Unbelievable how fast October is going. I imagine November will go just as fast, because I'll be just as busy.

The weather is predicted to be "wintry mix" tomorrow and Friday. My favorite! Time to get the peacoat relining finished - it's definitely time for the wearing of such things. Tonight I have a haircut at 5:15, so when I get home from that I'll heat up some of the rice noodles and broccoli in peanut sauce I made last night, and then clear off the dining table so I can cut out the lining pieces. I have no idea whether it is a realistic goal to get the relining done tonight, but I'll try.

Last night I actually left work at 5:30 and had a whole evening at home. That was awesome. I did the aforementioned cooking, and then sat and embroidered for a while. I ran the dishwasher and packed my lunch and gym bag for today, and still went to bed around 9:30. It was so good.

Which reminds me, I hit a new high in sumo deadlift today: 195. Two sets of two and two singletons.

Hope LJ lets me crosspost today...


Oct. 25th, 2011 05:04 pm
It's 5:00 and I'm done with work! And not even a "but tomorrow will suck" kind of done - really done and feeling like I'm where I need to be. AWESOME.

Monday's to do list (I used to just make them a day or two ahead, now I tend to make the full week the Friday before and maybe add the following Monday or Tuesday during the week) includes remaking my November calendar. I printed out a new page from iCal with some additional items (such as the department meeting) but I really need to redistribute the (hand-written) textbook revision duties. I sort of did that on the original printout, in pen on my original pen writing, and it just needs fixing. Tidying and fixing.

Okay! I am getting out of here!


Oct. 25th, 2011 10:55 am
What I've read so far today:
* Generation Catalano, the idea of a microgeneration of those born during the Carter administration (i.e. my birth year and the three after)
* Letters from Mister Rogers that about destroyed me with wonderfulness
* About 14 pages of my own writing, now copiously filled with notes.

I'm in the middle of making the edits to the digital copy. The pages are a reread of Chapter 6, though from the number of changes I'm making you would be forgiven for thinking it's the first pass, and the first pass through section 8.2, which I have a suspicion I may have edited electronically after printing out the copy I edited manually today. Perhaps only by adding an exercise. We shall see. I try not to get ahead of myself and do things all interleaved; it seems like that would lead to me coming back later and saying "wait, I thought I fixed that" and realizing I fixed it on paper but failed to transfer it to the file.

Today's to do list is looking really good. 8.2 is actually off of tomorrow's list, though I have an item from yesterday's that I just don't want to do so I'm procrastinating by swapping it out with later items (structured procrastination ftw!). After I get the edits done, the rest of today's list will be two meetings, office hours, and making the next online homework assignment. I may be done with all but my 4:00 meeting by 3:00, in which case I can get ahead and maybe leave early one of these days that I don't have a late afternoon meeting.

Only six more posts to a successful Blogtoberfest! They've been riveting, I know. You can hardly stand the thought of the end to daily posting.
Today is chilly. This is not a terrible thing. I tend to like winter until about March 1, when I want it to go away already. Of course, since it's not uncommon for us to have a blizzard in early April, that's a problem, but it is not a problem at this moment.

The to do list is proceeding at a good pace; three of the items have to do with the textbook, and on two of them I have done the non-computer aspects (find some more exercises and make decisions on section organizing) and just need to enact them in the file. I wrote a report of midterm standing for one of my students and gave class, which is two more items crossed off, which leaves two or maybe three more (one is a meeting with the student who is guest teaching in my class on Wednesday and Friday, which may happen today but maybe tomorrow).

So, back to weekend crafting. Friday and Saturday nights I didn't get much done - Friday I deliberately navigated to TVTropes.org, which is never good for doing anything again the whole rest of the day, and Saturday, well, I don't remember exactly but I think I dinked around online for a while and then read Predictably Irrational, which I expect to finish this week because it is interesting and fun to read.

Yesterday was crafting day. Well, it was coffee and puzzles and dishes and tidying day too, but I sat down and looked at the projects I currently have. I divided a page into 14 sections, for the 14 weeks that start today, and figured out what I need to do to get the projects with deadlines done by their deadlines, at least at the weekly level. I am learning some things in the career counseling sessions about focus. Right now, while I have very little free time, I need to focus my efforts craftwise on the things I care most about. The complication is that I have some things that aren't my main focus, aren't the things I care most about, but that have deadlines in the near term and that I do really want to finish. The other minor complication is I would like to continue blogging twice a week, and right now I have only one post ready beyond today and Thursday's posts. That requires finishing items on a regular basis.

Why 14 weeks? Because that takes us to the end of January (aghast!), which marks the last external deadline: The Sketchbook Project.[1] To get that done on time I must complete an average of a page a week, counting the covers as individual pages (and "page" means both sides). Three pages and the cover are partially completed, but there's a lot of time involved. However, that's getting pushed off until mid-November (I will make it up over Thanksgiving and Christmas), because I have two even closer deadlines. The first is November 7 for the Feeling Stitchy book cover embroidery contest, and the second is November 19 minus shipping time for my brother's 40th birthday gift. And meanwhile, various small things so I have something to post about twice a week.

With that in mind I hopped to and did one and a half sketchbook pages (the other half was the very first one I did, so I took care of the back) and wrote the blog posts for today and Thursday. I have a schedule now for the next 14 weeks, though it will be adjusted and added to (my internal deadline items after the next couple of weeks have been entirely omitted), and hopefully it will keep me on track. After all, if I hope to make this a business some day, I had better treat it as work!

But last night, after about 45 minutes of work on my book cover, I went to trivia night at the local pub, with a couple of friends and the husband's parents. Fun and educational! :-)

[1] Interestingly, going back to that page, I see the theme I chose (stitches and folds) is no longer listed - apparently it filled up!

next steps

Oct. 23rd, 2011 03:36 pm
I met with my career counselor Friday, and we discussed various things, like what I might set as goals for the rest of this year (which is not very long!). I am resisting schedule-setting for my monster book and other things a bit because I really don't know how much time I'll have in the winter term - I'll be done with the textbook (unless it comes back that soon and I have to do the new edits), but I'll be teaching two highly time-consuming classes, and for at least one of them I'll be doing all my own grading. For the other I may have someone else doing some grading. But I'm going to be writing my lecture notes essentially from scratch - in one case completely, and in the other nearly completely. I may change my "no work at home" policy a bit since I kind of prefer grading at home, but hopefully I can figure out a way to do so that I can still reap the mental health benefits of the current system.

Back to Friday. She asked what she can do for me, and I said besides keeping on with pushing me to think longer term and keeping me on track, maybe we could do a slower, gentler version of her weekend entrepreneurship workshop. She gave me the handout they use for that, but it was completely intimidating - it's the one that made me seize up and feel suddenly like I was going to cry. I think this will be okay, partially because it won't be a surprise, and partially because I've realized I really don't *want* another job, so I need these tools to hasten the day when I am completely self-employed. If the monsters come out as well as I hope, I think that book will sell really well - and I have nearly enough ideas for a sequel already.

There is always tutoring to help pay the bills.

Lately I've really been wanting to be in a band, funnily enough. I want to put on leather pants and a tank top and stalk the stage with a microphone. All of these things that probably go with the realization that I would like to be somewhere other than I am.

Actually I mentioned on Friday that I'd had two coughs already this fall and that's unusual for me, and she said a friend of hers who's into some kind of naturopathy or fung shui or something said that you are susceptible to coughs when you aren't saying things you want to. I really don't go in for the metaphysical stuff but that condition surely holds of me! Though the department secretary mentioned when I was in Friday that the chair had given her some paperwork related to making next year's teaching schedule, and I think getting the teaching assignment request forms will precipitate the moment of truth. I wanted to talk to my career counselor first, and then to the one department member I've confided in, before making any general announcements. It will be a strange state to live in.

This is related to my realization that I don't want another job. When I announce that I'm leaving my position and people ask for what, I want to be able to say crafting, full stop. Not crafting cut with professional organizing (which I've mostly thrown by the wayside because it would take too much marketing and startup, for an hourly rate I could probably get with tutoring), not crafting cut with some part-time job somewhere that serves no long-term purpose. I would be interested in public health, and if I were in any way qualified for a job in that field I would be happy to say "public health with a side of art" - which perhaps could still come to happen; I have research to do. Perhaps I'm more qualified than I believe.

Well, this is amply long enough. Tomorrow I'll write about my weekend crafting adventures.
My birthday twin came to town today and I got to spend nearly five hours with her! It was awesome.

Nominally, she was down to get a ceramic drawer pull at the salvage store, because she got a set for a dresser and one of them didn't quite match the rest, but it was really just to be down here. I put a piece of furniture on hold at the salvage store, though I have to figure out whether it fits where I want to put it. It's a big cabinet of sorts. It has two bookshelves at the base, then three small drawers across the middle, and then a cabinet with metal mesh in the doors above the two leftward drawers, an open cubby above the righthand drawer, and enough of a lip on top that you could put things up there without worrying about anything falling. It's about as tall as I am and as wide as my left shoulder to the tip of my right fingers when I put my arm out to the side.

Then we went to the vintage store, where she found a gorgeous skirt and a much-needed belt. I didn't get anything, though I pondered the necklaces made from game pieces to a game I really think we had when I was a child. They seem like maybe bingo pieces, thick wooden disks with bingo-appropriate letter/number combinations raised on the wood and painted red, but my vague memory says they were something else.

While walking around, we passed by the secondhand store at which she had great luck finding a headboard last time we hung out. We didn't go in, but she caught sight of a "free" basket under the eaves, and we pawed through it. There was some interesting fabric, woven with little cartoony birds, that appeared to have clear contact paper stuck on one side. I liked the birds so I picked it up. We greatly amused a passerby when, while sitting at a table next to the window in the coffee shop, we were both bent over, peeling contact paper off fabric.

I finished the job when I got home tonight and put it through the wash, but it came out with obvious white marks where the puckers of the contact paper had been (i.e., everywhere; the application had been extremely untidy) so I hung it up to air-dry and will have to research sticky residue removal.

She is doing extremely well and we talked about her love life and how she's gone gluten-free and how my term is going and what we've been up to lately.


Oct. 21st, 2011 11:29 am
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It's like the writer was high on Viagra, semiotics, and TS Eliot.


Oct. 21st, 2011 09:47 am
So recently I gave to the band Megan Jean and the KFB via Kickstarter (amazing band, you should look them up), and before that I was talking with my mother about Kickstarter generally. She basically kept asking "how do you know it's for real?" and "how do you guarantee you get the rewards you sign up for?" and other questions, some of which related to generic internet commerce (or any commerce where you use credit - security concerns), and some of which were specific to Kickstarter. She was not even satisfied on the security front when I told her that money changes hands through Kickstarter, not through the individual trying to raise money. It wasn't until I said it was done through Paypal (which was wrong, it's through Amazon) that she was happy. Which was a little confusing, because why should Paypal be more trustworthy than Kickstarter? Because she's heard of it, I suppose. And how do you know your rewards will actually be sent to you?

Well, I am a pretty trusting person. I have, so far, only given through Kickstarter twice, and both times were to musicians I had met personally, but I've considered giving to other projects - such as one for modular solar powered electronics and one for a card game based on Jabberwocky (until I realized it was just a lame-ified version of Crazy Eights with an unnecessarily complicated scoring system). Kickstarter's been around long enough now that I'm not worried about it. And I suppose I figure most people have easier ways to make money dishonestly than making up fake information to give to Kickstarter (since I imagine, for the sake of KS's reputation, KS makes people setting up projects contractually agree to provide their rewards, giving them legal recourse if backers complain), thinking up a fake project and fake rewards, and making a video and info page. If I'd been burned badly in the past I might feel differently, but I prefer to trust people. I am happier that way.

On a related note, I was pretty uncomfortable with the way my co-teacher and at least one of the grad students operated when we were grading - always writing, say, 04 instead of 4 so the student couldn't add a 1 to the front on a problem out of 14 points, xing out blank parts of the page so the student couldn't add work and claim it was overlooked, etc. I've never had a problem with cheating, and I don't think it's because I am naive and just missing it. I think the students can tell when you trust them and tell when you care about them as human beings and about their progress, and when that's true they aren't inclined to cheat. Besides the fact that our students in particular tend to be honest to a fault. I don't like the message it sends when they get back an exam that has clearly been treated with cheating-prevention.

How do you feel about such things?
Good morning!
I am happy to report I have already crossed two items off my list! Of course, the list is long today - there are still ten items left on it - but some of the items are brief and several are appointments, that just happen independent of my work ethic. :-)

Today I am very excited about my craft blog post. It will look familiar to those who read this blog...

Monday's craft blog post will be a sketchbook update. That was originally scheduled for today, but I neither wanted to postpone the gazebo nor put the time in to have a sketchbook update prepared for today. I'll sketchbookify over the weekend. Lately I've been crocheting monsters (Stumpy's girlfriend and designs for the mix 'n' match monsters book I'm planning to write), and actually reading. Shocking! I finished the last story in the Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine I picked up at Borders, and started Predictably Irrational, which made me get to bed late because it's so interesting. It's also Thing (#18), as a bonus.

And a report on an experiment: I had one of those excessively large bars of soap in my shower. It had started out as a massaging soap, with a nubbly surface on one side (like this), wore down into a kind of uncomfortable canoe-like shape, and finally broke in half the long way. There was still a lot of it left, and I hated to waste the nice orange smell, so one day late last week I chopped it into bits with a big knife, mixed it with water in a bowl, and zapped it. I had to do two rounds of that, mixing with a fork in between, but then I dumped it out onto plastic wrap and shaped it into a bar to cool. Now it's in the shower again, and I have to say it was a distinct success! It's a little rough - if I had been doing things properly I would have blended or food-processed the soap before wetting and heating it - and it's definitely softer because of the added water (not a bad thing), but it's cohesive and usable.

So maybe eventually I'll get into soapmaking. There could be translucent glycerine fairy soaps and solid castile monster soaps.

That is definitely a project for another time, though. For now, back to the list!

hump day

Oct. 19th, 2011 12:16 pm
The Maple, we hates it. I'm in the midst of trying to get Maple to graph some things for me: approximations of cosine by polynomials. The first two work and the third one refuses to, and gives an extremely unhelpful error message that has no corresponding help page. I might think it was the fact that my last polynomial includes 14!, but the help page for factorial gives as an example 5!!, which is 120!, so it's not a "can't do factorial that high" problem. Or at least it shouldn't be. I can't tell any difference between the definition of that polynomial and the previous two other than the extra terms, but it completely doesn't work.

Still a little lumpy in the left tonsil today, but at least the right one is totally down and the left is much less than it was two days ago. I am a bit behind on my to do list because I cut myself slack yesterday and left at 5:45 (after realizing no work was getting done anyway, as tired and throat-sore as I was). Oh well. If I have to work a bit over Thanksgiving to get my textbook done, then I have to work a bit over Thanksgiving. And who knows, maybe I have allowed myself so much pad time, between the extra time allowed for indexing and the week of Thanksgiving not containing anything specific, that I'll be done anyway (except for the final read-through, which I will certainly not do until the manuscript has rested a couple of days after my last edits).

Hoping no more stuff gets added to my lists for the week, so I can truly be done when I leave for my career counseling meeting on Friday. Back to it!


Oct. 18th, 2011 10:21 am
Guess if I'm going to keep posting on the DW side I should upload some userpics.

Anyway. Despite the fact that I was tired and slightly ill yesterday, the day went really well. I got all but one of my to do items done as well as a few from each of the rest of the days of the week. I did have to add one to a later day, but that's because I want to ask my students what additional examples they would like for Friday so I can't make the examples until after class meets Wednesday. For the chapter we start on Friday I am reusing my lecture notes from the previous time I taught the class, so that was a big cross-off with very little work. I did textbook revision - the item that's left from yesterday is that, but I did some other revision from yesterday's and today's lists, so I may be about even on that. And of course I taught class, and met my thesis student for a good 45 minutes.

Then at 5:30 I taught my embroidery class, which was two women in their late 20s and a 10-year-old girl. I think it went quite well, though I definitely learned something about how to teach that subject. When and if I give the class again I'll reorganize it, upgrade the handout and have a slightly different assortment of examples. I wanted to have more examples this time of embroidery done with different threads and on different fabrics, but didn't have time to make them. It didn't occur to me to make an example with different numbers of strands of embroidery floss on the same fabric, for example, or the same number of strands on different fabrics, and in some ways that would have been even more useful. It gave me some thoughts on adding to the embroidery book I'm writing, certainly. And I figured out how to explain the making of French knots, which are very tricky (relatedly, I also think I figured out what my problem with French knots was for so long).

When I got home at 8 I filled and started the dishwasher and sat and relaxed. I started getting ready for bed not long after 9 - my throat hurt and it turned out my tonsils were painful and swollen, so I took an Advil with sleep aid (seems to knock me out better than Nyquil, and I don't like medicating lots of symptoms I don't have anyway, which Nyquil always does) and sucked on a Halls. Ten hours of sleep later, my right tonsil is completely normal and my left one is only slightly swollen. I also feel much more alert and fresh. Such a good decision!

I bummed around a little bit this morning and with my coffee, sat and crocheted a couple rows of Stumpy's girlfriend. The to do list for today has five items left on it. One is office hours and one is a student appointment, so those will simply happen. The major one is the combination of yesterday's leftover item and one from today, which were the revision of one major section of my textbook spread over two days but now in one.

Life would be complete if only the fruit flies in my office would finally go away!


Oct. 17th, 2011 02:43 pm
LiveJournal doesn't want me to post there, so I'll post here and crosspost. I'm getting a "content encoding" error when I try to load the update page. My first ever dreamwidth post!

Sleepy sleepy. I woke up at 3 this morning and was awake for an hour, following difficulty getting to sleep last night. I don't know why in either case. I was coughing, but not much, and it wasn't that I would get almost to sleep and then cough myself awake again - I never got even close. In the wee hours I put a Halls in my mouth, which may not have helped but certainly didn't hurt, and of course woke up with that unshakeable Halls morning breath. Withstands teeth brushing and gargling, and makes those first few sips of coffee taste awful!

My to do list for the week is getting all garbled together, partially because I realized I have a career counseling meeting on Friday that was in the purse calendar but hadn't made it to the desk calendar. And because one of the things that was on today's list just takes too much attention span on a day that I (a) am tired and (b) know there is a cap on my time. That always makes it hard to concentrate. So I have worked ahead a little bit and am leaving that one item for later on. Fortunately I can stay late Tuesday through Thursday so I should be good for a no-work weekend despite an abbreviated Friday.

Well, I need to ponder my embroidery class for tonight, because I was caught up in preparing materials for it yesterday, knowing that couldn't be done at work but this could, and hopefully finish lecture notes through Friday, because that would be an entire item off tomorrow's list. Cheerio!



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