Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Deep Breath and a Sigh

Don't you love those moments or days when you can stop and take a deep breath? When the treadmill has, if only for a moment, slowed?

I feel like that this afternoon. This past week has been crazy, and I've been running 15 minutes behind for about five days. Between work, family visitors, book group, the second week of teaching, the first week of the kids' school, committee meetings, the article I need to finish*, and batches of essays to turn around overnight**, I've been racing the clock since Sunday night at 9:00pm.

As of today at 1:30pm, I was able to take a breath. It's not that I don't still have a crapload of work to do. I do have a crapload of work . Oh, yes. But! The work does not have to be finished by 7:00 tonight or even by 10:00 tomorrow, which means that, for now, I can sit back for a moment and breathe.

And, of course, snuggle with the children.

And, of course, have a drink.

*Yes, still.

**I'm teaching an class that follows an accelerated pace for half the weeks of a regular semester. As a result, drafts really need to be turned back the next day after I receive them. The downside? It's a time crunch that involves late nights. The upside? A great sense of accomplish and an empty grading folder (for that class) for at least a couple of days.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Tomorrow is my first day back teaching for fall.

I always get so nervous, especially when I have early morning classes. I'm always afraid of missing them. Lots of nightmares in that genre.

Time to set a few alarms!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Love My Yarn Over Holes

I am currently knitting a baby blanket. I'm doing it in squares that I will later piece together with some kind of stitch that I'll need to learn first (I've heard someone use the words "blanket stitch," and I will be Googling those words).

One of the great things about making this blanket--besides the fact that I care very deeply for the baby-to-be's parents--is that I am teaching myself some new stitches in the process. Up to now, I have only knitted and purled, increased and decreased, but not much else. With these squares, I'm doing various patterns, such as seed, moss, and eyelet, and I'm needing to learn new stitches.

So I am now doing an eyelet square, for which I've done my first yarn overs. Can I tell you how much I love the little eyelet holes that my yarn overs make? Granted I counted wrong on a few rows and I'm missing some holes, but I'm not going to worry about those mistakes because 1) I find it very hard to rip out knit-togethers and yarn overs successfully without losing my way, and 2) the baby won't care.

Even with my mistakes, I love my yarn overs holes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sans Girl

I'm here at my desk (in my new study), working on a presentation/workshop for faculty that I have to deliver on Thursday. The Boy just returned from a successful tadpole hunt with Hubby, and now he's happily shucking corn, cooing at his tadpoles all the while.

The Girl is sleeping over at a friend's house, and I miss her.

I love my family.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bits of Progress

This week, the kids have spent their mornings at Art Camp (of which they have mixed reviews). While they are there, I alternately work on my syllabus for my new prep* and my article. I think the article is almost ready. Could it be better? Yes. Are there parts that could me more clear and developed? Yes. But I feel as if it is time to sent it out into the world to see what the world has to say about it. I'm hoping my supervisor doesn't need another look. I sent her a message asking if she wants to see it again, but I think she might be away until next week.

In the meantime, I still have a few things to fix. I need to find a citation and page number for a three-word quotation that I used. Somehow, when I first included it, I didn't note the exact source or page number. I know which critic said it, but I don't know where. Argh. Also, I need to track down a preface to one of my novels from the 1720s because my facsimile edition doesn't include said preface. I guess I'll hunt through various editions on ECCO.

Also, I plan to give the final(ish) draft to a friend or two who might find mistakes that would really embarrass me.

I didn't end up disliking this stage as much as I thought I would. It's actually rather satisfying. We'll see if I still feel that way after it gets attacked by journal editors.

*It's not exactly a new prep, but I haven't taught the class in nine years, so, basically, I'm starting over. And it's a developmental writing class. Organizing the reading and assignments seems like sorting through and organizing a matrix that could contain infinite possibilities. I think I might need to just plan some basics and then jump in with both feet, regardless of how organized I feel.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stay on Target, Almost There

No, I have not spent the morning on You Tube looking at music videos from the 1980s (as much as I would love to do so). Rather, I've been at a coffee shop (while the kids are at a morning art camp) reading over the latest draft of my article. It amazes me that, after spending so much time on various versions of this one piece (chapter draft, conference paper, article draft) that I can still find so many crappy messed up sentences.

I want to send this thing out soon. My supervisor has asked for one more look, but I've only done basic editing since her last read, so I'm not sure it's really necessary. I'm hoping she'll give me her blessing as is. At this point, I need to do a couple of more reads myself before giving it to a friend or two for some final proofreading. Then, I want to send it out to see what real, live, journal editors have to say--for better or for worse.

It's time for me to move on--to get back to the drafting of real, live dissertation chapters. (After I get back to a huge amount of reading.)