It's been a rough week. Aside from having to dig my way through all those files before our department meeting on Wednesday, there has been political infighting and malfeasance on a level that I haven't seen since starting here. Of course, all of that means countless emails (and that horrible feeling of dread when I see the happy little envelope icon in my inbox), and phone calls, and meetings, and more meetings, instead of the head-down, plow-through-it grading I'd hoped for. I'm down to two stacks, and if Monday's meetings don't take all day, I may be able to finish and file my grades in one marathon day. It would be such a relief. (I am still in total denial about the fact that Christmas eve is just a bit over a week away.)
A few things have gotten me through all of this. One is, of course, my friends. I have been so lucky since picking up stakes and moving my whole family down here on a whim (read: because there was an actual academic job in my actual field actually available, and I actually got it) to make a small group of incredibly close friends. One way and another, mostly by listening and telling me that I am not nuts, and at least in one case by going through all of this with me, they've been a huge part of making this week survivable.
Rick has also been amazing. We have had a houseguest all week, who is a wonderful person; I'm very glad to have met him and to know that he and his family will soon be living near us. But it has meant that I haven't been able to just walk in the door, fall over into a chair and rant unreservedly for a half and hour while drinking heavily. It would have made a bad impression. Rick has listened to me pre-rant on the phone on the drive home every afternoon this week, has done most of the dinner-table talking so I could breathe a bit, has done a large part of the Christmas shopping, and has generally been a pillar of support.
And, of course, there's been knitting. I finished the Marie Antoinettes, and gave them to my dear friend Jill (who's turning 40 today -- happy birthday!) on Thursday (I couldn't wait any more). She loved them. She stripped off her socks and shoes and put them right on (I love people who appreciate my work). She even modelled them for me (although since she doesn't know I have a blog, she doesn't know I'm posting this picture; since it's just of her feet and you don't know her last name or her academic department, I'm going to assume this is within the bounds of acceptability).
Didn't they turn out well? Doesn't she have long, elegant feet? Doesn't my office rug need vacuuming? I do love that honeycomb pattern. I will definitely be making these for myself.
Just as soon as I finish these.
They're for Rick. Who has, as I believe I have had cause to mention in the past, size 13 feet. I'm using Trekking, on size three sox stix needles (which freak me out a bit because they're feeling a bit short for the 72 stitches I have going on here), in a basic toe up pattern. He has made it clear that, while he loves the other pair of socks I have knit for him, he really really wants ribbing on his socks. Not just an inch or so at the top, but ribbed socks. I keep asking him a) do you know how much @#$*@! longer it takes to knit ribbing than stockinette and have I mentioned that you have size 13 feet?!, and b) do you know how much more yarn it takes to knit ribbing than stockinette and have I mentioned that you have size 13 feet?! He put on his pitiful face and made sad whimpery noises while saying again that he really really does like ribbing. I growled, and then began ribbing the dang socks after the toe (with a nifty little cable on each side, even). Note the lack of ribbing in the photo above. Apparently, he doesn't want ribs just any old where. He wants them on the leg. And only on the leg. Ripping was involved, which, while it may sound similar, is not the same as ribbing. I am behind, and the plan is to finish these for Christmas (there is to be no laughing from the peanut gallery). I must knit like the wind. The only good news about the ribbing fiasco is that I at least do not have to rib the feet on these babies. This might be my saving grace. If only I could grade and knit at the same time, but I'm just not that good.
The girls had their school play last night. It was a Human Values play (I love this about their school. They teach a part of the curriculum that is called Human Values, which looks in many ways like some of the moral tenets of Buddhism: non-violence, peace, love of others, etc. They also do what they call silent sitting every morning, which some of us might call meditation. In conservative North County you can't tell parents that you're inculcating their children with Buddhist values and teaching them meditation, but everyone's happy with Human Values and silent sitting. Whatever gets the job done, is what I say). They were brilliant. Younger Daughter's room sang, and she remembered every word and hand gesture.
Older Daughter was a narrator. She had a microphone and no notes, and remembered everything she was supposed to say.
It was short and sweet and I got a mojito afterwards. Is that the perfect ending to a hard week, or what?