I've been buried in grading, or I would have posted some pictures of the shawl off the blocking wires yesterday. But I've made it through the papers from one class, and am halfway through the papers from my other classes, so I'm making progress. It's entirely possible that I'll actually meet my goal of having grades calculated and posted by tomorrow night. Meanwhile, I have my shawl to admire and to remind me that I can actually finish something in this life, rather than standing in the middle of piles of unfinished grading, turning in circles, feeling overwhelmed and wondering what to do next. (Honestly, this is where knitting comes in handy; as the Yarn Harlot points out, knitting is fundamentally about doing one small action again and again, and having an actual product in the end -- grading is very much the same thing.)
Older Daughter kindly agreed to take a break from her homework to model for me:
See how the shawl is almost the same color as the grass? It's very springy.
Isn't it gorgeous? This could be something I knit again -- it's such a fun pattern, and the results are really lovely.
Meanwhile, I've made a (very small) start on a new project. I'm knitting myself the Hip in Hemp skirt, although I'm knitting it in a solid navy blue, rather than in stripes. That project sort of fell into my lap one day a few weeks ago; I was reading the musings of someone who was searching for a skirt to knit, and revisited that pattern. It had caught my attention when I saw it last summer, but it somehow didn't occur to me to knit it as a solid, and I knew I'd never wear the stripes (I am slow on the uptake sometimes). So I pottered on over to Webs to see if they sold the Lavold Hempathy yarn (my LYS didn't have any; I called first), and not only did they have it, but they had it in navy and (get this) on sale. Not only was it on sale, but my order came it at just over the amount that it takes to get a discount. Sweet. If that isn't Fate telling me that it's time to finally knit the skirt I've been dithering about for so long, I don't know what is. I'm just knitting together the live stitches with the cast-on row to form a tube for the elastic waist (although I'm thinking of either an i-cord or a ribbon instead; I've made the waist with a hole to insert one or the other, and could then tie a little bow in front), so I'm really not very far along. There will be pictures when I've made some progress.
In other news, poor Tilly has had quite a week of it. We boarded her at the vet this past weekend, knowing that we couldn't leave her with the cats and Kia to be fed by our neighbor. She was clearly very disconcerted by being left there (in spite of the fact that they keep poached chicken on hand for treats), and absolutely freaked out when I picked her up. She kept making these hoarse barking noises that sounded just like Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles when they let him out of the car trunk (anyone else out there remember that?).
Then last night was her first obedience class. I'm extremely happy with the place we found, which is just down the road from us, and the three women who taught the class are wonderful. They confirmed my impression of Tilly, though, which is that we have quite a personality on our hands. She threw a temper fit at one point, and one of the trainers took her off to work with her while the other trainer was talking about how to work with dogs. It turns out that Tilly is hand-shy, probably due to some of her experiences living on the streets before she was rescued. This means that we're going to need to be really careful about disciplining her; neck scruff shakes, which work well for some puppies (like Kia) will not work with her because of her already-negative association with hands. And when she mouths, we won't be able to hold her muzzle shut for the same reason. So it's going to mean some more thought in our training work with her (especially by comparison to Kia, who is such a submissive dog that just glaring at her was usually enough to get her to pay attention).
And then this morning, I had to take her to the vet to be spayed; I would have held off, given the boarding experience of the weekend, but she's over five months now, and the window for an easier surgery is closing. So she'll be there overnight. They did call me after the surgery to say that she was doing well, which is good news. But poor baby. It's a lot in one week, and I'm glad that I'll be working at home most of next week, with only one day where I need to leave the house for any length of time.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the fried-egg poppies are blooming in the yard -- I love these flowers! (They're really called matilija poppies, but come on, don't they look like fried eggs?)
Righty-o! Back to grading; so close...
P.S. Tamar, I checked with Rick about the brand of the microphones, and he didn't remember right offhand, but will check with his uncle. I'll let you know. And the only reason I find the Vorkosigan books relaxing is because I've read them so many times before, so I know they turn out all right in the end. Silly, eh?