It’s now November. Where did October go? I failed to write any Weeknotes so I’ll never know.
Classes are into the final stretch, and we are all feeling it. Grading keeps arriving and I keep falling behind. The classes themselves are fine, and the students are hanging in there. But 14 and 15-week semesters are LONG, y’all. Still, Thanksgiving week is right around a couple of corners.
My administrative responsibilities are almost over! We had The Big Memo and The Big Meeting About The Memo and the forces of good prevailed. And you’d better believe I had TheH pick up a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Three years of trying and we finally got past the biggest hurdle.
Other administrative decisions were also made, some of which will have the effect of reducing my likelihood of being called on to do administrative work. Which is all to the good. I don’t know that all the consequences of those decisions will be as positive, but from a MeMeMe perspective it’s at least a draw. I know I’m being vague but I don’t write details about my job here. Even though I have a tiny readership, you never know.
On the research and writing front, I presented a paper in a seminar and got fantastic feedback, the helpful kind that makes me want to keep working on it. So all in all, a good work week.
My reading and watching has been dismal for the last few weeks, but I l managed to read three books on a weekend with plane flights and down time. I also managed to finally review my October TBR Challenge book in the last post, and I have two more books to review. One was a library hold that came in when a Booker longlist book was finally published here in the US, and it was excellent: Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything. The first half left me with a meh feeling, and then the second half kicked in and it all made sense and was brilliant and insightful and all the other praise words. It’s not long, and it’s well worth your time. I also read Sarah Morgan’s newest, a Christmas novel called A Wedding in December and I liked it immensely. It’s women’s fiction but definitely has romance in it, in fact there are two romance storylines. It has plenty of humor and is set at a resort in Aspen but somehow everyone feels normal. I know the holidays are coming when a new holiday-set romance by Morgan appears.
I also read parts of two non-technical histories of the East India Company (for my seminar paper). The older one, John Keay’s The Honourable Company, is excellent and quite readable. The new one, William Dalrymple’s The Anarchy, annoyed me as much as I thought it would but I kind of felt I had to know what was in it. The Keay is the kind of “popular” book that scholars can use (and it has pretty positive reviews in historical journals). The Dalrymple has heroes and villains and a very distinctive take. It’s undoubtedly why he’s so popular but really not an approach I find helpful or even interesting to read.
On the TV front I’ve been watching soccer and more soccer and not much else. Viva Liverpool. I can’t let myself believe they’ll win the title, because it’s too far away and too much can happen, but my goodness they look amazing right now. I might be ready to let Red or Dead go, at long last.
We did watch an excellent film, an oldie, called Le Samourai. It’s directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and stars a gorgeous young Alain Delon. It’s clearly drawing on the US Western film canon in its influences, but with a deeply French 1960s aesthetic. It’s part of the Criterion Collection and I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.
I’ve been listening a bit to podcasts but not as much as before. Football Weekly is a mainstay but I fell behind, and Brexitcast has turned into Electioncast and I can’t listen to that for the entire campaign.
It’s been one of those times where I often forget to make a daily list because I’m just doing everything I can to stay above waterline and the list is superfluous. Decisions, who has time to make them? But now I have to go back to them because I have so many things that have piled up while I was doing the things that couldn’t be put off.
TheH and I have managed a couple of longish hikes in good weather, which has felt rejuvenating. Other than that, if I don’t walk to/from campus, my only exercise is running for the bus and lecturing.
I started knitting again, after months and months away. A friend came over for dinner and was wearing a poncho she’d made, which reminded me I had an almost-finished poncho which only needs a seam. An hour’s work at most. Then I was home from work, fighting off a bug, and I went down the Ravelry rabbit hole. That led me to start a big-needles project with some discontinued yarn I’d been trying to figure out how to knit up, and it looks like it will work. It’s totally mindless and I’m enjoying it.
Grading and staying warm. It was 12F this morning, a mere 30 or so degrees below the normal. Hello Polar Vortex and January-in-November. Stay warm if you’re in the zone! And safe if you’re in fire country.
Man, I don’t miss those temps. It’s been 50s and 60s here and no fire, thank dog. I am now on a news moratorium, between Calif, the impeachment, and NSW burning to ash. GAH.
It was good to hear from you! I feel you on the ‘no time to make a list’ thing, followed by the ‘holy shit I need a list’ thing. I mostly dug myself out of that hole, and am now fighting the doan wannas. 🙂
@Catherine: I had to mute PBS Newshour last night because so much of it was on the impeachment. I switched to listening to music.
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I also have a poncho completed but for the final seam. It was a fun complement to listening to The Dutch House on audio read by Tom Hanks. I finished the book but not the knitting project.
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I am not alone! I also have a sweater that needs seaming and weaving in the ends, but that is a few hours’ work so I don’t feel quite as bad about it. Finishing is always the chore, even though I used to sew.
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@Janet & @Sunita: I’m with you on the almost done thing. I have a blanket that just needs an edge, a vest that just needs sewing seams, a jacket that needs the same, and probably some other almost-done things. I’m determined to get them done before the end of the year so as to start 2020 fresh.
@Sunita, yeah, me too; I turned off All Things Considered yesterday because it was an hour-long analysis of the hearings. NSW is on fire and no mention, but gods forbid we don’t focus on the malignant narcissist in the WH every effing day. I just want him, his family, and all his enablers in jail and out of office where they belong. ALL of them. I’m so tired of the dumpster fire and of being ashamed of being an American. So very sick and tired. The news about Venice was the last straw yesterday.
@Catherine: The commentators were fine, but the questions were ridiculous. And from people who should know better! How on earth can you judge how consequential the testimony is when it’s the first day in a series of witnesses. And analyzing the style and effectiveness when they’ve only just started to present the substance. It’s so enraging. And that’s not even addressing your point about how everything else of import is being reduced to a quick roundup because this has to be chewed over endlessly.
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Good to see you posting again. I figured that your time had been eaten by your work, so I wasn’t overly worried by your absence.
Did you see that ‘Ducks, Newburyport’ won this year’s Goldsmiths award? I am not going to read it, but I do have ‘The Man Who Saw Everything’ in the TBR of Doom. Your good words about it prodded me to move it up the list.
Re: the impeachment hearing coverage–Talking Heads are going to talk, it’s their job, after all. Doesn’t mean I have to listen to their every word.
Hah, I’m just writing up a post including that tidbit! I took a morning off and I’m putting it to good use, blog-wise.
I need to make a poncho!
I wasn’t going to read the Sarah Morgan, because I just didn’t enjoy the last one at all. But maybe I will. I trust your judgment. I am very excited, though, that there is going to be a TV movie based on one of her St Piran’s books this year! I don’t know if it will be shown in the US.
Yes! Join us … I made a convertible wrap earlier this year or was it last year? Anyway, it’s from a La Droguerie pattern and yarn, and it can be a stole, poncho, or neck scarf depending on how you button and wrap it. It was incredibly easy and I love it. This poncho is a simple rectangle in Rowan’s Felted Tweed, from a Churchmouse Yarns pattern. I tried sewing it up with the tweed but it breaks when you tighten it, so I had to dig out another type of yarn. Found one, now just the seaming (again).
I thought of you when I was reading the Morgan. I think you would like it. It’s more like her Vermont books than the last Christmas book, which I didn’t love.
@Ros: I foroot to thank you for the info on the TV movie! I had no idea. I looked it up on IMDB and it is premiering here in the US this weekend. It’s on a channel I don’t get (UP TV) but it’s likely to be on cable and satellite networks and it’s available for streaming, so I’ll probably reread the book (St. Piran’s: Prince on the Children’s Ward) and then subscribe to watch it.
I’m excited too!
Yay! I thought you might be interested in the movie. I haven’t read the book either (I don’t often read medicals) but I will. We aren’t getting it until early December, but I am very interested to see what it was like.
Is it this poncho? https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/easy-folded-poncho I was looking at that earlier and wondering about it.
Yes, that’s the poncho. I hesitated on buying it, because you’re just knitting a rectangle, but they had a couple of tips that made it worthwhile for me. I’m a competent knitter but I’m not a designer, and the details can make such a difference in fit and appearance.
I have cast on! I haven’t yet decided whether I want to do the cowl-neck version or not.
Excellent! I did the cowl-free version, but that was partly because I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn left over for a cowl.