I just realised that even though I tend to get into the office around 10.00AM (though I’m always happier when I get in at 9.30 or 9.00AM), I stay until 6.30-7.00PM. That means I’m working a 33-hour work week Tuesday-Friday, with 13-hour work weekends at MUSA.

That’s roughly a 45-49-hour work week, folks.

And that’s not even taking into account choir rehearsals and PGCF and I don’t even remember what else during term time.

No wonder I’m exhausted.

Museum visitors

Things that visitors do that never cease to baffle me:

  • Attempt to enter the museum before it opens. The museum’s opening hours are posted on no fewer than four signs. These extra keen visitors ignore the fact that the gates are closed and enter into the courtyard anyway. Then they try to open the front door — which, being that the museum isn’t open to the public yet, is locked. But these visitors are not deterred by a locked door: they will simply continue to yank on it and shake the door until I or my colleague are interrupted from inspecting the cases or unlocking the galleries to go and tell them, no, I’m sorry, the museum isn’t open yet, please come back in fifteen minutes.
  • Sense of entitlement. When these early visitors are then confused and put out that no, we will not open the museum early especially for them.
  • Smudging the glass. Really, why do you need to touch the glass cases? Why do you  need to push your nose against the glass? I have to clean up after you.
  • Leaving through the Emergency Exit Only door. I know it’s confusing. The door you entered is the same you are supposed to leave through, and right next to it is another door with a push-bar. But this other door has a big red sign on it that says, ‘EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY’. If you open it, it will not close behind you. I will have to get up and shut it. We can’t alarm it because too many people open it. Too often I find myself saying, ‘It’s the door on the left-‘ only to have the visitor ignore me and open the door on the right instead.

These are not rare occurrences; on the contrary, they happen every weekend when I work. I just don’t understand.

Rainy Saturday

While the rest of the country has been forecast lots and lots of snow, we just have rain. I can never tell whether rainy days will mean more or fewer visitors to the museum. Today, just like the rain, we’ve had a steady flow of visitors.

Even though I’ve lived here for over three years, sometimes it still feels wrong to complain about rain. I grew up in a desert. You mention rain to anyone from San Antonio and they’re likely to joke, ‘Rain? What’s rain?’ No, I don’t always like to walk in the rain, or that weird sense of not-feeling-quite-put-together that comes from being wet, but I still come from a land where we thank God for the rain.

Today is one of those days I’ve gone to work before work: I was in my office this morning at 9.30, reading articles for a couple of hours until I had to open the museum to the public. I’ve read a couple of articles while at MUSA, and now I’m back in the office to read a few more.

And a few things I still need to do this evening:

  • Wash All Saints’s towels and my surplice to take back to church tomorrow;
  • Cook dinner;
  • Write out notes for the Postgraduate Christian Union (PGCU) Bible study I’m leaning tomorrow;
  • Update my monthly budget;
  • EDIT: Watch The Lion King.*

Tea is in order. Tomorrow will be equally busy, if not busier.

* Oh goodness. I haven’t seen this film in about a decade and I can still remember the words to every song and most of the dialogue. 😀

To catch up:

It appears that June is not a month for posting.

1. I have been reading primary texts, still in particular the epic Melusine, which is proving to be elusive even as I have an edition of the text right in front of me. That’s what happens when there’s only ever been two printed editions of a text and the last one was done in 1895. It appears that the two only other people in the world who study this text live in Australia. Also, I find that I will need to even further increase my palaeography skills, that I can not only recognise the scribal hand but also identify the dialect in which it is written. This, my dear readers, is being a medieval scholar.

2. I have been working in Special Collections, in which I’m a minion for the Manuscripts librarian. Thus far I’ve been inventorying the manuscripts in one of the stacks and reboxing them as necessary. Mostly I’ve been unrolling and rerolling old maps for county buildings and council housing around Fife, though I have found the occasional Cold War military map (what it was doing rolled up inside a 1924 water planning map I can only guess) and the occasional list of indexes of gold mines in Australia from 1890. It reminds me quite a bit of my job at the museum, and so I am well pleased.

3. I have been watching the World Cup as I am able, and am pleased that the U.S. didn’t lose to England and that Mexico beat France, but am also quite upset about last night’s disallowed goal for the U.S. I personally consider it to have been a 3-2 win, and it seems that most of the world agrees with me. And before you ask whether I am supporting England, allow me to remind you that I live in Scotland.

4. I have been ill yet again with a sinus infection, coupled with allergies. Thus I have been forcing myself to go to bed early and, in the case of yesterday and today, to sleep late. I have been mostly successful. I would have been more successful if the necessity of chores and laundry did not fall on the day I have off. Oh well.

But as the washing is on the line and the chores can wait, I am going back to bed.

My own snobbery

I recently read an article, The Disadvantages of an Elite Education, and as I read it, felt vindicated for opting to go to a small liberal arts college instead of applying to Ivy schools that I couldn’t afford. I was also vindicated by being rejected by those same Ivies for graduate school–because apparently the University valued my humanistic education. I had also prided myself at still being able to communicate with those not-as-educated as myself. And then the past few days had to prove me a hypocrite. It was incredibly refreshing to spend the weekend with Kelly and Philip–to be able to weave in and out of conversations about WWI, the Ottoman Empire, Post-colonial theory, Germanic barbarians, the Attolia trilogy, pre-Malory Arthurian tales, Firefly and Star Trek, our non-denominational selves being able to laugh at Christianity, world-building and writing fantasy, audio hallucinations, etc. I haven’t had a peer in San Antonio, and it is something I have hungered for. Something that makes me miss Kelly terribly, something that makes me glad to be going to grad school, to be back in an academic setting, where I am among “my own kind,” so to speak. And then I am aware of my own intellectual snobbery.

My job this summer has been at a corporate real estate firm. This is my last week, and so people are finally asking, “So why are you leaving? What are you doing?” I answer that I’m starting graduate school, and then answer the following question with, “Mediaeval English Literature.” They blink, they stare, they waffle and say something about did I know Donald Trump wants to build a golf course in Scotland and I say yes, yes I do. The business-persons want to know what am I going to do with this degree. The maintenance techs nod, impressed, but still are unsure how to respond. One property manager, who also spent eight years in Europe, spends the lunch break talking with me about politics and society in general–this has helped make the summer bearable. And one person actually laughed at me to my face. I’m still unsure how to interpret it, but it doesn’t matter, because I’m leaving. They are all surprised that I’m studying Mediaeval Literature, and none of them asked before now what my degrees were from college. Perhaps Kelly is right, that the postmodernists were right, and we are all drifting away from each other after all.

Regardless of being a snob, or not, I will be glad to leave and be where I’m in fertile soil again. A semi-desert is a nice place to visit, but there is nothing for me here. I feel a little like Shevek, who has to go away in order to be heard. True voyage is return. Hm.

Woolly thoughts

My job has thoroughly taught me that I do not want a management career, nor do I want to work in corporate business. Seriously. However, I have been listening to Dr Lee’s fabulous lecture series on the Anglo-Saxons on my iPod–now that is exciting. The Wanderer, The Ruin, Dream of the Rood, Beowulf… I can’t wait to learn Old English! I’m glad I know Middle English already, and some German, so picking it up should be fair enough. I’ve begun making Lists to prepare for the move: of sweaters, what books I’ll bring, what books I’ll read before I leave, traveling, who else I need to contact regarding my medications (the biggest headache so far, besides the visa). I’m ready to be there, mentally, to see what I wish I could see so I could Plan for how to live there. Only 47 more days. In the meantime, this South Texan is trying to prepare for a year-long winter.

In lieu of serious Thoughts

Wow. I just finished a full 40-hour work week. This isn’t necessarily a new thing: I worked 40 (or more, some weeks) hour weeks the past year, but they weren’t all at the same job. In the same building. Corporate offices. Neh. I’m glad to have a job, but I’m also glad this isn’t my career. I’d like more variety.

What I like about Texas clouds is that they are big and fluffy and you can find all sorts of shapes in them. I’ve seen a turtle, snail, dove, and an elephant. The elephant made me smile because it reminded me of Horton from Horton Hears a Who. Hee. Then it disintegrated and I’m not sure what it was.

My parents and Alex are going to Buffalo, NY this Fourth of July without me. They’re taking Alex to see Niagara Falls. Hmph. I have a three-day weekend… so where should I go? Suggestions?

I had Serious Thoughts about my Bible reading this morning, but insomnia two nights in a row has so greatly diminished my coherency faculties that sharing such thoughts is not possible. Instead, because my parents had to use my credit card to buy their plane tickets (<insert confusion here>), they’re taking me out for Mexican food. Yay.


Borrowed from Amber:

Someone forgot to put that on my desk this week. Today, however has gone from worse to better. Even though I got very little sleep, work went by quickly. I’m starting to relax there, too; starting to laugh. It was a good day.

Ever since I memorized 1 Corinthians 13, I’ve been working my way through the list of what love is and isn’t. Next on this list is, “love is not self-seeking.”1 That lesson could have come a bit earlier, but now is as good a time as any. Also next on the list is, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,” from 1 John 4:18. I know it may seem like I’m once again holding myself to an impossible standard. But as Christians, we are. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), which I’ve always interpreted as “become perfect, be moving toward perfection.” We’ll never reach it, but the more we grow, the more we strive to simulate Christ, the closer we should move toward that goal. It takes conscious effort, and it’s gradual. It’s an imperfect process toward a hoped-for perfect result.

Paging through my journal to find my thoughts on these topics, I came across this [a response to a passage from The Painted Veil]:

Humans have the potential to do both great good and great evil, but we also have the propensity for selfishness. As a result, this world is a crazy, chaotic place. What makes life beautiful, worth living, are the relationships we form that serve as anchors in this raging sea. The beauty in a smile, a glance, laughter between friends. It is the mundanity of life that makes the great deeds of heroes valuable.

I still have thoughts regarding the Beggarman and Charity. Maybe they’ll eventually show up here. Maybe I need to mull on them a bit longer. All this mental energy spent on imperfection brings to mind Canon in B Minor, of which there is more of the story to be told. Perhaps Masters Russell and Edwards will inspire me to tell the rest of their story.

1 By no means does this mean the previous items on the list have been mastered. This, too, is an ongoing process.