I have been meaning to post about my birthday present from Ethel Louise (welcome to blogland!) for about six weeks now. (You know, because my birthday was six weeks ago.) Ethel is a fantastic baker, and she gifted me my very own sourdough starter, complete with bread-baking instructions. I was going to wait until I actually baked bread to share this, but let’s face it — that might not happen until after the exams are over. I ignored all non-writing responsibilities last week, and then panicked about forgetting to feed my sourdough starter (it still needs a name) its weekly meal. Ethel says it is very, very hard to kill (unlike my motivation).

Last night I gave it white and whole wheat flour, and happily watched as new bubbles rose to the surface. I need my brain to start bubbling with thoughts again, too, as I am by no means done with this exam process! (Just past the most anxiety-inducing one of the three.)

More knitting soon, I promise.

grown-up floats.

I turned in my first exam yesterday morning: 44 pages in 7 days. I’ve never written so much, so quickly, in the whole of my academic life. (And honestly, I’m hoping I’ll never need to top that.) Thank you for all of your encouragement this week; it means so much. I’m not done, but I’m more than a third of the way there.

Brokeknits recommended The Improvised Life a few months back, which means she is to thank for last night’s celebration. A small group of my favorite grad school women came over last night for a laid-back evening of conversation and caramel porter and chocolate stout floats. Boh was loving it: a whole house full of women to pay attention to him! After they left, I made one more float with the leftovers from the bottle of chocolate stout and the bottom of the ice cream carton and put a dent in my grading. Time to pour the coffee and grade the rest before class!

earth hour.

Last night, after a frustrating couple of hours at the coffee shop, I looked up and realized it was 8:30. I packed up, rushed home, found the lighter and gathered my candles, and turned off the lights to participate in Earth Hour. (WordPress doesn’t want to let me insert a link, so check out http://www.earthhour.org for details.) Basically, people all around the world turned off the lights at (their) 8:30 pm. I spent an hour reading Lois Lowry’s The Giver by candlelight in the kitchen. (One of my reading groups is discussing this next week.)

I should turn off the lights more often — I needed to be reminded of bigger things, to focus on something more important than this exam.

More glimpses of the week:

Brain food: Friday’s breakfast.

Boh and a pile of books.

Boh had the right idea this morning — to not get out of bed. I am so tired. I have a lot of writing to do today, because my hope is to spend Monday editing, formatting footnotes, and all-around prettifying this paper before I turn it in on Tuesday morning. Almost there. (Well, with the first exam.)

day two.

Brokeknits has been hinting at this forever, with all of her gorgeous stripey shawls, but I think I had to figure it out for myself: stripes are good for academic productivity. How else can you explain that I not only met my word count goal for day one of my exam, but I also managed to knit several more stripes on my shawl?

I am in love with this shawl. That center-ish spot (you know, where the center would be if this were symmetrical) looks little less crisp than I’d like, but I’m thinking it might have to do with the fact that the dark grey trekking pro natura I’m using is slightly thinner than the local organic undyed wool, which is closer to sport weight. I’m hoping the poofiness of garter stitch after blocking will help with this — and do a better job of hiding the short row wraps.

And then there’s this guy. Such a good sport.

Alright, back to it.


Ready. The apartment is clean, the library book piles are tidy, and Boh is pouting.

[I meant to post this earlier today, but wordpress was a little finicky. Day one was okay. I’m aiming to write steadily every day this week, and if I can reach my word counts/section goals pretty consistently, I will feel good about the process.]