Well, here I am. At home. Not teaching.
I don't think I much like it.
I think that if I had the kind of job where what I do can only be done in my office (and assuming that I could, as I am, handle the pay cut part of this), it would be easier to try to make myself see these furlough days as time off. To make myself really take them as a break and go to the beach or do something fun. But let's be honest. My job isn't and never has been the kind of job that it's easy to shut the door on. A lot of what I do (like much of my research) can only be done at times that aren't during the traditional work week, and I'm used to fitting the rest of what must be done into the interstices of a work week whose areas of intensity vary almost constantly. One week it's all meetings, all the time; the next it's all about grading. So it's hard to not work during furlough days, in no small part because I can't figure out what work not to do. None of what I do is the sort of thing of which I can say, I'll get this done but it'll take longer and be later. At fifteen weeks, there's a hard stop. I can't just not have my grading done by then because I've been on furlough.
So I knit. And knit and knit. Unfortunately, most of what I'm knitting has now entered into what I think of as The Middle Place. This is not The Waiting Place (that would be the place where you knit and knit and knit and nothing ever seems to happen, in fact whatever it is that you're knitting is getting actively shorter when you're not looking). No, this comes before that, right after you've cast on for a project and you've made a little bit of progress and that's all very exciting and photogenic and bloggable. But then you get to the spot where you're still enjoying the project, you don't have any urges whatsoever to stomp on it, or turn it into a bird's nest, or to send it, needles and all, to outer Mongolia to see if they might have more fun with it than you're having; no, you're still enjoying it just fine. But it's sort of like the stage that most of us hit somewhere in high school where we were all potential and no glory -- pimples and glasses and braces and greasy nose (it can't have been just me?) -- the year that you deliberately "lost" your yearbook so you'd never have to look at that picture of yourself again. That's The Middle Place. It's not a bad place to be, it's just not a place that you want to take pictures of to send to all of your friends.
That's where just about every one of my knitting projects is right now. Except the one that I cast on last night that I can't show you yet. Sorry.
Just when I thought that I'd have to send you away with nothing (since I'm hoping that something interesting will happen with my knitting before I have to show you pictures of it with a goofy hairdo and bad clothes), I realized that I'd never shown you any pictures at all of the plain ol' boring stockinette socks I'm knitting for Rick. Hooray for delinquent blogging!
There it is. You won't believe what I did, though. We all know how ginormously huge Rick's feet are, so I always worry that I won't make his socks long enough. However, in my attempts to avoid that particular pitfall, I overcorrected, and this sock is about 3/4 of an inch too long. How do I do these things? And why is it that the phrase "You can't win for trying" seems to be my mantra these days? (I have this in my office, a gift from a boss who totally gets that sometimes you've got to laugh to keep from crying; it seems appropriate these days. If you have a dark sense of humor, you should totally go check out that site.)
I'm trying something new with these socks. As you can see, Rick's feet are shaped funny (don't tell him I said so, but it's true). So I decided to knit these toe-up (to maximize yarn usage) and to change my increases from the toe a little bit. I increased about half the number of stitches that I needed to add in the usual way, adding four per row every other row. I then stopped increasing on one side of the foot, and only increased on the other, adding two stitches every other row. This shape much more closely matches the shape of Rick's feet. This isn't something I've needed to try with my socks, as I have very square feet, but I think it's going to make his socks that much more comfortable.
Next time there will be more deliquent blogging in the form of pictures from our trip last weekend to the tidepools at Point Loma. Meanwhile, keep knitting...
Edited to add: Looky here! Fun story with quotes from Betchen Barber (I still want to be her when I grow up). Of course the NPR reporter says something about string not being so humble as we thought it was. Whaddaya mean "we", dude?