Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fits and Starts

Fits and starts. That seems to sum up my whole life, lately, including blogging.

Work-wise, I'm in grading jail. I should be grading right now--I'm already behind on where I want to be--but can't motivate myself to read papers.

Students are fighting me on their new paper topics--it needs to be directed at a specific, focused audience with whom the students have credibility; they keep wanting to write to Port Authority or iTunes instead of student groups or companies they've worked for. I don't understand their resistance to listen to my suggestions, since my pushing them to focus is in their best interest. You'd think that upperclassmen, at least, would have learned that if the person grading the paper suggests they tweak their topic a bit, they'd listen. But instead, they're fighting me on it. I'm tempted to give in, let them write what they want, and then suffer the consequences when grades roll around.

On the bright side, I'm teaching a course I really want to teach this summer; I'm having a ball requesting exam copies of texts so I can decide which ones to use. I want to spend all my time on that syllabus, which I won't need until July, instead of grading the papers I need to turn back tomorrow.

School-wise, I sent my committee what is (I hope) my penultimate draft, but it's taken almost 7 weeks of me emailing, asking if we could set up a time to get anything like a concrete response. My adviser said they needed about a month to read through, since they have other commitments. So now I've emailed back with a "how about this date" suggestion; I suspect it will take a month of emails asking them to confirm before my adviser gets back to me about it. Which means we'll need another date, and that puts us up to Christmas and winter break, so I'm afraid we're looking at January to talk about a draft I sent in August. I hate it that I continually have to bug for responses--it makes for a weird power dynamic.

Home-wise, G is crazy, crazy busy--he's teaching an overload, and taking a Polish class, and trying to carve out some time to work on his own stuff. His days are longer than mine--he's in class until 8:00 tonight. I might spend all day grading and prepping, but at least I'm home today, and can distract myself with other stuff. He's so busy he missed an important lunch the other day, with a visiting scholar. I've set up google calendars for both of us; maybe daily email reminders will help. I feel like I never see him anymore, and he's so stressed that I don't want to add to it.

The apartment is a mess; most of it is G's stuff (fishing lures and reels and articles for papers, classes he's teaching, the dissertation) and he's not home enough to get organized. Or when he's home, he's frantically trying to finish prepping for a class. I can't organize for him, because then he can't find anything. I'm trying to get him to take a few minutes every day to at least organize his office enough to make it usable; currently it's not and he's slowly taking over mine as well. I'm thinking about leaving yarn everywhere to discourage this practice.

Knitting-wise, I'm done with 22 out of 40 repeats on the Stripes and Torchon Shawl for my SIL. It's going to be huge when it's done; I don't know if I should block it or not. If I do block it, I'll probably spritz it with water and pin it out, rather than soaking it. But I've slowed down on that, in part because I'm afraid I might run short of yarn on the edging. I weighed what I have left, and tried to guesstimate how many grams I'm using per repeat, but I didn't weigh how much I had before I started the border (or even before I joined this current ball of yarn), so I can only guess. And that guess looks to be a couple of grams short. I should just power through the edging, get to the end and know for certain--that way I can decide how to deal with it, and if I need more yarn have a shot at getting it before Christmas.

G's worn his seamless hybrid sweater a couple of times; he really likes it. So much that he wants one in a sort of rust color (we'll see how long it takes to find a color that matches his description--it took a long time for him to find a green he liked). I'm not even going to look for yarn until at least January, though.

I swatched for the Brat's sweater, and even washed the swatch. But that was weeks ago, and I probably should re-swatch before starting anything. I may not cast on this month; maybe I'll call it a plan, since November is National Knit a Sweater Month.

I have been knitting socks, though. I learned how to do a Magic Loop and love it. I learned to knit holding a long straight needle under my right arm, which makes for lovely even tension, but isn't at all useful when learning how to use circular or double-pointed needles. DPN, in particular, have always felt extremely awkward, and I sometimes get laddering where I change needles. With Magic Loop, no ladders. And no DPN to lose, making portable sock knitting more appealing. I finished a plain sock using the Jitterbug I bought at Knit Purl and I'm working on the second sock. (The Snicket sock, though--definitely SSS. It's odd how the thought of knitting another basic stockinette sock sounds just dandy, but following an actual pattern again brings out a strong desire to start something else.)

Stash-wise, I'm going strong. I bought the Namaste Executive bag from Webs; I was going to get it in rust, but they were sold out and it was on back order. So I asked them to send a black one, instead. So far, I really like it, although my tendency to overload my bags could be a problem--the bag is quite large. The inside is black, too, making it a little hard to see, and it doesn't have enough interior pockets for pens, etc, so I bought a couple of bright travel toiletries bags ($0.99 at Target) to keep odds and ends in.

I've also bought another skien of Socks that Rock, lightweight, in Carbon Dating (which seems to be a retired color; I can't find a picture to link to)--it should be here soon--and a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace, in Wild Cherry--also should arrive within a few days. I bought both of them off of Ravelry, which is an evil, evil, enabling place that I cannot resist. Someone posted a link to JoAnn's last night--they have Namaste bags and a 50% off any one item coupon. The bags aren't label Namaste, but if you zoom in you can see the logo. I'm tempted to buy a messenger bag, as well. G (who is also an evil, evil enabler) suggested that I buy it, then I can say I got two bags that were 25% off each.

So fits and starts. I have a ton of things I should be doing--grading, first and foremost; laundry, dishes, reading, lesson prep, figuring out dinner--but I'm online instead. And no pictures in this post, since the light is bad--very overcast--and I can't muster up the enthusiasm to take a picture of the-border-that-will-not-end, or of one finished sock.

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