed me down, but I'm fighting back and believe I am on the mend. There is just something totally unfair about summer colds...

The month of June promises to be pretty uneventful. I will continue to miseducate the public as usual, and Eric will begin teaching his summer class at UCLA next week. The one anticipated event for me this month is the day school groups end. The end date is currently set for June 27th, I believe. That will indeed be a day of celebration and the beginning of a much needed break from teaching school audiences. They are in many ways the audience that takes the most energy, and the summer break is the time to recharge and recuperate before returning to the fray in early October.

Speaking of recuperation, I'm going to set aside my computer so I can make myself a comforting cup of hot tea. It's the beverage that cheers but does not inebriate, as one of my favorite literary heroes would say.