Tuesday, February 09, 2010

the only thing that helps me pass the time away

It's the sixth week of the term, which puts us at the official halfway point for the year. On one hand, this is awesome, because it means that next week is the Spring Study Break, but on the other hand, I have come to the realization that I have only graded 10% of the work my students will submit to me this term, which means that the remaining 90% is still to come. Yikes.

I am making an effort to focus on the positive this term, which means that I am actually going to give myself a proper Spring Break. I had to grade my exams over the winter holidays, resulting in only 3 actual days off for me in the 2.5 weeks I had "off" work, and I am determined that I need a real break this time. This can only happy if I get a goodly chunk of work done before the break begins, of course. My plans are not especially grandiose: I am going home to see my mother, who is home alone currently, having been abandoned by my father (golfing in the States) and Youngest Sister (adventuring in New Zealand). She is talking about going to see my grandparents, maybe, and possibly doing some house painting. It will be nice to have a couple of truly relaxing, vegetative days in the middle of all of this craziness. (Once I finish grading my 125 essays, I have about 100 midterms to grade as well, with more on the way.)

On the knitting and wedding front, I just finished my wedding shawl. The pattern is called Feather Duster, and it is lovely, using ostrich lace for the repeats. The yarn is also lovely: I used a 2 ply fingering weight yarn in natural ivory from Misty Haven Alpacas, which is right outside of town. I picked it because I like the heft of fingering weight yarns in comparison with laceweights, and because the 2 ply fingering is made from Misty Haven's own alpaca herd. (Most of the yarns they carry are from an alpaca co-op, where all the members contribute fiber and then receive a proportionate amount of yarn.) Although it is a millspun yarn, it feels very much like a handspun, as the thickness varied from part to part. The fabric is likely the softest thing I've ever knit, and feels unbelievably luxurious. I cannot wait for my wedding dress to come in so that I can see the two of them together. The best part is that I made the whole shawl out of one skein--less than 400 yards. I'm ever so pleased with myself.

I've got socks on the needles right now, and I think I may actually have broken through my sock rut--I finished the first sock in three days, and am up to the gusset increases on the second already.

For this week's cooking challenge, I made Chicken Saltimbocca for supper. It actually came out really well--I even found a Marsala wine to make the sauce. The sauce, on its own, didn't taste especially good, but once it was on the chicken, it mellowed out the saltiness of the proscuitto and was generally quite tasty. I would definitely make it again.

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