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.